Caravan cost breakdown?

I’ve been trying to figure out the basis for the “515 gp” average monthly cost of a 10-wagon caravan. I can’t find any way to hire the required number of personnel and stay under that limit, and I’m wondering if this is supported by rules that I’m overlooking.

A merchant caravan already exists as an encounter type, with every 10 wagons being managed by 5 merchants, and guarded by 20 1st level fighters (“guards”), a couple 3rd level fighters (“sergeants”), and a 5th level leader. This matches the numbers shown on the caravaneers column on page 145 (Core rules), suggesting that the intent is to match up player caravans with merchant encounters.

But that many fighters would be very expensive. Each 1st level fighter is 25 gp per month, each 3rd level fighter is 100, and the 5th level leader is 400. That comes out to 1100 gp per month.

I assume the “5 merchants” are intended to be replaced by the PCs. But if they were NPCs paid normally according to their profession, they’d probably earn at least 25 gp each (as apprentice merchants). So most NPC caravan operators must be paying 125 gp per 10 wagons per month to employ their merchants. That raises the total expenses to 1225 gp per month, or maybe more like 1300 if one of the merchants is a master merchant at 100 gp/month.

The cost of hiring all those guards seems like it would render NPC caravans nonprofitable. So I assume the average cost of 515 gp must be making a different set of assumptions than this.

I’m guessing that the 1st level fighters are supposed to be replaced by zero-level mercenaries. With 20 heavy infantry, a 3rd level fighter (100 gp), two 1st level fighters (25 each), that would still leave an extra 125 gp for hiring the merchants themselves. But maybe there’s another way to get to the 515 gp target.

If some fraction of your guards don’t survive to payday, maybe you don’t need to pay out wages for them?

(I suggest this jokingly, but I’m sure it is something my players would suggest seriously)

First thing that comes to mind is - should the 20 guards just be 0-level men? If the entry is converted from older editions, the difference was basically nil, but in ACKS a 1st-level fighter is noticeably tougher and more experienced than a basic 0-level guard/soldier.

It won’t account for the entire difference, though. Maybe that 5th-level fighter is also supposed to be in the caravan for a stake on the profits rather than a salary?

  1. The mercenaries earn 6gp per month (light infantry wages) - 120gp
  2. The 2 sergeants earn 50gp per month - 100gp
  3. The leader earns 200gp per month - 200gp
  4. The merchants do not collect a paycheck–they collect profit*
  5. Food cost is 34gp
  6. Stabling cost is 60gp
  7. Total cost is 420gp for wages, 34gp for food, 60gp for stabling, 514gp overall

*120gp/5=24gp per merchant per month

I've got issues with stabling fee

How do you find 60gp for the stabbling of 10 wagons?

(and How do you find 6gp/day for 2 wagons pull by 4 horses in the book)

If 1 wagons = 2gp/day

1 horse = 5sp / day

10 wagons pull by 4 horses each make 10*2gp + 40*5sp = 40 gp /day
+ 5 horses for merchant + 2 horses for sergeants + 1 horse for leader --> 8*5sp = 4gp /day
thus that make a total of 44 gp/day

Hi Yore! Where did you come up with "1 wagon = 2gp/day"? Stabling cost is driven by the need for fodder, water, and grooming for the horses. A wagon requires much less upkeep cost than a horse. 

In my original spreadsheet, my calculation was 6gp per week per wagon x 10 wagons x 1 week (3 weeks per month are traveling) or 60gp. Here's the derivation:

  • 1 caravan has 10 wagons
  • 1 wagon has 4 horses
  • Stabling for 1 horse for 1 night 2 sp
  • Warehousing for 1 wagon for 1 week 4sp
  • Stabling for 4 horses x 2sp = 8sp per day x 7 days per week = 56 sp per week = 5.6gp per week
  • Stabling for 40 horses = 56gp per week
  • Warehousing for 10 wagons for 1 week = 4sp x10 = 40sp = 4gp
  • Total cost 56gp + 4gp = 60gp

The calculations were made 5 years ago so let me know if I've somehow messed up and recently stated a cost of 2gp per day for wagons, etc. Thanks!



Thanks for the answer

i've got this
"Moorage fees for ships are 1gp per 10 structural hit points per day. Stabling fees are 2sp per mule, 5sp per horse, 1gp per cart, and 2gp per wagon per day. For instance, a merchant with 2 wagons drawn by 4horses each will have to pay 6gp per day."

I was trying to come up with an average revenu for a domain's ruler due to caravanswith tolls and stabling, taking in account :

- average numbrer of caravanans entering his market (depending on market class)

- average time spend in stabling i asume large caravan will need to stay more than a week to find more merchents to trade with


and the stabling fee that i've got made it completly weird, also i counted the horse of merchents, sergents and leader

Thanks, Yore! Looks like you've found a contradiction in the rules set - let me dig through my notes and see if I resolved this or it's just an unfixed error.