The New Maths

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===ALL HAIL THE NEW MATHS!===
Evening! Raff here.

So this weekend just past saw myself, Graeme, and Matt get together for the annual “State of the Empire” meeting in Preston. We spent a pleasant three days talking about rules, and about where the game was and where we wanted it to be. We got a lot of work done, and are now setting about the slightly less relaxed task of working out how to implement the decisions we made.

Mostly this post is to talk about a change you might already have spotted - as I’ve mentioned several times we’re working through all the magic items in the game and double-checking them. We made some decisions at the weekend, and one of them was to just edit the items live - its a big piece of work and it made little sense to mess around working the changes up somewhere else then copying them across when we could just get on with it.

We had some basic concepts when we first statted the items and a few of them have not survived contact with the actual game.

Some of them are pretty simple (most of the “you can make the same call twice in 10 seconds” items are just becoming “you have some extra calls” for example).

But two of them in particular have had pretty big implications that mean a great many items are changing their materials costs. This is probably of interest primarily to people with the artisan skill, mine-and-farm owners, and economists, but I’ll quickly sketch out two of the major changes.

When we first set up the items we gave a “cost break” for an item that required more than one material. We thought it would be a lot harder than it has turned out to be to find extra materials - given that any mine or forest only produces one kind of material. In practice, it’s not made that much difference. So that cost break has been removed.

A much more significant change has been our diminishing returns curve. It’s no coincidence that at empire it is more “efficient” to give two people a small bonus than to give one person a larger bonus. In practice, though, we’d set the curve for diminishing returns too steep. AS such we spent a chunk of the weekend discussing The New Maths (all hail the new maths), which smoothed that curve out a little. The net result is that all the items that give you 2-or-more chances to use something a day, or that add bonuses of +2 or more to things, have come down in materials cost - in some cases quite dramatically.

What this will mean is many items at the lower end of the scale will have had their costs increased by a few ingots because they were getting a flangey cost break. And all the items at the higher end of the scale will have come down in cost thanks to the smoothing out of the curve.

In some cases, we’ve instead tweaked the item - several items that once upon a time gave a smaller bonus have had their number of uses or bonus increased instead of reducing their costs. In other cases we’ve tweaked functionality a little (such as with the hero point items like Jack in Irons or the Blacksmith’s Wage).

This first pass is almost complete, and I’m documenting it as best I can on the wiki updates page (profounddecisions.co.uk/empi … ki_Updates). it’s by no means finished yet however! There are a few items that will be changing radically due to other rules changes we’ve decided to make, but obviously I can’t change those items until we implement the connected rules change. So for a little while the magic item section of the wiki is going to look a little odd in places. Hopefully you can bear with us.

As always, anyone whose skill has just got dramatically worse, or whose ability to make an item no longer works because the item has been deleted, gets the chance to respend character points. I would ask that people wait until all the changes are in before contacting us to do so - there’s plenty more to come. We’ll let you know when we’ve made the last changes and the rules are stable again.

Hopefully by that time the Boss will have put together a convincing IC explanation for why magic items have changed - I look forward to learning what it is!

We’ll appraise you of other changes as we make them - we have a very half-formed plan to take the wiki down for a short time at some point and make the bigger changes all in one go but it remains to be seen if that plan gans aglae or not.


The photo is (I think) Iorah Grimvaldsdottir of the Rangers of Nanuk (as portrayed by Emily James). It was taken by the irrepressible Oliver Facey


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