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Holdings of the Merchant Barons

PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:48 pm
by wastevens
The Merchant Barons, that over-proud breed of dirt, lacks much- in political capital, in social graces. What they have is vast Resources, and a willingness to both break tradition and explore alternatives that the Blooded, on the whole, disdainfully sneer down their noses at.

These Holdings are some of the fruits of those labors. Experimental, the Holdings of the Merchant Barons require two Stone, two Lumber and three Seasons to complete; breaking with tradition means there's no tried and true course, and more false fits and starts.

The Blooded must additionally spend 2 Style if they denign to emulate the proud dirt. Thus far, none have.

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Salt Pannery (Requires Swamp or Shoreline)
An organized effort to evaporate salt from deposits in swamplands or from mineral rich shorelines. Salt is relatively unknown in Ven culture; it may be used as a Spice. Additionally, one unit of Salt may be spent to store two units of Food. Salt may not be aquired by Trade; only direct deals with a Noble who can produce it. This may change if Salt Panneries become sufficently common.

Mint (Requires 2 Metal in addition to the other costs; Requires City or Castle)
Some of the merchant barons have begun experimenting with a medium of trade, coins and bars of various metals, woods- or even bags of spices or bottles of wine -at standardized weights and measures. Their betters look down with bemusement at how little this risen dirt has actually risen, to be so concerned with how their lessers conduct their petty businesses. A Mint allows one unit of Trade to exchange two other Resources instead of one. A given Province can only accommodate a single Mint; for each additional Mint controlled by the same Noble, increase the total number of Resources that can be exchanged per unit of Trade by 1. (So, if Baron Morgenstar controls three Provinces and has three Mints, he could trade 1 unit of Trade and 4 units of Lumber to get 4 units of any other Resource)

Guild Hall (Requires Village or City)
Organizing all the artisans of a given profession into a single organization allows a clever noble to leverage economies of scale to their advantage- producing more for everyone. However, such organizations are also often magnets for unrest, stirring no end of Trouble. A Guild Hall allows a city to have an additional Craftsman, one Rank greater than could normally be allowed, but also adds one die to the City's Trouble dice.

Accountant (Vassal)
An Accountant is a kind of Valet, one that only seems to manage tallying the various contracts and agreements a Merchant Baron has agreed to. Proper Blooded consider such a Vassal as a clear sign of inferiority- a true nobleman has no need of anyone's assistance in keeping his word, or else he'd not have given it.
An Accountant can help with a Transport Resources & Goods action. Additionally, one Region for each Rank of the Accountant produces an additional Resource during each Harvest, thanks to more accurate record keeping, taxation, and actuarial work.

Mercenaries (Vassal Band)
Mercenaries as a strange new creature to have cropped up in recent times. While there have always been Ven, Blooded and unblooded, who were willing to give violence in exchange for shelter and bread, it was never seen as a profession- until the rise of the merchant Barons. Many in the Senate decry these 'rogue armies' and demand they be brought to heel, and the barons who pay for them put to the sword... but the Merchant Barons just smile and spread their hands. After all, they didn't *raise* them... They just pay for them.

Recruiting a Mercenary Band requires only a single Season, and can recruit a band of potentially any Rank. However, Mercenaries require 1 Food per Rank per Season, as well as 1 Luxury per Rank per Year- thus, they are too expensive to be maintained indefinitely by any but the wealthiest of Ven. Additionally, no Province can support a Mercenary Band with a Rank greater than the number of Farms present- but this does not reduce the maximum rank of any Secret Armies. Finally, using the Bribe Vassal action on a Mercenary Band only requires Luxuries equal to their Rank.

Mercenary Bands act as a Secret Army or Personal Guard.

Mercenaries are not *technically* illegal, because the Noble did not raise them, but flaunting mercenaries is likely to make enemies.

Re: Holdings of the Merchant Barons

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 12:20 am
by Lriot
I love it.
Especially the "we didn't rise them" part :twisted:

I will definitely use these ideas in my campaign - I have a player who has a Merchant Baron as his vassal.

Re: Holdings of the Merchant Barons

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 5:24 am
by wastevens
Danke :)

I really felt that the Merchant Barons needed a means to have some teeth- a way to turn wealth into other forms of power. Mercenaries are one step on that approach.