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Let's say I'm running a game in which I seek to enforce-ish the WBL guidelines (by which I mean that I seek to have the party's wealth be primarily a function of level rather than time). If the party somehow exceeds the WBL I've decided for them (based on their investment in wealth-generating abilities and such), I might adjust by placing less treasure in future encounters.

But what if that doesn't work? What if the party's wealth generating abilities are sufficient to allow the players to continue to meaningfully increase their wealth over time without any additional treasure? What can I do, then, to steer the party back to the GP-limit I've decided is appropriate?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to add why those things would be bad. After all, they are intentionally in the game, and the game isn't inherently dependent on characters having a certain amount of gold. \$\endgroup\$ – TheThirdMan Mar 28 '17 at 6:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheThirdMan Because I've arbitrarily decided as a function of playstyle that we're sticking to WBL. These things can provide a percentile modifier to WBL but they're not supposed to make wealth actually just a function of time and not really dependent on level at all because that seems like it would invalidate the wealth-limited part of this particular playstyle I'm asking about. I have reasons I think people play this way for, but they're speculation. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 6:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I moved this discussion to a chat if you're interested in explaining more fully. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 28 '17 at 20:42
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About WBL, what it does or doesn’t do for you

WBL is a measure of expectation, the expectations the designers had for items and wealth. These expectations affect other aspects of the game—perhaps most notably monster design. Monster save DCs account for cloaks of resistance, their own save bonuses account for the ability-score-enhancing headbands, and so on. To a certain degree, the CR of a monster is based on the assumption that certain tools will, or won’t, be available.

This is important. I would caution very strongly against mucking with it too much, and would suggest that the game does not work well if you do unless you also put a lot of effort into addressing how things will work with more or fewer wealth. I also routinely remind people that it’s crucial to remember that this is wealth we are talking about—the sum total value of the current gear enjoyed by the character. Consumables already used, obsolete equipment that’s been sold off, that isn’t part of wealth. And wealth is best calculated using its value to the character in question, which may be different from what the book says it is or what NPCs are willing to pay for it. In other words, wealth should only count if it’s actually usable, because WBL is supposed to be a measure of power derived from property. That is the sole reason it has any use.

At the same time, WBL can only, at best, allow you to match designers’ expectations. This can allow CR and other tools to work more reliably. But these tools aren’t all that reliable, even at the best of times. This means that keeping to WBL is very far from a magic bullet—but it also means that straying too far makes a bad situation worse, so take that for what you will. And something really important: this goes in both directions. In fact, going under WBL is often worse than going over WBL, assuming the magnitude of the difference is equal.

Moreover, there are concerns aside from balance to worry about—narrative flow, consequences for player actions, and so on—that also have to be accounted for. For instance, selling off obsolete items only gets you half that item’s value. Used consumables don’t mean you immediately stumble upon a tidy little pile of gold pieces equal to its value. And gold, for that matter, doesn’t immediately or automatically turn into the items you want, and money in your pocket doesn’t actually help you with most challenges in that form. Because it would be absurd if it did, and because it would mean that, e.g., consumables wouldn’t actually cost anything, which isn’t quite right.

What this all amounts to is that WBL is a rough goal, not a fixed state. Wealth should, and indeed must, fluctuate around WBL. This is absolutely required and certainly not a “problem” that needs immediate remedy. Attempting to do so is often heavy-handed and blatantly metagamey, which can and does ruin immersion at times. In severe situations, that is entirely appropriate, but since wealth is always fluctuating, doing so every time wealth strays from WBL is going to result in doing your game more harm than good.

Finally, one last note on what WBL is decidedly not—economics. WBL blatantly flies in the face of the very concept of economics, an arbitrary value expected without any mechanism whatsoever in place determining that value. That is because WBL is about character power far, far more than it is about money. It’s a purely game-design issue, not an economic one. And this is important because Pathfinder does not have sane or stable economic rules. They cannot withstand even the barest critical inspection; WBL basically states that gp has to go up in concert with XP, but almost all of the minimal economics in the game are largely divorced from XP-acquiring activity. This is generally “balanced” by the fact that most of them offer extremely small amounts of money relative to simply going out and acquiring loot, but not all wealth-generating activities are. WBL itself, for that matter all of Pathfinder, offers no solution to this dilemma. The general assumption is that it won’t matter because Pathfinder characters are “supposed” to go out and adventure. It’s another expectation baked into the system.

Now then, with an overly-lengthy introduction finished, let’s discuss remedies.

Before the game/out of game

System buy-in

As discussed above, Pathfinder largely ignores these problems because it’s assumed that players will largely do so as well, because their interest is in adventuring. After all, they are playing Pathfinder, that’s what the system is for. It’s based on Dungeons & Dragons, a system developed for and focused on dungeon-delving and dragon-slaying. To a certain extent, Pathfinder doesn’t have, and doesn’t want, sophisticated mechanisms for handling economic activity. It’s the wrong system for that.

When the group is playing Pathfinder, there should be at least the minimal buy in that the group is playing an adventure and their characters are adventurers. If that isn’t the case, if characters seriously want to stay in safe locations and participate in the world’s economy, then Pathfinder is a terrible system to use for the game. It doesn’t have any depth whatsoever in that area, and the rules it does have will hurt the campaign more than they will assist.

Bonus XP can be awarded for cleverly making money

This can be dangerous, because it might encourage trying to ignore Pathfinder’s focuses and strengths and trying to use it for a game that would really be better off in another system. However, Pathfinder is also very limited in terms of its economics, and it still may be the right system for a campaign about adventurers who still have some economic prowess—and in that sort of situation, you need answers.

One answer for that can be to award XP for successful wealth-generating schemes. This can cause problems with your plans (you’ll have to make them tougher, since you’re dealing with higher-level, higher-wealth characters than you [or the AP] were planning on), but increasing level increases the expected WBL—which means that the players’ greater wealth is more in line with their level. The idea here is to fight skew, that is, characters who are too strong in one way but not particularly strong in another, which makes it difficult to find appropriate challenges. Increasing level in this way can actually make things easier to balance, since XP and gp are enjoying a relationship closer to what was expected.

Houserule to maintain expectations

Some tricks are just too good, generate too much wealth. Houserules to nix them are heavy-handed, but these kinds of things should be discussed out of game, and comes back to the idea of buy-in from the players. “Congratulations, that’s a clever idea, but it’s also going to mess up the game we’re trying to play, so we’re going to have to adjust it so it’s less good.” Hopefully, they’ll accept that (buy-in), and hopefully, you can do it ahead of time, before they sink too much into trying this scheme.

Talking to your players and having good communication about expectations and plans is key here—as it is in the entire game. Allowing the player some benefit, or to enjoy the full benefit briefly, can also be decent approaches to mitigate disappointment here. Framing also helps: “Your trick was so good that we had to change the rules to keep things competitive” is one of the most impressive statements that society has for competitors. Pathfinder isn’t a competitive game, but the feel-good effect of that kind of framing is still valid.

You can also houserule things to make the economy react in ways that are a little more realistic, to prevent tricks from turning into the kind of run-away success that generates substantially-higher-than-expected income on a continuous basis.

In-game

Behind-the-scenes number fixing

Subtlety in handling WBL is to be strongly encouraged—since wealth is fluctuating constantly, you do not want it to be obvious that you are managing it at all. Otherwise it will be rather like railroading, and have the same problems.

Instead, acquisition of significant wealth should result in advantages—temporarily. Loss of significant wealth should likewise result in disadvantages—temporarily. And you should quietly adjust the wealth that the players are seeing in later loot to bring things closer to WBL. It’s OK if they’re over or under for a level, possibly even two. WBL grows pretty quickly with level, so even if players find a major windfall, if they then gain XP without gaining gp for a while, they’ll often pretty quickly reach a level where the wealth they have is entirely appropriate. Likewise, adventuring often produces substantial finds all in one place.

And in the meantime, you can try to tweak challenges to account for deviations in wealth. This is more difficult, and the rules have less guidance for you, but it also has the advantage of allowing those with more wealth—who take on greater challenges than they otherwise might at their level—to acquire XP faster, while those with less wealth—who are constrained from taking on everything they might at their level with normal wealth—from gaining more XP too quickly and pushing the disparity further.

This is the bread-and-butter of managing WBL. This is how you should usually handle disparities. And it’s OK if it takes quite a bit of time. But it doesn’t handle truly dire situations where the numbers are simply off by too much.

Way too little wealth: side quests and non-combat challenges

Lack of WBL is a huge problem in Pathfinder, in part because there are classes that barely manage as it is, and rely heavily on the items they can acquire to shore myriad weaknesses. One great way to handle this situation is with challenges that provide targeted wealth (things characters desperately need), and do so without requiring wealth. Most of the “hard requirements” on wealth are about combat, so challenges that rely less on combat—either involving relatively simple fights or none at all—are great opportunities to introduce this wealth. This works best if it’s at least partially player-directed. When your party is struggling, suggest that the characters could take some time to apply their skills and regroup. Ask for Diplomacy checks, Survival checks, Knowledge checks, and so on to find long-lost treasures, rich patrons who need things done, and the like. It’s a large, magical world. As long as they aren’t on a forced march of a quest, they can take some time to find some of that wealth they’ve been missing.

This is also, by the way, a fantastic opportunity for plot hooks. A team of adventurers is struggling, needs better gear? A shady anonymous benefactor might be able to supply them, but now the team doesn’t know who they’re working with, don’t know what favors might get called in. Or maybe there was a reason that relic was left, untouched, in that temple for so long—and maybe it means someone in the party is the chosen one, or maybe it means there was a subtle and dire curse they’ll only learn about later. And so on.

Way too much wealth: you could just leave it alone

It is possible for players to gain far too much wealth and have far too powerful toys available for their level, without actually requiring a response from you. So they take on tougher enemies than they should, they accomplish more than they otherwise would—you can always just throw more at them. This gives them more XP and allows them to reach the level where their wealth is appropriate sooner. It accelerates the game, which can be a problem, but isn’t always. Not always appropriate, but an option to consider.

Obviously, only works if the wealth was the result of a one-time thing. Much-too-high income is more problematic.

Way too much income, or too much wealth you can’t leave alone: Get heavy handed

You do have to get heavy handed sometimes. Other answers here give many options for doing this, which mostly revolve around stripping characters of their wealth. This works, but it can feel bad, and it doesn’t address the problem of too much income if that’s what you’re dealing with.

As a result, you will probably have to combine this with a little bit of letting the players enjoy it. That is, the above suggestion of just leaving it alone will have to apply at least somewhat. This mitigates the “feels-bad-ness” some (by giving the players at least some time being overpowered), and gives more time, which may increase their level (reducing the problem even if it doesn’t fix it) and allow you to set up something more subtle than blatantly taking their toys away.

The ideal case for handling things when they get really bad is to make their tricks obsolete or inapplicable, rather than outright taking them away. Ultimately, the biggest problem with being overpowered, whether from having too much wealth or otherwise, is that it becomes too easy to just apply the same solution to all problems. When you have a really good hammer, all the world still looks like nails even when you have other stuff. Taking away the nails is often a better approach than taking away the hammer.

But sometimes you have to. I urge you to limit how often you do, to try to avoid that situation in the first place, but it’s part of the game. When you can do it judiciously, rather than regularly, it can also improve the game, even better if you never had the problem in the first place—after all, a big set-back like that is a great story.

Really severe problems with too-powerful toys: address out of game

If your campaign literally cannot continue without removing some item or items from the players’ possession, and you do not have a good in-character way to do so, even a heavy-handed one, just own up to the problem. GMing is not easy, mistakes happen. Your group should understand that. Admit you made a mistake allowing them to get the item(s) and that you need to remove them or nerf them to keep the game workable. Discuss as a group how they’d like that to go. Some might prefer some deus ex machina in-character explanation over nothing, others might prefer that the item gets quietly ignored and forgotten, and still others might rather you just ret-con it out of the game. They may have ideas for nerfing it without completely removing it, and they might have ideas on how to justify that in-character.

And when you do this as a group, almost all of the problems go away. The idea is to find a solution that allows the game to get back on track. To make people satisfied with where the game is going. A lot of the problems of being heavy-handed go away in this case.

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    \$\begingroup\$ When you write an essay for an answer, it's difficult to not compliment. Congratulations. Also, +1 for pointing out the lack of any rules for economy (i did search, nothing), the closest thing are downtime events that affect your capital. So trying to play an economic game using pathfinder ruleset is futile. That does not mean it's impossible, but that there is nothing published that helps the GM with this, even 3rd-party. There are Phd thesis about d&d economics if you search for it, and how people tackle the issue, but the results are still the same: a new ruleset. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Mar 28 '17 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras There are also rules about investing money -- but I am not sure if normal game pace allows you to spend a year waiting. \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Mar 28 '17 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rules for investment are more like "invest&forget", you dont have to do much other than decide on what and how much to invest, then come back later to collect the results. Those rules are intended for when the PC's become the patrons, not for when they are working for their money. That said, investments are a solid optional system for PC's to spend their treasure. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Mar 28 '17 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ This was mostly about excessive income due to such abilities in a primarily adventure-focused game. Like "Ok, so we have 6 castings of *Fabricate*/day and access to a market with trade in Pearl of Power V so we're gonna go ahead and approximate our wealth conservatively as (seed value)*(days+1)*2^(5 +((seed value)*days*2^(5+...))/25,000)" or "Ok, so we have a super-rogue so we have access to all the items, can sell stuff without any real limit, and buy things for less than we sell them for. " etc. That said, excellent answer! Perhaps we'll try a game this way and see how it's different ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Any effect that allows a creature to gain treasure by spending time rather than taking risks is a problem that needs solving before the campaign begins, be it by a crazy stupid setting ("You cast fabricate? Okay, you're attacked by an ethereal Keynesian mummy!") or a gentlemen's agreement ("Unless you want to play a different game, we gotta agree to something like the spells fabricate and major creation can only be cast while on an actual adventure, okay?"). \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 29 '17 at 6:06
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You take their fortune away

There are a couple of ways to force players to spend money, some will feel like you are railroading them, others will make sense. But you shouldn't be afraid or ashamed of telling them the reason if they ask for it, prices go higher in real life and we normally know why, we simply have no means to control it ourselves.

Taxes

Yep, taxes are part of the game world, they are normally included in the price of everything the player characters buy or sell. But sometimes they are in a society where taxes are higher than the default for some reason. Maybe there was a gold influff and the high ups decided to try to grab some of that. Maybe there is a war going on and the campaign requires that all those not fighting to be taxed. But the easiest way to explain it is probably due to corruption, which might lead to an adventure by itself.

How much are you going to tax them depends entirely on how much you need to take away, and for how long. But there is at least one official adventure that has taxes through all of the campaign, the Emerald Spire (10% increase in all prices). However, that does little to affect WBL since the treasures in the adventure are higher than the norm, but if that wasn't the case, WBL would go down on every purchase and sale.

In Mummy's Mask, there is a point between adventures where things are being sold for 40%, then 30%, then 25% of their base value, because the market is flooded with treasures from explorers. People trying to sell things for a better price have to auction their goods or travel for at least two days to a neighbor city, which by itself means less treasures for the group as they cannot explore dungeons while travelling and they will likely avoid.

Different currency is another aspect of taxes that you can play with. Maybe their 1,000 gp worth of currency is only worth 900 gp, or even 800 gp, in this new kingdom they travelled to. This is something that normally happens in the game world, specially if they are rival kingdoms or kingdoms with a vast difference in wealth (rich kingdom vs poor kingdom). If a coin is actually a token coin for a kingdom, then it's value is diminished when the characters have to travel to another kingdom.

Legal Punishment

Again i will mention the Emerald Spire, since this comes up fairly early in the book. But they may walk into a city where the laws are different simply because the rulers are different from what they normally see, like a city where carrying weapons is against the law, or spellcasters have to register or have one of their hands tied up to walk on the streets, or maybe they cannot carry over "bounties" and kill bandits without a warrant from a local law enforcer.

The punishment for those crimes can go from a night at a cell (time is money), to death penalty with a fine to avoid it. In the Fort Invitable (the adventure's quest hub), banditry in all forms are punished with death, and that includes bringing the head of bandits when you had no warrant for their lives, so players have to be careful when accepting revenge-type quests. Even with a warrant, the characters have to agree to turn over 30% of the confiscated goods to the local law enforcers.

There are dozens of cities in Golarion that have laws against religion, banishing specific gods worshippers, so you can go wild with religion. Maybe the city explicity forbids the carrying of a holy symbol of another deity, or ban specific deities (like evil deities). The punishment can go from a few coins, to restitution from the offenders to those offended, to exile/death (but let's avoid those).

Normally, the gazeteer of each town in the Adventure Paths or Campaign Setting books should give you plenty of ideas for what is against the law and what kind of punishment to expect for those crimes.

Magical Punishment

Yep, this is a weird way to say it, but see what kind of negative condition they do not have an easy way of removing, which might be difficult if they have a cleric in the group, and try to afflict someone in the group with that. Or, even if they do have someone who can remove the affliction, you can make them waste time removing the condition, by either applying multiple conditions at once (like ability damage) or by applying the condition to the whole group, so multiple casts will be necessary.

Ability Drain is normally only removed with the Restoration spell, which should cost 100 gp per cast. If the whole group was damaged on their Wisdom by an Allip, they would take a few days to recover. Even if they do have a wand with Restoration/Lesser, by using monsters that can do a lot of ability damage on regular attacks, like creatures with poison or ability damage (example: vampire spawns), each cast from the wand is effectivelly reducing their wealth. On the other hand, a creature that causes drain (like a ghost) should quickly become a problem, since "time" no longer matters, the drain must be healed or the character will remain afflicted.

Negative levels are a whole new level of problem, and players expecting to face a creature that can inflict them with negative levels will quickly prepare the necessary wards. But if you do surprise them with creatures like Wights, and depending on their level you can add lots of those, they are in for a world of pain, as casting Restoration will cost 1,000 gp per negative level removed.

Curses will become a problem only until they no longer become a problem (by level 5th or so). But the Horror Adventures brings us curse templates, more specifically, the Contagious Curse, which any attempts from the cursed character to remove the curse automatically fails. If the characters with access to Remove Curse are afflicted by that, they still must pay for another spellcaster to cast it on them. Some curses also require additional steps on top of Remove Curse, like Creeping Senility and Shattered Self.

Diseases. Yeah, they will say "pft, i cast remove disease". But what they don't expect is that some diseases are Magic Resistant, or even Incurable. If they cannot simply spend a spell slot to remove an affliction, the situation suddenly changes, the campaign's goal might shift from "killing the bad guy" to "remove this disease" fairly quickly. However, you should avoid applying these disease templates all the time, or some players will quickly get offended and irritated on their choice of a class.

Magical Item Creation and "good sellers"

Some characters will simply have abilities that allow them to sell goods for more than 50%. Magic items are normally crafted at 50% of the market value of the item. Then, characters with one of those abilities, will attempt to sell the crafted item back at the market for 60%, or something higher than 50%, of the market value. This generates inflation.

Their characters will have to wait to sell very expensive items, since they might not be able to be sold over night. You should take a look at the downtime rules and see how the sale of magical items should be done, because even if you sell for 60%, maybe the market simply has no buyers because you are taking alway all currency.

If that is actually the case, then all you have to do is to allow them to play that trick a couple of times, then say that nobody is willing to pay for their item because nobody is interested on that item, which will diplomacy checks to find the right buyer, or that they don't have the money they are asking for, so they will have to settle for less than 60%+, or that they will have to travel to a bigger town to sell their item, will might take some time and have extra travel costs.

The settlement's purchase limit should be taken into consideration whatever approach you choose to take, as it defines how much the market is willing to pay for sold items.

Once the local autorities find out that someone is making so much money in so little time, they might impose taxes on him, or even demand that the character registers as a magical salesman to remain opperating in that town.

There are also other ways to deal with gold inflation.

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There are some things that can be done in-game (1st Ed had an entire section on how to take money away from PCs) but it sounds like the root cause is a play style that conflicts with the kind of game you're trying to run. That sort of thing is best handled out of character; otherwise you're liable to end up with even more focus on the non-fun parts of the game as players try to counteract your nerfs.

If it were my game, I'd consider something like this script:

"Hey everyone, I've noticed that people are focusing a lot on ways to make money outside adventuring. This isn't something that Pathfinder is really designed or balanced for. If you can make large amounts of valuables by spamming Fabricate every day (or whatever it is they're using), then that's going to have major effects on the world economy and I feel a bit out of my depth dealing with that. I don't want to be spending my time trying to work out rules for hyperinflation and I'm not sure that it would be much fun for anybody. Can we agree to dial that stuff down?"

And perhaps give the option of swapping out moneybags feats so they don't feel like they've wasted character choices that are no longer "optimal".

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Do not just nerf their cash. That is the best way to get your players to lose interest. Why should they put effort into it if they don't get any results.

Give them things to buy that do not give combat advantages. Have a plot where the "easy" solution it to buy the manor house or keep and kick out the offenders or something like that. They got to use their funds to solve the problem. They may feel that they managed to end run around you but you you planned it and you soaked up a bunch of their ready cash. Maybe they can buy a title to go with the land.

Assuming they see the house, its people, and its land as an asset, they are going to want to make it nice. They will put more money into it. The nicer it is, the better they get in with the local nobles. Think of the plot hooks you can come up with. Maybe they read through the books of the library and find out that the house use to have a banquet table that would on certain occasions produce a Hero's Feast. That leads to a quest for a really nice item that only really helps them to defend their home since the effects wouldn't last long enough for them to travel anywhere.

[Edit additional info from here]

I actually did this

This was back in 2e. Now, I think that I'd try Kingmaker. However, using 2e and 1e resources, I was able to find prices for a lot of stuff. Kingmaker would have removed a lot of the micromanaging. A couple of the players liked micromanaging and the others were happy to let them do it.

It took the campaign in another direction which was fine by me.

As their keep grew more prominent, their prestige grew and they became allies and enemies with the nearby nobles.

The keep became a source of pride. There were a lot of side quests that resulted from this. One was just to earn the right to display a banner that one of the players wanted to hang.

Having memorable NPCs was a must. Most of the keeps staff were nearby locals that the players had helped out of one jam or another. By the time the two players got tired of micromanaging, they had staff to do that for them.

We all had a good time with it until the campaign just grew too big for the fixed location. They would still come back to "home" from time to time to rest or to swat troublemakers. It was a money sink but it was also a visible reward in the campaign to the players.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried any of these suggestions, or things like them, in play? How did it go? \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 29 '17 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer, Yes, I have. I'll edit my answer to include it. I ended up being too verbose for the comment. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – ShadoCat Mar 29 '17 at 17:13
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First, you should focus on what your real goal is. Is that that the WBL is enforced or simply that the game is more balanced gear-wise?

There are problems with enforcing WBL for the sake of enforcing it:

  • Unexperienced characters with insane amounts of money on them are a trope of the fantasy genre. Think about the rich parents trait, that's not even that much money but it's still significantly more than what WBL would suggest.

  • It penalizes characters who keep close-to-useless flavour items and encourages gear optimization.

However what you may legitimately want to avoid is that gear makes characters far more powerful than what they should be. Beside the obvious solution that consists in adapting the wealth earned when PCs are far from WBL (and banning obvious exploits), there are other solutions to prevent a too large gap:

  • (the DD5 approach) You can make magical item not affordable with mundane money: PCs may get rich but they can only spend this money on services or consumable items. Most of the magic stuff is either found in dungeons or as quest rewards. Of course you will have to decide for quest rewards that are useful, so it's more work for you.

  • (the MMO approach) You can make powerful items hard to control if the wielder is not powerful enough. For example a lvl 5 character finding a +5 sword won't be able to use it as its full potential. Looking in the WBL table you see he has 10500 "power points" to activate items so he can use 8000 of them to make it considered as +2 and he has 2500 "power points" left to activate other items. This means you don't have to worry too much about the group becoming too strongly geared but they still have an interest in becoming richer since it means they will have more choice for which item to activate. When I tested this rule it could be done only during rests but after the test we concluded it would have been better to be able to switch more often (so you can use an item just when you find it).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your first solution doesn't work with Pathfinder-- PCs can ensure access to magic items for purchase if they have the cash. Also "Your playstyle is weird and wrong" doesn't seem like a good place to build an answer from... I may be misunderstanding the playstyle I'm asking about, but I'm interested in learning how things work within it, not being told it's dumb to do things that way, even if it is, in fact, dumb to do things that way (which you have not really built a compelling argument for, besides). \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 10:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your second option seems potentially good. You say 'I've never tested this' for the third one, does that mean you have tested the second? You could build a good answer around just that in that case \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 10:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer to be fair, the poster only said it was weird, wrong is your supposition which may or may not be warranted. Weird can be a good thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 28 '17 at 10:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM "doesn't make sense"..."Neither narrative nor gameplay"..."What you may legitimately want [as opposed to this other thing you said you want which is not legitimate]" \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 28 '17 at 10:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Except, of course, that you are wrong, there are reasons to “enforce” WBL—the game is designed a certain amount of power derived from items, and moving away from that level affects how the PCs interact with challenges and how reliable the tools for estimating the difficulty of challenges are. Those tools are not reliable to begin with, and the design behind all of this is far from perfect, which is why even when enforcing WBL you can still have problems, but some of the problems do get easier to deal with, as a GM, when you are around WBL. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 28 '17 at 12:49

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