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Archlyte

Hard Inventory & Ownership

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Before I start, I want to say that I know that the spirit of the rules is for narrative Inventory in many situations. I have been using the preferred method of handling inventory and items to try and avoid the players looting the blasters of the fallen NPCs, but in doing so I found that the players tended to have the working idea that they had anything that was convenient for the moment whenever they wanted it. I had to crack down on the incidental possessions because it was driving me crazy that they had a house full of stuff but a fanny pack worth of storage. 

Does anyone currently, or have you in the past, run your game with 100% accountable Inventory except for what comes up in a scene for the expenditure of a Destiny Point? In a current EotE game I am running I have a copy of every player's equipment list/wealth and if it's not on my copy they don't have it. I even have them specify what is in their utility belt instead of just letting it be a bag of tricks. I felt like in earlier games the loose nature of the inventory was making the rarity system feel like a useless appendage, and the ability to keep the group hungry was sometimes hampered. I tried to get the group to be reasonable with their incidental items but it got to the point where I couldn't stand the Batman-level of handy item possession. I know it isn't Star Warsy, but one too many times the magic hat got invoked and I lost enthusiasm for narrative inventory. 

Also I try and assign ownership to most things in the game large and small, so that the players are not simply using the world as a free for all dispensary of equipment and materials. If something is valuable then somebody probably owns it and taking it is probably going to be an illegal way of getting it (except in places where there is no law and order obviously). 

I also have been focusing on Encumbrance. Several times they've attempted to steal things only to realize what a pain it was to carry those items away, or to have to watch out for the owner/security forces. 

What are the pros and cons as you see it of doing things this way (other than player agency stuff cause the players are fine and nobody is pursuing legal action), and if you enjoy or are proficient in running this way what tips do you have? 

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I try not to get too picky about it.  Sometimes I have made their looting a plot point, which has bitten them in the ***.  Such as locater beacons on valuable cargo/ships/equipment.  Or had some npc's attack their stash locations.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Raicheck said:

I try not to get too picky about it.  Sometimes I have made their looting a plot point, which has bitten them in the ***.  Such as locater beacons on valuable cargo/ships/equipment.  Or had some npc's attack their stash locations.

 

 

I like doing that too. I think that after a while I stopped fighting it and just gave in to their love of looting. Once I did that I realized that I needed to have a sense of permanence for all these items as well as volume and mass. When they are carrying a bunch of crap I make it known that it's a load. :)

 

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One of the uses of Vigilance is to see whether the character has something with them that they do possess, or at least are reasonably likely to possess, but might not have with them at any given moment. That includes all the incidental odds and ends that PCs accumulate.

Destiny point flips are for conjuring things that they otherwise do not have.


"Accountants & Audits" style play is something I grew fed up with a long time ago and won't touch in the present day though.

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I find getting too specific about inventory just leads down a rabbit hole where the game devolves to being about gear.  I lost interest in inventory almost immediately back playing the original D&D, where we were counting iron spikes and 50' of rope.  Then we'd actually spend sessions going back to town to get more rope because 50' wasn't enough.  Kind of hard to tell a story that has any kind of urgency that way...

We pretty much only track favourite weapons, anything relevant to the PC's background, and plot items.  For the rest, I just use common sense...if the PCs are heading into the wilderness, any Survival roll up front or along the way can be used to determine any "gear" complications if they get Threats or Despair; or any gear they were wise enough to pack if they get Advantages or Triumph.

 

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I don't run a HARD inventory, but I do maintain a spongy one. 

Small odds and ends I'll allow to just be loose. So like anyone can claim to have a wallet, shirt, pants, watch, underpants, socks, shoes, hold-your-pants-up belt, sheath, holster or non-benefit-producing sling for your weapon, ect. and not need to spend a D-point.

I'll also allow for reasonable expansion of boxed items. So like a "Medkit" will have bandages, disinfectant, some basic drugs like space-aspirin and space-epi-pens, slings, splints, tourniquets, medical tape, ect. Climbing gear includes several unspecified lengths of rope, an unspecified number of pitons, and unspecified number of carabineers, at least 1 harness, an unspecified number of small grappling hooks (because Star Wars) and so on. 

Also if it's a "talent" item it's Ok. So like the Doc can use "Stim-application" without defining that he has some special stim injectors 

 

But if it's an item that is listed in a book and/or something with a clear in-game benefit or effect... yeah, list it, spend a d-point, or you don't got it. Considering how many things only stat is "counts as the right tool for the job" it's not unreasonable to say you can't just suddenly claim to have something like a comlink, sensor pack, breathmask, or climbing gear without at the very least spending a d-point.

 

I'll also acknowledge that some campaigns with some players the GM may need to throw them a bone. If the mission is on a mountainous world, and the players don't bring climbing gear, the GM should either be ready to flip a d-point to give it them some, or drop a hint before they hit the road that they might want some.

After all, one of the key points of using a D-point to get gear is to retcon a minor player oopsie to allow the characters to push the story forward. Because lets be honest, having Anakin, Rex, and Obi-wan show up at Mon Cala only to have to double back to Coruscant because Ewan, Tem, and Hayden forgot to pull diving gear 2 sessions ago is stupid. Just flip a d-point and keep playing.

 

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I haven't cracked down on it to that degree, but what I have done is insist that each PC define a 'standard carry' list.  If they want to leave the ship without something that they normally carry, I need to know about it when they leave the ship (especially if that includes really conspicuous weapons).  

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3 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

I don't run a HARD inventory, but I do maintain a spongy one. 

Small odds and ends I'll allow to just be loose. So like anyone can claim to have a wallet, shirt, pants, watch, underpants, socks, shoes, hold-your-pants-up belt, sheath, holster or non-benefit-producing sling for your weapon, ect. and not need to spend a D-point.

I'll also allow for reasonable expansion of boxed items. So like a "Medkit" will have bandages, disinfectant, some basic drugs like space-aspirin and space-epi-pens, slings, splints, tourniquets, medical tape, ect. Climbing gear includes several unspecified lengths of rope, an unspecified number of pitons, and unspecified number of carabineers, at least 1 harness, an unspecified number of small grappling hooks (because Star Wars) and so on. 

Also if it's a "talent" item it's Ok. So like the Doc can use "Stim-application" without defining that he has some special stim injectors 

 

But if it's an item that is listed in a book and/or something with a clear in-game benefit or effect... yeah, list it, spend a d-point, or you don't got it. Considering how many things only stat is "counts as the right tool for the job" it's not unreasonable to say you can't just suddenly claim to have something like a comlink, sensor pack, breathmask, or climbing gear without at the very least spending a d-point.

 

I'll also acknowledge that some campaigns with some players the GM may need to throw them a bone. If the mission is on a mountainous world, and the players don't bring climbing gear, the GM should either be ready to flip a d-point to give it them some, or drop a hint before they hit the road that they might want some.

After all, one of the key points of using a D-point to get gear is to retcon a minor player oopsie to allow the characters to push the story forward. Because lets be honest, having Anakin, Rex, and Obi-wan show up at Mon Cala only to have to double back to Coruscant because Ewan, Tem, and Hayden forgot to pull diving gear 2 sessions ago is stupid. Just flip a d-point and keep playing.

 

Thank you for your insight Ghost. On the forgetting of items and stalling the story: It is dumb for that to happen, and I would argue that there isn't much chance that the Character would forget some of the things that their puppet master (Player) will. If it's from a writing perspective then of course the character will pull a never-before-seen batman grapple gun out and mag-mine an AT-AT after ascending lickety-split.  Because it's cool. 

Also on the Destiny Point thing, I believe they are still expected to pay for the item, so that is another aspect to that situation that can be rationalized as the character knows better. If they aren't charged for it sometimes  just make it something that is only useful for that scene.

It's not Star Warsy to be picky about gear just as it isn't Star Warsy to be a Gun Nerd, but the game has kind of gone down that route so I feel less bad about it. Uncle FFG wants you to get into gear and use Rarity and Attachments and Mods, but St. George didn't want to get into gear worship and just stamps the cool looking stuff to be put in the movie.

I'm always grappling with how much to movie it, and how much to accept that as players are in the actual Galaxy for more than the small amount of time of a movie or show, and can infinitely interact with it. I know I don't ever want it to feel mundane and routine, but it gets difficult at times to do that because they need enough agency to be able to at like people who live there. I want them to be able to follow the story but for it to still feel strange (not weird necessarily, and not shocking) to them at times. Like George watching Samurai movies and not understanding the culture. But, if he had played games in the Samurai setting he would be like us about it in short order :)

When they get to Mon Cal I have the gear available to them, but I track it. I don't like stiffing them on stuff like that so I don't, but I also don't let the invo get anything less solid than a sponge, usually a dried one. lol. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, whafrog said:

I find getting too specific about inventory just leads down a rabbit hole where the game devolves to being about gear.  I lost interest in inventory almost immediately back playing the original D&D, where we were counting iron spikes and 50' of rope.  Then we'd actually spend sessions going back to town to get more rope because 50' wasn't enough.  Kind of hard to tell a story that has any kind of urgency that way...

We pretty much only track favourite weapons, anything relevant to the PC's background, and plot items.  For the rest, I just use common sense...if the PCs are heading into the wilderness, any Survival roll up front or along the way can be used to determine any "gear" complications if they get Threats or Despair; or any gear they were wise enough to pack if they get Advantages or Triumph.

 

I don't like that at all. It is as you say: a guaranteed side-effect of bean counting. But I feel like the system is very narrative but has a lot of detail in weapons and modding them, and to the credit of the designers I feel it is a good system. It's engaging to play with their features and to have the game be affected by the fact that you can mod up a weapon or armor. The Rarity thing is so great that I actually started using this system originally because I was using another system for Star Wars that didn't have that mechanic and I wanted to use it (plus look at beautiful books). 

So I get kind of torn between the concrete aspects of SWRPG invo and the narrative guidelines designed to produce cinematic play. 

I always like your method of keeping pacing, having a time crunch of some kind. That can be ruined if they just plain can't do the thing they came to do if the item is missing from their gear. I think also though you can make that scene really cool if the item is something that now they have to do something desperate to try and reach or acquire. 

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24 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

I think also though you can make that scene really cool if the item is something that now they have to do something desperate to try and reach or acquire. 

Absolutely, sometimes gear is the mission, or becomes part of it.  TCW and Rebels have plenty of episodes where they have to steal shield generators to protect pacifists or trade on the black market, lose the Phantom, ditch their prison fatigues and get outfitted (while gaining the ire of the shopkeepers girlfriend), gain a Phantom II, sneak off to get a new ambulatory strut, find some lost tech, recover their lightsaber ...  all of it cinematic, but in game terms, focussed.

What they don't do is look through Galactic Guns and Ammo and take a stroll down to Space Walmart to pick it up.  I'm glad all that equipment is there for people who like to play that way, but usually the only reason I scan those sections is less to look at the charts, and more to look for a plot hook in the fluff text.

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3 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

Also on the Destiny Point thing, I believe they are still expected to pay for the item, so that is another aspect to that situation that can be rationalized as the character knows better. If they aren't charged for it sometimes  just make it something that is only useful for that scene.

See, I typically don't charge them for it, but I also tend to limit it to pretty mundane stuff too. A Breathmask, basic cold weather clothes, climbing gear, stuff like that. 

Not saying I wouldn't allow you to pull a thermal detonator out of your butt, just that you better have a darn good reason to have it and it better be at an absolutely frelling amazingly dramatic moment. 

 

That said, it varies by campaign,and and I am pretty flexible with credits.

An EotE campaign will almost never see the players formally pay for meals, fuel, docking fees, or such unless there is a critical story need. The rest of the time I just deduct those expenses from their pay up front. We never see Han and Chewie pumping gas, so why should you?

On the other end an AoR campaign will almost never see the players get paid. They want something, they gotta hope the quartermaster has it and they have the Duty to get it, or they need to figure out how to pick it up while on mission. I may also track certain details more closely. If you're grav-chuting in and humping it three days into an objective, I'll make sure you remember that whole food and water thing, and just d-pointing an item into existence is gonna be a little harder. But just as you don't see Han and Chewie pumping gas, in your war movies working with what you have on hand is a common theme.

 

And there's always exceptions to the rules and balance points. An EotE campaign is a little more urban so players getting an odd or end between scenes is easily written off, but of course how you got a flamethrower is harder to explain than how you got lock picks.

An AoR trooper in the bush is going to have trouble explaining how he picked up an item between encounters, but also will have a lot less trouble getting critical mission hardware in the first place. While you can't explain pulling lockpicks out of a tree, you can explain how a commlink can turn into a danger close proton bomb.

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11 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

See, I typically don't charge them for it, but I also tend to limit it to pretty mundane stuff too. A Breathmask, basic cold weather clothes, climbing gear, stuff like that. 

Not saying I wouldn't allow you to pull a thermal detonator out of your butt, just that you better have a darn good reason to have it and it better be at an absolutely frelling amazingly dramatic moment. 

 

That said, it varies by campaign,and and I am pretty flexible with credits.

An EotE campaign will almost never see the players formally pay for meals, fuel, docking fees, or such unless there is a critical story need. The rest of the time I just deduct those expenses from their pay up front. We never see Han and Chewie pumping gas, so why should you?

On the other end an AoR campaign will almost never see the players get paid. They want something, they gotta hope the quartermaster has it and they have the Duty to get it, or they need to figure out how to pick it up while on mission. I may also track certain details more closely. If you're grav-chuting in and humping it three days into an objective, I'll make sure you remember that whole food and water thing, and just d-pointing an item into existence is gonna be a little harder. But just as you don't see Han and Chewie pumping gas, in your war movies working with what you have on hand is a common theme.

 

And there's always exceptions to the rules and balance points. An EotE campaign is a little more urban so players getting an odd or end between scenes is easily written off, but of course how you got a flamethrower is harder to explain than how you got lock picks.

An AoR trooper in the bush is going to have trouble explaining how he picked up an item between encounters, but also will have a lot less trouble getting critical mission hardware in the first place. While you can't explain pulling lockpicks out of a tree, you can explain how a commlink can turn into a danger close proton bomb.

Yeah and I completely respect that. I think you are going the more cinematic route and thus I would say you have the moral high ground here. I feel like this particular batch of players I am dealing with are just not there, and my efforts to get them there have not really panned out because in the end they like what they like. So I have bent a bit their way but the Newtonian reaction was that it made it so that I have to now be the custodian of all that detail. 

I absolutely love your distinction between AoR play and EotE play and I 100% agree and follow the same guidelines. in AoR I generally have to keep them focused away from money issues unless it is mission critical, and I try to make sure none of the little logistics comes into play. 

As for the pumping gas thing, I think there is some pressure to deal with more details in the TTRPG than there is in a movie or even a video game (as computer and console games are dumbed down to toddler-level simplicity year by year). I wouldn't do a scene where you see Han and Chewie watching the display on the fuel pumps as the Falcon is fueled, but I would ask the player to negotiate the fuel fee if the encounter could be interesting and lead to other things. Maybe they are negotiating the fee and a patrol of stormtroopers can be seen coming closer. Then a time crunch is introduced to complete that negotiation. If another drama point can be added to that situation then so much the better. 

But I think your point was to say that wasted time on details is wasted time, and you are preaching to the choir on that one :)

 

 

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10 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

For some character types,  it is all about gear.  Consider the Gadgeteer with all manner of customized kit.  

This is an interesting point. Would you say that it's like that because the player or GM wants to go there more than it is a design situation? I feel like the gadgeteer would work fine narratively, but the player is going to want to take stock of all of his goodies so that they can get into that part of the character. I am a bounty hunter whose schtick is to have all of these James Bond tricks so I need to make sure I catalog and upgrade my capabilities. If the GM hand-waved all of that it would rob them of some of that fun or it could make it more exciting and spontaneous. I'm sort of torn on this one. 

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5 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

As for the pumping gas thing, I think there is some pressure to deal with more details in the TTRPG than there is in a movie or even a video game (as computer and console games are dumbed down to toddler-level simplicity year by year). I wouldn't do a scene where you see Han and Chewie watching the display on the fuel pumps as the Falcon is fueled, but I would ask the player to negotiate the fuel fee if the encounter could be interesting and lead to other things. Maybe they are negotiating the fee and a patrol of stormtroopers can be seen coming closer. Then a time crunch is introduced to complete that negotiation. If another drama point can be added to that situation then so much the better. 

But I think your point was to say that wasted time on details is wasted time, and you are preaching to the choir on that one :)

Exactly.

See I basically run it like two accounts. 

Account 1 is the hard credits the players have on them. That's their spending money for things like personal gear and vehicle repairs and upgrades.

Account 2 is an undefined nebulous account that represents the player character's ability to estimate docking fees, taxes, tariffs, fuel, food, lodging, and all the other garbage that, broadly speaking, typically won't come up.

If the players want a bottle of high end Correlian Whiskey to impress a client... look to Account 1. If all they want is a pint of lum while tailing/spying on some Hutt's goon in a local bar... Account 2 is probably fine.

Like many other things in this system I assume that all player characters in this line of work will be generally proficient in handling Account 2 so, with exceptions related to specific Adventures or Encounters, it will never need to be mentioned.

When I give players a job, I'll usually just quote the number they'll actually get for Account 1, and assume there's an additional few thousand I'm not mentioning to cover all the stuff in Account 2. If the players want access to that "extra" money, we can start talking D-points, Obligation, and Negotiation checks. But I generally discourage it by keeping results low as there's only so much you can squeeze out of your operating budget before you start getting into mission failure territory. Again, having Han fail the Kessel Run because he wanted to pocket the fuel money and buy some battle armor is pretty lame.

Now... I explain this up front to the players so as to both allow the players to know it's ok for them to order a pint, or grab a burger without tracking every credit, and also to leave the door open for a "Well... you underestimated fuel costs here. You'll need an extra 5,000 if you want to leave. ADVENTURE!" Which is an admittedly rare thing, but it's possible.

 

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Inventory tracking can get pretty detailed, and that's not a bad thing - a LOT of items have dedicated stats and costs, and it doesn't make sense to be able to pull them out of nowhere.

One thing to think about though - are your players doing this because their characters just forget to buy the appropriate equipment, or because their characters can't AFFORD the appropriate equipment?

I only bring it up because my FnD group is so perpetually cash-strapped, and our GM is so detail-oriented, that we've had to start taking talents that replace the equipment we can't afford. Pretty sure the whole party has Spare Clip and at least one rank in Stimpack Specialization, our techies both have Mental Tools, and the only reason our characters don't starve to death is because our Seeker has Forager and we've all put three ranks in Survival - EXP that we all would have preferred to spend in more diverse ways.

Just my two cents.

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4 hours ago, General Skeevus said:

Inventory tracking can get pretty detailed, and that's not a bad thing - a LOT of items have dedicated stats and costs, and it doesn't make sense to be able to pull them out of nowhere.

One thing to think about though - are your players doing this because their characters just forget to buy the appropriate equipment, or because their characters can't AFFORD the appropriate equipment?

I only bring it up because my FnD group is so perpetually cash-strapped, and our GM is so detail-oriented, that we've had to start taking talents that replace the equipment we can't afford. Pretty sure the whole party has Spare Clip and at least one rank in Stimpack Specialization, our techies both have Mental Tools, and the only reason our characters don't starve to death is because our Seeker has Forager and we've all put three ranks in Survival - EXP that we all would have preferred to spend in more diverse ways.

Just my two cents.

Yeah I don't go that far. I think if I was playing generic Sci-Fi I may do something like that but unless starving is part of the story I don't use that kind of Dirt Poor Campaign for Star Wars. I don't bring up eating or lodging usually if they are in town because I don't really want everyday life scenes where they brush their teeth and what not.   

I guess I would have to say that I don't think they forget so much as they don't think about it, or don't know about the situation and therefore don't have the items they need at times. I don't like the complacency that the GM will always make stuff you want on hand, but I also think that starving the PC's in this game makes much sense unless you are on a post-apocalyptic or barren wilderness world. 

I guess your GM likes to play Survival type games, but that's not what I would say is the thrust of what Star Wars is really. But there are diverse tastes in this IP and it's games/stories so as long as you guys are liking it that's all that matters. Thanks for the response Skeevus :) 

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In the session of this game last night the players put the Rarity and Sell/Trade rules to full use and I surrendered myself to the mechanics and had a blast. The dice make a story even out of shopping, so there was a lot of fun things going on as the players attempted to buy equipment in Equator City on Rodia.

It's nice to let the game determine if that stuff ends up in their hands instead of doing it by fiat. Also I made sure that the Encumbrance rules were observed along with common sense for the bulk of gear they bought. The players eventually had their fill and moved on, so I was happy with how it resolved. 

 

 

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I think Ghost and others have about everything covered. I'm going to only add that I become more stringent in "survival" situations. If the PCs are about to head out on a long cross-country trek across a wilderness world, we are going to take a few minutes figuring out what they've packed into their cargo speeder. If they forget to include something important, it's on them. If I have nefarious plans up my sleeve for the clichéd crashed-on-a-deserted-planet adventure, then we need to know before hand what the PCs have packed into their starship.

For these situations, I then begin keeping track of things that normally aren't tracked. Ration Packs are accounted for. Extra Reloads can't be automatically reloaded between firefights without explaining how. I pull out my house rules for vehicle consumables, etc. Things I normally hand-wave become suddenly important and tracked.

I don't worry about where my next cheeseburger is coming from in my normal day-to-day life. But, if I'm going camping in the woods for a week, inventory of food and drink is suddenly forefront.

Edited by Sturn

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It's going to vary from group to group and as an Accountant/Auditor IRL, my preference is for a little more granularity on inventory items.

And I think my players are also interested in being more detail oriented on what gear they have and what it can do for them.  One of my players was actually disappointed at how non-specific the armor was.  (They wanted details on how gloves, boots, pants, etc would work in the game).

So my group does have fairly detailed inventories that they are working with.  It is also common for me (as the GM) to outline a situation, and ask what the characters are taking with them as they depart the ship.  It helps set the tone and ground the players in their expectations.  It also helps me keep the players honest.

Spending money is a fairly important part of the story for my AoR campaign.  The group has allowances for ship consumables and they are issues credits for requisition missions.  One of their initial requisition missions the PC's were issued half the money they needed to 'honestly' acquire the requested goods.

On the plus side, right now the PC's are carrying quite a bit of cash so they're not struggling financially for personal effects.  The ship's purse is sitting at just under $100,000 so no worries there (for now).

The weird thing right now is the group is trying to fill up their ship with food and clothing (for refugees) and in spite of the fact that they can afford to pay for everything, they're actually trying to pick up the cargo at no (or little) cost.  They seem quite content to enjoy the adventure of getting the stuff through barter and exchange.  (One of their first ideas was to requisition the clothes from their SOG rep and as the GM I had to ask, "Are you sure you want to deliver a cargo full of Rebel Alliance uniforms to refugees stuck on an Imperial interdicted world?"  They're onto plan C already).

But listen to your players.  They'll let you know what they want.

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1 hour ago, Mark Caliber said:

The weird thing right now is the group is trying to fill up their ship with food and clothing (for refugees) and in spite of the fact that they can afford to pay for everything, they're actually trying to pick up the cargo at no (or little) cost.  They seem quite content to enjoy the adventure of getting the stuff through barter and exchange. 

Human nature is to try to "win" at any sort of "game". We're all capitalists whether we think so or not. :)One of the reasons Traveller and specifically free trader campaigns have been enjoyed for decades.

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How you approach gear is dependent on player type, so, Archlyte, your gut probably isn't wrong. By contrast, the players at my table are so focused on story over gear that I made custom cards just so they'd remember what they had.

There are little flashes of gear lust, and they do like decking out their freighter, but Encumbrance is such a non-issue I've held off on experimenting with a Halo-style, one-of-this-one-of-that-strong-guy-gets-one-extra ruleset.

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On 8/2/2018 at 12:20 PM, Archlyte said:

I even have them specify what is in their utility belt instead of just letting it be a bag of tricks.

Well, that seems excessively punitive. I assume you gave the person a discount on buying that talent?

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17 hours ago, Archlyte said:

No the item, not the talent. 

OK I'm fuzzy on this then.

Are you saying you have them specify what's on their person vs. what's in their backpack vs. what's on the ship?

I mean, the utility belt item is just an Enc granting item, it doesn't actually have anything on it the players wouldn't already have included in their inventory...

 

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