The Omniscient Eye

When Buying a Kingdom, Who Do I Make the Check Out To?

The 9/17 Omniscient Eye column mentioned that six carts of pure gold would be enough wealth to buy "a mid-size Medieval kingdom." How would PCs go about making such a purchase--could they just stroll up to the local monarch and make an offer? What would happen to the original owner?
      --Adrienne Traxler

The local monarch wouldn't sell, so the question is moot. The Omniscient Eye hopes you've found this answer useful. Next time, we'll be handling a question about how effective four-sided dice would be puncturing tires during a high-speed chase . . .

What, you want more detail? Oh, okay. To say that six carts of gold (or any amount of treasure) would be enough money to buy a kingdom was probably misleading. It could buy enough small, individual territories to make up a reasonably sized kingdom, but that's not quite the same thing. To pose a modern analogy, buying a few shares of stock in a few large companies means a brief phone call to your broker; buying all the shares, even if you've got the cash to buy them at their nominal price, means fluctuations in stock prices, tense negotiations with major stockholders, and long talks with the nice folks at the SEC. Transfers of land in many societies, particularly on a large scale, are tied up in legal, political, and social implications. Since the answer for the first question was based on economic conditions in Medieval . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: November 19, 2004

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