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Trade Mechanics

Classes of Goods

Common Goods

I think that these are boring, no-extra-mechanics goods.

Luxury Goods

Gems, jewelry, rarer spices. So far, they work the same way as Common Goods, except that they are harder to buy and easier to sell.

Bulk Goods

Bulk goods can only be bought or sold in the party's current location. In contrast, other classes of goods can be bought and sold in the nearest reasonable cities of the neighboring countries rather than the whole neighboring countries. Other than that, they seem to work like Common Goods.

Rare Goods

Rare goods are fancy, nigh-unique items. The buy and sell rolls are opposed by some NPC rather than just a target number.

So far, we've only bought one Rare Good:

      1 silver-chased masterwork sword (x5) with a crane imprint beneath the
      maker's mark, and characters etched into the blade

Bought for 99 li (8 successes) vs (5 dice + 15 skill) (?? successes, prolly 5) Sold for 134 li (7 successes) vs (8 dice + 5 skill)+1 friction (8 successes)

The ROI was close to expected, so Rare Goods don't seem to suffer from the half-sale-price problem of magic items. Or at least, this non-magical one didn't have that problem.

Mechanics Discoveries

  • "Friction" pushes profits down.
  • There was "friction" on the Butterfly-> Arcade move.
  • "Barriers" crossed pushes profits up.
    • Barriers are things that keep the locals at the selling location from easily getting goods from elsewhere. The blockade of an island is a significant barrier. The hassle that used to surround the Port of Propitious Voyage when the Dragon army was there, probably counted as a barrier. Geographic features, like the Mountains of Heaven, can also count as a barrier. Barriers have levels depending upon their size. Each level of barrier crossed by a trader adds the equivalent of a negative friction level to a transaction.
  • There was no "barrier" on the Butterfly-> Arcade move.
  • Clever insights into the market can result in extra successes.
  • Bungles or hurried transactions can result in negative successes.
  • You can invest in multiple classes of goods simultaneously, but must make a different trading roll for each class (so it's harder to use Fortune, but you need fewer successes).
  • when you "go over" a city's limit and thus cause a level of friction, that friction level stays there for further transactions. This affected both transactions in Gate of Shen, so the first one had a friction level, and the second one had two.
  • A tier 1 city generates friction when performing a sell transaction for 134 li. I suspect that the cut-off is 100 li.
  • Spent 99 on Bulk goods with 8 successes. Sold with 3 successes and 1 friction for 150. If that had been 4 successes with 1 friction, it would have sold for 169. Some math on this can probably reveal some numbers.

Amounts >50 li but <100 li

Common Goods

  • 3 successes on each roll needed for buy/sell to break even.
  • Moving to a "bordering" country counts as three successes on sell roll.

Amounts >100li but <250li

Common Goods

  • 5 successes on both rolls needed for buy/sell to break even.
  • Moving to a "bordering" country counts as two successes on sell roll.

Luxury Goods

  • 5+1d3 successes needed to buy and 5-1d3 successes needed to sell to break even.

Amounts >250li but <500

Common Goods

  • 7 successes on both rolls needed for buy/sell to break even.
  • Moving to a "bordering" country counts as one success on sell roll.

Luxury Goods

  • 5+1d4 successes needed to buy and 5-1d4 successes needed to sell to break even.


  • Daizhou is only a tier three city. When your sell transaction produced a value greater than 500li, you went over its cap, leading to an automatic level of friction.
  • Gate of Shen is a normally a tier two city, but is currently down to tier 1 due to loss of population.
  • Stone Drum is a Tier 5 city, but applies one friction on all transactions due to heavy fortification/security.
  • Port of Propitious Voyage is Tier 4.