Thursday, February 23, 2017

What's money for in GURPS DF Felltower?

So if money can't buy you magical power whenever you've got the cash on hand, what do you do with it?

One of my players asked me that directly. As he said, not trying to argue, just asking, okay, what are we supposed to buy?

Great question. If I'm reining in magic item purchase and that was where money generally went (and your future dream is a shopping scheme), what do you shop for now?

Here is what I visualize money being used for, in a non-domain game situation*:

- weapons (enchanted with basic enchantments** and especially superior mundane weapons)
- armor (ditto, especially superior mundane)
- shields (ditto)
- potions, chemicals, concoctions, etc. (subject to the usual dosage availability)
- minor scrolls
- mundane gear (especially higher-quality gear)
- hirelings
- henchmen/allies
- research
- services (including healing and Resurrection)
- skill training costs
- overspending on upkeep for in-town bonuses to rolls

I'd even expect some bribing monsters (pay X to bypass a fight so you can go get X+1 or 2X or 10X elsewhere), since PCs wouldn't be broke. The PCs did this just to get into the dungeon, for a while, setting the orcs up as guards (and then ruing that every session after).

My ideal is that PCs would be potentially flush with money most of the time, capable of buying the things they need and spending in town as required. I'd rather have guys saying, "I've 75K and I have no idea what I should do with it" instead of "I have a brand new custom-made fine ornate balanced Dwarven Puissance +2 Accuracy +2 Icy Lightning mace with Shatterproof on it and a ring with always-on Dark Vision, and 28 sp. Can someone front me cash for rations? Oh, and upkeep, otherwise I'll crash in the woods and make a Survival roll."

Of course, "buy anything" didn't quite go as planned. If this doesn't, I'll veer the group back onto another route.


* And for what it's worth, if I did have a domain game in mind, I'd:

- ramp up the money a lot.

- ramp up the required loot for XP a lot to match.

- completely cut off magical item purchase but potentially allow hiring enchanters

In other words, I'd scale it all up buy make "build a castle" and "raise an army" viable while kneecapping the ability to buy personal magic power. Instead of looting owlbears for hundreds of coins and buying healing potions and hiring torchbearers, you'd be looting dragons of massive box-cover coin piles and spending it on raising some heavy infantry to help secure your castle.

** Largely Accuracy +1, Puissance +1, Shatterproof, and Continual Light for weapons, Fortify +1 and Deflect +1 and Lighten 25% for armor. Little else.

6 comments:

  1. "I'd even expect some bribing monsters (pay X to bypass a fight so you can go get X+1 or 2X or 10X elsewhere), since PCs wouldn't be broke. The PCs did this just to get into the dungeon, for a while, setting the orcs up as guards (and then ruing that every session after)."

    Which didn't go over very well the last time. Sure, they'll likely still haul pigs down to the Behir/Remorhaz/whatever it was... but I don't, for instance, see them paying off the Trolls for safe passage.

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    Replies
    1. You might be right. But there has been talk of peacefully approaching Mungo and offering to buy Gram off of him, since he clearly doesn't need a dragon-slaying sword (or any sword) but probably has other things he'd like. So it's not crazy that "use money to buy a magic item in the dungeon" is on the table.

      It's true it worked very poorly with the orcs. The PCs have generally killed the people most trustworthy and capable of working with them and trusted and worked with those least capable. Such is the life of a PC focused on "how much right now?"

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    2. "But there has been talk of peacefully approaching Mungo and offering to buy Gram off of him..."

      Really? I'd honestly expect more talk about gearing up for Troll and going down there to finish them. After all didn't Vryce drop Mungo twice? It was just that Mungo brought a bunch of guys and that pile on effect wore through the PCs before they could figure out how to finish off Mungo the Mungormous.

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    3. There is that school of thought, too. But the fact that they only barely avoided a TPK without the trolls even being able to fully bring their numbers to bear on the PCs does weigh on the decision. No one has decided yet, or taken action directly. But to the point of the use of money - yes, bribing monsters is still seen as a possible use of cash. Just because the execution with the orcs was an issue doesn't mean the concept is fundamentally flawed.

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    4. Talking with Vryce's player about it, it might not be feasible a second time. Vryce did hundreds of damage PER ROUND and barely even kept the troll down. That was all still with the Potion of Giant Strength (or whatever it's called) that they will probably never find another vial of. So I could see how just trying to get Gram back might be a viable, and desirable, alternative.

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    5. That Potion of Giant Strength is a perfect example of the sunk cost fallacy. Vryce drank it, and then someone (it may have been him) said, "Well, now we have to fight so we don't waste it." Had they bribed their way out of that, no matter how much Mungo asked for it would have been less costly than the result. Had they not found that potion many sessions earlier, it's possible they might have negotiated . . .

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