What are your experiences with the Starfinder economy?


General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

With my current Starfinder game on hiatus, I have not had the chance to delve into Starfinder economics in practice. In reviewing the book, it looks like it is, in theory, horrible. You have to periodically ditch your gear and buy new gear to stay competitive only to ditch that in turn. There is no path to upgrade, such as through enchantment, and there is no room for concepts around an heirloom item. I feel that given the design objectives for Starfinder, it is a failure and the economic model is a large part of why.

Independently and with Pathfinder 2 coming (which could use a similar economic model), I am curious what everyones' practical experience has been.


I have similar problems with the Starfinder economy and I think the basic problem is the power/level system they copied from PF/D&D.

My problem with the SF economy is that it didn't feels believable (one basic rule of game design!).
If you take for example the weapons prices, the most expensive weapon is around 1 Mio credits, while the cheapest is 100 credits. While the power increase is only around x10

Based on this vehicles and ships have to cost more then 1 Mio credits (because vehicles/ship should be more expensive then normal weapons). So player will NEVER have enough credits to buy a new ship (or so much that they can buy weapons far above their APL).

Unfortunately there is no easy way to fix it, because it's rooted in the D&D level system.
To fix it you would have to revise the s+hp/level system and the whole way attacks and boni work.
A possibility would be to go the Shadowrun way and make the hp fix (or increase it only minimal) but make the Armor more a damage reduction thing.
This way you don't need 20 Levels of weapons, which then also keeps the price tag closer together.
Also make the economy work linear not expotential.

I think with this changes you could fix it, but it would be a total rework of the system and would need a lot of playtesting and number crunching.


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Tryn wrote:

Based on this vehicles and ships have to cost more then 1 Mio credits (because vehicles/ship should be more expensive then normal weapons). So player will NEVER have enough credits to buy a new ship (or so much that they can buy weapons far above their APL).

My Friend made a pretty good argument against this. IN the starfinder universe ships are supposed to be easily accessible. Possibly as accessible as cars or at least RVS. Now while you can find RVS in the multimillion dollar price range you could also find some closer to 30,000 to 40,000 dollars. Then we can look at real world weapon prices, specifically shotguns, a quick search says that one could buy a shotgun from the Bass Pro Shop for as Low as $210.00 and then you can find another one for $4200.00 at the same store, then you can find a beretta shotgun for $25,000.00 and even more exclusive shotguns for several hundred thousand dollars.

-Beta


The problem with this "exclusive" shotguns is that they are not better, they are just more expensive because of special materials etc.

So even if you compare the most SOTA Weapon the TAVOR is around 2000$ the cheapest new car is around 20000$

Based on this the price of a starship should be 10 times the price of the most SOTA weapon => 10 Mio credits

Which is three times the WBL of a level 20 character for a Level 1 spaceship...

I think the base problem is the general scaling in Starfinder which then results in the other issues...


Um, yes, and the BOMPA and the LOMPA gadgets are outrageously priced.

While I can't say that it's as solid as I would have liked it, I feel like it's less weird than PF (where even 1st level PCs are filthy rich by NPC standards).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Honestly for my group is been a non issue. The prices are what they are and no one has batted an eye. I control the purse strings so price is irrelevant after first lvl. I dont agree with the "ditch your gear" argument as its completely theater of the mind. You can imagine it as I "upgrade" this magic sword with a enchantment so its better but in hard mechanics your throwing away more gold to make it better. the KEY here is your imagining your making that same weapon better but it could just as easily been a new sword of the same type but better stats that cost more. its the exact same thing mechanically in either system. The act of spending x to get better gear is the same. One uses credits and one uses gold.

Starships were never meant to enter the equation because of how difficult economically it would of been to balance around that. I handle that in my group by having the ship tied to the organization they work for and upgrades are handled by salvage they bring in or upgrades given to them by the organization at the appropriate time.

You say there is no path for a heirloom type of item but again I would argue that, that is RP and doesn't necessarily need that ICE Pistol 2.0 could easily become ICE Pistol 2.1 by just narrating that the player upgraded the item and change out the stats.

However as ive said in a similar past thread I do believe there is room for a more granulated upgrade, scope, ammo, laser sight, stocks whatever upgrade system that could mechanically be extremely easy to integrate but who knows if we will see that sort of thing. Im very interested to see what comes in the gear book in this regard.


Sure from a pure mechanic standpoint you can say "I don't buy a corona laser rifle, but upgrade my azimuth laser rifle for the same price", but the rules also have to carry the imagination and with this they didn't. It's like playing "The Witcher" with a Dragon Age reskin mod. It looks like Dragon Age, but it didn't feel like it because the mechanics (aka rules) don't support that.

I'm someone who really loves to emerge into a P&P World and for this the world need to feel consistent, believable, have a logic within. Sure rules can't replicate reality, but the hard rules aren't the problem here, it's more the pure numbers, which, at least for me, don't support the picture of a believable scifi world.

I think also in a fantasy setting most of us can more easily oversee if things like the economy isn't believable, because we don't have a real reference. But in a Scifi setting, we have this reference, at least partial, because we can say which is more expensive, a weapon, a car or a ship.
So because of this the danger to create something unbelievable is much higher ("uncanny valley") and because of this, at least I, expect that a company with the experience of Paizo take a little more care to avoid even this.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tryn wrote:


Based on this vehicles and ships have to cost more then 1 Mio credits (because vehicles/ship should be more expensive then normal weapons). So player will NEVER have enough credits to buy a new ship (or so much that they can buy weapons far above their APL).

Exactly how are either of these things problems? PCs *shouldn't* be buying random new ships out of petty cash, and they *shouldn't* be buying weapons far above their APL.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I do find the vehicles the odd man out in their economy currently. The pricing seems ridiculously low compared to weapons. I dont think item lvl in this case belongs at all. Just make Hover cars, bikes, whatever and make price be their balancing factor. They also seem absurdly small. Of all the current systems vehicles need the most love in my opinion. Not sure what a lvl 20 urban cruiser is going to offer vs a lvl 2 but I feel like the lvl system was just tacked on here. 2000 credits for a car that holds 4 people max? 20k might have been more believable. I feel like they felt the need to offer something low lvl pcs could afford but in a advanced setting with tons of public transportation options available it was completely unnecessary and immersion breaking for sure. Personally Ive gone the route of those being "marty the used car salesman" specials.


Rub-Eta wrote:

Um, yes, and the BOMPA and the LOMPA gadgets are outrageously priced.

While I can't say that it's as solid as I would have liked it, I feel like it's less weird than PF (where even 1st level PCs are filthy rich by NPC standards).

I don't know where this idea that NPCs are dirt poor came from, if you do the math a basic farmer and most NPCs end up making something like 150+ Gp/year. More if they have more specialized fields. Also for their speciality it makes sense to rule that they don't have to sell their stuff for half cost like PCs do, so they can often have much more.


I'm not a fan of the artificial inflation of weapon/armor costs. I mean sure, its basically swapping the magic items cost ratings for higher tier gear but it just seems odd that a manufacturer would make a million credit gun and expect it to do well on the market. So either there are a bazillion level 18+ chars that can justify the market, or you have things just floating for the ultra-elite that no one else is intended to buy.

And really the costs are intended 100 percent as barriers to PC purchase. Since they have no in-world effect on economy other than 'can the PCs get them' there's no real reason to make them have such crazy costs. Heck you could do away with the credit cost entirely and make them a 'skill check to see if you can get it at that rating' kind of substitution.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

1. The setting is a big giant milieu with probably trillions of total sentients. That's a big market for even stuff that only a tiny tiny percent would ever want or afford

2. The level requirement is a guideline for PCs, implicitly unattached unproven independent adventurers. It does not have to apply to NPCs, specifically NPCs who are reliably tied to existing power structures. Or, an actual regular soldier with the regular army doesn't need the same kind of heft to get their hands on advanced weapons, if its part of their assignment.

3. Who says level 18+ gear even is mass produced? Custom orders are a thing, especially in a setting with full on maker tech.


Apologies beforehand for the extremely long post.

It sounds like the basic problem Tryn and a few others have is that the SF (or Pact Worlds) economy is nonlinear, and it's motivations are not explicitly detailed.
This does not preclude a logically maintained system, though I do agree with Vexies that the vehicles sections have more than their fair share of abnormalities and look forward to them being updated in the future.

Now it is always an option for the GM to explain the economy as he sees fit, or even alter it according to his whims or the groups wishes, but this eventually begins to diminish the point of a CRB.
As such, I commiserate with Smite and Vexies over the lack of a granular equipment upgrade system, though the fusion/armor-slot systems seem to be the beginnings of this and indeed provide grounds for much creativity from the GM.

In terms of realism, I would like to qualify my statements with an interesting bit of trivia: The T-Rex is said to have existed closer in time to modern civilization than to the Stegosaurus.
That is, in terms of SF millennia, our modern real-life world would have likely existed much closer to the Fantasy times of PF than to the current ~300AG of SF, so any comparisons to modern analogs should be taken with a grain of salt.

That being said, as Tryn implies, we judge everything based on our current norms so any system should at least try to appeal to those.
In that respect, modern economy and indeed the very physics underlying our universe are definitively Non-Linear. If linear systems were as prevalent as you seem apt to believe, we would have little need for the fields of statistics or economics studies as is.
The very concept you bemoan is due to the phenomenon of "diminishing returns", an underlying component of most aspects of reality. Athletes put in more and more work to see smaller and smaller improvements, programmers scan and trim large amounts of code to eke out marginal benefits, etc.

Really if there is a difference b/w modern economics and those in SF, it would be that standard material/labor costs are much lower, likely in part due to the addition of magic. As such, many low level (<5) items are fairly cheap, but higher level goods spike in price due to a combination of traditionally high R&D recoup costs (try looking into how much exactly any one piece of US military gear costs the government), and bureaucratic impositions (think EPA evolved over millennia, plus licensing/permitting fees for the individual or the equivalent cost to bypass the system through the black market, etc.)

Indeed as Metaphysician points out, the highest level gear may not be produced at all, but is only made to order after a series of vetting processes tied to your adventuring reputation and pocket book.

As for the quintessential question of how (or whether) starships factor into the economy, one must consider that SF society is vastly different than our own. So where now it might be odd to see multitudes walking around with open carry weapons, but "everyone" has a car; in SF the former isn't blinked at while streamlined public transport covers the latter.
Maybe it's easier to keep track of who owns/operates a ship than who has what weapons, so the fees associated with weapons scale faster to limit supply, and ships are believably "cheap". That is, the rules/laws of economics are similar, but the society that influences how those rules play out and act upon different categories of goods/services is fundamentally different from our expected norms.

Do remember that the Aeon Guard Specialist in the Alien Archives, an elite unit of a fearfully powerful modern empire, is only CR7 with appropriate gear. At the end of the day, no matter how the economy is supposed to work internally, adventurers have always been supposed to stand out from every other aspect of society in some way and their interactions with it and its economy to be far different than those of the rest of the world.

-Alpha


@Greydoch: You have good points there, but my problem is that this is *your* explanation for it, it isn't written down in the in the CRB. And that is my problem.
If I pay money for a game I expect that it is well thought out and round, unfortunately SF isn't.
It's like you buy PC Game and have to set the enemies damage, hp etc. yourself, to get it balanced - that is not how it should work. (Otherwise Paizo could have simply only release a "Setting Book" and let the players make the rules they want).

As I said before "The rules have to support the setting, which has to support the rules" - this isn't true for the SF economy system (unfortunately).


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@Tryn: Why does it need to be written in the CRB? It may All be speculation, but an economy is an incredibly complex thing. IT seems that you are expecting an awful lot of people who are essentially only game designers. They are not economists or market specialists. They just want to build a fun game and make things with better abilities harder to get.
-Beta


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Greydoch wrote:

@Tryn: Why does it need to be written in the CRB? It may All be speculation, but an economy is an incredibly complex thing. IT seems that you are expecting an awful lot of people who are essentially only game designers. They are not economists or market specialists. They just want to build a fun game and make things with better abilities harder to get.

-Beta

I agree.. I dont remember seeing a whole lot of explanation (meaning none at all) of how the economy works in Pathfinder..

its not something any RPG that I can think of off the top of my head and ive played most of them has ever went into in great detail about. The prices are what they are and its always left to the GM to decide the granularity if that ever even comes up. I don't ever recall a group of mine even minutely interested in exploring the economy of a setting and its greater implications on the world.. they just buy stuff and kill things.


Greydoch wrote:


My Friend made a pretty good argument against this. IN the starfinder universe ships are supposed to be easily accessible. Possibly as accessible as cars or at least RVS.

Take a look to the prices of a Hover Pod.

Now take in account that a freighter hold much more cargo, and more people, much faster, to longer ranges, have access to Drift, carries a force field several orders of magnitude stronger than the best personal force fields, and carry multiple weapons, including up to nuclear missiles.


@Greydoch/Vexies:
I think you misunderstand me, I'm not expecting that the economy of an interstellar society is layed out in a CRB (or any other P&P Book). What I expect from a game designer is that the world they creating follow some understandable and logical rules - that is what game designers call "believability". It don't have to be perfect it has to be consistent and understandable.

And that is what's missing in SF (& Pathfinder), the numbers follow no pattern, there is no understandable ingame logic why the prices and effects vary this much.
I also know that this came from the PF/D&D heritage and that we old gamers are used to this "it's written in the book, so this is the way it is", but if you take a closer look and analyze it it's just poor, cheap game design.

And just to make it clear where this critic comes from: I'm currently study game design and digital art for computer games and I used my favorite games (P&P Games) to check some of the core principles of game design. So my critic is just on a professional level. I really like Starfinder, but I also think that Paizo could have done better, if they didn't just want to make "Pathfinder in Space".


Losobal wrote:

I'm not a fan of the artificial inflation of weapon/armor costs. I mean sure, its basically swapping the magic items cost ratings for higher tier gear but it just seems odd that a manufacturer would make a million credit gun and expect it to do well on the market. So either there are a bazillion level 18+ chars that can justify the market, or you have things just floating for the ultra-elite that no one else is intended to buy.

And really the costs are intended 100 percent as barriers to PC purchase. Since they have no in-world effect on economy other than 'can the PCs get them' there's no real reason to make them have such crazy costs. Heck you could do away with the credit cost entirely and make them a 'skill check to see if you can get it at that rating' kind of substitution.

The cost to acquire weapons and armor is also taking into account all the behind the scenes licensing fees/security authorizations and what not to acquire/build them. Military units and governmental agencies are not paying the million for the gun. Just look at today you can buy an ar-15 for a pretty trivial cost but if you wanted some fully automatic state of the art weapon system the fees/licenses/and other costs needed before you would even be permitted to try to purchase it would be huge. Governments wisely enough tend to limit random peoples access to top of the line military equipment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

@Tryn:

I would agree that the 3.5 legacy holds it back quite a bit but that is the core of what Paizo is. I see Starfinder as the test bed for the is it safe to move away from 3.5 a little concept. Having tested the waters they appear to be going much bolder with Pathfinder 2.0. I dont mind the limitations but completely see where its holding it back and like you believe if free of those constraints it could have been better.. but thats who Paizo is and what we a have so while I will envy and enjoy some of what I see in pathfinder 2.0 I have found love for that we have in Starfinder as well. I guess I dont see much profit in lamenting what could of been. Though I do hold out hope for more "expansion" and change in future books.

Liberty's Edge

Metaphysician wrote:
Tryn wrote:


Based on this vehicles and ships have to cost more then 1 Mio credits (because vehicles/ship should be more expensive then normal weapons). So player will NEVER have enough credits to buy a new ship (or so much that they can buy weapons far above their APL).
Exactly how are either of these things problems? PCs *shouldn't* be buying random new ships out of petty cash, and they *shouldn't* be buying weapons far above their APL.

Why? That's an artificial limitation. If the party wants to pool their resources to buy a team member a powerful item, why stop them?

Why should leveling up mean that new gear is suddenly available to you with no increase in personal wealth. Why should I be eyeing a weapons upgrade, but have to weigh waiting for more options after leveling up?

It is not just unimmersive, it actively works against immersion.


kaid wrote:
The cost to acquire weapons and armor is also taking into account all the behind the scenes licensing fees/security authorizations and what not to acquire/build them.

Per page 235 you can just build the stuff from UPBs. No behind the scenes anything. Even NPC services are just 2*bonus per day, amazingly cheap compared to buying stuff.

Starfinder doesn't have an economy. It has PC equipment rules. And never the twain shall meet.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Telok wrote:
kaid wrote:
The cost to acquire weapons and armor is also taking into account all the behind the scenes licensing fees/security authorizations and what not to acquire/build them.

Per page 235 you can just build the stuff from UPBs. No behind the scenes anything. Even NPC services are just 2*bonus per day, amazingly cheap compared to buying stuff.

Starfinder doesn't have an economy. It has PC equipment rules. And never the twain shall meet.

Considering the fact that it costs you an identical amount in UPS to build a item as buy it.. it not a inexpensive way to acquire gear as your saving nothing at all. If you hire a NPC to do it its even more expensive or did you assume they just provide the UPS out of the goodness of their heart? Also it states you must posses an equal amount of ranks as the item lvl to construct it which again coincides with item lvl system in place. As for a NPC creating it.. again item lvls constrict them to what they are legally allowed to create for you.

That said there is nothing inherently wrong with the lvl system for gear as the price pretty much gates them anyway. Its clearly stated in the rules why this is the case (just for immersion) which is it also represents the lvl of influence and proper licensing required to be able to purchase said item legally. There is absolutely NOTHING stopping you from acquiring whatever lvl of gear as treasure.. or stealing it for that matter provided your GM decides to sprinkle that item in. Im curious why I see some people beg for laws and wonder why there is no gun control in Starfinder.. yet its already there in the lvl system and stated as the RP reason the lvl system exists in the first place for legal purchases.


Telok wrote:
Starfinder doesn't have an economy. It has PC equipment rules. And never the twain shall meet.

This can't be stressed enough. Trying to model post-scarcity "maker" economies is pretty challenging in game mechanics. The only other place I've seen it really attempted (and even there, it had issues) was the reputation economy found in Eclipse Phase.


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I'm just confused at to why everyone is all up-in-arms about the economy anyway. From what I've seen in nearly every game ever, pretty much all of the best stuff comes as loot.

As a GM, you can choose either to give the players the cash needed to upgrade all their gear, or you can have them find it/loot it from enemies.

Think your player's Soldier needs a new heavy weapon? Well, put in an enemy that just so happens to be using that heavy weapon. Want the players to have their own ship? Have them save an old, retired pilot and he rewards them with a fixer-upper ship that they can then personalize.

Liberty's Edge

Azalah wrote:
I'm just confused at to why everyone is all up-in-arms about the economy anyway. From what I've seen in nearly every game ever, pretty much all of the best stuff comes as loot.

The murder hobo lifestyle works better in fantasy than in civilized science fiction. The Starfinder upgrade model is just an MMO translated to paper, but they are too lazy to include crafting rules.

My wife and I both enjoy crafting and creating characters that craft. My wife really enjoys downtime and likes to have characters with a business or shop. The Starfinder model of every merchant sells goods at cost is unrealistic and detracts from the world.

NPCs are just vending machines for upgrades.


Smite Makes Right wrote:
Azalah wrote:
I'm just confused at to why everyone is all up-in-arms about the economy anyway. From what I've seen in nearly every game ever, pretty much all of the best stuff comes as loot.
The murder hobo lifestyle works better in fantasy than in civilized science fiction.

How is taking the spoils of a battle being a murder-hobo? Sure, you can be a murder-hobo and start fights and, ya know, murder. But at the end of every fight, murder-hobo or no, there will be loot one way or another.

The Concordance

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Smite Makes Right wrote:
Azalah wrote:
I'm just confused at to why everyone is all up-in-arms about the economy anyway. From what I've seen in nearly every game ever, pretty much all of the best stuff comes as loot.

The murder hobo lifestyle works better in fantasy than in civilized science fiction. The Starfinder upgrade model is just an MMO translated to paper, but they are too lazy to include crafting rules.

My wife and I both enjoy crafting and creating characters that craft. My wife really enjoys downtime and likes to have characters with a business or shop. The Starfinder model of every merchant sells goods at cost is unrealistic and detracts from the world.

NPCs are just vending machines for upgrades.

First off, I am entertained by "Smite Makes Right" referring to murder-hoboing.

Now that I have finished that tangent, to the points at hand. In a situation where two groups of armed and trained mercenary groups meet,and tensions rise to the point of conflict. I doubt that the survivors will just leave the loot behind. It is only murder-hoboing, imho, if they attempt to shoot it out before talking it out first.

As for the Vending Machine comment. Based off the "Earning a living" line in skills. I honestly have to say I cannot determine how the crafting fits in, or a character earns the 1000 credits listed at start.. Let's do some math here. A character with max stat in profession (artist), takes Icon, plus performers toolkit (at negative cash now) plus professional wear (even more negative), has the profession as a class skill.

if they roll max, they make 70 credits a week. We then minus for 3 poor meals a day, 7 days for the week, that's minus 21 credits. So a level one character, who rolls max, on a maxed out skill (from what I can see from my few glances at the crb)earns 49 credits, if they are at the top of their field, at the top of their game. That same person, if has a terrible week, worst possible, would make 22 credits... and so would net gain 1 credit a week.

Assuming they had taken the loan to buy the kit and wear, that'd take 25 weeks to pay off the kit and wear if they roll minimum. (If no interest, 'cus its a nice loan I guess.)

Now we look at the same job, using an average stat person (with the point buy of this system means I'll be nice and give them a 14 in the ability score.) They just got started up, have no cash to loan the equipment. They get a nice +7 from icon, class skill, and ability score.

Best week of their lives earns 33 credits. An average week (aka equivalent to "takes 10") earns then a net 13 credits. A "nat 1" type week gets them a negative 5 credits. (remember, all of these are assuming that the person does nothing but eat, sleep, work. No other purchases or mishaps. No utilities to pay. No rent. no taxes. Never buying any new clothes.)

So, for the 13 credit gain, the person above did nothing but eat, sleep, and work, for 77 weeks. Taking 10 every week. (we can drop it to 57 weeks, assuming they bought the kit and wear ASAP after the second week and risked starving.)

Over a year of doing nothing but hard-work, poorest food around, no utilities, no rent, just slaving away in a loincloth in filth like making it to the Starfinders is the only goal left in life... At that point, I can understand people being a bit twisted mentally, and going all murder-hoboing.

Tl;DR the Economy definitely seems a TAD off to me... but what the hey. "Hi ho! hi ho! A murder-hoboing we go!"


I agree from the professional skills and services cost POV that the economy is kinda wonky.
but for items/upgrades as you level and such, for the most part, I don't have an issue with it. (10% to sell used stuff. seems legit #GameStop)
Crafting, well, that's a whole other issue imo. Although as someone who crafts a lot of stuff, this kinda rings true...
"Why buy something for $5 when you can get the stuff needed and make it yourself for $15" :-p


"Smite Makes Right" isn't that wrong, this "loot-driven" gameplay is more for Fantasy P&P/MMOs.
In a world with a established society, equipment is mostly bought and not looted.
Paizo also missed to introduce a "legal system" which could be used to restrict equipment (I look at you Shadowrun).

All in all it's just a copy paste of a system which partial worked in a fantasy setting, but can't hold up ot a scifi setting (if you play it as this and not as "Fanatasy-Setting with Laserrifles".


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*cough* As has been said many a time, the reason the economy appears to "break down" is because people insist on taking rules from the core book, and apply them *far* more broadly and universally than is actually intended.

How do people make money based on crafting? Simple: the crafting rules as written apply to PCs who do PC stuff, and also build stuff on the side. Professional craftsmen who do that, as their primary vocation? Can make things more cheaply ( relatively to their sell value ), because they've actually focused on being able to do that. Rather than, you know, on being able to do adventures.

How do people make money doing services? Simple: the rules for rolling Profession checks to make money, are for freelance adventures, doing such in their off time. People who actually do normal jobs for a living, make more money, because they have actual stable jobs that they show up to five days a week, 50 weeks a year.

How do people afford to live? Simple: you don't get the Cost of Living for a random settled, established person, by taking the cost of a restaurant meal and multiplying it times 21 to get weekly food costs. That's the price of hitting McDonalds for every meal.

Liberty's Edge

Metaphysician, where can I find that distinction? What is not in the book is not part of the setting or the immersion of the economy.

The Concordance

Metaphysician wrote:


How do people make money doing services? Simple: the rules for rolling Profession checks to make money, are for freelance adventures, doing such in their off time. People who actually do normal jobs for a living, make more money, because they have actual stable jobs that they show up to five days a week, 50 weeks a year.

How do people afford to live? Simple: you don't get the Cost of Living for a random settled, established person, by taking the cost of a restaurant meal and multiplying it times 21 to get weekly food costs. That's the price of hitting McDonalds for every meal.

While I can accept that a stable job will pay more in the end part. I have to pose a counter argument to your McDonalds comment. If I was using the "common" meals as the price gauge. I would call that standard fast food. "Poor" to me at least, (especially as no "meal" is cheaper.) rings closer to the classic "starving art student" go to meal... A cup of microwave Ramen... which is pretty darn cheap.


I believe Metaphysician is arguing not from a hard rules-text perspective, but from a perspective regarding underlying design assumptions. If the rules are intended to accurately simulate a living, futuristic economy, I think it is fairly clear they do so inadequately. But the point of Starfinder is not to delve into the intricacies of the economy of a space-opera civilization inundated with magic and general shenanigans. The point of Starfinder is to go out and be adventurers. Travel to new places, meet new people, get into entirely (un)avoidable firefights with the new people and then kill them and take their stuff.

Though you probably shouldn't jump immediately to that last one if you can help it.

You might not find that argument compelling, in which case I have previously written at excess length about it. Short version: Adjust your assumptions. Use MREs instead of Poor Meals and take advantage of long-term housing price discounts and you'll have at worst a monthly income of 45-67.5 credits after expenses if you let people take 10. Anyone with any business at all being a PC will do better than that, as they will have a modifier higher than +5 in something.


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Pretty much that. I reject any argument that boils down to "the only things that exist are those things mechanically described in the rules" as being a meaningful position. Complaining that the rules do not describe every single thing possible in the universe is absurd, when they never set about to do that in the first place.

Liberty's Edge

Metaphysician wrote:
Pretty much that. I reject any argument that boils down to "the only things that exist are those things mechanically described in the rules" as being a meaningful position.

Instead, you are taking the position that the rules cover the topic with no stated exemptions, but it makes sense if you inject them and create a separate system to handle the situation you fabricated.

I'm sorry, but while you may or may not be correct about the design assumptions, your argument about the setting, as presented by the end product, is invalid.

If you publish a novel with a glaring plot hole, it doesn't matter if you addressed it your notes. The story, the immersion, is judged by what is in the final product.


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Smite Makes Right wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Pretty much that. I reject any argument that boils down to "the only things that exist are those things mechanically described in the rules" as being a meaningful position.

Instead, you are taking the position that the rules cover the topic with no stated exemptions, but it makes sense if you inject them and create a separate system to handle the situation you fabricated.

I'm sorry, but while you may or may not be correct about the design assumptions, your argument about the setting, as presented by the end product, is invalid.

If you publish a novel with a glaring plot hole, it doesn't matter if you addressed it your notes. The story, the immersion, is judged by what is in the final product.

Do the rules even claim to be a complete economic simulator? Is there the slightest pretence anywhere that they're intended for anything more than money to be used as a parallel experience track to increase power by buying adventuring adventuring gear?

If we pretend they're supposed to be economic rules, they're nonsensical. They don't even model basic supply and demand!


Sure you can disconnect the prices etc. from the world and see it just as a "gameplay reason mechanic", but that is then bad game design.

I just wonder why Paizo decided to go this route instead of creating a believable (NOT an accurate) system? Instead they used an already flawed system and modified it to become even more unbelievable...

And don't tell me that this is not possible, other games managed to get their to a level where it is believable.


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Tryn wrote:

Sure you can disconnect the prices etc. from the world and see it just as a "gameplay reason mechanic", but that is then bad game design.

I just wonder why Paizo decided to go this route instead of creating a believable (NOT an accurate) system? Instead they used an already flawed system and modified it to become even more unbelievable...

And don't tell me that this is not possible, other games managed to get their to a level where it is believable.

I've never seen one.

Maybe I missed it or maybe I've got different standards for believable.

Liberty's Edge

I find that the Starfinder economy is not very "believable" mainly because the disconnect between items and ships. Then again, I have been lucky with groups that we just hand-wave the concept as apart of the system. If I want something more realistic, I turn to GURPS.


In a way just having all those normal equipment costs seems odd, but you'd end up ripping out a large portion of WBL if you just got rid of it. In a practical sense, does anyone feel it makes a difference to just give the PCs access to tier level normal stuff (guns, armor, etc) than to make them do accounting to keep track? Wouldn't a much easier tracking be done if you just kept it for the special stuff? In PF that's mostly magic, but in SF that's the fusion stuff, maybe some cyborg stuff/augmentation.

But I mean otherwise, a sub-equipped normal gear PC group will become normally equipped immediately after a normal challenge level encounter and likely just by encounters alone rather than giving them credits/treasure and making them buy the gun they'll likely be encountering in the next fight because that's the appropriate gun for the CR of the foes they're facing...etc etc.


My biggest problem is the level-locking of weapons. The weapons themselves increase in damage in a progression that is so far beyond what even 3.5 did it feels like the designers chose exactly the wrong lessons learned in the name of innovation. That a longsword progresses from 1d8 to 4d8 by level 11 (to eventually 14d8) evokes the MMO gear grind. And the only in-game reason a level 5 character can never loot that epic longsword is the game mechanic won't allow it.


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L'cutus wrote:
My biggest problem is the level-locking of weapons. The weapons themselves increase in damage in a progression that is so far beyond what even 3.5 did it feels like the designers chose exactly the wrong lessons learned in the name of innovation. That a longsword progresses from 1d8 to 4d8 by level 11 (to eventually 14d8) evokes the MMO gear grind. And the only in-game reason a level 5 character can never loot that epic longsword is the game mechanic won't allow it.

There's no game mechanic that won't allow you to loot that epic longsword. The level mechanic applies to available purchases. If the GM equips a baddie with one and you can take it, you're golden. Of course, any bad guy who should have such a weapon should be able to trash the low level party without effort.

Much like a Pathfinder GM could hand out inappropriate weapons or just piles of extra loot.

Exo-Guardians

L'cutus wrote:
My biggest problem is the level-locking of weapons. The weapons themselves increase in damage in a progression that is so far beyond what even 3.5 did it feels like the designers chose exactly the wrong lessons learned in the name of innovation. That a longsword progresses from 1d8 to 4d8 by level 11 (to eventually 14d8) evokes the MMO gear grind. And the only in-game reason a level 5 character can never loot that epic longsword is the game mechanic won't allow it.

The alternative is to not have hit points scale at the level they do, or give melee some function other than "do damage in combat."

Honestly, to get a weapon to do competitive damage in 3.5/Pathfinder, you had to jump through a bunch of hoops by spending thousands (or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands) of gold enchanting it, getting ALL the right feats, and sacrificing a goat to Asmodeus. And spells of comparable-level casters will still blow you out of the water (the "limited spells per day" argument loses effectiveness when practically every party commits to the 5-minute work day because the wizards demand that the party camps every time they're low on spells).

So I find Starfinder's weapon damage scaling to be actually honest and refreshing. I rationalize it by deciding that the major corporations and governments got together and acknowledged that they live in a very dangerous universe, and it's in everybody's best interests if the weapons that everybody has access to are barely better than BB guns (a first level character has to be shot with a bullet or laser pistol about 3 times before they even need medical attention), but real weapons, that CAN kill normal people with one shot, are extremely expensive and difficult to get their hands on.

(Incidentally, this also tracks with how melee weapons potentially do so much more damage at low levels than guns in SF... how many guns in real life do less damage than a strong guy with a baseball bat?)

As lampshading goes, I find it to be better than some. Rules-wise, it is better if additive combat classes don't get overshadowed by quadratic casters, so give everyone various shades of the same damage scaling.

Yeah, it's gamification of the system... but... you know, it's a game, so I don't how that's "learning the wrong lessons."


A quick and dirty fix I have been fiddling with was use the weapon tiers of (roughly) 5 10 and 15, and use the base damage from those weapons, including their costs, and then change weapon specialization to do 1.5x level bonus. Loosely it makes a level 5 weapon still good until you replace it with the level 10 one, then the level 15 one. You lose a bit in the max dmg, but average damage increases a bit due to the increased spec bonus.

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