View Full Version : Businesses and Organizations, can we fix them? [D&D 3.5]

2014-01-27, 11:26 PM
I recently took a look at the Business/Organization rules in the DMG2, because I had heard how useful they were. And I'll admit, they really are quite handy if you want to whip something up on the fly.

But upon closer examination... they don't really seem to hold up. The Organizations aren't as bad, the rules for making them are just very open ended, with loose guidelines of "An organization should provide a benefit in each of these areas".

Businesses on the other hand are full of hard coded rules, but those rules fall apart at close inspection. There is no relationship between Capital, Resources, and Risk, so someone making a new business can cherry pick whatever combination they want. If each value was balanced that might mean something... but instead we have a mess.

1) Capital: A cost that varies based on where you are starting your business. But having a higher capital never factors into your profit at all. There is no reason to ever not take a Low Capital business. Going from low to medium doubles the cost, medium to high doubles the cost again. Being high capital never gets you any benefit, ever.

2) Resources: This cost doesn't vary based on where you are. Going from low to medium multiplies the cost by 5. Going from medium to high multiplies the cost by 20. Yes, a high resource costs literally 100x more than low resources. And the benefit you get from this? A -4 penalty to your Profit check. By comparison, being low resources gets you a +1. So high resource business cost you tens of thousands more gold pieces of initial investment, and drops your income by between 25 and 250gp per month (depending on how risky your business is)

3) Risk: Your risk factor applies a bonus/penalty to your profit roll like Resource, but also determines the multiplier. So a low risk business has a +1 on the profit roll, but only gets Profit Value x 5. A high risk business gets a -4 on the profit roll, but gets Profit Value x 50. Assuming you're at the point where you can take a 10 and make money in either case (and yes, taking a 10 is explicitly allowed for all businesses), a low risk business might make 50gp, while the equivalent high risk business makes 250gp. Every month just like clockwork.

Obviously, the fundamentals here are borked. The Capital and Resources need to make more of an impact, and have a reason to want to get into a business with a higher startup cost. Risky businesses need to actually be risky, to justify their higher profit potential. But how to go about that?

The DMG2 does include a handy table for random business encounters that range from "A monster attacks your employee" to Sabotage and rodent infestations. It's explicitly "roll as often as the GM feels like", but could it be possible that a high risk business rather than getting big income multipliers gets random benefits/penalties from this more often, with income multipliers coming from Resources/Capital?

I don't know. I'm looking for ideas here. Anything for fixing up the general imbalance that is the business rules, or to make them more interesting. Also interested in any ideas for more in depth rules for Organizations/Guilds, ideally tying them together with business (after all, these places need to get their money somehow!). Anybody already done some work on this, or have some ideas they want to pitch?