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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Traveling Zoo Comes to the City of Greyhawk
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    The Traveling Zoo Comes to the City of Greyhawk
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun May 08, 2022 4:01 pm  
    The Traveling Zoo Comes to the City of Greyhawk

    The PC party in my Age of Worms campaign will arrive at the Duke's Gate of the City of Greyhawk during next weekend's session. This will be the first time any of these characters or players have visited Greyhawk City.

    This party currently consists of, in addition to the five PCs and their two henchmen and seven associated steeds, the following beasts:

    • a centipede familiar who can possess a marionette of a King and cause it to move around like a nightmare doll (probably won't happen in public)
    • a good old loyal guard dog
    • a wolf animal companion
    • a trained monkey who wears a vest and a hat
    • a "trained" owlbear cub about the size of a gnome

    There's plenty of references to herd animals being driven along the Processional (presumably to slaughterhouses) and the Age of Worms has an encounter on the streets with a wing-clipped chimera, used for some theatre, that escapes its cage. There are references to monster races being denied entrance to the city, but I couldn't find any reference to more or less trained companion beasts.

    But I'm really up in the air as how to handle all of the companion beasts listed above.
    • Will the gate guards let these things pass?
    • Will inns allow these animals into their establishments? Will these animals be allowed to share a room with their master?
    • What would the attitude of someone on the street be to seeing a wolf or an owlbear cub?
    • Will guards be questioning the characters everywhere they go?
    • Are any of these animals illegal?
    • Being that this is Greyhawk, can bribes solve everything and, if so, how much is an appropriate bribe to let an owlbear room at an inn?

    I'd love to hear some suggestions to make this real and not just handwave the obvious difficulties. On the other hand, if the PC whose trained the owlbear can't bring the owlbear into Greyhawk City, he'll likely refuse to enter himself and stay outside . . . but the adventure is inside Greyhawk City so I'd obviously prefer for him to be inside.

    For the DMs on this forum that have run sessions inside Greyhawk City, how have you handled these issues in your own campaigns?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun May 08, 2022 6:08 pm  

    Greyhawk is quite cosmopolitan, and has a generally cordial relationship with adventurers overall. Generally, familiars and animal companions are reasonably welcome, so long as said critters are reasonably well behaved. The guard dog, wolf, and monkey probably won't even raise any eyebrows.

    Not to say there won't be extra gate fees and pet surcharges; this is Greyhawk, after all. Laissez-faire capitalism is the name of the game. It's just that these details will be completely routine in nature.

    The centipede and owlbear will raise extra interest, however.

    As I recall (I might be incorrect here), centipedes are generally only available to evil spellcasters; this could cause issues. An extra 'vermin permit' will almost certainly be required. High-end establishments will probably not allow it entry, and expect surcharges at other establishments. If it's widely believed that centipedes are a sign of evil or bad luck expect the regular population to react accordingly.

    Trained owlbear cub will probably be required to be collared and leashed at all times, if not outright chained. Owlbears are no joke and you don't want one loose in a large city, especially not one who gets a chance to grow up in the city and learn how to hide it's depredations. However, if it can demonstrate it's training with some cute tricks, it will probably be treated as any other trained beast - think how the real world treats trained bears and other circus animals. Again, a permit and surcharges will apply.

    Expect the guard to pay extra attention to this party overall, and these critters in particular. Patrols will ask to see the permits regularly.

    And if it matters, witnesses may or may not remember the guard dog or wolf. The monkey will probably be remembered. The centipede and the owlbear WILL be remembered. This could be an issue if the party runs into any legal difficulties, and might wind up framed for something if that suits the adventure underway.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon May 09, 2022 8:07 am  

    The guard dog probably won't attract much more attention than it would in real life. Even the wolf likely wouldn't, since the 1983 guide says that free cities often grant entry to humanoids, and they're more likely to ride wolves than horses. The owner would obviously be responsible for its actions, to ensure that it's house-trained and only defecates in an appropriate place, etc. Just as real-world municipal governments often require dog owners to get permits and hold them responsible for their pets' actions, Greyhawk would probably do the same.

    The trained monkey might attract suspicion, especially in Greyhawk, given the history of trained monkeys being used as thieves. Many business owners would probably want it to be leashed and held at all times before they let the owner into their establishments. The party might get a lot more attention than it wants from the Thieves' Guild.

    The centipede's owner would be well-advised to either keep it hidden or possessing the marionette. A lot of people will be creeped out by it and might not even allow them into their establishments at all. This might even be a deal-breaker for the guards, who could see the centipede as a sign of everything from evil magic to disease.

    The owlbear would be an even bigger deal. The owner will probably need to get a special permit (that costs a lot more than the permits the dog and wolf owners will need!), restrictions like being on a chain leash at all times. People will likely avoid the owner in the streets, and many business owners won't allow it into their establishments. The owlbear and its owner will likely be refused service at most inns, or at best only be allowed to stay in the stables. There's no way that thing is coming into the inn itself or being left on its own with the other customers' mounts! Expect a lot of attention from the city watch too.


    Last edited by CruelSummerLord on Mon May 09, 2022 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Mon May 09, 2022 7:27 pm  

    Once the party believes they have paid all necessary bribes and obtained all necessary permissions and permits, they will find that the People's Constables are drawn to them like lead to a loadstone! Happy

    They may follow the party around fining the owners of the beasts for infractions from allowing the pet to stray more than five feet from its owner (even on a chain/leash) to urinating/defecating on a public street.

    The guards may tell tales of pet alligators (or worse!) being set free in the city to roam the sewers beneath. They certainly don't want to add an owlbear to that particular problem!

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    Tue May 10, 2022 5:32 am  

    I don't think the centipede should raise interest. If it is clearly a familiar, it is less of an issue than pseudodragon familiars that are allowed to roam the city by themselves.

    From the City of Greyhawk boxed set, pages 11 and 12 of FFF have the Criminal Code in Greyhawk. Possession of an unlicensed monster is listed as a serious crime resulting in a fine. So clearly, the party will have to get the owlbear licensed! Running around to get paperwork, pay a fee here, and maybe a bribe to get everything expedited, and they'll be set.

    Of course, if you want to introduce some Kafkaesque situations or the PCs don't read the fine print and find that there's a critical error on the paperwork, well, I'd do it too.

    As for letting the companion beasts into an inn, I think it will depend on the inn. Higher priced ones might if the PCs are willing to pay extra as well as be liable for any damages they cause; they are used to eccentric, wealthy guests. Lower priced ones might allow it on the principle of "what happens in Greyhawk, stays in Greyhawk". Mid-priced ones are where it's probably going to be an issue; they might insist that they stay in the stables.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue May 10, 2022 9:41 am  

    Possession of an unlicensed monster is also listed as a major crime on page 67 of the Greyhawk accessory "The Adventure Begins." The penalty is listed as being a heavy fine (60-80% of victim's true worth).
    The Adventure Begins (same page) also gives the following info:
    Manufactured creatures such as golems and minor undead are considered property, thus not falling under the unlicensed monster category.
    Familiar are either persons, monsters, or property, depending on the creature, its ability to speak intelligently, and whatever judge is hearing the case, if a situation involving a familiar ever comes to trial.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue May 10, 2022 7:06 pm  

    All excellent points! I haven't read my 'City of Greyhawk' material in a while, so I had forgotten all about the 'unlicensed monster' fine!

    If you're going to adventure in the City, I do recommend getting the box set. Even if you don't use everything, there's a ton of material that can be mined for ideas and adventures in and around the City.

    It's gotten quite pricy though; a quick e-bay search turns up results between $100 and $250...
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed May 11, 2022 4:53 am  

    The boxed set is pricey, but you can also get the PDF (or printed softcover) from DriveThruRPG. It's not nearly as good as the original, of course, but if you're more interested in the text, it does the job.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed May 11, 2022 7:00 pm  

    Thank you one and all for weighing in on this. These issues have been on my mind for quite a while, and there's many great ideas here to consider.

    Xaris, sadly, my game is in CY595 and GtAB seems to suggest that the People's Constables are no longer the nuisance they used to be by that date. I would love to bedevil the PCs with minor infractions, so I might just bring back a few.

    Lareth, upon consideration of your points involving the Inn, I think this needs to be resolved via role-play with the innkeeper. They'll probably be staying at the Crooked House in Midnight Muddle (Foreign Quarter, from the Nov 2005 Dungeon).

    My two large remaining questions are these:

    a) Especially with regard to Greyhawk City watchmen, what do you all think should be minimum amounts for an effective bribe? How little is insulting (perhaps arrestingly so)? I'd love any guidelines folks have concerning bribes in Greyhawk City.

    b) Where in Greyhawk City does one buy licenses and permits? I've been poring through the CoG boxset, FtA material, and GtAB, and I don't really see an equivalent to "City Hall".

    The Grand Citadel seems too military and serves mainly as a prison, and in the detailing there's no mention of all of the bureaucrats etc. Nor do I really see the Garrison liking how many poor vegetable venders from Old City would have to be trekking in and out of that place constantly for permits.

    The Thieves Guild itself is, of course, the Old City Hall, and maybe that implies there's a new city hall someplace?

    The only other areas are H7 City Barracks, H9 Courts of Justice, & H10 City Gaol—but, again, that means an awful lot of stanky poor people walking into the High Quarter every single day to get permits.

    Any suggestions on this?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed May 11, 2022 7:08 pm  

    Also, I found additional information on this topic in a sort of oddball place:

    The Greyhawk Ruins Sourcebook. This is a pdf that Living Greyhawk released when Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk came out with guidelines for using Living Greyhawk characters in EttRoG.

    on p. 13, there are some specific laws for animals inside Greyhawk City:

    wolves and carnivorous animals at least size M require PC demonstrate ability to control beast, a muzzle, leash, collar and a license costing 1gp/HD

    large non-carnivorous animals other than horses or livestock are as above except the license is 5gp/HD

    fantastic or exotic monsters are as above, except the license is 10gp/HD

    There's also a column detailing which weapons are legal but must be peace-bonded or tied to scabbard, and which must be deposited w/ Guild of Nightwatchmen (interestingly, not only pole arms but bows and crossbows too!)

    This document has a LOT of useful information for the overwhelmed DM running the City of Greyhawk. It's likely hard to find, but worth it. In particular, there are affiliation stat blocks for the Thieves Guild, Nightwatchmen, Religious Orders, Guild of Wizardry that I don't remember seeing anywhere else.
    GreySage

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    Thu May 12, 2022 7:31 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    b) Where in Greyhawk City does one buy licenses and permits?


    I suggest you look for this information in Maldin's Greyhawk. A link may be found on the Canonfire! home page.

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    Fri May 13, 2022 10:06 am  

    Xaris, yeah, that's where I have been looking. I've assembled the info in CoG, GtAB, the Living Greyhawk Journals, Dungeon magazines, and Maldin's Greyhawk into one giant Greyhawk City book, but, as far as I can tell, it's never been delineated where exactly in the city one procures licenses.

    Does anyone think it makes sense to just sell these at each Quarter's Watch Station, to prevent the riffraff from trekking into the nice parts of town?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri May 13, 2022 1:09 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:


    My two large remaining questions are these:

    a) Especially with regard to Greyhawk City watchmen, what do you all think should be minimum amounts for an effective bribe? How little is insulting (perhaps arrestingly so)? I'd love any guidelines folks have concerning bribes in Greyhawk City.

    b) Where in Greyhawk City does one buy licenses and permits? I've been poring through the CoG boxset, FtA material, and GtAB, and I don't really see an equivalent to "City Hall".

    Any suggestions on this?


    I'd suggest that the guards would probably be able to issue the licences and permits themselves. It would be part of the general 'check-in' process where the guards assess any necessary tolls, fees, trade duties, etc. and visitors can also apply for any necessary permits for unusual animals, weapons, etc. Along with guards, the gates would probably also have bureaucrats capable of making these assessments and calculating what will be necessary.

    No one would want to go through the entry process only to be hit at random later for violating a rule they didn't know about, or if they actually knew about the rule but were on the way to follow it (e.g. if they get a fine on the way to the registry office before they can get there). That would generate a lot of complaints to the Directing Oligarchy and harm the city's business reputation. If everything's handled at the gate and visitors know the rules before entering the city, there's a lot less risk of these problems happening.

    As for the bribes, it could probably vary depending on how much the guards like the visitor (high Charisma means the guards will accept less), how wealthy they look and how egregious the thing they're expected to overlook is. A typical adventuring party whose membes have average charisma might expect three silver pieces per guard if, say, they were expected to overlook something small like an unlicensed dog or someone bringing a polearm into the city. Carrying poisons or really exotic trade goods that you won't pay taxes on could go as high as something like five gold per guard, or even a couple of platinum!

    Naturally, the guards will accept low-level gemstones that they can spend at face value or get a decent return on from the Jewelers' and Gemcutters' Guild. Those might be even better, since random gems can be harder to trace back to the original bribe than particularly unusual coinage the guards would have to get redeemed at a moneychanger's.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri May 13, 2022 2:36 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:


    My two large remaining questions are these:

    a) Especially with regard to Greyhawk City watchmen, what do you all think should be minimum amounts for an effective bribe? How little is insulting (perhaps arrestingly so)? I'd love any guidelines folks have concerning bribes in Greyhawk City.

    b) Where in Greyhawk City does one buy licenses and permits? I've been poring through the CoG boxset, FtA material, and GtAB, and I don't really see an equivalent to "City Hall".

    Any suggestions on this?


    I'd suggest that the guards would probably be able to issue the licences and permits themselves. It would be part of the general 'check-in' process where the guards assess any necessary tolls, fees, trade duties, etc. and visitors can also apply for any necessary permits for unusual animals, weapons, etc. Along with guards, the gates would probably also have bureaucrats capable of making these assessments and calculating what will be necessary.

    As for the bribes, it could probably vary depending on how much the guards like the visitor (high Charisma means the guards will accept less), how wealthy they look and how egregious the thing they're expected to overlook is. A typical adventuring party whose membes have average charisma might expect three silver pieces per guard if, say, they were expected to overlook something small like an unlicensed dog or someone bringing a polearm into the city. Carrying poisons or really exotic trade goods could go as high as something like five gold per guard, or even a couple of platinum! Naturally, the guards will accept low-level gemstones that they can spend at face value or get a decent return on from the Jewelers' and Gemcutters' Guild. Those might be even better, since random gems can be harder to trace back to the original bribe than particularly unusual coinage the guards would have to get redeemed at a moneychanger's.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon May 16, 2022 3:50 pm  

    Thanks, CruelSummerLord, that's a good suggestion and it's probably best in the interests of time-at-the-table to just have the guards issue the requisite licenses at the gate.

    Your bribes actually seem a bit lower than I was expecting (given that the Freesword Tax is 3gp), but reasonable nonetheless. I may concoct some kind of sliding scale based on the cost-of-living (& thus outward fanciness) of each character attempting to bribe.
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