Thursday, June 2, 2011

Death & Taxes

After surviving the deadly hazards of the underground, loot laden adventurers in the City must face another foe as cunning as he is rapacious: The taxman.

Long ago, the town father’s of the City decided that treasure uncovered in the areas of its hegemony rightfully belonged to the people. This particularly applied to ancient artifacts like coins or objects of art. The brave (or foolhardy) souls who hauled it to the surface deserved something for their efforts--which they reckoned at best at 70%. This is, of course, reduced by various other fees resulting from destruction of public property, hazardous carcass removal, etc. Adventurers are allowed to deduct equipment and provisioning costs, but only if the appropriate forms are submitted in the appropriate manner.

Adventurer’s might consider melting down precious metal artifacts to render them unrecognizable--but the ownership of gold by private individuals (except in jewelry or coins of numismatical interest) is illegal--not that adventurers are opposed to illegal means, but why keep the evidence around? An adventurer’s only option is fencing of his loot and laundering the proceeds. Of course, this too puts an adventurer in danger as it may draw him into the web of the Hell Syndicate.

Discretion is always important. The bland, gray-suited men of the Municipal Department of Taxation and Finance are not without their own resources. Higher level agents carry wooden coins which writhe in their pockets in the vicinity of gold. Some are able to detect lies as well.

The Municipal Building, where their offices are housed, is a veritable temple to the eikone Management. The place is so aligned with Law that all nonlawful beings suffer confusion and demoralization (-2 to all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma checks) inside its walls, if seeking to act against its bureaucracy.

Those who damage (or attempt to damage) the Municipal Building or harm its agents, while flaunting its rules run the risk of calling down an inevitable upon them. These powerful constructs punish transgressions against bureaucracy and law. They're believed to be summoned by a teletype machine in a sub-basement office beneath the building. Some rumors suggest the summoning of an inevitable requires a civil servant to burn his employment record in a waste bin, surrendering his identity--and his pension.


The Angry Lurker said...

This is great, wooden coins, the ability to detect lies, the faceless grey suited drones of the government, as you said nothing more certain than death and taxation.

scottsz said...

Why can't the SciFi channel make this kind of material into a series?!


Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Thanks. Glad you liked it.

@scottsz - Probably because they don't want to pay me the extravagant amounts I'd charge, or deal with my nuisance litigation if they did it without me. ;D

Seriously though, that is a good question.

Unknown said...

A fantastic method to separate adventurers from their cash. Adventurers should be poor and desperate. ;)

Anonymous said...

One of my games, run as a pickup game at the University of Oregon many moons ago, featured a huge necropolis walled off by the surrounding Empire. Adventures were let in to loot to their heart's content, after they signed a contract, and the government took a percentage and occasionally took an item via 'compulsory purchase'. It worked really well as a loose campaign structure but, boy, did the players hate having to fork over those taxes.

Unknown said...

As a social democrat, I am very much in favour of paying taxes. However, I have a few questions, chief amongst them is health care. I assume that once I've payed my 30% Adventure Tax, I assume the Government will cover part of my healing-costs?

I also see this leading certain unsavoury types adventuring under the table.

You know, Trey, this is one of the neatest twists in a setting I've seen in a long while. Kudos to you, sir.

satyre said...

Love the idea of Management and the non-lawful demoralisation. Gives me chills just thinking about it. Brrr.

I'm surprised that some enterprising adventurers haven't coated their loot in a thin layer of lead. Mind you if that isn't a Hell Syndicate wheeze I don't know what is...

No self-respecting inevitable would rise from their orthographic bed for a public servant pension. Yet an appropriately worded memo agonised over by clerks (clerics in classical Ealderish) bearing a handwritten authorisation from an appointed and anointed servant of Management would be approval enough for such a summons.

Trey said...

@Risus - Exactly. And maybe an adventure can even be made out of making them that way. ;)

@seaofstarsrpg - Nobody wants "take their stuff" to apply to them. ;)

@Harald - I'm afraid not, Harald. The City isn't that enlightened. Most adventurers have to provide their own healthcare or use support from dues paid to professional organizations. I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's an idea that's been percolating for a bit but finally came together for me.

@satyre - Thanks. You seem to have some good sources within the City. ;)

Pierce said...

How are you so good at making up cool ideas? Great as usual.

Unknown said...

So, say an adventurer decides to skimp on his taxes. He gets audited, and Management takes all his stuff, and makes him pay a penal tax. He's now flat broke, and without the tools of his profession. The only thing he really knows how to do is dungeoneering.

In The City, I'd guess the poor guy might end up as an indentured adventurer, beholden to some ruthless Dungeon Master running his heroes ragged, while pocketing most of the profit.

ze bulette said...

New spell: Summon Civil Servant!

Great stuff Trey.

Adam Dickstein said...

Awesome stuff but based on the image I thought it was going to be a post about Victor Sage...The Question!

Trey said...

@Harald - Good thoughts! I'm sure things like that happen.

@ze bulette - But can they be banished? ;)

@Barking Alien - I can see that with the picture, but with the Question's objectivist political stance maybe the title is apropos, too.