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Why's Octa So Cheap, Anyway?


mj6373

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Sorry if this is an odd question, and the answer might come down purely to "the GPC doesn't want the players getting insane wealth instantly" rather than anything in-universe, but like... KAP 5.2, p. 188 has guidelines for ransom that put the value of a king's ransom at around £2150. The value players get for capturing King Octa in 490, per the GPC, is £350.

 

Additionally, Book of the Estate, p. 17-18, lists the capture of an enemy king as the kind of event that warrants being promoted to estate-holder. But while killing Gorlois is listed as a sufficient deed to earn an estate, capturing King Octa gets no mention as being so notable in either the GPC or BotE. (But the latter might be because they thought it would be redundant, after already giving the general rule about capturing kings?)

 

I guess if Nohaut is a smaller-than-average kingdom, and we're assuming the ransom is split to the effect of 50% to Uther, 25% to Roderick, and 25% to the knight(s) who actually did the capturing, then £350 isn't an unreasonable figure for the knights' share. But I'm not sure if that's the intended reading, or if it's that the GPC generally has a lower idea of ransom value than KAP 5.2, or if Octa's one of those teeny tiny petty kings and Eosa's singlehandedly bringing 9,900 of the Saxons' 10,000-strong army.

 

Maybe Uther calls him a king because he thinks it's funny, and rolls his eyes at the knights when they think they've done something impressive by capturing him.

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12 minutes ago, mj6373 said:

Additionally, Book of the Estate, p. 17-18, lists the capture of an enemy king as the kind of event that warrants being promoted to estate-holder. But while killing Gorlois is listed as a sufficient deed to earn an estate, capturing King Octa gets no mention as being so notable in either the GPC or BotE. (But the latter might be because they thought it would be redundant, after already giving the general rule about capturing kings?)

Yes, I think this is the case. No need to list out Octa specifically when the general rule about capturing kings is already triggered. Since I am leery of giving the PKs too much money to play with, I am much more inclined to let them 'share' an estate's worth of landholdings instead. I.e. a manor a piece, from the grateful King.

As for the monetary value, here is the big thing: Octa is NOT RANSOMED. He is kept captive by King Uther. Thus, the £350 is not the ransom value or even a share that he PKs get from the total value. Instead, it is simply a reward that Uther gives in this case (predating the Book of the Estate). In that context, £350 is not bad money for a bit of hard work.

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12 minutes ago, Morien said:

Yes, I think this is the case. No need to list out Octa specifically when the general rule about capturing kings is already triggered. Since I am leery of giving the PKs too much money to play with, I am much more inclined to let them 'share' an estate's worth of landholdings instead. I.e. a manor a piece, from the grateful King.

As for the monetary value, here is the big thing: Octa is NOT RANSOMED. He is kept captive by King Uther. Thus, the £350 is not the ransom value or even a share that he PKs get from the total value. Instead, it is simply a reward that Uther gives in this case (predating the Book of the Estate). In that context, £350 is not bad money for a bit of hard work.

Oh, huh. That does make more sense, but it also means I might need a refresher on the rules of capture and ransom. So, under what circumstances does right of ownership over a captured opponent go up the chain like that? Is this a factor of Uther and Octa being the commanders of their respective sides in the battle, or do all knights/nobles captured in a battle go to the commander of that battle to decide whether to imprison or ransom them (with the knights being rewarded to encourage the capture of enemies, regardless of what the commander ends up doing with them)? Or is it more universal and rank-based than that, and you'd still hand a king you captured over to your king even if you just captured him on the roadside somehow instead of during a battle commanded by someone else?

 

(And yeah, I definitely wasn't thinking they'd be rewarded an estate *each* for capturing Octa. I'd either do what you say, and have the worth of an estate split evenly between the knights, or if my anti-equality bastard heart takes over, give the full reward to whichever knight actually defeated Octa directly, which would probably be whichever knight had the most Glory by rule of precedence, or whoever stepped in after that guy lost.)

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By the Hundred Years War, this was codified in the contracts of indenture (i.e. basically mercenary contracts for noblemen to raise X number and types of troops for the campaign, for Y amount of pay). This review of a book ( https://reviews.history.ac.uk/review/1465 ) mentions: "In return for reasonable compensation English monarchs also had direct rights to the most important enemy commanders." That accords with my memory as well.

King Mark is seized later on in GPC whilst raiding, and he is in fact ransomed (for £2000) and the ransom given to his captors. However it does say that the captured king should be delivered to their own liege lord, who then in turn sends Mark to Arthur. (I did not use this adventure in my campaigns, since £2000 for the PKs is a way too much for my liking.)

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That does make sense to me. Honestly, I was figuring most ransom going to the capturer would be halved *anyway*, by the general rule of "half the income you gain through war customarily goes to the liege lord," but it also makes sense that you'd invoke the feudal chain when you captured someone important simply because being able to force a ransom payment from their family/vassals is predicated on it not being cheaper for them to just invade and take their guy back. So the more important the person you capture is, the better a bet it is to send him up the feudal hierarchy and either get a cut of ransom or just an upfront reward, since your liege or the liege above that will be able to provide so much more resistance against rescue attempts.

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