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A player playing a Paladin in my current D&D campaign has asked how much it would cost to build or rent a building to house his followers from the Leadership feat. It would only be a small premises, enough to house a handful of followers, but it'd need to be able to be upgraded should the need arise.

I applaud the players thinking around this so I'm going to allow it – I just haven't a clue how much this should cost. How much should I charge the player for building a new premises for this purpose and how long should it take to build in-game? Also, if a building were rented, what would be an appropriate weekly charge?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

The 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide contains a small table on building costs. Page 101.

But, for detailed guidelines on how to handle character-made buildings in 3E (including detailed cost and construction time rules), refer to the Stronghold Builder's Guidebook. It is a 3.0 book, but requires minimal updating.

As far as renting goes... you could calculate the building's cost, and decide on a PE Ratio (price-rent ratio in real estate) to get some kind of a guideline on how much you should be charging. D&D economics are not exactly fleshed out, though (and they probably shouldn't be), so you have a lot of freedom here.

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One of the things to consider beyond the raw cost of building something is the cost of obtaining the land and permission to build. This is one of those areas you can exploit to form an adventure hook "Of course you can build on my land. However, I have this little problem..." or use to increase the cost of building in particular areas. – Gaxx Apr 15 '13 at 8:43
This is covered in the Stronghold Builder's Guide, if I recall. I don't think the book is a well-balanced one, but it is remarkably comprehensive. – Ernir Apr 15 '13 at 10:27
Ah - it may well be. I've only ever skim-read it and that a long while ago... – Gaxx Apr 15 '13 at 10:49

The economic systems in D&D3+ strongly emphasize game balance over realism. The reward system is tightly tied to character level, and the pricing system is tied to combat and adventuring value. To avoid equipment and power imbalances, it's a good idea to keep utility items relatively cheap, even though something like a keep might realistically cost much more. To address realism concerns, you can use a grant from the local rulers to offset the cost of the keep. You could even provide a stronghold at no monetary cost to the paladin – perhaps he could swear loyalty to the local lord instead. That way you pay for a primarily role-playing benefit with a role-playing cost.

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Suprisingly, I believe that a keep would be much cheaper than DMG suggests, not much pricier, if based upon the rest of the rules of D&D. I once calculated the price of a motte-and-bailey to be roughly 200 gp (calculated based on the estimated number of workhours PP to build one irl, hireling prices, and other factors) – kravaros Feb 4 '14 at 17:56

If you want a good OSR interpretation of a D&D economy, you can do no better than Adventurer, Conqueror, King (ACKS).

ACKS offers a solid economy, good rules for building, holding, and extending strongholds, as well as hirelings, etc. .

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The question is asking about 3.5 not OSR, and this isn't an answer, it a pointer to an answer that we can pay money to read. – Quentin Apr 17 '13 at 9:55
@Quentin - are correct. Bad me! – gomad Apr 17 '13 at 11:47
@Quentin The domain rules would work as easily in 3.5 as they do in ACKS, and might be worth the price alone. The cost is a good point, yes, but not a fatal one—someone may already have or be interested in ACKS, and this could help them. – SevenSidedDie Apr 17 '13 at 15:09
@SevenSidedDie - you are also correct. This hobby of ours isn't free and there is no expectation that it should be. However, I didn't do a good job of providing an answer and I'll try to correct that later when I have access to my ACKS materials. – gomad Apr 17 '13 at 15:40

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