The Festival of the Coin is the grandest celebration of the Drakkellian Alliance. It is held in the capital city of Drakkel in late summer beginning on Windrise 1 and lasts a full week. Thousands come from all over the nation to attend.
The Festival of the Coin begins on the morning of the first day (Windrise 1) with a large ceremony, called the Lottery, in which all the nobles of Drakkel gather at the Hall of Guilds. The number of eligible nobles varies from year to year, but is usually between 150 and 200. The Lottery is conducted by the reigning High Lord of the Council of Guilds (currently Lord Ozzel). The Lottery involves much feasting and a great many speeches.
At the climax of the ceremony, many dozens of lidded flagons are brought in and each noble selects one. Within one flagon is a copper coin. All others are empty. The choosing of the flagons is completely random. A toast is made and all nobles raise their flagons. At the end of the toast, the nobles upend their flagons and dumps the contents into the bowl in front of him. In a moment of hushed anticipation, all eyes dart to the sound of the clinking coin. The noble who holds the flagon from which the coin fell becomes the Patron of the Coin. He stands, recites the Patron's Address, and accepts the challenge. For the week-long festival, this noble is the guest of honor, and a celebrity for the rest of the year.
The central theme of the Festival of the Coin is of a noble and a pauper trading places. A noble, chosen at random (via the Lottery), gives all of his wealth to a simple commoner. Originally a simple game of chance and charity among the nobles, this idea has evolved over the years into this grand festival. It is believed that this "gifting" stimulates business and innovation within the city. The noble is given the opportunity to show off his business savvy by clawing his way back to wealth through ingenuity and determination. The commoner is rewarded for having lived an honest life of hard labor, and given an opportunity to exercise his business skills. Will he be able to take the wealth he is given and find ways to make it grow? The city watches the winner's moves over the next year with much interest. One of the most common topics of conversation in taverns and teahouses during this season is how one would take advantage of such a windfall of riches.
Of course, no noble in Drakkel would willingly sacrifice his last copper for a mere festival. Although it is never openly discussed, the nobles of Drakkel maintain hidden caches of wealth against the day that they may carry the title of Patron of the Coin. When the time comes to hand over their wealth, lands and titles, the noble invariably withholds a good portion. It may not be entirely honorable, but it is good business sense. And that's what Drakkel is all about. These hidden caches of security are rarely more than 25% of the total wealth. Therefore, even if he does hold back some, being named Patron of the Coin is a serious financial set back. A great many alliances are formed and promises made in the days prior to the Lottery. Afterward, The Patron of the Coin will always find out who his true friends and enemies are.
Formally known as the Coin of Drakkel, the coin itself is an ancient Traxxian coin - a large copper coin with a knight on one side and a castle on the other. This is the legendary coin that passed hands over two thousand years ago to purchase the plot of land that became the Bazaar- a simple market that grew to birth a nation. It is Drakell's most prized relic, and is easily recognized by the citizenry. The etchings are quite intricate and beautiful. Between festivals, the Coin is kept under heavy guard at the Hall of Guilds. During the festival, the coin is magically tracked by the government to prevent it from leaving the city.
The Festival of the Coin, the Lottery and the hiding of the Coin are matters of great secrecy and therefore it is governed by a very small and select group... the Council of the Coin. The Council of the Coin consists of the following individuals:
|Lord Tymok Ozzel, the High Lord of the Council of Guilds|
|Poth Dimrani, the guild master at the Drakkellian Guild of Sorcery|
|Sobidan, the Lord Magistrate|
|and a handful of their closest and most trusted lieutenants|
This very secretive council ensures that the Lottery is completely random, writes the Rhyme of the Coin and monitors the progress of the hunt. The guild master of the Guild of Sorcery uses powerful magic to protect the Coin, to ensure that no magic can be used to find the coin and also tracks the location of the Coin. Because he is the most powerful wizard in all of the Drakkellian Alliance, there are no wizards in the nation who can defeat his magic.
Once the Patron of the Coin has been declared publicly, the Coin is taken from the Hall of Guilds and hidden away somewhere in the city of Drakkel. The city officials then unveil the official Rhyme of the Coin on the morning of the second day. The Rhyme is a cryptic poem laced with hints as to the Coin's location. This poem is publicly posted throughout the city and criers shout it each morning from the street corners. For the next week, all the commoners of the city search the city from top to bottom for the Coin.
Whoever finds the coin receives the wealth of the Patron. Originally, only commoners could search for the coin. However, over the years, the rule has been opened up to allow anyone and everyone to search. Even nobles may search. The only exception to this is the Patron of the Coin. The Patron may not search for the key to his own wealth. Nor may any servant or anyone else in his employ search for the coin. However, a determined Patron might yet find ways around this rule...
If no one finds the Coin, then the Patron keeps his wealth and a new Patron is chosen the next year in another Lottery. This rarely happens though. Nine years out of ten, the Coin is found by someone.
While the hunt is going on, the city is enthralled with wild celebration. Banquets and feasts take place at every meal, inns open their doors to everyone and games of chance are played in every tavern. Parties are held every night. Colorful parades and dancing fill the streets. It is a time of excess and debauchery. It is also tradition that during this festival, minor debts are forgiven, apologies that are long over due are spoken, secrets are told, wrongs are righted and in all things balance is restored. Among guilds and businesses, there is an unwritten rule that large financial debts do not accrue interest during the festival.
Most years the Coin is found during the week long celebration. Depending on the difficulty of the riddle poem, it may be found early or late in the week. The actually Gifting (exchange of wealth) takes place in a public ceremony at the end of the week. The Finder of the Coin hands over the Coin to the Patron... in effect, "paying" for the Patron's wealth.
There are a lot of role playing opportunities with the Festival of the Coin.
|While visiting Drakkel in late summer, the characters decide to join in the hunt for their fair chance at the wealth.|
|If one of the characters is a noble and lives within the nation of Drakkellian Alliance, he is expected to attend the Lottery. He might become the Patron of the Coin.|
|The Patron of the Coin approaches the characters with a job offer. If they find the Coin for him (thus preventing anyone else from finding the Coin) he will reward them. Perhaps he has an object of value that the players want, something he is planning on withholding from the government.|
|One of the characters stumbles upon the coin by accident at the same time as a group of treasure seekers finds it by following the clues of the riddle poem. The other group is willing to fight for it.|
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.