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Author Topic: abstracted wealth  (Read 1810 times)

tuypo1

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abstracted wealth
« on: April 06, 2015, 06:42:53 PM »
as a spinoff to the non coin economy thread what are your thoughts on abstracted wealth rather then measuring your money and buying things for a set price

i fucking hate it
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TristramEvans

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abstracted wealth
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 06:45:38 PM »
Depends on the setting. I use it in supers games and in games featuring modern economic situations, as bean-counting doesnt appropriately reflect the nuances of budgeting in the modern world.

I use straight "this is how many coins you have and this is how much things cost" in medieval and pre-industrial settings.
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soviet

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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 07:00:28 PM »
Quote from: TristramEvans;824355
Depends on the setting. I use it in supers games and in games featuring modern economic situations, as bean-counting doesnt appropriately reflect the nuances of budgeting in the modern world.

I use straight "this is how many coins you have and this is how much things cost" in medieval and pre-industrial settings.


Yeah, this basically.

I'm currently writing some notes on handling these issues in conflict resolution style games where it gets a bit more complicated. Basically, my thinking is that if we're not tracking income and expenditure, this is how we handle different situations where money could be relevant

It's just background fluff = then no need to mechanise it or write it down
It's a way of making the character more effective = then it's an excuse to spend XP on advancement or whatever, maybe with a discount
It's a way of solving a problem = then it's a conflict roll, maybe with a bonus
Lack of money is a problem in itself = reflect this in conflict stakes then, assigning flaws like Dirt Poor or Constantly Hungry or Cannot Afford the Latest Newtech
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jhkim

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abstracted wealth
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 07:18:08 PM »
I generally prefer an abstract system, or just hand-waving over the details, rather than coin-counting.

Tracking the cost of ammunition, train tickets, hotels, and so forth feels like filling out expense reports. I don't find it fun.

Also, based on my experience, I associate it with games where characters live like ultra-misers - staying in flophouses and eating gruel so they can afford plate mail or dynamite or whatever.

Ronin

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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2015, 07:46:36 PM »
I generally dislike it. I can see where it makes sense in certain games/genre/circumstances. But I don't care for it, and choose not use it.
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Opaopajr

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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 02:51:17 PM »
I love it. It makes logical sense as debt is quite ancient and people didn't often wander around hauling huge amounts of liquidated assets. It also heavily embeds the PCs into the interlaced framework of setting.

When you have to visit others to call in your wealth, it becomes an adventure unto itself (through travel and negotiations alone). That said, it is optional to players as people were also quite familiar with how to manage accounts over any significant distances.
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abstracted wealth
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 03:24:47 PM »
I much prefer it, and use it in all of my games since... like 10 years ago. Dicking with coins does nothing for me.

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Doctor Jest

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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 03:29:24 PM »
I have no desire to play Accountants & Actuaries. The less minutia I have to track, the better.

Bren

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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2015, 05:10:29 PM »
I dislike wealth levels as a mechanic. In games where accumulating wealth is a motive for play e.g. playing tomb robbers, pirates, smugglers, mercenaries, or treasure hunters, wealth levels are an odd abstraction "you find a chest worth 2 wealth levels" just doesn't resonate or sound cool when compared to "the chest is filled with gold doubloons. There must be at least a thousand coins there."

Even if the game is not about accumulating wealth, wealth levels come across like currency where the smallest coin is $1000 and there is no way to make change. Want to buy a newspaper, a drink in the bar, or a t-shirt? Well you have a $1000 bill, those things are free. Want to buy a new suit or rent a hotel room downtown for one night. Make a wealth roll. If you roll good, its free. Roll bad and you just spent $1000. No sorry you can't get a new suit for less than that today.

I'd rather have more detail and actually track coins, items of value, etc. in a game where accumulating wealth is an object of play or I'd rather have less detail and totally hand wave wealth without the need to track levels.
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woodsmoke

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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2015, 05:19:07 PM »
I used to be all about hard prices paid in hard coinage, but the past couple years I've come around to abstract wealth more. I haven't really kept a running tally of incomes and expenses on any of my recent characters, just a general idea of roughly how much money they have so I know whether I can afford a shiny new gear. The game is honestly better for it. Less time spent writing down numbers, looking up gear costs and haggling with the DM is more time spent actually role playing, which is a win in my book.
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rway218

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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2015, 05:23:42 PM »
I put this on the players in part:  how well do they correctly keep up with wealth?   do they "fudge" the amounts to get more or keep a true log of wealth.

As for GMs:   do they want to take the time to set prices and bargin during play?  how often do they fudge numbers?

for expediency I tend to trust a character had enough, or go abstract by getting a list of needed items, and tell them all they can find and afford.  

I can see either

Bren

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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2015, 05:31:59 PM »
Quote from: woodsmoke;824506
...just a general idea of roughly how much money they have so I know whether I can afford a shiny new gear. The game is honestly better for it. Less time spent writing down numbers, looking up gear costs and haggling with the DM is more time spent actually role playing, which is a win in my book.

I agree with part of this.

I like looking over list of shiny new gear (or even used old gear) and considering what my PC might want to acquire. I like gear. I like lists of gear. Being able to shop for stuff is actually something I like to do maybe once every six or ten sessions of the game. Not an entire shopping session but spending 1 hour out of every 40-50 hours of gaming seems reasonable to me.

Knowing how much actual money or items of value and approximate prices means I can consider what my PC might want that he/she can afford. Then the character can go shop without a lot of hassle where every purchase requires haggling with the GM. Having no actual money and no price list makes everything a meta negotiation with the GM. I'm OK with my character negotiating with the sword maker or gunsmith, but me haggling with the GM about what my character ought to be able to afford is an annoying time waster for me.
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woodsmoke

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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2015, 05:43:37 PM »
Solid point. I also like the gear lists and the itemization of what stuff actually costs, I'm just too lazy to bother with keeping an exact running tally of my character's physical wealth - though I do write down an approximate amount to make sure I don't forget something and think my character has more money than s/he does. Let me see what's available, tell me how much it costs, I'll buy what I'm interested in and can afford and reduce my general idea of roughly how much money my character has (and the approximate tally) accordingly.
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Omega

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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2015, 05:50:17 PM »
That was the system in d20 modern Gamma World. Problem was it was a little tooooo abstracted and if the GM wasnt paying attention you could pull all sorts of weird stunts. Without some way to curb it the abstract wealth broke down pretty fast.

I am sure there must be games that use abstract wealth. But actually have limiters on how its applied.

Old One Eye

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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2015, 06:16:35 PM »
Cannot stand abstract wealth.  Probably because I have a background in banking and finance.