D&D General D&D game world economy, wages and modelling the ancent world

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Well, as a practical matter most groups will not be interested in a detailed economics simulation.

And if you are going to create a detailed economics simulation, I should tell you that most economists and many historians believe Diocletian's edict on maximum prices was the single largest contributor to the collapse of the Roman empire. I feel you were going to point to the one thing that caused the fall of Rome,
Interesting detail ... I was aware it was prior but not that it was considered an inducement.

For my part, I find that mostly I just need decent approximations. And a decent approximation can be found by getting a price of any handmade good and dividing that price by the local expected daily wage. The resulting price is roughly it's price in daily wages in D&D, so then all you have to decide is what a daily wage in your setting is - in mine it is the silver piece.
I have also been thinking a silver but I am debating if I need to adjust that. And what numbers to include
You can do some interesting things with purchasing power parity to try to simulate a pre-industrial economy but mostly you just need something that is quick and close enough to work that it keeps the game moving forward.
This is pretty close to the conclusions I have been making
 

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GreyLord

Legend
I think that hasnt gone up.... but base pay is slightly higher I wonder about the past because I think there was ancient tradition this came from.

Over a decade ago went up to at least 400K. I believe you had the option to have it lower (and could go with 100K if you wanted) but it could go up to around 400K as well today.

Just posting this on late...sorry.
 

MGibster

Legend
Garthanos, I have to admit that I grow weary of standard D&D adventures that revolve around saving the village, kingdom, world, or plane. It might be interesting to have campaigns that are a little more grounded. Economic prosperity has certainly been a good reason to go adventuring in real life so why not in D&D? Perhaps a campaign that revolves around establishing a trade company? I've toyed around with the ideas of having the PCs belong to the Baker's Guild and adventuring in order to protect their trade. "If the dragon eats enough of the population we won't sell as much bread!"
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Over a decade ago went up to at least 400K. I believe you had the option to have it lower (and could go with 100K if you wanted) but it could go up to around 400K as well today.

Just posting this on late...sorry.
Great I am actually glad to hear that
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
Why is it a problem for a party to be able to bribe a guard?

If a guard is supposed to be a significant encounter for level 3+ characters then you have a highly atypical game.

3rd level characters are assumed to be tackling more wondrous and ferocious things.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I've toyed around with the ideas of having the PCs belong to the Baker's Guild and adventuring in order to protect their trade. "If the dragon eats enough of the population we won't sell as much bread!"

Which would make sense if the PC's were Ferengi, but probably doesn't simulate most of humanity very well. I could be interesting to have a species like Ferengi that came at the problem of ethics in a backwards manner like that and whose compassion was predicated on understanding people as potential customers, but I don't feel most players are going to conceive of their characters in those terms.

Economics to me work less well as primary motivations than they do as simulating the struggle of achieving your primary motivation that we are all familiar with from life. Why do you keep track of ammunition and how many days of rations you have? Why is it interesting if things start falling a part if you've been trekking through a steaming jungle for two months? Because in real life, that's the struggle we all relate to much more than we relate to killing the dragon.

Things feel more satisfying when they feel earned. "Here is all the wealth you'll ever need, and you didn't have to work for it", isn't very satisfying. You can do whatever you want, and there isn't a stuggle to keep it working, isn't that satisfying. "We're turning a profit!" can be a really cool point in an RPG, where you start to slowly build your way up. How many computer games are there where "the struggle is real" is actually the core loop of gameplay that keeps you coming back so that you can afford that next widget or upgrade in your universe of quality of life enhancements? I think you can do that in an RPG, and certainly D&D has traditionally done that with dungeoneering supplies in the form of magical items - the old random treasure tables almost had a 'loot box' quality to them where you were hunting for the rare drops. But I also find that if you make the non-combat aspects of the game somewhat tangible, that you can do that with with all sorts of areas - I need just a slightly better army, I need just a bit better castle, I need just a bit more income to afford that castle, I need to upgrade the cities cathedral, I need to enduce more immigration, I need that NPC to like me, I need a library upgrade, etc. etc. etc. The more subsystems and minigames you have to play if you want to play them, the more you can have going on. You don't have to play all of them, and many groups won't want to, but they can be fun and in particular they can be an awesome change of pace from just playing dungeon minigames and combat minigames over and over.
 

MGibster

Legend
Which would make sense if the PC's were Ferengi, but probably doesn't simulate most of humanity very well.

I don't believe Dungeons & Dragons was designed with accurate simulation of the human experience in mind. It could be that you and I simply want different things out of the game but at times I have run campaigns with absurd premises. In my very first 5th edition campaign the PCs discovered they were being controlled by outside forces. So they went to Seattle to meet the Wizards of the Coast and along the way ran into some Raiders who were there to do battle with the Hawks from the Sea. In the campaign I had everyone in the kingdom fall asleep for a century as the world switch editions. Turns out the world was a homebrew campaign created by a WotC employee back in the day. Good times.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
3rd level characters are assumed to be tackling more wondrous and ferocious things.
Really? Level three? you have a different paradigm about levels than i dude. A handful of human guards or mercenaries is a standard level 3 encounter where I come from (sure one you can probably beat but pretty normal encounter wise. - I would probably step it up a notch and give them a captain of some sort or similar) and quite analogous in potency to Hobgoblin Soldiers or Jackylwere or Ragedrakes or Shadow Wolves.... That some campaigns can dally in conflicts where human interactions and wealth are important shouldn't surprise you.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I don't believe Dungeons & Dragons was designed with accurate simulation of the human experience in mind.
LOL yes I do think that has always been the case. I think the best we can do is keep the worst of the insanity behind curtains ... or as you seem inclined embrace it ;)
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
Really? Level three? you have a different paradigm about levels than i dude. A handful of human guards or mercenaries is a standard level 3 encounter where I come from (sure one you can probably beat but pretty normal encounter wise. - I would probably step it up a notch and give them a captain of some sort or similar) and quite analogous in potency to Hobgoblin Soldiers or Jackylwere or Ragedrakes or Shadow Wolves.... That some campaigns can dally in conflicts where human interactions and wealth are important shouldn't surprise you.

If we're in a situation where a guard could be bribed I would much rather just do that and move on to a more exciting bit of the story than fight them. Bribing, sneaking, or clobbering all sound like an easy encounter.

Now, at level 1, guard(s) blocking an entrance would be a bit of a problem that needs a clever solution esp. if they need to avoid an alarm being raised.

A guard is CR 1/8 which includes city watch, sentries, and bodyguards.

8 guards is an easy encounter for 4 3rd level characters. An easy encounter doesn't tax the characters' resources or put them in serious peril. They might lose a few hit points.

You could of course add a tougher guard in there as a captain to bump it up to a medium encounter.

At some point though we're no longing talking about 'a guard' and it's going to be harder and harder to bribe them. It's not just money we're talking about, there are social pressures. The guards probably have families which they would fear would be attacked if their treachery is exposed, not to mention their own lives, etc.
 

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