Pony Express

Hirati wakes up, gets dressed, and walks down to the post office. Like everyday, she grabs hold of the reins of two large workhorses, each loaded down with heavy packs. She concentrates on the stables of the Post Office in Absalom. There’s a brief flash and she’s gone. A second later she arrives in Absalom, exchanges her horses for two fresh ones likewise loaded down with heavy packs, and returns to Katapesh. On her way out, she collects her day’s pay: 5000 crowns, and heads to the Satin Kiss to make her favorite harlot very happy, and very rich.

A level 14 wizard can cast Greater Teleport twice per day, taking two horses each loaded down with up to 2100 pounds of gear. That means that she can move 4200 pounds of gear back and forth between any two cities on the planet before breakfast, spend the rest of her day as she pleases and sleep in her own bed that night. Now she’s going to want about 5,000gp to do it, which works out to about 0.65gp/lb, or 4cp for a letter.

... now that’s not the kind of price you’re going to use to move potatoes or grain, but there are things for which it’s worthwhile. For quality manufactured goods, exotic substances, magic items, and information the timeliness and availability may more than make up for the cost:

  • Postal service: Letters are collected locally, transported to a hub city where they are routed to the closest post office, and then delivered by horse. Letters might cost as little as 1sp to send, and deliveries between major centers could happen as often as daily. While an unskilled labourer may balk at spending a day’s wages on sending a letter, such a cost would be easily within reach of any skilled craftsman, and not even worth thinking about for a merchant or aristocrat.
  • Mail order magic items: Wouldn’t the member’s of the Arcanist’s Circle love to have access to the markets in Absalom or Katapesh? Wouldn’t your average adventurer love to be able to procure exactly the item they need, for a fair price, in a reasonable amount of time without having to trek half-way across the continent?
  • Auctions: Selling something rare, and expensive? Hema’s Auction House will list it for you in Art and Oddities Monthly (delivered to thousands of discerning buyers around the world) as well as handle the bidding by post for a reasonable fee. Looking to buy, a subscription costs a mere 10gp per month, and gives you the opportunity to bid on some of the most beautiful, powerful, and rare objects in existence.