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Frostweasel

Dealing with loot - new GM

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How do you experienced GMs deal with loot? Do you frequently leave objects lying around for players to find? What about body drops? One thing I can't find much mention of in the books is how often to let players loot equipment from corpses or find credits or other useful items. 

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There isn't a system for looting. It isn't really encouraged. Mostly, that's not the type of game this is designed to be.

Players generally expect their PCs to get paid for doing some kind of job: smuggling, exploring new worlds and selling both their discoveries and the hyperspace coordinates of the new planet, being paid mercenaries, collecting bounties when they turn in some hapless fool who skipped out on a Hutt, selling information (to the Empire, Rebellion, and anyone else with credits), competing in races and earning prize money, being involved in some kind of heist that gains a huge payday, helping negotiate a treaty between an indigenous species and the Rebellion/a corporation/a cartel, rescuing a village on the edge of the outer rim from pirates, being traders moving committees from planet to planet while ducking Imperial customs, etc.

Looting corpses is really not in the spirit of Star Wars. While the PCs might use some gear dropped by Stormtroopers, they are unlikely to keep most of it (as it's super illegal to own privately), and given that SW is a mostly civilized galaxy, property rights are a thing and stealing from the dead is both discouraged and reviled. 

If, as a GM, you want to get equipment into the hands of your players, give it to them, suggest they buy it, include it as part of what they naturally have on their ship, or ask your PCs to justify what it is they want and let them have it within reason. There are mechanics in Far Horizons where the PCs just own a business and get credits at the start of every session. The Entrepreneur and Quartermaster trees have a ranked talent that just gives the PC 100 credits per rank every session. 

Alternately, and much more in keeping with the spirit of the game, if they want something rare or expensive, they should be taking on Obligation in exchange for the thing, providing fun story hooks down the line and built in plot continuity when an NPC comes back with grudge/asking for a favor/trying to get their speeder back/whatever.

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Most regulars know that corpse looting always leaves a poor taste in my mouth as a GM. Loot is generally handed out via gifts from NPCs, rewards for objectives, or purchased with the fat wads of money accrued through their adventures.

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It's kinda funny, but the only thing my group loots from corpses are the guns.

They don't check for cash or take clothes or armour... 
They usually just go "I'll grab his gun" or whatever.

And I don't think it's an issue of them thinking in computer games terms or anything like that (ie. loot everything you see), but rather that they're always outgunned, so taking those guns is pretty tempting.

Not to mention the fact that pretty much anyone they meet in a fight that's armed is usually a bad guy.

They do tend to sell excess guns, but they also have a dufflebag of guns that they carry around, which I find kind of funny. 

Currently it's just blaster pistols and holdout blasters, but I can see that expanding to bigger guns over time.

Oh and I almost forgot that they did once steal an armored longcoat (nomads coat?) from one of the enemies, but that was only because one of the characters had lost their own coat of the same type, and this guy happened to be about the same size.
And it was cold :)


And for some reason, I'm fine with this kind of looting.
It's something I could see happening. 
Just grabbing the enemies guns is quick and easy, and not really "corpse looting", as they tend to fall away from the enemy hands.

 

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My players were mostly old-school D&D people who were used to looting everything in sight, but I had a little talk with them about genre appropriateness and they were able to drop their old habits pretty quickly.  That said, I also needed to emphasize to them that picking up something that their character actually wants and is going to use is fine (stuffing half a dozen ordinary blasters into a sack for eventual resale, on the other hand, is not). 

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Said it in an other thread, and I can just repeat: Remember, everything you give your NPCs to beat the **** out of the PCs will be in the PCs inventory after the encounter ;)

At least as long as you don't make sure, they won't get it (loot gets damaged / destroyed, they get overwhelmed by enemy reinforcements and have to flee before they can grab the equipment, ...)

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We've been gaming with my group for a couple of months and I am not discouraging looting.

Last night I had to just let the group know that there was "nothing of consequence to loot."

 

My group is grabbing guns and took two suits of storm trooper armor from last nights haul and they are trading guns for cash.  This group is mostly new players and I find their quest for capital to be appropriate.  A lot of the encounters do deal with some sort of cash transaction, and they have to deal with port fees every other session (it seems).

So as a GM I encourage looting.

Also remember the encumbrance rules if you think that the PC's are carrying too many guns.

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I think this is also largely dependent on what type of game you're running.

If you're playing AOR, then sure, you won't loot everything you gun down. You'll get stuff that's mission critical (like stormtrooper armour for infiltration or whatever) and possibly handy equipment (comlinks or better weapons).
If you're playing EOTE, then why would you not loot people you shoot? Most of the charecters will be rogues and villains anyway, and most of the people they'll be fighting will be other rogues and villains. Yes, your players might not be "hard core murderers", but they'll most likely not be strangers to violence and theft. Scraping a few things from the corpse of a Hutt's hired-guns won't be that far fetched.

If you're playing F&D, I just can't see looting... like, at all. Unless it's a lightsaber... always take lightsabers :P

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I only had one player who was into looting, but he was a scoundrel type so it fit his character. He realized it was easier said than done when he ran afoul of an Imperial patrol while laden with a bunch of Stormtroopers' carbines.

Now my group only loots when it's narratively necessary; either disguising themselves in someone's gear or armor or grabbing weapons when they've been disarmed in some way. They know they can buy/craft/be rewarded with better gear than whatever a generic NPC is carrying. Usually I just point out a neat piece of gear I think a player may like, they roll up a Negotiation check to buy one at the next layover and we move on.

The only loot drops I do pertain to the adventure they're on, and those can be generated by good Perception/Vigilance/Survival/etc. rolls or Destiny Point flips. On a cold planet and night is setting in? Good thing that old prospector's cache you found had a bunch of coats!

Of course, there's nothing wrong with searching for some pocket change after a skirmish. I just have them roll a d100 and take it x10.

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A lot of how you deal with looting also depends on timing.  If you keep the pressure on, they aren't going to stop for anything more than a gun or maybe a utility belt.  Also, enforce the encumbrance rules.  That limits what they can drag off very quickly.  My last game had a player who owned 3 or 4 guns, each specialized for a different purpose.  He would only carry 1 or 2 based on mission needs though (He had a long range stun rifle, sniper rifle, auto rifle, and a dart gun).  If they had a car, he usually threw the rest in a crate in the back.

If they have a vehicle, and time, my group will strip the enemies pretty thoroughly.

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I play a Rodian Outlaw Tech/Mechanic in one of our games with the Waste Not, Want Not motivation. Scavenging is kinda his thing. Also, coming from a background in D&D, looting comes naturally.

That said, the rest of our group almost never thinks about looting weapons or armor, much less searching bodies for credits. In fact, in the Age of Rebellion game I run I have to subtly encourage the group to remember the rebellion needs supplies like the six crates of blasters in the cargo bay.

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People don't carry bags of gold or wads of cash outside the fantasy setting, so my guys always knew there was no money to be found.  Looking for the 'key card' or some useful ID to hack or whatever is fine, with enough time.

I don't see anything wrong with picking up a gun here and there, pirating 101, grab useful ammo whenever you can operationally.  It needs to be reasonable though, and while I didn't nitpick encumbrance, I do point out carrying around an extra submachine gun is kinda a PITA.

Random doodads like scanners or stimpacks or whatever are fine, provided there's enough time to stop and do that, which leads into there is rarely the time to remove armor from a dead target, and invariably it's filled with the guts, blood, and poo of the former owner.

Time is always the useful factor for discouraging it, that and don't be a miser with gear.  Don't fret them getting the 'uber' pistol or rifle, easy enough to break things in this game, and there is always more Stormtroopers around every corner.

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My party aren't too bothered by looting most NPCs unless they have something special.  They've already got a few complete sets of Stormtrooper gear after an infiltration mission, so they're not too bothered by anything Stormtroopers may be carrying.  But if they fight a bounty hunter with a fancy blaster or something they might take it.  Armour I generally don't let them loot since it's full holes and probably not their size.  

They tend to get their rewards through mission payments or occasionally a cache of interesting loot, but generally if they want something they find a way to acquire it themselves, legally or otherwise.

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24 minutes ago, Frostweasel said:

Thanks for the replies, I want to discourage looting largely but know what some of my players are into so I may have to get creative.

If you want to discourage looting, just make sure the players don't have time to think about it.  If they're looting, it's because they can't think of anything better to do, there's no urgency, the pace of events has lagged.  There have been a few posts about how to make sure the clock is always ticking, here's a couple:

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/269368-timethe-element-i-was-missing/?do=findComment&comment=3207999

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/268735-militarism-creep-in-swrpg/?do=findComment&comment=3192862

 

 

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As Whatfrog said.

And If they still start looting bodies, or they take their time to loot even when they are hunted down by imperial forces or criminals... then think something interesting that might bring a new adventure.

e.g.: Loot a blaster from a stormtrooper, the PC might also find:

- the blaster was sabotage by a colleague, who wanted him murdered because...

- a ramson note! a relative of the soldier was captured by criminals or Rebels. The note sets a time an place. 

- a love letter from a mid rim planet

- He was a rebel spy!

 

 

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Our characters will grab guns if they need one or see a nicer one then they have, or maybe check them for grenades or stimpacks.  That's about it.  I won't say they've never gone through somebodies pockets looking for change, but it doesn't happen often.

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As others have mentioned I just told my players straight up this game isn't about looting corpses, If there is something important on them i'll let them know.  

However, coming from several decades of DnD its hard to break that habit, and my players still always try to take the weapons at least. However, I ended up getting really lucky with my group. In the second session I had them liberate a "defenseless town". The town and the Organization they liberated became the group's primary ally. Ever since then every gun they loot has been donated to the town. At this point the have outfitted a small militia! It's turned into a great "duty/obligation" mechanism that they took up on their own. Basically they have a Reason to loot the weapons beyond selling for credits.

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 9:53 PM, OddballE8 said:

It's kinda funny, but the only thing my group loots from corpses are the guns.

They don't check for cash or take clothes or armour... 
They usually just go "I'll grab his gun" or whatever.

And I don't think it's an issue of them thinking in computer games terms or anything like that (ie. loot everything you see), but rather that they're always outgunned, so taking those guns is pretty tempting.

Not to mention the fact that pretty much anyone they meet in a fight that's armed is usually a bad guy.

They do tend to sell excess guns, but they also have a dufflebag of guns that they carry around, which I find kind of funny. 

Currently it's just blaster pistols and holdout blasters, but I can see that expanding to bigger guns over time.

Oh and I almost forgot that they did once steal an armored longcoat (nomads coat?) from one of the enemies, but that was only because one of the characters had lost their own coat of the same type, and this guy happened to be about the same size.
And it was cold :)


And for some reason, I'm fine with this kind of looting.
It's something I could see happening. 
Just grabbing the enemies guns is quick and easy, and not really "corpse looting", as they tend to fall away from the enemy hands.

 

There is an episode of Mythbusters where they loot bodies of gun like this. I am always reminded of what a cumbersome walking junkheap someone becomes when they have a bunch of stuff on hand--except in video games. I too find that they tend to focus on guns lol. 

darths0009.jpg

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I made a gigantic master loot table that has sub-tables. Some of the sub-tables have stuff that is mainly there for flavor (door actuator, holo-projector focus lens, droid arm servo, etc. ). I have one table though that has treasures in it like ancient weapons and data schematics as well as force sensitive stuff. I use the tables when I want something to describe as being there for the taking. 

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6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

There is an episode of Mythbusters where they loot bodies of gun like this. I am always reminded of what a cumbersome walking junkheap someone becomes when they have a bunch of stuff on hand--except in video games. I too find that they tend to focus on guns lol. 

darths0009.jpg

Yeah, but in that episode, they actually put the guns on their body (using the straps on the guns or putting them in their waist or whatever), but my players tend to only put stuff in that lovely spacers duffle that their bounty hunter carries around.

Also, nice to see another fan of darths and droids :)

 

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I have two perspectives. As a GM, I run a AoR campaign where the players are the kind of starfighter pilots who invariably end up doing covert commando stuff on foot, whether they planned to or not (I guess, it makes them to usual kind in the rebellion). While they were quick to ditch their piddly starting pistols for the first heavy blaster pistols they came across, they haven't really bothered with much else random looting. So far it has been the odd interesting gun or flipping a destiny point to find something in particular. Since they tend to covert work (or at least try to), if a fight breaks out, that means the jig is up and imperial reinforcements are surely inbound and there is very little time to stop and look for souvenirs. They also don't have much interest in bigger guns as 1) they are big and conspicuous 2) not a single one of the PCs have Ranged (heavy).

As a player, I'm in a FaD/EotE where the PCs and their allies are constantly and desperately short on... everything. They thus have a vested interest in looting, stealing, scavenging and scrounging everything they can get their hands on. Which is quite often disappointingly little. As a lot of our fights tend to be running battles towards desperate escapes, there's usually not much time to stick around to loot the corpses. In short, we hope to someday advance to the glamorous life of murder hobos.
We actually did steal a suit of armor once. One of the PCs snapped the neck of a Stormcommando and decided he really liked the armor, but as it (as always) wasn't the time to start stripping corpses, he just threw the corpse over his shoulder as we ran for the ship, and presto, we had new, if a bit cold and stiff, shipmate that could be looted in peace. I'm pretty sure we jettisoned him gave him a really nice space burial before the mad medical droid started stripping him for parts though.

Edited by penpenpen

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