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    Canonfire :: View topic - Cloting iN the Flaness
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    Cloting iN the Flaness
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:43 pm  
    Cloting iN the Flaness

    Hello all!

    I am wondering, in your games, do you ever encounter cloth or clothing? What do your characters wear? Cotton, wool, silk, leather? Where does it come from?

    In particular, where does silk come from in the Flaness? Is it expensive?
    Where did it originate? Who weaves it?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:48 pm  

    Hi Anced and everyone else,

    My wife (also a Greyhawk fan Happy ) and I are working on a series of topical submissions in a series we are going to call - Fashion in the Flanaess. The series will discuss cloth etc. and then regional clothing styles. As we have it mapped out, there will be 10 articles that should be ready by early summer. Each article will provide a history of fashions in the region under consideration and then a listing of specific, named clothing types that are unique to that region. Of course, this reflects our home games. YMMV.

    This gives me the opportunity to introduce to everyone my wife, Katie, who will be registering with Canonfire as - SKDammerung. Happy
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    Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:12 pm  

    I'm more of a cotton, leather type myself. Though I've never given serious thought to where it comes from or who manufactures it. I'll be anxious to see those articles GVD. And a big hello to SKD. Hope we hear from her soon. Cool
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:33 pm  
    GVD

    Hey there. These articles sound great! It would be nice if what you are doing and what we are doing in our GM project coordinated. We are fairly open at this point, so your thoughts could shape our perception of the whole issue.

    Please participate, or share your thoughts on the clothing/material in the Sheldomar Region, and Gran March in particular. The Region is noted for cloth and dye.

    Currently we are scheduling the March to produce Cotton, Wool and Indigo. We are considering silk, as the climate is conducive if they have Mulberry Trees and the Silk worm.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:38 pm  

    AM wrote:
    Please participate, or share your thoughts on the clothing/material in the Sheldomar Region, and Gran March in particular. The Region is noted for cloth and dye.


    Yes indeed. You see, I've been charged with illustrating women's clothing in the GM Project and any and all suggestions would be excellent.
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    Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:44 pm  

    AM, have you given any thought to hemp and other vegetable fibers? Popular today, they are a very old concept. I believe that certain plants were made into flax, but I may be forgetting the correct name. In any event, it was poor clothing for poor people, but almost literally dirt cheap. I think they'd be most common in the major agricultural areas of the Flanaess and almost nonexistant elsewhere.

    Silk must be made in the Flanaess. Else where do all of those 50' Silk Ropes come from? Laughing
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    Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:18 am  

    GVD, I already ask for your permission to translate this future article... Wink
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    Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:41 am  

    There are discussions of this in both the original WoG box and player's guide.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:28 pm  

    I included a small section on regional variations in clothing (and racial mix) in a travelogue of Keoland I did a long time ago. Maybe I should dust that off, update it somewhat, and have it posted here.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:04 pm  

    Anced_Math wrote:
    Hey there. These articles sound great! It would be nice if what you are doing and what we are doing in our GM project coordinated. We are fairly open at this point, so your thoughts could shape our perception of the whole issue.

    Please participate, or share your thoughts on the clothing/material in the Sheldomar Region, and Gran March in particular. The Region is noted for cloth and dye.

    Currently we are scheduling the March to produce Cotton, Wool and Indigo. We are considering silk, as the climate is conducive if they have Mulberry Trees and the Silk worm.


    The way we are approaching matters is too look at specific racial clothing styles pre-migration and then see how those styles developed post-migration. In the post-migration period, we are imagining certain centers for the production of materials and certain courts for the development of particular styles. What this really means is applying real world models to the Flanaess, with some fantasy thrown in. We are using several books on historic costume and fashion as primary reference material. The existing discussion of fashion in canon materials is abbreviated, basic and, IMO, not very interesting or useful, IMO, being not very distinctive.

    The Suel, as they are developing, draw heavily on Greek and Roman costume, which is not all togas and shapeless drapes. The Velunese/Furyondians/Verboboncers/Greyhawkers are much more high medieval French/Northern Italianate, even early Renaissance looking. The Baklunish are Persian/Arabic influenced. Part of this thought is cultural similarities (mercantile city states suggest renaissance Italy etc.), part is climate (Keoland is a warmer climate than Furyondy).

    The Gran March and Bissel have a history of domination, sometimes overt, sometimes more purely cultural, by Keoland, Furyondy and Ket. They are thus one of the melting pot areas, where it would seem "pure" fashions would mix and new local styles may develop. The Gran March was not an area that we had marked out for specific treatment.

    I think Gran March fashion, in general, would tend to be more like that of Veluna and Furyondy (reflecting a degree of intentional separation or differencing from Keoland) but simplified and lighter weight (reflecting the Gran March's military traditions (simple = functional = good) and the more southern climate). High court fashions would, however, give Keoland style a greater nod, as Keoland is the trend setter in the Sheldomar and one probably does not want to appear too different. Among the noble class and gentry, there would thus be everyday wear (more Veluna/Furyondy) and high court wear (more Keosh), recognizing that peasants everywhere don't really have much in the way of fashion, as their lives demand basic, durable and functional clothing - with a few notable excepetions.

    Bissel would be similar but would add a strong Baklunish element, particularly among the merchant classes, more influenced by the Mouqollad.

    Those would be my most immediate thoughts on Gran March fashion off the top of my head.

    Cotton, wool and silk work. The textile entry of the Fashion in the Flanaess series will discuss multiple types of wools, silks (7 types), velvets, satins, damasks, brocades and metallic cloth (Cloth of Gold etc.) and where each may be found (as well as linens, cottons etc.).

    Dyes will also be covered. Indigo, I'd let go further south. I don't see the Gran March as having any of the particularly rarer or more expensive dyes. Their dying industry, I think, would focus on basic plant dyes, specific examples of which will be covered.

    Tedra wrote:
    Yes indeed. You see, I've been charged with illustrating women's clothing in the GM Project and any and all suggestions would be excellent.


    Women's clothing is almost always the most fun (ornate), particularly the female elven fashions from Celene.

    I didn't know if people would actually be interested in this kind of detail but as it seems so Happy , I will see if we can't get these articles done sooner. May Question

    As the posts on literature and the to be posted fashion articles suggest, both my campaign and my wife's are detail obsessed in various ways. Cool

    FirePower wrote:
    AM, have you given any thought to hemp and other vegetable fibers? Popular today, they are a very old concept. I believe that certain plants were made into flax, but I may be forgetting the correct name. In any event, it was poor clothing for poor people, but almost literally dirt cheap. I think they'd be most common in the major agricultural areas of the Flanaess and almost nonexistant elsewhere.

    Silk must be made in the Flanaess.


    Linen is derived from flax, but may be mixed with other materials as well. Modern "linen" may have nothing to do with flax, however, as it has become a more generic term.

    Wool is another common fabric, at least the lowest grades.

    Absolutely silk. But the best silks come from further West.

    Jakob81 wrote:
    GVD, I already ask for your permission to translate this future article... Wink


    Absolutely. Happy

    Thanks to everybody for their interest and enthusiasm Exclamation This is really cool that this is of interest. Happy
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    Wed Mar 16, 2005 8:13 pm  
    Funny

    Funny!

    Quote:
    GVD Wrote: The Gran March was not an area that we had marked out for specific treatment.


    No one has, on any subject. That is the reason we picked it.

    Quote:
    GVD wrote: Dyes will also be covered. Indigo, I'd let go further south. I don't see the Gran March as having any of the particularly rarer or more expensive dyes. Their dying industry, I think, would focus on basic plant dyes, specific examples of which will be covered.


    We have been discussing and researching this at length since I posted, and we tend to believe that Gran March may well have some of the more exotic dyes and plants. Dont misunderstand the bulk of their production and exports would be more basic. However, we came up with the following list of plants which would grow well in the southern region, and particularly the Rushmoors. The climate is similar to that of North and South Carolina, and Georgia. In all three indigo was grown in abundance.

    Indigo & Woad.. Blue,
    Madder Reed...red, (Madder is not a reed, we Magiked it for use in the Rushmoors)
    Golden Rod...Yellow,
    Black Walnut... Brown,
    Gypsieroot...Black
    Weld and Fiddlehead Fern... Green

    The Hold of the Sea Princes may well have had a larger abundance of the exotics, but I doubt they have ever had the focus of GM, and now that they are SB, i doubt it has improved. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that their removal from the international trade scene has given the GM industry a boost! Cool.

    So, where we are for our project is that the cloth/dye industry is on the upswing, now that their main dye competition is not to be seen.

    As to clothing styles, I think GVD has hit on the general trend with one caveat... nearly every person in GM is or has been in the military. Therefore, every person still owns one dress uniform, wheather old or not, and wears it on all appropriate occasions. In the GM, more than nearly anywhere else in Flaness, pomp and circumstance are important to the people.


    GVD, i love this and your book series, keep it up.
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    Thu Mar 17, 2005 12:45 pm  
    Don't forget Linen (and Ramie)

    You can't forget linen, derived from the flax plant. It has been around since ancient times, and it can be a very refined cloth, probably just a few steps down from good silk.

    It was used in clothing, altar cloths, mummy wrapping, etc. since biblical times.

    Another plant fiber source is ramie, a broad-leafed, woody plant in wetter, warmer climates. For ramie, the basic technique for working it includes splitting the stalks and separating the fibers, which are then twisted into yarn for weaving.

    Cloth made from ramie has been valued for at least the last thousand years or so for summer garments because of its lightness and its ability to pass light and air and to absorb perspiration.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:23 pm  

    Felt can be made from horse hair or wool, both of which should be abundant. It is useful to absorb horse and human sweat and it is stiff so it incorporates well into uniforms. I do not see cowboy hats as fitting the part of fantasy, but if you are outside all day you would want a brim, rain or shine.
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    Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:13 pm  

    Tedra wrote:
    I'm more of a cotton, leather type myself. Though I've never given serious thought to where it comes from or who manufactures it. I'll be anxious to see those articles GVD. And a big hello to SKD. Hope we hear from her soon. Cool


    Hi Tedra! Smile

    Hi to you too and thank you. Happy

    I hope everyone will like the articles.
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    Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:59 pm  

    Tedra wrote:


    Yes indeed. You see, I've been charged with illustrating women's clothing in the GM Project and any and all suggestions would be excellent.


    When designing women's clothing it is important to remember that women's clothing is inherantly much warmer than men's. For example, in any good fantasy movie when it is cold enough for a male barbarian to need heavy furs and leathers, a female barbarian can wear a chain mail bikini and still be warm.
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    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:56 am  

    Look forward to the articles

    Most of the Gazetteers would view "dyes and silks' as the category luxury goods which seems too come from the Baklunish West or the Suel South and the Jungles.

    The Hold of the Sea Princes, I view as the southern states, providing luxury food crops and exotic dyes which is hinted at in Ivid.

    For all you cartography types out there, A map or series of maps detailing the sources and types of luxury goods within the flanaess would certainly be welcome by this community given this threads response.


    Last edited by Crag on Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:52 am  

    Kirt wrote:
    When designing women's clothing it is important to remember that women's clothing is inherantly much warmer than men's. For example, in any good fantasy movie when it is cold enough for a male barbarian to need heavy furs and leathers, a female barbarian can wear a chain mail bikini and still be warm.


    Oh of course. And, let us not forget that even if fully clothed, the material must be very thin, fit very tightly, and in certain areas of the body it must be absolutely bursting at the seams nearly spilling its contents out for all to see. Wink
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    Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:45 pm  

    Tedra wrote:
    Kirt wrote:
    When designing women's clothing it is important to remember that women's clothing is inherantly much warmer than men's. For example, in any good fantasy movie when it is cold enough for a male barbarian to need heavy furs and leathers, a female barbarian can wear a chain mail bikini and still be warm.


    Oh of course. And, let us not forget that even if fully clothed, the material must be very thin, fit very tightly, and in certain areas of the body it must be absolutely bursting at the seams nearly spilling its contents out for all to see. Wink


    I am all for realism however their is a point where realism goes too far,

    No female chainmail bikini...is their nothing left that is considered sacred. Shocked

    Next you'll be posting all warriors aren't 6'10 and look like walking adverts for medieval steroid use. Wink

    You just can't talk to some people Confused
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:04 am  

    I don't know how much faith you put in this aas a source - but there's some illustations of different clothing types in many of the Greyhawk sourcebooks ('83 box, FtA, Greyhawk 98 (tAB and PGtoGH) and the LGG).

    One that particualrly sticks out in my mind is the illustration of the ambassadors to Greyhawk City in From the Ashes - showing the different styles of the upper classes of each of the realms (IIRC the Keoish ambassador had a very Tudor style costume, while the Aerdi chap had a dress uniform).

    Just a thought.

    P.
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    Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:31 pm  
    Madder and other things

    Ok, so it turns out that Madder is a swamp weed, who knew.

    The ancient persians used a bug from their swamps to make the rich red dyes used in their rugs. Lak or some such.

    Indigo is trraditionally an Indian product, but was grown in great quantities in the Southeast US unitl chemical dyes eliminated the commercial viability.

    China, famous for its red silk is also at a similar latitude.

    I guess my point is that this it (by real world standards anyway) this is nearly the perfect latitude for the dying of cloth. There was some discussion earlier that these wouild come from other places, particularly more southerly climes, but I think that is not necessarily true.

    Also, as to silk being a luxury good and not showing up in LGG. Well, I would say that there is two to three hundred times the cotton and wool produced in gran march, and just about every other commodity they produce. I would hypothesize that they only produce a few thousand yards a year. But if they sell the cloth for 250 gp a yard in Ekbir and Tusmit, it could fund a huge amount of wealth and provide for a large trading empire. A teleport spell or two, a few times a year, could result in an easy trade system.

    So, as french pastries are to france, they are not the principal product of Gran March, but it could well be the signature item they produce. It could also explain why it is not listed in the LGG. LGG only lists the big things.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:19 pm  

    Some random notes from the memory banks...

    (all should be considered IIRC and checked for accuracy by the end users)

    Some colors are cheap and easy to make, others are rare and expensive. Any consideration of fashion in the Flanaess should specify where different colors come from and what they signify.

    Two of the most expensive colors in medieval Europe were purple and red. Purple was used by the Roman senators in ancient times, and it was illegal for anyone else to use that color of clothing (not that any non-noble could afford it). Purple was not from a plant dye but actually from some sort of mediterranean sea mollusk harvested in the middle east. Canaan, to be specific. The word Canaan means, in fact, "The Land of the Purple Dye". Which means you don't have to call it "The Land of Canaan", as some Sunday School teachers do, because that would be equivalent to saying "The Land of 'The Land of the Purple Dye'".

    After the fall of the roman republic purple continued to signify importance and was used by emperors and important clergy (though this should definately be checked).

    Red was very expensive in Europe, which is why it was used for the cardinals. Probably only wealthy nobles could afford it for most of the medieval period. I don't know if there was a European source or they traded for eastern fabrics. After the Spanish began to explore the American west, they found the cochineal (sp.?) beetle, whose larvae living in cacti can be crushed to make a great red dye for cloth. This turned out to be a very lucrative product to send back to Europe.

    Calvinists and Catholic puritans like Savanarolla passed "sumptuary laws" designed to keep people from displaying their wealth. One of the things regulated by these laws was the color of clothes. These laws limited most people on most occasions to using the cheaper sorts of colors, even if they could afford more expensive colors. Despite all the pictures of dutch calvinists and new england puritans in black and white, both black and white were moderately expensive. Perhaps they were the most expensive colors one could wear without being considered vain, and so fitting for a portrait. Butternut, brown, yellow, and green were the cheapest colors.


    Hemp was used extensively for rope and paper, but I don't think anyone used it much for clothes before modern times.


    Jute is a plant from which one makes burlap. Great for sacking. I haven't heard of it being used for clothes, but I wouldn't rule it out for peasantry, even as rags to wrap around the feet of those who could not afford shoes.


    Linen was moderately expensive - not resigned to the peasantry, but not as nice as silk for those who could afford silk. Remember that in northern europe almost all outer clothes were made from wool. Linen was used for undergarments and light summer clothes. Cotton is a tropical or semi-tropical plant - I doubt it was available in Europe except through trade with the east, and later, the Americas.
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    Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:51 pm  

    More random thoughts...

    Even given one fibre or clothes source, there are a variety of ways to process it (in the case of plant fibres, spinning then weaving). If the process is distinctive enough, the product gets a special name - which is typically derrived from its area of manufacture.

    For example, muslin is a special weave of cotton.
    Damask is a special weave of linen.
    Worsted is a specially spun wool.
    Suede is specially prepared leather.

    All of these should have Greyhawk analogs, although the names should be changed to avoid the real world references.

    Damask came from Damascus, Syria - we should substitute some Baklunish city.

    Worsted comes from Worstead, England. Perhaps this could be called "dyvers yarn" or "attwol".

    Suede comes from the french word for Sweden. In Greyhawk, suede could be called "thilronian leather".


    Some other fabrics: velveteen, and maybe velvet are weaves of cotton.

    "Sackcloth" : I have no idea what this is, but it is supposed to be unpleasant to wear. Someone mourning or doing penitance is supposed to wear sackcloth and ashes. Perhaps it is burlap, made from jute.

    "hairshirt" I think this is a leather cured with the hair left on instead on scraped off. It is worn with the hair side in, so as to be extremely irritating and uncomfortable. Something else to wear if you are doing penitance.


    Leather can come from various sources - generally the younger the animal, the finer, softer, and more supple the leather.

    doeskin - leather from a female deer.

    fawnskin - leather from a baby deer.

    kidskin - leather from a baby goat. Particularly prized in making ladies' gloves. Treating someone "with kidskin gloves" is being overly gentle and careful.

    calfskin - leather from a baby cow. good for soft leather vests, I think.

    My father was once on the royal yacht of the King of Saudi Arabia (though the King was not present). He said that the walls were lined with gold leaf and unborn calfskin. I guess if you want a really soft and supple leather you take it from a fetal animal.

    3E question - have the old FF "nagas" survived into 3E? If so, there definately has to be a process for making "nagahide" couches. ;)
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    Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:18 am  

    Kirt sayeth,
    Quote:
    3E question - have the old FF "nagas" survived into 3E? If so, there definately has to be a process for making "nagahide" couches. ;)


    Yes, the Nagas survived. But after that pun, you shouldn't. Ouch! Smile

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    Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:32 am  

    Kirt wrote:
    More random thoughts...

    Damask is a special weave of linen.

    All of these should have Greyhawk analogs, although the names should be changed to avoid the real world references.

    Damask came from Damascus, Syria - we should substitute some Baklunish city.



    I disagree about greatly renaming textiles for the simple reason that readers may not understand what the renamed textile is. Damask should remain Damask; it is not that close to Damascus and "Zeifask" or the like does not necessarily signal that we are really speaking of a material with the qualities of Damask.
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    Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:35 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    I disagree about greatly renaming textiles for the simple reason that readers may not understand what the renamed textile is. Damask should remain Damask; it is not that close to Damascus and "Zeifask" or the like does not necessarily signal that we are really speaking of a material with the qualities of Damask.


    Personally, I have no problem with most RW references in GH text. I figure when the word got translated from Common into English the translater chose an English word with RW connotations, but obviously the Common word does not have those.

    But there are GH purists out there who try to minimize any RW references. Just so you can consider it.

    Also, I'm just guessing here, but I would think the number of people who would know what Damask was anyway would be pretty low, so that calling the fabric Zeifesk with a footnote saying it was Damask would not really lose anyone.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:09 pm  

    Request from someone who is not as dedicated to detail as most: Please don't overcomplicate things by renaming everything to reflect GH. Another layer of confusion is not going to make it better.

    Keeping it simple is advised. At most, refer to the cloth as "Damask, also known as Zeifweave, for where it originated".

    A few other notes:

    Modern wool processing removes the lanolin, which help to waterproof and "soften" wool clothing. So wool is not necessarily the itchy and sweaty cloth we think of it as. Wool can be woven loosely and still remain strong.

    Fashion in no sense follows aesthetics or any other rational guide. A quick look here will disbuse anyone of that notion.

    Mimicking the Euro-Asian silk road may or may not be preferred. The only reason for it was the dearth of silk production in Europe. GH may have local alternatives to silk, or may have more widespread mulberry trees and silkworms.

    Pre-industrial clothing was extremely expensive and durable. Cloth was woven by hand looms, and sewn with needle and thread. Most folks had one or two sets of clothes and something for the winter months. Magic and Gnomish machinery can help, but the PHB prices always seemed extremely low, even for basic, servicable clothing. Custom and elegant stuff should be price orders of magnitude above those prices.

    Telas
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:16 pm  

    Telas wrote:
    Fashion in no sense follows aesthetics or any other rational guide. A quick look here will disbuse anyone of that notion.


    OH, MY EYES! MY EYES!!!
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:27 am  

    Telas wrote:
    Request from someone who is not as dedicated to detail as most: Please don't overcomplicate things by renaming everything to reflect GH. Another layer of confusion is not going to make it better.

    Keeping it simple is advised.
    Telas


    I agree completely. After thinking over people's comments, I've decided to "play it straight" and let individuals decide for themselves, in their campaigns, whether they want to change the names to be more "Hawky." I will endeavor to keep it simple, more like a toolkit that people can then use as they see fit.

    The first two installments - The Flan and The Suel - have been uploaded to CF as submissions (along with more Literature in the Flanaess etc.). I imagine they will post in mid-May sometime. The rest will follow. I'm interspercing Literature and Fashion articles with other material so, hopefully, no one gets bored on one thing or another. Smile
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    Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:21 pm  

    Telas wrote:

    At most, refer to the cloth as ...
    Modern wool processing removes the lanolin...
    Pre-industrial clothing was extremely expensive and durable...
    Telas


    I am basking in the irony of a long post about fabrics from someone who calls themself "Telas". Let's have more of this!
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    Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:39 pm  

    Hey, it's an old name for an old character... Over a decade ago, I knew what "Telas" meant in Tolkien's Elvish.

    Ironically (heh-heh), my real name is Kurt.

    Telas
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    Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:23 am  

    Telas wrote:
    Hey, it's an old name for an old character... Over a decade ago, I knew what "Telas" meant in Tolkien's Elvish.

    Ironically (heh-heh), my real name is Kurt.

    Telas


    Really? LOL
    Actually, I had forgotten the Elvish connection.

    I was referring to the fact that "telas" in Spanish means "fabrics" or "cloths".
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    Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:50 am  

    In developing my new 5e campaign, I found that Ghosts of Saltmarsh grossly undervalues silk. According to it, a bolt of silk is worth 50 gp (and a cask of brandy is worth 10 gp).

    However, according to the 5e Player’s Handbook, a square yard of: canvas costs 1 sp, cotton cloth costs 5 sp, and linen costs 5 gp, and according to Wikipedia, a bolt of cloth is typically either 40 or 100 yards long with a width that varies from 35” to 108” (with 45” or 60” reportedly common).

    Thus, a 36” wide, 40-yard long bolt of: canvas would cost 40 sp (4 gp), cotton would cost 200 sp (20 gp), and linen would cost 200 gp.

    Assuming that silk is substantially more valuable than linen, the 50 gp value that Ghosts of Saltmarsh assigns to a bolt of silk is wrong. Without diving into ancient or medieval historical economics, we might use the ratios of the PHB (i.e., linen is 10x more valuable than cotton, which is 5x more valuable than canvas) and make silk either 5x or 10x more valuable than linen.

    If silk is 5x more valuable than linen, then a square yard of it would cost 25 gp, and a 40-yard bolt would cost 1,000 gp. If silk is 10x more valuable, then the costs would be 50 gp and 2,000 gp, respectively.

    Which do you prefer, and why?

    PS - Although I like the idea of a Silk Road analogue, as well as rare imports from Xamaclan and parts west, I also think native production of silk in the Flanaess derives from the olves.

    PPS - We're playing before the Scarlet Brotherhood invasion of the Hold of the Sea Princes in CY 581 or 582.
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    Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:27 am  

    mtg wrote:
    If silk is 5x more valuable than linen, then a square yard of it would cost 25 gp, and a 40-yard bolt would cost 1,000 gp. If silk is 10x more valuable, then the costs would be 50 gp and 2,000 gp, respectively.


    The easiest thing to do would simply be to say that the treasure only includes square yards of silk instead of bolts. You just demonstrated that the value stated in the module for a bolt is actually the value of a square yard. If it is, indeed, that valuable, it makes sense that the pirates/smugglers would keep even small pieces that they find as they would be easy to transport - much like gems.

    It seems to me that the author was trying to give some life to the value of the treasure he included. If we assume the value of the treasure was balanced, then we can simply assume that choosing to describe that 50 gp treasure item as a 'bolt of silk' was not well-researched, but just chosen off the top of his head. So, you could also just change the item description from a 'bolt of silk worth 50 gps' to a 'woven rug worth 50 gps'.

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    Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:03 pm  

    Thanks SirXaris. That's an elegant solution—if one wants to keep the treasure value ratio as written.

    Alternatively, one might combine all of the module's "bolts" into a single 40' long one (or perhaps a shorter one).

    Note, if you adopt this idea of silk being 10x more costly than linen (in 5e's political economy), then a silk rope will be substantially more costly too.

    (As an aside, the 1e PHB doesn't list silk rope. I no longer have a 2e PHB and lack access to my 3.5e PHB, so I wonder which edition introduced silk rope and whether it listed a different cost ratio between regular—I assume hemp—and silk rope.)
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    Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:08 am  

    mtg wrote:
    (As an aside, the 1e PHB doesn't list silk rope. I no longer have a 2e PHB and lack access to my 3.5e PHB, so I wonder which edition introduced silk rope and whether it listed a different cost ratio between regular—I assume hemp—and silk rope.)
    Oriental Adventures 1E introduced silk rope, at a cost 100 times that of hemp rope.
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    Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:24 pm  

    Thanks for that information DMPrata.

    This means that, in 5e, 50' of hemp rope, which costs 1 gp, equals the cost/value of two square yards of cotton.

    (Recall that in 1e, a 50' hemp rope costs 4 sp, and 20 sp equal 1 gp. In 5e, 50' of hemp rope costs 1 gp, and 10 sp equal 1 gp.)
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    Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:47 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    In developing my new 5e campaign, I found that Ghosts of Saltmarsh grossly undervalues silk. According to it, a bolt of silk is worth 50 gp (and a cask of brandy is worth 10 gp).


    Background, general
    One of the big differences in 1E vs 5e is that in 1E, treasure was the principle source of XP, while 5e uses exclusively combat XP and/or story awards.

    Also, while 1E had training costs, there is very little need for wealth in 5e - once the fighters have the best non-magical armor, and if there is not a wizard in the group, almost any amount of treasure is more than can be productively spent.

    Thus 5e has less treasure coming in and going out; converting a 1E to 5e module needs to drastically reduce the value of treasure offered. In my own 5E campaign, which uses converted 1E modules exclusively, I have been using the following:

    For large amounts of coins, a tenfold reduction in number
    For small amounts of coins, a tenfold reduction in metal (gp to sp for example)
    For objects (gems, jewelry, art), a tenfold reduction in value

    Background, specific
    The original U1 had a bolt of silk at 100gp and a cask of brandy at 50gp.
    From what you say, then, in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the value of the silk has been halved and that of the brandy has been reduced by five. It is important to remember that these are smuggled goods, and that the value given for them is before the excise tax has been paid, so their values are both before market wholesale and pretax - they should be considerably less than what you might get comparing market value for a silk rope, for example.

    The problem
    Even after accounting for the fact that these are wholesale, pre-tax prices, you are finding them too low in value to be realistic for the type of good described. And yet, even at this reduced value, the amount of treasure they represent can easily overwhelm a low-level 5e economy - increasing their value to a realistic level will just exacerbate this problem.

    Increasing the value per good to a realistic level but decreasing their quantity to limit impact creates a strange situation where you have dozens of smugglers employed in the moving of a few bolts of silk and kegs of brandy - certainly not a ship-full.

    Proposed solution
    Adjust the value and amount to one that is appropriate for your 5e economy, and then change the identity of the good to match, that is, to some trade goods inherently less valuable than silk and brandy. You can use this as an opportunity to introduce goods that are otherwise more realistic to the setting, anyway. While silk and brandy may fit the original authors' conception of what might be smuggled into a village in southern England, they don't make much sense for Salinmore. Both silk and brandy are the products of temperate environments, and are more likely to come downriver from points north, through Gradsul, and be leaving Keoland, rather than finding a way to enter the Keoish market illegally.

    I suggest you change the silk to bolts of cotton cloth, and the casks of brandy to bales or hogsheads of tobacco. Both could be grown on the plantations of the Sea Princes and be looking for an excise-free entry to Keoland, as well as being more of a value appropriate with keeping one ship load in balance with a 5e economy.
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    Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:36 pm  

    Thanks Kirt. This is very helpful and comes at a great time in my nascent campaign: after our first several sessions, the PCs have debarked from a sloop out of Gradsul and are now in Saltmarsh to weather a summer hurricane.

    Because the action (mostly social interaction, with a little combat) has only recently shifted to an urban setting, I'm only now having to make some decisions regarding "treasure," and I hadn't realized how different the suggested treasure allotments are in 5e compared to 3.5e, 2e, and 1e. After 3.5e, which was perhaps overly prescriptive in how much gp of treasure should be provided per level, I find myself somewhat at a loss regarding the 5e DMG's paltry (sparse) tables, particularly for individual "monsters."

    So far the antagonists have included raiding sahuagin and various brigands, and the PCs have not focused on looting, but I think the time is nigh to provide them with a D&D-esque treasure / reward.

    PS - Besides 1e modules, do you use the 1e treasure tables (as adjusted per your formulae)?
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    Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:54 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    I find myself somewhat at a loss regarding the 5e DMG's paltry (sparse) tables, particularly for individual "monsters."

    So far the antagonists have included raiding sahuagin and various brigands, and the PCs have not focused on looting, but I think the time is nigh to provide them with a D&D-esque treasure / reward.

    PS - Besides 1e modules, do you use the 1e treasure tables (as adjusted per your formulae)?


    Honestly, for having had a 5e campaign for more than five years now, I have only looked in the DMG occasionally for reference and have never rolled against a table within it. An overarching theme of the campaign is "Classic 1E modules converted to 5e". While there have been long stretches of wilderness travel, nearly all of the combat has been in module play* with already placed treasures. What few 'wandering encounters' have happened in the field have seldom led to combat. For those two or three that have (bandits, orcs, ogres), I believe I used the 1e MM treasure listed for individuals, but reduced tenfold, yes. There hasn't been a wandering encounter that has resulted in a 'lair' yet.

    *So far, U1, U2, U3, I6, C2, DF32, S3, and currently G1 with the party of 7th and 8th level.
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