Cash & Tests

So, my players are somewhat flush with cash but have only a B1 Resources.

I understand that cash can only be used for one Resource test, but do these tests count for advancement of Resources?

Also, is there any reason to roll Cash dice, or are they just “spent?”

And, finally, my players encountered our first Resources Cycle last game. When I explained that it was meant to simulate the cost associated with travel and adventure, they complained that I had made them pay with some specific things with their Cash during previous adventures (horses, big barrels of oil, etc). Should I not have done that?

Cash is just Advantage dice for Resources tests. You can split it up among as many Resources tests as you are able or willing. One used, they are gone. If I have B1 Resources and 3D Cash, I can make 1 Resources test with 4 dice, or 3 Resource tests with 2 dice, or any combination thereof.

Advantage dice count towards advancement. So an Ob2 test with B1 Resources and 3D of Cash = Routine test. B1 Resources and 1D of Cash = Difficult test.

In your last paragraph, you speak of Maintenance tests. Maintenance tests are outside the realm of Resource tests made during the adventure. Maintenance tests covers the cost of food, clothes, tithes, rent, taxes, and any other expenditures that are mundane, monotonous, or insignificant - anything that doesn’t effect the story and so is glossed over while playing. Horses, Barrels of Oil, etc sound like they’re big purchases that effect the story.

Accounts of people who win the lottery and then go bankrupt a few years later are evidence that an abundance of cash dice in the short term does not necessarily translate into an increased resources score in the long term.

You did the right thing.

At the basic level, Maintenance is about food, repairing and replacing lost equipment, paying rent, etc. (“I have a 1 rp shack. What’s up with rent?” “You know how it’s leaky now? Part of the roof caved in during the monsoons. You probably want to fix that.”)

But more importantly, Maintenance is about lifestyle and connections. Do your clothes look appropriate for your class/status? Are they shabby? Can you afford to take a cohort out to lunch to hear about the news back East? When you got invited to so-and-so’s party, and you came with a crappy present, did everyone just assume your business is on the rocks and decided to not risk capital with you? Did you pony up for extra nice clothes to put up the illusion of success and now everyone thinks you’ve been making lots of money secretly and they all are eager to help?

That’s Resources. It’s not just what’s in your pocket, it’s about your connections to find what you want at reasonable prices, for people to make you a priority and not have guards keep you from entering in the first place.

It’s why successful Resources improves the stat, and unsuccessful tests Tax it.

Most people a) use the Get a Job rules and b) pool in resources from friends and family and only make Maintenance tests their whole lives.


Cool. Thanks, guys. Unfortunately for my players, they are on a big quest that requires lots of traveling. They don’t stay in one place long enough to set down roots and start building real wealth. But, hey, that’s the life of an adventurer!

They should look at building Reputations, Affiliations and using Duel of Wits to get folks to fund their ventures.

The big council in Fellowship of the Ring wasn’t just “who do you send” it’s also “who will you FUND to go destroy the Ring”? The nice thing is that this leads right into questing:

“We need to get there from the north shore”
“Harpies moved in 10 years ago, the port is useless, no one can cross.”
“Give us a boat, 3 months supplies, we’ll take out the harpies on the way. It’ll also mean the passage will be safe when we return.”

This is all where “Captain” under the Professional Soldier LPs fits in - Haggling, Savvy, etc.


Hi, I’ve run a reasonable bit of BW and BWG now and I still (my players too) have issues getting my head around resources.

Recently for example it became important for a player to buy new armour they threw in a couple of cash dice they had, they failed the roll but I could in NO way narratively justify using up that cash on the failed roll, I mean what??? you hand the vendor a bunch of cash, on top of promises and IOUs and whatever the basic resources value represents he takes your cash and then just grins in your face and sells you nothing???

So I opted for the gift of kindness, and I can see myself doing that every time someone fails a resources roll with cash involved. But then if they are trying to get something really expensive (a really tough roll) then I can’t justify the gift of kindness either really so I guess I’d let them have the cash dice back (breaking the rules).

Overall my players generally get on well with the system (as do I) but they literally laugh and roll their eyes at the resources system :frowning: and I find I’m tying myself in knots trying to narratively make things work and make sense. Particularly as my players are pretty much all vagrant adventurers but who have fairly and through the rules built up to 2 or 3 resources, not by building wealth really but by buying a few critical items which they needed to roll for and which often get used up, abandoned etc. and yet still they have that resources stat… baffling!

Help needed and welcome! :slight_smile:

The cash die in that case weren’t spent at the merchant. They were spent bribing so and so to tell you who might have what you’re looking for and is willing to overlook the fact that you’re not a noble. Then of course you don’t just show up to this guys place without a gift, or perhaps you had to buy dinner when you met him someplace.

Well, it could happen, and frankly, ripping off poor people happens all the time… “Oh, yes, here, we’ll have your order ready in a week.” “What order? Guards, get these ruffians out of here.”

That said, I probably would have gone with Gift of Kindness in that case as well, but low Resources is a world of suffering, where half of everything you buy is crap and falls apart, and half of everyone is trying to get over and no one gives a shit about you.


@Peregrine those are the kinds of knots I end up tying myself in but in this case it simply wasn’t possible. They guys knew there was an armourer, knew there was a suit of armour right there they needed and they declared (more or less) “I want to try and buy the amrour with my resources and cash” a pretty simple transaction. The world will be full of simple transactions, if they are minor and well within means then I’ll just “say yes” and move one but if they are meaningful then a roll will be needed but there’s no way to justify or narrate difficulties that involve being robbed of cash like that.

That’s exactly why the Gift of Kindness exists. They get the kit, and are taxed.

Another possible response: you bought something you thought was high quality, but uh… not so much.

But if you ask me, Resources isn’t the problem. Read the “Say Yes or Roll the Dice” rule again. If you can’t think of a failure consequence, you shouldn’t be rolling. Period. It’s fine to just take the appropriate cash dice away and give 'em the sword or what-have-you. Totally fine.

Quite the newbie as far as Burning Wheel is concerned, but it’s my understanding failure can mean the player does get what he wants, but with some complications.

Maybe the expensive suit of armour he just spent his life savings on turns out to be cursed! How that curse manifests itself would be up to the GM.

Just throwing an idea out there. Burn on! :stuck_out_tongue:

Resources has the Gift of Kindness which is the standard “getting what you want but having a complication along for the ride” failure mode for those tests. That said, I’m a fan of buying it only to find out later that it’s stolen and the guy who owned it last wants it back.

I have trouble getting my head around resources as well…do you guys come up with the rationale after the test, or does the resources test come once the players have explained how they plan to tap those resources…
It feels a little like the disconnect some people have with engagements in fight, and the answer there is always, “intent and task”.-

For me, the key to wrapping my head around Resources was not to think of them as money, but financial leverage. This can, of course, include money, but unless you’ve got “cash on hand” dice, it’s almost best to not think about it that way at all. What also really, really helps, is if even in success the GM narrates it in a way that usually doesn’t include money changing hands. “Excellent, sire. Here’s that sword you fancied. We’ll settle up with your parent’s estate at the end of the month.”

There’s also an expectations clash - Resources is not meant to model loot-sell-buy-repeat economies as seen in many fantasy settings.