Interpreting the Fortune chapter

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?

First system question! :confetti_ball:
Hi Jimbozig!
Let me see if I can clarify any of this. I admit that the text can be rough in places.

Q1: A noble gives a beggar a coin. The beggar increases their wealth rating by 1. The noble does not decrease their wealth rating at all.

Q2: For a loan, the borrower needs to put back the wealth that they took from the lender. Repayment overtime takes place annually. The borrower needs to put at least 1 wealth into the lender’s hands per year. If the borrower has greater wealth than the lender, they can spend one wealth to reduce the the debt by two. If the borrower has lower wealth, they have to spend 10 wealth to reduce the debt by one.

Q3: I think you’ve understood this correctly. Your wealth rating increases, but your strata and income do not. To achieve the new strata/income, you need to maintain this new level of wealth for a year (as per the last paragraph on page 55).

The relative cost of the commissions and offices is a punt. It’s not going to work. I’m planning on giving fixed costs for them in 1648 (or before). I have some research into costs for commissions to officers, but I need more for guilds. Just strike the relative cost clause for now. I think that makes it much clearer.

First bullet on page 56 notes how you set your wealth rating when you achieve a new higher tier.

Page 57, first bullet, I think that should say “If your wealth rating drops…” not “if your income drops.”

Otherwise, regarding declining wealth, it’s more about your obligations than your actual wealth rating. If your wealth rating remains above your obligations, overall, you’re fine. But once it drops below obligations, society looks for ways to collect any debts and cast you out. And your dependents suffer a similar fate as well.

I hope that helps! Terribly sorry about the unclear bits in the text.

Hi Luke, thanks for the quick reply! (You can just call me Jim, by the way)

That clears things up a lot. And fixed costs for commissions and such would be great once you find them! I looked for them in the tables of prices starting on p 169, thinking I might be able to put the puzzle pieces together if they were there. I’d also be interested to know about property prices. How much is a city home vs a manor, for example.

For the alms to the beggar part, your answer contradicts the example on p. 55, which says that the beggar’s wealth goes up from 2 to 4. Is the intention that you can give 0->1 from a higher tier to a lower tier, or if you need to pass more than 1 wealth from a higher tier to a lower tier you can do it at a 2:1 rate, e.g. the rich man could reduce their wealth by 3 to increase the poor man’s by 6. Do I have it right?

I’m really interested in what you’ve done with the Duel of Wits section. The victory effect mechanic is inspired. I’m so interested to see what sort of fun that leads to. I’m also very curious about the Gnosis section - I think I understand the rules, but I don’t have a very good sense of what they will feel like in play. So I’ve got to get a game together to try things out!

Gah. The intent here is that higher wealth characters can bestow +1 wealth on lower wealth characters at their discretion. They do no subtract from their own wealth rating to do so.

Subtracting -1 wealth, however, allows them to grant a more meaningful contribution to a character with lower wealth, at the 2 to 1 ratio described.

Regarding the Duel of Wits: You’ve spotted the good stuff. The victory effects drive that whole system. It’s been great fun to watch players choosing between an easy tactical move vs doing the right thing and choosing the victory effect they want.