[Runequest] (no subject)

Styopa styopa1 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 6 03:25:45 EST 2014

Not an expert in any sense of the word, I would only add that there are
other than metals that were mined because of their great value - the
Hallein Salt Mines have been worked continuously for approximately 7000
years (!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallein_Salt_Mine

A great overview of ancient ore-gathering and -refining techniques from
Egypt: http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/9703/meyer-9703.html

A series I've had on my bookmarks list for years, but never had the time to
watch it (12 part series, 30 mins each on the geology of ores and mining)

"...Thus, our experimental smelting leads us to estimate that over the
300-year occupation of Gorny the copper production would have been 21.4 mt
(requiring10700 mt of wood as fuel)..."
Meaning this Bronze-Age copper mining complex produced 21400 kg of copper
over 300 years.  That seems rather low to me.  10700 mt of wood means they
were cutting ~50 ha of woodland just to produce the prodigious quantities
of wood needed.   (Not sure how valid these conclusions are - I'm pretty
sure that they knew about coal in the Bronze age, and that would have
provided far better fuel.  71kg of copper/year is either extremely low, or
implies copper was astonishingly precious.)

Keep in mind the follow-on consequences of intense mining:
mining during the Roman era seems to have polluted the global
atmosphere with lead for 900 years.

I would further imagine that (lacking some sort of comprehensive geological
map by the DM) any mine would have to ultimately have an exhaustion factor,
or more likely a 'cost to extract' curve that progresses as the vein is
worked meaning ultimately any remaining ore just becomes too expensive to
be worth extracting.

Personally, I'd just Command Gnome to spit me out whatever gold or gems are
in a volume and save myself the work.

On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 7:33 AM, Marko Perälä <perala at student.uef.fi> wrote:

> Hi.
> Here is a rather generalized question - not just for RQ, but for any RPG:
> How should mining operations be handled? Let's suppose PCs were involved in
> mining activity (owned a claim in gold fields, partners in a silver mine,
> owners of a copper mine shaft etc.). How could the mining activity be
> abstracted (for simplicity's sake, let's assume a pseudomedieval fantasy
> world)? Would it be a simple skill related production roll to see, how much
> is mined? Then there are various types of mining methods and different
> kinds of metals involved. Gold mining often utilized gold's heaviness in
> separating the metal from black sand, e.g. cradling, panning, sluice
> boxing. Silver mines are more classical mine shafts. Copper, lead, zinc,
> tin, coal...I don't know how those were mined historically. Nowadays there
> are lots of open pit mines with electrolysis refinement involved. So, how
> should this be handled?
> My take on it would be:
> 1. for a small gold mine (panning or cradling a riverbank) some kind of
> skill roll for each miner to see, whether they succeed in panning some gold
> that day. Special or critical success doubles or triples the amount. I'm
> not sure, whether panning works with other metals. I have never heard
> anyone panning for anything else, but gold.
> 2. sluice mining produces more gold, but requires more workforce, so it
> would have to be some kind of groups skill roll to see, how much is
> produced daily. More labor force, but more profits per miner.
> 3. Underground mining (traditional mines, silver, copper, coal, other
> metals) are even bigger operations, so it requires lots of people and there
> is a risk of cave-ins. This operation has to either work above the
> groundwater level or have some kind of pump system to remove water
> (drowning hazard). This kind of mine is a large scale operation and
> individual success or failure probably has no effect on mine's production
> daily, unless a cave-in blocks the shaft. This level of operation is so
> expensive that no one bothers, unless the profits cover the high expenses
> or deposit is so large that the mine starts having scale related benefits.
> Miners may be (in big shaft mines) hired employees, slaves (common in
> historical mines) or equal shareholders in the mine (small mines, until
> owners get rich enough to hire diggers). Profits should probably be related
> to the amount of workers, rather than individual skill. Maybe a skill roll
> to, whether there is an accident, flooding or cave-in while working.
> 4. Open pit mining (coal, stone, chalk etc.) is mining for stuff that is
> a) needed in large quantities and b) needs very little refinement from its
> current state. Daily profits are rather constant in relation to the size of
> the operation. I think this level of mining is reserved for big mining
> companies and miners are just hired employees. Work is hard, but dangers
> are small, except for occasional landslide.
> So, this my take on the matter. Now few things that puzzle me:
> -How much a mine should produce per miner (depending on material mined) in
> levels 1-4? I don't know, how to estimate these.
> -What skills should characters use in each levels 1-4? Craft: miner or
> perhaps Devise?
> -How dangerous is the daily labor in each level of mine?
> I'd appreciate if someone with actual knowledge of mining practices gave
> his/her highly valued opinion on this issue.
> Marko Perälä
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