|Executive Director of Jewels de Paragon, Pavana Kishore,|
shows the Koh-i-noor diamond on
display at a Bangladeshi exhibition in 2002.
I don’t doubt a lot of worlds would enjoy having these small cheap gems in great proliferation, and the players wouldn’t either, as long as they find three or four hundred of them in a good sized trove. The question is, how do you determine when the gem is pea-sized, and when it is the size of a walnut? Or, for that matter, when it’s the size of a marble, a cherry or an almond? And if you want to have a list for every size and kind of gem, how long is your equipment list going to get?
There’s another problem that I’ve always wondered about. If a garnet or an amethyst is 100 g.p. for a walnut-sized gem (letting that go for the moment), what about when the party stumbles across a geode? Does it just never happen? Because I have to tell you, for a geologist who is dedicated, these just aren’t that hard to come up with. My father found three, two ordinary quartz and one rose quartz) in the five years he was attending the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, back in the 1950’s when a lot of the back country of western Colorado was still unsurveyed. Just little ones, eight or nine inches across, but big enough to get one hell of a lot of stones out of them if the geode wasn’t too pretty to break up. I’ve seen hundreds of amethyst and garnet geodes out on display at various fairs, which seems awful common for something listed as ‘semi-precious’ in the books.
And as far as ornamental stones, I grew up swimming at a beach where we had to walk across a bed of stones to get to where the sand covered the lake bottom, and those stones were in large part either agate, quartz or quartzite. We used to pick out the pretty ones and tumble them, and they came out pretty much the same as the stones I’ve seen for sale in rock shops. My brother had one cut and set into a ring he wore for many years, and it looked as sharp as any agate ring I’ve seen. Seems to me, unless for some reason your world is remarkably short of quartz, the value of the ornemental stones listed is pretty high ... unless, of course, they all weigh half a pound, as gygaxian logic suggests.
Listen, these are just questions. If you’d like to tell me what I’m missing, I’d consider it a great help. I’m just thinking that if agate, which is common enough that the only value in the stone is the effort to tumble it (and it would have been harder in the medieval age, as we used an electrically-powered rock tumbler), how exactly does one decide where the rarity of the stone begins to outstrip the effort it takes to polish and prepare it?
Different subject, them. How much of the arrow, exactly, needs to be covered in silver in order to make it a ‘silver arrow’? Does the whole arrow need to be fashioned from silver? That doesn’t seem likely, since silver’s pretty inflexible and a fired silver arrow is going to fly about as straight as a frog. Can I still use goose feathers? Or is it only that the tip of the arrow needs to be covered in silver? It seems to me that if the shaft is made of wood and covered with silver, that silver is going to flake off when the wood flexes upon hitting anything solid, like bone. But if it’s only the head, which is expected to be metal anyway, that has to be silver, then I don’t see a problem.
Except, how then does one judge how much of any other weapon has to be covered in silver? If only the head of the arrow is necessary, can I just tip the points of my mace? If I tip the front edge of my sword for less money, do I have to roll every round to see if that part of the sword hit, or if I only struck the werebear with the iron part? What if I spackle my weapon with silver bits, or what if when it’s forged, silver is simply introduced into the general alloy? How much silver, exactly, has to be included in the alloy for this to work, and if it is 10% or some high number like that, won’t that make it more likely for the metal to give or break? Listen, it’s costing quite a sum of money to have this thing covered with silver. Surely its much more practical to use a silvered spear, where only the top inch (same size as the arrow which does the same amount of damage) than it would be to try and silver a sword. Right?
Okay, okay, how about this. If I have a suggestion spell, can I use it to suggest to one of my own players that they have nothing to worry about from me; and that if they lie on this table I’m just going to make a little break in their skin; and that they shouldn’t feel any pain as long as they don’t watch what I’m doing; so that if the spell is successful and they fail save, they can be blindfolded so that I can perform a heart-transplant surgery? I mean, if I have a couple of clerics standing by with cure serious wounds spells and a couple of cure light wounds and aid spells, and if I make all my dexterity checks, and I have another heart that a mage could maybe cast a change cantrip on to make it compatible with the player. It was, after all, usually the case that people died from surgery as a result of shock or infection ... obviously if the patient is calm and subject to the suggestion spell, I ought to be able to replace a bum ticker with a little experimentation on some local street urchins before trying the operation, right? Okay, the gentle reader is asking why, but I’m just suggesting that if every organ could be replaced from time to time, why not better organs and stronger organs and organs that were specially grown to increase blood capacity and so on in order to create a race of superbeings with nothing more than the spells I could get from 5th level or lesser characters?
I’m only asking.