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Desslok

Players and the Perpetual Poverty Problem

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Okay, I missed this when the thread was live and kicking but I just had to comment anyway. . . .

 

Let me tell you guys a little story about why it is important to keep credits low.

 

I had run a real good campaign with super skinflint bosses that kept my players perpetually broke.  We were nearing the end of the campaign, and they were off the main world where most of the story was happening, dosing a little side adventure before the big finale I had planned.

 

They wandered into a casino to get some information, and through a series of increasingly bizarre die rolls, turned it into a heist.  And I had made the mistake of saying the Casino boss was overseeing the unloading of some credits.

 

They murdered that Hutt, and stole all the credits.  And, because I was excessively tired that night, I told them it would be enough to buy themselves a a large freighter or something.

 

I had not looked at how much a large freighter actually cost.

 

After dealing with the fallout of the heist (involving 2 more crime bosses in a power struggle) and now drunk with money and power, they flew their crap ship to a large trade hub, and preceded to roll excellently on checks to find any **** thing in any **** book they wanted, and upgraded all their weapons obscenely well.  When they got back to the main world for the final battle, the wasted the Imperial Inquisitor in less than a round.  And then did it again after I brought her back for round two.

 

 

Dude, they just murdered a Hutt. MURDERED a HUTT.

 

M.U.R.D.E.R.E.D.

 

H.U.T.T.

 

There is no amount of money in the galaxy that will shield them from the divine shitstorm that would descend upon them from the heavens after that. Their lives would be plagued with a constant, righteous infliction of retribution manifested by appropriate agents.

 

Hell, without a huge bankroll, the odds of them surviving to see three more sunrises are non-existent.

Edited by Desslok

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Definitely sounds like the start to a very short action packed epilog rather than a disaster.

 

"So who is on watch tonight?"

"Me!"... waits for everyone to sleep before stealing all the credits and alerting every Bounty Hunter in the sector to their hideout and retiring to their own personal planet. Fast forward 10 years to when said planet gets blown up by the Death Star 3 that the Hutts built using plans stolen by the surviving members of the original group...

 

Just because they have money doesn't mean they have no problems, it really means the problems just got much much bigger.

Edited by Richardbuxton

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 shitstorm 

on a side note you just found a fun word thats not blocked, +10 Duty

 

 

What's funny is that sometimes basically the same word may or may not be blocked, in the same post.   In one post I made, I used  a$$hole, and a$$holes.  IIRC, the plural version of it wasn't blocked, but the singular was, or vice versa, I forget which.  And I have no idea why :D   I guess maybe it thought I was talking about multiple butts in a medical context, but the singular was clearly being an insult?  *shrugs*     :D

 

omg it did it again!  even when using dollar signs for S's!  lol

Edited by KungFuFerret

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Credits really aren't the problem. The GM has complete control over the ebb and flow of party resources. It's Star Wars--have a fuel cell deplete, hyperdrive go out during battle. Out of battle--the part, ship, mining colony, whatever they just bought was stolen (restricted, about to be taken by a criminal organization).

 

With this in mind, you can let the players fly their own ships, collect their bounties, and build their bases without fear. Just let their actions drive the story.

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I'm not saying I'm the best GM or anything, but to say that you have to keep players poor to keep the story or your game is just being a lazy and a poor GM, no pun intended. I have been a GM for a long time, and I can get stuck in my ways, and in my ruts, and never see the other way of things, but I do try to; most of the time. I do out my player and my story first, though.

You can have a great game with or with out money, it depends on what the group as whole agrees to at the start of the game. If the players are not expecting to be dirt poor, it will lead to mass looting, and scrounging for every credit. If they know it is part of the story, then it is part of the story, and most "adult" players will be ok with it. It depends on what kind of setting the Group is going with though. But there is no arbitrarily right or wrong answer for everyone. Just like some groups like more combat, or more role playing, or get more XP awarded per session.

I tend to start my groups out with less money, and smaller paying jobs in the beginning, then as the game goes on the money increases. I do enjoy to give them the feeling of that desperate feeling in the beginning, how are going to pay for food, upkeep of the ship, and gear, is our next job going to screw us over? I know a lot of people call it the "Firefly" game, but it has been around much longer than that show. We were playing those campaigns back in the late 80's and early 90's with WEG and we just called them Tramp Freighter Campaigns. Minos Cluster anybody!? Then as they gain experience, they gain money, and soon money is not really a concern for them, and we shift gears.

To each their own, we all have our preferred play styles, but to say that "you have to be poor or the game sucks" just screams to me you really need to back to GM school. If you can't handle players with money, then you can't handle a game. What are you going to do when they really go off your rails?

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"You can have a great game with or with out money, it depends on what the group as whole agrees to at the start of the game. If the players are not expecting to be dirt poor, it will lead to mass looting, and scrounging for every credit. If they know it is part of the story, then it is part of the story, and most "adult" players will be ok with it. It depends on what kind of setting the Group is going with though. But there is no arbitrarily right or wrong answer for everyone. Just like some groups like more combat, or more role playing, or get more XP awarded per session."

"I tend to start my groups out with less money, and smaller paying jobs in the beginning, then as the game goes on the money increases. I do enjoy to give them the feeling of that desperate feeling in the beginning, how are going to pay for food, upkeep of the ship, and gear, is our next job going to screw us over?"

"To each their own, we all have our preferred play styles, but to say that "you have to be poor or the game sucks" just screams to me you really need to back to GM school. If you can't handle players with money, then you can't handle a game. What are you going to do when they really go off your rails?"

So much truth. With or without credits I like to get the players goals and motivations out of the gate--it helps the GM every session, and yes, helps them know what to expect.

 

I never take 'upkeep of the ship' and 'is our next job going to screw us over?' off of the table. Player stupidity is a powerful force. When they get complacent is when you can get some really interesting plot points (twists) in.

 

I completely agree with this last point R2, I've fully supported parties who have saved enough for capital ships. They get so excited, "YES!" they say. And rushed off to the shipyards only to get there and start thinking about the crew they actually needed. They changed their minds when they couldn't afford the fuel.

 

Let your parties fly free, you're only there to guide the story.

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Giving players access to credits isn't a problem. It only becomes a problem when, as a GM, you provide story problems that can be overcome with money. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of the pre-written adventure modules fall down; the challenges that are provided are very straightforward and can easily be overcome with the right piece of splat book gear or a high-end ship. Modules are great for starting a campaign but GMs need to be able to not only move the story along but escalate it at the same time. Then again, I would love to see a 250 page Masks of Nyarlathotep-style super-adventure for EotE.

 

Anyway, this is one reason why I recommend never scripting out an entire campaign from beginning to end. You may very well need to scale up the threat or provide new challenges that require teamwork. It's easier to develop an adventure as the campaign goes on than it it is to re-write an existing one.

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"Anyway, this is one reason why I recommend never scripting out an entire campaign from beginning to end. You may very well need to scale up the threat or provide new challenges that require teamwork. It's easier to develop an adventure as the campaign goes on than it it is to re-write an existing one."

Well said. I just finished a campaign where I let the players pick any freighter they wanted (brand new with any legal upgrades that fit on it) before they started session one. They came to that first session super excited about everything: they had an OP ship!

 

It got captured in the first session by the bounty hunters they tried to cheat. The next six sessions were the party trying to get their ship back and I didn't have any of that planned.

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Good debate in this thread.

 

Back in the DnD days of the 80s we had 2 kinds of campaigns, the extremely poor and the "monty hall" campaigns.  Month Hall was a game show host who gave away prizes behind all doors and curtains.  Thus the term.  Players have the best of the best gear throws your campaigns out of whack as you then have to juice up everything for them to be challenged.  I have been in a player in games where the gm wouldnt give anything to players even if it was in the module deeming it too powerful.  He preferred to beat down his players which was no fun for me.  Its going to be tricky I think for me to keep a game of reward and loss as I feel thats wha makes great stories.

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Good debate in this thread.

 

Back in the DnD days of the 80s we had 2 kinds of campaigns, the extremely poor and the "monty hall" campaigns.  Month Hall was a game show host who gave away prizes behind all doors and curtains.  Thus the term.  Players have the best of the best gear throws your campaigns out of whack as you then have to juice up everything for them to be challenged.  I have been in a player in games where the gm wouldnt give anything to players even if it was in the module deeming it too powerful.  He preferred to beat down his players which was no fun for me.  Its going to be tricky I think for me to keep a game of reward and loss as I feel thats wha makes great stories.

 

The thing I've found is to make the reward and loss focused around sentimental things. I've found "keep monetary rewards consistent and gradual" much more effective than "keep the players hungry," so long as there are other things to be gained and lost over the course of the story. Families, lightsabers, status, all of that can be earned to the players' delight and lost to their distress without calls of "cheap GM" so long as it's done as a natural part of the narrative.

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The thing I've found is to make the reward and loss focused around sentimental things. I've found "keep monetary rewards consistent and gradual" much more effective than "keep the players hungry,"

So long as you keep in mind what they are truly hungry for, you can work on the necessary ways to feed or starve that, as appropriate.

I think that’s the real key to keeping the game interesting for you and your players. Don’t worry about the money, if that’s not what they’re really hungry for. Don’t worry about giving them lots of combat, if that’s not what they’re hungry for. And so on.

Properly define the word “hungry” in the context of your players and yourself, and then go from there.

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hungry.jpg

He might of taken that too literally…

 

 

I think he did not. The star wars galaxy seems to solved their energy problems, but not their food problems. Starvation is one of the often brought up topics and rightfully so imho. 

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I think he did not. The star wars galaxy seems to solved their energy problems, but not their food problems. Starvation is one of the often brought up topics and rightfully so imho.

That's what happens when you're the sort of culture to cover an entire planet with a city and then need to haul in enough food for a trillion people or whatever -- every day, day after day, year after year.  Never mind what they're doing with a trillion people's "waste", or the waste heat, or...

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I think he did not. The star wars galaxy seems to solved their energy problems, but not their food problems. Starvation is one of the often brought up topics and rightfully so imho.

That's what happens when you're the sort of culture to cover an entire planet with a city and then need to haul in enough food for a trillion people or whatever -- every day, day after day, year after year.  Never mind what they're doing with a trillion people's "waste", or the waste heat, or...

 

 

Kind of, at least from the perspective of when star wars was written. Today urban farming is a concept which would more or less solve that problem by simply converting those cities into farms while maintaining the high population density. Developing autonomous cities is mainly an energy problem for us, while star wars simply lacks either motivation or technology or both to do this. They prefer their cheap and effective transport system and farm planets. Even when this leads to common food shortages across civilized space. It gives star wars a very special flair imo, so it works for me. 

Edited by SEApocalypse

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I've always assumed that there are planets specifically designated and with purpose-built infrastructure to turn them into vast farms, so that there are farming planets as well as city planets and desert planets, etc. But I wonder how many there would have to be to provide food just for the Core Worlds, let alone other sections. There must always be starvation in the Outer Rim, when you consider the general glut of resources coreward.

 

Hm. Campaign ideas, methinks.

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At the other hand: There is a constant stream of cheap products from the coreworld into the outer rim, datapads, blaster pistols and amazingly amounts of other junk (metaphorical and literally) are no spare resource even in the rim. Yet food is a very spare resource. Strange, this reminds me of something, but I really have no idea which IRL situation would be similar. ;-)

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o

When you think of huge city worlds like Coruscant with over a trillion inhabitants alone there is no place to put realistic food production. Logistically it isn't reasonable. That's why agriworlds are so important.

 

SEApocalypse is right it does give Star Wars that special flare, but it also makes a ton of sense when you have access to easy and inexpensive transportation compared to what people will pay for the commodity (eat or die).

 

CaptainRaspberry most of the Outer Rim has no need for an agriworld, and a lot of the Core is very carefully (and wisely) managed. If you want to really raise the stakes on your campaign consider threatening the Salliche Agricultural Corporation (Salliche Ag). They were a major antagonist in one of my past campaigns. They provide food to Coruscant and the beginning planets of the Corellian Run. They control 18 or so agriworlds in the core.

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If the people of Coruscant eat a diet vaguely equivalent to our first-world diet, then you need to transport 2.0 to 2.5 billion tons of food to the planet, every day, day after day, continuously.
 

That's the equivalent of roughly 92 million modern 40' ocean freight containers -- every single day

 

Or if we generously use the highest figure given for the YT-1300 (100 tons), you'd need to land 25 million YT-1300s on Coruscant -- every single day.   That's about 290 every second assuming a 24-hour day -- every second, of every hour, of every day, continuously. 

 

 

I hope the scale and scope of this is starting to sink in now. 

 

 

(Yes... I do work in the "industrial food" business... )

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To help with scale, current day either is using overall about 17 million of those containers. This includes the smaller 20' containers. About 6 million of them are in use on ships, trucks or train.

So we are talking about an economy which needs about ~20 times as much logistics as our whole economy just for their food. Well, or they would if they would have a first world diet, which most people on coruscant don't have. Even people with relative good jobs like servants of senators are already having trouble to pay for food, water and even just energy for their small, but expensive apartments (Pursuit of Peace, TCW 3.08). The majority of coruscant's citizen do not live in such luxury. Citizen of the undercity might be starving just as much or even more as scavengers on jukka. The lower levels themselves should have the bigger population compared to the wealthy upper-levels or the super-rich areas with access to clear skies.

 

So at least in this regard we can most likely drastically reduce the amount of food deliveries.  

 

EastCleveland-SOTETC.jpg

Edited by SEApocalypse

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To help with scale, current day either is using overall about 17 million of those containers. This includes the smaller 20' containers. About 6 million of them are in use on ships, trucks or train.

So we are talking about an economy which needs about ~20 times as much logistics as our whole economy just for their food.

 

 

 

 

To clarify something here...

 

92 million is the equivalent number of containers that have to be unloaded every day. 

 

Let's say the entire turnaround time of a container averages 14 days -- loading at the "agri-planet", in transit through space and hyperspace, waiting to be unloaded at Coruscant, waiting to turn around and go back out (empty or with whatever you're shipping out in bulk), unloading somewhere else, etc.  For every day in transit, you have to multiply the number of containers needed. 

 

That means you need roughly 1.3 billion containers total -- and that's just for serving the food needs of Coruscant itself.  Or about 76 times as many as exist on our present-day Earth total.

 

 

Just for food.  For one planet.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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