D&D 5E World Building: Commerce and gold

Raiztt

Adventurer
TLDR: How does Commerce work in your games and how do you prep it? Do evil empire have commerce at all?
So, I apologize if I just don't answer your question the way you want it answered. Here's some rock-solid-24-carat-gold DMing advice:

If the players don't care, then you don't need to care/know.

If you just like world building, then do whatever, but from a practical standpoint virtually no PC is ever going to ask you for these kinds of details and if they do, it'll be easy to just come up with an answer on the fly. Especially if you're going with a vaguely pastiche medieval-fantasy environment.

But if you really like this sort of stuff, I suggest you take a quick look at: https://gamingballistic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Medieval-Demographics-Made-Easy-1.pdf
 

log in or register to remove this ad

In actual play, I tend to skip that part, because it's not the kind of story we came here to play. In other words, we don't talk about it for the same reason we never hear about Clark Kent's salary. The story is about something else.

When I actively worldbuild, I assume a robust, variable, and rather chaotic market environment. Largely because getting information faster than goods is extremely expensive, so people have to speculate the old-fashioned way: you buy a literal boatload of spices, sail somewhere else, and try to sell them for as much as possible. Hopefully more than the cost of buying and shipping them in the first place.

If the players really want to play a game of spice merchants, I probably ain't running it, and even if I am I ain't running it using DnD rules. We'll most likely break out Century: Eastern Mountains or something.
 

If the players don't care, then you don't need to care/know.
right, I just want to prep at least a basic amount incase they do care.

In actual play, I tend to skip that part, because it's not the kind of story we came here to play. In other words, we don't talk about it for the same reason we never hear about Clark Kent's salary. The story is about something else.
Clarks salary is interesting, because you are right we almost never hear about it. But Peter Parker is always broke living pay check to pay check unless he opens parker industries but I'm not counting that.
Bruce wayne and Lex luther had to be turned from millionaires to billionaires to make the story work an now either one of them is richer then the top 5 richest people in the real world.
When David xanatos tells a cop "I repealed an invasion" and is told "your a person not a small country" he points out "I make more money then many small countries,"

there are entire tic tock channels, as in more then one, that asks "Could this person in this show or movie really afford to live where they do?"

Clark's Salary would come up if he claimed he could buy a private jet. In fact in a cute episode of Superman and Lois we found out he had to sell his baseball card collection to buy lois a dress.

Money doesn't matter in every story but it sure does in some.
If the players really want to play a game of spice merchants, I probably ain't running it, and even if I am I ain't running it using DnD rules. We'll most likely break out Century: Eastern Mountains or something.
I would love to play a spice merchant in a spell jammer game... trying to make money getting roped into adventures every stop...
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
first I love "papers and paychecks" as a supplement on D&D accounting. Second that is most likely what I will do. The small town I built has a farm and a mine that can get diamonds and Adamantine, I figure both are great trade goods.
Huh. A place that’s got a diamond and adamantine mine? That’s either going to be the most well-defended place in the kingdom, or a place that changes hands frequently. Read up on boomtowns and places like Potosí in Bolivia. Anywhere incredibly valuable things are found, hordes of people follow.
that seems too real.
Verisimilitude is the goal, for me.
 
Last edited:

Dioltach

Legend
If you want verisimilitude, don't be afraid to go gonzo.

Look up Sergius Orata, for instance. Around 100 BCE, he developed oyster beds near Naples on an industrial scale, then used his profits to invent the heated swimming pool. He bought up properties and installed his pools and sold them on at a profit, marketing them so successfully that every Roman aristocrat had to have one.

Essentially, no matter how extravagant your economy becomes, there's probably historical precedent.
 

Huh. A place that’s got a diamond and adamantine mine? That’s either going to be the most well-defended place in the kingdom, or a place that changes hands frequently.
yes I want it to be a place that isn't the front line but is right near it so a turn over is possible in it's future.
Read up on boomtowns and places like Potosí in Bolivia. Anywhere incredibly valuable things are found, hordes of people follow.
that is a good idea
Verisimilitude is the goal, for me.
(y)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
So I said I had a question 3 points ago, How much do you prep your commerce in your worlds?

Short answer: None.

Slightly longer answer: In my games, economics and commerce are generally the narrative basis for events, not a minigame for the players to engage in.

Related questions: I understand fairly well how business works today both big and small in a capitalistic democracy with modern tech. I was able to back figure how that would work in a free kingdom with some hand waving form the DM. However I have no idea what a Totalitarian dictatorship and or feudalism will effect this…

Well, for totalitarian states, there are real-world examples. Exactly how free their markets are varies wildly.

"Feudalism" is not a single governing model, but a wide variety of practices that seem similar that are lumped together. What it is not is an economic model. So, again, how the markets work will vary from culture to culture. They are not, in my understanding, usually particularly restricted by law or government - they are more usually restricted by the realities of travel and technology of their day.


TLDR: How does Commerce work in your games and how do you prep it? Do evil empire have commerce at all?

My players have generally not been interested in commercial development, so commerce is, as above, an narrative conceit, rather than mechanically operated.
 

Dioltach

Legend
"Feudalism" is not a single governing model, but a wide variety of practices that seem similar that are lumped together. What it is not is an economic model. So, again, how the markets work will vary from culture to culture. They are not, in my understanding, usually particularly restricted by law or government - they are more usually restricted by the realities of travel and technology of their day.
There were instances when feudal (or feudal-ish) governments imposed price caps on goods, particularly farm produce, and on movement of people. This usually happened in times of upheaval: disease, famine. England and Spain, at a minimum, did this on occasion.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
There were instances when feudal (or feudal-ish) governments imposed price caps on goods, particularly farm produce, and on movement of people. This usually happened in times of upheaval: disease, famine. England and Spain, at a minimum, did this on occasion.

Sure. But such policies are not particular to feudalism, or a result of the government form. Other nations of other governmental forms have used such policies in similar circumstances.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I don't do much prep, for my starting area in my last campaign I essentially just had a town with an iron mine as a resource which they traded to a fort and to the wider duchy. I think the most detailed I get is using dungeons world tags so a city might be down on supplies (food) and have some surrounding towns that have a surplus (food), but even then that's more than my normal effort I put into a game.

I did once consider giving major towns some tags for specialised goods, that can then be traded to places that lack them, I wouldn't go much further than that though.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top