Wealth System

Wealth System

In running two seasons of Dark Earth, we have found that the staple of Gold and Treasure in RPGs is not nearly as useful a reward as one would think. As gold and treasure were awarded throughout the campaign, it became more of an accounting issue than a tool used by all players. Worse, some classes, by design, are beholden to treasure while others are not. Spellcasters, especially wizards, have inherent rules requiring the spending of gold to learn and copy their spells. This placed them at a disadvantage to other classes for engaging in campaign related downtime activities. Again, like the Experience Points system, it was accounting for no other reason than accounting. The alternative, seen in many “modern” setting RPGs is to have the character’s wealth expressed as a value which can be tested against.

Wealth as a Stat

Wealth is tracked on your Adventure Certificate and can rise and fall depending on your actions as an adventurer in the campaign. Wealth is a measure of how wealthy a character is, and how the character may use that wealth, for both mundane means (paying for spell copies, adventuring equipment, and services) and exotic means (special downtime missions, sacrifices to the gods, and resurrection.) It does not actually have to represent material wealth, but can also factor in fame, influence, powerful patrons, or even divine influence.

Every character starts in Dark Earth with the same basic Wealth score, equal to their Proficiency Bonus.

As you adventure, you may gain more wealth or lose some. These changes are reflected on your certs and can be referenced by player and DM alike for various reasons. The wealth tests described below should cover most situations where you need to check against your character’s wealth.

Simple Wealth Test

The simple wealth test is a straight comparison between the cost of goods or services. The DM will set a Difficulty Class (DC) for the particular item or service. The DM should Consult the following table for examples of difficulty:

Wealth DC GP Value
for simple items/services
Acquisition Example Larger
DC 5 less than 100gp 1 Guards for a campsite Common items and Services, such as lodging
DC 10 100gp to
(100gp x Adventure Level)
2 Caravan to the next city Uncommon items and Services, such as healing
DC 15 Up to
(250gp x Adventure Level)
3 Guarded Caravan across the province Rare items and Services, such as sage research
DC 20 Up to
(500gp x Adventure Level)
4 Mission into hostile territory Very Rare items and Services, such as magical components
DC 25 Up to
(750gp x Adventure Level)
5 Building a stronghold Difficult to obtain items and Services, such as political influence
DC 30 Up to
(1000gp x Adventure Level)
6 Founding a Town Nearly impossible to obtain items and Services, such as a divine reliquery
DC 35 Priceless 7 Recovering an Ancient Temple Complex Unique and powerful items, plot devices

Note: Just because an item falls into one of the above categories does not mean it can simply be purchased. Any items not listed in the common equipment and services section of the Player’s Handbook are only obtainable through DM activity.

Once the DC is determined, you then Roll 1d20 + Wealth to check for success. If you meet or exceed the DC you obtain the item or service. You should expect to be able to make one such test per adventure without occuring any penalties. Note, this roll cannot be failed if your Wealth value exceeds the difficulty of the test.

Failure If you fail the wealth test, you simply do not acquire the item. However, you may also choose to permanently reduce your wealth by the value listed under Acquisition and succeed instead.

Example: Corinthus, a Roman Patrician and Soldier, has just reached 6th level and has 5 Wealth (+3 proficiency, +2 from adventures). He wishes to purchase a suit of Full Plate Armor (cost 1,500gp) which is a DC 15 Simple Wealth Test ( 250gp x 6th level = 1,500gp ). Corinthus may make the roll, or reduce his wealth by 2 to purchase the item.

Costly Wealth Test

Some situations require such an expenditure of either resources or influence that they will impact your overall character wealth. This most often happens when using your wealth to build a stronghold, sacrifice to the gods, or fund a special mission. In these cases, the test (pass or fail) has a cost associated with it. The test itself drains from your wealth. The drain on your wealth comes into effect after you make the roll.

Example: Corinthus, a Roman Patrician and Soldier, has just reached 8th level and has 9 Wealth (+4 proficiency, +5 from adventures). He wishes to fund an expedition to Hedby across the Arduenna Silva. This mission will require a cohort of legionnaires and establish a trade road. The DM sets the DC at 15, but declares the resources used (caravans, equipment) are costly and the mission will cost 3 Wealth. Corinthus rolls 1d20 + 9 and gets a total of 17. He succeeds, but marks 3 wealth lost on his adventure cert.

Shared Wealth Test

Any number of heroes may attempt to make a wealth test together. However, the test counts against all the characters for the once-per-adventure use. Cost of acquisition and cost of failure should be distributed evenly across the participants. In this case use the highest proficiency bonus plus the sum of the Wealth stat for all participants.

Using Your Fame

Some items, especially some significant plot items, may incur a cost so great that even groups of heroes have problems acquiring them. Some may be tempted to stoop to dark deeds in order to gain the particular item, secret, or service. As an option, you may commit an amount of Heroism to the Wealth Test. However, this heroism is permanently lost, pass or fail.

© 2015-2017 Dark Earth Publishing, Ltd. Open Gaming License for Dark Earth

Wealth System

Dark Earth ScottNN bill_morgenthien