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Is Resource Management “Fun?”

I just wish you could have given an example. To say some game I've never heard of has a great system does not help.
Fine. S&V has an amount of Upkeep charged after each job. It goes up with better-quality ships, so as you improve your ship over time it gets more expensive. That Upkeep fee is taken out of the amount you earned on the job, and it is painful! If the job didn't pay enough (or your employer stiffed you...) you can be in a world of hurt.

It's possible to skip upkeep, but then you have to make rolls to see what goes wrong, and those can also be quite painful. If you're lucky, you can make it through a few skipped upkeeps. If you're not... Very bad things can happen.

None of that involved tracking X amount of air, Y amount of water, Z amount of parts. It's all abstracted.
You keep track of things or you don't: there is no middle ground that I see. The Archer has 20 arrows or infinite arrows. If you would say they have an impossibly high number of arrows like 500, then sure that is "less" then infinity, but it's still the same. If you say the archer automatically gets 20 arrows at the start of any encounter, again that is still infinite.
You're familiar with the abstraction that is hit points, right? It isn't necessary to track the location and severity of every single scratch your character gets.

In a similar way, you might have "supply points" that get depleted, but don't involve tracking every single thing you're carrying, or every single thing your ship might be lacking.

Ironsworn does something similar to this, with the added twist that your Supply is an actual (deplete-able) stat that you can roll against.
 

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bloodtide

Legend
I mentioned The Black Hack, an OSR version of D&D that uses Resource Dice. This is an abstraction, but it is not infinite arrows.

I mentioned Stonetop, where the player can take less ammo and then no ammo as a consequence for a partial hit. They can select other consequences, or they can select to drop to low ammo, and then to no ammo. Again, this is not infinite arrows.
Resourse Dice? Maybe I can Google that...
I've never heard of stonetop? But I like the idea of consequences. I've used the Splintered Shield rule from OSR and love it.


You're familiar with the abstraction that is hit points, right? It isn't necessary to track the location and severity of every single scratch your character gets.

In a similar way, you might have "supply points" that get depleted, but don't involve tracking every single thing you're carrying, or every single thing your ship might be lacking.

Ironsworn does something similar to this, with the added twist that your Supply is an actual (deplete-able) stat that you can roll against.
In general I find 'upkeep' and 'supply points' to be too abstract for an active game. Upkeep is fine for something in the background, like when the PCs own a tower. But fails when the tower is under siege or for a ship.

And once you track "supply points" , you might as well break everything down. Otherwise you get the way weird abstraction where things don't make sense. But it depends on the system.
 

And once you track "supply points" , you might as well break everything down. Otherwise you get the way weird abstraction where things don't make sense. But it depends on the system.
By the same token, once you track "hit points", you might as well break everything down and track each individual wound, right?

If you can swallow hp, I don't know why you can't swallow 'supply points'. They're no more weird an abstraction, in fact I think they're less weird.
 

reelo

Hero
Resourse Dice? Maybe I can Google that...

This is from Black Hack:

LIMITED RESOURCES
AND THE USAGE DIE
When an item described has Ud and
then a number after its name, it is
considered to be a consumable, limited
item. The ‘Ud’ stands for Usage Die, the
number indicating what size die it is. For
example, oil (Ud6) has a Usage Die of 1d6.
When that item is used its Usage Die
should be rolled. If the result is 1-2 then
the Usage Die is downgraded to the next
smallest die in the following chain:
Ud20 > Ud12 > Ud10 > Ud8 > Ud6 > Ud4
When you roll a 1-2 on a d4 - the lowest
die in the chain - the item is expended,
and the Character has no more of it left.

When tracking the Usage Die for
ammunition such as arrows and bullets,
roll the Ud after the combat is resolved.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You keep track of things or you don't: there is no middle ground that I see. The Archer has 20 arrows or infinite arrows.
I'm guessing the middle ground might look something like: the Archer has "20 arrows" written on the character sheet; and while each individual one doesn't get tracked, either the player or DM (or both) keep a vague head-space track of sort-of what's left at any given time without worrying about whether the Archer has shot exactly 10 or 12 or 14 this trip.

Might even come to the DM saying something like "Hey, Archerbald, you've done a lot of shooting lately and you lot haven't found any arrows on the foes; you got any ammo left?" and the DM and player working something out or just deciding ol' Archie's out of gas for now. Not my preference, but it's better than faux-infinite arrows.
 

I typically take the money directly out of their treasure without even telling them about it; so far everyone seems happy with this arrangement.
I take the money out of their treasure without even telling myself about it either. Basically all their treasure is deemed to be "net" of living costs and I don't bother working out what those costs were in the first place.

Or to put it another way, we ignore living costs.

But that's because we are playing Pathfinder, where every gold piece you spend on a room at the inn is one less gold piece you have to spend on upgrading your cloak of resistance. And not upgrading your cloak of resistance will eventually get you killed. So everybody becomes a miser, which isn't fun.
 
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Some of the most challenging games I'm in have very rationed resources. Spell components for powerful spells are nigh impossible to find so, when you find them, you covet them. Food and resources that make exploration challenges actually challenging really push enginuity and creative problem solving. Sure, I can use Create Food and Water every day but now I'm down a 3rd level slot every day. And, in another game, we don't have access to spells like that. We are in the middle of a poisonous swamp and tracking food is incredibly important as we decide whether to push further, counting our dwindling food supply, hoping we won't get delayed.

Edit: in one game, I've we've been in the wilderness for weeks and I have 20 bolts in a world where cross-bows aren't common. Every shot counts. If I miss, the bolt is gone with no way of buying more.

These games can be super-frustrating but I find overcoming the challenges quite rewarding.

I don't find that counting torches slows the game, since this isn't done 'in-character'. What takes the most time is making the big decisions over what course of action we need to do next. The hours of strategizing over what might only take 30 minutes of the game time.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Example, Darkest Dungeon. Not a table-top RPG sure, but that entire game is centered around "Resource Management" and is basically an homage to Old-school D&D.
Funny you should mention this game. Darkest Dungeon is based on a pre-existing TTRPG: Torchbearer by Thor Olavsrud and Luke Crane. ;)

Torchbearer itself may be a homage to old school D&D, but no one in the OSR community would consider it OSR by any means, especially since it's a mosidfied version of Luke Crane's Burning Wheel, which a fair number of people would actually call a "story game."
 

I actually disagree with this a bit, I think it's perfectly fine to say to your players "you no longer have easy access to supplies, until you make it back to civilisation, your resources will be tracked". While they do have easy access to supplies, I just don't see the point of that fine an amount of tracking.
Depth of campaign. Same reason they hear of events happening in the world near and far, developments within their families, fluctuations on the returns from investments, and so forth.
 

By the same token, once you track "hit points", you might as well break everything down and track each individual wound, right?

If you can swallow hp, I don't know why you can't swallow 'supply points'. They're no more weird an abstraction, in fact I think they're less weird.
The better game systems don't use hit points....
 

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