# Re: Magic Item creation: Notes D thru H. Diseconomy of scale

Thanks for the clarifications.  Much appreciated.  I find it fascinating to look at how other people understand the rules.  This was very helpful.

Respectfully,
Jeff

From: Robert Ward <rob@dolwen.com>
To: tft@brainiac.com
Sent: Saturday, November 5, 2016 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: Magic Item creation: Notes D thru H. Diseconomy of scale

Well, it isn't anything to be used in play -- I was testing different sorts of magic item creation rules, and in particular whether there are circumstances in which the Notes (D through H), that Rick was on about. might be justified. The simulation is a few lines of code in R, and shows how the base item costs for a wizard trying to create a magic item would increase as the likelihood of a catastrophe increases (either because completing the item requires more weekly rolls, or because the likelihood of catastrophe on each roll is increased). Basically if he can't roll enough consecutive successes, the base item is destroyed and he would need to buy the item again, increasing the base item costs.

Seems to me if you want a traditional fantasy setting where powerful magic items are increasingly rare and precious, the notes make some sense, if you allow for catastrophic failures. As a GM you could adjust that frequency by the likelihood of catastrophe. But alternative universes in which magic items are manufactured with economies of scale might produce some interesting non-traditional scenarios.

Rob

On Sat, Nov 5, 2016, at 16:46, Jeffrey Vandine wrote:
That's an interesting chart.  I'd love to see the detailed background information on it as well.  How did you use it in your games?  Were the players aware of it, or was it something you used for your own information as GM?

From: Robert Ward <rob@dolwen.com>
To: tft@brainiac.com
Sent: Saturday, November 5, 2016 3:55 AM
Subject: Re: Magic Item creation: Notes D thru H. Diseconomy of scale

One way to get a diseconomy of scale is to have a rule along the lines
of, if the weekly progress roll is a catastrophic failure, eg an 18,
then the base item is destroyed, and work must start all over again.

I am linking to a graph I made where I simulated the effects of this
rule on base costs in comparison to the costs in note D..H.

I don't recall how to provide links to the mailing list, but the direct

This graph shows that the SJ increases related to base item costs (in
notes D..H) are intermediate to the effects you would get if 18
indicated a catastrophic result, and if 17 or 18 indicated a
catastrophic result.

So the notes are not out of line if you assume catastrophic results can
happen with some low probability.

I think there was some prior discussion over whether a weekly progress
roll of 18 was or was not catastrophic in the sense of destroying the
base item. It could be the bug in the rules is not D..H, but in the
effects of catastrophic failure.

Rob

PS On this graph, "weeks to create" means the number of consecutive
progress rolls that must be completed without a catastrophe for the item
to be completed. If there is a catastrophe, the base item is destroyed
and you start over. But this graph only shows the costs for the base
items, not for additional weeks of creation time following a failure.
Hope that makes sense.

On Fri, Nov 4, 2016, at 18:55, Rick Smith wrote:
> Hi Rob,
>  I admit that there are diseconomy of scales.  But how would the
> magic item notes support that idea?
>
>  There are obviously economies of scale.  If I am doing a lot of
> small projects I might need 1 apprentice for one, 5 for the next,
> then 3.  Unless I am with a big magic school or guild, it is a
> pain in the butt hiring and laying off them.
>
>  If I have a 35 week project that needs 6 apprentices.  No problem,
> I hire them and I'm set for 2/3 of a year.  Likewise ingredients...
> if the big project need mandrake root every week, my suppliers know
> that and can set up a supply chain.
>
>  Nor would the diseconomy of scale explain why the underlying
> value of the item be increased.  (I'm assuming it is a typo or a
> mistake as it just does not make sense to me.)
>
>  I'm not putting the idea down, I'm just hoping that you can show
> some examples of how those notes, (D, E, F, etc.) are supported
> by the idea of diseconomies of scale.
>
>  Warm regards, Rick
>
>
> On 2016-11-04, at 10:43 AM, Robert Ward wrote:
> > Rick,
> > The kind of pricing structure in the notes seems rational for a product
> > showing diseconomy of scale, rather than economies of scale.
> >
> > Your examples all illustrate economies of scale, similar to big boxes of
> > cereal that are cheaper than the same volume of small cereal boxes.
> >
> > There are many things that don't show economies of scale, in which
> > expense increases rather decreases as the project gets bigger. For
> > example, building a skyscraper gets increasingly more expensive with
> > each successive floor, not less (I THINK). Similarly a 50-foot giantess
> > would not have the same proportions as a human woman, as volume would
> > need to increase faster than area. A rocket to reach 10,000 feet is much
> > more than a 100 times more expensive than a rocket to reach 100 feet.
> >
> > I don't know how the magic item rules work anymore, but someone
> > mentioned the cumulative probabilities of an 18 arising in a weekly
> > progress roll. If creating an item simply required N weeks of work, then
> > pricing should show economies of scale (just as the examples you gave).
> > But suppose it required N weekly progress checks without an 18, then it
> > would get increasingly difficult with increasing N, and pricing should
> > show diseconomies of scale.
> >
> > Again, without knowing the actual rules I'm not claiming the Notes D..H
> > are justified. I'm just trying to point out a potentially interesting
> > type of creation system where diseconomies would be justified.
> > Rob
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