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Akhôrahil

Conclusions from RuneQuest math on social circumstances

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There are a number of interesting social conclusions you can draw from tables and math in the game.

1. Child mortality before age 15 is 54% under Free Living conditions. This seems fairly reasonable. It's 96% under Poor living conditions, which seems extreme. Even if you received a mere -5% to child survival from Poor living condition, child mortality would be 80%, which seems high. Children of Nobles are immortal. (Calculated from living standards text and child survival table.)

2. Women of Noble status and childbearing age bear 0.85 live children per year (who are then immortal as per the above). 47% (!!) of their children have a twin. (This rises to 1.25 and 57% for petty queens.) (Calculated from living standards text and childbirth table.)

3. A Free woman bears 0.55 living children per year. The combination of childbirths and child mortality means that demographic replacement rate is reached in 8 years of sexual activity, after 4.4 live childbirths. A Noble woman exceeds replacement rate in three years. This holds true even if the woman had only a single sexual encounter during that year. Poor women never achieve demographic replacement rate. This means that Heortling society must be systematically socially downwardly mobile, as people in Poor living conditions must be replaced from the higher social classes, which are in turn excessively fertile.

4. The GDP of a typical Heortling clan is 16000L/year. Public sector expenditure is 28% of GDP. GDP per household is 74L, per capita about 16L (assuming 1000 clan members). Assuming no stickpickers or thralls, the post-tax Gini coefficient of income equality in the clan, calculated on a household level, is an egalitarian 0.26. (Calculated from sample temple on p 406.)

5. Typical Return on Investment (assuming no extraordinary events) is 16% pre-tax, 12% post-tax. This drops to half if a non-family member has to be hired to perform the work (which results in a really reasonable 6% RoI post-tax when you have to hire workers). However, sheep have a better RoI than cows or land, at 26%/21% , as a flock of 100 sheep (300L) is as productive as a herd of 20 cows (500L) or a hide of land (also 500L). (Calculated from the value and income of cows, sheep, and land). A sheep probably should cost 5L, but until then, there's a great business opportunity here. EDIT: Did the numbers wrong on cows, see below. Sheep > Cows > Land when it comes to RoI.

6. People need 88% in their professional skill (like Farm) in order to actually receive their expected income from their occupation. (Calculated from the income success outcomes on p. 422.) EDIT: Had to recalculate this with the correct rounding - it's actually 78%, which actually seems reasonable.

7. I didn't do the math, because it gets complex, but you could calculate (or better, simulate) the expected lifetime until natural death from the aging rules on page 425.

 

Edited by Akhôrahil
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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

20 cows is 400L (20L per cow)

Good catch, this is correct.

Also, weird - didn't the wergild of a Carl always used to be 20 cows? Now it's 25.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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By the way , this isn't a criticism - note that apart from some child-related numbers for the richer and poorer segments of society, this math works out impressively well!

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#6 is the big problem that I’ve been struggling with. The system assumes 50% to be competent and experienced. That should be the point at which the economy works. 

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2 minutes ago, Thyrwyn said:

#6 is the big problem that I’ve been struggling with. The system assumes 50% to be competent and experienced. That should be the point at which the economy works. 

What does it say specifically about the 50% level?  That strikes me as not actually very competent...

Also, think of it this way:  if you re-did the character generation process to take out all the heroic adventuring&combat backgrounds, and added a bunch of "Gain 5% Farming" or "Gain 5% Shepherd" StayAtHome skills in place of "Adventurer" skills, you'd end up with professional farmers & shepherds with apex-skills near (& often above) that target 88%.

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Just now, g33k said:

What does it say specifically about the 50% level?  That strikes me as not actually very competent...

Also, think of it this way:  if you re-did the character generation process to take out all the heroic adventuring&combat backgrounds, and added a bunch of "Gain 5% Farming" or "Gain 5% Shepherd" StayAtHome skills in place of "Adventurer" skills, you'd end up with professional farmers & shepherds with apex-skills near (& often above) that target 88%.

You can (supposedly) make a living at 50%, but I'm okay with it not being a very good living. 

At something like 75% though, I would expect some pretty decent competence, but you're still not making the expected income at that point.

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10 hours ago, Thyrwyn said:

#6 is the big problem that I’ve been struggling with. The system assumes 50% to be competent and experienced. That should be the point at which the economy works. 

From my point of view, the game designers arbitrarily considered that 50% was competent and experienced, but the game mechanics say otherwise. :D

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6 minutes ago, Mugen said:

From my point of view, the game designers arbitrarily considered that 50% was competent and experienced, but the game mechanics say otherwise. :D

Math doesn't lie!

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8 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

You've clearly not met the Eurmali equation... 

Take half a page of complicated calculations, multiply by zero, add 100% - voila, your chance for catastrophic interference.

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16 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Take half a page of complicated calculations, multiply by zero, add 100% - voila, your chance for catastrophic interference.

Have we taken a trans-dimensional thread warp to Minimum Skill Chances, p'raps? That formulae looks like it belongs there. 

Hmm...

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On 6/27/2019 at 4:50 PM, Akhôrahil said:

There are a number of interesting social conclusions you can draw from tables and math in the game.

6. People need 88% in their professional skill (like Farm) in order to actually receive their expected income from their occupation. (Calculated from the income success outcomes on p. 422.)

I did the math on this, and got 73%.

x=skill/100
income after taxes=80%=0.8
chance for a critical success=x/20
income multiplier for a critical success=2
chance for a special success=x/5-x/20
income multiplier for a special success=1.5
chance for a normal success=x-x/5
income multiplier for a normal success=1
chance for a failure=(1-x)-((1-x)/20)
income multiplier for failure=0.5
chance for a fumble=(1-x)/20
income multiplier for fumble=-0.5
base income=80L
free standard of living=60L

(0.8( (x/20) * 2  +  (x/5 - x/20) * 1.5  +  (x - x/5) * 1  +  ((1 - x) - (1 - x)/20) * 0.5)  +  (1-x)/20 * (-0.5)) * 80L ≥  60L

(you can copy paste that on https://www.wolframalpha.com)

But since RQ rounds up criticals and specials and rounds down fumbles, the needed skill is slightly lower. And you are as likely to get good and bad omens, so they cancel each other. The harvest results give you on average a -0.75% to your skill, but since on average the previous year's harvest results give some small bonus, they likely cancel each other.

So to get the expected living you need to be an upper level Professional:

Professional (51–75%): At this rating, the adventurer can make a living using the skill.

If you want to houserule that lower level professionals should also on average earn their expected living standard, you could make eg. the normal success have 1.2 income multiplier, and the failure have 0.6 income multiplier. Then you'd earn free living standard with a skill of 54%.

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Ah, but I wasn't talking about managing to achieve your standard of living (60 L), but your expected post-tax income (64 L).

Edit: I re-did the math and made sure to get the rounding right this time, and you need 78% in order to hit your expected income. This is a bit more reasonable, and you can probably expect an experienced workman to have something like 75% in the main skill.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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There's an argument to be made for giving regular skill check bonuses when there is little pressure. It's not necessarily obvious how the game designers thought of it, but since a bunch of skills are meant to be used "in action" (i.e. you have minimum time, there's stuff happening, etc.), I usually assume all skill levels are, without modifiers, your level for doing things also "in action". So when a character is doing their daily grind at the day job, unless there are specific circumstances, I would give a +20% to +30% on a roll.

Edited by lordabdul
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Of course if you want an in-game explanation why pcs need such high skills to support their household, it's because they experiment more and therefore gain more experience checks, and because they are murder-hoboing around the countryside too.

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17 hours ago, lordabdul said:

There's an argument to be made for giving regular skill check bonuses when there is little pressure. It's not necessarily obvious how the game designers thought of it, but since a bunch of skills are meant to be used "in action" (i.e. you have minimum time, there's stuff happening, etc.), I usually assume all skill levels are, without modifiers, your level for doing things also "in action". So when a character is doing their daily grind at the day job, unless there are specific circumstances, I would give a +20% to +30% on a roll.

There was a rule for this in MRQ 1 and 2.

Another solution would be to consider that, on average, a character needs 1/p rolls to get a success, where p is the probability to get a success.

So, with skill 75, you need 1/.75 (or 100/75) = 1.33 times the base time for an action.

Of course, that formula doesn't work for skills > 100%, unless you want to consider Specials and Criticals change execution time and don't want to deal with a much more complex equation...

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So I think poor is sappose to be a temporary situation that most characters will find them selves in.  If they are poor due to lack of lands then the clan is sappose to expand and wage war on neighbors for an award of land and herd for service to country.  Now the main remover of the number of children that nobles have is a probably a combination of contriceptive spirit magic, and violence. Most Nobles after the hier and spare are expected to be warriors of some sort. Even the hier and spare are expectedto maintain skill of arms.

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6 hours ago, Videopete said:

So I think poor is sappose to be a temporary situation that most characters will find them selves in.  If they are poor due to lack of lands then the clan is sappose to expand and wage war on neighbors for an award of land and herd for service to country.  Now the main remover of the number of children that nobles have is a probably a combination of contriceptive spirit magic, and violence. Most Nobles after the hier and spare are expected to be warriors of some sort. Even the hier and spare are expectedto maintain skill of arms.

For PCs in a standard campaign, yes - even if you're a hunter or something, you can probably expect more loot from adventuring than you need for an improved standard of living. 

However, most Poor people who are not PCs are stuck there. It's not lack of clan lands that force people to be cottars, but that taking half the produce is how nobles are maintained. The entire nobility structure requires Non-Free men and women.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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31 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

The entire nobility structure requires Non-Free men and women.

That's Sun Domer talk.

Orlanthi carls plough like other men, Kolati seza snare rabbits and fish and take some offerings, redsmiths trade work for grain and training new redsmiths, White Ladies keep herds, and Issaries peeps keep the trade running for luxuries. Most Orlanthi (Ernaldi, properly) are working-folk, even the kings. 

The Lunar Kingdom of Sartar and the city-state of Esrola is where we see conflicts between clan and city-state. There's a real conflict between urban and non-urban because of hierarchy; I have a real strong feeling about the actual Orlanthiness of urban Orlanthi.

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56 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Orlanthi carls plough like other men

Carls do. Thanes frequently don't, but rely on cottars to work their (extensive) lands.

See p. 406.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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15 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Orlanthi carls plough like other men

From what I remember of King of Dragon Pass, I don't think carls are "nobility" in the sense Akhorahil means. Nobility would be more thanes, Rune Masters/devotees, etc. And redsmiths and free farmers have the same base income, 80L, on the occupation entries (pages 65-66). Tenant farmers only get 40L; I believe this is the carl/cottar distinction.

@Akhôrahil did your analysis look at those entries, by any chance? Now that I've glanced back to them, it's not automatically clear to me where the other 16L of a hide's 64L is coming from for a free farmer. I'd presume herds of pigs or an herb garden or something near the home, generating "effective income" more than actual coins.

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29 minutes ago, Crel said:

From what I remember of King of Dragon Pass, I don't think carls are "nobility" in the sense Akhorahil means. Nobility would be more thanes, Rune Masters/devotees, etc. And redsmiths and free farmers have the same base income, 80L, on the occupation entries (pages 65-66). Tenant farmers only get 40L; I believe this is the carl/cottar distinction.

@Akhôrahil did your analysis look at those entries, by any chance? Now that I've glanced back to them, it's not automatically clear to me where the other 16L of a hide's 64L is coming from for a free farmer. I'd presume herds of pigs or an herb garden or something near the home, generating "effective income" more than actual coins.

The hide produces 80L (this supposedly includes minor side-activities like some animals, a garden, and so on), 16L goes to taxes, standard of living is 60L, surplus (in this idealized case) is 4L. For Cottars, it's 80L for the hide of land, landlord gets half, tax of 20% on the remainder = 32L, standard of living 15L, surplus 17L, which is a lot but supposedly this is frequently either saved in the hope of betterment or spent for minor standard of living increases.

The example in the rulebook does not include Carl-level professionals. The reasonable way to think about this is probably that not all (just most) of the 60L standard of living is food. By exchanging food for other items included in the standard of living, a small section of non-Provider Carl-level professionals can be maintained.  

By the way, side-activities like gardens and a few sheep are what I see as the reason why the entire household is maintained at the same cost as one person - more hands can always be put to work on a farm, albeit with diminishing returns. 

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By the way, I find it intriguing that only farmers are taxed at 20%. Yes, a herder or hunter or hunter or fisher will usually have to pay 10% as Initiates, but this is still a smaller percentage (also, if you have a less common god, cult tithes may not go to the clan at all but to the tribal temple). Does the clan really receive no income from non-farmer lay members?

Example: Let's say you're a wealthy herder who owns your own herd (rather than herding for others, which is what I believe the Herder profession assumes - owning your own herd compared to herding someone else's is the same difference as working your own land or someone else's (you're a rancher rather than a cowboy)). Your 100 sheep or 20 cows produce 80L per year, but you get away with 10% tithing as an initiate. This gives you a 12L surplus after standard of living costs at Free level, three times as much as the Farmer. 

(In the campaign I'm starting, there are two Herders, so I've been thinking about this quite a bit. Any ambitious Herder should be looking to own his or her own flock, dramatically increasing income.)

((Also, been trying to understand what happens when a number of PCs with different jobs and different levels of income live in the same great-family household, because that's a mathematical headache which the game doesn't handle.)) 

Edited by Akhôrahil

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55 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

The hide produces 80L (this supposedly includes minor side-activities like some animals, a garden, and so on), 16L goes to taxes, standard of living is 60L, surplus (in this idealized case) is 4L. For Cottars, it's 80L for the hide of land, landlord gets half, tax of 20% on the remainder = 32L, standard of living 15L, surplus 17L, which is a lot but supposedly this is frequently either saved in the hope of betterment or spent for minor standard of living increases.

The example in the rulebook does not include Carl-level professionals. The reasonable way to think about this is probably that not all (just most) of the 60L standard of living is food. By exchanging food for other items included in the standard of living, a small section of non-Provider Carl-level professionals can be maintained.  

By the way, side-activities like gardens and a few sheep are what I see as the reason why the entire household is maintained at the same cost as one person - more hands can always be put to work on a farm, albeit with diminishing returns. 

The aftermath of the Apple Lane scenario in the RQG Adventure Book gives something like game data for managing a bunch of tenants. Has anybody taken these through a Sacred Season economy yet?

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