401k for Scoundrels

(Sean Clancy) #1

This Reddit thread got me thinking about stash, and how I rarely see players utilize it. The nature of Blades’ economy, the nature of the stash “quality of life” improvements (it takes 21 coin just to get a “Modest” post-crime lifestyle), and the assumed nature of scoundrels (bold, burn-the-candle-at-both-ends types) means saving up for retirement is often the last thing on a player’s mind. At best, I’ll see particularly flush scoundrels toss a few “extra” coin in their stash, only to curse themselves out later when they need to retrieve that money at a loss.

And that’s… probably the point of stash, right? It doesn’t exist to get used (at least not regularly). It’s aspirational–something the scoundrels look wistfully at before dropping four coin on demon blood they need to ghost-proof a hideout. “Ah, yes, a safe, ‘modest’ lifestyle. One can dream.”

Even the way stash gets formatted on the player sheet reinforces this. It looms over the piddly four coin a scoundrel can have on-hand, this impossible future you can see but never reach.

Do other Blades players see stash in the same light? Has anyone been in a game where a player really focused on stashing coin? Has anyone been in a game where a player retired with a so-called “good” lifestyle?

(Ben Morgan) #2

In my campaign, we had two characters that invested heavily in it (one was a Slide with A Little Something on the Side), and the rest more or less ignored it.

(Mr Hollins) #3

In long campaigns it helps distinguish the characters from each other. In my current campaign we have:

  1. A Whisper who cares for nothing but accumulating arcane power. He has almost no money saved because it has all gone into rituals, potions and other arcane materials.
  2. A Spider who is heavily involved in the plot of the game (protecting a secret smuggling community in the Deadlands). He has the least money of all the PC’s because he spends money constantly to bribe law enforcement, run projects etc, that lower the gang’s Heat and keep the opposition ignorant.
  3. A Hound who doesn’t really care about the community, but is personally loyal to the Whisper and Spider. He saves his money whenever convenient and has 1 level of stash as a result.
  4. A Leech who doesn’t care about anyone or anything unless it advances scientific knowledge. She has never spent her money on helping the group, and has her own agenda. She has the most money of any character in the group with 2 levels of stash.

None of the characters are particularly wealth focused, but the differences in their levels of wealth shows their different agendas. The Spider makes fun of the Leech’s nice clothes and equipment and constantly badgers her to contribute more of her wealth to helping the group. It adds a little flavor and tension to the game.

(The Void) #4

Totally agree with you here. I’ve have several long term campaigns and characters. Some have ended with full stash and lifestyle while others have nothing due to the difference in character development and drives.

(John) #5

We’re coming up on the end of a 15 month weekly campaign and my Scov Hound has almost filled his stash completely. But he isn’t going to retire. If the fiction keeps going the way it’s looking (endgame is likely an apocalyptic vampire cult who have set up camp on a Leviathan out in the endless sea, and there are strong hints in game that the PCs are the cause for the sundered sun) he’s probably going to end up donating it to the Skov Embassy in his will.

(Sean Clancy) #6

Interesting! Part of me feels like stash could represent some other life-defining achievement, other than a comfortable retirement. (The trick is, how do you make it different than just a really big clock?)

If he donates it to the Embassy, do you think the two stash for one coin stipulation would apply? Or is this more about replacing the “here’s how you retired” epilogue with a “here’s how Skovland uses your stash” epilogue?

(The Void) #7

My first character Nymira (hound) was found out to be the long lost granddaughter of the ruling figurehead of Iruvia and could claim that throne. That campaign was retired before the characters and due to something within the campaign I had to switch up characters at the end though she wasn’t retired. Having full stash the fiction maintains that she went back to Iruvia to begin the process of taking back the throne and beginning a revolution against the Empire.

So many possibilities regarding stash! All you have to do is imagine it, then go for it. :slight_smile:

(John) #8

The latter, I think. It would make for a good “post credits / end of series” monologue. Given that he’s been trying to destroy the lightning barrier around Doskvol as well I’m hoping they’ll continue that work :slight_smile:

(Eli Kurtz (He/Him)) #9

The only character I’ve played who really cared about Stash in any meaningful way was a Lurk who took A Little Something On The Side from the Slide playbook. She was basically a carefree party girl but at some point (probably in a drug haze) she looked around, saw all the poverty, and decided a retirement savings was a smart move.

During the last AP game I ran, it turned out to be a game changer to realize all characters get Stash with each Crew advancement. Hadn’t ever played with that rule before and suddenly my players almost always had a Stash reserve to draw from.

(Mike T) #10

Our GM makes almost everything about our lifestyle; we only use coin for crew/player advancement and downtime activities. He’ll sometimes make us “spend coin” as a consequence if we’ve screwed something up in the middle of a score, but otherwise, whenever we want to pay for something in the fiction, we do a fortune roll against our lifestyle. This has made turning coin into stash quite important, and gives us, as players, another tension to manage (can I finish ticking that project clock, or can I reach that next lifestyle tier…decisions, decisions!).

(Sean Clancy) #11

True, Stash is good for determining if a scoundrel can naturally fit in at, say, a noble’s banquet. I’ll admit that when I GM Blades I’m a soft touch when it comes to letting the crew move through high society.

(Mike T) #12

Don’t beat yourself up, too hard, @KidDublin. I’m sure they would have scoundrel-ed their way into that party. They are cunning, lying lowlifes, after all. :wink:

(Tim Denee) #13

During the last AP game I ran, it turned out to be a game changer to realize all characters get Stash with each Crew advancement. Hadn’t ever played with that rule before and suddenly my players almost always had a Stash reserve to draw from.

Ooooh all this time I had thought they got coin with each crew advancement. Good to know! That will help them build up a stash.

(John) #14

So things changed a little. Chard, the butler of the crews main ally, was killed by the Tycherosi tailors who are our main opponents as an entanglement at at the end of one of one of our very last scores. Tycho, having just filled all four stash tracks, bought the deeds to a small cafe and handed it over to Chard’s wife and kids so they’ll be looked after.

So in the end, Ty went with a small act of positive humanity rather than one of destruction. Which is kind of a good way to finish.