Ixtellor wrote:Everything you said makes logical sense.
I am still curious --- what would a living wage consist of. (no luxuries, bare necessities)
Thinking of a typical poor unskilled man with a family living in a city. (Forgotten Realms)
First, you have to consider that, while using skill checks doesn't give experience, for an NPC it .. pretty much should. So a 30 year old with a spouse and family has likely been more or less on their own for a decade and is probably a 3rd-6th level commoner.
While they may have more than one profession under their belt, odds are they have a primary. At 3rd level, they are likely to have a +6 in Profession (whatever), meaning they earn roughly 8 gold a week, or 1.14 gold a day. (Average check is going to be 10.5, 10.5+6=16.5, 16.5/2=8.25, round down). At sixth level, this would be 9.5 gold a week. Granted, this can swing as low as 3.5 gold or as high as 13 for the 3rd level commoner...but our average remains 8. You could always look at the craft rules too, where an expenditure of resources and a week's work results in a tripling of the input money, assuming they sell it to PCs, or an additional 1/6th if they sell via the Selling rules.
Unskilled labor - that is, a profession skill check in a profession they don't have - earns .7 gold a week, or 1 silver a day for miscellaneous work.
As Chen pointed out, most food prices are in the copper and silver range. Someone bringing in a gold a day would have no problem feeding a small family, even if their spouse does not work, provided they are working in their profession.
And unless there's been a recent crisis, everyone is going to be working in their profession. A lumberjack is not going to be working on the docks unless a green dragon has chased them out of the forest. The miners aren't going to be trying their hand as teamsters unless the Drow chased them out of the mountains.
Now, as a far as respectable leveling goes... Start at level 1 at age 16, and every 3 years thereafter add a level. 3rd level commoner at 25, 6th at 34, 9th at 43, 20 at 73. This does presume a pretty much peaceful existence. Not unreasonable at all.
Or you can drop that to 2 years a level, if you want your NPC commoners to hit level 20 at age 56. Or bump it up to 4 and they hit 20 at 96.
All that being said, the game is Dungeons and Dragons, not Serfdom Simulation, so yeah, the pricing is a bit.. peculiar. For food prices, you could always just half everything for townies if you think a silver a meal is too much (or, as I interpret it, the meals price is for three in the day, not just once).
I'm also going to add that working in a typical D&D city with it's typical threats is not at all the same as working in a PC's keep, where the threat of attack is far, far greater.
I'd expect to pay my level 5 cooks a lot more than the average 9 gold a week. I figure 10 gold a day per cook is a good starting point. This reflects not just the greater danger they work in, but a steady source of good income for them, making them less susceptible to those bribery checks when the villain's lackeys try to get them to put some laxatives in the food and offers them 500 gold to do it.
At 9 gold a week, that represents more than a year's income. At 10 gold a day, it's not even two months. And fighting on laxatives is going to be something like Nauseated (Experiencing stomach distress. Nauseated creatures are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. The only action such a character can take is a single move action per turn.
) or Exhausted (An exhausted character moves at half speed and takes a -6 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted character becomes fatigued. A fatigued character becomes exhausted by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue.
I'd probably go between the two - one standard action a round, -6 to Stats, half speed, and a -6 to concentration checks to cast spells, all spellcasting requiring the check. Clears up with a Lesser Restoration or Remove Poison spell, sure, but...
Whadaya mean, your D&D sessions aren't crossed with "Don't Shit Your Pants