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 Post subject: 4e magic item economy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:18 pm 
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Heh, on another message board, 4e is being thoroughly dissected and found to be a bland sort of creature. There's complaining about the economy and how it encourages players to go around beating up Magic Item Merchants

(Well, it's like this: Someone pointed out that you only get 20% of an item's cost. But merchants charge full price and then another 20-40%. So you get 200 gp for an item that costs a thousand, and you'd be paying 1,200-1,400 for it if you bought it at a shop.

And creating items is sub-par, so the logic goes that the major option for magic item acquisition is looting them from fights. And you could rack up some good loot by by visiting Ye Magyk Itemme Shoppe, owned by the merchant in good standing Jooba Bigbelly, Esq., picking a fight with him, beating him up, and carrying off the contents of his store in a santa sack.)

But there's some weird stuff going on. Like how someone demonstrated that once you infer the rules, it's easy to create classes (he said something to effect that you just look at what damage and effect options other classes have at equivalent level, and steal them).

Here's his take on the 4e Psion.

Quote:
Making a new class is actually very little work. Let's say you wanted to make something that "controls" things and was a Psion. Now, to make a full class you'd theoretically want at least two shticks for the class, and 4 Encounter powers and 3 Daily powers at each level so that nominally two random characters of exactly the same type wouldn't be exactly the same type. In reality however, the class you happen to be playing is actually going to be a stand alone character, so you only really need one solitary ability choice at each level and two At-Wills to select between (note: you won't be playing a Human, so who gives a [edited] about the 3rd at-will?).

Psionicist
“Feel the wrath of my mighty mind!”

Class Traits
Role: Controller
Power Source: Psionic
Key Abilities: Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, simple ranged
Implements: Orbs, Rods
Bonus to Defense: +1 Will, +1 Fortitude

Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution
Hit Points per Level Gained: 4
Healing Surges per Day: 6 + Constitution Modifier

Trained Skills: Insight and from the class list below, choose 3:
Class Skills: Arcana, Bluff, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Insight, Perception, Streetwise.

Class Features: Soul Knife, Stalk the Senseless, Mind Over Matter.


Soul Knife
You may treat a light blade as an implement.

Stalk the Senseless
You have invisibility to stunned and dazed creatures.

Mind Over Matter
You may push your brain to the limits of what your body is capable of handling. Once per encounter you may add your Constitution modifier to the damage you inflict against an opponent.

Mind Over Matter
“Drawing upon the last reserves of the body, the mind pushes itself to things it thought impossible.”
Encounter ✦ Psionic, Psychic
Free Action
Effect: Use when you have hit a target with a Psionic power, inflict your Constitution modifier in additional psychic damage to one target.


Level 1 At-Will Disciplines

Ego Whip
“A brutal and invisible mental lash strikes out at the target's very mind.”
At-Will ✦ Psionic, Implement, Psychic
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One Creature
Attack: Wisdom vs. Will
Hit: 1d6 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage. Target is dazed until the end of your next turn.
Increase Damage to 2d6 + Wisdom modifier at 21st level.


Telekinetic Grasp
“The psychic powers of the psionicist manifest as pure force constricting and strangling the target.”
At-Will ✦ Psionic, Implement, Force
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One Creature
Attack: Wisdom vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d6 + Wisdom modifier force damage. Target is immobilized until the end of your next turn.
Increase Damage to 2d6 + Wisdom modifier at 21st level.


Level 1 Encounter Disciplines

Thought Steal
“You take a portion of the target's mind, learning their strategies.”
Encounter ✦ Psionic, Implement, Psychic
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Wisdom vs. Will
Hit: 2d6 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage. All allies have combat advantage against the target until the end of the encounter.


Level 1 Daily Disciplines

Force of Will
“The target is hurled by psychic force across the ground, coming to a stop smashed and battered.”
Daily ✦ Psionic, Implement, Reliable, Force
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Wisdom vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d8 + Wisdom modifier force damage. You may push target up to your Constitution modifier in squares (minimum 1). Target is dazed until the end of your next turn.


Level 2 Utility Disciplines

Probability Travel
“Concentrating slightly, you adjust your location without passing through intervening space.”
At-Will ✦ Psionic, Teleportation
Move Action
Effect: Teleport 2 squares.

Level 3 Encounter Disciplines

Id Insinuation
“Wicked and treacherous thoughts are pushed into the target's mind.”
Encounter ✦ Psionic, Implement, Charm, Psychic
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One creature.
Attack: Wisdom vs. Will
Hit: 1d8 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage. Target becomes dazed until the end of your next turn. Target immediately makes a single basic attack against a target of your choice.


Level 5 Daily Disciplines

Telefrag
“You teleport directly into an enemy, displacing them destructively.”
Daily ✦ Psionic, Weapon or Implement, Reliable, Teleportation
Standard Action Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Constitution vs. Reflex
Hit: Target is pushed your Wisdom modifier in squares (minimum 1), and suffers 3d10 + Constitution modifier damage. Target is dazed (Save ends). You teleport to the square the target was originally in.


Level 6 Utility Disciplines

Tower of Iron Will
“A wave of psychic energy overwhelms all sense and reason.”
Encounter ✦ Psionic, Implement, Psychic
Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: An attack hits your Will defense.
Effect: The attack has no effect on you or any other target.

Level 7 Encounter Disciplines

Psionic Blast
“A wave of psychic energy overwhelms all sense and reason.”
Encounter ✦ Psionic, Implement, Psychic
Standard Action Close blast 5
Target: All creatures in area.
Attack: Wisdom vs. Will
Hit: 2d8 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage. Target is dazed until end of your next turn.
Miss: Half damage and target is not dazed.


Level 9 Daily Disciplines

Probability Manipulation
“Things just work out. The psionicist blurs and then is somewhere else, out of harm's way.”
Daily ✦ Psionic, Teleportation
Immediate Reaction
Trigger: An opponent hits you with an attack
Target: One creature.
Attack: Constitution vs. Will
Hit: Target is dazed until the end of your next turn.

Effect: The attack misses and has no effect on you. Until the end of your next turn, you gain a bonus equal to your Wisdom modifier against the target who attacked you. Until the end of your next turn, you gain a bonus to all defenses equal to your Dexterity modifier. You may immediately teleport a number of squares equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1).

Level 10 Utility Disciplines

Mental Barrier
“A wall of force appears as hard as stone.”
Daily ✦ Psionic, Conjuration, Force
Standard Action Wall 6 within 10.
Effect: You create a wall of mental force that is up to 6 squares long and 4 squares high. This wall is as tough as stone.

----

And so on. I mean, at this point you have to choose your prospective Paragon Path, but since you're making it for just one character you don't really have to make more than one.


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 Post subject: Re: 4th ED and DragonMech.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:48 pm 
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aye, the economy promotes the character to go out and adventure, or be giant evil douches and attack supposedly well armed and defended merchants.

But the important thing is... why? because the so called "heroes" are actually greedy as hell players? if that's the case the players need to loose a few treasured characters, and be told to act right(like heroes) before they play again. I hate to say it but the real issue with the economy is the realism... people don't like it. You want to drop into town, sell all your crap and move on? ok! you get 20% value. You want to buy something? if the Merchant has it, it's marked up. The reason is time and handling, a merchant will buy your stuff with the hopes of being able to sell it with in 2-3 years, and during that time he has to raise the price slightly for handling and the outrageous cost of travel, at least in the standard PoL setting let alone the DragonMech setting...

Anyway... I'm gonna get back to work. and hopefully get some work on this update....

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 Post subject: Re: 4th ED and DragonMech.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 189
Seben-PistonRager wrote:
aye, the economy promotes the character to go out and adventure, or be giant evil douches and attack supposedly well armed and defended merchants.

But the important thing is... why? because the so called "heroes" are actually greedy as hell players? if that's the case the players need to loose a few treasured characters, and be told to act right(like heroes) before they play again. I hate to say it but the real issue with the economy is the realism... people don't like it. You want to drop into town, sell all your crap and move on? ok! you get 20% value. You want to buy something? if the Merchant has it, it's marked up. The reason is time and handling, a merchant will buy your stuff with the hopes of being able to sell it with in 2-3 years, and during that time he has to raise the price slightly for handling and the outrageous cost of travel, at least in the standard PoL setting let alone the DragonMech setting...

Anyway... I'm gonna get back to work. and hopefully get some work on this update....


I dunno. It could be somewhat morally justifiable to take some of the shinier loot you *need* from a magic item merchant who's being all insane on his prices. It runs like this:

1) The characters may be very well trying to save the world. Save something big anyway.

2) When you're doing something that big, you want all the advantage you can get.

3) It's a little irrational for a magic item merchant to be charging you, the Companions of World-Saving, a hugely inflated price while shortcharging you so so much. I mean, you'd probably be fine with him buying loot at 50% of the price and selling at 100%.

4) So if Jooba Fatbelly is going on about how he's got to turn a profit and won't let me have a Holy Avenger that I really could use in the near future, I'd probably knock him over the head, tie him up, apologize, and take exactly what the party would need. And return the stuff later, when I've gotten better stuff, with a little extra.


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 Post subject: Re: 4th ED and DragonMech.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:13 am 
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justifying assault "cause we need it and don't want to pay" is at least in my opinion not heroic in the slightest. you could always talk to the merchant and actually do the role-play bit, but for quick and dry in and out purchasing/selling of stuff the rules work just fine... PC's often have way to much money anyway...

anyway... if you use that rationalization, there's no reason for anyone other than the royal armory and nobles to have magical items. cause they "really need" that stuff too, as much as any power mad PC anyway.

what if the merchant doesn't have it? what if him and his 8 guards are all higher level than you and fully decked out in the best magic they can get? the idea of the magic item vendor is suposed to go away, because... the parcels the players find during actual play are supposed to contain what they need(not specifically what they want...) picky players falling into cookie cutter molds of gear was exactly one of the problems they were trying to stop, both by weakening/removing the most broken of the broken, but by also making the very weak or at least under appreciated more powerful... like the swan boat feather. I'm just ranting now, The economy works fine in my opinion. People just need to play more and think less about the economy, to understand they're really not missing out until they really have their eys set on something that costs in the 100k plus range and find out that they'll be getting one soon enough if they just stop looking at their pocketbook and just go out there and kill some damned monsters.

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 Post subject: Re: 4th ED and DragonMech.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Eh, you could make a case that DnD is about morally ambiguous behavior anyway.

You engage in banditry, assault, theft, racially-motivated murder, and making a rare species even more rare is considered to be a high achievement.

Oh, and having green or orange or any skin color but a human one and fangs and stuff is considered to be a very good sign that you are Evil and need killin'. So is being bigger than Medium.

(Cross-reference the early strips of Goblins.)

As for adventurers beating up merchants and taking their stuff, I'm seen plenty of similar things done by protagonists. Commandeering a motorcycle, or a bicycle, or, in one extreme case, a BMW, because you really, really NEED to get to somewhere in a hurry.

Or, to put it another way, I wouldn't get mad in the least if I, as a DM, had a good-sized Red Dragon attack the town and one party member goes, "I don't know about the rest, but I go to the magic item shop and grab the most expensive weapons on display, THEN we go attack the dragon," I'd concede their logic. And then watch to see if they returned the Holy Avenger they'd swiped for the Paladin.


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 Post subject: Re: 4th ED and DragonMech.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:38 pm 
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I think the biggest problem there is two fold...

1. immediate need(dragon attacking) vs future need/want(planning on invading another kingdom)
and
2.Assuming any magic merchant worth his salt is going to have the real +4 holy avenger just sitting on a shelf just inside his door.

But, I don't want to talk about this anymore here, this thread is for making 4E stats for DragonMech stuff. if you really want to se crazy indepth discussion about fair/unfair economy... check enworld.com it's full of people with a lot more energy arguing on both sides.

speaking of which I've been working on weapons. should have it tweaked and up in a few days.

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 Post subject: Re: 4e magic item economy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Here's something I found. It's pretty interesting.

The Three (or so) Economies

“I’ll give you five pounds of gold, the soul of Karlack the Dread King, and three onions for your boat, the Sword of the Setting Sun, and that cabbage. . . ”

Life in D&D land is not like life in a capitalist meritocracy with expense accounts and credit cards. There is no unified monetary system and there are no marked prices. All transactions are essentially barter, and you can only trade things for goods and services if people genuinely believe that the things you are trading have intrinsic value and the people you are trading to actually want those specific things. Gold can be traded to people only because people in the world genuinely think that gold is intrinsically valuable and that they want to own piles of gold.

That means that in places where people don’t want gold – such as the halfling farming collective of Feddledown, you can’t buy anything with it. It’s just a heavy, soft metal. But for most people in the fantasy universe, gold has a certain mystique that causes people to want it. That means that they’ll trade things they don’t need for gold. But no matter what they are giving up they aren’t ”selling” things because money as we understand the concept doesn’t really exist. They are trading some goods or services directly for a physical object – an actual lump of gold. Not a unit of value equivalency, not a promise of future gold, not a state guarantee of an amount of labor and productive work – but an actual physical object that is being literally traded. And yeah, that’s totally inefficient, but that’s what you get when John Locke hasn’t been born yet, let alone modern economic theorists like Adam Smith, Karl Marx, or Benito Mussolini. If you really want to get into the progressive economic theories that people are throwing around with a straight face, go ahead and check out theoreticians like Martin Luther, Thomas Aquinas, Sir Thomas Moore, or Zheng He. If you want to see what conservative opinions look like in D&D land, go ahead and read up on your Draconis, Li Ssu, Aristotle, or Tamerlain.

The Turnip Economy
“We got rats! Rats on sticks!”

Most settlements in a D&D setting are really small and completely unable to sustain any barter for such frivolities as gold or magical goods. The blacksmith of a hamlet does not trade his wares for silver, he trades them for food. He does this because the people around him are farmers and they don’t make enough surplus to hoard valuable metals. So if he took gold for his services, he would get something he couldn’t spend, and then he wouldn’t be able to eat. So even though people in the tiny villages you fly over when you get your first gryphon will freely acknowledge that your handful of silver is worth very much more than their radishes, or their tin cups, or whatever it is that they produce for the market, they still won’t trade for your metal because they know that by doing so they run the risk of starving to death as rich men.

The economy of your average gnomish village is so depressed by modern standards that even the idea of wealth accumulation and currency is incomprehensible. But the idea of slacking off is universal. There is a static amount of work that needs to be done on the farm each year and the peasants are perfectly willing to put you up if you do some of their chores. Seriously, they won’t let you stay in their house for a copper pfennig or a silver ducat, but they will give you food and shelter if you cleanout the pig trough. They have no use for your ”money”, but they do need the poop out of the pig pen and they don’t want to do it. On the other hand, they also don’t want to be eaten by a manticore, so if you publicly slay one that has been terrorizing the village the people will feed you for free pretty much as long as you live. That’s why people pay money to bards. Bards spend a lot of time in cities and actually will take payment in copper and gold. And if they sing songs about you, your fame increases. And fame really is something that you can use to buy yourself food and shelter from people in the turnip economy.

”Costs” in the turnip economy are extremely variable. In lean times, the buying power of a carrot is relatively high and in fat times the buying power of a cabbage is very low. It is in this way that the people in tiny hamlets get so very screwed. No matter how much they produce or don’t produce, they are pretty much going to get just enough nails and ladders and such to continue the operations of their farms. However, such as there is a unit of currency in the barter economy of the turnip exchange – it’s a unit of 1000 Calories. That’s enough food to keep one peasant alive for one day. It’s not enough to feed them well, and it’s not enough to make them grow big and strong, but it’s enough so that they don’t actually die (for reference, a specialist eats 2000 Calories a day to stay sharp and an actual adventurer eats 5000 Calories a day to maintain fighting shape).

In Rokugan, that’s called a Koku, and in much of Faerun it is called a ”ration”. It works out to about 2 cups of dry rice (435 mL), or a 12 oz. steak (340 g), or 5 cups of black beans (1.133 kg), or 4.4 ounces of cooking oil (125 g).

Higher Calorie foods like meat and oil are more valuable and lower calorie foods like celery or spinach are less valuable because a lot of people exist on the razor’s edge of starvation. The really fatty cuts of meat are the most valuable of all (it’s like you’re in Japan or Africa in that way). The practical effect of all of this is that people who have a skilled position such as blacksmith or scribe get enough food to grow up big, healthy, and intelligent. The peasants actually are weak and stupid because they only get 1000 Calories a day – they won’t die on that but they don’t grow as people. This also means that the blacksmith’s son becomes the next blacksmith – he’s the guy in the village who gets enough food to get the muscles you need to actually be a blacksmith.

When you start a party of adventurers, note the really tremendous expenditures that were required to make your characters. A 16 year old first level character didn’t just get a longsword from somewhere, he’s also been fed a non-starvation diet for 5844 days. That means that at some point your newly trained Fighter or Rogue seriously had someone invest thousands of Koku into him to allow him to get to that point. If your character is a street rat or a war orphan, consider where this food may have come from. Perhaps when the orcs destroyed your village leaving your character alone in the world the granary survived and your character had a huge supply of millet to sustain himself until he could hunt and kill deer to augment his diet.

A Note on Peasant Uprisings

Quote:
Peasants may seem like they get a crap deal out of life. That’s because they do. And
regardless of whatever happy peasant propaganda you may have seen, peasants aren’t
really happy with their life even under Good or Lawful rulership. That’s because they
work hard hours all year and get nothing to show for it. So the fact that they don’t
get beaten by Good regimes or stolen from by Lawful regimes doesn’t really make them
particularly rich or pleased.

In Earth’s history, peasant uprisings happened about every other generation in every
single county from Europe all the way to China all the way through the entire feudal
era (all 1500 years of it). It is not unreasonable to expect that feudal regions in D&D
land would have even more peasant uprisings because the visible wealth discrepancies
between Rakshasa overlords and halfling dirt farmers is that much more intense. Sure,
as in the real world’s history these uprisings would rarely win, and even more rarely
actually hold territory (if lords can agree on nothing else, it is that the peasants should
not be allowed to rise up and kill the lords). The lords are all powerful adventurers,
or the family and friends of powerful adventurers, so the frequent peasant revolts are
usually put down with fireballs and even cloudkills.

Students of modern economic thought may notice that cutting the remote regions in
on a portion of the central government’s wealth in order to buy actual loyalty from the
hinterlands could quite easily pay itself off in greater stability and the ability to invest in
the production of the hinterlands causing the central government’s coffers to swell with
the enhanced overall economy and making the entire region safer and stronger in times
of war ? but as noted elsewhere such talk is considered laughable even by Lawfully
minded theorists in the D&D world. After all, since abstract currency doesn’t see use
and the villagers don’t have any gold, it is ”well known” that it is impossible to make
a profit on investment in the villages. The only possible choices involve taking more or
less of their food as taxes/loot as that is all they produce.


The Gold Economy
“What pleasures can I get for a diamond?”
“We’ll. . . have to get the book.”


People who live in cities mostly trade in gold. This is not just because living so far away from the dirt farmers makes the hoarding of turnips as a trade commodity a dangerous undertaking – but because people living in cities are surrounded by a lot of people who provide a wide variety of goods and services they are willing and able to trade for substances generally acknowledged to be valuable rather than trading directly for the goods and services that they actually want. These valuable substances range from precious metals (copper, silver, gold, platinum) to gems (pearls, rubies, onyx, diamond) to spices (salt, myconid spores, hellcandy flowers). In any case, these trade goods are traded back and forth many times before they are ever used for anything.

When someone sells an item or a service for trade goods they are doing it for one of two reasons. The first is that they want something that the buyer doesn’t have. For example, a man might want a barrel of lard or a bolt of silk – but they’ll accept silver coins or something else that they are reasonably certain they can trade to a third party for whatever it is that they are actually interested in. Whoever is using the trade goods is at a disadvantage in the bargaining therefore, because while they are getting something they actually want, the other trader is essentially getting the potential to purchase something they want once they walk around and find someone who will take the silver for their goods. It is for this reason that the purchasing power of gold is shockingly low in rural areas: a prospective trader would have to walk for days to get to another place he might actually spend a gold coin – so all negotiation essentially starts with buying several days of the man’s labor and attention. The second reason for accepting a trade good is the belief that the trade good may itself become more valuable. Indeed, when were crocodiles take over a nearby village all the silver becomes a lot more interesting. This sort of speculation happens all the time and is incredibly bad for the economy. People and dragons take enormous amounts of currency out of circulation and the resulting economic downturns are part of what makes the dark ages so. . . dark.

Gold and jewels can be used to purchase magic items that aren’t amazingly impressive. No wizard is ever going to make a masterpiece just to sell it for slips of silver. However, there are more than a few magicians who would be willing to invest some time in order to get a handful of gold that they can use to live their lives easier with. Making even Minor magic items is hard work, and wizards demand piles of gold to be heaped on them for producing even magical trinkets. And because these demands actually work, there’s really no chance to purchase anything that would take a Magician a long time to make. That means that Major magic items cannot be purchased with standard trade goods at all. There’s literally no artificer anywhere who is going to sit down and make a Ring of Spellstoring or a Helm of Brilliance in order to sell it for gold – because the same artificer can acquire as much gold as he can carry just by making Rings of Featherfall or Cloaks of Resistance.

The Wish Economy
“They scour the land searching for relics of the age of legends. Scant remnants they believe will grant them the powers of the Vanished Ones. I do not. The Age of Legends lives in me.”

Magicians can only produce a relatively small number of truly powerful magic items. While a magician can produce any number of magic items that hold requirements at least 4 levels below their own – a wizard is permitted only one masterpiece at each level of their progression. It is no surprise, therefore, that characters would be vastly interested in acquiring magic items produced by others that are even of near equivalence to the mightiest items that a character could produce. A character could plausibly bind 8 magic items, and yet they can only create one which is of their highest level of effect. Gaining powerful magic items from other sources is a virtual requirement of the powerful adventurer. So it is of no surprise that there is a brisk – if insanely risky – trade in magical equipment amongst the mighty. All the ingredients are there: characters are often left holding onto items that they can’t use (for example: a third fire scimitar) and they are totally willing to exchange them for other items that they might want (magical teapots that change the weather or helmets that allow a man to see in all directions). And while the mutual benefit of such trades is not to be downplayed, it is similarly obvious that the benefits of betrayal in such arrangements are amazingly amazing. Killing people and taking their magical stuff is what adventurers do, so handing magic items back and forth in a seedy bar in a planar metropolis is an obviously dangerous undertaking.

Tamerlain’s Economy: The Murderocracy
“The soldier may die, but he must receive his pay.”

Let’s say that you don’t want to exchange goods and services for other goods and services at all. Well, it’s medieval times baby, there’s totally another option. See, if you kill people by stabbing them in the face when they want to be paid for things, you don’t have to pay for things. Indeed, if you have a big enough pack of gnolls at your back, you don’t have to pay anything to anyone except your own personal posse of gnolls.

The disadvantages of this plan are obvious – people get super pissed when they find out that you murdered their daughter because it was that or pay for a handful of radishes. But let’s face it: if that old man can’t do anything about it because you’ve got a pack of gnolls – then seriously what’s he going to do? And while this sort of thing is often as not the source for an adventure hook (some guy comes to you and whines about how his whole family was killed by orcs/gnolls/your mom/ ogres/demons/or whatever and suddenly you have to strike a blow for great justice), it is also a cold harsh reality that everyone in D&D land has to live with. Remember: noone has written The Rights of Man. Heck, no one has even written Leviathan. The fact that survivors of an attack may appeal to the better nature of adventurers is pretty much the only recompense that our gnoll posse might fear should they simply forcibly dispossess everyone in your village.

So people who have something that the really powerful people want are in a lot of danger. If a dirt farmer who does all of his bargaining in and around the turnip economy suddenly finds himself with a pile of rubies that’s bad news. It’s not that there aren’t people who would be willing to trade that farmer fine clothing, good food, and even minor magic items for those rubies – there totally are. But a pile of rubies is just big enough that a Marilith might take time out of her busy schedule to teleport in and murder his whole family for them. And he’s a dirt farmer – there’s no way he has the force needed to even pretend to have the force needed to stop her from doing it. So if you have planar currencies or powerful artifacts, you can’t trade them to innkeepers and prostitutes. You can’t even give them away save to other powerful people and organizations.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a peasant who runs around with a ring that casts charm person once a day or there isn’t a minor bandit chief who happens to have a magic sword. Those guys totally exist and they may well wander the lands trying to parlay their tiny piece of asymmetric power into something more. But the vast majority of these guys don’t go on to become famous adventurers or dark lords – they get their stuff taken away from them the first time they go head to head with someone with real power. Good or Evil, Lawful or Chaotic, noone wants some idiot to be running around with a ring that charms people – because frankly that’s the kind of dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. If you happen to be powerful and see some small fry running around with some magic – your natural inclination is to take it from them. It doesn’t matter what your alignment is, it doesn’t matter if the guy with the wand of lightning bolt is currently ”abusing” it, the fact is that if you don’t take magic items away from little fish one of your enemies will. There is no right to private property. Noone owns anything, they just hold on to it until someone takes it from them.

Beelzebub’s Economy: The Trade in Favors
“I’m certain that there’s something we can do to help you. . . but eventually you’ll have to help us.”

Every transaction in D&D land is essentially barter. People trade a cloth sack for a handful of peas, people trade an embroidered silken sack for a handful of silver, and people trade a powerful magical sack for a handful of raw power. But in any of these cases, the exchange is a one-time swap of goods that one person wants more for goods the other person desires. But there is no reason it has to work like that. Modern economies abstract all of the exchanges by creating ”money” that is an arbitrary tally of how much goods and services one can expect society to deliver – thereby allowing everyone to ”trade” for whatever they want regardless of what they happen to produce. Nothing nearly that awesome exists anywhere in the myriad worlds of Dungeons and Dragons. What one can see in heavy use is the trade in favors. This is just like getting paid in money except that your money is only good with the guy who paid it to you. So you can see why people might be reluctant to sell you things for it. And yet despite the extremely obvious disadvantages of this system, it is in extremely wide use at every level of every economy. And the reason is because it’s really convenient. There is no guaranty that a King will have anything you want right now when he needs you to kill the dragon that is plaguing his lands. In fact, with a dragon plaguing his lands, the King is probably in the worst possible position to pay you anything. But once the lands aren’t on fire and taxes start rolling in, he can probably pay you quite handsomely. Heck, in two years or so his daughter will be marrying age and since she’s just going to end up as an aristocrat unless she becomes the apprentice and cohort of a real adventurer. . .

Failing to pay one’s debts can have disastrous consequences in D&D land. We’re talking ”sold to hobgoblin slavers” levels of bad. Heck, this is a world in which you can seriously go into a court of law and present ”He needed killing” as an excuse for premeditated homicide, so people who renege on their favors owed are in actual mortal danger. Of course, everyone is in mortal danger all the time because in D&D land you actually can have land shark attacks in your home town – so it isn’t like there are any less people who flake on duties and favors. Of course, if people know you let favors slide they might be less likely to pull you out of the way of oncoming land sharks. Even in Chaotic areas, pissing off your neighbors is rarely a great plan.


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 Post subject: Re: 4e magic item economy
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:47 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 189
Wow. This is...an Order of the Stick moment right here...

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1063694


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