Today while skimming through game design blogs, I happened across a reference to the “downtime system” from Ultimate Campaign so I decided to take a look. I pulled up a couple different websites at the same time, along with a forum discussion — I tend to read/research across several tabs at once.

And I drew this connection — I don’t know if Paizo intended to parallel the resource system in the Lords of Waterdeep game, but I got the impression that someone somewhere must have played something for inspiration.

What I saw was this:
Goods -> Rogue
Influence -> Cleric
Labor -> Fighter
Magic -> Wizard

Now, Pathfinder suffers the same problems of economy as 2e/3e/4e D&D — where XP is awarded for combat instead of treasure or whatever. I can’t say this enough — it’s so much easier when you don’t reward XP for combat. So. Much. Easier.

Anyway, what I started to realize was that by converting treasure into these abstract units of “capital” (described in PF), PCs could be allowed to rent or buy land, and hire NPCs for a variety of tasks using fairly straightforward rules.

Combining the “Downtime system” with the Rumors system I’ve been developing should make it possible to recreate Lords of Waterdeep within the context of the game system. You could hypothetically have agents gather information and recruit adventurers to complete quests on your behalf. From level one.

I realized that this system if implemented, could basically run a fantasy economy. The money a PC invests in “leveling up” goes to NPCs who do this kind of thing in their stead. If you’d rather be a landlord than an adventurer — this is it. I was honestly hoping to add to my “public works” system…

…What I ended up with is a system for managing an economy.

I can’t see this actually converting money to level advancement for a PC — it will necessarily be an alternative to character development because it’s a system for changing the world — just like rituals and magic items.

Once I have a few more things hammered out, I’m going to have to see if I can reconcile this with the “settlement” scores I have. Industry, Populace, and all that. This is all crazy. So crazy. *shakes head*