Well, thank you all for your comments on my last economic rambling for my Dark Ages campaign - I've gotten "Weeping/grinning" to "it's flawed in lots of minor ways" to "Dire chickens!" but nobody screamed "URDOINITRONG!" so either you all think I'm nuts (a good thing) or you're all stunned by my sheer idiocy (more probable).
Either way, it was gratifying to hear that I'm on the right track, with determining land costs based on their food producing potential. I concentrated on meat as the "main food driver", I handwaved that grain would be roughly equivalent in terms of cost. I know that's probably wrong - but I chose meat as my starting point and since I've confessed that this is all napkin math, I'll take that logic to the end. I'm not simulating Earth realistically, so my basis of economy is not going to match "real life" either. However, I've tried to give it some thought and some tenuous logic, so here's the end point - how much land costs:
All this assumes average harvest. 30 acres fed 4 people for a year (360 day year) - 7.5 acres a person (360 day year)
However, Dark Ages has a 240 day calendar, so we'll do some math to adjust for the difference in days per year. (240/360 = .67)
20 acres (30*.67) provides for 4 people a year in DA. 5 acres feeds a person for a year in DA.
24gp in either grain or meat/year can be earned by that 5 acres (72gp average cost a person for meat/grain/liquid a year).
1 acre can make minimum 4g 8s a year. The acre measures 43,560 sq ft - approx. 208.7' x 208.7'. The earning potiential of a square foot of land is 0.0001gp per square foot. (4.8 / 43560)
(Good thing my monetary system is 10cp = 1sp, 10sp = 1gp. )
10x10 area = 100 sq ft = 1cp/yr. (100 * 0.0001) (That orc sitting on a chest with pie better pay his taxes!)
That's just napkin math for the earning potential of land. Now, how's that equate to living spaces? I did really quick and dirty 30 min research on Google on rough idea of living spaces in Middle Ages - got a couple of figures that "felt" right. The prices below are the amount of rent based on food earning potential alone - my players should note these are not final prices - the landlords would no doubt want to make a bit of a profit.
Peasant 'Wattle' house: 20' x 40' = 800sq ft = 8c/year for renting of the living space alone (The people who "rent" farmlands from kingdom pay taxes in form of food produced from land rented, or would work on the local lord's farmlands for a percentage of their time.)
Single "Manor" building: 66' x 33' (took dimension from reconstructed English Village) - 2 stories - 4s 4c.
Moral of story - when land is not the commodity, but merely the vehicle for producing food and seen as such - land is cheap.
Now that I have a starting place, I can look at what Marshall Roen and the Priest Phaellum might charge for their land, assuming they want some sort of profit.
The players have a question outstanding on the list as to the size they imagine the structure they've been "squatting in". Once they give me that, I can do a rough calculation of the rent and take a guess at how much they would sell the land for.
BTW, this strangely "feels" right where taxes have been assessed on the treasure that the players are bringing in (commerce taxes) versus land taxes. The players haven't been taxed on purchases because the merchants bringing the goods into Enonia are taxed, and they raise their prices accordingly. Land isn't the main driver. Food and commerce is.
This also means I may have to cast a hoary eye at my price list at some point and see if it makes sense to the earning/spending potential of a person, in relation to food costs. And this means my assumption for 40% of their yearly wage going to housing is dead wrong - a person in Enonia would need to make a lot less.
My head hurts.