Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Economics of a Basic Pathfinder NPC - Just How Poor (or Rich) Are They?


This has been a point of contention within my RPG group, just how much is an average Joe suppose to make in the game? I've never given it much thought; I just go with peasants making about 1 GP a year. But after so many sessions, I think it's time for me to tackle the question of, just how does the financials look like of the many nameless NPC that dots our games.


Let's start with some stated parameters. According to Ultimate Campaign (Gaining Capital), unskilled labor is 1sp a day for NPCs. This is also noted under their respective description in the Core Rulebook. This is compared to the 5sp that PC characters are suppose to make under the same unskilled circumstances. Furthermore, daily income for skilled PCs can be done by taking the appropriate skill check and then dividing it by 10, gaining that much in GP (rounding down to the nearest silver). I will proceed from this point forth assuming the following:
1. We will be dealing with Basic NPCs (not heroic ones)
2. Basic NPC earns 1/5 compared to their Heroic counterparts (and PCs)
3. A workweek is 5 days
4. Unskilled labor is 1sp for basic NPC
5. All skilled labor checks will Take 10 for the average gains
6. Base stats of all basic NPC will be 10
7. A skilled NPC will have the skill used for money making as a class skill
8. Nothing aside from the skill rank and base attribute score will be used (no traits or feats)
9. We will use the Paizo's Monthly Cost of Living table from the Core Rulebook:
Destitute (0 gp/month): The PC is homeless and lives in the wilderness or on the streets. 
Poor (3 gp/month): The PC lives in common rooms of taverns, with his parents, or in some other communal situation.
Average (10 gp/month): The PC lives in his own apartment, small house, or similar location—this is the lifestyle of most trained or skilled experts or warriors. 
Wealthy (100 gp/month): The PC has a sizable home or a nice suite of rooms in a fine inn. 
Extravagant (1,000 gp/month): The PC lives in a mansion, castle, or other extravagant home—he might even own the building in question. 

Unskilled Basic NPC Personal Finance

Let's start with the basic laborer, your burger flipper or your mover. These guys earn 1sp per day for their unskilled work. Thus, in a month, they will earn 2gp:
(1sp /day) * (5 days /week) * (4 weeks /month) = 20sp or 2gp

Given that they make 2gp every month, this puts them square in the Destitute category as they will not be able to afford the 3gp/ month of the poor tier. Of course, if they work 30 days a month, then that will just cover the expenses and breaks even.

Unskilled @20 days /month = 2gp /month
Unskilled @20 days /month = 3gp /month

Skilled Basic NPC Personal Finance

Now this is where things starts to change. A skilled NPC is basically is any NPC that has at least 1 rank in some kind of skill that might allow them to work, such as Sleight of Hands for pick pocketing or just a normal Craft/Profession skill. The equation is as follows:
(Skill Check/10 sp /day) * (20 workdays /month) = gp/ month

Now let's assume a level 1 NPC with one point in any of the professions would result in a Take 10 result of 14:
10 (Take 10) + 0 (Attribute Bonus) + 1 (Skill rank) + 3 (Class Skill Bonus)

Plugging 14 into the monthly equation will result in 2.8gp a month, just barely under the poor rating. Only once an NPC has hit level 2 can they start generating enough cash to break even. However, if a level 1 NPC can work 2 more extra days, they will be break even with .8cp to spare every month! Here's a chart of some basic NPC earnings:

Lv1 Skilled @20 days /month = 2.8gp /month
Lv1 Skilled @22 days /month = 3.08gp /month
Lv2 Skilled @20 days /month = 3gp /month
Lv5 Skilled @20 days /month = 3.6gp /month
Lv10 Skilled @20 days /month = 4.8gp /month
Lv20 Skilled @20 days /month = 6.8gp /month

What does this mean for your average NPC?

Sadness, that's what. No matter how hard your NPC tries, they will be forever stuck living at the poor level. Now granted, poor doesn't mean beggar level. If you can afford 2gp /month, you're simply living with other people, maybe with like 3 generations in a household rather than just 2 or something of that like. But it's still sad that even the most experienced of the basic doctors can never expect to own their own house.

Hold on just a moment though.

Let's be more realistic here. It is still possible for an NPC to reach the average level if we apply some factors we left out originally. Before we were assuming average stats all round without factoring any assistance, your basic Joe. Now, we are going to add some skills into the mix and try to create a more educated commoner. 

In order for a person to be able to afford the average tier, they will need a Take 10 result of 50. A basic NPC starts off with a 13 in his highest ability score. Let's also assume you are human or picked a race with a bonus to the moneymaking skill. That pushes it to 15, or a +2. We will also be taking Skill Focus to pump up the chosen skill by +3, or +6 by level 10. So at level one, they will have a Take 10 check of 19, resulting in 3.8gp /month (not bad eh?). 

By level 10, you can expect a Take 10 check of 35. By that level, the level 10 bonus of Skill Focus will kick in. You will also have taken 2 more attribute points at level 4 and 8, bringing the attribute bonus to +3. In addition, you can grab the Prodigy feat, adding another +2 to your check.

And once you are level 20, you will have taken another 3 more points to your attribute of choice to 20, or a +5. This brings your Take 10 check to 47, including your skills ranks. We're also going to apply age bonus, which can increase your mental ability score as you get older. We only need to advance your age twice to 22, so you'll be at 48. Finally to round everything off, you will need a Masterwork toolset, which will add +2 to your skill of choice, bringing you just to the 10gp /month needed for an average lifestyle. 

Of course, there are other methods of adding even more to your check, but they are usually restricted in some fashion by race. With this, by old age, it is very possible to have an NPC finally have a place to call home. Earlier of course, if you want to give up your weekends and toy with racial features.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Of Blood and Demons and... Bricks?! (Part 6 - Into the Woods)

The party spent a brief moment in the white room when suddenly the floor gave way under them. They fell what felt like minutes before their surroundings suddenly changed. The skies were dark with no sun in sight and a barren wasteland stretched out in all directions as far as the eye can see. A large, timeworn castle graced the landscape. But their immediate concern was the rapidly approaching ground as they hurtled straight towards it. Many managed to land safely, but a few unlikely souls slammed into dead trees on their way down. Luckily, none were too badly injured.

Before they could get their bearings set, they heard a shrill scream. Scanning the horizon, they found the source of it, a gnome frantically running away from from strange rotting plant looking creatures. They lurched and stumbled after her with surprising speed. The gnome suddenly took a tumble! She rolled once, twice, and skidded to a stop at the base of a small rise. She looked on in terror and started to scream incoherent words as her pursuers advanced upon her.

Wendy made a decision then to intervene. She took from her pouch some seeds and threw it between the pursuers and the gnome. The seeds landed in the dead earth and green erupted from them. Vines flew out in all directions and within seconds there was a large patch of vines between the pursuers and the fallen gnome, who has clammed up. Charging from their cover in the hills, the party charged forward to engage the enemies. The fight was fierce, but luckily it was ended prematurely by a gift from the black skies, a muscular man wrapped only in a loincloth came hurtling down, smashing the remaining creatures.

In the wake of the battle, the party settled down to find out what exactly has happened in the last few bizarre minutes, with running rot plants chasing a gnome and a man from the skies. The man named himself as Fetus, a warrior from a far off tribe. He was sleeping and woke up to find himself speeding towards the ground.

With little information to answer their questions, the party now turns towards the gnome. Her name? Enya. And her importance? She is one of the people trapped here to maintain the seal. Confirming Chvatil's worries, she tells them that this is the second seal. Chvatil's first seal already has been destroyed and the second seal, though stronger, is rapidly weakening. She, along with two other comrades are in charge of the second seal. She tells them, however, over the time they were here, they've become corrupt. As a result, they started to drain the energy from the lands around, resulting the vast, barren wastelands. She implores them to help her free the energies they have taken back to the lands and to reseal the locks. The energy are being used to create corrupt vegetation and forest dwellers, similar to the ones chasing her.

She leads them back to her fortress where she has created countless mechanical golems to help her fight against the never ending tide of corrupt forest dwellers. Here, the party decides it might be, to the very least, useful to check out the forest. While Enya's story sounds spot on, some voiced their suspicion, especially at her labs under the fortress which she refuses to allow anyone down there for fear of danger. And so, the next they, the party ventures forth to the mystical forest.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Travel Eating - Food in North Carolina

So... we haven't posted in a while. Whoops! Between life, work, and volunteering, I've been pretty busy. (I like using Google stickers...)
Because of my work, I get to travel a few times in the year to various places in the U.S. and this totally allows me to try out different restaurants. Here are some places that I've tried during my stay in North Carolina (downtown Winston-Salem mostly). Onward!
Totally being a big piggy...
(Also, I will try to link the restaurant/bakery/food place to their websites if they have one. Most of what I review will either be about the bar, or the food only because I don't like eating in a restaurant by myself too often :c ).

Sweet Potatoes 

So this place has great music and an awesome bartender. The bartender was very nice and told me his favorite dishes (not the dishes that had the higher price range). My coworkers called this a pricey Southern meal, but it was one of those places that I really wanted to go to because I had a hankering for Southern food. 

Carolina Salmon Florentine!

So this dish was really tasty. It's 2 pieces of blackened salmon fillets, with some spinach on the bottom and a shrimp remoulade. The salmon was cooked well and the remoulade went well with the salmon. The best part of this dish, was what was at the bottom. It was a sweet potato cornbread. Yes, this cornbread had a good sweetness that made the dish excellent. I made sure I ate a bit of everything in every bite (except for the capers because I don't really like them :c). 

The next time I come to North Carolina, I will come back here to try another dish and also try their pie (but I was stuffed that day).

Hutch & Harris

I sat at the bar and since I didn't drink, they didn't really care much about me. :c They were having a big reservation that day too so I guess it was fine. The place was pretty dark and they people around me were really cheerful and nice. 

Rajun Cajun = Love!
I totally didn't notice the mat underneath it said Naked. Haha!
The Rajun Cajun had shrimp, crawfish, smoked sausage, and chicken cooked in a great Cajun sauce over rice. I've never had any crawfish before but now that I've tasted it, I will definitely look forward to trying more crawfish! This dish had a good amount of spices in it and it was a bit spicy but definitely a delicious dish. It all tasted good and it was well cooked. There was no dried chicken or overcooked seafood. I would definitely come back to try something new or eat this again.

King's Crab Shack and Oyster Bar

This place was voted as the best seafood in the Triad (a part of North Carolina). I didn't eat in the place and did take out. When I got there, there were plenty of people inside enjoying buckets of seafood and drinking beer (felt a bit like a sports bar). The waiters were very friendly and I got my order pretty quickly.
Oyster & Shrimp Po Boy and Cornmeal Calamari
Fried Tastiness and the packaging looks cute!
These two dishes (yes I wanted my fried seafood) were delish. I liked the po boy more than the calamari. The po boy had excellently fried oysters and shrimps (about 4-5 of each). The bread was toasted and the tomatoes and lettuce that went in the sandwich made it great. That tartar sauce was great on the po boy too! Fries were mostly great and well seasoned. I didn't really like the cole slaw that came with the po boy but overall it was definitely good. The caramari was ok and their marinara sauce was standard. I think I might come back here if I had a hankering of fried seafood, or a bucket of steamed seafood, but I think I'll try a few other places first before I come back.

The Old Fourth Street Filling Station

Now, this here is one of my boss' favorite places to dine. She recommended this place to me so I went here instead of Bib's Downtown (I'll definitely be going to try that place out sometime for some BBQ). This restaurant is a little further from the usual downtown Winston-Salem eats but an easy walk to get to it if it's a beautiful day. Because I was a table of one, there were no spaces to eat outside but there was a few tables on the inside. The waiter was great. He was courteous and cracked a joke or two and made the meal enjoyable. 

Filet Napoleon and Side Salad
Yummy, yummy in my tummy. This here was decadence. The side salad was standard and I got it with a Sesame Ginger dressing. The entree was great. The sides were mashed potatoes and some seasonal vegetables like zucchini, peppers, and green beans. I had the 4oz beef tenderloin which was a bit salty but cooked well to a medium rare. What took the cake was that lump of crab meat that hides my tiny tenderloin. That crab meat lump was buttery and so so so good. Not so much a crab cake as stated on the menu, but definitely it was a tasty lump of crab meat. I would definitely come back here sometime to eat other things or get a larger tenderloin. :)

Camino Bakery

This place was my to go to dessert place after eating at those restaurants. They had so many different desserts that looked great but I've always liked to try different cheesecake flavors. 
Coffee and Red Velvet Cheesecake
I did takeout on these two slices of cake and I did find them a bit on the sweet side. The coffee cheesecake had a great taste of coffee and the red velvet had a bit of a cocoa taste but I preferred the coffee cheesecake over the red velvet cheesecake. They were both smooth and lighter than a New York Cheesecake. I will come back to Camino Bakery to try some of their other goodies.

Yeah, sorry if this post made you hungry but the food in Winston-Salem is great! There are still tons of restaurants that I haven't been too in the downtown area and I aim to try a few more the next time I travel over there!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Of Blood and Demons and... Bricks?! (Part 5 - Oh Bloody Hell)

With everything in the cup, they went upstairs into the little tower to ring the bell. Once, twice, thrice, they struck. The ear wrenching sound game way to an creepy silence. The party splashed their blood into the cup and watched it magically drain.

A loud crack was heard. The red orb floating quietly has split right down the middle. More cracks appeared, and a humanoid figure erupted out of the orb followed with red fluids that smelled suspiciously like blood. The figure floated for a bit in the air, opened his eyes. He only mouthed one word, "Run", before he started to convulse in pain. Black lines branched across his skin and then poured out of every orifice, surrounding him. The blood on the floor were drawn to the heap of dark liquid, mixing to finally form a large golem-like figure, completely made of blood and chunks of flesh that blobs around.

Wendy threw down two traps she had prepared prior, one made of aboleth slime she had harvested during the encounter before, the other, a sanctuary trap rigged to deploy a holy field when stepped on. Not a moment too late, as the blob charged with surprising agility, and sends John flying backwards, deploying the holy field. The slime trap also exploded, but the aberration didn't appear to be phased. The party engaged the blood construct. Rin ran in to attack, and discovered that the liquid was acidic as her slash caused it to splash over her. Adam summoned a group of eagles to take flight inside the chapel, circling the target. John recovered from his knockdown and quickly ran up the sides of the huge construct. He tried to pound it, but only burned his first for his trouble.

Meanwhile, Bonbon throws her pet hedgehog Squish up into the air for one of the eagles to catch. Channeling her magic, she used Squish to get a better angle at creature and unleashed a torrent of flame from Squished. The flame tore a gash in the flesh and they saw the original humanoid unconscious in there. The blood construct contracts, and John takes out his double barrel shotgun and aims where they last saw the figure and fires both shots right into the thing. It stops moving, and with a wet plop, the figure was dumped onto the floor from under the construct as the whole thing came crashing apart, flooding the place with blood.

They wake up the person and they find out his name was Chvatil. He informs them that they are currently inside the world of a complex seal that is holding the demon down. Centuries ago, he came with his fellow teammates to stop the demon from rampaging. The fight was fierce and they could not completely kill off the demon. Instead, they sacrificed their souls to hold it in place. However, the seal is weakening, and in recent times, that deterioration is growing at an exponential rate. This resulted in him being corrupted by the demonic influence within the seal. They seek someone to help, though he's not sure how the party managed to get in. His leader was the one who was tried to find people. Regardless, he asks if the party would help them out in defeating the demon. He opened two paths, one that leads deeper into the world to meet the other members of the team, who will try to assist them in their progress. He suspects something might have happened to them too with the seal weakening. The other door, however, would return them back to the outside world. Though he hopes not to have them leave, he will not force them.

The party agrees to help. Before they leave, Chvatil asks them to kill him. By doing so, they fulfill two things, first they will obtain something from him that will help them in their journey to defeat them. Second, he will no longer be vulnerable to the corruption of the demon. Hawk made a move to slay him, but before he could strike, with deft hands, he struck him with a rapier and proclaims, "I'll have you kill me, but I'm not going down without a fight!"

The party was reeling in surprise, not expecting that. Chvatil engaged multiple members of the party in a dazzling display of swordplay. When the group started to pile around him, he slide through the planes and jumped to the back, engaging the weaker wizard. The wizard, Bonbon, was in a bad position; she was alone in the back and pretty far away from her allies. Hawk was already caught in the middle and he charged to intercept him. He dealt a powerful blow, but Chvatil was unfazed, even as he was severely wounded. He revealed his trump card.

Suddenly, everyone was hit by a wave of nausea. The world was spinning and it felt like their blood was boiling and threatening to violently exit their bodies. Their blood, did in fact, violently leave their body, as they zoomed over to Chvatil and he absorbed it all, recovering to peak condition. He began form a blood armor around himself. John and Hawk would not let him and started to unleash a barrage of fists and metal to stop it from completing. Blows and blows they rained upon him until he gave in and exploded into a fantastic bloody mist. All that way left was the brooch he wore and a doorway off to the side into the room. Realizing the brooch was a magic focus, the party took it and entered the white gateway.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Reviews (Food) - Otafuku x Medetai

I don't get the combination either.

Name: Otafuku x Medetai
Address220 East 9th Street New York, NY 10003
Cuisine: Japanese Snacks
Cost: Low Range ($7/6 Takoyaki, $3 Medetai)
Recommendation: It's a cute and unique place. Definitely give it a try if you are in the area.

OxM is located just around the corner of Saint Marks and it's a nice little place I usually like to stop by after dinner on St. Marks for dessert. I discovered this maybe about a year or two back. Their menu is pretty small and I've honestly not tried anything there yet but the Takoyakis and Medetais,but even just for those two, it's still worth a check.

After dinner snack? Yeah, I'm a glutton.
Takoyakis are done in sets of 6 for $7 a dish. They're made fresh and even during low traffic times when they premake them, they're rarely in the warmer for more than a few minutes. These takoyakis are the standard fair. They have a small chunk of squid in each one with a mixture of vegetables and topped with takoyaki sauce, fish flakes, and mayo. These are pretty filling and you could potentially make a lunch of these. Just make sure you stab a few holes inside them to let the hot air out before tossing the whole thing in your mouth. A pleasure to eat.

"Good day sir/madam. My name is Very Berry. How would you like to eat me today?"
I'm always after a Medetai. These comes for $3 a piece. Effectively they are Japanese pastries with something stuffed in the middle. That something is either red bean paste or banana/Nutella. Occasionally they have a special flavor out (I've seen pictures of green tea and this baby up there is the Very Berry one) and those usually costs a little more ($4.50). Now I really like the red bean (nice and sweet) and the Very Berry (tangy as a counterpoint to the chocolate flavor), but I need to warn you about the banana/Nutella. The few times I've tried it, they put way too much banana and not enough Nutella, causing the every bite to be a banana chomp with the one single bite at the center tasting all Nutella. If you like bananas, go for it, but the way they make it doesn't spread the Nutella evenly enough.

So these aren't 5 star quality, but I'd still recommend it for a try. I know there are other places nearby where you can get the takoyakis, but they're good, they're cheap, and the experience of watching your food being prepared just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. So next time, if you're in the area, just drop by for a small snack. It'll be worth it for the experience.