Dungeons and Dragons – Mystara
The Licences and Bureaucracy of Glantri
Living in Glantri with help from Mister Humphrey, the Invisible Stalker
“Our greatest national headache is the kindly Glantrian bureaucracy! The amount of scrollwork required in Glantri is frightening. Everything must be legally approved and licensed by the nation’s magistrates. Licenses are sold at the House of Ministers for 1 to 100 dc per year, depending on the importance of the requested activity. For example, I own a license for serving in a tavern (1 dc), serving alcoholic beverages (1 dc), serving magical brews (5 dc), being a non-human entity legally allowed to reside in Glantri City (8 dc – one per HD), and another for turning invisible at will (3 dc), for a total of eighteen ducats per year! But business is good here.
“You can only get a license with a plausible reason. you must explain why you need the license and under which conditions you expect to use it. The official in charge of licenses is quite paranoid; he may us magic to check out the applicant’s intentions. So beware, my boy! If you are caught telling stories, you may never get the license and probably will earn the visit of constables later on. They caught me last year for being invisible without a license, and I’ve been condemned to wear this shroud for a whole year. Talk about a ridiculous fate for an invisible stalker! It’s hot in here, and I still had to pay for the license.
“In any case, the official will register your name, current address and personal description and the list of spells you know. If they don’t have a license for something you want, they’ll invent one on the spot, just for you! The whole idea of the licenses is to know who can do what and why. In a land of magic, this is one thing they do to keep on top of the situation. Here are some of the more common licenses you may need during your career.”
- Private Spell-Casting: Ten dc per level of spell, cumulative (one for 1st level spells in general, three for 2nd level, six for third level, etc..) One license is sufficient for all of the magic-user’s spells, but a list of his spells must appear on the license. This license must be approved by the Great School of Magic’s High Secretary, to whom the license fee will be forwarded.
- Arcane Business: Twenty dc per year and per level of the spell or spell effect. Each spell intended to be used on a regular basis in exchange for services or money must be licensed separately. A license for magical detection costs 20 dc, professional fire ball casting comes to 120 dc per year, etc.
- Mundane Business: For activities generating less than 5 dc per day: 1 ducat per year; for 5 to 100 dc per day: 5 ducats per year; and 20 ducats per year for any larger business. Each activity (with its usual time and place) is licensed separately.
- Bearing Weapons: One ducat per year for weapons less than 15 inches; ten for each weapon of larger size. A surcharge of five ducats will be added for blunt weapons. Gents and nobles do not need these licenses. Otherwise, they are only granted if a licensed spellcaster vouches for the applicant.
- Wearing Armor: Five ducats per year for shields and helmets, ten for leather armor, twenty for metal armor. These licenses can only be granted if a licensed spell-caster vouches for the applicant.
- Speaking in Public: Speaking in the presence of ten or more people in such a manner they all can hear requires a license (50 ducats per year). This license is necessary for scholars, magistrates, entertainers, army officers, merchants, parliament spokesmen and representatives dealing with large audiences. Listening does not require the license.
- Hazardous Magic in Urban Areas: A license is mandatory for producing magical effects in town, endangering large areas or crowds. The effects are: phantasmal force and other illusions, fire ball and fire-related spells, lightning bolt, confusion, wall of fire and other magical obstacles, cloudkill and other clouds, conjure elemental, death spell, move earth, weather control, mass invisibility, reverse gravity, symbol, gate, meteor swarm, mass charm, and wish with greater harmful effects.
- Lower water and aqueous magic are also part of this list but in Glantri City only. The license costs 100 dc per year, per spell.
Concluding Story on Licences
“These are but a few weapons in the bureaucratic arsenal. Inappropriate use of a license can get you in real trouble, the least of which is the suspension of the license for a number of months. Always carry your licenses on your person. If you are requested to show your licenses and don’t have them, you are immediately considered guilty. Watch out for thieves; stolen licenses are worth gold on the black market. Also beware of inquisitive eyes watching over your shoulder. There is a bounty for identifying unlicensed users at the House of Ministers, or those who did not report their Utterance Right. Some infamous citizens make a (licensed) living off these bounties!
“All this is just one of the public service’s malfeasances. Once in a while they misfile scrollwork or get the wrong names and addresses. The first year I moved to this place, I received one of those scroll cases with the army’s seal on it. It indicated that a “Captain Humphrey Talker” was to report immediately to the Citadel for active duty! It took me six months to prove that they had the wrong person; then, they almost court-martialed me for impersonating an army officer! I had to wear this bulky, noisy armor all the time… Anyway, I got to keep the officer’s pay. The Citadel bookkeeper wouldn’t take the money back; as far as he was concerned, the money was paid out to “the captain” and nothing else mattered.
“For every bureaucratic blunder, a public servant has some imaginative way of dealing with it. Anything can happen. They may force citizens to switch names or houses because they don’t match their files, or return to a citizen taxes he hasn’t yet paid, while another public servant requests the same amount from someone else who did pay his—money has to come from somewhere, right? They even sent a baron’s inheritance title to some gondolier. The fellow had a good time for a month or so, but then got in real trouble when the true heir returned with appropriate scrollwork. I think he ended up as the baron’s buffoon for perpetuity.
“The Glantrian administration is such a horrid machine that even nobles have problems dealing with it. Magistrates benefit from all these innumerable complaints; they can be expensive, but they are the best way to deal with the administrative maze. They understand its traps and nuances even better than the public servants.
“Aside from licenses and bureaucracy, the law is another tool public servants and magistrates skillfully use to maintain order and keep gold flowing into the treasury.”
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