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Treasure... Who gets what?


Caras

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Let´s say your group of adventurers are patrolling their own clan lands. They find out that there are bandits, who have just killed a caravan of Etyries merchant. Adventurers fight the bandits and win. They take multiple prisoners. One of the prisoners says, that there is big ramsom of him to be collected, if they do not give them to Lunar officials fo judgement... And to get crucified. What should the adventurers do in this situation? Do they take all the "treasure" to tribal king to be desided? Do the adventurers get to take whatever they want from bandits and their victims? What is the rigth orlanthi-way? And what if they don´t do that? Is there some customary amount , that they should get from this "treasure"?

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If you wonder what the customary practice is for a such a scenario (ransom from a bandit who had just looted a lunar caravan?), then there is no answer for custom deals with generalities not unusual circumstances.

There is no right way to split up treasure (Borderlands lists three).  Nor is the Tribal King (or clan chieftain) entitled to a share.  What is done is to gift a portion of the treasure to the chief or king to make him feel important (and more importantly to avoid him putting the heroes at the top of his shit list).

As for the question about what to do with hot loot, again there's no answer.  (I seriously doubt that a bandit's ransom doesn't consist of large portions of obviously-stolen-from-a-lunar-caravan loot but most heroes would be either to stupid or too greedy to care.  There is no customary way of laundering hot loot so that it becomes legitimate (and even if there were one in Orlanthi law, would the Lunar authorities care?).  What the PCs shoudl to is a) give the loot to somebody else in return for goods of equal value b) find some way of ensuring that the fence doesn't fink on the heroes if he gets caught and questioned by the Lunars or c) hope the fence doesn't put two and two together and start blackmailing the heroes with what he knows.  

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Outside of player character involvement, plunder taken on a mission goes to the sponsor of the mission to decide. The "sponsor" of a clan patrol is the clan chief. Ransom gathered from a captive may traditionally be given to the captor(s), as will the duty to house and feed the captive, but a chief at odds with the members of the patrol might take that out of the captors' hands (including the housing and feeding) and deduct a generous amount from the ransom for this service - possibly enough to cut into any re-distribution of other plunder. There is no point in being that generous to people you want to get back at for causing trouble.

If the plunder is taken not as a course of a mission (e.g. as an improvised reaction force to a raid or cattle raid), the party (and if it has one, the party leader) gets to decide on how to distribute the plunder. Some of that may need to be given to the clan or - in case of trouble with the chief - bypassing the chief and clan ring and going directly to the stead or bloodline, still to the benefit of the clan as a whole, but outside the direct grasp of the chief and ring. Selecting some trash as the chief's voluntary portion is another way to make a political statement if the players mean to escalate the disagreement. On the other hand, out-gifting the chief will make that statement, too, in a way less controversial to the ring members if those need to be won over.

When a piece of plunder is handed over to the sponsor and given back, it might come back as personal property of the recipient, or the recipient might carry it in the name of the clan. The difference is that an item carried in the name of the clan (or left in the stead of the recipient) is expected to be given back to the clan, while personal property may be sold off or otherwise lost with nobody offended.

Depending on the level of Gloranthan simulation in your game, you might wish to apply such distinctions for powerful items you wish to keep under GM control. For everyday items it is easier to just assume them as personal property, unless you need a plot hook sunk into the characters' property.

 

Fun fact about people taken for ransom: These folk become guests of the captor's clan (and/or chief, and/or tribal king) with limited liberty to move around, but otherwise expecting a certain level of guest treatment, at least while negotiations are conducted in good faith. As such, the hostage will have access to the internal politics of the clan unless specifically excluded from places, is expected to worship at the clan shrine and/or the hearth of his host, and to assist the clan according to his guest status and equipment. (Hostages without their own weapons aren't expected to defend the clan, but hostages with some armament, possibly on loan by the hosting clan, are.)

It might gall other clansfolk immensely to have a personal enemy of theirs being treated like a guest. Again, an opportunity where generosity towards the hostage may translate into political or diplomatic capital, and lack thereof as well (just with different folk).

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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In our RQ2 campaign, we did this:

  1. Gems/Jewellery were converted to money
  2. Money was shared out equally among the Adventurers
  3. Special Items were allocated on a random-pick basis, everyone rolled 1D100 and treasure picks went from Lowest to Highest, then back down again, until all Special Items were taken. So, if Tom, Dick and Harry split treasure, they roll D100, with Tom getting 80, Dick 23 and Harry 45, so the pick would go Dick, Tom, Harry, Harry, Tom, Dick, Dick, Tom Harry and so on.

Ransoms count as money, so would be shared out. Cattle and so on didn't play a big part in our game, but we shared horses out, if they were any good, or sold them, generally keeping cavalry horses and riding horses, but selling warhorses as they were normally loyal to their owners.

In our campaign, the PCs were travelling Adventurers, although they had several bases, so did not owe loyalty to a Clan. I suppose that 10% of the money is a useful tithe to pay as a gift to the Clan Chief.

Regarding loot taken from bandits who took them from someone else, we generally played "Finders Keepers". If the loot is distinctive, magical or special in some way, we might have returned it, depending on who the original owners were. In the case of the Etyries Caravan, trade goods could be sold to a local fence, or Issaries merchant, but distinctive goods could be returned to the Etyries merchant as a gesture of goodwill, I suppose. Alternatively, they could return the goods and then burn them in front of the Etyries merchant, to prove a point.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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36 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Serious question: in real life we have various kinds of dice.

Would casting lots or even using dice in-universe be a potential method for loot allocation?

Blindly drawing straws or differently colored balls is a well established ancient means of deciding on e.g. decimation or winning an office.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Serious question: in real life we have various kinds of dice.

Would casting lots or even using dice in-universe be a potential method for loot allocation?

Absolutely, yes.

you could randomise it with dice, or the GM could set up N tokens, 1 to N, allocating a different number to each. the Players would choose a token and that gives the order. You could do it by having different colours on one side of coins, by having different lengths of matches/strings and so on.

For gamers, using dice is easier, but the other ways work just as well.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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This is a matter for the players, if they have a designated leader, as the division of spoils is all part of the Bronze Age setting (the Iliad gives several examples of where the allocation of treasure went awry, so if it causes a player upset, then it is entirely in character. If they don't have a leader, then any random method (in game placing items in a bag and each taking a turn in taking an item out) works - but there may be items that are significantly more useful to one character than the others, so some horse trading is likely. If things cause an altercation, then any game of chance, or if necessary a duel (hopefully something like wrestling or for Humakti a fight to first blood) might suffice.

As others have noted, Borderlands described the traditional Orlanthi and Solar methods, to which might be added a Lunar method.

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On 10/22/2019 at 4:46 PM, soltakss said:

you could randomise it with dice, or the GM could set up N tokens, 1 to N, allocating a different number to each. the Players would choose a token and that gives the order.

Ideally the GM should stay out of it. The group might need help if they are inexperienced, with the GM suggesting his things are typically done in the culture. Or if one player is in danger if being bullied or hoodwinked by another, intervening can be necessary to avoid what should be in-world drama becoming something that spoils real friendships.

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On 10/28/2019 at 12:39 PM, PhilHibbs said:

Ideally the GM should stay out of it. The group might need help if they are inexperienced, with the GM suggesting his things are typically done in the culture. Or if one player is in danger if being bullied or hoodwinked by another, intervening can be necessary to avoid what should be in-world drama becoming something that spoils real friendships.

That's why we used the D100 rolling, nice and easy, all Player driven.

In my current group, the PCs divvy up the items based on which suits the individual PCs best. That seems to work well, as they are very different PCs with little overlap.

During my last Gloranthan Campaign, Mello Yello was a permanent NPC, before a new Player took him over, as he was on the scenario that turned them into River Voices. It was a standing joke that the other PCs treated him shabbily, not quite bullying, but not treating his as a full member of the party. After he complained about it several times, they gave him a magic item - Tada's Spear, that they had found when investigating a tomb. he was really pleased with it for a whole day, before an NPC turned up and told them that he was on a HeroQuest to find Tada's Spear and offered them something else in exchange for it. "Sure", they said, "no problem", and proceeded to take Tada's Spear from Mello and give it to the NPC in exchange for some knowledge. 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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While the Orlanthi and Humakti argue over the gold and valuables, Storm Bull sniffs at the Etyries cargo and smashes anything dubious. Suddenly the trickster snatches the most valuable or interesting item and runs off, dodging rocks, thrown axes and other assorted missiles, and hides in the woods shouting, screaming, crying and throwing tantrums, trying to convince the rest of the party to let him or her keep the bauble, until the Orlanthi brokers a deal which lets the trickster return.

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What I see is a bunch of players arguing and whining about why can't they keep the treasure they "found". Because that's how games work, right? Kill the monster, take the treasure... why should anybody else get a cut? 

Before you can do any of this, the players have to believe the the clan's goodwill is worth more than the treasure.

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On 11/9/2019 at 3:51 AM, EricW said:

While the Orlanthi and Humakti argue over the gold and valuables, Storm Bull sniffs at the Etyries cargo and smashes anything dubious. Suddenly the trickster snatches the most valuable or interesting item and runs off, dodging rocks, thrown axes and other assorted missiles, and hides in the woods shouting, screaming, crying and throwing tantrums, trying to convince the rest of the party to let him or her keep the bauble, until the Orlanthi brokers a deal which lets the trickster return.

Gods damn, you have played in my games of d&d, i see.

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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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On 11/9/2019 at 3:39 PM, pachristian said:

Before you can do any of this, the players have to believe the the clan's goodwill is worth more than the treasure.

Sweet, and well said!

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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On 10/23/2019 at 12:03 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Serious question: in real life we have various kinds of dice.  Would casting lots or even using dice in-universe be a potential method for loot allocation?

Remember the episode in the Bible where the legionaries allegedly play dice for Jesus' clothes ? Why don't more players indulge their gambling urge in this time honored fashion?  Gambling was a pastime that pretty much every warrior type indulged in according  to antiquity, almost as an expression of their bravery and willingness to lose everything based on the whims of fortune.  Or they cheated, and sometimes got caught, and there was a PvP fight.

On 11/10/2019 at 9:39 AM, pachristian said:

Before you can do any of this, the players have to believe the the clan's goodwill is worth more than the treasure.

A nice sentiment, but how do you think people get to be heroes if not by keeping the loot occasionally?  Frankly a clan leader or tribal king is likely to take the lion's share of the loot and leave the characters with a thank-you and the scraps, and they will know this.  The decision to gift their monarch with their takings is a measured one, as every gift given is a two-edged sword for gift giving is very political in a situation where a ruler's generosity is a measure of their fitness to rule.  Too large a gift to a ruler may be perceived not as a gift but as a challenge to their authority if they cannot somehow reciprocate. 

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