Gold. How do you deal with it?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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If the player characters are basically murder hobos, than money should be important, but I have the feeling that money is kinda a game mechanic (you want to make the game easier, you give the PCs more gold to buy equipment, if you want to make the game harder, you give them less money and maybe even static not suboptimal equipment).

So how do you deal with money?

Does the local economy in your game make sense?
Can your high level players collect enough loot, in a session, that would be more than the total gdp of a larger country?


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I don't play Pathfinder for the "Economic Simulation" aspects. I'm not the least bit interested in how well the rules mimic modern economic theory.

So, yes, the local economy in my games makes at least as much sense as the local dragons, elves, and magic users.

Sovereign Court

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If lots of gold floating around gets in the way of your story, you could switch to using automatic bonus progression. That way people stay on track for the numbers they should be getting from gear, but not as much actual gear is involved. That could be a solution if you're doing for example a stone age campaign or one focused on being stranded after a shipwreck.


Mantriel wrote:

If the player characters are basically murder hobos, than money should be important, but I have the feeling that money is kinda a game mechanic (you want to make the game easier, you give the PCs more gold to buy equipment, if you want to make the game harder, you give them less money and maybe even static not suboptimal equipment).

So how do you deal with money?

Does the local economy in your game make sense?
Can your high level players collect enough loot, in a session, that would be more than the total gdp of a larger country?

Gold is really whatever you feel comfortable giving the PCs based on challenges or doing certain tasks. The rules are a bit abstract and use the WBL table as a "standard" for a new GM or player of that level to have.

A GM can most certainly not bother with the table and pitch whatever gold amount they feel is worthwhile to the players, and the players either accept it and move on or get up and leave the table because they feel the loot distribution is rigged.

In my experience, getting gold can be hard if you fight a lot of things that don't carry or use treasure, which are most animals or other similar non-sentient creatures (but not all). On the flip side, you can fight a bunch of creatures that have treasure to amass a hoard, but you probably won't be able to make use of that gold until the next time you get to an appropriate settlement. Could be days, weeks, or months, or a level, or several levels, or even never. At one of my tables, the meme we have is "There is no town." Because we had a GM that only let PCs sell in a town a total of like 3 times over the course of 20 levels. The longest stretch was from 6th to 18th level without access to a town or Ye Olde Magicke Shoppe.

As for players being able to build, run, and rule a country for the amount of gold they have, no. That is probably something only possible either through inheriting an existing country/region, or being well into 20th level adventuring for a long time and saving up for it, building a name and following for yourself, and so on. By that point, the focus of the story changes to them becoming NPCs and a new band of heroes become the new PCs.


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Gold amounts seem less than other systems (including PF1) in what is given out and how much things cost. However, I have had a couple players feel uncomfortable with the amount of gold that exists in general settings, so I changed it to silver and coined (hehe) new names to give what was silver and the other currencies. That seemed to appease everyone without having to rewrite the economy.

For PF2, this hasn’t been needed.


Mantriel wrote:
So how do you deal with money?
Kill creatures, get crowbars out to pry up to get every piece of loot, go someplace to spend it.
Mantriel wrote:
Does the local economy in your game make sense?

It makes d&d sense.

Mantriel wrote:
Can your high level players collect enough loot, in a session, that would be more than the total gdp of a larger country

If that dragon/army/lich/ect that destroyed a large country and dragged everything back to it's lair DOESN'T have that much, I'd be disappointed.


It seems to work better at low levels than other games. Some 5e players are richer than anyone the character has ever known by 3rd level. I like players to max out somewhere around upper-middle class. Comfortable, but still have to work to maintain it.


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Mantriel wrote:

Does the local economy in your game make sense?

Can your high level players collect enough loot, in a session, that would be more than the total gdp of a larger country?

I think it can’t really in a murderhobo campaign - you have to provide incentive for people to go out risking death, but then most of the population have to ignore that opportunity and not band together. If the loot was as valuable as the game rules suggest (enough to set four beginning adventures up for life) then presumably a dozen commoners would have headed off and solved the low level problem before the slightly-more-competent adventurers got there.

In my view, chasing a decent economic simulation in a high fantasy RPG is a fool’s errand. I’m guessing if you ever find one, the world will be much duller than you really want.


Cash is fun and i give it according to the wealth guide along with some juicy trinkets and baubles. I dont really care much for the economy at large


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Character wealth is just another measure of character power, akin to XP. When viewing it in that context it's important to understand giving vastly more or vastly less (and allowing/preventing characters to purchase combat relevant items) will adjust their expected level of power.

Once you have that understanding, you have to know that you will have to have an artificial economy that doesn't really make sense because it is coupled to character progression. In order to keep character progression near the expectation at some point things will have to be artificial.

You can try to hide that part from your players, or let everyone know it's just an abstraction and another extension of game mechanics and just have everyone "buy in" that this is just the way things are and ignore it.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm mostly just weirded out that by mid-high levels players could buy entire towns for the same price they spend on a trinket that makes them 5% better at cartwheels


Yeah, I'd just say that the exponential curve in PF2 is purely to tie equipment and other character-power expenses to level progression in a somewhat balanced way, and doesn't actually reflect their buying power in-world. Because sure, there are probably weapons in the real world that cost more to develop and buy than average people make in years, but I can't begin to wrap my head around how that scale works and I'm not about to look into it or rescale it for tales of a few dinks adventuring.

I wouldn't mind making all of that an explicit abstraction like the Bulk system, honestly. Though I imagine a lot of people would. ABP is a decent compromise, though I wish it was better defined.


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Mantriel wrote:

If the player characters are basically murder hobos, than money should be important, but I have the feeling that money is kinda a game mechanic (you want to make the game easier, you give the PCs more gold to buy equipment, if you want to make the game harder, you give them less money and maybe even static not suboptimal equipment).

So how do you deal with money?

Does the local economy in your game make sense?
Can your high level players collect enough loot, in a session, that would be more than the total gdp of a larger country?

I like what happened in my Jade Regent campaign. The players did not buy better gear, because they would win with their tactics even while underequipped. They preferred to find treasure as jewels and artwork rather than cash, because those items made better bribes to government officials in the pseudo-Japanese nation of Minkai. Wealth was for roleplaying.

As CrystalSeas said, a realistic economy is not part of the game. It would distract the players from adventuring. I think of this as the same reason that nobody makes rolls for walking like they do for swimming or jumping. Making walking complicated would distract from combat, not enhance combat.

Sometimes, the economy matters for roleplaying. My most recent thread asked for suggestions to explain the economy of Longshadow, a city whose industry was smelting and shipping metal, but a waterfall kept the ships from going anywhere (River Shipping from Longshadow). And because two player characters have Underworld Lore, my players are now negotiating with the criminal underground consisting of smugglers who have no place to smuggle to.

In my previous Iron Gods campaign, some PCs were roleplayed as avid crafters, so they built two different workshops in their hometown following the business rules in PF1 Ultimate Campaign. One character built her workshop for a place to hide her contraband research. Another did it for prestige and profit. He got the prestige, but the profit was terrible compared to the rewards from adventuring. And investing in a business did use up a lot of wealth at 10th level. Pathfinder 2nd Edition does not yet have business rules, but I look forward to Paizo publishing them one day.


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I think the economy makes sense when you put it into perspective. PCs are mercenaries, one of the highest income companies in the real world is a mercenary group. The PCs are constantly spending their money to invest in doing more adventure work, while real companies who make billions a year are always looking to cut costs, something PCs don't really get much opportunity to do. PCs can't mass produce their product to increase sales, so there's a noticeable limit on how much the PCs effort is worth.
PF2 puts a value in how much you are worth through each level, but if your playing less meta you might be able to negotiate for better prices, lower cost at stores you help out and higher rewards for desperate nobles who need work done. Never forget though, the .1% are indeed rich enough to buy crazy things, like +3resilient adamantine armor they can't even really use, it's just for display. So it's good to keep in mind there will be others who have as much or more money then the PCs at anytime, yet things generally continue on for everyone all the same.

It's not unreasonable that if your PCs start to disrupt things by making more and spending less to amass wealth they attract the attention of individuals or groups who don't want to share that space. Being targeted by a thieves and assassin's guild because you start being a threat to a trade guilds buying power or a nobles influence could be a nice adventure arc for a group.


OrochiFuror wrote:

I think the economy makes sense when you put it into perspective. PCs are mercenaries, one of the highest income companies in the real world is a mercenary group. The PCs are constantly spending their money to invest in doing more adventure work, while real companies who make billions a year are always looking to cut costs, something PCs don't really get much opportunity to do. PCs can't mass produce their product to increase sales, so there's a noticeable limit on how much the PCs effort is worth.

PF2 puts a value in how much you are worth through each level, but if your playing less meta you might be able to negotiate for better prices, lower cost at stores you help out and higher rewards for desperate nobles who need work done. Never forget though, the .1% are indeed rich enough to buy crazy things, like +3resilient adamantine armor they can't even really use, it's just for display. So it's good to keep in mind there will be others who have as much or more money then the PCs at anytime, yet things generally continue on for everyone all the same.

It's not unreasonable that if your PCs start to disrupt things by making more and spending less to amass wealth they attract the attention of individuals or groups who don't want to share that space. Being targeted by a thieves and assassin's guild because you start being a threat to a trade guilds buying power or a nobles influence could be a nice adventure arc for a group.

I really like that answer, thank you!


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Far too rarely do PCs spend any significant cash on comfort. A tavern binge. Fine clothes. Jewelry. High-maintenance girl/boyfriends. A cool house. A boat. A villa. Servants. Bodyguards.

But all that can change, if the DM runs his campaign in that direction.


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Wheldrake wrote:

Far too rarely do PCs spend any significant cash on comfort. A tavern binge. Fine clothes. Jewelry. High-maintenance girl/boyfriends. A cool house. A boat. A villa. Servants. Bodyguards.

But all that can change, if the DM runs his campaign in that direction.

All too often those things do not really add up too much at their level or they gain them throughout the game. I've multiple times gotten boats, houses, keeps, towers, ect... Normal things like tavern binges and fine clothes [Clothing (High-Fashion Fine) 55gp] are just a drop in the bucket after a while. Same for normal hirelings. Even high class escorts at the festhalls eventually do the same.

Second, we already have this kind of thing covered under Cost of Living: Standard of Living go from Subsistence, Comfortable, Fine and Extravagant with costs for a week, month or year of downtime. IMO, Fine and Extravagant cover a lot of what you describe.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Great!
And it's certainly true that the mind-bending sums of raw cash that mid or high-level characters toss around have no relation to any economic system outside the base conceits of the game.


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Mantriel wrote:
Does the local economy in your game make sense?

In that for every one brave soul heading out into the unknown, there's a hundred or a thousand happy to feed and clothe them for a tiny share of the loot? Sure.

Imagine if you lived in a dangerous country with bandits and vampires and dragons outside and occasionally inside the city walls, and some rich idiot comes by and says "I will pay you 15% of your town's net worth to make my cartwheels 5% better."

Abyss yeah!

I would point to the parallels of all the gold mining boomtowns in California, including San Francisco. The most enduring businesses are those that sold shovels and jeans to the miners.


So 2 things.

First: Wealth is only realistic in so far as you can find someon with both the means and the interest to sell/purchase an item.

Sure adventurers wear several million dollars worth of equipment, most of which has diminishing returns on how effective it is, but it's not wealth ''per say'' it's worth X but that doesn't mean you have X in your pockets. You cold feasibly have an entire equipment subeconomy that's separate from the lcl/national currency system and is entirely made out of vouchers, promises of exchange and direct barter for one piec eof equipment to another.

Exemple: Adventurers just cleared out a dungeon and go to the local magical artisan, the artisan takes in their loot at half price, confident he can resell it to a party with different needs, but doesn,t pay them in gold. he gives them ''adventurer's marks'' which the aventurers can use to purchaes equivalent value of equipment or comission custom jobs from him. In all of this, money has never changed hands, just the ''idea'' of money. The artisan himself can subsidize his living costs by selling some sought after commodities (fundamental runes) for actual coins to big spenders, like the city.

Second point: you can always lean into it. I had a high level culmination campaign that had a diplomat pushing for legal accountability and ramifications for adventurers as well as taxation of adventuring related income, because the high level adventurers worldwide ere disrupting the economy by draining local cash flows and taking it to extraplanar locations for their equipment needs. this created famine and death, and eventually the world governments issued a military unit tasked with arresting high level adventurers and forcing them to pay their taxes.


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I was amused by the economics in yesterday's game session in Assault in Longshadow. The PCs had been gaming in regions with 6th through 11th level encounters where success averages DC 26, but the population of Longshadow is mostly 1st- and 2nd-level NPCs.

They entered the city with 2233 gp, which would have been 319 gp per character if they had split it between the seven of them. The mayor promised them 2000 gp to cover expenses to bolster the defenses of the city. The banker gave them a line of credit for the 2000 gp rather than cash in order to carefully track what they spent it on.

When they started to spend that money, the contrast was hilarious. They hired five dwarven laborers, penniless refugees from Ecru, to help repair the city walls. Table 4-2: Income Earned, was very convenient for determining wages: the 2nd-level dwarf foreman earned 3 sp per day and the others earned 2 sp per day, totalling 1.1 gp per day. The party also purchased tools for them, picks, shovels, a ladder, and a wheelbarrow, for 2 gp. This was pocket change for the party and covered by the line of credit.

The big expense has hiring smugglers to sneak over to Ecru and see what the Ironfang Legion was doing in that conquered village. The party offered them 20 gp, from their own funds rather than the line of credit. That's a day's wages for a 14th-level character, but of course, the smugglers did not have anyone of that level. Instead, it was hazard pay for an extremely risky mission.

Similarly as the party rolled skill checks, they sometimes exclaimed, "Oh, I rolled only 20." I responded, "20 is plenty. These are low-level DCs."

They will have much bigger expenses later, such as renting buildings to set up medical centers.


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If your problem is the weight and amount, one way to make it less obvious is by using gems, jewelry, and other trade goods. That will greatly cut the amount of currency and weight the party has without actually lowering their value.

Just make sure that you keep in mind sale value. If they are supposed to get 100 gp and things sell for 50%, then you should give them items worth 200 gp.


Temperans wrote:
If your problem is the weight and amount, one way to make it less obvious is by using gems, jewelry, and other trade goods.

The main problem people seem to have is that they think the PCs can buy the entire town they're supposed to be interacting with. (Is this actually the case? How much would a town cost?)

Temperans wrote:
Just make sure that you keep in mind sale value. If they are supposed to get 100 gp and things sell for 50%, then you should give them items worth 200 gp.
Gamemastery Guide pg. 114 wrote:
Much like coins, gems and art objects are valuable currency worth their full Price when sold.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Temperans wrote:
If your problem is the weight and amount, one way to make it less obvious is by using gems, jewelry, and other trade goods.

The main problem people seem to have is that they think the PCs can buy the entire town they're supposed to be interacting with. (Is this actually the case? How much would a town cost?)

Temperans wrote:
Just make sure that you keep in mind sale value. If they are supposed to get 100 gp and things sell for 50%, then you should give them items worth 200 gp.
Gamemastery Guide pg. 114 wrote:
Much like coins, gems and art objects are valuable currency worth their full Price when sold.

The cost of a town is weird. Some campaigns it is 100% possible to buy a town, maybe even a kingdom. There probably will be rules for it when Kingmaker for PF2e is released, that does have a kingdom building focus.

As for my example with selling. I was being generic because while the book might say one price, the GM might change it to fit the campaign. In other words, "be consistent about how you treat money and things."


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Temperans wrote:
If your problem is the weight and amount, one way to make it less obvious is by using gems, jewelry, and other trade goods.

The main problem people seem to have is that they think the PCs can buy the entire town they're supposed to be interacting with. (Is this actually the case? How much would a town cost?)

Temperans wrote:
Just make sure that you keep in mind sale value. If they are supposed to get 100 gp and things sell for 50%, then you should give them items worth 200 gp.
Gamemastery Guide pg. 114 wrote:
Much like coins, gems and art objects are valuable currency worth their full Price when sold.

That mainly depends on what kind of world you think Golarion is. In older, feudal societies in history, the ones Pathfinder often mirrors, money was far less "king" then it is today.

The town? Probably belongs to a noble, so any purchase must go through him. And unless he needs money he won't sell land. At best he would lease it and give you taxation rights.

The people in the town (although its more common with villages) might not even have much of a use for money as the intra village economy runs on favors. They keep some money for exchanges with outsiders but thats it.

So money alone would not be able to buy you everything like today. Influence and status was equally important in such societies.
And about replacing money with trade goods, keep in mind that gold was de facto just a trade good and not a universally accepted and regulated currency as it is today. You are trading a bunch of gold metal for something else. It being coins just means that it comes in a pre-measured package. But still you are trading by weight, thats why merchants tended to still weight the gold with stales instead of just counting coins.


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Not to mention that in a feudal society kings have a nasty habit of <<lawfully>> seizing the assets of very rich individuals.


AlastarOG wrote:
Not to mention that in a feudal society kings have a nasty habit of <<lawfully>> seizing the assets of very rich individuals.

Fortunately in Pathfinder, there is rarely someone as physically powerful as the PCs and the enforceability of laws in Golarion usually come down to 'Can you defeat them in personal combat?'


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Well yeah agreed depending on the location in Golarion the price to purchase/build would be different. Also because many parts of Golarion appear feudal but aren't, or are mixed.

Its much harder to buy and build in Cheliax due to politics and price, while its easy to do so in River Kingdoms. But River Kingdoms is much harder to defend than Cheliax.


Kasoh wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
Not to mention that in a feudal society kings have a nasty habit of <<lawfully>> seizing the assets of very rich individuals.
Fortunately in Pathfinder, there is rarely someone as physically powerful as the PCs and the enforceability of laws in Golarion usually come down to 'Can you defeat them in personal combat?'

Granted, that's why most heads of state in Golarion tend to be very high level characters.

Regarding the OP, I think I'd be quite interested in playing a system where the regional economy is a major factor in how the game works and how you're supposed to approach problem solving. But Pathfinder ain't that game.

Liberty's Edge

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I hate the gold economy of 3e/4e/PF, where you're just expected to spend all your hard earned treasure making yourself better.
It's like an employer expecting an employee to spend 90% of their paycheque improving their ability to do their job.
"Good job these past weeks, Bob. Here's $1500. Be sure to spend $1350 on office supplies. Upgrade your computer and keep saving for that better scanner."

And it just causes all kinds of problems. Having to handwave away everyone carrying 200 pounds of raw gold. (Or 10,000 gp, which should occupy as much space as a halfling.) Having to avoid rewards that could be sold to break wealth-by-level, like boats or castles. Creating alternative financial systems (build points and plunder) to prevent the above.
And, of course, the fun of the adventuring party pausing their quest to save the world in order to teleport back to a major city where they can sell and spend a week of downtime so the wizard can give everyone and extra +1 to their favorite stat while the rest of the party pretending to be busy.

I tried two or three different inherent bonus systems in PF1 and my players didn't like the lack of choices. Being locked into the progression rather than getting to pick-and-choose. I spent ages balancing different inherent bonus systems that gave out points that could be used to gain various different perks and boons.

Now... eff it.
You don't get gold. You get "essence" from defeated enemies. Like souls in Dark Souls. You pull essence from powerful enemies and it can be drawn from magic items over a few days.
Essence can be spent to buff yourself and your equipment. It weighs nothing and can't be stolen. You can't convert excess gold into essence. But you can trade limited amounts with an ally.

Which allows me to just make gold and the economy function logically and like the real world. So that large amounts of the GDP of a nation aren't invested in the pantaloons and bracelets of high level adventuring parties. And I can avoid having to have gold devalued across a kingdom because a group of 15th level adventurers show up with 165,000 gp that they pump overnight into the local economy.


I really liked the Wealth system of d20 modern for similar reasons.


Kasoh wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
Not to mention that in a feudal society kings have a nasty habit of <<lawfully>> seizing the assets of very rich individuals.
Fortunately in Pathfinder, there is rarely someone as physically powerful as the PCs and the enforceability of laws in Golarion usually come down to 'Can you defeat them in personal combat?'

Agreed, but doesn't it make for a fun adventure ?

King decides to frame you in order to seize your assets, hilarity ensues! (recommended levels 8 to 12)


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Jester David wrote:

It's like an employer expecting an employee to spend 90% of their paycheque improving their ability to do their job.

"Good job these past weeks, Bob. Here's $1500. Be sure to spend $1350 on office supplies. Upgrade your computer and keep saving for that better scanner."

Adventurers are typically self employed freelancers. There is no employer. Most have patrons or accept contracts for specific jobs in which they bear the cost of expenses. They are expected to use their money to improve their business.

Any other complaints about the economy notwithstanding, this is perfectly normal and expected given the usual type of work adventurers engage in.


AlastarOG wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
Not to mention that in a feudal society kings have a nasty habit of <<lawfully>> seizing the assets of very rich individuals.
Fortunately in Pathfinder, there is rarely someone as physically powerful as the PCs and the enforceability of laws in Golarion usually come down to 'Can you defeat them in personal combat?'

Agreed, but doesn't it make for a fun adventure ?

King decides to frame you in order to seize your assets, hilarity ensues! (recommended levels 8 to 12)

They just did that in Starfinder. AFTER a lengthy discussion on how to live the high life and some downtime activities to be done as one of the rich and famous, of course.

Not really a spoiler, that's pretty much the adventure description.


AlastarOG wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
Not to mention that in a feudal society kings have a nasty habit of <<lawfully>> seizing the assets of very rich individuals.
Fortunately in Pathfinder, there is rarely someone as physically powerful as the PCs and the enforceability of laws in Golarion usually come down to 'Can you defeat them in personal combat?'

Agreed, but doesn't it make for a fun adventure ?

King decides to frame you in order to seize your assets, hilarity ensues! (recommended levels 8 to 12)

I'd be all for an adventure in dealing with the Tax brackets of a successful troop of adventures, but I doubt many other people would be.


It's a really niche game, I admit!

Liberty's Edge

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Kasoh wrote:
Jester David wrote:

It's like an employer expecting an employee to spend 90% of their paycheque improving their ability to do their job.

"Good job these past weeks, Bob. Here's $1500. Be sure to spend $1350 on office supplies. Upgrade your computer and keep saving for that better scanner."

Adventurers are typically self employed freelancers. There is no employer. Most have patrons or accept contracts for specific jobs in which they bear the cost of expenses. They are expected to use their money to improve their business.

Any other complaints about the economy notwithstanding, this is perfectly normal and expected given the usual type of work adventurers engage in.

Which is true... until it's not. See Agents of Edgewatch.

And while self-employed small businesses should invest *some* money into growing and expanding their business, most small business owners also spend money on housing, savings, personal goods, and luxury items. Adventurers are all people will million dollar businesses and platinum credit cards who spend ALL of their funds on the business while still living in a van down by the river.


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Jester David wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Jester David wrote:

It's like an employer expecting an employee to spend 90% of their paycheque improving their ability to do their job.

"Good job these past weeks, Bob. Here's $1500. Be sure to spend $1350 on office supplies. Upgrade your computer and keep saving for that better scanner."

Adventurers are typically self employed freelancers. There is no employer. Most have patrons or accept contracts for specific jobs in which they bear the cost of expenses. They are expected to use their money to improve their business.

Any other complaints about the economy notwithstanding, this is perfectly normal and expected given the usual type of work adventurers engage in.

Which is true... until it's not. See Agents of Edgewatch.

And while self-employed small businesses should invest *some* money into growing and expanding their business, most small business owners also spend money on housing, savings, personal goods, and luxury items. Adventurers are all people will million dollar businesses and platinum credit cards who spend ALL of their funds on the business while still living in a van down by the river.

And there was quite a bit of talk in Agents of Edgewatch about how it did and did not handle that aspect well.

High level magic items are expensive. Prohibitively so to most people. Adventurers are people who could afford them and likely will purchase them because they don't like dying and keeping your gear topped off will reduce chances of sudden death. At any point, a PC could say 'Naw, I'm done.' and retire. Or just adventure and subsist off of drops while investing their gold into their lifestyle.

How players handle their wealth is not a system problem. Its a table issue.

(How much wealth is too much is a fair question. Does a Major striking rune really have to cost 31,065 gp? Eh. Season to taste.)


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As any player who played the crafter minigame in PF1 can tell you. A crafter will make vastly more money than an adventurer if they are able to sell. And I am not talking in the tens, but the thousands of gold.

Here is a very quick calculation, and part of why I mentioned sale price previously. Imagine you are able to crwaft for 45% of cost, and sell for 10% more. A 1k gp item will cost you 450, while selling for 1.1k, earning you 650 gp. If you were to make things more realistic you could charge 200% or even 300% more than actual sale price, just from reputation and exclusivity.

All of that not even counting things like setting out to collect your own materials. Which makes your costs go down significantly. Its much cheaper to transport and find materials using high level magic. Which decreases the cost of having to buy the material. (Even if you have to fund the mining operation it is well worth the profit if funneled correctly.)


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Temperans wrote:
As any player who played the crafter minigame in PF1 can tell you

In my experience, you craft for 50% of cost, and you sell for 50% of cost, earning you zero. Anything beyond that is Profession rolls and GM fiat.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Temperans wrote:
As any player who played the crafter minigame in PF1 can tell you

In my experience, you craft for 50% of cost, and you sell for 50% of cost, earning you zero. Anything beyond that is Profession rolls and GM fiat.

That rule is there to encourage players to actually adventure. Much like how PF2 requires that players spends at least 4 days to get a discount in crafting. Its there 100% for balance of the game as an "adventure game" and not because you are forced to sell at that price.

Can you imagine if all merchants had to sell at half price? It would make no sense that a PC who is a shop keeper would have to sell at half price.


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Temperans wrote:
Can you imagine if all merchants had to sell at half price?

Sure, but they specifically AREN'T playing the crafter minigame' as a side job.


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Jester David wrote:
And, of course, the fun of the adventuring party pausing their quest to save the world in order to teleport back to a major city where they can sell and spend a week of downtime so the wizard can give everyone and extra +1 to their favorite stat while the rest of the party pretending to be busy.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition tried to solve that "pretending to be busy" problem. First, anyone can learn Magical Crafting, so the non-spellcrafters could be making magic items themselves. The master in Crafting in my party is a ranger, and the expert in Crafting who studied Magical Crafting is a champion.

Second, the Earn Income activity gives everyone a way to earn money during downtime, to cover the expenses of the crafter making magic items.

I don't know whether these solutions work as intended. My PCs have not used them anytime from 1st level to 9th level. The story in the Ironfang Invasion adventure path discourages downtime, because every week the Ironfang Legion conquers another village. However, I do wonder that maybe my players have not used the system because the system is not functional.

In Pathfinder 1st Edition, a 8,000 gp +2 weapon is considered appropriate for an 8th-level character (wealth by level is 33,000 gp). A wizard of at leat 6th level with Craft Magic Arms and Armor can make the +2 weapon by spending 4,000 gp for raw materials and taking 8 days to craft it, "Crafting a magic weapon requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp value of the base price."

In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, +1 resilient armor is an 8th-level magic item, worth 500 gp and appropriate for an 8th-level character. An 8th-level character with Magical Crafting and the right formula can make it. The crafter has to spend 250 gp up front, and then either pay or work for the rest of the value. An 8th-level crafter master in Crafting can produce 3 gp of items per day, so the remaining 250 gp would take about 83 days.

A party dedicated to efficient teamwork would search for odd jobs for the remaining party. Suppose they find 6th-level jobs earning each 2 gp per day. The crafter could work 28 days, during which he improves the value of the unfinished armor from 250 gp to 334 gp. The crafter's friends earn 168 gp during those 28 days. They give 166 gp to the crafter, allowing him to miraculously finish the armor immediately (that rule is for convenience, not verisimilitude). Therefore, let us say the PF2 crafting takes 28 days. Wait, I forgot the 4-day preparation for crafting. That makes the total time 32 days, four times as long as the PF1 crafting.

The difference in PF1 crafting and PF2 crafting differs by level, but at all levels, PF2 crafting takes a lot longer. Maybe that is why my players don't craft durable items. The ranger is master in Crafting to make his daily snares and the champion is expert in crafting to repair her shield.

PF2 crafting is all about gold and fomulas, so it is an aspect of the gold economy.

What are your insights on the gold economy and time economy of crafting magic items?


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Kasoh wrote:
Jester David wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Jester David wrote:

It's like an employer expecting an employee to spend 90% of their paycheque improving their ability to do their job.

"Good job these past weeks, Bob. Here's $1500. Be sure to spend $1350 on office supplies. Upgrade your computer and keep saving for that better scanner."

Adventurers are typically self employed freelancers. There is no employer. Most have patrons or accept contracts for specific jobs in which they bear the cost of expenses. They are expected to use their money to improve their business.

Any other complaints about the economy notwithstanding, this is perfectly normal and expected given the usual type of work adventurers engage in.

Which is true... until it's not. See Agents of Edgewatch.

And while self-employed small businesses should invest *some* money into growing and expanding their business, most small business owners also spend money on housing, savings, personal goods, and luxury items. Adventurers are all people will million dollar businesses and platinum credit cards who spend ALL of their funds on the business while still living in a van down by the river.

And there was quite a bit of talk in Agents of Edgewatch about how it did and did not handle that aspect well.

High level magic items are expensive. Prohibitively so to most people. Adventurers are people who could afford them and likely will purchase them because they don't like dying and keeping your gear topped off will reduce chances of sudden death. At any point, a PC could say 'Naw, I'm done.' and retire. Or just adventure and subsist off of drops while investing their gold into their lifestyle.

How players handle their wealth is not a system problem. Its a table issue.

(How much wealth is too much is a fair question. Does a Major striking rune really have to cost 31,065 gp? Eh. Season to taste.)

Part of the issue with prices is that they don't want a level 10 character being able to afford a +3 major striking weapon or something like that. It was somewhat of an issue in 1e where a caster could just save up 36k and buy a +6 headband far earlier than expected while a martial was busy buying weapons and armor and a belt and so on. So to offset that prices were increased exponentially based on what level they were expected to be earned at. A caster who wants an early Apex item is going to be waiting a long time. So prices are constantly doubling and over 20 levels there's some silly pricing while most goods and services are valued at level 2-3 tops.


Mathmuse wrote:
Jester David wrote:
And, of course, the fun of the adventuring party pausing their quest to save the world in order to teleport back to a major city where they can sell and spend a week of downtime so the wizard can give everyone and extra +1 to their favorite stat while the rest of the party pretending to be busy.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition tried to solve that "pretending to be busy" problem. First, anyone can learn Magical Crafting, so the non-spellcrafters could be making magic items themselves. The master in Crafting in my party is a ranger, and the expert in Crafting who studied Magical Crafting is a champion.

Second, the Earn Income activity gives everyone a way to earn money during downtime, to cover the expenses of the crafter making magic items.

I don't know whether these solutions work as intended. My PCs have not used them anytime from 1st level to 9th level. The story in the Ironfang Invasion adventure path discourages downtime, because every week the Ironfang Legion conquers another village. However, I do wonder that maybe my players have not used the system because the system is not functional.

In Pathfinder 1st Edition, a 8,000 gp +2 weapon is considered appropriate for an 8th-level character (wealth by level is 33,000 gp). A wizard of at leat 6th level with Craft Magic Arms and Armor can make the +2 weapon by spending 4,000 gp for raw materials and taking 8 days to craft it, "Crafting a magic weapon requires 1 day for each 1,000 gp value of the base price."

In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, +1 resilient armor is an 8th-level magic item, worth 500 gp and appropriate for an 8th-level character. An 8th-level character with Magical Crafting and the right formula can make it. The crafter has to spend 250 gp up front, and then either pay or work for the rest of the value. An 8th-level crafter master in Crafting can produce 3 gp of items per day, so the remaining 250 gp would take about 83 days.

A party dedicated to efficient...

My read on crafting? It’s designed for making something from an (often uncommon or rare) formula that the town doesn’t offer in 4 days while paying full price. Not for discounts unless the party is taking a many month downtime between adventures.


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Proven wrote:
Not for discounts unless the party is taking a many month downtime between adventures.

There is NEVER a discount: whatever money you make per day at crafting is the exact same money you could put in your pocket for Earn Income. At no point does the crafter make any ground by making the item vs buying it.


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PF2 at least for now has no way to get a discount when crafting outside of daily alchemical reagents.

Maybe one day they will introduce abilities like in PF1 that lowered the cost to make or increased the sale price. Heck maybe they will introduce cooperative crafting such that you can half the time when working as a group.


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graystone wrote:
Proven wrote:
Not for discounts unless the party is taking a many month downtime between adventures.
There is NEVER a discount: whatever money you make per day at crafting is the exact same money you could put in your pocket for Earn Income. At no point does the crafter make any ground by making the item vs buying it.
Temperans wrote:
PF2 at least for now has no way to get a discount when crafting outside of daily alchemical reagents.

Exactly.

It’s all on the same downtime-for-money formula, so it’s all a wash. You don’t go looking to craft unless you have a recipe to make it worth it.

(Now I’m thinking about what type of town or special situation might have a reason to mess with the Earn Income or Crafting formula, although mechanically that could also be represented as earning shopkeeper discounts or solving short in-town quests if flavor isn’t a concern).

Although, don’t forget the times when you’re in a place that doesn’t have any jobs at the item level you’re going to craft. Crafting your high level items for yourself then becomes better income than Earn Income. But then it’s still just semantics, flavor, and arbitrary adventure or GM restrictions made to try and obtain a certain feel during.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
Proven wrote:
Not for discounts unless the party is taking a many month downtime between adventures.
There is NEVER a discount: whatever money you make per day at crafting is the exact same money you could put in your pocket for Earn Income. At no point does the crafter make any ground by making the item vs buying it.

That's not entirely true - it's substantially easier to craft an on-level item in a small hamlet than get an on-level job. If your adventure is in a region where plentiful high-level jobs for a variety of Earn Income skills are available, there's not a difference - but sometimes you're closer to the Realm of the Mammoth Lords than Absalom :)


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Arcaian wrote:
graystone wrote:
Proven wrote:
Not for discounts unless the party is taking a many month downtime between adventures.
There is NEVER a discount: whatever money you make per day at crafting is the exact same money you could put in your pocket for Earn Income. At no point does the crafter make any ground by making the item vs buying it.
That's not entirely true - it's substantially easier to craft an on-level item in a small hamlet than get an on-level job. If your adventure is in a region where plentiful high-level jobs for a variety of Earn Income skills are available, there's not a difference - but sometimes you're closer to the Realm of the Mammoth Lords than Absalom :)

Settlement levels used for buying items and jobs are "simply guidelines, however, and a GM should make exceptions at their discretion." As such, if a PC can't find jobs as high as the items they are making, that's at the "discretion" of the DM. A DM that's likely to limit jobs to the level of low level settlements is most likely the same DM that's going to limit the patterns you can find for items to make, hence not a lot of profit for one over the other IMO. ;)

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