Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Source Work

For about a month now I've been diligently reformatting my Sources table so that it could be made small enough, and clear enough, to include on my wiki. It can now be downloaded. It is 5 megs in size, down from the 20 meg nightmare it was before, and is organized by both region and production.

To remind some readers, the numbers included in the Source document are references from a 1952 Colliers Encyclopedia describing what goods and services are produced in what locations. The Encyclopedia, as might be expected, does not give numbers for how much is produced, only that the thing is produced. My trade system is based on the supposition that the more times a thing is mentioned, the more valuable it is. Thus, if gold were mentioned (as the source document says) 237 times, and coffee mentioned 78 times, Then all the gold in the world is worth 237/78 = 3.038 times as much as coffee. From that, I then obtain the total amount of gold produced, and the total amount of coffee produced, and divide each by the value of gold that each particular resource is worth, and that gives me a base price. I have gone into this before, at this much linked post, so I'll forego doing it again now. Just now I want to talk about the Source document itself.

It's too massive to offer any images here - the reader will simply have to download it and follow along. The table includes areas that I have lifted from the Encyclopedia thus far. Areas not included would be all of the New World, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and Oceania. Everything else has been surveyed and is part of this table. I'm going to make a push this year to try to survey everywhere else if possible, but it is dry work and I tend to leave off it for a year or two at a time. Try to imagine doing projects that you leave off for multiple years, only to come back and then finish them. I've been working on this version of my trade system since 1998.

Total references thus far: 31,257. It is probable that the references-equals-value ideal would be completely flawed, except that I'm working with an immense data base. I've literally pulled references from thousands of cities, regions, rivers, lakes, valleys, deserts and so on ... and with SO many references, it is possible to get a general sense of what was considered important in 1952. That date is relevant, because it is more than 60 years ago now, and speaks of an age untouched by computers, high tech, world-wide communications or air transport, and a phenomenal amount of trade infrastructure that we now take for granted. Being much closer to the actual desired represented period, the 17th century, I get a better picture from the old encyclopedia of local economies than I would were I working from, say, Wikipedia.

If you are looking at the document, you will see that the Master tab contains the complete references, organized by region. The 2nd row contains the total references for all the products. Column A would be the various Kingdoms, where as column B would be the regional trade zones. Each column B can be found in the other tabs - for example, the first Kingdom/Zone, Altslok/Croft, can be found on the North Asia tab, right at the top. There the breakdown of the references in that region shows that goods and services are collected from places called Croftshelm, Rithdome, Roth and Rothering. It may be assumed that anything with a population figure is a region, whereas other locations are likely cities. Most geographical features are distinguished as such. Rivers are referred to as 'basins,' as in the Rhine Basin. Altslok, incidentally, is an invented name for places in the Altai Mountains - these would be the dwarven names, since I have removed the real world human population from that region and replaced with with dwarves. Everything has then been renamed, and it is the D&D names that I use. I've got them so well memorized now, I sometimes have trouble remembering what the real world names are.

On the master page, it should be noted that there are two sections below line 566 where the regions have a different color, where the Ottoman Empire is listed again, and where it shows 'kingdoms' like Africa, America, China, etc. These pink areas have had their references designed, but are not yet actually incorporated into the trade 'system' that I use for my game. These areas are 'on hold.' The small group from line 568 to line 573 are ready to be added, as the maps have been made. Those on lines 575 and down have no maps to enable them to be added. Thus, the Spanish Empire between lines 450 and 494 (colored blue to indicate sub-kindoms) does not actually at this time include the Iberian Peninsula. Ah well, we do what we can. All the trade zones that have not been added are broken down on the 'World' tab.

Likewise, the Holy Roman Empire (details on the H.R.E. tab), from lines 86 to 181, also shows the sub-Kingdoms on the Master tab.

The goods and services on the top line are not listed alphabetically, but in order of the type of resource they are. The order is actually determined by the United Nations International Statistics Yearbook code, for that was the resource I turned to in order to get a basis for how much 'stuff' was made. The yearbook has numbers for clothing, tools, emery, furniture ... anything you'd want, mostly, except for gemstones. Gemstone world production totals are not published. Want to guess why?

From columns ACX going right, the production was obtained from the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization Yearbook, and it is because of this yearbook that 'melons' are included under 'vegetables.' I'm perfectly aware that melons aren't vegetables, but for production purposes the FAO includes them as such, for reasons they must have regarding the actual production of such things. Many of the parts of this table will seem irrational that way - such as the inclusion of 'chicory' with 'coffee.' The gentle reader must recognize that there isn't one item anywhere on this list that appears where it does without a REASON. Nothing is an oversight. Every single item has been vetted, researched and considered for reasons of production, world trade, its relationship to other items and its 17th century value of purpose. I'll explain anything that is asked after, but I request please that an accusation not be made about some error I seem to have made. There is more in this table than is dreamed of in Horatio's imagination.

One issue would be the apparent duplication of products. For example, in the cereals group from columns ADA to ADK, 'cereals' has its own column, which is then included under the ADL, 'Total cereals.' This is because the encyclopedia did not designate which cereals a region produced when it gave the reference ... and being a deliberate sort of person, I have included the separate 619 references that were not so designated. This also happens with things like 'smelting,' 'fish,' 'livestock,' 'alchemy,' 'foodstuffs' and a host of others. There is a way I manage these generalized products in the final trade table, in which they are distributed according to what is determined to be the primary goods or services that are available in that part of the world.

No doubt I've forgotten something. I'm sorry it can't be simpler. The world just isn't a simple place. I trust that people will get something out of the basic material. The very least would be a list of all the things that are included. Here they are alphabetically:

Adamantite, African oak, Agate, Alabaster, Alchemy, Alexandrite, Alfalfa, Alloys, Almandine, Almonds, Aloe, Alum, Amber, Amber jewelry, Amethyst, Amontillado sherry, Anchovies, Angora, Anise, Antelope horn, Antimony, Antimonysmelting, Apple brandy, Apples, Apricots, Aquamarine, Arak, Arbutus, Armagnac brandy, Armor, Arrack, Arrowroot, Arsenic, Artichokes, Artworks, Asafoetida, Asparagus, Aspen, Asti spumante, Attar of roses, Avocadoes, Azulejos, Azurite, Bacon, Badocsony wine, Bamboo, Bananas, Banking, Barbel, Barges, Barley, Barrels, Barum ware, Basalt, Baskets, Beads, Beans, Bear paws, Bearskins, Beaujolais, Beech, Beef, Bells, Berries, Beryl, Betel nuts, Birch, Birdcages, Bismuth, Bitter salt, Black bread, Black coral, Black currant liqueur, Black marble, Black powder, Black wine, Blackberries, Blackwood, Blankets, Bleach, Bloodstone, Blue quartz, Boatbuilding, Bobbins, Bonecarving, Bonito, Bookbinding, Boots & shoes, Borax, Boric acid, Bottles, Boxes, Boxwood, Bracelets, Brandywine, Brass, Brasswares, Bread, Breadfruit, Bream, Brewing, Bricks, Bristles, Brittany horses, Brocade, Bromine, Bronze, Bronzewares, Brooms, Brown marble, Brownstone, Brushes, Buckets, Buckles, Buffalo, Building stone, Butter, Buttons, Cabbages, Cabinet-making, Cacao, Cairngorm, Cakes, Calabar beans, Calico cloth, Cambric, Camelhair, Camels, Camembert, Cameos, Camphor, Canaries, Canary sack, Candles & wax, Cannon, Cantaloupes, Canvas, Carbon black, Cardamon, Carnations, Carnelian, Carobs, Carobwood, Carp, Carpentry, Carpets, Carriages, Carroubes, Carts, Cashews, Cassavas, Cassia, Castor beans, Castor oil, Casuarina, Catechu, Catfish, Cat's eye, Cattle, Cauliflower, Caviar, Cedar, Cellos, Cement, Ceramics, Cereals, Chablis, Chabrieres wine, Chain, Chalcedony, Chalk, Chamomile, Champagne, Charcoal, Cheddar cheese, Cheese, Cherries, Chestnut, Chestnuts, Chianti wine, Chickens, Chickpeas, Chicory, China, Chocolate, Chromium, Chrysoprase, Cider, Cinchona, Cinnamon, Cinnamon leaf oil, Cipollina marble, Citrine, Citronella oil, Citrons, Citrus, Civet, Clementines, Clockmaking, Cloisanne, Cloth, Clothing, Clover, Clover seed, Cloves, Coal, Coats, Cob apples, Cobalt, Cobaltsmelting, Cochineal, Coconut oil, Coconuts, Cod, Cod-liver oil, Coffee, Coffins, Cognac, Coir, Colza, Combs, Common opal, Confectionary, Copal, Copper, Coppersmelting, Coppersmithing, Copra, Coral, Coriander, Cork, Cormorants, Corsets, Corundum, Cosmetics, Cotton, Cotton cloth, Cotton goods, Cottonseed, Cottonseed oil, Crabs, Crayfish, Cream, Crimson marble, Crockery, Cryptomeria, Crystal, Cucumbers, Cumin, Currants, Curtains, Cuttlefish, Cypress, Daffodils, Dairying, Dalbergia, Damascene, Damask, Darekh, Dates, Deer & elk horn, Dhows, Diamond, Diamondcutting, Dimsum, Distilling, Dogs, Dolls, Dolomite, Donkeys, Doors, Dorset butter, Draft horses, Drapery, Dresses, Dried fish, Dried fruit, Dried meat, Drugget goods, Dry peas, Ducks, Dyestuffs, Eau de Cologne, Ebony, Edam, Edible bird's nests, Eels, Eggplants, Elaeocarpus, Elephants, Elixer de Spa, Embroidery, Emerald, Emery, Enamelware, Engraving, Equisetifolia, Ermine, Espadrilles, Esparto grass, Esparto ware, Eucalyptus, Euphorbia, Ewe's milk cheese, Faience, Fans, Felt, Felt boots, Felt caps, Fighting cocks, Figs, Figurines, Filbert nuts, Files, Fir, Fire opal, Firecrackers, Fish, Fish fins, Fish hooks, Fish meal, Flags, Flannel, Flatfish, Flatware, Flax, Flint, Flounder, Flour, Flowers, Fodder, Foodstuffs, Fowl, Fox furs, Frankincense, Freestone, Freshwater fish, Friezes, Fruit brandy, Fruits, Fur clothing, Furnishings, Furniture, Furs, Garlic, Garnet, Geese, Gem carving, Gemcutting, Ghee, Gin, Ginger, Gingerbread, Ginseng, Glassware, Glazed fruit, Gloves, Glue, Goats, Goatskins, Gold, Gold filigree, Gold inlay, Goldsmithing, Gooseberries, Gorgonzola, Goshenite, Gouda, Gowns, Gram, Grand Chartreuse, Granite, Grapefruit, Grapes, Greenstone, Grey-pink marble, Griffs, Grindstones, Grossular, Groundnuts, Gruyere, Guano, Guavas, Gudgeon, Guipure lace, Gum, Gum Arabic, Gum benzoin, Gum mastic, Gum tragacanth, Gutta-percha, Haddock, Hake, Halibut, Handkerchiefs, Harari, Harpsichords, Harris tweed, Hats, Hawk's eye, Hay, Hazelnuts, Healing earth, Heliodor, Hematite, Hemp, Hemp goods, Henna, Herring, Hessonite, Hides, Honey, Hops, Horn, Horn carving, Horn combs, Hornbeam, Horses, Hosiery, Hushhash, Hyacinths, Incense, Indigo, Ink, Iodine, Iroko, Iron, Iron flowers, Ironmongery, Ironwood, Ivory, Ivory carving, Jade, Jade carving, Jasper, Jelutong, Jet, Jeweled daggers, Jewelry, Juniper berries, Jute, Kaffir, Kanku, Kaolin, Kapok, Karakul, Kenaf, Kendyr, Kid gloves, Kid leather, Kirschwasser, Knives, Kokura-ori, Kola nuts, Kumiss, Kutani, La Rioja wine, Lac, Lace, Lacquerware, Lamb, Lamp oil, Lamprey, Lamps, Lapidary, Lapis lazuli, Larch, Lard, Laurel, Lavender, Lead, Leadsmelting, Leadsmithing, Leathercraft, Lemons, Lenses, Lentils, Leopards, Leopardskin, Lichee nuts, Licorice, Lilies, Lily roots, Limberger, Limes, Limestone, Linen, Linen Goods, Ling, Lingerie, Linseed, Linseed oil, Liqueur, Lithographic stone, Livestock, Lobsters, Locks, Looms, Loquats, Lotus, Lowestoft ware, Lungen, Lye, Lynx furs, Mackerel, Madder, Madiera wine, Magnesite, Mahogany, Maize, Majolica, Malachite, Malaga wine, Malt, Malvoisie wine, Mandarin oranges, Manganese, Mangoes, Mangrove wood, Manuscript illumination, Manzanilla wine, Maraschino cherries, Marble, Marbles, Marigolds, Markets, Marsala wine, Masonry, Mats, Mavasia wine, Meat, Medicinal plants, Meerschaum, Mees wine, Melanite, Melons, Mercury, Metalsmithing, Milk, Milk of Magnesia, Millet, Mineral water, Minting, Mirrors, Mistletoe, Mithril, Mlombwa, Mninga, Mohair, Mohair cloth, Molybdenum, Montona wine, Moonstone, Morganite, Moroccan leathercraft, Mosaics, Moss agate, Mother-of-pearl, Mother-of-pearl inlay, Mules, Mullet, Murex, Muscatel, Mushrooms, Music scripting, Musical instruments, Musk, Muskmelons, Muslin, Muslin goods, Mussels, Mustard & sauces, Mustard seed, Mutton, Myrrh, Nails, Narcissi, Navagu, Necklaces, Nectarines, Needles, Nets, Nickel, Nickelsmelting, Niter, Noodles, Nutgall, Nutmeg, Oak, Oatmeal, Oats, Obsidian, Ocher, Oilseed, Olive oil, Olives, Onions, Onyx, Opium, Oranges, Organs, Ornaments, Ostrich feathers, Ostriches, Otter furs, Ovens, Oysters, Ozocerite, Paint, Palm nuts, Palm oil, Palms, Pans, Papayas, Paper, Paper lanterns, Paper products, Papier-mache, Paprika, Papyrus, Parasols, Parchment, Parmagiano, Parquet stone, Patchouli, Pates, Pates de foie gras, Peaches, Peanut oil, Pearl, Pears, Peas, Peat, Pepper, Peppermint, Peppers, Perch, Percheron horses, Perfume, Peridot, Perigord truffles, Perilla seed, Perry, Persimmons, Petrified wood, Pewter, Pewterware, Phosphorus, Piassava, Pig iron, Pike, Pilchard, Pilsener beer, Pimentos, Pine, Pineapples, Pistachios, Pitch, Plantains, Plaster, Platinum, Playing cards, Ploughs, Plum brandy, Plums, Plush, Podo, Podocarpus, Poison, Pollan, Pomegranates, Pongee, Ponies, Pont l'eveque cheese, Poppies, Poppyseed, Population, Porcelain, Pork, Porphyry, Port, Posts, Potatoes, Pots, Pottery, Poultry & eggs, Prase, Prayer carpets, Precious opal, Precision tools, Presses, Prickly Pears, Prunes, Pulses, Pumice, Pumpkins, Pumps, Pyrope, Qat, Quality swords, Quartz, Quicklime, Quinine, Rabbits, Racehorses, Radishes, Raffia, Raisins, Ramie, Rapeseed, Rapeseed oil, Raspberries, Rattan, Red Leicester cheese, Red pepper, Red sandstone, Red-stamp ink, Redwood, Refined sugar, Reindeer, Resin, Rhodochrosite, Rhodolite, Rhodonite, Rhubarb, Ribbon, Rice, Roach, Robes, Rope, Rosaries, Rose quartz, Roses, Rosewood, Rosin, Rough fiber cloth, Rough fibers, Ruby, Rum, Rye, Sable, Sacks, Saddles, Safflower seed, Saffron, Sago, Sailcloth, Sake, Sal, Sal ammoniac, Salmon, Salon, Salt, Salted duck, Samovars, Sandalwood, Sandles & slippers, Sandstone, Santonin, Sapphire, Saragoca, Sardine oil, Sardines, Satin, Satinwood, Sauerkraut, Sausage, Saws, Scissors, Sculpture, Sea ivory, Sea slugs, Sealskin, Seaweed, Seed oil, Senna, Serge, Sesame seed, Sesame seed oil, Shad, Shark, Shark fins, Shark-liver oil, Shawls, Shea butter, Shea nuts, Sheep, Sheepskin, Sheepskin coats, Shellac, Shellfish, Sherry, Ship rigging, Shipbuilding, Shrimp, Siege Engines, Siliphium, Silk, Silk cloth, Silk goods, Silver, Silver filigree, Silver inlay, Silversmithing, Sisal, Skins, Slate, Slaves, Smelting, Smoked ham, Smoking pipes, Snakeskin, Snow leopard furs, Snuff, Soap, Soda ash, Sorghum, Soybean oil, Soybeans, Spessartite, Spices, Spinel, Sponges, Spruce, Squeeze boxes, Stained glass, Starch, Stilton cheese, Stonecarving, Straw goods, Straw hats, Strawberries, Strega, Sturgeon, Sugarbeets, Sugarcane, Sugared almonds, Sulphur, Sunflower seed, Sunflower seed oil, Sweet potatoes, Swine, Swords, Syenite, Tablecloths, Talc, Tamarind seed, Tamarisk, Tangerines, Tapestries, Tapioca, Taro root, Tartans, Tea, Teak, Teak oil, Teff & tucusso, Tents, Terra cotta, Thatch, Tiger eye, Tigerskin, Tilapia, Tiles, Timber, Tin, Tinsmelting, Tinsmithing, Tobacco, Tokay wine, Tomatoes, Tonic, Tools, Topaz, Topazolite, Tortoise shell, Tortoise shell carving, Tourmaline, Toys, Trachyte, Treacle, Treenuts, Trout, Truffles, Tubers, Tufa, Tuff, Tulips, Tulle, Tuna, Tunbridge ware, Tung nuts, Tung oil, Tungsten, Turkeys, Turmeric, Turnips, Turquoise, Turtles, Tweed, Twine, Umber, Uvarovite, Valtellina wine, Vanadium, Vanilla, Vegetable oil, Vegetable tallow, Vegetables, Velour, Velour goods, Velvet, Velvet goods, Veneer, Vermouth, Vestments, Vetch, Vignettes, Vinegar, Violets, Violins, Vitriol, Vogla, Wagons, Walnuts, Water opal, Watermelons, Watermills, Waterpipe, Weapons, Welsh ponies, Whale oil, Wheat, Whiskey, White marble, Whitefish, Whortleberries, Willow wands, Windmills, Windows, Wine, Wire, Witherite, Wolf furs, Wood alcohol, Wood oil, Woodcarving, Woodcraft, Wooden shoes, Wooden tools, Wool, Wool Cloth, Woolens, Worsted cloth, Worsted goods, Yak tail, Yaks, Yams, Yeast, Yellow marble, Zinc, Zincsmelting, Zircon, Zsolnay

If you can think of something that's made in the world that isn't on that list, it's probably from South America or the East Indies. And it's very unusual.


Carl said...

That's a lot of stuff, varying from raw materials to finished goods.

Wagons, walnuts...it's poetic.

kimbo said...

Have to say I am gobsmacked at your system. Really elegant logic and immense detail.

A possibly stupid question:
if there a huge craze on a previously unknown or low demand product (I'm thinking tulips or possibly giant beaver pelts from the new world), how would this distort the normal trade system?

Is there any way of modelling the impact on supply and demand of other goods or the effect of rapid wealth increase in wealth of a specific trade centre?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Actually, I would say it is the logical question.

I've been happy, so far, with simply working up new areas and incorporating them into the system. Further effort needs to be made to revamp the system to include seasonal aspects, drought and reduced supply, and ultimately bubbles ... but, so far, I haven't spent any effort in that direction since just getting a default system in place that accounts for all areas has been a long, long-term effort. It must be said that most of the time spent has not been in adding new areas, but in figuring out ways to accommodate bigger and bigger files/info demands while retaining the basic purpose.

Matias Conoscente said...

Hello, thank you so much for sharing this awesome piece of work and dedication. I'd like to know your opinion about one quick small-detail question: if you come across a very generic agricultural reference (i.e., 'farming') for a particular location, without any further product specification, how do you list it on your table?! In other words, which table category do you think better represents such a wide-ranged reference like 'farming'?! Thanks in advance for your attention. Regards, Matias

Alexis Smolensk said...


I wouldn't include it. The commodities table isn't meant to account for every activity, but for those activities that produce goods or services for consumption. I would read "farming" without any products listed as subsistence agriculture, meaning that the food raised was for immediate consumption, and not for export. Therefore, zero resources.

Matias Conoscente said...

Thanks for clearing it up: solid & sound reasoning, as it's usual in this corner of the rpg blogosphere.

Jack Phoenix said...

Quick question -- late to the party as I am. The "be downloaded" link for your source document seems to lead to a dead page -- it says I have to join the wiki to edit it, suggesting the page no longer exists.

Is this resource available somewhere else?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Thank you Jack,

I've corrected that link. You can find the download at the bottom of the linked wiki page.