The Queen, being a moderate and temperate woman was disturbed by the excesses caused by the mass consumption of alcohol in her kingdom. Fights in bars and taverns were nightly affairs, with many people being injured, or even killed in the violent quarrels. Worse yet, the constant drinking led what would have been upstanding citizens into addiction with drink, turning hard working farmers into derelicts on the side of the streets, pandering for coins to buy another mug or ale. Such places always attract women of the lowest sort, in her opinion, those who sold their bodies for money. Being a righteous and god-fearing woman, she could not let this continue if it was in her power to stop.
The Queen consulted with the Primarch of the Trinitarian Church and sought out his wise council. The Primarch suggested a gradual change, as a sudden change could cause violent outbursts, just as a babe must be weaned from the teat gradually least it cry and make a terrible fuss. Seeing the wisdom of his plan, the Queen made her own plan, working with the Prime Minster of the Kingdom, under her husbands nose.
Within six months, the cost of alcohol doubled with the addition of a mandatory tax upon all produced. Half of this tax was tithed to the Trinitarian church, and the rest was tucked away by the Queen’s Treasurer. There were some complaints, but the desire for liquor remained steady, though more and more violence began between the derelicts over the increased cost of drink compared to their meager income from begging. The Queen issued more of the Queen’s Guard to patrol detail, detaining the more violent drunks and criminals.
OOC: During this phase, when PCs purchase their ale, wine, and whatever other spirits they prefer, the cost is increased at least to twice the original. If they are in the capital city, the price could go as high as three or four times the old rate. Only in more distant areas, or areas that only see the royal tax collectors once a year will the old cost be found.
A year after the initiation of the alcohol tax, the Queen declared that the violence in the city caused by drunkards was unacceptable. She banned the sale of alcohol within the boundaries of the city. Taverns, Inns and brothels inside the capital soon withered as much of their income came from alcohol sales. Most picked up shop and moved outside of the boundaries of the city. A new detachment of the Queens Guard is formed, with influence from the Trinitarian Church, the Enforcers. The Enforcers hunt down and crash hidden taverns and alehouses operating in secret, as well as hunting out brewers, vintners, and distillers who have evaded paying the Ale Tax.
OOC: During this period, frequented taverns will be closed, or operating in secret. New taverns will have opened doors, but may still be under construction on the edges of the capital city. Towns and cities that have very strong ties to the Queen, or the church will be mimicking the decrees of the capital. The Enforcers, usually well trained, slightly religious guards will be more common, policing the streets for drunkards and such. The cost of alcohol is again increased exponentially.
Three years have passed since the Queen started the program to eliminate alcohol in her kingdom. The King has gotten whiff of her actions and is displeased, being a red-meat eatin’ wench tossin’ double fisted beerman. Unfortunately, his hands are tied, as all of this has gone on to long for him to just up and change things back. It would demonstrate his lack of control and power over the kingdom, inviting possible assassins, and military challenges to his kingship.
Meanwhile, the Queen has played her trump card, the complete and total ban of alcohol in the Kingdom. The Trinitarian Church fully supports her actions, as does the majority of the lesser lords and ladies. Unbeknownst to her husband, the Queen has been about twisting arms, and coercing wives to turn their husbands in favor of her plans. There is some uproar as the Enforcers shut down every tavern and alehouse they can find, fining repeat offenders and placing some of them in newly built prisons and dungeons. Brewers are forced to change occupation, or leave the Kingdom to continue their craft.
OOC: By this phase, alcohol, if it can be found goes for 10 times the normal cost. If the gaming group partakes of beer during gaming sessions (Mine did) restrict it and instead replace it with water, apple juice, or milk. PCs who are caught with alcohol can be fined, their weapons and armor impounded until ‘bought back’ or are sold by the enforcers. They could even be imprisoned, temporarily. Thieves guilds discover the advantage of their innate secrecy allow them to become smugglers of alcohol, and gain a staggering profit in the mean time.
Money talks, and soon the Thieves Guilds have alot to say. Violence becomes more and more common, if more discrete. Wars erupt between various thieves guilds until one particular guild gains dominance over a town or city. The ranking members of the Guild become massively wealthy over the smuggling of alcohol, there is always someone willing to pay the staggering cost of ale.
OOC: By this point, the Guilds are becoming very strong. Officials and nobles are bribed to look the other way, and those who dont are framed, or assassinated. The Guild maintains its operational secrecy, but the more public members are becoming more influential and powerful. Thieves and rogues are forced to go into hiding or declare loyalty and support one of the various Guild Bosses who are rising in power. Best mix, 1/3 The Godfather, 1/3 Standard Fantasy, and 1/3 Chicago Gansters
Guard this wagon - The PCs are hired to protect a shipment heading to one of the dry cities, with the stipulation that they dont ask no silly questions and dont let anyone examine the shipment too much. If there is a Thief/Rogue in the group, this could be a chance for the PCs to get hip deep in the smuggling of alcohol and make alot of money, becoming Gangsters for the Guild Bosses. The Trip could be interrupted by Enforcer inspections, rival Gangsters trying to steal a shipment of alcohol, or run-ins with Trinitarian Zealots.
A Mug full of Blood - The violence bewteen rival gangs spills over into the PCs lives as they are contracted to protect a Guild Boss, or to put a hit on a rival gang party or boss. Violence is rapid and common, with bands of armed goons storming inns, massacres of rival guild family members and such. The PCs could be targeted in such a fashion.
Blessed are the Sober - Instead of supporting the Gangsters, the PCs could be part of the Enforcers, or other fction working to suppress illegal alcohol. Plenty of friction if there is a thief/smuggler, and a cleric in the party.
The Real Deal
Prohibition was a dangerous time period in American history, one that is well known and documented. It was the time of such well known Gangsters as Al Capone, and Baby Face Nelson. One of the things that gave these gangsters the power that they had not had before was that they manufactured, and distributed liquor illegaly and made a large amount of money from this activity. This sudden wealth allowed them to buy off officials, purchase weapons, and hire goons to do their dirty work.