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Handling money in a Star HERO campaign

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I'm gearing up for a Star HERO campaign that will likely focus on a group of PCs with their own merchant ship looking to pay the bills moving cargo and takng on passengers. I.e., typical Traveller/Firefly type stuff.

 

I'd like advice on how to handle money in a campaign like this. I'm wary of having the PCs count every last credit; I don't want to make this feel like D&D, i.e., where one player always gets designated the "Excel bitch." :). I'd like the freedom to begin adventures with "So, down on your luck once again...", i.e., just handle money more as a plot element, but I don't want to negate the PCs accomplishments. Doesn't seem like much fun if the GM just handwaves away any money you earn in order to get an adventure going.

 

And, of course, being a Heroic campaign, money also has a lot to do with available equipment, so I need to keep that in mind.

 

So, how are you guys handling money in your own campaigns?

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Re: Handling money in a Star HERO campaign

 

If you can gain acess to a copy, Traveller has a fairly straight forward system for trade sucess that deals in thousands of credits, and can be used without bogging down the players, but still has room for PC interaction. I've toyed with it, its brutal, and not favorable for successful profiteering, but won't need much adjustment to make it a little more generous to players.

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Re: Handling money in a Star HERO campaign

 

Not sure if this helps, but in my campaign I used the Wealth perk (or Poor) Disadvantage divided by 12 to get the starting funds for each character to buy stuff with.

 

In terms of doing the trading thing, you can take a page from Marvel Superheroes and designate a "skill roll" (for lack of a better term) for each level of Wealth. Maybe 8- for Poor, 11- Middle, 13- Well Off, on up to 18- for Super Rich. Then designate cargo at being a specific bonus or penalty to the roll. For example, buying Foodstuffs for transport might be very affordable, giving a +3 bonus, while Weapon Targeting System components might be very expensive to buy (and probably require a license) giving a -1 penalty. Illegal items might tend to be cheap to purchase with a high sale value and a corresponing risk of "Imperial Entanglements." Might work if you wanted to abstract things.

 

Come to think of it, you could even use the current "value," in terms of the bonus or penalty that the cargo bestows, as a bonus or penalty to Wealth. Afterall, they can barter the goods as well as outright buy things. In this case, using our Foodstuffs +3 bonus, a Freighter might have a typical wealth of 11-. With the extra cargo that they are carrying, the crew might have an effective Wealth of 14- for negotiating the next purchase. ("I'll trade you this Delexian Wheat plus 10,000 credits for those Missile Guidance Systems.")

 

(I've been thinking about using this kind of system for my own campaign.)

 

You could designate, from station to station, what items are at a surplus (thus giving a bonus to buy) and which ones are scarce (giving a penalty to buy). On the selling end, it would work in reverse. Trying to sell something that the station has a surplus of would result in the loss of profit and a probably even a temporary penalty to the Wealth score.

 

Similarly, if the cargo is lost (dumped, destroyed, stolen) the value of the cargo is subtracted from the Wealth score. Indeed, the Wealth score would start out at a certain value and then be a fluid value thereafter.

 

As an added advantage, the bonus or penalty you assign to the product could very well also be the some bonus or penalty to any negotiation rolls for price haggling.

 

Hmmmn. Now how to handle the end results of price haggling. I'll have to think on that one. I'm thinking it may lower the cost (give a bonus to the "value" of the cargo) or raise the sell value. In either case, probably not by a factor of more than one or two in either direction.

 

As far as PC cash goes, each of them draws a monthly salary based on the current Wealth value (based on the "skill" roll e.g. at 11- it would be Middle Class) divided by twelve. Some months would be feast and some would be famine, depending on where they went, what opportunities exist, and how saavy they are with the trading game.

 

Maybe this idea will help you and maybe not. I think I've figured out how I would like to do it for my campaign at any rate.

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