D&D 5E World Building: Commerce and gold


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gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
I think the lesson is, use what you know. If you have a particular area of expertise, focus on using that.

And if you don't know about something, there will be someone else who does.

I started out as a cartographer too, but I was making street plans for estate agents (realtors).
How many people are lucky enough to find 'someone else who does'. While I developed the Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) as an imprint under Rite Publishing, and had writers, game designers and editors from Rite working on it, Kaidan was mostly designed by me. Of any subseqent settings I've worked on, I've done it alone without 'someone else who does'. I'm confident of my overall skills in all areas of setting design...
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Few hint. Don’t try to justified or explained too much political or economic situation. You dont need to approve it In real life either.
Economic and political situation are just additional information to create a more make believe setting.
usually bad situation encourage the need for heroes and adventurers but that is not mandatory.
Unless, of course, you're going for a political/economical campaign. In which case, it's important.

However, most people don't go for political/economical campaigns in D&D, so yeah, you really don't need to figure it out.
 

pseupseudio

First Post
Second, what are the players interested in? The more interested they are in engaging with the commerce and trade aspects of the game world, the more you'll want to invest in it, and vice-versa.
Their instinct to have a grasp of this stuff independent of player interest is a good one, though.

I'm not interested in engaging with the commerce and trade aspects of the game at all.

The trouble is that I want to engage in heroic labor for hire by settlements in dangerous environs.

So I'm forever talking to the beleaguered Margrave of Trollwaste March about how their existing fortifications are usually sufficient to address the monster activity thereabouts - but only just, and the activity has increased of late.

And I can't help but ask, what is the extent of those fortifications, and are the watchtowers manned, and are the men armed and armored, and have they acid flasks or alchemical fire?

And I know that every "yes" in that conversation is a chain of skilled tradesfolk and fighters and resource gatherers and all manner of people vigorously pursuing assorted calorically-demanding not-farming toils.

I would very much like for my DM to understand enough of that stuff to convey a world in which it's all sensible enough that I can relax and get on with being a heroic sorcerer-diplomat who doesn't think about commodities trading at all.
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
Major exports and major imports can be important, but im not getting into the details unless it's a special circumstance, or necessary for the story. If trade caravans are getting raided, I want to know what they were carrying so the PCs can find a stash of it in their hideout, and so people can grumble about shortages in the tavern, but that's about it. If a city exists in the dessert, I want to know where they get the ice cream and sprinkles. (Thanks for nothing auto correct.) In a desert, where does food and water come from? What is the revenue stream that allows enough cash flow to import everything. Still, I'm not spending time determining what the cost of a bag of rice is.

However, (because WTHN) sometimes we get tagged with the obsessive detail bug. When that hits, I'm looking at tradewinds, scarcity of resources, racial and religious conflicts, distance of trade, frequency of rain, and any other obscure detail that might affect trade. Do trade roads go though wilderness or humanoid lands? Can locals effectively police the route? Are there dragons? There is no limit to what we can throw in the pot. Do my players ever see any of this? Very, very rarely
 

nevin

Hero
On my Dm list of important things for regions and towns is goods that the region exports. If a player wants to play the business min game I work it in as they start the business throw some challenges as local players get involved and eventually they get thier business staffed and it becomes a back story that generates income. or loss. Occassionally I'll throw challenges who's outcomes will affect the business and it just affects over time profit or loss of business.

Now if the player is carrying high value items from place to place and making profit that way
that's definitely in game. As it becomes known what they are doing then everyone wants a piece of it.
local lords and mayors ma y tax it, even sieze it depending on local rules. I had a king once sieze a dragon hide as an important resource for the kingdom. Luckily the party was smart enough play nice long enough that some of it came back to them. (and there was considerable stupid actions in campaign by certain party members that had the king doing it hoping they'd fight and he could kill the hero's without creating more enemies.) thieves guilds and con men will come after them if they want to paint a target on their back in the name of money by all means let's bring it into the game.

Just don't let the money mini game overwhelm everything else. When I play I'm that guy that will do such things. In the current game I'm playing in my character has bought a shipping companyto whose ships are slowly being magically upgraded to help the city and his pocketbook as he becomes a power player. His fledgling wizard guild has discovered that rich nobles pay better profit margins, for comfort things like a permanent breeze on the porch or permanantly chilled glasses or wine bottles than rogues and pc's do for things like potions. They happily supply both. But as far as profit and loss I tell DM what I'm trying to do and what my resources are and he tells me how it works. We keep it out of game until I have a PC or guildmaster show up and want something. Then we roleplay that stuff. Don't let the players mini game stuff get in the way of the story. If you can work it in great. My character has a shipping company because pirate ran off the previous owner. Turns out it's harder to run off PC's..
 

nevin

Hero
As dm don't forget local politics. Town councils, nobles, favor's to other guilds to make the friends necessary to keep things working. If you want to bring it or some of it into the game. If you don't just make it a roll every certain amount of weeks or months and let the player know how thier business is doing and what is necessary to grow it or keep it healthy.
 

nevin

Hero
Their instinct to have a grasp of this stuff independent of player interest is a good one, though.

I'm not interested in engaging with the commerce and trade aspects of the game at all.

The trouble is that I want to engage in heroic labor for hire by settlements in dangerous environs.

So I'm forever talking to the beleaguered Margrave of Trollwaste March about how their existing fortifications are usually sufficient to address the monster activity thereabouts - but only just, and the activity has increased of late.

And I can't help but ask, what is the extent of those fortifications, and are the watchtowers manned, and are the men armed and armored, and have they acid flasks or alchemical fire?

And I know that every "yes" in that conversation is a chain of skilled tradesfolk and fighters and resource gatherers and all manner of people vigorously pursuing assorted calorically-demanding not-farming toils.

I would very much like for my DM to understand enough of that stuff to convey a world in which it's all sensible enough that I can relax and get on with being a heroic sorcerer-diplomat who doesn't think about commodities trading at all.
LMOA that's pretty much what happens to every hero. As they rise to the level of leader they have to worry about all that naughty word they thought wasn't important. If they actually care about what they are protecting. The ones that don't get marginilized and fade away. They general that saved Athens from the Persians ended up selling running a carpet import export business in persia because he didn't care about politics and the politicians ran him out Athens. Even poor Aragorn ended up on the throne he didn't want. Bet he felt the same way.
 

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