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Luck, Good Luck, and the Benny Economy

 
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robert4818
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Luck, Good Luck, and the Benny Economy Reply with quote

Luck and Good Luck have a unique place in the game in that they have variable worth depending on the GM's whim. (Granted, all edges do to a certain extent, but not the same way that Luck and Great Luck do)

The value of these edges varies heavily based on the benny economy of the game. A stingy GM who gives out few bennies per session, gives the luck and great luck edges alot of value. On the other hand, A generous gm who gives out many bennies per session greatly reduces the value of the luck and great luck edges.

My question for you is this:

At what level of bennies per session per player (average) given out would you recommend to players that luck and great luck would not be worth taking, or if you find yourself doing it after the fact, allow players to re-assign those edges?
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semifamous
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't it partially depend on whether the player ends up using them or not? If the player always has two bennies left over at the end of the session, then maybe they don't need Luck or Great Luck. If they ever run out of bennies, then its a good thing they chose that edge.
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robert4818
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

semifamous wrote:
Wouldn't it partially depend on whether the player ends up using them or not? If the player always has two bennies left over at the end of the session, then maybe they don't need Luck or Great Luck. If they ever run out of bennies, then its a good thing they chose that edge.


While true, the relative benefit of having those bennies drops dramatically the more bennies the GM gives out on average.

If the GM doesn't give out any extra bennies then the edges are worth quite a bit. (5 vs 3 nearly doubling your bennies) On the other end of the spectrum, if he gives out say, 10 bennies to a person then those extra 1 or 2 aren't nearly as valuable. (15 vs 13)

I'm not saying that the edge loses usefulness, but at a certain point they lose the value that other edges have.

To explain this another way. Lets say your GM house rules out Encumbrance. Then, does the benefit from the "Brawny edge" really still as valuable. WIth encumbrance, its what allows people to effectively carry more, wear platemail, etc and it increases your toughness by +1. Without it, it gives you a +1 toughness, and a vague premonition that the GM may take the "Brawny" into consideration for you.

The edge, while still providing a benefit, has definitely lost value in the exchange.
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CitizenKeen
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a long-time GM new to SW, my plan is to pay close attention to the Bennie economy and then house rule accordingly.

Namely, if I'm stingy, do nothing. If it turns out I'm generous, then I'll just ramp up the Luck edges accordingly (I don't know exactly how I'd do it, but something along the lines of "Whenever you shuffle the deck, gain two Bennies instead of the usual 1") or something.
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SeeleyOne
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest that maybe Luck gives an additional +1 and Great Luck gives an additional +2 bennies every time that the character's get a benny for a "just because" event (reshuffle the deck, draw a Joker, the GM screwed the entire party, etc).

By doing this it helps throughout the session instead of giving a bonus only at the start of every session, and it also helps based on the flow of the game. There is no need to decide if a GM is stingy or not.
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SeeleyOne
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and a character with the Bad Luck Hindrance would not get benefit from the "just because" bennies. It also makes that Hindrance, which is supposed to be a Major Hindrance, matter a bit more.
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Planecreek
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
At what level of bennies per session per player (average) given out would you recommend to players that luck and great luck would not be worth taking, or if you find yourself doing it after the fact, allow players to re-assign those edges?




It's hard to assign a numeric value as the style of session will affect it - one with lots of game elements (with rolling dice) is going to have more benefit from Luck than one with more storytelling elements.

Assuming a mixed session, I would say Luck is generally a "C" grade edge, if players get more than 2 extra bennies each in a session of 4 hours - I would say it drops to a "D".

But of course it's never that straight forward - Common bond makes Luck more valuable, and Elan more so again.

If several players have Elan and you have Common Bond with your Luck edge - means an extra reroll that anyone in the group can use, most of them with +2 - that's pretty good, even with a lot of bennies given out.

So in short, the question is tricky to answer - it usually doesn't become a completely awful edge, and there is more than how freely the GM gives bennies out that determines its value.
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velikch
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, it is very difficult to assign value. Besides which, value is really determined by the player. One player may find they will go through 10 bennies per session and another might not even get through the normal starting 3. In this case, one player values bennies around 5 times as much as another player.

So in this way, you can't try to place value on it or try to account for value, really. If a player needs lots, then the Luck and Great Luck edges are valuable. If they don't need lots, then they're not so valuable.

Don't get me wrong, I see what you mean about relative value changing based on GM stinginess or generosity, but this isn't the only way in which the value of bennies is relative. It's also relative to the individual character, the individual player, and it's even relative to the GM's number of bennies and relative to the number of mooks and NPC wild cards the GM has.

Rather than concern yourself with whether Luck or Great Luck should be modified, modify how many bennies you give out. My recommendation: watch what happens when you get to combat. Did they have bennies leftover after combat? Are you throwing another combat at them this session for which they will need bennies? How many bennies did they have after the 2nd combat? How many bennies do they use out of combat?

If you have characters that take damage about as well as an ant to a boot, they will really need the bennies. For those characters I would say Luck and Great Luck are more valuable. I would base this selection on the characters themselves, not on the generosity or lack thereof of the GM.

So my recommendation is to moderate your benny-giving. Being too generous with the bennies reduces the value of every aspect of a character, not just Luck and Great Luck. A player character who is untrained in fighting, given enough bennies, can kick more butt than Chuck Norris. And logically a player character with no bennies will eventually be delivered a fatal blow and the player won't be able to use bennies to save him.

Also here's the great equalizer: Common Bond. When there is an imbalance in benny "wealth" in the group, politely recommend that the "wealthier" members take Common Bond. If players start taking this, it makes your job as GM and "Great Moderator of the Benny Economy" much easier. You don't need to feel so giving to some in spite of the others.



So my answer is: there's no right way to hand out bennies, but there are wrong ways. You just need to figure out what numbers don't work for you (i.e. result in too much player character death, or result in too much butt-kicking delivered by the party).

My players never complain about the number of bennies they have and sometimes get. They frequently manage their own bennies and figure out how much value they put on the bennies and then use them according to value. Seems to work well. I give out, maybe, 2-3 bennies a session with a group of 4-5, not counting things like shuffling the deck (and even then, it's more like 3-5).

But as I say, watch your benny economy and adjust how much you give away if the value of Luck and Great Luck are of concern.
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peregry
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our group Luck and Great Luck are highly valued due to our main GM being exceedingly stingy with extra bennies (you're lucky if you get 1 extra per session). When I GM I try and be more generous, but am still probably on the conservative side.

Considering the main SW we play is our homebrew Savage BattleTech, where bennies have even greater value due to system mechanics (you can use them to soak critical hits on your Mech, which are common), this makes things... difficult sometimes.
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tigerguy786
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I GM I give lots of bennies. I look for reasons to give everyone those extra couple, though I'm less inclined to give them to the guy with Great Luck since he starts with 5.

I really don't mind my players having tons of bennies. I might try the house rule where I have effectively unlimited bennies, but give extra every time I use one of mine (say I roll fighting against a PC, and use a benny to re-roll it, that PC gets a benny). I read about it..I don't remember exactly where.
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velikch
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tigerguy786 wrote:
I'm less inclined to give them to the guy with Great Luck since he starts with 5.


That seems to contradict all notion of taking those edges then - or even putting them into the game. If someone invests edges in getting bennies over other things that would make their character more awesome, then it shouldn't hurt how many bennies they get throughout the session.

Does getting more bennies seem more "broken" (not actually broken but leaning that way)? Perhaps. Does giving up two whole edges to get just 2 more bennies seem more "broken"? Not at all.

The way I envision it, if someone takes Luck and Great Luck, not only should they have a fair shot of getting more bennies throughout the session like everyone else, but they should be more inclined to spend those bennies on things other than soak rolls, fixing critical failure (unless you use the house rule that prohibits it), and on incap.

Now I can understand not giving more bennies to someone who takes Luck and Great Luck, not on account of taking those edges, but because they don't do things that are benny-worthy. In other words, the player may be in tune with the notion that they don't try to do anything cool or funny or roleplay really well, so they took Luck and Great Luck because they know they don't really get bennies often anyways. That I can understand.

I don't know your players admittedly, but I'd never discount the cost spent in taking Luck and Great Luck when looking at how many bennies a player has and considering if they should earn more. Personally I don't even look at the bennies players have when giving them out, though when it comes to shuffling the deck, the player with the fewest bennies gets to shuffle the deck for a benny.
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velikch
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tigerguy786 wrote:
I might try the house rule where I have effectively unlimited bennies, but give extra every time I use one of mine (say I roll fighting against a PC, and use a benny to re-roll it, that PC gets a benny). I read about it..I don't remember exactly where.


Here's the Bottomless Bennies rule.
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tigerguy786
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

velikch wrote:
tigerguy786 wrote:
I'm less inclined to give them to the guy with Great Luck since he starts with 5.


That seems to contradict all notion of taking those edges then - or even putting them into the game. If someone invests edges in getting bennies over other things that would make their character more awesome, then it shouldn't hurt how many bennies they get throughout the session.

Does getting more bennies seem more "broken" (not actually broken but leaning that way)? Perhaps. Does giving up two whole edges to get just 2 more bennies seem more "broken"? Not at all.

The way I envision it, if someone takes Luck and Great Luck, not only should they have a fair shot of getting more bennies throughout the session like everyone else, but they should be more inclined to spend those bennies on things other than soak rolls, fixing critical failure (unless you use the house rule that prohibits it), and on incap.

Now I can understand not giving more bennies to someone who takes Luck and Great Luck, not on account of taking those edges, but because they don't do things that are benny-worthy. In other words, the player may be in tune with the notion that they don't try to do anything cool or funny or roleplay really well, so they took Luck and Great Luck because they know they don't really get bennies often anyways. That I can understand.

I don't know your players admittedly, but I'd never discount the cost spent in taking Luck and Great Luck when looking at how many bennies a player has and considering if they should earn more. Personally I don't even look at the bennies players have when giving them out, though when it comes to shuffling the deck, the player with the fewest bennies gets to shuffle the deck for a benny.


I should've been more clear. I was being facetious. I have no problem giving him more bennies, but then, my group is really shy about using them (probably because of experience with our previous GM who was rather stingy with them).

I may use the "shuffle the deck for a benny" rule, too. No one takes advantage of the 'bribe the gm' rule.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tigerguy786 wrote:
No one takes advantage of the 'bribe the gm' rule.

Tell me about it!
The funny thing is, it's an easy bribe. A slice or two of pizza, a couple of donuts, maybe buying me a soda. I'm not asking for gas money, here. Laughing
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SeeleyOne
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValhallaGH wrote:
tigerguy786 wrote:
No one takes advantage of the 'bribe the gm' rule.

Tell me about it!
The funny thing is, it's an easy bribe. A slice or two of pizza, a couple of donuts, maybe buying me a soda. I'm not asking for gas money, here. Laughing

I haven't seen GM bribery since I was in Junior High. Giving treats is still common but I have not seen any in-game effect from it.

Then again, I do remember when my brother would GM that his wife's character was unfairly favored. I was pretty sure there was some bribery going on away from the gaming table. Wink
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velikch
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: GM Bribery Reply with quote

It's true, I haven't seen GM Bribery since my D&D days. Actually that's untrue, my brief stint in Vampire: The Masquerade had GM Bribery. Savage Worlds seems relatively immune though?

I've actually done (and am still doing) player-bribery though to get my players to arrive on time for gaming (since the store we meet at closes at a specific time and if they arrive late the session has to be cut short or hurried along which I don't like to do). For obvious reasons, I don't promise every player something though, it's competitive - I promise the first player to arrive a perk (determined ahead of time, generally pertaining to gear, money, or bonuses).

This gives some of my players enough incentive to try to show up before 1pm (the absolute latest time I'd like to start the session) which is nice because I only need "some" to show up in order to start. Others have obligations, jobs, or other things that make it impossible to show up an earlier than they already are and are willing to deal with arriving a little late to the show.

But GM bribery is definitely missing. Hm...maybe in-game currency or adding relic properties to gear could be appropriate, or perhaps giving a free search of the adventure deck and an extra play... Razz
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SeeleyOne
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My brother's gaming group gives an on-time XP bonus. When we played GURPS it was a point if you are in your seat and ready to play by 7 pm, or at least before the GM was ready. Most sessions, counting the point, were only 3 or 4 XP. In Savage Worlds that number would have to be a bit lower. I would actually suggest a benny instead.
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velikch
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before you even got to it I was going to say I'd rather give a benny. 1 experience point in SW, per session, is a pretty big number as far as character advances are concerned.

And frankly I see little reason in letting the group have a difference in level. When I DM'ed D&D, sure when there's a difference of a few hundred at around 10th level it's no big deal.

Also I have players who are chronically late due to factors beyond their (reasonable) control (i.e. quitting work so you can make it to gaming on-time every weekend would not be reasonable, as is the case with one of my players).

But yes, a benny for arriving on time is reasonable. Actually it even makes sense to an extent since a player could miss half a session and then come in with their normal fill of bennies and use more per time interval than other players. So yes, I can agree to this.

Hm...

Actually I just had a thought. I could reduce the number of starting bennies by 1 and give out 1 benny on the hour every hour starting at the beginning of gaming at 1pm (so being on-time means you start with the normal amount), not counting 5pm when we end since we're supposed to have packed up. Since we do 4-hour sessions, I don't think that would be too many though I may cut back on other ways I give them out as not to flood them with bennies.

I'm going to try this next gaming session and see how it flies. Very Happy
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