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A clan and tribe's treasury


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Hello, quick practical question for a game I'm running. In Glorantha ransoms can be very costly, and a fight between two rivan clans can end up in a hefty weregild. So, in regards to this, how many lunars do you think an average sartarite clan could have in his treasury ready to pay for this kind of thing? And a tribe? Let's say a clan end with a weregild of 2000 lunars, could they really pay the fine? Do you think they would? Can the tribe contribute to the "fund" if they want to? 

Thanks. 

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I guess you not only need to figure out what valuable treasure/manufactured items and coins the clan has, but also how many cows/pigs/sheep/grain (King of Dragon Pass can help with that). And then you would need to somehow figure out what is the minimum they can go by with. In the end, it will be easier if you adjust what can be paid or not according to the needs of your story.

Edited by Runeblogger
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3 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

how many lunars do you think an average sartarite clan could have in his treasury ready to pay for this kind of thing? And a tribe? Let's say a clan end with a weregild of 2000 lunars, could they really pay the fine? Do you think they would? Can the tribe contribute to the "fund" if they want to?

Payment to be rendered in movable goods of course!  Pack up those cows and sheep, or perhaps a fine bull.  Of course, there's the question of whose cows are offered up....

Alternately, the clan or tribe could deliver some quantity of stored grain, but that's less transportable, so less likely overall.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Payment to be rendered in movable goods of course!  Pack up those cows and sheep, or perhaps a fine bull.  Of course, there's the question of whose cows are offered up....

Even if this "treasury" is less a room full of coins and jewels and spare magic items, and more a mix of a herds of cattle or sheep, a bunch of temple regalia and sacred artifacts, and other such things, there might still be a conscious decision on the chieftain and/or king's part to keep a certain amount of it in a "liquidity" state. For instance, they might make sure they can always sacrifice or give away, say, 10% of their herds at any given time for unforeseen circumstances, allocating heads of cattle accordingly. I imagine it all just depends on the past couple chieftains and kings, and their approach to resource management. Some clans and tribes may have a lot of buffer, while others are mismanaged or in a bad streak, and could be in trouble with the next feud or dispute.

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I cannot answer what a clan is able to pay right now.

But even if 2000 coins is too much to be paid immediatly, the clan can swear and accept some oath, debt, favor etc for a long time: you can promise to give 10% of all your grain for 5 years, give a part of your magic (sacrifice pow for example) you can swear to not trade with clan C any more, or to send 10 warriors every season to patrol this border, etc...

 

However what can be paid, then what must be negotiate, is important to know for some campaigns yes

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11 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Hello, quick practical question for a game I'm running. In Glorantha ransoms can be very costly, and a fight between two rivan clans can end up in a hefty weregild. So, in regards to this, how many lunars do you think an average sartarite clan could have in his treasury ready to pay for this kind of thing? And a tribe? Let's say a clan end with a weregild of 2000 lunars, could they really pay the fine? Do you think they would? Can the tribe contribute to the "fund" if they want to? 

Although the Clan pays weregild, I doubt if the tribe becomes liable, unless there was a concerted action organised by tribal leaders.

In the case of a feud, the feuding clans would make their claims and counterclaims, with the clan chieftains working out a deal. So, if the Bluebell and Bluebird clans feuded and the Bluebell clan members killed Olgar, Olaf and Olbun, with a total weregild of 1,500L, but the Bluebird clan killed Mallan, Nabar and Goshan, with a total weregild of 1,200L, then the clans would come to an arrangement and the Bluebird Clan would pay the Bluebell clan the balance of 300L.

Of course, some clan members might press for the whole weregild being paid and then the whole weregild being returned.

It might be possible for banked ransoms to be used to pay weregild. So, if Mabbar of the Bluebird Clan had a ransom of 500L put away, the Bluebird Clan might use that ransom to pay the balance of the weregild, as Mabbar killed one of the Bluebell clan members.

Also, ransom does not have to be paid using money. Cattle is a good method of payment as are weapons, armour, runemetals and jewellery. 

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11 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Hello, quick practical question for a game I'm running. In Glorantha ransoms can be very costly, and a fight between two rivan clans can end up in a hefty weregild. So, in regards to this, how many lunars do you think an average sartarite clan could have in his treasury ready to pay for this kind of thing? And a tribe? Let's say a clan end with a weregild of 2000 lunars, could they really pay the fine? Do you think they would? Can the tribe contribute to the "fund" if they want to? 

Thanks. 

Clans don't pay ransom and tribes only ransom shaman (if they have them).

Depending on who the individual is depends on who pays the ransom:

  • An individual pays their own ransom, rather than be in the debt to the clan or temple. they often deposit a ransom at their temple. If they don't have the resources, then cult or family, will after making a love or loyalty roll. If it succeeds then they have a life debt to either family or cult (RQG page 407).
  • If they are a priest or rune lord, it's paid for by their cult/temple. Temples have an income, likely have enough to cover a ransom. (RQG page 276, 280)
  • A Shaman's ransom paid for by their tribe or their cult. (RQG 359).

For example, the thane of Apple Lane is a tribal thane and a member of the Orlanth cult. They would deposit their ransom at the local Orlanth temple, in the form of treasure, livestock or goods in addition to their tithe. If they couldn't do that after a love (family) success, their family would pay (if local) or loyalty (Swan temple) success, their local Orlanth temple would pay. I'd also allow if they had a successful loyalty (Queen Kallyr) for the tribal Rex temple to pay as she appointed the thane.

Edited by David Scott
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It would be quite impractical and economically unviable if every (notable) clan member had put their full ransom value in hock at the local temple. Something like say a fifth or a tenth of one's ransom deposited with the temple, done by quite a few people, would give said temple enough liquid means to ransom a portion of the people who have deposited wealth, and then regain it from family, leaders of said characters, and ultimately the characters themselves.

This kind of mutual assurance, possibly with some down payment, was the origin of plenty an insurance guild where I live, e.g. by simple fishermen. Other shared social responsibilities could be piled into that.

Underwriting a trade expedition is similar, and might even be an activity done by the temple which takes care of those deposits.

I would hate to have underwritten Biturian Varosh's journey through Prax, but underwriting Joh Miths expedition to Balazar would have generated quite a bit profit over the years.

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The tax value of a hide is 25W, which is 500L. A clan has 200 hides by definition, so it has a tax value of 100,000L embedded in that. Much of this is not liquid wealth and putting it up as collateral for a loan would be a complex process, but this is also neglecting sources of wealth not counted as part of the hide, like shops and mines and quarries and so on. Nor does it count the value of clan members as day laborers. It seems fair to say that a clan's financial resources could be mobilized to pay a lot of wergild or ransoms, but that doing so would put the clan in hock for a long time, since those 200 hides are producing a few percentage points per year of the total value in tax income for the temples to work with on servicing the debt.

This kind of debt relationship seems like a good way to explain how Esrolia got to be the way it is, too. Which in turn suggests Hendriki/Volsaxi are notorious for defaulting and declaring bankruptcy, at least without a fabulously rich trade to cream tariffs from.

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If your tribe/clan/village/temple can't afford a ransom, then capture someone from the other side who has a similar ransom. Problem solved!

I can see no down sides to this solution.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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14 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

But even if 2000 coins is too much to be paid immediatly, the clan can swear and accept some oath, debt, favor etc for a long time: you can promise to give 10% of all your grain for 5 years, give a part of your magic (sacrifice pow for example) you can swear to not trade with clan C any more, or to send 10 warriors every season to patrol this border, etc...

For serious enough inter-clan or inter-tribe feuds and conflicts, this is actually what would be negotiated, I think. There are multiple clans and tribes around Dragon Pass who get a regular tribute from somebody, and owe a tribute themselves to somebody else. A few years or couple generations later, someone will stand up and contest the tribute, and maybe the community gets out of it. Other times, someone tries to justify bringing back an old tribute from their grandparents' time.

At least that's the impression I get from reading Dragon Pass history and HQG-era stuff... I'm not sure how much of this kind of stuff will remain in RQG.

 

12 hours ago, David Scott said:

Clans don't pay ransom and tribes only ransom shaman (if they have them).

Depending on who the individual is depends on who pays the ransom:

[...]

My problem with Ransom as explained in the RQG rulebook is that I get confused between two different things:

  • p407 "Ransom" explains what you said, which is that people would have funds set aside somewhere to pay their ransom if they ever got captured. That's fine, and that's what players would want to know for their own character.
  • p64 "What is Ransom?" however explains a different facet of ransoms. It talks about dealing with blood feuds and repayments of wrong-doings.

I think that's the second option we're mostly talking about here? If clan A kills a thane or priest of clan B during a sanctioned raid, this will probably lead to some tension that could be resolved by paying a ransom. Who pays it then? I assume that, depending on the case, it could be the killer (or otherwise culprit) themselves, or their family, or whoever they can get in debt with personally... but maybe in other cases the clan or tribe would cover it, no?

 

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7 hours ago, lordabdul said:

At least that's the impression I get from reading Dragon Pass history and HQG-era stuff... I'm not sure how much of this kind of stuff will remain in RQG.

well I m not law keeper but I would be very disappointed if ot changes.

 

Now I have a doubt with wergild (everithing is linked)..

If you are in a true battle and A kill B honorably, is their any wergild expected ?

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9 hours ago, lordabdul said:
  • p64 "What is Ransom?" however explains a different facet of ransoms. It talks about dealing with blood feuds and repayments of wrong-doings.

I think that's the second option we're mostly talking about here? If clan A kills a thane or priest of clan B during a sanctioned raid, this will probably lead to some tension that could be resolved by paying a ransom. Who pays it then? I assume that, depending on the case, it could be the killer (or otherwise culprit) themselves, or their family, or whoever they can get in debt with personally... but maybe in other cases the clan or tribe would cover it, no?

This is where IMO the example starts to muddy things. We have a good body of info to use to determine what should and shouldn't happen in certain actions:

Cattle raids. I'm not sure at all if these are common, except in specific situations across tribal borders (for example the Varmandi/Orleving dispute which is over 150 years old and has at points become war). If the players are considering raiding a clan of their own tribe, things will quickly come down on them. The basis is also that no one dies. See the GM Screen pack, it covers most angles in a cattle raid, including if someone dies.

As to who pays? those who did the killing / wounding. If they don't have the resources, they can turn to their family (bloodline) and with a success on Love (family), they will pay. If that fails, then it gets more complex. The clan may not want to get involved, mainly for political reasons. You may have to play out the lawspeaker vs the players. The temple is more complex, due to religious ties. My players went to the Queen Loyalty (Queen Leika) who made another party pay.

The What is Ransom box, specifically mentions outsiders harming a member of their kinship group (like in the cattle raid), and blood feuds. Blood feuds occur when tit-for-tat killing starts, and it spirals into a cycle of retaliatory violence. Orlanth made a law (The Book of Heortling Mythology, page 87):

Quote

Wergilds can be paid to halt blood feud,” reminded Orlanth, for he had made that law.

To prevent events like Njáls saga occurring. Njáls saga is a horrendous example of a blood feud spanning 50 years (https://www.sagadb.org/brennu-njals_saga.fr)

1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

If you are in a true battle and A kill B honorably, is their any wergild expected ?

If it's against an agreed enemy, no. Don't forget that Honour is a defined list, so A killing B honorably just means B had a weapon, wasn't a guest or family member.

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5 hours ago, David Scott said:

This is where IMO the example starts to muddy things. We have a good body of info to use to determine what should and shouldn't happen in certain actions

Thanks for the info!

What's the deal between this personal responsibility of paying ransoms/wergilds and the fact that AFAIK most Orlanthi don't actually own much? That is: their lands and their herd of cattle or sheep are assigned by the clan or tribe to them, so they're probably not theirs to use as payment? It seems like they don't have much to pay with besides whatever few weapons they have that probably got passed down from a few generations (and selling them might mean leaving the militia and losing voting rights in tribal assemblies and such).  Maybe that's why there's incentive to participate in raids and battles? Because then they get a proper personal right of ownership to some of what was captured/plundered?

Last, when I was talking about the various tributes tribes pay, I think these things are negotiated on a "from now on" basis and tribes probably don't plan for those until they happen -- these tribes are just wealthy enough or not to easily pay it or not. This includes of course the Lunars getting taxes from everybody from 1602 to 1625, Harvar Ironfist sucking the Far Place dry (especially the Alone confederation), the Torkani or Wulfsland having a "protection racket" tribute to deal with (respectively) Indigo Mountain trolls and Telmori, possibly the Dinacoli and/or the Bachad having the same kind of tribute for the Woods of the Dead (probably just the Dinacoli... nobody cares much if the ghouls go North), and something similar for the tribes along the border of the Upland Marsh or Snakepipe Hollow or whatever. I think there are a few tributes being paid directly to trolls, too, in a few places.

Edited by lordabdul
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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

What’s the deal between this personal responsibility of paying ransoms/wergilds and the fact that AFAIK most Orlanthi don't actually own much? That is: their lands and their herd of cattle or sheep are assigned by the clan or tribe to them, so they're probably not theirs to use as payment? It seems like they don't have much to pay with besides whatever few weapons they have that probably got passed down from a few generations (and selling them might mean leaving the militia and losing voting rights in tribal assemblies and such).  Maybe that's why there's incentive to participate in raids and battles? Because then they get a proper personal right of ownership to some of what was captured/plundered?

They can’t be that starved for funds, though - a bride-price seems to be roughly somewhere around half wergild, and I imagine it gets treated as a long-term savings project, a bit like a college fund. Cattle (or other valuables) brought as dowry is personal property. Cattle-raiding or looting in war will generate personal wealth, and carls should be able to build reserves and personal cattle holdings (even systems with borrowed cattle will typically allow you to keep a part of the offspring). Produce like wool, pelts, skins and cheese can be reasonably traded for funds.

I don’t picture an Orlanthi clan as a communist society where the clan owns all the means of production. 

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27 minutes ago, David Scott said:

What's the reference for this?

It seems to be something of a baseline in KoDP (getting full wergild value is presented as unusually high), plus it kinda makes sense - bride-price compensates for the economic loss of a family/clan member, but perhaps at a lower rate than having them murdered. KoDP does have cases of full wergild value too, though, but 50-100% of wergild as bride price seems supported (there, at least).

Example of what seems like half wergild value (assuming Free status): https://kingofdragonpass.fandom.com/wiki/Divorce_Dowry

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 4/4/2021 at 8:26 AM, Jape_Vicho said:

Hello, quick practical question for a game I'm running. In Glorantha ransoms can be very costly, and a fight between two rivan clans can end up in a hefty weregild. So, in regards to this, how many lunars do you think an average sartarite clan could have in his treasury ready to pay for this kind of thing? And a tribe? Let's say a clan end with a weregild of 2000 lunars, could they really pay the fine? Do you think they would? Can the tribe contribute to the "fund" if they want to? 

Thanks. 

These economic issues are complicated.  As a rule of thumb, a ransom is a round number value that is about 7 times (a crude average) of one's yearly income (give or take) and one's weregild should be about double that.

As to a clan's finances, they draw income from their lands, which are divided in to cropland, pasture, and wilderness, and more directly from their clan artisans and the goods they make, plus whatever the clan temples bring in from outsiders.  The land in turn is divided into Hides, and people of different status will work a certain number of hides, or draw income from someone who is getting revenue from their hides.  Clans will typically be situated with about 2000 hides of worked land, that produce about 80L per hide per year.  This revenue will not be in cash but in kind, and will need to be sold at market to be turned into coin, but much of it will be used within the clan's internal economy and never exported.

Clans can also trade in favors.  For example, if clan X has a member killed by clan Y, and clan Z has money and owes clan X a favor, well, they might just call that favor due.

In terms of weregild, it is not the Clan but the individual who performed a killing who will have to pay the weregild. As Akhorahil correctly points out, Orlanthi clans are not communist states that own all the means of production, and take collective responsibility in paying for crimes.  The individual who performed the killing must either pay the weregild or they are open to retribution from the kin of the offended party.  Clans may intervene with financial aid if they want to head off the possibility of a feud, and may even over-pay so there can be no basis for recrimination due to an underpayment, plus there is the potlatch aspect of counting coup through the "generosity slap down".  I would also point out that this only applies to people within an Orlanthi clan/tribal structure as a means to settle blood debts without reference to an external authority.

Can a clan pay a debt of 2000L?  Well it depends on how well they are doing.  If they have recently been burned out by Lunar aggression, probably not, otherwise, they probably can, but it isn't up to them to do so, it is the killer who is required to pay.

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