- Take the entire Income of the Capital and its Main Port.
- Take 10-15% of the Income the Major Cities within a 550 km radius.
- These income generators would be producing according to what is most cost efficient for them, their specialty. This is because market scale, proximity, and established expertise and industry made certain goods and resources way more cost effective in a particular kind than in cash.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Answering some Puzzles: Empires and Economics
Monday, March 29, 2010
My Osric Character: Dwarven Fighter Thief
As a one shot, a lot of things are simplified. Long term character design build is out of the window. Keeping to my magical bias (and wanting to simplify my life) I am playing a naturally magically resistant race.
Playing this system is really weird for me if you noticed any pattern in what I like to tinker about.
My minimax concept is a classic dwarven pragmatist. I plan to play neutral, although since I'm uncomfortable with the alignment system since it assaults what I have learned about history, ethics, morality and psychology so I'm playing neutral. You can say, I'm that old 19Century concept of the Economic Man. Particularly when very long term and great fore-sighted self interest is almost indistinguishable from rational altruism.
The way the setting is made up, you can't exactly apply pre-modern/enlightenment morality without some disturbingly Bizarre consequences.
Normal Built, but a rather lean waist because of the very good dexterity. Charisma 13, in dwarven demographics I would assume it is the upper 16%. Intelligence and Constitution is also rather high given the range.
As for name, maybe Hammer-cart Borga. Blehhh... oh well. Having finally taken the time to read Osric, the equipment and weapons are heavy! I mean 8lb bow, 7lbs swords, 15lbs of leather armor... which is possible if it was something like very heavy hardened leather, which was common in ancient armies as non-metal elite professional soldier armor. Where are the clothes?
The tables are dizzying, i wonder why they didn't take the 3e formula system. particularly the one about Fighters having a +1 to hit a first level?
Anyway, its interesting that being a Tactician or Strategist may be difficult since there are no information gathering skills to set limits what the character may know. I know your supposed to "role-play" within character, I'm aware of information asymmetry. Still what stops me from applying a bunch of critical thinking skills in a constructive way I can feel or understand the limits of what I am able to do thus make the most optimal strategy?
... what the heck.
4d6 keep 3.
Abilities (Racial Modifiers Applied)
Rolled Normal Build (taking Averages)
Equipment. (Rolled 110gp)
Non-Load bearing Items (13lbs, 18.83gp)
Bracer 1lb, 0.8gp
Cloak 2lbs 0.03gp
Leather Armor 10lbs 15gp
Slung Items (25lbs, 6gp)
Shield (slung) 5lbs, 3lbs
50ft Rope (slung) 10lbs. 1gp
2 Waterskins (full of water; slung) 10lbs 2gp
Belt (occupied) 0.5gp (24lbs, 52.42gp)
Small Belt Pouch (Occupied) 1lb, 0.2gp
Thief's tools 1lb, 30gp
Flint and Steel 1gp
Whet stone 1lb 0.02
Small Belt Pouch (Occupied) 1lb, 0.2gp
Dagger (Sheathed) 1lb, 1gp
Hand Axe (Slung) 1lb, 1gp
Small Quiver (occupied) 1lb, 1gp
Unstrung Short bow 8lbs, 15gp
Large Quiver (occupied) 2lbs, 2.5gp
24 arrows 8lbs, 4gp
Backpack (occupied) 10lbs, 2gp (40lbs, 16.55gp)
Bedroll 5lbs, 0.2gp
Blanket 2lbs, 0.05gp
Crowbar 5lbs, 2gp
Grappling Hook 4lbs, 1gp
5 days Rations 10lbs 2gp
2 sacks 2lbs 0.3gp
Money Left 16.2gp, 1.8lbs
Game Design: an Expression of Understanding
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Physics of Fighting
In wikipedia i found some useful benchmarks for performance. A professional boxer can deal 450 joules of damage at 9 m/s. That is roughly 11kg or 22lbs of mass behind that force. I wish I knew if it was a light or a heavy weight. An arm being 3kg or 6.6lbs can let me determine what amount of the mass is the arm and the body.
In GURPS basic set, I feel that work or joules is a better measure for physical performance. Take for instance the Basic Lift score, which is based how much weight a character can lift over his head from a resting position in a second. Given an average character uses 5'9" to 5'10" that is an arm moving at 1.88m/s. At 20lbs or 9kg plus for ST10 that's around 21J (including the weight of the arm).
Bows have a whole lot of physics problems that go with it. A warbow, composite or yew, with a draw weight of 180lbs or 81kg and a war arrow at about 40g would be able to hurl that arrow up to 20m/s at perfect efficiency. Probably 75-85 m/s because of inefficiency.
When you compare a thrust and a swing, the former travels the length of the arm and the displacement of the shoulder as body weight shifts to add power to the thrust. While the swing travels a ~100 degree arc which has a distance equal to the displacement of the shoulder + length arm + the blade multiplied * 2 * 3.14 * 100/360 at roughly the same amount of time. So you have the blade serving as a lever and significantly increase the force of the swing compared to a thrust.
I'm 5'9" (176cm) my arm is around 60cm from the sleeve of the shoulder to my knuckles. So If I thrust, drawing my fist to my shoulder elbows pointed back and turning my torso back, my fist travels the length of my arm, the distance my shoulder twists and my footwork covers.
Trying to calculate a light thrust with a 21J character. Since there is considerable effort, I will bump up the factor of effort equal to an action comparable to the Fatigue expenditure of combat. That would be half of walking (basic move * 1.11 at FP per hour B426) to Paced Running (move basic * 2.5 at 1FP per hour) which is x1.13. At 24 joules sword will 3.25 m/s. This means the in one second, a thrust traveling the length of the arm with the torso turning along with it, which is 1m or equal to 1yrd reach, would take 0.3 sec or 0.5 second as arm recoils to a guard position. This assumes no footwork.
Assume the arm was around ~6.6lbs (~3kg), and the sword weight ~1.5lbs (~0.7kg).
That is 36% the speed and performance of a professional boxer.
Now that I know how much time I can probably calculate the speed of a sword swing.
How much force will I be generating if I swing with a Fullham Gladius where the tip of the edge would be traveling 3.85m and the the broad chopping edge would be traveling 3.15m?
An attack of that occupies the same time, but with the leverage of the length of a blade would be traveling 10.5 m/s. With the same weapon and mass, the attack is around 248J.
So a ST10 character, by gurps physics thrusts at 24J while swings at 248J with a shortsword.
Physics for a game system.
Physics is pretty complicated as a basis for a game system. I hardly remember my gradeschool physics what more high school. I only get practice because of game design tools and exercises.
I don't hear much of it used for games. I know that Mount&Blade actually uses physics to determine damage, because the game designers were such geeks they wanted to know more about mounted combat within the limit of their budget. I know some pseudo physics are used for games, particularly in destruction sequences.
Other than GURPS, has anyone tried making a game system that can be modified to be more consistent with physics?
I remember the TV specials about martial arts masters and the forces they are able to employ. The values are pretty amazing, but they are not unpredictable. In fact, thorough athletics testing and science can pretty much scan for optimal performance method.
As for a table top RPG, with the great limitation and consistency the body can be predicted, why not just have a physics based fighting system that is open to be tinkered. I can think of a bunch of reasons why not: "if it ain't broke don't fix it", "its a fiction why bother", who "would want that kind of game system?"
I know I would. I mean, I pretty much learned history because of RPGs. I think I would have really jumped into my math and physics homework if I was solving for the following:
- Calculate the amount of force needed to penetrate 2mm bronze plate among the bronze age weapons.
- What would be the range of a Composite Bow at 25kg draw with 60g war arrows?
- Create a ballista capable of damaging or capturing iron age galleys.
- What is the fastest galley you can generate in the 6C BC if you had access to only X technology and Y materials.
- Given X physical attributes, what technique can be used to disable Y kind of shields. The technique has to make certain requirements.
- How much weight is the warrior shifting when he throws a punch in this Illustration? Calculate the probably force being exerted by the warrior with his blade.
Comparing History and Games in contexts of Civilization
Religious Office is a money generator. It was basically setting up a super mall. People come to buy peace of mind regarding their future. Temples were the banks, centralizing the storage of the most valuable tradable goods. It also legitimizes the Authority of King who is also the
Population of Bronze to Iron age followed a simple pattern. 20 people per sq km and 40 people per sq km at its most fertile, respectively for Bronze and Iron age. Triple population density at for flood plains. Cities didn't exactly work the same way as MDME, as it completely dependent on Geography, more specifically arable land and fresh water source. This pattern cannot be more complicated since technology prevented this. Unlike in Civ the game, irrigation through the use of water wheels and underground canals, are bronze age tech.
Metals were the contested resources of the Bronze and Iron Age. Since metals determined food production through their mechanical efficiency in labor and the over all effect in cost efficiency. If you have an appreciation of the manufacturing business, wear and tear is what makes hard metal goods consumable. Scale that according to the scarcity of the resource, skilled labor and capital needed for production and you have the magnitude of demand that reaches mystification of its value.
Martial arts are evolve as quickly as Bureaucracy. There is two parallel aspect with martial arts and bureaucracy: the affect of technology and how easy it is to test the innovations. In fact, the most important innovations of the technique is how recently its effectiveness was demonstrated. If a technique is old but un-adopted by other cultures, by game theory, it probably is not as efficient as the current equilibrium.
Metal armor really stops blows. People don't really break through breast plates, but kill by blows to unarmored vitals. I don't know when did people start hearing about shearing off armor except in legends. The factor of weigh alone severely limited the coverage of armors.
Weather Sense is a Necessary Skill. It may not be as good as meteorological technology now, but it can be pretty accurate when you consider the power of human intuition. Every hiker or traveller, back then paid more attention to their surrounding for clues of danger, time, and circumstance than we do (staring at this screen). Its only in Eastern Texts do I read about Mastery of Weather prediction being so laudably praised.
As for PC-game development: You can break down organization into program organism that can grow, retard, get sick, be healthy etc. I mean these history books and discussions with history experts are a Civilization-style game developers gold mine. We are at a point where embryonic theory allows us to build a dna like program that instructs how an individual component reacts to stimulus to create highly effective structures and patterns (like a flight of starlings). When am I ever going to see that kind of Civ-like game, or will anyone put me in the game design team?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Reimagining the Shortsword
According to Gurps Martial Arts 223 a shortsword is 18" (45cm) to 24" (61cm)
that would be an approximate blade length of 12" (30cm) to 18" (46cm)
In Gurps Martial Arts 213: Broadswords are 30" (76cm) to 40" (102cm).
that would be an approximate blade length of 23" (58cm) to 33" (84cm)
Xiphos approx length 17" (45cm)
blades length 13" (38cm)
Weight? I'm guessing 1.1b (~500g)
This should count as a long knife and not a sword.
Fulham or Mainz-Fulham Gladius ~26-28" (~65-70cm).
Blade length 18-20" (~50-55 cm)
Blade width ~6cm.
Sword length ~30-33" (~75-85cm)
Blade length ~24-28" (~60-68 cm)
Sword width ~5cm.
Weight ~2-2.2lbs (~900-1,000g)
Sword length ~26-28" (~65-70 cm)
Blade length ~20-22" (~50-55 cm)
Blade width ~7 cm.
Sword weight ~1.8lbs (~800g)
Baselard approx length 22" (58cm) to 34" (88cm)
Blade length of 18"(40cm) 28" (70cm)
Cinqueda approx length of 16" (40cm) to 34" (86cm) average at 20" (53cm)
Blade length of 10" (25cm) to 28" (71cm) average at 15" (38cm)
Wakizashi length of 12" (30cm) to 24" (60cm) average 19" (50cm)
Approx Blade Length 8" (20cm) to 30" (78cm) average 14" (35cm)
I would not recommend splitting off Broadsword and Shortsword. Looking at the weights and balances, the more consistent defining aspects fall in a difference of Knives vs Swords. I would rather use the term war swords to distinguish them from 15Centuries of swords where the business end is around ~1lb (~400g) and not exclusively a thrusting weapon.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Civilization 5 as your Mapmaker
And another thing that will really help is that It now comes in Hexes! Whoohoo!
Thinking about it, it would be awesome to get a Wall paper print of my own campaign setting in Civ's realistic landscape complete with cities and locations.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Coordination Game and Battle of the Sexes.
The coordination game is very simple. You see it in any interaction where being on the same side or page as someone IS the intended goal.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Games Saving The World
Thursday, March 18, 2010
What is the Bronze Age?
If I were to put in GURPS terms, TL1 or bronze age starts around 3,000BC to 1,000BC. It begins around the time civilization began and people built cities with walls. Sargon the Great marked the beginning of this era.
Conveniently to historical gamers, the age ended almost simultaneously. One would think that there was something remarkable about all these great empires falling apart at around 1200BC, unfortunately its nothing Normal Accident Theory can't explain.
The Empires and Peoples that existed is very Conan inspiring. The Hittites, Egyptians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Sumerians, the Minoans and Mycenaean Greeks (The Age of Heroes) was a very different and interesting world. I learned bureaucracy was not some "leap" of sophistication or technology. Ur 3 aka 3rd Dynasty Ur had a pretty intense bureaucracy.
This allowed me to pick apart my notions of authority and the mystification of how it worked. People were trying to organize, they had leaders and over time common sense allowed certain levels of sophisticated organization to be created.
Sure they may not have that much armor, but pop culture pretty much spoiled us with the idea. Shields are very effective protection for the body, and helms protected the head when it needed to look out beyond its primary defense.
The ability to separate iron from its ore is a bit tricky. you need something called coke to facilitate the extraction. The only iron they could use was the kind that was already in its fairly "pure" state when they found it: Meteoric Iron. Now that is awesome.
Memorizing the names, deities, and locations would be the first major trouble. Armies were organized in the decimal system. People had roles, but its not that strict in their boundaries. So you are allowed a high degree of inconsistency.
Many of the empires had enemies on all sides. This basically meant in exhaustible conflicts and bad guys for a campaign.
Treasure raiding and dungeon crawling is also possible, but more of an overland adventure and actually into the towns killing its inhabitants for any convenient aribtrary reason (just like real adventurers!). War bands (around 100-300) are mainly tools with which you can keep your opponents from swarming you.
As for Magic, I have no Idea. Any magic can screws up a lot of balances that are inherent in how history turned out. Magic is really power and a dominant strategy, no one should underestimate more primitive people because there is very little difference between them and modern humans except for accumulated knowledge. If magic existed, then it would only sustainable as the prerequisite of the elite. Game Theory and magic just opens up a whole other can of worms.
That is pretty much my idea of a Bronze Age game. 1,000 BC to 1000 AD its about the Iron age in my opinion. The fall of civilization (aka Rome) is one of the extending factors.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Framing in Games
GMs and Players who lead have to learn this skill, when they want people to focus on what they should do and not get distracted by setbacks. Even if you are aware of it, how much more difficult things will be if people dwell on the negative and failed to be adaptable and take advantage of the opportunities the situation presented is still an objectively powerful advantage.
It is also habit you get when ever Min/Max habitually but have the confidence to take on challenges.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Test run for Random Lord Generator
451, 165, 124, 541,
144, 514, 313, 614, 455, 454, 614, 413,
655, 652, 2, 32, 15, 663, 613, 264, 654, 451, 616, 433,
251, 144, 334, 361, 513, 236, 1, 666, 654,
Unused values: 2, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 5, 5, 2, 4, 3, 6, 1, 2, 3, 3, 6, 1, 3, 5, 6, 4, 4, 2, 3, 6, 2, 5, 2, 1, 6, 5, 1, 3, 6,
Random name Generator
1. Lonnie Lauria
2. Ted Mitten
3. Darryl Gaiser
4. Lilia Drapeau
5. Carmella Hirata
6. Julianne Curd
7. Chandra Kelling
8. Tyrone Cendejas
9. Kelly Reetz
10. Allie Godard
Laurence son of Laurence (from Lonnie Lauria)
Attributes: ST11, DX11, IQ 10, HT11
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-1/1d+1; BL24; HP11; FP12; Per11; Will10; Spd5.5; Move 5.
- Wealth: Multi-Millionair (x1500)
- Military Rank 6 (1000 cavalry, 6000 footmen)
- Allied Peers: None
- Retainers: 5 (based on his needs, 1 other administrator, 1 courtier, and 3 commanders)
- Vassals: 6
- 3x Rank 4 (5 hvy cav)
- 2x Rank 3 (1 hvy cav)
- 1x Rank 3 (5 Lt. cav)
- 10cp Advantage (Charisma +2)
- Sense of Duty (Small group)
- Code of Honor (Professional)
- Discipline of Faith (Observing)
- Honesty (15)
- Intolerance (General)
- Obsession: Ambitions (6)
- -15 disadvantages: Miserly (15), Workaholic, truthful
- Proficient Courtier/Noble
- Proficient Administrator
- Basic Soldier
- Basic Arms and Horsemanship
An unskilled commander himself, he took his father's retired sergeant Theodore (Ted Mitten) and bade him to bring the family's muster back to full force. The old man was reluctant, half blind and depressed as he lost his own sons with his young lords' father. The man was unmovable. Laurence's vassals eventually neglected their oaths and correspondence ceased.
Laurence, concerned that the vassals might move against him, summoned his father's yeomen. He then proceeded to lock them in his halls and attempted to make them see him as the undisputed heir of his father. Laurence met with each leader and negotiated with them for better terms on their jurisdictions, rights and duties. He was overwhelmed but stubbornly clung on. When a majority of disaffected yeomen were planning break out by force, Theodore stepped in and forced them to listen to him. The senior man-at-arms still commanded a presence if he willed it, and helped settle the disputes quickly.
It was easy to see there was no confidence in the Laurence's command. No one was ready to fight along side a lordling unbloodied by war. The silence filled the great hall, broken by the sounds uneasiness.
Theodore... then smiled...
... and knelt before his young lord...
Fix the pacifism roll,
allow for other disciplines
Roll for retainers and their abilities.
More variety to Vassal Forces
Monday, March 15, 2010
The history of misogyny is quite telling as many of these terrible ideas are actually quite recent (11-13C on ward). Particularity the intolerance and condemnation of women that challenged the status quo and how they are conveniently and painfully silenced as witches.
Even today we have witch burning, in the form of dehumanizing by calling them ***** and *******. It is uncomfortable when I do not hold back the misogyny when I run my historical games, but that's nothing when I'm very much aware of common modern practices of it. What would be worse is actually ignoring it and pretending it doesn't happen. In the RPG it is disturbing, but is also a reminder of a past many people tried to survive and the new forms the same problems take.
As for problem solving, I like seeing how players try to role-play the weakness of the situation and how they overcome them despite the odds. Searching for a solution in character is hard, but that's the challenge. I always consider seeing and identifying my limits more easily a good thing (especially in a harmless and friendly medium).
Random Lord Generator and Empires before Alexander
I have yet to test this out and I will attempt to post several sample lords quickly generated when I get the chance (when I go home and print out the tables). The Random Man-at-arms tables and the Low Tech Mass Combat Templates will be quite useful when rolling up Vassal knights and Retainers. As a "jump-off" point these characters can have noted differences with the templates instead of having all the stats reprinted.
The idea of having a map printed out, and a quiet afternoon rolling up NPCs and using a random name generator I can find to populate a setting. Reminds me of the Appendix in Song of Fire and Ice where there was a cast of "thousands". Plenty of little notes and references to other NPCs.
That reminds me I should have a better village generator up, since I found my Building Low-tech Landscapes Pyramid article print out. That article really needs a step by step summary, it was really hard for me to use although informative.
Makes me wonder if there was a Physics geek ever thought about fixing the Fudge damage system or know how to develop a damage "save" system like in T20. So much has happened since the long wait for GURPS low tech 4e I've moved so far on.
Right now I'm studying empires before Alexander, beginning with Sargon the Great. I find such lost and forgotten empires so alien. Applying game theory in terms of how certain patterns of decision making and organization evolve gives a lot of insight regarding what possible hidden factors influenced their culture.
Applying the Allison Model, what deduction can you make studying the earliest empires on earth? Considering the development of cultures of active problem solving, competition, personal freedom, and ethics what would these empires look like given the limitations of their technology?
Given cognitive dissonance and modern understanding of human behavior, why were stories so embellished with fantasy? What made men color what is clearly massively witnessed events (such as wars) with fantasy? Was it shared delusions? Strong reasons to idealize a new age?
How would such an empire appear with certain technologies present? When certain cultures developed? or when something as subtle and grand change, like the slow stretching of the seasons?
The thing about ancients forgotten empires, what ever cultural aspects that led to their failure to adapt and the uncoupling of long incubated problems in their systems are probably nothings so strange as what normal accident theory explains.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Mass Combat Low Tech Templates
A system of generating NPC Lords, mean I can populate the small upper level niche of the setting faster. The lords can be pretty random, there is a small chance you can have a lord with none or all key disciplines: Administration, Court, Command, and Combat. As the GM rolls up a random lord and certain strengths, this will determine the over all strategy the NPC will follow in the course of the game.
After I fix this system up, I'll try to experiment rolling up a bunch of NPCs in my Sins of the Crusades Setting. After having the stats, it becomes a deductive and creative story telling exercise to explain the NPC's background.
So far I've accumulated a lot of setting building tools. If I can arrange them and test them, maybe I can have a really random setting generation system booklet via PDFs. Complete with Mass Combat Cards for Units.
I wish I have time to draw, I really want to do the Mass Combat Cards of Units. If your curious how I draw, I have a deviant art account. Drawing simple "stamp" art styled pix are easy and fast (the style ramon perez uses).
Anyway, planning to make some Mass Combat Scenarios now that these templates are all done.
Pacifism: Cannot Harm Innocents
In the many times I've tried to work with those with contrary views, there is always those who seek to paint the opposition as inhuman. Regular people, capable of doing the very same good things become convinced that those different to them are not human and threatening them and their way of life.
When we see savagery in the news: witch doctors killing children, hate crimes, and religious intolerance you see the dehumanization of the victim into the targets envisioned threat. Children become Witches, a convenient scape goat for hardships and trouble. This act doesn't mean the people who condone their authorities in practice this violence are inhuman in their compassion, it just that they were lead to believe the other side is not human.
I usually apply Pacifism: cannot harm innocents to most NPCs. NPCs who don't have any such remorse for taking a life are psychopaths and my recent studies and readings continue to affirm this. That is why so many gamers like dehumanizing the evil in their games. I don't like that, it paints such a simple picture in the fantasy that leads me to deduce they may want things to be that simple. That they find it acceptable to dehumanize people who offend them and not attempt to understand their perspective.
RPGs have become a way for me to learn more about the perspective in others. I may be a kill joy making sure others use it for such, but I don't mind a sparse gaming table.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
How GMing was my Management Training, Old lessons
You just gotta put yourself out there all the time or you will never learn how to do it better the next time. Despite how much I hate being the leader and be the primary reason why things go bad, I just keep punishing myself .
That hardship is really all you can expect from life, being able to see hope, happiness and light at the end of it depends on how you frame it.
Friday, March 12, 2010
GURPS 4e and all these duties.
2 Medium to large village 50-200 families
3 Small town 200-500 families
4 Large town 500 to 1,600
5 City 1,600+
6 Province 20,000 families
7 Kingdom 200,000+ families
8 Empire 2,000,000+ families
As an administrative rank, the character gets status and cost of living bonuses.
1 Sergeant (and other non-com officers) (squad) 10
2 Sergeant Captain (company) 20-50
3 Sergeant Captain (company) 80-100
4 Knight Commander (one company, with 3-4 sergeant captains ) 300 to 400
5 Constable or Marshal (one battalion) 2,000 to 3,000
6 (one division) 6,000 to 7,000
7 (one army) 24,000+
8 (all the armies) what ever amount that is.
The terms get pretty redundant after a point. There was very little military standardization in medieval armies, so the terms get used a lot.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
War Campaign musing
One of them, I'm stuck on is military readiness. Using GURPS mass combat, plotting the precise human resource is very hard and difficult when with all the money that goes into keeping a war machine running, even if the engine is on idle.
The anticipation for war can be a killer. Preemptive strikes are not only strategic, but due to emotions running high.
So a minor Lord who has jurisdiction of a early 11C style castle (motte and bailey) and the neighboring town might have a income of $810,000 (50cp, and 15cp in status) might only have a budget for $240,000 for troops. That is "just" enough to hire squad of sergeant man-at-arms. The recon ability is whole set of skill that is important in managing a fief, particularly intelligence gathering. If this lord were to answer a call to duty he might have to draw on his areas population of 7000 for levies (3 Levies ally group 18cp: once a year counts as rare-freq x1/2cp, 51-100 x12 x3). He would call on those estate holders who owe him fealty (Vassals Ally group 15cp; once a year counts as rare-freq x1/2cp, 6-10 x10cp) like yeomen archers and some harriers (light infantry). That lord would run up a social advantage cost of 96cp.
Its all about the Sack! Now here is a funny thing of how peace is settled in such settings is that it becomes a game of match making. If you want to make sure that guy is not going to fight you, its best to make him part of the family. Its not the most sure fired way, but its one of the best. Why fight, when can have it all with a "corporate merger". At around 11C primugeniture is not only a way to accumulate power, it is a system of creating long lasting dynasties. It is ironic that the happiness, lives, and suffering of all the regular people depend on the success of nobles if their "celebrity love lives".
As Henry VIII love life determined much of history, so can players enjoy a war campaign when they go to war behind the scenes. Rolling up a freaking host of NPCs can be maddening, it doesn't help that they didn't exactly have sure names to keep all the Johns in check.
While populations rebuild and old problems silenced with the convenience of the past war slowly get their voices back, PCs can be busy getting to know everyone they may have to face on the battle field. This guys cousin, his brother, his sister, her father, her best friend, her lover, his teacher, his master, his servant, his squire, his broker, her husband, his wife, his priest...
the drama, before the war. It is no surprise that lords who face each other in the battle field, knew each other in a "private high-school"-like environment of court (repressed, many small cliques, emotionally charged, forced socialization and status driven).
Lords muttering to their men at arms, about the guy across the field.
"Lord Athos, had a certain way with Lady Veatryss"
"I can still remember Sir Harl squiring for Old Sir Kylean, washing the breeches of the old man when he kept soiling himself"
High-school cliches are useful if you need to populate your court quick.
Thoughts about running War campaigns. Knights and Lords did not stay in one place long, they had duties to attend. The lack of instant communication meant a lot of travell for men of responsibility. They had to see things first hand, and fix up a sticky situation. PCs who composed of an entourage of powerful individuals working together will find a lot of situations where they work out a solution, and go off to their individual tasks.
Diverging from the usual game format the GM would let the Players quickly build up a set of plans, then individually handle each player and his responsibilities. He can limit the brainstorming to 30 mins to 1hr, then adjudicate its player in less than 15 min like a problem solving improv session(something like the Ignite 5min talks).
Eventually war breaks out and the PCs get to work on their specialties. The PC commander will have to delegate, build up bonuses by letting other PCs execute special maneuvers in mass combat. Support PCs, might be left in the background and their players take on NPC allied commanders.
In a war campaign, army strength constantly goes down. There are no "instant" regens, like in fantasy. In a way this makes the math easier, but the decisions much harder. In such a war, like that in the medieval times force sizes are around the average of 3,000 to 7,000 (average of 1/6 to 1/10 cavalry) each. The first crusade with its 35,000 was unusual and possibly exaggerated (its all demographics, don't believe the bigger numbers you can't get those numbers with the current population and economic capacity of the participating states) although still one of the biggest forces assembled in the era.
One nice thing about a war campaign, I can look forward too is that when all the fighting is done and over the man power depletion means no more war for quite a while and I can end the campaign at that point.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wold Building Research Mind Dump
Transportation and Logistics TL. The size of a state is affected by its transportation and logistics technology. In GURPS TL2 the Roman Empire was able to span the entire breadth of Europe. Unfortunately the certain limitations meant that that very little of taxes found their way to the administrative central because of the diminishing return of transportation costs. This explains in a way why Rome can be divided by east to west.
Every citizen has 1/3 of their taxes, which is 1/3 of their Cost of Living (if they are at the wealth level of struggling or higher), is supposed to go to the central government. This is because their initial taxes goes to their local government and typically 1/3 is demanded by overlords as tribute/taxes.
Every taxable unit, which is a family, would normally pay $33.33 ($66.67 going to local administration). I will simply this to $6.67 per individual. So a population of 88M spread out over 17 per sq km or around 5M sq km. This would normally provide $7,600M in taxes per month. Unfortunately if you find a way to calculate the relationship of the distance, this value will greatly diminish.
To find this out I had to use Justinians reign and finances. Thanks to Tribonian, his infamous Questor, his reign was one of the most effectively taxed and detailed eras.
What I got was a basic system where I used the area of the state to determine the level of inefficiency. I established a technological base line of logistics and transportation. This was: a state had an effective organizational efficiency of 100km x [1 + (TL x0.5)]. So Rome at TL 2 had an organizational efficiency of 200km radius (6 days by road). at 88M inhabitance or an area of 1300km radius the inefficiency was around 15% dwindling the resources by $1,170M.
At 1300, that would take a 40 days for the legion to march there or 2 days by the fastest ships. Its pretty troublesome. So the there is 2 forces at work: Size and Logistics that go against each other.
Justinian thought it was a "good" idea to reunite the empire because his ego and who can say no to having more people to tax. Unfortunately as the distances became greater the costs of keeping lines of contact open with security, ships, animals, ports, and bureaucracies got more difficult. You can say there are "free market" forces at work here: Demand for taxes vs. the cost of maintain control over that source.
Social Mobility TL.The second interesting affect TL has on groups of people is in Social Mobility. A state with more entrepreneurial or well compensated people is a happier state (yeah right), unfortunately happier people are more demanding. They would rather not get involved in anything stupid someone else has planned, like going into war, if they had a choice.
In Building Low-Tech Landscapes II: Overlords, you have a system in GURPS to create communities. This is where mercantilism comes in. Rome was pretty mercantile, but that was lost after the fall. The survivors of Rome, those who initially colonized the more defensible marshes of Venice and City States continued to become more meritocratic and surpassed Rome. The rest of the world rebuilt at around the 11C and exceeded Rome in the 13C onward.
Yeomen and Merchants were as well to do. Merchants were as wealthy as nobles, but unlike them, you can tax them a pretty penny. Sergeants were actually social class. Consider them Yeomen who were professional servants (which is what sergeants meant). Typically a Lord will have a couple of squadrons of sergeant man-at-arms. A well to do knight would normally have a sergeant to do the scouting, shield-bearing and valet duties.
In a group where practically everyone was a struggling peasant share croppers and serfs, the taxable income was $100 per family. Serfs and Slaves can't be made to fight and are considered dependents. Peasants, like the plebians can be made to fight by the state or the lord they are pledged to. So in a way, serfs are more controllable but your exchanging that head ache for the skilled warriors you would have to hire. Peasants are demanding, they can fight and are obligated to fight but you would have to be a d*ck to get your way with them.
A population of 60% serfs, 25% peasants, and 15% yeomen produces 15% more. Unfortunately 40% of the population can be obligated to fight. At 80% peasant, 18% yeomen, and 2% non-taxable noble/gentry you have 15% more productivity but 98% population to levy. At 80% peasant, 15% yeoman, and 5% merchant you have 30% more productivity. At 60% peasant, 20% yeoman, 15% merchant you have 60% more productivity.
So basically a minor lord of Status 4 (filthy rich) can have his $840k income from a several villages and a castle of total population of 3040 at the 11C, a town with a population of 2700 at 12C, or town with a population of 2200 at 13C.
Social Mobility modifier allows for greater income generation. So at Rome's mercantile height of +15% productivity (since merchants didn't have a very great status), compared to Italian city state republics of +200% productivity.
Given the Empire example above, at an annual revenue of $1,170M income would be around $1,345M with a relatively large freeholder class.
Medieval Tech for me. TL 3 for me is 10C-15C. The very steep population decline since the fall of the Roman Empire from 4C all the way to the slow resurgence at around 11C is indicative of the return to regular levels of civilization. After that Medieval World lecture, I'm pretty much convinced of that Rome was not-so-kinda TL4. Most of the lost tech came back at around 12C, and food production was something the Roman didn't have any better than the Medieval World which counts more than just the difference in Literacy and Bureaucracy.
Primogenitur, or the ability to Monopolize and Accumulate power and wealth over generations really got much better in the medieval era. It allowed for more stable transitions between rulers. Although, the meritocracy of military coup was great, it always left a huge mess. It also stopped siblings from killing each other to reunite the properties.
I think warfare was what really had a slow resurgence back to roman levels of discipline, and organization. The problem with the Roman techniques is that it was highly dependent on skilled individuals. After you exhausted it, no-one inside the small niche was able to pick up after the previous generations.
Looking at population levels, it appears that at the height of Rome population was at its own height. After all the wars and fights, population levels didn't get back to full strength of 88million until the 15C (the Renaissance). Population is heavily correlated to Technology, because of the rules governing economics and specialization.
So it is no wonder that highly motivated citizen armies didn't come back to fashion till the renaissance.
The mark of TL 3 warfare is citizen armies and the ability to sustain a standing force regardless of weapons and technology is TL4. Rome was TL3 in warfare but TL2 in transportation and social mobility. There were few ways to keep that army sustainable: barbarian levies and plunder were the limited methods. TL4 armies was the obsolescence of a cavalry elite.
Feudal Obligations to fight, and levies are pretty much TL2 in my opinion. You can find them all over the ancient era.
States could not normally sustain a citizen army because of cost of money and life. Its so much cheaper to make promises instead (levies). It costs money to keep a standing force kicking ass. There is only one thing that will allow a state at this point to keep a larger standing force: social mobility or tollerance.
One of the first people to get that right were the Ottomans with their Janissaries. Their tolerance towards the Jews and Christians allowed them to have more merchants around, which provided a lot of income. It also didn't hurt that their "open" recruitment policy gave them a large man-power pool to draw from.
More and more evidence that stirrups were not a big deal in mounted combat have been coming a lot lately. First hand, I've seen mountain pony riders in my country prefer to hug the horse with their legs over the stirrup in uneven terrain. This was the conclusion more than 20+ years ago and it has been thoroughly debunked by now. Second, china has had access to it since the 2C and Kataphrakts have been doing shock maneuvers before it found its way west.
TL3 ends at Civil Bureacracy. Stewards and Logothetes count as TL 3 bureaucracy for me. China got there first with their standardization, paper, wood block printing and really high literacy rate. Literacy rate more than 15% is bordering TL4.
Age of Sail is very TL4, venetian galleys or fast galleys are the height of TL3 ship making. Longships are TL3 ships when it mostly was populated by TL2 ships.
Well thats what I wanted to unload, sorry for the mess. I just have to get it out of my system now and then.