A hypothetical scenario just popper up in my head.
This has never happened to me but maybe it has for you, which is great and your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Imagine this scenario:
There are 4 players making up the party, each of which are the typical WL 2 for a level 1 character.
So they go shopping and there is this thing they wanna buy.
But this thing is WL 4!
Individually, rules as written and intended, a character may purchase items equal to their WL every 14 days, items lower than that at no great cost, or an item 1 level higher than theirs at the cost of reducing their WL by 1.
By the rules, a character, unless they start with Wealthy or other various exceptions, at Level 1 cannot purchase anything greater than WL 3.
But what if, the players really REALLY wanted that WL 4 item?
So they decide that they are gonna pool together all of their money in order to buy this thing?
How would you handle that?
The rules gives you rules for individual expenditure of wealth but not for GROUP expenditures of wealth.
What then? Would 4 WL 2 characters equal a single WL 4 item?
What if the variables were slightly different? Like there was only 3 players instead, or 10?
Or instead of WL 2, they each had WL 3 and the item they wanted to buy was WL 7?
What if these 4 players of WL 2 decided to pool their money together to just buy a WL 3 item instead in hopes of not reducing their WL?
What would be the fair thing to do here as the GM?
Do you simply outright not allow them to purchase the item?
Or do you allow them to do it at the cost of maybe 1 or more WL reductions?
I doubt this will ever happen to me with my party of 1 player but you never know…
How would you handle this hypothetical scenario as a GM?
Or maybe you are a player? What do you think you would want the GM to do when you present them with this idea?
Wealth Level is a really nice system. I was against it at first as most people probably were, but I really like using WL and I’d prefer not to resort back to using a traditional point system just because the players decided to do something the rules has no answer for.
I have made rules for an alternative traditional point system of Wealth Points (WP) instead of Wealth Level multiple times before, but like I said, me and the boys prefer WL over anything nowadays… Heh.
There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s start with the basics:
Wealth Level is NOT a linear scale, but we generally advise to treat or view it more like a logarithmic scale. While this is not explicitly stated within the rules, it’s rather implicit, especially if you take a look at the different lifestyles and purchases for the different Wealth Levels in the Core Rules. For example:
WL2 represents the lifestyle of a Town Guard
WL3 represents the lifestyle of a Village Mayor
WL4 represents the lifestyle of a Noble
So even if 4 Town Guards pool together their resources, they wouldn’t be able to afford the lifestyle or the high-end purchases of a Noble, like a small ship for example. So in a way, it’s already easier to treat WL as a group-wide resource since even if the PCs are pooling their WL, it likely won’t change their lifestyle or purchasing possibilities, unless you have one PC with higher WL or an unreasonable amount of PCs.
The usual scale we give is multiples of 10. So a WL3 Item would roughly be 10 times the value of a WL2 Item. I say Item, because the WL of a person usually represents their total financial situation including available funds, income and contacts while an Item’s WL represents a monetary value.
So if you really wanted to add together purchasing power, you’d need 10 WL2 purchases to make up for 1 WL3 purchase. That kind of financial strain is why you drop a WL when purchasing one above your WL, you use up almost all of your funds or possibly even go into debt.
In your situation the party would still be ~60% of funds short even when near-bankrupting themselves.
As a more practical tip, have them do a favor of some kind for the shopkeeper so they lower the price. Maybe their suppliers have had bandit problems, so the party needs to escort some people. Or they require a special material to make this specific sort of Item, so if the party procures some of that they can easily replace it.
Assuming you want the party to have access to the Item, anyways.
I wish my players actually understood this about the WL system lol.
Multiple times they would decide to do some measly part time job and expect that in a month or so of doing this they would apparently raise by a wealth level?
I always tell them, no, I’m afraid that’s not how it works! WL3 is exponentially higher than WL 2, and WL 4 is exponentially higher than WL 3! So on and so on, and besides, the part time job at best is only allowing you to maintain your WL 2 lifestyle! Buying food and paying rent costs money. The money you earn during those part time jobs is only earning you enough money to buy those food and rent!
I will never understand my players… Wouldn’t it be more fun if they just decided to go on a quest or actually try coming up with a money making scheme instead to increase their WL???
I kinda figured that would be the best way you would go about handling it anyway lol.
Still, these answer gave me new questions to ponder.
So since purchasing a WL 3 for a character WL 2 results in a penalty of 1 WL reduction, and as you said, 4 players pooling together their WL 2 assess still won’t let them purchase anything higher than WL 3, would it be possible if for some reason they just really wanted it right now, you could just… Hand it to them at the cost of 2 or more WL reduction for each of them? Which leads me to this —
Got me thinking if it is an okay thing to reduce/raise people’s WL by more than just 1?
It’s actually something we’ve been doing for some time now. Incredibly bad financial decisions and the like turning a WL 2 character into a WL 0 in an instant, or a WL 8 character going down from WL 8 to WL 5 because of how they decided to spend their week of downtime or something. And the same is equally true.
One campaign my characters had to beat the BBEG which was a super greedy noble, they had to beat him in his own game as fighting him the old fashioned way would just turn them into criminals, so they challenged him to a cross dressing competition. (don’t ask)
The only way they could beat him was by buying something more expensive and more fashionable than what they (the BBEG) could do.
It was an all or nothing gambit and the only way they could gain such immense wealth before the deadline for the competition is by trying out to see if the rumor about the fabled dragon and his immense hoard was true.
Luckily it was true and after completing the dragon’s challenges, they went instantly from WL 4 to WL 7 (though the dragon had enough in his hoard to bring all of them to 9, they knew better than to let their greed overtake them. Knowing taking from the hoard was part of the dragon’s challenge, testing their virtues), only to instantly fall back immediately to WL 4 after the pageant.
(The fluctuation of their WL from this scenario was more or less just for fluff)
Is that a bad practice? WL in our group is never static, always fluctuating during sessions, though not frequently, and not even once per session, but it is an expected part of our games by this point that sometimes you could suddenly gain more or less money a character is expected to have due to some very very extraordinary circumstances.
Obviously it could lead to some shenanigans but putting a limit to how often they can do something like it can always work, and it could present some great story moments.
Speaking of bankruptcy and debt, how about putting a character to negative WL? But nothing is already purchasable at WL 0 so I guess that would just be pointless. Nevermind.
So going back to my theoretical scenario, since as you have said, they are 40% of the way there, how about allowing them to purchase it at the cost of turning all of them to WL 0?
Granted maybe they do some sort of short (or not so short) quest before hand to slightly tip the scales towards them? Or at the very least, they do the quest after the purchase to represent how deep in debt they are in now and they now have to make up for it.
Like, for example, said WL 4 item they wanna buy is some sort of shortcut to beating the BBEG and their plan is to spend their money to get it so that they can have an easy time fighting the BBEG and hopefully their reward money will bring them back or potentially more money. An investment plan if you will.
The overly cautious players get what they want, and you as the GM, don’t have to worry about your epic campaign suddenly going off track! And you as the GM don’t have to ruin anyone’s fun and immersion by telling them the boss isn’t that hard! They have (X) HP!
Well, not really. Neither from a mechanical nor narrative standpoint does this make sense. Mechanically WL just really aren’t supposed to fluctuate that much, and raising a players WL by 2 is a huge deal, especially considering how Extraordinary Item pricing works.
Narratively, they just would not have the money, period. After all, if they were to all drop to WL1 in an attempt to reach WL4 using their WL2 status, then they’d have 1/10th of what they started out with. So even if they were to drop to WL0, they’d be about 44% of the way there instead of the 40% they had previously.
In an exponential system like this, changing the value by more than 1 just isn’t comparable to a single step into the other direction.
Regarding things like buying an outfit, that’s a specific situation in which wealth is of vital importance. However, the WL system is just too vague and broad to be suited well for this task, so I’d recommend handling these things seperately or having a different wealth system entirely if it comes up often.
For example, send them on the same dragon quest but instead of actually raising their WL it’s handled as a plot point that they can use the hoard to pay for such a thing and then it’s gone. Or have them do downtime activities using Generic Attribute Rolls, then instead of reaching a WL they have a CR to beat.
In both cases, you could raise their WL by 1 if they did particularly well. That’s still multiplying their resources tenfold! But much more than that seems very unrealistic to me, and in the case of Items it can also get fairly unbalanced.
The beauty pageant thing with the cross-dressing wasn’t intended or planned.
It was the result of my players being as chaotic and unpredictable as any player would be.
The original plan and reason as to why they would raise from WL 4 to WL 7, then BACK to WL 4 was that the original fight against the nobleman was supposed to be a bidding contest, the noble MUST NOT HAVE THE MACGUFFIN AT ALL COSTS!!! sort of deal. Their WL and Presence score playing a very important role throughout the whole auction, but instead I had to improvise and allow the cross-dressing because they somehow convinced the guardian of the macguffin and bbeg to decide the victor through a cross-dressing contest instead… It still allowed for WL and Presence to play an important role but I digress, even with this info what you said would still very much hold true anyway.
Like you said, I could just fold and just use my Wealth Point system again but I don’t wanna.
This is after all just a hypothetical scenario and would hopefully never happen to me ever.
But still very fun to talk about.
WL in my games have always fluctuated but sometimes they also tend to get really static. In the very same campaign, when the players were all Level 9 and were at WL 8 (the expected wealth for a level 9 adventurer)
but their next quest involved them going to another dimension. Said dimension operates on different laws, so their money over there was useless, effectively setting them back to essentially just be WL 0.
And once again in the very same campaign, a dozen sessions and 3 levels passed and not once did their WL change, being level 8 but still being at WL 4 as if they were still level 5 as due to narrative reasons, they weren’t actually getting any monetary rewards of any kind doing their missions.
It was only after when several years have passed that word of their heroic deeds finally emerged out of the shadows and they became more famous and rich than they knew how to deal with, so they went to another dimension. (because why not?)
My games don’t seem to be conventional is the vibe I’m getting after making this thread…