Spoiler, and question for Thunderspire labyrinth....

Ok the party I'm GMimg for are close to finishing KotSF and we all seem to be enjoying getting back into D&D after having skipped editions 3 and 3.5... and I reckon we'll carry on through the series>>>

But my players are quite smart and a question that's bound to arise is on the economics of how the Mages make much money out of the seven pillared hall?! I might have missed something but there doesn't seem to be much on the specifics, just an ogre bouncer - since most of the goods may well be small and descrete, but high value, how do the Mages get their cut??? I know they can tax the residents, but that would just push traders into avoiding them to avoid the overheads (visiting trader to visiting trader deals) and I know I could just mumble about some kind of taxable item identifying spell or like "shaggy dog" but it feels very clunky - how have others dealt with this issue? For instance if say one of the residents arrives back in the halls after a short trip, how would the mages know whether he's carrying valuable, gems, spells, potions etc????

How have others handled this .....????

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Herr Doktor
I never assumed they made much money off the Hall. I think mostly they just encourage people to hang out there because it provides them with a meat shield. They're Evil, remember? ;)

Their income is probably generated from their own expeditions to ruins only they have the power to assault successfully. Note that there is only a single Mage in residence in the Hall during the adventure. The others are off delving somewhere.


In my game they squeeze the shopkeepers instead - a 10% magic item tax on things sold to the curio shop, or either of the dwarven enclaves.
I think the PCs have spent a couple of thousand gold, in those three shops.
The Mages have also cast 2 transfer enchantment spells for the party.

Its not paragon level treasure parcels, but it pays the living expenses.

Besides most of 4e economy is handwaving anyway.

Mal Malenkirk

First Post
how do the Mages get their cut???

Well, it's not that hard; there are two commercial merchant company (the Duergar's and the dwarves) and a handful of businesses. That's where the traders go. They need these services.

If you are an idiot, you try to tax the commercial exchanges, but that's a collosal waste of time when you are incapable of tracking exactly each transaction...

What you do instead is ignore the traders but knock on the door of the merchant companies, inn etc. and you say : "I want X fixed amount of gold each month (to be reavaluated on a regular basis) or we kill you/break your legs/set your shop on fire/run you out of town."

The traders may dodge you but the people owning the facilities they use can't! Don't worry, the owners of the businesses will make sure to pass off the expense to the customers and traders using their services.
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Pretty much "protection" money from businesses and entry fees for traders coming in with a large amount of goods is how they are doing it in my current campaign.

Cheers I'll rpobably use a combination of all your suggestions along with an entrance tax - valid for four days and based on number of legs as well as a "temporary trader permit" similar duration then if they still persist hint at "other more mysterious private money making ventures", should be enough to placate the accountants in the party.... merci encore.


First Post
My own game assumes that they have the following sources of revenue:

Businesses in the Hall pay them for permission to operate in the Hall. This may seem like "protection money", but it is actually more akin to a tax which funds the police department. The mages prevent the conflicts of the Underdark and the Labyrinth from spilling out into the Hall.

Exploration of the Labyrinth.

Seizure of the goods of lawbreakers. The Hall has no prisons. The mages are evil. Disobeying them is a death sentence.

By the way, I assume that the mages "tax" the businesses on the basis of the value of the merchandise in the business. This means that the mages had a problem with slave merchants for two reasons: It was disruptive (likely to get the outside authorities involved) and the duergar handled this business in secret and avoided paying the mages tax on it. This also explains why, in my game, Gendar mostly trades in information, and receives payment in favors. The curios in his shop are mostly worthless, so he pays very little tax.

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