Monday, January 18, 2010

GURPS Wealth and Status v1

This gradual progression of wealth is more precise in calculating the difference of culture, lifestyles and opportunities present in an economic condition.

Wealth and Status are very strongly tied together despite what ideals that may govern a society. It is in the lower levels of the socio-economic ladder where ever small increment does matter more.

You will notice that in medieval times, the greatest variety of social economic status that allows for the best social mobility is found in the wealth levels beginning from wealthy upwards.

As we reach more modern times, economic diversity that allows for maximum social mobility moves toward the middle class and downward.

In the status that makes a figure central to communities ranging from villages to empires, the level of productivity and wealth affects the individuals over-all wealth. A more progressive and prosperous kingdom will result in a more powerful and wealthier king. That is why there is a very great variation in population ranges.

This system follows the 50% cumulative increase pattern, which is also used in the GURPS range/speed table. Ex. 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10...

Wealth is priced 5cp per increment, and 10cp for the leap of status and wealth. This changes to 10cp per increment and 20cp per leap of status and wealth.

If you plan to use Voluntary Disadvantages set a Default Social Status for all players and negotiate minor differences on a case to case basis per player. Economic disadvantage can appear frequently in many realistic game challenges.

In your Game. As rewards go, achievements and the accumulation of assets can be game objectives or rewards outside of character development (CPs). A character who grows and proves him/herself is not merely increases their competence but increases their wealth and status.

This many levels of gradation allows for the GM to have smaller increments of rewards, in terms of assets and status. A group of warriors who prove themselves capable may be granted their own lands and holdings to bring them up to the scale their abilities fit in.

Status -2, Poor

This is the status of serfs, sharecroppers and low-skilled laborers. These constitute the largest majority of the population the land less working force.

x 0.2 -25cp

x 0.3 -20cp

Status -1, Struggling

This is the status of Peasants and Plebeians who make up the working class. They are the second most common people after the poorer folk.

x 0.5 -15cp

x 0.7 -10cp

Status 0, Average

This is the status of the land-owning or highly skilled freeman. They make up the middle-class.

x 1 +0cp Late Roman Infantryman

x 1.5 +5cp

Status 1, Comfortable

This is the status of the more comfortable middle class, some impoverished nobles, and the growing self-made elite .

x 2 +15cp

x 3 +20cp Most Late Roman light Cavalryman

Status 2, Wealthy

This is the most powerful individual with in a small to large village. Typically a man-at-arms possessing a manor to provide for the maintenance of his arms and services.

x 5 +30cp Most Heavy Cavalryman

x 7 +35cp

x 10 +40cp Most Elite Men-at-Arms (ex. Banneretts and Kataphrakts)

x 15 +45cp

Status 3, Very Wealthy

This is the most powerful individual with in a population of 1,000 to 20,000. Typically this is a Lord who control a small fort, fortified manor, holdfast, tower or small castle and its surrounding asset villages.

x 20 +55cp

x 30 +60cp

x 50 +65cp

x 70 +70cp

Status 4, Filthy Rich

These are the most powerful individuals with in a population of 20,000 to 1 million. These were typically the rulers of Principalities, Counties, Great Baronies or Fiefs. Large Towns serve as the default "seat" of a status 4 ruler.

x 100 +80cp

x 150 +90cp

x 200 +100cp

x 300 +110cp

x 500 +120cp

x 700 +130cp

Status 5, Millionaire

These are the most powerful individuals with in a population of 1 to 5 million. The Basic Patron (10cp) starts at this power level. Individuals at this level of status are Dukes, Powerful Barons, petty Kings or Kings of Ancient times. Cities serve as seats of office for these powerful individuals.

x 1,000 +150cp

x 1,500 +160cp

x 2,000 +170cp

x 3,000 +180cp

x 5,000 +190cp

x 7,000 +200cp

Status 6, Multi-Millionaire I

These are the most powerful individuals with in a population of 5 to 20 million. The kings of England, France and Emperor of Eastern Rome and the Holy Roman Empire fall in this power level in the 11th-13th century.

x 10,000 +220cp Justinian I 6C (personal wealth).

x 15,000 +230cp Betrand de Guisclin 14C

x 20,000 +240cp

x 30,000 +250cp

x 50,000 +260cp

x 70,000 +270cp

Status 7, Multi-Millionaire III

This is the most powerful individual with in a population of 20 to 100 million. The Emperors of China and Rome, during the height of their empire had this much power and wealth.

x 100,000 +290cp

x 150,000 +300cp

x 200,000 +310cp Justinian as Emperor

x 300,000 +320cp

x 500,000 +330cp Augustus Ceasar

x 700,000 +340cp Qin Shi Huangdi

Status 8, Multi-Millionaire IV (Modern)

This is the most powerful individual with in a population of 100 million to 1 billion. This level of organization and population is only achievable after the industrial revolution and in much of modern History. The individuals who control the World Superpowers of TL6-8 fall in this category.

x 100,000 +290cp

x 150,000 +300cp

x 200,000 +310cp

x 300,000 +320cp

x 500,000 +330cp

x 700,000 +340cp

Example. If you were to check the link of Justinians Finances, you will observe the difference between the entity of the Emperor and that of Justinian.

Contrary to what many might think of a ruler's "earning", The 6M solidi is the Imperial Revenue is not the exactly the emperor's. If there is a serious disruption in the distribution of this resource the empire will be very unstable.

What the most powerful individuals actually wrestle over is the control over how this money gets spent. This is the emperor as part of an empire, and not the Individual powerful enough to be the emperor.

Although the actual imperial "revenue", specifically the net income is useful in gauging the actual wealth of the emperor. Since cost of living eats up +86% of the revenue of a individual you can find a schelling point reflected by the 2x-3x the annual income of the Emperor.

$300,000,000 (1M solidi) /12 months = $25,000,000 per month.
$25M / $800 (TL4) = 30,000 multiplier. which around +250cp at status 6.
Given the historical accounts of Justinian's power prior to becoming emperor the comparative wealth of his contemporaries, and the tendency of taxation he did not involve taxation of his own resources, one could say his personal annual revenue was 1/3 of or x10,000 +220cp. Note that this only applies to bureaucracies like that of Rome and China and this power represents the investment of Administrative and Military Ranks.

Feudal lords can be calculated differently. Ransom were based on the annual net income from fiefs. Tradition dictated that ransoms should not be so great as to bankrupt the noble.

Note that not all of the most powerful individuals were actually the monarch. Betrand de Guisclin who had 200,000 Livre or $192,000,000. The king-maker was usually more powerful than the king, since the power rested on his military prowess to make the kingdom exist.

Like a bureaucracy you can treat the revenue from fiefs as net income. As net income you can calculate back to the wealth modifier of around x20,000 at +240cp. These funds were used to maintain several costs: typically standing/recruitment of forces and were saved up to pay ransoms.

Disclaimer. Like many rules that are made to fit the facts, this is subject to change when new facts allow for better interpretations of how these all come about. I guess in the foreseeable future (a year or so) this system will do.
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