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Shiningbrow

Time and tithes

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Quick question to start a heated argument...

Are tithes supposed to be incurred on all items given to PCs? Or just the work stuff done? So, if a clan chief gives a nice armband as thanks, is the supposed to be included in the tithe (by some other means)?

Also, if the clan leader (or similar) sends you out on some sort of mission (e.g., Smoking Ruins), is that counted as time spent serving the cult (given how closely it ties in with daily community life)?

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55 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Are tithes supposed to be incurred on all items given to PCs? Or just the work stuff done? So, if a clan chief gives a nice armband as thanks, is the supposed to be included in the tithe (by some other means)?

Given a gift that someone has given you to the temple can be considered a snub.  The best way to deal with it would be to pay a tithe on its value rather than the object itself.  

 

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59 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Also, if the clan leader (or similar) sends you out on some sort of mission (e.g., Smoking Ruins), is that counted as time spent serving the cult (given how closely it ties in with daily community life)?

Cult business should be reserved for serving the Gods rather than the Clan.  If the Priest asked you to deal with someone who had profaned the temple and you didn't get paid for it then it would be cult business.  

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I would say the giver (the gm) would manage it. My choices would be :

  • a foreigner gives the pc something, the tithe should be payed by the pc, in the next balance sheet holy day. After all, the foreigner doesn't know who / what the pc is dedicated to.
  • the pc's chief / prince / clan ring / priest... gives the pc something, he/she may have already payed the tithe
  • the craftman give the pc something, probably the tithe should be payed by the pc

same for the time: is the mission for the temple (or after a proven call from the god itself) or not ?

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9 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Are tithes supposed to be incurred on all items given to PCs? Or just the work stuff done? So, if a clan chief gives a nice armband as thanks, is the supposed to be included in the tithe (by some other means)?

Both the clan chief and the temple are patrons of the PCs, so what each of them gives to the PCs wouldn't count, IMHO, as something that is "taxed" by the other (unless you're used to US tax laws, that is :) )

If it is something that was given to them by another clan's chief, however, as part of some diplomatic mission, then it might count... if the mission was for the clan, that armband might come back to the clan's elders as "this is all the loot we got from them". You probably get your share of it, and depending on the context around that particular gift, it might be good etiquette for you to pick that as opposed to the shiny sword. If however this was acquired while on business for the temple, then it's a similar situation but it's the loot you bring back to the priests.

(you could of course keep it to yourself, or sell it on the way back, or whatever... that will probably create some interesting stories down the line)

Quote

Also, if the clan leader (or similar) sends you out on some sort of mission (e.g., Smoking Ruins), is that counted as time spent serving the cult (given how closely it ties in with daily community life)?

I would say "no", but you could check with your temple before going, so that if they have any interest in this expedition, you might kill 2 birds with 1 stone. That might add some secondary mission goals or whatever. It's also possibly the clan leader is actually your cult's priest anyway. Or that they are sending you on that mission with the blessing of the clan ring which includes your temple's priest. So in practice, there's a good chance this mission could qualify also as time spent serving the temple.

Edited by lordabdul
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The clan chief is also their clan's chief priests of Orlanth, and the King is the tribe's high priest of Orlanth, so if they give Orlanth's worshippers gifts, it would be a bit silly if the worshippers had to give some of the gifts back the same instant because of tax reasons. Giving reciprocal gifts to gift givers is an important part of the local customs, but it's imo different from taxes.

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15 hours ago, Brootse said:

The clan chief is also their clan's chief priests of Orlanth, and the King is the tribe's high priest of Orlanth, so if they give Orlanth's worshippers gifts, it would be a bit silly if the worshippers had to give some of the gifts back the same instant because of tax reasons. Giving reciprocal gifts to gift givers is an important part of the local customs, but it's imo different from taxes.

This. Temporal and Spiritual power are likely not seperated depending on your cult. 

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On 6/7/2020 at 2:29 PM, Brootse said:

Giving reciprocal gifts to gift givers is an important part of the local customs, but it's imo different from taxes.

Yes, but it's all made complicated by the fact the PCs can be anybody from anywhere. In terms of NPC population in Sartar, sure, statistically speaking most men are initiates of Orlanth and most women are initiates of Ernalda, and their spiritual leaders are most likely also the political leaders. That makes all the tithing and taxation and otherwise disposal of loot a lot simpler. But a typical group of PCs has people from a variety of cults and homelands (and not necessarily all adopted into the same base clan), with various allegiances and cults that might not even have a local priest...

IMHO that's an opportunity for drama and political tension, especially if the GM likes to complement the impersonal loot (6d10L, two POW crystals, etc.) with some more specific stuff (a sword with markings of your rival clan, a crystal with a metallic case whose design reminds you of the necklace around your chieftain's wife's neck, etc.). Suddenly, who takes what and who gives what to whom get a lot more fun!

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On 6/7/2020 at 10:29 PM, Brootse said:

The clan chief is also their clan's chief priests of Orlanth, and the King is the tribe's high priest of Orlanth, so if they give Orlanth's worshippers gifts, it would be a bit silly if the worshippers had to give some of the gifts back the same instant because of tax reasons. Giving reciprocal gifts to gift givers is an important part of the local customs, but it's imo different from taxes.

This. Tithes make sense if applied to 'income' - stipends, harvests, contractual agreements (whether written or unwritten), debt interest, inheritances, lambs born in spring etc. From all these things the cult member may be able to declare a 'retained value' from which to pass on some of the gains. It doesn't make sense (outside a modern system finely tuned to close tax loopholes) to confuse tithing with things like gift-giving, which typically creates a reciprocal obligation of friendship, return gifts etc (is the cult also sharing in that obligation?). The value of any gift to a large extent resides in the mutual obligations that go with it; it may reside in the story or history attached to the item being gifted; and in the fame of people who have been connected to it in the past.  

So if you are given an armband by a clan leader in thanks, it may have been given for its weight in silver instead of minted coins, because he doesn't have any cash, or maybe it's just more  respectable than using actual money. It's in effect hacksilver, so you may even break some of it off and give it to the temple. Obviously you can't then wear it.

If he has given it as a gift as part of ongoing tokens of respect and mutual obligation and expects to see it on your arm, its value can't easily be measured in cash terms. It's an armband, not 400g of metal. There's no sensible way of tithing. You can imagine that if a tithe were to be imposed by a money grabbing cult or a mean GM, then the recipient of the gift may have to part with it to raise money to pay the tithe. That could bring shame, distress - and bloodshed.

Edited by General Panic
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The x percent can probably be regarded as a simplification for gameplay - in practice, I don't think a farm (for instance) is supposed to tally its total production and send off 20%, rounded to the nearest value in Lunars. It's far more likely that your stead is obligated to provide the temple with n bushels of rye and two swine, or something along those lines.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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2 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

The x percent can probably be regarded as a simplification for gameplay - in practice, I don't think a farm (for instance) is supposed to tally its total production and send off 20%, rounded to the nearest value in Lunars. It's far more likelty that your stead is obligated to provide the temple with x bushels of rye and two yearling swine, or something along those lines.

and the same for any "gift" or "plunder" or "wage subsitute" you're not expected to give 10% of your new armbrand but 10% of its value (if tith is applied, depending the situation) at the end of period. That could be money, cow, ring,  etc.. or why not time (more than the 10% required)

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4 hours ago, General Panic said:

So if you are given an armband by a clan leader in thanks, it may have been given for its weight in silver instead of minted coins, because he doesn't have any cash, or maybe it's just more  respectable than using actual money. It's in effect hacksilver, so you may even break some of it off and give it to the temple. Obviously you can't then wear it.

Cash jewelry might actually be designed with pieces to break off as tithe or partial payment.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Cash jewelry might actually be designed with pieces to break off as tithe or partial payment.

I'm now imagining Orlanthi arm rings that are essentially charm bracelets.

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11 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

It's far more likely that your stead is obligated to provide the temple with n bushels of rye and two swine, or something along those lines.

But that would have been determined by looking at the size of your stead and roughly estimating what one tenth represents no? Like, the neighbouring stead that's twice larger needs to give n*2 bushels of rye and four swine? And that's renegotiated every year or two? Or do you picture this working differently?

11 hours ago, General Panic said:

It doesn't make sense (outside a modern system finely tuned to close tax loopholes) to confuse tithing with things like gift-giving, which typically creates a reciprocal obligation of friendship, return gifts etc (is the cult also sharing in that obligation?). The value of any gift to a large extent resides in the mutual obligations that go with it; it may reside in the story or history attached to the item being gifted; and in the fame of people who have been connected to it in the past.  

Yes exactly (hence my suggestion of making loot and gifts into more unique objects with an attached history).

But to be clear, in my example of the clan leader giving an armband to the PCs, in my mind, this was in a situation where the PCs are acting as representatives of their own clan, and the whole affair is a negotiation between the 2 clans. So while the clan leader might give specific items to specific PCs (in which case I assume they just keep it, otherwise they might offend the leader later), I wasn't quite clear in that the armband was supposed to be part of a big pile of valuables, as payment to the PCs' clan. As in: "here's one chest full of silver and gold, a bundle of fine blades, and half a dozen cows... tell your elders we accept blah blah blah".... so when the PCs bring that back, would their clan elders let them take a little bit of it? Or would they give the PCs their own gifts to thank them for a successful diplomatic mission? Or would they just not get anything (except for whatever the other clan leader gave them specifically) ?  And in the first 2 cases, would they have to give part of that to their temples? (assuming their temples' priests are not their clan elders)

Edited by lordabdul

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12 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

But to be clear, in my example of the clan leader giving an armband to the PCs, in my mind, this was in a situation where the PCs are acting as representatives of their own clan, and the whole affair is a negotiation between the 2 clans. So while the clan leader might give specific items to specific PCs (in which case I assume they just keep it, otherwise they might offend the leader later), I wasn't quite clear in that the armband was supposed to be part of a big pile of valuables, as payment to the PCs' clan. As in: "here's one chest full of silver and gold, a bundle of fine blades, and half a dozen cows... tell your elders we accept blah blah blah".... so when the PCs bring that back, would their clan elders let them take a little bit of it? Or would they give the PCs their own gifts to thank them for a successful diplomatic mission? Or would they just not get anything (except for whatever the other clan leader gave them specifically) ?  And in the first 2 cases, would they have to give part of that to their temples? (assuming their temples' priests are not their clan elders)

In that scenario, what seems most likely to me is that, unless the chief they're negotiating with gives them something personally, everything goes back to the clan they're negotiating for, and then that clan's chief is at liberty to gift them as reward for their services. The actual value of the gift will be commensurate for how good a job he thinks they did once they tell him how it went down; if he thinks they made a right hash of it or otherwise didn't produce the results he was expecting they might get nothing but a scolding or some largely symbolic token (like a single coin, for example), but if he thinks they did a good job he'll give them some nice gifts. Most likely the gifts would come from the chieftain himself rather than being taken from the diplomatic gifts, since it looks more generous for the chieftain to give his own gifts rather than immediately turn around and hand over something he's only just acquired. And as that's a gift, it probably isn't subject to tithing, even if the chieftain isn't also your cult's high priest.

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3 hours ago, lordabdul said:

But that would have been determined by looking at the size of your stead and roughly estimating what one tenth represents no? Like, the neighbouring stead that's twice larger needs to give n*2 bushels of rye and four swine? And that's renegotiated every year or two? Or do you picture this working differently?

It's likely proportional, but it probably shouldn't (if we want to dig down into that kind of granularity) be affected by whether you had an unusually good year, for instance.

And I'm not at all sure it's renegotiated yearly - historically, these kinds of things tended to be very stable. (For instance, some classes were impoverished because they had fixed monetary values for rents, and then they were subjected to inflation and couldn't increase the payments, and this kind of thing took decades to occur.) 

Edited by Akhôrahil

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On 6/10/2020 at 3:42 AM, Akhôrahil said:

The x percent can probably be regarded as a simplification for gameplay - in practice, I don't think a farm (for instance) is supposed to tally its total production and send off 20%, rounded to the nearest value in Lunars. It's far more likely that your stead is obligated to provide the temple with n bushels of rye and two swine, or something along those lines.

Dead on in my humble opinion.  I recall seeing a picture of a medieval measuring stone:  One big chamber for your part of the harvest, one small chamber for the church's tithe.  Evidently at harvest time in the locality in question all the farmer's grain was measured into the stone in this way and then scooped out.  Yes I know Glorantha is modeled on Bronze Age, not medieval -  but the general idea is probably not unique to one time or place.

As for swine - your sow breeds ten piglets during the year, you owe one at least if it survives to edible size.  Animals are hard to conceal.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Dead on in my humble opinion.  I recall seeing a picture of a medieval measuring stone:  One big chamber for your part of the harvest, one small chamber for the church's tithe.  Evidently at harvest time in the locality in question all the farmer's grain was measured into the stone in this way and then scooped out.  Yes I know Glorantha is modeled on Bronze Age, not medieval -  but the general idea is probably not unique to one time or place.

As for swine - your sow breeds ten piglets during the year, you owe one at least if it survives to edible size.  Animals are hard to conceal.

Actually, this was a sore problem that created a lot of sympathy for anti-Catholic movements like the Cathars because of tithing. The shepherders of the Pyrenees claimed that tithes should only be calculated from offspring that exceed the replacement of mother beasts. One is a tax on the capital, the other a tax on the production. Source: Montaillou.

For grain farming similar considerations apply. If your agriculture is giving you a return of say 160% of the amount of seed grain you sowed, taxing the entire 160% of last year's seed amount is a tax on capital, while taxing only the 60% that aren't going to be set aside for next year's sowing is an income tax.

If you wonder whether anybody would do agriculture under such conditions - the answer is yes. This proportion of yield to seedstock is rather normal for medieval farming in less clement conditions. There was some subarctic farming where a yield of 90% of the seedstocks was preferable to just putting the grain into storage as spoilage and loss to vermin would have taken a greater toll then sowing the grain.

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Actually it contributes to social stability if the amount you owe depends on the harvest, rather than being a set quantity.  Yes you owe more in good years.  But you owe less in bad years.  So in time of famine what you owe the temple is not greater than the total harvest.  Maybe everybody starves or eats wild roots, but you don't have the priests taking what grain there is while the peasants starve.  And in good years you attribute your big harvest to the blessing of the god(s), so you don't get too upset.

Set amounts are revolution material.

 

 

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For simplicity, I'd rule that any gifts gained from the PC's own clan/cult are free of cult-tax, but gifts from the outside do require the tax to be paid. 

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On 6/11/2020 at 10:59 PM, Joerg said:

There was some subarctic farming where a yield of 90% of the seedstocks was preferable to just putting the grain into storage as spoilage and loss to vermin would have taken a greater toll then sowing the grain.

Wait, really? Can you expound on this? I can see the argument for a single year, but surely this isn’t sustainable?

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My source is a local history on Lødingen and Tysfjord Kommune, covering the entire span from the Neolithicum to the 17th century for this rather uninhabited area. About 400 pages in Norwegian, well researched as far as I can make out.

It wouldn't be sustainable without the (extremely rich) cod, haddock and herring fishery up there. But apparently even these bad returns from sowing beat storing the grain as is, due to losses to vermin, mould etc.

There were years when they didn't bother sowing the grain, though. Mainly rye.

Now the area I am talking about is on the edge of the subarctic, with climatic conditions an Ygg's Islander would be familiar with.

But the source references mediaeval sources indicating that getting thrice the amount of the sowed grain was considered a good harvest.

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30 minutes ago, Joerg said:

But the source references mediaeval sources indicating that getting thrice the amount of the sowed grain was considered a good harvest.

Oh yeah, factor 2-3 was completely normal. 0.9 seems like you should just get out of the grain business, though - it means a steady loss.

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Another related question: On which part of the character's income does the tithing apply? Professional income (I think yes, but see later for priests and rune lords)? Land income (not sure because 10% is already taken by Orlanth cult and 10% by Ernalda cult)? Income paid by a cult to it's Priests and Rune lords (seems absurd, because the cult is supposed to pay for the standard of living of it's priests)? Adventuring (for lack of a better word) income (I say yes)? Gifts (I don't know, but see all the posts above)? Ransom (I would say that the whole ransom is going to the clan/guild/family)?

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