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Old 11-17-2017, 06:52 AM   #41
JMason
 
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

I have a hard enough time getting my players to deal with money at all. They want some sort of accounting system where they can just say they have $100,100 in "money" that has no weight or sub units.

Even after going to "decimal" money (100 copper = 10 silver = 1 gold), they still complained about it till I created a sheet that let them put in the total value of the money they had, and it would break it up into sub units for them.

(Of course the biggest complainers are no longer gaming with me, so maybe that's not going to be an issue anymore.)
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:20 AM   #42
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

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Originally Posted by JMason View Post
I have a hard enough time getting my players to deal with money at all.
This is the central problem. If you want to get all "historical realism," the hoard of a centuries-old precious metal and gem obsessed chorine-spewing intelligent flying alligator will contain a bewildering array of coinage, jewelry, and misc bulk metal, a fair chunk of it adulterated, clipped, or mangled by centuries of neglect. Every single piece would need to be evaluated by some subset of merchants, alchemists, jewelers, and antiquarians to find its true value.

Most folks find that a royal pain and not fun, so most games postulate quasi-universal coinage systems and move on, since the real point of the treasure is to provide wealth to buy equipment so the PCs can fight melennia-old precious metal, magic, and gem obsessed depleted uranium-spewing super-intelligent teleporting tyrannosaurs. It doesn't matter if the default currency assumption is pounds, gp, $, wierd paper slips, jade bangles, or bottles of mercury, as long as it is simple to understand, vaguely cool, and occasionally inconvenient.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:39 AM   #43
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

I once played in a campaign that featured several money systems. The party were traders, sort of a fantasy version of a Traveller-esque tramp freighter type game. And the area spanned the junction of three kingdoms, each of which had their own currency systems, none of which were decimal.

It turned out to be fairly easy to keep track of. Most of the players pretty quickly developed a sense of worth of various coins. (It helped that we were trading relatively mundane goods, so there was a basis for value and a standard for comparison.) And we also got pretty good at converting prices in one currency to another, even without doing the actual arithmetic to get the exact proper answer. ("Three pounds, eight shillings, a sovereign and fourpence for 5 quatloos, 2 dragons, four marks and three Knuts? Um... okay, that's fair!")

But that game was something of a special case, that one time where the particular campaign calls for more focus on something that normally would be just a distraction. My current game is at the complete opposite extreme -- abstract "resources" rolls and not much concern with them, certainly not to the point of even tracking a "bank balance" at all.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:12 AM   #44
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

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Originally Posted by martinl View Post

"historical realism" [vs.] wealth to buy equipment
That's the heart of the matter. I've actually played (not just designed in a vacuum!) FRPGs of the dungeon-crawling variety for over 38 years, with dozens of gamers using a good double-handful of systems. Nobody ever cared about anything but: (1) "How heavy is it?", and (2) "How much stuff will it buy?" And (1) wasn't always an issue . . . I have vivid memories of tens of thousands of Hollywood-style gold pieces the size of silver dollars getting from the wilderness to town without comment.

Drawing on my experience, I kept things simple in the DFRPG: 1 gold = 20 silver = 400 copper = $400, and every coin weighs 0.02 lb. Inspired by the fine work of Matt Riggsby, I included platinum, electrum, tumbaga, and billon coins – and gold coins that can be cut into eighths – for a little variety (describing treasure using too many adjectives is another FRPG tradition). Ultimately, though, it isn't about historical realism. The $ and every other aspect of this system exists to accelerate shopping so the players can get on with the important business of dungeon delving.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:15 AM   #45
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

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Originally Posted by martinl View Post
This is the central problem. If you want to get all "historical realism," the hoard of a centuries-old precious metal and gem obsessed chorine-spewing intelligent flying alligator will contain a bewildering array of coinage, jewelry, and misc bulk metal, a fair chunk of it adulterated, clipped, or mangled by centuries of neglect. Every single piece would need to be evaluated by some subset of merchants, alchemists, jewelers, and antiquarians to find its true value.

...
And most DFRPG type delvers would melt all the precious metal down and sell the metal in bulk. Most aren't coin collectors.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:15 AM   #46
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

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Originally Posted by martinl View Post
This is the central problem. If you want to get all "historical realism," the hoard of a centuries-old precious metal and gem obsessed chorine-spewing intelligent flying alligator will contain a bewildering array of coinage, jewelry, and misc bulk metal, a fair chunk of it adulterated, clipped, or mangled by centuries of neglect. Every single piece would need to be evaluated by some subset of merchants, alchemists, jewelers, and antiquarians to find its true value.
Oooooohhhhh.... mmmmmm.... yeah I want that.

Only once did I play in game that even came close to being that realistic, and was just "Empire A uses this currency, Empire B this, Empire C this, etc" and there were weird baroque exchange rates to deal with... or you could solve it all by paying a 'guild tax' to the Banking Concern and let them exchange it all for "the constant" local equivalent value.

I strongly suspect he did this only to have yet another source of siphoning off of PC moneys (but why bother? just give them 10% less loot) as when i sat down and mastered his treatise (it was like 25 pages long of various tables and exchange rates and stuff) and began to make money by doing straight exchanges myself...

He was not pleased. He rolled with it... but he was not happy.

Me though? I was very happy to be dealing with all those vagaries and nuances.

But them I'm an oddity that loves to dig down into things in game that most other people are more than happy to handwave away. Like Languages. Archaic coinage systems. Etc.
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:36 PM   #47
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

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Originally Posted by adm View Post
And most DFRPG type delvers would melt all the precious metal down and sell the metal in bulk. Most aren't coin collectors.
Now that sparks an interesting idea; nations that put trace toxic materials into their coins to make melting them down dangerous to anyone but competent forewarned alchemists. And paying them cuts into your profits.
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:41 PM   #48
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

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And most DFRPG type delvers would melt all the precious metal down and sell the metal in bulk. Most aren't coin collectors.
No, they'd just take the coin to an NPC merchant and let the merchant deal with it, and if they want to melt it down, so be it. It's not like ingots of uncertain quality are more useful than coin.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:31 PM   #49
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

I'm listening to a podcast on the rise of the modern world (Tides of History on Wondery, it's great), and the latest episode has me hankering to put the following things into my newly launched DFRPG campaign set in post-Black Death Switzerland:

Moneychangers - I'm going to have to include guilders, florins, sous, pounds, shillings, etc. Historical fidelity demands that the elf get paid for giant rat heads in a dazzling array of coins. But to keep it from getting boring, I think Town will have a moneychanger/goldsmith type who's happy to a) sort out all the currency, and b) keep the delvers' cash and odd goods in his vault for a small fee. (At some point he might well get robbed and offer a bounty on the robbers; bonus points if the robbers made off with something of the PCs' from his vault.)

Credit - you'd have to be crazy to advance credit to adventurers, right? But there's a lot of loose change floating around post-plague, and a fair bit of mental instability. Said moneychanger might be interested in advancing the PCs a few dozen ducats after a successful run or two, at a reasonable (read: unreasonable) interest rate. The innkeeper's probably going to be willing to front the PCs room and board, especially if they establish a reputation as free-spending fools who're always good for a quest.

Venture capital - At some point one of the delvers (not necessarily the PCs) is going to convince a few enterprising people with money in pocket to invest that money in a delve, same as they did in trading ventures to India or other risky business. Whether that turns out to be some bard's con game, a legit business venture, or the start of something else is up in the air.

Letters of Credit - supposing another delver managed to get some credit, met a bad end, and his paperwork survived? Well, that's a rather portable bit of treasure that you might be able to cash in at the local Knights Templar outpost, if you don't mind being a little loose with the truth. "Why, yes, I'm Big John the Half-Ogre, just like it says on this letter for 2,000 guilders." - Puddin' Noddington.
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:47 PM   #50
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Default Re: The use of DOLLARS not a fantasy/medieval money system. WHY???

Credit and Venture Capital are already in the game, under Finding A Sponsor (p 14). The difference between "Venture Capital" and "Credit" being mostly a matter of scale, since PCs are too mobile to secure a lone against a fixed asset that the lender can hope to seize if they forfeit on their debt.

"Credit" may also be spelled scrounging, begging, or stealing :)
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