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Old 04-07-2017, 12:30 PM   #1
Celti
 
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Default What Cost of Living Gets You, When?

Page B266 of Basic Set has a box, What Cost of Living Gets You, with rough ideas of what the settled wealth of various Status levels will get you at TL8. Banestorm has its own version of this table for the roughly-TL3 continent of Ytarria. Transhuman Space: Changing Times has a version for its TL10 vision of the world.

I can't find any other versions of this table in any supplement. What does the table look like for other TLs especially historical ones? What kind of life do the TL6 pulp adventurers of GURPS Cliffhangers lead when they're at home? Or Renaissance swashbucklers?
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Old 04-07-2017, 05:38 PM   #2
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I can't find any other versions of this table in any supplement. What does the table look like for other TLs especially historical ones? What kind of life do the TL6 pulp adventurers of GURPS Cliffhangers lead when they're at home? Or Renaissance swashbucklers?
You will need to do historical research to find that out. I have notes on both Victorian and Roman Imperial standard of living, from published historical sources. Inconveniently, for a lot of eras, no one was taking that kind of notes, so it's mostly guesswork.
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Old 04-07-2017, 07:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: What Cost of Living Gets You, When?

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Page B266 of Basic Set has a box, What Cost of Living Gets You, with rough ideas of what the settled wealth of various Status levels will get you — at TL8. Banestorm has its own version of this table for the roughly-TL3 continent of Ytarria. Transhuman Space: Changing Times has a version for its TL10 vision of the world.

I can't find any other versions of this table in any supplement. What does the table look like for other TLs — especially historical ones? What kind of life do the TL6 pulp adventurers of GURPS Cliffhangers lead when they're at home? Or Renaissance swashbucklers?
You can actually find good descriptions in pop history. Once in a while a colorful character will have his personal life described. For instance the description of the family castle of Lazlo Almasy in The Lost Oasis by Saul Kelly makes him sound like a wonderful pulp villain. In fact the writer may have been exagerating for effect; according to John Bierman, Almasy was just a worthy opponent and a good professional explorer and special forces soldier, though he did certainly have an-interesting-family.

There are also plenty of other social histories, recipe books, and the like. Memoirs are useful especially if well written.

For Swashbucklers or Cliffhangers you want color. Remember the Rule of Cool. The owner if he is a primary character should own something that is not just appropriate to his station in life but memorable. For instance a rich man should not have grotesque champagne swimming pools like a Vegas lord-unless you are making that fun instead of annoying as it is in real life. He should act like a Rothschild or an Astor. A nightclub owner should act like Rick Blaine-though a sleaze lair can be made colorful(Magnum PI does both depending on the episode). The point is to remember the rule of cool. Even sleaze should be cool in Cliffhangers even if it seldom is in real life.

In Cliffhangers clothing is likely to be a bit spartan. Swashbucklers are allowed a bit more costume porn as that fits the era. It is notable that just getting haircuts gained a political faction a name to fit it's reputation for austerity in the Swashbucklers era.
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Old 04-07-2017, 07:34 PM   #4
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I think it would depend on how detailed you want to get. If it was just a one-shot or continuous story line, I'd say just drop the 80/20 concept and let the characters spend all their money on items priced in the books. If there's a genuine downtime, research on typical life of an era in question, and model the living quarters and whatnot accordingly. For many low tech eras, you will probably have to rely on what archaeologists have managed to deduce from digs of buried ruins. Also it might be easier to model things on how they appear in movies and popular books. It might not be that accurate, but at least you won't have the devote a ton of time to it.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:09 PM   #5
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GURPS Steampunk 1 Settings and Style, page 38 has this for TL5 Victorian England.
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Old 04-08-2017, 12:14 AM   #6
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Also it might be easier to model things on how they appear in movies and popular books. It might not be that accurate, but at least you won't have the devote a ton of time to it.
And if you are doing a Cliffhangers or Swashbucklers setting, it will be in genre.
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:35 PM   #7
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My advice for constructing your own table is to first set aside the Social Status aspect and focus on economic power, then return to the question of what Status matches what level of economics only at the end.

The What Cost of Living Gets You tables tend to address three main measures: homes and properties, vehicles and transport, and human resources. So you need to construct a spectrum of how these things are distributed in the society.

Perhaps its best to start at one end or the other: Determine how the ultimate bosses or lowliest of people live and work from there. Note that in virtually all societies up to today the lowliest people survive with:

Quote:
"a temporary construct of light materials, or any available natural or artificial space not intended for habitation but sheltered from elements; foot travel supplemented by rides begged in available transport; maybe assistance of an immediate family member (generally just as unskilled and disadvantaged)."

Going up from there begins to show a divergence between a client and an independent lifestyle, but let's follow an independent path an say:

Quote:
"a simple dwelling, suitable to protect against local weather, shared with family members or other economic unit, foot travel supplemented by paid fares when absolutely necessary, household may have another adult or a child capable of work."

Lifestyles after that will start to show greater variability based on setting and TL.
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Old 04-08-2017, 09:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: What Cost of Living Gets You, When?

Status must not be forgotten though. It tells what you are going to buy and what you are limited to. For instance owning a grand ballroom is expensive and only someone of the sort who is likely to give balls will have one rather then something taking the same amount of room but devoted to a different purpose. At the same time it may well be necessary for someone of a given social class to have a grand ballroom and if he doesn't like it he can't have that status and tough luck on him.
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Old 04-09-2017, 10:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: What Cost of Living Gets You, When?

I want to say that the examples in the Basic Set for TL8 also apply just as easily to TL6, TL7, and TL9. TL4 down to TL1 probably follow the examples in Banestorm, with palaces and castles; the TL1 palace probably isn't as opulent or as large as the TL3 or TL4 palace, but the palace at Knossos on Crete (dating back to the Minoan period) was still pretty large, and let's not forget the palaces (and tombs!) the ancient Egyptians built for their high-status elite.

TL5 is kind of a swing area, IMO. You've got the lower status folks living like modern-day, though with a horse, mule, or horse-drawn cart instead of a car, while the higher-level status folks balanced between castle and mansion, depending on where you live.

YMMV
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Old 04-09-2017, 01:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: What Cost of Living Gets You, When?

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. . . TL5 is kind of a swing area, IMO. You've got the lower status folks living like modern-day, though with a horse, mule, or horse-drawn cart instead of a car, while the higher-level status folks balanced between castle and mansion, depending on where you live.

YMMV
Certainly early in TL-5 very few people would own a horse. It's definitely a status symbol and even if you were a fairly wealthy low-status person those of power would see you riding a horse as a direct challenge to themselves. [Not a good idea to anger the local authorities . . . they can make your life miserable without using the law.] Farmers would much more likely own a team of mules, donkeys, or oxen.

Also, remember that a horse (as well as a mule, an ox, etc.) takes a LOT of time for basic care -- IIRC about an hour a day of human labor for grooming, cleaning the stall, etc. Failure to do so will result in a dead horse & a dead economic loss pretty quickly.

And -- a horse eats a lot -- in weight probably as much as several people. Yeah, it's hay but you also need grain -- oats or wheat -- which is low-status human food at TL-5. So while some of the lesser folks (socially speaking) may have horses it's not going to be anywhere near the majority.
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