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Is Trading overpowered?

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I've been looking at the trading rules and am wondering if other people have found trading to be over powered? If so, how did you deal with it in a fair (non-punishing) way?

 

Basically I see trading as a giant game of "Bigger or Better", and remember a guy got a house out of it? (Red Paperclip)

 

I see people trading to get rare, good quality alcohol of a very sufficient quantity.  Sufficient quality means I go for 8 cases (96 bottles) of alcohol, but can use a case (12 items) still as a 'vast' trade item.  The result is anyone can get a +40 to acquisition roles (+10 Rare, +10 good Quality, +20 Vast Quantity),

 

CSM's have an easier time with this due to acquiring legion goods, so go for Legion Krak grenades (rare, but only scarce for CSM's); and if you use the entire FFG suite of W40K products, getting vox operated Legion Frag grenades (Scare to Rare due to weapon upgrade) makes them very attractive for non Legion people as this is now a voice detonated land mine..

 

This isn't even counting having friends help you with the search (+20), or utilizing Commerce to boost your Infamy for acquisitions (especially combined with the psyker power Delude on the commerce roll).

 

I've been thinking of this, and thinking that maybe five acquisition rolls per player per game session could be a cap, especially that roleplaying out the acquisition is one on one and takes away from adventure time.  Maybe only using 75% of the Trade modifier to reflect it's used status or that the buyer might not want a full case of Brandy.  I really like the acquisition rules, keeps the game flowing instead of a Rogue Trader esque game of economics; I like the trade rules to sort of abstract the lack of money while still having something to exchange.  BC seems like a lower gear required game, but especially when playing with the FFG game entire suite of products, you can regularly hit a +60 for many non-combat skill rolls via gear enhancement. Which in many ways helps characters succeed without pulling a pistol to solve their problems, especially that I've seen Rogue Trader devolve into a Mexican 'Silver or Lead' style problem solving... Bribe or shoot _everyone_.

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What if the items you want to sell is not needed ( operator servitors in a feral world)  or cheap as hell ( like selling standard ammo in a ship were every body  has like 3 spare clips) or the market over flooded or there are better alternatives fort it (like you want to sell 2000 crates of lasguns in a word which produce bolters and ammo in three forge?)

Well you need to travel and search for business partners which increase you cost or you could try to undergo the prices..

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The trading rules are kind of necessary for the Acquisition system to work, really.  Otherwise it's nigh-impossible for characters with an Infamy score below like, 50 or 60 to acquire most gear.

 

Yes it does seem like paperclip trading a lot of the time.  But that's how it should be; remember, most of the Vortex really works on the barter system, even if there are various 'currencies' in use there.

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As nice as the system is, there are things the GM needs to step in a crackdown on.  Abusing the numbers for the quantity bonus is one area.  You could do a random determination of how many are needed in the class (so you buy vast and get...14 instead of 100.  then you trade at significant and they demand....10- well sh*T that didn't work well.)

The other known one is the mechanicus assimilation.  I get 100 of them! Now i have 100 armor! eh not quite.

Fgdsfg, Terraneaux and Amroth like this

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Trading is only "overpowered" when you're dealing with very rare items (NU/U) you have no need for, or if trading is allowed at character creation (CSM having a bunch of +30 trades laying around overshadows human races, nor to mention the sorcerer's force weapon).

 

It's quite needed during actual play, though, or you'll never be able to get anything unless you roll as a god.

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One thing that also gets me is the quantity mechanic... Unless we've read it completely wrong, there are no benefits for degrees of success.  Conversely, sometimes you will go for a higher quanitity than you need sometimes just for giggles, because the item itself is common.

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It would make trading more powerful, but I think it'd be more interesting if you 'spent' the degrees of success on your acquisition roll on quantity or quality, instead of having to name it ahead of time.  Cut down on randomness as well.  

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The two house rules we tend to use:

  • You only get a number of acquisition rolls/commerce rolls equal to your infamy bonus. That is (at least early on) even less than you're suggesting, but forcing the players to improvise because they haven't got the toys they want captures the feel of a bunch of renegades well. It also makes 'quartermaster' types very effective (Forsaken with excessive wealth and improved Infamy).... remember the rules for gifts if you do!
  • In order to make degrees of success mean something, I sometimes let them decide what they're after aside from the quantity. If they're basically trying to get 'as much as they can' - there's no real question that a well-connected individual on the Ragged Helix could acquire a human slave, but how many can they get at short notice? Roll the infamy check without the quantity modifier, then add the highest quantity modifier that still results in a pass. Voila; the number of items that proved to be within your budget.

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You can use Rogue Trader rules for acquisition - every subsequent trade after the first one subtracts -10 from the deal (e.g. -10 for second trade, -20 for third etc.).
 

In our group characters are limited by one trade per location. If you haven't found an item you were looking for - tough luck, it's probably can't be found here, try another place.

Edited by Korrh

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Before we'd even finished our first BC outing, we'd brought up the need for some sort of limit on the number of rolls you can attempt.  RAW you could roll for one master crafted bolter-fail, one master crafted bolter sight-fail, 10 good bolters with sights - fail........and so on until you've rolled for every item in every combo in the game.

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The two house rules we tend to use:

  • You only get a number of acquisition rolls/commerce rolls equal to your infamy bonus. That is (at least early on) even less than you're suggesting, but forcing the players to improvise because they haven't got the toys they want captures the feel of a bunch of renegades well. It also makes 'quartermaster' types very effective (Forsaken with excessive wealth and improved Infamy).... remember the rules for gifts if you do!

 

I personally dislike this, as when PC's are starting out they can't roll that many times and they have a really low chance of finding what they want.

 

I also like the specific rules that they put in for gifting as it prevents your quartermaster characters from doing what you suggest.

Utherix likes this

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It's a running joke in my group that we use void-suits to represent cash-on-hand.

 

*flips open wallet*

"how many void-suits is this gonna cost me? One? Two? Three?"

 

That aside, because of the abstract nature of money in this game, I don't see having degrees of success mean much. When you're hunting for your item, it's a have/have not scenario. The merchant either has or doesn't have the item you're looking for, and you either have the trade-goods/bartering ability to acquire said item, or you don't.

 

If you were to factor in degrees of success then somehow, it would be like winning prizes simply for buying common goods, though in a really skewed margin. I mean, winning free groceries for a year is great, but that sort of thing shouldn't happen every time you seek out one pack of an ultra-common item.

 

Or to put it in Canadian terms, it would be like playing roll-up-the-rim, except every coffee had a tv/cash/car prize attached. Which doesn't make much sense - a person only gets so much for being so good, and the results should simply be they often get what they look for.

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well you could make the degrees of success bump up the number you get in any range bracket. So 1 dos gets me 2, 2 gets 3, and 3+ gets 4.  That wouldn't significantly alter the mechanics.

You could also make it like a charm roll for where you're acquiring it.  Many failures means you tried to steal from the wrong person.  Lots of success means you've found a repeatable merchant.

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If you were to factor in degrees of success then somehow, it would be like winning prizes simply for buying common goods, though in a really skewed margin. I mean, winning free groceries for a year is great, but that sort of thing shouldn't happen every time you seek out one pack of an ultra-common item.

 

Or to put it in Canadian terms, it would be like playing roll-up-the-rim, except every coffee had a tv/cash/car prize attached. Which doesn't make much sense - a person only gets so much for being so good, and the results should simply be they often get what they look for.

 

Hmm, that's a very good point.  Maybe having something like two or three successes equals an increase in quality? You don't want to win a years worth of groceries, but have some benefit.

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My group allows 1 acquisition per session per player (for personal items). And other acquisitions (for plans we enact that aren't really for our characters) are as required by the GM. 

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I have not GMed in any of the systems where there are an acquisition system yet. But with how I see it would I say that DoS would give you a bonus. Think on it as you going to a market, you know what you are looking for (a neat new diceset since the last one have lost all the luck when one of the other players touched it!). Each successes would just mean that I have found yet another still with the dices, and with more than one stall is the change of finding cheaper prices bigger, or finding a place that will a little extra thing in to seal the deal.

 

What the bonus should be for each success do I not know, but success should be rewarded no matter what. When you make your dodge roll spot on do you just get out in the nick of time, but when you make it with 4 degrees because you rolled one of the rare 01 should you be epic and move like the win(d)

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Pirate Prince of the Ragged Helix's special ability would prove, that DoS matter:
 

 

Pirate Princes gain one additional Degree of Success when attempting to acquire goods or services of Good Craftsmanship or
better

 

If DoS don't matter, this ability is worse than worthless, as it also has negative consequences

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As I see and play out infamy is your credit-ability rather than your hard cash stock.

Example: 

 

at 24 infamy I was served by a heretech initiate, I traded my spare bolter some tech components and a skin-deed of my service for 3 gun-servitor armed with heavy-bolters. Later I full filled my deed by guarding a shipment of ammo and guns for another warband.

 

at 59 infamy i was served by a Dark-Magos. I traded a promise of sharing my loot of high.tech gears from an Expolator ship (which i wanted as a back-up ship and repair facility) for 3 heretech  with skill in making daemon-engines.  I Squeezed him a bit and he tossed to the trade 1 more heretech servant and 5 repair seritors as helpers.

 

at 98 infamy the head of the forge asked an audience because they had heard a rumor that I intend to raid the Lathe Worlds. They wanted to join my Crusade and offered a small addition to my army in daemon-engines and quality equipment's to my troops. Well they present which was a master-crafted daemon possessed meltagun with ornaments of my victories surely had helped to decide the question. . 

Tenebrae likes this

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I don't know if anybody else does this, but we've tried instead of just giving a straight bonus to the Infamy test, instead giving a bonus to the Commerce test to gain a bonus to the Acquisition test.

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I suspect that *part* of the issue with Trading is the level of Abstraction that makes 11 of something worth exactly the same amount as 100 of it, making it easy to game the system by trading for 100 of something and then selling it off in nine batches of eleven. But honestly this is the sort of thing that a GM can just plain veto. I would suggest that a GM is well within their rights to insist that if you have 100 units of rare alcohol, then that is one vast quantity, not nine vast quantities.

 

Otherwise I suspect that the way to curtail this kind of thing is to remember that acquiring gear is no more intrinsically abstract than any other part of the game mechanics. If you *want* to try to sell your Legion Krak Grenades then you need to roleplay out finding somebody who wants Legion Krak Grenades, haggling over a price, and handing them over.

 

It might also tame things a bit more if Traded items were assumed to be consumed even if the roll is a failure.

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