Boy, that took stupidly long

My first piece of rich-media, and I’m wasting it on this.


Continuing the theme of reagents, here are my further thoughts.
I don’t see how to avoid giving these reagents gp equivalents. Whatever spell they’re a gp equivalent for, we’ll call their price. There will be a few excursions from this; items which are over- or under- priced as a result of the spells they’re tied to or something, but that’s the base idea.
So given that I’ve decided these are sort of alchemical items, what sorts of items are we looking at? Let’s measure the intended price of the reagent against other items, gems a base.

Common (10gp) reagents: Obviously, these are the 10gp gemstones. But they’re also a broad swath of the equipment chapter of the PHB: 50′ of silk rope, a shortsword, a bottle of wine, 2/3 of a pound of saffron, even just an ounce of ink. These are things that can be grown in gardens and harvested from animals. Like, I don’t know if I’d permit eye of toad or wing of bat, but I’d definitely do tiger’s chaudron or a murderer’s hand or a virgin’s wedding-nighttears.
Uncommon (100gp) reagents: quelle suprise, the 100 gp gems. This is a more restricted segment of the PHB;  vials of poison, a magnifying glass, 2 flasks of alchemist’s fire, 2 lbs of gold, or a riding horse with tackle. This might include monster parts from the CR 3-5 range, or byproducts (dragon’s tears etc) from above that range. It might also include wine made by a duke’s hand, flowers or fruit or herbs picked at the peak of freshness (and only good for a limited time), a martyr’s bodyparts or the prayers of a few monks for a year, or other time-limited but otherwise attainable ingredients. I think mundane abstract quantities show up here, too: bottled ennui, parched discomfort, powdered tears, petrified fear.
Rare (1000gp) reagents: the 1000gp gems, obviously. PHB comparison items start topping out here; 2 pound of platinum, so rare minerals are still in play, but otherwise things like spyglasses, small ships, or platemail. If they’re not incredibly rare substances, and we’re pushing the limits of herbs here (perhaps a bloom which grows once a decade or something?), they’re highly refined cultural products. Maybe uncommon potions can be infused with 3 pounds of gold and distilled into something useable here; a lord’s child, or the prayers of 30 monks for a year. Intricately inlaid tangles of precious wire, extremely purified chemical reagents, positive abstract quantities start to show up (a maiden’s blush in a kerchief, a perfect summer dawn in a bottle, the age of three winters).
Very Rare (10,000gp) reagents: no mere gem table can contain these; they’re named and unique. In terms of finished goods they’re mid-sized ships and towers, small permanent structures that take many hands to render. That makes it difficult to name a similar hand-held object; not too many devices require the same sophisticated cultural apparatus. Ludicrous jewels and ludicrous-jewel-encrusted-objects count, though. We’re looking at once-in-a-century picked-by-a-virgin-with-a-silver-sickle flowers and fruit, or perfect anatomical replicas worked in gemstone, or the keygrain of a desert, the root of a mountain. You might have a bottle of wine filtered through the ashes of its vinyard, or a heartroot of a century-tree.


About lackhand

I was born in 1984 and am still playing games, programming computers, and living in New York City. View all posts by lackhand

3 responses to “Boy, that took stupidly long

  • shieldhaven

    I like what you’ve done here! (I’m the guy that Blog of Holding linked to – Harbinger of Doom.) I would also point to the 4e Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide as a surprisingly good idea mine for this kind of thing.

    Potion + 3 lb of gold dust, gemstone replicas of organs, and the prayers of 30 monks for a year – these are phenomenal. Do you imagine a means of “bottling” the prayers so that they can be transferred and/or discovered as loot, or is that not relevant to your vision here?

    • lackhand

      Actually, I posted on your original post, too — I got impatient waiting for your promised pdf 🙂 (sidenote: feel free to steal anything here for yours, or let me know if I can help in any way).

      I do indeed imagine some way of bottling the intangibles or otherwise making them physical. I haven’t thought super-hard what that would look like, but some off the cuff ideas include lavishly illuminated manuscripts, inscribed grains of rice, and prayer wheels/beads smoothed by the passage of 30 hands over a year.

      • shieldhaven

        Gotcha! I blame a shoddy memory and all that. The PDF needs a lot more work before it’s ready for broad consumption, but for your amusement I’ll paste in a sample of components here:

        Ashes of the Heavenly Conflagration
        Foundation Rune
        Frozen Reflection
        Map Fragment of the Feywild
        Map Fragment of the Shadowfell
        Shard of the Great Orrery
        Thief-King’s Dice
        Adult Chromatic Dragon’s Blood
        Adult Metallic Dragon’s Blood
        Agnaline Powder
        Council Fire Ember
        Crimson Aether
        Deepest Coral
        Gold-cut Mistletoe
        Golden Death-Mask
        Luminous Water
        Mazewater Slime
        Scouring Oil
        Sentinel Fragment
        Sundered Beast-Mask

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