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Description:

The Minrothad island cluster is a sydicracy: The government is run by the heads of various trading guilds. Most of these are demihuman, with elves being the majority. The people are caste-conscious and conservative, preferring banking to war. They maintain a neutral position between Thyatis and Alphatia, trading with and transporting goods for both. Privateering, especially against pirates out of Ierendi, is common occupation.

Table of Contents

Adventurer's Guide to the Minrothad Guilds

Minrothad History

Lands of the Minrothad Guilds

Economy of the Minrothad Guilds

Law in the Minrothad Guilds

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Adventurer's Guide to the Minrothad Guilds

Welcome to the Minrothad Guilds

 

  This page contains general knowledge about the Minrothad Guilds and is for the use of Player Characters. Minrothad is a nation of islands located in the Sea of Dread, south of the shores of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos and east of the island kingdom of Ierendi..

  This nation is a political-economic combine of various guilds. Some of the guilds are organized around crafts and the families that control them; some provide professional services, while others pursue activities that are covert, military, or purely political in nature.

  The Minrothad Guilds are one of the most powerful non-military entities in existence. Due to their wide-ranging trade network and dominance of commercial shipping, almost anything, legal or illegal, can be obtained by Minrothad traders or their agents. The Minrothad Guilds wield economic and political clout far out of proportion to the size of their island nation.

  An increased guild presence on the waterfronts and in the trading houses of the continent have brought this successful commercial nation much into the public eye in the last decade. In earlier times the country was fervently isolationist, forbidding immigration and strictly controlling travel and trade practices that brought outsiders to the islands. But this policy has altered with a change in government, and the Minrothad Guilds have opened their doors to trade, travel, and interaction with the folk of other nations. Curious travelers inquiring about the Minrothad Guilds can hear interesting things, depending on whom they ask for information.

 

A Sage from Specularum

  "Over the sea, east of lerendi and west of Thyatis, lies the Sea of Dread. The exact number of islands found there is unknown, because many are perpetually surrounded by fog and mists.

 The people of the major islands banded together to form the Minrothad Guilds, the nation that controls most of the sea trade in the world today.

   "These guilds have built an unsurpassed merchant fleet to carry their exotic goods to other nations. They are secretive about their crafts, for few other guildhalls can compete with the rare and artful objects exported by the Minrothad Guilds. But the secret of their trading success lies in two other, factors. Minrothad maintains strict neutrality with the nations of the world. This allows them unrestricted access to major ports, where they base their merchant agents and offices.

  "The second factor is the Minrothad merchant-princes: captains and masters of magic that keep their vessels safe at sea. No one in his right mind bothers a Minrothad vessel, and no merchant worth his trade goods offends their buying agents. A contract with the guilds can be worth a cargo's weight in gold."

 

A Minrothad Guilds Dwarf

  "Never trust a Glantrian. They be tight-fisted, blackhearted dastards with no bone of pity for refugees or them that be down on their luck. And they lack the foresight to see how a business deal might be made. Guildsmen, now—that story tells different. We always be calculatin' a way both sides can benefit. And you can trust us, for we honor our word once it's given. Unlike Glantrians."

 

An Ierendi Fisherman

  "Those Minrothad ships are bewitched! Strange things happen around them—odd winds ablow, schools of monstrous fishes following alongside, ships that vanish. Well, no one believes it until they see it for themselves, and then it's too late. Even pirates leave them alone, that's for certain. A merchant prince is a match for a pirate vessel all by himself. They're not normal people, you know. I've seen the flotsam myself, after a battle—there was naught left worth salvaging. I'd steer clear o'them vessels, were I you."

 

A Minrothad Guilds Halfling

  "There were oncet a time when Halflings were enslaved by Minrothad tall folk. Big labor for small diggers, that were—but we don't ponder that no more. Malf Quickhand freed us, and off we took to Open Isle. Now we be as heavy-pursed as any other family in the guilds. Business be good, trade be good, and the tall folk never so powerful since the Silver Purge.

  "The purge? Oh, that were long back a killing time for humans, cursed as they were with the were-way. But it be false, what lerendi tour guides say! The werefolk be long gone from our Isles. Tourist fond we be, and you'll catch naught if you visit Minrothad. Stop your ears to island-hopper lies from lerendi!"

 

A Thyatian Merchant

  "Guilds, shmilds. Those Minrothad upstarts want to create a trade monopoly, and woe betide the country that depends on them for shipping the day they decide to throw their weight around! We tried to bring culture to their islands when they were ignorant barbarians, but they didn't see the advantages an alliance would give them. They still refuse to ally themselves with us. Just shows how short-sighted they are. I only trade with them if I don't have any choice."

 

A Minrothad Guilds Merchant Prince

  "It's a bright new day for us, with Oran Meditor as Guildmaster. One of the seafaring elves he is, whom we call the water elves, and a great leader. Oran gave us an open trade policy, gained cooperation from the halfling and the dwarvish guilds, brought the family guilds in line ... Oh? You don't know our guild system?

  "The only important part is that the guilds were founded in 691 AC, and great Minrothad became center of cooperative trade ventures. Craftsmanship is our only demand from our members: our guilds include halfling, dwarvish, human, and elvish craftsmen. Guilds are run by their masters, and they are directed by the ruling guildmaster, Oran Meditor. Simple, is it not?"

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Minrothad History

...As told by the Water Elves

  Water elves are a seafaring race of elves whom some claim have made their home among these islands for thousands of years. Their version of local history is the one most widely heard by strangers to Minrothad.

  "The sacred Dread Sea Scrolls say that in the beginning, there was only water, light, and the immortal Calitha Starbrow. Calitha looked upon her shimmering sphere and desired that there should be people there to honor her. She created the True Ones, or Alfasser; though men call us water elves today, we prefer that ancient name by which we were known.

  "The immortal was pleased with her first and best work and soon made others to populate the sphere in company with her true ones. She made the Alfund, whom we now call wood elves, and after them the animals: the fish in the seas, the birds in the skies, and all manner of creatures on the land. Finally Calitha made lesser beings than the Alfasser and the Alfund: men, and halflings, and dwarves last of all. These she sent to teach the Alfasser patience and to show them what they could become without the immortal's guidance.

  "In time, some of the Alfasser wished for more power and knowledge than Calitha Starbrow had given them. They delved into the ways of dark and dangerous knowledge, until we, their more cautious brethren, left them and went to live separately in lands across the sea. The wisdom of this was proven a millenia later, when the immortal raged at the evil works done by the power-hungry Alfasser, and destroyed their homeland and all the peoples who lived there. She opened the earth and brought down the skies in such devastation that only the lands whence we had emigrated were left. Even those were torn by the eruptions of her anger so that they formed islands in the sea.

  "We true ones who survived called the waters around us the Sea of Dread, for our fear that Calitha's anger would be unquenchable. While the immortal raged, she sent plagues, famines, and other disasters as tests to see if we, the remaining Alfasser, would stay true to her. Many turned away from Calitha in those days of trial, and one by one she sank their islands, until only the Alfasser that exist in Minrothad remained. But we had proven our worth through the long challenges, and we have been wellfavored by the immortal ever since her anger calmed.

  "Since that long-past time of terror, Calitha taught us the craft of seafaring, and we ourselves turned human magic into an art for the protection of our vessels. Our wood elf brethren came to us from over the seas, led by the immortal to aid us in the crafting of ships and pursuit of trade.

  "We have tolerated the growth of human cultures on our islands, stamping out plagues of lycanthropy from among them and separating their quarrelsome factions when they insisted on waging war. We helped the humans to trade across the seas, traveling far in our artful ships. Persuaded by Thyatians, foolish humans indulged in slave trade, and brought halflings to our shores to serve them. We helped free the little people from the yolk of slavery, and welcomed them into our midst as craftsmen and equals.

  "In later times, we invited dwarvish craftsmen to join us in the creation of useful and beautiful things. They gladly left the ungrateful lands of Glantri, and brought their metal and stoneworking skills to enrich our guilds.

  "With the help of our guildbrothers who work in the handicrafts, we have led the Minrothad Guilds on to greatness among the nations of the world. For this we are grateful to Calitha Starbrow, who continues to bless the ventures of the Alfasser."

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Lands of the Minrothad Guilds

 It is recommended that travelers to the Minrothad Guilds go there either on a Guild vessel, or accompanied by a Guild certified navigator or pilot. The routes to the islands are tricky, and the waters contain hazards of natural or magical origin best avoided by someone familiar with the local waterways. Guild vessels bound for Minrothad or other destinations in the island chain can be found in almost every major seaport on the continent.

 

Unusual Phenomena

  It is the unusual phenomena of the seaways that is most quickly apparent to a voyager to the Minrothad Guilds. These can make for an interesting and scenic journey, providing they do not turn into personal hazards. To ensure that, the caution to travel only with a qualified crew should be heeded.

  Fogs: One of the inexplicable phenomena in these waters are the constant fogs and mists that surround most of the islands. Some of this is believed to be caused by active volcanoes, steaming the water through sea level vents the year round. Another cause is thought to be the meeting of the cold Continental Sweep winds from the north northwest and the warm, moist Dragon's Wind from the south. The only place these two major fronts meet is in the Sea of Dread around the Minrothad Isles.

  Another cause of the perpetual fogs is undoubtedly magical in nature, the result of weather-magic worked by merchant-princes. Safe navigation of these waters is almost impossible for seamen who were not raised here or who cannot magically see through the fog.

  Waterspouts: In certain seasons, when the cold and warm air masses of the Continental Sweep and the Dragon's Wind collide, tornados and waterspouts can result. Some are also said to be a side effect of weather magic worked by merchant-princes. Since there is so little land to be threatened by tornados, waterspouts are by far the more common and unpredictable danger.

  A vessel struck by a waterspout can be reduced to splinters in the water, or lifted bodily and deposited elsewhere on water or land. Areas of fog often obscure this type of hazard, and even in clear and open water, the speed of movement and erratic path followed by these watery whirlwinds make them difficult to avoid. It is said that merchant-princes have appropriate magic with which to handle such a danger, but common sailors and fishermen must trust to luck and their sailing skills to avoid them.

  Whirlpools: Numerous uncharted reefs and small islands lie within the territory of the Minrothad Guilds. At times, when ocean currents and tides flow rapidly between rocks and reefs, whirlpools may result. As with fogs and waterspouts, this phenomenon is often caused by magic when encountered in Minrothaddan waters. This hazard sucks a ship down until it is torn apart on rocks or submerged beneath the water. Whirlpools are almost impossible to escape without the aid of appropriate sea magic.

 

Pirates

  Perhaps more treacherous than natural phenomena are the pirates who haunt the sea routes between Minrothad and the mainland. Always ready to prey on promising cargo vessels, pirates appear like a scourge out of nowhere, attack their victims, then vanish untraceably into the mysterious fogs. Merchant-princes have a better chance than average captains of dealing with pirates, but not even Minrothad vessels are safe from their predations. It is believed that the seafaring brigands are lerendi or Thyatian privateers lured to this area by the rich shipping traffic. The guilds are doing their utmost to eliminate the pirates from these waters.

 

The Islands

  The archipelago claimed by the Minrothad Guilds is the area once known as the Colony Isles. There are six major islands and numerous smaller ones in this territory. Most are of volcanic origin, while some of the small atolls are coral growth atop submerged volcanic rock.

  Trader's Island: The first place to be settled among these islands was Trader's Island. Trader, as it was called, is the largest island in this group, with two inactive volcanic peaks, forested mountain ridges, and palm-covered coastal plains leading to black sand beaches.

  The first town founded on Trader was Harbortown, tucked away in a sheltered harbor on the north coast. First settled by Nithian explorers led by a man named Minroth, Harbortown is the oldest human settlement in the islands. The city of Minrothad was named after the culture that developed there.

  Minrothad, the capital and major trade city of the guilds, is located on the northeast shore of Trader's Island on the site of a former Alphatian colony. The city proper lies a quarter-mile inland from its bustling seaport and is nestled in the cone of an ancient, low-lying volcano. The city is surrounded by a moat over 300 feet wide, which is filled by the Lithwillow River before it flows down the dredged channel to the sea.

  Alfeisle: Almost as large as Trader is Alfeisle, home of the wood and water elves, where the trade city of Verdon and the fortified elvish port of Seahome are located. Verdon, near farmland at the south end of the island, is the newest of the ports. It has a system of quays and mooring bouys designed to handle shallow-draft shipping along the city's narrow beachfront. Seahome, the oldest of the elvish settlements, is located at the northern end of Alfeisle. The city has an extensive subterranean lagoon docking complex, interlinked defenses, and a dazzling number of mansions and fortified houses.

  Blackrock Island: Blackrock Island lies to the south between Trader's Island and Alfeisle. It is dominated by Halfpeak, an active volcano which periodically spews mud and lava. Very little grows on Blackrock and it is home only to a few fishing villages at the eastern end, distant from the volcano.

  Fortress Island: Northwest of Trader's Island is Fortress Island, home of the dwarvish guilds of Minrothad and their redoubtable city of Stronghold. Stronghold is located at the end of a long, narrow fiord whose cliffs loom menacingly. The rocky, barren island suits the dwarves well, for they avoid the dangers of its active volcano by making their home inside the cliffs of Fortress.

  Open Isle: To the north of Alfeisle lies Open Isle, so called because the island is flat and treeless. Its major settlement is the halfling town of Malfton. The thin soil and rocky ground severely limits the vegetation that will grow there, especially compared to other islands of the Minrothad Guilds. Nevertheless, industrious halflings have turned the area around Malfton into a region of carefully tended gardens, limited orchards, and pasturage. Malfton is the center of Halfling trade and manufacturing enterprises.

  Fire Island: Northwest of Open Isle is Fire Island and Redtop, its notoriously dangerous volcano. Rocks and hot ash are sometimes ejected from Redtop for miles out to sea, and lava flows down the mountain flanks with great frequency. The volcanic activity is so treacherous and unpredictable that the island has been declared off limits to all shipping traffic.

  North Isle: North Isle is the last of the major Minrothad islands. The fortified town of Gapton was built as a colony of refuge for members of the guilds in case calamity ever strikes the islands. A population with a disproportionate number of scholars and clerics lives there in the meantime. The trading activity of North Isle revolves around supply and warehousing for ships bound to or from the mainland.

 

Weather

  The Minrothad Isles have a temperate climate and generally predictable weather. The tropical and sub-tropical conditions, with warm winds and periodical rainy seasons, make these seas almost perfect for a trading and seafaring society.

  Dominant trade winds blow from northwest to southeast through the Isles. During storm season, this weather pattern brings rain and blustering winds to the northwest side of the islands first. Therefore, most popular harbors have an easterly or southerly exposure.

 

Native Flora and Fauna

  Vegetation: Mahogany and teak grow on the hills and highlands of the Minrothad islands. Although they are replanted, the forests have been reduced in size due to the demands for lumber for export and ship building. Vast areas of woodland have been cleared of the most valuable trees, and have become overgrown with shrubbery, taken over by palm trees, or turned to agricultural purposes.

  Fruits, nuts, and edible roots grow in great variety throughout the islands. Bananas, coconuts, guava, pineapples and much more wind up in the marketplaces of Minrothad and on the guilds' ships for trade. The islanders import much of their food and rely on trade to give them the wherewithall to accomplish this, but a modest agricultural effort provides yams, breadfruit, tomatoes and similar produce for local consumption.

  Wildlife: Birds are numerous on all the islands but Fortress Isle. Sandpipers scurry along beaches, warblers nest in flowering dogwood, herons and egrets inhabit remote waterways. Gulls and terns nest on seaside cliffs, toucans are found in the highland forests, and a native grouse called the ulit is a popular food bird.

  Small game is scarce and snakes are rare, but diminutive peccary pigs can be found throughout the islands and are a bane to Minrothad 's few farmers. Populations of monkeys confine themselves to the highland forests, while wild goats and donkeys escaped from activity stick more to the lowland valleys. The predators dangerous to man that have not yet been hunted out of the islands are limited to several species of giant lizards, which continue to present a threat to forest travelers on most of the islands.

  Insects: A moderate number of insects are native to these islands. They are mainly flying, stinging pests, but the most dangerous insects encountered in Minrothad are the poisonous spiders. These spiders prefer a forest environment, but sometimes come to cities carried in cargos of fruits and vegetables.

 

Highland Hunting

As told by human Jerald Aeren, master trapper, Export Guild (associate of the Merchant Sailor Guild)

  Lord High-and-Mighty demanded I take him on a backwoods jaunt. A knight from Karameikos—you know the type. He were upset because he couldn't get a merchant-prince to fight a duel, and so he wanted to kill something else instead. He had the coin, so I said yes.
  I warned him t'were the wrong time of day to find game. 'And I'll see you in court if we don't', he answers, sarcastic-like. So I says to myself, we'll see how he likes the piglets.

  Peccary forage in a herd at times, hundreds of 'em. They run along, stupid, trampling everything in their way, not knowing what they're looking for. It's not hard to find 'em. Look for trampled brush and listen for their noise.

  Sir Knight didn't figure it out when we circled ahead of the piglets. We dismounted and he got his crossbow ready. 'Peccary?' he asked. 'I hear those are good eating.' I agreed and pointed out where they'd be coming through the brush.

  I neglected to mention how many. We heard 'em before we saw 'em. I was up a tree before he fired his bolt at the first one. Then out came more pigs and out came his sword. He layed about like he was in a slaughterhouse, but it wasn't good enough. Peccaries shoved him here and yon, almost knocking him over and tromping him under. Then he gave up and ran down the trail, outnumbered and chased by angry piglets. I about broke my neck, laughing myself out of that tree.

  I took his kill back to the inn for him. He didn't appreciate it. But I haven't seen him in court, either.

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Economy of the Minrothad Guilds

The Minrothad Guilds are manufacturers and service-providers who sell their goods

and services mostly to markets outside of the Minrothad Isles. In return, they import cargos of food, raw materials for their own production needs, and a diverse quantity of finished goods from other countries. Their large merchant fleet is famous in the ports bordering the Sea of Dread, for guild ships carry both their own cargos and those of traders from every major sea and river port on the continent. Minorothad's large speculative cargo trade has made this nation wealthy.

  This successful mercantile combine is composed of highly stratified guilds which have carefully-defined fields of endeavor, and which do not compete among themselves. Their structure, goods and services are looked at more closely under Guilds, but the following aspects of this economy will be readily observed by travelers to the Minrothad Isles.

 

Dominance of Sea Trade

  The Minrothad Guilds manufacture a significant portion of the nonbulky, highquality trade goods which travel by sea, but they are best known as the primary source of sea-going cargo carriers in the lands which border the Sea of Dread. Even the seafaring merchants of large empires frequently opt to contract shipping to these traders. Minrothad guildsmen have a reputation for reliability, sharp but honest dealing, and speedy transit times. Not least of all, the merchant-princes who are masters of Minrothad ships are able to defend their vessels against the monsters of the sea, both human and nonhuman, better than anyone who is not sailing a vessel of war.

 

Versatility in Trade

  Minrothad traders either sell their cargos or trade them for other goods, depending upon their needs or the needs of the client for whom they are shipping. If the price is right, guildsmen can acquire any cargo or sell any goods for which there is a demand.

  Guildsmen are experienced financiers who carry letters of credit, conduct business on account through their agents in a port, and are knowledgeable about the value of cash and trade goods in the places they transact business. These traders generally accept any gold piece or item of equivalent value when transacting business, although a service charge is levied if the currency is not local or if an item will be difficult to convert to cash.

 

Domestic Trade Monopolies

  It is not possible for the Minrothad Guilds to completely monopolize trade abroad. Most ports have open markets and though guild traders may dominate the scene, they still compete with other merchants.

  At home in the Minrothad Isles, however, it is a different story. Outsiders are now permitted to visit the islands, but they are not allowed to compete with the guild mercantile operations that go on there. Absolutely no professional trading or selling may be performed by non- Minrothaddans, except directly with the guild that handles that specific trade good.

  This prohibition is intended to prevent foreign merchants from sailing in with a cargo on speculation and selling it to anyone who might want the goods. A trader with a cargo of iron ore, for example, can sell only to the manufacturing family guild that deals in metal ore. Similarly, a finished product, such as cloth, cannot be sold directly to retailers, but must be sold to the guild which monopolizes cloth trade.

  Sometimes more than one guild is a suitable purchaser for a cargo, but if none of them are interested in the purchase, there is no recourse for the foreign merchant. Higher officials are not sympathetic to the merchant's cause, because they do not care for foreign traders conducting business in Minrothad. When guildsmen need or want foreign goods, they purchase a cargo through their buying agents and carry it to Minrothad in their own ships.

  This and other commercial prohibitions are clear-cut (see laws), and newcomers to Minrothad are informed of these injunctions before they debark.

 

Currency

  Foreign currency, as well as gems and jewels, are acceptable specie in Minrothad, but a standard 5 percent conversion charge is added to the price of items paid for in this way. There is no fee charged for using local currency. Money changers are common in every city. They are carefully regulated by the government and are fairly honest, but their variable rate of exchange affects the value given for foreign currency.

  It is legal to bring Minrothaddan currency into the country, but visitors are not allowed to take out any in excess of 200 gp value. Local currency follows the standard system of equivalents for ease of trade. A crona is one gold piece, a byd is one electrum, a quert is one silver piece, and a plen is one copper.

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Law in the Minrothad Guilds

Courts

  Minrothad courts fall under the cojurisdiction of the Tutorial Guild and the local government guild (see Guilds). The Tutorial Guild tries all major crimes, and is also called in if there is any doubt about the extent or nature of the criminal action. The Tutorial Guild uses all of its arcane magical powers and devices to discover these answers and the truth is usually found out in such matters.

  A trial court consists of a senior guild member who presides as judge, and a jury composed of three members from the accused's guild and two nonguild citizens.If the accused is not a guild member, any sort of guildsmen may sit on his jury. Bail is unheard of, and the accused might await trail for up to a month. During that time he is kept in a plain but clean holding cell. He is fed enough and treated decently by the constabulary, a division of the local government security guild.

  During the trial, the judge asks the questions, and jurers are allowed a period of questioning as well. Lawyers can participate in the proceedings but are not required to do so and are not always present.

 

Laws and Crimes

Acts of violence are obviously criminal, but a surprising number of other activities are closely regulated as well. Ordinances of interest to travelers are pointed out here; their violation can be considered a criminal act and liable to full prosecution.

  Spell Casting: Only merchant-princes may cast magic freely in the Minrothad Isles. Anyone else who does so must have a merchant-prince or other member of the Tutorial Guild at hand to supervise the spell casting. Persons in violation of this ordinance—even unwitting visitors—are dealt with as described under Punishments.

  Gambling: Travelers are often surprised to learn that most gambling is illegal among the Minrothad Guilds, in spite of the wealth that moves freely through their shops and businesses. Games of chance, like dice or cards, are illegal, as is gambling on violent events of any type, such as boxing or cockfighting.

  A monthly public lottery run by the government is the only authorized wagering done in the islands. Tickets are available at money changers and taverns. Besides the lottery, gambling is permitted during the Midwinter Festival. At that time, people can wager up to 100 gp on sporting events like athletic contests and dog racing. Persons who are caught gambling in any other ways suffer large fines as the very least penalty.

  Business Transactions: When a traveler wishes to buy, sell, or do other commercial business in the Minrothad Isles, the following regulations are important to know.

  1. Magical items may only be sold to Minrothaddans or to foreigners working for the government. Price discounts are forbidden, and they are never sold below a normal retail price.

  2. Adventurers who wish to sell valuables to locals should note that Minrothaddans are allowed to buy any item brought into the country. However, an item may never be sold at more than its normal Minrothad market value. Higher prices are considered to be profiteering, and are punishable by imprisonment (see Punishments). Visitors are forewarned that the experienced bargainers of the Minrothad Isles will seldom pay more than 50 percent of an item's retail value, or 75 percent if it is extremely rare or unique.

  3. Money paid to a foreigner for an item or a service rendered must be reported to the local retail tax collector. The government then levies a tax of 18 percent of the total gp value of the item, material, or service sold, which is due and payable by the foreigner who made the profit. (An 8 percent sales tax is levied against Minrothaddans.)

  4. Magical items sold or services performed in Minrothad are done under the supervision of a representative of the Tutorial guild. The guildsman records the transaction for tax purposes, and guarantees that any magic performed is in keeping with Minrothad Guilds regulations. The foreigner is then charged a tax of 20 percent, which includes a 2 percent fee for the Tutorial Guild's services.

 

Treasonous Offenses

  Treason against the state is the most reprehensible crime in Minrothad. Guildsmen resent betrayal of their state, but even worse, treasonous acts also derail many complex and subtle intrigues, the very life-blood of the guilds. Foreigners involved in plots or actions against the guilds may be suspected of treason, and will be tried with the full severity of the law. A range of sentences are possible for treason, as described below.

  In a similar vein, the Minrothad Guilds are concerned with their public image and their reputation, for they trade on these things as much as on anything else when they do business. If a guildsman commits a major crime in another country and publicly disgraces the Minrothad Guilds, he might be charged with defamation of the guild when he returns home. If convicted, his punishment is often more severe than the one inflicted by the nation where he committed the crime.

 

Punishment

  Minrothaddans have been accused of preoccupation with material goods. At least it is true that their laws dealing with possessions and attempts to steal them are some of the most severe known. Guildsmen see their laws as a necessary balance to the unscrupulous who prey on the hardworking. A righteous and intolerant attitude toward the criminal colors their legal system and the penalties received under it.

  The unforgiving Minrothaddan attitude toward crime is most evident in the judgements delivered for thievery. Theft has always been a problem in ports and trading communities because the quantity of merchandise and number of people passing through offer so many opportunities for larceny. The penalties for theft in the Minrothad Guilds are harsh and explicit, as are the sentences for many other offenses.

  Fines and incarceration are not unknown punishments, but even they are taken to extremes. Fines are exorbitant, with the clear intent to strain the resources of the guilty party. Imprisonment is unpleasant at best.

  Punishment for the heinous crime of treason can extend even to the relatives of the criminal, depending on how severe the treasonable action was. A shipping schedule betrayed to a foreign competitor, for instance, might be punished with exile for the criminal and anyone else who knew about it. If, instead, the criminal helped assassins kill a guild master, the penalty could be the extermination of the accused and his entire family.

  Foreigners who commit crimes are usually punished more strictly than are natives. Typical punishments for crimes committed in the Minrothad Isles or aboard a guild ship are listed in the sidebar.

  Prison: Minrothad dungeons are among the worst in the world. They are filthy and the prisoners are fed just enough to keep them alive. When Ruling Guildmaster Oran Meditor took office, he stopped the practice of torture in these dungeons. But life itself can be torture if the sentence is very long; people who have been condemned to 20 years or life have pleaded to be put to death instead.

  Black Seal Warrant: No official condemnation is more uniquely Minrothaddan than the Black Seal Warrant, named so for the black wax of its official seal. The warrant is a death decree issued as punishment for the most censured of crimes, such as assassination or treason. The warrant must be recommended by the court and endorsed by the ruling guildmaster. A criminal need not stand trial in person to receive the Black Seal as his punishment, but can be tried in absentia.

  Once the warrant is signed, a gold piece value is set upon the condemned criminal as a bounty. This unusual sentence is the Minrothad Guilds' way of saying, "No matter where you are, we will eventually find you and execute you." It also is a license for the Thieves Guild to travel abroad or hire foreigners to execute the criminal with impunity regardless of where he is found.

  This warrant is so far-reaching because of the vital trade connections of the Minrothad Guilds. A country that offers refuge to a Black Seal-condemned criminal soon finds that guild ships will carry no goods to or from that country. If this measure proves inadequate, the guild puts similar pressures on the allies of the recalcitrant country, until it becomes more economical—and politically expedient—to give up the condemned criminal. The fugitive finds that there is a price on his head and most people know it. He can trust no one and few will shelter him.

  Occasionally, in the case of foreign dignitaries or notables, the Black Seal Warrant is not publicly announced, but is privately issued to the Thieves Guild. Normally, though, the warrant is posted publicly in the Minrothad Isles, displayed on all guild trading vessels, and distributed in foreign ports by Minrothad agents.

 

Typical Sentences

 

Crime: Punishment

 

Defamation of character: Varies from time in the stocks to the death penalty, depending on degree of damage.

 

Tax evasion: Flogging.

 

Profiteering:  Flogging, fine, or both.

 

Breaking and entering: Blinding.

 

Theft: Loss of one or both hands.

 

Purposefully distracting victim during theft or robbery: Loss of tongue.

 

Embezzlement from employer, a guild, or the government: Blinding and loss of one or both hands.

 

Swindling, running confidence games: Fine of up to 50,000 gp and imprisonment for up to 20 years.

 

Sacriligious acts against a church: Fine and one year in the dungeon.

 

Theft from a church: As above, plus confiscation of all property and exile after release from the dungeon.

 

Unauthorized spell-casting: Varies from small fine (for a harmless spell cast in ignorance) to the death sentence (for deadly magic).

 

Kidnaping or molestation: Death by stoning.

 

Murder or attempted murder: Death by hanging.

 

Assassination or attempted assassination: Death by impalement.

 

Piracy: At sea—death by drowning (walking the plank or keelhauling); In port—death by hanging.

 

Credits:

Design: Deborah Christian, Kimber Eastland

Editing: Steve Winter

Product Manager: Bruce Heard

Cover Artist: Clyde Caldwell

Interior Artist: John Lakey

Graphic Design: Stephanie Tabat, Dave Sutherland

Cartography: Dave Sutherland, Dennis Kauth

Typography: Kimjanke