Wealth

Rather than tracking every unit of a character's funds and expenses, Ascendant Way uses an abstract wealth system that encapsulates the character's lifestyle and items they can reasonably afford, and distinguishes items that would be special or exceptional purchases. There are two components to this system: Lifestyle (aka wealth) and Resources.

A character's Lifestyle reflects their standard of living and the sorts of everyday, consumable resources (e.g. food and clothing) that are readily available to them. Such ordinary items are not tracked in the Inventory and may be used without restriction in threads, so long as they are appropriate to the character's Lifestyle. (See local Resource Lists to determine item values.) Lifestyles may be changed through IC events; Moderator approval is required for increases in wealth, but characters may freely reduce their Lifestyle at any time.

In contrast, a character's Resources reflect discretionary funds that can be spent on assets or other unusual expenditures — items that are more valuable, more durable, or require ongoing upkeep. Resource Points are tracked in a ledger, and anything purchased with Resources must be recorded in the character's Inventory, including its eventual disposition. Items that can be purchased with Resources include anything outside the character's normal standard of living, such as a fine silk shirt or elegant vase; equipment and assets such as weapons, armor, animals, land, and buildings; any regular maintenance expenditures such as the upkeep of a companion animal or NPC; and unusual payments such as bribes or bought information. Each character receives a seasonal 'stipend' equal to their Lifestyle level for every present-time season they RP in; additional Resource Points can be obtained through certain threads.

PCs may not receive assets (i.e. anything on which Resources would otherwise be spent) as gifts from NPCs, nor as a bonus from any other threaded event, unless awarded by a Storyteller or Moderator. PCs with appropriate skills may thread making assets for themselves (e.g. a smith PC manufacturing a sword), but must have a Moderator formally award the item before adding it to their Inventory.

Note that neither Resources nor the Inventory are meant to catalog everyday, routine actions and possessions. For example, a PC with sufficient skill in a crafting profession can be assumed to routinely create valuable assets and sell them; that is part and parcel of their Lifestyle. Other PCs may freely thread purchasing these items just as they would when buying from an NPC. However, the selling PC can only add Resource Points to their ledger if they are actually giving up an item from their Inventory. Thus, while a smith PC can sell a sword at any time, the sale is assumed to be part of their Lifestyle and does not gain them extra Resources unless the sword was already a tracked asset.

Lifestyle Levels

Lifestyle Level Cost Cash-In
Destitute 1 - -
Impoverished 2 4 2
Ordinary 3 9 4
Well-off 4 16 8
Wealthy 5 25 12
Extravagant 6 36 18

Destitute: A Destitute character owns nothing of value and has no steady source of income; they have no job, no home, and no significant possessions. They live solely on whatever they can scavenge or cadge from the leavings of others. Their clothes are patchwork rags at best, and their shelter — if any — a tattered, motheaten cloak or blanket. Food is minimal and low-quality, often half-rotten vegetables or coarse grains, and not enough of them at that. Water is obtained from puddles and creeks, often gritty with mud; rarely it might be pulled from a public well. Fatigue, weakness, nutritional deficits, and illness are everyday companions, making the struggle to survive even harder. Simply put, a Destitute lifestyle is miserable and usually short.

Impoverished: An Impoverished character typically has a low-paying, menial job which affords them poor housing, such as a meager tent or a small apartment in a bad part of town, usually not well-heated. Their clothes are secondhand and often heavily patched. They struggle to get adequate nutrition, subsisting on cheap foods such as vegetables, grains, and beans; they may forage for food if the environment permits. Typically water comes from a creek, river, or public well; other beverages such as wine or small ale are poor-quality, weak, and often heavily diluted with water. Illness is a common hazard, and nutritional deficits remain a matter of course. However, even the Impoverished can scrape together enough money to buy an indulgence every now and again.

Ordinary: The majority of people live an Ordinary lifestyle, neither remarkable for poverty nor for abundance. Ordinary characters have a steady source of modest income, enough to keep them in small but decent housing, new though still cheap clothes, and a moderately varied diet. Food might be grown if land is to be had, but most is purchased in the local market, and includes some meat and fruit in season. Beverages such as small ale and watered wine of modest quality are consumed as regularly as clean water, which is itself readily obtained. Illness is generally uncommon, unless some epidemic is sweeping through the community. Those living Ordinary lifestyles have some extra money to spend; this is also the lowest wealth level at which one can expect to sustain dependents, including family.

Well-off: TBD

Wealthy: TBD

Extravagant: TBD

Gaining Wealth

Improving a character's Lifestyle requires Moderator approval. A Lifestyle increase can be justified one of two ways: either by banking up enough Resource Points to immediately pay for the increase, or through accumulating assets tangible (land, a storefront, livestock, equipment, materials) and intangible (Prestige, Skill levels, trade contacts, noble patrons, employees or other helping hands) which justify a higher standard of living for the character. In either case, players should be prepared to explain how they will sustain their increased standard of living over future seasons. Even if a PC has accumulated enough Resource Points to 'buy' a better Lifestyle, they need to have some IC justification for that improvement.

Losing Wealth

A character may choose to reduce their Lifestyle at any time, essentially liquidating some of their wealth and obtaining immediately spendable Resource Points. A Moderator needs to be informed of the Lifestyle change, but no approval is required. Staff may also dictate that a PC's Lifestyle be reduced due to IC events such as catastrophes (e.g. a devastating fire), overexpenditure or excessive debt, etc.; also if there is a mismatch between the character sheet and how the player actually portrays their everyday life in threads, i.e. the player overstated their Lifestyle in order to have a higher stipend. Cashing in a Lifestyle level gives the player half as many Resource Points as the cost to regain it, rounded down.

Note that reducing a character's standard of living may result in the loss of assets, such as housing or particularly valuable equipment, which are no longer consistent with their Lifestyle.

Gaining Resources

Characters receive a 'stipend' of Resource Points equal to their Lifestyle level for every present-time season of active play. (They are also required to pay expenditures for every such season.) In other words, a character of Ordinary Lifestyle will receive a stipend of 3 Resource Points.

If a character has valuable items in their Inventory, they may sell those items at any time in exchange for an appropriate amount of Resource Points. Material items and equipment generally sell for one point less than their purchase value. The value of an animal depends upon its breed, health, and age. The value of any item may also be dependent upon local availability of similar things. If uncertain how much an item is worth, consult a Moderator.

Resource Points may also be obtained as a special award for certain kinds of RP, usually on the order of 1-2 points per thread. Storytellers may award Resource Points at their discretion in moderated events; typically these take the form of loot from raids, rewards for valorous action, valuable discoveries unearthed during explorations, or awards for performance in IC competitions. Players may also submit certain of their own threads to a Moderator requesting a Resource Point award; eligible threads include the character working at their IC job, stealing or uncovering valuable items, receiving bounties or rewards for actions, etc. Typically only one to two such threads may be turned in per season, and awards will be given as much for quality of writing and innovative plotting as for the value of services rendered. Note that players who receive Resource Points as a thread award for any reason may not also receive special items from that thread.

Resource Points also feature in PC-to-PC transactions, but the selling PC may only receive Points if they have an actual item in Inventory to sell. For example, say Adam wants to buy a sword from the Exceptional Blacksmith Bob. Adam and Bob may thread out this scene, Adam will deduct the appropriate amount of Resource Points from his ledger, and he will add the sword to his Inventory. However, Bob may not add the Points to his ledger unless he either previously purchased the sword or wrote a thread about its making and had a Moderator award the item; either way, the sword was an actual possession in Bob's Inventory before he sold it. This restriction prevents players from gaining extra Resources without putting forth any extra effort.

Finally, PCs may freely give Resource Points to another character, reflecting a substantial IC gift of money or other untracked resources. However, characters who abuse this privilege and make a habit of giving Resources away may find their Lifestyle reduced to reflect that recurrent loss of wealth. PCs may not receive Resources from NPCs except through threads moderated by a Storyteller.

Spending Resources

Characters are free to spend their Resource Points on anything they can reasonably obtain, according to the Resource List for their polity. Simple purchases (e.g. an off-the-shelf sword or a readily available kind of horse) do not have to be threaded out, but can just be noted through a ledger deduction and then adding the item to Inventory. More unusual or complex purchases made from an NPC, such as a special custom order; the purchase of livestock, land, or a building; or any successful negotiation of reduced price must have their values approved by a Moderator before being threaded. Transactions between PCs do not need staff approval, but should be reasonably consistent with market values for the item being sold.

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