Alkali: bitter salt, sal ammoniac, soda ash
Black powder: Greek fire, fireworks
Dyestuffs: carbon black, catechu, henna, indigo, madder, murex, ocher, more
Medicinal plants and drugs: bromine, healing earth, iodine, nutgall, perilla seed, santonin, senna, tonic, more
Perfume: attar of roses, civet, lotus, musk, more
Soap (including borax)
Yes, I know, not the list you were hoping for. These are the main chemicals produced in actual reality, which were not invented in the 20th century…so obviously none of the polymer group is included.
Most campaigns wouldn’t allow black powder; I accept that it can be pretty useful and that it could spoil a campaign. The best use I think comes from putting the black powder into a small, tied bag, upon which is then cast a fire trap spell. The bag is then tossed into the middle of a group of humanoids, using an audible glamer, causing the bag to make a definite clinking sound. Money! The humanoids open the bag, setting off the fire trap, which sets off the black powder…boom!
Remember, anything that can be used by the party can also be used by the DM.
Building materials & stoneware
Ceramics: earthenware, pottery
Faience & majolica
Sculpture & statuary
Strictly speaking, ivory is not stoneware…but it has more in common with that than anything else, so I include it with this group.
Jewelry (includes lapidary)
Bronzewares: bells, cannon, statuary
Massive section, and the most complicated. That is because iron ore is made into pig iron which is made into ironmongery which is made into tools which is made into armor (yes, I consider armor a tool). Each step modifies the price, so that the price of armor is based on the availability of toolmakers, who depend on the availability of blacksmiths producing ironmongery, which depends on the availability of smelted iron, which depends on the availability of ore.
Good thing most of that is common.
A similar pathway has to be followed for copper ore smelted into brass alloy, smithed and then made into tools and precision tools. But I will be going more into all of this later.
Cereals: barley, gram, maize, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, teff, tucusso, wheat
Coffee: coffee, chicory, harari
Oilseed: cottonseed, linseed, mustard seed, poppyseed, safflower seed, sesame, sunflower seed, tamarind seed
Pulses: alfalfa, castor beans, chickpeas, clover, flowers, fodder, hay, lentils, peas (dry), soybeans, vetch
I decided to lump all the cereals together because, basically, most cultures just eat what is local. Later I did the same with fruits and vegetables. It’s true, one type might be worth more than another, but for the purposes of the game, it just made sense to assume that if the players were in Norway, the bread would be made of oats, and if they were in Ethiopia, it would be made of teff. This is especially true of fruits and vegetables, which do not transport well in a medieval setting.
Fruits & vegetables:
Citrus: citrons, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarin oranges, oranges, tangerines
Orchard fruits: apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, currants, juniper berries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries, whortleberries
Tropical fruits: avocadoes, bananas, breadfruit, cantaloupes, dates, figs, guavas, loquats, mangoes, olives, papayas, pineapples, pomegranates
You can argue about whether or not a particular fruit is tropical or temperate (orchard), but I don’t really care. You organize them however it suits you.
Tubers: arrowroot, potatoes, sugarbeets, sweet potatoes, tapioca, taro root, yams
Vegetables: asparagus, beans, cabbages, cucumbers, eggplants, garlic, lichee nuts, lily roots, melons, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, rhubarb, tomatoes, turnips, watermelons
Treenuts: almonds, betel nuts, carobs, cashews, chestnuts, coconuts, filbert nuts, hazelnuts, palm nuts, pistachios, tung nuts, walnuts
Some of these groupings may seem strange to you. That is because the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) does not include potatoes with “vegetables,” yet does include watermelons, which are clearly fruits. That is because the organization of fruits, nuts and vegetables is dependent on the manner in which the crops are grown, NOT in their biological classification. Since I am using FAO statistics for my production numbers, I have simply adopted their methods.
Livestock & animal products:
Cattle: buffalo, cows, water buffalo, yaks
Fowl: chickens, fighting cocks, cormorants, ducks, geese, turkeys
Griffs (hippogriffs, that is)
Bristles (from pigs)
Wax: candle & beeswax, vegetable tallow, ozocerite (which is a mineral, but fits here)
Sea Ivory (walrus, narwhal, whale tooth)
Pretty straightforward. The list above doesn’t quite include it all, but other creatures, such as griffons, oliphants and so on can be extrapolated from the above group.
And yes, I include “slaves” as “livestock.” I’m really not hung up on the fearfulness that some seem to have about the prospect of slavery and culture. It had been going on for 10,000 years and I think the prospect of having slaves is as relevant to fantasy as the prospect of owning a twenty foot high oliphant.
This is a long list. It is as long as references I have found for each of these different creatures or products:
Fish: anchovies, barbel, bonito, bream, carp, catfish, cod, crabs, crayfish, cuttlefish, eels, flatfish, flounder, gudgeon, haddock, hake, halibut, herring, lamprey, lobster, lungen, mackerel, mullet, navagu, oyster, perch, pike, roach, salmon, salon, sardine, shark, sturgeon, tilapia, trout, tuna, vogla, whitefish
Sponges & sea slugs
Like fruits and vegetables, I would assume the culture would eat whatever fish was local. Quite a number of those listed are extraordinarily local.
As I said, I don’t have to adhere to these groupings. I could break them down, work out a specific trading model for any one of them and add it to my system.
The problem with that is that my system is huge as it is, and I’m not anxious to make it more complicated.
The file which has all these references listed is an excel file with 14 pages. It’s 4.3 megabytes in size. So while I would love to send a copy to people who requested one, that might be difficult through email (but not impossible).
I don’t really care about the copyright on this. It’s useless without further development (adding in those parts of the world not yet added) and without the table that follows it.
I just can’t reproduce it here, except in a lot of sections. To give you an idea, I’ll take part of one table, the one that lists off the trading cities in the “organized” part of my world. Please note that I have done very little to edit these. I am reproducing them as they appear on my computer…some of the figures are in red or pink, indicating that these are not finalized numbers:
This looks like a lot of work, but it wasn’t put together in a weekend. It was built up over a period of about seven years, since 2001. I have completely reorganized it twice. I never want to have to do that again.
You may also see that it is impossible to define geographically some of these areas. Some are historical, such as Terra Scania, part of Denmark in 1650. But other parts, such as the first one on the list, Altslok, do not exist on Earth.
This is because I made a decision years ago that in any part of the world where humans numbered less than 1 person per square mile, that area would be occupied by non-human races: orcs, goblins, dwarves, elves, what have you. Since my population figures depend on the spread of human beings in 1650, that means vast areas of central Russia and Turkestan are occupied by non-humans, particularly Siberia.
Altslok, for example, corresponds to four earth-territories. The first is an area of Kazakhstan formerly called East Kazakhstan (which I call Croft). The others are three parts of Siberia: Gorno-Altaysk (Roth); Khakassia (Khath) and Tuva (Tuvath). Together these are arranged along the Altai Mountains, comprising a Dwarven Kingdom: a civilized, densely populated island of civilization amid orcs to the west, haruchai to the south and east, and hobgoblins and bugbears to the north.
I remember what these territories are and where they are because I have another huge table, called “Cities”…from which I extrapolate the population figures noted here. You’ll see that Altslok only has two primary markets: Croftshelm and Bokoth. The products of both Roth and Croft are together gathered at Croftshelm before they are traded outwards; because war cannot go on always, I have a world where orcs trade with dwarves—although tensions are necessarily a part of such arrangements. The limits in trade are indicated by the “1” which appears beside both Croftshelm and Bokoth.
Not like Archangel or Astrakhan, just below. Both relatively small populations, but profoundly important trading cities.
I could spend a long time just talking about the kingdoms…and I will, but not now.
Mostly I want to end this by pointing out that the table is extensive. This should provide some evidence of that.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. I can’t remember to explain everything.