Letters wrote:Esgaroth probably doesn't have a mint. There's probably money brought by refugees or scavengers from Dale, or the dwarven realm or other places further afield. I doubt that there is any sort of standardised system of coinage made from precious metal. Here are two suggestions.
As a center of trade, I do like mixed currency.
* I could see doing this by mixing coins of a variety of origins into their mix, each with a different value, and letting it roll. This gets a little messy, but would function and also have a little fun.
* I can also see if we can variabilize coins. If we do this, you could have coins be common in some ways (the small, silver coin is always 20 cents) but have them randomize the appearance from a host of civilizations.
Converting everything to promisory notes with the gold in a Vault might seem risky with Smaug around. I'm sure he'd like if they tidied it all into a vault for him.
Letters wrote:Spears should be the weapon of choice, with perhaps a variety of other wood-hafted weaponry. Good weapons should be few and far between, and the very best of them would be imported, and probably tightly controlled by the town. Swords should be tremendously expensive. Helmets should be the only common form of metal armour, and the production of mail, while possible in the town, should be long and slow, and mail armour itself unaffordable for all but the stupendously wealthy or those sponsored by the town itself.
This seems sensible. With Erebor closed, metal is an expensive import.
This has always been an under-explored field. I don't have anything in particular to say other than to flag it up as an item of interest. Perhaps wear on tools as they're used would be a good thing to have, creating a genuine need for a toolmaker, and another sink for money and resources.
Wear on items
This is vital to ensure a constant cycling of old, worn-down objects out of the system, and new ones back in. Weapons should need to be discarded or reforged eventually. Cloth and leather that is damaged by some direct means should require patching, and even then, it should eventually be worn down to the point of needing to be replaced. Mail should be hard to damage, but once it is damaged, it will need the care of a skilled smith to repair.
It would be nice to see some crafts have a chance to cause damage to clothing. This would keep people wearing sensible work clothes when working, and even those might need replacing.
Fine clothing in particular should require special services to clean up properly. I don't know how feasible that is to implement, but it would certainly keep people wearing it in sensible places.
As mentioned above, it would be nice to see tools have a bigger part to play than just being some easily replaced item.
With the new code, this is possible for certain tools. We can make a particular tool to be a "Use_component" which has a certain number of uses to it. When those uses are up, the tool breaks and needs to be repaired. We can make that number of uses hidden or visible (as it is a numeric counter), or I can make it roughly discernible through an object prog that affects the LOOK command.
The other option is to have use actually damage the item. This wear-and-tear is now a standard feature of Weapons and Armor, as they take actual damage from use in addition to the people. Almost no other objects are impacted by this, though. Having coded damage apply to worn or used items in non-combat situations is likely a large code project. Damage on items needs to be repaired with "repair kit" items. This usually entails a portable item like a "leather polishing set" which can mend small damages to leather, or a larger shop-based toolset that requires proficient skill and can repair larger damages. (Those from ARPI are familiar with this model).
Letters wrote:If there are even shop-fronts at all, I'd rather see them as an opportunity for PC to PC sales.
How would you implement this?
Sales through RP are governed by playtimes, but already possible. They can be done by barter or by coin but are limited by playtimes and RPTs.
Shops as an intermediary (buy from one PC, sell to another) are possible, but offer fixed prices (affected by the Haggle command) and require coin for liquidity.
Auction House code can allow more direct PC-to-PC transaction with player-determined pricing, or auction-style demand-based pricing. It also requires coin for liquidity.
People can harvest raw materials. These people can only sell directly to other PCs, including merchants in particular.
People can make stuff. These people can sell directly to other PCs, and are also able to get a modest income from selling to vNPCs, by using a system akin to Harshlands', rather than the old vNPC sales system.
People can work jobs that don't involve making anything. They'll be paid directly by their employer, whether PC or NPC. A set of basic crafts to ensure that they have to do more than log in for twenty seconds once a week and type payday would prevent the style of abuse of this system which has occurred in the past.
Merchants can sell stuff directly to a select few NPCs. The demand for goods can be adjusted by staff at will. Merchants must source their goods from PCs.
The production of high quality goods in the town should be long and difficult. The very best stuff will need to come from outside, via PC merchants.
Letters wrote:The people who cannot gain vNPC income directly in that proposal are the gatherers of raw materials. Enabling such gatherers to sell their goods directly to NPCs and vNPCs in the past has created preposterous (it required that much emphasis) amounts of wealth, no matter how much it was tweaked and adjusted. I'd much rather see them be required to deal with crafters, or with merchants who handle exports, which can in turn be staff-regulated much more easily than sales for every PC in the game can.
So, we have a simpler setting for Alpha, as the Lumber Camp has a more finite economy. If it works in Alpha, we can expand it to multiple industries in Lake Town. Let me see if I can use Alpha as an example to summarize what you propose above.
Resources are gathered in the Mirkwood - this includes regular lumber, Ironwood lumber, meat, hides, plus forageable herbs/fruits/veggies.
- Resources are not easily converted to cash. The ability to get straight-up coin for gathered resources should have a low cap.
- Bulk resources of specific commodities are able to be traded to Merchant Caravans for export.
- To limit liquid coin, these bulk commodity trades will be done for a "voucher" or non-coin medium that allows barter for only other bulk-provision.
- All non-town goods are available only by import and can be gotten only in bulk-provision with a voucher.
- PC Merchants / Clan Lead types would handle brokering these bulk-commodity deals and would need to break up the imports for town-sale and use.
- Non-trade goods would be for town use. If they can't be converted easily to cash, they would fill demand, stockpile, and then begin to expire... overharvesting of resources is disincentivized by it going to waste (after they expended to get it).
- Resources are needed by crafters, who will engage in the PC-to-PC agreements to make use of stockpiles (creating natural demand levels).
- PC crafters need demand for their goods to keep this flowing. They could sell to NPC vendors who's purchase levels will be staff-tweaked. (PCs owning shops with their own random vNPC sales are deemed a bad thing.) They will sell to PCs according to PC-demand for their goods. They could bulk-trade to Merchants under the bulk-lot system if their goods are of high enough quality for export.
- We could create additional bulk-outlet (demand) of goods in the economy by allowing other uses besides NPC vendors and PC sales. Supporting vNPC farms results in more local output from them. Supporting vNPC militia could result in populated security nodes in the edge of the forest to defend against orcs.
- Service-based jobs valued by the town will be supported by staple incomes that require time (and/or timers) to acquire. The doctor can have craftable patients who pay him. The town guard patrols can have points they need to check in at to show they actually walked their beat.
Does that sound like a correct adaptation of your ideas?
Time and Timers
One design principle I'm keeping in mind is that we want people to spend online time doing their actual role. Crafters will not execute a lone craft and then go hang out at the pub. The use of progress-crafts is something we pioneered in the ARPI codebase that SOI will now use. This causes time to be spent starting the project, doing the correct amount of stitching, preparing the side-elements, then assembling the final product. If you're playing a clothier, it could take you 20 minutes to roleplay through making a swanky jacket in your shop. Therefore, other players can expect to find you working in your shop more often.
I've raised the idea of adopting the ARPI model of therefore also using craft timers on finished products for economic purposes rather than realism purposes. Basic goods that are quickly made are 2 hours. Ordinary goods 6 hours. Superior goods are 24 hours. But these timers go on the finished products - you have more options for prep-work and progression crafts to let you continue roleplaying actually doing your job in your shop while that timer goes. The timers serve to set an initial balance for the proliferation of high-end goods.
Thoughts on that?