Re: Wealth without Loot (Was: Qualitytable)

From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_...>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 09:39:35 -0700

> > "This circumstance" being raiding 4 cattle? Sure. Since the narrative
> > that he successfully did something during play that could increase his
> > wealth (at least in Orlanthi or other Cattle-based societies), then he
> > claim that his increase is related to game play and thus be at the
> > cost.
> And my point is, how is the narrator best to be assisted in making
> the determination as to _what_, reasonably, could increase your
> wealth. If you wealth is 10W3, 4 cows is not a "narratively
> significant amount". If it's 5, it certainly is (and then some).

I know what you mean "If it's (Wealth) 5", but I first read it as "If it's 5 (cows), it certainly is (and then some)." - wow, one cow makes that much difference?

My Answer: Disassociate the "Wealth" ability from loot the hero has acquired. Treat Wealth like any other ability; ignore the special rules about acquiring items of value and either "spending" them immediately or cementing 1/10th their value. If the hero can make a case that he acquired loot, then he can use the "Related" HP cost. Describe the treasure any way you like, let the player decide what it is really worth by his spending of HP. If you, as a narrator, think that it is worth something, then give the player dedicated HP to spend only on wealth. If you think that it isn't worth a +4 increase, tell the player so using your Narrator Voice.

Two characters go out and thump a Rubblerunner each. One Character is a brand new player hero, Close Combat 12. The other is Onslaught, with CC 10w4. Would you, as a narrator, restrict either from spending an HP on Close Combat as a "related" activity as opposed to 2 HP on "unrelated"?

Two characters with a Relationship: Community give their four cows to the community (because they can't figure out their new wealth). One hero's community is his immediate family - 5 people total; the other has a Relationship to The Lunar Empire - many millions of people. Would you, as a narrator, allow either or both to spend 1HP as "related" to raise their "Relationship: Community"?

My point being that nowhere else do we look at a hero's current ability rating and make a decision that it is "too high" to gain the benefit of the reduced HP cost.
So why is wealth any different?

My thoughts on the matter:
1. Loot is tangible - you can describe the tons of Gold and Jewels, the fine animals, etc. Experience is intangible.
2. Most of us come to HW from Loot-based games, where the acquisition and spending of loot is an important feature (yes, RQ was a Loot-based game, very much so).
3. As 20th-21st Century capitalists we are constantly surrounded by a Loot-based society. There are few activities nowadays that are done simply for community - moving a friend's house is an example of such (at least for me), where "payment" is in getting help moving your own house (and pizza & beer). Most things, from entertainment to aid, are paid for with dollars/pounds/marks/francs/euros. So we naturally gravitate to loot (acquisition, keeping and spending) as the form of transaction that our alter-egos use. But even 100 years ago society was much less loot-based, with entertainment provided by "the musical family from down the road" at the party you threw, everyone pitched in to help with a barnraising, and if your child was sick you could get the doctor to come out (in the pouring rain) for a good meal and a dozen eggs to take home.

So we naturally gravitate to "How much is that cow in the pasture?" in monetary terms.

Yes, perhaps "Wealth" was the wrong word to use for the ability of "Getting stuff peacefully from others around you". Would it be better if we called it "Personal Worth" or "Influence"?


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