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Trading Points for Money and Signature Gear
While I feel that the GURPS wealth system has just the right mix of detail and playability, things do get a little bit broken when it comes to turning points directly into cash or gear. Neither Trading Points for Money (p. B26) nor Signature Gear (p. B85) scale with Wealth level or with the number of points spent on them. This is designed to prevent abuse, but it makes both into a joke for any character with significant Wealth, while also preventing you from building a hero who has few permanent possessions except for a single, expensive piece of Signature Gear. In addition, it doesn't really follow that gear with inherent plot protection (Signature Gear) should cost less than gear bought off the street (cash from traded points). This house rule addresses these issues. It was inspired, in part, by a forum thread on the subject.
Trading Points for Money
You can raise your characters starting money by trading in character points. These points do not appear on your character sheet -- once spent, they are gone for good and have no further in-game effect. Look up the number of points spent on the table, below, and apply the SWM (or "Starting Wealth Multiplier") to your starting wealth. For example, if you're playing a TL3 character with Average Wealth ($1,000) and you trade in 7 points for money (SWM x2.8), you'd start off with $2,800, 20% of which could be spent on starting gear. For another example, if you're playing a TL8 character with Wealthy Wealth ($100,000, for 20 points) and you trade in those same 7 points, you'd start off with $280,000, 20% of which could be spent on starting gear. The SWM is applied directly to your starting wealth, and then has no further effect for the rest of the game.
(Note that, in my games, the 80%-20% split is not optional -- all characters can only spend 20% of their effective starting wealth on adventuring gear. If you want to play a character with no ties to the world, you can sink the remaining 80% into a nice car or two (or a horse and wagon), but anything you can't spend, you simply forfeit. Otherwise, playing a homeless character becomes a more attractive option than playing one who's part of society, which I dislike strongly. I reserve the right to suspend or even reverse this rule for unrealistic games like Dungeon Fantasy.)
For those who'd rather write down the rule than printing the table, the progression is +0.2 SWM per point for 1-5 points, +0.4 for 6-10 points, +0.6 for 11-20 points, +3 for 21-30 points, +8 for 31-50 points, +72 for 51-75 points, +720 for 76-100 points, +7200 for 101-125 points, and so on. This progression ensures that trading in X points for money nets you approximately twice what you'd get if you spent X points on the Wealth advantage. In other words, it assumes that money that comes with social ties, investments, etc., is about twice as useful as money that doesn't.
Points SWM Points SWM Points SWM 1 x1.2 23 x19 45 x160 2 x1.4 24 x22 46 x168 3 x1.6 25 x25 47 x176 4 x1.8 26 x28 48 x184 5 x2 27 x31 49 x192 6 x2.4 28 x34 50 x200 7 x2.8 29 x37 55 x560 8 x3.2 30 x40 60 x920 9 x3.6 31 x48 65 x1,280 10 x4 32 x56 70 x1,640 11 x4.6 33 x64 75 x2,000 12 x5.2 34 x72 80 x5,600 13 x5.8 35 x80 85 x9,200 14 x6.4 36 x88 90 x12,800 15 x7 37 x96 95 x16,400 16 x7.6 38 x104 100 x20K 17 x8.2 39 x112 105 x56K 18 x8.8 40 x120 110 x92K 19 x9.4 41 x128 115 x128K 20 x10 42 x136 120 x164K 21 x13 43 x144 125 x200K 22 x16 44 x152 130 x460K
This advantage adds plot protection to any piece of gear that you own. It does not provide the wealth to get that gear -- take the Wealth advantage or use the rules above to finance the purchase. Signature Gear costs 1 point to protect any one piece of equipment that costs no more than the campaign's average starting wealth. For example, in a TL8 game, you could add Signature Gear to any one piece of equipment that cost $20,000 or less for 1 point, regardless of your Wealth level.
More expensive gear costs progressively more, using the levels of the Wealth advantage as benchmarks. If the gear costs up to twice the campaign's starting wealth, it costs 2 points to make it into Signature Gear. Up to five times starting wealth costs 3 points; up to 20 times starting wealth costs 4 points; up to 100 times starting wealth costs 5 points; and every additional x10 to its cost adds an extra point.
By removing the "funding" aspect of Signature Gear, it becomes a much simpler advantage that provides nothing but plot protection. The additional cost for more expensive gear is merely to recognize that a building or spaceship is much more difficult and expensive to replace than a gun or car, so protection against its permanent loss should carry a slight premium.
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