Humm…seems a bit unfair to let hireling cost go into the same pool as living expenses, or else the Bard with 7 hirelings and the thug with none are still paying the same living costs, but the bard gets something directly beneficial out of it.
Yes, some of the players have lots of henchmen and try to bring them on every adventure (which I have pointed out as being problematic to xp and gold earning, but nobody listens).
The characters can experiment with some items to figure out what they do, but how do you experiment with a wand or staff to figure out it’s command word? Equally I use some more obscure items from other versions of D&D that are, admittedly, pretty hard to figure out solely by experimentation. But yeah, identification and keeping items is a money sink. Though as my player points out below, it’s hard to sale big ticket items, even at a Size 1 market.
I also may have spread my markets out a bit much because I created the map purely on the borderland, not really thinking about the party wanting to head back into the Empire so just made some estimates of how many days away the bigger cities were. ON average, if a (large) kingdom had a size 1 market capital, how far away would the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s be from it? Maybe my travel time is off for that (though the problem still stands, it is still hard to sale an item even then).
As to answer your question, two players are 8 or 9th level and have 4+ henchmen each, with these being around 6th level. I only charge their living and hiring expenses once a month, and allow them to live low, normal, or high (setting a bottom, middle, and high end for their level range…guessing when the costs listed cover several levels). Last adventure there was something like 6-8 items to identify I think? They all spread the work out themselves instead of hiring someone, and one or two rolls were failed.
Anyway, thanks for the input Alex, as always!