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How Much Do I Pay a Smitemaster?
How Much Do I Pay a Smitemaster?
Although Dungeon Exterminators are independent and often very shrewd businessmen, they are all still regulated by the Smitemasters’ Guild, which controls many aspects of how they perform their trade. One of these controls is on how much Smitemasters charge for their dungeon exterminating contracts. The Guild pressures its members to price themselves according to a scale that is based on the number of years spent working in a trade, where an exterminator cannot charge less than the minimum fee for his age band, but he can charge more if he wants to. It basically acts as a price–fixing scheme to avoid too much competition that would bring fees down in times of low demand, although its other purpose is to ensure the survival of the Smitemasters’ Guild, since all its members pay a commission fee to it, which is equal to around 5% of the overall contract.
The basic scale looks like this:
1–4 years – 625 greckles/week (about 90 greckles/day)
5–9 years – 800 greckles/week (about 115 greckles/day)
10-29 years - 1250 greckles/week (about 180 greckles/day)
30-49 years - 1000 greckles/week (about 145 greckles/day)
Those above 50 years of age can charge whatever they like – if anyone is lucky enough to manage to live this long and still be actively exterminating dungeons, they are not likely to be in such demand since their age may make them more likely to be killed for various reasons.
There are also other implicit but well–understood charges that Smitemasters often make in addition to their basic fee. When deciding how many weeks to charge for, many use the general rule that three levels require one week to clear out (i.e. just over 2 days per level) to work out the basic contract fee, even though this is often an over–estimate. For very large dungeons, some Smitemasters may also add a sort of “insurance fee” of three extra days’ cost for every 5 levels, just in case they sustain an injury or get lost, and take longer to clear a dungeon than normal (a Smitemaster cannot be helped underground, so he needs to be very careful, and every lost day reduces his possible future income). Occasionally, if the client is wealthy and deals in food and other essential tools such as torches, a Smitemaster may be able to save money by purchasing them directly from him for a reduced price as part of the deal. Some very experienced exterminators may also add a charge for their experience. The prices can vary, depending on the arrogance of the exterminator, but it is generally accepted that every 500 levels of dungeons cleared over a career increases your worth by about 50 greckles per week.
Contracts are almost always based on this pay scale and associated extra charges, since without justification, it is very difficult to convince anyone to pay more than the Guild–marketed price unless the client happens to be rather desperate. Famous exterminators with great skill and lots of experience (or maybe even just good self-marketing) such as Beethro Budkin, Bombus Gadhan, or Gribbles Prutkin are the exception and can often get more for their services.
A busy and reasonably experienced Smitemaster may be able to get a 2-3 level job once or twice a week, and if he is lucky, a larger contract of more than 5 levels once every four weeks or so. In the larger towns and cities, the typical annual income for a Smitemaster is therefore around 60000 to 65000 greckles. As blue–collar trades go, it is a somewhat lucrative choice of work, although, of course, life–expectancy is not very high.