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Desslok

Players and the Perpetual Poverty Problem

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Over in Zee Googles, Zey Do Nothink thread, Kung Fu Ferret said thusly:

 

 

On 4/8/2016 at 8:49 AM, KungFuFerret said:

1. It helps to keep your players hungry.  EotE stresses that your players are always looking for more credits to pay for their stuff.   Think of shows like Firefly, where they are living hand to mouth most of the time.   Same type of mood/theme.  So, remind them that they are in a fluid economy.  Docking their ship at a spaceport?  Costs some credits.  Refueling?  Credits.   Hiring an NPC to repair/modify their gear?  Credits again.   Hiring a Twi'lek dancer to give them a lap dance? Credits.  Going to the doctor after the having the lap dance to get a shot of omnicilin? Credits again.   This insures a steady outflow of credits, not just an inflow to the player, which is what an economy would do to the player.  Now, if you are playing it in a style of making credits rain from the sky, then I wouldn't really worry about it.   But if you are trying to emphasize the "living on the edge" mood, having constant, and ubiquitous ways to bleed the credits out of your players, is a good system to use.

And no, this isn't me calling you out or anything. You're just the catalyst for something I've been thinking about for a while and thought the community could discuss.

Why is it important to keep players broke?

From one story standpoint, I could see it - Han owes Jabba a boatload of money, which drives his story arc and sets up the curtain puller beat for Return of the Jedi. The Queen's ship is broken down on Tatooine and they cant buy a hyperdrive, etc, etc. So yes, having to scramble for resources can occasionally inform the story.

And when a game is first starting out, having all the toys in the world does take some of the fun out of the game. Working for some bitchin' armor, a nice ship and a cool gun gives the characters something to do.

But it strikes me weird that GMs seem constantly afraid of players in a state of anything but perpetual poverty. That a player with money will suddenly stop going out to do things or that there are no more challenges when they have bitchin' armor, a nice ship and a cool gun. Being in that state doesn't stop James Bond (who while not necessarily rich himself, has the backing of the entire crown at his disposal and Q Branch to give him cool toys) and it doesn't stop Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark from going out to adventure either.

And just because a player has money, it doesn't mean that his problems go away. It just means that he has an all-new set of problems. Friends and relatives coming out of the woodwork, people trying to take that money, intrigue and backstabbing amongst the powerful elite. The son of that Hutt you just killed? No amount of money will placate father or deter the bounty hunters he sends after you.

And money can enable adventures, too. My previous character was a princess from a powerful and influential core world family with servants and an ancestral palace and bathrooms bigger than most mere mortal's dwellings. After a particularly harrowing set of adventures, she sprung for a vacation for the team on a planet that was basically Westworld. And so we had a lighthearted, fluffy game where the characters were divided up into two teams and engaged in a wargame against each other. Something like that would have been outside the scope of a poverty stricken game.

She also had to deal with a pretty massive story arc with the Sith Empire invasion of her homeworld, striking a deal with the Republic, bringing the system into the galactic community's fold, smoothing over native relations with the Jedi and generally doing ambassadorial leadery things. That's not the sort of game you'll get when you're scrounging under the couches for gas money.

So I reject the notion that keeping players hungry is the only way to keep a game interesting. It is A way to keep it interesting, but not the end all. There is nothing wrong with being a high roller at at a million dollar a hand sabbac table at the most exclusive casino on Cloud City, either.

Edited by Desslok

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Keeping them poor serves the Star Wars, Edge, Han Solo, feel and setting story. However, what works in a story isn't always a good thing for a RPG. I've said it before, imo this 'keep them hungry' approach leads directly to murderhobo/loot all the bodies behavior.

If a GM wants to use the tight credits approach, they have to hand out gear in some reward/payment fashion or you end up with the pillager mind set.

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For me it isn`t important to keep characters broke. But in Edge of the Empire I love to create the feel and atmosphere of the Outer Rim and the feeling among the players that nothing comes for free in this harsh and gritty age, especially in these parts of the Galaxy. Obligation emulates that feeling and setting.

But in another games I have had two filthy rich superhero characters with endless wealth in the same group, in that system money and wealth was just another stat and loose concept, not "points and numbers", like gold coins and credits are.

 

You could of course play a bunch of nobles and rich politicians with FFG Star Wars too, but it`s not the default setting, gameplay and feel the game is going for.

Edited by RodianClone

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If a GM wants to use the tight credits approach, they have to hand out gear in some reward/payment fashion or you end up with the pillager mind set. 

 

Exactly. I'm about as far away from being a Loot All The Things player as you can get, but even I would start to get frustrated if I was constantly denied resources (or had my ship shot out from under us three times (joking jab at my GM who just did that)). If you don't give them stuff or promise them "the tone of the game is playing with your bank accounts close to the threshold, but don't worry - I'll make sure some cool stuff comes your way, too" during the Episode Zero game, that it'll start to have a negive impact on your game.

 

 

On 4/8/2016 at 11:02 AM, RodianClone said:

You could of course play a bunch of nobles and rich politicians with FFG Star Wars too, but it`s not the default setting, gameplay and feel the game is going for.

Counterpoint: Lando - a high roller with a taste for the high life and plenty of Obligation (in the form of looking out for the people of cloud city) wouldn't be too out of place in a Edge campaign. Actually thinking about it, running an rim world outpost like Cloud City could be a pretty cool game with loads of story potential. 

Edited by Desslok

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I consider the concept of "keeping them hungry" to be more bigger picture.

 

My current campaign has the players with a pretty good pile of credits, basic weapons, ammo, equipment, and the like. What they are lacking is: advanced gear, specialty equipment, food, water, allies, star charts, intelligence on the enemy, and backup.

 

It's not about keeping the player's bank account empty, it's just about keeping them in need of some resource to help keep things on the rails and the story moving forward.

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"Keeping them poor" is one of those things that works, at least better and for longer, in fiction than it does in an RPG campaign. 

 

I've seen several RPG settings that try hard to capture this "thus always poverty" feel from certain fiction, going so far as to harshly admonish the GM and deride any lasting success on the part of the PCs as "Monty Haul".  But some things just don't translate from the medium of the fictional story, to the medium of an RPG campaign. 

 

Fictional characters don't have players sitting there getting fed up with more and more contrived attempts to keep them poor no matter how well they do. 

 

Eventually, even in fiction, "keep them poor" only works for so long before it becomes a rather threadbare and transparent example of "episodic reset". 

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I've experienced the exact opposite problem and I recently did some math to figure out why.

 

In a talent, Master Merchant.

 

Reduce purchase price by 25% and increase sale price by 25%.  Add on a rank of Wheel and Deal (required to get to MM in the Entrepreneur tree) and, for a "trade good" you have a guaranteed purchase price of at most 70% (100% - 25% [MM] - 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value and guaranteed sale price of at least 140% (100% [base for trade good] + 25% [MM] + 10% [W&D] + 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value.  That's a guaranteed doubling of the party's money on each transaction run through MM.

 

I find this economy breaking and am wondering about other party's thoughts on the matter.  In the absence of an Entrepreneur, the party can, rather easily, be kept -- if not poor, at least hungry.  However, once the Entrepreneur gets to about +100xp, things go sideways...

Edited by Braendig

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I've experienced the exact opposite problem and I recently did some math to figure out why.

 

In a talent, Master Merchant.

 

Reduce purchase price by 25% and increase sale price by 25%.  Add on a rank of Wheel and Deal (required to get to MM in the Entrepreneur tree) and, for a "trade good" you have a guaranteed purchase price of at most 70% (100% - 25% [MM] - 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value and guaranteed sale price of at least 140% (100% [base for trade good] + 25% [MM] + 10% [W&D] + 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value.  That's a guaranteed doubling of the party's money on each transaction run through MM.

 

I find this economy breaking and am wondering about other party's thoughts on the matter.  In the absence of an Entrepreneur, the party can, rather easily, be kept -- if not poor, at least hungry.  However, once the Entrepreneur gets to about +100xp, things go sideways...

 

Sounds like a "stacking talents" issue...

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If a GM wants to use the tight credits approach, they have to hand out gear in some reward/payment fashion or you end up with the pillager mind set. 

 

 

Exactly. I'm about as far away from being a Loot All The Things player as you can get, but even I would start to get frustrated if I was constantly denied resources (or had my ship shot out from under us three times (joking jab at my GM who just did that)). If you don't give them stuff or promise them "the tone of the game is playing with your bank accounts close to the threshold, but don't worry - I'll make sure some cool stuff comes your way, too" during the Episode Zero game, that it'll start to have a negive impact on your game.

 

 

You could of course play a bunch of nobles and rich politicians with FFG Star Wars too, but it`s not the default setting, gameplay and feel the game is going for.

 

Counterpoint: Lando - a high roller with a taste for the high life and plenty of Obligation (in the form of looking out for the people of cloud city) wouldn't be too out of place in a Edge campaign. Actually thinking about it, running an rim world outpost like Cloud City could be a pretty cool game with loads of story potential. 

 

 

Exactly, Lando has wealth, but it comes with lots of obligation ;)

Though, how much wealth does he have when he leaves Cloud City and joins the gang?

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It's not about keeping the player's bank account empty, it's just about keeping them in need of some resource to help keep things on the rails and the story moving forward.

This right here.

 

Though I suppose part of the issue might be GMs reading the "keep the PCs hungry" with "restrict their cash reserves as much as possible," my take is that you grant the PCs just enough that they've got credits to restock and replace basic gear as necessary, be it stimpacks, extra reloads, or other incidentals, but that acquiring the really snazzy gear (be it armor, weapons, or starship attachments) is a considerable investment on their part.

 

In the Firefly TV series, the crew of the Serenity is tettering on the edge of bankruptcy, but even then they've generally got enough to "make do," which is probably what the writers of EotE were thinking.  It'd also be a means to try and discourage players from slipping into the mentality of "my gear makes my character awesome!" that has plagued D&D for years (3e and 4e were especially bad, though 4e introduced an option to mitigate it and 5e seems to be doing a decent job of steering away from it thus far).  Yes, Han Solo has a pretty sweet heavy blaster pistol and a tricked-out ride with a host of special modifications, but Han Solo is far more than the pistol he uses or the ship he flies.

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I think it is a suggestion for a style of gameplay.  One that you can use or not use. The important thing is that the players are having fun and that the game is balanced such that the players still want to adventure and not settle down. Adventuring is dangerous business and if your characters have a driving goal more then money then its quite alright. It's pretty clear that Han would help even if not for money, love was another motivation.

 

The real key here is make sure your characters are motivated. 

 

There is no problem if your group has a tendancy to have loot the bodies and even take damaged armor as salvage. Or if they steal ships to sell or scrap. Or even if they have a master merchant who can reduce prices (hint you can set a floor on such things that no amount of succeesses will overcome).

 

Let your players explore with the new crafting system, let them upgrade their ships, buy armor, weapons, droids or even their own moon. Having a cool hideout opens new areas for adventure and having something to lose can be a motivation in and of itself.

 

The important thing is to have dynamic players who are motivated. Maybe you have the force adept loremaster looking for the truth regarding the jedi and he views money as a means to buy information and to keep under the radar of the imps.

 

Maybe you have a bounty hunter who has rivals and does challenging missions for prestiege as well as the bounty.

 

Maybe you have a mechanic who wants to be able to recreate old lost tech like mandalorian stealth suits a la KOTOR.

 

While I am not saying monty haul things, star wars tends to be about BIG risks and big rewards. Winning a 180,000 + credit ship in a game of sabak.

 

Going from a scoundrel to owning a mining colony. The oppertunity for advancement should feel unlimited even if the players end up losing or spending a lot of the wealth.

 

Just never let money be a reason the game stagnates.

 

You don't want the players to say oh well I have every gadget and toy and the best armor in the galaxy and now I have no reason to risk my life doing something.

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It's not about keeping the player's bank account empty, it's just about keeping them in need of some resource to help keep things on the rails and the story moving forward.

 

Exactly - a character, or at least a well designed and interesting character - should have some kind of end game in mind. In my Princesses' case, the end game was "get back in good standing with her family" which had the side effect of making her well off again. In the process of untying that gordian knot of problems, she went from the (very nice) clothes on her back and 5 credits in her pocket to co-owner of a business to member of the planetary council her business was on - eventually winding up back at filthy rich.

 

Actually, she was quite proud of her accomplishments of putting together a successful business all on her own (with her friends), something of her very own, something outside of relying on her family's ability to buy and sell a planet.

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I like to keep a feeling of 'edge' and risk and desperation in my two EoE games... But that comes in all kinds of flavours, and money can be the least of one's problems.  One group is doing quite well, with two thriving little businesses and contributing to a small settlement.  But various favours owed and the threat of pirates gives it a real 'Wild West' feeling, and they keep being dragged back into the Galactic Civil War despite their best efforts. The other group are enforcers, the personal agents of a Black Sun leader looking to overthrow Xizor.  They have money and can demand 'respect'... but at the price of their freedom and are essentially in deep with a ruthless criminal organisation.

 

I think someone addressed this perfectly above - the ideal is not really 'keep them poor' but 'keep them needing to do adventures' -  that might mean an attachment to a business or settlement, duty to a cause, favours and promises as well as monetary debts, or any other kind of obligation.

 

Any PCs want to 'advance in level' to a degree - to buy better stuff, to just feel like the campaign is going somewhere.   It's natural that they will take on various duties as they grow in wealth and power, and these can fuel their adventures too. Han Solo's motivations post-movies were very different from those pre-movies.  If the players feel they are not getting anywhere, in terms of power or advancement, they might well lose interest.

 

Over in AoR, our groups are less concerned with money - though the SpecForce cell operates behind enemy lines and has to be creative and self-sustaining. Another PC is pretty much the leader of the Alliance faction and can make decisions that may cost billions of lives... but everything they do has an impact, and they have to contend with internal rivals as well as external enemies, and dubious allies, all looking to spot a moment of weakness.

 

So yeah - more money, more problems.

Edited by Maelora

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I find this economy breaking and am wondering about other party's thoughts on the matter.  In the absence of an Entrepreneur, the party can, rather easily, be kept -- if not poor, at least hungry.  However, once the Entrepreneur gets to about +100xp, things go sideways...

 

if a player is going out of their way to do an entrepreneur archetype, then that's the story they want to tell. If they are willing to sink some very precious resources - AKA experience points - into having an income as the characters sole focus, I would work with them to that end goal - don't try and squash that story.

 

A hundred points (and really to get Entrepreneur to truly pay off, you'll need way more than that - and that's assuming you don't wander off to raising skills or the like) is not a small investment of player resources. If they've sunk the points into it, let them play with it.

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I've experienced the exact opposite problem and I recently did some math to figure out why.

In a talent, Master Merchant.

Reduce purchase price by 25% and increase sale price by 25%.  Add on a rank of Wheel and Deal (required to get to MM in the Entrepreneur tree) and, for a "trade good" you have a guaranteed purchase price of at most 70% (100% - 25% [MM] - 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value and guaranteed sale price of at least 140% (100% [base for trade good] + 25% [MM] + 10% [W&D] + 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value.  That's a guaranteed doubling of the party's money on each transaction run through MM.

I find this economy breaking and am wondering about other party's thoughts on the matter.  In the absence of an Entrepreneur, the party can, rather easily, be kept -- if not poor, at least hungry.  However, once the Entrepreneur gets to about +100xp, things go sideways...

 

Thing is, by the time they get that far, that PC has invested a huge amount of focus in that area and should be expected to excel at it.  They could have spent the same XP on some combat tree and maxing out their blaster skills.   

 

So the Entreprenuer is great at trading, as should be expected. But there's all kinds of ways to threaten that and spur the player to defending his money.  There's always people who want a slice of the pie, or who want to separate the PC from his wealth.  From thieves or pirates or even factions like the Empire or bounty hunters. Maybe a rival is trying to ruin him? Competitors are muscling in on his businesses?

 

The idea isn't to take this stuff away from him, but to provide reasons to defend what he has and go on adventures. Watch 'There Will Be Blood' or any Western about the Lincoln County War.

 

(Ugh, ninja'd by the penguin! :) )

Edited by Maelora

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It's not about keeping the player's bank account empty, it's just about keeping them in need of some resource to help keep things on the rails and the story moving forward.

 

Exactly - a character, or at least a well designed and interesting character - should have some kind of end game in mind. In my Princesses' case, the end game was "get back in good standing with her family" which had the side effect of making her well off again. In the process of untying that gordian knot of problems, she went from the (very nice) clothes on her back and 5 credits in her pocket to co-owner of a business to member of the planetary council her business was on - eventually winding up back at filthy rich.

 

Actually, she was quite proud of her accomplishments of putting together a successful business all on her own (with her friends), something of her very own, something outside of relying on her family's ability to buy and sell a planet.

 

 

But some players don't flesh out their characters that much.  We all know this kind of player.  They put together a thin backstory to explain how they are, and don't really think about how those actions/events will color their character going forward, and motivate them.  Sure, not every player does this, but we all know players who do.

 

As to the main question, there's nothing requiring you to "keep them hungry", but it is a theme of the FFG system, specifically Edge of the Empire.  They even have a sidebar titled exactly that.  It's a style of play, trying to evoke some of the classics, like Yojimbo (broke samurai wanders into town, agrees to fight thugs for 2 rice balls), or Good, Bad, the Ugly (group of criminals all looking for "big score" so they don't have to live hand to mouth anymore), or Firefly (space captain takes whatever job they can, living on the Rim of the Empire, trying to stay free, and stay alive, which means living hand to mouth).  These are all ways you can play the game, but there's nothing saying you have to.

 

As to why letting your players have a lot of money can be a problem, I call it the "Throw money at it till it's gone" resolution system.   I've played a lot of games, mostly World of Darkness, where a player with a high Resources merit, just tries to resolve problems by "buying it away".   Which isn't very fun.  I don't want Daddy Warbucks to just buy the city block in question, and thus make the slumlord running it a moot point, I want to play the PC that goes in there with his friends, and takes the slumlord down, liberating the tenants from his oppression.  

 

Plus, it's fun to watch players having to make tough decisions.  "Hmm, do I spend these 2000 credits we just got to make repairs to the ship? Or do I buy that sweet new speeder bike so I can take it off some sweet jumps?  Or do we resupply our bacta tank, after the Wookie trashed it from losing a game of space poker?"  If they've got enough money to handle all of that, it's just a handwave "I go shopping and do all this" kind of response from (some/most) players. 

 

I brought it up in that thread specifically to explain why you'd actually, you know, make a PC pay for the goods/services he buys :D   It's a funny bit of disconnect I see a lot with players "It's just a thing of spray paint! What's the big deal?"  Yeah?  I don't see you going around stealing spray paint on a regular basis in the real world?  Why would it be any different in Star Wars.  Things cost money, you want those things? You pay money.  It's pretty simple :)

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As to why letting your players have a lot of money can be a problem, I call it the "Throw money at it till it's gone" resolution system.   I've played a lot of games, mostly World of Darkness, where a player with a high Resources merit, just tries to resolve problems by "buying it away".   Which isn't very fun.  I don't want Daddy Warbucks to just buy the city block in question, and thus make the slumlord running it a moot point, I want to play the PC that goes in there with his friends, and takes the slumlord down, liberating the tenants from his oppression.  

 

 

I see your point, KFF, but I think a player who takes Trader or Quartermaster or Entrepreneur is stating a preference for that.  There's even a few Talents that literally let you 'throw money at a problem' like a resource. If you just nerf all that makes them special, they may as well just max out Ranged/Heavy, or max out the Move tree and start swatting Inquisitors with ATATs.

 

I let my players decide for themselves how they excel. One PC fights the Empire using money, favours, propaganda, diplomacy, and 'creative' revenue streams ('Alliance xXx - Your Own Private Rebellion!'), and never bothers with a blaster.

 

Yes, it's much easier for a GM to have a squad of SpecOps guys shooting stormtroopers, but that's not the only way to play the game either :)

Edited by Maelora

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As to why letting your players have a lot of money can be a problem, I call it the "Throw money at it till it's gone" resolution system.   I've played a lot of games, mostly World of Darkness, where a player with a high Resources merit, just tries to resolve problems by "buying it away".   Which isn't very fun.  I don't want Daddy Warbucks to just buy the city block in question, and thus make the slumlord running it a moot point, I want to play the PC that goes in there with his friends, and takes the slumlord down, liberating the tenants from his oppression.  

 

Plus, it's fun to watch players having to make tough decisions.  "Hmm, do I spend these 2000 credits we just got to make repairs to the ship? Or do I buy that sweet new speeder bike so I can take it off some sweet jumps?  Or do we resupply our bacta tank, after the Wookie trashed it from losing a game of space poker?"  If they've got enough money to handle all of that, it's just a handwave "I go shopping and do all this" kind of response from (some/most) players. 

 

 

 

Are the players having fun with those tough decisions?  Or do they, like real people, get very tired and frustrated from having to chose between essentials (let alone the speeder bike) ?

 

As for the "throw money at it problem" -- make that "buy-a-solution" a source of further plot seeds.  If you want to use the Vampire example, maybe someone in the city offices or an investigating reporter starts poking around your business wondering who is buying up blocks of housing.  Maybe the slumlord refuses to sell for some reason.  Maybe the slumlord knowingly or unknowingly works for another vampire, or is kinfolk to a scumbag Bone Gnawer (werewolf tribe, for those who aren't familiar).  Maybe another vampire was petitioning the city elders for claim to that neighborhood, and now they players have to work things out with that new rival. 

 

If the players decide to just "shopping trip" the problems away, then engage in a little GM-akido and redirect that into new complications, without simply stonewalling them directly.   Maybe one time they can buy the part but everyone local is out so they have to travel on public or rented transport to get it from another city, or have to deal with something local while they wait for it to come in, or have an RP-heavy "we're all stuck on the ship during this storm" game session, or whatever.  Maybe another time there's been a disaster and they can choose to throw premium credits at the vendor to get their bacta refill anyway, and to heck with the locals, or they can help with disaster relief, or whatever. 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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As to why letting your players have a lot of money can be a problem, I call it the "Throw money at it till it's gone" resolution system.   I've played a lot of games, mostly World of Darkness, where a player with a high Resources merit, just tries to resolve problems by "buying it away".   Which isn't very fun.  I don't want Daddy Warbucks to just buy the city block in question, and thus make the slumlord running it a moot point, I want to play the PC that goes in there with his friends, and takes the slumlord down, liberating the tenants from his oppression.  

 

 

I see your point, KFF, but I think a player who takes Trader or Quartermaster or Entrepreneur is stating a preference for that.  There's even a few Talents that literally let you 'throw money at a problem' like a resource. If you just nerf all that makes them special, they may as well just max out Ranged/Heavy, or max out the Move tree and start swatting Inquisitors with ATATs.

 

I let my players decide for themselves how they excel. One PC fights the Empire using money, favours, propaganda, diplomacy, and 'creative' revenue streams ('Alliance xXx - Your Own Private Rebellion!'), and never bothers with a blaster.

 

Yes, it's much easier for a GM to have a squad of SpecOps guys shooting stormtroopers, but that's not the only way to play the game either :)

 

 

Oh I'm not saying this is always the case, in fact I said twice this is a sometimes issue with some players.  It's all a case by case thing.  If I'm running a game, and one of the players is making a merchant/trader guy, then sure, money, or better yet commerce going to be a key aspect of the adventure.  And well it should.  But that's not the same thing as "letting them pile up mountains of credits".    There are plenty of ways that you can be someone who works in the economic industry, and not have lots of money.  Perhaps he spends most of his credits to grease the wheels, so they can get that cargobay full of stimpacks for the Rebellion, or maybe he gets a huge stack of credits, but then he has to pay off his debt.  It doesn't demand he get a big bank account of credits.   In fact, the "trade" system, that is likely more common on the Rim, wouldn't involve much in the way of hard currency.   "Your money's no good here!  I want produce! Get me 5 tons of Tatooine Berries or the deal is off!"  etc etc.

 

But if the PC's are a "ragged pilot smuggler"  a "kid on the run from the Empire", a "criminal with a bounty on his head", then yeah, they should probably be living with a tough need for credits most of the time.   If the party has a legitimate merchant, or is an entire group of social characters, sure, money shouldn't be much of an issue for them.  But their trials will be different.   Everyone gets "hit in the dump stat", just what that stat is, varies depending on your build.  

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Reduce purchase price by 25% and increase sale price by 25%.  Add on a rank of Wheel and Deal (required to get to MM in the Entrepreneur tree) and, for a "trade good" you have a guaranteed purchase price of at most 70% (100% - 25% [MM] - 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value and guaranteed sale price of at least 140% (100% [base for trade good] + 25% [MM] + 10% [W&D] + 5% [1 success negotiation]) listed value.  That's a guaranteed doubling of the party's money on each transaction run through MM.

I think part of your problem here is that the sale price the character gets shouldn’t be based on 100% of the listed retail price, but instead of the standard wholesale price, which is typically 25% of the listed retail price.

The PC isn’t selling direct to the end customer, in this case they are acting as a distributor who is selling to a merchant, who would then have to resell to the end customer — assuming there aren’t even more levels of resale involved.

So, instead of selling at 140%, they should be selling at 65% (25+25+10+5), which still can wind up with them having a net overall profit if they roll well, but it’s a lot of work and there are a lots of sources of drain on that revenue.

On the other hand, if you do set it up so that they can make that much profit that quickly, then maybe they would find that having that much money that easily comes with a whole new level of bigger problems to deal with.

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But if the PC's are a "ragged pilot smuggler"  a "kid on the run from the Empire", a "criminal with a bounty on his head", then yeah, they should probably be living with a tough need for credits most of the time.  

 

You always make valid points, KFF, I appreciate that.

 

Although that description pretty much sums up my first EoE group -  a free droid, a twi'lek running from an arranged marriage, and a Force-adept on the run... who after several (mis)adventures and bread-and-butter smuggling runs, started their own businesses and helped set up a thriving settlement.

 

And their expertise (and favours owed) gets them pulled into bigger things despite their desire to stay out of the GCW.

 

Characters can, and should, grow as the adventures unfold.

Edited by Maelora

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My bigger problem is that I have difficulty running a High Stakes Game of the sort being described.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a prince with millions or billions of dollars of assets, but also with millions or billions of dollars of liabilities. So, I don’t know how to translate that into a Star Wars game.

Bail Organa presumably had quite a large sum of money and assets, and Princess Leia presumably grew up with that. But if I can’t understand how that works, how can I translate that into something that the players can understand?

I’m the same on running large organizations. I don’t understand how the Rebellion could make money to buy all those ships and provide the logistics and resources necessary to run and stock all those bases.

I don’t understand how the New Jedi Order could afford to operate and pay their people, or be able to provide ships and clothing and armor and weapons and droids to outfit their people with.

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But if the PC's are a "ragged pilot smuggler"  a "kid on the run from the Empire", a "criminal with a bounty on his head", then yeah, they should probably be living with a tough need for credits most of the time.   If the party has a legitimate merchant, or is an entire group of social characters, sure, money shouldn't be much of an issue for them.  But their trials will be different.   Everyone gets "hit in the dump stat", just what that stat is, varies depending on your build.

To me, part of the problem here is making poverty or wealth a central and defining part of the character's lasting concept, and expecting it to stick continuously and indefinitely  This gets us back into the problem of the "no matter what happens, at the end of the episode, things need to return to the defining situation" trope.   

 

This makes it harder for the characters to grow or face changes, for the story to progress, etc. 

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