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#1 venkelos

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:29 AM

This is mostly just an opinion search, and not particularly limited to this game over any others, but still something some people might find relevant. How do you manage looters vs cool stuff? Say we use a Star Wars video game as an example. They have you find certain things, or a certain range of things, at somewhat predetermined times, throughout the game. Whether you are playing Kotor (I or II), Shadows of the Empire, or pick one you like, some of the cooler weapons options are put off. You might start as a Jedi, but you don't get a lightsaber till later. You might eventually get a disruptor, but it won't be till near the end, when you need it to kill one particularly well-armored monstrosity, or something. In the game, you might fight someone who has something cool, and best them, but when you go to loot their corpse, nothing. I'll use Kotor 2. Meetra Surik starts with a weak connection to the Force, and crap for gear (normal for that type of game). The first  person she adds to the party is Kreia, who certainly is/was a Jedi, but has no lightsaber (still makes sense, and I feel I'll add that if you cheat, and give her one early, the cutscene where she loses a hand still has her carrying a vibroblade). Later, but before you get a lightsaber, Visas Marr sneaks aboard, and you fight her, but upon besting her, you bisect her lightsaber; she joins you, but now has no lightsaber for you to use, or let her keep using, the game takes pains to keep it out of your hands till it feels the story deserves it. Along the way, you might fight some Sith, but they don't give you lightsabers, dark Jedi/Sith robes, stealth field generators, etc. when they die, most likely, even when you saw them use it. In the RPG, however, there isn't a mechanic to prevent this. How might you introduce a character with something cool, something you don't want the players to have, but keep it out of their reach after they decide to eviscerate that person, and then loot them after their victory? They might be of a darker mentality, willing to eliminate a neutral NPC who has something they want. Do we just swear off letting anyone hold a disruptor pistol, a lightsaber, or other cool goodies, until the game is progressed that far, and if they happened to loot it, it would be okay, or can anyone think of a good option for my strange little quandary?



#2 Gamerunner

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:54 AM

In other games I've used "Advanced technology" as a description and added a DNA/Pearsonal recognition device coded to 1 user only, on any fantastic gear.

Then the PCs gain the item, but can't activate it untill they can beat a high Mechanical / tech etc.. difficulty.

Mostly it was faster for them to pay someone better, to do it for them, but that also means resorces spent and another being knows about their fantastic, unique tech.



#3 gribble

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:27 AM

A narrative style game makes it a lot easier to control this sort of stuff - the killing blow severs the lightsaber in two before burying itself in the opponents chest. As the opponent goes down, they drop their disruptor pistol, which clatters across the floor and into the shaft (this is Star Wars, so there's got to be a lot of superflous holes in the ground, right?). The robes/armour are ruined by the pounding they took in the fight, or the headless body staggers a few steps and tumbles off the edge of the cliff/platform, etc.

Or put them in pressure situations - do they take the time to stop and loot the body and give pursuers the opportunity to catch up / the bomb the opportunity to go off / the bad guys the opportunity to complete their nefarious plan.

There are plenty of ways to narratively make this happen. Just don't overuse it - players have come to expect a certain amount of looting in RPGs…

:)


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#4 DailyRich

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:08 AM

I guess I'm just blessed with a different kind of group, because never once after a fight have they scurried around picking up everything they could.  Even when I emphasized that the master bounty hunter from the intro adventure had dropped the heavy blaster rifle that had been tearing the party up.



#5 eldath

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:21 AM

It also depends I think on what the item is, if the GM feels using a lightsaber against the party is ok then they must be willing for the party to get their hands on one. That said, the penalties for being found with a lightsaber are severe and might start with just being shot at as a suspected Jedi to having Darth Vader himself hunting them or at least one of the Emperors Hands. In addition to that, if they try to use a lightsaber then play up the dangers of using one untrained (just remember that getting the Lightsaber skill should be not just extremely hard but nigh on impossible).

As to everything else, I don't see an issue with the party getting their hand on something like a Disrupter rifle, especially now that they have removed the effect that was based purely on the Dark Forces Pc games. If the party have managed to get something which is restricted then they will have to deal with Customs inspections, Imperial checkpoints etc.



#6 GM Chris

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:25 AM

 

I find myself in the same footing as Rich.

 

In my star wars games, my players generally won't look twice at a fallen foe to "loot" them.  The only time I see that happening is when a brand-new Star Wars player joins the group, who was weaned on D&D.  They tend to be quite "loot happy".

The earlier suggestions are great.  You can use the narrative dice system to solve the problem easily.  Also consider that in this universe, most weapons and highly specialized armors are licensed (especially the really good ones).  Using an Imperial issue heavy repeating blaster if you're not a storm trooper is rather dangerous.  It gets the wrong people asking the wrong questions.  I had a group of PCs once find several suits of storm-trooper armor.  They got really excited!  "We can sell this for so much money!"  They knew there was no way they could sell it to a legit shop, but when they took it to a black-market fence to sell it, he freaked out.  Like, SERIOUSLY freaked out. 

"WHAT IS THAT!!!???  Why are you bringing that into my shop???  Are you insane?!  I can't be caught with that!  And what the hell would I do with it???"  "But… um… it's really good armor…"  "Yes, it is.  That's why the STORM TROOPERS WEAR IT.  Who the hell is gonna buy STORM TROOPER armor from me???  Who the hell would I sell it to??  How DARE you endanger my business by even BRINGING this here!  GET OUT!!!"  The armor literally spent the rest of their campaign in storage.

Saga Edition had the danger of this same problem, as well.  (But that system was one of the rare d20 systems where your character's gear rarely determined their effectiveness.  You could go from level 1 to 20 with the same starting blaster, and be kickarse.)  But if the problem presented itself there, it was solved the same way.  "It's damaged." or "You can't use it."  or "It's far too hot to use."

Failing all that - it's STAR WARS - and you just have to politely nudge any offending player into that mindset.  Unless it's integral to the plot (e.g.: Han and Luke grabbing Storm Trooper duds), no one in a Star Wars movie EVER loots a body.  EVER.  It's just not done.  And Han and Luke stripped all their phat lewt off the moment they could - only hanging onto weapons/gear that helped them further in the situation.  They even took all those cool rifles back onto the Falcon in their hurried escape - but do we EVER see them use these things again?  Nope.  Han's still slinging his DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol (luke even picks up one to use in ESB).


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#7 ErikB

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:05 AM

GM Chris said:

Unless it's integral to the plot (e.g.: Han and Luke grabbing Storm Trooper duds), no one in a Star Wars movie EVER loots a body.  EVER.

I dunno. Like you say, everyone dresses up as Stormtroopers in the first movie. In the second, everyone equips themselves with Stormtrooper blasters when escaping from Cloud City. In the third, they steal the dead scout troopers speeder bikes in order to have the bike chase. Obi-Wan loots Qui-Gonns corpse for his lightsaber to kill Darth Maul, Padme picks up a discarded droid blaster on Geonosis, and if I remember correctly General Grievous got his lightsabers from Jedi he killed. 

Arming yourself with your enemies weapons (when disarmed) seems very in keeping with the genre.


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#8 darkrose50

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:12 AM

It always drives me nuts to see characters in any movie or television show pass up equipment that could be intelligently used.  Why need a gun when you are being hunted by aliens?  Who needs a riot shield and riot armor to battle zombies?  Who would want to pick up something worth hundreds or thousands of dollars?  It drives me nuts.

I can think of several RPGs that cover this situation. 
[1] Hercules and Xena had a mechanic that one would need to buy an item with experience or it would disappear between adventures.
[2] D&D 4e basically turned gold into equipment points.  If you did not have the equipment points to begin with, then you could not find the item.
[3] Pathfinder Society allows you to use found gear, but is vanishes between adventures if not purchased with gold.
[4] Fantasy Craft limits treasures kept to a finite number.  For example each player could only have 3 treasures, and upon acquiring a 4th it would need to be sold/discarded.

I would offer the players force points, credits, a reduction in obligation, or character points for either not picking up the item in question, or delaying its use.  On the reverse side I would increase obligation for acquiring such an item.  Further you could have the lightsaber have a telekinetic switch on it, thus requiring the requisite force power to activate (perhaps also the lightsaber skill).

Example: Defeat the Sith Assassin and either reduce your obligation by 5 for destroying the lightsaber (reducing hunted), or increase your obligation by 5 by looting the lightsaber (increasing hunted).  Reward delaying gratification and offer consequences for instant gratification. 



#9 darkrose50

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:26 AM

ErikB said:

GM Chris said:

Unless it's integral to the plot (e.g.: Han and Luke grabbing Storm Trooper duds), no one in a Star Wars movie EVER loots a body.  EVER.

I dunno. Like you say, everyone dresses up as Stormtroopers in the first movie. In the second, everyone equips themselves with Stormtrooper blasters when escaping from Cloud City. In the third, they steal the dead scout troopers speeder bikes in order to have the bike chase. Obi-Wan loots Qui-Gonns corpse for his lightsaber to kill Darth Maul, Padme picks up a discarded droid blaster on Geonosis, and if I remember correctly General Grievous got his lightsabers from Jedi he killed. 

Arming yourself with your enemies weapons (when disarmed) seems very in keeping with the genre.

+1

Not using the tools at ones disposal is, well, not wise. I want to interact with the items available while playing a RPG.  If I see something cool, and can think of a way to use it, then I should be able to. 

I remember playing in a Live Action Role Playing (LARP) game a few years back at GenCon.  Most of the players were Ewoks and some of the players were Droids who crash landed on the planet.  The empire was building the Deathstar and the woods had patrols of Imperial Stormtroopers.  Each Ewok was either a warrior, a leader, or a builder.  So a good portion of the game had characters who made stuff.  The GMs were not prepared for us to loot Stormtroopers and make use of their various gear. 

Ask anthropology majors what crazy items people build out of scrounging stuff from the wilderness.  Perform an internet search for things you can build with duct tape.  The Myth Busters did several episodes on this subject. 

Looting items from well equipped enemies is nothing new, and should not be discouraged. I know if I was in a battlefield and some guy with something cool tried to kill me, then I would take the cool thing.  This occurred in WWII like crazy.  My wife’s grandfather came home with some crazy stuff (guns, swords, and whatnot).
 



#10 Cyril

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:46 AM

ErikB said:

 

GM Chris said:

Unless it's integral to the plot (e.g.: Han and Luke grabbing Storm Trooper duds), no one in a Star Wars movie EVER loots a body.  EVER.

 

I dunno. Like you say, everyone dresses up as Stormtroopers in the first movie. In the second, everyone equips themselves with Stormtrooper blasters when escaping from Cloud City. In the third, they steal the dead scout troopers speeder bikes in order to have the bike chase. Obi-Wan loots Qui-Gonns corpse for his lightsaber to kill Darth Maul, Padme picks up a discarded droid blaster on Geonosis, and if I remember correctly General Grievous got his lightsabers from Jedi he killed. 

Arming yourself with your enemies weapons (when disarmed) seems very in keeping with the genre.

 

 

You're missing the point. Using "scavenged" gear because it's necessary is one thing. Constantly stopping after every battle and spending 15 minutes turning out every single pocket on a guy to find out if he's got any more creds hidden away on his body is different.

And every one of those examples (barring the General Grievous one, but he was, you know, a BAD GUY) was a necessary action for their survival. Han and Luke needed to be able to move about the Death Star undetected. Leia and company needed weapons to help them escape the Imperial trap that was Cloud City. If they didn't stop the Scout Trooper, the Empire would know about the Rebel Strike Force (a moot point, but they didn't know that), and their mission would fail. Obi-Wan needed a weapon to keep fighting Darth Maul. Padme needed a weapon so she could defend herself in the battle that had erupted.

But the kicker to all of these (once again, withe Grievous being the exception)? Not a single one of these examples has the characters keeping the gear for longer than necessary. Luke and Han ditched the trooper armor after their cover was blown. Obi-Wan built his own lightsaber to become a full-fledged Jedi Knight. People replaced their lost or confiscated blasters. Leia frakking DESTROYED the speeder bike.

All of that is a different thing entirely that checking the body for "phat lewt." Those examples are clearly Star Wars. Looting bodies for the sake of getting better gear or credits to buy better gear with is not.



#11 ErikB

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:55 AM

darkrose50 said:

Each Ewok was either a warrior, a leader, or a builder.  So a good portion of the game had characters who made stuff.  The GMs were not prepared for us to loot Stormtroopers and make use of their various gear.

To be fair, that would never happen.


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#12 GM Chris

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:16 AM

Cyril said:

You're missing the point. Using "scavenged" gear because it's necessary is one thing. Constantly stopping after every battle and spending 15 minutes turning out every single pocket on a guy to find out if he's got any more creds hidden away on his body is different.

And every one of those examples (barring the General Grievous one, but he was, you know, a BAD GUY) was a necessary action for their survival. Han and Luke needed to be able to move about the Death Star undetected. Leia and company needed weapons to help them escape the Imperial trap that was Cloud City. If they didn't stop the Scout Trooper, the Empire would know about the Rebel Strike Force (a moot point, but they didn't know that), and their mission would fail. Obi-Wan needed a weapon to keep fighting Darth Maul. Padme needed a weapon so she could defend herself in the battle that had erupted.

But the kicker to all of these (once again, withe Grievous being the exception)? Not a single one of these examples has the characters keeping the gear for longer than necessary. Luke and Han ditched the trooper armor after their cover was blown. Obi-Wan built his own lightsaber to become a full-fledged Jedi Knight. People replaced their lost or confiscated blasters. Leia frakking DESTROYED the speeder bike.

All of that is a different thing entirely that checking the body for "phat lewt." Those examples are clearly Star Wars. Looting bodies for the sake of getting better gear or credits to buy better gear with is not.


 

Cyril got it.  This is the point I was trying to make.

 

I think the OPs concerns isn't players making using of equipment during a scene - but LOOTING the bodies for permanent gain.


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#13 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:53 AM

Cyril said:

You're missing the point. Using "scavenged" gear because it's necessary is one thing. Constantly stopping after every battle and spending 15 minutes turning out every single pocket on a guy to find out if he's got any more creds hidden away on his body is different.

And every one of those examples (barring the General Grievous one, but he was, you know, a BAD GUY) was a necessary action for their survival. Han and Luke needed to be able to move about the Death Star undetected. Leia and company needed weapons to help them escape the Imperial trap that was Cloud City. If they didn't stop the Scout Trooper, the Empire would know about the Rebel Strike Force (a moot point, but they didn't know that), and their mission would fail. Obi-Wan needed a weapon to keep fighting Darth Maul. Padme needed a weapon so she could defend herself in the battle that had erupted.

But the kicker to all of these (once again, withe Grievous being the exception)? Not a single one of these examples has the characters keeping the gear for longer than necessary. Luke and Han ditched the trooper armor after their cover was blown. Obi-Wan built his own lightsaber to become a full-fledged Jedi Knight. People replaced their lost or confiscated blasters. Leia frakking DESTROYED the speeder bike.

All of that is a different thing entirely that checking the body for "phat lewt." Those examples are clearly Star Wars. Looting bodies for the sake of getting better gear or credits to buy better gear with is not.

+1

I've very rarely had a problem with "body looting" in my Star Wars games, and I guess I should be thankful.

For the few times I've had "body looters" show up in my groups, it's been rather easy to get them to reconsider when I cite that 1) You are not your equipment, 2) You don't see the heroes in the films doing it beyond what's absolutely necessary for the scene, and 3) I will start strictly enforcing the Encumbrance rules if you want to start carrying around excess rifles and armor (that last one only tends to get broken out when dealing with a hard-core D&D-weaned rules-lawyer, as the first two are more than sufficient).


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#14 ErikB

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 12:36 PM

Jayne from Firefly loots. It is how he got Vera:- 'Six men came to kill me one time. And the best of 'em carried this. It's a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favourite gun.' (For that matter, I seem to remember that when he thought Simon and River were dead, or at least gone, he nicked all their stuff).

John McClane loots:- 'Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.'

Pirates loot. Well obviously. But Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge began life as a French slave ship called La Concorde de Nantes. Upgrading to a better (or at least less rotten) ship when you captured one was SOP for pirates.

And the Quest for Better Stuff does have a place in Star Wars. The Millennium Falcon started off as a stock freighter, but various owners sunk so much effort in to modifying her that she was the ship Lando chose to fly to lead the fighter attack on the second Death Star. And some of the modifications involved the use of illegal milspec components, and frankly the adventures to get such are the kind of things EotE PCs are likely to be doing. 

Given how poor EotE PCs start out, expecting them to kill people and then not go through their pockets for loose change is probably unrealistic.

 


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#15 That Blasted Samophlange

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:13 PM

ErikB you're taking some of these examples out of context.

I don't seem to remember Jayne looting every single person he killed.  When they were leaving the hospital, did Jayne steal the wallets of the guards?  Because that's the issue many people have.  Jayne was shown doing that, because he was meant to be a complete ass.

Did John McClane keep every singly gun he found so he could sell them?  Maybe it was a deleted scene.  But he looted weapons so he would survive.

The problem is many RPG players have a Grass is Always greener or a "Phat" Lewt mentality.   Years of D&D (and many other RPG's) have enforced this, coupled with a ridiculous concept of economy by selling everything you find. 

This concept has been carried over to Video RPG's.  You need better gear as you go up. 

What I want is a game where, I pick up a different weapon because I happen to need it at the time. When I don't need it, I throw it away.  Beyond that I fall back to my trusty blaster pistol that I've had for years.  I've modified it extensively, I know it's weight, how I have to aim slightly to the left to get the perfect shot. 

There is a place for the quest for better stuff, but not when it comes to nickel and diming the hell out of everything.


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#16 Cyril

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:29 PM

That Blasted Samophlange said:

ErikB you're taking some of these examples out of context.

I don't seem to remember Jayne looting every single person he killed.  When they were leaving the hospital, did Jayne steal the wallets of the guards?  Because that's the issue many people have.  Jayne was shown doing that, because he was meant to be a complete ass.

Did John McClane keep every singly gun he found so he could sell them?  Maybe it was a deleted scene.  But he looted weapons so he would survive.

The problem is many RPG players have a Grass is Always greener or a "Phat" Lewt mentality.   Years of D&D (and many other RPG's) have enforced this, coupled with a ridiculous concept of economy by selling everything you find. 

This concept has been carried over to Video RPG's.  You need better gear as you go up. 

What I want is a game where, I pick up a different weapon because I happen to need it at the time. When I don't need it, I throw it away.  Beyond that I fall back to my trusty blaster pistol that I've had for years.  I've modified it extensively, I know it's weight, how I have to aim slightly to the left to get the perfect shot. 

There is a place for the quest for better stuff, but not when it comes to nickel and diming the hell out of everything.

Bingo.

There is the quest for better stuff, but unlike a game like DND where it's built into the expectation of the game and the very math that runs it, in Star Wars it's tied into the story of that character. I would argue that the Falcon was as much a part of Han's character as his heavily modified Blastech DL-44 heavy blaster pistol. It physically pained him to loan the ship to Lando to lead the assault on the second Death Star, and you could see it when he had trouble walking away and his line of "I feel like this is the last time I'll see her." (Or something close to that, the exact line escapes me at the moment.)

The quest for better stuff in Star Wars isn't that I need a +1 blaster pistol to damage things at this level, so I may as well sell this piece of junk starter pistol to help pay for it, and may as well grab and sell these blaster rifles from the Stormtroopers we just killed. I mean it's not like they're going to need them anymore. It's that "this ship is going to be a part of my life for many years to come. I need to take care of it and over time, it's going to become a better ship than the stock freighter it once was."



#17 ErikB

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:39 PM

That Blasted Samophlange said:

When they were leaving the hospital, did Jayne steal the wallets of the guards?

Possibly not, but he does take an Alliance dudes sonic stun gun thing (after strangling him), and then fails to blow a door open with it - prompting the line 'Xi niao (cow sucking) high-tech Alliance crap!' and trying to use the gun as a club to bash open a door.

I guess the thing is, if you want people to treat equipment as disposable, it needs to be disposable. Easily replaced. Maybe you shouldn't have equipment that is just flat out 'better' than other equipment - just different. So pistols are good up close, carbines better at medium range and you want a rifle for long long range engagements.


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#18 awayputurwpn

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:05 PM

 ErikB, there's a difference between Obi-Wan taking Qui-Gon's lightsaber and Obi-Wan going through dead Qui-Gon's pockets. Surely you can get what everyone else is trying to get across here? Most of your examples of "looting" are simply characters taking what they need to survive. 

The difference here is between cinematic greatness and metagaming cheesiness. In the quest for cinematic greatness, the players should be concerned with looking cool. John McClane picking up a machine gun is cool. John McClane rifling through all his enemies' clothes for spare change is not cool. An Ewok taking a fallen stormtrooper's blaster rifle is not "looting" in the sense that the OP is trying to address. Is that not obvious?

 

To the OP: If metagaming is the main pull for the players, just tell them that you're the GM and that you will take care of their players. Tell them to trust you to provide good things. "Are not gorgs sold for 7 wupiupi a piece? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Gamemaster. Fear not, therefore; your character is of more value than many gorgs."

I had a player in my Saga Edition game who, after every single encounter, told me "I loot all the bodies." I tried subtle hints: "all the gear on these guys is sub-par. Their armor is dingy and smells bad, their guns are rusty and extremely low-quality." But it didn't matter. It was always, "I loot the bodies." I told him, "Dude, I will make sure your character gets some good stuff. Don't make me count these worthless items against your total rewards and your max encumbrance." Still, it was "I loot the bodies." And any time he did, the rest of the party would get in on it. And they would tend to fight each other for who got what. Like, actually come to in-game blows on a regular basis over what items belonged to which player characters. So I got tired of it, and dropped the floor out from under them (they took too long in a burning building) and into a pit with a mutant rancor. 

Now, if you're in a gritty environment like an extended wilderness jaunt or something, I would understand and expect player characters to take everything useful off of a bounty hunter who tried to track them down and kill them, especially if they're facing days without guaranteed food, water, or shelter. I would highly discourage the same in an urban setting.

Edge's Obligation system is terrific for balancing looters out, like darkrose50 points out.

 

Edit: I feel like I should say, though, that I do narratively point out—and play up—cool items that are worth my players' attention or that I want them to take.



#19 eldath

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:34 AM

I can understand the concerns regarding the loot everything mentality.

Perhaps you could add the limited ammo trait to any weapon you do not want the players to pick up and add to their character sheets.



#20 darkrose50

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:26 AM

I find it rather telling that they [1] make the characters poor by granting such a low starting funds, [2] obligation may be raised by 10 for a mere 2,000 credits, [3] making it hard equipping a character such as a bounty hunter, and [4] many players find that looting equipment to sell is distasteful.
 

My solutions would be to [1] give the characters more starting funds, [2] make 10 obligation offer something like 10,000 credits, [3] allow for players to play well equipped bounty hunters (perhaps some equipment talents would help), and [4] mostly create a system where characters are not tempted to dig though the garbage for $0.05 deposits on aluminum cans and thus "solve" this “problem”. Perhaps some sort of wealth roll before the session representing jobs done off screen would help.

 






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