Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Whole Damn Army: Taxation and Upkeep

So I saw the following in Dungeon World

A hovel
20 coins
A cottage
500 coins
A house
2,500 coins
A mansion
50,000 coins
A keep
75,000 coins
A castle
250,000 coins
A grand castle
1,000,000 coins
A month’s upkeep
1% of the cost

Given how much I've written about A Whole Damn Army there's probably enough there to make some assumptions about what kind of fees are charged by legitimate road authorities, and The King's Tax Collectors. A good baseline is that the highest ranking feudal figure in the settlement's home determines the monthly tax based on a value roughly twice the amount of a month's upkeep (so a city supporting "A Grand Castle" has up to 20,000 coins in its coffers.) 

This article suggests that a "An orc warchief’s tribute” is reasonably 1 point of Resources." and that each extra point of resources is an order of magnitude (roughly a factor of 10). That means the Grand Castle settlement is worth ~3 Resource, the Keep or Castle settlements are worth 2, and the Mansion at 1000 coins is worth 1 Resource.

Taxation and Population
If we assume the majority of a population lives in cottages, and half of the upkeep is taxation, that amounts to a tax of 3 coins per person.  This means "A Grand Castle" needs a supporting population around 7,000 (6,666 to be more specific), a Castle needs around 900 (call it a thousand), a Keep needs 250, and a mansion 200. So...

A Village is less than 200 people
A Town could reasonably be 200-500
A Keep is probably 500-1000
A City is 1-10,000, with the largest medieval city ever being no more than a million or so (It would take less than 50,000 to make "A dragon's mound of coins")

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Messy Tag and You

The rules for the Messy tag, wherever it occurs usually involves something like “it deals damage in a messy way”. Sometimes additional details are included like “it leaves a mess behind—cosmetic property damage, blood and gore, or other bodily produce, or some other kind of mess as appropriate.” There’s a story about the 16 HP dragon from Dungeon Worlds on the internet that suggests the Messy tag could mean dismemberment. Nevertheless, Dungeon Worlds doesn’t make it exceptionally easy to point out what dismemberment actually is or does. The short answer is "Did it happen? Yes. Then it happened." However, that’s massively unsatisfying.

Conditions are Temporary, Semi-Permanent, or Permanent effects that are derived from the unfolding fiction. When you get a Compromise or Failure, the GM may impose a Condition on you as a result of the fictional consequences of your action, or being a victim of the Messy tag, or a specific monster move.

Temporary Conditions usually end after a short period—within a few seconds, minutes or possibly an hour. Typically, Temporary conditions are inflicted by a move that requires the player to Avoid Danger or take the condition. An example would be throwing sand in someone’s eyes.
  • Blinded – You have lost your ability to see properly, possibly as a result of severe trauma. Take -2 ongoing to any actions where sight is a major factor (but doesn’t render the action impossible) until your blindness is treated, or until your normal vision returns.
  • Deafened – You have lost your ability to hear properly, possibly due to extremely loud noises or severe physical trauma. Take -2 ongoing to any actions where sound or vocalization is a major factor until your deafness is treated or hearing returns to normal on its own.
  • Surprised – You cannot act until GM takes a turn with any adversaries.
  • Terrorized – If you fail to Defy Danger vs. the Terrifying Monster Tag, you take -2 ongoing to actions other than fleeing, cowering or Defy Danger until you succeed at Defy. 
  • Knocked Out – If you have been hit by a blackjack or other incapacitating move, but have more than 0 HP, you may be knocked out (depends on Defy Danger with +CON). It takes ~10-Cool minutes of rest to recover Bruises.
Semi-Permanent Conditions could take several hours or possibly even several days to alleviate. In some instances, they may be temporarily treated or removed altogether with the use of medicine and drugs, however. Such a massive concussion from a Compromise that caused temporary blindness
  • Broken Limb – you take -2 to any tasks with the associated limb until it is set and placed in a cast, splint, or sling. After you've been in a cast for a week, roll +CON. On any hit, you take -1 on those same tasks. After the second week, roll +CON again, healing fully on any hit.
  • Exhausted – You are physically spent and your stamina can carry you no further. Get -2 to any actions where physical exertion is a factor until you regain your stamina through the Recover move.
  • Hobbled – Your movement and foot speed has been compromised and you can no longer run, possibly due to severe trauma. Get -2 to any actions where balance and speed are a factor until you take a Recover action.
  • Sick – You are ill. You get -2 to all actions until you Recover.
  • Starving – You are hungry and thirsty. You get -2 to all actions until your hunger is slaked and your thirst quenched. The rule of 3s states you get 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, or 3 minutes without air.
Permanent Conditions usually don’t go away, although some might be treated with surgery, and anything can be treated with Big Magic if it’s in the game.
  • Lost a Limb – If you fail to Avoid Danger vs. the Messy tag, you lost… something. Could be a limb, eye, equipment, etc. If you do lose a bit of yourself, surgery can restore severed fingers, or broken/crushed bones, or give you a prosthetic. You need magic to restore lost arms to function. You take -2 ongoing on related tasks until you get a prosthetic or the Repair spell. Prosthetics come with their own strengths and weaknesses though (might do a post on those, not sure yet).
  • Lost an Eye – When you lose an eye, you’re temporarily blinded from the shock of the thing, and have virtually zero depth perception when you recover. This gives you -2 ongoing on any ranged attack you make. Perhaps even -1 ongoing on a semi-permanent basis until you’ve had time to grow accustomed to the change in perception. In any case, the loss of an eye requires either magic or high tech to restore function, or an eyepatch or prosthetic eye to restore aesthetic.

Backstab: What I don't like about it and how I "fixed" it.

Let me just say it's not a bad move, but it has a few problems that don't really jive well with my idea of the fiction, and how I think thieves should work. Here's the default rule:
When you attack a surprised or defenseless enemy with a melee weapon, you can choose to deal your damage or roll+DEX. *On a 10+ choose two. *On a 7–9 choose one.
  • You don’t get into melee with them
  • You deal your damage+1d6 
  • You create an advantage, +1 forward to you or an ally acting on it
  • Reduce their armor by 1 until they repair it 
  • Use a bit of gear for another effect that fits within the fiction
What got me even thinking about it in the first place is a player asked me [sic] "would that provide any bonus? sneaking around attacking a creature from its opposite flank? or would it be just the same as running up and punching it in its smug face?" Initially, I couldn't really answer the question, or at least didn't answer it correctly.

I said no, DW doesn't do that per se, your situational bonuses are in moves. But then I read closer "you create an advantage, +1 forward (etc)." Alright, that's all well and good, but they rightly pointed out "surprised and defenseless". So it dawned on me that the onus is upon me to determine every time whether a foe is surprised and/or defenseless, and I thought the way to do that was Defy Danger. I didn't like that.

Next there was "you can choose to deal your damage or roll +Dex", then choose 1-2 options, one of which is damage with a bonus, and a couple others have nothing to do with hitting anyone. So I  removed the redundant option, and wrote the following "replacement" move for use in my games:


When you engage in tricky underhanded tactics, roll+Something*. *On a 10+ choose 3 different options. *On a 7-9 choose 2.
  • You don’t get into melee with them
  • You deal your damage+1d6
  • You create an advantage, +1 forward to you or an ally acting on it
  • Reduce their armor by 1 until they repair it(edited)
*Depends on how you describe the tactics.

It removes the need for me as a GM to define if the opponent is surprised (that can be an assumption behind "tricky underhanded tactics", but it doesn't have to be) and make the player roll Defy Danger. It doesn't force the player to strike immediately, and allows them to represent flanking or planning as appropriate with +1 forward. And finally, I prefer "choose 3/choose 2" over "choose 2/choose 1"

Is it broken? Probably, but I thought Backstab was broken in the other way (in being too narrowly defined).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Whole Damn Army Example: The Hellfire Imperium

Taking in the rules expressed in this, that, and the other entry, my Into the Heart of the Dragon game features a nation-state called the Hellfire Imperium, and I can stat out the nation-state's Capital City, called Dis. Dis is responsible for the creation of A Whole Damn Army of Imps. We start with the base stats of Dis.
  • Dis is a City
By default a city is Moderate, Steady, Guard, Market, and Guild (Iniquities). It also has Oaths with at least two other steadings (Abaddon, Sheol), usually a town and a keep. If the city has trade with at least one steading and fealty from at least one steading choose one (as a capital city, it does):
  • The city has permanent defenses, like walls: +Defenses, Oath (Ikisat)
The city has one problem
  • supernatural defenses: +Defenses, Blight (Is a literal Hell on Earth)
These upgrade Dis' Defenses to Battalion, thus the city has a force with these stats on hand:

A Whole Damn Battalion                                                       Horde, Huge, Organized, Intelligent,
Tridents and Fireballs (b[2d6+7] damage 1 piercing)                                                    24 HP 7 Armor
Reach, Forceful, Near, Far
Special Qualities: A Metric Shitload of demons!
  • Shatter Their Morale! (any)
  • Loose! (Archers)
  • Hold the Lines! (Pikes)
Because they are practically Hell on Earth, in addition to these base defenses, they can conscript enough Lost Souls to also field the following army (who are not inexperienced, even though they are conscripted from the general population).

All the Damned Souls                                                               Horde, Huge, Cautious, Intelligent,
Wall of Woes (w[2d6] damage* and heal the same amount)                                         32 HP 7 Armor
Reach, Forceful, Near, Far
Special Qualities: A Metric Shitload of souls!,
  • Surround them! (Infantry)
  • Their souls are forfeit!
*These souls are loathe to cause any more harm than they may already have for fear they will be further punished, yet they are still willing due to their inability to escape said punishment.

If they have several days notice of an attack, they can call for another Whole Damn Army from the combined resources of Abaddon and Sheol--which would have +5 HP and an extra move--and some Dragon Riders from Ikisat.

At Moderate Prosperity with a 32 HP citizenry earning the Wages of Sin, they have coffers no larger than 250,000,000 (6 points)

At 24 HP, the Battalion has roughly 2,500,000 worth of military supplies.(4 points)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Spout Lore: The Steel King

The Steel King was once a mortal gone to the mountain of the gods to become a disciple of the dwarven god of smithing, Navanor Truestone. Around this time, the god's daughter Inebra Truestone was but a godling. The mortal attempted to woo her while under her father's tutelage, and when the father found out, the mortal was cast to the fiery underworld. The citizens of Towmyen think this has something to do with why the Blasted Wasteland is so large.