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November 18, 2005, 8:55 pm

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Time to move on


If you helped the Grazuul Tribe, others require similar help. The reward is bigger, as the risks.

There are those people, that would climb into any hole for money. Sometimes they find nothing, sometimes death. And sometimes they find so much wealth that enough fools try their luck next time.

But sometimes even ordinary people find wealth.

Jonas was a simple peasant. Living from day to day was not easy, but his wife and four children made it easier. While digging a small well for his animals, he found a large pot that was too heavy to be empty. And inside, you guess it, were hundreds of large golden coins, so much he has never seen before!

Neither he, nor his wife did know how to handle this sum of money. So they hid it carefully, and Jonas took a few coins to buy some tools and toys and sweets. He never came back.

But on the same day the local tax collector arrived, threatening the poor woman for anything about the gold her man spent. She did not tell, even as he accused her beloved of thieving, evading taxes and running away to leave her alone. The tax collector found nothing and learned nothing so left diappointed. But villagers did find something later, Jonas’ body, hidden not far from the village.

It took some time to carefully ask all the people that saw Jonas, but eventually it was clear: Jonas left really home, his gold attracted attention, and the tax collector left the town hot on his trail. As he was an hour or so behind, he could catch him, but not far from the village…

And that was bad. All were used to high taxes and bullies, but no one was ever killed. The community gathered around the poor widow, and promised to take care of her and her
children. In a moment of gratitude, the wife (her name was Laranna), revealed the reason for killing. The whole village was astonished and scared, for that much of money was more worth than all their houses and animals together! Sadly, they could not spend the money. The tax collector already revealed himself. Their lord they have never seen, indeed the taxes were the only thing the village was valued for. Justice was rumoured to be in the city, if you are lucky.

So much gold could only worsen the situation. Someone will come and take it, and all get even more taxed. Unless… unless there come some heroes to help! It would be very handy if the same heroes helped Helping the Grazuul Tribe. All that mocking for helping some dirty Orcs could be nicely rewarded. They just need to transport over 200 person total, men, women, children and some favourite animals too. Without much attention. And buy land somewhere, with enough place.

See Feudalism. A serf can leave his village at any time. Question is, why do that? Land is owned by the lords, if you want some, you must be very rich or you simply end up working for another lord again, your whole life. The serfs are an important source of a lord’s income. Even if they are somewhat free, they are usually held in check for the betterment of higher classes.

The situation described above is, if lucky, a one-way ticket to a better life. While such moving IS according to laws, everyone with power will try to stop it, for it disturbs peace and traditions. Once found out, thieves and bandits may want the gold themselves. The tax collector will surely try anything to hinder them and get his hands on the money.

A good feeling. Half of the golden treasure (and maybe there is more…). Popularity amongst the simple folk. Maybe a new enemy, a lord. Officials and clerks may sometimes go to great lenghts to make their lives hard. The taxing authorities will concentrate on the heroes. OK, this is not truly a reward. :-(

A social system close to the feudal one.  It should be possible for taxes be different in different parts of the kingdom. A serf does not own the land he works on. Moving of a large group of tax-payers can produce hostilities between the lords.

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

January 28, 2003, 12:47
The characters are starting to become well known as champions of the weak. Well, as long as there is something in it for them.

The amount of money would have to be a delicate balance. Enough to buy land, but not enough to make the lord jealous. It's very diffcult to have a sum like that unless the degrees of wealth between the poor and the rich are vastly different. Like the cost of the lord's breakfast could buy one of the peasant's homes.

Depending on how greedy and/or evil the tax collector is, he might serve as a well timed complication to the exodus by having a small troop of guards show up with him at the village, bent on finding the other 3 or 4 golds he expects. Claim the villagers were trafficking with spys or traitors or such. Were would a serf get such wealth after all?
January 28, 2003, 16:59
Actually, in feudalism, serfs couldn't leave. They wer considered a piece of the land. However, peasants were allowed but what was the point?
January 29, 2003, 3:27
Actually, peasants were a general catagorization that included freeman and villeins. The villeins were basically the serfs.

Serfs owed servitude to the Lord for the use of the land and were also under the sole jurisdiction of the Lord. When you look at freemen, pretty much the same could be said of them. They still owed the Lord labor or rent but it was much less and they were exempt of many other taxes.

Point of it all is that anybody could leave the Lord, freeman or villein (serf). It is a matter of money. A "chevage" was paid to the Lord by the serf for the ability to live 'off' the estate. It was suppose to be yearly and then they could do as they wished. Freemen could just leave.

When it comes down to it, the idea of a tax collector is the most out of place. Payments were almost always made in labor and only the wealthy peasants were able to pay their way out of the physical labor with money. You owe so much for the land you use: work to pay it off -or- pay cash the equal of the work owed for it. The Lords counted on a lot of work and if most of the peasants paid instead of worked, they would have to hire them to do the work anyway. If there was a tax collector it was often times a respected person of the village that was given the responsibility by the Lord and only had limited power.

But then again this is a fantasy so anything is possible :-)
January 30, 2003, 5:37
Taxes can come in various guises. Part of the reason the collector is so greedy, is he only collects food or wool or whatever they produce, never gets actual cash. If a lords lands are particularly large, not all peasants have to work, but all pay taxes in some way.

An uncaring lord may well give that responsibility to someone the village not trusts.

And if you don't like it, replace him with anyone else. Greed is not limited to tax collectors... ;-)
Barbarian Horde
November 10, 2003, 15:12
I like this plot. It is not the typical hack-n-slash. Plus it is the perfect route to start "empire building" for a group of players. The best way for the PCs to ensure that the peasants are never used again so harshly would be to carve out a piece of wilderness for the peasants and then lightly govern it for the peasants benefits. The PCs will then have a strong base of support of wealthy & loyal peasants from which to start building a nation. Just defending their small holdings could keep PCs busy for a long time.
Barbarian Horde
November 26, 2003, 5:22
"If you helped the Grazuul Tribe, others require similar help. The reward is bigger, as the risks." "So much gold could only worsen the situation. Someone will come and take it, and all get even more taxed. Unless... unless there come some heroes to help!"

If the PC's did help the Grazuul, maby the scorn they get for helping lowly orcs is just what the townsfolk here are looking for . . . proof of heroes with some true measure of character. The townsfolk had the money all along but were afraid of hiring mecenaries because the mercenaries might well just make off with the loot instead of helping them move away from an abusive ruler. They want to hire the PCs when their reputation finds its way to their town, but the messenger sent to hire the PC's (Jonas) is attacked and dies at he PC's feet before he gets his message across.
Its up to the PC's to uncover the mystery of the man that died at their feet and make their way to his village. His personal effect can give clues. Perhaps they can have the chance to track and capture the man that killed Johnas, interogating him for information.
Since the gold in the well is to purchase lands for their own independence, and the villagers feel they can trust the heroes, they have the motivation for a non-standard reward. The non-standard reward could be:

1) Town Craftsmen offer to make them special weapons or armor, give them horses and cattle, anything but the actual gold they need for themselves.

2) They offer the PC's marriage to some of the towns-maidens. In feudal cultures arrianged marriages were not uncommon. What a nice coincidence that their are some particlarly well suited virgins come of age just now. Beside a marriage to a capable, heroic, healthy PC is a greater honor than any of them could normaly hope for. This is especially true if some PC's have titles from their background or other adventures. If you like this option but the PCs don't, subterfuge can go along way-- towns folk who get the PC's druged or intocicated and married in a quick ceremony. For those honorable character they now have a dilema, especially if they can't remember what happened on their "wedding night". If a PC's is looking for a follower this is a way to give them more than they bargained for when their new bride shows interest and aptitide in adverture. As a follower she could have skills as a savy thief, studied magician, or trained in the sword by a father concerned for her virtue (irony is wonderful). All kinds of possible twists here.

3)The townsfolk might trust the PC's enough to aks them to be their new rulers and defenders. The PC's as a group would be a council based multi-person government. The townsfolk offer this reward when the heroes prove themselves in the Exodus instead other rewarde previously offered. great for PC desireing a kindom as mentioned before.

-D. Robinson
November 26, 2003, 6:02
Wow. Motives and many possibilities to explore.

Thank you for this comment. I will contemplate on this more.
Barbarian Horde
May 10, 2005, 12:31
i would like to know how a peasant becomes a freeman for i have been doing this topic ay school and i would be more than happy to find out how
May 10, 2005, 21:05
Uh, well...
I dunno'. We aren't a medieval studies site, we're roleplaying. Look elsewhere, kid.
May 11, 2005, 6:06

A freeman is not a noble and not a serf. A freeman was usually a tradesman or craftsman such as a fisherman, bargeman, fishmonger, leather worker, miller, or the like. A serf could become a freeman by serving as an apprentice to a freeman; by buying his freedom, or by being the son of a freeman.

There can be easily other conditions, such as serving in the army for some time, being the tenth child of a serf, being granted freeman status after some exceptional deed, and so on. Google for more data on history pages.
Voted valadaar
June 28, 2011, 11:25

Plot idea and history lesson in one. Nice one Manfred.


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