• NOW LIVE! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Sane Magic Item Prices


log in or register to remove this ad

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Who actually wants a broom of flying, though? I've hated that ridiculous item since I first saw it. Give me winged boots, a carpet of flying, ring of air elemental command or something else. "Look ma! I'm riding a broom!" just doesn't cut it for me.
Any flying brooms you don't want, just send 'em my way. I still have at least 10 PCs of my own without one, and they'd each take one in a heartbeat if it was offered!
 


<<facepalm>>

I mean, seriously: who comes up with this stuff? It's like they asked a bunch of players what their favourite items are and then chopped the price down so that everyone could have one, rather than leaving them as special and unusual finds.
I mean, not that I want a doofy broom, but I think that's what they ought to do.

I feel like DMs put too much importance on specialness when it comes to magic just in general. I think players would rather have the thing than the hopes of getting it.
 



I referenced it, because that's the assumed amount of money for a character of that level to have accumulated. Those hoards by the way, are pretty hard to come by. You need to take out an entire tribe of orcs or a dragon or something. But okay, so the group now has 3500 gold. I'll be generous and assume 4000 from some individual treasures. You want to hire 50 mercenaries at.....you tripled it to 6g each in total due to officers, so 300 per day. Now, you aren't generally going to find a dungeon or other similar threat that you'd want 50 mercs for close to town, but for kicks let's say that they are pretty close and they are a week away. 300 a day x 14 days(there and back) is 4200 gold. You're 700 in the hole and that's if you get there and then turn right around.

I've consistently said 30 mercs. At 6 gold per day that is 180 per day, not 300. Also, shocker, if we decimate a dungeon we likely get more money. So not only was I not in the hole (180*14 = 2,520 leaving me nearly 500 gold left) but I probably have a surplus at the end.

And, the point is that player don't do this. They never have. And it isn't because it can't be effective.

Right, so damage is half what you stated as many, if not most things start having resistance.

Except for Giants, Dragons, anything humanoid like drow, duergar, ect, Beholders, Genies, Aboleths, Hydra, Mindflayers, Purple Worms, Remorhaz's, quite a few undead, Slaad, Trolls, Wyverns...

It is a decently substantial list. Sure, Fiends, constructs, powerful undead all of these have resistance, but a lot of things don't.

Once or twice with that many casualties and that kind of attitude about their lives and you will find the pool of mercs dry up. You'll get a reputation for being death and they want to make money, not die.

Nothing in the rules about that. That is just you making up things. Sure, a DM might play it that way. Or they might play it like "hey, they took us to get wealthy beyond our wildest dreams, and sure, five of us died, but you think you'd do better solo?" and you might get more people.

Adventuring is a dangerous profession.

And again, the entire point is that players don't even try this. Because they don't want mercenary armies fighting their battles for them. Not because it isn't effective, but because it is BORING for most players.

Yet your damage number assumed a 100% hit rate, instead of a hit rate that will be lower, maybe considerably lower than 50%.

And yet, again, we had no AC numbers to compare it too. Like I said.

Your assumed optimal condition will rarely come to pass. It's basically white room arguing and white room stuff isn't helpful.

I'm point out "Hey, this works. If this is something that players wanted to do, they would do it. Therefor saying the only thing holding them back is a lack of gold isn't right"

I don't need to prove anything beyond the basics

Oh. So you aren't getting them for 300 per day. 300 per day assumes bottom of the barrel mercs, not scouts which are all the equivalent of 3rd level characters. So now the 4200g cost for that close 1 week out and 1 week back trip just shot up in price. You can no longer afford it, not that you really could before, either.

Great, you can show me where in the book it says that? Quoting the actual rules in the PHB or DMG? Because, that again sounds like you are making a call that isn't yours to make. Nothing says how powerful a "skilled" hireling is. Scouts are CR 1/2. A player character is considered to be CR = Level. So, these guys aren't even level 1 equivalents according to most spells in the game.

So, again, I'm not trying to argue this point. I'm showing that this is effective enough that if the only limitation was players getting money, players would be doing this. A lot. All the time.

THEY AREN'T DOING THIS, BECAUSE IT IS BORING. THEREFORE MORE MONEY WON'T CAUSE THEM TO SUDDENLY DO THIS.

I thing maybe in another four or five posts you might get my actual point. Instead of trying to argue this.

Sure. I personally wouldn't have a problem with it. If you wanted to shell out what is probably going to be 10k in gold to kill one bone devil, go for it.

First, it is a lack of money. At least at low levels. A 5th level group isn't going to want to shell out 5-10k in gold(pretty much all they've earned to this point) just to win one encounter. Second, it's not really that effective. You're rarely going to get optimal conditions, and you're rarely going to get a monster stupid enough to sit out in the open against 50+ guys. That bone devil has a 13 Int and has lived millennia. It's not going to fight your small army. It's going to leave and come back later. Or more likely, leave and then bribe the leader of your mercs with a deal with the devil to turn on you and then your up a creek. Those devilish devils!

30 individuals. 2500 gold. And it is obviously going to be more than one encounter. Good lord, I said that the worse case scenario was this single CR appropriate devil took out 3 or 4 scouts. But, you know, a CR 9 devil isn't just chilling alone in a room. Bet he might have, say, a cult? A cult of humans. They don't have damage resistance, so that is the full (potential because accuracy is a thing, but I'm not doing the full math here to make a single point ) 360 damage. Cult Fanatics have about 33 hp, so lets say that is 10 of them of killed in the first round. The players go and charge the Bone Devil, and what in one world was a 4 vs 11 brawl with multiple spellcasters and a terrible devil becomes a 34 vs 1 fight that is a guaranteed win for the party.

I mean, sure, it can try and run. Longbows have a reach of 600 ft, the scouts can move 30. So... 60 turns for a devil with 40 ft of movement to get out of there? It has 3.

And, AGAIN, my point isn't to argue the semantics of exactly how effective this is or isn't. Maybe you only hire 15 mercs so you can get a bunch of silvered arrows for cutting through devil resistance. Or maybe not, since I had 500 gold left, I could get 50 silver arrows, that is plenty. We could go back and forth on the exact details all day.

BUT PLAYERS AREN'T DOING THIS. THEY FIND OTHER PEOPLE DOING THE FIGHTING AND HAVING CAKEWALK GUARANTEED VICTORIES BORING.

That's why I don't buy the argument that, "If you give players too much gold, they will hire a mercenary army to win all battles for you." If that was what players wanted to do, they would do it. But they don't, because they don't want to do that.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I've consistently said 30 mercs. At 6 gold per day that is 180 per day, not 300. Also, shocker, if we decimate a dungeon we likely get more money. So not only was I not in the hole (180*14 = 2,520 leaving me nearly 500 gold left) but I probably have a surplus at the end.
That was before you used scouts instead of bottom of the barrel mercenaries.
And, the point is that player don't do this. They never have. And it isn't because it can't be effective.
Effective yes. Cost effective? Rarely.
Except for Giants, Dragons, anything humanoid like drow, duergar, ect, Beholders, Genies, Aboleths, Hydra, Mindflayers, Purple Worms, Remorhaz's, quite a few undead, Slaad, Trolls, Wyverns...
Most of those, if played properly, kill your men. With very few exceptions, they are all intelligent and wouldn't straight up fight your 30 men.
Nothing in the rules about that. That is just you making up things. Sure, a DM might play it that way. Or they might play it like "hey, they took us to get wealthy beyond our wildest dreams, and sure, five of us died, but you think you'd do better solo?" and you might get more people.
Yep. I'm assuming that the DM is roleplaying the NPCs, rather than making them computer bots with no thought other than what the player orders them to do. And 5? Please. You'd lost most to all of your men to a well played, well, almost anything on that list up there.
Adventuring is a dangerous profession.
Probably why they aren't adventurers.
And yet, again, we had no AC numbers to compare it too. Like I said.
You don't need them. Assuming a 40% hit rate is much closer to accurate than 100%.
Great, you can show me where in the book it says that? Quoting the actual rules in the PHB or DMG? Because, that again sounds like you are making a call that isn't yours to make. Nothing says how powerful a "skilled" hireling is. Scouts are CR 1/2. A player character is considered to be CR = Level. So, these guys aren't even level 1 equivalents according to most spells in the game.
It says it in the PHB under services. The 2gp a day is rock bottom, which means basic level 1 equivalent mercenaries. Your scouts are much better and would cost much more. CR 1/2 by the way is around a 3rd or 4th level PC. And no. No PC is considered CR = level, because CR = able to take on 4 characters of that level. A level 1 PC is unable to do that. A 3rd level PC probably loses to 4 1st level PCs.
THEY AREN'T DOING THIS, BECAUSE IT IS BORING. THEREFORE MORE MONEY WON'T CAUSE THEM TO SUDDENLY DO THIS.
It's hardly the only game breaking thing that they can do with a lot of money. And by game breaking, I mean breaks at low levels. At higher levels, power shifts and lots of money doesn't break things.
30 individuals. 2500 gold. And it is obviously going to be more than one encounter. Good lord, I said that the worse case scenario was this single CR appropriate devil took out 3 or 4 scouts. But, you know, a CR 9 devil isn't just chilling alone in a room. Bet he might have, say, a cult? A cult of humans. They don't have damage resistance, so that is the full (potential because accuracy is a thing, but I'm not doing the full math here to make a single point ) 360 damage. Cult Fanatics have about 33 hp, so lets say that is 10 of them of killed in the first round. The players go and charge the Bone Devil, and what in one world was a 4 vs 11 brawl with multiple spellcasters and a terrible devil becomes a 34 vs 1 fight that is a guaranteed win for the party.
Why do you assume stupidity on the part of the devil? He's not going to get into a straight up fight against a superior force. There are other methods that cause you to lose that he would employ.
I mean, sure, it can try and run. Longbows have a reach of 600 ft, the scouts can move 30. So... 60 turns for a devil with 40 ft of movement to get out of there? It has 3.
In a white room... In a real game, it's not going to be fighting you on an open plain.
That's why I don't buy the argument that, "If you give players too much gold, they will hire a mercenary army to win all battles for you." If that was what players wanted to do, they would do it. But they don't, because they don't want to do that.
Cool. Not the only thing that they can do with money.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Most of those, if played properly, kill your men. With very few exceptions, they are all intelligent and wouldn't straight up fight your 30 men.
And some of them wouldn't even have to. A Dragon's fear aura or a Mind Flayer's psionics will (or bloody well should!) clear the field of any schlub mercenaries real fast, and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Giants and their ilk, though, are one opponent type against whom this small-army tactic could and IMO would potentially be very effective.
 

Stalker0

Legend
A 3rd level PC probably loses to 4 1st level PCs.
Depends on the class of course (there's always a wizard casting sleep), but I would say its not until you get to 5th level (second attack, 3rd level spells) that a character would have a reasonable chance against 4 1st level PCs. The force multiplier effect in 5e is very very very strong.

So I'll pitch my hat into this argument, as I have used large groups of 1st level schlubs on several occasions, both against my pcs and against monsters.

Now melee guys, they are mince meat. But archers? Watch out. You give them some open terrain to spread out, and you are in trouble. Assuming 20 archers +4 (+2 base, +2 dex) against a AC 19 (a good solid AC for PCs, and exceptionally high for most monsters, that's CR 15+ level ACs normally). That means you are getting 5 hits and a crit each round on average, or about 43.5 damage....better than fireball. Add another 6.5 damage for every point of AC lower than that, so a perfect 50 at AC 18. You give me your 5th level Greatsword fighter (AC 18), and I will statistically drop him in round 1, with a reasonable chance to kill him if the dice go my way just a bit.

Now a single 43.5 damage barrage is decent, but the trick is its hard to kill a large group of archers that are spread out, so your going to get that damage round after round, and suddenly it starts to matter a lot.

So obviously a group like this isn't going into a cave to hunt monsters. But if I have an open field, I'll take that 20 guys against a lot of stuff. People talk about monster fighting intelligently against them, but the thing is the longbow outranges almost every other attack in the game. Anywhere you try to maneuver to hit the archers..... the entire archer line is likely to be able to hit you.
 
Last edited:

S'mon

Legend
Of course per RAW, if the party of 5 PCs brings along 20 NPC archers, each PC goes from 1/5 of the total XP to 1/25 the total XP. IME PCs use NPC soldiers mostly for garrison & protection, not adventuring.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Another fun example of mass archer power. So I had a campaign plan to do a large city under attack from a Adult Red dragon, Smaug style. Of course it was going to be the heroes doing the work (or so I thought) but I was curious what a decent city guard can do.

So take 200 crappy archers. No dex bonus, just the +2 base bonus. Aka +2 attack, 1d8 damage....bottom of the totem pole. Put them on your city wall as the dragon flies in (aka they know its coming).

So how well do they do? Even at disadvantage, they start firing at 600 feet, and do 36 damage a round (disadvantage really lowers your overall damage!). The dragon moves 200 ft if you use its legendary action for wings. This means that by the time the dragon has even gotten into the fight, its already taken 108, nearly half of its health.

But now that its close, the archers are much more accurate, and will on average do another 225 damage, more than enough to completely kill the dragon. But lets assume dragon fear has taken out like half of them (seems pretty reasonable the dragon does a fly by to scare a whole bunch of people). Even then, the archers do 112.5..... the dragon has now taken about ~240 damage and is nearly dead.

Now maybe the dragon gets in a good breath and kills a bunch of people, maybe he lasts 2 more rounds...not likely, but possible. But that's it, the CR17 Smaug is flat out annihilated by 200 men that have used a bow a little, but aren't particularly good with it. 5e's bounded accuracy is really really true, high level opponents can be absolutely flattened by schlubs in the right circumstances.

suffice it to say for the campaign, I had the city taken by "surprise" so that the guards didn't steal the PCs glory:)
 
Last edited:

S'mon

Legend
Another fun example of mass archer power. So I had a campaign plan to do a large city under attack from a Adult Red dragon, Smaug style.
Well for a city-killer dragon even Ancient dragons won't suffice. In my Wilderlands Ghinarian Hills game there was an angry ancient black dragon, Matriarx, attacking human coastal settlements. She was wary of attacking Ahyf, a town of several thousand, but destroyed one village and was attacking a second when killed by a PC Barbarian who had predicted where she'd likely strike next.

For a dragon that can destroy a town or city I use the Wyrm & Great Wyrm stats from The Book of Dragons for 5th Edition - Dungeon Masters Guild | DriveThruRPG.com
& give them a Hardness/Damage Threshold vs non-magical damage so arrows just bounce off.
 

That was before you used scouts instead of bottom of the barrel mercenaries.

So, you want to claim my example doesn't work, because of your interpretation of what I said before I even gave the example? Because, unless you have the ability to rewrite history, I never once said anything about "bottom of the barrel mercenaries" and I really have no interest in changing the entire premise of my example just because you decided I should.

Effective yes. Cost effective? Rarely.

Effective is effective. And the money issue is the point. The proposition I was responding to was "if they have enough gold, this is what they will do" so the entire point is assuming enough money. The only reason I even gave prices was because you were saying this couldn't possibly happen until mid to late game. Well, it can happen in the early part of the mid game.

Most of those, if played properly, kill your men. With very few exceptions, they are all intelligent and wouldn't straight up fight your 30 men.

And most players are intelligent and will work to decieve and counter them. What's your point? A small group (because in war terms, 35 people is a small group) can't beat an intelligent enemy because they are too smart for them? You can't possibly overcome a giant fortress because they are just so smart that if you bring more than 4 to 6 people they will instantly crush you?

Assuming victory is assured and therefore the tactic is worthless is pretty much a non-argument. I can use the same logic to declare that the PCs fail.

Yep. I'm assuming that the DM is roleplaying the NPCs, rather than making them computer bots with no thought other than what the player orders them to do. And 5? Please. You'd lost most to all of your men to a well played, well, almost anything on that list up there.

The bone devil is where I got that 5 from. Also, again, declaring victory because you assume the players are too stupid to outsmart you.

Oh, and I never once made the claim of them being computer bots with no thoughts. Because, again, you are discounting the players as a non-factor. DnD is a world where we fully expect sentient, fully intelligent beings to serve evil masters. Constantly. A speech by a bard with assistance from a cleric and this isn't a a death mission, it is a holy crusade blessed by the Gods and you get paid for it. Heck, people join the military all the time, that can get you killed too. It isn't that there is no possible way for these individuals to be convinced into going, it is that you don't want them to go, so you say it is impossible.

Probably why they aren't adventurers.

Yeah, just people who will go and fight for money... isn't that exactly what adventurers do? Get hired to go and fight things for money? Bandits, goblins, ect? "Oh, but those are small threats, not like this big threats". Um, sure, but notice how your adventurers started getting hired for small threats, then got hired for big threats? Not seeing a compelling point here.

You don't need them. Assuming a 40% hit rate is much closer to accurate than 100%.

I could also assume a 70% hit rate. But the math is harder and I figured everyone in this thread is big enough to do their own accuracy math if they felt like it.

I never lied, I never tried to hide the fact that I was assuming 100% hit rate. Stop harping on it. I can decide how I want to lay out my own examples, I decided to save time by not assuming an AC, and just calculating the damage, I wasn't confusing or misleading anyone. They wanted to do the AC calculations for the "real" number, they could do it themselves.

It says it in the PHB under services. The 2gp a day is rock bottom, which means basic level 1 equivalent mercenaries. Your scouts are much better and would cost much more. CR 1/2 by the way is around a 3rd or 4th level PC. And no. No PC is considered CR = level, because CR = able to take on 4 characters of that level. A level 1 PC is unable to do that. A 3rd level PC probably loses to 4 1st level PCs.

PHB excerpts: "Other hirelings provide more expert or dangerous services. Mercenary soldiers paid to help the adventurers take on a hobgoblin army are hirelings.....Skilled hirelings include anyone hired to perform a service that involves a proficiency (including weapon, tool, or skill): a mercenary, artisan, scribe, and so on. The pay shown is a minimum; some expert hirelings require more pay."

Who is a Scout? According to their entry: "Scouts are skilled hunters and trackers who offer their services for a fee. Most hunt wild game, but a few work as bounty hunters, serve as guides, or provide military reconnaissance."

And, you will remember, waaaay back at the start of this example, I acknowledged your point about them being more expensive, and have been charging 6 gp a day. So, you want to tell me that the skilled hunter who is potentially a bounty hunter is so good, that I should be paying them more than 3 times the basic price? So, according the logic you keep spouting, Anyone who can swing a sword is 2 gp a day, a bottom feeder, rock bottom mercenary is 6 gp a day (the number I've been using) and there for a Scout should be, what? 10 gp a day? Enough to live like an Aristocrat? Man, the Thayan military has to be shelling out 15 or 20 gold a day to hire their Warriors, those guys are CR 2 and at least twice as good as the scouts. What do you think a CR 5 gladiator makes? 45 gp a day?

Or, maybe, just maybe, 6 gold per day isn't unreasonable for a CR 1/2 merc. And by "experts" they were talking about some of these CR 3 to 9 individuals?


Also, the CR to level conversion is coming from spells like Polymorph. That is the method they have used. Not saying it is perfect, just saying that is what I have seen used.


It's hardly the only game breaking thing that they can do with a lot of money. And by game breaking, I mean breaks at low levels. At higher levels, power shifts and lots of money doesn't break things.

I love how you can read my point, then dismiss it as though I didn't say anything. I never said it was the only thing you could do with money. This entire example has been about showing this ONE THING isn't something that the players WILL EVEN ATTEMPT because of how they are approaching the game DESPITE being effective.

I guess I will just keep repeating myself until you realize what I am saying, and stop trying to argue against what you seem to think I am saying.

Why do you assume stupidity on the part of the devil? He's not going to get into a straight up fight against a superior force. There are other methods that cause you to lose that he would employ.

Why do you keep assuming that a group of level 6 to 8 adventurers can't outsmart anyone, and just charge in blindly with a full frontal assault? You claim to DM, are you trying to say that players have not once ever come up with a plan you didn't expect to outsmart your villains?

This is a hypothetical example simply showing the math. I'm not going to assume one way or the other about how the players accomplish their goals. Or the scenario the fight takes place in.

In a white room... In a real game, it's not going to be fighting you on an open plain.

Of course, I always forget that everything must always work against the players, and every fight must take place in 5 ft wide 15 ft long zigzagging hallways. It is right there in my "How to DM" manual. How could I possibly forget?

/Sarcasm

Cool. Not the only thing that they can do with money.

Cool, never said it was. I actually responded to most of the list of seven or eight things that I was given at the time for what was incredibly broken about getting large sums of money.

Problem was, a good couple of them were based on assumptions of older editions, like masterwork items, or ignored the design features of 5e, like bounded accuracy. So, those just quietly faded away and then you decided that by responding to eight items I must clearly only have a single thing I think money can be used for. Maybe listen to what I have been saying, it might make this whole process a lot easier.
 

Of course per RAW, if the party of 5 PCs brings along 20 NPC archers, each PC goes from 1/5 of the total XP to 1/25 the total XP. IME PCs use NPC soldiers mostly for garrison & protection, not adventuring.

Another reason why players (in games that use XP) don't use this tactic. I could give the players a million gold, but if it meant they'd only get 1/25th or 1/30th of their expected XP and treasure, they wouldn't use it to hire mercenaries to win all their battles for them.

Which is what I've been arguing. That despite being effective, people don't do it, because the incentives are all placed in the "don't do this" category. Not because after 7th level a large group of 1/2 CR archers is completely ineffective and will be trivially killed by all the hyper-intelligent monsters.
 

S'mon

Legend
Which is what I've been arguing. That despite being effective, people don't do it, because the incentives are all placed in the "don't do this" category. Not because after 7th level a large group of 1/2 CR archers is completely ineffective and will be trivially killed by all the hyper-intelligent monsters.
Yup. Agree 100%. IMC it's common for PCs to have hireling soldiers, mostly at 2 sp/day or even less, but they don't take them down dungeons or typical adventuring situations. And not because I tell them not to, or because they can't hurt the enemy. The reason the PC groups have loyal cheap soldiers in the first place is because the PCs care about their soldiers, don't want them getting killed, and take the risks (& get the loot & XP) themselves.

Sending your soldiers to clear the dungeon like some cowardly aristocrat might well clear the dungeon, but you don't get the XP or glory; you probably don't get most of the loot, either.

Edit: Recently IMC the PCs helped some dwarves defend a small dwarf hold against a horde of orcs. The PCs mostly tried to minimise the danger faced by the dwarves. They were sad when one dwarf scout was killed in the battle - the orcs lost 19, including 3 orc scouts, four CR3 champions, a CR4/CL6 witch and a barlgura demon!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
When it comes to dragons and archers, the "dragon loses" assumes that the dragon is stupid. In my campaign, dragons after a certain age category are not stupid. They'll wait until everything is in their favor, attack at night or even when there's rain or snow. Even races with darkvision the first they're going to know the dragon is coming is when the dragon fear kicks in.

Why on earth would a dragon attack in the middle of the day? They know where the city is. With any kind of reconnaissance they'll know the basic fixed defenses.

But this is really, really off topic.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So, you want to claim my example doesn't work, because of your interpretation of what I said before I even gave the example? Because, unless you have the ability to rewrite history, I never once said anything about "bottom of the barrel mercenaries" and I really have no interest in changing the entire premise of my example just because you decided I should.
No. I'm saying that your pricing is wonky, because you're using bottom barrel prices for elite mercenaries. It didn't really work before, but completely goes bonkers once you try to get 2g bottom barrel prices for elite scouts.
Effective is effective. And the money issue is the point. The proposition I was responding to was "if they have enough gold, this is what they will do" so the entire point is assuming enough money. The only reason I even gave prices was because you were saying this couldn't possibly happen until mid to late game. Well, it can happen in the early part of the mid game.
No, effective is not effective. Just because you are effective at getting rid of flies, does not make you an effective manager. If you can't afford to hire the mercenaries or you lose twice what you make hiring them and almost all your experience, so what if they're effective at killing those few things you meet in the middle of an open plain.
And most players are intelligent and will work to decieve and counter them. What's your point? A small group (because in war terms, 35 people is a small group) can't beat an intelligent enemy because they are too smart for them? You can't possibly overcome a giant fortress because they are just so smart that if you bring more than 4 to 6 people they will instantly crush you?
You get different tactics and you'll lose more than the small handful you mentioned.
Yeah, just people who will go and fight for money... isn't that exactly what adventurers do? Get hired to go and fight things for money? Bandits, goblins, ect? "Oh, but those are small threats, not like this big threats". Um, sure, but notice how your adventurers started getting hired for small threats, then got hired for big threats? Not seeing a compelling point here.
Mercenaries prefer not to fight. They want easy patrol jobs and guarding places that are unlikely to see much action. They're going to avoid almost certain death like the plague.
I could also assume a 70% hit rate. But the math is harder and I figured everyone in this thread is big enough to do their own accuracy math if they felt like it.
So rather than attempt to be even remotely accurate, you assumed a 100% hit rate and just figured that the readers would know that you were pulling numbers out of your rear and do their own math?
Who is a Scout? According to their entry: "Scouts are skilled hunters and trackers who offer their services for a fee. Most hunt wild game, but a few work as bounty hunters, serve as guides, or provide military reconnaissance."
First, those skills are more sought after than common mercenaries, so more than 2g. Second, 30 is more than a few and I doubt that the bone devil is wanted dead or alive for bank robbery. Third, they are scouts, not fighters, so I assume you don't mind that they just find the bone devil for you and let the armed fighters fight it. You hired them to find the bone devil and they found it for you. Now it's your turn.
And, you will remember, waaaay back at the start of this example, I acknowledged your point about them being more expensive, and have been charging 6 gp a day.
Because you ignored that mercenaries would have officers that charged more. Going all scouts is going to be like hiring 30 officers. It's going to be way more expensive than 6gp a day. A third level party is probably going to turn down a 6gp a day, 2 week gig as being too low in price. Why should these scouts work for less than they are worth.
I love how you can read my point, then dismiss it as though I didn't say anything. I never said it was the only thing you could do with money. This entire example has been about showing this ONE THING isn't something that the players WILL EVEN ATTEMPT because of how they are approaching the game DESPITE being effective.
It's pretty darned rare, but I've seen players hire mercenaries. Usually when an army is coming and they have a castle or something to defend, but it happens and they spend a lot of gold on it.

It just doesn't happen when going out adventuring for a number of reasons, the least of which is that it reduces the fun. More importantly is that it's not cost effective and players don't want to lose a lot of money. And MUCH more importantly, experience is divided by the number of combatants and players want to actually go up levels. You've also in your white room, reduced the combat to easy, so the experience you are dividing is less for that as well.
Why do you keep assuming that a group of level 6 to 8 adventurers can't outsmart anyone, and just charge in blindly with a full frontal assault? You claim to DM, are you trying to say that players have not once ever come up with a plan you didn't expect to outsmart your villains?
I don't. But monsters are FAR less likely to engage 36-38 in a straight up fight than they are 6-8.
This is a hypothetical example simply showing the math. I'm not going to assume one way or the other about how the players accomplish their goals. Or the scenario the fight takes place in.
Right. It's white room scenario. White room scenarios often fail, like this one does, once you exit the white room.
Of course, I always forget that everything must always work against the players, and every fight must take place in 5 ft wide 15 ft long zigzagging hallways. It is right there in my "How to DM" manual. How could I possibly forget?
It doesn't take a narrow hall to prevent 36-38 people from all getting to attack every round. Lots of middle ground between your wide open plain and a narrow, zig-zagging hallway.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
When it comes to dragons and archers, the "dragon loses" assumes that the dragon is stupid. In my campaign, dragons after a certain age category are not stupid. They'll wait until everything is in their favor, attack at night or even when there's rain or snow. Even races with darkvision the first they're going to know the dragon is coming is when the dragon fear kicks in.

Why on earth would a dragon attack in the middle of the day? They know where the city is. With any kind of reconnaissance they'll know the basic fixed defenses.

But this is really, really off topic.
But, dragons and bone devils have magic items that you might want to buy off of them, or sell after they're dead. ;)
 

No. I'm saying that your pricing is wonky, because you're using bottom barrel prices for elite mercenaries. It didn't really work before, but completely goes bonkers once you try to get 2g bottom barrel prices for elite scouts.

And I was using scouts the entire time. So, I'm not sure why you think I've "suddenly changed" from one to the other.

No, effective is not effective. Just because you are effective at getting rid of flies, does not make you an effective manager. If you can't afford to hire the mercenaries or you lose twice what you make hiring them and almost all your experience, so what if they're effective at killing those few things you meet in the middle of an open plain.

Never claimed that they were effective managers. I was claiming that it was an effective tactic for fighting an enemy. That's it.

I've shown you can afford it, you just suddenly decided that the pricing wasn't good enough, based off nothing except that I should be "paying them more" even though I'm already paying triple the cost .

I don't play with experience, so I was never going to think of that angle, @S'mon brought up experience and I agreed with them. If you are playing with experience, that is a factor. But, I don't assume that. And you didn't either.

And, you have not shown them losing any money at all. So, not sure how I'm losing twice what their pay and take is.


Also, this was originally a response to your "effective but not cost effective" which seems is a position you are abandoning now, since, as I point out, that just is flatly false.

You get different tactics and you'll lose more than the small handful you mentioned.

So, if players think up clever ways to outsmart you, you just go "AHA! I planned for that" and adjust the fight so that they get defeated anyways? Seems like that isn't anything you have ever advocated before, but I have no other way to interpret your response to "players are also intelligent" being "you get different tactics"

Mercenaries prefer not to fight. They want easy patrol jobs and guarding places that are unlikely to see much action. They're going to avoid almost certain death like the plague.

"In my opinion"

Forgot to add that part. Since it is a fairly common fantasy trope to have the mercenary company that loves to fight. But, there is nothing in the rules written that says you can't hire mercenaries to fight difficult battles.

So rather than attempt to be even remotely accurate, you assumed a 100% hit rate and just figured that the readers would know that you were pulling numbers out of your rear and do their own math?

I never tried to hide that I was using 100% accuracy. I fully and openly admit it. That math is easier than trying to make up an AC and then try and match it. And, when you gave me an AC, I calculated it for you, so I didn't even force you to do your own math.

So, keep complaining that I took a route to make it easier on myself, openly admitted it, and have no qualms about doing it again. I don't care and I stand by my decision.


First, those skills are more sought after than common mercenaries, so more than 2g. Second, 30 is more than a few and I doubt that the bone devil is wanted dead or alive for bank robbery. Third, they are scouts, not fighters, so I assume you don't mind that they just find the bone devil for you and let the armed fighters fight it. You hired them to find the bone devil and they found it for you. Now it's your turn.

6 gp is more than 2 gp. I've been doing the math with 6 gp this entire time. I stated when I changed it, and I never changed back.

30 is a very small number when you are considering kingdoms of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. Also, a few scouts are bounty hunters, that just means a percentage of their population. I might not be hiring bounty hunters, I might be hiring former army scouts. We never clarified. Nice attempt to obscure the facts with pointless semantic arguments though.

We hired them for a job, that job wasn't bounty hunting. I don't think it matters that the Bone Devil didn't break his parole. This is some really petty arguments.

Their title is scout yes, they are also very good at fighting and we hired them to fight. I don't see what this. has to do with anything. Are you trying to say you would allow your players to pay three times the cost of a group or mercenaries, explicitly hire those mercenaries to fight, allowing them to trek multiple days into the wilderness, and then have the mercenaries turn around and say "Our old job before this was just finding people, we found them, we aren't fighting for you because our imaginary job title isn't warrior?" Again. This is petty.

Hopefully I don't get a second turn, this sort of petty semantical stuff is just an annoying distraction.


Because you ignored that mercenaries would have officers that charged more. Going all scouts is going to be like hiring 30 officers. It's going to be way more expensive than 6gp a day. A third level party is probably going to turn down a 6gp a day, 2 week gig as being too low in price. Why should these scouts work for less than they are worth.

Interesting how you completely ignore the rest of that paragraph. Maybe you missed it? I'll repost it,

So, hiring someone with weapon skills is 2 gp a day.

According to you, hiring actual mercenaries is "more expensive" so I jumped it to 6 gp per day.

Then according to you, for no reason except CR, you decided that Scouts must be even more expensive. You won't say how much, so I asked if it should be 10 gp per day. That is the daily allowance of a minor lord. For a bounty hunter, must be an expensive bounty. I know there are some bounty hunters who can spend months tracking down a target, must be awesome to pay someone like that 300 gold a month (I averaged the number of days in the month to 30. If the month is shorter it will be less than 300, if the month is longer it will be more than 300. Also, we have been assuming a 7 day week, not all DnD worlds use a 7 day week, but I went with this assumption because it is easier and more familiar to people.)

But then... what about people who are hired by governments that are even HIGHER CR. A Thayan Warrior is CR 2, four times higher than the scout. Would they be getting 20 gp per day?

A Gladiator is a position, they are CR 5, double the warrior and TEN TIMES more than the scout. So, do they get paid 45 gp per day? A week as a gladiator at those prices is 315 gp, that is a month of living like the lords and ladies of a realm.

Also, you might want to redo your math on that 3rd level party. Five man band, (6*14 = 84), That is a 3rd level party being offered 420 gold for a single job. I don't know about you, but if I was part of a 3rd level party being offered over 400 gp, I'd be worried it was a scam or a trick. That is a lot of money for that level. (By the way, since you are always so concerned about my math. I chose a five man band because the average size of an adventuring party is between 4 and 6 people. Clearly if there are 4 people, it is less than 420 and if there are 6 or more people, it is more than 420. I could offer you every single variation, but I am strapped for time)


So, frankly, I'm curious how much you think these people are worth, and how the various employers they are supposed to have can afford to pay them. I mean, 20 gp per day for every CR 2 warrior in Thay has to be metric tons of gold.

It's pretty darned rare, but I've seen players hire mercenaries. Usually when an army is coming and they have a castle or something to defend, but it happens and they spend a lot of gold on it.

It just doesn't happen when going out adventuring for a number of reasons, the least of which is that it reduces the fun. More importantly is that it's not cost effective and players don't want to lose a lot of money. And MUCH more importantly, experience is divided by the number of combatants and players want to actually go up levels. You've also in your white room, reduced the combat to easy, so the experience you are dividing is less for that as well.

So, you never disagreed with my point, you just wanted to argue that hiring soldiers is horribly expensive and ineffiecent, which is why we have to keep players poor (while still getting paid more than 500 gold per adventure by level 3 somehow) because if we don't they will make the absolutely ineffective and terrible decision to hire people to fight for them, even though that doesn't actually work....

Do you even understand your own position anymore, or is more a knee-jerk reaction to me posting something that you have to disagree with it?

I don't. But monsters are FAR less likely to engage 36-38 in a straight up fight than they are 6-8.

And the players want to make that happen. So they will try and make that happen... see the conflict there? You are assuming the player's plans must fail, because there are just a lot of people involved and for some reason that means the players can't alter the situation to favor themselves.

Right. It's white room scenario. White room scenarios often fail, like this one does, once you exit the white room.

Well I wasn't going to argue every single possible permutation of every adventuring party combination with every single adventure hook and every single monster and every single grouping of monsters and every single terrain type and every single level of fog of war. I don't have that kind of time on my hands, despite how much I seem to be wasting on this.

It doesn't take a narrow hall to prevent 36-38 people from all getting to attack every round. Lots of middle ground between your wide open plain and a narrow, zig-zagging hallway.

Funny how I never claimed a wide open plain, you just assumed that. You make a lot of assumptions for someone who hates it when other people assume parts of your argument.

All I did was show the damage potential. That was it. You decided you just had to prove me wrong, because of reasons I guess, and are harping on every single petty detail you can think of to try and dismantle my point... while completely agreeing with my point and ignoring what my actual point is, by dragging me down in this endless morass of petty arguments over whether or not someone titled scout who was hired to fight would actually fight, because fighting is dangerous.
 

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top