Jump to content

A cynic could say that money in RPGs is often almost meta-gamey with little to no influence on the story/progression. Why not do more with it?


Recommended Posts

Hey,

 

 

so, surely you guys remember BG2's opening main quest - "raise X amount of money to proceed". I think it was 20k gold. Now, while BG2 is not my favorite RPG and the quest was appropriately blunt, this made my first playthrough SO very immersive. Suddenly, even silly fetch quests had a purpose! Since I have a knack for playing on hella-hard the first time around, I even had to postpone resolving that quest because I wanted to buy one more item (I think it was a helmet at Ribald's). That gave us a third layer beyond XP and wanting to experience the content. And the content experiencing bit fades after the second and third playthrough, obviously. So I propose to make money relevant, even moreso than in BG2.

 

 

XP and money and in the case of the Fallouts reputation are things you expect to get for deeds well done. The first two, however, usually tend to be rather gamey. I always assume it's because it's the oxygen of RPG staples and designers don't think they have to put any more effort into it - after all, it's already been done and NOT HAVING IT would not be an option because people would explode with confusion.

 

 

Why can I not bribe my way through more quests? I'm not talking "I'll talk if you give me five coppers" but amounts that matter to me. It's a Mass Effect semi-interactive-space-opera-click-to-win-dialog-option-non-choice if I know that 5 coppers will net me progress. It doesn't hurt me and makes me always pick that option, because why gamble on a Charisma roll if I can just spend money I don't need anyway.

 

 

Why are the encounters with bandits that want 100gp to let you pass always the easy ones? Imagine Kangaxx level difficulty in one of those encounters, but with a band of Serbian war criminals instead of ~Oliver Twist and his incompetent band of louts~, and money would change hands right quick. Of course the encounter should be surmountable, but it should rarely be a no-brainer to keep your money. Has anyone here ever given money to ruffians like that, short of maybe in the beginning of Arcanum with a stupid, clumsy AND weak character?

 

 

I guess what I'm complaining about is a certain betrayal of the otherwise beautiful, immersive worlds people create. There's never a shortage of poverty and greed in dialog or character design if it helps paint the setting, but that's only half the equation. As long as the money the player has comes from the same common pool as the money the poorest lack and the richest bathe in, the concept of need and/or greed dictates that Player should feel the value of it.

Edited by wbn
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

You know what I've never seen in an RPG? An income tax collector!

 

The Party Has Killed Ago Nee, the Tax Collector

 

The Party has gained 30000000 XP

 

Reputation + 10

Edited by Amentep
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey,

 

 

so, surely you guys remember BG2's opening main quest - "raise X amount of money to proceed". I think it was 20k gold. Now, while BG2 is not my favorite RPG and the quest was appropriately blunt, this made my first playthrough SO very immersive. Suddenly, even silly fetch quests had a purpose! Since I have a knack for playing on hella-hard the first time around, I even had to postpone resolving that quest because I wanted to buy one more item (I think it was a helmet at Ribald's). That gave us a third layer beyond XP and wanting to experience the content. And the content experiencing bit fades after the second and third playthrough, obviously. So I propose to make money relevant, even moreso than in BG2.

 

 

XP and money and in the case of the Fallouts reputation are things you expect to get for deeds well done. The first two, however, usually tend to be rather gamey. I always assume it's because it's the oxygen of RPG staples and designers don't think they have to put any more effort into it - after all, it's already been done and NOT HAVING IT would not be an option because people would explode with confusion.

 

 

Why can I not bribe my way through more quests? I'm not talking "I'll talk if you give me five coppers" but amounts that matter to me. It's a Mass Effect semi-interactive-space-opera-click-to-win-dialog-option-non-choice if I know that 5 coppers will net me progress. It doesn't hurt me and makes me always pick that option, because why gamble on a Charisma roll if I can just spend money I don't need anyway.

 

 

Why are the encounters with bandits that want 100gp to let you pass always the easy ones? Imagine Kangaxx level difficulty in one of those encounters, but with a band of Serbian war criminals instead of ~Oliver Twist and his incompetent band of louts~, and money would change hands right quick. Of course the encounter should be surmountable, but it should rarely be a no-brainer to keep your money. Has anyone here ever given money to ruffians like that, short of maybe in the beginning of Arcanum with a stupid, clumsy AND weak character?

 

 

I guess what I'm complaining about is a certain betrayal of the otherwise beautiful, immersive worlds people create. There's never a shortage of poverty and greed in dialog or character design if it helps paint the setting, but that's only half the equation. As long as the money the player has comes from the same common pool as the money the poorest lack and the richest bathe in, the concept of need and/or greed dictates that Player should feel the value of it.

 

If money and bartering worked like it does in Spice and Wolf that would be amazing. I agree there's actually a lot you can do with currency in a fantasy world, most games don't really explore that though and stray far far away from it. I know i'm talking of something with far higher expectations than what you're suggesting, but still I do agree that more can be done with currency.

Obsidian ‏@Obsidian Current PayPal status: $140,000. 2,200 backers

 

"Hmm so last Paypal information was 140,000 putting us at 4,126,929. We did well over and beyond 4 million, and still have an old backer number from Paypal. 76,186 backers. It's very possible that we have over 75,000 backers if I had new Paypal information. Which means we may have 15 Mega dungeon levels, and we already are going to have an amazing game + cats (I swear I will go stir crazy if Adam doesn't own up to the cats thing :p)."

 

Switching to Paypal means that more of your money will go towards Project Eternity. (The more you know.)

Paypal charges .30 cents per transaction and 2.2% for anything over 100,000 per month for U.S currency. Other currency is different, ranging from anywhere between 2.2-4.9%.

Kick Starter is a fixed 5% charge at the end.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It does seem that bartering should be more useful in terms of intelligence gathering (but IMO it should have a downside - the more you barter your way in and out of situations the more likely you're going to attract attention for people wanting your gold).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think money should be less useful. :biggrin:

 

No, seriously. I think there should be completely viable ways to get gear without relying on going into an "adventurer's mart" and spending money. Perhaps once you get your stronghold you also get a blacksmith to outfit you. Perhaps you can become allied with a faction, and they outfit you. Or maybe you can craft your own stuff.

 

I get it that in the Forgotten Realms setting (which is high fantasy) you can just go inside a magic store and buy yourself a +3 longsword. But not every setting needs to be like that. I think it would be funny if you went into a store, ordered 10.000 GP in Fireball scrolls and then got stopped by the city guard for "carrying dangerous, unlicensed equipment".

 

That said, I think I agree with OP. Money should be more useful in the sense that money should be used for more interesting stuff. I think that what you can do / need to do with money in a setting really helps set its tone. OP's example from BG2 is a great one.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think money should be less useful. :biggrin:

 

No, seriously. I think there should be completely viable ways to get gear without relying on going into an "adventurer's mart" and spending money. Perhaps once you get your stronghold you also get a blacksmith to outfit you. Perhaps you can become allied with a faction, and they outfit you. Or maybe you can craft your own stuff.

 

I get it that in the Forgotten Realms setting (which is high fantasy) you can just go inside a magic store and buy yourself a +3 longsword. But not every setting needs to be like that. I think it would be funny if you went into a store, ordered 10.000 GP in Fireball scrolls and then got stopped by the city guard for "carrying dangerous, unlicensed equipment".

 

That said, I think I agree with OP. Money should be more useful in the sense that money should be used for more interesting stuff. I think that what you can do / need to do with money in a setting really helps set its tone. OP's example from BG2 is a great one.

 

I disagree with everything but the last paragraph, but you'll get a massive like anyway because I think you've raised some great points.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey,

 

 

so, surely you guys remember BG2's opening main quest - "raise X amount of money to proceed". I think it was 20k gold. Now, while BG2 is not my favorite RPG and the quest was appropriately blunt, this made my first playthrough SO very immersive. Suddenly, even silly fetch quests had a purpose! Since I have a knack for playing on hella-hard the first time around, I even had to postpone resolving that quest because I wanted to buy one more item (I think it was a helmet at Ribald's). That gave us a third layer beyond XP and wanting to experience the content. And the content experiencing bit fades after the second and third playthrough, obviously. So I propose to make money relevant, even moreso than in BG2.

 

 

XP and money and in the case of the Fallouts reputation are things you expect to get for deeds well done. The first two, however, usually tend to be rather gamey. I always assume it's because it's the oxygen of RPG staples and designers don't think they have to put any more effort into it - after all, it's already been done and NOT HAVING IT would not be an option because people would explode with confusion.

 

 

Why can I not bribe my way through more quests? I'm not talking "I'll talk if you give me five coppers" but amounts that matter to me. It's a Mass Effect semi-interactive-space-opera-click-to-win-dialog-option-non-choice if I know that 5 coppers will net me progress. It doesn't hurt me and makes me always pick that option, because why gamble on a Charisma roll if I can just spend money I don't need anyway.

 

 

Why are the encounters with bandits that want 100gp to let you pass always the easy ones? Imagine Kangaxx level difficulty in one of those encounters, but with a band of Serbian war criminals instead of ~Oliver Twist and his incompetent band of louts~, and money would change hands right quick. Of course the encounter should be surmountable, but it should rarely be a no-brainer to keep your money. Has anyone here ever given money to ruffians like that, short of maybe in the beginning of Arcanum with a stupid, clumsy AND weak character?

 

 

I guess what I'm complaining about is a certain betrayal of the otherwise beautiful, immersive worlds people create. There's never a shortage of poverty and greed in dialog or character design if it helps paint the setting, but that's only half the equation. As long as the money the player has comes from the same common pool as the money the poorest lack and the richest bathe in, the concept of need and/or greed dictates that Player should feel the value of it.

 

agreed on all points, I think this is a brilliant point that should be addressed by future rpg makers. Not quite sure if the project eternity devs will have the time/resources to implement it though. I could imagine there being a game revolving just around the mechanism you described.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree with everything but the last paragraph, but you'll get a massive like anyway because I think you've raised some great points.

 

Haha, thank you.

 

There is an "old school renaissance" PnP game called Lamentations of the Flame Princess, in which the XP you get is 99.9% related to the "treasure" you find and manage to haul back to civilization. It is pretty crazy, in a way, but it really gets across the point that you're an adventurer. Of course, the game has a chapter on what you do with your money (there is only so much you can expend on yourself, and you can't really be a gold wagon, right?). As you can imagine, it involves buying properties and ships, and hiring retainers so that you can shoot for even more outrageous adventuring expeditions.

 

Not sure how related this is to your idea, but it is an example of in-game mechanics that lead players to really see money as something that gives them options.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You both lost me and had me at Mass Effect semi-interactive-space-opera-click-to-win-dialog-option-non-choice.

 

I don't quite get what you're saying, but just in case, I'll elaborate on that point:

 

 

If there's a paragon/renegade dialogue option, all "normal" options become irrelevant. In my experience, it's the same with the "I'll give you 10 credits to shut you up"-option.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree with everything but the last paragraph, but you'll get a massive like anyway because I think you've raised some great points.

 

Haha, thank you.

 

There is an "old school renaissance" PnP game called Lamentations of the Flame Princess, in which the XP you get is 99.9% related to the "treasure" you find and manage to haul back to civilization. It is pretty crazy, in a way, but it really gets across the point that you're an adventurer. Of course, the game has a chapter on what you do with your money (there is only so much you can expend on yourself, and you can't really be a gold wagon, right?). As you can imagine, it involves buying properties and ships, and hiring retainers so that you can shoot for even more outrageous adventuring expeditions.

 

Not sure how related this is to your idea, but it is an example of in-game mechanics that lead players to really see money as something that gives them options.

 

To be honest, my idea is not that deep. I'd just like for money not only to be something you get *alongside* of your regular rewards, but something that is just as important as XP and reputation and whatnot. So, yeah, I think we're in agreement here.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, money and RPGs...

 

It is strange, but when I recall some nice fantasy-books I read in my life the hero(s) that embark on journeys always had to struggle with money...earn some cash for the next tavern, food, clothing. My Shepard in ME1 had enough credits to buy the Citadel, and when I look at my current characters in Skyrim I guess they need a Plug-in addding a horse-cart carrying the massive amount of gold they have gathered during their journey...

 

I guess the main problem is that in most RPGs you don't have that much expenses, like food, water, beds...all you buy now and then are magical items and maybe potions (and in games like Dragon Age Origins I didn't even needed that, so many potions you find their and hardly ever use...)

 

Yet a simple unmagical Breast-Plate made of decent material should be worth to gather money for. I still remember how I desperatly looked for money in BG1 to buy a Full-Plate for my warrior. Good times. And lodging should become more important in this game than recently in Bioware or Bethesda-Games.

Vox: The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me Vox

 

Are you ... like a crazy person?

 

Vox: I’m quite sure they will say so.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most games don't really explore it, because money really doesn't make much of a sense in most games. Moneys main function in reality is to barter for thinks that are necessary for your life like food, cloth, rent and so on. A lot of things most people don't want to have in a game, because it tends to be tedious and not very fun. So you can either don't implement them and risk parties getting filthy rich or you devise ways to spend money (usually equipment stepstones), that always tend to be a bit obvious and tacked on.

The immersion breaking part isn't the money itself, but that the protagonist and his party are the only ones, who don't actually need any to survive, because they are not really alive.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Combining ideas from both of your posts Vox Draco and Eskarion, I think that lodging actually does solve part of the money immersion issue. Rest should be bacially required for adventuring purposes (ie health and spells), though I wouldn't mind fatigue taking a nosedive if you say up for more than 24 hours game time. Either way rest and lodging would be important which would mean that money used to pay for lodging is also important. If this is made to cost enough, the player gets a continuous link between their money and their character. Wbn had some more interesting ideas that I would like to see implemented, but money = safe rest seems like the place to start.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Combining ideas from both of your posts Vox Draco and Eskarion, I think that lodging actually does solve part of the money immersion issue. Rest should be bacially required for adventuring purposes (ie health and spells), though I wouldn't mind fatigue taking a nosedive if you say up for more than 24 hours game time. Either way rest and lodging would be important which would mean that money used to pay for lodging is also important. If this is made to cost enough, the player gets a continuous link between their money and their character. Wbn had some more interesting ideas that I would like to see implemented, but money = safe rest seems like the place to start.

 

It seems that requiring food, water and sleep for your characters isn't considered good design nowadays. These things are mostly seen as annoyances, things that take the player "away from the fun". Alas, people don't really like this simulationist approach anymore. It may just be that the people backing Project Eternity are "hardcore" enough to want this kind of stuff in the game. But I wouldn't count on it. I'd settle for a weight-limited & slot-limited inventory, to be honest. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not a proponent for food requirements just simply because my experience with it in the past has been fairly negative.

 

To me, if food often ends up being just a way to force you to pay money for a resource that has a high rate of consumption. I'd rather, in that case, have to just pay some money and assume that my character knows how to feed themselves.

 

I'm not convinced about the need for the simulationist approach either; as people often point out there's plenty of other things that happen in real life that aren't simmed (using the restroom being the common example) and some are met with outright hostility (romances). In the end I don't find it integral to the experience and often it just becomes a pointless time sink.

 

That said, if PE was to have food in the normal game, I'd just deal with it and hope they avoid the things that I haven't liked with food systems.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I did like New Vegas' hardcore mode a ton, with its food/drink/sleep requirements. Probably because the setting lends itself to that very well - it's basically a world built around the philosophy of resource management. That said, I haven't yet played a game where I went "this experience would be better if I was forced to tinkle once in a while".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Combining ideas from both of your posts Vox Draco and Eskarion, I think that lodging actually does solve part of the money immersion issue. Rest should be bacially required for adventuring purposes (ie health and spells), though I wouldn't mind fatigue taking a nosedive if you say up for more than 24 hours game time. Either way rest and lodging would be important which would mean that money used to pay for lodging is also important. If this is made to cost enough, the player gets a continuous link between their money and their character. Wbn had some more interesting ideas that I would like to see implemented, but money = safe rest seems like the place to start.

 

It seems that requiring food, water and sleep for your characters isn't considered good design nowadays. These things are mostly seen as annoyances, things that take the player "away from the fun". Alas, people don't really like this simulationist approach anymore. It may just be that the people backing Project Eternity are "hardcore" enough to want this kind of stuff in the game. But I wouldn't count on it. I'd settle for a weight-limited & slot-limited inventory, to be honest. :)

 

I wasn't thinking of a system that required players to buy food supplies or directly manage food/water consumption, but simply folding these in with rest. The old IE games required you rent a room to avoid random encounters while you slept. It would be assumed that you were paying for food and water that was consumed during your resting time. By further requiring this safe rest time through a fatigue draining mechanic, players would be further tethered to safe areas. I've actually seen people on the boards asking for that sort of tethering. The only change from the IE games I was suggesting was that renting a room cost more than the 10-100 gold it did beforein order to create a natural money sink and to link money to the direct survival of your party.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We discussed the role of money a bit in the thread about class struggle. If you have a currency system a few people will have a hell of a lot of money whilst the rest got nothing. And this leads to conflicts. And it would be great if the game could feature the conflict that the currency system gives rise to. But also other conflicts that have with property and landowning to do.

Edited by Potemkin
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...