Introducing this into my campaign, and need some input:
1) How are bridge tolls collected? Is there typically a 'toll booth' manned by guards by each major bridge? Or is this fee collected at the nearest town? If there are two towns on either side of the bridge (however far apart, but for argument's sake, they are NOT close by), are you charged once, or by both towns?!
2) In the same vein, how are road tolls collected (I am talking about what Anna's maps describe as primary, and perhaps secondary roads, NOT tertiary roads that are NOT maintained)? At each town seems the most logical course of action. After all towns are connected together by a system of roads.
No idea if there's anything written specifically to Greyhawk, but historically we've seen toll forts/castles covering for river traffic and roads, and toll booths on bridges. Longer roads might have numerous stations that charged a small toll for their segment.
Japan at various point, if i'm remembering correctly, used a sort of "road warden" along some roads, who among other duties, ensured travelers had the right to use the road.
I'd imagine in a case where a bridge connects two political entities, the first consideration on who charges (or perhaps who receives ultimate payment) would be defined by feudal supremacy. Otherwise perhaps a revenue sharing agreement.
Some towns actually charged a toll upon entry, for maintenance of the town roads.
It makes sense for tolls to be collected on the bridge itself to reduce evasion. Because rivers are also often borders, there may also be inspections, customs, and taxes.
IMC, road tolls are collected by moving patrols and/or town gates. In lawful areas the patrols may also collect taxes and check for permits. In chaotic areas, the patrols are essentially bandits. My players were returning from Quasqueton in high spirits with a couple mules laden with treasure. Re-entering pre-war Tenh, a patrol hailed them and collected half their loot in taxes. In Keoland, adventures without a mercenary charter ($$) are assumed to be brigands and jailed.
Lots of fun opportunities for realism and player harrassment!
Thank you two. I have relied upon what information that I can find in the 1st edition DMG (I really like that book even though I'm an ardent 2e fan) on this subject under Economics. I also own The Castle Guide and it contains some information, but doesn't give any idea how and where these tolls are collected, much less how frequently.
To give you a backdrop why I'm asking, I've got a player whose two characters are traveling between Mitrik and Veluna City along the Great Western Road linking those two ciities. Looking at Anna's wondrously detailed maps you note a bridge partway between the only two marked towns of Shap and Devizes (although, according to her legend, primary roads have intermittent smaller waystations along its expanse, but they must not be of any significance to earn a map counter).
As the Great Western Road is a primary road, I imagine it is used frequently (even though in my current timeline it's dead middle winter with some inclement weather occurring at present) and would definitely be grounds for a toll. The primary question dealt with how often is the toll collected, and where.
For logistics sake I figured each town (Shap and Devizes) would charge an entry fee to help pay for maintenance of the road, but that was a guess. The next question was about the bridge...how is that collected? Is there a small guard post present who charges a toll, or is that toll collected in either Shap or Devizes? I figured that it would be based on if you were traveling north (through Devizes) or south (through Shap) and which town claims the bridge toll, though given that it's Veluna (with fair laws) you would NOT be charged twice..
I'd expect to find a small guard post or fort, with its take being sent along to the settlement that built or maintains it. In an environment where treaties tend to be honored, the two settlements (or their whatever control them) might have a revenue sharing agreement.
The violation (or imagined violation) of which might make for an interesting side adventure.
With PCs being . . . monsters murder hobos, I'm not sure the troll will last long.
This would actually be funny as hell.
In my game, I use the Atlas Games publication "Crimes and Punishment." On page 85, under "Trespassing," it says this:
"In addition to breaking and entering, or wandering onto the property of an owner, you can also trespass by entering places held inviolate by the church or state. That ruined temple out there in the woods may have been left alone for a reason, and not just because of the wights in the basement; one man's dungeon is another man's sacred shrine."
Following that principle: One Adventurer's "monster" is another Lord's "faithful servant."
Actually,if each town simply charged a fee/tax to anyone entering, they could set that tax high enough to cover the cost of maintaining the road as far as the next town. If a traveler (or group) tried to skirt the city walls and continue traveling, a patrol would be sent out to encourage them to enjoy the comforts the city has to offer, since they must pay the road tax anyway.
As far as bridges go, the above suggested tax would be set high enough to cover the cost of maintaining the bridge, so a guard tower at a bridge would be for protection of travelers and the bridge itself. No collection would be required. This would benefit the towns in question because it would avoid making the guard posts targets for brigands because of the tax money kept there in. Of course, corrupt guards could try to dupe foreign adventurers out of some money via a phoney 'bridge tax' anyway. :)
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