Rod Noddenberry's Emporium of Niggling Details

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This is a compilation of wages and prices that I have taken from various D&D books ranging from 1e to 4e. Where economies have clashed, I used the version that I felt most suited the 4e economy. It's primarily aimed at detail-oriented games where a player might wonder if his PC can buy a house in town, or how much extra coin he picked up while working undercover as a valet for the Count. It is incomplete, as I have yet to add construction and maintenance of castles, keeps, and realms, as well as furniture, groceries, and sundries (little things that make life easier, like combs, napkins, silverware, etc.). In the case of the Spy (under "Mercenaries") I took the price range and adapted it to 4e. As I compile it, I will add it. Meanwhile, I hope you'll get some use out of it!

Costs are for civilian homes and normal buildings only. Castle and Keep construction is elsewhere and requires a lot more security features and reinforcement.

Wooden, 5x8 ft……8gp
Stone, 5x8 ft………40gp
Shifting, 10x10 ft…1000gp

Wooden, Interior, 3x7 ft….2gp
Wooden, Exterior, 3x7 ft…4gp
Wooden, Reinforced, 3x7 ft…5gp
Stone or Iron, 3x7 ft…..10gp
Trap Door, Floor or Ceiling 3x3 ft…cost as above x 2
Secret Door, 3x7 ft…..cost as above x 5

Standard……….5sp/sq ft
Barred…………1gp/sq ft
Shutters (made to fit)…5sp per set

Wooden, 5sq ft……2gp
Tile or Stone, 5sq ft…5gp

STAIRS (3ft wide, 10ft ascent)

Hearth (traditional fireplace with 1 floor chimney of stone)….15gp
Cookfire (firepit with 1 floor chimney of hammered metal)….5gp

Chimney, additional floors, available on hearths only…..5gp per floor

Common Labor
Cook, common……………………………1sp/wk*
Groom/Animal Tender……………………7sp/wk
Limner (sign painter)……………………..5gp/wk**
Linkboy (torch or lantern bearer)…………5sp/wk
Mason (basic stonework)………………….2gp/wk**
Pack Handler (all pack animals)…………..1gp/wk**
Smith (general craftsman)………………….2gp/wk**
Teamster (specific type of animal)…………2gp/wk**
Unskilled Labor…………………………….5sp/wk

*A common cook is not a skilled position. As long as you’re not burning things, you can usually find work at an inn or tavern. 1sp a week is a very modest wage, but the fringe benefit is that you can usually eat on the job, thus negating any need to buy food for the most part. You can also take home scraps to equal a modest meal.

**This trade is very market-driven. The wages may seem high, but they aren’t steady. Some weeks there may simply be no work to be had, so make those gps last!

*** The reason for the wage difference between the Maid and the Valet/Lackey is because a Maid is required to know general cleaning common to all houses and the odd quirks of her employer. A Valet/Lackey is expected to know every personal preference about his employer including, but not limited to, food temperatures, how he likes his clothes laid out, how they should be pressed, acts as personal secretary, and frequently travels with the employer.

These people are above the common laborers with similar names. These are the master craftsman of the trade. They are the people whose names are known far and wide for their skill with their craft. Any grunt can blow up a building with a cannon, but a master Artillerist can hit the building in just the right location to destroy it without harming the neighboring buildings… such as the vault. Likewise, any armorer worth his salt can repair or make a suit of armor, but to custom fit a suit of armor emblazoned with your personal crest and designed to perfectly fit every contour of your body requires a master armorer. None of these are open to PCs because the level of skill reflects a lifetime of perfecting the craft to the exclusion of almost all else. Prices listed are the rate of keeping these people on retainer.


Sages are a special case. They will have Three fields of study: Expertise, Major, and Minor. Costs reflect the sage's readily handy materials. A specific field of expertise for a sage means that he already has the research, materials, etc. The further afield the subject, the more he has to research, investigate, gather information, etc. If a subject is too far out of his field, he will still be owed each day's pay.

Information will be classified as General, Specific, and Exacting. Examples of such information requests are:
General: Do giants live on that island?
Specific: Do Fire Giants live in the volcanic region of that island?
Exacting: Do the Fire Giants that live on that island possess the artifact we’re looking for?

Sage, minimum charge………100gp per day

If question is in field of expertise…..200gp per day
[i]Time to find requested info
General…1-2 rounds
Specific…1-10 hours
Exacting…2-12 days[/i]

If question is in Major field of study…..500gp per day
[i]Time to find requested info
General…1-3 rounds
Specific…1-12 hours
Exacting…3-30 days[/i]

If question is in Minor field of study…..1000gp per day
[i]Time to find requested info
General…1-4 rounds
Specific…2-20 days
Exacting…5-40 days[/i]

If question is in out of field of study…..100gp per day
[i]Time to find requested info
General…1-6 rounds
Specific…2-24 hours

Captain (Ftr 5-8)
100gp per level monthly
Can command up to 20 Men per level
Can command 1 Lieutenant per level

Lieutenant (Ftr 2-3)
100gp per level monthly
Can command up to 10 Men per level
Can command 1 Sergeant per level

Sergeant (Ftr 1)
10gp X rate of troops led monthly
Can command up to 10 Men

It is recommended that, for 4e, the command staff be made as Warlords instead of Fighters.

Archer, Longbow………………….4gp/mo
Archer, Shortbow………………….2gp/mo
Footman, Heavy……………………2gp/mo
Footman, Light……………………..1gp/mo
Footman, Pikeman…………..……..3gp/mo
Hobilar, Heavy……………………..3gp/mo
Horseman, Archer………………….6gp/mo
Horseman, Crossbowman…………..4gp/mo
Horseman, Heavy…………….…….6gp/mo
Horseman, Light……………………3gp/mo
Horseman, Medium………...………4gp/mo

Heroic Tier Mission…….100 gp per level of mission (100-1000gp)
Paragon Tier Mission...…200 gp per level of mission (2200-4000gp)
Epic Tier Mission………300 gp per level of mission (6300-9000gp)

Ship's Crew

Ship’s Master (Ftr 5-8)
100gp per level monthly
Can command up to 20 Men per level
Can command 1 Lieutenant per level

Ship’s Lieutenant (Ftr 2-3)
100gp per level monthly
Can command up to 10 Men per level
Can command 1 Mate per level

Ship’s Mate (Ftr 1)
30gp monthly
Can command up to 10 Men

It is recommended that, for 4e, the command staff be made as Warlords instead of Fighters.

Sailor…….2gp monthly
Oarsman…5gp monthly
Marines….3gp monthly

Any treasure taken in the crew’s presence must be shared unless other arrangements have been made. Shares are as follows:
Ship Master's Share: 25% of total take.
Ship's Lieutenant's Share: 5% each of total take
Crew's Share: 5% of total take to be distributed evenly

Services and Lodging
It will be up to the DM to determine what rates a PC might get on a loan. The 1eDMG doesn’t specify what is meant by “low level” PCs, but one might assume that Level 1 PCs who have just saved a town or a moneylender from certain doom would get decent rates.

Unknown & Low Level PCs…10%-20% interest per month
Well-known & Propertied PCs…approximately 1% per week

Rent an Apartment In the City…20gp per month
Separate, Private Latrine………+2gp per month
Note: What we think of as an apartment and the classical definition of an “apartment” are two separate things. Apartments back then amounted to townhomes or condominiums, and although not as nice and ritzy as a detached home, were certainly a far cry from the next offering:
Rent A Flat In the City…6sp per month
Note: Private latrines are not available at this level. Use a chamber pot! People in this section of town generally don’t walk close to walls, as things like bathwater and chamber pot contents were generally just flung out of the window. Also, the gutter ran down the middle of the street, and all of that loveliness ran down it until it dumped into the sewers. It was an unforgettable smell. Charming little neighborhoods, really…

Good…2gp/day (A bed! A large fireplace! A writing desk! A lock on the door!)
Common…5sp/day or 3gp/wk (A bed! A small fireplace! A table of some sort! A latch for the door!)
Poor…5cp/day or 2sp/week (A pile of straw! A blanket! Ambient heat from the guy sleeping next to you! And I’m sure there used to be a door there!)

MEALS(Assumes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Good…5sp/day (Meat, vegetables, bread, good wine)
Common…3sp/day (Tough meat, potatoes, coarse bread, ale)
Poor…1sp/day (Vegetable Stew (no meat), coarse bread, beer)
Soup…5cp per bowl (Usually gruel, which would be made from whatever was leftover the night before, so you might get some meat in there, if you want to chance it.)

StablingHorse, Mule, or Other Common Domestic Mount…5sp/day
Note: Generally includes grooming and may include shoeing at DM’s discretion. The DMG did not provide any additional information regarding the stabling of exotic mounts.
Mourner…2sp per funeral attended (just in case… y’know…)

Coach cab…3cp/mile
Road or Gate Toll…1cp (Average, guards may jack up tolls on obviously rich travelers. Also, cabs and messengers will expect their customers to cough up for this fee.)

Ship’s Passage…1sp/mile (Assumes ship is a normal passenger vessel)


Carriage, Fancy…7000gp
Cart…15gp (Two-wheeled horse-drawn, small cargo area)
Chariot, riding…200gp
Chariot, war…500gp
Sedan Chair…100gp (Doesn’t include carriers. See “Unskilled Labor”)
Wagon…20gp (Four-wheeled horse-drawn, large cargo area)
Wheel for Cart or Wagon…5gp

Galley, Small…10000gp
Galley, Large…25000gp
Sailing Ship…10000gp

Oars for Rowboat…2gp each
Oars for Galley…10gp each
Sails…20gp each

Ale, 1 pint…..4cp
Ale, 1 gallon…2sp
Beer, 1 pint….1cp
Beer, 1 gallon..5cp
Cider, Tun (250 gal.)…..8gp
Cider, 1 gallon…..3cp
Mead, 1 pint…5sp
Wine, Fine, 1 pint…10sp
Wine, Fine, bottle…3gp
Wine, Cheap, 1 pint…5sp
Wine, Cheap, bottle…15sp

Belladona, Sprig…..4sp
Bread, ½ lb loaf……2cp
Butter, 1 lb…………2sp
Cheese, ½ lb……….1sp
Eggs, 1 dozen………1sp
Figs, 1 lb…………..3sp
Fish, Pickled, 1 barrel…3gp
Fish, Salted Herring, per 100…1gp
Garlic, bud…………5cp
Meat, ½ lb………….3sp
Nuts, 1 lb………….1gp
Raisins, 1 lb……….2sp
Rice, 1 lb…………..2sp
Salt, 1 lb……………1sp
Spice, Exotic (saffron, clove) 1 lb….15gp
Spice, Rare (pepper, ginger) 1 lb…..2gp
Spice, Uncommon (cinnamon) 1 lb…1gp
Sugar, Coarse, 1 lb…..1gp
Wolfsbane, Sprig……..10sp

Capon (Rooster)…3cp
Cow…10gp (magic beans not accepted)
Dog, Guard…25gp
Dog, Hunting…17gp
Dog, War…20gp
Elephant, Labor…200gp
Elephant, War…500gp
Falcon, Trained…1000gp
Falcon, Untrained, Small…18gp
Falcon, Untrained, Large…40gp
Guinea Hen…2cp
Horse, Draft*…30gp
Horse, Heavy War*…680gp
Horse, Light War*…340gp
Horse, Medium War*…510gp
Horse, Riding*…75gp
Hunting Cat (Jaguar, etc.)…5000gp
Pigeon, Homing**…100gp

*Tack for horses is found in the General Goods section

** “Many pigeons fly wild, but not all. Raising and training homing pigeons is a popular hobby around the world. Pigeons have a remarkable ability to learn a routine, pattern or habit. They can watch a door long enough to know its timing for opening and closing, letting themselves into a building to roost. They can also imprint their "home" and find it whenever they are set free from another location. This homing ability has made them very useful at times. They've played key roles in wartime intelligence, relayed urgent information and provided hours of recreation for their owners.” (From

General Goods
Blanket, Winter…5sp
Block and Tackle…5gp
Candle, Tallow…1cp
Candle, Wax…1sp
Canvas, sq yd…1sp
Case, map or scroll…1gp
Chain, 10’…30gp
Chalk, 1 piece…1cp
Chest, Wooden, Large…2gp
Chest, Wooden, Small…8sp
Fish Hook…1sp
Fishing Net, 25 sq ft…4gp
Ink, 1 oz. vial…8gp
Jug, clay…3cp
Ladder, 10’…5cp
Lamp, common…1sp
Lock, simple…20gp
Lock, average…40gp
Lock, good…80gp
Lock, amazing…150gp
Magnifying Glass…100gp
Merchant’s Scales…2gp
Mirror, small steel…10gp
Mug/Tankard, clay…2cp
Oil, 1 pint…1sp
Paper, sheet…4sp
Parchment, sheet…2sp
Pitcher, clay…2cp
Pole, 10’…2sp
Pot, iron…5sp
Rope, hemp, 50’…1gp
Sealing Wax…1gp
Sewing Needle…5sp
Signal Whistle…8sp
Signet Ring…5gp
Soap, 1 lb…5sp
Weaponblack, jar*…1gp

*1 jar of weaponblack is good for darkening 1 complete set of plate armor, 2 complete sets of scale armor, or 3 complete sets of chain armor. 1 jar is enough to blacken 12 longswords. After a melee encounter, the weapon will have to be re-blacked. The source for this material (Arms and Equipment Guide) recommends a +5% bonus to Hide In Shadows (AD&D 2e). It’s up to the DM to decide whether or not to grant any bonus for this material. I give a +1 to Stealth.

In a class-conscious society, clothes truly do make the man. What you wear says much about who you are socially. Fancy embroidery or rare fabrics can mark you as a wealthy person (and a potential target for thieves) as can certain dyes and colors. The Sumptuary Laws, as well as protecting the local economy, also restricted who could wear what. Purple, for example, was once the sole property of royalty (which made sense because the dye was so rare only the royals could afford it!). Some furs were also restricted as to who could wear them, and a PC might be able to turn a tidy profit by selling certain furs if their DM uses such laws. Punishment for breaking these laws is as varied as the lands that impose them. As well as political enforcement of these laws, sometimes there was social pressure. Ruffs, for example, while adored by the aristocracy, were seen as too uppity for the lower classes, and a lower class person who wore one was seen to be thinking that they were better than their peers and would be ridiculed and ostracized. ‘Getting above your station’ was a serious matter!

A particularly persnickety DM might decide to use the clothing lists to detail something like the PCs trying to sneak into a castle and pose as one of the servants or even one of the party guests. Sure, you say you’re the Duke of Albondegas, but your band says you’re a burger flipper at Happy Elf. Having the right article of clothing can enhance a performance or a bluff:
GUARD1: You don’t look the Duke’s agent.
GUARD2: Shut up! Look at that gorget! If that doesn’t say ‘nobility’, I don’t know what does!
GUARD1: Oh, crap! Right this way, m’lord!

I hope that any DM who’d use this sort of thing might take costume into account when setting up the Skill Challenge or deciding success or failure. Unless you’ve cheated horrendously on your Bluff score (or roll something like 500 nat 20’s in a row) I don’t think a guy dressed in slop is going to get into the fancy dress party!

And now, enough chatting. Remember, ‘packaging is everything'!
Apron, cloth…5-8sp (laborer, craftsman)

Apron, leather…8-12gp (laborer, craftsman)

Bag, Pouch, Almoner, Gipser (listed in order of fineness, usually attached at the belt or girdle, might be worn in plain sight, but in crowded areas is often attached to an undergarment so thieves can’t see it) …4-8cp

Baladrana (full, wide cloak used by travelers to protect themselves from the elements, the hobbits in LotR wore them for travel)…6-9sp

Baldric, Bandoleer (a kind of holster-belt worn slung around one shoulder to the opposite hip)…Ornamental 25-50gp…Leather 7-10gp

Band (variation of collar, often used to denote social status or official station, considered snobbish by the peasantry, worn by upper classes)…1-4sp

Boots (depending on quality as reflected by price, ranges from simple leather mid-calf boot with rolled down tops to soft leather or silk embroidered or inlaid with gems)…2-8sp

Boot Hose (cloth stockings worn inside the boot to protect the silk stocking underneath, worn only by the upper classes)…1-5cp

Braies (shapeless trousers worn by men, held up by a drawstring at the waist and tied off at about knee level by drawstrings or else tucked into stockings or other legwear, basic daily legwear for the commoner)…6-10sp

Breeches (similar to the braie, but made of finer cloth and often decorated, may be puffy or tights, upper classes only)…2-5gp

Buckle (wearing an overly ornate buckle above your station could lead to trouble!)…Common 1-4gp …Ornamental 10-20gp

Cannon (Similar to breeches, but always tight and fancily decorated, upper class wear only!)…8-12gp


Cassock (similar to the baladrana, but it buttons down the front)…6-10gp

Caul (netted cap worn by women, primarily to keep long hair out of the way, but sometimes an elaborate one is worn for formal gatherings)…3-7gp

Chainse, Chemise (white linen undergarment, common for peasants to wear as a shirt, but upper classes wear fancier stuff over them)…1-6gp

Cloak (A simple cape, very plain, often doubles as a blanket)… 2-8sp

Coif (simple white linen cap often worn underneath another hat or as a sleeping cap)…1-6gp

Doublet (shirt fastened up the front with buttons, often with a short, skirt-like section known as a peplum)…4-8sp

Drawers (undergarment for body and legs, usually worn for extra warmth)…4-8sp

Ferroniere (thin chain worn around the forehead with a small jewel set in the center, worn exclusively by ladies of the upper classes)…50-100gp

Gamash (kind of like chaps, but made of cloth for extra protection from the elements)…3-8sp

Garnache ( loose outer garment, covers neck to ankles, has wide, elbow length sleeves, useful for hiding weapons and bulky items without hindering movement)…5-10sp

Girdle (belt for the hips or waist, often has one or both ends hanging loosely, made of leather, metal, cord or fabric)…1-6gp

Gloves…1-3gp(leather, common) 3-8gp(archer’s gloves) 10-20gp (ornate, upper class only!)

Gorget (similar to the piece of armor used to protect the throat and upper chest, this one is decorative and made of cloth, upper classes only!)…1-3gp


Hose (common covering for the legs, homespun cloth for peasants, velvet and silk for the wealthy, worn instead of drawers, they fit tighter)…1-3sp

Liripipe (hood with a long peak that often trails 2-6 feet behind the wearer, popular with jokers, jugglers and other entertainers)…5-10sp

Pantaloons (waist-to-calf leg covering, fitting tightly at the ends but loose in the middle, worn indoors by upper class men)… 1-6sp

Ruff (tight, ruffled collar encircling entire neck, worn almost exclusively by the aristocracy, disdained by the lower classes)…8-12gp

Shirt (basic upper-body only wear)…1-3sp

Shoes (length of pointy toe varies depending on local fashion trends) rawhide…1-3sp leather…8-12sp

Slop(any cheap, low-quality but ready made loose fitting garment)…5-8cp

Surcoat, Surcote (loose fitting garment worn over a tunic, worn by middling classes)…5-10sp

Tabard (loose fitting rectangular piece of cloth hanging over the front and back, often decorated with wearer’s coat-of-arms or other personal design, originally to help keep armor cool in hot climes but now worn by non-armored upper classes)…4-8sp

Tunic (pullover body garment, can reach as far as the knees or ankles, may or may not have sleeves and/or girdle)…5-10sp

Stronghold Construction


Barbican (two towers @ 30’x20’ + gatehouse, gate and drawbridge)
…37000 gp

Battlement (crenelated parapet 100’ long)
…500 gp

Building, Wood (two story, 120’ of walls, doors, stairs, floors and roof)
…1500 gp

Building, Stone (two story, 120’ of walls; doors, stairs, floors and roof of wood)
…3000 gp

Door, Exterior, Iron or Stone [i](reinforced and barred, 7’x5’)
…100 gp

Drawbridge (wooden, reinforced, 10’x20’)
…250 gp

Dungeon Corridor (10’x10’x10’, stone-flagged, stone walls)
…500 gp
Price includes digging and mining down to 50’. Double price for every additional 50’ depth to a maximum of 5x listed cost.

Gate, Wooden (reinforced and barred, 10’x20’)
…1000 gp

Gatehouse (stone, 20’x20’x30’, includes gate and portcullis)
…65000 gp

Keep, Square (stone, 80’x60’x60’)
…75000 gp
Price includes and assumes roofs, interior walls, doors and stairs of standard wooden construction.

Moat, Unfilled (ditch, 10’ deep, 20’ wide, 100’ long)
…400 gp

Moat, Filled (canal, 10’ deep, 20’ wide, 100’ long)
…800 gp

Tower, Bastion (stone, half-round, 30’x30’)
…9000 gp

Tower, Round I (wide tower, stone, 30’c30’)
…30000 gp

Tower, Round II (narrow tower, stone, 30’x20’)
…15000 gp

Wall, Castle (stone, 20’x5’x100’ with battlements and stairs)
…5000 gp

Wall, Wood (stockade, 20’x5’x100’ with walk and stairs)
…1000 gp

Window, Open (3’x1’)

Window, Barred (3’x1’)


Arrow Slit (angled window, 3’ tall, 1’ wide)
…10 gp

Door, Interior, Wood (3’x7’)
…10 gp

Door, Interior, Reinforced (3’x7’)
…20 gp

Door, Interior, Iron/Stone (3’x7’)
…50 gp

Door, Interior, Secret (3’x7’)
…cost x5

Door, Trap (4’ x 3’)
…cost x2

Floor, Improved, Fine Wood (10’x10’ section)
…40 gp

Floor, Improved, Flagstone/Tile (10’x10’ section)
…100 gp

Roof, Improved, Fine Wood (10’x10’ section)
…40 gp

Roof, Improved, Flagstone/Tile (10’x10’ section)
…100 gp

Shifting Wall (10’x10’)
…1000 gp

Shutters (for windows)
…5 gp

Stairs, Improved, Fine Wood (3’ wide, 10’ ascent)
…20 gp

Stairs, Improved, Stone (3’ wide, 10’ ascent)
…60 gp

Construction time is 1 game day for every 500 gp spent. This assumes that the land is cleared and prepared and all the necessary materials are on hand.

An 8 square mile area is the recommended space to be cleared of monsters (not normal wildlife) before construction can begin. Most construction crews will refuse to work in an area that is not safe.

Availability of nearby resources can affect construction costs. A nearby dwarven mining town might be willing to supply stone at lower costs, or an elven settlement might object to the cutting down of the trees they live amongst.

Costs include feeding and sheltering the laborers.

For every 100,000 gp of construction, 1 engineer must be hired at 750 gp/month.

Thank you for shopping at Rod Noddenberry's! Come back soon!
My **** retentive side is grinning ear to ear.
My **** retentive side is grinning ear to ear.

Now that's an interesting example of censorship.
My **** retentive side is grinning ear to ear.

I think it's funny that "****" is edited on this board.

I also think that the OP is both nuts and brilliant.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
Very nice. Even my gamist self cannot deny the OP's awesomeness.
Dammitol, now you MUST move to Carolina and be my Dungeon Master. What does your husband do for a living? I hook him up with a comparable job here. And you too. Although you won't have time to work because you'll be my full-time DM. But I might be able to land you something part time for the DMing vacations I grant you.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Wow, those Epic spys sure work cheap... I'd have expected something closer to 3 AD per level of the mission. :P
This thread is full of win drowned in awesomesauce.

I am so using those lists when I run my D&D game, now to come up with Laborer guilds and such for everything :P
I would suggest a disclaimer in general that ALL prices listed are what PC's are charged, and do not reflect the "going rate" the general populace would be charged.

Also keep in mind, while cash has been in use for thousands of years, barter has only been surpassed by it in the last one to two hundred or so years. Most people would never hold more than a hand full of coin in there lifetimes. When a monetary value was used, it often was done by "account", tallied up or down with the merchant as goods were traded in or out of the "store".
My take on 4e pricing is that I mentally assign a level to everything. Then I price it as a magic item or as a potion/alchemy depending on whether the item is permanent in nature or temporary in nature.

Examples of the top of my head:
Moderate sized home (fits a party of adventurers) - lvl 5 - 1000gp
Large warship - lvl 9 - 4200gp
Perpetual Manservant - lvl 3 - 680gp (lifetime contact) - 30gp/time*
Minor Forgery - lvl 2 - 25gp
Trained Dragon Guard - lvl 23 - 625,000gp (and balls of steel)
Airship - lvl 15 - 25,000gp
Kingdom and Title - lvl 19 - 105,000gp (strange world where you can buy this, but it is conceivable)
Teleportation service across the continent - lvl 13 - 650gp
Standing army - lvl 17 - 65,000gp (lifetime service) - 2600gp/time*
Instructions to get to Sigil - lvl 21 - 9000gp
Mansion in Sigil - lvl 29 - 2,625,000gp
Spy (epic tier mission) - lvl 25 - 25,000gp (technically quality of spy would matter here, but I averaged)
Bribe town guard - lvl 1 - 20gp (should be enough for all guards present)
Bribe city official - lvl 5 - 50gp
Bribe minor lord - lvl 10 - 200gp
Bribe king - lvl 16 - 1800gp
Bribe Shade Prince (Forgotten Realms)/Head of Dragonmark House (Eberron) - lvl 19 - 4200gp
Bribe Sigil functionary - lvl 22 - 13,000gp
Bribe Asmodeus - lvl 32 - 325,000gp (cost extrapolated from pattern)

It may not be perfectly realistic, but it keeps costs reasonable for the approximate level that PCs should be getting their hands on these kind of items.

Wow, those Epic spys sure work cheap... I'd have expected something closer to 3 AD per level of the mission. :P

Well, consider the fringe benefits of ditsy blondes in skimpy bikinis, horses with ejector saddles, etc. :D

Seriously, the spy rate is from the 1e DMG, and given that a RW spy's job is nowhere near as sexy or glamorous as James Bond's job, mostly attending operas, ballets, concerts, art exhibits, and just attempting to overhear conversations and fit in with whatever social strata you've been assigned to, it's probably about right. The James Bond stuff is more suitable for a PC, and ditsy blondes in skimpy bikinis get turned on by adventurers whose horses have ejector saddles.
Updated! Now added:
Services and Lodging
General Goods

Coming soon:
Clothing! Now you'll have something to wear under that armor! ('Cause it's no fun to have your plate underwear bunch up around your jewels!)

Also, jeffepp, I checked the text and nothing implies that these aren't the going rates. Based on the incomes, it's not that unthinkable, IMO, that the common city dweller would be asked to pay these prices. It's just hard to make it. I ran a game based on these lists and it was darkly realistic. Having to get roommates just to make ends meet, household budgetting, some PCs working two jobs, you've heard of flashbacks? We were having flashnows!:D
Great! I would, however, list many of your command staff for the Mercenaries and Ship's Crew as Warlords instead of Fighters. I also didn't notice Scouts listed.
I had thought about that, but with the exception of spies, which I tweaked to a 4e scale, I'm taking the information straight from the books. 1e, which is where the Mercenary list comes from, didn't have Warlords, and I was unable to find anything for scouts. I'm currently suffering the ill effects of a toothache while waiting for my dental appointment, so I may have simply missed it altogether (it's been lingering for awhile but has suddenly turned immensely painful). It would make sense, though, that they be Warlords instead of Fighters.

I'll put that as a note in an edit. Thanks!
An amazing list, thank you!

How much are tapirs and war tapirs, though? :D

Please take a look at Avern - a Somewhat Airborne Race! Possibly my favourite thread of all time!

How much are tapirs and war tapirs, though?

The tapir will cost a little bit more than a peccary, given the more difficult breeding requirements. But the war tapir costs much less than the war peccary because the war peccary requires so much more training due to its inherently less-controllable personality. ;)
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
The tapir will cost a little bit more than a peccary, given the more difficult breeding requirements. But the war tapir costs much less than the war peccary because the war peccary requires so much more training due to its inherently less-controllable personality. ;)

Seems reasonable to me. However, I've heard governments are taxing war tapirs a ridiculous amount. Though easy to train, war tapirs are ridiculously powerful and so those in charge are trying to keep the trade of them under tight control.

Please take a look at Avern - a Somewhat Airborne Race! Possibly my favourite thread of all time!

Yeah, I remember all of these lists. Still use them. Along with the Judges Guild costs for construction tables, and some charts I abstracted out of combining 1e DMG costs with Battlesystem stuff. That gave me flat costs per day for large bodies of men, including upkeep, equipment outlay, etc. From that and a few basic extrapolations of the total size of a kingdom's base economy plus any special things it has (rich mines, etc) will give you a pretty simple army building table.

I do think your spy rates are pretty low though. There are rituals that are more expensive than them there spies. I think scale the prices by a factor depending on how outrageous the mission is. If it is just to go scout an area and report back, or make a general look around Hobgoblinville that's 1x. Assassinating well known people/beings should be FAR more expensive, maybe 50x as much.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I do think your spy rates are pretty low though. There are rituals that are more expensive than them there spies. I think scale the prices by a factor depending on how outrageous the mission is. If it is just to go scout an area and report back, or make a general look around Hobgoblinville that's 1x. Assassinating well known people/beings should be FAR more expensive, maybe 50x as much.

Again, the normal spy isn't James Bond. Scout and report back is pretty much what spies do. One agent from the UK (who is that, MI-5?) spoke at length in an interview about the number of disappointed recruits who think they're going to get nifty gadgets, flashy cars,and assignments that take them into the very jaws of direct and imminent danger only to get assigned to a fly-infested bar in Bangladesh and told to keep their ears open. The CIA and FBI have a similar problem.

The assassination of well-known people is more suited to the PCs, IMO. I wouldn't deny my players the opportunity for a potentially great game. The rates, anyway, are only slightly tweaked from the original list which capped at 10000gp. I think it's fair for a mission that most likely consists of the range from "find out where the main barracks is in Hobgoblinville and get right back" to "see if it looks like there's a back door into Mount Doom". Sniping Sauron should be the PCs' job.
Updated! You now have clothing! No more running around town naked! Woohoo!

I'll be working on the data for fortress/keep/castle construction next. Promise!
How about an outline of basic economic calculations based on the prices? hehe. I want to know how much I can TAX the peasants in my kingdom to buy all the neat castles and armies and whatever fun stuff. Other people have looked into it, but you seem to have all the possible sources of data. I'd still look at AD&D Battlesystem though. I seem to remember there were some tables in there.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
3% flat tax is the suggested fair tax in DMG1e. Your income is not taxed per se, but your net worth is in terms of real property. Things like land and houses, livestock beyond a certain amount, pretty much anything that can make you money, the crown wants a cut of. (Kind of like here in California, if you own a pick-up truck, even if you don't use it to make money, the idea is that you might, so they hit you up with a commercial license fee.) The closer to 10% you get, the more likely people will revolt, especially if your tax collectors show up in fancy silk finery!

That applies only to your own citizenry, or course. Imports can be taxed as high as you like depending on whether or not you're trying to protect your own industries or are simply mad at another realm. Of course, that gives rise to smugglers (hellOOOOOO rogues!), counterfeit goods, and other aspects of the black market.

Businesses, especially well-established ones, might be able to pay with promissory notes, but most peasants will be handed a bill that they are expected to pay in cash unles other arrangements are made. In small villages where money isn't readily available, a peasant who holds his land in the name of his lord might pay his taxes in food or other products, which will ease the amount of money the lord has to spend to support himself and allow him to pay his taxes in turn. And yes, many a villainous tax collector might take pay in other forms, such as is the peasant farmer has a pretty wife or daughter... Record keeping was pretty abyssmal and the king or lord or whomever the taxes were going to often just trusted his tax collectors to report the actual sum that was collected. Many a kingdom has fallen because the 'underlings' were less than trustworthy. Imagine hiring mercenaries to supplement your troops in a war, going to pay them after the war, and then finding out that your books are "less than accurate"! Heh-heh, mercenaries don't bother with collection agencies!

You know, it dawns on me that th tediousness of such detailed bookkeeping can lead to some interesting adventures!
Lets set up a scenario. We will have to make a few assumptions, but I will try to make them explicit...

Lets say your peasant can survive on essentially 3sp/wk, since that is the lowest rate of pay, we pretty much have to assume it is a bare survival wage. That would imply an income of around 15 gp per year per inhabitant. Now, this is a person who has NO capital assets, they are a laborer. A farmer obviously has capital assets. His living expenses still total to at least 3sp/week, but he may make additional income beyond that. Lets assume that farming is a bit better than being a laborer, maybe 5sp/wk, or 25 gp per year.

Capital asset values in a stable price economy are going to run something on the average of 5-10x net income. So a farm able to support one person should have a cash value of somewhere between 125 and 250 gp. 3% of that number is going to be between 3.75 and 7.5 gp per year. That would mean at the high end the farmer is paying out 7.5 out of his 25 gp or about 30% of his income in taxes. That doesn't come out bad actually. It leaves him with 17.5 gp per year to live on, or a bit over 3 sp/wk.

However, one would also expect there to be a return on the capital put into the farm. It might be small but it would probably be in the realm of a couple of percent. Given that I would think that the actual tax collectors are going to be lucky to get more than 1%. In actuality this may not be a very good assumption since it is likely there is no easy way to distinguish between the profits of a landlord and the income of the state in a medieval-esque financial and political system, so it might be easiest to say that both profits and tax income are essentially the same thing (ie the lord can use either or both to raise an army or buy things).

One thing this all illustrates of course is that while the government of a king might be absolute in terms of legal authority, it is likely to be very weak in terms of financial means. That pretty well jibes with what we see historically too, medieval political units were generally weak and unstable and the economy was almost entirely dedicated to subsistence with very little left over for say building infrastructure or economic growth.

Lets imagine now a small Duchy that has a population of 100k people. The vast majority are peasant farmers by necessity, since it takes about 97 peasants to feed 100 people, unless we have a completely magical economy of course.

The Duchy thus has approximately 97k peasants and 3000 non-peasants. Perhaps as many as 10k of these people might live in one or more small towns. Even there 2/3 of the people are farm workers, of which some probably have specializations or extra jobs (IE your millers and blacksmiths, etc are all part of the peasant population, so some of them may not be living directly on the land even though 100% of their labor is effectively agricultural).

This Duchy would thus have an income from the peasants of 97k x 7.5 gp per year or 727,500 gp/yr total tax income from agriculture. It is hard to say what the income from the other 3% of the people would be. Some would be from trade and some from services or manufacturing. It could easily add up to 10x as much per head as the peasants produce, and thus we might guestimate it at say 3k x 25 gp/yr or another 75k gp/yr. So we come up with a rough estimate of 1M gp/yr per 100k inhabitants.

Now, lets say you want to hire soldiers. Doesn't really matter if they are mercs or locals paying taxes via service in the military.

A light footman costs 1gp/mo, but that actually won't make sense. That is 10 sp/mo or 2.5 sp/wk, which is already below the 3sp/wk to survive. So we have to assume these costs are in ADDITION to upkeep. Thus the actual cost of the light footman is 1gp wages plus 1.2gp upkeep per month. This still doesn't account for equipment. Leather armor and a spear and ancillary gear will cost about 45 gp (spear, leather armor, adv kit to represent other necessities). Upkeep on that equipment might cost you say 10% of its value per year, so not much, but something.

Thus our light footman actual cost is 2.2 x 12 + 4.5 gp per month or about 31 gp per year.

Now one might hypothesize that the Duchy can thus afford to have a force of 32,000 men, but we haven't factored in leaders. Using your costs for captains etc adds another roughly 2 gp per month per soldier, bringing us up to a cost of about 55 gp/year per light footman. This means that simplistically you could raise about 18k light footmen from the Duchy and pay for them, if 100% of its public funds were dedicated to the army.

Of course it is a lot more likely that perhaps 20% or maybe in extreme times 50% of the state's income can be directed to defense. At 20% you could actually raise a force of maybe 3600 light footmen. Of course 50% of your defense money might easily be spent on fortifications, so that would quite easily reduce the buying power of the duchy to 1800 light footmen. Naturally most such armies are part time and thus the army might make a PEAK strength of 3-5 times that number for say a month or two if they otherwise only field a much smaller force at other times (probably for internal security).

Now take this and consider the other types of troops, which are all more expensive and some of which are a LOT more expensive to equip, and you can imagine our small duchy having a part time force of say 50-100 knights, some archers, and several hundred light footmen (the militia/levy).

Maybe if the hobgoblins are about to overrun the duchy they could put out a force of as much as 10k levies and a couple 1000 other men, but that would probably only be possible for a few weeks at a time and seriously complicate the Duke's finances. It would also run into the problem that he only has 3000 people that aren't spending 100% of their time doing basic subsistence required work, so not only is he burning his income in a big way on his army, he's also likely going to cause some disruption in his income if he fields this force for very long (and potentially create a famine to boot).

Of course the final consideration is that the duchy itself probably has to pay some form of tax to the Kingdom it is part of. OTOH the King's Army will probably show up to help deal with the goblins too.

One potential check for all of this that is interesting is history. Medieval England fielded an army of 30,000 men at the Battle of Bannockburn IIRC and this was the largest force ever assembled under English arms. The country at that time period had a population on the order of 7 million. That represents about 1/2 of 1% of the total population. So we see that at best our numbers above are optimistic from a historical perspective, but at least within the same orders of magnitude.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
That was a very interesting analysis! So I gather that the finances are basically doable for purposes of the game?

In the Rules Cyclopedia of 1991, there is a section that describes what a realm of any given size can expect to bring in based on population and resources as well as a general expenditure. It also includes what a realm can expect to pay if it has to host an important visitor, such as a king. Its tax rate, however, is abnormally high (1gp per month!). Given all of the other numbers, I felt the 1eDMG had the more reasonable rate of 3%.
That was a very interesting analysis! So I gather that the finances are basically doable for purposes of the game?

In the Rules Cyclopedia of 1991, there is a section that describes what a realm of any given size can expect to bring in based on population and resources as well as a general expenditure. It also includes what a realm can expect to pay if it has to host an important visitor, such as a king. Its tax rate, however, is abnormally high (1gp per month!). Given all of the other numbers, I felt the 1eDMG had the more reasonable rate of 3%.

Yeah, my numbers say it seems possible to raise an army with a 3% tax rate, and probably raise a useful sized one with less than half of your tax money at that. If the taxes went much above 3% then most of the peasantry would probably go broke.

Given that feeding the population really only gives you roughly 3% of the people NOT being involved full time in agriculture there is also not a lot of ways you CAN spend more than about 3% on things that involve labor before damaging your economy anyway. I guess a ruler could raise very high taxes, starve the peasants, and use the proceeds to import all sorts of fine luxury goods for his palace, but I suspect someone would be eating cake before too long...

Of course a different analysis would apply to say an orc tribe. Much like the nomadic peoples of Central Asia they would probably have much lower population density but they could muster maybe 20-50% of their total resources for war. In other words the orc tribes of the Melthian Mountains might only number 25,000, but they might still invade with a force of 10,000 orcs. Of course the duchy I used in my example would have fortifications and could boost its army up to an equivalent size, for a time.

It certainly seems fairly reasonable to use the prices in the old DMG and similar sources in general. They weren't too badly thought out and things do hang together OK. Of course I'd only use them as a baseline. A mining area for example might have higher labor rates due to a high demand for non-agricultural labor. Mercenaries are also likely to get fairly expensive if each side in a war is bidding up the price.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Now added: Stronghold Construction!

Next, and maybe final:
Upkeep of servants! (Not necessarily the wages, per se, but what it costs to maintain the office.)
When you have a castle full of servants, you have to feed them too! Include that in the upkeep.
Yeah, I actually have the information, but I recently discovered some additional information that has required a reworking of the data to make sure it jives. Plus, I found an alternate tax system. Combine that with a minor motorcycle wreck (I didn't realize I could take that much of a beating and walk away!), and I've been busy! :D

PS: The bike is fine. ;)
Sorry to hear about the wreck. But good to hear you are ok.
Thanks. I thought the poor guy that nearly hit me was going to have a heart attack right there! "Van versus bike, call medics for the van driver!" Ah, poor guy!
Could you, would you in a PDF? or Could you, would in a Word???
Part of me can't believe you did that. Part wishes you'd included all the costs, with references to edition, so I could calculate inflation and purchasing power parity across editions... ;)



Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

CoreyV I actually have all of it in Word format, but it has all of the HTML tags in it, too. Have you tried copy/paste straight from the OT? You might have to do it in sections, but it might be faster than waiting for me to copy it and remove the tags, etc.

Tony Vargas 4e gave the only real baseline to go off of in a design & development article that identified the price of a longsword (15gp) equalling a year's wages for the common citizen. Going off of that shred of information, I found that 1e and 2e had the most information consistent with that number, as well as the Basic D&D Rules Cyclopedia from 1991. 3e saw a significant price increase in many areas that broke the "longsword standard", as we came to call it, but not all of it was hyper-inflated. Some of the wages were taken from 3e because when we stacked the going rates up against each other in terms of importance to the community and demand, some of the other editions didn't pan out accordingly.

The spies were working waaaaay too cheaply in 1e. It's the only part that I tampered with. Some have remarked that it's still too cheap, but remember that they aren't glamourous "James Bond" spies. That sort of thing is best reserved for the PCs. These are more like RW spies that just discreetly insert themselves into society and listen for information, maybe come back with an important document once in awhile.

For real estate, we compared the construction costs to the yearly wage and asked how long it would take a commoner to pay off a modest house, assuming he didn't build it himself. It came out to anywhere between 10-30 years depending on what fancy amenities he wasn't able to build for himself. We used some basic medieval layouts from various sources at the library and some floorplans from some apartments I used to manage. (Then we used the layout from our own little hovel here and decided that anyone who wanted a place like this had better marry rich, and this place is small!)

But here I go yammering again. I dug through the 1974 set all the way through 4e. I'm still hunting for an issue of Dragon that I have somewhere that has furniture prices and other quality-of-life products, like hairbrushes, plates, cups, etc. I still have to post those upkeep rates and alternative tax system as well. Argh!
The first edition DMG ruled. Great art too
I think you should take a look at the Stronghold Builder's Guidebook
Belladona, Sprig…..4sp

I'm glad that Deadly Nightshade has such a cheap market price.
It sells really well, so Rod makes up in volume what he loses in individual sales profits;) .

Mithren_Dune I'll look for a good, cheap copy. Thanks! I really need to get back to updating the inventory.

Holy Cow!

I admit that I am a sucker for lists like this. Awesome work. If I get daring I might try to get it formatted in word for you. Now this is not a promise of anything! Reality is already beating me down. But I will see what I can do.



Agreed. Since the folks at Wizards haven't provided us with any information like this yet (HINT, HINT!), this list is an invaluable resource for those of us who want more substance and less crunch in our campaigns.


My group is currently using the costs outlined here to put together the construction of their first fortified stronghold. Once they've come up with their proposal, and I've approved of it, I'll post the results for everyone to take a gander at and critique.


Any of you built anything with these guidelines that the rest of us could take a peek at?


Great work!  About ten years ago I did research on getting warriors to fight, kill and die for whatever reason.  My research revealed the prices for soldiers and laborers in D&D to be very off.   It worked out to be about one months wages to pay for your equipment.  A knight typically received 10X the rate of foot soldiers and their equipment cost 10X as much.  Foot soldiers made about as much as common laborers.

Granted it is very difficult to translate medieval economies into D&D, let alone modern equivalents.  However,  if you look at what the listing price of items compared to rates of pay, nearly everyone would starve.  How are these soldiers getting their equipment?

I feel a better way to figure prices for soldiers would be based on half their encounter level in gold per month.  The 3rd level guard in the MM would cost 75 GP month.  That is a lot more than the listed price.

I know that all of you are thinking that is way too high but think on this.  Standing armies were incredibly expensive.  They did not appear until after the middle ages.  The English army did not have a standing army when fighting the Scottish.

I could go into more detail but it has been a while since my research.  It is silly when players throw a GP at someone and are under the impression that the person would never see gold before.  It would only buy a few pitchers of ale.  Peasants did drink back then as it was the only source of sanitary liquid.


Thanks! The low pay is very difficult, but not impossible, to make a living on. Remember, these people don't rely on the supermarket or fast food chain for their sustenance. They usually grow or hunt their food, so there's more money to be spent on durable goods. Again, I used the price of a longsword as a marker for one year's worth of pay, so that 75 gp would equal 5 years' pay for the average commoner. If somebody wanted to throw me 5 years' worth of my income all at once, I wouldn't complain!

The D&D economy has never been accusd of being realistic, so of course it's not going to line up with any RW economy, but the games I've played that involve just getting by in the world (we call them "Seinfeld d20") show it to be at least workable, although a single commoner in Waterdeep, working as a common laborer, still had to take on a second job and get a roommate just to make ends meet. (Not too far from RL!)

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