Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Alternative to undead for cheap labor force?


Advice

51 to 72 of 72 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Paying people exceedingly well and looking out for their needs tends to produce exceptional results with both loyalty and discretion. In the long run, it's a bargain compared to other approaches.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blahpers wrote:
Paying people exceedingly well and looking out for their needs tends to produce exceptional results with both loyalty and discretion. In the long run, it's a bargain compared to other approaches.

Yet for some reason the larger models these days are not based on that but instead pushing folks to 'hunger/below-subsistence' levels 'to motivate them'.

Ideally what you say here would be the logical step. Unfortunately, shareholders in corporations are not interested in logic, but in making their money *now*.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As for price, you can also consider that one you start making profits then you can get even more Undead. If they are truly more economically efficient, that capital should fund their own creation.

You could even bind a skeletal champion to be the supervisor!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Paying people exceedingly well and looking out for their needs tends to produce exceptional results with both loyalty and discretion. In the long run, it's a bargain compared to other approaches.

Yet for some reason the larger models these days are not based on that but instead pushing folks to 'hunger/below-subsistence' levels 'to motivate them'.

Ideally what you say here would be the logical step. Unfortunately, shareholders in corporations are not interested in logic, but in making their money *now*.

You aren't wrong. The gamble there is to enjoy your short- to medium-term savings and die of hedonism before it backfires.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
An Immortal Lychee wrote:

You're all forgetting the exorbitant cost of paladin repellant.

Oh, and potpourri.

Those two will really eat into your margins.

For the latter, you just need prestidigitation.

500 gold. BAM.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Castor the rat wrote:

Plus the rat problem.

Your workers are made of food.

Actually, on second thought I love this idea!

Alas, skeleton DR means there really isn't much to interest even that venerable species...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Paladin Repellant, meh.

Pharasma has scarier agents that you will never see coming.
Inquisitors should be in your nightmares.
Apprentices are the ones that will get you, and then recycle your body.

Your impending bankruptcy is the only inevitability though.
The fences will have a lot of black rocks to sell to necromancy supply outlets.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:

Does Animate Dead actually beat out workers? I'm not so sure.

In goods and services the cost of an untrained hireling comes out to 1 sp per day. Undead cost 25 gp per hit dice, meaning an undead servant will cost you a minimum of 25 gp to create. That's 250 days worth of labor from an untrained laborer, and that's if we ignore the cost of the spellcasting services and any continued upkeep involved in controlling and housing the undead. All things considered, free laborers are looking pretty competitive with undead here if not superior.

Slaves are ludicrously overpriced in Pathfinder; there is pretty much no reason you'd ever go with slaves over free workers unless the cost of labor was significantly higher than what's listed in the CRB.

NoTongue wrote:

It's a matter of practicality. Undead, constructs or something similar will be on hand when you need them, across a mountain, through a jungle,travelling to other countries.

Hirelings are people who need shelter, food, water and will at some point want to go home, a DM may say they don't want to go, too dangerous and then there's limited areas to hire them.

Also, I did a cost comparison/analysis here, and undead beat the slaves hands-down.

Compared to laborers, they can get more work done over a greater span of time at lest over-all cost, though possibly more cost to the specific entity that controls them.

That 250 days for an untrained laborer does not include their clothing, building, maintenance, and other, similar costs.

Also, consider this: what happens after those 250 days? You still have a skeleton doing your stuff.

A given caster can have a host of super-loyal slaves. (Any, yeah, true, those slaves can be magically compelled to turn against him, but that's true with literally any servitor whatsoever, and hirelings can be twisted far more easily. Humanoids v. undead, you know.)

Now, if you're talking about a super-sized labor force with control methods akin to what I had listed in that link... it's going to be harder to justify, yeah.

That said, if you'r going to compete with an entire national labor force on an economic scale, you're probably going to go with magic item creation, and utilize the rules to create an animate dead machine for a ridiculously economical method of bringing back more labor.

((SL*CL*1.8k)+(100*component cost))*2 no space limitation

component cost = 25*100 = 2500 for skeletons only; let's go with an average of 165 each for zombies, though -> 16,500

SL = 4 going with wizard, 'cause who cares

CL = 7 we're using other control schemes, we really don't care

That's:

((4*7*1.8k)+(16,500))*2 = ((50,400)+(16,500))*2 = 66,900 gold for basically at-will animation of an average zombie and/or skeleton (depending on need).

Now, your labor force will likely need patching up. Inflict light wounds should take care of that, at 1,800 gold for at-will access.

Especially in comparison to the untrained laborers, that's a lot of money.

66,900+1,800 = 68,700

Add that to my suggested costs from the other thread, and you've got 10,800+68,700 = 79,500 total cost.

How many untrained hirelings could you purchase?

Well, a lot.

That gold piece cost multiplied by 10 is the silver-piece cost; that's 795,000 total untrained labor-hours you could purchase.

So, you know, given there are roughly 8,766 hours in a year... though only 4,383 "reasonable" working hours (presuming 12 hour days), you could hire 181 (and 38/100ths) dudes for a year with that cash.

... or you could grab 181 corpses - not actually all that difficult to acquire (especially given goblin tribes and the suggestions several people have made around here) and have them work for you forever.

Mind, I'm using the higher cost for - blech - zombies which are, without question, the suckier of the two options for most every practical purpose and less cost-effective.

But seriously, even if the GM ad-hoc'd something like ten, even twenty times the normal cost for that animate dead device... that's seriously worth it, price-wise, at least for large-scale economies. PCs wouldn't be able to afford the x10 price in any but the most high-level adventures, and even that pushes all of one character's personal wealth into a single thing that isn't that worthwhile at those levels; the x20 cost would almost bankrupt two 20th level PCs - they'd only have 85k each, or just barely enough for an okay-weapon and okay-armor (though still enough, if they really wanted, to fund those other devices I mentioned) - , leaving it firmly in "nation-or-bigger-only" territory.

Note: I never used such a machine in my previous "undead or slaves" thought experiment, because I thought it would be gauche to do so when comparing the much-higher-priced slaves. Slavery is... ridiculously bad, economically.

And, you know, if you really need "living" slaves for some reason, simply polymorph any object your undead into, say, a living version of its previous self. Per polymorph its creature type doesn't change (hence it's still subject to effects that targeted its previous form), the spell works on objects thus bypassing their immunity, and it grants the subject an intelligence of 5 for the duration (~3 hours at an unfavorable reading) which can always be boosted (via fox's cunning or whatever) if really needed. This would likely only be for rare or special occasions, though. Otherwise: skelly-central!

But that's just my take on if two actual economic powers (such as nations) were actively competing.

As an aside, I never determined how much you'd pay the overseers... but it really isn't relevant (and, unless they're undead, it's likely 3 silver a day for trained labor; if they're also undead, you may have other methods of acquiring their services, but it'd still likely even out to 3 silver per day, sans shenanigans), as you'd also have to pay the overseers for the living people, and then you'd get ever-escalating positions of importance, and by that time the prices either still favor the undead, or roughly even out (though the initial baseline still favors the undead).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Daw wrote:

Paladin Repellant, meh.

Pharasma has scarier agents that you will never see coming.
Inquisitors should be in your nightmares.
Apprentices are the ones that will get you, and then recycle your body.

Your impending bankruptcy is the only inevitability though.
The fences will have a lot of black rocks to sell to necromancy supply outlets.

Hah! At least paladins are (usually) stopped by writ of law (+) clear evidence that no living mortal is being harmed, and all the dead have voluntarily signed up for this gig.

(Also, if you've gone to the trouble of paying for all this paladin-repellant (tm), you might as well go the extra mile and fund reincarnation for each of the corpses you're going to turn undead you can do this so long as you do so prior to making them undead - take a hair from their corpse, or something, and grow it into a new body for 'em, granting them a new lifetime and a sliver of the profits for one lifetime from their own corpse continuing to work in their stead. "But if you smite all the skellies, people will be forced to go hungry and fall into subsistence-level farming and pained lives of effectively-poverty again!" Paladin-repellent indeed... for many.)

But yeah, P-momma and her cronies don't care 'bout that - they're just sucky enough to come ruin the party for everyone.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Shaman wrote:
50 undead = 1250 gold pieces worth of onyx alone (how many settlements have that at hand?),

About 75% of most villages or larger. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
lemeres wrote:

Can we just accept that skeletons could at least operate a crank of a pulley system?

I am not going to argue that the average mindless undead is good at skilled labor. But I am sure you can devise various methods to allow them to just mindlessly turn various parts of a machine, allowing them to do the heavy lifting of a project.

That is taking a lot of the labor that one would expect from a 'cheap labor force'.

I would assume that if you order your mindless undead to "Turn this crank" it will keep going until you tell it to stop.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Doomed Hero wrote:

Rune Guardians

They cost 3500 GP to make and have one 1st level spell At Will, cast at 1st level power. In their description it notes that the spell can be whatever the creator wants it to be.

Unseen Servant lasts an hour. A Rune Guardian tasked with basic labor can oversee and crank out hundreds of Unseen Servants, replacing them as the durations expire.

With a strength of 2 they can't do much alone, but they don't take up any space, can work together, and could easily do things like harvest crops, sew seed, clean, haul lightwight goods or equipment, feed livestock, swing a lightwiight hammer or hatchet, slowly dig ditches or graves, or any other work that doesn't require heavy tools or strength.

Let's do a quick cost comparison-

Since rune guardians have to be made by an 11th level caster, we'll use that as our baseline.

We'll seriously boost this Necromancer's caster level too. Assume he's spec'd out for this exact thing. He's a Cururomancer. He has Spell Specialization and a couple caster level boosting traits. He's using Deathwine. Let's give him a +7 caster level for this (seriously highballing, but sure, why not. It's possible). This hyperspecialized necromancer is casting Animate Dead at 18th level and can control his caster level x5 worth of Hit Dice.

That's 90 HD worth of skeletons. Call it 90 skeletons.

Animating those skeletons costs about 3150 gp.

That's pretty close to the cost of the Rune Guardian.

Now let's compare the labor force-

90 skeletons certainly have the edge in strength, but after an hour there are 600 Unseen Servants around. That's 6 unseen servants for every skeleton, with a few leftover. With the exception of heavy lifting, anything a skeleton can do, 6 unseen servants can probably do too. Probably faster.

Then there's oversight. An 11th level spellcaster's time is worth a lot. Anyone hiring them is going to go bankrupt just paying for...

This is phenomenal, by-the-by. I heart it so very much. XD

EDIT 1&2: I'm not up to it, now, but I'd love to see someone to a by-the-numbers comparison, over-all - that is, scale it up to economic levels and see what shakes out.


roguerouge wrote:
And let's not forget the whole: animating undead is an evil act and you're damning your soul for all eternity to save a few silver pieces. And if you're already evil, you really need to stop digging yourself deeper into that soul hole you've got going. Eternity of badness vs. saving some silver pieces maybe.

Meh. Once you're damned, there's really no point in stopping. Might as well shave the silvers now...


(Besides, you might get extra bonus point with whomever it is you're going to head to! XD)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This seems to be one area where Poppets actually are useful, or at least better than their direct competitor construct, as they're a form of Small-sized construct at about half the price to make compared to Small Animated Objects, and by default they come out with 12 Str and Dex.

Of course, 500 gp for a single Small Poppet is the same cost as 20 1-HD undead made with Animate Dead, or 400 gp more than one would spend if one had False Focus and made them in 5 batches.

Still, a single Small Poppet can be made in as little as 4 hours by a single level 1 spellcaster with but 5 units of Magic Capital at 250 gp earned cost, and is a decent enough hauler in an enclosed environment where you don't have to worry about anyone needing to breathe or get food or water and that you basically only check on if something goes wrong or if you need to update the system.

So in Downtime you can easily rig up a system that cranks out Small Poppets ad nauseum, and can grow your production output in a reasonably straightforward manner due to being able to easily move from making Small Poppets to putting the same economic output towards growth.

Plus, you can get 1st and 3rd level spellcaster employees through Downtime trivially, while there's a more strict cap on the number of undead that can be created and managed, and you can start on it from level 1.

To compete you'd probably need to be making simulacra or Trompe L'oeil of Pukwudgies to use as foremen, taking advantage of their free use of Command Undead as an SLA. Then you'd need the bodies on top of that.


Daw wrote:

Paladin Repellant, meh.

Pharasma has scarier agents that you will never see coming.
Inquisitors should be in your nightmares.
Apprentices are the ones that will get you, and then recycle your body.

Your impending bankruptcy is the only inevitability though.
The fences will have a lot of black rocks to sell to necromancy supply outlets.

Correction on this last. Apparently you no longer have the onyx sewn into zombie mouths or rattling around in skeleton skulls. Bleah. Another style point lost. LOL


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Daw wrote:


Correction on this last. Apparently you no longer have the onyx sewn into zombie mouths or rattling around in skeleton skulls. Bleah. Another style point lost. LOL

Honestly, the more you get into the Animate Dead rules, the less sense they make.

The fact that each undead raised requires an Onyx gem worth 25 gp per hit dice means that-

a) A Necromancer has some in-game idea of what a "hit dice" is, and thusly they know exactly how much any given corpse is "worth."
"Before I went into Necromancy I was an adjuster for a life insurance company. It was a natural transition, really."

b) Necromancers carry around onyx gems in a whole bunch of different values, like a black magic socket wrench set.
"Hmm. Is this hill giant a size 9? Or a 10?"

c) The market forces that decided the economic value of onyx gems have a huge effect on necromancy magic.
"It used to be that I could raise a zombie dire bear with a chip of onyx, but then that new mine opened up a few years ago and flooded the market. Now I need a gem the size of my fist just to animate a basic skeleton. Necromancy just isn't cost efficient anymore."


2 people marked this as a favorite.

DH,
Realistically in game there will have to be some awareness of Hit Dice.
Several spell's effects are directly tied to target hit dice.

As to your final "economy" quibble. Are you seriously arguing that a supply/demand economy exists in Pathfinder? Especially with regards to gems which are valued as if they are standard currency. A 25gp onyx isn't going to gain or lose value, per the rules. If you are going to homerule differently it's your call, but you really can't poke at Paizo because of it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Daw wrote:

DH,

Realistically in game there will have to be some awareness of Hit Dice.
Several spell's effects are directly tied to target hit dice.

As to your final "economy" quibble. Are you seriously arguing that a supply/demand economy exists in Pathfinder? Especially with regards to gems which are valued as if they are standard currency. A 25gp onyx isn't going to gain or lose value, per the rules. If you are going to homerule differently it's your call, but you really can't poke at Paizo because of it.

Much like they know about spell levels and can charge the proper amount for potions, scrolls and other magic items.

Don't think about it too much.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Daw wrote:
Are you seriously arguing that a supply/demand economy exists in Pathfinder? Especially with regards to gems which are valued as if they are standard currency. A 25gp onyx isn't going to gain or lose value, per the rules. If you are going to homerule differently it's your call, but you really can't poke at Paizo because of it.

Yeah, that's a good point. I guess on Golarion Abadar just decides what everything is worth, and that's that. Supply and demand don't matter much in the face of divine economic planning.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
Daw wrote:

DH,

Realistically in game there will have to be some awareness of Hit Dice.
Several spell's effects are directly tied to target hit dice.

As to your final "economy" quibble. Are you seriously arguing that a supply/demand economy exists in Pathfinder? Especially with regards to gems which are valued as if they are standard currency. A 25gp onyx isn't going to gain or lose value, per the rules. If you are going to homerule differently it's your call, but you really can't poke at Paizo because of it.

Much like they know about spell levels and can charge the proper amount for potions, scrolls and other magic items.

Don't think about it too much.

IIRC there's been various ways of peering back behind the curtain in-universe since Gygax's day.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Doomed Hero wrote:
"It used to be that I could raise a zombie dire bear with a chip of onyx, but then that new mine opened up a few years ago and flooded the market. Now I need a gem the size of my fist just to animate a basic skeleton. Necromancy just isn't cost efficient anymore."

Huh, this comic keeps being relevant.

51 to 72 of 72 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Alternative to undead for cheap labor force? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.