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Trade rules


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#1 Allavandrel

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:08 AM

Throughout the rulebook there is a lot of flavour text about legal trade and intergalactic commence. The players are likely to start out with a light freighter and the group may include a PC trader. Legal trading is likely to be the backbone of a long-term campaign while the PCs are doing a bit of smuggling on the side and help people they meet on their way. Meanwhile, the PCs are accumulating more and more finances which they use for investments in better equipment, infrastructures, projects etc. in order to increase their influence in the galactic hierachy. At the end, they might gain enough influence to be important players in the future of the galaxy and buy themselves a seat in the senate - at least, that is what they hope for. This has been the general structure in our RPG campaigns in the past, and it is also how we envisaged to play SW RPG. Therefore, for our group it is a disappointment that no rules on legal commence and taxation are presented in the beta version.

I recommend that characteristics such as major exports and major imports and some sort of trade and taxation modifiers should be listed in the location characteristics for planets, moons, spaceports etc. A list of ordinary cargos, rarity and base price should be in the Gear and Equipment chapter along with rules for determining the amount of available cargo, negotiation of prices, and cargo manipulation. I could certainly use some help in setting the base prices of one encumbrance of Tibanna gas or Kriin wood?! Also, how do PCs become members in a trade federation or guild and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Please use this thread to give your thoughts on trade and taxation mechanics.



#2 GM Chris

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:31 AM

Okay.

1.  It's just a beta.  Fleshing out core mechanics and playtesting them.  "Fluff" about economics… if it comes at all… would be core release material.

2.  Wow.  Each group has the right to play exactly how they want, period.  And it's awesome that your group has found a methodology that works for their enjoyment!  But you're honestly the first person I've ever heard say they want increased economic bookkeeping in their games.    LOL…  My players would throw things at me if I ever hit them up with this level of economic detail. 

 

I just have a hard time seeing that as "Star Wars" (though, admittedly, everyone's definition of "Star Wars" is unique to them, they're seriously passionate about their definition, and that's what's made the task of a SW RPG hard for any publisher that's tackled it).  To me, Star Wars is about heroes and heroic moments - not the accumulation of money and taxation tables.  Again… to each group their own.

But the core of this system seems so against everything you just asked for.  This system is intentionally abstract with a lot of narrative elements.  It's intentionally moved away from that kind of hard detail.  [shrug]

 

So the real question is… is this the system you're looking for?  Because I'll bet dollars to donuts they don't touch on economic scalability, taxation, and tariff rules in the final release. 


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#3 LethalDose

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:32 AM

 This is a GREAT idea, and would be a great flavor and mechanical addition to the game…

For the players and GMs who want it.

I think this would be a great subject for a print or web supplement for the published game, but not required for in the core book or system.  But for the beta test, we [the testers] need to concentrate our effects on making sure the system essentials, that everyone who plays will use, are functioning as intended.  There is also an economy of space of what can go into the core books.  There are other rule systems that may need priority this type of material.  I also suspect (but cannot prove) that a large proportion of players will not actively use this kind of a system, could find it cumbersome to figure out what level of taxation and regulation is present before making purchases.

As a GM, I've found that games that apply rigid mechanics to subjects such as economy serve more as an obstruction than a supplement to the rules.  Especially in a narrative game such as this, the GM should have the unfettered flexibility to create spaceports settings and economies as needed to suit his or her narrative requirements.  

Flavor-wise, there was very little discussion of economy, taxation, commerce, etc in the OT, and I personally don't feel that the rules would substantially add to the feeling of immersion.

 

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#4 Cyril

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:08 PM

LethalDose said:

 This is a GREAT idea, and would be a great flavor and mechanical addition to the game…

For the players and GMs who want it.

I think this would be a great subject for a print or web supplement for the published game, but not required for in the core book or system.  But for the beta test, we [the testers] need to concentrate our effects on making sure the system essentials, that everyone who plays will use, are functioning as intended.  There is also an economy of space of what can go into the core books.  There are other rule systems that may need priority this type of material.  I also suspect (but cannot prove) that a large proportion of players will not actively use this kind of a system, could find it cumbersome to figure out what level of taxation and regulation is present before making purchases.

As a GM, I've found that games that apply rigid mechanics to subjects such as economy serve more as an obstruction than a supplement to the rules.  Especially in a narrative game such as this, the GM should have the unfettered flexibility to create spaceports settings and economies as needed to suit his or her narrative requirements.  

Flavor-wise, there was very little discussion of economy, taxation, commerce, etc in the OT, and I personally don't feel that the rules would substantially add to the feeling of immersion.

 

-WJL

 

I would actually strongly suggest instead of leaving it in the hands of the devs (who do have other things to worry about), take the jump yourselves and put stuff together. I've already done it with Donovan Morningfire in the very soon to be made public Unofficial Species Guide. Odds are you're going to be able to take the time and put the amount of detail you want to see into them, and that's going to reflect on your publication.



#5 cetiken

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:08 PM

 IMO this sounds like a better idea for the Explorer splatbook than for the core book. Honestly if I want to play space truckers I'll break out Traveller. 



#6 Sturn

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:51 PM

cetiken said:

 IMO this sounds like a better idea for the Explorer splatbook than for the core book. Honestly if I want to play space truckers I'll break out Traveller. 

But, the core book does have a space trucker (Trader), and dirty space truckers (Smugglers). There should be a good trade system in place.



#7 darkrose50

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:08 AM

I would love to see a well thought out, useable, trade system in place.  I would love to be able to play an adventure who is competent with money.  I am tired of the vast majority of RPGs where they overlook things like treasure being valuable (one would think the word treasure would give that away). 

“Look I found MAGICAL treasure . . . what do you mean no one wants to buy treasure . . . wait . . . no one can afford magic?  Did the designers understand supply and demand?”  Seriously who designs a setting where no one wants treasure or can somehow not afford magic (remember supply and demand)?  I am looking at you Mr. D&D. 

FFG please do not get trapped into this no one wants treasure mindset.  I LOVE how there are classes that can interact with money and the economy!  If it is treasure than people want it.  If it is a trade good then people want it.  If people want it, then other people can tell that they want it, and yet other people know where to get it, and yet still other people know the best place to sell it, and yet yet still other people know how to manipulate others into buying it and/or paying more for it.  Some of these people should be PCs!  In D&D you can not be that guy (especially in 4e where the economics are non-existant).  Buying and selling stuff is not a mystical religion and should not be treated as something most people do not understand . . . it is one person talking to another about a thing changing hands.  Please hire someone who understands economics and write up a fun system!
 



#8 Boehm

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 11:53 PM

darkrose50 said:

  Please hire someone who understands economics and write up a fun system!
 

Being an economist myself, I kinda think this is setting teh bar a bit high … any kind of specific system would either be wide open to exploitation by PCs ( I have seen that before - ok well done that myself to tell teh truth :D ) or pretty darn complex … just to mention liking Negotiation and the Trade talents with such things as the fact that markups differ significantly on different types of goods (staples such as fuel vs. specialty items such as higly modified guns) and at different stages of the supplychain (wholesale vs. retail) resulting in a flat 25% reduction in price can end up in results where the PCs can buy at a price significantly below cost ….which again might be possible for higly perishable or specialty goods as a one off thing, if they find a desperate dealer …but not on a any regular basis …

hmmm perhaps just for the fun of it I might be persuaded to come up with some guidance framework …problem is I actually dont know enough about the SW lore to imbed it into the world … or again its kinda hard to keep it both specific, realistic AND simple … - would probably be best with some general guidelines and then just winging it … what do u guys think?



#9 darkrose50

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 12:33 AM

Here is where I am coming from when I say "hire someone who understands economics": a better system than a character can ONLY sell an item for 50% of its value, and a better system than a flat 1:1 skill roll result to money. 

Now I am not an economist.  I do not sell things for a living.  However I can routinely buy things and eventually sell them for more than 50% of their value.  I don’t think my wife would like my hobby of playing merchant if I sold things for half of what I bought them for.  As it stands now she finds it slightly tolerable.

Sometimes the things I sell go for 50% more than I paid for them, sometimes they go for 150% more than I paid for them, and sometimes they go for even more than that.  Sometimes I buy things that do not sell at all.

I paid for my engagement ring trading Magic: The Gathering cards.  Every year I pay for my entire trip to GenCon (including everything I spend money on at GenCon) buying, selling, and trading things before, during and after GenCon that are related to GenCon.  I treat this exorcize as a mini-game of resource management.  I start with X and end up with X+. 

Sometimes you hit it big.  I recently made a $4,500 deal trading some stuff as a hobby.  My dad once made $30,000 buying and selling a toy gun collection (he likely makes this much in a year buying and selling things from estate sales and garage sales for fun).  I bet we have all seen those antique shows on television about that ugly fish paining worth $100,000 or whatnot.  I should be able to make an ugly fish painting finder character.

So if I can make hundreds or thousands of dollars playing merchant for a few weeks in the year, then a gosh darned hero type going on adventures should be able to figure it out, and on a larger scale.  Especially if he is an Indiana Jones type treasure hunter.  It is really frustrating to have rules that mystify or make it impossible for two people talking about trading an item for money . . . rules that stop people from acting like people. 

I kid you not in 4e D&D one cannot under any circumstances earn more money than their level would allow.  An 3 Intelligence 3 Charisma character earns the same Gold as an 18 Intelligence 18 Charisma character does when selling something (essentially gold is equipment points by level).  Now, given, this is on the extreme side of the spectrum of not understanding or caring about economics in an RPG, but this is a chief example on how economics is not given any thought in game design.  As a result no one can create any type of character that interacts with the economy in any meaningful way.  It just flat out kills a concept.

A great deal of RPGs boil earnings down to something like a roll of d20 – 10 + skill * $25/day.  One would earn more money the higher skill one has.  The earnings comparing an apprentice’s with that of a grandmaster’s should not be linier and should resemble some type of exponential growth.  In d20 a skill 14 lawyer (11th level) would earn a great deal more than $250/day over that of a skill 4 (1st level) lawyer [skill 4 = $100 and Skill 14 = $350].  This is almost never given consideration in RPGs.

Hmmm perhaps just for the fun of it I might be persuaded to come up with some guidance framework …problem is I actually dont know enough about the SW lore to imbed it into the world … or again its kinda hard to keep it both specific, realistic AND simple … - would probably be best with some general guidelines and then just winging it … what do u guys think?

That would rock!  If you went into what was being traded, then you would need to include blue milk!  A chart from [A] you bought worthless junk to [B] you bought something valuable on the cheap, with [C] some normal results in the middle would be cool.  Interpreting the dice symbols would be really fun!
 



#10 Sturn

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:48 AM

I just want a very basic trade system. We have characters by RAW that are called, "Traders", so there needs to be at least something simple in place.

FFG's Warhammer has a simple system for buying/selling that fits the dice mechanics. Add some port qualities (easy to buy/sell at Coruscant, impossible on Hoth) and a table of goods and I'm good.



#11 Lord of Malice

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:22 AM

 I do think that the final rulebook should include at least a few pages of fluff on trade. Some discussions of major trade routes, what goes where, what kind of licensing the empire requires (and who do you have to bribe to get one), common cargo bay mods to allow for certain types of shipping, illegal trade, etc etc. It really seems like the set up of Edge encourages the players to do some trading, well really just about anything to get by. At some point I am going to have to get the players to take a cargo hold full of nerfs to some backwater. 

However, I do not want to see hard mechanics on how trade works. Players can probably use knowledge skills to learn some tid bits about who to sell to, common exports & imports, what illegal goods are in demand etc. However the profitability of any trading should be left up to the DM and the story, to avoid having the players commit systems shenanigans to make money they should not be able to make via the fluff.

 



#12 Boehm

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:29 AM

 My take on finding job offers would be something like this I think
1) Finding job opportunities
Roll Streetwise, apply successes towards finding a profitable job apply advantages towards making it sizeable, have other perks included … Roll difficulty separately keeping it hidden from players, subtract successes equally from rolled advantages & successes … tally up threats as complications on the contract (wanted goods/passanger, deadline, navigational hazards, delivery contact missing, animals gets sick, infections etc.)

2) Roll Negotiation vs. Negotiation to modify terms, allow players to use deceit by adding skill ranks as advantages to Negotiation test … this upgrades a difficulty die, being wanted Obligation 100+ upgrades another die – apply results as further complications or detract from negotiation result as seems fit.) using deceive always increase obligation by 1… ei. Cheating always comes back to you eventually, getting caught could be worse.

3) Resolve complications along the trip as encounters or skill challenges, ei. Roll astrogation to find a fast route to meet a tight deadline etc.

Substitute or modify any roll by rp as deemed fit ….

An example of a cargohaul could be:
Taking a passanger to planet X, he is willing to pay a significant premium, doesn’t take up any space really or require any outlay of resources, but its still not really enough to really pay for the trip….
Giving the characters the opportunity to look for an additional contract to the same destination or along the way, rolling only one success this time but several advantages – the offer might be a bulk haul of some low profitability goods, but it’s a big haul enough to fill the cargohold and the contractor might even be willing to throw in a couple of boxes for the crew to keep ….
Netting the players a contract which pays for the trip but not much more + some boxes of ‘spacepins’ …which they can now have fun trying to sell to somebody else + ofcause the original passanger transport.






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