Non-linearity of resource system

Hi, I have a doubt about resource system. Let’s consider ye olde loot selling.
There’s a character, say Jimmy, who has seized two crossbows from his enemies. Now he is in an army lab trying to sell them. Let’s say a crossbow requires a +4Ob when bougth.
Now, the player wants to be paid in cash dice. The intent is “I want to sell my first crossbow”, and there is no haggling. So he gets 8 Dice of Cash (cause I like the fact that he could use the cash to re-buy the crossbow). Now, he tells me he wants to sell the other one (“I want to sell the other crossbow”). That’s another 8 Dice.
So, with 16 dice of cash, and (very) little luck, he would be able to buy, 10 crossbows at +5Ob using the “Buying in bulk” rule.

I know this example is an extreme one, and the fault is probably that in it cash dice are used to create a “monetary system” that goes against the principles of resources.
Some proposed me just to use this kind of selling to replenish taxed resources dice, like a “merchant” job, though they weren’t able to provide details. So, could you please show me how do you solve this problem in your games?

8 dice of cash is waaaaaay to much for a crossbow i think. If it is a ob4 test then give him 4 cash dice at most. Asuming he spends it all on the crossbow he is as rich as before.

Yeah, I’d go with 4D tops, maybe less. Surely whoever buys it is going to haggle down, after all, it isn’t a great weapon, as the last owner died so it must be unlucky. It’s also scuffed on the side, and has the baron’s personal regiment’s insignia on it.

Remember his intent. It’s not to sell both crossbow a for a x cash and crossbow b for y cash, but to sell all his loot for the most money he can get for it. That is where the GM should arbitrate things a bit better.

My rule of thumb is that the dice for selling stuff like that are equivalent to what a loan of the same ob would be.

The numbers in that example are so high I can’t even comprehend it! :slight_smile: I have to bring it down to reality before trying to get to an answer for you.

A character has 2 crossbows. He wants to sell them one at a time.

The merchant offers 1D for the first one. A Haggling test from the PC would be required to get more dice from the transaction. Let’s give him the biggest benefit of the doubt and the PC wins both rounds driving it up to 3D. (Maybe the Merchant has a desperate buyer in mind?)

If the PC wanted to sell the second one to the same merchant, I’d use the let it ride rule, but only offer an additional 1D. There’s no way a merchant will give up an additional 3D. That’s where the exponential abstraction of Resources comes into play. (If you think about it from the Merchant’s side, he has to make an Ob 6 Resources test to generate the 3D in cash. That’s VERY hard even for a filthy rich person.)

So for both crossbows, the PC gets 4D. A fantastic bounty!!

Now he wants to buy crossbows in bulk. Let’s set the Ob for buying a single crossbow at 3. Now add +1 for buying in bulk for a total Ob4 Resources test. Given the average Resources of an Adventurer is 2 at best, the PC now has 6D (base 2 + 4D of cash) to make an Ob 4 test. Good luck!

As for your other suggestion of allowing cash to replenish taxed resources, I'd say kill that idea. It will break the whole Maintenance/Get a Job balance. The cash can certainly be used during the Maintenance test to avoid the Tax to begin with, but only Get a Job reflects the dedication it takes to rebuild good credit with merchants, tax collectors, and loan sharks.

I have difficulty with the concept of cash dice too! My problem is figuring out exactly what it represent and what you can do with it…

I appreciate the topic!

Oups! I just incite one of my character (who recently drop to ressource 0 due to taxes) to do just that… use a 2D cash dice to resplendish ressource. Do you really think it’s that game breaking? I would allow it for ressource exponent 1 or 2 but maybe not higher. I mean, our ressource cycle are 6 months, does the character really have to risk 6 months of day job just to pass from exponent 0 to 1? (i know he can go faster or higher but still, the PC as 2D cash in his poket).

Sorry for the treadjacking!

I really feel it is game-breaking, yes, no matter the exponent. 1D of cash is very insignificant when compared to how much work and focus one needs to replenish a Taxed die of Resources. What you’re suggesting makes a monumental task into a trivial one. Gone are the real consequences of risking your Resources. And yeah, 6 months is a terribly long time, but if money is important to the campaign, it makes it worth it. Otherwise, just do what I’ve been doing with my penniless character for years - keep killing your enemies and taking their stuff! A Taxed Resource can be supplanted with Cash Dice easily enough. But I’ve been Taxed one or two Dice for a looooongggggg time as adventuring was more important than Getting a Job. It’s just another Belief-based decision that’s the hallmark of BW.

A really useful thing to remember is this: Rolling Resources isn’t pulling up money - it’s pulling class rank. And it’s also useful to remember a +1 Ob represents the ability to buy x10 or even x100 of something lower cost (at least, it’s called out in Buying in Bulk in Burning Wheel Revised. If that’s different, please correct me).

So when you come in, looking to sell a crossbow?

  1. Pawn shop prices. We’re going to pay you as little as possible, and so will every other shop in town, because we can and you can’t do jack about it. Robbing the poor is systemic. How often have you sold a book, CD, DVD or videogame at a used store and gotten even 50% the price for it? Yeah. Exactly.

  2. Used crossbows. Sure, the wear might be minimal, but it’s not new. Besides, who knows where you got this from. A sensible merchant is going to have to consider the cost if a military captain shows up wondering if a deserter came by with stolen goods…

A merchant, in a clean store, vetted by locals, with regular custom and a workbench to fix or adjust a crossbow? They can sell the 4 Ob crossbow.

Everyone else is getting +1 or +2 Cash dice at best, and that’s for both of them.

Realize this, the Cash dice just upped your ability to buy x10 or x100 of what you could normally buy! That’s some money!


Cash dice are one time only, while resources exponents (and funds) are reusable - cash dice are therefore worth much less than a die of tax. Some time ago I worked out a rough scale for comparing cash dice to funds (and by implication, resource exponents). It looks like this:

1D Fund = 2D Cash
2D Fund = 5D Cash
3D Fund = 9D Cash
4D Fund = 13D Cash
5D Fund = 18D Cash
6D Fund = 24D Cash
7D Fund = 27D Cash
8D Fund = 32D Cash
9D Fund = 40D Cash
10D Fund = 46D Cash

If you want to allow a player to use cash to alleviate tax, that doesn’t seem like a problem to me as long as you set the quantities correctly.

If you have B2 resources taxed by 1, that’s like having a 1D fund (worth 2D cash) and wishing you had a 2D fund (worth 5D cash). So you might allow a player to spend 3D cash (the difference, 5D-2D) to recover that 1 point of tax. A player with B4 resources taxed by 2 would need 8D of cash (13D-5D) to recover fully.

Rather than remembering this chart, you might make a simple rule that buying off one point of tax takes cash equal to [current exponent+1]. So if you’re taxed down to B4, you need 5D of cash to remove one point of tax.

Did this happen in a game? Burning Wheel isn’t really about buying and selling. (I don’t know any RPG that is.) But maybe we can help you figure out what’s going in your game and how to better use the Resources system.

Late to the party, but I’ll chip in with a brief note: Resources aren’t cash. If it takes an Ob 2 test, you’ve got only a 25% chance to get it with Resources 2… but then you’ve got the same Resources afterwards. An Ob 4 crossbow doesn’t cost 4 dice of Resources. And it doesn’t reasonably cost 4D cash, either, because even with 8D in cash you’re looking at only a 50% chance of getting that crossbow. Is the crossbow worth 8D? No, it isn’t. I’d say it’s worth 1D, maybe 2D at the most, when sold, and I’d hit any player taking advantage of the system by trying to sell crossbows sequentially.

Cash dice create a more easily depleted Resource equivalent, but they still aren’t exactly cash. They’re not linear, they don’t represent fixed values of what you can buy (roll well or roll terribly!), and it’s probably best to handle selling loot in aggregate with an appropriate test for appropriate stakes because BW creates an interesting resource mechanic without providing a robust economy simulator.