Athieniel
rating: 0+x

Population: 75,326

This small city close to the Old Road follows an unusual custom: Transactions of money or even ordinary barter are forbidden. Instead, people get what they need through gifts, and indeed, visitors need barely mention that they need something - food, a place to stay, a certain item - and it is likely that soon a native will arrive and offer the thing needed (or something close to it) "for free", and will list an impressive number of reason why he has taken to the new arrival and can't bear to see him suffer for the lack of the gift.

However, what new arrivals aren't usually told is that there is almost always an expectation of a gift or a favor in return, usually of similar value to the gift given. The natives understand how the system works, and not soon after they have received the first gift will try to come up with a suitable gift in return - no one of them likes to stay in debt for long, and in this way the economy of the town keeps function in a way not dissimilar from communities with more traditional barter economies. But outsiders are likely to find themselves in heavy debt very soon unless they are very careful. If there is a gross disparity between the original gift and the return gift, the offended party can take their case before the ruler of the city. The current ruler, Lord Thorodel, doesn't like to be disturbed for petty cases, but when his curiosity is piqued his punishments for "the defendant's appalling lack of generosity" can be highly inventive and humiliating - and likely to be reinforced by a magical geas.

It is entirely possible to refuse offered gifts, though the elves will pretend to take great offense at this and continue to offer the gift. After the gift has been refused three times, the giver will give up. Additionally, if the gift was one offered to erase a debt from an earlier gift, it is customary to give a hint on what kind of gift the receiver would actually be interested in.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

A "gift economy" with teeth.

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