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Vygoratus

Credits/Gambling Question

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So I thought I was making a fun little game for my PC's by presenting a Swoop Race and, naturally, one of them decided to enter. Using the chase rules as well as some house rules I've found on the forum, somehow, one of my PC's (using 2 Yellow and 2 Green die) beat another driver (using 5 Yellow die) and ultimately won. Following some advice I read here on the forums, I had to just watch as the race got out of hand without intervention but here's my problem:

I developed odds to win for each of the racers taking part and naturally, one of my PC's decided to bet on their companion. Its worth mentioning that not only am I a new GM, but I have never done any work with odds (both setting or betting for that matter) and on 500:1 odds with a 2,000 credit bet, if my math serves me correctly I owe this PC 100,000 credits. Did i break the game?

 

Worth noting, we recently played Hintaro using the rules from Fly Casual and my players (ages 19-29) had a blast with it if anyone was curious.

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Yes if 100k credits is more than you want the PC's to have at the moment, No if that's not an issue. But just because they won doesn't mean they get to just waltz in and claim their winnings without any shenanigans. 

 

Maybe the PC who placed the bet was a little too boastful about winning, and either someone pickpocketed the winning claim ticket, setting up an investigation or another chase, or they keep getting stopped by individuals who want to lay claim to it.... Or perhaps another racer was 'expected' to win and the....ahem....'family' that bet on the other racer is now looking to be compensated for their loss?

 

 

But for the future, always expect the story to go off the tracks, maybe not set the odds soooo high of a payout?

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1 hour ago, Vygoratus said:

if my math serves me correctly I owe this PC 100,000 credits. Did i break the game?

While chasing credits can provide motivation to characters, I'm of the belief that money doesn't make problems go away. It just gives you a whole new set of problems. That Hutt? No amount of payoff will sate his anger over you killing his favorite bounty hunter and so on.

So at worse, it just means nicer toys for the players. That's all.

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1 hour ago, Vygoratus said:

I developed odds to win for each of the racers taking part and naturally, one of my PC's decided to bet on their companion. Its worth mentioning that not only am I a new GM, but I have never done any work with odds (both setting or betting for that matter) and on 500:1 odds with a 2,000 credit bet, if my math serves me correctly I owe this PC 100,000 credits. Did i break the game?

Your math did not serve you correctly. You broke the game to the tune of one cool million credits. 100k wouldn’t be that much of a problem, but one million? That’s a lot. A really, really big lot. 500:1 is basically supposed to be a sure shot, and 2Y2G vs 5Y is not that sure - definitely not a million credits sure.

That said, this is definitely salvageable. There are two obvious minor details. The first is that having a lot of credits is not the same as having a lot of credits’ worth of goods and services. Big wallets attract attention from thieves, robbers and con artists - the players trying to spend their winnings might be an excellent starting point for a new adventure, and is not guaranteed to be successful. The second is that the bookie they won that money from is presumably not happy, and a bookie who can cover million credit bets is a bookie with a lot of means to make life hard for people he’s not happy with. Alternatively, the bookie might not actually be able to cover the players’ winnings - as said, that’s a whole lot of credits. Maybe he can only cough up 50 to 100k. Let the players figure out how they can get more out of him.

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@Randy G - I think it was my punishment for not putting enough time into the prep work. It didn't feel right running the race after all. And yeah, next time I'll know better for odds!

 

@Desslok - I am hoping they use it for a large scale purchase so it will fizzle out.

 

Also, there was a small scale terrorist attack at the ring afterwards and the local law enforcement believe it was the groups intention (the racer is not claiming them) as they were there to support the racer. It should prove entertaining nonetheless.

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Alternate option: Be honest

Explain to them that you made an irrational decision and perhaps ask them what sort of things they wish to purchase with their new winnings. Ask them outright if they wouldn't mind investing in something big (check out the business rules in the Colonist book). If they want a whole bunch of little things, then explain to them that it would seriously jeopardize the tone of the campaign to trick them out. IF that doesn't fly with them, then you as the GM could consider outright changing the tone. They could be crime bosses, or nobles or some mixture there of. But if they are adventurers, there's not much fun in adventuring if they payloads are not longer enticing (which you can explain to them).

Generally, honesty and communication is the way to go with most gaming situations.

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@nameless ronin - The racer collected his purse (a modest 5k which he was quite pleased with) and the rest of the group picked a fight with an unhappy leader of a local swoop gang and after dealing with that conflict (which was a part of the small terrorist attack I mentioned above) the bookie had closed his booth and ran off. They attempted and succeeded on breaking in, only to find pocket change left in his safe.

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5 minutes ago, Vygoratus said:

I am hoping they use it for a large scale purchase so it will fizzle out.

Or let them have fun. Let them be the high rollers on Canto Bight or Bespin for a while. Nice clothes, fine dinners, beautiful women and exotic speeders. Credits come and credits go. And then the gambler who won in the first place? Get him into a card game where he totally gets taken for a ride. Or the Super-Rich? They find these country bumpkins with money quaint and charming, laughing at them sometimes behind their backs, sometimes to their faces. Have long lost relatives come crawling out of the woodwork with their hands out. 

Take your mistake and turn it into a story opportunity.

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@kaosoe - They are all my good friends. They are laughing in my face as I tell them this is a collection of boneheaded moves on my part. But, I've told them from the beginning I was to avoid changing the narrative if at all possible so we are rolling with it. IF they get their money they are planning on establishing a Base. The racer explained to me he wants to retire on top and open a diner as a front for their paramilitary operation.

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11 minutes ago, Vygoratus said:

@nameless ronin - The racer collected his purse (a modest 5k which he was quite pleased with) and the rest of the group picked a fight with an unhappy leader of a local swoop gang and after dealing with that conflict (which was a part of the small terrorist attack I mentioned above) the bookie had closed his booth and ran off. They attempted and succeeded on breaking in, only to find pocket change left in his safe.

Sounds like the thing a lowlife bookie looking at a million credit payout would do. I like it. ^_^

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If the story is about money, you're "doing it wrong" in my opinion.  I had a PC who was the rightful heir to a 10% share in czerka and ended up being CEO of czerka.  He had a nearly unlimited funds credit stick that he couldn't use because it would reveal his location to a hit squad from another czerka faction.  The point is the story arc was about dodging and then permanently dealing with the hit squads by taking control of czerka (the player was leaving the game to spend more time with his new bride, so it was convenient to write him out of the campaign) but 1 million credits really isn't that much, a lot of the nicer sil 5 ships are like 3+ million, I'm forgetting what a consular goes for but it's in that range.  Point is someone is going to tax them on the winnings, and they buy a nicer ship, they'll mod the ship, they'll trick out all their gear and they'll end up with something like 200K credits as a security blanket.  Maybe they buy a small business too, like a docking port refueling station for their ship.

Edited by EliasWindrider

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Speaking as a player who helped achieve a huge windfall... it is more trouble than it's worth. My sniper helped our quartermaster turn a beat up X-wing into somewhere in the area of 5 mil after 3 or 4  trading trips. Now we have a constant companion (interdictor star destroyer) following our every move with a nasty inquisitor leading the chase. I think we need to get new identities and DNA strings in order to get out if this trouble... if that would even help.

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Ok, two things, one grumble and one question/possible solution to your problem. So...

 

1) Yeah, you messed up offering those odds. I just did a quick Google search for other 500/1 bets and found an article from a couple of years ago when Leicester City won the Premier League (if you're not familiar with British football, that was so ridiculous I can't think of a parallel from the NFL, because it's far more balanced than the Premier League). At the time this happened, Ladbrokes were offering 500/1 odds on Simon Cowell becoming the next Prime Minister. Yes, the guy from X Factor. 500/1 odds isn't a guy with YYGG winning a swoop race against a guy with YYYYY, it's a guy with YYGG winning a swoop race against a guy with YYYYY while riding a tauntaun.

2) Question/possible solution. Was the race legit. If not, the bookmaker definitely wasn't. If it was, the bookmaker still may not have been. Either way, does the bookie have the means to cover a million-credit payout (plus payouts to anyone else who may have placed a bet on your PC - I'm sure at least one person dropped a twenty on them for a laugh and is now owed ten grand)? Does the bookie have the means (e.g. hired muscle or connections) to just tell the PCS to frak off? You could have a whole new scenario in the offing here - bookie refuses to pay, PCs decide to extract their winnings, they steal a large sum of credits or something valuable and wouldn't you know it, it turns out that money/jewel/solid gold Palpatine figurine actually belongs to Wonto the Hutt and he wants it back...

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I would simply play it this this way:

The PCs walk up to claim their $1M prize but when they try to claim it they are told there was an error in the books and the 500:1 odds was only supposed to be 50:1. They claim they are willing to pay the $100k winnings but, as bad luck would have it, they don't seem to have enough credit on hand to pay it. They offer the PCs $2000 and will deposit the rest into an account monthly as the money becomes available. So every 30 days or so they get another $500-$1500. Which after supplies and debts the PCs owe, shouldn't leave much left.

Just my two cents.

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Don't forget, you can always use the "out of game" option.  Assuming you have a good relationship with your group, you can always explain that you  made a mistake, and shouldn't have done that.  Ask if they'd be ok with a lesser prize, say 50,000.  Make sure you still provide a good reward, just not quite as extreme.

Your not supposed to be adversaries with your players.  I on more then one occasion have flat out confessed that I screwed something up as a GM and would it be ok if we took some corrective action.

All that said, 100,000 isn't actually all that game breaking.  Maybe they'll get some nice equipment or a nicer ship or whatever.  You can always rebalance the adversaries to compensate.  There could even be a fun adventure in it.  "Ok, you have 100K in your pocket and EVERYBODY KNOWS IT."  Now get back to the spaceport.

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Thank you all so much for your feedback. The community is making it a lot easier on a fairly new (2ish years) rpg gamer and very new (6 months) GM to adapt and I really appreciate the help!

On 3/21/2018 at 5:29 AM, Dafydd said:

1) Yeah, you messed up offering those odds. 

-- I definitely messed up the odds, honest mistake. I'll explain my mishap below.

 

So long story short, when my PC decided to race (which I encouraged by means of an NPC willing to sponsor) it was roughly time to wrap up the session and technically I had not developed the odds for the race when the others decided to throw down some credits. I admittedly put a little too much on my plate for this session and just threw all of it together in the few hours my job had allowed and let's be honest, I did bad. I was pretty salty for screwing it up, and since he decided to showboat and purposely crash through the finish line I on the fly created a nemesis NPC who was the leader of a local swoop gang. After three rounds of combat he had not succeeded with a single shot and I flipped a DP and brought a squadron of law enforcement officers to intervene. This prompted the NPC, who had just been hit with a vibroknife, to cower and play damsel which resulted in the officers taking aim at the PCs. They decided to execute the gang leader and run; so 4 of my 5 PCs are wanted criminals at the moment, the other was the racer who ran off at the initial sight of trouble.

 

Outside of the game I did explain how bad I messed it all up, then we shared a good laugh, then I told them that it should have been 50:1 and they were cool with it. They do, however, have to try and find a way to get their winnings, if at all, as the arena was evacuated at the sign of a potential terrorist threat.

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