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  1. #1
    Senior Member The Swordgaunt's Avatar
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    New Realm Action

    As one of my players just came to power in Dhoesone, I figured I'd give him a slow start by giving him a relatively small, yet annoying problem to deal with. Organized crime, for instance. So, I created the Black Ring Guild, a thieves-guild controlling the port province of Nolien.

    This led to another problem. What do thieves and smugglers do? Well, they steal and smuggle, right? The smuggling part is simple, but the thieving bit needed to be adressed. The result is still a bit rough, but here it is, for you to dissect and critique.

    Raqueteering (Standard/Realm)
    DC: 10+
    Cost: 1 GB

    A Regent with a Guild holding may order her minnions to plunder, pillage and exact "taxes" in a province. This typically involves hi-jacking cargo, stealing live stock and charging citizens and shops for protecion. Needless to say, this action will probably be met with approval from other regents.

    Both the active Regent, and Regents with a Law holding in the province may add their holding level to the resolution roll. Other Regents may bid Regency Points to influence the outcome normally.

    Gain: 1d6 GB
    This sum is subtracted equally from all other holdings, exept Source holdings, according to level. The province population counts as a level 1 holding in this respect. The active regent may choose to spare one other holding.

    Example: The Black Ring takes the Raqueteering action in Nolien (3/2), rolling successfully, and gaining 4 GB. The baron of Dhoesone has a level 2 Law holding, Holtson has Law 0, and Guild 1. The Regent opts to spare the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie's level 3 Temple holding. All holding levels are added to find the factor by which the 4 GB loss is divided. This results in 0.4 GB per holding level (4 GB / (Province 3 + baron 2 + SH 1 + NRC 3 + commoners 1))

    This means that the baron will loose 2 GB, SH 0.4 GB, and the commoners 0.4 GB.

    [edit]The Black Ring will earn 2.8 GB, since they spared the NRC[/edit]

    Special: For every GB the commoners loose, the Provonce's attitude will drop one level.
    Last edited by The Swordgaunt; 10-27-2006 at 02:41 PM.
    -Harald

    Today, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.

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  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Calculating the income from thieves guilds and narcotics ring

    I'd always taken the view that their income was gained via guild holdings with the standard income rules, but your system has a much more satisfying 'zero sum' approach for the province that will greatly annoy other regents and more accurately reflect reality - theft usually reduces overall wealth whereas trade generally increases it.

    It doesn't however take account of trade routes. I would suggest that the thieves guild regent gets to use their guild holding as a law holding to obtain funds from everyone else, possibly using a contested roll (holding plus regency spent plus d20) to see whether each attempt is successful or not although using the roll could make the attempts very expensive.

    I would except law holders from the theft (stealing from the sheriff is hard as a) they tend to be armed and b) they have far less money as everyone else so there is less to steal. If more than 1 GB was taken from the province ruler's taxation then the morale could degrade, or is this too harsh?

    I would include source holder's with trade routes in the theft attempt.

    If a holding was noted for a large treasury I would add 1/5th (say) of the treasury to the income generated in the turn to calculate the theft.

    Another alternative to your method would be for the law holder to choose only one regent to support (province taxation / temple A, guild B, etc) as that encourages people to be 'nice' to the law holder. "You need my help against the bandits Kalien? But you said on Candlemass that your guilds were struggling to break even and could pay no taxes! What would there be to steal?"

  3. #3
    Senior Member The Swordgaunt's Avatar
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    These are good points. However, doesn't the ability to exact taxes from trade routes and holdings suggest an entirely new holding type? The way I've been thinking of running the Black Ring is basically as just another Guild.

    That said, the taxation version could be introduced as another action... The way I see it, there is a thief in every guilder, right? The difference would be to what extent he chooses to show it. Bribes and the occational hostile take-over is axcepted, preying on temples and caravans would stir up a ruccus. If the guildmaster and his people are thieves, this would not be much of a moral problem, but for a guilder who relies on an at least half-decent reputation, these actions would not be desirable. Introducing these options for a Guild Regent would expand his arsenal, and make guild-wars more fun.

    As for the tax-theft, I must agree. One could say that this loss comes out of the pockets of the commoners instead. "By the Gorgon's hoof! First the Red Baron takes half our silver, now the taxmen takes the rest!" This would surely result in bad vibrations. Or, the Regent may opt to forfeit the taxes...

    I certainly like that the Law-holder may support one other holding. This opens for Diplomatic actions between bothe the Law and the thieves, and the law and, say a temple. Imagine a sanctioned thieves guild preying only on the "enemies of the state". There's organised crime for you.
    -Harald

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    In a message dated 10/27/06 10:33:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
    brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET writes:

    << This led to another problem. What do thieves and smugglers do? Well, they
    steal and smuggle, right? The smuggling part is simple, but the thieving bit
    needed to be adressed. The result is still a bit rough, but here it is, for you
    to dissect and critique. >>

    Under the 2e rules, I had thieves` guilds set themselves up as a 0-level
    Law holding, and begin seizing/taxing other players` holdings.

    Lee.

  5. #5
    Senior Member The Swordgaunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee
    Under the 2e rules, I had thieves` guilds set themselves up as a 0-level
    Law holding, and begin seizing/taxing other players` holdings.

    I have created the Black Ring Guild with a level 1 Law holding in Nolien, so that would surely be an option. -I hadn't thought about that, so thanks!
    -Harald

    Today, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    That would have been my suggestion. A law holding for them.

    By the rules, law holding can claim other holdings incomes, for Province rulers this could be a one time tax, or for anyone it could represent banditry, and theft.

    Other than that, if they are well organized, they could have Guild holdings also, which represent their fencing operations, and racqueteering (getting protection money from shop owners).
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  7. #7
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The description of law holdings includes bandits and criminal activity.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Fair comment - I should have thought more about the use of law holdings, although 'double taxation' has a certain ring to it.

    Given that the key distinction between legal trading activity and criminal activity is that the criminal activity is not sanctioned by the law one possibility would be to allow the law holder to tax the cirminal activty but not grant then GB - the 'tax' is simply denied to the criminal (i.e. the sheriff prevents the goods from being sold / restores them to the trader), this would give the law holder an incentive to crack down.

    A second possibility would be to prevent any taxation via law holdings of the criminal activity (i.e. the law holder can contest them but not tax them). To prevent the criminal holding from being preferable to a normal guild holding it could be barred from operating trade routes without consequence - if a criminal runs narcotics into Endier Kalien may find his own holdings less productive as the staff are unable to function effectively, if Rjuven operates a trade route with Seasedge representing viking raiders Boruine may see his income down / loyalty issues, etc.

    A third possibility to restrain criminal activity is to either limit the maximum holding to, say, half the province level, or to reduce the success possibility of any actions by the level of the criminal holding to reflect endemic corruption in the realm...

  9. #9
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 11:37 AM 10/28/2006, Andrew Tall wrote:

    >Given that the key distinction between legal trading activity and
    >criminal activity is that the criminal activity is not sanctioned by
    >the law one possibility would be to allow the law holder to tax the
    >cirminal activty but not grant then GB - the `tax` is simply denied
    >to the criminal (i.e. the sheriff prevents the goods from being sold
    >/ restores them to the trader), this would give the law holder an
    >incentive to crack down.

    One of the things that I think is confusing about the original
    materials is that the terminology can sometimes lead to conclusions
    that aren`t necessarily supported by the actual rules as
    presented. What I mean by that is that a Law holding shouldn`t
    really be viewed as a legal, officially sanctioned, formal
    organization of police whose job is mandated by the population and
    their duly recognized leaders. It`s just as likely to be a gang of
    toughs shaking down people for "protection" money. The same could be
    said for any of the holdings (except, probably, sources) in their own
    way. Guilds are, in fact, likely the holding that is most open to
    interpretation. We have no requirement for them to participate in
    economic activities in any particular way. They could represent
    trafficking in anything from horses to edible pinecones. Rather than
    producers of goods, a guild holding might represent the mathematical
    machinations of financiers, or similar absentee owners of
    capital. In that light, Guilds need not represent actual economic
    interests themselves, but the control gained over such economic
    interests that might be seen in a modern light as organized crime
    operating "unions" or simply influencing events by threatening
    violence. As such, I think the presentation of criminal activities
    like Thieves` Guilds should be incorporated right into the existing
    holding structure.

    That said, there should be a tweak in order to fully accommodate
    certain dynamics of crime and underworld dealings. For instance,
    they aren`t underworld if they are part of the domain structure that
    everyone knows about. Certain holding levels should be
    clandestine. Their presence and influence might be "common
    knowledge" but they aren`t noted in the usual way in record sheets,
    and they should have a few special gaming effects. For instance, a
    clandestine guild should require a higher than normal DC to create
    and rule. It might also have a higher RP and/or GB
    cost. Conversely, it cannot simply be contested or attacked directly
    by domain actions or war. It is automatically "fortified" if you
    will. Picture every police vs. mafia movie you`ve ever for an
    example of how this might play out. Where the police might simply
    raid a business they have to engage in a whole spy operation
    (espionage action) in order to first locate a clandestine operation
    before they can attack it.

    Similarly, other holdings might be clandestine. A secret cult of
    Azrai worshippers, for example, would be apt. A smuggling route is
    just a trade route with the clandestine tag added to it, and in order
    for it to be cut it must first be discovered. Etc.

    Gary

  10. #10
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    >
    >
    > That said, there should be a tweak in order to fully accommodate
    > certain dynamics of crime and underworld dealings. For instance,
    > they aren`t underworld if they are part of the domain structure that
    > everyone knows about. Certain holding levels should be
    > clandestine. Their presence and influence might be "common
    > knowledge" but they aren`t noted in the usual way in record sheets,
    > and they should have a few special gaming effects. For instance, a
    > clandestine guild should require a higher than normal DC to create
    > and rule. It might also have a higher RP and/or GB
    > cost. Conversely, it cannot simply be contested or attacked directly
    > by domain actions or war. It is automatically "fortified" if you
    > will. Picture every police vs. mafia movie you`ve ever for an
    > example of how this might play out. Where the police might simply
    > raid a business they have to engage in a whole spy operation
    > (espionage action) in order to first locate a clandestine operation
    > before they can attack it.
    >
    > Similarly, other holdings might be clandestine. A secret cult of
    > Azrai worshippers, for example, would be apt. A smuggling route is
    > just a trade route with the clandestine tag added to it, and in order
    > for it to be cut it must first be discovered. Etc.
    >
    > Gary



    One of the things I`ve been working on for my alternate domain system is
    this idea of "authority ratings" for the various domains. In order to
    interact with another player`s domain, you must either have an authority
    level higher than that player or you must be able to temporarily raise your
    authority level to match.

    In Birthright, I think you could largely abstract this by assigning it a
    cost in Regency Points.

    It might be interesting to have a sort of "Underworld" status assigned to a
    particular domain, say "Underworld 5" for example, indicating that to affect
    any of your holdings with a domain action (except maybe intrigue actions?),
    a player must spend 5 additional regency points. Of course, maintaining or
    raising the Underworld status might be expensive. Just an idea.

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