It is worth noting that if I didn't run a game based on the real world, but upon places wholly from my imagination, all this criticism would look pretty stupid.
I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that this is MY world, not THE world - and that should be pretty clear, since the denizens in my example of a tech 5 culture are hobgoblins and that the name, 'Lungos Nad,' is 100% made up. But never mind. Please tell me again about the importance of deviating from the results I've obtained from an algorithm in favor of results I'm apparently expected to pull out of my ass.
I did describe Gilkask's existence as unexplained, once the mining of coal could no longer justify its existence. In no way, however, does this challenge the validity of the algorithm that was meant to determine the tech of the region - except in the imaginations of people who are so short of imagination that they are limited to the equation, a higher population must equal higher tech. No other explanation can be considered. Period. And my failure to accept that, well, that's because I'm ashamed to deviate, within two days of experimentation, of the algorithm I've proposed.
None of this ranting accomplishes anything. The thing about various gamers with a grudge to bear, they don't listen. They don't change their minds. They're so certain that the issue is that they haven't been perfectly understood in the argument that they're making, they'll just make the same argument all over again in different words. If only I understood exactly what they're trying to tell me, I would agree immediately. Because it is so obvious. To them.
I'm looking at the words above and wondering why I don't just delete them and move onto the next point. No, no, they can stay. It's all part of what I'm trying to do here.
I did pretty well with explaining it to JB. I am not concerned here that the tech levels are realistic or rational. I am concerned with how the party will experience the adventure when moving through an area of this tech level. That is it. The value of the setting exists only in how it serves the party. There is NO value in the setting presenting a simulation, if that in turn waters down the impact of "Nope, there is no technology here" in favor of the words, "Oh yes, there is one person in town who can get you what you want."
If the party can still get what they want from the place, the tech level is meaningless. There might just as well not be a tech level.
It baffles me that this isn't obvious.
It suggests to me that many DMs out there are making worlds for their own sake, and NOT for the benefit of players running in those worlds.
That is a very sad revelation.
This is why a totally inflexible structure is the only one that makes sense: because the only culture that matters where it comes to my game is Player Culture. I can't be concerned with what the hobgoblins or Mayans were 'really like' - I'm concerned that the players are going to be met with a very difficult situation, where the very, very best tech that's available in this huge region is that described under tech 5. Because it's a long, hard crawl across that land before they finally stumble into a village with tended cattle and plowed fields. Because that will ensure the players really understand, "Wow, what a dead little backwater that Lungos Nad was!"
Forgive this last attempt at an explanation. I'm going to start killing comments based primarily around "what if you did this with the algorithm" made by people who actually don't understand what I'm doing with the one I'm using.
On the other hand, kimbo, if you're listening, you are my GOD today.