04 April 2014

Earthdawn: Anatomy of a Thread Item 47 - Purse Ever Bountiful

This is the forty-seventh Anatomy of a Thread Item in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.

Found in the Gamemaster's Guide (pg. 139), Purse Ever Bountiful is a Thread Item first introduced in Gamemastering Earthdawn (pg. 42). To be perfectly honest, I have almost never used this in a game (there was one exception) and don't particularly intend to use it. The why is pretty simple: I know that I would regret giving my players the ability to create unlimited funds. There is absolutely nothing to keep someone from creating virtually unlimited funds in downtime. That being said, this project isn't necessarily about me. So here we go.

There will be an analysis of how the 3E Thread Item stacks up to the proposed guidelines (pg. 46 of the Gamemaster's Companion) and what it looked like in its original release.

Purse Ever Bountiful
Spell Defense: 14
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

Not listed above, but it should come as no surprise that this thing can have an astounding five threads attached to it. Which just makes it even easier to abuse since when one character has gone through all of their health and healing tests, they can just pass it off to someone else. It is noted that most purses end at Rank Three, while some go for the full six ranks. The number of ranks is appropriate to the tier, and while the Spell Defense might be on the low side (it also might be in the middle, just depends on which Journeyman thread item row you want to read), it's within norms.

Thread Rank One
Effect: 1 Strain, the result of a Willpower test is how many duplicates of a copper coin is created.

This isn't terribly impressive yet for one person, but with downtime and easy access to healing magic, this can quickly add up for an entire group that is putting in the Strain.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: It is now a Willpower+1 test.

This isn't really much of an improvement, just one more copper coin.

Thread Rank Three
Effect: 2 Strain and you can duplicate silver coins. The test is now Willpower+2.

That just got five times better. Now we are talking probably at least a hundred silver a day for a group dedicated to their get rich quick scheme. It can even pan out when adventuring. At the end of the day, use the purse along with an left over Recovery Tests. It's is like sealing envelopes in the privacy of your own home. Or the Servos Jungle.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: It is now a Willpower+4 test.

This is in the "special" ranks. While it will get worse, the damage has already been done since it moved on from what you would get rifling through your couch cushions.

Thread Rank Five
Effect: It is now a Willpower+5 test.

This is a little weird. Rank Three featured a nearly order of magnitude improvement along with a test bump. Rank Four got two extra to the test. While Rank Five just gets one? That's pretty strange.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: 3 Strain and you can duplicate gold coins. The test is now Willpower+6.

Yeah, so that's another five times better. With a test improvement. This is now some serious cash. Anyone with this item will probably make more money hanging out around the house, just hurting themselves all day. I think that I've seen this movie

How does it all stack up? Any group should be delighted to get this item. Unless it comes with some kind of Monkey's Paw-esque catch. Like the coins come from a Mountainshadow's personal stash and he's keeping track of your "loans". You know, that kind of thing which only a GM who wants to see players squirm and suffer would do.

On the plus side, there isn't likely to be any jealousy from other players since everyone benefits. I'm assuming that the group mostly pools their funds. Nonetheless, the more everyone works together, the bigger the benefit. So that's good. Except that I find players most pliable when they are hungry. With this, they will never be hungry.

Unless it is some kind of terrible plot device foisted on unsuspecting players, there isn't much here that is particularly interesting. It makes money. That's about it. Any of these things should probably have been collected by merchant families long ago and locked up. I could see Therans abusing slaves with these and Blood Share.

How does the 3E version compare to the 1E version? Let's find out:

Purse Ever Bountiful (1E)
Spell Defense: 14
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

Everything is the same.

Thread Rank One
Effect: 2 Strain, the result of a Willpower test is how many duplicates of a copper coin is created.

The Strain cost on this was reduced for copper in 3E, otherwise this is the same.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: It is now a Willpower+1 test.

The same here.

Thread Rank Three
Effect: You can duplicate silver coins. The test is now Willpower+2.

All the same here.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: It is now a Willpower+4 test.

Still the same.

Thread Rank Five
Effect: It is now a Willpower+6 test.

3E reduced the test increase here, for some strange reason. Not at one of the ranks when you can create a new metal and not at Rank Four. No, here.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: You can duplicate gold coins.

The test doesn't increase and neither does the Strain cost. The important part is really the whole gold thing, anyway.

How do they stack up? The 1E version is ultimately better, but only because gold coins only cost 2 Strain instead of 3. The fact that copper cost less is mostly irrelevant since everyone will be hitting silver anyway. Using this straight still seems like a terrible idea. I'm curious if anyone has a different experience.