Code/Switch – Is Lesser Restoration Tax-Exempt to Cure a Hangover? Pt. 2

Hi, my name is James and welcome to Code/Switch, today I want to continue talking about places of worship in Golarion and their finances. Last time we went over the costs to run a church, along with the value of the building. To project an accurate financial picture, we still need to estimate how much the church gives away in free and low-cost services along with finding out estimates of their income. I’ve actually been doing some research and man, churches are really not willing to give away accurate figures of aid-outreach, so that will have to wait for 2 weeks while I figure out a way to estimate that, but in the meantime we can chow down on church income.

A church makes money in 2 ways, sales and donations. I guess the Bank of Abadar probably does some investing, but I can’t account for that. We can estimate donations by looking at the medieval tithe, a system where you’d give 10% of your income or be kicked out of the church, which for that time was bad. While Golarions faiths don’t seem to require that kind of donation, I think it’s safe to assume donation levels are similar due to the church being one of few, if not the only, social service organization in a large town in Pathfinder.

We’re going to use the upper limit for a large town in Pathfinder, around 5,000 individuals. I tried to find population by age statistics for the Middle Age, and kind of came up dry, to do a terrible substitution, I’m going to use data from the 2011 UK Census and estimate that 66% of the population is of working age, this gives us a working age population of 3,300. We’re also going to use Alex’s article about economics and imagine the workers in our town on average make an average living, 10gp/week. This gives our town of workers a net income of 1,716,000gp/year, a 10% tithe gives the church a yearly donation of 171,600gp! It’s so much! Our staffing cost from last Code/Switch is only 39,816gp/year! The church is pocketing 131,784gp in tithe in a year!

Lastly, to figure their income from spellcasting we can just use our previous numbers for spellcasters at the church; 1.5 adepts, 1 5th level cleric, and 1 9th level cleric. In total their value of their spellcastings if they get to use them all is 6,575gp/day, with almost 90% of that value coming from the head priest. I really can’t find any data on popularity of spells to even start guessing what the yearly income from these would be. If we just multiplied their daily maximum by 365 days, we end up with 2.4 million gp, more than the cash earned by all the workers in the large town. Each spell level being an order of magnitude in frequency of casting may be applicable, but find me in our Discord to throw solutions at me, or hit up the other KD hosts.

In two weeks we’ll finish up this Golarion Church exposé, and estimate the value of the services they offer to see if the churches are pure in their intent, or pocketing cash to fill that vault!

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.