The Magic Economy 2

Recently I have been thinking about the basic management rules for the Campaign system, and I have realized that the core concept is more complicated than it needs to be. This comes about, mainly, from the tax changes I have been looking at (allowing settlements to collect tax on vessels and trade caravans) which made me consider the way that Magic creating buildings are handled.

If you look at the Settlement spreadsheets (you can find them on the game wiki) you will see that they are quite complicated, with separate columns for different levels of magic production and another for ‘untaxed’ items – and that starts to make the formulae quite convoluted as well :}

However, I have finally realized (D’Oh!) that Magic, Vessels and Trade Caravans have something very important in common – they don’t need balancing against Loy or Stab, nor do they need permission from the settlement holder to add into the game. And, with the recent change both add to the tax take for the settlement. Both were added to the rule set for similar reasons as well.

Vessels and trade caravans are one of the ‘advantages’ that Merchant Houses benefit from, and can be leveraged (along with bases and trade routes) to help generate income faster than any other rules set. Merchant House rules are complex and need careful management to squeeze the advantage – get it wrong, and they are no more profitable than the ordinary business rules.

Magic for religious building was to compensate for the heavy price they pay in Loyalty and Stability costs. They are the only buildings that consistently provide a Loy and Stab boost to settlement owners. It means that religious houses are always in demand, and characters can RP spreading their faith around the game world. That part of the magic economy was intended to help those characters – the ‘price’ is the RP The advantages for other casters was, almost, a side effect.

That means I can manage them all in one column and simplify my spreadsheets – and when you see the size of Tusk’s SS, you will understand why I want to keep things simple!

That is all well and good, but it sent me back to looking at Religious Developments. Some time ago, I rebalanced all magic producing buildings to bring the magic economy in line with the general economy, and the cost of magic production doubled.

I didn’t realize it at the time, perhaps because we didn’t have any characters starting out in Clerical classes, but that it makes it very difficult to get started, if you want to build a religious order of the type that Bishop Andalon or Mother Beatrix have.  Starting PCs get 1bp at the end of each of their first two outings – so each new PC gets a 2bp starting stake. The first religious development to generate an income costs 3bp. Low level priests starting out, literally can’t build a sustainable religious organization without extra help. This is the only class / category in this position – you can start generating an income with 1bp, in every other area of the economy.

In my head, Religious Developments were meant to progress more slowly than standard commercial developments, but they weren’t meant to be the easiest option, hence the RP requirements. I know those have only been written in recently, but they were in my mind when I wrote the rules – I just didn’t implement them well. Academic Developments were always intended to be the easiest to play options. Every settlement owner likes Academic developments – they are all fully balanced and increase the tax take. What isn’t to like about Academic Developments?

The Magic Economy is also an anomaly in another way. One point of ‘Magic’ costs 2bp in the build phase, while everything else costs 0.5bp (Loy, Stab) or 1bp (Econ, Def) – and that is responsible for the big price hike when moving from a Great Shrine to a Holy House, which a religious organization needs to become sustainable. However, a Point of ‘magic’ has also generated twice the income (1bp / campaign round) that a point of Economy does (0.5bp) which also makes for some minor difficulties as I tweak the Tax / Profitability ratios in the game. V&A’s expansion has really helped me understand that section of the rules – something that never really happens until the rules are used. While I recognize that it annoys Adoven (sorry Adoven), it often prompts rule developments – which I really appreciate.

Therefore, I intend to reduce the initial cost of a Magic Point from 2bp to 1bp, but correspondingly, reduce the base profitability to 0.5bp – which fetches it into line with a point of economy – but doesn’t change the cost/profit ratio.

To do this, I will revisit every development that is involved in the magic economy – from exotic workshops, through temples, caster’s towers up to universities and cathedrals. I expect I will have to add a couple of new buildings to help manage development flow – BUT seeing as I haven’t started the process yet, I have no real idea of what the outcome will be.

Two things – thoughts and comments are always welcome, and watch this space …

And this is what I am thinking of, at the moment. Most buildings get a slight reduction in Income generated, but I will refund some of the development costs. In a few cases, I might offer another, equivalent, solution. You will note that I have added a new building called a Friary, to make progression a bit easier.

ClassificationNamenew costIncome changeEconomyLoyaltyStabilitymagicStars
ReligiousHoly House2-0.50111
 ReligiousHoly Grove 300112 
ReligiousPriory {★★★}5.5-0.502230.5
ReligiousTemple {★★★}6-0.503230.5
 ReligiousAbbey {★★★★}8003341
 ReligiousMinster {★★★★}8.5004341
ReligiousCathedral {★★★★★}11-0.504452
MagicalMagic Shop (★★★)3.5-0.520010.5
MagicalCasters Tower (★★★★)6-0.520031
MagicalGreat Tower (★★★★★)8-0.520051
CommercialLuxury Store {★★★}3.5-0.520010.5
CommercialShopping Court {★★★}6.5031120.5
ManufacturingExotic Artisan {M} (★★★)3.5-0.520010.5
– Example– Alchemist {M} (★★★)3.5-0.520010.5
– Example– Herbalist {M} (★★★)3.5-0.520010.5
AcademicObservatory {★★★}3.5-0.511110.5
AcademicBardic College {★★★}4.5-0.512210.5
AcademicMagic College {★★★}5.5012220.5
AcademicAcademic Academy {★★★★}8-0.523311
AcademicMagic Academy {★★★★}9-0.523331
AcademicUniversity {★★★★}14-134441
Posted in House Rules, World Building.

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