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Profit Factor?


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#1 venkelos

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

I have two maybe stupid questions, and the answer might be more abstract than I'll like, but we'll see.

First, what comprises your starting PF? I understand fine how it is calculated, and what it means, but what assets does it represent? Do you and your players maybe sit down, and discuss what bits and pieces constitute your little empire? A planet here, a factory there, shipping rights with that planet over there? If you have to liquidate something for quick cash, it might be nice to know what that something is/might be. The Winterscale Dynasty has a just over three digits Profit Factor, and we might be able to figure out what ships, loot, and enterprises stack up into it, but what about your new, just starting out team?

Second, You might start with a PF anywhere from maybe 30 to 70. Let's say you start in the middle, at 50, and possess a slightly pimped out, otherwise modest ship. After a few months of playing, what's to stop you from racking up a PF that took G. Winterscale's line (I pick on him just because he's so well known, and has the highest PF in either Lure of the Expanse or Edge of the Abyss) centuries to millennia to accumulate? I know PF alone might not represent everything you have, and the wide array of things it might consist of, but numerous missions/endeavors could net you 3-10 PF up, so it seems that, after even a dozen modest missions, you might have a PF in the ballpark of Aspyse Chorda, or one of the other successful RTs. What are some good ways, but not too dickish, to keep their PF reasonable, or maybe knock it down a peg, occasionally? When one stops to consider how much a single point of Profit Factor is meant to be worth, losing even one could seem hard to explain, without just being a jerk.

Thanks much.



#2 Visitor Q

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:52 PM

Our PF has started at a fairly modest sum (26) with most of our dynasty’s power invested in a cruiser (66SP). Our GM has asked us to draw up a (literal) ledger of how our PF is devided.

 

We have gone for a mixture of tangible things (6 PF invested in mining operations) (4PF invested in agri world plantations) slightly intangible services (1PF invested in dubious xenos re-juve treatements) (3PF invested in a Facultative Re-insurance Guild) through to quite abstract ideas (1PF because the Warrant is bloody famous) (1PF because the Rogue Traders family are very far reaching so he is quite likely to have a distant cousin in any given administratum department etc).

The missions and endeavours will then add to this.

In terms of reducing PF this can be part of the adventure. For example a Noble Rogue Trader automatically has the vendetta trait. Well maybe his enemies are killing his family members in a concerted effort to disrupt his political contacts. Until this is resolved then his PF will be reduced by 1 as allies start deserting him.

That said the setting of Rogue Trader is more conducive to high adventure and actually making a difference to the Imperium than other WH40K RPG’s. I would argue that thematically even in Ascension and Deathwatch, which are higher level games in terms of exp, they are less about changing the make-up of a sector or the Imperium than Rogue Trader is. This isn’t a criticism of these games merely a way of pointing out that if a Rogue Trader PC becomes more powerful than established NPC characters this is not a problem and is not as canon breaking as if your Deathwatch Captain kills Fabius Bile etc.

I guess my point is I really wouldn’t worry if the PC’s end up more important/powerful than Winterscale even in a short space of time. They have fate points after all so maybe this is their destiny.

My summary of the different games is as follows

Dark Heresy: Gritty investigation/horror very much about the individual cost in sanity and corruption. Forgotten and un-thanked heroes.

Ascension: Power politics, espionage and corruption at the highest levels. Ethical dilemmas where there is no right answer.

Deathwatch: Heroic endeavours, taking the fight to the enemies of mankind. Triumph through strength of arms. Questioning traditional dogma and indoctrination. Becoming a renowned hero.

Rogue Trader; High adventure and exploration. Establishing and consolidating a power base including petty kingdoms beyond the boundaries of the Imperium. Establishing a renowned Dynasty. Loyalty of Dynasty vs Loyalty to Imperium.
 



#3 susanbrindle

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:07 AM

Profit Factor also includes intangible assets- In one game, the players joked that maybe their entire PF (30) was simply "We have a huge ship. You don't want trouble."

I think rather than stat out EVERYTHING in their PF, it'd be worth it as a GM to mention a few things that are sizeable portions of their PF, and use these for plot development, and then just handwave the rest as being some combination of stocks in lesser companies, piles of diamonds, reputation and heavy weapons.

Practically speaking, there's no reason for players not to eventually become bigger than the biggest rogue trader. That's exactly what they're trying to do, and if you'd like to slow their growth, simply give them less money, or take a bit away. But there should definitely be a climb to power, and it may very well be a rapid one. That said, with each Endeavor offering 3-5 PF, and lasting 3-5 sessions, that's basically one PF per session, so if your group meets once a week, it should take them at least a year (assuming 50 starting PF) or two (assuming 20 starting PF) of real-time to amass winterscale-esque wealth.

If your campaign survives two years (or meets more than once a week) then you're a more devoted GM than my group has ever seen before (Although admittedly this is our first RT game and we're all fantastically enthusiastic about it in a way that we never were about D&D so maybe miracles DO happen)



#4 Zenoth16

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:10 AM

susanbrindle said:

Profit Factor also includes intangible assets- In one game, the players joked that maybe their entire PF (30) was simply "We have a huge ship. You don't want trouble."

I think rather than stat out EVERYTHING in their PF, it'd be worth it as a GM to mention a few things that are sizeable portions of their PF, and use these for plot development, and then just handwave the rest as being some combination of stocks in lesser companies, piles of diamonds, reputation and heavy weapons.

Practically speaking, there's no reason for players not to eventually become bigger than the biggest rogue trader. That's exactly what they're trying to do, and if you'd like to slow their growth, simply give them less money, or take a bit away. But there should definitely be a climb to power, and it may very well be a rapid one. That said, with each Endeavor offering 3-5 PF, and lasting 3-5 sessions, that's basically one PF per session, so if your group meets once a week, it should take them at least a year (assuming 50 starting PF) or two (assuming 20 starting PF) of real-time to amass winterscale-esque wealth.

If your campaign survives two years (or meets more than once a week) then you're a more devoted GM than my group has ever seen before (Although admittedly this is our first RT game and we're all fantastically enthusiastic about it in a way that we never were about D&D so maybe miracles DO happen)

What he said. Our group only amassed 40 PF in 2 years of game play(from 32 to 74).



#5 Alasseo

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:38 AM

 It's worth remembering that a canny ship build can give plenty of bonus Achievement Points, and at the end of an Endeavour, every 100 AP over the necessary total grants an additional 1 PF. I've had a group that made 13 PF off an Endeavour that should have given them 3, simply because they were thorough, good at what they did, and had a ship built to take advantage of the most common objective themes.

It's worth remembering that all that Profit is worthless if they don't do anything with it, though. Sure, if they want to relax and retire to their own private continent, they can afford to just let it tick over, but otherwise, they're going to have to be doing stuff with it. And the more they do with their PF, the more attention it will attract, and the more people will want to mess with them.

Another example (different Dynasty)- the group went around hiring mercenaries and voidsmen in large quantities (by the simple expedient of marching round Footfall offering to pay all bar tabs if every bar had 40+ people sign up), as they wanted to be certain they had the manpower to take down a particular rival. Result? Everyone in Footfall knew they were gearing up for war, and were going to be riding in the big Grand Cruiser they were "hiding" in the out-system. There are now at least 3 different Rogue Traders prepping to take them down as a precaution (no details as this is a current campaign), and the Imperial Navy knows where the stolen Grand Cruiser wound up, and their existing enemies know where to find them (the Arch-Militant deliberately left a taunting note for Karrad Vall).
Add to that lots of scam artists crawling out the woodwork because they know the group has plenty of funds, and they're a lot less happy with flashing that much cash.


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#6 susanbrindle

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:27 AM

Alasseo said:

 It's worth remembering that a canny ship build can give plenty of bonus Achievement Points, and at the end of an Endeavour, every 100 AP over the necessary total grants an additional 1 PF. I've had a group that made 13 PF off an Endeavour that should have given them 3, simply because they were thorough, good at what they did, and had a ship built to take advantage of the most common objective themes.

 

So far, both of the GMs I've talked to largely handwaved the objective-points system away, simply because it seemed like a lot of bookkeeping. The point about bonus components is definitely one to consider, though. I hadn't realized the mechanics could be manipulated in that way.



#7 Nameless2all

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:33 AM

venkelos said:

I have two maybe stupid questions, and the answer might be more abstract than I'll like, but we'll see.

First, what comprises your starting PF? I understand fine how it is calculated, and what it means, but what assets does it represent? Do you and your players maybe sit down, and discuss what bits and pieces constitute your little empire? A planet here, a factory there, shipping rights with that planet over there? If you have to liquidate something for quick cash, it might be nice to know what that something is/might be. The Winterscale Dynasty has a just over three digits Profit Factor, and we might be able to figure out what ships, loot, and enterprises stack up into it, but what about your new, just starting out team?

Second, You might start with a PF anywhere from maybe 30 to 70. Let's say you start in the middle, at 50, and possess a slightly pimped out, otherwise modest ship. After a few months of playing, what's to stop you from racking up a PF that took G. Winterscale's line (I pick on him just because he's so well known, and has the highest PF in either Lure of the Expanse or Edge of the Abyss) centuries to millennia to accumulate? I know PF alone might not represent everything you have, and the wide array of things it might consist of, but numerous missions/endeavors could net you 3-10 PF up, so it seems that, after even a dozen modest missions, you might have a PF in the ballpark of Aspyse Chorda, or one of the other successful RTs. What are some good ways, but not too dickish, to keep their PF reasonable, or maybe knock it down a peg, occasionally? When one stops to consider how much a single point of Profit Factor is meant to be worth, losing even one could seem hard to explain, without just being a jerk.

Thanks much.

1)  It can be anything.  The only thing I or my group kept track of was their newly acquired PR gains.  If they wanted to add to it, great.  If not, then that left it open for me to use whatever Misfortune I rolled to affect them, and I kept track of it that way for future reference. 

 

2)  I utilize this house-rule that I found and edited it to my liking for my games.

PR       Description

1 The largest and strongest of major world hive gangs, Outcast Sects etc?
1-5 Labour Guild, Struggling Merchant House?
1-10 Manufactory Combine, Weak Hive Guild?
5-15 Minor Ministorum Sect, Hab Collective?
10-20 Hive Guild, Minor Merchant House, Planetary Level Noble House, Disgraced/fallen Subsector Noble House?
15-25 Powerful Hive Guild, Rich Planetary Level Noble House, Impoverished Subsector spanning Noble House, Poor Rogue Trader?
25-35 Lesser Rogue Trader, Weak Imperial Governor?
35-50 Greater Planetary Noble of a wealthy world, Lesser Inquisitor, Cartel of Free Traders, Typical Imperial Governor?
70-80 Mid-ranking moderately successful Rogue Trader, Average Inquisitor, Average Subsector spanning Noble House, Impoverished Major House (Sector Spanning)?
160 Wealthy & Successful Rogue Trader, Wealthy Subsector spanning Noble House, Average Major House (Sector Spanning), Impoverished Navigator House?
200-300 Legendary Rogue Trader, Average Navigator House, Wealthy Major House (Sector Spanning), Lord Inquisitor?
400-600 Noted Major Houses (Krin, Machenko, etc), Wealthy Navigator House, Lord-Sector Hax, Impoverished Great House (Segmentum Spanning) ?
800-1000 Average Great House, Impoverished Imperial House (Imperium Spanning), Illustrious Navigator House?
1000+ (?) Imperial Level Noble Houses, High Lords of Terra, Segmentum Rulers etc

Note: Simply put, all Legendary / Wealthy Houses in RT books need to, at least, double their Profit rating.


For a collection of fan created material, please refer to the link below. Some of it was edited/created by myself and friends, while most is other fan material. Happy gaming people.https://drive.google.com<p>-"May your endeavors always be prosperous, though they may not always be profitable."


#8 lurkeroutthere

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:19 PM

I've been mostly ignoring the bonus points and endeavers after it created oddities like the above mentioned. I'm not entirely sure the system was very well thought out and undermines some of the other rules. If you were going to use it I'd definitely impose a hard cap of equal to the original endeavors value in extra profit gained. There's only so much you can milk from a certain venture. Plus it encourages people with bigger fleets/better ships to tackle bigger tasks.

 

I too have also expanded the profit factor chart to better represent the different insitutions running around. I don't care how rich a rogue trader house is very few will measure up to even a sector wide munitorium division (of course the munitorium being an outlier as it's one of the largest if not the largest consumer of the imperiums GDP.)



#9 HappyDaze

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:33 PM

PF can drop as rapidly as it rises. All manner of calamities can befall a Dynasty, and the bigger it is (usually represented in terms of PF), the more likely something is to go wrong somewhere - over-extension can be quite taxing on the Dynasty's PF. This is why most Dynasties tend to stabilize in the range of 30-70 PF - it's the point where they can maintain equilibrium between profits and losses.


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#10 lurkeroutthere

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:00 PM

Visitor Q said:

I guess my point is I really wouldn’t worry if the PC’s end up more important/powerful than Winterscale even in a short space of time. They have fate points after all so maybe this is their destiny.

My summary of the different games is as follows

Dark Heresy: Gritty investigation/horror very much about the individual cost in sanity and corruption. Forgotten and un-thanked heroes.

Ascension: Power politics, espionage and corruption at the highest levels. Ethical dilemmas where there is no right answer.

Deathwatch: Heroic endeavours, taking the fight to the enemies of mankind. Triumph through strength of arms. Questioning traditional dogma and indoctrination. Becoming a renowned hero.

Rogue Trader; High adventure and exploration. Establishing and consolidating a power base including petty kingdoms beyond the boundaries of the Imperium. Establishing a renowned Dynasty. Loyalty of Dynasty vs Loyalty to Imperium.
 

I wanted to touch on this briefly. First off Winterscale, Chorda, and Saul all have fate points as well if my recollection serves. I'm going to beg to differ with you on one item. It is a big problem if the PC's pass up a Dynasty like the Winterscale dynasty in very short order. I'm not saying that the PC's can't ever climb the ranks and surpass canon NPC's. But it shouldn't be easy and it shouldn't happen quickly. No matter how high the PC's climb there should probably always be someone bigger, or at least someone on their level as a foil or an ally.

 

Basically under the current PF rules it is far too easy for PC's to rocket past supposedly generationally entrenched dynasties, houses, and merchant concerns. I don't see that as making for bvery good storytelling or a very cohesive world. Victories not earned won't be appreciated.



#11 Larkin

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:01 PM

 I actually took a step back and added a 5 to 1 conversion of "Fame" into PF, with "Fame" Points representing personal wealth and being earned as per the book (somewhat, as it's a hybrid system with BC). Seems to be working so far.



#12 breez

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

For starting PF, I basically told the players that it was in financial instruments. They have a few properties in the Calaxis sector and their ship which act as collateral.

Its good to see some players experience with the achievement points. Would it be better to up the PF bonus to 2-300 instead of 100?

 always assume as that players became richer, they would attract the negative attention from other rogue traders who would muscle in. After all, this is what the whole Chorda-Winterscale conflict seems to be about.

 



#13 Visitor Q

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:53 AM

lurkeroutthere said:

Visitor Q said:

 

I guess my point is I really wouldn’t worry if the PC’s end up more important/powerful than Winterscale even in a short space of time. They have fate points after all so maybe this is their destiny.

 

I wanted to touch on this briefly. First off Winterscale, Chorda, and Saul all have fate points as well if my recollection serves. I'm going to beg to differ with you on one item. It is a big problem if the PC's pass up a Dynasty like the Winterscale dynasty in very short order. I'm not saying that the PC's can't ever climb the ranks and surpass canon NPC's. But it shouldn't be easy and it shouldn't happen quickly. No matter how high the PC's climb there should probably always be someone bigger, or at least someone on their level as a foil or an ally.

 

Basically under the current PF rules it is far too easy for PC's to rocket past supposedly generationally entrenched dynasties, houses, and merchant concerns. I don't see that as making for bvery good storytelling or a very cohesive world. Victories not earned won't be appreciated.

I don't see it as a problem so much as a GMing challange.  If the PC's and the GM are happy with the group attaining that level of power then really it is just a question of suspension of disbelief.   

Maybe the PC's have powerful 'friends' (the Inquisition or a Tzeentch cult) pulling the strings in ways they don't even know about.

Maybe Winterscale Dynasty is destroyed in your campaign and their is a power vacum.

Maybe the Pc's are just that good.  Alexander the Great conquered the known world before he was 40. 

As for 'Victories not earned' that is absolutly and completly a GM matter.  The GM determines the Experience points, the PF awards, the Achievement Point awards, and the Fate point awards.  I don't think Pc's becoming really powerful is really a problem with the system just something that a Gm should be aware can happen quite easily.

BTW there is nothing to say that Winterscale shouldn't grow in power during the campaign as well.  For that matter maybe the PC's growth is at the expense of an established NPC Rogue Trader.

The final point is time scale.  More than other RPG's Rogue Trader has to handle time scale in a fairly abstract way (not least because a fair amount of time will be spent in the Warp).  Achieving 3PF in an afternoon might be 8 months of work in 'game time'.  70PF acheived in 4 months paly might be 5-10 years game time. 

There is no reason why a Rogue Trader campaign might not actually represent a Dynasty with PC's rolling up new characters every 10-12 sessions to represent old characters dying (perhaps expending a Fate Point to last a session longer).

All these are matters for the GM to decide. No right or wrong answer.

  

 






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