Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Prataferro: A Setting Exploring Economy and Óssea

An introduction of Prataferro, a setting that marks the value of a man and character creation ideas.

I love the concept of GP as a form of XP fascinates me.  Various people who I respect have looked into the topic of XP in roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons, but most of these ideas are based on the older ADND and ODND concepts of GP as XP.  I wanted to look at the concept from the stance of GP as a factor in balancing ECL.

And so I came up with Prataferro.  As listed before in the thread Prataferro has a few elements that are vital to its success:

  • Genre-Savvy: An understanding of the SRD in 3.x and the DND milieu in general exists within the setting. An assassin will take the heart and jaw to prevent himself from being found out... and making his target's supporters pay. Lead trades for a good sum due to its use in protection from divination. The jail of a commoner is quite a bit different than where an adventurer may go...
  • Patronage/Diplomacy is Key: An Adventurer rises into society through his friends. Keeping yourself ahead of the headsman, taxman, and the law will depend on how happy your patrons are with you. 
  • Life is Currency: The Church will resurrect a commoner... After their account accrues interest. And their relatives pay the Inscription fee to keep their accounts balanced in the Book of the Dead. You may place your body and soul as collateral on loans. Spellcasters pay for their reagents, and some spells may cost you more than that... Soldiers sell their corpses to their Liege, and if they die in service without paying their flesh-price...
  • Necromancy is Not Hidden/Evil: Someone doesn't pay your Inscription? Your bones go to the Soul Auction, sold to any liege in need of soldiers. Kings raise armies of the dead to battle when times need, and soldiers stand beside their kindred, knowing their lives are just as forfeit. 
  • Economy: Players pay taxes, tolls, and costs. They invest in businesses, fund caravans, and carry their weight. An adventurer may be a man paying a debt in produce of his journey, someone paying their flesh-price, or just keeping ahead of the Collector...
  • Age of Exploration: The setting has cannon and gunpowder. Great ships of men seeking fortune bear holds of groaning riches. New worlds can be found on the horizon, and no one knows just how far the world reaches... and what lies beyond. Piracy, privateers, scourges of sea and air, and clashes between the Old and New will arise.
The real turn of Prataferro is in its use of the Flesh Price.  I have been thinking of various approaches to instituting the Price that every man must pay for the Collector's granting of magic, technology, and a safer society to the world.

I love the concepts of screwing around with the economy of DND.  And I feel that the system could allow a character to buy himself into a heavy debt for the benefit of gaining powers.  In principle the Flesh Price determines the initial equipment options, available spellcraft, and training.  No one escapes the Taxman, and in this case the Collector's minions include such beasties as the Miseravel and the Lords of Quicksilver.

So what is the cost of level adjustments?  I have decided that the basic Upkeep costs found in the 3.x DMG choose your social class and your initial Price.  A Poor man, for example, starts with a Flesh Price of (20+(years spent training for 1st level)*145 GP.  A Poor individual gains certain basic equipment (a simple weapon, a single spell, etc)... but also can purchase additional equipment as part of his first Patronage.  The Rich would start with a higher initial Price, At the same modifiers * 540 GP... But can purchase better equipment and starts with a few more items.  A Middle Class individual would start in between these (360 GP). They may be able to purchase some items, but they would pay exorbitant fees for Heavy Armor, and Exotic Weapons would not be readily available.

So the maximum amount that an individual could start in debt (12 years of training):

Poor: 4640 GP.  Access to Simple Weapons, 4x cost for Light Armor, 8x for Martial Weapons/Medium Armor, No Heavy Armor/Exotic Weapons.  Minimum Point Buy.
Middle Class: 11520 GP.  Access to Simple and Light Armor at cost, 4x for Martial Weapons/Medium Armor, 10x for Heavy Armor, No Exotic Weapons.  Moderate Point Buy.
Rich: 17280 GP.  Access to Simple/Martial Weapons and Light/Medium Armors, 4x Heavy Armor, Exotic Weapons, highest available Point Buy.

The Rich individual and Middle Class individual would have higher Social Rank, which is far more important. .. But the Poor man can pay off his debt more quickly as an adventurer.

But he could spend that money on other things...

How much is a Level Worth? And Stigma.

Each ECL is worth 3x the level's Wealth + each other level.  For example, our Poor Man may decide to start out as a Magician's Subject.  His parents sold his Price to one of the Free Magicians who used him for eldritch experimentation, and he wishes to take the Hagspawn race in place of his normal Human race.  His Flesh Price would increase by 10800 GP, being just below that of a Rich man, but he also gains Stigma.  His body is covered in magical scars, strange protective tattoos, and while he has gained major strength, the society shuns him for his past.  He also still cannot buy great items without a heavy cost penalty.

A Rich person could take the same package; his father was a cruel magician who tested his skills on his sons and daughters.  The Stigma is still there, but somewhat offset by the Social Class's own bonuses.

Point 'buying'.

It is much easier to increase your stats in a Prataferro game.  The ability to Train in various skills and abilities allows for skills to be trained at a cost, allowing for you to purchase ability bonuses in the form of mystical charms known as magia óssea.  Similar to Incarnum or Cybernetics in Shadowrun, magia óssea are a cheaper alternative to purchasing a transferable item at the traditional cost of item creation + the item's normal value.  Spend a little XP, pay a price, and have an item... When the transferable item may run into the tens of thousands of GP for purchase.

What items can be turned into magia óssea?  Can you think of a way to imbue the power?  Then it can be.  Waterman are paid handsomely to draw water from the land by using their magia óssea of Endless Water to feed the fields, while some skilled artists (and many thieves) bind their hands with the power of artesão da alma (Hand of the Mage) to send out their spirit hand to grab items for their use.

The óssea also serve as ability enhancements, allowing for someone to take on coração da besta to improve their physical stats in a permanent way.

Óssea are purchasable after you have paid your Price, and add to your overall Maintenance prices by 10% of their value.  As a +1 Weapon can be extremely difficult for even Freemen to purchase without extremely high costs and connections many invest in powerful Óssea to improve their powers and go from there.

So what do you think?  We always like to hear from you so feel free to comment or send an email.

Good Gaming.