Now that we know more about the game, let’s take a second look at trading. For our previous take on this subject, read “Trading: What’s it Worth?” Trading: What’s it Worth?
A big question that came up in the forums recently is how to know what an item’s value is, in purl, for the purpose of making fair trades and not getting screwed. Because every time someone says “I made a killing off of the barter economy” what they mean is “Most people don’t know what anything is worth and I scammed them out of a lot of stuff”.
So how do you calculate the value of the things you have so that you aren’t the sucker getting scammed out of your hard earned goods?
Baseline: How your abilities impact value
We are making the explicit decision here to NOT include special abilities of any sort, or widely available items such as maps in our calculations of value. These abilities and items are advantages that you have that give you an edge. In practice, these things may impact supply and demand. Here, however, we are using the concept of an entirely unspecialized gatherer - which, in reality, is not something that can exist - when determining base values. One exception: We do use the advanced foraging and gathering skills to calculate the value of unusual finds, and then we use those values to speculate about what the value should be if we were calculating it using the standard gather action instead (which, IMO, should be our goal).
Note for Armorers and Weaponsmiths:
It is worth noting that in the particular case of crafting, in order to reach the Masterwork tier you have to invest 6 whole build (which is a LOT) into your profession. Unlike the Gatherer’s advanced skills, journeyman and masterwork skills themselves DO NOT make you more productive or inherently allow you to do MORE in the same time so they do not inherently add value. All they do is let you add one more unusual find to the resulting product, which in theory is either provided by the customer or bought from you via barter. You should consider up charging for the extra skill required to make more advanced permanent items. My suggestion would be charging a small additional flat fee based on how many unusual components are used, regardless of who provided them.
A note about Gatherers:
While your advanced skills make you efficient at finding unusual finds, you lose the common finds you would get with basic gathering. You should probably be upcharging too, but my guess would be that it makes the most sense to charge someone for going on an expedition to get some thing they want multiples of badly. That’s what I would do, as a Gatherer, which I also am, even if I forgot for a bit while writing this.
Time Is Money: The Value of a Day’s Work in Purl
The first step, so far as we’ve been able to agree, is to determine the value of a day’s work in Purl.
Chris and I suggest using the Gatherer Baseline to determine the exchange rate between time and money. A gatherer without any form of specialization gets 2 purl for a day’s worth of work.
1 Day = 2 Purl
Back to Basics: The value of basic components
For Alchemy and Crafting basic components, a baseline gatherer can get 1 per day of work, which means every basic component is worth 2 purl.
Basic Component = 1 Day = 2 Purl
Advanced Materials: The value of unusual finds in purl
For unusual finds, once again, we’re using the tables for the advanced gathering / foraging skills to calculate value. It takes a variable number of days to collect a single item. We are going to use Very Low as the Baseline Gatherer likelihood of finding an item at the locations nearby. Given a location with a Very Low chance of an unusual find:
1 Unusual Gatherer Component = 10 Days = 20 Purl
1 Unusual Forager Component = 6 days = 12 Purl
The standard gather action is difficult to use because of its random nature and the unknown % chances of finding an unusual component. But we can do some guesswork based on the advanced skills. We’ve got 1:10 for Gathering and 1:6 for foraging. That means the chance of unusual finds with Gathering is 10% or less and for foraging is 16% or less. If I were to guess I’d say it’s likely 5% and 10% when gathering normally at areas with Very Low likelihood of an unusual find. This would mean (reminder, the following is speculation):
1 Unusual Gatherer Component = 20 days = 40 purl (This is speculation)
1 Unusual Forager Component = 10 days = 20 purl (This is speculation)
But who knows what the reality is?
Advanced Materials II: Components From The Origin
It’s still hard to place a value on these somewhat rare and more valuable components, mostly because we don’t know how rare they really are. I hear there may be changes coming based on the fact that they aren’t turning out to be as rare and powerful as the rulebook originally made them appear, so be on the update for changes! I’m presently valuing these at 2x, based off of literally nothing but a gut feeling. It’ll be hard to figure this one out until we get updates on the feat Power Untold.
Advanced Materials III: Hearthstones
Hearthstones are even more valuable. Presently their value has been measured primarily in narrative terms: Every hearthstone we have encountered has had a narrative cost. One cost a critical and a permanent scar. Two I believe came from the fight with Braig. Others have had their own various narrative fallout. None came cheaply. Consider the value of a Hearthstone to be beyond something that can be paid for in purl. Trade in narrative favors. Unless someone gives you a mountain of purl they’re probably ripping you off.
Supply and Demand
Obviously, value changes based on how badly you want something. So we have to remember that while these are good base values, some NPCs or players will be looking for specific things and uninterested in others. For example Madame D’Avante was mostly interested in items of significance rather than value. So they may value things differently. But in general these values can help you figure out what something is worth.
My stack of 5 Blood Root Fungus - 200 purl,
My Reactive Armor: Master crafted 10 days + 8 fiber + 2 Ancient Ink + 1 Flutterflower = 20 + 16 + (80 + 20)+ (80 + 10) = 226 purl.
Cost I Should Be Charging for Masterwork Armor: 36 Purl if I’m providing the fiber, plus the value of any unusual components I provide, + 10 per unusual component used. Discount of 2 per fiber provided by customer. Discount of 2 for +Grace instead of +Armor.
A typical job where the customer brings their own unusual components (which is what I prefer) would be around 66 purl. Easily offset by bartering.