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A Creditless Economy
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dph
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:11 pm    Post subject: A Creditless Economy Reply with quote

Has anyone seen or created and alternative economy system that does away with credits (or at least keeping track of 'loot').

I run a Fireflyesque 'Smugglers' crew campaign, and whilst I've manage to find a good balance between earnings, making sure they have enough to upgrade their ship and a bit of play money without turning them into the best equipped crew in the galaxy is a constant annoying balancing act, particularly without using arbitrary means to pump up or drain the coffers.
The biggest problem is as they earn more, they're more reluctant to take on low paying jobs (that might be key story hooks) because they know what they can earn.

I'm thinking of having something like a crew or individually 'lifesyle' rating. They have to keep a certain amount of work up to maintain it and in return they get access to the gear they need or want (within limits) according to their 'lifestyle' level.

I realize this sounds like a exchanging one economy for another, but essentially I want to push the nickel and dime stuff into the background whilst keeping them hungry for the next job.

Just to be clear, my players aren't a bunch of opportunists, nor am I looking for tips to balance a fluctuating economy, I'm hoping to find an alternative, 'unconscious' way of doing it.

Thanks all!
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope. Credits are always used..

I agree, it can be a fine balancing act between 'am i giving out enough or am i being too stingy', i always lean towards the "its easier to give MORE, if i find i am being too stingy, than it is to 'take back if i feel i have given too much.
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Giant Tourtiere
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have the Tramp Freighters Galaxy Guide, are you enforcing the various costs of operation for their starship from there? That stuff gets expensive in a hurry.

Your idea for a 'lifestyle' rating sounds very similar to how DC Heroes (another old RPG I love) handled money. You had a Resources stat just like all your other stats, it reflected generally how well off you were. A character was assumed to be able to maintain themselves in the lifestyle reflected by that Resources level (so if it was low, you had a terrible apartment and ate a lot of beans, and if it was high you were Bruce Wayne). This assumed you were taking time (usually off-camera) to go to your job or do whatever else it was that you earned money from.

If you needed to buy something beyond your usual cost-of-living stuff (I can build a device to defeat the villain, but it needs 20lbs of platinum) you made a Resources roll just like for any of your other attributes, either succeeded or failed, and the adventure proceeded from there.

I don't see any reason why you couldn't do something similar for Star Wars and give characters a lifestyle rating - in D like everything else - that both reflected what they could usually afford and would also be what they would roll to buy anything extra. There'd be a fair amount of work in figuring out how much that lifestyle rating should cost in terms of character points, and then assigning difficulty numbers to everything they might want to buy that were fair and consistent, but it might work for what you want.
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dph
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With my current campaign, the crew work out of a Space Station where they pay a monthly bill that covers most costs- mainly to save me juggling all those numbers. They just have to come up with the same single payment each month.

Ideally it would be nice to use a 'lifestyle' system for the ship too.

That's of course problematic though with the cost of major upgrades like Drives and weapon emplacements.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can kind of see the appeal of a wealth dice code stat as a way to not nickle and dime everything, but the concept of randomizing the ability to buy things just never sat well with me so I don't do it. To avoid dealing with mundane costs, I run tramp freighter campaigns this way:

Individual character funds and a possible joint business fund are kept track of with exact credits. Payments received for in-adventure drop point deliveries and other job completion, selling stuff, finding treasure, etc. go into these funds. These funds are used to pay for new equipment and weapons, ship repairs and upgrades, loan shark payments, in-adventure speculative trading, in-adventure bribes, etc. It is assumed there are other offscreen jobs that make money to cover taxes, docking bay rental fees, starship registration and licensing fees, refueling, routine ship maintenance, food and other basic supplies. So the more mundane offscreen jobs just break even with respect to covering these mundane costs, while the played-out adventures are where all the profit, risk of loss and danger are. It works well.

The campaign I'm working on for my son will be even simpler. He will just be an adolescent Ewok crew member on a freighter and he won't deal with the money. The NPC captain will just say "yes we have the money for that" or "no we can't afford that". Just like a kid's experience in real life (where the parents are the captains).
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always been a fan of Shadowrun's "Lifestyles" rules... not to cover things like weapons and ships, but an abstract cost that represents how well you're living.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AD&D 1 and 2e has similar, with your monthly living expenses.. Such as; Poor living, means more chances of catching diseases, being rumbled by thugs, and generally a higher chance of being robbed..
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a tangeant, I had a business / finances skill mechanic.

The ship/ organization money is similar to what Whill describes; a pool of resources.

Players that want to make minor purchases can make a skill roll. if successful, the get the item for 'free'...in that it gets covered by all the petty cash that isn't really tracked. The difficulty is based on 1/100 of the credits in the pool.
Is the cost of the item less than that? Easy roll. Up to double that? Very difficult. Up to 4x that value? Heroic.


If the roll fails, they can still buy the item, but they actually have to dip into the tracked fund pool. And the cost goes up by 10% to account for having to liquidate assets that might be tied up elsewhere.

On lifestyles;
I do this in D&D. Works.
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
On a tangeant, I had a business / finances skill mechanic.

The ship/ organization money is similar to what Whill describes; a pool of resources.

Players that want to make minor purchases can make a skill roll. if successful, the get the item for 'free'...in that it gets covered by all the petty cash that isn't really tracked. The difficulty is based on 1/100 of the credits in the pool.
Is the cost of the item less than that? Easy roll. Up to double that? Very difficult. Up to 4x that value? Heroic.


If the roll fails, they can still buy the item, but they actually have to dip into the tracked fund pool. And the cost goes up by 10% to account for having to liquidate assets that might be tied up elsewhere.

On lifestyles;
I do this in D&D. Works.


I like this a lot. It works well for characters with unspecified wealth in a lot of ways, and can give an advantage to someone who chooses to invest in the skill.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
On a tangeant, I had a business / finances skill mechanic.

The ship/ organization money is similar to what Whill describes; a pool of resources.

Players that want to make minor purchases can make a skill roll. if successful, the get the item for 'free'...in that it gets covered by all the petty cash that isn't really tracked. The difficulty is based on 1/100 of the credits in the pool.
Is the cost of the item less than that? Easy roll. Up to double that? Very difficult. Up to 4x that value? Heroic.


If the roll fails, they can still buy the item, but they actually have to dip into the tracked fund pool. And the cost goes up by 10% to account for having to liquidate assets that might be tied up elsewhere.

On lifestyles;
I do this in D&D. Works.


On that 'petty cash pool'.. If they roll and 'buy something for free', does the pool them drop down in value?
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Dredwulf60 wrote:
On a tangeant, I had a business / finances skill mechanic.

The ship/ organization money is similar to what Whill describes; a pool of resources.

Players that want to make minor purchases can make a skill roll. if successful, the get the item for 'free'...in that it gets covered by all the petty cash that isn't really tracked. The difficulty is based on 1/100 of the credits in the pool.
Is the cost of the item less than that? Easy roll. Up to double that? Very difficult. Up to 4x that value? Heroic.


If the roll fails, they can still buy the item, but they actually have to dip into the tracked fund pool. And the cost goes up by 10% to account for having to liquidate assets that might be tied up elsewhere.

On lifestyles;
I do this in D&D. Works.


On that 'petty cash pool'.. If they roll and 'buy something for free', does the pool them drop down in value?


NO. That's the benefit of the skill.
Think of the credit pool like a bank account. If you are good at finances, you can make sure you get the best interest rates. So when you pass a roll to buy some smaller item, you're actually just buying it with the interest your funds are presumed to be generating, but we aren't actually tracking in game time.

The pool is still there to be upped by the acquisition of loot or pay, and depleted by major expenditures (or minor expenditures when you fail the roll.)

In practice it goes along the lines of having something like 5000cr in your bank account.

The character wants to buy a round of starshine surprises for his mates.
The total would be under 50cr. So if his finances skill is 4D6 he can make a roll at easy difficulty. Success means that it's paid for out of his pocket change. No need to adjust what is in the account.

If he failed though, he's kind of tapped out. He might have to go over to a credit dispenser to take out some 'cash'. Service charges etc mean that instead of the 50cr cost, you drop the amount in the account by a bit more...say round it up to 100cr (GM discretion.)

Obviously it takes GM oversight to make sure the system isn't abused by buying round after round of drinks and then handing them out to everyone in the cantina. The GM could keep raising the difficulty if he saw too many attempts in one sitting, or just refuse outright.

As a side benefit, it promotes characters to try to keep a larger amount of cash 'in the bank' because it allows a higher amount of petty cash to be used at a lower difficulty.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh.. Got it..

Would a dismal failure on the roll prompt a reduction in what they had in said account? Say they got dinged by too many fees this month, or someone hacked them and stole some?
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Ahh.. Got it..

Would a dismal failure on the roll prompt a reduction in what they had in said account? Say they got dinged by too many fees this month, or someone hacked them and stole some?


In a de facto way, yes...because they actually have to pay for the item now, and that money comes from their account.

I suppose if there was a '1' on the wild die and it was really bad...a GM might interpret that as a bunch of service fees, a hacked account...or even a stock market crash! Surprised
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
.or even a stock market crash! Surprised


Damn those market crashes.
Or worse, the BANK's computers crash, and their back up data's old so a lot of money's lost..
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm considering revising the way I'll be using the finances skill to make for easier book keeping.

The characters will keep track of their money in 500cr tokens. A nice round number.

Buying something less than 500cr is a finances roll.
The difficulty number is 1/10th of the actual cost.

If the roll is successful, no token is deducted; it's pocket change.

If the roll is failed, deduct the token in a kind of 'round up' fashion.

Example: buying a blaster worth 250cr would have a difficulty number of 25.

This means they will be able to buy lots of small things without ever having to adjust their credit token balance; a drink, a meal, a night at a hotel.
This should balance out when they fail a finance roll from time to time.


-----

This should work for any costs above as well. Deduct the 500cr tokens to account for the cost. Then roll for the remainder to see whether the cost is rounded down or up to the next token.

Only concern...is this going to be just as troublesome as just tracking credits?
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