The Resources chapter has a few tables: there is a Sample Resources Obstacles table, a Lifestyle Maintenance Obstacles table, and a Currency table at the end of the chapter. What I’d really like to see is a Cash & Funds table, which shows how many dice you get for things like: picking a pocket in the market, looting a troll cave, taking home a dragon hoard, raiding and looting a village, being granted a knight’s fee, manor, or barony, ransoming a knight, baron, or king in battle, etc. etc.
Maybe I’m missing something and these types of values can be extrapolated from one of the other tables, but they seem different. Would it be presumptuous to request such a table from the powers that be? Barring that, would players mind sharing values of cash dice and funds that they placed on various items?
I’ve been wondering about this for a while; any replies are appreciated.
Picking pockets is a job. You don’t get cash, but you can replenish lost resources.
Troll caves depend on the troll, of course, but most probably don’t have much besides trash. Maybe one die of cash. Maybe.
Looting a village depends, again, on the village. One or two dice of cash is probably reasonable.
I don’t have my books handy, but I thought there were rules for gaining a title and associated lands. Without that, I might just ignore the rules and grant a die of resources (or more for major titles). But then again, you can get a barony or manor that is not actually all that productive. It may support itself, but it may not. How good is your estate management?
Ransom depends on rank. A knight might be one die if he’s in penury and five for a beloved, wealthy commander. A king might be an arbitrarily large number of dice—but only if the kingdom can raise it, and only if they don’t execute you for assaulting the king. (Consider the ransom of Jean le Bon during the Hundred Years’ War!) At this point you’re looking more at political repercussions than payment.
I’d say a dragon’s hoard depends entirely on how dragons work in your campaign. The question is how much money the game runs on. Giving your players the wealth to topple kingdoms is a big deal.
Thanks for the reply Wayfarer, but I’m talking about something more abstract, like a table. There are variations for everything, but I’m talking about abstract values for standard items. Two tables similar to the Sample Resources Obstacle table, like this:
Sample Cash Dice Table
etc., up to…
Sample Funds Table
etc., up to…
If looting a village garners 2D in cash dice, I can say a small village brings 1D and a large one brings 3. But it’s good to start with standard values and go from there. I’m not sure why BWHQ assumes that it is intuitive to pull these values out of a hat but provides tables for other sections of Resources. I can abstract things only if I have a model (examples) to go off of.
Probably because it varies wildly by GM and player expectation. For example:
I see this as a perfectly valid way to earn a cash die. Intent: pull together some ready money; Task: spend a day pick-pocketing the weekly market; Test: Sleight-of-Hand vs. a crowd of unskilled observers. Success: 1D cash; Failure: a beating, locked up by the guard, a reputation as a thief, whatever’s appropriate. Work carefully, and FoRK in Inconspicuous, and you have a life of light-fingered ease ahead.
I’ve given 1D cash for spending a fortnight playing lute in a well-appointed inn.
I’ve given a 1D fund (in the form of an ivory chop) from a madame to a PC hooker, to persuade her to stop fussing about her kidnapped baby. Didn’t work.
I’ve offered 6D of cash (which should have been a 3 or 4D fund) to more-or-less buy the same baby from the same hooker.
Thor’s given a 3D fund in the form of a chest of money from a Duke to support a mission to an enemy city. The fund was useful and a pain.
Fuseboy, now you’re constructing a series test to gain a cash die. Streetwise or Mark-wise to find a wealthy target (failure: you’ll need to pick many pockets to gather the cash, success: your intent to find a single mark), linking to Sleight of Hand for the actual thieving (success: 1D cash; failure beating, guards, reputation etc.)
That’s really fun. At first it sounds like a shitload of money, which it is, but it’s clear you could blow through that pretty quickly. What did you buy?
Wrathbone, I wondered if looking at the resources table backwards might help. A baron has enough money lying around to buy ‘x’, so take the resource Ob for ‘x’ and multiply by two to get the appropriate amount of cash dice? (Bearing in mind that most people’s assets are less liquid than cash; money stored as silver plate, for example, in property or art.)
For NPC hoards, you could have the NPC make an open resources test, with each success generating 1D of cash?
I think it’s not that the table is intuitive, but rather the opposite. There are so many ways it can go that you have to decide what’s right for your table. If your campaign is about leading a mercenary company, robbing villages might be trivial, and rewarding it heavily will distract from the important parts and just provide excess cashflow. If you’ve got a band of rebels trying to flee ahead of the king’s trackers and pull together enough cash to buy passage to refuge, robbing a village might be worth more because it’s more difficult and more important. A game running on the desperate struggle against poverty will have low cash rewards, and a game of high nobility could see huge piles of money earned and spent casually. It’s all in what you’re going for.
Want to look into the effects of sudden immense riches? Dump a 20D dragon hoard on the players. See how quickly they can spend it all on wine, women, and song. Want to make them cynics in an uncaring world? Have the dragon’s hoard amount to just enough to replace their damaged gear—if they’re lucky. Want them to storm out of your game? Make the hoard a single mass of precious metals melted together by dragonfire that’s far too large to move and too solid to break apart.
Set tables could be fun if they’re geared towards a certain setting and gameplay expectancies. Look at old-school Traveller. Lots of people loved the trading mini-game. Lots of people hated it. But the set money mechanics were nicely tied into the system, and using them to play the standard trading game definitely evoked a certain feel. I don’t think Burning Wheel should be about economic simulation, but it could be, if that’s the gameplay expectancy of the group, the feel that they’re aiming for. And with the BITs thrown into the mix, it’d be more fun than Traveller.
Long-story short, I think tables could be very intuitive, but only if they’re custom-made for the setting you intend to play in.
Couldn’t you say the same for the lifestyle maintenance table though? If you set the standard for living standards I don’t really see how you change anything by saying how much cash you get for picking pockets, hold knights for ransom or sack a town.
Not that I feel it’s absolutely necessary but I could see the value of such a table for most kind of games. I can agree with Luke on that having a table present might make it much more tempting for some players to use it often though.
I agree with Evil Peter. You could make the same argument about any of the tables in the game. Burning Wheel has an implied setting because of the lifepaths, price Obs of things, even the difficulty Obs for certain types of tests. People keep saying that a cash table or funds table needs to be tailored to your specific game, but I don’t see that at all. None of the other tables are. An Elven Tome of Lore is an Ob 5 Resources test. Enough said. If you want to make it a flimsy Tome at Ob 4 or a super Tome at Ob 6 to reflect your setting, that’s your business, but we have the table to allow us to base variations from.
As far as players abusing a table to make excessive tests to get cash and funds, so what if they do this? If they do they’ll quickly realize they’re overlooking really interesting plots and beliefs by focusing on cash. My worry is without a baseline table I have no idea how to quickly come up with cash and funds (in an abstract way) that jibes with all the other aspects of the game that do have a baseline table. Let me worry about the way I use the rules myself. I’m 42 years old for chrissakes.
And, the reason I wrote this post in the first place is because I feel like I need tables like this. I feel like there is a hole in the game for me. If I’m running a Burning THACO game and the PCs clear out a kobold lair of treasure or a PC is granted a knight’s fee, I’d like to know what value to slap on this. As it is, I have no idea because Resources is such an abstract system. And I don’t want to have to return to the forums every time I want to award treasure and ask “Is 4D cash dice right for this? How about 5?” I also don’t want to have to reverse engineer existing tables so I’ll know the value of cash and funds. I don’t have the time or desire to do this. Finally, having these tables would fully flesh out the “implied setting” of Burning Wheel for me.
I don’t want to sound rude here, but you’re putting a lot of work into arguing that someone else should do this job for you, which sort of makes the “I don’t have the time or desire to do this” claim fall flat.
How about instead of fighting about it on the internet, you take the Resource Ob chart and double it. Now you’ve got the Cash Die chart.
Then post it here for everyone else who wants such a chart to enjoy!
It’ll probably only take a few minutes and then you’ll be a cool helpful guy instead of an internet whiner.
I suggest making the table. You’re not going to convince luke there ought to have been one. You’ll get plenty of advice once it starts to take shape!
The cash vs. fund thing seems somewhat arbitrary. The dowry saved up by a small town mayor might seem like a “large” amount of money to villagers or poor adventurers, but not to a knight. Equating them by obstacle-to-obtain is one way to go, except than when you get to larger sizes, funds seem WAY more valuable than cash dice. (A 10D fund would be like a fountain of gold, whereas a 1D fund is scarcely more valuable than 1D cash.)
Random things to value:
Village Girl’s dowry
The miller’s life savings
The provost’s tax haul from Upton village
I’d disagree about a 1D fund being less valuable than cash. For the typical adventurer that doubles their resources so long as they don’t get taxed. Cash on hand helps them with one test. At any rate the relationship between cash on hand and fund obstacles is laid out in BWG.
I think you misread me - I agree that a 1D fund is much more valuable than 1D cash. What I’m saying is that it’s not worth a lot more. The cash will last one test, the fund for perhaps two tests. But big funds are worth way more than big piles of cash, as long as you don’t go for anything too expensive.
I am a cool helpful guy, and I’d be happy to put these tables together. You’re telling me I should double the Resources Ob list and that will give me a Cash table. Is that accurate or a completely arbitrary table? I don’t know. Do you? Luke and the BWHQ does. The only thing I’m suggesting is that the alternative to me (who didn’t create the abstract resources rules) putting these tables up on this forum, having people reply, then tweaking the tables is to get some guidance from the people who know this stuff like the back of their hand and could rattle off a list in 2 seconds. If that’s not going to happen as Fuseboy suggests, I’ll start working on some tables.
I’ll get on this soon. I’ve got work today and then off to Oktoberfest! And FigureFour, if I get frustrated sometimes because I’ve been trying (like others have) to master BW rules for years because I think it’s the awesomest game ever, I’m OK with this. I don’t have an ax to grind with BWHQ; they know I love 'em.
I think that idea is based off the fact that statistically, half of your dice will come up as successes (assuming black shade). Therefore, 4D cash on hand will on average buy you an Ob2 item. Therefore, something that’s Ob2 to buy, if you sell it at a price that allows you to buy another, would have to generate 4D of cash on hand. You can sell your fancy shoes for 4D cash on hand and turn around to buy an Ob2 pair of fancy shoes and do that all day long, and end up right where you started. It’s a stable system.