Resources as dice

I’ve spoken before about using dice to track ammunition and rations — roll once per appropriate time period to determine when you’re down to your very last oat-cake or whatever.

I’m not sure I love this, but here it is anyway.

How about gold and hoards? Not magic items, but specifically bulky loot which is just money and weight.

Each character sheet has some tally of “treasure dice” — 4d4+5d8+1d12 or whatever.
Each treasure die weighs, say, 5 lbs of encumbrance.
Copper treasure (and mundane goods like cloth) is worth a d4; silver (and most trade goods) d6, gold (and exotic trade goods like spices) d8, platinum d10, gems a d12, and exotic currencies like souls a d20.
Size-wise, tiny objects weigh and grant 1 die. Small 2, medium 4, large 8, huge 16, modified by density as appropriate.
So a golden statue is 4d8; a solid mithral door (valuing mithral at platinum) 8d10, a sea-chest of silver 2d6, a dragon’s hoard 32d8 (or more!), etc.
Tiny valuable objects (single gems, jewelry) are basically weightless; they can be sold for some (usually small) loot die expression. A large enough haul of gems that makes it no fun to track them is just some high end loot expression again!
Usage example: “You find 3d6 of silver in the chest”, “You find 4d4 of brownweave”, “There’s easily 8d4 of beer barrels here”.

An interesting side effect: if budgeted for as weight, the number of dice a single character can carry is pretty manageable. 10 or 12 dice is pretty much the max per haul, plus gems and art objects.

You can split up dice; splitting 1d(X+2) gets you (X/2)d(X) — 1d12 buys 5d10; 1d6 buys 2d4.
You can partially reverse this process and combine dice; spend (X/2)d(X-2) to get 1dX — 1d6 costs 3d4; 1d12 costs 6d10.
Instead, you can purchase weightless wealth (jewelry, art objects) for a single die of the next larger size.
The d20 doesn’t participate in this system of exchange; it’s too ludicrously valuable. You can exchange it down into 6d12.
You pay a premium for transportable wealth!

Things you want to buy also have a dice expression. I suggest using the same guidelines as above: items bought in hundreds of copper use cost dice d4s; hundreds of gold in d8s; draining the treasury is paid in d10s and d12s for castles and ships.
Costs may aggregate up and do so at the rate by which wealth is broken down; 10 d10 purchases are resolved as a single d12 purchase.
In particular, cheap ~2gp purchases of mundane gear are d4s, common items at 20gp are d6s, uncommon are d8s, rare d10s, very rare d12s, and legendaries d20s.
Within those tiers, feel free to use multiple dice; for instance, for consumables,
Cantrip: 2d4 (or 1d6)
1st level: 2d6
2nd level: 2d8
3rd level: 4d8 (or 1d10)
4th level: 2d10
5th level: 4d10
6th level: 2d12
7th level: 4d12
8th level: 6d12 (or 1d20)
9th level: 2d20
And permanent items should cost +1 die — or more.

To purchase a thing, determine the thing’s dice expression — its cost.
Put forward an equal number of dice (of sides equal to or greater than the cost dice of the thing).
You’ve now bought the thing.

However, it wiped out your ante, which might not be entirely fair.
Roll your purchase dice and roll the cost dice. Arrange both lowest to highest. Retain any purchase dice which scored strictly higher than the cost dice. Shrink any dice which didn’t roll higher one step. D4 are discarded on shrinkage.

Treasure dice above a d6 are rolled as d6 in villages. You can sell larger dice directly into 3d6, skipping intermediate steps.
Small towns, d8 (and sell larger into 4d8).
Large towns, d10 (5d10).
Cities d12 (6d12).
Metropoli d20.

Downtime costs a die expression per week: Wretched is free. Otherwise:
1d4 squalid, 2d4 poor; 1d6 modest, 2d6 comfortable, 3d6 wealthy; 1d8 (and up) aristocratic.

Henchpersons add to this expression their own needs. An unskilled henchperson costs 2d4, a skilled one 2d6, and an expert one 2d8. These are lifestyle costs; a henchperson might also arrange for shares of treasure.


About lackhand

I was born in 1984 and am still playing games, programming computers, and living in New York City. View all posts by lackhand

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