D&D General Got questions about the economy? Play Dungeons & Dragons, says economist


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toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
Love it, "flooding" the small town with too much coin caused inflation.

While the merry adventurers went on their way to their next grand adventure, the tiny town suffered massive unemployment, layoffs, and chaos as almost overnight their local currency became devalued to nothing thanks to an influx of gold coins. As one unemployed farmhand said: "We gots so much of the gold stuff we gots to find ways ta use it. Paperweights, wallpaper, even ammunition for slings."
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
If I employed this guy I would fire him for thinking D&D models economics at any useful level. :LOL:
TFA is a bit strained at points but I think it's more of a pseudo play analogy for certain specific concepts d&d can show that might have been made to an actual d&d group that might have been mentioned during an interview
 
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I think MMORPGs do a better job of teaching and modeling economics. I believe there have been a few academic papers on that subject. But in a TTRPG it's too easy for the players to influence the DM, or for the DM to control things in an unrealistic manner.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think MMORPGs do a better job of teaching and modeling economics. I believe there have been a few academic papers on that subject. But in a TTRPG it's too easy for the players to influence the DM, or for the DM to control things in an unrealistic manner.
Right. Only if the DM knows how economics is supposed to work and cares enough to make the fantasy game world reflect that.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I think MMORPGs do a better job of teaching and modeling economics.

So, while MMORPGs have many people, and money, there's a major thing that is apt to be missing: are prices in the world based on the demands of people in the world, or upon some outside assessment of absolute value?

If the price of X in the world is set by the game because the game designers say it is powerful, there's no real economic model at work. If the price of X in the world is set by how many people try to buy X, and how much they are willing to pay, then there's an economic model.

The real problem then is that while you can have an economic model, there's no guarantee that this model reflects anything like the real world - If I teach you a fantasy economy, that's not much help anywhere else.
 

payn

Legend
So, while MMORPGs have many people, and money, there's a major thing that is apt to be missing: are prices in the world based on the demands of people in the world, or upon some outside assessment of absolute value?

If the price of X in the world is set by the game because the game designers say it is powerful, there's no real economic model at work. If the price of X in the world is set by how many people try to buy X, and how much they are willing to pay, then there's an economic model.

The real problem then is that while you can have an economic model, there's no guarantee that this model reflects anything like the real world - If I teach you a fantasy economy, that's not much help anywhere else.
I believe Eve Online works under that model.
 

So, while MMORPGs have many people, and money, there's a major thing that is apt to be missing: are prices in the world based on the demands of people in the world, or upon some outside assessment of absolute value?

If the price of X in the world is set by the game because the game designers say it is powerful, there's no real economic model at work. If the price of X in the world is set by how many people try to buy X, and how much they are willing to pay, then there's an economic model.

Many MMORPGs have markets that offer great ways to explore these ideas. The main one that I spent time in was EverQuest (1), which was actually quite amazing on modeling how prices were affected by various factors. For reference, in EQ1 there items that could be crafted, items that could be quested for (or looted), and items that could be bought from NPCs. Items could be sold in an open market of trades between players.

It was really interesting to watch how the price of an item on the open market could be influenced by various factors. There were items that were expensive because they were hard to get in quests; their value would change as new quests came our or as people figured out easy ways to beat old quests easier. There were items that were expensive because they were powerful; their value would change based on availability and as new items came out. There were items that were expensive because they looked pretty; their value would fluctuate based on what were essentially fashion trends. There were regional trends where items needed for local quests saw a spike in value. There were trends based on the demographics of the server (more old/wealthy players, more new players, etc).

It was fun to play around with. And definitely lots of opportunity for studying different types of influence and value.
 



I like this article more. Although I do feel the need to point out...

AD&D is a resource management game is the key to having players and character motivations intersect with your campaign.

IMNSHO, the resource management aspect of D&D has gone down significantly in 5e compared to earlier editions. DMs can put it back in without too much trouble, but it's much less present in the base game.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
I like this article more. Although I do feel the need to point out...

IMNSHO, the resource management aspect of D&D has gone down significantly in 5e compared to earlier editions. DMs can put it back in without too much trouble, but it's much less present in the base game.
It's not your opinion, it's a fact. The resource management aspect of D&D barely exists in 5E, if it does at all.

Why bother tracking torches when there are two light-source cantrips and 2/3 of all PC races have darkvision?

Why bother tracking food and water when an Outlander-background character can automatically find food and water and if that's insufficient there are 3-4 low-level spells that provide food for groups?

Why bother tracking encumbrance when it only matters in extreme cases, and only if the DM enforces it?

Why bother tracking the PCs' progress overland when navigation is all but guaranteed or is guaranteed with a ranger in the group?

Why bother with wandering monster checks during overland travel when all drained resources automatically recover after a long rest?

Same with ammo, etc.

And why bother tracking any of it unless time is a resource that's meticulously tracked as well?

The handwaving of the resource management was written into 5E.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Some of you may remember the original Players Handbook talked about the prices being a gold rush economy, where it’s 2 gp for a dagger because treasure and adventures are flooding in. I believe Gygax mentioned eggs for a dollar in the Yukon Gold Rush.

in my campaign, I get into economics for running the fiefs two characters have, and in general working on the setting - like what’s being stolen from the merchant caravans.
 

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