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Old February 23rd, 2014, 05:10 AM
SpaceBadger SpaceBadger is offline
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Laclede takes the stacks of pre-printed lists of proposed trade goods and passes them to be
distributed to everyone in the room. "Some of these items may surprise you, and I expect to hear
some laughter and perhaps disbelief as you peruse these lists that I have prepared, setting out
what I propose as some ideal potential trade goods. Since the initial expedition will be
travelling to Mars by ether ship and then out to the hills and highlands by caravan and pack
animals, I have concentrated on items that I believe will have the best ratio of value to burden
(which is not only weight but also bulk). This is to maximize the trade value of what we will
have with us as we establish this new trade system, the better to impress those with whom we will
be dealing. Trust me, with the state of trade in the wild areas of Mars, actual goods on the
table or carpet carry MUCH more impressive value than promises of goods to be delivered at a
later date."

Laclede smiles out at his audience. "I can hear from some of the comments the general reactions
that I expected, so let me explain a few of these items that may seem the most odd to you. Miss
Boynton, the American Ambassador's daughter who was kidnapped and imprisoned by a tribe of High
Martians, has assured me that they were utterly delighted with the small quantity of Graham
Crackers that she happened to have among her rations, so those go right on the list. It is well
established that both Canal Martians and Hill Martians are absolutely besotted with this simple
candy," he produces a box of lemon drops, " so I propose bringing not only a large supply of
these, but also similar sweets, my selective criteria being similarity to the lemon drops in
either consistency, sweetness, or sourness." He dumps out the bag to reveal a variety of hard
candies, stick candy, and boxes of Luden's cough-drops. His next bag has another box of raisins,
a sack of dates, and a sack of prunes. "Dried fruit preserves well for travelling in dry
climates, and except for the Swamps of Gorklimsk, everywhere on Mars is a dry climate. All of these
examples also retain their taste very well in drying; before we leave, I intend to inquire as to
the possibility of drying citrus fruits, as I know nothing about that, but believe that if such
can be prepared they would appeal to Martian tastes."

"I have other items on the list, trade goods in metals which are in poor supply on Mars, or goods
that have evidently not yet been invented," (or have been invented and forgotten, he thinks to
himself, but does not say aloud so as not to distract his audience), "such as field glasses,
telescopes, small signalling mirrors, and the like. But I want to emphasize these foodstuffs that
I have here on the table before me. I believe that these are the most important items for us to
obtain favorable exchange in barter, for two reasons: first, that they are consumables, so that
if we establish a demand for them we can continue to trade in them to supply that demand; second,
that to the Martians they are exotic luxuries. Here on Earth most food is not traded over long
distances because it is simply not worth the transport expense. But imagine this box of raisins
as a tin of Beluga caviar, or of French truffles, or of the finest Swiss chocolates. For such
goods, distance is not an issue, because there are those who crave such delicacies and will pay
enough for them to make the trade profitable even over long distances. That is what we have here,
if we can guess intelligently and experiment with our proposed customers and establish those
tastes for these items as luxury goods. We will not be hawking these in a marketplace to such
humble Martians as may wander past seeking lunch or dinner; no, we will be giving these as gifts
to the highest decision-makers of whatever groups we are dealing with, and then establishing our
trade with them, in exchange for the liftwood."

"Those are my ideas and the principles underlying my reasoning, gentlemen. You can see I have
many more possible items on the lists that I have handed out; the choosing of amounts of each
good will be a balancing act attempting to achieve the best value for burden, as I commented
earlier. Now, gentlemen, if you have any questions, I will do my best to satisfy them."
GM Maxim #2: If the Players have any kind of Ship, deckplans are mandatory. Otherwise, the Players will wander around with vague and contradictory notions of where things are, and Chaos results.

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Last edited by SpaceBadger; June 2nd, 2014 at 03:18 AM.. Reason: Swamps of Gorklimsk
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