Friday, August 22, 2014

ACKs Domain Stats: Gnollshead Hall

Back when the party was about level 4, they were instrumental in defeating an evil cult worshiping Doresain, the White Hand, King of Ghouls.  The cult was based in an old fort, and were using Ghuls, Wendigo, Perytons and gnolls to raid and enslave the local Ahten nomads.

The party attacked their fortress, cleaned out the upper levels, then retreated, called in military help from
from by Jay Javier
Goldenhills Hall, then defeated the gnolls and cultist-raised zombies in a battle, luring them into an ambush with the aid of Ahten allies.

The Ahten, for their part, were happy to accept aid from the Dwarves, and allowed the party to claim a chunk of land along the river, the site of an old gnoll camp.  Using their dwarf warriors as labor, they constructed a fortified trading post in a motte & bailey style.  Since that time, dwarf traders and settlers have moved into the area around the new fort, and the Ahten trade there regularly, eager to exchange their furs and meat for dwarven tools, metal goods and weapons.

Gnollshead Hall is currently a borderlands domain attached to the dwarven Kingdom of Goldenhills Hall.  Since the characters who established it are not high enough level to have a domain, it is being administered by a castellan appointed by Duke Arkask Redhammer.  When (if) one of the original party members (currently Hilbo Huggin - Fighter 6 and Korrum Kargonath - Cleric 6 remain), they will be able to take Gnollshead Hall over as their domain.  Otherwise, it will eventually be gifted to a dwarf noble.

Gnollshead Hall
The Ahten allowed the dwarves to claim 1 6-mile hex (32 square miles).  Any further land expansion will have to be negotiated with them, as it lies in a valley traditionally claimed by the Crow Clan of the Ahten.  The Crow are semi-nomadic, and allied to the dwarves, though.

There are 110 families (550 dwarves) living in the domain.

Current morale is +1.

Gnollshead Hall is a Class VI market.

It is in a borderlands area, and the revenue is 6 gp/family. The river valley where the fort is built flood occasionally, and has very fertile soil.  It is good growing land for crops and grazing for animals, which are highly sought-after by Goldenhills Hall.  There is also some gold panning in the river, and salmon runs in the fall.

Stronghold: Gnollshead Hall

Wooden drawbridge: 250 gp
400' wooden palisade: 500 gp
400' dry moat: 1600 gp
100' earth rampart 2500 gp
40' stone tower 22500 gp
2 stone buildings (one is buried in the berm) 6000 gp
2 wooden buildings 3000 gp

Stronghold Value: 36,350 gp

Garrison. The garrison is composed of Goldenhills Hall regular troops.  There are also 2 heavy ballistae mounted on the tower.
25 dwarven heavy infantry (battleaxe, shield, chainmail): 450 gp
25 dwarven crossbowmen (arbalest, dagger, chainmail): 525 gp

Settlement Revenue: 
Land: 6 gp/family. 660 gp/month
Services: 4 gp/family.  440 gp/month
Taxes: 2 gp/family.  220 gp/month
Total revenue:  1320 gp/month.

Settlement Expenses:
Garrison: Minimum 330 gp/month.  Current garrison value 975 gp (the difference paid by Goldenhills Hall)
Stronghold Upkeep: 182 gp/month
Taxes: 264 gp/month
Tithe: 132 gp/month
Festivals (110*5*4/12): 183 gp/month
Total expenses: 1091 gp/month.

Income:  229 gp/month.

Growth:  Base growth 15%
Rolled growth 3d10 (morale)
Rolled reduction 2d10.

Right now the party is negotiating to hire a number of hobgoblin mercenaries (with orc auxiliaries) to patrol the area north of Gnollshead Hall. They won't technically be part of the garrison, as the party are paying them separately.  We'll see how that turns out.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ACKs Domain Stats: Greatview Hall

Originally from a picture called City of Galastan.
Greatview Hall is an independent domain. It was once the center of a much more prosperous domain, but
has suffered greatly from several lost wars.

It currently takes up 1 6-mile hex (32 square miles) in claimed territory, but realistically claims very little land other than the Hall itself and the adjacent mines and farm caves.

Unlike many domains, Greatview Hall is currently only an urban settlement, which incorporates the stronghold (the Citadel) and all the population.

There are 180 families (approx 900 dwarves) living there.

Current morale is +2.

Normally, a town this size would have a Class VI market, but since the hall is very self-sufficient, and dwarves are very crafty, it has a Class V market.

It is in a wilderness area, and the revenue is 7 gp/family.  They mine gold, silver, iron, coal and gemstones in Mt. Yronfang, and farm cavern fungus in the caves below.  There is very little opportunity for outside trade at this point.

Greatview Hall was once part of a much more powerful domain, the Old Kingdom, and as result, it was heavily developed - more so than it's current population would expect.

Barbican (38,000)
200' 30' high stone walls (15,000)
200' battlement (1,000)
Square Keep (75,000)
40' high tower (30,000)

Total value: 159,000 gp

There has also been 100,000 gp in urban investment done.  Originally it was higher, but the city has sustained considerable damage from the recent battles, and deterioration from lack of upkeep.

Settlement Revenue: 7 gp/family, or 1260 gp/month

Settlement Expenses:
Garrison: 360 gp/month minimum (covered by followers)
Stronghold Upkeep: 795 gp/month
Urban Upkeep: 180 gp/month
Tithe: 126 gp/month
Festivals (180*5*4/12) 300 gp/month
Total expenses: 1401 gp/month.

Garrison. The garrison is composed of the followers of the old leader.  They have families and kin in the hall, so they remain.  If they required pay, they would have a garrison value of 1975 gp.
75 dwarven heavy infantry (battleaxe, shield, chainmail): 1350 gp
25 dwarven crossbowmen (arbalest, dagger, chainmail): 525 gp
10 dwarven scouts (arbalest, handaxe, studded leather): 100 gp

Currently, Greatview Hall is in a tough position.  The cost of upkeep for the Citadel, which was built for a much larger population, is making it hard to cover all the costs.   Cancelling festivals or not paying the tithe to support the Temple might be options, but it will have a negative effect on morale pretty quickly.

Moreover, since Greatview Hall does not currently have an agricultural area supporting it, food is a real problem.  If they can get the mushroom farms, market gardens and terraced farms around the hold up and running again, they can be self-sufficient, but that will take months of work - and the current supply of food is limited.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Further Thoughts on the 5E Economy

Should I just call it 5Economy?

In any event, after being called out on my math, I settled down to think about the world-building ramifications of the crafting rules a bit more.

The basic math leads me to some conclusions which - fortunately I think - replicate (in a rule-of-thumb, simplified for gaming way) the sort of conditions you'd expect in a faux-medieval economy.

1) Limited Supply

This is the really big takeaway.  If, as a craftsman, you have to pay 50% of the cost of an item upfront in materials (or even 25%, really) the item represents a loss to you personally until it sells.  The bigger the ticket item, the more you'd have to plowed into it.  A suit of plate mail represents 2 YEARS of living expenses for a tradesperson in materials...

Plate mail is a bad example here, because it is, by it's nature, a very limited-demand item, but even something like a longsword (15 gp) represents a lost week's wages (at 1 gp/day) until it sells.  So only a well-established blacksmith can keep much inventory - it costs too much.

It also means that local blacksmiths, who presumably make their money just "practicing the craft" and maintaining a modest income, don't get many opportunities to sell big-ticket items like this, so they are unlikely to have much stock.  Sure, they'll make it - but only if somebody wants it.

The upshot here is that it doesn't make much sense to be able to get expensive equipment in small towns or villages unless there is some other reason for it to be available.  Sure, you can get it made, but there won't be much/any lying around.

2) Pay up front and expect to wait.

If it costs a smith 50% of the finished good (or even 25%) to make something, they are gonna want a deposit.  Probably for the entire materials cost.  Unless you're a local and he knows where you live and whatnot.  Transient murderhobos get no credit.

If the smith is solo, divide the cost by 10 to figure out how many days it will take.  If he is part of a team, multiply the team by 10, then divide by that.  Minimum 1 day.

Example:  Longsword - 15 gp.  Cost you 7 gp up front (15/10) - wait a day and a half.

3-man team for Plate Mail - 1500 gp - cost you 750 gp up front (1500/30) - wait about 2 months (50 days)

This math would break down differently if things are less than a gold piece, I think.  But unless the total cost of all the items exceeds 10 gp - the answer is "one day".

3) Some parts need houseruling/handwaving.

Darts.  They cost 5 cp, or 1/20th of a gp.  If you can make 5 gp worth of materials/day, then you can make 100 darts a day.  Again, if you are paying 50% of the cost as materials, maybe you are just gluing the fins on and screwing on the pointy bit?  Still seems fast.

There is some weirdness in the sense that a gold dart would presumably take much longer to make than a normal one, that sort of thing can mostly be handwaved (or not really worried about)

4) Any smith can forge anything.

There is only one "smith tools" set/skill, so technically speaking any smith can forge any item.  The materials cost is clearly a limitation, but presumably not if you are putting down a deposit.  Realistically (or as much realism as possible in elfgames) you might want to require larger cities for smiths with the skills to make highly specialized/expensive items, like spyglasses or plate armor. Even swords (heck, especially swords) had very specialized skills associated with making them.

5) Scale up for Art Objects.

Time/cost is determined by end value. If you want to make a really beautiful, valuable item, just pick how much you want it to be worth (or ask the DM), pay the materials cost (meteoric steel is pricey) and get to forging.

Hopefully the DMG will have some magic-item creation rules, but until then, requiring that you start with a very valuable item is pretty common.

Obviously, PC's won't be looking at using crafting to make money, but a PC (or ex-PC) with some capital, contacts in the sword-swinging community and knowledge of blacksmithing has a pretty good retirement plan available.

So the house rules I'm going to start with on crafting are "Pay anywhere from 10% to 50% for materials" and "You can make an item a work of art by paying more in materials/crafting time".

That's all for smithing, although it looks like performance might need a look, too.

Friday, August 15, 2014

5E Dwarves "Downtime" Summary

Our 5E Dwarves campaign is set to restart shortly. When we left off, the party had reached the dwarven city of Greatview Hall, returned the undead dwarves of the High Guard to the Temple of Moradin Dawnbringer, and met with the Elder Council.

(I set up and played out a wargame scenario for the Siege of Greatview Hall with my friend Craig - he beat me like a rug, so that's the result we'll use. Craig is a wargame designer. Lucky, lucky you.)

Colored for wargame use.
Based on those results, here is what happened during the downtime:

Upon the return of the High Guard to the Temple of Moradin Dawnbringer, the undead warriors are returned to life by the blessing of Moradin, but cannot leave the temple grounds.

Following the warning from Stalagtite, you scramble into action. After a quick discussion, it is determined that fortifying the Temple of Moradin is the best course of action, as the High Guard can assist with the defense, and it is near the center of the city - making it convenient for getting all the civilians and troops together.

Moving as quickly as you can, you gather the civilians and militia troops in the upper city, leaving a small group of militia and the elders in the upper citadel (mostly on their insistence). Sending messengers to the army commanders, you also start moving the various dwarven units towards the Temple.

By acting quickly and decisively, you manage to gather most of the civilians, militia and military units in the Temple of Moradin and fortify the temple grounds with barricades and rubble walls, just as the Duergar assault troops begin smashing their way up from below.

Massive purple worms mounted by twisted, robes duergar sorcerers lead the assault, followed by squads of armored minotaur and troops of duergar warriors. The first group arrives in the lower city, trapping some of the dwarven militia, along with a number of workers from the Forge Quarter. The militia manage to throw off the first assault, and Hilbo, Hakoah and Wanderer lead a relief force, catching the duergar in a vice and smashing the troop.

A second and third assault group appear in the lower city, but on opposite sides of the Temple of Moradin. Both attach the fortifications, but are thrown back, one group is savaged so badly that the survivors flee back down the holes, and the second is crushed by a counter-attack.

The fourth and final assault group breaks into the upper citadel, slaughtering the defenders and elders. They also destroy a section of the upper city, but retreat back into the tunnels when they realize the other attach groups are defeated.

The final cost of the attack is 75 dead dwarves and much of the lower city and upper city seriously damaged. Over 300 duergar bodies, 50 mintotaur and 2 purple worms are dead in the field, one wounded worm escaped into the tunnels after it's handler was killed, and about 100 duergar in the last assault group escaped.

Wanderer's scouting into the tunnels reveals that in the lower halls the duergar army is preparing to retreat, It seems that about 1000 duergar remain, along with many minotaurs and a menagerie of frightful beasts. They also have many captives, including several hundred dwarves.

Hoping to free the slaves, you launch a raid on the slave camp, freeing most of the slaves and fending off the duergar forces that pursue you.

It is now 2 days after the assault. The rubble of the battle is still smoking, and supplies are low.

One of them had an iron collar on.
You have:

100 dwarven soldiers (The Cliffwatch Guard and the Dawnbreak Guard)
Led by Commander Gorin "Short-Fist" Rungnisson
50 Resurrected High Guard

High Priest Faragrim Silver-vein.

225 civilians - mostly elderly, children and the infirm.

350 militia - pretty much all the men and women who can swing an axe or sword.

200 freed slaves - 150 dwarves and 50 assorted races, including orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, a couple of drow, some duergar and an elf. The slaves are in pretty rough shape.

There are about 10 days worth of supplies (enough to feed 900 people) left in the city granaries and storehouses, you are out of medicines, although there are several priests with healing spells still alive.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The 5e Economy

In older versions of D&D, the economics were weird and often nonsensical.  Especially considering that PC’s do not inhabit the “normal” economic system.  They operate more like gold rush prospectors than shopkeepers.  High risk, occasional massive payout and long stretches of downtime.

And where do magic items (sale and purchase) fall into the economy?  3e just normalized it – you could buy/sell magic items, and were expected to.  4e ignored it, mostly.  You sell magic items for half their worth, buy them for full cost and just shut up and kill stuff.

And then there is crafting.  Where does it fall into the economy – it has to be less profitable to stay home and craft than to go on adventures – otherwise, who would go adventuring?

I think it should be useful/interesting to be able to do crafting.  Players like to have their characters build things, create things, to leave a mark on the world other than by killing.  Plus, as a DM, it’s nice to have an underlying economy that makes a bit of sense – that you can build off of in a consistent, interesting way.

I’m going to start digging into the 5e crafting economy, looking at its links to the larger economic structure implied by the lifestyle and hireling rules, and see if it all hangs together.

Hellz yah Ron Perlman
Case Study 1:  Blacksmithing.

Historically, Blacksmithing was a high-skill, high-prestige occupation.  Ideally, that will also be the case here.

According to the rules, it takes the average person 250 days to learn to use a Smith’s tools, and the cost is 1 gp per day to do so, assuming they can find a teacher.  The tools themselves cost 20 gp (I assume this is for a travelling blacksmith, rather than the cost of setting up a forge).

Based on the lifestyle expenses, this is a fairly expensive proposition – essentially it is the cost of a year of modest lifestyle, so a reasonably high barrier to entry, consistent with a high-skill occupation, and requiring an apprenticeship period.

Now, let’s assume that the blacksmith has the skills – the crafting rules state that they have to pay ½ the cost of the item in “raw materials”.  My initial thought is that this is too high a raw materials cost, but if we suppose it covers the overhead to set up and run the forge, or to use somebody else’s forge, it might be doable.

The example they use in the book is 3 people working on a suit of plate mail, so let’s look at the economics of that and see if crafting actually pays.

We’ll start with the numbers.  A suit of plate mail costs 1500 gp.  So it will cost 750 gp in raw materials.  Let’s assume that means all the leather, coal, metal, tools and facilities you need to build the suit of armor.  In practical terms, this means that only a well-established, experienced blacksmith could even attempt this – the materials cost is too high, unless you are being fronted by the client.  But let’s assume this is an experienced smith who has the resources to do this project.

The remaining 750 gp worth of labor needs to happen at 5 gp/day, or 150 days worth of labor.  Remember that the smith can maintain himself at Modest level (1gp/day) for that time period.  If he does it all himself and lives modestly, he makes 750 gp profit, plus the 150 gp in living expenses.

*Edit* I messed this up.  I assumed that the profit was all they got back - but it isn't - they recoup their initial investment as well.  So this part below is all wrong.

So here is a big problem – if he starts the same project over again, he’s back to 0 – making nothing but plate mail (or anything else, by extension) means he never makes profit.  He has to plow all his profits back into materials for the next set.  

Of course, he is paying for a modest living for himself, so that is something.
Now let’s assume he has 2 helpers.  The helpers also earn 1 gp/day while helping, and they cut the time down to 50 days of labor.  Great – 750 gp profit for 50 days of work, plus the "lifestyle income" of 150 gp.

If he has a family– let’s say 3 gp/day for a family of 4.  So it’s costing him 2 gp/day to work on this – if the kids are the helpers, then just the forge work pays for itself, and he's still making 750 gp in 50 days.  Which is pretty good.

So these rules work (sorta) for PC crafting, since I guess the raw materials (this is really just materials, not raw materials) cost assumes that the PC doesn't
want to do most of the work themselves, and has the scratch to pay for steel, chainmail, leather and soforth.

So blacksmithing – it’s a decent living, and it doesn't really seem to matter what you are building - the 5 gp/day structure ensures that you can make a pretty good living at it, assuming you start with the matching 5 gp for raw materials.

I would like to give it more flexibility though, so say that you can put in UP TO 50% in raw materials, with a 10% minimum.

Let's try that suit of plate again with these rules.

The blacksmith puts in 25% in raw materials cost - 375 gp.  He has to do 1125 gp worth of work, or 225 days of labor.  He has 2 helpers, who just get paid the 1 gp/day modest living salary.  That means 75 days of work for the three of them.  At the end of that time, they clear 1500 gp for the suit.  Takes longer, but the basic math is the same.

Of course, if I was being detailed, I'd modify the raw materials cost and final product cost based on material availability and technology levels in an area, but that's for another day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5E - Restarting the Campaign

Now that 5e has officially dropped, the Playtest group and I have decided to get back in the saddle.  The consensus was to restart the existing Dwarves campaign slightly after where we left off in the spring.

So players will be able to rebuild their characters with the current PHB rules or to make new characters that start at 6th level.  Most longer-term characters were 7th level (or about to hit 7th level).  One thing I noticed right away is that XP has changed a bit since the last playtest package - those characters that were level 7 are now level 6 again - albeit close to 6th.

I'll leave the comments open for the guys in the campaign to post on how they found the conversion process. What did you guys find?

Also, here are a couple of cool things we developed:

1) Courtesy of +Kasper Blomdell, the Changeling Race

Language: A Changeling speaks Common, and two additional languages of their choice. 
Ability Score Adjustment: +2 to Charisma and +1 to either Dexterity or Wisdom
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet

Darkvision: See in the dark within 60 feet, in black and white.

Slippery Minds: Changelings have advantage to saving throws against spells attempting to charm or put them to sleep.

Shapeshifting: A Changeling may take on the physical appearance of any small or medium sized humanoid, though this ability does not change their clothing or personal belongings. They may impersonate specific individuals, or adopts guises of their own creation. This ability may be used at will, and lasts as long as the Changeling desires or until they die. Using this ability takes an action.

Natural Deceivers: Changelings natural affinity for deceit grants them Advantage on all Deceptions rolls regarding disguise or impersonation.

2) Courtesy of me - stats for a Riding Ram

Mountain dwarves have long preferred the domesticated riding ram as a mount, both above and below the ground.  It's thick coat, agile hooves and tough nature make it a great fit for both the environment and the personality of the dwarves.

A Riding Ram is about 3 feet tall at the shoulder, with a thick, smelly, tangled coat and massive horns.  It's cloven hooves are capable of surprising agility.

Riding Ram
not sure of the artist.  Sorry.
Large beast, unaligned (chaos tendencies)
AC: 13 (Thick hair, dex +2)
HP: 21  (3d10+6)
Speed: 50 ft (short goat legs)
ST: +3  DX: +2  CN: +2 IN: -4  WS: -2  CH: -4
Senses - passive perception 8
Languages - Goat-y Love
Challenge 1/2 (100 xp)

Agile Hooves:  A riding ram can move over difficult terrain with no movement penalty.

Thick Coat:  A riding ram has advantage on all saves dealing with cold, and disadvantage on all saves dealing with heat. Shearing a riding ram is best left to professionals, but yields 5 gp worth of smelly wool.

Trampling Charge. If the ram moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a horns attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the ram can make another attack with its horns against it as a bonus action.

Horns. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.