[Rogue Trader] Explorer Savings Account

Posted in 40k, rogue trader, rpg by Jerall on 11 December 2010

Declined. / Can you try again? / Really declined.

In Rogue Trader, the wealth of an individual is normally not really important, since most tests involving wealth (including the purchasing of new gear) are made against the group’s profit factor. This system removes many accounting and stock-taking headaches, common to many other RPG systems. For the most part, I like the acquisition mechanics, since both failed and successful attempts can often act as triggers for some good role playing, which might not have been possible when dealing with absolute values.

My current PbP group has been advancing along quite nicely, but some of my players have expressed concern regarding their dynasty’s slow PF growth. At first, I thought of this concern as nothing more than some group baggage from our d20 games and the wealth-by-level charts. Recently, however, I’ve come to realise that my players have slowly become more comfortable with the system and universe (we were all newbs at the start) and they are wanting to try new things and take more risks. Unfortunately, since the group’s profit factor is so low (and therefore, the chance of a successful acquisition test is also low), there are a number of actions that the players simply won’t risk.

Profit factor is a rather fickle thing, prone to drop and rise suddenly. While this might be a suitable mechanic for a sector-wide trading house, it doesn’t really cater for an individual character’s own financial sense. Sure, a character can use her barter or commerce skills or in-game contacts to increase the chances of succeeding on any given acquisition test, but these options aren’t available for all characters and/or situations.

In a game like Dungeons and Dragons, or even Dark Heresy, it’s possible for a character to save some of her wealth for future big purchases or emergencies. To help bring this into my RT game, I’m going to propose a new elite advance. This advance will give the character a bonus to acquisition tests that concern her as an individual and not as part of a Rogue Trader dynasty. The XP spent to gain this advance will represent the time and effort taken to increase and manage one’s own personal wealth, separate from the dynasty. I haven’t quite figured out the costs yet, but I will probably structure the elite advance in a fashion similar to the characteristic advancement schemes: the advance can be purchased multiple times, but each subsequent purchase costs more than the last.

- Jerall

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6 Responses

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  1. trashcondor said, on 11 December 2010 at 8:24 pm

    It’s a laudable idea, but do we really need it? I can’t think of many things that Rororona (as an individual) needs/wants to acquire.

    …also it might be enough to simply increase the frequency of times that we can make acquisition tests.

    • jatori said, on 11 December 2010 at 10:18 pm

      I think your character is the only one without a long-term acquisition plan. :P

      Since it’ll be available as an elite advance, only the players that want access to more personal wealth will take it. Rororona, for example, would probably be better off enhancing her barter and commerce skills.

      However, remember that acquisitions cover more than equipment purchases, including bribes, calling in favours and even makes a showing in our homebrewed research rules: https://sites.google.com/site/tenletterpbp/rache-opeadia

      And as for frequency of acquisitions: tests for personal gear of average rarity (only since recently) can be taken at any time you have access to the dynasty’s stores (like on the capital ship). Also, the game make provision for upkeep costs (additional PF tests to maintain assets), attracting unwanted attention by throwing a lot of wealth around, frequently failing acquisitions and, of course, misfortunes and loss of PF.

      And finally, since our game is at least 69% sandbox, the explorers can choose to take the game to more active and developed markets whenever (generally) they like, which would generate more acquisition opportunities.

  2. Herc said, on 13 December 2010 at 7:45 am

    I would also say this advance is not quite required though it would be nice to get those really hard to find items (e.g. best unique xeno item). Though personal acquisitions are much easier than say getting something for the ship or for a group.

    An extremely rare item’s acquisition penalty is offset by the number you are getting (usually 1 which is negligible). So the real penalty only comes in when you want a good/best item. I think it should be difficult to find a best extremely rare item at our current PF level.

    Though that said, we do need to up our PF ASAP. Otherwise the RT cannot become Legendary :(

  3. Kurrel said, on 13 December 2010 at 8:49 am

    If you guys ever have space for additions, this sounds absolutely rocking and I’d beg, borrow AND steal a spot. ;p

  4. jatori said, on 13 December 2010 at 9:39 am

    Well, a lot would depend on the actual PF gain versus XP cost. Plus, the RP implications of an explorer investing her time into her personal wealth rather than the wealth of dynasty/Imperium could be interesting :P

    @ Kurrel: Hmmm, we’re quite fill with 7 players, though a few are slow/infrequent posters. Maybe once we’re done with the current arc, we’ll look at how things stand. No promises though.

  5. Kurrel said, on 15 December 2010 at 8:15 am

    No promises needed, I know how hard it is too manage big groups. If it ever comes down to you wanting more players, keep me first in mind. :P

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