Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

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Telarus
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Telarus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:37 pm

I answered this over on facebook (where, btw, Carsten Damm said they just made up those kernel costs for EDC):

Serpent River, p99, "Riverboat Maintenance":
"Fire kernels are packaged by skilled craftsmen in boxes reinforced
with orichalcum and elemental earth. Typically, a box
contains 5 kernels and costs about 500 silver pieces on the
South Reach, 600 silver pieces on the Coil River and Mid
Reach, and 650 silver pieces on the river's North Reach.
Standard fire cannons hold 5 kernels of elemental fire
and 5 kernels of elemental air. The cannons work by mixing
kernels of each substance, which creates a fireball.
Elemental air can be purchased in boxes of 5 kernels.
Because elemental air can be found throughout the skies of
Barsaive, boxes of it can be purchased for approximately
400 silver pieces throughout the province."

Crystal Raiders, p126 references the "relatively stable price of true air" @ 400sp a box, but there are a couple of editing errors (small chunks missing between page cuts), so I was not able to find a Fire reference.
(We should also figure out how much this true-kernel box costs to make).
-----
Each edition has it's own inconsistencies (so far ;) ).There is also the ratio of Elemental Coins to take into account: 100sp for water/earth:1,000 sp for fire/air:10,000sp for orichalcum. That could be resolved by different amount of kernels needed to make each tier of coin.
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I want to say the 5 kernel box costs 100sp to craft in materials, as that makes the math super easy:

Air kernels are stable at 60sp a kernel, fire ranges from 80sp per kernel near Death's Sea up to 100sp-110sp further away (say 100sp per kernel base "Rare" availability, 20% discount when it is of "Average" availability, 10% increase when it is "Very Rare").
-----
Hmm, that doesn't make the Common Magical Item costs make sense, though. The general advice given for enchanting common magical items is that they take 1 kernel per 100sp of the sale cost of the item, but this doesn't line up with the descriptions of the items (for example the 25 SP Cleaning Broom crafted with True Wood _and_ Earth).

I also want the ammunition costs of the airship weapons to make sense to players... hrm. I will think on this.
-----

Sooooo...

Mataxes and Panda have replied and we are working to resolve this and get a consistent model for the economy of true elements. Panda's new enchanting rules will be key in this.
Last edited by Telarus on Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Undying
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by The Undying » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:32 pm

Really excited to see the new rules for Enchanting. Looking back through the editions, it seems like the process kept getting harder and harder. For what it's worth, I feel like requiring an LP investment (which it does) with a limited cap on what can be crafted (which it does, barring GM intervention and epic adventuring), it really doesn't need to be so hard. Seems like it really takes a Warden tier minimum for reliable enchanting in ED3, and that's with stacking as many bonuses as you can get (so no kernel buying - harvest that stuff yourself).

Lys
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Lys » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Huh, so there is something in ED1 that could have served as the seed from which kernel prices are derived. Though i'm not sure that is indeed the basis as numbers don't quite add up. The prices given in Serpent River are 100 to 130 sp per fire kernel, whereas the chart from the EDC Player's Compendium states 50-100 sp per kernel. Crystal Raiders is more on the money, establishing 80 sp per air kernel which is inside the given 50-100 sp range given in the Compendium. Note that it doesn't make sense for the boxes to be included in the price, since logically both parties in an exchange would have their own boxes, and the kernels are transferred from one box to the other. Otherwise you would eventually start paying a non-trivial cost for boxes you don't need. Moreover the same Player's Compendium that established kernel prices also established that a box for holding 20 kernels costs 5000 sp, suggesting that a box for holding 5 kernels would cost ~2000 sp. (A cube of volume 5 has a surface area ~40% of a cube of volume 20.) So it's clear that if they derived their kernel prices from the Serpent River and Sky Raiders, they were not assuming the box was included.

The difference in prices between earth/water, wood, fire/air, and orichalcum coins is resolved by supply and demand curves. True earth and water are easier and less dangerous to gather, so more plentiful and less expensive. True air and fire are harder and more dangerous to gather, so less plentiful and more expensive. Orichalcum is very rare, difficult though not dangerous to gather, and in very high demand because of its extensive magical properties, so it is the most expensive. It's the exact same reason why the kernels also vary in price, i believe the book straight up says so.

That said yes, the costs of true elements and the costs of things magical items made using true elements have pretty much never lined up. One simple explanation is that kernels are divisible, so for example you can use one kernel each of true wood and earth to make eight brooms at once. This would stick with the one kernel for 100 sp of value guideline. Though that that rule only really works with the cheaper elements. For example fire starters have a whole kernel of true fire woven into them, and cost 100 sp, which fits with the guideline, but fire kernels themselves are 50-100 sp, which doesn't leave you with much profit margin unless you buy the kernels at the bottom of the range. You would thus expect fire starters to tend to be more expensive, probably at least twice as much as the local cost of fire kernels.

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Loba
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Loba » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:34 am

Mataxes wrote:
etherial wrote:Mataxes, has FASA Games supplied their lead developer with OCR'd copies of the ED1 pdfs? You should be able to search them for the word "kernel".
Yes. I have them all. It was just late and I was being kind of lazy
I started on ED 1 and have all the books in print and some errata in PDF. The only real place that I am aware of such a discussion is in Mystic Secrets around page 55/56.

The actual cost is not discussed. The size is (about the size of a kernel of corn) mentioned.

The other editions never give an exact price but a range because kernels vary in size and purity.

That being said - I have always found it odd that:
  • * Orichalcum Container (5000sp) only holds 20 Kernels
    * Kernel cost range between 25 and 500 (best Wood kernel) depending on edition
    * Any thief would want the container over the kernel.
Always seemed like putting your roll of hundred dollar bills in a safe made of gold.

If you read the literature it is also often implied that there are 5 kernels of air and fire in a fire cannon and there is much more surplus stored onboard in orichalcum containers. Further, for your fire engine based river boats - they need a decent reservoir. So they must have orichalcum containers for their cannon and engines.

Thief bate.

Or - someone messed up the prices/carrying capacity. Either the contain can carry 200 kernels or the containers cost much less or thieves are really happy about this disparity.

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The Undying
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by The Undying » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:50 am

What you're saying makes sense, from a value perspective. However, it'd probably be useful to look at it from a MARKET perspective.

The market perspective for orichalcum containers is relatively small. Yeah, if you sell them for a fraction of their value, speculators will always snag them, but at near their regular value, only people trying to harvest or haul True Element kernels need them. That's because (at least to my understanding), they're orchialcum containers in the sense that they're heavily woven with orichalcum, not that they themselves are pure orchialcum.

Kernels have LOTS of uses. They're the basis of pretty much all magical objects, barring bound spirits/elementals. They can also be used in their raw form (as described often herein with the mechanics of fire cannons). So, it's much easier to find buyers of kernels than orichalcum containers.

Now, ALL that being said, the discussion is kind of moot. True Element kernels are highly volatile, with the exception of Earth and Wood. You can't keep these things WITHOUT the containers. So, if you're strictly talking theft, then I'd say incredibly good chances that a thief is going to grab the container - again, not for the value of the container per se but for its content - because s/he has no way to transport the contents otherwise.

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Loba
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Loba » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:04 am

The Undying wrote:What you're saying makes sense, from a value perspective. However, it'd probably be useful to look at it from a MARKET perspective.
I get what you are saying and generally I agree. Though the Therans are almost always in the market for Orichalcum as are mages and while you cannot use the container right off the bat a little alchemy (Aqua Regia) and you should be able to harvest it.

So - yes, true - and yet - you can definitely find a market for it. Not the container but the reuse. Orichalcum is one of the rarer "elements" that actually can be worked, mined, and reused - at least in much of the literature.

I would think that delicate weaving of Orichalcum should/could use one or two kernels to make the container - which would only end of costing around 1000sp. And that keeps it more in line with how common these containers are. I say common, because if you assume your typical T'skrang river boat has 4-8 cannons and enough fuel to run them up and down their route at least once - then you are looking at 10-20 containers. Given the value of other things in the ED universe - these containers seem quite expensive given how frequently they are used.

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The Undying
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by The Undying » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:12 am

You're actually looking at the bottom price for the orichalcum. If you look at the top price, 1000 sp, and assume that two are required to create the container, then the price for the container is close to spot-on. You require 50% of the value of something to craft it, half the container price is 2,500, and two kernels of orichalcum gets you mostly there. That MIGHT be where that number came from.

Looking at the ED3 numbers, the more confusing thing to me is the value of orichalcum in relation to the others.

You've got two ways to get orichalcum: mining/gather and crafting. Natural orichalcum is, I imagine, pretty uncommon as it requires a balance of all the elements to occur. So, a high market price is warranted.

Crafting orichalcum, on the other hand, doesn't make a lot of sense to me as it stands in ED3. It's a Rank 11 Elementalism Knack, so the number of Adepts that can do it are few and far between (both in Adepts that Circle AND likelihood that they have that Knack). This would imply that there would be some value-add to the skill. But there isn't: "the combined value of the [True] element [kernels] equals the value of the orichalcum produced." So, the Adept is out the LP investment, and either the time or money to gather the kernels, and they get out EXACTLY what they put in. Every other form of crafting is 50% cost, meaning that your time has value ... but not here. If you buy the kernels, you might as well have bought the orichalcum itself; if you mined the kernels, you might as well sell them and buy the orichalcum. Combine that with the costs for each of the kernels, and the fact that you have to have an equal number of them, you are basically converting four kernels of the five different elements into ONE kernel of Orichalcum.

If Mataxes is asking this question to determine prices for ED4, it'd be great if this were taken into account. To me, it'd make a lot more sense to get a "1 of each True element kernel = 1 of orichalcum," with at least a 100% value provision (conversely, 50% cost). In that case, the combined value of the True element kernels should be ~500sp at the high end. Given the Rank 11 of the Knack, I'd personally even be fine with approximately the existing values, which creates ~200% value (conversely, ~33% cost).

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Loba
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Loba » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:35 pm

The Undying wrote: If Mataxes is asking this question to determine prices for ED4, it'd be great if this were taken into account. To me, it'd make a lot more sense to get a "1 of each True element kernel = 1 of orichalcum," with at least a 100% value provision (conversely, 50% cost). In that case, the combined value of the True element kernels should be ~500sp at the high end. Given the Rank 11 of the Knack, I'd personally even be fine with approximately the existing values, which creates ~200% value (conversely, ~33% cost).
I've thought about that too - and in fact is my normal inclination. This would more justify the Theran airships mining everywhere.

That being said, some issues arise:
  • * Common Magic Items: Often are woven with one or two kernels (perhaps small ones) but their price would now have to scale?
    * Fire Cannon: Maybe one kernel of Fire & Air would allow 5 shots with a cannon? Otherwise airships, riverboats & seafaring vessels are definitely targets for thieves.
    * Fire Engines: No real issue here as it is never really discussed how much is used to make some distance and it can reasonably be assumed one kernel can power you for half a day or more.

Telarus
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Telarus » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:22 pm

I'm being as thorough as I possibly can with references to 1st edition for the Companion rules.

Fire-engine maintenance was in the 1E Serpent River book. These figures may change.
This is just above the part talking about fire/air kernel costs:
Additionally, crews need to keep their ship's fire
engines and fire cannons supplied with ample amounts of
elemental fire and elemental air. Fire engines consume 1 kernel
of elemental fire for every 200 hours of operation (about
1,000 miles of travel under normal speeds). Each time a captain
or ship's engineer increases a ship's Speed step beyond
its regular rating, whether in combat or in the course of travel,
the kernel loses 10 hours of life (50 miles of travel).

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Loba
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Re: Info Search - cost of Elemental Kernels

Post by Loba » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:38 am

Mataxes wrote: Was there ever a place in the first edition books where the cost/value of kernels of True Elements was given? I know there's a table that first appeared in the Player's Compendium from ED Classic (which appeared again in the ED3 Player's Companion). But I can't recall now whether the values there were just made up, or extrapolated from a comment in one of the ED1 books... because I've looked in all the likely places, and haven't found anything.
I found a partial answer for you. Crystal Raiders of Barsaive (ED1) - page 126:
Each fire cannon can hold five kernels of elemental fire and five kernels of elemental air. The cannon works by mixing one kernel of each elemental substance, creating a fireball. Elemental air can be purchased five kernels to a box. Because elemental air can be found throughout the skies of Barsaive, its price is relatively stable across the province at four hundred silver pieces per five kernels.
This essentially gives you about 80 sp per air kernel and fire should be more expensive. I couldn't find fire anywhere. That being said, I would assume if you buy them one at a time they are higher cost (100sp) and while it says they can be bought for a box of five at a time - it makes you wonder if you must already have a container or if the container price is not worth mentioning. There are also prices for building the ships weapons here.

~ Loba

p.s. Thanks Telarus for reminding me to look in the Serpent/Sky Raider/Throalic books.

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