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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Ideas for a settlement building system

    I got an idea for a campaign set in a region that is being settled by newly arrived foreigners, in which the players can build their own base or become the protectors of one of the many small new settlements.

    The role of the PCs is to be explorers, defenders, and leaders for their base. The system I want to create is meant to leave all the accounting of funds and keeping stock of resources out of the rules and in the capable hands of an NPC. Instead, the system is based on the following components:

    Danger: The system uses a hex map for the area. By default, each hex has a danger level of [wild]. A hex that has a monster lair or a base of a hostile group in it is [hostile]. A hex that has no enemy lairs and a watchtower manned by the party's settlers is [secured].
    Resources: In this system, resources does not refer to building materials, but rather on locations that can provide these. All forest hexes have [lumber] as a resource, but some can also have [coal], [iron], [copper], [tin], [stone], [clay] and [silver] (and maybe more I have not thought of yet).
    Worksites: To actually make a resource available to the base, the hex needs to first be [secured] and then a worksite needs to be build in it. Worksites that produce goods instead of extracting resources can be build in the base.
    Labor: To build a watchtower in a [wild] hex, and to construct a worksite in a [secured] hex, the players have to send their settlers to do the work. By default, constructions require [1 labor]. Labor is only for building new constructions. Once a structure is completed it will have its own full time workers.
    Seasons: By default, the settlers of the players' base can provide [1 labor] in spring and fall, [2 labor] in summer, and no labor in winter.

    All buildings require [labor] and [resources] to be build, and many also require a permanent [supply] of material to be active. For example, the players want to add a potter to their settlement, which costs [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct. The construction will take an entire season, during which it will use up all the labor their small settlement can provide, and all the lumber that comes from one logging camp. This system ignores stockpiling of construction materials. If you have a labor camp and don't construct anything in a season, all the lumber it could provide simply goes to waste.
    Once the potter is completed, it will consume all the [clay] that comes from one clay pit. It does not require any [labor] once it is complete, but if the clay pit somehow sends its clay to a different worksite or is taken out of order, the settlement can't get any benefit from the potter.

    Also very important is what the settlement does not have:
    No Workers: Unless some special events cuts off the players' settlement, it's assumed that there's always a stream of new settlers arriving to fill required positions. Similarly, they will leave for other settlements if the players' base shrinks.
    No Farms: Given the context of the campaign, most settlers are assume to be subsistence farmers. The players don't have to worry about the food supply in normal times. (Of course, the are not normal times as well.)
    No Food: Since the amount of farms and farmers is handwaved, the exact amount of food that the settlement provides and consumed is not specified. It only comes up when there's a shortage.

    The Resources
    Lumber: Provided by a [logging camp].
    Stone: "Stone" is provided by a [quarry] or a [clay pit].
    Coal: Provided by a [coal mine] or a [charcoal maker].
    Iron: Provided by an [iron mine].
    Silver: Provided in a [silver mine], completely interchangeable with gold.
    Surplus: Everything that is produced from resources is gathered in the category of surplus.

    Defenses
    Watchtower: Turns one [wild] hex into a [secured] hex. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Fort: Like a watchtower, but less likely to get taken by enemies. Requires [2 labor], [1 lumber], and [1 stone] to construct.
    Palisade: Protects the settlement against attacks. Requires [2 labor] and [2 lumber] to construct.
    Walls: Better protection than a palisade: Requires [8 labor] and [8 stone] to construct.

    Resources Sites
    Logging camp: Provides [1 lumber] every season. Requires [1 labor] to construct.
    Clay pit: Each season it can provide either [1 clay] or [1 stone]. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Quarry: Provides [1 stone] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Coal mine: Provides [1 coal] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Charcoal maker: Provides [1 coal] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Iron mine: Provides [1 iron] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Silver mine: Provides [1 surplus] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.

    Production Sites
    Fishing boats: Provides [1 surplus] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Mill: Provides [1 surplus] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Potter: Turns [1 clay] into [1 surplus] every season. Requires [1 labor] and [1 lumber] to construct.
    Smith: Turns [1 iron] and [1 coal] into [2 surplus] every season. Requires [1 labor], [1 lumber], and [1 stone] to construct.
    Grain store: Turns [1 surplus] into [1 labor] every season.
    Trade post: Turns [1 surplus] into money for the PCs.

    This is what I got so far. The goal is to have a system to track the progress the players make and provide some structure to have a somewhat plausible economy. It's not meant to be a minigame in itself. The bulk of the campaign is intended to be about discovering new resources in the wilderness and securing them for use for the settlers.

    I'm personally not sure if this is maybe too vague or too complex for my purpose, even at this early half-finished stage. So I though I just put it here to see if anyone has any thoughts on this.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Ideas for a settlement building system

    I'd lean towards Labor not being a construction cost, but an ongoing investment, with a recurring Food requirement. Some of your resources will be expenditures (i.e. spending Lumber to make something), but Labor will have to be paid for and allocated. This represents that, even though you have to spend some resources to build a quarry, you're going to still have to build the infrastructure to feed the quarry workers. Can't afford the Food investment? People leave to find work elsewhere. If you need to ramp up your Food production, you can move some Labor from a quarry to a farm, which will be people leaving the stone business, more farmers moving in, or someone retiring to a farm.

    So, for example, 1 Labor requires 1 Food per Turn. A Quarry will provide 1-3 Stone per Turn in exchange for the same amount of Labor. A farm will provide 3 Food per turn, but will require 1 Labor to do so. So, if all you have is 3 Labor, you can have 1 Labor run the Farm, providing Food for 2 Labor to Quarry. Resource costs are still initial investments... your Quarry requires 1 Lumber to construct, but requires 1 Labor as an ongoing investment. Maybe if you want to improve your Quarry, so it CAN produce extra, you have to devote another Labor to it, and spend another Lumber.

    Now, you also mention Surplus. Surplus can be turned, temporarily, into Labor, resources, or Cash. So, if I have 3 Surplus, I might turn it into 3 Labor for next Turn (i.e. I can pay workers for a while), or 3 Food (we buy Food from a nearby Safe hex, which is one step above Secured).
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2021-02-26 at 11:35 AM.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ideas for a settlement building system

    When I find myself reaching for a spreadsheet almost immediately it brings equal parts joy and despair. I love systems with multiple whirring parts and jigsaw pieces to fit together in treasonous ways that defy the intent of their creator. However I understand all too well how dangerous such systems are for consuming table time.

    Luckily for you this system appears to be very straightforward and can be approached like an RTS tech tree. Yes, that means there will be a build order for your players to figure out. You should be intimately familiar with the optimal build order and the compromises a few steps down as this will drive the majority of player decisions for your outlined campaign (assuming the players truly care about the resources).

    The biggest question I donít see addressed is what methods the players have for increasing their labor supply. Without a doubt players will strive to obtain more labor if possible. RTS games show us how such feedback loops pump out workers. If the players have no control over increasing labor and are stuck at the baseline it all depends on how frequently setbacks occur for watchtowers vs forts.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Ideas for a settlement building system

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    The biggest question I donít see addressed is what methods the players have for increasing their labor supply. Without a doubt players will strive to obtain more labor if possible. RTS games show us how such feedback loops pump out workers. If the players have no control over increasing labor and are stuck at the baseline it all depends on how frequently setbacks occur for watchtowers vs forts.
    With my modification, increasing Labor supply comes down to increasing Food... you can have as much Labor as you have consistent Food for.

    So, let's say that I have 6 Food (2 farms) and 4 Labor (2 on Farms, 1 on Lumber, 1 on Watchtower, 1 stone). My resources are 1 Lumber, 1 Stone. If, on turn 2, I want to increase my Labor pool, I can increase it up to 6 (my available Food). On turn 2, I build a Farm (1 Labor, 1 Lumber), and a Mill (which I'm going to pretend costs Stone), so at the end of turn 2, I have 9 Food, 6 Labor, 1 Lumber (1 from Turn 1 + 1 from Turn 2, -1 from building a Farm), 1 Stone (1 from Turn 1 + 1 from Turn 2, -1 from building a Farm), and 1 Surplus (from the Mill).

    This would make my turn order something like this:
    A) Acquire Labor using Surplus (Labor from Surplus is short-term, unless Food is increased). Acquire Resources by spending Surplus.
    B) Allocate Labor to Resource Sites and Security (i.e. Watchtowers)
    C) Use Resources and allocate Labor to create Defense, Resource, and Production Sites.
    D) Gather Resources and Food
    E) Allocate Food to Labor; excess goes to Surplus at a rate of 1 Food for the first Surplus, and 2 Food for each extra Surplus (so, at 3 extra Food, you get 2 Surplus). Excess resources can be banked or converted at the same rate, but buying Surplus for Resources is cumulative (so, if you have 2 Lumber, 2 Coal, and 2 Stone, you can get 3 Surplus and have 1 Lumber, Coal, or Stone, because 2+2+2 = 6 and 3 Surplus costs 5 total resources)

    So, in creating a settlement, you first clear a hex.
    A) You must have sufficient Surplus (i.e. ready cash) to hire some Labor and Resources... usually enough to produce 2 Labor and 2 Lumber (a watchtower and a farm).
    B) 1 Labor to Farm, 1 Labor to Security
    C) Your Labor and Lumber are spent to build a Watchtower and a Farm.
    D) Gather 3 Food.
    E) 2 Food goes to existing Labor, 1 becomes Surplus

    Round 2:
    A) With 1 Surplus, you can either pick up some new Labor, or buy a Resource. I'd turn the Surplus into Lumber.
    B) 1 Labor to Farm, 1 Labor to Security
    C) This turn, you spend nothing; you don't have enough Labor to allocate.
    D) Gather 3 Food.
    E) Allocate 2 Food to your Labor. 1 Food becomes Surplus

    Round 3:
    A) 1 Surplus becomes 1 Labor.
    B) 2 Labor to Farms, 1 to Security
    C) Labor + Lumber becomes a new Farm.
    D) Gather 6 food.
    E) 3 Food goes to existing Labor. 3 Food becomes 2 Surplus.

    Round 4:
    A) 2 Surplus becomes 1 Labor, 1 Lumber
    B) 3 Labor to Farms, 1 to Security
    C) Labor + Lumber becomes Farm
    D) Gather 9 Food
    E) 4 Food goes to Labor. 5 Food becomes 3 Surplus

    As you Secure additional Hexes, you'll want to share resources, obviously... but you can't share Resources, only Surplus. So, if Hex A produces 3 excess Lumber a turn, it cannot give 3 Lumber to Hex B... it can give 2 Surplus from selling 3 Lumber to Hex B, however; this helps to account for costs in shipping.

    Now, obviously, you can keep building farms and trying to ratchet up your Surplus that way... each additional farm is going to become 1 Surplus. But, in setting up the system, you make the Security to Labor ratio matter... too much Labor without enough Security and you start having problems, as you become an attractive target (I'd lean towards keeping Labor:Security ratio at 4:1). Events and Raids might deplete Surplus or destroy Resource Sites... or even destroy Labor. So, to keep ahead of the game, you have to build more Watchtowers, or upgrade to Forts, Pallisades, and Walls. Which will deplete your Surplus, which makes it more attractive to build Resource extraction. Each hex will also be able to support only so much Labor, and only so much of various types of Resource Sites.

    You might build the system to allow for improvements... improve a farm for X resources and it gets a +4:1 to its ratio (so, it goes from producing 3 food for 1 Labor to producing 7 food for 2 Labor). Improve a Logging site for 2 Iron, and it goes from a 1:1 Lumber:Labor to a 3:2. Watchtowers generate Security at 1:1; Pallisades, Walls, and Forts improve that ratio, going to maybe 3:2, then 4:2, then 5:3.

    I mentioned above a "Safe" category, which is beyond "Secure". A "Safe" hex will be one with a 10:1 or better Labor:Security, and Secure or Safe hexes on all 6 sides... so, if you make 7 hexes Secure in a rosette (i.e. 1 in the middle, and all surrounding hexes), you can reduce your Security outlay... but if a nearby hex stops being Secure, then you're going to have to ramp things up, again, losing production of Resources.

    This is getting a bit complicated on paper, and numbers would need to be finessed, but I think it would work.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Germany

    Default Re: Ideas for a settlement building system

    Yes. Probably it would be doable. But I also feel this turns very quickly into a city builder and economy simulation. What I am looking for for my campaign is something where you acquire something once and then can forget about it. Something that doesn't require any (nontrivial) math from the players.

    I think the Tech Tree thought gets closer to what I have in mind. In it's most simple form, you could have a system in which the only resource is "upgrade points", which you can use to unlock new additions to your base, and where some additions require other upgrades to be acquired first.

    The goal I am pursuing is to provide a concrete incentive for players to say "Hey, we found this silver ore this cave where we fought the giant spiders that were eating our sheep. Let's put a team of workers together to let them mine for silver". Okay, with silver the benefit is obvious, but I think it would also be cool to get the players invested in building a mill and working on an alliance with another settlement to trade pottery for cloth.
    I am looking for something that generates new adventures without turning into business management.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Ideas for a settlement building system

    Gotcha. I've been playing a bit too much Plants v. Zombies, I think. ;-)
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

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