Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Notes for Creating an 8-development Region

Just now, I'm working on the Development-8 table for my infrastructure-development system.  Just to give a sense of the sort of design troubles I'm having, I thought I'd share my notes.

Basically, each technology that is widespread at a given level changes the overall society and social institutions of the region.  For example, horseback riding.  There may be people in a Dev7 region that can ride horses, but the institution and training of horseback riders is lacking.  Thus, there would be those who would ride a horse, but there wouldn't be a military tradition associated with riding in a Dev7 region.

This is more than just tools.  There's a deep social stucture that
had to be developed to make a workshop this complicated.
[yes, I know there's some modern things on the left. There were very few
actual photographs taken of workshops in the 1600s]

There are six technologies that have a formal presence in a Dev8 region that don't exist in Dev7 or lower: horseback riding, priesthood, theism (organized religion), monarchy, metal casting and compass.  These have to be fit into the design for Dev7, since everything that exists in Dev7 does exist in Dev8.  So it is taking a complicated description and making it progressively more complicated.

Here are my notes for each:

Horseback Riding

Description: Domesticated for use in transportation and war, mobility and speed overwhelms enemies, field animals, draft animals, pulling weapons of war. Forms a unique bond with its rider.

Social Effects: used for herding, transportation, warfare, communication, agriculture, trade, pleasure, sport and recreation, as status, as a gift.

Buildings: stable, ger/yurt (buildings where horses are kept; includes training grounds, barracks, blacksmiths, armories; horses are extensively trained, as are the riders.

Improvements: adds an additional +1 labor and +1 wealth per reference.

Transport: proliferation of wagons widens roads, increases the number of hard-surface roads.

Rural hexes: horses used to patrol type-4 or better hexes. As stock horses, to maintain livestock and other horses. Create conflict in land use in type-1 hexes, where horse culture challenges food production; therefore, if a horse is placed in a type-1 hex, -1 food. Horse racing is a yearly event in type 2 or 1 rural hexes.

Settlement hexes: horses used to power mills in type-3 or better. Create conflict in land use in type-1 hexes, where horse culture challenges food production; therefore, if a horse is placed in a type-1 hex. Racing occurs regularly with type-1 settlement hexes. Horse jumping with tech level 10.


Description: creation of an official leader of the religion, which is now reorganized as a parish or flock; identified by dress and appearance, in possession of clerical sage abilities. Poor level of spell ability (no wisdom bonus, limited to 3rd level)

Social Effects: priests have secular power and are a strong voice; the priest binds the community together in belief, mores and particularly in defense against outsiders. Catharsis, absolution, comfort draw the population together, putting their faith in the religion rather than their own needs.

  • Temple, +1 happiness, +1 culture. Places of prayer, study and services. Center of the community, serving as schools, meeting places, even libraries. Consecrated (sage ability).
  • Ziggurat, or mastaba. Pagan temple dedicated to a specific god, often viewed not as a place of worship, but as the actual home of the god. All ziggurats are located in lost places now (type-8 hexes), where they are lost and forgotten; they often form dungeons.
  • Oracle. Isolated, obscure temples with limited access, without worshippers or services, occupied by a few priests who communicate direction with the gods. These are extreme holy places and are often the destination of pilgrimages. Culture +8.

Improvements: none.

Transport: uncertain.

Rural hexes: minor spirituality; single temples in type-2 and 1 hexes. No schools, poor literacy. Wandering friar/priest may be found in lesser rural hexes; 1 in 12 in type-7, 1 in 8 in type-6, 1 in 4 in type-5, 1 in 2 for type-4 or type-3 hexes.

Settlement hexes: Temples appear in every settlement hex. Multiple temples appear in towns and cities, typically 1 per 500 residents. Increase in literacy for type 4+. Improvement in etiquette and manners.

Description: The presence of an established regional religion, which will nevertheless be liberal in its relationship to other religious entities.

Social Effects: establishment of an overarching religious authority over the region, one that all priests must answer to, interpreting and determining dogma, appointing priests, correcting misbehavior, acting as a balance of power against the king, accumulating wealth.

Buildings [settlement features]: graveyard, baptistry, priest's residence.

Improvements: none.

Transport: tax?

Rural hexes: has minimal effect, since it lacks the presence of a priest within the hex.

Settlement hexes: has much influence through the local priest, who will call upon the greater authority to act if ignored by the populace.

Description: hereditary rule; overlordship of the region; systematic entrenchment of lords, nobles and royalty.

Social Effects: unification of cities, towns and villages into a unified whole, systematic taxation, development of a social expectation based on court life, manners, etiquette, justice dictated by a distant entity, separation of classes. +1 happiness everywhere. Presence of a heroic epic that is known to the people and inspires bards.

  • Palace, +1 happiness, +2 wealth, +2 culture. Royal residence, extensive house and grounds, featuring an outer wall for defense and labyrinthine buildings and courtyards. The larger the region’s population and wealth, the larger the typical palace. The palaces of individual regions within a nation will be dwarfed by the nation’s palace; very large nations typically have several palaces, where the royal family will occupy in different seasons.
  • Barracks, presence of a military unit (70 men), fighter sage ability knowledge. Features fortifications, livestock for consumption, training grounds and fields. Multiple barracks together will form a war camp. A city will have one barracks per 3500 population (or part thereof).

Improvements: uncertain.

Transport: tolls, tariffs.

Rural hexes: minimal effect; most type-4 hexes controlled by the chief noble; most type-3 hexes controlled by low-rank nobles; type-2 hexes by mid to high rank nobles; type-1 hexes controlled by members of the royal/highest noble family. Exception, 1 in 6 type-1 hexes will be controlled by a non-family high-rank noble.

Settlement hexes: largest effect on appearance of type 3 and better buildings and people, who strive to beautify themselves to look good in the eyes of the monarchy, who occasionally visit.

Metal Casting
Description: the process of delivering liquid metal into a mold to produce an intended shape. Most metal objects are produced through casting, not smithing.

Social Effects: adds engineers into the general population, increases interest in metal objects, expands weapon and armor making, tools and .

  • Armory, appears in type-1 settlement hexes; material and equipment storage for a small army, for population use in an emergency.
  • Forge, subtract 2 health, add 2 labor. Charcoal furnaces which support metalwork such as smithing and casting. Adds +1 happiness from silver, copper, brass, bronze and pewter and +1 labor from tools. Produces weapons and armor. No description.
  • Mint. Increases the general amount of money in the system by 10%, effects to be determined (+10 treasure?)  Increase in object availability?). Coins reflect the monarch’s image. No description.
  • Metal-form Wonder: gives a 1 in 100 chance for type-1 settlements, in which a huge statue or other metal object has been created. Gives +5-8 culture, +1 wealth for all 6-mile hexes in a circle around the wonder.

  • Workshop, subtract food & health, adds +1 labor, +1 wealth. Workshops can appear in rural type 3 to 1 hexes (manor houses). Appears with tools (and other rural-friendly references).
Transport: uncertain.

Rural hexes: uncertain.

Settlement hexes: Increase in production at the mill level and higher for metal references (bonus wealth), which can be made by other methods than blacksmithing, for daily use objects.

Description: describes the magnetic compass, used for navigation and orientation on land and at sea.

Social Effects: common appearance of crude maps; social societies form to encourage the exploration of distant parts of the world, create trade agreements. Embassies, merchants and missionaries from the region form ties with distant lands, not just those surrounding the borders.

Buildings: none.

Harbour: exist in all market ports, now rebuilt for protection against the sea. All markets add bonus +1 health all sea products and manufactures; +1 wealth overall.

  • Cothon: 1 in 20 type-1 settlements that are on the coast, with an elevation of less than 100 feet, will have built an inland lake large enough to protect 20 frigate-sized vessels, connected by a canal-inlet that can be gated as a fortification.
Transport: Freedom from landmarks for sea travel. Regular shipping with other market ports.

Rural hexes: improve likelihood of lighthouses in rural settlements/seacoasts.

Settlement hexes: appearance of a foreign embassy in type 1 settlements; auctions in type 1 and type 2 settlement hexes.

This isn't complete.  This is just what I have come across from my initial research.  There's always room to add more.  Many of the things above haven't got a description for exactly where they appear: most of them will be available in type-1 hexes, rural or settlement.  Most won't occur in obscure rural hexes, where seemingly nothing ever changes.

The above is certainly enough to work with for the time being ~ and offers WAY more adventuring ideas, in my opinion, that most lists I've seen.  After all, any of this can be looked up in books online and researched further.  My goal here is to express to the reader the difficulty of this project and the potential benefit that can be gained, if the tiger can be caged.


I will be writing a post about Wowotu soon.


  1. But Alexis, wouldn't going and reading about historical life and society just to run D&D be a whole lot of W-O-R-K? Surely you've misspoken somewhere.

    Anyway: dammit, I want to run in your game and try to take over a region. Scout around nearby secluded areas and see what is where. Hang out in the rural hexes where the law is further away. Be violent but have a sense of justice. Try to MAKE something of myself.

    I bet this upcoming podcast will help make a lot of games better, especially for participants' games and the games of listeners. Then we can fire up our players this hard too. (or at least ourselves.)

  2. Very interesting read, nicely building upon Dev-7. And clearly underlining the amount of work, the complexity of the task, the expansion of what is possible ... I want to have such tools at my disposal, I'd pay good money for those too. I want to run such a world ...

    And I want to implement all those works into a program (or more), that'd be great. Those are tremendous resources for procedural world-building !


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