D&D 5E Do you actually use "Lifestyle Expenses?"

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Do you plan to keep the time a downtime activity takes the same? I think many of them are tied to a week, which would mean many downtime activities would be Wealthy level lifestyle expense. And would it be Wealthy daily rate x 7 or just the daily rate to cover the week?
The revised downtime activities in Xanathar’s are measured in workweeks, but the original PHB versions (which I have always preferred anyway) are measured in individual days, so I would use those. The costs are a little funky - It’s the daily cost multiplied by the number of days of downtime that lifestyle earns you for the week. Here’s the table:

LifestyleCostDowntime
Wretched--
Squalid1 sp1 day
Poor4 sp2 days
Modest3 gp3 days
Comfortable8 gp4 days
Wealthy20 gp5 days
Aristocratic60 gp6 days

I misremembered in my previous post, it’s 6-day weeks, assuming the 7th day can’t be used for downtime activities because nothing is open (mostly because 6 day weeks lined up better with 6 10-minute-interval hours in the dungeon and 6 4-hour-interval days while traveling).

The reason I multiply the cost by the number of downtime days rather than by 6 (or 7) is so that downtime activities that allow you to maintain a lifestyle while doing them can just earn you the lifestyle’s daily cost. So, for example, in the PHB, practicing a profession lets you maintain a Modest lifestyle for free, or a Comfortable lifestyle if you have a source of gainful employment like a guild. In this system, practicing a profession simply earns you 1 gp per day you spend doing it (or 2 if you have gainful employment). So if you spent all the downtime your Modest (or Comfortable) lifestyle affords you doing that, you would break even.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Similar to what @beancounter just posted. The players tend to not even write down copper and just write it off to expenses like repairs and drinks. When in town they will cross off several gold to pay for room and general carousing.
This is about what we do also, other than at raw 1st level.

As a player, I usually round my treasury share down to the nearest 10 and assume the extra went into a few good meals, drinks etc.

That said, the game I play in uses a silver-based system (not my choice; but DM's game, DM's rules), which means s.p. and c.p. suddenly become more relevant.
My games tend to not have large amounts of downtime that are more than a couple days or at most a week.
We have training as a thing, and as not everyone bumps at once there's often a few weeks of downtime between adventures and sometimes even during adventures if the party decide to take a training break. Most of the time, those characters who aren't training are assumed to be dealing with the mundanities of treasury evaluation, identification, and division; along with information-gathering if needed.
 

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
Its important at low levels, imo, to show the relative improvement. I will often give non-cash rewards to low levels, like "can eat in the keep's kitchen for free", free upkeep of mounts, no city entrance fees, etc.

Aside from the "reward but not cash" aspect, it creates a place the PCs will predictably be. This means they will consistently socialize with the same NPCs. That creates more verisimilitude, creates hooks for encouraging the players to engage with certain plots. I have found they are likely to spend more money in the long haul, as they share their largess with their friends.
 

edosan

Adventurer
In D&D where living expenses become pretty inconsequential after say, second level I decided to abstract out living expenses (room, board, maintaining equipment, basic training in your chosen profession) to be 10 gp per level per week, minimum. If you want to use the time for downtime activities, that’s extra.
 


It's such a minute amount that I don't bother unless the party wants a lavish lifestyle.

It's not exactly the same thing, but Matt Mercer telling his players to mark off one silver piece when they use the cable car in one city has become something of a running joke in the current campaign of Critical Role.

 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Note, for example, that the living expenses include maintenance of equipment. If you have expensive equipment (like plate mail armor, for example) you need to pay those costs, or the equipment degrades.
Oooooo, I really like that idea. I remember reading about how difficult and expensive armor maintenance was, back in the day...it's the origin of the word "blackmail" for a reason.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Oooooo, I really like that idea. I remember reading about how difficult and expensive armor maintenance was, back in the day...it's the origin of the word "blackmail" for a reason.

When I look at the etymology of blackmail, it has nothing to do with armor. In Middle English, the word "mal" or "male" meant rent, or tribute.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
When I look at the etymology of blackmail, it has nothing to do with armor. In Middle English, the word "mal" or "male" meant rent, or tribute.

Huh. I learned it differently (this isn't the first time I was misinformed by a teacher.) Something about knights who couldn't afford proper upkeep on their armor and the armor turning black? I never bothered to look it up until now.

The reference to rent/tribute makes more sense to me. And brings us back around to lifestyle expenses once again.
 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
Nope. I barely bother with money at all. I used to do, but 5e didn't make it all that interesting, so I gave up. I give out treasure, I suppose, but I don't feel like there's much for the players to DO with it.
 

So here's my question: Do you worry about cost of living concerns in your game? Or do you handwave that mess in favor of high adventure? Why or why not?
I do use them, it simplifies things for us, I feel.

You pay X coin per month and that entitles you to this lifestyle, clothing, and two weeks of typical supplies for your adventure.
If you pay at higher or lower levels, you have greater or lesser quality starting supplies, replace the mule that got eaten by an owlbear, &c. Rangers and druids can get by with less, wizards and paladins want more.

I find I don't like a "wealth" attribute, but I appreciate "wealth packages". If you spend X coin you get Y lifestyle. If you have means, then you can channel that into a baseline lifestyle and more coin can be spent on bling, bribes, and magic items.
 


Fauchard1520

Adventurer
Note, for example, that the living expenses include maintenance of equipment. If you have expensive equipment (like plate mail armor, for example) you need to pay those costs, or the equipment degrades.
I mean... It simulates the world. But it does so at the cost of a lot of minutia.

In my head, cost of living is useful in hardscrabble, low-fantasy settings. I want Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser drinking away their last dime and then going out to adventure and get more. But by the time you hit your first hoard, you'd have to "live a lavish lifestyle" for months for that to happen. Does the game expect us to do time skips?

And in your own example, is armor going to break because you forgot to pay? That seems like a gotcha, which is no bueno. But the alternative is to remind your player to cough up 10 gp, which seems like an inconsequential waste of game time. I'm not sure how to make these minor expense support adventure and excitement rather than bookkeeping-for-its-own-sake.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I mean... It simulates the world. But it does so at the cost of a lot of minutia.

Yeah, but I don't want the minutiae. The piddly bookkeeping of every beer and bowl of stew is not something my payers take much entertainment in, so I want to gloss over it.

But by the time you hit your first hoard...

My villains don't leave nonsensically large wads of cash sitting around.
 


so this 'kind of' came up this week. I am a PC noble who has bragged about his wealth for 4 sessions, and we just got planeshift/slideresed to a new world (actually happened end of session 2 just now realizing) we went to get a set of rooms at an inn, and I went to throw my weight around and it worked cause they have few casters (I am a bladsinger/artificer) so I was seen as 'important' even without my family name... so the owner asked if I wanted the VIP suit and of course would give me the 'wizard discount'.

for 5 days for 5 of us in a suit with 7 beds (3 in 2 rooms and a master with 1) and a kitchen and living area. he wanted 500gp. So I put down the money and the DM said "Wait really?" and I said "Yup just take it off my sheet" and we went to our 'rooms'

so I made a joke about it was like when I would say "It's 3 sp normally but family discount for you 1gp". and 2 players asked what a noble would EXPECT to pay and the DM didn't know so I brought up the Chart and was like "well if I say all 5 of us are getting good aristocrat treatment, 2-4gp per day per person is 100gp more or less... so this was 5 times that"
 

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