Arbitrary Wealth Exploits - Problems and Solutions


General Discussion (Prerelease)

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There are a lot of ways to get arbitrary wealth in 3.5, most of them spells. This creates obvious problems, because PCs are not meant to have arbitrary wealth.

Demonstration
Wall of Iron conjures a permanent non-magical wall of iron. That iron can then be melted into bars and sold. In fact, its a wonder anyone would ever bother to mine iron, because getting someone to cast the spell is ultimately cheaper than paying workers to mine the same quantity of iron, not to mention lacking the other costs (feeding/care of miners, generally far from major cities, loss of life or work time due to injury or death from accidents, etc...). Plus, 3.x has no real economy rules. PCs can always sell items for 1/2 their normal value. That's a hard and fast rule, and any alteration is a houserule - and thus not the subject of a playtest.

Even if we want to talk about houserules, world consistency solutions only work if the world is actually written assuming that people are using Wall of Iron as the primary source of iron in the world. The problem is that published campaign settings do not do so. They assume miners. So the PCs are clearly the first ones in the world to think of such a thing. (And even in a homebrew you have to accept the kind of industrialization that such a theory of 'mining' leads to. Most people don't want the kind of world this creates. People want medieval with magic, not magic as technology... for the most part)

Worse yet, its not the only way to create wealth repeatedly with a spell. The other usual canonical example is Flesh to Salt, which is non-core, but I can dig up many many more. (As was pointed out, planar binding a lantern archon leads to arbitrary wealth exploits).

Further, Flesh to Salt introduces another problem - splatbooks are highly likely to introduce more spells which lead to infinite wealth exploits. Basically, any spell which creates *lasting wealth* in some way, shape, or form is problematic.

Root Issues and Solutions
Problematic how? The real issue is that wealth is directly convertible into power via magic items. Arbitrary wealth -> arbitrary magic items.

Given the virtual guarantee that there will continue to be new and varied infinite wealth exploits as additional material gets released, fixing individual spells is clearly not the answer. There are only two places this general phenomena can be attacked.

(1) Magic Items don't increase power.
If it didn't matter that you had arbitrary items, then it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, in addition to the pain of having to rework the very nature of magic items, much less rewrite every single one, it also completely breaks backwards compatibility. Barbie dress-up syndrome is here to stay.

(2) Wealth cannot be transformed into arbitrary items.
Some items can just not be had for any amount of gold. Rather, creatures possessing them require inherently valuable planar currencies or other magic items that can also not be had for gold. One good place for this cut off is about 15k gp. Any item worth >=15k gp can be bought for gold. Thus, about the time most arbitrary wealth schemes become available, you can get a few plausibly helpful items, but nothing that will knock your socks off.

Benefit: Arbitrary wealth exploits can exist - we don't have to watchdog for them continuously, and new ones won't ruin anything.
Benefit: Dragons can have enough gold to sleep on. We don't have to worry about it.
Benefit: Players can own castles, raise armies, and live luxuriously without having to worry about it decreasing their effectiveness as an adventurer. Ie, wealth actually gets used for roleplaying purposes, like it used to be back in 2nd edition.
Benefit: Coolness value - DM's who limit availability of items may have the players track down a Yugoloth merchant in Sigil, but he'll only take Souls. Ie, this creates a system with houserule/roleplaying potential. (It can of course be played fine with 'i have enough planar currency, i find a vendor and buy it' style playing as well.)

Proof of Backwards Compatibility:
Define some planar currencies (Solar Tears, Liquid Schwartz, Souls, whatever). These things have real inherent value, and are the basis of exchange of more valuable magical items. You can list their value in gp, but you can never trade for them with gp. (gp are useless in the planar economy because gold is easily acquired).

Crafting items worth >15k requires the crafting cost be paid in planar currencies or other magic items worth > 15k (which are destroyed during crafting and valued at their sell value). We just assume actual materials can be had without much difficulty, its materials which contribute to the magical essence that are of real value.

You purchase items with planar currencies when those items are worth >15k gp.

Basically, this system can be overlain on top of the existing system with no issues. All the current prices are compatible because there is an 'effective gp price', its just you can't actually use gp for that purchase.

Scarab Sages

This is a revisit of Frank's High-Level Economics thread.

Which, incidentally, was one of his ideas that I actually found interesting.

I used a similar idea at the end of a level 1-25 campaign. The party Bard, now inserted as High King, took the solid gold throne, shrunk it, and had the half-orc barbarian carry it around for him.

Eventually, they ran into a Mercane (the campaign revolved around removing planar barriers), who offered to sell the "noble heroes who had reunited the planes" some magic items. The Bard thinks for a second and said "Well, how much is your cheapest weapon?"

The mercane looks at the Bard, with deadpan seriousness "In your Material wealth? 1.6 million gold"

The player of the Bard looked at me, and I already knew the answer: "Not enough," I said.
"But what about the treasury?"
"From your estimates? About 300,000gp."

I had an entire adventure planned out where the PCs would indebt an Efreeti Pasha by recovering a magic tome hidden in a tower on the Plane of Fire. Never got around to it, but the point is the idea of non-gold wealth makes sense at high levels (around level 15 and up).

There's no harm in Jason adding more "units" of currency to the tables, with the caveat that at a certain point you cannot trade up.


Jal Dorak wrote:
This is a revisit of Frank's High-Level Economics thread.

Quite right. And I think its the best solution to 'arbitrary wealth' schemes i've ever seen. I just don't want it to get ignored because Frank Trollman initially proposed it.

Scarab Sages

Squirrelloid wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
This is a revisit of Frank's High-Level Economics thread.
Quite right. And I think its the best solution to 'arbitrary wealth' schemes i've ever seen. I just don't want it to get ignored because Frank Trollman initially proposed it.

That's why I was sure to mention right away that I also liked it when he originally proposed it. As far as I can remember, that thread was one of the more well received (and least argumentative) of Frank's efforts here.

I'll just say it again, so people following me come in with an open mind:

I disagree with Frank's opinions on many things. This is not one of them. Give it a chance.

For those interested in Frank at his best, please see the original thread here.


Squirrelloid wrote:
(2) Wealth cannot be transformed into arbitrary items.

This. The easiest solution would be adding a sidebar at the beginning of the magic items chapter, along the lines of:

"Design Intent: Magical Items Pricing

The prices of the magical items found in PFRPG represent relative costs such items would have when bought and sold. While the prices are used in several ways througoht the system, it is not an assumption that magical items are freely bought and sold. While they may certainly be bought, sold, traded and bargained for, such cases are an exception rather than the norm, and the system assumes PCs would gain magical items through various other means through the course of an adventure."


My "economics" method is that the amount of money you can make from spellcasting (whether it's Wall of Iron or Flesh to Salt or whatever), is dictated by the PHB. So if you cast Wall of Iron (a level 6 spell at CL 11), you can make 6 x 11 x 10 = 660 gp (presuming you can find folks to hire you). Alternatively, you can make money using Profession [merchant] if you have that skill.


Ok.

The iron from a wall cannot be shaped, or wrought. It exists as a wall, and if iron is taken from the wall, it degrades and perishes.

Continual flame lasts forever. Casters who can make such torches have lived for a long time. Any urban environment will be full of such torches, so make the market saturate easily. Assume that only 1% of a settlement actually needs an everburning torch, and that other people have them for sale as well. This means dungeons can have everburning torches without the players ripping them off the walls for retail.

The market for ten foot ladders is bigger than the market for ten foot poles. Ladders are hard wood, and heavy. A ten foot pole made from half a ladder would never sell for more than firewood.

Any character who finds a loophole and starts money milling retires, and becomes a merchant.


Just to continue my comment from above, the problem is not that players can get more money; they're expected to be getting money and magic items throughout their progression. The problem is if a DM allows earning money without earning XP. So if a player really wanted to earn money by casting spells, I would let him, but I would also have obstacles for him to deal with while he's doing so (e.g. thieves try to rob him, monsters attack, political enemies try something, etc.) to get him to earn XP. And voila! It's a city adventure instead of a dungeon delve.


Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

Ok.

The iron from a wall cannot be shaped, or wrought. It exists as a wall, and if iron is taken from the wall, it degrades and perishes.

Continual flame lasts forever. Casters who can make such torches have lived for a long time. Any urban environment will be full of such torches, so make the market saturate easily. Assume that only 1% of a settlement actually needs an everburning torch, and that other people have them for sale as well. This means dungeons can have everburning torches without the players ripping them off the walls for retail.

The market for ten foot ladders is bigger than the market for ten foot poles. Ladders are hard wood, and heavy. A ten foot pole made from half a ladder would never sell for more than firewood.

Any character who finds a loophole and starts money milling retires, and becomes a merchant.

And none of this has anything to do with what the rules say. Wall of Iron is actually iron. The spell is instantaneous, which means the wall is nonmagical. Iron taken from it is still iron. You can fabricate it into suits of platemail.

Part of my point was that individual spell and exploit fixes aren't worth the time, because then Flesh to Salt comes along, and its worse because salt is worth its full value in sale because it is equivalent to cash.

And part of my point was that being ok with PCs having arbitrary wealth at some point was actually good for the game. Unless of course you think its cool that a Colossal dragon's hoard can fit in a breadbox.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Before a player can sell anything, there has to be a buyer.

If a player is going to sell vast quantities of anything, there must be a big enough market.

DMs should recognize that market saturation is a very real solution to the problem. Set an in game limit on how much you think a player could reasonably sell.

That being said...
In the case of Iron Wall, it is worth noting that the Conjuration (creation) spells are somewhat misnamed as the SRD description says that the rearrange prexisting matter. i.e. That Iron is coming from somewhere... The wizard is simply using magic to transport and refine it. Now if a wizard of that magnitude (11th level) thinks that making a single wall of iron a day is what he wants to do with his life, more power too him. Basically he is simply putting a couple of miners out of work. The smelters, etc. are still doing the same amount of work. We are not looking at infinite wealth here. We are looking at the wizard rerouting the existing market for iron to his doorstep instead of to the doorstep of the local miners. I doubt that the local miners guild is going to like that. There will likely be picket lines, civil unrest and the like. But I doubt its game breaking. If I had a wizard that wanted to do it, I would have him RP it until he became bored with it or else the PC is likely going to become an NPC.

It seems to me is that the faulty assumption here is that there is an infinite amount of wealth available in the game world and that the PCs can aquire it simply by saying "I want to sell this." A DM is under no obligation to provide a buyer. Nor is he obligated to make the sell easy if he doesn't want to.


Wicht wrote:

Before a player can sell anything, there has to be a buyer.

If a player is going to sell vast quantities of anything, there must be a big enough market.

Actually, he doesn't and there doesn't. The rules just say he can sell things at 1/2 value. Finding a buyer implies he's taking effort, and can thus justify higher returns.

Wicht wrote:


DMs should recognize that market saturation is a very real solution to the problem. Set an in game limit on how much you think a player could reasonably sell.

That being said...
In the case of Iron Wall, it is worth noting that the Conjuration (creation) spells are somewhat misnamed as the SRD description says that the rearrange prexisting matter. i.e. That Iron is coming from somewhere... The wizard is simply using magic to transport and refine it. Now if a wizard of that magnitude (11th level) thinks that making a single wall of iron a day is what he wants to do with his life, more power too him. Basically he is simply putting a couple of miners out of work. The smelters, etc. are still doing the same amount of work. We are not looking at infinite wealth here. We are looking at the wizard rerouting the existing market for iron to his doorstep instead of to the doorstep of the local miners. I doubt that the local miners guild is going to like that. There will likely be picket lines, civil unrest and the like. But I doubt its game breaking. If I had a wizard that wanted to do it, I would have him RP it until he became bored with it or else the PC is likely going to become an NPC.

It seems to me is that the faulty assumption here is that there is an infinite amount of wealth available in the game world and that the PCs can aquire it simply by saying "I want to sell this." A DM is under no obligation to provide a buyer. Nor is he obligated to make the sell easy if he doesn't want to.

Or he can just Fabricate the Wall of Iron into a finished product...


Squirrelloid wrote:
Wicht wrote:

Before a player can sell anything, there has to be a buyer.

If a player is going to sell vast quantities of anything, there must be a big enough market.

Actually, he doesn't and there doesn't. The rules just say he can sell things at 1/2 value. Finding a buyer implies he's taking effort, and can thus justify higher returns.

Huh? Are you seriously saying that in your game, you'd allow your players to sell items even if they were in the middle of an uninhabited desert, just because the rules don't say you can't?

The rules say that you can buy and sell items. The rules don't say that arbitrary quantities of any item can be bought and sold instantly in every possible place.

(This is usually the point at which Frank Trollman started to do some vague hand-waving about interplanar megalopolises with near-infinite supply and demand.)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Squirreloid,

You are aware of the gp limit in each town descriptor yes? The rules do take the market somewhat into account. PCs cannot sell whatever they want, whereever they want according to the RAW. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the DM to oversee this sort of thing. You seem to consistently forget that the DM is appointed to his role for exactly this sort of reason.

I have a player who bought the Rusty Dragon. She maxed out her profession (innkeeper) score and her cooking score. She is now making a very nice living running the Rusty Dragon when not off saving Varisia. Its not game breaking. Given enough time, she will earn enough money to make whatever she wants, magic wise (she's a wizard). But buying and selling takes time. Money does not move overnight into a PCs account simply because he or she says they want to sell this or that.

If I had a player that wanted to sell Iron, I would require him to take the merchant profession skill if he wanted to do it profitably. The iron wall cost 50 gp as an investment. A character with no ability to sell is going to be able to sell it, for... oh I don't know... maybe 50-55 gp as scrap metal.

If they decide they want to market it, they're going to have to hire people to take it apart, smelt it, etc. There will be expenses beyond just the spell. If they just want to sell it to the smelters themselves, they have to take the time to shape it (by magic if they want), haul it, etc. Even then, there are contracts to be made - that sort of thing. A smelter, who has already paid for his iron from one person, is not going to have the funds to just buy as much as he wants. The player may be forced to wait a month or two to sell his iron.

Make the players put in the time though if they want to do something like this. Don't just handwave it. Thats the key.


I see much talk about hand waving the steps involved in liquidating said wall of iron, yet at the same time stating that the solution is to hand wave disallowing said process. Clearly a double standard. If the players choose to take a few months of down time to make money for little effort the exploit still stands and the solution proposed is for the DM to simply not allow them to be successful.

I am actually a supporter of Rule 0 and DM fiat, but when it becomes mandatory to address a clear flaw in the rules as written, then I feel there is a necessity for the rules to change. Otherwise, why use the rules at all and leave everything up to the DM's whim.

Squirreloid is proposing a change to negate the impact of wealth exploits. This change in effect transforms a flaw in the rules into a design feature. I strongly support this. It also explains how a PC can have multiple items each of which cost more than the average NPC will earn in a lifetime.


I think the implications of a 'high magic economy' actually add alot to high-level play, as casters' abilities quickly outstrip the limits of normal reality/physics - With or without EXPLICIT wealth schemes, it's fairly obvious that high level mages should be filthy rich if they're at all inclined - even without 'adventuring'.

Having their own particular power economy feels more interesting than just increasing and increasing the gold cost... I feel there's even a role-playing aspect in this as well, as it seems appropriate for the high-power mage to be somewhat dis-interested in the mundane wealth of the world... I.e. past a certain point, material wealth cannot increase their arcane power anymore (gold becomes mostly used for minions' upkeep.)

If this type of thing IS to be developed further, how it fits into the DIVINE side of magic should also be looked at. The only problem I see with this, is it quickly becomes somewhat involved and semi-setting specific. The benefit of increasing gold costs is that it doesn't introduce any new sub-system to the core books. Especially with "backwards compatability" as a goal, I think that's the main issue with trying to bring something like this into Pathfinder.

Scarab Sages

hogarth wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:
Wicht wrote:

Before a player can sell anything, there has to be a buyer.

If a player is going to sell vast quantities of anything, there must be a big enough market.

Actually, he doesn't and there doesn't. The rules just say he can sell things at 1/2 value. Finding a buyer implies he's taking effort, and can thus justify higher returns.

Huh? Are you seriously saying that in your game, you'd allow your players to sell items even if they were in the middle of an uninhabited desert, just because the rules don't say you can't?

The rules say that you can buy and sell items. The rules don't say that arbitrary quantities of any item can be bought and sold instantly in every possible place.

(This is usually the point at which Frank Trollman started to do some vague hand-waving about interplanar megalopolises with near-infinite supply and demand.)

I do agree with Hogarth - I think the "breaking-point of the economy and wealth exploits" are not all that important. I mean, wall of iron produces a wall of iron, not necessarily a wall of weapon-quality iron, plus you still have to hire labour to break it down and move it. Is there even a market price for raw iron in the core rules?

The reason I like the rules is because dealing with millions of gold pieces is ludicrous at times, difficult to manage realistically, and quite frankly, the idea of mystical or extra-planar currencies intrigues me as a viable alternative.

The Exchange

As a suggestion for a possible fix: we try a houserule where any part of an item created by a magical effect, when removed from the original construction, degrades to immaterium (or whatever magical stuff you have). In essence, the initial spell defines the boundary of where the substance can exist. Remove it from its boundary and it no longer can exist.

In other words, if you cut the wall of iron up or melt it down to sell as slag it degrades. Fixes that particular issue and could be written as a simple statement in the magic section. Would fix any spell where people were trying to cut it up for wealth actually.

You don't need to fix the ever burning torch conundrum because a market works on sell and demand. Look to Eberon for how a high magic world would function. If you saturate the market the price drops to negligable. Or there are already entire careers devoted to people who do just that. The PC's wouldn't even get a foot in the door competing against established guilds or houses. The dragonmarked houses were like this to some extent.

If you want to go down the path of infinite wealth then the world would be different and your GM may want to build it that way. This is a game where the world can respond to players actions. If however your world doesn't have infinte wealth then I'm sure the GM will just prevent it.

Maybe there's only so much magic available to create items so when new stuff gets created, somwhere old stuff is destroyed. Makes for some interesting situations perhaps (I'm sure I've read an old comic strip about just this topic)


Jal Dorak wrote:

I mean, wall of iron produces a wall of iron, not necessarily a wall of weapon-quality iron, plus you still have to hire labour to break it down and move it. Is there even a market price for raw iron in the core rules?

You are correct as to the question of the quality of the iron. This will also affect the weight per cubic foot as I have found cast iron listed as 430 to 450 pound per cubic foot and generic listings for iron as high as 490.

There is a market price listed on page 98 of the Beta in Table 7-3 Trade Goods. (note: Immediately below the table it stats that trade goods are the exception to the half price rule.)

That price is 1sp per pound listing as just iron with no specification as to quality (unprocessed ore, pig iron, cast iron, or wrought iron).

Based on the middle number of 450 and minimum caster level the spell will yield about 20,621 pounds of iron. (Caster Level 11 x 5'x5'x1.833'{1 inch per 4 caster levels} for 45.825 cubic feet)

For those who wonder why I bother looking for such numbers, I'm the player who will calculate the party's pack train (supplies for the party, carrying capacity for the supplies, supplies for the pack animals, etc.) for overland travel even after the DM tells me that it isn't necessary and not to worry about it. I like math.


Freesword wrote:

You are correct as to the question of the quality of the iron. This will also affect the weight per cubic foot as I have found cast iron listed as 430 to 450 pound per cubic foot and generic listings for iron as high as 490.

There is a market price listed on page 98 of the Beta in Table 7-3 Trade Goods. (note: Immediately below the table it stats that trade goods are the exception to the half price rule.)

That price is 1sp per pound listing as just iron with no specification as to quality (unprocessed ore, pig iron, cast iron, or wrought iron).

Based on the middle number of 450 and minimum caster level the spell will yield about 20,621 pounds of iron. (Caster Level 11 x 5'x5'x1.833'{1 inch per 4 caster levels} for 45.825 cubic feet)

For those who wonder why I bother looking for such numbers, I'm the player who will calculate the party's pack train (supplies for the party, carrying capacity for the supplies, supplies for the pack animals, etc.) for overland travel even after the DM tells me that it isn't necessary and not to worry about it. I like math.

Of course, then you have to figure in that you spend 50 gp to cast the spell to begin with, you have to hire people to cut the iron up (with tools available to the standard SRD fantasy type workers), you have to hire people to cart the iron around, you have to hire workers to smelt the iron into bars for resale, and on top of all of that, if you throw "splatbooks" into this equation, as a DM you can rule that an over supplied commodity is worth -10 to -20% of its normal worth per the Arms and Equipment Guide.


I shouldn't have to point out the existence of the Fabricate spell, not once, but twice, in the same thread. You need Wall of Iron turned into Iron bars? Fabricate. How about suit of armor? Fabricate. Sure, the second requires a craft check - you're a wizard, you have high intelligence, if you want to have the craft to do so you can.

And none of this addresses Flesh to Salt. Salt is a trade good, you don't have to sell it for gold, you can *use it as cash*. For that matter, so is iron. You can use it as currency. No need to sell it. The combination of Wall of Iron and Fabricate is literally arbitrary wealth, limited solely by the number of times you cast it. That's ~2062gp worth of iron per casting, btw.

Liberty's Edge

Squirrelloid wrote:
PCs can always sell items for 1/2 their normal value. That's a hard and fast rule, and any alteration is a houserule - and thus not the subject of a playtest.

Ah, there's the start of your problem right there.

Here's what the rules actually say:

Pathfinder Beta, Page 98 wrote:
In general, a character can sell something for half its listed price, including weapons, armor, gear, and magic items. To keep things balanced, this also includes character-created items.

Rules that are hard and fast never include conditionals such as 'in general,' so this is more like a rule of thumb really. You really should change that to "PCs can in general sell items for 1/2 their normal value" shouldn't you?

The purpose of that rule is clearly to speed up the disposal of loot after an adventure so groups that don't get into role playing mundane haggling can just get on with it. The 'general' case will indeed be a group of adventurers disposing of a cartfull or two of loot into an economy varied and large enough to treat the influx as a blip.

A 12 level wizard can create a Wall of Iron that weighs over 17 tons. This most certainly falls outside of the general case and falls within the realm of DM judgment. Different DMs will handle the situation their own way... in play.

So by using the rules as the actually are and using a bit of common sense this problem can be handled. There's no real issue here.

Sam

Liberty's Edge

Fabricate only changes 1 cubit foot per level when dealing with minerals. The 12th level wizard would need to use 7 fabricate spells to process his wall of iron.

[Edit]
Sorry, this was incorrect. The fabricate spell would simply fail because of insufficient capacity. The target has to be within the target range of effect.

Sam


Samuel Leming wrote:

Fabricate only changes 1 cubit foot per level when dealing with minerals. The 12th level wizard would need to use 7 fabricate spells to process his wall of iron.

[Edit]
Sorry, this was incorrect. The fabricate spell would simply fail because of insufficient capacity. The target has to be within the target range of effect.

Sam

Yes, you target 11 cubic feet or whatever with each casting.

Besides, its not that hard to cut into pieces with an adamantine blade. Like slicing through butter.

The Exchange

Squirrelloid wrote:

I shouldn't have to point out the existence of the Fabricate spell, not once, but twice, in the same thread. You need Wall of Iron turned into Iron bars? Fabricate. How about suit of armor? Fabricate. Sure, the second requires a craft check - you're a wizard, you have high intelligence, if you want to have the craft to do so you can.

And none of this addresses Flesh to Salt. Salt is a trade good, you don't have to sell it for gold, you can *use it as cash*. For that matter, so is iron. You can use it as currency. No need to sell it. The combination of Wall of Iron and Fabricate is literally arbitrary wealth, limited solely by the number of times you cast it. That's ~2062gp worth of iron per casting, btw.

The fix I suggested above negates both of these. Removing any part of the original spell renders that component back to its original immaterium. Once the component is removed from the orginal boundary of the spell it disspiates.

Sure you could trade the full couple of pounds of salt but the moment someone tries to use it, the picnhes of salt just dissapear (as they are removed from the orginal batch). You'd be popular as a tradesman then I can tell you.

Fabricate would still be useful, you just couldn't use it on raw material generated from magic in the first place.

I introduced this houserule a number of years ago in my home games and we now have no issue with people trying to pull this infinite wealth stunt.

This doesn't stop the everburnig torch idea, but then economics would (they'd be worth next to nothing if every other wizard was selling them). The price list in the books assume limited supply. Start pulling this and you need to change the price list as a result. Maybe that's all the fix that's needed there.

Cheers


Wrath wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:

I shouldn't have to point out the existence of the Fabricate spell, not once, but twice, in the same thread. You need Wall of Iron turned into Iron bars? Fabricate. How about suit of armor? Fabricate. Sure, the second requires a craft check - you're a wizard, you have high intelligence, if you want to have the craft to do so you can.

And none of this addresses Flesh to Salt. Salt is a trade good, you don't have to sell it for gold, you can *use it as cash*. For that matter, so is iron. You can use it as currency. No need to sell it. The combination of Wall of Iron and Fabricate is literally arbitrary wealth, limited solely by the number of times you cast it. That's ~2062gp worth of iron per casting, btw.

The fix I suggested above negates both of these. Removing any part of the original spell renders that component back to its original immaterium. Once the component is removed from the orginal boundary of the spell it disspiates.

Sure you could trade the full couple of pounds of salt but the moment someone tries to use it, the picnhes of salt just dissapear (as they are removed from the orginal batch). You'd be popular as a tradesman then I can tell you.

Fabricate would still be useful, you just couldn't use it on raw material generated from magic in the first place.

I introduced this houserule a number of years ago in my home games and we now have no issue with people trying to pull this infinite wealth stunt.

This doesn't stop the everburnig torch idea, but then economics would (they'd be worth next to nothing if every other wizard was selling them). The price list in the books assume limited supply. Start pulling this and you need to change the price list as a result. Maybe that's all the fix that's needed there.

Cheers

The wall is not part of the spell. Its not even magical. Nor is the salt from Flesh to Salt. I mean, flesh to salt is crazy now for infinite wealth exploits, but you just made it a way to permanently kill someone (just take a little bit off and they get reduced to immaterium).

Spells which have instantaneous effects leave no magical residue behind. The results are permanent mundane items no different from other permanent mundane items. Your fix thus requires ad hoc changing every spell with non-magical after-effects or violates the general metaphysics of the game. (Non-magical stuff is non-magical). Ad hoc changes don't work (There will always be new violators in new material). And treating non-magical stuff as magical in any circumstance leads to incomprehensible mechanics.

The fix I proposed lets you say 'yes' to the players without having to break the game, and doesn't hurt the system as it exists in any way.

Liberty's Edge

Wrath wrote:
This doesn't stop the everburnig torch idea, but then economics would

Economics would resist all of these 'Arbitrary Wealth' schemes. One of the premises of Squirrelloid's arguments is that it's against the rules to use economics to do so. That's where his argument fails.

Sam


Samuel Leming wrote:
Wrath wrote:
This doesn't stop the everburnig torch idea, but then economics would

Economics would resist all of these 'Arbitrary Wealth' schemes. One of the premises of Squirrelloid's arguments is that it's against the rules to use economics to do so. That's where his argument fails.

Sam

First of all, the rules do not contain an economic system. If there are no rules for it, its not part of the game. Houserules should not be expected just to make the system perform normally.

Second, I think you're failing to understand the implications of *trade goods* being freely creatable are. It really is like creating gold from scratch, because these things are currency. The logical economic response is hyper-inflation and depression. That's what happens when you flood an economy with cash, and that's exactly what creating iron or salt does. Of course, if we had real economics rules, this just means that the wizard can get arbitrary wealth by speculating and then using magic to make the speculation come true. ie, the salt:gold exchange rate should really be floating, not fixed. Which means the Wizard acquires a whole bunch of iron legitimately and then starts dumping salt on the market. As the price of salt plummets, the value of iron increases to compensate (Total supply of cash increases, but the supply of cash that people actually want decreases because no one wants salt since its in free fall). Said wizard turns all his iron into goods at a profit.

He also acquires a bunch of gold (which adventurers tend to do while adventuring). Then he starts creating iron magically and dumps that on the market. He's already cleared out his legitimate iron holdings, and he sends the iron market into freefall just like with salt. The value of his gold increases (and increased with the salt fiasco). He's now richer than he was before, with a corresponding buying power increase.

Fortunately, we don't have real economics rules. We don't want wizards purposefully manipulating trade good exchange rates for profit. We want them looting dungeons and killing monsters. Real economics rules lead to all kinds of silly things (using scry and teleport to take advantage of arbitrage, etc...). And the moment you say 'economics will solve it' I wonder (1) "what economic behavior are we talking about" and (2) "Economics creates a lot of rather profitable niche investment craziness in the real world. I don't want that in my game."

Edit: I also don't want to talk about 1984 chain-gps as the unit of currency prices are measured in. Because in a real economic system prices aren't fixed, and would change regularly.


There are two problems with this economic system.

It goes against the "player options are good" that Paizo has pitched their tent on.

Being able to customize your magic items without jumping through hoops is seen as a good thing. You're basically going back to the tried and tested 1e/2e model of magic items

Another problem is that it favours spellcasters heavily. Almost all of the most requested/wanted magic items are items that can be duplicated by spells. Just like Disjunction will make a fighter cry but just be a speedbump for a wizard,

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Squirrelloid wrote:
Samuel Leming wrote:

Fabricate only changes 1 cubit foot per level when dealing with minerals. The 12th level wizard would need to use 7 fabricate spells to process his wall of iron.

[Edit]
Sorry, this was incorrect. The fabricate spell would simply fail because of insufficient capacity. The target has to be within the target range of effect.

Sam

Yes, you target 11 cubic feet or whatever with each casting.

Besides, its not that hard to cut into pieces with an adamantine blade. Like slicing through butter.

Actually, you can't. Going strictly by rule, what you can do is "attack an object." Once you do enough damage to the object to reduce its hit points to zero, the object is DESTROYED or RUINED. (see "Smashing an Object" in the PH, p. 165-167) The WoI spell description says a section is "breached" when its hp are reduced to 0, but as stipulated the wall isn't a spell effect any more once it's created; it's a nonmagical object, and therefore it must abide by the rules for attacking objects.

Since we are arguing strictly on the RAW, it is not game-mechanically possible to slice objects into pieces. We may only destroy objects or sections. A wall of iron, for instance, has 30 hp per inch of thickness (and hardness 10) per 5' section. Once you do 30 points of damage per inch to it with your adamantine blade, you have destroyed/ruined that section, not cut it into pieces or removed it from its larger mass.

You are injecting a house rule (the ability to slice objects into pieces) into the RAW with this exploit. You could argue that logically you SHOULD be able to slice and dice, but the rules don't support that and therefore we should ignore that possibility. There is no residue, scrap, or rubble, or leftover material from your destruction of the wall section; for you to assume otherwise would be to add an illegal interpretation into the RAW.

That said, you could carve your wall of iron down, section, by section, until less than 1 cubic foot/lvl remained, and once you had destroyed enough of the wall to get to that point you could fabricate the rest. But that's all you could get - 1 fabricate per wall, after a good bit of effort to destroy the overage.

Interestingly, you need to remember that fabricate also only allows you to make ONE thing (including a game-descriptive uniform set - like a rope bridge, or a set of clothes, or a piece of jewelry). You cannot create a bunch of anything. You can make one thing. First sentence of the spell "You convert material of one sort into a product." Last sentence of the spell (describing material component) - "The original material, which costs the same amont as the raw materials required to craft the item to be created." Singular. The use of plurals in the spell description is only used in reference to variety.

Your wall of iron remnant? You may as well leave it as a big piece of sheet metal. You could fabricate it into a cage or a portcullis or a gate. You could not, however, fabricate a pile of ingots or any other mass of salable goods. It is a trade good, so you could sell it for 1 sp/lb, as noted, and you could fabricate it into a conveniently-sized shape for transport. Heck, if you wanted you could fabricate an iron wagon if you think you have enough mass of iron left.

You could also fabricate a suit of full plate (as long as you also had some leather on hand, which you would probably need to buy, or research a wall of leather spell); the fact that it's iron and not steel (both have the same hardness and hit points, and full plate stipulates only that it is made of 'metal plates') may or may not make any difference in sale price.

Really, the best revised WoI exploit would be to use WoI and then shrink item, which can affect twice as material as fabricate, to just shrink down the slab of leftover WoI and carry it in your pocket to market. Just hope nobody dispels it... :) (yeah, I know, you're an adventurer, so you'll have a handy haversack; it was just fun to say)

Of course, while these facts slow the process down and reduce the yield, they don't completely eliminate the WoI exploit, nor others.

PS - The high-level economy concept is interesting to me and warms the cockles of my old 1st Edition heart, with the notion of exotic components and the like being limiting factors on making magic items, researching spells, etc. In a long-ago campaign, boots of speed were virtually impossible to make because of the components (as I recall, I arbitrarily chose nightmare hide, clay golem clay, and quickling blood) required me as the DM to make them available. Which I didn't. Until well down the road to high level and eventually some quicklings showed up. Still, that is a very different mindset from the modern 3rd/4th/PF ethos of magic economy. Good or bad? Meh. Who knows?

It's an interesting concept, though, especially as it relates to dragon hoards and castle-building (and equipping, since using your ceilings for what gold can buy, you would see adventures outfitting everyone in their army with +3 armor and shields and +2 weapons with their kajillion gold piece dragon hoards - then again, is that going to ruin anyone's day at 19th level? Yeah, probably not)


Bleach wrote:

There are two problems with this economic system.

It goes against the "player options are good" that Paizo has pitched their tent on.

Being able to customize your magic items without jumping through hoops is seen as a good thing. You're basically going back to the tried and tested 1e/2e model of magic items

Another problem is that it favours spellcasters heavily. Almost all of the most requested/wanted magic items are items that can be duplicated by spells. Just like Disjunction will make a fighter cry but just be a speedbump for a wizard,

Huh?

You don't spend xp on crafting anymore, so the wizard can craft for the fighter.

You find planar currencies during adventuring, just like any other treasure.

You can trade said planar currencies for cool gear in places like Sigil or possibly in any major city.

This isn't jumping through hoops, this is just separating the high level economy from the gold economy so we can stop worrying about the large number of ways PCs can just generate wealth on demand in the PHB alone.

Further, this ultimately supports 'player options are good' because it stops the incentive for DMs to actively try to screw players over who choose actions that lead to arbitrary wealth exploits.

Edit: Jason:
Its not intended to be arbitrary items, but rather a defined set of planar currencies, like souls, which powerful creatures actually treat as valuable. These objects become the default currency of high level games. Now, some creatures may well prefer certain types of currencies, but they're still universally recognized as *currency*. Similarly, these materials are magically potent (one of the reasons they have value), which is why you need them for crafting.

So its not 1st ed levels of arbitrarium. Rather, it separates gold from power at high levels. Because we really do want the adventurers to have to cart the gold out when they kill a dragon. In wagons. Lots of wagons. Its not very epic when the dragon's wealth is smaller than a bread box.


Jal Dorak wrote:
For those interested in Frank at his best, please see the original thread here.

This is a good idea.


Um, ok, I'm honestly confused now.

If planar currency is "found in treasures just like gold" how is it NOT gold.

I;m really confused here...


Bleach wrote:

Um, ok, I'm honestly confused now.

If planar currency is "found in treasures just like gold" how is it NOT gold.

I;m really confused here...

Take a few minutes and think about it, and get back to me.


Bleach wrote:

Um, ok, I'm honestly confused now.

If planar currency is "found in treasures just like gold" how is it NOT gold.

I;m really confused here...

Because no one will give it to you for gold or things that can be exchanged for gold.

Think of it this way. Souls are a planar currency. Lets say a soul is worth 100gp x HD of the creature to whom that soul belongs. You find a soul trapped in a gem as part of a treasure hoard which is worth 1000gp. Now, you aren't actually going to go exchange this for 1000gp, because it can be exchanged for things that can't be had for gold.

So you go to buy a magic item worth 18k gp. You can't actually spend gold pieces to get it, and they won't take magical items worth less than or equal to 15kgp in trade. It doesn't matter if you have 5 million gold pieces, they aren't interested. It can't be had at any price for things that gold can be exchanged for. But if you have 18 1000gp Souls then he'll gladly make the trade. The souls have commensurate value and can't be made cheaply via magic.

Why make this distinction? Because many spells can create wealth for free. Wall of Iron, Planar Binding, Flesh to Salt, Fabricate, etc... Many of these create *trade goods*, which are basically currency in the form of goods. Ie, the rules trivially allow parties to have as much wealth *in gold* as they want. If you can arbitrarily trade this for as much power in magic items as you want, then we have a problem.

Think of it as a separate currency scale. The fact that we still measure value in gp is only because its convenient to list a gp value for various currencies and prohibit the actual exchange of gold for those currencies and items.

Edit: item specified as magic, which is important.

Sovereign Court

I thought this was a good idea when first proposed, and I still like it. I also like the implications for novice players. In the past I have had difficulty introducing the notion of the planes to players and/or characters as anything other than "extreme environments well worth avoiding". Planar currency would gently introduce the notion into the game.

It probably shouldn't need typing, but I also like the tone of this thread; proposition, counter-proposal, flaws and advantages examined, debate.

The Exchange

Squirrelloid wrote:

[

The wall is not part of the spell. Its not even magical. Nor is the salt from Flesh to Salt. I mean, flesh to salt is crazy now for infinite wealth exploits, but you just made it a way to permanently...

Hmmm.... for some reason not letting me fully quote you sorry Squirelloid.

I see this fix as no more strange on the metaphysics of the game as the fact that these items just "Sprang into existance" as it says in the spell description of WoI. My premise merely states the fact that the completely new material can only exist in the prime within the bounds of the original spell. No magic residue, nothing magical about the material etc. Treat it like a summoned creature where the caster has defined their appearence in the prime.

It didn't exist before the magic user summoned it. It won't exist anymore when you take it away from the place they put it in the first place.

There's also the problem of your concept breaking the limited resources of a planet. Of course, if you're now going to tell me the stuff comes from the infinte resources of another dimension then that of course lends credence to my theory. You could say the magic just increases the size of the iron sheet used in the spell, but if its mass doesn't change then its a pretty flimsy wall. Since WoI is anything but flimsy it must be assumed the new mass comes from somewhere. Of course you could argue it comes from the magic, in which case when you remove part of it, it just returns to the magic again.

I don't have the description of Flesh to Salt sorry (what book does it come from please, would be keen to read it?). So my argument may not work below, but I'm going to try anyway

You mention I now have a way to permanently kill someone with this spell. What were you thinking people were going to do with the Salt when you traded it? If they use it for anything then isn't that also destroying the flesh from which it came (partcularly cooking in which salt undergoes chemical reactions and therefore loses its propeties as salt and becomes Ionic particles instead, often bonded with alternate ions than what they started with). If you like, the spell could merely revert the separated material to its original form (nothing for WoI, flesh for your salt spell).

All this is probably irrelevent though as I tend to agree with the option that a real economic environment wouldn't stand up to this, even salt trade eventually becomes useless if everyone has so much salt they can't do anything with it. Are you assuming that your player is the only one doing this trading?

Trader - "What would I want more salt for? The last guy came through here gave me 15 bags of the stuff."

Cheers


Wrath wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:

[

The wall is not part of the spell. Its not even magical. Nor is the salt from Flesh to Salt. I mean, flesh to salt is crazy now for infinite wealth exploits, but you just made it a way to permanently...

Hmmm.... for some reason not letting me fully quote you sorry Squirelloid.

I see this fix as no more strange on the metaphysics of the game as the fact that these items just "Sprang into existance" as it says in the spell description of WoI. My premise merely states the fact that the completely new material can only exist in the prime within the bounds of the original spell. No magic residue, nothing magical about the material etc. Treat it like a summoned creature where the caster has defined their appearence in the prime.

It didn't exist before the magic user summoned it. It won't exist anymore when you take it away from the place they put it in the first place.

There's also the problem of your concept breaking the limited resources of a planet. Of course, if you're now going to tell me the stuff comes from the infinte resources of another dimension then that of course lends credence to my theory. You could say the magic just increases the size of the iron sheet used in the spell, but if its mass doesn't change then its a pretty flimsy wall. Since WoI is anything but flimsy it must be assumed the new mass comes from somewhere. Of course you could argue it comes from the magic, in which case when you remove part of it, it just returns to the magic again.

At least in older editions, conjuration technically always brings things from another plane (most of which are infinite). Presumably the elemental plane of earth in this case, which is uniform in composition, infinite in scope, and thus infinite in iron resources. However, one could imagine you snagging it from the asteroid belt, a distant star system, or virtually anywhere, as 3.x rules are less forthcoming about the source of conjured objects. Because it doesn't say something on the subject, its hard to impute significance to the iron's source.

Wrath wrote:


I don't have the description of Flesh to Salt sorry (what book does it come from please, would be keen to read it?). So my argument may not work below, but I'm going to try anyway

FtSalt is basically a Flesh to Stone flavor alteration. I'm forgetting which supplement off the top of my head, but I think there's an index somewhere on the WotC site for 3e materials. (Not only are my splatbooks not on me at the moment, but I've got quite a few - it would take a little searching). It probably appears in Spell Compendium, fwiw.

Wrath wrote:


You mention I now have a way to permanently kill someone with this spell. What were you thinking people were going to do with the Salt when you traded it? If they use it for anything then isn't that also destroying the flesh from which it came (partcularly cooking in which salt undergoes chemical reactions and therefore loses its...

That salt still qualifies as the 'body' for spells like Ressurection. Sure, True Res gets around that problem, but a 6th level spell requiring a 9th level spell solution to reverse is a little extreme.

I will respond to the rest in an edit... quote cut-offs are annoying.

Wrath wrote:

All this is probably irrelevent though as I tend to agree with the option that a real economic environment wouldn't stand up to this, even salt trade eventually becomes useless if everyone has so much salt they can't do anything with it. Are you assuming that your player is the only one doing this trading?

Trader - "What would I want more salt for? The last guy came through here gave me 15 bags of the stuff."

Unfortunately, the rules list a value of salt. That value must assume no one is doing this, or the value would be approaching zero. Not 5gp/lb. Ie, a set value must assume equilibrium conditions. Price freefall is not an equilibrium.

In fact, the rules say you can treat it as currency, basically, and with a set value it has a fixed exchange rate. So technically the guy doesn't care that he has 15 bags of salt, he can trade it freely because its valued like it was cash.


Wrath wrote:

All this is probably irrelevent though as I tend to agree with the option that a real economic environment wouldn't stand up to this, even salt trade eventually becomes useless if everyone has so much salt they can't do anything with it. Are you assuming that your player is the only one doing this trading?

Trader - "What would I want more salt for? The last guy came through here gave me 15 bags of the stuff."

A real economic environment wouldn't stand up to adventurers liquidating everything they just cleared out of a dungeon. Nor would it stand up to them pumping the amount of gold they do into the economy buying magical gear.


Squirrelloid wrote:
Wrath wrote:
I don't have the description of Flesh to Salt sorry (what book does it come from please, would be keen to read it?). So my argument may not work below, but I'm going to try anyway

FtSalt is basically a Flesh to Stone flavor alteration. I'm forgetting which supplement off the top of my head, but I think there's an index somewhere on the WotC site for 3e materials. (Not only are my splatbooks not on me at the moment, but I've got quite a few - it would take a little searching). It probably appears in Spell Compendium, fwiw.

Flesh to Salt is from Sandstorm, page 116. No sign of it in the Spell Compendium.

The Exchange

Freesword wrote:


A real economic environment wouldn't stand up to adventurers liquidating everything they just cleared out of a dungeon. Nor would it stand up to them pumping the amount of gold they do into the economy buying magical gear.

fair point

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Freesword wrote:

I see much talk about hand waving the steps involved in liquidating said wall of iron, yet at the same time stating that the solution is to hand wave disallowing said process. Clearly a double standard. If the players choose to take a few months of down time to make money for little effort the exploit still stands and the solution proposed is for the DM to simply not allow them to be successful.

I don't think I said that. I said I would allow them to be successful, I would just force them to go through the actual process. If they decide that's how they want to play the game, why stop them?


Wicht wrote:
Freesword wrote:

I see much talk about hand waving the steps involved in liquidating said wall of iron, yet at the same time stating that the solution is to hand wave disallowing said process. Clearly a double standard. If the players choose to take a few months of down time to make money for little effort the exploit still stands and the solution proposed is for the DM to simply not allow them to be successful.

I don't think I said that. I said I would allow them to be successful, I would just force them to go through the actual process. If they decide that's how they want to play the game, why stop them?

Perhaps I misunderstood when you said (emphasis mine):

Wicht wrote:


It seems to me is that the faulty assumption here is that there is an infinite amount of wealth available in the game world and that the PCs can aquire it simply by saying "I want to sell this." A DM is under no obligation to provide a buyer. Nor is he obligated to make the sell easy if he doesn't want to.

This is not the only discussion where infinite wealth exploits have been brought up, and requests to fix them are usually countered with "No DM should allow it even if the rules say you can, and because of this no real problem exists." The text I quoted can be taken in a similar tone. If I read more into what you said than you intended then I am sorry.

I was trying to make the counter point that even though the DM has the ability to say no, the rules as written still allow for the exploit to be possible and this should be addressed. My intent was to deflect the discussion away from "The DM can just say no, so no problem." argument and back toward addressing the rules as written without being dragged into a debate on how a game should be run by addressing a specific individual. Therefore I will also apologize for my use of the term "hand waving" making it appear that I was singling you out. Such was not my intent and I am sorry.


Freesword wrote:
I see much talk about hand waving the steps involved in liquidating said wall of iron, yet at the same time stating that the solution is to hand wave disallowing said process. Clearly a double standard. If the players choose to take a few months of down time to make money for little effort the exploit still stands and the solution proposed is for the DM to simply not allow them to be successful.

You didn't read what I said correctly. My proposed solution is to allow characters to make money by spellcasting (if they really want to), but to provide obstacles at the same time that will give them XP. Therefore they're making gp and xp at the same time, just as if they were out adventuring.

You (the DM) have complete control over how much down time you allow your PCs. And since down time = gold, you (the DM) have complete control over how much gold your PCs earn. I thought all of this was pretty obvious, but I guess not.

I certainly agree, however, that illiquid assets, like castles or estates or titles of nobility and such, shouldn't count towards a character's "magic item wealth".


Squirrelloid wrote:
So its not 1st ed levels of arbitrarium. Rather, it separates gold from power at high levels. Because we really do want the adventurers to have to cart the gold out when they kill a dragon. In wagons. Lots of wagons. Its not very epic when the dragon's wealth is smaller than a bread box.

Why would adventurers (as opposed to NPCs) bother with cartloads of gold when they can't buy anything "important" (i.e. life-extending) with it?

The reasonable part of Frank's economy proposal was getting rid of magic stores; the idea of a magic store is kind of dumb. The silly part about Frank's proposal is the idea of multiple systems of representing valuable items with absolutely, positively no way of translating between one and the other, ever. So a high-level fighter could be bristling with valuable magic items (like 10 cloaks of resistance +1) and yet be unable to buy a loaf of bread no matter how hard he tried. And if a noble wants to hire a party of adventurers, what currency does he use? Gold or magic items? Remember -- only one of those can be possible, or else you're setting up an equivalence between the two, which is strictly verboten.


hogarth wrote:
My proposed solution is to allow characters to make money by spellcasting (if they really want to)

Exactly what I've done. I simply took the price of getting spells cast from the "goods and services" section of the PHB and allow my players to sell a certain number (randomly determined) of their spells based on the situation (location, time, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc)

The gold generated by this technique shocked me at first, but then I realized that the reason why you see 12th level Wizard shopkeepers is because they realized that they could sell protection from energy (fire) and a teleport to adventurers for a decent amount of gold without really getting themselves into harms way.

You notice that doctors are able to sell their services for a lot of money? Well if you were a 12th level doctor who was finding treasure in a trap and monster infested dungeon, you might well consider packing it up and healing for a living as well. That is, if you somehow lost your backpack and bedroll somewhere.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Why would adventurers (as opposed to NPCs) bother with cartloads of gold when they can't buy anything "important" (i.e. life-extending) with it?

Because it's cool to have a castle, a huge staff, and splendor? Or even a nation and an army? Much more story-oriented than stat-oriented, yes. I don't have a problem with that. I like the 15K limit idea. It solves lots of problems quite elegantly. It doesn't stop adventurers from adventuring; that dragon might have specific items each worth well in excess of 15K. If you can't buy them, you have to take them.


Sothrim wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Why would adventurers (as opposed to NPCs) bother with cartloads of gold when they can't buy anything "important" (i.e. life-extending) with it?
Because it's cool to have a castle, a huge staff, and splendor? Or even a nation and an army? Much more story-oriented than stat-oriented, yes. I don't have a problem with that.

But having a castle, a nation, and an army is essentially DM fiat. If he wants you to have them, you'll have them (dragons hoards or no dragon hoards).

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion Subscriber
hogarth wrote:


But having a castle, a nation, and an army is essentially DM fiat. If he wants you to have them, you'll have them (dragons hoards or no dragon hoards).

True, sometimes. HMM gives the players a fort, free and clear. And Leadership helps you start to build an army, too. So there's lots of ways, in-story, to explain such things. But there are rules for how much building a fort costs, and how much it costs to run (even like those in HMM). I've definitely made players use such rules when they build their home base.

Like I said, the reason characters would bother hauling back the 200,000 gp would clearly be more story-oriented. Having piles of gold is a yet another in-story rationale for why the characters would have such things as a castle, nation, or army.

What's more important to me is that gp can't immediately be converted at the magical megamart into power, past 15K.

Plus, then they can dive into piles of coins like Scrooge McDuck.


hogarth wrote:
Freesword wrote:
I see much talk about hand waving the steps involved in liquidating said wall of iron, yet at the same time stating that the solution is to hand wave disallowing said process. Clearly a double standard. If the players choose to take a few months of down time to make money for little effort the exploit still stands and the solution proposed is for the DM to simply not allow them to be successful.

You didn't read what I said correctly. My proposed solution is to allow characters to make money by spellcasting (if they really want to), but to provide obstacles at the same time that will give them XP. Therefore they're making gp and xp at the same time, just as if they were out adventuring.

You (the DM) have complete control over how much down time you allow your PCs. And since down time = gold, you (the DM) have complete control over how much gold your PCs earn. I thought all of this was pretty obvious, but I guess not.

I certainly agree, however, that illiquid assets, like castles or estates or titles of nobility and such, shouldn't count towards a character's "magic item wealth".

I was not trying to single out any individual but deflect the common rebuff to attempts to address infinite wealth exploits that "The DM can say no so there is no problem." It seems both you and Wicht have taken what I said as being directed at you specifically. I have already apologized to Wicht in my previous post, so now I will extend apologies to you as well hogarth. I am sorry if what I wrote is taken as a misrepresentation of what you said. That was never my intent.

With regard to what both of you have stated, I have no objection to a DM requiring a player to deal with all the details involved in these schemes nor with presenting them with unforeseen complications and interruptions. In fact, I encourage it. I am also willing to go on record as saying that the DM does have the option of disallowing these exploits.

My issue is not with Rule 0, but with the argument that because a DM can disallow something that is clearly a flaw in the rules that the rule is just fine as it is and does not need to be fixed. It seems I communicated this badly.


You know, I like discussions like this because it helps me sort out what I would do just in case a player comes up with any of these arguments. I'm not sure that the rules have to change drastically, but it probably wouldn't hurt to point out some of the issues with such mass wealth production in the rules either.

I'm curious as to how the city statblock will work for Pathfinder, because I don't know think that the city size definitions or wealth per community limits are OGL, and yet how they work is pretty important to the economics of the game, such as they are.

So, with that in mind, a town has a GP limit for how much they will pay for a specific item, and a total gold piece limit for how much they can pay out total. The second number doesn't often come up, but for this situation, I think it would.

In a given town, you would need at least a Large Town to take the whole load of iron at one time, but, if you look at the second number, you can probably assume that they can only offload about three loads of iron in a given town during a given trade season, and if you tie up all of that gold in the Large Town, they won't have any gold free for buying your other stuff.

Also, if you want to use the rules in Arms and Equipment Guide, your first load will be at full cost, but it would probably be pretty fair to make the second load at -10% and the next one at -20%.

So, now, I'll agree, the wealth exploit isn't over yet, so you move on to the next town, and do the same thing. If the DM is generous, he'll rule that the iron trade is segmented enough that the next town doesn't consider the market flooded, so you can sell another three loads, if you go to a Large Town, max out their free gold, and move on.

Side Note: I know that trade goods are suppose to be "as good as gold," but to be honest, I don't picture innkeepers, bakers, or even leather workers taking iron bars in trade for their items. The main point of commodities being "as good as gold" is that you don't sell them at half price, at least the way I read it.

So basically, yeah, you could do this, but you will be casting the spell, cutting it up, turning into trade bars, and transport it to a merchant to sell it (or convert it into whatever goods the merchant is willing to exchange, however you want to phrase it).

After you max out the gold available in the trade season for the town (I know, there isn't any real specific time where the max gold "resets," but most cities have a trade season where their population swells, so it would make sense that this "refreshes" after that time), then you have to make the iron, cut it up, transport it, sell it, and then travel to yet another town.

The point is, you can't cast Wall of Iron and spend it immediately, nor is it easily portable without some help, meaning that while its technically an "infinite exploit," it does take time to do all of this. You would have to travel between towns and cities to do this, and thus have a chance for accidentally running into an adventure while you were busy trying to make tons of gold without adventuring.

If time isn't a factor, its as much of a wealth exploit to have the perform skill. Once you can reliably assume a 30 on the check, (Skill focus +3, Charisma max at +4 at first level, max skill ranks with perform as a class skill, and spend a couple of years making an average of 3832 gp a year? Heck, an elf, if he wanted to still suffer no penalty for middle age, could take 54 years off of adventuring to perform and make money, generating 206,928 gp on average.

I guess my point is, in an actual campaign, will the DM not have anything happen long enough to really exploit this situation? I don't think its even DM fiat to say that, while traveling to another town, something will happen beyond just casting Wall of Iron and collecting wealth.

In fact, if the DM really wants to have some fun, some angry iron miners have to be willing to find some rust monsters here or there to gorge themselves on the PCs slabs of iron before they can sell them, etc.

I guess that's why I wouldn't handwave anything like this too quickly before I had a chance to milk if for RP hooks.

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