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Bribing public officials

Jerry Stratton, March 27, 2006

I’ve always found it difficult to deal with bribes in fantasy cities. You know they’re all over the place in any sort of large fantasy city, but how are bribes actually handled? How do public officials ask for them, and how do potential victims offer to give them?

The eXile has just published an article solving all of those problems. Bribe to Live, Live to Bribe describes how much bribes fill the Russian economy and then goes into several detailed examples of how bribes are given, how they’re asked for, and how you can screw them up.

I was going to add “and when they’re appropriate”, but it appears that bribery is always appropriate. You just have to know how to give them.

A woman claiming to be a former editor for Playgirl in Russia had a good example:

I asked him what it’d take to get approval. “Well, I’ve got three kids to feed,” he told me. I was a little slow on the uptake, so I asked him what it cost to feed three kids. He waved three fingers at me, and I gave him three bills.

An event promoter writes about getting a permit to climb a ladder from the on-site fire marshal:

Anyway, the fire marshal took me back to his office and I asked him what sort of fines we were looking at. He wrote $500 on a piece of paper and handed it to me. I wrote $200 and handed it back. He lowered his bid to $400 in the same way, and I passed it back with an offer of $300. $300 it was.

A guy who hit a kid while running a yellow light must have seemed a prime candidate for paying off the police, and his negotiations didn’t go nearly as well:

The cops then took me to their uchastok and without wasting anytime, told me I have to pay up $500. I don’t have that kind of money, I told them and asked them to lower it a bit. We all agreed to $300. I had to hand them the money in 1 hour. I told them that I had to borrow the cash from a friend who lives across town and I won’t get back in time. The cops told me to ride my motorcycle there. But what if I get stopped by other cops, I asked. They told me that all I’d have to do was give the cop their badge numbers and he would know that I was already spoken for. I got back on my bike and rode back home to check the law books. The maximum fine for my infractions equaled $50 dollars. Those bastards were trying to rip me off. I returned to their station and told them that I could only scrape up $200. They laughed and threatened to impound my bike. I told them that it broke down on the other side of town, I lied. At that point they got furiously mad and told me that if I did not have their $300 in one hour, I’d have to fish my papers out of the river. I needed my papers for a job I just got. They called my bluff and I coughed up $300.

The eXile is generally funny as hell, but now it’s also educational and a great gaming resource! He’s not in this issue, but you should read the war nerd as well. If he doesn’t give you good ideas for destroying entire civilizations, you just aren’t paying attention.

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