Friday, January 25, 2013

Pulse Check

If anyone who isn't a player wants to ask questions about the online campaign, here's your opportunity.  I've tossed out the opportunity once before, without much reception ... but nothing wrong with checking now and then.

I'll answer any questions anyone might have.


Arduin said...

I have a few questions, actually. I never think of these things untill it's much too late, but I was already wanting to ask earlier this morning, sooo, huzzah!

How do you determine the cost of tolls, taxes, passage, etc? I've looked over the price sheet, but can't remember seeing a formula of the kind.

Other than random internet searching, what are the resources you use/recommend when trying to get a historical record of a given area. I'm thinking especially of the mention of those territories Maximillian's Writ covers.

How do you determine where a given character is born? I've seen some preliminary work on this in the subscriber stuff, but you seem to have a more complete method at work.

I'm sure I'll think of other questions six weeks from now, but that's it for the moment. Thanks for the opportunity!

Alexis said...

Tolls, taxes ... so far, I've generally been using a sort of general gut-instinct method (ie, pulling it from my ass) to charge 3 s.p. to a g.p. for entering towns, crossing borders, etc., depending on how really large the town is or how important the border. I would LIKE a system, but upon what do you base it? My trade system doesn't increase the price of things as it goes across borders (instead, it makes something less common by a slight amount), so I have to figure it out otherwise. Perhaps I could calculate the total GNP of the world, affix a percentage that equals the average national budget, divide by population and use that as a baseline. I've actually been thinking about it since just before Christmas.

Historical records ... I usually start with wikipedia, myself. I've read a lot of history and historical commentary for the world, so generally I can guess the approximate general state of affairs, so I'm usually looking up small things on Wikipedia, looking at the region, the city, maybe a few other cities in the area, etc. The subfolders for wikipedia can be really extensive, particularly for Europe.

The territories from Maximillian's writ came out of the city-by-city research I did when I was building up all the areas that I've mapped. You can see some cities pages at the sameuniversewiki ... those have all been pain-stakingly read upon, to determine when they were founded, and as near as possible who they belonged to in 1650. The list was what I calculated out as directly owned by the Hapsburgs in 1650.

Take note, there were a lot more territories in reality ... but those are the ones that corresponded to the specific cities I researched in the national regions - Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and old Yugoslavia - that I researched. I only researched cities for which I had population figures and which appeared in my 1952 Collier's Encyclopedia. All told, those five regions represent perhaps 1900 researched cities.

Researching 700 cities in Spain and Portugal just now.

Alexis said...

Birth tables. Just as the references are divided by distance, the populations of regions are also divided by distance ... and then I use the square root of that, to reduce the likelihood of meeting someone in Italy who is from, say, India. Thus, where you're born is determined by where you start in my world, so that if you start in northern italy, you're MUCH more likely to be from within 300 miles of where the party is when you join than thousands of miles away. Could happen, but if you're human, its about 2% that you'll be born a thousand miles away.

For dwarves, elves and other races, I'm trying to get more specific tables together which means you're likely from a specifically non-human region or a region bordering upon it. If you're elven in my world, for example, if you joined in northern Italy its likely you'd still be from somewhere around the baltic. The details are tricky, though, and its a finicky, boring table to work on, with low importance to me, so I havent' finished the final version yet (I usually just keep rolling until something comes up that's logical).

If you come up with another question six weeks from now, this post will still be here.

Arduin said...

Thank you, very helpful. The answer to all my concerns is, as ever, hard work.

I know you use custom HP based on mass, so how did you decide the mass of something like the Dragon from much earlier? I mean, a kobold is one thing, a giant is one thing, but a quadruped seems quite another, nevermind something like the Purple Worm/Remorhaz.

Actually, with that earlier portion in mind, I know you had the party with a massive number of Dwarves. I know you had more time to figure things out, but I imagine the offline parties get large as well. How do you handle such large numbers, especially considering the forces that must be mustered against such opponents as well?

I am actually really excited for the game to continue. The particular format the blog offers makes it feel like a grand expedition in a really amazing way.

Can't wait to see what else the party will do.

Alexis said...


Sorry about the lateness of this reply; weekends tend to be an off time for me.

To get the mass of anything, identify a real, earthly creature of approximately the same shape and design and determine its average weight from the net. Then expand that exponentially to give you the approximate weight of the large creature.

For example, a komodo dragon weighs about 150 pounds and is 8 and a half feet long. So, if a blue dragon is 42 feet long, and that is the only dimension you have, one calculates thusly:

8.5x8.5x8.5 = 614
42*42*42 = 74,088

74088/614x150 = 18,095, or a weight of about 9 tons.

This may seem excessive, but people tend not to realize how big 42 feet would be. That's four stories tall; thats 30% longer than a stegosaurus (which weighed 5 tons). It's immense.

Of course, if you think a blue dragon is a great deal more svelte than a komodo dragon, you can judge it at 1/2 or 1/3 the originating weight, which would make your blue dragon weigh 4.5 tons or 3.0 tons accordingly. It's up to you. The math just gives you a reasonable ballpark figure.

Alexis said...

The offline party has, toto, some 35 characters and henchmen which it is running all the time. I'm thinking of imposing a rule to cut down this number, as it is really slowing the game and the experience divided between all these characters is making the process thinner and thinner.

But I'm just practiced at managing it. I keep a lot of details in my head during a running.

Arduin said...

35? Ah, I see. At first I thought you were just a very dedicated DM, but it appears you are in fact a homonculus summoned from the pages of the Guide itself. Or something equally preposterous.

I can't even begin to imagine how to manufacture challenges for such a group, at least not without the constant risk of death for at least half of those present.

Of course, maybe that's intentional. Losing a third of the lowbies to some errant wyvern seems like a pretty epic tale to me.

I can't think of any more questions about the campaign yet, but thank you. It's been an inspiration.