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  • Abstract Wealth Trading?

    How would you handle merchant trading with the new wealth system?

    My players are smugglers and are going from planet to planet selling and buying cargo. I've thought about just giving the ship its own wealth die that they can use to purchase cargo. Selling the cargo at high demand places will increase/replenish the wealth die. What do you think?

  • #2
    If smuggling is going to be a good portion of the campaign, it might be worth it to create some sort of Supply-and-Demand mechanic. The SciFi Companion has some pretty concise rules on it, grouping commodities into generalized groups (with prices per "cargo unit") and relegating a region's supply/demand to a d20 roll.

    Giving the entire party one Wealth Die that they all must share can be fun. It's kind of a trope for one character to invest all the ship's money into a cockamamy scheme, which incidentally drags everybody else into it.

    It's also a quick way to handle salvage/smuggling operations.

    However, the SWADE Wealth system doesn't look too optimized for something like smuggling. It's focused more on what a character can purchase at any given time, not on modeling a complex economy. Still, I think it can be made to work.
    ____________

    Just brainstorming here, so bear with me...

    First, you'd want to start by giving the commodities a baseline price. Common materials might be d6 or d4, while hi-tech gadgets and luxury materials could be d10 or even d12. Supply or Demand adjusts the price one or more die steps, as appropriate. The crew makes a Wealth roll if their Wealth Die is equal to or below the commodity's price (follow normal Wealth rules). Penalties apply to the roll for each difference in step... for buying a d10 commodity with a d8 Wealth Die would receive a -1... a d4 WD receives a -3. If the Wealth die higher than the commodity cost, the Wealth Die simply absorbs the value (as if they got a raise on the roll).

    To keep things simple, the cost is for a full shipment, regardless of how big (or small) the ship is. Buying and selling is therefore a relative matter. However, this would mean smaller ships are generally "poorer" than larger ships, since the same Wealth Die value represents holds of vastly different sizes. Tis the dregs of an abstract system.


    When selling goods, determine the region's level of demand, just like when buying. If it's equal to or lower than the ship's current Wealth Die, the crew makes no profit. If it's higher, the Wealth Die improves to that number.

    Example: A crew with a d6 Wealth buys common food supplies (grains, dried beans, processed meats) super cheap at d4. They have enough stratch that they don't take a hit. They transport the goods to a space station that recently had their food stuffs devastated by disease (or hydroponics malfunction or whatever). They are starving, but can pay well. Demand is d10. They crew unload the food for the thankful citizens, and increase their Wealth from d6 to d10.
    _______

    It's probably not perfect, but it's a start I think.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Assuming you're using the S&D chart from SFC....

      For cargo, I really want to allow for one unit of trade goods per some amount of cargo space. Given the abstraction of the Wealth die I think it's too generous to allow one per unused Mod slot. It might just be better to just assume the single Wealth die is unspecified mixed cargo more or less filling the hold, as Deskepticon suggests.

      For selling, I'm inclined to go with a Persuasion roll to make the best deal rather than just comparing the Wealth die. The chart result modifies what the possible results mean in terms of change to the Wealth die. A Critical Fail on the roll has the same effect as a Fail and garners some other effect; attention from the authorities (tax evasion) or black market (competition), burned all the community's funds so all subsequent trading is limited as if demand is one level lower, etc.
      Demand The Score
      None Fail: -2; Success: -1; Raise: 0
      Low Fail: -1; Success: 0; Raise +1
      Normal Fail: -1; Success: 0; Raise +1 (up to 2 Raises)
      High Fail: -1; Success: 0; Raise +1 (up to 3 Raises)
      Very High Fail: 0; Success: +1; Raise +1 (up to 3 Raises)
      Extreme Fail: 0; Success: +1; Raise +1 (up to 3 Raises)
      Desperate Fail: +1; Success: +2; Raise +1 (no limit)

      Comment


      • #4
        Interesting idea Paladin2019. Not exactly sure how to determine what is where in most of my games, but I could fake it.

        I did, for the sake of speed and fun, use a rule on total botches. If a Wildcard rolls a one on the skill die and a one on the wild die, he is going to get taken. (The goods are shoddy, the price is way over inflated or the items purchased are so hot that the players will end up on the wrong side of the law.)

        Conversely, one of my players was selling two pillowcases of ping pong balls at a bazaar in a sandbox game of mine. She rolled a 26 on her skill die, (they die exploded) and the trader she was selling to rolled a one. Not only rolled a one but I blew 2 bennies and stilled rolled nothing but ones! So, I had the merchant, who was selling jewelry making equipment, decide that these were zephyr eggs and grabbed the pillow cases and gave her his entire shop! Lock, stock and donkey cart. He ran towards the temple of the 4 winds as fast as he could go and left her to pack everything up and beat feet out of there.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by zero mostel View Post
          Interesting idea Paladin2019. Not exactly sure how to determine what is where in most of my games, but I could fake it.
          I didn't block quote the entire table from SFC, just the name of the results and possible effects using Weatlh die instead of $$$. Basically, each commodity gets a d20 roll on that table and the results are valid for a month, with each result giving a percentile sell modifier to whatever buy value you got it for. That system automatically assumes you find a buyer and get the market rate for your bulk sales, this one adds a skill roll as a haggling mechanic.

          Comment


          • #6
            Looking at the Wealth rules again, I think the Persuasion roll needs to be changed to Networking. Baseline Wealth rules mean the crew loses a die step as normal.The chart is amended to be defined in terms of rewards. As normal, 1 Reward total means breaking even. Any commentary on awards of the Rewards is welcome.
            Demand The Score
            None Fail: -1 additional die; Raise: 1 Reward
            Low Success: 1 Reward; Raise: up to 1 Reward
            Normal Success: 1 Reward; each Raise: up to 2 Rewards
            High Success: 1 Reward; each Raise: up to 2 Rewards
            Very High Fail: 1 Reward; Success: +1 Reward; each Raise: up to 2 Rewards
            Extreme Fail: 1 Reward; Success: +1 Reward; each Raise: up to 2 Rewards
            Desperate Fail: 2 Rewards; Success: +1 Reward; Raise: permanent +1 Wealth

            Comment


            • #7
              Deskepticon

              paladin2019

              It took me awhile, but I attempted to synthesize your ideas into a rules draft with my own twist on it. I preferred dealing only with modifiers rather than looking at die steps. I plan on playtesting it over the next several sessions, but let me know what you think.
              ---------------------------------------------------
              Savage Abstract Trading Rules

              By Toa Lewa

              Special thanks to Deskepticon and paladin2019 for initial ideas and Calendyn for refinement.


              These trade rules expand upon SWADE’s abstract wealth rules. The intention is to allow traders on a starship, on a pirate ship, or in a caravan to engage in buying and selling goods (with supply and demand) while eliminating the need for players to keep track of money.

              Setup

              Assign the party one collective trading Wealth Die at a d6. This Wealth Die is used to purchase cargo for their ship, vehicle, or beast of burden. Now give each commodity relevant to the setting a Baseline value. This value is meant to represent the commodity’s relative price to other commodities. Common materials have a Baseline value of 0. Low value items should be assigned a -1 or lower while hi-tech gadgets and luxury materials could be a 2 or even 3.


              Example Sci-fi Baseline Values

              Food: 0

              Fuel: 3

              Industrial Parts: 1

              Manufactured Goods: -1

              Ore: 1

              Technology: 2

              Timber: -1


              Demand adjusts the value of a commodity. Roll a d20 on the table below and add the modifier to the commodity’s Baseline value. This gives you the Adjusted Demand value of a good in a settled area. Reset the Adjusted Demand value once each month of in-game time.


              Demand Table
              Demand Roll Demand Modifier
              1-2 None -2
              3-5 Low -1
              6–12 Normal +0
              13–15 High +1
              16–18 Very High +2
              19 Extreme +3
              20 Desperate +4
              The commodity’s Adjusted Demand value is subtracted from Wealth rolls when buying and is added to Networking rolls when selling.


              Example

              The Rusty Raven lands in a metropolis and inquires about the price of fuel. The GM rolls a 19 on the demand table indicating that the fuel on this planet is in Extreme demand. The fuel has an Adjusted Demand value of 6 (3 baseline + Extreme demand modifier).

              Buying


              The traders make a Wealth roll when purchasing goods (follow normal Wealth rules) and subtract the Adjusted Demand value of the commodity from their Wealth roll. Note: If the Adjusted Demand is a negative number don't forget that subtracting a negative number changes it to addition.


              To keep things simple, assume a single purchase is a full shipment, regardless of how big (or small) the ship is (don't count unused mod slots if using the SCF). Buying and selling is therefore a relative matter.

              Examples

              The Rusty Raven crew with a d6 Wealth Die buys common food supplies at a Normal demand level (Adjusted Demand is 0) . They receive no modifier to their roll and roll a 5. A normal success means they reduce the Rusty Raven’s Wealth Die to a d4 and purchase a full cargo load of food.


              Buying timber at Normal demand would add +1 (subtracting a negative number) to the Wealth roll, and buying fuel at High demand would subtract - 4 from the Wealth roll.

              ​​​​​​​Selling


              For selling goods, use the Networking rules. Characters can make a persuasion or intimidation roll and add the Adjusted Demand of the commodity to their Networking roll. Each success and raise results in a reward for the trading Wealth Die. One reward total usually means breaking even. A Critical Fail on the roll has the same effect as a Fail and garners some other effect; attention from the authorities (tax evasion) or black market (competition), burned all the community's funds so all subsequent trading is limited as if demand is one level lower, etc.


              Example

              The crew of The Rusty Raven transport the goods to a space station that recently had their food stuffs devastated by disease. Demand is Very High so the Adjusted Demand is 2. The captain makes a persuasion check to sell the goods and rolls a 6 + 2 for a success with a raise. The Rusty Raven receives 2 Rewards and raises their d4 Wealth Die to a d8. The crew made a profit on this run!

              Comment


              • #8
                I defiantly am going to be using this! takes the pain out of book keeping! I can break down everything into units. No need to worry about size or weight. Each trade unit has a basic type and amount, but as far as cargo goes, they all weigh the same and take up the same amount of space. So a ton of Iron takes up the same space as a ton of wood. Not a perfect idea, but its what I came up with. If someone can come up with a simple system to do this better, I will use it.

                Comment

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