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Setting a Price for a Spirit Spell Matrix


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How do you personally set a reference price for a spirit spell matrix?

I don't see any advice in the RQG book about setting a price for a spirit magic spell matrix made with Spell Matrix Enchantment (p.265 of RQG).   It's pretty clearly a GM judgment thing at least until the GM's book comes out.  I request advice.

There are prices on individual items in published material, but a lot of that is old RQ2 material, written before the RQG deflation.  I will say the few prices on possible magic loot - one-of-a kind items -in the slipcase set's Gamemaster's Adventure seem low.

You can say these things are not bought and sold often, because making one requires a piece of your soul (sacrifice of POW points)  but that's just sidestepping the issue.  Even if a matrix is acquired as loot, at some point an adventurer may have reason to sell one.  Like needing cash, or trading up, or the matrix being redundant to one already owned.  Or the matrix may be for a spell forbidden to your character's cult.   Or the adventurer may be a merchant whose business it is to buy and re-sell one.  Or an adventurer may need to set a value for division of  loot.  

Or you as a GM may need to set a value on it in the course of bargaining in payment of a ransom or to judge payment or non-payment of tithes.   (Assuming that tithes are on income in kind and not just hard coin, YGMV - but if in your Glorantha tithes are only on coin then your adventurers should bargain to be paid in cattle).  

If matrices are not on the market often then maybe it's a seller's market, but that doesn't produce a reference price.

I have searched but have not found previous discussion of this on this forum, maybe i haven't guessed the right words.

 

.

 

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For common spells, we've been charging the cost of the spell, plus 100L per point of spell, plus a little extra, especially if the item is nice.

So a gold brooch with Glamour 2 might be 100L, (cost of spell), plus 200L (100L per point) plus 25 (nice jewelry).  325L.

Not sure what is "official" but this has been reasonable.

Rare, or high point spells (Fireblade, Healing 6) cost more.

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if pc want to buy an item, I would say 200 L x spirit point ( + the unenchanted item price) but it is very rare (in my game)

if pc want to sell and are not merchant (I mean with a shop), a merchant would propose 50L per spirit point (then start bargain activity,but no merchant will pay more than 50% of what he/she hopes to sell)

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8 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

You can say these things are not bought and sold often, because making one requires a piece of your soul (sacrifice of POW points)  but that's just sidestepping the issue.

Agreed. I'm hoping the GM's Guide or the Equipment book will have guidance, but TBH I'm not holding my breath.

3 hours ago, tnli said:

magic items at 200 lunars per point of POW spent making it.

This is the starting point I use when pricing magic items, too. The 200 L per POW point comes about because casting Rune spells costs 20 L (RQG 406) and a one-use spell - in effect, costing permanent points of POW in the shape of RP - costs ten times that.

Fun fact, technically most Rune enchantments only cost 20 L per RP to cast by Rules As Written, because the spells aren't one-use - you sacrifice POW to create them, but don't lose the Rune points used to cast the spell.

Yes, yes, RQG doesn't have "rules," it has "guidelines," that doesn't actually happen in Glorantha, yadda yadda - I know. I just thought it was amusing.

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Our current rule fixes a base price of 200L per POW, plus cost of the item. The 200L is because the casting of a 1 pt Rune spell is 20L and if 1 use, 10 times as much (so 200L) because 1 POW has to be spent to regain the RP. But other factors can modify this, like scarcity of the spell (because the enchanter has to know the spell, so if he has to learn the spell, the cost of the spell has to be added), or the quality of the item.

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Given that you can start with a two point matrix pretty easily, then the value of that kind of item should not be super high compared to other stuff that adventurers commonly start with. I know, this smells of "game balance", and my views on that are well documented (my response is usually "If you want game balance, play Stormbringer"*).

While "cost per POW" is a useful yardstick, the price of any item is what someone will pay for it. I have a friend who started with a single Magic: The Gathering box, and traded the cards in it over a year and built up a deck worth hundreds of pounds.

If an adventurer is after something, and the seller gets wind that they are desperate, and it's a seller's market, then of course they will charge a higher price, or try to!

2 hours ago, Crel said:

Fun fact, technically most Rune enchantments only cost 20 L per RP to cast by Rules As Written, because the spells aren't one-use - you sacrifice POW to create them, but don't lose the Rune points used to cast the spell.

Sure, but you're paying for the POW that goes into the enchantment, not the RP that the caster will get back. So it's 20L for the Rune Point, plus 200L for each point of POW that the caster puts in. The buyer or other contributors can also put in POW.

* The joke here being that Stormbringer is one of the most unbalanced games ever.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Sure, but you're paying for the POW that goes into the enchantment, not the RP that the caster will get back. So it's 20L for the Rune Point, plus 200L for each point of POW that the caster puts in. The buyer or other contributors can also put in POW.

Ah, but "points of POW" don't have a cost in the "casting spells" section of that chapter!

(I'm not trying to sincerely, genuinely argue that's how anyone should play the game - just point out an amusing weirdness in the text since enchantments aren't actually one-use spells.)

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Its a matter of how much do the PCs value their POW. Have an encounter where an NPC asks the PCs to sell their POW. That should give you a relative value of matrices.  Also remember that most matrices would have conditions on them, which may make them useless.

My formula for a Spirit spell matrix is Price of the spell + 200 L + 200 L x POW (x50% of that if they are selling, x10 if using prices prior to RQG)

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This is what we use:

As a rune spell is 200 L / POW and variable magic is times the Level plus the previous levels.

So a 2pt spirit binding is

(1 x 200 L) + (2 x 200 ) = 600 L plus the cost of the item, plus the quality of crafting.

A 3pt binding plus say 2pts of conditions =

(1 x 200 L) + (2 x 200 ) + (3 x 200 L) + (4 x 200 ) x (5 x200)  = 3000 L in a clack (1C). plus casting  Matrix Creation (20L)

Works well in my games.

Edited by David Scott
corrected 1st example
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16 minutes ago, David Scott said:

This is what we use:

As a rune spell is 200 L / POW and variable magic is times the Level plus the previous levels.

So a 2pt spirit binding is

(1 x 200 L) + (2 x 200 ) = 300 L plus the cost of the item, plus the quality of crafting.

Works well in my games.

Check your math 😉

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11 hours ago, Godlearner said:

.......  Also remember that most matrices would have conditions on them, which may make them useless.

......

I'm not convinced that most matrices will have conditions on them, because as I understand it that requires spending more POW on the matrix.  I would judge that most matrices that are really powerful might have such conditions, but not your garden variety 2-point Bladesharp matrix, since a couple of conditions would double its POW cost.   Now can I reference that? See page 250 of RQG, "There are six classes of enchantments.  Each class costs 1 point of current POW to include, no matter how complex..."

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19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

then start bargain activity,but no merchant will pay more than 50% of what he/she hopes to sell)

I don't understand this line of thinking... Not many merchants anywhere run on 100% profit. Most are getting by on 2-20% (after expenses).

Shouldn't the Bargaining roll be the final adjudicator?

Especially if the player is an Issaries.

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4 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I don't understand this line of thinking... Not many merchants anywhere run on 100% profit. Most are getting by on 2-20% (after expenses).

Shouldn't the Bargaining roll be the final adjudicator?

Especially if the player is an Issaries.

You are absolutely right: after expenses, the profit should be between 2-20% (sometimes less than 0)

But profit is not [What you sell minus what you buy]

profit is What you sell minus :

- what you buy

- the salary of your employees

- the food and health for your mules

- the licences, tax, etc..

- the shop maintenance

- the time the merchant need to sell the item (how many people would have enough money to buy an item 300L ?)

at the end of the day yes probably profit would be 2-20%

That's why I consider the bargain (if we forget critical success/fumble) should move the cursor between 30% (maybe 30% of profit from a merchant perspective) and 50% (maybe 10% of profit from a merchant perspective) of the "official price". But of course it is not a true simulationist way. Just a "quick and dirty" rule I apply (I am not the conceptor of this rule, but I like it : I read the 50% official price in a rules book but I don't know what game) 

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11 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

I'm not convinced that most matrices will have conditions on them, because as I understand it that requires spending more POW on the matrix.  I would judge that most matrices that are really powerful might have such conditions, but not your garden variety 2-point Bladesharp matrix, since a couple of conditions would double its POW cost.   Now can I reference that? See page 250 of RQG, "There are six classes of enchantments.  Each class costs 1 point of current POW to include, no matter how complex..."

Yes, but otherwise all your matrixes are subject to theft and there would be lots for sale.

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A 100% increase in price at each step in a distribution chain is a (very rough) rule of thumb that I've seen used. This article on tea gives a good example.
 

Quote

 

Most small retailers who are selling a packaged process will expect 50% margin (a 100% markup).

The math would typically work out to something like this: A wholesaler buys a tea for $10 a pound and repackages it in four, 4 ounce packages. Let's assume the packaging costs $1 each. The wholesaler will sell each package to a retailer for $5 each, netting the wholesaler %6, or a 30% margin (on $20 in gross sales). The retailer then sells each package for $10. A larger wholesaler might get the same tea for less than $10 and thereby get a higher margin. In addition, more elaborate packaging may reduce margin by costing more than $1 per package (including tins, labels, etc.)

 

And here's an example for prices from farmer to wholeseller where the markup is a bit over 100%.

Edited by Bren
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What I'm mostly getting at is - a flat "max of 50%", while simple, is unrealistic for all situations. Your Merchant Will Vary. Especially depending on where in the chain they are. (and, obviously, their overheads)

As well as the more obvious - place of transaction... This is something I hope an upcoming book will address. 

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7 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Your Merchant Will Vary

of course

7 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

As well as the more obvious - place of transaction...

you're right , another point I have this morning: the customers.

In our case: who will be able to buy a  200+ silvers item ?

You have to be rich, and "richs" would probably prefer new items (or family item) than a second hand equipment for the same price. So adventurers may be the best target for such items. They don't have time to get a new one, they know they will use it (and not shom it to their friends), etc.. That is not a big market

 

Probably the farmer who sells carrots to the local merchant (who sells himsel every week in the local market the carrots) may expect more than 50%.

But there are so many possibilities. I m not sure we may have rules for everything. My point is only to say you cannot sell at the price you buy and there must be a big difference.

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