Thursday, October 18, 2018

Choose your own Gold Rush

Earlier I wrote about what happens when a new resource is discovered and people rush in to stake a claim.  Let's take a look at some choices you can make to make this Something Rush your Something Rush.

What is it?

The big question: what's the resource?

Resource (d12)typical use
1-2gold, silvercurrency, jewelry
3diamonds, rubies, jadejewelry, specialized tools
4-5fur, horn, animal partsclothing, medicine
6fruit, seeds, plant partsfood, healing
7-8coal, whale oilfuel for furnaces, heating, lamps
9iron, flint, coppertoolmaking
10very fertile farmlandgrowing crops, homesteading
11combinedRoll twice (d10) and combine them into one resource.
12rumors of powerRoll again (d10) but it's said to have some strange power.  (20% chance the rumors are true.)

Some of these are straightforward and historical, but if you roll an 11 you'll be making up some strange new resource that's an amalgam of two other ideas.  Let's try a few:
  • 4 (plant parts) + 7 (iron, flint, copper): A tree of the hardest wood that can be grown and worked into useful tools.
  • 2 (gold, silver) + 3 (diamonds, etc.): Jade with veins of silver running through it.
  • 1 (gold, silver) + 4 (plant parts): A plant that has deep roots into the earth, taking in gold as one of its nutrients, resulting in a fruit with gold inside.
  • 8 (farmland) + 5 (animal parts): There's an animal with valuable fur that can easily be raised in captivity, but only with the soil/weather/ecosystem of this one region.

How is it hard to get?

Even once you show up to the place where this rush is happening, you'll still find that the resource is hard to get or hard to work with.

Difficulty (d8)
1deep in the earth
2covered by material that's difficult to remove
3threatened by dangerous creatures/disease/presence
4in difficult terrain, too rugged/cold/dry
5resource itself is hazardous
6difficult to find (thinly spread, nearly extinct, hard to see)
7difficult to transport (fragile, heavy, squishy)
8only found underwater

What are the locals doing?

The people who live in this area are likely to already know about this resource and are getting involved in some way.

Locals (d6)
1They were already extracting/using/trading it and are trying to maintain their control.
2They knew about it but don't like to use it because it's sacred, dangerous, or attracts too much trouble.
3They're joining in the rush alongside everyone else.
4They're selling things/services to the newcomers, trying to get rich.
5They're being forced to work, but they're making plans to revolt, demand proper wages, or otherwise put a stop to their intolerable conditions.
6There are no locals; this area was mostly uninhabited.

What are powerful figures doing?

All this activity has drawn the attention of powerful figures: trade companies, tribal confederations, kings, prophets, the viceroy, etc.  Someone important is going to want a piece of the action.

Powerful figures (d10)
1-2Outsiders don't have enough power to truly control matters.  Expect power struggles between prospectors, local bosses that rise in power, and feuds that flare up from time to time.  This is a lawless and dangerous place.
3-4They control the main route to this place, charging high tolls or ticket fees.  Expect small-time guides and ship captains who say they can get you there another way, but for a price.
5-6You have to get their approval to stake a claim, or else you'll get thrown out and lose what you've gained.  Expect illegal mining operations, legal challenges, and plenty of corruption as rich and well-connected people get ahead in line.
7-8They're trying to take over the supply business, to be the only ones selling supplies to the prospectors.  Expect them to use strongarm tactics to put their competitors out of business, and expect a black market as smugglers bring in supplies anyways.
9-10There's more than one powerful figure trying to control this place.  Roll twice to see what they're each doing.

If you're not sure which options to choose, try this random roller:

random resource rush
powerful figures

(Incidentally, I still haven't figured out how to get this random table roller to work on mobile devices.  If you happen to be a Blogspot expert I could use your help.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving all these procedures you're crafting for generating a North American sandbox.