First off, in warning, both pizza and commercial quality whiskey are relatively new things. They can only be found in recognizable form from the late 1800’s onward.
I accidentally set myself up for some difficult dives in Go Action Fun Time. There are three adventures where the cast travels down the Silk road, with merchandise bought in China, hoping to sell it for a profit in – well I wrote Byzantium, but that’s not actually on the Silk Road. Least of my problems.
Currency. Not so much for a specific episode – I can look up, to a point, the currency of China circa 250 ce (where the journey starts). But when I’m writing rules for commerce, i need some exchange medium that will translate across different times and economies.
This is a good quick primer.
In the existing rules,I defaulted to a prevailing day’s wages, but that would take too much research for the average Executive Producer (the game-master in GAFT). Plus, compensatory wages are also a relatively new thing. But I may be able to come up with a table of shells= animals= salt = silver = gold that will take us into recorded history.
It takes about 60 days to cross the Taklamakan Desert on foot via camel caravan. I mention that because it was a hard fact to come by, and basically had to be deduced.
The sixty days assumes taking either the north or south route arond the edges of the desert. No one goes straight across. Taklamaka supposedly means Desert of No Return. It is one of the driest and one of the coldest deserts in the world. Some years the only precipitation is a brief dusting of snow. There are zero water sources in the deep interior. It is a sea of sand.
The Silk Road takes up three episodes, and I plan to eventually publish them.
Yes, That Lusitania, in contrast, is likely to remain a convention only episode. This is mostly due to my reliance upon the Lusitania Resource site. Any published document I produce would have to re-write and re-present the historical accounts, and re-render their maps, and that’s all way beyond fair use. So I just open up a laptop at the convention game room.
It doesn’t always load – so there’s that.
Also, as excellent as that map is, it does not have the level of detail you would need for a tactical encounter. There must be, logically, ladders of some sort from F deck tot he boiler rooms, but they are not indicated on the floor-plans.
The deck plans are from design blue-prints. They are not as-builts.
Also, Lusitania – which starts hours before the ship sinks, involves known, historical people with real living relatives, and that would require a more sensitive treatment of the subject than GAFT time typically achieves. The narrative voice of GAFT can get flippant.
My real problems are not research.
My problem with the existing product is that I am not yet confident that someone could make a character, must less run an adventure, without me being in the room to interpret what I wrote. As much as I want to Just Do It, we are probably 30% through the playtest/revision process, rather than the 80% I once assumed.
A note from writer’s group mostly for my own reference (while I still have deck-plans left):
The Flea by John Donne
Still the Lusitania goes on…
So one more history note, this one about Jack’s on -again/ off-again mentor, the legendary bard Taliesin.
There are extant poems reliably (by Dark Age standards) attributed to a historical Taliesin, who served the lords of Rheghed in the early 6th century. This actual bard, though was, well, mediocre, judging by those works, which were mostly songs praising his patrons.
Good for him, but it doesn’t justify the legend.
My head-canon is that the bard of Rheghed took Taliesin’s name, but is not actually that legendary bard.
The Taliesin I write about (in the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond) would never write any of his own poetry down anyway.
Now we know.