Steve Jackson Games Forums Oddities in Monthly Pay Table
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 07-14-2024, 02:05 AM #1 hal   Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Buffalo, New York Oddities in Monthly Pay Table Hello Folks, At this hour, I thought I'd use my lunch time to figure something out. My original intent was to investigate the relationship between cost of living, income, and discretionary spending. Income - cost of living = Discretionary spending. Simple right? Well, incomes can be a range as given by the rule: One tech level lower to one tech level higher. So, out of curiosity, I divided the current tech level income by the one tech level lower to get the percentage increase current tech level is over its next lower tech level. Then I went the added step of also calculating the next higher tech level divided the the lower tech level to give a range of percentage increase. I had expected a reasonably pattern setting numbers, but instead, got one I wasn't expecting. Code: ```TL pay 1TL % incr 2TL % incr ------------------------------------------------------------ 0 625 1 650 1.04 1.08 2 675 1.038461538 1.076923077 3 700 1.037037037 1.185185185 4 800 1.142857143 1.571428571 5 1100 1.375 2 6 1600 1.454545455 1.909090909 7 2100 1.3125 1.625 8 2600 1.238095238 1.714285714 9 3600 1.384615385 2.153846154 10 5600 1.555555556 2.25 11 8100 1.446428571 1.892857143 12 10600 1.308641975 can't be calculated``` Not a smooth progression at all. Also, I need TL 13 values in order to calculate the range of income from one TL lower and one TL higher. __________________ Newest Alaconius Lecture now up: https://www.worldanvil.com/w/scourge-of-shards-schpdx Go to bottom of page to see lectures 1-11
 07-14-2024, 03:07 AM #2 Rupert     Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Wellington, NZ Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table The monthly income is Cost of Living + 10% of starting wealth, so what you're looking at is the increase in wealth with TL. __________________ Rupert Boleyn "A pessimist is an optimist with a sense of history."
 07-14-2024, 05:40 AM #3 Varyon   Join Date: Jun 2013 Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table There are two effects involved here that are making there not be a clear pattern. First, there's the changing pattern of Starting Wealth. It starts at \$250 and then increases linearly, at +\$250 per +1 TL, until you reach \$1000 at TL 3. It then follows the Size and Speed/Range Table at +2 steps (~x2) per +1 TL until you reach \$10,000 at TL 6, at which point it changes to +1 SSR per +1 TL, with TL 11's \$75,000 not quite adhering (that "should" be \$70,000, but in general 75 is actually easier to work with than 70). In addition to this, as Rupert notes, Wages are actually 10% of the above Starting Wealth plus monthly Cost of Living, the latter of which is TL invariant. So you basically have a x + c, where x is a changing pattern and c is a constant that is generally fairly significant compared to x (it's larger up through TL 5 and doesn't drop below 10% until TL 11). I will note that GURPS does get some notable benefits from CoL not scaling with TL. First, a lot of things - rations, meals at restaurants, clothing, etc - can simply be stated to be some fraction/multiple of CoL and you automatically get a scaling with Status while keeping with the GURPS pattern of items largely having the same cost at every TL they are generally available (although personally I think giving a flat cost for these things and then providing something like the Luxury Pricing from Low Tech would be more readily-usable). Secondly, this automatically results in what has historically largely been the case, that one's discretionary income (as a percentage of earnings) increases as technology improves. __________________ GURPS Overhaul
07-14-2024, 04:50 PM   #5
Anthony

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Varyon Secondly, this automatically results in what has historically largely been the case, that one's discretionary income (as a percentage of earnings) increases as technology improves.
Um.... that's not actually true. Absolute discretionary income certainly increases, but as a percentage of income it really doesn't; the rule for the last few thousand years is "a single male, couple without children, or couple with adult children is net income positive; a couple with young children and no working offspring is struggling and likely needs external support". This tells us that lifestyle as a percentage of income is pretty close to a TL-invariant 50%.
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 07-14-2024, 05:46 PM #6 Rasputin     Join Date: Jan 2005 Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table Alright, when dealing with wealth, you need to subtract \$600 as Cost of Living for Status 0 for each month. That's a fixed number for all-time. I'm not saying I agree with it, but this is how the tables are constructed. After you do this, the table on p. B517 looks like this: TL/Net Monthly pay 0/\$25 1/\$50 2/\$75 3/\$100 4/\$200 5/\$500 6/\$1,000 7/\$1,500 8/\$2,000 9/\$3,000 10/\$5,000 11/\$7,500 12/\$10,000 Taking tenfold these numbers gives you a familiar table: p. B27. That's right; starting wealth at each TL is always ten months of net income. For TL 13, I'd make the net pay \$15,000, so before Cost of Living, it's \$15,600, and starting wealth is \$150,000. Why? Well, starting at TL 6 and dividing by 1,000, this pattern resembles another familiar table, aside from a decimal point at TL 11. Which one? Hint: it's on p. B550. Edit: If you assume the 80/20 rule on p. B26 for starting wealth, this is effectively the Cost of Living going up as TL goes up. Status 0 at TL 1 has \$600 for Cost of Living, \$40 going into the "settled lifestyle," and \$10 as disposable, effectively a \$640 Cost of Living. Status 0 at TL 7 has \$600 for Cost of Living, \$1,200 going into the "settled lifestyle," and \$300 as disposable, effectively a \$1,800 Cost of Living. __________________ Cura isto securi, Eugene. My GURPS blog. Last edited by Rasputin; 07-14-2024 at 05:52 PM. Reason: It's in the darn text!
07-14-2024, 09:37 PM   #7
Stormcrow

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Rasputin Edit: If you assume the 80/20 rule on p. B26 for starting wealth, this is effectively the Cost of Living going up as TL goes up. Status 0 at TL 1 has \$600 for Cost of Living, \$40 going into the "settled lifestyle," and \$10 as disposable, effectively a \$640 Cost of Living. Status 0 at TL 7 has \$600 for Cost of Living, \$1,200 going into the "settled lifestyle," and \$300 as disposable, effectively a \$1,800 Cost of Living.
Huh? You don't split your income 80/20, only your starting wealth, and only to find how much spare cash you have for adventuring equipment at the start. (The 80% doesn't actually simulate your home economics.) A starting Status 0 character at TL7 has property appropriate to a Status 0 person and \$3,000 they can spend on adventuring equipment. If they have an Average Wealth job getting the typical monthly pay, they earn \$2,100 a month. They must spend \$600 a month. This leaves them with \$1,500 a month, which they might save, trying for a higher Wealth level, or they might spend on things that wouldn't be available to lower-TL characters in such great quantities. They might eat out once in a while, go to a movie, take a vacation, maybe even buy more adventuring equipment. It assumes a character who is not in any significant debt (take Debt for that) and who has not made any special investments or received any special inheritance or pension (take Independent Income for that).

People in higher TLs simply have more leisure spending they can do than in lower TLs, which is why Cost of Living doesn't increase with TL.

07-15-2024, 04:28 AM   #8
Rupert

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wellington, NZ
Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Stormcrow People in higher TLs simply have more leisure spending they can do than in lower TLs, which is why Cost of Living doesn't increase with TL.
The numbers just plain don't work for that - it means that someone living a nice Status-0 lifestyle (\$600/month), earning a nice Status-0 income (\$2,600/month at TL8) has \$2,000/month of entirely discretionary spending. In under a year they'll have Comfortable Wealth if they want it, and be Wealthy in under four.
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07-15-2024, 05:47 AM   #9
Stormcrow

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Rupert The numbers just plain don't work for that - it means that someone living a nice Status-0 lifestyle (\$600/month), earning a nice Status-0 income (\$2,600/month at TL8) has \$2,000/month of entirely discretionary spending. In under a year they'll have Comfortable Wealth if they want it, and be Wealthy in under four.
"If they want it." Yes, they will. These rules are for adventurers, remember, not everyone. If a PC wants to live at their Status with no discretionary spending at all, saving everything, then they will earn the right to spend bonus character points on a new Wealth level. If they do not want to or cannot spend bonus character points on a new Wealth level, then they must spend or lose the excess as their character would do.

GURPS is not an economic simulator! You don't determine your Wealth by how much money you have. You determine how much money you have by your Wealth. If you want to change how much money you have, come up with an in-game explanation (like saving money) and raise your Wealth level.

NPCs who remain at a steady Wealth level do not save enough to raise their Wealth level. It's not necessarily that they cannot raise their Wealth level; they simply do not. There may be in-game reasons why they can't raise their Wealth: often Debt, maybe bad jobs. But if an NPC keeps a steady Wealth level, it is explained by their not saving whatever discretionary money they get each month.

The system is doing exactly what it's designed to do. Collecting discretionary cash over your Cost of Living is a feature, not a bug. Money is subordinate to Wealth, not the other way around. Players get to decide how to develop their characters, whether or not the characters themselves have any say in the matter.

07-15-2024, 08:17 AM   #10
Varyon

Join Date: Jun 2013
Re: Oddities in Monthly Pay Table

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Anthony Um.... that's not actually true. Absolute discretionary income certainly increases, but as a percentage of income it really doesn't; the rule for the last few thousand years is "a single male, couple without children, or couple with adult children is net income positive; a couple with young children and no working offspring is struggling and likely needs external support". This tells us that lifestyle as a percentage of income is pretty close to a TL-invariant 50%.
I had thought the general trend was a higher percentage of discretionary income. Something constant works a lot better for remaking the Wealth and CoL rules, of course, but I didn't think it matched historical trends. With the current rules, a person at TL 0, if they are unable to work for a month (due to illness or injury, say), would require around 2 years' savings to support themselves for a month at their nominal Status (less if they go lower, but Status -2 is the floor and calls for 4 months' savings per month if you have Average Wealth). Meanwhile, a person at TL 8 would be able to sustain themselves at their nominal status for a bit over 3 months per month of savings (assuming Average Wealth, 1 month's savings would support them for 20 months - a bit shy of 2 years - of Status -2 living). If we make CoL simply 50% of income, that means at all TL's you burn through 1 month's savings for every month you don't work. I had thought part of increasing TL's was that people could maintain their lifestyles more readily if they have to take time away from working, albeit not quite to the extreme of GURPS.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Rupert The numbers just plain don't work for that - it means that someone living a nice Status-0 lifestyle (\$600/month), earning a nice Status-0 income (\$2,600/month at TL8) has \$2,000/month of entirely discretionary spending. In under a year they'll have Comfortable Wealth if they want it, and be Wealthy in under four.
It's a fact that only spending the minimum necessary to maintain your quality of life will result in your overall savings increasing over time, absent disasters, unless your quality of life involves living above your means. But note someone who saves money until they have nominal funds comparable to someone of a higher Wealth level doesn't suddenly gain the Wealth trait - their default jobs still match their Wealth level (if they have the skills they can potentially qualify for a better job, one matching a higher Wealth level, but by RAW this is divorced from their actual Wealth level; for balance purposes, it may be appropriate for them to suffer penalties for this, as their interviewers, clients, supervisors, peers, and possibly even underlings look down on them for being too poor), in settings like DF they still only get as much from selling loot as their actual paid-for-with-points Wealth level allows, the stuff they started with from having a settled lifestyle (if applicable) doesn't magically get upgraded to something appropriate for a higher Wealth level (and considering their holdings should represent a lot more than 80% of their Starting Wealth, replacing it piecemeal will require a lot more cash than just what a higher-Wealth unsettled character would start with), etc.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Stormcrow "If they want it." Yes, they will. These rules are for adventurers, remember, not everyone. If a PC wants to live at their Status with no discretionary spending at all, saving everything, then they will earn the right to spend bonus character points on a new Wealth level. If they do not want to or cannot spend bonus character points on a new Wealth level, then they must spend or lose the excess as their character would do.
There's no requirement that someone who doesn't invest points into having a higher Wealth level automatically loses their excess cash if they accumulate too much. A group can play that way if they wish, but I see nothing in RAW that supports this interpretation. As I noted above, having as much money on hand as someone of a higher Wealth level doesn't result in you having the same Wealth level as them.
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