Re: Wealth without Loot (Was: Qualitytable)

From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_...>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 11:24:48 -0700

> > 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
> > loot, then he can use the "Related" HP cost. Describe the treasure any
> > you like, let the player decide what it is really worth by his spending
> > HP. If you, as a narrator, think that it is worth something, then give
> > 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.
> I don't see where that gets us. Firstly it seems artificial; secondly
> it doesn't solve the basic problem. "Accept these 20 cows as a gift!
> No, I _insist_ that you give me no more than a token counter-gift,
> you really do deserve them, honoured kinsman!"

Let me just make perfectly clear that I *am* advocating dropping the "sell for 1/10 value" rule. Wealth was treated as a special case for "cementing" in 1st ed. I'm suggesting not doing so.

So my Hero gets 20 cows. What can I do with them 'narratively'? Add them to my herd (increasing my "wealth") Give them away to other people
Slaughter them for a feast
Watch as the Bad Neighbors raid them away from me

In HP Terms I can:
increase my "Wealth" ability
increase a "Relationship" ability
increase my "Eat like a Pig" ability
do nothing
some of each.

So why should one option (Increase wealth) be treated differently than any of the others? It shouldn't matter *to game play* if I add 1 cow or 20 to my herd, or what size my herd was to begin with. If I add one cow to my herd of 500, and spend 1HP on the increase, I get +1 Wealth. If I add 20 cows to my herd of 5, and spend 1HP on it, I get +1 Wealth.

> > 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
> > Combat as a "related" activity as opposed to 2 HP on "unrelated"?
> Yes, I know, this line of argument had occurred to me too. Wealth is
> the more egregious case though, since it has such quantifable _effects_
> (hang on, I can't buy that? but didn't I get such and such worth of
> loot recently, that should "cover" it...). And it has those effects
> regardless of any mods Julian and I made, by virtue (vice?) of the
> "buying things" rules.

You are forgetting the "Wealth Evaporates" rule, then. Without HP expenditure, any loot your hero acquires is so much narrative fluff, subject to manipulation by the eeeeevil narrator. "Whoops, you put down your loot-stuffed backpack to get a drink, and when you turned around it was gone."

Let me see if I can state your point:
Your point seems to be "We need to know exactly how much an Wealth Rating increase x Loot provides if cemented". You also want the value of x loot to vary according to the Current Wealth rating of the owner.

My answer is:
1. Loot is not an item to be cemented into Wealth. 2. Wealth is an ability like any others, and increases at the normal HP cost for an ability.
3. Acquiring Loot (any amount) gives the player an reason to pay a "related" HP cost to increase his Wealth rating.
4. If the narrator decides that x loot can't sustain the wealth increase that you propose to buy, then discuss it with him 5. If you want to cement a particular item of that loot, go ahead. Such an Item can be used to Augment wealth, but is not considered a normal part of the Wealth rating.

> > So we naturally gravitate to "How much is that cow in the pasture?" in
> > monetary terms.
> I'd be happy enough with a first-order approximation at "how _many_
> are those cows in the pasture..."

Do you mean "how many cows do I have if my Wealth is 15" ? or "How many cow-worths of stuff do I have if my Wealth is 15" ? or "How many cows can I raid from that pasture" ?

The answer is "it doesn't matter except as a narrative convenience". I wouldn't tell a player "This guy has 17w2 wealth", or even "He has a herd of 2,043 cows". I'd say "His herds cover the hills and dales, his clothing is exquisite, and his weapons are of the finest quality. You could fit your entire house into his bedroom." The first sentence gives an idea that the guy is rich. The second puts him in relation to the hero - "much richer than you". Just as we don't like to give concrete damage in describing combat, we don't want to give concrete figures of wealth, because the game is not meant to work on the concrete level, it is built to be more free-form. "Yes, but" is a valid response - "yes, but it was only a scratch"; "yes, but you grabbed the scrubbiest and weakest cows".

> (I sensed that Julian was giving
> up a hostage to fortune to the Revolting Conservative Tribesman when
> he framed his table in "coins"... "New-fangled decadent Dara Happan
> nonsense!")

Except that people have said that they want a Universal Economic Unit (the UCU, instead of the ECU) for Hero Wars, and that was the reason coined/printed money was invented.

> > Yes, perhaps "Wealth" was the wrong word to use for the ability of
> > stuff peacefully from others around you". Would it be better if we
called it
> > "Personal Worth" or "Influence"?
> Not given the "buying stuff" rules no, not really. I can buy stuff
> using my "loot" in principle too, after all.

Yes, and you'll notice that what you buy does not increase your Wealth.


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