What would it be worth in Traveller?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
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What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby JMISBEST » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:45 pm

I was bored earlier and was looking through notes I'd made on the only 1st edition WFRP Campaign that I was The GM of and I noted that 1 of the treasure was A 1 very large very good quality Gold Ring set with a decent sized very good quality Star Shaped Sapphire, that it was made from 40 Carrot Gold and The Gold weight 13.4 pounds that was worth 180 Gold Coins in 1st edition WFRP Campaign. What do you think it would be worth if it where in Traveller
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby steelbrok » Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:08 pm

Well 40 carrots seems like a lot but I suppose it depends on how big they are. But as they're generally sold by weight it doesn't make too much difference.

Maybe 50p/Kg but unless you post the size of the carrots or preferably their weight the question can't be answered
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby M J Dougherty » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:32 am

13+ pounds of gold in a RING???????

Go pick up 13 pounds of anything. Imagine that on your finger.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Ursus Maior » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:25 am

Okay, the numbers and units got a bit mixed up here, I think. The karat (BE 'carat', not carrot, like the vegetable) measures fineness, not mass, with 24 karat denominating gold with a purity of 999 parts per thousand (i. e. millesimal fineness).

Now, there is also another form of carat (note the difference in spelling), the so called metric carat, equal to 200 mg (0.00705 oz) or 0.00643 troy oz. This one measures weight, but is used exclusively for measuring gemstones and pearls. But of course, technically one can measure everything with such a unit, be it gold, sugar or grain.

The first unit of karat cannot meaningful give an answer to the question of "how much do 40 karats of gold weigh", because a) karat do not measure weight and b) karat only go up to 24, everything purer than 24 karat gold will be exclusively measured in parts per thousand. The finest gold ever refined was 999.999 parts per thousand pure, but regular production doesn't go beyond 999.99 parts per thousand (looking at you, Royal Canadian Mint).

The second unit of carat could technically measure gold, but isn't used that way. However, 40 carat equal 8 g, which equal 0.17637 pounds or 0.282192 oz. That's a good weight for a ring and would give enough width and thickness to set a stone.

However, should the sapphire itself have 40 ct, then it would not fit a ring, in my opinion, at least not aesthetically pleasing. If I calculated correctly a 40 ct sapphire in cubic shape should have an edge length of more than 3.5 cm (ca. 1.38 inches). The diameter would grow, of course, if cut into a flatter shape, e. g. round, oval or marquise.

Prices are different to calculate for Traveller, though, since demand and supply are not known. But 8 g 999 gold (or 24 karat) today sell for less than 400 USD. Add the price to make a ring out of it, give the gold smith and the dealer their cut and you might come out at a market value of 1,000 to 2,000 USD today. Probably closer to 1,000 USD, though, since gold rings are mass products. I paid around 800 € for my ring of 750 or 18 karat gold, and I guess it weighs around 5-6 gram.

The sapphire on the other hand would be almost invaluable at 40 ct. Stones like this aren't usually sold on the market, but cut down into smaller gems. Only very rare finds are crafted into single stones, e. g. as center pieces of royal jewlery. If offered for sale, prices can be astronomically. The Hope Diamond for example has 45.52 ct and sold for 185,000 USD in 1911. Adjusted for inflation, that's more than 5 million USD today.

Putting such a stone on top of a mass produced 1,000 dollar ring would be a total shame, and actually devalue the gem. So, maybe you want the ring to be handcrafted by a renowned artisan. That coul up the price considerably, easily adding a zero. It'll still be a monster stone on that ring, though.

Since Imperial Credits aren't USD 1:1, but probably closer to 1:5 (if 1 Cr was supposed to be 1 USD in 1977), the whole ensemble could be worth 1 MCr or more, depending on its place in history and the volatility on the market.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby M J Dougherty » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:49 am

40 carat gold would be 40 parts out of 24 pure gold. So this 13-pound ring contains 21.67 pounds of gold. This suggests the original item was maybe not written up very carefully. Or maybe it's some sort of superdense material.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby JMISBEST » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:33 am

M J Dougherty wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:32 am
13+ pounds of gold in a RING???????

Go pick up 13 pounds of anything. Imagine that on your finger.
Ooops sorry meant to put 13.7 ounces not 13.4 pounds, My mistake
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:46 am

Don't forget bonded super dense gold.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby M J Dougherty » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:47 am

That makes more sense. I'd assumed the original game supplement got it wrong, like nearly all games give really silly weights for weapons.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:08 pm

Misconceptions exist, some can be blamed on Gary Gygax.

I had to carefully explain that zweihanders used in the field weigh a lot less than listed; museums tend to end up with more ceremonial variants.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby M J Dougherty » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:15 pm

I think a lot of games just copied what was in the early D&D manuals.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Ursus Maior » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:10 pm

JMISBEST wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:33 am
Ooops sorry meant to put 13.7 ounces not 13.4 pounds, My mistake
That's still 388.39 g or 50 times your average wedding ring.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby M J Dougherty » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:44 pm

Wow. That's a lot of weight on a finger.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Sat Dec 21, 2019 3:37 am

Marriage is one helluva of a responsibility.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Ursus Maior » Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:25 pm

M J Dougherty wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:15 pm
I think a lot of games just copied what was in the early D&D manuals.
I bet you're right. I can think of a couple of German equipment lists at least, which give completely unreasonable weights.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby M J Dougherty » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:45 pm

Yeah, I've seen some hilarious values. Maybe they refer to the suftboard-sized swords you get in some video games.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:38 pm

Titanium foam.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Garran » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:20 pm

Could be ceremonial jewelry, meant more to be shown than worn on a daily basis? Would explain why it has such a massive gem set in it - and in that case should definitely be a master artisan's work.
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby steelbrok » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:40 pm

I'm sure I remember reading that the Queen has to practice wearing the crown for a few days before state occasions to get used to the weight
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Re: What would it be worth in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:46 pm

That would explain the padding.

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