Realistic World Without MageMart?

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I am wondering how anyone can have an even slightly plausable world in the D&D setting without having "Magemarts". With all of these adventurers constantly finding magic items that they do not need, they are going to want to sell them to someone. And if there is any universal truth (other than death and taxes), it is that if there is money to be made someone will find a way to make it.

To have an example, lets take a world with the population of Eberron (15 million). I will make the following assumptions about this world:

  • 1 in 200 individuals have adventuring levels
  • The average adventurer gains a level every other year (6 encounters of equal CR per year)
  • There are twice as many 1st level characters as 2nd, twice as many 2nd as 4th, and so on

That leaves 75000 adventurers in this world. Using the average treasure per encounter table, that means that these adventurers are looting about 175 million gold worth of treasure each year. I will now make the following assumptions about this treasure:

  • 1/2 of the Treasure is magical items
  • 1/2 of the Treasure is useful to the party

These assumptions are very generous. In my experience not even 1/4 of the treasure in a random horde is useful to the party.

That leaves almost 45 million gold worth of treasure that adventurers want to sell every year. That is over 20 million gold worth of potential profit per year for any entrepreneurs that can successfully operate a "Magemart". And that does not count any mages who are creating new items.

Remember that a gold peice is worth roughly $100 in our currency. That means it is a $2 billion industry. And this world is much smaller than Earth (population 6 billion), so a $2 billion industry is quite large indeed.

How can anyone possibly fathom that magemarts would not exist in almost every conceivable D&D campaign? I can definetly imagine there may only be 1 or 2 in the entire world because it is so difficult to protect these items from thieves, but they would still exist. There is just far too much money to be made.

And this is in a world with only 15 million people (less than 1 million would even live in towns with more than 1000 people). In a world closer to the size of Earth, there would be many times more.

Of course any DM can definetly make things different in their world, but I see many DMs criticizing others for having Magemarts with shopping catalogs and such in their worlds. These DMs are criticized for being lazy and not controlling their players enough. In my opinion, it is the DMs that do have Magemarts in their worlds that are taking the time to put at least a little bit of realism into their worlds. Instead of artificially limiting the opportunities that the player characters have just because a DM is too lazy to properly control the power balance of his/her campaign.
I am wondering how anyone can have an even slightly plausable world in the D&D setting without having "Magemarts". With all of these adventurers constantly finding magic items that they do not need, they are going to want to sell them to someone.

It's been accomplished for far longer than magicmarts have been around (magicmarts on a broad scale are fairly new to the hobby).

DMs who stock dungeons with unneeded magic are just incompetent. That handles that.

eot
You appear to be operating under the false assumption that the rules make sense economically.

They don't.

I mean look at wall of iron, polymorph any object, make whole, create water, create undead, and animate undead. Just between these core spells, we've eliminated the labor market and turned every resource into a commodity. Throw in suggestion/charm person, and suddenly, the world doesn't make a whole lot of business sense.

Basically, D&D isn't realistic. You can try to make it more so, but ultimately, it'll always be a game. I think the best route is to just pretend it works, and make your world however you want it.
don't forget to account for all those aspiring adventurers who visited the dragon's lairs a few levels too early and left all that wonderful treasure. it isn't that there's all this influx of cash, it's that there is actually a very small amount that keeps cycling between adventuring groups who get killed and those who get lucky enough to survive to recoup the treasure of the deceased adventuring groups (only to get killed later on).

a vicious cycle indeed...
I'm going to go with Dugar on this one. In a world where magic exists in the first place, trying to make sense of what is essentially an abstraction to facilitate gameplay is an exercise in futility. You simply have to do what feels right for your game and your players.

In my Eberron game, I allow the players to buy whatever they can afford, but I limit the books from which they can buy. This keeps out nasty little items I've never heard of but "Surprise!" just broke my encounter all of a sudden. (I just don't have the time nor inclination to read every magic item book out there.)

But I do make a strong effort to include magic items that are actually useful for the PCs as loot. An NPC bard that just bit the dust is as likely to have a wand of cure light wounds as the PCs would. It just makes sense. I hide all sorts of little goodies in adventures that would be immediately useful to the PCs rather than go through the whole process of buying and selling. That crap is boring. I walked out on a game once when over an hour was spent shopping and haggling. I'd rather remove my gall bladder with a shrimp fork than sit through that.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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But I do make a strong effort to include magic items that are actually useful for the PCs as loot. An NPC bard that just bit the dust is as likely to have a wand of cure light wounds as the PCs would. It just makes sense. I hide all sorts of little goodies in adventures that would be immediately useful to the PCs rather than go through the whole process of buying and selling. That crap is boring.

That's the way it should be.
Great, Dugar, now I'm wondering if anyone's tried to construct a semi-plausible "economy" from / plot out the consequences of spells such as fabricate and wall of iron, while abandoning the assumption / determination that it resemble something familiar to us ...
I never read the FR novels, but I read Dragon Lance.

In those books, all of the adventurers had jobs before they got together. They didn't spend five years tooling around, killing forest monsters. In Dragon Lance, there are way fewer professional adventurers than 1 in 200.

In addition, EVERY magical item they found had a purpose, utility, and backround.

The player characters are usually the center stage of the game world. The fact that the story is about them is what makes them center stage. Almost no one else is clearing dungeons and becoming war heroes, because if they were, the story would be about them.

My game world has 3 archmages between the five cities of the nation. Even if they had nothing better to do than make useless magical items, they couldn't do what you are talking about.

That, and I make it hard. Want to make a belt of epic constitution? You better boil the hearts of 20 ogres on the day of the new moon, on the solstice. The ritual takes 12 hours and if you screw it up you lose a point of constitution.

Magic items make themselves, are forged by the gods, or have awakened spirits. If they sit in the dirt and aren't very strong the magic goes away as people forget.

Not to mention, in my game, if you break a rod or staff, sunder a sword, or rip a cloak to shreads, the magic goes away.

Nothing lasts forever, and magic items get used more than any other object in a party's arsenal. They are bound to get wasted or used up.

If you try to apply dnd character generation to the world at large, what you get makes about as much sense I was I was trying to figure out in the Mass Combat thread.
That's the way it should be.

I agree. The only people who typically don't easily find an enhanced version of their weapon or armor in my campaigns are those that have gone exotic in their choices. They kind of know this going in and if I can find a reasonable excuse to include a +1 small kama or a +1 flaming spiked chain, I will do. But that plus random small consumables is all my PCs typically need buy.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Great, Dugar, now I'm wondering if anyone's tried to construct a semi-plausible "economy" from / plot out the consequences of spells such as fabricate and wall of iron, while abandoning the assumption / determination that it resemble something familiar to us ...

Here's a couple house rules I use.

4: Fabricate can't be used to make items requiring a high degree of craftsmanship, ie. weapons, armour,...

8: Wall of Iron: The iron from this spell ceases to exist if taken from the “wall”.
I agree completely. Because Eberron makes sense, you actually can find magic items for sale. Most of them will be low level, because most capable of crafting are low level. But if you found an Artificer 15 somewhere and buddied up to them... you're set gearwise.

Most other worlds do not make sense.

Consider, even a 'hobby crafter' as it were. You spend 1 XP, and 12.5 gold to craft a Scroll of *insert 1st level spell with common usage such as CLW or Lesser Vigor*. An item like this is going to have a fairly broad market (not just adventurers) and is therefore a reliable item. He sells the item, making 12.5 gold profit. The 1 XP can come from roleplaying or something. With that money, which took him little time and effort to earn he can support himself for a week or two, or perhaps finance magical research, his temple, whatever. That means he has much more time to focus on his studies/religion/etc, without going hungry. Who wouldn't do this? Now look at potions, wondrous items, and so forth...
To be frank (and this bothers me a bit), this doesn't happen for the same reason Wall of Iron or Flesh to Salt (or w/e that spell was) doesn't work: global secret societies. I believe there was an epic organization dedicated to preserving the balance?
DMs who stock dungeons with unneeded magic are just incompetent. That handles that.

So every single DM who tries to put at least a tiny level of believability into their campaign is incompetent? It sure stretches credibility to the breaking point if you only ever find greatswords, short swords, and staffs in every horde. But then if your fighter leaves the party and is replaced by a hammer wielding cleric, all you ever find is hammers now?

Oh yeah, that sure sounds like a competent DM.
It's been accomplished for far longer than magicmarts have been around (magicmarts on a broad scale are fairly new to the hobby).

DMs who stock dungeons with unneeded magic are just incompetent. That handles that.

eot

Unneeded for whom? The adventurers or the people who lived in the dungeon? I think that, for the most part, the magic items that a DM puts into a game should be appropriate for whoever is originally using the items or for the setting of the dungeon. I think that a good DM will provide the opportunity for adventurers to find items that they need/want, but I think for the most part the items need to reflect the world around them.

For example, in my campaign my group recently went into a dungeon run by a cult that fanatically worships St. Cuthbert and are on quest to find his mace. To that end they hoard maces, use no other weapon than maces, and actively destroy all other weapons as being unholy and blasphemous. The only magic item to be found in the dungeon were maces. There was even a magic item that detected the presence of maces. But, no one in my group uses maces. Given the situation it would have ruined the mood of the game to have put in any non-mace magical weapon.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
Great, Dugar, now I'm wondering if anyone's tried to construct a semi-plausible "economy" from / plot out the consequences of spells such as fabricate and wall of iron, while abandoning the assumption / determination that it resemble something familiar to us ...

Somewhere on these forums there is an article about the craft skill and someone "debunked" the idea of walls of iron disrupting the economy and such.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
You appear to be operating under the false assumption that the rules make sense economically.

They don't.

I mean look at wall of iron, polymorph any object, make whole, create water, create undead, and animate undead. Just between these core spells, we've eliminated the labor market and turned every resource into a commodity. Throw in suggestion/charm person, and suddenly, the world doesn't make a whole lot of business sense.

Basically, D&D isn't realistic. You can try to make it more so, but ultimately, it'll always be a game. I think the best route is to just pretend it works, and make your world however you want it.

Everything makes sense economically if you take the time to think about the economy of your world. It will never be perfect, but then no simulation ever is. But just because you cannot be perfect doesnt mean that you shouldnt try. That is just being lazy.

Wall of Iron: Takes a 50gp material component, including sheet iron and gold dust. An 12th level caster makes 6.25 cubic feet of iron (3000 lbs). Iron costs about 2gp per pound (based on crafting rules and the cost of a Greatsword), so that iron is worth about 6000gp. It only costs about 720 gp to have a wizard cast Wall of Iron for you, so at the surface it looks like you are spending 770gp to get 6000gp of Iron.

But all a good DM has to do is say that it takes alot of work to rework this Iron. There are no rules regarding whether this Iron is Wrought Iron, Cast Iron, or another "magical" form of Iron. Perhaps this magical Iron does not smelt properly. This is obviously not an impossible problem to solve.

Polymorph Any Object: This has a duration, and even says that you cannot create material of great intrinsic value. Basically, just limit the cost of any items created to under 1200gp worth, or it isnt permanent.

Create Water: Obviously any area with enough divine casters is not going to have a problem with their water supply. But it will take alot of casters to bring water to a large city. A 1st level cleric can only make enough water for about 10 people, and that is if he has no other use for his spells all day.

Undead Spells: Any civilization in your world that is evil enough to have many undead walking around doing manual labor and enough casters to control them will probably not need much living laborers. But then again such societies will be fairly rare.

Compulsion Spells: These are the kinds of problems that elite businessmen will spend most of their time solving. I would figure that using compulsion spells for personal gain would generally be heavily punished in most societies, probably by death. These types of spells are definete problems for small merchants, which is why Magemarts are so necessary. Only huge stores could afford the kind of magical protection necessary to do business with powerful casters.


And I definetly agree that you should just make your world however you want it. I was mostly commenting on how idiotic it is to say that Magemarts are a bad idea or bad DMing in any way. They are something that would almost definetly exist in any world with as much magic as the ones described in the D&D rulebooks.
A D&D world with SpelMarts is about as plausabile as a Fabergé Eggs shop in every town. I don't know about your city, but I don't see many of them around where I live.

Just cos magic exists doesn't mean it needs to be common or ubiquitous.
A D&D world with SpelMarts is about as plausabile as a Fabergé Eggs shop in every town. I don't know about your city, but I don't see many of them around where I live.

Just cos magic exists doesn't mean it needs to be common or ubiquitous.

First off, the Faberge Eggs comparison is pretty bad since I bet most D&D worlds have more than 69 magical items.

Second, I even said that you will probably only have a handful of "Magemarts" in an entire world. But when you are talking about player characters, there wont be a big problem for them to get anywhere on your world so it doesnt matter how few there are.
But, no one in my group uses maces. Given the situation it would have ruined the mood of the game to have put in any non-mace magical weapon.

No one in the group can use a magical mace? What are their classes? I find THAT hard to believe. Or, are you confusing "useful" with wanted or wished for?
But where would this be? Having a MageMart nearby would be a tremendous boon - one that countries would incessantly fight over. How long would this survive?
No one in the group can use a magical mace? What are their classes? I find THAT hard to believe. Or, are you confusing "useful" with wanted or wished for?

The 3.5 assumed setting appears to be extremely magic-heavy: more than half of "normally" generated items (random as presented in the DMG) will be "useless" magic items. If this is true, then according to your theory, the basic DMG is designed for "bad DMs" - which means the designers are "bad", and ((etc)). Now, relying too much on random tables might be a sign of a bad DM, but if a philosophy considers following the core rulebooks to be a sign of bad DMing; then I am a bit hesitant to embrace it.


If an item is not wanted by the PCs, why would you include it? If an item is not wanted, I doubt it would be "useful" (i.e. finding use) under any circumstances.
((If this ends up being a triple post, I wonder for my reputation...))
My view on similar issues of magic and economy are based on two things.

1) Magic Items - As I consider the list price to be the net amount it costs to acquire the magic item - finding contacts, making little bribes here and there, hiring people to fetch random things, etc. Therefore, you can generally buy any item from anywhere at the given price. Don't expect it to be quick, though - especially if the item is above 3,000 gp. The same principle of "net value" applies for selling magic items - the half price you get is the amount left after the expenses of hiring people to find the item. ((Copied from a recent online game))

2) Epic Level Handbook, page 244: The Regulators. I believe that they would take some manner of action (probably already have) to stop unchecked magic (such as a sprawling MageMart, or mass fabrication) from ruining the economy.
(random as presented in the DMG) will be "useless" magic items.

Or, chosen by DM as presented in DMG.


then according to your theory, the basic DMG is designed for "bad DMs"

"Basic" DMG? The chapter isn't broken down by basic & advanced... So no point there...

If an item is not wanted by the PCs, why would you include it? If an item is not wanted, I doubt it would be "useful" (i.e. finding use) under any circumstances.

Wanted & useful can be different. Just because the character didn't WANT a +5 Mace doesn't mean it isn't USEFUL. Is he going to use his non-magical sword or the +5 Mace? I guess the decision will be guided by his intelligence or lack thereof.

But, I DM for adults not children, who play their characters like they are making a list for x-mas presents they want...
I will make the following assumptions about this world:

  • 1 in 200 individuals have adventuring levels
  • The average adventurer gains a level every other year (6 encounters of equal CR per year)
  • There are twice as many 1st level characters as 2nd, twice as many 2nd as 4th, and so on

My campaign world operates without magic marts because the first assumption you make in this list is not accurate for the campaign I run. 1 in 200 individuals are do not have adventuring levels. The PCs have adventuring levels, the NPCs might have adventuring backgrounds, but that's about it. Works for me anyway.
But, I DM for adults not children, who play their characters like they are making a list for x-mas presents they want...

I think you have it a bit backwards there. A child will like certain magic items because they are "cool", and will just buy whatever they can get their hands on. An adult will make a budget, make informed decisons based on the features of each item, and let something being "cool" only be a small factor.

A player who is researching a list of items they desire and saving for them is not being a child, he is just roleplaying well.
My campaign world operates without magic marts because the first assumption you make in this list is not accurate for the campaign I run. 1 in 200 individuals are do not have adventuring levels. The PCs have adventuring levels, the NPCs might have adventuring backgrounds, but that's about it. Works for me anyway.

Same here. I don't have peasants, barkeeps, chambermaids with "levels". Maybe 1 out of 500 have what it takes and not all of those become adventurers.

Those that do are named NPCs...
If you want to make your D&D world comparable to post Industrial Age America, with supermarkets and strip malls, have at it. Just because there is a market for something doesn't mean the culture and technology are there to support modern concepts in commerce.

For me, I plan to keep magic .. magical. Sitting down on a bench and trying on Boots of X, Y, and Z like you're at a frickn' ski rental shop (and I am using this example since it appears in the MIC) is really retarded and decidedly unfantastic.
A player who is researching a list of items they desire and saving for them is not being a child, he is just roleplaying well.

"he is just meta-gaming well"

Fixed. ;)
Here's a couple house rules I use.

4: Fabricate can't be used to make items requiring a high degree of craftsmanship, ie. weapons, armour,...

8: Wall of Iron: The iron from this spell ceases to exist if taken from the “wall”.

You kind of go backwards from what I want, though.

Admittedly, if you want to go for believability, it's the easier road, but also the far more frustrating and boring one.

What you seem to be doing is figuring out how to limit what can be done to make dnd resemble something you're familiar with, rather than taking what can be doing and charting out the unfamiliar of what it should naturally result in.




But where would this be? Having a MageMart nearby would be a tremendous boon - one that countries would incessantly fight over. How long would this survive?

Maybe the people responsible from "MageMart" would devote a good chunk of their resources before 'opening doors', and a good bit of their profit afterwards, to their own defense, and then to becoming a political (and probably) military power in their own right.

Besides, with that much power, they don't have to be "right near" anyone in particular, and can either travel whole stores (heck, they're probably based in a demiplane or something, with 'franchise' shops that connect back to a central warehouse) or make contacts and do their own 'delivery', less MageMart, and more MageQVC.

Holy hell, yeah, I have a campaign idea, now...

But yeah, they'd probably try to distribute and sell evenly to most people. Too many people wouldn't band together against them (rocking a nice boat too much), and those that do act against them get cut off - while their enemies maybe even suddenly get discounts and even bonuses for attacking them ...

It could become somewhat self-regulatory.



If you want to make your D&D world comparable to post Industrial Age America, with supermarkets and strip malls, have at it. Just because there is a market for something doesn't mean the culture and technology are there to support modern concepts in commerce.

For me, I plan to keep magic .. magical. Sitting down on a bench and trying on Boots of X, Y, and Z like you're at a frickn' ski rental shop (and I am using this example since it appears in the MIC) is really retarded and decidedly unfantastic.

You can't have Post-Industrial Dungeons and Dragons with some sort of abundance of magical items for those who can afford them, and people who can afford them, while keeping magical items unmagical, unretarded, and unfantastic?

Well, maybe you can't... :glare:

And I don't appreciate the implied insults there. Really, was the "retarded" bit necessary?
You kind of go backwards from what I want, though.

Admittedly, if you want to go for believability, it's the easier road, but also the far more frustrating and boring one.

What you seem to be doing is figuring out how to limit what can be done to make dnd resemble something you're familiar with, rather than taking what can be doing and charting out the unfamiliar of what it should naturally result in.

It's easier for me to do that than rewrite all the items cost tables and rewrite the basic economic structure, which you have to do if you don't nerf those spells. IF you want it to be logical that is. ;)
He doesn't have to know exactly what it is. He just needs to know it's important to him. Barbarian likes offense, doesn't care if he's reckless in delivering it? He doesn't have to know the Collision and Vicious weapon properties exist for example. He just needs to tell someone willing to sell/make an item for him what his style is, the mage knows what that means, and can describe it IC.

OOC, DM tells Barbarian that yes, Collision and Vicious are available.

No metagaming.

Swap 'reckless barbarian' with 'rogue who wants to sneak in the dark and still see', or any other such example.

As much as I'm sure it pains the magic is magical types, that assumption does not apply to D&D as it is mid to high magic depending on execution by default and responds extremely poorly to any attempt to change its solidly ingrained nature. Magic items are simply tools of the trade for adventurers. Useful, sometimes cool and fun (MIC for the last two) but mostly just necessary.

Oh and there are examples where a magic item of the wrong sort is worse than a non magical item. For example, +1 short sword vs MW long sword. The sword is only better if you have a TWFer, or need to bypass DR/Magic and can't use Magic Weapon to do so. Under any other circumstance, same to hit bonus, same average damage, but the short sword is far more expensive, therefore sells for far more, and could be traded for a MW long sword + other useful items.

Likewise, just about any exotic weapon a player doesn't already have proficiency in.
Originally Posted by Kolson
A player who is researching a list of items they desire and saving for them is not being a child, he is just roleplaying well.


"he is just meta-gaming well"
Fixed. ;)

You think that carefully planning purchases is meta-gaming? Have you ever carefully planned a purchase in your whole life? And I am not talking about your hobbies, I am talking about your job. Going on adventures is not your character's hobby, it is basically his job. Any adventurer that does not carefully plan their purchases better have under an 8 Intelligence and/or Wisdom, or you are definetly not roleplaying them very well.

They are doing some of the most dangerous things their world has to offer. It is similar to scaling Mount Everest on Earth. If you plan on climbing Mount Everest without carefully picking every single peice of equipment you are taking along, you are an idiot. Just like an adventurer who doesnt carefully plan every peice of equipment they buy.
You can't have Post-Industrial Dungeons and Dragons with some sort of abundance of magical items for those who can afford them, and people who can afford them, while keeping magical items unmagical, unretarded, and unfantastic?

Well, maybe you can't... :glare:

Whether or not I am incapable is irrelevant. I am unwilling. That does not match my perception of what is plausible or fun, and so I will not run a game like that.

And I don't appreciate the implied insults there. Really, was the "retarded" bit necessary?

Oh no! Someone on the internet took offense at something! Retarded was an apt term to express my disdain for the MIC's characterization of magic item availability, and the assertion that the DM is wrong to not make magic items easily obtainable through purchase. Absolutely retarded. Was it necessary to use the word retarded? Are you with the Retarded Person's Anti-Defamation League? It doesn't matter if it was necessary .. that's how I expressed it.
If the game, as in the OP's example, is set in Eberron then there will be almost no magic items gathering dust on shop shelves because of the mechanics of the Artificer. An Artificer of appropriate level can cannibalize any item of a type he can craft and in so doing, recover the XP to make a different item. So if he happens to get a +2 small pick from a party of adventurers, is he going to put it under the counter and hope a small character in the market for a +2 pick, who happens to have the money will happen to wander into his shop, or is he going to spend a day eating the item so he can make an item for which he already has a buyer on his waiting list? The only items that will sit and gather dust are those with too low an XP total to be worth a day spend on deconstruction.

For worlds without Artificers, if you don't want magemarts you do have alternatives.

There might simply be no item resale shops. If PC's have an item they want to sell then they need to find a buyer and negotiate the sale (as in roleplay it). Finding a buyer becomes a sidequest, and the actual transaction is an encounter. This is the way my group handled it back in 1st ed. If we wanted to buy an item then we generally had to find a magic-user capable of making it, pay him in advance, supply any components, and then wait. Such people were rare and generally not particularly accessible.

Alternately, various thieves' guilds, crime family houses, or other underworld groups could feature item "brokers". These would not be shopkeeps, but instead would be individuals with extensive contact networks. If you want to buy or sell something then you need to find the right broker or arranger. That character will check with his contacts and (it may take a while) will contact you when he gets a hit. For a fee the arranger will broker the sale so buyer and seller never need meet (or even learn each other's identity). For a lesser fee the arranger will simply supply a name so the character can handle the sale himself.

You could also make use of auction houses. I am not talking about WoW auctions (which are consignment magemarts) but auctions that take place monthly, seasonally, annually, or whenever. This is item sales as an event or encounter rather than a shop. Character would be required to pay for an Identify or put up a bond against fraud. The auction house would charge a percentage, or a flat fee if the item gets no bids. The auction itself could be a caller auction (the loud kind) or silent with either visible or sealed bids. Depending how high profile the house is, there may or may not be magical protection in effect against charms, illusionary shills, and other chicanery.
I'm tempted to write an adventure now revolving around MageMart, specifically about how they:

- Buy only magic items produced in foreign countries using cheap labor. All of the local magewrights are now low-paid customer services reps... at MageMart.

- Open in every town and run all the local Mom-n-Pop potion, scroll, and wondrous item shops right out of business.

- Horribly abuse their employees, never pay fair wages or provide benefits wherever possible, and bust unions that try to form in response.

- Destroy the local economy by taking in adventurer's discretionary income and shipping it back to their home office instead of reinvesting the money locally.

Oh man, somebody stop me - I could go all night!

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I'm tempted to write an adventure now revolving around MageMart, specifically about how they:

- Buy only magic items produced in foreign countries using cheap labor. All of the local magewrights are now low-paid customer services reps... at MageMart.

- Open in every town and run all the local Mom-n-Pop potion, scroll, and wondrous item shops right out of business.

- Horribly abuse their employees, never pay fair wages or provide benefits wherever possible, and bust unions that try to form in response.

- Destroy the local economy by taking in adventurer's discretionary income and shipping it back to their home office instead of reinvesting the money locally.

Oh man, somebody stop me - I could go all night!


Sounds like what the "D&D" games must be like for some people on this board.
William: I'd like to clarify: I wasn't taking issue with your use of "retarded" in the sense of the specific choice of "retarded", so much as the use of a word like that, to be generally insulting to the very idea and by extention the people who think it.




It's easier for me to do that than rewrite all the items cost tables and rewrite the basic economic structure, which you have to do if you don't nerf those spells. IF you want it to be logical that is. ;)

Well, yes. Which is why, instead of expecting people to do it, or even asking for people to do it, I was just wondering aloud if anyone had done it, in the hopes that someone had and they - or someone else - could point me to that extant work. :P
Well, yes. Which is why, instead of expecting people to do it, or even asking for people to do it, I was just wondering aloud if anyone had done it, in the hopes that someone had and they - or someone else - could point me to that extant work. :P

Wow. A friend of mine tried it but, applying logic to the existing scene (broken spells and all) lead down a path that was so unlike a recognizable D&D world that he trashed the idea...
You think that carefully planning purchases is meta-gaming? ... If you plan on climbing Mount Everest without carefully picking every single peice of equipment you are taking along, you are an idiot. Just like an adventurer who doesnt carefully plan every peice of equipment they buy.

Well, Jonathan Antone Pendergast, Esq. can sit in his leisure chair and thumb through his Magical Warez Catalogue for all of his magic needs, marking items of interest with a red marking pen, and taking notes on how his saving throws will benefit from X dollars spent.

Meanwhile, Garret and Hoode check the local stores and manage to find three items that they can benefit from, snatch them up before some other party does, and go back to the Inn for a night's sleep before departing on their next adventure.

Are Garret and Hoode careless for not reviewing the Magical Warez Catalogue before making their purchases? No. These are clearly two different Dungeon Masters, and the players are doing the best they can with the resources available to them.

The more options you present your players, the less likely they are to be running at 100% capacity. Per Kolson's example, he feels that his players are being idiots for not making calculated purchases from the Magizal Warez Catalogue (DMG, MIC, or whatever).
There might simply be no item resale shops. If PC's have an item they want to sell then they need to find a buyer and negotiate the sale (as in roleplay it). Finding a buyer becomes a sidequest, and the actual transaction is an encounter. This is the way my group handled it back in 1st ed. If we wanted to buy an item then we generally had to find a magic-user capable of making it, pay him in advance, supply any components, and then wait. Such people were rare and generally not particularly accessible.

Alternately, various thieves' guilds, crime family houses, or other underworld groups could feature item "brokers". These would not be shopkeeps, but instead would be individuals with extensive contact networks. If you want to buy or sell something then you need to find the right broker or arranger. That character will check with his contacts and (it may take a while) will contact you when he gets a hit. For a fee the arranger will broker the sale so buyer and seller never need meet (or even learn each other's identity). For a lesser fee the arranger will simply supply a name so the character can handle the sale himself.

You could also make use of auction houses. I am not talking about WoW auctions (which are consignment magemarts) but auctions that take place monthly, seasonally, annually, or whenever. This is item sales as an event or encounter rather than a shop. Character would be required to pay for an Identify or put up a bond against fraud. The auction house would charge a percentage, or a flat fee if the item gets no bids. The auction itself could be a caller auction (the loud kind) or silent with either visible or sealed bids. Depending how high profile the house is, there may or may not be magical protection in effect against charms, illusionary shills, and other chicanery.

I'd like to reply to the bolded part as it relates to the rest of the post, and point out that "magemart" may be an abstraction, rather than a literal magemart... you can say it happens like that and skip all the roleplaying in a couple seconds, because it might be considered boring.

Generally, I wouldn't find it too interesting unless somehow it was going to turn into a plot hook.

Still, you can do all that in a brief discussion in "metagame" terms, a quick summary in an easy language PCs and DM understand; and the characters just suddenly know what they did. Nice and done.

And that (may) look a bit like a "magemart", no?




Someone said it somewhere, more eloquently than I, but I didn't bookmark the pos.t I should have.
Are Garret and Hoode careless for not reviewing the Magical Warez Catalogue before making their purchases? No. These are clearly two different Dungeon Masters, and the players are doing the best they can with the resources available to them.

The more options you present your players, the less likely they are to be running at 100% capacity. Per Kolson's example, he feels that his players are being idiots for not making calculated purchases from the Magizal Warez Catalogue (DMG, MIC, or whatever).

Yep. As the "catalogue" doesn't exist in my world you have to pay (dearly) sages for research. But you have to know the question 1st. That's where meta-gaming comes in. My players know that intentionally meta-gaming means that sage fees get auto deducted from their pockets.