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A Dozen Trade Goods
A Dozen
by Michael Hammes
Trade Goods
Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons ®
Player’s Handbook
Most PCs only become involved in trade in a peripheral way, usually by serving as caravan
guards or watching over a warehouse. But trade, and its peripheral effects, can do so much more
to enhance the campaign.
Trade provides adventure possibilities for the PCs. Sure, there are always guards needed, but
guards can only do so much. Much more challenging is to have the PCs take on the local cabal
of pirates or bandits with the intention of eliminating the source of the trade disruption.
The GM can turn this on its head by having the PCs act as pirates or bandits, interfering with
the slave caravans headed to the Dread Citadel or stopping a shipment of high-quality dwarven
weapons from reaching the expansionist orc tribe.
Merchants are always looking for new sources of goods and faster ways of delivering them.
PCs can aid merchant expeditions in blazing trade routes through inhospitable lands, or just do
the job themselves.
Of course, trade can play a more subtle role. After all, gold and gems are fine, but you can’t
eat them and in many places (frontier lands, alien cultures, nomadic lands) they don’t go far; a
nomad would rather have the paladin’s horse in trade for his guide services than a bunch of use-
less, yellow metal.
Also, those bandits who are preying on caravans aren’t very likely to have a nice chest filled
with coins and gems just waiting to be recovered by the PCs (unless they knocked off the mili-
tary payroll train). Rather, they probably have all manner of goods lying about their camp that
they’ve obtained and are trying to figure out how to unload without creating suspicion. Even the
fabled wealth of the dwarves tends to lie in ores and base metals such as iron rather than gold or
g e m s .
In short, give a couple of minutes of thought to trade and how it works in the campaign world
and you will be surprised at the possibilities for expanding your campaign you can come up with.
Much as the real world thrives on commerce,
so does the fantasy world. Whether it is the
farmer selling his wheat to the miller to grind into
flour for the baker to bake into rolls, or the jewel-
er crafting a piece for the royal ball, commerce is
everywhere. And a large part of commerce is
t r a d e .
Trade is the result of people in one area want-
ing, or needing, something that is produced in
another area. Trade can be local, regional, nation-
al, international, or, in a fantasy world, even inter-
p l a n a r.
This PDF presents a dozen trade goods for
inclusion in your campaign. From relatively
bulky goods (Dwarven Rock Salt) to animals
(Nassyryan Stallions) to fine spirits (Ry c i a n
Wine), the included goods in this PDF cover the
gamut of possibilities.
ADozen Trade Goods is copyright © 2004 Michael Hammes. A l l
text in this book is designated as open game content. You may not
distribute this PDF without permission of the author. Dungeons &
D r a g o n s ® and Wizards of the Coast® are Registered Tr a d e m a r k s
of Wizards of the Coast and are used with permission.
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A Dozen Trade Goods
The Trade Goods
All trade is simply a matter of “buy low, sell high”; someone
buys something for a lower price than it sells for somewhere else
and in the process makes profit. The actual good can be anything
from wheat to pearls; the only thing that matters is that there is a
profit to be made by selling the good to someone else for more
money than you paid for it.
While there is certainly money (and, in fact, quite substantial
sums) to be made in wheat, lumber, iron ore, etc., this PDF con-
cerns itself with trade goods that are more appealing to the adven-
t u r e r. These are goods that are valuable in relatively small quanti-
ties when compared to wheat or iron ore; an entire wagon of
Banaealdar wood goes a long way indeed.
Thus they are easy to include in treasure hoards, many can in
fact be carried on a person. This keeps the PCs from getting caught
up in the logistics of figuring out how to transport and sell twenty
wagonloads worth of wheat in order to get the 1,000 gold piece
value that they represent (not that this wouldn’t be fun to play out)
while at the same time presenting both the players and GM with
opportunities for role-playing beyond simply stuffing coins in their
p o c k e t s .
The goods are written up according to the following template:
I n f o r m a t i o n : A description of the good, its origins, the basis
of its value, and anything else that is pertinent to introducing the
good to the campaign.
Cost Basis: Because each campaign is different, rather than
placing a fixed gold piece value on the given items they are based
on the quantity of the good that can be bought by one year’s worth
of labor for an ordinary, unskilled commoner. I included this
measure as a way to show just how valuable, relatively speaking,
such goods are when compared to the worth of labor provided by
an ordinary person living in the world. If you do not wish to use
this measure, simply substitute 50 gp in its place (so that each
quantity listed costs 50 gp).
The cost represents the worth of the item where the PCs are
staying. Obviously, it will be less expensive (between 10% to 50%
of the listed value as determined by the GM) at the source. T h i s
was done because the PCs are more likely to encounter these items
away from their source and, whether it be they or some merchant
who will hire them, will draw upon this number as a base when
deciding how much profit they can make (let’s see, I know I can
sell this bolt Deepdale silk for three times what this merchant is
asking for so maybe I should pick some up).
Special Rules: The quantifiable effect, if any, that the good in
question has relating to the mechanics of the d20 fantasy game.
Information: This rare blond hardwood is found only in elven
forests. More durable than most woods, it is rare even in its home-
lands as the elves harvest the wood only from fallen or diseased
All exports of Banaeladar wood are tightly controlled by the
elves, which derive substantial revenues from its sale, and anyone
caught poaching the wood faces the harshest of penalties; cutting
down a living, healthy Banaeladar tree is punishable by death.
Banaeladar wood is prized by the wealthy for its unique appear-
ance, longevity, and, of course, exclusivity. A Banaeladar chair is
the prize possession of many a successful merchant, and only the
wealthiest can afford a Banaeladar desk or cabinet; an entire
Banaeladar dining set is the province of royalty.
Cost Basis:
1 pound of Banaeladar wood = 1 year worth of
l a b o r
Special Rules: Banaeladar wood is among the hardest of all
woods (Hardness 6, Hit Points 12/inch of thickness) and any item
created from it is automatically of masterwork quality. A l t h o u g h
used exclusively for furniture outside of the elven realms, the occa-
sional wooden shield has been seen in the hands of powerful elves:
I t e m
H a r d n e s s
Hit Points
Banaeladar light shield a
Banaeladar heavy shield a
1 8
a all Banaeladar items are of masterwork quality
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A Dozen Trade Goods
Information: All silk is a precious commodity in its own right, its
cool touch and the vibrancy it lends to colors making it the preferred
material for the clothing of the wealthy and powerful all over the
realms. But while the ordinary individual, who cannot afford silk in
any case, thinks all silk is alike, that is simply not true. Much like one
ale is not like another, one silk is not like another, and among the finest
of silks is that produced by the halflings of Deepdale.
The generally dry and mild climate of the dale, combined with the
expert husbandry of generations of halfling silk farmers, has led to the
breeding of a superior sort of silkworm. Add to this the exceptional
skill of the halfling silk weavers and dyers and you have a product that
is on par with the best in the world.
N a t u r a l l y, since it is such a valuable commodity, the halflings keep
tight control of the entire process. All trading is done through the sole
trading post at the northern height of the dale. Any visitors or mer-
chants, including other halflings, are politely confined to the trading
Deepdale patrols constantly scour both the valley floor and the steep
hills surrounding it for spies and those who simply “got lost”, swiftly
evicting them sans their possessions from the area and barring them
from returning. Of course, those who are actually caught with a silk-
worm or cocoon in their possession face much stiffer penalties, up to
and including death.
Cost Basis: 2 square yards of Deepdale silk = 1 year worth of labor
Special Rules: N o n e .
cities make them among the most efficient at winning salt from the
rock, more salt than the dwarves could ever hope to use themselves.
Although dwarven rock salt is no more valuable than any other
type of salt, it is often more readily available and, because it is often
overlooked by other traders, the market is still wide open for those on
good terms with the mountain dwellers. Finally, unlike gold, gems,
and metals, salt is a very necessary commodity, especially in food
p r e s e r v a t i o n .
Cost Basis: 10 pounds of dwarven rock salt = 1 year worth of
l a b o r
Special Rules: N o n e .
Information: Everyone who wants to be someone wants to wear
j e w e l r y. But not everyone who wants jewelry can afford it, or at least
not the kind of pieces that they want. Well, whenever you have a
practical problem, count on the gnomes to deliver a practical solution.
Among the greatest jewelers in the world, gnomish artisans have
recently begun to explore the market for paste (a brilliant, lead-con-
taining glass used to make fake jewelry) and are finding great suc-
cess. So skillful is their work that it takes even an expert more than
a momentary glance to tell the fake from the real, and an actual mas-
terwork example of the craft requires careful study by even the most
experienced appraiser.
Of course such pieces are still relatively expensive, but compared
to the prices of the real thing, gnomish paste is a barg a i n .
Furthermore, some intrepid owners of fine jewelry have discovered
the prudence of keeping the real thing at home, safe from theft, and
wearing a gnomish copy while out in public.
Cost Basis: 1 gnomish paste diamond = 10 years worth of labor
( e ffectively one-tenth of the true value of the gem that the paste
copies, so that a gnomish paste piece designed to resemble a 1,000 gp
emerald would cost 100 gp.)
Special Rules: It takes an Appraise check (DC 15 for an average
piece, 20 for a masterwork piece) to tell a piece of gnomish paste
from the real thing. Failing this check means that the appraiser has
assumed that the paste is the real thing.
Information: When most people think of dwarves they invari-
ably think of metals, precious and otherwise, and they have an image
of the stout people toiling in endless mines and fire-lit forges. Even
those engaged in regular trade with the bearded ones often focus only
on weapons, gems, and mass quantities of metals.
Yet those same mountains and hills that produce those glittering
treasures often contain another valuable commodity: salt. And the
same engineering talents that allow the dwarves to create their fine
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A Dozen Trade Goods
Information: Valued for its long-lasting and delicate odors, as
well as its reputed aphrodisiac properties, Jeharian perfume is
sought after the world over by both men and women to enhance
their attraction to members of the opposite sex.
As with most such goods, the exact manufacturing process that
results in the production of Jeharian perfume is kept a secret and,
although a number of alchemists claim to have discovered its vari-
ous components, no one has yet been able to duplicate the perfume
with complete success.
Of course, there are other choices of perfume out there, and many
of them quite good. But a true lady or gentleman (i.e. one of wealth
and stature) will only settle for the best, and that best comes from
J e h a r i a .
Cost Basis: 1 vial (1 ounce) of Jeharian perfume = 1 year worth
of labor
Special Rules: Jeharian perfume is especially prized by practi-
tioners of Enchantment magic, imposing a -2 circumstance
penalty to the target of a charm person s p e l l .
Nassyryan Stallion
L a rge A n i m a l
Hit Dice: 3d8+12 (25 hp)
I n i t i a t i v e : + 2
S p e e d : 70 ft. (14 squares)
A r m o r C l a s s : 15 (–1 size, +2 Dex, +4 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 14
Base A t t a c k / G r a p p l e : + 2 / + 9
A t t a c k : Hoof +4 melee (1d4+3)
Full A t t a c k : 2 hooves +4 melee (1d4+3) and bite –1 melee (1d3+1)
S p a c e / R e a c h : 10 ft./5 ft.
Special A t t a c k s :
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
S a v e s : Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2
A b i l i t i e s : Str 16, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6
S k i l l s : Listen +4, Spot +4
F e a t s : Endurance, Run
E n v i ro n m e n t : Temperate plains
O r g a n i z a t i o n : D o m e s t i c a t e d
Challenge Rating: 1
A d v a n c e m e n t :
Level A d j u s t m e n t :
These animals or similar to light warhorses but of a superior breed. They usually are not
ready for warfare before age three. A Nassyryan stallion can fight while carrying a rider,
but the rider cannot also attack unless he or she succeeds on a Ride check.
C a r rying Capacity: A light load for a Nassyryan stallion is up to 230 pounds; a medi-
um load, 231–460 pounds; and a heavy load, 461–690 pounds. A Nassyryan stallion can
drag 3,450 pounds.
Information: All the rage throughout the land, the fur
from this ferocious jungle predator is much prized by the
ladies at court who use the fur to trim hats, gloves, stoles, and
even capes.
The dear price of this fur is further enhanced by the fact
that the native tribes consider the animal sacred and kill any-
one poaching or trapping the animal on their lands. At the
same time, the possession of a leopard fur among the natives
is the symbol of a great warrior, who can only gain such a fur
by single-handedly stalking the animal and killing it with a
blessed knife.
Cost Basis: 1 leopard skin = 3 years worth of labor
Special Rules: N o n e .
Information: The desert peoples of Nassyrya are known
for two things: their fierce warriors and the refined steeds
that they ride.
Bred through countless generations in the depths of the
desert, Nassyryan stallions are universally intelligent, swift,
and beautiful. So desirable are they that among the
Nassyryans a man’s wealth is measured in the number of
horses he possesses. And yet, while even a Nassyryan of rel-
atively modest means will own such a horse, that same horse
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A Dozen Trade Goods
Information: While ale is produced the world over, few places
are ideal for producing really good wine. So dependent upon soil
composition and weather is this process that experts in wines can tell
down to the vineyard and year when and where a given wine was
p r o d u c e d .
And, if you asked such an expert about their favorite wines, they
would invariably name a Rycian wine among them. Grown along
the steep banks of the Rycian river, Rycian wines are known for
their supple and seductive flavors, a result of having been cultivat-
ed in the soil for over twenty generations.
Rycian wines are a staple at the tables of the Emperor himself
and, as a result, are also hugely popular among the wealthy and
socially conscious.
While the profit and popularity of Rycian wines is enough to
make them a shrewd investment for those with appropriately deep
pockets, it would be amiss to not mention that the overall pleasant-
ness of the Rycian people makes commerce with them exceedingly
Cost Basis:
would easily fetch a handsome sum in other lands and the true
beauties of the breed are truly worth a king’s ransom.
Of course, obtaining such a magnificent animal is no easy task
as the Nassyryans guard their horses jealously and no amount of
money will convince them to part with an animal if the person
attempting to buy it is not deemed worthy; it goes without saying
that horse theft is punishable by death.
Although the Nassyryans ride these horses into battle (they are
light warhorses after all) those outside of Nassyryan lands are too
valuable to risk in such a mean endeavor. Rather, they serve as
studs to better the bloodlines of native stock and as racehorses for
the ultra-wealthy.
Cost Basis: 1 Nassyryan stallion = 80 to 200 years worth of
l a b o r
Special Rules: Nassyryan stallions are a superior breed of light
warhorse (statistics on previous page).
Information: Small, knotted trees dot the landscape of
Pantania, a region known for its dry and mild climate and war-
ring, fractious tribes. Although an outsider might not consider
them much to look at, the locals revere these trees as holy. To
the Pantanians, the olive tree symbolizes abundance, glory, and
peace and they call the oil they press from its fruit “liquid gold”.
Used by the locals in everything from cooking to anointing
their kings and holy men, Pantanian olive oil has become prized
in the remainder of the world as well. It is a salutary food item,
improving the flavor of hundreds of recipes with its light and
often slightly nutty flavor. Said to be good for health, many peo-
ple will take a spoonful of olive oil on an empty stomach, swear-
ing that it promotes vitality and stomach efficiency.
Cost Basis: 1 small amphorae (1 gallon) of Pantanian olive
oil = 1 year worth of labor
Special Rules: None.
2 bottles of recent vintage Rycian wine = 1 year
worth of labor
Special Rules: N o n e .
Information: Considered a great delicacy by those who can
a fford it, Styrclyz caviar comes from the untamed reaches of the
heavily forested Styrclyz Mountains.
There, in the hundreds of small lakes that dot the remote valleys,
live the sturgeyn whose eggs form the basis of the caviar. Once a
y e a r, in a period lasting a month, the small local populace of
freemen moves to the lakes to fish the sturgeyn, cutting them open
and removing their eggs before sewing them up again so that they
may produce more the next year.
All this happens under the watchful eye of the Styrclyz druids,
who not only ensure that the local freemen take care of the fish but
also keep out those who would exploit the fish for their own gain.
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