265 Tracking Player Character Wealth

Tracking wealth, aka the treasure, of player characters, is it needed? How do you do it?

“Tired of tracking coins and individual purchases for player characters in role-playing games, I’ve experimented with several other methods that abstract wealth. It’s more a matter of what standard of living the PCs can afford. Anything appropriate to that category they can just have. More expensive items they may have to roll against their standard of living and possibly take on debt to acquire. Large influxes (treasure) can increase their standard of living (SoL) by a small amount for a long time, or much higher for a brief period. Anyway, you get the idea.” ~ Tom

  • How do we deal with this?
  • Any tricks we’ve used?
  • What systems do we use/have used that deal with tracking wealth differently than “counting each coin?”
  • Are there ideas we have that we’ve yet to use?

http://gamingandbs.com/265

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I jumped the gun on this one a bit: Looking for a topic...tracking wealth
I’d forgotten all about Credit Rating in CoC, which is a great way to handle it as well. (Fate does it too, with the Resources skill.) It’s really all about whether people want to bean count, or not, and whether wealth is important at various stages of the game.

Example:
As a GM, I don’t usually count coins. But in a Black Hack game I’m currently running, there’s a PC trying to save money for a very specific purpose – to get an oracle creature to answer what’s become of his lost love’s soul. For that, he has to amass a specific amount of gold – and that’s driving some cool jobs / adventures / money making schemes. Basically, if it matters, count 'em. If not, make it abstract.

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The discussion gave me a lot to think about. Thanks!
The CoC approach was what I had in mind, crossed with some dimly remembered mechanic I’ve seen somewhere else but can’t find. I’ll probably tweak my original approach using some of the ideas you discussed. Very useful.

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Delta Green kind of uses the Credit Rating Idea from CoC, but change it based on the career your Agent has. They also break down “Inventory” items ( anything your agents little heart could want) down into different tiers, with everyday items being a trivial cost to the agents, up to a Tactical Nuke, which is considered an extreme expense with very heavy consequences to the agent that gets tagged with using it.

Shadow of the Demon Lord kind of does a mix of standard fantasy treasure currency and wealth level. During character creation your character can be a poor peasant or a wealthy noble and throughout the game those levels can change based on what treasure the PC’s acquire, during story arch transitions, and other ways.

Also, With Blades in the Dark, they really tone it down and say that everyday expenses dont get tracked. The currency in the game, called Coin, is a representation of the groups assets and is used for more than just buying more stuff, spending it allows the PC’s to do extra activities during game play. I dont have much experience with BITD but their website does a good job of summarizing the usage of coin. https://bladesinthedark.com/coin-stash