First time poster here. I am a very new player to ACKS and table top rpgs in general. I have beginner knowledge of pathfinder and 5e D&D and have played a few games but thats about it at this point. I am really interested in the idea of building an empire that extends beyond the few PC’s in a game world and have been really interested in working with ACKS since I started going over the books. Which leads me to a question about running the empire its self.
My question is about the economic / trade aspect of the game. For example, If I want to export ale. Would I need to calculate the cost and build a brewery, hire NPC’s, have hop farms, figure out how much harvest I get each year etc.? Or is this too low level for ACKS, meaning I need to take a higher level view of production / trade? I have done some searching in the forums / online, but I'm not really sure what kind of rules I should be looking for.
Am I looking at game play the right way here? Or am I biting off more then I can chew at this stage? I appreciate any feedback :)
ACKS generally offers two ways to approach every aspect, a top-down and a bottom-up approach. The benefit of the game is that the top down and bottom up will usually turn out to give the same answer.
If you as Judge are setting up a domain/realm that is an ale exporter, then you'd simply note down that the land value and service values for the domain are for grain/oats and ale-brewing, and then you'd make sure to set a low Demand Modifier for beer/ale in the urban settlement in the realm. You don't need to stat out the details unless you want to.
If you as a player want to run an ale-production business, there are rules in AXIOMS (our e-zine) for running a business that define the amount of investment required, and the return on investment, with a table of vagaries for the ups and downs of it.
If you really want to, you could also price out the cost of building a brewery, hiring NPCs, having hop farms, and so on. i haven't done that for ale-brewing specifically but AXIOMS does show how that was done for various types of farms. If you have some historical data to work from, and historical prices, you can make everything work if you just convert the prices to ACKS' scales. (1 quarter of wheat = 4gp, 1 day of unskilled labor = 1sp).
Like Alex says, you could do either. If you're managing a domain, though, you usually don't bother micromanaging every peasant in that domain; You'd generally just set ther tax rate, and assume your people will start businesses that they think are profitable enough to make those taxes payable.
You could also, if you wanted, hire seven skilled dwarven brewers and have them start making beer, which you can then sell on the open market, or warehouse until the market price is high, or sell at a fixed price in the tavern that you have also opened... But that'd be a business you owned, rather than part of your domain management, which is more about being local government.