Commerce and Industry
Question: There are set denominations of coins in Arx, but do they have set appearances or can they vary? Is a silver from Thrax the same in appearance as a silver from the Lyceum? Do they change perhaps with rulers, making some older coins stand out? This isn't about coinage from other kingdoms or any fanciful currencies, but what the average Arxian might know about at least in passing.
I do hope the answer will contribute to me being able to have a coin collection. I'd do stamps but licking things and sticking them on messengers doesn't seem to have caught on.
Answer: You can definitely rock out a coin collection. Very few people would remember this, but we originally -did- have different coins of different denominations in very early alpha, but we quickly realized how much a gigantic pain in the ass this would be to players to work with these and instead decided to handwave it and treat it all as a single group, but one can assume that when they give someone ten million silver they aren't attempting to murder them by burying them in a money bin somewhere.
Most coins are minted in Arx, and have the current ruler's face on it, with different banks through Arvum being granted the right to mint coinage that would be valued at above weight by the crown, and those would often have the current highlord's face on the back along with the date. Crown Observers are the ones who would often visit institutions for the crown to make certain they are keeping standards and uniformity.
Currency generally is: 100 Copper bits to 1 Silver knight.
100 Silver knights to a Gold Count.
10 Gold Counts to a Platinum Duke (platinum is extremely rare, this is just trace amounts)
100 Platinum Dukes to an Orichalcum King (similarly, trace amounts)
100 Orichalcum Kings to an Alaricite Queen (that's solid alaricite on the other hand, and very few are ever minted)
Question: Yes, yes, I know that the @domain system isn't up and running yet, but for now, folks seem to be putting people into the domain related ministries for their respective areas and using them as RP hooks. For the sake of IC understanding, what is the focus of each of the positions? Some seem self-explanatory, like Finance, Farming, and Warfare, while others are a little vague, like Loyalty, Upkeep, and Population. And I have no idea what Productivity is supposed to represent at all. Halp? Multipass?
Answer: The names there are largely ooc constructs as summaries.
Loyalty oocly will be a minister that helps mitigate negative impacts on NPC morale, or checks for attempts to raise it. ICly, this would be a minister that is, effectively, a fantasy equivalent of a pollster. Minister of Grievances, Minister of Concerns, Minister of Petitions, any of those would be appropriate as someone that sits and hears the many, many, many gripes and sometimes praises from the commoners or soldiers in a domain.
Upkeep is going to mitigate maintenance costs in domain. This would be an infrastructural position, of a character ICly overseeing improvements that make a domain more efficient and prevent erosion, such as a character seeing to road repair, to making sure there's no shortages, to seeing to trades for better or cheaper building materials. Minister of Public Works, Minister of the Forge, Minister of the Wheel, etc would be appropriate thematic titles.
Population oocly is going to be population growth, which would be covered by housing, keeping track of marriage housing, births, divorces, deaths for the commons, keeping track of immigration, and so on. This would thematically be important in so much that the pro forma commoners wishing to leave or join a domain do have to swear or be granted leave from oaths, so often this would be Minister of Oaths, or Minister of the Hearth, or similar.
Productivity would be an aggregate mod to commerce that increases all of them, so this would be Minister of Charters, or Minister of Leases, or Minister of Writs, or similar. Remember that commoners typically do not own land, so any grant for someone to rent a property would effectively come from the lord, and similarly for merchant houses to operate in a domain. They'd have to be granted leave to do so, which means adding to an existing charter or creating one.
Question: I have seen some IC discussion currently where people state that Dragonweep comes from Cardia, as if it comes from there exclusively and that this is common knowledge. But I have seen nothing anywhere in the lore that even hints that this is the case. Is it true?
Answer: No one knows for sure
Question: What kinds of goods are imported from Cardia and Eurus aside from the crafting goods available in the market? Are there any animals/spices/ingredients/plants/drugs that are considered precious enough to import or smuggle?
Answer: Nothing I've detailed at this time, I might later as part of a theme q
Question: Some goods are verly clearly marked as foreign imports (steelsilk, pyreweave, cardian snake). Some of the expensive tradegoods are not marked so clearly. Does the Compact import, or mine on its own, the majority of the Diamondplate and Alaricite in use in Arvum? What about the steel alloy of Rubicund?
Also, PCs tend to skew demographics by their very nature. What percentage of overall trade revenue is brought in by foreign imported goods? PC population aside, how widespread are things like pyreweave and steelsilk?
Answer: Generally speaking, diamondplate is found in the Compact but veins of it are exceedingly rare, and Alaricite even more so. It's thought that the majority comes from the outside, but these are very fungible, and the origins through markets is almost never clear. A great deal of sold alaricite, diamondplate, fireweave and steelsilk may have been in Arvum for centuries and is just being sold and reworked dozens of times.
Arx represents an enormous concentration of wealth, and it's very uncommon to see fireweave, steelsilk, alaricite or diamondplate outside of the capital. Someone being in a fireweave or steelsilk dress at a regional event is very noteworthy, and the influx of the materials in the past decade in Arx is seen as a sign by most of the peerage of increasing obscene wealth (and by a minority opinion of potential foreign influence).
There is some evidence, however, that such things were extremely common around the second or third century AR, around the time of Queen Triscali the Blackrose. It may have been a peak of Compact wealth before the collapse of Elven War a couple centuries later.
Question: What is the general availability for spices and for citrus fruits? As many RL spices were imports from Asia (cinnamon, ginger, and pepper, to name a few) and some citrus fruits are more tropical in origin, about where is the line drawn for availability in Arvum?
Answer: Anything native to North America or Europe would be available. For citrus from tropical climates, that's available from the Saffron Chain. Some medicial herbs that are Asiatic surprisingly grow in very limited numbers in Arvum, with evidence it was once plentiful in the early post Reckoning era. But most Asiatic spices come only from Eurusi trade.
Question: The holdings listed for the houses are mines, lumber, mills, housing and farms. For houses like Jace's (Redreef) would farms eventually be generic for fishing as well..just food production? Might be a System Discussion too, but figure I'd start here.
Answer: Yes, it would include things like fishing that will be fleshed out in Dominion. Though do keep in mind these islands also are generally going to have arable land, many are pretty big, and more islands in the sense Ireland is an island.
Question: Largely a repeat of the earlier currency clarification, but Q: Platinum continually comes up as a thing. On the theme board, there was a post that says it's "not commonly found" in Arx, per staff. Yet, SOME PEOPLE have informed me that it is "extraordinarily rare", per staff. At the same time, the Altar of Gild is platinum, per the desc of the room. So, which is it? Uncommon or extraordinarily rare? Most importnatly, can PCs buy platinum?
A: No. Not without a special action trying to hunt it down and negotiate it, as it has no common suppliers, or trying to collect platinum dukes and melt them down and try to get the trace amounts from it.
Question: This is a mix rules/theme question perhaps, but given our skills system, at what point do people start becoming well known / famous for their skill in a given area? For example, just how far and wide might stories of the Arx Smith who forged Alaricite have spread? Would the people of Arx and the larger world begin to take notice of and hear stories of the most skilled fighters or tailors or the like? Just how 'amazing' is a rank 5 skill, compared to the populace at large? One in a hundred? A thousand?
Answer: Having a 6 makes someone famous for it. That's part of what being legendary in a skill does, and the world does take note of it. For less than that, 5 would be seen as one of the best in the field, and at least in Arx is probably significant, and would likely be known by individuals that specifically study it. But there wouldn't necessarily be exhaustive lists, particularly since it can be difficult to quantify, and characters (particularly marital ones), are likely known for their deeds- even if those deeds are more a result of getting astronomically lucky than true skill. There's several hundred thousand Arvani that practice at arms- having a 5 would put someone comfortably in under 1 percent, but it wouldn't necessarily make them famous.
Question: Q: How does trade at the various levels work?
An example: If Bisland, a duchy, negotiates with a county in the Oathlands, the products they are offering comes from its Marches, and the product of the Marches come from its Counties, which gets product from their Barons.
So what aspects of the March's economy can Samantha negotiate on behalf of? If she's asked about products that are particularly the purview of one of her counties, how is that approached? When Bisland negotiates, are products produced in Deepwood inclusive to those agreements?
And with regard to embargos, if my liege opts to embargo trade, am I obligated to observe the embargo as well, or only if my liege explicitly insists that I do so?
A: Generally speaking, a liege doesn't have a lot of economic control over vassals- they can't unilaterally decide policy for vassals, and declare an embargo upon their behalf, or exert much macro level control over their economy. The historical standard of free reign for vassals to rule largely precludes that. But there are some notable exceptions.
First, taxes. Most of the taxes that are given to lieges aren't, in fact, any kind of income taxes. These are tariffs and duties placed on goods coming into their lands or leaving. In matters for a liege and vassal's border, it can usually be assumed the liege has control, and that means that taxes (up to 13 percent) are usually their discretion. Secondly, soft power is extremely common, and I intentionally go with a soft power approach because I believe this creates RP situations of characters lightly pressuring or encouraging their vassals and needing to form consensus that comes from RP, where hard power tends to be more mechanical and can be essentially automated. In other words, while yes technically all vassals have autonomy in their domains, it is extremely foolish to continuously defy the aims of a liege, and there will be mechanics in the coming social systems that could potentially make that ruinous.
Question: Given that Arx is a massive city, how do most people get around it? Does everyone walk, or are there carriages that can be hired, like hackney cabs and such? I'm guessing there are options for long-distance travel, wagons/carts and carriages for distances like Tor to Arx, or something like that?
Answer: Carriages are used, but they are less common in traveling city to city, because the road conditions tend to be poor, making wagons and carriages sticking to the most major routes but almost never without heavy escorts with the ability to repair them, as roads are just not that reliable. Horseback is far and away the most common between cities.
Inside Arx, litters (such as palanquin style) are not unheard of, but usually limited to the very rich and infirm. Prince Donrai Thrax used one, which was carried by armored guardsmen. The implication, however, is that it is for the infirm, very aged, or injured that must travel on busy streets. Carriages do see use in Arx, but they are also on the rare side and for the very high nobility. There is a tradition, mostly started by House Grayson, that nobility should be seen when in public, and heavy use of litters or carriages has an unseemly implicit dismissal of the commons that many peers are not comfortable with. A little bit is fine out of practicality, too much comes across as arrogant.
Question: Q: I am wondering that when it comes to nobles, what constitutes as selling? For instance: Can someone trade jewelry for economic resource or is that seen as selling it? Is it gauche for nobles or royalty to sell their resources? What counts as being gauche and not being gauche?
A: Owning a shop or advertising, generally. If someone passes things over or sells them informally, that's fine. Mostly it's about appearances. One shouldn't behave like a merchant. Selling resources is mostly about trading favors around, and the nobility is all about that. Doing hard manually labor for monetary compensation or craftsman work, not so much.
Question: Other than Gemecitta, who are the largest suppliers of worked stone in the compact? This being stones you might use for building projects such as forts or certain topical roads.
Answer: Probably more mountainous domains, so maybe three or four dozen different Northlands houses and then some various other different Compact houses noted for hills and the like, or major quarries.
Question: How far has the Arx?s technology advanced? is it possible to have mechnical parts and machines?
Answer: Probably not, 13th, 14th century-ish, definitely pre-renaissance in general.