Prices for books in the Theban tribunal

I'm curious how people believe prices would translate between the vis prices listed in covenants (page 95) and the token economy of the Theban tribunal. Tokens are definitely more valuable than a pawn of vis, but I'm not sure what "exchange rate" should be used. Specifically, my magus is offering several quality 13 tractati for sale (comm 3 and good teacher) and I'm curious how much he should ask for. Or maybe he should just sell it for vis since he's an outsider?

I haven't checked the book (noble's parma), but as I recall that part of Sundered Eagle, if he's an outsider, he shouldn't be reciving tokens at all.
IIRC they are only for citizens (not even residents).

Well... lets just supposed (hypothetically you understand), that my saga had already accidentally established that outsiders could get tokens. What would be a "fair" exchange rate? Admittedly... this might simply not work since the vis and token economies are so fundamentally different. The former being capitalist and the latter being... some for of distributive socialism.

Truthfully, I would introduce the term retcon (retroactive continuity) to the troupe and correct what went on before.

The token/shard economy, as far as I could figure it was unwieldy. Further, if your man activity is in another tribunal, it is probably more trouble than it is worth. Now, if your extremely active in the tribunal it makes sense to work through it, but my sense with messing with it, was it needed a lot of work to have it make sense and not run on pure SG fiat.

Moreover, there's prolly a penalty if the return favor leaves the Tribunal as does not enrich Thebes. It is a complex problem that might have repercussions (read : stories).

Well I think it's worth it in our saga since one of the long term themes was going to be an attempt at a rapprochement between thebes and transylvania. Also, my mage was educated in thebes and his parens / allies are there, but now he lives in a new covenant in transylvania. I don't think there's any fundamental reason why outsiders shouldn't be allowed to trade for tokens (not meaning canon doesn't say that's the case, just that the way tokens work doesn't make it immediately ridiculous) since tokens are only really valuable insofar as they can be used to negate a shard. This should mean that tokens (and the improvement to the tribunal that they bring) will eventually return to thebes. Now, the more immediate reason why my mage is selling books in thebes is simply that he knows people there that would give him the benefit of the doubt. After that it's simply that word of mouth would spread through that tribunal first, later he'd be able to sell books to people in other tribunals that are more members of the vis economy. But at the start at least, it seems likely that he'd be trading in tokens.

Regardless, even if we ignore all the questions of intertribunal trade (which must happen in some form) what do people think the price structure for books would be in the theban tribunal?

Well, there is the issue of polites and metoikos. You have to perform civic duties to maintain your citizenship in the Tribunal.

The question is whether you buy into the bilingual Order. That Thebes, since it is so vis rich, and wants to stand just a bit apart from the Latin nature of the Order is creating and maintaining a lot of volumes in Ancient Greek. If so, those books may be of little value outside the Tribunal, or perhaps, they are so very good and in demand, that it creates a boom for teachers or translaters of Ancient Greek. I like the bilingual order. And when magi who know Latin have learned all they can from the tractatus in Latin, they can learn Ancient Greek and learn from those in the Theban Tribunal that haven't been translated into Latin, or aren't translations from Latin.

The question comes down to, what are you going to use tokens for in your saga. The suggested uses in the book hint that they wouldn't be a good hard currency, especially with someone outside the tribunal. Say you have some tokens, you're going to come to the Tribunal and claim an apprentice? Why would an apprentice choose you, especially if they are interested in remaining in the Tribunal? How do you intend or see yourself using the tokens you have, within the context presented in The Sundered Eagle?

I suppose my mage would use them for the same thing any current resident of the tribunal would use them for. Specifically, seasons of service or products from other magi. Like... he'd be willing to pay someone to develop a non warping CrMe ritual to boost his Communication. He'd also happily buy items to do things that he doesn't have the arts to do or that can do something he can do better. I could easily see most people in other tribunals not being willing to accept a token ("what's this? I want something with actual value") but since he's from the Theban Tribunal and values it's style of political organization / collective effort he'd happily accept tokens in payment (assuming he was allowed to, don't have the book in front of me to check that).

It seems to me that what we are asking is: if a citizen of Thebes were to write a bunch of Q13 tractatus, how many tokens would he get for them? A particularly egregious season-long service in Thebes is typically awarded 2 tokens. Writing 1 (pretty good!) tractatus and gifting it to the Tribunal (you wouldn't sell it, that would be crass) is then probably worth 2 tokens, or only 1 if you give it under the cow and calf oath and you retain exclusive rights to make and trade copies of it throughout the rest of the Order.

Of course, the rest of the order isn't going to care about a book that's Greek to them...

That's unclear. If your Latin-speaking magus where offered the choice between a gift of a dozen Tractatus in Classical Greek, Q13, and of a dozen tractatus in Latin, Q11, for your magus' use only... which would you choose? I think it would be a close call.

I updated the Project Redcap entries on tokens, shards, polites etc last night. I'm not sure that metoikos can't hold tokens actually: metoikos can vote at Tribunal after all. However they can not be subject to a Vote of Ostracism, only polites can be ostracised. The description of polites implies only they can benefit from tokens, but can they be transferred to a metoikos? Dunno. I believe Mark Shirley wrote most of this material.

In response to the original question see insert "Gift of Vis" TSE p.30. A gift of one or two pawns of vis and transfer of a token (to remove a shard) seems to be sufficient for a Season copying, so I'd look at how long the book would take to copy and extrapolate from there.

cj x

Oh yes, that's right. We had a player ask what advantages there were to being polites. Basically why bother?

I get the impression metoikos are treated with suspicion and shunned as potentially dangerous, uncivilised, barbarian scum. So the polites who after all are that way simply because they were apprenticed in Thebes, or were granted the status for acts benefiting the community, are liable to not assist, and possibly actively harass non-polites. Given the majority of members of the Tribunal are polites, and unlike other Tribunals the Tribunal hand down both guilt and sentences by vote, not bothering could easily get you judicially lynched or harassed. Unfortunately given recent events in the region at the time of writing we did not intend to display the Tribunal as much as xenophobic as proud of its long history and unique culture: the two things however can easily become mingled. Remember ALL political and judicial and legislative power is in the hands of the polities: and while the Code gives every magi rights, the Peripheral Code is stacked against non-polites.

Metoikoi cannot hold tokens and shards. This is clarified at the end of the section on Tokens and Shards. The prime advantage of becoming a citizen of the polity (a polites) is access to the system of tokens and shards. A metoikos cannot be denied a vote at tribunal, since that is guaranteed by the Oath of Hermes.


To me the entire tribunal of Thebes book seems written with a political and social system heavily modeled on that of ancient Athens, with constant references to it both in name and "mechanics" (albeit with some changes). Ostracism would be such an example; metoikoi would be another.

In Athens, a metoikos was a free non-citizen, typically a foreign immigrant; the closest thing in the modern world would be a "resident alien". If memory serves me right, Aristotle was a metoikos. Being a metoikos entailed fewer rights, but also fewer responsibilities -- essentially you were a guest of the the big Athenian family rather than a family member. Thus an Athenian would not, in general, shun you or consider you a "dangerous, uncivilised barbarian scum". He would treat you as someone with possibly different, weird values; someone without the strong ties of blood and tradition to him that every other Athenian would have; and someone with generally smaller stakes in the well-being of the polity. Still, a powerful metoikos would be more influential than a poor polites (citizen): in many ways an Athenian would regard the two as a European would regard, respectively, a wealthy merchant and a poor knight.

The way that Sundered Eagle is written conveys to me the feeling that this accurately reflects the status of metoikoi in the tribunal.

Given the smallness of Thebes compared to the Latin orer at large, I would say that Hermetic books in Greek are at a premium cost compared to the cost in Covenants*. On the other hand, mundane books, including those on Realm Lore and the like will be quite common given the scholarly bend of quite a few of the periods in Byzantine history, so cheaper than in other area. Cheaper in terms of build points as well.


*I consider that cost not to be well calculated (it is on the low side, and quality of your average book is too high), though, and book trade too common for my liking, but that is another issue.


I think the Covenants book qualities were errata'd? I would charge more for books but it is saga dependent. On my thoughts about polites resentment to outsiders; Two Tremere invasions and then the events of 1185 and 1204-1205 must have left their mark. The massacre of westerners in Constantinople in what 1190 or so? and the general unpopularity of the Franks wrought by the chaos of their despoiling the Empire in the Crusades while just "passing through" might have had some influence on Hermetic Culture. Then again, House Jerbiton has links with the Alps with its domus magna there, so all may be fine and friendly. Dunno, down to your take on it all I guess :slight_smile: Hermetic prejudices need not mirror mundane ones!

Yeah, it was errata'd and it increased the quality... :smiley: