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Friday, October 1, 2010

Support and Upkeep

Here are some rules for upkeep costs for PCS:
Beginning characters must pay for every short-term need, including room and board. Such things will be more expensive on a pay-as-you-go basis. Once they've earned their first 100 experience points, however, they can consider ongoing expenses to be covered by a monthly upkeep expenditure. Add 50 points to the character's current accumulated experience and drop the last two digits to get the monthly upkeep costs.

This may seem like a house rule, but it isn't; it's a restatement of a rule given in Vol. III, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, page 23:
"Player/Characters must pay Gold Pieces equal to 1 % of their experience points for support and upkeep, until such time as they build a stronghold. If the strong- hold is in a wilderness area all support and upkeep costs then cease, but if it is in a village or town not controlled by the player/character then support and up- keep payments must continue."
How much characters spend per month can be used as a rough guide to what kind of conditions they live in. The 1 GP/month PC has a corner to sleep in somewhere and at least one meal a day, probably stew. The 10 GP/month probably has a small room in someone's house, or at an inn, 100 GP/month is a suite of rooms or a one-room cottage. PCs must pay for consumable items and anything else take on expeditions (rations, torches, arrows,) but maintenance costs for durable items like armor and simple housewares (a couple candles per room, a couple pots in the kitchen) can be assumed to be included as a part of upkeep as long as the monthly cost is more than twice the full price of the item.

Since barons have a monthly income of 10 gp/inhabitant and clerical founders of churches or abbeys have a monthly income of 20 gp/inhabitant, I'd rule that taxes or tithes in a territory are 20 gp per person, but half the money raised in a barony goes to maintenance of the keep and barony; clerical lands produce twice as much because of additional contributions or donations from the faithful. Wizards in the LBBs do not get an income, but there's some leeway in how to interpret this. Perhaps wizards can't build strongholds or raise taxes, or perhaps they can, but don't attract inhabitants, and one of the following is true:
  • they must pay standard upkeep as if living in a city;
  • they can make investments to attract a population, but all the income collected goes to support the territory;
  • they don't pay upkeep, but maintenance and supplies are assumed to be acquired through supernatural means;
  • they collect 20 gp/inhabitant, but half goes to upkeep and half goes to a lord or patriarch; they must make investments to get any actual income.


  1. I like the expression of what you get for given amounts of GP.

    Can someone choose to spend less if they'd rather live in a small corner and eat soup?

  2. It's up to the GM. Some might not allow it; some might require cheap PCs to pay for everything on an as-you-go basis; some might not allow advancement to the next level unless the PC pays up. Support and upkeep comes from the days of glossing over a lot of in-town activities, so the 1% formula is mean to make bookkeeping and shopping easier for players, and encourage them to want to save for a stronghold.

    I personally would consider the fee to include training, taxes, socialization costs, maintenance of gear, and health and nutrition costs. So if a player asked if he could spend less than the 1%, I'd ask what areas he wants to skimp on and assess some other penalty or effect as a result: slowed healing, malnutrition, equipment breakage rolls, lowered reputation, slowed level advancement, and so on.

  3. Should the income from taxes that high level PCs get line up with taxes that lower level PCs pay? In fact, there's a case that wandering strangers who show up periodically with sacks of loot should pay more.

  4. @Roger: if taxes are assumed to be included in support and upkeep, it's entirely possible that high level PCs are paying higher taxes.

    On the short term, like when a high-level PC relocates, the GM can charge any taxes that seem appropriate... and yeah, guys who show up with lots of treasure will probably be asked to pay more. Relocating PCs will also have to pay other short-term costs, like food and lodging. Once they start paying a monthly percentage, they can forget all that. The GM's goal should be to make a clear ladder social benefits, with the bottom rung (shiftless wanderer) being more inconvenient than the middle (local hero) and the top run (landed gentry) being the most desirable.