Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bartering and Resources


Resources in Tribe 8, because of Vimary’s barter economy, don’t represent abstract wealth such as investments, trust funds, savings etc. They represent physical things the character has, or can reasonably get access to, and by extensive an abstract measurement of the character’s ability to trade for goods they need or want. Specialty Aspects for Resources are likely to be relic items, Fatimal artifacts, or flocks of sheep or herds of cattle.


Every character has a renewable stress track called Supplies, which represents the total of the character’s physical means such as food, clothing, and goods that the character can trade for other goods. The stress boxes for each Consequence on the Supplies stress track is equal to:

Resources + Craft + Other Modifiers = Number of Supplies Stress boxes (Minimum 1)

Supplies is a “hybrid” Mental/Social stress track, meaning that there are instances where either Mental or Social attacks can be made it against it or Social or Mental Abilities may affect it.

“Attacking” The Supplies Stress Track

Bartering (see below) inflicts Stress on the Supplies Stress Track, as does anything that might consume Supplies.

Daily Survival

Once a month, each character must roll their Resources versus a standard roll. Depending on the conditions, the GM may add an Intensity modifier to the standard roll. The difference is stress taken on the Supplies stress track.

Environmental Factors

Finally, the environment itself  can cause stress on Supplies. Being in a desert, surviving a severe winter storm, or journeying through Hl’Kar or the Rust Wastes will cause additional attacks on the Stress track at regular intervals (typically every day).

Surplus and Rewards

Surplus are items and supplies that are beyond what the character immediately needs. They serve as “armor” against stress to Supplies. Rewards are valuable items that the character recovers or receives, and can be used to add to barter rolls. Once a reward point is used, it is gone.


The exact nature of Consequences depend on the source. Consequences from attrition of supplies will reflect a scarcity of some kind. Consequences resulting from Barter may either represent a scarcity, or a debt owed or some other more social concession.

Replenishing Supplies

Supply stress boxes clear at the end of the Session. Consequences clear over time, with a Crafting roll versus a difficulty set by the severity of the Consequence.

ConsequenceTime RequiredDifficulty
MinorA dayNo roll required
MajorA week2
Severe (P)A month4
Extreme (P)Three months6
DefeatedA year8

In addition, characters can try to actively replenish Supplies through scavenging. Scavenging in this manner is an extended Perception contest versus a base difficulty equal to the difficulty above, plus further modifiers based on the environment. Each roll takes one day, which is completely dedicated to the scavenging effort. Spin on any one roll not only clears the Consequence, but grants the player either a +1 Surplus or +1 Reward (player’s choice).


Dealing with a barter economy like Vimary’s can be tedious and bland. Most people don’t want to keep track of every trade-worthy item that they have, nor do they usually want to roleplay every haggling transaction.

Bartering for basic food, clothing and supplies is assumed to happen on a regular basis and there is no need to roll. The ebb and flow of these transactions is represented by the regular attrition that the Supplies stress track takes every month. Once a character needs or wants a specific item, the Barter for it needs to be resolved.

First, the character must locate someone who has the item that they need. This is an extended Persuasion roll versus a difficulty equal to the Cost Rating of the item that is being sought, plus any additional modifiers the GM wishes to impose (for example, trying to find a very specific version of an item will increase the difficulty). Each roll takes one day, and Spin on the roll reduces the time spent searching for one day.

Once a source for the item has been located, actual bartering can begin. Unlike economies with currency, bartering is very subjective. Having too much of one thing can decrease its value, and only having items the other party isn’t interested in can break the deal. Barter is resolved as a Mental attack on the Supplies stress track, with the goal being to acquire the desired or needed item while simultaneously giving the other party something that is deemed to be of equivalent value in return.  All rolls are done using Persuasion, limited by Resources. Rewards (see above) can be used to add bonuses to the Barter roll. The GM may assign additional Edge bonuses if the situation warrants it, or Determination if the other party is sufficiently stubborn, there is nothing that they want or need, or are just  disinclined to barter.

Since bartering is social as well as economic, the end result is always that both parties get something that they want - or are convinced is of equal value. A barter, however, can be discontinued before the final exchange of goods takes place. When this is done, any Consequences that have already been suffered are automatically changed to Consequences more fitting for two parties that have had a bad interaction. For example, if during a barter one character decides to break off negotiations before a trade is made and has suffered a Minor Consequence, the Consequence might be changed to, “A Little Less Respected” or “Inconsiderate”. It may make others less inclined to Barter with them.

Deceptive Bartering

It is possible to use Deception instead of Persuasion for Barter. This is a risky proposition, since it usually does not take long for the other party to realize that they have been had - and might result in the stiffed party taking further action, including Social or even Physical attacks against the deceiver.