Roleplayer
Roleplayer #6, August 1987

New Rules for Wealth and Jobs

The newly released GURPS Horror worldbook introduces a revised version of the rules pertaining to jobs and wealth. These revisions will be incorporated in the Economics section of future editions of the GURPS Basic Set.

Status and Wealth Advantages

How wealthy you are often affects your status in the community, but your community status doesn't really affect your wealth. High ranking clerics with vows of poverty, big-city mayors earning $50/year as mayor, and retired military officers all have status without necessarily having wealth. Therefore, Status no longer has an effect on a character's Wealth level, as described on p. B16.

On the other hand, wealth usually carries a certain amount of status. Thus, taking the Wealthy, Very Wealthy, or Filthy Rich advantages gives a 5 point bonus towards the purchase of Status. (This amounts to a free +1 Status for wealthy characters.)

Starting Wealth

This text should be placed after the Money section, p. B130.

"Starting Wealth" covers your entire net worth. Many PCs in a fantasy/medieval setting will be able to carry everything they own on their backs – so they are free to spend every penny of their starting wealth on adventuring equipment. PCs in a modern, civilized world will usually own quite a bit more – things like houses, furniture and clothes.

When starting a campaign in a modern setting, it is strongly recommended that the GM allow only 20% of each PC's starting wealth to be used for adventure-related items – weaponry, vehicles, ready cash. The other 80% must go for "non-adventuring" items – sofas, television sets, three-piece suits. Of course, clever players will buy "non-adventuring" items that may come in handy during an adventure. Generally, anything that cannot be carried along – secret tunnels under the house, bulky computer systems – may, at the GM's discretion, count as a non-adventuring item.

If you don't want to account for every penny each PC owns, a useful shortcut is to reduce starting wealth values in a modern campaign to 1/5 of those given. All of this new, lower wealth may be spent on weaponry and other adventure-related items. Should a question arise as to whether you own a particular mundane item – a stereo, a hair dryer, an encyclopedia – the GM decides.

Income from Jobs

This text supplements the Income from Jobs section, p. B132.

A character's wealth advantage or disadvantage no longer applies as a direct multiple to his income. Instead, each job is assigned a Wealth level; a character earns the standard monthly wage for his job if his personal wealth level is equal to that of the job. If his personal wealth level is less than that of his job, he earns a fraction of the standard wage for that job, and if his personal wealth level is greater than that of his job he earns as much or, in a few cases, more than the job's standard wage.

Use the following table to determine what fraction or multiple of the listed wage a PC earns for his job.

Character's
Wealth Level
Job's Wealth Level
 Poor  Struggling  Average  Comfortable  Wealthy 
Poor12/51/51/10N/A
Struggling111/21/41/10
Average1111/21/5
Comfortable11112/5
Wealthy11121
Very Wealthy11142
Filthy Rich1111010

For example, a Comfortable character with a Comfortable job earns the wage listed for that job, while a Struggling character in the same Comfortable job earns only 1/4 as much, and a Wealthy person earns twice the listed amount. Note that low-level jobs never pay very much; a Wealthy tenant farmer makes no more money than his Struggling neighbor. And high-paying jobs are not available to those in low income brackets; no Poor character is going to find work as a ruling noble.

Sample Job Table

The table below lists each of the jobs presented on p. B132-133, updated to reflect the above modifications to the job system, as well as a few new jobs. Jobs repeated from the Basic Set have the same prerequisites listed on p. B133; new prerequisites and prerequisites for new jobs are also given. Note that the income listed for each job is a monthly wage, not weekly pay.

(This paragraph replaces the second paragraph under Sample Job Table.) To find the income a character actually earns at his job, refer to the table above. Dai Blackthorn, as a thief with a Poor wealth level, makes $80 per month.

Poor Jobs

Beggar. Prerequisites: none. No employer required. Income negligible.
Tenant Farmer. Pays $50/month.

Struggling Jobs

Bravo. Pays $200/month.
Petty Thief. Prerequisites: 4 thief skills at 11 + or 2 thief skills at 13+. Pays $200/month.
Jongleur. New prerequisite: Status -1 or better. Pays (Skill × 8) per month, plus (Skill) for any other musical ability.
Generic Servant. New prerequisite: Status -1 or better. Pays $100/month.

Average Jobs

Thief. Pays $400/month.
Free Farmer. New prerequisite: Status 0 or better. Pays $450/month.
Artisan. Pays (Skill × 25)/month.
Soldier. Pays $500/month.
Merchant. New prerequisite: Status 0 or better. Pays (Skill × 25)/month.

Comfortable Jobs

Master Artisan. Pays (Skill × 40)/month.
Administrator. New Prerequisite: Status 0 or better. Pays (Skill × 40)/month.
Military officer or knight errant. New prerequisite: Status 1 or better. Pays (Skills × 12)/month.

Wealthy Jobs

Ruling Noble. Income varies, depending upon the area ruled. A good base figure would be (Status × 1000)/month, after cost of living.
Member of Ruling Family. Pays (Status × 500)/month, after cost of living.
High Church Official. Assuming a prosperous church, prominent clergymen can expect an income similar to nobility of like status. If a priest belongs to an ascetic order, he should take Struggling as a disadvantage.

(Back to Roleplayer #6 Table of Contents)


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