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Azar
Senior Scribe

764 Posts

Posted - 19 Dec 2021 :  21:18:58  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hello and well met.

I've a question about what may be a relatively esoteric topic: Elven trade. Specifically, I am wondering how elves in general approach business outside of their communities. The most I can recall on this subject involves drow traders/vendors operating in the Underdark...they're renowned for dealing in unsavory commodities (including slaves). Beyond that offshoot, however? Nothing comes to mind concerning the main Elves: Sun and Moon. Do they simply prefer to stay in one location? Are their enclaves brimming with intrepid merchants ready to ply their exotic wares in human lands? Are any products taboo for cultural reasons?

What I do know is that elves - overall - aren't as fixated on raw material value in a manner similar to, say, dwarves; they're more in tune with the artistic value of a given item.

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Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.

Edited by - Azar on 20 Dec 2021 02:20:00

TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1047 Posts

Posted - 20 Dec 2021 :  01:43:18  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The only thing I was able to find is from the 2e Complete Book of Elves:

"Elves earn their livelihoods through whatever craft pleases them most. Often, this will be something that is beneficial to the entire community. Sometimes the goods are traded with humans for manmade wares but, more often than not, the items remain within the elf community."

If elven communities are full of craftsmen, then I would guess that the greatest import would be crafting supplies. Probably mostly metals or gems since you never hear of elves really being into mining. Exports would very likely be things like masterwork wooden items like furniture, ceremonial staves/rods, and the occasional bow. I would think that wood would not be imported since they don't know how it was harvested (environmentally sound or just stripping the forest clean of trees).

As for actual elven traders, I would think they would be very rare. Moon elves are known for their "wonder lust" but that is for adventuring, not going out and coming back on a regular schedule. Some elven communities (like Evereska and Evermeet) aren't too keen on strangers showing up so they would likely have a few non-elven traders that they trust and allow in town to bring in what they want and take out what they produce. The only one I know of for that category is Aurora's Emporium. Her catalog mentions items from Evermeet (Evermead).

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

USA
222 Posts

Posted - 20 Dec 2021 :  03:23:21  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, in the Ye Old Realms:

There is a 2e sourcebook, Elves of Evermeet. In it, money is not explicitly discussed, but we can infer the presence of some form of trade and economy of goods from the description of various locations. For example, in the description of the settlement (capital city) of Leuthilspar, we read about:

Tamnaeuth, the armorer, who does not charge money for his crafts, but selects his own clients. [This implies to me that others would charge.]
Thaola's Wineshop, selling fine elven vintages.
Shael, the clothier, who charges very little for his items.
Sunstone Commons, an open area where elven merchants sell their wares.

The 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Set lists the following about Evermeet's economy:

Imports: Elven items retrieved from Faerūn, otherwise self-sufficient
Exports: Elven adventurers, jewelry, some exotic or magic items given as gifts

The Portal articles from Wizards said "Illefarn carried on an extensive trade, by land and sea, with other elven, dwarven, and human nations of its time."

Ed Greenwood has said a couple times something like that elves don't really deal much in gold when dealing with each other; but in rare seeds, plants and so on. I don't think he ever got it written down in a book though.


I think elven trade depends on how elven the elves are:

If the elves are just humans with pointy ears....then they trade just like humans.

If the elves are an alien race....well, it's kind of hard to fit that into the Realms. Just about 100% of everything written in the Realms says "elves are just like humans". To make elves alien would take like 500, 000 words to explain it and would ruin the Realms as a D&D setting. So, that is why they don't do it.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
35998 Posts

Posted - 20 Dec 2021 :  05:10:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would imagine that for elves, trade is more about what they need, and/or objects of beauty, as opposed to money. Elven culture would, I expect, place less importance on money -- but elves understand that when trading with others, sometimes money is the easiest way to conduct trade. So they don't care about the money, it's just that money is the best way to get the things they do care about.

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Azar
Senior Scribe

764 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2021 :  03:24:21  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just for a laugh, I decided to see if any of the elven deities control the sphere of commerce/trade. None explicitly do, but there are a few points of interest.

  • Correllon himself is concerned with - among other things - "magic and elven magic", "arts" and "crafts".

  • Hanali Celanil is concerned with "fine art" and "artists".

  • Labelas Enoreth is concerned with "history".

  • Solonor Thelandira is concerned with "archery".



Clergy of the above gods should know more about the quoted topics than the average layman (layelf?) and are therefore handy during any relevant sales/trades.


quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

I would think that wood would not be imported since they don't know how it was harvested (environmentally sound or just stripping the forest clean of trees).


This could very well provide them with some incentive to seek out reputable trading partners; people who are as much stewards of their land as they are simple inhabitants.

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

As for actual elven traders, I would think they would be very rare. Moon elves are known for their "wonder lust" but that is for adventuring, not going out and coming back on a regular schedule. Some elven communities (like Evereska and Evermeet) aren't too keen on strangers showing up so they would likely have a few non-elven traders that they trust and allow in town to bring in what they want and take out what they produce. The only one I know of for that category is Aurora's Emporium. Her catalog mentions items from Evermeet (Evermead).



Considering their predilection towards chaotic behavior (mercurial moods and all), yes, I tend to agree. The way I see it, outside of elves who break from the mold, most elven traders are creatures of opportunity rather than habit. If - for example - an elf who came into some treasure with his non-elven companions finds himself laden with more than he needs, he may decide to set up a temporary shop...interested more in the social interaction ("the bargaining") than the pursuit of maximizing profit.

quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

Ed Greenwood has said a couple times something like that elves don't really deal much in gold when dealing with each other; but in rare seeds, plants and so on. I don't think he ever got it written down in a book though.


I think elven trade depends on how elven the elves are:

If the elves are just humans with pointy ears....then they trade just like humans.

If the elves are an alien race....well, it's kind of hard to fit that into the Realms. Just about 100% of everything written in the Realms says "elves are just like humans". To make elves alien would take like 500, 000 words to explain it and would ruin the Realms as a D&D setting. So, that is why they don't do it.



There ought to be a happy median between "Humans with pointy ears." and "Utterly incomprehensible alien beings." The fact that elves are an extant people and are allowed to be Player Characters indicates that they lean more towards the former...but this by no means is a mandate that you have to go whole hog and forgo any attempt to differentiate them from their shorter-lived neighbors. Other settings make things easier on DMs/players by featuring elves that are severely different physically speaking: rail thin to the point of absurdity (or horror), partly plant-based in anatomy or literally unable to endure in the "world of man" for long. Putting aside the aquatic elves and the avariel, the elves of D&D/The Forgotten Realms resemble humans more often than not.

What we have to rely on is personality/psychology and culture/sociology. An elf - outside of danger or emergency - tends to move at a languid pace that humans may find curious at best or frustrating at worst; an elf giving that random human strange looks may themselves be off-kilter...or perhaps recognizes the descendant of a person they once had dealings with generations ago; an elf speaks to nature (the mundane non-sentient/sapient variety) with a familiarity that comes across as equally natural.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I would imagine that for elves, trade is more about what they need, and/or objects of beauty, as opposed to money. Elven culture would, I expect, place less importance on money -- but elves understand that when trading with others, sometimes money is the easiest way to conduct trade. So they don't care about the money, it's just that money is the best way to get the things they do care about.



Elves tend to deal in curios, basically, instead of bulk goods. For those explicitly seeking that elusive sylvan trader, it's a matter of "When you need it, you really need it.".

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.

Edited by - Azar on 24 Dec 2021 10:47:32
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7613 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2021 :  05:12:37  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elves seem to have a flatter personality curve than humans - that is, individual elves might express any of the sorts of personalities which individual humans might express, but more elves than humans would be at the unusual extremes of the spectrum.

Not to mention that elven longevity - experiencing the changing world firsthand - probably causes elves to change their personalities (and values, beliefs, ideas) over their lifespans.

So I'd say there are always some "humans with pointy ears" and there are always some "incomprehensible fey aliens". The first group will trade whatever they have for whatever they can get, just like any other merchant, and they will probably assess the "value" of things in whatever monetary or commodity terms the market (their mostly-human trade partners) will offer. The second group would probably exchange things (like rare knowledge of history and lore) which others consider valuable for things (like rare magics and artistic masterpieces) which they consider valuable - but would otherwise be largely disinterested in trades and deals.

[/Ayrik]
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Hoondatha
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USA
2449 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2021 :  16:14:17  Show Profile  Visit Hoondatha's Homepage Send Hoondatha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have always thought that the powerful elven empires (so pre and post Crown Wars, not so much current day) would send expeditions to the Quasiplane of Minerals to get their raw materials. There's never any mention of elves mining or old elven mines. Dwarves don't arrive in Shanatar until the 3rd Crown War, and don't start moving north until thousands of years later, and there aren't advanced human civilizations in the north or west, there isn't anyone the elves can trade with.

The elves are, however, noted as being skilled in magic. So it would make sense for them to organize quick expeditions to a part of the plane that held pure metal of whatever type they need. Get in, use excavation magic to pull out tons of material in a couple of days, then retreat out of the plane before locals can retaliate.

There's no published lore to back that up, but it makes more sense to me than elves mining, and aside from a couple of evil empires/families, the elves didn't have any slaves or allied peoples that they could get to do the mining instead.

Doggedly converting 3e back to what D&D should be...
Sigh... And now 4e as well.
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

USA
222 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2021 :  16:46:08  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar
There ought to be a happy median between "Humans with pointy ears." and "Utterly incomprehensible alien beings."



For the fictional Realms, sure. But not for the Game Realms.

In the D&D game EVERYONE must have the Greek/Middle East view on life with a dash of America. Or basically 21st century modern America thinking.

And this includes the MUST of "shinny metal has value" and "object and things can be bought and sold". Again, see 21st century America.

So you can't have elves that sell things...even more so Game Items, for things like 'a good song'. A PC can't sing a song to get magic items.

The elves MUST use the standard D&D prices as set down in the Rules.
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Azar
Senior Scribe

764 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2021 :  01:50:55  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Elves seem to have a flatter personality curve than humans - that is, individual elves might express any of the sorts of personalities which individual humans might express, but more elves than humans would be at the unusual extremes of the spectrum.

Not to mention that elven longevity - experiencing the changing world firsthand - probably causes elves to change their personalities (and values, beliefs, ideas) over their lifespans.

So I'd say there are always some "humans with pointy ears" and there are always some "incomprehensible fey aliens". The first group will trade whatever they have for whatever they can get, just like any other merchant, and they will probably assess the "value" of things in whatever monetary or commodity terms the market (their mostly-human trade partners) will offer. The second group would probably exchange things (like rare knowledge of history and lore) which others consider valuable for things (like rare magics and artistic masterpieces) which they consider valuable - but would otherwise be largely disinterested in trades and deals.



Ayrik, what are your elves like?

quote:
Originally posted by Hoondatha

I have always thought that the powerful elven empires (so pre and post Crown Wars, not so much current day) would send expeditions to the Quasiplane of Minerals to get their raw materials. There's never any mention of elves mining or old elven mines. Dwarves don't arrive in Shanatar until the 3rd Crown War, and don't start moving north until thousands of years later, and there aren't advanced human civilizations in the north or west, there isn't anyone the elves can trade with.

The elves are, however, noted as being skilled in magic. So it would make sense for them to organize quick expeditions to a part of the plane that held pure metal of whatever type they need. Get in, use excavation magic to pull out tons of material in a couple of days, then retreat out of the plane before locals can retaliate.

There's no published lore to back that up, but it makes more sense to me than elves mining, and aside from a couple of evil empires/families, the elves didn't have any slaves or allied peoples that they could get to do the mining instead.



It is spooky how close your message is to something I have in mind...

quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Azar
There ought to be a happy median between "Humans with pointy ears." and "Utterly incomprehensible alien beings."



For the fictional Realms, sure. But not for the Game Realms.

In the D&D game EVERYONE must have the Greek/Middle East view on life with a dash of America. Or basically 21st century modern America thinking.

And this includes the MUST of "shinny metal has value" and "object and things can be bought and sold". Again, see 21st century America.

So you can't have elves that sell things...even more so Game Items, for things like 'a good song'. A PC can't sing a song to get magic items.

The elves MUST use the standard D&D prices as set down in the Rules.



Why? All a DM has to do is declare that certain valuables (tangible or otherwise) are obtainable only through bartering/a chain of deals and that's that; it makes sense that there are beings who do not desire precious metals or gems as payment for rare prized possessions. Furthermore, in certain editions of D&D, you flat-out cannot purchase magical items (or at least nothing more potent than a bog-standard healing potion); however, you can give vital components to a legendary smith/mage/priest so that they may build a magical item...components secured - in this instance - via multiple exchanges.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7613 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2021 :  03:34:10  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar
Ayrik, what are your elves like?

I don't have any elves. Don't particularly like fey things.

I'm more interested in dwarves. Along with a slew of planars/outsiders - giths, genasi, (pre-3E) shades, (pre-4E) tieflings/cambions, half-fiends, half-celestials, etc.

[/Ayrik]
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

USA
222 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2022 :  00:31:47  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Why?



Because gold is the set standard in the rules. Everything costs gold. Not just in the setting, but in the game rules. Everything has a gold coin cost: you must spend x amount of gold to do x.

Elves, much like druids, barbarians and rangers that "live of the land" and have NO need for even the 21st concept of "value" or that "shinny pieces of metal are so great". But the rules say that even they must pay for things in gold. Want a barbarian to train you? You must pay them gold or some silly "value" of things EQUAL to what the city folk pay. A fighter pays 2000 gold, the druid pays rare wood worth 2000 gold TO THE PEOPLE 200 MILES AWAY IN THE CITY. The "cost" of training for a druid can't be "a good story" as that does not match the "worth" of 2000 gold that the other 'city' classes must pay.

Most D&D rules has "upkeep" rules that civilized classes must pay for food, a home and such....but if your an elf druid living of the land, "what" are you paying for? A human wizard with a tower needs to pay for common upkeep/repair.....so does an elf druid "put gold coins in trees" to "fix" them?

Tons of spells, rituals, and other magics that the gold cost....one that already makes no sense except for the city people.

You would need tons of rule books to fix all the problems and make a non money society. Like each elf has Honor Points and Nature Points that they can earn and then 'trade' for things. But this would be a lot of rules.

So D&D uses the easy out....everyone uses gold.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35998 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2022 :  04:10:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm really curious about this harping on the value of gold as a "21st century America" thing. Sure, not every culture in real-world history has valued gold, but the idea of gold having great value is most certainly not a recent idea nor solely an American one. The idea of gold having great value goes back thousands of years, at least; people in Mesopotamia and Egypt were rather fond of the stuff.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 03 Jan 2022 04:18:13
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Azar
Senior Scribe

764 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2022 :  12:27:14  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

quote:
Originally posted by Azar
Ayrik, what are your elves like?

I don't have any elves. Don't particularly like fey things.


No worries. Whom among us is perfect?



When I first got into this hobby, I was indifferent to elves; oh sure, there'd be elf NPCs and the like, but I wasn't motivated to look into them beyond the depth required for the latest set piece. Around the time my exploration of "old school" FR (i.e., TSR material) was underway, I came across authors who did the race justice by averting the easy shortcut of "Like humans, but ardent tree huggers.". Now, I'm determined to depict Corellon's legacy as distinct enough in hopes of making a positive impression.

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I'm more interested in dwarves. Along with a slew of planars/outsiders - giths, genasi, (pre-3E) shades, (pre-4E) tieflings/cambions, half-fiends, half-celestials, etc.



I prefer the 2e (Planescape) tieflings; the tieflings of 4e and beyond are so watered down/defanged it isn't funny.

By the way, what is the dividing line between pre-3e Shades and 3e+ Shades?

quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Why?



Because gold is the set standard in the rules. Everything costs gold. Not just in the setting, but in the game rules. Everything has a gold coin cost: you must spend x amount of gold to do x.

Elves, much like druids, barbarians and rangers that "live of the land" and have NO need for even the 21st concept of "value" or that "shinny pieces of metal are so great". But the rules say that even they must pay for things in gold. Want a barbarian to train you? You must pay them gold or some silly "value" of things EQUAL to what the city folk pay. A fighter pays 2000 gold, the druid pays rare wood worth 2000 gold TO THE PEOPLE 200 MILES AWAY IN THE CITY. The "cost" of training for a druid can't be "a good story" as that does not match the "worth" of 2000 gold that the other 'city' classes must pay.

Most D&D rules has "upkeep" rules that civilized classes must pay for food, a home and such....but if your an elf druid living of the land, "what" are you paying for? A human wizard with a tower needs to pay for common upkeep/repair.....so does an elf druid "put gold coins in trees" to "fix" them?

Tons of spells, rituals, and other magics that the gold cost....one that already makes no sense except for the city people.

You would need tons of rule books to fix all the problems and make a non money society. Like each elf has Honor Points and Nature Points that they can earn and then 'trade' for things. But this would be a lot of rules.

So D&D uses the easy out....everyone uses gold.



M'dude, you need only point to Rule Zero if a player complains that their gold is no good with any given individual. In much the same way a DM/GM can prevent a player's character from using their sky-high Diplomacy or Charisma to steamroll every NPC, a DM/GM can proclaim that that an alternative form of compensation is required for an ordinarily unsalable possession (or unique tutelage) and no amount of aurum will suffice.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm really curious about this harping on the value of gold as a "21st century America" thing. Sure, not every culture in real-world history has valued gold, but the idea of gold having great value is most certainly not a recent idea nor solely an American one. The idea of gold having great value goes back thousands of years, at least; people in Mesopotamia and Egypt were rather fond of the stuff.



Spain and Mali are two more pertinent examples; both of the aforementioned countries were fixated on gold long before the twenty-first century.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

USA
222 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2022 :  04:18:15  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm really curious about this harping on the value of gold as a "21st century America" thing. Sure, not every culture in real-world history has valued gold, but the idea of gold having great value is most certainly not a recent idea nor solely an American one. The idea of gold having great value goes back thousands of years, at least; people in Mesopotamia and Egypt were rather fond of the stuff.



I'm not sure how much we can talk about the real world here.....

But the concept of "value" and even "possession" and "ownership", not to mention "money" comes from around the south east Sea of Fallen Stars and nearby Kara Tur, and spills over into the Heartlands, North, and Shining South.

Though the rest of the world, like Achronme, had no value, possession or money. You can't teleport to Achronme with a pile of gold coins and buy things....you won't find a store or a magic shop there.

D&D already has clean history and is very safe, a lot like Modern America. All the "bad stuff" of the past is just ignored. And Wizards is going much, much further to "fix" everything "wrong" with D&D....just look at D&D news. 5.5E will have to make the Fighter, the Combat at Last Resort and that is Never class.
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Scots Dragon
Seeker

United Kingdom
63 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2022 :  04:33:35  Show Profile Send Scots Dragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:

So D&D uses the easy out....everyone uses gold.



Unless you're from Dark Sun or Dragonlance where there are different values placed on metals.

Also just because elves don't use gold doesn't mean that it's unusable. As Ed Greenwood pointed out, elves don't deal in gold, but in rare seeds and plants and other such objects; this makes for a barter economy that's perfectly usable in the D&D rules and even incorporate the gold piece option since you can figure out what the relative and equivalent values are.

Say it's ten gold pieces for five petals from a rare flower that can be used in a huge variety of purposes both alchemical and mundane. For instance to produce a counter to the effects of a common childhood virus that's become a bit of an endemic annoyance in recent centuries.

The elven wizard and master alchemist is gonna trade for that as if they were gold pieces. Or possibly even just accept gold pieces so as to be able to pay other adventurers to those petals from other passing adventurers.

You really don't need to make it any more complicated than is necessary.
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Azar
Senior Scribe

764 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2022 :  05:40:16  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

D&D already has clean history and is very safe, a lot like Modern America. All the "bad stuff" of the past is just ignored.


As far back as the late 1970s, D&D was using gold coins as a standard currency.

quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

And Wizards is going much, much further to "fix" everything "wrong" with D&D....just look at D&D news. 5.5E will have to make the Fighter, the Combat at Last Resort and that is Never class.



If I'm reading you right...huh ? As long as "Dungeons" is in the game's title, there will be treasure hunting; as long as "Dragons" is in the game's title, there will be the killing of monsters.

quote:
Originally posted by Scots Dragon

Also just because elves don't use gold doesn't mean that it's unusable. As Ed Greenwood pointed out, elves don't deal in gold, but in rare seeds and plants and other such objects; this makes for a barter economy that's perfectly usable in the D&D rules and even incorporate the gold piece option since you can figure out what the relative and equivalent values are.



Certainly, there are elves that prize gold for its artistic applications; priests of Hanali Celanil love (no pun intended) the stuff when it is used as the foundation for arts and crafts. Whether they trade for this metal or have it provided by other elves is up in the air.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11168 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2022 :  13:58:11  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Why?



Because gold is the set standard in the rules. Everything costs gold. Not just in the setting, but in the game rules. Everything has a gold coin cost: you must spend x amount of gold to do x.

Elves, much like druids, barbarians and rangers that "live of the land" and have NO need for even the 21st concept of "value" or that "shinny pieces of metal are so great". But the rules say that even they must pay for things in gold. Want a barbarian to train you? You must pay them gold or some silly "value" of things EQUAL to what the city folk pay. A fighter pays 2000 gold, the druid pays rare wood worth 2000 gold TO THE PEOPLE 200 MILES AWAY IN THE CITY. The "cost" of training for a druid can't be "a good story" as that does not match the "worth" of 2000 gold that the other 'city' classes must pay.

Most D&D rules has "upkeep" rules that civilized classes must pay for food, a home and such....but if your an elf druid living of the land, "what" are you paying for? A human wizard with a tower needs to pay for common upkeep/repair.....so does an elf druid "put gold coins in trees" to "fix" them?

Tons of spells, rituals, and other magics that the gold cost....one that already makes no sense except for the city people.

You would need tons of rule books to fix all the problems and make a non money society. Like each elf has Honor Points and Nature Points that they can earn and then 'trade' for things. But this would be a lot of rules.

So D&D uses the easy out....everyone uses gold.



Maztica uses cacao beans and feathers, and little (but some) value was placed on gold. To note for that, feathers were used to make magic. In Faerun, many magic items require gold IN its crafting (as well as gems).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 04 Jan 2022 13:59:47
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TBeholder
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Posted - 04 Jan 2022 :  17:46:00  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elves trading with humans? Well, there's
Cormesta.
Among the elves?
quote:
Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves:
(p.63)
Coins of the realm of Cormanthyr are a varied lot, depending on the traders. Spelljamming elves of the Imperial Navy
Above bring coin from many far-flung realms and worlds, though these coins are rare as collecting them is an idle habit
of many a noble elf of Cormanthyr. The most common currency found in the markets of Myth Drannor are its own
coins, followed in frequency by those of Cormanthyr in general and those "far-cruder blobs of hardened metal that pass
for currency among the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr."
. . .
* The strangest coins found in Myth Drannor are the yulthaari, 5-inch-long metal tubes of worked platinum
(worth 3pp solely by their metal content). These are not actual coins so much as a promissory note of payment at
a more convenient date. Smooth and unremarkable on the outside edge, the slim inside is marked with ridges, dots,
and tactile patterns; the elf slips a yulthaar over a fingertip, and these patterns tell an elf, by their fine sense of
touch, the product the presenter of a yulthaar wishes to buy, the amount of payment and its form, and names of the
buyer and seller. Yulthaari are used when making large purchases such as entire shipments of goods (or entire
businesses), and their use is a binding agreement between the two parties. Bids by yulthaari are also common in
silent auctions or among the nobility, where open competition by wealth would be crass and the silent method of
the yulthaari allows those who lose the bids to save face;
(p. 96)
The Alu'Tel'Quessir did not, however, wish to deal with elves outside of Semberholme on their own. They learned
early on that to get the best barter from some of the more shrewd elves, the aquatic elves needed to employ a third
party to handle their surface dealings. This mantle was taken up by the Miritar clan, a group of gold elf merchants that not
only got the best deals for the Alu'Tel'Quessir but made a tidy profit as well.


Per Ed's answer,
quote:
In general, elven society has shifted from gems, wine, and food as barter tokens to gems as currency, and in the last three centuries or so, to the coinage used by humans, with gems "standing in" for large amounts. Elves prefer electrum and silver to other trade-metals, but will use all manner of coins. [ . . . ] Medicines or food barter between friends, and spells or magic item exchanges between rulers and the haughtiest nobles, but for everyone else: coins just like humans (valued according to the metal of the coin, not the minting: i.e. elves quite happily use coins issued by human kingdoms long gone and forgotten, so long as the coins are in good condition, and of acceptable purity and size.


quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm really curious about this harping on the value of gold as a "21st century America" thing.

It looks to me like a variation of instilled provincialism (complete with "the world really started at 1914/1917/etc, and before it was all murky depth of Dark Ages" thing).
All we can do (early on, at least) is wish our spiky adventurers to succeed. I mean, encouraging people to read books on the level of Ludwig von Mises or Liddel Hart can help. But for those who didn't even read much Mark Twain, it's all going to be a Martian tongue.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 05 Jan 2022 07:42:07
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Azar
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Posted - 06 Jan 2022 :  03:42:55  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Why?



Because gold is the set standard in the rules. Everything costs gold. Not just in the setting, but in the game rules. Everything has a gold coin cost: you must spend x amount of gold to do x.

Elves, much like druids, barbarians and rangers that "live of the land" and have NO need for even the 21st concept of "value" or that "shinny pieces of metal are so great". But the rules say that even they must pay for things in gold. Want a barbarian to train you? You must pay them gold or some silly "value" of things EQUAL to what the city folk pay. A fighter pays 2000 gold, the druid pays rare wood worth 2000 gold TO THE PEOPLE 200 MILES AWAY IN THE CITY. The "cost" of training for a druid can't be "a good story" as that does not match the "worth" of 2000 gold that the other 'city' classes must pay.

Most D&D rules has "upkeep" rules that civilized classes must pay for food, a home and such....but if your an elf druid living of the land, "what" are you paying for? A human wizard with a tower needs to pay for common upkeep/repair.....so does an elf druid "put gold coins in trees" to "fix" them?

Tons of spells, rituals, and other magics that the gold cost....one that already makes no sense except for the city people.

You would need tons of rule books to fix all the problems and make a non money society. Like each elf has Honor Points and Nature Points that they can earn and then 'trade' for things. But this would be a lot of rules.

So D&D uses the easy out....everyone uses gold.



Maztica uses cacao beans and feathers, and little (but some) value was placed on gold. To note for that, feathers were used to make magic. In Faerun, many magic items require gold IN its crafting (as well as gems).



A civilization based around chocolate? A most sensible people, these Mazticans .

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

Among the elves?
quote:
Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves:
(p.63)
Coins of the realm of Cormanthyr are a varied lot, depending on the traders. Spelljamming elves of the Imperial Navy
Above bring coin from many far-flung realms and worlds, though these coins are rare as collecting them is an idle habit
of many a noble elf of Cormanthyr. The most common currency found in the markets of Myth Drannor are its own
coins, followed in frequency by those of Cormanthyr in general and those "far-cruder blobs of hardened metal that pass
for currency among the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr."
. . .
* The strangest coins found in Myth Drannor are the yulthaari, 5-inch-long metal tubes of worked platinum
(worth 3pp solely by their metal content). These are not actual coins so much as a promissory note of payment at
a more convenient date. Smooth and unremarkable on the outside edge, the slim inside is marked with ridges, dots,
and tactile patterns; the elf slips a yulthaar over a fingertip, and these patterns tell an elf, by their fine sense of
touch, the product the presenter of a yulthaar wishes to buy, the amount of payment and its form, and names of the
buyer and seller. Yulthaari are used when making large purchases such as entire shipments of goods (or entire
businesses), and their use is a binding agreement between the two parties. Bids by yulthaari are also common in
silent auctions or among the nobility, where open competition by wealth would be crass and the silent method of
the yulthaari allows those who lose the bids to save face;
(p. 96)
The Alu'Tel'Quessir did not, however, wish to deal with elves outside of Semberholme on their own. They learned
early on that to get the best barter from some of the more shrewd elves, the aquatic elves needed to employ a third
party to handle their surface dealings. This mantle was taken up by the Miritar clan, a group of gold elf merchants that not
only got the best deals for the Alu'Tel'Quessir but made a tidy profit as well.


Per Ed's answer,
quote:
In general, elven society has shifted from gems, wine, and food as barter tokens to gems as currency, and in the last three centuries or so, to the coinage used by humans, with gems "standing in" for large amounts. Elves prefer electrum and silver to other trade-metals, but will use all manner of coins. [ . . . ] Medicines or food barter between friends, and spells or magic item exchanges between rulers and the haughtiest nobles, but for everyone else: coins just like humans (valued according to the metal of the coin, not the minting: i.e. elves quite happily use coins issued by human kingdoms long gone and forgotten, so long as the coins are in good condition, and of acceptable purity and size.



Nice finds. During the year of my campaign, Cormanthyr is a abandoned empire; I imagine any lingering yulthaari will serve as adventure seeds...far more valuable both in- and out-of-campaign than as mere metal to be sold summarily.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Jan 2022 :  05:31:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas



Maztica uses cacao beans and feathers, and little (but some) value was placed on gold. To note for that, feathers were used to make magic. In Faerun, many magic items require gold IN its crafting (as well as gems).



A civilization based around chocolate? A most sensible people, these Mazticans .


I don't know that I'd call tasty edible money a sensible idea.

Angry wife to her husband: "You *ate* the mortgage payment?!?"

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 06 Jan 2022 05:32:20
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Azar
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Posted - 07 Jan 2022 :  10:09:59  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas



Maztica uses cacao beans and feathers, and little (but some) value was placed on gold. To note for that, feathers were used to make magic. In Faerun, many magic items require gold IN its crafting (as well as gems).



A civilization based around chocolate? A most sensible people, these Mazticans .


I don't know that I'd call tasty edible money a sensible idea.

Angry wife to her husband: "You *ate* the mortgage payment?!?"



Precisely! Consider the indomitable will it takes to refuse quite literally "Eating all the profits."; I know I would shirk facing such resolute folks in battle.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Azar
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Posted - 14 Jan 2022 :  04:41:11  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Curious...in those lands where elven clans abut with dwarven populations, do the dedicated elven merchants - typically the most pragmatic sort in their society - cede their presence in any local markets or would they still give it the old college try? After all, finding a people more dogged in their pursuit of the deal than Moradin's kin is a mighty challenge.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 14 Jan 2022 :  04:50:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Curious...in those lands where elven clans abut with dwarven populations, do the dedicated elven merchants - typically the most pragmatic sort in their society - cede their presence in any local markets or would they still give it the old college try? After all, finding a people more dogged in their pursuit of the deal than Moradin's kin is a mighty challenge.



Why would they cede their presence? It's not like elves and dwarves are going to be offering the same goods.

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Azar
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Posted - 22 Jan 2022 :  10:12:27  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Curious...in those lands where elven clans abut with dwarven populations, do the dedicated elven merchants - typically the most pragmatic sort in their society - cede their presence in any local markets or would they still give it the old college try? After all, finding a people more dogged in their pursuit of the deal than Moradin's kin is a mighty challenge.



Why would they cede their presence? It's not like elves and dwarves are going to be offering the same goods.



The logic being that dwarves are so overwhelmingly talented at commerce that they drive out vendors that aren't up to the task. Humans are understandable...they are driven to succeed because of their comparatively short lifespans and they're most likely to take up the adventuring life; Half-Elves are likely much the same. Elves typically aren't anywhere near as incentivized to don an aggressive or merely assertive entrepreneurial demeanor.

However, yes, it stands to reason that the elves will have unique resources to offer. Overall, I imagine the majority* would have interested outside parties come to them rather than make the pilgrimage to population centers with stiff competition.

*Excluding cosmopolitan elves acclimated to urban living in places such as Waterdeep.

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TBeholder
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Posted - 24 Jan 2022 :  22:15:29  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

The logic being that dwarves are so overwhelmingly talented at commerce
Are they?

quote:
Elves typically aren't anywhere near as incentivized to don an aggressive or merely assertive entrepreneurial demeanor.

On the upside they have above-average patience.
Their attitudes would be a problem in Zakhara, where haggling is a necessary part of life and "being good sport". But they aren't there (and Zakhara doesn't exactly suffer without "barbarian elves", either).
So it's down to plain supply/demand for mostly-static markets, and response time (which is going to depend on loyal contacts, communication and failed that, divination) for more opportunistic ones. If the elves can corner a market, they can make profit, just like everyone else.
Some markets (relatively exotic plant / alchemical products) are likely their by default.
The ones with actual competition, not so much, but... In petty magic and contact networks they are ahead of other players. Except perhaps the drow, but they generally have markets (likewise, fungal and alchemical products that cannot be easily churned out on surface) where the only competing supply is from other drow, and they know it. Opportunistic sales can be fun, but oligopoly pricing makes reliable good profits. Thus they are going to become a problem mostly when they want to mess with some of their cousins on purpose for "being rothe behinds again".

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Azar
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Posted - 24 Jan 2022 :  23:22:29  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

The logic being that dwarves are so overwhelmingly talented at commerce
Are they?


Affirmative. If they have two gods of money, they can't be in the poorhouse .

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

Except perhaps the drow, but they generally have markets (likewise, fungal and alchemical products that cannot be easily churned out on surface) where the only competing supply is from other drow, and they know it. Opportunistic sales can be fun, but oligopoly pricing makes reliable good profits. Thus they are going to become a problem mostly when they want to mess with some of their cousins on purpose for "being rothe behinds again".


Now there is potential: surface elves and the drow engaging in a kind of "commerce cold war". I commend the DM able to orchestrate a believable scenario involving the two that does not escalate into outright martial conflict.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 25 Jan 2022 :  05:23:51  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

The logic being that dwarves are so overwhelmingly talented at commerce
Are they?


Affirmative. If they have two gods of money, they can't be in the poorhouse .



Yeah, but dwarven riches aren't because of being talented at commerce -- it's because they're the ones getting the precious metals and gems everyone else wants.

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Azar
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Posted - 25 Jan 2022 :  05:50:56  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

The logic being that dwarves are so overwhelmingly talented at commerce
Are they?


Affirmative. If they have two gods of money, they can't be in the poorhouse .



Yeah, but dwarven riches aren't because of being talented at commerce -- it's because they're the ones getting the precious metals and gems everyone else wants.



Dwarves are consistently mentioned as having an affinity for those precious metals and gems; dwarves aren't only talented at locating and mining said resources, but they're also adept at working/crafting with them and gauging their worth. As fun as sitting on a massive pile of resources sounds, presumably, at some point, the dwarves trade with someone (elves are better at conservation of natural/living resources and they also boast a strong broad tradition of spellcasting while dwarves are known for their divine spellcasters if at all...in other words, the elves are more self-sufficient overall). Once they've entered an economic arena, their aforementioned talent comes into play. Considering the dominant race of Faerun (humans) bases their economy on copper/silver/electrum/gold/platinum, I'd say that, yes, Moradin's kin has a significant edge when the scales are brought out.

Finally, gems are often used as material components for spells. If a market for magical supplies exist, I suspect the dwarves are invaluable in that context as well.

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Wooly Rupert
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quote:
Originally posted by Azar

Dwarves are consistently mentioned as having an affinity for those precious metals and gems; dwarves aren't only talented at locating and mining said resources, but they're also adept at working/crafting with them and gauging their worth. As fun as sitting on a massive pile of resources sounds, presumably, at some point, the dwarves trade with someone (elves are better at conservation of natural/living resources and they also boast a strong broad tradition of spellcasting while dwarves are known for their divine spellcasters if at all...in other words, the elves are more self-sufficient overall). Once they've entered an economic arena, their aforementioned talent comes into play. Considering the dominant race of Faerun (humans) bases their economy on copper/silver/electrum/gold/platinum, I'd say that, yes, Moradin's kin has a significant edge when the scales are brought out.

Finally, gems are often used as material components for spells. If a market for magical supplies exist, I suspect the dwarves are invaluable in that context as well.



I'm not disagreeing that dwarves make money from their mining and crafting -- I'm just saying that's not the same as being "overwhelmingly talented at commerce." There's a hell of a lot more to commerce than just having a particular subset of desired resources.

Even making money off your one set of resources doesn't make someone talented. If people really want what you've got, it doesn't take much to make money from it.

If dwarves were indeed "overwhelmingly talented at commerce" then we'd have a preponderance of dwarven merchants in all or at least a majority of markets, both geographic and economical.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 25 Jan 2022 12:11:20
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Azar
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Posted - 25 Jan 2022 :  13:54:11  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm not disagreeing that dwarves make money from their mining and crafting -- I'm just saying that's not the same as being "overwhelmingly talented at commerce." There's a hell of a lot more to commerce than just having a particular subset of desired resources.

Even making money off your one set of resources doesn't make someone talented. If people really want what you've got, it doesn't take much to make money from it.


However, if you work to ensure a fair profit (most dwarves) or maximum profit (the less scrupulous dwarves) from the fruits of your labor, you'll eventually learn the ins and outs of trade (both trade directly related to your earned resource as well as ancillary supplies). Unless there's a supplement that states to the contrary, dwarves don't - as a matter of course - act through proxies to supply interested groups with their resources; they themselves handle the face-to-face interactions. They're nothing if not a people practical in their wisdom, so I find it difficult to believe they didn't eventually accumulate the acumen that would result in a shrewd merchant practice applicable to more than just gold and diamonds.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

If dwarves were indeed "overwhelmingly talented at commerce" then we'd have a preponderance of dwarven merchants in all or at least a majority of markets, both geographic and economical.



This may be an instance where looking too closely at The Forgotten Realms (or similar D&D worlds) may cause it to unravel. Example: why haven't the long-lived races dominated most of Faerun, business or otherwise? You'd think there'd be a bunch of high-level dwarves, elves and gnomes (among other races) running the show, but they don't...because the setting was designed to be humancentric. IMO, when it comes to trade, dwarves have the skill, but humans have the numbers and drive.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 25 Jan 2022 :  20:15:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm not disagreeing that dwarves make money from their mining and crafting -- I'm just saying that's not the same as being "overwhelmingly talented at commerce." There's a hell of a lot more to commerce than just having a particular subset of desired resources.

Even making money off your one set of resources doesn't make someone talented. If people really want what you've got, it doesn't take much to make money from it.


However, if you work to ensure a fair profit (most dwarves) or maximum profit (the less scrupulous dwarves) from the fruits of your labor, you'll eventually learn the ins and outs of trade (both trade directly related to your earned resource as well as ancillary supplies). Unless there's a supplement that states to the contrary, dwarves don't - as a matter of course - act through proxies to supply interested groups with their resources; they themselves handle the face-to-face interactions. They're nothing if not a people practical in their wisdom, so I find it difficult to believe they didn't eventually accumulate the acumen that would result in a shrewd merchant practice applicable to more than just gold and diamonds.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

If dwarves were indeed "overwhelmingly talented at commerce" then we'd have a preponderance of dwarven merchants in all or at least a majority of markets, both geographic and economical.



This may be an instance where looking too closely at The Forgotten Realms (or similar D&D worlds) may cause it to unravel. Example: why haven't the long-lived races dominated most of Faerun, business or otherwise? You'd think there'd be a bunch of high-level dwarves, elves and gnomes (among other races) running the show, but they don't...because the setting was designed to be humancentric. IMO, when it comes to trade, dwarves have the skill, but humans have the numbers and drive.



I'm not arguing the shrewd angle, or that it wouldn't be applicable to other mercantile pursuits. I'm just saying it's not the same as being "overwhelmingly talented."

So far as I know, there's nothing at all that indicates dwarves are any more talented at mercantile pursuits than any other group of folks in the Realms. Nothing says they're any less talented, either.

They're like any other group: individual members may be amazing at doing X, or they may draw much vacuum at it, but those are individuals and they don't define the whole.

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