Spellcasters willfully gimped? Why?


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Wrath wrote:
baggageboy wrote:

The issue I was trying to point out at the beginning of this aside is that loot is often an item like a gun. The other characters will often pick up said gun and use it. The caster that doesn't want to use a gun has to take his share of loot (in guns) and sell them, for which he gets a megar return. If he then is expecting to buy large amounts of spell gems to fill actions in combat that he isn't shooting, with the credits he got for the guns he's sold, he's going to run short very quickly.

Some people have been proposing that a character can do this and be just fine based on wbl charts. At character creation maybe, but unless a gm is going to drop quite a few spell gems instead of guns you won't be able to keep this statagy up.

The issue basically boils down to this. If you are selling stuff instead of using it starfinder punishes you. You can't expect to do this constantly and not fall behind characters that don't do this.

Then perhaps you could run it like my groups do. If an item drops and someone can use it, we calculate the equivalent monetary cost and ensure that others get that amount eventually. It’s a tally system.

Eg soldier picks up a gun worth 2000 credits. He decides to keep it.
Soldier doesn’t get any of the funds from selling loot until the 2000 credits is accumulated (either through credits or other guys picking up gear as well)

And I’ll also point out once more - if a person decides to deliberately ignore gear they can use because they decide they want to buy gear that isn’t dropping, then that is their issue, not everyone else’s. If a player says “I refuse to use that gun that’s an improvement to my gear, because I want to use more spell gems” well that’s really their cross to bear.

My group doesn't worry about a tally system. We look at the item, look at who can use it, look at who needs it, and we pass it around. We don't get stuck up on who has the most or who has more.

Our spellcaster though uses a Shadowstaff, and saves his spells for when he needs to use them. He doesn't try to demand that the other characters chip in for spell gems, if he needed them we'd help, but if he was overcasting and just blowing spell gems constantly, we'd probably tell him to calm down a bit.

Generally, properly using spell gems is to keep spell gems on hand for when you need a spell and don't have a slot, but the spell slots come first.

We've not had an issue with anyone abusing the good will of the others because we are all friends and we all get along and we all work together and it is a fun cooperative experience.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That's pretty much what we do too, HWalsh. We simply give the loot to whoever needs or wants it, or who can make the most use of it. Any left over loot that wasn't claimed by anyone gets sold and is divided up among the party.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
baggageboy wrote:

Yes, but you only replace those every few levels, not every few fights. And some of those replacements will likely be drops, not something you had to spend credits on. SO you get a newer better gun and keep it, your spell caster buddy gets a similar gun, but doesn't want to use it so sells it for a dime on the dollar. If that happens often enough you spellcaster friend will be quite behind on cash.

The classes that we have aren't bad. I like them, but they aren't meant to be used for only casting spells. Trying to do so is kinda like putting a round peg in a square hole. You can do it, but it's not going to work very well.

Actually, no, the spellcaster wouldn't fall behind on cash. . . because if the spellcaster is expected to sell the gun, the GM is only supposed to count it as 1/10th its value for wealth purposes. If the GM is routinely dropping tons of equipment, of wildly varying usefulness, and counting it all at full value for loot purposes? The GM is running things wrong.


But if the gm is dropping guns the spellcaster is suposed you use, that' when you have the problem. This is especially true for gems running prebuilt campaigns where the loot is predetermined. Yes a gm can adjust it, but the spellcaster who won't use a regular gun is ignoring the design of the game send will run into problems if their gm won't adjust what's written.


baggageboy wrote:
But if the gm is dropping guns the spellcaster is suposed you use, that' when you have the problem. This is especially true for gems running prebuilt campaigns where the loot is predetermined. Yes a gm can adjust it, but the spellcaster who won't use a regular gun is ignoring the design of the game send will run into problems if their gm won't adjust what's written.

You're going to get lots of guns and sell most of them. That's how these things work. Sure, you might keep the occasional one that's an upgrade, but they're not all going to be upgrades, so they get sold.

Do all the guns count as full value?

Honestly the caster might as well keep a gun, even if it doesn't get used much. Selling it doesn't really convert into enough spell gems to be worth it.

You might run into problems if some characters are getting all their basic gear from loot and others have to buy basically everything they rely on. Especially if the party passes out usable gear as needed, then evenly divides the sold loot & cash.


Starfinder Superscriber

For about a decade and a half, now, when I GM I go ahead and tally up all the gear drops, calculate what they'd sell for, and give that total to the group, along with a calculation of each character's share based on the number of players in the group.

If an individual character wants to buy something from the loot, like a gun or a sword, they pay the same price that a merchant would (so for SF, 10%), and everyone gets a fair share. Essentially, the player becomes the merchant they sell to when they get back to town to sell the loot.

If the group decides (as a whole) that something is important for the group as a whole to have (like a portable hole, or a wand of healing), that thing is taken out of the loot and is shared by the group. One person may be the one holding/using it, but it belongs to the group and if a player quits or can't play, some other character is the one using it.

In all that time, no one's complained about doing loot this way, ever. No one's felt like they missed out because all the loot from a particular dungeon was fighter gear. The fighter still gets the gear he wants at a steep discount. The wizard still gets his cut to buy scrolls. The group still gets to keep the things that benefit everyone. Everyone wins.

The other GM's in my group have also adopted this system, though they sometimes ask me to do all the math for them (because I like doing math). It also keeps me from having to play with the loot from an AP to match the party.


pithica42 wrote:

For about a decade and a half, now, when I GM I go ahead and tally up all the gear drops, calculate what they'd sell for, and give that total to the group, along with a calculation of each character's share based on the number of players in the group.

If an individual character wants to buy something from the loot, like a gun or a sword, they pay the same price that a merchant would (so for SF, 10%), and everyone gets a fair share. Essentially, the player becomes the merchant they sell to when they get back to town to sell the loot.

If the group decides (as a whole) that something is important for the group as a whole to have (like a portable hole, or a wand of healing), that thing is taken out of the loot and is shared by the group. One person may be the one holding/using it, but it belongs to the group and if a player quits or can't play, some other character is the one using it.

In all that time, no one's complained about doing loot this way, ever. No one's felt like they missed out because all the loot from a particular dungeon was fighter gear. The fighter still gets the gear he wants at a steep discount. The wizard still gets his cut to buy scrolls. The group still gets to keep the things that benefit everyone. Everyone wins.

The other GM's in my group have also adopted this system, though they sometimes ask me to do all the math for them (because I like doing math). It also keeps me from having to play with the loot from an AP to match the party.

I'm not sure that "no complaints" from using this approach in another system with different gear assumptions actually shows much.

Assuming that your system benefits martials over casters (which I'm not sure it really does?) it could also be offset in PF by casting and the general higher power level of casters.
More importantly though, it's a much smaller discount. Someone who's lucky enough to get all their good gear from loot would only have twice the WBL of someone who had to purchase it all in PF. In SF, they'd have 10 times the value in gear.
Obviously, it not likely people would be at the far extremes - everyone's going to find some useful stuff and have to buy some things they want, but Starfinder greatly multiplies any differences over what they would have been in Pathfinder.


baggageboy wrote:
Some people have been proposing that a character can do this and be just fine based on wbl charts. At character creation maybe, but unless a gm is going to drop quite a few spell gems instead of guns you won't be able to keep this statagy up.

I try to limit building my game around the Loot Drop, but spell gems seem like a reasonably common item. I don't see why they wouldn't (or couldn't) drop just as frequently as guns, credits or ammo if one is doing this.


Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
I'm not sure that "no complaints" from using this approach in another system with different gear assumptions actually shows much.

I've used the same system in multiple games where selling loot and buying gear was a part of the assumption of the system. Even in some where it wasn't a core function, it still mostly worked. I've never had fights at my table because the last 4 drops all went to one player because that's how the drops happened to fall. I used to see that sort of thing all the time, usually I was the unlucky one and usually the one pissed off about it. The sell price changed in this system for a lot of stuff, but it doesn't fundamentally alter the base math.

Quote:
Assuming that your system benefits martials over casters (which I'm not sure it really does?) it could also be offset in PF by casting and the general higher power level of casters.

I never said that it did anything of the sort. I used fighter and wizard as examples, because they typically need extremely different gear and can therefore suffer if you have a dungeon in a particular style. Doing this is about ensuring that everyone has very close to the same total wealth (assuming they sold everything they're carrying) and that hard feelings between players are minimized because a particular AP or monster or the RNG favors a particular style of drops over another. It has nothing to do with class balance.

Dead Suns, generic, nothing to do with story:
There are a number of longarm, heavy weapon, and heavy armor drops in Dead Suns that unless you have a Soldier or someone that intentionally paid a feat tax are all going to go to one or two players early on. That drastically reduces the available money for anyone that can't use those drops if you automatically just give them to the 1 or 2 party members that can use them at 0 cost to them.

Quote:
More importantly though, it's a much smaller discount. Someone who's lucky enough to get all their good gear from loot would only have twice the WBL of someone who had to purchase it all in PF. In SF, they'd have 10 times the value in gear.

Right, but if you do NBG style loot, where the party member that can use it just gets it, they get 10 times the value in gear, for free, and everyone else gets nothing. You happen to get a bunch of drops like that in a row and you end up in a party where one person has twice (or more) the WBL in gear and 3 people have half (or something). I'm with an old enough group that this would mostly be okay, but whenever someone has their teenage son or daughter play with us, this always turned into a fight at some point.

If you make them buy it from the group, everyone else gets what they would have gotten if they sold the gear, and the person lucky enough to get the drop gets the goods at a steep discount. It can still get out of whack where one person is ahead of everyone, but no one else is behind of where they should be according to WBL. Over time, it should all even out (and does, in my experience).

The Exchange

The way Pitheca is running things isn’t much different to society play. The only difference being not everyone can now buy that rare drop, like they do in society play.

It is a very effective way to keep loot evenly split, if that’s something your group worries about.


pithica42 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I'm not sure that "no complaints" from using this approach in another system with different gear assumptions actually shows much.

I've used the same system in multiple games where selling loot and buying gear was a part of the assumption of the system. Even in some where it wasn't a core function, it still mostly worked. I've never had fights at my table because the last 4 drops all went to one player because that's how the drops happened to fall. I used to see that sort of thing all the time, usually I was the unlucky one and usually the one pissed off about it. The sell price changed in this system for a lot of stuff, but it doesn't fundamentally alter the base math.

Quote:
Assuming that your system benefits martials over casters (which I'm not sure it really does?) it could also be offset in PF by casting and the general higher power level of casters.

I never said that it did anything of the sort. I used fighter and wizard as examples, because they typically need extremely different gear and can therefore suffer if you have a dungeon in a particular style. Doing this is about ensuring that everyone has very close to the same total wealth (assuming they sold everything they're carrying) and that hard feelings between players are minimized because a particular AP or monster or the RNG favors a particular style of drops over another. It has nothing to do with class balance.

** spoiler omitted **

Quote:
More importantly though, it's a much smaller discount. Someone who's lucky enough to get all their good gear from loot
...

I'm not sure what "NBG style" is, but if it's "you get the gear you can use, plus an even split of the sale price", I'd agree that's worse. When we've been strict and not just treated everything as party funds, your share of the treasure would include the cost of anything you kept, not the price you'd sell it for. Let's say the loot consists of a gun that costs 2000, a spell gem that costs 1000 and a bunch of useless junk that we sell for a total of 2000 and 3000 in cash. Alice wants the gun, so she takes that. Bob takes the spell gem and 1000 in cash. Carol and Dan get 2000 each.

Your way, if I follow would treat it as a total pool of 5300, split 4 ways for 1325 each, but Alice takes the gun and only gets 1125? Similarly with Bob and the gem, getting 1225? That's a pretty big difference.

If it all works out over time, it's no big deal, pretty much regardless of what method you use. It's only when long term trends go to some characters getting more useful stuff out of the loot that it turns into a balance issue. Squabbles about tonight's loot drop aside.


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Of course if your team has workshops on their ship, you can just make UPBs an element of any loot they find and they can craft items. This may cut down on the amount of mico-analysis of the loot that's necessary.


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baggageboy wrote:
But if the gm is dropping guns the spellcaster is suposed you use, that' when you have the problem. This is especially true for gems running prebuilt campaigns where the loot is predetermined. Yes a gm can adjust it, but the spellcaster who won't use a regular gun is ignoring the design of the game send will run into problems if their gm won't adjust what's written.

I'm not sure we should be basing our arguments on "but what if you have a s!~+ty GM!"


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Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
I'm not sure what "NBG style" is, but if it's "you get the gear you can use, plus an even split of the sale price", I'd agree that's worse.

NBG=Need Before Greed. It's something I mostly saw with pickup groups in video games like EQ or WoW, but I've played in a number of table-top groups that used the same style of thing. If someone needs/wants the sword that dropped, they get it if they can use it. Only the stuff noone "needs" gets sold and split as profits with the group (evenly) along with the cash. I'm seeing this in some of the Actual Play podcasts and it makes me wince every time it comes up. It feels like your being fair, but it always seems to leave someone out.

Quote:
When we've been strict and not just treated everything as party funds, your share of the treasure would include the cost of anything you kept, not the price you'd sell it for.

That works too. Well, at least, that's fair too, I'm assuming it works. I thought you were arguing for NBG.

My only contention with them buying at full price is that in that system you may have characters turn down things that would be minor upgrades now, in order to save for a major upgrade later.

If I'm a soldier on a mission I'm not going to blow 53,800cr buying a perihelion laser rifle that just dropped from the group if what I really want is a white star plasma caster or an advanced magnetar rifle, even if the perihelion laser rifle is better than what I have now. But I'd definitely go ahead and sacrifice 5,380cr on it while we're on a mission and trade it in later for what I want when we get back to town.

Forcing them to pay full price and sell at a loss makes them weaker in the short term, and costs them later when they sell making them weaker in the long term too. If they buy it at 10% and they later sell it, they don't lose anything by taking minor upgrades now. The group gets the benefit of them being better now and later, and the person that bought it still gets to feel like they won something.

Quote:
If it all works out over time, it's no big deal, pretty much regardless of what method you use. It's only when long term trends go to some characters getting more useful stuff out of the loot that it turns into a balance issue. Squabbles about tonight's loot drop aside.

I don't honestly know if the system will work for SF. But in other games, so far, when I do the math on what my player's characters actually have, it's pretty close to even and it's always above WBL for that game. I've been in games with other DM's where one person literally had half the wealth of the group. That's what I was trying to fix when I came up with how I do it.


pithica42 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I'm not sure what "NBG style" is, but if it's "you get the gear you can use, plus an even split of the sale price", I'd agree that's worse.

NBG=Need Before Greed. It's something I mostly saw with pickup groups in video games like EQ or WoW, but I've played in a number of table-top groups that used the same style of thing. If someone needs/wants the sword that dropped, they get it if they can use it. Only the stuff noone "needs" gets sold and split as profits with the group (evenly) along with the cash. I'm seeing this in some of the Actual Play podcasts and it makes me wince every time it comes up. It feels like your being fair, but it always seems to leave someone out.

Quote:
When we've been strict and not just treated everything as party funds, your share of the treasure would include the cost of anything you kept, not the price you'd sell it for.

That works too. Well, at least, that's fair too, I'm assuming it works. I thought you were arguing for NBG.

My only contention with them buying at full price is that in that system you may have characters turn down things that would be minor upgrades now, in order to save for a major upgrade later.

If I'm a soldier on a mission I'm not going to blow 53,800cr buying a perihelion laser rifle that just dropped from the group if what I really want is a white star plasma caster or an advanced magnetar rifle, even if the perihelion laser rifle is better than what I have now. But I'd definitely go ahead and sacrifice 5,380cr on it while we're on a mission and trade it in later for what I want when we get back to town.

Forcing them to pay full price and sell at a loss makes them weaker in the short term, and costs them later when they sell making them weaker in the long term too. If they buy it at 10% and they later sell it, they don't lose anything by taking minor upgrades now. The group gets the benefit of them being better now and later, and the person that bought it still gets to feel like they won something....

Well, we're generally far less strict about it. There wouldn't be the slightest qualm about using the rifle during the mission and hashing out the actual division of the loot later.

I'm definitely in favor of need before greed in principle, but that specific approach seems to be "need and greed" - I want the good thing, but my share of the cash as well.

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