Thread: Economy and D&D
Tuesday, 8th May, 2012, 12:12 PM #1
Defender (Lvl 8)
Economy and D&D
So I've been thinking due to a few threads about the actual intrinsic value of life for a humanoid in D&D versus a human being in our current time.
From the age of adulthood (15 per 3.x PHB Table 6-4) to the maximum age range (110) a human unskilled laborer who never adventurers and just subsists earns 3467.5 GP. The average life span of a peasant in the Middle Ages would be between 30-45, with lowest lifetime earnings between 540 gp - 1080 gp.
Overall if you survive to ages below you have a Net Worth of (includes costs of meager living 24 gp/yr.):
- 30: 180
- 35: 240
- 40: 300
- 45: 360
- 50: 420
- 55: 480.
The Soldier, from our previous thread (gaining a level at 19, 27, 39 due to grinding CR 1 encounters over his career at a rate of three per year... then kind of peter out...) would gain (6 GP/level/mo), figuring a meager lifestyle (2 GP/mo) as he is being provided a billet:
- 19: 192.
- 20: 312
- 25: 912.
- 27: 1152.
- 30: 1512.
- 39: 3456.
- 40: 3648.
- 50: 5568.
Probably 50 puts him at the 'old man' stage and you may be seeing this Watchman retiring, perhaps earning a pension at half of his ending wage.
Our longsword weaponmith, with a bit of continuing education and adventuring (1 CR 1 encounter every year) would have the same type of 'funds increases' if he makes longswords for the entirety of his career with payment of his 5 apprentices and maintenance/rental fees and a Common Lodging (45 GP/mo).
- 16: 1104.
- 20: 2738.
- 25: 6612
- 29: 11365
- 30: 12660 (Here's where I would personally stop going to the field )
- 40: 25674.
These are raw amounts after payments for the Smith and does not include purchasing additional equipment and additional investments. A Smith who makes it into his 40s is a lucky man, as the damage to the body by the forge and possible forging accidents would probably force most men into the background before this point. The current rate figures unskilled apprentices as listed before for basic Aid checks. I would also say that most smiths have additional fees, taxes, charges, etc. of at least 10-15%.
As we can see there is an pretty wide range of possible wealth over a lifespan, just as you would see in our own society... And this is just among three types (Soldier, Weaponsmith, and Unskilled Laborer).
As you can see the Soldier or Smith can make a nice profit, enough to live well in their billets or personal lodgings. The Smith could afford his own forge pretty quickly into his career, and get things done.
So we have a baseline for our services. The average D&D peasant, who lives to the ripe age of 50 is worth 1260 GP. In real world currency we have an unskilled life's wages being worth around $147420 (with a GP worth a base of $117 and some change)... Meaning a year of peasant life sits at around $4212.
The average value of a year of quality life in the US is around $50,000, or 427 GP. The study cited in this article from Stanford Economists ca. 2008 puts the value of a 'good year' at 1102.56 GP. In these terms the Blacksmith is sitting at a "value of life" just a little above the Stanford figure for a "good year", and a 6th level soldier has a quality of life a little better than the average value of life for a US citizen per insurance companies.
A PC classed character of level 1 is just below the 6th level Soldier for the year, and a 4th level adventurer is at about the same VoL as a Blacksmith.
But what exactly does VoL mean? This is the amount that a continued year of existence... Would the prevention of death be worthwhile... So again, these numbers show what an individual's life is worth but what is a good D&D background for value of life be? In a world of magic curing disease and healing injury what would be a good baseline?
I believe the best baseline would be something that D&D has akin to such a treatment. Something that a human in D&D can catch, that is consistently going to devalue their life and lead to death if untreated, and how much damage that effect will cost.
Let us look at three common issues that would lower quality and value of life that can be dealt with in D&D:
Magical Illness/Curse (Mummy Rot)
Loss of Limb
Unexpected Death (Body Intact)
Unexpected Death (Body Dispersed)
Unexpected Death (Body Unrecovered)
So how much does it cost to 'fix' these issues?
Emergency Care (CLW to Stabilize injury): 10 GP ($1170)
Mummy Rot (first time success minimum cost): 300 GP ($35,100)
Loss of Limb (Regeneration): 910 GP ($106,470)
Unexpected Death (Body Intact) [Raise Dead]: 5400 GP ($631,800)
UD (BD) [Resurrection]: 10910 ($1,276,470)
UD (BU) [True Resurrection]: 26530 ($3,104,010)
Emergency Care really only applies to an individual who has no time to heal, and in the case that someone can help to stabilize but needs further assistance.
Expensive, yes? If we consider 20% of their lifetime net worth being an appropriate savings for extreme medical issues, a Guard would be able to have his limb repaired as a 'retirement present'. A peasant would be far beyond the ability to be cured of the Rot, while a Smith would, at 40, be able to make an expenditure to Raise themselves.
But what about Resurrection? Ahh... That is where it gets interesting .
Welcome to Compound Interest.
If the Smith pays, starting at his 16th year, 1/10 of his beginning net income (110.40 GP), invests it into the Guild or Church coffers, and continues until the age of 40, he would have the money for a Resurrection at a 4% interest rate by the age of 53.
Why do I care about Resurrection specifically? Because Resurrection creates one of the most interesting cases in D&D healing in one of my games: The Merchants of the City of Saria.
The Merchants of Saria kept their Patriarchs about for the purposes of crisis. During the Elder Year (usually once every 40 years) the Elders of Saria would come back to life for a single year to drive forth the economy, then return to the dead.
The Merchant Houses of Saria would elect an Elder who put forth a portion of his overall worth... And then allowed himself to be killed. The greatest merchants of their time were recorded into the Book of Elders with a portrait, their birthplace, and a single finger bone. The Elders, numbering 99 at any given time, would be called back over the Month of Resurrection, where three Clerics hired by the Merchant Lords spent 33 days to Resurrect each of the Lords. Multiple Books of Elders were maintained in safety around the world, and each man had to pay for his own resurrection.
The overall cost for all 653400, around 6600 GP each.
Now what about an individual who can trust their faith to bring them back?
If you have 200 GP and 127 years to burn, you can be True Resurrected at a later date from the Book of the Dead. This would probably be reserved for individuals who are important to the Faith, but could also be extended to Merchants as an "in case of ruin" possibility, or as a long-term solution to outliving your rivals...
Of course you will be returning with your skills, a couple of hundred gold, and a shortened lifespan. A merchant family would put some of their money to an account to prevent death of important retainers that could accrue over centuries... And in cases where there is an express need the individual may pay off their debt to the Church at a higher rate... Gives new meaning to the Death Tax.
So what do you think? What are your opinions regarding a magical society in which this sort of thing can happen?
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Defender (Lvl 8)
So I was doing some additional math on possible estates… And I believe I have provided for it. This estate would be around 4 square miles of farmland including the hamlet that it belongs in, and the income to the location. I have used MMS: Europe, DMG I 3.x, Stronghold Builder’s Guide, and additional resources to do the basic math required. This figures 1/3 of the land belonging directly to the noble, and 2/3 belonging to the farmers in the area, and relies on the math in our previous discussions on Famine and Copper values.
Manor Wheat Yield
- Wheat Production (81269 GP) after 50% upkeep/taxes/scutage.40634.5 GP
- 4466.14 Taxes and Rental for all peasants in area, given in produce.
Rent (5 skilled craftsmen (1 smith with 3 prentices, 4 skilled craftsmen with no prentices, 25% produce, living on lord’s land): 2294 GP.
Income Total: 47394.64
25506.75 GP for upkeep of livestock/household/defense.
- Half of an Army Base (50 soldiers): 1200 GP/year.
- Living Upkeep: 3024/year.
- Equipment Upkeep (50 Soldiers): 884 GP (Saddle, Longsword, Longbow, Light Steel Shield, Dagger, Quarterstaff, Studded Leather upkeep (new set avg 1/10 yrs, 5 new sets of clothing/soldier/year, 2 new sets of peasant’s clothing/yr for staff.
- Stabling Costs: 680 GP (Stablehands for 50 horse, stable upkeep basic stables).
- Horse Upkeep: 750 GP (50 Light Warhorses).
Subtotal: 6538 GP/year.
- Fancy Residence for 15 (Noble, Spouse, 4 children, 2 cooks, servants, Governess/Tutors (2), Butler, 3 Servants) Upkeep: 3320 GP.
- Household Upkeep: 5472 (Common Upkeep for all household servants, Good Upkeep for Noble Family).
- Upkeep for employees: 1116 GP.
- Noble’s Stables Upkeep (Fancy): 672 GP (Stable and Groom for Twelve Horses)
- Horse Upkeep: 240 GP (2 ponies, 3 Heavy Warhorse, 6 Light Horse, 1 Heavy Horse).
- Dog Upkeep: 20 GP (8 Guard Dogs)
Cost Subtotal: 10840 GP
- Meat/Milk Livestock upkeep: (700 pigs, 400 cows, 1000 sheep, 2000 chicken): 814 GP/yr (after trade to mitigate costs).
- Wall the Manor (72 stronghold spaces worth of wall, palisade): 7314.
Cost Subtotal: 8128 GP.
Total: 25506.75 GP.
Yearly Income (Net) for 4 sq. mile manor: 21887.89 GP.
What could a Noble spend this type of money on? [Costs per year unless otherwise noted]
- Outfit one footman to be sent to War (1 years wages (war 1) + full equipment cost): 228.8 GP.
- Sponsor a Mercenary Company of Warriors (100 soldiers + 10 Sergeants, 5 lieutenants, 3 Captains) to the War (Double 1 year mercenary wages, equipment and horse ‘rental’, officers paid normal rental cost): 13270.24 GP [magic users not included save for NPC class officers].
- Hire a trained Court Mage for a year (lvl 3 Wizard): 1080 GP, spellcasting negotiable
- Hire a trained Combat Mage for a year (lvl. 3 Wizard plus 1.5 Hazard Pay, equipment ‘rental’ provided): 1995 GP, spellcasting negotiable.
- Hire a 3rd level Adventuring Party (4 members, wages only): 4320 GP.
- Outfit/Hire a 3rd level Adventuring Party: 15120 (PC base wealth + 1 year of wages).
- Expand Demense: Varies, may be required to provide full or half produce as taxes for a period from his Lord.
- Sponsorship: Payment of Upkeep costs of individual.
- Send Child to Court (with tutor): 3967 GP (provides 4 horses “rental”, Sage wages, handmaiden’s wages, Guard wages, Good living accommodations for child (as adult), Common for house staff, Poor for Soldier).
- Keep a Mistress: 1635 (+10 Perform check (3 gp/day), Common Lodgings).
- Spies in a City: minimum 1260 GP (Skilled Expert “Sage”, Common Lodgings).
- Hire Competent Assassin: Varies, minimum 360 GP/lvl per week/HD of target (year’s wage per week covers all expenses, minimum 1 month).
How to make more coin?
Most Nobles have Investments that they make with their cash. Sponsorship of voyages would be a great way to make cash, though it is not without its risks. A basic income projection of 3% growth on investments for conservative investments (no risk), 6% on moderate risk (85% sure bet, lose d100 percent current bankroll) or 10% risky investment (65% sure bet, lose 2d100 percent current bankroll) are decent risk levels for most calculations. Most services will yield their money back on a seasonal basis excluding winter (compound all interest 3/year).
If our family invests 1/3 of their money into a clear, conservative investment strategy for ten generations can produce millions of GP. For the sake of not introducing Compound Interest and its hazards of creating an oligarchy we will create a Generation Block.
Factor in every 20 years of possession of the Manor. For every 20 years of growth add the 1.5 of the normal Net Income of the location to the Manor’s overall value. The actual value would be quite a bit more; however, we are figuring in taxation and losses as part of our figuring. This figures Conservative Growth of 1/3 of the manor’s wealth… Those who invest themselves foolishly soon find “shirt-tails to shirt-tails” an apt turn of phrase.
If our current example holds and the manor has stood for 200 years, the manor has 328318.35 GP worth of “Expansion” that has been performed. If we use the rules of Medieval Magic Society: Mythic Europe our lords could expand their arable lands in an uninhabited area by quite a bit via assarting. The nobles could invest this currency in shipping, making for a more fanciful estate, creating a castle for protection of the realm, or help to found an actual city, allowing for more individuals to gather, more taxes, etc.
This is, of course, a small but capable holding in an arable location, and does not take into account the additional income of the estate… The rest of the manor’s direct holdings (2/3 of its land) could be used for multiple purposes, and even for additional population.
I did not specifically include these in the Net Income statistics to allow for a representative sample of a group of peasants living in a large manor. The overall population of this large estate would amount to a sizeable hamlet. A lord of this sort of estate would also have the possibility of additional population centers near it; as an agricultural holding it could be just the pastoral estate of a small Aristocrat family ruling over several hamlets, thorps and villages in the general area. It can also represent mercantile holdings and farmland… The possibilities are endless.
Feel free to comment; I would be happy to hear from you.
Defender (Lvl 8)
Water Water Everywhere...
So I have been looking into one of those civic wonders... The Decanter of Endless Water. How useful is a Decanter of Endless Water to our small community?
The purchase of a Decanter is a bit of an expenditure to our Noble... But it is extremely useful for the purposes of irrigation in the field, supplying fresh/clean water to his subjects, and providing for efficient firefighting. So how do we figure out the overall water needs of our population?
Well, first let us see a year's output of a Decanter of Endless Water. A Decanter in its Geyser form produces 300 GpM (Gallons per Minute). This amount gives us the overall output of 432000 Gallons per Day (GpD).
This provides 1329 Gallons per Day for every man, woman, and child in the area. That seems like a lot per person... Let us see how much would be left over after our irrigation and possible firefighting.
Grow Wheat Grow!
So we want to supply our nice little wheat some sweet, delicious water. First I would like to know how much water would be needed to irrigate the entire 2560 acre property for wheat production. I will put an extremely high amount of irrigation as our baseline (for 100 bushel yields!)... which requires timed release of 20 inches of water over the entirety of the property.
How many cubic feet of water? An acre is 43 560 square feet, so our overall square footage would come to 111513600 square feet. 20" converts to 1.667 feet, and thus we have 185856000 in perfect conditions. We will also take irrigation efficiency into account, with a loamy soil providing for 70% efficiency.
- Overall water need: 265508571 Cubic Feet of water.
- *Gallons per Cubic feet: 7.480
- /432000 GDP
4597 decanter days.
Wheat takes around 120 days to grow, bringing the total to 38 Decanter Days/day.
As we can see irrigating the entire area would be impossible with a single decanter... At the least you would need 38 Decanters to irrigate these loamy canals if we do not figure in for off-site storage of water in canals during the 'off season' of wheat (where you would still need a minimum of 13).
If we have a drought condition (defined as a period of 15 or more days without any accumulating rainfall) our Decanter could assuage the issue slightly for certain areas, providing water for the crops for the period (and still coming in well within our requirements for our bushel/acre yield).
In a location with no real rain your Noble can produce wheat yields for 342000 if only triggering the water for use of wheat during the period. Seems expensive... But creating wheat in a drought-stricken area for 1000 individuals would cost around a generation's worth of full investment into the project by a single noble.
Let us say that our Noble's son gains a claim in the middle of a loamy drought area. The Noble decides to invest in his son's wealth, providing 20 years of his investments at a conservative rate to the procuring of Decanters of Endless Water. 20 years of investment (249,219.25 GP) applied as principal brings the overall loan to 93000 GP. The son, if granted 30 year terms at 10% interest, will be paying 9793.68 GP back to the Crown along with all other taxes, fees, and scutage. This brings his own overall available expenses to 12093.32.
If he is making similar payments on the building of a manor similar to his father's own home would be in deep debt for his lifestyle... However, it is quite possible that the son could make additional investments or trades during his time in the household. If he were to reduce his own household upkeep expenses to that of a more provincial lord (Common upkeep for the family, Poor upkeep for household servants, Basic Stables) he could reduce his overall yearly costs by 8362, allowing him to pay for his Basic Household and pay for a better household with a generational mortgage over a 20 year span if he can pay 1/2 of the overall cost up front. If the family has been invested for generations of calculable growth they would be able to put the money up front for this half, and would probably expect the produce of the fields for the period... There is a reason why it is good to be the High Lord .
These costs are, of course, lowered significantly if the new Lord has a way to store his own water; however, this oasis will be difficult enough as-is to keep under wraps without support from other lords. Such a large stake of claim would probably occur not with a single lord, but ten or more lordlings being sent to the region to establish a true holding. Such a holding could be quite useful to a King, as it provides an excellent stable source of income through the taxation/loan, expansion into a new region, and a reliable place to billet troops to go out to the wastelands.
Of course these numbers just figure the requirement for crops... Each ten-hold community could be supplied with water from a single decanter with 350+ gallons/person/day.
Now we know how much water can be generated for crops, but what if this small holding used Control Weather instead? The spell could cover 2.25 holdings of this type, and we can assume a minimum of 20 castings... Let us also provide Plant Growth to the location (12 castings should do it).
To have a Druid available to cast the spells for one year would run 4680 GP just for him to stick around. The actual cost of the spells for a 13th level Druid comes to 18200 GP for the Control Weather effects per 2.25 holdings (80888.88 GP) and 50 overall castings of Plant Growth (19500 GP)... Overall costs of 105068.88 GP. Overall it is cheaper after two generations to take the loan... The rich get richer because they spend their money intelligently.
Now, let us figure that a ten-hold area has 3000 inhabitants. A single Decanter of Endless Water can supply the needs of the populace above current water usage levels (144 gallons/person/day)... But if we figure water loss to the canals as we have discussed previously we would approach 100 gallons/person/day, still within the realm of possibility. All waste water will flow through the environment, and over hundreds of years may actually cause the location to become, if not arable, more hospitable to life.
So what about fires? A Decanter of Endless Water produces (in geyser mode) 300 gallons/minute of use. This is about as much as a residential fire department's hose... And would serve just as well if the geyser can be mounted and locked to a cart, or the populace uses Aid Another to control the spray and put out a blaze.
Overall, the Decanter is a highly useful and world-changing tool. It provides clean, potable water that can terraform a wasteland if given enough time. This also points out the further gap of nobility vs. the lower castes... Our Smith, for example, makes about the same overall wealth, could team up with other smiths and create such a location investing their entire net worth... But they do not have the strength of coin to support their new society without the support of merchants and nobles.
It is interesting to see the possibilities that a useful (usually) non-combat item can have for a society. If you would like me to analyze anything specific please feel free to post here and I'll be happy to look it over for you.
Defender (Lvl 8)
We were meant for the stage...
The crowd goes into the Great Theater for a true tale... And what a tale to be told. It is the last night of the Kingsmoot, and the Great Shah and our High King have spent years preparing for their meeting, and their sponsored troupes are prepared. The sounds of rumbling drums, sweet horns, and plucked strings fill the air... And so it begins.
Sadly the stage seems to be a place ignored by many in roleplaying games. Bards exist, and roam around the world telling tales... But who goes to a show?
The stage was an important draw away from the grind of metropolitan life, and a world filled with magic could do well by entertaining the masses. Bread and circuses help to appease the populace, and make their lives better.
So I have been thinking of how to describe a grand theater, one that could hold any performance you may desire beyond a full war reenactment, including aerial combats, grand combats, etc.
I started with a 100' diameter space with 60' in height. The space contains cubic feet... Let us round it up to a basic 472000 cubic feet. Smaller than most football fields, but has an enormous footprint in a city.
The overall 'theater space' would be 117809... Let us round it up to 118000 feet. This gives us an overall space for theater-goers, stairways, and other niceties of 354000 cubic feet. If we use Stronghold Spaces as we have this gives us 44.25 spaces... As we've been rounding up let us round this to 45 overall spaces.
An Auditorium or Theater space contains 30 individuals comfortably. That puts our minimum capacity at 1350. The Auditorium seating provided in the SBG places 10 rows in their spaces... Let us expand that to 15, providing 45 individuals in our 'cheap seats' (numbering half the space), common seats at the normal size, and 5 luxury boxes that seat half the number.
Overall Capacity: 1575. You may argue for more spaces but this allows us to put a basic number on a very nice location. The overall cost (50,000 for Luxury Boxes, 80000 for our Basic seats, add 1.5 overall for all spaces) makes the overall cost come to 195000 GP.
Maintenance of the theater costs 19500 GP/year per our 10% rule of thumb, and requires 1 attendant per 50 people for crowd control (WAG, but sounds about right), and an company of actors.
1152 wages for 32 Attendants
5760 wages for 40 performers (+7 to Perform/12 GP/mo/person).
Costuming (30 sets of Costumes of various types, 10% upkeep): 180 GP.
Now how much of an offset exists for our Players? Well, that depends. In a metropolis of 50,000, the seats would be filled if people went to see a play once/month. If charged a silver per person on average, the theater would make 57847.50 GP per year.
I doubt that a man would be willing to spend a day's wage for entertainment. But I could see them spending around as much as we would spend for a ticket., right?
Our unskilled day laborer makes one silver piece per day. As we have figured out in our previous discussion a silver piece is worth around 8 dollars. The average movie ticket runs around 7.93 as of February 2012. Of course that is a motion picture that makes millions of dollars, and the seats are never 'full' capacity...
The classical cost for 'cheap seats' was a copper, and range from there based on the upkeep chart, increasing costs based on upkeeps.
To take into account theaters that will fluctuate in capacity we will charge 2 CP for our common seats, 1cp for the cheap seats... the luxury 'boxes' run at 5 SP. 58.5 GP/day for a full house. If we figure half capacity except on 'great' nights, 29.25GP/day.
Now this amount of money means that the theater is operating in the red most of its season... So how does it make money? Well... Most theaters didn't. They were sponsored by local nobles, merchants, etc. looking to curry favor. Remember the Sponsorship we discussed earlier? A sponsor of this theater may put up 1000 GP/year for the right to help bolster the arts, and get a nice little wooden statue for their troubles... And a bit of a hand with the locals.
Bread and Circuses.
Now, onto the really interesting part... Magic Performances!
How much does it cost to create a magic performance? Well, it can varies on what you wish to do... I have provided a few basic costs for some 'stage magicians'.
Apprentice Stage Magician (Stage Hack): Sorcerer 1. 30 GP/month, spells worth 70 gp/day.
What can he do?
0th: 6/day (knows all).
- Ghost Sound
- Mage Hand
1st Level (Knows 2). 4/day
- Unseen Servant
- Floating Disc
- Feather Fall
- Disguise Self
- Silent Image
I did not put a Wizard here as a Sorcerer really does help the stage a bit more. I also only put spells with a decent duration, and that could be useful. A normal 'stage hack' will have Silent Image and Disguise Self for the utility of each (but the stage must realize he can only top out at 40 minutes of Disguise so plays that require more time are outside his purview).
A Stage Hack could pull off a military play (if the rest of the cast serves as extras, and they don't need to add all of the sounds), and even mildly 'magical' plays like the Tempest. If they are able to be within 10' of the actor being injured they can 'squib' the actor, making them appear to bleed through Prestidigitation, which could be accomplished by having line of sight to the target through knowing their location.
Due to the cost of anything beyond their basic castings a Stage Hack is usually only used for 'top line' shows. There is still a need for Experts in Disguise, costume/tailoring, etc. A Mage's Guild may turn a talented but limited Sorcerer over to a theater to learn a trade, and give his services 'gratis'.
Most Hacks do the gig for the wine, women, and song supplied, and are usually given a great lifestyle (Common Upkeep) in lieu of his actual pay. He's not going to make big money through his skills without the company, and a Common lifestyle with a good amount of cash in pocket (paid 10x a laborer's price with upkeep paid for) is enough to pay to keep him in beauties of the commons for the rest of his life.
Master Stage Magician (Master Technician): Sorcerer 6. 180 GP/month, 430 Gp/day spells.
What can he do?
0: 6 castings
- All Stage Spells.
1st: 4 spells known, 6/day
- Unseen Servant
- Floating Disc
- Feather Fall
- Disguise Self
- Silent Image
2nd: 2 spells known, 5/day
- Gust of Wind
- Alter Self
- Mirror Image
3rd: 1 spell known, 3/day
- Major Image.
The Master Technician is highly skilled, and can do a lot. The Technician can make a large battle appear in the middle of the theater with Major Image, and with appropriate cues make giants and dragons without too much trouble... But they are trapped in a small shape on the ground. With proper blocking the Technician can make basic weather effects, and turn his actors into other races. A Technician can make a three act play with characters who can swashbuckle in the skies, weather effects, creepy lights, and masterful scenery.
The Master Technician may have a few Hacks under his direction for 'filler' spots, and sustain the scene. With Ghost Sounds, prestidigitation, and multiple spells in effect the Technician makes for a truly 'special effects' driven set. They also probably possess a Metamagic Rod or two,
The Master Technician only does Major Shows, or when a smaller show needs a single spell to be pulled off during the day. Master Technicians walk in a strange place in society; they are not the fierce spellcasters of the day, but they may not be considered as talented as the great Actor of their day. Master Technicians are usually 'bequeathed' to the Theater by noble households directly, as their overall upkeep would wreck the books for the Theater.
A Royal Theater Troupe has a single Master and 2d4 Hacks. The Court Wizard may be called in for events like our Grand Spectacle... And that's where it can get fun.
In lieu of taxes some spellcasters will take to the Stage. A Guild may send their Masters to the theater for payment of debts to the Crown. Mages who have fallen on hard times or need to repay debts may spend a week at the Theater, and these events (or Spectacles) are where the Theater makes its real money. Prices for a Spectacle may run up to ten times their normal amount, and Luxury seats upwards of a hundred times. These Spectacles, which can serve as shows of power, duels, or just simple displays of the Art, are held several times a year and are social events for the commoner and King.
A talented Wizard or Sorcerer of high level can use Hallucinatory Terrain and Mirage Arcana over most of the theater to actually make the scene. Polymorphed actors play drakes in amazing action scenes that last for ten to fifteen minutes above the crowd. Illusionary weather effects, (controlled) hurricane winds, and sights that can astound the mind. If a sanctioned Duel occurs two spellcasters may take to the field in non-lethal combat in an enclosed space, summoning creatures of power, calling up spirits to combat, and doing the same effects as any other Spectacle... And the crowd LOVES it.
In total, the world of the Theater may not pay, but it provides for a great life for those compelled to the work. A 1st level Actor Expert makes four times the median wage, and with the time between plays and seasons they can practice other crafts. The stage also provides useful skills for adventuring, as knowledge of stagecraft, performance, spells, diplomacy, and other skills can provide for a very talented individual.
Defender (Lvl 8)
A Magician's Academy: The Threefold Entrance, and Spending Lots of Money
So I have been doing this project on how much it costs to build a really great Mage's Academy. The first room that I wanted to get down was that of the Gatehouse, or Foyer, of the Academy. I thought about all sorts of systems of protections available... And settled on a nice little series of protections, traps, and niceties for the Academy.
First, the door. We want something strong and protective to prevent thieves with more guile than sense from entering.
The Academy of Mages has a beautifully appointed series of rooms setup as a Guildhall in most metropolises around its range of influence. The Magehalls are usually fully staffed, and visiting dignitaries are kept in opulence in the area. These Fancy Residences contain two Mage's Laboratories and a moderately sized Library and study areas for mages to come and keep up on their learning. Each of these halls are given upkeep by mages in the city... But are not actually the site of the Great Academy.
In each Magehall stands a beautiful green-space where many mages go to sit, read, meditate, and have a bit of time. Those selected to be part of the Great Order know the secret of the green-space... there is a single tree in the green-space hidden among all others, that is a magegrown tree. The species is unique, though it appears as yew. If one places a drop of blood and a special coin is touched to the crotch of the tree's main branches the tree is triggered like a Tree of Greater Jaunting (Treat as a Tree Stride, but with unlimited range on the plane of existence).
The spell requires knowledge of the location and name of the current 'home tree'... A mage may use the old location, but will not find the Academy's Entrance there. They may find nothing but the tree, a series of traps, or a building similar to the Foyer in appointment that serves as an instant fortress with a single Gatekeeper within... The Gatekeeper is a suicide hired by the Order to trigger their trap, collapsing the fortress and triggering the alarm that calls the Fortress back to the Room of Delights within the Order's Academy.
When one finds the Foyer, they are amazed by the opulence of the structure.
The true Foyer is a beautifully appointed location kept by the True Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper is True Neutral, doesn't seem to sleep, and no one knows exactly who, or what, he is beyond this. The great lamps and beautifully bonsai'd trees around the area provide a nice ambiance. The room is a Teleporting Gatehouse with the following enchantments:
Hall of Truth
Hall of Speech
Hall of Friendship
Braziers of Law/Chaos/Evil/Good/Magic/Undead
Oaken Guardians (4)
Inscribed Devil/Angel’s Trap (All Alignments).
Total Cost: 315000 GP.
Expensive right? Well...
The Gatekeeper can speak to anyone who enters, charm most low level threats who enter, know if lying, confirm alignment, magic items on person, life status, and outsiders are frozen in the foyer's entrance (10*10 space). The Gatekeeper is also granted a Ring of Sending as part of his job, so that he may report current location and issues with a full round action.
He also has 4 Treants to protect him if need be, but the Sending spell will probably be calling the Archmagus of the Order to the location first... If the Gatekeeper finds the guest to be appropriate he triggers the Teleportation Circle, sending through to the only location into which an individual may Teleport into the Order's Location.
Now how does the group afford it?
My personal setting includes around 40 Metropolises around the world, and of course larger cities that can contain wizards. For the Metropolises alone, not including the highest tier, contain the following amount of ONLY wizards in daily spells cast:
- 320 8th level (129600 GP)
- 640 4th level (14400 GP)
- 1280 2nd level (3200 GP)
- 2560 1st level (1000 GP)
148200 GP/day production.
If a tithe is made to the Arcane Order by half of these individuals of 10%, the Order has 2704650 GP per year to spend as an organization.
If the Order has existed for 100 years, investing 1/3 of their money into conservative investments, and creating a 'death tax' of 25% of all equipment upon death every 20 years invested back into the pool (using Generation Blocks)...
Order's Investment: 901550 GP
9984000 'death tax' over 100 years invested back: 99840 GP
compound 20 years interest of total principal/year
The Mage's Order, as an organization of tens of thousands of individuals, is a Sovereign State. Its individuals have very strong earning power, but they die quickly. The Order can influence policies, but their real power is in the accrual of items over the years. It explains why many 'ageless' wizards have so many assets... They plan for the long term, and handle things well .
The cost is infinitesimal to the Order for investment purposes, and the Upkeep, while 1% of their overall cost for the Foyer, is still acceptable as it provides for a very nice protection to the Organization.
40 Luxury Apartment/Mage Lab complexes plus the Trees of Jaunting in the Metropolises? 21,049,600 overall for building (without including magical assistance...) A bit over 15% of the overall investments of the last hundred years, and the upkeep draws quite a bit of the overall upkeep for the Order... But the location pays dividends. It serves as a gathering point for magicians to train, scribe, create, and study. It also has an extensive Arcane Library, with a Master Library of Arcane Tomes.
Nobles may pay for opulent digs to be provided for their mistresses, visiting dignitaries, and other important guests within the Hall, providing additional income. The rooms are of a quality to support an Extravagant Lifestyle, and rental of the property alone provides the Order 2880000 GP, covering expenses of upkeep and staff, and allowing for excellent security (and payments to local Guilds to prevent rogues from getting too lippy). That is not including rental of the library by non-residents on Arcane topics and the 'small library' for residential use.
- Upkeep: 2104960
- Rental: 2880000
- Rogue's 'take' yearly 432000
- Staff Upkeep 2916
340124 GP 'profit'.
Not a bad set of digs, ehh?
Now what could the local house do with this money? Again 1/3 back into investments...
226749.33 GP 'spending money'.
- Amazing Locks (15) - 2250
- Security Force (yearly, 2 lvl. 5 Warriors, 10 lvl 3 Warriors): 2880
- Physician (Adept lvl. 3): 1080
- Season Box Rental at Royal Theater (including Spectacles): 5475
- Decanter of Endless Water (upkeep): 900
- Improved Arcane Lock (3 fold entrance, for all staff): 1450
So much cash... I honestly cannot think of anything else that is fully 'necessary' as the Order would have taxes covered through Spectacles and the like, and they could afford to purchase multiple items of power. In theory the cash for two years could be spent just to make all of the rooms perfectly Climate Controlled...
But the goodwill of the populace could also be spent on various machinations throughout the metropolis and the World at large. 212714 GP is nothing to sneeze at. The Guild can sponsor 5900 laborers with this money, outfit 50 guardsmen with +1 equipment (studded leather, longswords, and shields) (with cash to spare), hire 20 adventuring companies (lvl 5) for a year... or sponsor voyages to exotic locales.
How much does it cost to sponsor a voyage? Let us look at Columbus's Voyage as our starting point.
The three ships (Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria) account as a Carrack (Great Ship) and 2 Caravel. Per D&D guidelines ship costs alone come to 80,000 GP. If we place full complements on our Caravel and half on the Great Ship we have 100 crew. Giving everyone 'Poor' Rations puts us at 12000 GP for one year.
Now our Crew... 83 crew, 8 Sergeants, 5 Lieutenants, and 3 Ship's Captains. This matches a Human Company just about right. If our Crew are paid by soldier wages (6 GP/mo) our 8 Sergeants are paid crew/lvl (18 GP/mo), our 5 Lieutenants are PCs (150 GP/mo) and 3 Captains are PCs (210 GP/mo).
- 2 Caravel: 20000
- 1 Greatship: 60000
- Ship Upkeep (yearly): 8000
- Rations (upkeep/year): 12000
- Crew Yearly: 5976
- Sergeants Yearly: 1728
- Lieutenants Yearly: 9000
- 3 Captains Yearly: 7560
Cost of Year-Long Voyage with Ship's Purchase: 124264 GP
Cost of Maintenance/Yr: 44264
Columbus's Voyage took 5 weeks. Our ships could circumnavigate an Earth-sized world in 3-6 years if given room to run and sea to sail. Of course the ship would also have the ability to take along spices and other trade items to slowly become self-sufficient upon repaying the initial investment in ships.
Well, that was a long post... Soon we'll go into the costs of the wonders of the Mage's Academy/Citadel.
Guide (Lvl 11)
- Join Date
- Oct 2004
- Kendall Keep, Bissel
ø Ignore haakon1
In my campaign (IMC), three characters have gone into "homesteading" to some extent.
One character took over the village from The Standing Stones as an ecclessiastic fief. That is, it's owned by the Church of St. Cuthbert, but it's run by him. It's an odd place -- very isolated, in the Dim Forest, with the only people nearby being a family that runs a river ferry crossing, a dwarven stead in the mountains, and some wild elves in the Dim Forest itself. All of those are friendly -- the dwarves depend on the village for food and charcoal for their smithing, and the ferry depends on the village and the dwarves (plus subsistence forest agriculture of their own). Technically, the ferry should be "owned" by the lord of the manor, too.
What's extra odd -- the people here were animals, transformed into humans and halflings by the old druidic stones here. So I ruled they were Commoner 1 with no skills, and the PC's decided to stay and help them learn some skills. Plus, they've sent war refugees to settle here and teach the locals more. The only two leveled folks here are a Fighter 4 (retired PC, formerly a sergeant in a manorial militia) as the Captain, and a Rogue who's a turned enemy (and was once a cat!).
Also, it's isolated -- many days from the nearest Bisselite city, with the edges of the Dim Forest claimed by a few countries (though none of them hostile).
How would you do the economics for that? I'm going for "it's just about break even, but nobody starves".
The other two holdings are at the Keep on the Borderlands. One PC was made Baronet, the other (a monk) was given the rights and land to build a monestary to Rao next to it -- and he wants it to be a brewery monestary, and has the skills to do it.
As you might guess, it's also isolated and underpopulated, and they've also moved in some war refugees (paying for supplies, wagons, tools, seed corn, livestock, etc. to resettle them).
The Keep is a real castle, with the outer bailey being a walled village. It's directly on the "North Road", which goes from Thornward (capital of Bissel) along the bottom of the Yatil Mountain foothills to the land of Highfolk. It's the Borderlands because the borders of Veluna and Furyondy (both friendly) come close here, and aren't very well defined or populated, plus it wards against trouble from the mountains.
The Baronetcy also owns a stone bridge over a gorge, which carries the North Road out of Bissel. There are no settlements besides the Keep. Unless you count the nearby Caves of Chaos, which are now run by a goblin king the PC's made a deal with. (They killed off the other forces there and pay him 1 cow a week to keep control of the place and not attack the Bisselites or traffic on the road.)
The economics of the keep includes farming (particularly cattle), hunting for furs and leather, and supplying merchants on the North Road. There's a warehouse and hostelry for the Merchant's Guild, and a pub/inn for the general public. The population is very small -- probably too small to pay for the upkeep.
Any ideas on any of these situations would be of interest to me.
Defender (Lvl 8)
On your first example:
- What is the number/percentage of produce the Church is requiring for the right of fiefdom over the tithe?
- What taxes are your characters levying?
- How many Adult Commoners do you have?
- Does the community Produce anything that can be traded?
- Cattle are a risky business in a fantasy medieval setting, unless you're using them for multiple purposes. Do you have tanners/cheesemakers/dairyfolk/butchers/bakers?
- What kind of lifestyle are these people to live in?
- I do not know the module... But the fact that this place is isolated so far is another one of those issues I have with D&D's ideology regarding how cities work.
- How many buildings exist? A good rule of thumb is that an acre of land can host around 330 people in relative comfort... This is based on the entire Acre being filled with Basic Residential clusters (each room sleeps 2 individuals, there are privies, kitchens, and main dining halls for each group). If separated into individual homes it is around the same amount.
- Upkeep: The basic Upkeep of each Residential square is 6 GP/month, and the average laborer's Meager upkeep is 2 GP/month. For a lord to feed, bathe, and house these people will run upwards of 8700 (8712 GP) year... An awful lot for charity.
- Labor/Crafting: You're so far describing a closed economy, with no monetary circulation, unskilled laborers who have nowhere to travel to make their money, and having to actually do most of their work in trade. And Survival checks just to feed the group is going to be quite high...
- Primary Trade: Your people CAN trade with the Dwarves for charcoal, but the Dwarves may actually hire some of your townsfolk to work in their mines and smithies as hands... Dwarves are slow to reproduce, and if they are Trained (if not skilled) they can still attempt Aid checks to assist smiths. If your Commoners still have animal traits they could also serve a purpose for the Dwarves in scenting, tracking, and hunting, making themselves a nice little income through feeding the Dwarves that could barter for handcrafts preventing the need for Smiths of their own (essentially converting their Survival into a Craft skill).
- Secondary Trade: Do these folk have contact with your ferrymen? If so they could have an opportunity to trade with those who would come up river. Skills in carpentry, Survival crafts (herbalism, food) etc. could provide a hearty secondary income for your order.
Questions for you mostly, but the big bullets: Population, Skilled vs. Unskilled Labor, desired Upkeep range, desired Income.
I'll look over the second once I get info on the first .
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
- Pittsburgh area
ø Ignore Azgulor
Wow! This'll take some time for me to go through & digest, but very interesting stuff!
Defender (Lvl 8)
A Magician's Academy: The Great Library of the Order
Now... Let us recap.
As of right now our Order Creator needs to invest a lot of cash... After the creation of the shell game that is the Foyer of the Unseen (and its associated groups of false Guildhalls) we must work on the Academy itself.
But what is an Academy without a Library? After the costs above we have 125,714,880.55 to spend on the Academy itself.
First, an entrance. The Great Library requires the auspice of an Order Mage of 9th level or higher to enter. From the Foyer the individual may Jaunt to the Atrium of the Library.
The Library is the heart of the Academy, and it is large. Bigger. No... Bigger. There ya go. The Library is built deep into a mountain running thick with metallic ore; great Dwarven masons helped to build the Library, and the current Elders who live above are the only individuals in the community who know of its existence. The location also corresponds to a similar mountainous region in the Ethereal, where once per decade (as is custom) the Order brings several Dwarven talents to gather various materials only found in the Near Ethereal. If a Dwarf or other team were to attempt to dig the Librarians of earlier years have set up an array of defenses around the complex to baffle anyone who is tempted to enter.
The Library has two concentric rings around the Atrium, with beautiful stonework walkways leading between each of the rings as a form of Skywalk. Two sets of Wells of Flying lead up and down the shaft of the Atrium, and a Well of Falling that is protected by a series of traps and ingenious locks blocks passage to the Depths, and the Entrance to the Academy proper.
The exterior ring around the Atrium consists of 25 separate Mage's Laboratories, five on each level and five high, that have been melded together as the workshops of higher level members of the Order. The mages of the Order who work here invested a great deal of cash in comforts; each square of the Labs is protected by Ethereal Solids. The books of the Laboratories are usually two Extended Book Lots, providing information on Arcana and Theology/Philosophy. If the Master Texts are needed they Order member need only go to the Grand Library.
- Wizard Research Labs (25, Stone cost as wood due to Location/Magic Assistance/Skilled Labor): 422,500.
- Ethereal Solid (all spaces, 125*12000, 10% discount due to prime location in Near Ethereal): 1,350,000
60500 GP Upkeep (see below)
Due to the materials of the Ethereal Solid actually being coplanar and requiring no real maintenance (they 'exist' on the other side) the total upkeep of the location is 42,500 GP/yr plus servants costs (18000) plus book maintenance (coming to 160,500 GP/yr).
How is it paid for?
With the price of admission. These enormous carrels are used by master magi, and their overall yearly upkeep (6420/unit) is easily handled through a few weeks of spellcasting in service to another Guild or Kingdom, or sale of some of their magic item researches.
The place cannot be reached through the Ethereal save by members of the Order who know how to pull it off, and the Atrium has its own defenses (to be listed). The place is protected from most teleportation by its hidden coordinates (the overall space is quite small), and the Ethereal Solid enhancement. There are also at least 2d4+4 'attendant' Mages in the Lab at any given time. Most will have mental Alarm made permanent on their research lab (permanent runs 2950 GP after cost), and the triggering of the Atrium's defenses can be heard by even the most deaf old Mage in his study.
The Library is the greatest collection of knowledge in the known world. As the Labs serve as their surroundings and the Atrium lies in their center they are quite well protected; the Order provides no further enchantments save for immunity from elements (10,000 GP per Library). Altogether there are 50 Luxury Library spaces, containing fifty Master Lots covering a deep breadth of Knowledge. This provides an overview for every Knowledge Check, and specific Knowledge of 41 Regions as covered under Knowledge (Local) at a +6 benefit.
Fancy Library (50): 600,000
Book Lots (50): 1,000,000
2 Fancy Residential Blocks: 134528.
Elemental Protection (100 Lots, No Maintenance): 1,000,000
Cost: 2,600,000 GP. Upkeep: 168,928 (10% maintenance + 50 Librarian's yearly wages+ Head Librarian's Wages).
The Order LOVES its books, and it shows. The Upkeep is assisted by the cost to use the Library and its features. Members who wish to gain access may pay 20 GP/day or be charged 600 GP/year for the services the Library provides... But they must be able to get to the Library itself.
The Head Librarian is a skilled Expert 12, who is also well-trained in Spellcraft and Use Magic Device. Tread lightly and don't damage the books... There are rumors of what he has come to possess through his other extensive knowledge: fleecing idiot mages who play cards in his quarters.
The Librarians pay for their own Upkeep, as many take advantage of the Order's tutelage to gain knowledge in skills that other Experts may not acquire, and the Order's excellent health and dental package. They live in a luxury unfound in most of their former lives as literate youth in downtrodden cities; each also is granted the ability to read magic and speak in tongues as part of their training to better facilitate their skills. These enchantments are usually placed in amulets passed down by Librarians to their children and grandchildren, as the Librarians only seem to breed with each other or members of the Order.
Even in the Order nerds find it hard to get dates.
The Atrium... Well, I have written my fill for just now, but the Atrium will be detailed in the next installment .
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Hey Loonock - can't give you XP right now - but I'm really enjoying your discussion of D&D economics!
My Campaign Wiki: http://vishteercampaign.pbwiki.com
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