That's the thing though. In D&D, according to RAW, there is no such thing as an "unskilled" labourer.
I think the issue should come back to the world you want to create and interpreting the rules in a way that allows you to do it. 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.
I have a question about the levels of the commoners used in example. I've read on other forums that commoners and other NPCs in their 30s should be about 3rd to 5th level. I tend to agree with this; only their very young adults should be 1st level IMHO.
Would this increase in level significantly increase the earning potential of NPCs? Do you disagree about NPCs and increased levels?
Nowhere in the rules does it say that you have to take entire months off from work due to the weather.
No where in the rules does it say that a dead man can't dance a jig too, that doesn't mean that he can.
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).
Not true, at any time you are working on a chore in which you have no skill ranks to back it up is unskilled labor. You could have max ranks in Craft (tea cozies), but if you're working out in a field, then you're working as unskilled labor. Ask any college grad working at McDonald's.
This is a great discussion! What about the figuring out how much of the "food budget" is offset by the son hunting? The survival skill says you can feed X people for every Y points your check is above 10 (I believe).
If the son is hunting, in many historical settings--and some fantasy ones--he'll be hanging around doing nothing. (or being an anti-bard—decomposing.) Lords were very jealous of their hunting privileges, and would hang anyone who presumed to hunt on the lord's land.
If this is not the case, then he still needs wilderness to hunt or forage in--and that is far between in farm country, and will be hunted out in a hurry.
Now, a frontier farm might just be able to stretch the provisions that way--if the son has survival, and doesn't get eaten. (The local animals and monsters are making their survival roles, and he might well count as "provisions...")
Edymnion, I liked you post. It was very insightful.
To all others that criticize his math/ideas/whatever. . . Come on people, he made nice sense of the rules. Now, understand, every DM interprets the rules the way they want (and makes his own assumptions). So, what ever you say doesn't make his article more or less valid. It is his way of thinking. Heck, I even included supply and demand schemes in my game. Technology varies from different eras and there's even a banking/stock system. Those are my rules, who's to say that I am wrong?
So, please, if you really want to say something, go do some research, and post your own series of equations, showing the way you think it should be done. This is a fantasy game, where the rules can be changed and bent at the DMs will. If you've got nothing nice to say, don't say it at all. (And, definitely, don't repeat what other people have said, it's redundant and takes more time than really needed to read a good thread.)
And it should never be possible to break an item down into its components and sell it at a profit, nor should versions with extra work (and thus extra cost) cost less. Thus, a 10 foot pole (2sp) should not cost less than a 10 foot ladder (5cp), or someone will set up a shop where he buys ladders and breaks them in half and sells the sides as "poles".
a Spiked chain with a 10 foot reach weighs 7 1/2 times as much as a 10 foot chain, yet costs 5 GP less.
The reason for the pricelist anomalies are, of course, that they're for game balance. The cost of an item in D&D has nothing to do with how it's made, and everything to do with how useful it is in a dungeon.
Edymnion... we disagree on a lot of stuff and this is not one of them. Fabulous article. I will be using this as a guide in my games. My players are already starting to talk about taking the profession skill so they can make money in down time. MY players! It's nothing short of a freaking miracle.
I'm not sure how game balance is affected by increasing the price of ladders?
And last, many urban commoners aren’t entrepreneurs, but employees. I'm sure we all know that many employees don't make what they are really worth...
the amount of taxes paid would *NOT* be a third or half of everything the peasant produced.
The taxes went mainly towards supporting the lord and his family, meaning that once their food needs were met, and he got enough coin to keep his affairs in order, the people kept everything else.
We will assume that Joe, Jill, and Billy each eat the equivalent of 1 common meal and 2 poor meals per day (5 sp per day, each), and that Susy eats the equivalent of 2 poor meals per day (2 sp per day), and that the baby does not eat enough to be worth factoring into this.
Sorry for coming into this late. If someone has discussed this then by all means ignore. Great post first off. Gives some great fluff with a little crunch. My main concern was not the post but some of the replies. Contrary to what is taught today the peasants had a fairly decent life and it wasn't such "Robin Hood". Not every Lord took whatever he wanted or even at times what was owed. After all, peasants unable to continue on the land didn't put coin in pocket and allowed not so much a peasant rebellion as a neighboring Lord to come in and smack down the Lord who wasn't able to manage his land.
The history of taxes are based on taxes that could be claimed at that time. IOW it would be like taking all of the taxable possibilities of the state of Iowa with all the taxable possibilities of the state of New Jersey and then saying that every person in the state of Oregon paid these PLUS the taxes in Oregon. Just sometimes take what is a good post and let it be a good post!
Anyway using the rules one thing no-one's said what skill rolls actually mean - I'd say the farmer is always the same farmer. Low rolls mean bad weather, crop blights, diseased cows or whatever, high rolls good weather and other favourable conditions. With no savings a peasant family is going to occasionally suffer some considerable hardship just from low rolls. That seems realistic to me.
Well, do remember the local lord will have to:
A) pay to support a small number of dedicated fighting men, including equipment and food.
B) pass on a huge percentage of what he takes in to the king.
And medieval farmers *DID* know about fertilizers. They would routinely put manure on their fields. Its one reason why English food still tends to be bland today, because of a long history of having to boil everything for hours precisely because their food was covered in .
If we divide the “Expenses” in the assumption by half (these are only NPCs and not PCs rolling in gold and silver, after all) then the Common standard of living comes out to 22.5 gp per month. This would place the average commoner around the Common standard of living (professionals making more than a craftsperson, entertainers making a Good living without doing much).
Hirelings making 1 sp per day would make 3 gp per month and fall just over “Meager”.
Experienced Hirelings that make 3 sp per day would make 9 gp per month and fall a little over “Poor”.