Monday, September 24, 2012

Port Specific Trade II

Just a short post.  Some more ideas on dice drop trade charts unique to specific ports:

  • A better artist than I might actually have the dice drop chart look like a map of its port so it's easy to know which port's chart you're looking at.
  • If you use the method I suggested for determining what goods merchants want, you run into a weird issue.  Imagine a northern port that predominately ships lumber and hides but wants cloth and pottery.  To make those results come up more frequently I'd need to make the spaces for both bigger on the dice drop chart (or have more spaces scattered about).  That means a merchant is just as likely to have pottery and cloth as the ports biggest exports.  I suppose you could make some interesting adventure hooks out of this: a merchant ship stuck in port and shunned by all the local merchants, or whatever.
  • I really liked the idea from the dragon article that made the profit of trade based on distance from port.  My barter idea while even simpler undercuts that whole idea.  I wish I could have both.  But I suppose the "taking goods farther gets more money" is abstract in a way that "this port has an abundance of hides and a demand for cloth" just isn't.  The former requires little world set up by the DM, but bookkeeping of how many ports traveled with a chart and some math.  The latter requires the DM determine ahead of time what each port has and needs, but then determining market quantities is a cinch.
  • But what if the party has cold cash?  Doesn't that go back to the original idea that hides should be cheaper the closer you get to the port that specializes in them?
ps. Got my Secret Santicore and it's a doozy.  It'll be a challenge for me because it is more mathy and logical than I think I'm good at.  I'm hoping I can let my unconscious mind help me out here.  I've already scribbled  down a few ideas that were fuzzily in my head waking at 3:00 in the morning.


  1. I don't know how I missed your last 5 posts, but I'm back now!
    ...and I wrote a comment on your trade goods post, but it got kinda long...

  2. Thanks. A great blog post over there. All the interesting possibilities makes me wonder if a boring abstracted list is even a good idea. On the up side, I was at least thinking of incorporating portability which goes along with your list. Also, you reminded me I had planned on a post about difficult to steal treasures . . .

  3. I'll make you up to 5 port maps if you give me the contents you want on them, and amounts.

  4. I put some thought into this question. Here's a possible solution.

    Have 3 extra modifiers: Exotic, Fashion, and Reputation.

    * Every 100 miles it travels bumps the price 5%.

    * Roll 1d10 to generate a result between -4 and +4 x10 for percent increased or decreased because of current fashion.

    * Goods from an area might have up to +50% or -50% value because of the reputation of that kind of product from that area.

    Using 1, 2, or 3 of these modifiers could get at what you're looking for with distance, without interfering with the basic calculation by supply and demand.

  5. Andrew, so sorry I haven't responded. Work is still crazy and I put all my extra cycles this past week trying to design my Santicore request. I'll think about this today and respond later.

  6. I'm conflicted about whether making maps for different ports or having a more abstracted map for all ports would be simpler. The first makes each port distinct and determining goods easy, but adds pages and pages.

    You did give me the good idea that I could use my same system and just add or subtract one to the barter die for each port travelled from your destination. So, if you've brought your millet 4 ports and the roll comes up with the merchant wanting 1 millet for 2 hide - you bump that up to 6 hide per millet.

    As for fads I'm thinking that might work better on a trade event chart with piracy, weather, and wars affecting the availability of different goods.

  7. Of course it would be simpler to have 1 map for all ports. However, you would not be able to then have different ports with different needs.

    You could put 4-8 ports per page. Maybe have 4 generic ports, if you don't have a specific setting in mind; reuse as desired.

    I was also looking at the Forgotten Realms book with the cities in it; you could borrow port silhouettes from it if you had it. It has a lot of cities with ports.

    Anyway, I'm still willing to do some port silhouettes for you if you are interested. You could have areas on the ports, with numbers, then make a table for each port. That way you get one or more generic port shapes, and you can customize the contents for each.

  8. Thanks for your continued conversation on this. I took some time tonight to try and push myself to make what I had in mind. I'll post it in the morning.