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Item Creation Problems


Rules Questions

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There are over a thousand topics dealing with Item Creation, but a lot of them deal with specific items, my question is more general.

It seems to me that an item creationist has quickly become the most powerful character in the game. If they were to create, say a Wand of Fireball at 5th level, a 11,250 GP item, costing the wizard 5,625 GP to craft, he could then sell the wand to another adventurer for 11,250 GP and then craft two wands, sell them, and make four. Given enough time, he has infinite wealth, and as such, could potentially afford any item he so chooses.

When myself and my group converted over to Pathfinder, I quickly spotted this problem (and the problem with being able to cast Wish, essentially, all they want given enough time) and pointed out to my GM so we could come up with a fix, as I was already planning on playing a magical engineer (think Leonardo DaVinci but with access to magic as well).

As it stands, he's basically told me I can't find the supplies for anything I need and, in essence, can't create magic items. Now I don't intend to abuse this rule, and my Wizard would like to open a shop someday, has anyone else come across this problem and come up with a viable house rule, or an actual ruling by the paizo gods? As a GM myself, I've been trying to work on a solution as well.

Shadow Lodge

Pc's are assumed to sell equipment at half price, much like someone at a pawn shop. Magic items need to sit around for a while, they don't all always sell, and there's a lot of overhead (particularly security) in the magic item selling business.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Pc's are assumed to sell equipment at half price, much like someone at a pawn shop. Magic items need to sit around for a while, they don't all always sell, and there's a lot of overhead (particularly security) in the magic item selling business.

They sell magic items to shop owners for half price so they can be re-sold at their profit. However, the PC could instead, open a shop and directly sell his items to other adventurers. It doesn't make sense for him to be a shop owner and sell for half price but when he wants to buy something, it's full price.

This is what I meant. Given enough time, a character that creates items could have seemingly infinite wealth, and break the game, if he so chose.

Shadow Lodge

sure, but then the PC is sitting at his shop all day and not adventuring. Also, he can only sell what the DM decides to have the NPC's buy.

Shadow Lodge

Tels wrote:

They sell magic items to shop owners for half price so they can be re-sold at their profit. However, the PC could instead, open a shop and directly sell his items to other adventurers. It doesn't make sense for him to be a shop owner and sell for half price but when he wants to buy something, it's full price.

This is what I meant. Given enough time, a character that creates items could have seemingly infinite wealth, and break the game, if he so chose.

Magic item buying and selling is GM determined. Sell prices are GM determined. Any GM who lets players get away with this should be prepared for the consequences of throwing off all advancement models and CR adjustments.

If your GM is, I hesitate to say foolish but see no other way that this would be allowed while keeping the game challenging... we'll say foolish. If your GM in foolish enough to let you sell at market, every time you make an item, your GM deserves the destruction his campaign will suffer.

I've said this in a different post, magic item creation, buying, and selling are areas where the GM has full veto power. You cannot point to the market price in the rulebook and say you should get that. That's a guideline to aid the GM, he determines what you get.

Players sell at half price for this reason. That's the default. It does not matter who you sell it to.

GMs: Deviate from this at your own risk.


Alorha wrote:

Magic item buying and selling is GM determined. Sell prices are GM determined. Any GM who lets players get away with this should be prepared for the consequences of throwing off all advancement models and CR adjustments.

If your GM is, I hesitate to say foolish but see no other way that this would be allowed while keeping the game challenging... we'll say foolish. If your GM in foolish enough to let you sell at market, every time you make an item, your GM deserves the destruction his campaign will suffer.

I've said this in a different post, magic item creation, buying, and selling are areas where the GM has full veto power. You cannot point to the market price in the rulebook and say you should get that. That's a guideline to aid the GM, he determines what you get.

Players sell at half price for this reason. That's the default. It does not matter who you sell it to.

GMs: Deviate from this at your own risk.

So the PC has acquired a new sword from a treasure hoard that is more powerful than his current sword. He comes across a band of other adventurers but is restricted to selling the sword to them for half price. However, he wants to buy an item they have, so he has to buy it for full price from the adventurers.

Basically, the gods of Golarions have singled out the PCs in that they have to buy everything full price, but sell everything at half-price, and no one else in all of existence has this special ruling placed upon them?

I'm looking for a viable method of compromising or fixing the potentially abused rules as set in the Rulebook, not an "I say you only sell for half period" ruling.

The only thing I can think of as a possible solution is a system of bartering. The PC makes as diplomacy check vs the adventurers status, indifferent, hostile, friendly, etc... and for every point that the PC succeeds on the Diplomacy check, he can sell an item for 10% more than it's cost to create up to it's max.

I don't know if this would work and I have yet to ask the GM for my wizard, but does anyone else think this is a viable method?


Tels wrote:
fixing the potentially abused rules as set in the Rulebook,

Just out of curiosity, how exactly does one abuse the "buy at full, sell at half" rule?

Shadow Lodge

Tels wrote:

So the PC has acquired a new sword from a treasure hoard that is more powerful than his current sword. He comes across a band of other adventurers but is restricted to selling the sword to them for half price. However, he wants to buy an item they have, so he has to buy it for full price from the adventurers.

Basically, the gods of Golarions have singled out the PCs in that they have to buy everything full price, but sell everything at half-price, and no one else in all of existence has this special ruling placed upon them?

It's annoying, yeah, but selling items like this is the only way to stop the element that you yourself pointed to breaking the game. This is why GMs need to monitor items being created. The rules really just assume you're going to use what you make. They aren't equipped to deal with merchant PCs. This is unfortunate, but it's a limitation you and your GM needs to be aware of.

One thing, just don't have the players come across such a party willing to do these deals. Or trade for items of equal value, no cash involved. If you're dealing with found items, that's one thing. You don't get your infinite money loop there. Created items need to be handled with care, though. It's an area ripe for abuse in many many ways, not just this.

I'm not saying it's impossible to deviate, but any GM needs to take a lot of care, and you as a player should, too, lest the others at a table grow tired of your money machine and the game goes south.

Honestly, the best way to deal with this is to act as the rules design: create items you will use. Then use those items. If you don't try to exploit this area, you're less likely to break things and reveal the problem mechanics.


I don't want to exploit or abuse it, however, I wouldn't mind using it every once in awhile. Say for instance, our group is a little short on cash for a Resurrection spell, I could go create and sell items and earn the cash while the cleric preserves the body.

However, I know eventually someone will try to abuse it and I would like to have some other system in place to mitigate the abuse instead of "I say you can't" which typically never makes anyone very happy.

Shadow Lodge

Tels wrote:

I don't want to exploit or abuse it, however, I wouldn't mind using it every once in awhile. Say for instance, our group is a little short on cash for a Resurrection spell, I could go create and sell items and earn the cash while the cleric preserves the body.

However, I know eventually someone will try to abuse it and I would like to have some other system in place to mitigate the abuse instead of "I say you can't" which typically never makes anyone very happy.

I hear you. Sadly there isn't one in the rules themselves. It's something that has to be closely adjudicated by a GM. Price negotiation is possible, and really is with all buying and selling, if you want it to be. One stopping factor in 3.5 was the xp cost. Though 3.5 also had the half price default, there was a limit to what could be gained just due to xp.

Not that I think we should go back to that method. It was infuriating and weakened crafters way too much.

Case by case is the only way. Really, if you need to get more cash, selling gear you have tends to be the best way to achieve this without altering balance.


Given infinite time, you'll probably be able to break the game in any number of ways unless your GM simply says "no" at some point.

However, in this particular case I think your GM said "no" far too quickly. He shouldn't limit item creation itself, but rather limit the possibilities of making infinite money off those items.

For instance: Eventually, everyone who wants the things you are selling will have them and you won't be able to sell new ones. Or, you've sold so many items that the community you're in has exceeded its limit on buying items.

Part of the reason for the "sell at half price" rule is that it's assumed PCs don't want to stick around for weeks or months (or longer) to find someone who will buy the item for full price. Likewise, PCs "buy at full price" because the PC generally wants the item right away.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm partial to the house-rule described in this blog post.

The idea is simple: there's a limit to how much wealth a character is allowed to craft based on level. At early levels this is a sizable portion of the wealth of the character - but at higher levels the formula makes the proportion less and less. This allows characters to stay closer to the intended wealth-by-level guidelines, as well as allowing characters to be created at higher levels with crafting feats that they can benefit from at character creation.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards Subscriber

Two comments.

First - if you want to play an economics game the play one. Pathfinder and most other RPG's are about RP and Combat and that is where the robust rules are in place. If you want to play as a merchant... go for it, but that is not the game I want to play.

Second - The DM controls the game. And the wealth by level guidelines are guidelines only. A group can have more or less money at any level. It is up to the DM to set what is needed and if the party is getting too much stuff then things will be dry for a while until they come back into balance. So item creation feats allow you to custom tailor your magic items... but they do not allow you to have twice as much as every one else.

Sidebar - If a player is charging other players to have them make magic items, then the cleric can charge to heal, and the fighter can charge per sword swing. Play nice with your group and you will have more fun. (That does not mean you could get favors or a little extra for your time... just don't plan on using a feat to double you money at the party expense and expect not to get robbed one night while sleeping.)


Thazar wrote:

Two comments.

First - if you want to play an economics game the play one. Pathfinder and most other RPG's are about RP and Combat and that is where the robust rules are in place. If you want to play as a merchant... go for it, but that is not the game I want to play.

Second - The DM controls the game. And the wealth by level guidelines are guidelines only. A group can have more or less money at any level. It is up to the DM to set what is needed and if the party is getting too much stuff then things will be dry for a while until they come back into balance. So item creation feats allow you to custom tailor your magic items... but they do not allow you to have twice as much as every one else.

Sidebar - If a player is charging other players to have them make magic items, then the cleric can charge to heal, and the fighter can charge per sword swing. Play nice with your group and you will have more fun. (That does not mean you could get favors or a little extra for your time... just don't plan on using a feat to double you money at the party expense and expect not to get robbed one night while sleeping.)

I used to do this all the time...

Hell, my thief used to charge to do his thing.
Wizard - (in 3.0) it cost xp to create items. Every item you made set you back in effective levels. (Wiz still at level 6 while the rest of the party was at level 10 using gear made by the wiz).In PF it takes time for me to make said item, time I could be spending researching new spells or lost knowledge. You would be a fool to not charge for item creation.
My Fighters do not do so for free. (There is a reason they all take profession Mercenary).
My Clerics, I used to make my fellow PCs listen to a sermon on the works of god/goddess xyz or make a donation to the church of xyz in exchange for services. (they were free [usually] to followers of the faith.)
Rogues, I am a professional pickpocket/cutpurse/conman/catburglar/safecracker I do not work for free, or for some tentative possibly non-existent "treasure" in a fabled catacomb, I work for a guaranteed agreed upon sum plus potential salvage.
Its called ROLE-playing.


Tels wrote:


So the PC has acquired a new sword from a treasure hoard that is more powerful than his current sword. He comes across a band of other adventurers but is restricted to selling the sword to them for half price. However, he wants to buy an item they have, so he has to buy it for full price from the adventurers.

Now you're being silly. The half price rule is generally 'what can I unload this for at a shop.' If you meet a band of adventurers, sure you can sell at full price if it's something they want- heck even more if it's something they need.

But how often do you meet a roving band of adventurers? How often will they even want what you're selling. It's silly to go "oh, they're level 5, they'll want my +1 sword." They might not. The level 5 fighter they have might have something better, specialize in a different weapon, or heck, not have the money to spare. He might even be genre savvy and think to himself 'heck, I'll come across one on the next dungeon crawl.' If he's neutral he might just tell the rogue to steal it, or evil kill you and take it.

Given enough time, a magic crafter can make a lot of profit. But he'd have to advertise. Which means he's left open to being robbed, tricked, or enslaved for his talents by powerful enemies, as only dangerous (whether good or bad) things are going to want to fork over that money. Meaning he'd have to build some defenses...

perhaps some kind of dungeon. With traps. Oh and a dragon at the end protecting the really good stuff. See where I'm going with this?

I'm playing a crafter and it's quite powerful, but honestly I'd rather just make stuff to use. Plus, you effectively have to 'load up' on materials when in town to make a magic item.

If you're worried about exploiting, we play by the 'focus items' policy. You can't just dump gold and make magic like some type of reverse alchemy. Half the money spent has to be appropriate 'focus items' like gems, dire ape fangs, wood from a dryad's tree, etc to make a magic item. Makes it more personal.


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Okay this has always pissed me off. The whole idea that a magic item maker is in some way a money machine and so you have to chop him off at the knees to control him. It's a very bad call to say you have to sell all your items at half even the ones you make and sell on your own to buyers and not stores.

Also no house rule is needed to control the so called money printing machine so many think this to be.

This is a RPG the RP part solves the problem with a little thought.

Think about every AP you have have played in so far:
The Party needs to solve ex for the Queen.
The party must stop an Ancient X from destroying the world.
The Party is chosen to close a gate to hell before X.

Why does it always have to be you guys? Because you tend to be the baddest MFers for miles and miles around aside from the Baddies.

Most NPC rulers tend to even out at about 6th to 8th lvl and all the rest at what 1st to 4th? Who are you going to sell all this ultra pricey stuff to and how often? When you were say 2nd lvl how many Rods of Wonder were you buying or able to use? You really are not going to be printing money. You are going to need to make a LOT of little things tho to pay your rent for the shop and keep you in magic components. This does not mean you will never be able to sell something more powerful but again that is where RP comes in. Send out letters of Announcement to other kingdoms or realms. Make contact with higher and lower planes. Each sale and contact is an adventure seed but infinite money?

Only if you don't dream.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As other people has already pointed out, the problem is selling the stuff you make.

Potentially a rich merchant could buy a potion of cure disease, neutralize poison and maybe even a couple of cure wounds potions to create a healing kit for his family. And, seeing the cost of that stuff, he would use them only for serious emergencies. That mean he would by them again in 10 years or even more.

The guard captain could by that +1 sword with his pay as he could meed something that can be hurt only by magic weapons. The son of a local noble can do the same, but probably he would receive his grandfather magical weapon when he reach adult age or when he is knighted.

After that you have sold your wares to most of the possible buyers in town.

Sure, the major wife could want that "self cleaning" set of dishes. Now if you get the commission you have the possibility to put enchant them with a cantrip. Not much of a sale.

Most of your time would be spent in your shop waiting for a order, teaching sleep for the 100th time to a new level 2 wizard and selling bat guano and spell components.

If you have enough fame as a crafter and someone want a big item made you can get a lot of cash, once, but most of the time you will not be crafting like a mad.
Kingmaker has some rule for selling magic items. They are meant to be used from the prospective of the city ruler, not from the prospective of the shop owner, but the rules are made in a way that allow for 1 magic item sale each month if your city is big enough.

You are the guy that want to sell Ferrari. A sale will net you plenty of cash, but they will be pretty rare unless you live in a very big city and you are the only seller.

Osirion

If you want to buy/sell a particular magical item, you buy it at full price, sell it at half.

If, however, you want to go into the magic item creation business in teh attempt to make profit, then you make a profession check just like any other profession.

Ye olde magic shop is no more or less profitable than ye olde blacksmith, or the guy you have patch the holes in your stronghold.


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Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's why you buy at full and sell at half.

It's called economics. No, seriously, it is. Take something to a pawnshop. You'll get half-value for it. Open your own pawn shop, you'll pay half value for something and sell it at full value (value of what it's worth used, not new, but the point remains).

The reason you can only get half is you don't have time to wait around for somebody who absolutely needs a +1 longsword. On the other hand, the pawn shop dealer (or magic store owner) is in one spot, and people know to come to him, so he can sit on the inventory for awhile and then sell it later at full price.

I'e been in games before where we actually opened our own shop in the city we based out of. Hired people to watch it and work in it and sell and buy things. We put our loot into the store and wait for it to sell. We don't get cash immediately, we get a steady stream over time. We also pay all the overhead (property, payroll, taxes) so we don't get 100gp out of 100gp of item value, we get about 20% on things we buy, and about 60% to 75% on things we found in treasure.

Nobody ever things about the fact the shop owners are paying taxes, are paying salaries, bribes to the thieves guild, etc. There's a reason why they only pay 50%, if they paid 75% they'd go out of business.


There are two ways to make money from crafting magic items within the game rules.

1. Profession Merchant: Half your check in gold pieces per week of dedicated work........Note the word dedicated.

2. Take the trait: Hedge Magician. This gives you a 5% reduction in the cost of crafting. If you take the +5 DC for double speed crafting you can make 50gp per day of work. i.e your craft costs are a 950gp per day to make items worth 2000gp, which you can then sell for half price at 1000gp. Not bad if you have some downtime and don't want to make somehting for your self.


To make money at item creation this is what you need to do:

First, build your craftsman with the Hedge Wizard or Eldritch Smith trait (Eldritch Smith is only worth it if you are also a gunsmith).

second set yourself up in a center of population large enough to swallow 1000 gold a day.

third, craft 1000 gp items and sell them for half.

This should make you 25 gp a day and is the most profitable non adventuring method of making money.

If you open up a magic item shop and sell professionally then you all that means is that you are making Profession Merchant checks. Your magic items do not evaporate and turn into full priced coin just because you want them to.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I call BS on the whole 'you only make a merchant check' idea. If that were the case, then the PCs could never sell any magic items, as no merchant could afford them.

Profession skills are used for things that don't produce tangible products. Craft skills are used for tangible products.

Profession (Merchant) being used to make gold would be consulting work, helping someone else set up their business, or advising someone which shop to invest in.

Buying/Selling items is handled under the existing buy/sell rules (buy low, sell high) combined with the paying for services rules.


The best analogy I can come up with is selling cars.

Just because you get your hands of a car does not mean you can sell it to a dealer for the price the dealer is going to sell it for, any used car lot is going to offer you a significantly reduced price along with some fringe benefits like handling paperwork or giving you a better trade in price.

Whats more, the vast majority of people don't just have the cash on hand to go around buying cars and most of them, Even car dealerships in rich areas don't move the cars they want to move on the day they want to move, they sell them occasionally and use the proceeds to keep the lights on in between sales.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Rat_Bastard

Your example actually matches my post above, not yours. Under your post about using profession (Car Salesman), you could never make anything more than 10 or 20 gold a week, no matter what. If you were selling ferrari's, you'd make the same as selling yugo's. There'd be nobody that could afford the ferarri though, since nobody could make much more than anyone else.

There'd be no rich land barons, because buying and selling food or land or ore would be profession skill checks, not buying and selling concrete goods.


mdt wrote:

I call BS on the whole 'you only make a merchant check' idea. If that were the case, then the PCs could never sell any magic items, as no merchant could afford them.

Profession skills are used for things that don't produce tangible products. Craft skills are used for tangible products.

Profession (Merchant) being used to make gold would be consulting work, helping someone else set up their business, or advising someone which shop to invest in.

Buying/Selling items is handled under the existing buy/sell rules (buy low, sell high) combined with the paying for services rules.

I agree with your distinction, to an extent. A better breakdown would be Craft skills are used for tangible products that a PC might care about, Profession is used for everything else. The example list for Profession includes cook, baker, and farmer which are all professions that produce tangible goods that the PCs don't care about.

On the other hand, the Craft rules say: "You can practice your trade and make a decent living, earning about half your check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work." which is exactly parallel to Profession's "You can earn half your Profession check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work."

So regardless of the skill used, you can make half your check result in gold per week.

If you assume that a generic NPC crafter has 3 ranks, +3 class skill (expert), +2 mod, and takes 10, they're making 9 gp a week. That's assumed to be after any cost of actually making the item, but probably before taxes, wages, shop fees, and the like. His expenses come to 10 gp a month (Average cost of living). So about a quarter of the time he's paying expenses, and the other three quarters goes to running the shop, taxes, and profit. Assuming he actually banks half of that, it'll take him about 180 weeks to afford a +1 sword. About three and a half years.

Let me reiterate that. Three and a half years for a generic low-level NPC crafter (he doesn't even have masterwork tools!) to afford a magic sword. After accounting for all expenses. Sure, he's not going to be rushing out and buying one any time soon, but it's well within his grasp.


mdt wrote:

@Rat_Bastard

Your example actually matches my post above, not yours. Under your post about using profession (Car Salesman), you could never make anything more than 10 or 20 gold a week, no matter what. If you were selling ferrari's, you'd make the same as selling yugo's. There'd be nobody that could afford the ferarri though, since nobody could make much more than anyone else.

There'd be no rich land barons, because buying and selling food or land or ore would be profession skill checks, not buying and selling concrete goods.

Chances are the volume the Yugo salesman deals in makes his take home similar to the ferrari salesman, especially when you consider all of the extra touches the ferrari salesman has to pay for.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's my point, if you restrict income to what can be made on the check by craft/profession, then you are basically disallowing any ability to sell or buy magical items.

Yes, if someone works for 3 years, he might be able to afford a +1 sword. However, magical items are not linear, they're exponential in cost. So it'd take 12 years to afford a +2 sword, and 25 or 30 to afford a +3.

That means there will be no stores that buy those +2 swords, because they don't have the funds. Nor can you find any +3 swords or +2's for sale, usually, because it doesn't pay to make them, nobody can afford them other than the odd occasional adventurer. Not worth making one, or even learning how to make one.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
rat_ bastard wrote:


Chances are the volume the Yugo salesman deals in makes his take home similar to the ferrari salesman, especially when you consider all of the extra touches the ferrari salesman has to pay for.

Nope, because using the skill divorces it from how much or often or price you sell at. That was my point. You can sell dirt for gold, on a pound for pound basis, but still only make your skill check in gold. You can build the most exquisite faberge eggs, and only make a few gold per week doing it. You can make the same money digging ditches as you can making gold out of lead using just the skill check.


It's crazy to think that selling magical items (if that's your bag) would be a profession check, because it's a feat (something that's a limited, character-defining resource for anyone) that only spellcasters (who are supposed to be rare and fantastical in the first place) have access to. How many 5th level casters are there in your world? 10th level ones? How many of those characters, who generally find themselves in dangerous situations neigh-constantly (that's how they got to be 10th level, har har) are sinking feats into making items? Probably not a whole bunch...

Magic item creation is quite powerful in Pathfinder. Still, no GM should be letting you sell 1,000 let alone 2,000 gp worth of magical items per day- probably no city could support that. The best way to do it would be to establish a network of contacts, and make sure they can contact you if someone with the cash is in need of an item. By the time you get word, then craft it, then transport it, then line your contact's pockets, all after investing feats (feats!) in magical item creation, you will have earned the occasional extra windfall.

On the note of charging PC's for items: The difference between a cleric charging for healing or a fighter charging to fight and a wizard charging for magical items is that the Wizard's party role is basically to cast spells and have knowledge. He can do that plenty well without investing in magical item creation. A fighter who won't fight is just a crash dummy in heavy armor. If you have invested in crafting feats, you should be able to profit from them, while still benefiting party members: don't charge your buddies full price, but charge something for your time (which, after all, could have been spent on making items for yourself)... Anyway, if one of the other PC wants to pay a higher percentage for your time, well, their magical items get finished first. :p


Cyrus Lanthier wrote:

It's crazy to think that selling magical items (if that's your bag) would be a profession check, because it's a feat (something that's a limited, character-defining resource for anyone) that only spellcasters (who are supposed to be rare and fantastical in the first place) have access to. How many 5th level casters are there in your world? 10th level ones? How many of those characters, who generally find themselves in dangerous situations neigh-constantly (that's how they got to be 10th level, har har) are sinking feats into making items? Probably not a whole bunch...

Magic item creation is quite powerful in Pathfinder. Still, no GM should be letting you sell 1,000 let alone 2,000 gp worth of magical items per day- probably no city could support that. The best way to do it would be to establish a network of contacts, and make sure they can contact you if someone with the cash is in need of an item. By the time you get word, then craft it, then transport it, then line your contact's pockets, all after investing feats (feats!) in magical item creation, you will have earned the occasional extra windfall.

On the note of charging PC's for items: The difference between a cleric charging for healing or a fighter charging to fight and a wizard charging for magical items is that the Wizard's party role is basically to cast spells and have knowledge. He can do that plenty well without investing in magical item creation. A fighter who won't fight is just a crash dummy in heavy armor. If you have invested in crafting feats, you should be able to profit from them, while still benefiting party members: don't charge your buddies full price, but charge something for your time (which, after all, could have been spent on making items for yourself)... Anyway, if one of the other PC wants to pay a higher percentage for your time, well, their magical items get finished first. :p

Selling a magic item is not a profession check, its a matter of going to a place where sufficiently rich people are and trading it for half its retail value.

Opperating a magic item shop is a profession check.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
rat_ bastard wrote:


Opperating a magic item shop is a profession check.

Shop Owner : Let's say level 10 expert.

Skill Focus (Profession Shop Owner)
Int (16)
Trait Bonus (assuming there is one) 1

Profession Skill : 3 (Int) + Skill Focus (6) + 10 (ranks) + 1 (Trait) 20

Maximum roll : 40

GP per Week : 20 gp/week

Cost of +1 Armor : 1050GP (average)

Time required to make enough money to buy one suit of armor : 26 weeks.

Using your theory, please explain how a magic item shop generates enough money to operate, since the owner cannot generate wealth by buying/selling magic items, only by the profession skill, per your logic.


A magic shop owner needs to have inventory, so, assuming that he does not make all the magic armor himself, he needs to have it made. So, he has to pay for the materials, which is half the sale price. He also needs to commission the crafting of that item, and you simply can't assume that the crafter is going to do it for free, so the crafter gets his profession-check based weekly salary, paid by the shop owner. The King gets his taxes, which are generally exorbitant.

The magic items need to be transported to his shop from the crafter, thus the teamsters get their cut - Profession(teamster) check. If the shop owner ever is doing anything other than watching the front-desk during business hours (such as taking deliveries from the teamsters, negotiating with the crafter, cooking his books so the king doesn't take 100% of his profits - you know, business stuff), then he needs to hire one or more clerks - they get paid a salary based on their Profession(clerk) check.

No one is going into a magic shop that just looks like a hovel, so periodically the shop owner needs to buy decorations, armor stands, weapon racks, furniture.

A magic shop is a great target for thieves - the owner needs to hire guards - each of whom get paid a salary based on their Profession(Goon) check. The city guard also need their protection money - Profession(Extortionist). The local crime boss is also going to want to be paid for "Protection". Despite all this "Protection", every once in a while a particularly talented thief will get in and steal a few small but valuable items - this is known in the magic shop biz as "pilferage."

So, we see now that the magic shop, despite taking in large amounts of gold on each sale, after restocking and paying all the necessary expenses is going to have a fairly thin profit margin, just like any business in the real world. This profit margin is what you are getting from your Profession(merchant) check.

Now, if you wanted to close shop, and skip town, you could probably leave with the gross revenue from your last couple sales, and this could be quite a significant amount. But you are leaving behind a stable business that could have kept you making good money for the rest of your life (10-20 gp/week is fabulously rich by most standards), and you are incurring the ire of the cops who you had been paying off, the mob-boss who is no longer getting his protection money, the King who is no longer getting his taxes - in other words, you are a hunted fugitive.

Finally, exactly how much demand do you think there is for items which, even the least expensive of which, each cost more than most noblemen make in a year? A magic shop owner in most cities is lucky to get one or two wealthy adventurers a month buying their swords and breastplates which each cost about as much as a large mansion, if not a Palace or a small Kingdom.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mabven the OP Healer wrote:


Finally, exactly how much demand do you think there is for items which, even the least expensive of which, each cost more than most noblemen make in a year? A magic shop owner in most cities is lucky to get one or two wealthy adventurers a month buying their swords and breastplates which each cost about as much as a large mansion, if not a Palace or a small Kingdom.

By your post, there will be no magic shops. If he can only make his skill check per week, and then has to pay all those people, but only sells 1 or 2 items a year, then nobody would have a magic shop, they'd own a bakery, where everyone comes in every week to buy something. It's easier, less of a target for thieves, and the customer base is less likely to slit your throat if they don't like your prices.

Given that the rules give the number of magical items you can find in a given city (and also assume that a city of a given size can always buy magic items of a given wealth or less), this is illogical. I agree the costs of operating the business are high, but they're not so exorbitant that you're reduced to making the same gold per week as the baker with the same profession skill as you.

There has to be sufficient reward for the risks and headaches, or nobody will do the job. In the case of 'Ye Olden Magyk Shoppe', which is the default by the rules, if the shop isn't making profit for the owner in direct ratio with the danger of operating the shop, then he's going to close his doors and go invest in a bakery instead, which is safer to operate. If there's too many bakers, he'll open a shoe store instead, or a furniture store, or whatever. The only way someone would open a store that is as complicated as posited, is if they make way more profit than they could doing something safer. This is basic economics in a pre-industrial setting like PF. You can still see this today in the criminal underworld of the modern day. The only reason people smuggle drugs and weapons, which is VERY dangerous, is because they can make LOTS more doing that than they can working at Harvey's Garage, or McDonalds. If they could only make as much working at McDonalds as they could at smuggling dope, then they'd work at McDonalds, as it's much less likely you'll be shot at McDonalds than smuggling drugs. Less chance of jail time too.

It's strictly a risk/reward proposition. By reducing it to a single skill roll that's not weighted by merchandise/risk/profit, you render all professions equal with regards to reward. Then you're just left with risk. Why go through the headaches if you aren't getting rewarded.

Andoran

Thread: tl;dr.

OP: The exact same thing that keeps pcs from just making infinite money using skills. Time. A desire to be out adventuring and not running a store. The dm.

Item creation feats are plenty powerful without pcs trying to abuse them to gain additional funds.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ShadowcatX wrote:

Thread: tl;dr.

OP: The exact same thing that keeps pcs from just making infinite money using skills. Time. A desire to be out adventuring and not running a store. The dm.

Item creation feats are plenty powerful without pcs trying to abuse them to gain additional funds.

While I agree with the sentiment, the official ruling of the Devs is that item creation feats do increase your WBL. So yes, they do give the PCs more money.


@mtd: If you want to role-play being a shop owner, Pathfinder is not the system for you. The economics are designed so that you are incentivized to do dangerous things like fighting dragons to take their horde. It is intentional that you can not make large profit buying and selling. This is not intended to create a realistic economic system, but to support the main activities which the vast majority of the rules cover.

If you want money, kill evil things which have money.

Andoran

mdt wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

Thread: tl;dr.

OP: The exact same thing that keeps pcs from just making infinite money using skills. Time. A desire to be out adventuring and not running a store. The dm.

Item creation feats are plenty powerful without pcs trying to abuse them to gain additional funds.

While I agree with the sentiment, the official ruling of the Devs is that item creation feats do increase your WBL. So yes, they do give the PCs more money.

Actually, they give you wealth. They never actually give you money.

You make something at half price but you can only ever sell it for half price. This specifically leaves out the ability to make one of something, sell it for full price then make two, sell them, make four, etc. which is the example specifically listed in the opening post.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mabven the OP healer wrote:

@mtd: If you want to role-play being a shop owner, Pathfinder is not the system for you. The economics are designed so that you are incentivized to do dangerous things like fighting dragons to take their horde. It is intentional that you can not make large profit buying and selling. This is not intended to create a realistic economic system, but to support the main activities which the vast majority of the rules cover.

If you want money, kill evil things which have money.

I simply pointed out that your argument didn't jive with the world assumptions based on the rules as they are written. If you don't like the rules as written, you can house rule that the world has no magic item shops, that's perfectly acceptable. if they do exist, then the people running them either have to make a profit commensurate with the risk, or else you're making the world populated by idiots and morons.

Andoran

mdt wrote:
if they do exist, then the people running them either have to make a profit commensurate with the risk, or else you're making the world populated by idiots and morons.

I would just like to point out that in the real world there are plenty of reasons for doing a job where profit is not commensurate with the risk. I would also like to point that in the real world, half the people in the world are below average intelligence. (For certain definitions of below and average.)


As some of the previous posters have already pointed out is that you can't simply sell stuff to others. Especially with the huge amounts of gold involved with adventurers the city/state will quickly be on your heels and demand it's share of the cake.

Selling things without a license might even be illegal in a area and a license might be hard to come by. A license to sell could even be a valuable reward for an adventurer group!

One way would of course be at the black market. But there you also don't get full price and you run the risk of people trying to scam or murder you (good possibilities for RPs ^^).

If the adventurers actually set up shop in town and sell their (incredible valuable) loot, they will attract thieves and such making the shop a constant liability. They have to put resources into the shop, protecting it with magic and whatnot, thus reducing the earnings.

All this together make it hard (but not impossible) to get some extra cash for selling. If you have a character with good diplomacy/bluff or good connections he might be able to strike a better deal. But it certainly is not an infinite money machine.

And even if it were. News travel fast. And someone with infinite money will face infinite amounts of thieves that want to steal it ;3


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ShadowcatX wrote:
mdt wrote:
if they do exist, then the people running them either have to make a profit commensurate with the risk, or else you're making the world populated by idiots and morons.
I would just like to point out that in the real world there are plenty of reasons for doing a job where profit is not commensurate with the risk. I would also like to point that in the real world, half the people in the world are below average intelligence. (For certain definitions of below and average.)

Job's, yes, not retail stores. A sheriff might be doing the job because he believes in the law, not the money. A Paladin might fight evil for similar reasons.

But none of those are retail stores. You don't open a retail store for moral reasons, you do it to make money. The closest you might come is a general goods store opened in a poor neighborhood with the owner only keeping enough of his profit to eat on for altruistic reasons. But a magic shop with thousands and thousands of GPs worth of magical items? That's for profit.


Maybe there is a difference between profits and revenues? Maybe the owner brings in enough revenue to continue operations but after all the overhead, he is left with profits.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Maybe there is a difference between profits and revenues? Maybe the owner brings in enough revenue to continue operations but after all the overhead, he is left with profits.

Bob, I'm your career counselor. Now, I understand you want to be a merchant. You have a couple of options.

You can run a magic item shoppe. You'll have to hire someone to watch the store, guards to protect it, guards to guard the guards, pay off the thieves guild, deal with the scum of the earth, and sit on enough magic items to tempt every murderous hobo within a thousand miles, hoping one of those hobos is willing to buy instead of steal from you. Murder rate against shop owners is about 5% per annum. You'll make, oh, about 50 gold a week in profits.

Alternately, you can run a bakery. You'll have to work in a hot kitchen, surrounded by the smell of baking bread, deal with friendly townsfolk, and hire an apprentice baker to work under you. The crime rate against bakeries is low. You'll make, oh, about 50 gold a week in profits.

Finally, you can run a basket weaving store. You can sit around weaving baskets. You won't need to hire anyone, and you can run it out of your home. The crime rate against basket weavers is practically unheard of. You'll make, oh, about 50 gold a week in profits.


Tels wrote:
I'm looking for a viable method of compromising or fixing the potentially abused rules as set in the Rulebook, not an "I say you only sell for half period" ruling.

In other words, you're looking for a house rule.

Here's how my group does it:

Panakos Campaign House Rules and other GM info
(scroll half way down the page)

We have a system where buy prices and sell prices of goods are randomized, but related to how large a city you're in and how well known your party is. We have something called the "VIP System," which tracks a group's (V)illainy Rating, (I)nfamy Rating, and (P)restige Rating, as they increase in levels, and those ratings effect random encounters when they enter a new town, and their interactions with shopkeepers. Each rating goes starts at 1 and goes up to 10, and the party gets points based on what sort of stuff they've done.

Villainy = "kidnap the baron's daughter and sacrifice her to an evil god"
Infamy = "kidnap the baron's daughter and ransom her for huge profits"
Prestige = "rescue the baron's daughter"

They're basically faction ranks from an MMO, but Pathfinder style.

We have a lot of other interesting things we're doing with our campaign as well, but that's what fixed the magic item buy/sell thing for us.


mdt wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Maybe there is a difference between profits and revenues? Maybe the owner brings in enough revenue to continue operations but after all the overhead, he is left with profits.
Bob, I'm your career counselor. Now, I understand you want to be a merchant. You have a couple of options.

I'm trying to get out of retail :)

Quote:
You can run a magic item shoppe. You'll have to hire someone to watch the store, guards to protect it, guards to guard the guards, pay off the thieves guild, deal with the scum of the earth, and sit on enough magic items to tempt every murderous hobo within a thousand miles, hoping one of those hobos is willing to buy instead of steal from you. Murder rate against shop owners is about 5% per annum. You'll make, oh, about 50 gold a week in profits.

All of that would be overhead and you would end up with 50 gold at the end of the week. You may have spent 100,000 in overhead, but when all is said and done, you still get to take home a little profit.

Quote:
Alternately, you can run a bakery. You'll have to work in a hot kitchen, surrounded by the smell of baking bread, deal with friendly townsfolk, and hire an apprentice baker to work under you. The crime rate against bakeries is low. You'll make, oh, about 50 gold a week in profits.

I love baked goods. It's bad for my diabetes, but I do like pastries. It is a bit lower for the overhead and you still get to make some profits.

Quote:
Finally, you can run a basket weaving store. You can sit around weaving baskets. You won't need to hire anyone, and you can run it out of your home. The crime rate against basket weavers is practically unheard of. You'll make, oh, about 50 gold a week in profits.

Booooring. How monotonous. You're not a good counselor at all. Giving me choices of: lot's of work and overhead, death by hyperglycemia, and boredom. At least I still get 50 gold!

I understand what you are saying and I'm not really trying to argue against any of it. I was just pointing out that too often people confuse "revenue" with "profit." It is often used interchangeably in the media and by corporations today to hide how well companies are doing so they aren't vilified too much.

I don't think the system is meant to actually be representative for every case. I think it's meant to help a GM see how well off an NPC may be living or how much money a PC can expect to make during some down time between adventures.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mabven the OP healer wrote:

The King gets his taxes, which are generally exorbitant.

Actually this is not particularly true. To make an example, Byzantium trade tax was lower that today VAT in most of Europe.

I am with mdt in this. The shop has to generate a revenue in proportion with the investment or no one will make it.

The profession(shopowner) check is a way to simulate a average shop selling standard wares, not the trade prince building a mercantile empire or a people trading in high risk- high revenue wares. That is teh territory of role playing or more complex management games (Traveller for example).
In the weekly roll system there is no space for the owner ingenuity in managing his activity, innovations he could introduce and so on. It is the standard shop owner doing things the true and tried way for easy to sell stuff.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bob_Loblaw wrote:


I don't think the system is meant to actually be representative for every case. I think it's meant to help a GM see how well off an NPC may be living or how much money a PC can expect to make during some down time between adventures.

My point was that it divorces value of product from skill at selling. It basically says, no matter what the value of the items, you make the same amount. You can sell baskets, diamonds, or rocks, but you end up with the same money.

If you're going to make the same no matter what, why would you ever do anything that risks your life?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

mdt wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:


I don't think the system is meant to actually be representative for every case. I think it's meant to help a GM see how well off an NPC may be living or how much money a PC can expect to make during some down time between adventures.

My point was that it divorces value of product from skill at selling. It basically says, no matter what the value of the items, you make the same amount. You can sell baskets, diamonds, or rocks, but you end up with the same money.

If you're going to make the same no matter what, why would you ever do anything that risks your life?

But making Profession (magic-monger) checks doesn't risk your life :)


I think that the Proffesion/Craft skills as they stand are mainly just to add flavour.

But Trade and running business is a potential source of adventure. This runs from fighting of pirates or bandits if you own a ship or caravan, to dealing with the local goons and extortionists who are cutting into your profits.

MDT's scenario of "You can run a magic item shoppe. You'll have to hire someone to watch the store, guards to protect it, guards to guard the guards, pay off the thieves guild, deal with the scum of the earth, and sit on enough magic items to tempt every murderous hobo within a thousand miles, hoping one of those hobos is willing to buy instead of steal from you." sounds like it has legs as a basis for a city campaign, fighting both the law, the lawless, the wandering adventures and internal traiters........a fun and interesting basis for many different adventures and side quests.

If forced I would house rule change the current rule that you get half your proffession check in GP per week to you get .1% return on what you have invested in stock/craft goods x your profession score, minus what you pay in rental, wages, extortion/taxes, per week.

This way someone the basket weaver is poor, the cloth merchant well off and the Magic Item shop owner wealthy. The proffesion cook on the street selling hotdogs is poor, the proffesion cook who owns a fancy restaurant and invests in the best quality/exotic foodstuffs is wealthy (if he's good enough)

The balance comes, and the incentive to adventure comes, from the need to build up a capital base. It also gives things for followers and cohorts to do.

The biggest lack in this game is the way that skill use and skill users are given very little attention.


Tels wrote:

Given enough time, he has infinite wealth, and as such, could potentially afford any item he so chooses.

Yes, and why would a DM give him enough time? And why assume an infinite number of potential customers?

Once you have a decent stock such that a "magic shop" is worth the name, it should just be robbed. They are much better than dragon hoards.

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