Pricing new gear in Star Frontiers (very much need help)

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 16, 2016 - 11:43am
I need some help with pricing new stuff in terms of credits.  I need to know how much a credit is worth in Real Life currency.  I thought about simply taking a similar item with a known price (such as a weapon or a vehicle) and comapring the price in credits vs the average price in real money (in this case US dollars) and deriving a value, but since so many other areas of the game are rather arbitrary and inconsistent I didn't know how reliable such a derivation might be.

Should I just go "by type" and say "this item is most like [x], so I cost it at around that same price" ?  That would be simpler, but would it be accurate?
Comments:

iggy's picture
iggy
January 16, 2016 - 1:07pm
I think you have assesed the situation pretty good.  The prices are all over the map.  Also economies shift over time so you cannot always rate the price of one item based on another item.  The price of milk for example is not in the same relation to the price of a computer now in 2016 as it was in 1980 when SF was created.

I would categorize the items.  Is it an item that is used from day to day as part of living expenses?  If so then fit it in with the cost of living mentioned in the expanded game rules toward the end of the book.  Is it a weapon or amunition?  If so then price it in ralation to weapons and amunition listed in the expanded rules.  Do the same for vehicles and continue on for any other item with a known similar item in the rules and modules.

You could also publish the list of items you are trying to price in this thread and we could all chime in.  It would be fun as a community to grow a list of common items and adventure items and their prices.
-iggy

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 16, 2016 - 2:42pm
Yeah, the milk is more expensive and the computer way cheaper! LOL!

I'm leaning towards your solution at the moment (price relative to catagory).

The genesis of the thread was me trying to price a 2-man auto-gyro in credits.  Real Life cost: $75,000.

Link to product:http://www.lightningautogyro.com/lightning.aspx

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 16, 2016 - 10:42pm
"Stuff" in the Frontier is cheap to relatively affordable if you equate a credit to the US dollar. Back when SF was a new product I was sacking groceries for $3.25/hr, a tad higher than the unskilled 20Cr per day in SF. I would have loved to buy a brand new ground car for $5000 back then, granted there were brand new motorcycles available for $1600 in 1985 (250cc, but it matched SF ground cycle performance so that was a reality).

$200-300 wouldn't buy much of a pistol/rifle back then either, the Ruger 10/22 was $169 at the time but pretty much anything chambered for .38 or more lethal was above $300 (although I still kick myself for not buying surplus M-1 Garands for $69 back then).

But most noteworthy is the low interest rate of 4% for loans in SF, quadruple that for a good rate back in the 1980's.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 20, 2016 - 7:57am
Actually, the interest rate in the game is 4% per month (40 days).  The actual APR is more like 24%
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Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
January 20, 2016 - 10:30am
Measurements of any kind in SF is a little iffy and gets bogged down by debate and speculation, and the rules are of little help.

From what I could gather from the books, the SF economy runs mostly on a capitalist model, and that money is fiat in nature. The simple, abstract nature of being a role-playing game prevents any representation of economic inflation, and cost & wage adjustments due to the effects of supply & demand, for the sake of not becoming a boring in-game tax audit.

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 20, 2016 - 12:15pm
Thank you for posting that.  Doesn't really clear anything up, but I appreciate the effort.

I'm just going to have to wing it.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 20, 2016 - 3:12pm
TerlObar wrote:
Actually, the interest rate in the game is 4% per month (40 days).  The actual APR is more like 24%

I need to start digging out books instead of relying on memory. Sealed
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
January 21, 2016 - 4:18pm
Bear in mind that, in terms of game design, a price of a given item is sometimes a foil to the players getting their hands on certain items. Expensive things are expensive to put them out of the reach of players until they've arrived at a certain point with their characters and can thus afford certain things. It stops them acquiring things that may have such a useful amount of utility that the players won't have to struggle as part of the hero's journey Wink

Sometimes RPGs use this sort of thing to encourage certain behaviour (i.e engage in some sort of struggle to acquire) or to present challenges to players. This means that when you try to make it make sense with real-world things such as economics. etc in our world, it kind of breaks down a bit and resists attempts to be reworked into reality.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 21, 2016 - 4:55pm
^^^

I am suddenly reminded of Ken Kessler in Ruthless People:
"If you can't afford it, ####ing FINANCE it!!!"


Or better yet, reverting to my fave class in D&D: 
"If you can't afford it, ####ing STEAL it!!!" Foot in mouth
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 22, 2016 - 4:27pm
Yes, those are all valid points.  I'd probably go with iggy's suggestion by looking at similar items and then pricing within that category by scarcity/ease of manufacture/plot importance.  Things that are common/easy to produce/not plot critical or changing get to be a little cheaper while things that are rare/hard to produce/plot relevant would be more expensive.

Another option is to chuck the (small) standard price list out the window, say 1 cr = 1 USD and grab a friendly general catalog for prices.  Then extrapolate to the sci-fi elements.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine