Just a note to explain where I am, and why I'm not posting here. I've been working on my book (forever, and ever), and on my 'pricing table', which converts the cost of raw materials into the manufactured goods a party might want to buy. It's painstaking work, but it's rewarding also.
It's a lot of time looking up the density of substances, to figure out how much fits into a box the size of your hand; to determine the weight of a bottle of linseed oil; to estimate the weight of one week's peat fuel and the weight of a mutton chop. There's much research, into the average size of gold nuggets; the dimensions of gem cameos; the common size of truffles; the names of local common distilled spirits; the price of a local acre and the number of acres necessary to grow a bale of cotton.
I'm quite proud of the latter. The price of the bale is right there, so the player can decide to buy land, and whether it's worth it to grow a cash crop; or calculate the number of cattle the player can put on it and what is the price of cattle at the local market - and whether its worth it to the player to butcher the cow and sell it as meat instead.
Obviously, this is nothing important to the non-simulationist crowd. But there was a debate lately on various blogs about the 'after-adventure' character, and why it seems pointless to 'retire' them to a castle and men-at-arms. I don't know about that. I've met quite a number of players who, if given the chance to calculate a few numbers, enjoy the accounting that comes with handling money.
After all, that's an activity many people like to do in the real world, and it does not differ much from monopoly. Only that monopoly has rules to cover it, and D&D never has.
I'm just trying to fill that void. It's keeping me busy. But the gentle reader is on my mind, and I trust you are all doing well.
Tomorrow, an hour and 22 minutes from when I post this, comes my 45th birthday.