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1.5.5 Status and Wealth

Your Status and Wealth (or lack thereof) can also be advantages or disadvantages. These are handled a little differently, however: they are either higher or lower than the norm for the society. Higher values, naturally, are Adavantages; lower values are disadvantages. If don't spend or buy back points, your Status and Wealth levels will be 8, which is `normal' or `ordinary'.

If your character conception involves high status, you should buy enough levels of Status to reflect your position in society. If you have in mind a character from the lower ranks of society, or perhaps from outside society, you can buy back Character Development Points by selecting a low Status. Each level of Status above 8 costs one point; each level below 8 buys back one point. The exact meanings of Status levels will depend on the nature of the world. On a medieval MUCK, Status levels could have the following meanings:

      17       Divine Ruler
      16       Emperor or Empress
      15       High King or Queen, Pope
      14       Duke, subking or queen, archbishop, court magician
      13       Baron, bishop, prince or princess of a subkingdom
      12       Landed lord, knight of a select order, noble lady
      11       Lesser lord, landed knight, lady, abbess, abbot
      10       Unlanded knight, mayor, great merchant, priest
      9       Squire, merchant, monk, nun
      8       Freeman
      7       Servant
      6       Serf
      5       Beggar
      4       Criminal

Monitors will check to see that your Status is appropriate for your Background before approving the character (entering your Background is discussed below). If your Background says that you're the lord of extensive estates, you'll need to buy 4 levels of Status.

To raise your Status level, use the +advantages command and enter 'status' at the prompt that asks you for a name for the advantage. To lower your Status level, use the +disadvantages command and enter 'status' as the name. The highest level of Status the character generation program will let you take is 14, and the lowest is 4; higher or lower values will have to be set by an administrator.

Normally, a character with a high status will be wealthy, and one with a low status will be poor. This isn't automatic, however, and the two are calculated independently. Its possible to be an impoverished nobleman (your estates are in poor condition, and don't bring in enough money to cover the taxes you must pay to the king), or a well-placed professional with no extra money (your living habits consume all your income), or a wealthy slave (you found or stole a great treasure, and are keeping it hidden until you have a chance to gain your freedom).

If you don't raise or lower your Wealth, you will begin with the starting allotment (the amount is set by the MUCK administrators). The Argo monetary system has two denominations of coins, a small coin — the basic unit of currency — and a large coin equal to 100 small coins. The names of the coins are set by the administrators: it might be copper pieces and silver pieces, cents and dollars, credits and stellars, etc. Regardless of the name, their functional value is the same from world to world (though the MUCK administrators have great latitude in setting prices). Some reasonable prices:

      A good sword or pistol: 100 small coins
      A good meal: 1 to 2 small coins
      A nice car: 8,000 small coins

The default starting amount is 100 small coins and 1 large coin; 200 small coins, in other words. For characters whose professions don't require a lot of equipment, this will be plenty. For fighters, it won't be enough. Depending on the theme of the world and how prices are set up, other types of characters might also find the starting allotment skimpy: Spells may require expensive magical components, or the MUCK may center around travel and combat in (extremely expensive) spaceships. These characters will need to spend points on Wealth.

Raising your Wealth costs one point per level. Each level of Wealth doubles the amount of money you start with. If the default starting allotment of 200 small coins is being used, spending 1 point on Wealth would give you 400, 2 points would give you 800, 3 points for 1600, etc.

Lowering your Wealth buys back one point per level. The results of lowering your Wealth are as follows:

      -1 (Wealth level 7):   3/4 Start Amount
      -2 (Wealth level 6):   1/2 Start Amount
      -3 (Wealth level 5):   You start with no money
      -4 (Wealth level 4):   You start in debt for the Start Amount

To raise your Wealth level, use the +advantages command and enter 'wealth' at the prompt that asks you for a name for the advantage. To lower it, use the +disadvantages command and enter `wealth' as the name. The highest Wealth level the programs will let you take is 14; the lowest is 4. Anything higher or lower would need to be set by special arrangement with the administrators.

Unlike other advantages and disadvantages, a high or low Wealth level does not show up in the advantages & disadvantages field of your character sheet. Instead the amount of money you have will be adjusted.

Using the +info command to get more information about abilities and objects that he's interested in, Antar reads that the Court group requires a status of 10, so he'll need to spend 2 points for that. He also reads that a rapier — the only costly object he definitely needs — costs 100 coins, which happens to be half the standard starting allotment of money: he could lower his Wealth by 2 and still have just enough for the rapier, buying back a couple character development points. So, he uses the +advantages command to set his Status to 10 and the +disadvantages command to set his Wealth (or Poverty) to 6.

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