The Economy in D&D

Something I haven't seen discussed is use of all of that treasure PCs tend to acquire in 5e. In old school editions, you needed to adventure and gain treasure to further your career. It cost money to level and henchmen and hirelings were an integral part of the game (and often seemed to live better than the PC's - ). You also eventually had a castle or tower to maintain, magical research to perform (beyond just bulding magic items as in 3E), etc. I normally required upkeep costs per month as well which took care of standard spell componets, ammo for ranged weapons, standard fare at the inn, etc. so I didn't worry about the cost of every meal.

With the return of magic items not being tied to your necessary progression (and hopefully not available for sale at your local bazaar beyond the odd scroll or potion), I'm hoping to see the return of some kind of economy that gives characters something to need money for.

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 

Id like the need to acquire training before you gain a level. Though we have discussed it amongst our group, I'm about the only one that hates the auto level - mid adventure. I'm going to guess this minority I'm in is pretty small.
Personally, I'm a fan of decoupling the magic item economy from the normal economy entirely. If GP can't buy magic, then particularly noble characters can turn down rewards or tithe their share of the treasure while scoundrels drown themselves in liquor and luxuries between adventures without either having to worry about how they're losing power by not saving up for the next magic item.

That said, I still like there being a magic item economy, because it gives the players some ability to select some of their own magic items and because I personally have fun seeing how I can best spend a budget on available magic items. Just keep it separate from what my character uses to buy his mansion and pay his servants so I don't feel like I'm forced to give up mechanical necessities to roleplay anyone other than a miser.
Let's be clear in our terminology here. D&D does not have an economy, and it never has. An economy is a system of production and consumption, of labor, land and resource capital, and of the manufacturing, trade, distribution and consumption of goods by a population over a given area and time. 

What D&D has is a reward system. That system is solely at the discretion of the DM, and always has been, and always will be. What form that reward takes and whether or not the players can convert one form into another is likewise completely arbitrary, and the DM can exercise as much or as little control over that process as he likes. 

And all of that is exactly as it should be. There are some thing that should not be left in the DM's hands, and some that should. This is the latter. 
-m4ki; one down, one to go

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Well said, M4kitsu.

Now, if somebody wants to come up with rules to simulate an in-game economy....they must be really desperate for immersion. 

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Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

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Something I haven't seen discussed is use of all of that treasure PCs tend to acquire in 5e. In old school editions, you needed to adventure and gain treasure to further your career. It cost money to level and henchmen and hirelings were an integral part of the game (and often seemed to live better than the PC's - ).


Ah, all the wonderful things I houseruled out in previous editions.

Despite that, I sort of agree with you. Leveling cost is easy to ignore if you don't want it. But, I would want it to specifically be presented as an add-on, not the default setting, especially as it doesn't make all that much sense. How many WWII fighter pilots went out, killed five planes, then had to go back for more training before they could get better, killed five more planes, got more training, etc? Answer: none. It just didn't happen. In fact, just the opposite: if you got really good out in the field, you returned to teach new pilots. It might make some sense as part of attaining a Paragon Path/Prestige Class, but I feel that is better shown through roleplaying or a quest than a simple reduction in X numbers of GP.
You also eventually had a castle or tower to maintain, magical research to perform (beyond just bulding magic items as in 3E), etc.


This is more interesting, and I hope that there are guidelines for this presented by default in 5e. My favorite part of 2e was researching new spells. If brought back, this should also be expanded into researching new fighting styles, sword techniques, etc. Wizards shouldn't get all the cool toys.
I normally required upkeep costs per month as well which took care of standard spell componets, ammo for ranged weapons, standard fare at the inn, etc. so I didn't worry about the cost of every meal.


Here's 2 gp. Keep the change. Meanwhile, I'm going to dump out my bag of holding in my room and imitate Scrooge McDuck in his vault.
You could completely remove the level system entirely - so that all xp is immediately tradable to purchase skills so your 5 planes shot down become irrelevant, You gain from each individual one.

However one of the reasons why we have levels is because it's easier to update a character all at once, rather than disrupting gameplay to go though improving your character. This makes a lot more sense to do at a town, where you can get resources, for .. say the new shiny exotic weapon for your new chosen feat. Maybe the spell ingredients for your new spells.... ect ...ect.

Stopping the game flow half way though a dungeon has just never appealed to me. Forcing characters towards the nearest town makes it more convenient for both player, DM alike. Requiring a teacher also makes sense for acquiring new techniques / spells. This also gives us an opportunity to spend wealth. Why have money in the game at all, unless you can spend it ? The more ways the better IMO.Cool
Stopping the game flow half way though a dungeon has just never appealed to me.


It's never appealed to me either, but sometimes you gotta eat, or sleep, or go to work. Personally, I've never experienced a dungeon-crawl with an uninterrupted flow for those reasons and more, and leveling has always occured in between sessions.
Forcing characters towards the nearest town makes it more convenient for both player, DM alike. Requiring a teacher also makes sense for acquiring new techniques / spells. This also gives us an opportunity to spend wealth. Why have money in the game at all, unless you can spend it ? The more ways the better IMO.Cool


Why have money if it's assumed it will go to a tax later? Is it to punish those characters that spent all their money mid-level?

It seems pointless to me. "Here, have 100 gold. But, don't spend it as I'm going to take it away when you gain another 1000 XP."
0.o Yeah, that is totally the idea behind it. Force the PC's to role play buskin for 2 years to afford there training cost. Ohh wait, no .. I remember, I'm a DM, I can foresee this happening, n can make sure they can afford it via "reward" treasure.
0.o Yeah, that is totally the idea behind it. Force the PC's to role play buskin for 2 years to afford there training cost. Ohh wait, no .. I remember, I'm a DM, I can foresee this happening, n can make sure they can afford it via "reward" treasure.


Then what's the point? "For completeing the adventure you receive 500 gp worth in training!"

If it happens regardless of player choice, then there's no point in creating a system for it. If it doesn't happen regardless of player choice, then you're setting them up to fail.

At first, I was agnostic as to this sytem. But the more I discuss it with you, the more I think the designers shouldn't waste time on it or add printing cost to the books for it.

Edit: Here's an alternative - You do not pay for levels. You get those automatically. Instead, you pay for alternate class features or to learn advanced feats. These things have powers equivalent to magic items of the same price range. Thus, players are not penalized for choosing to spend their money elsewhere. At the same time, though, you can have players choose to be equipment-based or training-based, or somewhere in between.

Now you have an interesting training system, because there's meaningful choice.

You might also have training be required for multiclassing. This could put a limit on how many level dips you take from your main class. Again, it's interesting because it gives meaningful choice.

"Pay X gold or your don't level" is not interesting, because there's no real alternative being offered.
You right, there is no choice in it, n why should there be a choice ?


It's pretty simple in my mind, It's cool to get treasure.

It then becomes worthless if there is no need for treasure.

You may get the odd character that does spend there cash on something, n therefore can't afford there training, I have seen this happen. They then immediately turn round to there very rich party members who didn't - n just borrow it.

The point of it then becomes 3 fold. 
a) convenience of where in the game you level up.
b) The opportunity to equip for that level.
c) give meaning to the treasure they have found.  
quindia quoth:
i'm hoping to see the return of some kind of economy that gives characters something to need money for.


what is this adding to your play experience?

this probably sounds like i'm being glib, but i'm not sure i understand why it matters. adventurers don't work 9-5 jobs: they risk death--proverbially, in fact--for great rewards.

if you're looking for something like the "if you're [x] level, you can generally afford [awfully impressive non-magical goodie like a castle]", that i can understand.

but i can't help feeling you might mean something else. ?
Id like the need to acquire training before you gain a level. Though we have discussed it amongst our group, I'm about the only one that hates the auto level - mid adventure. I'm going to guess this minority I'm in is pretty small.



I always found that it was pretty easy to avoid auto-leveling mid adventure....

What I did (& still do) is only award XP at certain points.  You can call these milestones, chapters, adventures, or anything else you like.
Until that next point was reached though?  I just kept a total XP log. (either broken down by character, or just a party total)
When that point was reached?  Then at the end of the session you got your xp share.  If this was enough to lv you?  Great.   

Sometimes it's pretty easy to tell when these xp breaks should occur. 
Ex; Party delves into the Cave of the Unknown, kills some stuff, & returns to base with loot.  Hand out xp.
Other times it's trickier.
It cost money to level and henchmen and hirelings were an integral part of the game (and often seemed to live better than the PC's - ). You also eventually had a castle or tower to maintain, magical research to perform (beyond just bulding magic items as in 3E), etc. I normally required upkeep costs per month as well which took care of standard spell componets, ammo for ranged weapons, standard fare at the inn, etc. so I didn't worry about the cost of every meal.



Some of us never quit including that kind of stuff in our games.  ;)  It would be nice to have the DMG give some support.
PCs can amass quite a sum; enough to buy the right to start a village, build a keep, purchase a ship, or start a business. As a DM I would love some professionally-designed, playtested rules-sets for running that type of play. It's less work than making it all up myself.

That said, it's probably less critical than mass combat rules, rules for travelling in the planes, or vehicle rules, so if it appeared in a supplement I would not object. 
PCs can amass quite a sum; enough to buy the right to start a village, build a keep, purchase a ship, or start a business. As a DM I would love some professionally-designed, playtested rules-sets for running that type of play. It's less work than making it all up myself.

That said, it's probably less critical than mass combat rules, rules for travelling in the planes, or vehicle rules, so if it appeared in a supplement I would not object. 



Kingmaker olny get so far on this. It is a good start, so did Birthright. Mass combat and plane hopping I can agree with. These are higher level options. Though I would like some vehicle rules mid way or early. Those would be failry easy to build once a foundation has been set.
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I too would like a seperation of magic items from the advancement system. I use them sparringly in the games I run. Not that they are magic light, I just think of items being more vlauable to the party ingeneral when you can not just go to any old shoppe and buy them. Lower level items, sure, i.e. scrolls, potions and the like. However they is never just the "Mgic Shopee".
MY DM COMMITMENT To insure that those who participate in any game that I adjudicate are having fun, staying engaged, maintaining focus, contributing to the story and becoming legendary. "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gary Gygax Thanks for that Gary, so now stop playing RAW games. Member of the Progressive Front of Grognardia Suicide Squad
Here's a quote from today's seminar, when the subject of mundane items was brought up:

 Bruce: one of the things we're doing is moving things more to a silver standard instead of a gold standard. We also have mundane implements for some caster classes that are their equivalent of a fighters sword or their slightly better armor. This opens up space for some interesting magic items that help you in rituals. but if you have a magic item, maybe it's a totem that has a little creature in it that is summoned to help you and do other cool things.

It sounds like it will impact the economy if all mundane items can be purchased for silver, while you will need gold for magic items? I don't know, but I thought it could be relevant to this thread. They also mentioned that plate armor would not be available to 1st level characters, probably because it is too expensive. It sounds like the rate at which characters aquire treasure in 5E is greatly reduced. 
Or we may get another exchange rate or value change of coins/items.
MY DM COMMITMENT To insure that those who participate in any game that I adjudicate are having fun, staying engaged, maintaining focus, contributing to the story and becoming legendary. "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gary Gygax Thanks for that Gary, so now stop playing RAW games. Member of the Progressive Front of Grognardia Suicide Squad
My point was simply without magic items to buy (which I have never allowed in my games beyond potions and scrolls), after a few levels characters had very little to spend money on in 4E. Treasure has little meaning to characters with thousands of gp in the bank.

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 

True, but what a hiest for some aspiring thives, huh? There has been ittle else for the PC to spend that loot on. So what else to do with it?
MY DM COMMITMENT To insure that those who participate in any game that I adjudicate are having fun, staying engaged, maintaining focus, contributing to the story and becoming legendary. "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gary Gygax Thanks for that Gary, so now stop playing RAW games. Member of the Progressive Front of Grognardia Suicide Squad
Here's a quote from today's seminar, when the subject of mundane items was brought up:

 Bruce: one of the things we're doing is moving things more to a silver standard instead of a gold standard. We also have mundane implements for some caster classes that are their equivalent of a fighters sword or their slightly better armor. This opens up space for some interesting magic items that help you in rituals. but if you have a magic item, maybe it's a totem that has a little creature in it that is summoned to help you and do other cool things.

It sounds like it will impact the economy if all mundane items can be purchased for silver, while you will need gold for magic items? I don't know, but I thought it could be relevant to this thread. They also mentioned that plate armor would not be available to 1st level characters, probably because it is too expensive. It sounds like the rate at which characters aquire treasure in 5E is greatly reduced. 



Are you sure that's what they meant? I think all they're doing is making silver the standard for currency, as it was in older editions, and promoting gold to platinum.

I'd facepalm if it's how you described it. It would be PP in Elona all over again...

Id like the need to acquire training before you gain a level. Though we have discussed it amongst our group, I'm about the only one that hates the auto level - mid adventure. I'm going to guess this minority I'm in is pretty small.



I always found that it was pretty easy to avoid auto-leveling mid adventure....

What I did (& still do) is only award XP at certain points.  You can call these milestones, chapters, adventures, or anything else you like.
Until that next point was reached though?  I just kept a total XP log. (either broken down by character, or just a party total)
When that point was reached?  Then at the end of the session you got your xp share.  If this was enough to lv you?  Great.   

Sometimes it's pretty easy to tell when these xp breaks should occur. 
Ex; Party delves into the Cave of the Unknown, kills some stuff, & returns to base with loot.  Hand out xp.
Other times it's trickier.


The very 1st question I get asked at the end of the battle is, How much XP did we get. It seems to show that if its more important to my players than gold, Magic Items, any other dangers ect. That my own group would hate this method. Though I can totally see it working and its a good method to stop the auto-level. Wink
My point was simply without magic items to buy (which I have never allowed in my games beyond potions and scrolls), after a few levels characters had very little to spend money on in 4E. Treasure has little meaning to characters with thousands of gp in the bank.




My experience in 4E is that money is never enough, but that is mostly because I allow players to freely buy magic ritual components (like residuum, although that's a bit rarer). With the amount of Ritual Casting the group does, mainly for divination rituals and travel rituals, I even had to increase the money parcels a bit.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Here's a quote from today's seminar, when the subject of mundane items was brought up:

 Bruce: one of the things we're doing is moving things more to a silver standard instead of a gold standard. We also have mundane implements for some caster classes that are their equivalent of a fighters sword or their slightly better armor. This opens up space for some interesting magic items that help you in rituals. but if you have a magic item, maybe it's a totem that has a little creature in it that is summoned to help you and do other cool things.

It sounds like it will impact the economy if all mundane items can be purchased for silver, while you will need gold for magic items? I don't know, but I thought it could be relevant to this thread. They also mentioned that plate armor would not be available to 1st level characters, probably because it is too expensive. It sounds like the rate at which characters aquire treasure in 5E is greatly reduced. 



Are you sure that's what they meant? I think all they're doing is making silver the standard for currency, as it was in older editions, and promoting gold to platinum.

I'd facepalm if it's how you described it. It would be PP in Elona all over again...




Of course I am not sure. I don't know how anyone is supposed to be sure at this point. I am merely making a guess based on the information we have. Here are some quotes from the Charting the Course seminar:








Monte: I think it offers a better play experience that the orc/ogre can remain in the campaign, and people can know how the monster would work from a previous experience, but they remain a challenge for longer.

 







Jeremy: The Monsters are in the design teams hands now and we'll be moving to development in the next few weeks. What I can say about this goal that Monte is talking about is that we're working ot provide the DM with really good world building tools. And it's important to provide information about the orcs place in D&D while making sure that a Monster remains relevant as the characters level up. They're might be an orc shaman, an orc champion or whatever for higher levels, but we also want the basic orc to be relevant at higher levels. We want it to be really easy for the DM to open the Monster Manual and drop an orc or iconic monsters into the game.


This I believe supports the idea of a more basic first few levels, with players killing orcs for silver to buy plate. It seems like they are stretching out the progression. I don't know if this is good or bad (I haven't had time to consider the ramifications,) and I don't want to make snap judgements. What I am pretty confident in is that the price structure and "economy" of D&D, tied in with the treasure rewards at each level, are in for a major overhaul.

I guess they want to make money matter more, in the same way that removing magic items from the expected character advancement math makes them feel more special.

I don't know anything for sure, I'm just calling it as I see it.

Cheers,
Henge

PS. I'm not familiar with PP in Elona... Could you explain?