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Thread: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

  1. #1
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    Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    There seems to be a disconnect between purchasing and selling that leaves a big hole in the rules with regards to Resources.

    The Rules
    As written, purchasing anything up to your Resources + 10 does not deplete your resources (greater than +10 depletes resources by one).
    When selling an item, you reduce the TN by one, and selling it increments your resources by 1 (2 if the TN-1 is >= Resources +6)

    What This Means
    This means that if you have a Resources of 0, that you could buy something at TN 10 without depleting your resources.
    Selling that same TN 10 item at TN 9 would increase your Resources by 2 (because it's still 9 levels higher than your Resource level, which is greater than 6).
    Now you can buy something at TN 12, sell it at TN 11 and increase your Resources by 2 again.

    The Problem
    You can rinse and repeat this process until the most expensive items purchasable are within 1 level of your Resources, making it trivial to buy them. While this is obviously an abuse of the system, I think that players not even trying to abuse it would quickly increase resources to the point where Resources are meaningless. It is in the nature of PC's to acquire things. The useful things they keep, and the rest they sell.

    It's possible that I'm missing something. If so, please let me know. In the meantime, I'm going to work on my own solution which I'll post in the comments if there is no remedy or correction posted. I'll check this weekend.

    Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing back,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Protomolecule Host mrkwnzl's Avatar
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    Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    I don’t think this need correction or remedy. This rule is clearly intended as a way to handle selling some special items, not everyday items. Note that the rules state that “In some cases, characters may want to sell a valuable item” and “The GM should handle the acquisition and sale of valuables acquired from the characters’ adventures with a Resources award rather than managing the value and sale of individual items.”

    So as a GM, you should use this rule only when the characters need to increase their resources by selling an essential and critical item, like the sports car or house of the character. Usually the kind of items they couldn’t easily buy back. Only if selling the item hurts the character in one way or the other.

  3. #3
    OPA Belta Kythkyn's Avatar
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    Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    Exactly asmrkwnzl said.

    Also, look at the spirit of the game, not the perceived loopholes to 'break the system' as it were. Unless your game is about buying a cheese burger and selling to someone else ad infinitum, or some other silly transaction, this simply isn't something the system worries about

  4. #4
    Line Dev Modern AGE Freebooter
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    Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    Yeah, you do need to moderate how often and which purchases can be used for this purpose. However, the system is designed to permit some degree of investment.

    Whether Resources 0 includes the ability to buy anything at all is a GM judgment call. We generally assume you can meet survival needs but if your character is flat broke that's a story event.

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    Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    The examples I used were abstract and intended just to illustrate the issues I was seeing. Admittedly, I am looking at trying to use these rules for something for which they are not wholly intended. Namely I'm looking at using it to run a science fiction game ... and such games tend to be more gear oriented. People may want to get better gear, upgrade items on their ship, or even buy a new ship. Some of the gameplay might even be economic, involving running cargo and trading. In that sort of setting, resource management becomes much more important.

    Even if you set the gear aside, a setting like Firefly (which I think would be great in AGE) is in part driven by the idea that these people are on the raggedy edge, eking out a living, trying to make ends meet. They have to make choices about which morals to compromise to keep flying and stay fed. I think that if it's handled right you can have a system that gives players meaningful choices that in turn drive narrative ... even with resources. Granted resource management doesn't sound like a sexy narrative and is easy to reduce it to "trading cheeseburgers", but there are a lot of stories where money is important and drives the narrative.

    I'm a big fan of the AGE system in general and I think 95% of the rules in Modern AGE are fantastic and I'd really like to adapt these rules and use them. So far this is my only sticking point. If you don't have any good solutions for it, that's fine. I'll figure it out. That being said, the consensus that seems to be emerging is that the Resource rules are perfectly fine ... as long as you don't actually use them. If everything to do with Resources is to be handled by GM fiat, then there might as well be no rules for Resources. As a matter of fact, that might be better. That way I don't have to check my GM mood ring to decide whether or not someone can do the thing that the rules kind of say they can do ...

    While we're on the topic of the Resource system, how are Purchase TN's determined? Because a sedan ($20,000+?) has the same TN as a combat shotgun ($400), and flash grenade ($50) has the same TN as a sports car ($50,000+?). If something isn't listed, how do I determine what the TN is to purchase? Are there any guidelines for that?

  6. #6
    OPA Belta Kythkyn's Avatar
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    Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    In settings like Firefly, the narrative isn't about acquiring money, but what that money is for. Even rules as written, the Resource system can still cover that. Like, instead of precise bookkeeping to know exactly how many Space Credits the crew has, and how many it costs to get Ion Engines Mark V instead of Mark IV, you can allow the narrative to be not so much the money acquisition, but the adventure that results in getting those Mark V engines. And as for the acquisition of constant better gear, the system isn't as worried about that as players who are used to D&D are. Like, yeah, there's better stuff out there, but it tops out after a while. The meta game economy doesn't assume that the acquisition of a slightly better gun is the driving force behind propelling the narrative forward. Instead, use the game to frame a lot of that. Firefly, for example again, had some iconic weapons. And while Jane may have collected guns, that was more a personal hobby than it was entirely necessary for each next mission.

    One option, though, is to remove the Resources mechanic and import the Silver currency (making them more sci-fi sounding) from F-AGE. You'll have to do a lot of your own leg work for that, but you can also easily lift prices from other systems, if something more mercantile is what your players are hoping for

  7. #7
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    Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    Quote Originally Posted by emessar View Post
    The examples I used were abstract and intended just to illustrate the issues I was seeing. Admittedly, I am looking at trying to use these rules for something for which they are not wholly intended. Namely I'm looking at using it to run a science fiction game ... and such games tend to be more gear oriented. People may want to get better gear, upgrade items on their ship, or even buy a new ship. Some of the gameplay might even be economic, involving running cargo and trading. In that sort of setting, resource management becomes much more important.

    Even if you set the gear aside, a setting like Firefly (which I think would be great in AGE) is in part driven by the idea that these people are on the raggedy edge, eking out a living, trying to make ends meet. They have to make choices about which morals to compromise to keep flying and stay fed. I think that if it's handled right you can have a system that gives players meaningful choices that in turn drive narrative ... even with resources. Granted resource management doesn't sound like a sexy narrative and is easy to reduce it to "trading cheeseburgers", but there are a lot of stories where money is important and drives the narrative.

    I'm a big fan of the AGE system in general and I think 95% of the rules in Modern AGE are fantastic and I'd really like to adapt these rules and use them. So far this is my only sticking point. If you don't have any good solutions for it, that's fine. I'll figure it out. That being said, the consensus that seems to be emerging is that the Resource rules are perfectly fine ... as long as you don't actually use them. If everything to do with Resources is to be handled by GM fiat, then there might as well be no rules for Resources. As a matter of fact, that might be better. That way I don't have to check my GM mood ring to decide whether or not someone can do the thing that the rules kind of say they can do ...

    While we're on the topic of the Resource system, how are Purchase TN's determined? Because a sedan ($20,000+?) has the same TN as a combat shotgun ($400), and flash grenade ($50) has the same TN as a sports car ($50,000+?). If something isn't listed, how do I determine what the TN is to purchase? Are there any guidelines for that?
    Resources TNs are set with a combination of raw cost, availability, and financing in mind. Even though cars are expensive, they depreciate quickly and are easily financed. Getting a grenade is more about access. But there's an element of eyeballing pricing, yeah.

    Resources is a loose system by design, so it can serve as a benchmark and guide purchases in games where the average person has much more complex finances than a dude moving a sack of gold around. If you want to make the economic side of it more of a serious thing you can either go directly to real values, or extend the system.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up Re: Resources Rules in Modern AGE

    Awesome feedback everyone.


    Firefly was probably not the best example. If you're writing a story for an audience it's pretty easy to say that the characters are strapped and need or want the money without showing the audience a ledger and box of receipts. For me personally, I feel that in a game where the players are making the choices, making those choices meaningful and informed means that at least sometimes you show them the beans and let them count. That way you're not "telling" them they're broke, you're "showing" them enough information that they can arrive at that conclusion themselves. I probably should have used other tabletop RPG games like Traveller, Shadowrun, or computer games like Eve, Elite, Privateer, or the upcoming Star Citizen. Although all of those just use currency.


    I do like the idea of a resource system to manage finances instead of just using currency. I think that several ideas could be modeled without turning it into a game about spreadsheets.


    Well, thanks for all the help everyone. It's been very informative. I think I can get what I want with a few tweaks.

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