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closecraig

New GM, not sure how to handle this situation.

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Hi All, 

In my RP, my PC's were doing some missions for the Valarians on Tatooine, mostly sabotaging Hutt operations. One such Hutt operation was the deliberate destruction of one of their own water wells in the capital city Mos Espa, the Hutts would then suddenly swing in with a ship carrying water and save the day and gain the favor of the civilian population even further. The valarians asked the PC's to steal the ship carrying the water and not the destruction of the water well, where instead the valarians would swoop in and save the day.

Now my PC's have access to a GR-75 with 20 million tons of water and I'm a little concerned they are going to take it for their own rather than hand it back to the Valarians. Obviously this would be an excellent narrative journey but I'm unsure on how to take them on it. I currently only have the Edge of Empire core book and due to limited stock in all my local stores and online stores - I can't get anything else. 

Any tips on how to handle hauling this much water? How much it would sell for? What sort of reaction would be suitable from both the Hutt's and Valarians? What sort of mini-scenarios might occur because of this decision? NOTE: The Hutts know the Valarians were behind stealing the ship, the Valarians know the PC's were behind stealing the ship - The civilians and imperial authorities have no knowledge about said ship.

Obviously none of this may come to pass - But i'd like to be able to handle it with a few surprise twists and turns.

Edited by closecraig

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I can provide a bit of help with one part of your question at least. Both the Hutts and Valarian's people will be pissed as all hell. Think of it in this way: The hutts were going to save the day, the V's knew this going in, therefore both sides assumed that at the end of the day, the people that buy their dope and booze and toil for them would be 100% fine. That just got thrown completely out the window. You may even see some inter-gang co-operation in order to enact some vengeance on the idiots that disrupted their business that badly.

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Well ask yourself, how did Jabba handle it when Han Solo dumped his cargo when he was about to be bordered by an Imperial patrol?

He placed a huge bounty on his head.

Han had Boba Fett, Gredo, and numerous other bounty hunters looking to capture him and get the bounty just because he dumped Jabba's cargo.

Hutts and Valarian hate it when people who promise to do them a job renege on it. Hutts and Valarian are ruthless and corrupt. If your PC's steal that water and/or don't bring that ship to Valarian, things are going to get bad for them in the near future.

But hey, that makes for a really interesting campaign side story.

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Take a page from Breaking Bad: great, you've got contraband, but the people willing to buy it might be worse than the people you stole it from.

Who in the sector doesn't know about the valarians' water run? Who does, but is willing to take a few tons' worth? Who will each double-crossed party send first? And who gets sent next? How well is the water even stored? 

Heck, I might *encourage* the players to try this caper.

Edit: is 20 millions tons accurate? Sounds excessive in scale to me.

Edited by wilsch

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6 minutes ago, wilsch said:

Edit: is 20 millions tons accurate? Sounds excessive in scale to me.

Yeah, an Olympic sized pool is about 2,500 tonnes:

https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-visualise-a-1-million-kg-What-on-Earth-is-this-heavy

(1 liter = 1kg, 1000kg = 1 metric tonne, 1 metric tonne = 1.1 tons)

So 20 million tons is probably a few SD's-worth of water...

 

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5 hours ago, whafrog said:

Yeah, an Olympic sized pool is about 2,500 tonnes:

https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-visualise-a-1-million-kg-What-on-Earth-is-this-heavy

(1 liter = 1kg, 1000kg = 1 metric tonne, 1 metric tonne = 1.1 tons)

So 20 million tons is probably a few SD's-worth of water...

 

20 million kilograms is probably what they meant.  It'd be 20 thousand tons, which is close enough to the 19 thousand tons listed for a GR-75 that it makes sense.

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15 hours ago, Azeraphin said:

Well ask yourself, how did Jabba handle it when Han Solo dumped his cargo when he was about to be bordered by an Imperial patrol?

He placed a huge bounty on his head.

Han had Boba Fett, Gredo, and numerous other bounty hunters looking to capture him and get the bounty just because he dumped Jabba's cargo.

Hutts and Valarian hate it when people who promise to do them a job renege on it. Hutts and Valarian are ruthless and corrupt. If your PC's steal that water and/or don't bring that ship to Valarian, things are going to get bad for them in the near future.

But hey, that makes for a really interesting campaign side story.

 

9 hours ago, Usaretama said:

20 million kilograms is probably what they meant.  It'd be 20 thousand tons, which is close enough to the 19 thousand tons listed for a GR-75 that it makes sense.

Thanks for all the replies!

I'm not too sure what happened, but somewhere I saw that the GR-75 could carry ALOT more, but upon reading again, I must have seen some other value and thought that was it. So yes. we'll call it 19 thousand tons, what sort of an estimated value would I put on? I haven't seen anything about large quantities of food stuffs.

I do like the idea of assigning bounty hunters but my guys aren't very high on XP / Credits and I don't want the hutt / valarian response to be fairly meaningless NPC's. They're currently deep in Hutt Space so maybe the ship only has fuel for one more medium range jump, they'll still be in hutt space but would need to find more fuel / a buyer before the hutts bare down on them. I've also just remembered Nym. So many choices!

 

 

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Well, 1 m³ (metric tonne) of tap water costs roughly between $ -.5 and 2.- in the "developed" world. Myself, I convert at about $ 2.- to the credit.

I'd say rarity is 0 for worlds, abundant in water, and 1 on an earth-like planet at a price of cr 1.- per m³; on an arid world the Rarity might increase by 3 or 4+.

That would add up to, summa summarum, cr 19,000 to cr 76,000 for the shipload.

The consequent bounty can hardly be less than 10% of that.

Edited by Grimmerling
additional thoughts

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Water only has value to those who need to buy it and those who need to buy it - rather than setting up a vaporator - aren't going to have a lot of money to spend on it. Keep in mind that Tattooine is a (no pun intended) dirt poor world. The natives aren't going to have the credits to spend in order to make selling the water profitable.

Controlling a water well isn't a business operation. It's about controlling people and getting them to do what you want them to do in exchange for necessary resources. And it's not like getting water from the air is that hard. Real-life human beings have been building radiative condensers for over a century. 

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The GX-8 vaporator is going to produce 1.5 l each per day (at an arid 1.5% humidity) in a 250 m triangular grid (canon); it goes for cr 2,000 (used, i presume) and cr 10,000 (new) and is a high-maintenance technology (legends).

Let's assume you can keep a new one  running for 100 years, and will pay only 1% (far too low) of the initial investment in maintenance every year: That's cr 200 (cr 100 + 100) for 456 l (1.5 l/d * 304 d) or cr .43 per litre in production cost (no labour, mind).

Having done the maths, I must conceed: cr 4.- per m³ is far too cheap.

 

 

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On 3/1/2017 at 7:59 AM, Concise Locket said:

Water only has value to those who need to buy it and those who need to buy it - rather than setting up a vaporator - aren't going to have a lot of money to spend on it. Keep in mind that Tattooine is a (no pun intended) dirt poor world. The natives aren't going to have the credits to spend in order to make selling the water profitable.

Controlling a water well isn't a business operation. It's about controlling people and getting them to do what you want them to do in exchange for necessary resources. And it's not like getting water from the air is that hard. Real-life human beings have been building radiative condensers for over a century. 

That's not quite correct, at least here in the real world. While a single dirt-poor farmer may not have the money to buy large amounts of water, coalitions, governments, crime syndicates, and businesses will. Controlling water is a business operation; the drought in California cost the state billions of dollars. Getting water from the air, enough for subsistence living, is certainly possible with condensers, but most water that humans on earth use is for agriculture and a condenser simply doesn't produce enough for that.

The pc's in this scenario could make a lot of money selling water to agricultural or industrial concerns, if closecraig wants to use a real-world model for this. They could also "launder" the water by selling fake Naboo natural spring water in fancy bottles to uninformed twenty-somethings in the Core Worlds.

Quote

That's cr 200 (cr 100 + 100)

I believe Grimmerling is calculating the yearly business cost of the initial investment and maintenance here. Since both are 100 (cr 10,000 spread evenly over 100 years for initial investment and 1% of cr 10,000 for maintenance each year), cr 200 makes sense.

Quote

456 l (1.5 l/d * 304 d)

Tatooine has 304 days per year according to Wookiepedia, so I believe that is what Grimmerling is referencing. He is also very generously allowing that the vaporator would work at full capacity (1.5 liters of water produced per day) every day for 100 years, in order to simplify his calculations, I believe. His model does not account for holidays, injuries, adverse weather conditions, mechanical failures/problems, labor force problems (in a large operation this could mean a strike or work force shortage, in a family-operation, this could mean your adopted son keeps ditching work to go play with his friends at Tosche Station and wants to leave permanently to attend the Academy), theft, or even deliberate sabotage.

200/456 is how he got cr .43 per liter.

However, using Grimmerling's formula, if it were my business, I wouldn't charge less than cr .86 for a liter of water (this keeps production costs at 50%, which is pretty high). Now times that by a thousand and you have cr 860 for a metric tonne of water. I may give a discount for bulk purchase, but I may not, as it has been shown that costs have been simplified and would actually be much higher.

@Grimmerling: your maths were fantastic and gave me all these ideas, but it took me a minute to realize what the numbers represented, so I thought that would try to explain it more clearly. I hope I extrapolated correctly.

Edited by bloody malth

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This is all far too much money for them at this point in the game (Very low XP characters).

Does anyone recommend any interesting, or exciting ways on how I can rob them of their chance to get the motherload? Does anyone have any experience having an NPC scam the PC's? I'm currently thinking that Nym of Lok would buy it from them, somehow manage to get away with the ship and suddenly leave the PC's with no water, no ship and no friends.

I'm just looking for some ideas at this point on how a scam might take place in the backstabbing world of Star Wars. 

EDIT: I just remembered that one of the PC's took revenge as their obligation on an Imperial Officer who double crossed him and locked him up. Since the PCs have recently escaped from this officer, it would make sense that this officer would be looking to silence the PC. Nym could, in theory have contacted the imperial authorities about these known offenders  and while offering payment to the pc's but before handing it over - The empire swoop in. The empire still don't know anything about the cargo of water and the crew might not know that Nym ratted them out.

Edited by closecraig

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What, if the water were contaminated? Sabotage, freaky accident etc.

If they steal it, their employers will believe themselves robbed of loads of credits, nonetheless.

If they deliver it, there will be some explaining/investigating to do.

@bloodymalth: You conjectured everything right. I must apologise for the insufficient elaboration; I had been "Lost in Translation".

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17 hours ago, bloody malth said:

That's not quite correct, at least here in the real world. While a single dirt-poor farmer may not have the money to buy large amounts of water, coalitions, governments, crime syndicates, and businesses will. Controlling water is a business operation; the drought in California cost the state billions of dollars. Getting water from the air, enough for subsistence living, is certainly possible with condensers, but most water that humans on earth use is for agriculture and a condenser simply doesn't produce enough for that.

The OP's story posited that the destroyed well was in an urban environment. The Lars rural household, which seemed fairly lower-class by Star Wars standards, used vaporators to collect water. It isn't clear in the films if the Lars farm is just "harvesting" water or using that water to grow crops in an underground greenhouse but they were able to gather enough to get by.

Unlike California which is a major global power, Tattooine has always been portrayed as a cultural and economic backwater with little-to-no governance, little more than a subsistence economy, and little to offer the rest of the galaxy other than being located on a major hyperlane. Blowing up a well is putting the screws to a population that's already destitute. 

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@Concise Locket: I'm not sure we're arguing anymore, because I agree with your second post. My problem with the first post was that you wrote in absolutes, i.e. "controlling water isn't a business operation" (emphasis mine). I took that to mean that you did not think that water was a business operation anywhere, not Tatooine, not the entire Star Wars galaxy, and not Earth. Your first post makes more sense to me in the context of just Tatooine. However, since Closecraig's players' have a ship, I don't believe it would be that difficult for them to find a place in the galaxy where they could sell the water for good profit. With that in mind...

Concise Locket is right that Star Wars people using vaporators probably won't be able to afford water in bulk and anywhere else won't pay half as much. There is a need for water outside of that, which was the point I was trying to make earlier, but it's probably much closer to Grimmerling's original estimate of cr 1 to cr 4 per metric tonne (I got excited by the maths and forgot to mention this in my first post). And I'm not sure if Grimmerling's original estimate was based on the consumer's price or not; if it is, the pc's will get much less than that (the wholesalers, distributors, and retailers need to make a profit too, with the government taking its cut, in the form of taxes or bribes, at each step). If Closecraig drops the price down from cr 1 per tonne to cr .25, his players will make 4,750 (19,000 tonnes times .25) for the whole group. A decent haul, but not excessive.

Closecraig, if you feel that the water should be more valuable than that and want to stick to some of the original estimates, then I would urge you to talk to your players before giving them a fortune and then ripping it away. That sort of thing works well in caper movies like the Ocean's series, but usually leaves a sour taste in peoples' mouths at the gaming table unless the whole thing happens "off-screen". Tell them that it is too much money this early in the game and you need to take most/all of it away. If they understand this going into it, then they may even help you come up with ideas for losing or even wasting the money.

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On 3/4/2017 at 7:26 AM, bloody malth said:

Concise Locket is right that Star Wars people using vaporators probably won't be able to afford water in bulk and anywhere else won't pay half as much. There is a need for water outside of that, which was the point I was trying to make earlier, but it's probably much closer to Grimmerling's original estimate of cr 1 to cr 4 per metric tonne (I got excited by the maths and forgot to mention this in my first post). And I'm not sure if Grimmerling's original estimate was based on the consumer's price or not; if it is, the pc's will get much less than that (the wholesalers, distributors, and retailers need to make a profit too, with the government taking its cut, in the form of taxes or bribes, at each step). If Closecraig drops the price down from cr 1 per tonne to cr .25, his players will make 4,750 (19,000 tonnes times .25) for the whole group. A decent haul, but not excessive.

Closecraig, if you feel that the water should be more valuable than that and want to stick to some of the original estimates, then I would urge you to talk to your players before giving them a fortune and then ripping it away. That sort of thing works well in caper movies like the Ocean's series, but usually leaves a sour taste in peoples' mouths at the gaming table unless the whole thing happens "off-screen". Tell them that it is too much money this early in the game and you need to take most/all of it away. If they understand this going into it, then they may even help you come up with ideas for losing or even wasting the money.

Thanks again everyone for your responses. It's been very useful to see the discussion regarding prices and the economical and domestic fallout from such an event as this. 

From your feedback, I've decided the following based upon the assumption that the players will steal the ship: 

  • The Valarians will plead to the players morals, stating that they are providing the water free as relief aid and that taking the water is petty and inhumane.
  • The ship has a total of 15,000 metric tons of water, typically sold at .5 credits per metric ton this will generate 7.5K. A decent haul, but maybe not enough to test the players' morals.
  • The destroyed well from Mos Espa will kill an estimated 10,000 poor refugee's / slum workers within the first week as water will suddenly only go to those who can afford it most. The Empire, as it is a territory they control will provide relief but it will be too little, too late and by the time their aid arrives - The Hutts would have the majority of the crisis under control.
  • The current well would be destroyed, requiring constant water shipments until repaired. This will continue the water issues, killing 300 civilians each month, the repairs will take 2 months. 
  • The blame will fall squarely onto the PC's as the Valarians distance themselves and bribe various Imperial / Hutt officials. The Imperials place a bounty of 8K on their heads whilst the Valarian and Hutt forces place 6K. 
  • The Lok System has a buying price for water of 1 credit per metric ton. Nym and the Lok Revenants is essentially luring the PC's into a trap as he attempts to take the Imperial Bounty and also securing free water. 

Thoughts?

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The thing I've not seen any mention of yet is what kind of people your PCs are.  If they steal this shipment, will they be doing so in order to enrich themselves or to stop two criminal empires from enriching themselves on the backs of poor farmers and townspeople?  If it's the latter, hey- why not do a little campaign where the PCs distribute cheap, clean water and build support for a movement to kick one or both of these criminal groups off the planet?  If they're Imperial or Rebel-leaning, they could do it in their name and launch an AoR-style campaign.  Or they could just lay low on Tatooine, maybe hand some water over to the Tuskens and try to get their support also.  (But I'm kind of a weirdo and always want to do Tusken campaigns, so....)

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