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-   -   Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=159882)

scc 09-27-2018 05:43 AM

Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
I'm in the middle of putting together some numbers for a post/discussion about the costs of enchanting using real world costs because they're easier to gauge (a full suite of armor/clothing enchanted with Fortify 3 is at least 4,000USD to give people an idea) but I want to include a comparison between hiring dancing girls for a Raise Cone of Power spell (15USD per 8 energy) and using Power Stones instead, which means I need to figure out materials costs for Power Stones.

Now I've done a bit of background research and while the prices I'm about to quote are in AUD, given that is comparison is based upon purchasing power and not exchange rates, I don't think the prices are too far off.
Basic supermarket bread, $1
Family owned bakery $2 to $2.5
Franchise bakery ~$4
Brand names bread $6+

Now my first instinct is telling me that the first two are probably the ballpark that I want, but what do people think?

Nemoricus 09-27-2018 06:12 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
GURPS $ are roughly based on the value of the US $ in 2004.

AlexanderHowl 09-27-2018 06:27 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses), so that is $1800 per month per adult. At the very least, that suggests that a $3 2018 to $1 GURPS conversation.

malloyd 09-27-2018 06:58 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211796)
Now my first instinct is telling me that the first two are probably the ballpark that I want, but what do people think?

People insist on debating this endlessly, but yeah, they're roughly equal.

The problem is that more or less by definition of a fixed price list, the "equality" is roughly 1 = 3, because the price list is necessarily fixed but real world prices routinely vary by a factor of 3 or more from day to day, store to store, or city to city even in the same country, never mind first world cities to third world villages.

ericthered 09-27-2018 07:17 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211800)
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses), so that is $1800 per month per adult. At the very least, that suggests that a $3 2018 to $1 GURPS conversation.


I thinks that's more a problem with lifestyle costs at high TL and less of a problem with the cost of everything else in gurps.



I find Gurps prices are a little low in most cases, and usually use a 2:1 ratio if comparing to the modern day.

vicky_molokh 09-27-2018 07:32 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211800)
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses), so that is $1800 per month per adult. At the very least, that suggests that a $3 2018 to $1 GURPS conversation.

USA's living expenses pricing is wacky and shouldn't be used as a baseline when writing a generic universal system anyway.

Kromm 09-27-2018 07:42 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by malloyd (Post 2211805)

real world prices routinely vary by a factor of 3 or more from day to day, store to store, or city to city even in the same country, never mind first world cities to third world villages.

Which is why no conversion is going to make sense across the board for all items (clothing, electronics, food, lodging, tools, vehicles, weapons, etc.) in all markets.

All the time on these forums, I see prices mentioned that make no sense at all . . . to me, where I live. Most are in USD, but even after I convert to CAD, they're extraordinarily high or low. This gets especially wonky for things nobody absolutely needs, like target pistols, bottles of bourbon, and name-brand jeans, because those are subject to luxury pricing.

Even for staples, though, I can find factor-of-three to -five variations in my own neighborhood. I just paid $2.99 for something that was $11.99 down the street – we're talking the same item by the same manufacturer in the same packaging with the same product code, not a knockoff or made-for-Walmart version. And I didn't have to use any special skill (like Area Knowledge or Merchant) to find this . . . in GURPS, I'd represent this by "$X × (1d-1), minimum $X."

So I'd just use GURPS prices as real ones and call it a day. They may be a little low for some things and a little high for others, but assuming fairly resourceful PCs who had time to walk around town, search the Internet, etc., they're probably close enough. Converting them, rolling dice for them, or whatever might be fun for an "Adventures in Shopping" campaign or a "The Price Is Right" adventure, but it seems like too much hassle otherwise.

Kromm 09-27-2018 07:51 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh (Post 2211811)

USA's living expenses pricing is wacky and shouldn't be used as a baseline when writing a generic universal system anyway.

This seems true as well.

By dint of being Canadian and having made many of my friends in graduate school, where most of the foreign students came from Europe and Asia, the majority of my contacts live outside the United States. When I read about how living expenses are proportioned in the U.S.A., I find it anomalous. Among other things, it seems U.S. culture is skewed toward owning houses and away from renting apartments, favors living outside the city core, and assumes motor-vehicle ownership. Most of the people I know everywhere else rent apartments in the city, and walk or bike. There's also the fact that just about all the world is more socialist than the U.S.A., which adjusts how much goes to taxes and how much is paid for services (from trash collection to hospitals).

Consequently, I'd be hesitant to give too much weight to modern U.S. cost of living in my in-game economics unless I were running a game set in a specific U.S. city where I knew the real-world breakdown (and in that case, I'd do my research locally, not ask people who lived outside that city). I certainly wouldn't base the economic assumptions of a generic game system on that.

whswhs 09-27-2018 08:23 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211800)
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses), so that is $1800 per month per adult. At the very least, that suggests that a $3 2018 to $1 GURPS conversation.

That's an issue not with GURPS prices but with GURPS definitions of Status and cost of living.

If you look at the GURPS rules on wealth, TL, and pay rates, an Average job at TL8 is defined to earn $2600/month. Even if you figure a third of it goes for taxes, the remaining $1700/month is more than enough to support a Status 1 lifestyle, or for a married couple who both have such jobs, a Status 2 lifestyle. (All of this is based purely on amounts in GURPS$, by the way; I'm not even looking at real world purchasing power.) So by GURPS rules the average person either is Status 1-2, or has money vanishing into expenses that don't count as cost of living. If you wanted a treatment of Status that was a closer fit to the modern United States, you'd need to have cost of living for a given status be proportionate to the pay scale for the TL.

AlexanderHowl 09-27-2018 10:05 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
If we want GURPS to reflect real world experiences, we have to adjust the prices to reflect the real world. In the USA in 2018, $600 a month is Status -2 for the majority of the population, as that is the barest level of subsistence for the majority of the population. That represents the type of living on minimum wage might be able to sustain (no car, sharing an apartment with four people, and eating beans and rice for most meals). My fiance and I barely qualify for Status 0, we live in a small apartment in a small Northern city and have two used cars, but we spend more money than most on higher quality food, so $3600 a month works for the two of us. In NYC or San Francisco, $3600 per month for one person would be Status-1.

David Johnston2 09-27-2018 11:05 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211800)
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses),

The first thing to bear in mind is that taxes are not part of your Status lifestyle. The penalty for not paying your taxes is not a -1 reaction from the people you meet. Taxes are treated as an invisible deduction from your effective income not as part of your status cost of living.

The second thing is that cost of living isn't the typical amount that a person spends on things. It's the rock bottom minimum before people start looking at you and saying things like "Are you homeless?". The cost of living is substantially less than what most people at a given status spend.

whswhs 09-27-2018 11:15 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211837)
If we want GURPS to reflect real world experiences, we have to adjust the prices to reflect the real world. In the USA in 2018, $600 a month is Status -2 for the majority of the population, as that is the barest level of subsistence for the majority of the population. That represents the type of living on minimum wage might be able to sustain (no car, sharing an apartment with four people, and eating beans and rice for most meals). My fiance and I barely qualify for Status 0, we live in a small apartment in a small Northern city and have two used cars, but we spend more money than most on higher quality food, so $3600 a month works for the two of us. In NYC or San Francisco, $3600 per month for one person would be Status-1.

Living in San Francisco, at least if you actually have an address and a job, almost certainly qualifies you for +1 to Status right there, and possibly +2. San Francisco isn't an average American city, let alone an average American community.

Kromm 09-27-2018 11:19 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211837)

If we want GURPS to reflect real world experiences, we have to adjust the prices to reflect the real world.

The issue is that GURPS is a generic game. Setting aside that it must cover historical and futuristic games, fantasy worlds, and campaigns set in completely different universes, and looking only at the real world of 2018:

Status and Wealth are meant to be global indices. Average wealth is the average of everybody worldwide, and the other levels are multipliers applied to that. Status 0 rates the average lifestyle enjoyed worldwide, and the other levels are adjustments up and down from that.

This is why, for instance, Transhuman Space: Fifth Wave, p. 61, labels the average North American as being Comfortable to Wealthy. This means someone there is able to support Status 0 without trying, and Status 1-2 easily enough if that's a priority. That book also typifies Status 1 as "ordinary citizen" in several places.

I suspect we're already in that situation today, and that a modern U.S. citizen – placed on the global scale – is Comfortable to Wealthy, supporting at least a Status 1 lifestyle with a $1,200 monthly cost of living. There aren't enough people in all the U.S. to skew the global averages, which are weighted heavily toward China and India . . . or enough people in any big U.S. city to tip the balance away from Beijing, Guangzhou, Istanbul, Karachi, Lagos, Moscow, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. I'm pretty sure $600/month would be more than enough to live a fairly free, non-street-person existence in the majority of those cities.

whswhs 09-27-2018 11:39 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Gallup (https://news.gallup.com/poll/166211/...ncome-000.aspx) claims that the world household income averages just about $10,000, which is about $800 a month. That's just a shade up from Status 0 in GURPS terms.

Kromm 09-27-2018 11:50 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Put another way:

I live alone in an apartment with a large entry hall, a living room, an office, a dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, three closets big enough to lie down in, and front and back balconies.

I enjoy running water and working sewers, road and sidewalk upkeep, street cleaning and snow removal, three waste collection services (separate trash, recycling, and compost), daily postal delivery, electricity, fiber-optic Internet, and LTE+ cellular service.

The neighborhood isn't upscale in the traditional sense (rich-and-powerful neighbors living in mini-mansions with huge yards and multiple cars), but it's populated by the kinds of young people who are gainfully employed and spending lots of money on their lifestyle. Thus, it attracts the businesses that serve such people: artisanal bakeries, arty theatres, clothing designers, ethnic specialty shops, fitness centers, organic grocery stores, yoga studios, etc.

There are lots of trees and parks.

And it's all walkable and cyclable. People don't have cars by choice, not out of poverty.

There's crime, sure, but the police arrive in seconds because it's the kind of area lots of taxes and municipal votes come from.

So that might not be Status 1 or 2 as described on p. B266, but it certainly isn't Status -1. I'd argue it isn't even Status 0. It's more like Status 1 with the "comfortable house and a nice new car" traded off for things people who live here find more interesting, notably a comfortable neighborhood and no need for a car. I think that the more socialist you get, the more you have to make such tradeoffs; p. B266 represents a relatively low-CR society that puts an emphasis on individual capital, but that isn't the only valid picture.

I'd peg my cost of living at between 1,650 and 1,850 USD, so I'm most likely paying out for a "Status 1.2-1.3" lifestyle.

The kicker is that while I'm not a starving artist, I'm in the writing business. Not just that, but I'm in the very niche games business, which is hardly a way to get rich. I'm perforce not well off . . . that comes with the territory. It's true that I'm not saving much – my choice, my mistake to make. But at the end of the day, a very "average" job here in well-off North America supports more than what GURPS would call Status 0, and that lifestyle costs proportionally more.

My friends who are professionals and much better off than me are paying twice or more what I am: 3,330 to 3,700 USD, often more. They are supporting "Status 2-2.1" most likely. They're actually closer to the average for where I live, but they're way above the global average. That means they're Wealthy or better with Status 2+, and can't be used to rate that global average.

Kromm 09-27-2018 11:53 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2211857)

Gallup (https://news.gallup.com/poll/166211/...ncome-000.aspx) claims that the world household income averages just about $10,000, which is about $800 a month. That's just a shade up from Status 0 in GURPS terms.

And I'd argue that in a multiple-income, no-children situation, the per-capita figures might be more relevant: $243 a month. This argues for Struggling/Status -1.

AlexanderHowl 09-27-2018 12:04 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Which is fine, but GURPS uses the USA as the baseline because it is produced by a US company. Therefore, the baseline should reflect the reality of life in the USA, with everything measured relative to that baseline. For example, the average person in the world is Poor relative to the average person in the USA but, since they live in a Poor society, they have Status 0 relative to their neighbors.

Stormcrow 09-27-2018 12:27 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211867)
GURPS uses the USA as the baseline

What does that mean? Aside from using a unit called $ that is kinda-sorta similar to US dollars if you only look at it out of the corner of your eye, the GURPS $ has pretty much nothing to do with US dollars. The GURPS system of prices, costs of living, and income is pretty much self-contained. If the authors had originally called the units "credits" and made them five times larger than they are, no one would be claiming that it was based on US economics.

Flanian Pobble Beads are only exchangeable for other Flanian Pobble Beads.

Rupert 09-27-2018 12:40 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
The price of gear in GURPS is in the right ballpark from my POV, allowing for exchange rates, if I just assume they're USD prices today.

However, the cost of living comes out all wrong if you assume that being poor in New Zealand is Status-1, and the Jobseeker's Benefit pays ~NZD220/week plus rent subsidy, say ~NZD300/week, and that is just enough to not starve pay rent and maybe run a cheap car or pay for some smokes (not both realistically). That's about USD800-850/month, and if we assume that it's buying Status-0 by world standards it's not far wrong. It's only if we assume that being poor in a first world country makes you Status-1 or Status-2 that things go weird. If being poor but housed is Status-0 overall, and being homeless but not completely broke and in a first world country is Status-1 (you're still better off than being homeless and dirt poor in the rest of the world, after all), not Status-2, it mostly works.

Of course things break down when players see that they need only pay $600/month for Status-0, and their TL8 character earns $2600/month.

ericthered 09-27-2018 12:43 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211867)
Which is fine, but GURPS uses the USA as the baseline because it is produced by a US company. Therefore, the baseline should reflect the reality of life in the USA, with everything measured relative to that baseline. For example, the average person in the world is Poor relative to the average person in the USA but, since they live in a Poor society, they have Status 0 relative to their neighbors.


This would be true if the game was primarily played at TL8 or TL7. But its meant to cover a variety of genres, and to be flexible enough to handle anything. The default could also be argued to be medieval Europe.



Its not an ideal situation, I agree, but boosting first world high wealth isn't terribly complex.

David Johnston2 09-27-2018 12:48 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211867)
Which is fine, but GURPS uses the USA as the baseline because it is produced by a US company.

Does it? I'd argue that it uses Medieval England as the baseline because the place where it started was as a TL 3 fantasy game and from there they bolted on coverage of other genres with varying amounts of success. This is also reflected in the fact that cost of living is a real issue at TL 3 but an afterthought at TL 8.

Kromm 09-27-2018 01:07 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johnston2 (Post 2211879)

Does it? I'd argue that it uses Medieval England as the baseline because the place where it started was as a TL 3 fantasy game and from there they bolted on coverage of other genres with varying amounts of success. This is also reflected in the fact that cost of living is a real issue at TL 3 but an afterthought at TL 8.

Pretty much. It's a flaw, but I've never backed down from admitting those.

whswhs 09-27-2018 01:17 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211867)
Which is fine, but GURPS uses the USA as the baseline because it is produced by a US company. Therefore, the baseline should reflect the reality of life in the USA, with everything measured relative to that baseline. For example, the average person in the world is Poor relative to the average person in the USA but, since they live in a Poor society, they have Status 0 relative to their neighbors.

That's not how GURPS actually works. The TL8 income baseline more or less reflects the United States (current U.S. median household income is above $50k, which is not far short of two Average incomes of $2600/month or $31,200/year. But the CoL for Status 0 is not adjusted to reflect present-day technology or economics; it's based on how people lived from the invention of agriculture up until the Industrial Revolution. The U.S. is not the baseline for Status.

So take C and me. Our household income supports Status 2 by GURPS standards. That gives us a roomy one-bedroom apartment, utilities (including Internet and videoconferencing), more than enough to eat (as in Overweight rather than Skinny) and of decent quality (we have spices that would make a medieval nobleman envious!), 100 shelf feet of books and access to vastly more online, recorded entertainment that an eighteenth-century bourgeois couldn't have imagined, travel by bus or train or (in emergencies) cab—I can travel from Riverside to San Diego most months to run a game for friends, and the train fare is barely noticeable, though if C goes with me the cat care is pricy. By American standards I think our standard of living is Status -1; not having a car and never having owned a house puts us well short of "middle class." But I think it's more accurate to say that "American" is worth at least +2 Status relative to the global economy and society.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2211862)
And I'd argue that in a multiple-income, no-children situation, the per-capita figures might be more relevant: $243 a month. This argues for Struggling/Status -1.

On the other hand, that's a big perplexity of GURPS for me. Does Status 0 cost of living of $600 support one person, say an adventurer when they're at home? And then if two people live together, do they need $1200? That's handy for adventurers, who are overwhelmingly likely to be single, for some reason; and it's a tolerable fit to millenials (just as it was to boomers when I was just out of college). But for most of history, a single man didn't have a full set of life skills, and was going to be paying more in the way of living expenses than a married man would, because he had to pay to get his meals cooks, his clothes washed and mended, his quarters swept, and so on. Even armies needed camp followers for more than sexual reasons. It's more accurate in a lot of cases to say that $600 supports a married couple. The wife is doing a lot of labor that isn't paid for with money, but that's part of the household's income . . . in a way that goes far beyond the uneven household division of labor in our time.

And of course in a tribal society, no one is "paid," and we could say that a man has a virtual income of $300/month from hunting or fishing, and a woman has the same from gathering, and they add up to Status 0. But even as early as TL3, the man is treated as having an "income" and the woman usually isn't.

I'd also note that "per capita" is misleading in that it counts children as part of that "capita." But a child doesn't need as much food as an adult, or as much fiber, or as much room. So the child is probably getting less than $243/month, and the parents more.

Anthony 09-27-2018 01:30 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Cost of Living has been a hot point since 4th edition first came out, because it's setting-independent.

There's a reason for this: GURPS 4th edition wanted a generic table of prices, and that meant the same thing should have the same cost in every setting.

The problem with this is that a TL 3 status 0 lifestyle is not the same thing as a TL 8 status 0 lifestyle, and the way lifestyle cost varies with status is much more complicated than the simple rules in 4e.

sjard 09-27-2018 01:39 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
For another comparison, I feel that my wife and I live quite comfortably.

Own - 2 bedroom house, with detached 2 car garage, on a fairly large (for local anyway, about .2 acres) plot of land for city center.

I own a car. I have gigabit fiber internet.

I have more toys/luxuries (toys for me categorizes games (all types), as well as any other entertainment) than I have time to actually enjoy.

But, my wife and I live on less than $10,000/year.

Do I have everything I may want? No. But want isn't need.

I still have enough to choose to to drive a 50 mile round trip to shop at a store with a bit more selection and lower prices (enough lower that insurance, fuel, maintenance added into food prices makes it cheaper than shopping at the store a block away).

On the other hand, I haven't seen bread cheaper than about $2.50/loaf in a couple decades.

My point is, the much vaunted (usually by players) Realism of GURPS isn't always a good thing.

Polydamas 09-27-2018 02:18 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sjard (Post 2211898)
For another comparison, I feel that my wife and I live quite comfortably.

Own - 2 bedroom house, with detached 2 car garage, on a fairly large (for local anyway, about .2 acres) plot of land for city center.

I own a car. I have gigabit fiber internet.

I have more toys/luxuries (toys for me categorizes games (all types), as well as any other entertainment) than I have time to actually enjoy.

But, my wife and I live on less than $10,000/year.

Do I have everything I may want? No. But want isn't need.

I still have enough to choose to to drive a 50 mile round trip to shop at a store with a bit more selection and lower prices (enough lower that insurance, fuel, maintenance added into food prices makes it cheaper than shopping at the store a block away).

On the other hand, I haven't seen bread cheaper than about $2.50/loaf in a couple decades.

Someone who owns revenue-producing property like a house probably has Independent Income in GURPS (it generates the rent you don't pay, or could get by renting it out) ... but definitely, the difference in cost of living between big, fashionable cities and smaller, out-of-the-way ones is one of many details which is impossible to cover in simple rules.

whswhs 09-27-2018 02:30 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Polydamas (Post 2211907)
Someone who owns revenue-producing property like a house probably has Independent Income in GURPS (it generates the rent you don't pay, or could get by renting it out) ... but definitely, the difference in cost of living between big, fashionable cities and smaller, out-of-the-way ones is one of many details which is impossible to cover in simple rules.

One of the PCs in my current campaign is planning to buy a house in the city they're based in. The size of house she wants rents for $100/month. She's currently at Wealthy, which is $2500, but I expect she'll be buying herself up to Very Wealthy, which is $10,000 (the character has over $40,000 in profits from a recent trading voyage, and has the prospect of continuing income from future voyages); that will make $100/month amount to 1% of her new starting wealth, or Independent Income 1.

Polydamas 09-27-2018 02:31 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Also, we have talked about taxes, but benefits like pensions and health insurance are another can of worms which an economic model (versus a quick rule to get back to the adventure). Just because money does not pass through your hands does not mean you are not receiving valuable compensation, and which of these are taken for granted, which available to a lucky few, and which available to nobody varies widely from country to country.

The problem with Status and standard of living is that a student in a rich country is certainly not a respected, influential member of his or her society (high Status), but is living better than average globally (expensive standard of living).

For a game set in the present, I would be inclined to ignore prices in G$ (especially the cost of living rules!!!) and just use real-world prices from teh interwebs.

Kromm 09-27-2018 02:31 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2211889)

On the other hand, that's a big perplexity of GURPS for me. Does Status 0 cost of living of $600 support one person, say an adventurer when they're at home? [...] I'd also note that "per capita" is misleading in that it counts children as part of that "capita." But a child doesn't need as much food as an adult, or as much fiber, or as much room. So the child is probably getting less than $243/month, and the parents more.

Yeah, that part gets messy, and I'm not sure how to finesse it. All I can say is that the truth is probably in between (household annual income)/12 and (per-capital annual income)/12, or in this case $243 to $811. If we assume that not all income goes toward CoL and remember that not all the world lives at TL8, I imagine it isn't too nuts to say we're looking at Struggling, supporting Status -1, for much of the world.

scc 09-27-2018 02:35 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2211895)
Cost of Living has been a hot point since 4th edition first came out, because it's setting-independent.

There's a reason for this: GURPS 4th edition wanted a generic table of prices, and that meant the same thing should have the same cost in every setting.

The problem with this is that a TL 3 status 0 lifestyle is not the same thing as a TL 8 status 0 lifestyle, and the way lifestyle cost varies with status is much more complicated than the simple rules in 4e.

Status 0 means the same thing in both, but the people in a TL8 society are probably making enough to afford Status 1 whilst not actually paying the points for it.

Kromm 09-27-2018 02:43 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2211909)

The size of house she wants rents for $100/month.

Rent is a whole other crazy thing, of course.

I spent most of April and May searching for an apartment. I saw the same surface area, with the same amenities, in the same state of repair, going for everything from $600/month to $2,000/month. The sole difference was neighborhood. I don't mean "How classy/safe/upscale is the neighborhood?"; I mean "How easy is it to get from this neighborhood to others?" Which I should add has nothing to do with access to goods and services . . .

I passed on several places with half my current rent not because the area was bad and not because the area lacked shops, but because the neighborhoods were far from downtown and because mass transit to my girlfriend's place, my doctor, my therapist, where I go to dance, etc. wasn't a sensible option.

This doesn't map in any useful way to GURPS Status. In fact, a few of the lower-rent areas are generally regarded as more prestigious here . . . I guess the fact that you need to be able to afford a car, or that you're isolated from the riff-raff, is the deciding factor. Or something.

But honestly, the real world doesn't nicely map to game reality, where gamers expect more $ to buy more utility or prestige in some predictable way. Reality is that random noise on some parts of the curve produces error bars taller than the range of the curve, at least locally.

whswhs 09-27-2018 03:12 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2211915)
Rent is a whole other crazy thing, of course.

I spent most of April and May searching for an apartment. I saw the same surface area, with the same amenities, in the same state of repair, going for everything from $600/month to $2,000/month. The sole difference was neighborhood. I don't mean "How classy/safe/upscale is the neighborhood?"; I mean "How easy is it to get from this neighborhood to others?" Which I should add has nothing to do with access to goods and services . . .

In Portus Argenti, transportation is slightly less of an issue, because there are 30,000 inhabitants occupying 75 hectares of built-up land, or less than 200 acres; noplace is very far from any other place, even on foot.

However, the $100/month is only rent for the house. The space has to be rented separately from a landowner (legally this works like a mobile home park, partly reflecting long experience with floods carrying houses away), at a price ranging from $25/month to $100/month, which at least gives some variability. The city's occupants are mostly amphibious, so ground rent varies with how far they are from the river; shoreline houses and setts go for more, partly but not entirely for easy access to transportation. I'm going to let the player decide where Nergul wants to live, though her Miserliness may come into play here.

But I find it simplest, in my own campaigns, to say that everyone pays rent, but that if you own the house where you live, you pay the rent to yourself and get it back as Independent Income. Then the cost of housing as such can be folded into Cost of Living, just as the cost of furnishings can be subsumed under the 80% of starting wealth that covers fixed assets.

Of course all this is amazingly simplified. But even with the PCs moving into the bourgeoisie (NOT the petit bourgeoisie, please note!), I don't think they want a whole campaign that treats real property and cost of living in quite as much detail as GURPS uses for combat. . . .

whswhs 09-27-2018 03:21 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2211911)
Yeah, that part gets messy, and I'm not sure how to finesse it. All I can say is that the truth is probably in between (household annual income)/12 and (per-capital annual income)/12, or in this case $243 to $811. If we assume that not all income goes toward CoL and remember that not all the world lives at TL8, I imagine it isn't too nuts to say we're looking at Struggling, supporting Status -1, for much of the world.

Thinking about it biologically, an approximate answer might be to have a warm-blooded animal's food consumption be proportional to the square of its ST. So, for example, the "men" in my fantasy world would consume 121% of daily rations, if male, or 81%, if female, and children would need proportionately less.

Anthony 09-27-2018 04:18 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211913)
Status 0 means the same thing in both.

Wait, a TL 3 free farmer has WiFi in his home?

On the topic of ST and CoL, calorie requirements are going to scale with metabolic rate, and it's fair to set that as a multiple of BL, but the difference between a 1,500 Calorie diet and a 3,000 Calorie diet is noise-level relative to anything above status -2 CoL.

scc 09-27-2018 04:22 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2211940)
Wait, a TL 3 free farmer has WiFi in his home?

No. That sort of thing is where GURPS Status breaks down, but things like accommodation footage and amount/quality of food don't change with TL, what does change if what level of lifestyle you can afford at a given Status.

Anthony 09-27-2018 04:34 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211942)
No. That sort of thing is where GURPS Status breaks down, but things like accommodation footage and amount/quality of food don't change with TL, what does change if what level of lifestyle you can afford at a given Status.

Um... no, accommodation size and quality and food quality most certainly does change. Among the features of a reasonable TL 8 apartment which would either be only for the wealthy or completely unavailable at TL 3 include:
  • Indoor plumbing.
  • Glass windows.
  • Bright smoke-free lighting.
  • Smoke-free heating and cooking. In some climates, cooling as well.
  • A refrigerator.
  • Telecommunications.
  • Urban services -- trash collection, fire fighting, police.
etc. Almost certainly square footage is different as well.

David Johnston2 09-27-2018 04:38 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2211944)
Um... no, accommodation size and quality and food quality most certainly does change. Among the features of a reasonable TL 8 apartment which would either be only for the wealthy or completely unavailable at TL 3 include:
  • Indoor plumbing.
  • Glass windows.
  • Bright smoke-free lighting.
  • Smoke-free heating and cooking. In some climates, cooling as well.
  • A refrigerator.
  • Telecommunications.
  • Urban services -- trash collection, fire fighting, police.
etc. Almost certainly square footage is different as well.

In our history it got smaller as average family size declined and live in servants became less of a thing.

Anthony 09-27-2018 05:01 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johnston2 (Post 2211945)
In our history it got smaller as average family size declined and live in servants became less of a thing.

Yes, but what you want is square footage for a single status 0 person. The actual living space per person is increased.

dcarson 09-27-2018 07:11 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2211950)
Yes, but what you want is square footage for a single status 0 person. The actual living space per person is increased.

For Status 0 maybe. The traditional 2 room farmer cottage with a family of 8 in it has a lot less room then now.

scc 09-27-2018 07:16 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2211944)
Um... no, accommodation size and quality and food quality most certainly does change. Among the features of a reasonable TL 8 apartment which would either be only for the wealthy or completely unavailable at TL 3 include:
  • Indoor plumbing.
  • Glass windows.
  • Bright smoke-free lighting.
  • Smoke-free heating and cooking. In some climates, cooling as well.
  • A refrigerator.
  • Telecommunications.
  • Urban services -- trash collection, fire fighting, police.
etc. Almost certainly square footage is different as well.

Gawk, you're right of course. My point is that most people seem to think that if someone has Status 0, that's all they'll pay for, even if they can afford more.

whswhs 09-27-2018 07:34 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211968)
Gawk, you're right of course. My point is that most people seem to think that if someone has Status 0, that's all they'll pay for, even if they can afford more.

I take it, rather, that lifestyle gives rise to other people's estimates of your Status. If you are paying for a really good city apartment or a large suburban house, if you frequently eat at nonchain restaurants, if you wear pricy clothes, that tends to be evidence by which other people will judge you to be of higher Status. Though of course it's also the case that if you spend that money on pricy things that the established high-Status people disdain, you may get classed as nouveau riche and not get credit, or even get a bad Reputation or an OPH that lowers the expected reaction.

Then there are people who put money into non-lifestyle stuff. Athletics, electronics/computers, musical instruments and music, crafts equipment, a more elaborate kitchen than your Status needs, or something like Kromm's Bartending toolkit. . . . There's a complex tradeoff between "X doesn't care about Status as much as about that peculiar hobby" and "X's having that hobby is evidence of being high enough in standing to have that sort of hobby."

Rupert 09-27-2018 07:58 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211942)
No. That sort of thing is where GURPS Status breaks down, but things like accommodation footage and amount/quality of food don't change with TL, what does change if what level of lifestyle you can afford at a given Status.

Quality of food changes with TL by quite a lot, and reliability of supply changes enormously. At low TLs a bad harvest means that your society has to choose between nobody getting enough and some getting enough/plenty and others starving. At high TLs even in bad years the only reason someone has to have insufficient food is that their society has decided that things should be that way - there's plenty of good food for all.

Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211968)
Gawk, you're right of course. My point is that most people seem to think that if someone has Status 0, that's all they'll pay for, even if they can afford more.

That's players being miserly, even when their characters would more reasonably be spending money on consumer goods and other comforts at the same rate as their peers (i.e. up to or past the amount their income can support).

scc 09-27-2018 08:26 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rupert (Post 2211979)
That's players being miserly, even when their characters would more reasonably be spending money on consumer goods and other comforts at the same rate as their peers (i.e. up to or past the amount their income can support).

No, it's perfectly legitimate to pay for a higher level of Status then your entitled to, points wise, you even get the reaction bonus. What I don't think you get is access to jobs that pay equal to your Status.

AlexanderHowl 09-27-2018 08:50 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Jobs are somewhat dependent on Wealth (though some have Status requirement as well).

whswhs 09-27-2018 09:27 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 2211985)
No, it's perfectly legitimate to pay for a higher level of Status then your entitled to, points wise, you even get the reaction bonus. What I don't think you get is access to jobs that pay equal to your Status.

In some societies, if you aren't paying the CoL for your Status, your Status falls. In others, it stays the same, but you acquire a Reputation and may have trouble getting credit.

vicky_molokh 09-28-2018 01:33 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2211814)
This seems true as well.

By dint of being Canadian and having made many of my friends in graduate school, where most of the foreign students came from Europe and Asia, the majority of my contacts live outside the United States. When I read about how living expenses are proportioned in the U.S.A., I find it anomalous. Among other things, it seems U.S. culture is skewed toward owning houses and away from renting apartments, favors living outside the city core, and assumes motor-vehicle ownership. Most of the people I know everywhere else rent apartments in the city, and walk or bike. There's also the fact that just about all the world is more socialist than the U.S.A., which adjusts how much goes to taxes and how much is paid for services (from trash collection to hospitals).

Consequently, I'd be hesitant to give too much weight to modern U.S. cost of living in my in-game economics unless I were running a game set in a specific U.S. city where I knew the real-world breakdown (and in that case, I'd do my research locally, not ask people who lived outside that city). I certainly wouldn't base the economic assumptions of a generic game system on that.

Added to the uFAQ (including the next post too).

Kromm 09-28-2018 07:27 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2211975)

There's a complex tradeoff between "X doesn't care about Status as much as about that peculiar hobby" and "X's having that hobby is evidence of being high enough in standing to have that sort of hobby."

It's very, very complex, in part because it depends on the observer as much as the hobbyist. As is my custom, I'll use myself as an example. I have three main hobbies, and here are my experiences with them:

Argentine Tango: People whose "knowledge" comes from bad popular media straight-up say, "That's a rich person's dance," as those media depict tango as a world of men in tuxes and women in gowns, in fancy ballrooms. Thus, the badly informed assume I have pretensions to a rarified lifestyle. People whose knowledge comes from dance science, dance theory, ethnochoreology, etc. are aware that Argentine tango has its origins in slave culture and slums, that it still has a lot of "the street" in it, that it's often danced in grimy clubs, and that the ballroom tango the media loves to depict isn't even the same dance. They tend to class me with struggling artists and the demimonde – as shady, even sleazy. And people who actually dance Argentine tango know that it appeals to a vertical cross-section of society, from poor to extremely rich, and that dancing it means only that this dance appeals to you more than others. Of course, there are tango dancers who put on airs, or starve for their art, or are slimy and looking only to pick up someone for the night, but all together they're a drop in a very large bucket.

Mixology: Many people, upon seeing the shelves full of bottles and tools in my home bar, utter something like, "It must be nice to have money to throw around." A few identify costly or hard-to-come-by bottles and figure I display them to show off; i.e., they're status symbols. Those who know me better are aware that aside from gifts, most of that stuff was paid for by me not going out to bars like most cocktail-drinkers (each night skipped pays for one or even two bottles!), not having a car, not having a TV, and having a strange lifestyle in general; a few see these "sacrifices" as signs that I'm not well off and of lower social status. I've even had comments that a home bar must mean I'm an alcoholic, on a fast slide to the bottom of the heap! But my fellow amateur mixologists know that there are rich mixologists who tour the world and poor ones who make do with a couple of bottles after working for minimum wage all day – and that on that scale, I'm pretty much dead average. Of course, there are snobs who show off their $1,000 whisky and drunks who try to pass off alcoholism as a hobby, but they're not most mixologists.

Roleplaying Games: The majority reaction is insulting – comments about living in my parents' basement, having a "neckbeard," having no social life, and maybe worshipping Satan. These commentators don't care about my social standing because they accord me what GURPS calls a Social Stigma . . . though in real life, social stigmas are taken as coding for low social status, because the stigmatized are often blocked from upward mobility. The minority who know games either realize that I'm mainly a GURPS person and throw out a quick, "Eew, GURPS! It's full of math!", which is effectively a way of placing me lower down the social ladder among gamers, or realize that I'm an employee of a games publisher and accord me a position high up the social ladder among gamers. Only a minority within the minority realize that I'm a middle-class dude with other interests, and that gaming isn't any weirder than fantasy football or a more interactive form of the fantasy a TV series represents. Of course, there are games writers who walk on their fans, and gamers who are addicted to gaming and letting their life disintegrate, but they don't typify the hobby.

PS: I use myself as an example to avoid sounding judgmental of others, as my personal belief is that if I want to analyze the motivations of real-life people, my life is the only one I have the right to dissect. Yet I'll bet that at least one reader believes that some of my comments above were made to "show off" – that is, to showcase my Status or desired Status. It doesn't matter that I know I didn't say any of those things for that reason; that person knows I did . . . which further drives home my point.

Kax 10-03-2018 05:32 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemoricus (Post 2211798)
GURPS $ are roughly based on the value of the US $ in 2004.


From what I read last (GURPS 3e; the reference was removed in 4e) it was a USA $ as of 1980 or 1984.

Which changes all CoL calculations in this thread rather a lot.

AlexanderHowl 10-04-2018 06:59 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
I remember reading that as well. I think, to a certain extent though, GURPS monetary units are a good shorthand for fictional currency values because it is simple. If you want a real world conversion, things get more complicated, and I would suggest that you increase the effective cost of things by 3% per year from 1980, just to account for inflation, meaning that a GURPS $ buys $3.07 nowadays. That would mean that COL for Status 0 would be around $1,800 per month while Average income would be $7,800 per month, which would reflect my experiences quite well.

ericthered 10-04-2018 07:30 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kax (Post 2213829)
From what I read last (GURPS 3e; the reference was removed in 4e) it was a USA $ as of 1980 or 1984.

Which changes all CoL calculations in this thread rather a lot.


Yes it does: I thought that was the proper number. Have the numbers been updated as books continue to come out?

whswhs 10-04-2018 08:10 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 2213948)
Yes it does: I thought that was the proper number. Have the numbers been updated as books continue to come out?

On Kromm's recommendation, I have been using 2004 dollars in my current project.

acrosome 10-04-2018 09:38 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Frankly, I find it so glaringly obvious that the GURPS economic model is medieval that my mind boggles that someone could possibly think otherwise.

The GURPS model is, basically, really bad at modeling a modern economy- especially one that includes even a tiny bit of socialism. To model something like retirement in GURPS you basically have to re-write your character with different ads and disads and declare that "they retired." How else are you going to model (in the US) Social Security and IRAs? How did you model them while you are paying into them? How do you differentiate someone who saves a lot versus someone who lives hand-to-mouth and will have to work until the day they die? (Answer: You really can't.)

So, GURPS is really bad at this.

It can barely handle the concept of taxes, so it can do medieval ok. In medieval you either have a big pile of money or you don't. There is no social welfare. There are no IRAs. Simple. That's what GURPS (and almost every other RPG system) does acceptably well.

Don't get all pedantic with me and bring up the Inca and the like. You know what I'm saying. Don't be a bore.

I have LONG proposed that GURPS should not have used the dollar sign ($), if only to avoid all of this confusion. If the system has pretensions of generality it should have, well, used the generic currency sign (¤), or maybe something like the lozenge (◊). Since the lozenge is a diamond it is at least intuitive that it is a unit of value. Or perhaps- humorously- since the conversion factor is supposed to be $1 = 1 loaf of bread, just go all-in and call them "loaves", using L as the currency symbol? :) This would have the benefit of resembling the pound sign (£), which derives from libra, Latin for pound. If you really want something historical, base it on the denarius (X̶). You could probably replace that one with an asterisk.

Any of this would at least make it obvious that there is not meant to be any modern real-world equivalent.

Nemoricus 10-04-2018 09:54 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by acrosome (Post 2213970)
To model something like retirement in GURPS you basically have to re-write your character with different ads and disads and declare that "they retired."

Why does GURPS need to explicitly handle retirement? As always, you pay for effects, and fluff it as necessary. For a character retiring in play, how often does that happen? For that matter, how often are player characters working in a field where retirement doesn't mean that they're out of the campaign?

Quote:

How else are you going to model (in the US) Social Security and IRAs? How did you model them while you are paying into them? How do you differentiate someone who saves a lot versus someone who lives hand-to-mouth? (Answer: You really can't.)
Why do these need to be explicitly modeled? I've always assumed the income for jobs is "after tax" and that the price of goods includes sales tax and the like. What game benefit do you gain by tracking them separately?

David Johnston2 10-04-2018 10:15 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by acrosome (Post 2213970)
Frankly, I find it so glaringly obvious that the GURPS economic model is medieval that my mind boggles that someone could possibly think otherwise.

The GURPS model is, basically, really bad at modeling a modern economy- especially one that includes even a tiny bit of socialism. To model something like retirement in GURPS you basically have to re-write your character with different ads and disads and declare that "they retired." How else are you going to model (in the US) Social Security and IRAs? How did you model them while you are paying into them? How do you differentiate someone who saves a lot versus someone who lives hand-to-mouth and will have to work until the day they die? (Answer: You really can't.)

So, GURPS is really bad at this.

It can barely handle the concept of taxes, so it can do medieval ok. In medieval you either have a big pile of money or you don't. There is no social welfare. There are no IRAs. Simple. That's what GURPS (and almost every other RPG system) does acceptably well.

Don't get all pedantic with me and bring up the Inca and the like. You know what I'm saying. Don't be a bore.

I have LONG proposed that GURPS should not have used the dollar sign ($), if only to avoid all of this confusion. If the system has pretensions of generality it should have, well, used the generic currency sign (¤), or maybe something like the lozenge (◊).

I'm not seeing these things on my keyboard. Also I can't imagine for a moment why anyone would want to model paying into their IRA in a roleplaying game.

whswhs 10-04-2018 11:50 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by acrosome (Post 2213970)
I have LONG proposed that GURPS should not have used the dollar sign ($), if only to avoid all of this confusion. If the system has pretensions of generality it should have, well, used the generic currency sign (¤), or maybe something like the lozenge (◊). Since the lozenge is a diamond it is at least intuitive that it is a unit of value. Or perhaps- humorously- since the conversion factor is supposed to be $1 = 1 loaf of bread, just go all-in and call them "loaves", using L as the currency symbol? :) This would have the benefit of resembling the pound sign (£), which derives from libra, Latin for pound. If you really want something historical, base it on the denarius (X̶). You could probably replace that one with an asterisk.

This is the first time I've ever heard that there was such a thing as a "generic currency sign"—and I'm a professional copy editor and have edited a lot of economic papers and books. Did the sign even exist when GURPS 1/e was written?

whswhs 10-04-2018 11:53 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemoricus (Post 2213973)
Why does GURPS need to explicitly handle retirement? As always, you pay for effects, and fluff it as necessary. For a character retiring in play, how often does that happen? For that matter, how often are player characters working in a field where retirement doesn't mean that they're out of the campaign?

Retirement is easy. Assign a wealth level and an Independent Income percentage. Then you have money coming in once a month in a set amount. For example, in the United States, with current Average starting wealth $20,000, you could take II 10 and get $2000/month to represent Social Security.

Nemoricus 10-04-2018 12:02 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2214005)
Retirement is easy. Assign a wealth level and an Independent Income percentage. Then you have money coming in once a month in a set amount. For example, in the United States, with current Average starting wealth $20,000, you could take II 10 and get $2000/month to represent Social Security.

This is exactly the sort of thing I was referring to. Representing a retired character in game is simply a matter of applying existing traits with the appropriate interpretation.

whswhs 10-04-2018 12:18 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nemoricus (Post 2214010)
This is exactly the sort of thing I was referring to. Representing a retired character in game is simply a matter of applying existing traits with the appropriate interpretation.

Yes. That's what I created Independent Income for, when I was writing GURPS Steampunk; it was there not only for gentlemen of leisure, but for the old sergeant's "shillin' a day—bloomin' good pay; lucky to touch it, shillin' a day."

Anthony 10-04-2018 12:43 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Personally, I think it would work better if both the cost of living and the job table went away; your wealth level defines your adventuring-available income and anything else is background.

whswhs 10-04-2018 01:07 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2214023)
Personally, I think it would work better if both the cost of living and the job table went away; your wealth level defines your adventuring-available income and anything else is background.

Not in my campaigns, it's not. A lot of my campaigns give significant time to "daily life." For example, in my current fantasy campaign, one of the PCs just bought an inn that she's going to convert into a residence, and another is assessing the suitability of three young women as possible wives. And all five PCs brought back a lot of valuable goods from their voyage and I'm making them pay cost of living while a larger ship is built for their next voyage.

Stormcrow 10-04-2018 02:08 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2214003)
This is the first time I've ever heard that there was such a thing as a "generic currency sign"—and I'm a professional copy editor and have edited a lot of economic papers and books. Did the sign even exist when GURPS 1/e was written?

Apparently so: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_sign_(typography)

Everybody keeps talking about "modeling," but the only thing GURPS is set up to do is define the basic units of income and expenses of a character. There's no economic model there. If you want to create a character in retirement, give them an Independent Income instead of a job. Done. Taxes? Subsumed into the Cost of Living. Debt? There's a disadvantage for that.

GURPS money is a very low-resolution affair; it's not set up to handle specifics. Nor should it be, in my opinion. That is, at most, matter for an optional supplement for people who want that sort of thing.

Black Leviathan 10-09-2018 04:31 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211800)
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses), so that is $1800 per month per adult. At the very least, that suggests that a $3 2018 to $1 GURPS conversation.

Bear in mind that you're above the mean cost of living in America. The same apartment, transportation, phone food and insurance in rural Kentucky could cost you half as much. The equivalent living cost in a poorly industrialized rural section South American City would cost you about 1/6th as much. My mother has a three bedroom 6000 SQ foot hacienda with a large yard in Mexico that costs half my one-bedroom apartment costs me and she could have a live-in cook for what I pay for groceries. Just an example that Lifestyle costs are the average but not the norm for a game world.

Anthony 10-09-2018 04:53 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Black Leviathan (Post 2215086)
Bear in mind that you're above the mean cost of living in America.

No, he really isn't. Finding real cost of living is a bit rough, but for example this gives a median gross rent (rent+utilities) of $869 in 2005. Now, some of those will be two-bedroom, but that's probably outweighed by the average status of renters being low (due to a higher percentage of home owners at higher status), and cost of living really has to include food as well, which at status 0 is not negligible (it's not well defined, but the USDA 'thrifty' food plan is the basis for SNAP, which is most certainly status -1, and in 2005 was $145; status 0 presumably includes some prepared food and eating out and should easily be twice that). We should probably also include health insurance (about $330/mo in 2005), as well as other incidental expenses such as transportation and telecommunications, and total looks to be in the $1800/month range.

Daigoro 10-10-2018 12:29 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2214003)
This is the first time I've ever heard that there was such a thing as a "generic currency sign"—and I'm a professional copy editor and have edited a lot of economic papers and books. Did the sign even exist when GURPS 1/e was written?

I see the symbol all the time, but it's never in a currency context. MS Word uses it to mark table formatting, and I'm sure it has other uses.

RogerBW 10-10-2018 04:45 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2214003)
This is the first time I've ever heard that there was such a thing as a "generic currency sign"—and I'm a professional copy editor and have edited a lot of economic papers and books. Did the sign even exist when GURPS 1/e was written?

Yes; it was invented in 1972 for the ISO 646 extensions to ASCII. That said, since it explicitly means "a currency of some sort" as opposed to "one specific currency", I don't think it's appropriate here.

maximara 10-10-2018 11:08 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2211800)
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses), so that is $1800 per month per adult. At the very least, that suggests that a $3 2018 to $1 GURPS conversation.

This is highly variable as some small cities the above would be considered very expensive. For example, when I lived in Las Cruces, NM I was able to pay $300 a month on my 15 year mortgage, utilities at $150 month, transportation was $40 a month, food was $200 if I properly paced myself, and was making just over $1000 (before income tax) through out the 2000s and into the 2010s.

AlexanderHowl 10-10-2018 12:51 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
The majority of the US population lives in or near cities with similar or higher costs than I have given. Look at the residents of the US megalopolises (77% of the population), and the costs that I gave is probably low to average.

Andreas 10-10-2018 01:05 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
The cost of living is the minimum you need to pay to mantain your status. Thus basing it on the lower part of the range of prices for rent etc. seems appropriate.

It definitely does not seem like a good idea to base it on median real world spending. Plenty of people spend a lot of money on things which don't help their status much.

Anthony 10-10-2018 02:17 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andreas (Post 2215255)
The cost of living is the minimum you need to pay to mantain your status. Thus basing it on the lower part of the range of prices for rent etc. seems appropriate.

Cost of living is typical, not minimum (see B265), and its useful purpose in the game is to sweep a bunch of routine stuff under the rug.

Andreas 10-10-2018 10:48 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2215271)
Cost of living is typical, not minimum (see B265), and its useful purpose in the game is to sweep a bunch of routine stuff under the rug.

It also says "your typical expenses" rather than the typical expenses of a statistically average person in the setting. For adventurers who typically only care about the adventure, spending the minimum on abstracted non-adventuring things required to not get penalties seems appropriate.

That is also an interpretation which is supported by the mechanics of cost of living.

Anthony 10-10-2018 11:16 PM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andreas (Post 2215354)
That is also an interpretation which is supported by the mechanics of cost of living.

No it isn't. At TL 3, average wealth/average status has cost of living at 86% of income, which is insane for a single wage earner.

To the degree status-based CoL makes any sense at all, it's about demonstrating that you have the wealth appropriate to your status, plus ordinary patronage and useful employees. All of these things scale strongly on the average income of the society. There is a minimum viable cost that is less variable, but it doesn't really have anything to do with status.

AlexanderHowl 10-11-2018 05:23 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
But, once again, the typical expenses of an average late TL8 (2018) individual in the USA is not $600 per month. For the majority of the US population (77%) that live in the megalopoli, $1800 per month is more normal for Status 0, with some people paying much more than that. For example, studio apartments in San Francisco average around $2400 per month, and that does not include insurance, laundry, parking, utilities, etc., the inclusion of which would push costs to $3,000 per month easily

vicky_molokh 10-11-2018 05:35 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2215380)
But, once again, the typical expenses of an average late TL8 (2018) individual in the USA is not $600 per month. For the majority of the US population (77%) that live in the megalopoli, $1800 per month is more normal for Status 0, with some people paying much more than that. For example, studio apartments in San Francisco average around $2400 per month, and that does not include insurance, laundry, parking, utilities, etc., the inclusion of which would push costs to $3,000 per month easily

There's nothing typical about the expenses in USA. In fact USAian costs of living are very atypical for the TL8 setting humans live in.

AlexanderHowl 10-11-2018 07:02 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh (Post 2215381)
There's nothing typical about the expenses in USA. In fact USAian costs of living are very atypical for the TL8 setting humans live in.

No one is stopping a GM from adjusting COL and prices for local conditions, but GURPS uses the US $ for a benchmark, so it is valid to translate GURPS $ into 2018 $. In a developing nation though, the money saved in prices are usually made up in the cost of keeping servants to maintain security and the cost of private schools. For example, in India, a Status 0 individual will spend as much as in the USA, but they will have a few servants and will spend a small fortune on private schools.

vicky_molokh 10-11-2018 07:12 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2215391)
No one is stopping a GM from adjusting COL and prices for local conditions, but GURPS uses the US $ for a benchmark, so it is valid to translate GURPS $ into 2018 $. In a developing nation though, the money saved in prices are usually made up in the cost of keeping servants to maintain security and the cost of private schools. For example, in India, a Status 0 individual will spend as much as in the USA, but they will have a few servants and will spend a small fortune on private schools.

If nobody is stopping the GM from doing that, then of course you can crank up USA's CoL the way e.g. THS:Changing Times does.

I can't comment on India, but where I live, the point about spending a lot on security to maintain Status 0 seems inaccurate. Maybe for Status 3, but not 0 and almost surely not 1. Likewise, private schools are a Status +1 or +2 thing; people living at Status -1 to 0 use state schools instead.

$300-$600 for Status -1 to 0 seems roughly in the right order of magnitude IME, and I suspect so it does in many other places of the world. (Also note that I'm living in the capital city; that suffers from the 'prestigious area' crank-up of many CoL-related costs; a less remarkable city would likely be cheaper.)

Much of the world estimates prices in the USA-$, but that should never be taken to assume that what you can buy for that dollar is the same as in USA; if you travel throughout the world assuming the prices are the same everywhere, you'll be swindled hard.

Stormcrow 10-11-2018 07:40 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
If you insist on treating Status, Wealth, cost of living, and income in GURPS as an economic system, rather than simply a playable framework on which player characters sit, of course you're going to find contradictions. Real economics is far more complicated; no handful of traits and numbers can accurately reflect it.

The point of the system is not to be realistic or to simulate an economy. NPCs do not participate in the system. Nobody works out the cost of living of NPCs they include in an adventure. Nobody bothers to figure out whether Generic Fighter met on an adventure has an Independent Income, or whether it's enough to pay his bills. None of that matters. The system is there just to put player characters into some kind of context in the game setting. It tells players whether their characters can pay their bills this month or if they need more loot from an adventure. It tells players whether their characters happen to own cars or apartments or houses or a wardrobe. It lets some characters start with more money than others. It give the game a veneer of an economy without actually having an economy.

It'll never pass a reality check, because it doesn't reflect reality and isn't supposed to.

Celjabba 10-11-2018 07:43 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2215391)
No one is stopping a GM from adjusting COL and prices for local conditions, but GURPS uses the US $ for a benchmark, so it is valid to translate GURPS $ into 2018 $. In a developing nation though, the money saved in prices are usually made up in the cost of keeping servants to maintain security and the cost of private schools. For example, in India, a Status 0 individual will spend as much as in the USA, but they will have a few servants and will spend a small fortune on private schools.

I am not sure they would be status 0 in that case.

I understand what you mean : if someone spend xxx $ for CoL, he is status X.
It is an interesting approach, I guess it mean that two average status people from different countries will have very different lifestyle, but identical wealth and CoL.

I usually prefer the reverse approach : If an area average CoL is xxx $, then the 0 cost status ("average") is the matching status. Urban USA would likely be a +1 status for example. So the same two average status people would have similar lifestyle, but very different wealth and CoL.

Both approach are likely valid, depending on the game scope.

As for translating GURPS $ into 2018 USD ...

Today, you can have up to a x100 factor between lowest and highest disposable salary depending on the country, for similar jobs.
For 1 bedroom rent in city center, and excluding some outlier city-states like Monaco or Singapore, the ratio is about x20 between lowest and highest average rent.
About the same with Basic necessities (water, food, energy, telecom).

Even high-tech items mass-produced and distributed worldwide from a single factory can have a price fluctuating by a huge factor, depending on local taxes, import fees and the retailer margin.

So I cannot see how you could find a conversion factor that 2 forum people would agree on, unless they happen to live in the same city, if not the same street.

Until and unless someone publish "Gurps Home Economics", a 256 pages hardcover covering realistic wealth and cost of Living computation in our world :)
With various 64 pages companions with statistical data tables and linked excel sheet for specific time and places, such as "Gurps Home Economics - Companion 01 - Montreal 2018"

I would probably buy the book just because, but let us be honest, it would never see the gaming table :)

whswhs 10-11-2018 07:46 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2215380)
But, once again, the typical expenses of an average late TL8 (2018) individual in the USA is not $600 per month. For the majority of the US population (77%) that live in the megalopoli, $1800 per month is more normal for Status 0, with some people paying much more than that. For example, studio apartments in San Francisco average around $2400 per month, and that does not include insurance, laundry, parking, utilities, etc., the inclusion of which would push costs to $3,000 per month easily

I believe that San Francisco is estimated to be about three times the average cost of a US city, second only to New York. So probably not a good example.

Anthony 10-11-2018 10:24 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormcrow (Post 2215396)
If you insist on treating Status, Wealth, cost of living, and income in GURPS as an economic system, rather than simply a playable framework on which player characters sit, of course you're going to find contradictions.

The problem is that it isn't even a playable framework. It's actually not that bad at TL 8 (CoL being too low doesn't seriously break a game), but at TL 3 being able to quadruple your disposable income by living at 1 step below your status is a bit ridiculous.

Andreas 10-11-2018 11:23 AM

Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony (Post 2215356)
No it isn't. At TL 3, average wealth/average status has cost of living at 86% of income, which is insane for a single wage earner.

To the degree status-based CoL makes any sense at all, it's about demonstrating that you have the wealth appropriate to your status, plus ordinary patronage and useful employees. All of these things scale strongly on the average income of the society. There is a minimum viable cost that is less variable, but it doesn't really have anything to do with status.

I'm not sure why you bring up the fact that the cost for mantaining Status doesn't change with TL here? That might be a problem, but that does not have much to do with what I claimed (which was that cost of living should represent the minimum needed to mantain status in a certain setting).

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2215391)
No one is stopping a GM from adjusting COL and prices for local conditions, but GURPS uses the US $ for a benchmark, so it is valid to translate GURPS $ into 2018 $. In a developing nation though, the money saved in prices are usually made up in the cost of keeping servants to maintain security and the cost of private schools. For example, in India, a Status 0 individual will spend as much as in the USA, but they will have a few servants and will spend a small fortune on private schools.

GURPS $ being roughly equal to the value of USD at some time in the past is does not at all mean that cost of living assumes modern USA as the setting. There is a very weak connection between those facts. Especially for a game system which is supposed to be generic.


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