Using Resources for merchant type characters


I’ve asked a few questions here last fall and got some great responses. We finally ran a short 3 session of Burning Wheel and had a great time. It was a great introduction to the system. I do have a few questions that I’ll probably ask in the coming weeks.

One aspect of our campaign (which we might resume) is that the players were doing trade. So they’d be told to deliver some good somewhere to get paid.

I wasn’t sure how to handle that with the resources/cash system.

Any insight?

If it’s that straightforward, then when they deliver the goods, they’d get Cash dice or a Fund. The amount or size being commensurate to the value of the goods.


Trade was one of the big threads of the last campaign @Mark_Watson ran for myself and a couple of others, so we did a lot of Resources, Funds, &c.

@Gnosego is spot on that the basic approach is Completing the Job = Cash Dice.

If you want to add more complexity, then you could consider possible side deals either way: the deal assumes everything is done above board and everyone honours the expectations; but what if there’s more profit to be made by negotiating a deal that included all customs levies, then smuggling the goods and pocketing those fees? Or what if there’s a glut of good that push prices down at the destination after the contract is agreed and the players have to avoid the buyer re-negotiating the contract down?

Instead of a “one and done for a fixed price” deal, have the buyer offer goods that are theoretically worth more than the debt instead of cash dice. So, the players could make more if they are prepared to do more trading.

A few NPC traders who manage to take advantage (or do the players a solid), some corrupt river watch (or annoyingly persistent and honest ones if the players are dodgy), perhaps a failed Circles roll meaning that a contact realises a way to do the job faster and cheaper than the players, and you have a mess of business rivals, frenemies, and challenges rather than just a purely mechanical “if you get to A with package X then you get N cash dice”.


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