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Old 12-28-2017, 09:18 PM   #1
Lameth
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Salt

I have simple and I hope easy question. In the dungeon fantasy game in the treasure table describes salt as $15 per ounce. Is that correct? Historically speaking salt was used as a packing agent and perversion when pounds and pounds would be used. Prices seem very high for sure me.

Is there a better chart for spices also? My players are getting close to a bizarre they will come in contact with more exotic spices
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:30 PM   #2
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Salt

The price of salt could vary radically from place to place - it was an important trade good carried for considerable distances in quite a few different places.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:49 PM   #3
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Salt

Like most rocks, it's super cheap near its source, and expensive far away. Unlike most rocks, people die without it. And we modern folk are a bit spoiled with all our seasonings. Back in medieval (like) times, for many peoples, it was either salt or nothing spice-wise.
Then again, your game, your rules. If it feels off to you or your players, then no RPG police will break down your door if you change the price.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:02 PM   #4
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Salt

In France, in the 17th and 18th century, salt was a royal monopoly, licensed to the king's favorite in each region (for a healthy franchise fee), and sold for high prices. They were high enough, in fact, so that peasants (largely women, I believe) were hired to carry it from region to region for black market sales. And the penalty if you were caught was breaking on the wheel.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:53 AM   #5
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Salt

While it is true that prices vary a lot, and salt is often heavily taxed (for practical reasons, it's easier to find and tax a limited number of salt producers that it is to keep track of everyone to collect a head tax, and will produce the same result, you're basically using the salt merchants as tax collectors), $15 per ounce is ridiculous. That comes to something like $300 a year for enough salt just to keep a person *alive*. Charge everybody that and in a setting where Average starting income is $1000, anybody Struggling or poorer would be dead.

Spice prices have a tendency to be ridiculously exaggerated in games because "everybody knows" they were valuable in the past. Which they were, but valuable in the sense that a *shipload* of them was worth a fortune, not a belt pouch full. If it sells for more than silver, it's overpriced, though there are moments when a specific spice did manage to cost more than its weight in silver (including right now - saffron, which still has to be hand picked from flowers with a very low yield per plant, and hence hasn't fallen from its low tech price nearly as much as silver has, runs about $100/ounce wholesale).
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:18 AM   #6
Bruno
 
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Default Re: Salt

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
$15 per ounce is ridiculous. That comes to something like $300 a year for enough salt just to keep a person *alive*.
If nothing else in your diet has sodium in it, perhaps... humans die without salt, but salt doesn't just come from salt merchants. The most obvious source of salt is animal products (which include insects, modern western people keep forgetting that), but some kinds of (human edible) plants pick up salt from the soil too where present.

And where it's present in the soil, people do eat soil - well, clay, usually; it's more pleasent and easier on the teeth. This is common behavior among the other great apes too.

Who manage to not die from sodium deprivation despite having no money to buy salt, I might add, along with all the other animals.

In some places you need to trade for salt (or salt-containing things) - particularly if animal protein isn't part of your diet. In all places and for all diets it's nice to trade for salt because we're just as crazy about it as we are about sugar and fat.
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:26 PM   #7
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Salt

I have read that most people prefer diets with 2-4 times as much salt as they need. With certain age groups like preteens having an unusual craving for it, such that soups that rate highest among them are revolting to adults.
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Salt

Salt was expensive. The phrase "not worth its salt" came around because only the best quality meat was worth the expense of preserving in salt.
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Old 12-29-2017, 03:02 PM   #9
Turhan's Bey Company
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Default Re: Salt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lameth View Post
I have simple and I hope easy question. In the dungeon fantasy game in the treasure table describes salt as $15 per ounce. Is that correct?
Not even remotely. Prices in Treasure Tables don't even have a glancing relationship with historical reality. They're utterly fictional, meant to celebrate the specific and the exotic, ignoring any sort of economic reality you can think of.

The historical prices I have readily to hand for salt (exported to a non-salt-producing region) put a pound of it at about the daily wage of a middle-class craftsman. I'd call that around $25/lb.
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Old 12-29-2017, 03:17 PM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Salt

In late medieval England, salt was half the price of butter and five percent of the cost of ginger (https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/SPICES1.htm).
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