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Ransom Model (Not That One) 
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:40 pm
Posts: 13
Post Ransom Model (Not That One)
So I'm kicking around ideas and concepts for my Greyhawk campaign (4e, although I don't think that matters for this post), and I thought this might be a useful place to get some feedback on some conceptual stuff.

Either because I'm a bleeding heart liberal or because I have a yen for realism, I tend to wrestle with the question of what you do with a defeated goblin. For this campaign, I am adapting the ransom model from a friend's campaign world. The following is based on her work, with some tweaks.

The assumption among intelligent races is that captives can be ransomed for money. Combat is risky, so sometimes accidental death happens. In 4e, this usually happens when someone's too angry to hold back. However, generally speaking, you're expected to ransom defeated enemies back to their tribe/nation/whatever. Failing to abide by this code will cause those who find out about your perfidy to treat you like a dangerous animal. They will kill you if they defeat you, and they will coup de grace you in combat.

Due to this custom, a prisoner who gives parole will mean it. If you break your parole oath, consequences similar to the above will follow. Really seriously chaotic evil enemies may take the risk of killing captives, but only under extreme pressure. This means that if you run into a goblin warband and defeat it, they'll swear to go home and send ransom to your agent, and they'll mean it. You don't have to worry about guarding and feeding them. The value of the ransom will be more than the total value of their equipment, so you don't have to deal with the fiddly bookkeeping of selling off mundane armor and weapons. Whether or not you take their magical items is up to you, but that'll affect the
total value of the ransom.

If you are captured and ransomed, the price is based on your reputation (i.e., your level) and your obvious carried wealth. You can buy it down by giving up stuff you're carrying if they're likely to want it. Information may also be of value.

In large cities, you can buy ransom insurance. If you didn't buy ransom insurance but you're broke, you can get ransom loans, but expect to owe someone a great deal of money.

As a player, would this drive you nuts? How would you abuse it?


Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:32 pm
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:06 am
Posts: 502
Location: Mount Prospect, IL
Post Re: Ransom Model (Not That One)
I ran a campaign some time back that focused primarily on the idea of ransom as a regular revenue stream. Essentially, I allowed for rival churches/temples, and even just factions in the same church, to kidnap memebers of opposing houses and hold them either for a price or in trade for members of their own faction who were being held. It made for some interesting games but a couple of the players had some difficulty getting beyond the idea of simply killing everything as they were used to that sort of gaming paradigm.

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Mark Clover
Creative Mountain Games


Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:27 am
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