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In-Game Economics- Ep174

A wrinkle that can always be added to any game is applying real world economics. It may sound like boring shit, but it can add a real sense of realism and enrich an okay game to a truly memorable one.

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Cast – Eric, Shannon, Dan, Brandon, Mike, Jayson and Shawn

Items Mentioned:
Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, The Colour of Magic, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Conan d20, Deadwood, EVE Online, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, The Magical Medieval Society: Europe

One Comment

  1. Brian Scott
    Brian Scott August 12, 2014

    One of my all time favorite topics.
    One adventure I remember stands out, it was a low level 1-x start up module series I believe by the great Aron Allston. In it, you eventually work your way in an old abandoned Dwarven castle and find a room full of HUGE GOLD statues worth 300,000 gold as a unit. If you are ‘good’ and work with the dwarves they’ll give you like 30,000 for them. Now… this is at very low level. That is campaign breaking style cash we are talking about. I have never played that adventure for a party that didn’t immediately hault the campaign and focus on getting that gold melted down for themselves. Plenty of old adventures were like this, and one thing I always laughed at was how the labor of entire TOWNS could be purchased for years at a time from a single dungeon run.

    I did a lot of research and based on 2ed pricing models, vs real world US Dollars… an experiment you just HAVE to try one day. The average ended up somewhere around 1gp= a $20 bill (food was my easiest translation key). That being said, your 2ed average tavern and commoner prices were more like 1800’s pricings where meals were measured in copper and you could live a modest life around 36.5 gp/year. Or $730 a year as a lowly starving unskilled pesant. Things jumped considerable as Nobles but still nowhere NEAR your average adventuer. Even in 3.5 things hadn’t gotten much better! You’re expected net worth per level started at easily 10 times or more vs the common folk and increased exponentially. Part of this came from the old % breakdown charts that TSR used to describe the average number of folks in an area of any particular level. Generally, most people in big cities were below 1st level with a height around level 5 and a few tokens as high as level 10. Level 18’s were damn near unheard of to the point of being unique. Even still, once you pop from 0-level to a 1st level adventurer you usually started your career with several years good salary in equipment. By third level, you might as well be the average frickin Mayor.

    I find this all just fascinating and it actually makes me want to do an entire campaign around melting down ancient recovered gold and minting coin and bricks. Imagine an entire party who want nothing else then to become the first super bankers and take over every nation on the planet via finance. Tear up the old empire’s fortunes to gain leverage over the current nation’s economy. Perhaps I’m just strange.

    Anyway, the next time you find yourself overloaded, consider this option: Ultimate Campaigns (pathfinder) has some great starts for world/city building. Try BUYING OUT an entire nation. Literally, person by person. You’d be amazed how cheap it is. Run the slave lords campaign and you can employ every slave you encounter to build an entire fricking nation for you and still have enough gold to live as kings.

    FUNNNNNNN Stuff.

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