Awarding wealth per level to players who die to get more gold


Advice


In a RotRL game I am running, a couple of my players make a lot of stupid decisions in times of stealth or battle in general. It makes them die frequently enough for them to complain about dying and blame it on gold in particular. Right now I have a rule that if you die you keep all the wealth you had previously on your character, not more and not less, as to not die and come back more powerful than everyone else in the party because I think it promotes suicide.

Thoughts on just giving out wealth per level for people who die and instantly get more money than players who have not died once the entire campaign? Their attitudes have shifted to not caring about their character at all (they said so) "because they will most likely die", they want their instant gratification gold or have this poor attitude. What should I do as a DM?


I'm confused. How is dying resulting in more gold?
If the other players have less wealth than an average character of their level, then...give them more stuff?


So far, I have given them what is in the book with 25 point buy, 3 traits with 5 people total. They are all doing well in terms of fights, but boss fights can be challenging, and are optimized. If I gave them more gold than whats already in the book on top of that, it could really skew the fights to being too easy is what im afraid of. I have been a player in these types of games where it is too easy and it is extremely boring and unchallenging.


The total wealth of all characters should equal approximately 5 x WBL.

Therefore if they die and the other characters loot the corpse the new character starts with no gear.

In our games we handle this with a gentlemens agreement that if a PC dies we bury them with all their stuff. There are occasionally times to change this (that PC was carrying the wand of CLW, or we might want a keepsake), but at least 90% of their wealth goes to the grave* with them.

(*or their family ir a local charity or whatever)


Yes, I made it a rule already that the group cannot keep the dead persons gear unless its a special item from the book itself.


The problem is that the characters who jump into pits of goblins cannot come out alive, if a boss hits 4 times and crits them they cannot be alive, if they fireball next to a boss room and the boss hears that they have time to prepare for the pc's to come in, that kind of thing.

To me it seems they want to roll their faces and win fights without any team work or thought behind their actions.


Then it shouldn't matter too much.

The PC died and took some loot with them.

A new PC arives and brings new loot.

Even if this PC is bringing 20% more than what was lost you only end up with ~4% more wealth in the game than you meant to have.

By the time they hit their next level that 4% is probably 1-2%.

I wouldn't worry too much about it.


It would help us help you with the issue if we knew how the players expected an increase in gold would help with their survival. Sometimes low party wealth is a valid complaint, and some classes are expensive when compared to others and will cause wealth issues where there wouldn't normally be any.

I'd also be careful about rewarding players for long term survival of a character. I played in a number of campaigns with a DM who did so, and it resulted in characters being tweaked toward avoiding threats and negating encounters instead of engaging them. You end up with full parties all of whom can turn invisible, teleport, fight at a distance, and act in the surprise round.


It is worth noting, that many APs are written with a specific cast of character classes in mind. The loot from the books are often geared towards helping those particular characters. Additionally, many AP loot tables are far below WBL. The party is expected to deviate to a degree, and the DM is expected to improvise some to provide appropriate challenges and rewards for the party based on the classes actually chosen.

It may very well be the case that the party is infact undergeared for the boss encounters as a result of the APs loot being far under WBL or of minimal use to them. And keep in mind, any given piece of loot could be kept or sold, as such it might be a wise idea to calculate loot values at 75% to account for both outcomes when comparing to WBL. This will often result in a higher value than what the party actually ends up with since most loot items tend to get sold for 50% value, but it creates a good reference for a DM to use for adding additional loot or extra encounters.


well from my own runs in RotEL as player and gm i can say the first 2 books loot was waaaay lower then the standard wbl..on the other hand in the last 2 books it was well over it.


One thing to take into account is the setting will dictate a +/- lvl to the WBL table, the module may be set at a WBL -1, and if that is the case, then replacement characters need to have the same adjustment. Given the setting of RotRL, most of the population and major NPC's the players are likely to interact with will be under this general limitation, including the Boss fights they may be encountering. Looking as a given module, you need to determine if it is low, medium, or high magic/wealth, and restrict players accordingly. In the WLB chapter, it does discuss these adjustments, and if they insist on disregarding this, increase the CR of encounters either by better equipping bad guys or bump up class levels. As pointed out earlier, and some thing I often forget about as well, modules are often written with a set of character classes in mind and you should feel free to augment encounters with character appropriate gear in the hands of enemies that can be freely used against the party, make them earn those rewards, and if they still insist on dying just to get better gear, impose a two or three death limit and the players are out or a five death party limit where the campaign simply ends because party lacked consistency...


Jay707 wrote:

The problem is that the characters who jump into pits of goblins cannot come out alive, if a boss hits 4 times and crits them they cannot be alive, if they fireball next to a boss room and the boss hears that they have time to prepare for the pc's to come in, that kind of thing.

To me it seems they want to roll their faces and win fights without any team work or thought behind their actions.

How experienced are the players? What kind of a party are we talking about here? If they're casting fireball they've got to be at least 5th level, so I'm guessing you've been playing for a while.

A well-optimized 5th level wizard should have a pretty good niche by this point - battlefield control, blaster, buff/debuff person, etc. As a debuffer for example, this PC could (on a 25 point buy) have a DC 18 level 1 debuff spell for those pits of goblins, regardless of WBL. If a handful of goblins can muster an 18 on a Will save routinely in this AP, the players are doomed.

Similarly a level 5 barbarian, regardless of WBL, could at this point have a melee attack at +11 to hit and, with Power Attack and Furious Focus as feats be making at least one attack at that full bonus for weapon +13 damage. Again, I haven't run the AP but the standard CR 9 benchmarks (APL +4 for a really hard boss fight) are a foe with an avg AC of 23 and requiring each PC to put up around 26 damage with a successful hit. It might take a few buff spells and some healing, but with starting gear and some consumables this barbarian could be holding their own against even this fight.

Also, how far under WBL are we talking here? WBL for level 5 (again, I'm using that as an arbitrary starting point b/c the OP referenced a fireball being tossed) is 10,500 GP/PC. If the party is, on average, hovering around 9k gold each, I'm guessing they're fine and dying b/c they're inexperienced players. If they're all sitting at, say, a single +1 defensive item and something with the word "Masterwork" next to it, they have valid problems.

I know you don't want to allow the boss fights to be too easy 7&7, but try to analyze why the PCs are dying to these encounters. Like, the hard numbers. Is it really poor strategy or do they lack the resources?

If it really is that the players are inexperienced, use poor strategy or simply don't care enough to keep their characters alive, this might speak to a larger issue. Talk to the players, see if they enjoy the game. If they do, maybe they're acting out because they breeze through some encounters and others are so tough.

If they find some encounters too tough... re-play them. Set the scenario back up and walk through it with them. Help your players learn to be better at the game so they don't keep smashing their heads against that particular wall.

If however, all of this really boils down to the PCs not having the gear then by all means let them die and come back with decent stuff. Again, I don't know the AP, but I know CR8 and up creatures from the Bestiary. At that point some of the monsters start getting multiple energy immunities, poison doesn't work anymore, their DR goes to 10 instead of 5, etc. Without the right types of weapons, spells and builds these fights can feel next to impossible for some players.

If players are running into that and don't have the gear to keep up, even experienced gamers might throw in the towel.


Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.


EldonGuyre wrote:

Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.

I had the same problem, then I started getting really wordy with setting descriptions. This wasn't to get the players to start checking for the secret doors more and everything, oh no.

I'd make them roll sudden appraise checks and explain how the furnishings were worth a decent amount of gold if they were repaired and cleaned. Knowledge checks on the area told them not only the history of the area but how rare and lucrative an account of the place might be. I showed the players the alternate rules on taking Trophies from monsters, reminded them there's a thriving poison market among the alchemists in town, that there's valuable plants in the swamp near the dungeon they're exploring, etc.

If they're going to miss wealth in some areas I'm not going to magically give them more to get them to WBL. Instead they're going to have to work to get more mileage out of the stuff they are finding.

I don't mind WBL, especially with one player who ALWAYS plays a magical crafter in the party. Right now at 8th level the PCs are swimming in cheap Wondrous Items, Scrolls and Potions. Outside these they have precious few obvious WBL items but they're still trouncing boss fights so it's fine.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

If it really is that the players are inexperienced, use poor strategy or simply don't care enough to keep their characters alive, this might speak to a larger issue. Talk to the players, see if they enjoy the game. If they do, maybe they're acting out because they breeze through some encounters and others are so tough.

If they find some encounters too tough... re-play them. Set the scenario back up and walk through it with them. Help your players learn to be better at the game so they don't keep smashing their heads against that particular wall.

That's good advice IMO, especially the replay part.

Given the players stop caring about their characters and focus on complaining, they most likely feel overstrained. Probably they won't admit it, but this doesn't matter much: Primarily they need some guidance.

Didn't really play RotRL myself, but IIRC book 3 (including the mentioned level 9) is said to be one of the tougher parts.


EldonGuyre wrote:

Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.

Appropriate Wealth by Level at a given point is the average of the party at this point, not what the guidance of the book says as an indication.

Dying to come back with more stuff.... This is purely mechanical. I'd count the wealth of each character, including the dead one, and give the new character as much as the poorest of them just like I wouldn't allow a new player joining to create a character with more X.P. than one already present but whose player has missed a few sessions. When tallying up the value of the gear, I'd count only what is truly useful for adventuring, land ownership I wouldn't count for example.


Well since you can award XP for solving the puzzle, XP and GP go hand in hand. We've never really had any problem with this, our table just makes it clear we can't farm dead PCs for extra wealth.


EldonGuyre wrote:
Here is one reason I don't like WBL...It's a terrible mechanic.

I'm not sure I get it. Wealth by Level is an average value of the total wealth a normal character of that level has, not how much they've had the chance to pick up.

I guess I can see some of the issue, but the problems you run into without it are at least as bad. What do you do, then?


Quixote wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:
Here is one reason I don't like WBL...It's a terrible mechanic.

I'm not sure I get it. Wealth by Level is an average value of the total wealth a normal character of that level has, not how much they've had the chance to pick up.

I guess I can see some of the issue, but the problems you run into without it are at least as bad. What do you do, then?

What I always did, long before WBL existed.

Too much coddling, nowadays. Heroes used to rise above, without their blanky.

Scarab Sages

EldonGuyre wrote:

Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.

Hopefully your not like one GM I knew

"You arrive at the compound its quiet there's a koi pond to the right of the path. At the doors of the dojo you see the bloody body of your master slumped on the steps. . . as you leave the dojo the moonlight glints off the koi pond and you know you may never come back here."

Then its my fault for missing the clue that the singing fish in the pond was quiet because it had witnessed my masters murder and had the first clue to set me on the path for justice. Of course I didn't actually KNOW there was a singing fish in the koi pond in the first place, for that matter till they threw that paragraph at me I didn't even know I had a living master, well living till the start of the game anyway. Clues only work if the players have some reason to be aware they're there (a spot check noticing something, rogue trap skills alerting them to the wall being off, out of game knowledge of your characters backstory). Expecting them to read your mind about special fish you inserted into their backstory without telling them then dropping the clue of "I mentioned the koi pond twice while you were at the dojo" is not helpful especially when the charactors mentor is lying DEAD in front of them at the time.


EldonGuyre wrote:

Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.

It's a terrible mechanic because you play with people who lack basic reading comprehension abilities?

"Table 12–4 lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level." CRB pg. 400
It says "expected", not "entitled to".

"Table 12–4 can also be used to budget gear for characters starting above 1st level, such as a new character created to replace a dead one." Ibid.
It says "can", not "must".

Although to be fair, it sounds like it's the GM misapplying the WBL system. I suspect the players simply don't like puzzles and secret doors, but the GM adjusts the fight difficulty with the presumption that the players are geared according to WBL, which is only possible if the hunt all the loot the GM has hidden. In order to not fall behind but still play the game they want to play, the player're trying to cheat the system.


Derklord wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:

Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.

It's a terrible mechanic because you play with people who lack basic reading comprehension abilities?

"Table 12–4 lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level." CRB pg. 400
It says "expected", not "entitled to".

"Table 12–4 can also be used to budget gear for characters starting above 1st level, such as a new character created to replace a dead one." Ibid.
It says "can", not "must".

Although to be fair, it sounds like it's the GM misapplying the WBL system. I suspect the players simply don't like puzzles and secret doors, but the GM adjusts the fight difficulty with the presumption that the players are geared according to WBL, which is only possible if the hunt all the loot the GM has hidden. In order to not fall behind but still play the game they want to play, the player're trying to cheat the system.

In PFS, WBL is literally *given* to you. Who doesn't understand it?

No,I GMed for literal decades before WBL existed. I understand game balance, and have played and GMed games where the game most definitely was not balanced. Game balance is a pretty new thing, where parties assume they'll never have to run, and have the right to win every encounter, usually without planning or really thinking about it.

Ever play Stormbringer? Rifts? There are plenty more, but those two come to mind, and Stormbringer, while dramatically unbalanced, is still an exceptional game.


Senko wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:

Here is one reason I don't like WBL:

I've had parties walk right past treasure after treasure, not even caring to figure out where it was (solve the puzzle, figure out the secret door,etc)...then some want new characters with "appropriate" WBL.

It's a terrible mechanic.

Hopefully your not like one GM I knew

"You arrive at the compound its quiet there's a koi pond to the right of the path. At the doors of the dojo you see the bloody body of your master slumped on the steps. . . as you leave the dojo the moonlight glints off the koi pond and you know you may never come back here."

Then its my fault for missing the clue that the singing fish in the pond was quiet because it had witnessed my masters murder and had the first clue to set me on the path for justice. Of course I didn't actually KNOW there was a singing fish in the koi pond in the first place, for that matter till they threw that paragraph at me I didn't even know I had a living master, well living till the start of the game anyway. Clues only work if the players have some reason to be aware they're there (a spot check noticing something, rogue trap skills alerting them to the wall being off, out of game knowledge of your characters backstory). Expecting them to read your mind about special fish you inserted into their backstory without telling them then dropping the clue of "I mentioned the koi pond twice while you were at the dojo" is not helpful especially when the charactors mentor is lying DEAD in front of them at the time.

No,that's poor GMing. The only way I would consider running something like that is if it was in your background story - something you would have written.

...and yes, I've actually seen players not pick up on clues from their own background story. Not shaming, we all have off days.


I think WBL has some merits, even though technically outside organized play it isn't a "mechanic" but rather a guideline. For instance, it gives my players an expectation of what power level they might expect to need in order to stay relevant at a given level, if I run the game fully by Core rules.

By level 5 you might expect to NEED a +1 weapon in order to deal with Core threats at that level; this is why the WBL is where it is for that level. Should you START level 5 at 10,500 GP? Is it acceptable to hit that in the middle of the level? What if you start with EXACTLY 10,500 GP as you level into 5th, but then your witch with the Cauldron hex takes 10 days Downtime, using the Downtime rules, and spends Magic capital to make several ridiculously cheap level 1 potions? He's technically over WBL, but not to level 6 yet, but does this throw off the balance of the game?

My answer as a GM is: who cares?

WBL outside of organized play is a guideline, nothing more. I make it very clear to my players that I plan threats based on the PCs' own capabilities, not specific benchmarks like WBL or CR. If my 4 8th level PCs, who currently hover UNDER WBL for their level (at an average of around 29,800 some odd GP last time I checked), are routinely missed in combat by CR 7-9 foes and, based on the law of averages, are delivering a combined total of about 111 damage/round if they all hit, their "average" fight is probably more a CR 9 instead of a CR 8.

Individually I know one guy is really into Acid and Poison on ranged attacks, with a minor in Fire. Another PC is a druid with a Large Cat AC that paid through the nose for an AoMF on the creature that delivers Acid damage on all of its very damaging attacks, but she otherwise casts utility/buff spells and lobs minor ranged attacks. Thirdly I have my "mechanic," a Bloodrager/Brawler/Fighter classed PC that golf bags his weapons and feats to pull out whatever is needed to overcome an enemy's resistances. Finally there's my super-powered barbarian/bard who, as long as she can get to the foe in melee, will essentially be a half-orc blender to said foes.

If I want my players to have fun I give them a handful of CR 7 foes with a variety of ranged and melee attacks, scatter them on a challenging terrain, and then pull the rip chord. On the other hand if I want a challenge I throw in a single, CR 7 (or more) demon. With all their energy immunities and DR, this makes the entire party dependent on the "mechanic," supplemented by the barbarian, to end the fight.

As for the treasure I award afterwards, demons don't usually carry sacks of gold with a big dollar sign painted on them over their shoulder when entering a fight. If the battle takes place outside (a frequent occurrence) and the monsters/foes in question aren't usually carrying gear with them, the fight may appear on face value to deliver no GP whatsoever to the PCs.

Trophies is one way out of that. Another is using Knowledge: Geography, Nature, Perception or Survival to scan the immediate area for resources, signs of a lair, etc. Finally sometimes with Outsiders or really supernatural beings I have their very essence modify the local flora/fauna so that PCs might find lucrative or useful substances from these sources, like a tree that weeps a type of sap within a minute of a powerful fey creature coming within 30'; this sap if gathered and treated alchemically can be made into a draught worth 25 GP each and grants the user a Detect Magic spell.

These "alternative revenue streams" don't always deliver as much cash as the expected average for a CR 9 fight, but then when the PCs do finally stumble on a "dungeon" or a site full of treasure defended by their enemies, I pad the hordes a bit to try and make up for the lack of gear they're suffering.

Finally, and I promise this will be the end of my rant, I deliver treasure that will be USEFUL to the encounters I have planned ahead. I even make them out of items suggestive of such encounters. Back in 1e there was a chart about gems and their symbolic uses like Moonstone being a ward against lycanthropes. If I've got a werewolf fight coming up, the PCs might find a Masterwork spear whose tip has been silvered, studded with small moonstones around the butt of the weapon.

If the PCs rush right back to town, sell the spear to make a bunch of scrolls and get some armor, then run into the werewolf oh well - their lack of planning and foresight isn't my problem. Oh, and please be aware I also try to use the "3 clue rule" handing out 3 obvious clues about major things like a werewolf encounter on the horizon. My point here is that if I've suggested you might have a fight with something in the near future that will require a silvered weapon, then I GIVE you a silvered weapon, and you choose to ignore all of the above, I don't care how little damage you're doing against the werewolf with your masterwork longspear.


I don't mind it so much as a guideline. What bothers me is its use as a mechanic. Many players automatically assume they can have that much gear - of whatever they want - for a replacement character, or when entering a game late, and I've made the mistake of allowing it. That much was definitely on me.

Incidentally, Mr Hoover, your input is usually especially creative, and calm, to boot - and definitely very appreciated.


WBL is a guideline. If players are farming death for wealth, there are a number of things wrong at your table.


Jay707 wrote:
They are all doing well in terms of fights, but boss fights can be challenging, and are optimized. If I gave them more gold than whats already in the book on top of that, it could really skew the fights to being too easy is what im afraid of.

Yet another reason I have no desire to run or play a premade adventurer path/module/whatever.

Then I guess average or lowest wealth of the preexisting party seems like the way to go.

EldonGuyre wrote:

What I always did, long before WBL existed.

Too much coddling, nowadays. Heroes used to rise above, without their blanky.

But what do you *do*?

How do you gauge when your players have acquired enough stuff at a given point so they won't fall behind/race ahead?
I think heroes can still rise above. After all, the GM is the one setting the bar above which the heroes must rise. If they're unable to or do so too easily, it's up to the GM to do something about it.


Yea clearly new PCs should not have more wealth than the poorest surviving PC.


I hand out gold to the party per the WBL pretty strictly, and I track how much wealth each player has on my excel sheets. But I also hand out gold for "free" when the players do something based on their own ingenuity, or if they earn gold from a trade skill or social skill, or whatever, but this extra "free" gold isn't tracked per WBL. It's just free gold that the player gets.

It works well because they cannot complain they don't have enough gold, and the players get rewarded for their ingenuity.

I've handed out extra gold for things like gambling on arena fighters and sporting events, using diplomacy/appraisal skills to haggle for magic items, stealing invaluable ores from one place and hiring a cargo ship to sell it at a different port where the ore is valuable, etc. And the gold earned in this way isn't tracked via WBL.


Quixote wrote:
Jay707 wrote:
They are all doing well in terms of fights, but boss fights can be challenging, and are optimized. If I gave them more gold than whats already in the book on top of that, it could really skew the fights to being too easy is what im afraid of.

Yet another reason I have no desire to run or play a premade adventurer path/module/whatever.

Then I guess average or lowest wealth of the preexisting party seems like the way to go.

EldonGuyre wrote:

What I always did, long before WBL existed.

Too much coddling, nowadays. Heroes used to rise above, without their blanky.

But what do you *do*?

How do you gauge when your players have acquired enough stuff at a given point so they won't fall behind/race ahead?
I think heroes can still rise above. After all, the GM is the one setting the bar above which the heroes must rise. If they're unable to or do so too easily, it's up to the GM to do something about it.

I don't entirely disagree with you, but my complaint is about the system. If your system explains to players that their characters should have the right stuff to softball everything, they tend to expect it. That's not a GM thing, that's an, "It says right here in the rules, in black and white" thing. Yes, a GM can overrule anything, but it doesn't help when the rulebook says otherwise.

I do encourage people to think outside of the box. I want people to adapt. My favorite recent moment was when a fighter figured out on his own, to leap from the icebridge onto a rising white dragon below him. It was ballsy, and a great move not directly addressed by the rules - and I had set the situation up in hopes someone would try it, and have an incredible story to tell.

It's moments like that that make a game memorable, not the softball stuff, where at that level you should assume he should have access to flight.


Oh, absolutely.
That's part of why I don't care for Pathfinder as much at higher levels, where equipment is expected more and more to fill in the blind spots and make overcoming obstacles possible. Equipment and magic items should make you better at what you can do and able to do new, interesting things, not be a requirement to bypassing a specific problem.

I use wealth by level as a guideline, but I've taken so many liberties with magic items (and the game as a whole) that it's probably not really Pathfinder anymore. And it is vital that my players feel genuinely threatened at regular intervals.
I've had stories where few to no characters died, the characters were considerably above the average wealth by level, and every encounter was a desperate struggle for survival. Just one that the players always managed to--barely--come out on top.


Incidentally, I tend to give out less wealth by level, but allow for time for characters to do as they will. I've had several businesses started by PCs, including bars, a leathercraft shop, a toymaker, a shipping company, and even a bank. I encourage that sort of thing, whenever it's appropriate. I've also had a (female) fighter hire out as a top-dollar guard at a brothel.

Some businesses have made a PC very wealthy, while others barely turn a profit (or even operate at a loss).


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Yea clearly new PCs should not have more wealth than the poorest surviving PC.

Well that much should be obvious.

That's why you transfer all wealth in escrow to 1 PC before the rest of the party suicides. Everyone surely knows such basic metaeconomics.


Artificial 20 wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Yea clearly new PCs should not have more wealth than the poorest surviving PC.

Well that much should be obvious.

That's why you transfer all wealth in escrow to 1 PC before the rest of the party suicides. Everyone surely knows such basic metaeconomics.

LOL, and UGH! :p


I'm thankful that those kind of shenanigans don't happen at my table...


Quixote wrote:

And it is vital that my players feel genuinely threatened at regular intervals.

I've had stories where few to no characters died, the characters were considerably above the average wealth by level, and every encounter was a desperate struggle for survival. Just one that the players always managed to--barely--come out on top.

Is there a spot open at your table? Pretty please? I can do Skype or roll20 or whatnot. Pleeeeease?

What you've described is almost verbatim how I'd describe what I try to do behind the screen and how I like to play in front of the screen.


Artificial 20 wrote:
Goblin_Priest wrote:
Yea clearly new PCs should not have more wealth than the poorest surviving PC.

Well that much should be obvious.

That's why you transfer all wealth in escrow to 1 PC before the rest of the party suicides. Everyone surely knows such basic metaeconomics.

At which point, you go from player to player, and give them a good smack on the face while screaming "NO!"

I mean, seriously, if this is a problem, it's not one to solve in-game, but out of character. Because while I could think of ways to screw up such a party in-game, that'd just be a bandaid on a more serious problem.


More often than not, WBL is used in our game to limit players from having too much. We recently adopted a system where we can carry and use whatever loot we find during the course of a level but at each level up, party treasure is cleaned out and each character must account for everything on their character sheet up to the value of WBL. This system was recommended one of the regulars here and it seems to be working well enough so far.

Too much wealth isn’t OP’s problem though, I only bring it up relating to the generic WBL conversation that has ensued. As far as OP goes, punishing players for character death to make losing a character more meaningful is emblematic of larger issues IMHO.

Instead of refusing them recommended WBL because you think they died on purpose just to get it, why not help your whole party become more wealthy so that your players don’t feel death is the most expedient way to improve their gear? Characters are not entitled to WBL but having it sure makes the whole game go smoother as so much of the mechanics are predicated on having the proper equipment and ample consumables.

It would also likely be worthwhile to discuss OOC why they are not very invested in their characters and figure out how to improve that aspect of their gameplay. Losing a character is a punishment in itself if you’re playing a character that you enjoy. I’ll be very sad if the occultist I’m playing dies and would never consider allowing it to happen just for the sake of more gold and/or equipment on my next character.


There's a fine but important line between punishment and disincentivization.

Punishing a player for dying, by denying him important resources, is going to increase the likelihood that he dies again. But rewarding a player for dying, by granting him greater wealth, is also going to increase the likelihood that he dies again, for different reasons.

I do think that death should have cost, in order to make sure it is not incentivized, but in order to avoid creating a vicious cycle, that cost should not put him under the wealth level to be expected in the party (i.e. should not make him poorer than the poorest character).

Because clearly OP has a problem where, however he set things up, it results in players /wanting/ to die frequently.


I hate to say it this way, but it sounds like any player who does this is playing for the wrong reasons.


If players are dying due to a lack of experience, then throw a dog a bone. It's not as if giving a new player a decent sword/whatever is going to break the game, but it may help that player enjoy the game. Honestly, the difference between a +1 and a +2 is negligible for the GM to give a struggling player, but it might be exactly what they need to be a little more effective... regardless of WBL standards.

If I suspected that the players were purposefully dying to get more money, I would make them come back at a lower level... because F your munchkin madness BS. Don't like it? GTFO.

Or, keep it inline with what they had before... because F your munchkin madness BS.

Definitely not rewarding them more gear for dying just because some stupid chart shows some stupid number associated with whatever particular level they happen to be.


At the very least, if they are adequately, if not generously, equipped when they die, they won’t be able to say it is about gold. They will have died because they made bad choices or had bad luck, most likely some combination of both, and you will have that for when they are sulking.

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