Your analysis is good, but doesn't cover the issue that really makes the D&D economy feel wrong: the price of gold. Today, gold is trading for over $600 an ounce (the amount of gold in a standard D&D coin). Applying your model to today's reality, this family would be taking in over $6000 a week for an annual income of $312,000!!!! That is definitely not commoner pay, as the average American family makes more like $60,000 in a year (This number is an educated guess so don't flame me if I'm off). Considering the fact that gold was much rarer in the medieval period, it stands to reason that it would have been much more valuable. I just can't see a farmer making over a gold piece a day. Historically, said farmer would have been very lucky if he EVER owned a single gold piece in his life. Basically, making gold and silver much more valuable would make the D&D economy seem more realistic.
Take the Magic: The Gathering 'What Color Are You?' Quiz.
This is a very important point. A farmer can farm only about half a year, the rest of the year he needs to find other ways to earn some coppers, and he would be 'unskilled labor'.
Actually, as far as I am informed, back in the days they didn't know about land management and letting the land recover. They just farmed it all year after year (which obviously let to the soil becoming exhausted and giving less/worse crops).
Taxes and rent man. Every game I've played where the commoners are super-poor is because of overtaxation and/or rent. It's not because they are just commoners. Rent may not be a concern, but there's pretty much no way they are getting by without paying taxes.
So, if the farmer has a farm that he pays no rent or taxes on, and free stuff like longbows, farm implements, and animals, and a baby who never eats enough that it costs any money whatsoever, then yeah, his life will be pretty comfortable. But he will be paying taxes. He does have to pay for all the things he uses for farming, and even if he has some kind of credit that he used, he would have to pay it back. In this case all it takes is a single drought or especially rainy season to make his farming lousy and he will be pushed into being poor.
And that's all just real-world stuff. In the D&D world they have to contend with fantasy problems.
Your analysis is good, but doesn't cover the issue that really makes the D&D economy feel wrong: the price of gold.
Considering the fact that gold was much rarer in the medieval period, it stands to reason that it would have been much more valuable. I just can't see a farmer making over a gold piece a day. Historically, said farmer would have been very lucky if he EVER owned a single gold piece in his life. Basically, making gold and silver much more valuable would make the D&D economy seem more realistic.
There are also other methods of keeping the soil fertile, one of them being the use of fertilizers. Bovine and other animal excrement would do. It's also possible that D&D farmers know about compost.
And in a few years, when little Suzy picks up a "profession," they'll really be rakin' in the cash, eh ;)
Seriously, good write up. Now we can see why goblins and other nasties might raid the village...the people actually do have a bit of coin.
First off why a level 2 commoner?
Regarding the "Aid Another" discussion for the farmer. It would be more efficient for each to make their own checks--but that implies that they are each farming the biggest plot they can manage. If cleared land is not free for the taking, and barns and the like have to be built, then you don't have the space for each to farm their own plot. With a shortage of land, "Aid Another" gets the most silver per acre.
Nice commoner farmer article. I'd consider reducing annual income to income to 2/3 to 3/4 annually because of winter and being unable to grow crops from December to February and devoting the time to performing the repairing and rebuilding.
You mentioned the standard of living of the three to be on top of their take home pay. Shouldn't they be responsible for their standard of living out of their expense like everyone else in world?
Now, in closing, it should be said that the idea of them having this much money does not necessarily mean they actually ever see that much actual coin. Joe and his family are capable of outputting 10 gp worth of produce per week, and consuming 6 gp worth of goods per week. It is almost guaranteed that most of the food money is actually coming out of what they grow (so they grow 10 gp worth of food, then turn around and eat 6 gp worth of it every week), and that anything else they get from others in the village is in the form of barter (2 bags of potatoes for that new hoe, for example).
So, while this commoner family may not have much money, they are in no way destitute, and are quite capable of living very comfortable lives, without the need to overall the entire D&D economy just to make it more "realistic" for them.
Logically, the women shouldn't bother with farming, they should take Profession: Cook, up to the maximum and use their rolls to both feed the family and turn a tidy profit. This practically eliminates the living expenses of the family.
Logically, the women shouldn't bother with farming...QUOTE]
Oh if only my Feminist Theories prof could read this ;)
Or maybe the men should not bother with farming and max out their ranks in cooking
Thus the family sells the farm and moves closer to town and builds an inn and tavern. Why? Because most farms are in Rural Areas, with few travelers and nearby roads. Every family in the area will also be attempting to lure what few rare travelers there are in the area to their houses to reap the rewards of excess good food. Granted every overworked house wife slaving over a hot fire will want time off and go over to the nearest homestead and spend some of the hard earned "excess" money so she doesn't have to cook as much.
I'm not sure if someone's mentioned it just yet, but I believe the PHB or DMG's reference to commoners earning 1 silver a week is mirrored by the craft or profession skilled: an "unskilled" laborer earns 1 silver a week. The example family of commoners are far from unskilled.
For example: If you’re a fan of Robin Hood than the commoners SHOULD be dirt poor, and unjustly so. That way the good aligned characters will feel compelled to help.