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Wealth in Psi-punk


Psi-punk uses a system of wealth that avoids complex resource-management and is designed to keep the game simple and fun. Wealth is a trait that is separate from other skills and attributes. This trait represents the purchasing power of an individual, regardless of how he acquired it.

A high Wealth trait could mean the character has a lot of cash in the bank or simply has a great credit score and is able to charge everything to his account (assuming he can pay for it later). A high Wealth trait could also mean that the character has a lot of connections—friends in high (or low) places that can get him what he wants, when he wants it.

Most characters have the ability to purchase mundane items, such as food, clothing, and other daily living supplies, without the need to worry about how much each of them costs. For more expensive items, such as weapons, high-end computers, cyberware, or magic devices, a character needs to spend Wealth.

Each item listed in Equipment has an associated Cost which represents how much Wealth a character needs in order to purchase that specific type of equipment. If a character can’t afford it with his current Wealth Level, he’ll either need to save up or borrow money.

Wealth by the Numbers

It may be helpful to think of Wealth as a numeric value; after all, that’s how we view wealth in the real world. Rather than assigning individual dollar values to items and keeping track of your character’s current finances, you may employ the following abstract numeric system. It is less granular than a purely numeric system and uses simpler math that won’t slow down game play.

Wealth Chart

Use the following chart to help you determine a numeric value for your Wealth score. This value will help you add and subtract the costs associated with Gear without reducing your ability to also look at Wealth from the perspective of the Trait Ladder.

Table: Wealth Chart



Trait Level

























If your Wealth Value falls within a certain range, your Wealth Level is easy to determine. For example, if you have greater than 4 Wealth but less than 8, your Wealth Level is Fair. If you acquire a Good amount of Wealth (+8) your value would increase to 12, which puts you within range of having a Good Wealth Level.

Gear can be priced numerically using this system. Cybernetic Legs with a Superb Cost (32) may have a Fault that reduces their Cost by a Good amount (8). That would make their total Cost equal 24.

Subtract 24 from your Wealth Value when you purchase these legs, then determine your new Wealth Level.

Keep track of your Wealth Value and Wealth Level separately. Your Wealth Value is similar to cash in the real world—it’s the numeric value that is used to determine exactly how much you have in liquid assets. Your Wealth Level is more a measure of your status; it can be added to dice rolls made to bribe, impress, and otherwise manipulate people who are concerned with worldly matters.

Wealth in the Game

See Character Creation for details about how to determine a character’s starting Wealth.


After play starts, a character’s Wealth Level can continue to represent buying power in any way which best suits him. Wealth simply represents the ability for characters to get the things they want. A high Wealth Level can be used to bribe people, buy new equipment, work their way into fancy nightclubs without an invitation (or reservation), etc.

One doesn’t always need to spend his Wealth to do any of these things; rather, characters may simply roll a Wealth check as if it were any other skill. The difference between using Wealth to bribe someone and using a social skill like Impress is that Wealth isn’t tied to any other attribute, so players may not benefit from Luck Point rerolls in the same way they would if they were using a skill.

If a Wealth check fails to, for example, bribe a security guard, characters may decrease their Wealth Value and try the check again; this represents “upping the ante” so to speak, by increasing the amount of the bribe to sweeten the deal. GMs may consider giving the character a bonus on his next Wealth check if he spent enough to really catch the guard’s attention.

Wealth can also, of course, be used to purchase additional equipment whenever the opportunity is available.

Acquiring Wealth

Unlike other traits, Wealth is more fluid and can be increased or decreased far more easily. Characters acquire new Wealth for any number of reasons; they may sell equipment they find or don’t need any- more, take out a loan from a bank (or a loan shark) or get paid for a job.

Getting Paid

The most common method of acquiring Wealth is getting paid to do a job. This can mean either performing a task for a superior officer, pulling off a bank heist (and not getting caught or killed in the process), or completing a mercenary job for a seedy character in a grungy bar. GMs should feel free to work with their players to determine the types of jobs or missions that are best-suited to their talents and character concepts.

Regardless of the type of job, characters should get paid upon completion. They may know what their compensation will be before they start the task or they may make off with an unknown sum of money and agree to split the loot later. In any case, when the job’s done the bread’s won. GMs should reward players by determining how much Wealth the task was worth and tell the players to increase their Wealth Values accordingly.

For example, if the characters are working for a paramilitary organization and are sent on a job to protect a high-ranking civilian, they may be told that their efforts will be rewarded with a Good [8] amount of cash. Once the mission has successfully been completed, characters are given 8 Wealth (a Good amount) to add to their Wealth Value. If this would increase their Wealth Level to a higher range, their Wealth Level increases as well.

Hocking Wares

Players can choose to sell some of their existing equipment to improve their Wealth score. Generally speaking, equipment is sold at one level lower than what it could be purchased for, so a Good [8] gun would fetch a Fair [4] price.

Characters with the Haggle skill may be able to talk a buyer into giving them a better price by making a successful check (at a GM-determined difficulty). In such a case, perhaps the Good gun would fetch a Fair price and the buyer would throw in some Mediocre [2] Pocket Change.

It may be difficult to find a buyer for some equipment. Restricted or illegal items cannot be traded on the open market; you can’t just walk into the local Stuff Shack and sell them your illicitly-acquired assault rifle.


To find buyers for such items, characters should make an Urban (or similar) skill check with a diffi- culty equal to the item’s Rank (see Equipment for Rank scores). Success means the player can find a fence given enough time. Higher degrees of success mean the player can either find a buyer in a short- er amount of time or find a more trustworthy fence.

Remember: many shady characters are not above selling out their contacts if it means avoiding a run- in with authorities or the promise of a quick buck.

Taking Out a Loan

Some equipment is just too important to a job, or too coveted, to pass up. If a character really wants or needs an item he can’t afford, he can attempt to take out a loan. Loans must be paid back within a timeframe specified under the loan agreement (generally one month) and almost always carry some amount of interest. Loans can be obtained from a variety of sources.

The most common methods of acquiring loans are through banks or street brokers. Getting a loan through a bank usually comes with lower interest rates but characters may be subject to criminal background checks, credit checks, and other scrutiny that certain types of characters may not wish to make public.

Street brokers, on the other hand, don’t ask questions about why you want the money or whether or not you can repay them; they simply send heavily-armed thugs to rip off your cyber-limbs and hock them for the cash you owe. Street brokers also tend to require more interest than banks.

In game terms, a bank will always require the character to pay back as much money as he borrows plus an amount of extra Wealth equal to one level lower than the borrowed amount. For example, if Roy borrows a Great [16] amount from the bank, he will need to repay it in full with a Good [8] amount of interest.

Street brokers, on the other hand, require characters to match the amount of money they borrow; with Great loans come Great amounts of interest.

For simplicity, banks and street brokers both require that the loan be paid back within one month of the date the funds were borrowed. Failure to pay on time results in late payment fees worth a Wealth Level 2 levels lower than the original amount borrowed, so following the above example the fee would be a Fair [4] amount.

Failure to pay again means the entire amount is owed in one additional month and it means the bank is free to hire a Collection Agency to retrieve the money. Collection Agencies are masters of tracking down people who fail to pay their debts and they are legally allowed to physically knock down doors and drag people, kicking and screaming if necessary, to jail. The sentence for defaulting on a loan is one month per Wealth level borrowed (minimum one month).

Street brokers aren’t as nice. They, too, have collectors who are masters of hunting down bad debtors. Unlike Collection Agencies, street broker enforcers don’t give the debtor an extra month to come up with the cash; either they fork it over now or they wake up in a trash bin in a back alley with some of their spare parts missing.