2017/09/14

OSR: Medieval Price List

Values are mostly compatible with:
Revenues from land
Revenues from selling indulgences
Revenues from professions and backgrounds
This currency system. (1gp = 10sp = 100cp, 1cp = $1 modern American = 1 ~1300s French denier)
And with prices approximated from some historical sources, some game sources, and some good old-fashioned guesswork.

Rules for buying and selling will come later, but right now, I need this list to calibrate my other ideas.


Item  Cost (City)   Cost (Rural) 
Food 
Small Beer  2cp  1cp 
Wine (Skin or Bott 5cp  10cp 
Standard Meal  5cp  3cp 
Fancy Meal  3sp  - 
Travel Rations  1sp/meal  5cp/meal 
Animal Feed  3cp/day  2cp/day 
Armour 
Leather Armour (Defense 12)  25sp  50sp 
Chain Armour (Defense 14)  10gp  - 
Plate Armour (Defense 16)  100gp  - 
Shield (Defense +1)  5sp  5sp 
Weapons 
Light Weapon (d6 +Str. B.)  5sp  5sp 
Medium Weapon (d6/d8+Str. B.)  2gp  5gp 
Heavy Weapon (d10+Str. B.)  5gp  15gp 
Sling (d6)  3sp  3sp 
Bow (d6)  25sp  25sp 
Crossbow (d10)  5gp  - 
Arrows/Bolts  5cp each  5cp each 
Light 
Candle (small)  1cp  1cp 
Candle (night)  5cp  5cp 
Lantern  3sp  5sp 
Lamp Oil (flask)  5cp  5cp 
Tinderbox  1sp  5sp 
Torch  1cp  1cp 
Animals 
Cattle  1gp  8sp 
Chicken  2cp  1cp 
Dog  1gp  5sp 
Hawk  10gp  - 
Hog  5sp  3sp 
Horse (riding)  10gp  10gp 
Horse (war)  75gp  65gp 
Ox 9gp 7gp
Sheep 3sp 1sp 
Tools 
Anvil 2gp 3gp
Axe 4sp 3sp 
Bellows 4gp 6gp
Block and Tackle  3sp  3sp 
Chisel 1sp  2sp
Drill  5sp  5sp 
Hammer  1sp  2sp
Hoe 3sp  2sp
Iron Plough 15gp 17gp
Nails (12)  3cp  4cp
Pick (heavy)  6sp  12sp 
Pick (medium)  3sp  6sp 
Prybar  2sp  2sp 
Shovel  3sp  2sp 
Specialty Tools  2gp  - 
Spike (iron)  3cp  4cp
Spike (wooden)  1cp  1cp 
Adventuring Gear 
Air Bladder  1sp  1sp 
Bedroll  2sp  1sp 
Caltrops (bag)  4sp  - 
Fishing Gear  1sp  1sp 
Grappling Hook  3sp  5sp 
Holy Water  25sp  25sp 
Ladder (10’)  6sp  3sp 
Pole (10’)  1sp  5cp 
Rope (50’)  3sp  3sp 
Tent (3-ling)  10sp  15sp 
Tent (personal)  5sp  10sp 
Vial or Bottle  2sp  -
Waterskin  1sp  1sp 
Whistle  5cp  5cp 
Clothing 
Clothing (furs) 50gp  -
Clothing (general) 5sp  2sp 
Clothing (noble) 30gp  -
Clothing (poor)  1sp  5cp 
Clothing (winter)  10sp  5sp 
Books and Vain Items 
Book (Blank)  3gp  -
Book (Magic)  30gp  50gp 
Book (Reading)  6gp  - 
Holy Symbol (plain)  2cp  2cp 
Hourglass  10gp  - 
Ink  1cp  5cp 
Mirror (silver, tiny)  20gp  - 
Scroll Case  1sp  3sp 
Food and Cooking 
Cheese (20lbs) 5sp 4sp
Cookpots  1sp  2sp 
Dried Fruit 2sp/lb 1sp/lb
Eggs (12) 7cp 3cp
Herbs  3cp  1cp 
Lard  1cp  1cp 
Soap  1cp  2cp 
Wooden Tub 2sp 1sp
Hirelings and Followers 
Useless Peasant   2sp/month 1sp/month
Labourer 5sp/month 5sp/month
Scribe 6sp/month - 
Archer or Light Infantry  1gp/month 1gp/month
Mason 1gp/month 1gp/month
Camp Follower 15sp/month 15sp/month
Armourer or Blacksmith  2gp/month 2gp/month
Master Builder 5gp/month 5gp/month
Barber-Surgeon 6gp/month 8gp/month
Galley Crew (60) 30gp/month -
Transportation 
Sailboat  600gp  -
Cart  3gp 3gp
Raft  5sp  5sp 
Wagon  15gp 8gp
Galley (60 oars) 800gp -
Lodging 
Inn  5sp/night  3sp/night

22 comments:

  1. By "small beer" do you mean beer with a low alcohol content? I don't know what small beer is, but that has been my guess.

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    1. Also: plate armor is $10,000? I'm only asking so I can see if my arithmetic is correct. That's a good price for it I think.

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    2. Small beer: correct, beer with low alcohol content, brewed constantly but not very well. You could drink it all day and not get drunk.

      Plate armour: correct, if you accept "plate armour" as "about the best armour available at the time, but not very fancy." I've seen references to ~25 livres tournois (so 25x240 denier or 6,000cp or 60gp) to £8 in 1450 (call that 16 livres tournois so 3,840 cp or 38gp) at the cheapest. Most expensive I've seen is 55 livres tournois (so 132gp).

      Averaging it at $10,000 for 1000 years and an entire continent seems OK to me. And that's the cheap stuff!

      Incidentally, decent modern replicas go for ~$5,000 USD.

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    3. Also also, I should reference this post more often: http://middenmurk.blogspot.ca/2015/09/body-armour.html

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    4. cheers for the prompt replies. I love that middenmurk post as well. Shame he doesn't blog anymore.

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  2. I love this list and I'm going to use it. Thanks.

    But I'm wondering if there's a typo somewhere in here:

    Cow: 8sp ($80)
    Dog: 5sp ($50)

    Why is a dog so close in value to a cow?

    Chicken: 1cp ($1)
    12 eggs: 3cp ($3)

    Isn't a chicken way more valuable than this? It can lay eggs, create more chickens (with a cock), and can be eaten for way more nutritional value than 12 eggs.

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    1. I should probably replace "dog" with "hound" as in "a knight's trained hunting hound."

      As for chickens... you tell me! Most of the references I've found put 2 chickens = 1 dozen eggs, at the very low end of the cost scale. I really couldn't say why. Maybe it's the convenience and not having to feed and maintain them? Maybe it's just that our sources are very fragmentary? Who knows.

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    2. Chickens are hard, reproduce fast and don't need much food. They are cheap because it is easy to get a bunch of them. Also, medieval chicken probably have less meat and lays less eggs.

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    3. "Chicken are hard" I mean they don't die easily compared animals of similar size like hares for example.

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    4. A little research indicates that:

      1. Buying a "chicken" probably meant buying a chick, and it took six months to a year for them to reach prime egg laying age.
      2. As other people have said, you have to feed the chick unproductively until it starts laying eggs.
      3. Chickens were free range because they were used to eat insects and snails off of vegetables, so you had to have someone watching them all day long (usually a child or a maid) and that's labor that could be spent elsewhere.
      4. They were smaller and laid fewer eggs than our modern chickens.

      Given all that, it makes sense why a dozen eggs costs more.

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    5. I highly disagree with point 3, you don't need to watch them all day long... My mother's family has a farm with some chickens. They are smart enough to avoid predators, stay near the main house and even know the feeding and sleeping times. You can make your life as a poultry keeper a lot easier if you have a house for your poultry and some places where they can lay eggs calmly (chickens tends to use always the same place to lay eggs).

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    6. The well-researched academic article I read said chickens were free-range and were tended by someone to avoid being eaten by predators.

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    7. It's still cheaper to buy a chicken than to buy a dozen eggs, at least in the United States.

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  3. a gurps like list of yearly income for various social classes and jobs would help this

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    1. It's a bit scattered because
      1. The First Estate has negative income at low levels (and needs to sell Indulgences)
      2. The Second Estate has [revenue from land] - [upkeep], and land revenue is calculated on a case-by-case basis
      3. The Third Estate has different earning levels based on profession (and also land).

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  4. Putting prices in GP instead of £/s./d. makes it really hard to read, haha!

    But I'm probably one of the few steeped in the 240/12/1 system that it makes more sense to me for medieval prices.

    What about a column in livres tournois? :)

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    1. If I put it in old money, some poor history student is going to find this post and treat it as an academic source. I don't want to be responsible for that kind of trouble. :)

      Plus, the historical price lists I linked to (and others you can find) already have values in all sorts of currencies. It's neat but not very gameable. Prices also varied enormously. This list sacrifices nuance for convenience.

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  5. I've attempted to do this myself many times but I always get stuck at trying to differentiate all the possible vegetables and herbs (like chives versus leaks) and then I start worrying about seasonal availability and it's like aaaaagh basically I never get past food let alone figuring out weapons.

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    1. One thing I made to simplify food and stuff is to price a group instead of specific herbs.

      Common spice - 10gp per pound (salt, pepper)
      Rare spice - 100gp per pound (sugar, ginger)
      Rarest spice - 1000gp per pound (saffron)

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  6. Yeahhh, another price list to add to the pile!! It's always great to have something to base your in-game prices on, especially since D&D and clones have a nasty habit of making prices inconsistent (and insanely high! Plate armor costs 13.5 kg (30 lbs) of pure gold in both 3.5 and 5e!) Ironically, real world stuff is often much more strange and interesting than the generic fantasy...

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    1. Oh yeah, coin values are weird. Unless you have a good baseline to estimate values everything ends up being weird.

      (And if you never list the weight of coins, you can get away with being a little inconsistent in the value of treasure, because the PCs can't just melt it down to get more cash magically.)

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    2. 30lbs of gold is crazy high. Pricing a full plate harness at 8 pounds sterling , you're talking about 7lbs of silver. That's about .458lbs of gold, reckoning a sterling pence at 1.5g of silver and a florin at 3.5g of gold, and a florin being worth 3 shillings.

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