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Abstract wealth values or hard-and-fast costs for equipment?


Abstract values or costs in hard currency?  

25 members have voted

  1. 1. Abstract values or costs in hard currency?

    • I prefer abstract values
    • I prefer costs in hard currency
    • I'd like to see both

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What's the zeitgeist here? Should a BRP sourcebook/setting provide abstract values for equipment ala the BRP book? Or should a sourcebook use hard-and-fast currency costs like gold pieces or dollars?

In working on my Swords of Cydoria setting, I used abstract values, though I have modified the system so that wealth is tracked separately from Status and equipment values represent a skill difficulty to making a purchase. But if the overall opinion is that costs are better represented in units of currency, I will oblige.


Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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It depends on the setting. In a historical setting, I prefer actual costs. In a post-apocalypse fantasy setting ... maybe more abstract, depending on how important buying and selling is going to be. If the PCs are traveling merchants, actual costs. If equipment is something PCs are going to barter for, inherit, or unearth from the ruins, actual costs are unimportant, especially if money and gear are things they can lose and replace easily (easy come, easy go, as in a sword and sorcery campaign).

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If the setting has a cash economy, with money instead of barter, the

setting's currency should have a name, and the equipment available

for purchase should have a price in that currency.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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All the above makes sense, but also:

If your average character is going to be a wandering mercenary who carries his wealth in a belt pouch, then provide values for prices in whatever currency is used in your world.

If your average character is well integrated in his environment, with his wealth measured by how much he earns per year, and also by how easily he can persuade the local merchants to sell him stuff on credit, then abstract values are way, way better.

The ideal solution would be to provide both values, but handling both factors in the same game is quite... messy.

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For my fantasy setting I actually use both values and it seems to work fine, but I'ld just stick with Status for most other settings.

In my fantasy setting the more routine day to day expenses such as food, accommodation, etc and such are made using the Status roll, with modifiers for degrees of quality. I typically make each degree of quality a +/- 20% (Eg: A Commoner wanting to board in Common lodgings is a base roll, at Burgher Lodgings is -20%, and at Noble Lodgings is at -40%. If a Commoner wants to stay at Serf Lodgings they receive a +20% to their Status roll instead).

If the character cannot make the roll then they don't have the resources currently available, or must do something to otherwise influence the situation (eg: offers of labour, trade goods etc to provide bonus modifiers and such).

Perhaps a more BRP solution would be to make a degree above a Difficult Roll, and two degrees above a Fail; going back the other way would be a degree below is an Easy, and two degrees below is an automatic success...I'm not sure, it's prob more consistent with how the BRP BGB would do such a thing, and more realistic if you are doing a historical medieval setting which is very social class orientated.

My players are a bit old school so they tend to like loot and such, so any coinage they acquire is considered 'Additional Funds' which they use to purchase important (non-routine) things like armour and weapons etc.

It has all worked reasonably well so far.

If I was playing in a more modern setting I would just use Status actually, it's just that coinage and buying of items is a left-over from our old hack'n'slay days, and I find the fantasy setting doesn't work as well without that. In more modern settings or in a more historical setting I'ld find it to tedious to GM however, so Status is a welcome trait for me.

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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