Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
dracopticon

Fantasy economic system - starting money question

Recommended Posts

A good rule of thumb is that a penny will buy a cooked meal for an adult or 2 kids.  If you cook your own meal, then you make savings for as long as the food lasts.  If you lack money you have to forage in the wilds, rummage after scraps, beg, or steal.  Rent will vary, but will be sensitive to market forces.  Cooking, heating and lighting will rely on a supply of firewood, dung chips, reeds, pitch, or oil and will be more expensive in cities than if obtained in rural areas.  It is a good idea to think of your lowest denomination coin as a tradeable meal voucher.  Unskilled labor will live a semi-nomadic existence unless they cop a break.  Once you know this rule, you get a better sense of what to charge for things, as you add up the effort to find the raw materials (items/day), transport them to market (quantity/time), then you need to calculate the time it takes to make the item against the daily wage of the craftsperson, add the raw material cost, and double it (profit).  Halving the value will give you the minimum value the craftsperson might be prepared to reluctantly sell an item for if it is just sitting on a shelf for months.  Note that Guilds offer their membership a lot of protection, but they also act to set prices for items citywide.  In fact the whole idea of a RPG price list is pretty close to how medieval cities used to operate thanks to guilds.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The new version of RuneQuest details what amount of land, or its equivalent, is needed to support a household.

I think RQ3 had a table that showed typical income for various levels of wealth, which might be useful.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/30/2018 at 10:14 AM, Atgxtg said:

Yeah probably closer to "provide for a family". 

KInda. In most cases it's not really payment in cash money, but instead the value of goods and food. So someone who gets ahead probably has an extra chicken or two. 

True, but that's probably more due to the limited focus of most RPG campaigns. Most GMs tend to run games of murder hobos wandering from place to place, killing monsters, and spending treasure looted from their enemies to upgrade their equipment. 

 

But, if a GM is running a setting where the PCs have to interact with society in any way, then the ramifications of wealth become important, since the PCs sending money can have a great impact on a local merchant or even a local economy. 

Well, I do admit the appeal of Hack'n'Slash since I'm about to order two copies of Diablo 3 for my son (our mutual birthdays ;) ) and I to have fun blasting stuff apart.....

OTOH, even with players making economic decisions, other than some basic rules for a "living wage" as the basis for the economy, subsidence level living isn't really relevant to player level economic decisions (unless the murder hoboes are actually hoboes....).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Algesan said:

Well, I do admit the appeal of Hack'n'Slash since I'm about to order two copies of Diablo 3 for my son (our mutual birthdays ;) ) and I to have fun blasting stuff apart.....

We all do. But I think we realize that the "economics:" of such games don't hold up. Players would somehow have to carry around tons of gold to buy the magical items available, and then the merchants would somehow need to find a place to store it, or a way to get it to someplace safe.

15 minutes ago, Algesan said:

OTOH, even with players making economic decisions, other than some basic rules for a "living wage" as the basis for the economy, subsidence level living isn't really relevant to player level economic decisions (unless the murder hoboes are actually hoboes....).

It can be quite relevant, depending on the game and just how rich the players are. For example, in D&D, where gold is common, but people can get buy on silver and copper, subsidence level economics isn't relevant. Gold in D&D is really used mostly to buy better magical gear, and living conditions aren't an issue.

But, in a game like Pendragon or Harn, with a more medieval economy,  where the coins don't flow as freely, then subsistence level economics might be quite relevant. In Pendragon, magic is so rare and precious to be unavailable for purchase, and  one gold coin (£1) is about how much it takers to feed a peasant family for a year, or a few guards. It's also about the amount of discretionary funds a landed knight has each year. So yeah, subsistence level economies can be quite relevant, if the game is using a historical economy where subsistence wasn't e automatic.

It's why the price of a common sword becomes a non-issue in D&D after a certain point, but is still a tidy sum in some other RPGS. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/31/2018 at 12:18 PM, Atgxtg said:

We all do. But I think we realize that the "economics:" of such games don't hold up. Players would somehow have to carry around tons of gold to buy the magical items available, and then the merchants would somehow need to find a place to store it, or a way to get it to someplace safe.

It can be quite relevant, depending on the game and just how rich the players are. For example, in D&D, where gold is common, but people can get buy on silver and copper, subsidence level economics isn't relevant. Gold in D&D is really used mostly to buy better magical gear, and living conditions aren't an issue.

But, in a game like Pendragon or Harn, with a more medieval economy,  where the coins don't flow as freely, then subsistence level economics might be quite relevant. In Pendragon, magic is so rare and precious to be unavailable for purchase, and  one gold coin (£1) is about how much it takers to feed a peasant family for a year, or a few guards. It's also about the amount of discretionary funds a landed knight has each year. So yeah, subsistence level economies can be quite relevant, if the game is using a historical economy where subsistence wasn't e automatic.

It's why the price of a common sword becomes a non-issue in D&D after a certain point, but is still a tidy sum in some other RPGS.

Heh, different D&D games, perhaps run by differing GMs with a different take on economics.  I've never been able to buy durable magic items in a game.  Potions and scrolls, yes, you could buy them if you had enough coin, but rarely get exactly what you were looking for.

I take your point on Pendragon economic games, but outside of D&D (where gold is almost a given) most of my games use coppers and silvers mainly.  Influence from other sources.

As for carrying it around, I had a bit of fun once.  I indulged in some Kickstarters where they made coins for playing games with.  I pulled them together after a couple of KS, put 150-200 of them in separate little bags inside a large leather pouch, set it on the table at the FLGS and invited people to pick it up and feel the weight of a couple hundred gold coins.  Opened a few eyes...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Algesan said:

Heh, different D&D games, perhaps run by differing GMs with a different take on economics.  I've never been able to buy durable magic items in a game.  Potions and scrolls, yes, you could buy them if you had enough coin, but rarely get exactly what you were looking for.

Certianly. A Gm can alter any aspect of a RPG, but the default D&D prices and settings throw around lots of gold.

59 minutes ago, Algesan said:

I take your point on Pendragon economic games, but outside of D&D (where gold is almost a given) most of my games use coppers and silvers mainly.  Influence from other sources.

As for carrying it around, I had a bit of fun once.  I indulged in some Kickstarters where they made coins for playing games with.  I pulled them together after a couple of KS, put 150-200 of them in separate little bags inside a large leather pouch, set it on the table at the FLGS and invited people to pick it up and feel the weight of a couple hundred gold coins.  Opened a few eyes...

LOL! Although the 50 per pound is about right, for quarter ounce gold coins. THe problem is that in D&D you need a pounds and pounds of the stuff to buy magic.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Certianly. A Gm can alter any aspect of a RPG, but the default D&D prices and settings throw around lots of gold.

LOL! Although the 50 per pound is about right, for quarter ounce gold coins. THe problem is that in D&D you need a pounds and pounds of the stuff to buy magic.

Agreed and Agreed.

I was fortunate to grow up with some really old school GMs, as in D&D was released when I was 14, but I didn't find the Sunday afternoon gaming club until months later when I was almost 15.  Hmmm, I actually can confirm one of my suspicions if I move fast enough as my first DM (not GM back then) was 30ish and I know he is back in town and working at the old hobby store.  I think he had contact with the Gygax crowd prior to D&D's official publication.  He always had the newest books before the official release. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/30/2018 at 6:25 AM, Algesan said:

Of course, remember if anyone gets ahead in this kind of culture, immediately their family and neighbors will pressure them for a "loan" since it would be "sinful" to hold on to such wealth.  And this is actually more detail than 99.9% of the campaigns out there need. 😕

 

Good point!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/30/2018 at 5:30 PM, Darius West said:

A good rule of thumb is that a penny will buy a cooked meal for an adult or 2 kids.  If you cook your own meal, then you make savings for as long as the food lasts.  If you lack money you have to forage in the wilds, rummage after scraps, beg, or steal.  Rent will vary, but will be sensitive to market forces.  Cooking, heating and lighting will rely on a supply of firewood, dung chips, reeds, pitch, or oil and will be more expensive in cities than if obtained in rural areas.  It is a good idea to think of your lowest denomination coin as a tradeable meal voucher.  Unskilled labor will live a semi-nomadic existence unless they cop a break.  Once you know this rule, you get a better sense of what to charge for things, as you add up the effort to find the raw materials (items/day), transport them to market (quantity/time), then you need to calculate the time it takes to make the item against the daily wage of the craftsperson, add the raw material cost, and double it (profit).  Halving the value will give you the minimum value the craftsperson might be prepared to reluctantly sell an item for if it is just sitting on a shelf for months.  Note that Guilds offer their membership a lot of protection, but they also act to set prices for items citywide.  In fact the whole idea of a RPG price list is pretty close to how medieval cities used to operate thanks to guilds.

This is absolutely awesome! Things is, I am not the kind of number cruncher I should be though, so I'll try to implement this but may get lost someway half through. Thanks anyway, this kind of economic insight is EXACTLY what the feel of reality that I search for, needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/30/2018 at 10:30 AM, Darius West said:

A good rule of thumb is that a penny will buy a cooked meal for an adult or 2 kids.  If you cook your own meal, then you make savings for as long as the food lasts.  If you lack money you have to forage in the wilds, rummage after scraps, beg, or steal.  Rent will vary, but will be sensitive to market forces.  Cooking, heating and lighting will rely on a supply of firewood, dung chips, reeds, pitch, or oil and will be more expensive in cities than if obtained in rural areas.  It is a good idea to think of your lowest denomination coin as a tradeable meal voucher.  Unskilled labor will live a semi-nomadic existence unless they cop a break.  Once you know this rule, you get a better sense of what to charge for things, as you add up the effort to find the raw materials (items/day), transport them to market (quantity/time), then you need to calculate the time it takes to make the item against the daily wage of the craftsperson, add the raw material cost, and double it (profit).  Halving the value will give you the minimum value the craftsperson might be prepared to reluctantly sell an item for if it is just sitting on a shelf for months.  Note that Guilds offer their membership a lot of protection, but they also act to set prices for items citywide.  In fact the whole idea of a RPG price list is pretty close to how medieval cities used to operate thanks to guilds.

Minor addition to this.

The rule of thumb depends on what your social class is.  The peasants may get away with that penny, but their cabbage soup will be the one with the bit of gristle still in it.  As you go higher up the strata (of whatever culture you are using), the costs of buying a meal (really, anything) will go up, sometimes quite a bit, as will the quality.  The craftsman might get a bit of meat.  The merchant will get a bit of fat with the meat.  The big merchant/city official will get some meat on the side.  The nobility will get meat garnished with cabbage.

All of this at increasing rates, so the penny for the peasants, then nickel, dime, quarter, dollar.  Yes, I skipped half since the nobles always have money and are expected to spend it, maybe even giving some extra to feed some peasants by the back door who are hurt/sick, widowed or orphaned and cannot work a job that pays a few pennies a day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...