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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default 4e Economic Chaos

    Currently one of my biggest complaints with 4e is one that I haven't seen mentioned here: the Economics. Particularly the economics of magical items. The price range for magical items seems to scale exponentially to the point where it costs millions of gp for a +1 effect.

    Really this doesn't make sense economically. Why would a single magical effect cost/be worth so ridiculously much? In effect a player considering buying a magical item has two choices: a) Buy the magical item or b) construct/buy and entire empire.

    It seems that the number 1 moneymaking profession in the world must be adventuring. (Or enchanting) If an adventurer goes out and finds even 1 high leveled magical item the sale of that item (1/10th? 1/6th?) is enough to retire richer than most nobility. Then don't forget the merchant who then resells the magical item for 11/10th of its worth and is now one of the richest people in the universe.

    Am I missing something here?

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    A few things to remember:

    By the time that PC's are getting the upper levels of magical items, they are already richer and more powerful than mortal nobility and kings. This is something of a given in the system. If they want to settle down and retire, then they can do so, but unless you are really into running games that are closer to civilization than traditional D&D, the game ends there.

    Also, for the exponential price differences that's really not that odd for very specialized tools. I play pool, so I'll give you an example. If I want to buy my own cue, I can buy one from Sears, My local pro shop, or have one custom made. At sears the cue, which despite being better than the housecues at my local pool hall is still pretty cruddy, will run me $15 - 100. If I buy one from my pro shop, which is a substantially better cue than the Sears model's, they will run me $150 - 750 or so. If I have one custom made, it will be 1000 and up, depending upon the manufacturer etc. The difference bettween each of the cues to someone who does not play serious pool, is probably only barely noticeable (say a +1) but to a pro, that little edge is a much bigger deal. Little differences in quality are worth a lot for those who rely on their use.
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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    I think you might be missing the part where game world economics are abstracted to only those parts that are of interest to the party of adventurers and heros, not some sort of model of realfantasy world dynamic commerce systems D&D and market forces don't play well together, never have... never will
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity View Post
    I think you might be missing the part where game world economics are abstracted to only those parts that are of interest to the party of adventurers and heros, not some sort of model of realfantasy world dynamic commerce systems D&D and market forces don't play well together, never have... never will
    Umm... My players must be odd then because my parties often gather the resources to create fortresses and influence world politics/economics. One of my favorite instances was buying a large plot of land, building a fortress restaurant (from which we continued our assissin bussiness) and then levatated the fortress. It cost us a considerable amout of time, money, (and assassinations) but was great fun. Seems like something like this would be a push over in 4e (at least monetarily)
    Last edited by veilrap; 2008-06-10 at 09:44 AM.

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity View Post
    I think you might be missing the part where game world economics are abstracted to only those parts that are of interest to the party of adventurers and heros, not some sort of model of realfantasy world dynamic commerce systems D&D and market forces don't play well together, never have... never will
    Indeed. Because otherwise, anyone can Get Rich Quick (tm) by buying two magnifying glasses and a metal tube (about 201 gp), and selling it as a Spyglass (1000 gp).

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by veilrap View Post
    Umm... My players must be odd then because my parties often gather the resources to create fortresses and influence world politics/economics. One of my favorite instances was buying a large plot of land, building a fortress restaurant (from which we continued our assissin bussiness) and then levatated the fortress. It cost us a considerable amout of time, money, (and assassinations) but was great fun. Seems like something like this would be a push over in 4e (at least monetarily)
    This is no easier in 3e as far as I can see, magic items were still the be all and end all, and in fact more useful to Jo Public and thus should have commanded a better price.
    if your players want to do this just adjust the costs of other services (masons, carpenters etc) to more in line with the stratospheric costs magic items, insist on the use of expensive rituals of your own devising, exotic bribes to the town planners guild, go wild use your imagination.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilly View Post
    I am now going to begin blaming everything that goes wrong on Charity. Just for gits and shiggles. And not even just things on the forums. Summer! Charity!

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Personally, I don't see a problem, but I play using the Dungeonomicon rationale. Depending on the level of the items you want, you're going to have to look for different vendors. Above a certain level (depending on the magic level of the campaign), you're not going to be interested in much made by a mortal smithy. You're going to have to go find a lord of the Feywild, or a great dragon, or an efreet smith in the City of Brass.

    The Feywild guy probably doesn't really want gold, he could make his castle out of gold if he wanted, so you'll be trading him favors or bottled Hope or Astral Diamonds or something. The great dragon will take your gold, but he's greedy and avaricious and he'll only part with his magic sword in exchange for wagonloads of gold (not coincidentally, about the same amount the PHB says that sword is worth). The efreet smith--well, same as the other two.

    As for selling the stuff: if you're selling your Staff of Real Ultimate Power on the Material Plane for some reason, that thing has about the net worth of the continent you're on. You're going to be selling it to the Wizard-King of Aval or the entire Elven race, and they really don't have more than a fifth of the staff's real value.

    If you're selling it elsewhere: that dragon really won't part with much of his hoard, regardless of the staff's power, and convincing him otherwise would probably be a quest on its own--difficult enough that the expected treasure gain would happen to be 4/5ths of the staff's market value. And announcing your possession of the Staff of Real Ultimate Power in front of a whole Fey court is literally asking for trouble: expect assassins in the night, and courtiers trying to seduce you into giving it up, and Fomorian titans bursting in and trying to kill you, and all kinds of other crazy stuff. And that's before you actually get down to bargaining for the thing (remember: fey are really really good at making deals).

    To sum up: if you want to sell an item at full value, you'll need to find and deal with someone willing and able to pay the full price, which is an adventure of its own. With its own expected reward, in terms of treasure. Whether that reward happens to be exactly equal to the remaining eighty percent of the item's value is up to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by veilrap View Post
    Really this doesn't make sense economically. Why would a single magical effect cost/be worth so ridiculously much? In effect a player considering buying a magical item has two choices: a) Buy the magical item or b) construct/buy and entire empire.
    I don't have the PHB, but I've got a question: if you're going to be fighting the Slaad Chaos Emperor tomorrow, how useful is a +3 wand? Now, how useful is a third of King Jared the Smooth's kingdom--the one composed almost entirely of noncombatant peasants, with perhaps a small army of mooks? I'm thinking it's possible that the army might be a little helpful against the Chaos Emperor, but not that helpful; even if you could come up with a way to mobilize all of them in one day, and transport them to where you need them, he may well be able to blast them all out of existence in three rounds with his l33t ch4os pow3rs. You may be better off spending that day (and your money) in some other fashion; say, researching the Chaos Emperor's powers so you'll know that he's vulnerable to fire, or haggling over a +3 wand so you can kill him with fire.

    It seems that the number 1 moneymaking profession in the world must be adventuring. (Or enchanting) If an adventurer goes out and finds even 1 high leveled magical item the sale of that item (1/10th? 1/6th?) is enough to retire richer than most nobility. Then don't forget the merchant who then resells the magical item for 11/10th of its worth and is now one of the richest people in the universe.
    Well, sure it's the number one moneymaking profession. PC adventurers have a ridiculous amount of skill at killing things and taking their stuff; even at level one, they're better at it than a rather large chunk of the Material Plane. Even for people with that level of skill, the massive amount of risk involved counterbalances the huge profits. Most PC adventurers live on luck alone, and even then they often end up not living.

    As for the merchant: who is he going to sell it to? Seriously. Assuming he's not a powerful adventurer himself. This merchant guy--say he's a crime lord or something--gets the Staff of Real Ultimate Power, bankrupting his organization in the process. The only people who might buy it at full price are: powerful kings, who will probably kill him and take it from him; fey lords, who will probably steal it via magic and trickery, if they don't just kill him and take it from him; powerful mages, all of whom can easily take it from him, even if they don't kill him; various nasty fiends and cultists and so on, all of whom will steal it and then--if he's lucky--only kill him with mildly excruciating tortures ... the list goes on. Even Good-with-a-capital-G entities can either take it from him, because he's being greedy and demanding ludicrous prices, or wait for some villain to steal it and then kill the villain.
    Last edited by Inyssius Tor; 2008-06-10 at 10:31 AM. Reason: moar stuff!
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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by Inyssius Tor View Post
    Personally, I don't see a problem, but I play using the Dungeonomicon rationale. Depending on the level of the items you want, you're going to have to look for different vendors. Above a certain level (depending on the magic level of the campaign), you're not going to be interested in much made by a mortal smithy. You're going to have to go find a lord of the Feywild, or a great dragon, or an efreet smith in the City of Brass.
    Unfortunatley, the dungeonomicon rationale for buying (but not selling) magical items is problematic in 4e even though the practial results can be pretty much the same. In 3e, buying items was the preferred method of aquiring new stuff (aside from stabbing the previous owner in the face that is) mainly because of the high xp costs and creation times associated with crafting magical items above the level of those that you could have made for you by slapping around your pet efreeti. This meant that if you wanted a pricey item you needed to seek it out and trade favors, souls, etc. for it.

    Sadly, those things have gone the way of the dodo, at least somewhat. Any character with access to the Enchant Item ritual can now create any magical item they want. However, they do require special compoents

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4e PHB
    ē Alchemical Reagents (Arcana): Typically these are small vials full of powdered metals, rare earths, acids, salts, or extracts from creatures such as
    dragons or basilisks.
    *snip*
    ē Residuum (Any): The concentrated magical
    substance that results from performing the Disenchant
    Magic Item ritual, residuum can be used as a
    component for any ritual. You canít usually buy it on
    the open market; you acquire it by draining it out of
    magic items.

    You can use the components associated with a key
    skill for any ritual that uses that skill. For example, if
    you stock up on alchemical reagents, you can use them
    when you perform any Arcana-based ritual. Ritual
    components are not interchangeable; you canít use
    alchemical reagents to perform a ritual requiring sanctified
    incense, for example. But you can use residuum
    for any ritual.

    You can buy ritual components at some shops,
    your allies can provide them (sharing the cost of a
    ritual with you), or you might find them as treasure.
    However you acquire components, record their
    value on your character sheet. When you perform a
    ritual, mark off the ritualís cost from the appropriate
    components.


    So adventures can be keyed off of finding the components or finding someone to sell you the components. Buying huge quantities or particularly rare alchemical reagents is going to be a task in and of it self. Joe shop keep probably doesn't have 90 pounds of troll bladder powder or an Orcus nail clipping.
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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    an interesting fairly tale I remember involved the hero being asked to retrieve 3 golden hairs from the head of the Devil. He ended up asking the Devils wife for help, and she helped him get them, and lulled the Devils suspicions every time he woke up to painfully yanked hair.

    Unfortunately Asmodeus does not appear to be blond, still, The Devil's Hair sounds like an interesting material component.

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by veilrap View Post
    Currently one of my biggest complaints with 4e is one that I haven't seen mentioned here: the Economics. Particularly the economics of magical items. The price range for magical items seems to scale exponentially to the point where it costs millions of gp for a +1 effect.

    Really this doesn't make sense economically. Why would a single magical effect cost/be worth so ridiculously much? In effect a player considering buying a magical item has two choices: a) Buy the magical item or b) construct/buy and entire empire.

    It seems that the number 1 moneymaking profession in the world must be adventuring. (Or enchanting) If an adventurer goes out and finds even 1 high leveled magical item the sale of that item (1/10th? 1/6th?) is enough to retire richer than most nobility. Then don't forget the merchant who then resells the magical item for 11/10th of its worth and is now one of the richest people in the universe.

    Am I missing something here?
    My explanation would be extreme scarcity and extreme demand.

    In terms of scarcity, high-end magical weapons are rare to the point of damn-near unique, because they demand very rare materials, require highly-unusually trained craftsmen, and take a great deal of effort and skill to create. So there really shouldn't be that many +5 Burning Longswords in the world, and certainly they shouldn't be something you can pull down from the shelf. The only ones that do exist would probably have been forged for the Brotherhood of Cleansing Flame long ago by the mad hermit-smith Trezibond (who vanished without a trace), and lost in the collapse of the Empire of Narath. If you find one of those in the ruins of a forgotten city, that's a major event, like the Crusaders finding the Lance of St. Longinus during the Siege of Acre.

    In terms of demand, high-end magical weapons are like personal nukes, in an age of hand-to-hand combat. For your average warrior, if you get your hands on one, you've become another Arthur or Lancelot or Roland, a living legend in his own time. You'll be nigh-unbeatable on the field of battle, and can forge a kingdom on the sheer strength of reputation that results. A wise king would want to horde magical weapons, construct a Round Table of magical-weapon-wielding elite kngihts to defend his kingdom against monsters and lead his armies against foreign invaders (or defenders), etc. So the competition is fierce, and the bankrolls of the "auctioneers" are the entire tax revenue of their countries.

    EDIT: Therefore, treat the cash values as simply representative of the difficulties of finding, buying, or selling something like that.
    Last edited by Vikingkingq; 2008-06-10 at 01:44 PM.

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    At the Heroic Tier, having a goal to establish an assasin's guild is the right level of perspective.

    At the Paragon Tier, you are now the empire's best assasin. You can get at the Emperor of the known world and slay them. Founding a Kingdom, or taking one over, is Heroic/Paragon Tier stuff (depending on how single-handed you do it).

    At the Epic tier, your issues are with gods, powers, and beings from outside of reality. Building an empire of conquest that takes over the world is epic.

    So line up your character's level and tier with their goals. If your characters goals are far under their tier -- yes, they might be really easy. Unless, of course, there are enemies of the same tier who are trying to stop their goals from being pulled off...

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    I second the 'Dungeonomicon' approach a lot of people are taking here.

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    Indeed. Because otherwise, anyone can Get Rich Quick (tm) by buying two magnifying glasses and a metal tube (about 201 gp), and selling it as a Spyglass (1000 gp).
    I prefer to set up an assembly line for chopping ladders in half down the middle. Two magnifying glasses don't necessarily make a very good telescope unless you have the magnifying glasses cut specially; the lenses in a telescope have to be the right size and shape to work together well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betty
    If your idea of fun is to give the players whatever they want, then I suggest you take out a board game called: CANDY LAND and use that for your gaming sessions.
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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    I prefer to set up an assembly line for chopping ladders in half down the middle. Two magnifying glasses don't necessarily make a very good telescope unless you have the magnifying glasses cut specially; the lenses in a telescope have to be the right size and shape to work together well.
    Or melt down pots for the iron.

    Or sell quarterstaves (free) as poles (not free).

    Or heck, just sit in your bedroom and conjure gold from thin air using your Profession skill.

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Hey guys,

    So I'm seeing two camps here: the ones that don't address economic concerns in the game, eg "If D&D were supposed to have an economy, they wouldn't have made it so easy to get money by not fighting" or "it's just a game and the rest of the economy doesn't matter," and the ones who want to address the issue in terms of extreme scarcity and demand.

    My response to each:
    1. D&D is about killing the bad guys, taking the loot, and the economic system the PhB is supposed to set up needs only provide a system for the exchange and optomization of that loot.
    False. At least in really good D&D games, despite what 4e would have us believe, the PCs really are part of a larger world, one that has to follow a certain set of rules. People adventure for reasons other than saving the world and killing the bad guys. Nobles and others with aspirations of power know that, like in our world throughout history, the person with the most monetary value can control others, bend nations to their will. This power is an end in itself for many would-be adventurers, and especially the rulers of the world. If moving from 1st to 15th level [4e system, 3.5 equivalent being 1st - 10th level] (an endeavor that with consistent energy takes anywhere from a few months to 3-5 years) would automatically land you as a king somewhere, or make you capable of buying anything you wanted, Adventuring would be a far more lucrative endeavor then spending 5 years serving as a Paladin to increase the likelihood that you'll have the military connections and record to merit a juicy appointment later on.

    The way I see it, yes, adventurers are powerful, but on the whole adventuring is usually a thankless job. Sometimes the heroes will come and save the town, and the townsfolk with throw a party for them, but it is the kingdom that fights the wars, collects the taxes, and generally wears the pants. Heroes are nice to have in the absence of a powerful military force, but if we're talking about a kingdom here, the adventurers are going to have to find their spot on the outskirts of the civilization, where their more limited (but still significant) influence can have more sway.

    Summary: Kingdoms exist because they are capable of defending against monster attacks and other kingdoms who would want to subjugate their people, and that sort of protection is neither cheap nor weak. In order for this to make sense in the game world, the things done by the kingdom must be more economically profitable than adventuring, otherwise adventuring would be what the peasants are trained to do from birth, instead of being taught to farm, which is more profitable and stable for the nobles.

    2. Scarcity and Demand drive magic item prices artificially higher, or the prices of the goods are not the same on non-mortal realms
    Scarcity certainly cannot be argued with, but I don't see where the demand comes from. Especially if you want to use the rebuttle to my response to #1 (the PCs are special/different from everyone else) the assumption is that there are not many people who would ever want to buy some of the random +3 items in the PhB alive at any given time. For a merchant with a Horned Helm +3d6 (1,125,000gp compared to the 45,000gp for a +2d6 and the 1,800gp for +1d6) would probably be sitting on it for his entire life if he was stubbornly demanding that you needed to pay the equivalent of twenty five items 2/3 as good as that one. The price inflation on such an item just does not make any economic sense.

    The economic problems in 4e pricing doesn't even arise from the fact that mega-priced items exist, but on the log base 4 exponential growth of item prices. For example the item above gives us an idea of how difficult and costly it is to increase charge damage at the first 1d6. However, given that the rate of return on upgrading to a slightly better item is 1/25, the hero being given the item is really better off ignoring the +2d6 damage and if he really wants to do some good distribute the extra 40,000gp among the citizens of a medium sized town or setting up some sort of school where he teaches people how to become quality adventurers (or if he's in it for self gratification, live out the rest of his live in luxury). I posit that the increases here are nothing more than the designers of 4e giving more of a feel of a 'game' to D&D, making sure that as you make exponentially more money on your adventures that the prices for your new gear that you will want to replace your old gear is also rocketing exponentially upwards. All that I see being achieved by this is turning magic item acquisition into a gradual process that is about filling up all your slots with the best items you can afford and then getting back out into the fray. This, among other things, is what I believe has evoked comparisons between 4e and MMORPGs.

    Finally, to address briefly the material plane. I'm a bit ego-centric, and this may be a less obvious stretch of logic, but in the homebrew world that I've created I needed to justify the importance of the Material Plane. How could it be that all of the most powerful creatures and gods existed outside the Material Plane, but yet the vast majority of interesting things happening in the cosmology weren't going to be the dynamics of the outer planes, but the ones of the Material Plane. The way I see it, the mortal races are somehow more destined to struggle for their lives against a greater power, hence the presence of adventurers, the desire for power, and the creation of conflict. The outer planes in my mind don't roll in and shatter the material plane for a reason: the material plane has its own power. The mortal races really can do some incredible things to change the world, so why should it be considered the case that outside of the Material Plane is when things should get more powerful?

    It's hard to deny the power of the outer planes, or the convenience of having a tiered challenge system (moving to a new plane being in some way equivalent of having 'beaten the level' of the previous plane), but I don't like the idea of building my game that way. To solve the problem and give an example of some leaking of power from outer planes, my campaign setting, http://tearsofchaos.wikispaces.com/, has certain areas that are more unexplored, unstable, rich, or dynamic, which tend to attract people more capable of surviving there, such as a pirate setting where the local government has recently discovered gunpowder weapons and no other group is capable of using them yet, making even mooks dangerous. The outer planes are certainly still powerful, but despite their potency, a trio of Solars sent to rule over a paladin empire have not been able to extinguish evil from even one continent.

    Cheers,
    James.

    PS: Hi, Matt!

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by Vikingkingq View Post
    My explanation would be extreme scarcity and extreme demand.

    In terms of scarcity, high-end magical weapons are rare to the point of damn-near unique, because they demand very rare materials, require highly-unusually trained craftsmen, and take a great deal of effort and skill to create. So there really shouldn't be that many +5 Burning Longswords in the world, and certainly they shouldn't be something you can pull down from the shelf. The only ones that do exist would probably have been forged for the Brotherhood of Cleansing Flame long ago by the mad hermit-smith Trezibond (who vanished without a trace), and lost in the collapse of the Empire of Narath. If you find one of those in the ruins of a forgotten city, that's a major event, like the Crusaders finding the Lance of St. Longinus during the Siege of Acre.
    A well-voiced point, but I think that the economic trauma that Veilrap is referring to is not that of the unique and wonderful items that should occupy unique slots, but the simple one-step iterations of common items that many heroes are going to want to get. The Rings of Protection, Gauntlets of Strength, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vikingkingq View Post
    In terms of demand, high-end magical weapons are like personal nukes, in an age of hand-to-hand combat. For your average warrior, if you get your hands on one, you've become another Arthur or Lancelot or Roland, a living legend in his own time. You'll be nigh-unbeatable on the field of battle, and can forge a kingdom on the sheer strength of reputation that results. A wise king would want to horde magical weapons, construct a Round Table of magical-weapon-wielding elite kngihts to defend his kingdom against monsters and lead his armies against foreign invaders (or defenders), etc. So the competition is fierce, and the bankrolls of the "auctioneers" are the entire tax revenue of their countries.

    EDIT: Therefore, treat the cash values as simply representative of the difficulties of finding, buying, or selling something like that.
    I think this is a perfect point about why magic items do need a more reasonable cost, because these kinds of Round Tables should exist. The fact of the world that we know is that the kingdom exists, and it is implied from there that they must have some level of military might, attained in part through magic, to maintain that existence. Since their wealth comes from economics and not usually from adventuring, it follows that adventuring should be less profitable from the standpoint of the economy than owning land, collecting taxes, etc. Of course, on a personal level, for a peasant or even a minor noble, the monetary benefits of adventuring will certainly outweigh any sum that they could earn otherwise from the world by their own hands, without subjecting others to somehow fund them.

    A good argument, though. Thinking about these things is good to better understand what is most important to us about the game and how we want the game to be run.

    Sorry for the double post, but this one is of a more readable length.

    -JP

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    The cost of magic items doesn't concern me. Such items ought to be obtained through adventuring, so I don't really care how much I'd have to spend to buy one. ;)

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quote Originally Posted by veilrap View Post
    Currently one of my biggest complaints with 4e is one that I haven't seen mentioned here: the Economics. Particularly the economics of magical items. The price range for magical items seems to scale exponentially to the point where it costs millions of gp for a +1 effect.

    Really this doesn't make sense economically. Why would a single magical effect cost/be worth so ridiculously much? In effect a player considering buying a magical item has two choices: a) Buy the magical item or b) construct/buy and entire empire.

    It seems that the number 1 moneymaking profession in the world must be adventuring. (Or enchanting) If an adventurer goes out and finds even 1 high leveled magical item the sale of that item (1/10th? 1/6th?) is enough to retire richer than most nobility. Then don't forget the merchant who then resells the magical item for 11/10th of its worth and is now one of the richest people in the universe.

    Am I missing something here?
    I'm sorry, maybe the exact numbers are different but this was exactly the same problem that was also in 3e.
    Gnoll Paladin with Zanbatou Avatar by Oregano.

    Homebrews:

    Quote Originally Posted by ExHunterEmerald
    Incidentally, Armadillo, I'd suggest you were hit by a spark of inspiration, but that would knock your armor off.

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    or 2e or 1e or BASIC...
    Honestly the economics in almost every RPG are fraught with difficulties and over simplifications, and guess why that is.
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    Heroic tier characters are Upper-Middle Class wealth
    Paragon tier characters are Millionaires
    Epic tier characters are Billionaires

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGPyre View Post
    My response to each:
    1. D&D is about killing the bad guys, taking the loot, and the economic system the PhB is supposed to set up needs only provide a system for the exchange and optomization of that loot.
    False. At least in really good D&D games, despite what 4e would have us believe, the PCs really are part of a larger world, one that has to follow a certain set of rules.
    No, the PCs are *really* fictional creations in the minds of a bunch of players. So is the world.

    People adventure for reasons other than saving the world and killing the bad guys. Nobles and others with aspirations of power know that, like in our world throughout history, the person with the most monetary value can control others, bend nations to their will.
    I take it that by "in our world throughout history" you in fact mean "in America in the twentieth century, and even then not much."

    Bill Gates is the richest man in the world by a ludicrous margin. He is by no means the most powerful. JK Rowling is significantly richer than most American Presidents, she most certainly does not have more power than them. And that's in a modern, capitalist economy.

    A thousand years ago, the most powerful man in Europe was the Pope, no two ways about it. Was it because he was the richest man in the world? Of course not, it was because he was in charge of the organization that got to decide whether you went to heaven or not. Kings did not *buy* the loyalty of their people, peasants weren't *paid* to farm the land. Money was really not very important at all.

    This power is an end in itself for many would-be adventurers, and especially the rulers of the world. If moving from 1st to 15th level [4e system, 3.5 equivalent being 1st - 10th level] (an endeavor that with consistent energy takes anywhere from a few months to 3-5 years) would automatically land you as a king somewhere, or make you capable of buying anything you wanted, Adventuring would be a far more lucrative endeavor then spending 5 years serving as a Paladin to increase the likelihood that you'll have the military connections and record to merit a juicy appointment later on.
    I'm not sure what point you're making here. That all Paragon-tier characters should be monarchs?

    The way I see it, yes, adventurers are powerful, but on the whole adventuring is usually a thankless job. Sometimes the heroes will come and save the town, and the townsfolk with throw a party for them, but it is the kingdom that fights the wars, collects the taxes, and generally wears the pants. Heroes are nice to have in the absence of a powerful military force, but if we're talking about a kingdom here, the adventurers are going to have to find their spot on the outskirts of the civilization, where their more limited (but still significant) influence can have more sway.
    Umm ... well that's a nice way to run your homebrew, but since Gygax and Arneson first said "Hey, I know, let's run a tactical wargame on a *really small scale*" adventuring has been unfeasibly lucrative.

    Summary: Kingdoms exist because they are capable of defending against monster attacks and other kingdoms who would want to subjugate their people, and that sort of protection is neither cheap nor weak. In order for this to make sense in the game world, the things done by the kingdom must be more economically profitable than adventuring, otherwise adventuring would be what the peasants are trained to do from birth, instead of being taught to farm, which is more profitable and stable for the nobles.
    You're making the mistake of viewing everything from a 20th/21st century model of economics. We're very used to the idea that you can just magically convert money into stuff you need, but a pre-industrial world doesn't work like that. If Kingdom A has farms and knights and levies with longbows, and Kingdom B just sends everybody out adventuring, Kingdom A will kick Kingdom B's arse because Kingdom B won't have any damned food, and Kingdom A won't *sell* Kingdom B any food, because they only have enough for themselves, and anyway why sell stuff to people when you can kill them and take their land?

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    The problem is using the gold standard for everything. Just don't do it. Magic items can't be used by mundanes and thus they are fairly valueless outside their mundane usage. However, to someone that does have a use for an item it could be extremely valuable. So you need a different currency for magic items... and perhaps different currencies for different tiers of magic items.

    I think ES3: Morrowind used something like that by using trapped souls. Guantlet: Dark Legacy used colored gemstones that you could gather through the levels. You needed X number of color Y to get into the next level.

    So, the basic components of magic items would be relatively inexpensive (although probably still pricey to mundanes) but charging the item up so you could use it would require something other than gold.

    Earthdawn does a good job of this by forcing the Characters to research the items and then investing some of their energy into empowering the item.

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    Thanks for responding, I'll address what I can in just a few minutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Hemmens View Post
    No, the PCs are *really* fictional creations in the minds of a bunch of players. So is the world.
    That's fine if you want to view it that way, but I see D&D as a manifestation of realistic fantasy, hence the basis of my statement.

    I take it that by "in our world throughout history" you in fact mean "in America in the twentieth century, and even then not much."

    Bill Gates is the richest man in the world by a ludicrous margin. He is by no means the most powerful. JK Rowling is significantly richer than most American Presidents, she most certainly does not have more power than them. And that's in a modern, capitalist economy.
    Having wealth and wielding wealth are by no means the same thing, the implication of my statement precluded the desire to wield wealth to subjugate. Also, the government and supercorporations wield more wealth to influence the political climate than any other force. A hermit with a set of artifacts on his kitchen table doesn't need to be changing the world, what matters is that a man who wants to rule, wants to rise through the ranks, etc, needs money in order to achieve that. Hence, wielding wealth.

    A thousand years ago, the most powerful man in Europe was the Pope, no two ways about it. Was it because he was the richest man in the world? Of course not, it was because he was in charge of the organization that got to decide whether you went to heaven or not. Kings did not *buy* the loyalty of their people, peasants weren't *paid* to farm the land. Money was really not very important at all.
    During the height of the Pope's power, he was the richest individual on the continent, the Crusades weren't cheap, and every lord had to pay a tithe to a church for the reason. The church wielded power and needed money to do so. In regards to the point about the interaction between nobles and peasants, you are of course correct, it just becomes mathematically convenient to think of what a king gains from an individual working in the fields in terms of money when we are talking about money as the currency used to attain and wield power.

    I'm not sure what point you're making here. That all Paragon-tier characters should be monarchs?
    No, the point I'm making is that they shouldn't be able to be simply by virtue of their wealth. The economic system should be structured so that they can be influential and perhaps even rich, but any wealth that they gather throughout their entire careers should still be a drop in the ocean compared to the wealth of a great kingdom.

    Umm ... well that's a nice way to run your homebrew, but since Gygax and Arneson first said "Hey, I know, let's run a tactical wargame on a *really small scale*" adventuring has been unfeasibly lucrative.
    You are absolutely correct. I'm just saying that it doesn't need to be, and the realism of the fantasy, and thus the enjoyment of the players, may be enhanced by reconciling the noble/peasant dynamic with the merchant/adventurer dynamic.

    You're making the mistake of viewing everything from a 20th/21st century model of economics. We're very used to the idea that you can just magically convert money into stuff you need, but a pre-industrial world doesn't work like that. If Kingdom A has farms and knights and levies with longbows, and Kingdom B just sends everybody out adventuring, Kingdom A will kick Kingdom B's arse because Kingdom B won't have any damned food, and Kingdom A won't *sell* Kingdom B any food, because they only have enough for themselves,
    It's true that food needs to be grown, but I find that in most every D&D campaign, the actual space relegated for farms in no way matches up with the proper Medieval equivalent, where the vast majority of every inhabited area was farmland. To me that necessitated an increase in the technology of farming in the world (which to me made sense moving to the Burgher class, thus the appearance of large cities). Thus, a smaller proportion of the population should be able to feed the majority, and many kingdoms have much more food than they need. For example, (though this is going way back) Imperial Rome was totally dependent on Egypt for its grain, and the governors and merchants dealing in the grain became incredibly wealthy in the trade.

    and anyway why sell stuff to people when you can kill them and take their land?
    Because they've gotten the majority of their peasants to take up adventuring, and now fighting them means facing the wrath of a bajillion lvl5 fighters when the breadwinners return home :p

    Anyway, hope I quelled some concerns and clarified my argument a bit, sorry for the difficulty.

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    Question: Why are magic items so expensive?

    Answer: Because if they were cheap, why would you bother adventuring to find them?

    Question: Why wouldn't everyone adventure then?

    Answer: Because adventurers get killed. Frequently. And painfully. Your PCs are the rare few who stand out, the ones who are destined for greatness.

    Question: Why not make it a more realistic economy?

    Answer: Because it's a friggin' game!
    Last edited by FoE; 2008-06-10 at 11:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veilrap View Post
    Currently one of my biggest complaints with 4e is one that I haven't seen mentioned here: the Economics. Particularly the economics of magical items. The price range for magical items seems to scale exponentially to the point where it costs millions of gp for a +1 effect.

    Really this doesn't make sense economically. Why would a single magical effect cost/be worth so ridiculously much? In effect a player considering buying a magical item has two choices: a) Buy the magical item or b) construct/buy and entire empire.

    It seems that the number 1 moneymaking profession in the world must be adventuring. (Or enchanting) If an adventurer goes out and finds even 1 high leveled magical item the sale of that item (1/10th? 1/6th?) is enough to retire richer than most nobility. Then don't forget the merchant who then resells the magical item for 11/10th of its worth and is now one of the richest people in the universe.

    Am I missing something here?
    Yes, you are missing the numerous other threads complaining about how D&D economics doesn't have the realism of real life economics. Why some people want to turn this into a Macro-economics class is beyond me, but I think several people turn a blind eye to economic weirdness in the real word. Do you think it costs $4k to make a designer womans purse? Yet they sell for that (some for much much more), and as far as I can tell they have no ability to help you in your fight against the forces of evil at all!!

    If you are having a hard time placing economic value of high level magical items into the world at large of your campaign, keep in mind that high level magical items have no place in the world at large in your campaign. The $$ are derived to give you some baseline so they fit into the mechanics of item creation. Seriously, is any DM out there gonna let a PC BUY a holy avenger? No, but it gives you a reference point on how valuable the item should be considered in reference to other items.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face Of Evil View Post
    Question: Why are magic items so expensive?

    Answer: Because if they were cheap, why would you bother adventuring to find them?

    Question: Why wouldn't everyone adventure then?

    Answer: Because adventurers get killed. Frequently. And painfully. Your PCs are the rare few who stand out, the ones who are destined for greatness.

    Question: Why not make it a more realistic economy?

    Answer: Because it's a friggin' game!
    ****Clap, clap, clap****

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGPyre View Post
    Thanks for responding, I'll address what I can in just a few minutes.


    That's fine if you want to view it that way, but I see D&D as a manifestation of realistic fantasy, hence the basis of my statement.
    That's fair enough, I'm not sure I'd ever use the words "D&D" and "realistic" in the same paragraph, but that's just me.

    Having wealth and wielding wealth are by no means the same thing, the implication of my statement precluded the desire to wield wealth to subjugate. Also, the government and supercorporations wield more wealth to influence the political climate than any other force. A hermit with a set of artifacts on his kitchen table doesn't need to be changing the world, what matters is that a man who wants to rule, wants to rise through the ranks, etc, needs money in order to achieve that. Hence, wielding wealth.
    You make a very good point, but notice something interesting. We started off talking about *money* (actual gold pieces) and ended up talking about *wealth*. They're two very different things.

    The government weilds *power* because it has a mandate to do so. "Wealth" in this context is the application of resources to achieve a goal. Nowadays it is convenient to think of those things in terms of cash money, but in a preindustrial setting it's actually rather misleading.

    During the height of the Pope's power, he was the richest individual on the continent, the Crusades weren't cheap, and every lord had to pay a tithe to a church for the reason. The church wielded power and needed money to do so. In regards to the point about the interaction between nobles and peasants, you are of course correct, it just becomes mathematically convenient to think of what a king gains from an individual working in the fields in terms of money when we are talking about money as the currency used to attain and wield power.
    I don't think the Pope was the richest man in Europe. The Church was probably the richest institution in Europe, but that's a different thing altogether. Either way the point is that the pope was not powerful because he was rich, he was rich because he was powerful.

    Again, this is where the transition between the modern and preindustrial world kicks in. Nowadays it is perfectly sensible to talk about the "currency used to attain and wield power" in terms of money, because we have a capitalist, free market economy and most people can get most things just by paying for them. In a preindustrial society that was not the case.

    No, the point I'm making is that they shouldn't be able to be simply by virtue of their wealth. The economic system should be structured so that they can be influential and perhaps even rich, but any wealth that they gather throughout their entire careers should still be a drop in the ocean compared to the wealth of a great kingdom.
    The problem is that you're confusing "wealth" (the means with which to wield power) with "money" (little bits of shiny metal).

    You point out yourself that Kingdoms derive their legitimacy from their ability to protect their subjects from the dangers of the world. Doing so requires trained men willing to fight to protect your kingdom, weapons to arm them with and food to feed them with. It doesn't matter how many Platinum Pieces you can haul out of holes in the ground, you can't feed an army without farmers, you can't make weapons without blacksmiths, and you can't buy any of this stuff because you don't have the economic infrastructure to support the trade networks.

    I'd also point out that by the time your PCs are *actually* richer than whole Kingdoms, they're going to be pushing Epic at which point they're actually *supposed* to have more personal power and influence than most kings.

    You are absolutely correct. I'm just saying that it doesn't need to be, and the realism of the fantasy, and thus the enjoyment of the players, may be enhanced by reconciling the noble/peasant dynamic with the merchant/adventurer dynamic.
    That's fair, I just genuinely think that the best way to reconcile it is to say "yes, you have lots of money, most people actually don't want money". There's actually nothing wrong with PCs being richer than the king, any more than there's anything wrong with Bill Gates being richer than the Pope. The Pope is still Pope.

    It's true that food needs to be grown, but I find that in most every D&D campaign, the actual space relegated for farms in no way matches up with the proper Medieval equivalent, where the vast majority of every inhabited area was farmland. To me that necessitated an increase in the technology of farming in the world (which to me made sense moving to the Burgher class, thus the appearance of large cities). Thus, a smaller proportion of the population should be able to feed the majority, and many kingdoms have much more food than they need. For example, (though this is going way back) Imperial Rome was totally dependent on Egypt for its grain, and the governors and merchants dealing in the grain became incredibly wealthy in the trade.
    You're right that most D&D settings just shouldn't be sustainable without some kind of magical technology feeding the people, but I feel that it's better to make the simple fluff change of saying "there's way more farmland than is shown on the map" than the complicated mechanics change of changing the costs of everything in the book.

    You're quite right, of course, that the excercise of power requires material resources, but the idea that said material resources can be money and nothing else is a distinctly 20th century concept. No matter how much money you have in a feudal kingdom, you can't just buy some land. You can hire some mercenaries and capture some of course, but a Paragon teir character can do that sort of thing *anyway*, mega-wealth or no.

    Because they've gotten the majority of their peasants to take up adventuring, and now fighting them means facing the wrath of a bajillion lvl5 fighters when the breadwinners return home :p
    Unfortunately, in 4E, the peasants will all be Human Minions, and therefore be marching into a dungeon with 1HP each...

    Anyway, hope I quelled some concerns and clarified my argument a bit, sorry for the difficulty.[/QUOTE]

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    Summary: Kingdoms exist because they are capable of defending against monster attacks and other kingdoms who would want to subjugate their people, and that sort of protection is neither cheap nor weak. In order for this to make sense in the game world, the things done by the kingdom must be more economically profitable than adventuring, otherwise adventuring would be what the peasants are trained to do from birth, instead of being taught to farm, which is more profitable and stable for the nobles.
    This argument forms the basis for most of your other points, and I can see why you'd assume this... but essentially, you're forgetting the fatality rate. The vast majority of adventurers die a horrible, horrible death long before they accumulate any significant wealth, which means that on average it probably is more profitable to go farm because there's a much better chance you'll live for more than 20-odd years.

    This doesn't mean that adventuring isn't enormously profitable for people who survive, though; to use a real-world equivalent, farming is working a steady factory job with GE and adventuring is becoming a movie star. Working for GE is steady, stable employment. Becoming a movie star is enormously profitable, but the failure rate is extremely high. The vast majority of people who set out for LA to become Movie Stars end up working as a waiter, doing "adult entertainment" or otherwise scrubbing out. Because of the failures, people who work for GE probably make on average more money than people who go to become movie stars on average... but then you get people like George Clooney or Tom Cruise.

    If you ignore the failure rate everything you said makes a certain amount of sense, but if you include it the reason why nobles don't tell all the little peasants to go kill kobolds becomes a little more clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGPyre
    False. At least in really good D&D games, despite what 4e would have us believe, the PCs really are part of a larger world, one that has to follow a certain set of rules. People adventure for reasons other than saving the world and killing the bad guys. Nobles and others with aspirations of power know that, like in our world throughout history, the person with the most monetary value can control others, bend nations to their will. This power is an end in itself for many would-be adventurers, and especially the rulers of the world. If moving from 1st to 15th level [4e system, 3.5 equivalent being 1st - 10th level] (an endeavor that with consistent energy takes anywhere from a few months to 3-5 years) would automatically land you as a king somewhere, or make you capable of buying anything you wanted, Adventuring would be a far more lucrative endeavor then spending 5 years serving as a Paladin to increase the likelihood that you'll have the military connections and record to merit a juicy appointment later on.
    Except, of course, that players are special. They have the potential/fate/luck/etc to be able to advance and gain power as fast as they do.

    If we want to tell a story where characters advance from "competent" to "epic power levels" in the course of a few dozen play sessions, then you cannot really believe that applying the same rules of advancement to society in general will result in something reasonable, do you?

    If you want to stay in the "low level power" game, you have to slow or stop player advancement in the Heroic tier.

    As an example, your characters could gain a single level every 20 encounters, with 3 encounters per gaming night, and the game world progressing in pseudo-real-time at ~one gaming night per week. An "extended rest" becomes a week of rest and recuperation in comfort, or a month in less comfort. The encounters are not tailored to the characters, which means that the first level players might encounter a level 20 encounter in their first adventure and all die. In fact, that is more likely than actually running into a first level adventure.

    Ie: Upwards of 90% chance of TPK in every encounter due to overwealming force. With extreme care (and lots of running away), the characters can drop this to 50%, resulting in ... still next to zero chance of reaching even level 2.

    Let's roll the death (without rez) chance down to 25%, and have it take 3 weeks to gain a level at 3 encounters per week. Then 1 in 13 adventuring parties die before they reach level 2.

    Let's suppose this repeats. They look for tougher encounters to test their skills. Then to reach level 21 (lowest epic), you need about 154,472,377,739,119,461 adventuring parties to start off at level 1.

    So under this more generous model, your PC party of epic adventurers is still unprecidented. That horned helm? It was produced by dwarves when they where slaves of the primodeals, before the Gods, and it has been in the treasury of a lord of the city of brass since then as a trophy.

    For a merchant with a Horned Helm +3d6 (1,125,000gp compared to the 45,000gp for a +2d6 and the 1,800gp for +1d6) would probably be sitting on it for his entire life if he was stubbornly demanding that you needed to pay the equivalent of twenty five items 2/3 as good as that one. The price inflation on such an item just does not make any economic sense.
    The only merchants with Horned Helm +3d6 would be epic-tier merchants. So we are talking about elemental djinns who make deals with mortals, contacted through rubbing lamps, or other thigns of similar exoticness.

    And that djinn? He wants only 125 astral diamonds for that +3d6 Horned Helm. How do you get these diamonds? That isn't his concern. And no, he doesn't take gold or platnium.

    ...

    To protect the mortal plane, you could have barriers placed there by the Gods against the Primodials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Hemmens
    Money was really not very important at all.
    Money becoming important was the rise of the merchant class during the first industrial revolution in Britian. It was shocking, that someone without titles of nobility and grants of land could have serious influence!

    Quote Originally Posted by JGPyre
    That's fine if you want to view it that way, but I see D&D as a manifestation of realistic fantasy, hence the basis of my statement.
    4e has thrown in the towel on that one. It is a toolkit to advance players through a sequence of adventures, not a world simulation engine.

    3e didn't throw in the towel explicitly, but it still failed miserably at it. 4e just doesn't window-dress the failure.

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    @ Don
    Yeah... I think you're right that on some levels I was confusing wealth and money. You're point about my implementing a more modern currency system on what should be a more medieval setting I think is reminiscent of the worlds that I have always played in having a touch of a steampunk feel to them. That is, though still an entirely medieval setting, some of the most influential people are those that have risen from the bottom through clever utilization of money/wealth/whatever and become something akin to mega-corporations. For example there is an incredibly wealthy merchant with a powerful navy who a hundred years ago literally bought a city from its elven lords whose empire was falling apart. On the other side of the continent, a half-dwarf who started his career by methodically conquering thieves' guilds now holds an entire region in his palm and has earned the title "The Bastard King."

    So, on the whole I see where you are coming from now. Thanks for the discussion, I enjoyed it.

    @Zip
    Yeah, character fatality and the proportion of successes is a serious issue, one that would realistically preclude an empire deciding to sally forth all of its peasants for the adventuring profession. However, what I was getting at by turning potential farmers into adventurers would be having a kingdom sponsor adventuring, like: take kids at the age of 5, train them along a specific path until their 18, making sure that they work together and learn tactics, etc. Tell each of them that the kingdom gets a majority of what they take... blah blah...

    Actually that's not that unreasonable in some settings, now that I think about it, having a sort of "Adventurer's school."

    There is also the idea that at some point (especially in 4e, less so in 3e) that the rewards of adventuring even moderately successfully vastly outweigh the difficulty of being raised from the dead... but that's a different discussion. I personally dislike raise effects, and have made them extremely difficult to perform (from a material component standpoint)... unfortunately the tradeoff for me there is that DMing a campaign there is more weight on my shoulders if I make the decision to kill off a PC; but that is a totally different discussion. Your point is well-taken.

    @ Yakk
    The "PCs are special" theme of 4e is one of the things I dislike most about the system, and is very much a part of my verdict on 4e: "They took the wrong first step and did everything right after that."

    As far as how I handle random encounters, here's my rationale, but I run D&D games different than most, the idea of getting 3 combat encounters every session, or even 1 every session, is assuming too much. We are lucky if there are 2 combat encounters in a weekend of 20+ hours of play.

    My rationale is that things above a CR of 12 or so are not going to be wandering the countryside without the party being able to hear about it before they see it. Random encounter tables assume that you want to choose some challenge to present the party, but the way I look at it more realistically is that the chances of you finding a group of 3 human bandits is about a thousand times more likely than some high CR monster from the depths of the MM2 or 3.

    The only random encounters that I really perform are when characters are traveling through troubled terrain. That is, if a certain region is a grazing ground for dinosaurs, or tiger hunting ground, or whatever... they might run into one of those.

    This brings me to your next point, about the tier system. As you might expect from my rather sparse encounters, levelling for my parties does occur rather slowly. There are two reasons that I love doing it this way.
    1) As you pointed out, epic characters really don't feel 'tied' to the world. So slowly going through the meat levels, 5-13 or so, really gives the characters an opportunity to find a niche within the world, get a grounding in what it means to be a part of the world, and enhance the realism of the fantastic setting.
    2) Slow levelling for PCs in my eyes implies even slower levelling for most NPCs, and justifies a more minion-oriented system of conflicts. While it's kindof fun to think of minions as 1hp punching bags asking to be fireballed, I much prefer Tolkein's interpretation, where one hero can be the difference between victory and defeat, but the only way to stand in the way of an army is with an army. So while the heroes were instrumental in the victory at helm's deep, or at Minas Tirith, the real grit of the fighting and winning is done by the minions. In order to make that a mechanistic reality, minions need to have some level of power that's more threatening to the PCs, especially in great numbers.

    Concerning the Horned Helm, my point about the diminishing returns of the benefits of the item are salient here, why is +2d6 25 fold less expensive than +3d6 from a standpoint of some kind of realistic valuation system?

    Finally, the idea of somehow protecting the mortal plane from outsiders.

    I think this is a wonderful idea that gives the material plane a touch of "specialness" that is not present in the outer planes. In my world, at the end of the first age, a god of freedom and chaos sacrificed himself to put what scholars call a "power cap" on the world. That is, the more you level up, the more powerful you become, the more godly essence you acquire. When you reach a certain threshold of godly essence between avatar and god (around 25th level from nonpsionic characters and 22nd level for psionic characters in my world) you are ejected from the material world into the astral plane by the power cap. This has made the material plane an even better battle ground for the influences of the gods, who have been clashing heads since the dawn of time about the ultimate truths of existence, and whose views are absolutely "correct."

    It's been fun talking with you guys, but I don't think I have any more arguments to posit.
    -JP

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    Default Re: 4e Economic Chaos

    Quick Disclaimer: the following post is full of subjective opinion, houserules to D&D economics, and food for thought. YMMV.

    Anyway, it's pretty clear upon inspection that the D&D economic system in any edition is hairy at any level, and is flat-out-broken at high levels. There are a few ways to fix this. The first of these was explained above, treat it as a pre-industrial society where it's a bit hard to get full money for something you're selling. This fits in if you're sticking with the initial 4E assumptions that the PCs are special, but as with everything, it has its downfalls...especially in 3E, when swords can be worth an entire continent. Personally, I prefer to not have to say explicitly, "Ok, you beat out the odds, congratulations", when they're beating out the odds every time they make characters...I would argue that it hurts verisimilitude a bit if you're constantly by default really, really lucky.

    An option I prefer is to consider that magic is as industrializing a force as any technology, thus increasing the total wealth, and that the PCs are just slightly special cases. (I'll be speaking in 3/3.5E terms here, since I don't know 4E enough to make the same comparison, but it should be easy to make the mental switch.) This goes along with one of my greatest pet peeves about many traditional settings: if spellcasters are so brokenly good, why in hell is society "traditional feudal with monsters and spellcasters tacked on top"? In a peasantry where maybe 5% can potentially cast spells of 0 level and 3% can cast spells of 0 and 1st level, if all of those resources are pooled and used, there are enough spells available per day to better sustain a farming system enough that much of the farming peasantry suddenly doesn't need to be doing that, and can move on to other pursuits, and then entire system changes drastically from there. For example, since it's so easy to keep everyone fed for very cheap, specialization abounds -- thus creating higher-level NPCs as guards, crafters, artists, etc.

    But what place does this system have for PCs? Parts of that specialization. Sometimes an employer or the city guard or whoever can't spend the men to send their own after the giant rats in the sewer, and as such they have to hire people to clean up the extras. Maybe some wealthy merchant wants a bodyguard for a walk through a dangerous part of town. Maybe you've been hired as a repossession crew, your pay being 1/10 of the goods repossessed. If they get powerful enough, they make names for themselves; like any successful company, reputation is important, and they get hired for bigger and better jobs. After awhile, the local smiths don't have the magic to keep making items, and they'll have to find other means to upgrade their gear...and like any huge company, when you're powerful enough, you eventually gain the means to be your own boss, buying, creating, and obtaining your own resources to further your goals. (Side note: Bill Gates is more powerful/wealthy than many third world countries, so this isn't too far off. )

    Wow, I'm rambling. Basically, the system as-is is broken, but fixes itself with just a dab of real-world economic theory. Alternatively, don't worry about it...just keep repeating the MST3K mantra.
    Last edited by Andras; 2008-06-11 at 01:24 PM.

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