By Bill Bridges

The finances of various factions of the Known Worlds.

The lists of incomes are averages. Some dukes are richer than others. Some dukes are poorer than others. Most nobles have to pay off their war loans to the Reeves or other lenders (maybe another noble), and thus their incomes are not what they may ideally be. In addition, many nobles have to restore war- torn fiefs, cutting down their incomes even more. Some are impoverished -- their lands were blown to bits or the Reeves repossessed them after a series of financial failures. Their main goal is to restore the family lands, through adventure, politics or piracy -- depending on the character of the noble involved.

In addition, a noble house is richer than any single noble of that house. Thus, House al-Malik owns many starships, while Baron Mustafa al-Malik may not own even one -- that corsair he flies around in is owned by the house (managed by a prince, grand duke or whatever). The head of the house is the guy who commissioned most of these ships (see EFS).

Now, there is another way to get a starship, and it is in fact one of the main ways -- take from another. Like privateers, folks don't like to destroy enemy starship, they board them and take them, repaint/refit them and make them part of their fleet. This was common especially during the latter half of the Emperor Wars, when people began losing more ships than they could build.

There are all sorts of arcane rules of precedent among houses for such things, declaring just who can sue another for ship theft, when the theft is justified, etc. It is not done as often now as in the past, because Alexius doesn't want everybody fighting it out on the trade lanes. So, many houses send their seventh sons/daughters into barbarian space for some raiding.

Our upcoming starship miniature combat game will provide details on such broadsides and boarding actions, and it will be compatible with the RPG (for those who extra detail).

Oh, and one final thing: yes, the ecomony is finally starting to boom after the Emperor Wars, but it is the guilds who are seeing the main benefit right now, since it is the houses are spending most of their money to restore their fiefs. (Alexius took a lot of ships to add to the fleet.)

Thus, player characters should make their fortunes through adventure, not just by manipulating numbers on a character sheet. These are trying times, and few are born to leisure anymore.