I’m new to BW and am planning a campaign set on the streets of a medieval-style city. The characters will be thieves, confidence artists, extortionists, and the like, so I expect their resources to often be in (purloined) coin toward the start of the campaign.
Is it normal (or, is it in the spirit of the Resources rules) to declare an amount of currency equal to a single cash die? If so, then how do other GMs and players deal with situations in which characters acquire less than this amount? If not, then why?
This idea that a coin represents a fixed amount of buying power that is the same from person to person, day to day and region to region is a very modern thing. Currency is a pretty abstract thing for much of history.
We usually refer to xD worth of coin, where the smallest amount that matters is 1D.
I’ll often refer to cash as a certain amount of currency (30 groschen, say) and then as an aside note how many dice of cash that is. Mechanically, the only thing that matters is cash dice, but the in-game amount helps everyone’s imagination.
However, we also all understand that the amount of currency is fluid. 1D of cash may be 5 groschen one day and 10 groschen the next. What’s important is the 1D.
I’m ok with the fluidity of currency value – that’s not what’s bothering me. What happens when one of my characters acquires an amount of currency that is currently less than a single cash die? It may not always be reasonable to say that they acquired a whole cash die (if, say, they picked a pocket or two).
I realize that counting pennies isn’t in the spirit of the rules, but how do you ensure that small denominations of coin in your world still have roleplaying value when they are not worth anything mechanically? Or do they simply and naturally fall by the wayside, like a penny or nickel might jn the real world?
Honestly, I think you’ve got it. Let people roleplay giving coins to beggars and offering their paltry pocket contents to vendors. It just won’t have any mechanical effect (outside of perhaps lobbying for an Advantage die).
(And if the players don’t want to interact with money that has no mechanical value, then why are they picking pockets to no mechanical result in the first place?)
It really depends on how or why they’re getting very small amounts of cash. If they’re picking inconsequential pockets, Say Yes. If they’re picking lots of pockets, you Let It Ride and it becomes a die of cash. Or it’s a job and it pays off taxed Resources. Yes, picking pockets can be a job!