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Some thoughts on lumber


Pathfinder Online


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I'm not sure how discussion of resource depletion was covered, but I think that in a sandbox game the mass harvesting of wood should deplete patches of forest. This would have two awesome benefits:

1) The natural depletion of resources will be a realistic and natural source of conflict between nations, cities, etc. Wood fuels nations but the need for wood fuels war.

2) The amount of forest depletion has to be kept in check. If characters like druids, rangers and woodland barbarians have an incentive to preserve their forests, this will create a fascinating new faction: The tree huggers. Whether you love them or just love killing them, nature oriented factions could be awesome if they had a real incentive to fight deforestation.

My 2 cents on lumber.

Goblin Squad Member

Very intriguing idea.

Goblin Squad Member

I could see this being a much bigger deal in more sparsely wooded areas than Crusader's Road.

http://discordia.illuminatum.net/download/InnerSea.jpg

The Crusader Road is directly in-between Echo Wood and the river to the west of it. As you can see, Echo Wood is a pretty decent sized forest. In-fact, it is several times larger than the Crusader's Road area itself.

With alternate building materials such as stone for structures, and horn, and bones for bows and swordhilts, I can't see wood in general being a particularly rare or valuable commodity in the Crusader Road area.

As the game expands though, and you start to get areas such as Thuvia and the Worldwound though... I could see this coming into play.

I like the idea of trees depleting over time but I think the rate at which they grow should easily be able to replace the rate at which they are used in areas with plenty of trees unless they are being used in an absolutely and utterly wasteful fashion. And by that I mean the clearcutting and burning of trees on a massive scale.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

As a GM with a game centered on the river kingdoms, there is no lack of trees. They have forests that take up hundreds of square miles. No need to sweat the quantities of trees.


True - but remember, time flow is 4:1 game time: real time. I can see lumbering slowly but visibly affecting the local tree line about settlements beyond the initial line at start of "live play".

Tree stumps are left behind. Over time you see the stumps sprouting saplings and the saplings growing anew. Metagame-wise you can't permit these trees to be farmed - if nothing else, "the tree is too young to provide lumber suitable to your needs" pops up.

Now, as a unique benefit of having various fey critters flitting about, perhaps an option could exist - between fey critters, druids, Plant domain castery types, etc - to facilitate reforestation? Despite the prelevance of woods in the River Kingdoms, they are in a fey-noted area with plenty of types to give guidance along the lines of a combination of crop rotation and reforestation.

Let us say near Noobtown the Nice Place (opposed by its sister city Gankbaitington) there are 4 quadrants of nearby lumberable trees at launch, each quadrant broken down into, oh, let's say four subquadrants. Or there are 8 pie slices or 12 clock facings about N00btown.

Between the local NPCs they have decreed - and if need be the Marshalls messily enforce - that out of 12 sections four are harvestable at a time for a period of say, 3 months to a year of real time (modeled on reforestation in the real world with the added benefit of druidic pimping of plant growth ad nauseam) before the first four sections are cut off and the next four sections "go live", rotating in thirds about Noobtown every 9 months to three years total real time.

To enable n00bs and the scaredycats to make proper use of pine (or whatever) in the necessary quantities, I would imagine these radii of cheap lumber are pretty large - enough to where it would take considerable work to prematurely deplete it.


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The game could also support tree huggers by granting them some bonus depending upon the degree of the local forestation - in areas of thicker forest druids would have their magic augmented and rangers would get bonuses to stealth and efficiency of their companions.

Also, plant growth spell should be implemented as sort of extended ritual with rare components that would either increase growth of the plants in affected area allowing for faster reforestation or fatsre farming.

Taldor Goblin Squad Member

In a world with druidic magic, I find it improbable that there would ever be any sort of serious risk to the health of the forest ecosystem.

That said, over-logging should definitely impact the availability of wood as a resource. Using the resource-gathering hazards mentioned in the blog, I would imagine that the more trees are cut down, the harder it's going to be to cut additional tree's down without being attacked by fey creatures.

This would in theory result in a balance between how quickly trees are regrown through a combination of time/magic, how quickly they are destroyed with logging, and how fiercely wild creatures defend their habitats.


Karthas077 wrote:
In a world with druidic magic, I find it improbable that there would ever be any sort of serious risk to the health of the forest ecosystem.

Destroying a tree requires a 1st level commoner with an axe and decent Strength/Constitution scores. Accelerating a regrowth of a tree requires 2nd level druid. Actually restoring a tree or creating a new one requires a much higher level druid. And druids are quite rare when comparing to commoners or other folks capable of acting as lumberjacks. They have greater chance of winning that battle by flame striking organized lumberjacks than restoring forests.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

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The best way to maintain sustainable harvesting is to convince the lumberjacks that sustainable harvesting is desirable. Charm person is better than flame strike.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
The best way to maintain sustainable harvesting is to convince the lumberjacks that sustainable harvesting is desirable. Charm person is better than flame strike.

Yeah, we are still trying this approach IRL.

Taldor Goblin Squad Member

Drejk wrote:


Destroying a tree requires a 1st level commoner with an axe and decent Strength/Constitution scores. Accelerating a regrowth of a tree requires 2nd level druid. Actually restoring a tree or creating a new one requires a much higher level druid. And druids are quite rare when comparing to commoners or other folks capable of acting as lumberjacks. They have greater chance of winning that battle by flame striking organized lumberjacks than restoring forests.

You're forgetting the part about fey creatures and other wildlife defending their forests. It takes more than a 1st level commoner to cut down a tree if a wolf, satyr, nymph, or other creature is trying to kill them.

Goblin Squad Member

It only takes a single commoner to start a raging forest fire, even accidentally.

Taldor Goblin Squad Member

Blaeringr wrote:
It only takes a single commoner to start a raging forest fire, even accidentally.

Actually I believe in this situation it takes 0 commoners to start an accidental forest fire. Lightning strikes frequently result in fires where the forest has not burned away the over-abundance of undergrowth in too long. For certain tree species forest fires are actually a necessary part of their life cycle.

However as we are discussing over-logging, I think accidental 'disasters' like forest fires aren't especially relevant to a lumber companies sustainability or lack thereof.

Goblin Squad Member

Oh, I didn't just mean accidental. I said "even accidental", but did not mean it exclusively.

Goblin Squad Member

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A mechanic which tied the health of a forest with those who would seek to protect it/offered a beneficial incentive for druids/fey to inhabit and protect the area = awesome. Perhaps placing valuable 'required' natural resources there which the Druid class can benefit from or some variant of minor buff?

Too tired to come up with good ideas but social incentives for players to dwell in collective hubs is something a sandbox game really needs in order to blossom. I hope to see druids living in forests, smithies dominating the city forges, salesmen filling the market place (no damn auction house) and jesters/bards healing and rejuvenating tavern patrons. Oh the joy.

Taldor Goblin Squad Member

For a brief while some friends of mine played a game called "Wakfu" where actions which hurt the ecosystem and actions which helped the ecosystem gave players a type of karma.

I can see a similar sort of mechanic being implemented in this game.

For example, a druid who spends a small portion of each game day that they play (maybe 15-30 minutes) going to heavily logged areas and using nature magic to accelerate the regrowth of the forest would gain 'positive' nature based karma. This might grant them a heightened affinity for crafting projects performed with wood (Ever consider how druid elf's can make AMAZING wooden products? Think Ironwood.) or a decreased chance to be attacked by woodland creatures while resource gathering.

On the other side of the coin, destructive resource gathering might give you 'negative' karma which might manifest itself in the form of slightly increased damage versus wildlife, while increasing your chances of being attacked by those same creatures?

This would give players who control the rate at which trees are logged various incentives to play with different styles. You could even tie in alignment shifts to excessive amounts of each type of karma.

Sure, you could completely destroy a large section of forest with no thought for 'replanting' or sustainability just to make some extra coin... but you might piss the forest off and have to spend some of that coin fending off the attacks of wild creatures or repairing damage they do to your camp.

On the other hand you might decide to practice sustainable logging practices, enjoy decreased wildlife attacks, even if you do generate resources a little more slowly.

Obviously alignment shifts would be up to some debate... Is destroying a forest an evil act? or a chaotic one?.

The test I would use is this:
Would a Lawful Evil lumber company and a Chaotic Evil lumber company harvest wood the same way?

My answer: No, the chaotic evil company would care less for the consequences of their actions as long as it got them the result they desired (More wood).

Goblinworks Executive Founder

It's a vicious lie that sustainable harvesting has lower yields over time than clear cutting.

It requires more land for the same yield, but individual loggers still take the same amount of time to fell each tree.

Taldor Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:

It's a vicious lie that sustainable harvesting has lower yields over time than clear cutting.

It requires more land for the same yield, but individual loggers still take the same amount of time to fell each tree.

The fact that it "requires more land for the same yield" by definition means that for equally sized tracts of land, sustainable harvesting has a lower yield over time.

I suppose I should have made clear my assumption that both logging styles were assumed to be of equal size with access to equal amounts of trees while being compared.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Coldman wrote:

A mechanic which tied the health of a forest with those who would seek to protect it/offered a beneficial incentive for druids/fey to inhabit and protect the area = awesome. Perhaps placing valuable 'required' natural resources there which the Druid class can benefit from or some variant of minor buff?

Too tired to come up with good ideas but social incentives for players to dwell in collective hubs is something a sandbox game really needs in order to blossom. I hope to see druids living in forests, smithies dominating the city forges, salesmen filling the market place (no damn auction house) and jesters/bards healing and rejuvenating tavern patrons. Oh the joy.

Drejk wrote:
The game could also support tree huggers by granting them some bonus depending upon the degree of the local forestation - in areas of thicker forest druids would have their magic augmented and rangers would get bonuses to stealth and efficiency of their companions.

one 'power' you could give druidsy/rangery types is to have the local wildlife (especially the predators) not bother (go agro on) them

perhaps even give druids the ability to force wildife to agro on people

and if the druid uses this ability due to protecting against resource depletion, then he will not be flagged for retribution. if he uses it just to attack people travelling in "his" forest then he can get flagged

Goblin Squad Member

I would really love to see something like this in place.

It's always bothered me in video games how easy it is to just take, and take, and take with little to no thought given toward the consequence of one's actions.

I remember playing old games of Age of Empires, and how my family and I would eventually cut down every last tree on the map. The game would then promptly end because, well...we couldn't build anymore. I would be thrilled to see a game that had a *real consequence* for depletion of resources (as is true in AoE), as well as a *real incentive* for harvesting sustainably (which I have yet to encounter in a game).


+1
i can imagine the effect blight druids would have as well...
(reducing any natural rate of recovery vs. normal druids increasing it...)

realistially, this should go for most resources, including metal ore...
they've said they plan to expand the game world eventually, so new fresh areas will be available... but having a 'run out' point for mines would be an interesting thing for factions who've set up big mining operations on their territory, eventually they will need new territory, and may end up abandoning their old territory (if the mines are played out) ... which could end up being useful for somebody else for some other purpose (herding goats, etc).


The only drawback to resource depletion like this is that the nublet areas will be strip-mined in short order unless the mines are enormous, such as a copper mine of great repute in the U.S. that was not depleted until some time during WW2.

Since there are labor pools involved - as well as a finite amount of commoners upon which to draw - both elements are due for consideration...

Goblin Squad Member

Karthas077 wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:

It's a vicious lie that sustainable harvesting has lower yields over time than clear cutting.

It requires more land for the same yield, but individual loggers still take the same amount of time to fell each tree.

The fact that it "requires more land for the same yield" by definition means that for equally sized tracts of land, sustainable harvesting has a lower yield over time.

I suppose I should have made clear my assumption that both logging styles were assumed to be of equal size with access to equal amounts of trees while being compared.

@Karthas077, isn't it true that sustainable harvesting and clear cutting would have generally equal yields when averaged over the long term? My understanding is that the former involves only cutting a percentage of the trees in the area, while the latter involves cutting all the trees, but requires a significantly longer time before any other trees can be cut from the area. In effect, I can either harvest 10% of the entire field every year, or I can harvest 100% of the entire field in one year, and then not harvest anything for another 9 years while the field replenishes. (numbers completely made up)

Goblin Squad Member

I think for the sake of the game mechanics the base resources have to be more or less undepletable. It'd be a trainwreck if for any extended amount of time whole crafting industries were halted...

However, having said that. I think there are two interesting mechanics that could arise from resource scarcity.

1> Uniqueness of resource nodes. We saw a form of this in SWG...each time a minable area was newly spawned (and yes the spawns kept coming endlessly) the "stats" of that ore were randomly determined. I personally think the stats should be a little less random and a little more influenced by their relative location in the world to areas of danger/safety. But those things can all be tweaked...the core idea is that you CAN run out of a specific resource but NOT a resource type. This can create some really interesting specific markets without disrupting the overall market.

2> The idea mentioned above of some sort of "counter harvesting" mechanic. Wherein players have some sort of ability to regenerate a worlds resource. The most obvious of which would be druidic magic and plant life resources. But I'm sure with a little work more could be thought of. The idea of "discovering" a resource node is one thing..the idea of "creating" a resource node where none existed is quite another. Perhaps a high level miner would be able to "unearth" new veins of ore in a previously emptied location.

The question is, what ratios of removal/world respawn/player forced respawn exist. Could a particularly awesome metal be rare enough to spike a market? I hope so. Could a world drop in a base resource force the player base to actively attempt to reestablish the finding/gathering market for that resource? Again, I think it'd be cool.

All very interesting things to consider. <fingers crossed> that the system, whatever it is, that is put in place is robust enough to handle these types of ideas.


When the time comes for player-established settlements, they'll be populated by various commoners and experts. If you're gathering/harvesting within proximity to those settlements, the wages paid to them could be taxed by the local lords helping to fill the settlement's coffers. This may give value to encouraging player settlements as the activites undertaken within the 'sphere of influence' aid the settlement providing the labor and potentially NPC security from that settlement. The more active the settlement, the more it can do. This could help geographically well-placed settlements thrive without having to be as much of a coin-sink.

Ideal placement for such settlements may not coincide with ideally defensible locations. Often the major cities are on arable land near assorted resources but not really well-suited by terrain alone for defensibility against bands of marauding orcs. As a trade / crafting hub the hope could be that the taxes from all that employed labor are not only maintaining the charter, they're being invested into assorted infrastructure and defensive improvements such as walls, gatehouses and guard towers.

Goblin Squad Member

Thane9 wrote:
I personally think the stats should be a little less random and a little more influenced by their relative location in the world to areas of danger/safety.

If they have different stats for different resource spawns, I'm sure they'll base those stats largely on the relative security of the area.

From Butchers, Bakers and Candlestick Makers:

Quote:
Generally speaking, the more common—and less valuable—a resource is, the more likely it is to be found near secure NPC Settlements.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Nihimon wrote:
Karthas077 wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:

It's a vicious lie that sustainable harvesting has lower yields over time than clear cutting.

It requires more land for the same yield, but individual loggers still take the same amount of time to fell each tree.

The fact that it "requires more land for the same yield" by definition means that for equally sized tracts of land, sustainable harvesting has a lower yield over time.

I suppose I should have made clear my assumption that both logging styles were assumed to be of equal size with access to equal amounts of trees while being compared.

@Karthas077, isn't it true that sustainable harvesting and clear cutting would have generally equal yields when averaged over the long term? My understanding is that the former involves only cutting a percentage of the trees in the area, while the latter involves cutting all the trees, but requires a significantly longer time before any other trees can be cut from the area. In effect, I can either harvest 10% of the entire field every year, or I can harvest 100% of the entire field in one year, and then not harvest anything for another 9 years while the field replenishes. (numbers completely made up)

No, it isn't. Clear-cutting yields the maximum harvest in the shortest time and then nothing without significant and expensive rehabilitation- the ecosystem is radically changed. Sustainable harvesting aims to thin the forest to the point that trees grow fastest, and keep it at that point.

A similar concept applies to mining: Rapidly extracting as much ore today as possible creates an unstable mine, subject to collapse and closure, while carefully planned retreat mining can extract the entirety of a vein, at the cost of taking longer.

Goblin Squad Member

I wonder if there will be darkwood trees (i.e. darkwood crafted items) in the game. Does anyone know if darkwood grows in the River Kingdoms?

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Nihimon wrote:
@Karthas077, isn't it true that sustainable harvesting and clear cutting would have generally equal yields when averaged over the long term?
No, it isn't.

So, you're saying that clear-cutting will actually produce a lower yield averaged over the long-term, which is still consistent with my point.

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