Thursday, August 4, 2011

Puddler's Forge

Strictly speaking, 'puddling' was not invented until the 18th century, but I like the word better than 'smelter' and since I already have a history of cheating on these words under my belt already ...

Metals were in the 17th century still being smelted either with bloomeries or early blast furnaces.  I'm afraid the system isn't gritty enough to distinguish between metal formed from one or the other - I can't say I feel bad about that. 

I don't have much to say about the table above.  So I'll simply steal this picture Wikipedia shows from the Deutsches Museum of Germany's first blast furnace, circa 1150 A.D., because it is, well, cool.


Eric said...

And *this* post compels me to wonder if you've played, seen, or heard about Dwarf Fortress:

I've been watching Dwarf Fortress' progress for a while now - they've put together an impressive random fantasy world generator, although it's very much a work in progress.

I can't see any new MMORPG anytime soon wanting a real trade system. EVE Online is the only MMORPG I'm aware of with a real economy. This one is a lot more obscure, but it's got a lot of the same "historically focused sandbox" feel as your campaign world.

Arduin said...

Ah, the brilliance that is Dwarf Fortress. If someone made an MMO of that, I may never need D&D again. Any game that bothers to track the specific body heat of each item is good with me.

In all honesty, MMOs could be impressive pieces of interactive world-provided a developer would stop trying to copy WoW long enough to actually do something worthwhile.

That said, I love these price tables for a variety of reasons, not least of which is getting to look up the items/processes that are completely alien to me.

For instance, I hadn't been familiar with pre-wrought jewelry before, nor distinguished between different qualities of iron.


Alexis said...

No, I'm not familiar at all with Dwarf Fortress. My whole experience with EVE Online comes from this article recounting some of the worst things that have happened in online gaming.

Regarding MMORG's and their wanting of trade systems, I venture that people often don't know what they want. They certainly never want anything they have no experience with; the collarary being that once they have the experience, they immediately consider it a human right.

I am accepting the expertise of others where it comes to the value of my trading system to a MMORG. These are people who have actually seen the back tables I'm not posting online, and to whom I have explained the workings.

I have no experience with MMORG's myself, nor do I want any, since they are hinged on having to play with or around strangers, and I think people are, on the whole, stupid. I don't go hang out in bars with them, I have no idea why I would enter a world in which they have tools they can use to take away my good time.

Eric said...

I) Those shenanigans in EVE Online are a good example of why most MMORPGs don't want real economies.

II) This table makes me think of one feasible way that a spellcaster could have economic impact- Wall of Iron. A 12th-level spellcaster produces 60 cubic feet of iron per casting. Wrought iron is 485 pounds per cubic foot; that's almost 15 tons of iron. Presuming 300 days a year when the wizard can go cast Wall of Iron atop a precarious slope relatively convenient to the local blacksmith's shop and the docks, that's 4365 tons of iron- quite a lot:

"for there are now no less than 109 forges in England Wales beside those in Scotland and there are above 18,000 tuns of iron produced yearly "

"During the century 1770-1870, production was between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes"

Alexis said...

A couple of things. Once the Wall of Iron is cast, how do you take it apart and forge the iron into whatever shape you want? Does the spell include the creation of rivets, or is it one piece of solid iron shape?

Once again, nice figures, but completely meaningless for my world.

There are very, very few 12th level mages in my world, and fewer still who have taken Wall of Iron as a spell. Why should they a) want to spend any of their time casting the spell for the benefit of others and b) why should they want to potentially wreck the local economy? Remember that the spell requires the mage to sit for an hour and a quarter each day to cast it. And what happens when the mage has somewhere else to go for a few months? Lost jobs and a depleted market.

Just because you can do a thing doesn't mean you should do a thing.

Eric said...

I was figuring that you'd cast Wall of Iron somewhere that it would fall over and smash into chunks- not the world's most convenient thing to work with, but easier than raw ore.

Note that you only need a 9th level wizard to do this; you get about half the iron, though.

The mage is producing about 40000 GP of wealth per casting; even if the new influx of iron cuts that by a factor of 10, that's still a LOT of money for casting a spell.

In the comments on your Banking post, you propose that a 9th-level wizard could distribute gold from a central vault with teleport and a crystal ball...

Now, the economic effects would certainly be nothing to sneeze at. If one was running a Bronze Age campaign, the presumed Wall of Bronze spell would be of MASSIVE strategic value. "We spit on your tin mines! Melchor the Great conjures bronze for us!"

Alexis said...


For playability reasons I'd have to argue that the iron is cast iron, hopelessly impure, brittle and generally useless unless forged anew from scratch, which would be difficult to do since it is one massive piece (from what height are you dropping it from, and onto what, that it breaks into 'chunks' and doesn't just make a large hole?). Forging anew from scratch with proper alloying would mean it cost the same amount as doing it from a mine, which is common and from which the ore comes in conveniently sized pieces.