Rules for trade within the order?

There are a lot of goods and services that magi can usually only get by bartering with other magi. Books are already well covered, and likewise exchanging vis - but what about things like items of virtue, or a particular material (for the material bonus in an item), or trying to find someone who can cast a particular spell for you, or who you can commission a particular enchanted item from?

I know a lot of those things can (and sometimes should) be done via stories, but sometimes it's not that important and you really just want something to roll on to see how long and difficult the search is, you know?

Does anyone have any house rules related to this? Or are there any other systems that have a good barter system to draw inspiration from?

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HoH:MC, p.114 list prices for enchantments and other activities for a Verditius (such as casting rituals, inventing a spell, etc), which are generally fixed by the House Primus and do not fluctuate much.

Non-Verditius Magi can charge what they want, if anything. However they should rarely if ever be more expensive than House Verditius. The Verditius are very mercenary in the jobs they take (it is how the House makes their "living" and feeds their individual Hubris) while often noted as being expensive (again feeding their individual Hubris). This means for any activity that a Verditius can perform, you have their fairly fixed cost which should serve as the general maximum cost. The best non-Verditius at common things and good at rare things might charge as much as a Verditius. Ones offering extremely rare or unique services that a Verditius can not perform, such as something they invented, can charge whatever they want.

So replacing the 2 with a 1 to 1.5 for calculations of most things done by Non-Verditius that you could hire a Verditius for seems reasonable. If you want a range then using something like a [Simple Die/10] + # works, with the # being 0.5 for common and 1 for uncommon (giving you a range of 0.6 to 2). For things a Verditius cannot provide due to it being unique or extremely rare, I would go with a range of 1 to 3 as the range. For random range a [Stress Die/10] + #, with the # being 1 for rare and 1.5 for unique/sole provider.

For non-standard types of Vis, you can look in RoP:M, p.124 which list the cost as their BP/5 in pawns of normal Vis. As for Items of Virtue, in most cases they would not have a value to a Magus beyond the Vis they contain (see "Hermetic Magi and Enriched Things of Virtue" in RoP:M, p.125).

For particular items and materials, most of them could (and should) be acquired through mundane means which would result in a price in silver. If the covenant has a craftsman capable of making it pay the cost for the raw material and their time making it. For things you cannot find in Covenants or A&A, the Pendragon RPG price list might be a good place to start. Look here and be sure to read the notes at the top.

I'm looking less for how much these things would cost (which is pretty well established for a lot of things a magus would want) and more mechanics for the actual procurement process.

Say Alicia of Verditius wants to get a hold of a perfect emerald (enriching objects of virtue might not be directly useful for magi, but perfect vis bearing examples of materials are great for luxury items and gifts). Robertus of Jerbiton in the next tribunal has one, and it's pretty easy to establish what the fair price is.

How long does it take Alicia to learn Robertus has what she needs, and can she convince him to sell? Those are the question(s) I'm looking to answer.

The normal way to search for an item like that would be to send out request to other covenants through the Redcaps. For many services the Redcap network could actually point you to people who have provided a similar service for them.

So if you (the SG) know someone has the item and is willing to sell it (or entertain selling it) then the time would be a round trip message. One season after you send it out is reasonable for within a Tribunal with a good network (and those adjacent to them might take a season more). If you are unsure if someone has the item and is willing to sell, then the chance roll is very much YSMV. I can't help you much here since how common things are is entirely up to your Saga with little in RAW that gives you an average level.

If near the Rome Tribunal than finding someone to enchant something for you is fairly easy. Very common enchanted items (lights, Vis scales, etc) will often even have some already made that you can trade for (whether from the Redcaps or Verditius Magi). For something not with premade stock, figure message time plus enchantment time and a season per some number of Mags to cover back log (saga dependent, though I would use 2 Mags per +1 season).

If you ask the Redcaps and send a bunch of "request" messages for an enchanted item, you would have a round trip message time of 1 season to the Redcaps and within your Tribunal, with say 2 seasons to Rome. This includes not just travel time, but also their proctors reading your request and drafting a reply. The Redcaps would tell you yes or no, they can proctor or have the item for sale. Depending on your Tribunal you will get anything from no replies to a bunch depending on how many enchanters for hire there are. You will get some replies from the Rome Tribunal.

Redcap proctoring would cost however much extra you decide on, but the Redcap network would handle the details of finding and hiring the enchanter. Great for simple or common items, not so good for complex or custom items. They will most likely not proctor non-enchanted items, though would most likely be willing to sell anything they have stock of. For items of Virtue this would depend on how common they are in your game.

So if you had to go through a Rome enchanter, 2 seasons to send a request and get a reply, 2 seasons to confirm, enchantment time, plus 1 season for every 2 Mags enchanted would give you a rough total time. It will take years on average, but that is to be expected with the speed of communication and that you are dealing with producing items that takes seasons to make. Enchanters for hire will have a backlog before they get to your item.

All this is assuming your characters are doing everything by letters from their covenant. If they travel to a Tribunal then things can advance much faster, cutting out all the message time and being able to buy items that are on display.

Don't know if that all helps any.

EDIT: In my saga, at least the plant based items of virtue are reasonably common. Our primary SG rolls a Die and subtracts the Vis contained + a number from the die to find out how many the Redcap Vis bank has at a given time. I can bug him for the actual math if you want.

My answer is that it's very ad hoc.
You'll quickly know what arts the people in the same Tribunal as you are specialised in, so you'll be able to order items/lab scripts from them or offer a trade (I, CrIg expert, will make you an awesome magic central heating if you, ReAu enthusiast, make me an item of flight...).

Rare ingredients such as (semi) precious metals and stones, exotic woods... probably would require going through the red cap network, unless a relevant area lore reveals knowledge of the existence of a specific ressource in that region (Middle Rhine Lore roll would tell you that lead and silver were mined near Ems for example or a House Verditius Lore roll might reveal that the house has its own obsidian source in Sardinia).

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IOS every Tribunal has a fair, where covenants advertise their wares and services and so on, and magi with a particular marketable interest make a show of their fine goods or services. Most magi have non-marketable interests and pursue those matters, but many are interested in what a mage might make available. Furthermore, some covenants have goods and services not particularly related to or dependent on living magi. (There are also lectures and House meetings and other activities.)

I should make a point of having a few magi and covenants from neighboring Tribunals attend, not for the Tribunal meeting but for the fair.

The fair is also a place for grogs to thump chests, companions to show off their more extreme skills and qualities, for covenfolk to mingle and possibly foster and apprentice, for the younger generation craftsmen to find positions, and so on.

Between Tribunals, Redcaps may know someone and can ask around.

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Yeah, in our Hibernian saga a couple magi, the scribe companion and some grogs went all the way to the fair in the Alps. It was a fun adventure and we picked up some interesting things.

However, looking for nothing in particular, what they found was a random selection.

I loved the ancient book about a Quest into Faerie that one of the magi was known to really need, but a magus actually attending was avaricious about books so he bought it for a steep price at the auction, and does not show it to anyone.

It does not seem that we approach an answer. I have struggled with the same thing. What is the chance that the magi find what they want when they go to the Midsummer Fair in the Greater Alps? How long does it take to negotiate a trade by correspondence?

I did a little exercise some time ago, for books, assigning a probability to find a book of a particular class through the redcap network, e.g. 80% for a low level summa (Level 7+2d3 (9-13). Quality 27+1D4-level), 90% for mid-level (Level 11+2d3 (13-17). Quality 27+1D4-level) and 75% for high-level (Level 15+2d3 (17-21). Quality 27+1D4-level ). All rolled per art. Delivery time about 1½ year from decision to delivery (on average). This is deliberately designed to make books less available than they are in many other sagas. A perfect mail order service is anachronistic to me.

For something like a perfect emerald, I would expect any dedicated magus to travel to the Mediterranean. Absent any special contacts or abilities, I would probably give it a 50-50 chance to find in a major Mediterranean trade port (depending a little on how perfect is perfect). More like 5 or 10% to find with a sodalis in Northern Europe. Better chances with a jeweller in a major Northern port. The chance to get a reply on a call through the redcap network, I consider negligible.

Of course, if you have professional merchants in the covenant, or good connections with an independent merchant, these things can be procured more easily. One thing I did introduce at the Fair in the Greater Alps as mentioned previously was one or two redcaps specialising in trading exotic goods from the Eastern Mediterranean, with whom the characters could make connections. I don't, however, think that the redcap network is quite smooth enough to expect such a contact to respond to a broadcast call. If such a merchant takes the commission, I think it is a Profession: trade roll at some ease factor, maybe made annually.

When it comes to ritual castings and magic items, I think it depends grossly on the level. Low-level items can probably be procured from a vis poor junior Verditius in Rome, by a broadcast invitation, and if the vis is paid up front, service should be prompt. The same is the case for low-level rituals, but I suspect that's a moot point.

High-level items, I'd say have to be truly interesting for any capable magus to bother. How about an OoH Lore roll to know someone worth asking?
High-level rituals should be a little easier, since it only is a days work, and could still pay well, but I would not assume that there is an available caster for any given spell. Maybe a 10% chance per tribunal, and there is no way the caster is going to make the journey.

I am not sure these random thoughts are helpful. As you can see, I want to err on the side of inavailability. YSMV

I have a house rule for just this kind of situation and its quite simple.

I make it the subject of a die roll. Depending on the kind of item and the context I set the relevant scores, bonuses, maluses and the DC.

For example if we are playing in germany and someone wants an herb of virtue and the herb in question is locally available I would make it an Area Lore roll, maybe easier if the covenant is near to the kind of location where such an herb might grow, harder if they are further.

Or if the players have access to some sort of market or are allied with a specialist who trades in this kind of item I might decide that it comes more down to a social roll as it depends on their ability to charm the trader into doing something that is a hazzle.

I also tend to give the players a chance to propose an idea in case they are able to think of something creative.

Depending on the outcome of the die roll I would determine degrees of success or failure. So that it is not either "you get it for no significant cost" or "you cannot get/afford it at all". I would consider the cost based on the rarity and usefulness of the item in question.

Since the premise of the OP is that the system has to be designed for a situation where a story to find the item is explicitly not the intention, IMO it has to be so simple that 1 single die roll is enough.

This system is deliberately vague and flexible since it needs to accomodate all kinds of items with widely differing usefulnes.


I did ask our primary SG about how he rolls for Items of Virtue from the Redcap Vis banking service. It is based on a few things: the Redcap bank storing any received from trade/deposit of Vis (while enriched items are mostly worthless to Magi, they are very useful to Redcaps who have no PM/MR), Items of Virtue having about the same rate as the Gift (1 in 5,000) in our Saga, and the results of the roll are just what happens to be available (rather than the total held).

The roll is a simple Die against a target number based on the category of Item of Virtue, modified by how many pawns of Vis they individually hold (more individual pawns in an item increases the likelihood that the vis will be partly use and destroy the item). The result of the roll - TN is how many are available, with a roll of 10 always giving at least 1. Only one roll per year for something, the roll can be annually as long as you have enough vis on deposit to pay, and price is double the normal price of the Vis.

Targets Numbers

  • Herbs of Virtue: 5 + Vis
  • Trees of Virtue: 7 + Vis
  • Formed Stones: 8 + Vis
  • Objects of Virtue: only on a 10

So if you wanted an Emerald of Virtue and asked the Redcaps to get you one if it showed up, you would need at least 4p v.t. or 8p v.f. on deposit and get an annual roll that needs a 10.

Thanks for the replies everyone, I've been tinkering since the OP with an attempt at some rules for this and here's what I've got (this is very in line with some of the thinking in the thread):

Locating an Item or Service

Roll to find someone with the desired thing: Intrigue+Communication+Highest Reputation vs. Rarity (see below)

The logic being that this is kind of a specialised gossip roll (covered by intrigue) through the redcaps/correspondence. Higher reputation magi with more clout have an easier time of this.

You can do it once per season without causing a distraction. Dedicating a season to the activity should improve chances or allow more tries possibly.


If you succeed you find somebody with the thing you want. At this point the storyguide can name a suitable NPC/covenant for you to barter with as a story, or you can abstract that using the following roll:

Roll to acquire the item (generic): Bargain+Communication+Modifiers vs Stress Die+3
Roll to acquire the item (seller known): Bargain+Communication+Modifiers vs Seller’s Bargain+Com+Highest Reputation

The former roll is more abstract, the second assumes you have a statted NPC and just abstracts the negotiations.

Modifiers/bonuses are at the discretion of the storyguide for now (may flesh this out more later). Etiquette may come into play here.

A botch means they refuse to sell, a story may be warranted to resolve this.

Failure means they will trade/sell, but only in exchange for another resource the PC lacks (e.g. Robertus has an emerald of virtue and is willing to trade it to Alicia, but not for vis - he will only accept a dragon's tooth, which he needs for an experiment).

Success means they will trade it for a fair price (worked out via build points etc.)

Item/Service Rarity

This is a very first draught idea of how hard the rolls for different things might be IMS. Obviously the rarity of different things is very saga dependent.

Rarity Ease Factor Example (IMS)
Universal Automatic Success Mundane materials found in the local area, Normal tools and equipment
Common 3 Normal mundane materials not found in the local area, Specialist tools and equipment (e.g. standard lab fittings, glassmaking equipment, surgical tools)
Uncommon 6 Unusual mundane materials (e.g. lion’s blood, Cappadocian salt), Unusual tools and equipment (e.g. alchemical equipment, fittings for a specialist lab, equipment not normally available in nearby tribunals), Someone willing to make a straightforward enchanted item or spell, A lab text for a ubiquitous spell (e.g. Pilum of Fire, Aegis of the Hearth)
Scarce 9 Things of virtue which are found naturally in the nearby tribunals, Exotic tools and equipment (i.e. mundane equipment that is only found outside of Mythic Europe), The location of a common beast of virtue (i.e. which is found naturally in the nearby tribunals), Normal vis in a particular form (e.g apples which contain vis), Someone willing to make an enchanted item or spell that requires a specific mystery or is moderately complex, A lab text for a common spell (any spell listed in core rulebook, plus other suitable spells at the Storyteller’s discretion)
Rare 12 Things of virtue which are not found naturally in the nearby tribunals but are found in the territory of the order, The location of an unusual beast of virtue (i.e. which cannot be found naturally in the nearby tribunals but can be found somewhere in Mythic Europe), Someone willing and able to make a very powerful or unusual enchanted item or spell, A lab text for an obscure spell
Unique 15 Things of virtue which can only be found outside the territory of the order, Someone willing to make an enchanted item or spell that requires original research, The location of a unique beast of virtue (i.e. which can only be found naturally outside of Mythic Europe), A lab text for a forbidden/banned spell

Good work. I like it.

I would add one idea. Bartering should be a lot harder if you want to pay just with vis or other currency, than if you can offer an item of similar rarity. A magus who has a rare item in stock is probably hanging on to it because it might come in handy at a later stage. A magus who is short-vissed, is probably young and inexperienced, and has not yet acquired such stock. Another rare item may be welcome as it diversifies the stock, and there is always that chance that it was just what the magus needed.

This is not relevant for common items, of course.


You may want to address bespoke vs. ready goods, or service availability.

I know exactly what you mean. My intent with the bargain roll was that it should be harder than the initial search roll (hence why the sellers rep is added but the buyer's isn't, or the flat +3 for the abstract roll). Outright success, which would let you pay directly in vis or something similarly convenient, should be relatively unlikely unless you're very good at bargaining.

The most likely outcome is (or is meant to be, at least!) the "they'll trade/do the thing but only in exchange for something equivalent that you don't have on hand" you get for failing but not botching.

It probably needs some tweaking to get the difficulty balance right on that front though. Possibly something in the miscellaneous "modifiers" I've left open, like you get a +3/0/-3 or something if you're offering something rarer/equally rare/less rare in exchange?

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On the face of it this does sound reasonable, but I have a hard time reconciling it with the original intent that you stated.

In the OP you state:

Which gave me the clear impression that you wanted a system that explicitly avoids creating stories. However if your system is designed to say "you need thing X that you dont have in order to get the thing Y which you rolled for", your system is essentially a story-generator, since a story then is the only real solution to then acquire thing X, assuming that you dont then let players roll to see if they can by thing X for thing Z, etc.

The system you created does seem to me like it would achieve its stated goal, but not likely to achieve the goal as I understand the goal stated in the OP.

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I read it as requiring a lab activity to make the thing they want. For instance, you don’t have the item they want on hand but they know you have a CrMe specialist at your covenant so they commission a high level spell lab text in exchange so that magus needs to spend a season or two inventing the spell and then a season transcribing the lab text. Just an example, of course, other possibilities could exist.

I think that is a good thing. To me the most important thing, for me, in RPGs is a good story rather than the spreadsheet-bookkeeping.


Yeah. Twenty-five years ago I too thought that that was the one and only truth of roleplaying. Hence our then sagas were all slow-paced and we never made it through the first year in character.


Ouch. When running, I tend towards one session-one season, which I find slow but stuff happens and there's always something interesting happening somewhere...