Wealth, Bartering, Income and Lifestyles


Wealth is represented by a wealth level, and a number of wealth dots. Characters have a wealth level between 0 and 5; these wealth levels are described in the table below. (Note that the wealth scale is "non-linear"; there is a very wide gap between the amount of wealth that Wealth Level 4 represents and the amount of money that Wealth Level 5 represents.)

Wealth LevelNameDesc
0no possessionsYou have no possessions
1peasantYou are poor, like a tenant farmer
2local artisanYou have a reliable income and some disposable wealth
3merchantYou can afford a comfortable lifestlye
4local wealthyYou are quite wealthy, perhaps the richest person within miles
5nobleYou are exceptionally wealthy, possessed of a king's fortune

You also have a certain number of wealth dots. Each dot has a wealth level; you get three dots at your wealth level, and four dots at each lower level. (Wealth Level 0 is specials: since it represents absolute poverty — the lack of any meaningful wealth — you don't get any level 0 wealth dots.)

As an example, Fire the scholar has wealth level 3 — he's an educated professional, and he makes a comfortable living for himself. He gets 3 dots at level 3, 4 dots at level 2, and 4 dots at level 1 — and, of course, no dots at level 0, since there aren't level 0 wealth dots.

Your wealth dots start out full, but they can also be depleted. A depleted dot isn't gone, it's just taped-out; you've used the liquid part of those assets, so they can't be used in bartering (see Bartering below). Depleted dots can be restored; one way to do this is by working for an income (see Income, Investments and Lifestyles below)

Purchasing Things

Characters in Renaissance can have widely varying wealth levels. Sometimes a character may wish to acquire an item well within their means; in these cases, success is nearly automatic. Other times, a character may wish they could acquire an item well beyond their means; in these cases, they're out of luck. Still other times, though, characters may wish to acquire an item expensive item that will stretch their resources; then, they barter.

Each item has a cost level, according to its cost category: a Trivial item is Cost Level 1, a minor item is Cost Level 2, and so on up to Cost Level 5 for Extreme items (see the Items chapter). When you wish to purchase an item (or service), compare its cost level to the highest wealth level at which you have a full wealth dot.

  • If the item's cost level is more than 1 level lower than the level of your highest full dot, then you acquire the item automatically. You don't need to barter for it or deplete a dot of wealth; the cost of the item is so tiny compared to your wealth and resources that we don't bother trying to track it.
  • If the item's cost level is 1 level lower than your highest full dot, then you can acquire the item, but the cost of the item is high enough that we'll need to track the impact it has on your finances — that is, you'll need to either deplete a dot to pay for it or barter (see below). If you do barter, you gain a +20 bonus to checks related to bartering for the item.
  • If the item's cost level is the same as your highest full dot, then you must either deplete a dot or barter.
  • If the item's cost level is 1 level higher than your highest full dot, then you must either deplete a dot to pay for it or barter; however, you suffer a -20 penalty while bartering.
  • If the item's cost level is more than 1 level higher than your highest full dot, then you can't purchase the item; it's simply beyond your means.
  • If you are wealth level 0, then you can't purchase items — you don't have any wealth, so you can't pay for anything.

These rules are summarized in the table below:

Item Cost vs. Wealth LevelResult
Item cost is more than 1 less than wealthdon't deplete dot
Item cost is 1 less than wealth leveldeplete dot or barter; barter at +20
Item cost is the same as wealth leveldeplete dot or barter
Item cost is 1 higher than wealth leveldeplete dot or barter; barter at -20
Item cost is more than 1 greater than wealthcannot purchase
You are wealth level 0cannot purchase

Character Wealth

The wealth-and-trade system may seem a little odd to someone coming from a game that measures wealth in gold, silver and copper; why is it put together this way?

One simple reason is that this game is based partly on Eclipse Phase, and Eclipse Phase uses a similar cost-level system. But that's far from the entire motivation!

Much like Eclipse Phase, we want players to be able to choose how important wealth is to their character-concept, and to be able to play characters with vastly different levels of wealth; players should be able to start out wealthy (like Lady Katrine, the noble-born merchant) or stay poor (like Aryn the hunter or Lohrs the folk-hero, both of whom are as like as not to refuse a reward) without breaking a "treasure-by-level" table. In particular, much like Eclipse Phase, we want "the character who provides the party with things that they need" to be a player role, and "being incredibly rich and just buying things" is a valid strategy for succeeding in that role. This means that our wealth system needs to scale elegantly, supporting everything from destitute drifters to propertied nobles.

At the same time, as a design principle, we try to avoid making characters keep track of tedious and unimportant details. This means that we want our wealth system to allow a wealthy character (like Lady Katrine or General Chandra) to purchase a wide variety of useful things for the party, without bogging the game down with "cash-register math" and especially without wasting time trying to figure out how Lady Katrine "makes change" out of her immense estate to buy a meal.

That's why we've designed our wealth system the way we have; we've broken wealth levels and item costs down using a roughly logarithmic scale, and we've designed our bartering system so that you only need to keep track of what level of item you start to have trouble paying for, and how many of those items you can probably buy.

Another consequence of this design is that we don't measure character power or advancement in magical items and wealth. That might be less evident here — that's why we've made minimal provision for changing your wealth level — but it has more profound impact elsewhere.


Before the era of central banks and stable currencies, prices where fluid and people bartered.

Mechanically, bartering is an optional step in the process for purchasing things described above. Instead of simply depleting a dot, you can attempt to barter; this gives you a chance ot acquire an item without depleting a wealth dod, but it also puts you at risk of not acquiring the item at all.

Normally, bartering is a one-minute Task Action that requires a Protocol check; sometimes, however, the GM may allow (or require) the player to speak with the merchant in character, or the GM may allow the player to use their other social skills or professions. The GM may also take other circumstances into account — such as the whether the player has made a good impression by observing the merchant's cultural traditions, or whether the character has the Social Stigma trait.

If you score an Exceptional Success on your Protocol check — or do a similarly good job talking with the merchant in-character — then you acquire the item (or service) without depleting a wealth dot; this represents you finding some way to pay the merchant that doesn't significantly impact your net wealth. However, if you score an exceptional failure, you cannot acquire the item — maybe the merchant doesn't want anything you've got for trade, maybe they decide that they just don't like you, or something else happens to sour the deal.

How long do you have to wait before you can try again? That depends on why you failed — which is largely up to the GM. If you didn't have anything that the merchant wanted, you might be able to head out into the market and acquire something that they would want; in this case, you could try again very quickly. If, on the other hand, you've grossly offended the merchant, then they might not consider trading with you again for some time.

Trade Goods and Currency

The rules for wealth and bartering assume that you have access to all of the assets that represent your wealth. For example, if you're wealth level 3, some of your wealth will be in the form of currencies, valuable goods, properties (like your house), professional commitments, and so on; the system above assumes that you can leverage all of these assets to pay for something. Under some situations — notably, if you're travelling far from where your character lives — this might not be the case. In these cases, you'll need to either use trade goods to represent the portion of your wealth that you've taken with you, or you'll need to use currency.

Trade Goods

Trade goods work much like wealth dots; they have an associated wealth level, and can be used in place of a (full) wealth dot in the rules for purchasing items above. However, trade goods cannot be depleted; instead, you spend them, and once you do, they're gone.

Creating a trade good requires converting some of your various assets into portable valuables — currencies, valuable commodities, gems and jewelry, and the like. This requires some time (see the table below), and that you deplete a wealth dot of the same level as the trade good that you're producing.

The process can also be reversed: a trade good can be spent to refresh a depleted wealth dot; this takes the same time as producing a trade good of the same level.

12 hour Task Action
24 hour Task Action
31 shift Job
42 shift Job
55 shift Job

Note that level 5 Trade Goods, for example, represent very small and very valuable items — rare gems, legendary jewelry, priceless relics, deeds to valuable lands and so on. Carrying around this kind of wealth might make a character a target for bandits, and may tempt even the most honest to theft.


Sometimes it's just easiest to price things in a currency. Though central banks and stable currencies are centuries off, there do still exist banks issuing bank notes, and the Commonwealth, the Kingdoms of Men and the Goblin Empire have all minted coins of precious metals.

For simplicity, we'll give prices in copper and gold pieces, with one gold piece equal to 100 copper pieces. (GMs may introduce other coins, like silver, electrum or platinum; for simplicity, we usually recommend recording these as their converted value in copper and gold values.) Similar to trade goods, you can deplete dots of wealth to produce currency, and you can expend currency to refresh a depleted wealth dot (use the same time-spans as for creating trade goods).

LevelPrice RangeWealth Dot
11–9 copper5 copper
21–9 gold5 gold
310–49 gold25 gold
450–499 gold250 gold
5500–5000 gold2500 gold

Income, Investments and Lifestyles

Most characters need to work for a living — even those who are independently wealthy have likely put their wealth to work by investing.


You can work for income during down-time; working for income is a 20-shift job. (This is intended to line up roughly with one month of work; your GM may adjust this time-scale based on how many days you work in a given week, how long you work each day, and other factors.) You must have at least 20 ranks in a Profession to work for income, although a check using one of your profession skills is not required under normal circumstances (under exceptional circumstances, a check may be required — for example, if you are a farmer and there is a drought).

After completing all 20 shifts of work, you are credited with your income; you may either refresh one of your highest-level wealth dots, or any three lower-level wealth dots.

Note that we don't have any particular rules for how large a wealth dot you can fill — we haven't assigned wealth levels to different skills, and we don't require certain numbers of ranks to refill dots of a certain level. This doesn't mean that you can use 20 ranks in Profession: Farmer to refill a Level 5 wealth dot; the GM has the prerogative to limit the highest level of wealth dot that you can fill with a certain skill.

If you want to be able to use your skills to work for income, it's a good idea to talk about that with your GM during character creation, so that you'll know if your skill selection is going to work for that.

While you can restrict a player from using an inappropriate skill to work for income, we encourage you to be lenient; we intend for players to be able to recharge their wealth dots during down-time, and we chose not to build "hard" requirements into the system.


Your character can put their wealth to work producing more wealth.

Investments represent planted fields, stakes in businesses, trade caravans loaded with your goods, and so on. Like wealth dots and trade goods, they have an associated level, from 1 to 5.

Investments aren’t liquid assets, so you can’t deplete them like wealth dots or spend them like trade goods. Instead, investments generate wealth for you. At the end of each month, for each investment that you have, you may refresh one dot of wealth of the same level, or three dots at a lower level (much as if you had worked for income as above, except that the dot or dots you can deplete depends on the investment's level and not your wealth level).

Creating an investment involves converting some of your liquid wealth into an illiquid form — that is, essentially, you have to lose a Wealth Dot to create an Investment. Converting a wealth do to an investment is a 5 shift job and requires a successful Protocol check, Profession: Investor check, or other reasonable check

Conversely, you can liquidate an investment, turning it back into a wealth dot; this is also a 5-shift job, and also requires a Protocol check, Profession: Investor check, or other reasonable check. (Note that "liquidating an investment" might involve quite a bit of misery for whoever you had invested in, which might turn into an interesting roleplaying moment, or possibly even an adventure hook!)

Investments can be handled in the abstract, but cinematically-minded players may wish to detail the businesses that they have invested in; cooperative GMs might use this information to inform how their investments function. Note that, in this case, choosing to liquidate an investment could become particularly impactful.


Your character lives a certain lifestyle, which incurs expenses.

Lifestyles have levels from 0 to 5, just like wealth; see the table below for descriptions. At the beginning of each month, you pick your level of lifestyle; you must then deplete a dot of the same level to pay for it.

0 (begger)You live off what you can beg, steal or scrounge, dwelling in alleys, woods and caves.
1 (peasant)You live a humble life, with long hours of work and no luxuries; you know want and hunger well.
2 (poor)Though poor, your basic needs are met, and you may have access to the occasional luxury.
3 (comfortable)Your needs are reliably met, you have some amount of leisure time, and you have access to modest luxuries. You likely own your own house.
4 (wealthy)You have amassed significant wealth, enough that you can afford a luxurious lifestyle for quite some time.
5 (noble)You own a king's fortune, perhaps literally; if managed wisely, you and your descendants will not need to work for generations.

Changing your Wealth Level

While your character can work hard enough and earn enough money to go up a wealth level, doing so isn't easy — CY 830 is not a time of high social mobility.

Mechanically, advancing from one wealth level to the next wealth level is a Job done during Down-Time and requiring a successful check; on a success, you advance a wealth level, but you don't suffer any particular penalty if you fail — other than your wasted time.

ChangeJob LengthCheck
0 → 160 Shifts (about 3 months)profession check at +10
1 → 2120 Shifts (about 6 months)Profession check
2 → 3240 Shifts (about 1 year)Profession check
3 → 4480 Shifts (about 2 years)Profession check at -20
4 → 51200 Shifts (about 5 years)Profession check at -30

Note that changing your wealth-level and working for income are two separate jobs. You'll need to juggle both of them — possibly by accepting a lower level of lifestyle than you're used to — while you're trying to gain a wealth level (building up wealth requires sacrifices, like long working hours and skipped meals).

Alternatively, you might acquire wealth that you can use to improve your circumstances — this is slightly more common for the kind of characters that often have fantastic adventures (and survive them). If you acquire trade goods, investment or a large amount of cash, you can expend them to make the process of advancing a wealth level easier.

For each higher-level asset (a trade good, investment or large amount of cash) you expend, you reduce the duration of the Job by a third, and you gain a +20 bonus on your check. In order to be useful, the asset you expend must be higher than your current wealth level. (You can determine the wealth level for "a large amount of cash" using the table for restoring wealth dots with cash above.)

Note that expending an investment in this way doesn't necessarily imply that you've liquidated it; mechanically, you'll still lose the investment, but it will be because it's directly incorporated into your wealth, not because you've withdrawn your investment. The difference between these two outcomes might be significant to the people that you have invested in.