Saturday, February 9, 2008

Obligatory "First Post!" Post

Hey there. I'm neck-deep in a fantasy conversion for SotC right now. The Wild West conversion has been pretty much done for nigh on a year now, and the supers conversion... well, it's still pretty amorphous. I've been thinking it might be a good idea to just wait for The Dresden Files RPG to come out, since I think it may very well shed some conceptual light on the supers genre.

At any rate, I'll insert some actual content into this first post in the form of a question: Does the Resources skill have a place in a fantasy setting, or should it and all of its attendant stunts be removed in favor of a standard economy?

I'm of two minds about this.

In favor of Resources: I like the abstraction, and the way it takes some of the crunch out of the character sheet. Ultimately, all those spare silver and copper pieces end up forgotten about anyway, so why bother with the niggling little details? I also like the idea of measuring treasure in terms of one-time bonuses to Resources. I like stress tracks, so I'd add a Wealth Stress track, with a number of boxes equal to your Resources score. Buying something means making a roll against its quality. Make it and it's yours. Fail it and it's still yours, as long as you take the margin of failure as Wealth Stress. Acquired wealth then either clears boxes of Wealth Stress, if your whole track is full, or it adds to a Resources roll, if it isn't. Having Mediocre Resources doesn't break the system -- it just means that, unlike other PCs who have a bit of coin lying around, when you fail a roll you don't have the option of getting it anyway and taking the Wealth Stress. Aspects like "Noble Family" would be perfect for using with Resources, as would "Street Urchin" or "The Hard Life of the Adventurer." Besides, sticking with Resources really gives a different feel than other games that use a more concrete economy.

In favor of coins: So what happens if I use my Superb treasure to help me buy a Good sword? Do I lose all of it in one shot? Can I split it up? What if it's a Superb gold statue, or something else that can't easily be divided? I could subtract the quality of the good being purchased from the quality of the treasure and keep the difference (leaving me with a Fair treasure, after buying that Good sword), but if I'm going to put myself through that kind of bookkeeping, I may as well be counting coins, as far as I'm concerned. Also, despite my fondness for stress tracks, does running out of money incur consequences? Some are believable, like "Ill-Maintained Armor," but most aren't. I could cut out Wealth Consequences altogether, but that kind of almost-but-not-quite use of the rules really bugs me. Another issue is that while Resources may be a great fit for a game set in the 20th century, finances aren't generally as fluid in the average fantasy setting as they are in, say, the '20s. Bank loans? Credit? Interest? A steady job? These are all pretty foreign to the average dragon slayer (unless you call dragon slaying a steady job). The constant trickle of income that so many pulp-era characters can expect just isn't as easy to swallow in a medieval fantasy setting.



Unknown said...

hey mike!

great first post. i am most unabashedly in favor of the "resources" route. it seems that it is more in the spirit of "spirit of the century." the less bookkeeping, the better, i say. your first solution seems elegant and would work seamlessly with the already extant stress box mechanic. yeah, keep away from cp's, sp's, gp's and electrums. that way madness lies.

kind regards,

Matt Sheridan said...

I think there's actually a hell of a lot of possibility in the Wealth Consequences idea. "Ill-maintained armor", sure, but how about an ill-maintained person? You could have things like "lice infestation", "unwashed", "threadbare clothing", "starving", and so on. Just imagine the potential for compels and tags on a starving barbarian faced with the decadent wealth of civilization!