To continue with the information on Core, and in response to some questions, here are various ways in which characters may be “paid” for their services.
Wealth and Business covers the stuff that isn’t free – which is what attracts the most interest anyway. Expensive items include better living spaces (especially solid-matter houses and furnishings), access to the best (most attractive and historical) places to put your house, voluntary medical options and procedures, natural foodstuffs, rare wines, antiques and historical artifacts, media attention, personal vehicles, major facilities, personal services, highly specialized equipment, exotic pets, personalized handicrafts, unique artworks, sexual partners, natural rarities, personal power, employees, political power, favors, “package deals”, and respect, are all still things you have to earn.
People who don’t bother to hold down any kind of a job – including footloose “adventurers” – can use the “Wealth” skill (a combination of savings, credit rating, and persuasiveness) unskilled. Of course, this won’t normally get them much beyond the basic freebies. A part-time job – and almost all conventional careers are normally part time jobs today – will support whatever skill level you buy. The higher the skill level you buy, the more time you’re obviously devoting to obtaining extra money.
Sadly, most arcane and psychic methods of obtaining bonuses on skill checks don’t work on the Wealth skill. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any ways of getting bonuses: a highly-skilled part-time job, any full-time job, or maintaining a small business (either through effort or buying special abilities) is worth a +5 bonus. A highly-skilled full-time job or maintaining a large business is worth a +10 bonus. Jobs which are especially dangerous (or which provide plenty of adventure hooks) are worth an additional +5 bonus.
A Reputation – such as being a “brilliant scientist”, a “notable expert or authority in a field”, “widely respected commander”, or some such, can be purchased whether or not a character actually deserves it. Characters don’t have to pay for reputations that they actually earn in play. Given that most of life’s basics are free in the Core, many characters work for reputation and respect alone – although the perks of a reputation (depending on its nature these may include special invitations, being consulted on important matters within your field of expertise, media attention, VIP status, fans or students, and sexual partners) are not to be sneezed at.
Privileges include authority derived from being an official, military commander, major executive or some similar role, access to special equipment, such as military-level gear, a personal starship, always having a personal flit standing by, security clearances, free access to advanced medical procedures, tithes, superior housing, and access to special resources, such as the wines from a particular vineyard. Sadly, unlike purchased privileges, useful privileges acquired in play are normally associated with particular jobs and are accompanied by bothersome responsibilities.
Favors and Gifts – also known as “you owe me one”are probably the oldest medium of exchange in the world. If you want some special piece of gear, the bragging rights which spring from the possession of some unique and/or famous knick-knack, reservations at an exclusive restaurant, a few bottles of a really rare wine, legislation introduced or passed, legal infractions ignored, a price break on something, or a media spotlight shone on a particular target, then trading favors and gifts will probably be the easiest way to get it. Unfortunately, unlike the general organizational and group favors characters can buy, favors, gifts, and debts acquired in play are generally with specific individuals.
Offices are only available from organizations with access to Dominion (or some equivalent). They tend to be reserved for powerful, high-level individuals. Details on Offices, and their bestowal, can be found in Eclipse under the Dominion rules.