Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blogging from A to Z: O is for Opulence

Every player wants the best for his character.  They might not come right out and say it, but in their heads, they are thinking it.  Everybody wants to be rich, but we're not all that lucky.  So, maybe the closest thing we get to true wealth comes through our RPG characters.

Opulence comes when you get to that point of wealth where you can pretty much just stop asking how much things cost.  You've got the money to do whatever you want.  For most RPG characters, true Opulence is something that you're never going to pull off, mostly for reasons of game balance.  When it comes to games like D&D 4e for example, where your GP plays such a huge part in the power of your character, you're very unlikely to ever reach that point of wealth where you can start to gold plate your horses or buy yourself a yacht which comes equipped with a large golf course.  But man, wouldn't that be awesome?  Then again, a lot of D&D characters are going to be rolling in money by the time they hit Epic levels, and, in all honesty, you've probably got enough GP to buy yourself a small country by the time you get there (but still not a full set of 25th level items for all your slots).  That is the very odd fact of wealth in RPG's.  The stuff that has a value to your character, the magic items, etc. are very rarely actually something that screams "opulence".  Instead, Opulence is more often a sign of a character's fluff.  Opulence comes in the story rather than the "crunch".  That works too.

When your players reach that point in their careers that they should start seeing some serious wealth, give it to them.  You can always use factors such as item availability to limit your players ability to pick up more crunch specific magic items.  Let your players have that massive palatial estate which is completely manufactured out of human happiness.  Let them have the gold and the jewels.  That stuff is all just a sign of status and position, something that your characters earn through adventuring.  That is one seriously cool reward.  Let your characters' opulence also be used as a tool, or hook, for starting adventures.  Maybe somebody stole something of incredible personal value to one of your players, or maybe somebody came in and vandalized your PC's crazy cool mansion.  Use those opportunities as a chance to get an awesome adventure under way.

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