salt, economics Tradition / Ritual in Scarterra | World Anvil

salt, economics

A little bit of salt is needed to live. Most Scarterrans, peasants and princes alike end up eating more than a little salt.   Scarterrans can use alchemical food preservation or off-winter ice to preserve food for extended periods of time but these methods of food preservation for even royalty to rely on this exclusively.   Most food is preserved with salt, that means peasants and princes alike want and need salt. In economic terms, salt is a vitally important commodity throughout Scarterra in every land and culture.   Very frequently, a portion of a worker's or soldier's wages is paid in salt. In areas far from the sea, salt is sometimes used as a currency in place of coins. A pound of salt in Scarterra usually trades around 10 silver pieces per pound.   Salt is both widely available and it isn't. Salt is usually nearby but it is rarely easy to get to.


Most commercially traded salt either comes from salt mines or comes from the sea. Salt can also be obtained from slain Void demons, but that is a special case.  

Sea Salt

  It takes about 4 gallons of sea water to produce one pound of sea salt.   Sea water can be poured in long troughs and evaporated in the sun, which is time consuming, or it can be boiled in large pots which is less consuming but does burn a lot of fuel and takes more labor.   Purification ●● can purify a quantity of sea water and leave a pile of salt nearby. If the sea water is clean, this is an efficient way to get salt. If the salt water is not clean, the salt produced is going to have dead seaweed, sand, and other unwanted detritus in it.   There aren't enough theurgists around to meet everyone's salt needs this way, but a lot of temples are able to meet a lot of their operating needs selling salt if donations are not always forthcoming. Some temples distribute free salt to worshipers on holy days in order to showcase their divine patron's generosity.  

Salt mining

  Away from coastal areas, most traded salt was mined from the earth.   All mining is physically taxing and dangerous, but salt mining has additional problems. Salt mines have ambient salt in the air making inhalation almost guaranteed. This exacerbates problems with exhaustion and dehydration in the miners.  
by me with Hero Forge
Hallmar Snowview, freelance miner
"Salt mining is not pleasant. To mine salt you either need to pay your miners more than you would otherwise, or you need to force people to mine salt at the point of a sword.   We dwarves pay our salt miners well. We are experienced enough at this that we can minimize the hazards fairly well.
  Most humans and elves seem to prefer to use the stick rather than the carrot.   If a place still has slavery, then they almost certainly use their slaves to work the salt mines.   Other places make convicted criminals work in salt mines to pay their debt to society. Not that different from slavery, in my opinion,   It is supposedly more merciful than executing criminals, but only as long as they aren't literally worked to death in the mines before being released. Salt mines that have Purificationist on their payroll are relatively safe, but otherwise about half the prisoners never survive to carry out their full sentence and the other half end up with lots of chronic health problems for the rest of their shortened lives"
by Me with Hero Forge
"Salt sifting is another type of salt mining. There are above ground areas with lots of salt. The salt is contaminated by sand and dirt but it can be carefully sifted out or it can be disolved in water, strain out the dirt and then separate out the super concentrated salt water and dry it out.
  I had an uncle goat that used to be a salt sifter for many years. It's not an exciting process, but a damn sight better than pulling salt from some Nine forsaken pit in Scarnoctis.   It's a safe bit that any salt above ground near population centers has long been tapped out. Most if not all of the remaining sites of above ground salt deposits are nicknamed "salt deserts" because they are in remote, nearly lifeless areas.   The scroll heads say that most if not all of these salt deserts were the sites of major battles during the Second Unmaking and the salt deposits are left from dead demons. A lot of would-be salt miners refuse to go to these sites because they are afraid of lingering Void based dangers popping up here.   My uncle heard a lot of stories about ancient evils being unearthed in these salt deserts, but he never saw anything personally. That's not to say he didn't see anything bad, it was just not demonically bad.   The real danger is the elements. Extreme temperatures and a lack of water are the real danger here. Also, most salt deserts are in remote places, so you have to safely travel to and from the sites and not get robbed by brigands or eaten by dabeshi en route.   So you are trading one danger for another, that's why my uncle took up another trade as soon as he was able."   Basim, Confederate Satyr Apothecary And Reagent Dealer

Components and tools

Salt is usually shipped in boxes and barrels. Some customers care about the source of their salt. Sea salt is usually shipped in a blue painted container and mined salt is usually shipped in a brown container.   Demonic salt is typically shipped in a black and red container.
Primary Related Location


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