KEF: Firefly Economics made FFF

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An Inner Planet Junkyard
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An Inner Planet Junkyard
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An Inner Planet Junkyard
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An Inner Planet Junkyard
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A Reaver Hovercraft
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A Reaver Hovercraft
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A Reaver Hovercraft
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On The Port Compression Coil
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On The Port Compression Coil
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On The Port Compression Coil
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On The Port Compression Coil
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All Of The Above
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All Of The Above
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All Of The Above
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All Of The Above
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All Of The Above
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Total votes: 123

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solabusca
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KEF: Firefly Economics made FFF

#1 Postby solabusca » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:39 am

Even though I'm not a huge fan of the Serenity system, the kids over at Waves in the Black keep coming up with little tidbits and rules-tweaks that impress me.

For anyone looking to do FFF starship economics on a broad-scale (or even a simplified 50 Fathoms format), you may want to take a look at this:

swrushing@wavesintheblack.aimoo.com wrote:My gut instinct tells me to freeform the economics (i alrady cut starting cash bigtime) and handle the restricting access to availability issues more often than by coin in hand. I think many jobs will be priced in KEF's, with 1 KEF (or "keffer") being "keep 'em flyin'" or the amount needed to run the ship and pay bills for the duration of the job. you would need two half-KEF jobs to break even but one job at "1 KEF plus 200 credits" shows a profit. Thus we can let KEF stay just as a variable, not worrying whether that means 300 credits or such. Traits which affect your ships operating expenses increase the keffers needed to break even.


Like I said... an elegant solution to starship/tradin' economics.

I'm really impressed with some of the ideas that come out of the Serenity community - too bad there aren't more Savages amongst 'em.

[EDIT: Point in case - later in the same thread, another BDG comes up with an idea that's basically a Savaging of the KEF model... use a deck of cards to spice things up!]

Lynn LeFay@wavesintheblack.aimoo.com wrote:The KEF model is nice.

I've done the bigtime cost stuff in other games, and it's about as fun as balancing my checkbook (as if I ever balance my checkbook).

How about an added random factor? Use a deck of cards. Shuffle and draw. An 8 represents a 1-KEF load (or combination of loads). The lower number cards are each worse, until you get to 2, which would be "Naw, nuthin' shippin' outa this dump for weeks to come." Facecards could be multiple loads. Ace of course would be the best load. Hearts could be passengers, Diamonds could be raw material, Clubs could be livestock or manufactured goods, and Spades could be items of questionable legality.

Alternately, you could make number cards and face cards sort of different. Number cards could represent just stuff, with 6 being a 1-KEF load (+/-100 difference from KEF for every number away from 6). Then face cards could be cargo that was plot-worthy. Kings and Aces could be Big Damn Paydays, where Jacks and Queens could be 'might break even if all goes well'. Of course, all NEVER goes well. Leave the Jokers in. Have 'interesting things' happen when a joker is drawn.

For some reason, a deck of cards just seems apropriate for determinging things for this, as opposed to roling dice. You could make all this a table and role dice to determine the outcome instead, but it'd be fun to flip that card over and find ace of spades... "The head of a major Tong is trying to escape from another Tong's terf, and is willing to pay handsomely". Now THERE's a load generation method for ya!


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#2 Postby starwars1138 » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:08 am

yeah, that load generation method is sweet. I really need to look into the KEF thing more for my Star Wars/Firefly thingy. It looks alot more "not quite so math-y" than what I was thinking about.

Yeah, those guys need to be Savages. The Firefly/Serenity property just screams for SW. But then again, it's darn near a clone already.
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#3 Postby razorwise » Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:14 pm

Thanks for posting this info. I just read thru it and it looks pretty cool.

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Sean

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#4 Postby charliebananas » Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:53 pm

This is interesting, my 50F game has hit a snag in theat half my players like trading and the other half find it a real drag. I've been saying I would work on something to cut the paperwork down, cool thanks. This is food for thought. :D

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#5 Postby Sitting Duck » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:11 am

Here's a thought on determining how many cards you draw (feel free to suggest any improvements). The ship's captain make a Streetwise roll (possibly with a bonus if the Connections Edge is possessed). Basic success allows you to draw one card and each raise allows the draw of an additional card. Snake eyes means you've asked the wrong people the wrong questions and something bad happens (get arrested, a gang thinks you're muscling in on their turf, etc.).
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#6 Postby Seeker Jon » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:37 am

This is a kick-ass idea. The only addition I would think about making is some kind of KEF modifier for various classes of ship; bigger ships cost more to maintain than smaller ones. Some events, perhaps, could also modify your ship's modifier; such as putting in a new engine that runs hot and burns through shielding quicker, taking a heavy hit in combat (this could be a temporary one), etc. NOt sure how FFF that is, but its just my two cents.

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#7 Postby EssEmAech » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:46 am

This is a pretty damn cool idea.

I'd try to keep mods out of it as much as possible. When cards are drawn, it would be best to assume that any Keffers are appropriate to the size of that ship.

Now if there were 5 distinct size classes, then you might do something like one KEF for a "5" Ship is 2 for a "4" ship, so on, etc.

That'd be the most of what I'd do, anything more is starting to get non-FFF
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#8 Postby starwars1138 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:08 am

maybe I am missing the point but isn't a KEF a KEF - no matter what ship you run? Like a KEF unit for one ship might be 100 bucks, but for another it might be 300. The KEF being relative to the ship. For the sake of quickness, a KEF is just a blanket term for operatiing costs... or am I wrong on that?
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#9 Postby GreenTongue » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:15 pm

I think many jobs will be priced in KEF's, with 1 KEF (or "keffer") being "keep 'em flyin'" or the amount needed to run the ship and pay bills for the duration of the job.

Sure sounds like it to me. Considering that players that intend to be merchants will adjust their skills and attributes to get raises (especially WCs) on a regular basis, I think the card number values should be percentages of a KEF. Drawing a 10 would pay expenses with a single cargo (100%).

A ship would hold a set number of cargo/cards. The goal would be to gather enough cargo/cards to reach or exceed 10 (per trip.)

Repairs and upgrades would need to be measured in cargo/cards.

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#10 Postby Seeker Jon » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:55 pm

The only problem I have with this is making KEF too abstract. For this to work for jobs, there needs to be a way to measure profit as well, in a way unrelated to keffers. The crew wants to also buy shiny guns and such, not just keep flying.

I think keffers should be used like the range increment in chases. Each ship has a KEF rating, based on how expensive it is to run. Each card is 10% of a KEF, with face cards each adding 10% more (Jack = 110%, Queen = 120%, etc). Your goal at each port/planet/system will be to get the highest sum of cards possible.

Now you can easily know how much in the black or red you are at that particular port. You are right Rook; I think I was wrong in the idea of having lots of mods and such, though the thought of an Adventure Deck card being used to modify your ship's KEF Rating is looking good.

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#11 Postby Savage Jedi » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:09 pm

How's this...

Using Sitting Ducks rule for the streetwise roll, and the GM draws in secret (see Jokers below)

Clubs = Passengers
Diamond = Animal
Hearts = Vegetable
Spades = Mineral


Ace - Special + KEF + 8000 Credits
King - Special + KEF + 4000 Credits
Queen - Special + KEF + 2000 Credits
Jack - Special + KEF + 1000 Credits
10 - KEF + 800 Credits
9 - KEF + 600 Credits
8 - KEF + 400 Credits
7 - KEF + 200 Credits
6 - KEF
5 - .8 KEF
4 - .6 KEF
3 - .4 KEF
2 - .2 KEF

The "Special" being a cargo that could be detrimental to PC's in some way (e.g. wanted a criminal for a passenger, illegal drugs as plants, dangerous animals, radioactive or explosive ores.)

Jokers would be a "Special" without the PC's knowing it or getting the special pay, but they do get surpised later. :jack:

I hope this makes sense.
Last edited by Savage Jedi on Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#12 Postby Seeker Jon » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:24 pm

Now those are some nice Jedi skills! I think that's about FFF as can be.

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#13 Postby solabusca » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:14 pm

I'd say that the high-end cred-values are off kilter, given the 'hard-times' model that seems to be the desired motif for a tramp-freighter game, but it's an interesting take.

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#14 Postby Clint » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:31 pm

Couple of comments...

Looks too easy to get a full KEF or better. Got to consider that it's a card on a success and one for each raise. In fact, I'd drop that to just one card or two with a raise (no effect for additional raises). That helps with balance and leaves it open for an Edge and/or Adventure Card for an add-on effect.

I'd also go with the (Card Value x 10%) of KEF as well.

In addition to keep the nice fact that the KEF is automatically scaled, I wouldn't make it a flat bonus of credits, but handled on a Share value.

That way the crew can get a Share for all the results (after all paying the crew is part of "keeping 'em flying"). And like I said, it's pre-scaled. A larger ship may make more, but since it has a larger crew, the Share is the same.

And for the Share value, the GM just figures out how much a "regular" job should pay, and then use the same percentage values. If a "regular" KEF job should pay 200 credits, then a draw of 6 would pay 120 credits.

The face Cards would probably run like...

Jack = 125%
Queen = 150%
King = 200%
Ace = 400%

For the Jokers, I'd probably do the Black Joker as a Trap, and the Red Joker as some kind of unique payoff.

Oh, and to keep it more Firefly for me, I'd run the suits as...

Hearts = Passengers or Livestock
Diamonds = Material Goods
Clubs = Mercenary Job
Spades = Contraband/Theft

Mercenary Job would cover things like the opening to "Our Mrs. Reynolds" and "Heart of Gold." Plus, I like the way the suits apply. :wink:

Anyway, just my two cents.
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#15 Postby EssEmAech » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:52 pm

8000 Credits is a lot of moola. If you go by the currency info in the Serenity book.

I think 1 credit is 10-50 of whatever the standard unit of currency is outside of the Alliance (thus, what you'll be dealing with most)
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#16 Postby Seeker Jon » Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:42 pm

Clint wrote:In addition to keep the nice fact that the KEF is automatically scaled, I wouldn't make it a flat bonus of credits, but handled on a Share value.

That way the crew can get a Share for all the results (after all paying the crew is part of "keeping 'em flying"). And like I said, it's pre-scaled. A larger ship may make more, but since it has a larger crew, the Share is the same.

And for the Share value, the GM just figures out how much a "regular" job should pay, and then use the same percentage values. If a "regular" KEF job should pay 200 credits, then a draw of 6 would pay 120 credits.


I'm a little confused by what you mean in your example Clint. Lemme put it in my own words, and see if I'm right.

I draw a card and get a 9, so that gives me 90% of a KEF. Assume a Share for a "regular job" is 200 creds. That means that if they complete this job, they will get 90% of a KEF and the crew will each get 180 credits. AM I right, or completely off?

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#17 Postby Savage Jedi » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:03 pm

Clint that rocks! You are the King of FFF land. I'm happy just to be one of the dukes. :D

I would have the Connections Edge give a +2 to the streetwise.

So what card did Han and Chewy draw when they met Luke and Obi-Wan? :jack:
Last edited by Savage Jedi on Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#18 Postby razorwise » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:24 pm

Savage Jedi wrote:
So what card did Han and Chewy draw when they met Luke and Obi-Wan? :jack:


That's easy, a Red Joker. :P

Later,

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#19 Postby GreenTongue » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:33 pm

Seeker of Truth wrote:I'm a little confused by what you mean in your example Clint. Lemme put it in my own words, and see if I'm right.

I draw a card and get a 9, so that gives me 90% of a KEF. Assume a Share for a "regular job" is 200 creds. That means that if they complete this job, they will get 90% of a KEF and the crew will each get 180 credits. AM I right, or completely off?

I'm not Clint but,
the 180 credits in your example would be the cargo's value. The crew pay is part of the KEF and not in addition to it.
If you needed to know a credit value to come out of the Captain's pocket to cover the short fall, it would be 20c.

On the other hand, if the job actually made money (200c in your example) then drawing a 9 would net 180c. I don't see crew drawing for a share. a Share would be what they signed on for. 10% or 20% for a critical position.

For the less FFF way, you could draw for low on the buy and draw for high on the sell. The difference would need to be 10 or higher to break even.

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#20 Postby Savage Jedi » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:55 pm

So what are the consequences for running a ship at less than 100% KEF? And are the effects cumulative for going out run after run with less optimal parts and maintenance?
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