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ZEITGEIST My Players Stole the Wand Smuggler's Money (Pathfinder)

Sapphicseer

Villager
References events in Book 2 and the start of book 3

As stated in the title, my players recently stole the Wand Smuggler's money, using an elaborate plan and some spells to convince everyone that the 160,000gp (10,000 gold pieces, and 150,000gp in Danoran Paper bills) Nilasa's friends were preparing to use to buy that shipment of wands were actually counterfeit, turning in counterfeit replicas to the RHC and telling the family as such, so they can keep the money for themselves.

Their plan to take it and convince everyone went off well, but, since they're only just level 3, I want to preserve at least some shred of the game's internal economy, and as such I've put a few restrictions, with the most notable of them being that they're going to have to launder the money very thoroughly to avoid drawing suspicion, and not be noticeable about their sudden injection of cash at all.

I'll likely give them the opportunity to acquire a few things using the gold pieces during the Kaybeau Arms Fair (The gun show loophole, essentially, though this could get them noticed by Lauryn Cyneburg), and I'm going to try and encourage them to launder the money in a way that's slow enough that I can justify replacing their Stipend with lump sums they've managed to Launder (With a side plot potentially brewing where they can discover that Lady Inspectress Margaret Saxby has been redirecting money meant for their stipend to try and dampen their rising popularity), with the purchases at the arms fair and a few more in adventure 4 (If they slip past the audit) acting as moments where they get rewarded above the normal amount for taking the risk to steal it and come up with a plan to launder it without drawing attention.

Still, I figured I'd ask, has anyone here had the same situation? Do you think this plan to preserve the economy is good? Is there anything in particular this might throw a wrench in? And, finally, if they manage to blunder the laundering process, what consequences outside of those listed in the book do you all think would be appropriate?
 
Have your players bought into the whole being law enforcement agents thing? This is a particularly none police thing to do and has huge problems for them.
They have to fool a whole bunch of higher level and reasonably intelligent people or when they get caught they are likely out of the RHC which is a huge problem. Personally unless one of the characters has very good banking or organised crime connections and a very good set of skills in things like banking, accounting or financial fraud I would expect them to get caught but it depends on your play style.
The people they work for can do basic math so if a PC turns up with a +2 sword which is way more than he can afford at this level he is going to be noticed, the same if he starts buying a house with cash or similar. Incidentally this is how almost all corrupt cops and similar are caught , as soon as they start living the life they can now afford their colleagues notice start to get Jealous and then realise they must have an extra money source, then Jail.
Danoran paper currency is probably not worth anything like full face value in Risur it is not something the locals trust to actually be worth 1 GP as it is just a piece of foreign paper and only specialist banks can spot forgeries so they should have some trouble and lost somewhere between 25 and 50% of the value of the currency in trying to launder it into something they can actually spend.
Danor seems to me to be a country based post revolutionary France combined with a more modern Marxist state , on that basis you can pull all sought of tricks with a fiat paper currency which are realistic but not fair
1) Danor arbitarily slashes the value of its currency vs the Risur Dollar
2) With the tensions surrounding Risur/Danoran relations the exchange rate could fluctuate wildl without market manipulation. On a historical basis slashing is value by 25% is easy to justify (cf recent pound vs dollar movements) and after the events of episode 5 the Danoran Notes are probably pretty toilet paper if you want to spend them in Risur
3) In order to counter corruption Risur withdraws the current notes making them illegal tender but will convert them over at a 1-1 rate to the new currency , with legal limits on how much can be converted and all sorts of paperwork to fill in (India did this a few years ago)

The other opportunity to use the currency would be when they travel to Danor in part 4 in which case spending that sort of money , particularly on magical items will make their cover identities very interesting to the Danoran authorities and hence the Ob.

The other possibility is if your players are irredeemable old style looters and cannot adapt to the idea of being police officers and not looting everything which is not nailed down is to do away with the stipend, then over time things will even out faster . I have run a very generous campaign before and twice WBL is not that bad for game breaking, well designed characters cause more need to rebuild the npc's than extra gear
 

arkwright

Explorer
Can I ask where you got the figure of '160,000gp' from? All I can find is a quote saying that Nilasa Hume was going to spend 'tens of thousands' in the wands, a far cry from a whopping 160k.
(EDIT: Nevermind, I found the 160k figure.)

If you want 'consequences'- well, Book 3 features an audit, no matter what the party does. That should be all you need.

You could encourage the party to spend the money on non-equipment things; on hirelings and buying political influence and the like. Use it to encourage them to build up their profile, to hire scouts and experts to help their negotiations. Ooh, or- have them commission their own ship.

I would note that lost of countries have very specific rules about carrying large amounts of money- particularly about carrying large amounts of foreign currency. Chances are, possessing 150k in Danoran money in Risur is prima facie sedition or similar. That should make the currency a lot harder to sell off.
 
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Sapphicseer

Villager
Have your players bought into the whole being law enforcement agents thing? This is a particularly none police thing to do and has huge problems for them.
They mostly have, actually, but they're a group that's incredibly thorough and is of the mindset that sometimes they have to go beyond the law to find answers and a creative ingenuity to cover their tracks well, (For example, they managed to successfully break into the Consular's office without leaving a trace). This, alongside a justification that the money would still be dedicated to helping people, just through them, has justified falling into the money's temptation in their eyes.


They have to fool a whole bunch of higher level and reasonably intelligent people or when they get caught they are likely out of the RHC which is a huge problem. Personally unless one of the characters has very good banking or organised crime connections and a very good set of skills in things like banking, accounting or financial fraud I would expect them to get caught but it depends on your play style.
Ironically, thanks to sheer coincidence, the party consists of a former merchant turned Skyseer, an agent that's just returned from deep-cover into the organized crime in Slate, and a Vekeshi Mystic Vigilante. So, in character, they do have the skills to try and pull this off if they come up with a good plan, which, considering their track record, they likely will.

Danoran paper currency is probably not worth anything like full face value in Risur it is not something the locals trust to actually be worth 1 GP as it is just a piece of foreign paper and only specialist banks can spot forgeries so they should have some trouble and lost somewhere between 25 and 50% of the value of the currency in trying to launder it into something they can actually spend.
I think so as well, I think Danoran paper currency is likely held in high suspicion and heavily observed in transactions, so they'll have to find a way to get the money into gold or some other valuable first, which should delay the point in which they can actually access the money further, or at least drive them to a more innovative solution. But, essentially, my plan is to replace the money they've gotten from their stipend with payouts from their laundering scheme, with two moments where they can try and spend the money more freely, but at the cost of attracting additional attention leading to additional consequences. And if they're not subtle enough about it or try to get the entire sum up-front, they'll have to give things up at the audit and be scolded for it.
 
I'm honestly surprised I haven't read about more groups going the corrupt cop direction. The audit in book 3 is definitely intended to let corruption be tempting but to nudge the characters to seek positions of authority and responsibility instead of just seeking money.

But I loved watching The Wire, and I figured it was important to give law enforcement characters a chance to be ambiguously heroic: out for their own interest, but also wanting to stop bad guys.

Good luck.
 

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