Seize Everything
Seize Everything

The players in my RIT campaign have an estate now, given to them by the Princeps of the Grey City as a reward for saving Castle Rahas from Jebwyer Fanda and the Servant of the Chained One. Apparently Lord Farhaad had written the Princeps a letter putting the party’s names forward as potential holders of an estate that he had heard was open, as he had told them he might. Once in the Grey City, the players had heard rumors that one Lord Varghess had been caught selling state secrets. He’d lost his trial, and no one thought his appeal would lead to much good, seeing as he couldn’t afford a decent champion. It took them a while to connect all the little things that were going on–the rumors of Varghess’ trial, the baboon death squad that challenged Verrick (one of the PCs) to a pistol duel (which he lost), etc–but after Varghess’ execution (where, due to legal/pistol/angry mob-related complications, Varghess was actually assassinated by Sh’vass, the “party necromancer,” as he’s been called), the party found themselves in an interview with the Princeps, where he delivered Varghess’ former estate into their hands. They rode out for a better look at the estate, met with a member of the Princeps’ Guild of Assessment for a brief tour and a rundown of possible revenues and expenses, and ended the session discussing what to do with their new land. The general consensus seemed to be that they should get things running quickly, leaving their man Chunsworth behind to look after things for them while they went off adventuring.

Other things that happened last session: Atlas Brulio won a small sum of money while playing poker in a back room with the arms dealer he’d just bought illegal incendiaries from, Verrick accidentally found a secret society that was involved with demon summoning, Marcus Bighammer got a book repaired, and Sh’vass was mistaken for a different elf named Rieter by a large automaton that, once it had found the actual Rieter, detonated, killing the poor elf and destroying most of a fountain.

All the shenanigans aside, however, the events of the session leave me with a problem, namely, figuring out what numbers I need to use for the estate of the late Lord Varghess (now known as either Haven Hill or Wayfarer Mansion or something along those lines). The numbers I had given them during the session were from Giles, the head man from the Guild of Assessment team that had been scoping out the place for the Princeps, but his job was more to gather evidence that Varghess had committed horrible treason. His numbers might not be the most accurate in the world, which I figured gives me a bit of leeway when I figured everything out behind the scenes (which, in retrospect, I really should have done before the session). This is the process I went through.

I started my attempt at economic calculation by trying to get my hands on a copy of the Adventurer Conqueror King System prerelease rules. I’d remembered seeing reports on a lot of the blogs I read mentioning that it had an amazing economic system, built for exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, the only way to get access to the prerelease rules is to have donated to their Kickstarter effort, which is now closed. So much for that. After much deliberation with myself, I preordered a PDF copy. From what I’ve seen of it, the $15 will be more than worth it for the estate-management system alone, much less the rest of the book.

However, I still have Varghess’ lands to stat up, at least until ACKS comes out and I have some tables calculated by people who actually know what they’re doing. In the meantime, I need something to give the players while they’re setting things up there, renaming the area and getting to know their new land. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Parts of the economic system are up on the ACKS blog, and I found a post of this gentleman statting up an estate in his own game, so I figured I ought to be able to throw something together. If I find the need to change it later, well, there are ways of doing that.

The estate consists of one manor house, sans most of its furnishings. The latest generations of the Varghess family had been less-than-careful with their money, the latest incarnation more so than most; before betraying the Princeps for gold, he had sold off most of the furniture in his manor house in an ultimately-futile attempt to pay off his gambling debts. The village below, called Piper, had been run into the ground as the peasants were taxed for more than they could really afford to give, which ultimately led to the bodies of a sizable number of Varghess’ tax officers never being found. Seeing as he was no longer able to afford the soldiers to collect his high taxes, and he’d sold most of his family valuables (down to the furniture from all but a few rooms in the mansion), he turned to treason. Once he’d lost his head from that, the players came in, to find everything in a shambles. This is not a prosperous estate at the moment. Piper mead used to be semi-famous in the Empire, but now the hives are empty of bees and the brewery is mostly defunct. The orchards are untended, houses are abandoned, and the few peasants who are left are belligerent and untrusting of anyone who comes from the house on the hill. The manor house itself, while mostly unfurnished, is actually rather impressive; marble and rare woods are much in evidence. There’s a guest house, a house for the Steward (who manages the estate while the Lord is away–that house has been locked tight for years now, as Varghess couldn’t afford the services of a professional estate manager–servants’ quarters, a stable, a pool, etc. The front door is not currently attached to its hinges, thanks to the small battering ram used by the Guild of Assessment soldiers when they were arresting Varghess, but once it’s repaired it’ll be a very nice place indeed.

The problem is, repairs are expensive. Giles told them that it would cost about 10,000gp to restore the mansion to even half of its former glory, a price estimate that I’m not really sure about at the moment, but I’ll let it stand seeing as that’s the only estimate the players or I have at the moment. I also told them that they would get approximately 1000gp per season, which, from what I’m getting from the ACKS blog posts that I have access too, seems to be a little off. Revenue would be closer to 1000gp per month, a distinction that I’m sure my players will appreciate. Expenses, however…those are a bit higher as well. In the end, it balances out to pretty much the same.

Let’s go with 1550 per month total revenue, for the former-Varghess estate. They’ll need a garrison to patrol, police and collect taxes for the estate, so let’s put that at about 400gp/month. That should get them thirty or so heavy infantry types–better than your average thug, but still chainmail-and-short-sword goons. More than enough to deal with any problems coming from this estate. If they want to cut corners, they could hire less, but the amount of control they have over the area would decrease; poaching, tax-dodging, smuggling, and crime in general would increase, especially with these mistrustful peasants, and revenue would decrease accordingly. Upkeep on the manor will be approx. 800gp per month, in its current state. That will increase as time goes on, however; that’s just to keep food coming in for the staff, keep everything currently in there repaired and cleaned, etc. Once there are more furnishings and whatnot, upkeep costs will go up.

Okay. That puts us at 350gp/month in revenue. Out of consideration for the current state of affairs in the region, the Princeps will take only 100gp/month in taxes, at least at first. Leaving them with 250gp/month, or: 1000 per season, the number I had arrived at earlier. This is, of course, subject to change once I get my hands on the ACKS rules, and once the players or their appointed steward get things running again, but I feel like it’s enough for now.

EDIT: Wait up, wait up…apparently preordering ACKS got me access to the prerelese version. As such, some changes to the numbers listed above may occur once I actually figure out how to download the rules.

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