[PnP] Economic Project, Part 1

Burton Choinski bchoinski at verizon.net
Sun Mar 30 19:33:17 CEST 2014

Greetings everyone!  It's been a long while since I put anything major up to
the list, and given the low traffic I figured I may as well do so with a
project I have been working on for what seems like several years (off and
on, including endless tweaks and redos).  This is my "Economic Unification"

For all the years my group and I have been playing P&P, one of the largest
irks we had was with the equipment list, mostly with some of the wacky
prices, but also because of them it made fitting in new equipment somewhat
difficult.  5 years ago, when we restarted our "Legends" campaign with their
characters of 25 years ago, one of their goals was to eventually carve out
a kingdom for themselves (which they have, in the "unclaimed" hills and
mountains of the western elder mountains, close to Treaus.

Well, once you get such a kingdom, they needed to know what they were bringing
in with regards to taxes.  I could have gone with the culture book's GNI
calculation and been done with it, but being the type who likes to crunch
numbers and lay out a consistent basis for things, I went back to our old
nemesis, the equipment list and how things are priced.  To do this I would need
to work out costs from the ground up, thus the birth of this project.

I am presenting these series of posts as both a presentation of my ideas to the
list as well as draw upon the collective experiences of GM's and players alike
to poke holes at my assumptions, shore up faulty logic, or add missing
information that would make it more complete.  I hope the eventual "laws"
that are generated can then be used by all to create a more comprehensive
and logically consistent set of prices for any gear or services we ever need.

Now, I am not an economist (though some of you out there may be), so I'm
looking at these rules as a step-by-step system to lay out a logical reasoning
for the values of various goods and services.  The goal is not to make
"Sim-Donara", and may of the assumptions are made to reduce the laws to a
bare minimum with a "perfect world" mindset, with the assumption that once
we have a solid foundation, simple modifiers can then be worked up to reflect
the variances one might encounter in the actual game world.

In summation, before I begin, I plan to present my thesis for open use as I
plan to use it in my game.  Comments pointing out missing parts or faulty logic
are certainly welcome, and I will try to reply to all with my reasons why I
don't think they work or with updated info as needed once integrated.  I have
a large excel spreadsheet that is backing all these calculations, and I'll
happily email it to anyone who wishes a copy at any point (I'll have to keep
it revisioned, as it may get updated a lot depending on responses).  Simply
contact me at bchoinskI at verizon.net and ask for the economic sheet.  And if
you find bad formulas, let me know!

With luck, at the end of this a comprehensive an internally consistent
equipment and services list can be created.


The following base assumptions are used as the core of the system:
   * A P&P year is 360 days; a P&P week is 6 days, for 5 weeks per month
   * A P&P ton is 2000 pounds
   * Normal definitions of an acre (43,560 square feet) and mile (5,280 feet)
     apply; a square mile contain 640 acres
   * Yields and production rates based on real-world data for Roman era thru
     Middle-Ages, where I could find it; Some info drawn from GURPS Low Tech
     sources since I believe the authors have tried to do the same research
     I am doing and probably had paid access to sources I can't google up
     (Assuming GURPS TL1 or TL2 for the P&P world, with TL3 in some cultures
     for specific technologies)
   * All occupations are averaged out to the productivity of a single man;
     yes, many occupations are performed by teams of men, but we average it
     out to find a single man value.  This allows us to easily calculate the
     production of any number of people.
        - For simplicity, children (who normally contribute to a family's
          income) produce at HALF rate, but likewise require HALF the needs.
   * We assume an average food need for human adults of 2.5 food points
   * Values of products or services are largely based on the cost of labor,
     plus any source materials for refining or crafting occupations
   * When sources refer to a "family", we assume two adults at full production
     one youth at half production and two children at quarter production and
     perhaps a baby at no production.  Thus, a family of 5-6 has the production
    (and income needs) of 3 adults.

All occupations have a set standard of living, defined as a specified number
of bits per day.  The base values by station at based on the P&P starting
wealth table and some ideas from other games:
   * Station 1 -- Labor (1bb), Skilled Labor (2bb)
   * Station 2 -- Crafter (5bb), Master Crafter (10bb), Tradesman (5bb),
                  Uncommon Tradesman (10bb), Pack Trader (5bb),
                  Minor Merchant (10bb)
   * Station 3 -- Artisan (20bb), Master Artisan (50bb), Merchant (20bb),
                  Master Merchant (50bb)
   * Station 4 -- Specialist (100b), Rare Specialist (200b)

The foundation of most civilized lands is agriculture.  Farmers at Station 1
make up the majority of the population, and the overall cost of food is based
on what their income is worth.

FARMER (1bb/day)
Sources note that a family could manage a "yardland" of 24-30 acres, but most
only had 10.  Of this, HALF is left fallow each year to prevent soil exhaustion
(or allowed use as pasture for herdsmen). Splitting the difference, we assume
18 acres per family (9 actively used each year). Most areas had two growing
seasons, with warmer and wetter regions allowing for three.  We will assume
two as the average fro most of the Perilous lands.

From GURPS Low Tech Companion (GLTC) it states that barley produces 705# per
acre per season, with wheat at 355#.  We will go with the greater yields of 4:1
for harvest:sewn, so a farm produces 6345# of barley, 3195# of wheat or 2520#
of legumes per year, of which 1/4 must be retained for next years crops.  This
results in 4759# of barley (1586#/adult), 2397# of wheat (799#/adult) and 1890#
of legumes (630#/adult). Wheat produces about 1.7x the weight of the grain
in straw (usable for fodder), or 5432# (1811#/adult).  To keep things simple,
barley produces less usable fodder, keeping it's yield at the same level as

A farmer works 300 days a year on his own farm, spending an additional 30 days
(tithe) working the lands of his liege lord.  The remaining 30 days in the year
account for sickness, holy days or bad weather, but implies that a farmer
could work those days, getting +10% income.  The 300 days working his own farm
must meet his income needs (1bb/day), so we can determine the value of the
crops. It is assumed that grains make up 75% of the income, with straw/fodder
making up the other 25%.  Legumes make up 100% of the income.

	Barley  -> 0.1419bb/lb (7b for a 48lb bushel)
	Wheat   -> 0.2816bb/lb (17b for a 60# bushel)
	Legumes -> 0.4762bb/lb (12b for a 25# bushel)
	Fodder  -> 0.0415bb/lb (2b for a 50# bale)

GLTC states that an active adult requires 750lb of grain per year to survive.
Wheat provides more protein than barley and is used for bread, with legumes
making up the majority of the needed protein (meat was relatively rare).
Assuming the diet is 50% barley, 25% wheat and 25% legumes, the yearly food
cost is 195bb/year.  Thus, a general laborer at Station 1 spends about 2/3 of
his income on food, the remainder is used for other needs.  Obviously, lower
quality grains can be bought for less if he needs money for other things.

Given the above, the average adult requires 2.5FP per day, or 900FP per year.
A grain/legumes provide 1.2FP per pound.

The value of cropland works out to the income produced by the people working it
for you.  At 300b income over 9 active acres, this comes to 33.34bb/acre.  Book
1 states that farmland is worth 1SC per acre.  If go with this value as one of
our "anchors", this implies that land sells for 3x it's yearly production
income (i.e. If you purchase land from the King, you make your money back after
three years and profit beyond that; keep in mind that the King will want his
tithe from you as well).

In terms of population support, using the same percentages to determine the
average food cost, a single adult farmer produces enough to feed 1.534 adults.
Keeping it simple, this means that 2 rural farmers allow for 1 urban non-farmer.
Yes, Dirllar is not starving. :}

The cost of wintering a horse is based on 100 days where grazing is not
possible. For a 1000lb horse, this is 20# of straw fodder per day.  Working
horses (horses on the battlefield or constantly working) cannot graze and will
need grain as a supplement (0.5lb grains per 100lb weight), so owning a horse
will cost the adventurer 1.54bb per day while travelling (cleaned up, this is
1CC per week of travel).  A station 1 traveller himself can purchase his
daily needs at taverns and inns at a cost of 1/4 of a bb per food point (1.5bb
per food point per week of travel).  This does not include the cost of Beer!

BREWER (5bb/year)
On old resource I've mined for info is "Economy Quest", a set of economic rules
made for Runequest (available if desired, contact me by email). From their
	Brewers are crafters living in the 1440 p. income bracket. A small brewery
	produces 2900 liters of ale per year. This ale sells, in bulk, for 5 clacs
	per liter. A brewery may grow its own hops, requiring a small farm to do
	so, or buy them, which costs 220 pennies per year.

The 1440p income is the same as our 5bb/year. 2900 liters is roughly 750
gallons.  Scaled from a family, this is 250 gallons per adult. From personal
experience and online sources, a good rule of thumb is 10# of malted grain
for 5 gallons of water for beer (half this for weak beers), or 2# per gallon.
We assume the brewing family grows their own hops and gathers their own
firewood for boiling the brew.

At 5bb per day, the 300 day rate is 1500bb. Instead of working a liege-lord's
lands, the brewer pays an additional 10% of their income in beer to the lord,
so he actually produces 1650bb of value in that 300 days (which allows for +20%
income if he works extra days). The cost of 500lb of barley is 71bb, combined
with the income need+tithe is 1721bb.
	Beer	  -> 6.884bb/gallon
	Weak Beer -> 6.742bb/gallon

Not much difference (most of the cost is his cost of living, not materials),
so We can probably ignore the "weak beer" option.  The brewer would likely
sell his beer in 10 gallon lots (you supply the barrel; the actual cost
of a barrel lies in a future installment), cleaned up for "processing and
	Beer	->  7CC per 10 gallon keg

TAVERN KEEPER (5bb/year)
At an income need of 1650b per year for standar of living and tithe, a markup
of 10% on his beer needs he must sell about 236 gallons a year.  (NOTE: too
little?  too much?  Comments on this please). His prices, cleaned up:
	Beer or Ale	-> 1b/pint

Watered down ale could be had at 1/2b per pint.

Web sources:

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