2
\$\begingroup\$

One of my player is playing a Healer (a class similar to cleric, but based mainly on healing spells from Miniatures Handbook) and he would like to run a business selling spellcasting services. He asked me recently, if the costs given in the Player's Handbook make any sense.

Let's take a closer look at the following situation. My player would like to sell a service of casting spell cure light wounds (for example, in fact he wants to sell every spell available to him on one day). According to the PH, he would get 10gp for a single spell cast (because cure light wounds is a 1st-level spell and he casts it at 1st caster level) and the profit is, as the table states, caster level x 10gp.

But could he sell such a service at the 2nd caster level, only adding +1 to cured damage (1k8+1 per caster level, max 5), but rapidly doubling the profit (because according to PH, the profit from this spell would be caster level x 20gp instead of caster level x 10gp)? He asked me if this makes any sense and if anybody would make such a deal.

Should I use any special rules regarding him casting spells for other NPCs and making this way a living? Can he earn money using the table for spellcasting services from PH?

When I started to think about it, it is actually a bit strange that adding only +1 doubles the cost. And what about cure moderate wounds later? Would anybody buy cure light wounds if cure moderate wounds would be much more efficient for this sum at later levels?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Does the player think the PC can run this business — which, by the way, makes 0 gp if the PC's out of spells — and go on adventures? Or is this the players retirement plan for his PC? Or does the player expect his PC to run this business for, like, six months full time then go adventuring full time? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 10 at 6:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, the player wants to temporarily earn some money and then go adventuring full time :) he assumes he cast each day every spell he prepared \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodlex Jan 10 at 13:15
5
\$\begingroup\$

This is handled through the Profession rules, I think, not the spell services rules. Namely, you roll per week, earning:

"...about half your Profession check result in gold pieces..."

And if that's all you need to know, you can stop reading. More detail below.

From an in-game perspective, the number of people who:

  • Need a spell cast.
  • Can afford a spell.
  • Must go through a third-party to gain access to that spell.

Is going to be small. For example, giving a typical medieval village, the typical injuries will probably be from things like:

  • Someone falling off a roof while re-thatching.
  • An unfortunate incident involving farm machinery.
  • Sports-related injuries in a competition with the local village. (Given what I've read about Medieval sports, you can substitute "brawling with the local orc village", and you won't be far off)

For which, the typical medieval fantasy village cleric will be ready with 1-6 healing spells of some variety (1 1st-level base, possibly 1 domain 1st-level, possibly 1 1st-level from a high Wisdom, and 3 cantrips), and again the next day. This is more than enough for any such injuries.

These will also be rare and isolated; most people almost never fall down, even when on a roof; most people who use farm equipment regularly know how to do so safely; and sports competitions will not occur that regularly, nor, usually, with widespread severe injuries. Else, there'd be a lot more one-eyed medieval villagers... Or, to sum up, a lot less than one broken bone a day, on average.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you wanted, you could then cap the Profession's income on the srd prices * total slots. His profession skill indicates his ability to sell, but his slots his ability to provide. More interestingly, DMG2 has rules on running a business. and I THINK spellcasting is factored in. At that point, he is the proprietor of a healing house, that might even operate in his absence. \$\endgroup\$ – ThanosMaravel Jan 10 at 11:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ can he use his "heal" skill as if it was profession? because he doens't have any profession and would like to make use of his "healing" skill \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodlex Jan 10 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodlex RAW, no. But, you're the boss. If you wanted to allow that, you can, and I don't think it'd be too unbalancing. You'd lose the chance to watch as he gets more and more business savvy as he puts points there, but if you don't mind a handful of 'free' gold coins and he's not gonna spend the points to profession, then sure, why not? \$\endgroup\$ – ThanosMaravel Jan 10 at 15:22
1
\$\begingroup\$

RPGs have always handwaved anything not related to their core mechanics. Some games have different core mechanics that they focus on, but you have to handwave the minor stuff or you end up with The Campaign for North Africa And in the case of D&D, the core mechanics are around going through dungeons and getting loot. The economy has been designed around supporting the dungeoneering.

Your player wants to do something that D&D's rules are not well-tuned to handle easily. Those rules and prices are set on the expectation that player characters will be paying an NPC this price, and so the balancing is meant to be "Not out of reach if absolutely necessary, but expensive enough to discourage making a habit of it". The designers feel like their players shouldn't be forming a for-profit dungeon clearing business that hires subcontractors to go do the dungeon crawling for them; the players find their fun in doing the dungeon crawling in person.

As such, the rewards that simply applying this rule would give your party are probably a bit unbalanced.

However, that's no reason the player shouldn't be able to do what he wants. In 3.5, even a level 1 character is one of the best of the best. The type of magic that can be cast quickly enough to be combat-usable (i.e. a single action, in less than 6 seconds) marks them as one of the elite.

So it makes sense that if a character with those healing abilities wanted to, said PC could easily make a living almost anywhere. Such power is rare enough, and in high enough demand, that the player shouldn't even have to roll for success; he should simply roll for how much money his PC makes. (This should be true for basically any PC; even low-level fighters should be able to make easy money giving lessons, and rogues should be able to find legal employment as locksmiths without batting an eye)

I would pick an amount of money that is high enough to be worth doing (you know your game's economy best) but not so high that he is tempted to have his character retire from adventuring and simply generate revenue for the rest of the party.

Because that's what you don't want: In D&D, PCs are supposed to be adventurers. An adventurer who decides "This is a nice place. Good people here, fine wine, and they pay well" and opens up an apothecary isn't an adventurer anymore.

That's fine - it can be a fine way to write a PC out if a player doesn't like their character anymore - but PCs are supposed to be adventurers. A shop owner probably shouldn't really be a player character anymore, unless the other players are fine with this. It will put that PC in a position of having a lot more money than the other PCs, and it will also probably mean large sections of game time dealing with things that pertain only to that PC (meaning, everyone else at the table dicks around with their phones while this one PC plays tabletop Recettear).

TL;DR - Probably those rules are a little too sweet. But I would allow a player to do this, with the caveat that if the PC starts spending too much time running the shop then the player will have to decide if that character is dropping out of the adventuring life altogether. The game won't work if the PCs can get arbitrarily large amounts of cash.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.