Jan 19, 2012

Another Use for Culture (Own)

Two cows plus the cost of the armour and sword...

Determine Man-Price

Kidnapping and murder are ubiquitous on the plains between the various clans, septs, tribes etc. of the Kadiz and Hill People. Kidnapping can be done to obtain a wife, to force another group to negotiate during a conflict,  simply to get rich, or for darker motives. In most cases, the kidnapper is expected to offer the family of the kidnapped person the chance to buy them back, though this is ignored almost as often as it is followed. Kidnap victims who are not sold back to their families may be kept as wives, catamites or bondsmen, sold to the Kaddish or Dwer, or eaten if the captors are Hill Elves.

When someone is killed, the killers (and their families) are expected to compensate the victim's family for their death. Failure to do so can lead to declarations of the killers as bandits, or an outright blood feud. Due to the broad web of kinship stretching across the plains, blood feuds can become regional wars, with hundreds of nomad warriors from various clans come together to enforce payment of the blood debt.

Payments for murder and kidnapping have an established base line, but evaluations frequently depart from this base, as each person is exceptional and unique. A beautiful woman who was kidnapped will fetch more than an old crone, a powerful warrior more than boy. The expectation is that the two sides will find a third party intermediary who condones the transaction and guarantees both sides acting peacefully during the negotiation. Then they come together and bargain over the payment.

Characters on both sides can test their Evaluate to determine what a "fair" price for the kidnapped person or murder victim is prior to negotiating. They can test Culture (Own) when proposing non-traditional payments or exchanges to establish whether they are feasible or appropriate to propose to the other side.

To attempt to work out a satisfactory payment, the chief negotiator on each side rolls Culture (Own) in an opposed test with his counterpart.

If both sides fail, then the negotiations have come to an impasse, and neither side can agree what the person is worth. While they can't immediately attack one another, it is expected that once both sides have departed, they will begin preparations for a raid.

If one side fails, and the other succeeds, then the side that succeeds moves the price in the direction they desire. The losing side can refuse to pay at this point, but to do so would reflect poorly on them.

If both sides succeed, then the price is mutually agreed upon as fair, and both must swear to abide by it. Typically, payment terms are worked out (usually, both victim and goods are left with the third party, and each side picks their portion up as it comes in). Breaking one's word here is a major faux pas that insults not only the other side, but the third party.

If one or both sides critically fails, then a fight starts immediately as insults and taunts fly back and forth. Whoever critically failed is held responsible for the fight, unless both critically failed in which case they are held to be equally shamed. The crisis caused by a critical failure overcomes all other outcomes except for a critical success. In that case, the critical failure is treated as a normal failure, and the critical success is treated as a normal success.

If one or both sides critically succeed, then they manage to shift the payment in the direction they wish, and get the other side to swear to it as fair. This may mean that a murder victim's life is paid off with promises of alliance and friendship instead of huge numbers of cattle and swords, or multiple kidnap victims are exchanged at once for one another, or one clan agrees to hand over the murderer to the victim's family for punishment (often enslavement).

The baseline for negotiations is:

1 man = 2 women or pounds of silver = 6 horses or swords or non-Kadiz / non-Hill People slaves = 18 cattle or spears = 36 sheep = 240 arrows

Yes, the Kadiz and Hill People are sexist and racist.They are also murderous, quarrelsome, and live by plundering others. I recommend not imitating them in your real life.