Wealth and Investments

NOTE: Investments are primarily flavour, but also the chance for a more complicated character. Albion does not feature any sort of complicated financial system so please don't try to find out what it is - we are simply trying to represent the effects of wealth and related resources to make the game enjoyable. This entire page is optional unless you are interested in trade or a specifically detailed character. If you don't tell us otherwise your money will come from the land attached to your title.

By default all of a character's wealth comes from their land holdings, but there are a number of other sources of wealth in the Kingdom of Albion. Of course, these profitable ventures are deemed socially inferior, the the domain of mere tradesmen, clerks and usurers. The only caveat here is that a character must have sufficient wealth in land to sustain their title, so if you are a duke you may well own three of England's premier theatres and make more money from them than your estates, but you must still have that land. Players are encouraged to to make their sources of wealth personal to their characters.

Example: Bob, from our examples on the rank and title page, decides that much of Somerset is enough land for him, but he'd like to broaden his character a bit by making his main source of wealth something else. (Remember, in our example he bought wealth at rank 4.) He scans through the other potential sources of wealth, list below, and considers a monopoly on silk and satin, since it would tie in with his idea of Charles setting and profiting from fashions. But in the end he decides that the main source of the Viscount of Bath's wealth will be trade. He owns a substantial fleet which specialises in high-value luxuries for the nobility and which means he often imports impressive talking points for his parties from exotic lands.

Common Property Table

Characters with wealth can own various specific properties. These need not be specified unless you are playing a character who needs to own a ship etc. The table below shows what rank of wealth is required for owning various items of property. If it is not on the table and you want to own it - consult a GM. You can specify a maximum of (half the ranks rounded up) items. I.e. Rank 1-2 – 1 item; Rank 3-4 – 2 items; Rank 5 – 3 items.

Item Description Required Wealth
BoatIt's not actually underwater, but you wouldn't want to venture out in a storm with it. Nonetheless it can be used for island hopping 1
Village SmithyMore of a shed with a bellows and anvil. You can at least make the horseshoes and farm implements your village needs. And the odd sword 1
Dedicated GroupAny small group of people who do a small job for you, these might be a small band of children pickpockets, a couple of thugs or a dedicated butler. 1-2
TavernYou own a tavern (can be of varying size) 2-4
Ship (for privateering)You own a ship which you command or have someone else commanding 3
BrothelYou own a brothel, which should provide plenty of entertainment. 3-4
Military RegimentYou have a regiment, either a small or a larger one, capable of fighting in wars or whatever military engagements 3-5
Trade fleetYou have several ships capable of carrying goods across the seas 4
Fleet of ships (for privateering)You have several ships which you command or have someone else commanding 5

You may if you wish spend a bit more than strictly necessary on an item if you wish it to be something truly special. A ship with a new-fangled copper bottom, for example, that can outrun any but the swiftest of frigates or a theatre in which the stage is built of polished mahogany.

Example: Alice has bought the 3rd Rank in wealth, which is enough to acquire a ship of her own to command. At Rank 3 she can have another item however. After careful consideration (looking inside herself) she thinks that having a small brothel in her home port will seriously benefit her - it will entertain her sailors when they're in the home port and she might enjoy the services herself.

Note on Ships: Ships obtained by having the necessary ranks of wealth are presumed to have upkeep from that source of wealth. That means you are capable of paying the sailors you employ without having to always go out and capture ships (and all that general privateering). Ships otherwise obtained (for example if you are voted into the position of Captain by your crew) require constant action to keep the sailors happy - see The Venerable Order.

Other ways of owning Property

It is technically possible to own various property without having the appropriate level of wealth. So, if you only have Wealth 1, but wish to own a ship of your own (or acquire one as described above) you can still do so. You WILL need to find a way to pay its upkeep and sailors however and thus devote some time during your turnsheet to doing so (it may of course just be your occupation). Likewise this may apply to regiments, shops, minor organisations and so forth. Obviously the more ranks of wealth you do have the less effort you have to make up the shortfall.

Should you be unable to provide the upkeep for one turn, the effectiveness of the property will be reduced to next-to-nothing and should this continue for another turn you are almost certain to lose the property. Obviously you will have to find a way to finance it some other way if you intend to hang on to it!

Named Items

Any property or source of wealth can become a named asset. Examples include a favourite manor, a theatre company or a ship. When you take a named asset you’re signalling to the GMs (and the other players if they learn about it) that this single item is important to your character. Perhaps the Prosperity was the first ship of your trading empire and still the luckiest, or after years of saving and acting you’ve gathered every penny you had and every one you could borrow to buy the New Oxford Rose. As your fortune waxes and wanes this will be reflected in your named asset, so that the Rose stages the best of plays in front of the most exclusive of audiences or the Prosperity declines into little more than a garbage scow. Similarly if someone attempts to sabotage or secretly assist you this may be reflected in your named asset.

Example: Bob decides that his townhouse is his character's most important asset and deserves a proper name. He briefly considers Bath House (too punning) and Somerset House (the name of a former Royal Palace) before deciding to name it Gloriana House in honour of the late queen. The GM team will note this and the appearance of the house and its servants will reflect the current state of Bob's wealth and reputation.

Example: Alice has two assets already selected, her ship and her brothel. She isn't terribly interested in the brothel so she doesn't give it a name or any more thought. The ship on the other hand is a major part of her character concept. She decides that it will a Spanish ship she captured, formerly the Cacafuego, now it is the Saucy Shark and a terror to the enemies of England (and those of her allies whose ships can be taken in secret). As she sweeps the seas clear of floating moneyboxes the Shark's name will be on every lip. Alternatively if her impertinent tongue offends the Earl of Winchester he may make a special effort to ensure that the Saucy Shark has an unfortunate accident.

Sources of Wealth

This is not an exhaustive list of everything that could provide wealth in England, since it could range from an iron-foundry in the North Country providing iron for the cannons of the Privateers to a maze of interconnecting fighting pits in the Meadows. Instead it's intended to seed ideas for players who don't want to be just another noble with an estate.


If in doubt invest in land! You can't be a noble without land, and if you're not a noble then you're probably a nobody. Land has become massively more valuable in recent years for obvious reasons. Flooded land still has titled attached to it and there is still some worth in those titles since if the floods ever recede… The chaos of the Civil War however meant that there was a certain amount of redistribution of noble titles as the the land of attainted traitors was ceased, entire families were wiped out in the fighting, and heroes of Albion received their just rewards. (It also means there is a steady supply of Monte Cristos pretending to many titles and occasionally succeeding in crafting enough evidence.) The net effect has been to reduce the size of most nobles holdings.

Commoners can own land, especially in the cities, but seldom a substantial amount in their own name. This isn't because they're prevented from doing so, but because eventually they'll acquire a plot with a title attached and will wake up one morning a member of the aristocracy. Land can’t disguise the smell of new money, made from trade or other such low professions, but the title from it at least means the nobles will pretend to value you and it opens very real social doors. Suddenly you receive invites to the exclusive parties and your sons and daughters are worth courting.

Look at the chart below to see roughly what size of holding is associated with each titled rank.

Rank Title Size of Holding
0 Commoner Hovel or hut, sleeping rough or sharing with a dozen other in a room in the Meadows of Oxford
1 Knight A small manor, and a holding of a dozen acres of marshy land, a room in college shared with an undergraduate
2 Baron A large manor or a small townhouse in an important county town, a holding of a hundred acres most of which isn't tidal and an arrangement with a student allowing a room to oneself in one of the Colleges
3 Viscount Significant portions of one of the smaller islands including one of the market towns, an imposing manor in the countryside and a small townhouse in East Oxford, though below Headington Hill
4 Earl An entire (small) island, a sprawling manor in the countryside and an imposing building in the largest town, a large and fashionable townhouse anywhere in Oxford or a small estate on Headington Hill
5 Duke An entire important island or perhaps a Welsh shire, a palace there and another palace in Oxford set close to the royal palace on Headington Hill


A monopoly is granted by Royal Warrant and gives its owner sole right to the sale, and in some cases even the transport, of a commodity within a region of England. The largest monopoly ever awarded was to the East India Company, owned by a consortium of merchants and nobles, and with the sole right to all trade with the Indies and the gunpowder trade. The King has been more hesitant to award such large monopolies since the chaos associated with that charter. Nonetheless the NEC and MISC both hold title to a number of valuable patents of monopoly of their own. Most monopolies are significantly less grand though, covering a fraction of all trade through a single port or sole rights to trade of a particular good.

Examples of monopolies include:

  • The right to sell wool from a single port, such as Liverpool
  • Sole rights to the sale of salt in a county
  • 5% of the value of all goods solid at the Great Annual Market in Edinburgh.

You may also own a share of such a monopoly.

Monopolies can provide any rank of wealth. You can choose to specify what your monopoly is or have the GMs assign one to you.

Tax Farming

This is what made the Sheriff of Nottingham the popular man he was. (Boo! Hiss!) An official and massively corrupt system of stealing from the poor to give to the rich. At the start of each financial year the Treasury auctions, or in some cases sells for a fixed amount, the right to collect taxes from each tax ward within the country. Collecting money from the ward is no longer the Treasury’s problem; the government has the money already. Instead the tax farmer must now show a profit by squeezing the money out of the ward’s taxpayers.

Extracting this money generally involves obsequious visits to the nobility by the respectable face of the operation, polite visits to merchants and tradesmen with only a hint of menace, and rude visits to the peasantry by brutal thugs. Tax farmers rapidly become adept at saying “nice home/legs you have here, shame if anything happened them” with various levels of subtly and menace. And with the full connivance of any officials and courts since buying their cooperation is essentially part of the cost of the ward.

While tax farmers will never win any popularity competitions, and the court nobility are likely to turn up their nose at the source of your wealth, it’s safe money. Tax farming operations are often passed from father to son (or nowadays even daughter), immune to the vagaries of recession and often even war.

Tax farming can only take you to Rank 3 in Wealth, after that you need to be able to bully money out of Earls and Dukes and that just isn’t going to happen. Additionally you must choose your tax farming ward. The ward should be two sizes larger than the equivalent area from which a noble would draw her money. See the table above in the Land section.


The most wealthy and ostentatious of nobles will fund a new college or public school, though only a handful of such are founded in any generation and generally by those without close heirs of their own. Smaller bequests are sometimes left to fund instead buildings or chairs. The largest such bequest at this time funds a stipend for the Regius Chair of Divinity at Oxford, and keeps its current holder comfortably stocked with port and slippers. Most stipends are much smaller, and many have somewhat outlandish conditions. For example, the stipend which helps to support the Professor of Theoretical Theurgy at the Invisible College requires that at least one of his senior assistants must always be a redhead.

The Colleges of Oxford and the Invisible College are now also immensely wealthy in their own rights; they sit on some of the most valuable land in Albion and have benefitted immensely politically from the upheavals of the country. Much of this money flows into the budgets of the academics, which generally receive only the most cursory of oversight, for outlandish research projects or simply fine lodgings and plentiful port.

Stipends will supply up to Rank 5 in wealth. You will probably need at least a little pull in the College to avoid an audit if you use your stipend to employ a personal army of assassins, however.


England is the great trading nations of Christendom; once the Dutch Republic provided tough competition but that Kingdom is now reduced to a fraction of its former size and strength and much of its fleet now serves Albion directly. Spanish ships do however carry more by value, weighted down by great ingots of gold and silver from the New World. Their merchants are generally perceived as second rate, and they lose more and more influence in the Orient and elsewhere their Kingdom does not rule each year.

Most of Albion's trading ships are owned by a single family who provide most of the crew from within their own ranks and conduct small runs between the islands of the Kingdom. Larger trading fleets are owned by nobles or merchant guilds of the port cities.

The deep water trade has grown immensely in recent years however, as has the technical prowess of the sailors and shipwrights. Many ships now have copper-bottoms crafted with alchemy and enchanted rigging. Most coastal towns have large ships owned by syndicates of merchants too.

Trade can provide wealth of any rank.


Ships and fleets can be put to other purposes aside from carrying wool and mackerel. Most ships that stray out of sight of English shores carry at least a few small cannon to warn off other ships, and arm the crew with knives and pistols in case of over acquisitive fishermen. The further a ship’s trade takes it the more cannons it generally needs to carry to keep itself safe.

Some ships carry considerably more weapons and turn to despicable acts of piracy. Others, such as the ships of the Order of Sir Walter Raleigh, sail the seas with a much more noble purpose and carry off the wealth of hostile nations making England stronger.

Buying ranks of privateering means that your ships are not built for carrying large cargos and small guns. Instead they are swift and deadly attackers, carrying off the spoils of war. (Obviously beware the dangers that a sudden outbreak of Europe-wide peace will bring to your wealth!)

Privateering can provide any rank of wealth, and it means you cut a dangerous glamorous dash at court!


The Molyneux Investment and Speculation Company dominates the gambling in stocks and shares and the price of wool in six months time that has recently become a market of its own in Oxford. Although little understood by most it is clear that somehow the shifting of papers and titles can be turned into real gold. It is possible to join the market without being a member of MISC, and through cunning and luck turn even a small stake into a great deal of money.

Speculation is also probably the source of wealth with the least social cachet. Some of the more rakish young nobles will understand it as a form of gambling and respect a woman willing to put so much of her fortune on the line everyday. Most will assume that your unintelligible explanations are simply a cover for some distasteful form of trade or even criminal activity and will make sure never to leave you unchaperoned in their homes!

Speculation can provide wealth of any rank. Catch a cold at rank 5 though and the whole economy of Albion may sneeze.

wealth.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/08 19:46 by innokenti