Montly Expenses Made Easy

Tracking money is not very fun. It’s fun to earn it! And if you are in a store, and you’ve been saving up for something special, such as that kick’n Chainmail suit Old Grizlore is selling down town, well it is fun to spend it! But tracking day-to-day expenses is just plain boring for everybody involved. This is why the core rules included a quick and easy way to determine the cost of living.

Just so that we all know what I’m talking about, I’ll go ahead an show you the table right off the bat.


Life-style / cost-per-month
Squalid / 3gp
Poor / 5gp
Middle-Class / 50gp per level
Wealthy / 200gp per level

Now, what this all means is clearly up to the Dungeon Master to figure out, but I’ll go ahead and explain some guidelines to help clarify it some.

We base this either by simply asking the character, or by watching how he makes choices. Sometimes a persons class will dictate what he has to choose. A player who is playing a Noble character, will be forced to always have to maintain his wealthy status, while a player who is playing a beggar will not be allowed in any social class above poor. Humanoids, if you allow this kind of race to be played, will, like-wise, be kept in poor society. And, speaking of race, a player’s race can double the cost of living if they are not of the city or towns majority species. For example a human living in an elven village, or a dwarf living in a human settlement. Of course, this might not always be the case, it depends on the racial ties which are present. A Gnome living in a Dwarven town wouldn’t have to pay double because the ties between the two races are really good! Same as a halfling, who can typically live anywhere he pleases without having to worry about racial discrimination. If the two races are hostile towards each other, such as a Drow or a Half-Orc, they will be forced to live in the poor or squalid sections of town and it will cost triple the amount that it normally would for a human. Same thing if a human is trying to live in enemy territory.

You will notice that Middle-class and wealthy are counted as per level, this means that the number is multiplied by the players current level, if he has gained a level late in that month, then just charge him the old living expense for that one.

Now, naturally, if the party is on the move, then you’ll want to record stuff immediately, and they will be forced to either camp outside of town or stay in an inn, they’ll also be responsible for finding services and food themselves, but once they stay in the same spot for a find a rental room and set up their shop, then they can go back to this system.


Squalid is homelessness. You live on the streets, or once in a while you can rent a pile or straw in a common room. You live off of rats, begging, or whatever you can steal or scrounge up. There is no police protection, unless you count the officers which keep you in this section of town. You won’t be robbed, but you will have to put up with random acts of violence on a pretty regular basis, people just deciding to attack them just for the fun of it.

Your money goes to finding food, and paying off extortion from gangs who offer protection. It doesn’t include any dues, equipment, or anything but keeping you sheltered and semi-fed.


Poor is renting a very small home or rooms. It includes rent and food. You get some legal protection from indifferent soldiers who really don’t care about what your troubles might be. You still have to deal with random acts of violence, being extorted, and being the victims of even more terrible crimes such as kidnapping, and slavery.

Your money goes to shelter, food, taxes, and perhaps some membership dues, or modest equipment and upkeep of equipment.


Middle-class is either renting a home, or owning it, but it doesn’t cover the cost of the home if you are buying it. Of course, there isn’t any such thing as a loan, land is earned and given for rewards, or paid for in one lump sum. You get decent legal protection, and your life will be stable and boring for the most part. Thieves won’t usually be interested in you, as you aren’t really all that wealthy.

The cost of living includes clothing, a servant who will cook and clean for you, and probably handle the boring aspects of life so that you can focus more on your career. This cost of living includes members dues, and/or equipment and upkeep of the equipment. It will also cover training sessions, and learning new proficiencies, once you set them up.


This class is elite and has a set of problems which is unique to it. It covers full staff of servants, you don’t have to worry about buying supplies or equipment, and it will always be well-maintained, however everyone will know you, including those in the political forums who will use you, thus characters of wealth must always be on their toes in regards to detecting deceit, trickery, and general treachery.

For the most part, you have superior protection from and by the law, however you will become a target of burglars and thieves. Your money will include high-level dues, such as Wizard organizations, Knight Orders, and secret societies. It is expensive, but you won’t have to worry about spending money on anything. All you have to do is cover the monthly expense.


Once you build a stronghold, you no longer qualify for monthly expense living, you will be considered wealthy, but you’ll follow the system detailed under Stronghold rules which isn’t as easy, but not all that much harder to figure out either.

ART BY: Jeff Easley


Michael S/Chgowiz said...

Interesting! In my Dark Ages game, I do indeed do something similar, although the costs are different. I also charge by the day for passage of time between games (1 game day = 2 real days)

1cp = subsistence living. Mages/priests may not regain spells as they don't sleep well enough. PCs may not gain back HP as they are not comfortable enough.

1sp = common area/poor living - you sleep in the common area of an Inn, or you're maintaining an apartment with others. You can regain spells/hp but you do run a 10% chance of losing an item due to theft.

1gp = above average living. Private rooms. No theft. Good eating. You also gain rumors this way.

RipperX said...

Wow, that is cheap. What do your players spend their money on?

Nope said...

Great article once again, much to think about. Are there any random event tables for any of the lifestyles?

@chgowiz: I was thinking of doing the same thing in my campaign. Well a similar thing... I was thinking of making it 2 game days = 1 real life day and enforcing some sort of injury system. I really like the combat system used in 4e but I wish there were more options for game play besides kill monster loot body level up yay.

RipperX said...

I checked out my 1e book, just out of curiosity. Their monthly charge is much higher. 100gp per level, plus 100gp per henchmen level, plus 1% of the stronghold cost, meaning that this charge never goes away. This charge is for every character.

The bonus is that it keeps this need for adventuring, but I'm not sure exactly what this money would go to? It says that you've got to pay for equipment on top of it. What about rangers or elves who really don't collect much money? At 2nd level, I don't think that I've ever had 200gp! I think that the winner here is 2e.

Post a Comment


Contact me at

Search This Blog

Blog Archive