Sunday, September 14, 2014

Find the Path: Status, a Wealth Variant


Status: A Wealth Variant
This is a variant that replaces the need to track coins in Pathfinder.  It doesn't replace magic items or
anything like that.  It just focuses on replacing coin tracking and some very minor item stuff.  Status eliminates the coin tracking in normal Pathfinder with a system that assumes wealth is more complicated than simple numbers, using abstract categories to explain what and what not some people can do.  Wealth here is a series of permissions, unlocking options based on which category you belong to.

This system assumes some trust from the players- something I as a GM prefer over being restrictive.  Permissions and distrust serve no one.  The goal is to have fun, and I just want to remove some accounting from my games.  Most of this variant is about removing coins as costs for items.  Minor items are just free items, and have the least amount of cost to obtain in terms of time.

I'm going to go instead with this very crunch-lite version I created instead.  Go here to see what my alternative to this is.

Minor Items
A minor item can be anything item under the base minor value- your level times 10.  If a item costs less than this amount, a character can obtain a minor item with minimum effort.  You have always have enough coin on hand to purchase it.  Anything outside this value requires at least an hour to find and purchase.

In addition, your Minor Item value also determines how much coin you have easily available to craft items with each day.  If you have any item creation feat, this value is doubled for crafting magic items.

Shop Status
In addition, you can't shop any establishment that only serves those of a higher status than you.  Most magic shops serve higher level clientele, and are used to turning away anyone of questionable status.  This is beyond the means of a diplomacy or intimidate check; its a societal effect.  If you lack the status of the right kind, you just can't shop at some places.

For most items you find at shops, if you spend the requisite time looking at a shop within your status' range, you can acquire it as long as its under your Ownership cap.

Ownership Cap
On top of that, status helps to determine your Ownership Cap.  That is, the highest possible gp value any item you own can have.  You aren't allowed to exceed this limit.  You can try to break it- but you have to deal with the social, legal and other ramifications.  Trying to own something beyond your station attracts attention, and often legitimate authorities will think you stole the item.  Others will try (and probably) to steal that item from you, because well, you obviously can't be its legit owner.

Ownership Cap = Status Modifier x Character Level x 500 gp

Changing Status
Whenever your character obtains a great deal of Wealth, there is a chance she might move up in status as well.  This is a Status check.  The character rolls 1d20 plus their total character level plus their Charisma modifier.  If you beat the DC for your current Status, then you advance upward.

Unlike most things in d20, Status has finite room for growth.  It doesn't scale upward forever, and some may never see any reason to want to persue a higher Status.  Any Character can choose at anytime to drop in status, forsaking enough wealth to drop down to the category below.  You can't do the reverse, but some do find happier lives with a low status.

WAIT!  This means Potions Are INFINITE!
Yes, there are some parts of this that read like "players get infinite resources."  The time costs of items still apply, as do the practical restrictions as well.  This is where GM fiat comes into play as a lever to stop somethings.  Potion shops can't supply a infinite supply of potions- the ready supply of potions for any given shop can't possibly supply an infinity.  Besides that, each potion purchased costs a player time to purchase if its outside their Minor Item value- an hour each time.

This assumption of a time cost for getting items replaces the main costs of getting items altogether.

Categories of Status
Each of the following eight categories of status list their status modifier, what living conditions for them are like, your character's appearance because of them, their status DC and any other relevant modifiers.

Poor and Destitute (DC 10; Status 1/10): You are poor enough that you sometimes sleep on the streets, and to rely on begging, theft or charity to get something to eat.  To anyone outside your Status, you take a -4 penalty on Diplomacy or Intimidate checks.  Your Minor Item value is always equal to your character level minus 1, making it hard for you to hold onto much of anything.  

Lower Class (DC 15; Status 1/2): You have found some form of work, or at least a means to afford the shack or leaky roof over your head.  You always manage to get something to eat, although it always never seems like enough.  To those of Wealthy or higher status, you still take a -2 penalty on Diplomacy or Intimidate checks.

Middle Class (DC 20; Status 1): You own a house, or have a decent apartment, have enough food to eat, and always have little extra you can spend on things other than surviving.  You take a -2 penalty on Diplomacy or Intimidate checks with those of Very Wealthy or higher status. For crafting magic items, the ready available cash you have to spend is equal to half your ownership cap instead of your minor item value.

Upper Middle Class (DC 25; Status 1.5): You have decent means and probably have a servant or two on the payroll.  You can afford the occasional extravagance.  You suffer no penalties for dealing with those outside your status.

Wealthy (DC 30; Status 2): You own a spacious home and don't really worry about most daily needs at all- thats what your lackeys and servants are for.  You suffer a -4 penalty on Diplomacy checks with those of Poor Status.

Very Wealthy (DC 40; Status 5): You own a grand manor or sizeable castle.  You live with extravagance, with a army of servants at your beck and call.  Those of much lower means aren't always sympathetic to you- take a -4 penalty on Diplomacy checks with those of Lower Class or Poor status.

Super-Rich (DC 50; Status 10): You are as wealthy as some nations.  You are one of the richest in the world, with countless servants and easy access to minor artifacts if you so wish.  You treat your Minor Item value as though it were ten times larger than it was otherwise.  You take a -4 penalty on Diplomacy checks with those of Middle Class or lower status.

Loans
A character of a lower status can obtain a higher one, albeit only for temporary.  By taking a Loan, the character advances up a social status.  Eventually the status reverts back to where it was before, but not without causing the Character to gain the Debt condition.  The character keeps the Debt condition until they can find some ways to pay it off or remove it altogether.

A loan can also be used to purchase or acquire something beyond a character's normal means.  Any item with a cost beyond the character's ownership cap can be paid for with a Loan.  Buildings, airships, very potent weapons, all of these are things a character who takes a Loan can obtain.

A debt can always be paid off by the Character choosing to drop down two whole status categories.  If the character can't drop down two (if dropping one category would put them at Poor, for example), then they are unable to pay the debt off.  The character remains stuck at that status until they have an opportunity to raise their status again.  If the character has taken a loan for increasing their status, they can only pay off the loan by dropping their Status after the loan's increase in status has expired.

Starting Characters
PCs start at Poor Status, unless they have a trait or feat that lets them begin at a higher status. (Edited: 9/14/2014)

*****

I'm unsure if some parts of this scales well or not.  Its an untested system I suspect that will favor low to middle levels right now.  I'm still looking to test it, and I'm looking for any feedback on it.  Some of the basic numbers feel like they are in the right ballpark.  I also will see about creating some mechanics that design well into this, feats and spells and the like.  Whatcha think, does this replace coin counting well?

Thanks for reading.  All comments are appreciated.  Any good ideas are praised.  Bad Ideas are ignored and the great ideas are stolen outright.  See ya around the bend.