In the world of Savage Dawn, most mundane equipment is assumed to exist in some form, including weapons and armor. While appearance and materials used to craft the items can differ wildly from your typical medieval fantasy settings, the weapons are assumed to utilize the same statistics. A broadsword might be fashioned from the sharpened jawbone of a sea creature, a warhammer crafted from the tusks and bones of an Omimammoth, or a healing potion from a potent herbal concoction blessed by a shaman of the local tribe.
The sparseness of the wilderness and primitive character of society makes it difficult to obtain even the most basic of goods or services. Metal is nearly unheard of, trade is conducted primarily through bartering with tribes, and the value of equipment can vary as often as a drunken trader’s sour mood, demand, and scarcity. Some items and materials are incredibly scarce (see below) or even unheard of, requiring a new level of resourcefulness from your characters, and inspiring different styles of gameplay. For sake of gameplay, the rules for equipment, weapons, armor and magic items work as they normally would for the rules system you are playing with.
Goods & Trading
Without the presence of major towns and cities, the primitive world of Savage Dawn relies exclusively on barter for buying and selling goods and services. Intended purchases are valued against offered trades, with scarcity not always being as important as a necessity and the whims of the merchant the greatest influence of all. People from Ulduria and the surrounding tribes from the outskirts, both work to hunt, gather and grow the produce that is needed to sustain the livelihoods of their inhabitants.
With life unpredictable and often short, people are accustomed to endless toil and inescapable hardship. For many in this bleak environment, wealth is often sought in spiritual form, rather than measured by their material possessions. The constant struggle to maintain their meager subsistence way of life leaves little time to attempt to accumulate any valuables of note. Some cling to tokens of guardian ancestors or precious holy symbols and take these to their grave as their sole surviving possession, but earthly gains cannot buy you anything in the Ethervale.
No Common Currency
In the primitive world of Savage Dawn, there is no common currency of gold, silver and copper coins. The craft of producing durable metal coinage and the skill of running an economy has yet to catch on, but the Gnalmyr and Dwarves are rumored to be trying their hand at it. Until a real economy of currency catches on, other goods are crucial in driving trade, such as food, weapons, gemstones and other common goods. Metals of all kinds are rare enough that a raw ingot has enough value to be traded and there are no kingdoms nearby minting coin. Those that have a coin or two consider them either to be worthless oddities or priceless treasures. Stalwart adventurers may uncover a hidden cache of wealth, but often they value more mundane rewards far more – these are the basic necessities of survival and the trinkets that traders back at the Stronghold secretly desire. Anyone lucky enough to return with a shard of Prysm, though, can practically name their price for such a sought-after item. But also items of initial unknown value could be worth appraising, resulting in heroes collecting oddity items they discover on their journeys.
The Value of Goods
Valuing items in Savage Dawn is different from your normal game rules because they can not be compared against a stable currency such as gold. The value of what you offer in exchange for the good or service you want to buy is up to the GM to decide and can be subject to factors such as allegiances to tribes, relationship to the NPC, scarceness of goods and other things. Exchanging with merchants is a skill learned over time. Prices are flexible (see the section on Adventuring Gear below) depending on how common the item is. Because there is no currency, all trade is conducted through barter. Individual merchants possess unique personalities and value goods differently from one another.
- Half Value – As a general rule, undamaged weapons, armor, and other equipment are worth half their cost when traded. Weapons and armor used by the monsters you have slain are rarely in good enough condition to barter with—though vital organs, wooly pelts, and sharp teeth might be valuable enough to trade.
- Trade Goods – These are the most commonly used goods for conducting transactions through barter. Like food, clothing, weaponry, gems and art objects, trade goods—bars of iron, bags of salt, livestock, and so on—can be offered in an exchange at their full value.
- Services – Most merchants will laugh at you if you offer a service as part of an exchange, but some recognize skilled labor when they see it and are willing to trade their merchandise for your talent. You might also challenge another to an honor duel or make some other arrangement as part of the trade. It is up to the GM to determine the value of these actions.
- Magic Items – Magic items are rare in this world and selling such items seldom happens. Finding someone that understands their value is difficult enough, but most enchanted items are so valuable that even the wealthiest of merchants have little to offer in return for such a priceless relic. The bartering value of magic is nearly unmeasurable and should always be treated as such.
- Gems, Jewellery, and Art Objects – These items retain their full value when offered up for trade, enabling you to essentially use them as currency for your transactions.
Quality tools and equipment are vital to an adventurer’s life and can be as rare and valuable as a fabled magic item. Tools to navigate when the sun and stars are veiled, flasks or skins to hold precious fluids, or a trusty grappling hook, are just some of the gear adventurers have in their arsenal. Some are lucky enough to find these treasures on expeditions in the wilderness, but most are forced to trade for the equipment their survival is so dependant upon. Ulduria, The Stronghold of Man does not support a vibrant economy. Some familiar or necessary items that are difficult to make and therefore costly to trade for. Other materials are not available to the artisans of the region and items that rely upon them for construction are much more difficult to come by or sometimes simply don’t exist.
The following sections outline which items fall into each of these categories. When creating your character, these changes do not impact what is available to you (though you still cannot obtain metallic weapons and armor). If your character possesses one or more items that are rare within the Stronghold, consider working into your background the story of how you obtained them. Are they precious heirlooms passed down to you, or something that you managed to steal from someone else? Are others jealous of the apparent wealth you display by carrying these items, or have you chosen to hide them from sight? What value or significance to place on having them?
- Scarce (20% increase in cost) – Items that are scarce are either made from materials that are difficult to obtain or are objects that are not in demand enough for many merchants to bother keeping them on hand. With a little effort you can find someone that is willing to trade for these items, but their scarcity drives up their price.
- Rare (75% increase in Cost) – Some equipment is exceptionally uncommon. These items might be made of materials that are not typically available, like the iron and silver mined by the dwarven settlements at the edge of the Maw. Often, there are only one or two traders in the Stronghold that possess items like this and persuading them to part with them takes an exceptionally steep offer in trade.
- Unavailable (not present in the world) – A few items simply do not exist within the Stronghold, or are valued to such an extent by the few that own them that there is no offer that could entice them to part with their treasure. This includes the specific items below as well as anything made by precious metals (like gold, silver, and platinum), exotic spices or herbs,
Specialist Winter Gear
- Crampons & Picks – made from crude iron, wood or bone spikes, these are mounted under boots to provide grip on slippery surfaces or rock climbing. Ice picks are used to traverse difficult to climb and steep ice surfaces.
- Snowshoes – Made from supple branches of wood, these web-like hoops are mounted under your boots and make it easier to walk on thick layers of snow.
- Snow Goggles – Made from pieces of carved animal bone or wood, these primitive goggles, cover the face from wind and snow, with only a narrow slit to look through.
- Skates & Sleds – Provide a fast movement across ﬂat, frozen surfaces. Come in various shapes and designs, the most primitive skates being sharpened animal bones bound to one’s shoes
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