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Fate System Toolkit

Wealth

The importance of money in a game depends greatly on its genre. Fate Core suggests a Resources skill, but for genres in which the acquisition of wealth is often a prime motivator, such as cyberpunk or classic dungeon-crawling fantasy, you might want something a little more flexible.

Wealth Stress

One alternative is introducing a new stress track—Wealth. When you attempt something that would be made easier by the liberal application of cash, you can check a Wealth stress box for a bonus to your roll (see the Extra Effort stress variant).

For example, if you’re haggling over the price of a hover-speeder using Rapport—or Provoke, if you’re being a real jerk about it—and you fail your roll, you could check a Wealth stress box to pay too much for it. Or perhaps you’re planning a heist and fail your Burglary roll? Check a Wealth stress box to get—or have gotten—the expensive gear you need to pull it off. Can’t find the assassin you’re looking for with Contacts? Maybe checking a Wealth stress box will improve your informants’ memories. And so on.

In other words, it’s succeeding at a serious cost, where that cost is literally a cost.

Starting Wealth

This will vary depending on your game—are the PCs professionals with steady work, or are they living sword-hand-to-mouth?—but starting off with a base of two Wealth stress boxes is a happy medium. PCs get +1 stress box for each aspect they have that relates to how well off they are, to a maximum of +3 stress boxes.

Gaining Wealth

Wealth stress doesn’t go away on its own. Instead, you can only clear a checked box when you gain more loot—gold, credits, barter, or whatever else works for your game. Acquiring a parcel of Wealth lets you clear any number of stress boxes whose total values don’t exceed the parcel’s value. If you have one or more checked boxes of a value greater than that of the Wealth parcel you’ve received, do nothing to the boxes that exceed the parcel’s value—it’s not enough Wealth to make a difference to you. For example, if you acquire 3 Wealth, you can clear your first, second, or third stress box, if any one of them is checked, or both your first and second stress boxes—but not your fourth, if you’re lucky enough to have one.

The only way to add stress boxes is at a milestone, by swapping out an existing aspect for a wealth-oriented one.