New monetary system for PF2


Prerelease Discussion

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Hello,

The monetary system in D&D has bugged me for almost 30 years i.e. since I started BECMI. After the first few encounters we noticed that there is no use carrying around any silver and especially copper pieces. What I would like to see is to make the system more silver centered and make gold more valuable. Or if the gold is the only currency that matters, why do we need to have the exchange rates in the rules? I know there is something that costs a few copper but those are hardly ever used.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.

I really hope so. And again we seem to have too little information about the upcoming product.


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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.

Hrm. That seems a bit odd. I both like the idea of silver based coinage, and am skeptical of a change to one. It would require a complete re-balancing of costs of everything, and would make translating older adventures and items harder. Well unless it's a simple conversion like "Divide all prices by 10. Anything listed in GP is now the price in SP."

15gp starting gold might also represent something like a standard set of equipment being free and gold just there to round out your gear.

As it is now I kind of treat the currency system like US Dollars (or any other decimal currency) with silver and copper as change. Silver are like dimes and copper like cents. So I'll keep track of money like 18.37 to be 18 gold, 3 silver, 7 copper. Plat is more like a $10 bill, or the old Eagle coin that was discontinued in the 1930's.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
"Divide all prices by 10. Anything listed in GP is now the price in SP."

That would be the quick and simple solution but even that would be nice.


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Well as the average starting gold is probably around the 150 mark (and the standard for PFS), dividing by 10 seems likely.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Currency is something I've found players often get confused about. They have very little appreciation of how much 1gp is really worth, and a lot of things in the world don't make sense because there isn't a realistic range to express them. So I'm in favour of moving from the current 1gp = 10sp = 100cp to a wider 1gp = 100sp = 10000cp.

We quite often find characters carrying around vast quantities of coins. Having a convenient higher denomination should alleviate that, as characters have a motivation to convert them to a better denomination - for a price.

One specific request: can the books clarify the appearance and weight of coins? People often expect them to be big, chunky cartoonish gold dubloons like you'd see in movies, when in reality coins of similar eras were only about 1cm across and as thin as tinfoil.


The traditional weight of a D&D coin is a fairly uniform 50 coins to the pound (about 9 grammes or 1/3 of an ounce each), regardless of their composition.


I believe there was mention of it probably being 100 coins to a light bulk, or 1,000 per bulk. That wasn’t 100% sure, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I say make all trade shell based in PF2e. Very unique. ;-)


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The problem isn't that silver and copper aren't used. The vast majority of daily purchases, such as meals, use smaller coinage. The problem is that adventuring equipment and magical items are so much more expensive than these goods and services. Most high level adventurers still need to eat and like a good drink, and are using small coins for such, but we usually do this off-screen because it isn't interesting. That and tracking that level of minutia that no has relevance to the plot or balance gets old.

Now, the economy of Pathfinder could use some adjustments, sure. Figure out much things should cost in relation to each other or to labor. But the currency itself is fine.


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I was always struck by how the Dragon Age games (the first two) handled currency. It was mostly the same - 100 Coppers to a Silver, 100 Silvers to a Gold. (I'm pretty sure).

What struck me about it was that everything you bought had its cost broken down. When you bought something (or found, or were given) 1-2 gold, it actually felt like a decent chunk of money. A nice item might cost 10 Gold and 30 Silver or something like that.

Obviously, this would work in a computer game better than a tabletop since they can quickly do the math and it would be a giant pain at the table, but it still comes to mind.

Personally, I wouldn't mind if PF didn't move to Silver being the predominant coinage, with Gold being rarer. But I don't think the system as it functions now is really a problem. Everything I've ever seen just tracks Gold and ignores the rest, though it's significantly more than what your average person would have in the world.


See, I am kind of against just making silver the base coinage without overhauling a lot of other stuff. I can't think of a single way the game improves by adding another 0 to WBL calculations.

Liberty's Edge

Captain Morgan wrote:
See, I am kind of against just making silver the base coinage without overhauling a lot of other stuff. I can't think of a single way the game improves by adding another 0 to WBL calculations.

It'd be subtracting a zero, actually, since it's still be listed in gold, which would now be worth 10 times as much.


Since they're completely overhauling magic items (eliminating the big 6, moving away from items with only numerical bonuses), it's a fair bet that WBL will be overhauled as well.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Now, the economy of Pathfinder could use some adjustments, sure. Figure out much things should cost in relation to each other or to labor.

I agree. Especially some mundane items cost too much or take too long to craft when compared to magic items of similar value. E.g. you can brew 1st level potions in 2 hours and higher level potions in a day or two but crafting alchemical items or poisons takes weeks. Yes it is magic but still it should be more in line. Now it is clear that rules for crafting magical items and mundane items have been developed totally separately and the inconsistencies haven't been addressed properly.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.

You also start with roughly this much on 5e, but all the starting equipment is "free".


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I'm opposed to changing this.

If I'm trying to convert old adventures to a new system, and I forget to convert 10,000gp into 10,000sp, suddenly all the PCs are stinking rich.

I've never seen any issues with the current system. Copper and silver are for the commoners. Sackfuls of gold are for rich adventurers.
1cp A pound of wheat or a candle
1sp A cheap lamp or half a pound of cheese
1gp A goat or a traveler's outfit


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Matthew Downie wrote:

I'm opposed to changing this.

If I'm trying to convert old adventures to a new system, and I forget to convert 10,000gp into 10,000sp, suddenly all the PCs are stinking rich.

I've never seen any issues with the current system. Copper and silver are for the commoners. Sackfuls of gold are for rich adventurers.
1cp A pound of wheat or a candle
1sp A cheap lamp or half a pound of cheese
1gp A goat or a traveler's outfit

As an adventurer I wouldn't like to prance around the cities with sackfuls of gold when the commoners would kill you for even a portion of what you carry.

The biggest problem comes with the containers and carrying capacity. E.g. belt pouch can hold only 100-200 coins and you can't buy anything with that. This makes the bags of holding and handy haversacks a necessity which is stupid.

Btw where can you buy those magic pouches that always have the exactly right amount of coins and you can just toss around? Like in all the movies.


Arakhor wrote:
The traditional weight of a D&D coin is a fairly uniform 50 coins to the pound (about 9 grammes or 1/3 of an ounce each), regardless of their composition.

And were also traditionally all the same size.

Gold coins were the same size as copper ones and weigh the same.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.
"Divide all prices by 10. Anything listed in GP is now the price in SP."

This is exactly what I've always done in my own campaigns for years and years, so I'm more than happy to see this in PF2. It grounds the campaign a bit more early on, and makes the transition to mostly gold for everything later on feel more meaningful.

Even at low level adventurers are still rich, though. Where adventurers are using silver for common purchases and gold for the uncommon ones, your average peasant is using copper and silver respectively.


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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.

Yup. Using a lazy assumption: 15 gp = 150 sp = 1,500 cp

Could be way off. But something to that affect is what I'm expecting. This will be one of the changes I actually like as well.


Earl Grey wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

I'm opposed to changing this.

If I'm trying to convert old adventures to a new system, and I forget to convert 10,000gp into 10,000sp, suddenly all the PCs are stinking rich.

I've never seen any issues with the current system. Copper and silver are for the commoners. Sackfuls of gold are for rich adventurers.
1cp A pound of wheat or a candle
1sp A cheap lamp or half a pound of cheese
1gp A goat or a traveler's outfit

As an adventurer I wouldn't like to prance around the cities with sackfuls of gold when the commoners would kill you for even a portion of what you carry.

The biggest problem comes with the containers and carrying capacity. E.g. belt pouch can hold only 100-200 coins and you can't buy anything with that. This makes the bags of holding and handy haversacks a necessity which is stupid.

Commoners would kill you for a portion of what you carry anyway. Except they can't, because you can slaughter them by the dozens without effort.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:

I'm opposed to changing this.

If I'm trying to convert old adventures to a new system, and I forget to convert 10,000gp into 10,000sp, suddenly all the PCs are stinking rich.

I've never seen any issues with the current system. Copper and silver are for the commoners. Sackfuls of gold are for rich adventurers.
1cp A pound of wheat or a candle
1sp A cheap lamp or half a pound of cheese
1gp A goat or a traveler's outfit

At which point you go, "oh sorry guys I put the decimal in the wrong place" and all the PCs rejoice that they no longer have to spend the next 2 sessions optimally spending a game breaking amount of resources.


Yeah players just love having large amounts of money removed from their characters.


Earl Grey wrote:
The biggest problem comes with the containers and carrying capacity. E.g. belt pouch can hold only 100-200 coins and you can't buy anything with that. This makes the bags of holding and handy haversacks a necessity which is stupid.

How tiny could we plausibly make coins? The less they weigh, the less silly it is to carry around thousands of gold pieces.


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As long as the new currency isn't "feats," I think I can handle a change in the economy...


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ChibiNyan wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.
You also start with roughly this much on 5e, but all the starting equipment is "free".

Yeah, that's also a distinct possibility. If they have starting sets, I'd rather it be in the form of a suggestion which then tells you how much to spend to have that kit. Starting sets do a good job of dealing with the fact that different classes need vastly different amounts of money to reach a base level of functionality, however.

EDIT: Although I seem to remember Troy making it sound like he had actually gotten his equipment out of that 15gp, so I think that makes a bug difference in assumptions here. I'll go back for a listen.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Earl Grey wrote:
The biggest problem comes with the containers and carrying capacity. E.g. belt pouch can hold only 100-200 coins and you can't buy anything with that. This makes the bags of holding and handy haversacks a necessity which is stupid.
How tiny could we plausibly make coins? The less they weigh, the less silly it is to carry around thousands of gold pieces.

I think the current size/weight for gold coin is about right, e.g. aureus was 1/40 to 1/50 pounds. The valuation though isn’t, as you need vast amounts of those.


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Starfinder Superscriber

If magic items are getting adjusted, then it makes sense that their prices get adjusted. If the scaling becomes more reasonable, it goes to reason that there shouldn't be a need to adjust things too much. The problem has always been that because there are basically "global" prices, this scaling has to be constant across not just regions, but adventures and levels.

You don't run into this in most computer/console RPGs because they have the price scaling based on location (e.g. cost of staying at an inn at the last town cost 1000 times what it did at the first inn).

But count me in for trying to find a way to make finding (or crafting) a magic pair of boots not worth more than a castle.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

TBH, I kinda handwaved this with the introduction of "bank notes". I often call them "Promises of payment" or just "notes" or other derivatives.
I used this as source of why it makes sense:
"Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions.[8][9][10] During the Yuan Dynasty, banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 13th century by travelers such as Marco Polo,[11][12] with European banknotes appearing in 1661 in Sweden." - Wikipedia, "Banknote"

My players still find tons of money, but they carry it to a nearby town, deposit it in a bank/city vault/Abadar temple, and get a paper notes with a value backed by the institution, redeemable with people related to the institution, or places that have confidence in them (so the Abadar Notes are kinda more useful globally, but if the whole campaign happens in Sandpoint, a Sandpoint City Note is still valuable, even if it can't really be redeemed somewhere else). At worst, there's Magnimar not far away. It still mean the players have to leave some coins behind, but usually it's 300-500 copper coins... >_>


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I always just treat money as an abstraction in terms of gameplay, because trying to drill down on the specifics is just inviting my players to try to invent LLCs or the stock exchange or something.

Basic question is "how much stuff can you buy and how much does it cost". Nobody is paying for that magic sword they commissioned with 300 lbs of coins.


I don't think we need to change how currency works. I think an adjustment of item prices could be nice, though. So many items just become completely negligible after a few adventures. Money is then only used in economy ruining amounts for spells and items.

A more stable throughline as the game progresses would be a lot better, in my opinion.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'd personally love to see the economy change so that WBL isn't really much of a thing anymore. Magic items as clearly priced commodities really kills the fantasy for me.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I'd personally love to see the economy change so that WBL isn't really much of a thing anymore. Magic items as clearly priced commodities really kills the fantasy for me.

In my opinion both WBL and CR are part part of the problem when it comes to Big Six. Certain amount of wealth (and items) is assumed to be able to overcome the CR. But if you need to spend that wealth on the Big Six to beat the CR rather than something else, you really don't have much a choice in the matter. If they want to get rid of the Big Six they need to adjust CRs accordingly and/or remove WBL.


So, dividing all prices by 10 and switching to a currency standard worth 1/10 the previous? Doesn't sound like to bigg a difference to me. Now players devalue the monetary weight of silver rather than gold, consider gold to be a bit more interesting, and still have platinum to make it look less impressive.

I guess it makes paying for items worth 10k or more easier (as now 10pp is 10000sp, so counting 10 coins out not 10000) and it doesn't hinder the game in any way other than conversions from other systems. Not opposed to the change, I just think it would be no more than an oddity if they do not also adjust the WBL/pricing standards at a different rate.


Earl Grey wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I'd personally love to see the economy change so that WBL isn't really much of a thing anymore. Magic items as clearly priced commodities really kills the fantasy for me.
In my opinion both WBL and CR are part part of the problem when it comes to Big Six. Certain amount of wealth (and items) is assumed to be able to overcome the CR. But if you need to spend that wealth on the Big Six to beat the CR rather than something else, you really don't have much a choice in the matter. If they want to get rid of the Big Six they need to adjust CRs accordingly and/or remove WBL.

But all CR and WBL are, are tools to determine what enemies the party should be able to face and how powerful they should be.

Removing either of them still leaves the Big Six the best options. If players get more than current WBL, they'll just buy better Big Six items faster, if they get less, they'll grumble and buy them slower. Remove or adjust CR and GMs will still need some way to judge difficulty and players will still optimize gear to survive.

Liberty's Edge

The Big 6 are going away in the new edition, though magic weapons and armor do seem like they're a thing and will likely make some degree of WBL necessary.


Elfteiroh wrote:

TBH, I kinda handwaved this with the introduction of "bank notes". I often call them "Promises of payment" or just "notes" or other derivatives.

I used this as source of why it makes sense:
"Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions.[8][9][10] During the Yuan Dynasty, banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 13th century by travelers such as Marco Polo,[11][12] with European banknotes appearing in 1661 in Sweden." - Wikipedia, "Banknote"

My players still find tons of money, but they carry it to a nearby town, deposit it in a bank/city vault/Abadar temple, and get a paper notes with a value backed by the institution, redeemable with people related to the institution, or places that have confidence in them (so the Abadar Notes are kinda more useful globally, but if the whole campaign happens in Sandpoint, a Sandpoint City Note is still valuable, even if it can't really be redeemed somewhere else). At worst, there's Magnimar not far away. It still mean the players have to leave some coins behind, but usually it's 300-500 copper coins... >_>

Rich or government connected quest-givers always pay my parties in Notes of Credit from the Bank of Abadar! Bags of cash are anticuated at this point.


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I would like to see them burn the whole system down and rebuild it from nothing. The PF1 prices are a mess.

A day's wages for a laborer are 1sp (so says the core rulebook), so a gp is maybe worth around $750. That makes a +1 keen longsword worth more than $6,000,000. A 3rd level bandit with a cloak of resistance +1 should retire and live the high life. A poor peasant boy, risking arrest to hunt the king's deer, should just sell his his $50,000 long bow.

Costs for non-magical, non-adventuring gear are almost random. A belt pouch, a little leather purse you might keep coins in, costs 1gp (better known as more than a week's wages). A fishhook costs 1sp, which is insanely high. Wax in Golarion is only marginally less expensive than an equal weight of gold in real life.

Liberty's Edge

Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

I would like to see them burn the whole system down and rebuild it from nothing. The PF1 prices are a mess.

A day's wages for a laborer are 1sp (so says the core rulebook), so a gp is maybe worth around $750.

This assumes a laborer is paid $75 dollars a day. In a medieval economy. That's...a hell of an assumption.

Skilled labor pays 1 or 2 GP a day, and can be done by anyone who can get the job (since Profession checks can be made untrained). I always interpreted the 1 sp as the $10 you get paid under the table if there's nothing better around.

That makes the price equivalents work out a lot better (though magic items remain ridiculously valuable). But magic items being enough to retire on is pretty much canonical. You can do that. If you keep adventuring after you can do that, you don't want a modest farm, you want an island (or have some reason other than gold to go adventuring).

Shadow Lodge

I guess I don't really care how much they make things cost, but I would love to see a fleshed out price list. Have costs for ordinary things, like property values, would help give an idea of worth to the money. Lifestyle costs are another easy way that many rpgs give money a tangible value.


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I would DEFINITELY agree with reassessing the price of every single piece of equipment from scratch. I know that's not something PF1 had time for, what with being a scramble to replace 3.x, but this time around there's no excuse.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
This assumes a laborer is paid $75 dollars a day. In a medieval economy. That's...a hell of an assumption.

At minimum wage, 8 hours work in my state pays $82.

But, more important than the conversion is the ratio between the cost of labor and the costs of goods. No matter what you think the gp to USD ratio is, a dockhand in Absalom is looking at a belt pouch as costing ten day's wages. It is going to be as out of the budget of the Absalom dockhand as a $820 purchase is to a fast food worker in Oregon.

Quote:
Skilled labor pays 1 or 2 GP a day, and can be done by anyone who can get the job (since Profession checks can be made untrained).

The core rulebook pegs trained hirelings at 3sp/day.

The profession skill returns much higher wages, but is a mess for other reasons. The amount you earn with it is totally independent of capital. Profession blacksmith (requiring an expensive smithy) earns just as much as profession beggar (requiring no capital at all).

The rules are all over the place. A doctor earns 1gp/day. A sage 15gp/day. A 3rd level wizard with a crafting feat turns 1,000gp of materials into 2,000gp of items *every day* generating insane wealth.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
As long as the new currency isn't "feats," I think I can handle a change in the economy...

No, the new currency will be called Levels. Wealth by level will now be levels by level.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.

Yup. Using a lazy assumption: 15 gp = 150 sp = 1,500 cp

Could be way off. But something to that affect is what I'm expecting. This will be one of the changes I actually like as well.

You and me both John. [How rare is that?]


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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:


The rules are all over the place. A doctor earns 1gp/day. A sage 15gp/day. A 3rd level wizard with a crafting feat turns 1,000gp of materials into 2,000gp of items *every day* generating insane wealth.

Yeah, I remember in one of our games we freed a high-level wizard who had been imprisoned. So he had nothing. There was talk if we should maybe give him some money to start out, but it was quickly realized that he could get insane amounts of wealth very quickly. One contract casting of teleport and he's back in the high-life again.

But the economy breaking effects of magic are another thing entirely. Why buy a ship that takes weeks to get to it's destination, requires a big crew and is vulnerable to monsters, pirates and storms? Instead get a couple of permanent teleport circles and you're raking in the money. The initial costs are much higher, but would probably be payed for in weeks with a profitable trade good. And requires much less in upkeep costs. And then the price of the trade good collapses. But every major city would likely have a two way portal to Absalom. They'd probably take a lot of precautions to protect these, so nobody just marches an army through. But imagine the fees they could charge merchants to ship instantly to or from the biggest market on the planet?


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I feel like the 15gp starting gold mentioned in the Glass Cannon Playtest seems to be a good indicator of a silver based economy for PF2.

Yup. Using a lazy assumption: 15 gp = 150 sp = 1,500 cp

Could be way off. But something to that affect is what I'm expecting. This will be one of the changes I actually like as well.

You and me both John. [How rare is that?]

I know, right? I even agree with Fuzzypaws that all magic items prices should be reevaluated.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
This assumes a laborer is paid $75 dollars a day. In a medieval economy. That's...a hell of an assumption.

At minimum wage, 8 hours work in my state pays $82.

But, more important than the conversion is the ratio between the cost of labor and the costs of goods. No matter what you think the gp to USD ratio is, a dockhand in Absalom is looking at a belt pouch as costing ten day's wages. It is going to be as out of the budget of the Absalom dockhand as a $820 purchase is to a fast food worker in Oregon.

Quote:
Skilled labor pays 1 or 2 GP a day, and can be done by anyone who can get the job (since Profession checks can be made untrained).

The core rulebook pegs trained hirelings at 3sp/day.

The profession skill returns much higher wages, but is a mess for other reasons. The amount you earn with it is totally independent of capital. Profession blacksmith (requiring an expensive smithy) earns just as much as profession beggar (requiring no capital at all).

The rules are all over the place. A doctor earns 1gp/day. A sage 15gp/day. A 3rd level wizard with a crafting feat turns 1,000gp of materials into 2,000gp of items *every day* generating insane wealth.

I don’t think Golarion has minimum wage laws, does it?


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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
This assumes a laborer is paid $75 dollars a day. In a medieval economy. That's...a hell of an assumption.

At minimum wage, 8 hours work in my state pays $82.

But, more important than the conversion is the ratio between the cost of labor and the costs of goods. No matter what you think the gp to USD ratio is, a dockhand in Absalom is looking at a belt pouch as costing ten day's wages. It is going to be as out of the budget of the Absalom dockhand as a $820 purchase is to a fast food worker in Oregon.

Quote:
Skilled labor pays 1 or 2 GP a day, and can be done by anyone who can get the job (since Profession checks can be made untrained).

The core rulebook pegs trained hirelings at 3sp/day.

The profession skill returns much higher wages, but is a mess for other reasons. The amount you earn with it is totally independent of capital. Profession blacksmith (requiring an expensive smithy) earns just as much as profession beggar (requiring no capital at all).

The rules are all over the place. A doctor earns 1gp/day. A sage 15gp/day. A 3rd level wizard with a crafting feat turns 1,000gp of materials into 2,000gp of items *every day* generating insane wealth.

Because it's an adventure game, not an economic simulator. Prices and wages are set for utility/balance for PC adventurers, not for any other reasons.

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