Taxes, Bureaucracy and Money


Like everybody else, the people of Korvosa hate to pay taxes. The city does not cripple its inhabitants with taxes, but it does have a few notable fee structures.

Any dinghy, boat, or ship that docks in Korvosa must pay adock fee. The fee ranges from 1 sp to 100 gp depending on the size of the vessel and the location of the dock. Only 20% of this fee goes to the city—the dock’s owner takes the rest.

Korvosa’s high property tax is based on an outdated system that calculates it based on the square footage of a building’s ground floor. A convoluted formula modifies this simple conceit by accounting for multistory buildings, additional residents, and a mixture of uses within the same building.

Because the care and feeding of sins and vices comprises a healthy percentage of the city’s underworld operations, and because taxing them directly is far too difficult, the city recently enacted vice taxes. Those who practice such activities gain amnesty from prosecution if they claim the income and pay the proper dues. Violent crimes never gain amnesty from this program.


By charter amendment, Korvosa does not allow merchants, laborers, or tradesmen to form guilds (worse still, in workmen’s eyes, it does allow for criminals to form a thieves’ guild—currently the Cerulean Society). This practice prevents these groups from price-fixing, the city’s main concern, and allows the city to maintain control over much of its labor force. Most workers within the city are self-employed or work for a master to whom they apprenticed in their youths. The city relies on these cottage industries and the skilled workers who make them profitable, so of course it has one entire volume of laws and regulations devoted to the protection and rights of workers. Thanks to the Korvosan drive to succeed, though, the city’s merchants also do well for themselves.


The Bank of Abadar mints uniquely Korvosan coins used throughout Varisia. Korvosa ties the value of its coins to those of Cheliax, such that Chelaxian coins are also considered legal tender in the city.

Copper Pinch: Usually referred to as simply a pinch (plural and singular), dropping “copper.” Calling multiple copper coins “pinches” elicits laughs and painful tweaks on the arm or backside.

Silver Shield: Frequently called by its full name to differentiate it from the shields used for protection.

Gold Sail: Always called by its full name to differentiate it from the similar term “sails” (see Speaking Korvosan).

Platinum Crown: Occasionally referred to as simply a crown, dropping “platinum.”

Taxes, Bureaucracy and Money

Long After, Xin-Eurythnia WrenM WrenM