How much can a town afford to pay adventurers?


Advice


The party I am running a campaign for saved a town last session from a raid.
Afterwards they asked the town for some gold for doing so... tabling the protection racket issue, I am struggling with is how much can a town pay adventurers for quests/assistance?

The Specific Incident and Town from the AP:
Rise of the Runelords, the stone giant raid on Sandpoint

I may just be overly complicating the whole thing and should just have the players rewarded based on the encounter...


You're instincts are correct with the protection racket issue. It is one thing if a town hires PC's. It's another when the PC's do the thing and then demand or ask to get paid. If it is asking, a meager amount may be authorized by the town after approval by Magnimar (believe Sandpoint pays taxes there, right?) however long that takes to get a message there and back.

You could also come to a decent (or not) amount, but word gets around and suddenly prices are a tad higher for the PC's, and they are no longer celebrated, but tolerated.


'Afford' is such a wide concept. 'Total value of everything in the town' on one end and 'can comfortably part with' on the other.

Since most of these Golarion settlements in adventures seem have some sort of stats for their towns, I'd probably do something quick and dirty like use the gp purchase limit as the limit of what they are likely able to give without unduly affecting the town's well-being.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

'Afford' is such a wide concept. 'Total value of everything in the town' on one end and 'can comfortably part with' on the other.

Since most of these Golarion settlements in adventures seem have some sort of stats for their towns, I'd probably do something quick and dirty like use the gp purchase limit as the limit of what they are likely able to give without unduly affecting the town's well-being.

Was just going to say the same thing. I'd figure town's purchase limit would be all the money they have available if you pool everyone together. While it might not affect the town's day to day situation, it would likely negatively affect their long term prospects if that money is spent on a protection racket and not growing the town.


Does Ultimate Campaigns have rules for cash on hand?

Medieval(ish) economics didn't always run on cash. Many of the things of value in a town (such as buildings) aren't valuable to adventurers.

Perhaps you could cancel most of the treasure the PCs would get from the giants and have the town happen to have that much gold and treasure instead.


One thing a town can do is to offer payment in goods and services instead of just gold. Depending on the resources of the town this may include magic items. The government of the town can use tax credits to finance the reward. They could even offer tax incentives to the people providing the goods and services to make it more appealing to them. This is a fairly common method for governments to fund something without having to put up the cash themselves. If the party wants all or most of the reward in cash they may end up getting less.

A GM will still have to figure out what an appropriate reward would be, but this idea gives them a method of justifying how the town can afford it.


Another way to think about this would be to examine what spells were used by the PCs to defend the town, and then have the town pay them based on those spells. Also I agree with Mysty Strangepants up there who suggests the town pays the party in goods and services.

Finally, and I'm not trying to punish the PCs here, but if I understand the AP correctly the expectation of Sandpoint is that they're heroes and saviors of the town so perhaps to keep things fair Sandpoint's governing body needs to assess the party's actual value to the town.

In other words they might want to examine any damage the PCs have done to life or property in Sandpoint; assess taxes, fees, tithes and other duties that every citizen is expected to provide the town and their church; investigate the PCs' businesses and activities to ensure that their activities are both legal and in keeping with the moral bent of Sandpoint.

If the PCs are going to treat Sandpoint like another source of revenue for their continued success the town should make their own interaction with the characters that much more transactional. Perhaps the town's government wants to codify the party's compensation with legally binding contracts. If the town is paying the party for protection they want to get their money's worth. They also want to ensure that the party, as contracted representatives of the town are putting forth the best public face.

The contract could establish rules for the party members agreeing to submit to (voluntarily fail the saves for) truthtelling spells 1/month to ensure their fidelity to the agreement. There would be rules and expected duties for all parties concerned but there'd also be consequences for non-compliance. The PCs might be called on to save the town at a moment's notice but they might also be called upon to accompany the sheriff to Magnimar in future negotiations or act as enforcers to help establish or maintain new settlements in the hinterlands.

Now don't get me wrong; the party could use this to negotiate for their own benefits as well. Legal rights, impressive pay, discounts on magic item creation and so on could be on the table for the characters. The PCs could also put together merchandising, public speaking fees, etc. as per modern-day celebrities IRL.

Or the characters could just be the Justice League of Sandpoint as the AP intends and leave it at that. Maybe I am being punitive here and I apologize but if the PCs want to enjoy their status as heroes I feel they should act accordingly.


The town could give them houses and land. Sandpoint probably has enough to go round, especially after a few NPCs have been killed recently by assorted raids. Plus this gives the party a reason to stick around and prevent the next attack.


I don't mean to say that the players are being totally unreasonable here, but this is why I favor a more role-play focus for wealth, power, influence and crafting. Put things in qualitative, not quantitative terms.

Not everything is just gold pieces. Once PCs are at a certain level of power, they become strategically and societally important figures in the world.

For example, at this point in ROTR, Sandpoint is their town. When the PCs enter a city, the rumors talk about "the ones from Sandpoint". If the party has any worshipers of the divine, young clerics of the PCs god/gods travel to Sandpoint for spiritual advice. Evil deities caution their clerics and servants against messing with Sandpoint. Multiple babies in Sandpoint have been named after the PCs.

Asking Sandpoint for its resources in helping deal with the threats facing Varisia is implicit at this point, but the Protection Racket issue is still real if the PCs are just extorting the town to fill their pockets. Ameiko, Shalelu and Hemlock will all be pissed off. Especially Shalelu, who likely fought alongside the PCs earlier in the adventure.


Asking for a reward for protecting the town when they hadn't previously been enlisted to do so is...not completely unreasonable.

Typically a protection racket means the payee is paying the protector for:
1) Protection from outside forces
2) Protection from the group offering protection

It's the second bit that distinguishes between a private security group and a protection racket. The racket typically has implied threat that the racketeers themselves may attack the business if it fails to pay for their protection.

I imagine the PCs said something like, "Hey, look we did such a good job protecting the city from that raid, we'd appreciate a reward and in return we'll continue to protect the town for continued payment." With the implication that otherwise the PCs aren't going to protect the town from further incidents.

Asking to be rewarded certainly isn't good or nice, but it's not completely out of line.

But the town should be thinking, "Hey, these guys are only protecting us for money, not because they care about us." The town should probably become less friendly and might even charge more for goods and services for this kind of action and attitude.


It really depends on how successful the PCs were. If they manage to save the Scaranetti family the AP says they offer a 1,000gp reward. More if the PCs take certain actions...

If the giants got away with any captives I'd have the mayor insist on talking about rewards after the fate of the captives have been determined.

If the raiding party did some damage to the town but no captives were taken, the town should feel a little festive. For each location not damaged in the raid have the merchants, temple and mayor chip in 50g. The local alchemists are willing to sell 1,000g in potions at cost to help with chasing down the giants.

If the town took minimal damage from the raid and no civilians were killed or captured there should be a huge feast. Collectively the merchants offer 500gp in store credit. Each of the alchemists offers 1,000gp worth of potions. The Mayor apologizes for the small reward and contributes 300gp, explaining that all of the recent events have exhausted the town coffers. If the players are on good terms with Ameiko, she will throw in a family heirloom necklace worth 1,000gp.

And to keep things balanced, you might want to reduce future treasure found along the way to match this amount. If the players have missed a significant amount of treasure from prior encounters (or skipped encounters with treasure) you can use this as an opportunity to make up for it. You don't want to give the party too much or too little treasure.


Give them the deed to Chopper's Isle so they can have it as a base/townhouse... and if you have the Sandpoint book, they can have the dungeon complex underneath too.

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