Campaign of the Month: September 2012
A Manifestation of Chaos
In order to facilitate matters of in game character assets; I am going to attempt to lay out a basic banking organizations as well as the in game rules associated with these institutions. In the real world, we all know that Banks as an institute existed during the Middle Ages so there is no reason they could not exist on Oerth and in fact there is supporting documentation in Saga of the Old City by Gary Gygax that these institutions do indeed exist on Oerth.
The hard part of this is that when you introduce real world concepts into a fantasy setting you are begging for the players to come up with ways to abuse it. Real world concepts have difficulty in fantasy settings mainly because of magic, it is possible or should be possible to do or circumvent many real world practices by the use of magic. All I will really say on this is that I do like to run sandbox campaigns where players have the freedom to do what they wish with the understanding that actions have consequences. I would also remind players who are looking to break this system; that these rules on banks have really been set up in your favor to minimize some of the less than glamorous (but no less heroic) logistics of treasure / asset storage.
Banks – General Info:
These institutions only exist in mid-sized or greater cities as smaller communities generally cannot make a bank worthwhile venture.
In most cities it is the merchant guilds that primarily set up and run banks. Most banks primary business comes from money changing activities such as converting gems and jewels into hard coin, issuing trade bars and notes and converting foreign kingdoms coins into hard currency or gems. Many Banks also earn income for safeguarding precious assets such as but not limited to coins, gems, jewels, important items, and deeds and or important papers. Very few banks (only the largest or those operated by thieves’ guilds) engage in loan services and those that do, only do so with some type of collateral that guarantees the loan’s security.
Deposits and accounts are handled in a complex system of triplicate paperwork using arcane marks as well as torn receipts to match to original documents held by the bank. This is done to minimize fraud and ensure that the proper holder of the wealth is the only one able to recover it from the institute. Without some form of valid documentation a bank will not hand over any assets claimed to be owned by someone.
These banks generally serve as money changers and offer little or no other services.
These banks offer money changer services, issuing trade bars and notes, conversion of foreign kingdoms coins into hard currency or gems, as well as limited asset storage. Banks of this size will rarely agree to safeguard any item(s) valued over 1,500 gold pieces as they generally lack the proper resources to properly safeguard items of greater value.
These banks offer money changer services, issuing trade bars and notes, conversion of foreign kingdoms coins into hard currency or gems, asset storage and business / personal loans. Depending on the city and the financial backers of the bank these types of banks are willing to store assets ranging anywhere from 500 gold pieces (minimum) to 30,000 gold pieces (maximum). With the proper collateral as well as a generous interest rate to boot, these institutions are willing to loan money for various ventures (such loans very rarely ever exceed more than 5,000 gold pieces) but as with anything; it all depends on the potential return on their investment.
Bank Fees: (All percentage based fees are based on total value of assets involved).
Money Changing / Gem Changing: All banks charge a 10% fee to change coins into gems and a 5% fee to change gems into coins.
Issuance of Trade Bars and Notes: All banks charge a 3% fee to issues bars or notes, these fees are kept as low as possible to facilitate trade between foreign kingdoms.
Asset Storage: Most Banks charge a flat fee of 10 gold pieces per month to store assets less than 5,000 gold pieces in total value. Asset storage in excess of this is usually charge 1% of the total value of the assets stored per month. Depending on the significance / nature of the asset to be stored this fee can fluctuate considerably.
Loans: In certain cases loans will be made available to those the bank feels are worthy of such an endeavor. Loans are never provided to persons that the bank has not vetted thoroughly. Loans are generally granted with repayment expected between 90 and 360 days with an interest rate of 15 to 30% of the original loan.
In case of robbery or provable fraud (which is known to happen from time to time) most banks will guarantee to replace / reimburse a person’s assets up to a specific gold piece value. Most banks will not guarantee any amounts that exceed 20,000 gold pieces and never guarantee the replacement of unique or very hard to find items, if possible they do try to reimburse for lost of any said item(s) up to agreed upon reimbursement limits.
A bank’s primary guarantee is not to allow access to anyone but the patron / document holder to the assets stored in their name. In fact banks are well known for denying access, to patron’s who have lost or do not have the required documentation.