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Eclipse Phase Wealth Abstraction
by Oroborous
Keeping track of credits and money in an RPG does not add to the story in pretty much every
situation. The careful tracking of money and loot reduces gameplay and story, and steals focus
from roleplaying and things that matter. This is somewhat inspired from the FATE rules system.
Wealth can be abstracted in much the same way Reputation and Networking have been
abstracted for the social aspects of the game. Since that system works extremely well in what it
tries to accomplish, wealth can be abstracted in a similar fashion. Costs are already on a scale
from Trivial to Expensive. This simplifies matters because the cost scale can be directly mapped
to the Favours scale in the reputation system.
A thing to be acquired could be an item or an advertised service. Wealth does not enable you to
find services or items, that is covered by Networking and Reputation, even in Traditional
economies. However once the thing is found, acquiring it may require an Assets and Finances
test to determine whether it can be acquired.
Finances Skill (COG)
The Finance skill is the character’s ability to manage and use their assets. Assets can be
classified as investments, property, contracts and liquid assets (cash on hand). The skill is
based off of Cognition (COG) and can be defaulted if not trained. Everyone has some financial
sense, no matter how little.
A character with a high Finances skill is able to do more with existing Assets when compared to
someone with a low Finances who is not financially savvy. Finance is very useful in Traditional
and Transitional economies, it is quite useless in the Reputation-based economy where
Networking and Reputation rule. In a way, the two are quite opposed in utility which has a nice
synergy to it.
Finances skill may be specialized in as all other skills. Some specializations may be:
Bargaining, Stocks, Hypercorp, Portfolio Manager, Contracts, Petal Peddler, etc.
A failed roll simply results in a failure to acquire the thing in question. Be it due to lack of funds,
inability to muster assets or the character deciding that it is simply too expensive to buy it and
deciding to make do without it.
The character only has one Finances skill which is used for all Ego IDs they may have.
Assets is a rating from 0-99. It works in similar fashion to Reputation ratings. The higher the
rating, the higher the wealth of the individual. Thinking in the abstract, someone with Assets 20
could have some smaller investments, modest income and perhaps a small coffin condo on
Luna. Assets 60 on the other hand may mean a large investment portfolio, significant income
and multiple properties. Or it may just mean that dealing drugs for that drug lord has been
paying off real big.
Assets are relevant and kept separate for each Ego ID the character has. This represents the
various levels of wealth associated with each ID.
Between stories, a character may shift assets around. There is a limit of how many assets may
be moved as this may draw attention or leave a digital trail leading to the alternate ID. The
number of Assets which may be shifted between Ego IDs cannot be more than 20 per story.
Acquiring Things
Acquiring stuff can be abstracted as the character’s Assets vs. Cost. The cost of the item
translates to the difficulty of acquiring the object. The character’s Fiances skill translates directly
to the ability to bring his Assets to bear in order to to acquire the thing in question.
To acquire a thing, you must compare the Assets to the Cost. If the Assets is higher than the
Cost, it is easier to acquire it. When Cost is higher than the Assets, it becomes more difficult to
acquire the thing. This is represented with a bonus or penalty on the Finances roll. The finances
role represents not only the ability to acquire the item, but also shopping for it, and locating it
and ultimately deciding to buy it. Someone with good Assets and ability to manage them will
have an easier time acquiring things because they are wealthy. Poor characters will have a
harder time.
Assets vs Cost Table
Assets Score
Associated Cost
Credit Cost
Average Credits
Assets vs. Cost Bonus or Penalty
For every level of difference between the Assets and the Cost, the character receives either a
bonus or a penalty on the Finances roll. The bonus or penalty is -10/+10 per level difference up
to a maximum of -30/+30. This means that you cannot purchase anything which is beyond 3
levels of Assets vs. Cost. It is just too expensive for you. Attempting to obtain something much
too expensive for you will most likely result in a loss of Assets on a failed roll. That’s a decision
the character makes when they decide that they need something really bad. The inverse is also
true, if you are filthy rich and the thing costs nothing to you, it does not get any easier to acquire
it past some point.
Burning Assets
The penalty can be mitigated by Burning Assets. Assets can be burned and liquidated in order
to obtain the thing which is desired. For every point of assets burned, a character can negate
the same amount of penalty from their roll. This represents selling off property and investments
in order to make the purchase.
Time to Acquire
The time to acquire a thing depends on the difference between Assets and Cost. A wealthy
individual can just go into a shop and buy something with existing assets, a frugal individual will
need to scrape together his assets to make the purchase. All this takes at least some time and
involves shopping on the mesh, visiting a physical store, etc.
Assets vs. Cost Table
Assets vs. Cost Difference
Time to Acquire
Finances Bonus / Penalty
15 minutes
15 minutes
15 minutes
30 minutes
1 day
3 days
1 week
On a MoS +30, the time to acquire is reduced by 1 level. On a MoS +60 the time to acquire is
reduced by 2 levels. On a critical success, the time to acquire is reduced by 3 levels. For
example, acquiring with a difference of 2 (3 days) a MoS +30 would take 1 day. A MoS +60
would take 30 minutes. A critical success would take 15 minutes which is also the minimum
amount of time required to acquire something.
Difficulty to Acquire
In some instances and locations a thing may be harder to acquire than normal. Be it hard to
find, rare or strictly controlled. In this case, a difficulty modifier may be applied. Easy to acquire
items have no bonus, it is easier to simply just allow the character to acquire it, or if really
needed make them make a standard test.
Acquire Difficulty Table
Uncommon: controlled substance, requires license, frowned upon, low
Rare: highly illegal substance, weapon where weapons are illegal, very low
Unique: custom made thing, extremely specific use, possession punishable by
cold storage/indenture service.
Failed Roll
A Failed Finances roll simply means the character cannot acquire the item at this time. It is up to
the GM to determine when an appropriate amount of time has passed before the character may
try again. A suggestion is to allow it once per story or after 1 week if the story spans a large
amount of time. On a critical failure, something bad happened with the character’s finances and
he loses 1 Assets per MoF on the roll.
Converting Existing Characters
Converting existing characters should be fairly straightforward. Simply take the number of CPs
spent at character creation on Credits and add it to the COG base. This results in the
character’s starting Finances skill. Take their existing credits and divide by 100. That is their
current Assets score. Do not add the base COG aptitude score as the character is already
getting extra skill points added.
For example Joe Sentinel had spent 3 CP on Credits at character creation. He also has 3,200
credits to his name. His Finances skill would be 30, and his Assets would be 32. This results in
an acceptable approximation of character wealth.
Creating New Characters
Characters may no longer spend CPs on Credits. Rather they must buy Finances and Assets
separately. The cost for Finances is same as any skill. Assets is treated same as Reputation.
The costs are below.
Customization Points
1 CP
10 Assets
1 CP
1 Skill Point (up to 60)
2 CP
1 Skill Point (61-80)
5 CP
1 Specialization
Cost of Living
It costs to live. This concept can be abstracted with the character making a Finances roll every
month of game time. This represents lodging, food, entertainment, etc. A success roll results in
the character being able to cover their living expenses. Remember that a wealthy character will
live at a wealthy level, a poor character will live at the subsidy level. A failed roll results in a loss
of 1 Assets per MoF rolled for that month. This represents a month of harder than usual living
expenses and/or bad luck in the stock market, etc. The reduction of Assets also ensures
characters have a reason to spend REZ points on buying more assets. A poor character with
good Finances skill will be able to live more consistently than a very wealthy character with poor
Finances skill.
Firewall Funding
On a mission, Firewall occasionally provides funding to the characters. This can be nicely
modelled by giving the group as a whole a number of assets which they can use when burning
assets becomes a necessity. Suggested Assets funding numbers are: 5, 10 or 15 maximum,
depending on nature of the mission. Anyone in the group may draw on these assets and burn
them accordingly.