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Personal Profit Modifier


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#1 ymrar

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 03:24 AM

I've come to a situation where I've found myself wanting some system to show personal wealth.

 

In my campaigns I usually create an inner-conflict amongst the players. It gives depth to characters, and it's a mechanic that ties together even characters with conflicted interests. Also, I enjoy sometimes to pop out the popcorn, lay back and watch the show... ;)

 

 In one of these situations one of the RT-officers wanted the Lord-Captain to give him "a bonus" for his efforts. Unfortunately the system does not allow this in any way, and we explained it to the player.

Then the Navigator charted a new route, and the rules say this gives PF to the whole party... Why? Why would Navigator House Benetek give benefits for charts that Their Navigator has charted? It is clearly said in many, many places that their charts are the most valuable asset and guarded with jealousy. Why on Terra would they make a contract where they would trade these secrets with the RT-dynasty?

After these two events I started thinking of A Profit Modifier that is personal.

 

In those two events for example.

The Lord-Captain could give the Officer a bonus Plus PF-modifier for job well done, But he would have to give Minus PF-modifier for someone else for the same amount (otherwise PF would be generated from thin air).

The Navigator manages to chart a new path, once succesfully reported to his House he gets the benefit of +1 PF modifier.

 

Also this gives a way for players to use their personal wealth in their inner conflicts.

 

Someone on ship is concidering doing some little fraud. He is in charge of the book keeping, so he wants to funnel some assets to his own ends. It's a brilliant idea, and I dont want to say "You can do that, but it wont have any effect on your Acquisition-rolls..".

What I'm thinking is that his +1 will come out of someone else's pocket. This might become a lead to what he is doing (generating much fun and extra plot, out with the popcorn!).

 

Do you find balancing issues with that?

Do you have more ideas where Plus and Minus modifiers could come from?


Edited by ymrar, 02 March 2014 - 10:29 AM.


#2 venkelos

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 08:59 AM

You imply mandatory infighting where the group is "meant" to work cooperatively. Other than the Rogue Trader, none of them might have any "real" wealth; it's the Dynasty's Profit Factor, of which they, as members of the Dynasty, are permitted to use. How much wealth does a single Navigator have, vs the whole of their House? If they piss off their House, does that have to fall off? PF is a vague measurement, wherein single points can represent vast hoards of wealth, or contacts who aren't wealth, at all.

 

It's sort of like Influence in Ascension. No Storm Trooper, Guardsman, or Desperado has Influence; the Inquisitor does, and they benefit from it, while their actions on his or her behalf work to increase or decrease it. Only the Inquisitor has "real" power; the rest re along for the ride, but that's not a fun game, so they all use it, and it allows them all to grow/shrink it.

 

It also seems weird to imagine that, with my PF of 60, I can let you roll at 62, higher than I can. And how do I pick the loser, the member out on their tail? Do they just avoid making checks for a while, negating it as a penalty, or how does that work?

 

I'm not saying it's a terribad idea, but I will say I might not be grasping all the finer nuances of it.

 

As for the Navigators, they are obligated to tie their fates to you; they have to share their goodies, so you can find them even more goodies, and wealth. In the event things go south, you can lose their association, as a Misfortune, and lose some PF, along with, probably, your very Navigators. No matter what a RT does, they can't FORCE a Navigator to steer, and trying could get you to a crappy place. Your Explorator might want better access to the cool stuff you find, but I'm not sure if that should increase his wealth, at the expense of yours, and you need him just as much.



#3 ymrar

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 10:50 AM

You imply mandatory infighting where the group is "meant" to work cooperatively. Other than the Rogue Trader, none of them might have any "real" wealth; it's the Dynasty's Profit Factor, of which they, as members of the Dynasty, are permitted to use. How much wealth does a single Navigator have, vs the whole of their House? If they piss off their House, does that have to fall off? PF is a vague measurement, wherein single points can represent vast hoards of wealth, or contacts who aren't wealth, at all.

 

It's sort of like Influence in Ascension. No Storm Trooper, Guardsman, or Desperado has Influence; the Inquisitor does, and they benefit from it, while their actions on his or her behalf work to increase or decrease it. Only the Inquisitor has "real" power; the rest re along for the ride, but that's not a fun game, so they all use it, and it allows them all to grow/shrink it.

 

It also seems weird to imagine that, with my PF of 60, I can let you roll at 62, higher than I can. And how do I pick the loser, the member out on their tail? Do they just avoid making checks for a while, negating it as a penalty, or how does that work?

 

I'm not saying it's a terribad idea, but I will say I might not be grasping all the finer nuances of it.

 

As for the Navigators, they are obligated to tie their fates to you; they have to share their goodies, so you can find them even more goodies, and wealth. In the event things go south, you can lose their association, as a Misfortune, and lose some PF, along with, probably, your very Navigators. No matter what a RT does, they can't FORCE a Navigator to steer, and trying could get you to a crappy place. Your Explorator might want better access to the cool stuff you find, but I'm not sure if that should increase his wealth, at the expense of yours, and you need him just as much.

 

Not mandatory, it is defined by the characters. If the character backgrounds conflict and they wan't to pursue these conflicts I won't stop them. In fact if it looks like a direction for a good story, I encourage it. The story comes always first.

Yes, the group is "meant" to work together. So were the senates of Rome. That's the beauty of it. They need to work together, even if they'd like to stab each others back.

 

I disagree on the wealth department, and the Navigator is again the best example on this. It is actually quite silly that a Navigator that is part of Navis Nobilite who are Extremely wealthy has to actually even use the dynasty houses PF. But that can be explained by exactly what you said (and has.) But it still doesnt explain why would they let the dynasty benefit from PF gained through finding new charts. Also, unless the wh40k becomes part of Utopia, everybody has wealth of sort. I do know what PF represents.

I wouldn't compare Inquisitor to Lord-Captain at all. They are a whole different ball room.

It is also quite black and white world to say that that only Inquisitor of his retinue holds Influence and so does the rulebook actually.

"Rather than a single, quantifiable resource, Influence
represents many aspects of a Throne Agent’s career: his
choices, accomplishments and failures, debts owed, promises
given and received, reputation amassed, friends, rivals, and
foes. Influence also represents the funds he can draw on as a
member of the Inquisition and Calixian Conclave."

The rest are not there for the ride, the rest have assets the Inquisitor lacks of. Be they their skill or contacts, and even that book actually talks about wealth in passing.

But I'm getting seriously side tracked here.

 

The PPM might let someone roll for a higher number than their PF, yes. If there is a base for it. What does it matter if the roll is over the current PF if the story supports it. The system is after all only to support the story in the game, not the other way around.

 

Like in the case of the Navigator example. He is part of a wealthy Navis Nobilite, his efforts are noted. But in my game the benefit is Not for the whole dynasty like the rulebook dictates. Why would they give the dynasty wealth/influence for something that is theirs automatically. They don't, but I let at least the Navigator get the benefit of his work.

 

In the other example: If the Captain would decide to give someone a Bonus he would have to punish someone with a Minus, otherwise, like I said, PF would come out of thin air.

The modifiers are permanent until something changes it again.

But in the end it is the choice of the Lord-Captain to do that. The story might go there or not, we will see.

I'm creating this House Rule so that I don't have to say "No." in that situation.

 

---------------------

 

To give an idea of the current situation in the Lord-Captain's retinue, I'll explain a bit of the ties.

The game background started from a situation where the dynasty was almost in bankrupcy. Their only ship left was in ruins. They got an "investor", the character that now is Lord-Captain. The dynasty made a fraud, made her to be part of their dynasty. She is their "lost relative". They give her mandate of the Warrant of Trade for exchange of repairing the ship. She is now officially part of the dynasty.

At the same time the dynasty puts one of their own lineage, a true heir of the Warrant of Trade as her 1st officer. An heir that might feel that the mandate or even the whole Warrant should be his by lineage.

The Lord-Captain brought couple members of her own to the ship. Some people who have followed her through her career. That was one of her demands for their contract.

Then there is the Enginseer who remains quite neutral about things as long as they don't endanger the ship.

So the background was made that there are some conflicted motivations in the ship. It was up to the players to pursue them, or put them behind them.

The 7 games that followed has brought some more inside ship intrigue, as the players felt their characters would do certain things.

 

---------------------------------------

Back to original topic of discussing ideas and balancing problems:

 

One idea I'm toying with is giving a one time +1 Modifier for selling some Very valuable (unique) equipment for a trade-off in Acquisition roll. I'm ok with some off-balance, but I'm just afraid that it might unbalance things too much.



#4 venkelos

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 02:48 PM

One thing, you might think to award certain characters, such as a Navigator (maybe a Missionary or an Explorator, too), a variant of the Lord Sector's Ear talent, from Ascension. Basically, it says something to the effect of roll with his Influence (PF), and if you fail, bad things can happen, as he feels you violated his faith. In this way, the character could make use of the Navigator House's PF (determine a figure), and use it, but if things go wrong, they get mad (in the House, he's not so important, perhaps, or the funds are tied up in some other action/failed endeavor. Granted, even that Talent is for the whole group, not one lucky sod amongst the shafted, so you might need to tweak it further.

 

I'd argue that most Navigators don't have such easy access to their House's wealth, since they're as greedy as the next nobles, and separate Houses have various degrees of money, with some being dirt-poor, while others are rich, but none are as the whole Navis Nobilite, and it is their access to the head of a Rogue Trader Dynasty that allows them to spend money like they want; perhaps an advantage of doing that job, over fawning as a courtier on Holy Terra, or wherever your House's BoO might be located.

 

I'm sure on some level, it's just balance; they don't want your character to have better access to money than other characters in your group, just because of your class choice. If I played D&D, i wouldn't expect my Noble to get to start with full plate, a horse, and a magic weapon, just because he's affluently wealthy, while the fighter is in leather with a spear, and the wizard only has crap spells and a stick. Also, if you have more, what's to stop other characters in your group from just having you roll for them, and "gift" them a lot of bonuses? You want them to succeed and prosper, too. Only War lets you build a character who gets to be the Munitorum Greaser, and suck up like a...champ to the Quartermaster, or whoever has power over the particular thing you want, but RT is more built, as is, to have the whole group on equal footing, so no one feels they made poor choices, and this is all the longer it takes to feel it.

 

If you do try this out, I hope it goes well. I just also hope that any ill will between the characters, which is sort of the point, I'd say, for some good story dynamics, doesn't spread to the players. Best wishes.



#5 ymrar

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 03:44 PM

One thing, you might think to award certain characters, such as a Navigator (maybe a Missionary or an Explorator, too), a variant of the Lord Sector's Ear talent, from Ascension. Basically, it says something to the effect of roll with his Influence (PF), and if you fail, bad things can happen, as he feels you violated his faith. In this way, the character could make use of the Navigator House's PF (determine a figure), and use it, but if things go wrong, they get mad (in the House, he's not so important, perhaps, or the funds are tied up in some other action/failed endeavor. Granted, even that Talent is for the whole group, not one lucky sod amongst the shafted, so you might need to tweak it further.

 

I'd argue that most Navigators don't have such easy access to their House's wealth, since they're as greedy as the next nobles, and separate Houses have various degrees of money, with some being dirt-poor, while others are rich, but none are as the whole Navis Nobilite, and it is their access to the head of a Rogue Trader Dynasty that allows them to spend money like they want; perhaps an advantage of doing that job, over fawning as a courtier on Holy Terra, or wherever your House's BoO might be located.

 

I'm sure on some level, it's just balance; they don't want your character to have better access to money than other characters in your group, just because of your class choice. If I played D&D, i wouldn't expect my Noble to get to start with full plate, a horse, and a magic weapon, just because he's affluently wealthy, while the fighter is in leather with a spear, and the wizard only has crap spells and a stick. Also, if you have more, what's to stop other characters in your group from just having you roll for them, and "gift" them a lot of bonuses? You want them to succeed and prosper, too. Only War lets you build a character who gets to be the Munitorum Greaser, and suck up like a...champ to the Quartermaster, or whoever has power over the particular thing you want, but RT is more built, as is, to have the whole group on equal footing, so no one feels they made poor choices, and this is all the longer it takes to feel it.

 

If you do try this out, I hope it goes well. I just also hope that any ill will between the characters, which is sort of the point, I'd say, for some good story dynamics, doesn't spread to the players. Best wishes.

Good idea with that Ascension Talent, I need to check it out. Thanks. It might just be what I want for the navigator. It's a detail that annoys me.

 

No worries on things spreading on player level, we're an old bunch who have played together for over a decade. With some almost 2 decades. My first game that had conflicting character interests (not intentionally at first) was a D&D game years and years back with 4 players who had opposite aligments. By the end, it was a blast.



#6 venkelos

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:01 AM

That's good. I was hoping I didn't come off as just being adversarial. ;) Many of my friends aren't as mature as their ages, or like to try things that shouldn't happen. I had one who CONSTANTLY asked if he could play a secretly evil character, in D&D 3.0/3.5. I said no for a long time, since he's sort of a ****** in real life, and I knew that the group wouldn't approve. We were playing a Dragonlance game, and one of the newer players was actually covertly serving Takhisis, and put there to stop them. He acted at the end, back-stabbed the mage (first guy in this speech), and aced him in one hit. Needless to say, he was so pissed he quit, took his minis, and left. The only good thing about it, after that, when I asked him if he still wanted to play evil in disguise, he agreed he didn't, and finally saw where I was coming from. Still pissed, but understanding; some of my own experiences color my outlooks when I'm not entirely sure I know what's being described/going on.



#7 WeedyGrot

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 01:10 PM

To me profit factor is something that cannot easily be used quickly or discretely. Because it doesn’t just represent money but also trade favouritism, commodity exchange and other less tangible means of obtaining goods and services I find it hard to imagine a transaction involving profit factor being done in person. Rather agents are sent out to find how the target may be influenced (though positive means such as settling debts or Imperial favours or through negative means like strong-arming and blackmail).

 

To that end I’ve considered making a stat called personal wealth to represent currency or portable valuables that a person has on them at the time. Personal wealth is much less powerful than profit factor but much quicker to use and also much harder to trace.

 

I haven’t fleshed it out completely yet but I figure personal wealth would be equal to one tenth of someone’s profit factor.

 

That way if someone wanted to skim off the top of a Rogue Trader’s profit factor they could increase their personal wealth by one and increase the difficulty by one level for future profit factor rolls until they stop skimming.


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#8 ymrar

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:21 AM

To me profit factor is something that cannot easily be used quickly or discretely. Because it doesn’t just represent money but also trade favouritism, commodity exchange and other less tangible means of obtaining goods and services I find it hard to imagine a transaction involving profit factor being done in person. Rather agents are sent out to find how the target may be influenced (though positive means such as settling debts or Imperial favours or through negative means like strong-arming and blackmail).

 

To that end I’ve considered making a stat called personal wealth to represent currency or portable valuables that a person has on them at the time. Personal wealth is much less powerful than profit factor but much quicker to use and also much harder to trace.

 

I haven’t fleshed it out completely yet but I figure personal wealth would be equal to one tenth of someone’s profit factor.

 

That way if someone wanted to skim off the top of a Rogue Trader’s profit factor they could increase their personal wealth by one and increase the difficulty by one level for future profit factor rolls until they stop skimming.

This sounds interesting.

I agree that Proftit Factor represents large logistics, mainly used through agents. Yet I also think that all the characters are people with Influence. After all, for example Seneschal careers with good Intrigue represents networks of connections which needs lots of wealth to work.

Influence is control after all, when you control the networks you control the wealth that it contains also.

Then let's look at Arch-Militant in control of the ships ground troops for example. Depending on the size of the troops (usually quite sizeable) they need a lot of logistics to work. When the ship is restocked in space station, so are the troops. Who is in charge of this logistics, controls over the wealth that is needed to run them.

These are just examples about considering wealth around the ship. People who obtain high positions in ships are very likely having wealth of their own.

But I dont want a complex system representing this, as every complex system becomes in the way of storytelling.

Your idea sounds nice, and I'd like to hear more about it.



#9 Kasatka

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:14 AM

I agree with the sentiment that this is a game about teamwork and thus shoehorning in a mechanic to allow infighting is kind of against the spirit of the game. Perhaps if you're players really want to represent things like 'bonuses' give them one use modifiers.

"Oh you feel you deserve a raise? I guess  you do... +10 on your next acquisition test!" kind of deal.


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#10 WeedyGrot

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 02:13 PM

This sounds interesting.

I agree that Proftit Factor represents large logistics, mainly used through agents. Yet I also think that all the characters are people with Influence. After all, for example Seneschal careers with good Intrigue represents networks of connections which needs lots of wealth to work.

Influence is control after all, when you control the networks you control the wealth that it contains also.

Then let's look at Arch-Militant in control of the ships ground troops for example. Depending on the size of the troops (usually quite sizeable) they need a lot of logistics to work. When the ship is restocked in space station, so are the troops. Who is in charge of this logistics, controls over the wealth that is needed to run them.

These are just examples about considering wealth around the ship. People who obtain high positions in ships are very likely having wealth of their own.

But I dont want a complex system representing this, as every complex system becomes in the way of storytelling.

Your idea sounds nice, and I'd like to hear more about it.

 

Essentially my idea stems from the fact that I wanted to have the chance to cut players off from their profit factor without actually adversely affecting it.

 

If a Senschal was attempting to infiltrate a pirate stronghold and gain information on who is behind the raids against a Rogue Trader's holdings then he wouldn't have access to all of his contacts/influence and he may be in a position where he needs to buy something now with what he has on hand rather than sifting through channels to see who is selling what he wants at the price he is prepared to pay.

 

To that end I worked out a quick and dirty system to represent how much someone has in the way of disposible income.



#11 venkelos

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:38 AM

I see the value of that, and Ascension does briefly discuss things about "personal spending money", so that might help, but the book stems from a setting where, as a Rogue Trader, you have so many things you can/might get where you couldn't possibly carry that much money on you; you'd need to be liquidating assets over relays for hours, and figuring things out, based on the astronomical cost of cool things. Even something as "simple" as, say a plasma pistol, one of my favorite sidearms; I have no idea how many thrones that rare a weapon could cost, and who has a shop where they are sold. It's all barter with monolithic organizations who own the universe, at least in bits. For that, they kept the PF vague, if you will, and some things can't be bought with "just money", hence liquidating favors, and contacts, or what have you. I've not told you anything you don't know, I just felt like typing, I suppose.

 

A silly example of this, but I've asked here, and the answers were mostly vague or not there, and I don't blame anyone, it's a sticky situation. You are a Rogue Trader. You just bested a pirate raider, and have captured their ship, crew, and booty. You can easily pilfer their holds, press-gang their crew, space their crew, do whatever, probably killed the Captain for a bounty, and what have you, but what do you do with the ship? You could keep it, certainly, and begin to build your Dynasty Fleet, and it's a nice way to "acquire" another vessel, especially if a quick firefight and boarding action kept the hull's damage to a minimum, but upkeep gets hard, or should, as you own more big investments, and a voidship should qualify as a BIG investment; your is probably the most valuable thing your Rogue Trader owns, in his or her mind. So, you don't want to keep it? Okay, then do you demolish it? Your AdMech might object, and ships are long-time building projects, so... Okay, then you sell it. What's a hull worth? Well, you roll against it, and might not HAVE to burn any PF to succeed, so you might not spend anything, Yours was worth lots. How much do you get for selling it? No one ever answered it well. I bring it up as something with "spending money". It's an example of things no amount of physical currency you can carry can cover, whether you were buying or selling. That's why PF is vague.

 

I do wish that the book gave some better rules for it, though. You can raid a ship of loot for 3 PF, or so, sometimes, but the hull? Don't know.



#12 Errant

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 09:56 AM

Personally I've always treated selling hulls as large-scale personal favours from the organisation in question. So the crew can trade in a renegade Imperial Navy vessel, making it easier to acquire additional troops, ship repairs and what have you. 

 

My games are a lot more about reputation and politics than direct gameplay shenanigans though.


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#13 Erathia

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 12:50 PM

Personally I've always treated selling hulls as large-scale personal favours from the organisation in question. So the crew can trade in a renegade Imperial Navy vessel, making it easier to acquire additional troops, ship repairs and what have you. 

 

My games are a lot more about reputation and politics than direct gameplay shenanigans though.

 

Total agreement. In order to fit in with the scope of the game, most of players would rather have a favour paid to them now, than maybe gain a new vessel 10-20 years down the line.


Citizens of Grace! We have defeated both the Dark Eldar and Ork menaces that threatened your system! We need no thanks nor payments, so long as you do not leave the atmosphere during our salvage operations under pain of death! - Jequin Hos of The Hos Dynasty


#14 venkelos

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:45 AM

I can see that, and in a game where, RAW, you might not have to lose any PF to gain a ship (if you are well to do enough, no need to burn points), it might be a bit weird to gain a bunch for the opposite thing. If it were a cool ship, maybe have a little endeavor worth a few Profit Factor, or get said favor, and something much cooler, later on. While it might be nice to be your own little Fleet Master, Lord-Admiral of Battlefleet You, the maintenance costs for such things would likely grow astronomical quickly.






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