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In a dungeon crawler campaign that I created, I offer my players the possibility to do things in between dungeon runs as "downtime actions" (at the beginning of each dungeon the players choose a downtime for the time between this dungeon and the last dungeon, which we decided would be a week of ingame time inbetween the dungeon runs.)

I am now looking for help with the amount of gold that downtime work would give to the players, to have that at a plausible level and don't make it the only choice over the other downtime activities.

The setting works as follows:

  • We play a small Dungeon (and only the dungeon) in each session, the players goal being to level up and grab gold and loot.
  • We use the moderate (normal) advancement rules for both xp and loot, the loot beeing randomly generated with online generators (donjon.bin.sh)
  • We don't play anything in between the dungeons, and in the dungeons there is also not that much roleplaying but more hack and slay
  • Even though we use the moderate advancement rules it is quite possible to find more than one hoard of loot with the corresponding level (most of the times its 2 hoards + some random items that can range from normal weapons to magic items)
  • The dungeons are catered to a specific level, regarding the enemies and especially the loot that is chosen by the players
  • Dungeons are randomly generated via donjon.bin.sh most of the time, but not always
  • If a dungeon takes too much time, it could happen that the players miss out on encounters or loot
  • The gold from the dungeons is used to buy equipment, but also to upgrade buildings in town, the pricings for buildings don't really follow a scheme I can explain (there is one, I just can't explain it to you, I'm sorry)
  • These buildings allow characters to buy more items, sell for more profit, enjoy drinks (and randum buffs and debuffs) in the tavern or even level up higher and get into higher dungeons (there are buildings needed for both)
  • It is a bit inspired by the pc game Darkest Dungeon, but we don't have any rules for stress implemented (yet)
  • There are 7 players atm, more probably coming. Most of the time, 3-4 will go into a dungeon at one time
  • Loot can be given to the players not participating
  • Players not participating receive half the XP the group in the dungeon receives, to not stay behind
  • If a player does not play in a dungeon, he gets to choose an additional downtime action the next time
  • The players receive a limited (and upgradeable) amount of healing items as well as basic equip (torches, bag and rations that allow the characters to spend a full night of rest in the dungeon which they otherwise can't do) before every dungeon and return unused items after the dungeon

The downtime activities are the following (at the moment, I won't put that much emphasis on rules as the question is long enough already)

  • Training (Either level up the character or gain some XP, which amounts to level*100)
  • study (gain "bonus dice" for the next dungeon, that can be used on knowledge skills to identifiy monsters weaknesses and the like)
  • Temple work (gain additional healing items, depending on the upgrade of the building. Example: Characters get a potion (Heal small wounds) before each dungeon, those who do extra temple work get an additional one))
  • Craft Item (Allows players to craft items. They can create as much as 7.000 GM worth of crafted items per week if they have the right skills and get bonuses on their crafting skills as well as cost modifications because of some buildings in town. E.g. if the smithy allows buying +2 items at 150% of the price, crafting them will also cost 150% of the price)

I want to add a new downtime activity that allows players to gain some gold in the meantime, but I can't come up with a number of gold they should gain. I want it to be dependant on a roll (without any skill modifiers probably, so something like Xd10 would be fine, too) but still want it to be relatively fair and not make it the only option, overshadowing the other options. How much gold would you give to the players, depending on their character levels?

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Firstly; http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering#TOC-Placing-Treasure

This reference includes links to the table for suggested character wealth by level, and also a table for suggested wealth per encounter.

Assuming your randomly generated dungeons aim for the rewards suggested on this table, then you should be approximately on par for the suggested wealth by level.

This and the fact that the game wants you to earn wealth by adventuring, rather than through downtime means that the suggested quantities for earning in downtime are low.

The (suggested) rules for downtime are here: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCampaign/downtime.html

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/skills/profession.html#profession http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/skills/craft.html#craft

The amount players can earn through this will heavily depend on how many days you assign to this downtime. If we are talking a week, your players can expect to get around 6 or so days (maybe slightly less if needing recovery time from their previous adventure) of profession checks with an profession check of 15 per day would earn your players 1.05gp x6 = 6.3gp per week.

My advice is to keep the downtime earnings low, and don't automatically scale it as a percentage of adventuring income - make it so your players have to invest in it in order to be good at it. There are feats and skills that improve character's ability to earn money during downtime.

Investment into businesses has serious potential to snowball. Unless your campaign is about running businesses and not adventuring, then make it a small snowball so that adventuring is always very clearly the best option.

Edit: It's always easier to give players more money later, than to take it away from them! (Not something players tend to be a fan of!)

For the players who miss sessions You could calculate their earnings after the session. Or use the suggested earnings from encounters in my first link, or use the average generated available income as Erik suggested.

I suggest using a Profession Skill Check, with something along the lines of:

x% * The earnings from that weeks adventure * d20 skill check/20

Where x% is a modifier applied, much like you apply a reduced amount of experience to those who don't attend.

For example, with a 50% modifier, and with the adventurer's earning 12000gp and a d20 skill check of 15.

The player would earn 4500.

It's possible with a 50% modifier that a player could earn more by not attending than by attending, but they would need to hit a DC of 40. If this DC is too low, then simply alter either the modifier, or increase the denominator (20 in the equation above).

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The issue isn't really the lack of income for absent players but the huge gap in wealth between your players.

Are you familiar with gold sinks? Having a vast disparity with different players levels of wealth is a very common issue in MMO economics.
The most common solution is gold sinks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_sink

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this may answer the question, it would be preferable to include more of the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jul 9 '15 at 15:32

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