Wages for Sages

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James C. Bennett
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Wages for Sages

Knowledge (G): The character has made a specialized study of a particular field, such as architecture, astrology, geography, history, mathematics, metaphysics, natural history, natural philosophy, or political economy. The character can usually make his living by acting as an expert on the subject. With a proficiency throw of 11+, the character can recall expert commentary or information relating to his area of knowledge. The character must choose his area of knowledge at the time he chooses the proficiency. He can spend more proficiency selections to have several different areas of knowledge. If a character selects the same knowledge twice, he is an expert in the subject and can train students and write books on the topic. If he selects the same subject three times, he could work as a sage of the subject (as described in Specialists in Chapter 3).

--ACKS Core pg 61

According to the Specialists section, a sage with 3 ranks in Knowledge of a subject earns 500gp/month. How much does someone with one or two ranks of Knowledge make?

My apologies if this has been answered previously, but I have not been able to find it.

wmarshal
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Not an autarch, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was close to $0gp. It would be something similar to what holders of bachelor's and master's degrees get today as academics, meaning not much. One might only get paid as an academic if one is at the very top. Maybe those with one or two ranks can work as assistants to a sage, but I doubt they can earn a living on their own. Could be a good adventure book if one of the PCs got a request from the sage they used to work for.

koewn
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I'd probably hijack the Profession table; and assume if they're working they're doing it as clerks or teachers.

Anything more complex than that, I'd start looking at deriving rarity (and therefore wages) from market sizes and related info out of the Codex & Scrolls on the Patreon.

Randomly, I've kinda been considering the sage cost lately as a service fee more than a wage, assuming that the sage has a bit of staff on hand to do things, libraries to maintain, blah blah. Same with alchemists, really.

 

 

Dave
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Sages stand out for not only outclassing the income from a Profession skill, but also making (or at least, costing to hire) twice as much as alchemists.  Possibly this is for legacy reasons; sages go pretty far back in the history of the game.  But if we apply ACKS' secret ratio, we can calculate that a sage might have accumulated a library with a value of 16500 gold pieces in the background somewhere, which he consults for reference, in addition to drawing on his own memory.  So we might ask how large a novice sage's library is, in addition to how many ranks he has, and give him a 3% "investment" income, perhaps with a penalty for not being sought after.  (As I basically agree with wmarshall's post above.)

James C. Bennett
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I am just going to use the same scale as Profession unless Alex says otherwise. I don't think using today's supply and demand curve for scholars is reasonable. We live in a world where literacy is ubiquitous, Google and Wikipedia fill a lot of the demand for specialty knowledge at no direct cost to the consumer, and there is a glut of scholars. At the very least, someone with Knowledge (astrology) should be able to make a decent living.

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

The wages for Sages were imported as a legacy from OD&D.

To put them on the same firm footing as other specialists, let's change:

If a character selects the same knowledge twice, he is an expert in the subject and can train students and write books on the topic. If he selects the same subject three times, he could work as a sage of the subject

to

If a character selects the same knowledge twice, he is an expert in the subject and can train students and write books on the topic. He can do 50gp of scholarly work per month. He can supervise up to 3 research assistants, increasing their productivity by 50%. If he selects the same subject three times, he could work as a sage of the subject. He can do 100gp of scholarly work per month. He can supervise up to 2 experts and 4 research assistants, increasing their productivity by 50%. 

That gives us a sage, managing a research staff, as follows:

  • Sage's productivity: 100gp per month
  • Expert #1: 50gp per month x 50% = 75gp per month
  • Expert #2: 50gp per month x 50% = 75gp per month
  • Assistant #1: 25gp per month x 50% = 37.5gp per month
  • Assistant #2: 25gp per month x 50% = 37.5gp per month
  • Assistant #3: 25gp per month x 50% = 37.5gp per month
  • Assistant #4: 25gp per month x 50% = 37.5gp per month

Total productivity: 400gp

Total wage cost of sage: 100gp (for himself) + 200gp (for his staff) = 300gp

Total added value of sage: 100gp 

We always assume that a high-ranking specialist charges an amount for his services equal to his own cost plus his productivity value. 

So I think if you want to put the Sage on "firm footing" like the other specialists in the game, you would set the Sage's wage to 200gp to represent his 100gp value plus his 100gp of added value from management. The 500gp cost to "hire a sage" would represent the cost of hiring the sage (200gp), his staff (50gp, 50gp, 25gp, 25gp, 25gp, 25gp), and perhaps miscellaneous research expenses (books, library fees, etc.)

To answer the question from the OP, then, the wage earned by rank 1 and rank 2 knowledge is that of a professional.

James C. Bennett
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Awesome! Thanks Alex.