Property and PCs getting married


I have a Property/Resources rules related question.

One of PCs is a widow that owns some real estate (Property) from her last marriage. Her family is trying to marry her off again. They have targeted another PC as a potential partner. In the event that these two PCs marry, what’s going to happen with the Property and to the characters’ Resources?

This is all happening in a heavily patriarchal culture (Roman Republic), so theoretically the husband would acquire control over the Property. However, because of his lack of skills (he’s a doctor, not a land owner), he’d still need his wife to do Estate Management.

Incidentally, how would you express the social promotion said husband will experience? (This would be an equestrian getting married to a patrician). Perhaps something like a “Social climber” character trait that, if played well, could be in time upgraded to “Mark of Privilege” and its +1D affiliation with nobility? Or should I simply treat the wedding as acquiring 1D in affiliation and use the normal Resources obstacle?


Good idea. Socially notable weddings can be expensive, so having a resource test to gain that affiliation would not be out of the question.

I think you could gradually increase the husbands resources to reflect his ability to leverage the estate and gaining access to the wife’s contacts and credit-worthiness etc. Though perhaps he should earn the contacts and credit-worthiness aspect through successful resources tests and the resulting advancement.

The wife of course should retain her resources, though it might not be unreasonable for her to suffer tax also for failed resources tests. One way to simulate this might actually be to never increase her husband’s resources all the way and expect her to provide a helping die (or two if her resources is B5 or better).


I think the 1D affiliation is a good idea. If she’s in control of her property in practice, then there’s no boost to his resources except when she Helps him.

On the other hand what’s the point of getting married to someone with money if you’re not getting anything out of it that you wouldn’t get by normal play? I want to play on this character’s greed. He can also acquire slaves or employees to manage the property for him.

Require her to test resources to give him a fund? Once he uses it up, he’s spent the dowry. Time to find a new wife!

It would depend on the circumstances of the wedding. There are plenty of historical examples of the bride’s inheritance not being given to ful control of her husband. A current extreme example:,_Duke_of_Edinburgh

Getting full control of the estate sounds like DoW fodder.

I like this. In general, I like the idea of teasing resources apart into concrete elements rather than bumping the exponent up and down. (In Burning Airships, we have an Allthing with B9 Resources travelling far from his citadel in his flying ship - to my mind that would require a hell of a penalty.)

Property could do some or all of:[ol]
[li]Just a narrative thing (you can go there!) and a Get a Job (estate management) opportunity.[/li][li]Property in general increases your lifestyle Ob.[/li][li]Income properties grant advantage dice to Get a Job.[/li][li]Income properties might be associated with small Funds or Cash Dice. Spending these implies you’re running down the properties, selling assets, skimping on upkeep, etc., and would have narrative consequences. (Overgrown lands, leaky mansions bare of furnishings.)[/li][/ol]Here’s a completely different take - property is a conspicuous consumption good. Like finery, they’re useless except as a prerequisite to dealing with high society. Owning property is an affiliation. This works really well, actually - you need to buy your way into affiliations, and then you can use them to circle up nobility, or people who live on the land, either of whom could help you out with the insane resources tests you’ll be making to keep your property in good condition.

This is getting into Spark territory, but now I can’t help but think about the possibility of situational resource tests like there are for Steel and the like.

Won’t this really depend on what (if any) feelings are involved in the marriage? Laws of course set up practical limitations in many cases, especially for women, but they are hardly more than just that - limitations.

If it is a loveless affair, and one spouse is really in total control, then he or she would probably hold on tight - I’m thinking perhaps keeping a “kept spouse” and helping with or handling with maintenance checks, but otherwise the leash is short.

If there are feelings on one side (the one with the money, most likely), then it would seem there are ample opportunities to use social skills to get access to money, to get your spouse to actually make a Resource check for you or to set up a fund for you to raise. After a time, as you slowly gain control over the finances, it seems fair that your Resource attribute would rise, while your spouse’s will decline. Dealing with pesky legal matters would simply lead to more interesting intrigue…

Hippe True Love would probably just mean that you pool your resources, but then again - what are material trappings when you have found true love?

It’s not up to me to decide whether there is love in the affair. The whole thing is meant to bait the second player’s Beliefs - he is currently attempting to gather money to buy a countryside villa (with attached gardens and fields) since he wants to run away with his secret lover. He’s failing miserably (or being honourable and not accepting bribes, depending on how you view it.) :wink: This is his chance to get a country villa - but for the price of an unplanned marriage. There is a possibility that they will be able to resolve it to mutual gain. The woman would prefer to stay independent, but might go for it if her potential husband would be supportive for her goals, or simply provided her with a cover for her political activities.

At the moment I’m thinking of going with the wedding supplying 1D of Affiliation: Patricians of Rome. The villa will be available for any use the owners want, both in story and rules categories. If the players get married, I will add it to the husband’s Property list, but leave it on the wife’s Property list as well. Owning the villa will allow each of them to use Estate Management to generate cash dice and linked test for maintenance test. It will also raise the obstacle for the maintenance test. If the maintenance test is failed, its consequences will involve the villa running into disrepair, to mirror the fact that there is not enough money to for its upkeep. Once this happens, the villa won’t be available for Estate Management tests until it is repaired (but will still raise the obstacle for maintenance test). Repairs will require tests of Circles, Resources and/or skills in order to buy new grape stock, hire workers to fix the roof, nurse the animals back to health etc. What do you think?

(I would really up the husband’s Resources by 1 as well, as per BWG p. 374, “Title”. Right now he’s at B2. After all, Resources show how much people are willing to give you on credit, and “married to a patrician and a land owner” should boost the credit rating somewhat. It would also extend his “home turf” from “just Rome” to “Rome plus towns neighbouring the villa”.)

Now I’m also thinking about the maintenance test. Should the husband test for the whole family (with the wife providing helping dice) at +1Ob? (After all, buying in bulk is +1Ob, so providing for people in bulk should be +1Ob as well.) Or should they both test separately? BWG lists “maintaining a family in the city” as Ob 3, while being a wealthy peasant is Ob 4, but I’d generally think it was more expensive to live in the city at that time.

I think you all are forgetting a very important question in this discussion. What time period in Rome are you playing? Is this the republic? During the Claudio/Julian empire? The year of 4 Caesars? Post Constantine, Christianized Rome? Prior to the 2nd century one of the options of a Roman Marriage resembled the kind of situation you all are describing "In Manus" meaning "In Hand". The woman passed from the hand of her father to that of her husband and her rights closely resembled those of a daughter. But that was only one option. After the 2nd century that was very out of fashion. A patrician woman, especially one marrying someone below her station, would certainly not go into a "usus" marriage. A Roman couple during the height of the empire would keep their property and finances completely separate. Marriage was a fairly informal agreement of cohabitation and could be dissolved at any time by either party. Even in a "Usus marriage if a woman slept 3 nights per year outside of her husbands home she retained her independence. 
  A modern American couple needs to jump through more hoops to get divorced than a Roman couple did. On divorcing a woman would retain all her money and property and the husband had to return the dowry. Plus while married gifts between married couples were not considered gifts by the law and they too had to be returned. 
  If you are running a historical campaign I recommend you not fall into the trap of confusing Ancient Rome with Medieval Europe. In fact Roman wives had more rights and privileges than their contemporaries in Greece. Women weren't fully equal of course, they didn't have the right to vote or hold office. However many Roman women were quite rich, powerful and influential.

Ha! :slight_smile: I re-read the original post and you mentioned it was the Republic. So In Manus it is. Never mind. :stuck_out_tongue: