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I've posted here before about the realism of my wormholes and such, but I feel this question better fits the forums context of how it wants questions.

I have multiple wormholes that are within the atmospheres of two terran planets in the same solar system, and they require roughly one week to cross from one to the other right. The general issue is that technology is Victorian-esque, 19th, early 20th century with some handwavium here and there obviously.

The issue I'm having is both what would be used to travel between them if someone could help with that, but pertaining to the rules, my main issue is - what is worth the travel, maintenance, skill expertise expenses to bring something of value to the other side.

I keep thinking of what if there was a wormhole that existed in real-life, and another empire equivalent to our technology armed the native americans with muskets or bolt-action rifles and vaccines to stem the European onslaught, etc. Yet, that's not necessarily benevolent trade.

Would metals and gemstones, or equipment be ferried over more? The general issue would be the quantity of what can be brought over not the quality...

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    $\begingroup$ What's the cost in terms of "travel, maintenance, skill, expertise, expenses"? Secondarily, what do the two worlds have that they might need from each-other? Context would help lots. $\endgroup$ Aug 27 '21 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Travel time of one week... That's roughly England to Germany, or England to Spain, or London to Paris in pre-modern times. If the cost of transportation is right, they would trade wine, beer, wool, fabrics, salted herring, pitch, timber, amber, flax, copper, tin, tableware, china, grain, sugar, honey, wax, suet, beef, mutton, buttons, leather, salt, steel, weapons, gum arabic, incense, turpentine, jam, sardines, cheese, butter, hops, and so on. If the price of transportation is very high, they would trade only luxury items, such as jewellery, spices, or silk. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 27 '21 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP - Maybe for this fiction it could just be buttons, to keep it simple. But sweet buttons. Really cool ones. And people would change out their buttons regularly. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 27 '21 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Sure the idea is that there are Gravitists, individuals that are like wormhole-engineers and entrepreneurs whom are a rare but valuable trade. The main difficulty which I still haven't fully composed is the overall difficulty of sustaining an oxygen environment with an advanced steam-era tech and some anti-gravity rare metal to help lift small ships and airships into the wormholes mouth and coming back, hopefully not on their own but with advanced facilities on both sides. Ironclads and Airships with rocket and anti-grav thrusters are the expensive vehicle of transport via wormhole. $\endgroup$
    – Naga
    Aug 27 '21 at 20:26
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For the same reasons they would take international sea voyages

  1. Differences in technology: This implies some sort of comparative advantage that groups have for converting raw materials and labor into finished products. If one or both groups have an advantage like this, then the potential financial reward could be worth the risks (which you haven't really defined).
  2. Differences in Resources: This could be anything including natural resources, skilled labor forces, or sophistication of infrastructure. For example, perhaps one planet is really good at farming and has invested in lots of tractors and farming equipment, making food really cheap; while the other has specialized in mining drills etc. It could also be as simple as sand is plentiful here and scarce and valuable there, and gold is plentiful there and valuable here.
  3. Differences in Demand: It could be that one planet just prefers a particular good more than another, maybe potatoes are a luxury food there, and fish is a luxury food here.
  4. Economies of Scale: One group might have discovered that they can produce large quantities of a product at a lower cost. This could allow a group to be able to price competitors out of the market even factoring in the risks of trade.
  5. Government Policies: It might be that government taxes, fees, or laws artificially increase or decrease the cost of a particular product. The absence of these on the other planet could result in a situation where trade is advantageous.

With any of these, the opportunities for profit would have to be large enough to justify the risk and expense to perform the trades. As the risk goes down, smaller margins can justify the risk, but if the risk goes up, then the reward would need to be equally large in order to justify that risk.

Sorry if this reads like an economic lesson more than a worldbuilding one.

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Triangular Trade

The length of time between ports is not really what is important. What matters the most is that violent gangs (monarchs) will dominate the entry points, and demand tributes/passage fees so high that only the most valuable goods are profitable to ship. Merchants from all over the world can bid to go through, and only so many will fit at a time, I presume.

Under these circumstances, the goods will resemble those taken on long voyages in the medieval world, even if the trip is physically brief. The most notable pattern for this is manufactured goods to buy slaves, slaves to make raw materials, and raw materials to make manufactured goods. (This assumes that the multiple portals link at least three locations)

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