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Baldrick

Thrones & Player Equipment

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 2-3 weeks before I start running DH. (WFRP game is winding down). How do other GM's handle thrones and player equipment? Here are my thoughts and issues...

  • With the healing & critical damage and taking into account spacecraft travel I suspect there will be a few weeks or a couple of months in between each mission. I'm worried that the amount of money in the game might spiral due to wages earned in the downtime?
  • I have a Nobel in the group which make the above problem 10 times worse! I've put a bit of financial breaks on the player by asking him if he could divert some of his resources into frivolous purchases "I have had to get the lasgun in green to match my suit! Cheap at 10 times the price". Again I do not want to him to act as the bank for the rest of the group.
  • With equipment purchasing I do not want to have to micro-manage each purchase in downtime. I'm trying to come up with a rough rule of anything with average availability (or better) if you have the skill/talent for it you can get automatically. Anything outside of that see me.
  • If they are wanting rare or scare items then they will have to request it via me and the aquiring of the item will be done in game time or role-played out.
  • I'm wanting the early levels of the game to be more with the players improvising, and having to think around problems rather than using a huge equipment list (yes I will be enforcing enc rules!)

Any advice?

Baldrick

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Gear in this game pretty much boils down to how easy you want the game to be compared to the level of enemy strength.  Also, my suggestion is be up front on how hard you want things to be found.  Would kind of suck for your group to go ahead and spend exp on that basic weapon (bolt) skill, and you have no intention of giving them anything past las and SP weapons.  It would also suck for them to waste exp on that power weapon skill at tier 4, and not get the opportunity to get that weapon until a much later tier.  Make sure they know the rules up front, and make sure they discuss with you what they want.  Heck, getting a focus sword, and the skill, can be a entire scenerio of its own.

The real trick isn't giving them the weapons, its giving them the ammo.  Bolt ammo is HUGELY expensive, and melta isn't much better.  Go ahead and give them that bolt rifle, but then make them pay for their own ammo, and watch them squirm.

Also, do you plan on a more investigative style or a more combative style?  Investigative they'll learn that coming in with any kind of unusual weapon will get them flagged by any observers, and those observers most likely are the group they've come to investigate.  Come in screaming INQUISITION, and those heretics go to ground.

On the other hand, if you're doing a combative style, then you want them to have access to all kinds of weapons and such.  Just remember that their enemy has access to them too.

In the group I play with, we get our base thrones every month, which isn't much when you start looking at the prices of things, then the GM, as our inquisitor, gives us a stipend for each mission.   Anything we spend over the stipend on mission essential items we get reimbursed (at a much later date).  We also have to show the inquisitor (actually one of her interrogators) what we spent the stipend on.  As long as what we spent the stipend on is mission essential we don't have to pay back our inquisitor.

The stipend is an excellent way to bring roleplaying into the purchase, as well as adding an extra level of control.  It gives the players a chance on controlling how they spend money in a scenerio option.  Sure that power sword may be available, and can be justified through roleplay as mission essential, but maybe the swords price would be better spent on hiring some mercs as backup and fodder.

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You're being overly stingy.  Stop. 

The income that players receive is tiny compared to expenses.  Bribes, buying drinks, local transport, housing, body armour, tech goodies, drugs and medicine, and ammunition will suck down the vast majority of what the players are paid. 

The noble will become the bank.  You're guarranteeing it.  If the players have to count every Throne while working as the field agents of an Inquisitor ( a ridiculous proposition in of itself.  What Inquisitor doesn't want well equiped agents that can actually do their jobs?), then they will look to get their hands on every Throne they can.  They'll use the noble as a bank (and he'll get power over them if he chooses and that's how it should be), they'll loot, they'll steal, they'll play the angles.

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Ammunition for good weapons eats up ridiculous amounts of money if you dont find a way to get discounts (suck up to the Mechanicus, for instance) or make some of it by yourself (ask your local tech priest... which is actually another way of sucking up to the cogboys).

Also, bribes can be quite a hefty sum too, if you try to bribe people who arent beggars and have something to lose for taking the bribe. I mean, how much do you think an imperial officer wants before he tells you stuff that can get him shot by dawn by his commissar if it gets out? ESPECIALLY if he knows you are Inquisition, and just as likely to turn him in? Certainly not 50 thrones, more like 500.

Then there is the whole angle of not being able to spend stuff because you temporarily cannot access your bank account/stash/treasure chest. The noble wont lug around the income of a whole year in his backpack.

Also, how does Mr. Noble get said money? I usually have my players tell me what makes them their cash if it isnt something obvious (Guardsmen, for example, dont need to tell me), but what if your Noble is of some noble house in Gunmetal City, and business sucks for a week or two? Assets get shut down or blown up by his enemies? Thats actually a great way to utilize the nobles BIG BIG disadvantage, the "built-in" vendetta. Since its usually rather... well... stretching the sense of realism to have rival house soldiers turn up at a secret necron burial site, trying to kill the noble, its far more realistic to have them target the assets and family at home, possibly leading to interesting adventures when your party, between assignments, tries to mend the damage done by this rivalry so their "bank" can once more pay. After all, they DO owe him a lot at that point, dont they? And what noble wouldnt jump to the chance of getting a full team of his best spec-ops Inquisition buddies to go and secure his precious little enterprise?

Another "money drain" can be repairs to damaged property. You just shot the huge colored-glass window of Saint Lucius the Everpotent? Ka-ching, 500 thrones! You accidentially hit the wine bottle next to the nobles daughter, ruining her Emperors Day ball gown? Ka-Ching, 300 thrones! And then explain to your Inquisitor why he should refund a skimpy black silken nightgown!

 

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Seriously, you don't need to be that stingy- yes the cash may pile up during downtime, or travel, but as has been pointed out, decent ammo sucks up a fair amount, and if you make the players pay for lodgings, food, travel it's very easy for even a noble to very quickly run dry.

Especially if you do what I do and have their wages paid into their bank account. Since I treat finance and big business in the Imperium as something similar to that of the 18th century, this means that while they may have an account with a large banking house or guild with branches in multiple systems, there money is only going to be in their home system unless they thought to have an amount passed on (via astropathic letters-of-rights, or bearer bonds, etc). They could get a short term loan against moneis in another system, but the astropathic service fees would be crippling, even for a noble.

Speaking of which- have their Inquisitor demand regular reports while the party and he are in different systems. They'll have to put aside sufficient of their budget to pay for an astropathic message, or get a contract to lease out an astropath of their own. Either way, it's expensive stuff. Of course, they might be able to get it free if they're ok with blowing their cover and playing the big =][= card...

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I hate the wages system as I feel it just doesn't make sense in the Imperium. I release funds to the players when the Inquisitor feels that they are going to need them and the sometimes get rewards in the form of money for missions. This allows me to makes sure everyone gets a fair share and lets me keep on top of their spending. That doesn't mean im always stingy with cash, they got 2000 thrones each for compleating a mission where they saved the lives of 2 important Nobles from a cult (well actually they got paid to make sure no one found out the details...) at rank 3 as well as having funds made available for them before the mission. This has allowed me to cut back on giving them money later on and has made them spend their cash more wisely as they never know when they will have access to more.

Kaihlik

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Firstly, ignore the living expenses. I've done a little maths and it turns out that only a high-ranking ecclesiarch could afford even low-grade food and lodging. Just assume that the stuff that's in the income section is that which they can spend on their mission.

 

Secondly, don't be too stingy. The noble origin has exactly two purposes: Getting social privileges and being the bank. Taking those away is like telling a Metallican Gun-Slinger "You can take this class - but please don't use any pistols" .Believe me when I say that there is no way to give the players too much money in this system. Indeed, if you intend to buy the higher-class items, you virtually need a high-level noble to accomplish anything at all. Further, don't forget that most weapons are pretty useless unless you have the talents for them, so unbalancing the game is hard to accomplish.

 

 

Let's just say there is a reason the first 500 XP of my techpriest went into a mega-connection to the Mechanicus (I pretty much took every option in the IH).

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The wages in the system are obviously the bare minimum that the acolytes are paid.  My group gets funds released to them, depending on their mission.  You can see this pattern in the published adventures.  In the first part of Purge the Unclean, all living and pretending to be noble expenses are paid (and that ended up being a lot of Thrones in clothing for my players) and in the second part they are essentially given free reign on a Navy ship's equipment stores (although they're limited by what they can carry over a long hike, which had my players travelling light).  House of Ash and Dust pays all basic gear, living, and travel expenses and throws another thousand Thrones each onto it.

 

And that's not counting loot.  The acolytes work for the Inquisition, which is the epitomy of well funded secret police organizations.  They handle very serious threats and are charged with important missions.  They should have commeserate funding and equipage. 

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Thanks for all the feedback. happy.gif

From the sound of it it seems the game is pretty self balancing money wise. I shouldn't worry about the noble but make sure they players do account for the ammo they buy. Also make sure that when palms are greased or other transactions occur to make sure a realistic value is put to the interaction.

One thing I I've picked up that I'll be using is the difference between "cash on hand" and "cash in the bank". With it the difficulty at getting hold of the cash especially in the more backward parts of the sector.

I'm looking forward to later missions at higher ranks when they get more resources of the Inquisition behind them and their problem isn't enough money it's are they going to get in trouble for a frivolous use of what they have been given demonio.gif.

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One last advise: be very carefull with the price lists given by the official material. There is one major bug fixed already (Obscura for 275 a dose cut down to a tenth of it), but be sure that there are many-many more (A pistole-style crossbow for 200 thrones..which would be more then a stub auto pistole!).

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Remember that besides the huge costs of ammo and higher end armour and weapons, good and best quality gear costs.

 

Auspexs aren't cheap at base quality.  Good quality photocontacts are a really handy piece of gear and they go for 300 thrones each.  And so on and so forth.  There's lots and lots of sinks for the player's cash.

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I'd like to add to Cynical Cat's comments. The player wages are just that, what they take home and can spend on what they see fit.

The Inquisitor (and by correlation the Inquisition) should provide the material and money reasonably necessary to complete the mission as originally stated. That includes thrones for lodging, transportation and other mission related expenses. Standard equipment that might be necessary for the mission should also be available. If the acolytes have some spare thrones stashed to enjoy better lodgings or get some equipment upgrades, then all the better for them.

However, I also make it clear that the Inquisition gets first pick on the spoils of war (except any loot they purposely hide, which might be a bad idea). That's not to say they can't keep items they've acquired in battle, just that they'll do so at their Inquisitor's discretion, as gifts from the Inquisition. Any items given to them by NPC's are theirs to keep though.

I treat it very much like a working relationship.

Edit: that's not to say the Inquisition will provide everything required to complete an adventure. Twists and turns, as well as revelations, might complicate matters for the acolytes. They might find it necessary to use private funds to help themselves.

A somewhat recent example was soldiers buying kevlar armor before heading out to Iraq, years ago, due to lack of supplies. That's the kind of situation I picture happens in the IoM, more often than not. In some cases, it pays to plan ahead and get something extra before heading out.

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Some general guidelines I follow when handling how Acolytes get money:

  • Depending on the mission, there is always an expense package (prior performance determines the next package).
  • If there's a bar or a spaceport, there's gambling (I use Dice and Cards as generic gambling outlets).
  • Search the bodies (looting a dead heretic is hardly stealing).
  • Bonus pay for the MVP (must be the MVP for at least 3 to 5 missions).
  • Re-tool the starting equipment - I let players sell any or all of their starting equipment for the face price (except ammo) to make the character how they want, and they keep any Thrones left. This solves the problem of upgrading later on while developing characters with flair from the beginning.

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Expenses vary with the mission.  Obviously proven winners get better treatment, but a mission where one pretends to be an aristocrat is going to require greater expenses than one where the players disguise themselves as beggars.

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