Re: Need Advice On Using RPG Stats Or Not

#1
Okay, so short context I've been brainstorming and writing down stuff for a story idea I've had about a merchant and need advise as to whether or not I should use a Lit RPG system or not.

Long version, I had an idea to make a story about a merchant I don't know if I should do person from another world since they could have the potential to exploit their other world knowledge or just have someone from the story world become a merchant.  Setting is medieval fantasy and would focus on the negotiations, the different relationships built by said main character with their suppliers and more "unique" clients, and different types of items the main character sells such as monster parts, weapons, alchemical ingredients, armor and the like.  Not sure if I should narrow it down to specific things they sell or give it a wide berth.  Likewise the one thing I'm having trouble with is having a system for Lit RPG or not, I'm not sure which would be better or more interesting.  Lastly any ideas you might have on how I can solve how to set up a merchant empire would help as economics isn't my strong suit and aside from spending hours researching I'm still having trouble with that.

The story is meant to be a bit laid back so actual last question would be whether I should include the occasional corporate assassination attempt or having a hired adventuring team die.

Re: Need Advice On Using RPG Stats Or Not

#2
I think it's up to you. I used to dislike Lit RGG systems, because it felt too much like the transported into a game trope that's really popular these days. However, after reading some really good stories recently, my options changed, I think it's all about the execution.

As far a merchant empire, I'm not good with economics either, but I think setting up some kind of merchant guild would work. They have a bunch of merchants who are part of the guild to receive certain benefits like, less hassle crossing borders, less taxes, etc. In return, a portion of their profits go to the guild. Over time, a small guild could become an empire. They could gain control over shipping/land routes. I'm not sure if this applies, but maybe look into the East India Company.

Re: Need Advice On Using RPG Stats Or Not

#3
nolgalaxy Wrote: I think it's up to you. I used to dislike Lit RGG systems, because it felt too much like the transported into a game trope that's really popular these days. However, after reading some really good stories recently, my options changed, I think it's all about the execution.

As far a merchant empire, I'm not good with economics either, but I think setting up some kind of merchant guild would work. They have a bunch of merchants who are part of the guild to receive certain benefits like, less hassle crossing borders, less taxes, etc. In return, a portion of their profits go to the guild. Over time, a small guild could become an empire. They could gain control over shipping/land routes. I'm not sure if this applies, but maybe look into the East India Company.


Thanks I'll look up some stuff on the east india company, also didn't think about some benefits a merchant guild would give so thank you on that as well.

Re: Need Advice On Using RPG Stats Or Not

#4
Having RPG-stats is bad for a merchant.

1. Not everything can be easily represented by numbers. This is especially true for merchant related skills, since most of them deals with intangible stuffs. Facing a Lolicon, [Charm] stat becomes a joke... unless the MC is below 12 years old... but then, the MC will end up with problems against those with Gerontophilia... Jokes aside, let me bring up another hard to quantify item: Business Knowledge. Does it make sense if a higher stat result in lower profits? Well, read on...

An experience trader will never go all out on cutting prices; They usually leave a substantial margin of profit for the other side, creating a "Win-Win" situation. This is not without reasons. Switching roles, assuming you are now a blacksmith. After creating a new sword, will you think of selling it to Adam, the miser who fights relentlessly for every single coin... or will you think of the Bob, the guy that tosses in a few additional coppers above the "fair" price.


2. Stats represents hard limits. If a weapon needs 40 strength, someone with 38 strength will never buy it. This removes many opportunities for the MC to use interesting ways on selling seemingly bad products: Like selling wooden bucklers to a wizards. 

Theoretically, in high fantasy environment, spell-casters almost never use shields. However, when the wooden bucklers are repackaged from shields into back-blings or back-guards, sales of bucklers to wizards become possible. What's left is the use of persuasion skill to let the buyer understand: A back-guard is more important to a wizard than a chest-plate to a warrior.

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Next, I find that building a merchant empire is very difficult. Not for the MC, but for the author and readers.

The nature of being a merchant is to move around, buying low and selling high. Part of the fun is the adventure of going to new places, meeting weird people and finding unique items...etc. When the merchant tries to expand by having multiple fleets of caravans, he loses his freedom to travel. Someone has to coordinate all the various fleets. 

The core of the novel will shift from action/adventure into building/management. A skilled author may be able to merge the 2 seamlessly... but there are still chances that things will go bad: Those who are there for the adventure will abandon ship, while those who enjoy empire-building stories may not even pick up the book in the first place.



Personally, I think you should just focus on being a merchant and forget about the empire part...
Then again, this is simply my opinion, so you are free to ignore it and proceed with whatever plans you have.
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