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Old 05-17-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
gilbertocarlos
 
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Default Shield price

So, I was playing with numbers and noticed something strange about shield prices.

So, let's use a medium shield for example, round, composed of heavy wood, hide and metal. It weights 14lbs and costs $60.
The diameter of this shield is 2'6"(76cm), radius of 1'3"(38cm), so, his area will be 4.9 sqft(0.45m˛).
The shield would be made of oak(as per LTC2), 47.5lbs/cubic foot, using 1/2" Planks(the smallest ones) we get 9.7lbs, since a thicker one would exceed the shield weight, 1/2" oak it is. The cost for that is $50.5
The shield is covered in hide, since there isn't a hide price on LTC, we will use leather stats and ignore price. Armor weight leather weights 0.5lbs/sqft, so, we get 2.45lbs of leather.
Finally, the shield have a boss(weight of at least 2lbs, probably more, since changing the boss loses 2lbs), 2lbs of metal costs $13.8.

Now, let's do the math:
The shield is sold for $60, weighting 14lbs
The wood costs $50.5, the metal costs $13.8, even ignoring the rawhide price, we already have $64.3
The wood weights 9.7lbs, the hide 2.45lbs and the metal 2lbs, sum it all up and we have 14.15lbs, the weight is correct.
But this is the price of the materials, we still need to take into account the time to mount the shield.


So, there is a problem there, a guy building a shield would sell it for less than he paid for the materials, not to mention that he will waste time doing that, the hide will probably cost something and he will use more than 2lbs of metal.
What is the problem, was wood so expensive? were shields so cheap?
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
Dwarf99
 
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Default Re: Shield price

But he sold the sword along with it at a significant markup
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:12 PM   #3
Nereidalbel
 
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Default Re: Shield price

Similar to modern day suppliers, smiths would probably get a discount on buying such large quantities of raw material at a time. For one guy to just buy enough to make one shield may cost more than a shield is worth, but when you buy enough to make 1,000 shields, you end up turning a net profit.

Also, who says a smith is restricted to the 1/2" planks sold to the general public, and not something cut specifically for the craftsmen of a town/city/etc? Remember, the prices listed in the books and character building program are more rough guidelines than absolute fact.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Shield price

While this could just be numerical inconsistency in GURPS (nothing new there), you can use lower quality wood for shields than you can for planks suitable for construction, since you only need a straight segment of about 3'.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
ErhnamDJ
 
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Default Re: Shield price

It really doesn't make any sense to have a universal price for that stuff. Wood is going to cost much more in some areas than others, as will leather and labor.

The price would realistically vary by many hundreds of percent. It's quite possible that the price for that shield is based on Roman prices which would be lower due to things like government subsidies and price controls, the very low cost of labor due to slavery, and the easy access to raw materials like wood and leather from their huge trade network. That price could also represent a large supply where the price to buy it isn't based on the price to make it. It could be post-war surplus or something like that.

The price does seem a little low, though, but there was probably a time in history where you could get that relation of gold or silver or cows to shields, but those prices are probably set for reasons of giving player characters easy access to them rather than on what it should cost in any setting. This is a much bigger issue with the mail armor, which was at times worth lots and lots of heads of cattle, but is actually pretty cheap in GURPS.

I've been assuming those prices only work in a Rome-style economy with lots of slaves, large populations, giant trade networks, and frequent looting and redistribution on the city-state level. I'd say the shields weren't made, but were taken and shipped to the city, where the player characters might be able to purchase them. That's the best I've been able to come up with for most of that stuff. Either that or at the end of some sort of plague that wipes out huge portions of the population while there are still lots of old shields sitting around. That would be another way to explain the lower price of some of that stuff.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shield price

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
The price would realistically vary by many hundreds of percent. It's quite possible that the price for that shield is based on Roman prices which would be lower due to things like government subsidies and price controls, the very low cost of labor due to slavery, and the easy access to raw materials like wood and leather from their huge trade network. That price could also represent a large supply where the price to buy it isn't based on the price to make it. It could be post-war surplus or something like that.

I've been assuming those prices only work in a Rome-style economy with lots of slaves, large populations, giant trade networks, and frequent looting and redistribution on the city-state level. I'd say the shields weren't made, but were taken and shipped to the city, where the player characters might be able to purchase them. That's the best I've been able to come up with for most of that stuff. Either that or at the end of some sort of plague that wipes out huge portions of the population while there are still lots of old shields sitting around. That would be another way to explain the lower price of some of that stuff.

Except that the Scutum costs more than double that amount.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:23 PM   #7
ErhnamDJ
 
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Except that the Scutum costs more than double that amount.
Yeah, but that costs more because it's made locally. The medium shields are imported from Carthage. The price isn't based on how much they cost to make, but on the large surplus of them sitting around.

That's the best justification I got.
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