Wealth

Wealth is an Abstract Concept in Unchained Heroes.

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  • Secondary Role
  • Used for story flavor
  • As “Real World” as GM wishes
  • Six Degrees of Wealth
    • Laborer
    • Artisan
    • Merchant
    • Merchant Prince
    • Magnate
    • Plutocrat

Wealth in Unchained Heroes is measured just like in the real world: through cash on hand, cash reserves, land, fine art, and other commodities. The more you have of any of these things, the wealthier you are. Where Unchained Heroes differs from the real world is that we don’t feel the need to keep track of these numbers. You do not account for your money, instead your wealth is handled in an abstract form based upon your status in society. You may alter this status through adventuring and acquiring treasure, building a business of your own, being promoted, or offered lands and titles. The main thing to understand is that your wealth is a Story element, it is not meant to be a game mechanic or cause a large amount of accounting.

What does this mean for the game? Do you still get treasure? Yes, you do. You will still need to buy things, pay off ransoms, hire mercenaries, purchase laboratory equipment, and pay the ferryman to cross the river. The reality is that these things are unnecessary bookkeeping mechanics for us. In Unchained Heroes, just assume you can handle the everyday upkeep of things and only focus on the extraordinary stuff, like buying a castle, purchasing a business, bidding on a piece of art, or hauling in a big treasure. The difference from the real world will be that you don’t tally this anywhere, you get an arbitrary wealth level assigned to you that gives you certain expectations. At level 1, these expectations are low, you will have your Starting Gear and 500 Silver Pieces (sp) on you, in game terms, you are considered at Laborer Degree of Wealth i.e. you still need to work to get by. As you level, you obtain treasure, land, titles, and other forms of wealth that will let you move up on the Degrees of Wealth. This will raise your standard of living and let you know how you compare to the rest of the population on what you can buy.

For example, at level 5, your GM might decide that you guys are going to get your first big break, that sets you up so you don’t need to be adventuring all the time and can start taking a few breaks from the action. She would then build an Adventure that puts a small fortune within your grasp. Maybe you dispose of a local crimelord and get his stash, or maybe you raid a young dragons hoard, either way, you come into a lot of money that would take you to the Artisan level of success. At this point, you still need to find work, but not right away and not as often.

If your GM would decide that at level 10, you are going to take the next step, a similar situation can occur. You may end up taking the place of a highly placed City Official after a scandal, getting awarded their title and properties or you could have acquired a number of small treasure hoards that would put you up to Merchant or Merchant Prince Degree of Wealth.

Degrees of Wealth

The Degrees of Wealth are abstract concepts that your GM can apply at any time–based on a number of different factors–or they can be part of your background. Most players will start at Laborer level and work through these Degrees, probably reaching Merchant level by the time they retire. Magnate and Plutocrat Degrees should be reserved for those situations where the players have acquired (by luck or by skill) a great deal of money and power.

  • Laborer – You have enough money to provide for you and yours, but large purchases require savings and planning. As long as you are working in some fashion, you can continue to rest assured that your daily requirements will be met with some money to spare. You fare the same as most middle class workers.

  • Artisan – You have enough money to occasionally experience some of the finer things in life, and have the privilege of being able to take vacations from your everyday labors. You have a skill in a profession, a small business, or came across a small fortune that allows you more than enough money to get by in life. You fare slightly to significantly better than the average person.

  • Merchant – You have accumulated enough wealth in your city or localized region that your money starts to make a fair amount of money for you. You probably have multiple businesses or have come across a sizable fortune at some time in your life that keeps you well-off and comfortable. If you retired now, you would not need to work for the rest of your days, and you would continue to live your current lifestyle. You fare significantly better than the majority of people and only a few things are outside your reach.

  • Merchant Prince – Your wealth is great enough that you want for nothing and it seems to grow without much effort. You probably have multiple businesses, own fine commodities, or have fared very well as an adventurer–getting the best hauls and highest paying scores– that keeps your wealth well-off and comfortable. If you did nothing and retired, your money would still grow and grow. You fare significantly better than the majority of people and only a few things are outside your reach.

  • Magnate – Your wealth is so great that it has extended your influence and power. Your wealth opens doors that others might find closed. This wealth has come about through a large business that spans regions, prestigious titles, or a sizable and significant treasure. You fare significantly better than most people in the world and almost nothing is outside the reach of your wealth and influence.

  • Plutocrat – Your wealth exceeds that of everyone but the very richest. Monarchs, International Companies, and Countries have wealth that matches your own. You would have had to acquired many great treasures, been born into this status, or come about this level of wealth through a global business to be at this degree of wealth. You want for nothing, the world is at your beck and call, and only the very rare or priceless are still difficult to obtain, but even then everyone usually has a price.

These are just some of the ideas that I am working on at this time. It is in development, so things can change. Nothing is set in stone, but you can be sure that something of this sort will reach the final print version in July.

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