Friday, January 13, 2017

Source Material

I've been getting source material that are open source or public domain like De Re Militari and using them as inspiration to my own studies and gaming material. They are Inspired by my operations research studies which has a very gamer mindset perspective in looking at things with stats.
If you want to reinforce that bias I recommend the works of Amon Tversky and Danniel Khanneman's works on decision making and judgement (use them as a search term or get thinking fast and slow).
These books which were tried and true for centuries, like De Re Militari, finds new life when i can model them in gaming stats grounded by some models I've developed for games and work. I've taken some heuristics and modeled them into game mechanics for open collaboration and improvement.

Imagine if you can make sense of De re militari in character templates and stats. What are the baselines and what are they when you look at real people vs the statistics? So detailed that you can be inspired to undergo that training as a hobby. That you know what kind of training is needed to do a 32km March 2x a month in 40-60lbs of gear (even if it's in the safety of a gym treadmill at an incline to simulate hard terrain).

Knowing what ( in an operations science way) a task, activity, and ability is and how to measure and schedule a plan to reach  a performance level is another coloring of my gaming and my gaming mindset regarding my work studies. And the game is the exercise I want to do.

Primary sources colored by updated material. Imagine some gaming mechanics and entries drawing referencing de re militari, Wikipedia and, US Marine corps small wars manual. Sources that can help inform the reader the assumptions and hopefully someone can come up with a better model.

Public domain books Gdoc
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mgI0AwM_0SJPxuQ2axeDtwwYcanXMYzeCDMD3YePAKI/edit?usp=drivesdk

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Review of Game in the Brain

Game in the Brain is going in low performance mode. I've been busy with work, family, health, and studies.

Stats. 

Top 3 Best Posts are in 2016 from all time. These are:

  1. Random Character Gen update: Life Event Table .  I honestly forgot about this and I forgot to link the Gdocs. 
    1. Life Events Table Gdoc Commenting again I am always looking for feedback. I can't promise I'll act on it immediately (it depends what I'm juggling) but I will take note of it and when i come back around I will act on it. 
  2. Appreciating the Work. is a post about guessing the kind of work that goes into making analysis posts with the most abstract of numbers
  3. My Notes about Zones. This is my notes about Zones compiled from various sources and my take on it. I usually try to look at it where entroy will tend and highlight what key process needs practice to be a skill. Where attention is best applied on. 
2016 may be my most productive since 2013 because:
  1. My  son turned 5 and take care of himself
  2. Election means no Airsoft so not team related tasks and activities, which has a lot of prep.
  3. I had a co-worker help me with my tasks for the first time in a while. Thats Nick. 
  4. The company I work in was relatively stable. 
These factors dont apply anymore for me in 2017. 
  1. I have a daughter born mid nov 2016, any of you fathers there know that will be months of high maintenance lolz. 
  2. Nick is leaving and I'm training a new guy. 
  3. I'll be more hands on work because I finally got some important training and studies relevant to my job. (lolz I'm draining the swamp lolz).  
  4. I'm having my son shadow me when I train and exercise and study. The only manner I know how to teach is to show and lead by example. All these tasks now double in time and half in quality lolz. 

Trends. 

   I'm trending towards System Agnostic Skills and Techniques. Its weird, because going with techniques that are more universal regardless of system is actually a more niche hobby because of the anchoring effect of systems.
   Never underestimate Anchoring Effect, at work we are studying Risk Management as a requirement of ISO 9001:2015 and the Black-Scholes model was brought up,  by Nick my co worker,  and its debacle has the trappings of Anchoring Effect. Basically the need to Assign a Value to Risk even if that model is so short lived and useless in the long run. Our brains needs anchors even if its a stupid and terrible anchor. Nature hates a vacuum and so does our mind.
   Game Agnositicism is such a waste with GURPS day to add to my readership :( I know but I'm applying what i've learned and what I've learned has let me be more efficient in my use of memory and attention.
   My System Agnosticism is going to be weird and natural at times. Work also is getting me into time and motion aka Psycho and Bio Mechanics. Even if things have variables there are always benchmarks we can strive to surpass or limit our failure to. This is the Cognitive Dissonance of gaming and real life: its Game, its a Faulty model, But I have nothing better to use, or Its useful some of the time etc... I think as we grow older we get better at managing Dissonance but we have to be aware of it. We cannot normalize the internal conflicts and limits of our beliefs and understanding or else we fail to correct ourselves. Sorry for the deep personal belief tanget, its just me expressing my fundamental assumptions and how my mental algorithms work (for ease of reprogramming when in error). My belief is that Cognitive Dissonance is bad when we fail to be aware of it, and are unable to make a self honest assessment of the limits of what we know and validate the uncertainty of every source and assumption we use to formulate our conclusions.
    So because life is limited in time, memory, and practice, my gamings borrows from the  mental models I use at work or my work borrows from the mental models I use in games (hence the Dissonance). Of course some mental models requires a System Two Appraoch and we need a System 1 to run games fluidly or be able to change gears quite fluidly when we are entertaining Players or able to make the Players Enjoy shifting gears with the GM (which is the ideal and the most benefit for everyone IMO but we do not force something unless the person asks to be helped force his mind to change).
   I've mentioned many times the open Gdocs I'm working on. its easier to show progress and updates in those because I really only have a handful of 2-5 minute instances to think and write notes with the back of my mind always churning and processes-sing everything in a Gamer way , hence the blogs name
   Time flies when you're raising kids, taking care of other people, and taking care of ones' self. So while I maybe back before I know it, if you find my absence short if you have other people to occupy you.

Summary

While gaming is what made me, I'm using it to improve my life. It will be there when My son comes of age, and I have more free time. But I can make it also there when I frame my life and work as an adventure in itself. I will always talk about gaming and life as one thing and it sadly it will be what will limit me. If I cant make the game part of my life, then I dont have the free time to work on it. 

In 2016 i made my Gaming Life Blog. A terse blog of updates of my training and studies. If I'm a character of my own adventure then I better be Min-Maxing and leveling up lolz. I'll come back to this blog when i can, if time permits and I have more of a TRPG thing to say. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Levels of Participation: Commenting

The level of Participation in Table Top Role-Playing Games:

  • 8-12 hours a Week: enough to prep, blog, and run games. blogging comes from the material the prep generates. the blog is like the 2 second rule* going down the rabbit hole to give closure to a train of thought and curiosity. 
  • 4-6 hours a week: enough to prep, blog, and run games every other week (or on week ends).
  • 2-6 hours a week: enough to blog regularly. I was able to punch out 1-2 posts a week. 
  • 1-4 hours a week: enough to blog 1.5 to 2x a month. 
  • 1-2 hours a week of intermittent time. The ability to blog 1/month and comment. 

Interment. A lot of time is Interment and the most I can do is what can be done in 2-5 minutes. Every task can be measured in this to a point that I've kept notes on my time and motion in this lolz and will apply this in Games.

*2 second rule in Productivity is taking the time to write down any distracting thoughts so that it can be tackled later from the task at hand or when attention is better used than entertaining the distraction. Encyclopedia of Operations Arthur V Hill.

Commenting or Gdocs Collaborating.
Commenting and Gdocs doesnt need a lot of prep time. Blogs have about 1-2 hours of prep time, 50% is the writing and thinking about it while writing, 50% is the intermittent time thinking about the problem and the issues.
So I only have 2-5 minutes and i can only post opportunistically. So I'm only good in commenting (if I was able to listen to the post in my app's Text to Speech; so I cant comment when the idea hits me, only if I remember to comment when I have the chance. 1/20 chances of me remembering lolz). With my crap reading and thinking speed I can only really comment and gdoc post.

Collaboration.
I like collaborating even if it is limited to Feedback. Meaning I can give my opinion on a metrics level or user-experience level. If that matters to you and You don't mind my me having only 3-4 x spend 2-5 minutes on the Gdocs with you guys then maybe you can invite me for collaboration (if I like the project too.) Note that I'm studying a lot of Bio and Psycho mechanics because of work so my comments tend to narrow to that vein.

My open Collaborations Invitation.
I use Gdocs to dump what I learn and read. A lot of these projects are dormant since I have so little time to really dedicate to fill it up.


  • GMing Skills. General Gaming Dump list. I learn some new metric or trick that has applications to a game I put it here. I sort it later on.
  • Warfare Notes. Notes in running warfare games and analyzing its scope and trying to narrow it down. Figuring out how to prepare players and GMs in running it, and learning to run it. It uses the basic system of my Open RPG. this is updated almost as frequently as GMing skills since all my historical logistics notes are dumped here. 
  • TRPG Skills. This is a simple Gdoc that tracks the mastery of learning a Game System. I'm 
  • Open RPG. This is an open RPG project that uses a simple 2d resolutions system and plugs in a lot of my lessons in process efficiency and simplicity from various studies (most can be found in GMing Skills). Its all creative commons and designed that a System Agnostic person will be free to use it without fear of copyright or legal baggage. 
  • Kiddy Open World. trying to build an approach to using TRPG skills to teach children. Basically parents using TRPG skills to gamify the thinking and life skills children need to learn to survive and thrive. 


TL:DR lost a lot of my time.  Some personal notes: 
So I have a second child and the logistics of that has had an impact. I'm actually double checking my notes as to what the over all time impact of this. It doesnt help that the school doesnt do "all" the work of teaching our first child and I'm going to need help in the form of Tutorial services (Asian educational arms race). My 5.8 year old attention needs me to sit down for an hour out of distractability instead of any really significant amount of work.

Which brings up the level of participation. When getting married, I didnt game as much and spent time with the wife. When having our first child, the first few years I was unable to game but was able to blog. I had time to game when we got a nanny and the child turned 2. With the 2nd child I'm expecting to take a long hiatus and with my sons studies I would still lose a lot of my time.

What i've chosen to do with my time is to do some min-maxing. Training my son, letting him join me in my self improvement: chinese studies and exercise (health and studies) is one compromise that diminishes the quality of the activity to allow me to be a dad and to hopefully give an example to him.

Work has also gotten complicated as I am set to train a coordinator (an industrial engineer graduate to be trained in the plant's processes and operations) as my first staffer.

Then there is the Airsoft Team Work. Lolz writing Doctrine, DIYs, and how-tos. I'm doing the radios, prep-checklists, exercises, and sourcing materials. The overall goal is to reduce prep time and clutter (bringing down our gear inventory to minimalist, while meeting all our operational and convenience goals). Again I have intermetent time and a lot of notes go into my A6 size notebook i carry with me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Warfare Notes

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

So I've been listening to Tyrant Series, I just finished funeral games and I'm now in King of the Bosphoros. I started reading all the Wikipedia about the Diadochi and all related articles. Christian Cameron and the Wikipedia has helped make these successor wars very interesting. Particularly the evolution of the Cavalry and Specialized unit roles. 

I find myself revising a lot of my understandings on man-power regarding some of the units. Basically the economics and psycho-mechanics of these units. Here are some key take aways: 
  • Edit: From feedback from Ian Borchardt
    • Pikemen, Halberders, Spearmen, swordsmen, etc... are all heavy infantry. the circumstancial modifiers will be detailed in my Warfare notes. 
    • Professional/regular vs Conscript Forces/iregular are 2 : 1 better. Trade-offs and circumstantial bonus based on their equipment and training.  Veteran and Elite are 2:3 meaning Elite is only marginally better but can 
    • With Open terrain where Regular vs Irregular have 2 vs 1 odds.  
      • In GURPS mass combat there is Troop Strength. It doesnt really have any mechanic to represent Flexibility and Adaptability that comes with a well drilled machine and the cumbersomeness of some tactics. The closest work around is to give it conditional penalties when it comes to being flexible or adaptable or giving conditional advantages to other units who exploit their inflexibility/in-adaptability. 
      • Wedge formation. Will be modeled as an Risky and Aggressive maneuver. Well armored units (and those with shields) are better at it than other units. Whats great about it is destroying cohession of the opposing unit and getting to more vulnerable units past it. 
    • Regular would be 5x in cost and time to train and equip than Irregular (especially because of half of the cost and time will be Overhead to reach Regular status. 
  • Heavy Infantry is not a unit but more of a role. A role that requires a lot of discipline and training.  
    • The Hoplite or the Roman Legionaire are heavy infantry. Special Unit Qualities:
      • Heavy to Light Shield
      • Heavy to Light Armored
      • Sword (defaults to Short sword)
      • Spear
      • Pike
      • Pole or Great weapon
      • Great, Strong, and Skirmishing Ranged
      • Shock or Skirmishing
      • Heavy (Closed formation), Medium (small group formations), to Light (Open Formation). 
    • Shock Action as well as taking the brunt of shock action are parts of the Role. The byzantines called heavy infantry Defensores. Many armies depended on the role as an a morale anchor. 
      • Taking the brunt of a Shock action is harder and takes more discipline.
      • Charging to become the "shock action" is easier which is why more expendable Auxilia can be made to do it. (the Kurasores)
    • So there will be Heavy "Armored" Infantry or Heavy Infantry Role to be more clear. 
    • In GURPS Mass Combat Troop Strength can be further simplified with the following tool (which I'm using with Open Warfare system). 
      • Ignore the previous TS method. 
      • Start counting the (Professional) Warriors. You can set that as your TS of 1 per warrior. So 1,000 trained warriors is a TS 1000. 
        • The most important table is the Relative TS Table. Relative TS table 
          • next is the class superiority modifier. 
          • limit to 2-3 key modifying circumstance modifiers. do not get too bogdown with
        • Equipment. This is a conditional multiplier the way Special Classes superiority gives modifiers to the roll. If the Force has the Equipment superiority for the situation then they get the Special Class superiority.  
        • Experience Level. consider the warrior the benchmark of quality of troop. non warriors count as 0.3TS, TS1.5 for veteran, to Elite of TS2, to a max of TS3 for heroes. 
      •  this simplifies the situation to:
        • what are the forces engaging? 
          • no. and quality (which is the TS)
        • what is the circumstances (who has superiority)?
          • terrain, position, 
          • their respective maneuvers, 
          • equipment
          • condition, initiative
        • roll and check combat results table. 
  • Remounts have a very very tangible effect in the Cavalry. The biomechanics of horses are very similar to humans, you can't expect them to carry a rider for more 4-6 hours (depending on horse's quality) without risking injury or getting injured if they go all-out. 
    • There are some serious problems of making it reflect in GURPS mass combat mechanics. In fact mounted combat has been very hard to model, and only recently with games like Mount and blade, simulations in Total War, and books like those of Flavius Arrianus being recently getting the rounds  reworking a lot of the notions of how Mounted combat works. Allowing GMs to stress it as an advantage. 
  • Any economic entity mechanics have to be pretty abstract as to leave the details of land usage, and focuses on the final products of a particular area. 
    • Further readings and the limitations of Historical knowledge would be a great and helpful set of directions to get people to see for themselves. 
    • The KPIs of the region can be a long list, but can have an order of details. Some details are more important and others are just dressing that help in immersion. A handy guide would be helpful because the details can be overwhelming (and powerfully immersive).
    • So far I've figured out much of Roman and Greek systems. Trying to figure out  Persian and Near East traditions, as well as Chinese traditions. 
  • Warfare system needs a checklist. The first checklist being: what are the Assets/Resources, and how they are employed/deployed. 
    • then comes the overhead, logistics, and support of these resources. 
    • step by step: from simplest combat in a narrative formula to levels of details.
  • Much of Chinese warfare is conscripts as r/k strategies. It became much clearer when the profile of heavy infantry became more apparent and universal in many of my studies. They did have shields but The Art of War by Thomas Cleary the commentaries by the other generals stressed on conscripts infantry. 
    • Its possible to have no heavy infantry units, especially given the population and man power in chinese history.  Its kind of telling how sun tzu resorts to tricking his own men and putting them in desperate situations vs western tradition of heroic combat.  Just my pet theory, googling around for contrary opinions (because that would mean I could find a heavy infantry). Their halberdiers arent exactly heavy infantry, still open to ideas. 
    • There is a possibility there were Heavy Infantry in the Warring States. But the Qiin must have killed them off. 
Currently Reading
  • People Land and Politics Demographic developments and transformation of roman itally 300 BCE to 14 CE Luuk de Ligt and SJ Nortwood 
  • The Beginnings of Rome Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars 1000 to 264 BCE by TJ Cornell
  • A History of the Roman World HH Scullard and TJ Cornell
  • Hanson The Other Greeks The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization
  • Women in the Ancient World The Arethusa Papers SUNY series in Classical Studies by John Perdaotto and JP Sullivan
  • Ancient Chinese Warfare Ralph D. Sawyer
  • The Roman Empire Economy Society and Culture by Peter Garnesy and Richard Saller 
  • The Roman market Economy by Peter Temin
  • Ancient Mesopotamia New Perspectives by Peter Knight
  • Millet Cultivation in China by Francesca Bray
  • Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece by Victor Davis Hanson
  • Rome at War Farm Family and Death in the Middle Republic by Nathan Rosenstein 
  • History of the ROman Legion (a self published book in google play that is very poorly sourced but aggregates a lot of secondary sources)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

what I miss about gaming

what free time I have is being on call with the new baby. Otherwise its trying to corral my son to do his homework or pull him from the vice grip of youtube. if not that it would be so many other things like studies, errands, chores, and obligations. I dont think there would be more freetime until my son is old enough to have the self control to do his own "character building" exercises (if he has my attention problems then that would be all through his teens lolz).

What i miss first off is the World Building. Particularly fleshing out people and places based on recently learned psycho-mechanics Economics, Logistics, Risk, Behavior, and Operations. As a Player being part of a GM's world building = creating the tables (or automated spreadsheets) that would help flesh out the Setting and Populate it with characters that meet the variability and predictability of various demographic studies that explains so much of the world to me. 

Then there is the Character Building. While I consider groups or communities as part of world building, parties or cadres or (what has been popularized currently) squads of personalities and their dynamics, conflicts, and failures of coordination (in wants, motives, needs they are not aware of etc..).

So alot of my reading has been World Building Inspirational.
Recently I've had the Tyrant Series and the Long War by Christian Cameron as inspiration. I learned to appreciate intrigue and political from GRRM, I learned to appreciate Classical Antiquity as a setting with Christian Cameron. I went through his bibliography, and found the Other Greeks, particularly Hanson Victor Davis as a source of other material. I discovered Shelly Waschmann's Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age levant (not yet read but looking for a copy) at the end of Salamis (Book 5 of the long war).
These got me thinking of Bronze Age era, particularly past lectures Ancient Empires Before Alexander, and Origin of Civilization. Thanks to wikipedia I was able to reread and find more books on the matter: Basically read all the stuff on Bronze Age, Mesopotamia, Sargon of Akkad, Medes, and all the entries related that dealt with Civilizations. Then I went farther back with the Neolitihic Wikipedia Article where I discovered Aşıklı Höyük in Central AnatoliaGöbekli Tepe in Turkey (check out Kurzegsagt in youtube) the date for the Holocene calendar that marks human civilization at 12,016.

Christian Camerons difference of opinion with Victor Davis Hanson got me thinking about Agriculture and carrying capacity. leading me to study the literature on Agricuture again, from the wikipedia to source books. A world building exercise that got me thinking about the fraglity of their economy and the need for trade (and empire to cement it).
Christian Cameron got me to start thinking about Hema again. but More of HMA (not centrally focused on ) Manchuarchery.org's article on the Last Manchu Archer got me thinking about incorporating archery to my Hiit Routine and of course thinking more about Archer characters. So did Nikolas Tomihama and his Backyard Bowyer give some ideas in practicing archery with such a small space.

Current events was depressing and in the philippines we have terrible unimplementable laws. the discovery and understanding that we exist in this fragile state that confidence in the law leads to order, but if we look closely at how easily it is to game and how hard it is to fix, and how difficult it is for even to perform actions that move things (not just protests). Drug addicts or even drug criminality related people are considered subhuman, and can be killed without repercussion has gotten me to read up on a lot of laws, the terribly written constitution of the philippines, and more about the analysis of various groups that really go down to investigate the problems. The Philippine center of investigative journalism do their due dilligence more than most, Rappler comes second and the mainstream media here is just click bait (no sources or actionable items).The logic of political survival has come into my reading list.

On some lighter reading all the fitness related articles in Wikipedia. I highly recommend strength training and overtraining, and taking note of all the Psychomechanical interplay of those exercise articles with Taylorism/Scientific management. Reading it along with all the Management Sciences like Arthur V. Hills Encylopdia of Operations, Books on Lean Management, and as I'm delving deep into more Production Manufacturing books is coloring and detailing another part of the world for me. When I think about a filipino laborer and "productivity" i realize what little rest they have comes from a light hand and a well experienced technician who plans very well (which makes their rest comes from the incompetence of their leaders). an interesting picture since I apply it to Corve labor and that in my low tech studies.

I've started watching and studying the biomechanics of the HMA and archery. Particularly with the other notes of work sciences in mind. Of course this gets the gears of imagination working about what kind of character I would like and what kind of life he would have had or can have. Its brought me to thinking of the training more and more, and the painfully slow improvement and how mindset plays in the improvement (it doesnt feel slow to me, it happens when various things fall right and to expect that with certain lifepaths - like a family man on call will have serious limitaitons to meet this). Another key thing I think about its "Making Time" for me and my character. I realize elaborating our priorities doesnt get to the bottom of what we really prioritize unless time, pressure, and others make us realize what our real priorities is. and when I think of characters having a misleading idea of what their priorities are I wonder how to model it in the game and how players may not like that level of complexity.

It will be a while when I realistically have the time to game and even get into world building again. I would really love to flesh out a world with my new knowledge because thats how I memorize it and make it part of me: get new knowledge and reframe and rewrite it again and again till i have a portable model I can carry with me or a model I can tuck away in my notes and decompress when I need it.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Core Mechanics can get complicated.

I almost take for-granted how complicated the basic mechanics can be:

Determine relevant Scores or Stats for the roll. This has a lot of implied knowledge. They can be intuitive but when you go down to nitty-gritty there are counter intuitive exceptions to everything and there are ways to frame and approach a problem or challenge.

It gets complicated since there are so many ways to frame the scene, narrative, problem, challenge, and situation and the practice that comes in rearranging Facts to frame something in a manipulative way. It may lead down the rabbit hole of Non-Fiction Writing techniques, Cognitive Biases, Arguments, and even (legal) Objections.

Determine the Situational Modifiers or Scope of Objective of the roll. Determine if the Character has any relevant modifiers from his capabilities, the environmental's or timing's or circumstantial modifiers, and then the Scope of the objective - relative to the resources and time that an action or roll.

One thing that is not usually comes up unless the GM plays Hard Mode is going into the details of the Cost or Opportunity Cost of the Action. Does it consume time, patience of another person or relationship credit, and consumable materials and how each attempt alters the circumstances.

Determine the Consequences of the Roll. If failure, success, or set backs happen. There is the Game's System way to resolve it and there is the best way to resolve it based on the story, the player, the party, and the long game of enjoying the hobby.

Then there is elements of Risk and Chance. if you've heard of a GM who killed a PC on rolling a 1 lighting a torch on a D20, after a basic review on Risk (reading wikiarticles on Probablity, OSHA, and system processes) this becomes something someone more informed would not do. And by Informed this can mean 3000-30k worth of words bits of data of Informed.

Something as Basic as Core or Basic Mechanics can get pretty complicated. so my Gming gdoc keeps getting longer

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

World Building is a Skill

It was only recently I realized World building as a Skill. As a skill it has many components with the goal making an immersive setting. Immersive settings have many traits that make it so: ideals, mechanics (it has laws that can be acceptable or makes sense), and engages us in many levels.

To some gamers, like myself, Science and the understanding the world we live in all contributes to my World building. When I read about current events, cultures, people, economics, psychology, history, politics, etc... all contribute to my World Building because I work these all in the narrative and details of the worlds I make.

Other gamers find Literature, Stories, Characters, ironies, tragedies, sufferings, Ideologies, human virtues, etc... are more the focus of their World building. We all have very different values and focus or clarity in an aspect of the world we live in that make it engaging to us and we reflect that back into our World Building.


Understanding the Fantasy

below are a couple of key information I try to look for that is absent in most RPGs. While most RPGs deal with Characters and Peoples, i like looking at demography and economics. With these two very broad elements the world becomes more real for me.

Currently my studies are about the Axial Age in 5-4C BCE China and Hellio Centric World (from the Balkans to India) and their economies and demography. I'm butchering Middle Ages data to create my made up data for this era. A mixed blessing that I'm too busy to play but I can do some research into some worthwhile answers to these questions. 

Demography

Demography helps in painting a picture of the population and the kind of life the people lived. It gets the world builder quickly into what matters and the mortality of the population. 
  1. Child mortality, ex. ~33% before reaching the age of 5 in pre modern times and in poor undeveloped states and regions. 
  2. Maternal Death ex. 20%. It makes one think of the role and value of women and mothers in society. their challenges and risks. 
  3. Median average life expectancy. Ex. mid-40s. this limits the ages of the characters and gets the players thinking of what maturity means. 
  4. Median Population Age, Family starting age, 
  5. Family Size 
Useful sources
  1. Dorsey Armstrong The Medieval World (i forgot her sources)
  2. Life Expectancy in the Middle Ages (quick search on the web)

Basic Economics

At the most basic level, economics deals with the reality of having to prioritize where the next meals is going to come from and what it is going to taste like. Tackling the most basic elements of the economy: food production and the patterns and exchanges make deviations to the norm all the more special. It also allows the world builders to frame the risk, rewards, transactions, value, and
  1. What is the most common crop and why?
  2. What is the output of land to weight of crop produced, in its basic usable form?
  3. What is the amount of man days it takes to Prepare and Harvest the land?
  4. What is the supplementary diet of the people?
  5. What is the sizes of the household?
  6. What is the cost of living? What are their buying and spending habits, what do people spend on which they shouldn't, and what are their key economic virtues and practices?
  7. What are the Patrons, the Elite, Indentured Servants, Servants, Slaves, and Clients like?
  8. What is their technology like?

Useful Sources