Over at Hooked Gamers, Captain Patch has up a rant about gold in RPGs. He’s talking about it in tabletop games, although much (if not all) of what he says could apply to the computer version as well.

He’s annoyed by the generic gold piece, which pays for everything, whereas in medieval times gold was rare. He ponders the ponderous weight of gold coins as players run around with “hundreds of thousands” of gold pieces in their backpacks.

I have to wonder what paper & pencil games he’s played where the PCs have such enormous wealth. That much cash is something you might expect in the horde of an ancient dragon.

In no P&P game I ever played did the DM hand out gold on such a lavish scale. Perhaps a beginner DM might make the error of “Monty Haul”, but smart ones usually learn the errors of that rather quickly.

Gold is nice, but goodies are better. Players want the Neat Items first, and those usually can’t be bought in stores. Of course, gold has its uses, and not just as experience points (something that I think was only in D&D). Still, the amounts that Patch mentions are really over the top.

Now when we come to the computer versions, we have a different story. Many games do throw gold at the player in amazing amounts, often with a huge variety of items (Titan Quest, anyone?). The problem there is usually having tons of gold and nothing much to buy with it.

It would seem from the article that Patch wants a more realistic econonmy in games. But would it be worthwhile? Would requiring players to count out copper and silver for purchases make the game fun?

Given that RPGs are so number/stats oriented to begin with, why make them even more so? Some systems already seem designed more for accountants than gamers as it is.

Of course, all this springs from the idea that the PCs are hauling around enough gold to retire (and if they have that much, why don’t they?). Since my experience in P&P has been very different, I have to say I think this rant is more blowing off steam than anything else.

What about you? Was it like that in the paper & pencil games you played (or still play)? Did the DM hand out so much gold to your group? Or was it restrained to a more reasonable level?

(P.S. This is only the first of a three-part series. Hmmm)

Inflation In RPGS Part I on Hooked Gamers