Wealth of the long-lived


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In real life, a businessman only has 50 years or so to accumulate wealth. However, some races of Starfinder can live a very long time. Providing quite a lot of time for compound interest to do its job.

A human who averages 6% post-inflation returns can turn a hundred thousand credits into 1.8 million. An elf with 200 years turns it into 11 billion credits. And a dragon with 500 years gets into the quadrillions!

How will this influence Starfinder societies?

I could see most major corporations run by competent Dragons who reasonably serve 500 year terms and own majority shares in the company. Even in middle management, imagine if your boss has another 150 years left before he retires.


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Dragoncorporations are a thing, probably for this reason.

I don't think elves generally pay attention enough to money to.. Ooo shiney.

Part of the benefit/reason/problem with corporations is that they're effectively an immortal being who have an infinite amount of time to accumulate wealth and power.

Dataphiles

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I have recently had a few dicussions centered around this concept, the economics of sci-fi/space. The resounding answers I got were, "you're thinking to much about this". Be careful how far down the rabbit hole you go here, tabula rasa. Many of the folk who frequent starfinder prefer more of a happy, go-lucky lore and environment for starfinder.


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I'm, personally, a socialist. So the base Pact Worlds setting being what amounts to a capitalist free-for-all definitely comes up often for the group I GM. With the increased scale of the setting, we only really see the problems inherent in an uncontrolled economy ramp up. Wealth hoarding by nigh-immortal beings is definitely a problem but corporations and wealthy families have already been doing it for centuries.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
I'm, personally, a socialist. So the base Pact Worlds setting being what amounts to a capitalist free-for-all definitely comes up often for the group I GM. With the increased scale of the setting, we only really see the problems inherent in an uncontrolled economy ramp up. Wealth hoarding by nigh-immortal beings is definitely a problem but corporations and wealthy families have already been doing it for centuries.

Starfinder is hardly a "capitalist free-for-all".

The economy in SF is completely made up to support a dungeon crawling type itemization and has no basis in reality.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
I'm, personally, a socialist. So the base Pact Worlds setting being what amounts to a capitalist free-for-all definitely comes up often for the group I GM. With the increased scale of the setting, we only really see the problems inherent in an uncontrolled economy ramp up. Wealth hoarding by nigh-immortal beings is definitely a problem but corporations and wealthy families have already been doing it for centuries.

Actually its pretty rare for a company or wealthy family to horde wealth for centuries. Look at the worlds largest companies. I don't see any that break the 200 year mark. Majority aren't even at 100 years. And most wealthy famlies don't last more than 2 generations.

https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/6800

Starfinder is unique in that you actually could have an extremely competent CEO who leads a company for centuries.

For example, the top names in society could have been the same for your grandparents, parents and you. They wouldn't necessarily even be bad people. If your company was run by a kind, intelligent dragon, nobody would particularly want to get him outted 300 years into his tenure.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

a couple of things:

a) The Gap pretty much can be assumed to have wiped out bank accounts, ownership, titles, etc. It was an economic jubilee - all debts forgiven. Since that was what, 200 years back (I think 30-50 would have been more than enough, but Paizo loves them a long time line) there's just been no time for the dragons and deathlords and mega-comuters to have accumulated all the money

b) There were two massive wars - the long war against the Veskarium and the shorter, more devastating war against the Swarm, which probably not only wiped out a lot of capital, but probably required the raising of massive taxes to finance them

c) It's SPAAAAAACE ADVENTURE!!!


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Ixal wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
I'm, personally, a socialist. So the base Pact Worlds setting being what amounts to a capitalist free-for-all definitely comes up often for the group I GM. With the increased scale of the setting, we only really see the problems inherent in an uncontrolled economy ramp up. Wealth hoarding by nigh-immortal beings is definitely a problem but corporations and wealthy families have already been doing it for centuries.

Starfinder is hardly a "capitalist free-for-all".

The economy in SF is completely made up to support a dungeon crawling type itemization and has no basis in reality.

It is funny how from a player perspective, Starfinder is simultaneously an-cap and has a rigidly controlled market. You can buy nuclear weapons for your ship with little trouble, but nobody will sell you guns 3 levels higher.


Yakman wrote:


a) The Gap pretty much can be assumed to have wiped out bank accounts, ownership, titles, etc. It was an economic jubilee - all debts forgiven. Since that was what, 200 years back (I think 30-50 would have been more than enough, but Paizo loves them a long time line) there's just been no time for the dragons and deathlords and mega-comuters to have accumulated all the money

It didn't. People woke up with bank accounts but no records of yesterdays transactions (or well they peter out and get more garbled the further in you go) People had cash in their wallets, knew what their job was, knew who their boss was etc.

I think there's a town on akiton where the ysoki came out of the gap and basically ran vegas andf was like "wow.. I guesse i'm rich..." and built a town to show HOW AWESOME I AM


Yakman wrote:

a couple of things:

a) The Gap pretty much can be assumed to have wiped out bank accounts, ownership, titles, etc. It was an economic jubilee - all debts forgiven. Since that was what, 200 years back (I think 30-50 would have been more than enough, but Paizo loves them a long time line) there's just been no time for the dragons and deathlords and mega-comuters to have accumulated all the money

b) There were two massive wars - the long war against the Veskarium and the shorter, more devastating war against the Swarm, which probably not only wiped out a lot of capital, but probably required the raising of massive taxes to finance them

c) It's SPAAAAAACE ADVENTURE!!!

Actually Deadsuns starts 318 years after the Gap started, but people still had wealth from before then(although I am sure it causes some issues). The wars would probably be the biggest drain for Pact Planets at least.


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Lots of people MAKE money in war


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johnlocke90 wrote:


It is funny how from a player perspective, Starfinder is simultaneously an-cap and has a rigidly controlled market. You can buy nuclear weapons for your ship with little trouble, but nobody will sell you weapons 3 levels higher.

You don't even buy them. They are just given to you because you killed enough rats in the airducts.

But god forbid you try to buy your children a holographic board game without the required kill count (item level 5). Or a "commonly used" valet drone (item level 4. 10 if it is smart enough to tell you that yellow and green is not a good combination).


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Ixal wrote:

You don't even buy them. They are just given to you because you killed enough rats in the airducts.

But god forbid you try to buy your children a holographic board game without the required kill count (item level 5). Or a "commonly used" valet drone (item level 4. 10 if it is smart enough to tell you that yellow and green is not a good combination).

Only if you still use EXP and even if you do, this is the exact same argument used by Chaotic Stupid players that murder entire towns to level up faster. Any GM worth their salt should be able to justify this when pressed, or simply say 'no' if they feel it is too ridiculous.

Also this is willfully ignoring that item level is an abstraction useful as a guideline for balance as opposed to an ironclad universal rule for all things existing in the setting. All NPCs use different rules than the PCs do.


johnlocke90 wrote:

Actually its pretty rare for a company or wealthy family to horde wealth for centuries. Look at the worlds largest companies. I don't see any that break the 200 year mark. Majority aren't even at 100 years. And most wealthy famlies don't last more than 2 generations.

https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/6800

Starfinder is unique in that you actually could have an extremely competent CEO who leads a company for centuries.

For example, the top names in society could have been the same for your grandparents, parents and you. They wouldn't necessarily even be bad people. If your company was run by a kind, intelligent dragon, nobody would particularly want to get him outted 300 years into his tenure.

Individually, no, they tend not to stick around long in recent history. However, I'd point out that the past few centuries have seen a lot of fast-moving change on the societal and technological fronts.

Regardless of whether their short reigns are a sign of changing times or something inherent, they still have a massive impact on the distribution of wealth when taken as a group. The members may change but the wealth divide stays the same.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

What sort of inheritance taxes do the Pact Worlds have?

The difference between members of long-lived races and members of short-lived races is that members of short-lived races have to pay that tax more often.

Otherwise, any differences should cancel out. For example, longer lived races would compensate for their experience preventing mistakes from inexperience by being less flexible in their ability to innovate.


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David knott 242 wrote:


What sort of inheritance taxes do the Pact Worlds have?

The difference between members of long-lived races and members of short-lived races is that members of short-lived races have to pay that tax more often.

Otherwise, any differences should cancel out. For example, longer lived races would compensate for their experience preventing mistakes from inexperience by being less flexible in their ability to innovate.

it's a lot more than that. Say you get 10 generations of human to 1 dragon

The dragon doesn't go to college 10 times, spend 180 years in school, spend 10 times as much on diapers and babyfood raising generations of kids, doesn't spend 10 times as much when they stop working for 20 years to retire etc. Those all add up, and over 1,000 years they add up a LOT.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:


Only if you still use EXP and even if you do, this is the exact same argument used by Chaotic Stupid players that murder entire towns to level up faster. Any GM worth their salt should be able to justify this when pressed, or simply say 'no' if they feel it is too ridiculous.

Also this is willfully ignoring that item level is an abstraction useful as a guideline for balance as opposed to an ironclad universal rule for all things existing in the setting. All NPCs use different rules than the PCs do.

That is how starfinder is meant to be played. There is no cost associated with creating a starship and the book specifically tells the DM to "make it happen somehow". This "somehow" also includes nuclear weapons which are a standard and rather cheap option to put on ships.

Also, item levels (and exponential costs) are in the rules and supposed to be enforced. They certainly are in SF society and the book also does not present them as a mere suggestion, but as a rule.
And they apply to everything, including things like cure disease injections, board games and valet drones (last 2 from Armory).

And when you just say that "NPCs work differently" then expect the players to ask how they can order from NPC Amazon which has no real answer why it doesn't work and you are left with "shut up and go dungeon crawling".

Nothing about the SF economy makes sense, neither the prices or the item level from a world building point of view. Its more similar to gearscore from various video game RPGs and lootshooter because thats the role they fill.


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Alright, we're veering wildly off topic here, Ixal, so this is my last response to your personal bugbears.

Ixal wrote:
That is how starfinder is meant to be played. There is no cost associated with creating a starship and the book specifically tells the DM to "make it happen somehow". This "somehow" also includes nuclear weapons which are a standard and rather cheap option to put on ships.

And in a setting that features weapons that can kill a crew through the hull of their ship, maybe nukes aren't nearly as scary as they once were.

Balancing starships for PC credits would be a bit of a nightmare. I've found the best way to think of a starship is as another character as opposed to a piece of equipment. It would be all too easy for a party to accidentally over or under invest in their ship if they were just mundane equipment.

Ixal wrote:

Also, item levels (and exponential costs) are in the rules and supposed to be enforced. They certainly are in SF society and the book also does not present them as a mere suggestion, but as a rule.

And they apply to everything, including things like cure disease injections, board games and valet drones (last 2 from Armory).

SFS enforces and introduces rules in order to further enforce balance between games so that no inadvertently or intentionally exploits the system. It is a choice for the sake of the scenario writers and other SFS members. If you used SFS as a guide for how the game was 'supposed' to be played, you would only use a small selection of the races, a more limited equipment list, and gate certain class features.

The rules on item level literally call out a GM's prerogative on what is and isn't available to the PCs. The intent also seems pretty clear from a game design standpoint as well.

Ixal wrote:
And when you just say that "NPCs work differently" then expect the players to ask how they can order from NPC Amazon which has no real answer why it doesn't work and you are left with "shut up and go dungeon crawling".

By this logic, players should be asking to use NPC stats as well since they are better in certain respects.

NPCs do work differently. They occupy a separate space from the PCs in terms of both the rules and their role in the narrative. I could give a laundry list of narrative reasons why 'NPC Amazon' is not available to PCs. Mostly, however, it would boil down to 'I doubt you would want to roleplay settling down, getting a local mailing address, and working a 9-to-5 job until you have the credit needed to buy this thing.'

Ixal wrote:
Nothing about the SF economy makes sense, neither the prices or the item level from a world building point of view. Its more similar to gearscore from various video game RPGs and lootshooter because thats the role they fill.

This seems to be the core of your problem with the mechanics. In the end, all I can really say is you've got to differentiate between the system and the setting. Rules always have been an abstraction in order to provide the players with a satisfying experience. Item level, price inflation, character level, and class features are all balanced and parceled out in order to give players a meaningful sense of progression from their adventures.

Ultimately, establishing complex rules for simulating the interactions of countless varied economies and locking PCs into those rules would be something of a headache. In my mind, the choice is ultimate between three options. The first is a simple resource stat like in White Wolf Games. The second is painful system of economics like in Rogue Trader (I actually got a migraine reading them but that might have been my dislike of WH40K). The third is what we've currently got, which is a logical progression from Pathfinder and 3.5.

You want rules, I can respect that, but that means all the narrative reasons I could offer as to why things are the way they are are not going to mean anything to you. I've seen you making this argument often enough that it must really be a sticking point for you. All I can really say is... sorry? Maybe Starfinder isn't for you? There are a lot more granular sci-fi/sci-fantasy systems out there.

The system works, the system is fun. My players have never complained at length about the economics. We've had a lot of fun and varied adventures with it.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:


What sort of inheritance taxes do the Pact Worlds have?

The difference between members of long-lived races and members of short-lived races is that members of short-lived races have to pay that tax more often.

Otherwise, any differences should cancel out. For example, longer lived races would compensate for their experience preventing mistakes from inexperience by being less flexible in their ability to innovate.

it's a lot more than that. Say you get 10 generations of human to 1 dragon

The dragon doesn't go to college 10 times, spend 180 years in school, spend 10 times as much on diapers and babyfood raising generations of kids, doesn't spend 10 times as much when they stop working for 20 years to retire etc. Those all add up, and over 1,000 years they add up a LOT.

Also, a lot of those generations will have multiple kids. By the 10th generation someone could easily have thousands of kids diluting the money.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
And in a setting that features weapons that can kill a crew through the hull of their ship, maybe nukes aren't nearly as scary as they once were.

Well, maybe. We don't actually have any rules for radiation affecting npcs on spaceships. PCs take damage from radiation saves unless they have high enough level armor. Npc spaceship crews don't have armor, saves, or hit points. So either they're immune to those as they're immune to nuke radiation, or nukes cause radiation poison save damage to npcs like it does pcs and npc crews are either all 7+ and higher level or nukes are through-shield crew killers.


Telok wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
And in a setting that features weapons that can kill a crew through the hull of their ship, maybe nukes aren't nearly as scary as they once were.
Well, maybe. We don't actually have any rules for radiation affecting npcs on spaceships. PCs take damage from radiation saves unless they have high enough level armor. Npc spaceship crews don't have armor, saves, or hit points. So either they're immune to those as they're immune to nuke radiation, or nukes cause radiation poison save damage to npcs like it does pcs and npc crews are either all 7+ and higher level or nukes are through-shield crew killers.

I was referring the the Death Field weapon property. Weapons with it deals normal damage against shields but minimum damage against hulls. However, if it hits it also deals negative energy damage to the crew. Hitting a shield deals minimum damage to the crew. Hitting hull means the damage is rolled normally. There's only one weapon with this property but the Death Field can deal 5d12 damage to the crew.

Also, slapping together some relevant saves and gear for the NPC crew shouldn't be that hard, especially if you know your PCs are packing an irradiate weapon.


A perfectly good plan for making money may be a recipe for losing money in the next generation. Businesspeople living for centuries may stumble over this rather than growing at 6% forever. I could quote an example from my family in the 19th C.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, I think that people are overlooking the issue of constant change and disruption. "Immortal businessman/corporation expands in power and money forever" only works if you assume the state of the world is fixed. In Starfinder, we *know* that this is not the case, there is a high level of chaos constantly infused into the system: wars, natural and unnatural disasters, major social shifts, divine intervention, rising surges in monstrous activity, first contact with other societies, the Gap, the creation of the Drift. . .

Basically, just like how even true eternal youth only gives you so many centuries of life on average before something kills you? Eternal life only gives you so many centuries before something ( possibly you ) burns down your bank account.

( Also, the Gap might not have caused people to forget about their bank account and lose all their money or debt. . . but the *ensuing social disruption following the Gap*? Almost certainly did, for quite a few people and organizations. )


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Metaphysician wrote:
Yeah, I think that people are overlooking the issue of constant change and disruption. "Immortal businessman/corporation expands in power and money forever" only works if you assume the state of the world is fixed.

Or that sentient, living, and highly intelligent beings are capable of adapting to new situations. Say by keeping their hoard in a 401k instead of a big heaping pile that they sleep on.

The Exchange

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1) Science Fiction game presenting highly abstracted economy. But since that wouldn't be any fun in this discussion...

There probably are a few such wealthy, long-lived individuals in the Pact Worlds. However I doubt more than a handful. But that's only to be expected in any statistical distribution. Someone has to be the sample maximum.

There's certainly no guaranteed formula. As several people have alluded to, there's a maxim about generational (family or corporate wealth): "You can get rich by getting it right 100 times, but you only have to get it wrong once to go broke."

Corporate Example:
In America we have Sears, Roebuck, and Co. (Sears) that did quite well for over 100 years. They saw mail order as reliable and dependable for rural customers in the late 1800's. In the 1920s they saw the demand for department stores in working-class neighborhoods of large cities (close to but not in downtown) and profited nicely. In the 1960s and 70s, they again saw consumer demand shifting to the suburbs and moved into the mall sector.

They did not see online shopping coming - or at least didn't see how aggressive they needed to be in establishing their online brand - and went bankrupt in 2018.


Any form of wealth is vulnerable to shocks. From your factory's main product being obsoleted by unexpected new technology, to political and/or financial machinations designed to seize your wealth, to hyperinflation or stagflation when you are positioned the wrong way, all the way to a war of annexation where your new overlords make you their slaves. At least in recent real-world history these shocks are common on the 100-year timeframe. Losing money isn't going to happen to everyone, some people will have bet right each time. But as time goes on the number who got it right every time will gradually decrease. That's where the sample maximums/outliers come in. And most shocks aren't total. Wealthy people who lose wealth in stock market crashes rarely lose everything - just enough to where they may have to sell a few of their summer houses.


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Metaphysician wrote:

Yeah, I think that people are overlooking the issue of constant change and disruption. "Immortal businessman/corporation expands in power and money forever" only works if you assume the state of the world is fixed. In Starfinder, we *know* that this is not the case, there is a high level of chaos constantly infused into the system: wars, natural and unnatural disasters, major social shifts, divine intervention, rising surges in monstrous activity, first contact with other societies, the Gap, the creation of the Drift. . .

Basically, just like how even true eternal youth only gives you so many centuries of life on average before something kills you? Eternal life only gives you so many centuries before something ( possibly you ) burns down your bank account.

( Also, the Gap might not have caused people to forget about their bank account and lose all their money or debt. . . but the *ensuing social disruption following the Gap*? Almost certainly did, for quite a few people and organizations. )

That's also assuming the business acumen of these individuals stagnates as well. Here's the thing, it is a perfectly viable strategy to admit you've lost your advantage and dedicate time to regaining it. This could either be by sitting down and researching or hiring specialists. All the increased chaos would really do would be weed out the ones prone to stagnation.

Also, I feel like we, as players, tend to only see the exciting chaotic side of the setting. PCs tend to exist in the more lawless areas of the setting, where the things you mentioned are more likely to happen. That establishes something of a confirmation bias.

Just because we don't regularly see the quiet suburbs of Verces, populated by tech industry office drones doesn't mean they aren't there.


All the rich old people sold their holdings at a 30% loss during the initial Vesk invasion before fleeing to a different starsystem where they were murdered or ripped off.

Or they sold their holdings at a 75% loss during the Swarm war and were killed by the Swarm when they tried to flee.

Or they died in the Stardust Plague. Or were replaced by reptilians. Or...


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Master Han Del of the Web wrote:


Balancing starships for PC credits would be a bit of a nightmare. I've found the best way to think of a starship is as another character as opposed to a piece of equipment. It would be all too easy for a party to accidentally over or under invest in their ship if they were just mundane equipment.

You might think that way when you only care about pew pew, but from a world building perspective its even more of a nightmare if people can bolt on nuclear weapons on their ships with no oversight just because they killed enough space rats.

Thats why you end up with nonsense rules that starship weapons are never accurate enough to hit ground targets, just because you let the PCs have nuclear and other WMDs for free.
Quote:


SFS enforces and introduces rules in order to further enforce balance between games so that no inadvertently or intentionally exploits the system. It is a choice for the sake of the scenario writers and other SFS members. If you used SFS as a guide for how the game was 'supposed' to be played, you would only use a small selection of the races, a more limited equipment list, and gate certain class features.

The rules on item level literally call out a GM's prerogative on what is and isn't available to the PCs. The intent also seems pretty clear from a game design standpoint as well.

The rules are also quite clear that the item levels are supposed to be enforced.Thats no special SFS invention. So if you want a valet drone or a holographic board game you better start killing.

And even apart from item levels, the prices are equally nonsense. Said board game costs more than a car or two mini submarines. But is 3k credits a lot? Who knows. We don't because all prices in Starfinder are complete nonsense. We don't even know what is rich in SF, so how can we even discuss wealth in SF?
Quote:


By this logic, players should be asking to use NPC stats as well since they are better in certain respects.

NPCs do work differently. They occupy a separate space from the PCs in terms of both the rules and their role in the narrative. I could give a laundry list of narrative reasons why 'NPC Amazon' is not available to PCs. Mostly, however, it would boil down to 'I doubt you would want to roleplay settling down, getting a local mailing address, and working a 9-to-5 job until you have the credit needed to buy this thing.'

And yet you are constantly interacting with 9-5 jobbers and they make up the majority of the population. And unless you adventure constantly away from civilization and blast away monsters in space dungeons the world must make sense for said 9-5 workers to feel believable and allow the PCs to interact with it in a meaningful and informed way.

And that is simply not the case and Paizo knows that. Thats why all APs take you as far away from society as possible and lets you play Diablo. The item economy certainly matches that much better than a believable economy.
Quote:


This seems to be the core of your problem with the mechanics. In the end, all I can really say is you've got to differentiate between the system and the setting. Rules always have been an abstraction in order to provide the players with a satisfying experience. Item level, price inflation, character level, and class features are all balanced and parceled out in order to give players a meaningful sense of progression from their adventures.

Ultimately, establishing complex rules for simulating the interactions of countless varied economies and locking PCs into those rules would be something of a headache. In my mind, the choice is ultimate between three options. The first is a simple resource stat like in White Wolf Games. The second is painful system of economics like in Rogue Trader (I actually got a migraine reading them but that might have been my dislike of WH40K). The third is what we've currently got, which is a logical progression from Pathfinder and 3.5.

You want rules, I can respect that, but that means all the narrative reasons I could offer as to why things are the way they are are not going to mean anything to you. I've seen you making this argument often enough that it must really be a sticking point for you. All I can really say is... sorry? Maybe Starfinder isn't for you? There are a lot more granular sci-fi/sci-fantasy systems out there.

The system works, the system is fun. My players have never complained at length about the economics. We've had a lot of fun and varied adventures with it.

There are a lot of games out there which manage to have believable item prices. Shadowrun, Traveller, etc.

And guess what, they allow for a lot more RP in societies than Starfinder, simply because their worlds are much more believable and thus let the player interact better with it. Want to bribe someone? How much would you even offer in Starfinder considering the prices of even common items are so much nonsense that you have no idea how much a normal person is supposed to earn. And most PCs will be so filthy rich after a few levels that no "normal" credit sum would present a resource expenditure anyway.

The way SF is structured, especially with its item level and prices it supports Diablo style dungeon crawling and nothing more. And that is a shame because Science Fiction has much more to offer than murderhoboing monsters in caves.


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Ixal wrote:
Entire rant

Clearly your statements tell me you do not like Starfinder. Great no problem. Then please move on. Stop trolling the Starfinder forums with you anti-Starfinder rhetoric.

We get it you dislike the rules. The majority of us here like the Starfinder and are fine with the rules.

Let us discuss the game in relative peace.


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Its not true that the APs all take place far from civilization. Attack of the Swarm has an entire book in a capital world. Signals of Screams and Deadsuns do too.

I do agree though that nuclear weapons were a mistake. Its easier to handwaive plasma torpedos or laser guns, but nukes are something we all have specific expectations about. And I do wish we had a better idea how much money different people have.

Dataphiles

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While the next comment may be blunt, it isn't meant to be insulting or offensive.

Those of you who are polluting the purpose of the this thread with essentially "It is fiction! Don't bother thinking about it!", please leave this thread alone.

We get it. We heard your point, you don't have to keep repeating it in different ways. You also don't have to read it. You don't have to click on this thread to keep up with it if (for whatever reason) you find the thought exercise of rationalizing the mechanics with the lore of the setting offensive. Please leave us to our thought exercise in peace because you comments aren't constructive.

To those who enjoy this thought exercise:

The chances of them leaving this thread alone is minimal at best. Ignore them. Don't respond to non-constructive posts. Pretend they are not even there. Whether or not they are intending to, they are trolling. Don't give in to them. This is a fun thought exercise and could develop into something cool. You have the power whether to allow the trolls to ruin that or not. They do not possess that power.

The best indicator of whether someone is being constructive is if their post is a "yes, and...", "well no, but...", or "what about...."

I am excited to see where this thread goes.


johnlocke90 wrote:

Its not true that the APs all take place far from civilization. Attack of the Swarm has an entire book in a capital world. Signals of Screams and Deadsuns do too.

I do agree though that nuclear weapons were a mistake. Its easier to handwaive plasma torpedos or laser guns, but nukes are something we all have specific expectations about. And I do wish we had a better idea how much money different people have.

Signal of Screams has you dungeon crawling through an office building in the middle of a city with deadly traps on its front door and no one cares when you shoot up everything in it and you are also attacked several times on the open street with military grade weapons and receive mail bombs and no authority intervenes or even questions you. In fact, despite being described as very efficient in the lore part of the book the adventure depends on the police not helping you at all.

I would hardly call that believable worldbuilding.

Attack of the Swarm is a war setting and not normal society. And it opens several can of worms as orbital bombardment is mentioned as standard tactic against the swarm and you even have starships attacking ground vehicles despite the core book explicitly telling you to not do this as the game can't handle it.
Final book spoiler;

Spoiler:

And yet, despite this the party still has to fight the BBEG alone dungeon crawl style instead of having the army at their back kill him with artillery barrages or your flagship sending down some anti-matter missiles...

Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

Clearly your statements tell me you do not like Starfinder. Great no problem. Then please move on. Stop trolling the Starfinder forums with you anti-Starfinder rhetoric.

We get it you dislike the rules. The majority of us here like the Starfinder and are fine with the rules.

Let us discuss the game in relative peace.

Ignore it all you want, it still doesn't change that Starfinder has lots of problems with the worldbuilding which makes it pretty much unplayable except for Diablo style dungeon crawling as nothing makes sense in the setting. I would love to see a version of Starfinder where other styles except five dudes killing monsters in dungeons is possible.

This limitation also affects the topic at hand. What is wealthy in Starfinder? The Enginerunner armor has been popularized by the ysoki, so obviously a number of people has to use it. Yet it costs 120k. Is that a lot? A board game costs close to 3k which is more than a normal car.
A valet drone that helps you with grooming costs 2k, but upgrade it to giving tips about how to behave in a social situation increases that price to 18k.
And we don't even know how starships cost because there is no price for them.

The economy in Starfinder is so out of whack that we have no frame of reference of how it works. Are there even banks that pay interest? We can't be sure as the whole economy is nonsense. On one hand you have mass production capabilities (Dragoncorps, etc.) yet on the other hand prices rise exponentially which would make mass production a loss as no one can buy those goods. Not to mention that people are often not of high enough level to be even allowed to use said equipment (and yes, that also applies to NPCs as you can't have the PCs encounter CR2 guard with level 10 weapons).

So yeah, what about the 1000 year old dragon or the ancient elf. Do they earn more money in their life than a level 15 adventuring party crawling through an level appropriate dungeon? We don't know.


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This is my biggest turn off to Starfinder, there's just no attempt whatsoever to have any kind of functioning economy to support play other than AP's and Kill/Loot/Sell repeat.

I'm sure many will say the same about PF or D&D or even most other RPG's, and they'd probably be right, but I think it just slams you in the face in Starfinder, when as many of you have pointed out, you can outfit a starship for less hassle than you can buy a slightly better gun. It just breaks the immersion and I wonder why the designers almost purposefully doubled down on this. I've thought about how to retool the costs but its just such a headache.

The name of the game doesn't help either. Starfinder instantly conjures a lite-Traveller taste which it sadly never lives up to. I also wish it was more Shadowrun and less good guys in space.


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Ixal wrote:
Ignore it all you want, it still doesn't change that Starfinder has lots of problems with the worldbuilding which makes it pretty much unplayable except for Diablo style dungeon crawling as nothing makes sense in the setting. I would love to see a version of Starfinder where other styles except five dudes killing monsters in dungeons is possible.

There's a few problems with this. It's not that the premise isn't true (the starfinder economy is borked)

First is that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. I don't know a single space adventure game or setting that has a realistic working functional economy. Space opera/adventure/exploration can't have depth without the chassis of an underlying economy...is a pretty ludicrous argument.

Secondly its observably wrong. People are using starfinder to tell stories with depth breadth, heart and soul. I have no idea WHY you're saying that it can't happen without a thoroughly grounded economy, but as it makes no sense what so ever. Either you're Alan greenspan and this is your thing or you just dislike the system and everthing about it.

Starfinder has a LOT of problems. This is light years away from being one of them.


BigNorseWolf wrote:


There's a few problems with this. It's not that the premise isn't true (the starfinder economy is borked)

First is that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. I don't know a single space adventure game or setting that has a realistic working functional economy. Space opera/adventure/exploration can't have depth without the chassis of an underlying economy...is a pretty ludicrous argument.

Secondly its observably wrong. People are using starfinder to tell stories with depth breadth, heart and soul. I have no idea WHY you're saying that it can't happen without a thoroughly grounded economy, but as it makes no sense what so ever. Either you're Alan greenspan and this is your thing or you just dislike the system and everthing about it.

Starfinder has a LOT of problems. This is light years away from being one of them.

Space Opera (Star Wars style) and exploration works well in SF because those types of adventure get you far away from civilization where you don't have to think about how much an average worker earns or how it makes sense that cars are cheaper than board games.

But try to run a adventure close to civilization or even in a city and you run into countless problems. Signal of Screams tried and failed miserably in my opinion because it tried to do what Starfinder was designed to do, dungeon crawling, in a metropolis.

Why is a believable economy important? First of course for verisimilitude. And second because it gives the players a framework to work with. They can roughly estimate how much a sum of credit is worth, have an idea if someone can be bribed with the amount of credits they can offer or if taking a risk for credits is worth it. You also can do away with metagame limits like you need a specific level to buy things which logically should be freely available.

This is not important if you run a Signal of Screen like combat railroad, but not having a society, and that includes economy, which makes sense, at least roughly, running other type of games like sandboxes or more intrigue style games become much harder, if not impossible as the players would have no clue how the world works as nothing makes sense.

I have been accused that I do not like Starfinder. Thats not true. I (try to) like it, but find that because of the failures in world building SF is limiting itself too much to be a "Loot/Dungeon crawl RPG". It would imo be better if it looked a bit more at Shadowrun or Traveller, at least when it comes to world building. But currently even the Pathfinder world looks more believable to me than Starfinder.

About the wealth issue, people compare old lived individuals with big corporations. But imo the better comparison are the wealthy dynasties like the Rockefeller or Rothschild, only that it is now just one person instead of several generations of the same family.
One downside what those persons would have is that they will have a hard time with keeping up with new innovations and changing trends and constantly have to relearn things while shorter lived races simply grow up with the newest innovations and trends and have a better understanding of it. Although it depends on if the long lived races think the same as humans or not.

Dataphiles

So, the question that I wonder is:

Does the concept of one or multiple evil dragon corporations allow for a plucky setting?


"Dr." Cupi wrote:

So, the question that I wonder is:

Does the concept of one or multiple evil dragon corporations allow for a plucky setting?

Sure, its a challenge for the PC to deal with like any other.

But they don't necessarily have to be evil. In fact, an ultra-rich neutral dragon corp would probably have an easier time. We already have AbadarCorp led by an actual god.

Dataphiles

Frozen Trove is, I do believe an example.

Sovereign Court

"Dr." Cupi wrote:

So, the question that I wonder is:

Does the concept of one or multiple evil dragon corporations allow for a plucky setting?

I think that's a more useful question than "are dragon corporations realistic".

Will X make my players sit up because it's cool?

My working assumption is that the pact worlds are basically a kitchen sink of different civilizations with different economic models, barely held together by a Pact to work together to keep the Vesk/Swarm/Azlanti at bay. Akiton is a sort of depressed Midwest/wild west/weird west place while Verces is a Blade Runner like megalopolis, and Eox is a plutocracy with immortal CEOs. Castrovel has individualist meritocratic Lashunta mixing it up with eusocial formian mega industrial complexes. Absalom Station has the economic centrality of a DS9. There's a god-sanctioned corporation. So, kitchen sink.

There's also some subtle threads of Eclipse Phase style post-scarcity economics woven in, considering how with UPBs and some skill ranks you can pretty independently fab stuff. In a way that's actually weirdly anti-mega-industrial, because it's the skill ranks of individuals that determine what can be made.

So really, anything goes if I can make a good story out of it.


Ascalaphus wrote:
There's also some subtle threads of Eclipse Phase style post-scarcity economics woven in, considering how with UPBs and some skill ranks you can pretty independently fab stuff. In a way that's actually weirdly anti-mega-industrial, because it's the skill ranks of individuals that determine what can be made.

While there's no need for PC facing rules, I kind of imagine large factories/fabbers using their 'corporate tier' instead of their skill ranks to determine what they can manufacture.


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Ixal wrote:


Space Opera (Star Wars style) and exploration works well in SF because those types of adventure get you far away from civilization where you don't have to think about how much an average worker earns or how it makes sense that cars are cheaper than board games.

Ok, so your argument has now moved from starfinder is a diablo dungeon simulator that can't be used to tell a story to starfinder can do star wars/star trek but can't tell gritty dungeon noir? Space Noir? Space Nuar? stories. Why would you make the first argument if you meant the second?

Quote:
But try to run a adventure close to civilization or even in a city and you run into countless problems. Signal of Screams tried and failed miserably in my opinion because it tried to do what Starfinder was designed to do, dungeon crawling, in a metropolis.

So is that a problem with the system or that AP? I haven't looked into that AP so i can't tell you if it was done well or badly.

Quote:
Why is a believable economy important? First of course for verisimilitude.

Look, I've got a space mouse on the back of a dragon two fisting healing darts at people while getting tech support from a fireball tossing Apple Genius. Not once do i say "Oh hey how does she afford a 401 k on her budget?"

I think your level of verisimilitude needs to be consistent. Not high. The rest of the system thats set pretty low already.

Quote:
And second because it gives the players a framework to work with. They can roughly estimate how much a sum of credit is worth, have an idea if someone can be bribed with the amount of credits they can offer or if taking a risk for credits is worth it.

This is making a mountain out of a molehill. You just have to have the amount of credits match the story and have the DM and players be able to get on the same page about how big the number of credits are and not worried about the number.

Billy Twothumbs owes X amounts credits , and would like to keep his name unironically. He has a job for you to steal the Maltese Strix.

As long as X is High enough that its not liquid cash in your pocket, you still have a story

Player: is that a lot/the right/a suspicious amount?
Player 2: i roll profession Criminal and see if thats more credit than a two bit hood like him would get...

If the PCs gear costs more than that.. well.. yes. Total up the amount of worth of a plumbers tools when they come to your house. That stuff is expensive. Its bought a little here, a little there, and it adds up. If the plumber needs that amount of cash on hand now? He's hosed.

Quote:
You also can do away with metagame limits like you need a specific level to buy things which logically should be freely available.

You can do that now if you want. House rule it. Keep it in place for weapons (where it makes sense and what it was made to prevent) remove the limits on board games


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
So is that a problem with the system or that AP? I haven't looked into that AP so i can't tell you if it was done well or badly.

Mostly, it was that AP had you getting into a lot of gunfights where your assailants were throwing grenades in somewhat nicer areas of the city. The kind of thing that would result in a massive news & police response, lockdowns and curfews in a modern day city. Not much worse than some modern action movies where various armed groups start using sniper rifles and RPGs while duking it out in a city and the only response is a news helicopter that gets close enough for an action stunt.

I think the biggest problem with it was after having such a shootout, your PCs can just go back to business as normal.


Garretmander wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
So is that a problem with the system or that AP? I haven't looked into that AP so i can't tell you if it was done well or badly.

Mostly, it was that AP had you getting into a lot of gunfights where your assailants were throwing grenades in somewhat nicer areas of the city. The kind of thing that would result in a massive news & police response, lockdowns and curfews in a modern day city. Not much worse than some modern action movies where various armed groups start using sniper rifles and RPGs while duking it out in a city and the only response is a news helicopter that gets close enough for an action stunt.

I think the biggest problem with it was after having such a shootout, your PCs can just go back to business as normal.

At my table it would not go down like that. If the AP leaves stuff like that out, then it is my job as GM to put it in. I don't need rules for it. I can just look at numerous shooting incidents that have happened in real life and apply that standard to the AP encounter.

I may even alter the encounter depending how AP handles it verses how I would like it.

The players at my table know there are reactions and consequences to what they do.


Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
So is that a problem with the system or that AP? I haven't looked into that AP so i can't tell you if it was done well or badly.

Mostly, it was that AP had you getting into a lot of gunfights where your assailants were throwing grenades in somewhat nicer areas of the city. The kind of thing that would result in a massive news & police response, lockdowns and curfews in a modern day city. Not much worse than some modern action movies where various armed groups start using sniper rifles and RPGs while duking it out in a city and the only response is a news helicopter that gets close enough for an action stunt.

I think the biggest problem with it was after having such a shootout, your PCs can just go back to business as normal.

At my table it would not go down like that. If the AP leaves stuff like that out, then it is my job as GM to put it in. I don't need rules for it. I can just look at numerous shooting incidents that have happened in real life and apply that standard to the AP encounter.

I may even alter the encounter depending how AP handles it verses how I would like it.

The players at my table know there are reactions and consequences to what they do.

Sure, I agree, but the AP as written made a few odd assumptions about how much of an impact PCs would be making duking it out in the city.

But, it's not like that's a new problem with APs, even the older pathfinder ones. Every group is different, every GM has a different style when it comes to consequences.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

So is that a problem with the system or that AP? I haven't looked into that AP so i can't tell you if it was done well or badly.

I think its a mix. Paizo modules in general assume that your PCs take a very Diablo style dungeon crawl approach regardless of setting. Even in the middle of a city, the module won't consider "what if the PCs call the police?" or "how does the local government react?". Its just assumed that you will head into the building of baddies and kill them with minimal consequences.

Now to be fair to the AP modules, the system spends a lot more time on combat than it does on non-combat encounters. Its fair to assume every party can fight their way through an encounter, but stealth or diplomacy might be impossible.


Master Han Del of the Web wrote:


Just because we don't regularly see the quiet suburbs of Verces, populated by tech industry office drones doesn't mean they aren't there.

Is office drones literal metaphorical or yes?

Dataphiles

Yes.

Sovereign Court

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I suppose a lot of police chiefs would see heroes and some eldritch having a showdown and think "I'm retiring on Friday.. do not get involved.. " or a bit more seriously: "we don't have enough high level staff to take care of this monster, better to focus on keeping some heroes around and cleaning up their collateral damage".


BigNorseWolf wrote:

So is that a problem with the system or that AP? I haven't looked into that AP so i can't tell you if it was done well or badly.

Both. The AP uses the SF rules the way they are written and intended, which results in an adventure with is not compatible with "civilization".

Quote:


Look, I've got a space mouse on the back of a dragon two fisting healing darts at people while getting tech support from a fireball tossing Apple Genius. Not once do i say "Oh hey how does she afford a 401 k on her budget?"

I think your level of verisimilitude needs to be consistent. Not high. The rest of the system thats set pretty low already.

Yeah, thats a common excuse but never holds up. Just because something has fantastic elements in it doesn't mean all logic flies out the window.

Quote:


This is making a mountain out of a molehill. You just have to have the amount of credits match the story and have the DM and players be able to get on the same page about how big the number of credits are and not worried about the number.

Billy Twothumbs owes X amounts credits , and would like to keep his name unironically. He has a job for you to steal the Maltese Strix.

As long as X is High enough that its not liquid cash in your pocket, you still have a story

Player: is that a lot/the right/a suspicious amount?
Player 2: i roll profession Criminal and see if thats more credit than a two bit hood like him would get...

If the PCs gear costs more than that.. well.. yes. Total up the amount of worth of a plumbers tools when they come to your house. That stuff is expensive. Its bought a little here, a little there, and it adds up. If the plumber needs that amount of cash on hand now? He's hosed.

Which works for railroads, but when running more of a sandbox you need a bit more than just a random number. Especially as thanks to the loot spiral and insane economy in SF the PCs end up with so much money that every reasonable bribe (even when normally considered an outrageous amount) would be pocket change for them.

Quote:


You can do that now if you want. House rule it. Keep it in place for weapons (where it makes sense and what it was made to prevent) remove the limits on board games

Just because you can houserule it doesn't mean the rule isn't bad (some razor).

And its not just the item level its also the prices.


Ixal wrote:
Both. The AP uses the SF rules the way they are written and intended, which results in an adventure with is not compatible with "civilization".

You are letting out entirely too much garg in too many directions.(Yes. I realize who's telling you this. Let it be a sign) Your answers make you feel better about how terrible everything is but this varies from nonsensical to observably wrong.

Aim your grarg. Cultivate it. Focus it. It doesn't do any good when you're just being angry at everything for no point.

There is absolutely nothing in the rules that prevents adventuring in civilization. I have been on plenty of SFS scenarios in civilization. Our characters have had to explain the use of lethal force to the police

(Fortunately for me, Murdermouse was attacked by her fellow ysoki. Who she knocked out, threw on her shoulder, and carried around for the rest of the adventure explaining the finer points of picking better robbery targets)

The DM should adjust the difficulty of the encounter down a little, and groups in that kind of campaign might want to think about investing in more non lethal options and less flashy options ( Bruce Leezard Vesk martial artist would do better in that campaign that Bombarder Bettle What bombs at midnight), but there's no rule anywhere that says "the pcs are getting away with all of this.

Quote:
Yeah, thats a common excuse but never holds up. Just because something has fantastic elements in it doesn't mean all logic flies out the window.

Peoples ideas of logic rarely line up with reality.

Quote:
Which works for railroads. SF the PCs end up with so much money that every reasonable bribe (even when normally considered an outrageous amount) would be pocket change for them.

What you're describing is a problem with high level starfinder. Or high level any roll20 based system. Which just means that gritty space noir isn't a high level adventure. The solution there is pretty easy, don't tell that kind of story at that level

I could name a number, but you'd just call it completely wrong an unrealistic. As could someone else call any number or economic system you came up with.

Quote:
rule isn't bad (some razor).

And just because a rule is bad at one thing doesn't mean its a bad rule.

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