12 September 2015


I've occasionally been chided for making characters with unfair advantages.

I say I've just done the proper diligence.

Because I was "the gun guy" in our group I was constantly able get a better weapon for the setting because I knew when the anachronistically good guns were introduced so I sneaked around the TL limitations whenever the GM set a hard date rather than TL.

Standing Bear was running a GURPS world where the starting wealth was 1,000.  But he defined it poorly.  1,000 in the game world was 1,000 silver pieces (or a pound of silver).  This was a wonderful limit on higher tech characters because $1,000 is not a lot to buy your equipment when normal starting wealth is $15,000.

So I started asking questions and gaming the system...  Starting wealth was fixed in silver, so I made a character from a metals poor world where silver was worth more dollars.

FuzzyGeff ran a nexus world where one of four gates led to a world where firearms and magic did not work.  Again, asking questions until I learned that it was fulminates and like reactions that didn't work there while gun powder still worked.  But electrical primers did work!  So I had a gun where nobody else did.

I made a character for a different nexus style world and not knowing what form it would take I wanted to have a good excuse to carry some precious metals.  So I made a Rhodesian who exchanged his pay for kruggerands whenever he could.  A G$ is $US in his home setting, and a kruggerand is $151.30 each (I looked up the 1974 exchange rates).  After buying equipment from the G$7,500 (struggling, unsettled) I had G$4,515.50 or 29 kruggerands and 75.62 Rhodesian Dollars (R$) at G$1.69 each.  That's 2.17 lb. of crown gold coins (1.99 lb. of pure gold if we melt out the copper from the alloy).

In a typical fantasy world where a pound of silver is G$1,000, a pound of gold is G$16,000; so I'd have G$31,817 in such a fantasy world.

In the US for much of its history a troy ounce is US$26, so I'd merely have US$754.  And that's in worlds where starting wealth is G$5,000 to G$10,000 and G$1 = US$1.  So having all that gold is a net loss in G$ terms.

It all depends on how the setting runs out.


  1. You sound like the kind of player I'd absolutely love/hate. There's something to be said for "intended feel of a setting" but that level of detail and thought into how things works not only helps me flesh out things I might have missed, but allows me to plan things with the knowledge that the party has a trump card; the person with a secret electrically primed micro-smg reigns supreme in what would otherwise have been a terribad situation with nobody having magic or guns, and a person who just so happens to have enough money to buy a small town has a lot of pull if it's really needed.

    As a GM, I'd request you not be a jerk about it and flaunt it, but I'd totally let you have what you earned by research, ingenuity, and system knowledge. Should I ever run anything in which you had an interest, I'd consider it an honor and a pleasure to have you along to find ways to ruin my plans and save the day.

    1. FuzzyGeff allowed everyone who experimented with the priming issue to have a gun. Which boiled down to two people, and the second one was ONLY because I was seen to have a functioning gun. The other four players just complained it wasn't fair and demanded to know why the GM was playing favorites. FuzzyGeff's reply telling them that our methods were open to all didn't mollify them.

      If the GM says my owning an FG.42 because it's anachronistically better than the weapons he'd envisioned is bad, I'll change my character. But if the game is set in a world that has contact with 1944-1950 Earth and no limits on letting us buy military tech than our starting wealth, I'm getting the FG.42 or the StG.44. That's the GM picking his parameters and my working within them.

      I'm the GM more often than not, so I understand what people are trying to do about the feel and flavor. It's just, most times, the GM seems to be unable to say no in the face of the logic I presented.

      My Traveller game, should it be played again, is at such a stage. The speculative technology of 2015 isn't the same as that of 1977. We live in a world of better computers than that game. There needs to be an explanation as to why there are no iPhones in The Third Imperium or the setting needs adapted to allow them. Cyberism and Transhumanism don't happen in the Traveller universe, and an explanation has to be given or the modern player will wonder why not.


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