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