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The Costs of Weapons and Armour

by Fabrizio Nuzzaci

It's long time I'm intrigued in Middle Ages dominion's economics; and long time I would like study better the Bruce Heard's Economics.

But I read also you agree that the "canon" equipment's costs (weapons and armors) are too cheap; it's my opinion too.

To solve this, I developed the following solution.

Since it's evident that the selling price of most of the weapons and armors indicated in the manuals (as ex. 48 leather armor = 960 gp) would not even cover the expenses for the work to produce them (1 Armourer 1200 gp/year + 2 Blacksmiths 600 gp/year + 4 Assistants 240 gp/year = 2040 gp/year), we must believe that this expense should be added to the cost of weapons and equipment.
This means that the cost of weapons and armors indicated in the manuals should be considered as the value of the resources required to produce; surely not the final cost.
And we must not forget to add the cost of the merchants, taxes and duties; these too should be added to the cost of resources and production.
And ... the item's quality (from 1 to 3) that, substantially, reduce the armourer production (1/3 for each level).

Thanks to the Gazetteer 2 we could distinguish the profitability of the trade based on the distance, as well as on the type of goods (precious or common) without too many complications.
Gaz. 9 and 11 give us lists of "precious" and "common" goods, and several useful informations; Gaz. 9 (p. 28) states that, if no more detailed rules apply, the Management Cost (= Costo di Gestione) incurred by a merchant is equal to 50% of the Gross Revenue (= Ricavo Lordo).

So we may calculate the "Ricavo Lordo" in this way:
a) for PRECIOUS goods it is: 1) 50% of the "Valore Merci", if sold in a nearby city (same country); 2) 100%, if sold in a nearby village (same nation) or in a distant city (other nation); 3) 200%, if sold in a distant village (other nation);
b) for COMMON goods it is: 1) 25% of the "Valore Merci", if sold in a nearby city (same nation); 2) 50%, if sold in a nearby village (same nation) or in a distant city (other nation); 3) 100% if sold in a distant village (other country).

To calculate all, I'm actually using this my sheet, based on Gaz. 1, 2 and 9/11 informations (sorry, it's still in italian):

(*) The Valore Merci of a single weapon (or equipment worked by armourer) is equal to the cost of the same indicated in the manuals plus "its" own quota of 2040 gp (armourer + 2 blacksmiths + 4 assistants) as production expenses.
(**) Ricavo Netto is the actual gain of the merchant, equal to 50% of the Ricavo lordo (as Costo gestione I mean a fixed quote to pay the merchant's subordinates, the escort, the cost of supplies, etc. ... we cannot calculate all ... ).
(***) Dazi are an additional costs per customs which - on average - Gaz. 9 fixs at 11% ((2d10)/2) on the Valore Merci; for this reason, an additional 11% for Dazi "could" be added to trade in the categories "preziose - distanza 2" and "comuni - distanza 2" only when the trade is directed to a city in "... (other nation)". Dazi could also be really high, depending on politic.

I am sure that could be hard follow me in these arguments, especially in a language that is not mine.
But my sheet will help you for calculations.

Ex: the Final Price for a "low quality" plate armor (PRECIOUS good) [ Valore Merci 68.50 gp of which: 60 for the armor and 8.50 for production cost] in a remote village in another country (Distance 3) will be 245,28 gp, of which: 68.50 gp (= 31%) for Valore Merci, 11,05 gp for Tasse (= 5%), 141,42 gp for Ricavo Lordo (= 64%), plus 24,31 gp for Dazi (= 11%).

You could also apply this system to other type of trade (common and precious) goods.