Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WORK = XP + $ + Non-Monetary Gains part 1

Economics is a wonderful tool, micro-economics is a subtool perfect for this particular problem: Player/Character Compensation/Rewards/Awards.
Caveat.  Everything is setting specific, like in other economies the Value of something depends on the economy, the "beholder", the players and the GM. The system I'm explaining is merely a tool for identifying assumptions and "default" way of approaching them. Its not the best way, its just a way where I've been able to identify a bunch of other variables and considerations in my end. 
Offering Price vs Actual Cost
What do you do if the Offering Price is does not fit your actual cost? Patrons, Villains, Bosses, Victims all offer the adventurers something in return for a 'venture. A whole epic stems from an acceptance or turning it down. If Bilbo didn't agree to Gandalf, or Frodo with fellowship, or some hero turned down a deed where would we be? But adventurers, are not all necessarily "heroes". 

To see what Costs can mean lets turn up the degrees:  What if: 
  • if you take the job you have no margin of net profit, 
  • worse you are at a loss (of either social or material capital), 
  • worse you are bankrupt of any reserves of resources, 
  • worse you are bankrupt in BOTH material and social capital?
To make the decision of what will be a loss or a gain, we look to setting/playing style conventions. Sample "real-world" metrics will provided in this series. Of course these metrics, may not apply to many other settings but its identified something to be measured for future consideration. 
From experience, is this a worthwhile pursuit? 
More importantly: From experience, did the GM screw you? 
When GMs don't count the cost and we end up bankrupt or worse I've given the advice: "deal with it!". While I agree whole heartedly with such advice most of the time, I'd like to look at if there was a choice to begin with, and if we go through the game transcript and look at the flow of choices and decision, and I find that it was something inevitable and this inevitability has a pattern, maybe its time to learn from past mistakes and make considerations.  
Observation. This is a completely RATIONAL approach to a situation. This rarely happens, stupid decisions are made everyday and even by the smartest and competent of people. For me, this is an opportunity to do a little bit of FANTASY: The chance to be able to really weigh the costs before getting into something I don't want to do.   
I don't know how that would apply to other people, but I'd like to a choice unfortunately real-life doesn't, and I'm stuck doing what I don't want and sometimes it doesn't pay enough. The great thing about an RPG in a sandbox/organic setting is that I can say "HELL NO!" and not kill the game. This for me is real freedom and my personal fantasy and escape. The ability to shut down stupidity before it happens. 
In the another scenario: if I failed to count the cost yet I agreed and truly had the freedom to agree then, I feel better about the decision and the failure. It would be easy to identify where I went wrong and what values I had a misconception.  
To be continued....
  • Risk and Net profit
  • Identified metrics in a Low-Tech Adventure
  • Best Practices, learning from Past Adventures
  • ... Lather, rinse, repeat... with some Umph!

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