Taxing players and winter in RPG


Advice

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Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay I think you are approaching the point where you and the other players need to have a conversation with the GM.

The big question is why does he feel this is important?
Does he feel like he's giving out too much gold and he can't challenge you?
Does he want a more low power game?
Etc.

Find out why he's doing this first and then it will be easier for all of you to figure out what you want to do.

Yep that may involve walking away from the game, but it is also possible he is feeling like he's trying to run a run away freight train of gold.

Being reasonable and rational and having a conversation is a good first step.

Good Luck.


You could always account for stuff on a day-by-day basis. Nothing can happen offscreen if you do everything onscreen.

"Alright, I'm going to the inn for breakfast, I pay 1s for cheese, 3 cp for bread and 1 cp for a cup of coffee. I then wait 3 hours and eat a lunch of haggis, paying 1 sp. I then travel to the blacksmith to make sure my gear is sharpened and maintained, using my 5 gp Gear maintenance kit. I go to the inn and eat a common meal, valued at 3 silver. Then I drink 1 gallon of ale, valued at 2 sp. I then spend a night at the inn in a common room, valued at 5 sp."

Total cost: 12 s 4 cp.

Make sure you tell the DM when you're going potty too!

Honestly, as is pretty obvious from posts here, the DM is being unreasonable and its not ACTUALLY something you'll be able to deal with using the in-game systems unless you really want to drag the pace to a crawl. It's an out-of-character conversation to have with him as a group. If he wants to play accounting 101 he can, but tell him you could go take a math class if you wanted to do accounting in your free time (or hell, deal with your personal finances during offnights).


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Best way to handle players with too much money is go Medieval on them.
The local Count( Or King, church etc)comes asking for a loan. And of course telling the local power that be NO can lead to serious complication( Go check out What happen to the Knight Templers when they got too rich and refused to loan the King of France money)
And of course to pay you back for all that gold you lent the Count he is going makes you Lord, Of an Orc infested swamp where a local Hag thinks she the Boss.
Might point out in Ancient and Medieval society with wealth came responsibilities. For example wealthy merchants in Italy and the Cinque ports of England where required to pay for the outfitting and maintenance of a Warship in case their country needed to go to war.The wealthy guilds where also required to give the king money or provide troops for the King and pays for the City guard. And your Local wealthy adventurer, after being made Lord of Swampwater the Count informs you of your duty to have a hundred armed and equipt men at Arms and they need to be ready by Tuesday as the King is going to war.
And heads of Religions, Guild master of Thieves guild,your Old master who has fallen on hard times, family members, Clan Chieftains, The bar maid who announce she having your baby etc, can all drain a character of money if need be.


Another thing I might mention. For those who never been shopping in a third world country( And most fantasy game markets should be like third world markets) , the price is often set by how much the merchant thinks he can make you pay. If the merchant thinks you have money he is going to try to charge you more.


If you're trying to reduce PC wealth, it's probably more fun for the players if you can get them to do it voluntarily. "The ruined castle you just cleared out could be repaired for 20,000gp."


Degoon Squad wrote:
Another thing I might mention. For those who never been shopping in a third world country( And most fantasy game markets should be like third world markets) , the price is often set by how much the merchant thinks he can make you pay. If the merchant thinks you have money he is going to try to charge you more.

This is a good point, of course, but also one that seriously bogs down game play. There's a good reason there's fixed pricing on everything, it cuts out a lot of boring shopping and haggling over stuff.

Because if you wanted realism, every community would have supply and demand modifiers on most categories of items; wool was a good deal cheaper in England than it was in France for much of history.

That said, Character Level does not equate with Wealth, even apparent wealth. The system already accommodates some of this with the living expenses; at a higher bracket you're basically assumed to be paying more for just about everything. Your snack apple at that posh inn costs more than your peasant apple at the regular inn, though they probably came from the same orchard.

I think the trick here is to give enough bonuses for living high on the hog to make it worth the player's money. Ars Magica pulls this off by making it easier to escape the ravages of age by living well, but that's a game that's designed for the fast flow of events (years can pass in a single session).

For Pathfinder, bonuses to Fortitude saves and Diplomacy checks are probably the most relevant to living well. These would probably be Morale bonuses.

Sovereign Court

Horrible, horrible

I had a long talk with the DM and used my words very carefully not to demotivate him from running the game. I didn't try to convince him that my idea is better than his, rather pointing out the flaws and consequences they could have outside of his predictions.

He explained to me that this system is to make players plan how to survive downtime between adventures, produce situations and roleplaying elements, in otherwords grit.

The players have two options. Think how to reduce the costs of living or give a big chunk of their adventure rewards. My character and probably a big chunk of the party has a personal stake in here because its like saying: "you can disregard this mechanic and abandon you motivation for adventuring, you still get experiance and some treasure right?".

Equipment maintance is imperfect for mundane items making purchases of expensive (50gp + ) without any in-game effect its like renting them paying 50% of their market price each month. Of course players can deposit their gear in their household (if they buy one of course) but they won't be using it.

Living and Food expenses are high because the DM raised some professions. A commoner growing vegetables earns 100gp/month. This was done due to the fact that he wouldn't be able to buy any tools earning only 5sp/day or something while an accountant earned 3gp/day (pfsrd).

Taxes is something he put only because it was there. This was to, maybe, take the players gold or so I think because he handwaved that issue by saying: "Ask paizo why did they put it there".

The DM accused me of prefering casual gaming (hack & slash) instead of realism. I proposed that he could divide the rewards by 10 and we could roleplay all that surviving if it wouldn't get in the way of high fantasy feel of the game. His anwser was that roleplay is an equal part of the game as the mechanics and I am a fool thinking otherwise.

I will see what he has to offer but the future looks dim


Grandmikus wrote:


Living and Food expenses are high because the DM raised some professions. A commoner growing vegetables earns 100gp/month. This was done due to the fact that he wouldn't be able to buy any tools earning only 5sp/day or something while an accountant earned 3gp/day (pfsrd).

I think I'd argue here that 5sp/day is quite accurate. The commoner wouldn't be able to afford to buy tools on a whim. They'd have to save for *ages* to replace their existing ones, and even then it'd be a struggle. They'd be using re-re-re-repaired things held together by fraying rope a lot of the time. They'd be careful not to damage the tools that were essentially their livelihood. They'd barter with the village blacksmith to keep them in a decent condition, paying them with goods rather than money.

That said, I can't argue with their desire to use this to create more RP situations. I think though I'd rather do that by giving you better reasons to participate in the RP, and not drive you into it using gold as a threat. It's just as easily done to have the local blacksmith too busy to shoe your horse, and leave you having to work out how to get on his good side so he'll bump you to the top of the queue, for example.

Liberty's Edge

roleplaying does not equal paying out gold all the time. this dm needs to seriously consider removing or lowering many things like DR, magic resistance, and other monster and npc defenses that assume that the charactors are actually abel to accumulate magic items. also, all i am seeing with this system is everyone taking a level of ranger or druid with crafting skills for primative weapons and armor.

encouraging roleplaying would be fleshing out interesting personalities for npc, roleplaying specific changes to npc behavior, ect.

not the bash hammer of gold stealing. my 2 copper pieces.


If he wants you to devote sessions on end to talking with the same NPCs who will arguably make as much as you by not risking their lives with any number of creatures, traps, magic, environmental hazards, etc. encountered through dungeon delving, it's his game. It'll be a lonely game, but it'll be his.

My counterargument for your DM:
A farmer makes 100gp/mo? We're talking ~3gp/day for an average month, then. Bread requires a grain such as wheat to be baked. After the baker ploys his trade, the cost as listed in the book is 3cp. (Cue some bullocks about him changing the price of bread to reflect his new economic system, which will be ignored for the sake of making this point.) It would be generous for the farmer to sell enough wheat to make one loaf of bread for 1cp: the baker will double his cost of materials, then add 1cp for the time and services required to turn the wheat into bread. (Seeing that it's common business practice to try and double one's money, the price of that wheat won't get higher than 1.5cp anyways.) So our peasant, after an entire growing season of pests, disease, and weather, is expected to make make enough wheat for 10000 loaves of bread: about 333 loaves worth of wheat per day. This doesn't count for seasons such as the upcoming winter, where he very likely won't be able to produce anything at all and would be forced to save profit from earlier harvests. So the actual figure of production, if the farmer loses 3 out of 12 months to unfavorable growing conditions, is closer to 13333 loaves of bread per month (444 per day). This is also assuming that these crops are the excess that the farmer is capable of selling while still feeding his family--he'd have to be a fool to not take advantage of his own labors.

If he says that's right, I'd just leave. If you can talk him into realizing how stupidly large this low-class operation would have to be, then there may yet be hope.


Grandmikus wrote:

(1)The DM accused me of prefering casual gaming (hack & slash) instead of realism. I proposed that he could divide the rewards by 10 and we could roleplay all that surviving if it wouldn't get in the way of high fantasy feel of the game. His anwser was that roleplay is an equal part of the game as the mechanics and (2) I am a fool thinking otherwise.

1) He's a control freak that doesn't see that he wants to run a game that his players don't really want.

2) Item (1) shows that your DM doesn't know what he's talking about. Nor is what he's proposing vaguely resembling "realism".

3) Item (2) shows that he's unafraid of casually insulting you if you don't agree with him. Logic is of no concern, as anyone not agreeing with him is a fool (or an idiot) Just for this, I would leave. Time is the world's most precious commodity and, IMO, you would be wasting it in this person's personal fantasy land.

4) I also predict God-like Mary-Sue DMPCS.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First good for having the discussion.

Their is nothing wrong with a player wanting a hack and slash game, as their is nothing wrong with a player wanting a realistic game. The trick always is to find something that is close enough to everyone's wants that it works.

I would be concerned that the GM seems to believe his way is the correct way. Which I can tell you is never true as a GM you have to run something you enjoy, but at the same time something the rest of your players will enjoy, and you have to have respect for those players.

My feeling would be even if the game really gets off the ground their will be a point he will drive all the players away.

If he is open to learning how to GM better I would highly suggest he reads Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering. It does a great job of laying out players types and talking about realizing everyone at your table wants something different. Though from your comments I have a feeling he wouldn't take the advice.

Good luck whatever your decision


Helic wrote:
Degoon Squad wrote:
Another thing I might mention. For those who never been shopping in a third world country( And most fantasy game markets should be like third world markets) , the price is often set by how much the merchant thinks he can make you pay. If the merchant thinks you have money he is going to try to charge you more.

This is a good point, of course, but also one that seriously bogs down game play. There's a good reason there's fixed pricing on everything, it cuts out a lot of boring shopping and haggling over stuff.

Because if you wanted realism, every community would have supply and demand modifiers on most categories of items; wool was a good deal cheaper in England than it was in France for much of history.

That said, Character Level does not equate with Wealth, even apparent wealth. The system already accommodates some of this with the living expenses; at a higher bracket you're basically assumed to be paying more for just about everything. Your snack apple at that posh inn costs more than your peasant apple at the regular inn, though they probably came from the same orchard.

I think the trick here is to give enough bonuses for living high on the hog to make it worth the player's money. Ars Magica pulls this off by making it easier to escape the ravages of age by living well, but that's a game that's designed for the fast flow of events (years can pass in a single session).

For Pathfinder, bonuses to Fortitude saves and Diplomacy checks are probably the most relevant to living well. These would probably be Morale bonuses.

I agree with the effect on diplomacy and other social skills should be effect by such.. Being a miser or a tightwad was looked down upon in most Ancient/medieval societies. If some one played a character that always acted as a miser, eating the cheapest food, staying in the cheapest inns, etc when he could afford better,, I woud have no problem making all his social encounter a little more difficult by moving then down one step.

By the same standard if a character was known to be generous social encounters might go better by moving them up one step.
Might point out even the thieves guild might target a Miser over some one known to be generous as the generous person will have lots of friends to help him get revenge while who is coming to the misers aid?


As far as the cost of farm tool. A Medieval peasant would be expected to craft many of the tools they use. Stone and wooden farm tools where in fact common later then many people know. Other would be owned as community property or only be owned by the wealthiest peasant in town. Fact is I have more tools in my garage for keeping my yard up then almost all medieval peasant would ever dream of owning.


I have some doubts here. Look, OP, just direct your DM to this thread. Let us see what he has to say.


Yeah...I'd love to see him try to justify this.

Sorry, this is way too harsh. I can usually sort of understand where another GM is coming from with their changes and house-ruling but I'm boggled here.


You should point your GM at this excellent blogpost. It shows how the economy in the core rules actually works quite well for common people.

From there, if he wants you to be dirt poor, just give out less gold.


Grandmikus wrote:

Horrible, horrible

I had a long talk with the DM and used my words very carefully not to demotivate him from running the game. I didn't try to convince him that my idea is better than his, rather pointing out the flaws and consequences they could have outside of his predictions.

He explained to me that this system is to make players plan how to survive downtime between adventures, produce situations and roleplaying elements, in otherwords grit.

The players have two options. Think how to reduce the costs of living or give a big chunk of their adventure rewards. My character and probably a big chunk of the party has a personal stake in here because its like saying: "you can disregard this mechanic and abandon you motivation for adventuring, you still get experiance and some treasure right?".

Equipment maintance is imperfect for mundane items making purchases of expensive (50gp + ) without any in-game effect its like renting them paying 50% of their market price each month. Of course players can deposit their gear in their household (if they buy one of course) but they won't be using it.

Living and Food expenses are high because the DM raised some professions. A commoner growing vegetables earns 100gp/month. This was done due to the fact that he wouldn't be able to buy any tools earning only 5sp/day or something while an accountant earned 3gp/day (pfsrd).

Taxes is something he put only because it was there. This was to, maybe, take the players gold or so I think because he handwaved that issue by saying: "Ask paizo why did they put it there".

The DM accused me of prefering casual gaming (hack & slash) instead of realism. I proposed that he could divide the rewards by 10 and we could roleplay all that surviving if it wouldn't get in the way of high fantasy feel of the game. His anwser was that roleplay is an equal part of the game as the mechanics and I am a fool thinking otherwise.

I will see what he has to offer but the future looks dim

"Why do you keep trying to play an adventure game, when I've given you this great accounting sim to play? Aren't you having fun?"

Sovereign Court

Well he is an amazing roleplayer. I sometimes struggle with keeping up with his acting skills. He also taught me a lot of about creating characters for movies to make them more interesting and believable. In spite of that he really reallys like gritty, on the edge stories where preperation is the line between success and failure.

From our conversations I could figure out that the whole tax deal is just a means to get people thinking about survival (in a very blunt and awkward manner) but also somehow retaining the ability to invest gold in holdings and seting up an area of operations later on. All of this to make the job of an adventurer more realistic.

I himself taught him that the job of a DM is to make everybody himself included happy. He wanted to run modules but obviously also make them darker but despite that we still had pretty good understanding that it will be a high fantasy pathfinder adventure.

After the first session (a very good one) something snapped and he started working on this downtime tax thing with a malicious calm manner. I don't know if we did something bad. Roleplaying was enjoyable, characters are low optimized.

One thing to note this is his first pathfinder game that he is DMing and I ran him some games in the past so obviously he wants to do something different than his predecessor.

On a bright note I did manage to convince him to say that if this downtime tax will become a hassle and destroy the game he will remove it. Most of the guys don't want to discourage him, because having a second person that can DM is a blessing.

I will consider showing him this thread but I'm afraid he might get angry and quit DMing, on top of that I did translate and post his work online without his aproval(because when I suggested it he told me that he did it on 4chan /tg/ and they gave him a thumbs up with little reservation - my sense motive check was tingling) so this could hurt our friendship

soupturtle wrote:

You should point your GM at this excellent blogpost. It shows how the economy in the core rules actually works quite well for common people.

From there, if he wants you to be dirt poor, just give out less gold.

I send him this article, maybe it will make him rework things. I am ok with low wealth games but I don't want Paypers and Paychecks: the accounting during my free time.


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If I'm understanding this correctly, what your GM wants is on one hand to have you make difficult economic decisions to ensure you can survive a gritty winter, but on the other hand to play a standard heroic pathfinder game. This doesn't work very well in the pathfinder rules, because the sort of equipment you need to be a hero is incredibly more valuable than any sorts of common services and goods, which is why he ended up imposing a bunch of very arbitrary taxes and price increases.

My suggestion would be to rather than increase prices, give you responsibility (or at least possible responsibility) for the survival of many people. For example: an autumn storm destroys the grain storage in your hometown, which was crucial to getting all of the people in your home town through winter. Or you come across a village that wants to build a wall so they can defend themselves against a growing population of wolves, that tends to attack people in winter for lack of better food options. These kind of things give a legitimate way to make you spend a lot of gold on the perils of winter, while at the same time being a lot more interesting than 'GM fiat tax'.


Low wealth is fine, but casual handwaving and casual insults is not. I understand he is a friend and you really want to work things out but he needs to understand that his way is not always the best way and that other peoples opinions matter.

Also, peasants own 100 gp/month? Ummm... They still wouldn't survive. If your needing to pay 1312 just to survive winter and they're making 1200 gp a year how do they live?

This guy wants gritty realism, fine. Then use "realism." The problem I am having with this whole "tax" system is that it is not realistic even in the slightest. Try to convince him to take a lot more time, consideration, and research into the matter before implementation. I have absolutely no doubt with sub-optimized party members that this will destroy the game.


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Grandmikus wrote:
Living and Food expenses are high because the DM raised some professions. A commoner growing vegetables earns 100gp/month. This was done due to the fact that he wouldn't be able to buy any tools earning only 5sp/day or something while an accountant earned 3gp/day (pfsrd).

Ok, here's an argument to bring to bear on your GM.

Most people earn a living using a Craft/Profession skill. By RAW, they earn 1/2 their skill check in gp per week. Now here's the important part that it isn't RAW but simplifies everything:

That's PROFIT.

As in 'after expenses'. So the wear, tear and maintenance on a farmer's equipment? That's paid for before profit is determined. Ditto for taxes/rents on the farmer's land.

The actual amount of money the farmer has pass through his hands is immaterial. He might sell 100gp worth of veggies in a week, but he might have 90gp in expenses - horses to feed/shoe, plows to repair, fences to mend, werewolf insurance, taxes, phrenologist fees, etcetera.

NONE of that needs to be tracked. All he needs is his profits, which he uses to pay for his living expenses and anything that doesn't relate to living expenses or his professional endeavors.


Sadurian wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
Deadmoon wrote:
A lot of DMs don't like the high fantasy setting of Pathfinder, and get a thrill out of putting players through a grind.
A lot of DMs should be playing GURPS or some other game instead of Pathfinder, then.
You're evidently unaware of the high fantasy GURPS Dungeon Fantasy supplements then....

I am currently in a high fantasy GURPS campaign with one group, you know.


The goal of a system like PF isn't (economical) survival through the winter, it's about surviving monsters (maybe during winter), rescuing simple folks, saving the princess and do heroic stuff in general. Sure all of the above could happen during winter but the point is how to do those stuff and not how to economically survive the winter.
I don't know about you but in my country there are some very serious economic problems, i have to deal with them in a daily basis and i do not want to have to deal with them in the game i play.

Other than my general dislike about his version of a game i will join the others in saying that the things he is proposing don't make sense.

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