Following the standard 3 page format, with one for a cover/intro explaining the concept behind the Bullet Point series, and one page going to credits/OGL, we are left with a single page to handle the new concept/materials. This time out we're looking at fees and taxes to help add another level of depth to our fantasy lands. Now, this release will not be for everyone, as it is all about adding some tricks to a GM's bag of ways to separate a character and their money, and we all know how much players love giving up their gold.
Some of these taxes seem fairly odd and ridiculous when you first read them , until you realize we have had, and in some communities still have on the books, taxes and laws very similar to some presented here. Take for example the Beard Tax. A single silver tax to be paid for the right to have beard longer than two days growth...ridiculous you say? Dwarves will revolt? Probably, so be an intelligent GM, and don't invoke this tax within a dwarven kingdom. Use it within a primarily human community with a disdain for humanoid races, or at war with dwarven neighbors. Or Custom Duty, a special tax on items of high quality, to help make sure it will cost more, balancing out the market shares for the cheaper, more local product. Sound to anyone else like the taxes we pay for products from overseas? Gabelle taxes spells, which in itself is not the part of this tax that caught my attention...but could you imagine the taxman who collects upon this particular fee? What kind of bad ass is that guy?
The Tithe is a concept we are all familiar with, and Poll Taxes are not unheard of, charging citizens for the right to vote. Wergild was a nice fee, a price for the life of a citizen based upon their career and potential to earn, that is charged one who brings about their death. Tagzettel probably struck me as the most problematic of the taxes within this collection in regards to repercussions within game, as it is a tax levied against those a community thinks might be “ a bad element”. Anything and anyone they don't like or trust can be taxed under this heading just “in case” they do anything wrong, they've prepaid for damages basically...profiling much?
Now, what we don't get here are what I was wanting to see, actual fantasy taxes. How much does a feudal lord charge the local knights order in taxes for their griffons they keep stabled? Is there a fee to be paid to a community to offer better protection for your buried loved ones to keep the necromancers away from them? Or is there a tax for necromancers to operate within a city? An import tax for restaurants cooking and serving fillet of wyrm? You know, fantasy taxes. And that would have made these so much more interesting.
All in all, a useful, if utilitarian, collection of ideas, but again, not for everyone, or every play group. These strike me as being more for those groups who immerse in roleplaying within communities as opposed to those who simply want to kill it all and drag home the gold.
Settling upon a three star, as the taxes given are useful, just not what I had hoped for, but at a dollar, its hard to argue with.