Tax Collectors

The Astan tax collection "agency" is a very loose community of government-sponsored mercenaries. For a set fee, nearly anyone can apply for a license to collect taxes in the name of the Prince. The license stipulates a certain amount that the tax collector is obligated to contribute to the royal treasury on a monthly basis. Should a tax collector fall behind on his quota, his own assets are forfeit to pay his debt (and if that is not enough, there is always duty on the front lines...).

To keep up with the bills, the best tax collectors in Astangard (and other large cities) usually stake out a particular territory, employ a posse of armed enforcers, and adhere to the shakedown method of collection. Generally speaking, these operations are funded by the extra amount collected over the quota. Clandestine battles between tax collectors have been known to occur over territorial disputes; poison, knives, and all sorts of nefarious tactics are employed in the ruthless fight over who gets to collect.

In the rural districts, there is less corruption in the process. Tax collectors are usually elected by their towns and collect only what is required by the government, paid by the residents in proportion to what they own. The folk of the farms and small towns know their tax collector by name and would report (and vigorously defend themselves from) poaching.