September 17, 2018 0 comments

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The Fellowship of Five (A Playtest)

Quote from Gabe Dybing on April 5, 2019, 1:33 am

If I had refreshed my page, I would have seen your input to my previous post.

You definitely have put the WL mechanic in better understanding for me! Now I’m wondering if, after all this consideration, I might simply prefer a more literal and granular old school approach. In other words, instead of broadly imagining what WL 4 might be, it might be so much more comprehensible for me just to give an actual value to it. E.g., “You have 10,000 gold pieces? You’re bringing all that to the Lonely Mountain?”

These considerations suggest to me that an abstract mechanic can be further abstracted. “Sure, I’m bringing it!” (says theoretical player) “I just get a horse and carriage and a steel strongbox and six men-at-arms to guard it.”

This isn’t a criticism of the mechanic. I love its elegance. I’m just saying that it hasn’t made anything easier for us at the game table (so far). Rather, it’s been the object of much confusion and discussion. Every game table will play any way they please, of course. It’ll be interesting to see how my group ultimately comprehends the WL system.

Hi Gabe.

We deliberately avoided to precisely quantify the "amount of money" each WL represents, preferring to go instead for a generic description.
This avoids first and foremost a problem. If we associate a value to the WL, we open up the way for speculations like: "if a WL3 equal 10,000 gold coins, and WL4 equals 100,000, then what WL will 37,567.47 gold pieces be? Maybe WL 3.213?"
That way, an abstract system would not be abstract anymore - if you keep comparing it on a scale!

Second: the WL system is meant to be adapted to your game, not the other. Wealth Levels can mean different things in different game settings.
Taking your example, think of Middle Earth in different Ages.
WL4 could mean a completely different thing from 1st age to 4th.

  • In 1st age WL4 could mean the riches and estates of an elven lord of Gondolin.
  • In 2nd age WL4 would have been a Numenorean Lord.
  • In 3rd age WL4 is someone from the landed nobility of Arnor or Rohan.
  • In 4th age WL4 might be a Dwarven Lord, or a very rich patrician from Gondor.

If you bring this same concept to different settings, the shift may be even greater.
This means you should think ahead of what each WL will mean in your game before starting the game. You might want to set down some soft rules about it. You may decide no playing character could possibly reach WL5, for example, because this could potentially break your game.
Finally, WLs are meant to be exponential, not proportional. A 5 is not 1 more than a 4, but probably tens or hundreds times more!

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!