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View Full Version : Build Me An Economy! (General Challenge)



Reltzik
2007-03-06, 11:17 PM
(This thread is an offshoot of a previous one, here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2150268&posted=1#post2150268).)

It has been noted that the DnD economy system leaves a little bit to be desired. Not that this sort of detail is required for most DnD games -- who cares that grain costs as much in the country as in the city, when you're about to raid a dungeon occupied by beholder-worshiping cultists? But it can still be a bit bothersome to find that a skilled outdoorsman costs as much to hire on the frontier as in the inner city. Or... well, I could go on forever.

So I thought, we can do better. Let's design a REALISTIC economy around the DnD rules.

All those tables on item, weapon, and service costs? Nix them! Instead, we'll start with a few basic assumptions:

Technology level (not counting magic, but counting techniques for doing things) is somewhere around Europe 1200-1300 AD. No gunpowder yet, but everything up to there. This includes some of the less noted aspects of the High Middle Ages, such as the beginning of the industrial revolution with water and wind power, and a fledgeling banking industry.

Climate, latitude, and raw resource distribution is also similar to Europe. Hell, let's say this IS Europe... at least as far as resources, weather, latitude, geography, and domesticated plants and animals go.

Stats for any given person are generated by 3d6, assign as rolled. However, you may assume that only those with fair stats will survive far into adulthood, and only those with good stats will gain any elite character classes. Further, you may assume that good stats are partially inheritted from biological parents and foster parents -- both nature and nurture are in effect here.

Rather than just earning experience from combat, people earn experience through achievement and challenges. Thus, a blacksmith who does some particularly tricky work on a wrought iron gate for a baron's manor might get story experience at the job's end and go up a level. Assume you get less XP for lower risk, even if the challenge is the same -- if that noble is displeased, you might lose your reputation, your guild membership, or your life, but if you're selling to an exporter the stakes aren't (quite) as high, and thus less XP is learned for the effort.

Assume that races tend to clump together and form their own communities, cities, and nations, though a bit of mixing goes on. (Thus, on the small scale, elves will segregate themselves into a single district of a city and form their own customs, even if (or especially if) in human lands. A similar process occurs on a large scale, producing distinct human and elven nations.) Savage races are out there in the wild, and the various planes and their denizens do exist and interact with the material as normal for DnD.

To decide how the classes will distribute themselves, assume that the die rolled for humans to produce random starting ages (Ch6 in the PH) represents time in training. Figure that every individual being trained requires one trainer of that class, of at least level 1, devoting an hour to the training a day. Apply laws of supply and demand to figure out the actual cost of training. Don't forget the risks of, say, training an apprentice wizard, or the material costs, or the waste produced by people flunking out.

In order to figure out how much a skilled individual can accomplish using Craft or Profession, figure out how much they'd earn in a day, and then figure out how much the final item or service costs over the consumed goods. Don't calculate in overhead, but do calculate in a ten-percent waste fee (smiths do produce scrap iron, after all). That tells you how quickly they can produce an item. If a smith can earn 10 gp in a day, it takes him 5 days to produce a 50 gp greatsword.

When NO details are given on how the cost of an item is derived (as is the case with many magical items)... well, come up with something plausible.

From these base assumptions, figure out the actual costs for various services, the actual value of the coinages in comparison to each other, the distribution of the classes, how magic effects the economy, and so forth.

Don't forget to factor in social orders, disease and sanitation, crime and lawlessness, transportation costs, upkeep and decay (wooden ships rot quickly), weather, and the natures of various races.

Also, remember that high-charisma individuals well "sell" themselves better. Use The Giant's variation on Diplomacy.

Core only for classes, feats, skills, spells, items, and the like. Include some splatbooks (like deities and demigods or manual of the planes) for background/setting information.

Show your work for full credit.

We're not going to get this all in one post. So instead, let's talk about it for the whole thread. Come up with an idea about the economy as a whole or a small piece of it, and will poke and prod it and see how well it holds up or breaks down. Hopefully something coherant will emerge. I'll start in the next post, unless someone beats me to it.

Reltzik
2007-03-07, 12:01 AM
I think that one of our basic assumptions is that the more common a skill is, and the less overhead its use requires, the cheaper it and its fruits will be. Why is this? High supply. Four ranks in Craft:Blacksmithing is rarer than in Profession: Farming and Agriculture. Both have a high overhead (the shop versus the land, tools, carts, and draft animals), but you need more farmers to support the community than blacksmiths. So far, this balancing of supply and demand should mean that they're about the same value, right? Not so. Fewer blacksmiths means less competition and less people willing to undercut your price. It also means that it's harder to find someone to apprentice to (increasing the overhead, and thus further decreasing supply).

Dervag
2007-03-07, 12:20 AM
I think that one of our basic assumptions is that the more common a skill is, and the less overhead its use requires, the cheaper it and its fruits will be. Why is this? High supply. Four ranks in Craft:Blacksmithing is rarer than in Profession: Farming and Agriculture. Both have a high overhead (the shop versus the land, tools, carts, and draft animals), but you need more farmers to support the community than blacksmiths. So far, this balancing of supply and demand should mean that they're about the same value, right? Not so. Fewer blacksmiths means less competition and less people willing to undercut your price. It also means that it's harder to find someone to apprentice to (increasing the overhead, and thus further decreasing supply).And thus trade guilds are born.

Guilds were originally a sort of capital trust. Because it was hard to train skilled craftsmen and hard to import more, the small number of craftsmen in a given area could exercise a lot of power over the prices and conditions of their service.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 01:00 AM
To begin with economy, I believe we first need to model the society that will be using it. For example, if we want to stay true to the Middle Ages concept, we're looking at the vast majority of the population bearing the job title Impoverished Peasant and earning zilch, since the land belonged to the nobles, who simply "rented" it for as much as two thirds (if not more) of what the family managed to produce over the year. Often peasants were in fact nothing more than serfs, who didn't even own the bed they slept in, much less anything that resembled hard currency. Most of their transactions were in the manner of banter - exchanging goods or services, for other goods or services.

At this point in history cities still weren't a significant force in the world's economy. Citizens in fact had status similar to serfs and weren't allowed to own land, which made them dependent on the nobility to provide foodstuffs and raw materials for goods such as leather (cow hides), candles (tallow), or clothing (wool). The formation of guilds began to change that - the power they eventually wielded was one of the forces which led to the recognition of city dwellers as a separate social class, which in turn was one of the contributing factors to the start of the Reneissance, which ironically enough turned around and brought the "craft secrets stay within the guild" mindset down with a crash.

But let's get back on topic. As it is possible to derive from the above, the only significant economic force of the time was the ownership of land. This not only bespoke of your social status (noble or churchman) but also provided goods from rents or tithes, which could be sold to support an extravagant (for the time) lifestyle - meat on the table at least once a week, more than one set of clothes, furniture that didn't drive splinters into your behind, etc.

This socioeconomic setting more or less forced the enterprising peasant (who, I might add was often legally tied to the land he worked on - see serfdom, above) to be a jack of all trades - since he had no way to pay for what he needed, he had to make it himself, be it clothes, furniture, dishware, baskets, or even his house. The few times when he was forced to seek out another craftsman, it was when he needed goods that required specialist knowledge and at least a minimal amount of infrastructure to create - such as when his scythe required mending, or he needed a few nails, in which case he trekked down to the nearest smithy.

To further drive the poor peasant into the ground, in certain kingdoms nobles still followed the idea of specializing their villages in one trade in particular. So people in this hamlet made baskets exclusively, while in the one behind the forest, everyone practiced apiculture. The nobles took what their villages made, and sometimes even redistributed some of it so that everyone had a basket or a few candles. Apparently this system even worked, for a time.

I could go on, but I think you see what I'm getting at... The point is, D&D and real world economy don't mix. I do not intend to sound harsh, but if you want an economy, you first have to give us a society this economy could be applied to. Making it "like Medieval Europe but with magic on top" will simply not work.

Scalenex
2007-03-07, 01:33 AM
And thus trade guilds are born.

Guilds were originally a sort of capital trust. Because it was hard to train skilled craftsmen and hard to import more, the small number of craftsmen in a given area could exercise a lot of power over the prices and conditions of their service.

Which leads to a cartel. Cartels are like inefficient monopolies. Meaning that supply and demand market forces are skewed. Demand is fixed but Supply is dependent on the guilds. The guilds have the power to set the supply and the market price (these are intimately tied). The more they make, the less money they can make per unit (barring price discrimination which wouldn't likely stand since the people most able to pay higher costs tend to be nobles who wield more political power than the guilds). So it reach a point where they will reach a point where to make any more or less than current product, the monopolists will lose money. The problem (from the guilds view) is cheating. If one craftman in the guild makes even one more unit than the monopolist would, he can get more money, but if everyone did that, the selling price of their goods would rapidly drop till it reached the minimum cost to produce it. If I had more free time, I'd import some graphs to show these things.

All this means that the guild first has to find the monopolist supply (not an easy task without modern mathematics) but they should be able to come up with a rough estimate from just knowing the area and it's people. Then they have to agree on how to divide up their business amongst each other (most likely either equally among all members or weighted to give seniority more business).

Then they'd need a way to enforce it, if all the members of a guild had close ties (the blacksmiths all have the last name Smith because their family are the only blacksmiths around), then norms would be enough to enforce the rules. If it required getting in bed with the local rulers or organized crime (metaphorically speaking), the cost of business would go up which would eat up everyone's profits. The latter scenario is more likely given the materialist nature of most guilds and the Prisoner's Dilemna (look it up, too lengthy to explain here).

So what is this price? Well it depends on the cost of producing said goods (fairly easy to estimate), the demand for the goods (not so easy to estimate), and the sophistication of the guild enforcement mechanisms (very difficult to extrapolate costs from). Note if only one person in a locale has a certain craft, then they can set the monopolist price, though if business is lucrative for him, he's apt to attract competitors, even in a mercantile system like medieval Europe, so he'd need someway to deter market entry. Perhaps a wizard is cornering potion sales by threatening any would be potion makers with bat guano.

I can keep going, I'm an unemployed Economics degree holder.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 01:55 AM
Ok, so I read my previous post, and decided to follow it with something more constructive. :smallamused:

Let's start with the obvious. What is the Basic Monetary Unit (BMU) in your world? Let's not worry about various currencies (they exist but coins have a more or less equal weight and size, which makes them an acceptable medium of exchange anywhere) or barter systems (assume we don't have serfs - unless as a plot point - and everyone has a source of income). Standard D&D treats the gold piece as the BMU, but then it makes the mistake of one one hand still pretending that peasants mostly deal with copper pieces, and on the other making heroes who at the end of their careers walk around wearing what amounts to the yearly spending budget of a fairly large kingdom. Clearly, this is unreconcileable when attempting an economy that has at least a semblance of plausibility.

One solution would be to make the amount of money floating around more plausible and less economy crashing. The BMU becomes the silver piece - 90% of the population never even sees a gold piece (much less a platinum) in their entire lives, and even silver is hard to come by for an average peasant. What follows is a downward shift in prices. Now we're looking at a loaf of bread costing 1cp (or even a ha'penny), and a hunk of cheese going for no more than 2-3cp. A sword will go for maybe 5gp - still expensive for your average citizen, but much more affordable for your average noble looking to equip his guards. Armor will depend a) on how advanced the industry is and b) what you want to do with it.
For example, historically, only the nobles could afford a full suit of plate made to order, since it represented quality work by a master armorer and a degree of protection vastly superior to anything else available on the field of battle - it was not uncommon for a noble to have to put himself in debt, or sell one or two of his villages in order to afford such armor. In terms of D&D, this superiority is represented by a +1 to AC and a potential +1 from Dexterity the armor one step lower on the list. This does not justify a 150% leap in price in respect to half plate. Hmm... we could settle for about 5-10gp for a piecemeal leather vest from your local tannery, to 500gp for a suit of plate - this is assuming you want to keep social status as part of a game where your players come from the lower stratas of society and won't even be able to afford a suit of chainmail, much less anything more expensive.
Inserting magic into this particular setting will be tricky, as it has much potential for unbalancing things. To begin with, I suggest pruning the spell lists for any permanent creation spells and putting tight restrictions on item creation feats - maybe make a Magecrafter PrC with a high level entry prerequisite and make them as rare as the Three-Horned Wildebeast.

At this point I'll reiterate that D&D in its current for is not conductive to creating a viable economy. Characters of a certain level are supposed to have a certain amount of money for a certain amount of equipment, otherwise they will suck mightily against the various monsters they encounter in their career. One solution would be to chuck the monsters and make it an all-playable race campaign, but that still doesn't account for the fact that while BAB progresses, AC stays firmlly in place.

And at this point my brain shut down. More later, once I've had breakfast.

Scalenex
2007-03-07, 02:41 AM
I could go on, but I think you see what I'm getting at... The point is, D&D and real world economy don't mix. I do not intend to sound harsh, but if you want an economy, you first have to give us a society this economy could be applied to. Making it "like Medieval Europe but with magic on top" will simply not work.

I've toyed with this thought more than a few times. Medieval economies fall under Malthusian economics. Wealth is tied to the land. Wealth increases as agriculture methods increase or more land becomes arable. The surplus of food means that more people can specialize which creates more luxury goods. Problem is, shortly after agriculture yields go up, the population goes up too and most/all of the would-be surplus is eaten. I've been mulling this over and how it stacks with a +1 sword costs 500 gp without putting the actual masterwork cost in there. How can you even spend that much gold when there is hardly any market to accept that much wealth. You see in D&D, wealth is tied to two things, land and magic.

What are the 500 gp spent on? Ritual sacrifices to summon spirits into the sword? More magical items take rare (or at least uncommon) components. Here's what I figure, even potions and scrolls cost a pretty penny. So do spell books, many spell components, and things that are required for PC classes to have "level appropriate" stuff is not cheap either. I figure this could sustain a middle class. Not as big as we have now of course but far bigger than the real world medieval era. The DMG has what 94% commoners. That's probably 5 to 5 and a half percentage points fewer than the European feudal societies have. So a "typical" D&D world has a suitable middle class in place, just put a fair number of experts in things like herbalist (for cultivating rare plants for potions ingredients) and the like. After you've gone this far. I delved deeper and got hamstringed by the sheer scope of what I was trying to do. You've seen my first post, my time is worth very little. Yet after tackling this very challenge for my own gratification a few months ago, I came full circle after fleshing out my PC class supporter-based middle class and decided that the market could create what's in the book with little problem.

Here are my few minor changes:

1) there is a larger and somewhat more powerful middle class. Not only does it cater to PC classes (not just adventurers) but most PC classed NPCs would likely come from this strata of society and marry into it (though the minority of PC classes who adventures tends to hook up with nobility, other adventurers, or they have whirlwind romances with human-like monsters to create various bloodlines and half-templates). This would likely give them a little bit of political power to not get stepped on, but not enough to seriously challenge the nobility (see three).

2) to make magical item creation, more interesting and (slightly) more plausible, I made a house rule on exotic components. If you find and incorporate a exotic component, double the value of that component counts towards the creation of the item. This also applies to rare services (though I admittedly have to wing the gp value) such as having a weapon forged by dragon fire or blessed by unicorn. Yay side quests. The rest of the miscellaneous components that make up the prodigious cost of magic weapons is gathered painstakingly by the magical sector of the economy (aka my new middle class).

3) There are many posts talking about the value of PC classes in armies. The usual obstacle towards stocking up on PC classes is the confusion between PC classes and Player controlled characters. In other words, adventurers are so independent they wouldn't take orders from a noble. Hence the creation of the Weekend Wizard. I've read a couple discussions calculating that x percentage of the population has the intelligence to become a wizard. That may be true but it assumes willingness to learn magic and access to the expensive resources required. Some of my D&D governments have programs in place to facilitate training for PC classes (usually wizards but nearly any class could do). In exchange for a tuition scholarship. They owe their government a set period of time of service (three years seems like I good number) then periodic action equivalent to "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" like the actual army reserves. Duties would vary based on the state of war or lack there of for the sponsoring state and the abilities of the Weekend Wizard. A diviner may serve as a check point across a border checking for contraband (polymorphed demons, cursed items, etc) and serving as a translator if your world doesn't have Common. An invoker could serve an enforcer capacity, a transmuter could help building projects, an abjurer could make potions for paranoid nobles, the skies the limit. Again you'd probably have to be a member of the middle class to qualify for the "government scholarship." Marxist prestige class anyone?

"The PC classes are hording all the wealth away from the prolitariat and defending their status with mystical violence. You are not merely a chunk of exp or monster food! You deserve an equal share....."

4) the lower classes have a tiny iota more spending power and prosperity than their real world counterparts. They might get 5-10 sp a month or so to spend on things they didn't produce themeselves (though the sp would represented in terms of barter goods) Even a single benevolent cleric could give her services to a fairly wide rural population if she never adventurered. Even a cure minor wounds spell could prevent infant mortality or death during childbirth. If rural familes aren't required to have absolutely as many children as humanly possible, they needn't be quite so destitute. I included number four last for a reason. While friendly PC classes could raise the general standard of living in an area, marauding goblins, evil PC classes, and the various other things adventurers kill for exp could cancel that effect whenever they go about their villainous routines pillaging the countryside.

Anyhow, my three changes are just a way of illustrated, the consequences of me trying to come up with an economic system just fleshed out enough to allow me to suspend my disbelief but not enough to hamstring playability or force me to change the market price of magical items (or of every single product and service in the DMG).

As a friend pointed out to me. By definition, the market price can't be wrong because it's what the invisible hand determined.

Wehrkind
2007-03-07, 03:58 AM
Most of their transactions were in the manner of banter - exchanging goods or services, for other goods or services.

Thank you so much. Far be it from me to tease someone for misspelling, but I about snorted my soup reading that at work and spent the next 5 minutes imagining an economic system based on banter. Suddenly bards were the most prolific and powerful producers of wealth in the world! Government by quip!

Hehe sorry to get off topic, but I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Subotei
2007-03-07, 04:41 AM
Making it "like Medieval Europe but with magic on top" will simply not work.

So very true. Just take one example - moving goods around in the middle ages: you really had only two options - land animal transport (eg carvans etc) or boat. Add magic and magical beasts and the options of flying, teleporting etc must be taken into account. These are safer, faster, and more importantly, generally only available to those with magical power. How would traditional merchants compete with a wizard's guild bringing spices from the other side of the world via teleportation circles and bags of holding?

In a magical world, Wizards win at everything, not just combat.

paigeoliver
2007-03-07, 05:42 AM
In my campaign world I added a huge series of spells related to agriculture, fishing, hunting, and animal husbandry. Going all the way from zero level spells (such as Fowl Blessing, which makes a single chicken produce 3 times as many eggs for life), to 8th level spells such as "Ultimate Blessing of Agriculture" which I will simply detail below.

There is a wide range of these spells and they are used in one form or another pretty much anywhere that has spellcasters. Only the absolute highest of these spells have costly material components or XP cost.

Using spells like these (which would certainly be developed), allows you to seriously cut down on the number of dirt peasants, and in general raise everyone's quality of life.

Blessing of Agriculture, Ultimate

Abjuration
Level: Drd 7, Clr 8 Sor/Wiz 7
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets: 10 square miles of land per caster level
Duration: 1 year per level of caster
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

The Greater Blessing of Agriculture spell completely wards the affected land from harmful insects and all variety of plant diseases. It keeps all mammals, reptiles, and birds with an intelligence of three or less from eating any cultivated crops out of fields within the area of effect of the spell.

In addition the spell also mildly changes the weather in the spells area of effect, constantly keeping the temperature 8 degrees closer to the ideal temperature for whichever form of plantlife is most abundant, and it also increases or decreases the daily chance of rain by up to 20 percent (whichever the local plantlife needs most at the time).

The spell also enriches the soil of the area, giving plants far more nutrition than usual.

In game terms those changes will cause the farming output to be seven times normal of any area this spell is kept up on, provided the spell is kept active throughout the entire growing season.

This spell does not keep out giant insects, magical beasts, or magical insects. This spell is powerful enough to cause rain to fall in areas where it normally does not, and makes enough of a change that it can be used to grow plants well outside of their normal climate zone.

XP Cost: 1000 Experience

Material Component

A large ornately carved wagon full of fruits and vegetables worth no less than 1000 gold pieces that is set aflame at the end of the spells casting.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 07:24 AM
Thank you so much. Far be it from me to tease someone for misspelling, but I about snorted my soup reading that at work and spent the next 5 minutes imagining an economic system based on banter. Suddenly bards were the most prolific and powerful producers of wealth in the world! Government by quip!

Hehe sorry to get off topic, but I thoroughly enjoyed that.


... crap.

Well, a day when you (nearly) make someone snort stuff through their nose is not a day that's gone to waste. :smallwink:

Moving right along.

Now that I had some time to think about it, read The Economicon (http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=9483527&postcount=5) and think about it some more, I can share my thoughts with the rest of these boards (your mileage may vary).


I delved deeper and got hamstringed by the sheer scope of what I was trying to do.

I came to more or less the same conclusion. You can construct an economic model, and you can even make some parts of it work (for a time) but in essence you can't create an actual economy, since the term itself describes an ongoing process in a living breathing world. I've seen economics being compared to voodoo magic, but in my mind it's a working example of the Chaos Theory - a system which has its own patterns that you can more or less follow, but never predict due to the fact that you simply can't account for all the variables.
In that light, creating an actual economy for a mental construct that is D&D is not unakin to trying to create life by simply assembling a human body from raw components (cue the Frankenstein jokes). Therefore, at best we can hope for a model that doesn't break immersion with constant glaring inconsistencies.


What are the 500 gp spent on? Ritual sacrifices to summon spirits into the sword?

For me, here lies the crux of the problem. D&D, by the virtue of being a roleplaying system operates on two levels: the roleplaying part, where you immerse yourself into an imaginary world, pretending to be a hero doing great deeds and getting cool stuff in exchange, and the mechanical part which is supposed to facilitate the immersion process without devolving the game into a Cops and Robbers scenario ("I shot you!" "No, I shot you first!" "I shot you both so shut up!"). However, as Reltzik astutely points out, when it comes to economics (and numerous other features, but discussion of those is for another thread) D&D doesn't live up to the task, which results in breaking said immersion. A point by point analysis follows.

#1 So why is magic so expensive?
Mechanical Standpoint: The D&D Level/Hit Dice progression system is intrinsically tied to the Experience Point system, the Challenge Rating system, and (what concerns us the most) the Wealth By Level system. In order to stay competitive in the modern monster-eat-adventurer world, your average Cedric the Dragonslayer simply needs to have a certain amount of oomph derived from his enchanted possesions. Otherwise he will quickly gain the monicker Cedric the Lunch (to somewhat later be replaced by Cedric the Painful Bowel Movement, to later... you get the point). The problem arises where our dear Cedric gets his grubby little hands on a +5 Dragonsbane Greatsword of Fire Immunity at Level 1 and upstages the rest of the party until someone stabs him in his sleep. Clearly, if WotC is to sell any more supplements, they can't afford customers disgruntled with dead characters.
Thus the WBL system was created and the GM put in charge of keeping an eye on it. And since the WotC in their infinite wisdom recognized that the Cedrics of the world would not be above mugging random NPC's in order to afford their next big purchase, they made magic hellishly expensive. Therefore in order to purchase his new +4 Mithral Fullplate of Heavy Fortification, Cedric has to go out and mug a dragon (which amounts to having an adventure - convienient, no?). But since without the aforementioned greatsword he can't take on a dragon, he first has to go out and mug some goblins in order to afford a better piece of equipment that will enable him to mug an even more powerful creature, and ad infinitum until he can finally take on the dragon he was after. And since the clever Cedric could, and would settle for mugging the same type of monster repeatedly, the magic became priced exponentially, thus simply making it less cost-effective (and boring) to repeatedly go after the same opponent.
Economic Standpoint: Cedric aside, explaining an exponential progression of pricing on an otherwise linear progression of gained advantages isn't hard to explain. An OK car will cost you $20-30K and you can reasonably expect to get 120-150MPH out of it if you don't mind the local law enforcement. A very good car will get you 200-250MPH at $100K and up. A racing car that can pull 300MPH or more is going to cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus what you're going to spend on tires, replacement parts, special fuel and oil mixtures, etc. (Before any car buff starts correcting me, I'm giving you approximate figures only, so unless I'm way off the mark, hush :smalltongue:) Optimistically, you're looking at doubling, maybe tripling your performace at the expense of multiplying your costs several dozen times. Past that you're into experimental territory where developing new lightweight alloys and creating functional prototypes will push your budget into millions.
Roleplaying Standpoint: The very idea that you can go into a wizard's shop and order a sword made to your exact specifications somehow... cheapens the effect magic should otherwise have. The one saving grace here is, ironically enough, that magic is prohibitively expensive, but that once again raises the question of where that wheelbarrow of gold you just deposited as the first down payment for your new shiny ring goes. Obviously the wizard has to obtain whatever rare materials he needs to enchant the ring... but the DMG rather explicitly states that if you make the item yourself, the materials will cost you half the market price of the item itself.
Oops.
Obviously then, crafter wizards need all this surplus wealth to pursue their esoteric arcane research, research and cast new spells, bind outsiders to their will, etc, or, barring that, pay their rent, build pleasure palaces, and enjoy life to the fullest.
Except that they mostly spend weeks on end cooped up in the workshop, enchanting another hunk of metal for a rich adventurer.
Double oops.
Of course, no one said humans are the most logical of creatures. Just look at the corporate ladder generation: they have big houses with pools, several expensive cars, and a trophy wife... but no time to enjoy any of that, since they're busy working on their next Powerpoint on why they should be made Section Manager.
Bottom Line: The prices set upon magic insofar as item creation goes, make sense from the mechanical, economic, and (tentatively) roleplaying standpoint. Insofar as magic item creation goes, that is. We'll examine at how this measures up against the mundane economy soon, but first let's take a look at material components.

#2 The World Market Conspiracy
Mechanical Standpoint: Animating a corpse costs you an onyx gem worth at least 25gp. True Resurrection will require a diamond worth at least 5000gp. No issue is made of the shape, cut, polish, presence or absence of flaws, or even origins. While coming up with caveats such as that the onyx has to come from the mines of Zhuul, or that the diamond can only be obtained by disemboweling (figuratively speaking) a 24HD Earth Elemental would uphold the idea of magic as something rare and wondorous, players don't want to go on a quest to be able to cast a Level 3 spell. They do want to cast the damned spell however. Therefore we have a nice, streamlined process of assigning an arbitrary worth to a given component and not worrying about the niggling little details. This is a game and it's supposed to be fun, end of story.
Likewise, by assigning an even minimal cost to a given spell, does ensure that Cedric the Wizard will not spam it at every opportunity, since this course of action would ensure him not being able to afford the Celestial Pegasus mount he had set his sights on.
Economic Standpoint: You could say that the law of supply and demand has nothing on D&D, since the rules neatly sidestep the whole issue by using the key phrase "worth." Namely, if you paid 5000gp for a diamond the size of a marble in Portsburg, and then journeyed across the continent, to the diamond mines of Maranga where you bought a diamond the size of a fist for 5000gp, both gems are still "worth" 5000gp and are both equally viable components for a True Resurrection spell. Right?
Because having the marble diamond work only in Portsburg, and the fist diamong work anywhere (worth at least) would make no sense, right?
At this point some people are waving their arms and yelling "This is magic! Don't argue! A wizard did it! ZOMG!" Ladies and gentlemen, to you I present:

The Maxymiuk Fallacy

"The Wizard did it" is not a valid excuse for logical inconsistencies in D&D mechanics unless it also explains how the wizard did it.


Roleplaying Standpoint: This brings us rather neatly to the following question: Is there, therefore, some kind of higher power or, heavens forbid, a conspiracy behind market prices on spell components? Can this all be explained by some form of Celestial Bureaucracy which asseses the diamond you purchased as "good enough" to fulfill the spell's requirement? Or is this a case of "magic works because you believe in it" as presented in certain works of literature?
Bottom Line: Already this line of reasoning is encountering weak spots in D&D's structure (big surprise?). To summarise, while the mechanical reasons behind the concept of material components are sound, the economic and roleplaying sides don't hold up to close scrutiny, and neither do they provide immediate solutions to this problem. But hey, even more fun awaits us once we crashland mundane economics into the argument.

#3 The Gold Piece Supremacy
Mechanical Standpoint: To put it in the simplest terms possible, mundane economy is an afterthought in D&D which started out as a system centered almost exclusively around exploring dungeons and killing monsters. The old school adventurer lived in a world devoid of anything other than dungeons he popped into existence at the entrance, and hoped to live until he reached the treasure chest at the end. He didn't need anything aside from weapons, armor, magic rings, and a torch that had a cost so miniscule that it could be handwaved in.
But then 2nd ed. came along and suddenly there was a whole world to explore. The new adventurer suddenly had to cope with distances hundreds of times of what he was used to, an actual day/night cycle, and people who'd want to buy the treasures he plundered from yonder dungeon (or stab him in his sleep and take them). He needed transport. He needed food. He needed a secure place to sleep. Above all, he needed to immerse himself in this brave new world.
Which meant that he had to pay for all of the above.
Most of us already know the jokes (http://goblinscomic.com/d/20060909.html) about adventuring gear, so I won't restate them here. And to be frank, once a character is past level 5 or so he should have enough money not to worry about how much a 10ft. pole costs, or what's the value of a loaf of bread, as prices on mundane gear don't hold a candle (1cp) to what it costs to get your typical +1 sword. So unless you are a level 1 adventurer, mundane gear is nothing more than the aforementioned afterthought. The fact that in D&D 3.5 the issue still isn't fixed, seems to indicate that WotC doesn't really consider it an issue and, for the most part, they're right.
Economic Standpoint: There are four recognized units of currency in D&D: the platinum piece, the gold piece, the silver piece, and the copper piece. 90% of prices you'll ever see will be stated in gold pieces. Platinum pieces are something you carry around so that you don't break your horse's back with sacks of gold. Silver and copper pieces don't come up unless you're dealing with mundane gear or tipping a hobo.
If you look through the core books, you'll notice that there are no stated prices for produce, furniture, buying land, buying, or even renting a house. What we get are various mounts and beasts of burden, adventuring gear, inn rental, and alcohol price lists.
Yes, you got it. Those are things relevant for an adventurer who doesn't care about this year's price on turnips, or how much a chair costs. In fact, the only time he used a chair was in a tavern brawl when he broke it over that half-orc's head. Adventurer's shouldn't care about those things. What they do care about is how much that Flaming enchantment on their axe is going to cost. In that way, an adventuer is part of an entire social subculture with specific interests, not unakin to those of us who over the years spend hundreds of local currency units on things such as miniatures, little plastic models of aircraft, paints, books, computer games, or even D&D splatbooks...
Adventuring gear, therefore, belongs to the same category as magic items: stuff clever salesmen foist off on sword-swinging rubes (casters have spells to simulate almost every item on the list of adventuring gear) for as much as they can get away with. Which easily explains the wildly inappropriate costs, and since your typical adventurer is bored with anything that doesn't involve killing monsters and taking their stuff, it also explains why the salesmen keep getting away with it.
Roleplaying Standpoint: This rather neatly relegates everything not related to adventuring to the background - it's not important, so don't bother yourself about it.
Still, players are people too, and people get creative. These days, your typical adventurer doesn't want to spend all his time carting gold from dungeons to cities and bigger weapons from cities to dungeons. He wants immersion. He wants the world to be alive. Therefore shunting economical issues towards the back of the shelf no longer has a valid excuse since it's no longer facilitating the immersion process. The very least the core books could have would be a breakdown of income for typical jobs such as can be found in practically every other RPG currently on the market, as well as at least a rudimentary economical model that explains how a commoner can survive on such income.
Bottom Line: Within the realm of adventuring, D&D's economic model makes sense. It's once we leave this cozy context that things begin making little to no sense. To put it bluntly, the D&D model is outdated and in a serious need of an overhaul if you ever expect to do anything more during the game than raid dungeons.


And that, as they say, is that. Perhaps I didn't create a new economy, as per Reltzik's request, but I did try my best to explain my understanding of how the current system works (and why), as well as where it breaks down when conflicted with a modern player's mindset. I claim no advanced knowledge in economic theory, as Scalenex does, and neither do I pretend to know what went through the mind of Mr. Gygax when he created the system - I can only try to make a convincing argument based on what I do know. And as usual as when I engage in a prolonged rant, I reserve the right to be completely wrong on some accounts, as well as inviting anyone to disagree. From arguments ideas are born.

Reltzik
2007-03-07, 10:59 AM
To begin with economy, I believe we first need to model the society that will be using it.

I believe that the two are so linked that I could not provide one without creating the other. Economy dictates society. Society dictates economy. Thus, we need invent both.

... well, we don't NEED to. This is more a cross between a hobby and OCD.


What is the Basic Monetary Unit (BMU) in your world?

[snip]

Inserting magic into this particular setting will be tricky, as it has much potential for unbalancing things. To begin with, I suggest pruning the spell lists for any permanent creation spells and putting tight restrictions on item creation feats - maybe make a Magecrafter PrC with a high level entry prerequisite and make them as rare as the Three-Horned Wildebeast.

Characters of a certain level are supposed to have a certain amount of money for a certain amount of equipment, otherwise they will suck mightily against the various monsters they encounter in their career.

The true value of coinage is dependent on the supplies of the various precious metals, the difficulties of minting them, and a host of issues regarding the authority which mints them. It also helps if the coins are suitably shiny and impressive. But these are PART of the economy.

So instead, let's talk in terms of Credits. Credits will be an abstract evaluation of worth, of which the members of the society we are examining are completely ignorant, but which, if they WERE aware of, they would treat like current monetary units. Let's assume a fixed money supply of 1k Credits per individual, meaning that if the average worth of a population goes up, the number of Credits remain fixed but the value of each Credit, compared to various goods (and currencies), also goes up. Naturally, they won't all have 1k; it'll clump around the wealthy and powerful.

Now, as for magic. I'm not for pruning the spell list. The challenge here is to figure out how the spell list (and other aspects of DnD) can fit into an economy. In particular, the value of each spell as a service should be established. If some spells are particularly valuable, that produces some interesting economic features -- such as prohibitive pricing, the limited supply of casters, the demand for more casters, the view of casters as a plutocratic cast which must be cast down by the proletariat, et cetera. If another spell of the same level is not as powerful, it still exists, but no one's interested in learning it, save for a few collectors. Or, on the other hand, you may have wizards guarding the valuable spells from their apprentices, or each other, extra-jealously, producing an even more limited supply. ALL of this serves to reduce the impact of various spells on the world economy, because there just aren't enough to go around. (It's sorcerors that break the system, with power for free. Kinda explains why there's this incipient hatred towards them.)

The wealth by level guidelines? Ignore them! People get whatever they grab... though the higher-level individuals will, undoubtedly, be more capable at the grabbing. Elite classes can't take on dragons without the right equipment? Well, then, they can't take on dragons. They're underpowered and suck mightily? Well, then, they're underpowered and suck mightily. Dragons win and rule the world.


I've been mulling this over and how it stacks with a +1 sword costs 500 gp without putting the actual masterwork cost in there. How can you even spend that much gold when there is hardly any market to accept that much wealth. You see in D&D, wealth is tied to two things, land and magic.

[sniparoony]

Anyhow, my three changes are just a way of illustrated, the consequences of me trying to come up with an economic system just fleshed out enough to allow me to suspend my disbelief but not enough to hamstring playability or force me to change the market price of magical items (or of every single product and service in the DMG).

As a friend pointed out to me. By definition, the market price can't be wrong because it's what the invisible hand determined.

But does that work out? What percentage of the population are casters, and how powerful? What percentage is sufficeint to support that middle class?

And that hand? It isn't invisible. It's Monty Cook's hand, and it needs a manicure.


So very true. Just take one example - moving goods around in the middle ages: you really had only two options - land animal transport (eg carvans etc) or boat. Add magic and magical beasts and the options of flying, teleporting etc must be taken into account. These are safer, faster, and more importantly, generally only available to those with magical power. How would traditional merchants compete with a wizard's guild bringing spices from the other side of the world via teleportation circles and bags of holding?

In a magical world, Wizards win at everything, not just combat.

Bags of holding are expensive. Teleportation requires a mid-level caster, which could be pretty rare. These factors alone will REALLY drive up the expense of such methods, limiting their impact on the world. They'll have some impact, though.

The true challenge is creating a system where this is all accounted for.


In my campaign world I added a huge series of spells related to agriculture, fishing, hunting, and animal husbandry. Going all the way from zero level spells (such as Fowl Blessing, which makes a single chicken produce 3 times as many eggs for life), to 8th level spells such as "Ultimate Blessing of Agriculture" which I will simply detail below.

[snip]



Well, that raises the question of how many casters capable of casting level 8 spells are handy to go around blessing crops, and what they'd rather be doing with their time, and just how much of a fee it takes to tempt them to bless crops rather than do what they'd rather be doing.




[Sniiiiiip]



Holy Crapole, I was joking about that OCD part!

Okay, a few thoughts. First, the value of spell-casting components MIGHT vary with location. One possibility is that the diamond is bartered with the local spirits for power. Near a diamond mine, with lots of gem cutters, it'll take a very fancy gem to tempt the local spirits. Far away from such centers, though, the spirits are more impressed.

But yes, providing more detail to spells like these (and to the creation costs of magic items) is something we need to do... not just here in the thread, but also as DMs.

Wonderful insights, though.

Oh, and since someone brought it up -- my economics background is limited to a high-school class. However, I've got a degree in CS and a minor and almost-degree in math. So while I might not understand economic systems in particular, I understand systems in general... especially how they do or do not break.

Nahal
2007-03-07, 11:31 AM
As a friend pointed out to me. By definition, the market price can't be wrong because it's what the invisible hand determined.

(Emphasis mine)

Sorry to get (wildly) off topic, but the "invisible hand" is essentially economic theory's equivalent of handwavium. There's little to no explanation of how it works, though it's used as the basis for most of Neoclassical theory. It's simply assumed that these nebulous "market forces" ensure that supply goes where it's most wanted. It's something that's bothered me for a little while as an economics student.

Subotei
2007-03-07, 12:22 PM
Bags of holding are expensive. Teleportation requires a mid-level caster, which could be pretty rare. These factors alone will REALLY drive up the expense of such methods, limiting their impact on the world. They'll have some impact, though.


Not if you factor in the costs of doing business for a merchant caravan, - animals, men, guards, provisions, taxes, duties on good from the countries you pass through (nicely avoided by teleporting) insurance against losses etc etc. Also a bag of holding is a once-only purchace - horses, carts etc wear out. Magical guilds would eventually dominate trade in any magical world, simply due to the low overheads and speed of the methods they can use. I suppose you could limit them via background/cultural rules etc in a campaign setting, but RAW-wise they would own all long distance trading.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-03-07, 12:24 PM
One of the other major impacts on trade is going to be the location of marketplaces, which are going to be based on trade routes, which are impacted by sociopolitical conditions.

For example, territory A is a socialist dictatorship who has huge taxes and fees which are crippling to anyone who tries to import goods into his country. Trade routes would tend to avoid that area, furthermore would avoid the area because his soldiers tend to be somewhat corrupt and tend to take whatever catches their eyes. Therefore, the only marketplaces in his realm would be local ones wherein only local goods could be found.

As another example, territory B is a free market monarchy who has a ruler that has a fine appreciation for business. Import taxes and tarriffs are held low to encourage importing of foreign goods. There would likely be at least one major trade route going to the place of highest population density and/or political center (namely the capital), and quite possibly secondary marketplaces wherein other traderoutes intersect in his realm, which is encouraged due to low taxes and tarriffs. Such marketplaces might have goods which are not local, and it is even possible to have exotic goods from places around the world.

Population wealth, density, and political factors are likely three very important stresses in determining trade routes. High population density but low wealth (slums) are not nearly as likely to attract a trade route as a medium population density of high wealth (royal court) would.

Furthermore, these same factors will influence the price of aforementioned goods. Low taxes and tarriffs mean lower overhead which means the merchant can sell the same good at a lower price and still maintain the same profit margin. This will then be impacted by all the territories in the area. For example, merchants who have to go through the nation in example A to get to the nation in example B would have to charge higher rates if they cannot get around the first nation. This would lead to trade routes circumventing entire political areas, which might bring them into hazardous areas and increasing expenses such as extra caravan guards and losses from banditry.

kellandros
2007-03-07, 12:35 PM
My knowledge is a lot more indirect than the previous posters, but here's my 2 copper pieces(un-adjusted for inflation).

Any comparisons to European history are going to depend a lot on the society/culture in use in a given campaign. The most basic question is food production/surplus. In a land-based economy, every person who is not a farmer must live off the excess production of the farmers. Until the late middle ages, this was a pretty limited percentage, especially considering that nobility and clergy claimed a good chunk of that. As others have said much better than I can, to support adventurers and give more interesting things than just farmers everywhere, you assume a good surplus crop production.

Having surplus crops also allows cities to exist- fed by the surrounding farmlands. Cities, and their denser populations, allows cooperation and exchange of knowledge between professionals. The village blacksmith probably only learned from one master, and it is quite possible he would not have picked up every trick his predecessor knew. With more than one tradesman of a profession available, trained apprentices can be sent off as journeymen to work under and learn from an additional person(questing?). Having more than one apprentice also means it is more likely that skills and knowledge will be preserved and passed on.

Guilds controlled their respective crafts carefully, because the most important and scare resource they had was experience. Assume that training under a more experienced/higher level individual in any trade offers a benefit of some form. Some 2nd Edition rules required training to convert experience to a new character level. Other systems offer a bonus to gaining experience(guidance to avoid common mistakes). Or could look at it as d20 CR system- a low level apprentice working with a higher level character on a challenge higher than the apprentice could hope to accomplish on his own would get a bigger relative benefit than the higher level character. Consider the time cost if wizards had to research every spell from scratch.

Transportation. Feudalism assumes everyone stays put- most peasants never go further than one day's travel away. To have cities implies crops can be delivered, sold at market, and eaten before they spoil. Cities grow on trade routes, be those roads or rivers or ocean ports. If people don't travel there, people start to leave to where they do go. In the US in the 1800s, towns were risking huge sums of money to fund major transportation construction. Turnpikes, canals, and eventually rail lines. All of these expanded what area their market could cover.

Exchange rates- is a gold piece equal to a gold piece? Who produces current money? A protectionist king may require foreigners to exchange their money to the local coinage, hoping to protect his tax base and monopolies. How much do you trust foreign coins? If the kingdom is at war with another one, the enemy's currency may be taken as proof of spying. If one king desides to debase his coinage(adding lead and other metals to reduce the amount of gold per coin), he can settle short term debts easily, at a loss of future spending power. Using debased currency could get a lynch mob after you. If the relative values are well known, money changers are going to offer poorer exchange rates. Money changers are going to take a premium for themselves- they are taking the risk that what they hold onto may not be usable for quite a while. Are there penalties for melting down coins, or pressing your own? If so, using the ancient coins dug up from an ancient tomb might get you charged with counterfitting.

Next- inflation. Good example is the gold rush to California. Huge numbers of people went out to mine gold and try to strike it rich. Small cities doubled and tripled in size in a matter of months. Eggs went from a quarter a dozen to about $10 a piece. The locals- farmers and shop keepers- suddenly got a large amount more business. Unless they could keep supplied, they would run out of their goods very quickly. So they raise their prices. All these miners are digging up gold. So they can afford the higher prices, bringing back the initial problem. So prices climb higher and higher, until only the miners can afford many goods. If adventurers visit a small town with several thousand gold pieces in their pockets, of course the businesses are going to crank up their prices, assuming they decide to accept foreign money.

Inventory- traditionally non-existant. A large shop may keep around some of the most commonly sold items, but that is taking a risk that they will sit there unsold. They could charge a premium above the normal price to have the item immediately. Generally, you place your order a season or even a year ahead of time, paying most of the cost in advance.

Magic would fit the same sort of problem. Considering the sheer number of different enchantments and various strengths of those you can put on a weapon, who is going to have exactly what you are looking for in stock? Merchants try to reduce or spread out risk- they invest in the cargos of 10 or 20 ships and caravans. Several are not going to make money or are going to be lost, but the loss is paid for by the profits of the successful ones. Who can afford to purchase your excess +3 Vorpal Longsword of Spleening? If they do, how long is it going to sit there until they find someone willing and able to pay what its worth? Most likely an adventurer will talk to a dealer, and offer the sword. Check back regularly, and maybe he will have found a buyer. Then you have to travel to there, negotiate the price, and finally make the deal, paying a percentage to your dealer as a finder's fee.

Economic models work by assuming people will do what is best for them. For a fantasy economy to work, people in any job/profession are going to have to make money. If someone comes along and replaces them with a cheaper magical alternative, they either specialize or have to find a new job.

Sometimes political pressure keeps things from being as efficient as possible- perhaps a merchants cartel has put pressure on the wizards guild to stay out of manufacturing. If they start putting people out of work left and right, it suddenly gets a lot harder to get all those rare ingredients from other lands for their spells and research. Could also have safety and other laws against using magic in general construction. One dispel magic or faulty casting could cause things to fail spectacularly. Or get a few cursed items mixed in. Only experienced, licensed wizards can be used(at an extra premium to the cost).

Sardia
2007-03-07, 12:56 PM
One interesting notion-- having magic available to move hard currency around in bulk without risk might well prevent the development of banking. Why trust a banker when you can just teleport the stuff?

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 03:12 PM
One interesting notion-- having magic available to move hard currency around in bulk without risk might well prevent the development of banking. Why trust a banker when you can just teleport the stuff?

Because of extradimensional thieves?


Okay, a few thoughts. First, the value of spell-casting components MIGHT vary with location. One possibility is that the diamond is bartered with the local spirits for power. Near a diamond mine, with lots of gem cutters, it'll take a very fancy gem to tempt the local spirits. Far away from such centers, though, the spirits are more impressed.

So will that make Spirit Shamans investment advisors?

But let's get to laying down the groundwork for our economic model. I propose that in the interest of avoiding splatbook headache, we stick to core and SRD, especially in terms of spells available. Agreed?

We may change this later if anyone objects, but for now I will adopt the credo "Wizards win at D&D" as my guideline and assume we're talking about a world that sees a fair amount of magic done every day. Therefore:

Step #1: So how many wizards are there?
The PHB fluff suggests that anyone with the aptitude for it can become a wizard - the only prerequisite is an Intelligence score higher than 10 and a willingness to adopt a poor hit die. Ah, and the desire to spend the next dozen or so years learning to put reality through the wringer. The romantic view suggests the learning process takes place through a mentor-student relationship with frequent fatherly and sometimes vaguely homoerotic overtones. And this would certainly be the case in a low magic setting. A high magic world however demands the presence of institutions of higher learning, where arcane knowledge is thrust upon the enthusiastic multitudes in the hopes that a few of them survive till graduation. What I'm talking about, of course, are universities.
Now, wizardry is obviously a prestigious career (we'll get to that in a few paragraphs), so there will be plenty of wannabe masters of the arcane who'll achieve student status either through money, connections, patronage, or even raw talent. There will be study sessions, frat parties (pity about the poor Fort save), and explosive pranks. There will be casualties - unavoidable when you put a bunch of hormonally imbalanced adolescents anywhere near the mystical forces that bind the universe together. There will be all the usual school setting drama, that's for sure. And upon graduation, the bright-faced hopefuls will venture into the world... to realize that, much like in our world, while a degree is nice, what really counts is on-the-job experience ("Only 2 level 1 spells and 3 cantrips per day, Mr. Mallory? Not impressive. Not impressive at all"). Which explains why so many wizards fall in with adventurers, at least until they know enough to snag a cozy position in one of the companies and begin their low climb up the promotion ladder.

Step #2 Wait a minute... companies? What?
Give me a mid-level wizard and some venture capital, and I can move the world. Give him a few colleagues to help out, and it'll only happen that much faster. The core selection of spells has mostly direct combat applications, but there are enough others to make wizards excel in almost any field they chose. Communication, transport, security, espionage - you name it and the wizard will do it better than his mundane counterpart.
Of course in the days of yore, when wizards didn't run the economy yet, there were unfriendly people who could hire even less friendly people with big clubs, and an individual wizard does break rather easily. So where else will he look for help, if not with his colleagues? In short, animosities and rivalries were forgotten, alliances were made, a few unfriendly people got turned into toads, and other such things that modern history tends to gloss over.
And though many did try to resist change at first... well, show me a spice merchant that wouldn't want to know whether his ship reached port safely, sold its cargo, and for how much, on the day it happened. Or a cattle merchant that could find out that this year's usual cattle market in Dunstin had an outbreak of barbarians, and that he might be better off taking them to Canadra instead. What king financing an expedition to a newly discovered land could afford not to employ someone who will not only provide fair weather during the passage, but also ensure that the subsequent encounters with the natives won't take place at a spear's length, and set up a means of instantaneous transport back and forth after the first voyage? For that matter, what king could pass up on the perfect spy: invisible, inaudible, capable of bypassing the thickest walls and sturdiest locks with but a wave of his hand? And even if he does... his competition might have less scruples and more sense.
Of course there have to be rules. Otherwise you quickly get rampant magery, aggravated retaliation, spells begin to fly, and everyone's legs start exploding. More importantly, some young yahoo might set up shop across the street and charge lower prices. And we can't have that, can we now?
So the Council of Twelve Stars was set up to preside over all matters arcane. It set down the rules for acceptable uses of magic, did away with the outmoded (and already falling into misuse) mentorship by setting up universities and writing out guidelines for how to teach magic, and standardized prices and procedures for magical services. Among the latter were rules on opening up a magical business, permits, certificates, safety requirements, and the usual bureaucratic hogwash that nevertheless had the result of giving the largest edge to already existing wizarding companies (still called Circles at the time). Which from then on, needless to say, crushed any possible competition right at the outset.
In today's world there are several big players in the arcane market, managing to exist peacefully mostly by unspoken agreement to stick to their own area of specialty. The most well known among those are Astral Express - Package Delivered Anywhere in the World Within One Day, Anywhere in the Multiverse Within One Week and Stormlane Communications - a vast conglomerate specializing in information. Not only do they provide fast, reliable, and secure means of communication all over the known world, but they also run several profitable newspaper services.

Step #3 Everyone wants a piece
We did mention dragons at some point, didn't we? Ah, but where do winged lizards of vast intelligence, not unimpressive arcane power, and a natural affinity for accumulating wealth figure into the scheme of things? Right at the heart, of course.
Maybe not sitting on the Council itself, but probably somewhere close. As significant shareholders in wizard companies, certainly. Involved in anything from trade, to arcane research, to the magic black market (What? Surprised? There's certain spells the Council outlaws, and yet there are certain people with deep pockets and a burning desire for some forbidden power), because why not? Most likely employing their own small army of wizards who weren't lucky enough to make it to the Big Leagues. Capable of power plays, schemes, and market manipulations that go on for decades, if not centuries, so that most humans don't even get a chance to catch on? Running banks, perhaps? If there's anything you can trust a dragon with after all, it's that it'll keep a very close eye on gold.
In fact, that's perfect. Draconic banks (vaults?) it is.

That's enough for now, I think. I'm only setting the groundwork after all, and I'll just bet someone will notice something crucial I missed, or come up with even better ideas. Let's see what else we can all cook up together, hmm? :smallamused:

Variable Arcana
2007-03-07, 03:15 PM
Why trust a banker when you can just teleport the stuff?
Because teleportation is expensive.

Per SRD, a 'teleport' spell would cost 9x50 = 450 gp, with a chance of failure.
Per SRD, a 'greater teleport' spell would cost 13x70 = 910 gp.

That's an awfully large ATM fee, unless you're talking about a very large transaction.

On the other hand, when banks move vast sums of money, I'd assume a greater teleport would be involved, instead of some analogue of an armored car.


Same answer to the conventional transport of goods -- it will definitely make sense to use magic to transport compact, expensive goods. But, hiring a wizard to teleport your grain fifty miles down the river, rather than sticking it on a barge, is a quick way to go bankrupt.

Think of how the availability of airplane travel has affected the trade in goods by ship and truck -- it changed them, but it will never fully replace them.

Sardia
2007-03-07, 03:27 PM
Because teleportation is expensive.

Per SRD, a 'teleport' spell would cost 9x50 = 450 gp, with a chance of failure.
Per SRD, a 'greater teleport' spell would cost 13x70 = 910 gp.

That's an awfully large ATM fee, unless you're talking about a very large transaction.


It stands to reason those transactions would be large- if we're talking early commerce, there's not much point in moving small sums anyhow- the cost of shipping it or moving it by caravan would be too high anyhow. And the chance of bandits, pirates, etc, add to the risk of loss by conventional means.
On the other hand, if you can pay a wizard to make a permanent teleportation circle or two between your major centers of trade, the cost/transport drops dramatically: you can easily make hundreds of transfers in a day with no additional expense.
Even for a one-off teleport, for moving a set of, say, Bracers of Armor +4, that's less than a six percent charge.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 03:28 PM
Because teleportation is expensive.
Per SRD, a 'teleport' spell would cost 9x50 = 450 gp, with a chance of failure.
Per SRD, a 'greater teleport' spell would cost 13x70 = 910 gp.


Except that once you get hold of a wizard who actually knows those spells, the cost of casting them is... zilch. Neither Teleport nor Greater Teleport have a material component to them. To write them into his spellbook it cost the wizard 1200gp, yes, but after that it costs him nothing to cast them.

Yes, he will probably want to be compensated for his time. But nowhere does it say that he has to abide by the spell level x caster level rule. In fact, the wizard from the next street over is willing to do it for 100gp per casting. And since he's likely to get many, many more customers, he'll make back the cost of learning those spells in no time at all. And after that it's all pure profit.

Sardia
2007-03-07, 03:57 PM
Except that once you get hold of a wizard who actually knows those spells, the cost of casting them is... zilch. Neither Teleport nor Greater Teleport have a material component to them. To write them into his spellbook it cost the wizard 1200gp, yes, but after that it costs him nothing to cast them.

Yes, he will probably want to be compensated for his time. But nowhere does it say that he has to abide by the spell level x caster level rule. In fact, the wizard from the next street over is willing to do it for 100gp per casting. And since he's likely to get many, many more customers, he'll make back the cost of learning those spells in no time at all. And after that it's all pure profit.

And even by the guidelines, a permanent teleportation circle cast by a 17th level caster is 25,030 gp.
Compared to the amount of merchandise you can throw through that circle, essentially risk-free, per day, you'll make that investment back in no time: it's the cost of two and a half sailing ships, but without the expense of a crew or risk of loss.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-03-07, 04:08 PM
How about this idea for a method of rapid transportation of goods...

A couple of wizards live a LOOOOONG ways away (like over five hundred miles). They knew each other as apprentices before they journeyed their seperate ways. Now, each one knows Circle of Teleportation and Permanency. What they are going to do is set up a link between the two, providing instantanious transportation from one wizard (who lives in a major port) to the other wizard (who lives in the landbound but very wealthy capital city). They charge fees for activating the circle, reguardless of what is in it. Transporting a single person is just as expensive as a full cart of goods.

It'll cost the wizards a bit in installment, but then they stand to reap HUGE profits by transporting goods and people from the major port to the major landbound capital quickly and safely. They split the profits equally.

kellandros
2007-03-07, 04:39 PM
In regards to the teleportation transportation ideas: Most long range trade tends to be in low-bulk, high expense items.

For example: iron smelting. Generally requires iron ore and charcoal. Most smelters in England ended up in the forest. Charcoal was made on site from local trees. It was easier/cheaper to ship iron ore than logs or charcoal.

As a semi-OT aside: space travel should exacerbate such a thing even further. If there is any possible way to get things locally you do so. The only time you would ship bulky supplies is on setting up a colony, when there is no other way to get your starting tools and materials. After that, the only things that are cost-effective to sell are luxury goods. Machine tools are a maybe- they may require more technology than is available locally. Information(like plans for said tools) would be an extremely likely form of trade.

A second point is the cost of different modes of transportation. Your range of choices can include:
-peddler with a backpack
-mail cart
-pony express type rider
-single axle cart, oxen drawn
-wagon/multiple axle cart, team of animals
-barge downriver
-small sailing vessels

Next step is you get a group(caravan, convoy, etc) of such travelling together.

Mages could easily take over long range transportation(say country to country). But once you go through the teleportation gate, you still need to get to the correct city. The odds of there being a gate for your specific destination are a lot lower. Probably need a rule about minimum distance between gates. Then you get the fun of traffic coordination- don't want two groups entering the same gateway from opposite sides at the same time.

elliott20
2007-03-07, 04:53 PM
damn, can't believe I missed this thread. I just started a thread that talks about magical frequency and strength and a lot of stuff mentioned here are quite relevant.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-03-07, 04:56 PM
In regards to the teleportation transportation ideas: Most long range trade tends to be in low-bulk, high expense items.

-snip-
A second point is the cost of different modes of transportation. Your range of choices can include:
-peddler with a backpack
-mail cart
-pony express type rider
-single axle cart, oxen drawn
-wagon/multiple axle cart, team of animals
-barge downriver
-small sailing vessels

Next step is you get a group(caravan, convoy, etc) of such travelling together.

Mages could easily take over long range transportation(say country to country). But once you go through the teleportation gate, you still need to get to the correct city. The odds of there being a gate for your specific destination are a lot lower. Probably need a rule about minimum distance between gates. Then you get the fun of traffic coordination- don't want two groups entering the same gateway from opposite sides at the same time.

I was thinking long range transportation only for mage stuff, it would be the only way that would make it viable. Basically, it is an alternative to Caravans, taking lots of bulk stuff from a waypoint to another waypoint then going on to your final destination from there. The big difference being a) it is instantanious, and b) it is 100% guarenteed to arrive at the end waypoint intact. This means the wizards could charge MORE than what a caravan would cost a merchant... like a LOT more. They could recoup their losses fairly easily.

To be honest, though... sea travel is sufficently rapid that unless you're absolutely needing it instantaniously, or unless it is far more hazardous than even in the typical Forgotten Realms worlds, it wouldn't be able to replace shipping by sea if both origin and destination are on the same body of water. It would, however, be invaluable going from port to some landbound waypoint.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 05:01 PM
To be honest, though... sea travel is sufficently rapid that unless you're absolutely needing it instantaniously, or unless it is far more hazardous than even in the typical Forgotten Realms worlds, it wouldn't be able to replace shipping by sea if both origin and destination are on the same body of water. It would, however, be invaluable going from port to some landbound waypoint.

Still, you'll probably want to bring a wizard along on the voyage. Can't beat their ability to control weather, create wind, and defend from a pirate attack if need be - and let's be honest, the pirates are probably going to be packing a wizard of their own, so you need arcane artillery to even stand a chance.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 05:09 PM
Because teleportation is expensive.
Not really.


Per SRD, a 'teleport' spell would cost 9x50 = 450 gp, with a chance of failure.
Per SRD, a 'greater teleport' spell would cost 13x70 = 910 gp.

That's an awfully large ATM fee, unless you're talking about a very large transaction.True. And I don't understand why you would carry all of your wealth with you. Banks are a much better idea.


On the other hand, when banks move vast sums of money, I'd assume a greater teleport would be involved, instead of some analogue of an armored car.More likely Teleportation Circle. It lasts 170 minutes and can be made permanent.


Same answer to the conventional transport of goods -- it will definitely make sense to use magic to transport compact, expensive goods. But, hiring a wizard to teleport your grain fifty miles down the river, rather than sticking it on a barge, is a quick way to go bankrupt.Heres where you are wrong. A Permanent Teleportation Circle costs 25,880 GP per the RAW. Lets assume that the wizards adds a markup to 30,000 GP. That is the same cost as 3 sailing ships. It has the advantage of being instantaneous, secure, safe, and no upkeep while the ships have the ability to travel to multiple destinations.

Even if we assume you only have to pay 250 GP per month to move your product to market it only takes 120 months (10 years) for the teleportation circles to be the better investment.


Think of how the availability of airplane travel has affected the trade in goods by ship and truck -- it changed them, but it will never fully replace them.A somewhat false comparison. First off planes have huge operating expenses (just look at the cost of fuel) while TC's don't. Planes also require a very expensive item of infrastructure in the form of airports.

My contribution to this thread/a thought experiment (in spoiler)

You have your world. Lets assume that you have 10 major nations each with 10 large cities. That is 100 important cities. You are a small group of high level wizards who work together and decided to do the following.

You set up a central hub location in some place and make it really nice. I'm talking 20 million or so GP worth of niceness (I'll design something with Stronghold Builders Guide if you really want). Then you go to each city and set up a small structure to act as a satellite office. Lets say around 10,000-20,000 square feet.

Now back to the hub. Lets think of it kind of like a modern super airport with 100 terminals, 1 for each city. Now lets say you add 2 TC's per terminal, 1 for passenger traffic and one for freight traffic. That is 200 TC's so far. Now lets create an arrival terminal. This is a large open air room (50,000 or more square feet) done in nice stone and suitably impressive. In a ring in the center of the room are 100 slightly raised (2 or 3 step from the ground to top of them) pedestals 10 feet to a side (four 5 foot squares). In a outer circle around this are 100 other raised pedestals, each one with a large Permanent Image Sign that spells out the name of a city and country above it. Each one of these outer pedestals has a TC to the corresponding terminal. We are at 300 TC's so far. Inside the center ring is a large raised tower which is a combination administration/security building.

Each Satellite office gets 2 TC's (a passenger and a freight one). The passenger TC goes to one of the arrival pedestals in the central hub. The freight one goes to the following.

The Freight hub is not as fancy as the passenger hub, it is a room of maybe 10,000 square feet with the same pedestal setup as the passenger hub. Each one of this hubs TC's goes to the Freight part of the corresponding terminal.

So far that is 600 permanent TC's. That many TC's costs 15,528,000 GP. Now lets say that the Central Site and the satellite offices combined run 30 million and cost 1 million a year to keep going. Total cost to set up is 45,528,000 GP.

Lets charge 1 GP per passenger and 1 SP per pound for freight. It would take 45,528,000 GP passenger trips for the cost to be paid off and then at least 1 million trips per year to cover the operating expense. Or you have to move 455,280,000 pounds of freight plus 10 million pounds per year before you show a profit.

A sailing ship can carry 300,000 Pounds of goods per trip. So you need to pick up 15,176 ships worth of freight to pay off the construction cost and then at least 34 ships worth of freight per year to make a profit.

For a real world reference, FedEx ships a little over 2 million pounds of air freight per day. And they only make up about 30% of the market.

Well lets assume that the original cost is paid off if 5 years (a very high number). From then on the system (assuming 10 million passenger trips per year and it will most likely be higher) will bring in 9 million GP in profit after meeting its expenses. Lets assume 100 million pounds of freight per year (what FedEx air moves in 50 days). That makes 10 million GP in profit as well. So every year those wizards bring in 19 million GP in profit.


Well now that we have this network lets branch out a bit. How about a postal service? We deliver a letter to any of the 99 other cities for 1 CP each and it will be available for pickup from the satellite office in that city within 24 hours. How many letters do you think will mover per year? It takes 100 million for 1 million in profit.

If you do the above you will have just monopolized the market on all major trade and travel. No conventional shipping woudl ever be able to compete, your rates are lower then theirs can be while your service is faster, safer, and more dependable.

You will become a very powerful person by doing this. None of the cities can ever complain or you can just threaten to cut them off and all the sudden they lose a lot of trade.

Lets look at the social effects of my transport system.

Every business in all of the 100 cities just became a world player. A person can live in one city and work in another on the other side of the world. If a noble wants a good meal he can go to another city for an additional cost of only 2 GP. Communication and ideas can spread very quickly around the whole world.

So want to implement the transport system into our communal economy?


EDIT: Damm taking 2 hours typing up a post.

To all those saying that the mage should charge a lot, your wrong.

And to all those saying it wouldn't replace regular shipping, your not thinking big enough.

Yes, it wouldn't replace shipping between a city and its surrounding villages but that is a pittance anyways. What it change all the really good trade routes.

Sergeantbrother
2007-03-07, 05:09 PM
Wow, what a complicated question. You could probably write a doctoral dissertation in history or economics on the topic and still only scratch the surface.

Something occured to me when thinking about the effects of magic on the economy. What if it doesn't have that great of an effect? Sure, it could potentially have a huge effect on society, but in other threads its been shown how vastly powerful high level casters are in relation to armies. Why would a high level caster lower himself to becoming a businessman when he could lay low any kingdom that he wants?

What about an civilization where the peasants live in abject poverty, much like some of the worst periods of feudalism, and their entire existance revolves around serving the whims and providing luxuries for extremely high level casters? Why trouble yourself casting a spell when you can snap your fingers and have servants bring you what you desire? Why would you ever sell a magic item, if you want a merchant's gold you take it for him?

All you need to do to maintain your absolute coontrol over the peasantry is to keep any other high level casters from rising from their ranks. Once anybody starts showing to much ability or distinguishing themselves too much, just zap them and that will be that. Of course, there may be other high level casters out there who have the same idea - perhaps they could simply divide up the world amongst themselves. Each ruling a nation as god-kings. No real need for armies, real battles will be handled by the magical might of the high level caster. All you need are just a few thugs to keep the peasants in line so that you don't have to bother.

SITB
2007-03-07, 05:14 PM
If there's anything you can trust a dragon with after all, it's that it'll keep a very close eye on gold.
In fact, that's perfect. Draconic banks (vaults?) it is.

While the idea of dragons managing whole economic systems for the greater er, wealth of themselves for centuries both intrigue and amuse me, I see a slight sticking point.

According to folklore(read: DND guidelines) dragons accumulate wealth so they can pile it in a huge heap and sleep upon it. Since if they continued at this kind of behaviour far any amount of time, quite a lot of money will be suddenly "missing" from the economy they manage; thus resulting in upheavals.

So, dragons also have to change so as not to destroy the very thing that enriches them. For example, while a dragon would horde wealth he would have large amounts of it as non materialistic variety, such as deeds and debts*.

*Imagine the following: The brave adventurers slay the mighty dragon after an epic battle, enter his sanctum and instead of finding piles of coins, find a serviceable desk with many papers littered on it written in the style of :
"Astral E. owes 5K G to bank D-Vaults, will be payed by next month

Signed
Eric moneyworth, head accountant"

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 05:19 PM
So, dragons also have to change so as not to destroy the very thing that enriches them. For example, while a dragon would horde wealth he would have large amounts of it as non materialistic variety, such as deeds and debts*.


You'll get no argument from me. We're giving D&D economics an overhaul, and that will change typical D&D society as well. I don't see why dragons should be spared. :smallamused:

Sardia
2007-03-07, 05:25 PM
According to folklore(read: DND guidelines) dragons accumulate wealth so they can pile it in a huge heap and sleep upon it. Since if they continued at this kind of behaviour far any amount of time, quite a lot of money will be suddenly "missing" from the economy they manage; thus resulting in upheavals.


That depends entirely on investor confidence. If you can comfortably trade a sheet of paper that says "I own 5000 gp hidden under the left haunch of Gsssknasgthk the ancient red dragon", and no one actually tries to cash it in, it works...well, it works just as well as the modern system of banking.
If there's a panic and a run on the dragons, on the other hand...

Actually, wait-- in that case, the dragon/bank doesn't lose money, it just eats the people attempting to withdraw.

In the meantime, there's a definite plus for the dragon to allow small withdrawals-- if people are confident they can get some of their money when they want it, they'll voluntarily add more to the horde than they take.

Sardia
2007-03-07, 05:33 PM
Why would a high level caster lower himself to becoming a businessman when he could lay low any kingdom that he wants?

Because silkworms don't grow near the gold mines, and the best marble comes from that place way over there, and the gemstones for the really good spells are scattered all over and...
In short, the uberwizards are still going to have to shuffle goods back and forth, even if only between their own territories. And the ones who are better at doing it are going to wind up wealthier than the others.

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 05:39 PM
With things such as spells/powers Create Water, Create Food and Water, and decantur of endless water you can easily get food and water.

With Fabricate, Fabricate Psionic, and Greater Fabricate Psionic, you can easily craft things in "minutes"

And with effigies, constructs, undead and similar mindless but autonomous beings you can easily mine/harvest raw materials you use with Fabricate. Most low level people will be casting repair light damage, or inflict wounds to heal the slight wear and tear these automontrons take.

Thus the "hardest" thing to do is crafting magic items, and being high enough levels to do all this. Also guarding things such as mines may be difficult for some reason in these worlds monsters like to take over mines as soon as you make them (Damn Tolkein and his orcs *shakefist*)

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 05:41 PM
Because silkworms don't grow near the gold mines, and the best marble comes from that place way over there, and the gemstones for the really good spells are scattered all over and...
In short, the uberwizards are still going to have to shuffle goods back and forth, even if only between their own territories. And the ones who are better at doing it are going to wind up wealthier than the others.
That is what the craft construct feat is for :smallwink: (or undead) make your army of cheaply workforce and set them to work in sweat shots.
-----------------------------------
Remember the real world vs magical D&D thread from a week ago, who said such countries/wizards would go to war. No they will just outdo china :smalltongue:

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 05:42 PM
Hmm. Lets add to my last post.

Those wizards decided that since they have such a good reputation its time to start a bank. You can withdraw or deposit your money or items from any of the satellite offices. To facilitate this process they add another terminal with a link to each of the cities and connect it to a vault. At each of the satellite offices lets add 6 tellers (3 shifts of 2) and connect them with permanent telepathic bonds to 30 other tellers (3 shifts of 10). When ever someone deposits money the teller sends that info to the manager who records it in the persons file. The money is taken from the satellite offices to the security hub in the central processing site and from there it goes through another circle to the bank where it is stored.

The bank charges a small fee, say 1 GP per transaction.

Total cost for the TC's and the TB's comes to 2,639,760 GP (TC's) plus 7,875,000 GP (TB's) plus lets say 5 million GP to set up the infrastructure. For a total of 15,514,760 GP to set up.

You will start to show a profit very quickly. And if you add a guarantee to cover any lost or stolen funds you will get even more business.

Lets say you also office letters of credit (guaranteed and backed by you) for 200 GP each. Many people won't use them but some will. Each letter of credit is a piece of heavy paper with a number on it and a GP amount along with the banks seal. It also has had secret page cast on it and the secret page contains the account number of the one who got it issued, the amount, and the date issued. The command word to reveal the secret page is a multi word combination that is random and it is stored at the central site with the specific number of the bill it was created for.

When a teller is handed one he sends the number to the central site and they send back the command word, if it works then the letter is accepted and money is exchanged for it then the letter is destroyed. Every letter has a different code. This makes the system pretty much impossible to forge.

Sardia
2007-03-07, 05:47 PM
That is what the craft construct feat is for :smallwink: (or undead) make your army of cheaply workforce and set them to work in sweat shots.


Then in a wink they're not just idle kings any more-- they're industrial-revolution era factory-and-plantation owners. Businessmen.

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 05:47 PM
Which leads to a cartel. Cartels are like inefficient monopolies. Meaning that supply and demand market forces are skewed. Demand is fixed but Supply is dependent on the guilds. The guilds have the power to set the supply and the market price (these are intimately tied).
You got this backwards, cartels control supply by agreeing beforehand on the amount the group is going to supply, they can't tell me to buy more goods.

Matthew
2007-03-07, 05:49 PM
Whatever else you do, redress the Long Bow, Long Sword, Long Spear and Arrows pricing fiasco.

Mewtarthio
2007-03-07, 05:55 PM
You got this backwards, cartels control supply by agreeing beforehand on the amount the group is going to supply, they can't tell me to buy more goods.

Yes, they can:

"Excuse me, would you to like to buy some healing services? No? *BLAM* How 'bout now, huh? Yeah, I bet you'd like some nice Cure Light Wounds, wouldn't'cah?! *BLAM BLAM BLAB* 'Serious,' you say? I've got your high-level healing right here, bub! *SLASH* *CHOP* You his girlfriend, right? Fork over the Raise Dead cash! *ZORCHAL!* Oops, better make that Ressurection!"

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 05:55 PM
...

Lets say you also office letters of credit (guaranteed and backed by you) for 200 GP each. Many people won't use them but some will. Each letter of credit is a piece of heavy paper with a number on it and a GP amount along with the banks seal. It also has had secret page cast on it and the secret page contains the account number of the one who got it issued, the amount, and the date issued. The command word to reveal the secret page is a multi word combination that is random and it is stored at the central site with the specific number of the bill it was created for...

Snip until a Rogue uses UMD to "Activate blindly"

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 05:57 PM
Yes, they can:

"Excuse me, would you to like to buy some healing services? No? *BLAM* How 'bout now, huh? Yeah, I bet you'd like some nice Cure Light Wounds, wouldn't'cah?! *BLAM BLAM BLAB* 'Serious,' you say? I've got your high-level healing right here, bub! *SLASH* *CHOP* You his girlfriend, right? Fork over the Raise Dead cash! *ZORCHAL!* Oops, better make that Ressurection!"
That isn't a cartel, that is a crime organization :smalltongue: You are confusing things, just because the Mafia was a cartel and a crime organization, doesn't mean all cartels are crime organizations and vice versa :smallwink:

Crime organizations enter positive and negative externalities into demand till they get a price they want, to use an economic definition.

Subotei
2007-03-07, 05:59 PM
Maxymiuk: We're talking the same language - everything in post #18 was on the money. Consider a country with a network of permanent teleportation circles - effectively a maintenance-free highway network (the Mageway?). The cost to set them up is minisule to the benfits they would bring the country. Imagine the impact on trade and movement.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 05:59 PM
Snip until a Rogue uses UMD to "Activate blindly"

The teller has to activate it and activating blindly never tells you the command word.

Not to mention you can't UMD a secret page. It isn't an item, its a spell thats already in effect.

And if we rule you can UMD it, it doesn't matter. All that it tells the rogue is the date the letter was issued and an account number and the amount its for (which is also on the non secret page part).

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 06:03 PM
Maxymiuk: We're talking the same language - everything in post #18 was on the money. Consider a country with a network of permanent teleportation circles - effectively a maintenance-free highway network (the Mageway?). The cost to set them up is minisule to the benfits they would bring the country. Imagine the impact on trade and movement.
A country wouldn't set one up. They aren't worth it for intrastate trade unless you raise the prices significantly. It would take 100's of years for a circle to a small village to pay for its self.

Between large cities and nations it works but for local travel you are much better off with wagons or ships or hiring some guy to cast TC for you when you need to move stuff every year or so.

Reltzik
2007-03-07, 06:12 PM
Now hold on a moment.

The university makes a hell of a lot of sense. That's the problem. EVERYONE and their kid nephew will want in. So how expensive will tuition be, with demand so high? Remember, you've also got to pay the teachers enough so that they want to keep teaching there instead of making their fortunes elsewhere. Remember, also, that with banking you've got STUDENT LOANS, which will be medium risk, high-return investments. If being a wizard makes you rich rich rich, it makes sense to commit some of your future wealth as collatoral for the rest.

The only people you could attract at those tuition rates would be the sons (and daughters) of wizards. Maybe you could have a scholarship program for all those int 18 commoners out there -- but one of the assumptions was that nature and nurture combine to create a tendency towards stats following family lines. So not many int 18 commoners.

So what we've got here is a closed society of super-wealthy, super-powerful individuals, vis-a-vis those who can't possibly get in.

Oh, there will be a few exceptions. Sorcerors could probably do even better; they've got the same spell lists, DON'T have to pay tuition, so forth. Not enough spells known? They'll just eschew the combat magic. Specialize. Same with bards, clerics, druids, and adepts, at varying degrees of inferiority to the wizard.

It seems like we're looking at a magiocracy here. Which raises the question, how do the commoners react... and how will their dissatisfaction with the mages (because they're going to get left out of the new global magic-conomy, and then they're going to get disgruntled) be expressed?

Jack_Simth
2007-03-07, 06:18 PM
Hmm. Lets add to my last post.

Those wizards decided that since they have such a good reputation its time to start a bank. You can withdraw or deposit your money or items from any of the satellite offices. To facilitate this process they add another terminal with a link to each of the cities and connect it to a vault. At each of the satellite offices lets add 6 tellers (3 shifts of 2) and connect them with permanent telepathic bonds to 30 other tellers (3 shifts of 10). When ever someone deposits money the teller sends that info to the manager who records it in the persons file. The money is taken from the satellite offices to the security hub in the central processing site and from there it goes through another circle to the bank where it is stored.

The bank charges a small fee, say 1 GP per transaction.

Total cost for the TC's and the TB's comes to 2,639,760 GP (TC's) plus 7,875,000 GP (TB's) plus lets say 5 million GP to set up the infrastructure. For a total of 15,514,760 GP to set up.

You will start to show a profit very quickly. And if you add a guarantee to cover any lost or stolen funds you will get even more business.

Lets say you also office letters of credit (guaranteed and backed by you) for 200 GP each. Many people won't use them but some will. Each letter of credit is a piece of heavy paper with a number on it and a GP amount along with the banks seal. It also has had secret page cast on it and the secret page contains the account number of the one who got it issued, the amount, and the date issued. The command word to reveal the secret page is a multi word combination that is random and it is stored at the central site with the specific number of the bill it was created for.

When a teller is handed one he sends the number to the central site and they send back the command word, if it works then the letter is accepted and money is exchanged for it then the letter is destroyed. Every letter has a different code. This makes the system pretty much impossible to forge.

It doesn't make them nearly impossible to forge. It makes forgeries nearly impossible to cash. The biggest thing about banks notes is not that you can change them for gold at the bank... it's that you can change them for stuff at a shop. You get a bank note (on your account) make 10 copies that will fool anyone not part of the bank system (as in, it's got a secret page cast on it and all the stuff that, say, the weaponsmith can check is present). You spend one at a busy weaponsmith, one at a busy armorsmith, one at a busy ... and so on. At the end of the day, the shopkeepers all go to the bank to deposit them.... and all simultaneously find out that one of the bank notes they took that day was forged. Meanwhile, the forger is maintaining a Mind Blank for the inevitable Discern Location spells, as he goes off and does this at the next city. And the next, and the next, and the next.....

The bank is, officially, covered and without blame. Unoffically, though, the shopkeepers who were handed the fake note are utterly miffed. The system is broken ... not because the system is broken, but because one guy succeeded at robbing the shopkeepers by manipulating the system that they were told was infallible. The shopkeeper on the street has to be able to tell the difference in the time it takes to do a single transaction... and if they can, the system methods are public and publicly accessable (by a (ex?) shopkeeper) for study and falsification.

To top it off, the shopkeepers have no way of verifying that you're being honest that this note isn't valid. From their perspective, the teller looks at it, mumbles something, and hands it back saying "no" when nothing happens. Is it a fake note? Did the teller misread a digit? Did the teller mispronounce the command word? Is the command word on file at the central office wrong? There's no error trapping, but all errors will always be in the bank's favor (so the bank doesn't directly care).

If you can't do such transactions away from the bank with the notes, they're pointless. If you can do such transactions away from the bank with the notes, they need to be checkable there.

It's why so many places don't take checks anymore.

When you're trying to get a Dragon to accept a Trap the Soul trigger object, you don't bluff the dragon, you bluff the delivery boy.

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 06:18 PM
It seems like we're looking at a magiocracy here. Which raises the question, how do the commoners react... and how will their dissatisfaction with the mages (because they're going to get left out of the new global magic-conomy, and then they're going to get disgruntled) be expressed?

Well the half elf diplomacers builds will then convince the clerics and druids to revolt against their rich wizard nobility :smallwink:

Scalenex
2007-03-07, 06:29 PM
That isn't a cartel, that is a crime organization :smalltongue: You are confusing things, just because the Mafia was a cartel and a crime organization, doesn't mean all cartels are crime organizations and vice versa :smallwink:

Crime organizations enter positive and negative externalities into demand till they get a price they want, to use an economic definition.

Cartels are illegal in the United States. So they are technically criminals, even though they likely aren't behaving thuggishly. Though if a cartel involves something life-critical such as food or just hypothetically, pharmaceuticals, then just as many people if not more could be hurt. Also, US law only deals with companies acting on US soil, not just selliing things to the US. OPEC is a cartel and it's a legal one at that.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 06:47 PM
It doesn't make them nearly impossible to forge. It makes forgeries nearly impossible to cash. The biggest thing about banks notes is not that you can change them for gold at the bank... it's that you can change them for stuff at a shop.
True. Didn't think that all the way though. Well add an Arcane Mark to them. It works for Eberron. It only costs 5 GP.


You get a bank note (on your account) make 10 copies that will fool anyone not part of the bank system (as in, it's got a secret page cast on it and all the stuff that, say, the weaponsmith can check is present). You spend one at a busy weaponsmith, one at a busy armorsmith, one at a busy ... and so on. At the end of the day, the shopkeepers all go to the bank to deposit them.... and all simultaneously find out that one of the bank notes they took that day was forged. Meanwhile, the forger is maintaining a Mind Blank for the inevitable Discern Location spells, as he goes off and does this at the next city. And the next, and the next, and the next.....Really. I think you get away with a few forgeries but remember, the worlds most powerful organization is not happy with you. And if you give forgers a very public very painful death when caught it will deter most people.


The bank is, officially, covered and without blame. Unoffically, though, the shopkeepers who were handed the fake note are utterly miffed. The system is broken ... not because the system is broken, but because one guy succeeded at robbing the shopkeepers by manipulating the system that they were told was infallible. The shopkeeper on the street has to be able to tell the difference in the time it takes to do a single transaction... and if they can, the system methods are public and publicly accessable (by a (ex?) shopkeeper) for study and falsification. The shopkeepers will never know they were given forgeries (and I will add the arcane mark, it subtracts 10 from the forgery check and requires spell casting).

I'll give each teller a permanent detect magic and each satellite office will have a helm of telepathy on one of the tellers. When the letter faisl to detect as magical the teller with the helmet will be notified telepathically and the shop keeper will be asked a few questions while his mind is read to see if he knows its a forgery. It so you arrest him but if not you pretend like nothings wrong and give him the money. Then you go and put your resources to catching the forger.

The world will believe that your letters of credit are secure when you catch a forger you make a very public example of the guy who was trying to pass off forged letters. They will get the message that there are easier ways to make money.


To top it off, the shopkeepers have no way of verifying that you're being honest that this note isn't valid. From their perspective, the teller looks at it, mumbles something, and hands it back saying "no" when nothing happens.See above. You never tell the customers that the note is invalid. Eating the loss isn't that hard for you and the money you will make on the belief that your letters are unforgeable will more than make up for covering the difference.


If you can't do such transactions away from the bank with the notes, they're pointless. If you can do such transactions away from the bank with the notes, they need to be checkable there.Agreed. Forgery can be used untrained and is an Int based skill. Any shopkeeper worth his salt will keep max ranks in it. The Arcane Mark subtracts 10 from the forgers check.


It's why so many places don't take checks anymore.Yeah I'm trying to work out debit cards with core only but it is very hard and the cost is running at 20,000 GP per card.


When you're trying to get a Dragon to accept a Trap the Soul trigger object, you don't bluff the dragon, you bluff the delivery boy.Yep.



Well the half elf diplomacers builds will then convince the clerics and druids to revolt against their rich wizard nobility :smallwink:
Haha. Try it. Those wizards bring in millions of GP per day potentially. I'm sure they can invest in a properly large Iron Golem army. Or they just cut off transport, banking, and mail to the revolting location and the citizens pull down the revolter's so that the connection can be reestablished.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-07, 07:11 PM
Now hold on a moment.

The university makes a hell of a lot of sense. That's the problem. EVERYONE and their kid nephew will want in. So how expensive will tuition be, with demand so high? Remember, you've also got to pay the teachers enough so that they want to keep teaching there instead of making their fortunes elsewhere. Remember, also, that with banking you've got STUDENT LOANS, which will be medium risk, high-return investments. If being a wizard makes you rich rich rich, it makes sense to commit some of your future wealth as collatoral for the rest.

Yes, yes, and yes. Very good points. Now to add in the social factors.

-Tuition doesn't have to be all that high at all. You simply institute an entry exam and pick the best candidates - for obvious reasons a university can take in only so many first year students, so the wizards get to pick the cream of the crop.
- A wizard who goes into teaching in the first place is probably more interested in doing research than amassing untold wealth. Give them time to pursue their own studies and they'll be as happy as larks.
- The university itself doesn't have to be profitable. The entire idea behind it is to make it a political and social tool - it controls who learns magic and how they learn it, and what else they learn besides. Think about it...
- The risks inherent in learning and studying magic are a control system in itself - as I stated before, students end up crippled or dead in magical accidents. They die when acquiring the experience necessary to even be considered for a job in the big world of wizardry. As only the toughest and smartest actually make it past level 5 or so, this prevents wizards from outbreeding the rest of the world.


The only people you could attract at those tuition rates would be the sons (and daughters) of wizards. Maybe you could have a scholarship program for all those int 18 commoners out there -- but one of the assumptions was that nature and nurture combine to create a tendency towards stats following family lines. So not many int 18 commoners.Yes, we get a rather hermetic society, reluctant to admit new members unless they have someone to lead them in. A bit like lawyers here, really. I don't know how it is in the rest of the world, but if you're setting up a practice here, it means your dad's a lawyer too.


So what we've got here is a closed society of super-wealthy, super-powerful individuals, vis-a-vis those who can't possibly get in.Once again, yes. Show me the last time in human history when that wasn't the case. :smallamused:


Oh, there will be a few exceptions. Sorcerors could probably do even better; they've got the same spell lists, DON'T have to pay tuition, so forth. Not enough spells known? They'll just eschew the combat magic. Specialize. Same with bards, clerics, druids, and adepts, at varying degrees of inferiority to the wizard.Ah, of course, I knew I was forgetting something... in the society I'm describing sorcerers come off as wildcards. The fact that their specific talent can manifest in anyone, be they descended from a noble, wizard, or a scullery maid would make the wizards somewhat wary of them.

One solution would be to remove sorcerers from the game, but from what I understand of your request, you want to change as little as possible about the system itself, save for the socioeconomic aspect. Hmm...

How's this? The wizard universities have a fast track course of study for those with an inherent magical talent. The Council always has agents raking the countryside for new wild talents which then get put into the university where their development can be carefully monitored by the teaching staff (and where they are also subject to the wizardry's brand of socioengineering). We can hammer out the detail of that later.


It seems like we're looking at a magiocracy here. Which raises the question, how do the commoners react... and how will their dissatisfaction with the mages (because they're going to get left out of the new global magic-conomy, and then they're going to get disgruntled) be expressed?Ah, see, that's the beauty of it. A wizard knows better than to grab the throne and put a crown on his head. He and his colleagues already run the world economy. What else does he need? Hah, he may very well bow and scrape to the local king, but they both know that it's all for show, since all the Council would have to do would be to shut down the teleportation circles for a month to leave the kingdom's economy in shambles.

Wizards do rule the world, but it's the touch of a silken glove, rather than a reign of the iron fist.

Sardia
2007-03-07, 07:21 PM
A country wouldn't set one up. They aren't worth it for intrastate trade unless you raise the prices significantly. It would take 100's of years for a circle to a small village to pay for its self.

Between large cities and nations it works but for local travel you are much better off with wagons or ships or hiring some guy to cast TC for you when you need to move stuff every year or so.

Fortunately, the same circles that move trade goods can be used to move government and military matters/personnel as well.
Sort of like the Roman road system-- very nice for moving both goods and troops, and the troops angle is a big sell.
Saves you money on an army, too, more than likely- just garrison your borders enough to hold for a few days until you can assemble and teleport your best military units in.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-07, 07:35 PM
True. Didn't think that all the way though. Well add an Arcane Mark to them. It works for Eberron. It only costs 5 GP.

Not familiar with Eberron; is that where you're getting the -10 to the Forgery check?


Really. I think you get away with a few forgeries but remember, the worlds most powerful organization is not happy with you. And if you give forgers a very public very painful death when caught it will deter most people.

Hence the Mind Blank. To add insult to injury, toss in Misdirection, which foils things that scan auras ... such as Detect Magic. A comparatively simple Alter Self aura vanishes and can no longer be seen. Devilishly hard to find the guy doing this ... as he never looks like the same person twice, doesn't need to seem to be a specific individual, doesn't register as magic, can't be found with divinations, ... granted, he needs an 8th level spell effect to pull it off... but after the first couple, he can afford to pay off the loans he got from your bank to buy the Third Eye Conceal, as well as the Invisibility and Permanency spell so it wouldn't be noticed.


The shopkeepers will never know they were given forgeries (and I will add the arcane mark, it subtracts 10 from the forgery check and requires spell casting).

I'm curious where you're getting the number - it's not in the PHB. The forger has some interesting advantages nontheless:
1) He's forging a type of document that is not specific to an individual (which gives the forger a +8; with the shopkeepers +2 for familiarity and the -10 to the forger for Arcane Mark, the forger is only at -4 compared to an equal level shopkeeper... did the shopkeeper remember to take Skill Focus(Forgery) and Deceitful? A career Forger almost definately did).
2) The forger gets to choose which shopkeepers he targets. He gets to choose someone he can beat.



I'll give each teller a permanent detect magic and each satellite office will have a helm of telepathy on one of the tellers. When the letter faisl to detect as magical
It registers as magical. I assumed in the original scenario that the forger is casting Secret Page on it. If nothing else, the Arcane Mark you're requireing would cause it to register as magical, too.

the teller with the helmet will be notified telepathically and the shop keeper will be asked a few questions while his mind is read
Full Stop. So you're reading the minds of people who walk in, to all appearences, at random (after all, you don't let them know that you suspect it's a forgery - you can't tell them why you're doing this). RAW, people know when they beat a save, even when there's no clear effect of the spell. People are occasionally going to make it. You're going to make a lot of people really nervous... and these will most often be the people with money, who are most at risk for having their minds read. After all, each of these pages has an Arcane Mark and a Secret Page cast on in; a cantrip and a 3rd level spell, you're destroying each one as it is cashed, and you require the time and cooperation at each transaction of several individuals that are highly trained and bonded to the company. Plus the seal and the note itself. At a minimum, even if everyone's on salary and don't charge you on a per-note basis, you're looking at roughly 100 gp in expenses per note. To make this worthwhile, you have to charge in excess of your costs. And you're destroying each note with every transaction. It's unlikely one of these will be written for less than, oh, about 5,000 gp. The people that work with them handle a lot of money. They'll have account numbers, passwords, trade secrets, and the like they don't want people to know. And you're reading their minds without their consent. Have fun with that.

to see if he knows its a forgery. It so you arrest him but if not you pretend like nothings wrong and give him the money. Then you go and put your resources to catching the forger.
Who's going to be painfully difficult to catch. Oh, and hope none of your competitors decide to do anything illegal. You are paying out every false note, after all. It wouldn't be too hard for someone with recources comperable to yours to bleed you to death this way... after all, each such note passed off to a merchant costs you, and benefits them.


The world will believe that your letters of credit are secure when you catch a forger you make a very public example of the guy who was trying to pass off forged letters. They will get the message that there are easier ways to make money.
If you catch them before you go bankrupt, yes.


See above. You never tell the customers that the note is invalid. Eating the loss isn't that hard for you and the money you will make on the belief that your letters are unforgeable will more than make up for covering the difference.Depends on how many of them there are. One or two? Not too much trouble. Ten or twelve? Hurts, but survivable if you catch the guy. What about a hundred? Or a thousand?

Agreed. Forgery can be used untrained and is an Int based skill. Any shopkeeper worth his salt will keep max ranks in it. The Arcane Mark subtracts 10 from the forgers check.

I'm curious where you're finding that.


Yeah I'm trying to work out debit cards with core only but it is very hard and the cost is running at 20,000 GP per card.
Try focusing on card-readers (like is done with most modern debit cards). Card's got a number, fairly easily planted, which refferences an account somewhere. Card reader reads the number, checks with the central office for the balance, and lodges the transaction or displays an error. Greater Scrying and Message (fixed location - central receiving office, or possible use-activated Sending, instead), minimally intelligent magic item (Lawful-neutral, to read the card). The reader costs about 30k+; the card not so much (it tracks nothing; it just holds a number). Central office (well, you only need one; costs potentially don't matter). A forgery still requires a valid number. It can display, say, the name of the account holder and type of account. You rent, not sell, the readers for a minimal amount... so that the shopkeeper doesn't need too hefty an investment, and you can demand them back at any time, and re-use them.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 07:36 PM
Fortunately, the same circles that move trade goods can be used to move government and military matters/personnel as well.
I know.


Sort of like the Roman road system-- very nice for moving both goods and troops, and the troops angle is a big sell.
Yep. But where exactly is the government getting the money to set up the system? With even 100 locations around the word it comes out to around 40 million GP. For a country you would most likely need 1000 or so permanent circles. You are looking at a 400 million GP price tag to set up the system.


Saves you money on an army, too, more than likely- just garrison your borders enough to hold for a few days until you can assemble and teleport your best military units in.

The military is much better off keeping a wizard on staff to set up a circle to wherever the invaders are. A circle can move an entire army before it expires after 170 minutes. That costs around 30,000 GP. Versus 400 Million GP.

And border garrisons are meaningless in a world with TC. The wizard visits your capital 1 day and goes back home. The next day he sets up a teleportation circle and all the sudden you have 10 thousand or so of the other nations best troops in your capital past your walls.

Nahal
2007-03-07, 07:49 PM
While the idea of dragons managing whole economic systems for the greater er, wealth of themselves for centuries both intrigue and amuse me, I see a slight sticking point.

According to folklore(read: DND guidelines) dragons accumulate wealth so they can pile it in a huge heap and sleep upon it. Since if they continued at this kind of behaviour far any amount of time, quite a lot of money will be suddenly "missing" from the economy they manage; thus resulting in upheavals.

So, dragons also have to change so as not to destroy the very thing that enriches them. For example, while a dragon would horde wealth he would have large amounts of it as non materialistic variety, such as deeds and debts*.

*Imagine the following: The brave adventurers slay the mighty dragon after an epic battle, enter his sanctum and instead of finding piles of coins, find a serviceable desk with many papers littered on it written in the style of :
"Astral E. owes 5K G to bank D-Vaults, will be payed by next month

Signed
Eric moneyworth, head accountant"

This is why we have commissions and service fees. The dragon gets to take a percentage of the gold it works with to make its shiny pile of phat lewt, and in exchange keeps an eye on the rest.

Also, I have the hilarious mental image of a great wyrm gold in Armani working a market order in adamantine futures

SITB
2007-03-07, 08:00 PM
The point I was trying to make is that since dragons are very intellgent and have very long lives, they probably would end up siphoning a good chunk of the known hard currency in the economy they er, dabble in.

Therefore they practice of sleeping on huge piles of gold would probably result in irate high standing wizards seeking to "presuade" the dragon to stop that aproach since it clamps the comfortable reality they have built.

Therefore they would probably abandon that "old style" approach and realize that they can accumulate greater wealth by making the money working for them rather then sleeping on it.

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 08:34 PM
The point I was trying to make is that since dragons are very intellgent and have very long lives, they probably would end up siphoning a good chunk of the known hard currency in the economy they er, dabble in.

Therefore they practice of sleeping on huge piles of gold would probably result in irate high standing wizards seeking to "presuade" the dragon to stop that aproach since it clamps the comfortable reality they have built.

Therefore they would probably abandon that "old style" approach and realize that they can accumulate greater wealth by making the money working for them rather then sleeping on it.

But do dragons care about how much wealth the accumulate or are they more partial to seeing right there in front of them how much wealth they have accumulate. It isn't so much the knowledge, but instead the experience of sleeping on gold.

Dervag
2007-03-07, 08:42 PM
The PHB fluff suggests that anyone with the aptitude for it can become a wizard - the only prerequisite is an Intelligence score higher than 10 and a willingness to adopt a poor hit die. Ah, and the desire to spend the next dozen or so years learning to put reality through the wringer.I study physics at a university. I know exactly how common people willing to spend several years learning the bizarre and counterintuitive secrets of the universe are.

There are roughly ten thousand students at my university; there are roughly one hundred undergraduate physics majors. And we're a strong science campus. I take that as my guiding principle when thinking about the frequency of casters.


So the Council of Twelve Stars was set up to preside over all matters arcane.Ah, yes, the wizards' guild!

And even better... he goes on to describe the International Draconic Banking Conspiracy. The only problem with that is that the idea of 'spend money to make money' may actually be fundamentally alien to a dragon's nature. They may not understand the idea of giving up some of their money, even if they are otherwise very intelligent.

So they might be the economic equivalent of dinosaurs... appropriate given their heritage, I suppose.


Yes, they can:
"Excuse me, would you to like to buy some healing services? No? *BLAM* How 'bout now, huh? Yeah, I bet you'd like some nice Cure Light Wounds, wouldn't'cah?! *BLAM BLAM BLAB* 'Serious,' you say? I've got your high-level healing right here, bub! *SLASH* *CHOP* You his girlfriend, right? Fork over the Raise Dead cash! *ZORCHAL!* Oops, better make that Ressurection!"Since this is just a variation on "give me money or I will shoot you," a timehonored real world tactic, it will work.

The problem is that if you try to extort money from the ordinary people at fireball-point, they're going to fight back. They can't fight you directly, but they can place themselves under the protection of a wizard roughly equal to you in power. Or under the clergy of a Lawful Good church that can summon angels to fly combat air patrol over the city and drop some smiting on any renegade wizards trying to coerce the locals into a protection scheme. Et cetera.

The result is magocracy, similar to the feudal system in that the only way for the peasants to survive is for them to serve warlords/wizards capable of protecting them from other warlord/wizards.

And the lone warlord/wizard who tries to support himself by extorting from the countryside will be killed, because he's a threat to the power structure of other, more established warlord/wizards.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 08:45 PM
Not familiar with Eberron; is that where you're getting the -10 to the Forgery check?
Yeah.


Hence the Mind Blank. To add insult to injury, toss in Misdirection, which foils things that scan auras ... such as Detect Magic. A comparatively simple Alter Self aura vanishes and can no longer be seen. Devilishly hard to find the guy doing this ... as he never looks like the same person twice, doesn't need to seem to be a specific individual, doesn't register as magic, can't be found with divinations, ... granted, he needs an 8th level spell effect to pull it off... but after the first couple, he can afford to pay off the loans he got from your bank to buy the Third Eye Conceal, as well as the Invisibility and Permanency spell so it wouldn't be noticed.
Passing off a forgery to the bank its self is impossible. There is no way to get past the secret page. You could potentially pass one off to a shopkeeper but not the bank. And who said my bank did loans? Loans come with numerous problems. Its much easier to just store peoples wealth and make it accessible to them and charge for the service.

And if we are playing with psionics I will use Object Reading on the forgery and it will identify you well enough for Scrying. Hypercognition would prolly be useful as well.

Or you use CoP to see if its the same guy or group doing all the forgeries. When it comes up yes you investigate further. Remember, I command almost unlimited wealth and power. You won't hide forever.


I'm curious where you're getting the number - it's not in the PHB. The forger has some interesting advantages nontheless:
1) He's forging a type of document that is not specific to an individual (which gives the forger a +8; with the shopkeepers +2 for familiarity and the -10 to the forger for Arcane Mark, the forger is only at -4 compared to an equal level shopkeeper... did the shopkeeper remember to take Skill Focus(Forgery) and Deceitful? A career Forger almost definately did).
2) The forger gets to choose which shopkeepers he targets. He gets to choose someone he can beat.
Yeah, its from Eberron. And I noticed the skill but I thought of a way to make all but the best forger never be able to forge one successfully. Letters of Credit Now carry 3 separate Arcane marks. Penalties stack so thats -30 to your forgery check. From the forgery skill bonuses the forger has -24 to the check.

At level 7 his max ranks are 10. Lets say hes real smart and give a +2 bonus to the skill and with all of the splatbook forgery items you can get up to +12 on the check (and you have to spend 2,000 GP on papyrus of deception or its only +7). So total at level 7 he gets a +24 at max. It exactly negates the penalty from the arcane marks.

Now lets look at a level 3 shopkeeper. Max ranks is 6. Since craft is based on Int lets assume smarts and give a +2 for that. At level 3 the shopkeeper gets +8 to his check. Even if the shopkeeper rolls a 1 on his check the forger still has a 45% chance of being detected. And if the shopkeeper rolls a 12 or higher he will beat the forger even on a natural 20. So the forgers roll only matters 15% of the time. Now the forger has to roll a 10 or better, he has a 50% chance of that. So the forgers total chance for success is 7.5% (unless I messed up the numbers which I may have)

At level 6+ the shopkeeper can't ever fail the check.

And if I add another 2 arcane marks the forger will never be able to pass it off to a int 10 first level commoner with no points in forgery.


It registers as magical. I assumed in the original scenario that the forger is casting Secret Page on it. If nothing else, the Arcane Mark you're requireing would cause it to register as magical, too.
Yeah. Wasn't thinking. The bank still knows when there secret page code word doesn't work. And there is no RAW to get around that one.


Full Stop. So you're reading the minds of people who walk in, to all appearences, at random (after all, you don't let them know that you suspect it's a forgery - you can't tell them why you're doing this). RAW, people know when they beat a save, even when there's no clear effect of the spell. People are occasionally going to make it. You're going to make a lot of people really nervous... and these will most often be the people with money, who are most at risk for having their minds read.
"Its the security system. We had some problems with a demon causing problems. The security system alerts us to demons. Sometimes you feel a slight tingle.

And this is irrelevant, see above. Multiple Arcane marks make forger nigh impossible and enough woudl make it truly impossible.


After all, each of these pages has an Arcane Mark and a Secret Page cast on in; a cantrip and a 3rd level spell, you're destroying each one as it is cashed, and you require the time and cooperation at each transaction of several individuals that are highly trained and bonded to the company. Plus the seal and the note itself. At a minimum, even if everyone's on salary and don't charge you on a per-note basis, you're looking at roughly 100 gp in expenses per note.
150 for the secret page. 5 GP per Arcane mark. Lets raise the price to 250 GP each. You then make 50 GP per note after spells. Overhead would run to roughly 10 GP per note. Once the startup costs are paid off operating costs run at most 1 million per year. That means you would need to issue 25,000 notes per year to break even. That shouldn't be to hard. Any purchase over 5,000 GP or so it is very much safer to use letters of credit instead of coins (less likely to get robbed)


To make this worthwhile, you have to charge in excess of your costs. And you're destroying each note with every transaction. It's unlikely one of these will be written for less than, oh, about 5,000 gp. I agree. But remember, you are operating in the top 100 trading cities. 5,000 GP trades woudl be occurring all the time.


The people that work with them handle a lot of money. They'll have account numbers, passwords, trade secrets, and the like they don't want people to know. And you're reading their minds without their consent. Have fun with that.
See above. Not needed anymore. And they wouldn't know it was mindreading anyways.


Who's going to be painfully difficult to catch. Oh, and hope none of your competitors decide to do anything illegal. You are paying out every false note, after all. It wouldn't be too hard for someone with recources comperable to yours to bleed you to death this way... after all, each such note passed off to a merchant costs you, and benefits them.
See above. And who has resources comparable to mine? I have a monopoly on all the trade routes.


If you catch them before you go bankrupt, yes.
Depends on how many of them there are. One or two? Not too much trouble. Ten or twelve? Hurts, but survivable if you catch the guy. What about a hundred? Or a thousand?
Not a problem any more. And if it became to much of a hassle you close down the banking part. It isn't the most profitable part anyways.


I'm curious where you're finding that.
No way to provide security for it. Anything I could do someone else could fake easily enough.


Try focusing on card-readers (like is done with most modern debit cards). Card's got a number, fairly easily planted, which refferences an account somewhere. Card reader reads the number, checks with the central office for the balance, and lodges the transaction or displays an error. Greater Scrying and Message (fixed location - central receiving office, or possible use-activated Sending), minimally intelligent magic item (Lawful-neutral, to read the card). The reader costs about 30k+; the card not so much (it tracks nothing; it just holds a number). Central office (well, you only need one; costs potentially don't matter).
Good idea. Hadn't thought of that. And I was trying to avoid custom magic items.


A forgery still requires a valid number.
Yeah. But I woudl make it more then just a number. The card woudl most likely be made of steel or adamantium and the number would be carved into it. It woudl also have an arcane mark on it that only shows up if the person holding the card is the one its registered to.


It can display, say, the name of the account holder and type of account.
Nah. Just accepted or rejected and the amount transfered to the store.


You rent, not sell, the readers for a minimal amount... so that the shopkeeper doesn't need too hefty an investment, and you can demand them back at any time, and re-use them.
I wouldn't rent them. I would loan them to shopkeepers for free. Just a 1% surcharge of any transactions made with a card (coming from the car holders account). And I woudl charge for the cards, 200 GP each seems good.

The arcane mark use come from Eberron, they have a ring that shows the mark if your the one it was made for, it costs 75 GP.

So the cards would most likely cost me around 150 GP each. The readers are expensive though. Use activated Sending is 90,000 GP. Use activated Greater Scrying is 182,000 GP. So 272,000 GP at least for the reader. To much. If I use Stronghold Builders guide and make it a wondrous Architecture then it only costs half that (136,000 GP). Still to much as the machine woudl need to process 1.36 million GP worth of transactions before it starts to show a profit. We need to knock the price down to at least 50 thousand before it becomes profitable. I suppose since it is a very limited use for the spells involved that is worth a pretty hefty deduction but I'm not sure if it warrants 50% off.

Well if I can get them at 40,000 GP each it woudl be worth it. I would turn out the things by the hundreds. But a give them out a bit slowly. Once they catch on and everyone wants one say that you only have a limited number and they will go to the highest bidder.

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 10:02 PM
Using arcane marks with letters of credit has been done before.

Letter of Credit: House Kundarak, the house that carries the Mark of Warding, operates banks throughout central Khorvaire. A character who has funds on deposit in a Kundarak bank can request from the bank a letter of credit, which allows her to withdraw funds from a different branch. For many characters, this system is a convenient alternative to carrying wealth around in the form of precious gems, jewelry, or coins. House Kundarak does not charge a fee for issuing letters of credit.
House Kundarak is the only organization that issues letters of credit. Occasionally, an employer secures a letter of credit for an employee -- such as an adventurer -- who is expected to incur large debts in the course of his work for the employer. The letter specifies a maximum amount available to the bearer, and any sum up to that total amount can be drawn from the issuer's bank account. When funds are withdrawn, the clerks at the bank update the letter to reflect the new available balance, notarizing the change to the letter or issuing a new letter.
Letters of credit are always notarized with arcane marks, making them difficult to forge. Even if a document can be successfully reproduced, however, it is nearly impossible to acquire funds from House Kundarak using a forged letter of credit, since the house keeps records of every such letter it issues and makes those records available to all its banks. If a clerk at a bank has any reason to suspect that a letter of credit is forged, it can be checked against house records to verify its authenticity.
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20060105b&page=2

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 10:12 PM
I never said it hadn't. In fact its were I got the idea. Mine are slightly more secure and the bank can never be fooled.

Ramza00
2007-03-07, 10:14 PM
I never said it hadn't. In fact its were I got the idea. Mine are slightly more secure and the bank can never be fooled.
But they cost money :smallmad:

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 10:41 PM
Yeah, have to stay profitable. The bank could risk it and remove the secret page part making the cost to produce about 30 GP each. Sell them for 50 GP each. The bank sells this version for letters of credit up to 2,000 GP but above that point they require the more expensive option of a secret page. The bank has to protect its self after all.

I just thought of another idea. Notarization. For 300 GP the company will guarantee any document. To check to make sure its legit you have to take it to the satellite office though. The checking process is the exact same as it was for letters originally and the bank keeps a copy of the document on hand to compare and show any changes if necessary. The bank will acknowledge that a specific account agreed to a document but they won't guarantee the name linked to that account.

Another idea is escrow. The bank will be an escrow agency charging a modest 2.5% of the transaction. This is very useful for adventurers and others getting magic items made for them or making other high priced purchases. For example lets look at a crafter wizard. A fighter wants him to make him a +3 weapon which will cost 18,000 GP. The wizard doesn't want to risk making the weapon and not being able to sell it for what its worth and the fighter doesn't want to risk giving the wizard the money in advance because the wizard might run away with it. Here is where we get involved. The fighter can put the money in escrow, to be released when the weapon is received or after X number of days if the weapon isn't received by then. 2.5% of the 18,000 GP is 450 GP. half of that is 225 GP. So both sides of the escrow lose 225 GP. So the fighter puts 18,225 GP in the escrow fund and when he receives the sword the bank gives the wizard 17,775 GP. For virtually no cost the bank made a very nice profit.

Mewtarthio
2007-03-07, 10:52 PM
But they cost money :smallmad:

Not that much in the long run. A use-activated Ring of Arcane Mark costs 1000 gp. Any important Wizard should have one of those anyway, and the marks of the treasurers that appear on the letters should be fairly well-known (at least, shopkeeps should be able to easily acquire a sheet of paper with the marks that will currently be showing up on letters visible). Your Arcane Marks are essentially free, and you can go ahead and make a doohickey that'll cast Secret Page for you as well: It'll eventually pay for itself.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-07, 11:03 PM
Oh if you say we can build custom magic items it gets very easy. I was trying to avoid them as much as possible.

Mewtarthio
2007-03-07, 11:33 PM
Oh if you say we can build custom magic items it gets very easy. I was trying to avoid them as much as possible.

I suppose custom items would show up at a reasonable rate. This is an evolving world, after all. The Secret Page device might take some time to get made (call it development time or something similar), but eventually these Wizards will be trying to build one. It'd only make sense given the history of this world: It won't be around at first, but once the banking industry's been going on long enough, the Wizards will want this item. It's just a campaign-specific item, more or less.

The Ring of Arcane Mark is really only logical in a world full of Wizards. It's a handy identification tool. Of course, this also means that the less noble among the Wizards ("noble" in the original sense of "of the nobility") will probably try to research the spell Forge Arcane Mark or something similar.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 12:07 AM
Yeah, and if you ever do such a thing what do you thing the most powerful group in the world is going to do about it?

I really wish I could bring the Spell Compendium and Complete Mage into this.

With the SC you can create a photcopier/ printing press for 1,000 GP

And with Complete Mage you can put people is stasis for 100 GP and a 6th level spell. They don't age or get hungry or anything. 4,060 GP per use. Lets charge 10,000 GP for the privilege to live forever. Want to see what the world is like in ten years? We will be around to wake you. Kinda like Heinleins cold sleep in a door into summer. Or Somac in the Worthing Saga by Orrison Scott Card. At 1,000 people per year getting this service and we will assume it costs us 5,000 GP in expenses we are making 5,000,000 GP per year.


I also haven't yet looked at black market involvement. You could take a cut on a lot of contraband.

Or the information trade. You have everyones banking records and private documents due to the notary part of the business. You also can track a person fairly easily as they move about the cities (you control the transport system).

paigeoliver
2007-03-08, 01:21 AM
About my agricultural and husbandry spells. I only posted the most powerful one as an example. THAT particular one doesn't see nearly as much use as the lower level ones. Although the area effect and duration of the 8th level one is so long that large swathes of land are still covered with it in many areas.

I will go ahead and post my agricultural spells in the homebrew section so that other people can use them.

Ramza00
2007-03-08, 01:28 AM
Not that much in the long run. A use-activated Ring of Arcane Mark costs 1000 gp. Any important Wizard should have one of those anyway, and the marks of the treasurers that appear on the letters should be fairly well-known (at least, shopkeeps should be able to easily acquire a sheet of paper with the marks that will currently be showing up on letters visible). Your Arcane Marks are essentially free, and you can go ahead and make a doohickey that'll cast Secret Page for you as well: It'll eventually pay for itself.
No I meant Emperor Tippy's wizards is charging something in an eberron setting for what the houses already provide for free :smallwink:

paigeoliver
2007-03-08, 01:32 AM
Ok, agriculture, fishing, and husbandry spells are up, located here.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36907

Use them and make your D&D economy actually work.

There are a few unrelated spells in there that just happened to be in the same document as well.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-08, 02:03 AM
I study physics at a university. I know exactly how common people willing to spend several years learning the bizarre and counterintuitive secrets of the universe are.

There are roughly ten thousand students at my university; there are roughly one hundred undergraduate physics majors. And we're a strong science campus. I take that as my guiding principle when thinking about the frequency of casters.

But does learning physics promise you wealth and respect?

I'd look at the wizards we're describing as business majors rather than science buffs.


Ah, yes, the wizards' guild!

It is certainly one of the names you can give to a mostly hermetic society keeping their important affairs out of the view of outsiders, professing unique and vital knowledge, and charging a pretty penny for applying said knowledge.


And even better... he goes on to describe the International Draconic Banking Conspiracy. The only problem with that is that the idea of 'spend money to make money' may actually be fundamentally alien to a dragon's nature. They may not understand the idea of giving up some of their money, even if they are otherwise very intelligent.

So they might be the economic equivalent of dinosaurs... appropriate given their heritage, I suppose.

Yes, as dragons in D&D are written right now, you make a good point.

My point is that in the process of creating a viable economic structure for D&D, while we're staying within the limits of the system's rules, at the same time we're rewriting some of the fundamental concepts underlying the fluff side of the game. We tossed the pseudo-medieval Feudalism concept back on the first page, and now we're tossing outmoded behavioral patterns as well.

There most likely still are "old school" dragons around. They're out there, in the wilderness, sitting on their hoards and counting gold to pass away the time. Dragons certainly live long enough for those to still be around.
In the cities however, we have the modern dragons who run banks, play the stock market, throw coctail parties, and have their part in steering the course of this world. They learned to override their instincts since they saw the advantages inherent in not pillaging everything in sight... similarly to how humans saw the advantages inherent in not hitting their neighboor with a club to get something they want.

Now then, over here it's a bright (well, cloudy) new morning, and with it come new ideas.

Step #4 Status Quo
In retrospect, this really should have been Step #1 in the process. Namely, we need to repmember that we aren't creating a campaign. It's not even a full setting - we're making a framework for D&D that anyone should be able to pick up and run a game in.
As such, the most vital part is that the system remains stable. It should be firmly established, ideally already in place for a century or so. It needs to be able to remain the way it is indefinitely, barring outside interference. Before we go on, yes, I know, change is inevitable. What we're doing is replacing one set of assumptions - wizards are solitary, socially inept loners, dragons sleep on piles of gold, Feudalist nobles run the kingdom - with a set of new and different ones. Yes, I know that this is counterintuitive after years of D&D and assorted literature. Change is inevitable.
Once a campaign starts, it's up to the GM and the players what happens. Maybe the party will work for the wizards with the goal of bringing even larger parts of the world under the economic sway of the council. Maybe they'll turn around and inflame the populace against the elite, bringing the system down in a gloriously bloody revolution. That's up to the GM.
But we got off track, so moving on:
- We need an established, stable framework for a campaign setting.
- This framework (and this is important) needs to be sufficiently nonspecific to be easily applicable to any campaign. I myself made the mistake of giving names to places and companies. Forget about them and let the GM make a call on that.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that the framework needs to work in the context of the current core rules. D&D exists on the framework of a generic fantasy setting. We're changing it to exist on the framework of a fantasy setting that takes account of the socioeconomic changes that would result in the logical application of the rules that are in the books in front of us. I'll point to the side debate headed by Emperor Tippy that we curently have going on for an example of what I mean.
- Our single most important goal however is to create a setting where adventuring is still a viable occupation. There need to be goblins and dragons to slay, busty maidens to rescue, and treasure to be found. This is still Dungeons & Dragons, not Bankers & Mass Transit Systems.
- To that end, at a certain point we'll have to let the logic go hang. With the RAW, it's easy enough to imagine a situation where this magic-fueled society already expanded to cover the world end-to-end. No. This conflicts with the above goal of keeping this an adventure roleplaying game. We need to have wilderness, unenlightened kingdoms, dark eldrich temples, and war fought the old-fashioned "everyone line up and charge the other buggers" way.
- If we absolutely have to have an explanation for why this is so, however, let us draw on the fact that as most humans age, they become unwilling to introduce change, as change means instability. The magiocratic countries are therefore in effect, increasingly hermetic - they have everything they need, and they aren't interested in what the rest of the world can offer because it's obviously inferior. Historically, remember the initial encounters between Europeans and the Chinese Empire. Only in our case the "Europeans" face people that can make their legs explode.
- If I'm forgetting anything here, let me know.

Sardia
2007-03-08, 07:34 AM
Yep. But where exactly is the government getting the money to set up the system? With even 100 locations around the word it comes out to around 40 million GP. For a country you would most likely need 1000 or so permanent circles. You are looking at a 400 million GP price tag to set up the system.

And border garrisons are meaningless in a world with TC. The wizard visits your capital 1 day and goes back home. The next day he sets up a teleportation circle and all the sudden you have 10 thousand or so of the other nations best troops in your capital past your walls.

Each location doesn't need to be linked to every other-- route through major interchanges to reduce the number of circles needed.

And any spell or effect that detects magic is going to put a crimp in the troop movement plan. Not shut it down, mind you, but slow it. Plus, someone's probably going to notice once the first few hundred show up. The garrison is there to take care of those first few.
Ideally, you notice where the foreign troops are teleporting to, get there with enough force to kill those, then just skewer the new arrivals as they teleport in. Bloody and tedious, but effective.

Journey
2007-03-08, 08:53 AM
So very true. Just take one example - moving goods around in the middle ages: you really had only two options - land animal transport (eg carvans etc) or boat. Add magic and magical beasts and the options of flying, teleporting etc must be taken into account. These are safer, faster, and more importantly, generally only available to those with magical power. How would traditional merchants compete with a wizard's guild bringing spices from the other side of the world via teleportation circles and bags of holding?

In a magical world, Wizards win at everything, not just combat.

This assumes the high-magic kind of world suggested by 3.x, aka D&D: Medieval DC Comic Superheroes Edition. In a world where magic isn't the same thing as technology it becomes much less significant as far as the economy goes. Make magic more rare and there will be no such thing as guilds of wizards and the like. Then "traditional" economic structures apply and one doesn't have to worry about inventing new ones that are very likely to be internally inconsistent due to the various quirks of the D&D magic system.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 11:03 AM
Now then, over here it's a bright (well, cloudy) new morning, and with it come new ideas.
Yah! New ideas.


Step #4 Status Quo

In retrospect, this really should have been Step #1 in the process. Namely, we need to repmember that we aren't creating a campaign. It's not even a full setting - we're making a framework for D&D that anyone should be able to pick up and run a game in.
As such, the most vital part is that the system remains stable. It should be firmly established, ideally already in place for a century or so. It needs to be able to remain the way it is indefinitely, barring outside interference. Before we go on, yes, I know, change is inevitable. What we're doing is replacing one set of assumptions - wizards are solitary, socially inept loners, dragons sleep on piles of gold, Feudalist nobles run the kingdom - with a set of new and different ones. Yes, I know that this is counterintuitive after years of D&D and assorted literature. Change is inevitable.Hehe. I wholly agree.


Once a campaign starts, it's up to the GM and the players what happens. Maybe the party will work for the wizards with the goal of bringing even larger parts of the world under the economic sway of the council. Maybe they'll turn around and inflame the populace against the elite, bringing the system down in a gloriously bloody revolution. That's up to the GM.Agreed again and now to the meat of your post.


But we got off track, so moving on:
- We need an established, stable framework for a campaign setting.
- This framework (and this is important) needs to be sufficiently nonspecific to be easily applicable to any campaign. I myself made the mistake of giving names to places and companies. Forget about them and let the GM make a call on that.One of the reasons I never named anything involved in my posts.



- Another thing to keep in mind is that the framework needs to work in the context of the current core rules. D&D exists on the framework of a generic fantasy setting. We're changing it to exist on the framework of a fantasy setting that takes account of the socioeconomic changes that would result in the logical application of the rules that are in the books in front of us. I'll point to the side debate headed by Emperor Tippy that we curently have going on for an example of what I mean.Yah. I've been arguing D&D woudl be nothing like greyhawk for as long as I've palyed D&D. Eberron doesn't even take magic far enough.



- Our single most important goal however is to create a setting where adventuring is still a viable occupation. There need to be goblins and dragons to slay, busty maidens to rescue, and treasure to be found. This is still Dungeons & Dragons, not Bankers & Mass Transit Systems.Agreed fully. But you have to create such things at some point or another. The council of wizards who run my transit system (5 of them) are effectively the 5 most powerful people in the world. They wield enormous power and thus there decisions can shape the policy of whole nations. It can have a very direct impact on adventurers.



- To that end, at a certain point we'll have to let the logic go hang. With the RAW, it's easy enough to imagine a situation where this magic-fueled society already expanded to cover the world end-to-end.Wouldn't ever expand that far. Explained why in next point.


No. This conflicts with the above goal of keeping this an adventure roleplaying game. We need to have wilderness, unenlightened kingdoms, dark eldrich temples, and war fought the old-fashioned "everyone line up and charge the other buggers" way.Agreed that this is needed. And my idea wholly supports it.

You end up with super advanced cities spread all over the world (100 or so is a good number) and a lot of wilderness. Remember, the transport system means that no one travels between the cities on foot. For about a 2 day journey around each city there is farmland and villagers. After that it is mostly wilderness with villagers spread maybe 1 every 30 miles from another or so.

The cities become central markets and the area around them is protected by the city and it provides a lot of the land necessary to feed the people. This leaves all the wilderness as a wild area for PC's to adventure in. Or bad guys to stay to avoid scrutiny for their plans.

Sicne the 30 miles of land around the city won't be able to feed the large numbers of people you will have large tracks of fields in the locations with the best possible farmland anywhere in the world. A single TC made permanent and they can ship their food to the cities quite easily.


- If we absolutely have to have an explanation for why this is so, however, let us draw on the fact that as most humans age, they become unwilling to introduce change, as change means instability.I don't quite see wizards as most humans. These are 30-40 Int people who tell the laws of physics what to do. I think they are a bit more adaptable then your average old guy. And who said they were humans? Perhaps its 5 Elans who have been ruling the world from behind the scenes for the past 2 thousand or so years.


The magiocratic countries are therefore in effect, increasingly hermetic - they have everything they need, and they aren't interested in what the rest of the world can offer because it's obviously inferior. Historically, remember the initial encounters between Europeans and the Chinese Empire. Only in our case the "Europeans" face people that can make their legs explode.See above.


- If I'm forgetting anything here, let me know.Prolly. We all do.


This assumes the high-magic kind of world suggested by 3.x, aka D&D: Medieval DC Comic Superheroes Edition. In a world where magic isn't the same thing as technology it becomes much less significant as far as the economy goes. Make magic more rare and there will be no such thing as guilds of wizards and the like. Then "traditional" economic structures apply and one doesn't have to worry about inventing new ones that are very likely to be internally inconsistent due to the various quirks of the D&D magic system.
Incorrect. The lower magic the world is the more significant magic is on the economy. So long as it is still possible to get a level 20 wizard with 9th level spells (even if they are incredibly rare) magic would completely change the economy.

My level 20 wizard starts a shipping company. Half the regular cost and he will guarantee arrival on the other side of the ocean. He would have an enormous amount of business and after a year he would have 20 million or more GP.

Lets say our wizard is an elan. He has an unlimited amount of time and is incredibly patient. He keeps up the shipping business for 10 years or so and now has 200 million GP saved up.

He's been adventuring and is almost at level 21 (he has 20,000 XP over level 20). That is 4 teleport circles made permanent. Well this wizard has taken his gold and spent it to create the hub. He doesn't tell anyone what he is doing and once he has the building he goes and starts on the circles.

At 4 circles made per decade it will take him around 2,500 years to create all the TC's needed.

He now announces his transport system and tada. Give it another 500 years and the world is unrecognizable.

Well lets say we have 5 level 20 elan wizards. It only takes them 500 years to create the system them selves. Or less if they adventure more.

kellandros
2007-03-08, 11:31 AM
Okay, realizing there is a false assumption to the teleportation circle intercontinental mage-way: it assumes people will cooperate, and no one goes to war. The EU has hit many problems just trying to get Europe's economy connected. One big one was England still required passports from all EU countries- they were afraid of getting Irish terrorists just walking into the country.

If even one country in the current network is hostile, how can you possibly allow an instant access doorway in the midst of your biggest city? How fast can they send through an army?

Second- customs, import duties, tariffs. Traditionally, kingdoms put high taxes on goods coming into their country. It encourages local industry, keeps you from being reliant on a foreign power, etc. How many kings and other absolute monarchs are going to give up that sort of power, in anything remotely resembling feudalism? I could see this being pulled off internal to a huge empire(lets them even send armies to crush rebellions faster).

Third- spies, saboteurs, thieves, and other evil people? If someone steals a precious item, and then takes a long distance trip, who is allowed to track him down and arrest him? If they steal something in one country and sell it in another, how can you track the stolen goods back?

Hmm, magical police could be an interesting group. Possesion of controlled spell components, forbidden magic found in spell book; sentenced to seizure of magical parephenalia and mind wipe.

Add luddites? Many of those workers who lost jobs to early industrialization formed mobs who would go around smashing factories. If allow any prevalence of anti-magical minerals and items, they might be fairly successful against mages without non-magical defenses.

Also- sweatshops of constructs? Let those mages face off against the Golem Liberation Organization of Workers United Resisting Mages(GLO-WURM :) ). We can either go for American Civil War, Discworld postmen, or Eberron warforged as an outcome.

Sardia
2007-03-08, 11:48 AM
Second- customs, import duties, tariffs. Traditionally, kingdoms put high taxes on goods coming into their country.

That's one of the biggest advantages to the circles-- if you have a long-distance trade route, you might pay one import duty at your final destination...but only one, not one for every country your caravan had to slog through to get there.

elliott20
2007-03-08, 01:15 PM
The problem with the standard D&D setting is also that they assume there is no infrastructure in place to deal with magic. But with the way that magic is written up, it is almost guaranteed that there will be laws, regulations, and other forms of infrastructure raised in place to deal specifically with magic.

It wouldn't surprise me that in a world with this much magic, all mages in major cities would probably require a license just to even use magic. (Or spell usage would be outlawed completely except by selected personel)

BTW, people, keep in mind that just because a person has a high INT doesn't necessarily mean that they would be automatic business men. While they are certainly more than capable of learning to become just that, they have to want to have that inclination. Not all wizards in Boston Wizard Uni is going to come out with an MBA mind.

I think a more appropriate analogy would be comparing wizards to our modern day engineers, scientists, and such. Of course, if we're changing the fundamental personality of the wizard, it is inevitable that at one point at least one of them is going to have a business mind and BAM, magical industry.

However, I also see the use of magic to be far more regulated. In fact, I'm fairly certain that in a more lawful society, even spell purchases must be prefaced with a certification. i.e. time stop, being one of the main source of cheese and abuse, would most certainly be highly controlled to the point that only those with an equivalent of a top secret clearance can have access to it.

And it would also make sense that most of the more important locations would at some point have a permanant AMF or dead magic zone lay down on it.

speaking of which, there would probably be far more spells out there that protects you against magic, at least, more effective than AMF. There would also be more spells specialized in dealing specific types of magic, I think.

Sardia
2007-03-08, 01:57 PM
However, I also see the use of magic to be far more regulated. In fact, I'm fairly certain that in a more lawful society, even spell purchases must be prefaced with a certification. i.e. time stop, being one of the main source of cheese and abuse, would most certainly be highly controlled to the point that only those with an equivalent of a top secret clearance can have access to it.

Surely, but there are two issues that jump to my mind there--
First, the regulation may not be done by a government body. It might fall under some sort of wizard guild regulations and fit (perhaps uneasily) into their dealings with kings and such.
Second, nine pages of text gives you time stop, and you can't really take that away from someone once they've learned it. Imagine if knowing the plans for an atomic bomb let you blow up a city-- hard to control, to say the least, and that's without even raising the problem of independent research.

Ramza00
2007-03-08, 02:22 PM
Yeah, and if you ever do such a thing what do you thing the most powerful group in the world is going to do about it?

I really wish I could bring the Spell Compendium and Complete Mage into this.

With the SC you can create a photcopier/ printing press for 1,000 GP

And with Complete Mage you can put people is stasis for 100 GP and a 6th level spell. They don't age or get hungry or anything. 4,060 GP per use. Lets charge 10,000 GP for the privilege to live forever. Want to see what the world is like in ten years? We will be around to wake you. Kinda like Heinleins cold sleep in a door into summer. Or Somac in the Worthing Saga by Orrison Scott Card. At 1,000 people per year getting this service and we will assume it costs us 5,000 GP in expenses we are making 5,000,000 GP per year.


I also haven't yet looked at black market involvement. You could take a cut on a lot of contraband.

Or the information trade. You have everyones banking records and private documents due to the notary part of the business. You also can track a person fairly easily as they move about the cities (you control the transport system).
Limit yourself to core, or things get ugly real fast. For example.

Cloistered Cleric 1/Wizard 5/Dweomerkeeper 10/X 2, At least one of the two domains is the Magic Domain
Casts as a 17th lvl Wizard at lvl 18. Can do supernatural spell 4 times a day.

Now all those xp or material costs for things such as
Wish(don't forget besides wishing for things like gold you can also wish for things like scrolls of raise dead or pretty much all spells besides a few 9th lvl spells with 4000+xp costs)
Teleporation circle
Permanency
Simulacrum (make duplicates of the best crafters/skilled people in the world. Simulacrums have half the appropriate hit points, feats, skill ranks, and special abilities for a creature of that level or HD). It gets worse with Ice Assassin...

One such guy would reshape the world so much...that the world would be reshaped more than gods in such worlds as Forgotten Realms.

Ramza00
2007-03-08, 02:33 PM
You end up with super advanced cities spread all over the world (100 or so is a good number) and a lot of wilderness. Remember, the transport system means that no one travels between the cities on foot. For about a 2 day journey around each city there is farmland and villagers. After that it is mostly wilderness with villagers spread maybe 1 every 30 miles from another or so.

The cities become central markets and the area around them is protected by the city and it provides a lot of the land necessary to feed the people. This leaves all the wilderness as a wild area for PC's to adventure in. Or bad guys to stay to avoid scrutiny for their plans.

Sicne the 30 miles of land around the city won't be able to feed the large numbers of people you will have large tracks of fields in the locations with the best possible farmland anywhere in the world. A single TC made permanent and they can ship their food to the cities quite easily.

You see this actually makes sense why there will be monsters around everywhere in a campaign world. There world will be like little islands of civilization and there is no point in going through the "sea of wilderness" since you can easily go from one island to another. Thus there will be monsters and dragons everywhere else.

It also generates a psychological reason why adventures want to go into the wasteland, it is literally places where no one has gone before.

elliott20
2007-03-08, 02:52 PM
Surely, but there are two issues that jump to my mind there--
First, the regulation may not be done by a government body. It might fall under some sort of wizard guild regulations and fit (perhaps uneasily) into their dealings with kings and such.
Second, nine pages of text gives you time stop, and you can't really take that away from someone once they've learned it. Imagine if knowing the plans for an atomic bomb let you blow up a city-- hard to control, to say the least, and that's without even raising the problem of independent research.
Well, don't forget, if we're talking a magiocracy, the mage might very well make up the political body that creates the policies. Besides, setting down regulations for magic is not just a good idea for any power, it's essentially so not every tom, ****, and harry with a UMD score and a loose "nuke the world" spell can end your nation's existence.

My point is that in a society where magic is common, it is almost certain that that people will try to come up with ways to control and mitigate the risk that magic brings. after all, ET with just a few pages of text, managed to establish that any wizard with a god syndrome can easily undo and distablize a nation by HIMSELF alone. It would not be surprising that people would want to keep that sort of thing in check in some fashion.

The atomic bomb anology, however, is still one short of the 9th level spell. After all, building an atomic bomb requires you come across some material, time, infrastructure, and all that other stuff to build it. a 9th level spell? short of the usual ONE component, and your spellbook, all you need is a good night sleep, and the urge to do something bad.

the best way to make sure this doesn't happen? make sure that said psycho doesn't get his hands on the spell in the first place. that's what the laws would be there for.

Of course, you're right, there is the whole individual research thing. And I relaly don't have any solution around that.

Another thing that comes to mind: spell components. I'm pretty sure that in a society where magic is all that common, spell components is sure to experience a price hike.

Sardia
2007-03-08, 03:01 PM
Another thing that comes to mind: spell components. I'm pretty sure that in a society where magic is all that common, spell components is sure to experience a price hike.

Ameliorated somewhat by the growth of supply infrastructure. Artificial bat...er...coops? caves?...for guano for one example, and systems in place to make sure that wizards have a necessary supply of components. High demand encouraging a growth in supply of anything that can be grown or manufactured.
Spells to detect gems, amber, and such should be highly refined.
And perhaps highly regulated-- a thousand gp worth of amber being not just some shiny powder but a means for sending an army across a continent. Rather like trying to lay your hands on fuming nitric acid now.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 04:19 PM
Okay, realizing there is a false assumption to the teleportation circle intercontinental mage-way: it assumes people will cooperate, and no one goes to war.
Nope. That would be necessary if the countries were building it. Built by 5 level 20 wizards without anyone else knowing about it until its all done.


The EU has hit many problems just trying to get Europe's economy connected. One big one was England still required passports from all EU countries- they were afraid of getting Irish terrorists just walking into the country.
And if England tried that with the transit system in place we just cut them off and open up circles to another country/city. Without that trade the "english" go poor very quickly.


If even one country in the current network is hostile, how can you possibly allow an instant access doorway in the midst of your biggest city? How fast can they send through an army?
Privately owned. None of the countries connect to it have any say over anything concerning it. To stop one from working the wizards just put a stone block over the exit point and your invasion si stopped. And with the kind of money they have you will be facing thousands of Iron Golems and once the mages deal with your invasion force they come in and reduce your city to rubble as an example to the rest of the world for why you don't do such things.

Remember, the transit system makes more money in a day then most countries can make in a year.


Second- customs, import duties, tariffs. Traditionally, kingdoms put high taxes on goods coming into their country. It encourages local industry, keeps you from being reliant on a foreign power, etc. How many kings and other absolute monarchs are going to give up that sort of power, in anything remotely resembling feudalism? I could see this being pulled off internal to a huge empire(lets them even send armies to crush rebellions faster).

If the king doesn't then all the sudden he is off all the trade routes.

Lets say your a merchant. You can move your goods through the network for a very small price and with no risk to yourself if you sell them in country A which has low customs duties. Or you can buy a ship and pay a crew and attempt to sail for 5 days to reach country B which has high customs rates. Which would you sell in?


Third- spies, saboteurs, thieves, and other evil people? If someone steals a precious item, and then takes a long distance trip, who is allowed to track him down and arrest him? If they steal something in one country and sell it in another, how can you track the stolen goods back?
The transit system. They have the resources and woudl not be foolish enough to give up the power.


Hmm, magical police could be an interesting group. Possesion of controlled spell components, forbidden magic found in spell book; sentenced to seizure of magical parephenalia and mind wipe.
Really. Try it in a world where the most powerful force is a group of mages who can effectively hold any nation hostage if it does something so stupid.

The mages could even charge the cities to protect them from powerful casters/monsters.


Add luddites? Many of those workers who lost jobs to early industrialization formed mobs who would go around smashing factories. If allow any prevalence of anti-magical minerals and items, they might be fairly successful against mages without non-magical defenses.
Not really. Golems for the win. And the Luddites have an inability to form a large group in more than 1 city. They won't use the transport system so they can't come out of there home city.


Also- sweatshops of constructs? Let those mages face off against the Golem Liberation Organization of Workers United Resisting Mages(GLO-WURM :) ). We can either go for American Civil War, Discworld postmen, or Eberron warforged as an outcome.

Ha. Try to revolt against level 20 wizards. And golems can't revolt. They have to obey there creator. Warforged could but yo ucan control that fairly easily.




The problem with the standard D&D setting is also that they assume there is no infrastructure in place to deal with magic. But with the way that magic is written up, it is almost guaranteed that there will be laws, regulations, and other forms of infrastructure raised in place to deal specifically with magic.
Laws, regulations, and other forms of infrastructure mean nothing to a high level wizard.

They could only be enforced by multiple high level wizards and then only at great cost.


It wouldn't surprise me that in a world with this much magic, all mages in major cities would probably require a license just to even use magic. (Or spell usage would be outlawed completely except by selected personel)
It doesn't matter if you need a license or if its outlawed. High level casters can ignore laws and licenses as much as they want and no D&D government has the power to enforce compliance.


BTW, people, keep in mind that just because a person has a high INT doesn't necessarily mean that they would be automatic business men. While they are certainly more than capable of learning to become just that, they have to want to have that inclination. Not all wizards in Boston Wizard Uni is going to come out with an MBA mind.
But they can learn. And once they learn then they will be very effective at it. Intelligence doesn't say what you can do, it is merely an indicator of how effectively you will do it.


I think a more appropriate analogy would be comparing wizards to our modern day engineers, scientists, and such. Of course, if we're changing the fundamental personality of the wizard, it is inevitable that at one point at least one of them is going to have a business mind and BAM, magical industry.
All you need is 1 doing it once.


However, I also see the use of magic to be far more regulated. In fact, I'm fairly certain that in a more lawful society, even spell purchases must be prefaced with a certification. i.e. time stop, being one of the main source of cheese and abuse, would most certainly be highly controlled to the point that only those with an equivalent of a top secret clearance can have access to it.
What about sorcerers? They can make a scroll and sell it to the wizard. Once the wizard knows the spell its almost impossible to make him forget it.


And it would also make sense that most of the more important locations would at some point have a permanant AMF or dead magic zone lay down on it.
How is that done exactly? No government can afford it and it woudl require custom spells. And prolly epic magic.


speaking of which, there would probably be far more spells out there that protects you against magic, at least, more effective than AMF. There would also be more spells specialized in dealing specific types of magic, I think.
But all of that requires mages doing the governments bidding and enforcing the law on other mages. Neither of those things is very likely to happen.

For every 1 wizard you get to help you enforce the law there will be 10 who ignore the law. And the number ignoring the law will grow exponentially once those willing to serve the government realize how dangerous it is.



Well, don't forget, if we're talking a magiocracy, the mage might very well make up the political body that creates the policies. Besides, setting down regulations for magic is not just a good idea for any power, it's essentially so not every tom, ****, and harry with a UMD score and a loose "nuke the world" spell can end your nation's existence.
You can make all the laws you want, enforcement of those laws is a altogether a different story.

And why woudl the mages be stupid enough to make them selves the public government? That won't ever happen. It opens them up to much. Its much easier to let the king do whatever he wants and when he does something you don't like just go to him and say "No.". The king will be happy because he still feels like he has real power (and he does) and the mages are happy because they stop anything they really don't want to happen from happening and assume no responsibility.


My point is that in a society where magic is common, it is almost certain that that people will try to come up with ways to control and mitigate the risk that magic brings. after all, ET with just a few pages of text, managed to establish that any wizard with a god syndrome can easily undo and distablize a nation by HIMSELF alone. It would not be surprising that people would want to keep that sort of thing in check in some fashion.
You can't counter magic without equal or greater magic. Those who can make such magic are highly unlikely to listen to your rules any more then the original guy did.


The atomic bomb anology, however, is still one short of the 9th level spell. After all, building an atomic bomb requires you come across some material, time, infrastructure, and all that other stuff to build it. a 9th level spell? short of the usual ONE component, and your spellbook, all you need is a good night sleep, and the urge to do something bad.

the best way to make sure this doesn't happen? make sure that said psycho doesn't get his hands on the spell in the first place. that's what the laws would be there for.
Laws don't matter if they can't be enforced and no law regulating magic can be enforced on a high level mage (who are the ones you are attempting to regulate)


Of course, you're right, there is the whole individual research thing. And I relaly don't have any solution around that.
You have yet to present a solution to anything. Sorry if that sounds mean, I didn't mean it in a mean way.


Another thing that comes to mind: spell components. I'm pretty sure that in a society where magic is all that common, spell components is sure to experience a price hike.

Not really. If the price goes up then the amount of the material needed goes down per RAW.




Ameliorated somewhat by the growth of supply infrastructure. Artificial bat...er...coops? caves?...for guano for one example, and systems in place to make sure that wizards have a necessary supply of components. High demand encouraging a growth in supply of anything that can be grown or manufactured.
Spells to detect gems, amber, and such should be highly refined.
And perhaps highly regulated-- a thousand gp worth of amber being not just some shiny powder but a means for sending an army across a continent. Rather like trying to lay your hands on fuming nitric acid now.

How are you enforcing said regulation? Laws only work in the RW because the law making body has the power to enforce said laws through the police or millitary. No non magic user can ever enforce a law on a high level caster. And you are highly unlikely to get a high level caster to enforce it for you.

elliott20
2007-03-08, 04:36 PM
Umm... I never said that the wizards would not be the ones enforcing the law. All of this is assuming that the wizards on top would WANT to preserve the power structure and thus place these laws to control magic so that THEY can monitor it.

Half of your post says exactly what I was implying. It's not like I'm fighting against you on this or anything. I'm trying to simply provide a more structured look at these things.

I'm fully aware of what laws can and cannot do. Naturally, if laws were to be erect in place, it can only be enforced by people with the power to do so. Enter your high level mages who for all intensive purposes rule the world. And why the hell not? you've already reduced all rulers of the land without magic to mere puppets anyway. why keep up the charade?

I'm sure they wouldn't want every new wizard who comes along to start breaking their status quo that they've set up. Enter laws that they will enforce themselves with their own cadre of mages and such.

Sardia
2007-03-08, 04:54 PM
How are you enforcing said regulation? Laws only work in the RW because the law making body has the power to enforce said laws through the police or millitary. No non magic user can ever enforce a law on a high level caster. And you are highly unlikely to get a high level caster to enforce it for you.

You aren't-- the wizard who has his world the way he likes it is. Armies teleporting into his favorite city or two are likely to bother him, so he's got an interest in watching the amber mines.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 04:55 PM
Umm... I never said that the wizards would not be the ones enforcing the law. All of this is assuming that the wizards on top would WANT to preserve the power structure and thus place these laws to control magic so that THEY can monitor it.
Why would they want to? The law is very simple. You don't mess with our business or agents and we don't care what you do. Fell free to try and challenge us if you like, we have a resource base that you can't hope to match and are more powerful then you.

And I haven't even got to the magic defenses in the transport system buildings. I have most of it typed up because of another world I created with a system like this and I may add it later.


Half of your post says exactly what I was implying. It's not like I'm fighting against you on this or anything. I'm trying to simply provide a more structured look at these things.Structure is good but you were implying that nations could regulate magic. They can't and why woudl the mages want to? If a guy goes postal every so often they can charge a fee to provide high level anti-magic security.


I'm fully aware of what laws can and cannot do. Naturally, if laws were to be erect in place, it can only be enforced by people with the power to do so. Enter your high level mages who for all intensive purposes rule the world. And why the hell not? you've already reduced all rulers of the land without magic to mere puppets anyway. why keep up the charade?As I said. Responsibility. Why woudl the mages want to rule? They have all the power they could possibly want or need and very few headaches. The transit system largely runs its self. Ruling countries is hard work and you can get the populace really pissed at you.

Its much easier to just stop a countries ruler who gets to far out of line and correct him. Or tell his replacement the rules and then let him get on ruling the kingdom.

Instead of Kigns ruling by Divine Right of Kings they Rule by Right of the Mages saying so.


I'm sure they wouldn't want every new wizard who comes along to start breaking their status quo that they've set up. Enter laws that they will enforce themselves with their own cadre of mages and such.Any mage that could cause trouble has to be highly intelligent. He will realize what he is up against and 99% of the mages will get the idea and not be a problem. Hell most of them will prolly get jobs with the transport system.

Those that don't get the message and actually oppose you can never hope to match your resources. You can just kill or reprogram them in about 30 seconds.


You aren't-- the wizard who has his world the way he likes it is. Armies teleporting into his favorite city or two are likely to bother him, so he's got an interest in watching the amber mines.

The group running the transport system has the resources to destroy any army that invaded a city easily. You make an example once and it is highly unlikely anyone will try such a thing again.


Again, why bother to spend the time and effort to regulate magic when you have the resources to make examples of anyone who gets to far out of line.

Ramza00
2007-03-08, 05:06 PM
Why would they want to? The law is very simple. You don't mess with our business or agents and we don't care what you do. Fell free to try and challenge us if you like, we have a resource base that you can't hope to match and are more powerful then you.

And I haven't even got to the magic defenses in the transport system buildings. I have most of it typed up because of another world I created with a system like this and I may add it later.

I would very much like to see this :smallsmile: Can you pm me or post it?

Sardia
2007-03-08, 05:09 PM
Again, why bother to spend the time and effort to regulate magic when you have the resources to make examples of anyone who gets to far out of line.

That in itself is a form of regulating magic.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-08, 05:14 PM
Yeah.


Passing off a forgery to the bank its self is impossible. There is no way to get past the secret page. You could potentially pass one off to a shopkeeper but not the bank.
Well, you can, you just have to do it oddly; spoof the detect thoughts. Takes some non-core stuff, though.

To be fair, though, you won't be using detect thoughts for long. See below.

And who said my bank did loans? Loans come with numerous problems. Its much easier to just store peoples wealth and make it accessible to them and charge for the service.

Ah, okay. So he buys the mind blank with his first successfully forged note. Same diff.


And if we are playing with psionics I will use Object Reading on the forgery and it will identify you well enough for Scrying. Hypercognition would prolly be useful as well.

Remember the Mind Blank? Hypercognition can get past it. Object Reading, however, can't (under transparency, it's a divination that gets info about the warded subject). CoP technically doesn't work either, due to same.


Or you use CoP to see if its the same guy or group doing all the forgeries. When it comes up yes you investigate further. Remember, I command almost unlimited wealth and power. You won't hide forever.

Only if you're a monopoly. And quite frankly, monopolies are systemically toppled in a LOT of civilized areas of the modern world. With very, very good reason, too.



Yeah, its from Eberron. And I noticed the skill but I thought of a way to make all but the best forger never be able to forge one successfully. Letters of Credit Now carry 3 separate Arcane marks. Penalties stack so thats -30 to your forgery check. From the forgery skill bonuses the forger has -24 to the check.

Wait... it stacks? That's insane. It might be Eberron RAW, but it doesn't make sense (at least, not with the Forgery skill as written). RAW, it's exactly the same difficulty to forge a 1,000 page document as it is a 10 page document (it just takes longer; 1,000d4 minutes vs. 10d4 minutes). This smacks of something done for the campaign world with the express intention of making a particular business model viable. Why, exactly, should putting the exact same copy protection mechanism on something X times make it essentially impossible to beat, when doing so once is bypassable? Should we just start casting Wall of Iron and exchanging the prodigous amount of metal as a trade good?


At level 7 his max ranks are 10. Lets say hes real smart and give a +2 bonus to the skill and with all of the splatbook forgery items you can get up to +12 on the check (and you have to spend 2,000 GP on papyrus of deception or its only +7). So total at level 7 he gets a +24 at max. It exactly negates the penalty from the arcane marks.

Don't actually need too many splat books, provided the notes aren't lengthy documents; just a Masterwork Tool (core, reuseable, circumstance), and a Psionic Shard (1,000 gp, +10 to any one skill for one minute - the length of time it takes to Forge a non-lengthy document).


Now lets look at a level 3 shopkeeper. Max ranks is 6. Since craft is based on Int lets assume smarts and give a +2 for that. At level 3 the shopkeeper gets +8 to his check. Even if the shopkeeper rolls a 1 on his check the forger still has a 45% chance of being detected. And if the shopkeeper rolls a 12 or higher he will beat the forger even on a natural 20. So the forgers roll only matters 15% of the time. Now the forger has to roll a 10 or better, he has a 50% chance of that. So the forgers total chance for success is 7.5% (unless I messed up the numbers which I may have)

At level 6+ the shopkeeper can't ever fail the check.

Okay. So it's handed off to a Wizard, or better, a Cleric, who does not have Forgery as a class skill, in payment for some doodad or other, which is then sold and the money used to buy the stuff he's after. No problem. I get to choose my targets, remember. If my goal is profit, I do the above (for a time, at least). If my goal is simply to hurt you, I make a LOT of these, then arrange to have them left in offering plates at churches around the world. On the same day.


And if I add another 2 arcane marks the forger will never be able to pass it off to a int 10 first level commoner with no points in forgery.

Might be Eberron RAW, but it doesn't make overly much sense.



Yeah. Wasn't thinking. The bank still knows when there secret page code word doesn't work. And there is no RAW to get around that one.

Don't have to. Your policy of cashing them out to people who walk in unknowing with a Forgery covers it quite well. If you go the other way, enough forgeries put you out of business. Or I just find a way to spoof the Detect Thoughts (Leadership and patsy commoners that don't know the difference, maybe).



"Its the security system. We had some problems with a demon causing problems. The security system alerts us to demons. Sometimes you feel a slight tingle.

Go read the spellcraft description. DC 25+Spell Level: "After rolling a saving throw against a spell targeted on you, determine what that spell was. No action required. No retry." The people most likely to sucessfully save (Wizards and Clerics; to a lesser extent Bards and Sorcerers) are also those most likely to know what was done. As a 2nd level spell, Detect Thoughts is DC 27. The people most likely to make the save and feel the tingle are also the most likely to know exactly what it is.

So you attempt to read their minds without telling them, then proceed to lie to them about it when caught. To what's probably the most powerful segments of society. Who have reason to worry about people reading their minds. Have fun with that. I'm sure the results will be truely spectacular.


And this is irrelevant, see above. Multiple Arcane marks make forger nigh impossible and enough woudl make it truly impossible.

Might be Eberron RAW, but my DM senses are tingling "cheese" for that one. What's the power level of a cantrip supposed to be, again?

Or, I suppose, I could just invoke the spell-stacking rules. That would probably cover it better, actually. It is the same spell over and over, after all.



150 for the secret page. 5 GP per Arcane mark. Lets raise the price to 250 GP each. You then make 50 GP per note after spells. Overhead would run to roughly 10 GP per note. Once the startup costs are paid off operating costs run at most 1 million per year. That means you would need to issue 25,000 notes per year to break even. That shouldn't be to hard. Any purchase over 5,000 GP or so it is very much safer to use letters of credit instead of coins (less likely to get robbed)

Unless the letters of credit must be made out to someone specific, it's equally likely you'll get robbed, actually. And the crooks will be able to carry more of it away. This is an illusory benefit.


I agree. But remember, you are operating in the top 100 trading cities. 5,000 GP trades woudl be occurring all the time.


See above. Not needed anymore. And they wouldn't know it was mindreading anyways.

Check the spellcraft skill description. Some would. And then you lie to them. Ideal, if I'm trying to take you down, rather than just turn a buck.



See above. And who has resources comparable to mine? I have a monopoly on all the trade routes.

Monopolies in most civilized societies are systemically destroyed, with good reason. Likewise, cartels are very commonly illegal, again with good reason. You'll make a wonderful Evil Empire (systemic invasion of privacy, monopolistic tendancies, defenses and abuses that only monopolies can pull off, and so on; your later posts refference holding nations hostage, forcing nations to back down from taxes (perfectly reasonable things, those) and so forth).



Not a problem any more. And if it became to much of a hassle you close down the banking part. It isn't the most profitable part anyways.

Yeah, I think I'll have to invoke the spell-stacking rules:

Stacking Effects: Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves.Only one Arcane Mark gives the -10. The others don't increase the DC at all.



No way to provide security for it. Anything I could do someone else could fake easily enough.

Umm... I'm not seeing the connection between the quoted section and what you replied. Huh?



Good idea. Hadn't thought of that. And I was trying to avoid custom magic items.

Oh, well that bumps the price a might; Crystal Ball with Telepathy is a Core item; Intelligent items are Core add-ons to permanent items. For 72,000 gp market (70k for crystal ball, 1k for minimal intelligence, 1k for cheapest lesser power), you can have a minimally intelligent Crystal Ball which (cheese alert) as a command-word item, only takes a standard action despite the 10-minute casting time of the spell it's based on (and, as an intelligent item, can activate itself). Crystal ball can see inside a 30 foot range, scrys on something in the central office; talks to it telepathically, thing in central office checks records, replies (also telepathically) to crystal ball. Crystal ball communicates an empathic yes or no to the shopkeeper holding it. If the guys in central office always fails their will saves (or wear an Amulet of Inescapable location, and the crystal balls are taken to meet them every so often) while they are monitored by Detect Magic; any unrecognized aura is immediately reported, and the scry-target removed from circulation. You want them all lawful-neutral. Ideally, the scry-target in central also pulls up a picture of the cardholder, and the crystal ball compares it to the person holding the card. As a security percaution against stolen cards.



Yeah. But I woudl make it more then just a number. The card woudl most likely be made of steel or adamantium and the number would be carved into it. It woudl also have an arcane mark on it that only shows up if the person holding the card is the one its registered to.

Tricky to implement, that. And unneeded; see above.



Nah. Just accepted or rejected and the amount transfered to the store.

Name is a security precaution. A double-check to make sure it's the right person. Can be done by the reader, though.



I wouldn't rent them. I would loan them to shopkeepers for free.
Same diff, really.

Just a 1% surcharge of any transactions made with a card (coming from the car holders account).
Modern credit-card companies do it the other way around; you want to hide the cost increase from the shopper; makes the method less attractive.

And I woudl charge for the cards, 200 GP each seems good.

Reasonable enough.


The arcane mark use come from Eberron, they have a ring that shows the mark if your the one it was made for, it costs 75 GP.

So the cards would most likely cost me around 150 GP each. The readers are expensive though. Use activated Sending is 90,000 GP. Use activated Greater Scrying is 182,000 GP. So 272,000 GP at least for the reader. To much. If I use Stronghold Builders guide and make it a wondrous Architecture then it only costs half that (136,000 GP). Still to much as the machine woudl need to process 1.36 million GP worth of transactions before it starts to show a profit. We need to knock the price down to at least 50 thousand before it becomes profitable. I suppose since it is a very limited use for the spells involved that is worth a pretty hefty deduction but I'm not sure if it warrants 50% off.

Well, if you could put Message into a normal Crystal Ball, and make it intelligent, that'd be about right... but as useful as that item would be, for some odd reason, I'm not seeing it statted out.


Well if I can get them at 40,000 GP each it woudl be worth it. I would turn out the things by the hundreds. But a give them out a bit slowly. Once they catch on and everyone wants one say that you only have a limited number and they will go to the highest bidder.Yes, you'll make quite the evil empire.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 05:19 PM
I would very much like to see this :smallsmile: Can you pm me or post it?

I'll post it later tonight after I remove the campaign references and polish it up a bit.

I also used Spell Compendium quite extensively. And some of Cityscape (zone of peacebond on anyone as they exit the teleport circle at CL 9, and the detect weapons spell is used quite a lot.)



That in itself is a form of regulating magic.

Partially. But not very much. Its generally do what you want so long as you don't attack us. If you want to go and destroy a city and its not one of the ones linked to us go right ahead. If you want to mess wit ha city linked to us feel free to try and see what happens.

Sardia
2007-03-08, 05:22 PM
Partially. But not very much. Its generally do what you want so long as you don't attack us. If you want to go and destroy a city and its not one of the ones linked to us go right ahead. If you want to mess wit ha city linked to us feel free to try and see what happens.

What counts as "mess with"? Invasion we'll presume as a given. What about cutting into your trade policies? Or trying to outbid for your expensive spell components?
Do you want to make your policies explicit and (perhaps) written...in which case you've got a body of law, or keep them secret and have people tend to avoid your kingdom just out of paranoia.

Dervag
2007-03-08, 05:27 PM
But does learning physics promise you wealth and respect?

I'd look at the wizards we're describing as business majors rather than science buffs.OK, Good point. I'd put it somewhere in between.

On the one hand, you can get wealth from magic and not from physics. On the other hand, I've always figured that learning magic must be roughly as difficult as learning physics, if not more so. Learning physics is very difficult for people of average intelligence and not easy even for geniuses. So people of average or slightly over-average looking to make money in this society probably won't become wizards. It's too hard. It's too dangerous. It's too time-consuming.

Instead, they will become business majors. They will start trying to organize and manage wizards, to operate side businesses that exist to support the magic industry, and so on. So perhaps the best analogy is computer programming, rather than physics.

Certainly, computer programming is a valuable skill. But it's so common that it's hard to make an exceptional amount of money at it (as wizardry might be if wizard colleges were common). You can get richer by being the person who manages the wizards.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 06:34 PM
Well, you can, you just have to do it oddly; spoof the detect thoughts. Takes some non-core stuff, though.
No. You can't fool the secret page part. Nothing in even non-core books can tell you what command word the bank has linked to that specific number and if you don't know the banks command word then you can't forge one. The bank also knows exactly how much the original note was issued for and if you change an already issued note then they will know.


To be fair, though, you won't be using detect thoughts for long. See below.

Ah, okay. So he buys the mind blank with his first successfully forged note. Same diff.
Mind blank can't be made permanent. It requires a custom magic item and has a price tag of over 182,000 GP. You won't pass off a forger for something like that. At those prices it will most likely go through the banks escrow service.


Remember the Mind Blank? Hypercognition can get past it. Object Reading, however, can't (under transparency, it's a divination that gets info about the warded subject). CoP technically doesn't work either, due to same.
Actually both do. Object reading is cast on the object NOT on you. Mindblank blocks all divinations of you. Object reading isn't making any divination of you. And contact other planes isn't blocked either. You are asking questions of an extraplanar entity. It is possible that they know that you are the one doing it without divination and can answer me. And gods can get around mind blank. And I will be asking greater deities.


Only if you're a monopoly. And quite frankly, monopolies are systemically toppled in a LOT of civilized areas of the modern world. With very, very good reason, too.
Meh. Because of laws by government organizations or because of a competing product that can be sold cheaper. The first won't work and th esecond is highly improbable. As soon as you pay off your system you can drop teh price for a passenger down to like 5 coppers per trip and your competition can't match it.


Wait... it stacks? That's insane. It might be Eberron RAW, but it doesn't make sense (at least, not with the Forgery skill as written).
No it is all D&D RAW. Any form of penalty stacks.


RAW, it's exactly the same difficulty to forge a 1,000 page document as it is a 10 page document (it just takes longer; 1,000d4 minutes vs. 10d4 minutes). This smacks of something done for the campaign world with the express intention of making a particular business model viable. Why, exactly, should putting the exact same copy protection mechanism on something X times make it essentially impossible to beat, when doing so once is bypassable? Should we just start casting Wall of Iron and exchanging the prodigous amount of metal as a trade good?
The reason for the copy protection being stackable is because you make small imperfections in copying the arcane mark. But the cumulative affect of those small imperfections in each mark is enough for one to detect it.

For example, one could forge a letter from shakespear to someone else. 1 or 2 spelling errors could be understood but it woudl make someone suspicious. 5-10 in a short letter and almost no one will believe the letter to be real.

As for the iron thing, its valuable because of its scarcity. If it became available for free and wasn't scare anymore then it wouldn't be a trade good.



Don't actually need too many splat books, provided the notes aren't lengthy documents; just a Masterwork Tool (core, reuseable, circumstance), and a Psionic Shard (1,000 gp, +10 to any one skill for one minute - the length of time it takes to Forge a non-lengthy document).
I forgot shards but it is still very hard and expensive. From the 5 marks you start at -50 on your check. Wit hall the items I have mentioned so far your check is at -33. Since one of the items I mentioned was a +5 competence bonus it is super seeded by the shard and I included the masterwork forgery kit.


Okay. So it's handed off to a Wizard, or better, a Cleric, who does not have Forgery as a class skill, in payment for some doodad or other, which is then sold and the money used to buy the stuff he's after. No problem. I get to choose my targets, remember. If my goal is profit, I do the above (for a time, at least). If my goal is simply to hurt you, I make a LOT of these, then arrange to have them left in offering plates at churches around the world. On the same day.
See above. A 2 eyar old can detect them as forgeries.


Might be Eberron RAW, but it doesn't make overly much sense.
No its core RAW. Penalties stack. And if you want to stay core its impossible to forge an Arcane mark.


Don't have to. Your policy of cashing them out to people who walk in unknowing with a Forgery covers it quite well. If you go the other way, enough forgeries put you out of business. Or I just find a way to spoof the Detect Thoughts (Leadership and patsy commoners that don't know the difference, maybe).[/quoet]
I've already moved on from detect thoughts. And see above. A level 1 commoner with no ranks in forgery and 10 Int will detect the forgery most of the time.

[quote]Go read the spellcraft description. DC 25+Spell Level: "After rolling a saving throw against a spell targeted on you, determine what that spell was. No action required. No retry." The people most likely to sucessfully save (Wizards and Clerics; to a lesser extent Bards and Sorcerers) are also those most likely to know what was done. As a 2nd level spell, Detect Thoughts is DC 27. The people most likely to make the save and feel the tingle are also the most likely to know exactly what it is.
See above. I've moved on. Detect Thoughts isn't worth it.


So you attempt to read their minds without telling them, then proceed to lie to them about it when caught. To what's probably the most powerful segments of society. Who have reason to worry about people reading their minds. Have fun with that. I'm sure the results will be truely spectacular.
See above.


Might be Eberron RAW, but my DM senses are tingling "cheese" for that one. What's the power level of a cantrip supposed to be, again?
No its core D&D raw. Penalties stack. And if you want to stay completely core RAW it is actually impossible to forge an arcane mark. You can't do it.


Or, I suppose, I could just invoke the spell-stacking rules. That would probably cover it better, actually. It is the same spell over and over, after all.
Penalties still stack. The spell isn't making your forgery check difficult on purpose. It just creates something that is so hard to forge that you take a penalty on it. You have to forge multiple different marks that are all incredibly hard to forge. Each one is a penalty.

Its like a file on a computer that is protected by 5 different alphanumeric passwords. Breaking 1 of those is very difficult unless brute forced. Breaking 5 is a statistical impossibility unless you brute force them all (takes a VERY long time). Brute Forcing a forgery is in effect making checks until you get natural 20. The only problem is that in D&D you can't tell if you actually brute forced the document open.


Unless the letters of credit must be made out to someone specific, it's equally likely you'll get robbed, actually. And the crooks will be able to carry more of it away. This is an illusory benefit.
Not really. You go to the bank and report it stolen. To insure that you aren't lieing the bank Mind Probes you and you willingly fail your save. The bank then marks down that said letter was stolen and issues you a new one for the exact same amount as the stolen one. When the thief comes to cash it then you catch him.

If he is smart enough to use it to purchase something and not try to cash it directly then the unsuspecting mark will come to the bank to cash it. You realize its stolen and mind probe him. When he comes up as the mark you pay him and object reading the letter until you get to the guy before the first person to report it stolen. You now know the thief.


Check the spellcraft skill description. Some would. And then you lie to them. Ideal, if I'm trying to take you down, rather than just turn a buck.
See above. I stopped Detect Thoughts.


Monopolies in most civilized societies are systemically destroyed, with good reason. Likewise, cartels are very commonly illegal, again with good reason. You'll make a wonderful Evil Empire (systemic invasion of privacy, monopolistic tendancies, defenses and abuses that only monopolies can pull off, and so on; your later posts refference holding nations hostage, forcing nations to back down from taxes (perfectly reasonable things, those) and so forth).
As above. Monopolies are destroyed when a competitor creates a product that competes with yours and that they can produce and sell cheaper then your product or when a government decides to create laws prohibiting them and can enforce those laws.

Neither of those 2 scenarios is possible. The nations don't have the power to enforce the laws and no one can compete. As soon as I paid off the construction cost (which will be done before someone else could ever create a competing network) I could lower my price to say 5 CP. They competition can't compete.


Yeah, I think I'll have to invoke the spell-stacking rules:
Only one Arcane Mark gives the -10. The others don't increase the DC at all.
Not RAW. Houserule. This is supposed to stay RAW.

Usually is a key word. And skills are never mentioned. They are not "attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws," or "other attributes". With a literal reading of RAW they stack.


Umm... I'm not seeing the connection between the quoted section and what you replied. Huh?
That sentence shouldn't be in there. Bad editing on my part.


Oh, well that bumps the price a might; Crystal Ball with Telepathy is a Core item; Intelligent items are Core add-ons to permanent items. For 72,000 gp market (70k for crystal ball, 1k for minimal intelligence, 1k for cheapest lesser power), you can have a minimally intelligent Crystal Ball which (cheese alert) as a command-word item, only takes a standard action despite the 10-minute casting time of the spell it's based on (and, as an intelligent item, can activate itself). Crystal ball can see inside a 30 foot range, scrys on something in the central office; talks to it telepathically, thing in central office checks records, replies (also telepathically) to crystal ball. Crystal ball communicates an empathic yes or no to the shopkeeper holding it. If the guys in central office always fails their will saves (or wear an Amulet of Inescapable location, and the crystal balls are taken to meet them every so often) while they are monitored by Detect Magic; any unrecognized aura is immediately reported, and the scry-target removed from circulation. You want them all lawful-neutral. Ideally, the scry-target in central also pulls up a picture of the cardholder, and the crystal ball compares it to the person holding the card. As a security percaution against stolen cards.
Yeah that works but its still a bit to expensive. The Disappearing Arcane Mark is the security measure to ensure its the correct owner. If a card is stolen we can turn off the number so someone can't make and use a fake card with its own diapering mark linked to them.


Tricky to implement, that. And unneeded; see above.
Not really. Makeing the cards this way helps prevent easily making or using a stolen card.


Name is a security precaution. A double-check to make sure it's the right person. Can be done by the reader, though.
A name is meaningless in a world without hard to forge ID's. Unless it comes up with a picture it wouldn't work. And even pictures can be gotten around with Alter Self or Disguise Self.


Same diff, really.
I don't want the shopkeepers to have to pay, they are less likely to accept them then. If you want one and your business meets some standard (in the beginning) then I will loan you one. But if 5 businesses all meet the standards and I only have 3 readers then the 3 who offer the best terms get them.


Modern credit-card companies do it the other way around; you want to hide the cost increase from the shopper; makes the method less attractive.
Haha. Modern credit cards hit both sides. 14% per month interest rates and such. And after the cards catch on and depending on how successful they are you could lower the rate.

I don't intend for your average person to have one of these. They are for the people with a lot of liquid wealth and who tend to spend it a lot. Adventurers, nobles, traders, etc. People who will pay a bit extra for the added convenience and security.

Adventurers and traders will like them because it reduces the amount of gold they have to carry (weight issues and all) and if stolen they can recover their wealth easily. Just report the card stolen and get issued a new one.

Nobles like them because it separates them from the common folk and allows them to care even less how much something costs.


Reasonable enough.
Yep.


Well, if you could put Message into a normal Crystal Ball, and make it intelligent, that'd be about right... but as useful as that item would be, for some odd reason, I'm not seeing it statted out.
Yeah. We could just agree to 50K for the reader. That means a guy could turn out 1 per month with 5 days off.



Yes, you'll make quite the evil empire.

Haha. Not really. Profitable doesn't mean evil. With all the gold were making I'm sure we would do something charitable. Perhaps set up an orphanage and take in all the cities orphaned children. We will feed, cloth, shelter, and educate them. Then when they are adults we will find them jobs if they need them.

This has the advantage of a larger, educated middle class that likes the company. Less chance of revolt or the like.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-08, 09:47 PM
No. You can't fool the secret page part. Nothing in even non-core books can tell you what command word the bank has linked to that specific number and if you don't know the banks command word then you can't forge one. The bank also knows exactly how much the original note was issued for and if you change an already issued note then they will know.

Not fooling the secret page. Not bothering. Taking advantage of your policy for paying out fake notes when you have no indication that the person handing it to you knows it's a fake, and some indication that the person handing it to you doesn't think it is. If you drop that policy, that exploit goes away.



Mind blank can't be made permanent. It requires a custom magic item and has a price tag of over 182,000 GP. You won't pass off a forger for something like that. At those prices it will most likely go through the banks escrow service.
Well.. it requires a suppliment (Third Eye Conceal in the XPH; 120k). But yeah, pricy. So buy stuff with forgeries, sell the stuff, then buy the item with real money. Either way. Alternately, the person is actually a competitor working in an illegal manner to hurt you, and is fully capable of casting Mind Blank personally.



Actually both do. Object reading is cast on the object NOT on you. Mindblank blocks all divinations of you. Object reading isn't making any divination of you. And contact other planes isn't blocked either. You are asking questions of an extraplanar entity. It is possible that they know that you are the one doing it without divination and can answer me. And gods can get around mind blank. And I will be asking greater deities.

Read object reading. It's cast on the object... but what it gives you is information about previous owners. Read Mind Blank. It stops any divination spell or effect that gives information about the warded subject. RAW, Object Reading is blocked by Mind Blank, despite the fact that you're not manifesting it on the subject. Ditto for Contact other planes. Takes DM fiat to get around it with those two effects. Which you seem to be against.



Meh. Because of laws by government organizations or because of a competing product that can be sold cheaper. The first won't work
And this is the point you start becoming an evil empire. You are bullying governments. One of "your" cities decides to start taxing your business within its confines (it's geographical borders). Perfectly legitimate thing for a government to do. However, it hurts your bottom line, so you do something about it. What?

Suppose you simply pull out in protest.
Well, if it's a dependant city (something essential is provided through your network) pulling out does one of two things:
1) Opens room for a competitor (who has to spring up basically immediately)
2) Causes people to die from the lack of the essential.

(1) you can't afford, (2) means you were a significanly contributing factor to a large number of deaths.

If it's not a dependant city (as in, you provide luxeries, but you don't provide anything particularly essential) you now have a source for a competitor to rise (you aren't there to underbid) ... which you can't afford.

Suppose you do something about the ruler who made the tax directly.
Well, then you're directly interfering in the government of a soverign nation, either by mind control or murder. Sounds pretty evil empire-ish, doesn't it?

Suppose you just suck up the taxes. Well, this can quite potentially cause the local stuff to be less pricy ... and ofttimes, taxes are set up to encourage the local stuff... which means a competitor (who doesn't have as much of a tax burden) can rise from the altered situation and outbid you locally to the point where the competitor can start competing with you in other places. Which you can't afford.

So what do you do, without sliding towards an evil empire?

and th esecond is highly improbable. As soon as you pay off your system you can drop teh price for a passenger down to like 5 coppers per trip and your competition can't match it.

Fun thing... if he can come up with the initial investment beforehand to set up a segment without invoking loans or other such things which carry continuing expenses, he can do exactly the same thing. It just takes him longer to build up to the point where he can do it again. As long as you make any profit at all in the venue (same region and service) under competition, he can match. He can beat you, actually, in any arena where the type of service doesn't requrie a large, established network. He simply has to do it primarily himself as a small-timer; then the only paycheck he has to worry about it his own (which he sets), while you have all the people running the place who don't work for near-nothing. Occasionally, there will be someone who simply doesn't want to take orders, forget the paycheck, who's capable of it. One such is an annoyance (unless you go evil empire and murder him, or go evil empire and manipulate the locality so that nobody can work with him); you can undercut him by losing money until he goes out of business. A lot of such are the death of your company (in the extreme case, you can't afford to match a bunch of people who are content recouping their expenses 10,000 years from now and who don't mind not making money themselves)... unless you turn to murder, sabotage, or the like... which puts you into Evil Empire territory.



No it is all D&D RAW. Any form of penalty stacks.

No, they don't:

Bonus Types: Usually, a bonus has a type that indicates how the spell grants the bonus. The important aspect of bonus types is that two bonuses of the same type donít generally stack. With the exception of dodge bonuses, most circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses, only the better bonus works (see Combining Magical Effects, below). The same principle applies to penaltiesóa character taking two or more penalties of the same type applies only the worst one.(Emphasis added)
Further, Other than Eberron, where do you find that Arcane Mark gives a -10 unnamed penalty to Forgery checks? A signiture only puts a few restrictions, and limits the bonus somewhat. Arcane Mark isn't addressed at all. Per the OP setup rules (Core only for skill, spells, magic items, and so on; Arcane Mark is a spell, and you're looking at how it impacts a skill), I could actually quite reasonably say that the Arcane Mark has no impact on the Forgery DC at all. But I've been trying to play at least somewhat nice with the idea.



The reason for the copy protection being stackable is because you make small imperfections in copying the arcane mark. But the cumulative affect of those small imperfections in each mark is enough for one to detect it.

For example, one could forge a letter from shakespear to someone else. 1 or 2 spelling errors could be understood but it woudl make someone suspicious. 5-10 in a short letter and almost no one will believe the letter to be real.

Actually, perfect spelling from Shakespear would be a dead giveaway. Spelling wasn't standardized until much later (I believe Noah Webster started it with his Speller in 1783). He had something akin to a dozen ways of spelling his own name. The spelling we use for him is the one found on his birth certificate. That's all that distinguishes it, really.

The historical error wouldn't matter, except that the same principle applies. You're putting X Arcane Marks on each letter of credit. Unless it's always the same set of X arcane marks (and they're personal runes, remember; to do this, you'll need all arcane marks cast by the same set of X casters ... which means you can't do volume on demand without a stockpile of pre-arcane marked pages... which could potentially be intercepted or stolen to forge the rest, defeating the purpose). If it's the same mark X times, all that matters is that the faked marks on the forgeries are identicle. If each branch has their own set, and you've got a lot of branches, a Forger need only make six different Arcane Marks; they don't need to match any specific individual. Small errors don't matter ("it's just from a different caster") as the merchant can't be expected to be familiar with every single branch. You just need to pick one he's not familiar with.


As for the iron thing, its valuable because of its scarcity. If it became available for free and wasn't scare anymore then it wouldn't be a trade good.
Sorry, I wasn't sufficently clear on my intent; I was saying that infinite stacking is cheese, by comparing it to other cheese.


I forgot shards but it is still very hard and expensive. From the 5 marks you start at -50 on your check. Wit hall the items I have mentioned so far your check is at -33. Since one of the items I mentioned was a +5 competence bonus it is super seeded by the shard and I included the masterwork forgery kit.
No you don't. Five marks is -0 on your check. See the OP. You have to go non-core or DM fiat to make them penalize a Forgery check at all. And DM fiat could result in them applying a bonus to the Forger's check if he's capable of making actual Arcane Marks. But that's not playing nice.

Playing somewhat nice, you get the -10 penalty exactly once, regardless of the number. Am I not being fair?




See above. A 2 eyar old can detect them as forgeries.
See above. No he can't.


No its core RAW. Penalties stack. And if you want to stay core its impossible to forge an Arcane mark.
You might want to double-check that. See above.

I've already moved on from detect thoughts. And see above. A level 1 commoner with no ranks in forgery and 10 Int will detect the forgery most of the time.
No he won't. See above. You'll need that Detect Thoughts, or something similar.


See above. I've moved on. Detect Thoughts isn't worth it.
See above. You'll need that Detect Thoughts, or something similar.



See above.
Likewise.



No its core D&D raw. Penalties stack. And if you want to stay completely core RAW it is actually impossible to forge an arcane mark. You can't do it.
Core RAW, it's part of the Forgery check. The Arcane Mark is part of the document, after all; it's the document you're forging. Nothing in Arcane Mark says it isn't forgeable. Nor that you can't change your personal rune to match another's. Nor that two people's personal runes can't happen to conincide. Sure, there's no mechanics for it... but then, there's also no mechanics for ensuring the loyalty of the prodigous numbers of people you'll end of having to trust in varying degrees... unless you go evil empire and mind control them by various means.

If you've got arcane marks on them, they're either pre-stamped and stealable, can't be done in mass, or there's enough of them that it's perfectly reasonable for someone not to be familiar with them all.



Penalties still stack. No they don't. See above.

The spell isn't making your forgery check difficult on purpose. It just creates something that is so hard to forge that you take a penalty on it. You have to forge multiple different marks that are all incredibly hard to forge. Each one is a penalty.That's one hypothesis. See above.



Its like a file on a computer that is protected by 5 different alphanumeric passwords. Breaking 1 of those is very difficult unless brute forced. Breaking 5 is a statistical impossibility unless you brute force them all (takes a VERY long time).
Brute Forcing a forgery is in effect making checks until you get natural 20. The only problem is that in D&D you can't tell if you actually brute forced the document open.
Bizzarely, that's not totally accurate. The password turns into a key by some mechanism. In some cases, when you send data sequentially through the same algorythm repeatedly using different keys, it's not too uncommon for there to be a composite key and algorythm, with the composit key being the same length as a normal key, that recovers the data... and the composite algorythim being semi-inherent in the base algorythm, with no dependence on knowing the original keys.

The simplest method of demonstrating this is the trivial symbol-replacement mechanism. The key is the mapping function from one letter to another.
Suppose your first is A -> B, B -> C, C -> D, and so forth, ending with Z -> A (Key: round robin, offset 1).
Suppose the second id A -> C, B -> D, C -> E, and so forth, ending with Y -> A, Z -> B (Key: round robin, offset 2).

Well, if you put the series of letters ABC through the first, you get BCD. When you put BCD through the second, you get DEF ... which is the same thing you get when you put ABC through the trivial symbol-replacement algorythim with Key: round robin, offset 3. You can decode the same way.

Granted, I'm oversimplyfying here. There exist ways around that to varying degrees. But your analogy doesn't do what you'd like.

In D&D, don't need to brute force it. Take 10, and pick patsys where that'll work even if they roll a 20.




Not really. You go to the bank and report it stolen. To insure that you aren't lieing the bank Mind Probes you and you willingly fail your save. The bank then marks down that said letter was stolen and issues you a new one for the exact same amount as the stolen one. When the thief comes to cash it then you catch him.

Arrange to cash it before he can report it stolen. So it'll be more thuggery (subject unable to report until after cashing), stealth (steal in such a way that the theft goes unnoticed for long enough to cash it - perhaps leave the top bill, with some blank sheets of the right looking kind of paper underneath), or speed (steal and cash before the original owner finds out / can make it to the banke). Theif walks away with the cash. You either tell the patron "so sorry" or eat the loss. With one, your customers become disillusoned; they aren't getting the security they were sold; with the other, it'll eventually catch up with you.


If he is smart enough to use it to purchase something and not try to cash it directly then the unsuspecting mark will come to the bank to cash it. You realize its stolen and mind probe him. When he comes up as the mark you pay him and object reading the letter until you get to the guy before the first person to report it stolen. You now know the thief.

See Above. It can be cashed before it's reported. Mind Blank is effective against Object Reading. Not everyone will submit to having their minds probed (people have legitimate secrets, after all). What do you do with the Wizard along the way who refuses to lower his Mind Blank? You are getting deep into Secret Service tactics here. Remeber when I said you'd make a really good Evil Empire?

Also, this is something that takes no specialized skills. If you catch him, you get your money back if the thief hoards it. If the theif has spent it, you can't recover it... without alienating legitimate merchants, at least.



See above. I stopped Detect Thoughts.

Ceases to matter.



As above. Monopolies are destroyed when a competitor creates a product that competes with yours and that they can produce and sell cheaper then your product or when a government decides to create laws prohibiting them and can enforce those laws.

Neither of those 2 scenarios is possible. The nations don't have the power to enforce the laws
Getting deep into Evil Empire, here - you're ignoring or corrupting legitimate governments. Good aligned characters can quite reasonably object to your behavior. Governments you've bullied, or whos laws you ignore, will try to find ways out from under your thumb. Enter the adventurers toppling the evil empire.

and no one can compete. As soon as I paid off the construction cost (which will be done before someone else could ever create a competing network) I could lower my price to say 5 CP. They competition can't compete.
See above. In most types of venues, they actually can. It just takes people who simply won't be bought out with burden-free starting capital and patience, who can do the work themselves.




Not RAW. Houserule. This is supposed to stay RAW.

It's also supposed to stay core. Of course, you're violating RAW with stacking penalties, and violating Core by pulling the choice of -10 from the Eberron campaign setting.


Usually is a key word. And skills are never mentioned. They are not "attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws," or "other attributes". With a literal reading of RAW they stack.
Actually, you can quite reasonably include skills as "other attributes". At worst, it's a table DM reading.

Simple enough to argue against such things stacking in regards to skills; if non-stacking doesn't apply to skills, then it doesn't matter what bonus type is on the skill. So 30 castings of Heroism give a +60 to skill checks. With five times as many castings of Heroism as you put in Arcane Marks, I can exactly counter the penalty from an arbitrary number of them. Now what?



That sentence shouldn't be in there. Bad editing on my part.


Yeah that works but its still a bit to expensive. The Disappearing Arcane Mark is the security measure to ensure its the correct owner. If a card is stolen we can turn off the number so someone can't make and use a fake card with its own diapering mark linked to them.

Pointless.

I steal your card, Dispel the disapearing mark, and put on a fake that matches me before it's reported stolen. After it's reported stolen, this won't work... but nor will the real card for the owner if it's recovered and not reported so; it's only the card number that matters, as far as security goes.

I Spot your card number while you're showing it to a legitimate merchant, and you walk away; you have no reason to report it stolen. I make a forgery with your card number on it, and a disapearing mark that matches me. Again, it's only the card number that matters. If you report it stolen, this trick won't work. If you report it stolen, your legitimate card won't work, either.

In either case, the vanishing Mark is only a nusance; it's the account number that matters. You can make your cards out of something easy and cheap with essentially the same amount of security. At which point, this can work quite well for the masses, provided you have a good information network for cateloging transactions.




Not really. Makeing the cards this way helps prevent easily making or using a stolen card.

It makes it more expensive to forge, yes... but the forgery expenses are going to be exactly in line with the cost of making the card (as it's the exact same set of expenses). Make them cheap to produce; it's the number and reporting where you get the majority of your security.



A name is meaningless in a world without hard to forge ID's. Unless it comes up with a picture it wouldn't work. And even pictures can be gotten around with Alter Self or Disguise Self.
True. And the Mark can be gotten around as well. Name's a lot less expensive, and cuts down on the random thuggary factor; you're forcing a thief to research a victim. Image you can get off the trivially.


I don't want the shopkeepers to have to pay, they are less likely to accept them then. If you want one and your business meets some standard (in the beginning) then I will loan you one. But if 5 businesses all meet the standards and I only have 3 readers then the 3 who offer the best terms get them.
Catch:
The cards aren't overly useful if only a handful of places accept them. All your wealth is tied up in an account, and you have to pay a fee to use it, and it only works at a handful of locations. To go anywhere else, it's a bother (you have to go withdraw funds at the nearest branch... which is more walking, totally defeating the convenience factor). Until it's available at a lot of the more commonly patroned places, it can't catch on.


Haha. Modern credit cards hit both sides. 14% per month interest rates and such. And after the cards catch on and depending on how successful they are you could lower the rate.
They do. I didn't say they don't. I said they conceal the cost. You don't usually think about X amount of interest that will hit in a month if you don't pay it in full in time (some people do; credit card companies call people who do that "deadbeats" - after all, they aren't actually making the CC company any money). You would think about an X% fee when it's a debit card drawing off an active account, and you need to log it in your checkbook. You have to, or you'll bounce checks, which is an annoyance.



I don't intend for your average person to have one of these. They are for the people with a lot of liquid wealth and who tend to spend it a lot. Adventurers, nobles, traders, etc. People who will pay a bit extra for the added convenience and security.

Adventurers and traders will like them because it reduces the amount of gold they have to carry (weight issues and all) and if stolen they can recover their wealth easily. Just report the card stolen and get issued a new one.

Extradimensional storeage. And generally, when something is stolen from an adventurer or trader, they either don't know about it for a while, or can't report it. Most such thefts will either:
A) Result in some portion of your customers "secure money" being stolen, or
B) Result in you having to refund an account out of your own pocket.

Sure, you can catch and hang the crooks... but how much, exactly, does it cost you to catch that level 2 rogue that slight of handed the easily missed and concealed card from the level 5 Fighter? How often will you have to?

That, and most adventurers and merchants both keep the lion's share of their wealth in goods.


Nobles like them because it separates them from the common folk and allows them to care even less how much something costs.

You won't have nobles who don't care how much something costs for overly long. You can't accumulate currency forever; there's only so much gold, silver, platinum, and copper (baring things like Wish and True Creation making more, that is... but most people won't want to part with the XP for the purpose of why this makes an economy grind to a halt).

Consider:
You have a city with 100,000 gp, and 100,000 people (distributed unevenly). Every year, you manage to reap a 1,000 gp profit from the city, taken in gp. After 100 years, there's 0 gp in the city, causing obvious trouble; nobody can buy anything anymore (no medium of exchange). Long before that, though, there will be problems. The peasants can't get the coppers needed to pay rent and buy food on the same day. When tax time comes about, nobody was able to save up the amount specified on their head tax. And so on. Unless more gp are made, there's none there. And there's only so much gold, except for those who actually make it from whole cloth.

You will actually need to deliberably buy stuff in such a way as to put the currency back in the economy (although currency is symbolic; if you make your debit cards accessable to everyone, you can keep the physical gold, mostly). You want to focus on lasting goods that maintain value during storage. Statuary, crystal, and the like. Increase wealth, not money.

Tangent, though.


Yep.


Yeah. We could just agree to 50K for the reader. That means a guy could turn out 1 per month with 5 days off.

Umm... it's 1 day per 1,000 gp in market price, not crafting price. That'll be 50 days per unit, not 25.


Haha. Not really. Profitable doesn't mean evil. With all the gold were making I'm sure we would do something charitable. Perhaps set up an orphanage and take in all the cities orphaned children. We will feed, cloth, shelter, and educate them. Then when they are adults we will find them jobs if they need them.

Oh, I'm sure you'll do charitable things. But consider one of your previous posts:


Yeah, and if you ever do such a thing what do you thing the most powerful group in the world is going to do about it?

He was talking about a legit government doing legitmate government things. You're going Evil Empire when you start to make legitimate governments cater to you.


I also haven't yet looked at black market involvement. You could take a cut on a lot of contraband.

Generally, contraband is such because it's harmful in a reasonable way. Taking a cut of contraband, you're bypassing a government that's doing it's job, in a way that causes harm. Evil empire type stuff.


Or the information trade. You have everyones banking records and private documents due to the notary part of the business. You also can track a person fairly easily as they move about the cities (you control the transport system).Severe invasion of privacy. Gestapo Secret Police type stuff. Evil empire material, all the way.




This has the advantage of a larger, educated middle class that likes the company. Less chance of revolt or the like.Trick being you have to stop accumulating money to make that happen. Most people in your orginization won't be made to see the need to deliberatly have the bottom line be 0.

Mewtarthio
2007-03-08, 10:37 PM
Read object reading. It's cast on the object... but what it gives you is information about previous owners. Read Mind Blank. It stops any divination spell or effect that gives information about the warded subject. RAW, Object Reading is blocked by Mind Blank, despite the fact that you're not manifesting it on the subject. Ditto for Contact other planes. Takes DM fiat to get around it with those two effects. Which you seem to be against.

It certainly doesn't seem to be unreasonable to rule otherwise, as Object Reading simply reads the "psychic impressions" left on an object (unless you've been Mind Blanked the entire time you've held the object), while Contact Other Plane merely asks somebody else about you (unless you're willing to rule that manifesting Mind Probe against someone who knows you and asking for information about you also gets blocked by Mind Blank).

Not that it really matters, as Object Reading is a psionic power, not a Core spell. This topic hasn't mentioned psionic powers.

Re: The "Evil Empire" Effect:

Good? Bad? You're the one with Epic Spellcasting! When you can use Soul Bind and Plane Shift in conjunction to damn even the most noble of Paladins to Baator if he opposes you (and possibly even get some extra diabolical favor in the process), people won't be able to oppose you on simple alignment issues. The purpose of this topic is to design an economy in which magic is used to its actual potential, not to design an economy in which magic is used to its actual potential in a benign or enlightened manner. Still, if you really want to have good guys, you could always claim that the system was invented by an enlightened mage and is held accountable to a group of people who have a vested interest in the system running while staying out of their affairs (say an oligarchy of the leaders of the nations, or, heck, even an outright democracy). The power of Enchantment will make this system turn corrupt eventually, though. Hm... we'll have to work on this some more.

Dervag
2007-03-08, 11:21 PM
EmperorTippy:
I'm not going to contest your general positions.

All I want to say is that any kind of cartel like the 'transportation company' you describe will end up getting more and more powerful until it almost has to take over the areas it works in. Look at the British East India Company for an example. At first, they just wanted to trade with the Indians for spices. But over time, their trade network got bigger. They had to arm their ships to protect themselves from pirates, and arm their enclaves to protect their merchants.

Then local potentates started picking fights with the Company. The Company didn't want to back down, so it started hiring mercenaries from other parts of India. Or it might just arm and train the troops of the local potentate's rival, defeating him by proxy.

The system got more and more out of hand until it culminated in the outright conquest of much of India by British and Company Indian troops. And thus the British Empire was born.

The same thing would probably happen to your transport company.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-08, 11:58 PM
Not fooling the secret page. Not bothering. Taking advantage of your policy for paying out fake notes when you have no indication that the person handing it to you knows it's a fake, and some indication that the person handing it to you doesn't think it is. If you drop that policy, that exploit goes away.
True. Have to think on that.


Well.. it requires a suppliment (Third Eye Conceal in the XPH; 120k). But yeah, pricy. So buy stuff with forgeries, sell the stuff, then buy the item with real money. Either way. Alternately, the person is actually a competitor working in an illegal manner to hurt you, and is fully capable of casting Mind Blank personally.

Read object reading. It's cast on the object... but what it gives you is information about previous owners. Read Mind Blank. It stops any divination spell or effect that gives information about the warded subject. RAW, Object Reading is blocked by Mind Blank, despite the fact that you're not manifesting it on the subject. Ditto for Contact other planes. Takes DM fiat to get around it with those two effects. Which you seem to be against.

The subject is protected from all devices and spells that detect, influence, or read emotions or thoughts. This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects. Mind blank even foils limited wish (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/limitedWish.htm), miracle (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/miracle.htm), and wish (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/wish.htm) spells when they are used in such a way as to affect the subjectís mind or to gain information about it. In the case of scrying that scans an area the creature is in, such as arcane eye (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/arcaneEye.htm), the spell works but the creature simply isnít detected. Scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at the subject do not work at all.



That is the relevant part of the text. I maintain that Mind Blank doesn't stop Object reading because I am not trying to gain information about you. I am trying to gain information about a piece of paper.



My point being that if I scryed on a piece of paper that happened to have your name on it your name would show up.



Mind Blank doesn't effectively erase your entire history from scrying. What if I attempted to scry a home. It happens to be yours but I don't know that and I've seen the home multiple times on the way to work. By allowing the scrying I am gathering information about your home so is the scrying blocked?

And Object Reading doesn't gather information about you. It gathers information about the paper. Just like I could scry a shop that you have visited. Even though it allows me to gather information about your tastes. I don't necessarily know that I'm gathering information about you but how you are interpreting the spell it would be blocked.



Oh. Does it protect you by stopping me from gathering information about a location you will visit? Say I scry a different location and see that it is a brothel that specializes in things that society frowns upon (S&M or such). Later I will learn the name of a place you like to frequent. Now if my earlier Scry worked I have information a bout you that is very dangerous and could be used to blackmail you. Should the spell have blocked it?






I could see Mind Blank blocking a direct request for information about you. Like "Does XXX have a contingent teleport on him?" That should be blocked. Or "Is XXX's name really XXX?". But in dirrect information shouldn't be blocked or you can effectively stop all divination anywhere in the world from ever working so long as you wear that item.



"But scrying Joe Shmo might let me know something about your personality as you will meet him in 20 years and talk to him."



Do you get my point?




And this is the point you start becoming an evil empire. You are bullying governments. One of "your" cities decides to start taxing your business within its confines (it's geographical borders). Perfectly legitimate thing for a government to do. However, it hurts your bottom line, so you do something about it. What?

That would actually be an evil act for them. If I say in advance that the system will only continue to go to this city as long as it remains profitable for us and your trade policies remain open enough that we can expect a good number of trips to and from this location then the cities taxing me will directly lead to their city entering a depression and all those other bad things.


Suppose you simply pull out in protest.
Well, if it's a dependant city (something essential is provided through your network) pulling out does one of two things:
1) Opens room for a competitor (who has to spring up basically immediately)
Can't happen quick enough. Setting up the network would take far to long. The city would be in the dumps before it could get set up. And it would cost an enormous amount of money.

Now lets suppose that they just set up a link from one of the cities I still link to to the city I cut off. I walk up to there link and cast disjunction. At 20,000 plus per casting the competitor can't place more then I can disjoin.


2) Causes people to die from the lack of the essential.

maybe I'll allow food shipments to come in but charge enough to exactly offset any taxes levied against me. The people of the city will feel the pain of the tax hike and it will most likely make them extremely poor. This will stop the merchants from wanting to trade with them and all the sudden no one is actually dead but the city is reduced to a subservience level.


(1) you can't afford, (2) means you were a significanly contributing factor to a large number of deaths.
1 can be countered easily and see above for 2.


If it's not a dependant city (as in, you provide luxeries, but you don't provide anything particularly essential) you now have a source for a competitor to rise (you aren't there to underbid) ... which you can't afford.
What makes you think if it came down to it I wouldn't just disjoin my competitions circles?


Suppose you do something about the ruler who made the tax directly.
Well, then you're directly interfering in the government of a soverign nation, either by mind control or murder. Sounds pretty evil empire-ish, doesn't it?
Meh. I do enough good to offset it. And I was thinking that the council woudl be true neutral.


Suppose you just suck up the taxes. Well, this can quite potentially cause the local stuff to be less pricy ... and ofttimes, taxes are set up to encourage the local stuff... which means a competitor (who doesn't have as much of a tax burden) can rise from the altered situation and outbid you locally to the point where the competitor can start competing with you in other places. Which you can't afford.
Nothing stops me from adding a customs duty to anything leaving the city. They tax me to raise my prices and I essentially tax them to raise their prices. The only thing is I can eat the loss of underbidding them even with the high taxes and they can't compete.


So what do you do, without sliding towards an evil empire?
See above.

And I woudl argue that the city is directly responsible. They took an action that they knew woudl result in the disruption of law and order in their city and could potentially cause mass starvation.

I could argue that I stay neutral. As soon as they drop the tax issue I'll allow travel there again. The city has a direct easy way to stop there people from starving but they are refusing to take it.


Fun thing... if he can come up with the initial investment beforehand to set up a segment without invoking loans or other such things which carry continuing expenses, he can do exactly the same thing.
But not profitably. Who would pay 1 GP per trip when I only charge 1 CP? And whats makes you think I would be above just crushing his business and Programmed Amnesia him to make him forget about ever contemplating setting it up again.

Its not really evil. Chaotic or neutral but not evil.


It just takes him longer to build up to the point where he can do it again.
But he would never get any traffic.


As long as you make any profit at all in the venue (same region and service) under competition, he can match. Not really. I can lower the rate to 1 CP and beat him. At 1 CP per trip it would take him 5,000,000 trips to just pay off his TC's. He would never get that many trips in a market he was competign with me in. I'm teh established, respected, trusted large, company. He is a 2 bit operation taht is new.

So long as no one has any complaints about my service (which they won't. Where exactly have I been anything but kind to my customers?) I will continue to get the traffic.


He can beat you, actually, in any arena where the type of service doesn't requrie a large, established network. He simply has to do it primarily himself as a small-timer; then the only paycheck he has to worry about it his own (which he sets), while you have all the people running the place who don't work for near-nothing. Occasionally, there will be someone who simply doesn't want to take orders, forget the paycheck, who's capable of it. One such is an annoyance (unless you go evil empire and murder him, or go evil empire and manipulate the locality so that nobody can work with him); you can undercut him by losing money until he goes out of business. A lot of such are the death of your company (in the extreme case, you can't afford to match a bunch of people who are content recouping their expenses 10,000 years from now and who don't mind not making money themselves)... unless you turn to murder, sabotage, or the like... which puts you into Evil Empire territory.
Not really EE. Not lawful and not good but not actually evil.


No, they don't:
(Emphasis added)
Further, Other than Eberron, where do you find that Arcane Mark gives a -10 unnamed penalty to Forgery checks? A signiture only puts a few restrictions, and limits the bonus somewhat. Arcane Mark isn't addressed at all. Per the OP setup rules (Core only for skill, spells, magic items, and so on; Arcane Mark is a spell, and you're looking at how it impacts a skill), I could actually quite reasonably say that the Arcane Mark has no impact on the Forgery DC at all. But I've been trying to play at least somewhat nice with the idea.
Actually RAW you can't forge an Arcane Mark at all ever.


This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/detectMagic.htm) spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.


Forgery requires writing materials appropriate to the document being forged, enough light or sufficient visual acuity to see the details of what youíre writing, wax for seals (if appropriate), and some time.
What are the writing materials appropriate to forging a spell?

So RAW you can't actually forge an Arcane mark at all, ever.


Actually, perfect spelling from Shakespear would be a dead giveaway. Spelling wasn't standardized until much later (I believe Noah Webster started it with his Speller in 1783). He had something akin to a dozen ways of spelling his own name. The spelling we use for him is the one found on his birth certificate. That's all that distinguishes it, really.

The historical error wouldn't matter, except that the same principle applies. You're putting X Arcane Marks on each letter of credit. Unless it's always the same set of X arcane marks (and they're personal runes, remember; to do this, you'll need all arcane marks cast by the same set of X casters ... which means you can't do volume on demand without a stockpile of pre-arcane marked pages... which could potentially be intercepted or stolen to forge the rest, defeating the purpose).
Get 5 different casters to make an item of at will arcane mark. It wil inscribe there personal arcane mark.


If it's the same mark X times, all that matters is that the faked marks on the forgeries are identicle. If each branch has their own set, and you've got a lot of branches, a Forger need only make six different Arcane Marks; they don't need to match any specific individual. Small errors don't matter ("it's just from a different caster") as the merchant can't be expected to be familiar with every single branch. You just need to pick one he's not familiar with.
All letters of credit are written out in the central office. They are delivered to the teller by TC and he gives it to the guy.


Sorry, I wasn't sufficently clear on my intent; I was saying that infinite stacking is cheese, by comparing it to other cheese.

No you don't. Five marks is -0 on your check. See the OP. You have to go non-core or DM fiat to make them penalize a Forgery check at all. And DM fiat could result in them applying a bonus to the Forger's check if he's capable of making actual Arcane Marks. But that's not playing nice.
Actual Eberron Raw, you can't even attempt to forge an Arcane Mark unless you can cast the spell.


Playing somewhat nice, you get the -10 penalty exactly once, regardless of the number. Am I not being fair?
Not really.


See above. No he can't. You might want to double-check that. See above.No he won't. See above. You'll need that Detect Thoughts, or something similar.See above. You'll need that Detect Thoughts, or something similar.Likewise.Core RAW, it's part of the Forgery check. The Arcane Mark is part of the document, after all; it's the document you're forging. Nothing in Arcane Mark says it isn't forgeable. Nor that you can't change your personal rune to match another's. Nor that two people's personal runes can't happen to conincide. Sure, there's no mechanics for it... but then, there's also no mechanics for ensuring the loyalty of the prodigous numbers of people you'll end of having to trust in varying degrees... unless you go evil empire and mind control them by various means.
If you personal rune is the same as someone else's then it isn't a personal rune now is it? And RAW you can't forge an Arcane Mark because it is magic and you don't have the proper writing implements.


If you've got arcane marks on them, they're either pre-stamped and stealable, can't be done in mass, or there's enough of them that it's perfectly reasonable for someone not to be familiar with them all.No they don't. See above.That's one hypothesis. See above.Bizzarely, that's not totally accurate. The password turns into a key by some mechanism. In some cases, when you send data sequentially through the same algorythm repeatedly using different keys, it's not too uncommon for there to be a composite key and algorythm, with the composit key being the same length as a normal key, that recovers the data... and the composite algorythim being semi-inherent in the base algorythm, with no dependence on knowing the original keys.
The point is you need 5 separate keys that are incredible hard to figure out even 1 of.


The simplest method of demonstrating this is the trivial symbol-replacement mechanism. The key is the mapping function from one letter to another.
Suppose your first is A -> B, B -> C, C -> D, and so forth, ending with Z -> A (Key: round robin, offset 1).
Suppose the second id A -> C, B -> D, C -> E, and so forth, ending with Y -> A, Z -> B (Key: round robin, offset 2).

Well, if you put the series of letters ABC through the first, you get BCD. When you put BCD through the second, you get DEF ... which is the same thing you get when you put ABC through the trivial symbol-replacement algorythim with Key: round robin, offset 3. You can decode the same way.

That is largely how something is encrypted yes. But you can have A actually be represented by FSDH#Y$*Y*Y*()#JD1544+ and lower case a represented by something like 38rfhgj3905i*&*(& And you have 5 different encryption algorithms that are equally complex and to decrypt one algorithm you need its specific key.


Granted, I'm oversimplyfying here. There exist ways around that to varying degrees. But your analogy doesn't do what you'd like.

In D&D, don't need to brute force it. Take 10, and pick patsys where that'll work even if they roll a 20.
Level 1 commoner with no ranks can beat you every time if they stack. Which they should. To forge a letter that is just an arcane mark and nothing else subtracts 10 from your score. To forge a different mark also subtracts 10 from your score. To forge both on the same document should reduce your check for the whole document by 20.

Oh yeah. If you look at the stacking rules again. Unnamed penalties stack so long as they aren't from the same source. The arcane marks aren't from the same source. 1 is from Bobs arcane mark and the other is from Bills arcane mark. Now if The arcane mark applied a named penalty then they wouldn't stack but since the penalty is unnamed and is from 2 different sources they stack.



Arrange to cash it before he can report it stolen. So it'll be more thuggery (subject unable to report until after cashing), stealth (steal in such a way that the theft goes unnoticed for long enough to cash it - perhaps leave the top bill, with some blank sheets of the right looking kind of paper underneath), or speed (steal and cash before the original owner finds out / can make it to the banke). Theif walks away with the cash. You either tell the patron "so sorry" or eat the loss. With one, your customers become disillusoned; they aren't getting the security they were sold; with the other, it'll eventually catch up with you.
Maybe. If they are to much trouble we could just drop Letters of Credit.


See Above. It can be cashed before it's reported. Mind Blank is effective against Object Reading. Not everyone will submit to having their minds probed (people have legitimate secrets, after all). What do you do with the Wizard along the way who refuses to lower his Mind Blank? You are getting deep into Secret Service tactics here. Remeber when I said you'd make a really good Evil Empire?

I don't agree that mind blank blocks object reading. And Letters of Credit are becoming to much of a hassle. I don't think the bank will issue them.


Also, this is something that takes no specialized skills. If you catch him, you get your money back if the thief hoards it. If the theif has spent it, you can't recover it... without alienating legitimate merchants, at least.

You don't need your money. You make an example of him. Burned at the stake in the center of the city at noon seems good. Are you willing to risk theft when it usually ends in death?


Getting deep into Evil Empire, here - you're ignoring or corrupting legitimate governments. Good aligned characters can quite reasonably object to your behavior. Governments you've bullied, or whos laws you ignore, will try to find ways out from under your thumb. Enter the adventurers toppling the evil empire.
Actually you aren't doign anythign evil. Chaotic yes but yo ucan even get around that one by having a personal code that you follow. that code can be Do whatever is necessary to protect the business. So long as you stick to that code you stay lawful.

And mind control is the removal of freedom which is Lawful strangely enough. It isn't evil. Look at the dominate line of spells.


See above. In most types of venues, they actually can. It just takes people who simply won't be bought out with burden-free starting capital and patience, who can do the work themselves.
Mind Control them and remove them. Throwing someone who isn't guilty of any crime in jail isn't evil. It is lawful if it follows you code. So long as you treat them nicely and don't just out and out murder them you can stay nicely Lawful Neutral. Especially with all the good you are doing with those orphans.


It's also supposed to stay core. Of course, you're violating RAW with stacking penalties, and violating Core by pulling the choice of -10 from the Eberron campaign setting.
Actually, you can quite reasonably include skills as "other attributes". At worst, it's a table DM reading.
Yeah. We would need a DM. And if you stay core RAW only it is even more in my favor. A personal Mark can't be shared by anyone else or it wouldn't be personal. And you don't have the proper writing implements to be able to do a forgery.


Simple enough to argue against such things stacking in regards to skills; if non-stacking doesn't apply to skills, then it doesn't matter what bonus type is on the skill. So 30 castings of Heroism give a +60 to skill checks. With five times as many castings of Heroism as you put in Arcane Marks, I can exactly counter the penalty from an arbitrary number of them. Now what?
Same source and same type of bonus. The penalties are different sources and unnamed penalties.


Pointless.

I steal your card, Dispel the disappearing mark, and put on a fake that matches me before it's reported stolen. After it's reported stolen, this won't work... but nor will the real card for the owner if it's recovered and not reported so; it's only the card number that matters, as far as security goes.
Perhaps.



I Spot your card number while you're showing it to a legitimate merchant, and you walk away; you have no reason to report it stolen. I make a forgery with your card number on it, and a disapearing mark that matches me. Again, it's only the card number that matters. If you report it stolen, this trick won't work. If you report it stolen, your legitimate card won't work, either.

Yeah. Have to think about card security more.


In either case, the vanishing Mark is only a nusance; it's the account number that matters. You can make your cards out of something easy and cheap with essentially the same amount of security. At which point, this can work quite well for the masses, provided you have a good information network for cateloging transactions.
That part is easy. As I said above. I got to think of some more security features. See I told you a while ago that the card was running 20K or so a piece. Those things were secure.



It makes it more expensive to forge, yes... but the forgery expenses are going to be exactly in line with the cost of making the card (as it's the exact same set of expenses). Make them cheap to produce; it's the number and reporting where you get the majority of your security.
True. And the Mark can be gotten around as well. Name's a lot less expensive, and cuts down on the random thuggary factor; you're forcing a thief to research a victim. Image you can get off the trivially.
Perhaps. Adding the name in is free so I might as well.


Catch:
The cards aren't overly useful if only a handful of places accept them. All your wealth is tied up in an account, and you have to pay a fee to use it, and it only works at a handful of locations. To go anywhere else, it's a bother (you have to go withdraw funds at the nearest branch... which is more walking, totally defeating the convenience factor). Until it's available at a lot of the more commonly patroned places, it can't catch on.
Thats why I'm targeting it to a very specific group first. The local bar won't have a reader but the restaurant with 70 GP meals that serves the nobles will.

And I could wait until I have enough readers to install enough to make them fairly common.



They do. I didn't say they don't. I said they conceal the cost. You don't usually think about X amount of interest that will hit in a month if you don't pay it in full in time (some people do; credit card companies call people who do that "deadbeats" - after all, they aren't actually making the CC company any money). You would think about an X% fee when it's a debit card drawing off an active account, and you need to log it in your checkbook. You have to, or you'll bounce checks, which is an annoyance.
Yeah. This is the difficult part. Debit Cards and such. Why not just go back to the original banking idea? No cards or letters.

I mean remember. We are supposed to be providing a world that allows RAW adventuring and is more logical/realistic. Well we don't need credit cards. And it doesn't matter if the company is particularly good or evil. So long as they don't have high prices and continue to please their customers most people will think that they are good. After a very long time the PC's might get the idea that they are a bit evil or neutral but that doesn't matter. That would be up to the specific DM in the game.

So far we have a world made up of 100 or so pockets of civilization that are linked together by a transport network composed of TC's and run by a super national corporation which little is known about.

The rest of the world is largely wilderness and wilds but there are small villages and what not around (perhaps 1 every 30 square miles or so).

The cities don't regulate magic because the super national corporation has told them that such regulation would not work for one and would piss them off for 2. The corporatio1n doesn't attempt to regulate magic because they are to powerful for it to be a problem and the whole thing is more bother than its worth. High level magic users have been told the ruels. Leave the company aloen and we don't care what you do but harm our business and we will put all our weight behind crushing you.



Extradimensional storeage. And generally, when something is stolen from an adventurer or trader, they either don't know about it for a while, or can't report it. Most such thefts will either:
A) Result in some portion of your customers "secure money" being stolen, or
B) Result in you having to refund an account out of your own pocket.

Sure, you can catch and hang the crooks... but how much, exactly, does it cost you to catch that level 2 rogue that slight of handed the easily missed and concealed card from the level 5 Fighter? How often will you have to?
Not very. The object is to make examples of enough of them that the others count it as to big a risk.

Hell you could fake it even. In every city square around the 100 cities you have a high level trustworthy wizard turn a pig into a human with PaO and then you execute the "thieves" for robbery and attempting to defraud the bank. A good PR campaign with some bards and you can have the world believing that you catch almost 50% of the thieves who rip off your customers. And everyone of them is executed in public. Who you risk stealing a card for a few thousand GP if you believed that it had a 50% chance of resulting in your death within a week?


That, and most adventurers and merchants both keep the lion's share of their wealth in goods.
True.


You won't have nobles who don't care how much something costs for overly long. You can't accumulate currency forever; there's only so much gold, silver, platinum, and copper (baring things like Wish and True Creation making more, that is... but most people won't want to part with the XP for the purpose of why this makes an economy grind to a halt).
Remember, no money is ever actually removed from the economy. So those nobles have some income and it can come back to us. It goes around in circles.


Consider:
You have a city with 100,000 gp, and 100,000 people (distributed unevenly). Every year, you manage to reap a 1,000 gp profit from the city, taken in gp. After 100 years, there's 0 gp in the city, causing obvious trouble; nobody can buy anything anymore (no medium of exchange). Long before that, though, there will be problems. The peasants can't get the coppers needed to pay rent and buy food on the same day. When tax time comes about, nobody was able to save up the amount specified on their head tax. And so on. Unless more gp are made, there's none there. And there's only so much gold, except for those who actually make it from whole cloth.
Who ever said that I kept my profits in coinage? Magic items, golems, buildings, land, trade goods.

And if we really ran out of precious medals we go to other forms of money. Look at the world today.


You will actually need to deliberably buy stuff in such a way as to put the currency back in the economy (although currency is symbolic; if you make your debit cards accessable to everyone, you can keep the physical gold, mostly). You want to focus on lasting goods that maintain value during storage. Statuary, crystal, and the like. Increase wealth, not money.
See above.


Tangent, though.
Yep.


Umm... it's 1 day per 1,000 gp in market price, not crafting price. That'll be 50 days per unit, not 25.
Doh. What I get for not looking at all the rules closely.


Oh, I'm sure you'll do charitable things. But consider one of your previous posts:


He was talking about a legit government doing legitmate government things. You're going Evil Empire when you start to make legitimate governments cater to you.
I don't want them to cater to me. Theres a difference between them leaving you alone and them catering to you. Its more chaotic then evil by a lot. The company would generally stay neutral.


Generally, contraband is such because it's harmful in a reasonable way. Taking a cut of contraband, you're bypassing a government that's doing it's job, in a way that causes harm. Evil empire type stuff.
Severe invasion of privacy. Gestapo Secret Police type stuff. Evil empire material, all the way.
Oh I agree. That is just stuff a DM coudl add if they wanted to.



Trick being you have to stop accumulating money to make that happen. Most people in your orginization won't be made to see the need to deliberatly have the bottom line be 0.

You don't have to stop accumulating money, you have to stop accumulating all the worlds precious metals. Just make sure you spend it on things. Hell after a point you can pay your employees a thousand GP a week or so and get money back into the economy that way. Most of it comes back to you eventually anyways.

Hell. I could drop 100 million a year caring for orphans and return money that way.

And I would always pay generously so as to keep everyone liking the company.


Remember, we needed to advance magics effect on the economy without removing adventuring from the game or altering anything to drastically.

Well I think that I have created a good framework for that.

How about instead of trying to alter it a lot we move on to the next lower level of the system. The merchant class.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-09, 12:06 AM
EmperorTippy:
I'm not going to contest your general positions.

All I want to say is that any kind of cartel like the 'transportation company' you describe will end up getting more and more powerful until it almost has to take over the areas it works in. Look at the British East India Company for an example. At first, they just wanted to trade with the Indians for spices. But over time, their trade network got bigger. They had to arm their ships to protect themselves from pirates, and arm their enclaves to protect their merchants.

Then local potentates started picking fights with the Company. The Company didn't want to back down, so it started hiring mercenaries from other parts of India. Or it might just arm and train the troops of the local potentate's rival, defeating him by proxy.

The system got more and more out of hand until it culminated in the outright conquest of much of India by British and Company Indian troops. And thus the British Empire was born.

The same thing would probably happen to your transport company.

Arguable. It depends on who is running it. After a point wealth becomes meaningless. When you can buy anything you want in an instant for example. So long as you keep that ability then your not real motivated to get more. I mean what are you going to do with it? You can't even get int any I have more money then you competitions because no one else can even come close.

So long as you keep the company leaders from wanting money for the sake of having money what you describe is unlikely to happen. I mean these mages just want to experiment with magic and study it. I saw the mas caring about wealth only to the extent that it gives them the freedom to experiment and invent new magic to their hearts content.


I chose that personality type/position because it is a good explanation for why they don't rule the world as emperor and go the whole evil empire route. Its not that they don't have the power to do it (they could do it in liek 20 minutes) but they don't have the desire to do it.

Dervag
2007-03-09, 12:10 AM
Who you risk stealing a card for a few thousand GP if you believed that it had a 50% chance of resulting in your death within a week?Someone who is very, very desperate?

Of course, it wouldn't be enough of a problem to break the system as long as there is no comparably powerful entity capable of fabricating large numbers of forged cards.


I chose that personality type/position because it is a good explanation for why they don't rule the world as emperor and go the whole evil empire route. Its not that they don't have the power to do it (they could do it in liek 20 minutes) but they don't have the desire to do it.Initially, the owners of the East India Company didn't want to rule anything either. But whenever something happened that threatened their trade, they had to respond. And the cumulative effect of their responses left the EIC in effective control over much of India.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-09, 12:16 AM
Remember the original purpose of this thread. To provide a reasonable framework that allows RAW adventuring. An evil empire isn't really that. What I have laid out generally keeps the entity that provides the framework out of the way of the adventurers but if a DM wanted they could easily change a few things for evil empire or good empire.

Shisumo
2007-03-09, 01:13 AM
What makes you think if it came down to it I wouldn't just disjoin my competitions circles?

I can think of two reponses to this:

1) Why wouldn't they disjoin yours?

2) Because mage wars are bad!

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-09, 01:40 AM
I can think of two reponses to this:

1) Why wouldn't they disjoin yours?

2) Because mage wars are bad!
I have the resources to secure mine. I really need to post the security stuff but I'll do it in the morning. I'm off to bed.

Maxymiuk
2007-03-09, 04:52 AM
Agreed that this is needed. And my idea wholly supports it.

You end up with super advanced cities spread all over the world (100 or so is a good number) and a lot of wilderness. Remember, the transport system means that no one travels between the cities on foot. For about a 2 day journey around each city there is farmland and villagers. After that it is mostly wilderness with villagers spread maybe 1 every 30 miles from another or so.

The cities become central markets and the area around them is protected by the city and it provides a lot of the land necessary to feed the people. This leaves all the wilderness as a wild area for PC's to adventure in. Or bad guys to stay to avoid scrutiny for their plans.

Sicne the 30 miles of land around the city won't be able to feed the large numbers of people you will have large tracks of fields in the locations with the best possible farmland anywhere in the world. A single TC made permanent and they can ship their food to the cities quite easily.

That... actually makes a whole lot of sense.

Step #5 It's like a whole different world out here
Between my last post and Tippy's above comment, we envision a world that is in fact two separate worlds. Over here you have the advanced cities connected, protected, supported, and (conceivably) built by magic. Over there, there's the rest of the world, which by comparison is poor, dirty, unenlightened, lawless, and dangerous in the extreme. No one in their right mind would want to live there, right? And you definitely wouldn't want those uncough barbarians that do eke out a living among the dirt and monsters to come traipsing into your city and make a spectacle of their lack of manners, so there isn't much contact between these two "worlds."
By that logic, we are in fact engaging in constructing two economies: the magic-fueled one, and the mundane one that applies to anywhere where wizards don't care to rule - in fact, in this "outer" world we may very well get away with reintroducing Feudalism to the setting - with no wizards around, strength of arms actually counts.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
It isn't hard to imagine that in the wizard cities even the most menial laborer has a relatively high standard of living. With magic practically everywhere, it's going to touch everyone's lives in some way. To all those who keep quoting spell casting costs: once again I remind you that there's a fair number of spells without a material component, and therefore with an effective casting cost of ZERO. Neither is it conceivable to imagine that, over time, magical research will develop versions of the most economically vital spells that are in fact better, safer, and less expensive.
But this will unbalance the game even more that it is unbalanced now, I hear you say. Not so. By the wonderful process of refining handwavium, we arrive at a situation where the atmosphere around wizard cities is positively supercharged with magic - but as this is a result of centuries of controlled, refined casting, we arrive at an inverse of wild magic zones - around cities spells become easier to cast, and much more predictable in their effects. Meanwhile, out in the wilderness where magic is scarce, you're stuck with spells that work the way they did centuries ago. And this is where adventurers will go, after all.
Which brings up the next big point. Which will be covered in the next step, as I'm not done with this one yet.
In the cities, magic is cheap and plentiful. Out in the wilderness, it's rare, expensive, and highly coveted. Out there the downright insane prices on magical items actually make sense - if this is the only +2 sword in the kingdom, there are people who'll be willing to kill for it, much less pay 8000gp.
Of course, the mundane economy that will be highly prevalent out in those "low magic" lands still needs an overhaul. Separate worlds need separate economies. We'll get to that in due time. For now...

Step #6 Just looking for thrills
As I mentioned in the previous step, no one in their right mind would want to leave the comfort and security of the wizard economy.
By the same token, in the real world no one in their right mind would want to climb mountains, parachute jump, snowboard, scuba dive, or do anything else that puts their life at risk by displacing them from their default environment. And yet people do it all the time. They do it for fun.
No one in their right mind would want to be an adventurer. It's a high-risk job where it's luck as much as anything else that determines whether you live to see the next day. Even in the generic D&D setting people without home nor family, who spend their lives on the road living by sword and spell are seen as outsiders who simply don't fit in. And that's what adventurers are - people with itchy feet. They don't want safety and security. They want thrills. They want adventure. Above all, they don't want to be bored.
While we already established that wizards adventure practically by necessity (Red Wizard needs XP badly), pretty much everyone else who grabs sword, scroll, and backpack, will do so because the idea of leading small, safe, empty lives where magic takes care of their every need will simply revolt them. This is why we'll have a stead stream of bright-eyed hopefuls trekking into the wilderness in search of adventure. And since the survivors will wise up quickly enough and come back for long enough to get better gear, we'll also have a booming trade in magical adventuring gear.
And beyond the borders of the wizard... hmm, protectorates? Beyond those borders there will be all manner of folk looking to ambush the unwary and loot their stuff. And fending off those attacks automatically gives our adventurers something to do.
It also makes adventurers a firm link between our two worlds. By themselves, they create a microeconomy of their own - one where currency is blood (often their own), but an economy nevertheless.

SITB
2007-03-09, 05:31 AM
I keep imagining a grand tour done by the travel company to build a lean team from it's workers by sending them to live in the wild for a time to slay some monsters. And also to see how their the outer world is so inferior compared to the one they came from.

Journey
2007-03-09, 07:53 AM
Incorrect. The lower magic the world is the more significant magic is on the economy. So long as it is still possible to get a level 20 wizard with 9th level spells (even if they are incredibly rare) magic would completely change the economy.


You assume that the "magic is everywhere so people are, if not comfortable with it, at least knowledgeable that it exists and 'understand' it a little" meme would be present in such a world, just as it is under the current RAW. You can't have it both ways. If magic is much less ubiquitous, magic users would be treated with suspicion, and there would literally be no way for them to have any long-term meaningful impact on any economy without being assaulted by the mobs of ignorant, pitchfork wielding peasants.

Somebody else also hit the nail on the head: the "magic is common" construct is internally inconsistent across most of the different settings and adventures. In such a world, as with any community of sentient, relatively intelligent beings, such things would be regulated. Not having such laws and rules, as well as enforcers, erodes the verisimilitude of just about any setting.

Sardia
2007-03-09, 08:06 AM
Somebody else also hit the nail on the head: the "magic is common" construct is internally inconsistent across most of the different settings and adventures. In such a world, as with any community of sentient, relatively intelligent beings, such things would be regulated. Not having such laws and rules, as well as enforcers, erodes the verisimilitude of just about any setting.

Unless you posit an essential lack of civilization and state of general anarchy, dotted with the occasional magocracy-- those being the only ones able to defend themselves against an aggressive wizard.

The chief difficulty is that RAW, a wizard could go far, far, from the boundaries of civilization, spend years blowing up monsters away from the watchful eye of any enforcer, and wind up almost as dangerous (if not moreso) than the wizard who spent his life in the middle of a city.

hewhosaysfish
2007-03-09, 08:49 AM
Does anyone else think that this vastly powerful cartel of transportation wizards, who even mighty kings have to tiptoe around, is starting to look like the Spacing Guild from Dune. Watch oot guys, Muadib is after you amber dust...


Also, I like the idea of the whole mageocracy/wilderness divide. Throw a few cartels of arcanist-hating druid out in the wastleands and there's a whole plot-arc righ there.

Beleriphon
2007-03-09, 09:33 AM
Does anyone else think that this vastly powerful cartel of transportation wizards, who even mighty kings have to tiptoe around, is starting to look like the Spacing Guild from Dune. Watch oot guys, Muadib is after you amber dust...


Also, I like the idea of the whole mageocracy/wilderness divide. Throw a few cartels of arcanist-hating druid out in the wastleands and there's a whole plot-arc righ there.

Of course they are, because they are the same thing. All of these ideas are well thought out, and well explored in fiction. The Spacing Guild happens to be a very appropriate version.

elliott20
2007-03-09, 10:41 AM
I'm sorry, but the whole two economies thing? It just doesn't happen.

Economic theory states that given enough labor and transfer liquidity, prices between two economic bodies will eventually even out. Why? Because workers from the poorer, less advance economy is going to start going to the big city looking for work and doing it for less then what other local workers are asking for.

At the same time, companies that want to save on the dime will voluntarily seek out labor forces outside of their local economy if there are cheaper labors out there, bringing tech/magic advancements to the poorer, less developed economy.

as a result of this, the price and production capabilities of the two economic entities would eventually start closing it's gap.

The only reason such things do not happen would be trade barriers, such as laws, tariffs, high entry cost, or other justifications.

So, barring your cities putting up a gigantic wall and start turning all non-passport carrying outsiders away, there is no way for you to prevent an economic merge.

Sardia
2007-03-09, 11:01 AM
So, barring your cities putting up a gigantic wall and start turning all non-passport carrying outsiders away, there is no way for you to prevent an economic merge.

Undead, monstrous humanoids, dragons, werebeasts, cultists of chaotic evil gods, etc, etc, might all qualify as barriers to trade.
Perhaps the entire civilized non-monstrous humanoid population is already occupying the cities and surrounding pacified areas, and the remainder is resource rich...and too dangerous to occupy permanently, with inhabitants who cannot be assimilated into the general society.
Adventurers trade peacefully with the cities, but go out and kill monsters to take their stuff when out in the wilderness.

elliott20
2007-03-09, 02:38 PM
It also has occurred to me that it would make no sense for someone living in this civilization to NOT learn to use it. I dare say that UMD would probably be a very common skill for people to pick up. The wizard class population would probably be far larger then you'd think. (Unless, of course, the local mage guilds have put a strict limit on how many mages they will take every year) After all, even if you have a casting cap of 3rd level, it's still more useful then having nothing.


Basically, certain aspects of life will start to move more and more towards skilled labor and away from manual labor, as more and more manual laboring services are replaced by cheaper, and more efficient methods. (Need a mover? go rent a tenser's floating disk or rent an ogre! Need a house keeper? We now have a two for one special for an unseen servant spell!)

I predict that people who were bred in the local economy would for the most part be of the Expert class, with levels of Wizard/Sorc splashed in to suppliment their trade. Most merchants are going to ply their trade usually based around a single spell that they have specialized in. (Of course, this doesn't stop one of the more powerful wizards from just over powering them and casting them out. But they have more important things to do, like a run a transportation cartel)

I'm still waiting to see ET's security system.

Sardia
2007-03-09, 02:48 PM
On the grim side, with enough magic and wizards out there, anything that would provide a source of XP to counteract that used in creation of magic items would be in high demand.
25xp/soul, was the rate in the BoVD?

Ramza00
2007-03-09, 03:13 PM
I'm sorry, but the whole two economies thing? It just doesn't happen.

Economic theory states that given enough labor and transfer liquidity, prices between two economic bodies will eventually even out. Why? Because workers from the poorer, less advance economy is going to start going to the big city looking for work and doing it for less then what other local workers are asking for.

At the same time, companies that want to save on the dime will voluntarily seek out labor forces outside of their local economy if there are cheaper labors out there, bringing tech/magic advancements to the poorer, less developed economy.

as a result of this, the price and production capabilities of the two economic entities would eventually start closing it's gap.

The only reason such things do not happen would be trade barriers, such as laws, tariffs, high entry cost, or other justifications.

So, barring your cities putting up a gigantic wall and start turning all non-passport carrying outsiders away, there is no way for you to prevent an economic merge.

Yes and no. Almost always what you said is the case with sectors of the economy that are heavily labor based. There is a time when this doesn't occur.

When Country's A Human Capital (Knowledge, Experience, Accumulated Wealth) allows it to produce the same thing as Country B but in such greater quantites that even though Country B's labor costs are so low, Countries A output per input per worker ratio is so much larger. This occurs in fields where Human Capital is more important per output than cheap labor.

For example I may hire a 40 year old software engineer for 80,000 instead of two 20 year old software engineers at 40,000 each due to the fact that the 40 year old engineer has so much more experience designing software. The each 20 year old can probably write code at the same speed as the old man(and since they are two twice the speed), but since the 40 year old has so much more experience he is able to correct problems during design instead of later debugging the problem after they "thought" they were finished.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-09, 06:38 PM
True. Have to think on that.






That is the relevant part of the text. I maintain that Mind Blank doesn't stop Object reading because I am not trying to gain information about you. I am trying to gain information about a piece of paper.

You're gaining information about the previous owners of the peice of paper. Oddity of RAW, Mind blank foils it. It's not a bad "makes sense" interpertation, but those will vary from DM to DM. Of course, then it can't get you any current information.

He was a male halfling yesterday when he handled the paper.

Today he's a female gnome (yay Polymorph!).

Have fun following untamed avians.




My point being that if I scryed on a piece of paper that happened to have your name on it your name would show up.



Mind Blank doesn't effectively erase your entire history from scrying. What if I attempted to scry a home. It happens to be yours but I don't know that and I've seen the home multiple times on the way to work. By allowing the scrying I am gathering information about your home so is the scrying blocked?

Potentially. As I said - oddity of RAW.


And Object Reading doesn't gather information about you. It gathers information about the paper. Just like I could scry a shop that you have visited. Even though it allows me to gather information about your tastes. I don't necessarily know that I'm gathering information about you but how you are interpreting the spell it would be blocked.

Scrying is a case spelled out in the description of Mind Blank - when the protected subject isn't the target, the subject (and anything along with) doesn't show, but the rest does.




Oh. Does it protect you by stopping me from gathering information about a location you will visit? Say I scry a different location and see that it is a brothel that specializes in things that society frowns upon (S&M or such). Later I will learn the name of a place you like to frequent. Now if my earlier Scry worked I have information a bout you that is very dangerous and could be used to blackmail you. Should the spell have blocked it?






I could see Mind Blank blocking a direct request for information about you. Like "Does XXX have a contingent teleport on him?" That should be blocked. Or "Is XXX's name really XXX?". But in dirrect information shouldn't be blocked or you can effectively stop all divination anywhere in the world from ever working so long as you wear that item.



"But scrying Joe Shmo might let me know something about your personality as you will meet him in 20 years and talk to him."



Do you get my point?

Ah, so it's cheese, like the (Eberron) stacking penalties to forgery for Arcane Mark as you interpert them?


That would actually be an evil act for them. If I say in advance that the system will only continue to go to this city as long as it remains profitable for us and your trade policies remain open enough that we can expect a good number of trips to and from this location then the cities taxing me will directly lead to their city entering a depression and all those other bad things.
Ah, so the leaders, recognizing a veiled threat, say "no" or start tarrifs right away so you leave before any dependancy happens.

When you open your negotiations with veiled threats with reasonably intelligent people, expect non-cooperation.

Also, read the D&D definition of evil:

ďEvilĒ implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.(emphasis added).

Seriously, your orginization fits that quite well, as described.

The country that kicks you out....

ďGoodĒ implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.(Emphasis added)
Is making quite the personal sacrifice in the process of destroying the evil empire.




Can't happen quick enough. Setting up the network would take far to long. The city would be in the dumps before it could get set up. And it would cost an enormous amount of money.

Costs a large amount of capital, yes. Time? Not so much. Each casting of TC takes 10 minutes. Permanency 2 rounds. If you've got the recources to actually do it, you can get a network large enough to supply your needs in a day or two (assuming permission isn't too much of an issue).


Now lets suppose that they just set up a link from one of the cities I still link to to the city I cut off. I walk up to there link and cast disjunction. At 20,000 plus per casting the competitor can't place more then I can disjoin.

You can't afford to do that.

You see, if it's a "do it yourself"-er setting them up initially, you've got a problem.

He is, at a minimum, a 17th level caster; probably a Wizard (Sorcerers don't normally invest in Teleporation Circles).

You might just upset a Logic-Ninja style wizard-20 doing this.

Rod-Maximized Time Stop, Greater Teleport to within easy reach of one of your Teleportation Circles, Disjunction (it's unattended, and will be affected), Illusory Wall note, Greater Teleport (or plane Shift) out (Fly and Reduce Person, as needed before the Time Stop, to fit into awkward spots). Possible Disintigrating something or leaving a Summoned critter to wreak havoc with extra rounds.

You can't teleport-block your Teleporation Circles during business hours. As spell effects, they are automatically dispelled. You've demonstrated he cannot operate a business while you remain in business. Traps don't work (he's outside time - they can't react). You can't find him (Logic Ninja-style defenses; he's covered). Your TC's must be publicly accessable (possibly with fee, but still accessable). He has no costs in doing this other than his time (a Greater Rod of Maximize Spell is a very useful thing for a high-level Wizard; he'll probably already have it). Meanwhile, you're asking your hired Wizards to spend more and more of their precious XP to replace the destroyed TC's.

The note would be fairly simple - a quick summery of what happened (you came in and illegally destroyed his business because you couldn't successfully compete in a civilized business arena), he's demonstrating why it's a bad precident to operate in that manner, and he will stop as soon as he gets an apology of the form he's after - say, big, obvious signs everywhere you do business that outline what you did, admit full guilt, apologize profusely and promise never, ever to do anything remotely like it ever again; and if they aren't satisfactory - not sufficiently public, rationalizations for what you did, et cetera - he'll update the next note with why it didn't satisfy as he continues to attack your infrastructure). You destroyed all of his, until you properly apologize, he'll systemically destroy all of yours (fair trade, right? It's not like he escalated anything at all; he's merely responding exactly in kind).

He can really, really mess you up.

And he's a nice competitor. All he's after is fair business practices on your part; a respect for others' property. He's against thuggery, and is simply demonstrating why it's a bad idea.

Heaven help you if you anger a mean Wiz-20 that way, who actually wants to take you down.

In a world where individuals can accumulate that much personal power, you MUST take the high road. All the way.




maybe I'll allow food shipments to come in but charge enough to exactly offset any taxes levied against me. The people of the city will feel the pain of the tax hike and it will most likely make them extremely poor. This will stop the merchants from wanting to trade with them and all the sudden no one is actually dead but the city is reduced to a subservience level.


1 can be countered easily and see above for 2.


What makes you think if it came down to it I wouldn't just disjoin my competitions circles?

See above. You can't afford to set the precident.



Meh. I do enough good to offset it. And I was thinking that the council woudl be true neutral.


Yeah... generally speaking, people who think they are balancing evil deeds with good deeds, aren't.


Nothing stops me from adding a customs duty to anything leaving the city. They tax me to raise my prices and I essentially tax them to raise their prices. The only thing is I can eat the loss of underbidding them even with the high taxes and they can't compete.

Not when they're doing things primarily locally. Merchants who take a stiff penalty at both ends generally go elsewhere. Which, fundamentally, is part of the point of tarriffs.



See above.

And I woudl argue that the city is directly responsible. They took an action that they knew woudl result in the disruption of law and order in their city and could potentially cause mass starvation.

I could argue that I stay neutral. As soon as they drop the tax issue I'll allow travel there again. The city has a direct easy way to stop there people from starving but they are refusing to take it.

Keep telling yourself that.



But not profitably. Who would pay 1 GP per trip when I only charge 1 CP? And whats makes you think I would be above just crushing his business and Programmed Amnesia him to make him forget about ever contemplating setting it up again.

How is mind rape not evil?

Also, you can't afford to set the precident. Bizzare as it sounds, you're more vulnerable to such tactics than your small-time competition.


Its not really evil. Chaotic or neutral but not evil.

Keep telling yourself that.



But he would never get any traffic.

Not really. I can lower the rate to 1 CP and beat him. At 1 CP per trip it would take him 5,000,000 trips to just pay off his TC's. He would never get that many trips in a market he was competign with me in. I'm teh established, respected, trusted large, company. He is a 2 bit operation taht is new.

Who underbids you to his selected portions. Remember; he's not actually worried about making a net profit this millenia. You charge 1 cp per trip, he charges 1 cp per round trip (both ways). Or makes them completely free until after you leave the area. Once he's had enough customers who are more worried about the costs than the reliability factor that he's got a proven reilability factor, your advantage of being established evaporates. Have fun underbidding free, long-term.


So long as no one has any complaints about my service (which they won't. Where exactly have I been anything but kind to my customers?) I will continue to get the traffic.

Not forever.



Not really EE. Not lawful and not good but not actually evil.

No, no, evil.



Actually RAW you can't forge an Arcane Mark at all ever.



What are the writing materials appropriate to forging a spell?

So RAW you can't actually forge an Arcane mark at all, ever.


You don't have to fully forge it (as in, the turns visible when under Detect Magic, et cetera). Just enough to fool normal senses (remember - he gets to choose his mark). Secret Page should do the job quite well. And he probably needs that anyway. Magic Aura to make it read right under Detect Magic, if needed.



Get 5 different casters to make an item of at will arcane mark. It wil inscribe there personal arcane mark.

Heaven help you if a set ever gets stolen.




All letters of credit are written out in the central office. They are delivered to the teller by TC and he gives it to the guy.


Actual Eberron Raw, you can't even attempt to forge an Arcane Mark unless you can cast the spell.

I don't have the Eberron books, but from what you describe, it smacks of a setting-specific house-rule as the only way to make something actually work at all.




Not really.


If you personal rune is the same as someone else's then it isn't a personal rune now is it? And RAW you can't forge an Arcane Mark because it is magic and you don't have the proper writing implements.


You don't have to fully forge it (as in, the turns visible when under Detect Magic, et cetera). Just enough to fool normal senses (remember - he gets to choose his mark). Secret Page should do the job quite well.



The point is you need 5 separate keys that are incredible hard to figure out even 1 of.



That is largely how something is encrypted yes. But you can have A actually be represented by FSDH#Y$*Y*Y*()#JD1544+ and lower case a represented by something like 38rfhgj3905i*&*(& And you have 5 different encryption algorithms that are equally complex and to decrypt one algorithm you need its specific key.

Can be attacked the same basic way. Seriously. All you've done is changed the size of your symbol. There's still the same number of base symbols you're replacing. In actual encryption, there are ways around the problem to varying degrees. My point was that your analogy is flawed.




Level 1 commoner with no ranks can beat you every time if they stack. Which they should.
No they shouldn't.


To forge a letter that is just an arcane mark and nothing else subtracts 10 from your score. To forge a different mark also subtracts 10 from your score. To forge both on the same document should reduce your check for the whole document by 20.

Nah; suddenly, they're different documents that happen to be right next to each other. To detect one is a forgery, you need to beat his check individually for each one. He takes 10 on each, and chooses marks who can't beat him taking 20 when he does so. Problem solved.



Oh yeah. If you look at the stacking rules again. Unnamed penalties stack so long as they aren't from the same source. The arcane marks aren't from the same source. 1 is from Bobs arcane mark and the other is from Bills arcane mark. Now if The arcane mark applied a named penalty then they wouldn't stack but since the penalty is unnamed and is from 2 different sources they stack.
It's the same spell, it's the same source. Seriously.






Maybe. If they are to much trouble we could just drop Letters of Credit.


Reasonable enough.




I don't agree that mind blank blocks object reading.
And I don't agree that multiple castings of Arcane Mark stack to make it harder to forge. What's your point?


And Letters of Credit are becoming to much of a hassle. I don't think the bank will issue them.


Reasonable enough.


You don't need your money. You make an example of him. Burned at the stake in the center of the city at noon seems good. Are you willing to risk theft when it usually ends in death?

The desparate will, yes.

And you're punishing theft with death. And you claim not to be evil.


ctually you aren't doign anythign evil. Chaotic yes but yo ucan even get around that one by having a personal code that you follow. that code can be Do whatever is necessary to protect the business. So long as you stick to that code you stay lawful.

Generally, anything along the lines of "whatever is necessary" is evil.

If I've got a guy who runs around randomly doing stuff, with no particular plan in mind, but has a philosophy of "survive at any cost", is he Lawful? No, that's just silly.

You're not respecting legitimate authority (you go over, again and again, how you circumvent legitimate governments doing legitimate things). At all. The orginization's actions, at least in regards to dealing with annoyances, are definately not lawful.



And mind control is the removal of freedom which is Lawful strangely enough. It isn't evil. Look at the dominate line of spells.


No alignment descriptor at all on them. Nor is there one on Finger of Death. Magic Circle Against Law has the Chaos descriptor, yet it can be used to bind critters to a specific set of actions (which you seem to claim is a Lawful act).

For the most part, a lack of descriptors does not imply it's a neutral act.



Mind Control them and remove them. Throwing someone who isn't guilty of any crime in jail isn't evil. It is lawful if it follows you code. So long as you treat them nicely and don't just out and out murder them you can stay nicely Lawful Neutral. Especially with all the good you are doing with those orphans.

Nah, you're doing good for an evil cause. Many people think Microsoft an evil corporation, despite the amount of charity work they actually do. Ditto for McDonalds. Probably true for Wal-mart as well.




Yeah. We would need a DM. And if you stay core RAW only it is even more in my favor. A personal Mark can't be shared by anyone else or it wouldn't be personal. And you don't have the proper writing implements to be able to do a forgery.

It doesn't need to be an actual arcane mark. Just has to be able to pass for one on mundane inspection.




Same source and same type of bonus. The penalties are different sources and unnamed penalties.

Same source. How is infinite stacking not cheese, regardless of form?




Perhaps.




Yeah. Have to think about card security more.


That part is easy. As I said above. I got to think of some more security features. See I told you a while ago that the card was running 20K or so a piece. Those things were secure.
I'm curious how you're coming up with that.






Perhaps. Adding the name in is free so I might as well.


Thats why I'm targeting it to a very specific group first. The local bar won't have a reader but the restaurant with 70 GP meals that serves the nobles will.

And I could wait until I have enough readers to install enough to make them fairly common.



Yeah. This is the difficult part. Debit Cards and such. Why not just go back to the original banking idea? No cards or letters.

Not unreasonable.



I mean remember. We are supposed to be providing a world that allows RAW adventuring and is more logical/realistic. Well we don't need credit cards. And it doesn't matter if the company is particularly good or evil. So long as they don't have high prices and continue to please their customers most people will think that they are good. After a very long time the PC's might get the idea that they are a bit evil or neutral but that doesn't matter. That would be up to the specific DM in the game.

True enough.



So far we have a world made up of 100 or so pockets of civilization that are linked together by a transport network composed of TC's and run by a super national corporation which little is known about.

The rest of the world is largely wilderness and wilds but there are small villages and what not around (perhaps 1 every 30 square miles or so).

Don't forget the occasional city that simply says "no" to The Corporation.

Also the occasional pockets of powerful people wanting to avoid regulations of varying natures. A comparatively simple, walled and maked layerd Forbiddanced area will keep most things out (to get in, you have to bypass a wall, soak some damage, bypass another wall, soak some damage, bypass another wall....) ... all to disturb the privacy of a powerful mage. Those with a mission, will deal or find ways around, those without won't usually bother. Those invited have no problems.



The cities don't regulate magic because the super national corporation has told them that such regulation would not work for one and would piss them off for 2. The corporatio1n doesn't attempt to regulate magic because they are to powerful for it to be a problem
Or they're not, they just think they are.


and the whole thing is more bother than its worth. High level magic users have been told the ruels. Leave the company aloen and we don't care what you do but harm our business and we will put all our weight behind crushing you.
Ooh, rule by threat and force on no authority other than might! Look out for nobody but yourself and your members! How is that not evil, I mean really?

As you describe it, it's not a good orginization. It's not a neutral orginization. It just fakes good/neutral for to appease the conscience of those they do business with.





Not very. The object is to make examples of enough of them that the others count it as to big a risk.

Common historical tactic; much respected, usually backfires eventually.

Rule-by-strength is a precident you don't want to set. Someone stronger might come along, and then everyone goes "Oh, a taste of his own medicine. Why, exactly, should we interfere?"



Hell you could fake it even. In every city square around the 100 cities you have a high level trustworthy wizard turn a pig into a human with PaO and then you execute the "thieves" for robbery and attempting to defraud the bank. A good PR campaign with some bards and you can have the world believing that you catch almost 50% of the thieves who rip off your customers. And everyone of them is executed in public. Who you risk stealing a card for a few thousand GP if you believed that it had a 50% chance of resulting in your death within a week?

PaO causes the subject to gain an Int score appropriet to the new form. Congrats, you just killed an Int-10 critter who had commited no crime and was no threat to you in order to benefit yourself. And you're doing this systemically.

How do you define mass murder?




True.


Remember, no money is ever actually removed from the economy. So those nobles have some income and it can come back to us. It goes around in circles.


Who ever said that I kept my profits in coinage? Magic items, golems, buildings, land, trade goods.

It takes a fairly uncommon person to realize you can't keep the cash, though. Your employees will end up doing it to you (and essentially everyone else), to the same effect, unless you arrange some kind of squeeze for it so that they can't actually save up effectively.



And if we really ran out of precious medals we go to other forms of money. Look at the world today.

Ah, yes - almost forgot; as nobody can regulate The Corporation (at least, so they think), The Corporation has a particular interest in debit cards, letters of credit, and other forms of non-cash money, as well as in making them exactly as expensive as the real thing, and more convenient; once it's sufficiently trusted and sufficiently common, it becomes fiat money, that's made in a manner that requires no non-renewable recources. The Corporation stops having to track how much it has, and simply tracks how much is moving relative to the population (as well as how much is "owned" by others, in that it can be suddenly moved without explicit permission from The Corporation). The trick is to arrange things so that nobody ever calls you on it by cashing enough to embarrass you (you can't afford to let it be known that the emprorer has no clothes, so to speak).

...at which point, forgeries or reimbursements for stolen goods almost totally cease to matter (it's just a few numbers in an account; you keep track of how much forgeries are out there same way you track how much of "your" money is out there, and can do it by simple statistics). You need to track down as many forgers and theives as you reasonably can (they are a tracking problem), but you don't actually need to catch them, just limit their activities to something predictable. Hmm. Curious.




See above.


Yep.


Doh. What I get for not looking at all the rules closely.


I don't want them to cater to me. Theres a difference between them leaving you alone and them catering to you. Its more chaotic then evil by a lot. The company would generally stay neutral.
No, you're forcing them to cater to you.

Suppose a nation passes a law designed to improve the local economy; there's a 10% tax on the market value of all incoming goods from all business ventures that do not
1) Do the majority of their business inside this nation and
2) Have a business license from said nation (the cost of which is based on the amount of goods brought in, equating to a 1% tax on value).

The idea, of course, being to encourage local businesses. Adventurers coming in from the wildlands are subject to the 10% tax. Anyone attempting to come into the city to compete with you is subject to the 10% tax. The local forger that makes occasional forays to a distant city to resupply on coal and iron is only dealing with the 1% business license ... on the coal and iron, which is not the majority value of his trade. They are attempting to encourage local industry.

Anyone actually competing with you on your main venues is just as subject to the 10% as you are.

It's perfectly legitimate government business.

You step up, say "no, that hurts me" and force them to back down from legitimate government business that is in no way actually targetted at you.

How is that not catering to you?





Oh I agree. That is just stuff a DM coudl add if they wanted to.




You don't have to stop accumulating money, you have to stop accumulating all the worlds precious metals. Just make sure you spend it on things. Hell after a point you can pay your employees a thousand GP a week or so and get money back into the economy that way. Most of it comes back to you eventually anyways.

Hell. I could drop 100 million a year caring for orphans and return money that way.

And I would always pay generously so as to keep everyone liking the company.

Ah, yes; you pretend to be a good guy. Can probably pull it off with a reasonable degree of success.




Remember, we needed to advance magics effect on the economy without removing adventuring from the game or altering anything to drastically.

Well I think that I have created a good framework for that.

True enough. Stands up to a bit more scrutiny than the standard D&D model, anyway.



How about instead of trying to alter it a lot we move on to the next lower level of the system. The merchant class.

Fine.

kellandros
2007-03-10, 01:44 PM
Okay, is this thread to attempt to understand how a D&D economy should work? Or is it an excuse to show how wizards rule the world?

Is the economy of the world to be based entirely on magic? That can be an interesting experiment, but requires huge alterations to behavior. What is the minimal changes to try to bring some sense to D&D?

My assumption would be at some arbitrary level of power, wealth would not be a primary concern of wizards. When you can journey between worlds, destroy armies, create items from thin air, plum the secrets of the world, visit gods, etc. wealth beyond needs of comfort and research aren't a priority.

Most literature suggests that recognition of their peers- titles, apprentices, and accomplishments are what they are after. Quick example that comes to mind- Forgotten Realms, city of Luskan: has four wizardly towers, with the North Tower the highest ranked/most powerful. Generally, those wizards are seen as scheming to assasinate/remove their superior to take his place and title. The most powerful would be the most paranoid, and least likely to cooperate.

I'd assume low level wizards are seen as apprentices, mid level would be going out on their own in the world. Hedge wizards, adventurers, combat mages, magical bodyguards all show up in various forms. It would be about this level that wizards are retained by merchants and businessmen, as used in this thread. After gaining experience, they would expand into new jobs, research, etc. Higher level ones may be invited to join a tower, or other more prestigious jobs.

What do court wizards do? Most of the time they are just a symbol of power; the king can call on the services of a mighty mage. The wizard would have to make appearances in court, occasionally show off his powers, and generally just have his research funded. Of course, a war/invasion can change all that, as can a challenge from a rival. Most kings are quite willing to trade up to a stronger wizard.

==========
As an aside to the whole forgery proof bank notes- it would be much more efficent to have the threat of magic in cases of forgery. Create a party of magical repo men, retained by the local merchants and banks. They get called in when a forgery is detected, and track down those involved. Sure the same spells would block their investigations, but at least you didn't have to spend as much on each sheet/card/item.

Considering a fantasy world generally does not worry about civil rights, they could do some rather nasty and/or thorough interrogation. Heck, create the art of forsenics- sweep the merchants shop for anything related to the suspect. With hair or other items, can start using some magical scrying, curses, and the like. Non-magical things would work as well- stakeouts, undercover work at various shops, etc.

========
Teleportation circles controlling the world's trade:

Sure, one wizard presenting this system as a done deal would be more likely to work. It could just get every major magician in each country sent after his head, as each noble and king would ask the local wizards to deal with this upstart who violates their control.

It would work IF a small majority of the cities decided they wanted to do so. Sure it would be to their benefit(long-term gain in trade), but most entrenched powers tend to be rather short-sighted. If you just put in a new invasion route into the realm of a king with many rivals out for his head, the first thing he is going to do is send people out to dispel and remove that gateway.

A more likely(and slower) solution would be for our hypothetical transportation specialist mage to find several wilderness trading posts, outside the direct control of any major powers. Only have to make an agreement with the one merchant in charge of each place, and he would obviously be interested in increasing some of his traffic. Over time, more and more trade would go there, creating new cities around those gates. Mutual defense agreements amongst the trading posts could have them sharing guards in case of any one getting attacked by bandits/armies/etc.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-10, 03:07 PM
Okay, is this thread to attempt to understand how a D&D economy should work? Or is it an excuse to show how wizards rule the world?
They go hand in hand. To understand how the D&D economy should work you have to include magic. The effects of magic on the economy are so profound that it almost guarantees that mages become a very powerful force in the world.


Is the economy of the world to be based entirely on magic? That can be an interesting experiment, but requires huge alterations to behavior. What is the minimal changes to try to bring some sense to D&D?
The reason that their is no sense in D&D's economics is mainly that it fails to account for the effects of magic. If magic didn't exist all you have to do is lower the prices on a couple of goods and the economy largely makes sense.


My assumption would be at some arbitrary level of power, wealth would not be a primary concern of wizards. When you can journey between worlds, destroy armies, create items from thin air, plum the secrets of the world, visit gods, etc. wealth beyond needs of comfort and research aren't a priority.
That wealth and power is a means to an end. High level wizards don't care about wealth or power but they do care about everyone else leaving them alone and havening the freedom to do whatever they want. The easiest way to acheive thsoe 2 thigsn is through wealth and pwoer.


Most literature suggests that recognition of their peers- titles, apprentices, and accomplishments are what they are after. Quick example that comes to mind- Forgotten Realms, city of Luskan: has four wizardly towers, with the North Tower the highest ranked/most powerful. Generally, those wizards are seen as scheming to assasinate/remove their superior to take his place and title. The most powerful would be the most paranoid, and least likely to cooperate.
"Ruler of the world" is a good title, no? If you take over the world I think you accomplish all those goals.

And almost all literature fails to think of the affects of magic on the world.


I'd assume low level wizards are seen as apprentices, mid level would be going out on their own in the world. Hedge wizards, adventurers, combat mages, magical bodyguards all show up in various forms. It would be about this level that wizards are retained by merchants and businessmen, as used in this thread. After gaining experience, they would expand into new jobs, research, etc. Higher level ones may be invited to join a tower, or other more prestigious jobs.
Those wizards largely don't matter. Its the 1-5 level 20 mages who get together and decided to do something that effects an economy in a large way.


What do court wizards do? Most of the time they are just a symbol of power; the king can call on the services of a mighty mage. The wizard would have to make appearances in court, occasionally show off his powers, and generally just have his research funded. Of course, a war/invasion can change all that, as can a challenge from a rival. Most kings are quite willing to trade up to a stronger wizard.
Why woudl the mage bow down to a kign when he can get his research funded in other ways and can ignore whatever the king says?

==========

As an aside to the whole forgery proof bank notes- it would be much more efficent to have the threat of magic in cases of forgery. Create a party of magical repo men, retained by the local merchants and banks. They get called in when a forgery is detected, and track down those involved. Sure the same spells would block their investigations, but at least you didn't have to spend as much on each sheet/card/item.

Considering a fantasy world generally does not worry about civil rights, they could do some rather nasty and/or thorough interrogation. Heck, create the art of forsenics- sweep the merchants shop for anything related to the suspect. With hair or other items, can start using some magical scrying, curses, and the like. Non-magical things would work as well- stakeouts, undercover work at various shops, etc.
If this threads purpose was to stop forgery then such thigns woudl be done. That was just a tangent that doesn't affect the origional purpose at all.


========
Teleportation circles controlling the world's trade:

Sure, one wizard presenting this system as a done deal would be more likely to work. It could just get every major magician in each country sent after his head, as each noble and king would ask the local wizards to deal with this upstart who violates their control.
You seem to think that those people have the power to deal with the "upstart". TC is a level 9 spell and I was talking a group of 5 or so level 20 wizards setting it up. Anyone of a power level that could challenge them would have to be an equally high level mage. And where are all these cities getting these high level mages?


It would work IF a small majority of the cities decided they wanted to do so. Sure it would be to their benefit(long-term gain in trade), but most entrenched powers tend to be rather short-sighted. If you just put in a new invasion route into the realm of a king with many rivals out for his head, the first thing he is going to do is send people out to dispel and remove that gateway.
And when he tries the 5 level 20 wizards pop in and replace him/ change his mind.

To destroy a TC requires a Mage's Disjunction. Dispel only disables it for 10 minutes.


A more likely(and slower) solution would be for our hypothetical transportation specialist mage to find several wilderness trading posts, outside the direct control of any major powers. Only have to make an agreement with the one merchant in charge of each place, and he would obviously be interested in increasing some of his traffic. Over time, more and more trade would go there, creating new cities around those gates. Mutual defense agreements amongst the trading posts could have them sharing guards in case of any one getting attacked by bandits/armies/etc.

The point is a high level mage doesn't need any local agreement. He can do what he wants without the locals being able to do much about it and if the local ruler wanted to do something about it the mages can just reprogram his mind.

And no one woudl invade through the network. It woudl require the mages in charge of it to allow the army to come through.

Shisumo
2007-03-10, 04:05 PM
I'm sorry, Tippy, but I just don't see this working the way you describe it in practice.

In order to put together the cabal of 5 wizards you are describing you need a sufficiently large pool of ~20th level arcanists that a group of 5 of them could be found that would actually agree to commit the effort, time, and resources necessary to establishing the network in the first place. This is not a trivial requirement. Specifically, it isn't trivial because it means that there are other arcanists of equivalent power who may well have compelling reasons to interfere. A partial list of potential compelling reasons:

1) Nationalist loyalties
2) Desire for equivalent power of their own
3) Moral qualms about the power structure you're setting up
4) Personal dislike
5) The belief that such centralized power is unhealthy for the planet
6) Orders from a holy or unholy patron

Your 5 wizard cabal is essentially holding the economic lifeblood of the planet hostage to their whims. This is not a situation that has any probability of remaining stable forever. The comparison to Dune may well be apt - look what happened when someone outside the Spacing Guild finally achieved their level of power. Frankly, against an arcanist with the power to create TCs of their own, there is very little you could do to keep them from disjoining your circle if you started disjoining theirs. Mage wars are zero-sum games; there is actually good, logical reasons why most fantasy settings describe a detente between the highest-level wielders of magic.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-10, 05:37 PM
I'm sorry, Tippy, but I just don't see this working the way you describe it in practice.

In order to put together the cabal of 5 wizards you are describing you need a sufficiently large pool of ~20th level arcanists that a group of 5 of them could be found that would actually agree to commit the effort, time, and resources necessary to establishing the network in the first place. This is not a trivial requirement. Specifically, it isn't trivial because it means that there are other arcanists of equivalent power who may well have compelling reasons to interfere. A partial list of potential compelling reasons:

Mage Koopa had 5 apprentices at one time. They went off adventuring together and managed to survive the first few years through sheer luck and skill. After a dozen or so years of exploring and adventuring around the world the group (who by now is pretty powerful (level 15 or so)) decides to go explore the other planes for a bit. In there visits to Sigil and Union they see just how important trade is and being of no small means themselves they set up a small mercenary firm so that they can get paid for exploring and adventuring. After another 10 or so years they have achieved a level of magical power that few can dream of on their home plane and have long surpassed their previous master. The 5 have been adventuring for around 50 years now so they decided to go back home and explore their magical powers in more depth and stop adventuring. Well these mages realize that they need funds to pay for all this studying and supplies that they will need. And they also get annoyed wit hall the local kings and governors wanting them to come and do this or that. These leaders just wont stop with their threats and what not. Remembering their lessons in trade and power from their stays in Sigil and Union the mages decide to start a company that will give them the wealth and power to be able to do the studying that they want. So they decided to set up the transport network.


1) Nationalist loyaltiesAren't usually a problem for high level mages. They tend to deal with the world and other planes as a whole and not what some king or the other wants.
And see above for an explanation that gets around this.


2) Desire for equivalent power of their ownThe above group could stop any single mage.


3) Moral qualms about the power structure you're setting upHow so? What exactly is unmoral about it? By all accounts the company is quite nice. Look they give 100 million GP per year to orphans.



4) Personal dislikeFind enough people of an equal level who personally dislike them and can work together.


5) The belief that such centralized power is unhealthy for the planetThey have to work together and have the power to oppose such centralized power after it has already been set up.


6) Orders from a holy or unholy patronAnd that patrons opposite orders his people to help the mages just to spite his opposite.

And they have to have the power to oppose 5 level 20 mages wit ha very large amount of gold.


Your 5 wizard cabal is essentially holding the economic lifeblood of the planet hostage to their whims. This is not a situation that has any probability of remaining stable forever.It depends on what the people in charge of the situation do. If they don't interfere and just take their cut on all traffic through the network then their is no reason it wouldn't last forever. If they start actively wielding the power that they have in an open way and without justification that the populace can understand and agrees with then it wouldn't last.


The comparison to Dune may well be apt - look what happened when someone outside the Spacing Guild finally achieved their level of power. Frankly, against an arcanist with the power to create TCs of their own, there is very little you could do to keep them from disjoining your circle if you started disjoining theirs.Any 1 mage would lose to 5 mages of equal power. And what makes you think that anyone can cast spells inside the transport hub? The whole place can be under a continuous AMF affect except right where the TC's are. Those areas are surrounded by walls of force and have multiple golem guards.

And that is assuming that said mage war ever starts. The most likely thing is that the established company says "Hey, instead of competing with us why not come and join us?" They have the resources to buy off anyone who is a real threat.


Mage wars are zero-sum games; there is actually good, logical reasons why most fantasy settings describe a detente between the highest-level wielders of magic.Yeah. High level mages (read 15+) don't' often go to war against each other. And you seem to think you can get them to go to war against 5 level 20 mages who aren't doing anything real bad? They aren't enslaving people. They are feeding orphans. They aren't starting any wars. They are speeding up trade and bringing more money to the affected cities. They are reducing war between the 100 cities that are part of the network. They spend most of their time inventing new magic and researching. They are very willing to work with other mages of equal power.


High Level mages all tend to be part of the same guild and they don't mess with each other. If 1 messes with any of the others without a real good reason he tends to become the enemy of all of them.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-10, 11:12 PM
To destroy a TC requires a Mage's Disjunction. Dispel only disables it for 10 minutes.

You *might* want to double-check that....


Teleportation Circle

Conjuration (Teleportation)
Level: Sor/Wiz 9 Components: V, M Casting Time: 10 minutes Range: 0 ft. Effect: 5-ft.-radius circle that teleports those who activate it Duration: 10 min./level (D) Saving Throw: None Spell Resistance: Yes

You create a circle on the floor or other horizontal surface that teleports, as greater teleport, any creature who stands on it to a designated spot. Once you designate the destination for the circle, you canít change it. The spell fails if you attempt to set the circle to teleport creatures into a solid object, to a place with which you are not familiar and have no clear description, or to another plane.

The circle itself is subtle and nearly impossible to notice. If you intend to keep creatures from activating it accidentally, you need to mark the circle in some way.

Teleportation circle can be made permanent with a permanency spell. A permanent teleportation circle that is disabled becomes inactive for 10 minutes, then can be triggered again as normal.

Note: Magic traps such as teleportation circle are hard to detect and disable. A rogue (only) can use the Search skill to find the circle and Disable Device to thwart it. The DC in each case is 25 + spell level, or 34 in the case of teleportation circle.

Material Component: Amber dust to cover the area of the circle (cost 1,000 gp).

(Emphasis added)
It's only reffering to Disable Device disabling it, not Dispel:


Dispel Magic

Abjuration
Level: Brd 3, Clr 3, Drd 4, Magic 3, Pal 3, Sor/Wiz 3 Components: V, S Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Target or Area: One spellcaster, creature, or object; or 20-ft.-radius burst
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You can use dispel magic to end ongoing spells that have been cast on a creature or object, to temporarily suppress the magical abilities of a magic item, to end ongoing spells (or at least their effects) within an area, or to counter another spellcasterís spell. A dispelled spell ends as if its duration had expired. Some spells, as detailed in their descriptions, canít be defeated by dispel magic. Dispel magic can dispel (but not counter) spell-like effects just as it does spells.

Note: The effect of a spell with an instantaneous duration canít be dispelled, because the magical effect is already over before the dispel magic can take effect.

You choose to use dispel magic in one of three ways: a targeted dispel, an area dispel, or a counterspell:

Targeted Dispel: One object, creature, or spell is the target of the dispel magic spell. You make a dispel check (1d20 + your caster level, maximum +10) against the spell or against each ongoing spell currently in effect on the object or creature. The DC for this dispel check is 11 + the spellís caster level. If you succeed on a particular check, that spell is dispelled; if you fail, that spell remains in effect.

If you target an object or creature that is the effect of an ongoing spell (such as a monster summoned by monster summoning), you make a dispel check to end the spell that conjured the object or creature.

If the object that you target is a magic item, you make a dispel check against the itemís caster level. If you succeed, all the itemís magical properties are suppressed for 1d4 rounds, after which the item recovers on its own. A suppressed item becomes nonmagical for the duration of the effect. An interdimensional interface (such as a bag of holding) is temporarily closed. A magic itemís physical properties are unchanged: A suppressed magic sword is still a sword (a masterwork sword, in fact). Artifacts and deities are unaffected by mortal magic such as this.

You automatically succeed on your dispel check against any spell that you cast yourself.

Area Dispel: When dispel magic is used in this way, the spell affects everything within a 20-foot radius.

For each creature within the area that is the subject of one or more spells, you make a dispel check against the spell with the highest caster level. If that check fails, you make dispel checks against progressively weaker spells until you dispel one spell (which discharges the dispel magic spell so far as that target is concerned) or until you fail all your checks. The creatureís magic items are not affected.

For each object within the area that is the target of one or more spells, you make dispel checks as with creatures. Magic items are not affected by an area dispel.

For each ongoing area or effect spell whose point of origin is within the area of the dispel magic spell, you can make a dispel check to dispel the spell.

For each ongoing spell whose area overlaps that of the dispel magic spell, you can make a dispel check to end the effect, but only within the overlapping area.

If an object or creature that is the effect of an ongoing spell (such as a monster summoned by monster summoning) is in the area, you can make a dispel check to end the spell that conjured that object or creature (returning it whence it came) in addition to attempting to dispel spells targeting the creature or object.

You may choose to automatically succeed on dispel checks against any spell that you have cast.

Counterspell: When dispel magic is used in this way, the spell targets a spellcaster and is cast as a counterspell. Unlike a true counterspell, however, dispel magic may not work; you must make a dispel check to counter the other spellcasterís spell.
Nowhere in the description of Dispel Magic is the word "disable" used; it simply ends spells. To top it off, Permanency explicitly states :"Spells cast on other creatures, objects, or locations (not on you) are vulnerable to dispel magic as normal."

Near as I can tell, RAW, a Permanencied Teleportation Circle is just as subject to Greater Dispel Magic as the next Caster level X spell.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-10, 11:19 PM
Read disable as dispel. Your correct. It still isn't easy.

Shisumo
2007-03-11, 01:25 AM
Mage Koopa had 5 apprentices at one time. They went off adventuring together and managed to survive the first few years through sheer luck and skill. After a dozen or so years of exploring and adventuring around the world the group (who by now is pretty powerful (level 15 or so)) decides to go explore the other planes for a bit. In there visits to Sigil and Union they see just how important trade is and being of no small means themselves they set up a small mercenary firm so that they can get paid for exploring and adventuring. After another 10 or so years they have achieved a level of magical power that few can dream of on their home plane and have long surpassed their previous master. The 5 have been adventuring for around 50 years now so they decided to go back home and explore their magical powers in more depth and stop adventuring. Well these mages realize that they need funds to pay for all this studying and supplies that they will need. And they also get annoyed wit hall the local kings and governors wanting them to come and do this or that. These leaders just wont stop with their threats and what not. Remembering their lessons in trade and power from their stays in Sigil and Union the mages decide to start a company that will give them the wealth and power to be able to do the studying that they want. So they decided to set up the transport network.
There's no question it's possible. But this is no longer a generic economy here. You're coming up with specific characters to meet your predetermined desired outcome. I can't see any reason why this is how a nonspecific high-magic world would automatically turn out, and the reasons I gave above are why.


Aren't usually a problem for high level mages. They tend to deal with the world and other planes as a whole and not what some king or the other wants.
It need not be a matter of being told what to do by a king - it could be a genuine sense of patriotism.

And see above for an explanation that gets around this.
Again, that's one explanation, not something suitable to any game.


The above group could stop any single mage.
In direct conflict, no doubt. But indirectly? You seem to be of the belief that I'm suggesting some sort of assassination or something. What if a competitor begins making their own TCs? I mean, you've got a good moneymaking scheme - why wouldn't someone else try to implement it?


How so? What exactly is unmoral about it? By all accounts the company is quite nice. Look they give 100 million GP per year to orphans.
And look at the many times in this thread you've said something to the effect of, "If I don't like what [Country X] is doing, I can shut down their access." Threats are not exactly signs of a generous spirit.


Find enough people of an equal level who personally dislike them and can work together.
Depends on the group's individual members. Might be a snap, might be impossible. Might also not be necessary, as I point out again tht I'm not suggesting direct confrontation specifically.


They have to work together and have the power to oppose such centralized power after it has already been set up.
By far the most likely rationale to produce exactly that. Dictatorships, no matter how benign, have a strong tendency to produce widespread opposition.


And that patrons opposite orders his people to help the mages just to spite his opposite.
That would entirely depend on the patron.


It depends on what the people in charge of the situation do. If they don't interfere and just take their cut on all traffic through the network then their is no reason it wouldn't last forever.
You've already posited several times that they would interfere, by attempting to force out competitors and veto political authorities.


Any 1 mage would lose to 5 mages of equal power. And what makes you think that anyone can cast spells inside the transport hub? The whole place can be under a continuous AMF affect except right where the TC's are. Those areas are surrounded by walls of force and have multiple golem guards.
If you can teleport out, I can teleport in, it's as simple as that.


And that is assuming that said mage war ever starts. The most likely thing is that the established company says "Hey, instead of competing with us why not come and join us?" They have the resources to buy off anyone who is a real threat.
Potentially, yes. But some of the above options don't permit that, no matter how high the price tag.


Yeah. High level mages (read 15+) don't' often go to war against each other. And you seem to think you can get them to go to war against 5 level 20 mages who aren't doing anything real bad? They aren't enslaving people. They are feeding orphans. They aren't starting any wars. They are speeding up trade and bringing more money to the affected cities. They are reducing war between the 100 cities that are part of the network. They spend most of their time inventing new magic and researching. They are very willing to work with other mages of equal power.
I'm not talking war. I'm talking breaking your monopoly. You're talking war, as the way you intend to protect your monopoly.


High Level mages all tend to be part of the same guild and they don't mess with each other. If 1 messes with any of the others without a real good reason he tends to become the enemy of all of them.
Right. So what happens when somone not part of your cabal starts making TCs of her own without any sort of direct attack on you?

Bottom line: your economic model presumes that none of the above possibilities, nor any others that would provoke a similarly powerful arcanist (or group of arcanists), arises. My point is that the odds are greatly in favor that something will happen to throw a monket wrench into your plans, and that the model is not going to be as hermetically sealed as you seem to think.

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-11, 02:39 AM
There's no question it's possible. But this is no longer a generic economy here. You're coming up with specific characters to meet your predetermined desired outcome. I can't see any reason why this is how a nonspecific high-magic world would automatically turn out, and the reasons I gave above are why.
As long as the world is not new and magic has been around for a while it will happen.


You will get a group of level 20 mages to work together if the world lasts long enough. And if you go with the real long lived races it gets even easier. Lets look at the Elan. Elan Bob becomes a level 20 wizard after a good long while. He starts screening all of the new made elans for innate intelligence and personality type. Say he finds 1 natural 18 per century with the right personality. He teaches this elan the ways of the wizard and goes off adventuring with him. A level 20 an a level 1 in the same party can take on a CL 10 with no problem and the level 1 would get a little over 5K experience. He is now level 2. Bob could level his apprentice to level 20 in around 2 months. But lets say bob doesn't do that and spends the next 50 years teaching and adventuring with his apprentice. The apprentice is now level 20. Both Bob and his apprentice repeat the process with 2 new elans over the next 2 centuries. All told after 1,000 years of this you have 10 level 20 wizards who are all Elans and who have been taught by each other and are loyal to each other.

There are so many different situations and ways that the mages could be gathered that given enough time it will happen.


It need not be a matter of being told what to do by a king - it could be a genuine sense of patriotism.
Again, something very rare in high level wizards. They will defend their homeland if its directly attacked but thatís pretty much where it ends.


Again, that's one explanation, not something suitable to any game.
You can come up with 100's of different explanations. In a standard greyhawk setting a suitable number of mages will eventually work together and be loyal to each other.


In direct conflict, no doubt. But indirectly? You seem to be of the belief that I'm suggesting some sort of assassination or something. What if a competitor begins making their own TCs? I mean, you've got a good moneymaking scheme - why wouldn't someone else try to implement it?
Why when the transport company offers then a position with them? For most people money is a means to an end.

"Care to join our wizards guild? We protect each other from outside threats and trade and discuss arcane knowledge. All members also have full access to the guild labs." You have just bought off most competition for a pittance.


And look at the many times in this thread you've said something to the effect of, "If I don't like what [Country X] is doing, I can shut down their access." Threats are not exactly signs of a generous spirit.
On the contrary. Look at every nation throughout history and all successful companies. The threaten, they fight. We are nice to those who are nice to us, we leave alone those who leave us alone, we oppose those who oppose us, and we attack those who attack us. Due unto others as you would have them due unto you.


Depends on the group's individual members. Might be a snap, might be impossible. Might also not be necessary, as I point out again that I'm not suggesting direct confrontation specifically.
But it would always come down to direct confrontation.


By far the most likely rationale to produce exactly that. Dictatorships, no matter how benign, have a strong tendency to produce widespread opposition.
Look at the ceasers throughout roman history. Those who were generous and good were loved by the vast majority of the populace. Those who were unkind and stingy were reviled.

A tendency is not a certainty.


That would entirely depend on the patron.
True but in standard D&D almost every god has an opposite who they generally oppose out of principle.


You've already posited several times that they would interfere, by attempting to force out competitors and veto political authorities.
Neither is inherently evil. Being the legitimate authority doesn't make opposing you evil. It makes you chaotic. Forcing out competition doesn't make you evil unless you use evil means. And editing their mind so they don't bother you anymore isn't evil. Neither is dumping them is stasis.


If you can teleport out, I can teleport in, it's as simple as that.
You teleport in on top of a TC? You would be leaving very quickly. Or are you Teleporting in to the arrival locations? Where security is incredibly strict? Including readied action Anti-Magic Rays. And golems.


Potentially, yes. But some of the above options don't permit that, no matter how high the price tag.
Most can be bought off. Those who can't face you and those who can.


I'm not talking war. I'm talking breaking your monopoly. You're talking war, as the way you intend to protect your monopoly.

No. The threat of violence. You can not be stupid and be a high level wizard. It can't happen in D&D. Anyone half way intelligent would realize that attempting to break the monopoly could have very bad results. They could not be stupid enough to believe that the company wouldn't oppose them. If the opposition wont use violence then the company would win do to its massive resource base. They higher hundreds of bards and get them to go around spreading the idea that you have sex with mindflayers and are generally a very bad person. How long before your run out of town? Or I get the government to pass a law telling you that you can't operate in the city.

The only way to break the monopoly would be with violence and you can't use that because it frees the companies hand. And once that happens you lose. 5+ level 20 wizards against you with a thousand golem army and nigh unlimited gold and popular opinion on their side?

The company makes an example of what happens to those who attack the company and it never happens again. You are destroyed along with those who supported you. Your power base is torn down and left as rubble. Your earth is salted and your history destroyed.

Combined with a good PR campaign any future opposition will be torn down by its own people for fear of what they may bring down upon them.


Right. So what happens when somone not part of your cabal starts making TCs of her own without any sort of direct attack on you?
The bards go out and make him out to be a pervert who should be opposed. The religious leaders start calling for a boycott of your service. The city passes laws making your business illegal.


Bottom line: your economic model presumes that none of the above possibilities, nor any others that would provoke a similarly powerful arcanist (or group of arcanists), arises. My point is that the odds are greatly in favor that something will happen to throw a monket wrench into your plans, and that the model is not going to be as hermetically sealed as you seem to think.

Most opposition would have to take place BEFORE the network is fully operational. Hiding the creation of the network is easy so you have to oppose it after it is already established. But once the network is established its runners become very powerful and have nigh limitless resources. Opposing them is very hard. Especially if they are perceived by most of the world to be good and kind.

And millions to the poor get that perception firmly in place.

Shisumo
2007-03-11, 03:02 AM
I'm cutting past most of this because it's not actually relevant to my point. Suffice to say, for every chance a cabal of sufficiently powerful wizards will come into existence to create this transportation guild, there exists another nearly equal chance that another cabal of wizards would appear that would for one reason or another not go along.


No. The threat of violence. You can not be stupid and be a high level wizard. It can't happen in D&D. Anyone half way intelligent would realize that attempting to break the monopoly could have very bad results. They could not be stupid enough to believe that the company wouldn't oppose them. If the opposition wont use violence then the company would win do to its massive resource base. They higher hundreds of bards and get them to go around spreading the idea that you have sex with mindflayers and are generally a very bad person. How long before your run out of town? Or I get the government to pass a law telling you that you can't operate in the city.
Black market TCs are no less effective than their aboveboard counterparts. And I thought we'd established that high-level wizards are a law unto themselves?


The bards go out and make him out to be a pervert who should be opposed. The religious leaders start calling for a boycott of your service. The city passes laws making your business illegal.
You're missing the very important and very, very significant point that the system you've developed is an insupportable threat to national security for every single country affected by the system. Every country on the planet would be literally desperate for a competitor to appear simply because it would free them to be able to actually chart their own national destinies again, being able to tell the "ruling cabal" to shove off because a TC blockade would no longer be effective. Having a secondary transportation option would be national security priority number one for every country in existence. Thus, the competitors would be able to match the funds of the original cabal through government subsidies and - while possibly losing the PR war - would nonetheless stay perfectly functional because they'd be able to offer the nations an alternative to being blackmailed by the primary servicers.

This is assuming that no nation begins to develop such a secondary network themselves, a possibility I find highly likely but haven't gotten to yet in my arguments.


Most opposition would have to take place BEFORE the network is fully operational. Hiding the creation of the network is easy so you have to oppose it after it is already established. But once the network is established its runners become very powerful and have nigh limitless resources. Opposing them is very hard. Especially if they are perceived by most of the world to be good and kind.

And millions to the poor get that perception firmly in place.

No country so dependent a single service will ever view your cabal as good and kind. No amount of PR would change that.

There really is no real-world equivalent to what you're describing, because no monopoly as thoroughly pervasive as what you're describing has ever existed. However, here's a kind of way to think about it: consider the impact that global oil markets have now on politics. Now think about what the world would look like if there were no oil sources outside OPEC, and the OPEC contries had no substantial military weaknesses.

Now imagine that someone developed bioethanol and offered it to the US government.

You'd have competitors. It would only be a matter of time.


And editing their mind so they don't bother you anymore isn't evil. Neither is dumping them is stasis.
This quote really scares me.

kellandros
2007-03-11, 12:41 PM
That wealth and power is a means to an end. High level wizards don't care about wealth or power but they do care about everyone else leaving them alone and havening the freedom to do whatever they want. The easiest way to acheive thsoe 2 thigsn is through wealth and pwoer.

Past a certain amount of wealth, it can continue to grow on its own. Great wizard can just invest in various merchant cartels. They take care of day to day issues, he sits back and does his normal wizardly things.


They go hand in hand. To understand how the D&D economy should work you have to include magic. The effects of magic on the economy are so profound that it almost guarantees that mages become a very powerful force in the world.


And almost all literature fails to think of the affects of magic on the world.
It SHOULD make mages a powerful force in the world. But it doesn't have to. Most standard D&D worlds as currently presented do not do so. So making them the driving power requires changing the world from what it was. This becomes reallya campaign issue, and the OP wanted to normalize/understand economics that could be used everywhere. A world with world spanning transportation networks and a hidden cabal of powerful mages may be a bit more magically powered than everyone wants. It would then be a choice by the DM to what they want.


You can not be stupid and be a high level wizard. <snip> Anyone half way intelligent would realize that attempting to break the monopoly could have very bad results.

Bwah hah hah hah hah! First, see PC stupidity stories thread. Being intelligent does not necessarily always make you make better decisions(I've tried RP'ing a character with a wisdom of 5. Quite fun, when you don't see why your cunning plan is not a good idea, even if it succeeds). Then consider non-logical motivations: jealousy, revenge, rival attempting to take over your group, or my personal favorite- I'm just evil, and don't care.

Hmm, could be an interesting story, The Company vs. a shadowy manipulative mastermind. Hidden guy works only indirectly, and is quite willing to get his pawns sacrificed. In fact, he may count on a violence triggering a violent response from The Company, and use that for recruiting or to demonstrate their "evil-ness". Starts recruiting some of the company's underlings to work against them. If they don't know he exists, it makes it harder to determine all these isolated problems are connected.

I generally agree with Shisumo's points about National Security; I only touched on it briefly. I want to reiterate that one possible way transportation gates would work is WITHIN a large empire. They would like the ability to send troops to subjugate rebellions quickly, plus getting tribute/support faster. They would NEVER place their transportation gate within the capital city though, but slightly outside in a highly protected and prepared fort, where they could seal it off and surround it.

============
One more point. Mercantilism, trade, and colonialism have always been historically a very nationalistic pursuit. The Wealth of Nations pointed out that a country could gain wealth and power through trade, not just land. The colonial period of European history has colonies belonging to the countries first, and then manages by the trading companies. In fact, the British East India company was formed by the government to manage overseas possesions.

Remember, military concerns trump trade. Sure I could profit and make more money, but only if I survive to do so later on.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-11, 03:21 PM
Why when the transport company offers then a position with them? For most people money is a means to an end.

"Care to join our wizards guild? We protect each other from outside threats and trade and discuss arcane knowledge. All members also have full access to the guild labs." You have just bought off most competition for a pittance.

Edit:
Then you run across someone who simply won't take orders. You know, Chaotic. It only takes one.



On the contrary. Look at every nation throughout history and all successful companies. The threaten, they fight. We are nice to those who are nice to us, we leave alone those who leave us alone, we oppose those who oppose us, and we attack those who attack us. Due unto others as you would have them due unto you.


But it would always come down to direct confrontation.


Only because you're the one pushing for it. Remember when I asked about what happens if someone simply decides to compete with you, and you started talking about things like forcibly destroying their infrastructure, mind-controlling them, and the like? You're the escalator. In the situations you were responding to, they were doing... nothing but competing. They weren't going through and deliberately destroying your infrastructure... although the Wiz-20 that goes through your system to observe it in action a single time can do so quite easily.

So, someone just goes through to compete with you on a perfectly gentlemenly manner - sets up his own starter network, underbids you (not having nearly the salary overhead) and you don't treat him in a like manner; you destroy his equipment and attempt to force his mind (wouldn't work on a competently played Wiz-20; Contingency goes off, he's gone; you get the equipment, but then, as you went through, destroyed his infrastructure, and attempted to ruin his mind, he takes your actions as precident, and begins retaliation... which you can't afford).


Neither is inherently evil. Being the legitimate authority doesn't make opposing you evil. It makes you chaotic. Forcing out competition doesn't make you evil unless you use evil means.
You mean like, oh, wanton destruction / theft of the stuff they're competing with when you find you can't price match and make a profit?

And editing their mind so they don't bother you anymore isn't evil. Neither is dumping them is stasis.
Yes it is. Especially when they aren't doing anything that's actually attacking you, just setting up their own business.


You teleport in on top of a TC? You would be leaving very quickly. Or are you Teleporting in to the arrival locations? Where security is incredibly strict? Including readied action Anti-Magic Rays. And golems.

That's not how you do it.

Round -2 Reduce Person (so there's room for you to not actually touch the circle, thus it never goes off on you)
Round -1 Fly (so you're not standing on top of the TC when you teleport in).
Round 0: Greater Rod of Maximize Spell (Time Stop) (so nothing can react to your presence - as far as anyone can tell, you were never there).
TS Round 1: Greater Teleport (so you've got the right location).
TS Round 2: Disjunction circle (unattended and thus a valid target for the spell, despite the Time Stop)
TS Round 3 and 4: Preference of the caster. Leave an Illusory Wall note, drop a few Summoned Monsters off to cause chaos and death, Disintigrate critical supports (identified by Knoweledge(Architecture and Engeneering); he is a Wizard, after all), whatever.
TS Round 5: Greater Teleport (away); can also use a Quickened Teleport and something else at the caster's prefference.

Readied action? Can't go off - everyone else is frozen.
Golems? Not a problem; they're frozen too.
Landing on top of a TC? Never touches the thing. Alternately, it permits SR.
You can't trap the TC with something that could potentially grab someone in a Time Stop - this is done in the middle of business hours, after all.

Meanwhile, he's got The Logic Ninja's defenses. He's constantly Mind Blanked, never in stays in the same place twice (but it's always extradimensional; one day, he sleeps in a Magnificient Mansion opened from the Plane of Air; another, the Ethereal plane; another, the Astral.....), has a Contingency that will deal with basically anything you'll throw at him, and so forth. He's got no expenses (he's doing it himself, none of the spells outlined above requires any continuing cost).

And your competitor only does this after you demonstrate that this is the type of business practice that you engage in. And, in fact, he's not even necessarily escalating to the point you did. If he simply destroys your infrastructure after you destroyed his, and leaves a note, he's not even engaging in attempted mind control (which you're vulnerable to - Geas (or Dominate Person) plus Misdirection = one (or more! These are comparatively low-level spells, after all) of your employees passed the normal checks then went berserk with an axe; he didn't detect as magical, after all). If he likes, he can leave Summoned monsters to batter at your customers; have fun having the masses come through when they're occasionally killed by demons suddenly appearing in their midst.

In order to "win", he doesn't have to kill any of your mages. He just needs to do one of:
1) Bankrupt you
2) Change your business methods to something more civilized

You said it yourself - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Under your own words, the business practices you've outlined demonstrate that this is the type of competitor you'll end up with.

Edit:
And that's assuming he doesn't get creative and have a little money to blow. Give a Greater Ring of Spell Storing to a familiar, pre-loaded with Teleportation Circle (costs 1,000 in material components - oh well; long as he doesn't pull this trick overly often, that's fine). And has the familiar begin casting. A handful of rounds before the familiar finishes, Do the first few steps of the above, sharing spells with the familiar. Familiar isn't casting any of them, and doesn't take any actions other than to continue casting. Familiar continues to act with Wizard during time stop (sharing spells, and RAW, it's a really, really fast speed up). As above, teleport in, Disjoin the circle... but instead of just leaving, or posting a note, lets the familiar finish casting and then leaves. There's now a replacement Teleporation circle (that will last 170 minutes; it's not Permanencied) in your "safe network" that goes to a place of my choosing. If I'm evil, all your patrons for the next three hours go somewhere deadly. Otherwise, they just end up somewhere inconvenient - say, the very edge of civilization in some random farmer's field, miles from where they intended to go, ideally right on top of a manned wall separating civilization from unprotected wilderness; not only do you need to replace the TC, but you've got three hours worth of customers who can now spread horror stories of the failure of your network, and how close they came to dying because of it.


Most can be bought off. Those who can't face you and those who can.

Not everyone is of an alignment that works well with others. You simply can't rely on this.


No. The threat of violence. You can not be stupid and be a high level wizard. It can't happen in D&D.
Actually, you can; works quite well with a low Wisdom score. But then, the Wiz-20 can destroy your business in relative safety. Successfully, even. How do you fight the chain of events listed above?

Anyone half way intelligent would realize that attempting to break the monopoly could have very bad results. They could not be stupid enough to believe that the company wouldn't oppose them.
You don't need to be stupid; you just need to be confident (or cocky, either way).

If the opposition wont use violence then the company would win do to its massive resource base. They higher hundreds of bards and get them to go around spreading the idea that you have sex with mindflayers and are generally a very bad person. How long before your run out of town?
Oooh... character assasination! He won't be. Seriously. Any government you've threatened or bullied will be a haven for him. Nobody likes being under another's thumb... especially the type that become rulers. A competitor who doesn't make crazy demands? Perfect! So what if you've spawned a race of half mindflayers and burned a few orphanages? We've got too many people anyway!

That, and bards are, by definition, non-lawful. You may find quite a few of them spreading opposing rumors just to be contrary. As a bonus, they're countering lies.

Or I get the government to pass a law telling you that you can't operate in the city.

In order to do this, you must use mind control. Seriously. Nobody likes being bullied, and you've gone over - repeatedly, mind - how you go about bullying governments. And if you use mind control, it can be dispelled. And then your pet government will be even more annoyed with you. And they'll then have an alternative which will squish most of your bullying methods.

That simply won't work.


The only way to break the monopoly would be with violence and you can't use that because it frees the companies hand.
Don't need violence. Haven't I shown that?

And once that happens you lose. 5+ level 20 wizards against you with a thousand golem army and nigh unlimited gold and popular opinion on their side?
A wiz-20 focused on your infrastructure, avoiding any direct confrontation, has absolutely no troubles with this. Most of the governments you interact with will be on his side, after all, even if not obviously so.


The company makes an example of what happens to those who attack the company and it never happens again. You are destroyed along with those who supported you. Your power base is torn down and left as rubble. Your earth is salted and your history destroyed.

So, basically, you raze cities over... a business competitor who works on the level, who you can't catch directly.

Hello Mr. Evil Overlord!


Combined with a good PR campaign any future opposition will be torn down by its own people for fear of what they may bring down upon them.

Rule by fear?

Hello Mr. Evil Overlord!



The bards go out and make him out to be a pervert who should be opposed.
Bards are, by definition, nonlawful. There will be bardic opposition, virtually by definition, at no cost to your competitor.

The religious leaders start calling for a boycott of your service.
Only the bought ones. And they'll end up being obvious about it.

The city passes laws making your business illegal.
Then unpasses them when the mind control is countered.



Most opposition would have to take place BEFORE the network is fully operational. Hiding the creation of the network is easy so you have to oppose it after it is already established. But once the network is established its runners become very powerful and have nigh limitless resources. Opposing them is very hard.
Not for anyone capable of making a similar network.

Especially if they are perceived by most of the world to be good and kind.
Won't be by just about anyone in power. You'll have all kinds of headaches from indirect opposition from people you've bullied.


And millions to the poor get that perception firmly in place.
Yeah... that doesn't actually usually work. Microsoft actually gives a lot to charity... as does McDonalds... and quite a few other corporations many perceive as destructive to various things they consider important. Generally, they're not abusive enough to need smashing... generally. You've outlined how yours will be.

elliott20
2007-03-12, 07:29 AM
Yes and no. Almost always what you said is the case with sectors of the economy that are heavily labor based. There is a time when this doesn't occur.

When Country's A Human Capital (Knowledge, Experience, Accumulated Wealth) allows it to produce the same thing as Country B but in such greater quantites that even though Country B's labor costs are so low, Countries A output per input per worker ratio is so much larger. This occurs in fields where Human Capital is more important per output than cheap labor.

For example I may hire a 40 year old software engineer for 80,000 instead of two 20 year old software engineers at 40,000 each due to the fact that the 40 year old engineer has so much more experience designing software. The each 20 year old can probably write code at the same speed as the old man(and since they are two twice the speed), but since the 40 year old has so much more experience he is able to correct problems during design instead of later debugging the problem after they "thought" they were finished.
that is definitely true. And in the case of wizards that definitely holds very well.

But in this paritcular case, we're not speaking about wizards, we arespeaking precisely about manual laborers being imported. My argument here is that people from the more highly skilled and technological society will tend to lean towards experts/wizard class combination instead of just straight peasant in order to still maintain their comparative advantage over the people outside who might be willing to do manual labor for cheaper prices.

However, this depends entirely upon trade barriers of the economy. If a city goes out of it's way to make sure that nobody from the outside comes into the city, then such importing will not be feasible and in most cases, most locals can still be gainfully employed as commoners.

elliott20
2007-03-12, 09:59 AM
sorry for the double post. However, my network keeps on eating up my posts if my post exceeds a certain size, so this is the only way I can amend any more of my comments.

ET's model contains some very questionable business practices and even without the alignment system judging it, most of the practices he's talking about are extremely unethical. libel, slander, bribery, forced duress, blackmail, arson, murder, invasion of privacy, obstruction of justice, brain washing. This is just a quick list of all the things that ET's transportation company is willing to do to stay on top. (and these don't even include some of the other practices that might very well be illegal in today's society) Unless this cadre of mages ARE the government, you can't expect them to get away with this sort of thing without the local governments getting extremely upset about it. (Hell, even IF they are the government, they won't be able to get away with it)

Jack_Simth
2007-03-12, 04:54 PM
elliott20: Pretty much.

Now, if they didn't care overly much about being a monopoly, and considered competition something that kept them tight, they wouldn't make near so much wealth, nor have near so much control... but there would be a nearly identical effect on how cities would end up ... if not more so; fair competition usually drives prices down. Over 100 cites you might end up with 20 networks, each of which connects 3 to 20 cities, but that's actually a good thing (from most perspectives). With the redundancy, the destruction of one TC isn't too harsh - you just go to a competitor until it's fixed; you don't end up stranded in most cases. If a city in the loop pases some laws that make it expensive to send goods through, there are other choices of routes, and the merchants can simply go around. You may need to deal with three different people to go from A to Z (let's see.... we hit Charlie's Loop from Alburkirky to Botswanna to Chattanooga, then Darlene's from Chattanooga to Denver to Edenbourghough....), people could sell maps of varying completeness (travel prices, relavant tarriffs, and so forth). There's probably other advantages (from the perspective of society at large, anyway). There's a drawback for governments, though - more target zones to guard.

ET's only real problem is the insistence on a monopoly.

Meschaelene
2007-03-12, 04:58 PM
I created a world with networked teleportation circles once. It was pretty cool -- but even cooler to run the party 500 years later through the ruins.

The way it worked was that each nation, in its capital city, had a large number of circles -- usually 5 or 6 to other cities within the nation and 5 to 6 other capitals. The "other cities" would have one to the capital and 3-4 to towns. This way, almost all trade for the country passed through the capital, which made it easy to tax. Totalitarian rulers like that...

I did some tweaking -- I made the circles vary in size (according to need and cost), and I made them active twice per day (once sending, once receiving). Oh, and I made them require the same construction of circle on each end. Yes, I was playing a geometer at the time... I think all of this would cut down the cost substantially, but I still imagined them to range from 50k gp to 200k. This made them actual magic items. Another magic item introduced was a brick enchanted with dimensional anchor -- which, when one was tossed onto a circle, would prevent teleports either incoming or outgoing. I never thought the city rulers would willingly put in a teleportation circle in their city that they were unable to control.

The most interesting thing was, with cheap and relatively plentiful teleports between cities, why bother maintaining roads? Why patrol the places "in-between" the cities and towns? With magically-assisted agriculture, serfs go from producing 105% of their family's needs to 210%, so you don't really need fields as far as the eye can see -- just focus on the 10 mile radius of high-production land! Just make sure you can defend it!

Why do you need to defend it? Well, without regular patrol sweeps to clear out the riff-raff, those unpatrolled areas turn feral in a hurry...

I did have a mage-guild controlling some things, but I made it pretty benign. I never figured mages to be all that concerned with ruling kingdoms -- if you can command nether-princelings, elemental dukes and angellic hosts, commanding peasants loses a bit of luster. I gave the mage-guild the grand injunction (no participation other than self-defense in political matters, such as wars between nations or civil conflicts), protection from civil prosecution in many magical matters, prosecution and police jurisdiction over particular crimes (like destroying a circle) and a mage tower in every city -- to watch over the circles, of course... Oh, and to identify recruits, watch for rogue mages, train mages and represent the interests of the mage guild. As a result, the mage guild pays for half of the circle's cost should it need replacement.

Mages were invited to the guild when they were able to cast 4th level spells, and the guild actively sought to control a monopoly on 5th level and higher spells. Wizards who surpassed 10th level without joining the guild were known as "Rogue Mages" -- but they were left alone (except for constant persuation to join) unless they were witnessed to cast a 5th level spell or higher.

I decided that this could not last long. Outcasts and rebels from these city-empires would find their way to the wilds and eventually set up their own parallel societies. The heavy central control that these circles would put into place would be notoriously inefficient, creating a self-serving bureaucracy and a disaffected populace. It would soom be apparent that, if you were willing to work hard, you could do better in the parallel society outside the walls -- and the drain begins.

The combination of external pressures from savage societies and parallel societies, plus the internal rot of ennui and self-serving bureaucracy, would cause a global collapse. Some areas would do better than others (the island where a parallel society was dominant), while others would be ruins overrun by savages and the wilds, and a few places would hold out as bastions of the magical days of yore. This was the most fun. It provided an excuse for why, in the village the PCs start out in, the local lord is an uber 7th level fighter, when the village they are in a few years later, the local lord is 15th level.

elliott20
2007-03-12, 07:51 PM
Yeah, the insistance that this becomes a monopoly does nothing except make sure that instead of a mage class being the upper class, we have 5 people ruling over the entire world. And as ET has shown, this model requires such thorough and extensive control that there is no way you can see this kind of thing as benign.

on the other hand, when we're not talking about this super cartel, it suddenly gets interesting.

First of all, you'll see all sorts of trade war go up as different travel guilds try to gain the most market share. Price slashes aside, it will also have another interesting effect: synergies and innovations. You'll find more teleportation companies trying to figure out ways to cut costs so they can under cut each other, such as trying to standardize sizes, producing less powerful version of the same spell, but more stable, or other kinds of interesting inventions. Maybe they'll come up with lower level spells that cannot teleport as far, but doesn't require as much magical energy to activate. and to make sure they get the position right, they hire people local to the area to get so intimately familiar with the area that your lower level spell is more stable.


In terms of the merchant class, specialization is going to be a lot more common among experts and wizards. In fact, a merchant institution might exist where they train people to become magic merchants and gain classes in expert/wizards so they can have maximum effectiveness in their trade. You'll see a lot more specialist wizards as they become more and more specific to their trade. You'll have people groomed to become management come in the form of wizard/experts who have what is kind of like a business/engineer double major, and then you'll have your hardcore wizzies who act like engineers. the important thing here, is that you'll find that most of the students will probably have very mediocre stats. remember, the biggest draw to attending these schools is not fitting to their potential but earning a viable trade for themselves. so chances are, you'll see a bunch of level experts/wizards engineers with a 13-15 int running around trying to figure out how to incorporate their latest magic spell discovery into their projects.

In fact, the commoner class would be reserved for maybe people living in the more rural regions of the world and that's it. Most city dwellers wouldn't even take levels in commoner, not when they can do so much better with other class levels.

I imagine that weaponry, depending upon how people feel about weapons in general, would have more controlled level outputs. Let's assume that weaponry is legal and all it takes to carry a magical one is a bit of proper paperwork. If we adhere to the laws of specialization comparative advantage, it would make sense for wizards and an expert blacksmith (who might be a low level wizard but high level expert himself) to work together and share the profits. The blacksmith would use an assembly line method to create masterwork weapons en mass, and sourcing these straight to the wizard. The wizard, having spent a crap load of his time specializing in enchanting weapons, would probably have a better understanding as to how to efficiently create and enchant weapons and magical weaponry.

These people would be like Lockheed Martin or some other military contractor equivalent, where they would do research and they would get commissioned to create magical items and spells to help give the army a nice little oomph.

Getting around the XP issue is going to be a tough one though. That rule was placed specifically for the purpose of making sure players don't go crazy and create a million +5 holy avengers and making a ridiculous profit just because he had time and moneyto spare.


I personally believe that it is not too unreasonable to simply use a new "Artificer (magical item)" skill where the higher rank you have in that, the less XP you have to spend creating magical items. Of course, that would require a table and some balancing.

But here's just a quick one

Artificer (INT; trained only)

When selecting the artificer skill, you have specify a particular kind of magical item. (i.e. wondrous, weapon, armor, etc)

Check

This check measures your knowledge of magical items and the inner workings of it beyond just how to activate it. When crafting magical items that you have ranks in, you make a skill check to see if you have discovered a more efficient way to achieve what you were seeking to achieve. With each roll, you can reduce one cost of the item. (i.e. XP, gold, time, etc) However, you can never reduce the cost of each to less than 1, no matter what.

DC
10+(total spell level)+(total caster level): reduce item cost by 10%
15+(total spell level)+(total caster level): reduce item cost by 20%
20+(total spell level)+(total caster level): reduce item cost by 30%
25+(total spell level)+(total caster level): reduce item cost by 40%

The numbers will need some tweaking, but this is the basic idea behind it.

kellandros
2007-03-13, 12:27 AM
A world with multiple companies makes more sense, especially with the limitations Meschaelene mentions. Drive down the cost, ways to block off travel, centralized control for taxsation purposes, symmetry of access(no one way gates).

One consequence would be an altered spell list- an existing and maintained system of gates would require basically magical engineers to maintain, repair and expand the system. I'd assume those involved would have a vested interest in improving the system. Spell research! There is a spell that delays teleportation into an area(giving warning) that could be adapted/improved into traffic control.

Divination would both be enhanced and reduced- by hoping between gates you can get a message from major city to major city in a day. You would still want to see what is coming, and what is going on outside the network. Probably changes would be by campaign flavor.

Are there long-term side effects to repeated teleportation, on the individuals or locations? Could range from jet lag(see three dawns on one trip), to some sort of degradation of the area. Repeated teleportation causes weakness between dimensions, or maybe causes a slight time differential? Considering magical items are normally permanent, it would give some sort of excuse to force them to recast the circles every so often.

Adventures could start off in the boonies, far away from the teleportation network. Proximity would mean reaching more civilized lands, with less monsters, ruins, and dungeons but more wealth, hirelings, and higher level NPCs. Normal travel would still be required to get from where the adventures and loot are to where you can sell and then use it the best.

==========
The below is my own speculation, please improve to your heart's content.

A split economy like this would be more complicated, but potentially useful. The cities are where the best goods come from. Most quality items are quite common, still would have to control accessibility of cheap magical items. Costs of living and land would be much higher, so prices would be kept up. The difference in availability of business for a shop within shouting distance of the transportation network and a day's travel away would be almost astronomical.

Further away, land and other costs would be much cheaper. To keep costs down, the "factories" would be somewhere outside the cities, with regular deliveries made into town. Generally only would be useful for high demand, common items that would sell quickly. How much specialization to a single product would be possible or even beneficial? Any inventory glut of unsold items could wipe out profits. Probably would be a few shops that only take custom work in the cities. They would be hideously expensive, but much faster/better quality.

Borrow the idea of mail-order catalogs in the days of rail in the US? Farmers would send their orders and money off back the east, and their goods would be shipped back to the nearest rail depot for pickup. Then you have a base price for each item(labor and raw materials) plus an additional charge for time(delay for construction, speed of delivery).

Common items in the PHB(ladders, 10 foot poles, other adventuring gear) would become a good bit cheaper- many sources available. Non-magical and non-exotic weapons would be widely available- probably keep costs about the same, but also assume there could be cheap(-1 to hit, reverse of masterwork bonus) versions as well. A large increase in the number of craftsmen would require a reduction in the skill level of the lowest rung.

Exotic or masterwork weapons - need to assume some proprotion of availablity. Perhaps take an 80/20 rule twice:
64% are cheap(80% of 80%)
32% are normal (top 20 of bottom 80, bottom 80 of top 20)
4% are masterwork

Just trying to balance the costs of Masterwork and magical bonuses is a bit beyond me at this hour.

elliott20
2007-03-13, 08:23 AM
hmm.. the specific item that would have a large enough demand, warranting an actual production line? that is a tricky question.

Much of it will depend upon the state in which society found itself in.

But I can imagine that items which nulls a function (such as a wand of create food and water) would probably not be in high demand since past a certain point it just won't get used. (of course, in EXTREMELY magical societies, it could very well be a household item)

But I imagine that a scrying crystal or minor charms of pluses to skills will be a lot more common. (don't forget, these things run for like, 100 gp each)

The one big issue that you'd run into is the problem of item costing XP. This will almost certainly deter magical items from ever being mass produced.

Sardia
2007-03-13, 02:11 PM
hmm.. the specific item that would have a large enough demand, warranting an actual production line? that is a tricky question.


Anything that produces an at-will or permanent unseen servant or prestidigitation would probably be in high-demand. They may not be the greatest thing for the adventurer, but they'd make actual life much, much better.
Decanters of endless water would probably hit the list, too-- easy plumbing, after that.

kellandros
2007-03-13, 04:04 PM
I wasn't even considering mass production of magical items yet, just the effects of improved transportation on the supply of normal/masterwork items and weapons.

How about a custom item- Magical Mailbox? Acts as a beacon/location for teleportation, allowing someone to teleport things to that location, fulfilling the need for knowledge of the destination. Limit it to only non-living items, and to certain amounts of weight and cubic footage. Basically is a receiving station for incoming packages. The useful way would be small towns and villages that don't have the means or the level of trade for a full teleporatation circle to still get items quicker than cart. The silly way is most of the very wealthy would probably get a personal one. Pizza delivery!

Would need a unique identifier(address) and some sort of key. If anyone can send you items, it becomes both a nuisance(pranks, leaflet campaigns, advertising) or a danger(bombs, cursed items arriving before your expected delivery, etc). For each delivery to allow, you can provide them with a key to use when sending. Can make it one time usage, or just revokable.

Also, to pay for things remotely would probably require the proposed "debit card", or a smaller box in reverse. That brings up trust issues- you are buying items sight unseen. What would stop someone from just running off with your money without delivering, or someone spoofing an address and claiming other people's deliveries?

Jack_Simth
2007-03-13, 04:18 PM
Also, to pay for things remotely would probably require the proposed "debit card", or a smaller box in reverse. That brings up trust issues- you are buying items sight unseen. What would stop someone from just running off with your money without delivering, or someone spoofing an address and claiming other people's deliveries?

Same thing that stops it now: Very little, other than things like reputation, tracability, and repercussions.

Reputation: This company has worked for lots of other people before. If they haven't, well, you don't order from them.
Traceability (also repercussions): They have the box number. You know it. There's probably a record somewhere, and a way to trace a specific box down. If they defraud you, you report it to the police, and the police have a rather solid lead.

Sure, there's ways around them... but for the most part, it'll work fairly well.