Threshold d20 Review: Resources, Races, and Allegiances

I take a quick look at how Threshold handles other character considerations, including resources (money and stuff) and races.  Talents will be in another review.

Here, I look primarily at

and their subpages.


Threshold looks like it uses the resources mechanism I first saw presented in d20 Modern.  This is an abstracted system that means it is not necessary to keep track of coppers and golds and dollars and stuff.

John does provide some equipment (and services) lists for a fantasy setting, probably taken from another source.  They don’t have resource values, instead showing the coin values.  I’m assuming this is an intermediate step before the conversion to the resources system.

You can also find an apparently rather large number of pages, each detailing one item (such as the armored coat).

I’m pretty ambivalent about the entire section.  This isn’t particularly because it’s not executed well, but mostly because right now I’m not particularly interested in the financial system of the game.  I swing from wanting lots of detail when it comes to currency and the like (because I’m like that sometimes) to not really caring because the game isn’t about money, it’s about awesome.


As mentioned in Threshold d20 Review: Characters, races are implemented using templates, collections of talents and features shared by members of the race.

There are several templates provided, with varying levels of detail.  They look like they are in the process of conversion to Threshold.

I see no mention of cost for templates, which surprises me a little considering various templates may give different (greater or lesser) benefits, and thus some may be worth more than others.  It might be as simple as the template identifies the talents to be taken to qualify as the race (for instance, all halflings have Improved Saving Throw talent for each saving throw) so specific cost isn’t really a consideration.  I’d like to see explicitly how this is managed.


This looks like it was taken wholly from d20 Modern to replace alignments.  I’m okay with it, I somewhat prefer it for many games to the alignment system.  I prefer FantasyCraft’s presentation of ‘alignments’ (which really work like formalized allegiances, and can even provide direct power beyond “+2 on Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with someone of the same allegiance”), but that’s not really important here.


Not really much to say here, since these sections aren’t particularly crunchy.  The Resource mechanism seems well enough (though the goods and services have not been fully converted), the Template system for managing racial abilities is a reasonable approach (again, not complete), and Allegiance is as good a system as any for managing such considerations and I prefer it to alignments.


One comment

  1. GreyKnight

    The peanut gallery chimes in:

    Resources: I am not sure that the “cash withdrawal” system is useful for changing small amounts; it seems like a given player will probably either keep all their money in resource form or all in cash form. It is obviously useful to have a way to convert both prices and bank balances between the two systems in case somebody does want to use a different system to the others, but in my system at least I just gave the option to convert their bank balance wholesale.

    Races/Templates: As you say, this is still in development, but it looks like you are heading towards implementing them as collections of talents plus various ability score modifiers and size changes (etc.). This is similar to kjdavies’ and my approaches, therefore I like it ;-) As you know Echelon’s variation also allows for the racial talents to be improved as the character levels. Of course, Threshold could potentially do the same thing depending on how you defined the racial talents.

    Allegiance: I support the idea of being able to customise this sort of thing for the setting, but my approach leans towards the idea that there should be some sort of “cosmic power” involved in alignment-like systems. I think this is how FantasyCraft’s approach (that kjdavies mentioned) works as well; somebody mentioned having set up a system where the alignments were based on the 12 zodiac signs. As a pet peeve, I would probably have described ethical philosophy as order/chaos rather than law/chaos; the latter terminology just seems to result in too many arguments based on people assuming Lawful alignment == law-abiding citizen. Maybe that’s just me!

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