Karnstown Mining Cooperative Organization in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

Karnstown Mining Cooperative

Ye're new here, aintcha, Skippy... Have ye signed the cooperative contract yet? No? Well... ye'd better if ye don't want ter be the victim of a few mishaps. If ye don't believe me, head over to the Hooded Lantern an' look fer Gramal. He'll be th' one with a peg-leg an' one arm.
— Veteran tin miner welcoming a newcomer to Stannilode
In an effort to provide support for those who would make their fortune extracting tin from the mountains, the Karnstown Mining Cooperative is pleased to provide reasonably priced access to tools, supplies, foodstuffs, and any other item that may be needed by cooperative members.

The above is wording taken from the agreement that every prospective tin miner - at least those who wish to have even a remote chance of success - signs when they come to Stannilode to work an existing mine or stake a claim for a new ore source. These words are optimistic at best. What the signers are really guaranteeing is that they'll be able to pay exhorbitant prices for necessary goods - but that's better than having no access to goods at all. They will benefit from the "cooperative safety program" which means Karn Family toughs won't find them in a darkened alley one evening.

The Karnstown Mining Cooperative is officially an entity owned by the miners themselves, but in reality it is little more than a tribute business in which each miner pays the Karn family 55% of their earnings in return for the ability to remain in business without 'terrible accidents'.

Joining the Cooperative

Newcomers to Ferrilode or Stannilode, two hamlets in the mountains west of Karnstown, are rapdily encouraged to join the Cooperative. If they have not voluntarily done so within a week or so of arriving and starting to prospect for ore, a representative team from the Cooperative's Accident Prevention arm will visit them and explain its benefits. This visit is usually enough to convince even the most skeptical of would-be miners, but occasionally, one will politely decline and claim they are willing to take their chances going it alone. These chances are universally quite poor.

Once signed up, the miner can expect to receive 45% of the assayed value of any ore turned in, with the Cooperative keeping the rest for "administrative costs". In addition, a weekly stipend is posted to an account maintained at the General Goods shop that represents the miner's share of any profits that the Cooperative makes on selling finished metal from the smelteries. This stipend is rarely, if ever, enough to cover costs of weekly supplies purchased by the miner.

Strength in Numbers

Founding Date
Strength in Numbers
copper a bordure sable a canadian pale invected sable in middle chief a breadloaf senois in middle base a gauntlet clenched argent a pick axe or

Purpose of the Cooperative

The Publicly Disseminated Agenda

The publicly stated purpose of the Cooperative is to provide a way for independent prospectors and miners to combine their resources for mutual benefit. Rather than many individual small miners each trying to negotiate the value of their ore and the prices they pay for supplies, the Cooperative provides facilities for ore to be smelted into finished metal products, thus increasing value.

It also offers greater buying power when negotiating for purchases of goods and services. These benefits are purportedly passed onto the members of the Cooperative. Of course, the Cooperative itself requires some administration, and these costs have to be accounted for, but overall, the individuals are spared the headaches of financial dealings.

Furthermore, the Cooperative provides for protection from certain dangers that an individual miner in a wild environment might face, and even offers assistance to those that come upon hard times due to accident or other misfortune. The insurance provided of course requires that another small amount of profit be set aside to cover potential future need, but again, the cooperative members are trading peace of mind for a few coins.

In short, the Coopertive's purpose is to allow prospectors and miners to focus on what they do best - and what brings them their rewards the fastest: locate and extract valuables ores from the ground. All of the administrative, financial, and security headaches that an independent miner might bear are handled by the Cooperative.

The Cooperative's True Purpose

Some members of the Cooperative suspect that while its stated purpose is to help the miners be more focused and more profitable, the true purpose of the organization is to siphon profits away from the miners and into the pockets of the Karn Family. These members are correct in this belief, but do well to keep it to themselves.

Most of the administrative positions in Cooperative are "no show jobs" that exist to provide ways for the Karns to repay favors or keep family members well supplied with coin. Other positions, particularly those involved with "accident prevention" are ways for the Family to keep ruffians on the payroll without having to dip into their own pockets. The accidents and mishaps that befall those new miners reluctant to join the cooperative are usually engineered by these "protectors".

While the Cooperative does indeed wield great buying power when it comes to supplies, these benefits are not really passed along to the members. By the time the "standard markup" is applied to cover Cooperative costs, the prices paid by miners in the Cooperative shops are exhorbitant. In fact the only thing they see cheap prices on is ale. But since there are not shops other than those owned by the Cooperative, the miners have little choice but to pay.


Assets Controlled By the Cooperative

The Cooperative "owns" the following concerns:
In the Hamlet of Ferrilode...
  • Coop General Goods
  • Angry Dwarf Tavern and Casino
  • Madame Annalita's Massage Parlor
  • Iron Assay Office
  • Iron Smeltery
In the Hamlet of Stannilode...
  • Coop General Goods
  • Hooded Lantern Tavern
  • Swinging Pick Tavern
  • Tinstone Assay Office
  • Tin Smeltery
In Karnstown...
  • Karnstown Mining Cooperative Administrative Center
  • Oretown Hauling and Transport

Organization Structure

The Cooperative has an adminstrative structure that consists of the following:
Cooperative Chairperson
This is the official head of the cooperative; the person ultimately responsible for all cooperative dealings. Since the Cooperative's founding forty-one years ago, it has always been a member of the Karn Family. Currently, Carlius Karn, second son of the family head, holds this position. The Production Manager, Purchasing Manager, and Accident Prevention Manager all report to the Chairperson.
Production Manager
This position oversees the assay office and smeltery operations. The Assayers working in Ferrilode and Stannilode report to (and are paid by) the Production manager, as are the Chief Smelters in the plants outside each of the hamlets. There are other low-level employees in the smelteries as well; these report through the Chief Smelters to the Production Manager.
Purchasing Manager
This position oversees the operation of the General Goods Stores and the Taverns in each of the mining hamlets. They are nominally responsible for purchasing of materials and setting prices. Each establishment has a manager who handles low-level employees; in the taverns, these managers are called "Head Tavernkeepers".
Accident Prevention Manager
This position is nominally responsible for ensuring that the mining hamlets are not threatened by any outside forces. There are wild things in the mountains that get dealt with from time to time, but the true purpose of this position and the low-level thugs reporting to it is to ensure that cooperative members aren't badmoutning the operation, and any newcomers to the hamlets decide to join the cooperative quickly.

Oh, one more thing, Skippy... If ye notice the prices in the Coop Store seem a bit stiff, ye'd best be just keepin' yer thoughts to yerself about it. I'd tell ye to talk to Annalette -- she'll be sittin' with Gramal at the Lantern -- but then again she ain't complained much since that freak accident where she bit 'er own tongue clean off.
— Veteran tin miner continuing to welcome a newcomer to Stannilode


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Tokens and Character images, including side panel fey images, made by RPGDinosaurBob using HeroForge®
Banner image by RPGDinosaurBob using Flowscape on Steam.
Side panel forest images by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)


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