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Paizo Luxuries in a game with magic items

CapnZapp

Legend
Hello everyone!

I am toying with an idea I got: a campaign heavily inspired by the TV show The Shield, featuring morally compromised heroes as city watch detectives in a corrupt fantasy metropolis.

A big element of such a campaign would/should be temptation: repeatedly putting the player characters in situations where they could or could not choose to enrich themselves, possibly with heavy consequences down the line. Do you make choices that let you buy a nice house for your wife and kids, do you take on an expensive mistress, do you accrue gambling debts or do you need to feed money into a heavy drug addiction?

Now then, I'm assuming a ruleset such as 3rd edition or Pathfinder 1 or Pathfinder 2 where magic items are expected to be an important part of character customization, and where the default game allows you to purchase vital adventuring bonuses using gold.

My problem then is that just having the heroes find a stash of ill-gotten gains during a bust does not work. I can't ask the players to choose to forego purchasing a Striking weapon just to be able to tell the story of having epic (and epically expensive) parties.

Somehow I need to split the item economy from the world economy, or at least the luxuries economy. I have some ideas, but would like outside feedback. (What would be fun? Have I missed something? And so on...)

This also ties into issues like "should the campaign actively encourage heroes to just confiscate loot from their law enforcement activities?" (I am not (re)starting this summer's controversy on Paizo's Agents of Edgewatch here, I just need to flag I am aware of the issues.)

Simplest approach: two separate currencies.
Example: Gold and credits.

Gold = the stuff you purchase chickens with. Or or bribe city officials with. Or purchase non-magical equipment such as plate mail.
Credits = you can requisition Police HQ for magic items such as +1 striking swords. To do so you need to have accomplished stuff during your career, meaning of course that instead of paying gold you have a running tab of credits (you effectively "pay" 100 credits to check out a brand new +1 striking sword if we're playing Pathfinder 2, since a +1 striking weapon costs 100 gold)

There would then be no magic item shoppes. Gold (taken from perps) can only be checked into evidence or be pilfered for personal use.

Crafting could be very useful if Police HQ only let you check out the fundamentals. If every item is available, then less so, of course.

Luxuries (abstract) approach:

Instead of having to deal with hundreds and tens of thousands of gold, maybe use an abstract approach: luxuries points.

That is, instead of describing a stash as 3,000 gold, simply say 10 luxuries points (say) to be divided between the police officers (heroes) that are present.

The idea here is that if you put 5 luxuries point into "drug habit" that could spawn interesting stories involving maybe a level 5 drug dealer. If you put 7 points into "high class escort" that could result in a level 7 adventure involving maybe a heist or extortion scheme. (Is she playing you or are the two of you scamming another client of hers?) Not solo adventures, but ones where the whole group is there to help out, of course.

So if you are level 5, and you have amassed 15 luxury points, you would be able to indicate (to the GM) which kinds of adventures you would like to see: if you put 8 points into "family" you might end up having a level 8 villain kidnap your wife. If you instead put 4 points into "gambling" and 4 points into "drug habit" you might instead see low-level annoyances where you're constantly harassed by low-level thugs trying to get you to pay your gambling debts or force you into drug distribution or whatever.

My rough aim would be for each hero to have the potential for at least twice her level in luxury points, so each player can indicate two story ideas of a level-appropriate nature. But if one level 10 hero has 30 points while another only has 10 or even none doesn't make a significant difference, since the latter hero can still enjoy having the first one's related adventures.

The benefit of the abstract approach is that nobody needs to figure out the exact economy. (A high level adventurer being good for 20,000 gold is fine when the main outlet for all that wealth is a sword that just happens to cost 20,000 gold. It is mostly a headache if you have to explain a city's economy in terms of exponential wealth)

You would still use figures like 20,000 when it comes to purchasing magic items. For example: at level 17, a Pathfinder 2 hero could quite comfortably afford a 15,000 credits purchase such as a Luck Blade.

But would it be compelling to amass "luxuries points"? Do your players react to gold better?
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
The next question would be:

Do I need to associate corruption with game bonuses? And if so, what's a good balance that retains the core idea - that you CAN pocket stuff for yourself but you don't HAVE to.

Meaning that if one hero steals a bag of drugs from a bust to later give as incentive to one of his confidential informants, or to pay for a nice house, is that enough reward in of itself?

Or would that simply mean the players would all stay on the high road since there "isn't anything in it for me", meaning game elements like extra feats or plus bonuses or bonus fortune points or whatever. (We're about to finish off Paizo's AP Extinction Curse, and the players all had the same feedback: the fact the circus would never give any bonuses useful during adventuring meant it would always be ultimately irrelevant and skippable)

What is your prediction? Would "you get something extra for every 5 luxuries points you amass" (see the above post for what I mean by luxuries points) help your players roleplaying? Or would it rather hinder them? "Something extra" being a tangible useful reward for adventurers often facing deadly monsters.

I don't want them to simply ignore temptation, but I don't want them to feel forced into it either. It needs to be a personal decision.

How much or little would your players need?
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
I don’t like the abstraction of luxury points. You can use it to keep track of where the players are at for yourself, but I wouldn’t reveal it to the players. Players perform enough illicit behavior in the middle of an adventure that it shouldn’t be hard to put them in compromising positions.

In the Vance novels mages don’t get to choose their spells from a list when they level up. They have to buy or steal from other mages. What are your mages willing to do for that Fireball spell? In the Vance novels the wizards would resort to theft, kidnapping, and murder for access to more spells.

In a lot of feudal societies, commoners couldn’t just go out and buy a sword and armor. They had to have some sort of warrant from a liege or guild. Then they had to find a weapon smith or armorer that could fulfill the order. Maybe some baron is willing to provide them with the necessary papers to bear martial arms in exchange for beating up a minor courtier of a minor dukedom that insulted the baroness at court. Oops, that minor courtier was actually a cousin of the King.

Maybe just ask them to create a backstory that includes one morally compromising situation?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I don’t like the abstraction of luxury points.
That's what I'm afraid of. Thank you for providing your opinion.
You can use it to keep track of where the players are at for yourself, but I wouldn’t reveal it to the players.
Well, sure, but it's not that I need the mechanism for my own sake. The point of having them was to give the players the power to influence scenarios (I'll explain below).
Players perform enough illicit behavior in the middle of an adventure that it shouldn’t be hard to put them in compromising positions.
Absolutely, and I don't need to count points behind-the-scenes to track this.

The purpose of having visible points was twofold:
a) to have something with which to reward the PCs. If I'm not giving them gold, what then? How to give them a sense of reward? These are players not primarily interested in downtime, so the usual approach - handing out gold as per D&D defaults since the dawn of time, and expecting players to be interested in how much it costs to build a wizard's tower or start a thieves guild etc - doesn't work. They would only want to take all that gold and purchase magic weapons with it. (They would probably even want to ditch the intended adventure, instead spending all their free time finding and meeting a shady collector from which they could finally purchase magic weapons...!) Awarding not-gold would be a strong indicator that's off the table. Remember, I'm thinking of allowing crafting and/or requisitioning, in addition to good-old looting - so it's not that I'm planning an magic-item-less campaign.

Also, my players are sufficiently minmaxing that if I hand them a tangible resource (like a point on a paper or a marker in their hand) they would not want to just ignore that resource. Their tendency to optimize would compel them to actually use the point, meaning to choose which exact luxury their character descends into. (If I don't hand out something, there's a higher risk they try to stay out of every situation where a NPC can get power over them - like the stereotypical fantasy paladin murderhobo ;) - and this campaign is not about completely rootless flawless killer heroes)

b) give the players a say in what adventures that happens. That is, by putting luxury points into "wife and family" you send the signal to me the GM you want adventures revolving around that while by putting points into "supernatural mistress" you send a completely different signal. (Actually maybe the signal is the same but for different content, or at least the same adventure but from another starting point). And of course I would love the player who puts points in both of those :)

Maybe just ask them to create a backstory that includes one morally compromising situation?
Sure, but that's static. I would love a mechanism that continuously asks characters (and players) that, so story seeds keep generating themselves. Equally importantly, I am not sure gold as reward is good if you can't purchase magic items for it (and if you can, you will, and I can no longer use gold for temptation - as explained above).

I am toying with the idea to hand them a free archetype (Free Archetype - Rules - Archives of Nethys: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Database) but with the catch they need to come up with one relative or other NPC for each free feat they want out of that variant rule.

So one player could say he's got a wife named Nelly working as a nurse, attending knitting parties in her free time. That's one. My immediate reaction would be that this is not the description of an adventurous soul, so I would probably not have her attend secret rituals. She could still be kidnapped by cultists, however! More importantly, if the PC then gets seduced by a Succubi or whatever, I have "story tension" I wouldn't otherwise have if the PC was single. Then he declines free feats for his children, sending the message to me they are to be out of bounds (no threatening them). He can still name them of course: Dudo, Eldron, and cute little Hilda. But since the player declined free feats for them, I will abide by an unwritten agreement not to have them kidnapped by cultists (for example). For his second feat he chooses an old mentor Steinitz the Elf who's fallen on hard times (somehow, perhaps I the GM can come up with a story where the motivation is the fate of this guy). And so on, for the four or seven feats or whatever that the archetype will eventually grant. (You need to come up with the NPCs now, but you only get the feats at the respective levels as expected).
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The issue I see is that the PCs will 'get ahead' by being mildly-corrupt, not by being honest (actually falls behind) nor by being very-corrupt (has to deal with potent enemies).

The IRL version of a 'you are the cops' campaign that I want to be in, is encapsulated in this quote: "10% of the cops on the force are hopelessly corrupt. 10% of the cops are completely honest. And the other 80% ... they wish they were."

Temptation should be there, but resisting temptation should have its own rewards, equal to (but different from) the rewards from succumbing to it.

For instance, an honest cop who puts luxury points into 'Neighborhood' (coaches Little League, is on Christmas gift drive, patrols own home block after work hours, tells teen toughs to mind their manners, &c) and into Family, who gets a kidnapping / intimidation threat against his kids, should have the whole block of Commoners turn into informants and 'watch Officer Fred's back' helpers.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Personally I’d go full hog and turn all wealth into an abstracted points system. So that chickens require at least 1 Wealth point (Roll v DC 0).

I use an Influence system that merges Reputation/Leadership and Wealth on the basis that someone with more Influence can generally get more stuff. I also allow Influence points to be applied as ‘labour’ - representing minor followers being asked to do stuff (eg harvest food, build).

I like your idea of putting the points into different areas (Drug, Prostitution) and having them generate an NPC - generating NPCs and Factions is the entire point of a abstracted system.
So I’d encouraging adding in Eltabs factions (Neighbourhood/Family) and building the entire campaign around the controlling Turf and building reputation across Poltical and Criminal factions

PCs can still be given physical treasure but instead of getting 200 gold coints, you instead give them a gleaming diamond on a gold chain, a ruby talisman or the deed to the Dockside Warehouse ...
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Temptation should be there, but resisting temptation should have its own rewards, equal to (but different from) the rewards from succumbing to it.

For instance, an honest cop who puts luxury points into 'Neighborhood' (coaches Little League, is on Christmas gift drive, patrols own home block after work hours, tells teen toughs to mind their manners, &c) and into Family, who gets a kidnapping / intimidation threat against his kids, should have the whole block of Commoners turn into informants and 'watch Officer Fred's back' helpers.
Thank you for this. It reminds me of the importance of Bahama's suggestion:

Maybe just ask them to create a backstory that includes one morally compromising situation?
Because the campaign is inspired by The Shield (and The Wire and Southland with small helpings of Warrior, Peaky Blinders and Murdoch Mysteries thrown in) I need to create a list of... something like a traditional fantasy flaws personality list but with the focus on dynamic flaws that inspire the players to continuously get into trouble.

If a player interprets a kidnapping attempt as anything other than a reward, a cool motivation starting a personalized scenario, something has gone wrong in the campaign startup. Obviously Vic of The Shield could have made many choices, including telling their families the truth. But this campaign is more about "antiheroes with a badge" than morally upstanding citizens. (I know everyone loves the serialized fallout from their money train job, but what I really loved about The Shield was the first few seasons before their reality starts to fall apart)

Resisting temptation should indeed have its own rewards, but then we're more talking about avoiding stupid mistakes than some kind of cosmic karma. If you don't help yourself to the confiscated goods you're just gonna miss out. Or so it needs to appear until the PCs are deeply mired... :p

So thank you Eltab for reminding me I need to make it crystal clear what kinds of "heroes" this campaign needs. Maybe you joined the guards to get revenge on a corrupt cop, now captain of the district. Maybe you've just dreamt of getting rich all your life and now you're finally "gonna show them". Or you just like to bust heads, but was smart enough to join the winning team - only to realize the gangs, the drug peddlers and the crime lords are the ones winning, with the filthy poor taking the hits to make it appear otherwise.
 

I don't see any value in replacing one type of currency (gold/credits) with another (luxury points). It makes the rules more convoluted, while allowing the players to easily see when they gain corruption.

I think what you are looking for, is a system where the players have to balance risk versus reward, and they don't know for sure when they'll earn corruption.

A better way to handle this, would be a system with purchase DC's. Players basically have a wealth level, which is used to check if they can afford certain expenses. If they fail their roll, they either lose a wealth level or go into debt and/or gain corruption as they have to make shady deals to pay for their expenses.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I don't see any value in replacing one type of currency (gold/credits) with another (luxury points).
The core issue that needed solving was to have TWO currencies, so you aren't asked to choose between story (luxuries) and bonuses (sword +1)

So if what you're saying is that you'd stick to gold for story/downtime and "credits" for requisitions (magic item purchases) that's cool.

Me thinking about luxury points was merely an observation that it would let me off the hook regarding "how much gold?" Do the stash contain 100 gold or 10,000 gold, you know what I mean? I should add that neither I nor any of the players are interested in actual questions like "Can I afford this house or do I settle for that house?" The only thing that's relevant is how deep in you go compared to your level, and so I thought it would be nicer and cleaner to have a character sport a "level 5 nice house" at level 5.

Instead of me having to create a half-arsed barely-believable monetary system (how much does a house cost in actual gold coins and so on). :)

Luxury points or levels do share some of the basic idea of wealth level - the abstraction.

I really hope not to have to go for actual gold, since I will probably have to settle for Pathfinder 2's default system even though it makes precisely zero sense once you remove magic items from the equation...

Thanks for your feedback.
 

nevin

Adventurer
I don't like it. If players want to spend thier money on luxery and they have to do without magic items to do that, there is nothing wrong with that. In the current game I play a wizard who is also working on becoming a rich powerful business man in the town we operate from. I do without things all the time because I have to divide my resources and time. The only reason pathfinders gold system makes no sense is they screwed up by making magic item prices insane. If a game has a typical poor economy one +3 sword is a ridiculous amount of money. What I do when I run my games is magic item prices are based on what the market can bear. That +2 sword may be worth 4000 gp but if you are out in the boonies in a small town, 400gp may be the most anyone can afford. Now if your in the capital city where magic items are easy to find a +1 sword may only sell for 300 to 400 gp because they are easy to find and the merchant may have 9 in inventory.

If your going to go by book prices for pathfinder, to make it work you have to assume everyone adventuring has the normal amount of christmas tree items worth the amount they should have by level. Which is fine if your playing high magic. If not forget the books and just charge em or pay em what the current market should bear. Which may mean if they need money badly that portable hole may only bring 10,000 gp because no one can afford more than that.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
@nevin I'm sorry but you seem mostly to go on a personal rant. While always good to cleanse I can't really use "suggestions" like "The only reason pathfinders gold system makes no sense is they screwed up by making magic item prices insane" :)

I certainly don't want to re-price all the items in the Treasure chapter.

And as I said (or rather meant) Pathfinder 2 contains zero thoughts on what other things cost, other than what's in the Equipment chapter.

D&D is simply laser-focused on adventuring, so the only way "you find 50,000 gold" makes sense is if desirable purchases is in the five-digit range.

In Pathfinder 2 at least there IS such a menu of item purchases = magic items. In 5th Edition, gold is essentially worthless.

Go literally anywhere else instead! :)


So I again I ask, what's a good alternative to luxury points (or wealth levels)?

Again, asking the players to abstain from a juicy magic weapon or wand just to be able to maintain his mistress, or her drug addiction, is simply inconceivable, at least in my group. But fixing that is the easy part (just have separate currencies) so it's already done. The question is: what is the most fun currency for "downtime purchases"? I'm hoping for suggestions other than gold since I don't want to have to invent a new Wealth By Level table and/or create a believable fantasy economy :)
 

nevin

Adventurer
You are trying to redesign the entire rewards system of pathfinder and want an quick easy no effort way to do it. Your trying to seperate one type of goods from another type of goods. In effect you want to seperate "adventuring gear/Magic gear" from everything else in the economy that you consider "vanity or wealth related. I don't think there is a good alternative. Wealth and what you do with it is part of the rewards system of pathfinder. Players are expected to spend their wealth in thier own way. Economies work because people spend money on things based on how available and how useful they are. You are taking away thier choice to do so because you don't think it's fair for them to decide to go without to do what they want in. You seem to want a wealth without consequences thing where they don't ever have to sacrifice Adventuring stuff for comfort / vanity stuff. Just start them out as rich nobles and go from there. Make money pointless from the beginning. Then you don't have to rewire the entire rewards system for the game.

BTW I wasn't ranting about pathfinder I was simply pointing out pathfinder doesn't handle wealth well once you leave the Christmas tree effect and their wealth by player level tables behind. For them it's just an afterthought and if you go any deeper into anything that involves wealth it falls apart, many magic items are worth insane sums of money in most games. 100,000 gold pieces or more in some cases. beyond 5 or 6th level pathfinder rewards system doesnt' make any sense on any level except that you get more every level.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
BTW I wasn't ranting about pathfinder I was simply pointing out pathfinder doesn't handle wealth well once you leave the Christmas tree effect and their wealth by player level tables behind. For them it's just an afterthought and if you go any deeper into anything that involves wealth it falls apart, many magic items are worth insane sums of money in most games. 100,000 gold pieces or more in some cases. beyond 5 or 6th level pathfinder rewards system doesnt' make any sense on any level except that you get more every level.
First off, there's nothing wrong with going on a good rant! Get it out your system! :)

You are trying to redesign the entire rewards system of pathfinder and want an quick easy no effort way to do it. Your trying to seperate one type of goods from another type of goods. In effect you want to seperate "adventuring gear/Magic gear" from everything else in the economy that you consider "vanity or wealth related. I don't think there is a good alternative. Wealth and what you do with it is part of the rewards system of pathfinder. Players are expected to spend their wealth in thier own way. Economies work because people spend money on things based on how available and how useful they are. You are taking away thier choice to do so because you don't think it's fair for them to decide to go without to do what they want in. You seem to want a wealth without consequences thing where they don't ever have to sacrifice Adventuring stuff for comfort / vanity stuff. Just start them out as rich nobles and go from there. Make money pointless from the beginning. Then you don't have to rewire the entire rewards system for the game.
Well, no... Pathfinder 2 - very much unlike 5th edition - expects heroes to amass magic items.

If you're inclined towards minmaxing or even survival you will have a hard time justifying a new house or a thieves guild if you could instead spend your money on +1 to attacks or saves, for instance.

In 5th edition it works much better to have players genuinely interested in downtime, and purchasing "downtime stuff" (like building their own wizard's tower).

Pathfinder 2 is much more "hardcore" in that the rules say exactly nothing about what wizard towers cost, and say a lot about what Flaming Swords and Bracers of Armor cost.

I'm not saying you're playing the game badwrongfun if you don't focus on magic items for your money.

I am however saying that my players do, and I am also saying I can't blame them - not in the context of playing PF2 where every little +1 is a cherished reward that can be the difference between life and death...

So on the question "can rewards be a single currency" my answer is a definite no. That doesn't mean it has to be for you, but it does mean I can't use suggestions that assume players will skip the next level of potency rune just to play a morally gray character. I hope you can respect that :)

For the purposes of my campaign I will definitely not ask the players to abstain from magic items just to characterize their PCs. Luckily, that aspect of the problem is trivial to solve - just have two currencies, that could be called blue money and red money if all that needed solving was this specific issue.

Thing is, it isn't. I really hope I don't have to specify "red money" amounts that make sense both at level 1, 10 and 20... (At level 1 everything works since I can just award money that makes sense compared to purchasing plate armor or a pig or whatever. But at level 10 I really can't see the cop heroes being millionaries - and still working as cops!) It would be sooo much easier and more to the point to utilize abstract wealth levels.

I just wish more of you would say you see the tradeoffs and compromises, instead of saying it doesn't sound like fun... since I can't really see a good workable alternative...
 

First off, there's nothing wrong with going on a good rant! Get it out your system! :)

Hear hear!

I just wish more of you would say you see the tradeoffs and compromises, instead of saying it doesn't sound like fun... since I can't really see a good workable alternative...

I agree. I think it is an interesting discussion to have. I personally don't think luxury points are the way to go, but I think it is a fun discussion to have. Maybe we can come up with some other better system to handle this?
 

nevin

Adventurer
First off, there's nothing wrong with going on a good rant! Get it out your system! :)


Well, no... Pathfinder 2 - very much unlike 5th edition - expects heroes to amass magic items.

If you're inclined towards minmaxing or even survival you will have a hard time justifying a new house or a thieves guild if you could instead spend your money on +1 to attacks or saves, for instance.

In 5th edition it works much better to have players genuinely interested in downtime, and purchasing "downtime stuff" (like building their own wizard's tower).

Pathfinder 2 is much more "hardcore" in that the rules say exactly nothing about what wizard towers cost, and say a lot about what Flaming Swords and Bracers of Armor cost.

I'm not saying you're playing the game badwrongfun if you don't focus on magic items for your money.

I am however saying that my players do, and I am also saying I can't blame them - not in the context of playing PF2 where every little +1 is a cherished reward that can be the difference between life and death...

So on the question "can rewards be a single currency" my answer is a definite no. That doesn't mean it has to be for you, but it does mean I can't use suggestions that assume players will skip the next level of potency rune just to play a morally gray character. I hope you can respect that :)

For the purposes of my campaign I will definitely not ask the players to abstain from magic items just to characterize their PCs. Luckily, that aspect of the problem is trivial to solve - just have two currencies, that could be called blue money and red money if all that needed solving was this specific issue.

Thing is, it isn't. I really hope I don't have to specify "red money" amounts that make sense both at level 1, 10 and 20... (At level 1 everything works since I can just award money that makes sense compared to purchasing plate armor or a pig or whatever. But at level 10 I really can't see the cop heroes being millionaries - and still working as cops!) It would be sooo much easier and more to the point to utilize abstract wealth levels.

I just wish more of you would say you see the tradeoffs and compromises, instead of saying it doesn't sound like fun... since I can't really see a good workable alternative...
Ok, I think I understand better now. Maybe the magic item economy runs on different things. Dragon scales, special metals like mithril and adamantine, and other Rare magical materials. The mages that make the magic items are a guild and they make them for the rulers. The only other magic Items would be illegally made or stolen. Technically they are worth something but what if magic items are like US military Tech. the really powerful stuff just isnt for sale. You only get it illegally or use them if you work for the authorities. then all that money could only buy magic items if the "cops" wanted to break the law, and selling stuff to the underworld would be against the law.

Even though in the underworld money would buy stuff, in the legal world your "cops" wouldn't be able to sell or buy such things. They could turn them in if they decide they don't need them so other "cops" could use them.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
Well, it's not the magic item economy I'm worried about.

Giving out "credits" that allows heroes to "requisition" "gear" from City Armory can be functionally identical to handing out gold and loot to allow heroes to purchase magic items from Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, so that bit is a solved problem - this is what Pathfinder 2 focuses all its efforts on, and it's balanced (if not as fun as 3E/5E magic items).

It's the other side of the coin I'm uncertain how to handle.

(cont'd)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Just handing out the same amounts of gold as in a standard campaign doesn't work if you can purchase magic weapons and it doesn't work if you can't.

If you can - because who in their right mind would start talking about their gambling addiction and wasting it all on cheap champagne, when magic items give you real tangible bonuses that really help you survive and complete adventures?

If you can't - because the exponential gold economy makes exactly zero sense. What cop still works as an underpaid city servant when you start earning hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands of gold? The whole point of the campaign was to examine the allure of corruption, and who needs corruption when you can afford the Extravagant standard of living and still have enough money to buy everything you see in front of you...?

No, the classic gold hauls of D&D since time immemorial only functions properly if magic item upgrades is your outlet, or at least where you are expected to live as adventurer with no real wish to change careers - you WANT the thrill of adventure.

---

I have something different in mind. I want overworked underpaid cops who see the criminals and the aristocrats enrich themselves every day, and whose only shot at getting ahead is to start compromising with their morals... My luxury levels was the most direct and simple way of accomplishing that without getting bogged down with questions like "how much does it really cost to purchase a house?"

I mean it's never been interesting whether it costs 1,000 gold, half that or five times as much. What's important for the narrative is that your hero is "ten levels deep" into his gambling debts, meaning it will spawn level 10 foes and level 10 adventures.

But I guess it's possible to go "okay so your gambling debt is currently 500 gold and now it increases to 900 gold" and only behind the scenes note that a level 8 item is ~500 gold and a level 10 item is ~900 gold so the level of your chosen luxury is increased from 8 to 10.

I just thought it would be easier to skip all the currency conversions and hand out luxury points directly. You get 2 luxury points and you add them to your "gambling debts 8" to get "gambling debts 10".

*** This allows stashes to remain static regardless of level - a small stash is always 2 points, a regular 4 points and a big one maybe 8 points.

This is because +1 luxury level corresponds to going from 15 gp to 30 at level 1 but going from 500 gp to 700 gp at level 8. In both cases we're talking +1 luxury point, but going from 1 to 2 points = an increase of +15 gp and going from 8 to 9 points = an increase of +200 gp.

The actual numbers (15 gp, 200 gp, 700 gp) are meaningless. Only the levels have any meaning "will the thugs be a level 2 encounter or a level 9 encounter?

*** It also allows everybody to not care whether the luxury points represents debts or savings. One character might plow her points into "party villa 10". Another might choose "expensive mistress 10". A third might go for "drug habit 10". In one case you're buying a house. In another, you're wasting dosh on blow. That one thing represents a house that possibly is worth a thousand gold while the other represents... no longer having a thousand gold ;) is of zero importance narratively.



But if your feedback is: go through the trouble of "spelling" out the actual coin amounts, then I hear you loud and clear.
 

nevin

Adventurer
I can see that working if the players are ok with it. If you could work out the details .

I can't really work my mind around an easier way to track it than just simply Gold or money. And that may just be I"m stuck in my familiar paradigm of setting a GP value on everything in my games. though I could see some fun narrative things, like you hit 10pts of wealth and your Aunt dies and leaves you a mansion, The rolls Royce, and a monthly stipend to maintain it and your living expenses. Now your a target for criminals that want your money. And it removes any in game roll playing about spending your money, which I wouldn't like. I love spending my money on businesses, Bribes, etc to drive my characters personal goals.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I can see that working if the players are ok with it. If you could work out the details .

I can't really work my mind around an easier way to track it than just simply Gold or money. And that may just be I"m stuck in my familiar paradigm of setting a GP value on everything in my games. though I could see some fun narrative things, like you hit 10pts of wealth and your Aunt dies and leaves you a mansion, The rolls Royce, and a monthly stipend to maintain it and your living expenses. Now your a target for criminals that want your money. And it removes any in game roll playing about spending your money, which I wouldn't like. I love spending my money on businesses, Bribes, etc to drive my characters personal goals.
you still get to do the role play of buying stuff, just now its all about roleplaying the negotiation, trying to get influence and perks, without the drag of calculation whether its going to cost 5000, 5750 or 6200 gp - Instead its roll negotiation vs DC 13 add your reputation and rp bonus
 

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