The Resource Pile Up

So my PCs have gotten to the point where all of them have at least 1 Resources, and they’ve realized that they can use their newly minted resources to help each other. Since it’s a group of 6, this has meant +5D on every resource roll everyone makes. Needless to say this makes most purchases fairly trivial and is destroying the desperate-grind feeling of Torchbearer that I love so much.

Can anyone point to a section of the rules that would prevent this Resource Pileup? I can use GM fiat if a have to, but I’d rather have something in the rules to point to.


You can’t help when rolling for the lifestyle test when exiting town, since everyone has to roll at the same time. But otherwise, that’s the game functioning as it’s meant to. Characters who have multiple adventures under their belts and carefully husband their resources begin to earn some wealth and maybe even a grudging level of respect from townsfolk.

There is a cost to helping like that. When they roll the dice, sooner or later players fail rolls, even against very low obstacles. That’s when you, as the GM, impose tax as the penalty for failure (see Taxing Resources, page 134). Tax not only drains the resources of the character making the test, but the resources of everyone helping too. I’ve taxed a group to penury over a failed resources test to buy some lamp oil.

Note, you don’t have to impose tax everytime they fail a roll. After you do it to them once, they’ll tend to become much more cautious about what they buy and what they help with.

Purchases are meant to be trivial. It’s just that most characters are so poor it becomes a big deal. But when you’re hauling sacks of gold and ivory statues up from underground, suddenly buying lunch and some oil ain’t such a big deal. Lifestyle costs are where to sink 'em. Eventually they’ll need to do some Circles tests or stay in an expensive hotel to recover their conditions and as Thor pointed out, that’s a solo roll.

Interesting. I’m actually not seeing anything in the rules to suggest that Lifestyle costs are simultaneous and thus you can’t help on them, but knowing that’s the intent is useful. I also really disagree that purchases are meant to be trivial, but I suppose that’s a matter of interpretation. One of the things I really like about TB and talk up about it is that even buying a torch is a significant decision.

I mean risk-wise, you can just dump cash and at least not worry about being taxed.

I did not know this!

Even if you do it wrong like we do, that ends up being a pretty fun roll. Lifestyle Obs get out of hand more than Market Obs, and it’s high drama to watch your friends turn their back on you after spending the whole phase paying for everything.

Another thing to remember to keep resources from getting out of hand: conflict rules apply for logging resources tests in the market. So you can really only get one test out of a market visit no matter how much you buy. Additionally, you can only ever raise your resources once per town phase (although nothing forbids you from logging the test during a town phase that will raise you the next time.)

Now, I didn’t know that. Does it say this somewhere in the book? I don’t think it has been an issue, but I don’t remember reading this.

Yup. See Advancing Resources in Town and Earn One Test per Ability or Skill​, both on page 104.

Got it. Interesting. Thanks.