Friday, December 25, 2015

Original Thoughts: Video Game-Like reagent gathering.

Monster Hunter at his computer
I like Monster Hunter a bit (Monster Hunter, the video game franchise, haven't played the Monster Hunters supplements for GURPS). One thing I like alongside the long struggle to reach the top, is the fairly simple crafting system and being able to find components in the wild to useful things fairly easily. At the end of that Mario article, I had a lightbulb go off about a fairly simple system for aping the system of finding stuff, putting it together, and using it in a somewhat objective, but slightly subjective system.

Modelling the value of Reagents

The value of a commercial product is composed of raw ingredients, labor, transportation, and profit margin. So let's reverse engineer the value of a restorative item with that in mind. Starting with the simplest item in Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers . A Healing Potion here is 1d HP, and costs $120. I think that this price represents a situation where economies of scale have driven down the prices (Or perhaps, whoever came up with it, thought it was a much more fun price) because if we take the following:

Minor Healing (+35%): Healing (Affects Self, +50%; Cannot restore crippled limbs, ‑10%; Capped, 2 FP, ‑25%; Injuries only, ‑20%; Reduced Fatigue Cost 2, +40%) [54]
We will probably get a price of $1,612.80 for each of 5 potions using batch rules in the sorcery system, and a price of $2,280 if using Metatronic Generators.
How much of that item's value comes from raw materials, the efforts of an Herbal Lore professional, the profit margin, and transportation? Taking an average value of 50% for resale expenses and profit margin, and 5% for raw materials, labor is 45%. Here, the numbers we actually care about is 5%. (The 5% for raw materials is something that I got from some funny math I did using the sorcery raw materials cost table, and some rounding.)

So, in terms of Sorcery, the ingredients for this potion come out to be about $80.64. Metatronic Generators comes out to $114. (Or if we are using the canon pricing, $6.00)
Now you might ask me, "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?"
It's a benchmark. This shows us what it costs to make one of the most absolutely easiest things we will ever need to make. and it helps us scale penalties for progressively more valuable items.

Applying the Model

For the purpose of this writeup, I feel like the Sorcery value is the most accurate because Metatronic Generators always assumes using a slightly esoteric skill for operation. Now, also of importance, because we are talking about relative values of money and points and the like, not even that matters (unless for some reason you want to buy raw ingredients... which in this case saves about ~30% if you make the potion yourself afterwards.)
Extrapolating backwards from the Quick Gadgeteer rules in Dungeon Fantasy 4: Sages, and Basic Set - Campaigns We can figure out how hard it is to find this stuff.
Now, the time scale progression seems to go from hours -> days -> weeks in a previous article I wrote comparing the efficacy of realistic inventors versus gadgeteers versus quick gadgeteers. Dungeon Fantasy has a Quick Gadgeteer scrounging in minutes, and regular gadgeteer doesn't exist in Dungeon Fantasy, so I might propose anyone else that attempts searching for the ingredients takes 1dx5 hours. Potentially, we can speed up scrounging rolls with support rolls like Naturalist to understand where best to start looking for plant and animal reagents, and maybe prospecting for mineral components. These can be combined with taking penalties for rush jobs to perhaps give us -1 per 10% shaved off.
Now, in Monster Hunter, the potion is composed of two ingredients, a blue mushroom and an herb, so we can simply extrapolate this to two 1dx2.5 hour rolls (or a quick gadgeteer can do it in minutes).
Similarly, the crafting takes 1dx5 hours (or 1dx5 minutes for quick gadgeteers) using a skill like pharmacy, herb lore, or alchemy.
Knowing the price of the item indicates the threshold for penalties or bonuses to rolls. If we use the price of the ingredients for creating a potion as $81, then that means a -1 can be applied to the skill roll for every additional $81 in ingredients needed (or, for every 32 character points if using the sorcery system for pricing out items). For example, a potion that is built from a 65 point advantage
might get a -2 penalty to searches for components and crafting for passing the 32 point limit twice.

Final Thoughts

In hindsight, one thing I think is that the 32 point anchor is much too high, but that is somewhat of a consequence of the healing advantage being priced extremely high in relation to other advantages. Perhaps one could use the same money guidelines presented in Dungeon Fantasy 4 for items in the books, and choose a different scaling factor for pricing abilities according to points. A more modest breakpoint is the cost of a 1d burning grenade innate attack.
Example Threshold (+100%): Burning Innate Attack 1 (Sorcery -15%; Increased 1/2D, 10x, +15%; Area of Effect, 4 yards +100%) [10]
So, assuming 10 points of advantages is an appropriate threshold, one could use that for determining penalty size. Comparing that to the potion example from earlier, I'd say that the penalty (-3 because the advantage exceeds the 10 point threshold 3 times) would be distributed among the components as the GM sees fit. Maybe the herb is at -3, and the mushroom at no penalty. Maybe the penalty is more or less even. If that is too easy, maybe the -3 applies to all components.
Another possibility, according to Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures, it takes about 1 hour to gather food, so maybe it might be simpler and fair to make non-gadgeteers gather components at the same rate, gadgeteers can do it faster though.

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