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Author Topic: Currency AND/OR Basic unit of value measurement  (Read 6215 times)
laclongquan
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« on: January 18, 2011, 04:10:21 PM »

Even if we dont use trade system with one commonly accepted currency we still need one basic unit of value measurement. That unit must have inherent value ( you can use it for something), accepted in all region, and shall be used internally to value all items. I propose that basic unit of value measurement as 1 stick of firewood.

20 sticks of firewood can be traded for one hearty meal (rebalanced later if needed)(this is the basic economy value of firewood) (might be needed to rebalanced with the Food/energy needed in cold condition in  below threads )

1 day of tree chopping will get you a wage of 3 blocks (menial cheap work)
1 day of tree felling will get you a wage of 5 blocks (menial dangerous work)
1 block of wood can be splitted into 20 sticks of firewood. weight of each stick need to be agreed with later on.

When you go from one region to another you only carry 20-30 sticks for emergency warmth-making fires. You trade with your lighter goods.

Lighter goods in artic region: bottles of (high proof) booze, zippo (high value), high energy military/sport ration bars, fox/badger/lynx fur mittens/cowls, leather armors, packets of medicines. All of them can be used while travelling (degrade values a bit) and nothing useless.

Extreme caution against cigarrets: sentimental collector-items, but not useful in artic conditions. Traditional valuable metals may not be so: silvers and golds are bloody cold to carry, make accidental frostbite too easy unless you leave them in bags. And what use can they be in that artic region anyway?

Another basic unit of value measurement is small bags of salts:
Salt is not easily produced in Scandivian regions and people been imported it since ancient time.
Salt can be produced by boiling seawater or controling saltmines.
But I dont feel it's important enough as sticks of firewood though.

I made a post in wiki, but I think discussions on this stuff should be held in mechanics here and not story forum.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 04:17:39 PM by laclongquan » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 06:53:21 PM »

wood, I think is far too heavy to be useful currency.

There is a proposal somewhere about using "powders" as "currency" for example, flour, salt, maybe even something rare and super valuable like black powder (gunpowder), saltpetre (ammonium nitrate), or black pepper.  This may have never made it out if IRC discussions though.

The reason we need a currency is to "make change" in the barter system.  So we need very small "atomic" units of stuff.

The general principal is that almost nothing "pre war" from the old world can be used as general currency because it's either
a) useless (paper money)
b) pretty much used up after 20 years (cigarettes)

It might also be OK that some regions make up their own "scrip" or currency.

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laclongquan
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 12:55:10 PM »

Firewood is not currency, but a measure of value we use internally to calculate the worth of each item. Like, this loaf of bread worth 20 sticks, that zippo worth 100 loaves, therefore 2000 sticks

Or
Buyer put on table : zippo;                Seller is selling : 1 suit of kevlar vest

value shown on screen: 2000//   Huh?

See.

And sticks can be used to trade in a town/village/a house. It need not too light for the purpose since we just move them from one place to a very near other place.

Traveller/trader dont transport sticks of firewood. The whole idea is ridiculous. They move from one region to another their inventories full of goods: furs, clothes (because pre-industrial clothes is expensive), weapons, ammo, armours, rations... Things not only have high value, but also that transporters can use them in a tight spot.
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Q_x
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 02:10:22 PM »

It has to be something commonly observed, but both sparse or/and very useful, to make it a stable currency base. It used to were skins or fabric/cloth, I think due to their versatility and protective quality. In fact, our word for paying originates from a piece of fabric.

Take what is necessary to sustain a life in a very basic form in cold climate:
something with a sharp edge, to make all below possible, plus for protection
containers for melting/boiling water and processing food
firestarting device
food, you must catch it and process it so that it won't rot and poison you
clothing, shelter.
cordage to make tools, snares, traps, process food, fix things in place, repair, build shelter and whatnot

What is the weakest point here, place that would fail most? Sharp edge - trivial (take two stones, hit one with another, draw conclusions and repeat until you end up with anything sharp. Or grab any piece of metal and grind it on a stone until it will be sharp enough, you may also go blacksmith's way and forge a blade). Most probably is that there will be a pre-wart axe and knife available from time to time, just like that.
containers - may be made of wood if you can process it with fire or any tool, may be made of bark, with some resin to seal it. Most probably you will find a bottle or aluminum/enameled pot.
clothing - found or made - it just will be. Animal skins and fur, hand-woven cloth, stuff like that. Same with shelter.
cordage - made out of animal guts, skin, or plants, even as common as stinging nettle.
What you're left with is finding food and preserving it. You'll need a bow or crosbow at least, plus snares set in large quantities. If you hunt a bigger game, like a reindeer, you have to process the meat quickly, or it will start to rot and attract bears/wolves. You can cook it, smoke it, make jerky out of it, eat some raw, whatever. Unprocessed food will put you into trouble, because: you reduced "food population" more than needed, increased chance of being eaten with rotten pieces, increased predators chance of survival and made further rotting meat easier.
When winter starts - you have to be prepared for it, or you will die.
Hence, while chatting we have proposed some things that may appear "strange", like saltpeter that may be used as a food preservative, or to make black powder. Hard to make (yet possible), quite useful. Skins are just as good, apart from the fact that we make not a hunting or winter survival game, but social, dialogue-based one.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 02:34:12 PM by Q_x » Logged

zenbitz
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 11:08:48 PM »

I actually like a more pure barter system where you don't get a "number" out of it.
I do think we need some currency item (available, rare enough to be valuable, otherwise useful, can be broken into tiny "1 penny" components) so that player/npc trader can make "change" if he doesn't like what he is getting offered.

Obviously, all items will have an NPC-specific (maybe even situation specific) numerical value for trading, but the is only internal.
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Roach
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 01:35:30 AM »

Looks good on paper, but would not adding "pennies" one by one to finally reach the hidden value be annoying?
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Q_x
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 08:46:33 AM »

Success should depend not on hitting the exact quality, but success in barter skill. Or I'm wrong?
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laclongquan
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 10:32:12 AM »

The very fact that sticks of firewoods got weight limit its mobility. You just cant hold a large enough number of it in your inventory. Therefore it create an artificial 'scarcity', 'rarity' factor to it. You dont ever have too much of it on  one person.

OTOH, the ease of its production in each community, compound with the need for it in an artic environment, make for its easy acceptance as a medium of trade.

And nothing about it say you cant have a barter system that dont use currency. The  weight of it mean you cant have enough to trade effectively so you barter goods more often. It's no problem. Like, if you want to trade your kevlar suit for their zippos, it's not as if NPC will have enough spare sticks to make for a balance trade, so it become barter of unequivalent goods.

A third value of sticks is that it illustrates an extremely cold environment without state it in so many words. Everyone has some sticks in their bags and you know why.

And your concern is why I type "Basic unit of value measurement". You can use it as an internal value/tool of comparison.
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dracre
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 11:41:34 AM »

NPCs should have a list of needs, making them value those type of items more when bartering.
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laclongquan
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 11:56:42 AM »

Not list. ONE, just one goods in need for one NPC. If you make one with more needs, (s)he become a barter central.

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zenbitz
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 09:28:01 PM »

Looks good on paper, but would not adding "pennies" one by one to finally reach the hidden value be annoying?

Yes, if the interface is crappy, and the player is anal.

Hmmm... what if you had a "literal scale" as the interface.  You put NPC thing you want on one side, and what you offer on the other.  Scale has to be weighted towards your side for NPC to take the deal.   If scale is tilted the other way, you have to toss something else on.

Now I guess you could be an anal little weasle and try to balance it perfectly, but that's not my problem.

 Actual internal values are calculated like:

Base value (hard coded) * NPC want factor * PC Barter/Haggle skill factor

Where NPC want factor is 1.0 by default but adjusted by script/gamestate.

PC Barter skill factor is just a "roll off" of PC/NPC's skills + associated "social" modifiers (INCLUDING how "rich" the PC appears) - it should range from like 0.5 to 2 or something.

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zenbitz
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 09:30:59 PM »

Not list. ONE, just one goods in need for one NPC. If you make one with more needs, (s)he become a barter central.

Not sure I am following you here.   PC has to guess the one thing each NPC wants? 
I agree that there has to be some kind of limit on what NPCs will "buy" unless they are specifically "stores" or "trading outposts".

Also - of course the "NPC want factor" should be "sated" when the PC actually gives him what he is looking for (at least for some period of time)
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Gaspard
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 10:18:53 PM »

How about dividing trade-happy NPC's into groups:
a) trader - trades in anything
b) specialist - trades their craft/handywork for raw materials + 1 or 2 other things
c) generic NPC (who's OK with trading) - trades what they have for only food + 1 or 2 other essentials for survival
d) specialist stores/traders - pretty much just like the specialists, but might have a wider range of things on sale

EDIT: if I'm not wrong then Arcanum had specialized traders - gun-store-keepers would say "I'm not interested in that" to a magical potion you're offering, while a blacksmith would kick you out for trying to barter with old socks etc
While everybody took gems etc - generally accepted "luxury" goods
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 10:21:45 PM by Gaspard » Logged
laclongquan
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 03:33:59 PM »

Yes, those 4 groups are logical.
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rowanthepreacher
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2011, 04:34:07 PM »

Hmm. I think trade should be behind the scenes. Each trader will have a value applied to each item they possess and each item you offer them for trade, so the NPC can say "yep that's worth it" but you'll never know what the real value was. Keep it to an actual barter system, rather than items being a stash of unusually shaped gold coins that take up space in your inventory.
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