Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thoughts on the D&D Economy

In 5th edition, the core rulebooks do a fairly decent job of creating prices for anything the players could conceivably buy. However, the entire economy revolves around the idea that the average consumer is an adventurer and not some working joe living like a peasant just to raise his family. It breaks verisimilitude in a big way when a player asks the bartender, “How much for an ale?” and the reply is, “Four coppers.” Something’s not working if the player can respond with, “I killed a hill giant on my way to town yesterday and looted his cave for 100 gold. It was a slow day, but I’m in a good mood. How about I buy everyone in town a mug of ale? The population is about a thousand, so that’s 40 gold. Take the rest and I’ll stay in the Wealthy room for a month.” The average adventure can earn enough gold to buy a kingdom after a few quests, or at least a significant portion of it. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sit right with me.

There is a false economy in this system, not in terms of gold but time. One would think the economy in Dungeons and Dragons is a complete game structure, but sooner rather than later a Dungeon Master who wants verisimilitude in his game will need to create a fix for an actual incomplete game structure. Rather than sit around waiting for Wizards to maybe publish something that can address this, we have to do it ourselves. Before I put forward my thoughts on how to do this, I’d appreciate any thoughts you may have on the subject. As a community we can come together and fix what we find lacking. There’s no need for an official fix if what we do works. Post below your ideas and/or what you’ve done in your games.


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