Monthly Hijink Income vs. Starting City Criminal Guild

I’m making an attempt to learn2domain in ACKS, and I’m putting out a complete Duchy, economics wise (I am disambiguating the vassals)

I’ve worked my way down to the criminal guild.

I’m trying to rectify the Monthly Hijink Income table, pg 141, which states specifically that it takes into account wages, attorneys, bribes, etc. with the Starting City Criminal Guilds table on pg 237, which is just plain revenue.

If I take a Class IV guild, at 100 members, and break down the income via the MHI table like so (based on the info in Determine Criminal Guilds on pg 237):

45 0th level Ruffians: 45 gp/mo (45 * 1)
35 1st level whatever: 175 gp/mo (35 * 5)
13 2nd level whatever: 390 gp/mo (13 * 30)
7 3rd+ level: 1850 gp (5 3rds @200, 2 4ths @ 425)

That’s a total after-costs income of 2460.

Assuming Hideouts have Stronghold upkeep costs, that’s another 1000gp/mo for the 20K gp hideout.

So, taking the monthly syndicate revenue of 7,350, we subtract 1,000 gp in upkeep, take out the 2,460 in average income, which leaves us with 3,890 gp that should be representing the costs of crime, yes?

From that, we calculate the wages of the 100 ruffians above - that’s:

45 0th level: 270 gp
35 1st level: 875 gp
13 2nd level: 650 gp
5 3rd level: 500 gp
2 4th level: 400 gp

for 2,695 in wages per month. Take that out of our 3,890, and we know we’re spending 1,195 gp on various attorneys, bribes, and other stuff.

There’s probably an inverse relation on how much of that is spent per member per level - a lot of that is spent on the 45 0th levels, for example, and hopefully not as much on your 4th level stars.

I’m going spreadsheet blind (as evidenced by my 5->8 edits on this thing) so I’m stopping there for now.

Let me know if I’m nuts.

Not an Autarch, but looks good to me. It’s also worth noting that all of those numbers are averages: my own back-of-the-envelopes indicated huge swinginess. A thieves’ guild that was operating entirely at a nitty-gritty level of detail would need to make sure they had a large account of ready cash on hand to smooth out the dips (and replenish that account from the bumps), or they would come apart at the seams fairly quickly.

Indeed. I’d love to know how the numbers on pg 141 were generated.

Here’s another interesting thing that falls out:

The domain I created that syndicate in has 5 vassal realms, each containing a Class VI market.

So, therefore, there’s an underboss in each market running part of the guild.

If I build each of those from the bottom up using pg 237 (and revenue of 1500gp/mo), they generate only 293/gp per month in proft. (NOT including the underboss salary, which takes you to -107 gp/month - they cost money!)

By 5, that’s 1,465 gold per month in profit going upstream.

Now, pg 237 says the revenues from those 5 underbosses should be 4,900 gp/month, which means we’ve got 3,435 gp/mo (687 per subboss) in inaccounted-for revenue.

If we now include the sub-boss revenue, 5@400/gp/mo, that leaves us with 1,435 gp/mo in unexplained revenue, or, 287/gp per subsyndicate.

Where can we slot that number? 1435 is close enough to 1500gp that we can count that as the revenue from a level 7 guild member (pg 141), which, funnily enough, is the same level as the thief running the Class IV market guild on pg 237, if he’s part of an even larger syndicate.

I don’t know if that follows all the way up, will probably never try to find out.

…I’m not sure I have a point, other than ‘look how I abused these tables’.

To work out the value of a thief at each level, I:
(1) Calculated his chance of success at each different hijink (10% - 35%)
(2) Calculated his chance of being caught at each different hijink (5% - 25%)
(3) Calculated his wages
(4) Calculated the syndicate’s fee if he succeeded in each hijink ($95 - $1,300)
(5) Calculated the syndicate’s expected return from success (% from step 1 x value from step 4), per hijink
(6) Calculated the syndicate’s damages if a ruffian is captured in a hijink*
(7) Calculated the syndicate’s expected loss from capture (% from step 2 x value from step 6), per hijink
(8) Calculated the syndicates return in each hijink as (expected return from success) - (wages + expected loss from damages).
(9) Disregarded any hijinks that would have a return of 0, and averaged the return of all other hijinks

*Note on 6: This in turn cascades down into another set of subtables for each type of hijink which modles out the expected damages at each level of conviction or acquittal, for each time of crime, then sumps of the likelihood of each level of conviction x expected damages, for each type of hijink. For punishments that caused maiming, I calculated the damages as equal to the cost of magical curing. I then used estimates of attorney and bribe expenditure at each level. This resulted in a net expected cost if caught for each crime, ranging from $51.03 for drunkeness to $4,174.52 for treason.

I did this for every combination of hijinks at every level. This took a long time. How did this work out in practice?

At 0th level, the result was 14gp expected return, 6.89gp expected loss, and 6gp wage, for a total of (14 - 12.89) 1.11gp, which I rounded to 1gp.

At 1st level, the result was 33gp expected return, 3.45gp expected loss, 25gp wage, for a total of (33 - 28.45) 4.55gp, which I rounded to 5gp.

It was then time to use this data to apply it against the thieve’s guilds themselves. I first calculated the number of thieves of each level likely to be present in each class of city. I then inputted the revenue (from above) for each thief of each level and was able to work out a total value for the thieves’ guild of each city.

I then assumed that the thieves’ guilds were organized into syndicates with 5 underbosses of each tier at each level, and adjusted earnings accordingly. The result was the charts in the book.

An astute accountant might say “a thieves’ guild that ran itself specifically to make money by doing only those hijinks which had just the net highest value at every level, rather than a mix of ALL profitable hijinks, would make more than this!”

But in the time frame ACKS covers, there were no astute accountants. There was no excel, and no double-entry book-keeping, and hardly any understanding of budgeting. To assume that a criminal enterprise would be run at optimum, excel-based efficiency seemed, to me, to be ludicrous. So I didn’t do that.

A ruthless PC thief might say “As boss, I don’t think its worth worth paying for attorney’s fees or bribes for my failures, and I certainly would’t worry about treating their wounds!”

I would respond that this is certainly the PC’s prerogative. But in actual play, such PCs have quickly run into a shortage of thieves; moreover, if one tracks XP (as we did in my playtest), one realizes that abandoning low-level thieves to their fate soon leads to no mid-level thieves advancing. So, in actual play, PCs tended to do everything they could to keep their thieves alive and out of jail. So, based on that, I assumed NPC bosses would do the same.

Hope that makes sense!

koewn wrote: Indeed. I'd love to know how the numbers on pg 141 were generated.
You can get similar numbers:

Start with a level 1 thief (25 gold in wages) with no special tweaks.

Carousing: 35% chance of success, 5% chance of capture. Success generates 95 gold. Capture costs about 70 gold (averaged over the punishment table). Total profit is (95×0.35) – (70×0.05) – (25 gold in wages). You get about 4.75 gold, rounded to five gold.

If you do the same thing with all of the other hijinks, you quickly find out that carousing is the only thing a first-level thief is any good for, because all of the others end up costing the syndicate on average.

Anyway, do that for each hijink for each level of thief, and average the profitable ones (since a “typical” guild won’t specialize too much).

One major area that will cause problems here is the punishment table. There are a lot of different assumptions you can make about how much is spent on lawyers, bribes, and the like, and some will be more optimal than others, and that will vary by circumstance. I don’t know what assumptions Alex made, exactly. My own resulted in slightly different numbers, although not by enough that I should have spent time hacking on it.

It’s also worth noting that, once again, Charisma is the god statistic in ACKS. Thieves with even Charisma +1 cost substantially less when they fail, and so are substantially more valuable on average. Uncharismatic thieves, unless they have some other benefit that makes them exceptional, will often make more money for the guild by staying home.

Actually, just see Alex’ answer below ;-).

Charisma is the god statistic in real-life, too.

Alexander the Great wasn’t worshipped as a god in his own lifetime because of his high INT! =D