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Old 06-17-2018, 01:20 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default The Economics of Enchanted Items

So, our discussion in the Magical Birth Control thread has evolved into an economics of magic discussion, and I have come to the conclusion that there are some fundamental consequences to having mages making up even 1% of the population. First, mages only need a '15' in a second tier spells, like Continual Light or Shape Earth, to allow them to replace enough goods (lantern oil in the case of a mage with Continual Light-15) or labor (laborers in the case of Shape Earth-15) to justify giving them an income of Comfortable in a TL3 society (and skill '15' in higher tier spells, like Restoration or Regeneration, should give them Wealthy or higher income in a TL3 society). Second, there is really no good economic reason for anyone with Magery 2 to create magical items unless they literally cannot do anything else with their Magery, as making $33 per day with Enchant-15 really does not compare to the $112 per day they could make with Continual Light-15 or Shape Earth-15.

So, in that case, why do enchanted items exist at the cost given in Magic? It would make much more sense for enchanted items to cost 5x as much as they do in magic, as mages that are capable of making magical items can probably make more money doing anything else than making magical items at the prices given in Magic. Of course, that makes magical items much more valuable and much rarer than they are in Magic, but I do not think that it such a bad thing, as most PCs accumulate too many magical items in most campaigns.

What do you think? Should enchanted items cost 5x as much as they do in Magic? Or do you think that it is fine that they cost as much as they do in Magic?
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Old 06-17-2018, 02:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

Economics of a fantasy world with significant number mages with the GURPS standard spell system would look totally different than any known fantasy world.

The ability to create ad manipulate huge amounts of materials(stone, earth,metals...) , the ease of canal building for transporting goods, the abundance of food with much less people needed as farmers, the ability to cure diseases, cure things like blindness and so on would make for a world that is totally different.

Thus trying to build logical traditional world based on GURPS magic is very difficult.

So I would not really worry about the math behind why something is something as it does not make sense in most cases.

If you want to use the standard magic system, then for creating magic items it is best to go the DFPRG route and just say "There is a guild that controls magic item creation, only they know those secret spells and they are not telling how much work time a given item takes their enchanters to create."

Otherwise you need to change and tweak a lot.
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Old 06-17-2018, 02:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

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Originally Posted by weby View Post
Economics of a fantasy world with significant number mages with the GURPS standard spell system would look totally different than any known fantasy world.
Have you looked at Eberron, ever?

Not saying it's a 'good' economic/world-building set-up, but the author took a heavy stab at "what would a logical world look like with a D&D magic system and magic items".
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Old 06-17-2018, 02:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Have you looked at Eberron, ever?

Not saying it's a 'good' economic/world-building set-up, but the author took a heavy stab at "what would a logical world look like with a D&D magic system and magic items".
Yes I have (I also played DDO for many years), but really Eberron is really more "pulp meets fantasy" or "steampunk meets fantasy" than an economically sensible place.
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:25 PM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

Earth to Stone is especially problematic for fantasy economics because it allows the transformation of massive amounts of earth into bronze and, with Essential Earth, the transformation of massive amounts of Essential Earth into adamant and/or orichalcum. I think that one possible solution would be to change Earth to Stone so that its effects are temporary, similar to Continual Light, which would actually make Shape Earth even more valuable because Shape Earth can shape stone. Essential Earth then just becomes really, really good potting soil instead of a precursor to adamant and/or orichalcum (though tripling food production makes urban farms much more viable).

Create Food and Essential Food do not really have as much impact as an unmodified Earth to Stone spell because they require a minimum of 6 energy per person per day and 9 energy per person per day respectively to keep people feed. With Create Food-15, each meal costs a minimum of 1 FP, which is the equivalent of eight man-hours of work replaced by Shape Earth-15. With Essential Food-15, each meal costs a minimum of 2 FP, which is the equivalent of 16 man-hours of work replaced by Shape Earth-15. In that case, Create Food needs to be worth $1.75 per meal and Essential Food needs to be worth $3.50 per meal to make it worthwhile for mages to spend the time learning them. By comparison, a Status-1 person at TL3 can really only spend a maximum of an average of $1.67 per meal for their entire household.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Create Food and Essential Food do not really have as much impact as an unmodified Earth to Stone spell because they require a minimum of 6 energy per person per day and 9 energy per person per day respectively to keep people feed. With Create Food-15, each meal costs a minimum of 1 FP, which is the equivalent of eight man-hours of work replaced by Shape Earth-15. With Essential Food-15, each meal costs a minimum of 2 FP, which is the equivalent of 16 man-hours of work replaced by Shape Earth-15. In that case, Create Food needs to be worth $1.75 per meal and Essential Food needs to be worth $3.50 per meal to make it worthwhile for mages to spend the time learning them. By comparison, a Status-1 person at TL3 can really only spend a maximum of an average of $1.67 per meal for their entire household.
It is not creating food that is the great changer, except for things like explorer missions not having to transport their own food, as create food 15+recover energy 15 allows any organic material to be transformed to 12 meals/hour or 6 meals from earth.


It is other things like:
Preserve food item with 3 lb capacity costs costs $60, thus stopping spoilage.
Bless plants will make agriculture double effect(or perhaps 6 times effect with essential earth)
Heal plant/rejuvenate plant will help stop many reasons for crop loss
Plant growth will also allow rapid food production.
If you use magic-plant spells then the harvest spell will make harvesting easier.
The weather spells can be used to make rainfall be correct amount, stop storms from damaging crops and so on.
Groups of servants done with create servant can move the produce as maintenance is free at skill 15+
and so on.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:44 PM   #7
edk926
 
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

The easiest thing to do is don't allow these spells to be as powerful as they are. Put in limitations. Make too much magic meddling anger the Gods. Have a large anti-magic movement based on all the people that can no longer get jobs because they've been replaced by mages. Introduce more destructive elements.

Now for enchanted item costs, it's really about supply and demand. If you can earn more money casting simple spells, then less people will want to Enchant. This in turn drives up the prices of magic item, which in turn will make Enchanting more lucrative, which will bring in more magic items, which will drive the price down, which will ... etc. Eventually they'll be some sort of balance point. That point is really going to depend on the World itself and commonness of magic and how extensive Enchanted items are. In the initial example, items costing 5 times as much makes sense. In other examples, the given cost makes sense.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
First, mages only need a '15' in a second tier spells...
I think an issue to be aware of is "only need a '15' in a second tier spell".

Skill 14-15 represents commandos, field surgeons, ace pilots, or the equivalent. Particularly in a Hard skill. To have a skill like that is not the kind of thing one takes for granted. It would make sense for people with that level of magical skill to be as rare or as impressive as commandos, field surgeons, or ace pilots.

Essentially, I think a huge setting issue is whether your "average" wizard is as skilled as an upper level field surgeon or ace pilot or commando, or if the "normal" person with magery is IQ 10, Magery 1, learning new spells with a beginning skill of 9.

It might change the scenario if you don't treat skill 15 as "normal" for a spellcaster, but instead view it as "extremely high."

Just some food for thought on the dedication needed to reach skill 15.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:15 PM   #9
hal
 
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
I think an issue to be aware of is "only need a '15' in a second tier spell".

Skill 14-15 represents commandos, field surgeons, ace pilots, or the equivalent. Particularly in a Hard skill. To have a skill like that is not the kind of thing one takes for granted. It would make sense for people with that level of magical skill to be as rare or as impressive as commandos, field surgeons, or ace pilots.

Essentially, I think a huge setting issue is whether your "average" wizard is as skilled as an upper level field surgeon or ace pilot or commando, or if the "normal" person with magery is IQ 10, Magery 1, learning new spells with a beginning skill of 9.

It might change the scenario if you don't treat skill 15 as "normal" for a spellcaster, but instead view it as "extremely high."

Just some food for thought on the dedication needed to reach skill 15.
Unfortunately, rules as written, the more an enchanter enchants, the easier it is to increase his skill due to the skill growth rules...

;)
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:36 PM   #10
edk926
 
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Default Re: The Economics of Enchanted Items

Thaumatology has an Enchantment Only Magery limitation in it that allows an enchanter to learn spells but can only cast them into magical items. You can rule that Enchantment is a special "form" of magic independent to other magic, and that some enchanters might have this limitation which forces them into this job.
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