# Ultimate Campaign - Incredibly wealthy peasants!

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A yeoman farmer, a peasant just wealthy enough to own enough land to feed himself, his wife and a couple of kids, will need about 25 acres of farmland. One acre of farmland is about 43,560 square feet or 1742 squares of 5' x 5'.

The purchase of just ONE unit of "farmland" from UCm requires either 600gp or 15 Goods, 15 Labor, and 300gp. The problem is that one unit of farmland only covers an area of up to 100 squares. It takes 17.42 units of farmland to buy one acre, which means that even if that yeoman does enough work around his community to cover the 262 Goods and 262 Labor required, he will still need to come up with 5240 gold pieces to get that ONE acre of farmland. Actually getting the entire 25 acres for that small farm would require 6532.5 Goods, 6532.5 Labor, and a whopping 130650 gold pieces! (Or just pay 261300 gold pieces...) And that assumes that he and his family live in a corner of one of the fields, it does not include the cost of a house or barn, or even a shack. However, for a mere 8,920 more (a measly 6.8% extra) that peasant could live in a Noble's Villa. Building just the farmland segments sequentially would require 8710 days, or almost 24 years.

Historical notes:
It takes about 11 bushels of wheat to make the grain for a person to have their daily bread for a year. Wheat returns about 4 bushels of grain per acre, after you pull out next year's seed grain. Assuming 2 adults and several kids that eating like 2 more adults means that the family needs about 11 acres of wheat. Using the price given in the Core Rulebook, wheat costs 240cp per acre, or 26 gold and 4 silver for the family's initial seed grain.

Not a complaint, just an observation...

I imagine the price coniderations are different for a farmer and a government that supports farmers.

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So Pagan. I hate to be, "That Guy," but did you skip over the line in Ultimate Campaign that clearly states that the GM can allow you to find land suitable for Farmland at no cost? I'd imagine that most NPCs got their farmland that way, and then built their farm up slowly over generations.

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This is why the farmers are serfs and work land they don't own.

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Also, a historical observation really, after the Black Death hit Europe, peasant labourers discovered that their was more demand for their services as a result they could demand more wages and better conditions. This led to Peasants moving to where they would get greater levels of pay, to counter this the Landowners brought in such measures as the 1349 Ordinance of Labourers, which prevented Peasants from moving to get better conditions. It also led to other forms of incentive being offered(Freedoms and land being two forms of this).
It also led to cheaper land prices as there was often perfectly good land with no-on to work it.

So whilst the game may have rules for the players buying land and property I suspect everyone else in the game world didn't acquire theirs in the same ways. Marry a rich widow would seem the easiest option to me.

While I am afraid of maths in general, I get what the OP is saying. And it applies to pretty much everything in Pathfinder, the other iterations of D&D, and many other such games. It seems gold is as common as feathers in a hen house in them.

I've houseruled many times over the years that the "gold standard" be lowered to at least silver, but that begins to cause a ton of confusion for players. I will say, however, any "platinum" coin that shows up in my campaigns is counterfeit and worthless.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:

While I am afraid of maths in general, I get what the OP is saying. And it applies to pretty much everything in Pathfinder, the other iterations of D&D, and many other such games. It seems gold is as common as feathers in a hen house in them.

I've houseruled many times over the years that the "gold standard" be lowered to at least silver, but that begins to cause a ton of confusion for players. I will say, however, any "platinum" coin that shows up in my campaigns is counterfeit and worthless.

I'm going to be springing some electrum coins on my party (who ended up in the past) soon. I can't wait to see their faces when they get back to the present and nobody'll accept them. It'll be like when they found out the paper money used in one country is less than worthless outside of it.

But yeah, in general I think the farmer doesn't really own his land so much as the local noble allows him to utilize it for food production. Thats where the noble's support comes from, technically. He to use a marxian word 'owns the means of production,' herewithin represented by the land and the farmer.

Pathfinder proposes a lot of freeman farmers, with outrageous freedoms of movement, association and commerce for the medieval era...which might explain why everyone has money as opposed to having nobles who are fat, but have crumbling buildings and everyone not being a disease riddled dirt farmer.

Command economies just blow, even if you're an elf.

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TOZ wrote:
This is why the farmers are serfs and work land they don't own.

This.

Most commoner-class types that the PCs encounter are legally considered part of that land that's so expensive. When a lord buys or inherits that land, the peasants go along with it.

If you're talking about non-noble land ownership, you're talking about the bourgeoisie, who were (in some periods) quite wealthy, if not wealthier than the lords.

Of course, this is all real-world feudalism. I do hate to use the past tense when discussing fantasy realms, but in this case the comparable form of government barely exists in our modern era.

Golarion may work on a totally different system, but the simple explanation is that it's feudalism, since we have Kings and Barons running around.

It says a lot about the progress of society that the modern reader of game rules presumes "working the land" means ownership and a sole share of the profits!

Spook205 wrote:
I'm going to be springing some electrum coins on my party (who ended up in the past) soon. I can't wait to see their faces when they get back to the present and nobody'll accept them. It'll be like when they found out the paper money used in one country is less than worthless outside of it.

I've thought seriously about tossing out the gold standard and bringing back electrum (it is, after all, a naturally occurring alloy). I may still do it. I JUST revised my group's house rules page for our secondary (read: testing grounds) campaign only minutes ago. They'd lynch me if I made another change and sent it round so soon... LOL

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Spook205 wrote:
I'm going to be springing some electrum coins on my party (who ended up in the past) soon. I can't wait to see their faces when they get back to the present and nobody'll accept them. It'll be like when they found out the paper money used in one country is less than worthless outside of it.
I've thought seriously about tossing out the gold standard and bringing back electrum (it is, after all, a naturally occurring alloy). I may still do it. I JUST revised my group's house rules page for our secondary (read: testing grounds) campaign only minutes ago. They'd lynch me if I made another change and sent it round so soon... LOL

I already started using electrum pieces in my last two campaigns. The old time players loved it and at first they began to horde it, thinking that it may be worth more due to rarity. However, they quickly learned that it was just one more coin and for old time's sake I just set it equal to a half a gold piece or 5 silver pieces.

Only mildly related to the topic at hand, we decided in our current game to actually name the coins, as opposed to "gold pieces" or "silver pieces". We chose "quatloos" from the original Star Trek series. Our games are often quite serious and heavy, but we always sneak in something silly.

The OP mentioned a Yeoman farmer, who owned the land he lived on.

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Only mildly related to the topic at hand, we decided in our current game to actually name the coins, as opposed to "gold pieces" or "silver pieces". We chose "quatloos" from the original Star Trek series. Our games are often quite serious and heavy, but we always sneak in something silly.

Weren't quatloos from the Heavy Metal movie? I don't recall what Original Star Trek episode mentions quatloos... Mudd, maybe?

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Coins in my homebrew campaign operate on two overlapping standards: nobles and adventurers tally everything in gold pieces (variously livres, gold marks, doubloons -- depending on the kingdom). Lesser personages reckon everything in silver pieces (sou or skillings, or silver marks, or "pieces-of-four"). Below that, there's cp and barter.

And there's a higher-level economy: magic items worth over 10K gp (the price of a resurrection spell) can't be purchased with coins -- only with other magic items or equally-valuable things.

P.S. To my former players: wonder what's going to happen to all the farmland now that the halfling serfs have all been freed? Wish we could have developed that some more!

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I'm not sure what everyone else thinks but most campaign settings I've seen have a large amount of essentially unclaimed wilderness (and why not, even today there are portions of the world that are still basically wilderness atop wilderness, and it makes for a good campaign setting to have the option for exploration). While purchasing land might be quite expensive, claiming land might not be.

Or it could just be an oddity, or evidence that it is expected that land ownership among the common man is exceedingly rare. Perhaps most land owners acquired that land through the sword (including driving off beasts that inhabited it), through hard work and careful investing (600 gp is a lot but your average commoner in Pathfinder generates 120 gp after living expenses and common purchases each year) which means that land ownership may come bit by bit over a generation or so. Over about 5 years said untrained laborer can buy an acre of land. Every 3.5 years, a trained (+4 bonus) laborer can purchase that acre.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Only mildly related to the topic at hand, we decided in our current game to actually name the coins, as opposed to "gold pieces" or "silver pieces". We chose "quatloos" from the original Star Trek series. Our games are often quite serious and heavy, but we always sneak in something silly.
Weren't quatloos from the Heavy Metal movie? I don't recall what Original Star Trek episode mentions quatloos... Mudd, maybe?

Gamesters of Triskellion, IIRC.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
TOZ wrote:
This is why the farmers are serfs and work land they don't own.
This.

No, actually, that doesn't help at all.

Assuming the OP's figures are correct, then we assume a simple nobleman has a stretch of land with 100 serfs working 100 farms, that means this simple nobleman had to spend 653,200 Goods, 653,200 Labor, and 13,065,000 gp to build those farms that his serfs work on.

I don't imagine many simple noblemen have those resources at their disposal to simply create farmland, or anything else.

Evil Lincoln wrote:

It says a lot about the progress of society that the modern reader of game rules presumes "working the land" means ownership and a sole share of the profits!

Agreed. Historically, land was either free-for-the-taking, or incredibly expensive because it was not available for purchase. Farmers were typically just laborers, not landowners.

The OPs idea of a yeoman farmer is actually rather anachronistic, as the idea of a free farmer working his own land didn't exist in substantive numbers in much of Europe until the Elizabethan era (c. 16th century), not the high middle ages. Wikipedia suggests that in the 11th century only 10% of the English peasants were "free," and they worked on leased land, not on land that they themselves owned.

So, yes, a yeoman farmer who owned 25 acres of land would indeed be incredibly wealthy, and this would probably have been obtained over several generations. The idea that I could simply work a farm for a couple of years for the Baron and save enough to buy the land I'd been working would have rightly been regarded as lunacy.

DM_Blake wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
TOZ wrote:
This is why the farmers are serfs and work land they don't own.
This.

No, actually, that doesn't help at all.

Assuming the OP's figures are correct, then we assume a simple nobleman has a stretch of land with 100 serfs working 100 farms, that means this simple nobleman had to spend 653,200 Goods, 653,200 Labor, and 13,065,000 gp to build those farms that his serfs work on.

No. It means that somewhere, in the past, SOMEONE had that kind of money. Not necessarily the nobleman; more than likely, this is either land that his ancestors have owned and developed for centuries, or else land that someone else's ancestors had developed for centuries before they found themselves on the losing side of a war, or terra incognita that could be developed "for free" by clearing the land and planting barley.

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Or you know, it's an abstraction intended to be used by wealthy adventurers (the PCs).

It can't possibly be an accurate simulation of the "real" economics of Golarion, if only because it's a uniform mechanic that works the same way in whatever country, under whichever political and economic system and whatever climate and terrain.
25 acres of farmland cost the same in Absalom as in Galt as in the Land of the Linnorm Kings or the Mwangi Jungles?
(Of course, all other goods cost the same as well, so it follows the pattern, but that's a pattern of convenient for play, not economic simulation)

Nor will you have the same social patterns from area to area. Some areas will be feudal with lords and serfs bound to the land. Galt won't be.

It's an abstraction. Use it when your PCs want to found cities and kingdoms, don't try to justify the whole world that way.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I've houseruled many times over the years that the "gold standard" be lowered to at least silver, but that begins to cause a ton of confusion for players. I will say, however, any "platinum" coin that shows up in my campaigns is counterfeit and worthless...

I'm glad I'm not the only one to drop to the silver-standard and rank platinum as an anachronism. Just be glad Gary didn't pick an element at random to be more valuable than gold. We could all be trying to figure out how to safely transport phosphorus pieces. Or uranium.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Gamesters of Triskellion, IIRC.

You are correct, sir. Madam...umm... you're right.

A farmer would 6 SP per bushel for wheat. They 4 bushels per acre and hav 20 acres of land. They lose say 1/4 to all it due to environmental conditions like fire, hail, drought and such. So lets say they lose 1/4. So 15 acres is 60 bushles at 3 SP (half normal price). That's 18 GP a year if they are lucky. So 9 GP a year isn't much when you consider an untrained hireling earns 1 SP per day for 365 SP (36 gp AND 5 sp) a year, a little over 4 times as much as a farmer.

voska66 wrote:
A farmer would 6 SP per bushel for wheat. They 4 bushels per acre and hav 20 acres of land. They lose say 1/4 to all it due to environmental conditions like fire, hail, drought and such. So lets say they lose 1/4. So 15 acres is 60 bushles at 3 SP (half normal price). That's 18 GP a year if they are lucky. So 9 GP a year isn't much when you consider an untrained hireling earns 1 SP per day for 365 SP (36 gp AND 5 sp) a year, a little over 4 times as much as a farmer.

OTOH, if you're making that little, just sell the land for the however many 10s of thousands of gp and live on that for the rest of your life.

voska66 wrote:
A farmer would 6 SP per bushel for wheat. They 4 bushels per acre and hav 20 acres of land. They lose say 1/4 to all it due to environmental conditions like fire, hail, drought and such. So lets say they lose 1/4. So 15 acres is 60 bushles at 3 SP (half normal price). That's 18 GP a year if they are lucky. So 9 GP a year isn't much when you consider an untrained hireling earns 1 SP per day for 365 SP (36 gp AND 5 sp) a year, a little over 4 times as much as a farmer.

Wheat is a trade good so farmers do not sell it at 1/2 price. It is traded just like coins are. Additionally wheat is probably only one aspect of the farmer's life in a D&D campaign as they are clearly making much more money through other means, which may include things like vegetables, livestock, etc.

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Lincoln Hills wrote:
We could all be trying to figure out how to safely transport phosphorus pieces. Or uranium.

I've got palladium pieces and iridium pieces in my game -- high elf nobles use them, and everyone else refuses to accept them as "cursed."

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Yeah, that's what I'd say about uranium pieces once the... lesions... started showing up.

Anyhow. So. Really rich peasants, you say? Good! They can pay me 100 gp to kill some rats!

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Coin-wise, what I did for my game was to leave the relative value of gold and silver coins alone, but change the weight of a single coin. I've got copper at 50 per pound, silver at 75 per pound, gold at 200 per pound and platinum at 250 per pound. That means a 1 lbs. ingot of copper is still worth 0.5 gp, but silver is worth 7.5 gp, gold is worth 200 gp and platinum is worth 2500 gp. (I was going to use mithral coins instead of platinum, but that'd change the price per pound of mithral, which I didn't want to deal with.)

Edit: BTW, the values were taken from the relative real-world values of copper, silver and gold at the time I was working out the details. Platinum on the other hand is/was actually about the same price as gold, so I just made something up for that.

Lincoln Hills wrote:
Yeah, that's what I'd say about uranium pieces once the... lesions... started showing up.

Uranium has an insanely long half-life, so a coin-sized chunk of it gives off approximately no radiation on human time scales. As a metal, however, it's extremely toxic, so you for sure wouldn't want to bit the coin to test it, like they do in the old Westerns...

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MagiMaster wrote:
Edit: BTW, the values were taken from the relative real-world values of copper, silver and gold at the time I was working out the details.

I looked at that, too, for my game. Apparently in Medieval times, though, the ratio of value between gold and silver was a lot smaller: something like 20:1 instead of 50:1 or whatever. I stuck with 50:1 and explained it by making silver a more common/easily extracted element in my game world than it was on Earth.

As several people have said, having productive farmland be incredibly expensive, far beyond the means of most farmers, is actually quite historically accurate. Owning significant amounts of farmland is pretty much what made you an aristocrat.

And if you *did* happen to be a small landowner who worked your own land, it was because your long-ago ancestors got it for free, or else you managed to acquire it through non-financial means (e.g. getting a land grant for serving in the army).

Trinite wrote:

As several people have said, having productive farmland be incredibly expensive, far beyond the means of most farmers, is actually quite historically accurate. Owning significant amounts of farmland is pretty much what made you an aristocrat.

And if you *did* happen to be a small landowner who worked your own land, it was because your long-ago ancestors got it for free, or else you managed to acquire it through non-financial means (e.g. getting a land grant for serving in the army).

OTOH, having land be worth vastly more than can possibly be earned from it in a lifetime of farming is nonsensical. At least in an agricultural economy. If I have a choice between earning say 200 gp a year from my land (not counting living expenses and the like) and selling the land for ~10000gp, which would be enough to live on for 50 years?

thejeff wrote:

OTOH, having land be worth vastly more than can possibly be earned from it in a lifetime of farming is nonsensical. At least in an agricultural economy. If I have a choice between earning say 200 gp a year from my land (not counting living expenses and the like) and selling the land for ~10000gp, which would be enough to live on for 50 years?

In a primarily non-cash economy? That's a no brainer. Work the land; you can't eat gold.

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thejeff wrote:
selling the land for ~10000gp, which would be enough to live on for 50 years?

In a historical medieval setting, you'd take that 10,000 gp, set out for town to spend it, and be killed and looted by highwaymen before you got halfway there. Unless you had a small army, in which case you'd need the farmland to support them. Also, in most cases, even if you were a baron you didn't own that land -- you held it in fief for the king. He let you live on it and collect revenue from it in exchange for you maintaining a retinue to fight for him on demand.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
selling the land for ~10000gp, which would be enough to live on for 50 years?
In a historical medieval setting, you'd take that 10,000 gp, set out for town to spend it, and be killed and looted by highwaymen before you got halfway there. Unless you had a small army, in which case you'd need the farmland to support them. Also, in most cases, even if you were a baron you didn't own that land -- you held it in fief for the king. He let you live on it and collect revenue from it in exchange for you maintaining a retinue to fight for him on demand.

If it can't be sold, then it's silly to complain about the price.

What does it even mean to say it's worth 5000 gp/acre if you can't sell it and you can't get more than a tiny fraction of that in taxes.

Besides, much of Golarion isn't a "historical medieval setting".

Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:

OTOH, having land be worth vastly more than can possibly be earned from it in a lifetime of farming is nonsensical. At least in an agricultural economy. If I have a choice between earning say 200 gp a year from my land (not counting living expenses and the like) and selling the land for ~10000gp, which would be enough to live on for 50 years?
In a primarily non-cash economy? That's a no brainer. Work the land; you can't eat gold.

Where's a "primarily non-cash" economy in Golarion? Those places where adventurers can't even buy food with the spoils from the dragon's hoard?

Actually, from in game experience, most RPGs seem to have a magic item economy, with cash only being a minor sideline.:)

thejeff wrote:

If it can't be sold, then it's silly to complain about the price.

Yup. Which is why I'm not the one complaining.

Quote:

What does it even mean to say it's worth 5000 gp/acre if you can't sell it and you can't get more than a tiny fraction of that in taxes.

It's the amount you need to invest in order to create new farmland, if you decide not to do the work yourself because you're an adventurer.

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I have a book called A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe from Expeditious Retreat Press that deals with this subject in a more simulationist fashion.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If it can't be sold, then it's silly to complain about the price.

Yup. Which is why I'm not the one complaining.

Quote:

What does it even mean to say it's worth 5000 gp/acre if you can't sell it and you can't get more than a tiny fraction of that in taxes.

It's the amount you need to invest in order to create new farmland, if you decide not to do the work yourself because you're an adventurer.

Oh. So they are tourist prices. That makes sense.

Checked multiple sources(using google). Wheat production ranges from 30-50 bushels per acre depending on who you ask. How much do you really have to use to reseed? Net production of 4 bushels per acre seems awfully low. We're still talking about peanuts for profit though. That is assuming you don't find free farmland. Also the price of wheat in the CRB is the market price, not the wholesale price.

Farmland wrote:
At the GM’s discretion, you might discover a plot of available land that automatically counts as a Farmland at no cost.

magic items are everywhere in pathfinder games. One lucky dude can just buy everything. It's is not a problem.

Edit: the lucky dude might meet a luckier and more powerful dude who will buy everything...the circle of life and all of that :)

Modern wheat production is considerably better than pre-commercial fertilizer yields.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Modern wheat production is considerably better than pre-commercial fertilizer yields.

Magic like plant growth makes tech look silly.

GeneticDrift wrote:

Magic like plant growth makes tech look silly.

How many farmers have routine access to a fifth level druid? Historically, 6 bushels per acre was doing well for the medieval period, and 10 bushels per acre was a bountiful harvest.

Plant Growth only ups by another third (check the spell text), so we're still looking at nothing anywhere near modern crop yields.

Every farmer has access, either through the community or through barter or purchase.

It's a few castings that lasts a year with 0 upkeep vs a large modern infrastructure and distribution and research. Also one Druid can feed the farmers at almost no effort, so they can grow profit crops instead of food.

Edit: sorry if this came off as a bit mean or aggressive. I just don't see magic being that rare in the rule books or in published material. I could be under a false assumption.

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Hey, the wealth rules don't work in a 3.x variant. That's unbelievable! I mean, it's been true for 13 years, but still! Unbelievable!

Kthulhu wrote:
Hey, the wealth rules don't work in a 3.x variant. That's unbelievable! I mean, it's been true for 13 years, but still! Unbelievable!

ha ha that's ..... 13 years..... god i am old

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Is it wrong that this entire conversation has me envisioning an evil wizard stealing expensive farmland?

"This is clearly your most valuable possesion! Now it is mine!" And then laughing manically while he slowly, slowly flies away into the sky on top of a flying perfectly square plot of land with the farmers, cows and such still doing their business on it.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Spook205 wrote:

Is it wrong that this entire conversation has me envisioning an evil wizard stealing expensive farmland?

"This is clearly your most valuable possesion! Now it is mine!" And then laughing manically while he slowly, slowly flies away into the sky on top of a flying perfectly square plot of land with the farmers, cows and such still doing their business on it.

Thanks! I now have the plot for my next adventure.

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Kthulhu wrote:
Hey, the wealth rules don't work in a 3.x variant. That's unbelievable! I mean, it's been true for 13 years, but still! Unbelievable!

I actually don't have many problems with money in 3E/Pathfinder. Most "complaints" I see run along the lines of:

• If you spend 8 hours a day doing something, people will pay you for it and you can make money FOREVER!!! (In modern terms, we call that "having a job".)
• Some things in D&D are incredibly expensive and poor people would never be able to afford them!!! (I feel the same way when I pass a Bentley or Lamborghini dealership...)
However, I agree with the original poster that prices for land and buildings have always been on the high side in D&D. I imagine that's supposed to make it challenging for adventurers to buy real estate, but that makes no sense when you consider that by level 5 (or whatever), most adventurers are the equivalent of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.

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