rating: 0+x

Basic Information

Forestalling is one of those medieval crimes that appear really confusing to modern eyes, but make some degree of sense in context.

Broadly, it means intercepting goods bound for a market and buying them before they arrive there, which was seen to be an offence against medieval ideas of a "fair market" … either by driving up sale prices, restricting supply or subverting state controls on market prices. More cynically, it can also be seen to reduce the revenue from gate tolls and market taxes to which the state (such as it was) felt itself entitled - someone who sells their goods on the road into town, doesn't pay the gate toll into town, nor the hawking fee for the market, nor any other fees he might be obliged to pay. Presumably this law did not apply to purchasing goods directly from the producer (although like most law, someone interested in committing lawfare could probably shape a prosecution around it) but only to goods actually consigned to market.

The nearest modern equivalent is probably evading sales taxes.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Modern players will often struggle to understand why it is illegal to buy and sell in the queue - or, for that matter, to know that it is illegal to do so at all.
  • Those engaged in forestalling are probably a lot more likely to be the target of a con of some kind or another - the pig-in-a-poke trick seems the most obvious, but others may occur as well.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License