Paying the bills in a campaign

Being a fan of SWN and similar sandbox-style systems, where keeping your ship fueled and your crew members fed is rather important, I was hoping to get some feedback on the following idea. Rather than tracking exact resources (X amount of food, water etc.), a party must restock their supplies in towns or by similar means, slowly draining their supplies. After a set amount of time dependent on their current wealth score (I’m thinking the player’s Wealth^2 in weeks, with a minimum of 1 day) has passed, everyone’s wealth score drops by one point. What this means, is that while wealthy characters can live off their savings for an extended period of time, they still need to do actual adventuring at some point (an important motivation for characters mainly interested in wealth). To prevent this, the party must acquire a small sum of money before the end of the month - making a small score, if you will - or increase their wealth with a big score, thus both improving their possible standard of living and extending the amount of time they can spend without worrying about their wealth dropping off.

A few examples: A wealth 4 character is pretty well off - they can buy the finest armor available in the lands, and can own several horses. They do need to do some upkeep for their finances every 4 months or so (16 weeks), but all they have to do is a small quest, like investigate the nearby town for werewolves or something.

Meanwhile, a wealth 0 character is struggling to survive on a day by day basis. If they don’t get their daily bread sorted each day, they are likely to either starve or contract some kind of flaw due to dire living circumstances. Surviving just for the day might be such a challenge that unless they possess unusual talents, they will likely be relegated to poverty for the rest of their life.

My belief is that this system, while adding a bit of complexity, still feels in line with the design goals of open legend, and doesn’t add too much in terms of resource management - it’s just a set timer for adventurers to go out and earn their keep. If you think that the wealth system favors the rich a bit too much, you could use the formula of (Wealth^2)/2 instead, which does make upkeep a bit more frequent for characters that are richer than an average individual, thus increasing the need to adventure for gold.

Thoughts on this?

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Wealth Score in tenths.

2.0 ~ 2.9
3.0 - 3.9
4.0 - 4.9

Spend at your wealth level (first number) means the digit (second number) goes down by one. If you are at 0 on the digit, then you drop down to the next wealth level.

Party is at WL 4.0, to fix the ship costs WL 4, to resupply costs WL 3. Fixing drops them down to WL 3.9, then resupplying drops them down to 3.8.

The party is at WL 3.4, they get a score worth WL 4, it pops them up to WL 4.0, etc etc.

So if a cost/gain is AT your WL, you decrease/increase a single tenth. If the WL is above your currenty, you jump up to that WL. If it is below, it doesn’t affect your WL (unless you go crazy getting a ton of it).


Seems reasonable, though that does mean that if a character spends the same amount on resupplying as they did when they were at a lower wealth level, it does effectively allow them to survive without having to worry about making money for an indefinite period of time. Ex: Party is at WL 5.0, meaning repairs and resupplying are both below their score and they can just chill forever. Perhaps it’s best to just do some DM fiat and say that if it becomes an issue, funds may eventually drain?

Sure, the thing to remember about the WL is it is exponential, not linear. So WL 5 is actually a lot higher than WL 4. The tenths sort of reflect that, but not too well. Basically it takes 10 WL 4 treasures to equal a WL 5 treasure by that, and it might be more accurate to say it is 100x.

WL 5 examples

a large cargo ship, a city wall, a heavily armored tank, weapons to outfit a small militia

WL 4 examples

elven full plate, a light tank, a small ship, a siege engine

As a sidenote, perhaps using fractions like this could be applied to XP as well, in case you are looking to reward players while still moderating expectations for a longer campaign?

Reward Legend Points instead of XP for smaller things, then award XP for the bigger things to stretch it out.

OR if you are really diabolical, you buy XP with Legend Points. 6/7 Legend Points for 1 XP :smiling_imp:

I award Legend Points in my campaign when the group meets their group goal. After major milestones, or events, or battles, I award some XP.