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    Default An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    I recently thought of this idea for handling the huge economic gap between magic items and the mundane, as lets face it most PC's are wearing enough wealth to retire in luxury fairly early on which can actually be a problem for a get rich motivated PC. As that goal is accomplished fairly easily.

    Because the economic gap is so huge my idea is to simply make them separate economics. In this way adventures are no longer carrying the economy of a small country on their back. Their still rich but the gap becomes much smaller as you'll see below.

    First we come to the basis of it, Chrysm, a magical mineral that when properly refined can store magical energy and is used to create magic items, write in spellbooks and would even replace the gem components in some spells. Deciding what material components switch from gems to chrysm is up to you. You can make a spell much harder to cast if it stays GP. 5,000gp of diamond for a raise dead spell is much harder to come by when you can't easily trade magic items for gold.

    *As Chrysm is a naturally occurring magical material it is impossible to create with magic even True Creation.*

    Instead of measuring the value of magic items in gp its done in Chrysm measures or CM's. So paying to enchant +1 Sword being 2,000cm's. Instead of 2,000 GP. If you sell that sword you get 1,000cm's but no gold.

    To keep these economies separate entities its a 10 to 1 exchange rate. BOTH ways, So 100gp can be traded for 10cm and 100cm can be traded for 10gp. Yeah its not an even transaction because its not the same economy.

    The mundane aspects of the item still need to be configured, if you want to buy a +1 sword you need to pay 2,000cm for the enchantment and 315gp for the physical sword.

    Now as Chrysm should appear in random treasure the easiest way is to simply have 20% of all gems instead be chrysm. So if you roll up a 2,000gp emerald roll a d10 and on 9 or 10 its instead a piece of chrysm worth 2,000cm.

    So what are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-01 at 06:51 PM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    How is it a 10 to 1 exchange both ways? Do you have to physically convert gold itself into CM (or CM into gold) and the process destroys most of it? Because if you're just buying CM, or selling CM, it doesn't make sense that you can only sell it for 10% of the market rate. What's your logic?
    Last edited by Lysander; 2010-10-01 at 11:50 PM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    How is it a 10 to 1 exchange both ways? Do you have to physically convert gold itself into CM (or CM into gold) and the process destroys most of it? Because if you're just buying CM, or selling CM, it doesn't make sense that you can only sell it for 10% of the market rate. What's your logic?
    It does if you think in the sense of a money changer, someone who deals primarily in gold has very little use for chrysm. While someone who deals in a lot of chrysm would be able to sustain themselves with magical gear quite easily so they have little use for gold.

    And sense when does D&D require logic? By tenth level a party of adventures are carrying around the wealth of a small country how is that logical? I could simply say you CAN'T trade chrysm for gold period, but I figured I'd leave an option if your truly desperate.

    The point of making them separate economies is so a party of adventurers aren't carrying the wealth of an entire country on their back by level 10.
    Adventurers who deal in both are the ones who get shafted.

    If it went in one direction say 10gp=1CM it make items really cheaper as selling the mundane crap you usually ignore is now worth it. If it was 10cm=1gp that just magnify the gap that already exists.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-02 at 12:17 AM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    What doesn't make sense here is this. If you can only buy gold/chrysm at a price of 1 to every 10 you spend, what about the person selling it to you? They're getting 10 for every 1 they sell. How come they can sell it at that high price but you can't?


    And if chrysm is a raw material, shouldn't it be treated like any other trade good such as wheat or copper? Sure, not everyone needs it. But if you can trade it to someone who does need it, wouldn't that make it valuable to everyone?

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    What doesn't make sense here is this. If you can only buy gold/chrysm at a price of 1 to every 10 you spend, what about the person selling it to you? They're getting 10 for every 1 they sell. How come they can sell it at that high price but you can't?


    And if chrysm is a raw material, shouldn't it be treated like any other trade good such as wheat or copper? Sure, not everyone needs it. But if you can trade it to someone who does need it, wouldn't that make it valuable to everyone?
    Fine it can't be trade for gold period does that make you feel better, I only included the ability for conversion in case a PC was really desperate the main point is to separate the two economies.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-02 at 02:04 AM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    If there's an exchange rate between them, they're not separate economies.

    Personally I don't think any contortion is needed to explain why gold and high-end items are separate economies. Anyone who needs or can make a +5 sword is sufficiently powerful that they can buy, seize, or just magically produce any conventional goods they need. They're not going to give away their +5 swords for anything they can get easily, so only other magic items or goods of similar rarity can be used to pay for items on this level. "Magical ore that replaces material components" is a pretty good currency choice for this, but by making it a currency that can buy high-end magical items it's pretty much by default not going to be available for any amount of gold.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Actually a level 20 character can't even afford a castle let alone a minor nation. And while most people don't make that much money their total net worth after years and years is often a few hundred gp to a few thousand.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Actually a level 20 character can't even afford a castle let alone a minor nation. And while most people don't make that much money their total net worth after years and years is often a few hundred gp to a few thousand.
    I was exaggerating, if you think about the value of a +1 sword, no bandit would wield one. A stay at a good Inn and two good meals costs 3gp a day. That minor magic item could support you for nearly a year. He's better off selling the item and living off that money then risking his life using it.

    If magic items can't be exchanged for gold then the bandit has a very good reason to wield magical gear. He can't sell it for food so he might as well use it to steal what he needs.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Here's an idea for a few tweaks to make this a bit more flavorful and have it make a bit more sense:

    1) Each CM is only usable by one person that it considers to be its master. Any attempt to use CM that belongs to another (whether it is the CM itself as a spell component or a magically enhanced weapon built using that CM, etc, etc) will have no magical effect. Spells that have such a CM as a material component will fail, and any weapon or items will function only as their mundane counterparts.
    1a) If a weapon or item is made using various CM that, in total, consider multiple people to be their master, the weapon or item in question will not function for any of them. Its all or nothing.

    2) To become the master of a CM (whether raw CM or CM that is contained within a weapon or item) you must do one of the following:
    2a) Kill its former master (or destroy if undead). If multiple people are involved in killing said master (say an adventuring party killing a big bad), the CM will respect those people's collective judgment on how the CM should be split amongst them.

    2b) Have the CM in your possession for an extended length of time, the exact length of which is dependent on the disposition of its former master towards you (if any) and how often he had said item on hand. As a few baselines:
    A spare unused CM containing weapon from a fellow party member should consider the new posessor as its master in a day.
    CM that has just been dug out of the ground (no previous owner) will take about a couple weeks.
    CM that is routinely handled by a merchant trying to peddle it should take about a couple months (though it can be a crapshoot, who knows who last owned it).
    CM that is found in an item in a chest somewhere in an (unslain) rival's dungeon should take about 6 months to a year (Unless the master of said item was one of the random mooks you slaughtered somewhere in the dungeon, in which case see 2a).
    CM that is found in said rival's weapon of choice should take about a decade.

    2c) Do a relatively expensive ritual to change whom the CM (again, whether raw CM or as part of a magical item) considers its master to be to any person of your choice which consumes about 10gp for every 1 CM transferred.

    How this tweaks the economics:

    The cost of turning gold into (usable) CM is high because of the ritual needed to transfer ownership in a short amount of time. If the players wish to wait it out, then they can do so, but the longer they wait, the longer the big bad is unchecked....

    On the other hand the cost of turning CM into gold (by selling it) doesn't net much gold per CM because said CM is almost by definition pretty useless to the buyer since they aren't its master and so they won't pay that much for it.
    Last edited by cha0s4a11; 2010-10-02 at 03:17 AM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by cha0s4a11 View Post
    Here's an idea for a few tweaks to make this a bit more flavorful and have it make a bit more sense:

    1) Each CM is only usable by one person that it considers to be its master. Any attempt to use CM that belongs to another (whether it is the CM itself as a spell component or a magically enhanced weapon built using that CM, etc, etc) will have no magical effect. Spells that have such a CM as a material component will fail, and any weapon or items will function only as their mundane counterparts.
    1a) If a weapon or item is made using various CM that, in total, consider multiple people to be their master, the weapon or item in question will not function for any of them. Its all or nothing.

    2) To become the master of a CM (whether raw CM or CM that is contained within a weapon or item) you must do one of the following:
    2a) Kill its former master (or destroy if undead). If multiple people are involved in killing said master (say an adventuring party killing a big bad), the CM will respect those people's collective judgment on how the CM should be split amongst them.

    2b) Have the CM in your possession for an extended length of time, the exact length of which is dependent on the disposition of its former master towards you (if any) and how often he had said item on hand. As a few baselines:
    A spare unused CM containing weapon from a fellow party member should consider the new posessor as its master in a day.
    CM that has just been dug out of the ground (no previous owner) will take about a couple weeks.
    CM that is routinely handled by a merchant trying to peddle it should take about a couple months (though it can be a crapshoot, who knows who last owned it).
    CM that is found in an item in a chest somewhere in an (unslain) rival's dungeon should take about 6 months to a year.
    CM that is found in said rival's weapon of choice should take about a decade.

    2c) Do a relatively expensive ritual to change whom the CM (again, whether raw CM or as part of a magical item) considers its master to any person of your choice which consumes about 10gp for every 1 CM transferred.
    It be easier to link the items to a specific person then a form of currency. Cut out the middleman so to speak. And a linking system make it extremely difficult for PC's to buy, trade or loot magic items without extensive
    downtime.

    I'll stick with my magical currency for magic items and mundane currency for mundane items.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-02 at 03:23 AM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Actually a level 20 character can't even afford a castle let alone a minor nation. And while most people don't make that much money their total net worth after years and years is often a few hundred gp to a few thousand.
    This is true only when you assume that WBL is both "magical items owned" and "conventional wealth owned" in combination. Which, granted, is the assumption made by the DMG by default, but not an economically sensible one or one supported by the rules.

    Why is it not an assumption supported by the rules? Because the assumption tells us that a level 20 wizard can't afford a small castle, while the rules tell us a wizard can create his own pocket universe with whatever nonliving geographical features he wants, can produce quality finished goods from raw materials by glaring at them and casting two spells from relatively low on his range, and can make structures of stone or iron materialize out of nothingness. He can literally create ex nihilo whatever material goods he desires, and this is the person who makes items appropriate for level 20 characters. Why would he accept a heap of gold and jewels for his products? If he wanted that, he would have made his demiplane a beach of 24-karat sand littered with fist-sized rubies, or else saved some effort by Planar Binding elementals to go gather huge heaps of gems from the Plane of Earth (or the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Minerals if that's still around).

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Lets not mention the genesis spell again please, I really don't want this derailed into arguments about what the spell actually means and I can tell its the kind of can of worms waiting to be opened.
    I know some of you are just waiting to jump in and argue about what the spell can and can't actually do
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-02 at 03:58 AM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Lets not get into the genesis spell, I really don't want this derailed into arguments about what the spell actually means and I can tell its the kind of can of worms waiting to be opened.
    Okay. Leaving aside Genesis, though, there are just a ridiculous number of ways that full-casters can generate essentially limitless conventional wealth. (And, well, if there weren't, I doubt there would be half as many threads about how to fix D&D economics. Maybe a third. ) The thing is, when you think through the implications of a full-caster being able to generate essentially limitless conventional wealth, the inevitable conclusion is that conventional wealth is valueless when dealing in items produced and desired by characters of sufficient level to access these methods, which is to say high-end magic items.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Benly View Post
    Okay. Leaving aside Genesis, though, there are just a ridiculous number of ways that full-casters can generate essentially limitless conventional wealth. (And, well, if there weren't, I doubt there would be half as many threads about how to fix D&D economics. Maybe a third. ) The thing is, when you think through the implications of a full-caster being able to generate essentially limitless conventional wealth, the inevitable conclusion is that conventional wealth is valueless when dealing in items produced and desired by characters of sufficient level to access these methods, which is to say high-end magic items.
    I usually always drop the ban hammer on methods to generate unlimited wealth anyway or I would if anyone in my group thought it was a good idea. But certainly making conventional wealth worthless for getting magic items could drop the motivation for other groups.

    And it explains why evil minions don't run off with their gear and retire in luxury as opposed to fighting to the death against a group of adventurers who've killed dozens of similar henchmen.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-10-02 at 04:14 AM.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    I usually always drop the ban hammer on methods to generate unlimited wealth anyway or I would if anyone in my group thought it was a good idea. But certainly making conventional wealth worthless for getting magic items could drop the motivation for other groups.

    And it explains why evil minions don't run off with their gear and retire in luxury as opposed to fighting to the death against a group of adventurers who've killed dozens of similar henchmen.
    What I like about this is that it doesn't require dropping the banhammer on wealth generation. You don't have to cut out or handwave around any of the pile of spells that make it possible starting at.. what, level 9? 7? I forget. You hit those levels, you Fabricate out a huge pile of valuables, sell them to a merchant, make a bundle, you never have to worry about affording rations again. You just won't be able to use that money to buy level-appropriate items.

    Lower-level items can still be available for purchase rather than trade, so that the situations where you find a stash of gold and jewels and can finally afford your +1 armor can still exist. After all, while high-level wizards can create all the money they want, there are still wizards out there who haven't reached that point yet but can already enchant low-level items, and they'll probably be reasonably amenable to the idea of trading a few weeks' work for your chest of bejewelled scepters.

    As for underlings selling their gear below its true too-huge-for-gold value and retiring in luxury.. well, okay, here's a hypothetical situation. Imagine that a guy drives up to you in a Porsche, takes out the keys, puts them in front of you, and says "I need cash. If you give me all the money you have on you, the car's yours."

    How long do you expect to own that Porsche before the law notices? Sure, it's possible that he owns it legally and is just in a weird situation, and you might decide that riding around in a Porsche for a few days is worth whatever you've got in your wallet, but chances are you'll decide it's not worth getting involved in what's probably a car theft.

    Actually, let me make the decision easier. Imagine that you live in a world where Porsches are almost exclusively owned by guys who have enough personal power to slaughter an entire town full of schlubs like you without breaking a sweat, and in fact make a living doing almost exactly that. Does this influence your decision?

    And that's why henchmen don't sell their +whatever equipment.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    I was exaggerating, if you think about the value of a +1 sword, no bandit would wield one. A stay at a good Inn and two good meals costs 3gp a day. That minor magic item could support you for nearly a year. He's better off selling the item and living off that money then risking his life using it.

    If magic items can't be exchanged for gold then the bandit has a very good reason to wield magical gear. He can't sell it for food so he might as well use it to steal what he needs.
    I don't know about that. Let's say a bandit gets a magical sword he could sell for enough money to support himself comfortably for a year, or even ten years. He'd only sell it if he couldn't make more money as a bandit. It really depends whether he's a bandit out of desperation, or whether he views robbing passing caravans as a wise career choice. For example, look at a pirate crew. Sure they could make a lot of money selling their ship, but by keeping it they get to earn a fortune plundering on the high seas.

    I understand you wanting to prevent magic from necessarily meaning wealth though.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    I don't know about that. Let's say a bandit gets a magical sword he could sell for enough money to support himself comfortably for a year, or even ten years. He'd only sell it if he couldn't make more money as a bandit. It really depends whether he's a bandit out of desperation, or whether he views robbing passing caravans as a wise career choice. For example, look at a pirate crew. Sure they could make a lot of money selling their ship, but by keeping it they get to earn a fortune plundering on the high seas.

    I understand you wanting to prevent magic from necessarily meaning wealth though.
    Well Piracy's not quite as good of an example, by keeping their ship they can steel five more and sell them. A magic weapon isn't required or that necessary to rob caravans, but a ship is required to steal a dozen others.

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    Well Piracy's not quite as good of an example, by keeping their ship they can steel five more and sell them. A magic weapon isn't required or that necessary to rob caravans, but a ship is required to steal a dozen others.
    Maybe not required, but it's definitely helpful. If you plan on doing something dangerous on a regular basis you want to minimize the risk however you can. Having a magic sword or armor might mean the difference between stealing a huge amount of loot and being killed by caravan guards.

    Also, some magic items can be looked at in a military context. A high ranking knight with a +5 sword is carrying the fantasy equivalent of a fighter jet. It's expensive but not overpriced for what you need it for (protection of the realm, defeating evil dragon, etc.)

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    Default Re: An economic idea [3.5 D&D]

    Sorry if I am repeating something that was already said, but...:

    I just want to point out that there is one item that is worth acquiring for just about anyone, and the acquisition of which I THOUGHT could motivate adventuring to fairly high levels... a Rod of Security... wait a second. I know you could share them... just find about 25 "room-mates"... but that makes... good grief... nearly eternal life can be had for about 3,000 GP if you don't mind sharing living space...

    I take it back... everyone who just cares about luxury retires before level 10...

    Carry on (although I just have to say that something that takes things in the direction of more natural economics gets my vote)... haven't actually been following this thread.
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