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Economic Slavery?


Starfinder General Discussion


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looking at lodgings and meals:

Sleep pod: 1/night (7/week)
Meal, poor: 1/meal (3/day, 21/week)
Total/week: 28

Efficiency: 3/night (21/week)
Meal, common: 3/meal (9/day, 63/week)
Total/week: 84

Suite (per bed): 5/night (35/week)
Meal, good: 5/meal (15/day, 105/week)
Total/week: 140

Note: Field rations are the cheapest meal, at 1 credit per week (instead of per meal). however, if you survive for weeks on nothing but field rations, it's described as "not a pleasant experience".

"Earn a Living" (credits = 2x skill check result)

Considering the "Average Jane", starting with a 10 in their attribute score (putting +2 each 5 levels), class skill bonus (+3), skill focus feat (+3), max skill ranks per level, and taking 10 (or avg. roll):

Level / skill check / credits per week

1 / 17 / 34
2 / 18 / 36
3 / 19 / 38
4 / 20 / 40
5 / 22 / 44
6 / 23 / 46
7 / 24 / 48
8 / 25 / 50
9 / 26 / 52
10 / 28 / 56
11 / 29 / 58
12 / 30 / 60
13 / 31 / 62
14 / 32 / 64
15 / 34 / 68
16 / 35 / 70
17 / 36 / 72
18 / 37 / 74
19 / 38 / 76
20 / 40 / 80

So the average person (ability score 10), could use field rations for occasional meals like the quick breakfast while running to work.

Specialty tools (masterwork) might not be on the average person's wishlist. costing 445, and giving a +2 to a check (translating to +4 credits per week), would take over 2 years to pay itself off. Note:
"Engineering" specialty tools were described in the core rules. It's possible that Profession specialty tools might cost less since they are not applicable to starship combat (maybe 50 credits/gp like masterwork tools from Pathfinder).

Likewise, average folks are probably not buying augments. (too expensive to pay off)

So, are most "average" people in Starfinder considered poor? (unable to afford common meals all day and an efficiency lodging?

If you vote Zombie Lord for supreme overlord, I vow to bring back the dream of the middle class. Together, we can make Absalom Station great again!


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Starfinder Core Rulebook:

Professional's Tools (a type of Tool Kit) 20cr -- +4 to one profession

Professional Clothing 5cr -- +1 to earn a living with the appropriate profession


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Even with the corrections, I'd have to agree income is still low...


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Well consider that it's much cheaper to rent monthly and cook your own food than to rent nightly and buy every meal.

Looking at Airbnb and at various hotel sites, the cheapest rooms imaginable start around $30/night. That's $900/mo. A room at the YMCA starts at like $400/mo. For that same $400/mo I live in a house with my wife and another married couple (no kids). When the 4 of us were in a small sh*tty appartment it was $250/mo.

So using that as a vague guideline, you could divide that cost of living by 4 and that'd be closer to the cost of living for a permanent resident.


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i am going to say yes working a s~%$ job in starfinder is a poor living. which is why the PCs get a ship and go on adventures. way more money potential. however a lot more risk to life.


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And how many people get a job they're crap at? Even a level 1 NPC will have a 12-14 in some thing.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ade, good call on the equip and clothing! I forgot about those.

Tools and clothing each would take less than 3 weeks to pay off. Definitely within reason for the average citizen.

It is interesting though, that they both specify "Profession" checks to earn a living. By RAW, that wouldn't work when using other skills to earn a living, but I think it is within the RAI. A bonus to earning a living doesn't impact combat directly, and allowing their bonuses to be used with other skills is in-line with the option to use other skills described in the Profession skill description.

I agree Scrapper, the modified min/max with tools/clothes are:
Level 1 / 22 / 44 (still in poverty)
Level 20 / 45 / 90

Mighty Khan, I agree that in the real world, there are other options. But the rules as written give us a template that describes the baseline for the world around us. PC's can shine, assuming they succeed in encounters. But how that success is measured, is by comparing it to the baseline. What is the PC's life like before adventure came and hit them in the face?

d'Eon, the NPC I described is average (10) in stats, but actually very skilled otherwise (max ranks, skill focus, class skill bonus). Even if the average NPC were very (18) smart, wise or charismatic, (and have the bonuses Ade points out) I don't think their salary is impressive:
Level 1 / 24 / 48 (still in poverty)
Level 20 / 47 / 94


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Keep in mind that in Starfinder, the PCs are not the typical guy on the street. Most people in the Pact Worlds have some sort of job, a house, a steady income, something that pays them every day in a manner that's easy to predict and budget for. PC characters work part time, they live on a starship and they get big money very briefly, which they immediately spend on gear, drugs, booze, women, men, starship fuel, new clothing, new armor, and magical artifacts. Starfinders are basically pirates.

It's expensive to be a pirate, it really is. Vendors make you pay tourist prices, hotels aren't cheap and since you don't buy the room/sign a long term lease, you're paying month to month, week to week. On top of that, once you run out of money...that's it. There's no other paycheck coming, so you got to crawl through some deserted starship to recover some sort of item and then get paid for it...but I mean...beats working!


Even a level 1 NPC will have 12-14 in something if you assume they start with an 18 in one of their ability scores, a theme that complements it, a class that supports it, and skill focus. That is, if you assume the level 1 NPC is optimized to have the maximum possible modifier for that level. Or perhaps they're using NPC skill rates, in which case they can still get a +10 or so... if they've mastered the skill. And I would hesitate to make the assumption that any given NPC has necessarily mastered a skill. If we're more conservative about it and accept merely that they have a skill they are good at, their modifier is a rather lower +5.

In any event, here are some baseline assumptions going into this. First, we'll simplify the bookkeeping and say that a 30 day block is a month, and that a month is four weeks. This isn't perfectly accurate, but it keeps things a little shorter. Second, we'll be considering the discounted lodging prices - half to a quarter of the listed price for buying a month's stay at once in advance. Third, our food baseline won't be the generic "meal" items. Rather, we'll consider the much more efficient RtE meals, which contain a full day's worth of food for a single credit. If RtEs don't appeal, we can even treat that as an approximation of the cost of buying ingredients and cooking for yourself for a day. Restaurants have to have a mark-up, so the actual food itself should be a bit cheaper.

So we're now considering a baseline 30 credits per month per person. First, the sleep pod is right out; we're looking at long term habitation, not just crashing in a hole in the wall. Our baseline is thus efficiency housing, which is designed for one or two people. A month is 90 credits, so half is 45 and quarter is 22.5.

A +5 modifier gets 15 taking 10, and thus has a weekly yield of 30 credits, and a monthly yield of 120. After food, that's 90, which evenly covers efficiency housing even at full price. At half price, that's 45 surplus, or 67.5 at quarter price.

A +7 modifier gets 17 taking 10, and thus as in the first post gets 34 credits per week, and 148 per month. That's 118 after food, for surpluses of 58, 103, and 125.5 credits per month for full, half, and quarter price housing.

In both cases, your savings increase substantially if you have a roommate or partner. And you can get more with the equipment mentioned above.

Efficiency housing is entirely doable, so next is Suite housing. 5 per bed per night is going to run 150 credits a month, cut to 75 and 47.5 at half and quarter price. That base 150 is out of reach for both a +5 and +7, but getting just half off puts it comfortably in reach of a single person for both even after food! And if you're willing to share a bed, you can still get a second person's income on top of that.

The key to survival is to actually purchase long term rather than paying hotel rates every single night, and to eat more efficiently than going to a restaurant three times a day. Which isn't terribly surprising, since you'll burn your wallet pretty effectively doing that in the real world too.

There are many areas Starfinder's 'economy' will break down if examined too closely, but the ability of a random commoner to survive on a day to day financial basis does not appear to be one of them right now.

Alternatively, abandon Absalom and join the Veskarium. They explicitly strive to provide a decent standard of living for all their citizens. You will of course be second class compared to the vesk themselves, but at least they'll take care of you. Just do your job and don't get in the way of the conquest.


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Or, one could realize that NPC ordinary citizens *don't follow PC rules*, which were never intended to represent making a living off a regular job. The Profession "make money" check is intended for PCs doing random off-the-cuff work, probably temp or contract.

Liberty's Edge

NPCs don't have the same skill bonuses as PCs.

Assuming they are an actual professional, based on the guidelines, a CR 1 or so character readily has a +10 on skills they really specialize in. Add in the above mentioned equipment and we're talking +15 on Profession checks.

That's 50 credits a week and enough to eat 'poorly' (but better than field rations) three meals a day (for 1 credit each) and spend 3 credits a night on a room, and still save 8 credits a week, for a total savings of 416 a year. More if you scrimp and save or get discounts of some sort for, say, renting by the month (which I'd imagine are a very real thing).

It only goes up from there, to a max of +39 at CR 20, +44 with gear for a total of 108 Credits per week. There are some indications that 'Expert' category NPCs (ie: not Combat or Spellcaster types) get a bit extra in the skills department and can thus make some extra money.

Dark Archive

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Makes you ask where all the player characters starting with a thousand credits got them doesn't it? Perhaps we should show them these numbers and they won't cry about not having nine weapons at level 1 ;)

Liberty's Edge

mike roper wrote:
Makes you ask where all the player characters starting with a thousand credits got them doesn't it? Perhaps we should show them these numbers and they won't cry about not having nine weapons at level 1 ;)

Well, with a relevant skill at +5 and the equipment in question (which is cheap), you can earn 40 a week and live on 8. A single year living like that and you've got well over 1500. It's not pleasant, but to fund a career in adventuring it's probably worth it. You can live a little better on 28 a week and still get over 1000 (1144, to be specific) in a year.

That does assume some marketable skill ad a decent rating, but most PCs will have either one of those, some criminal skills, or experience as a soldier/mercenary. Any of those explain the money.

It is still like a year's disposable income, though, yeah.


I always choose to think of it as parents saving up for college. except replace college with adventuring.

Dark Archive

Lol or your batman. As for a years savings that if you don't go on a date, go see a movie, or spend any of it on your self. Saying one to two years of saving if you did it your self. That's a lot to risk (never mind d your life) to go adventuring on. But then again the flip side of when you make a Year's income in less than a week off your first case you might be feeling pretty good about that idea


Also, the typical level 1 adventurer probably didn't just start out of nowhere. They learned their adventuring skills *somewhere*, and the kind of ways you'd learn these skills imply either lots of costs ( and someone paying for them ) or lots of pay or both. Maybe you came from a good family who sent you to a good school, and now your out and making your name. Maybe you served in the military, and got your mustering out pay. Or maybe you just finished doing a bunch of *really* stupid risks, but your the dumb farm kid who survived it and have some of that good reward in your pocket ( because you actually had the talent, unlike the other 9/10 who end up broke or dead ).


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Yeah, I think the major flaw is assuming that everyone lives in a hotel (or the like) and eats at a restaurant every meal.


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Zombie Lord wrote:
If you vote Zombie Lord for supreme overlord, I vow to bring back the dream of the middle class. Together, we can make Absalom...

don't blame me, i voted for kodos


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's another take on the food part: Thanks to the "economy of scale" I can't craft anything cheaper than the cost of the trade goods that went into making it.

Craft (cooking) then doesn't save me any more money than eating at the Vend'o'matic. I hate those damned crafting rules! grrrrrr.

Also, if poor meals are nutritious <or> delicious, and good meals are both... then the difference between the two could be a good Craft (cooking) check (the "service" cost of eating out).

Hithesius, good call though on the long-term rates. I missed that part of the Lodgings description.

<stands on soapbox> "If you make Zombie Lord your commander in chief, I promise to build Free Battery chargers. And we'll make those space goblins and street gangs pay for it! You will be so happy with what I do with Absalom Station, believe you me. You watch. Folks will say they are so glad Zombie Lord is in charge."

(edit: I thought it funny to note that my first character bought a Clear Spindle Aeon Stone. 245 credits later and my Android Technomancer can ignore those annoying bodily functions from the very beginning.)


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Aren't those checks for freelance work that gets paid under the table?


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Profession says nothing of the sort. It's simply a check to make a living using a skill, with the flavor of the activity entirely dependent on the skill and the GM. Anything beyond that, such as the legal nature of the work, is entirely at the discretion of the table.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I was thinking about this. In an earlier edition (probably some form of 2nd - it was before I started buying the books and playing regularly) there was a similar issue in D&D.

When adventurers came to town, a meal and a room for the night cost the equivalent of what the commoners in the inn would make in a month (or more). This begged the question of 'how do the commoners survive?'

Answer: the commoners housing costs (in real world money since I don't have the book in front of me to give actual #s) let's say $10,000. If Joe the commoner heads to the inn for a meal and a pint, its $10. He makes enough to cover his expenses plus $10/day. All good.

Then an adventuring party wanders into town. A price board gets posted. Soup $20.
Stew $40
Roast $60
Room $100/night. $500/week.
The innkeeper figures:
a) They can afford it.
b) It might cover the damages, and the extra pay to keep the barwench from quitting.


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Yeah I'm a firm believer that businesses jack up prices for adventurers.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah I'm a firm believer that businesses jack up prices for adventurers.

Agree with this very much. The places you'd go to as an adventurer for food and rest are IMO like the tourist traps IRL.

Also, how many commoners would eat out in a restaurant and stay in a hotel anyway?


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Can I take my pig in?


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah I'm a firm believer that businesses jack up prices for adventurers.

Because adventurers are a bunch of Murderhobos who can cover the jacked up prices x3 (I've found that word here and I absolutely Love it. Murderhobos!)


It really does sum up your average adventurer quite nicely.

Liberty's Edge

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Very_Simple_Commoner wrote:
Can I take my pig in?

Is it house trained?

If so, any apartment with a pet policy is fine, but restaurants will balk. If not, perhaps look into making it into bacon.


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I can't make em into bacon If'in I ever put em down Orcus will appear and skin me alive... He might even kill me.

Liberty's Edge

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Very_Simple_Commoner wrote:
I can't make em into bacon If'in I ever put em down Orcus will appear and skin me alive... He might even kill me.

Then I guess you have to housebreak 'em. Don't worry, pigs are smart. It'll be fine.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Very_Simple_Commoner wrote:
I can't make em into bacon If'in I ever put em down Orcus will appear and skin me alive... He might even kill me.
Then I guess you have to housebreak 'em. Don't worry, pigs are smart. It'll be fine.

Smarts don't mean they're not vindictive, skull-man.

Dark Archive

If you took a notion I bet you can teach a hog to smoke a cigarette. it might take a bit of time, but hell what's time to a hog?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If the pig is a service animal, then it's allowed.

For house rules, I'd allow discounted "bulk" food prices like the long term lodgings discount.

But by RAW, I'd say what's good for the PCs is good for the NPCs.


The real trick is getting him to learn how to work the lighter.

Sovereign Court

Well probably Absalom Station is overcrowded with refugees, and the cost of real estate is horrendous ?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Stereofm wrote:
Well probably Absalom Station is overcrowded with refugees, and the cost of real estate is horrendous ?

Why would Absalom Station be overcrowded with refugees? What planet would these refugees have fled from? Certainly not Golarion -- it has been gone for well over 300 years, and there is no reason to believe that large numbers of people left that planet immediately before its disappearance.

Liberty's Edge

Life is not so bad on Absalom Station because there is the options for free food, as described in the Dead Suns 1.

Pg 54

Spoiler:

Parkside: As the name suggests, this neighborhood
runs along the edge of Jatembe Park. In addition to the
Plenara, home to the Pact Council, Parkside contains other
government buildings such as the headquarters of the
Surveying and Colonization Bureau, where explorers can
make property claims on newly discovered worlds (as well
as take jobs scouting and verifying proposed claims); public
amenities like the Cornucopia Building, where the station’s
poor can receive free food and medical attention; and some
of the priciest commercial real estate in the city.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah I'm a firm believer that businesses jack up prices for adventurers.

Ahem


David knott 242 wrote:
Stereofm wrote:
Well probably Absalom Station is overcrowded with refugees, and the cost of real estate is horrendous ?

Why would Absalom Station be overcrowded with refugees? What planet would these refugees have fled from? Certainly not Golarion -- it has been gone for well over 300 years, and there is no reason to believe that large numbers of people left that planet immediately before its disappearance.

Seeing how Absalom station is the easiest place to get to in the Galaxy from any other place in the Galaxy (assuming you have Drift) then any crisis on any world or any system with Drift users is going to set refugees its way.


Malk_Content wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
Stereofm wrote:
Well probably Absalom Station is overcrowded with refugees, and the cost of real estate is horrendous ?

Why would Absalom Station be overcrowded with refugees? What planet would these refugees have fled from? Certainly not Golarion -- it has been gone for well over 300 years, and there is no reason to believe that large numbers of people left that planet immediately before its disappearance.

Seeing how Absalom station is the easiest place to get to in the Galaxy from any other place in the Galaxy (assuming you have Drift) then any crisis on any world or any system with Drift users is going to set refugees its way.

They can park in the Armada or get redirected to a processing center on Akiton. We don't process refugees in Manhattan even if they arrive in a nearby airport or port.


I'm pretty sure sending refugees to Akiton would be controversial, given their current economic and social problems. ;) Not that it doesn't happen, but I imagine the Armada is the preferred spot.

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