Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Using Location to Change Item Availability and Form

Using Location to Change Item Availability & Form 

By: Jesse C Cohoon 

Many times in a game, when determining what’s available you’ll simply open up the appropriate source book and find the section marked “equipment” and maybe adjust the price for availability. But just because something is listed in the equipment section, does that necessarily mean that it should be available, no matter what as listed? I don’t think so. There are a few details that I think which should go into the determination: game level, technology level, climate

Game Level refers to how powerful the game characters are. Sometimes this is actually is counted in levels where a variety of advancements take place, including, but not limited to: hit point advancement, to hit and/ or to damage, skills, feats, magic spells, class abilities, as well as making them harder to hit. Other times there’s a “point based” system which certain advancements costs a set number of points, and the points handed out are quite limited. The higher the game level, the more unique and amazing equipment and other items that should be available for the players... if they know where to find it... even if that means back alley deals, or custom made items.  

Technology Level can be seen as set levels as follows: Tech Level Comparison Chart But just because there are these levels don't think of them as "hard and fast."  Science is constantly discovering that things that they thought were not possible at a technological level not only were - but were the very things that allowed them to function and thrive. Also some cultures may have developed this technological ability before others - and simply not shared the invention with the outside world for various reasons. The higher the technological level, the more advanced   

Climate/ Ecology are another way that an item availability can be changed. For instance in a dry climate a wetsuit might be unheard of. Conversely, a society underwater probably has no need of a wineskin. Another way that these may effect is in how good are handled - and shipped. If a place is very rainy, it may be quite difficult to air cure items and may pickle, can, or smoke them instead. These methods may change as the environment that they are transported taking on some of the characteristics of areas they're transported through. For instance a dried item that is shipped overseas may pick up the tang of salty air. 

Rarity is yet another way that an item's availability. The rarer the item in question, the harder it should be to obtain. Yet just because something is *rare* doesn't mean it's impossible. The PCs may have to look harder, do something unique, or even illegal/ immoral in order to get it.   

So next time someone says "I want to buy so and so item," consider these ways on how to affect their ability to get or find them.

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