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Brolthemighty

Opening lines of communication between GMs and Players. What works, what doesn't?

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 Alright, so for a while now, I've been apart of the 40k RP community.  Whether it's local IRL RP, or doing PbP's on forums, I've been trying to participate.  However I have found....small issues....pop up from time to time, that seems to crop up from either lack of communication between GM's and Players in what they're looking for, or in a misunderstanding of the intent of the system.  So here I come, to try and open the lines of communication, and ask....what has worked for you?  The majority of the things I have found that pop up have to do with two things.....equipment, and thrones.  Now, you might say that these are the same, but they are not.  So let's just jump right in.  

First, some of the problems that I've seen/experienced:

1.)Too few thrones, so as to keep your acolytes "struggling" longer.

                At the beginning ranks, I can kinda understand this.  You're trying to emulate the gritty feel of things.  That you're simply an expendable resource that has to prove to the Inquisitor that you're worth investing in.  So you limit things to strictly what can be found, or the monthly incomes themselves.  I would say the first....two ranks maybe, should be the butter zone for this approach....instead of extending things out to Ranks 4 or 5.  Anything further, and you'll have acolytes asking themselves why they took proficiency in a weapon they may never be able to afford to use.  Or you end up with a D&D style loot whoring group.  Now, I'm not saying to just give the acolytes everything they want, but don't choke them out either.  

Solutions: 1.) Have the Inquisitor grant them a weapon or armor or....something that suits them.  Keep them working towards the bigger and better (at least until they find their signature gear.)  I would say that if they can take the proficiency, then within one rank they should be able to reliably have and USE that item.

2.) If you don't want the Inquisitor to be granting items all willy nilly, then actually use some accurate time-keeping for the acolytes while they're on their missions....and more importantly, give them down-time in between the missions.  Everything written points to this.  I can't count how many missions I've had that involved a max of a week of warp travel (on board) with the same relevant amount of time passing outside the warp.  And then the mission itself was all of maybe 2 weeks.  And yet I went up a Rank.  Then as soon as its done, it's time for another mission.  Warp travel is fast, yes.  But not THAT fast.  Not to mention that yeah, even if a trip is only a couple of weeks in the Warp, whole months can go by outside of Warp space.  Not to mention that investigations take time.  Especially if you're a GM prone to long convoluted webs of intrigue and clues.

2.) Flat throne rates, low throne rates.

            This is more of a problem when you're starting a campaign a few Ranks in.  I've done this a number of times on PbP's, not to mention all of the ones that I've followed/read through.  Starting Rank 4 or 5, flat throne rate of say....2k Thrones. "How are you handling the different careers?" "Oh, just flat rate."  "Oh, what about Nobles." "Oh, same rate."  To me, that's not right.  There is a reason that each group is given the amount of monthly income that they are.  It's because each has seperate levels of needs inherent to their career, as well as having seperate inherent abilities to make thrones.  ESPECIALLY for Nobles.  Now, I know some of you might say, "Well, if you don't do that, then everyone will be a Noble."  To that I ask, why not?  What's so different then all of the Darkholder Living Nightmare Psykers out there?  Or the Gunmetal Hive Gunslinger scums?  How is that different?  Not to mention that Nobles come with the downside of Vendettas.  5 Nobles in your group?  5 Vendettas.  Maybe even against each other.

Solutions: 1.)  Instead of setting a flat rate, set an amount of time per Rank for each career.  And then for the careers that don't make that much, give them more "free" acquisitions, then the others.  A Guardsmen?  1d5 Free Acquisitions.  Noble Adept?  1.  Something like that.  What's the WORST they can do with their thrones?  Most GM's I've seen that worry about how many thrones their acolytes have, are the GM's that have reduced the price of Best Quality from 10x to 2x.  This is counter-intuitive.  Cut out that discount, and they either won't have as many thrones from spending it all, or they'll have less "uber" gear.  Make something that's Near Unique cost as a BQ item.  There are plenty of ways to do so.

 

What other issues/suggestions have arisen in your games?  I want to hear them all....as well as possible solutions to them.

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 1. I usually split the levels into the different levels that are noted in the book (New Acolyte (?), Proven, Trusted).

In the first 1/3rd they have to do with their own cash no requisitions, but they may be granted gear appropriate to the mission, Void suits for space missions etc.

When they are Proven they can requisition gear from their inquisitorial contact, who then decides if it is needed or not for their given mission, this is usually not granted if they ask for weapons on an infiltration mission, put smaller things like Micro-beads, Pict-Recorder some drugs etc are granted for the most part. 

Trusted Acolytes get alot of what they want unless they're being greedy/needy and asks for everything all the time. These are also usually end rank so they can afford a lot of the gear they want so its not too much of a deal for them.

 

2. Thrones are given at each 400xp where they also increase their income by the amount set in the books.

This will mean that some Characters (especially Nobles) gets alot more money than the Guardsman or Psyker. But in the groups i have run the Nobles tend to think along the lines of "if they die, i pobably die too" and are very willing to help the others out financially.

I also allow the players to try and earn extra cash however they can. During the Haarlock Campaign i sent some assassins after one of the players, they thought they managed to kill him and left, the brutish Guardsman of the group followed them, beat them senseless and said he wanted in on the contract for letting them live, they agreed and he got 10k thrones for it.

Because of this i have a scum in my next campaign that wants to set up a information selling business (of course illegally) to sort of boost his income.

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In my game, they players are kept in a sorta tight leash by their Inquisitor; they started the campaign without their starting gear (They got it back after the intro mission, minus weapons) and while they are allowed to keep pistol/melee weapons on their person as they stroll around the Tricorn, no longarms is allowed.

Now of course, a lasgun or autogun is always a good thing to haul around sometimes, so I had the Inquisitor giving them access to ressources, mostly a Squat Quartermaster and his Munitorium; they can get guns and gear 'on loan' for a mission, fill the paperwork for it, then they simply return it back (of course if they break it or loose it, the Squat will take will take his cut on their monthly pay to pay for the damaged gear).  He also doubles as a contact for those who wanted to 'buy him out' as well.

Using the 'requisition' method, your PCs will have most of their monthly pay in full (as they have no need to spend money for ammo, clips, guns, armour etc..) so they'll have a better chance to get anough cash to buy that special pistol or chainsword they always wanted; in the mean time they get their own weapons, they'll simply use the generic model the quartermaster got for them.  It is also a good souce for you to show your PCs some  'fanmade' gear you created or let them get soemthing special even if it doens't exist (as the =I= surely got something of everything lying somewhere)

Also, giving them a bonus once in a while for a very well executed mission; like a 1-2K for the team...also, have their =I= maybe set up an account for emergencies when they're on their own, need to bribe someone on the spot, get a last minute piece of gear etc etc...

My players also have a small appartment in the Tricorn for the cell; bedrooms, bathroom, living room, holopict,  a small training room and workbench; so they can work on their own items train a bit ('in-game' XP spending explanation)

Like that, no need to make a flat pay for everyone, as everyone got disposable income rather than looting every other cultists for spare clips and grenades.

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We've (me and another player usually GM, separately of course) have been giving out thrones for successful missions, monthly income, and then some requisition on the side for special things, or the ability to purchase stuff from an Inquisitor based armory as well; only on larger worlds tho, certainly not on some backwater or feral world (where we are now, heh).

I have a lot of scavenging for clips and stuff going on in my games currently, but that is probably because our Guardsmen loves to full-auto everything.

Personally I feel like I'd rather have everyone have a decent baseline of gear, so they aren't wearing/using a bunch of garbage.  Once they have a decent baseline, they can save up for all that cool stuff to either buy off the black market, or buy from the Inquisitors armory.  For the first couple of missions, the Inquisitor probably isn't going to bother, because new acolytes are so expendable, but after they get a few underneath their belt its nice to feel somewhat appreciated.

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 A lot of our games have long patches of us being away from civilization, so unable to receive our salaries. When we are able to, we run in real time, so have to wait for a month to be up before getting access to money, but as was commented on this can lead to areally 'fast paced' levelling up feeling.

I'm soon to run an online game and i think i'm going to stick to RAW and say the players get payed once every 400xp, with an increase in income every rank-up. If a player has a Trade skill, they attempt to use it during extended downtimes to earn some extra cash, and obviously they will try and scavenge, cheat, gamble and steal their way into as many thrones as possible during the game.

That said, i'll also be running some Inquisitorial caches, that may contain gear pertinent to the area (so hostile weather gear on planets with hostile weather), or just a small supply of ammo and credits. Of course, anything used will have to be payed for or replaced, so hopefully this will get the players into the mentality of the caches being a kind of overdraft - used when you're broke but not all the time by default.

Also i have to agree on the Noble front - they are always 'loaning' thrones to equip the gun and melee nuts in a group, though they then see them as their personal retainers - a relationship rarely argued about!

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 So far, all of these have been great ideas.  However, the question of how you handle it when starting a higher Rank game, like 4 or 5.  How do you determine how much they get?  What's a good rule of thumb?  What do you think about simply giving them timeframes for each rank, and then a random number of "select" items?  Something like

 

Rank 4 Starting Income:

Rank 1 - 4 months

Rank 2 - 4 months

Rank 3 - 8 months

d3 "select" items.  Can't be above Rare for the item, and may use each additional item slot to upgrade the quality. (Thus if you generate 3 items, you could get one item at Best Quality.)  Something like that?  I haven't worked out how to determine how many items to give the possibility of yet.

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 Here's another set of questions.

Topic: Stats

How do you handle stats?  By the book?  Or do you have houserules of your own?  Here's what I've seen a trend of, as well as personal preference.

1.) Rolling Stats

           Stats are rolled as normal, however the reroll can be used for ANY of your rolls, to include Fate, Divination, or Wounds.  This allows someone who's playing the Tough as Nails Arbitrator or Tech-Priest to reroll that 1 for Wounds if they so choose.

2.) Number of rerolls

          How many rerolls do you allow?  From on the PbP boards, I've seen anywhere from 1, to an astonishing 5.  I actually liked this option, for the simple reasoning that rolling crappy stats can really put a hamper on your enjoyment of the game to a degree.  I play with this one guy who for some reason, the Online Dice Roller absolutely hates.  He can roll 10 sets of 2d10 and come up with an average of 8 or 9.  Giving the option of more rerolls is a mercy to some, and can also encourage "alternative" builds to the ones we always see.  Darkholder Living Nightmare Psykers as an example.  If I rolled a 17 or 18, I'd be more willing to play something from another homeworld, then if I rolled say.....a 13 as my highest.  

3.) Assigning Stats and rerolls

        Here's another one I've picked up on and enjoy.  Instead of having rolls go down the line for stats (first roll is WS for example) you assign your rolls to the stat you want.  Again, this allows someone to play the career he wants, instead of rolling stats and THEN deciding.  Same goes for rerolls.  Do you stat rolls, and then your rerolls, and assign your stats based on those rolls.  I like this option, because again, some people have horrid luck with the dice roller....or dice in general.  If you go to reroll that 8 of yours....and it comes up a 2......that blows.

4.)  Allowing for a Point Buy option

       Another alternate rule that I dig.  Giving people the option of just...opting out, of rolling.  By all means, set limits to how many points they can put in any one stat, but this is a great way to put the power in the player's hands.

 

So, again I ask, how do you handle such things?  Are you a "by the book" person?  And if so, how did that turn out for your group?  Did they enjoy it?  Or maybe you've got other houserules.  What are they, and how did they turn out?

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Brolthemighty said:

 So far, all of these have been great ideas.  However, the question of how you handle it when starting a higher Rank game, like 4 or 5.  How do you determine how much they get?  What's a good rule of thumb?  What do you think about simply giving them timeframes for each rank, and then a random number of "select" items?  Something like

 

Rank 4 Starting Income:

Rank 1 - 4 months

Rank 2 - 4 months

Rank 3 - 8 months

d3 "select" items.  Can't be above Rare for the item, and may use each additional item slot to upgrade the quality. (Thus if you generate 3 items, you could get one item at Best Quality.)  Something like that?  I haven't worked out how to determine how many items to give the possibility of yet.

The book states you get a payday for every 400xp you earn if you gen higher level characters. So setup a spreadsheet listing all the incomes and rank increases for all classes, and then a total so that each player can see how much they get.

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 Actually the book uses it as an option IIRC....one which I have a hard time believing in honestly.  With all the 40k fiction I've read, I have a hard time believing the timeframe that gives to go from the new guy Acolyte up to a Throne Agent.  It's insane.  I also believe that the option is better represented as 400 xp per month, for actual mission time.......not the downtime in between missions, or doing grunt legwork.

Even going by the income chart, and their suggestion of 400xp per month, how do you handle the items that they would've either been granted, or earned?  Or would you just opt to give them the flat income and that's it?  

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Brolthemighty said:

Even going by the income chart, and their suggestion of 400xp per month, how do you handle the items that they would've either been granted, or earned?  Or would you just opt to give them the flat income and that's it?  

You can always give them the option of starting out at Rank 1 with 500xp so they can earn those gifts through game time if the player is feeling cheated by not having the gifts and trophies when starting a character at a higher rank.

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 My group has a more traditional set up. The excuse is that they are in an a fairly constant state of undercover operations, so have to operate more or less like scum, generating their own income in the process. Some of the adventures end up being as much about getting cash as burning heretics! I don't feel the way that acolytes operate lends itself to a monthly salary. If you spend a lot of time in warp transit, your party can come out the other end minted up. On the other hand if they only get paid for mission time that can lead to a sense of being underpaid, as often adventures can last for mere days of in game time.

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Brolthemighty said:

So, unlike the others from earlier in the thread, you two actually use ONLY the income chart....or worse yet, have them use the Scum income chart and make the skimp and scrounge for everything?

No, I let them use the scum income chart and then let them 'discover' equipment and cash. Other times I ruin them so they don't have any money at all.

I resent the fact that you think this is worse, when really it is merely different and suits the way we play DH. 

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 If you enjoy that style of play, then by all means.  However when discussing income and gearing, not to mention the theme of the responses that have been given, using the Scum table when compared to others is in fact a worse choice.  

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Brolthemighty said:

 If you enjoy that style of play, then by all means.  However when discussing income and gearing, not to mention the theme of the responses that have been given, using the Scum table when compared to others is in fact a worse choice.  

Why worse? Explain.

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 The scum chart has potential for making more than most classes income if you have good stats and a good roll, and represents the vagaries of undercover work quite well.

As to comments about dealing with the payday every 400xp, i dont just give the players money - they have to be in civilisation, or get o a downtime point between missions to allow for a montage of spending money, doing training or transit between locations etc.

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 I would say that we've covered about the entire spectrum when it comes to how to handle in-game income.  However, other questions have been asked.  How do you handle income for created char's?  

Since we've had a good bit of input from GM's, what about the players out there?  What have you encountered?  What's worked for you and why?  What's something the GM has done that you didn't agree with?  Did you come up with an alternative?

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