So, here's another point for discussion, I have a few ideas, let me know what you thing. Please attribute all comments so we can tell what's going on.
Our game economy is a complete abject failure. I admit the refs haven't been doing a lot to make it work over the last few years, and I'm as much to blame for this as anyone else, but I don't see our current system worth a significant amount of (r)effort to look after, considering the abuses available. One of the biggest problems also comes with physrepping, sure it's nice to give everyone shilling physreps, but we get somewhere between 30 and 50 characters in the bar on a weekly basis (increasing) and most of them horde money, physrepping it is a bit ridiculous.
There are a few other problems that spring to mind. One is that money does provide a level of power, but our methods for ensuring it is apportionned fairly seem to fail. We'e had several examples of PCs earning several thousand shillings in the past, which gives them access to a pool of potions and scrolls that's largely inexhaustable.
Another problem was pointed out to me yesterday, a player with two characters linearing them each once a term can put 80Sh into potions for the linear. A player with one character linearing him twice a term can put 40Sh into each linear. Is this fair? Similarly, those who are *in* with the alchemy crowd can get a large amount of free transferrable power (see the alchemy rant) - thus allowing them to go easier on their wallets, and horde cash more effectively for other cool shinies later.
Finally, because our economy is so limited, we find that most people ignore it entirely, whereas a few people work hard at it to earn as much as possible. As a result of this, we find that loot tends to clump together and pile up on a small number of characters, rather than being nicely spread through the characterbase.
There's probably a wealth of other problems, basically, I think our entire approach is inelegant and rewards out of character effort, downtime play and various mechanical loopholes rather than groovy uptime play. It's also a complete pig to manage.
So, taking a vague step back, how about trying to make the money system something entirely different? we're looking at something that would be less effort to keep track of, but more balanced and with greater utility. Ignore picky details, like precise numbers, for now. How about something along the lines of the following?
- Every character has a base "income" - a value of money that they can readily put their hands on at short notice. Call it 40Sh for now. In any given week, the character can say "I need to access my funds", open their bank, and pull out cash for whatever they like. The money comes from their day job, scrounging from friends, taking funding from their institution etc etc. Notably, you *can't* take your 40Sh on a linear and also the 40Sh from everyone else in your little alliance, that's "scrounging from friends" and therefore included.
- If you empty your funds, next week you're broke and can't access any money at all. Your funds recover at (say) 25% per week and level off when they fill up again.
- Buying income costs (whatever) xp, and increases your basic utility by (say) 20Sh, so an income 1 character can lay their hands on 60Sh, and recovers at 15 shillings per week.
- Elixirs cost 10Sh per ingredient to buy from the guild, and you can buy up to size 2 elixirs easily.
- Alchemists who send transferrable power on linears deduct the HALF value of the ingredients from their own pool, therefore ensuring that there is some personal cost to transferring power. Specifically, it puts a cooldown timer on the free potion bomb.
- Scrolls cost 10Sh per level of spell, are available up to level 3 spells, and degrade after a week. (To prevent money hoarding through items.)
- If you are paid a large sum of money through plot, or another character, or theft or whatever, then that goes into your fund, which increases beyond your basic utility. Tell the refs how much you have, and this value will degrade at (say) 10% per week until you spend it or it settles down back to your basic utility. This represents lavish living, tithing, tax etc etc. Getting characters to lump their cash onto you for the purpose of linearing is viewed as an abuse of the system.
- Mercenaries tend to charge 10-40 shillings for a quick job, depending on what it is, and how good they are. Availability is largely restricted to whether you can get a player to monster it for you. PC mercenaries can charge whateer they like.
That's basically it. We print off a bunch of physreps again, so players who want to carry physreps can do so, and monsters can be looted. (looting monsters on a linear obviously lets you cover your expenses ;) ) - I think overall the system needs a lot less effort than the current one, although it's obviously a bit more complex to understand. In essence though all a player needs to know is "I can lay my hands on (foo) shillings if I need to. If I earn money or spend money then this number will change short-term, but settle back down to what it was over time."
I think restricting power gifting is a slightly inelegant way to fix the "I have two characters, so I am economically twice as powerful as you." but the only other solution I've seen involves various mechanical rulesets for picking primary characters (etc.) - and I feel that's quite a large shift in tone from our current methodology. (I'm all for the idea that you get one set of money/downtime per player, I just feel it would be unpopular.)
Mneh, there's a loopole where everyone buys an elixir every week. With this overview, the fixes I see are to say "you don't recover cash any week you access your funds." or "you must empty your bank when you access funds" - both are kinda weak. I suppose the refs could Just Say No to that... "What, you want an elixir "just in case"? are you doing anything dangerous? No? sorry, we need these to sell to scouts who are actually travelling in the wilderness. etc."
(Spotted a loophole where it's never worth alchemists buying the elixir skill, and they can't even transfer all their slots if they really want to, and halved cost of sending ingredients. --Ahdok)
Thoughts welcome. --Ahdok.
- In principle, I rather like this idea- it borrows some of the better concepts from tabletop RPGs that have done something similarly since the WoD? systems popularised it. Potentially, you could extend it further as well. To try and put some ideas down on paper...
- For example, in the Vampire Dark Ages system, the equipment you could buy was restricted to stuff that was within the level of your 'Resources' background (ie the cash you had available). Thus a character with Resources 3 could afford to have swords and maille armour and similar level of stuff without having to justify it. To buy plate (a Resources 4 item IIRC) would be beyond their means. You could however buy something above your level of Resources by taking a penalty elsewhere (eg the cost of having plate armour for a Resources 3 character might mean you only had an effective Resources of 2 for other stuff).
- To TT-ify that system, maybe anyone could have access to a menu of common items, like weapons up to 36" and armour up to studded leather. You then have a budget of points available for other stuff (better armour and weapons, scroll, potions etc). This would act as something of a nerf to warriors though, as they pretty much always want such things and would therefore have less potions than rogues, scouts or mages. Of course, you could put a resource cost on maintaining a focus or warmetal weapon etc. Plus the items restricted by this are ones the character has paid for once already by the XP expenditure to wear plate or use polearms etc. --TimB
- I don't think we want to extend the economy to things that have previously always been non-economic (e.g. mundane armour and weapons), at least not until we're pretty damn sure it works. --ChessyPig
- Feels like a good principle, but including your regular equipment in the economy is very complex, and something I'd rather avoid without starting over with a new system that focused on this a lot more --Ahdok
I think we need to consider very hard how to make it worthwhile for PCs to take money off each other for services / off NPCs for linears and how to handle things like PCs working very hard to earn lots of money for a particular political / background goal (e.g. 'buy the Wessex Arms from the Laundresses', 'pay off my father's huge debts', 'buy a new ship to sail away in', 'buy myself a Mastership in the Alchemists' Guild', 'build a new brewery / distillery / cider press', 'conduct a large construction project to deal with overcrowding in the city'). Money is a very important motivation for non-religious characters and ideally the economic model should support this. --ChessyPig (more numbery musings in ChessyPig/EconomicModel to avoid polluting this page with conflicting systems)
- Yeah, this system largely assumes people are using money for mechanical IC stuff within a low-level ingame economy, rather than for large projects. I don't feel that the large "I build a huge fortress" parts of the game really don't work, because our economy game scales so terribly, and it's difficult to ref exactly what doable. (How many weeks do I need to downtime asking for donations before I can build my shrine?) It all feels like play-by-downtime, so I wrote a system that largely ignores this aspect of play completely. - If people really want those kind of goals, they can be investing their money in some sort of tied-up funds that don't act as a part of their readily available assets. --Ahdok
I quite like the way scrolls don't degrade atm, so you can always have, say, a scroll of invis. lying around in case you need it. How about imposing a cap on the number/combined levels of scrolls that may be posessed by one character instead? (eg. scrolls need to be preserved 2 nights a week to prevent degrdation, but you can only work on 1 scroll a night.) --Chevron
- It's a detail that I hadn't really considered. This system needs things you can buy easily to degrade over time, otherwise people just keep hoarding them. I don't see why you can't ritual up permanant scrolls as well for these cases, it's just these are "special" items rather than ones that you just buy out of the local shop. --Ahdok
- Characters who want an emergency scroll of Invisibility or an emergency Healing Potion, which they can have about their person at all times without having to go buy new ones, CAN get these - but they should be treated like permanent magic items rather than like scrolls or potions, and subsequently require more effort to get hold of. --Valtiel
- That could work. I note that at least one such item exists already. Would we look at magic items you get from linears/questing/rituals having a resource cost to maintain? -- TimB
- It's an interesting mechanic for limiting the amount of flange any one character can have, and therefore avert flangical mass --Ahdok
- On a tangent, can we make it so pure Wilderness characters get extra free resources from their gathering? Just so someone can finally use the phrase 'rangers are so broken' without utter sarcasm. -- Aragorn
- No. Alchemists don't get extra resources from making potions, mages don't get extra resources from casting spells for people, priests don't get extra resources for healing people, so wilderness characters don't get extra resources from picking mushrooms. Also, I think the reason rangers currently suck is because nobody owns a LARP bow. --Valtiel
- s/own/is any good with/. Nicholas owns a LARP bow, but I am hopeless with it. Also LARP bows are pretty lousy in general, require a fairly high skill level to make the most out of, and arranging practice sessions with them is awkward because it tends to make normals less happy than other LARP weaponary. And nobody ever has enough arrows, and they're expensive to lose, and Grantchester Meadows is designed for eating your arrows. So it's not really as simple as that and rangers do in fact suck. --ChessyPig
- Once I get around to painting my arrows fluorescent orange so they're less losable I'll try rangering it up a bit, and see if someone not totally rubbish with a bow can in fact make the Wilderness class worthwhile. I expect that it'll prove less effective than Kelasen, though, as it needs both hands, has a lower damage output, and can miss. --NT
- I have a larp bow, and am pretty decent with it. I can do 3-4 times as much damage with basically any combination of melee weapons, while also defending myself much more effectively, so it would be pretty insane run a character with it. Monstering, it's a laugh, but the last four times I've taken it to linears and offered to use it, I've been told not to. Also crossbows, similar problem. I think they're vaguely useful as a source of strikedowns in combat, but spells for a similar job work much better, and don't take a hand and a half. --I
- To hijack this page for fixing Scouts, I believe an extension of the Combat Competancy tree to keep them just below warriors at high levels might do the trick, (say doubles by blow at 6th or 7th Level) --Taxellor
This looks like an attempt to make the IC economy A) work and b) matter. I think we are probably better off trying to make it clear that the IC economy doesn't work, and looking at ways to make this not matter. --Jacob
- The problem with that response is that a significant number of possible IC goals include the use of money/economic power - if one ignores the IC economy then it cripples a large amount of game or at the very least leaves it inadequetly supported. --Delvy
- Some day I would love the economy to work, but from where I stand at the moment, it looks like 'using shillings as random plot tokens / an ability to get a strictly limited amount of Bonus Stuff' is working well enough that other areas are in more need of attention and I don't have the wherewithal to put together plot which would showcase how a working economy is a good thing in preparation for bringing in rules support. (Which is how I'd start if I was going to sort this out.) --ChessyPig