Let's talk speculate wildly about building shops and settlements.


Magic Items


I've never felt super satisfied with shopping in settlements in PF1. To illustrate, let's consider Longshadow. I'm currently using this for an AP, but it seems like a pretty typical example.

Longshadow Settlement Statistics:
LONGSHADOW
LN large town
Corruption +0; Crime +0; Economy +3; Law +1;Lore +2; Society +1
Qualities industrial, prosperous, rumormongering citizens

NOTABLE NPCS
Garret Graygallow, proprietor of the GraygallowFoundry (N male human expert 4/rogue 2)
Kizviz, alchemical junker (CN female ratfolk, alchemist 5)
Mayor Thom Crawbert (N male human expert 5/fighter 4)
Meriam Kems, regional scout (LG female halfling bard 4/ranger 3)
Seneka Volsadd, shipping magnate (NG female half-elf aristocrat 2/expert 4)
MARKETPLACE
Base Value 2,600; Purchase Limit 15,000;
Spellcasting 5th
Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4
SPECIAL QUALITIES
Industrial Longshadow is renowned for its many
forges and smelting facilities. These facilities
add to the overall economy of Longshadow and
improve the morale of its people. (Economy +2,
Society +2)

How it worked in PF1:
First off, let's consider spellcasting services. You can find people to cast up to 5th level spells. That means we have casters (presumably across several classes) of 9th-10th level. The problem is I've never seen that represented in the "notable NPCs" listed in these things, or listed in accompanying Gazetteer. And that level of power definitely seems notable, even if it is for poorly optimized casters who are built for business instead of combat.

But it gets even weirder when you consider the base value, which defines how expensive the items one can find reliably in settlement are. 2600 (up from the basic large town vale of 2000) is our number. Crafting 2,000-ish items tends to require a caster level of 3-5. You can make most 2000 gp +1 items with a CL of 3.

Given how much easier it is for PF1 casters to make magic items, it seems weird that these anonymous 9th-10th level casters aren't producing any CL appropriate items. Especially when one considers the purchases limits of the town is 15,000, which means there are buyers for more expensive items than the base value would imply.

It strikes me as more likely that you'd have merchants whose wares outpace local spellcasters than the other way around. Maybe I'm wrong about that. But if a caster is sitting around waiting for someone to hire them to cast spells, it seems like crafting magical items is the most logical way to make money between clients.

I'd wager the reason for these anonymous casters mechanically existing is so that you can get access to things like Restoration or Remove Blindness or utility spells you need for narrative reasons. But you could accomplish much of the same thing using a merchant who stocks higher level scrolls and has trick magic item. The only reason I can think of to limit the base value is to limit what caliber of items players can access. But money already does that, and in PF2 we have other options as well. (Discussed below.)

Now, as for that base value.. anything below that it has a 75% chance of being found in a town. Which is... odd. Getting 3 out of every 4 items you want doesn't really seem like a satisfying mechanic. If you just give someone a small list of items the town has in stock, they only really need to look up and compare that small list. As is, the system encourages you to read through the entire treasury (or have someone tell you which items you want) and then pick accordingly. A 25% chance of not having an item you picked out is probably realistic, but I don't think it is fun.

Now, there is a randomized number of random items of fairly random prices. Some of those will exceed the base value. They are broken up into 3 categories with pretty blurry cut off points. It feels fairly unlikely that those items will align with what your PCs want if they actually go through and pick their items out, though.

Finally, as written, the base value doesn't differentiate between consumables and permanent items, which means you can pretty much always access extremely high level scrolls from vendors who don't have more than a +1 weapon.

PF2 has several new mechanics that change how we access magic items though.

1) Rarity. Pretty self-explanatory. IMO this can serve as a pretty solid replacement for the 75% rule. Common items can be assumed to be found. Rare items cannot.

2) Formulas. It is plausible that a town might not stock an item but could stock the formula. Formulas are cheaper than actual items and take up much less space. Of course, unless the merchant can build you the item or the PC has the required crafting proficiency, plus the downtime to actually build it, this doesn't help.

3) It is easier for noncasters to craft magical and alchemical items now. Even scrolls can be created by non-casters-- a merchant who buys a wizard's spellbook can and takes the appropriate skill feats can cover you. This means you don't necessarily need spellcasting services which outstrip a base value anymore. A merchant can make you a scroll, even if he doesn't have it in stock.

4) Item level. Right away, this makes it so that consumables and permanent items are kept at a better parity for their relative value and the level of skill needed to make them. It also creates a much a pretty easy cap instead of base value-- just tie it to the level of the best craftsman supplying the settlement.

I think with these variables there's room to create an economy that is more nuanced, immersive, realistic, and (most importantly) fun. You could use a sliding scale based on item level to determine how likely a settlement is to stock a particular item. (Much like your odds of counteracting effects shrink as their level goes further above your own.) Or you could simply set a hard level cap and let rarity be the sole factor in determining availability.

What would your ideal PF2 economy look like?


PF2 economy should be like PF1.

It works enough to make a level of sense but not to the point it becomes a hassle to actually go out and buy something. With tables coming up with just how nuanced, immersive, realistic, and (How is this?) fun the system is.

There's a line between sensible and some hand waving, and the magic walmart everyone seemed to use. And I don't see anything in PF2 that is going to stop the Walmart given PF2's economy.


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Quote:

PF2 economy should be like PF1.

It works enough to make a level of sense but not to the point it becomes a hassle to actually go out and buy something. With tables coming up with just how nuanced, immersive, realistic, and (How is this?) fun the system is.

There's a line between sensible and some hand waving, and the magic walmart everyone seemed to use. And I don't see anything in PF2 that is going to stop the Walmart given PF2's economy.

I'm not sure what exactly you are suggesting here. The PF1 system indeed has some thing that can make it a hassle to buy things. By RAW there's some pretty big limitations.

But when you say the "magic walmart everyone seemed to use," I'm not sure if you mean the system by RAW or people ignoring the system and assuming you could just buy anything anywhere. I feel like a lot of people probably did the latter, and think the only thing changing that scenario in PF2 is probably rarity. But that doesn't really intersect with settlement rules, IMO.


The settlement block is from the Settlements chapter in the Game Mastery Guide. The spellcasting line is defined as:

Spellcasting: Unlike magic items, spellcasting for hire is listed separately from the town's base value, since spellcasting is limited by the level of the available spellcasters in town. This line lists the highest-level spell available for purchase from spellcasters in town. A town's base spellcasting level depends on its type.

Longshadow is listed as a large town. A typical large town offers market base value 2,000 gp, market purchase limit 10,000 gp, and spellcasting 5th. As a renowed industrial town, Longshadow received market base value 2,600 gp, market purchase limit 15,000 gp, and spellcasting 5th. That is within standard parameters.

In practice, we need an actual spellcaster rather than a number.

Here is the entry on The Tarnished Halls black market in Numeria from Pathfinder Player Companion: Black Markets. At its size, it would count as a small town and ordinarily have 4th-level spells available. But since one notable NPC, Tallend Halant, is a 9th-level sorcerer, the entry states that 5th level spells are available.

The Tarnished Halls:
TARNISHED HALLS
Community Hajoth Hakados
Specialties Alien technology, skymetals
Regularly moving up and down the length of the Seven Tears River and protected by an unofficial council of river pirates, the Tarnished Halls are one of the few places outsiders can find or purchase the various technological wonders and strange creatures endemic to Numeria. In this market, treasure hunters, smugglers, and tinkers trade in timeworn technology and alien beasts without Technic League interference.
CE hotbed
Access DC 20
Corruption +4; Crime +5; Economy +2; Law –6; Lore +1 (+3 alien goods and technology); Society –1
Qualities notorious, specialized market* (alien goods, technology)
Danger +30; Disadvantages violent*

DEMOGRAPHICS
Government secret syndicate
Population 228 (167 humans, 19 halflings, 13 half-orcs, 8 androids, 7 dwarves, 5 orcs, 4 ratfolk, 5 others)
Notable NPCs
Blood Gar Captain Drakenda Kuldar (NE female human slayer 6)
Rogue Technomancer Tallend Halant (CN female android sorcerer 9)

MARKETPLACE
Base Value 4,000 gp (6,000 gp alien goods and technology);
Purchase Limit 24,000 gp (32,000 gp alien goods and technology); Spellcasting 5th
Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 1d6

At 10th level, the party in my Iron Gods campaign needed so sell off contraband technological treasure, so I sent them to the Tarnished Halls. I had to fill out the setting myself: The Tarnished Halls, Numeria's biggest black market. I added a 9th-level cleric, Glorium Kane, to the named NPCs, in case the party wanted 5th-level divine spellcasting, too.

Glorium Kane had learned Brew Potion and potions were the only magic items he could make. In contrast, Tallend Halant learned Craft Technological Item and Craft Technological Arms and Armor and their prerequisite feats rather than any feats to craft magical items. The main reason that the Tarnished Hall has non-potion magic items for sale is because customers sell magic items to buy technological items and vice versa. The Tarnished Hall does not make them itself.

The gazeteer article on the large town of Torch (Population 4,320) in Pathfinder Adventure Path: Fires of Creation also has a settlement block. Under magic items, it says, "Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 1d6 (plus see areas 2, 13, 17, and 21 for more specific items)." What is going on with that is that the description of Torch is so detailed that it lists every single major item for sale in the description of the shop that offers it.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Now, as for that base value.. anything below that it has a 75% chance of being found in a town. Which is... odd. Getting 3 out of every 4 items you want doesn't really seem like a satisfying mechanic. If you just give someone a small list of items the town has in stock, they only really need to look up and compare that small list. As is, the system encourages you to read through the entire treasury (or have someone tell you which items you want) and then pick accordingly. A 25% chance of not having an item you picked out is probably realistic, but I don't think it is fun.

Okay, the PF1 method is oversimplified to the point of implausibility. I myself houseruled availability to be setting-based: I ask myself whether the town would be the kind of place to carry such an item? Does it manufacture it, import it, or have access to a major trade route? In ambiguous cases, I lean in favor of giving my players what they want, until they get greedy and start asking for a dozen of the same thing when having one was stretching plausibility.

Captain Morgan wrote:

PF2 has several new mechanics that change how we access magic items though.

1) Rarity. Pretty self-explanatory. IMO this can serve as a pretty solid replacement for the 75% rule. Common items can be assumed to be found. Rare items cannot.

2) Formulas. It is plausible that a town might not stock an item but could stock the formula. Formulas are cheaper than actual items and take up much less space. Of course, unless the merchant can build you the item or the PC has the required crafting proficiency, plus the downtime to actually build it, this doesn't help.

3) It is easier for noncasters to craft magical and alchemical items now. Even scrolls can be created by non-casters-- a merchant who buys a wizard's spellbook can and takes the appropriate skill feats can cover you. This means you don't necessarily need spellcasting services which outstrip a base value anymore. A merchant can make you a scroll, even if he doesn't have it in stock.

4) Item level. Right away, this makes it so that consumables and permanent items are kept at a better parity for their relative value and the level of skill needed to make them. It also creates a much a pretty easy cap instead of base value-- just tie it to the level of the best craftsman supplying the settlement.

I think with these variables there's room to create an economy that is more nuanced, immersive, realistic, and (most importantly) fun. You could use a sliding scale based on item level to determine how likely a settlement is to stock a particular item. (Much like your odds of counteracting effects shrink as their level goes further above your own.) Or you could simply set a hard level cap and let rarity be the sole factor in determining availability.

1) Having item level and rarity replace minor, medium, and major items would be a simplification and an improvement. Rarity could act differently than level and we could have more nuance.

However, the minor, medium, and major system was created for loot, and I fear that the in-town purchases based on item level and rarity will be based on the treasure allocation system from the Playtest Rulebook rather than a consideration of how towns and markets work.

2) Formulas are better than the system of saying you must need to know Secret Chest to make a Handy Haversack because Secret Chest is the only spell that resembles a Handy Haversack or Bag of Holding at all. And it would be a great reason for the party to visit libraries and bookstores.

3) The rules for making scrolls are not spelled out clearly. A sidebox on page 407 says, "MORE SCROLLS The scrolls listed on the previous page are only a small sample, using low-level spells that often appear on scrolls. The full rules for making scrolls of other spells appear on page 378." Alas, page 378 does not have rules for making scrolls. However, the Scroll of Glitterdust and Scroll of Illusionary Disguise on page 406 both say that one raw material necessary is a casting for the spell. This means that a merchant cannot make a scroll without a spellcaster of the appropriate level.

4) The level value on an item is convenient, but it has the annoying side effect that supplying a high-level item to the party means that the crafter is high level, too. If that crafter has been in town for years, then why wasn't he or she available to defeat the previous villain? For items below 10th level, I can claim that they are imported from a nearby larger city, but eventually, the quest will be important enough to affect the larger city, too.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:

PF2 economy should be like PF1.

It works enough to make a level of sense but not to the point it becomes a hassle to actually go out and buy something. With tables coming up with just how nuanced, immersive, realistic, and (How is this?) fun the system is.

There's a line between sensible and some hand waving, and the magic walmart everyone seemed to use. And I don't see anything in PF2 that is going to stop the Walmart given PF2's economy.

I'm not sure what exactly you are suggesting here. The PF1 system indeed has some thing that can make it a hassle to buy things. By RAW there's some pretty big limitations.

But when you say the "magic walmart everyone seemed to use," I'm not sure if you mean the system by RAW or people ignoring the system and assuming you could just buy anything anywhere. I feel like a lot of people probably did the latter, and think the only thing changing that scenario in PF2 is probably rarity. But that doesn't really intersect with settlement rules, IMO.

Didn't the Settlement rules come later in PF1's life first off? Like it wasn't at launch and maybe to this day, hard baked into the system. So many people just didn't use the settlement rules and probably just skip over them.

So it might be limited by "RAW" but no one actually used RAW and came up with their own systems. And the most common one was "Magic Walmart". People didn't want to roll for items or didn't want to set up their own shops(Or use the settlement rules later). Or put any kind of hard limit on shops. So you have events where people walk in and walk out with 50 CLW wands, dozens of potions, and some magic gear. All from a little dime store on the corner.

I don't see PF2 actually fixing that part of the game. I've ranted on Rarity as being a problem but I've also complained that "How many people will use it". I don't expect as many as Paizo seems to think. Yeah it might make sense that Item A isn't sold in town. But I doubt the party and the GM will agree to let 1 character that really wants to buy item A, drag the entire session off to another town just to get the item.

I'm not saying PF1 made sense. But as someone that came from a video game background(why the heck is a baseball bat worth $500?) the actual logic of the economy doesn't bother me too much. Because it's a side thing for the most part, something that can be handwaved away. Yeah if you look harder at it, the system breaks but again, to me it's not the main focus OF the game so it doesn't need a detailed break down. It needs to work enough without being a hassle to buy stuff. Hassle can be many things here; from how many shops you have to check, to how long you have to wait, to how much of what money you have to pay, to really any number of issues. I might not run with the walmart style but I'm not going to make the party wait for maybe a week or a month just for a new suit of armor they wanted crafted. Or have to run some side sessions where they contact the thieves guild to buy some banned/rare items not found in town(Though this is dependent on campaign and group). I don't mind putting in some effort to buy stuff but just like in real life; if I don't find it by maybe middling effort(Like by 3rd or 4th NPC), I'm just going to give up.

Rarity is the biggest issue in buying stuff, followed by item level and formulas. I get the idea of formulas but I can't help but feel most players aren't going to be really pumped to buy instructions rather than the actual thing. And the Rarity/Item Level runs into the problem of "It's not here, drag your party elsewhere".

So yeah, I don't actually expect the PF2 economy/shopping to be really all that different from PF1. Not in any world building way, and minor changes that are ignorable depending on the table.


MerlinCross wrote:
So it might be limited by "RAW" but no one actually used RAW and came up with their own systems. And the most common one was "Magic Walmart". People didn't want to roll for items or didn't want to set up their own shops(Or use the settlement rules later). Or put any kind of hard limit on shops. So you have events where people walk in and walk out with 50 CLW wands, dozens of potions, and some magic gear. All from a little dime store on the corner.

I have gone to the extreme of letting my players catalog shop. They point out an item in Ultimate Equipment, and I decide that it is available and say, "You spend half the day wandering through the city shops and you find it. You may buy it for the listed price."

I learned to avoid the One-Stop Magic Mart, after some munchkin players spent time trying to figure out how to shoplift. My wife was GM and she put her foot down. Two months later, we threw those players out of the Pathfinder group.

My Iron Gods party did set up their own pair of shops, named the Waterfall Workshop and B&B Alchemical Smelting. But those characters were devoted to crafting as part of their character concept. We had a lot of fun just making and repairing mundane and alien technology.

MerlinCross wrote:
Or have to run some side sessions where they contact the thieves guild to buy some banned/rare items not found in town (Though this is dependent on campaign and group).

Yep. The purpose of doing this is not to let them buy the item, but to give them a side quest where they can use neglected skills and have new roleplaying challenges. That was the point of sending my Iron Gods party to the Tarnished Halls. And after that adventure, the Tarnished Halls established covert smuggling with Torch, the party's home base, so that the party never had to visit the Tarnished Halls in person again. (Though they did so once more.)


MerlinCross wrote:

Didn't the Settlement rules come later in PF1's life first off? Like it wasn't at launch and maybe to this day, hard baked into the system. So many people just didn't use the settlement rules and probably just skip over them.

These settlement rules existed in a similar form in the D&D3.0 DMG. Paizo has used them since at least 2007 (Rise of the Runelords book 2)

MerlinCross wrote:

So it might be limited by "RAW" but no one actually used RAW and came up with their own systems. And the most common one was "Magic Walmart". People didn't want to roll for items or didn't want to set up their own shops(Or use the settlement rules later). Or put any kind of hard limit on shops. So you have events where people walk in and walk out with 50 CLW wands, dozens of potions, and some magic gear. All from a little dime store on the corner.

I don't see PF2 actually fixing that part of the game. I've ranted on Rarity as being a problem but I've also complained that "How many people will use it". I don't expect as many as Paizo seems to think.

This really depends. It's likely that if PFS2 has that restriction, it will at least matter there.

But from what we've seen of PF2, magic items are at least required for the system to function: and there is therefore an assumption that they will be available.


MerlinCross wrote:
Didn't the Settlement rules come later in PF1's life first off? Like it wasn't at launch and maybe to this day, hard baked into the system. So many people just didn't use the settlement rules and probably just skip over them.

No, the settlement rules came in the 2010 Gamemastery guide, and they have been used to define every major town in an AP ever since. (At least that I've read, and I've read several from different points in the game's lifespan.) So if you're running an AP you've got these really specific guidelines on what your players can buy.

I doubt there are a ton of GMs who use the rules to actually build their own settlements, but having well defined worlds (down to shops in a town) are why people buy APs.

Quote:
So it might be limited by "RAW" but no one actually used RAW and came up with their own systems. And the most common one was "Magic Walmart". People didn't want to roll for items or didn't want to set up their own shops(Or use the settlement rules later). Or put any kind of hard limit on shops.

I think you may be underestimating how much people used it because you had the wrong impression about how baked in it was. It's the default assumption in too much content to assume no one is running it RAW. Plus, there are tons of people who despise the "Buy anything at the magic mart" approach. I dunno if they were happy with the PF1 settlement rules, but they would certainly be better than what you are describing.

And while I'm sure plenty of people ignored it, those people are irrelevant to the conversation about what the rules should look like. Just like you wouldn't consider the preferences of people who only want to play Shadowrun when making Pathfinder. Some folks are going to want a system that makes sense in narrative, and Paizo loves providing subsystems for those types of people. (Not just for magic mart access. They do this for all kinds of stuff.)

Quote:
So you have events where people walk in and walk out with 50 CLW wands, dozens of potions, and some magic gear. All from a little dime store on the corner.

The playtest version of Resonance would have done a lot to curtail this, but we know we won't be seeing it in the final version. We will probably see less of people buying 40 CLW wands/potions though. Treat Wounds covers out of combat healing well enough to where you really just want stronger potions for healing mid-battle.

Quote:
I'm not saying PF1 made sense. But as someone that came from a video game background(why the heck is a baseball bat worth $500?) the actual logic of the economy doesn't bother me too much. Because it's a side thing for the most part, something that can be handwaved away. Yeah if you look harder at it, the system breaks but again, to me it's not the main focus OF the game so it doesn't need a detailed break down.

I certainly agree economics shouldn't be the main focus of a fantasy adventure game. There's various bits of hand-waving I appreciate, like assuming you sell all magical or adventuring items at half value and all art and similar loot at full value. I think the Appraise skill was rarely worth dealing with.

And I can see the appeal in just letting players buy whatever they want. Pathfinder is largely known as the game that gives you the biggest buckets of Legos to build your character after all, and items are a pretty big bucket.

But giving the players lots of legos is only part of Paizo's business model. The other part is world building for Golarion. They need to at least pay SOME mind to making sure the world hangs together enough for people to get invested in it. And immersion is only part of that-- what level of items your PCs can buy can have a profound impact on how challenging an adventure is. I'm realizing in my campaign that the base value of the only big town in the game is so low players can't buy level appropriate items, which means they need to rely on crafting and found gear still. (Or I need to make adjustments.)

I suspect this may just not be the thread for you. You don't really care about this stuff as a player. That's fine, I don't think a lot of people care for this level of minutia. But to nerdy GMs like Mathmuse and I this level of worldbuilding is pretty imporant.

Mathmuse wrote:

3) The rules for making scrolls are not spelled out clearly. A sidebox on page 407 says, "MORE SCROLLS The scrolls listed on the previous page are only a small sample, using low-level spells that often appear on scrolls. The full rules for making scrolls of other spells appear on page 378." Alas, page 378 does not have rules for making scrolls. However, the Scroll of Glitterdust and Scroll of Illusionary Disguise on page 406 both say that one raw material necessary is a casting for the spell. This means that a merchant cannot make a scroll without a spellcaster of the appropriate level.

4) The level value on an item is convenient, but it has the annoying side effect that supplying a high-level item to the party means that the crafter is high level, too. If that crafter has been in town for years, then why wasn't he or she available to defeat the previous villain? For items below 10th level, I can claim that they are imported from a nearby larger city, but eventually, the quest will be important enough to affect the larger city, too.

3) Ah, shoot, I was just looking at the Scribe Scroll feat, which said you "need access" to the spell. I read that differently than needing to actually cast it.

4) The fallacy here is that the crafter must be built for PC rules. PC rules are meant to simulate the growth of adventurers. Someone who has spent their entire life working as a craftsman shouldn't level up like a PC does. They can get better at crafting without their HP, attack bonuses, and saves increasing. This actually seems like an improvement over PF1 in this regard, at least with the exception of spell completion items. In PF1, crafting high level items usually meant casting high level spells. It is more plausible to say "this legendary blacksmith isn't relevant in a fight" than "this wizard who cast circle of death to forge your blade isn't relevant in a fight."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We used the PF1 Settlement rules in Dragon's Demand. It was a miserable experience, because without level-appropriate gear (which could not be gotten in the town, and there was no way to leave the town) the PCs were too weak for the challenges they faced. Everything was one hair away from TPK all the time. Some players enjoy this, but I found it gruelling and fun-destroying. My cleric PC had to be healbot all the time, because with crappy armor and no healing potions or scrolls, that was the only viable role for her. It really drove home the extent to which published adventures assume level-appropriate equipment.

It also led to bad feelings among the players, particularly when we rescued an NPC who had the magic weapon we desperately needed, but it was totally contrary to roleplaying to take it from them.

My preferred solution to this would be less reliance on treasure. Alas, that is not exactly where PF2 seems to be going, though Treat Wounds does help.


Captain Morgan wrote:
having well defined worlds (down to shops in a town) are why people buy APs.

I would assume having the work partially done for them is why people buy APs. Or they like the region. Or they like the set up. Or they like the shops.

Which is odd, I've looked through APs but never really see shops defined. The settlement yeah but rarely do shops get a detailed look(Unless you're raiding/fighting/visiting it).

Captain Morgan wrote:
Plus, there are tons of people who despise the "Buy anything at the magic mart" approach

Then why is it the default? Why does every corner store have the big 6 and 30 CLW wands at full charge? And 15 scrolls of your choice, and Ioun stones and flaming swords in the barrel at half off by 2 get lightning spear for free?

The settlement rules might have been in Core or shortly after but given that I've seen basically no group actually USE the rules, why does it matter if it is RAW?

Which is why I don't think Resonance is actually going to fix it. Given that they are playtesting rules, WHILE still playtesting other rules, I think the system is going to be annoying to the point it's ripped out. Thus breaking the expected economy of the game more.

Captain Morgan wrote:
But to nerdy GMs like Mathmuse and I this level of worldbuilding is pretty imporant.

I know. It's great you guys like that, and it's a way to sell books for Paizo.

It's just such a shame you're going to just ignore or drop it while still saying it's so good for world building. Because you're just going to go full on min max, magic walmart where everything is free because it would slow down your build or whatever anyway.

Oh you're not going to do that? Well the community will so buckle up or get out the car. Some people are used to this for quite possibly 10 years, if not more. I see nothing in PF2 that's going to change that, at all.

Rarity is annoying, just wave that away. Having to buy the Formula and then make it is annoying, just buy it. Having to go on a side quest and drag the rest of the party along for the ride, away from the actual plot of the game because you REALLY want Insert thing here? WHY just BUY IT.

What you want is against what I have seen how the community plays. They want it now, they want it as soon as possible and they want it because they need it for a build. You might like having a detailed world; the community cares how easy they can get their numbers up.

Oh and if you want realistic, how does walking into town and dropping a couple thousand gold just not break the new silver based economy? Are you going to expect your players to keep some silver to pay with so they don't just overstaturate the local market? Because you know, that's fun. "You buy your supplies to kill the dragon king but now the cost of bread in the town is tripled and starvation is starting up".

You want an economy that makes sense. I want one that makes enough sense to just buy stuff without breaking immersion. Community wants it now.

I see nothing in PF2 that is going to change that last bit. So I fully expect to see complaints about how it doesn't make any sense, when at least the forum goers are ignoring half the issue anyway.

So yeah, theory craft your own world's economy. But don't be surprised when you see the community and possibly even Pazio's works, balanced around a different economy than what you came up with.

Mathmuse wrote:
I have gone to the extreme of letting my players catalog shop. They point out an item in Ultimate Equipment, and I decide that it is available and say, "You spend half the day wandering through the city shops and you find it. You may buy it for the listed price."

I suppose the biggest issue here(And with what I was saying earlier in the post) is "how much does your group care about shopping"? Having a good economy set up, detailed shops, and the like is all well and good but then you give it to the players and it can be run quite differently. The magic walmart is just the fastest, easiest way to buy things but that runs into it's own problems.

Myself, I go with what you said Mathmuse. But maybe a step further. Every so often I ask for a list of what people would like for their character and or build. And I keep that list with me to either give out as rewards or place in shops. Not every store will have it, but you're kinda grantee to get it sooner or later. Past that, it's kinda random unless players are willing to put in the work(Search around, talk with allies, craft it themselves or with help, etc).

Now does this make a whole lot of sense in a working economic system? Heck if I know, but my players haven't complained about it going either way so I guess it works enough. I have monsters, npcs, spells and traps to ready, battle maps to set up, puzzles to get ready and made sure they make sense; worrying about how money and shops SHOULD work is down at the bottom of my priories outside of preventing the magic walmart.

I should however say this for anyone reading/other posters; if you LIKE to math out how systems work in that detail, great go for it. I'm one faceless git on the net, don't let me get in the way of your fun. I just find it weird and think doing such a thing will result in a lot of players just walking right past it without noticing or being effected by it.

But if you and your players/group actually play that way and enjoy it, well I still find it weird but hey you have fun your way.


Captain Morgan wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
I'm not saying PF1 made sense. But as someone that came from a video game background(why the heck is a baseball bat worth $500?) the actual logic of the economy doesn't bother me too much. Because it's a side thing for the most part, something that can be handwaved away. Yeah if you look harder at it, the system breaks but again, to me it's not the main focus OF the game so it doesn't need a detailed break down.
I certainly agree economics shouldn't be the main focus of a fantasy adventure game. There's various bits of hand-waving I appreciate, like assuming you sell all magical or adventuring items at half value and all art and similar loot at full value. I think the Appraise skill was rarely worth dealing with.

The P1 market rules aren't simply simplified. The rules of roleplaying games bend parts of reality out of shape, so realistic markets don't work.

A few years ago, I saw a player complain in the Paizo forum about the GM promising them masterwork weapons at 1st level but not delivering them until 2 levels later at 3th level, when magic weapons would be more appropriate. Then in January 2016 I encountered the likely source of the problem (link to spoiler details). As a story award in an adventure path module, a smith promises the party custom-made masterwork weapons. Four masterwork weapons take about a week to manufacture, assuming the smith has several assistants. And the party levels up about once every two days.

Some delve-based campaigns have months of downtime between every delve. In contrast, some modules can grant an entire level of experience points in a single dungeon. And a Paizo adventure path module is extreme. The first book of an adventure path grants three levels of experience points, often with the party rushing against a deadline of a few weeks, if not a few days.

I exploited this once when I wrote a side quest for Rise of the Runelords. We were playing the 3.5 version adapted to Pathfinder rules at a local game store. The villain from the 2nd module escaped alive. The 3rd module occurred in a different town. For the 4th module, the party returned to Sandpoint, the setting of the first 2 modules, but we had new players who had never seen Sandpoint. I decided that the 2nd-module's villain would return in a side quest that would serve to introduce the new players to Sandpoint. She had planned a marvelous trap that would destroy the 6th-level party that had defeated her. She had learned their strengths and weaknesses and had planned carefully. What she had not realized was that in the last 2 months, the party had leveled up to 9th level. Her trap was a cakewalk to savvy 9th-level characters.

Leveling up in a few weeks is unbelieveable. Regular townsfolk take years to gain the skills that we represent by levels. We ignore that impossibility, because leveling up, mastering new skills, and defeating tougher challenges are a lot of fun.

If the characters had to purchase their gear from a realistic shop, they might level up while the shop manufactures their new gear or ships it in from a larger city. Then their gear would be obsolete before they receive it. Realistic timing and availability rules would spoil some fun of leveling up and buying new gear, and we don't want that.

Captain Morgan wrote:

And I can see the appeal in just letting players buy whatever they want. Pathfinder is largely known as the game that gives you the biggest buckets of Legos to build your character after all, and items are a pretty big bucket.

But giving the players lots of legos is only part of Paizo's business model. The other part is world building for Golarion. They need to at least pay SOME mind to making sure the world hangs together enough for people to get invested in it. And immersion is only part of that-- what level of items your PCs can buy can have a profound impact on how challenging an adventure is. I'm realizing in my campaign that the base value of the only big town in the game is so low players can't buy level appropriate items, which means they need to rely on crafting and found gear still. (Or I need to make adjustments.)

I suspect this may just not be the thread for you. You don't really care about this stuff as a player. That's fine, I don't think a lot of people care for this level of minutia. But to nerdy GMs like Mathmuse and I this level of worldbuilding is pretty important.

My campaigns are 1/3 combat, 1/3 roleplaying interaction with NPCs, and 1/3 exploration and detective work. The detective work requires a setting where the players can spot something out of the ordinary. "Hey, the port has no ships in it. This is suspicious." "I am sorry. This wasn't meant to be suspicious. I just wasn't in the mood to invent a bunch of ships. Okay, retcon. There are three ships in port, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, and those are just names I pulled from the top of my head and don't make fun of them, please."

The markets can't be ordinary, but we can make them consistent so that the players see what ordinary is for Golarion. Different GMs chose different ways to make their markets work for the players. Each has its own consistency.

I see the settlement market block as a way to try to be realistic that failed to meet the players needs. Thus, I scrapped it. The numbers in the block are good enough to tell me how many magic items of each quality will be in town, and I use that to rule on availability by snap judgment, er, by my vast GMing experience. But the settlement market block rules still work from me, because I can threaten my players with returning to those rules as written if they demand more than I want to give.

The Paizo developers are on the ball. I see two mitigations for the unrealistic market in Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

1) In PF1, to stock the right weapon, the magic item store would need a +1 dagger, +1 shortsword, +1 longsword, +1 scimitar, +1 greatsword, +1 greataxe, etc. in its inventory, in addition to the masterwork dagger, masterwork shortsword, etc. it stocked for less wealthy adventurers. In PF2 with the etched runes that can be pried off of a weapon ("etching" seems the wrong name), the store needs only the masterwork weapons, called expert-quality, and a +1 potency rune. The giant inventory of extremely expensive items is brought under control.

2) The Practice a Trade lore-based action gives the party more excuse to wait in the village while a blacksmith forges their masterword weapons from scratch. They can earn money during long downtime.

Captain Morgan wrote:
What would your ideal PF2 economy look like?

I neglected to answer this question from the original post.

Since most high-quality items are manufactured by high-level characters from out of town, I would invent trade routes and trade caravans. Ports would have trade ships. The availability of items would depend on three factors.
1) What the townfolk could make themselves. Like the Game Mastery Guide, these would mostly depend on the size of the town, with modifiers if the town has more high-level characters or more crafters than usual.
2) What arrives in town through trade.
3) What high-quality heirlooms would be available in town. A Varisian town might have more magic items looted from ancient ruins, because Varisia has a lot of ancient ruins.

The availability would be reflected in the level and rarity of the items. Manufactured items would be common but possibly high level. Heirlooms could be rare items. Trade goods would be lower level, but include uncommon items.

The availability would not mention individual items, instead it would sketch out amounts by type. "Okay, the settlement block says it has four common 6th-level items for sale. I will let each of you pick one 6th-level item that's available. The uncommon items stop at 4th level, it says caravan trade, so Gimlia can buy that +1 dwarven clan dagger she wants. Religious services lists a cleric of Torag in town who will know the proper ceremony for replacing her old clan dagger."

On the other hand, a gazetter entry for a town would mention specific high-level items at specific shops, like the gazeteer for the town Torch in Fires of Creation did. I liked that, even though the players did not purchase any of them. Gazeteers get into much more detail than settlement blocks.


It's not just Fires of Creation but a couple of the APs show off preloaded items in the local stores with their Gazette.

Which I feel is a good way of doing it. Listing higher grade goods along with possible common items. The player Guide for Mummy's Mask lists a bunch of items that are key for desert adventures so I made sure all the stores had that.

Granted that gets into the issue of how to price it under "realistic" economy rules. Like everyone is selling anti heat stroke but all the adventuring parties need it, but again too much and they'll walk to another store.

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