the following from HârnWorld, under Taxes & Tolls [Harn 15], to my mind, strongly implies that tolls are government prerogatives only
Sure, but I think the key portion of the quote is the phrase, "not always legitimately,..." ......[then, quoting HM1]...Throughout civilized Lythia, various authorities have established official tollhouses on major highways and caravan routes. Such tolls can vary, but standard rates are: ...
I key in phrases such as "various authorities". Does the baron not have the right to levy a toll or tax within his barony? And, in the feudal construct, is the lord of the manor also not free to administer his own fief in a similar manner? Each kingdom may vary, I suppose, with different rights held by the king and not always granted with the fief.
Exactly the way it seems to me. "Government" isn't necessarily the equivalent of "royal
...without the ability to levy tolls, manors on the major routes are actually at a slight disavantage, suffering the transit of not-always savory characters with no legal right to tap their purses, and such an understanding undermines the rules offered in HarnManor with its assumptions about "Trade Index"....
Yep, a caravan that simply passed through could very well be more costly than revenue-producing. In rainy weather, especially, they churn up the roads; they muddy the creek if there's a ford, or even just with animals drinking there; the no-accounts in the caravan rob the locals, or start fights and put local workers out of commission; they can spread disease; etc. Why endure the headache unless (a) you are forced to do so, or (b) you get something from it? That's why I think it not impossible for a lord to disdain having a caravan through. Whether that makes economic sense is a question, but if sickness spread through the fief on account of a caravan that came through last year, or he suspects that a couple runaways made use of a caravan to escape, or every time a caravan comes through he has to deal with crimes, or he simply distrusts merchants as a class, it would be possible for an individual lord to act "irrationally" and discourage them.
(HarnManor 26 provides some of the same reasons for a lord to discourage trade.)
In another post,
Maybe sometimes, and maybe even most times, but not always if what we see at Geda is indicative. There, tolls are charged only on vehicles and animals. I'm not sure how intentional that was on the part of the writers, but essentially that scheme levies tolls only against those better positioned to pay it while not taxing the odd peasant or pilgrim on his way to somewhere. I'm sure there are other variations at other locales.
HarnManor 26 states that locals (fief residents) are rarely charged tolls.
I'm about ready to write this off as just another minor disconnect in the published material...
I agree. Different pHarns will go different ways to resolve it.