Why would merchants use ships instead of teleportation to transport cargo?


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It sounds to me like a lot of this speculation is happening in a bubble.

A merchant in a game world doesn't suddenly appear as a mature person with 500,000 gp, a desire to conduct trade internationally and a knowledge and trust of the arcane world. A typical merchant probably started with a mule load of goods, gradually increasing his wealth through years and years of trips and transactions. A lot of his wealth is probably tied up in goods at any given time.

I find it hard to believe that a merchant would sacrifice a tried and true method they developed (or perhaps inherited from generations before him) to take a chance and liquidate everything to take a chance on an arcane spell and absolute trust of his fortune in the wizard himself.


Now try running your numbers applying the use of Shrink Item.


andreww wrote:
Now try running your numbers applying the use of Shrink Item.

Shrink item is a singular item.

Treasure stitching would be far more useful. A couple castings are much cheaper than permanent extra dimensional spaces.


Aelryinth wrote:

Actually, getting the 'cargo' attached to the mastodon can take only a minute or two.

What you do is put the mastodon on a platform, and the cargo on a rig around and below it, already attached to the rig. Then you attach the rig to the mastodon, and either winch up/tighten the cargo, or lower the ground away from the mastodon.

You can do all the balancing work ahead of time.

Your destination just needs to be a similar point where the elephant can lower the items to the ground, the rig is removed, and you're done.

Would take a little bit of work to accomplish, but probably not as much as a major stone pier.

==Aelryinth

Hm. You're looking at a device capable lifting somewhere around 150 tons in one go (80-90% cargo and rig, 10-20% beast of burden and gear, and yes, I'm not getting into that particular ratio), which is much more ambitious than typical ancient cargo handling techniques that usually moved things the weight of a full ship's cargo in portions.

You're not completely outside the bounds of premodern engineering, but you are way more ambitious than what is associated with a pier at a (pre-modern) harbor. It's more or less on "pharaonic monument" scale - rigs fitted to each specific piece to be moved and that took weeks or months to construct and operate.

(also rigs that, due to straining the bounds of contemporary engineering, sometimes collapsed catastrophically).

Now, while moving such weights is possible (albeit difficult) for premodern engineering - and even admitting that dwarves might be better engineers than Romans - moving them so fast is much more far-fetched. Even modern tower cranes move such weights very slowly, carefully and deliberately.

Trying to rush days worth of safe(r) engineering into a couple minutes while dangling such weights about strikes me as basically probably suicidal. Within the first few trips you will probably have destroyed your rig, your cargo, your mastodon and possibly yourself in a haste induced accident.

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Coriat, there is no need for a rig. The mastodon can be loaded up with up to double its maximum load before the spell is cast without worrying about it being harmed or crushed. Look at the carrying capacity rules.

So it can be loaded up with that full weight and have bull's strength cast right before the teleport.

The Exchange

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Most hilarious industrial accident ever!

Overseer: Sir! Sir! We accidentally skewered the mastodon when Crane Four collapsed!
Teleportation Master: Ready the pit of mighty barbecue!


CalebTGordan wrote:
Coriat, there is no need for a rig. The mastodon can be loaded up with up to double its maximum load before the spell is cast without worrying about it being harmed or crushed. Look at the carrying capacity rules.

Let's indeed take a look at the specific text. ;)

Quote:
A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it.

Now imagine a six ton mammoth which is - as specifically mandated by the rules - staggering under a 130+ ton load.

...

...

Okay, so, keep it below its heavy load at all times.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Most hilarious industrial accident ever!

Overseer: Sir! Sir! We accidentally skewered the mastodon when Crane Four collapsed!
Teleportation Master: Ready the pit of mighty barbecue!

XD.

You'd have mouths watering at the smell for miles.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chengar Qordath wrote:
There's a reason real-life cartels have always proven unsustainable in the long term.

Tell that to your local cable company.


Coriat wrote:

Let's indeed take a look at the specific text. ;)

Quote:
A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it.

Now imagine a six ton mammoth which is - as specifically mandated by the rules - staggering under a 130+ ton load.

...

...

Okay, so, keep it below its heavy load at all times.

You ended that quote a bit too soon, the full text reads as follows:
PFSRD wrote:
A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can move only 5 feet per round (as a full-round action).

So the mastodont would take a -6 ACP penalty for carrying a heavy load and be limited to a 5-feet movement speed per round. That's it. If anything this would make it easier to control the mastodont, since it wouldn't be able to move fast enough to actually do any damage even if it should "stagger around".

That said, the exact number of tons in the carry capacity seems irrelevant - I think this thread has proven fairly well that there is an untapped market for teleportation services for the shipping of goods.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

While the logistical reasons that various transportation methods exist can be a fascinating topic for some, I don't think either of you is going to convince the other if you haven't already.

Given the economically-driven motivations I've noted so far, I'm surprised that one reason I haven't heard yet in the circle-networks-would-not-exist camp is that wizards get to charge for each use of teleport individually, over and over - so only a wizard driven by non-economic reasons would ever set up a permanent, "free" service instead.

Merchant: I'll give you a million gold pieces to set up a permanent gate!
Wizard: And destroy the monopoly that I and my guild-brothers have held over your heads for centuries? I think not.

Especially given any wizard who can cast teleport but not teleport circle can probably also cast dispel magic... at range. If people are desperate for teleport (having dismantled the infrastructure to trade in other ways) they suddenly are reliant on people who can teleport.

At 11th level there is teleport trap which can allow really easy pirating of 'caravans' and can be made permanent.

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NOte that in your comparison of portable holes, the portable hole has no weight limit, only a volume limit of a 6' diameter, 10' deep pit (about 300 cubic feet, or just about enough space for 1 million coins).

In any event, Treasure Sitching at 1000 cubic feet is even better, and costs the price of a 10 x 10 cloth or paper sheet you can roll up.

Coriat, you just need something that can suspend the cargo and be lowered onto the mammoth. It can take up an entire room if you like...teleport has no limit on volume, such as it is. I'm thinking it would almost be a small tower with handing arms in all direction counter-balancing one another.

And you're definitely on poor ground from an economics standpoint. Getting cargo there sooner is always better...you can manage cargo flow much faster if you can deliver at any time then if you have to plan months in advance and deal with the vagaries of travel (this is a reason manufacturing is starting to return here from China...managing the supply chain is a PITA for companies!)

Furthermore, the ability to simply open up new markets by being able to ignore hostile terrain is incredibly valuable, akin to how the railroad enabled major cities to spring up away from major rivers, lakes and routes to the ocean.

Sudden removal/reliance on this ability would hurt them the same way removing electricity would hurt us (see the show Revolution). But in the mean time, it would allow great leaps forward in trade.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
Coriat, you just need something that can suspend the cargo and be lowered onto the mammoth. It can take up an entire room if you like...teleport has no limit on volume, such as it is.

Sure. And we are talking a large amount of weight here.

There's good records of the type of rigs it takes to move loads this size without modern machinery, and it's not a room size project at all, it's closer to this scale.

"Ancient Egyptian methods of raising weights" (but actually talking about Italian methods of raising Egyptian weights) wrote:
The next obelisk was set up by Domenico Fontana (1543-1607) in the Vatican. This obelisk was 83 feet high and weighed 361 tons. He has left a fairly complete record of his achievement, including a number of interesting drawings. Basically, he erected a huge tower ninety feet high, from which he hung 40 tackles worked by 40 capstans operated by 800 men and 75 horses; in addition he used five large levers moved by 106 men.

Now, the obelisk is in the same general category of difficulty as the mammoth cargo. It is heavier (but in the same neighborhood) but more manageable as a single load in that it is much smaller, it is denser, and it is rigid.

It will take a long time, a lot of effort and a fair amount of risk to operate such a device.

I suspect with this sort of process you're quite likely losing a lot of the throughput you gain from an instantaneous journey, due to the delays and engineering challenges involved in loading the cargo as a single unit rather than being able to handle it piece by piece as in loading or unloading a ship.

So much so that it is almost certainly far more cost effective to forget about bull's strength and either use a permanent effect or do without so that you can handle the cargo in more manageably sized pieces.


Kudaku wrote:
That said, the exact number of tons in the carry capacity seems irrelevant - I think this thread has proven fairly well that there is an untapped market for teleportation services for the shipping of goods.

And that said untapped market in no way threatens to abolish oversea shipping via boat.


Kain Darkwind wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
That said, the exact number of tons in the carry capacity seems irrelevant - I think this thread has proven fairly well that there is an untapped market for teleportation services for the shipping of goods.
And that said untapped market in no way threatens to abolish oversea shipping via boat.

Very true.


Kain Darkwind wrote:
And that said untapped market in no way threatens to abolish oversea shipping via boat.

That is debatable depending on the form of teleportation trade taking place (boots remain specialized and somewhat limited in scope, while circles would make oversea trade a niche in a hurry), but either way we've established that even with very poor startup projections teleportation trade is an entirely viable business model.

We've also established that there are spellcasters in Golarion with the resources and motivation to establish teleportation networks.

So... Why doesn't it exist in Golarion? The obvious answer is because it doesn't mesh with the writer's design goal for Golarion, but... Is there an in-world explanation somewhere for why teleportation is a non-topic for trade institutions in Golarion?


Kudaku wrote:

. . .

So... Why doesn't it exist in Golarion? The obvious answer is because . . . .

They don't think the Tippy-verse would sell. ( ;D )

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Because the merchant guilds have made is clear any wizard who tries to set something up like this will never be seen again?

No seriously. It would make sense if there was an organization, say the Aspis Consortium, that has not only actively put a stop to it, but also made such control of the method public.

Of course I think a a good question is why don't smuggling operations use teleporting more frequently?


Trying to stop teleproting trade seems like an exercise in futility. They can teleport anywhere so ambush is problematic. Also the people that can teleport are high level and hard to take down in any case.

You do have to consider teleport from the governments perspective. It's impossible to tax and is perfect for smuggling. Maybe their are laws on the books that all teleportation counts as smuggling.

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Yeah... The Aspis Constorium is very rich, connected, and powerful. I am pretty sure they can arrange to kill a mid level spellcaster. Probably by paying off a few of his rivals to do the job for them. Or summoning something. They are very resourceful. Just as the Pathfinder Society.

Also, doing it once or twice probably can be done unnoticed, but if you do it often enough someone will notice and begin looking for who is involved. If you are using a mastodon it become even harder to hide. Even if you are legitamately buying and selling, if people want to stop you they will find ways to do it. The people looking put a stop to it might not stop a teleport, but they can figure out how to hunt you down and hurt you.

Then there is the method of simply controlling whole markets, including who buys and sells. Rumors of any of them attempting to mass teleport goods could get them cut off from the market.

There are many, many ways to control something. Especially if you are rich and powerful.


fictionfan wrote:

Trying to stop teleproting trade seems like an exercise in futility. They can teleport anywhere so ambush is problematic. Also the people that can teleport are high level and hard to take down in any case.

You do have to consider teleport from the governments perspective. It's impossible to tax and is perfect for smuggling. Maybe their are laws on the books that all teleportation counts as smuggling.

Instead of giving someone a hard time for maintaining a viable means of fast communication and transport governments would probably subsidize them. Sure they can tax them why not? Set up a bonded area in the teleport zone and go to it. Just give them a tax break for getting it there quicker.


The big issue with the "shadowy cartel of merchants stops all teleporting" is that historically cartels have a terrible track record of actually sticking to any arrangement that keeps down individual profits for the good of the whole group. Especially since those sorts of groups naturally appeal to greedy types to begin with, and greedy people are not very good at resisting the temptation to make money by breaking the rules.


I can The Aspis Constorium killing a wizard that tried to steal their business. On the other hand they may simply take 90 percent of what the wizard would make on his own the wizard would still be fat and happy with all those lovely gold pieces. He would not even need to bother with logistics. Just show and cast spell then wait till the next load is ready and cast again to come back.

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Here is another fun idea:
Between point A and point B your teleport passes through some other plane. The passage is very brief and you normally don't notice it, but beings in that plane don't follow the same rules for time and are very aware of who is quickly entering and exiting their realm. Normally a few adventurers are not worth their notice, but a giant elephant loaded up with goods will attract their attention. In fact, it wouldn't be uncommon for those creatures to take the goods if they wanted to. Some might even grow angry enough to attack tresspassers who frequently cross their path.

In other words, interplanar teleport pirates!

Okay, not really something built into the rules or the game, but would be a really, really good reason no one would use teleport for goods transportation.

"We lost another mastodon sir. It teleported with me, but only I arrived. In its place was another note thanking you for all the stuff."

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Just in case someone was wondering what could be done to "fix" this situation mechanically so PCs don't suddenly decide to retire as import/export specialists, here is what I would do.

Remove the ability to take creatures and their maximum loads along with the caster and replace it with a straight weight limit that the caster's gear, other creatures, and the creature's gear count towards. Something like 200 pounds per level should still allow most parties to easily use the spell but keep mastodon silliness from happening.

With a limit like that, the per pound value becomes 0.25 gp per pound at 9th level. I ran it all through different levels and it looks like it stays at 0.25 gp per pound each level, so it doesn't become more or less profitable per pound with level.

This would make teleport circle have an initial price per pound at 0.45 gp per pound.

Also I just realized I was doing my math all wrong. I based my earlier teleport prices on 11th level, when the earliest a wizard can cast it is 9th level. That would remove 100 gp from the cost, but I am too lazy to figure out how that would affect the price per pound.


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I've lost track of the specific disagreements throughout the thread. The main idea I disagree with is as follows:

There is no way to justify a non-teleportation dominated shipping market, and those DMs who use any of those completely outdated ships without explaining such are breaking their players' suspension of disbelief.

The second idea that I disagree with is:

There is no way to justify the non-presence of teleportation being used as a wide spread trade means in your campaign, although ships might still be in use.

Both of these are based on the varying degrees of intensity that the market will demand teleportation once it discovers it, and that there is no possible alternative. It is this asinine idea that there is no possible alternative in a game based on imagination that I'm against. Magical transport requires a high level access to magic (and specifically teleport), either through magic item or spell, pre-existing knowledge of where you are going to, and a means to transport lots of goods. Bags of holding and super strong mastodons have been the suggested options, both requiring their own level of access. It also requires a willingness to engage in trade as a means of making money. All four of these can come together in alignment, but they just as easily can not.

I do think it is interesting that the mundane ship holds the advantage in price per pound shipped. If the ship converted its holds to store portable holes, or bags of holding, even more could be shipped via fantasy ship than could be shipped via teleport. A DM could just as reasonably justify that the industry went with cost effective ships as they could going with speedy teleports. Either setup, or a merger between the two, will have its advantages, disadvantages, weak points and room for adventures that take place exploiting and exploring such.

If your argument is better stated as:

Teleport could easily dominate the fantasy market as a means of transport.

or

Teleport could easily supplement regular and mundane shipping in a fantasy market.

or

The high level wizard with teleport has many advantages over mundanes who use ships to transport things.

Then I have zero disagreement with you.


Kain Darkwind wrote:

I've lost track of the specific disagreements throughout the thread. The main idea I disagree with is as follows:

There is no way to justify a non-teleportation dominated shipping market, and those DMs who use any of those completely outdated ships without explaining such are breaking their players' suspension of disbelief.

The second idea that I disagree with is:

There is no way to justify the non-presence of teleportation being used as a wide spread trade means in your campaign, although ships might still be in use.

(...)

If your argument is better stated as:

Teleport could easily dominate the fantasy market as a means of transport.

or

Teleport could easily supplement regular and mundane shipping in a fantasy market.

or

The high level wizard with teleport has many advantages over mundanes who use ships to transport things.

Then I have zero disagreement with you.

Ah! Fair enough. I think the reason why there is a mix of disagreements is because people are arguing two (or three or more) different variants of teleportation trade - boots, spellcaster, and circles. I believe each would impact the market differently.

I think my argument is actually a mix of those two: Excepting external house rules or GM intervention, there is, to the best of my knowledge, nothing present in Golarion that justifies a shipping market that is not dominated by teleportation magic.

To me personally, this contributes to breaking my suspension of disbelief.

I wouldn't mind even a shaky explanation for why it's not done and I've frequently both accepted such (houseruled) explanations and in one case given such an explanation to another player, but the system seems to ignore the possibility entirely.

Te'Shen wrote:
They don't think the Tippy-verse would sell. ( ;D )

This might just be me, but if the pathfinder designer team sat down, really truly looked at the potential of some of the spells (Simulacrum, Fabricate), items (Remove Disease trap, X of Teleportation) and feats (Ultimate Mercy!) they've added in game and published a book analyzing and debating the world alterations that would follow...

I'd buy that in a heartbeat!

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Exactly, Kain. I see enough valid disagreement in this thread to say pretty confidently that the idea that "not using teleportation for all major trade strains suspension of disbelief" has been discredited. There are lots of arguments to make traditional shipping and wagons plausible to both the players and GMs. There is enough plausible wiggle room on both sides to sail a ship through. Set up your campaign world however pleases you.


I think that the biggest issue of the magical shipping industry is how many casters of sufficient level is there actually a supply of that would be willing to do such repetitive work for so long. Sure it pays really well, but how much gold does a person need to acquire for their service? IIRC the average commoner earns a few silver a day, a teleporting sorcerer earns thousands in a day. Even the tax rates of 1960s (83 percent plus 15 percent more for super earners) UK would still allow casters to become fabulously wealthy in short order.

Not many people really like doing repetitive work on a long term basis, once the sorcerer acquired a nice nest egg they would probably retire early only taking missions when they felt like it. High level casters don't grow on trees, and they have sufficient resources to do what they want instead of working for somebody on a daily basis.

A typical trading cog makes dozens of stops along the way picking up and dropping off cargo and passengers. Opportunities that a teleporting network can't make use of is the passenger trade,low priority mail, and low value bulk cargo (you really want to ship building materials and livestock with teleport?). Teleporting is best on hub A to hub B shipping. But then you want to disperse the goods to various lesser areas beyond. Shipping from London to New York is one thing, but what about all the local shipping? The cost for a teleport is ONE jump. The cost for the boat is as many stops as it can make on its route. That churn rate on the boat can make it realize larger profits than a one cargo teleport can.


If it is really that profitable, and the number of potential shippers is limited ... Then the mages would likely raise their prices to the point where they could do just a few special shipments for high end customers and have much more free time to themselves to pursue other interests.

They probably are not going to get involved in assembly-line shipping. Bob the wizard is not going to spend all of his days teleporting back and forth with grain shipments for the kingdom of Vond.

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A teleport circle completely obviates the per jump problem, however, since the number of jumps is unlimited. You just need to have a line of people and pack animals toting the goods back and forth in an endless line of goodies going back and forth.

As I noted before, from each of these 'hub' points, you can then disperse the goods by traditional means...or by shorter distance teleports for high value/urgent items. How much would a sheik in the desert be willing to pay for fresh fish?

==Aelryinth


Kudaku wrote:

Excepting external house rules or GM intervention, there is, to the best of my knowledge, nothing present in Golarion that justifies a shipping market that is not dominated by teleportation magic.

To me personally, this contributes to breaking my suspension of disbelief.

Ah, you are speaking specifically to Golarion. From what I've seen, a few things prevent the teleportation from dominating specifically, in addition to the general information that's been tossed about back and forth. I also think there is some teleport-utilizing trade that exists.

Absence of high level casters. Most high level casters are fairly unique, or dedicated to something other than shipping. Frequently, you will find really important people still only 7th or 8th level.

Presence of non-spellcasting dominated organizations dedicated to mercantilism. The Aspis comes immediately to mind. You've also got tiny businesses, like the trader who goes around to a bunch of villages. He essentially has a monopoly, but not a big one, and it wouldn't make sense for a teleporting trader to try to muscle in on that market.

Some of the problem with realizing that first point is the own broken and ignored settlement rules. Consider the Skull and Shackles AP. Within that AP, you find a metropolis where there is 8th level spellcasting, Port Peril. However, the only NPC capable of casting 8th level spells in the entire area is the Master of Gales, a 15th level druid, who lives some distance away in another city. Not only that, but he's enough of a bigwig that buying spellcasting from him isn't really an option.

How do you reconcile the concept of a setting where 15th level spellcasters are huge, rare entities and a ruleset that says 9th level spells can be purchased for a relatively small amount of gold? Are we to believe that while the Master of Gales is off being a badass druid pirate lord, there is also a 15th level witch, wizard, druid and cleric sitting around in Port Peril offering up spellcasting services to the PCs?

The settlement rules are entirely ignored when it comes to fleshing out a region, and inflate the amount of actual available high level casters. If the settlement rules are to be believed, there's a 9th level wizard in every Large Town. If the setting rules are to be believed, there's not.

There's your disconnect.


Aelryinth wrote:

A teleport circle completely obviates the per jump problem, however, since the number of jumps is unlimited. You just need to have a line of people and pack animals toting the goods back and forth in an endless line of goodies going back and forth.

As I noted before, from each of these 'hub' points, you can then disperse the goods by traditional means...or by shorter distance teleports for high value/urgent items. How much would a sheik in the desert be willing to pay for fresh fish?

==Aelryinth

After the markets normalize, if the teleportation really is as cheap as mundane shipping, the same price. Besides, fishing is pretty much the only source of food for many desert countries (the ones that aren't inland, and even then fishing in rivers/aquaculture in those regions has a long history).

One other thing I forgot to bring up. The opportunity cost of a caster participating in bulk cargo shipping. A real world example: Bangladesh is one of the least productive countries that participates in global trade in a per man hour basis. They have very low production for a variety of historical, political, economic, and sociological reasons. Yet they are gaining tons of orders for their clothing production. Why is this so when they aren't even good at that? Because they are more productive at that than other things. Why don't more productive countries just dominate the textile industry? Only so much labor to go around, and its better to make Bangladesh do it when your own workers can engage in even more profitable enterprises.

In a RPG the reason why casters don't do bulk shipping is because they have better things to do with their time, and you have tons of commoners and experts that can do shipping better than they can do other things (and they CAN'T do what the casters can do). Maximizing the labor pool's ability to do work is better than spending your most valuable assets on low tier economic activity.


Now how many more than seventeenth level wizards are there in the world?


kudaku said wrote:
Excepting external house rules or GM intervention, there is, to the best of my knowledge, nothing present in Golarion that justifies a shipping market that is not dominated by teleportation magic.

For this is the big issue. TP is best hub to hub and ships/caravans would handle local trade. A ship that stops off at every town along the way might well be better.

The main reason I brought this up in the first place is Skull and Shackles. My players will ask why trade come through that area at all instead of TPing around. I think I can justify trade routes through the area with other Cheliaxian colonies farther south and trade with Tian XA choosing this path since most Shackles pirates will ransom a ship and crew back while the other route goes past Neb/Gex and slave pirates.

No that I have thought about adding in a superstition against TPed goods solves that aspect of things.


Thank you all for this great discussion, I see so much possibility in many of these ideas for future stories.


Kain Darkwind wrote:

Ah, you are speaking specifically to Golarion. From what I've seen, a few things prevent the teleportation from dominating specifically, in addition to the general information that's been tossed about back and forth. I also think there is some teleport-utilizing trade that exists.

Absence of high level casters. Most high level casters are fairly unique, or dedicated to something other than shipping. Frequently, you will find really important people still only 7th or 8th level.

The Inner Sea Magic lists 50 mid to high level spellcasters as "a sampling", roughly ranging between level 10 and 20. Out of those, 15 are of sufficient level and in the right class to cast Teleport Circle. Most of those are or were at one point rulers. The resources and capacity to create a teleportation circle network certainly exists in Golarion. Motivation should be self-explanatory.

Kain Darkwind wrote:
Presence of non-spellcasting dominated organizations dedicated to mercantilism. The Aspis comes immediately to mind. You've also got tiny businesses, like the trader who goes around to a bunch of villages. He essentially has a monopoly, but not a big one, and it wouldn't make sense for a teleporting trader to try to muscle in on that market.

While I think the Aspis consortium would have a vested interest in the teleportation trade, these strike me as exactly the kind of group who would try to gain and maintain a monopoly on teleportation rather than strike it down entirely. I also have some doubts about their ability to bully or intimidate spellcasters like Nex.

Kain Darkwind wrote:
Some of the problem with realizing that first point is the own broken and ignored settlement rules. Consider the Skull and Shackles AP. Within that AP, you find a metropolis where there is 8th level spellcasting, Port Peril. However, the only NPC capable of casting 8th level spells in the entire area is the Master of Gales, a 15th level druid, who lives some distance away in another city. Not only that, but he's enough of a bigwig that buying spellcasting from him isn't really an option.

I'm not familiar with the Master of Gales, but is it possible Port Peril deviates from the standard formula because the AP requires it to? I'm actually playing in a S&S campaign at the moment so I'd appreciate it if you avoided spoilers here.

Kain Darkwind wrote:

How do you reconcile the concept of a setting where 15th level spellcasters are huge, rare entities and a ruleset that says 9th level spells can be purchased for a relatively small amount of gold? Are we to believe that while the Master of Gales is off being a badass druid pirate lord, there is also a 15th level witch, wizard, druid and cleric sitting around in Port Peril offering up spellcasting services to the PCs?

The settlement rules are entirely ignored when it comes to fleshing out a region, and inflate the amount of actual available high level casters. If the settlement rules are to be believed, there's a 9th level wizard in every Large Town. If the setting rules are to be believed, there's not.

In my teleportation scenario I'm not actually using the spellcasting service rules, so for me this is irrelevant. Nevertheless, if there is a disconnect between the settlement rules and how Pathfinder actually portrays spellcaster density I'd hoping they'll fix it.


Kain, you are so right about the setting being and issue.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kudaku wrote:


So... Why doesn't it exist in Golarion? The obvious answer is because it doesn't mesh with the writer's design goal for Golarion, but... Is there an in-world explanation somewhere for why teleportation is a non-topic for trade institutions in Golarion?

The major reason is that there simply aren't that many high level casters on Golarion. And the few that there are have bigger issues on their plate. Also not every high level arcanist will HAVE access to the spell, or have read the Paizo messageboards for munchkin tips.

There's already a teleportation network on Golarion, the elf gates. The fact that it's mostly non-operational, hasn't stopped most human rulers from having major issues with it's mere EXISTENCE. So the elves themselves don't use the working parts that often, and when they do, they do their best to keep it low key.


According the rules for settlements there are plenty casters that can cast these spells. Every large town should have access to purchasable 5th level casting. To me that speaks of at least a few casters on each side of the arcane/divine line.

How many settlements are there in the inner sea with more then 2k residents?


Mathius wrote:

According the rules for settlements there are plenty casters that can cast these spells. Every large town should have access to purchasable 5th level casting. To me that speaks of at least a few casters on each side of the arcane/divine line.

How many settlements are there in the inner sea with more then 2k residents?

There is a big disconnect between being able to cast spells and willing to be teleport mules.


beej67 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I just have to say that 2 miles/hour is extremely low sailing speed estimate. That seems to be about a worst case scenario (low or unfavorable winds) for ancient Roman or Greek ships. Much of Golarion runs closer to Renaissance tech and should be significantly faster.

And able to sail closer to the wind, which will help as much as raw speed.

Edit: That's also assuming there are no magical enhancements to the sailing. Weather control anyone?

Everything you said is true as well, but the core rules say 2 mph for boats, or 48 miles per day.

Ultimate combat which has hte lastest vehicle rules says the max speed for a boat is 180' but round?

So if a roudn is 6 seconds (unless I am misremebering from AD&D 1.0) that is 30 feet per second.

30 Feet per second is 20 MPH... So the boat would be 10x faster then what you said.


TPing mules is not that different the casting raise dead or regeneration for someone. The point is they meant as spells for hire. They might balk at transporting catapults into besieged castle but why would they mind a day trip so some other city?


Ughbash wrote:
beej67 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I just have to say that 2 miles/hour is extremely low sailing speed estimate. That seems to be about a worst case scenario (low or unfavorable winds) for ancient Roman or Greek ships. Much of Golarion runs closer to Renaissance tech and should be significantly faster.

And able to sail closer to the wind, which will help as much as raw speed.

Edit: That's also assuming there are no magical enhancements to the sailing. Weather control anyone?

Everything you said is true as well, but the core rules say 2 mph for boats, or 48 miles per day.

Ultimate combat which has hte lastest vehicle rules says the max speed for a boat is 180' but round?

So if a roudn is 6 seconds (unless I am misremebering from AD&D 1.0) that is 30 feet per second.

30 Feet per second is 20 MPH... So the boat would be 10x faster then what you said.

The average speed of a merchant ship is going to be slow. A cog or caravel is not built for speed, and optimal conditions aren't all that common. Comparing that to the maximum speed possible, perhaps the full rowing power of a military galley, isn't going to produce a reasonable conclusion.

The current speed of a racing sail boat is higher than 50 knots, but those ships aren't built for cargo and use modern technology.


Mathius wrote:
TPing mules is not that different the casting raise dead or regeneration for someone. The point is they meant as spells for hire. They might balk at transporting catapults into besieged castle but why would they mind a day trip so some other city?

Raise dead and regeneration isn't an everyday request. And yes its reasonable to restrict access to those spells for role-playing reasons despite the tears of entitled PCs.


notabot wrote:
Ughbash wrote:
beej67 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I just have to say that 2 miles/hour is extremely low sailing speed estimate. That seems to be about a worst case scenario (low or unfavorable winds) for ancient Roman or Greek ships. Much of Golarion runs closer to Renaissance tech and should be significantly faster.

And able to sail closer to the wind, which will help as much as raw speed.

Edit: That's also assuming there are no magical enhancements to the sailing. Weather control anyone?

Everything you said is true as well, but the core rules say 2 mph for boats, or 48 miles per day.

Ultimate combat which has hte lastest vehicle rules says the max speed for a boat is 180' but round?

So if a roudn is 6 seconds (unless I am misremebering from AD&D 1.0) that is 30 feet per second.

30 Feet per second is 20 MPH... So the boat would be 10x faster then what you said.

The average speed of a merchant ship is going to be slow. A cog or caravel is not built for speed, and optimal conditions aren't all that common. Comparing that to the maximum speed possible, perhaps the full rowing power of a military galley, isn't going to produce a reasonable conclusion.

The current speed of a racing sail boat is higher than 50 knots, but those ships aren't built for cargo and use modern technology.

Just to be clear the speed listed was for a Galley Page 184 of the Ultimate combat with a carrying capacity of 150 tons.

My comment was mainly to point that by the rules a ship should be going 20 MPH (Stil WAY less then 50 knots) not 2 MPH.

My biggest "reality" gripe with the rules would be the acceleration/deceleration rate of 30' per round.


Ughbash wrote:

Ultimate combat which has hte lastest vehicle rules says the max speed for a boat is 180' but round?

So if a roudn is 6 seconds (unless I am misremebering from AD&D 1.0) that is 30 feet per second.

30 Feet per second is 20 MPH... So the boat would be 10x faster then what you said.

The UC rules are meant for combat. Extrapolating overland speed from the max speed for a boat is roughly akin to using the run action in the CRB to calculate overland walking speed.

48 miles per day averages out to about 1.7 knots. That strikes me as low, since a typical 15th century caravel would sail on average ~4 knots. Conversely, If we assume the UC max speed ruling is correct, that caravel would be moving at 17 knots...

That said, the overland travel speeds note time to get from A to B. For a sailing ship that might be a straight line, or if they are sailing against the wind they might have to make a number of turns. It also accomodates time where the sailing ship simply might not be able to move, since there is no wind. The overland speed strikes me as a compromise number.

If that compromise doesn't appeal to you, you could instead create alternate charts that make adjustments for how close the sailing ship is sailing to the wind, and whether or not there is sufficient wind available to power the ship.

Actually that might be the better option since savvy players certainly won't let a lack of wind stop them from getting from A to B - wind is easily harnessed.


LazarX wrote:
The major reason is that there simply aren't that many high level casters on Golarion. And the few that there are have bigger issues on their plate. Also not every high level arcanist will HAVE access to the spell, or have read the Paizo messageboards for munchkin tips.

This has already been addressed extensively. And personally I use other boards when I'm looking to counter or explain munchkin tips ;)

LazarX wrote:
There's already a teleportation network on Golarion, the elf gates. The fact that it's mostly non-operational, hasn't stopped most human rulers from having major issues with it's mere EXISTENCE. So the elves themselves don't use the working parts that often, and when they do, they do their best to keep it low key.

The elf gates are non-operational because they fall under the artifact rules and are essentially plot devices. If they were mundane magical items as described in this thread, people would know how to fix them. Id' also note that the reason why most human rulers have major issues with elf gates is that A) they didn't know they were there and B) they don't control them.

It's a very different scenario from what's being discussed in this thread.


Teleportation gates are a problem for rulers: any trade route is a potential invasion route.

I had a campaign world that had an empire extensively using gates for military purposes. The gates were built inside of an inward facing fortress to defeat any invaders with control of the far end attempting to come through. In addition they were outfitted with self destruct devices that was to be used in case a gate was about to fall. The gate hubs were surrounded by the largest garrisons of the empire for both defensive purposes and to stage them for rapid deployment. The technology was deemed to dangerous for mere trade, though it was used for military logistics. It allowed quick reinforcements and one of the clockwork factories for the war effort had its own hub so it could move the newly produced war-machines quickly.

Trade for this empire was based on the canal networks, and transportation of VIPs was done mostly via airship (state agents could make use of the teleportation network). Peasants made due with land transport, assuming they were given leave to travel. Adventurers were either state agents or permitted and licensed foreigners. Everybody who didn't fit and attempting to travel were considered brigands and barbarians. Magic users from the population were identified through state examinations and sent to learn at the imperial college where they became state agents (or were exiled/executed/imprisoned depending on the level of perceived threat). Unsanctioned magic use was routed out by inquisitors.

Why such harsh social structure? The campaign "mongol hordes" made use of unrestricted magic taken to its fullest potential. Yeah, instead of horsemen from the steppes think of armies of clockwork constructs and zombie hordes constantly invading and probing for the slightest weakness. A massive wall was constructed to counter the trump play of overland invasions and the teleportation network could rapidly deploy forces to counter a teleportation based deep raid. Due to limited numbers of teleportation capable casters the main goal of the evil hordes was to get unrestricted access to the network long enough to break entire clusters of nodes so they could get more freedom of attack.


In the scenario outlined earlier I assumed national circles, not cross-country ones. However, even if you had international teleportation circles --> teleportation circles can be dismissed at will. If one is in danger of being captured by an invading enemy, simply dismiss it.

That said, it sounds like a very interesting campaign setting.

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