Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: A Treatise On Fantasy Gaming Economics

A Treatise On Fantasy Gaming Economics
Publisher: Joachim Leibhammer
Authors: Joachim Leibhammer
Page count: 5
Price: $0.50
Where to get it: DriveThruRPG.com

I am a bit of an armchair scholar on some topics, and one of those topics happens to be the Middle Ages (which is a vague term for a huuuuge period). I am by no means a buff, but I have studied this and that about the period as well as the period of Late Antiquity leading up to the division and dissipation of the Roman Empire. So, as a curious person and fan of Fantasy RPGs I thought I might review this ”treatise” and let you all know whether it is fact or crap.

More Pages Than Not Are Actually For Reading

“Hey prospective buyer, can I interest you in this treatise I have? I’ll tell you what, it’s five pages long! What’s in those five pages? Well, um, I wrote three of them, and then the other two are some legal stuff, you know. Ok, ok, so it’s really only three pages…”

Readers, right away I have to tell you why I decry this item: in this five-page document, two of them are dedicated to Open Gaming License verbage! Unbelievable. I don’t understand why the author decided to put this in here, since the text itself is not system-specific. I guess since the author references Pathfinder there has to be something there to protect his junk, but really it is totally ridiculous.

Do you want to know what else is ridiculous? This treatise. This should not have been written up and put up for sale on DriveThruRPG, this should have been a forum post somewhere on the Paizo site or RPG.net or something. For one thing, it is written in a sort of through-composed, conversational style and *barely* formatted (at time the author did not even manage to double-space between paragraphs). To add to your enjoyment, the font is Lucida Handwriting. That’s right, I know my basic Word fonts. The structure of the piece is barely there, there is a sort of introduction, then some loose talk about how much gold one person makes, how much something might “actually” cost, and then it just ends like The Sopranos. No conclusion, no sources, no justification, just this sentence: “Thus it would be safe to assume that many prices, especially for very good/high end gear, are somewhat inflated.”

Short And Unsatisfying

Ok, I will give the author one thing, he does bring up questioning prices and economy in Fantasy games. Totally valid. The author speaks authoritatively and seems to know at least something about the subject, but rather frustratingly just spews out some random numbers and opinions and calls it a day! The topic is rather strange anyway. I mean, we’re talking about a Fantasy world here, so really anything goes. The degree of realism is totally up to the game creators, and after that it is up to the GM and players. So what if a suit of plate mail costs 10,000 GP in a made-up world? The economics of any game only matter if it’s going to affect the way the game plays. Am I wrong? If bread costs 15 GP in one town and 10 GP in another town, can you imagine a game where players are going to hoof it to the other town to get cheaper bread? I mean, I can’t say the idea doesn’t interest me, I would love to have a game with economic aspects, but I have never seen nor heard of a game where players were actively involved in or cared about the specific economics of the game world unless it involved some over-arching plot instead of bean-counting. I’m not saying they haven’t existed, just saying I haven’t heard about it.

I think I’ve said enough about this. It’s a bit of a joke really. As I wrote earlier, this is a forum post that someone decided to pound out in Word in a horrible font and then put up on DTRPG for sale so that they could be publicly shamed. I would rather read the forum post (and, more specifically, the responses), and I would certainly not pay even the tiny pittance of fifty cents for this nonsense. Please, if you’re going to write a “treatise”, at least try to enlighten us. It makes me sad, because I would love to read an actual treatise on Fantasy gaming economics.