New OOTS products from CafePress
New OOTS t-shirts, ornaments, mugs, bags, and more
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    QuintonBeck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Let me preface this by saying I understand D&D does not subscribe to the exact environment and demands of earth's history and there are so many influences, namely that of magic but also of monsters, that history as we know it struggles to serve as a good guide the further out we go. I also know with this comes a serious problem with the basic economic platform of a d&d universe, especially under certain rules for certain editions seeing as how we can find the DMG saying a skilled craftsman makes a few gold over the course of a year's worth of work while an adventuring party finds 20 gold killing some raggedy goblins or the like. Let us assume (yes, yes, I know) that the economic state of a typical d&d world is a bit more balanced out to counteract this a bit and with that in mind I will now get to the question that woke me up this morning.

    Why aren't adventuring parties formed as joint stock adventuring companies? Would it make more sense for them to be? And would you be interested in seeing this in a game?

    Okay, obviously this question is only going to appeal to a certain kind of nerd, but I am one such as an accounting major and I invite my fellow monetary nerds who also love their history and swords and sorcery to weigh in as well as the people who find this idea anathema to a "fun time" so I know if I'm making things overly complicated or unfun.

    So I woke up this morning after having a dream involving myself distributing the loot from an adventure among an adventuring party and in the dream the idea struck me to form a company around that work and issue stock to my fellow adventurers and other potential investors and running our group like a company. I woke up still thinking about it and the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea and then it got me thinking about some of the reading I'd done about real world historic "adventurers." Theodore of Corsica (I highly advise reading his wiki page as it's like reading a d&d adventurer's journal) was one of the first "real life adventurers" I had stumbled across some months back and then I got to thinking about Francis Drake who was basically a professional state-sponsored adventurer. I started reading more about the Age of Exploration and it was in that time that joint stock companies first began to emerge around explorers and merchants seeking either a new route to the East or new profits in the New World. That's when I started thinking, most d&d worlds aren't set in an Age of Exploration, such aligning with the Renaissance more than the Medieval period but there's perhaps a greater reason for companies akin to the AoE's adventurers to form, the plundering of ancient ruins.

    The idea would be that a d&d group wasn't a band of murder hobos (alright, wasn't just a band of murder hobos) but were in fact either a branch of an existing or their own independent company much like the Company of Merchant Adventurers or more famously the East India Company but instead of focusing on finding trade routes to desired foreign lands (though they could of course do that as well) instead to delve into the ancient ruins of the magocracy that used to rule just down the road and has some amazing artifacts to bring back. These groups could be royally chartered, or sponsored by the business elite and they would become a legitimate part of the economic fabric of a d&d world rather than just a roving band of do-gooders/ne'er do-wells.

    If you're with me so far here's where I might lose some of you, but I kept thinking about the idea and the prospect of running the adventuring party as a company really began to interest me. I found this thread about a party running a business but that wasn't really what I was looking for (though it had some good ideas) since what I'm talking about is turning the party into its own business. Think about it, a standard adventuring party pulls massive amounts of wealth from their adventurers (usually) at extremely perilous risk to themselves. They are the definition of a high risk high reward investment. To me it seems logical that the royal government or a massive merchant group would want to develop a relationship with the party and if the party were to operate as a joint-stock company the adventurers themselves could retain a healthy majority while selling stock in their group at a hefty profit to investors looking to make a healthy dividend or sell their shares for more as the party became more renowned. I don't know if a 1st level band could pull it off but I imagine getting up around 6th level a party could turn themselves into quite a lucrative investment option.

    A party delves into an awful dungeon and pulls out 20K GP worth of loot. First the group pays off debts, then taxes, then pays salaries among the contingent members (I'm thinking a percentage rather than a set wage/day) then the rest is held by the company itself, of which the adventurers act as a sort of board of directors, who decide how to reinvest it into the company. The fighter really needs a better sword? The company votes to invest in a +1 Flaming Sword for the fighter leaving the fighter free to buy additional goodies with his own salary. It might not even be investing into a direct member of the party. Perhaps the party needs a cart to haul out all the loot they keep finding, the company invests in buying a good cart and mule to drag things around and the adventurers invest their salaries into their personal goodies while things deemed important to the party even if used by an individual are bought by the company. Eventually the party makes a name for themselves and the company is growing in influence, investing in the infrastructure to do adventuring more efficiently with spies listening for plot hooks, caravans hauling goods, and storefronts to sell goods directly. Outside business folk take an interest so the party meets and decides to issue more stock and sell it to outside investors. Excess profit is paid out in dividends and stockholders can sell their stock to other interested parties at profit as the party continues to grow. It also opens some great avenues for plot hooks (hostile takeover anyone?) Imagine some devil or dark force gains a significant influence in the company buying up shares and then robs the party of their company or starts voting for the company to take on more questionable jobs or the like.

    The idea seemed quite interesting to me and I found myself wanting to relinquish the GM reigns I've held for quite a while in various games to try it out as a party member but I wondered if perhaps in doing so I was demonstrating that I would be putting too much pressure on any GM that ran a game where I tried this since I didn't want to do it (though mine is more because I'm excited to be the party doing it more than not wanting to have to deal with it) So, opinions from the Playground? Does the idea of turning adventuring parties into a parallel to the adventuring companies of the Age of Exploration with the economic influence that has sound like an interesting option or like the a terribly boring set of bookkeeping interrupting one's dragon slaying? Let me know and ask further questions if you have them. As I said, this was all spawned from a dream idea and it's only been a few hours since I woke up so it still may not be 100% presentable as a solid idea.
    Last edited by QuintonBeck; 2015-08-06 at 09:39 AM.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Amazing Avatar by Qwernt! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    The whole world is held aloft by a dragon.

    That dragon? Held aloft by a bigger dragon.

    It's dragons all the way up
    Beat the bejesus out of a Paladin

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    If returns on investment were split between party members as a tontine, how long could the party survive?

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ninja_Prawn's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    UK

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Isn't this the premise of Acquisitions Incorporated?
    Lydia Seaspray by Oneris!

    Spoiler: Acclaim
    Show
    Winner of Spellbrew Contest I & Subclass Contest II
    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    That is the perfect ending. Thread done, Ninja_Prawn won.
    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    We love our ninja prawn.
    Quote Originally Posted by Professor Gnoll View Post
    NinjaPrawn, you are my favourite.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir cryosin View Post
    Ninja you're like the forum's fairy godmother.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkMinty View Post
    This is why you're the best, Ninja Prawn.

    A Faerie Affair

    Homebrew: Sig

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    I don't think it's a bad idea, but the way you present it makes it sound like a lot of book-keeping and could bog the game down with extra math. I like the idea of having other stakeholders who are interested in the party's success. I suggest some changes:
    • Adventures taken on by parties are typically working on behalf of a patron or customer (or a handler who acts as an intermediary). They look for specific objects like the Hand of Klen or the Amulet of Axi or they might be exploring, surveying, performing diplomatic missions, etc. Most of the wealth that the party gains is from payment for this dangerous work. After all, valuables and wealth would be the first thing stripped from ancient ruins.
    • Contingent members (aka, part time workers) are paid a flat rate based on their abilities and negotiated ahead of time. No percentage or anything like that to worry about.
    • Full-time members also get paid a flat rate, as negotiated with the company. Even if the group owns a majority share of the company, the other investors might look askance at a company that pays out too much to its workers.
    • Each investor receives a 10% share in the company, negotiated however the players want.
    • The company owns the equipment. Those +1 bracers of deflection go back to the company when the fighter finally kicks the bucket. Unused scrolls of turn undead go back to the company's library when the mission ends for use in a future job.
    • Party resources include things like libraries, laboratories, shrines, dormitories, carts, horses, weapons, armor, scrolls, spellbooks, religious items, reagents, squires, apprentices, stablemasters, etc.


    So long as the party has access to the resources needed to face the presented challenges, it could be fun. Just keep the amount of non-adventuring work down and reduce the complexity as much as possible.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    I am highly interested. I don't have many ideas on this topic, but after reading what you have come up with, I would personally like to run a game, even as a DM, with this in mind

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    nedz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    London, EU
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    In one group we have a couple of players who like doing this sort of thing.

    Personally I'm not a huge fan of the concept of professional adventurers, I prefer a more plot driven campaign where PCs motavations are not so mercenary and they adventure to resolve some issues rather than just murder/loot.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


    Completely Dysfunctional Handbook
    Warped Druid Handbook

    Avatar by Caravaggio

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    The most obvious question is: Why?

    Why would a company want to invest themselves in a group of adventurers? What could the company possibly offer them? The East India Company had a really good reason for funding explorers: it opened up trade routes which East India could then profit from. The trade routes themselves were no good to explorers, so discovering them would give them no individual benefit. But the trade routes were massively beneficial to East India, which is why they could pay explorers quite a lucrative amount for their risky work. An independent company in a world like D&D has nothing similar to offer a band of adventurers; there is not much that a company could offer to a band of adventurers which would be worth taking 10% of the adventuring profits, unless you work around some things like the company being the only place to obtain adventures or being the only place to reasonably sell off excess magical equipment.

    Why would a group of adventurers want to become involved in such a company? When they go on an adventure, then need to cover 100% of their expenses and get to keep 100% of their rewards. When they work with a company, the get to keep 90% or 80% of their rewards... what's the point? Unless there is something forcing them to do so - such as a law, or monopoly on adventuring locations at the company - then it is against the party's best interests to work with them. After all, the company cannot exactly guarantee the party's safety in any meaningful way. And it is unlikely that the company can afford to fund and equip parties better than the parties can equip themselves.

    It also sounds like some parties might become antagonistic against the company/tax system, if they feel like they are being taken advantage of.

    The "party stock" option is an interesting one, where the party becomes something to invest in and part of the treasure is set aside for party matters. Indeed, some parties do set aside a "party stash" to purchase some equipment for the party's benefit. However, the idea does have some problems. For one, not everyone will be interested in playing complex economic games when they want to be off adventuring. If I wanted to invest in the stock market, I'd be investing in the stock market - not playing a D&D game where the characters spend all their downtime managing their own personal stock market. And again, it runs into the working-with-company problem of why they would bother. What are these investers giving the party? Unless the investments are generating a large amount of cash for the party or providing some necessities for them, it sounds like a waste of money. Again, this provides no sense of security. The party is paying these people for being invested in them, so what are they getting in return? If the only method of adventures is through investments, then the party might turn sour as only high-and-mighty gold barons are the ones who somehow have access to local adventures. And it brings up the very good question of why the party can't just freelance itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by darthbobcat View Post
    There are no bad ideas, just bad execution.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Thank you to zimmerwald1915 for the Gustave avatar.
    The full set is here.



    Air Raccoon avatar provided by Ceika
    from the Request an OotS Style Avatar thread



    A big thanks to PrinceAquilaDei for the gryphon avatar!
    original image

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    You'd likely have to rely on the players to "run" the company between sessions, which either won't happen, or will wind up being done by one person every single time - it might be easier to give them an NPC clerk, who can find them suitable contracts, buy standard equipment so it's just there for the PCs are the start of each adventure, handle internal disputes, pass on money to any dependants in the event of their demise (or pay for people to recover their remains for appropriate treatment or resurrection), build up contacts for non-standard equipment etc.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    QuintonBeck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    If returns on investment were split between party members as a tontine, how long could the party survive?
    Now that is an interesting question.. I would only want to agree to that in a party of Paladins

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Isn't this the premise of Acquisitions Incorporated?
    I've never listened to the podcast unfortunately but it seems to be taking a modern corporate structure and applying it, my idea was intended less silly and anachronistic and more looking at the evolution of economic schemes within a D&D world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    I don't think it's a bad idea, but the way you present it makes it sound like a lot of book-keeping and could bog the game down with extra math. I like the idea of having other stakeholders who are interested in the party's success. I suggest some changes:
    • Adventures taken on by parties are typically working on behalf of a patron or customer (or a handler who acts as an intermediary). They look for specific objects like the Hand of Klen or the Amulet of Axi or they might be exploring, surveying, performing diplomatic missions, etc. Most of the wealth that the party gains is from payment for this dangerous work. After all, valuables and wealth would be the first thing stripped from ancient ruins.
    • Contingent members (aka, part time workers) are paid a flat rate based on their abilities and negotiated ahead of time. No percentage or anything like that to worry about.
    • Full-time members also get paid a flat rate, as negotiated with the company. Even if the group owns a majority share of the company, the other investors might look askance at a company that pays out too much to its workers.
    • Each investor receives a 10% share in the company, negotiated however the players want.
    • The company owns the equipment. Those +1 bracers of deflection go back to the company when the fighter finally kicks the bucket. Unused scrolls of turn undead go back to the company's library when the mission ends for use in a future job.
    • Party resources include things like libraries, laboratories, shrines, dormitories, carts, horses, weapons, armor, scrolls, spellbooks, religious items, reagents, squires, apprentices, stablemasters, etc.


    So long as the party has access to the resources needed to face the presented challenges, it could be fun. Just keep the amount of non-adventuring work down and reduce the complexity as much as possible.
    Your main concern is mine as well. I wouldn't want to turn it into Economy Simulator: Age of Man but I think having a business owned and operated by and as an adventuring party could be a fun thing especially in the "off" sessions where the party is buying equipment and setting base(s).

    I toyed with the idea of full-time adventurers having a flat rate contract (with any start up coming out of pocket from the founder(s) or issuing IOUs until they finally hit payday) but I thought that might lend itself overly much to the math of "We worked 5 days at a rate of so much blah blah blah" rather than "Everybody gets 10% post-costs"

    We actually had the same idea for contingent workers though I didn't mention it. I imagine, as you do, that as time went on the party could afford to keep a stablemaster or a smith on call for various things so that would be an eventual expense.

    Investors receiving a percentage we also agree on, though I was thinking probably lower than 10%/share as some will be held by the company as its own entity for reinvestment into the business.

    Definitely company owned equipment, at least if it's bought by the company, private property bought with one's salary would still pass to the appointed inheritor.

    A great list of things such a party would want to invest in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockoe10 View Post
    I am highly interested. I don't have many ideas on this topic, but after reading what you have come up with, I would personally like to run a game, even as a DM, with this in mind
    Glad to hear I'm not the only one with a tickled fancy over the idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    In one group we have a couple of players who like doing this sort of thing.

    Personally I'm not a huge fan of the concept of professional adventurers, I prefer a more plot driven campaign where PCs motavations are not so mercenary and they adventure to resolve some issues rather than just murder/loot.
    Totally understood and even reciprocated! A good plot driven campaign is awesome, but sometimes that isn't always what people want to play and if I may posit this, what happens if the initial plot that binds the party together runs its course in a satisfying manner but the group still wants to play? You now have a highly trained and professional group of adventuring folk in need of work. Sure, you can throw another plot at them (you can do this whether they incorporate or not) but I see no reason I couldn't see this arising from a party who were thrust together by plot and went through a thorough plotline to come out the other side realizing they were pretty decent adventurers.

    As I mentioned as well, there's no reason that a party running as a company can't follow plot. The way the party interacts internally and with the outside world as relates to money doesn't mean the characters cease to be characters and become money hungry automatons. One can make money and structure themselves in a way to achieve that in a way that doesn't prevent deeper impacts. People in modern times work jobs and run businesses but that doesn't mean they don't still have family and personal drama they deal with as well that may even end up involving their business. If anything, I feel their being a company would make sicking them on a plot even easier since you don't have to appeal to the personal desires of each character, you can some and then dangle money in front of the rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    The most obvious question is: Why?

    Why would a company want to invest themselves in a group of adventurers? What could the company possibly offer them? The East India Company had a really good reason for funding explorers: it opened up trade routes which East India could then profit from. The trade routes themselves were no good to explorers, so discovering them would give them no individual benefit. But the trade routes were massively beneficial to East India, which is why they could pay explorers quite a lucrative amount for their risky work. An independent company in a world like D&D has nothing similar to offer a band of adventurers; there is not much that a company could offer to a band of adventurers which would be worth taking 10% of the adventuring profits, unless you work around some things like the company being the only place to obtain adventures or being the only place to reasonably sell off excess magical equipment.

    Why would a group of adventurers want to become involved in such a company? When they go on an adventure, then need to cover 100% of their expenses and get to keep 100% of their rewards. When they work with a company, the get to keep 90% or 80% of their rewards... what's the point? Unless there is something forcing them to do so - such as a law, or monopoly on adventuring locations at the company - then it is against the party's best interests to work with them. After all, the company cannot exactly guarantee the party's safety in any meaningful way. And it is unlikely that the company can afford to fund and equip parties better than the parties can equip themselves.

    It also sounds like some parties might become antagonistic against the company/tax system, if they feel like they are being taken advantage of.

    The "party stock" option is an interesting one, where the party becomes something to invest in and part of the treasure is set aside for party matters. Indeed, some parties do set aside a "party stash" to purchase some equipment for the party's benefit. However, the idea does have some problems. For one, not everyone will be interested in playing complex economic games when they want to be off adventuring. If I wanted to invest in the stock market, I'd be investing in the stock market - not playing a D&D game where the characters spend all their downtime managing their own personal stock market. And again, it runs into the working-with-company problem of why they would bother. What are these investers giving the party? Unless the investments are generating a large amount of cash for the party or providing some necessities for them, it sounds like a waste of money. Again, this provides no sense of security. The party is paying these people for being invested in them, so what are they getting in return? If the only method of adventures is through investments, then the party might turn sour as only high-and-mighty gold barons are the ones who somehow have access to local adventures. And it brings up the very good question of why the party can't just freelance itself.
    I think a majority of this argument is based around the party being part of a company rather than being their own company. At least in regards to your second paragraph. I'm not talking about adventurers having to register and be licensed by anyone (though that could be part of it) I'm talking about the party being freelancers who simply organize in a fashion similar to the companies of Francis Drake, the East India Company, etc.

    Now, the why question is a good one, but I think it's got a simple answer. The simplest answer really. Money. Most D&D worlds (at least, that I'm familiar with) are littered with ancient/abandoned/haunted mountains/castles/underdarks of valuables that are way too difficult to get to for the average person and would cost too much for a government to organize a military expedition to turn through. A company of adventurers who offered their services in recovering this loot to be shared among investors would almost certainly attract people with money. The ancient tomb of the Red Pharaoh? It's supposedly loaded with gems and gold but every person who's gone down there has died. Here comes the Adventuring Company saying, invest in us to allow us to buy some equipment and we'll sign a contract that you get X% of what we haul up. You know it's a risk to invest in them, I mean, literally everyone else has died, but hey why not try to make some cash by investing in these plucky folk?

    It would be like any start up starting with stock, at first it might be worthless and cheaper than dirt so you sell as much as you can and set out but as you're successful and the haul starts becoming larger and clearly more successful it will attract bigger investors.

    The business grows and the better and more expensive loot the party starts hauling up attracts richer investors who buy more stock in the party, more valuable to the company than if they kept the profits to themselves. Say you've got an investor willing to each pay you 1,000 GP for a share of stock that pays out 0.5% of your revenue. You pull 200,000 of loot. Salaries to your fellow adventurers cut that, maybe you pay taxes maybe not that cuts into it, and expenses for your business are deducted such that you're left with say 100,000 in company revenue. You owe 500 gp out to your investor. 500 gp for nothing isn't bad for them and you earned 1,000 up front that you've only now payed 500 to get. The question to me, is why wouldn't you pay out the nose to invest in a successful adventuring company? They make more money than any other profession except perhaps lord of a fief or king of a kingdom does through taxes.

    Eventually I see a party doing this becoming an adventuring conglomerate of sorts, investing in all the assets necessary to run a successful adventuring party and maybe using this leverage to become the annoying guild all adventurers must join if they want to compete.

    Quote Originally Posted by Storm_Of_Snow View Post
    You'd likely have to rely on the players to "run" the company between sessions, which either won't happen, or will wind up being done by one person every single time - it might be easier to give them an NPC clerk, who can find them suitable contracts, buy standard equipment so it's just there for the PCs are the start of each adventure, handle internal disputes, pass on money to any dependants in the event of their demise (or pay for people to recover their remains for appropriate treatment or resurrection), build up contacts for non-standard equipment etc.
    Well, if I were playing in such a game I'd be happy to be the person running it between sessions which I think is the consensus I'm seeing on the "is it fun" aspect. It is to some, less so to others. To me it seems like it would be fun if the players/GM were interested but otherwise maybe not worth the trouble.

    I still think the idea is sound though as I have yet to see anything indicating that not to be the case.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Amazing Avatar by Qwernt! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    The whole world is held aloft by a dragon.

    That dragon? Held aloft by a bigger dragon.

    It's dragons all the way up
    Beat the bejesus out of a Paladin

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintonBeck View Post
    I think a majority of this argument is based around the party being part of a company rather than being their own company. At least in regards to your second paragraph. I'm not talking about adventurers having to register and be licensed by anyone (though that could be part of it) I'm talking about the party being freelancers who simply organize in a fashion similar to the companies of Francis Drake, the East India Company, etc.

    Now, the why question is a good one, but I think it's got a simple answer. The simplest answer really. Money. Most D&D worlds (at least, that I'm familiar with) are littered with ancient/abandoned/haunted mountains/castles/underdarks of valuables that are way too difficult to get to for the average person and would cost too much for a government to organize a military expedition to turn through. A company of adventurers who offered their services in recovering this loot to be shared among investors would almost certainly attract people with money. The ancient tomb of the Red Pharaoh? It's supposedly loaded with gems and gold but every person who's gone down there has died. Here comes the Adventuring Company saying, invest in us to allow us to buy some equipment and we'll sign a contract that you get X% of what we haul up. You know it's a risk to invest in them, I mean, literally everyone else has died, but hey why not try to make some cash by investing in these plucky folk?

    It would be like any start up starting with stock, at first it might be worthless and cheaper than dirt so you sell as much as you can and set out but as you're successful and the haul starts becoming larger and clearly more successful it will attract bigger investors.

    The business grows and the better and more expensive loot the party starts hauling up attracts richer investors who buy more stock in the party, more valuable to the company than if they kept the profits to themselves. Say you've got an investor willing to each pay you 1,000 GP for a share of stock that pays out 0.5% of your revenue. You pull 200,000 of loot. Salaries to your fellow adventurers cut that, maybe you pay taxes maybe not that cuts into it, and expenses for your business are deducted such that you're left with say 100,000 in company revenue. You owe 500 gp out to your investor. 500 gp for nothing isn't bad for them and you earned 1,000 up front that you've only now payed 500 to get. The question to me, is why wouldn't you pay out the nose to invest in a successful adventuring company? They make more money than any other profession except perhaps lord of a fief or king of a kingdom does through taxes.

    Eventually I see a party doing this becoming an adventuring conglomerate of sorts, investing in all the assets necessary to run a successful adventuring party and maybe using this leverage to become the annoying guild all adventurers must join if they want to compete.
    The big difference is that exploration is not valuable to Francis Drake. There is little to nothing that exploration will give Francis Drake on his own. He could've build a house and settled down on a spot of land after exploring, but that was about all it would generate him as revenue. As such, receiving a hefty paycheck for supplies and pocket money in exchange for exploring was extremely lucrative for Drake. He could be off and continue exploring, and get a lot more money in doing so for a company than by doing so himself.

    It was extremely profitable for the company hiring him, too. They pay him a bit of money, then they accept money from people looking for fresh land to settle. The company then directs them to the discovered land.

    It doesn't quite work with an adventuring party, because the things that the party finds are directly valuable to the party. Sure, they may not have the funds for their first adventure... but that's just the funding for the first adventure. If the party knows where the Ancient Tomb of the Red Pharaoh is located, then they just need to strike a deal with one person: fund our campaign, and well will give you 30% of what we find! After that, there is no need for additional funding. The party can simply use the 70% obtained from the Tomb in order to fund their next campaign, which they will be receiving 100% of the profits. And if for some reason they cannot fund their next campaign - if they are so poor or the profits so threadbare that adventuring just breaks even - then there is the serious question of why they are even bothering, when they earn nothing from the adventure.

    That's really the problem. There is no reason to request such a deal more than once, in most cases. And it would be far better to make a single payment than to syphon off 0.5% of every adventure to pay for someone who isn't providing any service to the party.


    [EDIT] Oh yes, one other important point:

    If supplies are SO expensive that the party would never be capable of purchasing enough to be properly geared between adventures - and so the investers need to fund them every adventure - then why in the world would the investers bother? I mean, sure, I'd be fine with handing over 100g or 500g to a person when I'm receiving 10,000g of equipment each time. But it would make me wonder what in the world the investers are thinking with such a situation.
    Last edited by erikun; 2015-08-06 at 12:42 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by darthbobcat View Post
    There are no bad ideas, just bad execution.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Thank you to zimmerwald1915 for the Gustave avatar.
    The full set is here.



    Air Raccoon avatar provided by Ceika
    from the Request an OotS Style Avatar thread



    A big thanks to PrinceAquilaDei for the gryphon avatar!
    original image

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Earth

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    I have some ideas for an investment banker character who would be interested in investing in adventurers. I've never gotten the opportunity to play him unfortunately.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    In regards as to why?

    Perhaps the adventuring market has become flooded with workers and the only way to get a job in the market is to either find an existing guild or Company to work for or get initial funding from stock holders to begin your own guild or Company. This would provide the adventures with gear, quests and most importantly protection from competing guilds/Companies. Think the United States Mafia. Try finding quests in their territory.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    nedz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    London, EU
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by MrZJunior View Post
    I have some ideas for an investment banker character who would be interested in investing in adventurers. I've never gotten the opportunity to play him unfortunately.
    In the group I alluded to up thread: we have two Investment Bankers and an Accountant. Getting them to not do this is the challenge
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


    Completely Dysfunctional Handbook
    Warped Druid Handbook

    Avatar by Caravaggio

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    QuintonBeck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    The big difference is that exploration is not valuable to Francis Drake. There is little to nothing that exploration will give Francis Drake on his own. He could've build a house and settled down on a spot of land after exploring, but that was about all it would generate him as revenue. As such, receiving a hefty paycheck for supplies and pocket money in exchange for exploring was extremely lucrative for Drake. He could be off and continue exploring, and get a lot more money in doing so for a company than by doing so himself.

    It was extremely profitable for the company hiring him, too. They pay him a bit of money, then they accept money from people looking for fresh land to settle. The company then directs them to the discovered land.

    It doesn't quite work with an adventuring party, because the things that the party finds are directly valuable to the party. Sure, they may not have the funds for their first adventure... but that's just the funding for the first adventure. If the party knows where the Ancient Tomb of the Red Pharaoh is located, then they just need to strike a deal with one person: fund our campaign, and well will give you 30% of what we find! After that, there is no need for additional funding. The party can simply use the 70% obtained from the Tomb in order to fund their next campaign, which they will be receiving 100% of the profits. And if for some reason they cannot fund their next campaign - if they are so poor or the profits so threadbare that adventuring just breaks even - then there is the serious question of why they are even bothering, when they earn nothing from the adventure.

    That's really the problem. There is no reason to request such a deal more than once, in most cases. And it would be far better to make a single payment than to syphon off 0.5% of every adventure to pay for someone who isn't providing any service to the party.


    [EDIT] Oh yes, one other important point:

    If supplies are SO expensive that the party would never be capable of purchasing enough to be properly geared between adventures - and so the investers need to fund them every adventure - then why in the world would the investers bother? I mean, sure, I'd be fine with handing over 100g or 500g to a person when I'm receiving 10,000g of equipment each time. But it would make me wonder what in the world the investers are thinking with such a situation.
    You bring up a valid point but it makes me think of an answer that only introduces another concept rarely explored by your typical D&D party, selling off a cleared dungeon... I'm not sure how that would work with land rights but assuming one could find an interested party, could an adventuring party not sell off the property rights of a dungeon they cleared to a wealthy client looking for a secure site of their own? A lot of dungeons are pre-made forts for any government and I can't help but chuckle at the idea of a party selling "The Lair of Lord of Madness" to a level 1 prospective Lich looking to get his evil base started.

    Really, I'm not sure why more parties don't claim cleared dungeons for their own or see about selling them at profit to an interested party. Even beforehand finding out what the dungeon used to be and who it belonged to then tracking down an heir if they were sufficiently wealthy and offering to recover it for a price or offering a poorer heir the return of it in exchange for a percentage of future revenue extracted seems like a decent idea.

    I certainly see your point about investors lacking a driving interest in supplying an adventuring party directly so allow me to ask a reigned in question of your opinion on a party organizing themselves internally as a corporation. IE every member of the party takes what would be 75% of their cut if the recovered shinies were distributed evenly and every member's 25% goes into a pot as corporate funds that the party can decide what to do with to better their adventuring as a group rather than individually?

    Spoiler
    Show

    Amazing Avatar by Qwernt! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    The whole world is held aloft by a dragon.

    That dragon? Held aloft by a bigger dragon.

    It's dragons all the way up
    Beat the bejesus out of a Paladin

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    I intend a similar idea for my campaign world. As for why the adventurers want a patron company, it is because much of what they recover is not immediately or easily tranformed into useable wealth. Gems, ancient art and artifacts, even ancient coinage may not be things that you can find people to purchase. The amounts of wealth involved will be accessible to very few people, it is in the hands of governments, nobles, merchant organizations, large religions. Those are the only people that have the means to buy and sell these things, and who are invested in controlling access to magic items and spells from that ancient civilization which few in the world can now replicate. The company may be a go between for the individual adventurers and the patron, or the adventurers may be hired by the patron directly. There would most likely be a guild that establishes some standards and practices for professional adventurers, and might afford some type of regulations meant to reduce backstabbing amongst party members, such as blacklisting people who are known to or suspected of having stolen from fellow adventurers, or even having a death warrant out for particularly "unprofessional" behavior.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    It doesn't quite work with an adventuring party, because the things that the party finds are directly valuable to the party.
    Not necessarily - people might interested in things like mountain passes, oasis' in deserts and previously undiscovered locations where rivers are fordable (for trade routes), fertile lands (for settlement), animals (both mundane and fantastical) that can be farmed or harvested for food, or domesticated (for instance, where did Tarquin get his dinosaurs? ), antiquities that a museum - if any exist - would be very interested in, and if there aren't any, the nobility might want, ore veins/coal seams, rare wood forests or where certain rare herbs for alchemy grow and so on, all of which a party could find while adventuring, but would have no way of exploiting themselves - in the short term at the very least.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    'If I wanted to deal with companies and their economics, I would've gotten a normal job!'
    Last edited by goto124; 2015-08-07 at 06:55 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    'If I wanted to deal with companies and their economics, I would've gotten a normal job!'
    *while sitting behind a desk in a cubical counting money*

    If I wanted to deal with companies and their economics, I would've gone exploring for them as my job!

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Elsewhere
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Another thought as to "why" - because adventurers are so individually powerful (eventually), the local Powers That Be (kings, churches, big guilds) have required that adventuring parties be chartered through some sort of Adventurer's Guild. The business end of the adventuring company handles the paperwork, pays the taxes, and bids/negotiates for the big adventuring contracts with the Guild. This is in addition to working out relations with the local mage towers and big churches to set prices for healing, item identification, and resurrection.

    Heck, maybe the Guild can set up a banking system (to store all the wealth), a legal defense fund, a broker for selling those magical items, and a way to recruit followers for when you hit mid-level and start establishing your strongholds.

    There are a million and one reasons a company a be value-added to an adventuring group, and could be worth getting a cut of the loot.
    Honor guard at the funeral in the Miko Fan Club.

    Those who are too stupid to run, I salute you.

    Human Male, age 35

    "Have you come to lecture me on my evil ways?"

    "Actually, I brought you some supper. But if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped; sin and hellfire... one has lepers."

    - Inara and Book, Firefly

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Aedilred's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Bristol
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    The big difference is that exploration is not valuable to Francis Drake. There is little to nothing that exploration will give Francis Drake on his own. He could've build a house and settled down on a spot of land after exploring, but that was about all it would generate him as revenue. As such, receiving a hefty paycheck for supplies and pocket money in exchange for exploring was extremely lucrative for Drake. He could be off and continue exploring, and get a lot more money in doing so for a company than by doing so himself.

    It was extremely profitable for the company hiring him, too. They pay him a bit of money, then they accept money from people looking for fresh land to settle. The company then directs them to the discovered land.

    It doesn't quite work with an adventuring party, because the things that the party finds are directly valuable to the party...
    Drake wasn't just an explorer, though. He was a privateer, who spent a lot of time raiding treasure fleets, trading posts and settlements. A large part of what he was doing in the Pacific was disrupting Spanish presence there and taking their stuff. He could probably quite happily have settled down on what he personally made from that, if he'd been self-funded. But he still found benefit in coming home and seeking further sponsorship and endorsement.

    It really is a similar principle to that of a D&D adventurer: not quite the same, of course, but not a million miles away. A large part of the benefit is partly intangible, but it's the sort of thing that adventurers might otherwise struggle with. The difference between a privateer and a pirate is really just a piece of paper, but one is a government contractor (or ageny, depending on the arrangement) and the other is an outlaw. If someone looking for someone to carry out dangerous but well-paid work, he could grab a bunch of vagabonds off the street, or he could turn to agents of the Underdark Company. Practically there might be no difference, but one group has livery; they have permanent employees; they carry insurance; here's their address, their papers of incorporation; here's their list of stakeholders; here's a business card. The other group look shifty.

    The other thing that I think people are making the mistake of doing is assuming that the adventuring party are employees of such a company, rather than constituting the company themselves, which was I think Quinton's original idea. The company might have employees (a financial clerk, cohorts, a lawyer(!)) but the effective board of the company would be the adventurers. It's just a difference in handling the party's financial arrangements and relationship: rather than divvy up all the treasure on the spot and everyone spends it on what they will, rather the majority of assets are held and distributed centrally with each party member drawing a stipend to spend on personal stuff.

    Having said that a party might still derive a benefit from having a non-adventuring member of the company contributing funds. Having cash upfront is always useful and other sources of income are handy in case adventuring work dries up. It would also be handy if they find they need something expensive to take on a big bad or whoever, the silent partner can invest their own funds in the company to purchase it, since they're going to see a personal benefit from the venture's success. They can also work to find the party new jobs and sources of revenue while the majority of the group is off adventuring.

    It might even be worth the party's while to become agents of a much larger organisation, in the EIC-type model, despite that's not being the original idea as I understand it, because of the extra security that it affords. It's in that company's interests to ensure nobody messes with their agents, so the PCs can be confident that they'll receive as much support as they need to get the job done. If they get captured, there's someone on the outside empowered and interested in negotiating for their release. If someone blindsides them, they can call on company resources to avenge the insult. Obviously there's a degree of give and take there and that would require giving up a lot more of their income (although they can probably also charge the majority of their outgoings to expenses), but it wouldn't necessarily be something to write off altogether.
    GITP Blood Bowl Manager Cup
    Red Sabres - Season I Cup Champions, two-time Cup Semifinalists
    Anlec Razors - Two-time Cup Semifinalists
    Bad Badenhof Bats - Season VII Cup Champions
    League Wiki

    Spoiler: Previous Avatars
    Show
    (by Strawberries)
    (by Rain Dragon)

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    *Redacted*

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintonBeck View Post
    Why aren't adventuring parties formed as joint stock adventuring companies? Would it make more sense for them to be? And would you be interested in seeing this in a game?
    This is effectively the plot of Neverwinter Nights 2's Storm of Zehir Expansion pack....

    I imagine such a company likely to function much like a pirate ship, with shares and what not determined by contract and leadership determined by success.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    Kill a PC's father? Well that's just the cost of doing business.
    Steal a PC's boots? Now it's personal.
    Please take everything I say with a grain of salt. Unless we're arguing about alignment. In which case, you're wrong.

    Former EMPIRE2! Player: Imperator of the Nihoni Dominion
    Former EMPIRE3! Player: Suzerain of the Phnīx Estates
    Former EMPIRE4! Player: Margrave of the Margraviate of Rhune
    My Awesome Campaign Setting

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
     
    LibraryOgre's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    I'd actually argue that this is the case in some games... Ars Magica's covenants, for example, aren't exactly joint stock companies, but the primary shareholders (magi) and non-voting shareholders (companions) do have rights to shared resources and so on.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Mutant Dawn for Savage Worlds!
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    There are almost 400,000 threads on this site. If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PersonMan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Duitsland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Something like this would probably end up as a mix between the early capitalist cooperation in Italy mixed with the 19th century British half-state-supported individual adventuring, though that probably depends a lot on your setting. Wealthy people grouping together to split the cost for hiring adventurers to clear out the ruins in the eastern woods works fine (similar things were done as far back as the 1100s in Italy for merchant voyages) - they split the risk and split the gains, while the adventurers get their pay and a chunk of the loot. But the idea of, say, clearing out Monster Valley in the name of X kingdom would be something more fit for a setting with advanced nation-states (which a lot of settings often end up having without people thinking about it).

    It's also pretty dependent on how things look, politically, in your world. Is Monster Valley technically part of the Duchy of F, even though the F rulers have been unable to really control the region for ages? If so, the Duke of F may be willing to back an adventuring expedition into the valley - he's interested in control of the land, the merchants want the route to avoid Lord M's taxes in the south, and they make an agreement to split the cost for the adventurers, who are paid and get some sort of official seal that gives them the right to travel through the area, taking stuff that doesn't have a clear owner or similar.

    On the other hand, if Monster Valley isn't claimed by anyone, it could also be a political issue, or a chance for individuals to expand outside of political borders. If a group of merchants pays for adventurers to clear the valley and set up trading posts, they're effectively carving out an area in which they are the only rulers.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintonBeck View Post
    You bring up a valid point but it makes me think of an answer that only introduces another concept rarely explored by your typical D&D party, selling off a cleared dungeon... I'm not sure how that would work with land rights but assuming one could find an interested party, could an adventuring party not sell off the property rights of a dungeon they cleared to a wealthy client looking for a secure site of their own? A lot of dungeons are pre-made forts for any government and I can't help but chuckle at the idea of a party selling "The Lair of Lord of Madness" to a level 1 prospective Lich looking to get his evil base started.

    Really, I'm not sure why more parties don't claim cleared dungeons for their own or see about selling them at profit to an interested party. Even beforehand finding out what the dungeon used to be and who it belonged to then tracking down an heir if they were sufficiently wealthy and offering to recover it for a price or offering a poorer heir the return of it in exchange for a percentage of future revenue extracted seems like a decent idea.
    I'm not sure a big effort to find some quasi-legitimate heir would make sense, especially in a less structured society - unlike our world, where laws cover pretty much everything and finding some ancient tomb might just mean you technically trespassed on it's owner's descendants' property, it's likely to be a case of 'you cleared it, you own it', which itself opens up interesting options. In the past, large monuments were often stripped of material for use in building or expanding settlements - a local lords and some merchants may come together to pay for adventurers to clear out ancient ruins so that they can go in and take apart the old towers for their stone.

    Also important: fortifications are only worth getting if they're in a good position. Some random dungeon (which often have one entrance that leads underground) won't be something the king wants, because...well, what's he going to do with it? It doesn't offer the advantages a castle or similar position does, even if it does happen to be strategically placed which I think most aren't - the Dread Dungeons are generally not positioned on a hill with a perfect outlook over an important river, but in the middle of nowhere, as far as I know.

    A wealthy trade group may have use for a dungeon if it's in the right spot - especially if the conditions in it are right. A place to securely store your trade goods, in winter for example, to wait out a period of bad weather / a season that doesn't let you move through somewhere.
    Not Person_Man, don't thank me for things he did.

    Old-to-New table converter. Also not made by me.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Economics of an Adventuring Party

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintonBeck View Post
    especially under certain rules for certain editions seeing as how we can find the DMG saying a skilled craftsman makes a few gold over the course of a year's worth of work while an adventuring party finds 20 gold killing some raggedy goblins or the like.
    I'm curious as to which editions you're referencing, since my knee-jerk response is a reminder that in 3.5 even the "untrained laborer" assumption is 3gp per month and anyone rolling a profession skill even at +0 is making plenty.

    Running the party as a company with shared assets in an expanded version of the party consumables/raise dead fund is a reasonable method of implementing my own iron-fisted division of party loot. As for actually making a stock market in-game, I'd have to decline for a number of reasons.

    I'm actually replaying Storm of Zehir right now, but it's nothing like this. Rather than turning the adventurers into a stock company, it just lets you do expand the merchant enterprise on the side. You're basically just an especially tough delegation sent to buy warehouses and direct convoy routes, useful because in order to set up "trading posts" you often need to ferry expensive loads of cargo that would be prime targets. In return you get a cut of the $lol profits that stream in during gameplay, making you rich enough to buy literally the entire world.

    An Eberron book also has an abstracted mechanic for buying stakes in adventuring enterprises, but it's a proper one-shot gamble rather than an indefinite cut of everything forever.
    Fizban's Tweaks and Brew: Google Drive (PDF), Thread
    A collection of over 200 pages of individually small bans, tweaks, brews, and rule changes, usable piecemeal or nearly altogether, and even some convenient lists. Everything I've done that I'd call done enough to use in one place (plus a number of things I'm working on that aren't quite done, of course).
    Quote Originally Posted by Violet Octopus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    sheer awesomeness

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •