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Old 01-14-2018, 05:35 PM   #311
Carnifex
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by Chris Goodwin View Post
Whatever changes are eventually made, I hope there will be at least a "classic" version released, as close as is practical to the originals. I think everyone already has their own house rules and rules changes and so on, that they can keep using and sharing as they always have.
I am on board with this. I know there are concerns about attribute bloat and some other things, but I think these things make TFT what it is. Okay, I am playing Conan the wizard, so what, it is the character that developed out of playing the game. My suggestion is, fix the things that you would have fixed for a 2nd edition in 1985, certainly give us a modern presentation if that is what you want, but otherwise, leave it alone.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:24 AM   #312
Rick_Smith
 
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Default Economy of TFT - Problems and a simple fix.

Hi all,
I have been playing TFT for a long time and I have found that the economy is wonky. Simply, the price of unskilled and semi skilled labour is too high.

A town labourer (with NO skills) is getting $5 / week which includes room and board. He could save up for a shortsword in 12 weeks and a broadsword in 16. It takes a LOT of work to make a broad sword. You need people to create a manage a mine, pump the water out of it, break up the ore and haul it to the surface.

You need people to chop down trees, haul them to a charcoal furnace, bury the wood, fire it, and wait until the wood cooks into charcoal. Let it cool, and then dig out the charcoal. (This is a dirty, tough job and you need a LOT of charcoal.)

The flux for the furnace must be mined.

Move the charcoal, flux and ore to the same place, crush the ore and smelt it. Turn the pig iron into wrought iron or steel. Then you need a highly skilled person to turn a billet of steel into a sword. Then you need to hire someone to carry that blade into the city to be sold.

(And I'm missing a bunch of minor jobs. Where did the glue come from to attach the hilt to the tang? etc.)

After struggling to make the economy work for a long time, I've implemented the following fix. All prices in TFT are ten times lower, except for magic, chemical & alchemical potions, and items of metal. Items with a bit of metal (spear with a metal point, leather armor with a lot of metal buckles), have a proportional reduction in price. The pay for most jobs with only a talent or two prerequisite also have their pay reduced by 10. (Perhaps not realistic, but fighting jobs have pay reduced by 10, but if they are in a fight, they get paid full price for that week as a combat bonus.)

And that fixed it. Food, and lodging are super cheap. A silver piece buys a nights sleep and a couple good meals & drinks in a very nice inn. Hiring NPC's to do jobs for you is cheap.

If you want to ignore most trivial money transactions, then $100 to $200 will pay all food and lodgings for a year. (PC's can pay more if they want to live well.)

And if you ever try to dig in and think about the economy, things just work better.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:29 AM   #313
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

There was recently a discussion on another forum regarding the economics of medieval european settings, and their representation in the game 'Lion and Dragon'. The issue in that case was that swords were very cheap - seemingly insanely less expensive than a normal wooden shield. The author defended the position using data for prices of various items in late medieval and renaissance records. These data are hard to parse because of the large variance in value of currency with time and location. But it seems pretty clear that a common sword was a relatively inexpensive item - many, many times less expensive than even simple armor and not dissimilar in cost from farm implements.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:13 AM   #314
bookworm562
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
I spent some of my office day in going through the SPACE GAMER file and marking TFT articles worthy of reprint. Some of them may have been (or may be about to be) overtaken by events, but in the context of the original rules there is a lot of fun material there.
Have you considered a supplement of TFT articles from Interplay and Space Gamer? That would be something to add to a new publication of rules.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:17 AM   #315
bookworm562
 
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Default Re: Melichor's new weapon talents.

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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi Melichor,
I rather like your talents except for one thing. The biggest problem in TFT is that long term characters gain lots of attributes and all start to feel the same. (High in all three attributes.) Also everyone soon gets a really high DX and hits almost all the time.

So these talents that give you a higher DX on attacking, just makes that evil day come sooner. I would be much more interested in using such talents in my campaign, if they did NOT give the DX bonus on offence.

Warm regards, Rick.
Thanks for the observations, Rick. I was interested in doing something along those lines for my new campaign. What would you think about lowering the ST prerequisite for Warrior and Veteran Talents?
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:44 AM   #316
DouglasCole
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
There was recently a discussion on another forum regarding the economics of medieval european settings, and their representation in the game 'Lion and Dragon'. The issue in that case was that swords were very cheap - seemingly insanely less expensive than a normal wooden shield. The author defended the position using data for prices of various items in late medieval and renaissance records. These data are hard to parse because of the large variance in value of currency with time and location. But it seems pretty clear that a common sword was a relatively inexpensive item - many, many times less expensive than even simple armor and not dissimilar in cost from farm implements.
My exposure to such things is somewhat limited, but I can say two things of relevance here, both based on a very small slice of medieval life (vikings in 700-1000AD).

My instructor has said a few things about swords, one of which is that a sword and a shield cost about the same in found price lists of the time. He also said that anyone who could get a sword would have one. This likely represents both status and a "fairly good at almost everything" function for the sword.

Secondly, I make shields. My recent ones are bordering on historically authentic in a sorta-kinda way. They are quite labor intensive even with modern tools and materials. In the old days, you'd cut down an old growth tree (linden was mandated; no linden shields have been found. Recovered shield bits have been european pine, aspen, poplar, and other lightweight woods) with an axe, and "rive" it also with an axe. This is the process of using wedges and the axe to split it radially, along the grain.

that would be made into planks of remarkable durability (figure the old-growth woods of the time were 3x the tree ring density of our modern new-growth and speed-growth woods), and they'd be left green, or even treated with bee's wax and linseed oil. Keeping them green improved the sponginess when a blade it hit.

The planks were butted together, secured with hide glue, and then there might be 1 oz (1mm) goat-hide parchment (or thicker parchment scraped down to transparently thin) used as a facing or edging, again bound to the planks with hide glue (this sets in a remarkably short time, though modern liquid hide glues extend that remarkably). Finally, the edging was stitched with a spacing of 0.25 to 1 inch, with thick linen thread. The handles were ash or oak, from what I understand.

As you can see, all of this is very labor intensive, so I believe it when the price lists show the equivalence between shields and swords.

Finally, no Google in 850 AD, so one might be hard pressed to have a standard price for something. Anything, really.

Medieval pricing isn't my area of expertise, but the shield sword thing is something I've run into before, so I thought I'd share.
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Gaming Ballistic, LLC: Home of Dragon Heresy, Hall of Judgment, and hand-made viking shields.

Live on Kickstarter: Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip. Four 16-page adventures for TFT, written by David Pulver and the team of Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:56 AM   #317
Rick_Smith
 
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Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Melichor's new weapon talents.

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Originally Posted by bookworm562 View Post
Thanks for the observations, Rick. I was interested in doing something along those lines for my new campaign. What would you think about lowering the ST prerequisite for Warrior and Veteran Talents?
Hi bookworm, everyone.
I've made lots of changes to TFT, but I've not lowered the min ST for those talents. There are so many perks for fast, high DX figures, that I've never felt the need to maker it easier for a slim fast guy to be a tank.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:59 AM   #318
JLV
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

On the economics situation, I never really questioned the details of the economic system as published. However, if we split economics into a micro and macro scale of things, where the micro level is the jobs, salaries and costs part of the equation (what's actually in ITL), and the macro level provides information about the overall economic system...

On a macro level, I've said elsewhere that I use the mercantilistic economic model from Trailblazer (another Metagaming Microgame, and one of the last they published) to establish certain goods as the major items of trade -- about 20 commodities in the old days -- but I suppose it would be very easy to expand that if it were considered desirable. I had things like leather, salt, spices, cloth, smelted metals, wood, charcoal, horses, luxury goods, wines, liquors, finished products (e.g., clothing, armor, weapons, etc.) -- that are in demand in specific localities (usually a large town or bigger urban area), or which are produced to excess in those same localities. The number of such goods was tied in general terms to the local population -- a town of 2500 people has a lot fewer commodities in either excess or demand to deal with than a city of 15,000 does. That then establishes some logical trade routes between the various localities. One place has a lot of smelted metal -- iron, copper, whatever, but not much in the way of finished cloth; while another wants that metal (no nearby mines), but does produce finished cloth by the ton and needs to get rid of the excess -- voila! A trade route is born... This allows me to set up excuses for trade caravans and merchant shipping (and raiders and pirates, obviously!), which in turn implies other things about the local economy in terms of local jobs available, potential for hiring out as a caravan guard or deckhand, etc., etc., plus gives me built in plot hooks for when inspiration (or time) is short. It also allows me to adjust local prices for certain commodities -- if metal is in short supply, weapons and armor are gonna cost more...

I always felt a good macro-economic model helped explain a LOT about the local prices/jobs/etc. And also let me adjust them according to some sort of logical reasoning instead of arbitrarily (um...disclaimer: I don't mean to even imply anyone else is being arbitrary, just that I was until I came up with a system that let me do things in a more reasoned manner!). I think it helped add to the verisimilitude of the game world, which in turn helped the players feel like it really WAS a living, breathing world. And, about once a quarter, I would go through and run the "supply and demand tables" from Trailblazer to see how the commodity prices and availability adjusted themselves (rolling randomly for unit price) in order to have things change a bit from time to time -- which always helped with roleplaying the locals and their interactions with the player characters... All of this actually took about as much time to DO as it has taken to type out this brief explanation. The most time-consuming part was at the very beginning where I assigned specific commodities (both for supply and demand) to the individual locality, and that usually just involved looking at the map, and thinking about things for a few minutes before picking a few of each (the number being picked depending on the population of the trade hub, and, to a much lesser extent, of the surrounding area).

Anyway, to me, a macro-economic model (a simple one, thank you very much!) is a major help in developing play in that it answers a lot of questions the players might have and allows you to easily develop related plot elements and explain adjusted prices in a specific region.

Last edited by JLV; 01-15-2018 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:14 PM   #319
Rick_Smith
 
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Default Swords are cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
... The issue in that case was that swords were very cheap - seemingly insanely less expensive than a normal wooden shield. The author defended the position ... These data are hard to parse because of the large variance in value of currency with time and location. But it seems pretty clear that a common sword was a relatively inexpensive item - many, many times less expensive than even simple armor and not dissimilar in cost from farm implements.
Hi Larsdangly, thanks for the feedback!

In that game, could unskilled labour buy a sword with 12 weeks savings?

I stand by my thesis.

Let us look at a roman shield. You had layers of thin wood laminated together (basically plywood), a metal edge with wood or leather handles. You would have to saw that wood into thin layers, plane it, glue it together, add the metal rim, etc. And there were simpler and cheaper shields of course.

As for the 'simple armor', was it a cloth hauberk or chainmail? I could easily see a hundred fold difference in price. (The chainmail has to have the metal created, turned into rings and then weld or rivet the hundreds of rings together.)

Are the farm implements a heavy metal plow, or a wooden hoe? (Or a hoe with a small iron head?)

I've looked many times at ancient and medieval prices and they are all over the place. Prices could be 5 times more or less expensive that what made sense for me. When I use ancient prices I think carefully about if it makes sense before I apply the price in game.

It all comes down to labour. If the price of labor is very high, (like in TFT), the price of items needing a huge amount of skilled & unskilled labour also have to be very high.

Even if you assume that there is tonnes of quality steel everywhere just waiting to be repurposed (which I think is unlikely), TFT prices still don't make sense.

For example, to copy one page of a book costs $20 (bottom of 2nd column of Advance Wizard, page 7). In a 5 day week, a decent scribe can earn enough to buy two shortswords? Really???

If his wages were 1/10 that, things would make much more sense.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:26 PM   #320
Rick_Smith
 
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Default Cost of shields.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
My exposure to such things is somewhat limited, but I can say two things of relevance here, both based on a very small slice of medieval life (vikings in 700-1000AD).
...
As you can see, all of this is very labor intensive, so I believe it when the price lists show the equivalence between shields and swords.

...
Medieval pricing isn't my area of expertise, but the shield sword thing is something I've run into before, so I thought I'd share.
Hi Douglas, thanks for the info!

I talked about building a roman shield in my reply to larsdangl, and pointed out that it was a lot of work. I'm tempted to go into my TFT weapon tables and up the price of normal shields and make a much cheaper version what masses a couple of extra kg. The durablity of these cheaper shields would be lower as well.

(Digression: I eventually decided that at the start of the new year all my players have a grand ceremonial shield burning celebration. Then we don't have to track damage on the damn things and still get across the idea that shields wear out. The new cheap and heavier shields could have a grand shield burning at the new year and midsummer.) ;-)

The high prices for armor and shields makes me think that when it came to self-protection, fighters in those days would pay for the best.

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 01-15-2018 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Better word choice.
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