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!