Monday, January 17, 2022

Economic impact of money on the megadungeon town

I saw this post over on Tenkar's Tavern today:

Do You Hand-Wave Adventuring Economic Effects?

Short answer: no, but without inflation.

Longer answer:

I'm sympathetic to the idea that a lot of money hitting the market at once causes inflation. So does limited supply of goods. If both happen, zowie, your per-unit spending value drops. You may have 1000 gold instead of 10 gold, but 100 gold buys less than 100x what you used to be able to get for 10.

But it's a pain to put into play, without a computer, and no one likes it, even with a computer.

So I largely do the following:

- a big dump of like goods means each is worth less. PCs have tried to trickle-sell items to make up for this. They are able to do so, although my XP awards system discourages this, and I won't allow for Excel spreadsheeted sales trickles to allow for extra income over time. They can hold back and sell later and hope for a higher price, but again, my XP award system discourages this.

- I do random, big fluctations in prices and availability. Boom, magic items cost more. Bang, potions cost more (my players from my old GURPS game remember the magical disaster to caused a potion price rise.) Snap, the prices for certain services go up.

- I also kept track for a while of loot that hit town, and let spent money in town - not just held on to, but spent - increase the local economy. Over time, more good became available for purchase. The PCs basically "unlocked" access to better goods and services - the more expensive ones - by spending money in town.

I can report these all worked fine.


  1. "XP award system discourages this"

    It does? I thought the PCs got EXP for the loot they took home, whether it gets sold or not. Or does that mean that if they keep items to use that they don't get the EXP for it as loot?

    1. They absolutely must sell stuff on the game day at hand to realize the value. No one gets any XP at all for keeping anything.

    2. Huh. Okay, was this intentional to make hard choices over "keeping the magic sword vs getting the EXPs"?

    3. That's a bit of it, but not all of it. I'll post a little more about it.

  2. Replies
    1. It's possible but I can't think of an example offhand.

    2. IMC you can get some good deals in Helix on +1 weapons, +1 shields, cloaks of elvenkind, and cloaks of protection - this is due to local crafters and material sources, plus a steady market from adventurers.

  3. Sounds good.

    I've rarely seen PC-extracted cash make a huge economic impact, but running Barrowmaze I do treat Helix as a boom town. This basically just means that merchants go there a lot, and it's easier to buy adventurer-oriented stuff than in most towns of 632 people. Prices for services are likely on the high end, but can't get too high or people would just stay elsewhere. Like the Vegas Strip vs Downtown.

    1. That makes a lot of sense. PCs, in my experience, usually do the "stay elsewhere." It's rare in my experience to meet a non-cheap PC. They'll duck taxes, avoid tithes, claim broken junk is a collector's item, try to sell coins above face value or weight in metals, stay in the woods to avoid paying rent, etc. Charging too much is only going to encourage that . . . but at the same time, boom town. Prices won't be rock-bottom, especially as money is flowing in.

    2. "PCs, in my experience, [act like scam artists and grifters]"

      But yet so few have the scam artist skills. They think telling a 'good story' with a defaulted Fast-Talk or Merchant skill of 8 is sufficient.

      Now sleep elsewhere? Repair their own gear? Oh boy yes, they will go hard in those skills if you let them, and try to extra every spare ducat and scrounge every filthy lucre they can.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...