Wealth management is the practice of managing the wealth present in a colony to reduce the difficulty of the raids that it encounters.
Effect of wealth
Colony wealth is one of the key determining factors in determining the raid points available to the storyteller, both directly contributing raid points itself, and scaling the points added by each colonist.
|"Storyteller Wealth" = (Colony Wealth (items) + Colony Wealth (people and animals) + ( (Colony Wealth (buildings)) * 0.5 )|
Storyteller wealth has an impact on "wealth points" and "pawn points". The full calculation is omitted here, but can be seen in the dedicated Wealth page.
Assume storyteller wealth is between 14k and 400k. Each base raid point would be worth about
3120 / (19.4 + colonist count) storyteller wealth. In other words, for the same threshold, $1 of storyteller wealth will give
(19.4 + colonist count) / 3120 raid points.
- At 0 colonists, 1 base raid point is worth ~160.83 storyteller wealth.
- At 3 colonists, 1 base raid point is worth ~139.29 storyteller wealth.
- At 10 colonists, 1 base raid point is worth ~106.12 storyteller wealth.
- At 20 colonists, 1 base raid point is worth ~79.19 storyteller wealth.
Wealth below 14k has practically no impact. Wealth above 400k has a reduced impact. Remember that these are base raid points, from adding both wealth points and pawn points.
Points are then multiplied by difficulty threat scale, Adaptation factor, and a few other modifiers. At 100% threat scale (Strive to Survive) with neutral adaptation, you will receive 100% raid points. Once all factors have been applied, raid points are used to "buy" raiders. See below for details.
The maximum wealth is 1,000,000 for the purposes of raid points, and the maximum number of raid points is 10,000. If one of these two caps are reached, then there is no point managing wealth any further.
Due to rounding and other modifiers to raid size, including the type of raid, these numbers may not be entirely accurate.
A colony starts with 3 colonists and about $104000 storyteller wealth. They suddenly gain 1666 beer, worth just under 20000. For a scyther-only mechanoid raid:
- Strive to Survive (100% threat): 3 scythers increases to 4 scythers.
- Losing is Fun (220% threat): 9 scythers increases to 10-11 scythers.
- 500% threat scale: 21 scythers increases to 25-26 scythers.
To be specific, raid points have increased by 143.5, which is then multiplied by threat scale (e.g. 220% more points for Losing is Fun). A scyther is worth 150 points. A generic tribal is worth 30-60 points, a fairly well-armed pirate is worth 90 points, and the strongest pirates are worth 150 points. A centipede is worth 400 combat points.
The 1-2 scyther difference in Losing is Fun might seem small, but keep in mind that this is after reaching $100000 wealth. For example, the same 20000 could increase 5 scythers to 7, which is quite a large increase. These 3 colonists will have a rough time handling 7 scythers, let alone 9, let alone 21 or 26 from a custom 500% difficulty.
- For certain types of raids, you must have a minimum amount of raid points before they happen. Sieges, sappers, and breachers can only happen at 700 raid points. Drop pods "right on top of you" can only happen at 300 raid points.
- Wealth (not storyteller wealth) has an impact on expectations. See Wealth#Expectatations for details.
While wealth is clearly a primary driver in the raid point scaling, the effect is often exaggerated and certain causes of wealth blamed unnecessarily. Put simply, it takes a significant amount of wealth to noticeably affect raid sizes. Often, it is colonist count and the normal scaling causing the actual problem. That does not mean that wealth management is without merit - it just means that the gains must be considered objectively. E.g. Is a strategy requiring significant micromanagement worth it when it reduces raid size by one scyther? In general, wealth has little impact on Adventure Story, and only starts to matter in the higher difficulties.
To re-iterate: Wealth management should not really matter when playing on Strive to Survive or below, beyond "not growing massive fields of psychoid" or "not getting money for the sake of hoarding money". Wealth can make a significant impact on Losing is Fun and a massive impact on 500% Losing is Fun. Otherwise, you shouldn't feel the need to restrict your play by much. You can also lower the difficulty - "Base Builder" was designed to let you build a grand base, after all.
Wealth management strategies can be broken down into two general classes:
- Wealth control, or wealth minimization, where the intent is to control the total wealth accrued by purposefully reducing both the total wealth of the colony and the rate of accrual.
- Wealth investment, where wealth gain is not retarded in any way but instead steps are taken to ensure that sufficient wealth is reinvested into advancing the colony to keep up with advancing raid points.
For example, a colony without wealth management might mass-produce flake, sell it, and leave silver for later use. A wealth controlling colony might avoid growing psychoid all together, or limit its production. A wealth investing colony would create flake as needed, but use it to buy items like components and doomsday rocket launchers to better deal with the increased raid points.
When considering cost savings, relate it to how many raiders you'd save. An extra tribal raider is worth around 45 CP. In Strive to Survive, this equates to 7500. In Losing is Fun, the raider would be worth 3400. At 500% threat, they'd be worth 1700. Note that this value will lower for each colonist you have.
Wealth control strategies
- Try not to overproduce. If there's one tip that's relevant to difficulties below Losing is Fun, it's this. You shouldn't need 10000 units of rice to feed 5 colonists, even in the worst scenarios, unless your growing season is really short (10/60 or 20/60). In a similar vein, you shouldn't need to make 100 fine meals in advance, mine ore for the sake of giving your miner some work, or harvest every raider's organs for the sake of the war crime. Try not to produce what you don't need in the near future. And, unless you really need to buy something, don't do things for the purpose of money.
- Think about it this way: a raider's kidney, lung, and heart are worth 3100, and their human leather is worth a bit more. In Losing is Fun, every raider you harvest gives you an extra raider. The organs aren't doing anything for you, until you either sell, gift, or install them.
- For the purposes of food: each colonist eats 20 units of raw food per day when cooked into simple meals or fine meals.
- In Losing is Fun, a 5x5 growing zone in normal soil (25 tiles) is enough to feed a single colonist in a year-round growing colony, assuming 1. a good planter and 2. things are harvested reasonably quickly. A 4x5 growing zone in rich soil (20 tiles), or 3 hydroponics basins (12 tiles) are effectively the same. It's ok to overgrow if you have to face long winters, especially if you plan to take in more colonists in the meantime.
- Destroy useless items. Burn corpses and smelt any unnecessary weapons from raiders. Fire makes quick work of any flammable objects; just put them in a fireproof room, first.
- If you can't destroy them, then at least let them deteriorate - water erodes the fastest.
- Weapons are quite valuable, despite traders only paying 20% for them. A single heavy SMG is worth 355, before HP or quality. Weapons can quickly pile up; a dozen firearms can be worth thousands of market value.
- Rotten corpses and damaged clothes are worth single-digit numbers of wealth. Fresh corpses are worth a fair amount, about 250 / corpse, which is relevant for large raids back-to-back.
- Gift excess items to other factions. Excess food, leathers, drugs, and even silver may not help your colony for the near future. Items like these can easily be replaced later on. Right now, you can gift your surplus to other factions for a goodwill boost. Eventually, you can call said factions as an ally, turning this into an investment that completely destroys wealth. It's alright to keep items like components, which are more difficult to acquire.
- Traders will visit your colony every so often, or you can create a caravan or deploy transport pods.
- Simply destroy those items. If you can't be bothered to give them away, then destroy the items with fire, frag grenades. or dump them on the world map with a short caravan trip.
- Have rooms perform multiple functions. For example, combining Dining and Recreation rooms into a larger one has 0 penalty, giving both Impressive moodlets for the cost of 1.
- Turning bedrooms into barracks does lower mood. However, combining the barracks with their dining, recreation, and even work rooms allows you to make them all Impressive. Instead of making 10 sculptures for 10 bedrooms, you can put 10 sculptures for all of barracks, recreation, and dining rooms, while using some beauty for the workshop. Each sculpture counts for 3 rooms and 10 colonists, which usually makes up for the barracks' mood loss.
- Throne rooms and ritual rooms do not allow beds or work stations, and throne rooms do not allow ritual items. However, each room can be combined with dining and recreation.
- Let your own weapons deteriorate. Many items will lose value sharply as they lose HP. Weapons at 50% HP are worth 10% value, at no loss of function. Deterioration makes items prone to destruction from fire or frag grenades. But a legendary charge rifle going from 4010 to 401 is a significant difference (at higher difficulties). In order to damage weapons quickly, you can throw a frag grenade at it, which deals 50 HP of damage.
- For armor, lower HP does not impact protective performance. But armor loses HP whenever it blocks a shot, and low HP armor gives the Tattered apparel moodlet.
- Park items in caravans. Items outside your colony do not count towards colony wealth. Create a caravan with a useless/unnecessary colonist, grab your items, and wait. For New Tribes, a single pawn with Plants 10 or so can survive off foraged berries indefinitely, thus park items indefinitely (assuming the biome allows foraging). Watch out for ambushes. Note that, if the caravan is on top of a friendly faction base, ambushes are impossible.
- Accept a lower amount of "progress". You don't need an opulent carpet if your colonists are just fine with concrete and a few flower pots, or a dirt floor planted constantly planted with daylilys. Upgrades may seem small, but upgrading everywhere will quicky pile up wealth.
Wealth investment strategies
When interacting with any trader, your colony will always buy and sell at a Market Value loss. At most, it's net equal. Therefore, selling your flake actually lowers your wealth.
With this in mind, consider buying things that either protect you, are consumed on use, or both:
- Doomsday and triple rocket launchers will greatly soften up enemies. Against human raiders, rockets have the potential to dispel an entire raid with 1 burst. Once used, their wealth is fully consumed.
- Better weapons, armor, and defenses - or the components and metal required to produce them.
- Reinforced barrels, to replenish mortars.
- When bonded, persona weapons have no value, both for trade and for the purposes of raid points.
- Rarer materials that you'll need in the future. Key examples are gold for the multi-analyzer, advanced components for the fabrication bench, and regular components before you have fabrication available.
- Skilltrainers and psytrainers, which are consumed to improve pawn stats.
- Artifacts - When used correctly, psychic shock lances, psychic insanity lances, and psychic animal pulsers can all save your colony in a pinch.
- Low-shield packs are single-use and very helpful in a pinch.
A group of almost 100 tribals - a raid worth 5000 raid points - attack your colony. After the raid was over, a few days were passed in order to naturally kill any downed pawns. 49 tribals were killed, and due to testing methodology, were mostly melee fighters. How much would the corpses be worth?
- Fresh corpses are worth an average of $250 each. With 49 corpses, this is $12,316.
- Raiders drop weapons, which vary by the type of weapon. Most of the wealth was concentrated into spears, pila, and ikwas. 49 weapons were dropped, for around $3,739.
- Tainted apparel is worth single-digit silver per apparel. 49 corpses of apparel is worth about $60.
With a total of $16,109, we can derive raid points, using the calculations from #Effects of wealth. An average tribal raider is worth 45 raid points. So assuming we are below 400k wealth, and ignoring adaptation:
However: if temperature permits, corpses will rot in about 2 days. When corpses were left to rot, they and their clothes are now worth $0 on the statistics screen, leaving $3,545 from weapons. This is slightly less than last time, as the weapons have deteriorated a little.
Remember that this is a 100 tribal raid we're talking about. For a good chunk of the game, corpses will not be nearly as impactful. A 10-man raid would be worth 10% of the value. At this raid size: even on 500% you will only get 1 tribal raider, and only if the corpses haven't rotted in time.
Most of the time, corpses will rot before the next raid occurs. For example, Cassandra Classic has an absolute minimum of 1.9 days between each raids/major threat. If a 100-man raid of weapons gives less than 1 raider (on Strive to Survive), then the impact is so hilariously low that it is meaningless at this difficulty.
There are situations where corpses matter for wealth - just that they are limited in application. In a biome with winter, letting corpses pile up can result in a couple of extra raiders (in higher difficulties). On Losing is Fun / 500%, corpses can matter for the ship launch. Raids are very frequent, so unrotted corpses and leftover weapons can lead to a significant amount of increased wealth. The weapons of pirate raiders are more valuable, so you may want to dispose of them.
Disposal has its merits beyond wealth. Weapons can be smelted into steel. Corpses are ugly to look at; even with the Corpses: Don't Care precept, they create filth, lowering the beauty of the surrounding area. Corpses can also feed your carnivore animals. At Strive to Survive, these are bigger considerations than the actual wealth of these corpses.
Let's say we're in the same situation as in #Corpse disposal. We have 49 corpses. Why waste them? You can butcher them into human meat and human leather, which can then be sold. The mood penalties for human butchering can be managed, especially if the butcher is a cannibal / psychopath / bloodlust.
How much material you'll get will vary based on corpse damage and Cooking skill. If a skill 10+ Cook butchers 49 randomly damaged corpses in Strive to Survive, you'd result in...
- 2241 human leather, worth $9412
- 4168 human meat, worth $3334
In total, this is valued at $12,746, about $260.12 per corpse. At 10 colonists, this would be worth 120 raid points, or 2-3 tribal raiders, at Strive to Survive.
This'd be worth 264 points in Losing is Fun. However, Losing is Fun applies 80% Butchering yield, so you'd only get 80% of the wealth. This would be worth 600 points in 500%, but as it is a custom difficulty, you can set butcher yield to whatever you want.
There are 3 schools of thought with what to do...
- Wealth control (1): Just don't butcher humans. It saves on mood and it saves on time.
- Wealth control (2): Gift all that meat and leather to other factions, using transport pods. Gifting the entire stash of meat/leather results in +89 goodwill (+76 in Losing is Fun), turning a neutral faction into an ally, whilst destroying all the wealth from the meat.
- Wealth investment: Sell the human goods to a faction, buying material like components and doomsday rocket launchers. You likely won't need $12,000 of goods, but you likely won't have $12,000 worth of product in the first place. You can buy what you need and sell what you have.
The most wealth-efficient flooring is dirt floor. It costs nothing, and you can improve its beauty by using daylilies. You can have a barracks / dining room / rec room combo be Very Impressive by planting 2-3 dozen daylilies every few days. For an example, see here.
Carpet is one of the most beautiful tiles in the base game, but it has above average wealth. If carpet doesn't have a big impact on raid points, then cheaper tiles like stone tile and paved tile wouldn't, either.
Let's say we place 100 tiles of carpet, which allows you to have four 5x5 bedrooms, or a 10x10 common room. Each tile of carpet costs 13. But remember that, as a placed building, carpet has 1/2 the Storyteller Wealth. Thus we can calculate the raid points of 1300/2 (650) wealth:
|Raid points from 100 tiles of carpet ( 1300/2)|
|Colonist #||Difficulty||Raid Points||Raiders #|
|3 pawns||Strive to Survive (100%)||4.7||0|
|10 pawns||Losing is Fun (220%)||14||<0.5 tribal|
|10 pawns||500% threat||31||<1 tribal|
So even on 500%, the impact of flooring is quite small. When using a 11x11 interior barracks set up, carpet would add about 1 raider. This can be noticeable in the early game, especially on the larger end of barracks. But you wouldn't be using carpet. Concrete can be used and costs 18% the wealth.
Floor can have a major impact in 500% - but it's not usually with raider count. As mentioned in #Other factors, sieges can only happen once you reach 700 raid points. Your flooring can be the difference between a siege - which can be colony-ending if you don't have the tools to deal with it - and a regular raid. Also, 1 tribal on its own can make a big impact when you previously had 1-man raids. Flooring is unlikely to make any sort of difference outside of 500%.
Note that concrete + high quality large sculptures are more wealth-efficient and resource-efficient than any constructed floor. However, other floors do have the advantage of not taking up a room's space. In small rooms, like bedrooms, space can have a major impact on Impressiveness. High quality sculptures also require an artist.