More guidance for prices?

Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar setting, home to the legendary Fafhrd and Gray Mouser, is the first officially licensed setting for the DCC RPG.

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UniversalHead
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More guidance for prices?

Post by UniversalHead »

I know this isn't Adventurers & Accountants, but a bit more guidance on the economy of Lankhmar would have been useful, beyond the short section that basically says 'keep them poor and spending money'. That's all very well, but when the level 1 adventure Masks of Lankhmar rewards the PCs with 300 gold at the very least, it's a tricky thing to do to keep the adventurers poor. The adventures themselves seem to be inconsistent too. In one place I read that a room in the Silver Eel is 10 agols a month (come on, it can't be that bad); in another a crap room above a butcher shop is 1 gold a week!
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by Pesky »

In case it helps, the carousing table is a great way to drain belt pouches and keep the PCs wanting more rilks. See pg. 83 in the Judge’s Guide to Nehwon.
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by GnomeBoy »

UniversalHead wrote: Sat May 02, 2020 2:42 pm In one place I read that a room in the Silver Eel is 10 agols a month (come on, it can't be that bad); in another a crap room above a butcher shop is 1 gold a week!
Anybody that's ever searched for housing in the real world can tell you that you find good deals, you find okay deals, and you find bad deals. And you hope you take a good deal, because you can't possibly check out all the options... And just because someone's asking for X, doesn't mean they're getting X.

Beyond the carousing table, you could always handle it more abstractly and have them give you a wish list, and then say "you can get half of those things for your new-found treasure, but not the things I marked out" and have them pick the things off the list that they want. Then they're spending, but the game doesn't turn into Accountants & Accruals. Get through the fund stuff quickly and simply, and get back to the fun stuff.
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UniversalHead
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by UniversalHead »

Yeah, I understand and agree with both your comments (their first night in the Silver Eeel I ripped them off and charged 5 SP for the night because one of them was bleeding out, and another character went carousing and gave all his ready cash to a new religion that has gone all Life of Brian on him), but still - 300+ gold reward for a Meet adventure? 1 gold a week for a room above a butcher's shop? Not much thought has gone into consistency I feel.

I must admit the one problem with DCC is this very 'you're the GM, you sort it out' attitude while seems to be used to cover up just a leeeetle bit of laziness...
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by michaelcurtis »

Leiber was understandably not concerned with economics in his stories. The Twain got great treasure only to watch it vanish in a single stroke of misfortune. Frankly, economics also doesn't concern me. It's not something that interests DCC RPG either, as one can tell just by looking at the equipment list. What's not on that list? Basically everything other than weapons, armor, or dungeoneering supplies. No "This is what a meal costs" or "Here's what you pay for lodging." This goes back to the origins of the hobby, where this stuff was left to the DM to decide under the expectation that the game master would be the best judge of their campaign world's economy.

The decision not to include prices in the DCC Lankhmar set was one made because of both these factors. Aside from the price list for strong drinks or that healing restoratives run 50 gp a pop, prices was something I had any intention on covering and only included these because they directly relate to the healing with Luck mechanism and therefore I figured they could use some quantification.

As for discrepancies in game rewards, 300 gp is not a huge reward when split even four ways. Especially if you buy a pot of healing restorative for 50 gp, go carousing, or want to pay off the local constable who's always got a hand out for a bribe. In my own campaign, 300 gp would be gone in an eye blink. Personally, I'd rather reward the players with massive sums because anyone playing in a DCC Lankhmar game being run by a judge who read the rule book and the stories is going to be broke before they know it. It's basically a race to see if the PCs can spend their money on stuff they want before they get fleeced out of it by the city--and by extension, the judge. This in turn gives them reason to go back out adventuring or start looking for their next big score.

Is there some conflict in pricing of lodging? Sure, but this happen when you have multiple authors working on a project that's five years in the making. Mea culpa, mea magna culpa. Laziness, however, is not in the equation. If we wanted to be lazy, DCC Lankhmar would have been out the door in a year. If you think DCC RPG is lazy because it doesn't cover these matters, you're either forgetting or unfamiliar with old school methodology the game is based upon. There's plenty of RPGs out there that will gladly hold your hand and tell you exactly what you need to roll or what to charge or how to research a spell, but DCC RPG is not one of them and never will be.

I hope that gives you new eyes upon which to consider this subject matter. If not, its possible that DCC isn't quite suited for you. Nothing wrong with that, as we all have different tastes. But if you can evaluate the game with different eyes, you'll find it to be very welcoming to creativity and to have one of the best fan bases I've ever had the pleasure of being part of.
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Re: More guidance for prices?

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UniversalHead wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 1:32 pm I must admit the one problem with DCC is this very 'you're the GM, you sort it out' attitude while seems to be used to cover up just a leeeetle bit of laziness...
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by GnomeBoy »

UniversalHead wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 1:32 pm I must admit the one problem with DCC is this very 'you're the GM, you sort it out' attitude while seems to be used to cover up just a leeeetle bit of laziness...
For myself, I want the freedom that that "you're the GM, you sort it out" notion provides. It pushes you to give things a moment's thought... If they are uninteresting things, you can gloss over them without issue. If they are interesting things, then you get to invent something else interesting to explain them. What is going on with the butcher's shop?? There might be an adventure hook hidden in there...

Gaming is better when you can gloss over the uninteresting stuff, and get creative with the interesting stuff.
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UniversalHead
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Re: More guidance for prices?

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I apologise for the laziness comment, that was ill-considered and rude. And I really appreciate the insight into the thought processes behind what was and wasn't provided, thankyou.

I've been GMing for nigh on 40 years, and it's really only been in the last 5 or so years that I've really eased up and stopped doing huge amounts of preparation for games, and learned to run with it more in the moment. I don't know how noticeable it's been for the players, but it's certainly made my life easier! Sometimes I slip back to the old ways of doing things. :)

I'll come up with some better ways to part the players from their loot! They've left most of it with a fence/money-lender anyway, perhaps he could suddenly go out of business... :)
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by GnomeBoy »

UniversalHead wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:47 pm They've left most of it with a fence/money-lender anyway, perhaps he could suddenly go out of business... :)
-- Is there a Bahamas In Nehwon? :mrgreen:
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by Jim Skach »

UniversalHead wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:47 pm I'll come up with some better ways to part the players from their loot! They've left most of it with a fence/money-lender anyway, perhaps he could suddenly go out of business... :)
While our currently on-hiatus campaign is not Lankhmar (it was in progress long before), this is what happened to my group. Every time they turned around, someone had misled, cheated, stolen, etc.

When they left Sailors, they had nothing. When they left Portal, the had a few things. When they left Well of the Worm, they had accumulated more. They then ran afoul of their local Lord who confiscated most of their loot. They get to Hirot, survive, and start accumulating. They defeat the Emerald Enchanter, and accumulate more. They decide to hire some guards, buy a building, and make it their bank - mostly because they've only ever been in shithole towns that don't have the kinds of places where they can just buy magic or get a suit of armor without paying exorbitant fess and waiting months. Of course, they hire thieves and bad men who, while the characters are out dealing with the Emerald Enchanter - again - their "guards" steal everything and burn down the "bank" to hide it. They chase these "guards" into the wilderness, and end up in The One Who Watches (don't ask), barely survive after seeing where almost all of their loot went (along with the dead bodies of their "guards"), and then watching it all disappear. Most of what they did retain was then stolen, again, in Glipkerio. Ask my players about the Dwarf...they all have something bad to say, a few of them will twitch with anger.

The point is - there are always ways to keep the characters poor. The world is full of unscrupulous individuals.

What is interesting is to see how attached they become to individuals they encounter who they come to trust and who do not betray the characters. It actually makes those bonds mean something more, it appears - a byproduct I'd never considered or aimed for when I started confiscating their wealth in this way. Emergent behavior FTW!
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Re: More guidance for prices?

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UniversalHead wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 12:47 pm I apologise for the laziness comment, that was ill-considered and rude. And I really appreciate the insight into the thought processes behind what was and wasn't provided, thankyou.

I've been GMing for nigh on 40 years, and it's really only been in the last 5 or so years that I've really eased up and stopped doing huge amounts of preparation for games, and learned to run with it more in the moment. I don't know how noticeable it's been for the players, but it's certainly made my life easier! Sometimes I slip back to the old ways of doing things. :)

I'll come up with some better ways to part the players from their loot! They've left most of it with a fence/money-lender anyway, perhaps he could suddenly go out of business... :)
in my game carousing takes care of surplus gold. the only "problem" i've got with the rules as written is thieves and carousing. my thieves are avoiding carousing like hell and prefer to lay low since they get back their luck anyways. i mean this is "problem" at my table (a lot of people told me they don't have this "problem") and i am currently tinkering with solutions. what i want to say is that if something in the game as written is "problem" at your table the best fix is the one you devise for your table.
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by catseye yellow »

Jim Skach wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:33 am
UniversalHead wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 1:32 pm I must admit the one problem with DCC is this very 'you're the GM, you sort it out' attitude while seems to be used to cover up just a leeeetle bit of laziness...
Fourth wave, man...Fourth. Wave.
what is fourth wave? this is second time i have read it here. inquiring minds want to know.
UniversalHead
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Re: More guidance for prices?

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catseye yellow wrote: Mon May 11, 2020 9:52 pmthe only "problem" i've got with the rules as written is thieves and carousing. my thieves are avoiding carousing like hell and prefer to lay low since they get back their luck anyways. i mean this is "problem" at my table (a lot of people told me they don't have this "problem") and i am currently tinkering with solutions.
I've found it quite effective to make the Luck amount a bonus rather than an amount you can get back. The players are much happier to take the risk to get a good luck bonus for their next exploits. And remember, if one of them rolls a 1 they all lose the lot anyway!
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by finarvyn »

My take on this is that there are quite a few sources of generic prices for D&D style games, such as the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. If I need a price guide I can use one of those.

My Lankhmar games are such that I tend to award a bunch of treasure with the understanding that when we pick up the next plot arc the characters are busted for cash and eager to earn more. I explained the philosophy of so many of those old "Appendix N" stories to my crew and they are fine with it. I find that better than trying to scheme and find a way to scam them out of their cash. :)
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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by Melfast »

@Finarvyn

For a literary Lankhmar campaign, I think this is the perfect approach to separating characters from loot! Great suggestion.

Happy gaming...

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Re: More guidance for prices?

Post by finarvyn »

Thanks. I felt that discussing the philosophy of the genre was a lot better than me trying to find ways to scam the characters out of their loot. If I steal from them they seem to resent it, but if I explain that they have blown their cash on "wine, women and song" (or whatever) they seem fine with it and are glad that their characters had fun. (I also tell them that if they want to occasionally upgrade equipment or buy some basic stuff I'll probably let them do it. I don't mean to take away ALL of their funds.)

Also, instead of "you are in a tavern" starts to an adventure I have a lot more "you wake up groggy in an alley" adventures. ;)
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