Thursday, January 2, 2020

Route Maps

This page describes the method I’ve used to locate routes on a 20-mile hex map. The table shown indicates the primary route that exists in a hex with a minimum infrastructure ~ a high road if infrastructure is 100 or more, a low road if 35 or more, a cobbled road if 20 or more, etcetera. If multiples of this number exist (for example, if a hex has an infrastructure of 200), then the number of primary routes also increases (200 = 2 primary routes = 2 high roads).

It should be noticed that a hex with 70 infrastructure would have two low roads, but a hex with 105 infrastructure would have a high road as its primary route. Likewise, there cannot be a hex with two cobbled roads, as a hex with sufficient infrastructure would have a low road as its primary route.

I start with those hexes that have the highest infrastructure, thus locating the most important routes first. Lesser routes can then be located in progressively less important hexes.

I begin by having the primary route link up all settlements within a given hex, if there are more than one. If there is only one settlement, or none at all, then I skip this step.

For 35 Infrastructure or More

After linking settlements inside the hex, the primary route should extend outwards to the edge whichever adjacent hex possessing the highest infrastructure. It should not go further than the edge of the hex; it is left to the next hex over to “finish the route.” This will mean, occasionally, that the route will change its nature; this is intentional.

If the originating hex has multiple primary routes, these should lead to the highest adjacent hexes. An originating hex cannot send out more than six primary routes (and sometimes less, if shorelines deny access to adjacent hexes).

Once the primary routes are set, I add two secondary routes to the next two highest adjacent hexes. The secondary route is one degree less than the primary route. Therefore, if the primary route were a high road, then the secondary route should be a low road.

Any remaining adjacent hexes that possess infrastructure should be then linked to the main hex by a tertiary route. This would be two degrees less than the primary route.

The precise path of each routes is left to my whim. Settlements are usually the origin of a hex’s routes; if no settlement exists, I will use a place along the coast or a point on a river, wherever it seems most logical.

If a part of a hex is reduced to a sliver in size by the shape of the coastline, then I do not account for the route from that part.

In the event that I must choose to place a route to only one of two hexes that have the same infrastructure number, the route should go to both, regardless of the general rule.

For 12 to 34 Infrastructure

The rules above generally apply, except that there is only ever one primary and one secondary route, and there are no more than two tertiary route. This means that for hexes with this amount of infrastructure, there are always two hexes for which there is no route.

If a created route will predictably result in a non-connection with an adjacent hex (though that hex may have a high infrastructure number), then place a tertiary route to that hex and reserve primary and secondary routes for where a link up is possible. Presumably, non link-ups will indicate further access by animal trail, where goods must be ported by humanoid, donkey or mule.

For 6 to 11 Infrastructure

The rules above generally apply, except that there is only ever one each of the primary, secondary and tertiary routes. This means that for hexes with this amount of infrastructure, there are always three hexes for which there is no route. The primary route for these hexes will be a cart track.

Otherwise, this conforms to rules above.

For 5 and less Infrastructure

Hexes with 3-5 infrastructure have two routes, a primary and a secondary. Hexes with 1-2 infrastructure have only a primary route. Hexes without infrastructure have only animal trails.


Former Market Trade Routes

As my game world has formerly created trade routes based on the shortest distance between market cities, this has some influence on route placement. Regardless of the above rules, routes must exist (as logically as possible) along these trade routes.

The route must be a cart track or better, meaning that trade routes may not always indicate the “best” thoroughfares between locations, only the shortest distances.

The infrastructure map indicates a trade route with a thin black line through its centre.

NOTE: in applying these steps to actual maps, mistakes will occur. Occasional incongruities are a feature, not a bug.


See Also,
Adventure, the
Travel

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Routes

These are byways and thoroughfares on land that have been engineered in places with sufficient infrastructure. The term may be used to describe any route that has been made, either by humanoids or by the passage of animals. Areas with a high infrastructure will include better and more operative roads, whereas back country lands will offer little except pathways and animal trails. Thoroughfare types are listed below:

High Road. Paved surfaces with continuously maintained even surfaces of stone blocks or concrete. Offering a smooth, firm purchase and drainage. The wide and comfortable roadstead will easily accommodate two wagons at minimum, and sometimes up to three or four wagons. High roads will include toll bridges of stone construction across rivers up to 20 pts. Non-toll bridges will cross any river equal or less than 6 pts. Ferries will exist for rivers up to 24 pts. Transhipment will be available for any size of river.

Low Road. Paved surfaces with sporadic maintenance, generally made of smooth paving stones and mortar and some drainage. The roadstead nominally allows for two wagons to pass, though in places this space will be tight. Low roads will include toll bridges of half-timbered construction across rivers up to 15 pts. Non-toll bridges will cross any river equal or less than 4 pts. Ferries will exist for rivers up to 24 pts. Transhipment will be available for rivers up to 60 pts.

Cobbled Road. Uneven surfaces with sporadic maintenance made of rounded stone “cobbles” and mortar, with minimal drainage. A dirt shoulder, often muddy or lacking for hundreds of yards at a time, allows wagons to pass. Toll bridges of wooden or half-timbered construction will cross rivers up to 10 pts, being narrow enough for one vehicle at a time (no passing). All bridges will have a toll. Fords will cross rivers up to 12 pts. Ferries will exist for rivers up to 18 pts.

Dirt Road. Surfaces made of earth, clay and loose stone materials, with minimal maintenance and often muddy and unevenly surfaced. Areas may be worn away to a layer of roots or may be ingrown with plants. No drainage. Wagons will pass with difficulty, with one forced off the road. Wide enough for a wagon and cart to pass. No bridges of any kind. Fords will cross rivers up to 6 pts. Ferries will exist for rivers up to 12 pts.

Cart Track. Little more than two ruts, often with a centre mound, with surrounding wilderness cut back to allow two carts to pass one another, with chance that one will become entangled in vegetation or risk slipping off the track’s grade. Wagons will not be able to navigate the track. Grass and scrub will cover the track up to one foot high and occasionally must be removed from cart axles. No bridges or ferries. Fords will cross rivers up to 4 pts.

Cart Path. Similar to cart track, but used so infrequently that vegetation has encroached upon the road, so that it must be physically held back or cut away. The centre mound scrape the axles and, occasionally, the cart will need to be levered over humps. No bridges, ferries or fords.

Path. Humanoid-made route, unsuitable for vehicles, typically a flat clay surface between four and six feet wide. Surface often covered with roots or scrub, with brooks and rivulets that must be jumped. Occasional places where the path squeezes between trees or rock outcroppings. Rock falls or avalanches will sometimes have buried the path in mountainous places.

Trail. Animal-made route, variably surfaced and very uneven, with splits and breaks that must be jumped or crossed with make-shift methods, such as a log. Trails are one to two feet wide, and may quit at points and require searching to pick up the trail again, further on.

Less fabricated roads will inhibit ease of travel, primarily in the number of loops and curves per mile of actual progress. Paths and trails in particular will wind considerably and include many places where steep grades must be negotiated. However, even this will be better than travelling through pure wilderness.

Travel per Day

Better surfaces, drainage and route design makes walking or riding easier, so that travellers will prefer to walk on high and low roads than on tracks or paths. Distance travelled per hour is measured by the lowest number of action points among members of the travelling party, as determined by encumbrance. For the purpose of granularity, distance per hour is measured in furlongs, each being a length of 220 yards. There are eight furlongs to the mile.

The use of this measurement will seem unfamiliar and even distasteful at first, but we may benefit by having a clearer, more tactile notion of how far is travelled in a day or an hour. Common use during the campaign will overcome resistance to the measure’s use, while adding a medieval flavour to the game’s atmosphere.


The table shown indicates the distance that can be travelled either per day or per hour, per action point of the slowest member of the party. Travel can be done at four different paces: at an amble, at normal speed, in a hurry or in a rush. It is good to remember that a day of travel indicates ten hours of combined movement and rest.

An ambling pace allows many stops, opportunities to speak with other travellers and locals, and gives a good sense of the environment travelled through. This is called discovery, which enables learning by seeing and through communication with others. An ambling party will notice signs and features along the way that might otherwise be missed; and will be less likely to be surprised by an encounter. Furthermore, ambling helps the players to remember a route, and to enjoy themselves as they journey.

A normal pace indicates a good, steady walk of 4 mph. If on foot, eight out of ten hours will be spent walking and two resting and eating. If mounted, the party’s animals may be ridden for up to six hours, walked for two and rested for two. There may be a little time to speak with others moving in the same direction as the party, but little more than a greeting or a quick jibe is given to anyone else. The party will feel moderately footsore at the end of the day, and will have already forgotten the route a few days later.

If in a hurry, the party will reduce their time resting to one hour a day rather than two, using the additional hour to hasten forward. This pace will tire them, so that in the last two hours of the day’s travel they should count their strength reduced by 1 point. They will spend the day overtaking others and, often, appearing somewhat rude to strangers, who will not be noticed as the party moves ahead. Much of the route will not be seen at all.

Finally, moving in a rush cannot be done for more than two hours. This represents the players choosing to push on with all dispatch, in a last, desperate effort to reach a destination, lodging or an encampment before the day’s end. It may also be employed to take the best possible advantage of a day’s fading light. Whatever the length of the rush, the party must rest for twice as long, immediately after ~ this does not, however, compromise a party’s ability to set up camp.

Parties must choose the pace that works best for them, depending on how anxiously they are to arrive at their destination. It is sincerely hoped that the party might recognize that their day can be divided between one pace and another; it is for this reason that distances are given in hours as well as in days.

See Also,
Adventure, the
Forced Activity Checks
Route Maps

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Travel


Describes the movement of characters between geographical locations, whether done on foot, animal mounts, vehicles or watercraft. Movement is calculated through encumbrance, which determines how fast individuals can move depending upon their strength, whether or not they are walking or mounted, and how much baggage and other goods they are carrying with them.

Travel is also limited by the surface being travelled across. Routes are engineered byways that allow overland travellers to avoid the wilderness and overcome rivers and other natural obstructions. Wilderness can make travel difficult, and is best approached with skills that allow travellers to orient themselves, forage for food and overcome topography and weather through pathfinding and other scouting knowledge.

Sea travel necessitates the use of ships, which due to their cost are more often used by travellers as temporary quarters than as owned property. Magical travel is accomplished through spells and magical items.

Other matters for consideration include the influence of the season, the dangers of unknown places, the need for supplies, sustaining oneself against crude or harsh circumstances, encounters with monsters, knowledge of localities and recent events, communication with other travellers, finding temporary lodging and the exploration of unknown areas. These circumstances require a considerable number of skills, as well as innovation in order to survive in the worst possible conditions, while retaining a state of dignity and civilization.

See Adventure, The

Monday, December 2, 2019

Clay Materials (sage study)

Provides the character with a complex understanding of plastic materials, allowing knowledge of clay deposits and their location and the preparation and addition of minerals. Lack of this knowledge requires the character to purchase prepared materials for making earthenware, stoneware or porcelain. The study also includes the modification of clay to produce unusually hard materials or to imbue magical properties.

Amateur
  • Find Clay: enables location of serviceable clay deposits and useful clay minerals.
  • Prepare Glues and Acids: readies these compounds for use in fusing and etching ceramics and glass.
  • Ready Clay: prepares earthenware clay for use in modelling, glaze or sculpture (see Fine Arts), ensuring the practicality of flux and shaping.

Authority
  • Etch Glass: allows use of acids and other materials to effect the surface of blown glass; requires amateur glaze ability to produce artistic work.
  • Hardened Materials: increases the density of clay materials, with knowledge of how to shape and prepare ceramics as weapons and sling missiles.
  • Ready Stoneware or Porcelain: prepares kaolin and mineral compounds as materials for the making of high quality translucent ware.

Expert
  • Potion Bottle: required knowledge to create ceramic vessels that will sustain the useful effects of magical potions indefinitely.

See Bard Sage Abilities

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Clay Masonry (sage study)

Distinct from construction in that the study describes building materials formed of baked and unbaked clay, earth and other mineral organic materials, most notably brick, tile and moulding. Course materials are primarily used for the making of individual homes, whereas brickwork is a popular medium for constructing multi-storied buildings and even monolithic structures, such as ziggurats, baths, canals and extensive raised gardens. Clay masonry is often used as an additional expressive and practical augmentation of wooden or stone building forms, for roofing, flooring and pipes, as well as for decorative shaping and motifs.

Amateur
  • Adobe, permits the making of domicile structures of mudbrick (unbaked clay), up to 10 feet above the ground, usually structured so that the floor is sunk up to 5 feet below ground level. Allows ceilings up to 15 feet between earthen walls. Includes structures made from subsoil, fibrous organic material and straw.
  • Brickwork, enables the making of bricks from raw materials, and the creation of block shapes and vertical walls, and structures, where the height to bed ratio of no more than 10:1, with an overall maximum height of 20 feet.
  • Kilnwork I, permits the making of small crude kilns and knowledge of how they are properly cared for and stoked. The skill allows for creating kilns of sufficient heat to anneal and fuse glass and make all forms of ceramics. The study also allows for the making of kilns to dry materials such as tobacco, malt or lumber. Any kiln can be employed by the character.
  • Tile-work, enables the making of tiles from raw materials, and the simple covering of floors and roofs, providing a flat surface and structure waterproofing.

Authority
  • Brick House-making, combines brick, adobe and tile-working skills to make a domicile structure of these materials up to four stories in height, with a height-to-base ratio of no more than 15:1.
  • Forge-making, enables the construction of a brick-smithy that will enable the heating and tooling of raw metal.
  • Kilnwork II, permits the fabrication of high quality kilns, sufficient to smelt small amounts of ore, heat limestone or act as a crematorium.
  • Moulding, the use of ceramic or wooden materials to cover transitions between surfaces or for decoration. Requires additional skill in glazing, metal work or sculpture to give additional decorative quality to moulding.

See Bard Sage Abilities

Monday, November 25, 2019

Ceramic Ornament (sage ability)

Enables the amateur ceramic glazer to transform a pre-existing modelled article of clay pottery, stoneware or porcelain into a warm, idiosyncratic object that has the potential to be immediately adored by a character for the sake of its dilettante quirkiness and modest imperfections.

Making

Unless the glazer also possesses sufficient skill to make the ceramic to be transformed, the object must be obtained from a potter of at least amateur ability, prior to the object being fired. The glazer then makes the flux, decides if the object requires an underglaze or overglaze, as well as other considerations that may apply, and these together are fixed to the object in order to create an ornamental piece. This may be any aesthetic object made of ceramic, such as a cup, pitcher, bowl, plate, spoon, urn and so on. The object is limited in size to the hand span of a typical human, or seven inches in diameter.

A minimum of tools is required to mix the flux and apply it ~ a small putty knife, brush, half a dozen pots for mixing the flux, a hand fan for drying, with other materials to be named. The image may be of any conceived variety, including geometric patterns or even just the effect of a rich or desirable color that catches the light. Application of the design will be 2-5 hours, with each turn in the kiln taking a full day, to fire and dry the piece. A kiln worker can be hired if the character does not own a kiln, or does not know how to operate one. The cost of materials and kiln varies depending upon where the work is being made.

Most probably, the glazer will need to make several attempts at the object. A success upon the first try is 5%, +5% cumulatively per attempt thereafter. Thus, a glazer would have a 25% chance of success on their fifth try. If the glazer is not operating the kiln, another attempt can be made while the first object is fired; or several attempts can be made and fired all at once. Success cannot be determined until after the ornament has been fired.

Objects made after the first success will continue to increase in likelihood (so that some efforts may yet fail), but after a measure of 100% has been reached, the glazer may continue to turn out like objects, each requiring no more than two hours per ornament.

Appreciation & Benefits

Once the ornament can be regarded as a success, the glazer should then share the piece around for others to view. Of those who see it, 1 in 20 will regard it as something special enough to want it for their own. The actual value will not be high ~ approximately three times the typical cost of the original ceramic. The glazer may charge for the ornament or give it away ~ but none of the benefits for generosity listed below will accrue to the maker of the ornament.

The character (NPC or Player) who then possesses the ornament will quickly begin to adore and appreciate it as something sentimental, so long as it is not broken or otherwise ruined. Once a week has passed, the pleasure of using or handling the object for a minute a day will convey a sense of well-being that will affect the character’s good spirits, particularly with respect to others. Whatever act of selfless acts the character might perform, in the way of spells, work done, kindness provided and so on, gains a 10% bonus. Acts must be truly selfless for the bonus to take effect.

A healing spell would heal 10% more hit points, work would be performed 10% faster, an effort to save a person by carrying them from danger would increase the encumbrance capacity of the ornament’s owner by 10% and so on. Risking all to defend a helpless friend would add 10% to the d20 roll. Further examples may be included here once they have presented themselves in play.

A single character only has enough personal love and adoration for one such object, sadly.  A character may possess both a ceramic ornament and a keepsake, with both active; but the effects cannot be combined.

Generosity

If two persons or more, viewing the object while still in the possession of the glazer, both roll a 1 on a d20, it should be noted that the object cannot be shared. However, the first person to renounce the object out of generosity for their peer, will gain a +20% bonus to all selfless acts that day (while the new owner would receive no benefits for another week). No other immediate benefits would be gained by the generous character after the day had ended (count sunset as the end of each day, with the new day beginning immediately thereafter).

However, should the ornament ever come back to the generous character, as a legacy of the owner who has passed on or has retired their character from the campaign, the ornament then becomes a keepsake. As a keepsake, the piece will now benefit its new owner in the ways described above, AND the new owner will also gain a +1 to the ability stat matching the primary attribute of the previous owner. For example, if the previous owner was a cleric, the new owner’s keepsake would increase the new owner’s wisdom by one point ~ so long as they used or handled the object pointedly that day.

Once the object is broken, all benefits are lost. There are no negative penalties for a broken ornament.

See Glaze

Glaze (sage study)

Provides skill in adding an impervious layer or coating to ceramic forms, including the decoration and artistic expression possible as the glaze is applied. Glazes have a wide variety of forms, incorporating wood ash, feldspar, lead, salt and tin, in addition to other ceramic fluxing agents. Skills in glaze also apply to enamel or the application of gold leaf. Any ceramic material, including bricks and roof tiles, can be glazed.

The chief impact of bardic glaze as a study is in its aesthetic appeal and the creation of a beautiful object, which can affect the possessor of the object experientially and passionately. Objects that are superlatively glazed can also bring wealth and social status to the maker.

Amateur
  • Flux I, enabling the character to mix and apply ceramic flux to earthenware pottery, stoneware and porcelain, to seal the vessel and make it waterproof.
  • Ceramic Ornament, an inspired embellishment of made ceramic, conferring sentimentality and personal value to other persons.

Authority
  • Ceramic Object of Art, a professional embellishment of made ceramic, like an ornament but additionally conferring a legitimate tradable value, as well as further personal benefits to the owner.

Expert
  • Ceramic Thing of Beauty, a fabulous embellishment of made ceramic, like an art object but additionally offering a sense of respect and appreciation, even from those unaware of its value.

Sage
  • Ceramic Masterpiece, an embellishment of surpassing excellence, like a thing of beauty but of such astounding appeal that it accumulates a quality of fame.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Modelling (sage study)

The act of making ceramic ware, such as pots or vessels, figurines and other objects, formed most commonly on a potter’s wheel. The study includes some knowledge of the mechanics and tools of making pottery, including the use of a kiln to fire clay. Some natural aesthetic is included in the study, as the natural color of the clay is brought out by the firing process, but the study does not include any special knowledge about design, materials, nor even the building properties of pottery fashioned for endurance.

Amateur
  • Pottering, the art of making earthenware pottery from clays that are fired at low temperatures, in pit-fires or bonfires. When fired but left unglazed, the final result is called “biscuit,” and is an intermediate stage. The potter is not ordinarily able to make specialty glazes, but is able to make an ash glaze from various kinds of wood or straw.
  • Putty & Knife, enabling the repair and preparation of pottery vessels, so that they can be made to save at +3 (or count as a “save” when the vessel can be repaired after the break), or vessels can be made to break with a +3 bonus when hurling oil and holy water, or when otherwise desired. Also counts as a bonus proficiency, doing 1-2 damage.
  • Wheel Balance, which gives much experience with the smooth movement of wheels, which allows application to the potter’s wheel and wheels for other varied purposes.

Authority
  • Glassblowing, enables the process of inflating molten glass with the aid of a blowpipe to produce bottles and other vessels. The ability includes the annealing of glass and great skill at producing multiple vessels that are very like to one another.
  • High Pottery, the application of pottery skills in the creation of stoneware and porcelain, as well as with figurines. The ability allows extensive use of jiggering and jolleying to produce more elaborately shaped objects.
  • Kilnwork I, permits the making of small crude kilns and knowledge of how they are properly cared for and stoked. The skill allows for creating kilns of sufficient heat to anneal and fuse glass and make all forms of ceramics. The study also allows for the making of kilns to dry materials such as tobacco, malt or lumber. Any kiln can be employed by the character.

Expert
  • Kilnwork II, permits the fabrication of high quality kilns, sufficient to smelt small amounts of ore, heat limestone or act as a crematorium.

See Bard Sage Abilities

Use of Materials (sage study)

Provides extensive knowledge into the use of materials to improve stresses and strains on structures, through advanced mathematics, the understanding of chemistry and engineering and the properties of materials such as their yield strength or plasticity. This understanding allows the architect to give greater strength and aesthetics to an architectural design, while reducing the amount of materials needed.

In terms of game-play, the study provides basic abilities in choosing materials and towards increases in the other three architectural studies, aesthetics, construction and fortification. DMs and players with practical knowledge in the subject may wish to enhance the study in novel ways; here, only a simple approach to the subject is employed.

Amateur
  • Material Tradecraft, granting one ability to the architect, gained through interacting with building sites. The character chooses from masonry, pottering, prospecting, puddling or stonecutting.
  • Strengthen Material, so that stress on the material is reduced, allowing the need for less overall material to be employed in making the structure, thus saving on costs and time required to build while achieving the same overall results.

Authority
  • Insulate, improving the comfort of interior spaces against extremes of heat or cold through the use of natural or growing materials, enabling a thermal equilibrium of pleasant temperatures.
  • Lighting, improving the manner in which exterior light is allowed to reflect and spread through the interior of a building, by means of reflective material. The technique increases work flow and reducing the overall amount of artificial light and associated costs thereof.

See Bard Sage Abilities

Fortification (sage study)

Provides knowledge that enables the character to design defensive military fortifications such as walls, towers, harbours, mottes and baileys, gates, drawbridges and siege engines. The knowledge extends to making plans ~ for the most part, actual construction may take years and even decades, and can be performed by simple labourers under the guidance of skilled workers.

The study includes a knowledge of how nature can be used to provide the most effective natural defences, such as large hills, cliffs, rivers, lakes or even caves. Additional details, such as machicolations, crenulations and parapets, are part of the study. The actual construction of these things is dependent upon others, but the architect can explain how they are made and where to place them for best effect.

Amateur
  • Defensive Obstacles, providing the character with training in the making of field fortifications such as abatis, caltrops, cheval de frise and trou de loup. Ditches, earth or sand filled gabions and revetments, used collectively to make a military camp improvement also counts as part of the ability.
  • Rudimentary Structures, allowing the design of practical, essential foundations and structures without elaborative features, such as palisades, simple curtain walls, square gatehouses and the like. The ability includes ditches and hinged gates.
  • Siege Weapons, allowing the design of devices intended to break or circumvent castle doors or walls, such as battering rams, trebuchets, catapults, ballista and mangonels are part of the ability.

Authority
  • Bastion-making, in which the character’s knowledge grants a full understanding of how basic structures can be enhanced with established defensive forms, such as those listed in the description above. With time and financing, most structures can be made impregnable to ordinary siege attacks.


Construction (sage study)

The process of constructing a building or improvement, such as residences, workshops, mills, roads, bridges, tunnels, aqueduct, sewer and the like. The study integrates knowledge of surveying, excavation, masonry, carpentry, financial considerations, contracting and the ongoing management and productivity of labour.

Some practical skills are included, but the focus of the study is upon planning and overseeing work gangs who will perform the actual work. Naturally, construction will be expensive and will often require considerable time.

Amateur
  • Construction Tradecraft, granting one ability to the architect, gained through interacting with building sites. The character chooses from carpentry, excavation, glazing, masonry or thatching.
  • Foreman, providing skill at keeping a team of up to eight persons, with no more than two trades, continually active and productive on a work site.
  • Simple Design, the creation of functional architectural plans for square-construction buildings without elaborate features such as arches, pillars, domes and so on.

Authority
  • Generalist Architecture, the ability to produce load-bearing structures without limitation, along with landscape design, except that construction must retain a comparable design with structures already existing. The level of knowledge is not sufficient as yet to produce truly unique structures.
  • Site Management, providing skill at managing up to five foremen, with up to 40 workers and 8 additional specialists operating under direct supervision, continually active and productive upon a construction site.

See Bard Sage Abilities

Architectural Aesthetics (sage study)

Describes the relationship between architecture and the life of society, in which the design of buildings and urban space sets out to define a social purpose, beauty and personal relationship with the viewer who lives and acts within that space. The study surpasses the functionality of the building and invests it with expression and taste, raising the mood of the inhabitant and offering protection against those who would defile the bard’s work.

Space is organized for the purpose of easing movement and functionality, with emphasis on attractiveness to enhance the dweller’s happiness and sense of cultural awareness. The knowledge does not permit the creation of full architectural plans (see Construction), but will allow the adaptation of existing plans or existing structures to provide the aesthetic details that will lift the building beyond its functionality.

The knowledge provides no practical skills related to building. Work that is proposed must therefore be hired out to others. A refit of an existing structure will typically cost 15-20% of the structure’s original value and will require time. An aesthetic architect is usually paid a 5% fee for adding stylistic features to a functional architect’s work.

Amateur
  • Bring Comfort, which allows the character to transform a home or living space into a place of activity and consolation. Time is required. Once work is completed, the space will increase productivity and health by 8-15%, depending on form of construction and materials used.
  • Building Allure, allowing a refit of existing shops or operating businesses, in turn producing an increase of 7-12% monthly sales.
  • Site Judgment, an ability to assess the relative comfort and social importance of a construction through sensory, emotional and intellectual means, recognizing the site’s social, cultural and beneficial merits.

Authority
  • Architectural Style, the gift of transforming a building or other structure into one that is notable or historically important, beyond the immediate limitations of fashion. The building must be of a certain purpose ~ schools, libraries, arenas or religious, or it must have some cultural magnificence, such as monuments or monoliths.

See Bard Sage Abilities

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tortoise (Mordenkainen's)

Profoundly gentle and of genius intelligence, these rare and highly prized reptiles are descendents from an egg that was crafted and hatched by the ancient wizard Mordenkainen in the 10th century.  It is less accurate to say that the animal can be counted as domesticated than that the animal is willing to give its allegiance to those who earn its respect.  This is commonly given to those who are able to hatch the animal from an egg.

In addition to being highly defensive and able to cause effective damage in its attack, the tortoise possesses a like dweomer to that of a paladin, in that it provides a continuous protection from malevolence, which surrounds the animal, extending outwards for two combat hexes, that any friend of the tortoise may enjoy if within that radius.  Naturally, this moves with the tortoise, which in any given round is able to advance one hex forward, or employ its single attack.

The tortoise's jaws are able to snap so quickly that it always gains initiative against its enemies.  Additionally, the tortoise's neck is able to stretch, so that it is able to attack creatures up to two hexes away, provided they are directly in front of the tortoise (within a 60-degree arc).  Because the snap is so quick, there is no chance for enemies to attack the tortoise's momentarily exposed neck.

If raised from an egg, the tortoise must be communicated with, and taught how to generate its magical dweomer, or else this will have to emerge naturally.  A spellcaster with the spell, or a paladin, possessing the ability to speak with animals, can teach the tortoise within 3-12 days.  Both speak with animals and protection from malevolence spells must be cast (the paladin need not cast the latter) each day of instruction.  If not taught, the tortoise will acquire this skill within a year.

Typically, it requires four months before the tortoise can snap with its full power (add 1d4 per month of growth).  The ability to reach a further target will take 5-8 months to acquire.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Groups

Describes patterns of hex layouts that result from the random distribution of infrastructure. The interpretation of infrastructure relies upon three layers of map size, establishing a framework by which groups can be understood in terms of their economic and municipal importance.

20-mile hexes are divided into smaller units of area, called “six-mile hexes.” This is a convenient misnomer, as each of these smaller hexes are about 6.67 miles in diameter. These six-mile hexes are then further subdivided into “two-mile hexes,” which is again a misnomer, as these smaller hexes would be about 2.22 miles in diameter. The subdivision of each larger hex into a set of sub-hexes will, as indicated by the diagram, contain a set of seven complete hexes and parts of six shared hexes.

When speaking of a “group,” we are describing the central collection of seven 6-mile hexes that occurs inside a 20-mile hex (shown in yellow). When speaking of a “type,” we are describing the central collection of seven 2-mile hexes that occurs inside a 6-mile hex (shown in green).

Hex Type

Within the 6-mile hex, the collection of seven 2-mile hexes are defined as being either “civilized” or “wild.” The ratio of civilized to wild among these seven hexes defines the infrastructure of the 6-mile hex. As a shorthand, we can express all seven hexes as being civilized with “7c.” Likewise, we can express all the hexes as being wild as “7w.” Including and between these two extremes, we have seven “hex types”: 7c, 6c1w, 5c2w, 4c3w, 3c4w, 2c5w, 1c6w and 7w. In nomenclature, these are defined as type-1, type-2, type-3 and so on up to type-8.

The image shows the arrangement of 2-mile hexes inside the 6-mile hex.  We can see there are 26 possible 6-mile hex arrangements (with white hexes being civilized and black hexes being wild). A collection of type-7 and type-8 hexes would likely describe homesteaders on the periphery of civilization, eking out a living surrounded by constant danger. A collection of type-1 and type-2 hexes would surely describe the denser urban parts of the world, with every bit of arable land under the till or carefully preserved for hunting or access to managed sources of timber. Most provinces would consist of a core of type-5 to type-2 hexes, surrounded and intermixed with type-6 or type-7.

Taken together, a map of 6-mile hexes like these shown in the image would produce an interesting juxtaposition of both civilized and wild areas, some extensive and some isolated, depending on the larger picture created by the distribution of infrastructure.

Creating Groups

Just as a single 6-mile hex has a specific hex type that depends upon the number of civilized and wild hexes, the 20-mile hex has a specific group of 6-mile hexes, the type being determined according to the 20-mile hex’s infrastructure. To understand how this is determined, we must begin with an understanding of the infrastructure point-cost of one type of hex vs. another.

Group distribution for 1 pt. of infrastructure.
As an example, suppose we have a 20-mile hex with 1 pt. of infrastructure. 1 point of infrastructure equals 1 civilized 2-mile hex. As we’ve seen, this would translate to a single type-7 hex. There would be no other points left over, so that the remaining hexes in the group would all be type-8 (which are completely wild and have no point cost). The effect would be a single civilized hex inside a field of wild hexes.

Naturally, this would mean that any result of 0 infrastructure would result in a group of seven type-8 hexes.

Having 2 points of infrastructure would slightly expand the possible results: a group would either contain two type-7 hexes (1 pt. of infrastructure each) or it would contain a type-6 hex, with two civilized hexes, distributed in four possible ways. Type-6 hexes cost two infrastructure points.

In turn, type-5 hexes cost four infrastructure points, which means that a hex must have a minimum of 4 infrastructure to have a chance of a type-5 hex occurring. Progressively lower hex types require double the number of points: 8 for type-4, 16 for type-3, 32 for type-2 and 64 for type-1.

For a hex group to be made entirely of type-1 hexes (with no wild 2-mile hexes at all), it must have a total infrastructure of 448 pts. or more.

In all, there are 3,131 possible groups that might occur, limited of course by the number of infrastructure points. Less infrastructure is more common, so certain groups occur far more often. Shown is a chart of the possible random distribution of hex types for infrastructures of 0 to 8. Take note there are 35 possible combinations available to a hex with 84 infrastructure.

Each possible group has an equal chance of occurring ~ so that a group of seven type-7 hexes will occur with a 1 in 9 chance in hexes that have a 7 infrastructure … and, notably, nowhere else.

Given that the selection of hex types per group are also subject for random placement, the total possible arrangements are considerable (sorry, I’ve forgotten the math that would let me calculate it).

A generator for choosing the pattern and position of hex groups can be found at this link.

Infrastructure

A measure of the degree of civilization that a 20-mile hex has, that in turn affects the geographical layout of six-mile and two-mile hexes. From this measure can be determined the likelihood of road networks, the presence of bridges and town walls, cleared and settled lands, services, cultural cohesion and agricultural development. The measurement is based on the known population of cities, towns and villages, the total population of a given province, geographical distance from inhabited centers and the relative ease of travel by cart and wagon.

The system for determining infrastructure seeks to produce a single Infrastructure Number for every 20-mile hex worldwide. This number may seem to indicate population density, but more in fact the numbers count single persons multiple times, as often as the geography allows. Therefore the infrastructure number relates to population movement, or influence, graphing the relationship between inhabited centres.

Calculating Infrastructure


By way of example, the map shown gives the layout for the Principality of Ruthenia, at the eastern end of Hungary, scaled by 20-mile hexes. Ruthenia has three population centres: Ungvar (pop. 5,006), Munkacs (1,998) and Huszth (803), with a total urban population of 7,806. The total population of Ruthenia is 141,914, so that it is a densely populated region. These numbers are necessary for calculating infrastructure.

Also note that there are small numbers in the bottom right corner of each hex. These are elevation numbers. These also come into play when calculating infrastructure.

The first step is to distribute the total population between the three centres, stipulating the influence of the rural population, if not their actual location. The rural population will trade and communicate specifically with one centre or another; always remembering that we are not measuring the actual location of people, but rather the importance of ties between the people and the geography.

We could divide the rural population evenly between the centres. We could also count the number of hexes associated with each centre and use that to determine a ratio. My approach is to use the population of the urban center to determine a ratio for how many rural persons are affected by that center. The result is given in the table shown.

The infrastructure number given is the total column divided into 346, the total number of square miles per 20-mile hex. This gives a convenient number for interpreting the data (though admittedly it is arbitrary). In most cases, this number produces a result that is usually greater than 1 and less than 500 (though there are exceptions), which is used for further calculations (as seen below). If the user of the system prefers another number, appropriate modifications to further calculations should be made.

We now have three simple numbers which we may apply to our map.  For simplicity sake, I will remove extraneous labels and shade out non-Ruthenian hexes.



Adjacent hexes take their totals from these hexes, adjusted by 50% for each hex removed (fractions discarded). Thus, an adjacent hex to Ungvar is awarded 131 infrastructure; two hexes away receives 65; and three hexes away receives 32.

Each change in elevation of 400 ft. also counts as +1 hex of distance. The hex containing Huszth has an elevation of 544 ft.; adjacent is a hex (A) with an elevation of 1,076 ft. Though Hex A is adjacent, it counts as two hexes away for calculating infrastructure (with an elevation difference of 532 ft.). Another hex (B) is immediately east to Hex A and has an elevation of 4,507 ft. The difference in elevation is calculated between Hex B and Hex A, disregarding the original difference between Hex A and Huszth. Calculating the effect on infrastructure, we see that Hex B is 10 degrees from Hex A (+1 for distance and +9 for elevation).

When the calculated number drops below 1, it is taken that infrastructure in that hex is effectively zero.

All hexes distribute outwards, overlapping one another, within the borders of the regions. Each political entity will have its own centres, its own population and therefore its own distribution. This helps reflect the social differences that will occur from region to region, while reducing an homogenizing effect that would occur without limiting borders. The overlapping effect is shown in the map below:


From this, we can see the individual influence, or contribution, of each centre on its environs. It can also be seen how the high country greatly diminishes infrastructure, but not entirely. Our next step is to combine these numbers to produce a single total for each hex, that we will use for further calculations.  The totals are shown on the map below.


The next stage is elaborated under Groups.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Bitterly Cold Conditions

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear; and the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear. The white land locked tight as a drum and cold fear that follows and finds you, with a silence that bludgeons you dumb.

These harsh, biting temperatures create dangerous conditions, made worse by long nights and darkness for a good portion of the year, the presence of snow and occasionally blizzards. Frostbite and hypothermia are legitimate threats but are usually controllable over short periods. Exposed skin can be borne for brief encounters but bring on numbness quickly.

Discomfort caused by these bitter conditions is affected by wind speed, air temperature and humidity, slowing travel and making outdoor work challenging and often dangerous. Frostbite times take this into account. Air taken into the lungs over long periods wears down the body, while exposed flesh soon needs to be covered again. Numbness of the hands and lower legs is common but not insurmountable as long as good clothing and precautions are taken. Relative temperatures with the wind can drop below -40, -50 or even -60 degrees, producing arctic and even potentially polar conditions.

Clothing

Needed insulation: 6.63. Suggested clothing includes, a) below the waist: loin cloth, hose, stockings, breeches (linen), trousers (gabardine), boots (fur) and boot covers (leather); b) above the waist: shirt (woollen), doublet, robe, jacket (gabardine), mantle, mittens (knitwear), mittens (outer fur), hat (wool), hat (fur), scarf (woollen). Overtop of this should be worn a full woollen jumper and a heavy coat (fur). This ensemble will provide sufficient insulation for one hour of standing guard outside.

Hypothermia

The danger of hypothermia will occur if the character performs more than six minutes of hard physical work, in particular combat. Because of the amount of insulation, whatever the weather, once the 13th combat round has been completed, or heavy work performed, the character will begin to sweat. After that has begun, the character can continue to act for up to two more minutes or 10 more rounds before a constitution check must be made against hypothermia.

A failure will indicate the character has caught a chill. A shudder, and then dizziness will seize the character, causing whomever to drop what they have in their hands and stagger away from combat. The character must find shelter within 8-20 minutes or they will become delirious and act unconsciously. Death in this weather will follow within 21 to 40 minutes, +4 per point of constitution.

See Temperature Grades

Arctic Conditions

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over a northern trail. Talk of your cold! Through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail. If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see.  It wasn't much fun but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

These inhospitable, biting hibernal temperatures create highly dangerous conditions, made worse by darkness half the year, the presence of snow, the threat of white-out conditions and the danger of severe frostbite or hypothermia. Exposed skin must always be guarded against.

The hardship of these conditions is affected by wind speed, air temperature and humidity, making travel difficult and outdoor work very dangerous. Frostbite times take this into account. Air taken into the lungs over long periods wears down the body, while exposed flesh can become acutely distressing. Even the most protective clothing will not sustain the body for more than a few hours. Fingers become numb, the throat dry and as relative temperatures dip below -50, -60 or even -70 degrees, polar conditions and threats occur.

Clothing

Needed insulation: 7.215. Suggested clothing includes, a) below the waist: loin cloth, hose, stockings, breeches (linen), trousers (gabardine), boots (fur) and boot covers (leather); b) above the waist: shirt (woollen), doublet, robe, jacket (gabardine), mantle, mittens (knitwear), mittens (outer fur), hat (wool), hat (fur), scarf (woollen). Overtop of this should be worn a full woollen jumper, heavy coat (wool) and a heavy coat (fur). This ensemble will provide sufficient insulation for one hour of standing guard outside.

Hypothermia

The danger of hypothermia will occur if the character performs more than two minutes of hard physical work, in particular combat. Because of the amount of insulation, whatever the weather, once the 8th combat round has been completed, or heavy work performed, the character will begin to sweat. After that has begun, the character can continue to act for up to one more minute or 5 more rounds before a constitution check must be made against hypothermia.

A failure will indicate the character has caught a chill. A shudder, and then dizziness will seize the character, causing whomever to drop what they have in their hands and stagger away from combat. The character must find shelter within 4-10 minutes or they will collapse and lose consciousness. Death in this weather will follow within 11-30 minutes, +2 per point of constitution.

See Temperature Grades

Polar Conditions

The short-lived sun had a leaden glare and the darkness came too soon, then the winter fell with a sudden swoop and the heavy clouds sagged low, and earth and sky were blotted out in a whirl of driving snow.

These intense, inhospitable frigid temperatures create extremely dangerous conditions, made worse by darkness through much of the year, the presence of snow, the threat of white-out conditions and the danger of severe frostbite or hypothermia. Exposed skin, even around the eyes, is a hazard that must be guarded against.

The misery of these conditions is affected by wind speed, air temperature and humidity, making travel difficult and outdoor work very dangerous. As air is taken into the lungs over long periods, even the most protective clothing will not sustain the body for more than a few hours, as relative temperatures dip below -50, -60 or even -70 degrees. Frostbite times are based on these brutal possible conditions. Any exposed flesh becomes painful. As air enters the lungs, characters will experience an ache in the chest, chilling from the inside out. It becomes difficult to take deep breaths without reflexively coughing, until the lungs fill with blood and life is threatened. Numbness is a constant challenge to any activity.

Clothing

Needed insulation: 7.80. Suggested clothing includes, a) below the waist: loin cloth, hose, stockings, breeches (linen), trousers (gabardine), boots (fur) and boot covers (leather); b) above the waist: shirt (woollen), doublet, robe, jacket (gabardine), mantle, mittens (knitwear), mittens (outer fur), hat (wool), hat (fur), scarf (woollen). Overtop of this should be worn a full woollen jumper, overcoat (gabardine), heavy coat (fur) and a cowl (fur). This ensemble will provide sufficient insulation for one hour of standing guard outside.

Hypothermia

The danger of hypothermia will occur if the character performs more than a minute of hard physical work, including combat. Because of the amount of insulation, whatever the weather, once the 5th combat round has been completed, or heavy work performed, the character will begin to sweat. After that has begun, the character can continue to act for up to one more minute or 5 more rounds before a constitution check must be made against hypothermia.

A failure will indicate the character has caught a chill. A shudder, and then dizziness will seize the character, causing whomever to drop what they have in their hands and stagger away from combat. The character must find shelter within 2-5 minutes or they will collapse and lose consciousness. Death in this weather will follow within 5-20 minutes, +1 per point of constitution.

See Temperature Grades

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Measurements

What follows are definitions of measurements, objects and units that are standardized in my game world, particularly for use with my equipment prices table. As my world takes place in the early 1650s of Earth’s history, the measurement units used are imperial and not metric. Metric equivalents are not given below (they would not exist for characters dwelling in the 17th century). The list includes some items whose characteristics enable their use as shorthand through the game (such as the common parlance of “a flask of oil”).

Please leave a comment about any measurement or item that may be missing, so that I’m able to add to the list.

Area

     Acre: an area of land that is one chain (66 ft.) in width by one furlong (660 ft.) in length. Described as the total area that could be ploughed in one day by a team. A “bovate” is an amount of land that a single ox can plough in a season, in time to get crops in (15 acres), whereas a “virgate” is the amount of land a pair of oxen can plough in the same time (30 acres). A “carucate” is 120 acres.
     Combat Hex: a map-hex used for combat, five feet in diameter and equal to 21.7 sq.ft.
     Flemish Ell: a cloth measure, equal to ¾ of a yard. Approximately the same as a cubit.
     Hide: an area of four to eight bovates (60-120 acres); a unit of crop yield rather than area, equal to 1,620 bushels of grain. It measures the amount of land able to support a single household (2.5 mil. calories) for agricultural and taxation purposes.
     Hundred: consisting of 100 hides, which might be anywhere from 40 to 60 sq.m., with non-arable or untilled land included.  Theoretically able to supply or support 100 men under arms. Multiple hundreds are grouped together to form “lathes,” which are then subdivisions of “counties,” each of non-fixed sizes. Most manor estates are between a half and a full hundred.
     Knight’s fee: consisting of five hides, approximately 0.7 sq.m. A knight’s fee was expected to produce one fully equipped soldier for a knight’s retinue in times of war. The amount of land deemed sufficient to support one knight.
     Six-mile hex: a map hex used to provide regional-sized maps. Approximately 6.667 miles in diameter, with an area of 2¾ hundreds (or ten 2-mile hexes).
     Square foot: A small area 12 inches by 12 inches; see length, below.
     Square mile: An area of 640 acres. Used for measuring large areas.
     Square yard: An area of 9 square feet. Typically used to measure cloth.
     Twenty-mile hex: a map hex used for large scale sheet maps of the world. 20 miles in diameter, with an area of 346 sq.m. (24½ hundreds), or ten 6-mile hexes.
     Two-mile hex: a map-hex used to provide local details surrounding player lands and adventures. Approximately 2.222 miles in diameter, with an area of 2,737 acres or 30 hides.

Length

     Chain: a distance of 4 rods, or 66 feet (22 yards), equal to the length of an acre as it is usually measured for farming. Surveyors used 66 ft. long chains in their work.
     Combat hex: a distance of 5 feet, used to measure distances in combat; see above.
     Foot: equal to 12 inches, based upon the averaged foot length of 16 random adult males, as described by Jacob Koebel.
      Furlong: a distance of 10 chains, 40 rods or 660 feet (220 yards). Described as the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. A popular measure for horse and foot racing.
     Hand: equal to 4 inches, based on the breadth of a human hand. Used to measure the height of horses.
     Inch: equal to 1⁄12 of a foot. Approximately the width of a human thumb.
     League: a distance of three nautical miles, variously 3 miles (on land) or 3.452 miles (at sea). Said to be the comfortable distance a person can walk in an hour.
     Mile: a distance of 8 furlongs, 80 chains or 5,280 ft. (1,760 yards). Most common unit to measure large distances.
     Mile, Nautical: 6,076 feet, used only in maritime navigation, as a knot (see below) is defined as one nautical mile per hour.
     Rod: a distance of 5½ yards, or 16½ feet. Used to measure an acre for ploughing, which is typically equal to 40 rods by 4 rods (long furrows reduced the need of turning a team of oxen, which was difficult). There are 19 furrows in the width of a rod.
     Yard: equal to 3 feet or 36 inches, rarely used, typically for the measurement of sports events.

Mass & Weight

     Carat: equal to 4 grains, not to be confused with the unit of purity of gold alloys, spelled “karat.” The most common unit for measuring pearls and precious stones. A “paragon” is a flawless stone of at least 100 carats.
     Grain: a measure based on the weight of a single grain of barley, considered equivalent to 1⅓ grains of wheat. A unit used for medicines and sometimes by jewellers to measure pearls, diamonds and other precious stones.
     Dram: a measure equal to approximately 27⅓ grains, used for measuring coins and precision metalwork for clock making, tools and detailed work. A gold coin weighs 1.836 drams.
     Dose: a measurement for poisons, gripcolle, Epson salts and more, varying from 1 to 4 drams depending on the substance.
     Ounce: equal to 16 drams and 437½ grains, used to measure hundreds of different materials and foodstuffs.
     Pennyweight: equal to 24 grains or 6 carats, like the dram used for the measurement of precious metals. Jewellers, lapidaries and engravers prefer to use the pennyweight over the dram.
     Pound: equal to 16 ounces or 64 drams (7,000 grains). Standard unit of weight for most heavier objects and for calculating encumbrance.
     Stone: equal to 14 lbs., standardized units for merchant trading in raw materials such as wool, fibres, ores and other cart and wagon loads. Live animals are often weighed in stone.
     Ton: equal to 2,000 lbs. or nearly 142⅞ stone, used for the measurement of large capacities, loads and seagoing vessels. Not to be confused with the “tun” used to measure capacity.

Speed

     Knot: used when travelling on water, measures one nautical mile per hour, derived from measuring speed with a knotted rope (the knots 47 ft., 3 in. apart) and a 30-second sand glass.

Volume

     Barrel: made of oak or comparable material, 63 gallon capacity, with bung and six iron hoops for strength. Used for brewing and carrying water. Also called a hogshead.
     Basin: made of glass, stone or pottery, standardized size for a religious font (32 fl. oz.).
     Bottle: glass container with cork for beer and other liquids, 12.7 oz. capacity.
     Bottle (wine): unusually sized glass bottle specifically for wine storage, with a 25.36 fl. oz. capacity.
     Bushel: a dry measure of volume equal to 4 pecks (about 0.822 cub.ft.). A bushel of coal weighs much more than a bushel of wheat grains.
     Cord: a unit of dry volume to measure firewood, describing logs that are “racked and well stowed,” measuring 128 cubic feet. Depending on the density of the wood, this is typically a woodpile 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep.
     Cup: a cooking measure equal to 8 fluid ounces or 64 fluid drams.
     Dram (fluid): an apothecary’s measure, used to define the volume of medicines and powders. Equal to a teaspoon (which in the 17th century was smaller, so that there were four teaspoons to a tablespoon).
     Fishpot: ceramic pot, 2½ in. tall and 3 in. diameter, 4 fluid ounce capacity, with softwood lid sealed with pitch. Used for fish and very pungent substances.
     Flask: ceramic bottle, 6 in. tall, 2½ in. diameter, 8 fl. oz. capacity, used for lamp oil, magical potions and other liquids.
     Gallon: equal to 4 quarts or 8 pints (160 fl. oz.), used for measuring large amounts of liquid.
     Gallon (dry): a dry measure used to measure grain and other dry commodities, equal to about 8 lbs. of wheat grain (being a measure of volume, about 0.103 cub.ft.).
     Gill: equal to 5 fluid ounces, or 40 drams; a standard measure of small amounts of distilled spirits.  A “nip” of spirits is ¼ of a gill, or 1¼ fluid ounces.
     Gluepot: pottery container for soft pastes and resin, 3 in. tall, 4 in. diameter, with softwood lid sealed with pitch and 8 fl. oz. capacity.
     Hogshead: equal to 63 gallons; see barrel.
     Inkwell: bottle for ink, 2 fl. oz. capacity, 1 in. tall, 2 in. diameter, with cork plug. Also used for magical ink.
     Jack: one half gills, or 2½ fluid ounces. Used to measure tiny bottles of medicine or spirits.
     Jar (glass): short container for multiple uses, 3 in. diameter and 3 in. tall, with 8 fl. oz. capacity. Includes cork lid (which, when lost, is usually replaced with piece of cloth and a tie-string).
     Jigger: equal to 1½ fluid ounces, typically used to measure spirits in a tavern.
     Jug: ceramic container, equal to 16 fl. oz., commonly used as a temporary container for serving.
     Keg: wooden with 6 narrow iron bands, has a 21 quart capacity, or five gallons plus one quart; used for transporting water and beverages on the backs of animals.
     Ounce (fluid): equal to the weight of 1 ounce of water, or 8 fluid drams. Customarily used to measure liquids.
     Peck: a dry measure equal to 2 dry gallons (about 0.205 cub.ft.).
     Phial: glass vessel, 1 fl. oz. capacity, used for essential oils, acids, apothecary’s ingredients and other precious contents.
     Pint: equal to 4 gills or 20 fluid ounces. Popular for steins for tavern beer, also standard for clay flasks.
     Pot (apothecary’s): usually fashioned out of clay, 3 fl. oz. capacity, used for paste and poisons. Features tiny feet and a clay lid that is tied in place or cemented with sealing wax.
     Pottle: equal to 2 quarts. Used for the storage of milk and sometimes wine.
     Quart: equal to 2 pints or 40 fl. oz. Used commonly as a measure for sold cream or milk, or to measure the capacity of large cooking ware.
     Tun: describes a enormous cask used to measure wine, oil or honey, with a capacity of four hogsheads or 252 gallons. In some parts of France, three puncheons equals a tun.
     Vial: glass container, 4 fl. oz. capacity, used for various apothecary’s contents.

See Adventure, The

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Parley & Negotiation

A parley is a discussion between potential and ongoing enemies regarding the possibilities of free passage, a truce or temporary cessation of hostilities. When offered, enemies with an intelligence of 11 or more will nearly always accept the offer, except where a blood feud or like desire for personal revenge is involved. Too, persons of any intelligence are very unlikely to agree to a parley with any known malevolent entity such as a demon, devil or known member of the undead.

Parley provides opportunity for negotiation, in which parties barter to gain benefits for themselves while giving reassurance and benefits to the other side. Negotiation is carried out almost wholly through role-play … but wise player characters will put themselves in the shoes of the other party, actively listen to what’s being said, speak with a purpose, find opportunities to act inconsistently with their own positions (bend to another’s will to gain advantage in a different way) and strive to “save face,” which is to present an assumption of strength while avoiding humiliation.

A successful parley or negotiation requires a willing listener. The most likely listener is one that shares the character’s outlook, profession, religion and background. Thus, if there is a sailor in the party, that would be the best candidate to talk with sailors; a fighter should be the choice to speak with a guard; a thief with members of the criminal element and so on. The table shown gives a list of modifiers to the character’s charisma, based on the listener’s relationship to the speaker. These modifiers are cumulative.

These modifiers are based on the “first impression” the character makes. Prior to any dialogue, it would be best for every player character to apply these modifiers to their own charisma, to know whether or not beforehand if they should speak.

To “open a conversation,” the character must succeed in making a charisma check, as modified. A failure gives a further -3 modifier to future rolls (from the speaker or other player character), so that an initial failed check can quickly ruin any chance to ask for a parley or initiation negotiations.

A charisma failure with an acquaintance, associate, hireling or follower will produce a dispute or an argument, which will escalate with each further attempt that also ends in failure. With strangers this will end all chance of negotiation, permanently, short of physical force.

Acquaintances are store clerks or other known persons where there exists no real relationship, so a series of failed checks could result in gaining an enemy. Associates are persons of equal status with shared interests and purposes, so a series of failed checks could result in a cutting off of all ties and sharing of information.

Most of the time, there is no need to make any check to have a negotiation with a Hireling. Negotiations are only opened when some part of the hireling’s status or role changes ~ they are asked to do something that is not their job, or their pay is diminished or not being made for pecuniary reasons. In such cases, a series of failed checks would result in the hireling actively quitting; add 3 to their morale. A day after the argument, the hireling can be approached with a “fresh” check (no penalties for earlier failures); if the check succeeds and the hireling succeeds in a morale check, they will come back and work for the employer. Morale will drop by 1 point but the remaining two-point penalty will remain until lost through further actions.

Checks need only be made for negotiations with Followers if they are asked to retain new responsibilities, such as leading a party off somewhere or managing an estate. Because followers are not fanatic like henchmen, they must be convinced. Note that most retainers, when gained by players, have a specific duty ~ such as acting as a standing army for clerics or fighters. These followers do not need to be negotiated with to follow these duties. A series of failed charisma checks will follow the same pattern as with hirelings, except that a week must pass before the follower can be spoken with again ~ during which time they are likely to have set off for another place, whereas a hireling is almost certain to have remained nearby.

See Adventure, The