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dspeyer
2009-05-10, 02:58 PM
I started thinking lately about DND money: if my character tosses "a few gold pieces" to someone, is this a small tip or a ridiculous fortune? Are WBL adventurers way richer than merchants and kings? I decided to put together a table of calculations, which I share here:

{table]item|number 1gp buys|price in dollars|calculated conversion|price source
ladder|20|50|1000|Ace Hardware
person-day unskilled work|10|58|580|US DOL
lb gold|0.02|13066|261.32|www.goldprice.org
loaf of bread|50|4|200|netgrocer
person-day beginning professional labor|1|160|160|CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/worklife/10/27/cb.what.major.pays/index.html)
cow|0.1|1500|150|beefmagazine.com
artisons outfit|1|110|110|jcpenny
blanket|2|20|40|target
sq yd canvas|10|4|40|fashionfabricsclub.com
lb silver|0.2|181.5625|36.3125|New York Exchange (kitco.com)
lb flour|50|0.72|36|NetGrocer
backpack|0.5|70|35|target
candle|100|0.3|30|bargainjudaica.com
hammer|2|14|28|Sears
poor meal|5|5|25|mcdonalds
common meal|2|10|20|personal experience
lb cinnamon|1|13.76|13.76|NetGrocer
good meal|0.5|25|12.5|Yarrow Bay Grill
shovel|0.5|22|11|sears
rowboat|0.02|529|10.58|DirectBoats.com
lb soap|2|3|6|ivory
heavy crossbow|0.02|225|4.5|swordsofhonor.com
lb copper|2|1.95|3.9|www.metalprices.com
kukri|0.125|27|3.375|Smith & Wesson
rapier|0.05|60|3|OnlineSports.com
lb iron|10|0.09|0.9|www.metalprices.com
paper|2.5|0.01|0.025|officedepot[/table]

The extremes of the table can probably be ignored. The PHB price for ladders is probably a typo (as ten-foot-pole sellers well know). The modern price of unskilled labor is artificially inflated. At the other end, the manufacture of paper and iron has been completely revolutionized.

I was interested to see how much more expensive weapons were in DND than our world. For pretty much any weapon and any consumer good, the amount of that good you'd need to barter for the weapon is much higher in DND. This is strange, since there's a lot more reason for the average DND civilian to be armed. It would be interesting to see if this was true in medieval europe (though in that case there were a lot of legal restrictions on weapon ownership too).

Cloth and clothing in DND is surprisingly cheap, considering how labor-intensive it was before the invention of automated spinning and weaving. Perhaps the DND world has those things.

Gold in DND is very, very cheap. Perhaps because of the easy availability of the elemental plane of earth. Alternatively, so that colossal dragons can sleep on a bed of it without making a mockery of the economy. This does put its usability as a means of exchange in question, since the payment for a +2 weapon requires a cart to transport, but perhaps extradimensional space solves this.

Overall, it seems there's a big cluster of things around $30/gp, so that's a good idea to keep in one's head, along with a list of things that are much cheaper or more expensive in DND.

Myou
2009-05-10, 03:11 PM
Aren't you forgetting that in D&D items are not made in factories on production lines? What's more, the modern global economy is totally different to the medievil one.

Edit: Not to mention that your sources for modern prices vary and are not repersentative of average costs, and items vary hugely in availablity - kukris are never used by anyone but rare weapon collerctors these days, while ladders are vital in many professions.

evisiron
2009-05-10, 03:16 PM
Nice one putting the table together.

I really try to avoid thinking about in in game, especially in terms of high end weapons. Thought that comes to mind is "how many soldiers/minions could I hire for the cost of this +5 weapon?".

And of course when selling the high end items to retail stores, who can afford them? How much wealth can they have to make such investments? What security systems could possibly be in place to safeguard such a fortune from the likes of dragons?!

TheThan
2009-05-10, 03:21 PM
The money system is very simple, I think we can all agree to that. There are a lot of goofy things in the system.

Like masterwork weapons. Masterwork weapons add 300 gold to the price of the weapon in question. If itís a double weapon, it adds 300 per side. Ok not so bad when you think about it. But take into account the quarter staff, itís a stick, it costs you nothing, it literally has no cost. Just go out into the forest and find a suitable stick. But if you want to make it masterwork, it costs you 600 gold because itís a double weapon. Which is almost twice as much as a masterwork great sword (which costs you 350 gold). Yet the masterwork quarterstaff is still just a stick, sure it may be a little fancier, but itís still just a sick.

RTGoodman
2009-05-10, 03:22 PM
We tried to figure out something like this for a campaign (that never got off the ground) in college - we were going to play ourselves in the real-world using d20 Modern, but then shift and play our "fantasy" selves in D&D 3.5 for part of it, too. It just becomes too complicated - prices in D&D aren't meant to model actual costs. They're either meant to be a measure of prevention to keep you from getting stuff too early, or they're just slapped-on prices that sounded good to the designers. At least, that's what it seems like to me.

(As an aside, I'd argue with the things you used for meals. A "poor meal" isn't McDonald's - a "poor meal" is a piece of slightly moldy bread, a potato, and maybe some water or watered-down beer or something. McDonald's is probably a common meal, and a "good meal" is probably a nice restaurant but not necessarily a gourmet one.)

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-10, 03:27 PM
Comparisons like this are useless because of the difference in production methods and costs, transportation and infrastructure, and supply and demand.

The D&D economy isn't even internally consistent; trying to compare it to real ones is hopeless. It's also purposeless - it doesn't tell you anything about anything. A D&D gold piece isn't worth a pound of cinnamon in 2009; it's just worth a gold piece in D&D. If you want to see the worth of the D&D gold piece, you can look at the price lists and get a theoretically exact worth.

Then there's the whole issue that realistically, you got wildly varying prices just by crossing the English channel back in the Middle Ages. Going by the example lists in the fairly well-sourced Fief by Lisa J. Steele: in 1295, the "daily wage" of a French knight was 15 sou, while from 1212 to 1415, the "daily wage" of an English knight was 2 sou. In 1200, an English soldier's daily wage was 2 dernier, and in 1202 a French soldier's was 10 dernier.

Costs and wages were entirely dependent on local economy; if you wanted to start applying some kind of realism, you should forget about working out "real-day comparisons" (which actually reveal absolutely nothing about anything), and start introducing supply and demand, devaluation, and similar concepts into your D&D campaign.

And why not? I'm sure I'm not the only person who gets strange joy out of the finances involved in being prime minister of a late-Medieval city state in Cerebus: High Society, and giggles with glee at the bank crisis caused by the mass exchanging of bank notes into gold in Cerebus: Church & State...

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-10, 03:31 PM
Extremely expensive items will obviously be bought with precious gemstones, letters of credit, and so on. Not actual gold pieces. Transportation issues aside, if someone moves stuff priced at millions of gp, his time is probably too valuable to spend counting that many coins, checking that they're not false, and so on. It's important that currency can be easily verified as well as transferred.

Edit:
Like masterwork weapons. Masterwork weapons add 300 gold to the price of the weapon in question. If itís a double weapon, it adds 300 per side. Ok not so bad when you think about it. But take into account the quarter staff, itís a stick, it costs you nothing, it literally has no cost. Just go out into the forest and find a suitable stick. But if you want to make it masterwork, it costs you 600 gold because itís a double weapon. Which is almost twice as much as a masterwork great sword (which costs you 350 gold). Yet the masterwork quarterstaff is still just a stick, sure it may be a little fancier, but itís still just a sick.
Having it made masterwork theoretically gives the same benefit as having any double weapon made masterwork, and presumably takes as much skill and time. It's not just a slightly fancier stick, it's a really good stick. As much better than an ordinary stick as a masterwork double axe is than an ordinary double axe. (OK, no double axe is ordinary, but you get what I mean.)

The problem is that the benefit is likely purely theoretical, since there's a good chance that the character using the quarterstaff isn't using it as a double weapon.

Solution: Allow for just one end of a double weapon being masterwork. The ends can already be separately enchanted, after all; it's basically two weapons stuck together.

Baalthazaq
2009-05-10, 03:35 PM
I think you've answered your own question with your post:
Anything.

kjones
2009-05-10, 03:41 PM
I wish you could get a decent rapier for USD 60...

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-10, 03:51 PM
Since you asked about weapons specifically: according to Fief, crossbows ran from 3-7 sou in 1277, swords were 3 sou 4 dernier in 1324 (a tent was 2 livres; that's about 12 swords' worth), lances were 6 dernier in 1300-05 and 3 dernier in 1337, and longbows ranged from 12 dernier to 6 sou 8 dernier between 1227 and 1480 (in 1475, the crown set a maximum at 3 sou 4 dernier).

Meanwhile, a bushel of barley was 1-2 sou in the early 13th century and 6-7 dernier in the 14th. That's two swords for one bushel of barley. (A bushel was 8 gallons or 36 modern liters.)

A cow was 2 sou in 1213, 9 sou 9 dernier in 1262, and for instance 9 sou 5 dernier in the 14th century.

Meanwhile, warhorses could go for up to 50 livres in the late Middle Ages.

Prices are for England.

For reference, 1 livre = 20 sou = 240 dernier.


So yeah, weapon prices in D&D are ludicrous and make no sense.

weenie
2009-05-10, 04:08 PM
Since you asked about weapons specifically: according to Fief, crossbows ran from 3-7 sou in 1277, swords were 3 sou 4 dernier in 1324 (a tent was 2 livres; that's about 12 swords' worth), lances were 6 dernier in 1300-05 and 3 dernier in 1337, and longbows ranged from 12 dernier to 6 sou 8 dernier between 1227 and 1480 (in 1475, the crown set a maximum at 3 sou 4 dernier).

Meanwhile, a bushel of barley was 1-2 sou in the early 13th century and 6-7 dernier in the 14th. That's two swords for one bushel of barley. (A bushel was 8 gallons or 36 modern liters.)

A cow was 2 sou in 1213, 9 sou 9 dernier in 1262, and for instance 9 sou 5 dernier in the 14th century.

Meanwhile, warhorses could go for up to 50 livres in the late Middle Ages.

Prices are for England.

For reference, 1 livre = 20 sou = 240 dernier.


So yeah, weapon prices in D&D are ludicrous and make no sense.

This is very interesting. Could you provide a link to where you found this numbers? Google failed me..

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-10, 04:22 PM
Like I said, Fief, by Lisa J. Steele. Link (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/fief.htm)

The specific sources for the numbers I can't pin down - the source list for the book runs two pages.

The book is excellent, and specifically written for game masters.

Zergrusheddie
2009-05-10, 04:32 PM
Highly impressive. Kudos mate.

I've often thought something similar. Everyone has had to write off "a couple gold pieces" because they had to buy drinks for someone who was giving information. However if a non-skilled person only makes 1 silver per day, those couple gold would be enough to send him on a vacation! And the problem of "How do we sell this +5 sword when the king doesn't even have that much?" has to be ignored or the entire system falls apart.

Best of luck
-Eddie

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-10, 04:52 PM
"Has to be ignored"? Looks like someone hasn't read the Economicon (http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=9483527&postcount=5)!

The Wish Economy is how the multiverse works. Gods don't hand planets made of gold to each other any more than adventurers pay for things in pigs. Different levels of wealth really do require different forms of currency.

Of course, if don't care about verisimilitude at all, you can completely ignore encumbrance and let characters carry around actual tons of gold pieces, which they can count out in negligible time, and hand over them over in exchange for +10-equivalent weapons to a guy running a simple shop somewhere on the material plane with no security.

mostlyharmful
2009-05-10, 05:04 PM
Here's (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Dungeonomicon_(DnD_Other)/Economicon) a good source for thinking about this bit of DnD trivia

holywhippet
2009-05-10, 05:24 PM
You could argue that weapons and armour are more expensive because a) they require rare skills to create and b) metal isn't especially common in those kinds of settings so making things out of it will cost a lot.

Chronos
2009-05-10, 06:08 PM
I actually bought a couple of ten-foot-poles a few years back. There's a slim chance I might still have the receipt around here somewhere... I'll take a look.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-10, 06:26 PM
You could argue that weapons and armour are more expensive because a) they require rare skills to create and b) metal isn't especially common in those kinds of settings so making things out of it will cost a lot.

Those things are equally (or more) true of Middle Ages Europe as of the stereotypical D&D setting; arms and armor still end up overpriced relative to other goods. It's one of the idiotic features of the PC-driven economy, where things PCs have real use for are mostly grotesquely overpriced in relation to everything else.

yilduz
2009-05-10, 06:39 PM
You should have compared the price of a bag of caltrops to a bag of D4s. :smalltongue:

Sinfire Titan
2009-05-10, 07:04 PM
I should point out that Cust Serv converted the price of a single gold coin into cash. This was their answer:


Q: What is the "exchange value" of the D&D gold piece compared to todayís real world dollar? It would be interesting to know how wealthy our characters are, compared to modern-day prices...
--Luca

A: Well, first weíd need to determine the size of a gold piece. The US Mint currently issues American Eagle uncirculated gold coins in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce sizes (or troy ounces to be more precise, a unit of measurement fairly close to an ounce that -- according to wikipedia -- was once used to measure precious metals, black powder, and gemstonesÖ which makes it the coolest unit of measurement ever, at least in my opinion). Also according to wikipedia, the doubloon weighed in at 0.225 troy ounces, and the ducat at 0.1125 troy ounces (to use two sample coins).

So letís generously assume a D&D gold piece contains approximately 1/4 ounce of gold (the coin itself might weigh more, depending on the purity of the coin, etc.). Taking a look at todayís prices, gold is currently trading at around $580 per ounce. That means a D&D gold piece might be considered the equivalent of roughly $145.

Now, letís take a look at some sample character wealth. Pg. 135 of the DMG lists wealth by level. A 2nd level PC has 900gp (or $130,500), a 10th level PC has 49,000gp ($7,105,000), and a 20th level PC has 760,000gp (a whopping 110,200,000).

If you think thatís a lot of wealth, take a look at the price of goods in D&D. Letís examine a sampling of goods we first looked at on 10/11. A mug of ale costs 4cp ($5.80), a battleaxe costs 10 gp ($1,450), a greatsword costs 50gp ($7,250), a suit of full plate armor costs 1,500gp ($217,500). How about something really pricey? A ring of three wishes costs 97,950gp ($14,202,750), a holy avenger costs 120,630gp ($17,491,350), and an iron flask costs 170,000gp ($24,650,000 -- greater than the gross domestic product of Sri Lanka)!

If these prices astound, let me crib from the 1st edition PHB: ďThink of the situation as similar to Alaskan boom towns during the gold rush days, when eggs sold for one dollar each and mining tools sold for $20, $50, $100 or more! Costs in the adventuring area are distorted because of the law of supply and demand Ė the supply of coin is high, while supplies of equipment for adventurers are in great demand.Ē

True, there are a lot of assumptions in the above calculations, but there you have it! A wonderful online discussion of this very issue can also be found on this message board thread.

Collin152
2009-05-10, 07:06 PM
Bout a week ago I bought glasses of Detect Magic. I think it ran me 50 bucks.
But I"m not sure it's working...

Quietus
2009-05-10, 07:24 PM
The money system is very simple, I think we can all agree to that. There are a lot of goofy things in the system.

Like masterwork weapons. Masterwork weapons add 300 gold to the price of the weapon in question. If itís a double weapon, it adds 300 per side. Ok not so bad when you think about it. But take into account the quarter staff, itís a stick, it costs you nothing, it literally has no cost. Just go out into the forest and find a suitable stick. But if you want to make it masterwork, it costs you 600 gold because itís a double weapon. Which is almost twice as much as a masterwork great sword (which costs you 350 gold). Yet the masterwork quarterstaff is still just a stick, sure it may be a little fancier, but itís still just a sick.

Have you ever tried finding a PERFECT stick? That is, perfectly balanced, perfectly straight, with no rough bits to potentially hurt your hands on? And then get the highest-quality materials to create proper grips/get a very talented carver to carve those grips in? Yeah. It's NOT easy.

tyckspoon
2009-05-10, 07:32 PM
Have you ever tried finding a PERFECT stick? That is, perfectly balanced, perfectly straight, with no rough bits to potentially hurt your hands on? And then get the highest-quality materials to create proper grips/get a very talented carver to carve those grips in? Yeah. It's NOT easy.

No, but if I wanted such a stick I wouldn't try to acquire one by going out in the woods and poking around until I got very lucky and found one. I would start with a suitably-sized log or branch and make a stick to the required specifications. The thing to note is that doing so would not, in any rational place, cost 600 frellin' gp.

Mastikator
2009-05-10, 07:43 PM
@Quietus, a masterwork quarterstaff is a quarterstaff that has a 5% increased chance of hitting the target (when compared to the average quarterstaff).
5% increased hit-rate is TERRIBLE for 300 (or 600) pieces of gold.

Myrmex
2009-05-10, 07:50 PM
I would expect D&D weapons to be more expensive than the swords you buy IRL. A better comparison would be handguns and swords, since they both serve similar purposes.

If the demand for a good increases, then the price should increase. Given that skilled labor in D&D's pseudo-medieval setting is more difficult to come by, level one blacksmith's crafting masterwork weapons take a very long time, and everyone wants a sword, prices SHOULD be high for weapons.

Remember; adventurers have to actually purchase things with money. Governments don't really have to pay for swords, since they just manipulate production to make more swords with their coercive powers. It's a classic guns&butter scenario.

[edit]
Awesome table, by the way. Very interesting.

Myrmex
2009-05-10, 07:56 PM
No, but if I wanted such a stick I wouldn't try to acquire one by going out in the woods and poking around until I got very lucky and found one. I would start with a suitably-sized log or branch and make a stick to the required specifications. The thing to note is that doing so would not, in any rational place, cost 600 frellin' gp.

Rational?
This. Is. D AND D!!!!!!!

But no, seriously, the cost of skilled labor has always been high, and in places where 98% of everyone is explicitly a worthless level one commoner, perfect sticks are going to be pretty expensive, especially when Wire-Fu over there has pockets lined with gold and really, really, wants one (his flurry of blows will land 5% more often, bro!!).

Chronos
2009-05-10, 11:00 PM
Have you ever tried finding a PERFECT stick? That is, perfectly balanced, perfectly straight, with no rough bits to potentially hurt your hands on? And then get the highest-quality materials to create proper grips/get a very talented carver to carve those grips in? Yeah. It's NOT easy.Actually, you don't want grips on a perfect quarterstaff: You want it to be perfectly smooth along its entire length, since your hands slide along the staff while you're using it. You do still need to polish it pretty well if you don't want splinters, though.

holywhippet
2009-05-10, 11:06 PM
A masterwork quarterstaff might not actually be a solid piece of wood. They might hollow out a quarterstaff and insert a different centre like cork to it. That way the hard outside does damage but the soft centre absorbs some of the shock so it doesn't hurt your hands as much.

dspeyer
2009-05-10, 11:47 PM
Myou:
I tried to use items where the prices don't vary too much, and pick a reasonably canonical source. I probably did better with those things I buy regularly than those things I don't. I did omit daggers and sailboats because real-world prices were all over the place and I couldn't figure out which ones were equivalent to the DND ones.

rtg0922:
You have a point about the poor meal. I figure McD's is the social equivalent: not that a medieval peasant had a quarter pound of beef for lunch. The HB describes it as "bread, baked turnips, onions, and water", which isn't really priceable in our world. On the other hand, the good meal should probably be more expensive, since the historical rich ate very richly, and the PHB explicitely includes wine in the meal.

Tsotha-lanti:
The purpose is to gain an intutive feel for dealing with money, allowing in-character thinking. I realize the DND economy is terribly simplified, but the idea that money has value more-or-less applies. Incidentally, the wage of a knight isn't a very useful number, because the majority of a knight's income would come from his lands (and serfs).

kjones:
How much does a good rapier cost? The ones advertised for $60 had pretty pictures on their websites :-)

Devils_Advocate:
I've run across the Economicon before, but I don't think 16th level fighters are using souls as currency. AFAICT, even 20th level wizards should be using gold-based wealth except when trading with outsiders. As for wish, 5000xp is just more valuable to them than 25000gp. Solars (which cast wish as an SLA without XP costs) live in an anarco-communist utopia anyway (it works when everyone is composed of pure elemental goodness).

holywhippet:
Most consumer goods require skills to create. That doesn't explain why apparently lots of experts take ranks in craft(clothing) and few in craft(swords) when the latter is clearly far more lucrative.

Sinfire Titan:
Gold was the first thing I thought of, but it didn't seem right so I made the table. Gold is just a whole lot cheaper in DND compared to just about anything. 10 times silver is convenient gameplay, but not very realistic. Incidentally, the price of gold in dollars has almost doubled since that article you quoted -- make of that what you will.

Myrmex:
I figured comparing the same item was more precise. There is still a demand for swords, even if the users are hobbiests and athletes rather than fighters (though ISTR some real soldiers still use kukris). It's hard to figure out what weapons are equivalent. Is a $500 AK-47 equivalent to a 100gp longbow (the classic weapon of successful peasant revolts) or a 500gp repeating crossbow? It's a lot deadlier than either.

Myrmex
2009-05-11, 12:05 AM
I would average the cost of simple weapons and compare that to small, civilian style weapons- hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns. I would probably just compare handgun prices to the average price of a simple weapon. Martial weapons would be assault type weapons.

Of course, as you say, there are problems, though I feel like the $60 model rapier you find online isn't anything compared to an "actual" rapier. But then, I don't really know swords.

[edit]
I was reading about some masterwork diving blades Armed Forces personnel like to carry (from some company originally designing for SEALs), and those run in the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Though, if those blades can do what they say they can do, they're probably more like adamantine or +1 weapons.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-05-11, 12:53 AM
[edit]
I was reading about some masterwork diving blades Armed Forces personnel like to carry (from some company originally designing for SEALs), and those run in the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Though, if those blades can do what they say they can do, they're probably more like adamantine or +1 weapons.I'd say make them Masterwork(massively high quality control, designed for use in extremely dangerous life-threatening situations) mithral(strong, lightweight alloy instead of plain steel). That also eliminates the majority of the price variance depending on weapon type, which is useful.

I'd really just say, though, look at daily unskilled wages and poor-quality food prices. Those are set by the value of the money, not the level of industrialization. Minimum daily wages will always be close to subsistance-level living, because there is always someone who can't do any other job, so the employer hs no reason to offer more than enough to make sure the worker is still alive to work the next week. Similarly, there is always someone who can't afford anything else, so they are charged the maximum they can afford for basic necessities.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-11, 05:43 AM
Tsotha-lanti:
The purpose is to gain an intutive feel for dealing with money, allowing in-character thinking. I realize the DND economy is terribly simplified, but the idea that money has value more-or-less applies. Incidentally, the wage of a knight isn't a very useful number, because the majority of a knight's income would come from his lands (and serfs).

Except nothing is intuitive about this, especially since there's no relationship between dollars and gold pieces, as your own table very clearly shows. "Oh, well, one gold piece is anywhere between $3 and $40!"

Meanwhile, you can't get more intuitive than "4 coppers for an ale, 1 silver for a hunk of cheese, 75 gold for a horse."

kamikasei
2009-05-11, 05:58 AM
@Quietus, a masterwork quarterstaff is a quarterstaff that has a 5% increased chance of hitting the target (when compared to the average quarterstaff).
5% increased hit-rate is TERRIBLE for 300 (or 600) pieces of gold.

It's also a quarterstaff that can be magically enhanced. That means it's desireable to people who can afford to get magical enhancements placed upon it, which will push up the price. Not necessarily by so much, but it's a factor to bear in mind.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-11, 11:16 AM
It never made any sense to me that masterwork was a flat gp price. So the difference in price between a masterwork dagger and a masterwork longsword is about 4%? Right...

It'd make much more sense for it to be a multiplier - say, x20. A masterwork longsword would cost 300 gp, and a masterwork dagger 40 gp. Give clubs and staves a price - sticks picked up from the forest would be improvised weapons, since they're not balanced clubs and metal-capped staves. Real weapons have to have been worked.

Masterwork armor prices could be double.

MikoROCKS
2009-05-11, 11:36 AM
A few years back I actually worked out the value of the gp against the GBP using the values of gold (1 gp was about 40-50 pounds) and since the value of the gp does not change at all i was shocked the GBP has gone down in value so much... The exchange rate NOW is about 200 pounds to 1 gp.... :P

Doug Lampert
2009-05-11, 11:58 AM
No, but if I wanted such a stick I wouldn't try to acquire one by going out in the woods and poking around until I got very lucky and found one. I would start with a suitably-sized log or branch and make a stick to the required specifications. The thing to note is that doing so would not, in any rational place, cost 600 frellin' gp.

So you have a large log, you put it on a Lathe, and you turn it to make a "perfect" stick.

By the time you're done you've cut through multiple grains weakening the wood and leaving it more likely to splinter, and there are knots wherever the log had branches coming out, AND it's too brittle since it's core rather than branch wood.

This is masterwork? Sounds more like flunked out apprentice work. Maybe it's good for a -1 but it sure isn't good for a +1.

You want to use a whole branch with just the outer bark removed (probably cored for masterwork). Ideally the branch should have no taper, be the right thickness, and have no other branches coming out (yeah, right, like that's gonna happen). But even getting close requires lots of work.

You CAN'T MAKE a piece of wood, the tree did that already, the best you can do is find a pretty good piece of wood, and masterwork has to START with that pretty good piece.

DougL

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-11, 12:07 PM
Making a masterwork quarterstaff doesn't seem like it'd be any easier than (though no doubt different to) making a masterwork longbow stave (of solid yew, say, rather than composite) - which can, IRL, take months of treatment and "aging"...

Quietus
2009-05-11, 12:31 PM
Actually, you don't want grips on a perfect quarterstaff: You want it to be perfectly smooth along its entire length, since your hands slide along the staff while you're using it. You do still need to polish it pretty well if you don't want splinters, though.

Oh? Good to know, I've never done anything remotely resembling combat. Broom spinning when bored != combat training.

ericgrau
2009-05-11, 06:44 PM
Precious metals are a poor comparison since their value changes greatly over time depending on supply. Likewise spices and salt used to be a lot more expensive than they are now. Food prices can vary greatly depending on quality, and aren't really a good comparison. And supply and demand on weapons in medieval days vs. today? Don't get me started.

Your best bet for comparison would be grain or livestock, since they are equally useful today and back then. And they're in their raw form; bread or pork would screw things in terms of quality as I said with food prices.

At $0.25 a pound for wheat, that makes 100cp (1gp) worth $25. At $300 or less for a 3gp pig, that makes $100 per gp. Or $150 per gp using your cow estimate. I'd pick the middle and go with the pig pricing. Actually I think that's a bit high for a pig price, so it could be even lower. So $50 (or half or double that) for a gp sounds like a ballpark amount. Also makes conversion easy.

And I'd say the corresponding $200ish for a square yard of linen is anything but cheap.

$15,000 for a master weaponsmith (not your ordinary schmo) to spend weeks or months on a single weapon seems plenty reasonable too. We cheapen MW in our thoughts since our characters get it so soon, but our characters also get silly-rich rather soon.

holywhippet
2009-05-11, 07:27 PM
It never made any sense to me that masterwork was a flat gp price. So the difference in price between a masterwork dagger and a masterwork longsword is about 4%? Right...

It'd make much more sense for it to be a multiplier - say, x20. A masterwork longsword would cost 300 gp, and a masterwork dagger 40 gp. Give clubs and staves a price - sticks picked up from the forest would be improvised weapons, since they're not balanced clubs and metal-capped staves. Real weapons have to have been worked.

Masterwork armor prices could be double.

They'd have to tweak the weapon prices in that case. For example, a battle axe costs half as much as a rapier even though it does more damage (but has a lower critical range). However, weapons like saps, shortspears and sai only have a base cost of 1 gp - so a level 1 character could easily afford a masterwork version. Likewise, quarterstaffs are free so you'd get a masterwork one for nothing.

For masterwork weapons, you are basically buying a "poor mans" enchantment. You are paying 300 GP for +1 to hit. Giving a weapon a +1 enchantment magically costs a fixed amount regardless of what weapon it is - this just follows the same logic.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-11, 07:37 PM
However, weapons like saps, shortspears and sai only have a base cost of 1 gp - so a level 1 character could easily afford a masterwork version.

They can afford masterwork simple weapons. So? They're substantially worse. You can get +1 to hit or a better damage and/or critical chance.


Likewise, quarterstaffs are free so you'd get a masterwork one for nothing.


Give clubs and staves a price - sticks picked up from the forest would be improvised weapons, since they're not balanced clubs and metal-capped staves. Real weapons have to have been worked.


For masterwork weapons, you are basically buying a "poor mans" enchantment. You are paying 300 GP for +1 to hit. Giving a weapon a +1 enchantment magically costs a fixed amount regardless of what weapon it is - this just follows the same logic.

No damage bonus, can't bypass DR, etc.

As far as logic goes, at least a +1 weapon can be said to have the "same amount of magic" no matter the weapon's size. Masterwork weapons all being within a few percentiles of each other cost-wise? No logic of any sort.

holywhippet
2009-05-11, 08:28 PM
No damage bonus, can't bypass DR, etc.

As far as logic goes, at least a +1 weapon can be said to have the "same amount of magic" no matter the weapon's size. Masterwork weapons all being within a few percentiles of each other cost-wise? No logic of any sort.

Yes, so what if they can't bypass DR. At the kind of level when you are facing things with DR - you've either forked out for the weapons which bypass the DR, or you are in over your head and are about to die.

Yes, I agree from a craftsmans point of view that having a flat 300 GP price hike for a masterwork weapon doesn't make sense when it is applied equally to everything from daggers to two-handed swords. But the game designers were looking at it from a power boost point of view. +1 to hit is +1 to hit regardless of what you are hitting your enemy with.

If you are a level 1 character with the option of either a masterwork spear or a regular greatsword - which are you going to take? The greatsword has slightly better damage and critical range, but you are more likely to hit with the spear. Actually hitting the opponent is more important that a small potential damage increase.

B0nd07
2009-05-11, 10:36 PM
In my campaign, which is a hybrid DnD/D20 Modern, I use the following conversion since I use the gold system rather than purchase DC or USD. It's not perfect, but I think it's pretty close. If I think something is under-priced, I'll make adjustments as need-be.


1 Cp = 10 cents
1 Sp = $1
1 Gp = $10
1 Pp = $100

The main reason I did that was so I could make a conversion from purchase DC to Gp. I don't really want to type out how I came up with that conversion rate (if requested, I will), but, like I said, it works (for me anyway). If it seems low, you could feasibly increase the dollar amount by a factor of 10, so that:


1 Cp = $1
1 Sp = $10
1 Gp = $100
1 Pp = $1,000

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-12, 03:15 AM
The greatsword has slightly better damage and critical range, but you are more likely to hit with the spear. Actually hitting the opponent is more important that a small potential damage increase.

No, average damage is what matters. At level 1 with Str 16, you've got an attack bonus of +4 with the two-hander and +5 with the spear; damages 2d6+4 (11) and 1d8+4 (8.5). Against AC 12, that's averages of 7.15 and 5.95, a clear advantage for the greatsword. Against AC 20, it's 2.75 and 2.55 - a smaller advantage, but still an advantage.

Power attacking with that extra attack bonus point would put you at 11 and 10.5 base damages, for an advantage to the greatsword.

(This isn't accounting for criticals because I never did figure and remember the easy way to calculate that in. An average damage calculator tells me that accounting for that, the numbers would be 8 vs. 6 and 3 vs. 3, leaving the greatsword ahead unless we go to very high ACs.)

Now, if you've got extra sources of damage that dwarf the base damage... you're probably not level 1.

Matthew
2009-05-12, 07:38 AM
Since you asked about weapons specifically: according to Fief, crossbows ran from 3-7 sou in 1277, swords were 3 sou 4 dernier in 1324 (a tent was 2 livres; that's about 12 swords' worth), lances were 6 dernier in 1300-05 and 3 dernier in 1337, and longbows ranged from 12 dernier to 6 sou 8 dernier between 1227 and 1480 (in 1475, the crown set a maximum at 3 sou 4 dernier).

Meanwhile, a bushel of barley was 1-2 sou in the early 13th century and 6-7 dernier in the 14th. That's two swords for one bushel of barley. (A bushel was 8 gallons or 36 modern liters.)

A cow was 2 sou in 1213, 9 sou 9 dernier in 1262, and for instance 9 sou 5 dernier in the 14th century.

Meanwhile, warhorses could go for up to 50 livres in the late Middle Ages.

Prices are for England.

For reference, 1 livre = 20 sou = 240 dernier.


So yeah, weapon prices in D&D are ludicrous and make no sense.

Something you need to be aware of when using Fief is that English and French prices differ because the English silver penny (sterling) remained fairly pure compared to the French silver penny, which rapidly debased. Of course, this is why Fief is so useful as compare to something like the Medieval Internet Sourcebook, which gives no indication as to whether English or French prices are being presented.

In fact, it may be useful (and fairly accurate) to think of English silver pennies as SP and French silver pennies as CP.

A good example of the meaning of this is to take the Gold Florin, which weighed 3.5g (54 grains) and was equal in 1252 to 240 Italian silver pennies; by 1500 it was worth more like 1,680.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-12, 08:00 AM
That's very true. Looking at the military wages, they keep rising in France, but stay fairly steady in England until the Hundred Years' War, where an English footman's wage suddenly jumps from the 2 dernier for 1200-1300 to a whole sou in 1355 and 1415. Oddly, the knight's wage fluctuates from 1 to 3 sou (mostly at 2) between 1200-1415, actually staying the same.

Mind, this wage isn't what you got paid - it was scutage. A landholder knight owed 2 sou per day (60 days per year in war, 40 days per year in peace), essentially. Starting in the 1200s, he could either serve his days, or pay his lord (the king, essentially) the wage to use to hire a knight. Basically, the king would get the 80 - 120 sou from each knight each year (much more from barons and dukes and such), and then use that to pay a small part of the knights - maybe a few hundred out of every thousand of them - to serve all year round, in wartime. It's obvious that you'd rather pay a small army to serve twelve months out of a year than have a huge "free" army (you "only" pay for the supplies) for two months out of a year...

Anyway, the point was to make the two comparisons: that of different values of money across relatively short distances (partly due to debasement, as Matthew points out, but also due to your standard economical factors); and that of comparative values, i.e. that knights' pavilions cost as much as a dozen swords, that two cows or two bushels of grain would get you a sword and a lance, and that a soldier earner a sword's worth of money in 20 days, discounting looting in actual war.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-12, 01:27 PM
I've run across the Economicon before, but I don't think 16th level fighters are using souls as currency.
Well, the Economicon tries to lay out a fairly plausible economy, rather than describe a typical D&D campaign. (Those are two very different tasks!)


AFAICT, even 20th level wizards should be using gold-based wealth except when trading with outsiders.
It's one thing for something to be theoretically convertible into gold. But the notion that a 15th-level wizard actually needs thirty pounds of actual gold to pay for the materials to make a scroll of sunburst is absurd. If he and the seller did for some reason need to deal in actual gold, they'd surely prefer to use gold bars instead of one thousand five hundred coins.

Would you use pennies to buy something costing more than several dollars? Would you use actual bills to buy something priced in thousands? People use more valuable currency to pay for more valuable things. They don't normally use ridiculous amounts of cheap currency.

So, it depends on what you mean by "gold-based". A magic sword might be displayed (with damn potent abjurations protecting it from theft) with a 50,000 gp price tag, but one wouldn't expect someone to buy it using actual gold any more than you'd expect someone to buy a house with bills. Trying to use actual gold coins to buy the sword would be completely silly, like bringing briefcases full of singles to pay for a house. You're more likely to get a funny look from the seller than an exchange of property.


Solars (which cast wish as an SLA without XP costs) live in an anarco-communist utopia anyway (it works when everyone is composed of pure elemental goodness).
Angels are the tireless soldiers at the forefront of an eternal war against Evil. (Literally tireless. They never need to rest. Mortal paladins should be so lucky.) That hardly strikes me as utopian.

Granted, it's more of a metaphorical sort of "war" since they mostly just try to keep the fiends fighting each other, but it still doesn't strike me as a fun job.

I imagine that the Lawful angels have a theocratic military hierarchy headed by actual gods (for superior resource management) and the Chaotic angels are more free agents (for low overhead).


Except nothing is intuitive about this, especially since there's no relationship between dollars and gold pieces, as your own table very clearly shows. "Oh, well, one gold piece is anywhere between $3 and $40!"

Meanwhile, you can't get more intuitive than "4 coppers for an ale, 1 silver for a hunk of cheese, 75 gold for a horse."
I feel inclined to agree. If you're going to grasp D&D's prices intuitively, you need to discard the false intuition that goods have the same relative value in a D&D campaign world as they do in the real world.

The truth is, there is no exchange rate, because there's no trade whatsoever between Oerth and Earth. (And if there were significant trade, it would certainly lead to significant changes to various prices in each.)

Swordguy
2009-05-12, 02:42 PM
kjones:
How much does a good rapier cost? The ones advertised for $60 had pretty pictures on their websites :-)
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/sword-museum-solingen.htm

Myrmex:
I figured comparing the same item was more precise. There is still a demand for swords, even if the users are hobbiests and athletes rather than fighters (though ISTR some real soldiers still use kukris). It's hard to figure out what weapons are equivalent. Is a $500 AK-47 equivalent to a 100gp longbow (the classic weapon of successful peasant revolts) or a 500gp repeating crossbow? It's a lot deadlier than either.

My handle isn't just a randomly-chosen name.

A real sword will cost you much, MUCH more than $60.00. Smithing is a skilled labor that had maximum limits on who much can be produced. It takes a minimum amount of time to make a sword that's worth anything - fast smiths can crank out a sword a week. Most smiths are more like 1-2/month. As such, swords command high prices, both then and now.

Good places to look for real swords are Albion Swords and Del Tin. Both make swords, by hand, in a manner very similar to historical methods (the big difference is greater care paid to safety). Albion's swords run in the $1,200-$1,600 range, and Del Tin USED to be in the $900-$1,500 range - they've stopped listing the prices on their website because it scared too many people. The swords are real - they are not the sword-shaped pieces of metal you find in flea markets and most Ren Faires.

At the very low end of "real" swords, you might check out Legacy Forge and Baltimore Knife&Sword - I use both extensively for stage combat. They're in the $250-$700 range, unsharpened. Sharpening adds another $100, on average, to the price of a sword from either company. Part of the reason they're so low is that some of their process is automated, which allows them to crank out significantly more product.

This sword from Albion would be what I consider representative of a D&D "longsword": here. (http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/sword-museum-solingen.htm) Whether it's masterwork-equivalent or not is debatable. Keep in mind that even this sword is mass-produced by a dozen smiths until they each the order limit (1,000 copies of this model). Albion does offer 1-of-a-kind blades that offer truly pheonmenal performance. And tack on another "zero" to the price tag.

MikoROCKS
2009-05-12, 02:55 PM
In my campaign, which is a hybrid DnD/D20 Modern, I use the following conversion since I use the gold system rather than purchase DC or USD. It's not perfect, but I think it's pretty close. If I think something is under-priced, I'll make adjustments as need-be.


1 Cp = 10 cents
1 Sp = $1
1 Gp = $10
1 Pp = $100


This works well actually

p.s. your campaign sounds cool! I might have to give that idea a go myself...

B0nd07
2009-05-12, 03:48 PM
This works well actually

p.s. your campaign sounds cool! I might have to give that idea a go myself...

Thanks! If you do, make sure you use DnD rules supplemented with Modern. And depending on the level, limit the weapons available (especially if you have the weapons locker). Feel free to shoot me a PM if you want to know more.

Epinephrine
2009-05-12, 04:09 PM
You want to use a whole branch with just the outer bark removed (probably cored for masterwork). Ideally the branch should have no taper, be the right thickness, and have no other branches coming out (yeah, right, like that's gonna happen). But even getting close requires lots of work.

Welcome to coppicing. Select the right type of tree (not a wood/staff expert, I imagine hornbeam would be pretty nice though, polishes beutifully , dense, tough...), coppice it, and grow the pieces to the right dimensions. Not all will work out, explaining the cost.

Coppicing is an ancient tradition, so it suits fantasy worlds just fine.

Chronos
2009-05-12, 06:10 PM
Hornbeam does indeed make a very nice staff-- a friend of mine in Scouts had a hornbeam walking stick, and it was quite the status symbol. The trees are small enough that you use the entire trunk, without any re-shaping, and you'd better plan on going through three or four axes before you get it chopped down. I'm not sure that it'd make for the best weapon, though: It's very heavy, enough so that it might be harder to swing properly, and it'd tire you out quicker.

holywhippet
2009-05-12, 09:58 PM
No, average damage is what matters. At level 1 with Str 16, you've got an attack bonus of +4 with the two-hander and +5 with the spear; damages 2d6+4 (11) and 1d8+4 (8.5). Against AC 12, that's averages of 7.15 and 5.95, a clear advantage for the greatsword. Against AC 20, it's 2.75 and 2.55 - a smaller advantage, but still an advantage.

Power attacking with that extra attack bonus point would put you at 11 and 10.5 base damages, for an advantage to the greatsword.

(This isn't accounting for criticals because I never did figure and remember the easy way to calculate that in. An average damage calculator tells me that accounting for that, the numbers would be 8 vs. 6 and 3 vs. 3, leaving the greatsword ahead unless we go to very high ACs.)

Now, if you've got extra sources of damage that dwarf the base damage... you're probably not level 1.

You are assuming a straight out slugging match. That often isn't the case, especially at level 1. Say you run into some kobolds at level 1. They have 4 HP each. With 16 strength you are getting +3 to damage - so any hit is instant death for a kobold. So it's more important to hit than to do a lot of damage.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-05-13, 03:30 AM
The odds of one-shotting low CR monsters with a greatsword are, likewise, significantly higher, largely because of the fact that the greatsword has two dice for damage.

At 2d6+4 and 1d8+4, assuming 50% and 55% chances to hit, the odds of one-shotting (chance to hit * chance to do damage equal to or higher than HP) are...

1-5 hp enemy:
Greatsword 50%
Spear 55%

6 hp enemy:
Greatsword 50%
Spear 48.125%

7 hp enemy:
Greatsword 48.6111%
Spear 41.25%

8 hp enemy:
Greatsword 45.8333%
Spear 34.375%

9 hp enemy:
Greatsword 41.6666%
Spear 25%

If the enemy has more hp than 1 + (1.5 * Str mod), the greatsword's damage comes out ahead in one-shotting. The higher the enemy's hp (and 9 is hardly very high), the better the greatsword is, in comparison.

At first level, +5% damage isn't as good as +2.5 damage.

Math is cool.