[PnP] Economic Project, Part 1

Burton Choinski bchoinski at verizon.net
Sun Mar 30 22:04:18 CEST 2014

Crap!  First post and already off the rails!  i just noticed for the grain yields I forgot to multiply by 2 for the two seasons. :P

Will post a follow replacement soon.

On Mar 30, 2014, at 1:33 PM, Burton Choinski wrote:

> 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"
> project.
> 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
> wheat.
> 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
> rules:
> Brewing
> 	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
> handling".
> 	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:
> ------------
> http://www.hyw.com/books/history/agricult.htm
> http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/html_pubs/horse/horse.html
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