Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 Running the Realms
 How Much Do Beggars Make
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3703 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  18:08:28  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Like it says: how much would a beggar “bring home” per day/week do you think in a city that tolerates their presence?

Say Waterdeep, Suzail or the like?

AD&D for me!

Kentinal
Great Reader

4360 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  20:06:24  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is one of these it depends. In Waterdeep in part would matter what season it was trading season there are more people about and making a profit. Thus easier to share the wealth with another as well as a greater number of people that might give a coin.
It also depends on the beggar. An adventurer missing a leg might receive more then one that lost a finger. A child might do better than an adult.
Some beggars tell a tale that evokes more coins or perhaps some coin for the entertainment factor. It depends where the beggar seeks coin as well. Outside a bar might be good because sometimes drunks can be very giving.
There also might be a problem with the city watch as to where one might even be a street beggar.

That said a good location a beggar might earn 5 gold or more a day. In other sections maybe 5 silver.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
Go to Top of Page

Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
638 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  20:38:17  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would say probably a silver a day is not out of the question in the right neighborhood.
Go to Top of Page

Wenin
Senior Scribe

562 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  20:44:14  Show Profile Send Wenin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you want to inject some realism to beggars.... adding a low level of organized crime. Beggars having to pay to occupy a corner. This cuts down on the fighting.

Session Reports posted at RPG Geek.
Stem the Tide Takes place in Mistledale.
Dark Curtains - Takes place in the Savage North, starting in Nesmé. I wrapped my campaign into the Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but it takes place in 1372 DR.
Go to Top of Page

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3703 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  21:21:18  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wanted to have an NPC who is a beggar but also a decent spy...just trying to nail down how much they would make when not being paid for information.

AD&D for me!
Go to Top of Page

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6752 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2019 :  04:46:38  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Beggars are often associated with a local gang or Thieves' Guild. Sometimes voluntarily, sometimes involuntarily, sometimes only individuals, sometimes whole networks.

Beggars tend to be intimately aware of the streets and alleyways and hideouts, of police/guard activities, of where all the coins and wealth in the city really circulate, of strangers and unusual happenings - they're basically "invisible" (actively avoided and ignored) and they're excellent spies or informants for anything which happens inside the city walls but outside the palace walls.

1E offered a Beggar subclass in one of the magazine supplements. 2E offered a Beggar kit for rogues. Neither version really amounted to much more than a package of Thief Skill modifiers.
They unsurprisingly tend to have good pickpocketing skills. Indeed, many common street thieves employ beggar disguises or distractions (like limping on a crutch or placing their arm in a false sling) to improve their odds at pickpocketing.

How much do beggars make? If they're just begging then likely a few coppers per day, certainly no more than an honest day's work. I'd think people reduced to begging in a medieval setting must be truly desperate and pitiful dregs. I'd expect at most a few beggars in a town, but large cities might have more ... and more street predators to abuse them, and more street urchins to compete with them, and more guardsmen to keep moving them somewhere else. War, famine, drought, pestilence, and disaster (or even just a particularly hard and ugly winter) will probably increase the overall number of beggars.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 13 Feb 2019 09:58:45
Go to Top of Page

Wenin
Senior Scribe

562 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2019 :  15:50:26  Show Profile Send Wenin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just an FYI, I know someone that works security in Chicago. One of the tactics he has used to get beggars to move on from his buildings is to assign an officer to stand near and monitor the persons efforts. The officer informs people as they go to donate how much they’ve received in donations. Beggars in downtown Chicago can earn more than an “honest” days wage.

They just spend it on their vices and are continually broke.

Session Reports posted at RPG Geek.
Stem the Tide Takes place in Mistledale.
Dark Curtains - Takes place in the Savage North, starting in Nesmé. I wrapped my campaign into the Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but it takes place in 1372 DR.
Go to Top of Page

SaMoCon
Learned Scribe

USA
213 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2019 :  05:54:55  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When figuring out what beggars can reasonably "make" be careful of falling into the trap of equating modern trappings to the past. Modern societies have high living standards compared to their medieval ancestors with contemporary poor in industrialized nations outstripping the noble high classes of yore for access to clothes, materials, foodstuffs, education, travel, machines, entertainments, & leisure - there is just no comparison that is possible or would even make sense.

Metal coins are a vanishingly small fraction of wealth in Faerun with most of the currency in the hands of very wealthy individuals far removed from from panhandlers. The more typically encountered people that beggars will find the kindhearted to ply will more likely have have food or scraps of clothing, maybe even a place to sleep for the night. Real world history has European beggars congregating at churches to be seen and have the chance of charity "alms for the poor" by the richer folk during this community worship with the rest of the time having these same beggars depending upon their underclass neighbors & the church for their daily needs. If being a peasant laborer is a dirty, mean, grueling existence in order to fill one's belly and these are people generally useful to a community then what does a society see of those people unwilling or unable to work?

Spies and information brokers may masquerade as beggars for short stints but the generally nasty & dangerous life of being a beggar is not one that would be tolerated by people who could do better. Not to mention the severe hit on one's reputation amongst the locals - remember that most folk wouldn't leave more than a day's travel from their home in their lives without good cause meaning most folk will know who a person is from birth to death. Strangers would get it even worse.

The only beggars that can even acquire a decent income are street-performers (which is kind-of-a-catchall for confidence men, tumblers, musicians, artists, trick performers, & others who can entertain people for whatever they may give). This kind of activity usually runs counter to spying since the point of the work (and it is work) is to attract as much attention as possible and leave the audience with a positive attitude towards giving up their wealth. The better performers earn patronage and a place entertaining high society for as long as they can command that glaring spotlight before falling.

Dalor Darden, instead of a beggar have you given any thought to more traditional spies in the form of disgruntled and overlooked lesser employees? Eric Boyd has great examples from his NPCs he fleshed out for Daggerford some 6-7 years ago in Hendar the Scarred & Wheldor “the Stiff” Nondar. http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3803&whichpage=36

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
Go to Top of Page

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6752 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2019 :  12:12:09  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Agreed.

I was assuming that most medieval beggars just barely survive. They'll eventually die of starvation, disease, or violence - they seem unlikely to survive hard winters unless they can somehow prove useful enough to earn a few coins or meals from generous folk.
Pre-modern society was mostly powered by muscle (along with some water, wind, etc) - always things to be done, never enough people and animals to get all these things done - so all but the very youngest and the very eldest had to work (hard) every day to simply survive (unless they were wealthy enough to get others to do the work for them). Very few kingdoms offered any kind of social welfare for the downtrodden - sometimes the nobility were concerned (or simply feeling magnanimous) but most times they'd be happy to exploit the desperate or press them into some sort of forced servitude. Or just get the filth away from their pretty properties. Only the truly pathetic would be unable to find work in industry or agriculture. There's good reason gangs proliferated in the cities and bandits proliferated in the wilderness - life was already short, ugly, and brutal, homeless folks would find themselves at the wrong end of some pointy steel too quickly, too easily, and too often to continue their lifestyle if they had any other options available.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 15 Feb 2019 12:12:58
Go to Top of Page

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3703 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2019 :  15:50:12  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the tips on Eric's NPCs.

The reason beggars "work" in a fantasy setting is that the standard of living is far higher than in a true medieval setting. In a world where gold is far less valuable, silver is even less so and copper nearly not worth the minting...there are far more coins floating around in Faerun than in our own medieval world.

I have found in the Greyhawk setting a Beggars Union in the city of Greyhawk...so I thought perhaps something similar would exist in Waterdeep or other large cities.

AD&D for me!
Go to Top of Page

Gelcur
Learned Scribe

318 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2019 :  20:49:14  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In 3.5 under the Perform skill they list a DC 10 "Routine performance. Trying to earn money by playing in public is essentially begging. You can earn 1d10 cp/day."

If you don't like using Perform which can be used untrained, Tumble and Sleight of Hand both trained only skills reference using them in place of Perform.

All the DCs above 10 for Perform list a "prosperous city" as a prerequisite to earn that amount.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
Go to Top of Page

Vangelor
Learned Scribe

USA
183 Posts

Posted - 21 Feb 2019 :  22:06:56  Show Profile Send Vangelor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
The beggars are coming to town!
Some in rags and some in tags
And some in velvet gowns.

– Mother Goose

Some beggars - essentially confidence artists - did extraordinarily well, by having a compelling act or sob story, knowing what locations were likely to be lucrative, and how to avoid confrontations with the Town Watch or rival entrepreneurs. Someone doing too well is apt to attract attention and/or envy - not a circumstance that makes a spy effective. How much is reasonable depends on how money works in your campaign. In my game, I like to have silver be the common currency. Copper bits are small change / poverty wages. Gold is rare, used in large-stakes purchases (land, livestock, noble dowries, etc), and actually hard to spend elsewhere.

How is your beggar begging? Are they posing as a disabled veteran near the Mercenary Gate, or at a Temple of the Warrior? Are they really disabled? If not, what kind of reaction will they get if it's discovered they are faking?

There is a lot to consider with this, and the money angle is almost the smallest part of it. A canny beggar can make a solid day's wages (1 sp, baseline, in my game). Much more than average is going to attract attention and interest.
Go to Top of Page

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3703 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2019 :  00:32:55  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was just wanting to have him be as little noticed as possible...a well known beggar is a bad idea for a spy in many situations (though perhaps not so bad in others).

AD&D for me!
Go to Top of Page

moonbeast
Senior Scribe

USA
505 Posts

Posted - 08 Mar 2019 :  17:45:30  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

Like it says: how much would a beggar “bring home” per day/week do you think in a city that tolerates their presence?

Say Waterdeep, Suzail or the like?



A beggar in the City of Splendors probably makes a lot more than a beggar panhandling in the little rural village of Deer Crossing.

Just sayin.
Go to Top of Page

Kentinal
Great Reader

4360 Posts

Posted - 08 Mar 2019 :  22:13:57  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

I was just wanting to have him be as little noticed as possible...a well known beggar is a bad idea for a spy in many situations (though perhaps not so bad in others).



Well be a homeless or street person if you are not really looking for income. Even then might get a few coin, however not as active or noticeable a figure as a person as a person seeking gifts from strangers. As for being notice, that depends on location. In front of a manor noticed more then in slums or at least poorer sections of Town of City.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2019 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000