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Suppose an adventurer retires and wants to buy a tavern.

Is there an official gold piece figure in D&D 5e for how much it would cost to buy a tavern or similar property in a town or city? If not, are there any guidelines?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you also interested in unofficial gold piece figures, based on experience? \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jun 17 at 6:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ are you looking to open a dive, a fancy/upscale cocktail lounger, or a sports bar? This question (while IMO valid) is a bit broad. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 17 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast - Do you suggest if someone was interested in all three instances (and any in between) it would be better opened as a separate question for each? That seems counter intuitive to me and you are better having all the info in one question. \$\endgroup\$ – RyanfaeScotland Jun 17 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just want to know how many gold pieces a retired fighter has to spend in order to buy a tavern. I'm asking for an official figure from official sources. If there is none, I'm interested in reasonable approximations based on official sources (e.g. prices of similar buildings). \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Jun 17 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard so what kind of tavern do you want to buy? \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jun 17 at 18:36
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Waterdeep: Dragon Heist provides an option

Warning: possible spoilers of the adventure ahead.

In the Chapter 2 of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, the "Open for Business?" section (page 41) explains how the characters can reopen a closed tavern located in Trollskull Alley. Since the building is already there, the cost for maintenance is 1000 gp, plus 250 gp paid upfront for the guild licenses and contracts. There's additional details involved, like the guilds you have to talk to (Brewer's Guild, Fellowship of Innkeepers, etc), but the cost to open is 1250 gp.

After opening, you have to pay an additional 60 gp every tenday for maintenance costs and guild expenses, and you have to roll a d100 + 10 and consult the Running a Business table in chapter 6 of the Dungeon Master's Guide to determine whether the tavern lost money or earned profit.

Besides the option above, if you wanna build one from the ground up, your best guideline is to use the building cost of a Guildhall or Trading Post, presented in the page 128 of the Dungeon's Master Guide. Pages 126-127 of the DMG also provide guidelines for recurring expenses of an Inn (be it on rural roadside or within a town/city).

For additional help around taverns, the DMs Guild Adept supplement, Durnan's Guide to Tavernkeeping provides extra options on how to build and maintain taverns, but this supplement is not official.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Trollskull Alley tavern, run as written, has a basically worthless expected return on investment. On average it loses money unless the party spends at least 4gp a tenday advertising, and the optimal profit point is spending 50gp/tenday promoting the business for an almighty net 15.75gp of expected profit - it'll take more than two years to pay itself off and the money it'll make after that is pitiful compared to adventuring revenue. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jun 16 at 19:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer in the tavern's defense, almost any honest work is pitiful profit compared to going into intelligent monsters' lairs and taking their stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jun 17 at 1:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer and this is probably why so many formerly honest tavern-owners turn to crime. Some being a fence on the side, working with organized crime, selling information, hosting fugitives. You just can't raise a family on a tavern-owners salary otherwise \$\endgroup\$ – Falco Jun 17 at 8:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer: if I understand you correctly, then 60gp for maintenance plus 50gp for advertising gets me an expected profit of 15.75gp? That's an expected return on investment of 15.75/(60+50) = 14.3%. Without orcs trying to kill me. Where do I sign up for this? \$\endgroup\$ – Stephan Kolassa Jun 17 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Which does actually remind me that the premise here is that you just get given the property by someone else as a gift/reward, and so tells you nothing about how much this property would cost if you were actually trying to buy it yourself. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jun 17 at 19:15
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The rules provide no clear answer to the cost of purchasing a tavern.

Maintenance costs of a tavern are described in detail (DMG 127). The purchase of a tavern is not described in detail, but there are a few things that provide guidance.

Building A Stronghold (DMG 128) offers pricing for land and estate deeds which are the listed first step to building a stronghold, this would be the land on which your tavern is build or resides. Then you can compare the kind of tavern that you want to build with the listed strongholds, of which a tavern notably is none. A DM may choose the price at their discretion and could be advised by comparing your desired tavern to the most similar building on the Building a Stronghold-table (DMG 128).

The rules offer no further guidance on buying taverns. They do mention that retired adventures commonly own taverns (DMG 127, 129) and receive them as rewards (DMG 129).

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    \$\begingroup\$ My inclination would be to suggest that the "Guildhall" or "Trading Post" options from that section are the closest equivalent to a typical tavern, both suggesting a construction cost of 5,000gp and 60 days. I also have stuck in my head the general principle (from earlier editions, I think) that it costs half as much to build something from scratch as it does to buy outright, suggesting a reasonable price for purchasing an existing tavern might be ~10,000gp. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jun 16 at 18:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer "Ill Gotten Gains" (Dragon #268, February 2000) lists an inn at 10k gp. I think that the 5 to 10k gp is a good ballpark. The 5e GH and TP are listed at 5k gp (sans land/deeds), but I would be inclined to also compare it to the noble estate (25k gp) See hireling differences for rural or city Inns (DMG 127). \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jun 16 at 18:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would add these values to the answer. As it stands the answer is basically "I don't know, look here". These approximations are quite good. \$\endgroup\$ – Behacad Jun 17 at 2:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Behacad the answer is "I know that there is none (official gp number) in the rules. (Because there is none) Here is where you can find guidance" which precisely is what OP is asking for. If OP would ask us how we would price a tavern, then I would add numbers to the post based on what I have used in my games. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jun 17 at 5:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu come on man, the question is literally "What does it cost to buy a tavern?" and these comments include good estimates of what a tavern might cost in this universe. It's a great thing to include with some qualifiers. \$\endgroup\$ – Behacad Jun 17 at 13:52

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