Sunday, July 7, 2013
Economics of Adventuring
I’ve always been cheap, both in real life and in games. One of my big issues is before one of my characters takes a potion, I start thinking - am I going to make enough on this mission to pay for replacing the potion? I know that’s not what it’s supposed to be about, but that’s what runs through my head. It does make me think - Are adventurers just stupid? Do they spend huge sums of money just to risk their lives? The pay is never very good, though the looting typically is. It’s my training, but I think of nearly everything as a business transaction - How much does it cost to adventure vs. how much do we get paid? I know - It’s a game. Blah blah blah, but it has to make sense, doesn’t it? If it costs you six healing potions worth 500sc each to survive a mission and you only get paid 300sc for it, then this job sucks! OK, you probably get some loot that may help compensate the loss, but there are missions where you’d wind up worse off than where you started. So what to do? Well, the easiest thing to do is ignore it and just go on. Probably better is to see it as a perverse form of gambling - You put your life on the line, and sometimes you lose, but sometimes you win big. The big time would be that massive magical sword or staff. Even though I see it as all business, I get that if it gets too business-like it won’t be fun anymore. One way I sometimes try to explain away the business aspects is to let the employer cover all the logistics. The employer helps pay to get you to the job, they supply the support which may include healing potions, and they may even help you fence the goods afterwards. Then at least some of the business side is handled. This is a quickie way to explain away the business side of things while at the same time not making the game into homework. I’ll never suggest spending all your time counting the copper coins, but I do think it is important to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why they would keep doing it, because typically the money won’t really justify it.