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 Economics of the Wasteland View next topic
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Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 2257
Location: Grafenwoehr, Oberpfalz, Bayern, Deutschland

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 5:04 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've been tinkering with adding currencies to FoT and have run across a problem.

The Basic Idea:

I'm trying to add different currencies to be found in different locations in my campaign. Rather than having everyone using generic/universal "money" (or ring pulls or bottle caps for that matter) I want different powers to have different currencies. While it is obviously beyond the scope of the game to have certain currencies become worthless in some areas when they are at war with other areas, I would like to add some flavor to the game by having a bit more diversity than simply having people in different areas call money one thing and people in another area call it something else. (FO2 went a step in the right direction w/the introduction of the two types of mine scrip, but fell short in that people simply called money "chips" in New Reno.)

The Problems:

The only two types of "money" recognized by the game as actual currency are the BoS Scrip and Ring Pulls entities. I've set up some other "money" entities in the entities/items/money directory and they are simply recognized as Generic Items and the standard rules for bartering apply to them. In other words, you encounter the following problems:

  • Non-standard money is subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns that is coded into the FoT bartering system. In other words, the more of an item you plunk down, the less each individual item is worth. This is extremely bad in the case of the non-standard money because you can put down 15 items and the total worth can be higher than 535 units.

  • Non-standard money is not subject to exclusion based on whether someone barters in RPs or BoS Scrip. Therefore you can get away with paying for things in these types of money with the BoS Quarter Master or a local merchant. (The latter part isn't a problem, but the former is.)

If anyone has any solutions to these problems I'm all ears. (Section8, if you can pass this one on to "the proper authorities" or have some info, I'd appreciate your input.)

So, if nothing else those of you considering doing something similar to this are now aware of the pitfalls inherent in FoT economics.

Oh, also, I would like to point out that the word is "scrip", not "script". The former is not a typo on the part of the designers, but quite a few of the players don't seem to notice that there is no "t" at the end of "scrip".

Incidentally, this was the problem I was working on when I discovered the use of Science on Remote Detonator Traps. Laughing REALLY FUCKING HARD


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Wandering Hero
Wandering Hero

Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1221
Location: In my own personal vault

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 7:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It'd be great if we could add different currencies, but I'm guessin' it'll have to wait till FOT2 :mrgreen:

Along the same lines, any ideas on how to make different NPCs value certain things more than others?

What I mean is to make a Tribal medicine man value Healing Powders more than a Plasma Rifle. It makes sense that someone who has no idea what the item is, much less how to use it, value an item far less (i.e. not pay nearly as much money for) than something familiar and useful to the person.

Just a thought, really, as I don't think it's possible to do with what we have.
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 2:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

That's an interesting idea, OTB.

On the practical end of the implementation, how exactly did you make the new currencies? You should be able to make new forms of currency by simply opening up either the pullTabs.ent or scripBOS.ent files, modifying them with a new name/description and a new sprite, and then saving the modified version under a new name. The downside to this of course is as you mentioned that the various new unique currencies would be universally accepted by all barterers who deal in either scrips or tabs, which sort of defeats the entire purpose of the whole idea.

One way to sidestep this unfortunate consequence might be to re-evaluate the role of currency in the Fallout world and make up some more realistic forms of currency which are actually forms of stored value, unlike bottle caps, pull tabs, or BOS funny money. None of those items are inherently valuable, and it's rather odd to postulate (as the Fallout designers have) that they could be generally accepted as forms of currency in a chaotic post-apocalyptic world where no dominant centralized authority exists to enforce their use. Our current world financial systems are based on currencies which would instantly become worthless if the governments stipulating their value were to collapse, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to think that anything like the "money" we use today should exist in the Fallout world.

In the barter economy of the Fallout world, it would however be feasible to postulate a variety of "currencies" in different areas which do have some inherent form of value, and which would therefore retain that value when used outside of the areas of their predominance. For example, let's say that in New Colorado some new gold mines have been built, and since gold can be used to make pretty jewelry and is fairly rare, Colorado dwellers have started to use gold as a form of currency. In New Virginia, they've found that tobacco plants thrive in the radiated soil there and have built a few cigarette production facilities. Since cigarettes can be smoked for some benefit (perhaps +1 to perception, but -1 to endurance), they have an inherent value. Morevover, since they are small and lightweight, Virginians have found that they are a convenient form of currency (similar to a real-life situation that briefly existed in Europe after World War 2). Since Colorado folks also like to smoke, and Virginians also like jewelry, a trade route develops and an exchange rate (price) becomes established over time stating a relationship between the value of gold and cigarettes. Although this is really only an advanced development of a bartering economy, the fact that both gold and cigarettes in the quantities relevant for their practical use are lightweight/easily transported and rather scarce, combined with the fact that folks in Colorado and Virginia have taken to using them as a means of exchange in addition to their practical uses, means that we could at that point consider both items a form of currency which, while primarily found in their respective areas of production, are also valued/accepted in other geographical areas.

The practical application, then, would be to make two versions of the pullTabs.ent file, one called "gold" and the other "cigarettes." Gold is primarily found in New Colorado, but is also accepted as currency in New Virginia; likewise cigarettes are encountered primarily in New Virginia, but are also accepted in New Colorado. They are fairly realistic representations of currency because a person could carry 2000 grams of gold or 2000 cigarettes, but could not always carry around twenty rusty Beretta pistols or 2000 rounds of ammunition that could be "bought" with these currencies.

I'm guessing nonetheless that this isn't really what you were aiming for, and that even though it's highly fanciful to suppose that advanced currencies like paper money could exist in the Fallout world, since the original designers set the world up that way it's acceptable to continue doing so. Anyway, perhaps something in the above will give you some different way of looking at the problem.

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Vault Hero
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Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 1017
Location: Stone of Light Land

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 12:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Do remember to post if you come up with a solution to this, as I want it for my campaign also. Damn, I thought I could get away with creating a new "money" entity...
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