Costs for keeping a wizard on staff (worldbuilding)


Homebrew and House Rules


I'm doing some background for a fairly magic-rich setting, and trying to determine what formula to use for non-PCs who want to keep wizards permanently on staff. This is for jobs like personal casters to nobles, ships' wizards on sailing/air ships, etc. The only suggestions I've found involve ludicrous prices of a thousand or more gold per day for even a moderately-leveled wizard, using rules that seem mostly designed to discourage PCs from hiring other PC class characters to join them.

How would you determine a flat full-time salary for various level casters in a situation like this? Assume we're talking about generally non-hazardous work, and not adventuring.


http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/goods-and-services/hirelings-serv ants-services

There is a list for hirelings and costs (i assume the Cost is per Day of Work)

Spellcasting generally has a Cost per Spell cast. Caster level × spell level × 10 gp which can add up quickly.

i would make a fixed amount of Money per Level the Spellcaster has.

i would say 20 to 50 Gold per Class Level per Day dependend on how rare Spellcasting-Services are in your World. Adding the cost of pricly Material Components.


In high-magic settings (and in my opinion), the relative cost of a Wizard's services should go down; probably not to the level of a hireling Adept, but definitely not more than twice the NPC rate.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

It's also fair to think about what other ways the characters can secure those services:

Friendship: Maybe the court, or ship's, wizard is a friend of the noble or captain.

Responsibility: The caster has a sense of obligation; perhaps to his nation, and does this because it's his duty.

Patronage: This, I think, is the big one. The noble provides political and logistic support to the wizard. Rather than providing a lot of raw cash, he funds the wizard's research, helping him acquire books and materials, possibly sponsoring his attendance at conferences or similar.

If you really need to concern yourself with the salary, remember that room & board is likely included in there. Figure a rough number of spells cast in a typical month, then subtract out reasonably high-end living expenses, and more for books, alchemical equipment, and so on. And consider that the spellcaster may well accept a lower rate of pay because he or she specifically likes this position.

On a ship, the wizard may simply take a larger share of the ship's profits than regular crew. Perhaps 20% goes to the ship, 10% to the captain, 5% each to the officers and wizard, and only 1% or 2% for each regular crew member.

Scarab Sages

Jarin Arenos wrote:

I'm doing some background for a fairly magic-rich setting, and trying to determine what formula to use for non-PCs who want to keep wizards permanently on staff. This is for jobs like personal casters to nobles, ships' wizards on sailing/air ships, etc. The only suggestions I've found involve ludicrous prices of a thousand or more gold per day for even a moderately-leveled wizard, using rules that seem mostly designed to discourage PCs from hiring other PC class characters to join them.

How would you determine a flat full-time salary for various level casters in a situation like this? Assume we're talking about generally non-hazardous work, and not adventuring.

My magus will gladly serve in the role of a house wizard for 1/2 the listed rates.

As a serious response: the listed rates are intended to limit PC's access to magic. If those were the rates every wizard actually received, all wizards would extremely wealthy.


1) In your world, how hard is it to become a spell caster? Can anyone with cash go to school? Is it a rare talent?
2) How much education is required? Is this education expensive? Are their 'colleges' or do a handful of masters pass on the knowledge to a limited few?
3) How does the range of ability play out? Are there lots of low-level casters who can cast Prestidigitation? Are there lots of high-level casters?
4) Who controls the casting of spells? Is their some form of guild? Do nobles basically have contracts with every caster? Does the government regulate what can be cast?

The pay rates on casters will depend on labor supply. The labor supply depends on the answers to the questions above.

Since you said fairly magic-rich let's come up with some test answer.

1) Everyone can cast spells, it just requires education and lots of time.
2) Enormous amounts of education are required. This education occurs in large institutions and is very expensive. Many casters come out with large amounts of debt or make deals to serve during their education or for some time after it.
3) Their are many low-level wizards who make a comfortable living doing magic, but only a few who are truly powerful and they command large salaries.
4) Casters are free agents, but have strict ties to colleges and may owe a lot of money or favors to patrons.

In this case I would say that competent casters command elite craftsmen type wages while the elite have significant wealth and power and are like nobles. If you want to limit (or just tightly control) the players ability to hire people to cast spells you might want to have some sort of guild that all spell casters have to belong to. Having access to guild wizards might have a hefty price tag.

Also note that if magic is a profession that doesn't necessarily mean that magic users want to go adventuring. Hiring a wizard to cast a spell is much cheaper than hiring a wizard to risk his life, especially when that wizard can live a good life working a normal job.


@Will Seitz
1) wizardry is an inborn talent that is only moderately common, but is heavily encouraged by a well-organized magical college.
2) The school supports the students (no tuition, they accept anyone with talent), which is paid back by taking the majority of profit from the magical crafting of apprentice wizards. Like student loans, but less formalized, I suppose.
3) Magic beyond 6th level is literally unheard of (legends only), but lower level spells are rather common.
4) Wizards that graduate the college have the option to stay on, or seek out employment elsewhere, often hiring out to nobility.

What would "elite craftsman" take as wages?

On the note that it's much cheaper to ask a wizard to cast a spell than risk his life, I'd agree. I've always thought that the 10*c.level*s.level was utterly absurd. No wizard would ever go adventuring.

I'm not terribly worried about my players trying to abuse rules. I've got a group I trust not to powergame terribly (the kind of players that regularly nerf themselves in the name of RP character concepts). I'm just wanting to make the economy function in my head, even if I don't have to keep strict books.

Edit: Patronage is a good point, and it'll probably suffice for a lot of situations.


Spellcasting cost by default is 10xCL*SL, but casters probably don't get too terribly many takers at that price. I generally assume that 1st level bona-fide casters make around 10 gp/day---about 10x what ordinary craftsmen make, if they're in an area where the demand isn't already oversubscribed. Semicasters and adepts are at around 5 gp/day. If you wanted to put a caster on retainer for non-hazardous duties, you'd probably just have to guarantee that income level---obviously higher for higher level casters.


I'd agree that the "spellcasting services" chart is close to useless for world-building purposes. They might be good indications of what a spellcaster will charge for a cold-call from a desperate stranger with lots of money to burn (ie, price gouging), but not so much for a steady employment scenario.

I'd say look at the WBL guidelines for NPC's. As a ballpark guess, I'd probably take the total gp value for a heroic tier character's wealth as their yearly wages. A 1st level wizard earns 390 GP per year (a little over 1 GP per day). Go significantly higher and standard WBL makes little sense.


I'm not familiar with these WBL guidelines. Where would I find these?


Jarin Arenos wrote:
3) Magic beyond 6th level is literally unheard of (legends only), but lower level spells are rather common.

Is that 6th level spells, or 6th level characters?


Quote:
I'm not familiar with these WBL guidelines. Where would I find these?

Here you go


Still no idea what WBL stands for (assuming wealth... somethingsomething?), but thanks! Very useful table.


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WBL = Wealth By Level

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