Friday, February 21, 2014

Ivory RPG - Budget

One of the most important and necessary part of an expedition is its budget. Everything is dependent on that budget. That budget shapes the goals and the ambitions of an expedition.

What rules do I need to write for budgeting? Almost none. As far as I can see, you need equipment and labor pricing lists. The rest boils down to Player vs. Player debates on where and how to spend that money.

I like that.

My wife points out that budgets are not static. That is, you can go back and ask for more money or raise more money. I don't entirely know where to go in that dynamic, but it certainly shows how to make the budget process even more complex.

That brings us to the very good question: where does the money come from? That answer reveals more complexity. Working with donors is a much different environment than working for a government, and that is much different than working for a sponsor, which can be further complicated with borrowing. In short, the people with the money get to have a say.

Your budget isn't even static. In many ways, your budget is an arbitrary magical number than can be fudged through a variety of player actions, but also brings with it any number of social and technical pressures that must be addressed.

This indicates that some social interaction rules need to be devised to facilitate these pressures and pushes, not between the players, but between the players and the sponsors.

In a larger sense, a budget is something that is finite that gets used up. Time must be budgeted for in addition to money. You can run out of time to travel into the mountains if you plan for too long. Likewise, food is a budget, as a traveling exploration train must ensure that it can resupply as it moves. Some of this can be solved early on, but no all of it.

What happens when you exceed a budget? That is called depletion. You now have a depleted resource. That doesn't mean that everything stops and you lose, it just means that a dynamic will change. Without money, you can't pay porters. Without food, you can't feed your people. Without time, you may have to change your goals.

I like that, too.

Post 1: Ivory RPG