Let us take a specific reference to a good and a service: brewing. Brewing describes both the final product and the process, or service, or transforming other goods into beer. In the trade system, for 'brewing' to have a given value, it must be assigned a number of features:
- it must possess an importance, which in turn describes its value to consumers.
- it must be associated with a specific geographical location.
- it must possess a quantity that is created.
The 'reference' that attaches brewing to a specific place describes its importance. The number of times that brewing is referenced in relation to that place, the more important it is.
Suppose we have two towns, called Marzarbol and Crow's Nest. We can say that both towns are known for brewing - but we can also suppose that brewing in Marzarbol is three times as important as it is in Crow's Nest. Another way of expressing this is to say that there are 3 brewing references in Marzarbol but only 1 brewing reference in Crow's Nest. The benefit of using this latter expression is that the importance of brewing in these two towns is transformed into a number that can be manipulated in the trade system. This number is then assigned to the geographical location we choose.
If, then, we want to increase the importance of brewing anywhere in our system, then we can assign more brewing to specific locations in terms of number to designate importance. 'Reference,' therefore, refers to both the importance of the thing AND it's location.
Reference TypesWith an eye to keeping the system as simple as possible, in order to provide most of the products that players would want to buy or obtain in a gaming campaign, there are a set number of goods and services that we will want to include. Many of these that I have chosen are highly non-specific, bundling a great many varieties under one heading for the purpose of simplification. Please note that at a later time these general categories can be subdivided as desired. Initially, our main concern is to establish a general framework from which we can expand later.
We can start with a set group of products. These would be brewing, bricks, cattle, clay, cloth, fish, gold, grain, grapes, horses, leather goods, meat, metal goods, ores, pottery, salt, sheep, skins, spices, timber, wine and wool.
There would be other things we could add to the list, but this will be a sufficient start. We want to keep a very wide prospectus on what each of these would include. Bricks, for example, would include cement and masonry; timber would include construction with wood; wool would include all fibers, including those grown as well as those obtained from animals.
Each of these things will need to be located on a map of our world, designating the importance of each item according to its importance in a specific town or region. Regions may be political or they may be geographical, such as forests, coast lines, river basins, marshes, hills or plateaus. They may be very precise, such as a small valley where a good is made or scattered, such as ores found in many parts of a general mountain range. This is up to us.
There is one more reference type we want to include. This would be market. In the initial stages of system building, we will want to assume that every town will have a market (as we will be working with a map that only includes major towns and no villages).
The next step in our trade system will be designating the quantity of goods.
Trade & Equipment