Thom, I still would like a simple solution for initial character creation that removes rolls.
I really don't have a solution for your (or my) problems particularly if we are throwing "no house rules" into the equation, short of using roll20 which I think you can use without the GM being online, which is still essentially dice and doesn't address the difficulty of finding items.
Only talking about shopping the end of character creation ends up taking as long as the rest as armour and weapons are purchased ang geists upgraded etc and is harder to keep track of with 4 players being unsure of what they can afford particularly with events saying " item worth 10 assets" etc
The rest of life path runs smoothly and relatively quickly. As everyone is rllig for the same things
That's alright, I still maintain the biggest complication that has been introduced from a practical point of view is the need to roll for asset expenditure when searching for a store. It has a few direct issues.
1) it is one of the very few cases where someone may roll more than an extra 3d20 - not explicitly stated!
2) easy for truely excessive over expenditure on a search for an item and still not afford it. (Classic while testing sheets was upgrading a Geist from 6 to 7, I allowed for a cost of 20, so spent 25 assets! , rolling 27 d20's was a bit ridiculous with the net result of only 18 momentum. Then rolling for the upgrade 1x1's, 1x2's and 3x6's netted a cost of 25! I don't think any player will be happy to waste that many assets, roll that many dice, and still not get what they were after. (Sure they can spend the excess cash on other items but only for that session)
NOT A SOLUTION but my thoughts of how I would prefer such a restriction/variable cost system to function.
1) Items have a firmer base price (increase the fixed portion, and scrap the CD) keep the restriction rating and tarrif.
2) The players indicate how much time they are willing to search for a bargain ( yes they can find every item on the planet, but which ones are convenient, of the right quality, price etc.) they then roll the search dice once regardless of how much shaping they wish to do. (2d20 + time allocated (0 die for one hour through to 3 dice for allocating 2 days To the chore) or infinity points) the result is used to compare to a table which lists the additional costs (and shortages) due to the restriction and tarrif due to the number of successes rolled. At character creation or if the players are between adventures they can effectively ignore the tarrif and restrictions as they have time to really bargain hunt, but in the middle of an operation finding a DEP quickly may be more costly.
3) When paying for items I would prefer assets to be automatically converted to make up any earnings shortfall. but rolling for each asset could still be done. I would also reduce a player earnings temporarily by 1 each purchase during a shopping expedition so a player with 6 earnings can get 21 credits discount over 6 purchases total, rather than being able to clear entire shops.
This would allow at the end of a session for a GM to say "you have 4 hours before target is due in the drop zone, we will pick up there next week, is anyone planning any downtime activities?." And if someone says they want to go shopping they can roll the dice to see availability and cost. And can consider their purchases before the next session.
Also makes it possible to have item type and/or regional tables for less restricted trade areas or alternatively more regulated ones (or simply getting a restriction 4 item in the middle of the paradiso jungle is very difficult) with little extra effort.
I think they have some neat ideas - I don't like the implementation. I would like to see Cash flow used in a Lifestyle roll at the beginning of a gaming session - It determines a number of assets or shortfalls applied to the characters bank (the cash he had on hand at the end of last gaming session) Shortfalls are removed from bank, assets may at the player's discretion be added to their bank (Conversion can be straight forward like 1,000 Oceana's per asset or you could do something there like Assets x Social Class x 1,000 Oceana's).
Then most goods would have straight up prices. Rare or Blackmarket items could use the acquisition test to determine if the player could find it and the impact to the cost (Though they still have a base value).
Oh and get personality out of the acquisition roll - again Social Class makes a lot more sense. Sticking personality in the equation stinks of trying to force a dog stat on players. I would think the fact that you come from a Hyper-Elite family ("The hyper-elite flit across interplanetary distances or rule over de facto fiefdoms rendered in their own image. Their control over their physical reality is almost unlimited, allowing them to realize their ultimate fantasies in flights of whimsy.") would serve you better with contacts than that you have "Charisma, comfort in social situations, and the ability to be threatening or charming as required."
So back on this topic - how do you guys manage in game role playing on negotiating pay / pricing? So a guy wants your group to do a job for him - he offers them 2.5 assets each? Not really immersive or conducive to role playing. Negotiating prices has always been a huge part of just about any game I have ever played.
I guess one option is to just go ahead and do it normal - the group agrees to get the data for the guy for the sum of 10,000 Dinar, but then out of roleplaying how do you practically distribute it to the players? How many Assets is 10,000 Dinar worth?
I would like to hear how other people are managing obfuscated money.