Code/Switch – A Place to Rest Your Head


Hi, my name is James and welcome to Code/Switch. Today I want to talk about housing, ya know, where you rest your head. My wife and I recently bought a house at great personal expense and erosion of my free time and will to do anything but lie in bed watching Seinfeld reruns. I want to compare my family’s home buying burden against an average NPC in a campaign like Kingmaker to see if I really have any right to complain.

Golarion Boarding

Home buying in Pathfinder is actually really easy if you have Ultimate Campaign. Under the buildings section of the downtime rules, it says a house costs 1,290g. This is actually a price reduction from Kingmaker where a house could run you back 4,000g! This house isn’t very big, it contains; 1 bedroom, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom, 1 “sewer access”, 1 sitting room, and 1 closet. Using the median room size, this building has a total of 33.5 5ftx5ft squares, totaling 837.5 sq ft. That is actually the size of my current apartment. I’m sorry citizens of Golarion, your housing sort of sucks. Using the cost and size, we know a house in Golarion costs roughly 1.54g per square foot.

That can also be shown as 1/13th of an alchemist fire per square foot.

Casa De La Ballod

Homebuying in real life is not easy, mortgage documents are harder than the Pathfinder magic rules. The house my wife and I bought is roughly 1,850 sq ft and costs just over $200,000. Using this numbers our cost per square foot of house is $108.1. I’m going to savor every foot of this house, even its sewer access!

Relative Cost

The result of this math will decide if I envy Golarianites(?) who have to worry about manticores for their affordable housing. My wife and I earn 40% of our houses value every year through our job. We’re going to pay it off over 30-ish years because I need money to eat and internet. Your average citizen of Golarion uses the Profession skill to make cash, although some use craft or perform. A day job in Pathfinder nets you half of your Profession check per week. A first level commoner with Profession as a class skill and using the basic skill NPC array will average a roll of 13 on their weekly day job checks, netting them 6.5g. This commoner works 52 weeks a year because Golarions “Mandatory Vacation” bill keeps getting pushed for “Manticore Protection” budgets. This will net the commoner 338g per year, or 26.2% of their homes value. I hope the bank of Abadar gave them exceedingly Lawful Good terms on that loan because if not that commoner is going to end up underwater, and not just because of the Gillmen.

I think the Gillmen would just feel bad for you and just leave you alone. Nothing they can do to you that life hasn’t already.


As a point of contrast I looked up medieval earning/cost figures, one from UC Davis and one from a British history podcast. Using the easier to read podcast site, a skilled carpenter in 1300 made 4 pounds every year, which subdivides into 960 pence. Using the UC Davis collected data, a small 2 story cottage which would have roughly the same square footage as our Golarion house would cost 2 pounds, or 480 pence giving the house a cost of 1.74 pence per square foot. The skilled carpenter earns half his house value in his yearly salary which is more affordable and my wife and I with our 40% earning potential and much higher than our Golarian commoners’ 26.2% of their houses value.


The math doesn’t me be sad. My house is proportionally more affordable than a house would be in for a commoner in Golarion, but it’s slightly cheaper in human history when we didn’t have magic but did have smallpox. I’m happy with my slightly more expensive house and greatly reduced amount of weeping sores. Thank you for joining me on Code/Switch to learn about Pathfinder, Historical, and Current housing cost burdens. If you have any scientific, economic, or anthropological questions about Pathfinder or Starfinder, you can leave a comment below or find me on the Know Direction Discord Server.

James Ballod

James blossomed into geekdom like a piranha plant in the crack of a sidewalk. Watered by the muscle-brained lore of Warhammer 40,000 and nurtured in the rough bosom of World of Warcraft, tabletop RPGs came late in life to James. The rich lore and real-world influences in games like Pathfinder inspire James to explore them from every angle. When not being an annoying anime-fanboy he can be found discussing the history of various cuisines and over-analyzing real world influences in works of fiction.