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Post  Winter on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:31 pm

We talked last session about changing the way the party distributes wealth. Here's the system I would suggest:

When the party returns to town from an adventure and wants to split up the loot, calculate the cash value of each item and add them all together. Subtract the cost of ID'ing the items from this total to get the net total. Each party member gets a equal share of the net total.

If there are items that party members want to take, they simply buy it from the group by paying the amount the item would sell for back into the net total pool. The other party members split will thus remain unchanged. If two party members want the same item they either work it out among themselves or roll to see who gets to buy it from the pool.

If a party members wants an item but cannot afford to buy it from the pool, he can still do so if the rest of the group can agree. He simply takes the item and pays whatever portion of it's sale value he can currently afford, and writes out an IOU to the party pool. Later, after more treasure is found, he pays back the debt to the party pool which then gets split among the other members as usual. If another party wanted to lend him money directly so he doesn't owe the pool that's fine but actually irrelevant to this discussion.

If there are items that drop which are of use to the entire group, such as healing wands, a rod of security, Staff of Life or some such, the group might choose to simply exempt them from the pool and allow a party member who can use them to hold them for the benefit of the whole group.

I think this system is better because it reflects the fact that money helps the group in addition to items. It's in the group's interest to make sure people can get the items they need if we find them, which this system accomplishes. It also recognizes that players should make smart decisions about what items they buy rather than just taking everything we find without thinking if they want it or not. If you don't want something enough to buy it from the pool at below market price, then the party is probably better off selling it and splitting the gold so people can use it to get what they really need to improve their characters.

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Re: Lootconomics

Post  Jack Napier on Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:42 am

This way definitely makes things more fair without Matt having to throw certain players a bone every now and then as the campaign doesn't always favour certain classes with magical items or loot. For example, we did get 4 Bane Arrows which under the right circumstances would be good fun for Damikon, but we were all ready to sell them as they fetch a good price and would be considered too circumstancial to merit keeping... so Damikon loses out on a class specific item, whereas Jack or Winter would pretty much always get any wand that they can cast with. Also, after dropping Lyrie and getting a wand and a few scrolls Jack felt pretty good, but Auroc didn't really have any equipment that Ulric wanted; some guys get all the luck.

With this new idea, characters might be able to "demo" the equipment a bit if found early enough in a dungeon and make a more educated decision if they want to "buy" it. But we won't always have this luxury. The best loot usually comes at the end of a dungeon, so we'd have to sort of agree to occasionally let a character try something out in the next dungeon scenario rather than rush off and sell it... but when people are looking to buy something, most people won't want to wait for the gold.

I don't know if I would've taken the wand of shocking grasp if I had to buy it as it's not an inexpensive wand of first level (caster level 2 hikes the price up A LOT.) In a typical shopping situation, I would've chosen mage armor over it. The wand surprised me though. The idea of actually having to be close enough to touch an opponent to deliver the spell makes it less ideal in my mind... however, putting it in the wrist sheath it ended up being like a cartoon joy-buzzer and very much a cool and stylish maneuver for my character.

Still, other party members might not share Jack's enthusiasm for getting something that's fun just for him for the right price (free) even if he is trying to use it to help the party win fights.

So the new method definitely has fairness in mind in a very general sense, but perfect fairness is hard to accomplish if we think of the characters as people doing certain jobs as part of a team.

The party members generally try to work equally hard. They surely do their best while adventuring by applying whatever skills and abilities they have to the current situation. However, slight problems only arise in "down time" such as in town when, all of a sudden, the face character becomes everyone's best friend. Jack's especially good at this because he can appraise and identify items for the party, haggle with merchants, and gather information to get better prices for buying/selling, etc etc etc... but the rest of the party drinks, prays, or hangs out at the beach.

If/when the party ends up wandering about in nature for an extended period, perhaps the Druid and Ranger might feel like they're doing "all the work."

So roles outside of battles should be every bit as defined and balanced as in battle and loot needs to take this into consideration. Using Jack as an example again, having an item that boosts his CHA not only makes him a better spellcaster and swordsman, it also allows him to make better CHA roles for the party in cities and social situations, perhaps allowing for better rewards for completely quests. Likewise, having an item boost Winter's WIS score improves HIS casting and allows him to make great survival checks and perception checks, which everybody benifits from in the wilderness... so perhaps, under certain circumstances with items that benefit the party as much as they benefit the individual and "make sense," the "buying" price should at very least be reduced, if not overlooked.

Another example (and I use my character because I'm most familiar with him, not to say gimme gimme gimme) would be those Googles of Minute Seeing that are on sale in town. Any rogue character would love +5 to disable device, but other characters might not want to help pay for them... I mean, why would they want to front cash that could go to new armor when most traps only affect the Rogue when he fails the Disable Device check. And the goggles are Rogue exclusive! Some people might not consider that good alligened rogues in D&D are highly discouraged to go off and do things completely on their own. It's not like Jack will be doing much disabling when he's not with the party and sharing everything he may have literally risked his neck to find. Just because something can't be shared, doesn't mean it isn't helpful to everyone, nor should the individual necessarily be required to pay for it.

Anyway, that was way more long-winded than I was planning to say... dividing the loot this way is fair in a very communist way, but since every item given to any character benefits the group as a whole (we're a team) we'll have to be smart about it and be careful not to discourage someone from taking something that may be helpful for the team but not what the player wants right now.

Everybody needs to be at their very best and working together.
Jack Napier

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