PDA

View Full Version : Inn Management in 3.5



Scalenex
2007-12-21, 02:48 AM
I have an Economics degree. Even before this I asked various forms of the question "Why hoard piles of gold, why not invest it into something." Now in the chronicle I'm playing, we have. We saved a town that was a staging ground for several villains evil plots. Among these villains was our kindly unassuming inn keeper (who was a vengeful ex-noble turned wizard who planned a very delayed revenge plot against many, including her husband).

When the smoke cleared and our inn keeper was literally dragged off into the lower planes, we found ourselves squatting in a public domain inn. When the mayor gave us mucho dinero for saving the town, we decided to buy the inn from the town. We named it the Howler Inn because a disportionate number of our opponents at the time loved to summon them. So we estimate we'll about 200 to 300 gold pieces a year, but we are hanging around the town. We paid someone 20% of our profits to manage it. We have a half-baked plan to buy several inns in the future.

If we are adventurers traveling around, what is the best way to collect our profits in an efficient manner? Our current plan is to swing buy our inns when we travel in their general vicinity, but if we go farther afield that will become difficult. We came up with the idea that if we owned inns in virtually every town along the major trade route our stories are on, we could pay collectors to go up and down the stretch and give us the profits for a modest fee.

Please keep high level spells or super powerful magical items out of the equation (or merchants based around teleportation circles and things that ruin the medieval feel. We are sixth level going on seventh so that's not practical now. Even if we were high level, it still would not be practical to spend thousands of gold pieces to collect a few hundred.

Khanderas
2007-12-21, 02:58 AM
A DnD world that does not use teleportation circles for everything, such as yours, likly has a caravan network to move goods. This should also include a banking network (afterall gold pieces is goods).
In a world where willfully stealing may taint your alignment towards evil, and highpowered adventurers slay evil at will, I say they are honest most of the time.

See if you can get connections with them.

Talic
2007-12-21, 02:58 AM
Please keep high level spells or super powerful magical items out of the equation (or merchants based around teleportation circles and things that ruin the medieval feel. We are sixth level going on seventh so that's not practical now. Even if we were high level, it still would not be practical to spend thousands of gold pieces to collect a few hundred.

Nor does it seem practical to spend 10,000 gp on an in to collect 300 gp annually. But, as that's done, have the managers keep books, and drop monthly profits into a safe. Stop by periodically, and hope that your adventure path follows a circular pattern of places you've been, so that you can collect an amount of money that's almost considered a pittance to the WBL standard, as you progress to higher levels.

TheThan
2007-12-21, 04:00 AM
Donít forget to invest back into the inn.
Improvements can always be made. Nicer/more rooms, Bath house, Stables (if you donít already have any), restaurant portion (maybe even of gourmet quality) are all good additions to a PC run Inn.

Azukius
2007-12-21, 05:43 AM
Um, i thought the whole point was that you did invest. But in yourself by getting better weaponry, wondrous items, scrolls . . ., which improve your ability to kill dragons, steal treasures, overthrow dark cults and thus gain their horde, keep the trinket, loot their coffers resulting in more gold to spend on better equipment resulting in even more gold etc

Khanderas
2007-12-21, 08:30 AM
Um, i thought the whole point was that you did invest. But in yourself by getting better weaponry, wondrous items, scrolls . . ., which improve your ability to kill dragons, steal treasures, overthrow dark cults and thus gain their horde, keep the trinket, loot their coffers resulting in more gold to spend on better equipment resulting in even more gold etc
WoW ?

I keed I keed.

Crow
2007-12-21, 10:55 AM
Well, a few things.

Whenever you go to your Inns, spends a night and audit the books yourself, or hire a professional to do it.

In conjunction with this, hire managers that are ok with travel. You will want to rotate your managers through your different Inns and look for patterns and income discrepancies.

For collecting the money. If you really want the cash, you can hire a service to ride out and collect your profits for you, and then transport them to a large city where they can be deposited and held safe for you.

Also, as you will own several Inns, open a line of credit with the city's largest bank so you don't have to rely upon the money getting there ASAP every time. Most likely, you will have portions of your profit coming in at irregular intervals. The credit allows you not worry about that so much.

MrNexx
2007-12-21, 11:10 AM
My suggestion? Come to an agreement with the local lord/town council/church about keeping your funds for you until you come to ask for them. Medieval "banks" weren't that common in the early middle ages, so the usual method was to either buy property (as you've done) or get a letter of credit from someone.

Let's say you go with the Church of Pelor. They'd give you a letter of credit good for drawing on their coffers to the tune of 270gp (one year's profits, minus administration fees for your inn manager). Now, if you go to Count Noble three towns over, and suddenly need to buy some armor from his armorer, you give him the letter of credit, and get either 300gp worth of armor, or the armor and some change. He then takes the letter of credit to the Church of Pelor and gets the money (or gives it back to them as a donation). Or he might trade it to an iron dealer for 300gp worth of raw iron, etc.

The trick is that the letter itself has value because its from a trusted institution.

Frosty
2007-12-21, 11:36 AM
Yep. Sounds like the precursor to paper money.

kismetrose
2007-12-21, 11:49 AM
One of the PCs in my game has been running his own business for some time now. He first found managers that he felt he could really trust and he hand-picked the first batch of assorted employees. He invested in a good strong room in which to store the gold, as well as great locks and some guards to discourage people from starting trouble. He has started leaving orders on what to do to improve his business once the gold reaches a certain level.

Since we don't know how far your DM likes to send you, it's difficult to say what your ability to collect will be. You can try to encourage your DM to keep you in the area for a while, but honestly, if the inn is only going to make 200 to 300 gp a year, then you might be better off having it stored for you until you get back. It won't be the end of the world, it might just be a nice little surprise, like the twenty dollar bill you forgot you had tucked in the back of your wallet. You could also leave orders like my player did: "Once the profits reach ___ gp, improve the kitchen."

I would look at the Stronghold Builder's Handbook and use it to define what your inn is like now. If the rooms are only basic quality, you could use the profits to improve them, and the book has prices for all that.

ShadowyFigure
2007-12-21, 11:49 AM
Higher assasins. To keep an eye on your inn keepers. Then have them give the money to local lord or church.

Riffington
2007-12-21, 12:25 PM
This is the D&D equivalent of the celebrity restaurant.
You have essentially nothing that you contribute to the Inn's success except money and your names. You are far too busy to regularly check on the inn's quality or profitability. Your manager may or may not end up being loyal and competent.

If you do this a lot, you need an agent or at least an investment manager. Someone to make sure your properties are working as well as they can, and that they are not associating your names with something distasteful. In short, an Expert with Ride, Sense Motive, and Diplomacy. If he's good, maybe he can also find you some quests!

Ganurath
2007-12-21, 01:01 PM
Complete Scoundrel has Aspect Mirror at 4K per mirror, which would let you keep in contact with your hireling barkeep. If you have money to throw around, Ring Gates would be a very convenient way to collect profits, especially in conjunction with the Aspect Mirrors. Of course, the sum of that plan is a 48K dip, but it also allows convenient access to plot hooks if hell ever comes back to the vicinity of the Howler Inn.

hamishspence
2007-12-21, 01:27 PM
Power of Faerun has stuff on Merchant Leaders, building on the DMG II, if you insist on rules mechanics, for creating your own merchant organisation. Or, with a bit of discussion, you and your DM could wing it.

How important is the money? Merchant earnings per day, even using the PoF and DMG II Rules to the max, are not great.

For those with cohorts or favorite contacts, consider turning it over. That is one of best uses of Leadership: trusty minions to keep you from being bogged down.

If is likely to be lucative, makes a great favor to some NPC in campaign you want to make much use of.

The ideal way for hack and slashers is for organisations, a la PH II, to be ways of getting things: items, skill checks, etc that are very hard to buy on open market. Gives lots of hooks back into adventures:

"the bandits are raiding MY caravans, lets take em down" Just the simplest hook back. Bet you can think of more.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-21, 01:38 PM
When you buy and operate an inn, you are contributing to the community and saying to the population "I too have a stake in the prosperity of this town." That buys you something that gold can't, good will from the population.

Zenos
2007-12-21, 01:50 PM
When you buy and operate an inn, you are contributing to the community and saying to the population "I too have a stake in the prosperity of this town." That buys you something that gold can't, good will from the population.

If you don't just donate some money to the town or some popular institution in the town.

Citizen Joe
2007-12-21, 01:56 PM
If you don't just donate some money to the town or some popular institution in the town.

That doesn't have the same effect. The money is spent. If the town falls off the face of the planet it has no further effect on you.

When you invest in a town, the people know you mean business. When you just donate money, then they just think of you as someone that can be fleeced.

Zenos
2007-12-21, 02:07 PM
That doesn't have the same effect. The money is spent. If the town falls off the face of the planet it has no further effect on you.

When you invest in a town, the people know you mean business. When you just donate money, then they just think of you as someone that can be fleeced.

Yeah, I just flung something out.

mainiac
2007-12-21, 02:24 PM
Become a bank/money order service. You've got a bunch of managers working along the main trading routes already and they have a bit of cash lying around. The merchants can desposit their cash at any one of your inns and reclaim 95% at any other. Require both merchant and manager to sign on every transaction and practice double entry bookkeeping and you've got a good paper trail following your most profitable enterprise. The merchants don't have to worry about being robbed on the road and you have your money doing work for you. Throw in some mid rate short term loans, maybe get into mortgages after a few years. Where you don't have enough cash to buy an in, get a few investors and sell "shares." Once that's developed, start mutual funds at your various outlets and get the peasants to start investing too. Pitch them as good retirement funds. Sell futures to the local farmers and you can start having a lot of profitable merchants who never have to go farther then the nearest carrier pidgeon avairy (where you'll collect a commision of course.) Move in to commodities and then transportation.

Now your ready to pull an Enron in California and end up owning half of the smoking remnents of the kingdom. Start looking into the legal precedents to see if this makes you king. If so, you're ready to start making a real profit.

horseboy
2007-12-21, 04:07 PM
Griffin express. Take a Handy Haversack and use it for saddlebags on a griffon. Hire a guy, call him Ruggiero if you want to be mid evil, he flies around on his griffon in a circuit. (You'll want to change it up periodically) He gathers up the money, flies high to avoid most encounters, then drops it off at your fortress.

Scalenex
2007-12-22, 05:58 AM
When you buy and operate an inn, you are contributing to the community and saying to the population "I too have a stake in the prosperity of this town." That buys you something that gold can't, good will from the population.

Exactly! We didn't get enough credit from the town for saving them multiple times. We had some rough spots because an evil werewolf starting infecting people to create minions of destruction and we got blamed for it because the druid has a wolf as an animal companion. We were really getting sick of the townspeople by that point and accusing our mascot of wrongdoing was really bad. If we hadn't already bought the inn, giving us the stake in the town, we may have killed the game. Our DM wanted us to resolve the plot points in town, but were ready to abandon the town and let it die. Our group is mostly made up of Neutral aligned characters, and we weren't going to risk our lives for people who disliked us. But we had to, because if the trade route the town was on didn't reopen, we'd never get a return on our investment.

Your ideas are pretty good on the whole. I especially like the idea of establishing lines of credit so someone can make a deposit at one inn and get 95% of it at the next and the comparison to a celebrity owned business. But first we need a second Howler Inn. The hard part will be buying inns that are not for sale. We get most of our wealth from killing monsters of course and we have lots of gold and art objects, but I rather not have to pay double market value because the owner doesn't want to sell. Any ideas short of making Intimidation checks? A fellow PC suggesting we just pay then a few gold pieces to an inn in each town to change their name to the Howler but it just wouldn't be the same.

Chronicled
2007-12-22, 06:15 AM
A fellow PC suggesting we just pay then a few gold pieces to an inn in each town to change their name to the Howler but it just wouldn't be the same.

Wait, wait, why would you pay the other inns to change their names? THEY should be paying YOU for the right to use your name. Then you insist on a certain level of service, a slight percentage of the profits, etc... and supply them with advertising (you'll be travelling all over spreading the word) and respectability (you're celebrities of a sort, after all).

And suddenly you've introduced a franchise to your DM's campaign setting. :smalltongue:

TheElfLord
2007-12-23, 12:49 AM
Wait, wait, why would you pay the other inns to change their names? THEY should be paying YOU for the right to use your name.

But to do that the Name has to be worth something to the inn owners. If the only other in with that name is 300 miles away and has never made any income because the owners let all their friends stay for free, why would an innkeeper change the name of his inn. Especally since the claim to fame of the Howler in is that it has been 17 days since the last murder occrured there.

hamishspence
2007-12-28, 01:46 PM
I checked Powers of Faerun and a 23rd level twinked out merchant prince with maxed out profession, a high profit type business, everything going for him, earns 2600 odd gold pieces when he makes his monthly (DMG II uses different earnings rules) profit check.

2600 gp a month is rather less than great, and he spends an average of 8 hours a day on the business.

Is up to you, but recommend NOT allowing players ridiculous cash for little work. You want lotsa gold, go adventuring.

Beleriphon
2007-12-28, 02:27 PM
Either the PDBII or the DMGII actually has some pretty neat rules for running a business when you aren't there that revolve around how prosperous that business is and how much money it makes you. They go over disasters, very prosperous moments and even another similar business opening next door. Pretty handy for adventurers on the move all told. There are even some pretty fun plot hooks that can be built right into running your business.

Blanks
2008-01-01, 03:42 PM
I will graduate as an economist this summer. I have DMed a game where the player owned a castle, where i thought "hey im gonna get really geeky about this!". So i made an excel sheet with amount of peasants, tax rate etc. I rolled a d100 each year for random amount of succes. It wasnt very difficult to make a sheet where you just plugged in the number rolled and it adjusted profit accordlingly.

In my current campaign i am a player, but made a sheet like it for our groups inn. The rest of the players get to set prices and stuff and the demand will react accordlingly.

I feel this gives the world a realistic feel without more hassle than rolling a d100 once in a while.

----

Still doesnt help with your problem about collecting the gold but just swing by once every year or 2 ? If you are really hard pressed send a pigeon with your estimated location sometime in the future and have a messenger meet you there with the gold.

Crow
2008-01-01, 05:44 PM
This is somewhat related; You can pick up the 3.5 edition Birthright playtest rules from www.birthright.net (http://www.birthright.net). There might be some things in there that would be of interest to people looking at this thread.

laughing.fox
2008-01-01, 07:40 PM
As so many have pointed out, in a D&D economy the big money is in adventuring. Inns are in the perfect position to get in on the action. Make it the Howler Inn's business to connect adventurers and their clients. You could charge a commission from either side -- rich people pay to put their quest on your list and adventurers pay to be Messaged whenever there's a quest available of an appropriate CR. Both sides have a ludicrous amount of extra GP floating around. With good advertising, you could make a killing. I can't think of a party that wouldn't pay 500 GP for your service. That's less than a potion of cure mod for a lifetime supply of quest. Also, you could give your own party a free subscription.

Cuddly
2008-01-01, 07:58 PM
In two levels, your wizard should have teleport. If he doesn't, get a new wizard:smallwink: That will take care of that. With your inn only making 300gp/year, is it at all likely that you'll gain those two levels before you go back and make the pick up? Coming back for anything less seems rather... pointless.


Um, i thought the whole point was that you did invest. But in yourself by getting better weaponry, wondrous items, scrolls . . ., which improve your ability to kill dragons, steal treasures, overthrow dark cults and thus gain their horde, keep the trinket, loot their coffers resulting in more gold to spend on better equipment resulting in even more gold etc

Exactly. A few days of brutal combat and deadly traps pays off far more than any other mundane activity. It's a far better investment to put the cash into better magical items so you can kill bigger baddies than throw cash away on useless hovels.

Dervag
2008-01-01, 08:18 PM
In a world where willfully stealing may taint your alignment towards evil, and highpowered adventurers slay evil at will, I say they are honest most of the time.

See if you can get connections with them.Also, if there is a banking system, honesty will be its stock in trade. No one wants to put their money in a bank that will take the money and run, so banks are going to be very reluctant to do anything that hurts their reputation.

This is actually a historical factor- wildcat banks certainly existed, but even they generally didn't deliberately cheat their customers. It's also one reason why old banks had such big elaborate architecture, with all the gold and brass fittings, the marble floors, and the huge vaults. The point of the architecture was mostly to show that the bank was committed to its present location and wasn't going to pack up and leave overnight.

So any bank that's been around long should be trustworthy, especially when your account is only one of many it has. Granted, banks are more a feature of the Renaissance, but the typical D&D setting uses early Renaissance levels of trade, communication and technology anyway.


Yep. Sounds like the precursor to paper money.It was.

Cuddly
2008-01-01, 08:27 PM
I think dragons could potentially be very powerful forces in moving the economy towards fiat money. They hoard money and other worthless trinkets, and don't like to part with it. They would rather give you slips of paper that say you own some of that treasure, than actually giving the treasure to you. Their trustworthiness is also color coded.