View Single Post
Old 06-13-2015, 01:13 AM   #69
vicky_molokh's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyv, Ukraine
Default Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

(Continued from Wealth.)
Q: How does Settled Lifestyle work, what exactly does it give? Can I use my car on an adventure?
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
To address the question briefly (the long answer being in the thread linked earlier):

The box on p. B266 exemplifies the things you can count on having without any need to itemize them or do detailed accounting, under two conditions: (1) you set aside 80% of your starting money to reflect a settled lifestyle, per the box on p. B26, and (2) you pay the cost of living on p. B265 each month. The fraction set aside for (1) reflects a mixture of cash paid for goods bought outright, cash not earned due to time spent making or stealing things, and possibly equity built up in large purchases. The payments in (2) reflect maintenance costs, mortgage payments, the entertainment budget to impress people enough to extend you credit, etc. All of the above is intentionally left abstract!

Nothing says that you cannot use the goods in the box on p. B266 on an adventure. If you do, though, you risk losing them! This matters because those things are part of what cements your Status. If you lose your car and wardrobe, your house gets blown up by the Greys, and you find yourself wandering around with only the stuff the other 20% of your money bought, like guns and body armor . . . well, the GM can hit you with a Status drop, and have the authorities treat you as they would any armed hobo. If you keep that stuff out of the picture on adventures, then it isn't normally at risk, and you can claim that you have a safe place to heal from injuries, stash your adventuring gear between adventures, etc. "for free."

Alternatively, you can be a wanderer with 100% of your money in adventuring gear. But then you don't get any of the things in the box on p. B266. You have to do detailed accounting on your stuff, and odds are you'll be limited to much less because you aren't settled, have no credit rating, and therefore cannot claim that you're paying off a house, a car, etc. What you will have is, of course, truly yours and likely handy on adventures. You might well still end up being treated like an armed hobo, though.

As for a background where nobody has a job, there are no authorities to look dimly upon wanderers with vehicles full of adventuring gear, Status loss isn't a factor, and there's nothing to pay cost of living on . . . well, that's a post-apocalypse campaign, shipwreck campaign, or post-scarcity science-fiction campaign. Just ignore all the rules for social traits, because they won't be relevant. Doing this yet positing that there's a society with a class structure floating around, and that this somehow doesn't touch the PCs, is a valid simplification for a minimally realistic genre like Dungeon Fantasy, but it's unwise for anything heavier.
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Status is supposed to track Wealth. And note that the rules do let you pay the cost of living for higher Status and get the purely material goods, even if you lack the Status. However, you don't get authority to go with.
Q: Why are Cost of Living (CoL) numbers so low? I can't survive in USA in real life on the amount of money assigned to my Status!
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post

USA's living expenses pricing is wacky and shouldn't be used as a baseline when writing a generic universal system anyway.
This seems true as well.

By dint of being Canadian and having made many of my friends in graduate school, where most of the foreign students came from Europe and Asia, the majority of my contacts live outside the United States. When I read about how living expenses are proportioned in the U.S.A., I find it anomalous. Among other things, it seems U.S. culture is skewed toward owning houses and away from renting apartments, favors living outside the city core, and assumes motor-vehicle ownership. Most of the people I know everywhere else rent apartments in the city, and walk or bike. There's also the fact that just about all the world is more socialist than the U.S.A., which adjusts how much goes to taxes and how much is paid for services (from trash collection to hospitals).

Consequently, I'd be hesitant to give too much weight to modern U.S. cost of living in my in-game economics unless I were running a game set in a specific U.S. city where I knew the real-world breakdown (and in that case, I'd do my research locally, not ask people who lived outside that city). I certainly wouldn't base the economic assumptions of a generic game system on that.
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The issue is that GURPS is a generic game. Setting aside that it must cover historical and futuristic games, fantasy worlds, and campaigns set in completely different universes, and looking only at the real world of 2018:

Status and Wealth are meant to be global indices. Average wealth is the average of everybody worldwide, and the other levels are multipliers applied to that. Status 0 rates the average lifestyle enjoyed worldwide, and the other levels are adjustments up and down from that.

This is why, for instance, Transhuman Space: Fifth Wave, p. 61, labels the average North American as being Comfortable to Wealthy. This means someone there is able to support Status 0 without trying, and Status 1-2 easily enough if that's a priority. That book also typifies Status 1 as "ordinary citizen" in several places.

I suspect we're already in that situation today, and that a modern U.S. citizen – placed on the global scale – is Comfortable to Wealthy, supporting at least a Status 1 lifestyle with a $1,200 monthly cost of living. There aren't enough people in all the U.S. to skew the global averages, which are weighted heavily toward China and India . . . or enough people in any big U.S. city to tip the balance away from Beijing, Guangzhou, Istanbul, Karachi, Lagos, Moscow, Mumbai, So Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. I'm pretty sure $600/month would be more than enough to live a fairly free, non-street-person existence in the majority of those cities.
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
The Eye of Eclipse Phase. A Discord server focusing on Roleplaying, Sci-Fi, Transhumanism, and discussion of other assorted topics, from tech to boardgames, from politics to philosophy.

Last edited by vicky_molokh; 09-28-2018 at 01:23 AM.
vicky_molokh is offline   Reply With Quote