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    fil kearney's Avatar

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    Default Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    Forward> A big thanks to everyone involved so far for taking time to read and question the system and the nature of DnD in general. the crucible which is peer scrutiny is an excellent means of refining one's ideas.

    <edit 10/20/10>
    I'm going to establish some assumptions to properly frame my following proposal. Without first adopting the poper perspective, what I present won't make a lot of sense.....
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    1st: It is critical to understand that DnD is a game about accumulating and expressing power (in short: if I roll higher than you, I win). You can argue against this if you so choose, but any 1st level character against an ancient red dragon is as doomed as a CR2 orc against a 20th level warblade... the winner here boil down to just having more bonuses to their rolls, as accumulated through levels and equipment.

    2nd: Even with accumulated levels, to remain competitive against their "level appropriate" challenges, the characters need additional boosts to their statistics. The game assumes this will be granted by accumulating "equipment". The equipment adds advantages that races and classes cannot provide.... though alternate means are available (see below)

    3rd: Various types of Equipment has an appropriate level to be useful.
    Artifacts are for very high levels, masterwork weapons and alchemical items are for very low levels, and magic items make up the bulk in between.
    As you gain levels, better equipment has to be acquired or improved to match the escalating challenges, while weaker equipment is removed.

    4th: the ONLY way this equipment can be acquired or improved is when the referee/DM allows it, and what is allowed. This can be done by arbitrary decision, random determination, or asking the players what they want to get, and then DM dictates an appropriate time for it to be received.

    5th: the game uses gold as a default medium to limit what equipment is available... each piece of equipment is assigned a gold value, and the DM rewards portions of gold for achieving tasks... when enough gold is accumulated, it can be exchanged for the desired equipment if the DM decides it is available to acquire.
    How much gold is distributed is often determined by the level of the character.. this prevents a character from acquiring an item that is too powerful for their level.. they will not be able to accumulate enough gold to get the item, so it remains out of reach until the DM chooses to make it accessible by providing the appropriate amount of gold.

    This is the core of the game; accumulate gold while gaining levels, to buy better equipment to remain statistically viable for your new level, which allows you to further accumulate more levels and more equipment... repeat repeat repeat.

    This system is terribly flawed. Some DM's are better at improvising solutions, and others are far worse.
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    This system REQUIRES that characters only accumulate enough gold to meet the level of power their equipment costs at the level the characters currently have... but it's more complex than that... because these items "cost money"... as does nearly everything in the game from a packet of salt to a large castle. while the party is struggling to earn the gold to acquire the equipment required to remain statistically vialb,e they also have to use this gold for food, shelter, repairs, healing, raising dead characters, transportation, research, spell components, bribes, and more. This is a lot of moving parts to keep in balance.
    -- a prepared DM wil anticipate these needs, and have just enough for all the mundane, equipment, and unexpected expenses a team may face.
    -- an unprepared/inexperienced DM will provide too little or too much gold for the team's level... thus they become under or over equipped.
    But it's more complicated....
    -- a clever player will devise ways to accumulate gold faster than the DM anticipates, and thus gain access to equipment beyond what is appropriate for the team's level.
    -- an inexperienced player will waste gold, or worse-- fails to acquire the gold the DM provides, and ends up underpowered for their level.

    If all these factors are not carefully regulated, the game destabilizes.

    There are alternatives that already exist in the game that resolves these problems.
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    --MIC "removes" the need of specific coin counting by assigning level equivalents to magic items... you're 9th level... so you get 2 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th level items... etc. so... you drop gold altogether and simply go with magic gear by level and not worry about currency... All those annoying little daily expense things like eating, mundane gear, stupid magic components, entertainment etc. are just assumed to be taken care of as mostly non-consequential.

    --The exalted feat Vow of Poverty provides level-specific bonuses if the character forgoes all material wealth... essentially, by choosing to drop out of the gold game, the character still attains statistical bonuses and special abilities without having to acccumulate gold first.

    --ENworld Games produced a publication called "Four Colors to Fantasy" which offers replacing gold and equipment with customizable powers purchased for various Hero Points. .. very similar in nature to VoP... but much more diverse. You essentially drop gold, and instead get 3 hero points per level, that can be spent to acquire various powers, or upgrade existing powers. it "allows" a character to technically still have possessions, but all the gold the character would have earned is instead replaced with the hero points every level... any material needs is simply resolved as the MIC system.

    This is where We will begin discussing my preferred system. I do not use gold. I use these 3 systems together interchangeably.

    To make it work, it is important to be familiar with my proposal for being able to taketake only "some" of VoP as discussed here in Partial VoP
    In summary: a 10th level character, with 10 levels of wealth (as defined as Wealth By Level ... or WBL) can take up to 10 levels of VoP... but if he DOESN'T want all 10 levels.. say only 8... he gets 8 levels of VoP, and then has the wealth of a second level character as well... the bulk of his money has been "spent" acquiring VoP.
    This can be done for MIC items as well as 4CtF Hero Points...
    a 10th level character could have 3 levels of VoP, 3 levels spent on Hero Points, and the remaining 4 levels are then spent as MIC... acquiring 2 1st, 2 2nd, 2 3rd, and 2 4th level items (or they are combined to instead have, perhaps, a 3rd, 4th, and 5th level item)
    With all three systems, gold has been divorced from the equation of accumulating POWER, but if that character wants to go into a pub and have a ham sandwich... then it is up to the DM to decide whether he can or not... the character is no longer carrying any gold to dictate whether he can afford a sandwich... or shelter, or a horse, normal clothing, tickets to the theater.. etc. etc. etc.
    This is being referred to as No Wealth by Level.. or NoWBL for short.

    This is -- for purposes of level-appropriate challenges-- as valid as the gold system. Both methods allow the characters to get equipment (or the equivalent) appropriate to their level.

    Gold has the above mentioned flaws of being out of balance with what is appropriate... it is possible for a character to have too little or too much equipment for their level.. but it is good at deciding what daily activity/items are available for purchase.

    NoWBL is excellent at assuring the characters always have the right amount of equipment for their level, but is totally arbitrary on deciding what daily activity/items are available for purchase.


    All this can be used WITH gold just fine... simply decide how many WBL's are spent on MIC equipment, VoP, or Hero Points... and however many WBL left over is how much gold your character has to buy "mundane" stuff, as dictated by the DMG table "wealth by level"... remember that if a character has only 1 WBL of gold... he is essentially starting with his 1st level "starting gold"... for instance, a 10th level fighter with 9 WBL of VoP has 9th level VoP and 5d4x10 gold... NOT 9 levels of VoP and 49000 gold.

    This is a bit clumsy though... because the DM will eventually have to start compromising as needs arise that a 10th level character with 158 gold just can't handle. At this point, the DM just has to accept that the system is flawed in general and wing it, regardless if using nothing but gold, or one of these systems of accumulation.

    To maintain the theme of Money Isn't Necessary in DnD-- I present the option of : LIfestyles
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    the original Wealth by Level is just that: as per DMG/Epic Handbook, a character is expected to have x amount of gold per level... the higher level character has more gold at their disposal-- it is assumed the vast majority of this gold is spent on equipment to remain in balance, but it can be used for vehicles, services, property, etc as well (at the risk of losing statistical strength during challenges and encounters) the higher level the character, the easier it is to simply afford the mundane day-to-day expenses of normal life without even tracking it.

    LIfestyles
    Lifestyles "cost" WBL just like VoP, MIC equipment, or Hero Points do... but they provide in-game license to simply "have" whatever would be agreed is appropriate for the level of lifestyle acquired.
    There are 5 tiers of Lifestyle:
    utter poverty-- 0 WBL invested
    poor-- 1 WBL invested
    middle class-- 2 WBL invested
    well to do-- 3 WBL invested
    rich-- 4 WBL invested
    insanely rich-- 5 WBL invested

    A 10th level character could have Utter Poverty, and spend 0 WBL on material expenses.. this would leave 10 WBL open to acquire, say, 10 levels of VoP; 10th level of MIC equipment, or 10 WBL of Hero Points (30 total) or any mix as exampled above.
    Instead, that 10th level character could have chosen Insanely Rich lifestyle, and thus only have 5 WBL remaining for MIC, VoP, or Hero points.
    he will have less personal equipment, but could have, say, a castle, an airboat, perhaps 30 mounted archers... the local mayor in his pocket... it is up to the DM and player to decide what would be appropriate... but lifestyles allow a player to possess more than what is on their own back, and has a means to justify purchasing goods and services in society.

    This is similar to Shadowrun's lifestyle system, as well as Modern D20 wealth rolls.. but it removes the roll altogehter... simply slotting the characters into arbitrary categories, and anything that would realistically be available for that level of wealth, be granted.

    ---> IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE that lifestyles take away from equipment and power for nothing other than metagame logic.
    Using this interpretation, magical gear simply CANNOT be purchased with gold. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE this degree of free interpretation, everything here works just fine without lifestyles.. simply stick to the coins left over.

    It is also important to note, since 5 WBL requires at LEAST 5th level characters... it is generally recommended to stay away from this unless you are running very high level games... minimum of 15th, preferably past level 21 where it is easier to simply write off some levels of WBL and have on hand whatever is appropriate instead of costing stuff out.




    At this point, the entire post has been revised to hopefully more concisely explain what I do. the following replies-- for the most part-- are actually dealing with the MIC system of setting how many magic items of what level is avaliable to characters. I'm probably the only guy here that actually uses it, ^.^
    There are some clarification questions about hand waving expenses, and how to deal with the unexpected... These are more "good DMing" questions than particular complications with this particular suggestion.

    I will, however, take the advice provided below, and address some of the more common circumstances that can occur in game.
    --> REMEMBER! all these above systems (and especially when all are used together!) there is a large amount of situational decisions and setting of precedences. This only works if both the players and DM are willing to gloss over the finite details of what is or isn't affordable.
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    caveats and examples to come.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-10-20 at 04:57 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Try the Wealth system from d20 modern: it meets most of your requirements.
    • allows you to be deliberately poor by not investing in Profession
    • allows you to maintainb a lifestyle (you buy anything below your wealth bonus without a check)
    • increases with level
    • has rules for converting cash to wealth DC


    Also, someone else is homebrewing it for D&D use, over here.

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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
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    Try the Wealth system from d20 modern: it meets most of your requirements.
    • allows you to be deliberately poor by not investing in Profession
    • allows you to maintainb a lifestyle (you buy anything below your wealth bonus without a check)
    • increases with level
    • has rules for converting cash to wealth DC


    Also, someone else is homebrewing it for D&D use, over here.
    I've been reading up on modern d20. it's good in that you don't have to count your pennies per se like in DnD while still being tied to combat / adventuring equipment.
    Shadowrun is more fluid, in that the player and DM look at what is wanted and look at the character's purchased lifestyle and agree, "yeah... this level of wealth would make having that reasonable".
    But you have to divorce actual game equipment from this equation... an insanely wealthy character could get magical armor etc beyond the normal MIC guidelines. so for stuff used to actually adventure... that would follow MIC approxiations without a money value at all.

    To further elaborate: in my games, players automatically get their WBL at level up... they can use it as soon or as later as they want. when the party defeats something they get "trasure". what is in that treasure is their choice, depending on how much WBL they choose to spend at that moment.
    In town, they go to a merchant. what he has available is again dependent on how much the player is willing to spend.
    This is how it has traditionally worked in my games:
    "oh that there? it's just a walking stick. 1 silver and it's yours"
    player picks it up, drops a detect magic on it and suddenly it's a staff of the magi, worth 80k gold... he drops this from his WBL accumulated and he's up one staff o magi.

    But now we're using partial poverty, MIC, hero points... money becomes less and less valuable. the final leg in the stool is just mundane STUFF... the wine, the women, the nice fluffy hotel room... castle villa in the country... it doesn't have any real consequence in game. it's flavor text.lifestyle covers that without having to keep count.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-10-14 at 09:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    This sounds just as much trouble as regular D&D wealth, I also don't see to well how your system can account for disposable items like wands, potions and scrolls or paying for spellcasting services and it be wonky for working a wizard's spellbook whose contents are often dependent on salvaging the spellbook of enemy wizards and the cost to fill up is significantly less if you say have a blessed book.
    If I'm 8th level and spend 750gp on a wand of lesser vigor, a great item for a party to have as it really boosts out of combat healing. Now say I use up that wand before 9th level, would I have to track the total value of my used up wealth? or would I essentially have that money refunded.

    D20 modern uses its system because the idea of selling a bunch of loot you took off the dead from your last adventure doesn't work so well in modern society. It works great in the middleages society of D&D though.

    Your system sounds interesting but more trouble then coin counting, and this is coming from the guy who is the coin counter of the group. When the party gets treasure I'm the one who adds up the value of everything we sell and tells everyone the party share.

    You mention shadowrun and lifestyle but in shadowrun your life style doesn't determine your ability to buy a rugar super warhawk. My Face Adept may have a high lifestyle but that doesn't effect his ability to get more EXEX ammo. But D&D has had lifestyle costs before, its actually in the DMG I think. Of course with magic item values you can wave lifestyle costs in D&D its flavor as you say.

    You may be interested in this system I developed essentially I divorced the magic item economy from the mundane economy.

    Magic items are instead priced in CM's[chrysm measure] as opposed to GP.
    You sell magical gear for CM and buy magical gear with CM. You craft magical gear with CM. If you want to buy a +1 sword you have to pay 2,000CM+315gp. There is no transfer of CM to gold. The purpose being that magic items no longer represent wealth. Under this system spellbook ink and many material components would also use CM, but spell casting services would still use gold, in addition 25% or so of all gems would instead be chrysm of equal value in CM.

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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Good points, LV.... I've made a lot of assumptions about my style of play when presenting this that is contrary to a lot of other assumptions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    I also don't see to well how your system can account for disposable items like wands, potions and scrolls
    If I'm 8th level and spend 750gp on a wand of lesser vigor, a great item for a party to have as it really boosts out of combat healing. Now say I use up that wand before 9th level, would I have to track the total value of my used up wealth? or would I essentially have that money refunded.
    even in regular coin system: you buy a wand and burn out the charges, you used up your money. no one gets refunded anything for burning charges.... that wand of yours is a convenience you pay for.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    or paying for spellcasting services
    your lifestyle can afford simplle casting services... anything complex is not , imo, going to have a dollar value assigned; it is going to come at the cost of a favor for a busy wizard etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    and it be wonky for working a wizard's spellbook whose contents are often dependent on salvaging the spellbook of enemy wizards and the cost to fill up is significantly less if you say have a blessed book.
    captured spellbooks is the greatest magic item a wizard can have! you can wave the cost of transcribing if you simply convert the book to scrolls that fall easily into the MIC item system.... instead of using the scroll, it is transferred to your spellbook. this is actually much easier and less inconvenient to the wizard than destrying the scroll.. AND forcing him to spend money on a lot of transcribing material/time. This is EASY.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    D20 modern uses its system because the idea of selling a bunch of loot you took off the dead from your last adventure doesn't work so well in modern society. It works great in the middleages society of D&D though.
    I run under the more plausible assumption that a local supply shop doesn't have more than 50 gold to buy MORE junk it's trying to sell to you in the first place... if you think through who woud actually WANT the stuff you are trying to sell... you'll have just as much trouble in a midevlol society as a modern one... I encourage my players to just ignore stuff, because they won't ever have more or less than their WBL at level up. this makes scraping gold off of books unnecessary, and you can focus on what I encourage is important... the plot.

    IF you like unhinging doors because you can melt down iron for 2.3 gold / pound, then this system is not for you. :)


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Your system sounds interesting but more trouble then coin counting, and this is coming from the guy who is the coin counter of the group. When the party gets treasure I'm the one who adds up the value of everything we sell and tells everyone the party share.
    This system is for extreme handwaving, where the only thing needing to be monitored is magic equipment used.... if knowing exacts is important, then this is not for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    You mention shadowrun and lifestyle but in shadowrun your life style doesn't determine your ability to buy a rugar super warhawk. My Face Adept may have a high lifestyle but that doesn't effect his ability to get more EXEX ammo. But D&D has had lifestyle costs before, its actually in the DMG I think. Of course with magic item values you can wave lifestyle costs in D&D its flavor as you say.
    I know what I have posted is pretty vague... it's supposed to be.
    the DMG doesn't take into account, say, having to bribe someone x gold.
    The coin solution is simply compensate the players down the road with x gold more than they would have otherwise gotten.
    THIS solution just has you make the money part of the bribe... is it more than the characters can normally afford? they will have a penalty. if it is pocket change.. that is a bonus to the roll.

    they are different types of challenges that lead to a different sort of game.
    Having to gather up 200 gold to bribe someone in a 1st level story is the same as having to get the cannon of ultimate destruction to vanquish the overdemon for a 20th level story... they are both keys to passing a challenge/plotpoint.

    In this system; if the 200 gold or the weapon of destruction need to be retrieved, they are only keys. once the are delivered, they are gone... they aren't real wealth at all. the results are the same.

    What I will need to do is take some time in the original post explaining the purpose of money in a game at all... which is falsely assumed to be necessary.
    a 3rd party company called "Second World Simulations" had an "influence" system instead of wealth. if you want magic junk, you have to do favors to earn the gold vallue of what you want.
    so it's really an art of what is necessary to track and what isn't.

    like, how many 50gp rubies is too many to have for use in a lifestyle system?
    the question is really, how many times will the DM allow the character to cast the spell?
    If the party only has 500 gold, they can't possible get more than 10 of the needed gems... assuming the DM even allows any to be for sale. He says there is only one such ruby in the area. The DM has just told you that you can use the spell once. How is that any different from an insanely wealthy character in a neck of woods with only one such gem?
    The ugly truth is, money has more authority than the DM... a careless DM that gives the party 5000 gold may find the party buying up 100 such gems and store them wnhen the DM doesn't care. But later on... when the DM wants to limit how much informationt he party can have regarding a particular slaughter of villagers... out come the 100 gems, and suddenly they are interviewing absolutely EVERYONE... now the DM has to contrive some reason why they can;'t... a lifestyle system would just say, "hey, there's one gem to use... make it count.
    the players get what they want for magic gear they are supposed to get, and the image they want to project about how their characters live.... everything else is up to the DM's plans to challenge the characters.

    to further ramble on... the money in the game is just as artificial. if you bring 500,000 gold to a small village.... they can't process that gold. it may as well be 500 tons of sand. .. but in a lifestyle system as I've proposed; there doesn't have to be any treasure hoard for the characters to still get their magic gear. and if that gear is supposed to be there to handle the CR's dictated... then the DM had BETTER deliver that gold to a place that can convert it into level appropriate magic equipment the part can use. .. isn't THAT a lot more contrived than just retconning/free form stortelling how the party would go about acquiring their stuff... or even better, find out what they plan to get next, and building a tangent into getting it earning them more xp, or just having it in the next encounter for them to win?

    Boy... I'm going to have to summarize all of this somehow so folks understand why I botheredih the first place. :)

    thanks for reading.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-10-15 at 03:51 AM.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Shadowrun and Modern handwave such things for a simple reason: In these kinds of worlds, all goods are produced industrially: Nothing is unique, and anything available can generally be bought for money, no matter how unusual or seemingly unique it is. If you have one, it was made in a factory or from parts that were made in a factory, and so more can be made if people are simply paid to do so. If a character wants a high-quality sniper rifle, he purchases such a thing from a manufacturer, and possibly tricks it out with aftermarket attachments and accessories, all things made in factories and sold.

    In contrast, D&D is a pre-industrial world. Every item is handcrafted, in theory. Reducing seemingly unique magical items to mass-produced commodities that anyone can have on demand simply for having the right amount of cash detracts from the feel of the world. When a character wants a high-quality sword, he must seek out a master swordsmith capable of producing things to the exact standards he wants, and no two are alike, as each item is handmade. To then make it magical requires that a magic user imbue it with these magical powers, or perhaps it acquired them in some inscrutable, legendary way. Wizards are not standing around in assembly lines churning out +5 swords to satisfy some market demand for them.

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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishman View Post
    Shadowrun and Modern handwave such things for a simple reason: In these kinds of worlds, all goods are produced industrially: Nothing is unique, and anything available can generally be bought for money, no matter how unusual or seemingly unique it is. If you have one, it was made in a factory or from parts that were made in a factory, and so more can be made if people are simply paid to do so. If a character wants a high-quality sniper rifle, he purchases such a thing from a manufacturer, and possibly tricks it out with aftermarket attachments and accessories, all things made in factories and sold.

    In contrast, D&D is a pre-industrial world. Every item is handcrafted, in theory. Reducing seemingly unique magical items to mass-produced commodities that anyone can have on demand simply for having the right amount of cash detracts from the feel of the world. When a character wants a high-quality sword, he must seek out a master swordsmith capable of producing things to the exact standards he wants, and no two are alike, as each item is handmade. To then make it magical requires that a magic user imbue it with these magical powers, or perhaps it acquired them in some inscrutable, legendary way. Wizards are not standing around in assembly lines churning out +5 swords to satisfy some market demand for them.
    Exactly! to think that you can just assign a gold piece value to "stuff" and expect the local magic shop to have it for you is outlandish. Does it take 1000 gold to imbue a sword? probably not. It is an artificial number placed on an object of value as a reason to go out and kill things and take their stuff. Remove that from the equation, and you are more in alignment with feudal times when the lord hands out stuff. you don't need to know how much a horse costs, because your lord is providing what you need.

    more rambling below!
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    originally, we just automatically gave the characters their money at level up to spend as they want... retconning that they had gathered up the WBL from past encounters, and "only just now got around to counting it", and then it was easy to just buy what you want of what the DM would say was available... we then saw that it was easy to just take your sword +1 and "upgrade it" to a +3 (back when # of + mattered for DR) the weapon just got BETTER as you did... then MIC came out and basically said the same thing, and provided a per level matrix that was pretty intuitive... This meant that of the 760k gold recommended as standard for a level 20 character... all but maybe 10,000 of it was no longer needed.. since you'd be able to just have your 2 items per level... or however you wanted to distribute your stuff.
    If you had a half decent reason to have it, then (since you should already have it's equivalent for this level to stay balanced) it's yours... then there was "wishlists" of stuff beyond your level that you wanted to acquire, so the DM could add it to "monster hoards" in the future, so the reason to have the items you want was already present.. and the DM had perhaps an opportunity to try those tools out to see how it would affect gameplay before it got to the players... pretty sensible.

    So now we've got a clear understanding of how much "stuff of meaning" the players are supposed to have each level, we now have a sensible way of deciding what stuff each player could get (that they want) and when they would get it.. there's only that 2% of total wealth that isn't allotted already.. what to do about that?
    it's such an irrelevant amount of the character as a whole... why not just shrug it off? do you REALLY need to track the cost of a lantern, or how much it will cost to fix it when the mule panics and careens off a cliff? can't we just simply incorporate this insignificant material inconvenience into the storyline instead?
    Player wants to buy a pack of mules to do some overland travel.
    --Homeless guy is offered food to BE the mule in a caravan... carry some stuff and we'll keep you fed, buddy! :)
    --poor guy can get an old, broken mule.. hiliarity ensues.
    --insanely wealthy guy can afford to get a floating cart driven by ghost steeds... This draws every competent robber in the area-- or, having already dealth with this problem on numerous occasions, plays it modest and tries to face as a merchant to not draw attention... or even further, offers to carry stuff as a broke nobody as well... it's the same "I spend 50 gold for a mule" or whatever... but the cost is just folded into the story. that is seriously NOTHING compared to the cost of the chainmail +2, or 34 charges of fireball wand... but if the DM decides to nickle and dime the players with these trivial expenses, they may not have the money to get the platemail +1 the pally should have next level.

    I guess what it comes down to is, how do you want to spend your game time?
    If your plan is to concoct a way to come up with 500 gold to afford a potion of "Needs to be drank".. then if that is what you enjoy; by all means, focus on figuring out how to get that money.
    The coin system will require the coins be put in a specific location, and acquired, and brought back to the recipient for exchange with hopes of avoiding trouble.
    The NoWBL system can have all these same goals, and steps in the process IF that's what the players want to do... but if it's a hassle, or they don't care about the story of getting the coins, and just want to be able to get the potion.. the NoWBL system offers more convenience to shroedinger the gametime to match the demands of the audience.
    But if they like the process, game on!
    Now... the coin DM.. his team doesn't like the plot and it's pretty obvious. to help spur activity, the DM shroedingers 500 gold into their hands amazingly fast... This is NO different than NoWBL.

    worth noting: if the DM intends the 500gold to be a roadblock to be overcome, and simply forgets the party has that gold.. suddenly resolving the roadblock without following the DM's plot for the day... there is going to be disharmony due to poor awareness and planning.
    with the NoWBL system... the players have to verify through the DM whether their characters can handle the needed currency.
    Player--"I'm insanely wealthy.. am I not able to just HAND him a bag of coins and be on with it?"
    DM--"you DO have a ton of coins... but when you actually count them out, looks like you're about 50 shy... the NPC is awful interested... perhaps you can come to an agreement...?

    the sloppy coincounting DM would have to just sigh and move along if he miscounted.. but the NoWBL DM can gently alert the players that there is something he would like them to notice (for the sake of the story) about this situation by forcing them to slow down and consider it for a few minutes...

    Alternatively, the DM needs the players to get on a barge to head to the next encounter. for fun, the DM advises them it'll be 10 gold each...
    Player--"are you kidding me? I JUST SPENT ALL MY MONEY on this stupid scroll you insisted we needed once we get across the lake!.."
    DM--"err...." and now everyone has to make up a way to get aboard... If you INTENDED for the team to think their way onto the barge, awesome! that could have been done on the NoWBL system too... but if you just expected your flavor text to be part of the window dressing and stay on schedule... then only the NoWBL DM can just wave the money.
    DM--"you pay the fair and board the barge..."

    Both would be fun to go thru. both ways are, therefor, legitimate. NoWBL just lets you be sloppy about how much money someone actually has, and not WORRY about it.


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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    IF you like unhinging doors because you can melt down iron for 2.3 gold / pound, then this system is not for you. :)
    Whose talking about that stupid crap, I'm talking about the weapons, armor and wondrous items the NPC's had on them before being decapitation, burned, frozen, blown-up or suffered some other gruesome death.
    I'm talking almost purely in magic item terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    Exactly! to think that you can just assign a gold piece value to "stuff" and expect the local magic shop to have it for you is outlandish. Does it take 1000 gold to imbue a sword? probably not. It is an artificial number placed on an object of value as a reason to go out and kill things and take their stuff. Remove that from the equation, and you are more in alignment with feudal times when the lord hands out stuff. you don't need to know how much a horse costs, because your lord is providing what you need.
    Except adventurers operate outside the liege vassal system. Mercenaries aren't a new phenomenon and most traveling adventures easily fall into this category.

    One problem you haven't addressed is how do you handle item creation feats? I suppose the simplest method is to have party crafted items count only half towards their WBL? or do you simply eliminate those feats.

    I also think a corner stone of D&D is salvaging up the loot, I think some thing is lost when that is removed, you have the enemies items laid before you, PC's take the items they want and sell the rest.

    Your rambling has a large problem, you can hand-wave the mundane costs, without abandoning the traditional method of looting and selling items.
    If you use the magic items themselves as the currency[or use a raw material measurement like the CM I suggested].

    After all trading the raw materials to take two magic items for one complete item, is a good deal.

    There is a certain pleasure in wielding the sword or the armor of a memorable enemy.
    My fighter Zorr wields the blade of the honorable hobgoblin general he defeated in single combat and wears the armor of General Hiraxus Bloodfist who was the central enemy of the campaign for the first ten levels of the campaign. You can't recreate that flavor in your system, buying a duplicate with WBL doesn't feel the same as actually looting it.

    The other issue is spending for the unexpected, in a recent adventure I DMed a PC was killed splattered onto the wall, as is tradition the cost of raising him from the dead was deducted before treasure was divided, this is very similar to a disposable item cost. These unexpected expenses can pose a problem when you only get gear at level up as opposed to the more gradual acquisition of wealth.

    Typically PCs don't have to sell there own gear for these unexpected magical expenses as their cost can be deducted from the treasure gained during that adventure. It be quite easy to shoot yourself in the foot.

    Perhaps instead of gaining 9,000gp when you reach level 9.[on top of lvl 8's 27,000] You go up 4,500 when your halfway from 8 to 9. This can prevent PC's from shooting themselves in the foot.

    Remember the WBL guideline assumes that a character has X amount of wealth at a given level. Its not a running track record of the total accumulated wealth so far like your system. It assumes they have spent at least some money on disposable magical gear. You don't remove WBL at all you strictly enforce a guideline to the expected wealth of a character at a given level into the total treasure so far.

    In a general sense I rarely touch on the cheap mundane costs of things, which is why I came up with the idea of having magic items simply use there own currency the very raw materials used to craft them.

    As a DM I generally don't look at the pc WBL table, if the party feels a bit under powered for their level I increase the treasure in the next adventure, if I feel the party is a bit over powered I have less treasure in the next adventure. If the cleric couldn't make it that day, there will probably be more potions of lesser vigor to take from fallen enemies.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-16 at 06:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Remove WBL from DnD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Whose talking about that stupid crap,
    I'm addressing an alternate system that removes the logistics of taking doors out of dungeons. Some people ACTUALLY DO THIS, so it should be addressed.
    I like your questions. They've all been asked before, so please be free. This isn't just some random idea i'm putting out there. I've used this system for years, amongst about 20 different players now. It Works, so I'm sharing.
    Wat IS new is the lifestyle and the partial VoP. that may be a bit rough,l but so far partial VoP works (which can be discussed in it's own thread as linked in the OP and my signature)
    Lifestyle is that last little step it may need tweaking, but so far folks are willing to explore it.. after all, if it needs to be reduced, folks just get to add more equipment, so no harm in trying it out.

    so, on with the replies:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    I'm talking about the weapons, armor and wondrous items the NPC's had on them before being decapitation, burned, frozen, blown-up or suffered some other gruesome death.
    I'm talking almost purely in magic item terms.
    Great! at level 1, a masterwork sword is like magic, as is full plate armor or various alchemical tools... or a fully equipped airboat, astral skiff, or anything that the players use for a gme advantage.
    Obviously, more prep in the OP is necessary.
    If a DM is going to just give you WBL per level at level up... obviously any loot monsters have that the party decides to pick up is going to suddenly force the players to have MORE wealth than they are supposed to at their level, which is what you are arguing. .
    Cinematically, the only time a foe is looted is if they have better weapons than the hero already has, or the foe carried a Plot Key needed to further the story.
    taking this perspective, the players have no reason to loot foes at all., unless they have a wishlist of stuff they want for next level than you can just add to a challenge before hand (and then just have it remain conveniently unidentified until WBL is upgraded)
    Some people feel it is unrealistic that a hero wouldn't bother taking a fist full of gems that are just laying there... itwo replies to that.
    1. if you are playing Lot5R; you are FORBIDDEN from looting the dead. it is "dirty" and taboo. You'd lose your status to do something so... filthy. so it's not like this concept is new mechanically.
    2. if looting the dead IS ok, and you, say, purchase a well to do or better lifestyle, grabbing that fistful of gems is an easy way to justify maintaining that lifestyle as they climb in levels. If a player were to suddenly decide they would like to have more wealth, then that poor lifestyle is upgraded to well to do next level because yer looting now.
    the paperwork of how much is grabbed is pointless. it can be flavorful, but it is technically no more important than explaining the composition of 10d6 x 1000 gold for a looted challenge. it's a different perspective, same effect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Except adventurers operate outside the liege vassal system. Mercenaries aren't a new phenomenon and most traveling adventures easily fall into this category.
    see my reference to Lot5R above.. you will need to step out of your own paradigm to appreciate what I am presenting here. This is the MOST practical solution for anyone playing that particular game (which is awesome if you haven't read it) and why CAN'T a game be in the vassal system.. The NoWBL system supports it... you give all the junk you loot in war to your liege, he rewards your loyalty in return. A theive's guild could function similarly, as could ANY military game.
    It doesn't matter what the society is set up as; this system can cover any scenario as the published system... NoWBL simply focuses on different aspects of the abstract called "money"


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    One problem you haven't addressed is how do you handle item creation feats? I suppose the simplest method is to have party crafted items count only half towards their WBL? or do you simply eliminate those feats.

    ICFeats are there to make better use of money. the easiest solution is to drop them, since they are irrelevant... but if you are in eberron; artificers live on this principle.. so yes, doubling the amount of equipment they have each level is appropriate... I would require a minimum of a "rich" lifestyle to attain that privilege, and just have construction costs, labs, etc become a hand wave.

    If you are starting above 1st level, I'd recommend the 4 or 5 levels of lifestyle and then allow 3 items per previous level, because artificers burn through consumable stuff like crazy. (they NEED cheap item costs, because they can trash a full wand per level pretty easily) and then for levels they actually earn, give them double alotment.
    I want to stress that a normal game counting coins should be leaving the wand wielders and potion chuggers with less permanent magic equipment... they are choosing to expend their WBL instead of having less of the permanent items. IF a DM is allowing them to be replenished by upping the amount of loot to allow for easy recharging... that wielder is getting MORE wealth than other characters. This is a mistake that can be exploited if the DM is not tracking wealth carefully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    I also think a corner stone of D&D is salvaging up the loot, I think some thing is lost when that is removed, you have the enemies items laid before you, PC's take the items they want and sell the rest.
    addressed above. players can loot all they want. it is subsumed by their lifestyle, and is unable to influence the WBL they already have used up.
    IF a player wants to leave spots open for random junk they could stumble across, then fine.
    This system has been used with some players leaving "open spots" in their accumulated material for that random element of finding stuff... but they could switch it out any time they want if they don't like what they get.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Your rambling has a large problem, you can hand-wave the mundane costs, without abandoning the traditional method of looting and selling items.
    If you use the magic items themselves as the currency[or use a raw material measurement like the CM I suggested].

    After all trading the raw materials to take two magic items for one complete item, is a good deal.
    you'll have to elaborate on what your point is... I don't see any problems so far.:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    There is a certain pleasure in wielding the sword or the armor of a memorable enemy.
    My fighter Zorr wields the blade of the honorable hobgoblin general he defeated in single combat and wears the armor of General Hiraxus Bloodfist who was the central enemy of the campaign for the first ten levels of the campaign. You can't recreate that flavor in your system, buying a duplicate with WBL doesn't feel the same as actually looting it.
    Look at it from this pespective: when you beat those guys and took their junk, you didn't really knwo what they were able to do, or how much they cost. what if they were artigfacts that the DM didn't want you to have?
    The DM will either have to change what the weapon and armor are to not unbalance the game, or leave it as is and put your character above others... maybe it's actually garbage equipment you wear because you are proud of it,
    NoWBL hasn't eliminated that option: it supports it.
    You can easily claim those trophies and use them. I assume that means you threw away your current armor and sword... which frees up the spots those items previously filled. at level up when you have new WBL... you've "had a chance to figure out what you have" and the DM can reveal what exactly you got if it is a stronger item than you previously possessed... or you notice immediately they are weaker, and so maybe he's got a few potions of healing to grab as well. back in balance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    The other issue is spending for the unexpected, in a recent adventure I DMed a PC was killed splattered onto the wall, as is tradition the cost of raising him from the dead was deducted before treasure was divided, this is very similar to a disposable item cost. These unexpected expenses can pose a problem when you only get gear at level up as opposed to the more gradual acquisition of wealth.

    Typically PCs don't have to sell there own gear for these unexpected magical expenses as their cost can be deducted from the treasure gained during that adventure. It be quite easy to shoot yourself in the foot.
    actually, a lot of DM's DO require players to sell stuff to raise team mates... this is a chinsy way intimidated DM's get rid of "overpowered" magic gear. I've seen it first had more than once. If you don't do this, kudos.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Perhaps instead of gaining 9,000gp when you reach level 9.[on top of lvl 8's 27,000] You go up 4,500 when your halfway from 8 to 9. This can prevent PC's from shooting themselves in the foot.
    I wouldn't force a cost on them at all... but that is a play style. Even when I used gold I didn't just sell resurrection.

    IMO, If you want a god to bring you back from the dead.. there are strings attached. the PLAYER agrees to a geas /quest on the character to stay alive. fulfill the deed, geas is discharged and the player stays alive... the team gains xp on the quest, or finds someone to remove the geas... further adventuring... no one is penalized material expense at all.
    IF the player didn't value his character enough, the character is restored as an NPC to do as I please.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Remember the WBL guideline assumes that a character has X amount of wealth at a given level. Its not a running track record of the total accumulated wealth so far like your system.

    It assumes they have spent at least some money on disposable magical gear. You don't remove WBL at all you strictly enforce a guideline to the expected wealth of a character at a given level into the total treasure so far.
    actually, the WBL is a means of assessing how much wealth a character SHOULD have if they start above level 1. it puts everyone on the same footing at start of game.

    The expected wealth accumulated during encounters SHOULD coincide with the growing WBL... from level 26 to level 27... it is assumed the party will accumulate a total of 400,000 gold each in loot. ... which coincides well with the MIC's assessment of 2 27th level items valued around 440k. or possibly instead 8 16th level items. whatever.

    Say one guy buys armor and weapons, another guy buys 10 wands.
    lets say the wand guy could buy another 4 wands with the amount of loot he should get by his next level.. as dictated by WBL.
    the sword guy keeps swinging and does whatever.
    the wand guy though... he blows a full 2 wands going through thaist level because that's how he plays. he gets his extra 4 wands at level up, but those 2 wands he burned through are GONE,. he doesn't get 2 replacement wands, AND 4 new ones... this means instead last level he had 12 wands, not 10. The sword guy just got screwed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    In a general sense I rarely touch on the cheap mundane costs of things, which is why I came up with the idea of having magic items simply use there own currency the very raw materials used to craft them.
    All forms of currency are equally unimportant using NoWBL. It's just flavor text for these mechanics. Interestingly, if you are doing business with Night Hags who only deal in souls; I think most DM's would suggest that the party needs to go find some souls. gold and lifestyle mechanics are both irrelevant here. the souls are a Plot Key to further the adventure. if it is an irrelevant amount of gold, then both systems can easily hand wave it. With purchased lifestyles; some amounts are hand waved, others can't be. it's up to the DM. If the amount is too much for the lifestyles possessed, then the team is going to go "get some money"... in both wealth systems, the amount of gold is a Plot Key. as soon as you have the needed currency, you give it to open the path. it's not REALLY gold at all. it's an obstacle. When using lifestyles, it's a good idea to keep the obstacle in place, but the level of challenge will be affected by the lifestyles available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    As a DM I generally don't look at the pc WBL table, if the party feels a bit under powered for their level I increase the treasure in the next adventure, if I feel the party is a bit over powered I have less treasure in the next adventure. If the cleric couldn't make it that day, there will probably be more potions of lesser vigor to take from fallen enemies.
    Your style is obviously very different from what is proposed here. I've used this concept for years. partial VoP and the lifesthyles are new additions, but the concept has proven to work just fine.
    For me as a DM I'd rather spend time thinking about what the party will be doing over what they will have. This puts possessions under their jurisdiction. I can stay focused on building plots and encounters with worrying about whether I want the team to get a hold of what *I* use to make challenges... challenging.


    This works because the DM just decides with the team what is reasonable. the hard mechanics of how much equipment is truly the ONLY thing important in the game.
    For example:
    We have a kobold in our gestalt level 30 group that took the Rite of Passage to get the free level of sorcerer at level 6. this would cost 1000gold as per the rules on the ritual.. but we got no gold in our pockets.
    He was given a choice:
    1. spend 1 level of WBL to treat this ritual as his magic equipment for 1 level, or spend 3 levels of WBL to attain a "Well to Do" standard of living, where it would be feasible that he could get his hands on a 1000gold gem for the ritual.. a poor or homeless character would never get such an item without going through heroic effort.
    IF the player chooses the 1st option; he will be limited to 29th level of equipment and have his sorcerer level.
    IF the player chooses the 2nd option: he is limited to 27th level of equipment, has his sorcerer level, and will have further access to intangilble requests and circumstances one would expect of a 30th level character that is well to do... a home, nice things, if he needs expensive material components he should expect to have them on hand as necessary barring unreasonable / excessive use... whatever is needed that the DM and player can agree upon.

    it's something one "has to get used to" but I've used this method with nearly 20 players over time and it has never been deemed unfair... the players quickly grow to appreciate that assuredness.
    Worth noting: I don't sunder weapons or steal from characters either. They are welcome to do so to NPC's but they build their characters around what they can DO and what they HAVE. eliminating an arcane archer's bow is major douchebaggery on the part of the DM.


    This is a different approach.. more questions are certainly welcome.

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    Default Re: Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    The problem of items being subbed in at level persists in regards to looted stuff. If a character kills another and takes their magic sword, they shouldn't have to wait until they level to use it, furthermore what they "spend" on it at level shouldn't influence its power. I'm not arguing that concrete wealth is the only system that works, though I haven't tested any of my usual alternatives in D&D as I don't play it. I'm simply saying that tying wealth to the level system inhibits fluid growth.

    D&D makes alternate wealth systems interesting simply because it treats wealth differently than most other games. It is tied very heavily into power, every character is expected to have similar amounts of it, and wealth is expected to grow at an astronomic rate. Getting a flawless system out of it is difficult, particularly in regards to expendables, as those can normally be given downsides to carry around (Yeah, take as many explosive vials as you want. Just understand that it increases both the risk of being blown up and how blown up you get.), where D&D has only the encumbrance system.

    With all this focus on D&D, an outline of a functional wealth system that doesn't require giving all goods to some leader, for comparison purposes, is helpful. As such, a quick sketch of one is included in the spoiler block below.
    Spoiler
    Show
    One can classify general wealth easily, particularly with classes. Impoverished, Struggling, Comfortable, Rich, Very Rich is a decent generic scale, but a fantasy one might be Serf, Civilian, Merchant, Noble, Royal. Obviously there is overlap, petty nobility might only manage the merchant level, very rich merchants might manage noble, and there are edge cases where royalty might be down to a civilian level.

    Then, goods are defined with the level. A single sword might be Civilian level, where it is a major purpose for a civilian, a shop might be that for a merchant, a contingent of guards that for a noble. Getting goods well above your level would let you increase it, for instance if a homeless guy (Serf) found a bag of gems (Merchant) they might be able to buy themselves up to Civilian level. You can purchase one good of your level before being exhausted, at that point you are counted as if you were one level lower until you manage to get income. The serf who blows their gem bag on a shop and initial merchandise lives as a civilian until their money comes in.

    There are a few ways to simulate that. For adventuring types, resources will float around, they might travel up and down the scale a bit. They may be able to buy a noble level good, in their case probably a magic sword they send people to find (which may only be merchant level if you actually go grab it yourself), but in general they lack a permanent level. Otherwise, a profession skill rolled against a target every applicable time increment with a bonus that increases with each failure works. A simple system might have 1d6+skill+1 per failure vs. 10, with a 1 week period, which is potentially useful for city campaigns, others would be calibrated differently.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    You say that you have a system here but unless you really take some time to spruce up and organize your posting (perhaps providing a link to another thread involving NoWBL and such), it just looks like three or four systems that have been sewn together with more ad-hoc rules than epic spellcasting.

    I think that this system can work. The thing is that to have it remain operational and internally consistent throughout all play would require that you provide all information, simultaneously, including the full set of ad-hoc rules being used here.

    As an example that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet, let's say that you're planning an encounter. Your players are finally going to discover that a red dragon has been behind the illithid attacks in town, fighting off against the last of the mind flayers before fighting the big boss.
    After fighting so many illithids, your party has focused a bit on collecting items that combat their powers. Though they have some general-use items, they clearly aren't geared up to fight the red dragon.
    Most of the time, this would be fine in your system. The players could kill a mook or find a cache and "conveniently" find the items that they'd need. In this case, however, right after fighting an invasion of the town and leveling up, they just spent their entire WBL in town, buying anti-psionic weaponry, because they're expecting a single cataclysmic fight against an elder brain in that cavern.
    Though this example may seem a bit far-off, the concept itself isn't. Using this system, you can't really spring surprises on players becuase you can't "coincidentally" sneak appropriate gear to your PCs without them knowing that something is up. If they don't know what they're up against but go all out preparing for the wrong thing, them being wrong kind of kills them dead.

    Don't get me wrong. As I said, your system can work. In fact, I'm sure that you have a solution for this very type of solution.

    That said, from what I've seen so far, your answer probably starts with "In this situation, I would/wouldn't..." instead of the more sturdy and reliable "In the situation, the system would demand that I/I not..."

    See what I'm getting at here? This system will either end up as a good thirty pages long trying to come up with every eventuality or remain a generalized system that relies pretty heavily on ad-hoc rules to do everything.

    In short, this ends up feeling alot more like a set of heuristics (rules of thumb) than an internally consistent system.
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    Default Re: Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The problem of items being subbed in at level persists in regards to looted stuff. If a character kills another and takes their magic sword, they shouldn't have to wait until they level to use it,
    Below you indicate you don't play dnd... so I'll assume you are unaware that you don't benefit from magic items until you take the time to properly identify it. if you pick up a random sword, it can be ruled to be no more than level 1 loot until time is taken to study it... so this would be reasonable use of random junk if you so choose. it it ends up being an epic something, you won't "discover" this until your character can afford to actually have it. (a big problem in this game is allowing characters too much or too powerful loot too soon or too often)

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    furthermore what they "spend" on it at level shouldn't influence its power. I'm not arguing that concrete wealth is the only system that works, though I haven't tested any of my usual alternatives in D&D as I don't play it. I'm simply saying that tying wealth to the level system inhibits fluid growth.
    This system allows you to spontaneously improve anything you possess. it happens in fiction all the time. this system is more accurately simulating those conveniences.
    wealth isn't actually connected to the level system... it is an direct inversion of Vow of Poverty... where ALL wealth and magic gear is abandoned in exchange for game mechanic benefits... but if you want to use some of that system and still have wealth... this proposal makes that compromise much simpler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    D&D makes alternate wealth systems interesting simply because it treats wealth differently than most other games. It is tied very heavily into power, every character is expected to have similar amounts of it, and wealth is expected to grow at an astronomic rate. Getting a flawless system out of it is difficult, particularly in regards to expendables, as those can normally be given downsides to carry around (Yeah, take as many explosive vials as you want. Just understand that it increases both the risk of being blown up and how blown up you get.), where D&D has only the encumbrance system.
    except if you use the MIC item system... which completely ignores coins and costs altogether... the character just is assumed to have 2 items added per level of increasing power... or lower level items can be combined and exchanged for fewer, higher power items.
    THAT alternative doesn't even consider daily expenses... you just wipe out money altogether and hand out some magic loot each level... but I LIKE that system for balancing the party. it's the maintenance of life that gets overlooked though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    You say that you have a system here but unless you really take some time to spruce up and organize your posting (perhaps providing a link to another thread involving NoWBL and such), it just looks like three or four systems that have been sewn together with more ad-hoc rules than epic spellcasting.

    I think that this system can work. The thing is that to have it remain operational and internally consistent throughout all play would require that you provide all information, simultaneously, including the full set of ad-hoc rules being used here.

    As an example that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet, let's say that you're planning an encounter. Your players are finally going to discover that a red dragon has been behind the illithid attacks in town, fighting off against the last of the mind flayers before fighting the big boss.
    After fighting so many illithids, your party has focused a bit on collecting items that combat their powers. Though they have some general-use items, they clearly aren't geared up to fight the red dragon.
    Most of the time, this would be fine in your system. The players could kill a mook or find a cache and "conveniently" find the items that they'd need. In this case, however, right after fighting an invasion of the town and leveling up, they just spent their entire WBL in town, buying anti-psionic weaponry, because they're expecting a single cataclysmic fight against an elder brain in that cavern.
    Though this example may seem a bit far-off, the concept itself isn't. Using this system, you can't really spring surprises on players becuase you can't "coincidentally" sneak appropriate gear to your PCs without them knowing that something is up. If they don't know what they're up against but go all out preparing for the wrong thing, them being wrong kind of kills them dead.

    Don't get me wrong. As I said, your system can work. In fact, I'm sure that you have a solution for this very type of solution.

    That said, from what I've seen so far, your answer probably starts with "In this situation, I would/wouldn't..." instead of the more sturdy and reliable "In the situation, the system would demand that I/I not..."
    I understand your following point... but this is a false argument.
    THERE IS NO STURDY / RELIABLE RULE for when the DM hoses his characters with an enemy they are unprepared for... in this situation, you have metagamically (..lol..) peppered incoming loot with anti-dragon gear, instead of just pulling the rug out from under them and forcing them to run back, switch out their gear and try again. This is as conditional as any answer I would give.
    Which is the point I've been trying to make.. these little disks of metal we have our character pick up are as valuable or worthless to the game system as the narrator dictates. it is ONE method to signify acculated wealth, which is often completely divorced from what actually matters in the game... accumulated statistical bonuses. It is contrived that those bonuses are converted into a currency that can be accumulated in game. You really could just decide eggs are the currency in game, and the richest guy has the larges chicken ranches... that they dragon hoard is composed of millions of various types of eggs that can be handed in to exchange for a magic sword.
    Is it that he has the eggs that allows him to have the sword, or that the narrator has dictated that at this point, the sword is an appropriate tool? if the former.... can a 1st level character devote his energies building a successful business to earn enough coin to afford the loot WITHOUT attaining levels.. and THEN get the sword to use at 1st level, or is it the latter... in that the sword is only available to characters of a certain level? in which case the 1st level character could have 100x the value of the sword... it will simply be unavailable?

    many DM's assume the former, while all the published material has taken painstaking effort to present the latter.... WBL... appropriate treasure per encounter.... the MIC item/level and the VoP option, as well as the abilities and immunities of higher CR foes-- it all assumes the DM is handing out 2 level-appropriate items (or the equivalent) to each character per level.


    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    See what I'm getting at here? This system will either end up as a good thirty pages long trying to come up with every eventuality or remain a generalized system that relies pretty heavily on ad-hoc rules to do everything.

    In short, this ends up feeling alot more like a set of heuristics (rules of thumb) than an internally consistent system.
    kettle black pot, buddy. What happens when 3 out of 4 2nd level characters are killed and insist they be allowed to be raised? that's what? 15k of gold the party simply can't have? the only "internal consistency" here is "Roll new characters, you losers"... which I don't think you are about to endorse simply to defend your point.

    partial voP, MIC items/level, and hero points are 3 systems that are 100% consistent devoid of that sloppy currency system... but it doesn't play well with getting a ham sandwich.
    for gold to work, the DM has to give enough gold for the magic items AND the ham sandwich... This is no more arbitrary than "you are dirt poor... no sandwich for you!"
    It seems folks just don't recognize this.


    I am now reformatting the OP to incorporate all these great arguments and assumptions.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-10-20 at 05:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    Below you indicate you don't play dnd... so I'll assume you are unaware that you don't benefit from magic items until you take the time to properly identify it. if you pick up a random sword, it can be ruled to be no more than level 1 loot until time is taken to study it... so this would be reasonable use of random junk if you so choose. it it ends up being an epic something, you won't "discover" this until your character can afford to actually have it. (a big problem in this game is allowing characters too much or too powerful loot too soon or too often)
    This is technically inaccurate in any number of places. For one, the identification is needed for items with active effects, not those with passive effects. A +3 sword is a +3 sword, but a +1 flaming sword is just a +1 sword unless you know the command word to light it on fire. Wands and rods are basically sticks until you know operation. Furthermore, you have seen the item being used in the hypothetical situation behind all this, and thus have some idea of its ability, and calling it a simple sword isn't a viable option. Furthermore, item identification is not a once per level activity, it can be done immediately, and thus even if the case presented were true doesn't alleviate the case that taking things off slain enemies, or simply acquiring new items, which happens in fiction all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    This system allows you to spontaneously improve anything you possess. it happens in fiction all the time. this system is more accurately simulating those conveniences.
    wealth isn't actually connected to the level system... it is an direct inversion of Vow of Poverty... where ALL wealth and magic gear is abandoned in exchange for game mechanic benefits... but if you want to use some of that system and still have wealth... this proposal makes that compromise much simpler.
    Vow of Poverty is also connected to the level system, incidentally, and as such allows change in power only when leveling. Which is fine with VoP, as you can't acquire new items during a level, and as such that problem is avoided. Simply reversing it doesn't necessarily work, and the flaw pointed out warrants correcting. While there are some small inherent corrections in the ability to replace items in your current load out, it still doesn't allow for overall power change between levels, which items do.

    Take the scenario proposed. A character kills some expert warrior, and takes the magic sword. For now, they should have more power, the magic sword could later be liquidated if there was a magic item economy, maybe with a forced trade down a level.


    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    except if you use the MIC item system... which completely ignores coins and costs altogether... the character just is assumed to have 2 items added per level of increasing power... or lower level items can be combined and exchanged for fewer, higher power items.
    THAT alternative doesn't even consider daily expenses... you just wipe out money altogether and hand out some magic loot each level... but I LIKE that system for balancing the party. it's the maintenance of life that gets overlooked though.
    Note the just assumed to bit. There is no mechanical hard cap, the MIC item system is more versatile as it allows a fluid change in overall item power. However, the coin system is more versatile, not because it uses coin, but because the token of power is very small, and as the system is significantly less quantum*, allows freer positioning along a scale. The example of a sandwhich is apt.

    However, there are advantages to increased quantization*. Book keeping is made much simpler, and to some extent stuff can simply be hand waved. If you carry around enough money to buy a mansion, does a sandwich really need to be noted? Its trivial, and in all but the most quantum of representations, will not be noted, even in the most quantum of representations, it is unlikely to have a significant effect. You state that one of your goals is to make sure the wealth correlates to level, and there is a way to do that while maintaining the capacity for a fluid total.

    Every item has a level, but until a certain level, the items level is trivial. Maybe Character Level-4 or some such. Thus, a level 16 character wouldn't need to track every purchase of alchemists fire, as that would be a level 1 or level 2 item. Then, you have an exchange rate for items. It could be as simple as declaring each item worth two of an item two levels below it, and also keeping a level value of "cash". Each item counts for half as much at market.

    Take a level 10 character. They have four level 9 items, and want a level 10 item. If they use a market, they only get half price, so they count as 2 level 9 items, which are in essence a level 11 item. They get the level 10 item, plus excess cash as fit for a 1 level difference. A quick rule of thumb would be the F(X-2)-F(X)=F(X+1), where X is the level of the item, so they also have level 8 spending cash. If they had level 8 spending cash earlier, the two grow to level 10 spending cash. Everything uses the level system, it is quite quantized and as such reasonably fast, and the system allows for the acquisition of new items.

    *The term granular has an annoying tendency to be interpreted by some as one meaning, and other of the opposite. Quantum is used instead, where more quantum means the individual pieces are larger. Its not a particularly elegant term, but it will have to do.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Default Re: Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    This is technically inaccurate in any number of places. For one, the identification is needed for items with active effects, not those with passive effects. A +3 sword is a +3 sword, but a +1 flaming sword is just a +1 sword unless you know the command word to light it on fire. Wands and rods are basically sticks until you know operation. Furthermore, you have seen the item being used in the hypothetical situation behind all this, and thus have some idea of its ability, and calling it a simple sword isn't a viable option. Furthermore, item identification is not a once per level activity, it can be done immediately, and thus even if the case presented were true doesn't alleviate the case that taking things off slain enemies, or simply acquiring new items, which happens in fiction all the time.

    Vow of Poverty is also connected to the level system, incidentally, and as such allows change in power only when leveling. Which is fine with VoP, as you can't acquire new items during a level, and as such that problem is avoided. Simply reversing it doesn't necessarily work, and the flaw pointed out warrants correcting. While there are some small inherent corrections in the ability to replace items in your current load out, it still doesn't allow for overall power change between levels, which items do.

    Take the scenario proposed. A character kills some expert warrior, and takes the magic sword. For now, they should have more power, the magic sword could later be liquidated if there was a magic item economy, maybe with a forced trade down a level.
    I encourage trophies.
    A caveat I have yet to list in OP is that if you pick up equipment... if it is LESS than what you currently have, you aren't actually increasing your power level... if you use a sword +5 and grab a sword +3... technically you haven't increased your personal power... and if the player really wants to use it instead... that is fine. ESPECIALLY if the item is a Plot Key needed to finish a challenge.
    IF the item INCREASES the power of the character, they'll have to wait til level up to take advantage of it... say that player starts using both his +5 sword AND the new +3 sword via 2 weapon fighting, and this improves the characters abilities... he's refrain (as an agreement between player and DM) from using it as such until level up where it is paid for. It's not going to get wrecked or stolen in the meantime... it's just waiting for payment.
    If it feels a little synthetic to do so, it's effective enough to be overlooked if the party chooses to. The payoff, of course, is that the players get what they WANT every level. In 5 years, I've not had a complaint about this in actual game play... others would have to try it to see if it is truly disruptive.




    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Note the just assumed to bit. There is no mechanical hard cap, the MIC item system is more versatile as it allows a fluid change in overall item power. However, the coin system is more versatile, not because it uses coin, but because the token of power is very small, and as the system is significantly less quantum*, allows freer positioning along a scale. The example of a sandwhich is apt.

    However, there are advantages to increased quantization*. Book keeping is made much simpler, and to some extent stuff can simply be hand waved. If you carry around enough money to buy a mansion, does a sandwich really need to be noted? Its trivial, and in all but the most quantum of representations, will not be noted, even in the most quantum of representations, it is unlikely to have a significant effect. You state that one of your goals is to make sure the wealth correlates to level, and there is a way to do that while maintaining the capacity for a fluid total.

    Every item has a level, but until a certain level, the items level is trivial. Maybe Character Level-4 or some such. Thus, a level 16 character wouldn't need to track every purchase of alchemists fire, as that would be a level 1 or level 2 item. Then, you have an exchange rate for items. It could be as simple as declaring each item worth two of an item two levels below it, and also keeping a level value of "cash". Each item counts for half as much at market.

    Take a level 10 character. They have four level 9 items, and want a level 10 item. If they use a market, they only get half price, so they count as 2 level 9 items, which are in essence a level 11 item. They get the level 10 item, plus excess cash as fit for a 1 level difference. A quick rule of thumb would be the F(X-2)-F(X)=F(X+1), where X is the level of the item, so they also have level 8 spending cash. If they had level 8 spending cash earlier, the two grow to level 10 spending cash. Everything uses the level system, it is quite quantized and as such reasonably fast, and the system allows for the acquisition of new items.

    *The term granular has an annoying tendency to be interpreted by some as one meaning, and other of the opposite. Quantum is used instead, where more quantum means the individual pieces are larger. Its not a particularly elegant term, but it will have to do.
    I liike how this is reading... shouldn't the equation be
    F(X-2)+F(X)=F(X+1)
    where in this case of x = 10... 8 and 10 = 11...?
    I just want to be sure I get it right.

    I'm open to change as long as it makes easy sense.
    The only new addition is quntifying the handwaving and adding a WBL cost to broaden that sweeping hand.

    Here's my answer to the ham sandwich...
    assessing lifestyles as a % of total value at disposal t any moment...
    --utter poverty is nothing, as per VoP standard.. costs nothing.
    --poor is 1 WBL, and allows for the character to acquire 1% of WBL
    --middle class is 2 WBL, and allows for 2%
    --well to do is 3 WBL, and 3%
    --wealthy for 4 WBL 5%
    --insanely rich for 5 WBL 10%
    at first level, most will take 1 WBL of lifestyle, and get their starting package of loot, or the coin equivalennt of other mndane stuff. Beyond that, it's all WBL
    Like a 10th level character that would normally have about 50k
    So...
    poverty is 0 WBL, 0 stuff.
    poor is 1 WBL, at any encounter, the characgter could acquire 500 gold of stuff
    middle class for 2 WBL is 1000 gold
    well to do for 3 WBL is 1500 gold
    wealthy for 4 WBL is 2500 gold
    insanely rich for 5 WBL is 5000 gold
    At an moment; the level of wealth dictates how much stuf could be acquired... magic items are out of the normal economy, so mundane or extravagant items are still available... the ham sandwich .. even a poor 10th level character has accumulated the wealth to bag a good sandwich... in fact at 500 gold, there's tons of stuff a 10th level character could get without sweating it... but if someone wre to be insanely rich at 10th level.. they are surrendering a lot of magic gear... but can do 5k of gold at any time... a boat, a rnch, business, exotic research... but at this level, most probably don't need more than "middle class" (i gotta work on names)
    move to 20th level, and suddenly even a poor hero can pick up 7600 gold of stuff in a shot... an insanelhy wealthy caharcter would have about 40k at any moment. like, a castle. a small army, resurrections for everyone geeze... what costs 40k that isn't a magic item already?

    The trick would be to make sure the cost of WBL is worth the investment witnout being abused.

    Previous to this lifestyle idea, insignificant expenes like horses, shelter, food was waved, and anything of value required some sort of activity to acquire the needed Plot Key to get what was wanted, instead of just looting the dead and holding on to it hoping it's enough.
    anythingg worth noting the cost of is technically a Plot Key. and these little side treks can make for the same quirky fun as realizing yer 5k short of a purchase, and gotta go find a way to get it. it's the same mechanics in the end; just a different flavoring.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-10-21 at 01:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Money Isn't Necessary In DnD-- Wealth Derivative

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    I encourage trophies.
    A caveat I have yet to list in OP is that if you pick up equipment... if it is LESS than what you currently have, you aren't actually increasing your power level... if you use a sword +5 and grab a sword +3... technically you haven't increased your personal power... and if the player really wants to use it instead... that is fine. ESPECIALLY if the item is a Plot Key needed to finish a challenge.
    IF the item INCREASES the power of the character, they'll have to wait til level up to take advantage of it... say that player starts using both his +5 sword AND the new +3 sword via 2 weapon fighting, and this improves the characters abilities... he's refrain (as an agreement between player and DM) from using it as such until level up where it is paid for. It's not going to get wrecked or stolen in the meantime... it's just waiting for payment.
    If it feels a little synthetic to do so, it's effective enough to be overlooked if the party chooses to. The payoff, of course, is that the players get what they WANT every level. In 5 years, I've not had a complaint about this in actual game play... others would have to try it to see if it is truly disruptive.
    The problem is less that it is disruptive, and more that is has a very artificial feel. Completely ignoring it, and instead using a combination of my abstract market system and your free wealth, should work just fine.


    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    I liike how this is reading... shouldn't the equation be
    F(X-2)+F(X)=F(X+1)
    where in this case of x = 10... 8 and 10 = 11...?
    I just want to be sure I get it right.
    Yes. Yes it should. Of all the places to make a typo.

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    I'm open to change as long as it makes easy sense.
    The only new addition is quntifying the handwaving and adding a WBL cost to broaden that sweeping hand.

    Here's my answer to the ham sandwich...
    assessing lifestyles as a % of total value at disposal t any moment...
    --utter poverty is nothing, as per VoP standard.. costs nothing.
    --poor is 1 WBL, and allows for the character to acquire 1% of WBL
    --middle class is 2 WBL, and allows for 2%
    --well to do is 3 WBL, and 3%
    --wealthy for 4 WBL 5%
    --insanely rich for 5 WBL 10%
    at first level, most will take 1 WBL of lifestyle, and get their starting package of loot, or the coin equivalennt of other mndane stuff. Beyond that, it's all WBL
    Like a 10th level character that would normally have about 50k
    So...
    poverty is 0 WBL, 0 stuff.
    poor is 1 WBL, at any encounter, the characgter could acquire 500 gold of stuff
    middle class for 2 WBL is 1000 gold
    well to do for 3 WBL is 1500 gold
    wealthy for 4 WBL is 2500 gold
    insanely rich for 5 WBL is 5000 gold
    At an moment; the level of wealth dictates how much stuf could be acquired... magic items are out of the normal economy, so mundane or extravagant items are still available... the ham sandwich .. even a poor 10th level character has accumulated the wealth to bag a good sandwich... in fact at 500 gold, there's tons of stuff a 10th level character could get without sweating it... but if someone wre to be insanely rich at 10th level.. they are surrendering a lot of magic gear... but can do 5k of gold at any time... a boat, a rnch, business, exotic research... but at this level, most probably don't need more than "middle class" (i gotta work on names)
    move to 20th level, and suddenly even a poor hero can pick up 7600 gold of stuff in a shot... an insanelhy wealthy caharcter would have about 40k at any moment. like, a castle. a small army, resurrections for everyone geeze... what costs 40k that isn't a magic item already?

    The trick would be to make sure the cost of WBL is worth the investment witnout being abused.

    Previous to this lifestyle idea, insignificant expenes like horses, shelter, food was waved, and anything of value required some sort of activity to acquire the needed Plot Key to get what was wanted, instead of just looting the dead and holding on to it hoping it's enough.
    anythingg worth noting the cost of is technically a Plot Key. and these little side treks can make for the same quirky fun as realizing yer 5k short of a purchase, and gotta go find a way to get it. it's the same mechanics in the end; just a different flavoring.
    That seems fairly functional actually, I might tweak the percentages a bit, or break it away from standard WBL entirely to better fit the mundane economy, but it is a good idea, and a functional compromise.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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