Unchained Economy

I’ve been thinking about my idea to run a game with several Pathfinder Unchained rules, including Automatic Bonus Progressions at character level +2, and thus having no assumed Wealth by Level.
The trick with that is, I still want potions, wands, and scrolls, so there has to be SOME money. But I want an economy where even at high level, hundreds of gold is exciting.
Here’s my twin baselines: a masterwork falchion is 375 gp, a masterwork composite mighty +4 longbow is 800 gp, and masterwork full plate is 1,350. I’d like for those to be the sorts of things that are exciting as treasure up to even 8th level. So if I figure those three items average out to 850 (842.6 repeating, rounded up), and getting something worth 1/4 your wealth by level is “exiting,” that means I want 8th level wealth by level to be around 3,400 gp.
That’s pretty close to WLB for a 3rd level character, so I can use a general guideline of level – 5 for the WLB chart, which works for characters of 9th level and up. That just leaves me needing to figure WLB for 1st-7th level characters.
The highest average starting wealth for any character is 175 gp, so I can start there. That means I want to go from 175 gp to 3,000 gp over 7 levels.
If I increase the wealth by 150% at each level (rounding), the breakdown looks like this:
1st: 175 gp
2nd: 262 gp
3rd: 393 gp
4th: 590 gp
5th: 886 gp
6th: 1329 gp
7th: 1993 gp
8th: 2990 gp
That’s not a bad approximation, and I can round it to near comfortable numbers like this:
1st: 175 gp
2nd: 275 gp
3rd: 400 gp
4th: 600 gp
5th: 900 gp
6th: 1350 gp
7th: 2000 gp
8th: 3000 gp
With that as a starting point, I can figure out how much I want to charge for potions, scrolls, and other one-shot magic items so my economy isn’t broken.
Of course that also means that some other things characters might have, like wands of healing and non-bonus miscellaneous items and mithral and adamantine, becomes rarer. So I need to either reprice them (which I am disinclined to do – I like mithral shirts being kingly gifts), or compensate the players with more scaling benefits… maybe a free set of multiclassing feats for a very, very minor kind of gestalt game…

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on April 23, 2015, in UnchainedCampaign. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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