One PC in my saga is a Redcap with a magical flying ship that can carry him and a reasonable amount of cargo to most parts of Mythic Europe, though he mostly travels around the Rhine Tribunal and the neighbouring lands. I wonder if you would be willing to participate in an online, ongoing trading experiment; you'd need to be part of a currently running saga.
If you want to assume that Rufus arrives at your covenant, he does. That's true even if your saga is in a very different area of Mythic Europe! In this case, you just need to PM me; I'll answer playing the part of Rufus. On his first visit, you can negotiate when his next visit(s) will take place. You can also a) ask him for stuff that you want and b) offer him stuff that you might want to trade; he'll do the same. Rufus guarantees complete discretion; but if you give me permission in your PM, I'll eventually post what trades Rufus conducted, as a resource for other forum participants.
The stuff you can offer up/request can be anything, not just vis or Hermetic books. Enchantments, seasons of service (including stuff from specialized mundanes, e.g. the services of a capable illuminator), votes at Tribunal, longevity rituals, a champion to wage a Wizard War or certamen, silver, slaves, holy relics, mundane merchandise (from tons of grains, to gemstones, to livestock), apprentices, a marketing campaign for your just written (or soon-to-be-written) Summa on Herbam ... anything goes. The only restriction is this: you can only offer stuff that your current PC covenant has (or can easily acquire), and is willing to part with in exchange for whatever you'll agree on. This is not an exercise in creativity, but something of a simulation of hermetic trade; do not offer a thousand dragon tears in exchange for the original of Apromor's third Tractatus on Perdo, unless in your game you really have a thousand dragon tears and are willing to exchange them for the aforementioned Tractatus. Rufus may or may not accept the trade (in most cases, I expect he won't!) but if he does, I'll guarantee that either the PC covenant in my saga, or some other covenant in a PM I've received, is willing to meet the other end of the bargain. In fact, all trades will actually take place in my saga!
In my Praesidium Orae campaign there is a redcap waystation attached to the covenant- this is a rather fast moving (and back dated) campaign, but if you would like to join as Rufus to trade by way of the waystation I believe it would help with the setting.
Thanks for the offer! But note that I am not quite seeking a spot as a player in a saga. Instead, I am trying (as a SG) to get a sense of what would be a reasonable flow of trade in the Hermetic world, through a very "simulationist" experiment.
I've found that most SG decide what is available to their PC covenants based on a whim/what they think spurs a good story. While this can certainly be a good approach, it often breaks suspension of disbelief; and in general does not help the SG who could spin a good story both in the absence and in the presence of a given story element, but is just as curious as his players about which of the two options would "more naturally" arise. How easy is it to find a good illuminator? How would vis exchange rates vary in the presence e.g. of a particularly abundant source? How would books, and lab texts, really be priced? How about seasons of service? How often would the PCs be offered ... stuff (and what stuff?) in exchange for their votes at Tribunal?
In my little experiment I'm trying to replace the SG's whim with something "real": what other PC covenants would actually be willing to buy/sell. I've figured that if I can get maybe a dozen "regular" correspondents, plus a handful more of occasional ones, I might have a reasonable approximation of the amount of local trade a covenant might carry out within a Tribunal and with the closest covenants in neighbouring Tribunals.
Now, if I joined as a player in your saga, I assume it would be you as a SG to decide what/how much stuff Rufus brings in from the "outside" world. One end of each trade would be the PC covenant; the other end would be SG fiat. Instead, I want both ends of each trade to be "connected" to some "real" PC covenant in some gaming group. But if you are ok for Rufus to just pop up occasionally and buy/sell on the basis of what else he's found in the sagas of other forum participants (perhaps adjusted based on high-medium-low power/vis abundance), I'd be happy to jump in as soon as I get enough contacts -- with only 2-3 people interested, I just cannot reach the critical mass I need.
I am tempted to ask my players to try to bargain with Rufus, but I don't know if it is a good idea.
We are playing a Rhine Gorge saga. Players have established themselves in the remains of Oakdell.
The thing is that I have been stingy with Art books. Most of the "good books" they have are level 25-quality or even worse. Now they have acquired a good "standard" one of Rego (level 18, quality 10) and another one of Perdo (level 14, quality 14), both with restrictions to copy. 28-quality are the best books that i have yet given them). I have done it that way to prevent the sudden specialist, that are able to reach fast to high levels of a previously unkown Art. Every wizard in the Covenant would study the same art if there get a very good book. Qualities of my books are all around 10-12 mostly, so they can improve at a reasonable rate but specialist have to ve very dedicated.
They have claimed almost every vis source mentioned in the Rhine Gorge saga, so they harvest 36 pawn of Vis (Muto, Mentem, Intellego, Imagonem, Vim, Ignem with traces of Herbam, Aquam, Terram, Animal and Creo from the Westerwald) per year (which I think that is high for 4 players).
I suppose that other troupes will have different standards. I don't know if the mix could be healthy.
This is a good point. My saga attempts to be as "vanilla" as possible on availability of vis, silver, texts etc.
All our books were designed according to the core rules, with the exception of one exceptional Creo summa coming from a Major Boon in Covenants (but Rufus is ultra-careful about trading copies of that; instead, if a magus wants to study from it, he can arrange to come and visit our covenant). I tend to consider the books from Covenants a bit "overqualified" unless one assumes, as we do, that 1-2 points of Quality, particularly for the best books, tend to come from bonuses (resonances, florilegia, the bonus of commentaries) that cannot be readily transfered to copies, at least without a story. As for vis, ours is a "medium availability" saga: very roughly 10 pawns/magus/year, including vis obtained through stories, which makes up about half the total and is very intermittent. We have no specialists paid as such with Covenant points, all are designed "by the rules" as grogs (some are, indeed, exceptional).
So, I guess we could do this. If you feel your saga is particularly stingy or generous as far as some resources are concerned:
If it's because your Mythic Europe, or at least your Tribunal (basically, your "local environment") is like that, then we can agree on a "conversion rate": a pawn in Rome is not a pawn in the Levant.
If it's because your covenant is like that, and is unlike the rest of your local environment, then Rufus is a good example of what kind of pressures you could be facing, e.g. to sell a portion of your immense vis harvest to your neighbours. Again, we can agree on a "conversion rate" and see how it works out. Rufus will not be able to provide a large influx of goods all at once, so if he starts to "unbalance" your saga, you can just "cut the link" between our sagas before any damage is done.
I was suggesting you "join" not as a regular player but as a source of trade for the covenant. The game moves quickly enough you will probably need to have a thread in game, if you are interested in having Rufus' "store" be in a fast past time-displaced game...