Knowing an item’s value is more than just a gut feeling about how much it’ll fetch. True merchant knowledge comes from a rigorous understanding of markets, how one good affects another, and all the various economic forces that act upon a market. The same good could be worth twice as much in one market than another due to the scarcity of another commodity, and all of that is important in determining the current price of any particular good.
Sources and Trade Hubs
Various factors impact the price of a good, but the most important one is distance from the source. Clever merchants perform arbitrage to bring goods from where they are created to where they are wanted, making their profits off of the risk they must take to bring them. Trade Hubs, typically a large town or city, sell every kind of good and commodity, but at some kind of markup due to competition, licenses and tariffs. Sources are typically villages that produce one or sometimes two kinds of goods for export.
Goods have a base price that they cost in the place that they are produced, and then an additional markup of for each hex that merchants must travel in order to bring the item to market. The markup of the product is 20% of the base price for each hex that the item had to travel, and an additional 20% of base price when buying it from a Trade Hub.
For instance, the base price of Hard Iron is 1 silver piece. If Hard Iron were produced one hex away from a Trade Hub, the merchant could expect to pay around 1 silver and 4 copper per Hard Iron ingot. If they were buying it instead two hexes away, they could expect to pay 1 silver and 6 copper each. Buying directly from the Source is the cheapest price, though they usually have less to sell than Trade Hubs because their goods are largely spoken for.
Trade Cities and Capitals
Other factors may influence the price as well. For instance, Trade Cities like Vißvind or Port Melandir are usually strategically located among many Sources and are wealthy with and populous. However, this convenience comes at the price of more taxes, tariffs, bureaucracy, and competition, driving prices up. Foreign merchants buying goods here can expect to pay 20% more, and sell for 20% less. Trade Cities have additional inventory for larger transactions.
Capital cities like Stromberg, Fenristadt or Aquila heavily patrol the region around their city, and such hexes are Secure, meaning travelers do not make Risk rolls to enter those hexes. They suffer the same increase of taxes and tariffs on outside goods as Trade Cities do, but to an additional 20% of the good’s base price.
A canny merchant may opt to take Risk or tap a local Smuggler Agent to smuggle the goods into the city and bypass the tariffs.
Merchants can sell goods as well, and it is often very profitable to do so in order to unload goods that can be acquired cheaply in the merchant’s home provinces. Selling can only happen at a Trade Hub, and the sale price of goods starts at 70% of the base price, and then 20% more for each hex away from the nearest Source of that good.
A Trade Hub will buy from or sell to as much as 200 Common commodities, 100 Uncommon commodities or finished goods, or 10 Supply units with a single merchant per Chapter. Trade Cities double this amount, and Capitals triple this amount.
Other factors, such as war or local Crises, may affect prices or Risk.
Some items are not widely bought and sold, such as mechanical devices, specific books, art pieces, arcana, and so forth. Each such item is usually custom designed for its purpose and can’t be commodified. These items can be found at Unique Sources. A merchant arriving at such a source may find a handful of “take or leave it” deals of opportunity of the given type whenever they are there in person. It is also possible to make a bespoke order if the buyer is there in person to perform the negotiations, detail their request and provide payment. Such special orders are subject to negotiation at that time, and are ready no sooner than 2 Chapters later.
APPRAISING THE LIST
The prices in this list are to be the understood base rate for a given product. The actual price once a merchant arrives to do business might vary slightly depending on market circumstances.