Is there any way to improve a fund? If not, does anyone have any suggestions on how to do so?
Well, my first thought is that it should just be a Resources test as described in the “Creating a Fund” rules. Converting a fund from a 1D to a 2D, for example, is the same as making a new fund at 2D.
The advantage in “upgrading” an existing fund is that you can call on that fund for the roll.
But then I thought, “Why would I replace a 1D with a 2D when I could make the same roll and have both?”
So now here are two thoughts:
Thought the First: When upgrading a fund, you lower the ob of the test to create by 1 per die of the existing fund being upgraded. So upgrading a 1D to a 2D is an Ob 4 test, not an Ob 5.
2D to 3D is an Ob 5 test as opposed to an Ob 7.
3D to 4D is an Ob 6.
4D to 5D is an Ob 7.
I like this one because there’s a nice gradient to it.
Thought the Second:Adding 1D to a fund really isn’t functionally different than creating a new 1D fund, so it should be an Ob 3 test to add +1D to any fund.
This is probably wicked broken. It’d need some kind of limitation within the fiction of the game. Or a huge time penalty or something.
Yeah, I was thinking something along the first as well. I like that. It’s easier than making a new fund of the same value, but harder than just the difference.
Per p. 374, you can only use one fund per Resources test, so yes, it is functionally different!
Exactly–that’s what brought the question to mind in the first place. I suppose you can use the first fund to help bootstrap a second, larger fund (assuming you didn’t set it up with the benefit of cash on hand or artha), but then you’re stuck with another fund that isn’t doing any good. You could sell it off in the fiction for cash on hand or something…but that doesn’t really capture well the sense of, say, growing a business.
An Ob 3 test to improve a fund would really break things - you’d have a 10D fund in no time.
To get the feel of improving a business, without invoking any new rules, you could create a fund to represent investing in a venture - buying a share of a fishing boat, a silversmith’s operation, whatever. Making resources tests to generate cash dice from the business represents dividends. When you want to grow the business, you take a big risk, and use your cash dice to make a bigger fund. (Potentially, you even put your first fund on the line.)
Playing out an example (I’m curious how it would go).
You start with 2D resources. You get help from two friends, a persona point and you’re rolling 5D vs. Ob 3 to start your business venture. Make it and you have a 1D fund.
Dividend time. With 1D of help (your uncle, helping you out with cash flow), you’ve got 4D vs. Ob 2 to generate 1D of cash. How many times can you do that? (Presumably it takes at least weeks to generate profits like this from a retail business.) If you get lucky and manage this twice, now you have B2 resources, 2D cash and a 1D fund.
Get two friends (even “investors” who would co-own the resulting fund) to help, two Persona, and now you have 9D to try for your Ob 5 to get your 2D fund. Not a sure thing, but a decent chance.
This is tough! A rich investor (2D of Help) seems crucial, and you really need Persona. (Perhaps you could write a belief about finding a rich investor!)
Once you get your 2D fund, though, you’re set. You should have B3 Resources by now. That gives you 5D on Ob 2 to generate 1D of cash dividends from the expanded business, which is fairly safe. Once you can reliably generate single cash dice, then I think your troubles are over (from the very myopic perspective of this minigame - doubtless all manner of other trouble would have started along the way).
How about this: because Burning Wheel doesn’t ever really allow you to reduce the Ob, try:
Tests to increase a Fund are at the Obstacle to create a fund of the size desired (for example, tests to increase a fund from 2D to 3D are the same as the test for a 3D fund). These tests receive a +2D advantage over creating the fund as new, however. This fund replaces the original.
In other words, it’s like creating the fund from scratch, but it gets +2D and you don’t keep the original fund.
Cerate new Funds and give the old one as a loan (investing it in new ventures/opening up a new shop and having someone else manage the other one, etc.).
Works well that way, as everyone knows businesses can collapse after too quick an expansion, running short of liquidity, over investing in infrastructure, etc.