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Genesys Wealth System

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Hey everyone. I made a post on the Genesys subreddit about tooling around with a wealth system in Genesys. Essentially something where you could roll dice for purchases instead of tracking each individual purchase. Here's a quick write-up on it. I could probably use more testing on it. For a full version, I plan to add a number of wealth based talents for wealthy characters to exploit to their hearts content.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XvzlvB4moa5rsRct5xb9Gk-FXsicojpP

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Genesys does indeed need a "credit rating" system to handle wealth for games where bean-counting isn't necessary or thematic. Thanks for sharing your approach. My critique would be that your system is still too bean-county for my tastes. I'd prefer a system that works with "credit rating" and maybe "debt." Basically, consolidating the five new attributes you've introduced into two, max. You can purchase items in a single day up to some amount based on your credit rating (limiting bean counting in most situations to just odd purchases in a single day), and you can maybe take on debt to get something bigger, like a new car or whatever. Even that is veering into too much complexity for me, so I might even do away with the debt part.

In short, your system is a good middle-of-the-road. I'd love to see something even more abstracted for games where looting and gear progression aren't highly emphasized.

Edited by SavageBob

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Now I'm just spitballing from memory here, but Call of Cthulhu does this very well, basically your character has a credit rating (0-100) with five steps: Poor, Lean, Moderate, Good, and Wealthy. Poor means you have less than $5 per day and can only make small purchases (homeless), Lean means you have less than $25 per day and can only make small purchases (Rented Room-Studio Apartment), Moderate means you can spend about $50 per day and have a small savings (usually about $1,000-1,500) and have a decent apartment and maybe a car, Good means you have about $100 per day, a modest savings ($2,500-5,000) a car and a home, while Wealthy gives you $200 per day, a large savings ($5,000+) a large home, a nice car, and maybe a stake in a local Business. I'm sure I got some of the particulars wrong but it's probably close enough to work.

Edited by AlanTheBothersome
Bad autocorrect

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11 hours ago, SavageBob said:

Call of Cthulhu is indeed the system that I would hope to emulate in Genesys. I know this topic has come up before on these forums, but I'm not sure if anyone successfully implemented such a system.

Since both systems use a Percentile Mechanic you could probably just rip it whole cloth and go, the only difficulty there being how to establish it. Call of Cthulhu has you invest some of your starting Career Points into it, Genesys doesn't have that, but you could still tie it to careers using one of the five tiers. 

 

That being said here's my proposal: Use Talents.

Assume that unless a player starts Poor at Tier 0 (Without a Talent). Assume Major assets are worth $5000 or more, and Minor assets are worth $250-4,750.

Assets are those easily liquidated, and as such do not include either cars or houses, though it is assumed that Tiers 3-5 will own both.

I recommend that when a character moves up a rank you reopen the previous rank's spot as it seems unfair to make a player effectively buy every rank in non-ranked Talents, and using them all as Tier One and Ranked feels wrong. I would not give the XP invested in each rank back, however.

 

Tier 0: Poor.

Ranked: No.

Effect: Character does not have access to reliable lodgings or meals, and cannot purchase goods more than $5 per day without worrying about it. The character likely has no savings and no major or minor assets.

 

Tier 1: Lean Budget.

Ranked: No.

Effect: Character has access to basic and Spartan lodgings, can afford basic, low quality meals (up to 3 per day), and can purchase goods up to $25 per day without worrying about it. The character likely has less than $200 savings and no major or minor assets.

 

Tier 2: Meager Budget.

Ranked: No.

Effect: Character has access to basic lodgings, can afford basic, mid quality meals (up to 3 per day), and can purchase goods up to $50 per day without worrying about it. The character likely has less than $500 savings and one Minor Asset no greater than $1,500.

 

Tier 3: Moderate Budget.

Ranked: No.

Effect: Character has access to decent lodgings, can afford quality meals (up to 3 per day), and can purchase goods up to $100 per day without worrying about it. The character likely has less than $1,000 savings and one Major Asset no greater than $7,500, and one Minor Asset no greater than $4,750.

 

Tier 4: Middle Class Budget.

Ranked: No.

Effect: Character has access to good lodgings, can afford high quality meals (up to 5 per day), and can purchase goods up to $200 per day without worrying about it. The character likely has more than $2,000 savings and one Major Asset no greater than $10,000, and two Minor Assets totalling $3-5,000.

 

Tier 5: Wealthy.

Ranked: Yes.

Effect: Character has access to extravagant lodgings, can afford high quality meals (up to 5 per day), and can purchase goods up to $500 per day without worrying about it. The character likely has more than $7,500 savings and two Major assets greater than $25,000, and 5 Minor Assets totalling $10-15,000. Each additional rank in Wealthy grants +$250 per diem, and 1 Major Asset up to $15,000 and 2 Minor Assets totalling $7,500-10,000.

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I like the tiers you've delineated. However, I don't know that talents will solve the problem, since it precludes starting at anything higher than Lean Budget at character creation in most cases due to the limitations of the talent pyramid. Ideally, the system would enable a player to create, say, a wealthy aristocrat (unless we assume they are on hard times), which is a standard trope in investigative horror games, among others.

What if we married your tiers to something borrowed from Star Wars? In that game, you can trade in some starting resource for more starting cash. That is, in Star Wars, +5 Obligation or -5 Duty gives you either +5 starting XP or +1,000 starting cash, while +10 Obligation or -10 Duty gives you either +10 starting XP or +2,500 starting cash. What's handy for us is that correlation between XP and cash: 5 XP is worth 1,000 currency, while 10 XP is worth 2,500 currency.*

With that in mind, I wonder if the assumption might be that all PCs start at Tier 2 (or 3?) by default for no XP cost. If you opt to start at a lower tier, you get some bonus starting XP. If you want to start at a higher tier, you pay some starting XP to do so. Perhaps -5/+5 per tier? That way, to start out as a filthy-rich aristocrat, you're sacrificing 10–15 starting XP, while starting as a dirt-poor beggar, you're gaining 10–15 bonus XP (depending on where we set the default). (Again this wouldn't be the approach to use in a murder-hobo type game, but rather for one set in a relatively modern economy where gaining gear and cash isn't a major goal.)

Then, the talents might be rolled into a single, ranked talent called Wealth. Each level of Wealth you purchase bumps you up one tier on the wealth scale. 

*Whether Star Wars currency and Genesys currency are roughly equivalent is something I can't answer.

Edited by SavageBob

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That works better, though we could also treat it as if it were a Talent but put it into a Background Category (Wealth), make it part of the Setting/Theme. Starting value cost is the same as for the talent, purchase up afterwards. That way starting Wealthy hurts a bit.

I limited it in the way that I did because I usually have my PC'S start out low-level/low-income and have them work their way up. My group does not do well with free access to wealth.

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Haha! I can see your point. Maybe there could be some note that in many settings, Wealth Level 3 should be the starting point, but GMs should adjust this up or down to fit their setting and group. It remains relatively balanced either way.

I'm eager to see this in play. I need to get my Call of Cthulhu-inspired of the ground to get these rules into action!

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I think this depends on what you want wealth to do in your setting. I'm opposed to wealth being tied to talents because I believe it should be fluid in nature. It should go up and down based on the narrative. I do however like the idea of tying wealth to starting options. You can start with a big boost at a cost to experience.

Something to keep in mind about my system is I'm not attempting to make wealth simpler. I'm attempting to make wealth more concrete and tied to the system. Finding 750 gold means nothing because I have really no context if that is good or not. Tying it to a cost of 4 in a 5 cost system makes a lot more sense. I'm also building this for my super hero setting which has a staple of wealthy characters. Even Android has a difference between Risties and your street hackers. I'd love to have wealth based talents.

If you are going to make it simpler I think the best option really is to have a static wealth "class" that you pick at character creation. Use the guidelines you've been discussing in this thread. Reduce starting xp to purchase a higher wealth class and have this represent narrative income.

I'd then keep the current bean counting system; however, I'd make it very clear that the money you're tracking and spending is laundered money you can spend on the black market purchases. The reason for this? We're not worrying about anything outside of weapons and ammo. The money players get is ONLY being spent on adventuring gear. Everything else, meals, rent, travel. This is handwaved away to the narrative. I'd then have this narrative power tied to the class you pick at character creation. If you want a bit more mechanical crunch players get a drip of income at the beginning of every session tied to their class. What about fantasy setting where people don't care about if the money you're spending is clean or not? They just want gold. You have to work a bit harder. Plenty of fantasy settings have feudal systems of lords and factions. What if the narrative class and power you have to give to your realm/lord; however, your lord then will just provide you with the narrative items. Or what if your characters are the lords and nobles? Then the narrative money is tied up taking care of there realm; however, they do have this sort of power and can just make demands to have the narrative items provided. They then have their coin purse of gold to spend on adventuring gear.

This approach still does have the bean counter approach to it. Anything else you do you're going to have to start messing with the current cost of weapons and items and it will start to get closer to my system. I think leaving the current costs but  isolating them to mechanical buying power for weapons/armor/gear and narrative buying power for everything else would be the simplest method with the most minimal rule changes.

 

Edit: Wait, I just reread your write-up and realized I missed the part about acquiring purchases up to a certain amount without interruption. Actually yeah that's not bad at all either. I'd still keep the narrative/mechanical split. I know players. If they put themselves at the 1% they're going to want to push what they can do with those free purchases. Maybe have free mechanical purchases with the talents/starting wealth class and then open up purchases a lot more for narrative purchases.

Edited by BringBackForbiddenStars

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Another (More Genesys Friendly) way to do this would be have a rating of 1-5 (green dice), and a difficulty cost.  If you succeed, then you can purchase the item.  If you fail, you don't have enough liquid assets to purchase that item for a game.  Challenge dice could be used for rarity/restriction.  With despairs meaning that you over extended yourself and your wealth went down.

Ex 1:  A handgun has a cost of 2 purple dice.  The character, middle income, has a wealth of 2 green dice.  If they roll more successes, they can purchase it no problem.  If they roll success and threat, then their wealth drops to 1 for the remainder of the game.

Ex 2: Same character wants to get an untraceable handgun (serial numbers filed off).  The cost is still 2, but not the restricted upgrades the cost to 1 purple, 1 red.  If they succeed, they have the item.  If they get a despair, well... then the fun starts.  The gun might have previously been used in a crime.  Their wealth could permanently drop...

Talents could also be used to bolster their wealth.

Level 1 Talent-Side Hustle.

Besides their normal source of income, they have a secondary source.  This upgrades any wealth checks by 1.

 

How does that work for you guys?  I'd have to come up with a "price list" for things, but does the basic idea make sense?

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I think Jareddw has the right approach for this.  one thing however I think despairs should not be the only way to lose funds. 

Thinking about it this way someone with a wealth of one and they try to buy that gun above. He is more like to over extend himself trying to get this item as he does not have as much funds.

vs the wealthy person  with 5 dice. 

(so poor person is more likely to end up with disadvantages at the end of the roll and over extend himself.)

wondering if this should not just be a skill roll (replacing negotiation) with it being odd because it can go up and down without spending xp. (still linked to Presence. representing the more likable person getting better deals. possibly a talent to link it to cunning for person that just tricks people into giving them good deals)
(or perhaps its a stat that can change in pay without xp but has to have xp spent to change it to start, with negotiation being link to that stat vs presence, or its just presence + wealth roll)

Edited by adairhammer

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I don't know about the skill roll though, it seems a bit extraneous to me, if you're trying to barter down the price just use Negotiate, the reason I recommend using the CoC port I made (rather hastily, I admit) is that it's largely passive so you can basically ignore it most of the time, yet it allows for active management and roleplay when needed. Do you liquidate an asset or dip into savings? What are your assets? A car? A family heirloom? A small business? Even with a cap of $250 per day, spending is still somewhat limited. Need a new iPhone? No chance. A replacement for that window you broke? Maybe. A pack of batteries, six flashlights, two backpacks, some rope, a tent and four sleeping bags? No problem!

 

I can see the merits of the skill system, but it just seems too granular for my group's normal play style. But that's what makes Genesys great, there's room for both.

Edited by AlanTheBothersome
Too, not to.

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even in CoC rolls do come up.. Granted like you most of the time I would not make anyone roll wealth. like all skills only have players roll if a possibility of  many different outcome could leads to a good story else the players should just auto succeed or fail (if ask is way to much for the char wealth level).  just like you would not have a char roll to drive a car normally. 

as I said I would just remove Negotiate. as I see nothing the other social skill don't cover and you don't want skill bloat.  (already seems kind of weak skill in most cases) 

but then again I don't think haggling over price ever is really intreating role-play. now if you fail with advantage I may offer you a side task to make up difference for the money your missing. 

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Having gone back and re-read the CoC stuff I see your point. That being said, I wouldn't make it a Skill itself, I would allow it to be used in conjunction with a Skill as an Attribute. For example: purchasing a car you could use Wealth+ Charm to try and buddy up to the salesperson, or Coercion if you're leveraging mob connections. 

Since you can be a totally uncharismatic boob with lots of money or super charismatic with little money this should balance it pretty well as @adairhammer pointed out. 

That said I still think that it should still function as described above, and such rolls only come up when a character tries to get something above their Tier without sacrificing savings or an asset.

For different settings you could multiply or divide the totals by 5 depending on wealth level needed. Dividing by five would be a good start for the Dark Ages through Prohibition settings, multiplying by 5 would be good for settings such as Corporate Intrigue or Aristocratic Romance/Intrigue. 

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@adairhammer - I wouldn't remove Negotiate, as it has a place the other social skills don't fill. Sometimes it's just about the hard facts, the numbers, the quality of an item, the truth of what you have to offer. No charm, deception, or intimidation can change those factors, and having to fall back on one of those skills for straight negotiation would be disingenuous. 

_______________

The biggest issue I have with a wealth system that provides an experience penalty to someone because they're wealthy is that it doesn't even remotely model reality in any sort of world. The wealthy are always better trained and healthier, tend to be smarter, more cunning, more athletic, and have better access to services. In truth, if you wanted to have a wealth system that made sense, the rich should actually start out with an experience bonus, rather than a penalty.

Of course, that's just no fun, and the point of this is fun.

Leaving off any XP bonus or penalty, you could determine wealth by random roll at character creation. Unfortunately, that takes away player agency when it comes to their characters, and any realistic table for rolling would have the vast majority of the players at the lower end of the income spectrum.

The way I would do it is to tie your character's wealth their background. That would mean there would have to be codified backgrounds, each one ranked for wealth, but coming up with five to ten background/wealth ranks shouldn't be too difficult. From there, you have options.

  1. The GM can start everyone with a certain wealth threshold.
  2. The players can be allowed to determine their own.

The second option would, of course, cause variable degrees of buying power within the party, but as long as the players are good with it, that shouldn't be too much of an issue. Of course, that sort of income inequality doesn't suit some players (or some GMs), so it's easy to fall back on Option 1.

So now we have an attribute called "Wealth" that's ranked 1-5 (which, I admit, isn't granular enough for me - I'd rather go with 10 ranks). Your character can make a reasonable amount of purchases within your Wealth strata each day (or each week, or each month, depending on how the GM wants to do it). If you want to overextend yourself, you can do so once per session per point of Presence, but doing so requires a [Social Skill] roll. Which social skill depends on how you want to go through with the purchase. Some sort of table akin to the Alchemy table in Realms of Terrinoth could be created to help determine how Triumphs, Despairs, Advantages, and Threats are spent on such a roll, but it should include possibilities such as...

... on the positive side:

  • Reduction in the cost of the item.
  • A net positive outlook from the seller (which may lead to better pricing in the future).
  • Trading the item for a favor instead of money.
  • The item being of superior quality (not necessarily having the Superior quality, but being better than expected).

... on the negative side:

  • An increase in the cost of the item.
  • A net negative outlook from the seller (which may lead to worse pricing in the future).
  • The item being of inferior quality.
  • Temporary loss of Wealth ranks.
  • Permanent loss of Wealth ranks.

I'd leave off the bean counting completely, but instead create modifiers for rolls, similar to how the Star Wars economy had different adjustments for different types of worlds. That way, a black market item might end up costing a little more, or an item that's got a high rarity might be a little more expensive (while super-low rarities might drop the value of an item).

Treasure or loot could then be used to increase a player's net wealth. There would have to be some sort of algorithm to determine how that happened, and it would have to scale up all five or ten ranks you include in your game. It shouldn't be easy to reach the top three or four tiers of wealth for someone who started low, nor should it be easy for someone who started high to lose it all just by making purchases.

 

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On 12/13/2019 at 4:11 AM, Simon Retold said:

@adairhammer - I wouldn't remove Negotiate, as it has a place the other social skills don't fill. Sometimes it's just about the hard facts, the numbers, the quality of an item, the truth of what you have to offer. No charm, deception, or intimidation can change those factors, and having to fall back on one of those skills for straight negotiation would be disingenuous. 

_______________

The biggest issue I have with a wealth system that provides an experience penalty to someone because they're wealthy is that it doesn't even remotely model reality in any sort of world. The wealthy are always better trained and healthier, tend to be smarter, more cunning, more athletic, and have better access to services. In truth, if you wanted to have a wealth system that made sense, the rich should actually start out with an experience bonus, rather than a penalty.

Of course, that's just no fun, and the point of this is fun.

Leaving off any XP bonus or penalty, you could determine wealth by random roll at character creation. Unfortunately, that takes away player agency when it comes to their characters, and any realistic table for rolling would have the vast majority of the players at the lower end of the income spectrum.

The way I would do it is to tie your character's wealth their background. That would mean there would have to be codified backgrounds, each one ranked for wealth, but coming up with five to ten background/wealth ranks shouldn't be too difficult. From there, you have options.

  1. The GM can start everyone with a certain wealth threshold.
  2. The players can be allowed to determine their own.

The second option would, of course, cause variable degrees of buying power within the party, but as long as the players are good with it, that shouldn't be too much of an issue. Of course, that sort of income inequality doesn't suit some players (or some GMs), so it's easy to fall back on Option 1.

So now we have an attribute called "Wealth" that's ranked 1-5 (which, I admit, isn't granular enough for me - I'd rather go with 10 ranks). Your character can make a reasonable amount of purchases within your Wealth strata each day (or each week, or each month, depending on how the GM wants to do it). If you want to overextend yourself, you can do so once per session per point of Presence, but doing so requires a [Social Skill] roll. Which social skill depends on how you want to go through with the purchase. Some sort of table akin to the Alchemy table in Realms of Terrinoth could be created to help determine how Triumphs, Despairs, Advantages, and Threats are spent on such a roll, but it should include possibilities such as...

... on the positive side:

  • Reduction in the cost of the item.
  • A net positive outlook from the seller (which may lead to better pricing in the future).
  • Trading the item for a favor instead of money.
  • The item being of superior quality (not necessarily having the Superior quality, but being better than expected).

... on the negative side:

  • An increase in the cost of the item.
  • A net negative outlook from the seller (which may lead to worse pricing in the future).
  • The item being of inferior quality.
  • Temporary loss of Wealth ranks.
  • Permanent loss of Wealth ranks.

I'd leave off the bean counting completely, but instead create modifiers for rolls, similar to how the Star Wars economy had different adjustments for different types of worlds. That way, a black market item might end up costing a little more, or an item that's got a high rarity might be a little more expensive (while super-low rarities might drop the value of an item).

Treasure or loot could then be used to increase a player's net wealth. There would have to be some sort of algorithm to determine how that happened, and it would have to scale up all five or ten ranks you include in your game. It shouldn't be easy to reach the top three or four tiers of wealth for someone who started low, nor should it be easy for someone who started high to lose it all just by making purchases.

 

I guess I'm just not bothered by trying to simulate reality. It's true that the rich are by and large healthier than the poor, but you can narratively justify paying starting XP for wealth level by taking a dip elsewhere (like, say, Cunning or Willpower. Or Agility if they're a lazy layabout.) Genesys is first and foremost a game, so balance is more important that simulationism, at least at my table.

Your system is pretty workable, too, though. If I were to do it this way, I'd link wealth level to the Career (e.g., Hobo starts with a lower level than Dilettante). I'd be hesitant to go with something mechanical and chart-heavy for wealth-level increases, though. Better to leave such things to the narrative.

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