[RPG] Does Owning a Shop or Trading Post Really Cost Me Money


The Dungeon Master's Guide on page 127 lists the costs of maintaining various buildings. While some of these make sense, of note is that Shops and Trading posts are listed. This means that, rather than being a source of money, these actually cost the player money to own. Below, under "Total Cost per Day" it says that the cost is indeed the net income of the property, after sales.

I'm struggling to understand why a shop or trading post would be unprofitable by default, or why a player would want to own one in that case.

Best Answer

You're only getting half of the information. After the table, the blurb on Businesses (same page, DMG 127, right below the table you've cited) explains that the information for running a business is in the section for Downtime Activities (which also starts on that same page).

The relevant section in Downtime Activities is on page 129 of the DMG and is titled Running a Business. This section includes die tables for how successful your business was while it was open (ex: On a roll of 41-60 "Your business covers its own maintenance cost for each of the days"), and information on selling specific magical items (like how many days it takes to find a buyer depending on rarity, and the percentage of the value a customer is willing to pay).

So it can be quite lucrative to own a shop, actually.