Monday, January 19, 2009

Average vs Assumption

Just got a new review of Grain Into Gold. The guy gave us 4 out of 5 stars and it seems that 2 of 5 is more normal for him, so I guess I should just be quiet and be happy. But (you heard that coming didn’t you), he said that he wanted cold hard facts, and we used too many assumptions. The truth of the matter is, we called most of our averages assumptions. Several times we said that we were using averages and averages were by their very nature not reliable. Why did we do that? Because we felt that giving a price list with ranges for everything from an apple to a house would be more difficult for a game master to use than a list of absolutes crafted using assumptions. I’ll bet there are some folks who would disagree with our decision.
Hey look, I have nothing against this guy and his opinion, but it’s kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. Someone had emailed me asking my thoughts on the amount of space a herd of cattle took up. My response was that it would depend on the space. I’m using 10 acres per head because it’s a rough average I’ve seen. Is it an assumption - Sure! It is an assumption based on the number of head various Wild West ranchers had compared to the number of acres they had. Is it valid for a land more similar to medieval France? No, probably not. Is it valid for dairy cows? (that was a reply question) Honestly, I don’t know. I was just trying to figure out Forsbury and Honsdeck. Is this a fair example of why I can only use averages and not absolutes? I hope so.
There are no black and white answers in agriculture and fewer still in manufacturing, especially when you’re dealing with hand crafting. Throughout Grain Into Gold we tried to give you the reasoning behind the numbers we were using. The point of that was so that you could alter the results depending on your world. A lot of you bought Grain Into Gold. Thank you! Really! But remember please, it is really intended to form a base that you modify according to your specifics. Some GMs will just use the price list as is. Others will do more work. I hope we helped both.

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