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  • Transport of Tribute to the Blessed Isle

    Various Satrapies around Creation seems to still send Tribute in the form of Jade to the Blessed Isle.

    How would this Transport typically happen? For the near-Threshold Satrapies, I guess it will be pretty straight forward, but I am more interested in Prasad. It's a pretty long way to the Blessed Isle. How would they go about transporting this?

    Full disclosure on why I'm asking, the group I'm STing is building their little empire close to the area of the map where the mountain pass between Dreaming Seas and Ember is. Which seems to be the typical route by land...


  • #2
    I imagine with distances like that and the level of technology at their disposal, they'd send big caravan convoy(s) with a very well equipped, substantially sized, force of loyal/trustworthy guards. Sand ships are also a thing, or at least they were in 2nd ed, can't remember if they've been seen or mentioned yet in 3rd.

    And in the case of Prasad, I reckon they'd send at least 1 equally loyal/trustworthy DB if not a full circle of DB's to command them and make sure no one tries to make off with some of it.

    Random thought as well, but if I was Prasad in that situation and I knew the Empress was missing, I'd be looking any opportunity to renege on tributes and as long as you're PC's are publicly known Anathema, Prasad might be like, "Hey guys, could you do us a favour and maybe waylay that caravan. Will give you a cut if you don't tell the Realm "

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Solar Lantern View Post
      I imagine with distances like that and the level of technology at their disposal, they'd send big caravan convoy(s) with a very well equipped, substantially sized, force of loyal/trustworthy guards. Sand ships are also a thing, or at least they were in 2nd ed, can't remember if they've been seen or mentioned yet in 3rd.

      And in the case of Prasad, I reckon they'd send at least 1 equally loyal/trustworthy DB if not a full circle of DB's to command them and make sure no one tries to make off with some of it.
      ​I need to recheck the preview from The Realm describing Prasad to be sure, but I wonder if, apart from being under the control of a delegated force of Exalted, it works like any other satrapy; Great Houses would have bidded against one another for the right to collect tribute from it, and be responsible for its transportation (sans their fees) back to the Blessed Isle.

      ​After all, their portion of the tribute is the backbone of the wealth of Great Houses; the privilege of it is part of what actually defines a House. That seems like something important enough that you actually send one or more of your House's daughters to accompany the family troops being sent to accompany the goods back home.

      ​In which case, well, it isn't even necessarily a matter of trust. You can probably rely on a member of the family to come home with the tribute, because home is where their stuff and their society is. They're going to have an incentive to make sure that most of the goods get home safely, because if they don't, not only are they going to have to explain to the House elders why the cash for their ivory backscratchers didn't arrive, but they'll jeopardize their contract with the Empress, because most of that money is hers. You fail to come home with all of the stuff enough times, and she would probably just take the satrapy rights away from the House and offer it to somebody more competent, and that's really going to piss off your grandparents and aunts and cousins; like, get led into an elegantly arranged room with a clean mat and a blade on the floor kinds of pissed off.

      ​Besides, if occasionally the tribute gets stolen on the longer roads back home, you're Exalted and accompanied by a certain force of decently trained and fairly well-armed troops; there might be a few other kingdoms in the Threshold that can be impressed upon to help make up the shortfall.

      ​Not other satrapies, mind; if your own House's, you're just compounding the problem, and if another's then you're making enemies.


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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      • #4
        I'd imagine with land caravans they probably also junction normal vast amounts of traded goods with the tribute to maximize security efficiency. So imagine large scale well guarded guild Caravans, but owned by the Realm's forces. Sea routes are probably easier and use merchant marine ships and the like.

        Naturally it depends on the tribute, because many resource poor satraps have to double down on slave tribute to make up for it.


        It is a time for great deeds!

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        • #5
          I had this notion in which part of the advantage of having Exalted command the tribute collection was that if any of it goes missing, they can track down those responsible and treat them to graphic retribution, but then I realised that it was too extreme. However accustomed they might be to violence, the Scarlet Dynasty aren't gangsters, they aren't operating in that mode where any (known) loss in cash is an insult that needs to be redressed with extreme prejudice. More than that, it was an idea at odds with a detail since the earliest books that I've always admired; that a portion of the Realm's earnings is always going to be lost to graft, and this is known and accepted in principle (even if being caught in the act is still likely to be punished).

          ​So that would probably be another consideration in the rare instances where the tribute needs to be moved longest distances overland; they know that some of it is going to go missing. Every now and then, some opportunistic guard might snatch a handful of coins, secret it away in their clothes or their pack, and when they get home or layover in a nice town, they blow it all on a good time. Even on a long trip, where it happens a few dozen times, it probably only amounts to an insignificant percentage of the total, and you probably don't even notice until the trip's end because constantly taking inventory on the road might be impractical. It's a bother, but it's accounted as part of the cost of doing business.

          ​Maybe every once in a while you get somebody who thinks that they can make a big score off of the tribute caravan, and they're the type that gets chased down and unpleasantly executed in front of everybody. In that case, the bulk of the goods is working to your advantage; maybe it's slow to move across the Threshold, but that same concept applies to somebody who'd want to steal it from you, and you're faster than they are.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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          • #6
            This was something I thought about for my own game.

            To get to the Realm, tribe from Prasad would have to either go up along the rivers through the jungle, past a bunch of Lunar-controlled areas and into the Scavenger Lands (which seems a bad idea), or through mountain passes, past Ember and Kitangaala, and then either up through the lakes to Jiara or along the bottom of the lakes to Varang.
            As both Jiara and Varang are Realm satrapies, this seems the most likely route.

            As others have mentioned, this is going to be well-guarded, but Prasad is supposed to be a very rich satrapy, which means there'll be a lot of tribute travelling along, in a massive treasure caravan. Like the Spanish treasure fleets, but on land. So I don't think they'd send 1 DB, I think 5 would be the minimum, but actually I'd expect more like 20+! (It's also an opportunity for Prasadi DBs to travel and perhaps even visit the Realm, so considering the hundreds of DBs that live in Prasad, I don't think this is a big problem)
            Not to mention thousands of troops. And dozens of elementals, demons, elephants and yeddim.
            It may not actually be every year, could be a massive one every five years or somethijg.

            Thinking about it more, I realised that the treasure caravans would be a big economic help to all the petty kingdoms along the route from Prasad, down and over the mountains, and up past Ember, along to Varang. There'd be a lot of money to be made, and in fact Prasad probably pays out money to some of the larger kingdoms for their help. Those petty kingdoms that cause trouble might well (especially small ones) find their chief is being brutally murdered by a sworn kinship of Prasadi DBs.

            But what happens if the tribute stops? The Solars have returned, the Realm is losing control, there's rebellion in Harborhead and Jiara, Varang is predicting war, etc.
            The route becomes much more dangerous, and the Prasadi feel less pressure to pay tribute at all.
            If the regular giant treasure caravans stop, that's a sudden economic shock to all the places in the Ember area.



            So, the reason this came up in my game is that the PCs lived in a jungle near a bunch of medieval-Kenya-esque states, with poorly developed interiors but an area of trading towns, except rather than on the coast, they were on the great road that goes from Prasad, over the mountains, up past Ember, and then along to Varang.
            But Varang was conquered by Harborhead which was fighting the Realm, and the Realm was too weak for Prasad to bother paying tribute. Not to mention that Autocthonians conquered the Summer Mountains and so controlled the passes.
            This caused this area to fall into economic decline, weakening the local Kings and Queens, and making the area vulnerable to a barbarian horde (one led by the PCs' rivals) from the desert, as they couldn't hire mercenaries.

            But then Ledaal Kes (an old foe of the PCs) led the 17th legion to conquer a city on the south-east coast of the area of lakes. He made a deal with the Autocthonians, and Prasad sent a big treasure caravan, but it got blocked by barbarians attacking Ember for 6 months.
            Then the PCs murdered the barbarians' diplomat so the horde left Ember to fight the PCs, and so the caravan was able to get to the coast, and was loaded onto a fleet of ships.
            It got stuck again because the PCs had tricked the biggest country (Varamaya) in the land of lakes into joining Harborhead against the Realm.
            But Kes manoeuvred the PCs into murdering the God-Blooded Empress of Harborhead and her Lunar and Solar allies, Varamaya started negotiating with the Realm, and the treasure ships were able to travel up to Jiara (which Kes had previously re-conquered a few years before).

            I actually put this plot in so PCs had an option to become pirates and attack Realm treasure ships, stealing Prasad's tribute, but they avoided the Realm, focusing on consolidating things closer to home. Nevertheless, the economic consequences did effect various things in the local game-world, which I think builds a feeling of versimillitude.


            "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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            • #7
              Prasad is a weird exception, in that it’s controlled by Clans Burano and Ophris, who were Great Houses at one point but aren’t anymore. They have much more latitude than most satrapial administrations, because the Emprss recognizes she has trouble projecting force down there—and the last time she tried, the forces she projected went native and became, well, Clans Burano and Ophris. Sending some more legions down there to pacify Prasad and bring it back in line with normal satrapial standards runs the risk of those legions just doing the same damn thing.

              They do continue to send tribute, because they don’t want to be conquered. The annual ship,ent is a big deal and a major operation, involving a lot of overland movement and brownwater sailing, and the route—actually two possible routes–has has economies all along the way reshaped by the needs of its passage.

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              • #8
                That sounds roughly similar to what I was thinking.


                "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                • #9
                  Thank you so much everyone! Very helpful to get some thoughts and ideas on how to deal with this!

                  Especially great to get a confirmation about the particulars in Prasad’s case. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in game. And if the players decide to try to intercept this at some point.

                  One of the players just posted in ask the Devs about the size of tribute, if there are any thoughts about that feel free to post here! 😊

                  I’m thinking that it would be quite substantial, on the scale of several Resource 5 yearly incomes?

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