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Confusion with Assets/Earnings/Economics

I’m reading the RPG core books for the third time before we start our game in 2 weeks, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the who Asset/Earnings/Economics rules. Mainly my confusion comes from the value of Assets. The example in the book uses “a suitcase of drug money worth 8 assets” seems like the GM decided the value of that case, but what about just general play? Does the asset value reflect the cost of an item? Do I come up with a value when they get something? If they need to spend 4 assets, and they dont have a suitcase of money, would they just take ____ item in possession worth 4 assets and be done? Like what if item is a helmet or something, does that still work?
It seems on a reread that Assets are:

Examples of assets include property ownership, credits, bonds, securities, rare coins, vintage vehicles, or other things with value should they be sold, traded, or bartered. Assets can also include valuable intangibles, such as threats, reputation, or services.

But that just confuses me more, how does determining value of assets work in actual gameplay?

Yes the theoretical/abstract economy system is somewhat confusing. I think Mõdiphiüs decided that the economy was so complex in the future, that simple prices weren’t a good enough way to describe it. In general as I understand it, the cost value for items listed in the core rules and source books, are straight up cash. However, the players can use assets in a more free way, if some assets are " intangibles, such as threats, reputation, or services ", for actual gameplay, it really is up to the GM to decide if the players are using strong-arm tactics as assets to buy a weapon or armor, or even just pain killers.

It does leave a lot up to the GM, but I try to see this is an opportunity to get some actual roleplaying moments when my players are acquiring items they need.

Selling items will still need a GM to make on-the-fly decisions how much a used item is worth, and even if they players can get the item sold where they are at the moment.

In the Fate rule core book, there are actual prices, I’m hopeful that Môdiphiüs will choose to use them in a future rules revision.

While i like the general idea and it’s a sound base in the theme of the World, for the economy is ■■■■■■ without reliable real time communication, it’s a pain in the ■■■ for the you as GM.
Another important point is: Assets are not really to be considered as additive, but more proportional.
As an example: While you may buy a Flashlight for one asset, but you don’t buy a Giacchio Forza 750 for 35 Flashlights…
Now you are going to reward your PCs with with low single digit assets for completed Jobs, looting and selling valuables and gear. Then suddenly…

Players:
“We combine our assets and buy a FIELDHAUSEN TYPE 54 ‘BAHAUS BULLY’ MAIN BATTLE TANK. Our Clan Magguire Player is good in negotiations, has contacts within Clan Fieldhausen and you said the imperial Military Base / Arms Dealer ins’t far from here!”

GM:
“WAIT WHAT???”

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Your response makes me rethink this stuff, so, say they loot/steal/reward/etc and I am giving them assets, do I tell them they find “# flashlights” worth __ assets, or, using small amounts, treat it like gold in D&D?

I guess that first answer would also answer this but, say they are purchasing something and their results make them owe 4 assets, would you then say something along the lines of “those 5 [flashlights] you have are valued at a total of [20] assets, you can use 1 of them to cover the remaining”?

I’m doing a bit of both. If they did a tough job, i usually give them back one or two reloads, maybe a not so bad weapon from time to time, or one restock for a med-kit. Most of the times, clues and hints are more important so the story continues.
With smaller, more flavor / character play and they look for loot, give 1-2 Assets in juwellery, coin and maybe recreational drugs. One PC has a heavy emotional trauma from her backstory, so giving chances to play with a medium alcohol addiction is neat trick to give something without to much worth.

Depending on the kind of campaign, you should think of ways for them to spend money, so they won’t bulldoze you with the accumulated wealth. Like i mentioned before. I try my best to errode the equipment, so it feels like natural wear and tear and needs replacement.

On the haggling side, i think it’s totally fine to add items to the deal. But you have to consider whats the situation and what does the NPC want?! My campaign keeps running after von Hölle, the city is tearing itself aparte, it’s in the middle of the Lunar night and big parts of the city have no power. So flashlights are more valuable then ever before. The reason i came up with the comparison…
While flashlights are a good currency and i encourage this kind of trades, this will change drastically after the next seven phases! Like selling refrigerators to Eskimos…

You don’t need to be realistic, just reasonable enough. I hope this helps.

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In reading more I swe asset rewards are a lot lower than I expected, like in the Dark Symmetry Campaign there is $50,000 worth 25 assets, and normal looting is much lower than I expected like single digits.