Making IC money

Hi all,

I’m an experienced LARPer, but new to Empire; E1 was my first and, and so far, only event. I didn’t really click with my character, so I’m thinking about giving something else a go. I saw various people trading things IC and fancied giving it a try.

I’m considering an apothecary, but I don’t know if its possible to make a good return selling potions? Are there better builds for engaging in IC trade?

In addition to whatever character build I go for, I plan on bringing things to sell IC. I’ve recently started trying my hand at leatherworking, so hopefully I’ll have a small stock of pouches and other simple items to sell.

Any / all advice welcome!

Andy

Apothecary isn’t the best way, as a given group needs only one person to make a given potion. Artisans have more constant demand because of the limited rate of crafting

I’ve actually made profit on buying potions, and swapping them to people who could make the potions, for the herbs which make up the potions. Now I know some apothecaries who have made a profit on making potions, however the market is so easy to saturate that it isn’t a reliable income stream.

As a generate money skill Artisan is definitely better, although for apprentice items are a safer bet due to no cost (Also many other items get to the expense that it’s harder to tack on a cost.) Finding niches will still help but one person undercutting you in the same nation won’t screw up you supply chain.

Resource wise: For pure profit, a mana site is the best bet, it’s hardly a secret that 7 mana is worth more than the output of a farm. A fleet or a raiding MU might be more fun as it will be more of a challenge to unload, than selling 7 mana, and also has the potential to change so you are less likely to find the one person who will buy orichalcum at a good price and keep off loading to him.

The rest of the build will depend how interested you are in the big fights, if you aren’t taking the field rituals, the priest skills (although congregation to play synod politics would limit trading potential) or physik are all good for generating game
If you want to take the field look at how your items can compliment your build. (Shield use and extra spells are obvious exp savers since you have spent half your build on crafting, and also fairly popular.)

If you want to play a full time trading character, try to find a group who needs one, the example that leaps to mind is the Seneschal game in Dawn (because I play that) although I think both High guard and Orcs have a similar role. This should be making money for other peoples benefit, but it increases your chance of spending more time trading. If you want to use your items as a marketable thing, it might be best to avoid picking an apprentice item that the group can use 6 of.

I know there are at least two groups in Dawn who lack a Seneschal, although I’d probably advise doing the wandering yeoman thing and trying to find the group in game, than genning Seneschal of X and finding you hate them. I have no idea for Orcs and Highguard.

Artisan looks more interesting now that I’ve had a proper look at the rules. I’m tempted to take both apothecary and artisan. While that doesn’t leave any points for combat skills, I’m not too bothered about that.

One thing I’m really unsure of is how much magic items tend to sell for?

That’s very variable based on where on the field you are, so we ask people to keep such discussion for IC channels.

If you walk around for an evening and make some enquiries, you should get a pretty good idea of the state of the market pretty quickly.

While I understand the desire to keep things IC, as a new player who has only been to one event its not a very helpful response. Without any idea of how much anything sells for, I can’t really be sure if any given trader concept is even worth trying. I’m not looking for specifics, but something beyond a request to ‘keep such discussions IC’ would be helpful

After my first event I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d bother giving Empire other go, but I’d rather not spend another event trying to have fun with a concept that isn’t quite right for me and / or the game.

Any insights / advice would be really very much appreciated.

Andy

Depends what you mean by ‘worth trying’. Generally speaking you should be able to make a profit over what items cost to make in terms of resources, but in a game with 1500 players it’s impossible to say what an ‘average’ price is for stuff. I will say that artisan item selling is a lot of hard work if you’re on your own - so be prepared to either join a group or put in a lot of legwork.

That said, if you have some small leatherworking pieces for sale for IC coin I expect you will make quite a bit of money, and that should also give you the contacts for buyers of IC magic items.

Another thing to consider is that you can happily pick the ability to craft items that grant combat skills and use a set yourself. So even if you can’t manage to sell anything, you can use your output to give yourself those combat abilities you don’t have the XP for.

OK, so, given that I have an idea of the value of precisely one commodity and I’m not talking about it -

A business gets 10 crowns a season.
A mine or forest gets 10 ingots.

So an ingot is worth -roughly- a crown, cost.

I don’t know what your opportunity cost is for a month’s time and I don’t know what you value an experience point at. But roughly, you can reckon to sell an 8-ingot item for more than a Throne - I don’t know where the value is between ‘rare item’ and ‘actually good item’.

Potions are hard, because people treat herbs as if they have less value than they do. I know that some people have happily bought herbs, made potions, sold potions for more than they paid for the herbs. I’d imagine that the cheaper levels of the consumable hero point / hit point regenerating potions would be where the money is, based on what I would want to buy if I was playing third spear carrier from left, but I actually don’t know the answer to that one.

If I go with apothecary, low end potions like Elixir Vitae and Oakenhide Tonic is probably where I would focus my efforts.

On the subject of artisan, is it better to focus on making a single type of item, such as medium armour (for example) or to go with a selection from different categories?

Potions are hard to sell because the skill use is unlimited - which means you’re competing against people who want a chance to use their skill.

With artisan, there are certain items that are a lot more saleable than others. That’s good in that you can sell them easily, but bad in that there’s competition. Short of rattling off a list of what I think will sell and is good/popular (which I have no doubt will be disagreed with in less than 5 posts…) I would say that looking for the good, higher cost items is the way you’d want to make money. It’s a fair amount more legwork to get customers, but if you find a buyer, you can usually make a few rings back per resource if you offer to supply the materials personally, and you can also probably mark up a bit higher for your time, as increasing from 5 thrones to 6 thrones sounds less extreme than increasing from 1 throne to 2 thrones (assuming the first number is the cost of materials, and you’re charging a throne for your time*).

Best advice I would give though is if you take artisan, don’t pick your fourth item. You want to pick your first three as you get to start with some toys and that’s great, but if you don’t pick an item for your fourth slot, you can quite literally make whatever a specific customer wants. I for example knew I wanted as a previous character to eventually be able to make all the ritual staves. I saved a slot, went and asked around, and found someone who wanted the summer one, so that was the first one I learned, and made it for over the following season. Be aware of what you want to end up making, but that way you almost guarantee a sale first time around.

*I never charged a throne for my time, nor found anyone who did, I just made up a number to make the point clearer.

[quote=“Nate H”]
Best advice I would give though is if you take artisan, don’t pick your fourth item. You want to pick your first three as you get to start with some toys and that’s great, but if you don’t pick an item for your fourth slot, you can quite literally make whatever a specific customer wants. [/quote]

This. Indeed, I’d give the same advice to people starting with Ritual Lore.

The 4th item you pick starts with only one event of power remaining, so the tradeoff is minimal. It is worth thinking of magic items as a subscription service, as well - you’re not making a suit of magic armour, you’re potentially providing a customer with a service, i.e. providing them with a suit of magic armour every year. If you can make it to four events per year you will have 40 ingots or measures of resources coming in, so that means that effectively you can maintain that number of resources’ worth of magic items indefinitely (assuming you can trade 1:1 for other materials, your forest/mine doesn’t get cursed or invaded by slugs or whatever, etc.). Whenever you have spare months of crafting time you can make your zero-cost first item pick and sell it for essentially pure profit.

Essentially you have two assets: the knowledge of particular items, and your remaining free crafting time. Keeping a slot open, and maybe even an XP or two free, helps corner the market in the first case; just being another artisan on the field gives you the latter valuable resource.

[quote=“Dre”]

[quote=“Nate H”]
Best advice I would give though is if you take artisan, don’t pick your fourth item. You want to pick your first three as you get to start with some toys and that’s great, but if you don’t pick an item for your fourth slot, you can quite literally make whatever a specific customer wants. [/quote]

This. Indeed, I’d give the same advice to people starting with Ritual Lore.

The 4th item you pick starts with only one event of power remaining, so the tradeoff is minimal.[/quote]

It’s better than that - you don’t get one of your fourth item to start with.

You might find that your group already has some artisans; I believe they have found that the value of a resource, which at least stays steady and in general seems to inflate, is in stark contrast to the value of said resource when made into an item, since their value then moves inevitably towards zero over the course of four events. Clearly some people have different experiences, but I believe we’ve found that the ‘margin’ on items is very modest and the scope for a problem (which leaves you with a rapidly depreciating item) pretty much eliminates that profit.

Ritual magic is potentially profitable but again one has to be very careful since the return on some rituals if they aren’t scaled up by a big coven nowhere near covers the price of the mana crystals. I believe we have some potential as a Winter coven, but that isn’t going to really allow you to make money on your own rather than in the group.

By contrast, making and selling OOC stuff is essentially 100% IC profit provided you don’t mind the OOC cost.

How have people found the “work for hire” economy in Empire? I know that there’s starting to be a flourishing business in cursing people for cash and that entertainers for hire can make some money (how much for the investment of time I’m not sure). But what else is out there job wise that’ll earn you money?

I have no idea what sort of premium “cursing for hire” commands over the base cost of the mana for the curse ritual.

Entertainers in the tavern (in our group) have netted a handful of Rings for a short session - probably it depends a lot on how much you enjoy performing/value your IC time as to whether it is really ‘worth it’ purely from a cash point-of-view. But assuming you enjoy it and want to make the cost of a few drinks then it seems to work at the moment - obviously it soon wouldn’t if more people were doing it.

I’m told that people work as bodyguards and such like, mostly in the League it seems, but not sure what the rate or availability of work is. Not sure I’ve seen too much other “work for hire” stuff succeeding but maybe it’s out there in bits of the field I don’t see.

A significant consideration really is whether you are working/trading for fun and a few Rings, or to make ‘real money’. The later, to be honest, seems exclusively the province of spending resources OOC to produce IC money when you sell whatever you’ve made. Or getting elected to a national bourse position, I suppose :wink:

The no-cost way to make ‘big’ money is to spend your boot leather. Walk around a lot, learn the prices for nearly everything on most parts of the field, and you’ll spot market inequalities. Then it’s simply a matter of buying low, selling high, and pocketing the difference. This is totally open to new players, in a variety of ways (if you find someone else doing it, see if they want to take on an apprentice or form a cartel!).

A friend of mine currently plays this as his main thing while IC. He’s fully equipped in top end gear, has a near endless supply of potions, and is looking at bidding up into a bourse seat soon. One person, no group funding, just an awful lot of walking.

There are more options out there than just selling your own IC resources.

Making money as a ritualist depends where you are - as a Navarr Vate I’ve sworn to do rituals free for the good of the nation or Empire.
Some nations you might make a bit from resource buffs, but it’s a lot of cat herding to get your coven and the resource owner together, and you have limited uses of coven bond for anything you can’t solo.

I call it “Low-frequency Trading”. Some people were protective of their prices, but you can explain that Arbitage is not only Prosperous, Vigilant and Wise, it’s also Loyal (because it creates a more efficient market). It might be good game to get the Assembly of Prosperity to rule to that effect

It’s also a good way to find out what’s going on - ask what people need, not just in terms of resources, but in information

My character is a pure ritualist with a Conclave position and is generally pretty skint. However, I can confirm that it’s possible to make a profit on rituals that aren’t military or resource buffs; you just need to find the demand.