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Consumables and WBL


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


Just a curiosity question, I suppose. In another thread, ciretose made the following comment:

ciretose wrote:


And if you spend 1000 gp on consumables and I spend 100, in real game I will have 900 more gold than you later.

That got me wondering....is that 1) actually expected as a design element, and 2) how people actually play it?

Looking at the WBL guidelines in the gamemastery section of the pfsrd (too many subordinate clauses..ugh), we can see that if a character is created at any given level with balanced gear, they should have approximately 25%/25%/25%/15%/10% weapons/armor/othermagic/expendables/coins.

So the question becomes, in my mind, does that apply as you level. If the sentiment above is correct, then the assumption would be than as you level, players who make heavy use of potions or wands eventually fall behind the rest of the party, right?

I think that it's a moderately unreasonable stance from the standpoint of excess bookkeeping. Not only does everyone have to know how much money they have, they have to know how much they've spent, and on what, if an accounting ever comes due. (IME, accountings come due most often due to character death, swap, or player changeover...events that happen with saddening regularity)

Just curious about community opinion on the subject.


Table 12-5 Treasure Values Per Encounter hands out more treasure than WBL does for a starting character. The assumption is that the difference between the two is used on consumables and equipment replacement.

In the group I GM I use Table 12-5 and then the group divides treasure by 5. (Four plus 1 extra share for a group consumable share.) It works out pretty well. When I check to see how much treasure the group has they wind up with approximately WBL plus a bit more for the consumables.

WBL is great for checking to see where your group is at. WBL isn't actually what you use to hand out treasure by, TVPE is.

- Gauss


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nope, each character is recommended/supposed to have the listed wealth at the listed level. If the player A spends 1k on consumables, and then player B spends 100 on consumables, the GM is supposed to find a way to give 900 gp of wealth to player A.


Cheapy wrote:
Nope, each character is recommended/supposed to have the listed wealth at the listed level. If the player A spends 1k on consumables, and then player B spends 100 on consumables, the GM is supposed to find a way to give 900 gp of wealth to player A.

Where is this article of faith actually written?

I keep seeing posts like this, going to my CRB, and scratching my head in confusion when there's barely more than the WBL table itself to be found...

Osirion

Consumable wealth is used to keep your character alive/prosperous situationally, while non-consumables are a flat bonus to all situations.

For extremely strategic gamers, consumables are more valuable than most items as they allow drastic expansion of character power (especially spellcasters).

In all the games I have played, however, the groups tend to take a gregarious view of wealth and generally give items to whomever has the least wealth. Consumables all come from a party treasury into which is put roughly 20% of each treasure haul. It's actually pretty fair, and remarkably the system sort of developed naturally.


Alitan wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
Nope, each character is recommended/supposed to have the listed wealth at the listed level. If the player A spends 1k on consumables, and then player B spends 100 on consumables, the GM is supposed to find a way to give 900 gp of wealth to player A.

Where is this article of faith actually written?

I keep seeing posts like this, going to my CRB, and scratching my head in confusion when there's barely more than the WBL table itself to be found...

What else would you suppose the WBL chart is trying to indicate?

Maybe I don't understand your question, but the answer seems to be evident in the text.

[quote ="SRD"]
Table: Character Wealth By level lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level. (...) (It) can also be used to budget gear for characters starting above 1st level, (...) For a balanced approach (...)

Reading the section on Placing Treasure (where I cherrypicked those quotes), we see that 15% of a characters wealth is expected to be consumables (balanced), and at any given level the players should have the amount of money shown on the chart for that level (modified by campaign type).

Seems self-evident to me, unless I do misunderstand you.

Osirion

No, the DM is not supposed to compensate for a character spending too much on expendables. That's how they decided to spend their wealth. When checking the characters total wealth, used expendables do not factor in directly but the DM should be aware of such usage if it becomes a problem.

The DM is supposed to compensate to prevent more than roughly 15% of total treasure to be in the form of expendables, and to prevent the party from gaining to much experience without the commensurate treasure rewards.

The WBL is not an exact guide, it's a rough estimate based on the average treasure rolls for 13.3 encounters of the party level. If the party goes for more difficult encounters, or bypasses the treasure from some encounters, the DM should compensate or else the party will eventually be engaging in fights at a noted disadvantage.


Jal Dorak wrote:

No, the DM is not supposed to compensate for a character spending too much on expendables. That's how they decided to spend their wealth. When checking the characters total wealth, used expendables do not factor in directly but the DM should be aware of such usage if it becomes a problem.

The DM is supposed to compensate to prevent more than roughly 15% of total treasure to be in the form of expendables, and to prevent the party from gaining to much experience without the commensurate treasure rewards.

The WBL is not an exact guide, it's a rough estimate based on the average treasure rolls for 13.3 encounters of the party level. If the party goes for more difficult encounters, or bypasses the treasure from some encounters, the DM should compensate or else the party will eventually be engaging in fights at a noted disadvantage.

The top and bottom parts of your post are at odds with each other.

The DM most certainly should give extra cash tot he guys who blow tons on consumables /because/ if he doesn't then they end up behind the curve and will struggle greatly later on down the road.

If the wizard, rogue, or whoever spends a chunk of their wealth for scrolls, potions, wands and so forth to use and never gets the money back for it then at some point they are- mechanically speaking- hosed compared to those who didn't do so.

Now I don't advocate a super strict WBL at each level or die! approach but if one or more of the group /are/ spending alot for consumables then you have to take that into account with loot distribution or they Will fall behind.
And when you tell them they are behind you'll find that they sell and refuse to use all consumables because they suddenly become not worth it.
"gee yuo mean all those wands and scrolls we got and potions we found and used instead of selling mean that we're 2 levels behind our WBL.. and thats just tough crap? wow."

If you are going to use WBl as a gauge for the relative power of the party you do the audit each level and try to keep them somewhere around the ballpark whether the buy, make, or find and keep consumables or not isn't really factored in.

-S


WBL is a guideline though if they use more consumables than they reasonably should it will bite them in the ass at some point, however using some extra potions and scrolls is usually a better idea than paying for a raise dead, in general consumables pay themselves back like that.


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Jal, you are correct in that the DM is is not supposed to compensate for too much spent on expendables. However, he is supposed to provide excess above the WBL chart to allow for expendables. This is represented by Table 12-5 in the CRB.

One note though: your statement of 13.3 encounters is incorrect. If we go by the exp of encounter CR = Party Level we find the following:

breakdown:

The following assumes even CR battles, four players, Medium progression.

The first part of each line is the calculation of how many encounters it takes to go from Level X to Level X+1.
The second part of each line is the amount of (individual) treasure you achieve if using table 12-5 while doing so.

CR1 = 400xp/4 = 100xp; 20encounters -> 260gp*20/4 = 1300gp
CR2 = 600xp/4 = 150xp; 20encounters -> 550gp*20/4 = 2750gp
CR3 = 800xp/4 = 200xp; 20encounters -> 800gp*20/4 = 4000gp
CR4 = 1200xp/4 = 300xp; 20encounters -> 1150gp*20/4 = 5750gp
CR5 = 1600xp/4 = 400xp; 20encounters -> 1550gp*20/4 = 7750gp
CR6 = 2400xp/4 = 600xp; 20encounters -> 2000gp*20/4 = 10000gp
CR7 = 3200xp/4 = 800xp; 20encounters -> 2600gp*20/4 = 13000gp
CR8 = 4800xp/4 = 1200xp; 20encounters -> 3350gp*20/4 = 16750gp
CR9 = 6400xp/4 = 1600xp; 18.75encounters -> 4250gp*18.75/4 = 19921.875gp
CR10 = 9600xp/4 = 2400xp; 20.8333encounters -> 5450gp*20.8333/4 = 28385.371gp
CR11 = 12800xp/4 = 3200xp; 20.3125encounters -> 7000gp*20.3125/4 = 35546.875gp
CR12 = 19200xp/4 = 4800xp; 19.7917encounters -> 9000gp*19.7917/4 = 44531.325gp
CR13 = 25600xp/4 = 6400xp; 20.3125encounters -> 11600gp*20.3125/4 = 58906.25gp
CR14 = 38400xp/4 = 9600xp; 19.7917encounters -> 15000gp*19.7917/4 = 74218.875gp
CR15 = 51200xp/4 = 12800xp; 19.9219encounters -> 19500gp*19.9219/4 = 97119.263gp
CR16 = 76800xp/4 = 19200xp; 21.3542encounters -> 25000gp*21.3542/4 = 133463.75gp
CR17 = 102400xp/4 = 25600xp; 19.5313encounters -> 32000gp*19.5313/4 = 156250.4gp
CR18 = 153600xp/4 = 38400xp; 19.5313encounters -> 41000gp*19.5313/4 = 200195.825
CR19 = 204800xp/4 = 51200xp; 20.5078encounters -> 53000gp*20.5078/4 = 271728.35gp

As you can see, the average is 20 equal CR encounters per level to reach the next level.

The following is a comparison of Table 12-5 versus 12-4.

Table 12-5 compared to Table 12-4:

This is the percentage of treasure awarded via Table 12-5 over table 12-4 per level. Note: this is not cumulative, just individual levels.
Calculation: 100(1-(Table 12-5 calculations (see spoiler above)/(WBL-(WBL-1)))).
Example: For level 20 we have: 100((271728.35/(880000-685000))-1) = 100(1.3935-1) = 100*0.3935 = 39.35% over WBL

Lvl2: 30.0% over WBL
Lvl3: 37.5% over WBL
Lvl4: 33.3% over WBL
Lvl5: 27.8% over WBL
Lvl6: 40.91% over WBL
Lvl7: 33.33% over WBL
Lvl8: 36.84% over WBL
Lvl9: 28.85% over WBL
Lvl10: 24.51% over WBL
LVl11: 41.93% over WBL
Lvl12: 36.72% over WBL
Lvl13: 39.16% over WBL
Lvl14: 30.90% over WBL
Lvl15: 34.94% over WBL
Lvl16: 29.49% over WBL
Lvl17: 40.49% over WBL
Lvl18: 30.21% over WBL
Lvl19: 29.16% over WBL
Lvl20: 39.35% over WBL

This is why I do not see a problem regarding consumables. At any given moment when I check my player's sheets I figure they should be a bit above WBL due to Table 12-5.

- Gauss


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@Jal, you're totally free to run your games as you wish to,
but the entire concept of WBL runs contrary to your desire to not 'reward' players spending consumables.
WBL is ' the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level.'.
NOT the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have acquired in all the time they are levelling up to a given level.
WBL is your actual wealth at the current time frame.

Therefore, it doesn't matter what you did in previous levels: spend $ on consumables, buy gear that you later decide you don't like and donate (or sell at half price), buy gear (or have it dropped in your lap by the GM) and then get it Sundered, buy gear and then get it stolen, etc...
None of those cases burdens your character with 'phantom gear' that is no longer usable in anyway, but somehow counts as 'phantom wealth' since 'it was your own fault' that you didn't take good care of your wealth.

WBL doesn't care about fault, rightness, or justification. All it is is a guideline to indicate what the game is balanced around, i.e. if you diverge far from it, the CR numbers no longer will work as they were meant to. In a sand-box game, enemy CR shouldn't always match up to a fair fight against the PCs anyways, in fact CR is at most a secondary concern in running such a game. For GMs who want to keep the challenge within reasonable bounds, WBL is a guide so that they can know when to 'give' the PCs more treasure OR conversely lower the threat of enemies, with 'following' WBL being the easiest and most 'mechanical' option.


I don't understand WBL just yet (need to really looking over the rules to understand what is "standard" treasure and what CR equals in treasure) but the way I understand it, the starting equipment should give you less than others who have gained their treasure through quests and ect.

I rule it to stick within the guidlines, but you are allowed to slightly go over one section if taking less on another like if you are a fighter and barely have a use for limited items.


Modules and APs don't drop extra loot if one player spends more than the others on consumables.

It drops what it drops, assuming some is spent on consumables, and that's it. As far as I know, DMs running PFS scenarios CAN'T drop extra loot, if you spend all your wealth buying up consumables, then you're out of luck.

How do you give loot to just one character, anyway, seeing as most party's split found loot equally?

I don't see the point of encouraging players to invest in oils of Greater Magic Weapon, cheaper by far than actual magic weapons, and other cheap one shots, comfortable in the knowledge they'll make up whatever they use and then some by the close of business because the GM wouldn't dare let tham fall behind WBL.


Quantum Steve, in some cases, modules and APs drop rediculous amounts of loot. CoT has been known to drop massive amounts because as James Jacobs puts it (paraphrasing here): He doubles the treasure because not everyone finds everything and there are equipment losses etc.

Well, since my group typically finds most things I had to drop the amount down to the levels Table 12-5 hands out. However, that has worked out pretty well.

- Gauss

Osirion

Quandary wrote:

@Jal, you're totally free to run your games as you wish to,

but the entire concept of WBL runs contrary to your desire to not 'reward' players spending consumables.
WBL is ' the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level.'.
NOT the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have acquired in all the time they are levelling up to a given level.
WBL is your actual wealth at the current time frame.

Therefore, it doesn't matter what you did in previous levels: spend $ on consumables, buy gear that you later decide you don't like and donate (or sell at half price), buy gear (or have it dropped in your lap by the GM) and then get it Sundered, buy gear and then get it stolen, etc...
None of those cases burdens your character with 'phantom gear' that is no longer usable in anyway, but somehow counts as 'phantom wealth' since 'it was your own fault' that you didn't take good care of your wealth.

WBL doesn't care about fault, rightness, or justification. All it is is a guideline to indicate what the game is balanced around, i.e. if you diverge far from it, the CR numbers no longer will work as they were meant to. In a sand-box game, enemy CR shouldn't always match up to a fair fight against the PCs anyways, in fact CR is at most a secondary concern in running such a game. For GMs who want to keep the challenge within reasonable bounds, WBL is a guide so that they can know when to 'give' the PCs more treasure OR conversely lower the threat of enemies, with 'following' WBL being the easiest and most 'mechanical' option.

You are wrong. As I stated, WBL is intended to show how much treasure the PC is expected to have accumulated by a certain point (in my error, I did use the 3.X numbers but the basic idea remains the same). The 3rd Edition DMG is very clear about this point.

Allow me to quote:

3.0 DMG, p.145 wrote:


[The WBL Table] is based on average treasures found in average encounters compared with the experience points earned in those encounters.
Pathfinder SRD wrote:


Table: Character Wealth by Level lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level. Note that this table assumes a standard fantasy game. Low-fantasy games might award only half this value, while high-fantasy games might double the value. It is assumed that some of this treasure is consumed in the course of an adventure (such as potions and scrolls), and that some of the less useful items are sold for half value so more useful gear can be purchased.

There is no debate here. The character gets the expected treasure from his adventure. What they do with that treasure is their business. The DM should do his WBL accounting BEFORE trading takes place.

Osirion

Selgard wrote:

The top and bottom parts of your post are at odds with each other.

The DM most certainly should give extra cash tot he guys who blow tons on consumables /because/ if he doesn't then they end up behind the curve and will struggle greatly later on down the road.

If the wizard, rogue, or whoever spends a chunk of their wealth for scrolls, potions, wands and so forth to use and never gets the money back for it then at some point they are- mechanically speaking- hosed compared to those who didn't do so.

Any consumables used in the course of the adventure are contributing to the effectiveness of the character. So unless the rogue goes on a potion of cat's grace drinking binge, they are at no more of a disadvantage buying such items than the character who buys a wondrous item.

Like I said, the DM should step in the a character's personal financial management is disrupting the game - that's a player issue, not a treasure issue.

There is no contradiction in my first post: the DM should deal with issues out of game if the character is "wasting" treasure, unless they REALLY want to. Wasting treasure is not equivalent to missing treasure completely or being unfairly rewarded for your efforts.

@Gauss: You are correct, the average treasure does include some consumables, which are included in the WBL calculations. Again, it's a guideline and anything the player does beyond that is up to them.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Selgard wrote:


The DM most certainly should give extra cash tot he guys who blow tons on consumables /because/ if he doesn't then they end up behind the curve and will struggle greatly later on down the road.

I disagree in all levels with this sentence.


The vast majority of consumables used by party members are purchased from the party fund. Our parties almost always initially put all looted gold into the party fund and only distribute gold to individual PCs at significant story break points where we are re-configuring our party. Usually every second or third level-up exercise. The party will frequently vote to purchase one party member a special item that would cost more than "their share" of the loot, but the party feels it would make the party as a whole more effective. Over time this tends to balance out since the last person to have gotten a nice magic item tends to be the one who can benefit the most from a new one.

Potions, wands, one-shot wondrous items and other "consumables" are generally considered to be "cost of doing business" and the actual distribution of loot is not performed until after party expenses (including consumables) are paid.

Now, I do have one character who uses consumables as part of his concept. His "special" consumables are purchased from his own share of the loot, and are considered to be the same as purchasing any other magic item.

If anything his consumables make him more effective in combat, even if technically his WBL is a bit lower than the rest of the party. Consumables actually can be quite effective if used right.


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My take on this is, GM puts WBL gold on the path of the players, and then it's theyr business how they use it. If they blow up everything on consumables, they better be ready for hard fight or maybe the should lower their target for the next mission if they are not up to par with the task.
There is no point in playing if you playing good or bad doesn't affects your PC. Good play must be rewarded, and bad play leads to bad consequences, like death of loss of gear. That's the adventurer's life.
No risk, no satisfaction in getting the reward.


Jal Dorak wrote:
Quandary wrote:

@Jal, you're totally free to run your games as you wish to,

but the entire concept of WBL runs contrary to your desire to not 'reward' players spending consumables.
WBL is ' the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level.'.
NOT the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have acquired in all the time they are levelling up to a given level.
WBL is your actual wealth at the current time frame.

Therefore, it doesn't matter what you did in previous levels: spend $ on consumables, buy gear that you later decide you don't like and donate (or sell at half price), buy gear (or have it dropped in your lap by the GM) and then get it Sundered, buy gear and then get it stolen, etc...
None of those cases burdens your character with 'phantom gear' that is no longer usable in anyway, but somehow counts as 'phantom wealth' since 'it was your own fault' that you didn't take good care of your wealth.

WBL doesn't care about fault, rightness, or justification. All it is is a guideline to indicate what the game is balanced around, i.e. if you diverge far from it, the CR numbers no longer will work as they were meant to. In a sand-box game, enemy CR shouldn't always match up to a fair fight against the PCs anyways, in fact CR is at most a secondary concern in running such a game. For GMs who want to keep the challenge within reasonable bounds, WBL is a guide so that they can know when to 'give' the PCs more treasure OR conversely lower the threat of enemies, with 'following' WBL being the easiest and most 'mechanical' option.

You are wrong. As I stated, WBL is intended to show how much treasure the PC is expected to have accumulated by a certain point (in my error, I did use the 3.X numbers but the basic idea remains the same). The 3rd Edition DMG is very clear about this point.

Allow me to quote:

3.0 DMG, p.145 wrote:


[The WBL Table] is based on average treasures found in average encounters compared with the experience points earned in those
...

Let me quote pg.400 Core "Table 12-4 lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level."

I agree with your ruling Jal, but what you're trying to justify isn't backed by the rules.

Osirion

Black_Lantern wrote:

Let me quote pg.400 Core "Table 12-4 lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level."

I agree with your ruling Jal, but what you're trying to justify isn't backed by the rules.

I also quoted the above section. Do you understand where that treasure comes from? It comes from the encounters. It's how much the PC is 'expected' to receive from overcoming challenges. They may receive slightly more or less, depending on the whims of the dice; this is when the DM is supposed to adjust. It is not how much they will have after manipulating their assets. It is not the DM's task to adjust treasure acquisition based on what a PC does with their rewards.

I'm not "ruling" anything - it is how the treasure system works in a 3.X game.

@Gauss: Some of the discrepancy between 12-4 and 12-5 is because of encounters that award no treasure (animals, vermin, constructs, and some other creatures) and a rare few that award double or triple.


The suggested rewards give more than WBL assuming players use consumables, replace gear, or sell treasure for half.

That sounds reasonable to me, but...

If a player doesn't use consumables, and uses the gear he finds instead of selling treasure, he would end up with MORE than WBL.

Clearly, this would disrupt the balance of CRs and the game would fall apart, so a GM should relieve the player of his extra wealth, right?

Use it or lose it, pal.


Jal Dorak wrote:
lots of 3.5 irrelevant stuff

Not really interested in what 3.5 says or didn't say.

Lets look at the PRD shall we?

Gamemastering section:

And I do quote.

"Table: Character Wealth by Level lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level. Note that this table assumes a standard fantasy game. Low-fantasy games might award only half this value, while high-fantasy games might double the value. It is assumed that some of this treasure is consumed in the course of an adventure (such as potions and scrolls), and that some of the less useful items are sold for half value so more useful gear can be purchased. "

Emphasis mine.

Its an amount of gold (by way of gear) that you are expected to have at each level. In order to have it at each level, the amount spent on consumables must be replaced, if you are going to follow WBL.

-S

edit: corrected the bold.
And, ninja'd. awhile back apparently. my bad!


Does people really expect to waste all their WBl on consumables and then start complaining because the evil DM is not willing to give their more money?


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There seems to be a pervasive error in the understanding of Table 12-4 (WBL).

It is not used to hand out treasure. It should not be used to hand out treasure. One should not go to WBL and subtract the value of level 9 treasure from the value of level 10 treasure to calculate how much should be handed out for encounters at level 9.

It IS used as a guidepost at each level and when making a new character at a given level.

What is used to hand out treasure is Core Rulebook Table 12-5. This table has an average of 33.97% more treasure than WBL does per level. I believe the assumption here is that that excess treasure is spent replacing destroyed/outdated equipment and for consumables between levels. This is borne out with my own experience as a GM.

- Gauss


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This thread is an awesome example of why I pay very little attention to WBL guidelines except for when I feel a need to re-calibrate the group's wealth. And even then I use them only as guidelines.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
This thread is an awesome example of why I pay very little attention to WBL guidelines except for when I feel a need to re-calibrate the group's wealth. And even then I use them only as guidelines.

Oh, so very this.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

WBL is essentially a Lazy GM's way to start out characters.

As to what characters need on an ongoing basis, a good GM will work with that on an ongoing organic basis.

Osirion

Selgard wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
lots of 3.5 irrelevant stuff

Not really interested in what 3.5 says or didn't say.

Lets look at the PRD shall we?

Gamemastering section:

And I do quote.

"Table: Character Wealth by Level lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level. Note that this table assumes a standard fantasy game. Low-fantasy games might award only half this value, while high-fantasy games might double the value. It is assumed that some of this treasure is consumed in the course of an adventure (such as potions and scrolls), and that some of the less useful items are sold for half value so more useful gear can be purchased. "

Emphasis mine.

Its an amount of gold (by way of gear) that you are expected to have at each level. In order to have it at each level, the amount spent on consumables must be replaced, if you are going to follow WBL.

-S

edit: corrected the bold.
And, ninja'd. awhile back apparently. my bad!

3rd Edition is by far from irrelevant in this discussion. It's yet another example of a place where Pathfinder rephrased things that were not in the original SRD, and the end result is not cohesive.

The amount you have is the amount you were expected to receive while you reached the indicated level. Pathfinder is no different from 3.X in this regard, it just isn't transparent about how it generates the tables. It also changes the number of encounters required, and the average treasure values, and does away with the random treasure rolls as the default. The end result is the same

If a player spends too much on consumables that is their own fault. The rules don't say anything about coddling such a player, it only advises that the DM adjudicate his encounter rewards to keep the received treasure close to the WBL.

PSRD wrote:
It is assumed that some of this treasure is consumed in the course of an adventure (such as potions and scrolls), and that some of the less useful items are sold for half value so more useful gear can be purchased.

Nothing in there about compensating for consumables.

WBL is not a holy sacrament that is to be bestowed upon the players. It's a guidepost, one that is built using the underlying principles of the game.

Osirion

Gauss wrote:

There seems to be a pervasive error in the understanding of Table 12-4 (WBL).

It is not used to hand out treasure. It should not be used to hand out treasure. One should not go to WBL and subtract the value of level 9 treasure from the value of level 10 treasure to calculate how much should be handed out for encounters at level 9.

It IS used as a guidepost at each level and when making a new character at a given level.

What is used to hand out treasure is Core Rulebook Table 12-5. This table has an average of 33.97% more treasure than WBL does per level. I believe the assumption here is that that excess treasure is spent replacing destroyed/outdated equipment and for consumables between levels. This is borne out with my own experience as a GM.

- Gauss

I will point out that at no time have I advised using WBL as a method to hand out treasure - that would be starting at the finish line!

I agree that 12-5 allows for some margin of error, but as I mentioned earlier, the actual reason it overcompensates is because a portion of encounters will generate no treasure at all.

Osirion

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
This thread is an awesome example of why I pay very little attention to WBL guidelines except for when I feel a need to re-calibrate the group's wealth. And even then I use them only as guidelines.

It's more an example of how people don't understand why WBL exists, or how it exists.

You're approach is the correct one - it's ONLY use is to see when characters are falling behind or getting ahead of the curve. But a DM has to understand what it is before they start "adjusting" treasure on the fly.

Otherwise the wizard can buy theoretically infinite amounts of wands and scrolls, as long as he uses them all before the DM does their next accounting.


Wow. Everyone is so hostile today. Is it a full moon?

I think that Gauss' work with table 12-5 is probably the most useful bit of information to come out of this thread....at least to me.

It is apparently the designers intent that ideal balanced encounters will yield a slight excess in WBL. Balanced wealth distribution will indicate anywhere from 10 to 25% of a player's wealth is fluid (consumable, coinage), and having that excess allows those fluid resources to fluctuate easily without a massive impact on long-term character effectiveness.


LazarX wrote:

WBL is essentially a Lazy GM's way to start out characters.

As to what characters need on an ongoing basis, a good GM will work with that on an ongoing organic basis.

WBL can also be a much appreciated tool for a beginner Pathfinder GM who has headaches distributing gear and treasures :-).


LazarX wrote:

WBL is essentially a Lazy GM's way to start out characters.

As to what characters need on an ongoing basis, a good GM will work with that on an ongoing organic basis.

What, in your opinion, is the Super-Pro GM's way to start out characters?

Lantern Lodge

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Quantum Steve wrote:
LazarX wrote:

WBL is essentially a Lazy GM's way to start out characters.

As to what characters need on an ongoing basis, a good GM will work with that on an ongoing organic basis.

What, in your opinion, is the Super-Pro GM's way to start out characters?

Boards like this don't translate tongue in cheek very well. I generally APPROVE of lazy methods when extra work doesn't yield better results.

The intention is that WBL is mainly intended as a quick way to build advanced parties. But once the campaign is launched, it should not be a benchmark of my "expected wealth at any time."


LazarX wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
LazarX wrote:

WBL is essentially a Lazy GM's way to start out characters.

As to what characters need on an ongoing basis, a good GM will work with that on an ongoing organic basis.

What, in your opinion, is the Super-Pro GM's way to start out characters?

Boards like this don't translate tongue in cheek very well. I generally APPROVE of lazy methods when extra work doesn't yield better results.

The intention is that WBL is mainly intended as a quick way to build advanced parties. But once the campaign is launched, it should not be a benchmark of my "expected wealth at any time."

Dang, I must have failed my Detect Sarcasm check. :)


Quantum Steve, you had a -20 penalty to detect sarcasm due to the transmission medium (text) so failure was understandable. :D

Currently I use Table 12-5 and then periodically check the results with Table 12-4 in order to see how well it is working. At level 8 the group I GM has an average of 40,000gp per person in treasure. 8,000 of that is in consumables. This is 21% over WBL, about what Table 12-5 would produce at any given moment.

Note: the distribution of consumables is uneven due to a 'party treasure' technique my group uses. They split the treasure 5 ways (4 players +1 party share) and buy consumables as needed. The wizard and cleric have the majority of the consumables.

- Gauss


some people mentioned how APs and PFS modules don't correspond to WBL.
nothing about WBL compels any sequence of encounters to provide wealth equal to WBL.
WBL is merely a guideline, if you are above, standard CRs will be easier than designed, and vice versa.
if a GM chooses to 'follow' WBL, that is merely their choice.
that is why is see Jal's perpective about 'it's a player's fault if they spend $ on consumables' as being irrelevant to WBL.
don't mistake me, i think that's a fine way to run a game, but it's irrelevant to WBL as a guideline to see how a character compares to standard wealth assumptions. if a character extremely 'foolishly' spends an income that would only meet WBL if it was spent 'wisely', they will almost certainly end up behind the WBL curve, and that fact should be apparent to any competent GM - what they do with that, how that influences future encounters and treasure, is their own decision - but whether characters are behind or ahead of the WBL curve doesn't depend on anything but their current wealth and level.

how the characters acquire their wealth is something totally dependant on story and world dynamics - maybe looting monsters/opponents isn't the primary source, but 'gifts'/salaries from NPCs within the world are. if a GM wants to enforce some economic morality story on the PCs, such that PC wealth reflects on their 'wise economic decisions', so be it, but that is only one play style... you could equally play such that current wealth primarily results from good diplomacy checks, and disparity in wealth thus hinges mostly on diplomacy ranks and CHA scores, while 'foolishly' spending money may be largely negated by good diplomacy checks.

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