Friday, 20 November 2009

A Room At The Inn (Economy and Rest Considerations)

According to the 3rd edition PHB, poor accommodation is nothing more than "a place on the floor near the hearth". This came at a PnP (pen and paper) price of only 2 sp (silver pieces). A point to note, however, is that while this cheap accommodation price reflected an area where a PC could rest, they were unlikely to get much peace and quiet appropriate for study. And according to the PHB again, wizards and clerics require uninterrupted rest to be able to learn their spells or prayers for the following day. Otherwise, they must spend extra time to gain sufficient rest before being able to learn them fully. (More on this in a moment.)

A More Expensive Economy

In NWN, gold is the main currency and does not leave any room for the lesser coinage to be accessible to players. This is not a problem though, as it is easy enough to balance the economy around the gold piece as the lowest denominator available for most adventurer transactions, and to leave the lesser coins as hidden transactions for the masses. However, this method does mean that a normal economy in such a world is still somewhat more expensive than a traditional pen and paper one. For example, it works out that even the cheapest accommodation has to be charged at five times a PnP cost at 1 gp per person instead of 2 sp. To keep this figure balanced to the general populace, it means we have to assume a world with the gp as the standard coinage must be five times more expensive/richer than a traditional PnP one.

I mention this for two reasons. The first is to show that even the local populace will carry gold coins with them, even if we are to assume they also carry coins of lower value. Secondly, that a player is assumed to only be interested in gold coins as far as gaming transactions are concerned. (We can even make the assumption that a player still acquires coins of every metal type as long as they are worth at least 1 gp.)

However, there are times when certain items cannot be realistically said to cost 1gp, even in an economy that is five times dearer than a PnP one. In these circumstances, I have adopted a package buy approach. Or, to put it another way, the adventurer would not buy single quantities of items of low cost if they are buying them at all. In such circumstances, it is assumed the adventurer buys at least 1 gp value of the item. E.g. If buying a pint mug of ale cost 4 cp in PnP, even at five times the cost, it would still only cost 2 sp. Therefore, we could expect at least 5 pints for our 1 gp in a NWN world. In fact, I have allowed 1 gp to purchase 10 pints of ale in my own module, meaning when the PC "buys an ale", they are in fact buying sufficient to last the night for themselves or buying a round or two for the party. The following screenshot shows some prices of drinks available in Better The Demon.

Accommodation Costs

Having established a NWN world is five times more expensive than a traditional PnP one, we can now start to put a price on different accommodation. Prices must still range from cheap to expensive, but understanding the relative economy and the minimum costs the game world provides now helps us to establish the cheapest price for accommodation as 1 gp. From here, the module builder can adjust more expensive accommodation accordingly. It is possible, of course, that an inn may not be able to provide the more expensive accommodations, in which case the adventurer must make do with what is on offer and what they can afford. A screenshot below shows the new Accommodation GUI that comes with Better The Demon. Note also, the better the accommodation, the better the chances of peace and quiet for studying. The player is offered the following GUI when they enquire about accommodation at an inn or tavern: UPDATE: I have increased the HP recovery by a factor for some accommodations to a maximum of 3x and for those PCs with the Trance feat or Cocoon spell. (All screenshots show the old values.)

Disturbed Rest

As different quality accommodation can affect the PCs ability to study, I have introduced two new features into Better The Demon to help the player overcome the problem. The first is the feat called Trance and the second is a 1st level spell called Cocoon. As most outdoor resting comes with a potential penalty for disturbed rest, then having at least one of these abilities will help the PC to learn their spells and recover more efficiently. The same abilities will even help overcome the disturbances from the cheapest rented accommodation. (See screenshot below.)

If a PC does not have access to the above feat or spell and rests in an area subject to disturbance, then with each rest they will only recover a number of HPs equal to their level and suffer a chance of failing to recover each spell they are trying to learn. At an inn, the player can choose to rest immediately again and does recover their full complement of spells as another 8 hours is said to pass. On the open road, however, rest will not be permitted until another 8 hours has passed from the first rest.

NWN Tips

I learned a couple of things this week that may be of interest to people:

1) If your PrintScreen fails to store images in your NWN directory, try using SHIFT-PrintScreen instead. I use Windows 7 now and the normal PrintScreen failed to work as it did before.

2) If you make an item plot and add it to a shop, then it can only be sold at 1gp.

THE POLL

Don't forget to add your vote to the poll (to the left) based on last week's blog entry.

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