Sometimes a character, whether it be a guilder or less frequently a nobleman, might wish to invest in a business or enterprise, such as planting a lemon orchard, constructing a sprocket factory, or perhaps developing a Pakti skinning industry. Such investments have a simple mechanic that relies partially on the feasibility of any given investment (staff may make it extremely hard, for example, for a player to set up a wireblade factory) but primarily on the skills of the investor. The system is outlined below, though staff retains the ability to modify any given investment based on IC events, such as a factory explosion or sabotage, or the Pakti taking issue with being skinned.
An investment usually takes 1 season (3 IC months) to mature. A player who begins an investment in January will pay for the investment from his coffers (or from a loan) immediately, but any adjustment to his yearly income will take place 3 months from the point at which he pays for the investment and puts up a post regarding his investment beginning. This post can be describing the groundwork of a new factory, or a call for workers, or the departure of a caravan. The post will likely be on the faction message boards, but may occasionally need to be placed on the public boards if the investment is sufficiently visible.
Initial Payment and Rate of Return
Once a PC chooses the nature of his investment (a factory, a new town, a trade caravan, a cannery, or anything else that constitutes a new source of income) he selects how much money he wants to invest.
The nature of the investment determines which Trait+Skill is rolled, but most commonly the roll is based on Wits+Business. Often, a Reeve is hired to handle the investment, and most Reeves have a skill of between 10-14, depending greatly on the PCs relationship with the Reeves.
The VPs on the dice roll determines the amount of income that is added to the PCs income:
Investment Value (in firebirds) x (.15 x VPs) = Firebirds added to the gross income of a fief.
On a failed roll or a critical failure, the investment is lost.
In the case of a critical success, the income lasts for one year and then the investment is rerolled. This may result in the investment suddenly failing, as a critical success tends to represent a sort of boom or bust enterprise.
Investment, Fiefs, and Population
Investments have physical locations in cities, fiefs and the like, and with them comes increased population - one person for every firebird the investment returns annually.
Additionally, investments by nobles in their own lands eventually result in more general growth - over the course of one to three years (approximately the amount of time it takes for an investment's return to make back its initial cost) the income from the investment shifts from 'other' income to base income (and consequently trade and fixed income), increasing population accordingly. This represents an investment serving to drive general economic growth in terms of population and also one's lords and populace expecting their share of new prosperity in largesse and works & welfare. Generally speaking, a percentage of the investment equal to the total return percentage converts to population each year - so if a 1000 fb investment has a 30% return (netting 300 fb/yr), each year 90 fb worth of income goes from other income to fief income as a population increase.