I could use some input from everyone regarding how members of the Order of the Hart (for my purposes, mainly focusing on the Velunese faction specifically) are funded.
I have read what sources I own, including the original golden boxed set, From the Ashes, The Greyhawk Gazeteer, The Adventure Begins, The Marklands, and Greyhawk: the Player's Guide (which also includes a kit for this branch), just so you know my references.
I know these knights are semi-autonomous and most are land-owners. What I really want to know is HOW they fund themselves as independent individuals who work collectively to defend the nation.
The aforementioned kit says they get a weekly stipend, but that is paltry and in NO WAY would bring in enough funding to pay for the knight. Coincidentally, WHO is paying this stipend? Is it the Archclericy itself, or do all the ruling families chip in?
Since not all knights own land...and NOT all land provides income necessary to support the knight's expenses...how do most of them afford to work semi-autonomously?
I know that Sir Lemajen Sterrich (see From the Ashes) works as a merchant. That gives him both mobility and financial support to work in advancing the cause.
But what about other Knights? Do they freelance as mercenaries? Do they have independent businesses or serve in various guilds (armorer, weaponsmith, blacksmith, for instance...but if so, would a Guild permit someone to come and go freely when there is work to be done!?)? Can they work as part of the small army but have more flexibility in where they go?
Finally, wondering if the Knight is required/expected to pay the wages for their sergeants and agents who work for said Knight. Or are these people who have "jobs" and act on behalf of the Knight when asked?
Well, a landed knight gets income from his lands. If nothing else, selling surplus food and other agricultural products to cities. Other products of the lands might include wood, furs, and leather. Note that much of this might well be small-scale stuff that isn't shown on the 'major products' map in the old Greyhawk box.
This will be enough for a landed knight to support himself and his household including a few guards and/or sergeants to watch things when he's out on KotH business. It might well be enough to support a small-to-moderate band of troops. Or, they might use the surplus to support unlanded knights sworn to them personally.
An unlanded knight might be supported by a liege lord, probably a higher ranking KotH. He might take mercenary jobs with the understanding that he will respond to calls from the Order. Or he might be an independent adventurer and/or part of an adventuring party. The latter can be especially lucrative... and is also especially dangerous.
Many members would probably be landed knights, and so have some revenue from there, but most of that revenue will be for maintaining those lands, so that actually explains very little regarding where the orders' funding comes from. The lion's share of the funding most likely comes from powerful patrons throughout the lands that the orders serve, which will explain where even knights without lands get funding.
As many knights were heroes/adventurers before joining the orders, it would not be abnormal for them to also acquire a certain amount of funding from similar activities (though this will likely not be the result of the random dungeon crawl, but of actively working against enemies of the orders). Take your enemy's resources so they can't use them against you.
Last, there are likely many patrons in other lands in the Central Flanaess (such as Verbobonc and the City of Greyhawk, to name two) who aid the orders to fight against the mostly state funded evil threatening the area. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
I imagine that the stipend is more a PC / LG thing than something that would be administered in-game / to all NPC's equally, but if it was, I could see it coming from church funds for the Veluna branch.
Many of the knights are nobles / large landowners and these would be expected to support themselves and pay for their retainers. It would be a mark of honor to use their own personal funds to support the activities of the Knights. In Veluna, a landowner might be afforded dispensation from certain tithes in return for supporting Knights of the Hart, which would amount to a sort of cost-sharing venture with the church.
A landed knight, as opposed to a greater noble, would be hard-pressed to just maintain themselves on their lands and so would not have much income to devote to their chapter or to support serjeants and such.
A landless knight would certainly not be able to support themselves. In that case, it would be the honor of their liege to support them as a member of the Hart. Typically this would be done for younger sons of the nobility who would be landless knights in the service of their father anyway, but on whom the title of the Hart would confer greater prestige. For a lower-born individual who was both recognized as a skilled combatant and a faithful adherent of the church, the church might provide a stipend to support them as a Knight.
Although some sort of canon, you don't mention owning Castle Hart, but I would not recommend this anyway. Certainly not canon, but full of citations, you might consider reviewing my articles here about the history of the Hart.
I see no reason for largesse to be taxed, the governing entities not needing to "wet their beaks" from monies directed to those already in their service. In fact, I would recommend records of donations be circumspect in order to obscure donor sources, meaning there would not be government records (at least records with names; perhaps just amounts). The Orders might keep records, though the Highfolk faction is so small that donations from patrons might simply be directly given to its members; covertly or not, as desired by the donor(s). The more significant the donor/donation, the more significant the expectations, so that aspect of donated monies sort of takes care of itself. Any PC knights shouldn't be becoming enriched, and frivolous use of funds would be questioned by donors. For example, a PC knight who is amassing funding to build a keep better be building it near a hostile border, not deep in the heart (and safety) of their patron nation. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Looks like everyone else has covered it pretty thoroughly. The only thing I would add is that I think the stipend would be distributed by the Order.
The Order's money would likely come from rents from land that it owns, and charity from nobles, churches, and guilds. Lastly the Order would probably have investments in trading ventures, mines, etc...
One thing to note from Castle Hart in the Castles box set is that the original split into the various Orders was the result of a disagreement over spending their funding. It's not super significant but it does point out that the Knights pooled their funds as an organization from the beginning.
If you download my Fiefdom and Settlement generator from the Canonfire Downloads section, there is an excel worksheet in there that helps to calculate the amount of funds a landed noble earns and the costs of maintaining his household / servants.
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