View Full Version : DM Help Skull and Shackles monetary help

2014-12-02, 01:44 AM
This post is for anyone running, or that has previously run, the Skull and Shackles AP. I'm finding that the economy of this AP is pretty intimidating for a novice GM. One big fat looming problem I just ran into is that one section of the AP says the PCs can take prisoners and sell them as slaves at 75 gp a head, while the section for Low Hanging Fruit (regarding raiding small villages) says they can take all of the villagers (55 in total) and sell them together into slavery for a single point of plunder. Plunder has a value of 1,000 gp per. If they sold the 55 slaves individually at 75 gp a pop, they would make almost 6,000 gp. What's to keep them from just selling them at the individual price over turning them into plunder and having to spend a day and make a DC check to get 1/6 the value? This seems like a pretty big oversight. Does anyone have any input on this? Thanks ahead of time.

2014-12-04, 09:56 AM
Most likely, this is a pretty big oversight.

If you want to keep these rules and need a fluffy explanation for the apparent discrepancy, I can offer two: 1. Quantity: Bulk sales often entail massive discounts. Unless there is an endless demand for slaves, flooding the market will eventually satiate it and prices will plummet. 2. Quality: Perhaps a "prisoner" is a "prisoner of war" - generally a reasonably strong, healthy individual. Villages contain a higher percentage of very young, very old, very sick or otherwise subprime human resources.

As a side note, what the hell, hero? :smalleek:

2014-12-04, 12:25 PM
Book one is notorious for not keeping up with wbl, but depending on how your players handle it, the actual piracy part should be enough to make up for it. My group really felt the burn of not having good gear by the beginning of book 2, but that's changing up nicely now that actual piracy has begun.

One of the drawbacks to the wbl situation in these books is that they count the players ship as part of their wealth, which, while accurate, means everyone in the party is down by 5000 gold based on their 'share' of the ship.

In terms of keeping the crew happy our group splits all of their treasure 5 ways. 1 share for each player and 1 share for the 'crew' to split amongst themselves, making the ships administration's take 20 times better than the swabs... Thats a way better wealth distribution than the difference between CEO's and their burger flippers.

My group even considered turning in their ship for a ketch, since it can be run by the party alone and is both a sailer and a rower for versatility. Only drawback there was the plunder capacity of the ketch. Then you don't need to pay a crew at all.

Lots of fun ways to handle it but if every ship they captured were sold as a prize ship, that can add up pretty quick.

2014-12-08, 05:36 PM
Thanks to both of you for your input.

@Vincent: yeah my guys started out all "damn, this is brutal." we had a fatality on the FIRST session. They kind of liked how fatal it all felt at first, but by the end of book 1 everyone was pretty much asking where is our payout? They had been putting up with being slaves for a whole 3 or 4 levels and hadn't had anything to show for it. Book 2 has been better, like you pointed out, since actual piracy is taking place. But there is still a huge elephant in the room regarding wbl. One of my players, who is usually our GM, is questioning whether I'm being a hard-ass or the AP is written this way, and when I show him the book he's like "damn, okay, but damn." I've made a lot of house calls just to keep the game fun, but when stuff like the slaves comes up and I don't have an answer, because I didn't write the book, I feel stupid.

@Berenger: I DO like the idea that warriors captured from a ship would be worth more than a bunch of villagers. I can see how a hull full of nobodies can just be assumed to be a plunder point, while anyone taken as a POW is probably worth the 75 gp a head.

I asked all of my PCs to give me a shopping list, more or less, of items they'd like to see for their characters. I'm planning on sprinkling in some more specific loot drops according to the locations and CRs of encounters, so they aren't just collecting sahuagin spears and trading them in by the bulk.

For as fun as the setting for this AP was made, I feel like they really muddied the waters concerning wealth and loot and just plain being a pirate.

Any other problems or things you guys run into before me and have to deal with, I'd greatly appreciate a heads up on how it was handled.

oh and a quick p.s. - nautical charts: they give a +4 bonus to profession (sailor) checks to navigate places, but there's no rule or rhyme to the areas they cover. are they just a few square knots? or an entire area of waterway between a few ports? the guidelines, well, don't really exist for them

Mr Beer
2014-12-10, 08:45 PM
Seems like a big discrepancy, but think of it a bit like any shady business. If you sell your cocaine to a high tier distributer in the US in 100kg parcels, you will get a lot less per gram than if you stand around hawking it in the projects. Or so I imagine. Anyway, I think you can see how it would be more convenient to make one major transaction than hundreds of smaller ones, in terms of risk and time.

Another factor is that when selling vast quantities of slaves, the price goes down. Primitive markets were inefficient, you are not selling these chattels on a futures exchange. Once all the local farmers and that guy with a small tin mine have gotten their cheap labour, just how many extra mouths to feed does the local populace want to take on? You're not going to buy a slave just for the hell of it, you either have jobs that need doing and some spare cash or you don't. So the price goes way down unless you are going to trail your slave collection around several towns.