... now with 35% more arrogance!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just Deserts

There was a discussion on The RPG Site forums about how to include negative effects of greed in D&D similar to what we see in myths, legends, and fantasy literature: Fafnir turning into a dragon because of his years of obsession, for example. The restriction was that the XP for gold equivalency should not be removed; adventurers should still primarily be treasure-seekers, but should still face consequences for excessive greed. I started describing the germ of an idea, but decided it would be better to do a blog post to give it a fuller treatment.

Finding treasure and spending it remains intact in this modification. What counts as "excessive greed" is miserliness or hoarding, measured in terms of wealth shared with others. In any week where an adventurer has fewer hirelings or servants than their level, make a 2d6 reaction roll:

  • Very Bad (2 or less): Even the gods are outraged! Use a random curse table, such as the one for cursed scrolls.
  • Bad (3-5): Social outrage! Merchants charge double, reaction rolls are at -1.
  • Average (6-8): No one takes offense, although you will be commonly perceived as a miser.
  • Good (9-11): No one notices.
  • Very Good (12+): People assume you are a pauper. Kind-hearted individuals ask if you need some money to tide you over; rivals spread rumors that you are enormously in debt. No one will make loans to you, assuming that you won't be able to repay them.

Modify the roll based on the approximate ratio of gold spent on NPCs to gold on hand:

  • Up to 1 gp spent per 5 gp on hand: -5 to roll
  • 1 gp per 3 gp: -3 to roll
  • 1 gp per 2 gp: -1 to roll
  • 2 gp per 3 gp or higher:  no modifier

(I would eyeball this ratio, rather than keep an accurate count.)

Gifts, social expenses, and advertising expenses all count towards the ratio. So do carousing expenses, if you are using carousing rules.

Part of the rationale behind this is to compare adventurer expenses to the expected expenses of a member of the gentry or nobility in Victorian or Edwardian England; having fewer servants than expected lowers public opinion. (Yes, I just started watching Downton Abbey. Why do you ask?) Another part of the rationale is just that players ought to be encouraged to rely more on mercenaries, porters, and torch-bearers. They should also be discouraged from hoarding treasure, because what's the point of having all those piles of gold, if you aren't going to spend it?

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