[PnP] Economic Project, Part 1 (rev 2)

Burton Choinski bchoinski at verizon.net
Wed Apr 23 16:46:37 CEST 2014

On Apr 20, 2014, at 7:54 PM, Scott Adams wrote:
> I believe most of the gear from the 1980s was basic very basic.  I never
> saw it as perfect but just a baseline.  Obviously gear in Fomoria would
> be vastly diferent in type, style, price than say Donara.  Most of the
> gear we just did was basic and not in any way long term.  We did not
> setup kingdoms or such.  Though recently few years ago I did have some
> buy land and one even has a horse ranch.  That ranch I worked on the
> full details on upkeep and such with the owner.  It was probably the
> biggest thing for this type of system.

And i fully realize that he needed to have something out there for the game.  No reason to not update things and fill in gaps, much like the V2 rules did.

> I may not have great advice on this subject.  It is just something
> we normally don't do.  So it will be mostly simple comments.  Sorry
> can't do more than that.  Keep in mind on taxes that no taxes are
> ever the same year and year.  Famine, fires, plaques, etc will affect
> popular, supply and demand.  Can't do 10% tax for a land who just
> lost 50% in crops and 10% in people.  Would have revolts.

Understandable.  I realize that this subject may be out of scope for most people on the list, but having other GMs/players/world designers there to poke holes is always better for the end product. As to taxes and such, the 10% is just there as a token nod based on the middle ages idea of a tithe (I sure as hell wish I paid only 10% nowadays :).  There is no reason why A player-run region suffering from such effects could not say he cuts his taxes in those cases, taking the loss of income over unrest.  If A player lord has 1000 farmers in his domain, that 30GC income per year he normally gets may be sweet, but if he has 20 guards at 2bb/day (6SC/year each = 12GC), he can only cut so much before he has to start paying out of pocket.

> I think if I were inclined to do this I'd do a basic manufacturing
> system like you have tried.  So what materials, time and such goes
> into making a set of crops, shoes or a palace.  Once you have this
> bare stuff one can figure out that factors on a chart could determine
> time to make, price and such.  When I did my Tanning rules I did something
> very BASIC like this and it worked though to be honest it was mostly
> guess work.  But now I can figure out how long a X fur can take
> to make and a price for the tanner to sell (a few pcs).  This would
> be a nightmare for everything item wise.  So a more generic stuff
> like materials on wood, silver, etc might be needed.

The basic concept comes form the website 'it all begins with grain".  In terms of low-tech cultures, I do think that the value of product is based on the cost of labor, plus materials.  There are other factors, but this is only a low-level simulation.  At present we really only have a 10% "inflation" factor for products (to cover the taxes), so a final product that is 5 steps removed from raw materials ends up increased in cost by about 60% -- if we added another 25% at each step to cover fees, other materials and random expenses,   at 5 steps out the cost gets inflated out nearly 4.5 times.

Now this is not to say that this is a knob that should not be there -- if we feel that the per-step value increase is too low (which makes advanced produces with lots of steps more expensive than simple goods), then we can tweak that knob to where it "feels right".  Or we can ignore the knob, keep it simple  and just add more steps. For example, in my draft 1 version of the rules, Chain armor is 2 steps (Miner (Metal) -> Armorer (Armor)).  Perhaps the better way to model it is add a step (Miner(metal) -> Wiremaker(metal wire) -> Armorer (chainmail)), but each step then requires me to figure out production rates.  Such a model sort of looks like manufacturing today, and probably would seem more "realistic" in our eyes, but I don't know for sure how things were handled in roman/dark ages terms.

> >  * A P&P year is 360 days; a P&P week is 6 days, for 5 weeks per month
> Hmm.  Some use calendars of various sorts.  Solar, seasonal.  I have
> some file that I did for the Culture project that is just on those
> things but don't think it will help.

I'm just using the calendar I posted to Wout's site a while back. 

> >  * All occupations are averaged out to the productivity of a single man;
> Keep in mind a FREE man works at most cases harder than a slave.  A slave
> will be not as determined to help his master.  Aut a free man willl
> tend to want to get paid for his owrk.  So some factor for the worker
> should be figured for slaves, free man, indentured or even prisoners
> in jails work.  That sort of thing.

Again, this is a complexity I'm currently hand-waving away since it varies so much by culture.  The model is being defined on an "idealized" culture.  Once we have that as a base it's easy enough for the GM to apply modifiers.

> >A farmer works 300 days a year on his own farm, spending an
> Ahh? 30 days for bad weather.  Seems way way too small. Look at
> CA with the heat.  Can't farm weeds.  I think weather should be
> much more a factor than 30 days.  If I were to do a random system
> I'd some fast charts or write a program for weather (actually I
> did a good chart on weather long ago).  I mean 30 days?  I dunno.
> Seems like could be as much as 3-4 times than that at times and
> depending on the area.  Formoria might have hurricnes like LEmasa
> but Ticasi might only have rain.

A farmer is not 300 days in the fields; a lot of that time is doing housing and tool upkeep, cutting his firewood for the next winter, mending clothes, etc.  Some of that could be done in bad weather, and likely would have to if they wanted to eat.  I just wanted a little bit of flexibility in the system.  In my original draft of these rules I had all productions and incomes based on 360 days, which was even more unreasonable (everybody has SOME down time).

> >The 1440p income is the same as our 5bb/year. 2900 liters is
> >(NOTE: Is this too little beer?  I have brewed in the past,
> Not a drinker.  But I know some can do 3-6 canss a night or 3-6 bottles
> a night easily.  Course most ancient folks made their own brew or if
> they could afford it they didn't driink much due to religion and such.
> Too little?  Seems reasonable.

Back then beer was drunk a lot for safety as well.  The boiled water (and alchohol) was healthier than water directly from local sources. 

> Sadly the other numbers I have no comment.  They all look good.
> But I'm just not into sitting and breaking the numbers down.  Sorry.
> They all look reasonable.  Sorry if not a great reply.
> your second post on firewood and such was excellent.  I think the
> numbers there are finely tuned.  Great job.  I wish I could reply
> better but I see little error or issue.

Even if that's all you have, it helps.  Having chewed on this for a few years, though all the incarnations, I could easily see myself overlooking some gaping hole that might be obvious to someone looking at it fresh.

> hmm..actually just recalled I don't see factors like on transportation.
> did you factor wagons..ships and such for moving such materials?

As I said above, these rules assume an idealized culture, with local production.  If you consider a simple pack trader (1 person and 2 mules), at 5bb/day, assuming that he can't graze his animals much while traveling perhaps add 1bb in fodder for the two mules.  His expenses are thus 6bb/day.  If his normal route between points is a week (6 days), plus another half week to sell his goods and rest, he must pull in 54bb per trip. At 300# of cargo on the mules, he needs to charge about 0.18bb per # of cargo.  Adding in the 10% tax, plus another 10% for tolls and road fees, and rounding up, it comes to about 1/4bb per pound of cargo per trip He need only do 27 trips per year).  Factoring this out, shipping by pack trader comes to 6CC per ton per day of travel.  If players need to ship 10 tons of wheat 5 map hexes away (overland, 10 miles per day, or 2 days per hex), the cost of their food will be 72SC, plus another 60SC for transport (almost doubling his cost).  Other transport methods (larger traders with ox and wagon, carrying a ton, or larger caravans) would need to be figured out to find the expense of shipping. 

> Gee that was a waste of post.  Nothing too detailed...sigh..

Not a waste, since I was able to use it to explain my methods and perhaps answer questions other might have.

Anybody can come up with the simple model like I used for the pack trader -- having others work out other methods and putting them all down makes the system all the richer.  You could aways work up shipping costs for boats. :}

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