Actual trade items someone can buy

Posted over from reddit:

D&D as a game keeps the minutiae of everyday life out your way for simplicity’s sake, but I am interested in knowing what SPECIFIC trade items you can think of that an inhabitant of a city-state, or a slave tribe, or clan of herder/hunter/gatherers would trade for?

I already have ideas (some from Dune Trader tables):

  • earthenware for eating, for water, for cooking, and something to burn: dried dung, wood, wood coal
  • bamboo cutlery
  • clothing, cloth
  • hammock
  • rope, from the thinest (silk) to the largest radius (giant hair rope)
  • large bone rings (to attach leather or rope to)
  • clothes, and crap rags to scrap off crap with (yup, romantic past and all)
  • shit sticks (yep, all real world items)
  • basic soap
  • weapons, including the basic kitchen/house bone knife everyone has
  • seeds, under rare occasions
  • food
  • furniture, both wood and bone, with leather and rope, and cotton (or other) stuffing
  • rugs
  • baby and young children’s simple toys
  • jewelry, from the non-metallic, non-precious ordinary to more fancy stuff
  • candy
  • chalk
  • incense
  • mirrors
  • cosmetics
  • lamps and lamp oil; candles
  • perfume
  • tools
  • work animals, saddles and farming equipment, and animal feed
  • household animals for pest control
  • glassware
  • bags
  • adult gaming equipment of all sorts, like dice or a board with pieces
  • ritualistic items such as statues, incense burners, special clothes
  • medicine in the form of herbal teas, powders, poultices
  • replacement tooth made from wood or ivory

Note: consider that city-state houses and appartments do not have kitchens, and most of the city eats at eateries; nobles have fountains, trees, atriums, and kitchens (and slave cooks, of course)


What other everyday things do you describe being sold in baazars and emporiums as your PCs walk by?

Super fun topic. Some of these probably overlap with what you had in mind, or are already covered in lists somewhere. Nevertheless:

  • Hair ties, pins, clips, ornaments
  • tattoo inks, body paints (stuff like henna)
  • pouches, purses, backpacks
  • themoses, water skins, buckets, barrels, water filters (apparently water filters were invented by Hippocrates)
  • footwear (boots, shoes, sandles, vibrams)
  • headwear (hats, turbans, etc)
  • basic gardening implements (spades, pruners, hand rakes)
  • farming implements (theshers, sickles, hoes)
  • construction supplies (hammers, nails, levels, chisels, trowels)
  • sewing equipment
  • spices (Thrak puts Nibenese lemongrass on everything he makes)
  • smoking supplies/firestarting kits (pipes, tobacco… I was just reading the Athasian Emporium and it statted out a bunch of narcotics too)
  • compasses, star charts
  • first aid supplies (bandages, gauze, tweezers)
  • tents
  • I like that you mentioned toys. It’s not talked about much, but Athasian societies would have to devote a lot of resources to child-rearing, and I assume their society tends toward large families (the only comfort in a brutal world, and historically common). So cradles, swaddles, baby slings, playpens, walkers (apparently these were common in medieval societies)… I guess they used worm-eaten wood dust as baby powder.
1 Like

Fascinating article on infants!

1 Like

A towel…

One should never be without one’s towel.

1 Like