As exciting and important as money is for player characters, tracing day-to-day expenses just isn't very interesting. Forcing players to record every purchase their characters make is time-consuming and, plainly put, not very heroic. It's better simply to charge player characters a monthly living expense.
This living expense covers all normal room and board charges whenever a character is operating out of his home base. Separate charges for meals and beds need be made only when the character is traveling away from home.
Players describe how well (or poorly) they want their characters to live. From this the DM decides if they are living in squalid, poor, middle-class, or wealthy surroundings. The Player Character Living Expenses table, below, gives estimated base costs for each category.
Squalid and poor living conditions cost the same for all characters regardless of race or level. However, as a character increases in level, his needs increase according to (or beyond) his means. Characters living middle-class or wealthy lifestyles multiply the base living expense by their level to determine the cost. Characters of races other than the predominant one of the area (e.g., dwarves in a human city or humans in an elven village) pay double the normal rate. This is due to suspicion and a scarcity of goods the character is accustomed to.
The only direct game effect of living conditions is the expense involved, but living conditions can also determine some role-playing events and conditions in your game. Your player characters' lifestyles even can be used as a starting point for many different types of adventures.
|Middle-Class||50 gp per level|
|Wealthy||200 gp per level|
Dirty straw in leaky stables, muck-floored huts outside the walls of town, contempt, and random violence—these typify squalid living conditions. Characters living like this aren't likely to be robbed (since no one thinks they have any money), but they may be tormented or attacked just for the fun of it. Their legal protections will be few indeed.
In poor conditions, characters benefit from some legal protection, although there may be general indifference to their troubles. They must also cope with a high level of violence, periodic robberies, and random fights.
Middle-class life tends to be safe and somewhat boring. Characters receive adequate protection and will not be the main target of most burglars. Thieves are generally attracted to the homes of the wealthy.
Wealthy people receive the greatest benefits, but they must also deal with the highest level of deceit, trickery, and treachery. Nearly all with wealth are drawn into dangerous political maneuverings, mainly to protect their own privileges.
Upon building or claiming his own stronghold, a player character suddenly acquires a whole new set of expenses. The character no longer pays living expenses but must pay for the maintenance of his property.