Dragonshard Prices Skyrocket
SHARN -- Prices for raw dragonshards have almost doubled in recent weeks, leaving shard brokers with scant supplies but hefty profits. Though dragonshards are not available in public markets, they are common in the exclusive, private auction houses in the Korranath district.
Jessen Urtannek, owner of Silverpick Prospecting, said that his company has recently had production difficulties in both the Shadow Marches and Q'Barra. Thus, bidders are competing for a smaller supply of dragonshards, and prices are rising.
"We're happy with the output from our Shadow Marches operations, but we've lost two returning caravans somewhere in Droaam," he said. "Banditry there is fierce, and even caravan masters who pay local warlords for protection are suffering losses. Even though getting cargo through Droaam is expensive, we can easily recoup these costs at the auction house. What's frustrating for me as a business owner, though, is paying out protection money and not getting the protection.
"For future shipments, Silverpick Prospecting will examine other shipping options, including sea or air transport through House Lyrandar," Urtannek continued. "Increasing the guard escort for the caravans is also a possibility, though a risky one."
In Q'Barra, the supply problem is simpler -- lizardfolk are attacking prospecting operations directly. "They wait for us to do the hard work, then they come out of the jungle, kill everyone working on the site, and abscond with whatever isn't nailed down," Urtannek said.
Dragonshard broker Pavlika Grihl said that supply disruptions are only exacerbating a surge in demand for the dragonshards, which have a variety of magical applications. "A number of arcanists and their representatives from the dragonmarked houses are always in the market for most dragonshard grades. But new buyers also seem to be coming out of the woodwork. They have money to spend, and they're indiscriminate about what dragonshards they're buying," she said.
Grihl speculated that the newcomers to the dragonshard auction houses are probably commodity speculators. "Outside of powerful magicians and the houses, no one can really use dragonshards," she said. "So I've got to believe that we're going to see all these dragonshards return to the market once the speculators get nervous and think the price bubble is going to burst."
About the Author
David Noonan is a designer/developer for Wizards of the Coast. Before coming to Wizards, he was a daily newspaper reporter in Washington state. Apparently the city hall beat is good practice for an Eberron campaign.