I don’t like the gold system so I’ve written up something more abstract – I pretty much stole the Resources system…

I don’t like the gold system so I’ve written up something more abstract – I pretty much stole the Resources system…

I don’t like the gold system so I’ve written up something more abstract – I pretty much stole the Resources system from World of Darkness. Here’s the scale:

• Resources 0 – A cheap dagger, lodging at a peasant inn.

• Resources 1 – A sword, a good meal, a lizardman’s trinkets.

• Resources 2 – A horse, a small feast.

• Resources 3 – A nice cottage, a reliable assassin, a lavish party, an orc warchief’s tribute.

• Resources 4 – A fine ship, a substantial caravan.

• Resources 5 – A castle, a fleet of ships, a dragon’s hoard.

You can’t buy stuff exceeding your Resources. You can buy stuff with a cost equal to your Resources, but that reduces your rating by 1. You can get stuff which costs less than your Resources without suffering any financial strain. Really exceptional stuff costs +1 Resources, so does buying an arbitrary amount of stuff. When I say “an arbitrary amount”, I mean you could buy as many as you need, so long as you could reasonably find that many. Shoddy stuff costs -1.

So in practice, a stubborn old horse would cost 1 Resources, a regular horse would cost 2, a really exceptional horse or an arbitrary number of horses would cost 3, an arbitrary number of exceptional horses would cost 4, and at Resources 5 I could get an arbitrary number of exceptional horses without suffering any financial strain.

This is something I whipped up in 5 minutes and I’d like to refine it, so I’d appreciate some feedback!

27 thoughts on “I don’t like the gold system so I’ve written up something more abstract – I pretty much stole the Resources system…”

  1. More thoughts: A castle is really just an arbitrarily sized (+1) exceptional (+1) cottage (3). A ship might be an arbitrarily sized (+1) exceptional (+1) boat (2).

  2. I’ve long been a huge fan of the Storyteller system’s method of handling resources. I’m definitely going to test this out, though I would be a little concerned players will want to know their exact haul… And it does complicate the Carouse move a little, albeit I don’t see that used much in my games.

  3. Josh McGraw I can see what you mean about Carouse – I feel like Resources 2 would safely cover a +1 bonus, but Resources 3 is broad enough that it could cover +2 and +3. Personally I’d be happy with Resources 2 = +1, Resources 3 = +3

  4. Michael Richards Trade and loot – there’s some examples of loot at the ends of Resources 1, 3 and 5. In addition to that, anything on the list can be sold for its Resources amount so long as it’s in good condition and you can find a buyer.

    As for simply earning enough incrementally to increase your resources, I haven’t figured that out yet. I’m thinking it over at the moment!

  5. Hmm. One thing to think about is that this scale is exponential. Resources 4 is so much more than Resources 2 + Resources 2. More like Resources 2 squared twice or something. Going from 0 to 1 should be much easier than going from 1 to 2, and so on, in the same way that spending 1 Resource at level 4 is much more significant (and much less common) than spending 1 at level 3. Once you reach a certain Resource level, everything under that essentially becomes free.

    It’s kinda like capitalism actually. If I’m a Resource 5 venture capitalist, not only could I probably retire early and live my life comfortably without working, but some companies would effectively pay me to come visit their seaside resort on the off chance that I might decide to invest in it.

  6. Lol, you’re not the only one who wants an alternative to coin Burk Diggler – I wrote an alternative myself just yesterday! http://joebanner.co.uk/you-cant-buy-happiness/ In the end I scrapped coin altogether in place of simply telling players “OK, your relative success is this much.” 

    I think David Bowers has the right of it here, that “a dragon’s hoard should be something like resources 18, not 5 – with further gradation in between. (The best result from the standard treasure tables was about 130,000 coin – which isn’t actually enough to buy a castle according to the costs in the rulebook.)

  7. Tim Franzke See my response to Michael Richards. Until I work something up I’d say you’re fine eyeballing it – “If you do this they’ll pay you enough to take you from Resources 2 to Resources 3.”

    David Bowers Exactly right – very roughly, Resources 5 is 1,000,000 gold, Resources 4 is 100,000 and so on. It would be wrong to say it’s a quantitative measure though – it’s more a representation of the fictional quality of being rich or poor or whatever.

    Joe Banner That’s some great stuff! I love how you’ve explicitly woven money with fame and lifestyle.

  8. Joe Banner, awesome coin alternative, especially the fame angle. Am I understanding it right that your treasure table determines the current state of your wealth? So you’re not just adding loot to your estate: a bad roll isn’t merely a bad haul, its your entire estate lost. 

  9. Glad you like them, guys! Oliver Granger yes it’s an indicator of how famous and wealthy you are, in the area. (If – and I do mean if – the party kills a dragon, people will tell tales of the brave party that killed a f***ing DRAGON, not the brave party who splurged 120,000 coin on half a castle.) I might refine and clarify once I’ve done more playtesting, but my thinking right now is if you have a bad roll the session after a good one, your wealth will be threatened rather than taken away immediately. “OK guys, yes you killed a dragon last month, but that was then. Now, the vampires’ tomb had been cleared of treasure, the coffers are empty, your butler is refusing to work until he gets paid and there’s a rival warlord outside your gates with an army of gnomish tax collectors…! What do you do?”

  10. Joe Banner, cool! So basically you create a front “Wealth and Fame” or something and start creating dangers as the players gain wealth. And each danger has grim portents and an impending doom about the PCs losing all they have gained. I dig it!!

  11. Yeah, I’m really resonating with Joe Banner  that in dungeon world at least, you might appreciate a bigger gradation from poor to wealthy, and that 3-18 makes quite a bit of sense, since that’s the range of other stats in the game. Then again maybe that’s more bookkeeping than you want, and maybe the distinction between 9 and 10, say, would feel a bit too arbitrary.

    I also think Oliver Granger ‘s idea about treating it as a front is really cool, especially if you’re not concerned with the accounting bit at all. Money can be a relatively fluid thing based on mutual agreement and common sense, sort of like positioning and advantage in a battle.

  12. ne problem i see is that using an abstract stat instead of an actual coin value and collection keeps you a bit more away from the fiction.

    And i also kinda like the “okay, i can afford a new shield OR new rations and an adventuring gear…” moments. You can also be more granual when they want to buy 8 packs of rations. 

  13. Burk Diggler I like the concept but I feel there should be more levels. One of the big problems I’ve always had with resource abstraction is that the new system used abstracts in such broad strokes. I would like to see more description per Resource level, similar to Joe Banner coin abstraction (linked in a comment above), so that it is very clear what each Resource level contains.

    Resource 3 is a good example of the trouble I’m having. Apparently a lavish party and a small cottage cost the same amount? I imagine the cottage would be very expensive but a party nowhere near as much. I think there just needs to be more detail to each level.

    It is also unclear how one goes up in levels. I know you answered this above by stating trade & loot but again I feel I need more details. The biggest threat to an abstract system is there being a disconnect between the player and their financial capability and security. If it does not feel natural in use or isn’t clear in its design, I feel the abstraction hinders more than it aids.

    David Schirduan when you make that mishmash could you let me know? That sounds very interesting =P.

    Joe Banner how do you handle rolling for wealth at the end of session when you are in a multi-session adventure? Say your tackling the 9 Levels of Hell in Dante’s Infernal Dungeon and it lasts six sessions.

  14. also, I’m converting some of the item lists into FORTUNE increments.

    spear (reach, +2dam) 0F

    halfling pipeleaf -1F

    Flaming magic sword of doom 2F

    etc. updates incoming.

  15. Marques Jordan Most of my games are by necessity short and self-contained given the nature of my group, so it hasn’t been as much of an issue. But when it comes to a multi-part game, I’ll make a note of the biggest damage die from each session and make one massive treasure roll at the end.

  16. Joe Banner can you give me an example of how that massive treasure roll will look? Mine are long and I think I may give this a try. But multi-part adventures are very common.

    David Schirduan this looks great. I really like how you’ve tailored everything to the Planarch setting. Will you post after you’ve had a chance to try this out? I’d love to hear the results.

  17. Marques Jordan hmm, I think my earlier comment makes no sense. You’re right, the treasure roll would be ridiculously huge – off the scale! (if the party took 5 sessions to clear a dungeon, and the biggest thing they faced was giant rats, they’d roll 5d6 – that’s potentially more than a dragon!)

    OK, scrap the last comment, instead – roll after each session, and treat that as a minimum score for the entirety of a dungeon.

    For example: They face a black pudding in session 1 (d10 damage, let’s say they get 9 on the treasure roll, then in session 2 they only face giant rats (d6 damage, but they’ve already ‘banked’ a minimum of 9 from session 1) then in the last session they kill their actual objective, an earth elemental (d10+5 damage, but the lowest result they could get would be 9 because of their efforts in session 1). 

    Plus, as always, remember this is about taking money out of the equation and bringing more narrative effect. This isn’t about them raiding a dusty tomb for money; it’s about them ridding the townsfolk of Kostrovo of the corrupted earth elemental that’s been menacing their town – with all the praise and reward the town can muster on their successful return!

  18. Marques Jordan Thanks for your feedback. You’d be surprised how expensive parties can get! I take your point though. When you say you need more details, what kind of details are you after? What kind of disconnect are you seeing between the player and their financial capability with this system? I’d love to hear what you think!

Comments are closed.