Talk:Wealthy Family (3.5e Trait)

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Balance Concerns[edit]

While it might not mean much, I'd like to make it known that I originally took the idea from this trait from a Pathfinder trait with extremely similar wording and benefits (i.e. bonus starting funds but not other benefits or drawbacks), and I've employed it as a trait in my campaign with the knowledge that it deviates from UA's rules for traits (it isn't the only one that does so, either; see some of Tirr's flaws and the discussion pages on them.

If only to give some defense to the implementation of the page as it is currently, I would say its 'drawback' is that it is a single, one-time benefit, instead of a prolonged and constant modifier to a character. It also has roleplay implications that I find particularly interesting, but I did not feel appropriate to include them in the page (different strokes for different GMs, as they say). Jwguy (talk) 13:23, 25 November 2015 (MST)

I agree that it is a one-time bonus at the start and I have seen and used similar Traits. Perhaps writing in a few examples of roleplay implications would suffice for drawbacks? --Luantha (talk) 09:38, 27 November 2015 (MST)
Traits need a drawback, otherwise you would never not take this trait. You get 900 gold and that's that. Marasmusine (talk) 12:42, 27 November 2015 (MST)
I disagree with great certainty.
From the statistics point of view, Traits are a means of tweaking a character's statistics, usually to further enhance the character or suit them for their role. From the roleplayers point of view, they are a means of providing a statistic difference to represent a character's physical, social, or emotional features that distinguish them. Most campaigns limit the number of traits outright, and 900 gold pieces at the start of the game (it never comes into play again, ever) is nice for starting a character, but in many cases, having 10' feet of extra speed to all of a character's speed statistics at the cost of one less hitpoint per level is better. As with all other traits, it is highly dependent on the character and the intention thereof.
To say that players would only ever choose this trait is a bit strange. I concede that it is informal in the idea that it does not meet all of UA's guidelines, but this reason alone I feel is insufficient. It is not a new thing, as Pathfinder has a similar trait and the mechanic has shown up in other systems similar. My own testing has seen only one out of six players ever having the trait at one time through three different sets of characters. That is anecdotal, sure, but your assertion simply does not hold up, in my eyes.
Also, Luantha, I will definitely consider your suggestion. I admit that I've put together a number of my traits, background and profession feats from bare minimum, as I was in a hurry to get them formally on the wiki so that I could complete a section in my campaign setting. Jwguy (talk) 14:05, 27 November 2015 (MST)
I don't understand your argument :) "Traits are aspects of a character's personality, background, or physique that make him better at some activities and worse at others."
Are you saying the "opportunity cost" is the "disadvantage" of this trait?
But what about this exchange:
DM: "Do you want any traits? You can have up to two. They make you better at some things but worse at others."
Player: "Naw, I'm good."
Player: "Wait, just give me 900 gold."
Now that's fine, the DM can let the players start with whatever gold she allows, but it doesn't have much to do with Traits, it's more of a campaign option. Marasmusine (talk) 10:16, 1 December 2015 (MST)
In the quote, I'm pointing that traits are more than just additional character options that can be tacked on freely; they are applied to characters who fit the description, not the other way around. If a character is the traditional edgemaster, aka "My-Parents-Are-Dead-I'm-an-Orphan-who-was-raised-to-kill-from-the-shadows-by-demons", then no sane GM should allow them to take a trait indicating that they come from a rich family, as such is a parameter in conflict with the character bio.
Secondly, yes, I am saying the opportunity cost, for lack of a better descriptor, is the disadvantage, but it would be disingenuous to refer to it as if this opportunity cost was equal to that of other traits' opportunity costs. It is drastically more costly: 900GP becomes almost nothing as time goes on in the average campaign (even games where GMs strive to limit funds have money in excess of 900gp after so many levels). This amount never increases. It never changes. It never recoups. It is a bonus to starting funds, period.
Other traits apply forever, and continue to affect the character for as long as he lives (or unlives, if he decides lichdom is the best course of action). As time goes on, that extra 10 feet to base land speed (and since many feats and abilities scale other movement speeds by your base land speed, this affects other modes of movement, as well) becomes infinitely more useful. To say that this trait would be chosen, all the time and without sufficient penalty, denies the basic premise of traits, and the inherent mechanical limitations that are embedded into this trait.
As Luantha and I have mentioned, this is not a new type of trait; Unearthed Arcana does not have a similar trait, but several later systems do. Regarding your suggestion to make it a campaign option, I don't see why it should be forcefully relegated to that method; In my opinion, the DM shouldn't be giving away gold via a blank check method, anyways, and the suggestion appears to be rooted in subjective appeal, regardless. This ties in to the basic premise of traits in that it makes it applicable based on the character's features and characteristics - in this case, socially.
I don't know that we should necessarily reinvent the wheel over this. Jwguy (talk) 12:41, 1 December 2015 (MST)
Please can you point me in the direction of the similar traits in other systems (book and trait name and/or page number) so that I can educate myself, thankyou. Marasmusine (talk) 15:12, 1 December 2015 (MST)
Certainly, although I am at work, so my options are limited. Perhaps the best example is Rich Parents, from Pathfinder: It is almost a direct copy, and I believe is OGL, so I can provide a link. (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/traits/social-traits/rich-parents) --Jwguy (talk) 07:41, 2 December 2015 (MST)
Okay, I've taken a look, and it seems Patherfinder Traits are not the same as D&D Traits. All pathfinder traits are benefits with no drawbacks. They are more like feats you can only take at character creation. D&D Traits have a benefit and a related drawback combined. Marasmusine (talk) 13:11, 2 December 2015 (MST)
I don't deny the differences in the nature of Pathfinder and D&D traits, but I don't think it affects the argument as much, as I assert the drawback exists because of the trait's exceptionally finite nature. We pointed to Pathfinder as an example of the mechanic being used, although I concede that the intent may not have come across.
Also, just thinking of a feat being worth a mere 900gp makes me shudder. --Jwguy (talk) 13:59, 2 December 2015 (MST)
I don't get that you understand that they are different things that share a name, but are treating them as though they're the same thing. Sorry for going on about this but can I establish that you know UA:Character Traits? Marasmusine (talk) 14:38, 2 December 2015 (MST)
I am not treating them as exactly similar; I'm saying I don't think the difference matters in this case, specifically. The reason I referenced Pathfinder's traits was to show that the using a character creation option to provide starting funds wasn't a new trend (and also, it is all I have access to during this time, as I'm at work).
The only mechanical hang-up you seem to have is that you assert that there is no traditional drawback listed and that this means players would have no reason to not take it. I have asserted that the drawback does exist in the trait's finite nature, as opposed to other traits having infinite bonuses, and that the nature of traits assures that it wouldn't always be the best choice, nor even available. That is the shape of our argument, yes?
And yes, I'm familiar with UA's rules. We have disputed them and their flimsiness on more than one occasion, and even border doing so in one of our concurrent conversations, elsewhere. --Jwguy (talk) 14:53, 2 December 2015 (MST)
But the other traits have infinite drawbacks, too. Marasmusine (talk) 15:39, 2 December 2015 (MST)
Not contested. I suppose we could simplify it into a function: Something like Infinite Bonus + Infinite Drawback ~= Finite Bonus? Or are you suggesting there should be a finite disadvantage...?
I mean, I think we've already safely established that this is unorthodox. You're asserting the trait is unbalanced, is the difference, I take it. --Jwguy (talk) 15:50, 2 December 2015 (MST)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

I've little desire to jump into all these back'n'forths, but this trait is clearly not a good fit for the 3.5e trait system. In Pathfinder, traits are always a plus, meaning 'benefit minus cost' is always positive, consequently the only real cost is that you don't get to take more. In 3.5e, traits are always (unless we change tack after this conversation, I guess) neutral, meaning 'benefit minus cost' is ideally 0, not a positive or a negative. Though 3.5e traits are sometimes gamed, that's not an assumption we should base our content on, as such the 'opportunity cost' is negligible, and not a drawback at all.
The purpose of the traits system is not to guide bonuses or drawbacks of a characters RP history - WotC don't provide mechanics for this at all, because it's so easily abused - but to allow players to do small trade-offs of stats to better fit their character to their role. It's like claiming my new "Fortress" class can have d40s for HP because it happens in the (meaningfully different) 3.9 edition and fits the RP role of Fortresses so people will only take it when it fits their RP correctly. --SgtLion (talk) 06:40, 7 December 2015 (MST)
That 'Fortress' example is hyperbole, and egregious hyperbole, at that - 900gp is in no way comparable to rolling d40s for health, and even if it was, 900gp still only is a given benefit at the first level, whereas in your example the class would get that bonus at all levels.
Also, in regards to traits being preferably neutral, and not assuming they can be gamed, I'd assert that there's a trait marked unbalanced (the term 'unbalanced', even, seems to be unsuitable) for exactly that reason, right now, at least according to our discussion on the talk page, because of the assumption that particular classes might game it: Weapon Specialist (3.5e Trait). I understand that this isn't a case you made against that trait, but it would appear we're all operating on different frequencies on different pages, and here and now, I feel like the two of you are trying to force orthodoxy for traits, specifically.
Don't get me wrong; I don't mean that with negative implications, but I mean it as your arguments both seem to assert "Unearthed Arcana traits are like this, this trait should be like them" with outliers being considered to be generically unbalanced, without regard for actual performance of the traits themselves. If that is the standard that we're adopting, then I'll abdicate my position here in deference to it, as I'm clearly outnumbered - but it'll be upheld for every other item on this site, and I'm wont to caution you that it will likely condemn many deviant items that had previously been left alone due to some degree of tolerance. --Jwguy (talk) 08:11, 7 December 2015 (MST)
Egregious hyperbole is the only kind I do, my friend :3 - I once analogised a particular argument between friends to something including Turkey rocketing into space during WWI, it's only a point-across-putter. Throwing up red flags with content that's too easily gamed seems legitimate, because it's just imbalance in a different form, but actually making content on the basis that other things are gamed is just going to expand the problem. I'd argue that this finite vs infinite thing is totally not true either, by taking this trait I'll be 900g ahead for the whole game, and relatively that'll be less and less important, yes, but the same can be said of almost every trait. At level 15, my trait that gives +1 to Forgery checks is almost as negligible as 900g would be.
3.5e Traits are 3.5e Traits, they're defined by UA as y'gain somethin' mechanical, and y'lose somethin' mechanical, and this doesn't fit that bill, therefore I'd maintain it's not a balanced trait. If you have a better definition we should use instead without invalidating all our other traits as viable options, I'm all ears. So yes, I suppose that does mean I'd say "Unearthed Arcana traits are like this, this trait should be like them", because any other assumption is going to essentially be a free-for-all where traits are anything, thusly not a useful resource for Players nor DMs and what was the point of categorising them at all? Let's just make a category called 3.5e Things and put everything there. Outliers to those mechanics aren't really traits, for one; For two, if they make what was previously an equal decision, an objectively better decision (in this case take no traits vs. take this trait), that's basically the definition of imbalanced.
If our disagreement really is that you don't think dandwiki is meant to be a place where content is moderated for balance, and content restricted to the category it's made for, perhaps we should talk to Green Dragon and have him weigh in / decide / initiate a vote / whatever. Because I'd argue that changing tack on that would make this site near-useless. I don't want to make it look like a gangin' up on you, by the way, Marasmusine just didn't seem willin' to keep up debatin' the side I happen to think is important. As always, ilu Jwguy <3 --SgtLion (talk) 06:34, 8 December 2015 (MST)
Don't worry. I don't take things on the internet personally. Please try to excuse my intensity and not confuse it for anger.
Traits being the lopsided things that they are, I'd argue in counter to the idea that 900gp is equally negligible to other traits, or at least some of them: My favorite UA trait to pick on being Quick. That extra 10 feet in speed will be invaluable to almost every class and can be a great boost even at later levels. You have a much larger run speed, many feats and some spells use base land speed to calculate other speeds (flying, swimming, etc.), and all for the paltry sum of -1 hit point per level. Maybe it is just a difference in taste, but 900gp doesn't even compare to that. I'd also assert that the only way you'd be 900gp ahead the entire game is with the assumption that every character can only ever obtain equal amounts of dosh regardless of effort or circumstance, and even if that were the case, some people just have a better finances whether it be because of family or otherwise. I'd suggest seeing your DM about that, but I digress.
I'll let the second paragraph stand, as I find that to be a good argument; I had not previously considered the "No Traits vs. Take this Trait" argument and I do think it raises a good point (although I am considering the mere existence of the trait as a physical item to be a detriment in its own way - have you ever had your trait stolen?).
As for the last part, I don't know if you're messing with me or if you think that is really what I believe, but no, I don't consider Dandwiki to be a place that isn't moderated for balance, and I don't know who would. I just don't think the trait is as unbalanced (in the sense that it is overpowered or underpowered profusely) as it is being made out to be, especially with statements like the above argument: "Why would anyone not ever take this?" (Paraphrased), which I consider to be an ineffective argument made out of some casual dismissal. I will give consideration to the last argument, as mentioned.
Aside from that, and as a partial explanation of my actions, I have taken issue with the almost arbitrary way in which those concerns are being enforced lately, so I've become involved with several pages with such balance concerns. Dandwiki has always, or had always, allowed for deviation from standard mechanics with some level of tolerance so long as a good argument could be put forward; That's the entire point of variant rules, and items unique to campaign settings, and several other different odd items from across the board (5e Composite Creatures, Sourcebook issues, all of the TOME classes, We even changed course on how deities should be presented simply because SRD content was terribly short and lacking of flavor). That's why I placed the onus on you both to decide on whether we're enforcing complete orthodoxy or not. It isn't simply a matter of balance; it is also a matter of conformity, and it has drastic implications for the rest of this site's items. --Jwguy (talk) 11:16, 8 December 2015 (MST)
Without reading the above comments made after mine, and replying to Jwguy, yes a finite disadvantage is what I'm thinking of, but I haven't thought of one yet. Marasmusine (talk) 08:55, 8 December 2015 (MST)
That is also a fine resolution by my standards. --SgtLion (talk) 08:57, 8 December 2015 (MST)
Maybe a loss of skill point or two as being from a wealthy family you were given things more often than learning the skill yourself? --Luantha (talk) 09:56, 8 December 2015 (MST)
Whatever we pick, I think it should end by the end of the character's first level, as that's when the value of 900 gp becomes "dilute" enough (given that the average loot at EL 1 is 300 gp). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Marasmusine (talkcontribs)10:58, 8 December 2015 (MST). Please sign your posts.
As a joke, I don't suppose you'd consider the physical properties of the funds (weight, space, propensity or ability to be stolen) as finite disadvantages?
As a serious point, I'd recommend staying with the finite bonus ~ finite disadvantage route. A large portion of this argument was regarding formula, orthodoxy and balance, after all. I'm definitely open to suggestions, although I'll try to contribute, as well. --Jwguy (talk) 11:16, 8 December 2015 (MST)
I am, at first, trying to think of a finite drawback "related to the benefit" (as defined by UA). It can't be anything to do with the actual coins themselves, since the player could spend all of it picking equipment at character creation. Marasmusine (talk) 11:45, 8 December 2015 (MST)
So, I was thinking about this, today; We've clearly established it has to be a temporary penalty between level 1 and 2, and I suppose it would make sense in the respect that the trait indicates the character comes from a wealthy family and thus has a bit of Silver Spoon syndrome. So, I have two ideas:
1. The character takes a -10 penalty to all Appraise checks until 2nd level - this would indicate the character, because of his affluent upbringing and starting wealth, doesn't understand the value of money or items until he's had harsh, real-world experience.
2. The character takes a slight penalty to all experience gained until 2nd level - this reflects his coddled nature and his inability to fully grasp the effort that other characters have to put in at level 1, due to having less funds to afford banded mail and so on.
Let me know if you have thoughts. --Jwguy (talk) 12:57, 28 December 2015 (MST)
That's the kind of thing I'm thinking of. Either of those would be good. #1 should have a penalty to sense motive checks made when buying and selling items, but I worry about him delegating off such duties to the party rogue. Marasmusine (talk) 14:28, 28 December 2015 (MST)
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