Every adventurer knows that to earn the most gold you have to go into the world and face danger by encountering dreaded beasts and looting ancient tombs ... mostly. There are, of course, many other ways to acquire great amounts of gold, but generally, you need a bit of experience behind you before tackling the more dangerous tasks. So what about when you have only just started your adventuring career? Is there something just a little less dangerous to start along the path of earning a living before stepping into the great wealth of heroic adventures? Later in this blog, I will cover some of the ways a player can earn some basic gold for their PCs. It's not all plain sailing, but at least it's a living!
First, I must apologise for a late blog entry. This should have been posted a couple of days ago at the latest, but time slipped away from me as I had to attend a couple of important appointments. However, in the time I have had, I have been using it to finish off some of the earlier quests the player will find in Better The Demon. I have now finished nearly 50% of the quests to be found in this module, which is one of three for the campaign as a whole. The ones that remain, however, are some of the larger ones (but maybe not as complicated) and so may still take me a few weeks to finish yet. Once they are finished, however, I can move onto the second chapter (of three) of the campaign. It will be a huge milestone overcome.
All In A Day's Work
As mentioned above, I will now cover some points about earning gold in Better The Demon. Followers of this blog will already know that I spent some time going through all the 2da files related to costs of items and reworked the entire economy for the game to reflect a more realistic level. Even though I recognise this is a fantasy game, I still prefer to keep within the realms of a realism when it comes to what a shopkeeper can afford to pay. After all, if every shopkeeper was able to buy as much as they did in the OC, what would be the point of adventuring for rare items and great hordes of gold? The shopkeepers already had this market wrapped up!
Furthermore, it goes against all my better reasoning to allow a PC to carry (up to) millions of gold around with them to purchase an uber weapon at the local wizard store. Therefore, to this end, not only is a PC limited to the amount of gold they can carry according to their strength (and magik containers they may have), but a PC is also limited to the items that they can sell or buy. And even when they do sell something (if they can find a buyer), the item will now only reward the player with a respectable amount of gold rather than the insane amounts they did in the OC. In fact, the purchaser will be very strict on the maximum amount of gold they are prepared to pay for an item, and will have limited gold for purchases at any time anyway.
With this background in mind, where does this leave the PCs when it comes to them earning a living? Firstly, I must reassure the player that adventuring and finding gold through tough and heroic deeds is still the best way to bring in great wealth and items of desire. However, in Better The Demon, every PC can still earn a little gold from practicing their profession, much like any other NPC is recognised to do. Listed below are some of the ways PCs will be able to earn a good wage without having to step too far from the safety of their home and making good use of their skills. As the campaign develops, I may add other ways for other classes, but for now, I believe the following list covers the most useful professions available to PCs. If, however, there are other professions you would like me to consider, then please let me know in a comment.
Probably the most common form of earning a living is by tracking down a few hostile creatures and bringing back trophies from them to someone who can issue a reward. Any class of PC can take part in this form of gold earning, but it is best suited to melee classes who can go head-to-head with the hostile creatures with least risk to themselves.
Rewards vary according to how many trophies a PC can return with and what particular creature is killed. More dangerous creatures bring greater rewards. Furthermore, some NPCs will provide greater rewards for trophies than others and so it is worth learning which traders like to deal with which trophies.
This type of living is the most hazardous of the professions, but also requires the least specialised skill. As long as the PC can earn more gold than it takes them to recover from wounds of previous sorties, then there is profit to be made.
The second most common form of earning a living (for PCs anyway) will be selling items they have crafted. The most common crafted magik (*) items will be scrolls (scribe scroll) and potions (brew potion), but most crafted items can be sold for profit with the right buyer.
Magic (*) using classes will lean towards this type of profession, as long as they can find someone who is prepared to buy the scrolls or potions they can make. Local wizards and healers are often a good source of income when selling crafted items with this profession.
While not hazardous (compared to bounty hunting at least), the magic user does have to recognise that they will lose the use of the spell they used to craft the item in question for the rest of the day. Therefore, they will need to weigh up the benefits of the extra gold to the use of the extra spell.
(*) Magic and magik are two different ways of referring to a source of power and how it has been used. In general, magic (with a 'c') refers to magic that is cast from a living creature and is personal to the caster. Whereas magik (with a 'k') refers to magik embedded in an item.
Putting on a performance in a local tavern is one of the new professions that can be used in Better The Demon. Basically, as long as the PC has the perform skill (Bard class), and the local tavern has a stage (most taverns will), then the PC can opt to put on a performance.
The typos in these screenshots have been fixed now.
A performance is judged on a number of factors as well as the perform skill. E.g. a PC can easily overdo an act if they try it too often. However, if they get the balance right, between the number of shows and giving good performances, then they can continue to bring in a wage all the while the audience like their work. A bad performance may mean having to leave it a few days before performing again, while an atrocious performance may lead to a ban from performing at the venue until the performer improves their skill.
The performance results are shown in a new GUI.
The Crooked Path
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For those PCs that prefer to let their tongue (communication skills) do the work or their light fingers pick the profits, then there is always the crooked path. The ability to pick the pockets is available to those with the sleight of hand skill and some houses will be suitable for burglary for those with the open locks skill. This line of "work" is obviously frowned upon and affects the alignment of the PC who steals any property. Other skills, such as listen and move silently will also benefit the chances of success for this profession.
Success in this profession will vary according to the PCs skills being used and eventually upon how much wealth there is left to "acquire" this way. After all, a property can only be relieved of its wealth once, and is one reason why a thief may move from place to place.
The biggest risk to this profession is being caught. Often local guards will do random checks on PCs to make sure they are not carrying any illegal booty. If caught, the PC would have to pay a fine and have the goods confiscated or risk a fight to keep hold of their loot. Often, however, a village or town will have a local Thieves Guild where a PC can get the traceable property they have looted laundered. Doing so makes the goods untraceable and not be detected by guard checks.
In the end, however, the amounts of gold to be made with these professions compared to the greater possibilities that come with adventuring will draw the PC away from the general treadmill of everyday work to the darkest depths of some strange land. At the start of their career, however, the relative safety of a simple profession is exactly what they need to keep hunger from the door and have a good night's rest.