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Economics 101


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#1 Tulty

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:08 PM

Posted last night to my gaming group's facebook page:

 

"Hey guys, guys, guess who's become THAT guy!

I spent a happy hour or so calculating how much gold, silver and copper pieces would be worth in today's money, then equating that to starting wealth, and finally cross referencing the results against World Bank stats of GDP. Yes, I know.

"But what were the results?" I hear you ask in a suitably reverential hush. Well, they were singularly uninteresting. At 20th level you would have 1.2 cubic meters of solid gold, fetching £580 million and weighing 23 tons. This is equivalent to the GDP of the Solomon Islands and requiring a strength of 54 to lift. Just saying.

A party of 4 at 20th level would have enough gold to compete against the economy of Fiji.

In fact, if you exchanged all your stuff for gold pieces, at 8th level you would outstrip Tuvalu for GDP.

Someone help me."


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#2 Lockhart

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:04 PM

*Is summoned by the mention of Business subject matters*

 

So, if I got this right, for your calculation you compared the raw amount of gold pieces a person has access to, with how much that would be worth on the open market in today's world, is that correct?


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#3 Lockhart

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:35 PM

My own attempt at this. Figuring out how rich a level 20 Pathfinder character would be in the real world.

 

So, I don't think using 'gold coin = worth it's weight in gold' is a good method of this. First of all, those gold coins, are more than likely not pure. Secondly, if a fantasy world has a higher or lower quantity of gold, it's going to be valued differently than it is in the real world.

 

Likewise, I'm not going to use the comparitive price of an item in Pathfinder to make a standard gold-to-$ ratio. The price of an item in pathfinder, apart from being a product of game economics, is going to be based on the supply/demand/ease of making that item in the fantasy world instead of the real world.

 

Instead, I'm going to use the minimum buying utility of the average citizen. In the real world, the average annual minimum income of a person (Derived by averaging the annual column of 150 entries from this page) is $4881 USD a year

 

For the average minimum income of a PF citizen, I'm going to assume a level 1 commoner, a skill point spent in a Profession class skill (justified that without this bonus, people are either working outside minimum wage or would be fired for more adept employees), for a total +4 in a Profession skill. This gives an average roll of 14.5 in the profession skill each week

52 weeks * 14.5 = 754

754 / 2 = 377 gp a year.

 

Therefore, 377 gp = $4881 USD. Or 1 gp = $12.95

 

20th Level PC wealth 880,000 gp

880,000 * 12.95 = $11,393,315.65 USD

 

While still massively rich, this does seem to be a bit more reasonable.

 

All of this before taxes and deductions I believe. :P


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#4 Daniel

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 10:23 PM

I like this thread. I decided to run the calculations for Tropis. As the estimated wealth of a character is usually based on their position in life combined with their starting funds (when used) I've calculated them all below.

Annual gross income
Serf, Farmer, Sailor, Servant (14g 5s 6c // $650.80)
Small Landowner, Merchant, Skilled Peasant, Lawyer (109g 2s // $4,881)
Successful Merchant, Lesser Noble, Knight (364g // $16,270)
Noble (1,820g // $81,350)
Member of a Ruling House (7,280g // $325,400)

1g = $44.70 (2dp)

A starting character begins play with $223.49, $670.47 or $1117.45 depending on background and race. The most a character could start with is $22,348.90!
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#5 Lockhart

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 10:41 PM

I do have some interest in general in the topic of currency and economy in RPGs. I have mentioned to Hal and Thing that, regarding D&D/PF economy, I have desire of making something much more sensible, where the copper is a meaningful piece of currency, and 1,000 is a LOT of money instead of chump change to mid-level adventurers. Where items and commodities have some logic to their costs, and crafting and such. Basically, a combination of re-costing and de-flation of currency. There is a problem when the cost of a magic sword, even high level, is equivalent to the cost of a castle or mansion. Obviously this is something that is unlikely to actually be made by me, it would require quite the level of research to better understand all the items and weapons and armor time and costs and such, to say nothing of just the in general overall work of it. But I like to dream about doing such things, and how elegant it would be, though probably completely unappreciated.
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#6 Daniel

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 11:27 PM

I'm running with this idea now...

A rural peasant family living in a simple dwelling, with a single acre of cropland and a goat for milk. Consisting of two adults and five children, of varying ages. With a bow for hunting and a axe for home defence. Would be expected to pay 2g 1s 1c 5tin. Or $94.50 in taxes a year, assuming they live in Mainett or Avonhold (the two largest and most merchantile nations). This is decreased to 1g 4s 6c 5t ($65.49) in Pendran, the nation featured in Murder at Sturmhalt. It is increased to 5g 2s 1c 5t ($233.11) in Vattarn, the Slavic nation soon to be featured in a future campaign.

Add to that the guesstimated expenses for the year of 11g 7s 3c 6t ($524.60).

The Mainetti family would make an annual profit of 2s 9c 9t ($13.37). The Pendrani family would make 1g 3s 5c 9t ($60.55). While the Vattar family would make a loss of 2g 3s 5c 1t ($106.88)! Normally this will result in the family being required to offer a service to their landower - normally rendered in military service at a rate of 1s 5c/day ($6.71). This would require the family to provide 16 days unpaid military service a year during which they would need to provide their own equipment. Naturally travel to and from where the landowner requires their service is not counted.

During the war with Mainett a few years ago it was not unhead of landowners callinv in this military service, but only counting days in which battle would take place.
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#7 Daniel

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 11:50 PM

See, what I did with Tropis, Lockhart (in addition to a lot of other things, of course) was to create two additional levels of currency (tin and iron) It would be possible to do this, thrn simply reduce all prices by 100.

1cp would become 1ip.
1sp becomes 1tp.
1gp becomes 1cp.
10gp becomes 1sp.
100gp becomes 1gp.

So your example of 1,000gp suddenly becomes just 100gp. Still a worthy amount, but no lo ger as obscene. An elegant solution imho.
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#8 Lockhart

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:01 AM

It's not a bad solution, but it still doesn't fix the cost scaling of magic items. It also doesn't explain things like, why a bastard sword, worked metal, costs half as much as a basic longbow. Or that you can get a full set of decent clothing (travelor's outfit), for 1 gp, but a backpack, that stuff costs twice as much.


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#9 Daniel

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:07 AM

Thats the problem when an items value is dictated by its mechanical effects.

Here is what we use in Tropis. The document is a few years old now and in dire need of an update mind. But you might find it interesting...

https://www.dropbox....ipment v2r5.pdf
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#10 Tulty

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:33 AM

Oh, I should clarify, it wasn't me who posted it, I'll see if I can't get him to join the forums. :)
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#11 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:47 AM

On the topic of gold-piece-to-mundane-currency conversion rates, there's some fascinating calculations* in Harry Potter & The Natural 20. One of the chapters features a discussion on the intrinsic value of coinage based on non-precious metals, or rather the lack thereof. There's also a part where the main character, Milo the D&D wizard, calculates a 6.33 gp/Galleon exchange rate between the D&D and Harry Potter universes.

The author, Sir Poley, also presents tons of great rules tips and tricks, some of which are get-rich-soonish schemes, e.g. buying clubs and quarterstaves @ zero cost, and then sell them as 'firewood' at a slightly higher price - and then use a speed multiplier, so it doesn't take ages to turn a profit. ;)

Harry Potter & the Methods of Rationality, another first-rate HP fan-fic, has a fiscal debate where phrases like 'seigniorage' and 'arbitrage' are lobbed around enough to make @ Lockhart go weak in the knees, no doubt. ;)

*If you think calculations of gold-piece-to-mundane-currency conversion rates are fascinating, that is.
 


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#12 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:47 AM

Speaking of which, how much money could a 20th-level character make, if they invested all their funds in magic items, Plane Shifted to this world, and set up shop? Considering that they would literally own the monopoly on magic items, how long would it take before countries started going bankrupt in the ensuing bidding war? ;)
 


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#13 ScottS

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 11:01 PM

https://www.google.c....5 wish economy


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#14 Chewzter

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:16 PM

Just for the hell of it: Try calculating the cost of building a house in Pathfinder.

I had some fun with that in our Rise of the runelords campaign, trying to figure out how to renovate a building.

Going with the prices noted in the rules (by pound) and calculating that to the volume needed over density and all it turned out something like 1.339.500gp for a moderately sized house (mostly made of wood).

That was including some material that's already present :P Once my character retires, he'll go into building real estate.

 

Then again, that's the same character that's basically a four armed, literally stone-faced tiefling who has a max damage of ~150/round (base damage 58 + 12d6, 1d8, 2d4)at level 7 with no buffs active and no real weaknesses (Outright killing a CR9 Dragon in a round for example) so breaking the universe happens occasionally


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#15 Chewzter

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:35 PM

Speaking of which, how much money could a 20th-level character make, if they invested all their funds in magic items, Plane Shifted to this world, and set up shop? Considering that they would literally own the monopoly on magic items, how long would it take before countries started going bankrupt in the ensuing bidding war? ;)
 

 

You mean so we can finally nuke haunted houses with plane shifted nukes to the ethereal plane? Always wanted to do that.


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#16 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 03:21 AM

Just for the hell of it: Try calculating the cost of building a house in Pathfinder.


What about the Megaman games? From Dorkly:

24379a5b8f2a1206874b9fb12f169daa-how-muc
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#17 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 08:41 AM

Found a neat little article about Medieval Economics in RPGs, written back in 1980. It's got plenty of interesting points, but can probably be boiled down to this single, succinct quote: ;)

NB - DON'T use the times for production given by TSR or Judges Guild, as they are more the result of wishful thinking than any real knowledge of Medieval production times.


irony.gif
irony.gif


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#18 Telemergion

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 11:23 AM

/backs out of math thread slowly


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#19 Sênstaku

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 12:31 PM

There is only one image that would be appropriate for this thread.

 

3b3d5668-4982-440a-9306-70c1342dd45a.jpg

 

Kidding aside, this is a very fascinating thread to read - I imagine people with abacuses and complex equations on room-tall blackboards trying to discover the value of 1GP.


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#20 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 02:19 AM

And now we need a separate thread for the grammar nerds, where we can discuss whether the most correct plural of 'abacus' is abacuses or abaci. ;)
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