We had a couple of questions from one of you on Grain Into Gold. Since he was curious, we figured some of you might be too.
First - 10 copper coins = 1 silver coin & 10 silver coins = 1 gold coin. Seems too perfect.
Yep! It is WAY too perfect. Not only should the percentages be far different, at least if this was Earth, but they should fluctuate. A gold rush or a silver miner strike would dramatically impact the value of commodities like precious metals. Further, different city states would likely mint their coins from different purities of the metals, so a silver coin wouldn’t equal a silver coin.
So why? I like to use realistic situations in games, but fluctuating foreign currency markets, and commodity markets, and geological discoveries are just too much work and math. It is a game after all, and this level of economics is too much even for me.
Second - Does the cost of the materials factor into costs? How does skill and training factor into the value of a craftsman?
Materials absolutely factor into the cost of items, but the cost of the materials doesn’t always factor into the amount paid to the craftsman. Sometimes it does, like a silver smith makes more than a tin smith and less than a gold smith. Similarly, rabbit furriers are far more common than fox furriers, so the fox furriers make more.
While training does factor into what a craftsman makes, one of the major factors in how much a craftsman makes is the cost of his tools. The more expensive the tools, the more the craftsman can charge for his labor.
Third - How does risk factor into the value of a craftsman? Coal miner vs. chandler
Does risk factor in? Yes! But, life is cheap in a fantasy environment; otherwise people wouldn’t be willing to face dragon fire to make some coin. Similarly, miners make relatively little money because it is not a highly skilled profession. Basic labor is cheap - look through Grain Into Gold for all the jokes about longshoremen. Is that a tough job? Sure, but it’s not like they got a college degree to learn how to offload ship cargo.
Grain Into Gold had a lot of salaries in it as did 100 Professions. Those will give a great idea of how much different professions make. It should be pretty clear what I’m talking about with the tools and the training and how it factors in. Pretty clearly we like to answer the questions you folks ask us.