Topic: Value of things  (Read 2180 times)


Twezzk

« on: November 09, 2017, 11:54:22 AM »
I think that value of things is historical incorrect.
Furs should be not valuable at all as there was not much use of it (you dont make new clothes all the time) and fur trade was not so developed in that time.
Silver (rings,chains,bretcles) should be waaaaay more valuable given the fact that they are from silver and incredably rare (found only on foreigh traders).
Historicly siberian tribes did not value furs at all.

What do you think?

shorun

« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 01:06:38 AM »
I think that value of things is historical incorrect.
Furs should be not valuable at all as there was not much use of it (you dont make new clothes all the time) and fur trade was not so developed in that time.
Silver (rings,chains,bretcles) should be waaaaay more valuable given the fact that they are from silver and incredably rare (found only on foreigh traders).
Historicly siberian tribes did not value furs at all.

What do you think?

furs are not that valueable in the region itself, but because they are in high demand outside of the region. and if you can trade your fur for a good axe, why would you trow it out? it may be more valueable then the clothes you'd get from it.

there are also several mentions of the byzantines and abbasids being very intrested in northern furs, mostly for status. white fur was imported only and was a sign of your wealth.

Sami

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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 07:05:24 PM »
We're willing to change it all if proper documents are handed over :P

And no matter how many times it is done, there's always need to be redone. Hehe...we could easily end up in constant loop of tweaking only the prices on yearly basis.

But what's the origin of current prices then? This is from the captain's log (ie. news.txt) in 2012

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 - balanced: item prices

   With the help of various historical sources and a few modern studies
        all the item prices have been checked and balanced. Item prices are now
        linked and relative to value of a squirrel hide, which is kind of a
        basic "currency". This "squirrel hide currency" stays a hidden factor,
        but gives us a historically accurate base for item pricing.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Sami | UnReal World creator

Helldiver

« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 04:18:11 PM »
Given how much research Sami has put into every other aspect of the game, as well as how widely known it is that the fur trade was a huge part of the local economy in the "Viking Age", I don't think this is really an issue. And since time spent on summarizing and presenting research is time spent away from coding and planning for this wonderful game, I would like to instead be the one to present OP with the following sources:

I think that value of things is historical incorrect [...] fur trade was not so developed in that time.

I'm not sure why you think the fur trade was underdeveloped between 900 ~ 1100 CE (the era that's roughly taken as the basis for Unreal World's background), as during that time fur trade comprised most of the eastern wing of the Baltic trade. We know this because the rise of the Swedish/Viking Rus and Novgorod (upon whose foundations the Hanseatic League ultimately gained power in the Eastern Baltic lands) would not have happened as we know it today if not for the fur trade.

This blog post lays out the evidence that suggests just how central the fur trade was to Novgorod's economy (making mention of, among other things, blunt arrows, and the counting of squirrel furs being considered an actual basic monetary unit much like farthings and pence in England).

And while that post mostly covers the High to Late Middle Ages, leaving out the heyday of the Vikings, it's far from controversial to say that the fur trade was important even in those times. In fact, archaeologists now believe that this is the period during which the Sámi made the final transition from a subsistence-based hunter-gatherer economy to one that was heavily dependent on trade with outside sources, largely because of the (at first) positive economic pressure exerted by the immense profitability of the fur trade:
Quote
"During the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages, the areas around the Gulf of Finland, Ladoga, and Vaga developed into a dominant fur trading area. This growth was partly due to the expansion of principalities from the Upper Volga, which extended their sphere of economic strength to Zavolochye. It was, however, primarily a result of the fact that the area surrounding the Gulf of Finland was, from the Early Middle Ages, in the process of being integrated into the sphere of influence of the city state of Novgorod. From its infancy in the ninth century AD, Novgorod had built up an extensive network by the end of the tenth century from which skins and furs were exported to the trading center Bulgar on the Volga to the east, to Byzantium in the south, and to Scandinavia and western Europe to the west. As the demand for luxury furs increased during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and Novgorod at the same time experienced competition from other developing Slavonic polities, the city republic extended its trading area to the north, linking in Finno-Ugric tribes living around the Onega and in the Dvina valley. These groups were forced to pay tribute and supply furs to Novgorod for further export." (Lars Ivar Hansen, Hunters in Transition: An Outline of Early Sámi History, 129-130)


In fact, it would not be a severe exaggeration to say that, during this period in history, the relevance of Finland in the flow of world events lay chiefly in the role played by Sámi and Finns in the booming fur trade, and especially the Sámi peoples who most directly participated in it at its very source, gathering the furs themselves. And while later they were forced by authorities to give furs in the form of tribute (and even then it took centuries and centuries for the relationship between locals and outsiders to take on the truly one-sided and exploitative qualities that culminated in the racism and cultural extermination efforts seen in the nineteenth century), originally the Sámi played such an important role in the fur trade that entire categories of commodities were specially developed just to appeal to these trappers and hideworkers:

Quote
"Novgorod's international trading network can thus be said to constitute an institutionalized framework, which enabled the Sámi to develop meaningful exchange relationships with their Finno-Ugric kinsmen to the east. Some of the brooches, amulets, and metal pendants that the Sámi received in exchange must have been produced specifically for such trading purposes by various Finno-Ugric groups connected with Novgorod. The furs that were supplied in return likely ended up in the trading center of Novgorod before they were re-exported to western Europe and other destinations." (Lars Ivar Hansen, Hunters in Transition: An Outline of Early Sámi History, 130)


And of course it's very well known how intensely fur was in demand among the fashionable, wealthy, and/or powerful all throughout medieval Europe, including Byzantium. We certainly do see less evidence of the consumption end of it during the Early Middle Ages as opposed to the High Middle ages or Renaissance / Tudor times. But that can be amply explained by the lack of records, both written and pictorial, which would have preserved knowledge about who was wearing exactly what. And even among the scanty records of the time, there is plenty of evidence of an ongoing demand for fur and its desirability as a symbol of wealth and power. Even today, the heraldic term "vair" refers to a stylised rendition of actual vair fur, which is a fancy word for the white bellies and grey-blue backs of grey squirrel furs pieced together in an alternating pattern... the fact that they turned this (as well as ermine) into a standardized pattern with its own name attests to how popular the original fur was.

In fact, many of the sumptuary laws that were passed in late Medieval European countries, to curtail the spending habits of uppity merchants and lower nobles, focused not just on jewels and silks, but to a large extent what furs could be worn / used on clothing + furnishings and to what extent: it was important, for example, whether you were allowed merely a narrow strip of fur adorning your bedslippers, vs a fashionably wide cuff on your gown, vs getting to have a stupidly luxe whole bedcover made of the aforementioned 'vair'.

And why would these laws even be needed in the first place if there wasn't a vast supply of it already available to people who had the money? Remember, these sumptuary laws tended to be as much about preventing hemorrhage of money from the coffers of  powerful landowners and burghers to foreign sources, as much as it was about enforcing the appearance of an intact social hierarchy, so this also supports the general idea that most luxury furs would have been imported.

[...] there was not much use of it (you dont make new clothes all the time) [...]

As for your assertion that fur clothing does not need to be replaced often, everything I know about furs worn as clothing (at least as the inhabitants of Unreal World would have worn them) suggests the opposite. While Sámi clothing is obviously not the same thing as Inuit clothing, there are still some crucial similarities that I think allow us to extrapolate some facts from what Inuit clothing-making practices have survived to the modern day (the Sámi do still make a lot of their clothing using fur, especially reindeer fur, but sadly I do not have access to good secondary sources about how the Sámi specifically sew their fur clothing).

For one, reindeer fur is overwhelmingly the preferred fur type for both ethnic groups, because of the superior warmth it provides and how versatile it can be, as well as the comparative ease of hunting reindeer as opposed to wolves or bears or the like. It's also easier to be assured a steady supply of a grazing herbivore like reindeer, unlike other fur-bearing animals which provide only small pelts and/or cannot be found in sufficient numbers to guarantee a supply of fur whenever you might need them.

The downside of reindeer fur is that it's notoriously weak to humidity and wear, so even with careful repairs and assiduous caring for the clothes, fur clothing of this type needs to be replaced at least once every two years. This uses a LOT of fur, as one might respect... and not just because replacements and repairs are so frequently needed, but because different types of clothing (trousers for hunters vs women with babies, parkas for hunters vs women with babies vs children vs the babies themselves, etc) call for different types of reindeer fur from different parts of the reindeer / caribou body. In real life, you might need pelts from multiple reindeer just to have a new pair of reindeer skin trousers (unlike in Unreal World where all fur is the same fur as long as it comes from the same kind of animal, but that simplification I can accept for gameplay purposes).

Quote
"Before the Contemporary era, most Inuit dressed in skins all year, and many caribou skins were needed to clothe an average family of five. The hunter had to take at least thirty caribou each year to meet minimum requirements. (Vezinet 1980, 52). Mitts and the many kinds of boots needed a minimum of the leg skins of fifteen caribou, without accounting for spares. These figures did not include the caribou that must be procured to provide bedding, tents, and food for the family and their dogs." (Betty Issenman, Sinews of Survival: The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing, 71)

This kind of usage pattern resulted in a truly immense and ongoing demand for reindeer fur... not arduous maybe for the kind of character most of us end up playing in Unreal World: that is to say, a single hunter who only needs to feed and clothe themself and who can basically devote all their time to hunting if they wanted. But if you want to take time off to farm, or fish, or build houses, or maybe hunt for the kind of aforementioned luxury furs that would get you the ability to trade for better goods, this requirement would become cumbersome fast. And yes, southern and eastern tribes would replace part of this fur usage with usage of cloth such as nettle / linen / wool, but cloth isn't much less labor-intensive to produce, and in a society where there is a greater focus on agriculture, it makes even more sense for people to be willing to barter valuable goods to obtain hides ready-to-use.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 04:21:59 PM by Helldiver »

 

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