Table 65:

Common Wages


Weekly
Monthly
Profession
Wage
Wage
Clerk
2 gp
8 gp
Stonemason
1 gp
4 gp
Laborer
1 sp
1 gp
Carpenter
1 gp
5 gp
Groom
2 sp
1 gp
Huntsman
2 gp
10 gp
Ambassador or official
50-150 gp
200-600 gp
Architect
50 gp
200 gp

These amounts may seem low, but most employers provide other benefits to their hirelings. Appropriate room and board is expected for all but common laborers and higher officials. Those falling in the middle range expect this to be taken care of. Traveling expenses must come out of the PC's pocket, as must any exceptional items of equipment or dress.

Important hirelings will also expect gifts and perhaps offices to supplement their income. Soldiers expect to be ransomed if captured, to have their equipment replaced as needed, and to receive new mounts for those lost in combat. All of these extra benefits add up quickly. Furthermore, most activities are much more labor-intensive when compared to modern standards. More workers are needed to perform a given job. More workers means greater overall expenses and lower wages for each individual laborer.

For example, consider Targash at his castle. He has assembled the officials, craftsmen, and soldiers he feels he needs to maintain his standing and protect his small fief. These break down as follows:

250 light infantry
250 gp
50 heavy infantry
100 gp
100 longbowmen
800 gp
75 light cavalry
300 gp
25 heavy cavalry
250 gp
1 master artillerist
50 gp
10 artillerists
40 gp
1 master engineer
150 gp
1 master armorer
100 gp
5 armorers
50 gp
1 master bladesmith
100 gp
5 bladesmiths
50 gp
1 master bowyer
50 gp
1 bowyer
10 gp
1 master fletcher
30 gp
1 master of the hunt
10 gp
8 huntsmen
40 gp
10 grooms
10 gp
20 skilled servants
(baker, cook, etc.)
40 gp
40 household servants
40 gp
1 herald
200 gp
1 castellan
300 gp


Total
2,970 gp per month

These costs cover only the wages paid these nonplayer characters. It does not include the funds necessary to provide provisions, maintain equipment, or expand Targash's realm (a desire of many player characters). Over the course of a year, Targash mush bring in at least 35,640 gp just to pay his hirelings.

Considering a reasonable tax to be one gold piece for each person and one or two silver for each head of livestock, Targash must have a considerable number of people or animals within the borders of his fief or go into debt! Supplementing one's income thus becomes a good reason for adventuring. However, even powerful, adventuring lords often find themselves forced to borrow to maintain their households.

And these costs don't even begin to cover the salaries demanded by any extremely rare hirelings Targash may need. Spies and assassins normally demand exorbitant wagesó5,000 to 10,000 gold pieces or more. And they are in a position to get away with it. Aside from the fact that not many can do their job, they can also force an employer to pay through blackmail. The act of hiring must be secret, not only to succeed, but to prevent the character from being embarrassed, disgraced, or worse. Woe to the employer who attempts to cheat his assassin!

Others can also resort to such blackmail. Mercenaries may refuse to go on campaign until they are properly paid (a tactic used by the condottieri in Italy). Peasants have been known to revolt. Guilds may withdraw their support. Merchants can always trade elsewhere. All of these serve as checks and balances on the uncontrolled power of any ruler from local lord to powerful emperor.

Table of Contents