Profession, or How Earning a Living Doesn't.


General Discussion


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I have a 5th-level character with a profession modifier of +15. By taking 10, she can guarantee getting a 25 and earn 50 credits for a weeks worth of work.

What? That seems WAY too low, considering the costs of items and services in the Core Rulebook. Some items costs hundreds of thousands of credits. Even the day to day things . And that's a pretty decent modifier at that level!

A long distance call costs 5 credits per minute. So she can work for a week, then talk to somebody in another system for all of 10 minutes!

Or she can buy 10 half-way decent outfits. Or stay in EFFICIENCY lodgings for half a month (which means half her income goes into living in the slums right from the start). By the time you factor in other things, it's no wonder she opted to become an adventurer instead.

At such a high skill modifier (for low levels anyways), it seems like it would be more believable to have her earning 50 credits per day, or even per hour. I think that would line up a little bit better with the expected conveniences of a high tech society like the Pact Worlds.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

I have a 5th-level character with a profession modifier of +15. By taking 10, she can guarantee getting a 25 and earn 50 credits for a weeks worth of work.

What? That seems WAY too low, considering the costs of items and services in the Core Rulebook. Some items costs hundreds of thousands of credits. Even the day to day things . And that's a pretty decent modifier at that level!

A long distance call costs 5 credits per minute. So she can work for a week, then talk to somebody in another system for all of 10 minutes!

Or she can buy 10 half-way decent outfits. Or stay in EFFICIENCY lodgings for half a month (which means half her income goes into living in the slums right from the start). By the time you factor in other things, it's no wonder she opted to become an adventurer instead.

At such a high skill modifier (for low levels anyways), it seems like it would be more believable to have her earning 50 credits per day, or even per hour. I think that would line up a little bit better with the expected conveniences of a high tech society like the Pact Worlds.

I don't actually think that's a super high modifier, actually - a 1st level character who was focusing on a specific profession could pretty easily match that - they wouldn't be as well equipped for adventuring, but if they were focusing on just getting by making a living, that makes sense.

Beyond that, though, don't think of it as "50 credits is all my character has", think of it as "After paying my bills for this week, I have 50 credits left for anything "extra" I want". Like, if your character lives on Absalom Station, then probably most of their income goes towards "rent", plus infosphere carrier charges, plus energy usage, plus air/water recycling fee, plus basic "groceries", ship docking and fueling fees, etc, and then has ~50 credits a week left after that (or 200 credits a month left, if you like). The assumptions of the game seem to be that players likely have some kind of "home" (even if it's a ship they live on), and basic access to utilities and such, and it's not unreasonable to suggest that the costs for those things are being handled in the background.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Meant to say +19. Forgot the professional's tools bonus.


If you hire a professional freelancer with that bonus you'd have to pay them 38 Cr a day.

Depending on the job market that might be all the freelancer makes in a week.

So, maybe it's profit after expenses, but mechanically you still have to pay those expenses.

Basically, it sounds about right if you're trying to break into the local freelance market only on your downtime. You don't have connections, you don't have a long term contract, you aren't a full salary employee, etc.

Though, the equivalent CR 5 expert only has a +16, so you're slightly more skilled.

Long term downtime, or a character who is still employed (corporate agent), I'm not sure how to handle that.


Garretmander wrote:
Basically, it sounds about right if you're trying to break into the local freelance market only on your downtime. You don't have connections, you don't have a long term contract, you aren't a full salary employee, etc.

I mean, a lot of characters have themes that would justify them as having connections, long term contract/employment, etc. Like, one of the themes is "Corporate Agent" so it'd be weird to assume a character with that theme would lack those qualities.


So, for a decent standard of living you're looking at needing about a 100+ Cr a week. Assuming there aren't workarounds like buying your food at a grocery store and making it yourself being cheaper than buying a common meal at a restaurant. A long term lease being cheaper than a short term hotel stay, etc.

You're talking ~51 Cr in food. Assuming a poor meal for breakfast, and a common meal every other meal except a good meal for Friday. Another credit per alcoholic beverage/pack of tobacco product if you have those vices. Call it 60.

21 Cr/week for an efficiency. If you want something like a common apartment, that's gonna run you 35 Cr/week instead.

Replacing small broken items, buying duct tape, that sort of thing, I'd call it at 10 more Cr a month. Plus you might have a doctor/dentist/scale cleaner appointment once a month. That'll probably run you a minimum of 14 Cr.

So, you've got to be equivalent to a CR 21 expert to live a comfortable life by the standard prices if you want to take 10.

If you quadruple the check, a CR 4 expert can live this way (paycheck to paycheck), and a CR 1/2 can still live okay if they save on meal prices and live in an efficiency.

Anyone think quadruple is too much?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I still think that is too little. I'd say make the check count for each day, rather than each week.


It would be similar to what NPCs get. If it's every day should it be double still? Also, should you be allowed to take 10 on a daily check?


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The Profession rules are for PC adventurers and don't accurately resemble what a true full-time professional would make.

Remember that the PCs can go off on months-long expeditions to deserted xeno ruins and come back with no penalty, meaning that they're most likely freelance contractors rather than mainline employees.

If PCs made NPC money, then why would they go adventuring? The PCs' main source of income should be knocking over bad guys, taking their stuff, and getting paid lump sums by grateful planetary governors.


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The rates for lodging are written for adventurers, and assume that someone is getting a hotel, not a long term apartment. Hotels are more expensive than renting an apartment long term.

If you get 10 bucks an hour working a 40 hour week= 400 bucks a week 1200 a month

A cheap hotel will cost you 60 bucks a night

60*28= 1680 or more than you'll make.

reality is unrealistic.


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Ravingdork wrote:
I still think that is too little. I'd say make the check count for each day, rather than each week.

I think you're looking at this from the NPC perspective too much and not from the adventurer's perspective. They are fundamentally different perspectives.

I feel like NPCs earn as much as their job contracts say they earn. They're not using a "profession" skill roll to earn credits that week. They have full time jobs with fixed incomes (or perhaps stock compensation or commissions maybe). Corporate Executives with millions of credits aren't using the "profession skill rolls" to make that fortune. In the narrative, they're running a business.

I mean it makes no sense that a level 1 corporate executive in Abadar corp with the "executive" profession is paid the same as a level 1 subsistence farmer on Akiton using the "farmer" profession. If they're simply rolling profession skill for their credits, they would.

Adventurers by definition either don't have a steady job or their steady job involves adventuring, and so they don't roll profession, they roll entire combats, and make decisions about traps, and basically play the adventure to earn their credits.

Also, lets consider the balance for player characters.

Lets take an adventurer who takes a profession they can do almost anywhere, like writer. You have a level 1 character, who rolls on average 10. Say you've got a +12 profession check (+4 from 1 rank and class skill), +4 stat, and +4 tools. On average they make 44 credits per day with your proposal.

A typical voyage on starship can be anywhere from 1d6 days to 5d6 days. Said character has earned anywhere from 44 to 1320 credits on their very first (before they even arrive) trip. Then its another 44 to 265 on their way back to Absalom station. A potential 1500 credits just traveling at level 1 is a huge imbalance.

Take a typical party of 4. They make 460 credits as a party from a single CR 1 encounter. Or they could sit at home and make 44 credits per character per day, and earn roughly the same as a CR 1 encounter every 3 days (renting two 2-bed suites and wearing Aeon stones).

If I look at one SFS adventure I have on hand, where our team makes ~750 credits each by the end (if they did everything right) for a total of ~3000 credits, it takes 6d6 of travel time, or 21 days, plus a day or two on planet.

In 22 days, that same party could instead sit on Absalom station, and make 3872 credits, less 440 credits for a two 2 bed suites, and still come out ahead of the adventure at zero risk. So in terms of material rewards, increasing your pay by a factor of 7 makes it so 1st level characters shouldn't go on that adventure, they should sit at home and just work.

Or if they can work while on a starship (i.e. writers), then they have over twice as many credits as they are expected to.

The profession skill is intended to be flavor, background, and sometimes come up in adventuring where applicable. Its not intended to be a primary source of income, for player characters or NPCs.


Glad to see Zero Hour Contracts are alive and well post Gap.


Ravingdork wrote:

I have a 5th-level character with a profession modifier of +15. By taking 10, she can guarantee getting a 25 and earn 50 credits for a weeks worth of work.

...

she can buy 10 half-way decent outfits. Or stay in EFFICIENCY lodgings for half a month (which means half her income goes into living in the slums right from the start).

Heh. Looking at my budget IRL those ones sounds about right.

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