Hello all! Economy in LARP can often be a headache or sometimes not be very well fleshed out and poorly serve it's purpose. In Alterra we spent a lot of time in development discussing an in depth economy and how it works. To that end there's some layers we added to Alterra Economy to hopefully make it very robust.
The first element is having something actually tangible and feels good to facilitate the economy. To that end we have invested in a bank of metal coins, gems, as well as other planned physreps to make the world economy as tangible as possible. This is a bit of an expense but we feel it is worth it for the immersion it brings. Logistically we intend to distribute wealth at check-in and collect it back at check out. This keeps our cost of replacing physreps down from being lost by players taking it home.
In Alterra there is Silver coins and Gold coins. 10 Silver coin equals 1 Gold coin. Players may freely offer and exchange these coins for goods and services at their own discretion. In game money will never be exchange for real money and any players caught doing so will receive a rules violation. You can however choose to offer certain non-mechanical goods and services, such as food/cooking, in exchange for silver if it is all done in character and in game.
The ideal game immersion would be to have physreps for every material in the game, but this is a heavy cost and will take time for us to implement. As a practical solution in the meantime, we will use item cards for most materials, intermediary crafting parts, weapons, armor, and other items. It is possible rarely we may use these cards for other physreps and purposes for which we already have them if we run out of physical coins, gems, etc. Item cards can be kept by players since they are virtually little cost to us, but please keep in mind if you lose them or they get damaged, we cannot promise to replace them, so please keep track of them with care.
Making Money in Alterra
It can be daunting figuring out how to make money as a new player (sometimes even as a vet!) but in Alterra there is no lack of opportunity.
First there is a Jobs System, which are tasks and jobs offered by staff controlled platforms for various tasks that players can do as their Player Character and earn Silver for their work. This can be jobs such as running a clerk position (shops), kitchen duties (tavern), guard duty, and many other things. Entrepreneurial Players could even offer jobs themselves if they decide to start a business venture. In any case, the standard starting wage is 2 silver per hour, which is paid upon the end of a shift. Just like any job there usually is some kind of application process (for many a simple 2 minute interview as your PC), and there are requirements and standards, meaning if you fail to do your job you could get fired!
Secondly, there is a comprehensive system of both Material Gathering and Crafting Classes, which players can offer goods and service for plants, metals, glyph components, and other critical materials players need to thrive, advance, and survive. We have aimed to make these sections expansive enough that a player can choose to focus solely on these professions and skills and still have enough to do as well as advance into to fill a weekend with their own goals and tasks.
For the adventurous types, The Adventurer's Guild offers quests, which can come in all kinds of flavors. Some quests may be open to whomever can complete it first, or be commission based and only be given to one person or group at a time. Quests are posted on the Quest Board for all to see. There are also rumors of a Thieves Guild and Black Market who may offer more nefarious tasks for the more unscrupulous types.
Then for the Scholarly Types, there is the Scholar's Guild and Library, which specializes in research and collection of works for public study. The Scholar's Guild is often looking for the general public and adventurer's to submit works of history, art, research, and many other works, which they will pay silver to purchase these works from Players. A work that is comprehensive and well illustrated could potentially fetch a very handsome price. Practically this allow us to award players in an immersive and rewarding way for building our library of physreps for game knowledge and helps us to create a large practical and informational resource for players in game to learn about the lore, mechanics, and functions within Alterra. The payment will based on the length, quality, and accuracy of the work, which is graded on a Ranking System. More on these standards for their acceptance will be posted separately in other forum post.
Stabilizing Economy and Prices
One error that can easily occur in many games economies is inflation and runaway pricing. To combat this we will be implementing a number of central platforms to help stabilize the economy. One platform will be the Bazaar, which is manned potentially by a player who has the clerk job for it. The Bazaar is a central location where players can buy and sell raw materials and certain items that other players can purchase. This creates a central platform where even if players don't always attend the same game or have direct connections in game with each other, it allows for an easier flow of materials and goods in the game, therefore stabilizing pricing of materials with a standard buy and sell price.
Another sometimes overlooked element of a healthy economy is having enough places to spend money. An easy example of this is providing regular food and drink in exchange for silver. As a personal note, my philosophy of spending money on these things also needs to be bookended by having easy and regular methods to earn money so that it does not feel bad to spend money on regular necessities (such as the jobs system). What this looks like is being able to do a number of easy tasks such as cleanup for just a couple short hours in the weekend and earning enough silver to pay for a meal at the tavern and what you receive feels reasonable for the work put in.
I will constantly be watching with the development team to analyze how good the economy feels for earning and spending money. If something feels too difficult or too easy, we can make adjustments thru minor tweaks across all these mentioned platforms so that players feel they have adequate opportunities to engage in an economy that looks and feels enjoyable. This is obviously a very ambitious endeavor for an already comprehensive LARP, however we truly believe that these things are achievable with enough effort and feedback. We are committed to providing a truly immersive experience for Live Action that even if you don't play a traditional fighting hero, there is enough to do and see in Alterra to be worth attending regardless.
This forum post is intended both to be an orientation to this system as well as collect ongoing feedback from the community on their experiences with the system. We may occasionally make separate posts on this topic, but otherwise you can post your thoughts, feedback, and questions on this post concerning economy and we will be glad to respond to them. Thanks for being a part of the world of Alterra!