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View Full Version : [3.5]Cash in a Flash - A Hypothetical Exercise



Dratsabre Tsabala
2010-02-16, 04:15 PM
I recently had a character disintegrated with all of his nifty custom-crafted goodies, so I've been digging deep into my bag of tricks to try and get myself back in line with the wealth-by-level guidelines as soon as possible. I've got a lot of old favorites and standbys, but I actually realized in the course of trying to puzzle out some new methods that I was having a lot of fun, and it made me curious as to how someone else would approach the situation.

So, hypothetical situation: Assume we're starting with a 10th-level party of more-or-less typical makeup-- four or five people, all the standard roles represented. Allow any Wizards to keep their spellbooks and any divine casters to keep their spell foci, but take away all the rest of their things and leave them with nothing but cheap, basic nonmagical gear. Give them 1500 gold, and send them out into the world at large with the task of accumulating as much cash as they can as quickly as possible without committing any puppy-kickingly evil actions. Assume that your GM isn't going to put a Strip-Mall full of Mid-level dungeons in your path. Now... wat do?

(My personal favorites have always been Disguise Self+Mount(cast several times)+local horse-trader+getting the hell out of dodge, or finding the local fatcat baron and Suggesting that he let you borrow his savings for awhile, but those are simple and worn. You can do better!)

Flickerdart
2010-02-16, 04:16 PM
Taking apart ladders is an oldie but a goodie.

Grumman
2010-02-16, 04:25 PM
The Wizard has a significant advantage in the form of Fabricate and INT focus. And unlike Flickerdart's suggestion it doesn't rely on selling something that shouldn't be profitable.

Vizzerdrix
2010-02-16, 04:33 PM
Skiurid Familiar. Offer the local tavern some rat removal services for a small fee. Let your familiar Harvest all the rats it can get, and sell two of the nuts (I think they can make 3/day) to the temple of Wee Jas (I'm rather sure they'd be interested in Necromancy boosting snacks). This should net you a nice sum of coin (say 1 gold for rodent removal, + the value of the nuts) and you can do this before breakfast time so it shouuld work with other people's ideas.

Ormagoden
2010-02-16, 04:34 PM
Major Creation


1. Includes adamantine, alchemical silver, and mithral. You canít use major creation to create a cold iron item.

Conjuration (Creation)
Level: Sor/Wiz 5
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Duration: See text

This spell functions like minor creation, except that you can also create an object of mineral nature: stone, crystal, metal, or the like. The duration of the created item varies with its relative hardness and rarity, as indicated on the following table.

I major creation diamonds, gold, and the like.

Alternatively I find a city that is in need of housing. I Fabricate houses, barns, fences, and the like.

I locate a good area across a wide dangerous river. I ask the lord If I build a bridge in a convenient place if it would be alright that I charged a tool. I fabricate the bridge get some hirelings and have myself a field day.

If I'm wicked I major creation black lotus poison a few times and sell it.
Or I major creation admantine mithril or some such.


I steal a decanter of endless water and I go to a desert region.

I find some kingdom that has a horrible dragon or lich as an enemy. I offer to take care of said beasty for an exorbitant amount. Then I go to the beasty and ask them to leave for like a year and I'll give them 50% of the gold. They are richer, their lair will be left alone for a year and I have ample time to scoot. (of course the lie about the place collapsing and everything of value being looted or destroyed will help :smallsmile:)

I buy a wand of shrink item and go on a crime spree.

I offer to teleport people to destinations across the globe for a standard fee. I really just take their money and teleport them 6ft under.

I take a few levels of vassal of bahamut (for free platnium)


ok im bored now...someone else pick up the slack.

Mushroom Ninja
2010-02-16, 04:37 PM
At 10th level, you have access to Lesser Planar Binding:
1.Bind a Nightmare, offering it 40% of the profits
2. Have it use Astral Projection on you again and again.
3.Sell your copies' gear.
4.Profit.
Hmmm... Wasn't there supposed to be a ??? step somewhere in there...

BRC
2010-02-16, 04:37 PM
I thread with a series of cons once. One that is especially relevant in this situation is the Fallen Comrade.

Take a Masterwork weapon and cast Magic Weapon on it,take it to a merchant and say "This belongs to our party member who died several days ago. We're trying to get him raised but time is running out, so we need money quickly. We're willing to sell this too you for less than it's worth". The merchant/adventurer in a tavern (Works better on the latter) gives the sword a few swings to test it out (It's effectively a +1 sword for the time being), agrees, and pays.

Ravens_cry
2010-02-16, 04:43 PM
I thread with a series of cons once. One that is especially relevant in this situation is the Fallen Comrade.

Take a Masterwork weapon and cast Magic Weapon on it,take it to a merchant and say "This belongs to our party member who died several days ago. We're trying to get him raised but time is running out, so we need money quickly. We're willing to sell this too you for less than it's worth". The merchant/adventurer in a tavern (Works better on the latter) gives the sword a few swings to test it out (It's effectively a +1 sword for the time being), agrees, and pays.
The merchant holds onto it for about a quarter of an hour, then tries it again. If it still feels as powerfu (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magicweapon.htm)l, he buys it from you.

BRC
2010-02-16, 04:46 PM
The merchant holds onto it for about a quarter of an hour, then tries it again. If it still feels as powerfu (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magicweapon.htm)l, he buys it from you.
Like any con, it's not perfect. If people regularly try it around there, then it's not a good idea.

absolmorph
2010-02-16, 04:49 PM
Make a chicken farm with an automatic-reset Create Food and Water trap.
The minimum CL is 7, which is enough for 21 humans.
Of course, the trap starts off costing 10584 gold (according to the table on page 75 of the DMG), so they have to make some cash before that.
Let's see, at level 10... They could always just become mercenaries. Technically not good or evil. Or they could pull a Robin Hood. Keep a quarter of the earnings plus the cost to get it, give the rest to people in need.

Ravens_cry
2010-02-16, 04:51 PM
Like any con, it's not perfect. If people regularly try it around there, then it's not a good idea.
That's just it. It probably HAS been done quite a bit as the players are supposed to be not the only acting agents in the world. And one is going to have to do it quite a bit to get a considerable, by player standards anyway, amount of coinage. People are going to wise up.

Grumman
2010-02-16, 04:53 PM
Alternatively I find a city that is in need of housing. I Fabricate houses, barns, fences, and the like.

I locate a good area across a wide dangerous river. I ask the lord If I build a bridge in a convenient place if it would be alright that I charged a tool. I fabricate the bridge get some hirelings and have myself a field day.

If I'm wicked I major creation black lotus poison a few times and sell it.
These are good ones. Since you're actually providing the purported benefit to your customers, there's no question of whether your DM is failing to accurately roleplay a person who managed to become rich in a world where magic is real.


I steal a decanter of endless water and I go to a desert region..
This is really two methods: stealing magic items, and buying and selling goods where your profit is maximised.

Dratsabre Tsabala
2010-02-16, 04:56 PM
That's just it. It probably HAS been done quite a bit as the players are supposed to be not the only acting agents in the world. And one is going to have to do it quite a bit to get a considerable, by player standards anyway, amount of coinage. People are going to wise up.

I think the acting assumption is that most people who're going to be slinging enough gold in a magical economy to buy a weapon like that from you have also got the means and the smarts to ensure their investment, but anyone who tries hard enough should probably be able to find a mark. The "Fallen Comrade" method isn't bulletproof, but it's the right kind of thinking.

Stompy
2010-02-16, 04:58 PM
Summon Monster IV a lantern archon, get CL everburning torches, repeat until you collapse the everburning torch market.

EDIT
The merchant holds onto it for about a quarter of an hour, then tries it again. If it still feels as powerfu (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magicweapon.htm)l, he buys it from you.

Use Greater Magic Weapon (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magicWeaponGreater.htm) instead. :smallsmile:

If said merchant uses detect magic on it, lie and tell them it is a [property that gets detected as transmutation] sword.

deuxhero
2010-02-16, 04:59 PM
I use manipluate form to gain the wish to non-genies 3/day ability, then (not being a genie) wish for lots of money/magic items.

Grumman
2010-02-16, 05:02 PM
I use manipluate form to gain the wish to non-genies 3/day ability, then (not being a genie) wish for lots of money/magic items.
Your DM shreds your character sheet, then makes you eat it.

Stompy
2010-02-16, 05:06 PM
Be a wizard, use fabricate, retrain skill ranks into an artistic craft (say sculpting), construct the sistene chapel in a day, PROFIT!

avr
2010-02-16, 05:06 PM
You could always fake a monster threat (illusions, disguise, your PCs natural forms, whatever.. ) then get paid to remove it. There's a series of fantasy novels where the protagonists start off running this scam as vampire slayers, then turn into real vampire hunters.

BRC
2010-02-16, 05:08 PM
I think the acting assumption is that most people who're going to be slinging enough gold in a magical economy to buy a weapon like that from you have also got the means and the smarts to ensure their investment, but anyone who tries hard enough should probably be able to find a mark. The "Fallen Comrade" method isn't bulletproof, but it's the right kind of thinking.
The preferred mark isn't a merchant, as they tend to be on the look out for things like this, but an adventurer in a tavern. A Merchant who can afford to buy magic weapons got that way by being a good merchant, which means not falling for con artists. An adventurer with enough money got it by kicking down doors, killing evil things and grabbing everything shiny they could see. They may know how to spot somebody hiding and trying to kill them, but they could easily miss somebody trying to cheat them, especially if they're drunk at the time.

Divine Spellcasters can make some money casting Create Food and selling it for cheap. Some castings of Predistigion can make it taste good too.
Bards can always make money playing music.
Stone shape, wall of Stone, fabricate, ect, as has been mentioned.
Any high-level character could earn some money by teaching classes for lower-level characters. Even if the Fighter lost his flaming sword and magic armor, a small town would probably be willing to fork over some cash to have him spend some time training their guards. A Wizard could tutor low level wizards or the son of some nobles. Give him a pair of lockpicks and a target and a mid level rogue can make some decent cash quickly.

Felyndiira
2010-02-16, 05:11 PM
How about this method:


Start with a small sum, like 2 gp or something.
Buy chickens - lots of chickens.
Buy or craft a crude protection mechanism for the chickens.
Wait for the chickens to lay eggs.
Wait for eggs to hatch. It should take 10-23 days.
Sell resulting chicks for 1 cp each. Repeat.
Recycle the chickens as they get old (selling them for 1 cp each).


It's not the fastest process in the world, but you're getting a huge percent of your investment every time a set of chicks hatch (assume each chicken lays 1d4+3 eggs, you're getting 5-7 cp extra per 2 cp invested, which you can then invest in more chickens), effectively allowing you to compound your money until you get a workable sum.

Assuming your GM isn't a meanie-face and deatroy your chicken farm with falling rocks, you'll be able to earn back a sizable sum in a workable number of in-game days.

Akal Saris
2010-02-16, 05:18 PM
Use fabricate along with a high Int (and any buffs, like Fox's Cunning or Magecraft) to turn a bunch of pine or mahogany trees into nice furniture (and transport them with tenser's disk, shrink item, teleport, or telekinesis), which is legal and actually a rather nice thing to do.

Use Locate Object/Locate Creature to find relatively rare and nice things like truffles or minks.

Planar Binding a djinni for major creation 1/day (permanent if vegetable matter). And then hire the djinni out as a craftsman, sage, or bodyguard.

Use wall of stone, wall of iron, flesh to salt, etc. in clever ways every once in a while.

It would crash the local economy fast, but as mentioned summon monster for

Really, I think any business-oriented 10th level wizard or cleric would really be set for a life of luxury with a little creativity and some core spells. It's the non-casters who probably won't be very helpful in this case.

elonin
2010-02-16, 05:28 PM
A number of tricks given in this thread would impact on reputation in a serious way. selling a mount spell as a horse then hightailing it would be suspected by many proprietors and they would take precautions of. The fabricate is a good time saving technique but unless the craft check is high enough the workmanship will be shoddy. For example the bridge might still collapse.

Just remember that unlike pc's the npcs if played right will often remember the misdeeds that they've suffered and that reputation matters.

Stompy
2010-02-16, 05:33 PM
How about this method:


Start with a small sum, like 2 gp or something.
Buy chickens - lots of chickens.
Buy or craft a crude protection mechanism for the chickens.
Wait for the chickens to lay eggs.
Wait for eggs to hatch. It should take 10-23 days.
Sell resulting chicks for 1 cp each. Repeat.
Recycle the chickens as they get old (selling them for 1 cp each).

So you could buy by RAW (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/wealthAndMoney.htm) 100 chickens with this.
Let's also assume that your base chickens live forever, and it takes 3 weeks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken) for them to lay and hatch their eggs. Each one lays 12 eggs, with no defect to the chicks resulting. So this operation would make 100*12*1cp = 12gp per 3 weeks.

A DC 20 perform check nets you on average 1.55 gp per day, so unless you have a LOT of chickens, this method is slower than your bard performing.

This is still leaving out factors like who would want to buy your 1200 chicks, but this seems to be a fun method for people who are not casters (and have land).

EDIT:
Just remember that unlike pc's the npcs if played right will often remember the misdeeds that they've suffered and that reputation matters.

Disguise is a great skill. (with Bluff of course)

Grumman
2010-02-16, 05:33 PM
The fabricate is a good time saving technique but unless the craft check is high enough the workmanship will be shoddy. For example the bridge might still collapse.
Even crafting a working lock is only a DC 20 check. A bridge is going to be a lot lower.

Felyndiira
2010-02-16, 05:53 PM
So you could buy by RAW (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/wealthAndMoney.htm) 100 chickens with this.
Let's also assume that your base chickens live forever, and it takes 3 weeks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken) for them to lay and hatch their eggs. Each one lays 12 eggs, with no defect to the chicks resulting. So this operation would make 100*12*1cp = 12gp per 3 weeks.

A DC 20 perform check nets you on average 1.55 gp per day, so unless you have a LOT of chickens, this method is slower than your bard performing.

This is still leaving out factors like who would want to buy your 1200 chicks, but this seems to be a fun method for people who are not casters (and have land).

The method is, of course, not the optimum.

Nevertheless, it compounds upon itself over time. Let's say that, with 100 chickens, you earn 9 GP. Invest these 9 GP back to obtain 9*50 = 450 more chickens, which will then increase your next batch of earnings to 5.5 times including the original chickens. Thus, over the next three weeks, you will have earned 9*5.5 = 49.5 GP, then 49.5 x 5.5^n in the nth three weeks.

The selling of the chickens, of course, is as much of a problem as always finding perform listeners (if you go by SRD, perform should always work in the same way that there will always be a buyer for your chickens). It also doesn't involve magic or reputation loss, and idle time is really of little essence when a half-day can pass with the words "later that night."

randomhero00
2010-02-16, 06:13 PM
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet. It's a rather nice, non-OP use of an overpowered feat that your DM should like. Grab leadership feat. Start any business you want. Your followers could be performers, farmers, merchants, run a casino (whatever your DM will let you get away with). You should even be able to open up multiple businesses and they can even be legit and good. Now you can go do your own money making schemes while your followers make money for you.

Irreverent Fool
2010-02-17, 12:14 AM
I kill a bunch of monsters and take their stuff.

obnoxious
sig

absolmorph
2010-02-17, 01:48 AM
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet. It's a rather nice, non-OP use of an overpowered feat that your DM should like. Grab leadership feat. Start any business you want. Your followers could be performers, farmers, merchants, run a casino (whatever your DM will let you get away with). You should even be able to open up multiple businesses and they can even be legit and good. Now you can go do your own money making schemes while your followers make money for you.
Have a lot of Monk followers.
Create MMA.

faceroll
2010-02-17, 02:30 AM
I kill a bunch of monsters and take their stuff.

obnoxious
sig

slash thread

Ishcumbeebeeda
2010-02-17, 02:31 AM
My favorite method (which I hope hasn't already been mentioned... I got bored and stopped reading after a while:smallredface:) was prestidigitation. I had a sorcerer character with that spell, and I decided that one of the things it should reasonably be able to do is change one smallish object of one material into a similar material for the duration of the spell. Like one mineral into another... like copper into platinum. Fortunately for my character's coin purse and unfortunately for the rest of the party, my DM agreed. And had banks in his world. My CN (changeling) sorcerer got rich at the small small cost of getting the entire party kicked out of a.... continent.:smallbiggrin:

magic9mushroom
2010-02-17, 03:49 AM
"Without any puppy-kickingly evil actions".

So I assume this means no taking over a mid-sized town, torturing them all to extract liquid pain, sacrificing them to evil gods and stealing their souls?

DarknessLord
2010-02-17, 03:57 AM
"Without any puppy-kickingly evil actions".

So I assume this means no taking over a mid-sized town, torturing them all to extract liquid pain, sacrificing them to evil gods and stealing their souls?

As long as all the dogs don't get hurt you're fine, everyone knows people care more about what happens to the dog then the masses of people who get killed.