Jem's picture

A lot of adventurers, from the looks of their character sheets, carry everything they own and have nothing much invested in long-term assets. But you? You're a Cager, cutter! Sure, you can handle yourself in the wilderness, but you're not going to be carrying trail rations and a tent around with you in Sigil!

Here's a thought, then, on possible gradations of housing that city-dwellers might have in a d20 medieval urban setting like Sigil: if you like the notion of having a place to call kip and store a change of equipment so you can adapt to different environments without encumbering yourself constantly, maybe even secure enough to stash a bit of gold, run this by your GM.

Homeless: No initial investment and no cost to maintain. You sleep where you can find a dark corner, and you carry with you everything you own. Might be the case for someone that just fell off the banana boat and hasn't gotten themselves grounded in Sigil yet... or, of course, someone dirt poor. You're exposed to environmental conditions from whatever weather the GM cares to impose on the city, and you have a difficult time keeping clean; a -1 to all Charisma-based checks until you can improve your housing situation. Random encounters with muggers or grumpy night watchmen are likely, and any disturbance is likely to draw the attention of city guards or bystanders, who will probably start out Unfriendly toward an obvious vagrant.

Lodging: Room and board as per PHB. No initial cost, but you must pay the exorbitant rates required. Amenities, and security for any goods you wish to leave behind, are dependent on the inn and the quality of lodging you have paid for. You're more of a tourist than a resident of the city. At least you're clean and sheltered from the weather, though; and it's no surprise to see a traveller here with expensive equipment.

Flophouse: Subtract 1 sp from starting wealth to represent having lived here for a while. Barely a step above poor lodging at an inn, this is a legitimate place of residence affordable to an unskilled laborer. It's cheaper - you share a room with several others, each of you paying 4 cp per day - but anything you leave unattended will be stolen, so you'll still need to carry it. Obvious displays of high-quality equipment will mark you as different from the others in the flophouse, and probably lead to undesirable incidents, which can get you kicked out, as can, of course, not paying your rent (though you can surely find another place just like it, unless word has gotten around that you make trouble). Privacy is also nil, in case you've got one of those personal projects to work on.

Guild or faction housing: Subtract 10 gp from starting wealth to begin play living here. This is more than the courtesy housing afforded guild members who are down on their luck; this is a barracks owned and run by whatever organization you're a part of, for the benefit of its members (not to mention its public image in keeping those members off the street). Not all guilds have them. You've got claim to a bed and some sort of place (foot locker, communal closet) to store simple goods like spare weaponry or travel necessities, with the reasonable assurance that no one will go rummaging. Storing gold or magical items, though, is almost certainly more than human nature will bear. Weekly rent is roughly two day's wages for an entry level professional in the group's line of work (2 sp for an unskilled laborer, cheaper than an inn but about the same as a flophouse, and that's pretty much what the guild can provide; 2-3 gp for a craftsmen's guild that expects a couple of ranks in a skill, a mite cheaper than common lodging but with better amenities), and naturally you must remain a member of the organization in good standing. Disruptive activities won't be tolerated, but a bit of privacy is something your roommates can reasonably provide for a few hours a day. It's expected that eventually you'll move out, though elder members of the guild or bachelor Masters might live here full time, in much better quarters (more expensive, or fully subsidized, as the guild's resources and philosophy dictate).

Bachelor pad: You pay rent on a simple apartment in the city, in a building crammed with numerous other apartments just like it. Subtract two months' rent from starting wealth. This is a deposit - you'll get it back when you leave, assuming you didn't wreck the place. The cheapest rents are 3 gp per month, a tenement room just barely affordable to a few unskilled laborers splitting the rent and food; the apartment comes with a simple lock on the door, and the chance that a thief taking 20 to pick it will be noticed. A better apartment for a skilled professional just starting out at 1st level with a few ranks in his skill will cost more like 10-15 gp per month. This will come with an Average lock on the door, and the landlord will make an effort to have some sort of security on the grounds, so casual thievery is unlikely and you have some privacy.

Simple house: As per SRD, this costs 1,000 gp as equipment. You own an apartment or small house outright and can do with it as you please. Describe it! This is a chunk of change you've invested, and a cutter's home says something about him. It almost certainly comes with a Good or Amazing lock on the door as well as sturdy (soundproof) walls with small barred windows, and you may legally add further security such as symbol spells if you desire. Low-level thieves will usually ply their trade elsewhere, and moderate- to high-level rogues will only be more likely to pay attention to your house if they have some reason to believe you possess substantial valuables left there. You also have legal rights associated with this ownership that will vary by the kinds of laws prevalent in the region. Usually, the city guard will have a responsibility - to you, not a landlord - to prevent and investigate trespass or burglary; your neighbors will almost certainly come to your assistance with a bucket brigade if a fire breaks out. (You, of course, are expected to do the same, and in fact investigations of unusual occurrences in your neighborhood could make good low-level adventures.) The GM may permit you to buy a house on mortgage, with 200gp or so paid down; terms are up to the two of you. The house is legally yours at present, but failure to pay rent may lead to dispossession.

Better housing: Negotiate with the GM for prices on mansions if you've an eye to move to the Lady's Ward, cutter.

"Guild" and "bachelor pad" housing are the most likely starting points for low-level adventurers, with a private home for higher-level characters. These help to define the character's status as Cager or through organization membership. "Bachelor pad" housing also describes the housing affordable to NPCs of little means who have a
family to support on their various incomes. "Homeless," "lodging," and "flophouse" housing are cheap and evocative housing statuses that can speak to character background and explain a motivation for hiring on to a job or considering a guild or faction membership. Naturally, owning a home of any quality is going to mark a well-off, established Cager of substantial wealth.

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