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    Canonfire :: View topic - Do the public know who's on the GHC Oligarchy?
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    Do the public know who's on the GHC Oligarchy?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:12 am  
    Do the public know who's on the GHC Oligarchy?

    I was just wondering if the citizens of Greyhawk know who, exactly, is on the Greyhawk City Oligarchy or if this is kept a mystery? For example, does the public know the Guildmaster of Assassins and the Guildmaster of Thieves are on the Oligarchy?

    If they do know, does the public (and the churches of good) have a problem with the Guildmaster of Assassins and the Guildmaster of Thieves being on the Oligarchy? Or, do they see them as being simply "business men" - no different from the Guildmaster of Metalsmithing or Guildmaster of Leatherworking?

    As an extension of this query, is hiring an assassin illigal if it is done through the Guild of Assassins? Is thievery illigal if it is performed by Guild Thieves? Leatherworking isn't evil.

    Greyhawk City has a "ban on evil religions" policy but seems to tollerate organised crime through such organisations as the Assassins' Guild and the Thieves' Guild. How does one resolve this hypocrisy? Or is it not hypocrisy?

    Thanks Happy
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:06 am  

    Greyhawk is an inherently neutral aligned city.

    And I don't even know who's on the Council of Oligarchs anymore.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:38 am  
    Re: Do the public know who's on the GHC Oligarchy?

    dead wrote:
    I was just wondering if the citizens of Greyhawk know who, exactly, is on the Greyhawk City Oligarchy or if this is kept a mystery? For example, does the public know the Guildmaster of Assassins and the Guildmaster of Thieves are on the Oligarchy?


    IMO, yes, they do know that Nerof Gasgal is the lord mayor, and that Org Nenshen is an Oligarch, but do not know their roles in the guild of thieves. Likewise with Turin Deathstalker and the guild of assassins. There may be rumors and whispered accusations of course, but are you really going to risk offending men like that?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:54 am  

    What chatdemon said. Pretty much everyone knows Nerof is the mayor, and none of the other Council members are secret (names all freely available, although not everyone's "other" positions may be known)... but heck... I don't even know the names of most of my real city's council. I suspect most of the population of the CoG likewise has no idea who is running their city (other then the mayor and some of the higher profile personages). Particularly in a medieval city, the general populace is so far removed from the politics of running a city that they wouldn't know and wouldn't care.

    By the way, Turin is gone, I believe.

    Denis, aka "Maldin
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    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:37 am  

    The Guild of Thieves and Guild of Assassins wouldn't be regarded the same way as real trade guilds. They'd be known of, in the way that people know of the Mafia, but like the Mafia, they don't have offices with signs hanging up outside saying "Thieve's Guild HQ". Despite the name - they're basically organised crime syndicates.

    P.
    Forum Moderator

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:26 pm  

    Nerof and the others do have fronts from their Thieves Guild positions, those are just listed in the books as their true positions of power. Turin (and possibly his successor Vesparian) ran a service agency. Nerof iirc owns the Wheel of Gold gambling house. And Org Nenshen might be co-owner or just 'independantly wealthy'.

    Where the public Oligarch identities makes GHC look corruptable is in that both the Captain-General and the Chief Constable are on the council, as well as the Inpsector of Taxes and Guildmaster of Layers & Scribes. Then throw in the standard 3-4 Oligarchs for the Merchants-Traders Union and you know that there won't be a 'good' Wizard or Priest mayor for some time to come.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:39 pm  

    Nerof is know as the owner of the Wheel of Gold gambling house in the High Quarter. Vesper has taken over for Turin as the owner of a number of businesses. Nerof is most likely known on sight around the city be residents due to overseeing various festivals, such as the Feast of Fools. Others like Vesper and Glodreddi act behind the scenes, a good thing for all.
    Forum Moderator

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    Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:50 pm  

    Ah yes, Vesper has a pawn shop too. It's all about the bottom line for the oligarchs. Even the priests and wizards are getting some sort of kick backs I'm sure.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:35 am  

    Worth remembering as well that, even if the names are known, it is unlikely that everyone would be able to identify them on sight. Consider the case of the unfortunate Cinna (ripped to shreds after Julius Caesar's funeral because people mistook him for someone else of the same name), or the following story from Plutarch about Aristides "the Just":

    Quote:
    As therefore, they were writing the names on the sherds, it is reported that an illiterate clownish fellow, giving Aristides his sherd, supposing him a common citizen, begged him to write Aristides upon it; and he being surprised and asking if Aristides had ever done him any injury, "None at all," said he, "neither know I the man; but I am tired of hearing him everywhere called the just."
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:53 pm  

    I agree that everyone would know (If they cared to know) who the council members are and there would be some dark rumors about some of the council member. Mostly, though, I think that most citizens just look at the overall situation and figure that as long as the city is running realatively smoothly who cares who is running things or why.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:33 pm  

    I'm in general agreement with everyone here. Nerof Gasgal might be known in many circles to be a thief, but whether or not people know he's the actual Assistant Guildmaster is debatable. Certainly Nerof will front himself as a merchant and gambling magnate, and this is the image he offers to ambassadors and visiting heads of state. Street rumors may point him out as the guildmaster, but they might also say this for any high-ranking thief who administers one of the city quarters, for instance.

    In real life, people like to make jokes about crooked politicians, and the Mafia is commonly portrayed in the media. However, the crooked politicians and gangsters don't act against them for any number of reasons. Why wasn't Mario Puzo "whacked" after writing The Godfather? Probably because it wouldn't be worth the trouble, and would only cause more difficulties down the road. Same thing with the producers of The Sopranos, for example.

    The likes of Nerof Gasgal, Glodreddi Bakkanin, Anton Palmirian, and Org Nenshen are probably content to ignore most of the true rumors spread about them, since there are no doubt as many rumors that contradict what the true ones say, and are equally as believable. Besides which, even if some of the accusations are true, few people will believe them in the cases of these powerful people who have worked to create fronts for themselves. A lot of the rumors are formed by those jealous of their success; even if they are true, the people often have no proof to back them up, or even any idea that they are right.

    Besides, even the rigid and doctrinaire Cuthbertines might be aware that directly attacking the power bases of these men will do more harm than good-if they're banned, they can hardly act to help the poor and the sick, or defend them from street thugs and criminals!

    Also, the likes of Gasgal and Nenshen are as likely to have gotten where they are through perfectly legal means, knowing how to maneuver in the established political system, as they were by lying and blackmail. Gasgal, even if he is a crook, is entitled to whatever protections the law gives, and if he was duly elected through the normal channels, the Cuthbertines could hardly stop his taking office...but that doesn't mean they won't be looking for ways to nail them if and when they commit a crime too egregious to go unnoticed.

    As for the general question, everyone's probably heard of Nerof Gasgal, as well as maybe Nenshen, Bakkanin and the other most prominent members of the Oligarchy. But few people will know about Anton Palmirian, as he strikes me as preferring to act behind the scenes, while most of the people in the Union of Merchants and Traders are obviously unknown to the average citizen in the streets. Most citizens, as long as the city runs smoothly and people make money, really don't care about these sorts of things, however much the church of Trithereon might try and make them care otherwise.
    _________________
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:27 pm  
    How about...

    this as a good rule of thumb? PCs of 5th level or higher are well-connected enough that they could know or find out that some of the oligarchs have shady side businesses without the details. PCs of 10th level or higher could learn about their secret organizations and leadership roles.

    Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Because Yak-Men don't use "gather information" skills...
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:37 am  

    Thanks, everyone, for the responses. Smile

    I was just wondering if it were common knowledge to the public that the leader of the Thieves' Guild and the leader of the Assassins' Guild are on the Oligarchy.

    From reading the posts, though, it makes sense to have these folks just be wealthy "business men" to the public with rumors that they are more beneath the surface.

    Does anyone have a current list of Oligarchs and what their "public face" is as well as their behind-the-scenes role is?

    Thanks Happy
    Forum Moderator

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    Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:20 am  

    The Directing Oligarchy as of 591 CY (Most of this is lifted from GH:the Adventure Begins Pg 62-64). The Oligarchy consists of 12-18 members depending on circumstances.

    *Member of the secret "inner circle" of the Oligarchy that determines which issues are most critical, then crafts major policies.

    Nerof Gasgal*, Lord Mayor (since 570 CY), Assistant Guildmaster of Thieves. Fronts as a concerned businessman (Wheel of Gold) but is widely known to be a thief. Close friend of Org Nenshen. (LN)

    Tigran Gellner, Captain-General of the Watch, (Replaced Sental Nurev) concerned with Pomarj. Created Hardby Marines and Mountaineer Militia. Married a cleric of Pholtus. (LN)

    Derider Fanshen, City Constable. Plans to retire in 592 and become a legal defender. Friend of High Matriarch Sarana and Jallarzi Sallavarian. (NG)

    Org Nenshen*, Guildmaster of Thieves (Must be publicly known like a Mafia Don). Committed to destroying evil cults. (LN)

    Vesparian 'Vesper' Lafanel*, Guildmaster of Assassins (Replaced Turin Deathstalker). Fronts as owner of Vesper's Pawnshop. Dislikes dwarves, an intellectual sociopath. (NE)

    Kieran Jalucian, Guildmaster of Wizards, Principal of the UMA. Rarely acts in the Oligarchy unless the topic is magic. Romantically tied to Jallarzi. (NG)

    Torrentz Hebvard, President of the Society of Magi (Replaced Otiluke). Most politically active wizard in city. Advocate of neutrality. Married to a rich cleric of Zilchus. (LN)

    Ravel Dasinder, Patriarch of Boccob. Speaks little, unrivalled diviner. Close ally of Mordenkainen. (N)

    Stakaster Villaine, Patriarch of Zilchus. Master of financial planning and economic projections. Superb teacher and speaker. Widower. (N)

    Eritai Kaan-Ipzirel, Matriarch of St Cuthbert. Forced her way onto Oligarchy in 586. Backed by Nightwatchmen, GH Militia and City Watch. At odds with corrupt Oligarchs. Divorced five times. (LN)

    Jerome Kasinkaia, Patriarch of Rao. Speaks little but is well informed on religion and politics. Master speaker, diplomat and leader. Close ally of Bigby. Considering retirement to Mitrik soon. (LG)

    Dernan Nathane*, Guildmaster of Union of Merchants and Traders, is also a member of Thieves Guild. Very popular and brilliant businessman (smuggler on the side). Secretly involved with Gerda Hollardel in affair and illegal operations. (N)

    Carmen Halmaster*, Representative of the UoM&T, inactive member of Guild of Thieves, now involved in cloth trade. Crippled by an assassin attack. Genius at predicting trade patterns. (N)

    Cariel Mansharn*, Representative of the UoM&T (Replaced Ren o' the Star in 583). Selfish but bright, closely follows Nathane and Halmaster in voting. (LE)

    Stimtrin Cannasay, Representative of the UoM&T (Replaced Laup Cobrun in 589). Follows other Union members in voting. Obsessive but otherwise harmless and generally ignored. (LN)

    Gerda Hollardel, Guildmaster of Jewelers and Gemcutters (Replaced father Bodmi Hollardel in 589). Secretly involved with Dernan Nathane. Strong-willed, inexperienced and unreliable to other Directors. (CN)

    Sir Anton Palmirian, Guildmaster of Lawyers, Scribes and Accountants. Cold calculating, ruthless, with enormous political power and complete knowledge of the city's laws. In failing health. Divorced twice. Vengeful and borderline sociopath. (LE)

    Glodreddi Bakanin* Inspector of Taxes, GH Revenue Service. Financial genius and cold hearted schemer to make the city more money. Vengeful and long memory Grossly corrupt. Feared and avoided by everyone. (LE)

    Commentary: In @ 581CY there was 16 Directors, now in 591 there is 18, the maximum. The two increased positions have been both filled by Temple leaders of Zilchus and St Cuthbert. Where before only two laid-back pacifist temples were involved now we have two proactive temples involved. One a religion whose interest is the economy and the other GH's defense.

    The Directors on average are lawful and neutral with some evil undertones. There is only one chatoic.

    The thieves of GH still rule with a wink. Even GH:tAB mentions the Guild of Thieves Hall (which was also the former City Hall for the Directors) is publicly declared to be used as a place for government support staff. In addition this is where the treaty that ended the GH Wars was signed. Voting blocs seem quite obviously in favor of the Thieves The four merchants Union votes as a group and are in turn indebted to Org and Nerof. It is likely that Gerda will eventually follow Nathane into the voting bloc as well if she is ever reigned in. I also don't think it's a stretch to beleive that the Patriarch of Zilchus would generally go with the merchants union most of the time. Vesper and Glodreddi are also on the inner circle with the thievely Directors and should lean toward most of their decisions if it benefits them. That gives the thieves bloc 10 out 18 votes. Sir Anton I am unsure of, he supposedly has great political power and he certainly knows the laws better than anyone but he isn't privvy to the secret inner circle.
    The only other power group therefore is the 'defense' bloc. If war ever erupted full scale on the city, martial law would then be the order of the day not economics. The other three temples, two military directors, two wizards and possibly even the GM of lawyers would then hold sway over 8 votes easily. People like Glodreddi and Vesper would likely switch sides. The best way for this bloc to assert control though is reduce the sitting membership from 18 back to 16 or less. Fewer merchants and thieves involved would then turn GH into an oligarchy ran not by thieves but a militant mago/theocracy.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:19 pm  

    Thanks for the info Happy
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:17 pm  

    Nice list Mort

    Why would the mages work with the temples, they are (N), while the priests are more proactive and the theological differences would cause a religious bloc hard to maintain; let alone a an alliance since the mages don't want the tedium of rule.

    I also wonder if the military would choose to upset the "money" after all seroms and spells do not put gold in their pockets.
    Forum Moderator

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    Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:23 pm  

    My temple-mage-military bloc scenario is purely derived from two factors:

    1. These factions will band together more to protect the city from threats. That's why the only way that bloc works is if there is an imminent threat to the city proper not the Wild Coast per se. The thieves will be the last ones manning the parapets and healing the wounded and throwing down fireballs on enemies. Indeed, the merchants-thieves will profit off any conflicts.

    2. The temples represented, maybe with the exception of Zilchus can be viewed as incorruptable compared to the 'money' bloc. The wizards are in general should be more apt to work with the temples especially if Boccob is among them. The military in kind while more corruptable, can be kept in line by the fiery rhetoric of Cuthbert's high priestess.
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