Friday, April 27, 2018

Dehydration

Although water weight is not an exact measure for every individual, for game purposes the amount of hydration which a body demands is equal to 55% of the character's body weight.  Thus, a 200 lb. character is supposed by the rules below to possess 110 lb. of water weight.

This weight is used to calculate how much water the character must intake on a daily basis in order to maintain ideal hydration.  If a character loses 1% of their water weight, say, through daily respiration, this would be a total of 1.1 lbs ... which must then be drunk by the character that day to maintain perfect health.

In most environments, this is not difficult; water can be obtained from wells in urban and most rural areas, or from streams in places that are well-watered.  However, where water is scarce, hydration can become a problem.

Water Loss

The water weight a character possesses can be lost through a variety of mechanisms, as shown on the right.  These are involuntary mechanisms that the character must counteract by drinking water in some form or another.  On average, typical defecation will occur on 4 out of every 6 days, with a mandatory bowel movement happening on the fourth day if the body skips three days in a row (again, this is close enough to common experience for game purposes).  If the character is ill, treat all bowel movements as "diarrhea."  Roll a d4 to determine how much diffusion through the skin occurs.  Roll a d3 for urination.  Typical healthy loss merely indicates the probable amount that is lost, if the DM does not wish to specify.

Perspiration depends on the actual temperature.  To understand the table below, see Temperature Grades.


The hour of perspiration loss should be counted if the character is moving about, travelling, working, or resting directly under the sun.  If the character is resting in the shade, the total body water lost should be reduced by 60% (so that in a baking ambient temperature the water loss would be 2% per hour).

The effects of dehydration, if water is not replenished, can be severe, even enough to produce death.


The water loss column above indicates the present time circumstance of the character ~ which is to say, if the character has lost 3% of the water weight, without replenishing it in this exact moment, then the effects associated with a 3% dehydration will be in place (-1 ability stats, -1 attack die, etcetera) until the character actually drinks enough water to counteract the effect (and a 5 to 10 minute effect rule might be considered).

The character's effective temperature indicates how hot the character feels ~ it does not show the actual temperature the character's body is subject to and therefore there should be no recursive effect between the character's perceived comfort and the actual temperature.  The dehydrated character at -5% during a balmy day may perceive that the day seems sweltering, but the character will continue to perspire at 0.8% water loss per hour.

The ability stats symptom is applied to all stats indiscriminantly.  If, due to dehydration, any of the character's ability stats drop to zero or less, the effects can be severe.  A zero or less strength, constitution or dexterity will indicate that the character has laid down and died.  A zero or less intelligence or wisdom will indicate that the character has gone mad.  They will wander away, gibbering, and most likely make errors in judgement that will amount to death: falling off a cliff, drinking poisonous standing water, eating sand and so on.  A zero or less charisma will cause the character to commit suicide to end their misery.

Thus it can be seen that any character with any ability stat less than 17 will not survive a water loss of more than 25%, even for five minutes.  Most characters will die at a 20% loss.  Many will not survive more than a 15% loss.  With this system, a bowel movement can kill you (though the body may not have sufficient means to defecate, apply the water loss just the same).

Attack rolls and saves work normally.

See Water Discipline

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Water Sources (bioregion)

Ponds are bodies of standing water judged to be no larger than 20 acres in size. While it is true that many bodies of water called ‘ponds’ are larger than this, these are more properly designated as lakes for the purpose of these rules.

Ponds are capable of yielding up to 50 lbs of fish food content per acre, per season. Once a pond has been depleted to half this amount, trained anglers must begin to roll a d4 on their primary die just as untrained anglers do, and a d6 on their secondary die. Untrained anglers must roll a d8 on both dice. Once a pond has been depleted to one quarter of its full yield, all dice rolled to catch must be d8 ... but the amount of catch remains unchanged until the pond is fully depleted. Still, a depleted pond this season will nevertheless yield the full amount the following season.

Fishing Ponds are rich sources of fish capable of yielding up to 100 lbs. of fish food content per acre, per season. Success at fishing or amounts taken per day remains unchanged.

Lakes that do not appear upon the pregenerated maps will generally measure up to 2 miles across, or approximately 500 to 2,000 acres. They yield fish at the same level as ponds, for what they make up for in total water volume is diminished by the proximity of that water to the angler.

Fishing Lakes do not increase the likelihood of catches, but where a ‘1’ is rolled on the secondary die for exceptional catches, twice the number of fish are caught and twice the yield are taken (roll d4 or d6 as before for the number of fish, but double it ... no need to worry about all results being even).

Inshore will be areas of the sea or ocean up to three miles from land, typically including areas partially protected by spits, banks or capes. They will yield similarly to ponds with no possibility of depletion.

Outshore Banks will yield as fishing lakes with no possibility of depletion.

Village Leader (title)

An official position associated with a small community of less than 1,000 persons. A village leader is a singular entity or one of a number of village elders who are permitted to establish local legislation for the village and surrounding environs, collect rents, collect taxes on behalf of the local lord and pass judgement upon petty and capital crimes committed by lesser persons residing in the community. Very often this extends to outsiders if the outsider cannot demonstrate their worth or status within the local land to be of importance. Where more than one village leader is present, majority vote decides matters.

To become a village leader, characters must apply to the local noble, monarch or emperor within the land in question. The character must own 100 acres of arable land, upon which must be located a house or shop of no less than 1,000 square feet in size. The character must dress and act outwardly in a dignified manner and must be able and prepared to pay a yearly stipend of 100 g.p. for the improvement of the community.

See Encounters

Precise Hit

The following rule is suspended for game testing [placeholder].
On a precise hit, the target takes damage as normal and must choose either weapon, shield, armor or item (carried or held). The chosen item breaks. Armor does not break but becomes damaged. Each instance of damage to a suit of armor imposes a 1-point penalty to its protective value. When the armor's protection equals 0, it's broken.

If one of the combatants is a warrior, he may choose the item to break/damage with this effect. If both combatants are warriors, the higher level character gets to choose; if tied, the option goes to the defender.

A broken item, weapon, shield or suit of armor may be repaired by a skilled smith (though some circumstances make it impractical).

See Puissance

Near Hit (opportunity)

The following rule is suspended for game testing [placeholder].

An attack roll that equals 1 or 2 points less than the to-hit value required is said to be a near hit.

On a near hit, the target may decide to grapple (wrestle) with the attacker.

If one of the combatants is a warrior, he may choose to declare a grapple on an attack roll between -2 and +2 of the target to-hit value. The warrior chooses regardless if he's attacking or defending. If both combatants are warriors, the higher level character gets to choose; if tied, the option goes to the defender.

If one of the combatants is a monk, he may choose to declare a grapple on an attack roll equal to the to-hit value -2, or above. Monks trump warriors when deciding which combatant may declare a grapple. Resolve the choice between two monks as between two warriors.


Monster Behaviour

This is a placeholder for content which needs to be organized on this subject.



See Bestiary

Modern History

History world-wide relating to the last 150 years. Principal features are the expansion of empires throughout Africa and the rise of the European slave trade, the religious wars of Europe and the expansion of Moscovy, the hegemony of the Ottoman, Safavid and Moghul empires, the steady decline of the Ming dynasty in China and the expansion of European power in the New World.

Present day begins 1650.

See History

Lurker Above

A distinct re-imagining of the original monster, conceived as a large organism formed of many jelly-like creatures that proliferate and grow over dark ceilings, dropping to smother fleshy prey, whereupon the myriad creatures will independently burrow into the dead host and spawn.

More content to follow.

See Bestiary

Wish (spell)

This is a placeholder for further adjustment and elaboration.
Original Player Handbook Description:A 9th level mage spell, enabling the caster to wish for something. The spell is intended as an augmentation to the limited wish spell, allowing players to, once again, restore hit points, resurrect a dead creature, escape from a situation and ~ though it is implied but not stated ~ somehow affect reality. The spell includes a punishment of 2-8 days of bed rest and -3 strength for using (does a mage care about strength?) and a strong rejoiner about the DM's discretion. Somehow, the wish spell shouldn't be used to wish some other creature dead, though this is completely possible using the 6th level death spell, which does not provide a saving throw for the intended victims. It is also stated that there could be consequences by way of the DM interpreting the words of the spell, so that "the exact terminology of the wish spell is likely to be carried through."

This seems a shoddy, reprehensible means of trying to curtail the player's use of a high level spell, which cannot be obtained at all except after a tremendous gain in experience. Clearly, the game designer, having conceived of the spell, is immediately terrified of what the spell can do and thus seeks to punish the player by demands of protocol and weakness for daring to use (or pick) the spell, attempting to curb the proliferation of the spell through fear rather than a reasonable limitation.

See Mage 9th Level Spells

Mage 9th Level Spell

Table yet to be created.

Wish

See Mage

Limited Wish (spell)

This is a placeholder for further adjustment and elaboration.

Original Player Handbook Description:
A 7th level mage spell, enabling the caster to wish for something. The spell is limited in that it will not change major realities and it will not bring wealth or experience for the asking. Effectively, the spell has the ability to reproduce the effects of a lot of other spells: restoring hit points, reducing hit probabilities, adjusting a magical effect, charming a creature, obtaining information ~ and for all these relatively minor effects for a 7th level spell, there is the threat that "Greedy desire will usually end in disaster for the wisher."

On the whole, a poorly written spell that clearly seeks to limit the player's ability to use it for any unique purpose. Needs improvement. See Wish (spell).

Mage 7th Level Spells

Table yet to be created.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tinkering (sage ability)

Provides the character with the skill needed to repair and strengthen ordinary items. Up to four pounds of item may be repaired or strengthened in a given day. Items that are larger will require several days for repair.

Note that the repair of some things do not need to count the whole weight in order to repair the item. The damaged part of a wagon wheel, for instance, would likely be less than 4 lbs. in weight (we would not count the whole wagon). However, to strengthen an item requires that the whole item be adjusted (because any part of it could give and thus break).

Strengthening soft items such as cloth, leather, books or flexible woods will improve their saving throws by +1 against breakage or destruction. Strengthening hard items such as metals and inflexible woods will improve their saving throws by +2. Some items, such as paper, foods, glass, ceramics or artworks cannot be strengthened. Other items, such as musical instruments or magical items cannot be strengthened without destroying their inherent qualities.

See Logistics

Teamstering (sage ability)

Provides skill in the employment or common domestic farm animals - oxen, horses, donkeys, mules or camels - as teams for the purpose of hauling, tilling or packing. The character is able to drive a team or single animal pulling a cart, wagon, carriage or snow sleigh, properly load up a beast of burden, plow a field with oxen or horses and harness or unharness animals safely and effectively.

The ability does not give the ability to drive a sled team, manage dogs, elephants nor any other unlikely beast.

See Logistics

Steadfast (sage ability)

This is a placeholder for a number of rules that are bound to come up during the course of the campaign to which it might apply. At present, however, I have but one application, and a small one at that. But I am open to suggestions: write me at alexiss1@telus.net.

Describes an habitual nature that has arisen from long and arduous experience in the mustering of supplies and the support of large-scale operations. The character is able to endure long hours of labor, unpleasant periods of boredom, the tedious repetition of arduous tasks and the slow and steady momentum associated with travel and the moving of animals and equipment.

If the character possesses any of the other skills below, certain benefits will also be gained from being steadfast.  Steadfast does not by itself grant any of these skills, and the bonuses do not accrue unless the ability is otherwise possessed.
  • On Guard. Characters receives a one-hour bonus to the time they are ordinarily able to stand on guard. A non-fighter, for example, would be able to endure 2 hours; a fighter would last 4 hours; a character whose parent was a guard would be able to endure 5 hours before losing focus.

See Logistics

Herding (sage ability)

Provides skill in caring for and managing a herd of animals, maintaining the group and moving it from place to place. In terms of logistics, this is necessary when moving live animals along behind an army, reducing the necessity for the army to shift the carcass meat by wagon (animals walk on their own, carrying their own meat). The skill applies specifically to cattle, horses, sheep, goats, swine, fowl, reindeer, camels and yaks. The ability does not apply to animals that are kept for reasons other than providing meat, such as elephants, felines, dogs or falcons.

Herding includes the ability to milk cows, sheep, goats and so on. Mustering is a skill at gathering scattered animals together, including for such things as branding, shearing, feeding or droving to another location. Those attempting to herd animals without this skill will find themselves frustrated to bring animals together and will consistently lose 2-5% of their herds weekly to preying animals, accidents or disappearances.

Dogs are helpful in herding animals but this ability gives no special skills in managing or directing dogs. That knowledge must come from elsewhere.

See Logistics

20-mile Hex Map

Describes the most common hex-sized used to create maps in Alexis' game world. Each hex measures 20 miles from side to side, or a total of 346 square miles per hex. Most area references use the number of hexes that a region covers rather than the number of square miles, as it is easier for players to envision that a circular area covers seven hexes and is 60 miles wide that it is for them to envision 1,813 square miles, a region larger than Rhode Island.

Dev Level 6

Regions with this level of advancement will be mixed agricultural and nomadic clans supported by primitive agriculture, animal husbandry, the availability of the wheel, archery and mining, supported by hunting, fishing and foraging for food. Philosophy, religion and thought will follow complex interpretations of mysticism (animism and mantraism). The family clan continues to be the primary social authority. Clothing is dependent upon skinning and trapping. Luxuries consist of fine tools, prize animals, weapons and shaped metals.

These regions fit into five geographical types. Two types possess readily available wood: boreal forests (cold, northerly, including mixed forest) and wooded steppe (temperate). The remaining three lack the availability of wood: desert (tropical to temperate), wooded steppe (temperate) and tundra (arctic). Archery, the wheel and deep mining tend to be lacking where wood is rare, though isolated copses of trees (from oases, river banks) will be appropriated for these techs whenever possible.

Some technologies will not have penetrated into the regions due to geographical obstacles. Issykiang and Trakhan are mountain kingdoms above 8,000 feet in the Tien Shan and Himalaya mountains, high above the treeline and virtually impassable by road or cart; trade is accomplished by donkey and mule. Boreal forests and tundra enable the herding of reindeer but not most traditionally domesticated animals.

Entities

Occupants of these regions will possess three motivations: personal freedom, communal survival and the quest for power. In terms of encounters, this will translate into distinct groups: bands, clans, drovers and tribes:

Bands
Clans
Drovers
Tribes

Encounters

Of the four factions described, bands are the most dangerous, with the least to lose. They are very dangerous to parties, as a band of humanoids are likely to prefer raiding or ambushing strangers to parley. Clans will tend to be very passive, preferring to trade information and goods. Drovers will be very protective of their herds and view strangers as probable thieves, acting to drive strangers away and adopting a very aggressive posture in order to ensure this happens.

Tribes will welcome strangers into a town, though a tribal warrior is certain to approach the party and ask what their purpose is, where they have come from, what they expect to do - and to challenge one of them to a one-on-one duel either out of respect (to match abilities) or to correct bad behaviour (if the player has broken a cultural norm). In the village, these combats are never to the death and rarely even involve weapons. Players who use weapons or kill warriors will be seen as cowards or as evil spirits, deserving of the whole village eradicating them and their friends for the good of all.

If food is abundant, the players may be offered three to five days worth of provisions freely. In scarce times, strangers will be threatened to go away. During the winter, most of the population will largely hibernate in their homes. Desert peoples will loll during the hottest months or during the hottest times of the day.

Training & Weapons

Because there is no formal training or education, levels occur among those only because they have had obtained experience through direct combat. Warriors will be of 1st to 3rd level. 1-2 of the elders will be shamans, equivalent to 1st to 2nd level fighters. The chief will be 2nd to 5th level. Every leveled combatant will be proficient with the club and the short bow (except that most desert cultures will prefer a sling to the bow). In addition, the remainder will prefer either a spear or a javelin.

Animals will not be ridden into combat but may be used as transport to the battle, camels in the desert and horses in steppelands. Dogs will be domesticated, so that there is a 50% chance that a band or a clan will have 1-4 trained war dogs with them.

Most combats in the wild will be defensive and concentrate upon ranged combat rather than attempting to close for hand-to-hand (primarily because melee weapons are lacking). Ambush is always preferred to a straight-up fight. If there is no significant effect against opponents after three or four volleys, combatants will give ground, preferring to wear the enemy down over several days with guerrilla tactics, before asking for tribute to end the harassment.

Villages will close together and all persons will aggressively fight to the last individual rather than give up their villages.

Agriculture

With the expansion of herding and agriculture, the inhabitants diets are primarily founded on meat, milk and staple crops: grains and other starches and tuber vegetables. Because of a lack of irrigation, crops must be sturdy and able to survive weeks without rainfall. Most years produce just enough food for the community, as much of the food supply is lost due diseases among animals, poor weather (including violent storms that destroy crops), insects and drought. Approximately one year in seven will produce an bountiful crop that is stored in clay or crude stone granaries. When food is abundant, the herds are allowed to increase in number; when food supply grows scarce, a larger part of the herds is usually slaughtered.

Much of the food supply still comes from hunting and gathering, though this will be limited to within four miles of the cultivated fields. Thus, the supply of fish in the rivers, wild fruit, nuts and honey in the forests, hay from the meadows and so on is carefully managed rather than wholly depleted, which could mean the death of the settlement.

Shifting cultivation is the norm for the fields. Any piece of land that is farmed will become devoid of nutrients entirely after five or six years, with yields declining. Thereafter, farmers will abandon the old field, clear a new plot and allow the forest to reestablish itself through flooding or fire. Desert dwellers may abandon a depleted oasis and move to another, or spend a year digging out an oasis in the hopes that it will replenish itself. It may take 10-20 years for a used plot to become worthy of farming again. Where farming is the norm, a farmer's field may be as far away as a mile from their home.

Settlements

A substantial settlement will exist among the fields, with fixed wooden buildings when wood is available, clay structures in desert climes. Some regions will still employ tents as a primary dwelling, though these will be fixed around a reliable oasis or other natural food supply. Low brick walls, the sort that will not need engineering to build (three or four feet high) will surround all settlements. Houses will usually not include doors, nor lintels, wooden roofs (woven wood and thatch). Homes will be small, designed only for sleeping, with much of the resident's lives being lived outdoors.

These settlements will be scattered rather than tight in form. A single village of 500 residents may cover an area up to a mile in diameter. Individuals will raise small crop gardens around their homes and allow most animals to move about without pens (though larger animals may be tied off to trees or to the houses themselves). Settlements will be quiet and unoccupied during the day.as most of the population will migrate outwards to the fields, or to herd their flocks, in the morning, not returning until night. Most cooking and eating is done outside.

There will be no market, no money exchange, no services of any kind, nothing that can be bought or for the most part no work available for those seeking employment.

Organization

There is enough food in tech 6 regions that groups to slowly grow large and subdivide. Clans will produce multiple clans that will continue to identify as 'tribes' even though they may not live together in settlements - these disparate clans will make arrangements to meet one another at times of the year ('festivals') and help one another. Clans will spawn bands. Settlements will form when a tribe finds an area that can support several clans. A single tribe may include both settlement-dwellers and migrant clans.

Women will work alongside men and children will often be carried along or left at the edge of fields where they will be cared for by other children. Finding a group of untended children will not be unusual, but these will usually flee if approached.

Tribes, whether scattered or organized in a settlement, will typically be led by chiefs. By tradition, the chief of one of the largest or oldest tribes in the region will be responsible for choosing the monarch or overlord of the whole region (sultan, orkhan, subahdar, count, sheik, etcetera). Some regions, such as the Don Cossacks or the Zafara Bedouins, have no nominal heads of the various tribes. In such cases, joint policy is carried on by council. Typically all the tribes pay a tribute (spices, incense, mined gems, weapons) when a monarch of some kind exists.

Some regions will have ongoing blood feuds between specific tribes which have gone on for generations.

See Development Levels

Pogroms

Pogroms are attacks perpetrated against religious congregations or temples that are not part of the accepted social culture - defined as any religious group not represented among the elite classes in local authority. Religious persecution may occur in any part of the world and may take many forms, so that pogroms may be carried out against pagan cults, the religions of foreigners, missions founded upon the fringes of animistic societies and schisms within the same religion.

Famous subjects of pogroms would include the Jews of Europe, the Cathars, Gnostics, both Sunnis and Sufis and Christian settlements in Africa and America, Protestants vs. Catholics and Christians vs. Presbyterians . . . but in effect any minority congregation may be targeted for its isolated beliefs. It should be noted that the more successful - and therefore visible - an outside religious congregation is, the greater the perceived threat and the more likely a pogrom will occur.

To be counted as visible, a religion contrary to the social culture must have its temple located in a hex group of IV or less. Otherwise, the temple is considered to exist on the fringes of the culture and therefore can be safely ignored. Congregations existing in hex groups of V, VI or VII need not roll to see if pogroms occur. However, should such a hex increase its number of inhabitants to where its infrastructure becomes a IV, then that temple and congregation would have to begin rolling the chance of a pogrom occurring each month.

This chance is quite low. The character overseeing the local temple must roll against the % of potential worshippers within the local 2-mile hex. Note that the actual worshippers are not the measure, since it is a perceived threat, not an actual threat, that will initiate the pogrom. Note also that the participants in the pogrom will probably not be persons local to the congregation's hex - but rather, outsiders who have indirect ties to the locality (they may originate from any part of the political region - and may in fact be soldiers directed to commit the pogrom by the kingdom's elite).

If this percentage is rolled on a d100, the character then rolls 2d6. If a two results - snake eyes - then a pogrom results.

(Content for determination of pogrom form to be added later; this is a placeholder.  List should include arson, mass murder and forced migration - though the last does not fall technically under the definition of the word 'pogrom,' in game terms the word pogrom is being used to cover negative action being used against outsider religions)

Feeding the Poor (charity)

Feeding the poor is a means to gain access to unskilled labor while at the same time promoting good will in a community, primarily for the purpose of reducing the chance of a pogrom.

The total number of potential poor that can be so fed is a percentage of a 6-mile hex's inhabitants based upon the infrastructure (thus, a greater pool than the cleric's congregational locality).

Thus, if there were 4,000 total inhabitants within a hex group with a designation of IV, 200 of those would be poor. To benefit from feeding these, the character must provide half their sustenance. Because families are fed and not individuals (comprising both children and adults), a monthly average of 78 lbs. of food must be provided on average to each family (counted as an average of 6.25 mouths to feed).

For every family so fed, the feeder of the poor may rely upon 2 labourers giving a total of 30 days of donated labour, which must be performed kically (within the 6-mile hex where the family resides). For every 4 families fed (a total of 312 lbs.), thc chance of a pogrom occurring (based upon a cleric's congregational percentage) is reduced by 1%. In the example above, 200 persons would equal 32 families; if all were fed, the total chance of a pogrom would be reduced by 8%.

The food provided may be the cheapest available, so long as it conforms to the following: 6 lbs. of meat; 9 lbs. of fruit; 14 lbs. of vegetables; 46 lbs. of grains or tubers & 24 fl. oz. (counted as 3 lbs.) of beer, wine or spirits.

A cleric may pick and choose when to feed the poor - it need not be every month, or even the same number of persons every month. The chance for a pogrom and the provided labour will be gained whenever a month of food is provided for the requisite whole families.

Congregations (religious)

Having contructed a temple of sufficient size, the number of potential worshippers will depend upon the number of inhabitants surrounding location of the temple, the local infrastructure, the charisma of the cleric, dimensions of the temple and the amount of ornamentation that has been incorporated into the temple's design.

Begin with the group designation of the hex where the cleric has gained permission to build. This refers to the pre-existing infrastructure of the area. Hex groups six miles in diameter are rated in value from I to VIII (using Roman numerals), where I possesses the highest level of infrastructure and VIII possesses no infrastructure at all. Hex groups with designations of VIII have no inhabitants. Those with VI or VII have few inhabitants; those with I or II have many.

Note, however, that the cleric does not draw from the population of the entire 6-mile hex group. Each group is divided into seven 2-mile hexes - it is the inhabitants of this local 2-mile hex that is used to determine the cleric's potential congregation.

The cleric's charisma is expressed as a percentage multiplied by the infrastructure designation. The DM will be able to calculate the total number of inhabitants in the hex. Where the population is very high (densest levels will be more than 20,000 persons per 2-mile hex), there will be competition from other temples that will lower the cleric's draw. Each 1,000 population will reduce the cleric's charisma by 1 point.

Thus, a cleric with a 15 wisdom, building a temple in a hex group designated V would draw a base 75% of the inhabitants of the 2-mile diameter hex surrounding the temple. If, however, the total inhabitants numbered 3,000 persons, the cleric's charisma would be reduced to 12 and the calculated percentage reduced to 12 x 5 or 60%. If this number is reduced to zero, then the cleric's charisma and temple alone is not enough to draw worshippers in the area.

If it happens that the potential congregation is greater than 100% of the area's inhabitants, this will mean that additional worshippers are being drawn from other surrounding hexes, beyond the location of the temple.

Increasing the size of the temple [placeholder] and ornamentation can add bonuses to a cleric's charisma.

Where the temple itself is not be large enough to accommodate the whole potential congregation, clerics may rely upon a full congregation weekly. Where the reverse is true and the congregation is actually smaller than the temple, then efforts such as expanding the temple's size would be superfluous.

Note that the numbers above describes only the potential worshippers. To actually gain a congregation, a cleric must sacrifice 1 week in personal communication with the residents to build 10 weekly attendants (see Proselytize). Thus, if a temple had a capacity of 200 worshippers, the cleric would need to spend 20 weeks total to bring that temple up to its full capacity weekly.

To retain a congregation, the cleric must deliver a service once per week. Each failure to appear will reduce the total congregation by 15% - whereupon more weeks of personal communication must be sacrificed winning these worshippers back. This pressure can only be relieved by obtaining a lesser cleric to jointly manage services - but this cleric too must also communicate with the locals, in effect building a parallel congregation using the same base temple, based upon that lesser cleric's charisma.

While the balance of weekly parishioners will offer tithes of 1 or 2 c.p. per week, or even none at all, the balance of wealthier worshippers will balance this so that the cleric may count on 2 s.p. per attending worshipper per week (a random die roll is suspended due to the potential of needing a hundred or more rolls). Moreover, if the cleric attends their temple for four weeks in succession, if the cleric succeeds in a charisma check then the cleric will receive a gift will be received of 20-80 g.p. Roll a d20 to determine the form: livestock (1-3), land (4-9), food for the poor (10-13), a contribution for expansion/ornamentation (cleric's decision) of the temple (14-15), a legacy in the form of coin (16), furniture (17), incense (18), a silversmithed object (19) or clothing (20).

If a cleric has gathered more than 100 worshippers and commits contractually to giving services no less than three times per month, the community/local lord will pay a stipend of 50 g.p. per month to the cleric. If the coin is accepted, the cleric will be asked occasionally to take actions which will pacify the local population (speaking out against violence, encouraging the peasants to know their place, feeding the poor, etc.).

If the temple exists in an area where the cleric's religion is part of the accepted social structure, the cleric will be asked to contribute 10% of the tithes received to superiors - this payment does not extend to gifts received nor the cleric's monthly stipend. If the cleric's religion is isolated from the community, this percentage of tithes need not be paid - but should the cleric wish to seek out the appropriate superiors and pay it anyway, there are benefits from this.

For example, a subordinate cleric may be requested from the religious establishment, to be assigned to the cleric's temple. This subordinate will act as a completely loyal follower, who will serve and defend the temple as able.

See Pogroms.

Butchering (sage ability)

Skill in slaughtering, dressing and preserving meat from livestock, game and fish. While on the move, an army must often make use of live animals to feed their number. A slaughter improperly performed can spoil or even poison the meat, so having skill at removing the animal's entrails is necessary in the production of large amounts of available meat.

The steps in slaughtering include killing the animal (which must be done quickly to reduce the production of adrenaline, which spoils the meat's flavor), exsanguination (facilitating the removal of blood), skinning (removing the hide or pelt), scalding and dehairing (with pigs), evisceration (removal of the organs) and splitting the carcass in preparation for cutting. Secondary butchery involves boning and trimming the meat so it can be easily distributed for cooking by small groups or preserved with salt.

See Logistics

Bargaining (sage ability)

Shows a skill at negotiating prices with the seller of goods in order to obtain a better deal on a transaction. There are two ways in which the character can haggle for a deal:

Common Bargaining

When attempting to haggle for a specific item, the character may attempt a charisma check. A success indicates that character can purchase the item with a saving of 10%. A failed bargain has no consequences, except that the character must pay full price.

A common bargaining requires 10 minutes per sale. There is time needed for a character moving from shop to shop in a market town looking for items and characters who perform multiple hagglings will grow exhausted. For these reasons, no more than 9 common bargainings can take place in a given day.

Pressure Bargaining

The character may attempt an even better deal, haggling for 20-50% off, in the following manner. To start, the character should count only half their charisma ~ a demonstration that the haggling is being hard fought. Do not count fractions: a 17 charisma would count as an 8 for the purposes of a charisma check.

The character can then improve their chances of successfully haggling by buying more. The modifier here works upon a logarithmic scale. A purchase of 10-99 g.p. gives a +1 bonus to the ability check. A purchase of 100 to 999 gives a +2 bonus. A purchase of 1000-9999 gold gives a +3 bonus . . . and so on. By buying more, the character improves the chance of a deal.

If the character succeeds in the charisma check, then the character rolls a d4+1, indicating a saving of 20 to 50% of the original price. For example, the character with a 17 charisma haggles over items costing 1,200 g.p., gaining a +3 bonus to their roll. The character rolls an 11 on a d20 and succeeds in the bargaining. A 2 is rolled on a d4, adding one, indicating a saving of 30%. The character therefore receives 1,200 g.p. worth of goods for 840 g.p.

If the bargaining fails, however, then the character is banned from purchasing that sort of good in that sort of store (armorer, blacksmith, cobbler, grocer, etc.) in that market city for a period of one year. The character will need to send someone else to shop there.

For a lone character, the benefit of this is moderate. However, for a large concern such as an army, company or a political entity, which can afford to buy 100,000 g.p. worth of grains, meat, indigo or coconuts, a charismatic buyer with a +5 modifier can substantially help where a profit is concerned.

A pressure bargaining can require up to one hour per sale. Pressure bargainings are extremely exhausting, greatly reducing the potential for a character to act in peak form. For these reasons, no more than 3 pressure bargainings can take place in a given day.

See Logistics

Mixed Forest (bioregion)

A type of vegetation charaacterized by mixed broadleaf deciduous and needleleaf evergreen trees. Vegetations of this type occur in mesothermal, microthermal and montane climates.

In the northern hemisphere, characteristic trees include oaks, beeches, maples and birches mixed with pines, firs and spruce. The uppermost layer of the canopy will range from 100 to 200 feet. Below the canopy is the three-layered 'understory' that will be 30 to 50 feet shorter than the canopy, consisting of the sub-canopy, shrub layer and ground cover.

There are - designated areas where mixed forests occur.

In Asia

  • Caspian Hycanian Forest, south shore of the Caspian in Persia (cfa/humid subtropical).
  • Caucasus Forest, surrounding the high Caucasus mountains (warm mesothermal).
  • Han Forest, central China surrounding the middle Yangtze Basin (warm & moist mesothermal).
  • Himalayas Forest, from Kashmir to Sikkim (cfa/humid subtropical).
  • Luzon Highlands, a tiny area surrounding Mount Pulog (moist tropical).
  • Manchurian Forest, from the Greater Khingan Mountains to the Sea of Japan (warm & dry microthermal).
  • Nihonkai, from Kyoto to Aomori on Honshu Island (warm & moist microthermal).
  • Pontus Mountains & Galatia, in central Anatolia (cfa/humid subtropical).
  • South Hokkaido Island (cool & moist microthermal) (cool & moist microthermal).
  • Zagros Mountains, from Cappadocia to western Persia (cfa/humid subtropical).

In Europe

  • Bakony Forest, from the Alps to the Sava Basin (warm & moist mesothermal).
  • Balkan Forest, covering northern Greece and Ruthenia (cfa/humid subtropical).
  • Baltic Forest, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Baltic Sea, reaching east as far as Zerrwen and Podlesia (cool & moist mesothermal).
  • East Apennines Forest, shrouding the east side of the Apennines mountains above the narrow coast (cfa/humid subtropical).
  • Pyrenees Forest, covering the Pyrenees Mountains (cool & moist mesothermal).
  • Russia, from the Baltic Sea to the south Ural Mountains (cool & moist microthermal).
  • Svaeland, in central Sweden (cool & moist microthermal).

In North America

  • Birch Mountain Forest, from the MacKenzie Mountains to Lake Winnepegosis (cold & moist microthermal).
  • Blue Ridge Forest, from Delaware Bay to the Tombigbee Basin (warm & moist mesothermal).
  • Cascade Forest, between the Coastal and Cascade ranges (cool mesothermal).
  • Iroquois Forest, from the upper Mississippi to Nova Scotia (cool & moist microthermal).
  • Oachita Forest, from the Arkansas Mississippi river fork to Galveston Bay (warm & moist mesothermal)
  • Sierra Madre del Sur, including both north and south ridges above the Balsas Basin in Mexico (dry summer montane).
  • Sierra Nevada & Coastal Forest, encircling the Sacramento valley (dry summer mesothermal).

In Oceania

  • South Tasmania (cool & moist mesothermal).
  • North Island Forest, New Zealand (cool & moist mesothermal).

In South America

Chonos Forest, a small zone of the Chonos Archipelago and surrounding Moraledo Channel (cool & moist mesothermal).

Balkan Forest

A bioregion of mixed forest found in southeastern Europe.

The region extends northwards from the Aegean Sea primarily through the lands of Kosovo, Macedonia, Ruthenia, Serbia and Slavonia. A tongue of the forest reaches into the central highlands of upland Greece (eastern Epirus and western Thessaly). The climate is humid subtropical, with wet winters.

Forests are dominated by oaks and beech mixed with pine, fir and spruce. Biodiversity includes wisent, wolves, lynx, bears (brown), foxes and stags, eagles, owls and vulture.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Original United Nations Statistics (trade)

The following are production figures from the United Nations, 1988, gathered from the Industrial Commodities Year Book and the Food and Agriculture Organization. I originally used these numbers to build the amount of production of various products in my world, filling in details for products not included in these volumes by painstakingly hunting them down one by one. This, however, gives a good idea of how much raw product the reader may want to include in the trade system they are building.

The FAO (food & agriculture) statistics have been broken into two tables:




The ICYB (industrial) statistics have also been broken into two tables:




Pricing Equipment (trade)

Once we have obtained prices for undeveloped and manufactured goods, we are ready to use weight and workmanship to create individual prices for goods that would appear on an ordinary equipment list.

This is a very easy process. For example, we have already determined that the cost for a pound of manufactured pottery is 18.685 copper pieces, or approximately 19 c.p. per lb. We need only determine how heavy a given object made of pottery weighs, multiply that against our ratio and then judge for ourselves how carefully worked the object is.

Let's take something very simple: an earthenware pot, the sort of object that might be used every day and be churned out in large numbers, for ordinary use around the house - such as would be used for flour, cookies, buttons and so on. We already know that the pot is fired, as this was part of the process that increased the cost from mere clay to being pottery. We can add that the capacity of this pot is about a pint.

Let's establish the weight of the pot at ½ a pound. Let's also establish that because the pot is very ordinary, the workmanship is 1.0. This makes the cost of our pot equal to 18.685/2*1 (in excel calculation), or 9.343 copper pieces. For the players, we will round that out to 9 c.p. That's a reasonable price; an ordinary household may have half a dozen of such pots. An orc lair might have a hundred or more.

By why limit ourselves to ordinary workmanship? There is such a thing as 'art pottery,' some of which is spectacular in design and color. We can well imagine establishing a set of perameters for pottery of greater workmanship, based on quality of clay (the best material is reserved for the best pots), additions such as handles and lids, color, sculpting, quality of sculpting and so on, so that workmanship for a given piece can be rated as x 2 (fair), x 4 (ornamental), x 8 (fancy), x 16 (artistic), x 32 (quality), x 64 (excellent) and x 128 (exquisite). Thus, a truly exquisite pot (still the same weight) can now be rated at 1,152 c.p. (or about 6 g.p.).

That's nice - but the party isn't likely to get excited about 6 g.p. (though a household of such objects might make someone take notice). Still, we can always enlarge the pot. Our one-pint pot is about 7 inches tall (23 cm); how much would it be worth if it were, say, 14 inches tall?

In such a case, we need to multiply all the dimensions by 2: height, width and thickness of the material (though the latter may not be necessarily true - it is up to us). This would mean our 14-inch tall pottery vessel would be multiplied by 8 times and be worth 48 g.p.

Now, that's something. But let's not stop there. Let's suppose the party stumbles into a big lair and finds that the chieftain sits between two massive pottery urns, each 49 inches tall (about a meter and a half, for all us moderns who aren't familiar with imperial measurements). And let's say that the workmanship is magnificent (x 256). How much would they be worth? From a usual game standard, we're just guessing - but now we don't have to guess. 49 inches in height is 7 times our original pot's size; we're increasing the size in 3 dimensions, so the urns are 343 times as large, or about 172 lbs. each in weight. The base cost, size multiplied by the value of ordinary pottery, is 3,204 c.p. The workmanship, however, increases that value to 820,346 c.p. In my game, that's 4,273 g.p. Those are pots that are very definitely treasure!

By this method, we can logically determine the precise value of any pottery object in a way that is consistent with all other pottery objects. We can do the same with metal goods, horses, leather work, ale or anything we like. We need only establish the difference in "workmanship" between an ordinary ploughhorse and a heavy warhorse to give us a range of possible prices all based on the same original price we generated for horses.

If this isn't precise enough, we only need to create another set of references for a particular kind of metal, horse, leather or beverage, running through the same system we've already built, to produce another set of numbers we can use to price things.

And always remember, the price for one market in our world always has the potential for different prices, both higher and lower. Where is the best place to sell those big pottery urns?

How heavy is something? We have the whole internet to use as a judge. In fact, we can find specific objects on the internet and say, "such and such a pottery jug, in this picture here, weighs this amount and I'm calling the workmanship this." In reverse, the player can present an object, describe its dimension and ask what the price would be and we can work it out in a few seconds, without worrying about whether or not it would 'break the system.'

For those who would be interested in going on the 'net to find the weights for objects, I have a hint: search for 'shipping weight.' Most sites will be very unclear about how much a depicted object weighs, even on sites that are selling things - but those that ship objects are always interested in specifying weight; often distinguishing the difference between shipping weight and 'actual weight.' This can save a lot of hours wandering about trying to determine how much a telescope, a ship anchor or a pair of boots weighs. For historical objects, such as swords, museum sites are often very helpful.

I have priced more than 1,300 objects in this manner; my blog has many examples of equipment tables, some of which do give the exact weights of objects. As I write this, I am upgrading my prices table, reorganizing it to make it easier to expand and to more deeply adjust for the price of an object. I do plan to make this table - in excel - available for users, but only those prepared to invest $10 per month in my patreon account.

We're not done, however. This more or less describes the skeleton of the whole system. Having described it thus far, I can now begin detailing specific elements of the system, such as how to build structures that will calculate trade distances between multiple cities, organize hundreds of different references at the same time, splitting and handling more specific references, calculating out things like different products, adding wages and performed services (from getting a shave to hiring a berth aboard a ship) and so on.

We have a lot of things yet to expand. [placeholder]

See Trade System

Manufactured Goods (trade)

Goods that are manufactured have their prices based upon the value of the original raw material plus labour. It is less important how much of a particular product exists (chasing the supply and demand model) that it is to ascertain how much more valuable the product is to the worker after labour has been added.

The synthesis of labour and raw material cost is achieved through a formula - which we will, as with undeveloped goods, use excel to calculate. There are two processes in which this formula applies, which I shall call one-for-one and extraction. In all cases, I will continue to use Marzabol numbers, though of course the same process applies for whatever market we're calculating for.

One-for-One Process

This describes a situation where end result from processing equals the amount of goods produced. For example, it may be remembered from describing the quantity of goods that I wrote that the weight of 'ore' described the metal content only - waste rock is not counted (there are ways of calculating how much of this there would be, for mining purposes, but that is not important to our purposes right now; I will address this later).

This means that we can say, approximately, that one pound of unprocessed ore will, once labour is added, produce one pound of processed ore. Similarly, since the amount of clay that is made into pottery isn't lost in the process, we can say one pound of pottery equals one pound of clay plus labour. This isn't strictly true, of course - there is always waste. It isn't worth our accounting for it, however, so we can discount the waste as not being counted either before or after processing.

Extraction Process

This describes a situation where the amount of material manufactured differs from the original source. There is a great variance to how this can manifest. For example, how many sheep does it take to produce a ton of wool? How much meat exists in a cow or a sheep? How much grain does it take to produce a gallon of beer? How many grapes does it take to make a bottle of wine?

In each case, we need to determine the total cost of all unprocessed material necessary before we can determine its final price. For example, it takes 2.6 oz. of grapes (+.47 oz. of sugar) to make 1 fluid ounce of wine (the internet can provide all sorts of detail on this, with varying amounts for different wines). We don't have sugar in our system, so we're not going to overlook it for now, but if we did add sugar we would want to account for all materials.

For Marzarbol, we determined that grapes were 42.16 c.p. per lb, or 2.635 c.p. per ounce. This means to make a fluid ounce of wine our starting raw materials will cost 6.943 c.p.

Conversely, let's consider sheep. Using research from medieval times (sorry, I did not bother to save the source - I did not need to, I'm not writing a university thesis), an average sheep produced about 26.45 oz. of 'greasy' wool per year. A modern sheep produces much more, but it has the benefit of understanding genetics and careful breeding. Such things did not exist 400 years ago.

We can therefore set the initial value of wool as 1/26.45th of a sheep. After all, the sheep isn't doing anything else but producing wool so this is a fair equivalent. When we slaughter the sheep, we can use the same calculation to determine the price of its meat. Our price for a sheep in Marzarbol was 54.36 c.p., so our base price for greasy wool is 2.055 c.p. per ounce.

Let's use this last to get a price for refining wool.

Making Wool Cloth

There are two steps towards making cloth, which we will later use to make garments for the players. The first is the process greasy wool cut from the sheep into clean, carded wool that is ready for the spinning wheel. The calculation for doing this is to take our cost for greasy wool obtained from sheep (2.055 c.p./oz.) and divide it by the total references in Marzarbol (1 reference). The product of this calculation is the labour cost. This cost is thus added back to the original cost for greasy wool, making clean wool worth 4.11 c.p./oz. In excel I make a small table that looks like this:


Note that I have created this new table right underneath the old one. This way, I can have cell C23 = cell L16 - so that if I change the number of references for sheep it automatically recalculates the cost for clean wool, as shown. In time we will create a table that keeps track of all our references - but as ever, we leave that for another day.

The fewer the number of references for wool, the more expensive the labour will be. If we consider Crow's Nest, where the number of references for wool is only 0.2, the increase in the cost of labour would make the final price six times the original - and this would be the selling price in Crow's Nest, regardless of whether the cloth is produced there or brought from Marzarbol. Always assume that the price in a given market already accounts for things like demands, competition and so on! Trying to adjust further for these things will only spoil the elegance of the system.

Very well. We can now determine the cost for cloth in precisely the same way. Cloth is based on wool just as wool is based on sheep - except that we use cloth references instead of wool references. Once again, cloth has 1 reference, so the result is the same: the price of cloth is double that of clean wool:


Like the wool from sheep or the fluid ounces from the grapes above, there are various distillations that have to be tracked down one by one (if earth-like accuracy is sought for; otherwise, an individual user can make up numbers as necessary). Below is a list of prices calculated for Marzarbol based on the information accumulated thus far in the tutorial. As before, I'm including an excel table that can be downloaded so that the various calculations can be examined.


In time I will be addressing the problem of adding new data to the above table (since at the moment it would be painstaking to add new references individually), but before we get there, we want to move on to the pricing table: how to determine the price of individual items on our equipment table.

See Trade System

Undeveloped Goods Prices (trade)

Goods in the trade system are divided into two categories: those resources that possess a natural value at the moment they are found or uncovered and those resources that have value only after processing. This page will concern itself with pricing natural and undeveloped goods.

Undeveloped goods include materials that are dug up, caught, harvested from fields, chopped down or picked from trees. In our tutorial, we are counting 'bricks' as a raw material because our use of the term is meant to include stone; however, a more proper and detailed system would have separate references for stone and count bricks as manufactured products made from clay and other materials.

Similarly, while it would seem that animals are 'naturally' born and therefore collected as undeveloped goods, the fact is that before an animal can become valuable it must be fed for periods up to several years - the cost of this feed represents a form of 'processing' that we are not taking account for in this system at this time. Later, I will be describing how to make these sorts of distinctions - but for now, our primary goal is to create a simple system that accounts for most things the players will want to buy. We can add nuance later.

Some readers will be familiar with the post on my blog describing my trade system in 2010. It should be clear that I have made adjustments to the details described on that post in the last year - changing the overall behaviour of my trade prices. While much of what I described 6 years ago still reflects things I do today, my old method should not be confused with the method described here.

Also, the details below will be presented as calculations done in Microsoft Excel. While calculations for the system can be done with pencil and paper, the reader will discover that once ten or more markets have been added to the system that working without a computer calculating tool will quickly make the system impractical. My use of excel will be simple and I shall try to make it as easy to understand as possible for those who have never taken the plunge and used the system.

Gold Standard

Before beginning this section, the reader should be sure to be familiar with details about determining quantity of goods, locating references and transport.

We can begin to build prices for any other unprocessed good by first addressing gold. Gold is a convenient standard because, most importantly, it occurs naturally as nuggets or flakes (placer deposits) and as such can be easily hammered into shapes. The first tokens representing currency were made of gold; it is rare, measurable, consistent (unlike a system based upon, say, labour or grain production) and is therefore practical for our purposes.

Because gold is the standard measure, we must ensure that the value of gold from place to place differs only slightly - otherwise, the effect on the price of gold will cause all other prices in the system to fluctuate wildly (and make the availability of gold the only meaningful factor in determining those prices). My most recent method for doing this has been to make the price of gold 100 times less flexible than other prices in the system, as shall be seen.

Let's begin with the value of gold in one of our three markets: Marzarbol. The reader will remember that there are 1.2 references for gold in Marzarbol after transport adjustments. The total references in our entire system equals 2 and the total production of gold (using my number of 1320 oz. per reference) equals 2,640 ounces. I suggest creating an excel page that looks like this:


Each box shown below contains exactly what is shown except for the one that is highlighted, D4. By typing in "=1320*C4" (as shown on the function line, above), it calculates the value in C4 x 1320.

Next, we will want to determine how much physical gold is flowing around Marzarbol. To do this, we divide the production by the total number of references and multiply that by the local references. In excel, that looks like this:


Here I will skip two columns that will become important with other goods: the world value of that product in gold and the local value of that product. Where gold is concerned, the world value is equal to the total production, while local value is equal to the physical gold in the area. It won't be relevant at this stage, but keep in mind that one reference is always worth that reference as it applies to gold, so that a reference of sheep, timber or fish equals in value a reference to gold.

As well, the value in gold ounces per local availability always equals 1 where it comes to gold: that is, gold = gold. To show these aspects (and I understand they are difficult to grasp at this time - it will become more clear as we move to other goods), I will include this table update:


Now, before we can calculate how much an ounce of gold is in coins, we will need an adjustment for the relative rarity of gold in the market as compared to other markets. This is the adjustment for rarity: the total number of references divided by local references, multiplied by 0.02, plus 1, as shown:


Note that the calculation must be made inside brackets before the 1 is added. This formula creates a multiplier that is always above the original price for gold. Why 0.02 as a controlled variable in the equation? I tried several alternatives and settled on it as a reasonable control adjustment; 0.01 offered too little variance and 0.03 too much. Call it an approximation based on experience. If it seems that a rarity adjustment of 1.03 is too little, remember that Marzarbol has more than half the 'world's gold' at this point in the system. It is where the gold comes from, so we want to represent that by making as small an adjustment to the price as possible. Compare this with the Heap in the Hills, which has only 0.3 references:


Good, let's go back to Marzarbol and continue. My personal preference for pricing things is to convert everything into copper pieces. When I create a price table for the players, I convert copper into more convenient gold and silver (and we will eventually get to this process), but for base calculations, using the smallest coin is easiest. It is universal to every product and covers the lowest price as well as the highest, with a minimum of fractions. It does not actually matter what the silver or copper coin is made from: we can always assume that the proportion of metals in each coin, along with the exact weight of metal, matches up to the value of the coin in the system.

The number of copper coins per ounce of gold equals the amount of gold found in a given gold coin (as I said, one ounce of gold in my world is enough to create 8.715 gold coins), times the number of copper pieces per gold coin (in my world, 192), times the adjustment for rarity. For Marzarbol, this is 1 x 8.715 x 192 x 1.03, or expressed in excel:


Congratulations. We now have a total number of copper coins that is needed to buy 1 ounce of gold in our system in Marzarbol. While this seems like a very long process, in fact once the numbers are put together in excel, calculating them for a different market is near-instantaneous. Let's move on to other products.

Footnote: in a small system, like this one, where every market is relatively close to the source for gold, it is probable that the value of gold will shift only slightly from place to place, as shown above. However, as the system grows larger (and distances between markets and gold production increases), the potential for gold to fluctuate a great deal can threaten the system. What happens is that gold becomes the only meaningful factor in determining prices from market to market. My answer to this has been to stabilize the price of gold by reducing the modifier for rarity by 100 times, from 0.02 to .0002. As I say, in a very large system, adjustments this tiny can still massively affect the amount of gold available in a given market. I suggest that users pay attention to the numbers and - after becoming familiar with the system - consider making very slight adjustments to the value of gold.

Contrariwise, I strongly urge the reader not to make similar adjustments to other products; these products do not affect the value of every other thing in the system and therefore can exist in isolation to those other things.  As well, strong fluctuations in the presence of these things will create scarcity and game drama. These aspects should not be smoothed out in the way that the price of gold should be.

Other Undeveloped Goods

The process for calculating the price of undeveloped goods other than gold is nearly the same, except that now the value of these products is measured against the gold standard. Like before, I will go through the process of creating prices for these products as patiently as I have for gold.

For a first undeveloped good, let's start with ore. From the quantity of goods page, we can use 2000 tons of ore per reference. Assume that most of this ore is iron, since that is the most useful ore and by far the least valuable. Other ores, like copper or tin, will be much more valuable - but these can be added to the system later as we wish. For now we will just think of them as "ore." Marzarbol has 1.2 references in ore.


I would recommend setting up your excel page like the above. Note that I have multiplied the number of tons of ore per reference by 2000, in order to produce a number of pounds. Like using copper pieces over gold pieces, it is easier to use smaller units instead of larger ones. Of course, if the reader prefers metric, that's always a choice - but personally I can't reconcile metric with a fantasy campaign. It sounds too modern. Oh, and do forgive me; I am so used to describing references to four significant digits that I've done so here without thinking about it.

So far, so good. This looks just like the gold calculation. We can move forward to local availability:


Marzarbol market shifts 60% of the closed system's ore (1.2 out of 2.0). I want to be sure that those who don't understand excel all that well can follow along. Let's move on.

The value of ore in terms of gold ounces is a little tricky. Whereas 2 references of ore ARE the same value as 2 references of gold, remember that local gold has been adjusted for rarity. That means we want to multiply the total references of ore in the world against the value of gold (in c.p.) in Marzarbol ~ since this is the point of view we have right now. "Value" is mutable, depending on one's location ~ and we want our trade system to reflect this. The calculation is very simple:


** Sorry, there is an error in the above table. The cell H7 should read "world value (c.p./oz. gold). I am sorry about any confusion this has caused and will correct the images as soon as I have the opportunity.

For those unfamiliar with this aspect of excel, the dollar signs in $K$4 are there so that if the cell is copied, the cell referenced is not. This will be important later; when we fill out our table with other goods, we will want that calculation not to change.

Note how much more valuable 2 adjusted references of ore are compared with gold above. This is what I mean by a very small adjustment in the rarity of gold having large effects upon the rest of the system. We want to always keep an eye on this, as it can threaten to compromise the whole system.

This brings us to the local value of those 4.8 million lbs. of ore noted in cell G8. While local value of gold was equal to the local availability of same, the same is not true of ore. To get our value, we want to divide the local references by total references for the product and multiply that number against the world value (in Marzarbol):


This is simple algebra. The local value is 60% of the world's value because Marzarbol has control over 60% of the world's iron (in our closed system). Now we want a value for exactly how much a physical pound of ore is in ounces of gold. Since there are so many more pounds of ore than ounces of gold in the system, we can assume this will be a very small number. We get it by dividing the number of local ounces (I8) by the total availability of ore (G8):


There, we see that 1 lb. of ore = 0.0004 oz. of gold (to emphasize, in Marzarbol). From here we simply repeat the steps we've already used for gold: adjusting first for rarity and then multiplying 0.0004 by the number of gold coins in an ounce, the number of copper coins in a gold coin and that rarity adjustment:


Now we have built a template for all the undeveloped goods on our list. All we have to do is repeat the line containing ore and adjust the numbers for how many local references there are, how many total references (we made everything equal to 2 but the user can play with that and see how the other numbers change) and how much production we assign per reference. Everything else is an exact repeat of the calculations we've already created (being sure that H8's $-sign attribution to K4 is repeated on every line).

Here is the list that fits with numbers I've already given in the tutorial:


On the whole, apart from seeing for the first time the comparison between the amount of goods and the actual cost of things, there are no surprises here. Where the total number of references is so small, there isn't much room for the sort of rarity we will eventually want in place. We will address this later, when we are ready to expand the system in various ways. For the present, the important thing is to build the tools that we will need - this table and the next one, which we will use to determine the price of manufactured goods.

See this link for a break down of the work we've done so far.

See Trade System

Transport (trade)

Includes instructions for creating roads, determining shipping distances and making adjustments to references according to those distances.

Creating Roads

As before, we begin with a map of Pon, adjusted by adding a road from the Heap in the Hills to Crow's Nest. When making up our mind where a road goes, we want to be sure and choose hexes that fit with how people would travel the distance if no road existed. In historical times, the path beaten by feet and cart tracks would always predate the eventual construction of the road; thus "the shortest distance" is always what is most convenient for travel, never the shortest distance between two places.

The road from Heap to Marzarbol swings around the edge of Pon's southern mountains, so that the distance is four hexes, not three. The terrain between Crow's Nest and Marzarbol is forest and plain, so it is easy enough to carve a road that follows more or less a straight line.

Eventually, we can create roads that will take us to other markets - Adeese, Groat, Basimar and so on - but for now we will only want to create roads that we know will be used in the trade sphere we have developed thus far. Trying to build a single system for the whole world will be impractical and will take more time than most people have - our primary goal is to get prices on the board as soon as possible. When other markets (and references) are added, it may adjust the first prices we create, but as this will be done automatically (as we shall see in good time), we needn't concern ourselves with this right now.

Shipping Distances

While it may seem that the best method for determining the difference in prices from place to place would be to calculate the cost of using a wagon to transport a set weight of goods, plus time, plus cost for labor and so on, this would be needlessly fiddling in designing what can be a straightforward methodology.

Consider the 2 references of cattle that we have assigned to the Heap in the Hills. We know that this represents 12,800 cattle. For the sake of the system, we can imagine that these are the cattle that exist around the Heap that are available for sale. Of course, some of these cattle can be sold more than once; so that in our system we can imagine that these cattle can represent many more cattle in terms of sales - and that the sales (and resales) in markets other than Heap are fractions of the local availability adjusted by distance.

The distance between Heap and Marzarbol is, as we've said, 4 hexes. We want to think of this in terms of 4 days travel - and to this 4 days we want to add 1 day for the actual organization of the good (in this case, cattle) in Heap. Thus, when considering the availability of cattle in Heap as compared to Marzarbol, we would divide the number of references and the number of cattle by 1 in heap and by 5 in Marzarbol.

For simplicity sake, we'll just compare references. There are thus 2 references for cattle in Heap and 0.4 references for cattle in Marzarbol.

Now we want to know how much cattle is available in Crow's Nest. Once again, 4 hexes separate Marzarbol from Crow's Nest - however, the traders in Marzarbol will want to take their cut; and there will be road costs and various other fees that will be incorporated from taking our goods through Marzarbol. Therefore, we will want to add 1 more day in adjustment for travel. This means that while it is only 8 days travel from Heap to Marzarbol, in terms of trade it counts as 10 days. This will give us 0.2 total references for cattle in Crow's Nest. The total references for all three markets is 2.6, more than what we started with (but remember, resales happen).

Now let's look at something that comes from two different places: fish. We have 1 reference for fish coming from Crow's Nest and 1 reference coming from Marzarbol. In addition to that reference, both markets import fish from the other market (the fish may be different species in each town, encouraging an exchange, or it may simply be both markets encouraging supply). We know that the distance between these two markets is 5 hexes (including the organizing day), so each exports 0.2 fish back and forth between them. That makes the total references for both Marzarbol and Crow's Nest to be 1.2.

Both, in turn, ship fish to Heap (we can presume whatever arrives in Heap has been dried just long enough to survive the length of journey or that it represents an amount of fresh fish that is caught in local ponds around Heap - either can be seen as a way of accounting for Heap's access to fish). Marzarbol ships the same amount of fish to Heap as it does to Crow's Nest, as it still counts as 5 hexes; Crow's Nest counts as 10 hexes, with the Marzarbol pause. Thus the total amount of fish references in Heap, together, is 0.3.

Using this system, we can make a new table that shows the references for each market adjusted for distance (both raw and manufactured goods), as shown on the right.

We can also compare the amount of references originating in a market and compare it to imports. Crow's Nest (as seen here) produced 8 references but it imports 4 more. Marzarbol produces 15 and imports 3.6. The Heap in the Hills produces 10 and imports 3.8. These slight differences pile up as more and more markets are added to the system.

Our next two steps will be to translate these numbers into actual general prices that can be paid by the players. First, by calculating raw material prices, thereafter by calculating manufactured prices - the steps are different, as the reader will see.

See Trade System