Cash and Carry: Savage Wealth with a Nod to Technoir
Something caught my eye yesterday on Twitter, someone had retweeted something or other about Technoir, so I clicked through to JeremyKeller’s website and scoped out his video. I’ve thought about trying them out sometime, but that’s beside the point. The game looked interesting and evocative of FATE, but with his own interesting twists. He wrote Chronica Feaudalis (a game I’ve read good things about as well as heard good things about from Ron Blessing, though haven’t picked up yet). Well, I found this a bit intriguing, because we’ve been playing FATE and I’ve been fiddling around with the rules a bit, but haven’t been quite happy with how Wealth is handled in Diaspora (and I really dig Diaspora, for the most part). In other FATE games I’ve played, money hasn’t been a big focus in our games, as we focus more on the cinematic and story angles coming from Savage Worlds and just my basic design sensibilities. It’s about the quests, not the coin, so abstraction is okay. Speaking of coin, you can get the Player’s Guide (beta version) for FREE.
There are appropriate times for counting the coin and I think Jeremy struck a nice, happy balance. You can read the article here. The upshot is each tag costs you more money. Simple. Elegant. I can dig it.
You may want to know what any of this has to do with me? Well, I posted this up in Basecamp, and Kristian went off the rails about the thrust of the conversation and took the conversation to Life After Death. That’s okay. All these guys go off on tangents, but usually something good will come of it. It prompted a dialogue regarding wealth in Savage Worlds. I’m a coin guy for the system. Though it’s not the focus of the game. I haven’t seen a wealth system I’d bring home to meet my mother. After seeing countless iterations, I caved and finally drafted up some simple rules which should work fine in play, but like other things I’ve posted here from time to time, I haven’t played with them, nor set up the necessary Target Numbers, though I have an idea now of how to do it, so I shall proceed. I’m also going to include liner notes along the way which I would scrub up and you’d never see if it makes it into our product. I typically do this on occasion for other devs, but not for playtesters–at that point, rules should stand alone. Here, I’m going for a workshop vibe, so go with it. Good? Good.
Basic Rule: Wealth is a “skill” which can be purchased like any other, but does not Ace or get a Wild Die. Each die type costs 2 skill points to Advance. May be used Unskilled, like other skills, at a d4-2.
Rules Reasons: While you may think the No Aces violates the rules, this uses the precedent of Running. You may also say, hey, my Smarts could help me get rich. Sure, maybe, but you could say that about any Attribute, Agility/Strength = Pro Athlete, etc. Keeping it unskilled means people REALLY have to throw the points into it. Precedent? Of course. It’s like advance Super Skills in the core book as well.
Common Sense Reasons: You don’t want people to pump up Wealth radically quickly and you don’t want the die to Ace because it’d be absurd for someone with Wealth d4 to purchase a Leer Jet. Savvy? Good. Let’s move on.
Then you could modify the two wealth related Edges accordingly:
Rich (Prereq: Wealth d6+) : The character gets a Wild Die with all Wealth checks.
Filthy Rich (Prereq: Rich, Wealth d8+): The character has access to vast amounts of resources. The dice may Ace on Wealth checks.
This uses the old, “bring down the baseline, and then pump it back up with Edges” guideline from the Reality Blurs’ handbook.
Another idea to explore, which adds a bit of granularity, but I think is okay, is you could take all gear and put it into lifestyle bands.
Free: No roll. (I”m putting it here, so you don’t bombard me with questions.)
Cheap: +2 to Wealth rolls. (This means characters who make Wealth check rolls unskilled still have a 25% chance of getting a burger or a soda. Who knows? Maybe they’ve scraped together pennies from the floorboard of an old Pontiac, cause they ain’t working (or they’re doing charity work, so God bless ’em).
Reasonable: No modifer to the wealth roll.
Expensive: Wealth rolls are made at -2. This would be paying cash money for a car, chartering a jet, whatever.
Very Expensive: Wealth rolls are made at -4. This would be buying a hotel on a whim, tricking out a secret lair, or building a suit of power armor.
This is a baseline applied across the board for all characters. It’s not relative. A reasonable roll is the fixed amount and works equally. A TV may be reasonable, but it’s unlikely for a hobo to be able to whip out his HoboExpress and buy one.
You then categorize what goods go where. This is a rough system which could be refined a bit more, but I think it’s workable. Let me know what you think. Let me know how you do things. Post comments below, so we can all share in the dialogue (if there is one).
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!
Note: These have not been tested. If you give them a spin, please let me know.