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Cost of Iron


hkokko

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3 hours ago, hkokko said:

I could not find in my notes and could not find it in my electronic library. 

What would 1 enc worth of (unsanctified, not given by cult) iron cost or be worth in Glorantha assuming normal rarity. 

Possibly its weight in gold.

The problem with (anti-) magical stuff like iron or truestone or other magical treasures is that while everybody acknowledges its utility and exceptional quality, there is no stable market for something like this. Check the Biturian story for truly incredulous exchange rates for Truestone, at times owed to desperation. Check out the King of Sartar game for deals for treasures.

I am a bit dubious about this "given by cult" notion. Given as a loan by a specific temple I can see. (Temple as in both the location and the priest hierarchy and cultists following it.) Such items would come with a service obligation, and the obligation to return them.

But then personal property is something that happens mostly to outlaws, merchants (who usually have backers) and adventurers, and in a smaller degree to city dwellers. A person that is part of a normal rural clan won't have much if any truly personal possessions. The clan would be synonymous with the cult when it comes to ownership of magical items, like iron implements. Such a trade will be done by the clan (or the temple hierarchy), as no individual will have anywhere near the price you have to pay. (Which is another way to say that the price depends on what the seller can extract from the buyer.)

Edited by Joerg
wrong metal
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, hkokko said:

I could not find in my notes and could not find it in my electronic library. 

What would 1 enc worth of (unsanctified, not given by cult) iron cost or be worth in Glorantha assuming normal rarity. 

Elder Secrets has prices for runemetals (Secrets Book p33), all costs are in Silvers per ENC.

  • Aluminium 40
  • Bronze 7
  • Copper 5
  • Gold 600
  • Iron 700
  • Lead 1
  • Quicksilver 40
  • Silver 50
  • Tin 15

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

Elder Secrets has prices for runemetals (Secrets Book p33), all costs are in Silvers per ENC.

  • Aluminium 40
  • Bronze 7
  • Copper 5
  • Gold 600
  • Iron 700
  • Lead 1
  • Quicksilver 40
  • Silver 50
  • Tin 15

 

I knew I had seen that somewhere... Thanks this is very useful

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10 hours ago, soltakss said:

Elder Secrets has prices for runemetals (Secrets Book p33), all costs are in Silvers per ENC.

  • Aluminium 40
  • Bronze 7
  • Copper 5
  • Gold 600
  • Iron 700
  • Lead 1
  • Quicksilver 40
  • Silver 50
  • Tin 15

 

Likely to vary significantly according to location. Iron is probably relatively 'cheap' in Seshnela, but much more expensive away from any source of supply. Those prices might reflect a given time and place - central Genertela in the very early Hero Wars? Supply and demand apply.

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There's a catch with the Elder Secrets list. In RQ3, 1 ENC = 1 Kilogram. In the Guide to Glorantha, a Gold Wheel is given as .36 troy ounces, a Silver Guilder or Lunar is 0.2 troy ounces, and a Copper Clack is 0.2 troy ounces, and a bolg is 1 troy ounce. 1 troy ounce is about 31 grams. Based on the the Guide, the numbers are more like this:

  • 1 kg (ENC) of gold: 89.3 Wheels = ~1,786 guilders or lunars
  • 1 kg (ENC) of silver: = ~160.75 guilders/lunars
  • 1 kg (ENC) of copper: ~160.75 clacks = 16.07 guilders/lunars

I would argue that Elder Secrets is no longer canon where contradicted by the Guide. I would keep the ratios of the value of metals the same. The table then looks like this (all numbers rounded). Prices are per Kilogram.

  • Aluminum     130
  • Bronze             22
  • Copper            16
  • Gold            1,770
  • Iron              2,065
  • Lead                   0.32
  • Quicksilver    130
  • Silver              160
  • Tin                    50

Does this make sense to anyone?

Edited by pachristian
spell checker changed words it shouldn't have
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19 hours ago, soltakss said:

Elder Secrets has prices for runemetals (Secrets Book p33), all costs are in Silvers per ENC.

  • Aluminium 40
  • Bronze 7
  • Copper 5
  • Gold 600
  • Iron 700
  • Lead 1
  • Quicksilver 40
  • Silver 50
  • Tin 15

 

I knew I had seen that somewhere... Thanks this is very useful

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Using Encumbrance calculator calculated that a normal 7 hit location mail iron amor would weigh 35 enc in real world. Bronze would weigh 21 enc. 

RQ2 stated that enchanted iron weighs 1 thing less than bronze per location= would be 14 on the above calculations = significant advantage of using hallowed metal (in addition to the other effects of iron)

Could not find my Rq3 books the enc for full mail armor so let's take the above as basic measures

Either way :

35 enc = 35 kg iron x 2065 silvers = target earning 72275 silvers provided it can be exchanged for money. That is more money than seen in the campaign :-) 

14 enc = 14 kg x 2065 silvers = target earning 28910 silvers. Even that is more money than seen in years of campaigning.

 

add to those approx 5 ENC for shield and longsword = few thousand to 10000

Sanctification is of course for an individual...

Of course if the weight difference for sanctified and unsanctified might not exist...

Anyway the iron armoured rune lord or iron dwarf is one lucrative target... The money might represent a few lifetimes worth of earnings for mercenaries or 5-10 years of earnings for senior military or civilian high ranking official.  

This would also give guidelines how available / affordable iron (and gold for sun cults) is as part of armor or weapons, especially for smaller cults... 

How have you handled this in your campaigns.

 

 

Edited by hkokko
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Good stuff.  Anyone want to take a stab at the size, weight, and value of oxhide ingots for the different metals?

(edit: looks like around 30kg for an ingot typically, or in the 20-60 range (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxhide_ingoten.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talent_(measurement).  So using pachristian's prices maybe 5000L for a 30kg silver ingot and 600L for a bronze one.  30 of those per ton.)

Edited by Roko Joko

What really happened?  The only way to discover that is to experience it yourself.

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Iron is expensive in the bronze age. A matched set of daggers were found in Tutankhamen's tomb. One had an iron blade, the other a solid gold blade. It was known that Tut was relatively poor, as pharaoh's go, so for years the assumption was that he could only afford 1 gold dagger, and the iron was a matched set. Then it was discovered that in the 14th century BC, Iron was five times as valuable as gold. So yes, his matched set was done that way because he could only afford one iron dagger, and had to make do with ordinary gold for the other.

Seriously though, let's take a stab at armor weight: 25 kg. Seriously. Throughout history, a full soldier's kit has massed right about 30 kg. Sometimes it climbs up to about 35-40 kg, and sometimes it drops a little, but a full soldier's kit always hovers around 30 kg. It's not about the material, it's about what can a man carry all day, and still be expected to fight. 

The only people who could afford full suits of armor could also afford servants who would carry their stuff; so armor and weapons made up the full 30 kg of equipment. Although it's gaming convention to have heavier and lighter suits of armor, the truth of the matter is that the full suit of armor was always as heavy as the wearer could take (given environment considerations). 

Now about money. My primary source here is Kenneth Hodges "List of price of medieval items" (http://medieval.ucdavis.edu/120D/Money.html).

A complete suit of mail, 12th century, is given as 100 shillings. A suit of ready-made milanese armor (i.e. full plate) is given as 8 lbs, 6 shillings, 8 pence in 1441. Let's convert both prices to pence: Mail (12th century): 1,200 pence. Plate (15th century): 2,000 pence. Now we have to adjust for inflation. From the same website, we find that a Thatcher was paid ~2 pence per day. In 1441 he was paid 5.25. Let's adjust both prices to 12th century values: Mail = 1,200 pence. Plate = 762 pence. This is accurate, by the way. Mail is the most expensive form of armor ever made in mass quantities. Mail is 600 day's pay for a skilled laborer. Plate is 381 day's pay for a skilled laborer. From this we can convert to gaming money. Classic RQ defines a Lunar as worth about "Five pre-WW2 US dollars". An average salary at that time was ~$1,900 per year (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/30soirepar.pdfAn average salary is about 380L per year. Using this logic, 1 Lunar is about 1 days pay+. A suit of mail is therefore worth ~600 lunars, plate is ~381L. Note that these are prices based on extrapolation: I know they're different from what's in the rules. Don't troll me to point that out.

So how much money do our lords and ladies make? Same website: A mercenary knight makes 2 shillings a day (1316). Armored Infantry makes 6 pence per day. A baron's annual income is around 200 - 500 pounds (1300), An earl makes twice that, and crown revenue (for England) is 30,000 pounds (1300). Converting these to Lunars, just as we did the armor, we find: Knight: 19 L/day. Armored Infantry ~4 L/day, a landed baron's income is about 100 to 250 L per day, an Earl's is about 200 to 500 L per day, and a medium-sized kingdom takes in something like 15,780 L/day. 

We've now established that a suit of mail costs about a month's pay for a knight. (In 1300 they didn't have plate yet). Using this for a leap of logic, a landed baron could (possibly) spend 3,000 to 7,500 L for a suit of armor. A wealthier noble could spend 15,000 L for the suit of armor. Keep in mind, these guys are the 1% of the 1% of their day. 

If a full kit of Iron (weapons, armor, etc) is 30 kg, and Iron is ~2,000 L per kg, then we're looking at 60,000 L for a full kit of iron: armor, weapon, shield fittings and so on. It would actually be less than 30 kg of iron, because of the weight of padding, straps, and so on. So call it 20 kg of iron, and 10 kg of reinforcing material - the shield in particular is probably still wood. So 40,000+ L for a full kit in iron. (in modern money that would be about $5 million). If we use 700 L per kg then it would be about 14,000+ L for a full kit. This makes the iron armor affordable for the wealthiest of nobles.

Wrapping up my long-winded entry, I recommend retaining the value of metals that I gave earlier, to stay consistent with Guide coin sizes, but reduce the value of Iron to 700 L per kilogram. This makes it only about 40% as valuable as gold, but otherwise keeps the metal values and coin sizes consistant with older editions.

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7 hours ago, pachristian said:

Iron is expensive in the bronze age. A matched set of daggers were found in Tutankhamen's tomb. One had an iron blade, the other a solid gold blade. It was known that Tut was relatively poor, as pharaoh's go, so for years the assumption was that he could only afford 1 gold dagger, and the iron was a matched set. Then it was discovered that in the 14th century BC, Iron was five times as valuable as gold. So yes, his matched set was done that way because he could only afford one iron dagger, and had to make do with ordinary gold for the other.

Seriously though, let's take a stab at armor weight: 25 kg. Seriously. Throughout history, a full soldier's kit has massed right about 30 kg. Sometimes it climbs up to about 35-40 kg, and sometimes it drops a little, but a full soldier's kit always hovers around 30 kg. It's not about the material, it's about what can a man carry all day, and still be expected to fight. 

The only people who could afford full suits of armor could also afford servants who would carry their stuff; so armor and weapons made up the full 30 kg of equipment. Although it's gaming convention to have heavier and lighter suits of armor, the truth of the matter is that the full suit of armor was always as heavy as the wearer could take (given environment considerations). 

Now about money. My primary source here is Kenneth Hodges "List of price of medieval items" (http://medieval.ucdavis.edu/120D/Money.html).

A complete suit of mail, 12th century, is given as 100 shillings. A suit of ready-made milanese armor (i.e. full plate) is given as 8 lbs, 6 shillings, 8 pence in 1441. Let's convert both prices to pence: Mail (12th century): 1,200 pence. Plate (15th century): 2,000 pence. Now we have to adjust for inflation. From the same website, we find that a Thatcher was paid ~2 pence per day. In 1441 he was paid 5.25. Let's adjust both prices to 12th century values: Mail = 1,200 pence. Plate = 762 pence. This is accurate, by the way. Mail is the most expensive form of armor ever made in mass quantities. Mail is 600 day's pay for a skilled laborer. Plate is 381 day's pay for a skilled laborer. From this we can convert to gaming money. Classic RQ defines a Lunar as worth about "Five pre-WW2 US dollars". An average salary at that time was ~$1,900 per year (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/30soirepar.pdfAn average salary is about 380L per year. Using this logic, 1 Lunar is about 1 days pay+. A suit of mail is therefore worth ~600 lunars, plate is ~381L. Note that these are prices based on extrapolation: I know they're different from what's in the rules. Don't troll me to point that out.

So how much money do our lords and ladies make? Same website: A mercenary knight makes 2 shillings a day (1316). Armored Infantry makes 6 pence per day. A baron's annual income is around 200 - 500 pounds (1300), An earl makes twice that, and crown revenue (for England) is 30,000 pounds (1300). Converting these to Lunars, just as we did the armor, we find: Knight: 19 L/day. Armored Infantry ~4 L/day, a landed baron's income is about 100 to 250 L per day, an Earl's is about 200 to 500 L per day, and a medium-sized kingdom takes in something like 15,780 L/day. 

We've now established that a suit of mail costs about a month's pay for a knight. (In 1300 they didn't have plate yet). Using this for a leap of logic, a landed baron could (possibly) spend 3,000 to 7,500 L for a suit of armor. A wealthier noble could spend 15,000 L for the suit of armor. Keep in mind, these guys are the 1% of the 1% of their day. 

If a full kit of Iron (weapons, armor, etc) is 30 kg, and Iron is ~2,000 L per kg, then we're looking at 60,000 L for a full kit of iron: armor, weapon, shield fittings and so on. It would actually be less than 30 kg of iron, because of the weight of padding, straps, and so on. So call it 20 kg of iron, and 10 kg of reinforcing material - the shield in particular is probably still wood. So 40,000+ L for a full kit in iron. (in modern money that would be about $5 million). If we use 700 L per kg then it would be about 14,000+ L for a full kit. This makes the iron armor affordable for the wealthiest of nobles.

Wrapping up my long-winded entry, I recommend retaining the value of metals that I gave earlier, to stay consistent with Guide coin sizes, but reduce the value of Iron to 700 L per kilogram. This makes it only about 40% as valuable as gold, but otherwise keeps the metal values and coin sizes consistant with older editions.

This was exactly what I was looking for - good grounds for the pricing based on economy. Iron will be rare but not impossibly expensive. i like the thinking on how much of iron armor is iron. This might have an effect on ransom - are you ransomed with your precious iron armor or not. It will also probably be quite rare for the smaller cults ro be able to provide iron armor to their rune lords or priests - more likely to get single pieces. Has anybody done similar studies on cult temple economics....

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I always imagine pcs being stripped of their possessions when captured and ransomed without. Keeping specific gear would need extra negotiations. Booty of combat and all that.

Depending on who has captured you then being a noble or Rune Level might mean you keep your gear as your enemy would like the same if in the same circumstance.

 

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7 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

I always imagine pcs being stripped of their possessions when captured and ransomed without. Keeping specific gear would need extra negotiations. Booty of combat and all that.

Depending on who has captured you then being a noble or Rune Level might mean you keep your gear as your enemy would like the same if in the same circumstance.

 

Yep that has been my process as well. Interesting to look at wider economic  concerns as well. Getting to keep the expensive iron equipment would need funds. Getting new ones from the cult might be long route. Getting them back from the captors via foul means would be another hook. Seeing enemy flaunt them in public another hook...

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19 hours ago, Psullie said:

very interesting, but the value of amour is far more than it's weight. Finding blacksmiths of sufficient skill in Glorantha would be a real challenge

An excellent point. Without going through all the rigmarole again, accept that the value of armor grade steel in in our world converts to about 1.5 to 2 L per kg. that 600 L suit of mail, and the 381 L suit of plate, both have about 30 to 40 L worth of metal in them. Also accept that an armor smith's ("harness maker's") pay is about 4 L per day. I spent some time talking to a modern professional mail-maker, and he told me it takes about 600 hours of work to make a suit of mail.

I'm already treading delicately on a whole lot of assumptions here, but bear with me. I have no idea if thatchers were 'median pay' for their era. Medieval salaries are hard to assess anyway, as quite often your cash pay was a stipend, on top of food, lodging and clothing. Likewise, when i was told 600 hours to make a suit of mail, I did not think to ask if that was starting from wire (which halves the work), or if that was riveted mail, etc. etc). 

So, 600 hours to make a suit of mail would mean that about 1/2 the price of the mail was labor, and 10% - 15% was material. This seems fair, but that's an unsupported assumption. The rest of the cost would go to consumables - rent on the shop, tools, and lots and lots of charcoal (which burns with a more even heat than wood, something crucial for making armor and weapons). Switching to Gloranthan Iron, at 700 L per kg, makes the cost of labor and other consumables negligible. Frankly, when a suit of armor is "about 15,000 L" it's not worth the effort to add in the ~460L for the forging. It's the difference between a ring with a rhinestone, and a ring with a diamond. In the latter case, the bulk of the value is in the diamond.

Which leads us to another biggie: Who forges the suit of armor? In our world, working bronze and working iron are related skills, but have very different requirements. It seems unlikely that your local Gustbran smith would learn how to work iron. Much as I hate using handwavium, in this case I would rule that the ability to work the iron is magically imparted; the smith works it as if it were bronze. 

Just a side note: Making armor out of bronze at 22 L per kg, vs our world at 2 L per kg raises the prices: A suit of mail goes to ~1,000 L, plate to ~780 L.

So who can afford this stuff?

In the 14th century, there were about 1,000 knights in England (https://faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/123/123 13 Society.htm), in a population of ~5 million (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_demography) (range given is 3.7M to 7M). That's about 1 knight per 5,000 people. Conveniently, that's also the ratio of tribal kings in Sartar (Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes). So we make another big assumption: an Orlanthi Tribal King (who is almost by definition a Rune Lord of Orlanth), has resources equivalent to a knight. A knight's average income was 40 lbs per year, so running that through our converters, we get an Orlanthi Tribal King's income ~18 L per day - about 1,000 L per season. Another big assumption: A modern person's car is usually their second biggest expense, and has a value of 1/4x to 1x their annual salary. Let's assume that the tribal king can get away with spending 1 season to 1 year's money on his fancy armor. That's 1,000 to 5,000 L. By this logic, our Orlanthi tribal king can afford good bronze armor, but not iron. From the same source that gave us 1,000 knights, we see there were 200 higher nobles - barons and such. These people (see my previous post) are drawing 100 to 250 L per day (~5,600 to 14,000 per season). THEY can afford Iron armor, but it is a stretch. Given the comparative population of 13th century England, and Dragon Pass, we have maybe 25 people who have that level of wealth.

Conclusion

Iron Armor is not bought and sold by the Orlanthi. Orlanthi obtain it by questing - either mundane quests to Seshnela, or hero quests to regions where Iron is more available. I would argue that when a Rune Lord dies, his armor is taken by his temple, or his liege lord, and it is then repurposed for the next rune lord. There might even be a waiting list for who gets a suit of armor passed to them. Iron armor that is damaged in battle is salvaged and repaired, or melted down and reforged. In fact, you could build a whole adventure around characters trying to recover a suit of iron armor from trolls - or any other rivals.

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5 minutes ago, pachristian said:

Orlanthi obtain it by questing - either mundane quests to Seshnela

This is super exciting because I have Prince Valiant on my mind. Do the Issaries Trader Princes play a role in helping cash-poor storm cults get an occasional hu-metal piece that they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford, either by hosting questers along the way or via less tangible channels?

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1 minute ago, scott-martin said:

This is super exciting because I have Prince Valiant on my mind. Do the Issaries Trader Princes play a role in helping cash-poor storm cults get an occasional hu-metal piece that they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford, either by hosting questers along the way or via less tangible channels?

Of course! You could build a whole series of adventures around a Trader Prince offering to donate hu-metal to a tribe or clan, in exchange for some minor tax concessions....

Myself, I kind of like the idea of and adventure where Roger the Rune Lord was killed by trolls, and they dumped his iron armor into a pit - and the PC's are sent by their cult to try to retrieve it.

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What would the price need to be that a large enough fraction of rune lords and priests  could have  a suit. There was an article once counting the number of rune lords of Humakti I think...

 

for example if a temple can support x rune lords a fraction of that x might have access to suit....

 

 

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7 hours ago, Mark Mohrfield said:

Was that a reply to my Mithril comparison? It depends on which set of rules you are using. In HeroQuest you can get it simply by listing an iron item on your character sheet.

No actually it was for the economic analysis. I am trying to get the basis ’right’ in the availability of iron from multiple points of view. Economics is one of them - this will affect trade, general availability, availability from the cults, effect of somebody wearing iron to other stakeholders (there walks the richest man in the vicinity, he’s not so tough, lets separate him from that and we will be fixed for life). How large the trade shipments of iron could be and what their effect on economy would be. For example a ton of iron on a ship or 80 tons of iron on a ship or smaller amounts. How the price would affect the security /dangers of the shipment / trade route and economy overall. Who would have that kind of money/trade goods and would they be able to use all that for iron. There is this case of Mali king going to Egypt with enough gold to wreck the economy for a long time. 

Not playing HQ

Edited by hkokko
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