I’ve just got my hands on this game and read through the whole thing from front to back. Everything is clear except for the Fortune chapter. I read it a second time to try to clear things up, but I still have some questions, and I hope that this thread will help clear things up for other people that have the same questions. I have 2 small and simple questions, and 1 big and complicated cluster of questions. Let’s start with the little ones. The relevant pages are pp 55-58.
Passing wealth down the ladder: it has no cost to you (leaving your wealth rating unchanged) and adds +2 to the receiver’s wealth rating. The example makes this clear, but the wording seems off.
Q1: In what sense is this “pass 1 wealth”? How is it 1? It is 0 or it is 2, but it isn’t 1.
And one other quick question about loans:
Q2: what does paying back a loan look like? The borrower has an obligation. Clear enough. But it says “the lender receives wealth from the borrower every year” - so does their wealth go up? How much?
Okay, now onto the part that really troubled me. Changing wealth and income.
Let’s take an example character. I start with a wealth rating of 5 and 8 Obl. (I have no confusion about generating these staring numbers.) Through play I manage to obtain a treasure worth 2d6 wealth and roll an 8, so now my wealth rating is 13! I’ve gone up 2 social strata! I can hang out with merchants instead of laborers. But not permanently.
Q3A: Is my income still 100s of Francs? Or has it gone up to 10,000s now?
Okay, so I want to buy an officer’s commission to keep me up in that strata. The cost is my “current annual income”. Which depends on Q3A. Maybe it doesn’t matter because the instructions for how to buy things are on the next page. The third bullet point in that section (“Expenses”) is the one that applies. So as a result, we reduce our income level by one level. So either 100s to 10s or 10000s to 1000s, depending on Q3A.
Q3B: Does this affect my Wealth rating at all? It doesn’t say anything about it doing that. But maybe wealth and income always move together.
I guess I look at the next section, about what happens when your income goes down. You make a “Mortal Coil roll” on the “Mortal Coil table.” This was confusing because it wasn’t clear that this referred to the Exertions table. But then on the next page, under the heading “Obligations Greater than Wealth,” it is explicitly the Exertions table. So that cleared that up for me. It still seems strange that spending my newly-gotten fortune on an officer’s commission would require months of rest.
And still nothing about your wealth decreasing. Which is weird because when I go back to the section on buying my permanent stay in this social strata, it says “if your investment takes your wealth rating below your aspirational tier…” But how could it? Buying a thing of that size reduces my income, not my wealth rating. Unless the answer to Q3B is that it does reduce my wealth to match my income. Maybe wealth and income always move together. But then how could you ever buy a permanent increase to your current level? Doing so automatically would drop you down a level, no matter what. (In that case, I could, however, buy my way up to the Artisans and Tradesmen social strata, and just fall back on that after hanging out with the merchants for a year. Remember, I started out in the laborer strata, so that would still be an upgrade.) This seems to be the most consistent interpretation to me - that you essentially have to gain enough wealth to go up 2 strata temporarily in order to afford to go up 1 strata permanently.
Q3C: Can someone who knows how this works write up how my example of a laborer come into money is supposed to play out?