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Tailsteak

d20 Modern is a D&D-like roleplaying game, created by Wizards of the Coast so that people could run their adventures in the "modern" or "real" world. It has its problems, but one of the things I like about it is its "Wealth" system.

You see, unlike other roleplaying games, where you simply keep a running tally of how many gold pieces your character is somehow lugging around, d20 Modern treats "Wealth" like any other stat or skill. It is assumed that, in between missions, your character has a day job of some sort, and manages their money accordingly. When you want to buy something, you simply roll a d20 (or take 10 or take 20, depending on how much time you have to shop around and haggle) and add your character's Wealth bonus to try to hit a target DC - if you can hit that number, you can buy the thing. If the cost is above your current Wealth level - which is to say, if you had to roll at all - your Wealth level will decrease accordingly.

It's an interesting way of handling money, and, for a modern economy, it makes sense. Certainly, it streamlines gameplay, which is what's important.

One of the consequences of thinking of money this way is that, for certain types of purchase, you effectively ignore the cost of the item. I think on some level, we all actually think of our money this way - we have a certain level at which a cost is negligible, another at which we have to stop and think about how we'll rearrange our finances to handle it, and yet another at which a purchase is simply impossible and unthinkable. (I'd say, for me, those levels are currently $20, $500, and $10,000, respectively)

Jamie is both a generous and a responsible individual, so we've seen that despite his minimum-wage income, he's happy to provide for his friends or make things right, as necessary. Five hundred for a suit, however, is beyond what he'd comfortably be able to spend. In d20 Modern-ese, he could make that roll, but he'd have to have his Wealth level decreased by 2d6 in order to even attempt the purchase.

It's weird how our economic class affects the way we think of things... and it's weird how class isn't actually the same thing as the amount of money you have.

0915-------------------------------------
(Friday afternoon, INT: SW and WW's apartment, JH entering)

JH: Hey, Wallace. Here's your suit. Sorry about taking so long getting it back to you.
WW: No problem. I'm sorry you weren't able to make it to the wedding.
JH: Yeah, it's... it worked out okay.
--------------
WW: Thhhisssss is not my suit.
JH: Yeah, I uh... your suit got some wear and tear. Some holes. Tried stitching them closed, but it left weird pucker marks, so I just went and got you another suit. It's the same colour, same size.
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WW: Jamie, you know that suit was actually tailored for me, right? It was over five hundred dollars.
JH: You dropped a half grand on a suit? All the clothes I own don't cost that much! You are aware that these are inanimate objects, right?
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WW: And how much, exactly, have you spent on cookware and kitchen appliances?
JH: That's different.
JH: ...for a reason. That I will think of.
JH: Gimme a second.




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