Property and Resources

Hi! I’ve been arguing with some BW players on another forum about properties and resources.
We were talking about a noble having a small fortress, manor, etc. In the case of that noble PC giving (as a gift) a friend (other PC) a sword, horse, finery, etc., should he roll resources? Some argue that, in a small fortress, there’s surely an arsenal with weapons you can use for your own needs, so taking one and lending it shouldn’t require a roll.
I say we can let a resources roll determine that, establish the knight has many weapons in his arsenal and then roll for the retroactive purchase to see if he was taxed for that. Also, I think the clarification in the CharBu (revised), p.169 ("[the property] …does not provide the character with other free purchases form the Resources list") is relevant: you don`t get a free horse from your manor, free weapons from your castle or free finery from your palace, so I would ask for resources rolls to get that stuff. The wealth of the lord and his ease of acquiring such cheap stuff are already represented in his (surely) high resources.

Other questions:
-Is it kosher to use resources in some cases to declar purchases the character has done in the past? A lord wants to give his friends weapons, so he declares he’s got an arsenal full of them. There’s no hurry in time and the castle is nearby a city where he could have acquire them. Could an Ob4 resources roll be made to retroactively determine how was he taxed during that acquisition? It’d be similar to a circles or wise test.

-Can you give some examples of “Say yes” applied to resources? I imagine it’s fairly common for drinking on a tabern or staying at an inn (covered by LM), but a say yes applied to getting meaningfull stuff like finery, weapons or mount?

-Some argued that giving a weapon for a lord (of a fortress) is covered in his lifestyle maintenance. Is it? Are there any guidelines to set what’s covered by LM and what isn’t?

If the player paid for the noble’s small fortress in character burning, I’d say he would have to make a Resources test, but should get some major advantage dice. Of course, if giving his friend a sword doesn’t hit any Beliefs, I’d just say yes and move on.

In terms of “meaningful stuff”, in my opinion, the only meaningful stuff is stuff that really hits Beliefs. If the game is about wealthy nobles and intrigue, I would handwave a lot of the stuff common to their Circles. If it’s about mud-eating peasants, not so much.

What’s your game about?

Resources tests are made to acquire something that the character doesn’t have. I agree with your interpretation of the Character Burner–you have to stock your own property. This goes along with the idea of “characters start naked and stupid”.

I’m cool with making an “oh by the way, I bought these when I was back in town” if it’s needed, but don’t overuse this. Otherwise it gets really weird, especially when you add in tax. i.e., you declare that you bought something in the past, except that your resources are taxed now and weren’t then, or vice versa. It can get messy.

“Say yes”, by definition, doesn’t really apply to “meaningful” things in my book. If you’re saying yes to something meaningful, something’s wrong here. There should be some consequence to that, some interesting way that failure can lead it in another fashion. My own personal (from a real game) dividing line was when the GM said yes to a single drink for my character, but not when my character declared that he’d be drinking the night away.

EDIT: to work with what DarthMidget said, “meaningful” will be relative to the scope of your characters.

In Gold, there’s a list of things included in Lifestyle Maintenance; if “having weapons on hand” is reasonably covered under a certain level, I think that’s a reasonable interpretation. Just bear in mind that “being an arms dealer” probably bumps up the LM Ob by one or two. :wink:

I’d say that the lord can have plenty of run-of-the-mill weapons in the armory but if he wants something special, it will cost.

I’m not into buying a keep and having it mean that it is barren without resources checks. That doesn’t make sense to me. If they want something special, then they will have to make a roll but if they want a few spears and shields, I’m fine with them going down into the armory and getting them. I’d say, “yes,” rather than roll the dice in this instance.

The more I think about it the more I agree with Judd.

Just give 'em some RoM weapons, and get on with the good stuff (Beliefs, Instincts, Traits, and the challenging thereof!).

A Resources roll only makes no sense if failure means there is no sword.

It’s really up to the GM and what’s appropriate to the setting. Consider the character’s Lifestyle: Is such a thing a stretch for the character? If yes, then it should probably be a Resources test. If no, then let the lifestyle maintenance test take care of it. A horse is a big deal…something only a very wealthy lord could afford to give away. It should probably be a Resources test unless the gifter is already living a very extravagant lifestyle.

Also, keep in mind that if your setting is based on medieval European norms, lords don’t give out swords often. It is the vassal’s obligation to provide arms, armor and horses for himself, not the lord’s.

I’d never create a new thing without a Resources roll, but I’d happily allow Resources to be rolled to see if the estate can afford the loss of a thing. Succeed? “Sure, there’s a spare sword lying around, m’lord.” Fail? “Er, m’lord, if you take Rolf’s sword he’ll have to go without…” You get taxed because your resources aren’t what you thought, and now you can choose between accepting that or taking the sword (the gift of kindness) and annoying your men.

Property comes with all the accoutrements. An estate has servants and grooms and all the rest. It also has furniture and appropriate decorations. A castle will likely have ornate hangings and large kitchens to whip up feasts. Do they come with finery? No, that’s another item listed under property; if you buy a castle but no clothes you are, for some reason, clad in rags despite being a lord Do they come with horses? No, you have to buy your own. A smithy? It’s complicated. I’d say any castle has a smithy, but you can’t use it; your smith can. If you want a smithy you can use you’re negotiating with the smith or paying for it somehow because you didn’t purchase it with your RPs. The same goes for the arsenal: your property is well stocked with arms until you want to separate the arms from the property and use them as discrete objects, and then you’re testing to see if you can afford to, basically.

In other words, equipping a PC is almost always something meaningful. Equipping an NPC often won’t be, even (or especially) if it’s many nameless NPCs. You can outfit your entire household for free, but you can’t arm your buddy. Your smith can maintain all your men’s gear, but as soon as your buddy wants a crack at the forge you’re rolling or paying.

On the drinking example above, a single drink or drinking the night away are both usually going to be Say Yes moments for me unless drinking the night away somehow matters. Are you carousing and keeping drinks flowing to show what a jolly fellow you are, or your iron constitution, or to get someone drunk and talkative? Then there’s an intent and Resources are the task. Are you doing it because your character is a boisterous big drinker, or a hardened alcoholic, or celebrating a great victory with great drunkenness? There’s no real intent, just flavor; Say Yes.

I think it’s important to say that this is a very personal decision. If you’ve got all sorts of interesting balls in the air and things are hopping at the table, struggling to find some interesting failure condition about a sword may just not be worth the effort. Sure, we can find lots of interesting options here, but in the moment saying Yes may be a perfectly fine option for you at that time. “Yes, the Keep has an arsenal and getting a sword is no problem, Now about your father’s killer…” Just as at another time it might be cool to say “Sure, you can equip your friends with all sorts of gear. Feel free. But you’re rolling Resources for that. Failure, it’s still no problem. Everyone gets all swords. Only, one of the swords has a wee little flaw…”

A keep or fortress should come with stables annd an armory large enough to meet the needs of its garrison; whether or not said stables and armory are big enough that you can just give things away is another matter. Steel is expensive, and good swordsmiths are hard to find; Horses have to be bred for generations in order to produce desirable triats; etc. As a rule, property should come with everything necessary for it to function properly (I wouldn’t begrudge farming tools to the lord of a manor who suddenly felt the urge to plow his own fields), though if PC’s start giving away these things, then obviously they might encounter problems. If they make a habit of it, consider upping their Lifestyle Maintenance test. It’s important to remember that the larger properties likely come with a host of people to work them; these people’s will likely have an opinion about their employer squandering valuable resources.

Yes. Almost all tests are based on the type of game, what’s happening, and GM/player preferences, at least outside of Fight, DoW, and RaC.

I will say, though, that Resources tests have the failure consequence, tax, built in. Adding extra failure consequences beyond tax and not getting what you want is often unnecessary, and it’s one of the few places where failure really can just result in a flat no that doesn’t take the story somewhere interesting—because having to make do without what you want or come up with an alternate way to get it is pretty interesting too.

I’d also lean hard on the fact that whether or not you have the swords available is a matter of Resources. You may just Say Yes, making the point appear moot, but it’s not: property, even expensive property, should not be a replacement for gear. Again, this emphasis is an idiosyncrasy of mine, but I think it helps keep players from turning one thing into too many other things. It’s tempting when you own big properties to imagine you also own all the stuff that’s on them. It makes sense, and it makes sense in the fiction, too, but I don’t think it works by the rules.

Thanks everybody for all the replies and advice!

The game’s both about noble intrigue and hardcore dungeoneering, so weapons are generally very important. Mount not so much, because…

We have been playing the whole campaign in the below/depths of the setting: caves, tunnels, small ecosystems like those of journey to the center of the earth. There are no horses, but some sort of mule is used as beast of burden.

The lord of the castle is a dwarven PC, he’s occupied an abandoned fortress 28 years ago, brought colonists from other keeps, and now has a population of 350, mostly dwarves. His resources exponent is 5. It should have been 6, but prior to becoming a lord he had only 2 on resources, the fortress is pretty new, etc. So he’s not close to being a wealthy noble, and must not have much to spare. I lean towards making him roll for whatever he wants to get (given those are mechanically relevant objects or services), though the idea of upping his lifestyle maintenance Ob if he wants to start supplying his friends is a good one.

By now, the only “roll” there was was to buy supplies for the whole group for a 2-week journey to the depths, for which he didn’t roll resources, but rather circled a generous merchant who offered to finance the trip. I don’t know if it was a good call to ask for a roll for that, given that basic supplies (like food) are already covered by LM, but it didn’t harm the game anyway. I might handle an advantage die to everybody on their next LM roll, thanks to the help of that merchant.

Related to the idea of an armory with weapons, I should discuss later with the group how do the dwarves organize for war… I think the armies whose lord provides all weapons for are pretty modern, prior to that most soldiers where expected to bring their own stuff with them and their salary was the loot. The social organization of dwarven society by clans seems to suggest that every clan is expected to be able to defend and supply himself, with the clan’s longbeard responding directly to the prince of the keep/host/city. But… there is a host subsetting, which might mean the lord has a profesional army under his command after all. Even then, I’d imagine most soldiers are in fact owners of their weapons and responsible for them. What do you think? If this became relevant in a future, it might be established with a wise test.

Yup, I pretty much agree with what you say, it’s more elegant and easy to handle by the rules if you let a resources roll decide how much can you spare lending and giving away your stuff. A castle lord will usually have res 6 or even 7, so a sword, mule or whatever won’t be much of a deal, but by statistics you will start getting taxed if you roll many times for routine stuff.

Y’know…now this has my mind spinning on whether you couldn’t hack BW into a Dwarf Fortress-style game.

This is cool. I’m re-thinking my post above.

In general, my thought on BW conflicts is, if there is an interesting failure consequence, roll the dice.

I’d amend that to interesting and relevant consequences for failure, but also interesting and relevant consequences of success. You can often spin an interesting plot out of all kinds of trivial failures, but they can derail the game. If it doesn’t matter, say yes. If it does matter and you don’t have consequences, take another moment to think. That element of BW improv is hard! And if it matters too much, say yes or you’re going to stall the game.

BW isn’t ideally suited for a game of DF, but only because DF and BW are mechanically different genres. You can play a solid game as the Dwarven ruler of a fortress and even set it up on Dwarf Fortress lines. You can have all the ludicrous traps and catsplosions you want! (Traps-Wise, Cat-Wise, Disposal-Wise)

Yeah, I’m thinking something that’s a sort of hybrid between the two more than a flat-out adaptation. I’d be musing over how much of DF’s humor quotient to factor over. See, what really nails it (for me) is how detail-oriented they both are. Infusing the detail element with the BITs of Burning Wheel and the “interesting failure” conception would be a great fit in my mind.

But that’s sorta de-raily at this point…