The Queens Decree
By Decree of her Royal Majesty, the possession, ownership, or consumption of any alcoholic substance has been henceforth been declared unlawful, and said violators of the Queen's will shall be subject to punishment.
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.
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? Responses (10)
Well, the queen should have thought about this a little more - not only did she allow some gangster bosses to rise in power, but also lost the taxes she'd have normally gained from the taverns, plus promoted some tavern brawls to large scale crime...
Alternative: as long as the demand is there, alcohol will find a way into her country. Thus, she must eliminate the demand - for example, make it unfashionable to drink alcohol - 'only low-lifes do drink beer, the cultivated citizen/noble drinks BubbleFizz...
Also, she could make it extremely profitable for people to export alcohol, but unprofitable to sell it at home. Just don't make it illegal...
All valid comments Echo, ones that weren't considered when Prohibition was instated back in the 1920's. The bosses didnt exist before prohibition, neither did the widespread gang violence. They were all products of prohibition. This is one of the main reasons that prohibition, the 18th amendment to the US constitution was struck down some years later.
As for eliminating the demand, history has proven that it cannot be eliminated, only moderated. As the expression goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Prohibition was fostered through the idea that alcohol caused domestic violence, and immoral behavior, and that eliminating alcohol would eliminate the violence and immoral behavior.
It didnt. A largely religious backed initiative caused over 500 murders, as well as creating large, effective criminal organizations. There are some people who would still bring about prohibition if they could, regardless of the consequences.
Scenario as History. A great series of scenerio elements that show the March of History.
You can have the Queen, through the King's Black Arrow (assassin), get word to the gangs that violence must be hidden and discrete. 'The Crown does not want to involve itself in what is obviously an intraguild affiar.' If they do not keep their 'housekeeping' under cover, the Crown will be forced to take direct action. If they wish to keep their monies, they need to keep it in the shadows. Words to this ilk passed to the Shadow Guilds, and one or two guild 'events' crashed by army regulars, will keep most of the public violence to a minimum. Perhaps these guilds will need to pay 'protection money' to the enforcers to keep them out of their affairs.
The Queen could also publically point that 'These Criminals are the only ones drinking Alcohol... and look at their violent behavior...' Thus making her cause look more rightous and them look bad in the eyes of most people.
These two affairs and the rise of a boss of bosses will create a more stable environment. A new status quo will occur.
I love this plot...'The Untouchables' in a fantasy setting. 5/5
Prohibition! Great . I grew up in the same church as the Queen apparently. A couple of my players Have a brewery they use for extra income in my game. It has just started turning a profit and will probably bring them substantial wealth....Or will it?
I stumbled over this plot again and realized how much I liked it.
This would go over really well for my players. One of them plays a cleric of Thor, known for their love of drink. He'd probably have a LOT to say about this edict. ;)
It's a great way to introduce the realities of thieves guilds to the world. I find that a lot of campaigns don't put a lot of consideration into the impact and power that thieves guilds would likely have, if they were modelled on mob families(as I tend to do in my campaigns).
I think this is ripe for a plucking... yes, I shall pluck this idea and use it... 5/5
A very good adaptation of history to suit our own worlds. After all, why make something new when you can adapt something real? 4/5
5/5 for this Untouchables plot.It would make a good story as well as a good game.
What Chaosmark said.
Prohibition in a Fantasy setting, brilliant!