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Squaredeal Sten

Improving Harvest Results

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Fair points Joerg, but RQ is definitely historically on the S side of the old NGS divide. (Consider how comparatively complicated combat is, for example, even compared to other BRP games - not a criticism, just an observation). The "clan connected based play" that RQG endorses (it's still fine for the old scenario based play - but that's no longer the focus) does make Farming in particular and occupational skills in general more important than it "used" to be, so the analysis of how Bless Crops can essentially subvert that does strike me as both interesting and valid.

 

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One thing that the rules don't have is values for other problems.

So, for example, there is no Harvest modifier for Disease, Drought, Flood and so on. I have a section on the Sacred Time economy in Secrets of Dorastor, so might add the following:

Event

Light

Moderate

Severe

Raid

-10%

-20%

-40%

Drought

-10%

-20%

-30%

Flood

-10%

-15%

-20%

Disease

-10%

-20%

-30%

Cattle Raiding

+10%

+10%

+10%

Rustling

+10%

+10%

+10%

The Cattle Raiding and Rustling Bonuses are when you do it to other Clans. When it happens to you, it counts as a Light Raid.

Disease can be mitigated by using Sunripen or sacrificing to Mallia, Floods and Droughts can be mitigated by using extensive irrigation, as the canals can be used to drain away floodwater more easily.

 

Edited by soltakss
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41 minutes ago, GAZZA said:

Fair points Joerg, but RQ is definitely historically on the S side of the old NGS divide. (Consider how comparatively complicated combat is, for example, even compared to other BRP games - not a criticism, just an observation). The "clan connected based play" that RQG endorses (it's still fine for the old scenario based play - but that's no longer the focus) does make Farming in particular and occupational skills in general more important than it "used" to be, so the analysis of how Bless Crops can essentially subvert that does strike me as both interesting and valid.

 

What's NGS?

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42 minutes ago, GAZZA said:

Fair points Joerg, but RQ is definitely historically on the S side of the old NGS divide. (Consider how comparatively complicated combat is, for example, even compared to other BRP games - not a criticism, just an observation). The "clan connected based play" that RQG endorses (it's still fine for the old scenario based play - but that's no longer the focus) does make Farming in particular and occupational skills in general more important than it "used" to be, so the analysis of how Bless Crops can essentially subvert that does strike me as both interesting and valid.

I agree - gritty simulation with attention to details is where RQ comes from. But roleplaying in Sartar or Prax has become something of an ovarian wool lactation sow, with a target audience including players of and GMs for happy-go-lucky mercenary wanderers, farm-owning weekend heroes and epic movers and shakers with the same rules set.

I remember looking at White Wolf's World of Darkness character creation, and deciding to put all my available points that weren't required for character definition into background abilities that could only be acquired in that step of the game. The result were initally under-powered but well-equipped and -connected characters that may receive a little less spotlight initially but would be useful to the party at every second turn of events.

Skills like farming or craft or production skills that take a significant part of a season (including training others) are like such back-ground abilities. They rarely come into the dramatic scenes that make some of the visceral excitement of playing RuneQuest, but if you are going for a long run game without dancing to the whims of a sponsor like Duke Raus, you cannot do without such skills.

So, in the end this is a question of customer satisfaction, with both the designers of the game, the scenarios, and the GMs presenting them to their players being in the vendor situation. What are the expectations of the players as a group, and as individuals?

  • Why does the player whose character is keeping the group in food and equipment have to be penalized in the dramatic scenes?
  • Why does the player whose character takes all the risk in the dramatic scenes have to be penalized in those house-keeping issues?
  • How to find a good balance?

The question how much magic enters this is just an extension of that. Your Sword of Humakt will be hard put to provide assistance to the farming activities, or to provide income from crafting, but then she will pass on almost all of her income to her temple or quartermaster and expect to be kept in food and style by that organisation. Your earth cultist may be obsessed with these things, as they are both their opportunity to shine and hogging a good portion of their magical abilities.

So yes, Bless Crops is the farmer's Sword Trance. And worse, it has geometric growth - applying a few points for extra hides will change the rune point economy significantly. After a 100% skill increase, each further rune point replaces another holy person's efforts, making that character an economic powerhouse for the community. Doing so may be the temple duty, though, and those rune points are definitely not available for adventuring in that time. But then, maybe the character won't be available for adventuring in Sea and Earth Season, and one might encourage players of such characters to have a side character to use in such circumstances? Troupe play, anyone?

Same with Bless Animal, and diametrically opposed with Bless Pregnancy - blocking a significant amount of rune magic for the duration of that pregnancy.

But then, that's what the rules and narrative conventions have invented side-kicks and followers for. If you look at the RQ3 Vikings campaign, the small family had one brother specialized on farming, the other on herding, and both suffering from lacking the martial ability to withstand the greed of the larger family. This can become the motivation behind a campaign, if the players buy into that. If they don't, it can become the hindrance that prevents a campaign from taking off.

 

  

Just now, Brootse said:

What's NGS?

Narrative - Gamist - Simulationist (I think the Forge coined and loaded these terms)

 

Edited by Joerg
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32 minutes ago, soltakss said:

One thing that the rules don't have is values for other problems.

So, for example, there is no Harvest modifier for Disease, Drought, Flood and so on. I have a section on the Sacred Time economy in Secrets of Dorastor, so might add the following:

Event

Light

Moderate

Severe

Raid

-10%

-20%

-40%

Drought

-10%

-20%

-30%

Flood

-10%

-15%

-20%

Disease

-10%

-20%

-30%

Cattle Raiding

+10%

+10%

+10%

Rustling

+10%

+10%

+10%

The Cattle Raiding and Rustling Bonuses are when you do it to other Clans. When it happens to you, it counts as a Light Raid.

Disease can be mitigated by using Sunripen or sacrificing to Mallia, Floods and Droughts can be mitigated by using extensive irrigation, as the canals can be used to drain away floodwater more easily.

 

Haven't heard about the Secrets of Dorastor before, what's that?

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57 minutes ago, soltakss said:

No, the difference is that a good farmer with Bless Crops has, on average, a better yield so has a higher average Income, due to Specials and Criticals. But the major difference is between having a lower skill and failing fairly often or a higher skill and usually succeeding.

It's better, but it's not a lot better, and a few additional Rune points outweigh a lifetime's experience.

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50 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I think what's more important (and overlooked) is that all crops are given equal value.

And also that the quality of the land doesn't matter. (In a more advanced system, this would be how Bless Crops would work - it would increase the quality of your land for the year, enabling better harvests. Creating a multiplier for your income rather than a bonus to your roll.)  

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24 minutes ago, Brootse said:

What's NGS?

As Joerge points out above, I am indeed referring to the Narrative/Simulationist/Gamist divide (not that I necessarily ascribe to it, I was using it as a shorthand that I really shouldn't have assumed was obvious - my apologies).

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42 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

It's better, but it's not a lot better, and a few additional Rune points outweigh a lifetime's experience.

Yes - the same complaint as in the Yelmalio vs Humakt debate.

39 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

And also that the quality of the land doesn't matter. (In a more advanced system, this would be how Bless Crops would work - it would increase the quality of your land for the year, enabling better harvests. Creating a multiplier for your income rather than a bonus to your roll.)  

The quality of the land is sort of included in the definition of a hide. A sustainable hide can be plowed by one man and ox team in a season. A good hide can be plowed using the same resources in a few weeks.

With Heortling agricultural activities so spread out over different activities, a stead completely concentrating on agricultural activities may easily be able to feed two steads from a completely managed hide.

Work on apple orchards happens mainly in Storm Season (pruning of last years watery shots) and Earth Season (harvest), with the meantime allowing use of that land as pasture, or possibly for hay making.

Hay making is an often underestimated job, and one of the earliest harvesting activities in the agricultural year. As soon as the spring rains subside, you have the first chance to bring in hay as winter fodder, and by a happy chance you are just about done with spring plowing and sowing and not quite at the height of hacking away the weeds that compete with your crops. You can collect those weeds and feed them to your swine or milk beasts or fowl kept at the steadhouse, too, reserving more nearby pasture for hay-making.

If you are a herding farmer, the amount of hay you bring in decides about the herd size you can bring through the next winter. So even if your main wealth is under the control of the clan herders on the high pastures, possibly a days march or three from your stead, those of your household who remain at the stead will be busy bringing in the first hay harvests. It is perfectly possible that a good portion of a cottar tenant's rent with a workshop on your stead, or your stead plot in the clan town, may be paid with hay if your family are predominantly ranchers.

Tending legumes, or cash crops like flax (whether for linseed or for linen) or woad, also extends your time on the fields, if your farming activity spreads out widely.

In a situation where both the GM and (at least the majority of) the players are willing to invest time and gaming effort into these things, the economic simulation can satisfy all three of the NGS needs. You can send your players on a trading expedition or even a heroquest to obtain new or the best possible seeds, and receive a lasting bonus on your crop rolls.

You can make this a game of resource allocation - manpower, seedstock, loans, magic - and roll separately for each of your partial businesses, including any cottage industry going on on your stead, like e.g. fletchery, brewing, herbalism, dyeing, weaving, woodcarving, pottery, or performance art.

That way, you can also use the defining skills of your fellow stead members and have those contribute to the success of the household. Including your tenants, as (vaguely) proposed for the Thane of Apple Lane (which e.g. ignores hay making as a form of providing rent in addition to the apple harvest and cider processing, possibly requiring the services of a resident cooper or specialist potter).

Assign a portion of your assets, roll for the result and multiply it by the fraction of your assets invested (possibly extended by loans for that particular endeavour, whose terms will be deducted from the yield). Some activity will require access to communally owned facilities, like a baking house, or a communal kiln. Some will be resource-management (lumber rights, transporting lumber in from more distant sources, access to clay pits or minerals for glazing, access to nuggets of metal, access to charcoal, access to limestone for calcinated chalk which goes into mortar, paint jobs, or soil improvement, access to a quarry...)

Maybe something like this should be made available as a small stand-alone set-up for the Jonstown Compendium.

I suppose this needs to be a community project since most of us won't be that familiar with the day-to-day life and the economy of a neolithic or Bronze Age community, whether rural or urban. I know that I have overlooked plenty of activities that contribute to a steads income - basket weaving, flint-knapping (even in a metal-using culture), or all manner of urban or specialist services which may persuade a noble or community leader to keep a person on full or half retainer for those services. (Half retainer meaning that that individual would be expected run a farm, or at least what amounts to a tenant's farm, on the side of their speciality.)

 

Edited by Joerg
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56 minutes ago, Brootse said:

Haven't heard about the Secrets of Dorastor before, what's that?

A Jonstown Compenium supplement that I am near to finishing. It's partly a writeup of my Dorastor Campaign, but has a lot more material.

 

45 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

And also that the quality of the land doesn't matter.

Land quality, I should add that as well, as Riskland might have poor quality land.

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18 minutes ago, soltakss said:
1 hour ago, Brootse said:

Haven't heard about the Secrets of Dorastor before, what's that?

A Jonstown Compenium supplement that I am near to finishing. It's partly a writeup of my Dorastor Campaign, but has a lot more material.

I have attached the Table of Contents from a couple of weeks ago. It has changed slightly, but not by much.

TOC_Secrets_of_Dorastor_10052020.txt

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Maybe something like this should be made available as a small stand-alone set-up for the Jonstown Compendium.

I've been making some initial attempts at a more advanced stead-based economy for my campaign, but it's tricky, trickier still since it has to feel like proper RQ (rather than the highly abstracted HQ community system), and on top of everything there's some pretty advanced domain knowledge, both about farming and history, required.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Land quality, I should add that as well, as Riskland might have poor quality land.

In my campaign, I ruled that it's actually impressively fertile in general (in the Frog River Gorge, at least), but that there's a lot of weeding required to get rid of the various chaos-tainted mutants that keep cropping up and have to be burned.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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11 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

In my campaign, I ruled that it's actually impressively fertile in general (in the Frog River Gorge, at least), but that there's a lot of weeding required to get rid of the various chaos-tainted mutants that keep cropping up and have to be burned.

In Secrets of Dorastor, Arkat cursed Dorasta for helping Nysalor, so he salted the earth and made it barren. However, Pocharngo married Dorastor and taught her how to mutate plants to escape the curse, so Dorasta's crops are always changing. So, you get lots of different crops and a wheat plant might change to become something else and need weeding out. 

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