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Basic Information

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
- Wikipedia

Here's some pages on Arcana Wiki that have something to do with Economics, and in some cases it's a stretch…



Game And Story Use

  • Yes, some of those links have very dubious connection to economics. Hey, what do you expect, this is a gaming site. Our idea of economics is summed up by "Kick in the door, kill the monster, take it's treasure!" and "Can I make an Appraisal roll to see if the heathen idol is worth lugging back to town?" :)
    • Of course, even in first edition AD&D, Gygax noted that flooding the economy with gold would lead to economic chaos and that adventurers had the potential to devastate whole towns with their spending after a rich haul.
  • Even so, you can use these to give your setting some flavor, or to motivate your NPCs.
  • It's also important to understand them for verisimilitude in world building - of course, if that doesn't matter, they can mostly be ignored.
  • Economic concepts can also kickstart many plots (there's a rumor that the bank is insolvent, get ahead of it before it makes itself true) or explain character behavior (why isn't the Archmage fighting the invading army? His time can be better spent elsewhere, especially since you can fight the army yourselves).
  • Bear in mind that the economic motivations don't need to be correct - they just need to make sense from the point of view of the person they motivate.
    • And some people are very stupid - leaving aside the horrific effects of people not understanding basic economics on the politics of most of the C20, consider the movie Layer Cake in which the protagonist is trying to explain to someone who is meant to be a drug dealer that just because his MDMA tablets will sell to the end user a £5 each, he cannot simply multiply the number of tablets he possesses by five and expect someone to pay him that much.
      • GMs often have exactly this problem when players need to understand why they cannot get the textbook listed price for the vendor trash their characters have hauled out of the local dungeon.
      • Also, the fact that there may not be enough volume in the market to sell a given item - the huge gem the PCs stole might be worth more than anyone nearby can afford to pay: they must either take the best offer they can get locally or go and find someone who has enough spare cash to pay them more … and deal with the problem that people with that kind of money (such as kings) may have other resources that they may prefer to exercise rather than actually paying you.
  • Speaking of which, most RPGs seem to assume something like a functioning market economy, where the PCs sell treasure and then use money to buy what they need (or want) - a divergent setting, notably anything after the end or in a pre- or semi-civilised culture (including most tribal and hunter-gatherer societies) - will not have shops (indeed, may lack specialised craftsmen) or a common medium of exchange, making most transactions about gift-giving or personal barter. This can do a lot to shift the focus of the campaign.
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