As I was working a printable copy of my homegrown rules, I can across an old issue with the Artificer skill (i.e. the one that could under the right conditions make magic items).
In real life, I'm far more Hayek than I am Keynes (rather sneaky way of sharing two really cool videos that). I love free markets.
In the real world, I don't own a Seawolf Class submarine to cruise around the world for a simple reason. I can't afford it. Heck, I can't afford a simple sail boat. Well, I could but I have more important things to do with the money and I'd never get a good return on what a sail boat would cost.
Real limits those. And limits is what the free market is all about.
This doesn't work so well in RPGs. There reality is inversed, and players expect to to chase impossible pipe dreams. Destroy the dark lord, save the princess, and along the way gain a flaming sword and a mountain of loot. That sort of stuff.
Thus balancing a RPG based upon rarity is basically a fool's game. You're going to allow players to create magic items but control it by requiring rare materials? Won't work, you just made it more desirable and thus the players will bend all their will to getting it. Soon you're be drowning in magic items.
If you block them (i.e. keep rare stuff rare), nine times out of ten the reaction won't be to thank you for the game balance. It will be to find a better game that allows players a shot at reaching their goals.
I overstate that some of course.
Rarity works fine depending upon what we're talking about. One princess, one Excalibur, that sort of thing. It goes without saying that someone will get the princess and someone will get Excalibur (likely the same guy, success breeds success but one never knows. A jerk with Excaliber may still in the eyes of the princess be a jerk).
Good players will let you get away with that sort of thing.
But in general I'd suggest to avoid rarity as a method of game balance with anything that would have a 'market' price. That is, it just costs a bunch. Never works.
And with anything, if you don't want to the players to have something, don't put it in the game. If you do put it in the game, make it plain by what it is that it won't work for the players (Excalibur? Dude you're not the rightful King of all the Britons, it stays in the stone where it belongs).
It will save you trouble down the road.
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