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Domain Economics - an expansion

by Giampaolo Agosta

There are mainly two takes in BECMI for Dominion economics. The Companion/Rules Cyclopedia version, which is somewhat simpler, and Bruce Heard's version from the Known World Grimoire and VotPA articles in Dragon Magazine 187 and following.

The two are rather different, in that Bruce's version does away with the Companion concepts of Resource Income, Tax Income, and Standard Income, and replaces them with pro-capita taxation, mines income, and other resources. Personally, I quite like Bruce's more detailed version, especially since it can be easily automated with the Dominion Economics 101 spreadsheet, allowing to bypass most of the tedious computations.
However, resources outside mines are dealt in a quite hand-wavy way -- you have to make up your figures without guidance.
This issue can be solved by leveraging the Resources concept from the Companion rules.

In the Companion rules, each (24miles) hex has 1 to 4 resources. These can be Animal, Vegetable or Mineral. Mineral Resources are obviously represented by Bruce's Mines.
Mines in Bruce's economics can yield from 50 to 500 gp/m times the size of the mine (ranging in 1-4 in DM190, but up to 60 in the spreadsheet -- I'd go with the article, though), and require from 20 to 200 miners per mine (based on size). Rules are given to determine how to startup, develop and eventually close down a mine.

Considering that Mineral, Animal and Vegetable resources in Companion are distinguished just by having different revenues (Minerals yield 3x compared with Vegetables, Animals yield 2x compared with Vegetables), it is possible to create the equivalent of Mines (which would be Animal Farms or Plantations, maybe), with yields that are respectively (circa) 2/3 and 1/3 of Bruce mines'.

However, Mines (and therefore Animal Farms and Plantations too) can have highly variable yield (50 to 500 gp/m for the Mine, as stated before, and therefore 35-350 gp/m for Animal Farms and 17-175 gp/m for Plantations).
To determine the typical level of a Mine etc., I would therefore use the Dominion Resources from the Companion rules:

Mine Income Animal Vegetable Resource level
Salt 50 Cheese Wood 0
Marble 75 Fat, Wool Nuts 1
Iron 100 Leather Timber 1
Orn St 150 Parchment Oil 2
Copper 200 Furs Paper 2
Silver 300 Horses Dried fruits 3
Gold 400 Honey/Wax Wine/Beer 3
Gems 500 Ivory Spirits 4

So, if a Dominion has 1 Animal and 1 Vegetable resources, but no Mineral resources, it will not have a Mine of gems. At most, it will have a salt mine or marble mine, or none at all.

To obtain this result, one can apply the following modifiers to the Mine's nature roll (saturating results so that any roll under 1 counts as 1, and any roll over 100 counts as 100):

Resource Level Modifier
0 -50%
1 -25%
2 -10%
3 +10%
4 +25%

This will get you mines (and other resources) that are more likely to be distributed according to the Companion Resource distribution (note that this does not changes the likelihood to get gems mines, rather it increases the probability that two mines are found in the same hex). Do not use modifiers when rerolling in case of two mines.

Here is the list of trade goods:

Gaz9/Gaz11 Trade Goods

Gaz9/Gaz11 Precious Merchandise

We can use minerals as a gauge: in Bruce's spreadsheet, we get in order of value: salt, marble, iron, ornamental stones, copper, silver, gold, and gems.
This means that we get a partition around copper between precious merchandise (silver, gold, gems) and trade goods (salt, marble, iron, ornamental stones, possibly copper).

Thus, for each category:

The worth of items in italic is mostly due to the workmanship rather than the material; the same if for Books, rare, which I have omitted entirely. These items don't work well as "resources" in the Dominion spreadsheet sense, or perhaps they would fit in another category, related to "secondary" industry. However, secondary industry is accounted in the taxation of the urban population, so I'm wary about adding it. In case it is desired, such a category would looks like this:

  1. Bludgeons, Axes, Pole Weapons
  2. Swords
  3. Shields
  4. Leather Armor
  5. Glassware; Scale/Chain Armor
  6. Banded/Plate Armor, metal; Crossbows; Shield Weapons
  7. Suit Armor; Porcelain, fine; Bows
  8. Books, rare

Interestingly, the Gaz9 rules show how armor prices per RC are not at all realistic (i.e., the price reflect the usefulness in game, not the cost of construction). In particular, shields, leather, scale and chain have the same value per weight unit -- i.e., 10 per 100 cns of load.

So, the final goal here should be to connect three rules components:

My aim is to use the Companion resources only to generate initial inputs for Bruce's more complex economics, and extend Bruce's work to cover all the Trade goods mentioned in the Gazetteers, allowing to use the dominion economics to generate price modifiers for PCs involved in trading activities.

Thus, the idea is to keep the Resource rolls from the Companion rules. However, this roll does not directly impact the tax income of a dominion, rather, it provides a framework against which the economics of Bruce's article can be tailored -- Bruce provides a generic probability to find mines in a dominion, and does not deal with other resource types.
The Resource rolls from the Companion rules generate up to 4 Resources in each 24-miles hex. To convert this metric to Bruce's rules, the Companion resource become a "Resource level", so an hex could roll, e.g., 1 Animal and 2 Vegetable Resources, and therefore roll on Bruce's table with modifiers given by, respectively, Resource level 0, 1 and 2 for Mineral, Animal and Vegetable resources.

Resource Level Modifier
0 -50%
1 -25%
2 -10%
3 +10%
4 +25%

Bruce's rules consider only mines (i.e., Mineral resources), but you can add equivalent Vegetable and Animal resources by leveraging the Trade goods.
Considering that Mineral, Animal and Vegetable resources in Companion are distinguished just by having different revenues (Minerals yield 3x compared with Vegetables, Animals yield 2x compared with Vegetables), it is possible to create the equivalent of Mines (which would be Animal Farms or Plantations, maybe), with yields that are respectively (circa) 2/3 and 1/3 of Bruce mines'.

Several trade goods remain not covered, because they are value-added intensive (i.e., Armor is not a Mineral or Animal resource, but rather a value-added product that depends mostly on skill; same for Pottery, etc.). They can be covered by an additional types of "other income" in Bruce's spreadsheet, of course.

Note that in Bruce's spreadsheet, Mines income assumes that the mines are owned and operated by the Dominion ruler. However, this is not necessarily true, as they could be operated by guilds or other investors. The same is true for other resources, and even more for value-added products, so the Dominion ruler would likely get only a percentage of the income through taxes.

I'd expect that circa 2.5% of the urban population will be involved in value-added production, so a 1 hex Barony might be able to support 1 small industry.

To generate initial industries, use the same table as for mines generation, but using the urban areas as the driver: Code: Select all Industry Level Modifier 0 -50% 1 -25% 2 -10% 3 +10% 4 +25% 5 +30% 6 +35% 7 +40% Industry Level starts at 0, but add:
+1 for Dwarven and Gnomish settlements
+1 if the largest settlement is a village
+2 if the largest settlement is a small town
+3 if the largest settlement is a large town
+4 if the largest settlement is a city
+1 if there is a trail or navigable river
+2 if there is a road or sea port