A Brief Note on Treasure and Oddities
I'm not about to give solid figures for how much treasure you should put in your expedition sites, but next time I'm going to try the following:
- 1 Main Treasure that the group are expecting to be in there. The further away and more difficult it is, the higher value, but range from 10g for a mini-dungeon to 1,000g for something spanning worlds and multiple sessions. Make this Treasure interesting. Stick them at the furthest corner of the expedition site and you're good.
- 2 Side Treasures that the group will only know about if they've gone out of their way with research. Say 10% of the value of the Main Treasure Here, interesting is good, but they can be more straightforward in their nature. You can make these really well hidden to reward good play.
- Loot. Mundane stuff that just makes sense to be there (purses on corpses, furnishings and decoration, equipment for the function of the place) and isn't of huge value. Still, it's there.
- 2 Valuable Oddities that have the same value as a Side Treasure but are useful enough to fall into being Oddities, rather than just straight Treasure.
- As many other Oddities as you like, because they aren't really Treasure in this sense.
- Character Advancement isn't about rewarding players or making characters more innately powerful, it's about changing the feel and scale of the game the longer you play.
- These changes should happen through play, rather then through an end-of-session levelling up process.
- Arnold wrote some required reading on the topic way back.
- The goal of the game is to find Treasure. The more you find, the better you are as a player.
- Successful characters are going to get Richer and Odder through selling Treasure and encountering Oddities.
- Getting Odder means you're going to have more tricks up your sleeve to survive and impact the world. Oddities, curses, mutations.
- Getting Richer means you can buy stuff that helps you survive but also stuff like Detachments, Enterprise, Ships etc. that raise the scale of the game.
- For the purpose of this experiment, imagine there's no standard character advancement in Into the Odd. Ability Scores and HP can increase through other methods, and cap at 18 (yes, HP too).
So, you've got your Treasure back to Bastion and sold it for a big money. What do you spend it on? At the Shilling level there's plenty to throw your money away on, but here we're talking gilder-level stuff. Trading in gold!
Existing Spending Options
- Noble Weapon (30s*), Heavy Gun (1g), Modern Armour (50s*), and Horse (1g). The best combat gear you can get for just shy of 3g. I remembered these being more expensive! I'm clearly a big softy with prices, they should totally be at least 1g each.
- Luxuries (1g). You want to bet I can't sell some rich players a 2g hat?
- Detachment (10g hire and d6g monthly upkeep). Here's where I envisage a lot of money going after a windfall.
- Detachment Equipment (20x individual cost). If you really want a unit of armoured cavalry behind you, that's another 22g at least. Just give them muskets for 2g and hope for the best, I reckon.
- Enterprise (10g). If you give them some attention then you can make a steady income to pay those detachments. Of course, they're designed to cause as many problems as they solve.
- Cannon (2g). I won't ask why you want it.
- Real Estate (10g house, 100g factory, 200g fort). These are niche, but you never know.
- Ships (100g Galleon to 2,000g Ironclad). Of course you don't have to own the ships you take on an expedition, but if you have the money I could see the temptation to take up the pirate life.
Most of the big money stuff here is there to scale-up the game, which is great. But I want more that changes the feel of your actual character. Being a general of a thousand men feels different, and I don't want huge character sheets for established characters, but I think we can slip a few little personal boons in there.
These come from people that want your Treasure, and people that want your Money.
It's easy to make selling treasure into an epilogue or prologue to the gameplay of a session. You found the Red Dog's Head Ruby, got it home without succumbing to its curse, and you sold it for 80g, now what will you spend that on?
Step it back and give the players some choice on who to sell it to. Give them at least two Patrons as contacts. Simply put these are immensely wealthy individuals or organisations that will take your treasure in return for money, but each will put their own twist on things.
Make your own, but here are some examples as a starting point. Each has the percentage of the Treasure's value they will pay and a positive or negative effect of dealing with them.
- Rich, preening, and unpredictable.
- Treats you like the filthy wretches you are.
- Will immediately offer 2d100% of the value for an item, and won't budge an inch on it.
6th Bastiard Order of Vault-Keepers
- Secretive order that lock treasures away for the coming of their saviours.
- Offer d20+80% of Value,
- If you go along with their beliefs and give more than one major treasure, they'll hook you up with Oddities at a price.
The Pittance Society
- A society of former fat-cats that have denounced wealth. They'll treat you kindly if you appear poor, and with contempt if you appear wealthy.
- Some loophole of their doctrine means they can't destroy wealth, so they spend it on Treasures and then dispose of them in elaborate ways.
- Offer 90% of Value but can easily be haggled up to 150%.
Next Time: Personal Power
What exactly is the deal with Ability Scores and HP? Well you'll read about:
Joining Unions: The people that want your money. A twist on the idea of Orders I blogged about a while back. This is how you get more personal abilities, influence, and knowledge. There's clear room for overlap with Patrons here.
Getting Grizzled: What effect does a career of exploration have on you, and what's happening in the downtime?
Getting Odder: Some expansion on how exactly you become more odd, besides the Oddities you can pick up and use.
HP CAP WTF?: Scary, right? Especially when Enhanced attacks like a Backstab do d12 damage. I'll go into this next time and you'll see it's not as you expect.