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Sartar Communities


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4 minutes ago, Professor Chaos said:

Jeff - thanks for the clarification on the Demographic Categories Formerly Known as Cottars and Carls and apologies about the Mycenaean dig which was uncalled for and plain silly on my part.

As we are still nevertheless sticking with thane is there not a case for weaponthane rather than 'martial thane'?

 

I am sticking with thane because Greg used that term very early in writing about the Orlanthi - long before the Orange Book in fact. But thane simply means:

Thane

Theyalan. Literally means “Martial Companion,” this denotes a member of the Orlanthi martial aristocracy. Often transliterated as “Lord”.

 

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How much do standard of living and being a free man of the clan depend on one another? From the look of it, stickpickers (who may have hardly any weregeld to talk about) may still be free members of the clan, and if they somehow managed to hold on to a hard hat and a sufficiently large knife despite running around in rags, they'd still be eligible to serve in the clan, tribal and city militia, and to vote in the assemblies on any of these levels.

Stickpickers quite clearly are not tenant farmers overseeing the equivalent of a hide for a rent-taker.

 

Then there can be folk in the clan who don't manage a hide of land but just enough to gain some supplement to their other occupation, which may be some form of rural crafting, a magical occupation, or both in one. Butchers, for instance, fishermen, wood-carvers, scribes, carpenters, or producers of javelins and other such high priced equipment.

People cultivating cash crops (like apples) might tend to be tenant farmers. Cash crops may include flax, woad, other dye plants like madder, or possibly breeding donkeys and mules.

Where would people extracting other resources from the lands claimed by the clan be rated socially? Folk evaporating brine, burning limestone for mortar or for maintaining posh house facades, people digging up clay for pottery or for bricks to build kilns with? Are there char-coal making facilities run by the Gustbran cult with tenants, or do they simply buy from stickpickers trained in their requirements?

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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And there is your problem with associating free status only with direct holding of land - hunters, merchants, redsmiths, brewers etc may in some cases be farmers who hunt, trade, smith, brew etc on the side but the rules actually present them as specialists who make their living wholly from their profession. 

But if a guy who has to lease some land - even if he is leasing multiple plots of land from different farmers and making a better living than his putative landlords because he is just a better/luckier farmer - is by doing so rendered semi-free and excluded from full community membership then other surely non-landowners are in a similar position.

Plus you now have class conflict built into every clan because while slaves (are we still saying 'thralls' BTW?) can do little about their condition other than run away or mount suicidal rebellions a semi-free class will want to be free - which as a soi-disant Marxist I am more than happy with myself but the consequences of which I don't think may have been fully thought through. 

For instance what happens when the Crimson Bat has suddenly eaten half your fyrd and all your best warriors and there are now more unfree tenants than free farmers and the free farmers that are left cannot any longer plough all their land? 

What happens in the Great Winter when the richer farmers leverage their greater grain stores and their not having had to kill and eat their last plough-oxen to convert their neighbours to tenants?

Or does the farmer who no longer has an ox or seed-corn and has to become a tenant of one who does still retain his free status and use it to agitate for land re-division and the cancellation of debts? 

And the accumulation of debt is incidentally what would more likely happen in most clans - you already have references to cattle loans and debt in a couple of JC scenarios but as it turns out that these clans and tribes are no longer the barbarous hill-folk we thought they were but have nice (if small-ish) classical cities with guilds and a monetised society with written records even at the clan level, then the many crises they pass through will inevitably produce social tensions with thanes and rich farmers and merchants and temples becoming the holders of ever larger cattle- and grain- and money-debts.

This was after all what happened in the classical societies we do have some real social and economic history for and theoretically may well have happened to some of those late bronze age societies on whose fall we have no real data on at all. 

Which if you run with it is perhaps a better way to motivate characters to go out and adventure than trying to fiddle the rules so their normal background earnings as not quite enough.

So why on earth are you defending the Tin Inn against a band of Tusk Riders who will torture you to death, feed your corpse to their pigs and bind your very souls to their service?

Well your father owed a 500 guilder debt to Gringle the accumulative interest on which is crippling your family and which Squinch has inherited and will partially cancel if you save his assets. 

And debt and interest rates are one of the key advances of the actual Bronze Age and a very significant part of what survives in the ancient archives are actually accountant's files...

So if we are to abandon what we thought we knew about Sartarites as it was too viking-y and Greg's conception of them moved on, then let us go the whole hog and introduce different forms of debt and interest and indentured servitude and class conflict and slave rebellions and agrarian reforms and demands for enfranchisement that follow from adopting a more ancient model. 

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5 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

And there is your problem with associating free status only with direct holding of land - hunters, merchants, redsmiths, brewers etc may in some cases be farmers who hunt, trade, smith, brew etc on the side but the rules actually present them as specialists who make their living wholly from their profession. 

But if a guy who has to lease some land - even if he is leasing multiple plots of land from different farmers and making a better living than his putative landlords because he is just a better/luckier farmer - is by doing so rendered semi-free and excluded from full community membership then other surely non-landowners are in a similar position.

Plus you now have class conflict built into every clan because while slaves (are we still saying 'thralls' BTW?) can do little about their condition other than run away or mount suicidal rebellions a semi-free class will want to be free - which as a soi-disant Marxist I am more than happy with myself but the consequences of which I don't think may have been fully thought through. 

For instance what happens when the Crimson Bat has suddenly eaten half your fyrd and all your best warriors and there are now more unfree tenants than free farmers and the free farmers that are left cannot any longer plough all their land? 

What happens in the Great Winter when the richer farmers leverage their greater grain stores and their not having had to kill and eat their last plough-oxen to convert their neighbours to tenants?

Or does the farmer who no longer has an ox or seed-corn and has to become a tenant of one who does still retain his free status and use it to agitate for land re-division and the cancellation of debts? 

And the accumulation of debt is incidentally what would more likely happen in most clans - you already have references to cattle loans and debt in a couple of JC scenarios but as it turns out that these clans and tribes are no longer the barbarous hill-folk we thought they were but have nice (if small-ish) classical cities with guilds and a monetised society with written records even at the clan level, then the many crises they pass through will inevitably produce social tensions with thanes and rich farmers and merchants and temples becoming the holders of ever larger cattle- and grain- and money-debts.

This was after all what happened in the classical societies we do have some real social and economic history for and theoretically may well have happened to some of those late bronze age societies on whose fall we have no real data on at all. 

Which if you run with it is perhaps a better way to motivate characters to go out and adventure than trying to fiddle the rules so their normal background earnings as not quite enough.

So why on earth are you defending the Tin Inn against a band of Tusk Riders who will torture you to death, feed your corpse to their pigs and bind your very souls to their service?

Well your father owed a 500 guilder debt to Gringle the accumulative interest on which is crippling your family and which Squinch has inherited and will partially cancel if you save his assets. 

And debt and interest rates are one of the key advances of the actual Bronze Age and a very significant part of what survives in the ancient archives are actually accountant's files...

So if we are to abandon what we thought we knew about Sartarites as it was too viking-y and Greg's conception of them moved on, then let us go the whole hog and introduce different forms of debt and interest and indentured servitude and class conflict and slave rebellions and agrarian reforms and demands for enfranchisement that follow from adopting a more ancient model. 

Free means full members of the community - for the Sartarites that means you are part of the clan and tribal assembly. In the end it is that you have sufficient stuff - weapons, livestock, land granted by the community, whatever - for you to be acknowledged as a full member of the community by the rest of the community. A full majority of most Sartarite communities are full members.

Semi-free means just that - you aren't seen as a full member of the community and don't participate in the assembly. Maybe you work land that has been assigned to someone else, maybe you watch someone else's herds, maybe you support yourself by picking fruits, helping out at harvest, and doing odd-jobs and manual labor. All that kind of stuff. This is often an age related thing, and the Orlanthi have plenty of tales of semi-free herders or itinerants late became leaders in their communities.

The Sartarites don't have a lot of slaves (the Orlanth cult strongly discourages the practice), and those it does have are there from debt, crime, or war prisoners.

As for what is going on in the conception of the Sartarites, I recommend reading WBRM or Dragon Pass.

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16 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

So why on earth are you defending the Tin Inn against a band of Tusk Riders who will torture you to death, feed your corpse to their pigs and bind your very souls to their service?

Because you're tough, tested and infinitely smarter than they are. Even in the unlikely event this particular pig people squad is hopped up enough to disrespect your ransom this would be a good way to die. The townies are depending on you and it is right action. God smiles.

16 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

Well your father owed a 500 guilder debt to Gringle the accumulative interest on which is crippling your family and which Squinch has inherited and will partially cancel if you save his assets. 

Scandal!! But whatever form the call to adventure takes ultimately leads to MGF.

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17 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

And debt and interest rates are one of the key advances of the actual Bronze Age and a very significant part of what survives in the ancient archives are actually accountant's files...

It's a great point. YGWV (see above, whatever gets your players motivated) but I usually structure Orlanth debt servitude as a kind of advance on the ransom account that then gets "foreclosed" under certain conditions. This sounds a little complicated on the surface but it boils down to your ransom banker of record (the temple or in some cases your "pawnbroker") extending you coinage that you will ideally spend in the market so the money is only temporarily in circulation. You needed a favor and they helped you out. Hopefully it's all you needed to get back on your feet and pay back into the account to make your ransom whole again.

There's probably an embedded fee involved (rounding the charge on the ransom account up or rounding the money the borrower receives down, altered Bargain augments will apply either way) but I don't see a lot of support for lending at interest in the Gloranthan literature. Maybe Issaries' daughter has been working with it as part of her complicated experiments with Time but I leave that to people who deal with imperial accounts to explore for now.

What we seem to have among the Orlanth people is a sense of debt that works more like a passion. You owe someone a favor. You make a promise. You take on an obligation or an entanglement because you got into trouble and this is what it took to motivate someone to help you out . . . or you've internalized that sense of obligation and your honor simply won't let you rest until you clear the account. If they owe you a favor, you can forgive it and convert it into a different kind of passion. Make a friend, earn some loyalty. Double down and go for the greater bonus . . . this is how their quest economy works.

Ransom plays into that. Ultimately the temple is the lender of last resort on ransom anyway. The community has a sense of what they've invested in you and what they can afford to sacrifice to keep you alive. When you run out of that community credit, you need to go into exile or stay home and work yourself back to a positive balance. Issaries is omnipresent throughout this cycle. IMG there are forgiveness periods that greedy lenders will try to weasel around but ultimately manumission is a sacred thing. Orlanth is never content in the sight of perpetual slavery. Neither is his good friend Issaries.

All IMG of course.

Edited by scott-martin
conversion (probably "orlanthi all" venture financing is equity structure)
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17 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

And there is your problem with associating free status only with direct holding of land - hunters, merchants, redsmiths, brewers etc may in some cases be farmers who hunt, trade, smith, brew etc on the side but the rules actually present them as specialists who make their living wholly from their profession. 

According to RQG's Occupations, hunters are "Poor" and not "Free". For the others (merchants and crafters), I don't see what's the problem: they have some land, but they are busy with their main occupation and are therefore probably letting a bunch of "semi-free" tenants take care of it. The description was about having land and someone to plow it -- there was nothing about having to do it yourself. I imagine that it's like nowadays where many wealthy people have an apartment or two that they rent out, a country house with fields and animals that a nearby farmer is taking care of, and so on.

It's not quite clear to me though if, say, a Crafter that makes 80L as a base income (RQG p65) is making this as a combination of occupation and land surplus, or what. Like, does the tribe assign land to Crafters as a way to support themselves so that they can live as specialists? Does this mean the Crafter would have discounts (or even free inventory) for clan/tribe members as opposed to foreigners? I'm not sure what the social and economic contract is there.

17 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

Which if you run with it is perhaps a better way to motivate characters to go out and adventure than trying to fiddle the rules so their normal background earnings as not quite enough.

So why on earth are you defending the Tin Inn against a band of Tusk Riders who will torture you to death, feed your corpse to their pigs and bind your very souls to their service?

You'd think that "because they're heroic adventurers", or "because that's their job in the clan", or "because they have Loyalties to their community", or just "because we're playing a game" would be enough? But hey, if you need a spreadsheet of compound loan interests to motivate your PCs, I guess that works too for some people 😄

The "basic income is barely enough to sustain you" was never the main motivator to go adventuring anyway. At best it's a little push, at worst it's just a mechanic to add some story elements. Besides, only the "Free" occupations at exactly 60L exhibit this weird problem because they're right on the line. I don't know if it's a fluke or if it was intended.

Edited by lordabdul
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16 hours ago, lordabdul said:

It's not quite clear to me though if, say, a Crafter that makes 80L as a base income (RQG p65) is making this as a combination of occupation and land surplus, or what. Like, does the tribe assign land to Crafters as a way to support themselves so that they can live as specialists? Does this mean the Crafter would have discounts (or even free inventory) for clan/tribe members as opposed to foreigners? I'm not sure what the social and economic contract is there.

personaly I consider the page 423 as a reference :

so 80L (or 60L depending on the craft) is the income from the crafting activity

Of course, if you are a tenant, you get only 50% of that.

Of course, if you are a slave, you get only your breath and the hypothetical generosity of your owner

 

for the rest, any character , any occupation, etc... can get hide, or shop, or workshop, or anything in addition of their main activity: they get income from them on the same base than a noble (aka 50% of a hide, a shop, a workshop or anything)  with the manage household test.

why they get this additional income  is a story telling question, of course.

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Well yes of course it is only a game!

But we have decisively moved on from the pseudo-Viking/Saxon/Celtic Heortlings we thought we all knew via Bronze Age Greeks to Hellenistic Bactrians (but not really) with cities that now all look a lot more like a small classical polis than a Celtic ring-fort, a Saxon burh or for that matter a Mycenean palace-town.

Which should bring with it the problems and gaming opportunities a classical polis in its various stages of development had - conflict between the city and the country, the debtors and creditors, born citizens and the metics or peroikoi or socii demanding citizen rights, the patricians and the plebs, the slave and the free...  

All of which are presumably already present to some degree in the Lunar Empire (which already has had its Spartacus - albeit one who seeing how unbelievably hot the Crassus they sent to slaughter him was promptly changed sides) and will become more so.  

Or are all these changes not about making Glorantha a denser, more complex and dynamic place at all?

  

 

 

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12 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

Or are all these changes not about making Glorantha a denser, more complex and dynamic place at all?

I think it makes excellent sense to say that the rise of towns, temples and nobility is chewing up the old way of life and systematically reducing the Free rural class. A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this, but for some time the brutal occupation and the rebellion have directed efforts elsewhere - you’re more immediately angry with the Lunar taxman than a slow power shift towards the aristocracy (who, let’s face it, would love to make the farmers “semi-free” and have everyone pay land rents).

I wonder what forces would work against this. In Sweden in medieval and early-modern times, farmer independence was maintained through an alliance with the king to keep the nobility checked (and plus, the king could tax the freeholding farmers directly).

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 7/12/2021 at 1:16 PM, lordabdul said:

According to RQG's Occupations, hunters are "Poor" and not "Free". For the others (merchants and crafters), I don't see what's the problem: they have some land, but they are busy with their main occupation and are therefore probably letting a bunch of "semi-free" tenants take care of it. The description was about having land and someone to plow it -- there was nothing about having to do it yourself. I imagine that it's like nowadays where many wealthy people have an apartment or two that they rent out, a country house with fields and animals that a nearby farmer is taking care of, and so on.

It's not quite clear to me though if, say, a Crafter that makes 80L as a base income (RQG p65) is making this as a combination of occupation and land surplus, or what. Like, does the tribe assign land to Crafters as a way to support themselves so that they can live as specialists? Does this mean the Crafter would have discounts (or even free inventory) for clan/tribe members as opposed to foreigners? I'm not sure what the social and economic contract is there.

According to the Occupational Income Table in RQ:RiG, one workshop of a craft is comparable to a hide, which suggests to me that the intention is that a baseline Crafter is making money primarily from their occupation, and thus the low-paid crafts (carpentry, weaving, leatherworking) are reliant on being a multi-income household. Which is roughly historical.

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27 minutes ago, Eff said:

According to the Occupational Income Table in RQ:RiG, one workshop of a craft is comparable to a hide, which suggests to me that the intention is that a baseline Crafter is making money primarily from their occupation, and thus the low-paid crafts (carpentry, weaving, leatherworking) are reliant on being a multi-income household. Which is roughly historical.

That makes sense, but then it means that those "Free" occupations are exceptions to the definition of "Free" being people with land, a plow, and some oxen. Which is fine too but, well, not quite specified in the definition of "Free", which is why there is some confusion.

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39 minutes ago, Eff said:

According to the Occupational Income Table in RQ:RiG, one workshop of a craft is comparable to a hide, which suggests to me that the intention is that a baseline Crafter is making money primarily from their occupation, and thus the low-paid crafts (carpentry, weaving, leatherworking) are reliant on being a multi-income household. Which is roughly historical.

That's how I treat it in the Book of Doom, where a Crafter can have a workshop and each workshop is treated as a tenant, using Manage Household.

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

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2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

That makes sense, but then it means that those "Free" occupations are exceptions to the definition of "Free" being people with land, a plow, and some oxen. Which is fine too but, well, not quite specified in the definition of "Free", which is why there is some confusion.

I think at least some definitions of free/carl status have relied on being able to afford these things rather than on definitely owning them- certainly it would be strange for the traditional Four Providers noted in King of Sartar's occupation list to be denoted as having different positions depending on relative importance if hunters and herders and fishers were always unfree unless they owned a plow and team. 

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33 minutes ago, Eff said:

I think at least some definitions of free/carl status have relied on being able to afford these things rather than on definitely owning them- certainly it would be strange for the traditional Four Providers noted in King of Sartar's occupation list to be denoted as having different positions depending on relative importance if hunters and herders and fishers were always unfree unless they owned a plow and team. 

Herders should be able to reach Free SoL if they own their own flocks (expensive but doable), becoming more of ranchers than herders. Weirdly, even Poor herders have a 500L ransom - does that mean that they're Free even at Poor SoL? The same goes for tenant Farmers (who can't possibly maintain a Free SoL through their farming even though the occupation indicates it).

Hunters and fishermen though... they do have Poor SoL and half Ransom in the rules, so unless you can still count as Free...

(Is it a typo that Fishermen have only 200L rather than the typical 250L for Poor as Ransom?)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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The term "farmer" has sometimes belied a wide range of status and wealth, from serfs to manor lords, so it is possible that the term "herder" covers a similar range (from actual herdsmen to the actual owners of the herds, etc.)

Purely speculatively, and probably not the original intention, but possibly useful.

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Which is where taking a more classical rather than 'bronze age' view may help.

Citizenship in Rome or Athens was not dependent on what you owned or how you made your living - it was something you just had - primarily because your parents and grandparents etc were citizens.

So you could be a wealthy metic or socii merchant who has lived in the city all your life and still have no right to vote for magistrates and in the assembly while the prole who sweeps the street is a citizen.

And the rationale for how this might work in Sartar is right there in the Clan Questionnaire where your clan once decided what to do with some refugees. 

So your semi-free tenants (who may or may not be actual tenants - who is my Odaylan hunter who lives in the woods a tenant of? and who is going to say to him that he is not really free?) are defined by their ancestry in that they are not full members of the clan as they are not descended from its founders.

And while in normal times the clan economic system is sufficiently strong and flexible to ensure some congruence is maintained between legal status and social position in times of war and famine everything gets shaken up. 

Which incidentally is why I still prefer the term cottars and carls as they are just obscure enough to mean whatever we say they mean - and so in a clan context a carl is what a Roman would have called a citizen and may or may not actually hold a hide or more of land - but remains a citizen with certain inalienable rights, while a cottar is a resident alien or metic or pereiokos and while generally are poorer than the carls can in some cases be quite prosperous but still have no right to own land outright and serve in the fyrd or citizen militia and vote in the clan assembly.

Which was somewhat better captured in Pendragon Pass chargen where you first rolled for your status (cottar, carl, thane) and then again modified by that result for your occupation.

But unfortunately we are trying to represent what should be a multivariate set of social and economic factors with just an occupation table and a standard of living by occupation table - while also denying ourselves any terms that are analogous to any society on earth - so that all those social entities that used to be defined by a single word like knight or carl or saint or cottar now needs a multi-word description accompanied by qualifications. 

 

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6 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Herders should be able to reach Free SoL if they own their own flocks (expensive but doable), becoming more of ranchers than herders. Weirdly, even Poor herders have a 500L ransom - does that mean that they're Free even at Poor SoL? The same goes for tenant Farmers (who can't possibly maintain a Free SoL through their farming even though the occupation indicates it).

Hunters and fishermen though... they do have Poor SoL and half Ransom in the rules, so unless you can still count as Free...

(Is it a typo that Fishermen have only 200L rather than the typical 250L for Poor as Ransom?)

Well, one of the hidden axioms of the RQG rules is that the Hunter/Fisher/Herder triumvirate are assumed to be tenant or client workers rather than independent operators. So they're on the cusp or below the Free standard and ransom. 

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10 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

(Is it a typo that Fishermen have only 200L rather than the typical 250L for Poor as Ransom?)

It’s comedy gold. They stink of fish, so anyone who is holding a Fisherman captive wants to offload them cheap. See also the relatively low ransoms for Philosophers.

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1 minute ago, Nick Brooke said:

See also the relatively low ransoms for Philosophers.

That might also have something to do with what their own clan is ready to pay. 🙂 Wastrels, the lot of them! Thieves are more useful!

Edited by Akhôrahil
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4 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

It’s comedy gold. They stink of fish, so anyone who is holding a Fisherman captive wants to offload them cheap. See also the relatively low ransoms for Philosophers.

Makes me wonder if Greg was familiar with Asterix and Obelix.

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On 7/15/2021 at 8:49 AM, Nick Brooke said:

It’s comedy gold. They stink of fish, so anyone who is holding a Fisherman captive wants to offload them cheap. See also the relatively low ransoms for Philosophers.

For Philosophers, I like to think the conversation goes something like this:

We have Harnack the Well-Versed in Philosophy and we demand a ransom

Sure, we'll pay you 150L

No, he knows much, we want 500L

Nah, keep him!

 

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www.soltakss.com/index.html

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

For Philosophers, I like to think the conversation goes something like this:

We have Harnack the Well-Versed in Philosophy and we demand a ransom

Sure, we'll pay you 150L

No, he knows much, we want 500L

Nah, keep him!

 

At which point the situation begins to devolve into a reenactment of "The Ransom of Red Chief"

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