Taxes in Gaming

By various

One day (July 7, 1999, actually), a simple question was asked on one of the Pyramid magazine's discussion boards:

"So, how do you guys handle taxes in your (non-GURPS) roleplaying games? Do you bother with 'em, just assume they're rolled up into given prices, or what?

Of course, because it was worded the way it was, and the Pyramidians being what they are, it spawned a series of hilarious ideas on how could various systems handle encounters with taxes. The contributors are listed at the bottom of this page, but consider this list open -- if you have any idea to add, even if it involves an already listed system, feel free to mail it to me.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Save vs. Petrification or lose 50% of wealth. [BC]

Ars Magica
If the Covenant pays taxes, that's accepting the overlordship of a non-Hermetic authority, which is demeaning. If it doesn't, we have to fight off the royal army, which is interfering with the mundanes. Hah. Does the Peripheral Code say anything about this? [PM]
Baron Munchausen
Taxes? Great Heavens, son, you know nothing of taxes. Once, while on holiday in the mountains of Borneo... [BC]

Big Eyes, Small Mouth
Taxman! Stand upright to receive my hate! [gunfire] [AY]

Call of Cthulhu
The US Tax Code is a Mythos resource of unspeakable evil. Studying it causes a loss of 4d10 SAN whether or not you actually understand it -- such is its power. It also bestows a peculiar form of delusion which causes the reader to want to wear drab suits and ties and wear black plastic-rimmed glasses, and use words like "fiduciary" in actual normal conversations. And not even the Old Ones mess with the IRS. [BC]

Car Wars
D4 hazard [BC]

Chivalry & Sorcery
After checking chart 14-2 in chapter six ("Economics of Scale"), cross-reference with the character's standard of living (as indicated by birth rank, family status, and occupation), and perform the tax calculation using the character's current gross assets as the base amount. Note that for certain tax burdens, selling armor or equipment piecemeal is possible. [BC]

Classic Traveller
"You should consider it an honor to contribute to Strephon's royal treasury. Unless you are a Zhodani agent. Are you a Zhodani agent, citizen?" [AS]

CORPS
Government level * 10 = percentage of tax on each monetary transaction. [AS]

Cyberpunk
All prices include tax, but since you don't have any money anyhow, it's kinda pointless to talk about. Mug some geezer for enough money to eat tonight. [BC]

Dino Hunt
<CHOMP> <SQUICK> <SWALLOW> <BELCH> [BC]

Feng Shui
An automatic pistol in each hand, the tax accountant crashes through the window of an underworld warehouse crammed with unreported loot, spraying bullets everywhere and filling the air with dancing green paper shreds, all the while crying "Elliot Ness, baby! Elliot Ness!" [CW]

GURPS
Fright Check at -8, -6 if they have the Accounting skill at 12+. [BC]

Illuminati
You should already control the IRS by this point... [BC]

In Nomine
Angels don't pay income taxes; Demons actively scoff the law. [BC]

IOU
Attention on campus! Attention! IRS agents have been seen on-campus, and we all know how Her ArchDeanship feels about them. The usual bounties apply. Put DOWN the antiparticle cannon, Professor Tesla -- the Rules are still in effect! All bloodfeuds are suspended until this infestation is extirpated. [BC]

Lensman
By Klono's selenium suntan, we MUST pay our taxes! We need the money to fight Boskone! [BC]

Mage
You know that saying about death and taxes? Well, it turns out that you might be able to eliminate death from your paradigm, if you Ascend or something, but taxes are a bit harder. The Syndicate have just taken Horizon...
Magic the Gathering
Taxes? But we're not playing ante!
or
Mana Flare, Channel, Fireball.
or
Didn't they already ban Land Tax for tournaments? [BC]

MegaTraveller
I'm here to collect taxes in the name of Emperor Dulinor! (Unfortunately, the PCs are stout followers of Lucan...) [AS]

Men in Black
Show me your face and I'll cure all your ills. [AS]

Men in Black
You're from the IRS? Cool. Could you take a look at this for me? <FLASH!> [BC]

Over The Edge
A Pound of Flesh. And we do mean a pound of flesh. However, said pound need not be your flesh. [DC]

TOON
Drop a huge bag holding 84 zillion simoleons on the tax collector's head. [DC]

Paranoia
Knowing what "taxes" are is treason, Citizen. Please report to the nearest Hair Removal/Dismemberment chamber for summary execution. Have a nice day. [DC]

Shadowrun
Taxes? I got yer taxes right here, chummer! POW! [DC]

Star Fleet Battles
Contact with the tax collection space beast requires every other square on the SSD to be marked off, similar to a HET breakdown. [AS]

Star Trek: The Next Generation
You will pay taxes. Resistance is futile. [BL]

Star Wars
I'm here to collect your taxes. Why do you keep waving your hand like that? [AS]

Star Wars
I find your lack of payment disturbing... [BC]

Teenagers From Outer Space
Sorry, but with sales tax that SlickGlazTM paint job is $2 more than you have. I'll make you a deal, though -- my daughter doesn't have a prom date yet... [AY]

Traveller
Humans: You pay them. Imperial Marines in battledress aren't to be trifled with. [BC]
Zhodani: You want to pay your taxes. It's your civic duty. Failure to pay taxes is a sign of wrong-thinking. [BC]
Hivers: Everyone already works for the common good; there are no taxes. [BC]
Vilani: You pay them, of course. We've paid taxes for over thirty thousand years. How could you not want to pay taxes? [BC]
Swordworlders: You can have my money when you pry it from my cold dead hands, Imperial dog! [BC]
Vargr: Wow, he's cool. He can have some of my money. [BC]
Droyne: We asked for taxes. It gave us three shiny pebbles. We asked for another pebble. It looked at our ship, and the ship just disappeared... [PM]
Aslan Male: Urrrrghhhh... Ask the female. [PM]
Aslan Female: Oh gods, have the males forgotten again? [PM]

Traveller: The New Era
Listen up, Spacer. If you see a ship called The Tax Man, do yourself a favor and just jump out-system. Your sensors may detect a crew, but believe me, nobody's on board. [AS]

Tunnels and Trolls
Players: "Oh, my God! He just took a Level Twelve Take-That-You-Fiend and a Level Ten Oh-Go-Away without flinching!"
GM (sporting evil grin): "The Taxman Cometh..." [AS]

Uplift
Vile Wolfling, you should be honored to pay tribute to such a distinguished patron as ourselves. [BC]

Vampire: the Masquerade
Even if you pay your taxes, the Hunger will not abate and you will descend into Darkness. You are Damned, Damned, Damned I say!!... [RB]

Warhammer 40K
All taxes must be paid in the skulls of your defeated enemies. Any shortfall will be made up by sacrificing the life energy from your espers to the Golden Throne. [BC]

Werewolf: the Apocalypse
All proceeds will go to perserve our Mother Gaia in our war against the Wyrm. Please make out all checks to "Furry Treehuggers, Inc." [RB]

Wraith: The Oblivion
If you don't pay your taxes, your person will be seized and forged into one obol, which will be added to the treasury. Of course, the money screams when you handle it. [WS]

Contributors