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  1. #1
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    Chap 5,6 & etc- alternative Cost/Maintanance denominations

    I had been mentioned in an unrelated thread that the fractions in the money system drove me crazy, and there were several voices of assent. It strikes me that, altho' any one of those fractions is not overwhelming, all of them tossed together is an unecessary headache. I'm not bad at math, and some say "good", but I dread working with the current system.

    Between finding a "lowest common denominator" (and here many start to blanch and back away, memories of grade school math creeping up their spines) and various rules that then further modify those amounts, finding a "user-friendly" alternative would both reduce an obstacle to new players, and make all players' lives easier, especially the GM's.

    The various fractional costs to buy and support elements in the game gives us the following spectrum of fractinal values to consider:

    1/2's, 1/3's & 1/4's
    1/6's (road maintenance)
    1/12's (maintanance of most Domain Assets, relative to cost, naval vessels)
    1/24's - naval vessels docked in home port

    So, at the smallest, (unless I'm forgetting something!) multiples of 1/24 of a Gold Bar can represent any expenditure needed in the game (4/24 = 1/6, 6/24 = 1/4 etc).

    (The Admininistration skill's use to reduce maintanance to 3/4 is not a consideration- a note in the skill description says to round down the final amount saved, so we don't need to worry about 1/96's.)

    ----

    One immediate solution would simply be to do the first half of the brainwork for the players, and list all fractional values as "twentyfourths". This would change nothing in the math/mechanics, and be a huge labor-saving gesture. Stone bridge maintance would then cost 12/24, not 1/2, but that's hardly intimidating. Folk would still have to add

    7/24 + 9/24 + 2/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 6/24 + 4/24 + 7 Gold Bars (= 8 & 7/12 GB)

    but some sort of addition's gotta happen somewhere in there, and that beats the alternative:

    7/24 + 3/8 + 1/12 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 1/4 + 1/6 +7,

    right?

    ---

    A simpler version would be to smile, create an accounting coin (that may or may not exist in the Game World) called the Gold Twenty-fourth, the GT, 1/24 of a Gold Bar, and list all maintanance in GT's. It would get rid of the fractions (and folks' innate resistance to/fear of them) entirely, at least until the math was done.

    7gt + 9gt + 2 gt + 1gt + 1gt + 1gt + 6gt + 4gt, + 7GB = 7 GB + 31gt, = 8 GB, 7 gt = 8 7/24 GB.

    ---

    The only other real alternative to fractions is... a decimal system.

    1/24 (.0416666...) is acceptably close to .04 GB (1/25), (only 4% smaller.*) This would reduce maintanance by that same amount, 4% less than the current system using 1/24's.
    (* Actually, it's .0416666... smaller, which makes sense if you think about it.) (But don't.)

    (tables are beyond me in vB code, apologies)
    Costs in .04's of a GB, with notes on original fractional monetary value in parentheses:

    Table 5-4: asset maintenance costs in .04GB/1GT increments
    Asset _____ Build _____ Maintenance/
    Type ______ cost ______ season


    Bridges:
    (wood)________3__________ .24 (1/4)
    (stone) _______6__________ .48 (1/2)
    Ferry_________1__________ .08 (1/12 = .08333)

    Fortification:
    (province) ____8 GB x level__ .64 x level (2/3/Lvl)
    (holding)______4 GB x level_ .32 GB x level (1/3/)

    Highway (cost by terrain)
    (plains, etc)___ 2___________ .16 (1/6 = .16666)
    (desert, etc)___ 4___________ .32 (1/3)
    (swamp, etc)___ 6__________ .48 (1/2)
    (glacier, etc)___ 8___________ .64 (2/3 = .66666)
    Palace_______ 6 GB x level__ .48 (1/2)
    Seaport______ 6 GB________ .48 (1/2)
    Shipyard_____ 4 GB x leve___ .32 (1/3)


    Now, looking at those values, I'm not sure that would help anything, and might be worse. Using the identical values from above (7/24 + 9/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 1/24 + 6/24 + 4/24 + 7), that would be adding:

    .28
    .36
    .08
    .04
    .04
    .04
    .24
    .16
    7.0
    8.24, or 8 6/24*
    (We added about 30 twentifourths, and that .04 difference per added up with them. This doesn't "break" the new system, only reduces the maintance costs by that .041666% compared to the old system, saving 1/24 of gold spent in comparison between the two.)

    Observation: IMO looks like the /24's, and especially "GT's", would be far easier than wrestling with multiples of .04, altho' either would be better than "lowest common denominator", as it now stands. I only include this since folk would be thinking of it, and to compare it to below.

    ---

    As a slightly more aggressive solution, 1/20 of a GB would make the math child's play, as adding ".05's" is easier still, and I, for one, would recommend that it would be worth it, but that would require a bit more shifting of the costs.*
    (*I'm going to guess that there are some opinions as to the need to shift costs for game balance. If this were indeed considered, this would kill two birds with one stone.)

    Table 5-4: asset maintenance costs in .05GB/1GT increments
    Asset _____ Build _____ Maintenance/
    Type ______ cost ______ season


    Bridges:
    (wood)________3__________ .25 (1/4)
    (stone) _______6__________ .50 (1/2)
    Ferry_________1__________ .10 (1/12 = .08333)

    Fortification:
    (province) ____8 GB x level__ .60 x level (2/3/Lvl)
    (holding)______4 GB x level_ .30 GB x level (1/3/)

    Highway (cost by terrain)
    (plains, etc)___ 2___________ .15 (1/6 = .16666)
    (desert, etc)___ 4___________ .30 (1/3)
    (swamp, etc)___ 6__________ .45 (1/2)
    (glacier, etc)___ 8___________ .60 (2/3 = .66666)
    Palace_______ 6 GB x level__ .50 (1/2)
    Seaport______ 6 GB________ .50 (1/2)
    Shipyard_____ 4 GB x leve___ .30 (1/3)


    That same long calculation (faking the actual items represented) might then look something* like this.

    .30
    .35
    .10
    .05
    .05
    .05
    .25
    .15
    7.0
    (* Unlike the consistancy of .04 vs 1/24, the differences here vary depending on rounding off at the source of the maintanance; there is no way to compare final outcomes, but care would be taken to ensure it would be similar.)

    This would be something any gamer could live with.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    In Game Color/Considerations:

    If a Gold Bar = 2000 GP*, then 1/25 of a bar would be 80 gp, 1/20 would be 100. (For reference, BTR 1 gp = ~1/3 oz, or ~50 to the pound, or 110/kg, so we're talking about something of about 1.5-2 pounds of gold.) Been trying to think of a nifty name for such a thing (that doesn't start with "b" or "p"), something that only merchants or the wealthy would usually employ, but GT (gold twentieth/twentifourth) seems to work.
    (* Actually, one Gold Bar has a "value equal to" approximately 2000 GP, as most treasuries are not purely comprised of vast stacks of coins. But for the coins that are there, GF's would be far easier to count/handle/maintain.)

    If round like (an exceptionally large!) coin, it could be a Crown (gc) or Sun (gs), or if more like a modern book or paving tile a Gold Flat, GF, if the GT is not used. Either way, they are probably stamped with various marks and certifications, and possibly a scene from Anuire's history.

    As a storyteller I like the image of flat, formed, stackable, transportable, [s]stealable[/s] slabs of gold better than any other shape, because IG they could be described in those stacks, and transported/handled/bundled more easily as such.

    (There is a cinematic image that I've always liked, that of the medieval Japanese custom of wrapping pre-counted stacks of money in paper for presentation. This could be incorporated into the "colour" of Cerelia, or of some of her cultures, that of a baron or guilder sliding a thick wrapped stack of GT's over to a character during a reward or negotiation...)

    The GT is also a valuable and recognizable "coin" for RP purposes, whether for one regent to send a cash payment to another, or for PC's to find in their adventures. Whether a chestful in a wagon, or one in the vest of an assassin, GT's speak of regent-level wealth, of a fraction of a Gold Bar that you can hold in one hand.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Cuchulainshound; 09-11-2006 at 08:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    On 9/11/06, Cuchulainshound <brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
    > The only other real alternative to fractions is... a decimal system.

    Yes. It probably should have been written in 10ths and 100ths to begin with.

    > In Game Color/Considerations:
    > If a Gold Bar = 2000 GP*, then 1/25 of a bar would be 80 gp, 1/20 would be 100. (For reference, BTR 1 gp = ~1/3 oz, or ~50 to the pound, or 110/kg, so we`re talking about something of about 1.5-2 pounds of gold.) Been trying to think of a nifty name for such a thing (that doesn`t start with "b" or "p"), something that only merchants or the wealthy would usually employ, but GT (gold twentieth/twentifourth) seems to work. If round like (an exceptionally large!) coin, it could be a Crown (gc) or Sun (gs), or if more like a modern book or paving tile a Gold Flat, GF, if the GT is not used. Either way, they are probably stamped with various marks and certifications, and possibly a scene from Anuire`s history.
    >
    > Thoughts?

    Conveniently, D&D already has a decimal system for money. Rather than
    inventing new units, realms might denote large amounts of currency
    smaller than Gold Bars in Silver Bars and Copper Bars. Like Gold
    Bars, an actual physical bar being transferred to someone would be
    remarkably rare, since no one has that kind of liquid cash laying
    around*. Most currency transfer would be in the form of notes of
    credit or other financial instruments and documents.

    *Historically, kingdoms and empires did sometimes use actual physical
    Talents of gold or other precious metals, so it`s not unprecedented.
    A talent would be around 33 kg of gold, so even larger than the
    hypothetical Gold Bar of Birthright.
    --
    Daniel McSorley

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    One thing to keep in mind is that the GB is not equal to 200 gp. What I mean it is not "hard currency" it represents the "equivalent" of gp but actually is comprised of grain, trade goods, etc. Things that are more or less "intangeable" but not actually hard currency.

    Tithes were not usually given in gold but in goods that were used for other purposes.

    Using decimals has crept up before. I am not hard locked on the present numerical system for maintence even though I know why it was done the way it was. That was to better represent the importance of "seasons" in how a domain functions.
    Duane Eggert

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    It's a long article (apologies), but I made sure to emphasize that point about "value" rather than "2000 gold coins" in the lower section on "color".

    Quote Originally Posted by DanMcSorley
    Conveniently, D&D already has a decimal system for money. Rather than
    inventing new units, realms might denote large amounts of currency
    smaller than Gold Bars in Silver Bars and Copper Bars.
    Nice idea, but unfortunately not practical for this excercise. In keeping w/ D&D standards, 1 SB = 1/10 GB, and 1 CB = 1/100 GB.

    Altho' full and half SB might work in lieu of the .05GB system, I avoided decimal places of .01 for a reason.

    ...an actual physical bar being transferred to someone would be
    remarkably rare, since no one has that kind of liquid cash laying
    around*.
    Depends on the GM and their view of the game world. In my games, Province Regents do have warchests of gold and valuables, tho' they are not equal to the full value of "GB" available to that regent to spend. They are merely a colorful RP plotdevice for certain scenes, considerations and complications.

    I mean, every decent ruler has a treasure room, and every good treasure room has got to have its treasure chests, neh?

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    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    The OP hit on the perfect solution.

    Redefine the GB. Instead of having a GB be roughly 2000, make it roughly 100.

    Then Maintenance can go like this:
    1/2 = 10 GB
    1/4 = 5 GB
    1/6 = 3 GB
    1/12 = 2 GB
    1/24 = 1 GB

    A galleon would cost 300GB to muster, A unit of Infantry 40GB to muster.

    All incomes would be multiplied by 20.

    It's not as exact, but is close.

    A simple round all fractions down will fix the rest.

    I used 20 instead of 24 to further simplify the math.

    It's a rough thought right now, I haven't done all the math to see if it would be truly better.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

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    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    I have to admit, I am still interested in some type of change to the way maintenance is handled. The 2E rules were pretty clean, and so the GB being what it was worked.

    With addition of fractional maintenance, the paperwork involved in maintaining a domain gets complicated. It just seems to me that simply redefining the GB to a smaller number (80GP (1/24) or 100GP (1/20)) Would be a simple, elegant and easily made conversion. I also don't think the community would fight about it too much, as everyone loves having Big numbers.

    Another consideration, having the GB be 100GP would follow along completely the current 3E coinage. 100GP = 10PP.

    1 CP = 1/100 GP
    1 SP = 1/10 GP
    1 GP = 1 GP
    1 PP = 10 GP
    1 GB = 100 GP

    I know the first 2 chapters are now sanctioned, but I think this is a worthy change.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Should a Gold Bar represent a fantastic amount of money, or is 100 gp sufficient?

    I use a hex grid and convert the province maps to these based off the distances on the published maps. So these should reflect the size of the realms imagined in the box set. My hex grid is six miles across and so 31 sqm in size. Supppose each of these hexes represents one fief, which is a fair assumption. Using the figures from Magical Medieval Europe, let's see what happens.

    Looking at the Taelshore, I make the following assumptions: chilly climate
    (-33% of base), druidical Plant Growth (+33% of base), agricultural hexes
    are 40% arable, 20% forest, 20% waste, and 20% pasture. Some comment:

    20% forest is a bit high, 15% was found in England, &c, but given the cult
    of Erik, I think it makes sense
    20% pasture is likewise high, but less so in a colder climate, England had
    25% of its land set aside for pasture. Italy was closer to 5-7%.
    20% waste is typical for Europe.

    The population for such a fief is 4000 people, half are adults, the other half are either too old to run things themselves (1/2 labor) or too young (1/2 labor). So we have the labor of 3000 adults (effectively) to cultuvate 5333 culivated acres.

    Again, using the figures from Magical Medieval Europe:
    income from agriculture = 38,398 gp
    income from forests (as acreage, not as a cash crop) = 16,000 gp
    income from livestock = 113,339 gp
    30 mills = 17,250
    15 millponds = 450 gp
    30 ovens= 4150 gp
    60 carpenters and 30 smiths = 1035 gp
    manorial rights for 2000 adults =43,000 gp

    This gives us a total of 233,621 gp per 6 mile hex of full agricultural land. Typically of this, 20% ends up in the hands of the overlord. That's 46,000
    gp per hex, and Saerscap has 23 such hexes. This means Saerscap makes 1,074,657 gp of income for the Eorl, not counting any demense he has or any hexes that are non-agricultural, and there is a nice little wood there.

    BTW, 23 agricultural fiefs times 4000 persons gives a population of 92,000 people plus what inhapitants live in the forested area, plus what might dwell in urban areas consuming the agricultural surplus in exchange for specialized trades. If one seeks a population density that strikes one as similar to medieval Europe, one must multiply the population figures from the boxed set by 10. These population figures would be toward the bottom of the estimates (100,000 people), which makes perfect sense.

    So the population makes sense, the income based on Magical Medieval Society suggest an income for the eorl (as direct overlord) of nearly one million gold peices. Even for those who prefer the unadjusted figures, you still have an income of 100,000 gp. The game originally postulated a value of 2000 gp per GB, which would give the unadjusted population an income of 5 GB per year. Those would adjust the population up by a factor of ten would no doubt increase the conversion to GB up by a factor of ten as well, and call 1 GB 20,000 gp. Although one should note that reducing the population density by 10 should increase the amount of herding going on, since herding is labor effecient and land is plentiful. As you can see above, herds provide a disproportionate income to the lord.

    For those who find the math cumbersome, if I leave out herds and forestry income (which should be calculated per acre), and only calculate the agricultural income, the lord makes about 1gp per person in the fief. (I got 1.07 but I also reduced food processing costs, since the surplus food is being processed for people who live in towns, they pay.) If I assume all of the surplus is sold, 11 sp (1.1gp) is more accurate.

    If the total value of fief income in Saerscap is just over five and a third million gp, and the eorl is the direct overlord of these fiefs, and gets a million and change gp's, he would then pay just over 200,000 gp to King Varri. If Varri aquires just one fief in Saerscap, of course he doubles his income there.

    It should be obvious that either a GB must be worth significantly more than 100 gp, or some radically different kind of economics is at work here. I am ruling out the option of changing the costs of everything, and suspect that of all the variables to adjust, no one will favor radically changing what every action costs.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    What are you babbling on about? Never mind- I don't want to know. (In fact, I do know, but just don't want to.)

    You entirely miss the point, your erudite study (and respect for that, btw) unfortunately has nothing to do with what we are talking about here. No one is suggesting changing what actions cost, nor what the income is from provinces.

    What is being suggested is changing what one denominative unit of money represents.

    ----------------------------
    Example:

    Let's say you make $50,000 a year.

    Now, would you rather call that "5 TKB" (Ten-Kilobucks), and have to buy a $75 dinner for 1/13 TKB (more accurately 3/40 TKB),
    OR
    would you rather make "5000 DB" (dekabucks), and buy the same dinner for 7 1/2 DB?

    More significantly, which you prefer at the end of the month when trying to balance your checkbook?

    (Me, I'd rather go with the latter, thanks.)

    ----------------------------

    Instead of receiving 1 GB per whatever, a Regent would receive 20 for the same thing. But, to balance "all that money", instead of something costing 3/16 GB, it'd cost (x20) = 60/16, or 3 3/4, or maybe just 4.

    Same proportional cost to income, but far easier math, and far easier addition than all those fractional GB's.

    (If you find this math not cumbersome enough, feel free to read up on the German Hyper-Inflation post WWI.)
    Last edited by Cuchulainshound; 09-27-2006 at 05:35 AM.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The question from my point of view is not whether we're spending 1/13 of a GB or 7.5 GB, its a question of 650 GB.

    If a GB is worth 100 gp, and Saerscap gives the king 200,000 gp, then they pay 2000 GB's. Well in such a denomination, what is the cost of a diplomatic action? 650 GB? Does a unit of knights cost 2250 GB?

    The incomes of rulers and the costs of actions should be measured in tens and ones. I think fractions, while not challenging math, are an indication that we're an order of magnitude too big (or too accurate), and costs being measured in hundreds and thousands are likewise a sign that we're orders of magnitude too small.

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    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    The point of this conversation was not to address population density, and if the sanctioned BRCS handles that properly. That is worthy of conversation, but is academic for our purposes.

    No matter what the income is, as things stand now a ferry costs 1/12 a GB, or ~167 GP to maintain per season. That cost would remain the same no matter what the population. There is a case to be made for more ferries for more population, although I would argue the free market would take care of additional need, I don't like ferry maintenance for this reason, but that is another conversation.

    The point here was to simplify the math to make things more manageable.

    See, even if we increase the population density, and increased the incomes, would still be left with ferry's costing ~167GP per season to maintain, and Highways at ~335GP and so on. This would be made worse if the GB were made a magnitude larger 1/120 for Ferry's and 1/60 for Highways.

    Once again though, what we are proposing is to simplify the math, say multiplying all incomes, muster and maintenance costs by 24 GB and making the GB worth a 24th it's current value. to maintain the status Quo. As I said, I'd prefer using a 20th as the math is a little easier, and it fits better with the 3E monetary system where each next "coin" is 10 times the previous.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

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