BECAUSE STEAMJACKS DON’T RUN FOR FREE – Income and Social Status Rules for the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game

Howdy All and Happy Friday!

Two weeks ago saw the release of the newest expansion for the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game, Iron Kingdoms: Unleashed!  Once I got the new IK book in my hands, it sparked a wave of nostalgia for the game, which culminated in a session with my players where we revisited our old characters (before starting our 5th Edition D&D campaign, we had played the Iron Kingdoms RPG for over 2 years).

iron-kingdoms7

One issue that we found with the IK RPG rules, as written, was the wonky way that income and money worked.  The prices in the core book seemed to have been set arbitrarily, which was confirmed for me by one of the designers on the Privateer Press forums, and there was no information as to how much money characters should be earning in the course of their activities.

Unfortunately, my IK RPG campaign had the players serving as mercenaries who wanted to get paid, so I needed to come up with some rules that would work with the prices, as written, in the core IK RPG rulebook.

The following are the rules I created for use with the IK RPG.

INCOME AND STATUS IN THE IRON KINGDOMS
flipthrough
As promised, I have finally put some thought into how to deal with the issue of income for the Iron Kingdoms RPG, and this is what I’ve come up with (which, for those who are interested, is largely adopted from the way the GURPS RPG deals with it, with some elements taken from Shadowrun).

So, the way your monthly spending cash will be calculated is based on what job you have (which gives you your monthly income) and what Status you are living (which gives you your monthly cost of living).

At the end of each month, you will make a job skill roll, which will determine how that month’s income went (whether you earned more, on a successful check, or whether you fucked up royal, on a critical failure).

JOBS
The following table summarizes what the monthly income for some sample jobs, along with the relevant skills used and the penalty for a critical failure on your job roll.

Job Monthly Income Success Roll Critical Failure
Poor Jobs
Beggar 11 gold TN 10 Negotiation No income
Farm Laborer 11 gold TN 10 Physique Lose job
Street Thief 14 gold TN 12 Streetwise or Pickpocket (player’s choice) 3 months in jail
Street Vendor 14 gold TN 12 Negotiation No income
Tenant Farmer 16 gold TN 12 Intellect No income
Struggling Jobs
Clerk 40 gold TN 12 Bribery, Law or Lore: Mathematics Lose job
Cavalryman 40 gold plus room and board TN 12 Hand Weapon, Lance, Pistol, or Riding (player’s choice) Roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book)
Infantryman 40 gold plus room and board TN 12 Pistol or Rifle Roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book)
Inventor 20 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Alchemy, Craft (Gunsmithing or Metalworking), or Mechanikal Engineering No income and roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book).
Laborer 40 gold TN 12 Strength Lose job
Performer 20 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Fell Calling or Oratory No income
Petty Thief 30 gold TN 13 Streetwise or Pickpocket (player’s choice) 3 months in jail
Porter 30 gold TN 12 Command (if ‘Jack Marshal) or Strength Lose job
Sailor 40 gold plus room and board TN 12 Sailing Roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book)
Servant/Lackey 30 gold plus room and board TN 12 Etiquette Lose job
Teacher 25 gold TN 12 Lore Lose job
Thug 30 gold TN 14 Military Skill 3 months in jail
Writer 20 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Deception, Etiquette, Law, Research, or Streetwise No income
Average Jobs
Actor 40 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Fell Calling or Oratory Lose job
Army Officer 80 gold plus room and board TN 12 Command Roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book)
Bureaucrat 60 gold TN 12 Bribery, Etiquette or Law Lose job
Factory Worker 60 gold TN 10 Agility Roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book)
Gambler 40 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Gambling No income or roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book) (player’s choice)
Man of Science 40 x Skill Ranks gold TN 13 Alchemy, Craft (Gunsmithing or Metalworking), Lore (Any Science), or Mechanikal Engineering Lose job (and be ridiculed)
Merchant 50 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Negotiation No income
Navy Officer 80 gold plus room and board TN 12 Command Roll on Injury Table (pg. 217 of Core Book)
Parish Clergyman 60 to 100 gold, depending on parish TN 12 Lore (Related Faith) or Oratory Lose job
Shop Owner 40 x Skill Ranks gold plus room and board TN 12 Negotiation No income
Skilled Craftsman 40 x Skill Ranks gold TN 12 Craft No income
Surgeon 90 gold TN 12 Medicine No income
Thief 60 gold TN 14 Streetwise or Pickpocket (player’s choice) 6 months in jail
Comfortable Jobs
Aristocracy 160 gold plus 50 gold from property TN 12 Etiquette No income (but still receives gold from property)
Army General/Naval Admiral 160 gold plus room and board TN 13 Command No income
Diplomat 160 gold TN 13 Etiquette Lose job
Lawyer 160 gold TN 12 Law No income
Master Craftsman 160 gold TN 13 Craft No income
Merchant Ship Captain 160 gold plus room and board TN 13 Negotiation No income
Office-holder 180 gold TN 12 Oratory Lose job
Physician 160 gold TN 13 Medicine No income
Smuggler 160 gold TN 12 Sailing or Streetwise One year in jail
Wealthy Jobs
High Church Official 400 gold TN 12 Bribery, Etiquette, or Lore (Related Faith) Income drops by 10%
Professional Investor/Manufacturer 800 gold TN 12 Negotiation No income
Titled Nobility 600 gold plus 100 gold from property TN 13 Etiquette Property income reduces by 10 gold per month.

When you make your monthly skill roll, compare the result to the contested Negotiations table on pg. 118 of the Core Book, looking at the Contract Offer column to determine how much you earn per month, if you are successful. If you fail, compare it to the Purchase Price column.

For example, if you are playing a character working as a Merchant Ship Captain, and you roll a 16 on your monthly Negotiation check, 3 more than the TN of 13, you would earn 126 gold for that month. However, if you rolled a 10 for your check the following month, 3 less than the TN, you would only earn 144 gold that month.

STATUS
The following table summarizes the various Status ranks, what they cost per month, and what you get with each.

Status Rank Lifestyle Cost of Living per Month
-2 Known criminal, prostitute, beggar, vagrant.

Live on the streets, eking out a living on a day to day basis.

10 gold
-1 Casual worker, servant.

Live in very meagre quarters provided by employer or in low income flophouse.

30 gold
0 Shopkeeper, journeyman, laborer.

Either owns a humble residence or rents an apartment for his/her family.

60 gold
1 Rural gentleman, lawyer, merchant, master craftsman, priest.

Owns his/her own property with a few servants. Enjoys some of the high life, but only on special occasions.

120 gold
2 Knight, Lawyer, Great Merchant, Senior Priest.

Owns his/her own property with some servants or has access to his/her employer’s standard of living. Enjoys more of the high life on a regular basis.

300 gold
3 Landed Lords, Ranking Church Officials.

Owns several properties with many servants. Very well acquainted with the high life (though likely unfamiliar with the way most people live).

600 gold

So, to calculate your actual income (and what you have access to for spending money each month), you take your monthly income and subtract the cost of living from your applicable Status. For example, if you’re a status 0 mercenary working as an Infantryman, you would normally subtract the 60 gold cost of living from your monthly income of 40 gold leaving a net of…negative 20 gold?   That may not seem to make sense, but there is a explanation.

For some jobs, such as Infantryman, you get your room and board (and, often, an ammunition and coal allowance), meaning that you don’t need to pay for your status while you’re working in those jobs, allowing you to save up your money while you are working. However, once you leave that job, you quickly find yourself unable to pay for the standard of living (the Status) that you have grown accustomed to, which often means you need to go back to work in no time at all.

As an example, let’s say that our friend Andrei Stoyanovich, a Status 0 soldier, accepts a mercenary contract as a Cavalryman for six months.

Assuming he spends none of his money for the duration of the contract, Andrei would earn 240 gold for the six month stretch and not have to pay for his monthly status cost of living.

However, once the contract ended, Andrei would have to start paying his standard of living cost again, at 60 gold per month for Status 0, meaning if he did not spend that saved money on anything else, he could only last for four months before being flat broke.

ADJUSTING STATUS
So, what happens if you do not pay your standard of living for one month? Good question.

For each month that you do not make your monthly payment, you need to roll one die. If you roll higher than the number of months you have missed, nothing happens (your savings, etc… are assumed to handle the costs of living from that month). However, if you roll equal to, or lower than, the number of missed months, your status drops by one permanently.

You may ask, what happens when you his -2 Status and stop making your monthly payments? Well, for each month you do not make a monthly payment of 10 gold, you roll one die. If you roll higher than the number of months you have missed, nothing happens. However, if you roll equal to, or lower than, the number of missed months, you make a roll on the Injury Table (pg. 217 of the Core Book) and the count of unpaid month restarts at zero.

Fortunately, the Iron Kingdoms have room for the upwardly mobile. If you decide that you want to buy up one rank of Status, you need only pay a one-time fee equal to 100 times the monthly cost of living (so, to move up from Status 0 to Status 1, it would cost your character 12,000 gold).

TIME TO EARN THAT MONEY, SOLDIER!
For those of you who run or play an Iron Kingdoms game, I hope these rules help fill a hole that we found in the rules as written.

Until next time, I remain;

  • THE DUNGEON MUSER
Advertisements
BECAUSE STEAMJACKS DON’T RUN FOR FREE – Income and Social Status Rules for the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s