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zorak

Wealth without money

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For my fantasy game I'm planning I wanted to give rewards like in typical fantasy games like gold, ect. Problem is for me I would rather keep it simple and use the CP system more or less as is. So I thought why not use resource points as gold but with an exchange rate. I was thinking that 10gp would be like 1 CP. But I could use some input on my exchange rate from others with more experience with hero system. I'm open to suggestions so thanks in advance 

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I don't know if this is what you want to hear, but I thought I'd share my experience from when I tried something similar way back when the first Fantasy HERO was still new, back in third edition:

 

The players tended to stop being noble adventurers and began looting everything they could, constantly badgering that if EP could be rewarded in place of treasure, then treasure could be converted to EP.

 

I wanted it to work, primarily for the simplicity of it, and to give a couple of D&D recruits that "EP for treasure" feel they were comfortable with, but in the end it was a total bust.  :(

 

 

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I've noodled around with the idea of a Resource roll. It starts at 11- (or 8- if the character is poor), with a +1 to the roll for 5 points. Normal expenses (food, rent, equipment maintenance) don't require a roll, but major expenses (new weapons, armor, magic items) would. Expensive items would have a penalty to the roll. Treasure would be abstracted as 1-time bonuses to the roll.

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In Rhûne, my Fantasy HERO campaign setting, I use the following rules:

  • All characters with Weapon Familiarity begin with up to 2 free weapons they are proficient in, usually a melee weapon and a missile weapon.
  • All characters with Armor Familiarity begin with 1 free suit of armor they are proficient in.
  • All characters with Shield Familiarity begin with 1 free shield they are proficient in.
  • All characters with Riding (Equines) and TF: Equine begin with a free riding horse (not a warhorse).
  • All characters begin with an additional 3d6 x 5 GP with which to purchase starting equipment.  Players may choose to accept 50 GP in lieu of a roll.
  • A character may purchase the Money perk up to 15 points.  Each point of Money grants an additional 3d6 x 5 GP in starting equipment.
  • This is the only advantage Money provides. After character creation, it has no effect and points spent on Money are lost.

Characters can find treasure while adventuring.  This treasure can be used to purchase equipment and property.  Treasure is simply another form of equipment.  It has encumbrance, it can be lost or stolen, etc.  It cannot be converted to character points, and generally cannot be purchased with experience points -- I might allow a player to spend an experience point and declare that they "won big in a game of cards" or something like that, if they were really desperate for cash, in which case they would gain 2d6 x 10GP. 

 

Typically characters in my game do not find large treasures and collecting treasure is not an important goal.  Most parties have a patron (Contact) that covers their daily living costs, covers the cost of replenishing arrows and the like, and whom they can wrangle money from if they have need to make significant purchases (successful Contact roll if its a cost unrelated to accomplishing the patron's agenda).  In the last campaign I ran, which ran for about a year, one character made one significant purchase after character creation -- he bought an axe after losing his initial axe in a sewer.  Otherwise, every character ended the campaign with literally the exact same gear they began with.

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I'd say the key is "how much gold for 1 xp", which can only be answered by comparing the value of the extra gear to the abilities which could otherwise have been purchased with that xp.

 

For this reason, I would start by having no random roll.  You get that much cash, period.

 

A Battle Axe costs 16 real points.  It's OAF (-1), Real Weapon (-1/4),  13 STR (-1/2), Hand and a half (-1/4).  I don't consider a -1/4 real weapon limitation to be enough to say "those points can be lost forever" or even an extended period of time - if the axe is lost, he can get a new one pretty easily, but likely must limp along without one until they can get back to town and re-equip.

 

A light crossbow has a real point cost of 6, so it should be a lot cheaper than a Battle Axe if we are equating money and xp.  A large shield costs 5 real points, so it should be even cheaper. 

 

A suit of chain mail is 6 PD and ED rDEF (18 AP), OIF (-1/2), real armor (-1/4), Act 15- (-1/4; armor coverage), normal mass (-1), so 6 real points - way cheaper than a battle axe, equal to a light crossbow.

 

Those money costs make no sense to me - a suit of chain mail should be more expensive, by my gut feel.  That would set me off equating money to xp.

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You could just run a fantasy campaign with little to no money available. Trade would be done in barter. Taxes collected from peasants would be a portion of their crops and livestock. Wealthy people would have goods rather than large piles of coin. Portable wealth like coins would be the first thing saved when people are forced to abandon a place and would be the first thing carried off by any two-legged scavengers. Wealth for most nobles would be furniture, clothes, horses, livestock, servants, food, and being able to outfit your fighting men with appropriate gear.

 

If the PC's managed to take the goods of a wealthy person to town, shopkeepers would be able to only pay a tiny fraction of the worth of those goods. And most of what they'd be able to pay would be whatever saleable items they have in stock rather than coin.

 

Look at it this way: if the PC's go through all the effort necessary to protect a tapestry they found and take it to a blacksmith, what the hell is the blacksmith supposed to do with a tapestry? Is the tapestry worth the hundreds of hours of work it took him to make a set of armor? If the PC's couldn't find anyone in town to outright sell the tapestry to, how is the blacksmith supposed to find someone to sell it to? The person running the general store in town wouldn't have anyone to sell it to because he sells to the townsfolk. He certainly couldn't completely empty out his stock of goods to give to the PC's in exchange for a tapestry he couldn't sell. Even having the tapestry in his custody might be dangerous for him, if for no other reason than the tax collector might see it and assume he has a heck of a lot more wealth than he really does.

 

Even a skilled smith probably wouldn't have a lot of armor in stock to sell. Why should he buy the supplies and put in the work to make armor pieces that he's not sure he's going to be able to sell quickly? In a low-money campaign, the PC's would probably have to commission a set of armor to be made (and maybe even have to help the smith come up with the supplies to make it).

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In the most middle age, the peasants who tend their fields would usually pay their taxes by giving the Lord a portion of whatever they produced. This also applied to merchants in town. Only the wealthier members of the society would actually pay their taxes with actual cash. It was in this manner that most people were able to live their entire life without ever seeing money (and this includes the merchants). The concept of every person paying for every item with cash only came about recently. That was mainly due to governments needing more money for more things like wars, roads, social health, personal retirement, favors to "friend", etc. As the desires grew, so did the need for the cash, and the noncash payments became less. Eventually societies got to the point that every person assumes that the only manner to pay for something is with cash in some form.

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On 8/18/2019 at 3:45 PM, zorak said:

For my fantasy game I'm planning I wanted to give rewards like in typical fantasy games like gold, ect. Problem is for me I would rather keep it simple and use the CP system more or less as is. So I thought why not use resource points as gold but with an exchange rate. I was thinking that 10gp would be like 1 CP.

 

You ask why not? I'll tell you why not.

 

Behold, the Jester's Staff!

Behold, the Jester's Staff!:  (Total: 9 Active Cost, 1 Real Cost) Summon 2 5-point gag writers, Friendly (x2 as many tasks; +1/2) (9 Active Points); Increased Endurance Cost (x10 END; -4), 1 Charge which Recovers every 1 Week (-2 1/2), Extra Time (1 Turn (Post-Segment 12), Only to Activate, -3/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), Only In Alternate Identity (Must be in fool's motley; -1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Costs Endurance (Only Costs END to Activate; -1/4) (Real Cost: 1)

 

Your majesty, are your court fool's japes and antics getting stale? Think he could use some new materiel? Bestow upon him the Jester's Staff! This miraculous item looks like a common fool's bauble, but once we teach him the magical incantation, he can use it to summon up a pair of gag writers who can invent jests suitable for any audience. With a little time to prepare and practice he will be fit to perform for anyone, from the delicate eared princes and princesses to a delegation of crude and unsophsticated barbarians. Your court can be famous for the quality of its entertainment!

 

 

Behold, the Vessel of Endless Life!
Behold, the Vessel of Eternal Youth!:  (Total: 5 Active Cost, 1 Real Cost) Life Support  (Longevity: Immortal) (5 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Season, Only to Activate, -2 3/4), IIF Expendable (Difficult to obtain new Focus; -1/2), 1 Continuing Charge lasting 1 Year which Recovers every 1 Season (-1/4) (Real Cost: 1)

 

Your majesty, although it is gracefully formed, its aesthetic value is the least of this miraculous vessel's virtues. If filled with spring water and certain herbs, the secret of which we will gladly impart upon purchase of the vessel, it will after a season's steeping pour forth a brew with the property of halting the very process of age, rendering one immune to the wear of time for an entire year! As the effect lasts a year and the vessel may recharge each season, you would hold the power to grant eternal youth not only to yourself but to up to three companions!

 

 

Note that each of the above costs only a single Real Point. I do not think there is a king in history or even in fiction who would offer the same price in gold for either item, or offer to trade the Vessel for the Staff. Nor do I think anyone possessing either item would part with them for a mere ten golden coins.

 

Any attempt to set up a consistent "exchange rate" of gold to Character Points is sure to fail.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says if you still don't believe it we can tell you the story of the broadsword....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I would have to agree with Duke in that one should keep the  CP/Ep and the gold distinct and separate.  Otherwise, everything in the environment becomes  something to be converted to character points.

Economies are driven by need-value versus scarcity.  What do people need want, and who supplies it?  Coins work, because people agree that they have value, and they are portable, and difficult to  fabricate. If not coins, barter works, but they may do something else people would agree that's valuable, and trade that for goods and services.

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I see how it would give the players more temptation to sniff out everything that might have value to turn into xp. I think what I was thinking was in dnd type adventures where you get gold and improve your character with better gear or whatnot. Maybe like instead of true xp convert wealth acquired into resource points like from the advanced players guide? 

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1 hour ago, zorak said:

I think what I was thinking was in dnd type adventures where you get gold and improve your character with better gear or whatnot.

 

Wouldn't that already be the case in a heroic level game? Most of the gear the characters get is purchased with in-game currency and not CP anyway. Magic items found would be another way to improve the character without using CP. It seems to me the only time CP would come into play would be for things like an increase in STR to do more damage or INT to be better at spell casting, etc. In that case would you really want the players to be able to trade currency for CP?

 

Lee

 

PS: I guess maybe you mean you want the characters to be able to purchase magic items and the like and are looking to find a currency to CP conversion?

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When I'm playing a fantasy game, it doesn't matter how wealthy my character already is: I'm picking up every bent copper piece and rusty dagger and carrying it back to town. If it's not nailed down, I'm claiming it as my own.

 

If the GM doesn't want me to have it, he shouldn't put it in the world.

 

That attitude is a leftover habit from my early D&D days but it's a habit I can't break. I leave caches of equipment hidden in places (just in case) even if we're highly unlikely to return there and note the location every dungeon and ruin we've ever cleared in case I need an obscure place to hide someday.

 

If you made in-game wealth convertible to character points, I'd probably spend those points turning every dungeon and ruin we've ever cleared into bases and every cart into a vehicle. :D

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