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Making Money in a low-tech setting

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  • Making Money in a low-tech setting

    So, in a low-tech setting, I'm thinking about things my cabal could do to make money. The actual tech level varies from place to place, from Renaissance Italy in the more prosperous and advanced regions to late Iron Age in more backwards areas (which can be surprisingly close to each other). The Moros is easy, go to the beach and use Lodestone to separate out silica sand from other sorts, then shape the sand into glassware, which is worth vast sums. The Thyrsus isn't much harder: there's always demand for healers. The other three, I'm not too sure about. The pre-existing fortune tellers might not take well to the Acanthus (as they'll see it) muscling in on their turf, for example.

  • #2
    A mastigos could use space magic to bypass all the risk of a long journey, so he could be an excellent merchant


    • #3
      Originally posted by Neos01 View Post
      A mastigos could use space magic to bypass all the risk of a long journey, so he could be an excellent merchant
      Or courier. Getting messages from place to place in a lower tech and/or dangerous setting can be a very big deal.


      • #4
        And mind magic allows to boost professional skills, read useful secrets, convince people to lend money...


        • #5
          Forces and Matter for Blacksmithing.

          Or Time, Forces, or possibly Death for food preservation. Maybe even Matter (vermin can't eat your precious grain if it is in an air-tight, vacuum stone vault).

          Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
          Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."


          • #6
            If Sleepers don't know which part of the featureless hallway has been Co-Located to a distant city, does it still trigger Dissonance upon the spell?

            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."


            • #7
              Probably not. But Co-Location is currently beyond the characters, and Sleepers in this setting are quite rare. Most people are Sleepwalkers, and there are many sorts of magic, not just Awakened.


              • #8
                You could do what actual 'magi' did in the Renaissance, find a rich patron.

                A Mastigos could probably make a good stab at appearing to be a noble whilst the rest of the cabal are their retinue. That way, you wouldn't need money; just coach-surf between aristocratic households. I gather that's how most aristocrats have travelled around.

                More deviously, dress as nobles, pay on credit, then skip town. Or, you can borrow new money to pay older debts, and keep the cycle going as long as possible.

                An Acanthus could probably work with these tactics too; just replacing mind with fate.


                • #9
                  Acanthus can stumble on things and you people of value, and doing so is one of the most basic parts of their whole thing.

                  An Obrimos could read the local Resonance to find the areas with the most generosity and go begging. They also make good or at least convincing teachers and orators.


                  • #10
                    Another real world, time appropriate trade that many Magi could do is water dowsing. Digging a well isn't worth much if there's no water waiting below.
                    A Mastigos with three dots can grant themselves any skill needed, making them suitable for all sorts of trades.
                    Fur trapping and trading was also a big money maker.
                    Architects and engineers are also in demand, either to build defensive works or cathedrals, and both are something Magi of Matter and Forces could do well.
                    Mercenaries and detectives also saw use.
                    Magic can also be used to arrange to marry into a noble house, providing a big step up.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2ptTakrill View Post
                      A Mastigos with three dots can grant themselves any skill needed, making them suitable for all sorts of trades.
                      No they can’t, they can only enhance skills they already possess.


                      • #12
                        So...the incompetent with only one dot becomes an instant master, or near master. End result, a highly sought after tradesman.
                        Fate and Matter could be used to strike gold (or silver, copper, nickel) literally. No need to dig countless shafts without gain, the Mage knows exactly were to dig before he even lifts a shovel.
                        You don't have to be a fortune teller to be a fortune teller, get a job advising someone with money, give them good advice and no one needs to know you based your words on reading tea leaves.
                        The late middle ages transitioning to the Renaissance is when the merchant class really began to rise and any of the Paths would be well suited for long distance trade, even without Space.
                        I could easily see either the Ladder or the Throne being behind the rise of the Hanseatic League.
                        In the end any profession a normal person could do a Mage can do better by cheating.


                        • #13
                          Yeah, a mage could steal from a king's vault with his abilities.
                          An interesting question could be, what kind of cheating could the mage do to make money without losing wisdom?


                          • #14
                            I am surprised this thread is mostly ignoring the Obrimos. If most people are sleepwalkers then the Obrimos would make defacto enforcers mercenaries bodyguards lords etc. Words of Truth, Wards and Signs, *all the firepower*.
                            Not sophisticated but everyone will clamour to BUY the wizards loyalties. Money will fall into their laps to guard keeps and protect crops from weather and keep homes warm. Plus, they can make tradesmen the way they always have, as the pre-eminent imbuers. They control the flow of magic, the mana, the items, and their Prime shuts down thiefs and usurpers. I hate to say it cuz Im slightly biased against them but, without sleepers to check them, obrimos become the ruling class.

                            Meanwhile my thyrsus ass is stuck healing and currying the favor of spirits, and wealthy people dont get sick as often as the poor people who cant pay, and spirits will work for me to bless people Im dealing with only with a looot of legwork and upkeep. The wilder spirits I can keep calm for the worried folks, but an Obrimos can easily take that job out from under my feet.

                            Mastigos merchants and moros craftmen are amazing but if Obrimos can control the mana and laws, they can demand their price for mere alliegance or access to hollows.

                            Acanthus, not so much, but the craftiest, well-connected savants will be very plush. Either as tacticians or as "smokescreens" you NEED an acanthus hiding your intelligence and scouting for holes in the enemy. Armies, economic secrets, lonely landowners, they'd all need at least one witch. Who that witch IS will be highly paid. Any boosts i ability a Mastigos can do, and acanthus can do sooner. Acanthus burn mana fast, and with an obrimos paying your salary you won't run out of fuel easily... a match made in heaven.


                            • #15
                              Thyrsus and Moros could also make a lot of money as traders with the ability to keep food fresh and loads light. We eat mangos today in Europe like it's the most normal thing in the world, but in fact, eating a ripe Mango would be near impossible for anyone living in e.g. Germany, simply because travel takes so much time and the growing conditions are less than perfect. A Thyrsus (or any mage with enough Life) could likely grow his own wherever, dipping into Forces a bit maybe.
                              And Moros, with their ability to reinforce waggons and ships to move much larger weights, while keeping costs at a minimum (cheap wood? who cares, it's the best material on Earth now!), especially when it comes to repairs (wasn't that tire broken yesterday? Naaaah....), would have a good starting position.
                              Obrimos and Acanthus would be quite scary when it comes to disrupting trade routes etc. A single storm destroying a harvest is bad news. No more winds to fill the sails on sea? Though luck, indeed. And on the battlefields, of course.

                              Mastigos would be the scariest spies ever, so basically not changing much =P
                              Another thing is that a Mastigos could probably easily convince people he is some relative/high-ranking Aristocrat from another country/whateverhedamnwellpleases, so he could just go from A to B and make people do his bidding.

                              A Cabal with all of them would of course be the best tradesgroup ever: Make valuable goods from cheap material (or for free, as the sand -> glass example detailed) --> profit.
                              Make goods of a quality others simply cannot reach (usual example: swords. Wine and perfume would be good alternatives, perfume especially was very, very, very expensive. Unsinkable ships would be also in high demand.) --> profit.
                              Move information or goods very quickly from A to B, preferably in unusually large quantities ---> profit.
                              Sabotage your opposition to establish a monopoly, e.g. via changing weather patterns, siccing insects on them/their harvest, rotting their ships/waggons, spread rumours that they are in discredit, amplify your own craftsmanship skills while debuffing theirs etc. etc. --> profit.