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Jenn
2015-12-08, 10:09 AM
Good morning all! My PCs have managed to acquire a run down old cargo ship as a method of transportation around a chain of islands- one of them suggested they use it to haul goods along with then as they go about their business to make a little side cash. They are behind on WBL and this is a lot more elegant a solution than just showering then in gp, so I agreed. Does anyone have suggestions for some less mundane trade goods? Salt and timber and grain are fine, but there's gotta be something magical they can haul too. I'm really not interested in this turning into a discussion of teleportation being a better way to move freight in a high magic society or whatever, just looking for some trade goods ideas.

Thanks in advance!

Requiem_Jeer
2015-12-08, 11:07 AM
Herbs useful in potion brewing. Harvested body parts of magical beasts. Corpses for reanimation. Powdered Silver (for churches, they need a lot of it for holy water/consecration).

Pretty much the categories of 'spell component' and 'magic item creation reagent' give you tons of options to play with.

Your general options are pretty much:

1. A plant or plant byproduct
2. An animal/magical beast/outsider part, with options ranging from transporting live, their corpses, or just the specific organ, depending on where in the supply chain you are.
3. Something mined, like salt, metal, stone, or gems.
4. Something more exotic, like frozen lightning from the peak of Mt. Frostfell, where it is so cold even lightning bolts freeze instantly.

Have fun with it!

FlumphPaladin
2015-12-08, 11:25 AM
Powdered Silver
Be sure to charge them extra for the risk of carrying it powdered already; powdered metals can be dangerous!

Mr.Moron
2015-12-08, 11:27 AM
Just a few off the top of my head:

1: Self Boiling Water: Harvested from rare ponds that appear spontaneously in lands to the south, this water gets boiling hot when exposed to air. Traders must be careful to keep in tightly sealed containers lest their investment literally boil away.

2: Dancing Tree Saplings: These plants flail their branches about and bend their trunks when exposed to rhythmic noise. Used in landscaping for the artistically inclined nobility, they can only be harvested from the wilds in the far east. Saplings catch a high price for those who want that special touch for their palace garden.

3: Roba Nut Powder: This powered firms and smoothes the skin when made into a paste with water and applied liberally, making the wearer appear years younger. The effect only lasts about 6 hours and seems to grow a bit weaker with each use, so demand is always growing.


4: Blink Pigeons: These otherwise ordinary birds can teleport home once per week. This greatly speeds their use as message carriers. Difficult to breed however.

5: Shocklate: Usually illegal, this product tastes and acts just like chocolate. However 1 hour after eating it it delivers an electrical shock to the eater. In small amounts the effect is pleasurable to some and it is used in a drug. In large amounts the shock is fatal making it a tool for murder. About half a cake made with chocolate is sufficient to be fatal.

6: Adamant Clay: Once fired this clay becomes incredibly resistant to all damage. It cannot be harmed by magic, magic cannot pass through it and it is 100x times harder and stronger than good quality steel. Very dense, a bricked-sized blob weights approximately 50lbs.

FlumphPaladin
2015-12-08, 11:43 AM
shocklate
It's like adding chocolate to AN ELECTRICAL STORM!!!!

Jenn
2015-12-08, 07:26 PM
Yeah, I am liking the suggestions so far- I am really looking for stuff along the lines of what Jeer brought up- the raw materials instead of the finished product. After all, what PC wouldn't be tempted by a cargo hold full of frozen lightning bolts?

nedz
2015-12-08, 08:24 PM
Piles of skeletons, or even corpses, for the animating thereof. Possibly still in their boxes.

Unicorn horns.

Dragon Bones, Claws, Teeth, Skin.

Pegasi feathers.

Kane0
2015-12-08, 09:27 PM
Devilweed: Easy but slow to grow, Devilweed can be dried and mixed with tobacco to intensify its effects.

Silver Palm: Large, broad leaves of a tall tree from the tropics, Silver Palm is fantastic for medicinal uses. The underside of each leaf is slightly adhesive, allowing them to be wrapped easily around limbs and over wounds even when coated in salves and poultices.

Residuum: Dust gathered from the disenchantment and destruction of magical items, this silvery powder is very handy for enchanting new items. It also produces an intense magical high when inhaled.

Spongestone: In defiance of the old saying about blood from a stone, these rocks are very similar to pumice but are capable of holding surprising amounts of fluids inside them. Contrary to actual sponges, liquid is usually extracted via shaking rather than squeezing to avoid damaging the stone.

sktarq
2015-12-08, 09:45 PM
Spices. Seriously, think about this 5 ships of trade goods leave Europe with full crews-they travel all around the world picking up a hold of cloves and one ship returns years later heavily damaged and is scrapped shortly after. Life insurance had to be paid out for the lost crews, years worth of salaries. Still made a profit.

Koalin for making high quality porcelin or rare sands that make glass that makes the best glassware for alchemy and potion brewing.

Skins-furs of exotic animals or just plain livestock hides (plus perhaps tallow etc) -these were common long distance trade goods for colonies.

Dye ingredients: Conchial (a type of red dye) was the second most valuable cargo in the Spanish Trade Convoys (and English red coats were basically a boast and market driver to steal it). Tyran Purple? Similar deal.

You know those "exotic oils" and the like in those item creation descriptions? Gotta come from somewhere-and they cost big bucks.

Asbestos-in raw form big bulk and wooly but when turned into firecloth very valuable. And your players will want to unload it.

Papyrus grown in a blessed river that is ideal for scrolls.

Koali

Wine/Mead/liquor - another big value item if your want it to be.

Dexam
2015-12-09, 12:26 AM
I tried to run a D&D 3.5e game like this once, with the PC's being partners in a small trading ship in a "drowned Greyhawk" world. Sadly, the game never took off due to player commitment issues.

However, before the game folded, their first job was something... unusual: they were hired to ferry a rock from one island to another. It was a big rock, and it had to be delivered in one piece. Why?


A stone golemís body is chiseled from a single block of hard stone, such as granite, weighing at least 3,000 pounds. The stone must be of exceptional quality, and costs 5,000 gp.

They were paranoid enough getting the thing loaded into their cargo hold, worried about dropping it off the loading dock; the look of panic on the players' faces when I told them a storm was rolling in... :smallbiggrin:

NRSASD
2015-12-09, 03:48 AM
Wood- ranging from the classier hard woods like mahogany to the morally dubious entwood

Stone- a culture long gone used these stone blocks to erect their structures, but the original quarry has been lost and now their ruins are the only source

Cloth- Sea Silk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_silk), an immensely valuable silk that can only be harvested from certain species of clams. Needless to say, this takes a very long time to produce

Pixie Blood- Though the extraction process can only be described as heartwrenching, pixie blood is a valuable base ingredient for many curative potions (credits: Endless Legends)

Prisoner's Honey- A honey produced by a special breed of bee, this honey places the imbiber in a deep and relaxing trance. Many religions and magic schools use small amounts of it to clear their minds before attempting rituals where focus is critical (inspired by Fallen London)

Whyrocknodie
2015-12-09, 07:18 AM
Eels. Live psychic despair eels to be exact - very dangerous.

Their ecology is uniquely...oh what's the point of it all...

FlumphPaladin
2015-12-09, 07:38 AM
Spices. Seriously, think about this 5 ships of trade goods leave Europe with full crews-they travel all around the world picking up a hold of cloves and one ship returns years later heavily damaged and is scrapped shortly after. Life insurance had to be paid out for the lost crews, years worth of salaries. Still made a profit.
Keep in mind also that according to legend, a ton and a half of peppercorns was enough to buy Attila the Hun off from sacking Rome.

Kane0
2015-12-09, 07:47 AM
Babel fish

Joe the Rat
2015-12-09, 08:51 AM
As has been mentioned, spices (and spell components... man, there's a lot of overlap there) can have a high per pound trade volume.
Exotic creature-eggs. Bonus points for hatching if it takes too long to reach port.
Exotic ores / ingots (Adamant, Orichalcum, Red Steel, etc.)
Durians (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian). Bonus points for this being a smuggling run.

sktarq
2015-12-09, 10:46 AM
If you put durians in the hold be prepped for reactions by players with experience to be outsized and baffling to their crewmates. Also bone up on the nausea rules.

"Overboard - throw them all into the abyss" -immediate mental reaction to the idea.

The Fury
2015-12-09, 01:22 PM
In Dragon's Quest VIII dragon dung was a item that could be picked up. I don't remember if you could sell it or anything, but it was still a really weird thing to see in your inventory. Every time I glanced at it I thought, "Dragon dung... I have poop in my backpack."

The game also had cowpats, though those seem maybe too mundane for "fantasy trading goods." Also, I love how in this game you didn't have the option of not picking up an item you found or putting it back.

Beleriphon
2015-12-09, 01:57 PM
Dried camel cake (camel dung) is a highly prized source of fuel.
Dried infernal-camel cake is a highly prized source of fuel that burns at a high temperature.

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-12-09, 05:23 PM
Babel fish

How many times do I have to say this? Fish go outside the boat!










Really, it's like I'm speaking Chinese or something... :smallbiggrin:



The more specialized whatever they transport is the more trouble they will have to go through to find buyers. I don't think you could just unload and sell a shipload of spell components in most placed. If they just want some gold, and not a side quest that may turn into a major plothook at some point they might be best of looking at the more normal stuff. Wood, live animals, metals, coal, wool, all sorts of plant products... Weirdness is added in small doses. Maybe the goblin lumberjacks specialize in producing lots of young shoots for weaving rather than large logs, maybe they have special types of wood with semi-magical properties (like combining certain types of shoots lets you weave a scry-proof wall). Maybe the wool bearing cattle from the north will go into a state of hibernation if not fed during the voyage. You can wake them up on the other side by rehydrating them. And maybe the fruits from the sober palm are so popular in dwarven countries because when you're a dwarf the palm totally doesn't live up to its name.

In a modern game I might have suggested filling the hold with pot plants, new stock every time you dock. But that may be going a bit far for this game.

EDIT: Ooh, gnomish siege equipment. The orcs are looking for every set they can get their hands on for their siege on the gnome capital.

Cealocanth
2015-12-09, 11:18 PM
Ironwood, if you don't have a spell that can transmute it, probably has to be shipped in pretty high quantities to and from the elven lands.

Mithril, orichalcum, and adamant (should they exist in your world), have to be shipped as well. They aren't carried in bucket brigades, after all.

People shipped animals overseas all the time, though it wasn't exactly sanitary. Exotic pets from the magical jungles would make fine cargo, though you would have to feed them with equally exotic food.

Weapons, armor, and tools specialized for hunting dragons, demons, giants, etc. Big tools require big ships to carry them overseas.

Consider just putting a magical spin on a common trade product. For example:


Shadowwood: Harvested in large quantities from the elemental plane of darkness, this wood is often cut into shavings for use as dye. It is one of the only plants known to the sentient races that produces a jet black dye in textiles, woods, leather, paper, etc. It is also used to make the finest inks, as the color of shadowwood does not break down when exposed to light. The Drow are a huge importer of this stuff, primarily because their culture values black dye.
Ice-Beast Wool: This rare and valuable commodity is shorn from an animal known only as the Ice-Beast, a native and quite rare inhabitant of the elemental plane of ice. The fibers of the wool are actually not made of hair at all, but of a fantastic material as flexible and rigid as wool, but made almost entirely of ice. If kept at below-freezing temperatures, Ice-Beast wool makes unbelievable material for manufacture into textiles, primarily because its property as ice makes it one of the best insulators known to man. A vital ingredient for any northern-lands explorer or ice-dragon fighter alike.
Ever-Silver: While once believed to be a kind of near-surface ore, it is now known to be biological in nature. Ever-silver is the material which makes up the petals of the silver-bell flower, which grows in fields in the elemental plane of earth. It is entirely metallic, and can be smelted at only slightly higher temperatures than mundane silver, but unlike silver, it does not tarnish, remaining brilliant and reflective for centuries longer than most mundane elements. It is highly sought-after from nobility to commoner alike.
Giant Gin: Alcoholic beverages are incredibly popular both on and off the ship, and it doesn't go bad, meaning that it is ideal for long-journey trade goods. This stuff is particularly good for this purpose, primarily because it is manufactured in huge quantities by the hill giants of the Western Steppe. While nobody has yet figured out their secret, we do know that this popular beverage is made from grinding up and fermenting trees known as sugar-pines, bark and all, into a tasty, tart, and high-proof beverage with a flavor comparable to caramelized maple syrup. Large shipments are made to the dwarven kingdoms every 2 months or so.

Jay R
2015-12-10, 08:56 PM
The big money traditionally was in spices. A small amount can be worth huge amounts of money.

The D&D extension would be spell components that are very rare in one part of the world.

A particularly cool idea would be to develop an eminently useful spell based on a material only found on an island you have discovered.

dargman69
2015-12-11, 02:04 PM
Herbs useful in potion brewing. Harvested body parts of magical beasts. Corpses for reanimation.

MesiDoomstalker
2015-12-11, 03:13 PM
Bulk Dust of Dryness. Good news! Its impossible to take on water! Bad news! If you spring a leak, you'll absorb the ocean. Oops!

Somewhat more seriously, raw versions of Adamantine and Mithril would probably fetch a pretty penny per unit weight.

The Sap of the Sperillous Tree. It's incredibly sticky and a very useful in building and the main component in Sovereign Glue.

Actually, thats all I got right now. Don't ask me what SPerillous is. I don't know.

Jelly d6
2015-12-11, 03:35 PM
Slaves.
This business never gets old.

Armors and weaponry. An army requires a lot of such stuff - the demand is always healthy. Make it enchanted if you want a magic vibe.

Objects of art, especially large ones. Like statues, sarcophagi etc.

What about manuscripts? In Medieval times, these were extremely valuable. The materials for the production were as expensive as your 8th-lvl spell components. Plus every tome required a lengthy work of skilled person.

sktarq
2015-12-12, 11:49 AM
Some kind of specialized foodstuff, possibly demimagical.

Birds nests that when made into soup have magically induced massages but the birds need to eat the berries of a bush with bug grabby powers

Hemp-no not for smoking but for bulk-major naval powers need tons of the stuff as do maritime ports for sails and ropes. It needs significant water for retting too.

Wool another high bulk, high value item. Can be made magic/exotic just by having magically bred blue sheep for example.

Veg Oil. Be it olive, hemp, canola/rapeseed, grapeseed, linseed, or whatever. Used in cooking but also in blessings (divine magics), a base for alchemy/potions, and magic item oil solutions.

Blackhawk748
2015-12-12, 12:02 PM
Voltic Rock- This rock is strange in that it conducts electricity. Mages use it in magical experiments.

8BitNinja
2015-12-14, 01:38 PM
"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

-Macbeth

AMFV
2015-12-14, 04:34 PM
Good morning all! My PCs have managed to acquire a run down old cargo ship as a method of transportation around a chain of islands- one of them suggested they use it to haul goods along with then as they go about their business to make a little side cash. They are behind on WBL and this is a lot more elegant a solution than just showering then in gp, so I agreed. Does anyone have suggestions for some less mundane trade goods? Salt and timber and grain are fine, but there's gotta be something magical they can haul too. I'm really not interested in this turning into a discussion of teleportation being a better way to move freight in a high magic society or whatever, just looking for some trade goods ideas.

Thanks in advance!

The most significant trade good up to about a hundred and fifty years ago was lumber. It's a fuel, it's used in construction. Lumber and then possibly various metals, but lumber was more important for almost everything, it's warmth, shelter, structure, the principle component in almost any tool. It's heavy also, which means that the players may need to determine a good way to transport it. (Also piles of saw dust can combust which is super fun)

Edit: Also the huge weights involved explain why teleportation isn't a viable method.

Now I realize you asked for not timber, but you might be able to use magical lumber, or magically treated lumber. Maybe you have to use magical lumber to make scrolls with, it can't be regular parchment. Maybe magical bows need magically enhanced lumber. The same could be true for metals.