Saturday, December 9, 2017

Rating Health

My infrastructure/trade/development quandary continues apace, very slowly.  That is because the problem, and the management of the problem in particular, is very deep and information thick.  Still, I did say I would be writing about it on occasion, before eventually releasing some of the content here on the blog, once I have enough to make an impression.

The problem today is defining health.  I mentioned this is a couple of posts just recently, here and here.  I had said I wanted a number basis for comparing regions of appalling health with those where players would want to visit ... and to make those differences matter to the players in a way that they would really care what the environment was like.  I think I have managed to create a general template, which I will outline here in a series of five tables:

Here we have a strictly managed public health policy.  The above should be as good as it gets for a Renaissance culture ~ that's my plan, anyway.  Rationally, there should be ways to slice the pie thinner, if need be, but this is a good start.  As health is a little less well managed, it looks like this:

Not quite as clean or socially respectful, but still maintaining a lot of standards, such as good food, rest, control of disease and services.  Still, this isn't the norm; an average health condition should look like this:

Now it is starting to get a little uncomfortable for the players.  Adjacent gong pits would mean they were out back of most buildings and noticeable.  With five or six players, the chance of someone catching a cold or a minor ailment, though 1 in 80 apiece, is now better than 1 in 14.  Comfortable, safe accommodations are harder to find.  But still, this seems civilized.  In a less seemly part of the world, however, we have this:

This is now quite unpleasant.  This isn't a place to rest.  If the player is only first level, gaining back hit points from rest isn't possible (by my healing rules).  The dead are loaded openly on carts.  Getting a clean bed for the night is out of the question.  The water tastes funny.  The population is rife with disease.  A week's stay will mean someone is bound to come down with something.  But still, it is better than this:

At low level, player characters, not having been bred here, and toughened to the disease and conditions, would actually lose hit points from attempting to rest.  There's nowhere to evacuate one's bowels except in a side lane.  Gong is everywhere, as are flies, vermin and the occasional, ignored dead body.  The population would be easier to kill, with less hit points and levelled characters, but is that really a blessing?

I suppose it could be worse ... but I'm shooting to make this around the bottom of the scale.  I still need a means of generating a number between -4 and +4, but that will take some experimenting with actually describing specific regions of all kinds to get right.  For the moment, this measurement scheme is a place to work from.  If necessary, I can widen the range of numbers later and, as I say, cut the differences finer, making 7 or 9 degrees of health if necessary.

I hope to create similar tables like this for happiness/unhappiness and culture/uncultured.  That's going to take some thought, but that's the goal.  For those building and thinking about their own worlds, the above gives a simple scale that a given setting can be assigned, if going through the process of actually measuring a region's health (as I'm doing) is undesirable.


Vlad Malkav said...

Great framework for health, the way all the aspects fit together is a boon.

Does the computer application project advance well ?

Alexis Smolensk said...

It is a slow and steady process, with hundreds of details that have to come together as clearly as the content shown above.

Maliloki said...

Very cool base to move forward from. Very interested to see where you go with it from here. Got a lot of work to do in this vein myself once I iron out some other areas of my rules that need my attention. And to get back to a background generator that works for my world/version of D&D.

As always, what you continue to post is a massive boon to my own efforts and challenges me to think about the game differently.

Matthias said...

At the curent stage of your thinking on this matter, is the health rating an attribute of hexes, settlements, neighborhoods? I could imagine a large town having districts with different ratings, for instance. But perhaps this would be too granular to produce a useful gaming tool...

Charles Taylor (Charles Angus) said...

It's implied, but I suppose this is for "foreigners", not locals, as even a 1/400 chance of a terminal disease per week leaves you only a 7% chance of reaching your 20th birthday.

Alexis Smolensk said...


The system is meant to work by the base population density/amount of infrastructure gives a number, which is then mitigated by buildings/urban planning, certain locally produced resources and overall technologically-based development. This is all part of a much larger system for scaling these things, similar to the Civ IV game system but designed specifically for Dungeons and Dragons. The overall structure also supports a trade framework I've designed.


Well, many people in the 15th to 17th centuries didn't live, but you're more or less correct. Think of it as the disease chance for people living in public circumstances, with others preparing their food, or their food being kept in a sack, instead of a home they clean themselves, with food prepared by trustworthy selves or servants, properly stored, where outsiders and other unknowns are not slept with, do not share your toilet, and do not cough in your beer.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, also Charles, most of the diseases that would be contracted by these odds would not actually be fatal. See this page from my wiki.

Drain said...

This is coolness.

Thinking about the three prospective regional indicators in a row, it is reasonable to think that one blackmarked low score on one of them would necessarily cap the maximum rate for the others as they mutually exert influence among themselves, correct?

This might take a formula or three (or even more, if you decide that the mutual influences are to be assymetric) before a unified formulation can be lined up.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Wow, Drain. I did not understand that comment at all. Sorry, it was over my head.

Can you simplify it for a guy as dumb as me?

Drain said...

I just trampled all over the context while reaching for the "submit" button, sorry.

I meant for the three indicators: happiness/unhappiness; culture/lack of; health/lack of;

Once health, as the starker example, is found lacking for a given place, surely the other indicators must suffer as well. And vice-versa.

Hard to determine what sets the whole chain in motion, the hierarchy among the indicators as it were. It might point at nature and geography, thus a fourth indicator for climate (what a shitty answer, I know).

Alexis Smolensk said...

I expect some patterns, since both health and happiness go down together with settlement population. However, I'm hoping that random buildings and uneven distribution of trade references (which can add to either health or happiness, depending on the product), could mean that a group of people were unhealthy but happy (envision a pirate den with lots of drinking, luxuries, sex), or correspondingly healthy but unhappy (a military town with a good diet, but nothing of interest to inspire the population).

Culture, I'm intending, should be randomized a bit: the existence of, say, a monastery would add culture, but not every hex that would support a monastery would have one. Bookbinding as a culture add that comes from a trade reference, so an area that makes books would have a higher culture than one that didn't regardless of the health or happiness of that area.

So, there should be enough randomness to produce startling differences in possible settings, encouraging a sense of one place being distinct from another.