I found a bug in The Saloon design program that caused me to re-evaluate some of the math around Allegiances.
First of all the bug: On the Statistic Improvement Costs page going from 3 MV to 4 MV is 10 IP. However because of how I have to handle refunds in The Saloon, Dusters were only paying 5 IP to go from 3 to 4 MV. What this bug meant was Dusters were getting 12 IP worth of bonuses (+2 HP) but only 5 IP worth of penalties (-1 MV). Instead it should have cost Dusters the correct 10 IP to go from 3 MV to 4 MV.
This lead me to look at the math around Allegiances in general. Luckily it worked out better than I had expected, but it still exposed a glaring problem with Neotechnoists.
Here are the bonuses and penalties each Allegiance (besides the no effect Bandit) apply, as well as the IP cost to restore any penalties to the level of the default statistics.
Duster: +2 HP (12 IP), -1 MV (10 IP to restore)
Savage: +1 MV (12 IP), -1 RMC (10 IP to restore)
Neotechnoist: -1 RMC (10 IP), -2 HP (12 IP to restore)
What this shows is that Neotechnoists lose out in the sense that their bonus is only 10 IP worth (compared to 12 for Duster and Savage) and their penalty costs 12 IP to restore (as compared to 10 IP for the other two).
The end result is the current v1.2 (and earlier) Neotechnoist Allegiance is weaker than the other three.
Now for the fix. I could try to redo the math and make it all work out, or I could go for the easier, more flavorful approach. And that is to give the Neotechnoists another benefit that will take effect in v1.3 of the rules:
Neotechnoist Allegiance in v1.3: -1 RMC, -2 HP, $10 Wealth Refund from first weapon purchase
So basically the very first weapon a Neotechnoist purchases will be $10 cheaper to represent their wealth and easy access to technology, armor, weapons, equipment, etc. I think this is a great mechanism to further differentiate the Allegiances and to draw an even bigger line between the “well off” people inside The Wall and the struggling folks outside it.
Technically if we’re going by the 1 IP = $10 rule of thumb the Neotechnoist is still unbalanced, but I think the math doesn’t have to match up exactly, especially when RMC is one of the main statistics people are always eager to improve, so if the Neotechnoist became a clear Allegiance choice without any drawbacks you’d just see Posses brimming with them. This brings the Allegiance up to a similar power level, but still doesn’t dominate as a “must have” choice (which I always dislike seeing in games).
In other news look for v1.3 of the rules coming to a PDF link in the near future!