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I would definitely portray him quite similar to Alan Turing.

So one of the magi is interested in selling salt at greater than £2/magus per year, under the Quasitore's nose. I cooked up stats for an average merchant with a Minor income, with personality traits of Brave -2 & Rapacious +3. The magus is offering one tonne of salt (£120 or 432 Labor Points) to see what they can do with it in the first year; expecting ~80% of the salt's gross sales in payment. Their first meeting will be in person in a nearby town, without revealing their magical nature. If the magus is happy with the merchant's performance, they'll unload a greater volume of salt to bring in profit (probably 10 tonnes, if I had to guess).

Is there a guideline for 'liquidating' an investment like this? What would be the most appropriate and self-enriching tactic this merchant would attempt, without taking the dangerously short-sighted route of spending it on a cross-country binge of wine, women, and song and hiding from the shadow investor that gave off the worst feeling of heebie jeebies they ever felt.

My guess, based on what you've written, is that he would turn around and liquidate his holdings, without regards (or understanding) to the nature of the local economy.

If the magi gave him instructions on not to flood the local market, he might have a slightly different tactic, but it would still maximize his gain, at the expense of any possible market flooding. In other words, he will likely still cause problems for the magi, if they can determine the source of his commodity acquisition...

This includes the question of how long it takes.

Does investing it directly into your business count as flooding the market? What are the guidelines for flooding? That 'danger' is so often cited, there must be some kind of guideline rather than a hand-wavey "...and then you go to Tribunal." Covenants only vaguely considers the idea with the inflation rule, and that would only covers covenant expenses going up 1% if they bought something with that single tonne of salt.

As an aside, with cultural values being different from a modern perspective, would a greedy merchant be more likely to take a functionally long-term tactic? I'm thinking something like shoving it into a warehouse for commodity speculation, earning 44 Labor Points per year and work normally (will become Wealthy in 5.4 years rather than 15 based on current stats). Then when the magus comes to collect in a year, attempt to stall by going "I can give you a full £96 right now by liquidating your investment, or let me hold onto it for longer for a bigger return and it will be even better if I have more." Then, just before being given the next load of salt, invest that single tonne into his business to move up to Wealthy and have the new load of salt go into the commodity speculation box where it'll produce 87 Labor Points per tonne per year.

I'm not sure that there is an answer within the RAW, let alone a guideline.

Where is the guideline that converts Mythic Pounds into labor points? I know that the reverse is certainly not allowed.

City & Guild. And the Drawings investment gets very close anyway.

Not really, what you are describing is the beginnings of a ponzi scheme where the factor is embezzling funds to enrich himself. He only earns money/labor points when he sells his holdings. In other words, when he's doing the job he's supposed to do is when he enriches himself. Sitting on a salt mine does him no good until it has been sold and converted into other goods and ultimately liquidated.
The guideline your pointing me to talks about what happens when traders traid their efforts for the finer things in life, and they may be purchased from the annual profit, detailed in the Labor chapter or available if a Social Status virtue would allow.

Not really to what part?

Yes, that is how Drawings works, which is certainly close enough for many purposes in regards to turning Labor Points into money (sack of jewelry and such). What are you trying to tell me with restating it?

And why are you ignoring my comments about the ponzi scheme and embezzling?

Investing the tonne of salt into his business immediately suggests that there is perfect matching of sales to receipts and he can pay off the debt he's incurring when he wants to do so. He can't really draw on the salt, it's inventory, it's what he's supposed to sell. Now, he can draw on the proceeds from the sales of salt he makes. That's his income. But that huge pile of salt is his inventory. If he attempts to stall the magi and sell it all at once, investing it into his business, it's much the same issue of flooding the market.

I was hoping asking for clarification on the "not really" part of your comment would give me context to know how to respond, since it's part of the same sentence. Also, describing it as an embezzling Ponzi scheme doesn't actually tell me whether the rules even support such a tactic. That's why I was asking various questions. Just to be more clear:How long does it take to sell a tonne of salt?
Is a tonne of salt enough to flood the market?
How much can you sell before it counts as flooding the market?
What cities are big enough to absorb a tonne of salt without being flooded?
What does flooding the market specifically do?
Does the market respond the same way to business invested Labor Points regardless of cause?
Is the market flooded if you buy a large number of Drawings with your Labor Points?
Does investing the salt into commodity speculation count as investing directly into the business, specifically in regards to market flooding resistance?
Is commodity speculation and delayed liquidation in character for a greedy, medieval merchant in this scenario?
What other tactics are there with this large windfall?How many of these questions are going to have the ultimate answer be "the rules say nothing, but you should just give the magus a pile of money and then go to Tribunal"?

Not really, to drawings working as you describe. He can't really draw on the salt, because it is inventory, something to be sold. So, if he's "drawing" on the salt, he's drawing on credit in anticipation of selling the salt, at best, or embezzling, and keeping a large portion of the proceeds of salt sales and spending those in anticipation of future salt sales. If you take a drawing on inventory, you are taking a drawing on credit, there's a loan somewhere, based on the underlying asset.

You are asking the wrong questions, however. What is the story you wish to tell about the magi attempting to circumvent the Quaesitores and limiting how much of the commodity can be sold? The answer to the questions you asked are all predicated on the kind of story you wish to tell. All you can do is approach it with a sense of what is reasonable. Is it reasonable that the factor (that's what the merchant is) sold it all at once? Is it reasonable that he sold it long before and skimmed from the proceeds, enriching himself and only paying the magi a year after it was sold? You can flood virtually any market, depending upon the timing of sales, but flooding the market is disadvantageous to the factor, since it means his cut is smaller, as the proceeds will be smaller.

In order,
It takes as long as you want it to take. Perhaps he utilizes multiple outlets for sale and liquidates quickly, perhaps he can't liquidate the salt quickly, because someone else just unloaded a lot of salt, and he wants the market to rebound, mainly to enrich himself.
A tonne of salt is probably not enough, IMO. I think salt was used a lot, some of my readings indicate huge amounts of salt were produced during that time frame.
Don't know what cities it might be.
There are no labor points as you describe. Again, please indicate where you find that you can turn mythic pounds into labor points,because I don't see it. And it's not a draw on the business.
You don't buy a draw, you acquire a physical item that represents some value in mythic pounds with labor points you've generated during the course of doing business.
The way I understand speculation to work, according to C&G, is that it accumulates labor points for each year of speculation and they are realized upon liquidation of the commodity. He could only invest the salt as a commodity if he were actually selling the salt (doing his job) because one invests labor points for speculation as a proxy for the commodity.
I would say that commodity speculation is probably not in character if he's greedy.
The salt is not a windfall. It's inventory that he's being loaned, essentially. He's assuming a liability, promising the magi to sell it and give them proceeds of sales, minus his cut. If he acts like it is a windfall, then he's dangerously close to embezzling and creating different stories altogether. :smiley:

City & Guild. Page 40. Column 3. Last paragraph.

Is there a particular reason to argue over the semantic language of exchanging one thing (LP) for another (gold necklace)? There's nothing wrong with using common language to describe the means of obtaining something (gold ring) in exchange for payment (fruits of your labor).

Thank you.
Sure, there is nothing to prevent the merchant from monetizing the salt, in some way, accruing all of the benefits of the proceeds of the sale to himself and investing it in his business as labor points. Of course, it's strictly forbidden for him to then convert those labor points to mythic pounds by the system, so that when it comes time to repay the magi, he's not liquid and can't repay the magi what they are owed. There is limited conversion of labor points allowed via the draw, as you indicate.

Why are you comparing spending a draw to saving up LPs to go to the next level? A draw is a distribution, a liquidation from the business for personal use, and not something done to improve the business, it is the opposite of an investment. Semantics are about meaning, a draw is a distribution. In the case of City and Guild, the draw is the opposite of accumulating labor points to achieve the next income level.

I haven't worked through the math of your proposal of holding onto the salt, investing it into the business and then speculating. I don't think it works, quite simply because the salt, or the proceeds from the salt that move him up to wealthy, which means he has no money to repay the magi. And then, putting the salt into the speculation box, as you put it just means that it is accumulating labor points. The main question you have to ask yourself, in a setting that makes sense, why isn't everyone doing exactly this? You're putting the perfect knowledge of the player or the SG to work as the character or NPC.

Don't forget that he would have to get through guild and municipal officials who control local urban markets, as well as any village or landowner with any interest in the salt trade.

I suppose it is important to note that this is about the time that Venice began actively trying to gain a salt monopoly, too.

Looking at this more closely, inline with the guidelines from City and Guild, I'm wondering how you come up with the idea that £120 is 432 labor points. I only get there if his income is at trivial. See below.

Looking at the text, a merchant of standard means is considered to earn 10 mythic pounds per year, I know this ignores the 432 labor points. Using the table on page 40, and including the errata, we know that 9 labor points are worth 5 pounds to someone with a minor income source. Investing £120, proceeds from liquidating the salt, assuming it is all "invested" into his business is worth 216 labor points. Conversion to labor points represents investing in his business, and so, he would be unable to pay the magi back their £96 (or even a lesser or reasonably close amount) when asked; he wouldn't have the funds to pay them. So he could safely take the £24 pounds and invest that into his business, which yields 43.2 labor points per year. A greedy merchant might skim a £1 to round things off.

Finally, moving to Wealthy doesn't really increase his income level (the amount of income in mythic pounds he earns each year). What increases his income level is a change in his income band (trivial, minor, lesser, etc). Wealthy and Poor determine the amount of free time a character has, all characters in an income band have the same amount of income, regardless of whether they are Wealthy or Poor. To move to the next band requires 1080 labor points, that is, to change his minor income source to a lesser income source costs 1080 labor points, and makes him "poor" within that band, meaning he has to work 3 seasons per year to maintain his income level. Ideally you would have 1200 labor points in reserve to change your social band and preserve your wealth level (free time) with respect to the peers in the new band.

So a greedy character probably isn't likely to take all the proceeds and invest it into his business as labor points, but will instead skim profits from the magi. He will turn around and tell the magi that the salt didn't sell as well as he'd hoped, and they only got £80, or some number less than £96. All the while they see him improving his business and/or living lavishly on the profit from their material. Would the magi be happy with £80? Probably, especially if they can easily create 3 times as much next time around. Of course, next time they don't get £240, they get £220 because the merchant is greedy and ripping them off.

I'm comparing them because in both cases you 'spend' the LP. What you get from it doesn't change the fact the LP is gone in exchange for something, whether it be a business improvement or fancy clothes.

I was under the impression that the errata just changed the 6 to a 9, not the entire 6/12/36 sentence; and I had seen other people discuss on this forum the idea that the math doesn't add up unless you make it 12/18/36 (that latter part was an assumption on my part).

You have to change the entire paragraph, otherwise, it doesn't make sense to be Wealthy.

6 labor points per season multiplied by "wealth level", on average, is necessary to maintain the "wealth" level of the individual, their business interests. If we do labor points x seasons x labor point factor we have: 6x3x2=36 (poor), 6x2x3=36 (average), 6x6x1=36 (wealthy). We know also, that during that same time that a person is earning labor points that they are also earning a certain amount of disposable income, in the case of the minor income, that's £20 per year, or £20/seasons worked for the amount of mythic pounds earned in a season, but the rules say that you can reinvest 1/4 of the amount earned in a year into the business. For an average "wealth" level professional, that's 20/4=5.

The whole section on Money and Investment is somewhat tortured. I think it's saying that if a character wanted to give up the products of a season, he could gain another 1/4 of his income. Consider someone who has a base Characteristics +Ability of 8, they get 8x2x3=48 labor points. Over the course of 2 years (96 labor points), he could, acquire sufficient labor points to maintain his business (72 labor points) for both years and sacrifice a season of work in exchange for more money. In other words, he could work 3 seasons out of 8 to maintain his business interests and one season of work is converted into "cash." Those 24 labor points would be worth, according to the errata ~13.5 mythic pounds, since each 9 labor points is equal to 5 mythic pounds. The last paragraph on page 40 should probably say that there is no way to convert Labor Points into Mythic Pounds without sacrifice of an entire season, which is what the first paragraph is saying.

If we just changed the the 6 to a 9, instead of the entire paragraph, it would mean that a Wealthy person who creates 36 labor points in a season would still only get 5 pounds for the same amount of effort that someone who generates 6 labor points. A Wealthy would have to work MORE than the same professional/craftsman who is POOR, to get the same amount of income.

That being said, I think this particular chapter is a huge mess and falls apart if you poke it too much.

I'm not seeing how there's no sense to be Wealthy in that scenario; you can maintain your business with less work (36LP = 1 year of status-quo). Money having the same proportional value lines up with the repeated fact that income is unchanged between Poor & Wealthy. The same number of Mythic Pounds is required to buy a season's worth of Labor Points (and by implication, vice versa in regards to working more for greater income) regardless of them being Poor, Average, or Wealthy; and would imply why I've seen people say the math works better if it were 12/18/36.

I'll write it out with the original text as well as the errata, but I'll clip some text from the original to make it clearer.

This means that [...] 36 (labor points) from a Wealthy person are worth: Around 5 pounds to a character with a minor source of income.

If you make it as per the errata
This means that 9 Labor Points are worth: Around 5 points to a character with a minor source of income.

The original makes 6 (or 9 as you believe the errata says), 12 or 36 AND a season labor points all equal to 5 pounds. The errata makes it a season of effort, which for a Wealthy person is 36 labor points, and is thus worth £20 pounds.