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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Building A Skyrim Style ACK Setting – Part 6: Somerset: Trade Routes

Here is the updated Campaign Map after the First Five Steps.



Up till now the steps I have taken have been what most DM’s do when creating a world, if a touch more complicated than some would care for. There is a reason behind the madness and it has to do with how ACK handles its economics and trade in game. We are now going to determine the Demand Modifiers for all nine settlements that serve as the seat of each hold.


What are Demand Modifiers?


“Each market will have a unique set of demand modifiers, determined by the Judge, for different types of merchandise. The demand modifier modifies the availability and price for merchandise in the market. A low demand modifier indicates that there is a surplus of that type of merchandise available, usually because the market is a producer of that merchandise. A high demand modifier indicates that the merchandise is hard to get and very expensive. (Macris, 2011)”


Basically this is a great tool for helping DM’s determine trade routes and determining market prices for items in a settlement.


This is a multi-step process

1. Randomly Determine Base Demand Modifiers
2. Apply Environmental Adjustments
3. Apply Domain-specific Adjustments
4. Apply Racial Adjustments
5. Determine Trade Routes

Step 1 is most easily done in a Spreadsheet Program. In one column place all of the different kinds of merchandise (see page 234 for a full list) and then use the RandBetween Function to generate a Random Number between -2 to 2

Ex: =RANDBETWEEN(-2,2)

Step 2, for this I created a reference table that lists the hold, the name of the settlement that I am creating the demand modifiers for and what environments impacts them.

Earldom
Settlement
Age (yrs)
Founding Era
Terrain
Drachenfeld
Stone Harbour
400
Reign of the Line of Athelwulf
Sea Coast, Hills, Taiga
Ostenstrand
Eichen Herrenhaus
365

Sea Coast, Hills
Eisenburg
Huntcrest
330

Sea Coast, Hills, Forests
Stánhold
Stonehafen
290

Sea Coast, Hills, Taiga
Silverfeld
Silberrun
250

River Banks, Grasslands
Westbrerd 
Hoch Tårn
190
Reign of Alfred Stormcrow
Lake Shore, Grasslands
Isenhelm
Bordweall
180

River Banks, Hills, Grassland
Bretenanmere
Fennburg
90
Reign of Ulther Wolfbrother
Lake Shore, Hills
Wulf Dúnland
Wulfholme
90

River Banks, Hills, Taiga

Step 3, you need to determine what monthly land revenue is for the Domain that the settlement it is. This value is determined randomly by rolling 3d4. Why we do this is because “These factors will affect the demand modifiers of the domain’s market. Domains with limited resources have a higher demand for goods and must pay more for them. (Macris, 2011)”

Once you have determined the value, you then reference the table on page 233 to see how many merchandise types are impacted. One you have the number you can randomly roll to see which types are impacted or you can determine them based on the history and culture of the setting. I am going to use a mix of both.

I am going to use Silberrun as an example. I have determined it has a Land Value of 9 gp per family. This means I have a -1 Demand Modifier to 6 different merchandise types and a +1 Demand Modifier to 1 merchandise type.

Basing my decision on the location and history of the settlement, I know that Silberrun got its name due to the number of silver mines (-1 Precious Metals) located around the area. There is also ruby, garnet and sapphire mines (-1 Gems). It has access to significant clay deposits (-1 Pottery). There are a large number of apiaries that produce honey for mead (-1 Wine, spirits) and fields of wheat and barley (-1 Grain, vegetables & Beer, ale).  What they cannot make is silk and that is in high demand (+1 Silk).

Step 4, we can skip this step as this is a human realm and not an elf or dwarf realm. Before we go to Step 5 we need to determine the demand modifiers for the other 8 settlements.

Step 5, is about determining what inter-kingdom trade routes exist. In order to do that we need to determine how far away each settlement is from each other.

OK so here is where we need to deviate a little bit, I have determined the Demand Modifiers for only on the 9 biggest settlements and there is a reason why. The people of the Kingdom of Somerset are a maritime people and as such they have established all of their major settlements next to navigable waterways. This means that there is very little infrastructure in the interior, i.e. roads, trails, or bridges. Per the book, you should start with the largest market and work your way outward to the smaller markets adjusting them for trade.

I have 6 Class IV Markets all connected by waterways so how do I modify the demand modifiers for all of these interconnected markets?

That right there is the problem in the nutshell, how do you do something like this.?

In Hindsight, my decision to increase the concentration of the Settlement Size for all of the Earldoms was a probable a mistake. I feel I have way too many Class IV Markets. I should have only increased it for the two most powerful duchies, Silverfeld and Ostenstrand and not modified the others.


The solution I came up with is based on the pseudo-history I am building for this kingdom. I know that trade and politics in the kingdom are dominated by two earldoms, Silverfeld and Ostenstrand. So I upgraded the Market in each City to Market Class III, but I did not increase the size of the cities. There may be ramifications to do this but I can’t see any at the moment.

Earldom
Silverfeld
Ostenstrand
Settlement
Silberrun
Age
Terrain
LV

Eichen 
Herrenhaus
Age
Terrain
LV

Merchandise
Base
250
River bank
Grasslands
9
Final
Base
365
Sea Coast
Hills
3
Final
Grain, vegetables
-2
0
-1
-1
-1
-5
-2
0
0
0
1
-1
Fish, preserved
2
-0.5
-0.5
0.5
0
1.5
-1
-0.5
-1
0.5
-1
-3
Wood, common
-1
0
0
0.5
0
-0.5
-1
0
0
0
-1
Animals
-1
-0.5
-0.5
-0.5
0
-2.5
-2
-0.5
0
0
-2.5
Salt
0
0
-0.5
0
0
-0.5
2
0
-0.5
0
1.5
Beer, ale
2
-0.5
-0.5
0
-1
0
-1
-0.5
-0.5
-0.5
1
-1.5
Oil, lamp
2
-0.5
-0.5
1
0
2
-2
-0.5
-0.5
-0.5
-3.5
Textiles
1
0
-0.5
-0.5
0
0
-2
0
0
-0.5
-2.5
Hides, furs
-1
0
0
-0.5
0
-1.5
-2
0
0
0
-2
Tea or coffee
-1
0
0
0
0
-1
-1
0
-0.5
-0.5
-2
Metals, common
-1
0
0
0
0
-1
-2
0
0
-0.5
-2.5
Meats, preserved
1
-0.5
0
-0.5
0
0
-2
-0.5
0
0
-2.5
Cloth
1
0
-1
-0.5
0
-0.5
0
0
0
-0.5
-0.5
Wine, spirits
-2
-0.5
-0.5
1
-1
-3
-2
-0.5
-0.5
-0.5
-3.5
Pottery
0
0
-0.5
0
-1
-1.5
0
0
-0.5
-0.5
-1
Tools
2
0
-0.5
-0.5
0
1
1
0
-0.5
-0.5
1
1
Armor, weapons
1
0
-0.5
-0.5
0
0
1
0
-0.5
-0.5
0
Dye & pigments
0
0
-0.5
0
0
-0.5
2
0
-0.5
-0.5
1
Glassware
2
0
-0.5
0
0
1.5
-2
0
-0.5
-0.5
-3
Mounts
0
-0.5
0
-1
0
-1.5
1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
Monster parts
-1
0
0
0
0
-1
0
0
0
0
0
Wood, rare
-1
0
0
0.5
0
-0.5
0
0
0
0
0
Furs, rare
2
0
0
-0.5
0
1.5
2
0
0
-0.5
1.5
Metals, precious
2
0
0
0
-1
1
-2
0
0
-0.5
-2.5
Ivory
-2
0
0
0.5
0
-1.5
2
0
0
0.5
2.5
Spices
-2
-0.5
0
0.5
0
-2
-2
-0.5
0
0.5
-2
Porcelain, fine
2
0
-0.5
0
0
1.5
-2
0
-0.5
-0.5
-3
Books, rare
-2
0
-0.5
0
0
-2.5
-2
0
-0.5
-0.5
-3
Silk
2
-0.5
0
1
1
3.5
-2
-0.5
0
-0.5
1
-2
Semipr. stones
-2
0
0
0
0
-2
-2
0
0
-0.5
-2.5
Gems
1
0
0
0
-1
0
2
0
0
-0.5
1.5

Silberrun and Eichen Herrenhaus are close enough that there is a Trade Route between them. They will have an impact on each other’s Demand Modifiers. In term these two cities have an impact on the Demand Modifiers on the other settlements with in their respective area of trade and political influence. 

Per the book, 

“When a trade route connects two markets, the smaller market has all of its demand modifiers shifted by 2 points closer to the larger market’s demand modifiers (or set equal to the larger market’s demand modifiers if separated by less than 2 points). If the two markets connected by the trade route are of equal size, each shifts each of its demand modifiers by 1 point closer to the other market’s demand modifiers. (Macris, 2011)”

So I work the final calculations

Earldom
Silverfeld
Ostenstrand
Settlement
Silberrun
Herrenhaus
Merchandise
Base
Mod
Final
Base
Mod
Final
Grain, vegetables
-5
1
-4
-1
-1
-2
Fish, preserved
1.5
-1
0.5
-3
1
-2
Wood, common
-0.5
-1
-1.5
-1
1
0
Animals
-2.5
0
-2.5
-2.5
0
-2.5
Salt
-0.5
1
0.5
1.5
-1
0.5
Beer, ale
0
-1
-1
-1.5
1
-0.5
Oil, lamp
2
-1
1
-3.5
1
-2.5
Textiles
0
-1
-1
-2.5
1
-1.5
Hides, furs
-1.5
-1
-2.5
-2
1
-1
Tea or coffee
-1
-1
-2
-2
1
-1
Metals, common
-1
-1
-2
-2.5
1
-1.5
Meats, preserved
0
-1
-1
-2.5
1
-1.5
Cloth
-0.5
0
-0.5
-0.5
0
-0.5
Wine, spirits
-3
-1
-4
-3.5
1
-2.5
Pottery
-1.5
1
-0.5
-1
-1
-2
Tools
1
0
1
1
0
1
Armor, weapons
0
0
0
0
0
0
Dye & pigments
-0.5
1
0.5
1
-1
0
Glassware
1.5
-1
0.5
-3
1
-2
Mounts
-1.5
1
-0.5
1
-1
0
Monster parts
-1
1
0
0
-1
-1
Wood, rare
-0.5
1
0.5
0
-1
-1
Furs, rare
1.5
0
1.5
1.5
0
1.5
Metals, precious
1
-1
0
-2.5
1
-1.5
Ivory
-1.5
1
-0.5
2.5
-1
1.5
Spices
-2
0
-2
-2
0
-2
Porcelain, fine
1.5
-1
0.5
-3
1
-2
Books, rare
-2.5
-1
-3.5
-3
1
-2
Silk
3.5
-1
2.5
-2
1
-2
Semipr. stones
-2
-1
-3
-2.5
1
-1.5
Gems
0
1
1
1.5
-1
0.5


Silberrun’s market will have an impact on Hoch Tårn, Fennburg and Bordweall.

Eichen Herrenhaus’s market will have an impact on Wulfholme, Stone Harbour, and Stonehafen.

Huntcrest is a special case, it is going to be impacted by both Silberrun and Eichen Herrenhaus. In addition there is trade coming up from the Elven colony to the south. Wulfholme has a the potential to impacted by trade with the Dwarven City-State to its north, but I have not detailed the Elven or Dwarven Settlements, so I have no idea by how much.

Game Master Note


Now by this point, I am sure you have had to ask yourself the following question.

“What the fuck are you doing? Have you lost your ever loving sweet mind? Seriously”

At first glance, all of this number crunching seems like incredible overkill. You could easily say screw it and never bother with this section. You know what? there is not a damn thing wrong with that.

Then why do it then?


Because there is a story in all of those numbers, a story of how a nation was built and how it prospers. It gives insight into the industries that at the heart in each earldom.  It gives you an idea of how much stuff actually costs in the various realms. When you heroes return back to civilization with all that loot, what can they get for it?

“What? You mean to tell us, if we catch a boat ride down the coast we could get triple the price for this junk?” Fuck ya time to take a boat ride.”

It adds a new element or wrinkle to the classic, Find, Kill and Loot. Players are going to have incentive to visit other places other than the next village with the next dungeon.

In Skyrim, You travel all other the place, trying to get the best deal for the loot your selling and the materials you need to buy, because that house in Solitude is not cheap.