Wednesday, March 23, 2016


It stands to reason that if I take the time to put up the trade system, block by block, that some people are going to squawk, "Why, why, why?"

I feel I need to be clear about this.  The fundamental reason why any part of the trade system exists is this: it works.  That's the whole reason.  It isn't a simulation, it isn't accurate, it doesn't reflect the real world trade system of the modern day or of the medieval world, it has virtually nothing whatsoever to do with economics and a great deal of it is created by completely ad hoc decisions.

This is part of the reason why I chose to put myself into the straight jacket of using an encyclopedia to determine what references existed in the world and where, because I didn't want to do what I'm recommending the reader do when using the system:  randomly place goods and services wherever it felt good.  Understand, however, that most readers don't have a choice.  They aren't running a real world so they don't have a source they can go to outside of their own head.  I'm addressing that as best I can by encouraging people to go at it anyway they like.  It doesn't matter, anyway; as long as they embrace the recommendation for scarcity, the system will work.

I banged my head against all sorts of different systems for fifteen years before realizing none of them worked. Then I spent six years in my head doing nothing but thinking about it.  I mean that literally. As I would tell my partner after 2001 (when we met), "I'm just going to go out for awhile and think about the trade system."  Then I would walk around for two hours, thinking.  I would lay in the bath, thinking.  I would lie in bed, thinking.  I would while away an afternoon, thinking.  For six freaking years, from 1999 until I finally got it.

What I 'got' was a logical, adjustable, applicable system that would work with any product, any raw material, any final item of equipment, as far down as one would want to go in complexity, in an effective manner.  That is all that mattered to me.

I am more than happy to explain HOW the system works.  I am not, however, interested in any query that wants to ask WHY I have made this choice or that about a given calculation or method for determining one price over another.  I know that most readers will not accept my decisions on faith.  However, I expect my readers to accept my decisions on faith.

Regarding those for whom this is not good enough, here is what I suggest: shut up.  Shut up and take the system I've built and that I am making available for use and mess around with all the numbers to your heart's content.  Change the calculations, adjust the methodology, do whatever personally fits your need to achieve the results you feel will work for your world.

Know this, however - whatever you think you're going to try, I've already tried it.  I've tried it in seven different ways.  I know this because I have screwed and fucked and messed with this system since 1986.  That's 30 years of spending about a billion hours on this system.  I know that I am not wrong in my guess that the reader asking me to explain "Why?" has spent about five minutes on their question.

When a professional engineer tells you that your head is up your ass about the thing you want to build, don't argue.  Just accept it.  A professional doesn't have time to give you all the education you need to have to understand why your project is dumb.  You want to know, go get your own damn education.

Anyway, I've put up half a tutorial on how to calculate the prices of manufactured goods.


I've cooled off somewhat since writing this.  I guess what really pisses me off about it is the endless fucking meta-game that goes on.

There are people who see a system like the one I'm building and think, "This is cool, I can't wait to plug it into my system and solve this problem."

And there are people who see the system and think, "Wow, I can masturbate with these numbers a hundred different ways as I rebuild this system from scratch again and again!  Yay!"

I don't suppose I am much bothered by the latter people - I'm just saying, leave me the fuck out of it.


  1. I think this is the same type of person who, in a later edition of the game, figures out that the d20 roll to notice the sun can't actually be rolled. So, obviously, the whole system is broken. I don't understand that thinking. I find the amount of work (and thinking) that's gone into this system amazing.

    Keep up the great work.

  2. I'm not sure I'd ever use your system, but I like the elegance of it. And as for explanation of why you've picked some of the values, you did so in the post on undeveloped goods prices (where you discuss 0.01 vs 0.02 vs 0.03). That's good enough for me.

    I am having an easier time following your description this time so keep up the good work.

  3. I think most readers have a grasp of the philosophy behind the decisions that led you to tackle these herculean projects. I'm not sure new readers would immediately understand it, though.

    We often leave out a dozen premises in any statement, assuming our interlocutors will understand, and if they don't, well, they're not too bright, are they?

    It might be helped with a paragraph on your approach in the 'About Me' section. Of course, you might choose not to provide an explanation in order to filter for discerning readers...


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