Its hopeless, sorry. You are better off going with game balance like D&D does. Nothing else about D&D or its *cough* economics is even remotely realistic, so imposing realism on pricing is a very large amount of work roughly equivalent to changing the tides by spitting in the ocean.
If you want, you could get pricing schemes from a vaguely more historical game like Pendragon. But in games like Pendragon or Ars Magica, you run into the fact that 500 silver pieces is a substantial fortune. How are you going to match that to D&D's income system?
Hrm, I think Warhammer FRP has a decent pricing scheme based on gold. If not that maybe look into the Game of Thrones d20 RPG? I vaguely remember skimming that and seeing it had a toned down price system.
AGoT D20 does have a toned down pricing system, that's true.
Personally, I think the best way to tone down prices is to play around with coinage first. One can always shift the coinage values upwards, so that gold peices are now the equivalent of platinum, electrum of gold, silver of electrum, copper of silver. I'd throw in brass bits, iron tokens, or some other low value coin to replace the copper piece at the bottom of the value scale. Platinum pieces become super high value coins, worth even more than the PHB p.p.
One more thing, I'm pretty sure EGG suggested that the high prices in the PHB reflect a gold rush sort of inflationary economy , with certain adventuring gear being marked up by opportunistic merchants. Prices and availablity of gear will doubtless vary hugely from one place to another. It's unlikely that vendors all over Oerth use fixed prices for all goods. Price fixes in one city might make sense, but not everywhere.
If you want certain things to be cheaper to purchase in a given place, just make them cheaper. You can always say they are more expensive in other cities, markets,whatever.
Prices and availablity of gear will doubtless vary hugely from one place to another. It's unlikely that vendors all over Oerth use fixed prices for all goods. Price fixes in one city might make sense, but not everywhere.
This is actually the assumption that TLG is making in its Yggsburgh supplements (originated by EGG) -- that even different stores will have differing prices, allowing the PCs to try a bit of bargain hunting that the usual "prices are in the PH" structure doesn't allow.
Also, the economy of Yggsburgh seems to be a bit more weighted -- it's a ratio of 500cp=50sp=1gp. Meaning that wonderful 14 gp longsword you just bought is actually worth 700 sp !
Well, every game has pricing already (though some are more abstract than others). You can also find 'historical' prices with sufficient diligence in websearching.
But you won't find prices for all the magical services and options in D&D and if you use say Harn or Pendragon style "realistic" pricing, you will instead have to completely rework the rest of your game's treasure affairs.
If a year's income for a well to do knight is around 1500 silver and a king's ransom is less than the loot you get from Keep on the Borderlands, you aren't going to be any better off than you are now.
Again, I'm just lookin for a reworked list that reflects that wood is cheaper than metal.
Well, it's not just wood being cheaper than metal, it's also the cost of the skilled labor that goes into making it and the relative scarcity of the item. Most of the PHB prices (at least in 1E/2E, which is what I'm familiar with) I don't find that bad. Swords are pretty expensive relative to axes and blunt weapons, because they weren't easy to make and there weren't a lot of smiths with the skill to make decent ones. I think the same could be said of the high end bows. The only item that really sticks out to me as overpriced is the short bow. Presumably, that would be close to the same as a typical hunting bow and thus should cost nowhere close to 30gp. I have mine priced at 10gp, which is still quite high, but perhaps can be assumed to be built just a bit tougher than a run-of-the-mill hunting bow. Perhaps I'll change it for the future to a 5gp hunting bow that's even weaker than a short bow and add a 15gp "adventurer's" short bow. Still, big bows were an important technological advance in the Middle Ages - I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that they require manufacturing knowledge beyond that of the average amateur bowyer and thus command substantial prices.
Remember that not just any wood makes a bow and the larger bows require less imperfections within the wood. For a hunting bow with a small draw compared to military bows the acceptable raw material is easier to find. The bigger the bow and the stronger the draw requires a wood with percise characteristics - straightness, flexibility, strength, grain etc.
Many pieces of wood that are acceptable given the strain for a hunting bow would snap if the bowyer attempted to produce a longbow with them.
Well, neither of those things are particularly what I was talking about, but whatever. You want a more historical (snerk) price list? Here you go. Oh, this is the 'big city' price list. Things have different prices and availabilities in smaller towns and villages. Also, some things aren't available for lack of particular materials and skills. Might also need to adjust for the inflation caused by the sudden inrush of money that adventurers bring. Spain went bankrupt because of all the gold it brought from the New World....
Pendragon's weapons price list...
great axe: 50sp
long spear: 2sp
morning star: 75sp
short spear: 1sp
war flail: 75sp
light crossbow: 100sp
heavy crossbow: 140sp
You could just divide the price of all non-weapons and non-armor by a factor of 10. Any weapon that could be also be considered a tool(like a hand axe) might only have its cost divided by 5, or you can make a distinction between a simple iron hatchet(1d4 damage, breaks on a roll of a 1 when used in battle against armored opponents) and a quality steel, reinforced, one-handed war axe(regular hand axe stats). You get a lot more variance for things like fine wines and similar things without resorting to pricing such things in gp per glass. 1 gp per bottle would be crazy high(there are about 8 glasses of wine in a bottle) to the average person, as a glass of simple wine may only be 5 cp or so to begin with, and maybe even less than that. This relegates the more precious metals to being spent on uncommon things, which means things that most commoners can't afford to buy(or are allowed to buy), like weapons, armor, fine jewels, etc.
If you can afford to buy weapons, armor, and other expensive things, you must be wealthy or a lord of some sort of course, and are probably allowed to carry those things to begin with. That suits the roughly medieval millieu of Greyhawk very well, as then the lowly copper piece is a valuable coin for the average person for everyday exspenses.
Indeed, quality long bows, are not just cranked out by the droves. I have a friend who used to make english style longbows. First off it required a good wood, cured for a year or so to allow the moisture level to stabilize. Then it would be rough shaped with a hand axe(or a bandsaw for my friend), then a draw knife, then files and finally sanded. It required a good deal of experience to make these bows in a reasonable time frame as it required near artist level of understanding of your medium. It was not uncommon for a master bowyer to start a bow and invest a good deal of time just to find that the growth rings lost conitinuity, find a hidden knot or grain imperfection, rendering the bow useless. And then making sure that the bow operated in symmetry required a good deal of trial and error and years of practice. A simple hunting bow is one thing but to make a combat trusted bow would take time and mastery at artisan level. But that being said it shouldn't be 60% of the price of a suit of plate mail armor according to PH 4E. I think Vormaerin's cost guide is relatively accuarte and am going to use it in my campaign but I will convert the prices to gold instead of silver. Make Longbows 80s and the shield prices listed therein I would say are for wooden and metal shields of approrpiate size 15s and 25s.
Changing the denomination would work.. that's a "realistic" price guide for medieval era England (prior to the late 13th century introduction of the longbow and the even later introduction of full plate). So the assumption is that the only coin around is the silver piece. The English didn't mint any other coin than the silver penny until 14th century, IIRC. For things smaller than a penny, they cut the coin into halves or quarters. And if it was really expensive (like hundreds of silver), they didn't pay with coins.
It requires a bit more work, but not so much as to be unusable, but A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe has a great economic simulator in it, that uses the information in the DMG to create a variable, but "semi-realistic" pricing system. And it also allows you to do things like "search for a vendor that will give me 10% off" or "Find anyone who has this, I'll pay up to 50% more!" and other neat situations like that. We have a house rule in my campaigns that use it that makes Profession (merchant) worth taking, and it also gives Gather Information yet another good use.
I tend to like everything Expeditious Retreat Press puts out, but this in particular is a good DM resource. I also really like the ability to hard crunch a manor, city, or kingdom, and get non-subjective numbers I can then modify to suit my purposes.
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