Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 17:25:54 +1200
From: P Schmidt
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
Draco and Co wrote and replied..
> > I find that having members of the thieves guild sit on the directing
> > oligarchy give the city much flavor.
> > Really? Assassins and Thieves in charge of the greatest city in the
Flanaess is what gives Greyhawk its flavor?
> > I find if oppressive and unjust. It offends my personal sense of Ma'at
and changes Greyhawk from a "Free City" to an "Apparently Free City".
Anything that can add drama to game by definition adds - flavour. The real questioin then is is it a flavour you like. When you think it through an arrangment as tilted as the current ruling oligachy gives a lot of scope for some clever roeplaying, conflicts of interest and intrigue - surely the flavour you want..
You then go on to say...
> If people get sent to the labor camps for minor offenses just because
Greyhawk is low on labor, and if fines are increased to finance operations (or so
I've read COG box set, GHTaB. etc.), while at the same time the thieves guild
sucks up more and more revenue from the city, it seems certain to me that
>Greyhawk is headed for disaster.
The problem here is what you consider to be justice. Rememer we are playing in a pseudo-medieval genre. The laws and punishments as described are remarkably ENLIGHTENED for their times, something the folk of Greyhawk are probably well aware of the. The problem is one of relativisim - we live in an eglitarean democracy. But medieval society, even high-pseudo-medieval is short brutal and nasty. Two comparisons might help - in Roman times people escaped their own countries and rulers to try and live under Roman Law, even when they weren't citizens. The law, brutal by our standards was still the best law around - and people knew it. In a more modern comparison, the former head of the KGB was asked why the USSR had always allowed Romania such a free hand within the old communist sphere. He replied, tongue in
cheek, that Russia had a problem with Romanian peasants espcaping to Russia to live and work. Knowing how bad things were in Russia, the Soviets concluded that Romania must be even worse run than Russia and so could hardly ever present a threat to them.
The same rules apply for Greyhawk. By comparison to neighbouring states and by the standrds of the times, the laws are fair. A quick one-off Law: The Olde English Law of the Four Footed. "Kill or steal a mans hound, goat or cow and ye shall be put to death" Why? Becuase without a dog, cow or goat a peasant would starve over winter. What's fair is all a matter of realtive wealth.
> Instead robbery will be committed in a government regulated way.
> I'm not impressed by these fringe benefits.
> I don't think the population would be either, if they knew about it.
Hmmm... try reading the trade histories of the Hessiantic League, the Papal States (Romagna), Macao or of Florence. Its, sadly a common way of doing business. And VERY profitable. The hard thing is getting the mix of sanctioned crime vs trade just right...
> > Finally with thieves in control of the city they labor to create an
> > environment where the city is flourishing, so that they can always draw
> > new wealth to the city to steal.
Correct... look at crime vs protection vs the english silk industry - a perfect example...