Resources Trait is OP?

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APixelShort APixelShort's picture
Resources Trait is OP?

A large number of my players have complained a lot about Resources, and especially the most recent updates to Resources.

To summarise some of the complaints:
- It feels like not having resources, even for characters and backgrounds that make sense to go without, is too large a setback to justify.

- "It means that characters who make sense to be rich aren't just rich and capable of getting some major stuff, they're rich and have literally anything they want. Meanwhile, characters that aren't don't get any small balancing factor, just a few more points in skills that the rich character can build with rez but the poor character has to make efforts to gain resources and wouldn't make sense to gain it past maybe level 2" (put that one in verbatim from a player)

- The newly introduced *weekly* purchasing power of resources, costing nothing but a reasonable timeframe (and maybe a roll or two), feels bonkers. EP has always seemed gear-happy, but I feel like this is going to introduce a "shopping-list" mentality where players just slowly acquire gear until they have *everything* they could possibly want, and they don't even need to work to acquire credits to do so like they would have in 1E. They just *get* them.

- The idea that characters are just capable of consistently acquiring gear to use seems a little incongruous with the idea of GMs giving out Gear Points for missions. Why bother when characters can/will already have a large amount of what they need?

- Speaking of, I felt that resources was already very well represented in the minor/moderate/major/rare item acquisition per level of resources within a reasonable timeframe, as well as the +modifier to GP and MP during missions/resleeving. I doubt every character in a game will have a characterful reason to have this kind of weekly disposable income, and giving them a purely mechanical reason doesn't seem to make sense (and again, choosing to forego resources for character flavour seems puts them well behind anyone else on an ongoing basis)

As a GM, I feel very much like I'm going to have to institute a wide variety of obstacles for gear acquisition for characters with resources just to avoid the "we have an X for that" response to problem solving that I fear will come with them using Resources as it stands.

I would love to get others opinions on this, and maybe (hopefully) someone can provide a rebuttal to some of these points and help me make more sense of the Resources trait as it stands? Because from where I'm standing, it does seem like it's become rather overpowered.

APS Corp — Making Nonsense Since 2013

APixelShort APixelShort's picture
Furthermore

A couple of player comments that I missed:

- There seems to be a weird mismatch with rep and resources. Resources seems a very capitalist trait for a system with a heavy autonomist/anarchist twist, and while we know it's an abstraction of "wealth", it doesn't seem to gel at all with non-capitalist systems given that players aren't required to have a corresponding rep score.

- Resources has a "burn a level to get something at speed" mechanic, but given the newly increased purchasing power mechanic I feel players are being incentivised to avoid doing so at all costs. "Yeah, you can get this thing now, but you lose out on a significant amount of regular gear moving forward."

APS Corp — Making Nonsense Since 2013

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Would you say that resources

Would you say that resources is over-productive, or over-costed?

or simply that Reputation doesn't seem to compete with it?

A slight smell of ions....

APixelShort APixelShort's picture
I would say that it's

I would say that it's overproductive. For the CP cost at chargen you get not just an amount of additional gear at chargen, but an ongoing and consistent amount of gear with practically zero additional cost to the player.

As for the latter question, I don't think it needs to compete with reputation, but my players and I think that it doesn't make sense in the context of more rep-based economies (e.g @-rep), because rules-as-written you don't require the reputation score to back up your resources level. You just, somehow, manage to be materially wealthy and are able to acquire gear consistently whether or not you have the @-rep score to match.

APS Corp — Making Nonsense Since 2013

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Gear and Eclipse Phase has

Gear and Eclipse Phase has always had trouble balancing stuff. It has come more often than not as "the GM rules it" with bottlenecks like time, exotic materials, not having nanoprinters at hand, whatever.

The problem has always come from the "open source" blueprints, of which little has been told per se, the blueprint creation process, of which a starting character can be good at without a heavy investment and any character can couple with putting several Beta Forks in a simulspace churning out blueprints (the same way Cyberpunk 2020 players would hide a frigging driver AI in the desert making programs for the group's hacker in a continuously way) in an accelerated and permanent way (as long as you could "pay" the server... something too easy since that server is making blueprints! You can sell those Sunward, or gift them for rep Rimward... and still get the blueprints you want).

Now Resources proves to be faster in 2E, too much flexible, and without cost. No "hidden investment" shows up, it's just literally a "you have money. You don't manage it, but can force-liquify parts of it. And the GM can take it from you". Plus, Firewall gives you a budget to get stuff for the missions they send you at, but for some reason you don't seem shy to spend money in that, or...

Oh, and we have forgotten the most funny and ludicrous thing ever: I can just create a second identity with full 8 points of resources to DOUBLE the benefits of max resources, from two different ID's... Sure, it blows 16 of the 20 "advantage points", but come on...

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
It's only OP if the GM allows

It's only OP if the GM allows it to be. From page 6 of the gear PDF:

Spoiler: Highlight to view
In fitting with the limited scarcity nature of the setting, Eclipse Phase does not put a lot of limitations on acquiring gear. Some players may see this as an opportunity to load up on overwhelming amounts of gadgets. While it can be useful to have helpful gear on hand for every contingency, it’s important to keep this under control. GMs have many options for applying limitations as needed: social pressures (others get annoyed when you hog the public fabbers, hoard habitat assets, or constantly pester them for gear), strict scenario timeframes (no time to fab, gotta rescue the hab!), unwanted attention (security takes an interest in people hauling loads of tech, thieves are keen on pilfering stockpiles). The point, of course, is not to punish players, but to enforce the logistical restraints that rules can not always emulate.

Page 30 of Actions and Combat also shows that players without resources still get to spend SOME points each week, though it is weird that apparently level 1 Resources gets LESS points to spend for some reason...

Spoiler: Highlight to view
ACQUIRE/MAKE THINGS You may wish to stock up on gear for the next mission, or simply prepare equipment caches, go-bags, and emergency provisions. If you have the Resources trait, you may use your weekly allotment of Gear Points. If not, you get 3 GP to spend. Restricted and Rare items are only available at the GM’s discretion. If establishing caches (“scratch spaces” to Firewall), be sure to note with your GM where and how these are hidden away. While being prepared is a smart move, GMs should rein in players that seek to hoard everything they can acquire. Such behavior is not realistic, and would certainly lead to the a character alienating their friends or burning rep or Resources.

Some other considerations: Reputation is just as "broken". You can likewise acquire up to 5 GP worth of gear a week using it, albeit restricted to 3 minor items and a moderate one rather than splitting it up as you see fit.

Secondly, time is a huge limiting factor. If time is not of the essence in your adventure, then why do the players even need to do it? Informants are silenced, crooks get away, exsurgent outbreaks happen, anything that is even remotely something the players NEED to do should have a time limit attached, rather than letting the players take a few months to stockpile an armory.

Lastly, there's this small little line from page 5 of the gear PDF: "When the mission is over and the PCs move on, assume the gear is sold, left behind, passed along to others in need, or stashed away for future ops." This game is not meant to be played in a D&D style fashion where players build up powerful arsenals over time. One absolutely can play it that way, but the way the game is balanced is that they egocast into a location with what little they can have arranged on site, procure a few things on location if need be, deal with the problem and egocast back out. Or for cases without egocasting, that the players aren't playing a character that's a super ultra prepper that spends all available resources to them every paycheck on modding the crap out of their morph and preparing an army's worth of plasma rifles in their basement.

APixelShort APixelShort's picture
Thank You

Thank you, Urthdigger! I really appreciate you taking the time to show me how Resources is more balanced in context and to help put me more at ease as a GM. It makes a hell of a lot more sense with all that context I can't believe I missed.

I've never been so glad to be wrong on the internet :)

APS Corp — Making Nonsense Since 2013

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Urthdigger wrote:It's only OP

Urthdigger wrote:
It's only OP if the GM allows it to be.

Secondly, time is a huge limiting factor. If time is not of the essence in your adventure, then why do the players even need to do it? Informants are silenced, crooks get away, exsurgent outbreaks happen, anything that is even remotely something the players NEED to do should have a time limit attached, rather than letting the players take a few months to stockpile an armory.

Lastly, there's this small little line from page 5 of the gear PDF: "When the mission is over and the PCs move on, assume the gear is sold, left behind, passed along to others in need, or stashed away for future ops." This game is not meant to be played in a D&D style fashion where players build up powerful arsenals over time. One absolutely can play it that way, but the way the game is balanced is that they egocast into a location with what little they can have arranged on site, procure a few things on location if need be, deal with the problem and egocast back out. Or for cases without egocasting, that the players aren't playing a character that's a super ultra prepper that spends all available resources to them every paycheck on modding the crap out of their morph and preparing an army's worth of plasma rifles in their basement.

Again, as I said, it throws it in the lap of the GM to "wage a war" against the PC's logistics aspirations.

Time is a limiting factor indeed... but frankly, a) Firewall has more than one cell and b) even the most hardened cells require "cooling off" time, so unless the GM (again, the GM!) decides that things are desperate, and the players are FULL TIME Firewall operatives instead of "civilian" members that band together with a conspiracy that "does not exist", then the players having a week between missions becomes hardly believable.

And about the "gear gets sold over", even assuming it applies to ALL gear, not just that provided by Firewall but the one the players got by using their Resources and Rep scores at missions setup, BLUEPRINTS and other stuff like programs, ALIs, etc... are explicitely carried with the ego, so yeah, players DO accumulate gear that they take with them.

Incidentally, none of that solves the "I use 2 Resources this week and get a Server, I use then that server to run Beta Forks of myself/other teammates to program blueprints at max simulspace speed, so I get "free" gear, and stuff I can sell if I want to".

Sure, ALL systems fall appart once the players have enough resources to start buying the things they want, but this is so... easy, it begs the question of why the NPCs won't do all of this en masse.

Urthdigger wrote:

Page 30 of Actions and Combat also shows that players without resources still get to spend SOME points each week, though it is weird that apparently level 1 Resources gets LESS points to spend for some reason...

This needs addressing, because then it becomes much more profitable to run several identities at Resources 0 and use them to buy small stuff.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
It is up to the GM to wage

It is up to the GM to wage that war, true. Ideally one's players don't try to push the limits of what can be done, but if they do it is indeed the GM's job to put their foot down.

Yes, the players do have downtime, but we're not assuming they're full time Firewall employees. The sentinels do have lives outside of Firewall, they're not spending every free moment they have acquiring gear for their next mission. They eat out, get new games, pick up some art here and there, attend concerts, pursue dates, all the little things that make life worth living and take one's minds off of the horrors of what they fight. If players do insist that they're spending all the time available to them on work, there's all sorts of social and stress repercussions that can be incurred.

Time is more a limiting factor during the mission itself. Yes, Firewall has other cells, but if a job has been handed to your cell it's probably fair to say you can't just pass it off to another one. Combined with limitations on how much gear the players can have on hand at the start of the mission, that creates the balance between spending time acquiring gear and spending time on actually doing their job.

Ok, so on the selling back of gear, it may be helpful to think of using resources not as "I had the disposable cash just lying around for a spare plasma rifle" and more like "I pawned my TV and took out a loan for this thing." While it reflects the amount of resources you can spend on things without ruining yourself, that doesn't mean it's an amount that's convenient to pay. You might be only renting/borrowing a piece of gear, may have taken out a loan, or may sell specialized equipment after a mission so you have the funds again for different gear on your next mission.

Which leads into the gear that doesn't make sense to get rid of. There's augments and such which of course you're not just going to hand back to the doc after, and there's really not much that can be done about that if the player's keep their morphs between each mission outside of simply putting them in harder and harder situations to match. Software, on the otherhand, is copyable and even follows you when egocasting, and... yeah. To an extent one can expect just about any veteran sentinel to have all the software they could ever want, and fixing that would be more of a headache than the problems it causes, but blueprints are not as big an issue as they might first appear.

First off, printing stuff still takes time. Egocasting in with all the blueprints you need won't help when printing out that combat armor still takes an entire day. You also need printer time in the first place, which can present its own problems. Publicly available printers will likely have wait times, and will most definitely have a lack of privacy: Sure you can hack the printer to let it print out restricted items, but everyone in queue is still going to see you do it. Private printers are likely going to charge per item, making those items you have blueprints for no longer free. Some friends of mine actually had this come up in a recent game, where they needed some explosives on an enclosed habitat. Obviously they couldn't use a public printer, and getting access to someone who had a printer that was willing to look the other way required a multi-session sidequest. In any case, blueprints do not just automatically translate into gear.

Also, as for why the NPCs don't do this en masse, they kinda do. That's what happens in the post-scarcity places in the outer rim. It's just not as common sunward due to tighter controls on blueprints and fabbers.

Lastly, as far as that resources 0 exploit goes... I think it should probably be written that you can't just use multiple fake IDs to multiply your purchasing power. Or acquire Resources beyond 4 as was mentioned earlier in the thread. It makes sense that Resources represents something you can't just easily counterfeit, and the 3 GP someone without resources has probably represents what you can steal, scrounge, or otherwise acquire without money or reputation, none of which a fake ID helps with. It also doesn't make sense that having a fake ID breaks the limits of how rich you can be (Well, it can, but I'm assuming the PC doesn't have an aggressive tax code for the ultra rich). Though while I don't see anything that says you can't do those kinds of shenanigans, I don't see anything that implies you possible CAN.

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
While it is mentioned that

While it is mentioned that yes, player characters use that week's time to do non-PC things, you have not mentioned Forks (which can churn out stuff like blueprints or programs or ALIs... Or simply manage his rep!), which would leave them the downtime weeks to do both the "normal living" and the "gear production" (granted, the rules do not authorize this explicitely, but taking into account both the Forks and downtime actions it is hard to forbid players to do so...).

As for "using those Resources means pawning stuff", I disagree. While it makes sense for Firewall to do so, since that way it can minimize the cost of all ops across the board (thus requiring less funding, thus making smaller waves to get it), for a character with Resources 4 his weekly "stipend" is more what his fortune produces (benefits, passive income, inversions...) than he "renting" what he has for extra OOooomph in the mission. Remember, at least in 1st ed it was mentioned tha Firewall would rent out YOUR morph during mission time to recoup some money too!
Anyway, I find the lack of a "social expenses" chapter quite worrying, since there is no description at all about what people do during downtime when it's not "munchkining" their way to gear "godhood".

What would a Resources 4 player do with his weekly downtime surplus wage? Scratch spaces. The system is big, and spies are like squirrels, always hiding acorns everywhere. Having a hidden cache of small weapons and gear, all passive and designed to spend a very long time without maintenance yet ready to be used at a moment's notice near the operations zone is quite the advantage, and, again, I find the lack of insights from the rulebook in that direction worrying: one of the "qualifiers" to be sent into a mission instead of another might very well be that Firewall knows (usually because the agent has reported so to his router) that he has hidden caches in the zone.

As for the fabbing stuff... As I've read often enough, obstacles don't mean you charge until something gives, obstacles means you get creative. Personally, I would have invested the whole team into other avenues, instead of simply looking for a private-owned fabber, or an illegal one (since the private ones would be monitored anyway, thanks to that simple "control their raw materials feed". For example, making the face and the hacker run a scam to find where maintenance fabbers are, mark one (not the most hidden, but the third most hidden if possible, the second most hidden if not) as out of service, and get there to "fix" it... to fast craft a fabber to make fabbers, since that one might be hard to keep controlled (and you can get as much feedstock as you can carry once the fabber has been assembled). Granted, this increases time... but any sentinel worth his name would run a fast calculation to see the optimal production method to assemble the required gear as fast as possible (requiring to assemble X fabbers, which work at Y speed, and churn out the required items in a Z total time, for a very simplified optimal = Z/XY).
In fact, going back to the "what is best to buy with your weekly allotment of money" and answer "scratch spaces", you want to have those with some feedstock (and some exotic materials), a fabber and some guns and armor (even if you are hacker!).
You would then have a list of things that, while legal, can be arranged to be waiting for you/fabbed fast, like Second Skin.

Reselling of requested implants can be done simply to the bodybank that lent the body, with a discount, incidentally.

Finally, while yeah, public fabbers will have a stack of products to print at all times as people needs things constantly printed and recycled (it is very likely that recycling is just throwing stuff to a big facility using some chutes), a good Body Bank will have some fabbers to print gear for their customers, specially if you can arrange for that gear to be printed while you are sleeved (for organic brains, at least) and recover from the aftereffects of resleeving. Granted, there it will be legal stuff only, but to avoid that means to start the mission clock as soon as the players are briefed and egocasted, instead of when all of the players have been sleeved (in which case, players would feel pressured to use cyberbrains always!).

To sum it up, a Firewall agent will have as many blueprints, ALIs and programs he can get his hands on, be it by crafting, buying or requisitioning.
Then he will have a list of scratch spaces, both his an Firewall's, with a basic list of contents.
Then he will have several lists of productions queues, that would be refined at full speed for the target habitat they will be operating at, so that he can equip his sleeve as soon as he is mobile, and then reach the crafting hub he wants to, where he will run his pre-programmed "shoplist"... and depending of the situation, it will all be "fast to print stuff" or "elite gear".

Fortunately, RPG games mean we don't have to actually do all that bookkeeping beforehand: it can be assumed that the Player Character has already prepared his lists, and tailored to the hab, so he can proceed with that.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
I would do what the Xagroth

I would do what the Xagroth here suggested... IF my GM let me. Unfortunately there need to be rules beside GM fiat so you can optimise logistics.

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Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
This is turning into less and

This is turning into less and less about how an aspect of the rules are broken, and more into "All players have infinite gear because it makes sense to me." Toss agents into a remote station and create an army of fully geared up drones and synths to fork into in about a day with exponentially cloning fabbers? Can't go a city block with tripping over a cache of high powered weaponry? Sure, whatever.

Do we really need explicit rules stating things like "If at any time the player is transporting over 10 GP worth of military-grade gear roll a 30% chance for every 1 km traveled in public that they attract 1d10 habitat security (See NPC card on page xx)..." or "For every week the scratch space has been left unchecked roll 1d100. The difficulty is the number of weeks since the last check multiplied by 10. Failure means the cache has been discovered by some enterprising criminal and looted." or other such highly specific rules for cases where players try and break the rules? Or is it sufficient just to tell the GM a few handy excuses to use if players try to hoard gear, and if players REALLY insist just give them a look and say "Dude, don't be a min-maxing smartass."

One can imply that, given the way the rules work, it's "perfectly valid" that the players can create all the things they'll ever need if you absolutely munchkin your way through the rules. It's also "perfectly valid" that enemy NPCs can do the same thing and have every entrance to a place watched by by a team of constantly watching infomorphs ready to unleash ceiling-mounted plasma rifles from every single ceiling tile (With the security system using physical links only from within the facility so it can't be hacked from outside). But they don't because it's assumed the NPCs are acting like people do instead of munchkining their way to godhood.

Pun-pun is also completely valid in D&D using rules-as-written. Doesn't mean that's how D&D should be played or that there needs to be specific rules for that case.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
This ^

This ^
What I meant: "There is a balance to be found"
If I want to make logistics focused character I want to be good at it without breaking the game. Unfortunately "on brink of post-scarcity" setting is prime for all kinds of munchkinism in this regard.

Unfortunately I do not have insights on how to achieve that balance with in-setting or mechanical means.

Edit:
Other than GM fiat.
But I told you what I feel about that.

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Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
If a player wanted to play a

If a player wanted to play a logistics-based character in one of my games, I would require that it be a bit more in-depth than "Infinite supplies on hand." I'd have them RP to set up supply lines for rare feedstock and make scratch spaces something a player has to RP out and make rolls to ensure they are indeed secure. I'd also push the player to focus on Rare items which, as a general rule, can't just be printed off at a printer and once the resources or rep test is made to "acquire" them may need further steps to actually lay their hands on it.

It's not a very common role to play though, most people don't want to play a merchant making sure goods reach the people who need them, so I don't exactly see them adding a bunch of rules for it. For niche things like this it's up to the GM to determine how to run things... and that's fine. That's their JOB. More than just reciting the game's plot and setting up the board, GMs are there to decide what happens when the rulebook doesn't have an answer: To allow players to attempt anything they can imagine. Of course, attempt and success are two separate things.

Hailspork Hailspork's picture
Compare Resources to Favors.

Compare Resources to Favors. Level 1 is similar to two minor favors/week. Level 2 is similar to one minor and one moderate favor/week. Level 3 is potentially greater than a major favor per week.
At least levels 1-2 seems fine; a 2-4 CP trait to gain half a bonus reputation doesn't seem like a problem to me; I doubt many characters even utilize most of the existing networks.