Powers and Perils


For all the years my group and I have been playing P&P, one of the largest irks we had was with the equipment list, mostly with some of the wacky prices, but also because of them it made fitting in new equipment somewhat difficult. 5 years ago, when we restarted our "Legends" campaign with their characters of 25 years ago, one of their goals was to eventually carve out a kingdom for themselves (which they have, in the "unclaimed" hills and mountains of the western elder mountains, close to Treaus.

Well, once you get such a kingdom, they needed to know what they were bringing in with regards to taxes. I could have gone with the culture book's GNI calculation and been done with it, but being the type who likes to crunch numbers and lay out a consistent basis for things, I went back to our old nemesis, the equipment list and how things are priced. To do this I would need to work out costs from the ground up, thus the birth of this project.

Now, I am not an economist (though some of you out there may be), so I'm looking at these rules as a step-by-step system to lay out a logical reasoning for the values of various goods and services. The goal is not to make "Sim-Donara", and may of the assumptions are made to reduce the laws to a bare minimum with a "perfect world" mindset, with the assumption that once we have a solid foundation, simple modifiers can then be worked up to reflect the variances one might encounter in the actual game world.


The following base assumptions are used as the core of the system:

All occupations have a set standard of living, defined as a specified number of bits per day. The base values by station at based on the P&P starting wealth table and some ideas from other games:

Station 1Labor(1bb)
 Skilled Labor(2bb)
Station 2Crafter(5bb)
 Master Crafter(10bb)
 Uncommon Tradesman(10bb)
 Pack Trader(5bb),
 Minor Merchant(10bb)
Station 3Artisan(20bb)
 Master Artisan(50bb)
 Master Merchant(50bb)
Station 4Specialist(100b)
 Rare Specialist(200b)

The foundation of most civilized lands is agriculture. Farmers at Station 1 make up the majority of the population, and the overall cost of food is based on what their income is worth.

NOTE - My numbers maintain their accuracy on my excel sheet. Higher-level occupations buy in bulk and get the calculated price when figuring their material costs; players purchasing materials "on the street" get the rounded up prices.

Farmer (1bb/day)

GURPS Low Tech Companion #3 (henceforth GLTC3) states that barley produces 705# per acre per growing season, with wheat producing 355# and legumes 280#. Agriculture at the level of technology produces yields 4:1 (4 pounds of grain for every pound sewn). I am unable to nail down a distinct maximum amount of land that a farming family can manage per year, but we want to match a more "ancient" rate of support needing plenty of farmers to support an urban population. Analysis of the P&P cultures shows that the weighted average margin is 20% (i.e. 1 farmer can support 1.2 people). Iteration of various values in excel indicates that the average farmland that a family can manage is 14 acres. At the P&P level of technology, the two-field system is most likely used, so half of this land is left fallow fallow each year to prevent soil exhaustion.

With the above numbers, a farm produces 4,935# of barley, 2,485# of wheat or 1,960# of legumes each year, of which 1 part in 4 must be retained for next years crops. This results in usable returns of 3,702# of barley (1,234#/adult), 1,864# of wheat (622#/adult) and 1,470# of legumes (490#/adult). Wheat produces about 1.7x the weight of the grain in straw (usable for fodder), or 4,225# (1,409#/adult). To keep things simple, barley produces less usable fodder, keeping it's yield at the same level as wheat.

A farmer works 300 days a year on his own farm, spending an additional 30 days (tithe) working the lands of his liege lord. The remaining 30 days in the year account for sickness, holy days or bad weather, but implies that a farmer could work those days, getting +10% income. The 300 days working his own farm must meet his income needs (1bb/day), so we can determine the value of the crops. It is assumed that grains make up 75% of the income, with straw/fodder making up the other 25%. Legumes make up 100% of the income when grown.

Barley/Oats0.1824bb/#(9b for a 50# bushel)
Wheat0.3618bb/#(18b for a 50# bushel)
Legumes0.6123bb/#(30b for a 50# bushel)
Fodder0.0533bb/#(11b for a 200# bale)

GLTC3 states that an active adult requires 750# of grain per year to survive. Wheat provides more protein than barley and is used for bread, with legumes making up the remainder of the needed protein (meat was relatively rare). Working the numbers such that food costs 2/3 the income, the diet is 70% barley, 20% wheat and 10% legumes, the yearly food cost is 196bb/year. Obviously, lower quality food can be bought for less if he needs money for other things.

In terms of population support, using the same percentages to determine the average food cost, a single adult farmer produces enough to feed 1.383 adults. While higher than the P&P weighted margin, it is enough to cover some high ratio cultures without the need for serious food imports (i.e. A'Korchu at a 33% margin or Dirlla at a 37% margin).

Given the above, the average adult requires 2.5FP per day, or 900FP per year. A grain/legumes diet provides 1.2FP per pound. At least now a Station person can afford his food (Book 1 had grain at 2bb per pound!)

The value of cropland works out to the income produced by the people working it for you. At 300b income over 14 acres, this comes to 21.43bb/acre for farmland (active+fallow). Book 1 states that farmland is worth 1SC per acre when purchased, so if we go with this value as one of our "data anchors" this implies that land sells for 4.7x it's yearly production income. This will come in handy when we eventually determine the cost of other land.

The cost of wintering a horse is based on 100 days where grazing is not possible. For a 1000lb horse, this is 20# of straw fodder per day, or 1SC per year. Working horses (horses on the battlefield or constantly working) cannot graze and will need oats as a supplement (0.5lb oats per 100lb weight) in addition to purchased straw, so owning a horse will cost an adventurer 12bb per week while traveling (6CC per month).

Flax Farmer (1bb/day)

Flax farmers grow flax for both the fibers it produces as well as the seed, which is usually used for animal feed or pressed into oil for water proofing or sealing. Using a document from the 1800's, I have a yield of 250# of lint (rendered fibers) and 8 bushels of seed per acre (448#). The low fiber yield is due to the fact that about 85% of the plant weight is removed to access the useful fibers. Using our normal farm family over 14 acres (7 active), we get a yield of 1750# (584# per man) of fiber and 3416# of seed (half used for next season, for a usable yield of 1708#, or 570# per man). As for other farmers, this is over 300 days, with an additional 30 days working for their liege.

In terms of value, we assume the fibers make up 75% of the income.

Flax Fiber0.3853bb/#
Flax Seed0.1316bb/#

Hemp Farmer (1bb/day)

Hemp farmers produce hemp, a fiber crop used to make rope (and coarse cloth). The seed is also pressed for oil (for convenience, I have the seed yield the same as for flax). Hemp produces about 850# of fiber per acre, or 1984# per farmer.

Hemp Fiber0.1135bb/#

Brewer (5bb/day)

On old resource I've mined for info is "Economy Quest", a set of economic rules made for Runequest (available if desired, contact me by email). From their rules:

Brewers are crafters living in the 1440 p. income bracket. A small brewery produces 2900 liters of ale per year. This ale sells, in bulk, for 5 clacs per liter. A brewery may grow its own hops, requiring a small farm to do so, or buy them, which costs 220 pennies per year.

The 1440p income is the same as our 5bb/year. 2900 liters is roughly 766 gallons. Scaled down from a family, this averages to 256 gallons per adult. From personal experience and online sources, a good rule of thumb is 10# of malted grain for 5 gallons of water, or 2# per gallon. While hops were not introduced in the real world until the middle ages, other herbs or spices were used as preservatives. We assume the brewing family grows whatever was used on their own lands and gathers their firewood for boiling the brew.

NOTE - Is this too little beer? I have brewed in the past, in 5 gallon batches and it took me, with modern gear a few hours to boil and cool the wort, followed by a week or so of fermentation before bottling. Were I to do this every night (had I the equipment) for 300 days I could do about 1,500 gallons a year If I also had to spend the day gathering firewood, picking hops, checking on the grain being malted for the next batch, etc. And that's with 20th century appliances and modern plumbing. If I had to do it with firewood and getting water from the local well, I could easily see my rate cut in half.

At 5bb per day, the 300 day rate is 1500bb. Instead of working a liege-lord's lands, the brewer pays an additional 10% of their income in beer to the lord, so he must actually produce 1650bb of value in those 300 days (which allows for +20% income if he works extra days). Given the cost of 500lb of barley, plus his income needs and tithed value we can determine the value of his beer or ale.

Beer 6.965bb/gallon

The brewer would likely sell his beer in 10 gallon lots (you supply the barrel; the actual cost of a barrel lies in a future installment), cleaned up for "processing and handling".

Beer7CC per 10 gallon keg

Tavern-Keeper (5bb/day)

With the cost of beer from his supplier at 7bb/gallon, and a noted Book 1 cost of 2bb per quart (8bb/gallon), a Tavern-Keeper's markup is obviously 1bb per gallon (15%), meaning he must sell 1,650 gallons a year (about 5.5 gallons per day, over 300 days of operation). Using this same ratio, a tavern that sold prepared food would use the same margin. Using the 15% markup, he sells his purchased wine for 15bb per bottle to his customers. Empty bottles can usually be sold back to a glassmaker for 1bb since its easier to reforge old glass. Wines of lesser or greater quality can simply be scaled from Book 1 prices, based on good wine.

Beer or Ale2bb/quart, 1bb/pint
Watered Ale 1bb/quart
Tavern Meal1/4bb per food point (per day) at Station 1
Wine15bb per quart bottle
Cheap Wine6bb per quart bottle
Fine Wine46CC per quart bottle

Laborer (1bb/day)

The laborer is the bottom-most level of service available. A laborer will work 300 days for himself, taking his pay in product (for barter or sale for coin), or in coins. An additional 30 days is spent doing labor for the king. Alternately, this could be thought of him working 330 days, and skimming off his tithe for the tax collectors. Unskilled labor is used for any simple gathering needs required by higher-level occupations.

GURPS Architecture (GA) states that a laborer can gather 27 cubic feet of firewood per day. A cord of wood, weighing 4000#, is 128 cubic feet, so this comes out to roughly 843# per day. Forests were coppiced so that wood could be taken sustainably.

Firewood0.0013bb/# 5-1/4bb per cord

GLTC3 states that laborers can gather up 80 pounds of usable clay from local sources.

Raw Clay0.01375bb/# 1-1/2bb per hundred-weight (100#)

While not stated in the GURPS sources, we assume that sand is more plentiful, but it still requires cleaning and sifting in order to be usable for glass.

Fine Sand0.00458bb/# 1/2bb per hundred-weight

Collier (1bb/day)

A Collier (charcoal-maker) purchases firewood and partially slow-burns it, driving out the moisture. The resulting chunks are about 75% lighter and burn much hotter than a wood fire. Charcoal is used for high-heat applications, such as glass-making, smelting ores and metalworking. Finding numbers for the average production per year is difficult. On my old calculation sheet I have a value of 500# per day. From one site, it notes a burn of 15tons at a time, which "took 4 days to burn and many more after that to cool". If, for a guess we say this took 15 days, that's 2000# per day for a team of 4 men, which seems reasonable, so I'm going with that.

Charcoal0.014bb/# 1-1/2bb per hundred-weight

Potter (5bb/day)

A potter purchases clay and firewood and uses his skills to create cups, jars or plates that are fired and become able to hold water or other goods. GLTC3 states that a potter can produce 43 pounds of pottery a day. Crafter need a little more flexibility to cover spells of little work, so for all crafting occupations it is assumed that they need only work 240 days of the year to cover their own needs, plus the 30 needed to cover their tithes. This leaves extra time in the year to handle additional work in order to cover the leaner years.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any sort of information on the amount of wood required. As a guideline I have seen that smelting ore takes about 10 tons of charcoal per ton of ore. I realize that charcoal produces more heat than wood fires, but pottery requires less heat then smelting ore. Going (for now) with a ratio of 10# of fire wood per pound of clay fired we can get a rough estimate of the value of pottery.

Pottery 0.1867bb/#

Glassmaker (10bb/day)

A glassmaker purchases sand and charcoal and uses his skills to create glass wear or plate glass and is primarily found in cities. GLTC3 states that a glassmaker can produce 11# of glass per day, for over 240 days. Glass making uses charcoal, which has a greater heat output, but does not require as much charcoal to melt as that needed for smelting metals (I place this at 5# of charcoal per 1# of glass). Worked out, we have the value of glassware:

Glass 1.3247bb/#

I've been hard pressed with my google searches to find the weights of roman or middle ages glass containers on a quart size; looking online it seems that a standard 750ml bottle is close to 1.5#, so make it 2# for a 1 quart bottle.

Glass Bottle2-3/4bb/#(1 quart)
In terms of glass plate, sizes were probably limited to no more than 2 foot square, at 1/4" thick. Glass plate of this type weighs 3# per square foot.
Glass Plate4bb per square foot

Vintner (5bb/day)

Going back to EconomyQuest (EQ), it states that a family of vintners can produce 480 liters of wine per year, about 127 gallons. Online resources have it at 85-90# of grapes per 5 gallons; going with the lower rate, this means a production need of 2159# of grapes. EQ states that these grapes can be grown on "two small farms", i.e. double the size of a grain farm. All 14 acres are in use with vines (no fallow acres). The production per adult is therefore 720# of grapes per year. The grapes can be sold as fruit, but it's an expensive treat. It takes 4-5 years for the vines to establish and start producing fruit.

Grapes2.2917bb/#(11CC per 50# bushel)

If the grapes are not sold but are used to making wine, production is concentrated after the harvest and over the fall and winter months (unlike brewing which can use stored grain over the course of the year if needed). Each adult can produce 43 gallons of wine per year. Once the wine is barrel aged, it is then drawn into glass bottles and stoppered with a wooden peg and wax. We round up the cost to account for the other materials and effort. Wines of lesser or greater quality can simply be scaled from Book 1 prices, based on good wine.

Wine 13bb per bottle (1qt)
Cheap Wine5bb per bottle(likely spoiled wine that has been spiced to hide any bad flavors, or watered down wine)
Fine Wine4SC per bottle(usually stronger due to longer fermentation or methods to produce something more like brandy. Also likely from a rare superior vintage.)

Millers (5bb/day)

Millers were an important part of any society, taking grain from the surrounding community and using wind, water or animal power to grind it into flour. The only source I have to go with here is from "Economy Quest":

Millers own a mill of some kind and grind other people's grain. The standard miller's cut is 10% of the grain ground.
Using this as a guide, we will assume that the family grinds 40,500bb of barley per year to make their income needs (over 270 days). This is about 222,125# of grain, or 823# per day for the family (275# per person). Wheat flour has gluten and can be baked into risen loaves; barley flour does not, resulting in denser bread.
Barley Flour5# per 1bb
Wheat Flour2.5# per 1bb

Linseed Pressers (2bb/day)

In many cases flax seed was used for cheaper animal feed, but it was also pressed for useful oil. Assuming a refining rate similar to a miller, a family presses 16,200bb of flax seed (linseed) into oil, about 123,119# worth (456# per day for the family, or 152# per day per adult). When pressed, linseed produces 40% oil per weight in seed, with a liquid value of 0.13 gallons to the pound.

Linseed Oil2.84bb per gallon(3bb per gallon retail)

Spinner (1bb/day)

Spinners use distaffs or other similar hand tools to take flax fiber and twist it into tightly wound thread. The 2-3 foot lengths of fiber are carefully fed in to produce spools of a single thread. As per GLTC, spinners can produce 350 yards of common thread per day, over 270 days. At 1# per 640 yards of thread (enough for 10 square feet of fabric), a single spinner produces 148# of thread per year. Spinning is often performed by families in idle time to generate extra income. Fine thread takes longer to spin (75# per day) and requires higher quality flax (FOUR times cost). Hemp fibers can also be spun into coarse thread at DOUBLE the normal rate.

Fine Thread5.941bb/#
Hemp Thread1.554bb/#

NOTE - Spinners will also deal with Wool, which will be used by higher occupations, but I am still trying to settle out how I’m going to deal with Herding occupations and all the various animal products, such as Meat, leather, milk or eggs. I plan to deal with this stuff in Part 4 and will put addendum’s to Spinners, Weavers and Clothiers in that article.

Ropemakers (2bb/day)

Ropemakers are similar to spinners, but the need to produce very long lengths and thickness of ropes requires a bit more skill. The time to spin rope fibers is similar to that for spinners except that instead of producing one long thread, triplets of thread are then twined together to produce thicker and thicker ropes. Ropes for ships are usually oiled or tarred and cost DOUBLE.

Line1-1/4bb per 100' for 1/8"(0.5#, 125# maximum load)
Rope4-3/4bb per 100' for 1/4"(2#, 500# maximum load)
Heavy Rope2CC per 100' for 1/2"(9 pounds, 1 ton maximum load)
Mooring Rope8CC per 100' for 1"(35#, 4 ton maximum load)

Weaver (2bb/day)

Most weaving can be performed by slicked labor working hand looms. As per GLTC:

The size of pieces of cloth is limited by loom size. Since most looms were set up so that the weaver could work while seated, pieces wider than a person’s arm span and longer than a seated individual’s reach would be special projects. Thus, most cloth was at most two yards wide and often no more than 1.5 yards long.
It takes a weaver 5 days to set up and weave a 15# bolt of cloth, 5'x30', for a rate of 3# per day. This is over the 240 days of a crafting year. Common cloth has a weight of 1# per 10 square feet. Fine cloth using fine thread will have half the weight for a given bolt but takes twice as long to setup and weave. However, cloth use is not measured in terms of pounds, but in terms of yards of cloth, or "bolts". While common cloth may use use a single "spool" of thread to produce a certain yardage of cloth, fine cloths will require 4 times as many spools (higher thread count) for the same amount of cloth. Burlap is woven from hemp thread and suitable for sacks or covers.
Common Cloth3.5317bb/#(53bb per bolt of 15#)
Fine Cloth25.5977bb/#(192bb per bolt of 7.5#)
Burlap2.47b/#(37bb per bolt of 15#)
The above cost is for natural cloth. Bleaching it (to make it white) can easily DOUBLE the cost; the use of dyes or ornate weaving patterns can also DOUBLE, TRIPLE or increase it by even more.

Clothier (5bb/day)

GURPS has no useful indication of rate of creation, so I had to make a wild estimate of 6# of cloth per day. 10% of the cloth used is lost as scrap. When converting P&P or other sources for clothing, use the listed weight for both common and fine clothing when determining materials cost, but upon completion reduce the actual weight of fine clothing by HALF (i.e. 4# of clothing from a converted source actually weighs 2# if made from fine cloth).

Common Clothing5.2bb per pound
Fine Clothing15.5b per pound
When creating new clothing goods, multiply by the source weight and round up to the next 1/4bb if 5bb or less, or the next 1bb if over this. These prices assume plain cloth; for more ornate cloth (common, unusual or rare dyes; simple or complex weave patterns, etc), increase clothing cost by 75% for every multiple of cloth cost over x1
Beyond this, other costs can be tacked on (jewels or gold/silver threads woven in, at cost, fancy embroidery at 1CC per day (days required at GM determination), etc.

EXAMPLE - A full set of common clothing weighs about 2#. If made from fine cloth that had a x3 value, this outfit would cost 78bb (8CC retail) and have an effective weight of 1#.

Sailmaker (2bb/day)

Sailmakers use multiple layers of cloth to form canvas, which is treated with linseed oil to reduce permeability and to waterproof it. Canvas has a weight of 20# per 100 square feet.

Canvas Sail88.66bb/100 sq ft(9CC retail)

Sackmaker (2bb/day)

Sackmakers primarily create utilitarian bags and covers from burlap, but can also make poor quality clothing for low station people as well. Their production rates are similar to those as weavers, but quality is limited to poor since they are not as fully skilled.

Burlap Products3.2543bb/#

Timberwright (2bb/day)

Timberwrights are skilled labor that bring down trees of useful height and width, producing usable the timber for construction or crafting. From GURPS Architecture:

A team of foresters with axes and saws can produce an average of one square yard of board per man point of Carpentry skill per day.
This rate obviously assumes a team of at least 10 men to produce the above "per man" rate. After the trees are felled and de-limbed, the trees are dragged to a sawing pit where men with whip saws would cut the logs into boards. Assuming 1" boards as normal, we can derive the production rate. Softwoods (Pine, Poplar, Birch) are used in construction, with some hardwoods (Oak, Ash, Maple) used for key structural parts. Logs and beams can be produced at three times the rate, so assume that pure construction timber is produced at the average of the two.
Softwood Timber0.00036666b/#(7-1/2bb/ton)
Hardwood Timber0.000419bb/#(8-1/2bb/ton)
Crafting generally uses hardwoods of greater quality and grain, so production of such woods is a TENTH normal.
Craft hardwoods0.004198bb/#

Quarryman (2bb/day)

While general labor can be used to produce stone rubble, skilled labor is required to produce shaped stone Ashlar. From GURPS architecture:

Workers with good tools can produce one and a quarter cubic yards of stone rubble per man per day without supervision.
Stone weighs about 150#/cubic foot, but reduced gravel (with all the air space is about 100#/cubic foot. Gravel can be produced by unskilled labor, at a 1cy/day rate (rate reduced from GURPS to account for additional crushing)
Stone Gravel0.00041bb/#(5 tons for 4bb)
5 tons of gravel is enough to cover a 20' swath of Orange-quality road for 2000'

Mortarmaker (2bb/day)

Mortarmakers mine limestone and crushes it fine, baking the result in a kiln to remove what little water remains. GA states that starting from scratch, a skilled worker can produce 0.8cy of mortar per day (84#/cubic foot). It requires DOUBLE the volume in firewood to do this (1.6cy, or 1944#).

Mortar0.00261bb/#(5-1/4bb per ton)
Shaped stone requires the use of quarrymen and takes longer to produce, a rate of 4 cubic feet per day. This is rough stone block suitable for walls, foundations and supports; highly polished stone suitable for facing public buildings or the floors of ornate ballrooms can be up to TEN times as expensive!
Construction Stone0.003666bb/#(14-3/4bb/ton) 7.375 days/ton
Harder stones like granite take longer to produce (DOUBLE price), and ornate stone like marble costs FIVE times as much (hard and also rarer). DOUBLE the price or more if more ornate shapes (other than rectangular blocks) are required (i.e. curved stones for columns).

Excavator (1bb/day)

Unskilled labor used to excavate or level terrain. GURPS Low Tech notes excavation for normal soils at 10cy per man per day. This is increased by 20% per story (10') of depth below 1 level of basement (to account for scaffolding and ramps to get the dirt out. DOUBLE this cost (and time) for rocky soils.

Excavation4bb/1000 cubic feet

Mason (5bb/day)

For common or poor quality construction, one can get by with 1 skilled carpenter or mason per 10 semi-skilled laborers (i.e. average cost 2.25bb per man). Good or Fine construction requires more carpenters per worker (+25% and +50% cost respectively). Higher quality construction requires greater supervision, and eventually master crafters (10bb/day, or +100% costs). Stone construction requires mortar for 10% of the materials, with the other 90% being the stone. A team of masons can create 1cy of stone structure per day.

Masonry0.0076bb/#(15-1/4bb/ton) 0.5 days per ton
A 10x10 Stone structure "panel", 6" thick, weighs 3.75 tons (See construction.)
Masonry panel57.187bb(1.85 days)

Carpenter (5bb/day)

For wood construction, its a matter of constructing a frame, then attaching boards to the inside and outside to complete the structure. Roofs will use a frame plus thatch, or frame with shingled wood (no inside boards). For ships, assume that the outside has DOUBLE the material (with no boards on the inside).

The GURPS Architecture rules state that 1cy of wood (at 40#/cubic foot) is required per 100 square yards of wall. Scaling down to a 10x10 foot section, this works out to 120# of wood (about 6 2x4's, 10' long). In my mind, this seems a bit low; I would go with 9, which allows for top, bottom and the sides, plus 4 internal struts and the last cut up for cross-bracing. This works out to 5cf of softwood timber, or 200#. The stated construction rate for frames (at skill 10) is 90sqft of frame per day for that 120#, so framing is 120# per day. For wood facing the stated rate is 25sqy per day, which is set at 8 for 1" boards. This works out to 750# of wood per day for facing.

Wood Framing0.0294bb/#(58.895bb/ton) 16.666 days/ton
Wood Siding0.0078bb/#(15.583bb/ton) 2.6666 days/ton
A 10x10 wood frame section, with 1" wood siding on both sides and 2x4 construction needs 200# of frame and 666# of siding.
Wood sided panel11.078bb(2.555days)

Inn Economics for Owners

Using "Medieval Demographics made easy" (google search), I used the basic value of 1 inn per 2000 people. A 4-person managed inn (4 adults, or 3 adults and 3 children) live at 5b/day, so they need to make 20b/day in average income (720CC/year). Assuming the local culture takes 20% in taxes, plus you as the owner getting a 10% cut, dividing this out means the average Inn must pull in 10GC/year. At the 1 inn/2000 rate, that 10GC/2000 equals 5GC of "Inn" per 1000 population. For a city, increase the limit by 10% per road and by 20% if a port city. I also add an additional 10% for the capital city For the city of Donara, at 36,000 people, this is about 270GC of "innage". I figure a small inn is worth about 5GC, a Large Inn about 25GC. If you go with a basic ratio of 10% large, 20% small and the rest medium this comes out to roughly 10.5GC as an average, so I think the ratio is good.

So, what does this mean? A player or group of players can purchase a medium inn and pull in 1GC a year in profits (if the GM wants to go with the average), or the GM can use this as an game hook when the players try to find out why their inn is losing money. :}


This is the basics of my "Quick and Dirty" construction rules. Construction is based on 10x10x10 structure "blocks" for the building itself plus 10x10 "areas" for roofs.

Building spaces are abstracted as "Tight", "Normal", "Open" and "Grand". For normal we figure this as a virtual 20x20 room, composed of 8 panels, plus 4 panels to make up the floor. This produces an average of 3 panels per block of structure. Most normal buildings will use this value, so this is the norm.

"Tight" construction is used to represent an area with lots of tiny rooms or hallways and is imagined as a 10x10 area, needing about 5 panels per block. Tight construction has a cost/time modifier of x1.6.

"Open" construction is used for larger spaces such as dining halls or entry ways, envisioned as a 30x30 space. This takes 21 panels of material, or 2.3333 per block. The cost modifier for open is x0.8.

"Grand" construction is used for wide spaces, such as grand ballrooms or cathedrals and is envisioned as a 40x40 space, needing 32 panels of material, or 2 per block. The cost modifier for grand is x0.7.

When you design a structure, choose the openness modifier that best fits the layout. This could be per building, or per floor if you want to be detailed about it (i.e. A manor may be "Open" on the ground floor for ease of entertainment, and "Normal" on the upper floor for rooms; A keep may be normal throughout, but "Tight" down in the dungeons).

For roofs, assume 1.5 panels (roof section) per 10x10 area of maximum floor plan to account for roof pitch and supporting structures. In areas with no snow you can probably get away with shallower pitched roofs, at 1.25 panels per 10x10 area (can get by with flatter roofs).

In any construction, increase total costs and times by 10% for every story above one. If the structure has a basement (must be stone), the basement cost is increased by 20% for every level below 1 to account for scaffolding and ramps. Obviously, any basement requires excavation time first, and must be produced before the above-ground structure

Stone Roof5.625 tons9CC(3 days build, 83 days quarry)
Stone Structure11.25 tons18CC(6 days build, 165 days quarry)
Wood Roof0.65 tons17bb(4 days build, 5 days gather)
Wood Structure1.3 tons28bb(8 days build, 10 days gather)

The gathering time applies if the construction materials are not at hand, which will be the norm except for small projects (like a single house in a city) — if players head out to a site and want to start building their keep, factor in gathering time as well as construction. All times are in man-days. Obviously, having more workers will speed it up (cost is the same). However, a project cannot have more than 5 men per block of structure, and it is a minimum of 1 day per story for stone construction (to allow mortar to set).

Other than construction, common finish work (painting, trim, etc) assumes 10bb per structure block and per roof section (5bb/day labor and 5bb in materials); for poor finish use 5bb per block or area; Good finish uses 20bb/block or area; Fine uses 50bb/block or area, Opulent uses 100bb/block or area and Regal uses 200bb/block or area.

All costs assume local materials; beyond a mile or so transportation costs will start to mount up REAL fast…building a small keep a day or more from the quarry will drastically increase costs!

Example Construction: Ye-olde Peasant House

EXAMPLE - The Standard peasant house is 15x20, at 1.5 stories (upper loft), using common wood construction and a normal floor-plan, with a common finish. This works out to 4.5 blocks of structure (126bb/36 days, +13bb/4 days due to the extra story) and 3 areas of roof (51bb/12d). The total is 19CC/48 days. The family may have to wait up to 65 days for the lumber to be gathered, but assuming logging teams of 10 it's likely only 7 days. A construction team of 10 can put it up in 5 days.

Finish adds another 75bb, for a grand total of 265bb, rounded to 27CC. A little more reasonable than 3GC.

For military walls, a 10x10 section, 1 foot thick is the base — add thickness and height to suit. The 10% premium per 10' story above the first still applies (to handle bracing).

Military Wall12CC7.5 tons(4 days build, 110 days gather)
For walls, limit workers to 5 per section. As before, lower levels must be built first.


While not shown on the map book, there are many "Grey" roads that link towns and villages to the cities. These roads are simply cleared dirt roads and likely full of potholes and muddy in the rainy season. Travel is only increased by 25% on these roads (i.e. 12.5 miles per day walking, 8 days to go 5 hexes instead of 10 days; mounted travel is 4 days for 5 hexes).

Converting a "Grey" road to "Orange" requires laborers to lay out and pack down 3" of gravel over the 20' wide roadbed. It takes 185 man-days to lay out 1 mile of gravel at this thickness and width (1250 tons) at a total cost of 12SC per mile. gathering up the required gravel will take another 925 man-days per mile. Travel on an orange road grants you a doubling of movement; 1 day per hex (walking) and 2 hexes per day mounted.

"Red" quality roads are orange roads with a top layer of mortared stone. This also requires 1250 tons of stone block (2" thick) over the same 20' wide per mile, costing 19GC and taking 625 days per mile. Cutting the stone for this project will take 18,332 man-days per mile. Red roads allow for a movement rate of 250% for wagons and mounted travel.

Web sources

Burton Choinski



Quick and Dirty Construction Rules

Design: Burton Choinski