Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Ithic Standard & Loan

Ithic Standard & Loan
"Now, now.  Let's be honest here.  You signed the agreement.  You should have paid the coin or you should have never agreed to pay us back.  A coin owed is a coin owed, Mister Runebaker."
All gold, platinum, electrum or other forms of coinage accepted.
No questions asked.

Early on, Ithic Federalists championed the idea of a national bank, like the major banks in Othebea or Ainesia.  The goal would be a way to finance new ventures of interest to the new nation.  The First National Bank of Ith performed that function, it's wealth founded on mutual trusts established between Dragon and Lich citizens.  When the First National Bank's renewal came to be approved by the Ithic Senate, President Adais Silverune openly opposed it.  Her opposition destroyed the Bank, leaving only the private northern banks in place.

These private banks maintain mutual interests, squarely in a organization known as Ithic Standard & Loan.  It is cooperative managed by the wealthiest Ursyklons, Liches, Dragons and Wizards in Ith.  They loan money out to various banks and lenders.  Ithic Standard & Loan isn't the only financier to various private banks; but theirs has the stronger influence among Ithic city-states.  Crux leans heavily on them, the city government having several loans through IS&L.  In addition to influence, IS&L also holds stocks and shares in dozens of businesses, acting like a nexus of tangled finance, banking and business.

IS&L is a prominent opponent of unionization and attempts to emancipate androids.  They do favor expanding citizenship to the unsorcerous, a point some in south Ith see as treacherous to the core ideals of the nation.  But IS&L continues to hold some power, especially when left without federal constraints.  They are willing to do anything to make sure a loan is paid.  No expense is spared when they pursue a bounty or repossession, part of what makes them so respected.

PC Loans
IS&L isn't above providing loans to known Adventurers.  They recognize the capacity of some individuals, especially those with classes, to accumulate wealth.  They will often let these groups bypass individual and private banks, loaning adventurers money enough to purchase buildings, join adventuring guilds, acquire ships or pay all sorts of expensive magic.  Adventurer Loans are often the most lucrative of deals for IL&S.  Most Adventurers are quick to repay their debts, while those who fail to pay often have easy collateral to be exchanged.  Adventurers also go missing from time to time, sometimes providing easy cover should IS&L choose to other means to get their money back.  In addition, the IS&L also hires its own adventures, often creating ventures for projects that catch their interest.

Mechanically, PC Loans are reflected in a new Condition that PCs acquire when they are approved for a loan: In Debt.  While In Debt, the PC cannot take out any new loans, and must pay a fix monthly payment with interest, unless they can repay the whole loan in full.  While In Debt, the PC can gain the Shakened or Panicked conditions from a agent of the loaning institution, at any time, if the GM believes the Bank has triggered it.

In Crux: The IS&L in Crux owns a share in all the major Textile factories of Crux.  It also has a big interest in the Android forges, a eager set of businesses that work with the University, and thrives on the huge amount of trade goes through the City of Curses.  The IS&L also pays off big parts of the City Government- the Crux Constabulary all have specific rules and orders in regard to IS&L businesses.

Most of the prominent members of the IS&L in Crux are Ursyklon, although a pair of Dragons also serve on the local board.  Their banks and money exchangers are used to having the rules serve them, and fear unions.  Worse still, they fear unions combining with the Revolution.  The appeal  of Androids to circumvent the Revolution in their minds, seems to encourage the IS&L to continue turn factory jobs away from lower class unsorcerous to Androids.  Even if this feeds the fight for unionization, the IS&L knows it has the law on its side.
Prestige Class Ideas: Ithic Banker, Agent of the Coin, Hired Gun, Numismancer (*Archetype or Prestige Class?)
Archetype Ideas: Coinmaster (Alchemist or Investigator?), Thug (Rogue), Numismancer (Coin Mage-Arcanist or Wizard?)

Dragonslayer: What happens when one of the wealthiest in Crux goes missing?  An ancient Silver Dragon is found dead at her home.  One of most powerful Bankers in all of Ith is dead, slain by a single dragon slaying arrow.  Has the People's Revolution turned violent, or has the Church of the Twins decided to reignite their ancient Crusade against the Monsters?

Riotous Days: Factory and dock workers protest Androids on the edge of a industrial district in Crux.  The IS&L and the Crux Constabulary hire the PCs to infiltrate their number- but the PCs find that these aren't really protesting workers, but instead are shapechanged workers.  They are doppelgangers and other mutants crafted by the Aboleth trying to cover for some dark horror trying to emerge at the docks.  And the PCs have to find a way to stop them from summoning the nightmarish thing while other real workers join the protests.

A Debt: The PCs are hired by a tiny old man for protection- from the police.  They learn he owes a debt to the IS&L, not for taking out a loan, but for refusing to sell to them his new technique for crafting Androids swifter and faster.  The old man wants nothing to do with them, refusing to sell any of his Androids, refering to them as his children.  Can the PCs protect the old man, or will they be tempted by IS&L's attempts to buy their loyalty?