Thursday, October 11, 2012

Port Specific Trade III

Here is my best shot at making a reality of what I had in my mind.  A cool isometric view of an actual specific port.  Size and layout of sections can generally correspond with importance of results you want to get.  Here are some more ideas:
  • It's a little busier than I would want.  I like the idea of giving the sense of the port, but the main job should be to be easy to read by people sitting around a table throwing dice on it.
  • Imagine the icons here were separate tokens you could move around and mix and match on top of the map.  If trade changes in a city, you could rearrange the tokens rather than having to create a whole new image.
  • Better yet, imagine a web-thingy like Telemonster that has a dice drop map as a blank template and you can put whatever image you want in each spot.  Infinite visual charts, baby!
  • I included icons that could represent piracy and disease to show how random events might also be incorporated.
  • I left some spots blank thinking maybe there are times or seasons where there are no buyers for particular cargoes.  But you could put other goods in those spaces too.
  • You could also use small numbers next to the icons for prices or to convey extra information.
  • If the spaces around different buildings come up, maybe those could have specific meanings.  The lower left looks like a church- a random church-related event?  The town is central-- guild issues?, then a fortress to the right-- embargoes?
  • Again, are these the biggest trade goods this port is exporting, or just the most likely cargoes to be found coming or going?  Do we just roll on here to determine gluts, or demand?  I want to accomplish everything you'd ever need on this one page, but maybe that's too simplistic.
  • Yeah, so I'm sort of working the implementation backwards towards what it's supposed to be solving, but, man, I really have a sense this is the right direction to be going.  Imagine adding a bunch of possibilities for players and a sense of a more real, working world to the game with just a few pages.


  1. Very cool! I need one of these for a faerie market...

  2. I really like your work on this concept. Excited to see where it leads.

  3. I've never really liked dice drop charts. It seems to me that results towards the center are more likely, and that the result can be influenced by how you drop the die. It hurts my simulationist sensibilities. But then, I've never actually used a dice drop chart, since I dislike there.

    Are dice drop charts merely good because they give a good visual and potential player interaction, or do they also have other benefits?

  4. @ Michael, Roger: Thanks. And Roger, do it. :)

    @TR: That's a great question and you pretty much give my answers but I can expand a little.

    The dice drop charts on Vornheim are about speed and improv, because the 2 dimensions of the cover and the numbers on the dice, you're essentially rolling on three charts at once. When those 3 charts are three related things you know you'll need, like HD, armor type, and weapons, or whatever, it is really efficient. It takes a while to learn to use it as a DM but even the slowest reading of that chart will be faster than: roll, check chart, roll check chart, roll check chart.

    That's all good, but it's not quite as interesting to me because you only need speed if you're caught flatfooted and a lot of what I do for myself as DM is try to come up with efficient ways to make sure that doesn't happen (not quite possible and those charts will always be useful).

    Anyway, what interests me more is 1) communicating information to players quickly and efficiently-- What are possible results on this chart? Which results are more likely? and 2) involving all the players in the drama of the roll.

    You can get the drama from other things like drawing cards or Jenga pulls, and in those situations the possibilities are pretty clear-- I mean the average player has a sense of how likely it will be to draw an Ace of Spades.

    With most other charts this is not the case and the dice drop is the only way I've seen that does both of these things at the same time. So, yeah, it can have a limited number of entries (to be readable) and some of those entries might come up too often (if we roll dice the same way each time), but I'm still fascinated by the possibilities.