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Old 12-31-2017, 01:34 AM   #31
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Salt

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Originally Posted by Phase_Shifter View Post
This would be the first time I've ever heard bacon or ham referred to as having "low fat content."
Well, bacon is more than 50% meat, so it seems inevitable that it's low on fat, right? ^_^
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:21 AM   #32
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Default Re: Salt

I follow a 18th century America, reenactment group on youtube. Here is the episode on salt pork, I only post it because he's going on 18th century cook books and he really works at doing things in period and we're discussing salting meat for preservation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdmPIpQZPRg
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:03 AM   #33
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Default Re: Salt

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Originally Posted by seycyrus View Post
Are the prices or anything in DF realistic? I have known that salt was off for some time now, but assumed that prices for fabrics and gems etc. were more in line with reality.
One thing to remember about price lists is that none of them will ever be that close to reality. Even here in the modern world where we ship stuff from all over the planet and deploy dozens of different technologies to ignore growing seasons stuff varies in price by a factor of 2 from day to day in the same location (just think of all the times you've seen something go into an ad Buy One Get One Free or 50% Off). A historical price list that rounded everything off to a power of 10 would be as realistic as anything, but nobody would take it seriously.

There are also sometimes serious hidden assumptions. Gems are one of those - historically gem prices were independent of modern ideas of what "kind" of stone was involved - because none of the buyers or sellers had any idea what it was made of! We often can't tell in historical records - for example Pliny's discussion of gemstones are usually translated to refer to the most esteemed of gems as diamonds, which is the stone we use the descendent of the word he does to refer to, but many the properties he describes them as having better fit quartz than carbon crystals.
Historical pieces of jewelry with stones of wildly different values set in equivalent positions, or centerpieces of stuff we'd consider vastly less precious than stuff used on the periphery are not uncommon. We laugh (or protest the injustice of) historical stories of people taken in by glass beads, but in fact those were just as fair deals as diamonds would have been - it was a trade based on how pretty they look, not what they are made of well into the 18th if not the 19th century.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:00 AM   #34
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One thing to remember about price lists is that none of them will ever be that close to reality. ...
Granted, but now I am worried about "Burlap: 1 million dollars per square foot!"

The price of salt was out of place for me, I don't want to have to do a reality check on every item.

How bad is DF? Is it self-consistent?
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:07 AM   #35
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Default Re: Salt

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How bad is DF? Is it self-consistent?
The DF line is about 99.44% internally consistent (there will always be inconsistencies that crop up), but I find it only 85%-90% consistent with most other GURPS products. This conversation about salt and the tangent about gems highlights the cross-consistency, IMO.



Funny thing: some cultures historically valued colored gems (sapphires, rubies, topazes, emeralds, amethysts) and semi-precious stones (such as lapis lazuli and amber) over clear diamonds because they were more interested in the color rather than purity. I can somewhat relate; I personally find diamonds uninteresting to look at, preferring the colored "lesser" gems.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:50 AM   #36
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Default Re: Salt

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Funny thing: some cultures historically valued colored gems (sapphires, rubies, topazes, emeralds, amethysts) and semi-precious stones (such as lapis lazuli and amber) over clear diamonds because they were more interested in the color rather than purity. I can somewhat relate; I personally find diamonds uninteresting to look at, preferring the colored "lesser" gems.
Many colored gemstones could be cut or ground into attractive shapes. Diamonds are generally ugly lumps that could, at best, be polished into a luster. Diamond comes from a Greek word (same origin as adamant) that means "untameable."

Similar thing with platinum, which was considered a waste byproduct of silver since it couldn't be melted.
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:22 AM   #37
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We laugh (or protest the injustice of) historical stories of people taken in by glass beads, but in fact those were just as fair deals as diamonds would have been - it was a trade based on how pretty they look, not what they are made of well into the 18th if not the 19th century.
Er, I don't think the people carrying those glass beads for trade thought that - they carried glass beads rather than gemstones for a reason. The recipients likely would have seen it that way at the time. But that's because they didn't understand the imminent future of extensive economic contact with people who considered those beads quite cheap...
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:56 AM   #38
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Default Re: Salt

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Funny thing: some cultures historically valued colored gems (sapphires, rubies, topazes, emeralds, amethysts) and semi-precious stones (such as lapis lazuli and amber) over clear diamonds because they were more interested in the color rather than purity.
There's nothing "pure" about diamonds (most diamonds are a little coloured anyways) and there are other colourless gems. Nor are they particularly scarce in the earth, more difficult to dig up, and these days they aren't particularly tricky to cut.

The deal with diamonds is a near monopoly and a brilliant (pun not intended) marketing campaign - a thing that can happen to any luxury good.

See also Venetian glass for glass geegaws that we still value extremely highly, even as we tend to sneer at "regular" glass beads. Glass beads, by the by, can be some rather elaborate things, not blobs of glass with holes in them.
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:57 AM   #39
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Default Re: Salt

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Originally Posted by seycyrus View Post
How bad is DF? Is it self-consistent?
It's self-consistent in that if there's a price for something in one place, that same price should be used in other places for the same item [1]. And prices for common and adventuring goods (basic clothing, cooking gear, etc.) are consistent with Basic. As for historically accurate prices...yeah, that's really, really complicated. malloyd already pointed out that historical prices and even current prices are wildly variable. On top of that, I'll add that prices exist in a context. There is no one historical price for, say, pepper. A pound of pepper in 11th century Malabar will cost you far less than that same pound of pepper in 11th century London. For a more detailed example, you can see the massive variability of silk prices laid out in Hot Spots: The Silk Road. Salt's a slightly odd case, but when it comes to spices, the numbers get crazy and very specific to a time and place.

That's why Low Tech doesn't even try to set prices for stuff like spices. Prices are influenced by technology, but ultimately they're a setting-specific feature which LT and the like can't cover. You, as the GM, have to make decisions for your setting using the Luxury Pricing rules on Low Tech. Since DF presents a specific gaming milieu, I was happy to set some prices in ways I didn't in that section of Low Tech. Treasure Tables sets prices fairly high by comparison to ranges of historical goods. The context is one which prizes, as I say, the specific and the exotic and is also packed with other valuable loot like magic items and fantasy-tech gadgets. It's the kind of place where spices are expensive. If you want historically accurate prices for your campaign, you have to get into what the circumstances that that history are.


1. As much as possible, I tried to make raw material prices, like fibers and fabrics, not entirely out of line with items made out of those materials. However, since I had to take as fixed precedent prices from Basic which were not themselves established on any consistent basis, there can be the occasional case of something seeming oddly too cheap or too expensive.
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:07 PM   #40
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Default Re: Salt

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Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
Many colored gemstones could be cut or ground into attractive shapes. Diamonds are generally ugly lumps that could, at best, be polished into a luster. Diamond comes from a Greek word (same origin as adamant) that means "untameable."

Similar thing with platinum, which was considered a waste byproduct of silver since it couldn't be melted.
I heard somewhere that platinum was sometimes called fool's silver for looking like something valuable akin to fool's gold.
But that could be apocryphal, or just my mangled memory.
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