Cost of Living

A

Anonymous

Guest
This is the Cost of Living system I will be trying out on my players next session. I'm not so sure about the Conan prices, as I forgot to bring my Conan book with me, and I'm out of town right now, but I think they are close...

This is cross-posted from the Judges Guild boards for discussion there, as I'm using the Conan system in the Wilderlands setting...

I'm out of town right now, and I've forgotton my sign-on password here, drat it all...

Cost of Living

Coin and Treasure
This refers to the coins and other “liquid” treasure items the character possesses (gems, jewelry, art objects, etc.) but not “banked” wealth, nor magic items, weapons, or armor.

Banked Wealth
Coin and treasure may be put “on bank” with a moneylender (who will charge a 2% per month fee — no interest-bearing accounts here) or a temple (which will charge no fee, but only if you are an initiate). Items also considered “banked” are lands and investments, such as monies spent sponsoring merchant caravans and so forth. These may be sold or mortgaged, always at exorbitant rates, to help pay for sudden expenses.

Rolling the Charts
The player rolls for the costs he incurs each week of “downtime.” The costs are the cost of living for that week (assumed to be a seven-day period). A character must have at least the minimum weekly upkeep cost of the lifestyle in order to roll on that chart. Whatever the roll, the character must spend at least the minimum weekly cost. Note that a player may always opt to simply spend the minimum weekly upkeep costs, and not chance the charts. But that would be so boring, no?

Example: Culain has 1,000 sp in coin and treasure. He lives an extravagant lifestyle, and rolls a 13, meaning he spends 500 sp that week in debaucheries, and has 500 sp remaining at the end of the week in coin and treasure. Knowing Culain, he probably doesn’t remember most of the parties he threw, the ale he swilled, or the wenches he swived.

Example: Lucius is a miser, and has only 40 sp to his name. But he wants to impress a noble lady friend of his, so he chooses to live an adventurer’s lifestyle (as he cannot afford even the minimum for the extravagant lifestyle). He rolls a 5, which means he would normally only have to spend 10% of his current coin and treasure, but as that is 4 sp, less than the minimum, he still has to spend 20 sp, and he also has a chance of losing 5 to 20% of his wealth to thieves!


Spendthrift (“Extravagant”)
Every meal a banquet, every night an orgy, and the finest beds and bed-warmers gold can buy!

A character living a Spendthrift lifestyle lives high on the hog, drinking the best wines, staying in the finest inns, dallying with the most delectable consorts, and generally letting gold and silver slide through his fingers like water. Regardless of the roll, the weekly minimum spent by a Spendthrift is 100 gp (100 sp in Conan). A character with more than 400 gp/sp in coin and treasure should live this lifestyle to maintain his reputation.

3D6 = Result
3 = You make a new major contact among wealthy nobility, gentry, military, guildsmen, or merchants, who pays for the bulk of your debaucheries for the week. Spend 25% of your coin and treasure for the week, and upgrade your clothing two levels in quality.

4-6 = You spend 50% of your coin and treasure. Upgrade your clothing one level in quality, and retain 25% of the value of the coin and treasure spent as personal jewelry, furs, or other luxurious baubles. You have a 25% chance of increasing your Reputation 1 point through your massive debaucheries and excesses.

7-14 = You spend 50% of your coin and treasure on your debaucheries, and have nothing permanent to gain therefrom except some very sublime memories (if you remember anything of the week at all).

15-17 = You spend 75% of your coin and treasure on your debaucheries. You not only do not gain any permanent benefit from your titanic efforts, you also gain a dependent, most likely a loose woman of low intellect, a hanger-on of doubtful quality, or a simple mooching adventurer such as yourself. Alternatively, you could insult and lose a current major contact by your demands on his purse in trying to keep up with you (in the future make a reaction roll to determine the status of his friendship with you, should you approach him again). However, if you choose to gain a dependent, you have a chance to rise one point in SL per the value spent as a % of the base cost to advance in SL according to your caste (100,000 gp/sp for Nobles and Gentry, 10,000 gp/sp for Military and Guildsmen, and 1,000 gp/sp for Merchants and Generals).

18 = You overspend your purse, to the tune of 100% of all your coin and treasure, plus an additional 5x1d4% of its value. You have nothing to gain from your prodigal ways except an empty purse. Tap your banked wealth to pay the extra 5 to 20%, or sell goods (at ½ retail cost, at best) until you pay the bill. If you do not have any banked wealth, or choose not sell your goods, you owe the extra amount to a moneylender, gangster, merchant, or noble (the creditor may not be a major contact).


Adventurer Lifestyle (“Good” and “Common”)
A solid roof over your head, good bread, meat, and ample ale, a bit of coal for the brazier, and relatively bug and disease free beds and wenches are all you ask for... or pay for.

A character living an Adventurer’s lifestyle lives a life typical for adventurers — a little party now, a little thrift later — but still very well compared to the common rabble. Regardless of the roll, the weekly minimum spent by an Adventurer is 20 gp (20 sp in Conan). A character with about 200 gp/sp in wealth should live this lifestyle to maintain his station and reputation.

3D6 = Result
3 = You spend 0% of your coin and treasure. This is because you have attracted the attentions and/or affections of a very rich patron, perhaps a prince or princess, magistrate, general, guildmaster, magnate, courtezan, or wealthy adventurer — a new major contact, at least for this week. They shower you with gifts worth 5x1d6% of your current coin and treasure, and you have a 25% chance to gain 1 SL by association and a similar chance to gain 1 point of Reputation (good or ill has yet to be determined). However, you also gain all their enemies and attendant troubles. And of course, as in all things, nothing may be what it seems... as all is up to the Judges’ discretion!

4-6 = You spend 10% of your coin and treasure. By living a little too close to the edge, in the less-choice districts, you chance losing even more to the thieves and rogues of the area. You have a 10% chance of being robbed or pick-pocketed. They get away with 5x1d4% of your additional coin and treasure. The Judge, if kind, might let you know of a way tog et back at the dogs who done you wrong...

7-14 = You spend 25% of your coin and treasure. You pinch a bar wench here, gamble a bit there, and sleep in the gutter only when you are too drunk to otherwise make it to your fairly nice, clean room. Nothing otherwise untoward or special happens.

15-17 = You spend 50% of your coin and treasure. You have some good memories, but generally nothing more to show from it. 25% chance you have attracted an slattern inamorata or other adventuring type as a “hanger-on,” though the tie is tenuous, and based solely on your continued desire to shower them with gifts or pay for their ale.

18 = You spend or lose 100% of your coin or treasure, though you are left with 1d10-1 coppers. Such is the adventurer’s life. Roll d100: 01-10 gain 1 point of Reputation, 91-100 lose 1 point of SL. Roll D100: 01-10 gain a new major contact of your choice (anything, including royalty), 91-100 lose a major contact of the Judge’s choice. Roll D10: 1 = you find a treasure map or otherwise hear a (mostly solid) rumor about where a treasure can be found, 2 = you are on the run from the law, with a price on your head, 3 = both, 4-10 = nothing special.


Frugal Lifestyle (“Poor”)
A leaky roof builds character, drafts are healthy for the lungs, pottage is good for the bowels, and chastity is good for the soul.

A character living a Frugal lifestyle lives a life more typical of a cheap guildsman or miserly merchant than one of adventurers. Regardless of the roll, the weekly minimum spent by an Adventurer is 4 gp (4 sp in Conan). Only miserly characters, or those with less than 50 gp/sp to their name, should live this lifestyle.

3D6 = Result
3 = You succeed, by mooching off of friends and contacts, in avoiding spending so much as a single shaven copper of your hoarded wealth this week. Unfortunately, if one of your fellow party members refuses to pay the minimum for your upkeep (4 gp/sp), you burn off one of your major contacts, who simply becomes an acquaintance. Too late to spend your own coin — you already have that reputation as a mooch and a hanger-on. You have a 25% chance of dropping one SL through your ill-gotten reputation.

4-6 = You spend 10% of your coin and treasure. You also live in less-than-desirable surroundings, based on your expected social class according to wealth, and have a 10% chance to lose one SL. Your clothing also shows wear, being patched and threadbare — lower the quality of your clothing one degree.

7-14 = You spend 10% of your coin and treasure. You do so wisely, without seeming to be under more than simple economic strain.

15-17 = You spend 10% of your coin and treasure. Something bad happened, along with attendant unexpected expenses, or perhaps you had something stolen from you (your choice, role-play it). If you had something stolen, it is up to you what, so long as it equals 5x1d4% of your coin and treasure. The Judge will determine how it was stolen and the steps you have to take to get it back. But it doesn’t have to be easy...

18 = You spend 25% of your coin and treasure. This is a good thing, as an unusual investment opportunity (good even to your ears and solid enough for your miserly bowels to handle) came up. It payed off, not in cash, but in contacts. You have a new major contact, of your choice, up to lower-level nobility. You have a 25% chance of gaining 1 point of Reputation from your good fortune and new alliance.
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
This is very nice, James, and something I think Conan needs. Players can get cranky when they lose money with no explanation, and this system not only explains where the money went, but provides story hooks. Well done!
 
I agree with Iron_Chef, but sometimes too much information can bog up a game and slow it down considerably. Dont get me wrong, this explains where all your money goes vice the quick way in the conan book, but it also requires lots of dice rolls.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
guestjamesmishler said:
This is the Cost of Living system I will be trying out on my players next session. I'm not so sure about the Conan prices, as I forgot to bring my Conan book with me, and I'm out of town right now, but I think they are close...
This is excellent. I would add some modifiers associated with Charisma or fame, but your system can practically be used alone.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Easy.

Each point of Reputation or Fame increases the die roll by one and each point of Corruption reduces the roll by one. Charisma modifiers apply, roll 4d4 instead of 3d6. That gives a higer minimum that can be reduced and a lower maximum. That's untested and off the top o my head, so take it with a large grain of salt.

I could also see each player picking his spending style and then having to make WILL saves on downtime to maintain it. Passing means he can stay or alter (stay at Frugal or move up to Miser or down to Adventurer) and failure means you aoutomatically shift up to the GM and he keeps it secret unti lafter your wealth retention roll.

This is way cool James. Very nice.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Its cool, kinda similar to the system found in d20 modern. I am not big into this with players because usually players in Conan never really aquire a ton of wealth, and any wealth they get is spent as soon as they get near wenches and wine. Characters in a Conan game as it states in the main book suffer from wanderlust, so they wouldn't really settle down and buy a house or anything, very different than a traditional D&D game. In Conan outside of armor and weapons and maybe a horse and some provisions there isn't a lot to really buy. Than again if a player really wanted to buy a house or settle down and retire thats a whole different story, or just settle in one area. I can see wages for a horde fall into the costs of maintaing a small army or band of warriors.
 

Jumba

Mongoose
I know this thread is ancient. But can anyone tell me what guestjamesmishler's rules for levels of clothing were?

Jumba
 
Arthas the Lich King said:
I agree with Iron_Chef, but sometimes too much information can bog up a game and slow it down considerably. Dont get me wrong, this explains where all your money goes vice the quick way in the conan book, but it also requires lots of dice rolls.

I like it. I would probably either roll these up myself or somehow have the characters roll it BETWEEN sessions. Good down time activity.

Thanks for the idea!

HLD
 

JamesMishler

Mongoose
Jumba said:
I know this thread is ancient. But can anyone tell me what guestjamesmishler's rules for levels of clothing were?

Jumba

I use a general guideline based on the social hierarchies (or classes) and social levels as outlined in the City State of the Invincible Overlord.

Social levels range from 1 to 20, and there are six different hierarchies:

Nobles at the top, then
Gentlemen, then
Military, then
Guildsmen, then
Merchants, then
General, which includes rural and urban commoners.

I've cross-indexed all the social levels and hierarchies to measure them on the classic lower-middle-upper class scale.

The lowest of the low are slaves, the highest of the high are the Gods (which actually walk the streets in some cities of the Wilderlands). These would be "God-Emperors" of Khitai and such.

All clothing is, of course, culturally based. What is regarded as noble in Khitai will be different from that which is regarded as noble in the Hyborian kingdoms... though all peoples love silk.

So, if you move up one level in quality of clothing, it will depend on what hierarchy you already fit in, and what social level you already have.

Common adventurers are generally regarded as simple Freemen (Social Level 4/General, Lower Middle Class) or Citizens (Social Level 5/General, Lower Middle Class), unless they have a noble title, are a member of a guild, or are part of the military. But they usually live above their station, within the sumptuary laws (if there are any, the most basic being "only the king may wear purple"). Of course, the adventurers pay for having the "appearance of their betters."

Thus, though he may be merely a Citizen, an adventurer may wear the clothing of a Chevalier (Social Level 7/Gentlemen, Lower Upper Class). If he goes "up one level," his clothing either improves to that generally worn by a Pretender (Social Level 8/Gentleman, Lower Upper Class) or to that of a Thane (Social Level 7/Noble, Lower Upper Class). Not a great distinction, mind you, but by the cut of his clothing, the extra jewelry, perhaps a large medallion on a chain, and the preponderance of silk and ruffles, he is more likely to be mistaken for the slightly higher social level than he was before. Another increase in cothing worn would move him to the level of a Magistrate (Social Level 9/Gentleman, Middle Upper Class), or Aristocract (Social Level 8/Noble, Middle Upper Class), which would eb a major shift.

Clothing costs are as follows (converting from my D&D listings to Conan silvers, not quite exact...):

Slave = 1/4 sp
LLC = 1/2 sp
MLC = 1.5 sp
ULC = 3 sp
LMC = 6 to 15 sp
MMC = 15 to 60 sp
UMC = 60 to 300 sp
LUC = 300 to 600 sp
MUC = 600 to 1,500 sp
UUC = 1,500 to 3,000 sp

This considers furs, jewelry, silks, and so forth, especially at the Upper Class levels, where clothing gets extremely ostentatious.

You were, I surmise, referring to this entry:

"4-6 = You spend 50% of your coin and treasure. Upgrade your clothing one level in quality, and retain 25% of the value of the coin and treasure spent as personal jewelry, furs, or other luxurious baubles."

A player should state at first what his clothing is worth, then, when it gets upgraded, it might go from 60 sp value to 120 sp value, depending on the overall amount spent. If Culain, for example, had gotten this result, he would have spent 500 sp that week, and retained 125 sp of it as an increase to his clothing...
 

Jumba

Mongoose
Thanks for clearing that point up James. I used the above system tonight for my campaign and it worked really well. Only one of my players complained about the amount of money he frittered away, though he hasn't really latched on to the whole Hyborian mentality of "live for today."

Thanks again for posting the above system. It really helps me flesh out downtime in my campaign.

Jumba
 

JamesMishler

Mongoose
Jumba said:
Thanks for clearing that point up James. I used the above system tonight for my campaign and it worked really well. Only one of my players complained about the amount of money he frittered away, though he hasn't really latched on to the whole Hyborian mentality of "live for today."

Thanks again for posting the above system. It really helps me flesh out downtime in my campaign.

Jumba

Glad you found it useful!

Maybe your player should have gone for the "Frugal" level! I designed that level especially for one of the players in my game... he wanted to live on moldy bread and water. I don't think he understood the Hyborian feel there, either... :)

BTW, where are you at in the Region? I'm originally from Chesterton myself... Grew up hating snow, so what did I do? I moved to Wisconsin! Go figure... :)
 

Jumba

Mongoose
Glad you found it useful!

Maybe your player should have gone for the "Frugal" level! I designed that level especially for one of the players in my game... he wanted to live on moldy bread and water. I don't think he understood the Hyborian feel there, either...

BTW, where are you at in the Region? I'm originally from Chesterton myself... Grew up hating snow, so what did I do? I moved to Wisconsin! Go figure...

James,

Yeah, I can't fathom why any player would want to be so stingy in the Conan RPG context. Again, I think he is thinking a little too much like regular D&D rather then get into the spirit of the Hyborian age. I'm just going to have to play up the fact that he is wanting to be so frugal I guess.

Oh and, I'm from Hobart. So, not too far away from Chesterton. You just have to resign yourself to the snow in these parts. It's like death and taxes, its going to come no matter what.

Jumba
 
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