Thane McDrakon's Prison

The earth dwarves of the Tortoise Conclave Canton have a unique system to deal with crime and punishment. For political reasons, and to mollify the conservative dwarves back in their homeland, they have outsourced much of their penal system to the "grags" of the mountains.
Those grags run a racket over there in the Tortoise Slice. Winter's Voice Canton could make dirt cheap weapons and beer too if our labor costs were zero!

The earth dwarves of The Tortoise have little interest in "old fashioned" practices such as enforcing the law and keeping prisoners. They would rather work on magitech devices and developing new hex crystal technologies. They outsource those functions to traditional dwarves from their ancestral mountain homelands.

Thane McDrakon, the ruler of Kul in the Ironspike Mountains, currently holds the Tortoise Conclave's contract for "Penal Services." He provides the grags and guards for the prisons in the dwarven slice of the Zone. McDrakon, always with an eye on profits, has turned the prisons into a cottage industry to manufacture that he ships back to the Ironspike Mountains at a healthy margin.

The thane rarely visits the prison that he after himself. Instead, he keeps a layer of plausible deniability between himself and the prison's activities. He has put Grag Ragmus Randar in charge as warden of the prison, giving him full control (and full blame) for what the "prisoners with jobs" manufacture, while also taking the majority of the profits.

Prisoners and Their Keepers

In order to maximize the number of prisoners available to work, the grags strictly enforce the laws of the Tortoise Conclave. They especially target non-dwarves for minor infractions, sentencing them to as much time performing hard labor as possible. They impose punishments of one to three months for littering and years or decades for simple theft. They have removed capital punishment for everything except the most egregious crimes in order to maximize prisoners.

In order to minimize costs, Grag Randar keeps the number of guards and support staff as low as possible. He employs a staff 30 of guards and staff to watch over 1,000 prisoners. The guards have complete permission to deal with prisoners however they wish and the population is fearful of extremely onerous penalties, including extensions of their sentences and removal of breaks.

Despite the harsh treatment, the imprisoned are well fed and kept healthy. The grags see time in the infirmirary as time that could have been spent working.

The Psychic Beer Brewery

The most successful venture to date has been the brewing of psychic beer. The grags sent a colony of brewing mushroom rhizomorphs to the McDrakon's Prison to spawn in the magic rich soil of the Zone. They diverted shipments of hex worm frass to the prison as a matrix for them to grow in, and the resulting Hexocybin Mushrooms ended up producing the most potent mushroom beer, a psychic beer, ever crafted.

The magical brew could grant drinkers unpredictable, temporary magical powers. Sometimes the beer could grants psychic abilities, from telepathy and far-seeing to limited telekinesis and shapechanging. The changes only lasted as long as the buzz they granted, but the special brew attracted premium prices from wealthy citizens of the Sovranty and the Zone.

Recently the brewery lost it's mushroom supply when their mushroom colony gained consciousness, becoming the Myconid Mother that was released from the prison by the Oak Father. The grags are desperate to find a replacement source of mushrooms without letting Thane McDrakon know that they lost the first one.


Cover image: by Chris L

Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
5 Aug, 2021 21:55

I like how you've describe how this impact on their society, with everyone being published with prison sentence even for ridiculous stuff :p Did the prisoners try to drink the beer and use it to escape?

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
5 Aug, 2021 22:21

Thank you for going through my prompts and the well-thought-out comments, Amelie! I think the beer's effects are too short-term to do anything useful... so far! That may change. I have a group of PC's investigating the psychic beer trade and everything around it right now!

Come see my Summer Camp 2022 articles! Read my "On the Shoulders of Giants" challenge article: Talinos.

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