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Tywyll

Tithing and Magic items

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Do Rune Priests and Lords have to tithe magic items they find? If so, how is value determined?  RQ4 is the only version I know of that actually broke down the value of magic items (though Plunder had crazy values for items), 

If you are, how do rune levels ever get to keep items they find?

Do items you enchant yourself also count for tithing?

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It'll be down to the cult leaders to distribute loot as reward for each person's part in finding it/dealing with the problem that arose. Magic items are of little use sitting on a shelf in a temple, so they would be distributed rather than hoarded (although they may be sold if the cult is hard-up at the time). Rune Lords are always going to be first in line for magic weapons unless someone else has greatly distinguished themselves. Priests will be second in line for magic items in most cases.

Items you enchant yourself include your own sacrifice of POW (that you've already earned from the cult and just reallocated into an object) and are therefore part of your personal panoply, so the cult won't get dibs on them.

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So you do have to give them over? How do you value them?

Also, what happens when mixed runelords journey? How do they split treasure?

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You have to declare them, at least, so the cult can determine their worth. Valuing items will vary but the POW used to create them is a useful rule of thumb - I'd say 30-60L per point of POW, depending upon demand for such objects, and how generous you're feeling as GM.

Splitting treasure between party members should happen in the same way it does in other games - cash gets split proportionately, and magic items go to those who can make best use of them. Encourage the PCs to make a case for keeping an item, or for agreeing quid pro quo between them. Of course, sometimes they will still end up having to surrender an item they've secured to their cult anyway.

If the party have recovered a single ancient treasure that cannot be divided, then that in itself may become the trigger for a further session - perhaps things turn political, with local cult leaders falling out over what should happen to the item, and local tensions rising? Perhaps the only way to retain the item is if the recipient assists the other cults to find treasures of equal value? Or between associated cults some agreement may be established where each temple gets the benefit of the object for a season or a year at a time.

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Based on the writeups and examples in RQG I got the impression that you only had to tithe the income from your occupation.

There is no mention of having to tithe any of the loot recovered in the Vasana's Saga writeup on page 407. On the same page the standard 20% to the temples and 10% to the Lunars are described as percentages of the harvest. Other taxes are listed, but they are generally smaller and for specific circumstances / areas. Then on page 422 in the annual harvest / accounting writeup it is said that characters should pay cult tithes "from their occupation income".

Nowhere is there any suggestion that magic items or even coins and valuables gained from adventuring are subject to the 20 / 30 / 90 percent 'income' taxes. That could certainly be assumed, but then it would seem odd that there are detailed rules for how occupation income must be taxed and not a word about spoils of adventuring or war. If you take enemy weapons and armor do you have to pay for those? Gifts from other party members or inheritance from family?

My take is that for the vast majority of people the occupation income is the only source of income and thus it is the one which gets taxed. There is no 'Heortling IRS' with special rules covering every conceivable form of wealth transfer. Rather, there is a simple system based on occupation income which generates plenty of revenue to cover expenses. That's why the taxes are collected at Sacred Time after the harvest... because the income of most people is tied to the harvest. If they were actively seeking adventuring income they'd want to collect taxes on at least a seasonal basis so that they could collect some of it before the adventurers drank it all away or lost it in their next reckless scheme.

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2 hours ago, Tywyll said:

Do Rune Priests and Lords have to tithe magic items they find? If so, how is value determined?  RQ4 is the only version I know of that actually broke down the value of magic items (though Plunder had crazy values for items), 

If you are, how do rune levels ever get to keep items they find?

Do items you enchant yourself also count for tithing?

Very good questions.

Technically, all the plunder from an adventure belongs to the sponsor of the adventure (typically the temple or the clan chief or someone like Duke Raus) who will then generously allow the party to keep most of it. He has no obligation to do so, but will be hard put to find parties risking their necks for him if he is too stingy.

Living with your clan, there are rather few things you can really claim as your own. Plunder rewarded by the chieftain does count as personal or at least family property.

Having this decision taken out of player hands probably doesn't go down well with people used to D&D (-inspired computer games) and its modern day views on property, which is why these aspects of Bronze Age society are carefully left untouched in most campaigns I have been told of or have been in.

If your income has gone to the clan, then the clan also has the obligation to pay the tithe.

Do you really own the item in the sense that you can pack it up, go to Nochet, sell it and have a season of debauchery? Or do you carry it on behalf of your chieftain, and are expected to return it to serve the clan?

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2 hours ago, CBDunkerson said:

Based on the writeups and examples in RQG I got the impression that you only had to tithe the income from your occupation.

There is no mention of having to tithe any of the loot recovered in the Vasana's Saga writeup on page 407. On the same page the standard 20% to the temples and 10% to the Lunars are described as percentages of the harvest. Other taxes are listed, but they are generally smaller and for specific circumstances / areas. Then on page 422 in the annual harvest / accounting writeup it is said that characters should pay cult tithes "from their occupation income".

Nowhere is there any suggestion that magic items or even coins and valuables gained from adventuring are subject to the 20 / 30 / 90 percent 'income' taxes. That could certainly be assumed, but then it would seem odd that there are detailed rules for how occupation income must be taxed and not a word about spoils of adventuring or war. If you take enemy weapons and armor do you have to pay for those? Gifts from other party members or inheritance from family?

My take is that for the vast majority of people the occupation income is the only source of income and thus it is the one which gets taxed. There is no 'Heortling IRS' with special rules covering every conceivable form of wealth transfer. Rather, there is a simple system based on occupation income which generates plenty of revenue to cover expenses. That's why the taxes are collected at Sacred Time after the harvest... because the income of most people is tied to the harvest. If they were actively seeking adventuring income they'd want to collect taxes on at least a seasonal basis so that they could collect some of it before the adventurers drank it all away or lost it in their next reckless scheme.

That makes sense but what is the occupational income of a Rune Lord?

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22 minutes ago, Tywyll said:

That makes sense but what is the occupational income of a Rune Lord?

See the Vasana example on page 424. She started out as a Warrior, but once she became a Rune Lord she is treated as a Noble.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Do you really own the item in the sense that you can pack it up, go to Nochet, sell it and have a season of debauchery?

You can if you are Harrek. 😉

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I doubt that Harrek's debauchery paid by a single item would have lasted longer than a few hours, if collateral damage is figured into the bill.

We know you believe to have a problem when you hire Harrek to solve it. And we know that as soon as you hire Harrek, you have a problem.

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The Harrek tangent in a financial thread rather boggles my mind, and forces me to ask:  who here imagines Harrek the Berzerk actually paying coin for his debauchery?

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

The Harrek tangent in a financial thread rather boggles my mind, and forces me to ask:  who here imagines Harrek the Berzerk actually paying coin for his debauchery?

King of Sartar explicitely tells us that Harrek spent the gold taken from the solar priests at Pennel Ford for drink and other pleasures in Nochet. Presumably some companion of Harrek actually handed over the wealth, likely on Harrek's more than slightly hung-over demand to put an end to that nagging. Possibly Gunda, whose unflappable sober hostility might be what goes for the best diplomatic ability in Harrek's circles.

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Harrek's noted as being respectful to the poor, I'd imagine if he goes to some dive bars or kebab cart he'd throw money around but would prefer to trash a fine establishment.

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19 hours ago, Tywyll said:

So you do have to give them over? How do you value them?

Also, what happens when mixed runelords journey? How do they split treasure?

I have always had the party do what I call a standard Orlanthi contract*.for an Adventuring Company.

That is, all treasure goes to the sponsor of the adventure minus wages. (usually, but not this is not ensured). What the sponsor should give the party is the easily divided monetary type Treasure and baubles  minus expenses and what moneys (if he actually sought money) the sponsor originally sought as reward for his or her risk in funding the quest. This largesse should is divided into 7 parts* (equal, not being necessary) and the leader usually gets 4/7 of the treasure (or 4 shares) unless there is a compelling reason for him or her to take 3/7 of the treasure (3 shares) or less (a hard split, perhaps because of a pair of Rune Lords).

That there are 7 shares does not mean they are parcelled out equally, one share to an individual. For instance, a common contract could be 3 shares for the leader 1 share each for the 2 Rune Types a share for the initiates 4/7 (or a "seventh of a share" to the 4 initiates and 3/7 to the 8 porters (allowing for splits of greater than one in seven ((this can be just as sophisticated and almost as intuitive to a native an our percentile system for contracts)).  Again though the leader gets the lions share he would do well to gain the loyalty and avoid enmity by doling out at least one to two shares of the wealth as bonuses. The seventh share for those who have been counting has many names (two of which are Ginna Jar's Share or Grandfather's Share and I have heard it called Heller's Fund or the rainy day fund). This is for parties expenses, repairs, heals, ransoms. payouts to survivors, all of which have been included in contracts This can be as detailed or simple as needed,  The party can vote, the leader can dole, hell the leader can keep or skim or.... This usually kept/safeguarded by the most trustworthy of the Company (usually the leader).

Now we get controversial. Not to fellow Gloranthaphiles, but to many other RPGers of games of a more Ffarhd and the Grey Mouser type. All the rest of the treasure... all Magic items, all the real baubles, scrolls, major tomes, partridges in pear trees belong to the sponsor. Should this be the Clan chief, that would be the clan (really,, if any member of the clan sponsored the quest everything at one point or another belongs to the clan, but that is getting a little esoteric.

Now, anyone who has seen a great Viking movie, read a well put together barbarian heroquest (Robert E. Howard wrote a few) or any of the Carolingian sagas or Grail Legends will know what comes next. Let's use the Clan chief angle as it looks more spectacular. At the feasting of the Heroes, Skalds tell lays of the heroics and at each cheer, belly laugh of gasp of real concern from the audience baubles might  be scattered—seemingly carelessly (the wise may see it or play it that way)— to the Company. The Rune lord who sacrificed real POW in a Divine Intervention to bring back a needed member of the part gets the 2nd best (enchanted!) sword. You get the drift. It is possible in this way for a cunning seasoned leader to not only take the sting out of a defeat, but by generosity to the point of loss. hide the defeat and make it appear as a victory. (the converse could come from a less that heroic generosity making a great victory seem smaller )The next raid/quest/what have you .will not have the taint of a failure having over it. Or, The leader was greedy and ll note it, Does business go badly for the next few seasons for a miserly merchant, does the warlords  have success recruiting his next raiding party (or worse failure getting enough of a fyrd for his next defence). In conclusion a wise leader will usually walk away better off than before this orgy of gifting whether it appears so or not. Even a loss of great proportion can be a win if dealt with heroically enough here.

The Company leader can sit in as proxy or real delegator in lieu of the real sponsor.

Now that is the foundation, but behind the scenes will be lobbying, horse trading thieving or simply lusting and, of course, the mandatory whining as players say I should have that and .... It will end up looking something like that above tale when all is said and dome and believe if or not unusual treasure and magic will usually will divide themselves out quite within a fair party Nail down the nitty gritty and then dress it up or down to look something out of a heroic tale and Bob's your uncle. 

Now note that the terms of the contract usually allow for the party to not be paid (though usually not that they would lose money to the sponsor. Not that  they would not lose money!).
A sponsor who pulls this too often will find harder to gain new adventurer companies, if not being downright bad for the health if not deadly due to disgruntled adventurer companies. This opens other possibilities. The Sponsor does not get his just reward. He could still pay the Adventuring Company and shoulder the loss and maintain or gain the Companies loyalty. He could state that he is not satisfied and the Company must achieve the results at their own expense (hmm, he had better have leverage, though often your betters do!). Whatever moves the game (story at this point) forward is fair game. Usually this will be approved by the players if done well.  All the above applies in a lesser or greater extant to the Company of Adventurers leader as well. Conclusion, open hand or closed fist: your choice but each has ramifications.

Taxations follows as normal from here. 

Cheers

*Those with a keen insight to the Orlanthi and their Issaries type folk will realize that standard might require a broader than usual definition ;)
* can't recall if this is canonical for the Orlanthi and where I sourced if if so, from some other source or if it just felt right

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On 3/9/2019 at 11:29 AM, Sumath said:

You have to declare them, at least, so the cult can determine their worth. Valuing items will vary but the POW used to create them is a useful rule of thumb - I'd say 30-60L per point of POW, depending upon demand for such objects, and how generous you're feeling as GM.

Many you value POW really cheaply! I doubt any PC would gladly hand over a POW sacrifice for an NPC at that price!

RQ4 (the unpublished one) put POW at 1000-2000 L per point, based on how much skill was also involved. 

On 3/9/2019 at 11:29 AM, Sumath said:

Splitting treasure between party members should happen in the same way it does in other games - cash gets split proportionately, and magic items go to those who can make best use of them. Encourage the PCs to make a case for keeping an item, or for agreeing quid pro quo between them. Of course, sometimes they will still end up having to surrender an item they've secured to their cult anyway.

If the party have recovered a single ancient treasure that cannot be divided, then that in itself may become the trigger for a further session - perhaps things turn political, with local cult leaders falling out over what should happen to the item, and local tensions rising? Perhaps the only way to retain the item is if the recipient assists the other cults to find treasures of equal value? Or between associated cults some agreement may be established where each temple gets the benefit of the object for a season or a year at a time.

Always an interesting development!

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On 3/9/2019 at 1:11 PM, CBDunkerson said:

Based on the writeups and examples in RQG I got the impression that you only had to tithe the income from your occupation.

There is no mention of having to tithe any of the loot recovered in the Vasana's Saga writeup on page 407. On the same page the standard 20% to the temples and 10% to the Lunars are described as percentages of the harvest. Other taxes are listed, but they are generally smaller and for specific circumstances / areas. Then on page 422 in the annual harvest / accounting writeup it is said that characters should pay cult tithes "from their occupation income".

Nowhere is there any suggestion that magic items or even coins and valuables gained from adventuring are subject to the 20 / 30 / 90 percent 'income' taxes. That could certainly be assumed, but then it would seem odd that there are detailed rules for how occupation income must be taxed and not a word about spoils of adventuring or war. If you take enemy weapons and armor do you have to pay for those? Gifts from other party members or inheritance from family?

My take is that for the vast majority of people the occupation income is the only source of income and thus it is the one which gets taxed. There is no 'Heortling IRS' with special rules covering every conceivable form of wealth transfer. Rather, there is a simple system based on occupation income which generates plenty of revenue to cover expenses. That's why the taxes are collected at Sacred Time after the harvest... because the income of most people is tied to the harvest. If they were actively seeking adventuring income they'd want to collect taxes on at least a seasonal basis so that they could collect some of it before the adventurers drank it all away or lost it in their next reckless scheme.

That's kinda my take too. WAaaay back in RQ2 it says 'any magic items you cannot personally use' had to be turned over, so that at least spelt it out clearly. It also uses the word income, not spoils and such. Which makes me wonder if what it's really referring to is when you train other cult members and the pay you'd get from that and teaching spells. If that was what they originally meant for you to return. 

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On 3/9/2019 at 1:13 PM, Joerg said:

Very good questions.

Technically, all the plunder from an adventure belongs to the sponsor of the adventure (typically the temple or the clan chief or someone like Duke Raus) who will then generously allow the party to keep most of it. He has no obligation to do so, but will be hard put to find parties risking their necks for him if he is too stingy.

I'd argue that most Runelords seem to be free agents, coming and going where they are needed. Granted they may take a mission from a Priest but they are just as likely to muck in where they think they are needed. I think one version of RQ actually said that their time  wasn't proscribed as other cult levels but when called they had to do what the cult needed. 

On 3/9/2019 at 1:13 PM, Joerg said:

Living with your clan, there are rather few things you can really claim as your own. Plunder rewarded by the chieftain does count as personal or at least family property.

Having this decision taken out of player hands probably doesn't go down well with people used to D&D (-inspired computer games) and its modern day views on property, which is why these aspects of Bronze Age society are carefully left untouched in most campaigns I have been told of or have been in.

If your income has gone to the clan, then the clan also has the obligation to pay the tithe.

Do you really own the item in the sense that you can pack it up, go to Nochet, sell it and have a season of debauchery? Or do you carry it on behalf of your chieftain, and are expected to return it to serve the clan?

Yes, per various versions of RQ, Rune Lords absolutely own things on their own. 

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On 3/9/2019 at 3:53 PM, CBDunkerson said:

See the Vasana example on page 424. She started out as a Warrior, but once she became a Rune Lord she is treated as a Noble.

Does she receive a noble's pay check though? Like, does the cult shower her with goods and wealth (that she then tithes back)? Is she supposed to work land and go kill Chaos (or whatever Cult duty she might have)? I always though Rune Lords were more free agents, typical adventureers in type, except when the cult called them in. 

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1 hour ago, Tywyll said:

Yes, per various versions of RQ, Rune Lords absolutely own things on their own. 

Property is a cultural concept rather than a religious one, so it also depends on the rules and relationship to your clan, tribe, king, patrician, sherrif, duke, mandarin, etc. rather than your position in a cult. RQ2 didn't go into the cultural side so much, and tithing was purely looked at from a cult perspective, whereas in Glorantha you have to take both into account.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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1 hour ago, Tywyll said:

Many you value POW really cheaply! I doubt any PC would gladly hand over a POW sacrifice for an NPC at that price!

RQ4 (the unpublished one) put POW at 1000-2000 L per point, based on how much skill was also involved. 

What we did for RQG is that Rune spells cast are valued 20L per RP, and one use ones are valued 10 times as much, so 1 POW is worth 200L (to replace the RP spent). This is far cheaper that the cost we used with RQIII (1500L per POW point, I don't remember where this came from), but this is coherent with the reduction of the amount of money used from 1 version to the other.

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1 hour ago, Tywyll said:

Does she receive a noble's pay check though? Like, does the cult shower her with goods and wealth (that she then tithes back)?  Is she supposed to work land and go kill Chaos (or whatever Cult duty she might have)?

Read the example. It answers every one of those questions. Or: 'yes', 'yes', 'no'.

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2 hours ago, Tywyll said:

Many you value POW really cheaply! I doubt any PC would gladly hand over a POW sacrifice for an NPC at that price!

The value of Lunars is much greater in RQG than it was in RQ2 and RQ3. In RQG 30 to 60L is a full season's income for most people, and that's before any deductions. You could buy a riding animal for 60L or several cows, and it's almost enough to buy a human slave. So, yes, a one point magic item costing 30-60L is about right.

Obviously if the item itself is made out of precious metals, or is of excellent craftsmanship then it will be worth more. But I certainly wouldn't value items at 1000s of Lunars per POW point in RQG - magic items are relatively common in Glorantha, and nobody would have 1000s of Lunars available to buy such items.

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Having said all that, Bargain skill rolls will influence the sale value for each item, and in most cases the main people in the market for them are merchants (with enough money, but also with high Bargain skills, which will likely reduce the price the PCs can get for the item). Looking in the GM Adventure book, some of the magical loot in there is given an upper value in the 100s of Lunars, and these are for ancient (and possibly famous) treasures. But anyway, YGMV.

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1 hour ago, Sumath said:

The value of Lunars is much greater in RQG than it was in RQ2 and RQ3. In RQG 30 to 60L is a full season's income for most people, and that's before any deductions. You could buy a riding animal for 60L or several cows, and it's almost enough to buy a human slave. So, yes, a one point magic item costing 30-60L is about right.

It's even worse: 60L is 1 full year of income, not 1 season.

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