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Old 01-21-2018, 10:32 AM   #1
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Independent Income at later TL stages

Hello Folks,
This is perhaps already been hashed out/over in past discussions. If so, I apologize. If not, I figure it is best to perhaps raise the point.

During one of my earlier Cyberpunk campaigns, I thought "hey, usually Cyberpunk is about the man on the street trying to drag himself up from the street. What if we put the shoe on the other foot, and make it such that the player character is trying to keep from being overwhelmed by those at the street level?"

So, we started to try and price out the character - where he has independent income (from stocks, royalty payments, etc). The idea was that his character's grandfather or perhaps father were to have created the computer chip architecture for the next generation computer chips. The independent income was intended to reflect that in order to manufacture said chips, other companies were paying through the nose in order to do so. In addition, the character was expecting to be able to live off of his stock portfolio - and finally, he would start to grow his "robotics" business in the form of buying a factory, designing robots, marketing them, etc.

So. What's the problem right? All we really need is Boardroom and Curia etc... right? Couple this with GURPS VEHICLE rules for factories and building machines etc - and we should be all set.

*cough*

Not so fast pilgrim...

Let's take Multi-millionaire III as an advantage for TL 9 for starters. Starting wealth is $30,000 at TL 9. Filthy Rich takes it up to $300,000,000. So far, no problem right? Starting assets for someone that rich means they're able to afford a 90 million dollar building, and have some 210 Million in assets still yet to buy. But let's look at Independent income. Each 1 point grants 1% of your starting wealth per MONTH. Taking 20 points worth of Indpendent Income means that the character is making 20% of 300,000,000 per month.

that works out to $6,000,000 per month. Wowsa! What is the best return on investment ratio for stocks these days? If the character is raking in 6 Million a month, and let's say return on investment is 20% per year (*cough*!!!!) - that would seem to imply that at 6 x 12, or 72 million a year, as a 20% return on investment, the character has a stock portfolio worth how much? I KNOW that I'm going to be wrong suggesting that it is worth around $360 Million - but that does seem to be in the ball park as best as I can figure. Initially, the character's total assets for Multi-Millionaire III was only supposed to be 300 million. Independent income bumps that up to a solid 360 million not inclusive of any other assets?

What are royalty payments like that a character gains that kind of money?

WHAT exactly is independent Income really supposed to be? Someone who is making a modest 6% return on initial investment of say, 100,000 - is only making 6,000 for the year, divided by 12, or roughly 500 a month!

At TL 9, that is only 500/30,000 or just a wee bit over 1% of starting wealth. Ie, a single point.

Every time I attempt to apply real world examples advantages or specific rules in GURPS 4e's wealth section, I keep bumping my head into "What were they thinking!"

Ever compute the hourly wage required to earn "average income" for someone working a 40 hour work week in order to earn *AFTER TAXES* 3,600 a month?
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:36 AM   #2
Nemoricus
 
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Basic Set p. 26
If your income derives from investments, you need not specify their value; this trait assumes that you cannot or will not invade your capital.
Since the trait abstracts away the details of *how* you're making your money, feel free to assume that the value of their investments is sufficiently large that the rate of return is more reasonable.

Otherwise, limit the trait to however many levels you believe gives reasonable results.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:38 AM   #3
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

When the description of Independent Income says you get an income of 1% of your adjusted starting wealth per level of the trait, it doesn't mean your Multimillionaire 3 with Independent Income 20 invested 20% of $300 million. The amount of income you get is completely unrelated to how much money you have, EXCEPT for purposes of counting character points.

In other words, it's a GURPS character-accounting feature, not representative of any specific investment.

What you're supposed to do is start with a reason you make extra money, decide how much money that is, then figure out how many character points it'll cost. It doesn't model any kind of economic system; it's not a simulation. It's just "I want a non-job-related cash income each month" advantage, and the point cost is relative to your starting wealth.
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Old 06-12-2021, 12:55 AM   #4
maximara
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
When the description of Independent Income says you get an income of 1% of your adjusted starting wealth per level of the trait, it doesn't mean your Multimillionaire 3 with Independent Income 20 invested 20% of $300 million. The amount of income you get is completely unrelated to how much money you have, EXCEPT for purposes of counting character points.
True but even if you do it properly things are still ridiculous

*Independent Income is "Your monthly income is 1% of your starting wealth (adjusted for wealth level) per level of this trait, to a maximum of 20%." B26

*TL 9's monthly income is $30.000
*Multimillionaire (50+25/level) is a 100*10 per level times starting welath

The adjusted starting wealth of TL 9 with Multimillionaire 3 is $30.000 *100*10^3 or $30.000 * 100,000 which is $3,000,000,000.

20% of that is $3,000,000,000 * 0.20 or $600,000,000 per month.

As you say this is "unrelated to how much money you have" but the above is firmly linked to adjusted starting wealth. So Hal's question is a valid one as I doubt all of this independent income is "real" (ie they are rich on paper)
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Old 06-12-2021, 02:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
True but even if you do it properly things are still ridiculous
The synergistic way II and Wealth interact definitely has problems. Just about everything to do with GURPS' rules on income, living expenses, and wealth past "pay X points for Y starting cash" have problems.
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Old 06-12-2021, 03:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The synergistic way II and Wealth interact definitely has problems. Just about everything to do with GURPS' rules on income, living expenses, and wealth past "pay X points for Y starting cash" have problems.
Incanus' The Color of Money: Revised Wealth Rules tried to fix things by tying starting wealth to monthly income.

Problem is because of how monthly and starting wealth are its a major money boon (except for multimillionaire) until one hits TL5 ($5,000 vs $1,100) at which point it rapidly goes pear shaped.
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Old 06-12-2021, 04:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Incanus' The Color of Money: Revised Wealth Rules tried to fix things by tying starting wealth to monthly income.
Incomes and starting wealth are already linked. The standard monthly income is equal to cost of living plus 10% of starting income.

This leads to the problem that at higher tech levels people supposedly have huge disposable incomes, and many players will see no reason not to just turn that into stuff, probably guns and armour and warhorses and so on, and that means they can climb the wealth tables about as fast as they can pay for it in points, which feels very unrealistic. Worse, anyone can do it by the RAW, so why isn't every TL8 person a millionaire?

The simplest solution I've found so far is to declare that your 'stuff' requires 10% of its value spent on upkeep, replacing old stuff, property taxes, staff (at higher standards of living), and so on. Thus at TL10 you have $50K of starting assets and at Status 0 personal living costs of $600/month, and an income of $5,600/month. $600 goes on you, $5,000 goes on your stuff. It's not realistic, but it's simple and explains where the money goes.
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Old 06-12-2021, 07:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Incanus' The Color of Money: Revised Wealth Rules tried to fix things by tying starting wealth to monthly income.
I don't know who Incanus is, but his premises in that article were fundamentally wrong.
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Old 06-12-2021, 04:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The synergistic way II and Wealth interact definitely has problems. Just about everything to do with GURPS' rules on income, living expenses, and wealth past "pay X points for Y starting cash" have problems.
Preach it brother!

The rules work OK at TL 1-4, except that preindustrial people did not have goods worth a month or two's income, they had goods worth a year's income but that much income bought much less stuff than it does today.
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Old 06-12-2021, 08:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Independent Income at later TL stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The synergistic way II and Wealth interact definitely has problems. Just about everything to do with GURPS' rules on income, living expenses, and wealth past "pay X points for Y starting cash" have problems.
Preach it!

I find the whole tangled mess of Wealth, Independent Income, Jobs, Status, Settled Lifestyle, Debt, Cost-of-Living, What Cost-of-Living Gets You, Adventuring Gear, and so on to be such a morass of inconsistent abstraction, false distinctions, incomplete analyses, overlapping definitions, and outright contradictions that the only advice I have is to cross out everything except for Wealth.

Rank was rescued from this pig's-breakfast by the rules for it in Action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Well, actually, it means that you get $X per month and you don't have to work for it. Back in 3/e it cost 5 points; that seemed about right for "you have some money coming in but it doesn't take time away from adventuring." That free time was the main thing the advantage was intended to buy.
I think that that approach was much better that mucking about with monthly income linked to Wealth. But 5 points seems a bit too steep a cost, given how rarely GMs ever tell a player that his character has to miss a session because of commitments to work. I'd call it a Perk.
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