D&D 5E 5E Economics - Buying and Selling

Archade

Azer Paladin
So, I'm going through all my old campaign notes, and I'm finding a lot of blog-worthy posts. And I have nothing but time on my hands, so here you are! How we handled our 5E economy of buying and selling items, be they magical or exotic ....

Enjoy!

 

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Nice job. I played in a 2E campaign set in the North of the Forgotten Realms that was pretty survival based where rules like this were used. It made the game rather suspenseful at times and they just made sense. Losing, breaking or running out of items could mean the difference of life and death and replacing them if you made it to a settlement wasnt always so easy. I like playing with these types of rules when running a character but not so much as a DM unless the players are invested, otherwise its not worth the time.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Normally I am not particularly interested in detailing purchasing prices in a RPG, even though in 3ed I myself wrote a small set of rules for price-negotiating in a market, but I think your system is good for adding some variety without being unnecessarily complicated.

Nice blog by the way, I liked your own variant story about Vecna.
 


I like your rules suggestions here in their general structure, though I wonder at what counts as "loot" for the following:

"Selling Loot
When recovered items are in perfect condition, they may be sold at half of market price. If they are in poor condition, or filthy, they might only be worth one-tenth of regular market value."

It also feels like there's something missing - intrinsically valuable loot (gold and emerald necklace for example) should probably be possible to move for a lot more than 50% of it's value, even to a merchant, if it's at least obvious it came from adventuring.* To a fence, definitely 50% is reasonable of course, if that (20% even). But perhaps that's not what is meant by loot?

I also note that by using the maximum possible DC (25) quite readily, and 15 for things that are merely "rare" (surely in most cases these will not be found asking around, but by going to a shop or market?), and putting all the weight on Investigation, it makes the route to and type of characters who can obtain this pretty narrow (Wizards and Bards, basically, and the former will be better at finding stuff than the latter in most cases, which seems rather implausible).

* = This does open up a hilarious thought of "adventure-laundering", where you mix the results of actual thefts and so on into the results of adventuring. I hope one particular player in my group never thinks of this.
 

Archade

Azer Paladin
I like your rules suggestions here in their general structure, though I wonder at what counts as "loot" for the following:

"Selling Loot
When recovered items are in perfect condition, they may be sold at half of market price. If they are in poor condition, or filthy, they might only be worth one-tenth of regular market value."

It also feels like there's something missing - intrinsically valuable loot (gold and emerald necklace for example) should probably be possible to move for a lot more than 50% of it's value, even to a merchant, if it's at least obvious it came from adventuring.* To a fence, definitely 50% is reasonable of course, if that (20% even). But perhaps that's not what is meant by loot?

I also note that by using the maximum possible DC (25) quite readily, and 15 for things that are merely "rare" (surely in most cases these will not be found asking around, but by going to a shop or market?), and putting all the weight on Investigation, it makes the route to and type of characters who can obtain this pretty narrow (Wizards and Bards, basically, and the former will be better at finding stuff than the latter in most cases, which seems rather implausible).

* = This does open up a hilarious thought of "adventure-laundering", where you mix the results of actual thefts and so on into the results of adventuring. I hope one particular player in my group never thinks of this.

Good points! Loot would be salvaged armor and weapons, magic items, and gew gaws. I agree with you a necklace, gold ingot, or other trade good would retain it's inherent value (more or less for haggling and local market demand).

One thing I didn't explain the blog, but is part of the whole rule set is the size of town gives a modifier. Buying a longsword in a metropolis is simplicity for everyone, buying a longsword in a hamlet, less so.

I like the idea of adventure-laundering! Great idea for the DM … player buys a potions of healing, later gets in trouble because the local temple of Graetus was robbed ...
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
A lot of what people consider valuable is based on scarcity or on perceived value as much or more than intrinsic value. There is a reason the Romans partially paid their legions in salt, why French and English nobles showed their wealth through the use of herbs and spices during feasts, and why taxes in the middle ages could be paid in both labor and harvest items such as wheat. Or why Loup de Ferrieres asked the King of Wessex for a donation of lead to rebuild the church of in the monastery he was abbot of, in exchange for the monks' prayers for the King's salvation. Apparently lead was highly valuable in the middle ages.
 

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