Taxing resources


I’m sure this has been asked before, if somebody has a forum link please let me know. It seems counter-intuitive to me that resources are taxed when you fail your test. Typically IRL if you get nothing, you spend nothing. Seems to me like tax should kick in after a successful roll.

D20 modern was similar to BW in this respect. It always seemed weird to me.

How does this feel in gameplay?

The thing is that Resources isn’t just money. It’s also favors, credit, land, etc.

In one of my campaigns, a character failed a Resources test, and in the RP of the transaction, he had offered the use of some of his property. The failed test meant that, while in his home territory that might be a valuable offer, here it simply wasn’t worth as much. The tax was representative of that fact - something the character thought was valuable turned out to be worth less than he originally thought.

Echoing Shaun, Resources isn’t just money (cash on hand is, which is why it is spent regardless of how the test comes up). It’s a really heavy abstraction of secondary income, trade goods, and deeds done.

A good example of non-money resources would be a herd of sheep. The profit from the wool, mutton, cheese would all go towards covering debts incurred by buying things on your resources. Failing the test means that you have to overextend your herd to cover your debts which dips into its renewable growth potential (because you just sold a quarter of your herd). A monetary example would be an endowment, as long as you spend only the interest gained without dipping into the principle it just keeps generating goods without losing any value.

So yeah, it works, but you have to remember that it’s not just a bankroll.

Also, you’re generally not rolling to see if you get the thing: with Gift of Kindness, you should be getting most of the things you roll for regardless of whether the roll is passed or failed; rather, the roll is to see if you can afford the thing. If you fail the roll, you still buy the thing: you just blow through your discressionary spending and start to tax your resources.

In an economy based on localization, barter and favor trading, you don’t really know what you can afford until you try to buy something. Then, you may learn you have less than you thought you did.

The Gift of Kindness is just that: a gift. The GM certainly isn’t obligated to give you things you can’t afford.

The less you think of Resources as money the more sense it makes. Consider it as goodwill: you ask for something. If you’ve got the clout and reputation, people will give it to you. If you’re overreaching, you don’t get it, and word spreads that you’re a grasping ingrate. Resources as reputation works very well, especially if your characters are part of a bureaucracy or aristocracy. Or you’ve asked for favors and your contacts responded with annoyance rather than aid, and now you can’t rely on them for a while and you couldn’t get what you wanted.

If it’s money, it’s not the money in your wallet. That’s often a Say Yes moment: if it’s well within your budget, fine, you get it! It comes out of whatever income you draw without a splash. It’s when you’re making purchases big enough that you can potentially ruin the source of your money, rather than the money itself, that things become taxable. This is obvious if you have an estate, a herd of sheep, or a pile of goods that you might have to sell fast for less than you could get otherwise, but what does it mean if you have wages and all your Resources are cash?

They shouldn’t be. Or rather, if all your wealth is liquidity, you’re looking at a bunch of Cash dice and maybe some Funds, but not Resources per se. Resources aren’t stacks of coins.

Good stuff, thanks.