D&D 5E Creating a Wealth Score in 5e D&D

BookTenTiger

He / Him
d20 Modern had an interesting rule for purchasing things. Rather than keeping track of how many dollars your character had, instead you had a "Wealth Score." If I recall correctly, depending on your score you could buy certain classes of items at no cost, while others you had to roll for, using your Wealth Score. If you rolled a certain amount, you got the item, but it lowered your Wealth Score.

For example, let's say my character wanted to buy a stapler. My Wealth Score would probably be high enough that my character could just buy one without worrying about it. But if my character wanted to buy a car, they would have to roll for it. Roll high enough, and I purchase the car, but my Wealth Score takes a hit (until I get paid for this next adventure, of course!), roll low and I fail to buy a car ("Your card is denied.").

What would this look like in 5e D&D?

I could see characters having a Wealth Score based on their Background (Noble = high Wealth Score, Urchin = low Wealth Score). Maybe something like a +1 to +5? And you would add in your Proficiency Bonus.

Your Wealth Score Bonus would allow you to purchase items of a certain value without spending any Gold Pieces. For example, a Wealth Score of 5, for example, may allow you to purchase items of, let's say, 2 Gold Pieces and below without spending Gold Pieces.

A character can raise their Wealth Score by investing money. Maybe each level of bonus would cost 1,000 x Bonus GP. So for example, to raise your Wealth Bonus from a 3 to a 4 would cost 4,000 GP. From a 19 to a 20 would cost 20,000 GP.

As Wealth Bonuses increase, it could unlock certain features of the game for characters. For example, you might need a certain Wealth Bonus in order to purchase or upgrade a keep, raise an army, or buy magic items. Certain areas of cities or kingdoms might be closed off to characters with low Wealth Bonuses (but open up for a high Deception check!). Fun powers could include the ability to always have a fresh horse ready at every city, be always dressed in Fine Clothes, earn a Reputation, and so on.

Well, these are just some thoughts. How would you do a Wealth Score in 5e? What would it be used for?
 

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turnip_farmer

Adventurer
I don't think I would, to be honest.

Wealth scores seem suited to a modern game with banks and credit and all that, but it seems out of place in a medieval fantasy style game. Just give them gold and silver pieces.

Now, if I did want some sort of abstract mechanic to do the same thing, I might think in terms of some sort of social credit score. If you're in some kind of pseudo medieval setting, you could reason that most of the peasants round about don't deal in money much. It's all barter, and people doing favours for friends.

So characters could have a score representing their connections and how well liked they are. They could use this to get items, perhaps the use of animals, labour done on their behalf. Their score would decrease every time they used it (people have limited patience for giving out unreciprocated favours), but could go up as they saved people from bandits and monsters or whatever.

You could make most things hard to buy with money, so that players need to use their score for basic living expenses (peasants putting them up for free). But if their score gets high enough sure to great deeds of heroism, you could have that increase the radius in which the score works, as they become famous heroes that people are happy to do favours for.

Note that this is an idea I just had now, not something I've carefully thought through our actually tried.
 

MGibster

Legend
Wealth scores seem suited to a modern game with banks and credit and all that, but it seems out of place in a medieval fantasy style game. Just give them gold and silver pieces.

Now, if I did want some sort of abstract mechanic to do the same thing, I might think in terms of some sort of social credit score. If you're in some kind of pseudo medieval setting, you could reason that most of the peasants round about don't deal in money much. It's all barter, and people doing favours for friends.
You say potato but I say potato. From a practical perspective I see very little difference between a wealth score and your social credit score idea. As both a player and a GM, I have a distinct dislike for keeping tabs on gold and silver pieces because it doesn't add anything but tedium to the game. It's just not fun.
 

MarkB

Legend
In Blades in the Dark characters can only keep a small amount available as personal cash money. The rest goes into their "stash" - a nebulous resource that could be bank accounts, investments, purchased favours, etc.

The amount of Stash you have defines your lifestyle outside of the missions your team is undertaking - anything from squalid to wealthy. It doesn't really affect what you can buy for a mission, but it can affect your social standing when interacting with others.

You can convert funds out of your stash if you need ready funds, but it's at a 1 to 2 ratio - each coin you recover costs you two coins from your stash.
 

As a DM or a player I cant remember the last time I kept track of coins/gems in a game. Even last game I played a PC in my DM said that'll be "x" gp, I said yeah OK sure whatever and didnt even bother to check if I had any money on my character sheet. I agree with @BookTenTiger that a compromise between bean counting and buying anything the player wants at any level would be nice but Im too lazy to actually figure it out. Although when reading the thread title D20 Modern immediately came to mind. Only time I even give this a second thought is if its an extreme case.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
As a DM or a player I cant remember the last time I kept track of coins/gems in a game. Even last game I played a PC in my DM said that'll be "x" gp, I said yeah OK sure whatever and didnt even bother to check if I had any money on my character sheet.
I'm the same with hit points. The DM said "He hits you for x points of damage" and I just said 'yeah, whatever' and didn't bother to check how many I have left on my sheet.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You can convert funds out of your stash if you need ready funds, but it's at a 1 to 2 ratio - each coin you recover costs you two coins from your stash.
That would drive me crazy. Put $100 in the bank, but can only get $50 back out again. Heck, with that kind of money making scheme available I'd just get together with the other players and start a bank. :p
 

I'm the same with hit points. The DM said "He hits you for x points of damage" and I just said 'yeah, whatever' and didn't bother to check how many I have left on my sheet.
Tracking hit points for your PC in combat and worrying about 3 sp for a round of ales and mutton stew is not quite the same thing.
 



MarkB

Legend
That would drive me crazy. Put $100 in the bank, but can only get $50 back out again. Heck, with that kind of money making scheme available I'd just get together with the other players and start a bank. :p
Well, the idea is that it's wealth you're actively using in your everyday life. It's less like getting money back out of the bank and more like trading in your car for a cheaper model - you never get back the original value.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
Even last game I played a PC in my DM said that'll be "x" gp, I said yeah OK sure whatever and didnt even bother to check if I had any money on my character sheet.
That's why when that happens, I stop talking and stare expectantly at my player, eyebrows raised, until I see them getting these copper pieces out of their sheet. I also take pictures of their character sheet when they go to the bathroom and do the maths in an excel to make sure they're not cheating. And one of my player is an inside agent that reports anything suspicious to me.
 

That's why when that happens, I stop talking and stare expectantly at my player, eyebrows raised, until I see them getting these copper pieces out of their sheet. I also take pictures of their character sheet when they go to the bathroom and do the maths in an excel to make sure they're not cheating. And one of my player is an inside agent that reports anything suspicious to me.
I also steal all the rations and torches when no ones looking.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
That's why when that happens, I stop talking and stare expectantly at my player, eyebrows raised, until I see them getting these copper pieces out of their sheet. I also take pictures of their character sheet when they go to the bathroom and do the maths in an excel to make sure they're not cheating. And one of my player is an inside agent that reports anything suspicious to me.
That's far too much work for me.

I hire a PI to hack their computers, take photos of their character sheets through the dining room tables, and put together reports for me on if my players are being honest with their gold.
 

MarkB

Legend
That's far too much work for me.

I hire a PI to hack their computers, take photos of their character sheets through the dining room tables, and put together reports for me on if my players are being honest with their gold.
Did you make sure to require them to use the custom character sheets, with the Terms & Conditions in small print on the back?
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Did you make sure to require them to use the custom character sheets, with the Terms & Conditions in small print on the back?
I actually create and memorize their character sheets, then keep the originals locked in a DNA-triggered safe that will self destruct when I die. The players must submit forms requesting necessary information, such as Attack Bonuses and current Hit Points.
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
I have no idea how much money is in my wallet right now. Well, that's not exactly true; I have a rough idea. But, even when I open it up to purchase things I don't count it; I just look for something I can trade for the thing I want and put it back in my pocket. My wife on the other hand probably has a better idea how much money she has in her purse; but even then, I doubt she knows down to the last copper piece.

HOWEVER, when it comes to my character, I love counting beans; as well as arrows, spell slots, hit points, and copper pieces. I recognize that I have problem. But there are a lot of players like me. So, any alternate system needs to be compatible with the bean counting system. I mean it is satisfying to find a hoard* and add it up baby! It would be a bit of a downer if it was only felt in a score that ranges from 1-20.

* Hoards. It gets kind of silly when putting together a dragon's hoard. I mean the beast is supposed to be sleeping on this thing, but coins don't take up much volume.
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
The True20 system did away with hit points back in the aughts. You rolled constitution checks instead, and gained levels of exhaustion, basically. I like the idea of a wealth system. Always have. But, BEANS!

I'm like a witch who must count the matchsticks. 🙃
 

jgsugden

Legend
This is how I handle wealth, generally.

At low levels (1 and 2) - every copper matters. You're just getting started. You are trying to outfit yourself with some basic equipment. I'll ask about rations, cold weather gear, etc...

At journeyman levels (3 and 4) - You've had your first big haul. You're setting your sights on obtaining some magical items. We're wasting time if you tell me about how many iron spikes you are buying. I tell PCs when they can buy mundane equipment, but do not check on it at all. It is handled privately by the player (unless I want to drop a story hook at the shop). We only talk about whether you have gear if it is unusual gear.

At heroic levels (5 to 10) - You're well known heroes. If you want a stapler, you can be assumed to get one. It isn't worth discussing at all. if a player is on a journey and says, "I wish I had ball bearings" I'll tell them to give me a wisdom check. If I like the result (low DC), I'll tell them that they had the foresight to buy them and that they can add them to their inventory. PCs should have wealth sufficient to buy a few uncommon or a singular rare magic item in addition to what they've found, and although I might make them work for it a bit, anything they want to buy in their price range is going to pop up somewhere, somehow. At worst, there will be someone that can make it for them. Mundane gear is assumed to be there - you've been around the block and know how to prepare.

At super heroic levels (11 to 16) - PCs will have access to one or more sellers that produce potions, scrolls, etc... on a regular basis. They'll be able to buy these things whenever they want. If they want something off the list on a regular basis, the NPC will add it to their lists. They'll be able to travel to the great markets of my universe (the Cities of Brass, Iron and Gold; as well as my Planescape/Sigil equivalent). There they can find anything - for the right price.

Legends (17+) - I tend to move the game to more abstract patterns. There may be several years of game time between sessions (at times). PCs can get almost anything outside of legendary items if they focus their downtime efforts on doing so. The PCs wealth will likely be very vast at this point, with access to revenue generating features (mines, magic shops, etc...) potentially in their possession.
 

Macchiato Monsters uses a usage die for money. A usage die is a resource tracking mechanic, where you have a resource of a certain die size that you roll each time you use that resource, and on a roll of 1 or 2 the die ticks down to the next lower size. So maybe you have d6 arrows, you roll a 1, now you have d4 arrows. If you roll a 1 again, you are out of arrows. Anyway, MM extends this to money. The system they use is a bit overly fiddly for my tastes, but the basic idea is that you could have a d8 bag of gp or sp, and roll on that every time you want to try to buy something.
 

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