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Buy/sell system for magic items for better economy

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This is a magic item valuation system which aims to make the game economy sustainable. It applies for merchants but has far reaching consequences on the world design.


In short:

  • Merchants pay very little for magic items and there is a good in-world (lore) reason for it.

In not short:


Non-magic equipment is bought and sold as usual - with some markup by merchants but not much (e.g. PC buys Mail for 200, sells for 140).


Magic equipment is traded at extremely high markup (buy Mail+1 for 1000, sell for 20) because:


In the game world everyone knows it is dangerous to keep (quality) magic items in the near vicinity because there is a chance a deadly creature "Buba" appears and kills everyone in sight - world lore, not a game mechanic (or possibly one that is off by default but can be switched on). The higher amount of magic concentrated in one place, the higher chance of "Buba" happening and there is no known way to avoid it. The magic items may or may not disappear.


This makes demand for them as general merchandise very low. Most merchants have up to 4-5 weak magic items, as they see it as not too risky. They do not really want to buy more stuff. They sell rarely but at very high prices. They do not need extra magic around, so they are not interested to re-stock with magic items from you, unless it is at very, very low price. Most merchants refuse to buy highly enchanted items like +2 or +3 and up (there would be some demand for these, but the risk of keeping them around would be too high).


There are merchants who deal with high magic, but they ask for high prices yet pay very little. Since they control the demand (you can sell only to them, and you can buy only from them) and they know it, they set the prices as they see fit.


As a result, the player cannot make much money selling magic equipment and needs to spend a lot to purchase said equipment.



Lots of extra stuff (read only if you're brave):



The "High Magic merchants" have specially built stores. They use constructs to fetch equipment and sell these items by description (the game interface would be the same but a "drawn picture" show in the Sell slot, rather than an image of the item itself). They generally keep stock deep underground or have stores at desolate places. You need to wait for the item to be delivered by a construct at a specific location so the merchant is safe. They can be trusted, as the ones who exist have built themselves a reputation.


There is no guarantee the items are available all the time. E.g. you could order an item, wait for it, then meet the merchant instead of the construct to get told by the angry merchant the construct has been completely destroyed and the item is missing, then get your money refunded.


There should be no way to protect against Buba, as this would make the whole thing pointless. Buba can detect it, and if detected, Buba will destroy.


Item magic strength should be easily detected by everyone with common devices made for that purpose. Each merchant would have these, as would many others.


Magic items left in populated areas would disappear, even from containers (people would locate them, identify them and quickly get rid of them).


There could be low-lifes who get rid of the items for a fee.


One thing that would be missing would be the knowledge of the item's worth. This can be fixed by the availability to deposit an item for safe keeping with a High Magic Merchant. Higher quality items would cost more to keep safe until your return. An annual fee could be the item's worth in usefulness (what it would cost if Buba was not).


Inn fees would increase as your equipment quality increases (less safe for the owner). Some would refuse a room when too much magic is worn.


It could be possible to significantly decrease the risk of Buba by, say, keeping the items between huge solid blocks of (lead/gold/something). The idea is that they can be stored somehow more safely, but this cannot be transferred outside of a display room - you cannot carry around tons of lead/gold/something-else just so you can use safely your Light-weight Bow of Quick Movement. Also, this lead/gold/something-or-other should not be available to almost anyone, so it is off-limits for normal merchants.


Possible upgrade for the stronghold - to make a magic item treasury / display room. To use the merchant item depository until then.


Buba could appear in game, but it needs to be optional and when enabled, the chance of seeing that should be something like once in a few play-throughs. Very rare. But when it appears it should kill the party. People would hate that, so probably a better idea is to see another adventuring party, which was freshly Bubabbed. Legs and hands about with the stuff between missing, etc. And of course, the diary page entry about the fantastic magic item they had just found and can't wait to use.


Creatures like dragons, undead, etc, could be safe from Buba, but not any player race.


Almost forgot - trading between adventurers could be possible. But item/s for item/s - and it is only stuff you can take from them anyway, so no gold is gained..


Buba as a reason for this item valuation would provide good economy control but would need a lot of the lore in the world re-thought and changed. Probably there are better reasons which do not need to affect the lore as much.


Also, "Buba" is only optional as official name of Buba within the game ;)

Edited by cdx
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What if magic items were powered by soul fragments, and this caused superstitious people (i.e. basically everyone who isn't a trained wizard) to believe (erronously) that having a magic item around is dangerous because your own soul can "leak" into the item. This would be an easier sell (and much more in line with the tone of the world and the role of soul magic) than "a monster shows up and kills everybody."

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Yes, I like yours a lot better, although it would make sense only if the danger is real. Otherwise the majority of knowledgeable people would buy tons of magic items to sell to other knowledgeable people and high demand in the world would still exist.


Real danger of ... fragmenting your soul ... into the magic items? Or something similar. Makes more sense in the game world, allows for the item valuation bit, and trounces Buba.

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"Oh good, a magic item my party can't use because no one's built for it. Trash!"


Not fun.

that would be a nice feature for crafting: breaking down magic items into magical components.


So fictional example: "Fists of Fury" (spiked knuckles which give increased attack speed and a little fire damage) could be broken down into the components "brass" "Speed component" "fire component"


And then the recipes for crafting would allow you to say combine 4 fire components to make a more powerful fire component called "flame component"


These components could be added to weapons or other items, giving a similar effect but differing by type of item. The higher your crafting skill, the more components you can salvage by breaking down items, the less you need for a recipe, the more recipes you have, the less expensive it becomes to add components to a weapon or item. (IE, say at crafting 1 it costs 1 component for 1 upgrade, 8 for 2 upgrades, and 32 for 3 upgrades added to your weapon. at crafting level 5 it costs 1 component for 1 upgrade, 3 for 2 upgrades, 14 for 3 upgrades.)


With crafting no magic item would ever be trash, because you could always break it down for useful components.


That's how I would have implemented crafting, or something along those lines.

  • Like 3

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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I can't say I'm a fan of magic item breakdown because it makes them feel modular and mundane. Items that can't be broken down are able to develop a history and reputation. As for items that don't fit well with a particular character build: so what? The game world shouldn't revolve around the characters. :)


What would be a nice capability at sufficiently high levels is to be able to use your stronghold library and something like a lore skill to research potential new magic items. The game designers can build in certain hidden synergies that determine how well particular combinations of capabilities fit together. You can then work with the craftsman to see if it can be built. Perhaps with the expansion release...?

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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^ All you need is 2 tiers of magical items (minimum), one being more common (so anyone with decent expertise can devise what magical components were involved and how they were combined -- essentially reverse-engineer the item) while the other is unique/beyond common, so that your character pretty much cannot figure out how to reverse-engineer the item, and realizes this when he "delves" it, only to find absolutely nothing familiar about it, whatsoever.


Almost like when some switch or something breaks on a device in real life, and you examine it, only to say "Ehh... I can't figure out how this comes apart. Maybe it's just all glued/soldered together, and it can't really be disassembled without destroying it?", only with magical stuff. 8P


Just because something you broke down was magical doesn't mean all magical things can be broken down.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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well if you get rid of magic = bad idea for merchants then the merchants would have to have a market for magic armour for them to pay you more than non magical, and even if they did it wouldn't be as narrow of margins as non magical as it would take longer to sell.  so you could just make it so that you get worse deals while selling magical items, ranging from non magical price for non magical merchants to maybe double that at best (so a +1 that costs 1000 would be bought back at 280, so a margin of ~3.5x as opposed to ~1.5x).  that way loot doesn't become worthless if you are still challenging yourself later in the game, at least without genociding whole goblin villages.

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