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Author Topic: Barter economy  (Read 2856 times)
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The Blackest Heart

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« on: July 09, 2009, 12:47:16 PM »

About the Economy part. I understand that people would look favourably on a barter system which has that "change" too - bottle caps, cigarettes or powdered foodstuffs (which are mostly luxury, no matter how you look at it. Nutrition would be the necessary quality people of such a setting would look for in food, no ? Although salt is something one would need to preserve some kinds of food, but that need is also close to obsolete with the temperatures of our setting.)

What I'm saying is that we could, yes, have those spices and stuff for trade and act as sort of "change" (if you cut it up into smaller quantities), but mostly bartering should be something that the PC goes for out of need. Perhaps not as crazy (but still intriguing in my eyes) as how it was done in that Russian game Pathologic, which you mentioned.

The choice to "lose" some (trade a harpoon for three Snickers bars) in a transaction (unless the other party is willing to make the sacrifice for something YOU have. e.g. a random encounter where a starving nomad approaches you with a shiny handcrafted blade, which comes with a nice-looking sheath, for trade) would be the sacrifice you make to have an edge in a situation (easiest example: combat situation with you equipped with a large combat knife rather than a table knife, or worse - a table spoon) or the outright choice between survival and failure (death or worse - being left crippled). Why "lose" is in quotes is because it depends on the situation - it might seem like losing 'til you compare the outcomes of going through with it or tightly keeping on to your cherished harpoon...

How we'd do that ? All items in the game should have, in addition to weight/bulk/maintenance points/whatever, a pre-set value or better - for it not turning out static and stupid - a range of numeric values. That exact value of an item in a bartering situation would depend on the location/person - a butcher would value meat less and salt and flint more etc. A settlement closer to open water would value fish less and meat more.

That numeric value could be out in the open for the player to see or he could be made aware of the value his/her PCs equipment otherwise. e.g. Butcher says at the beginning of the barter session something like - "I'd be willing to give you a sack of pigs' feet for that piece of flint you have right there". You make your calculations from there on + how dear that piece of flint is to you. If you have one spare or know where to get a ne one when the need arises then you're good.
Or you make an offer and the Butcher would have some templates readily scripted for him: "For my X I would want n of your Z", "An old X for n of my Z?! Outrageous! Never!"

Now, the other side of the coin would be a player who's interested in becoming a sort of trader (read: hoarder  Wink). But if such is the case then the player should show some ingenuity in picking the places where he or she goes for his/her own goods and where they sell it. Transport is difficult already - this is decided. Nobody's going to be running around with three shotguns, a suit of high-tech armor and a closet-full of heavy leather jackets. But if you do stumble onto a yet untouched stash of some rare commodity then you should be able to make a profit off it. BUT then the profit would be you having a) better maintained equipment to be wearing and carrying around and/or b) owning a house in a nicer district of the settlement with a nicer view onto the frozen sea.

Then there could be this one unlikely settlement which is larger than the rest, has a semi-stable power source (electricity!) and services you'd want to spend cash on (clean women ! off-white bed sheets ! booze ! pot ! cinema with REAL popcorn (like in A Boy And His Dog)!) But on the gates/portal/entrance to that settlement you could trade off whatever you have at a Trading Depot (set up specifically for the purpose) your excess equipment'n'loot for some chips (like in modern-day casinos) or locally accepted currency, which would be obsolete in the wintery wastes.
<EDIT: this last one would actually be cool if it were around a coal mine and is this steampunkish settlement with a tavern (Saloon, heh) filled with burly miners with bad attitudes and sad-looking women trying to earn a living with a High Sheriff with cool character and no conscience whatsoever looking over his dominion, just waiting to give the protagonist a dizzyingly dangerous quest involving some of those miners, a solitary old polar bear and some raw material from a nearby nuclear power plant>

« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 01:14:57 PM by Gaspard » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2009, 06:00:12 PM »

There is one thing I would like to add:

I believe sympathy to the actor should influence the prices too. Perhaps a certain item costs 100 credits (i am using "credits" as replacement)
but if the actor is a nice guy, helped the community etc... the prices could be lower in general.

I also think small-quests to obtain items should be used here and there. But not too much, so that the game does not focus on that overly much.

Cleaning away the bureaucracy in PARPG to make our life easier.
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