Jump to content
hkokko

Cost of Iron

Recommended Posts

On 09/10/2017 at 7:34 PM, hkokko said:

There was an article once counting the number of rune lords of Humakti I think...

We use a 1% rule when determining how many "magical" people in a cult. So for every 100 humakti (initiates) there is 1 devotee/rune level.

There may be more there maybe less but it's a good ballpark figure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't but help feel there's something wrong with this amount of iron in one place. Given, it's anti-magic properties when unenchanted, no one will want kilos of the stuff all at once. No one would want to put it on a boat/ship as no one could use any magic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Can't but help feel there's something wrong with this amount of iron in one place. Given, it's anti-magic properties when unenchanted, no one will want kilos of the stuff all at once. No one would want to put it on a boat/ship as no one could use any magic.

True. Neither herbs nor iron nor gold will be measured in tens of tons. Stuff like this (or truestone, or crystals of the gods) will be carried by rather small bags, never in bulk.

Even a few kilograms of iron can oversupply the buyers' market by claiming more  coin (or other valuables) than are available to the buyers.

The anti-magical effect of untempered iron puts a severe damper on your travel magics, whether the magic is supposed to control your pack beasts or to hold your ship together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once the Guide established that the Castle Coast was the world's number one exporter of Iron, and that "perhaps half world's iron comes from here" (Guide to Glorantha, page 417), then we established another item: Iron is a commodity that is bought, sold, and transported around the world.

But there's another important point when we see iron as a commodity: the price will be determined by what someone is willing to pay.

But to address hkokko's concern about making iron armor something that rune lords could afford, we can look at some additional numbers. I couldn't find a reference to the number of Rune Levels in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure (I probably just missed them). However, Gloranthan Classics Volume 1 - Pavis & Big Rubble, states that there are 104 Rune levels in Pavis. Of these, 42 are Rune Lords or Lord/Priests (RQ Classic system). If this counts the total population of civilized Prax (13,000 people), then there's roughly 1 Rune level per ~125 people. Or one Rune Lord per ~190 people. Rune Lords make up ~40% of the Rune levels. That fits David Scott's numbers, above. 

Assume that a Rune Lord has his or her own holdings, plus gets 40% of their temple tithes. Given the numbers above, the Rune Lord would draw about 7.6 L per day from tithes, less whatever the temple expenses are. Just to be generous, let's say that the rune lord is able to keep about half that money: ~200 L per season. If the Rune Lord comes from a profession that makes more money - a trader prince, or a Humakti mercenary, the Rune Lord's income could be quadrupled. It is unlikely to go beyond that withoutUsing my numbers above, it would be a pretty impressive rune lord who could afford a bronze suit of mail, let alone iron. Bronze mail ~1,000 L, of which ~400 is the bronze. Scale, or hoplite style plate is about half the cost of labor, but the same cost in bronze. So ~700 L.

Should most rune lords be able to afford a suit of iron armor? 

If you want iron to be a purchasable item, I propose that the cost of the iron be further reduced to 5 times the cost of bronze (110 L/kg). This makes a suit of iron mail cost ~2,600 L, a suit of iron hoplite gear about ~2,300 L. An iron sword would cost ~100 to 150 L more than a bronze sword. Of course, if you're not a rune lord or priest, the disadvantages of having iron may outweigh the advantages.

I'm inclined to think that well-organized governments (Like Seshnela, Esrolia, or the Lunar Empire), and even big temples, would consider iron a strategic asset. They automatically claim ownership of all iron within their borders. They compensate at a "fair price" anyone for the iron; but iron can only be bought and sold to the representatives of the government. Less well organized region (Orlanthi Clan lands and Praxian Wastes) generally don't have the cash to buy iron at the 'fair price'.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, pachristian said:

Once the Guide established that the Castle Coast was the world's number one exporter of Iron, and that "perhaps half world's iron comes from here" (Guide to Glorantha, page 417), then we established another item: Iron is a commodity that is bought, sold, and transported around the world.

But there's another important point when we see iron as a commodity: the price will be determined by what someone is willing to pay.

But to address hkokko's concern about making iron armor something that rune lords could afford, we can look at some additional numbers. I couldn't find a reference to the number of Rune Levels in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure (I probably just missed them). However, Gloranthan Classics Volume 1 - Pavis & Big Rubble, states that there are 104 Rune levels in Pavis. Of these, 42 are Rune Lords or Lord/Priests (RQ Classic system). If this counts the total population of civilized Prax (13,000 people), then there's roughly 1 Rune level per ~125 people. Or one Rune Lord per ~190 people. Rune Lords make up ~40% of the Rune levels. That fits David Scott's numbers, above. 

Assume that a Rune Lord has his or her own holdings, plus gets 40% of their temple tithes. Given the numbers above, the Rune Lord would draw about 7.6 L per day from tithes, less whatever the temple expenses are. Just to be generous, let's say that the rune lord is able to keep about half that money: ~200 L per season. If the Rune Lord comes from a profession that makes more money - a trader prince, or a Humakti mercenary, the Rune Lord's income could be quadrupled. It is unlikely to go beyond that withoutUsing my numbers above, it would be a pretty impressive rune lord who could afford a bronze suit of mail, let alone iron. Bronze mail ~1,000 L, of which ~400 is the bronze. Scale, or hoplite style plate is about half the cost of labor, but the same cost in bronze. So ~700 L.

Should most rune lords be able to afford a suit of iron armor? 

If you want iron to be a purchasable item, I propose that the cost of the iron be further reduced to 5 times the cost of bronze (110 L/kg). This makes a suit of iron mail cost ~2,600 L, a suit of iron hoplite gear about ~2,300 L. An iron sword would cost ~100 to 150 L more than a bronze sword. Of course, if you're not a rune lord or priest, the disadvantages of having iron may outweigh the advantages.

I'm inclined to think that well-organized governments (Like Seshnela, Esrolia, or the Lunar Empire), and even big temples, would consider iron a strategic asset. They automatically claim ownership of all iron within their borders. They compensate at a "fair price" anyone for the iron; but iron can only be bought and sold to the representatives of the government. Less well organized region (Orlanthi Clan lands and Praxian Wastes) generally don't have the cash to buy iron at the 'fair price'.

Now that GtG has established that iron is traded and canon publications imply that "ordinary" rune lords have access -> the price needs to be reasonable. The above price starts to fit the overall economics plus feel right. From this we can possibly start to calculate how much iron ore might be there on the shipment. It also makes iron armor person less of a target as the price for the armor is not as attractive compared to normal wages (does not make you set for life)... 

What a wonderful discussion, thanks all but thanks especially pachristian for the calculations... 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13.10.2017 at 8:34 PM, hkokko said:

Now that GtG has established that iron is traded and canon publications imply that "ordinary" rune lords have access -> the price needs to be reasonable.

I disagree somewhat. The price for iron, truestone or crystals of the gods should be outrageous, comparable to rare prints of unpublished Glorantha manuscripts. Possession of iron is not just a matter of wealth or status, but also an achievement. Quite likely some of the iron has been taken from hostile rune lords.

Then there is the question whether iron items will end up as grave goods or whether they get passed on like (cult) heirlooms. If the iron was an acquisition from outside the cult by the current owner, there is a chance it may be sent along as a grave good.

But then, likewise a non-rune lord might sponsor a piece of iron to the cult, or ransom one that ended up in enemy hands. This would be a parallel to Old English folk donating half the island to the church.

On 13.10.2017 at 8:34 PM, hkokko said:

The above price starts to fit the overall economics plus feel right. From this we can possibly start to calculate how much iron ore might be there on the shipment. It also makes iron armor person less of a target as the price for the armor is not as attractive compared to normal wages (does not make you set for life)... 

I would suggest that in order to get new iron for a rune lord, a trader gets commissioned to make the journey closer to the source and get the stuff. While the service of such a trader is costly, quite a lot can be saved when buying closer to the source.

And it makes for a good excuse for just about any aspiring cultist to be sent on a sea or overland voyage into the distant west.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Joerg said:

The price for iron, truestone or crystals of the gods should be outrageous, comparable to rare prints of unpublished Glorantha manuscripts. Possession of iron is not just a matter of wealth or status, but also an achievement. Quite likely some of the iron has been taken from hostile rune lords.

Concur. Iron is a strategic resource, not unlike Uranium or Plutonium in the 1950s.

This is why finding deposits to supplement the small quantities coming out of the Iron Mountains and released by Seshnela is so important. The majority of Iron weapons and armour in circulation in central Genertela are most likely either heirlooms, or taken as a prize from a defeated enemy (taking their ransom and their armour is standard practice, or stripped from their corpses - possession of the battlefield is important).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks I can appreciate that direction and I do not think we disagree "too" much.  Journeys are good, robbing of other rune lords, relics of previous generations are all good. It still does not have to be worth king's ransom or several lifetimes 'earnings' for the reasons discussed in the chain - does not make economic sense to me. Everybody imports iron from Jrustela and Seshnela which are the only places mentioned exporting it. On the other hand: iron is also not SO much better on anything, it is better... There are people who would use the grittiness of the combat to get iron from the high and mighty rune lord who is not so tough after all to better paying customers and the price is high enough even with the above calculations ...  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, hkokko said:

Everybody imports iron from Jrustela and Seshnela

What tantalizes me throughout is how far Seshnela has fallen in order to have any surplus whatsoever. Presumably the Laurmal pacts supported domestic demand in the imperial age and now the surviving population is so reduced and desperate that they're willing to sell off heirloom armor and new mine production alike. Possibly a large part of modern enchant iron revolves around reconstituting "found" iron recovered from Kanthor, needle by needle if need be.

I'm sure others have noted over the years that virgin ingots (dare we imagine bars and plate as forms of commerce?) must have been extremely rare in Lunar Peloria between the time the Janube route was Closed and the reopening of Dragon Pass. For all I know Syranthir brought ur-metal to the bowl in economic quantities and this was one of the Carmanians' many military advantages -- I suppose it depends on how badly the Jord dwarf colony needed coal. While iron is precious in the south, I wouldn't be surprised if the northerners are still dazzled by the relative wealth.

Edited by scott-martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another source of iron is salvage from the twisted wreckage of Zistorite war machines, buried in the sands or submerged in the shallow waters of the God Forgot archipelago. Although potentially lucrative, retrieving this metal is a very dangerous enterprise, for a variety of reasons (giant cranes, swarming were-crabs, one-armed bandits, let alone the traps and surprises the Zistorites left behind). 

It is rumored that this metal, predating the cataclysmic end of the so-called "Iron Wars", has special properties, making it different to Iron sourced in the Third Age.

image.png

Edited by MOB
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×