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Old 09-29-2017, 06:42 PM   #1
Lameth
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default The price of Ore

Hello I have PCs that are about to enter an area of the world in a mountain range that is rich in iron, as well gems. In a nearby trading city near the dwarven mines, I know they will want to purchase ore for the PC smith and maybe some gems for the PC wizard.

My questions is, how much should Ore cost right at the source? Or steel? Or fine quality steel bars? And the gems as well? If a gem goes for 175$ per caret on the open market, does that mean right at the source is may be 50$ per caret for an example?

And how to stop the breeding of economic chaos for the game? If a PC travels, buys 1000 in gems that he knows he can sell it back home for 3000 lets say. Or is that simply the way real things work?

thank you
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:56 PM   #2
safisher
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Default Re: The price of Ore

Pyramid 87, Low-Tech III has an article in it that is one of my favorites, Medieval Sea Trade by David Pulver. It has a list of common trade goods, priced by the ton, plus a system for trading those goods. You can find all your questions answered there. If the PCs want to be traders, instead of dungeon crawlers, it is a great source.
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:41 PM   #3
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: The price of Ore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lameth View Post
And how to stop the breeding of economic chaos for the game? If a PC travels, buys 1000 in gems that he knows he can sell it back home for 3000 lets say. Or is that simply the way real things work?

thank you
It can be the way things work, but only in the right circumstances.

The question is, why aren't other people doing the same thing, in large numbers, and collapsing the price differential?

The only really likely answer I can see: very few people can do so, at least without it costing around $2000 in transport expenses. This might be because it's an arduous trip, it might be because nobody knows about the opportunity, it could be because it requires limited special resources (be that long-range ships or trade licenses issued by the Dwarf-king) too rare for demand to be saturated.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:39 PM   #4
John_A_Tallon
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Default Re: The price of Ore

If you follow the traditional gem company model it's because of careful cultivation of a monopoly using economic incentives, bribes, political advantage, and outright violence.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:02 PM   #5
a humble lich
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: The price of Ore

For a location where there is regular trade, one way to estimate the cost for ore, gems, etc, is to estimate how much it would cost a merchant to ship goods out, including the profit for the merchant. The cost in the mountain range will be the normal cost minus this. This means for bulky and heavy materials like iron ore you could probably get a pretty good deal, but for light easy to transport materials like gems there is probably not much of a difference, unless there are other factors involved (like if it is dangerous for merchants to travel to the region).

In some locations it might not be possible to buy items direct from the suppliers like this. If you walked up to a diamond mine in modern South Africa and said you wanted to buy some uncut diamonds, they would probably tell you to go to Antwerp like everyone else.
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:11 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Default Re: The price of Ore

Cost plus 50% extra for each set of hands is passes through is a simple rule I have used before.
Say pepper is produced at a cost of $100 a pound and passes through 11 sets of hands to get to your corner of the world. Farmer, broker, spice merchant, shipping 1, shipping 2, spice merchant 2, shipping 3, shipping 4, spice merchant 3, shipping 5, spice trader. The end result is pepper is worth something like $8650 a pound after traveling down the silk road. (Which might be a bit cheap historically).
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