In the campaign: War of the banks

So last week we looked into banking in an rpg world in general. It was more or less an overview if you wanted to use banking institutions in your game at all. This week we are providing a hook that can be weaved into just about any game. How to maximize banks in your world if it peaks the interest of you and the group.

The story of the bank is the story of a civilization.  The arrival of banks in our world ushered in a new era of empires built of commerce, resources and gold.  The East India company during the world wide regency of England.  The industrial age and rise of men of finance and power like J.P. Morgan.  It’s a sign that civilization is taking a new turn from a more feudal, royal based monetary foundation to a wider, entrepreneur base.

In D&D, most of us DMs are happy for our players to live in blissful ignorance of how the flow of money works.  It’s just one more thing that we don’t have to deal with.  But, for some of us, dealing with this little detail opens all sorts of storytelling fodder and can even create a whole new world set unseen in past games.

With the resources available, you could easily stay in the mainstay, plutocracy government of rule by the rich and powerful where the money stands a pools of political power.  You can move a little further along and take up a model like Eberron and Guild Houses that hold the power and a single clan runs the banking system.  But, as stated in my previous article (click here to read that), there are many other types of financial models left unfollowed in a fantasy realm.

What follows is an offering.

Take what you want.  Leave the rest.  And, as good DMs do, suit them to your needs.  If you have any addons, leave them in the comments or email/message us.  Or, if you want to see an aspect of what follows expanded upon, feel free to request it.  You, as always, are as much a part of the MAGIC TAVERN as any of us.


Long ago, your world was overrun with the Dragon race.  These draconic masters gathered mountains of wealth; hordes of imaginable value.  They also governed the other races with a strong iron fist.

It was then that a planar traveler, an elf wizard of incredible power, brought a pirated tome from another world.  His words were of a mythal of great power; one of such power that it brought around the end of a whole Dragon civilization.  Using the information and magic from this source, they forged a monstrous magic upon a passing comet that, upon it passing your world, was to drive the Dragons mad, allowing the other races to rally their own against the marauding, psychotic masters; thus ending the scaled one’s rule.

This was how it was supposed to go. Something, however, went terribly wrong.

The celebrated Elf Wizard and his companions miscalculated and, instead of it passing by like the other world, the comet collided with this world; nearly obliterating all life. Between those races able to survive underground and those who used their own magic to save who they could, there were survivors.

Ground zero for the comet strike is a dead land of wild magic and insane dragons. Most of the dragon hoards outside of this area have been taken. Now the only way to gain more influence is to send adventurers into this wasteland and get what treasure they can.

As with any world, in the void new powers rose and, although a myriad of kingdoms came and went, a handful got a foothold and became the power brokers of this world. The Empires of this new world were built around what treasure they could glean from what became known as the Hoardland. And, although the Banks have formed a truce which includes not sending armies into this area, the agreement is wearing thin as the promise of new gold entices them all into a fight for the last of the hoards.


Currently, there are five financial powers on this world.


Artist Weed/3Kings

The last of royal families of the feudal era, House Lazara has used their accumulation of wealth and land to their advantage.  They also use their inherent work force to work the fields and cultivate the forests.  Although they have moved to a more employee relationship with their peasants, there still seems to be a serf/King feel to everyday life.  To some, the ways of their forefathers are still fresh on their memories.  Others find it easy to just ‘go along’.

They still continue in an air of royalty; holding court to take care of disputes and, even, negotiate deals with the other BANKS.


Many of the dwarves banded together under their many houses banners to mine the hills of this world.  Their kingdom is home to the richest veins of ore found anywhere.  They found it necessary in the accumulation of wealth to develop a way to, not only, protect it, but to open a term of currency, loans and writs of credit to many of their residents.

The dominant house among the dwarves is House IRONHAND lorded over by Mawdun Ashburn Ironhand, a tenth-generation miner and owner of the richest goldmines anywhere.  They have opened more ‘branches’ or embassies than any other of the banks.  They have been able to do this thanks to those among them with the specialty of interdimensional magic.  They have recently found a way to deposit gold in one of the Ore capitals and have the depositor withdraw it at any of their branches.


Breaking from former models of growing a civilization, the Radiant Sails built theirs not on ore or land, but on commerce.  During the time of chaos and wars, these merchants banded together to protect each other’s interest all over the world.  Thanks to this, although they have a base of cities and fortifications, most of their capitols are on the seas.  Using their amazing armada as a floating nation, they spread their influence in every port making them a formidable enemy.

The company is ruled by a council of merchants who vote every decade to decide who will head them.  Word is, their gold is always mobile and hard to find as they have become masters of transport of gold and every valuable known to this world.

If you need something of great value moved, the Radiant Sails is the way to go.


If you want to talk metals and ore, you talk to a dwarf.  You want to talk woods and hunting, talk to an elf.  But if you want an ironclad contract, you find a fiend.

These tiefling brothers rose to power almost overnight; acquiring vast amounts of wealth through contract and breaches thereof.  But their greatest asset grab was the whole of one of the old feudal kingdoms.  Failing to carefully read the contract lead to a failure to comply leading to a complete breach.  This almost led to a massive war against these two by the remaining kingdoms.  But, upon intense study of said contracts, there was clearly no malicious intent.  It was simply a bad business deal.

The tiefling brothers are reviled and hated across the globe and, although all others would love to eradicate the world of them, there just seems to be no legal means to do so.

Their infernal connections bring with a power of protection that makes their depositors and investors feel safe.  Just read every contract carefully (or hire your own infernal adjunct) and never, and I mean, never fail to fulfill a contract.  The brothers have the most ‘convincing’ collections agency.


Last, but not least by any means, we have what is left of Dragonkind.

Those draconic blooded, half-Dragon and Dragonborn descendants of the former masters of this world still live.  Holding a kingdom and powerful destiny, these purpose driven clerics and paladins worship the dragon pantheon, but, especially, the HOARDMISTRESS, Astilabor.

They haven’t forgotten the hoards in the deadlands.  In fact, their paladins find every chance to crusade to take back what is rightfully theirs.  This is the point of contention.  All the BANKS/Kingdoms actively venture into the destroyed lands, desperately trying to get back the gold the dragons took so long ago.  But, lately, it seems the venturing bands and crusading knights have come more and more in conflict with each other.

War is inevitable.  It’s just a matter of time.

NOTE:  One bit of lore to move the story along could be the fact that the comet that drove the dragons made before is not only still in the Hoardland keeping the dragons insane, but there are shards of the cursed comet that can be used to weaken dragons AND dragonborn.  The LEGACY wants to stop the others attaining the comet or pieces of it.   The other BANKS want to see the dragons gone before the comet gets here.  And, of course, short term gold and glory is usually enough motivation.

Tell us what you think.  What are your ideas?  What would you add or take away? Make sure to follow us at the social links at the top of the page and let us know!

COMING UP: Playable Archtypes in every Bank/Kingdom

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