Labor Points and Workshops

Okay, so I’ve been going through the C&G book and I want to make sure I understand the Labor Point (LP) rules. I’ll use Alexander as an example, since I have numbers for him.

Alexander starts off with a Trivial income source (10 MP/year) because he’s a Craftsman for inexpensive or standard goods). He’s neither Wealthy nor Poor, so he gains (Dex + Woodcrafting)x3 (=30) LPs for each season that he tends his shop. Being average in wealth, he’s expected to tend his shop two seasons a year, which gives him 60 Labor Points each year. He could tend the shop for three or four seasons, gaining more LP, but then he’s going to get a poor Reputation for avarice of impiety.

The shop requires 36 LP to maintain, so Alexander has a net bonus of 24 LP/year. These will accumulate, and can be used to upgrade the shop and Alexander’s status. For example, he could spend 360 LP to gain the Wealthy Virtue (taking 15 years if that’s all he did). He could also spend 1080 LP (45 years of work!) to move from a Trivial income source to a Minor Income Source (20 MP/year).

Alexander could also use LPs to increase the Innovation of his workshop. Base Innovation is +0, but he can raise it to +1 Innovation for 100 LPs (About 4 years of work). 200 more LPs (8 years) will raise the workshop to Innovation +2, and another 300 LPs (12 years) will raise the workshop to Innovation +3.

Alexander also has a Raw Material score that starts at +0, representing his access to raw materials. Alexander can spend 50 LPs (about 2 years of work) to increase the Raw Material score to +1, 100 more LPs (4 years) to increase it to +2, and an additional 150 LPs (6 years) to increase the score to +3.

Innovation and Raw Material scores help increase the Workshop Total, which says what kind of quality goods can be produced by the shop. At the start, Alexander has a Workshop Total of (Dex +Woodworking) (=10), which means that he can make Standard items. Once his Workshop Total rises to 12 (whether by an increase in Dex, Woodworking, Innovation, or Raw Material), he can make Superior Items. Excellent items require a Workshop Total of 15. He could make Wondrous Items (since he has the Mythic Woodworker Virtue) once he gets his Workshop Total level up to 13, though he’s limited to creating effects of (Workshop Total – 12).

Alexander could also increase his Workshop Total by having an assistant, who gets to add half their Craft Ability to the Workshop Total. So, if Alexander had an apprentice with a Woodworking of 4, he could add +2 to his Workshop Total, raising it to 12 and allowing him to make Superior items. (Strike that, Alexander can’t have any assistants because his Leadership score is 0.) These assistants don’t add to the LPs that the workshop generates.

Also, for the most part, a craftsman doesn’t make accounting of individual items crafted (barring a story or the like). They just fall under the normal expectation of profit for the year. However, in the rare situation where an item is sold on screen, it requires a (Pre + Bargain + simple die) vs. Ease Factor 9, or a (Pre + Bargain + simple die) vs. (Com + Bargain + simple die) in a contested situation. So if he were selling an item, Alexander would roll (8 + simple die), which means that he’s guaranteed to sell the item if it’s not a contested roll.

Do I have all that right?

It seems to me that with very little opportunity to increase the number of LPs you generate, workshops improve very slowly. As I noted, rising just one level from Trivial income source to Minor income source would take 45 years of work, an entire working lifetime for a crafter if he spent his LPs on nothing else. Forget about trying to go up another level of income source after that. Am I missing something? Is there a way to increase the number of LPs you generate?

It also seems like rather than spending LPs to raise your Innovation score or your Raw Material score, you’re far better off just hiring an assistant. I mean, it’s between 50-300 LPs (2-12 years of effort) to raise your Workshop Total by +1, whereas an assistant can be hired immediately and raises your Workshop Total by half their Craft ability score. Find an assistant with a base 6 Craft ability and Puissant Craft, and BANG, you’ve instantly raised your Workshop Total by +4, something that would take you 18 years minimum if you were trying to increase your Innovation and Raw Material scores. Hire another assistant with only a 6 Craft ability and you’re up to +7 Workshop Total, more than you can get from 36 years of improving your Innovation and Raw Material scores. It really seems like assistants overwhelm the equation.

mostly right. excess labor points can also be invested, so if Alexander takes his extra labor points and puts them in commodity speculation it will earn 10% per year- so if he puts in 20 LP in year one he will have an extra 2 LP/yr thereafter. Alternately he might after a few years invest his LP in a venture described as an introduction agent- he invests 2 seasons worth of labor points and in 2 years receives 3 seasons worth. So if he invests in speculation on wood prices (buying cheap and storing them in a warehouse purchased with extra labor points) he can improve his rate of accumulation of labor points.
Similarly once he progresses to wealthy he will gain twice as many labor points in a season, and he is not required to take the extra season off (though he may do so in order to pursue self development...)
Also p. 73 of city and guild "regardless of Leadership every craftsman may have a single apprentice helper"
finally money can be invested into the workshop and be converted to labor points to accelerate any investments.

It still seems like it would take forever (decades) just to raise the level of your income source from Trivial to Minor, much less rising up beyond that.

I find it interesting that in a game where the primary characters can live centuries you describe decades as forever.
However there can also be a gain in labor points from adventures...

That's true. But decades are still a long time to most companions.

Very true. I should have accounted for that.