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Old 07-02-2016, 04:03 PM   #1
Sam Baughn
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and some other bits.
Default Building walls with the LTC3 rules.

In my current game the PCs are a group of TL9 space explorers who are checking out an uninhabited planet. They landed with fairly minimal equipment in their drop pod and are now looking to set up a base of operations.

They have scouted out a good location and started gathering materials to construct a defensible enclosure in case the local wildlife prove to be threatening. They have plenty of food and have located a water source, so no worries there.

The main thing they want to do immediately is set up some fences. I said there was a raised area of about 900 square feet which would be suitable for fortifying and nearby plants which could be turned into boards, poles and cordage fairly easily. I ended the session at that point, intending to look up the rules for building and present them with a more detailed timetable in the next one.

Looking at the Low-Tech Companion 3 rules, it seems that they would be considered a carpentry team. They have one character with high Carpentry and Engineer (Combat) skills and another with decent Carpentry plus two others with only semi-relevant skills. A TL 4 Carpenter earns $790 per month, so it seems that if they were treated as TL 4 (which seems reasonable if they are mostly working with hand tools) they would generate ($790 * 0.55 * 4) = $1,738 of goods per month.

A cheap 1" thick wooden wall is $6.20 per square foot. If they build it five feet high, that's $34 per foot. If we assume the 'month' in LTC3 is four weeks of 40 hours per week they are generating $10.86 per hour. That means it takes four people over three hours to make every foot of wall. To enclose the fairly small area they want to protect will take them over two months.

That seems incredibly slow. Do I have the rules right and is there anything they can do to speed things up?
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:32 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Zealand.
Default Re: Building walls with the LTC3 rules.

Would a palisade of raw timber (tree trunks) be more appropriate? at $0.25 per lb?
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2008
Default Re: Building walls with the LTC3 rules.

Making boards at TL4 is a slow and expensive process. There is a reason that the poor had wattle and daub or similar instead of boards for walls. Timbers and such, start with digging a ditch and throwing the dirt in to make a low wall and place the timbers on top of that was the classic roman and motte-and-bailey fortification methods.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:06 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Default Re: Building walls with the LTC3 rules.

The dividing limit on making boards is: Do they have good tools to make boards or not.

If not: then yes it is a pain to make them
If yes: they are not acting at tl 4, but at a much higher TL.

As for minimally equipped people making boards: Normally they would not bother for most purposes that we use boards for today. It is much more likely that they would build things of non split timber.
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:54 AM   #5
Sam Baughn
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and some other bits.
Default Re: Building walls with the LTC3 rules.

The plants they are making the palisade from are similar to bamboo, so they weren't planning to split them into planks or anything, just cut them to length and put them straight into the ground. I think treating them as 'raw wood' as (E) suggested would probably the best way to model that, which brings the cost down to around the same as thatch.

EDIT: reducing time for high skill seems appropriate as well. The general rules for haste are a 10% reduction for every -1 skill, which could give some pretty spectacular results for the skill 17 carpenter in the group (nearly tripling his work speed with a 90% reduction rolling against skill 8 if my math is right). A more reasonable approach might be to increase the amount of work done by 10% for every point by which the skill roll is made (which is consistent with 10% more income for every point by which a job roll is made) but given how slow the work will be otherwise I might use the more generous rules.

Last edited by Sam Baughn; 07-03-2016 at 10:10 AM.
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building, construction, low-tech, low-tech companion 3

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