A friend has been kicking around the idea of running an adventure with the premise of the PCs being in charge of an unexpectedly isolated colony, forced to scavenge from the environment when the supply ships fail to appear. My instinct for any city-centric game is to suggest ACKS, or at least steal the large-scale rules, but I’m not sure how to convert ACKS to function without a formal economy and with a greater emphasis on resource acquisition. (E.g. D@W Campaigns says that materials is included in cost of labor, and expresses productivity of workers in terms of gold provided, but in this setting, finding enough stone to build a castle is a quest in and of itself.)
I figured you guys might have some suggestions for either how to convert ACKS, or another system. For all I know, drivethru RPG has a 9.3 star game called “RAICF1700: Run An Isolated Colony in Faux 1700s”
ACKS can handle it! Use the Construction Project rules. For resource acquisition, assume that 25% of the final cost of any product is from raw materials.
In the absence of a market, the resource acquisition itself will require a separate set of proficiencies to acquire separate from that of the construction project.
Resources are typically acquired using the appropriate Labor proficiency (2sp per day). If the character does not have the Labor proficiency, it is unskilled 1sp per day.
Example: A character wishes to make a matchlock musket (40gp). He has Crafting (gunsmithing) 3, giving him a daily construction rate of 1gp, 33cp. In a functioning market, it would take 30 days (40/1.33) to hand-craft the musket.
However, he is stuck in an isolated colonly and can’t trade his labor for metal as there’s no market. Before he can craft the gun, he needs to gather metal with Labor (mining) proficiency. The cost of raw materials is (40 x 25%) 10gp. Our gunsmith does not have Labor (mining), so he is unskilled labor with a construction rate of 1sp per day. It will take him (10gp/.1gp) 100 days to mine enough iron. Once he gets the iron, he can then craft the gun, taking (40-10)/(1.33) 22.5 more days, for a total of 122.5 days.
Of course, having a master craftsman waste his time doing unskilled labor is incredibly inefficient. It would be far better to have 13 unskilled labors out mining iron (13 x .1gp/day = 1.3gp per day) so that he can turn it into guns.
I was thinking of resource acquisition along slightly different lines. That is, the town is under martial law, and the party is that law, and adventures are primarily done to secure resources for the colony. So we go out and kill the hydra by the ruined castle, and that nets us 500 stone of stone, and now we can build… about a castle’s worth of stone buildings before we’re out. Unless we manage to find a quarry, or a good place for a quarry, and then devote some peasant labor to stonemining.
Why not hand out construction materials as treasure instead of gold?
If they would have found 500 gp, instead they find 500 gp worth of stone.
Knowing the raw materials cost of any given project, this will tell you what you can make with that value of resources. Whether you’re actually paying the craftsman or not should be a minor difference.
In which case, the way to go would be to offer raw materials (stone in particular, I assume wood will be more widely available) as treasure. Maybe a monster lives in some ancient ruins that can be disassembled for 5000 GP worth of stone.
And that’s why I should refresh before posting.
In your defense, it was less than 30 seconds between posts. (The minute ticked over, but I saw yours as soon as I got back to the main page after posting mine, claiming that it was posted 5 sec ago at that point.)
Let’s chalk it up to great minds thinking alike.
So combined with Alex’s 25% guideline, if I wanted to build a 30,000 gp castle, I’d just have to find 7500gp worth of stone. That seems really straightforward and intriguing.
(Does the book list how much stone is in a stone of stone? Most raw materials are in the mercantile section but I don’t think being a brick merchant is in the base game, which is a shame, because now I have an overwhelming compulsion to join a campaign as Yvan the Brick Merchant)
As a very broad rule of thumb:
Weight of wood = cost of wood * 1000 / 12
Weight of stone = cost of stone * 1000
These values are based on broad averages from one of my internal spreadsheets.
That seems off to me. Stone is harder to gather and transport.
Seems like the rock should be more valuable not 1/12.
Stone is denser too, it may be more valuable by volume, but not by mass.
Great thread. I’ve thought about the possibilities for using ACKS to simulate something similar, Susan. The other issue I ran into is how to accommodate followers and population growth in a closed system. Some thought has to be given up front to how the heroes will grow their labor pool and gain new followers without busting your campaign framework.
you could use followers as a form of treasure: travel to X to gather the families stranded there. if you have several small comunities.
by the way: this sound like a really good idea for a play by post game
Dragon Magazine #125 had a couple potentially very useful articles. Thomas Kane’s “Meanwhile, Back at the Fief…” has rules for population morale, income modifiers based on economic activity, and random events charts that could be blended with ACKS rules. James Yates’ “Armies from the Ground Up” has rules for types of militia, with modifiers for political and economic policies, plus modifiers for population growth.
I wish I could suggest a random terrain/resource generator, but the only one I’m familiar with is from Appendix B of the 1e DMG, and it only generates terrain, not resources.
For mining, the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide and Thomas Kane’s article from Dragon #152 (“In a Cavern, In a Canyon…”) are the best resources, IMO (Kane’s article mostly for the two tables of metal ores, the DSG for digging rates and rules for assaying mines).
I didn’t know the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide had mining in it; I might have to find myself a copy of that at some point.
The mining rules I had based on the Complete Book of Dwarves are available on the Downloads page here; it does contain random generation of what metals can be found in a hex, but I wouldn’t want to use it as a full random resource generator.
Looking at the rules you wrote, it looks like CBoD was heavily based on the DSG. The percentages are a bit different, but the Mine Type table is very similar (the DSG doesn’t have electrum or precious metals), and the Mithril Formation table is also almost identical (the electrum portion of yours is split between silver and gold in the DSG). The Vein Direction and Vein Path Alteration tables also look to be the same as the DSG.
There are also tables for type of gemstone, ore quality, gemstone quality, mining rates by race of miner and hardness of stone, and how long the mine can be worked before running out of valuable ore.
The article in Dragon expanded on the rules in the DSG. It used real-world ores and their weights and hardnesses to make the DSG rules slightly less abstract. The poorest gold ore becomes somewhat hilarious, since it takes 15,000 pounds of stone to get 0.2 pounds of gold.
That makes me wonder what you’re doing with the other 14,999.8 pounds of stone and is a hilarious image.
Aha, mining rules! That’s fantastic. Now I just need to find a way to acquire dragon 157.