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Pricing Goods And Services In Home Brew Settings

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  • Pricing Goods And Services In Home Brew Settings

    I like to create home brew settings for the games I run, but I've never been all that good at creating the economic bit of the setting and end up "borrowing" from similar settings. I'd greatly appreciate any input other GMs or home brew authors as to reference materials I should look at, or how they decided on how their settings economy/pricing worked.

    Currently, I'm building a 1800's modern/fantasy (The Wild Wild West(TV) + D&D) setting and am currently "borrowing" the price list from Deadlands, but want to bring in magic weapons/armor/items, and am not sure how they should be priced on the market compared to more 'mundane' items. Since the setting incorporates firearms, and as guns were seen as the great equalizer of their time, how should that impact prices of guns and magic items in such a setting?

    I am moving to the SWADE rules, but am not a huge fan of the Wealth rules outside of more SciFi settings, so would like to keep pricing to the current Bucks and Crowns (Cash and Coin) system.

    Any input is welcome, Thanks.

  • #2
    One product that I like to build homebrew economies with is Grain into Gold (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...rain-Into-Gold). It is system-less, so it does work with Savage Worlds.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the forum!

      The answer is going to depend upon what the magical gear does.
      Do they provide enhancement bonuses, increasing relevant Trait and Damage rolls or Armor values for armor? Do they provide special abilities like force fields, geysers of flame, flight, etc.?
      What magical items can do will affect the answer a lot.

      My general advice is that magic items, being rare and taking a while to make, should cost at least as much as a good horse.

      Firearms are a great equalizer because a) they mostly don't care about the strength of the shooter, b) they don't care about the fighting skills of the defender, c) they trivialize light armor, d) they reduce heavy armor sufficiently that it's not worth the trouble, e) they're relatively easy to learn, and f) they're relatively inexpensive.
      Most of that is represented by tthe basic rules of firearms. Firearms have low minimum strength requirements, unlike swords and hammers. Firearms are ranged attacks (TN 4) unlike melee weapons (TN Parry). Firearms generally have AP 1 or 2, negating or seriously reducing the effectiveness of armor. Due to the low TN of ranged attacks, Shooting d6 is enough to be a threatening combatant. And last, the listed prices are noteworthy but significantly less than something like a horse.

      Firearms do have some downsides in a magical world. They require specialized ammunition, which is vulnerable to fire. They are very loud, which isn't a problem for bows. Generally, magic is really good a shielding from physical objects (note the barrier power), which can render firearms practically useless.

      Good luck and I hope that helps.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the responses. I'll give the Grain into Gold book a look.

        The answer is going to depend upon what the magical gear does.
        I'd be including everything from small talismans and potions, rods and staves, and enchanted weapons and armor. I want the setting constructed so that melee weapons are still useful in the setting, and in some cases the only option against certain enemy/monsters that firearms are unable to handle.

        I like your comparison of costing as much as a good horse; that gives me a good starting point.

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        • #5
          Glad to help.

          Melee combat is 100% viable in any Savage Worlds game. Powerful ranged weapons make it a very risky strategy, requiring clever movement to get close enough to strike, but once you get into Fighting range melee combat is very powerful. I've played, and watched, a number of melee characters operate in modern and science fiction settings and all of them were viable when played with some sense.
          I frequently advise players not to have their characters bring guns to a knife fight - it doesn't go well for the gunman.

          Single use talismans and potions are probably priced similarly to grenades or dynamite. They're powerful items so they're worth paying for, but need a cost reduction due to being single use.
          Rods, staves, weapons, and armors should all be about the same price. Especially powerful examples should probably not be for sale for money; favors, other relics, or positions of power would be the correct currency.

          Good luck!
          I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

          Comment


          • #6
            In Hellfrost one can buy alchemical devices. They represent single-use, basic-spell items and cost 100 bucks per rank of spell. Just for orientation: Hellfrost is a high magic setting.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Corax View Post
              basic-spell items and cost 100 bucks per rank of spell
              Do you use the same guide for devices that grant Edges?

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              • Corax
                Corax commented
                Editing a comment
                Well, I never thought about it. In Hellfrost, items that permanantly grant anything, like Edges, are "Legendary Relics", which cannot be created anymore as this knowledge is lost. I think there is no rule for pricing, but those artifacts are incredibly valuable and can only be found.
                When the item temporary grants an Edge, I would say the system would just work well, but you have to make up a duration. I think in Hellfrost alchemical devices have an duration of one hour (or instant).

            • #8
              A thing to keep in mind is that cost doesn't correlate to game stats.

              To use a real-world example. I own a Chevy Spark, which was $15K when I bought it new. The cheapest Porche is about $60K.

              $15K or $60K, each vehicle is just as good at transporting me to where I need to go. Now the Porche will be more comfortable, but it will not get me somewhere 4 times faster.

              Firearms replaced bows as the cost shifted from training to equipment. It took a lot of time (and money) to train archers. It took little time to train peasants to shoot a gun. If an archer was killed, that investment was lost. If a musketeer was lost, the equipment could be recovered and re-assigned.

              Ammunition was also cheaper to mass-produce for firearms.

              In the 16th century took about 2-man hours to produce an arrow as they are surprisingly complex in construction.

              Firearms ammo was comprised of black-powder (later gun-powder), lead bullet, and wadding. All of these items could be made in batches.

              Armor fell out of favor as the use of firearms increased; the expense and comfort level of wearing armor did not correlate to the protection that it offered.

              Armor didn't offer that much protection against bows and crossbows; but when the majority of the combatants were melee units, it made economic sense. As the front-line grunts started to use firearms, the use of armor made less sense.

              Here is an interesting article about the economics of light:
              https://www.npr.org/2014/05/02/30904...e-to-buy-light

              Getting back to magic.

              There isn't any Real World equivalent to magic. We don't have any metrics on what magic can and can not do nor how difficult it is to make magical items.
              You are in complete control of this. If magic items are rare and difficult to create, then the price will be high. If magic items are easy to make and common place, then the price will be lower.

              As you are adding in magic weapons/armor/items, the two big questions you need to ask are:

              1) Why does a mundane equivalent exist in the marketplace?
              2) Why is there still a market for this item?

              Example: if a Wand of Force Bolts exists, why do revolvers exist?

              Maybe the wand has a Reload:1 requirement, so it fires less often. Maybe the wand has a shorter range. Maybe the wand does less damage. Maybe wands are difficult to make and thus are more expensive than a revolver.

              Why would a market still exist for Wand of Force Bolt?

              Maybe it has the Heavy Weapon trait and can punch through thick armor that regular bullets would bounce off of. Maybe it never runs out of ammo and is prized by folks that spend months or years away from civilization. Maybe it is silent and thus the preferred weapon of criminals. Maybe they are cheaper than revolvers.

              Depending on your answers, you can ballpark the price.

              Finally, I would worry too much about an exact price. Prices in those days varied greatly as they didn't live in an on-demand economy where product could be quickly re-located to match demand.

              Comment


              • #9
                Great post. Thanks

                I found this interesting reference source for U.S. prices and wages broken down by century and decade: http://libraryguides.missouri.edu/pricesandwages/1800s
                It has brought up another angle I keep forgetting to take into consideration, and that is how much the average person is making in relation to how I'm rewarding the characters. This will obviously change from affluent city folk to those living in the frontier.

                There isn't any Real World equivalent to magic.
                I consider modern high-tech devices a close equivalent.

                Why would a market still exist for Wand of Force Bolt?
                One good reason would be Elves. Since basic Elves are stuck with the "All Thumbs" hindrance, one would think that they would rather arm themselves with a magical equivalent to a firearm, especially now that they will suffer a -2 penalty when using mechanical/technological devices.

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by Krydoza View Post
                  One good reason would be Elves. Since basic Elves are stuck with the "All Thumbs" hindrance, one would think that they would rather arm themselves with a magical equivalent to a firearm, especially now that they will suffer a -2 penalty when using mechanical/technological devices.
                  The sample races in the rule book are just that, sample races. You are completely free to design your own version of elves that do not have the "All Thumbs" hindrance.

                  But, you have the right idea in that certain sections of the population would have a preference for magical items.


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