Ransom Broker
rating: 0+x

Basic Information

Where ransom is a normal part of life - and especially of warfare - it makes sense for there to be those who arrange the exchange of ransoms and prisoners and hopefully minimise the chances of anyone getting double crossed. This is not a particularly historical role - and where it existed, it tended to be performed by feudal heralds and more or less restricted to noble prisoners (which is where the money was anyway) … although it is reasonable to assume that there were other individuals who at least kept this role as part of their portfolio, especially in any culture where low level violence such as cattle-raiding was common. After all, you probably don't want to have to kill anyone you don't have to, and most prisoners could be sold back to somebody, so it makes sense for someone to be about to arrange such deals. Given the right conditions, such a role could exist from pre-civilised antiquity into the far future.

Such a broker might also organise weregild payments and similar compensation, the return of stolen goods, prisoner swaps and similar diplomatic exchanges - they might even be prevailed upon for high value trades where neither party trusts the other. Customers could be anyone from private individuals up to national governments.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Probably very useful to PCs in the right sort of setting - either for getting their own party members returned or for getting rid of prisoners acquired in the course of an adventure.
    • Or even just to find out who has a given prisoner - although any broker who wants to keep his job, probably won't want to be involved in any treachery such as a rescue attempt.
  • Might also hire PCs as security.
  • Some parties could even take up this role, travelling into hostile territory to buy prisoners back from the enemy - with treachery from one or both sides of the exchange and additional factions trying to steal prisoner, ransom or both.
  • Other services could include negotiating the possibility of ransom in the first place, haggling over the price (tricky if they work for a percentage of gross) and maybe even arranging bail-bond like credit to expedite the exchange.
    • Indeed in a modern or near future setting, a bail-bondsman could play both sides of the law, "ransoming" people from the courts, or from criminals as required. Such a role would probably require a reputation of solid diamond on both sides of the law - or at least being recognised as a necessary evil by at least one side.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License