Buying Stuff

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Lawless
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Lawless » 20 May 2017, 12:13

I would love for all such lists to be insanely detailed. But broad strokes work well also, as long as you have enought pertinent examples. Anyone can work out how much something costs, as long as they can compare it to something. So lots of examples, wichever way you choose to go.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by dysjunct » 20 May 2017, 16:41

Agamemnon wrote:
dysjunct wrote:Also, the point of S&S is not to be an ACKS-like economic simulation. The issue with "better to have it and not need it" is that the presence of rules is a symbol to the reader about what's important in the game.
I can certainly agree with this as a general rule. On the other hand, in a game that's all about temptation, ambitions, and so forth -- very primal, classical human motivations -- money (and the need for money) is one of the oldest motivations known to man. Even when it's not the primary motivation, it presents such fascinating snags.

Imagine your character is head of a noble house that is caught in the snares of your rival. Clearly, your best move is to secure a political alliance. Some RP later, they agree to marry their heir to your daughter -- and that's the exact moment you realize that you can't afford her dowry. What will you do now?

The conflict is about your rival, but now we've gotten a sub-conflict about securing an alliance which creates a sub-sub-conflict about finding a way to raise money for a dowry. A thought that might never have occurred to you or the GM if they hadn't glanced through the book and saw "Oh. Noble dowry's are expensive, aren't they?"

While the game is not about money, there's a fascinating amount of complications that can develop from characters needing money. This is especially true once you break away from the D&D kind of thinking that "buying stuff is about personal equipment." The buying-stuff lists becomes supporting material for the setting itself.
I don't disagree that filthy lucre is a classic motivator for both the great and the low. But it seems redundant in a system that already has SAs. In D&D, a detailed economy is great because not only is there no mechanical way to drive character motivations, but also because gold is literally XP (in early versions anyway). But what's the point in a TROSlike? If you want dowry shenanigans, write an SA like "I will secure my family's future through my daughter's marriage." That's a symbol to the GM that is much more direct than a price list.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Agamemnon » 20 May 2017, 18:49

dysjunct wrote:I don't disagree that filthy lucre is a classic motivator for both the great and the low. But it seems redundant in a system that already has SAs. In D&D, a detailed economy is great because not only is there no mechanical way to drive character motivations, but also because gold is literally XP (in early versions anyway). But what's the point in a TROSlike?
Not sure I follow. You seem to be arguing that money as a motivation is redundant because SAs are a motivation, but use that as a response to an example I wrote where money wasn't being used as the primary motivation. The example started with discussing a rivalry with another noble house. The SA in play, then, would be about opposing that noble house or about your own status (which is presumably being challenged or threatened by this rival). It didn't list money as the goal. It didn't even list the daughter as the goal.

Breaking it down:
  • The motivation is the status of your house (or your rivals by comparison).
  • The conflict is about your rival threatening your status.
  • Your strategy to deal with this was to arrange a marriage.
  • The dowry was a complication to that strategy.
Money was not only not the motivation in the example -- it was nested three layers deep from the motivation. Motivations and complications are two different things. The latter cannot make the former redundant because the former requires the latter for there to be a conflict.
dysjunct wrote:If you want dowry shenanigans, write an SA like "I will secure my family's future through my daughter's marriage." That's a symbol to the GM that is much more direct than a price list.
Your SA example follows a very specific syntax. "I will <objective> by/through/with <type of conflict or complication.>" If someone wants to write their SA in this kind of syntax and dictate exactly the nature of both the objective and conflict, then sure. That would, indeed, tell me that they wanted some marriage shenanigans. On the other hand, not all SAs are going to be written with this specific syntax. This is good, because having four players write five SAs where they've dictated not just a specific goal but the specific means to achieve it and the complications thereto would be a tremendous pain to run and weave together as a narrative. The player's job is to provide the strings. Best to leave the weaving up to the GM.

The majority of SAs aren't going to be strictly goal-oriented by their very nature. In 'Bastards/Scoundrel, you have Ambitions, Convictions, and Passions. Ambitions are by definition goal-oriented, but the more ambitious and long-term the goal the less likely they are to specify exact complication/conflict they want out of it. Convictions are lines in the sand that are going to be challenged, rather than goals themselves. They are kind of the opposite of an Ambition, really. With an ambition, you push the world. With a conviction, the world pushes back at you. Passions can swing either way, but they are generally relationships. They are about a person, rather than a goal with a specific win-state.

TROS was largely the same. Destiny and Drive were goal-oriented. Passions optionally could be. Faith and Conscience, however, were like Convictions in 'Bastards. They are passive positions meant to be challenged, rather than active goals that can be accomplished.

What I find kind of odd about your counter-example is that it seems to imply that I need the player to spell out that he wants marriage shenanigans in order for me to bring it up in the story. Would you hold the same opinion about, say, a sword fight? Does the player need to specify "I will win Lady Juliet's hand through a duel with my rival suitor" in order for me to have Juliet's boyfriend challenge you to a duel? How do you respond if the player just writes "I will win Lady Juliet's hand" without including the second half of your syntax at all?
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by dra » 22 May 2017, 15:14

Agamemnon wrote:http://www.strawpoll.me/12976060

Every book winds up with some sort of "buying stuff" section. Should this be an exhaustive account of different things the players might want to buy, or the broadest strokes? The latter has the benefit of being less involved and taking up less space, but means the GM will have to make it up a bit more as they go along and could be troublesome if they encounter something that they just don't have a frame of reference for (anyone have even a ballpark idea what a trained hunting falcon should run in a renaissance economy?). The former gives the GM a lot more to work with, at the cost (ha) of being more fiddly and requiring more stuff to look up in play.
My opinion - extensive option won't hurt.
One of the questions we ask ourselves at session zero is "what is going to be our attitude to money". There is a lot of merit in leaving it all behind as it only slows down narration, increases amount of bookeeping and all in all might be simply exercise in futility since it is GM that rewards players with $ after all. So if he wants players to invest heavily in order to further the plot, he lets them acquire wealth quickly and... it becomes fluff really.

On the other hand, sometimes we opt to go for more realistic approach. Say, Alexander Dumas'es "20 years later" comes to mind when protagonists are riddeled with debts acquired by high cost of living in contemporary Paris (as well as their disintrest in worldly possesions). Or mentioned here Witcher's saga when Geralt, dude who never smells to heavy with coin goes on some risky monster hunts so he could pay for Cordringher and Fenn's services. Or... say, Baldur's Gate moment when you gotta save thousand gold coins or sth like that in order to further the story by investing in one of two factions.

Bottom line is, if the group wants it, money can be really a strong part of the main plot arch and if you want it, you have to be more strict with whole budget thing. And for that, you need details. If you have it and have optional loot level system or something simillar, fine - you give players an option. But if you only have "broadstrokes" than naw, you kinda make that decission for them at system creation part. If faced with "universality" choice that deducted nothing and might add something of value, I'd go with latter.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Benedict » 23 May 2017, 07:23

The biggest problem with detailed lists and new mechanics is that it diverts attention from the game itself the more detailed it gets.

The prime goal of the game is the Story, the prime fuel for that goal being SAs.

Everything else is just adding complexity to the desired end, which is to fulfill one's SAs in order for the story to advance. Heck, I know that in 'Scoundrels they get renamed to Drives. Still the original name of SAs -- Story Aspects -- by itself is clear about what kind of game this is.

The more a Rule* stays close to the Core Mechanic the better. The less complexity added even more so.
*melee & ranged combat, skill tests, magic, healing, mass combat, wealth, etc

Take combat for example. TRoS had those varied ACs. When you got rid of this stuff it added to game experience. I could post a wall of text of similar cases. There's no need to it tho.

In all honesty detailed lists feel like constraining boxes. Ofc anyone can keep what he wants and discard what he doesn't like.

Still I just have to stress that a detailed master list might be against the game itself. Considering the amount of work required to put it together, plus the volume of text GMs and players will have to go through, I really wonder if it's worth the effort in the first place.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by thirtythr33 » 25 May 2017, 08:13

There's some other funny things to consider.

If you are rolling in order to purchase items instead of tracking coins, there is really only 7 or 8 Reqs (ie prices levels) an item can be at. It doesn't take many examples to illustrate where the 8 brackets fall and going and printing a table of 10 swords, all with Req3 or Req4 seems completely pointless.

Also, S&S doesn't use money like most other games do. In most games, money is the motivator. "Go kill this guy, and I'll give you this sack of coins." Whereas, S&S has drives to be the motivators so money is instead used as a complication. "I want to marry the noble, but I can't pay the dowry."

Combined with the fact you can just about start with max level of personal equipment right at the start, money probably doesn't need to come up often except for those big ticket complications. So I would lean towards a smaller price list, skewing a bit to the higher side of the spectrum. Knowing whether a machete is Req1 or Req2 is less important than knowing whether a war galley is Req5 or Req6 (even if the machete might come up in 10 times as many campaigns).
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Benedict » 26 May 2017, 09:24

thirtythr33 wrote:Knowing whether a machete is Req1 or Req2 is less important than knowing whether a war galley is Req5 or Req6 (even if the machete might come up in 10 times as many campaigns).
Indeed. As other things are also more important. Like what is the price to hire a renowned assassin, consult the most aspiring sage, organize the most expensive wedding, or have a funeral that will be remembered for 200 years later.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by thirtythr33 » 26 May 2017, 10:32

Yeah, now that I think of it, it is kind of amazing that the only game that comes to mind that even attempts to do money this way is Pendragon. Almost every other game just lists prices for items and leaves services and such mostly absent (occasionally you see "hire a guide for a day" but other than that...)

The amount of times I have seen players fight to the death over being caught committing a minor crime or murdered some prisoners after they get robbed is staggering. By having "bribe the guard vs severity of crime" or a "random vs social rank" tables and similar, you wink and nudge the reader into considering those options people often overlook as well as inspire plot hooks for the GM. Also, since the wealth system is a bit abstract it doesn't make the implication that every service is somehow standardized. It's just an order of magnitude approximation that when rolled, might even have a complication attached to it.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Korbel » 26 May 2017, 10:58

thirtythr33 wrote:Yeah, now that I think of it, it is kind of amazing that the only game that comes to mind that even attempts to do money this way is Pendragon. Almost every other game just lists prices for items and leaves services and such mostly absent (occasionally you see "hire a guide for a day" but other than that...)
Well I'll have to disagree, the first example comes to my mind (D&D) and it has some services listed:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goo ... ndServices
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Benedict » 26 May 2017, 11:13

Korbel wrote:
thirtythr33 wrote:Yeah, now that I think of it, it is kind of amazing that the only game that comes to mind that even attempts to do money this way is Pendragon. Almost every other game just lists prices for items and leaves services and such mostly absent (occasionally you see "hire a guide for a day" but other than that...)
Well I'll have to disagree, the first example comes to my mind (D&D) and it has some services listed:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goo ... ndServices
This DnD list dates from 2000 (3E). To my knowledge AD&D (1989) also had some services price listings too. Pendragon is older, about 1985 if memory serves right. Besides, Cthulhu (early 80s) also had some services listings. But let's not sidetrack it further, who did it first is immaterial.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by thirtythr33 » 26 May 2017, 11:36

Well, that is a grand total of 6 services, unless you are going to say each spell casting is a different service. Out of hundreds or more typical adventurer type items. My point wasn't really that services were completely missing, it was what percentage of prices were dedicated to different catagories, as it shows what the game focuses on.

From what you linked it looks like it breaks down something like this:

DND:
Adventuring stuff:
66 misc adventurers junk
10 alchemical
20 tools and skill kits
20 horses
HUNDREDS of weapons & armors

Services:
11 transport
6 Misc hirelings

Cosmetic:
10 clothing
14 foods

It's pretty obvious what this game focuses on. A lot of it has to do with the dungeon crawling roots, where you bring a bag of flower, a rope, a 10ft pole, marbles and all the other stuff to use to creatively solve dungeon puzzles. Since the rules are: "if it isn't specifically written on your character sheet, you don't have it" and you have to creatively solve dungeon puzzles, you are forced to bring all that random crap with you.




Comparing that to Pendragon, that has prices broken down as:
Adventuring stuff:
14 horses
26 weapon & armor
12 farm animals
9 ransoms

Services:
36 Misc services (eg entertainment, clerical, heraldric, women, ports/docks etc)
5 hired mercenaries
7 transportation

Cosmetic:
18 foods
16 clothing & jewelry
25 artworks
14 buildings

You can immediately see a much more equal split between "adventuring gear", services and cosmetic lifestyle improvements. It has more than double the number listings in the Services and Cosmetic sections, despite having an item list probably a quarter of what DND does.





S&S on the other hand, doesn't make you bring all that adventuring crap. If you have trappings, you don't have to have every shovel and lantern written on your character sheet. It's just in your shed at home somewhere; it's not important. You don't have to solve dungeon puzzles, and if you do have to do something like that, you just spend a SA to Introduce an Element to have a flashback where you stuffed the required item into your backpack and move on.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Agamemnon » 26 May 2017, 14:00

The misc-stuff is the largest part of what I was interested in making more detailed lists about.
thirtythr33 wrote:The amount of times I have seen players fight to the death over being caught committing a minor crime or murdered some prisoners after they get robbed is staggering. By having "bribe the guard vs severity of crime" or a "random vs social rank" tables and similar, you wink and nudge the reader into considering those options people often overlook as well as inspire plot hooks for the GM. Also, since the wealth system is a bit abstract it doesn't make the implication that every service is somehow standardized. It's just an order of magnitude approximation that when rolled, might even have a complication attached to it.
Emphasis, mine.
This was sort of my thinking in the first place. Even with my familiarity with the period and customs, it wouldn't have occurred to me to make paying a dowry a plot-hook until I found a bunch of prices for things and saw how much it could actually cost. Likewise, having a list of ransoms helps reinforce the notion that players don't have to kill everyone they meet on the battlefield. There's the argument that the GM could stress this stuff regardless of what we put in the prices, but I'd argue that these concepts aren't obvious and self-evident and particularly not so to players who are mostly familiar with more traditional fantasy games. How many people think about hiring mourners for a funeral?
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by taelor » 27 May 2017, 05:17

As I said in an earlier post, don't aim for completeness in what price info you include; aim for evocativeness instead.
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Benedict » 28 Sep 2017, 06:05

Sorry for the necromancy. And the bump, since its the second time I ask. Still the question best fits here.

I have been tinkering with gear and stuff porting Ferran to 'Scoundrels.

Ferran is Low Freeman, which means [Asset2; Coin1; A couple pairs of common clothing; the tools necessary for his trade (navigator?); personal weapons not in excess of 3 coin] OR [Cash out for 15 Coins].

I opted to cash out and buy gear.

Common clothing: r2
Baselard: DR 0c/0p; Reach Close; Cost r2; Grappling
Cutlass: DR 1c/0p; Reach Short; Cost r3; Basket Hilt
Short Gambeson: AV2; Bulk 0; Cost r2; Full torso, hips and pelvis, arms to the wrist
5 Coins to raise Assets from 0 to 2

1 Coin remaining.

Turns out that I can get him to the same Wealth Levels (Assets2; Coin1) as if I never cashed out PLUS 7 Coins of personal arms and armor :shock:

Is this rules intended? A loophole in the rules? Or I misread da rules?
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Re: Buying Stuff

Post by Agamemnon » 29 Sep 2017, 02:02

Benedict wrote:Sorry for the necromancy. And the bump, since its the second time I ask. Still the question best fits here.

I have been tinkering with gear and stuff porting Ferran to 'Scoundrels.

Ferran is Low Freeman, which means [Asset2; Coin1; A couple pairs of common clothing; the tools necessary for his trade (navigator?); personal weapons not in excess of 3 coin] OR [Cash out for 15 Coins].

I opted to cash out and buy gear.

Common clothing: r2
Baselard: DR 0c/0p; Reach Close; Cost r2; Grappling
Cutlass: DR 1c/0p; Reach Short; Cost r3; Basket Hilt
Short Gambeson: AV2; Bulk 0; Cost r2; Full torso, hips and pelvis, arms to the wrist
5 Coins to raise Assets from 0 to 2

1 Coin remaining.

Turns out that I can get him to the same Wealth Levels (Assets2; Coin1) as if I never cashed out PLUS 7 Coins of personal arms and armor :shock:

Is this rules intended? A loophole in the rules? Or I misread da rules?
Essentially, you're missing out on the tools, extra clothing, and presumption of gainful employment in order to get to where you are. If you hadn't cashed out and wanted to pull goods out of your backside, we can usually let you. "Oh, I totally have a hammer in my carpenter's stuff." Etc etc. What you have on you now is literally everything you own in the world.

The higher your social class, the more this difference matters, but you might be onto something for the low-freeman. I could be tempted to drop it down to, say, 12 coin but I wonder at what point it would be too punitive.
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