Friday, December 23, 2011

About Knights, Byzantium in the 3rd Millennium

Knights are central in the setting. The Princes and Nobles are too powerful and a bit too intelligent to be made player characters, and are better made as Patron and Adversary NPCs. So many of the adventures center around the Stronghold and its survival in this incredibly harsh and unfair universe.

Which ones are the real Knights?
They are the leading family/household of a given stronghold. A stronghold can have a number of knights, because everyone of that family is expected to serve their overlord in what ever capacity their overlord wishes. The families can be called nobles, but the greatness of the Knightly population, the title of noble is reserved for those with the most prestigious of pedigrees. 

Duties of the Knight?
Strongholds are assets that produce either manpower, material resources, and sometimes skilled retainers or technology. They are expected to manage their stongholds well and meet their duties and expectations. Some houses, tend to look closely at the efficiency of the strongholds of their individual knights like the Komenoi, and the Tang.   

The most important duty of the Knight is their management of his people and resources for his overlord. This trait can mean a knight getting more resources and favors, and the small bit of meritocracy that allows surviving generations to be granted their own strongholds. 

Fostering and Education
The Scions of Knights, boys and girls, are sent to foster in the stronghold of their overlord where they indoctrinated, socialized, and educated to what would be very high end TL9 concepts and technical abilities. They are only able to return to their home every 2 years, and only for a 2160 earth hours before having to go back to school. 
Often, by the time they are 16-18, they are pulled out of school straight into conflict to serve as squires of relatives or anyone the overlord chooses.    

Serving in War.
Knights are expected to serve 2 years every 4 years. What happens most often is that, they serve 8-10 years straight and either die in the line of duty or get home too injured and damaged to be useful in the battlefield. Accompanying him are his younger relatives and personal retainers and bondsmen: squires, lieutenants or sergeants-at-arms. The attrition for these knights are the same for their entourage/retinue, mostly the surviving Lieutenants and Squires are promoted in the battlefield to be the leading Knight, only to go home damaged and broken from the experience.   

Bondsmen and Retainers
Bondsmen are indentured servants, they have no where to go but to serve the knight or starve and die of exposure, hunger, or ostracism. Bondsmen are highly skilled, when compared to TL8 Real world standards, but have a very lop-sided education. They are completely focused on certain technologies, to the point it is ritualized and they are hidebound. They are also expected to serve as levies, and most of the time have the equivalent content of TL6 basic training and about 130 hours out of the 8640 earth hours of a year opportunity to train. 

Retainers are freemen, technically they have more rights by way of mutual convention and goodwill with the Knight household. They are given special favor and opportunities, but more expected of them in return. These retainers are allowed to have their children fostered in Guild for training. The Guilds train them many technical skills, difficult to maintain in majority of strongholds. 

Lieutenants and Sergeant-at-Arms.
These are the knights closest servants, they are part of his or her retinue. The lieutenant having the highest rank among the Knight's other sergeant-at-arms. They are all highly skilled: sometimes trained by a planetary Guild-outpost or their overlords stronghold. Knights with bigger retinues tend to have more Lieutenats and sergeant-at-Arms to manage his forces.  

Retainers and Squires in War. 
Typically, Lieutenants and Squires wear environmental suits with a combat helm and torso armor. They are armed in such a variety of ways, depending on their leadership style. 

Knights Hardware
A knight is usually given durable but rustic equipment. In GURPS thats rugged and cheap-heavy (x1.8 the weight, but +0.5CF). The knight is given a TL9 Powered Armor that is rugged and cheap-heavy (but not cheap in setting standards), but rarely do knights use such in their roles as leaders behind the lines. Most often, they wear heavy tactical suits (DR30/15*, 22.5lbs). 

Knight Outfit 
These come in a range of varieties, it all depends on the leadership style of the knight. A default view is that, a knight is more often in comfortable yet practical suit even within his mobile HQ. (logically, since this is the most comfortable armor to wear in extended periods). In extreme cases of emergency, he/she wears her TL9 rugged and heavy powered armor. Most of the time, they wear garmets made out of TL9 ballistic weave. In readiness, various combinations of environmental suits, tactical suits, ballistic vest armor or torso armor.  
Superfine Weapons. Swords, Spears or Glaives (retractable pole) are designed to prevent a knight from being swarmed if at dangerously close ranges. (some swords are modular-able that they can be easily transform to a glaive, if needed). These weapons are very lethal against levies, allowing a knight to cut through more than one at a time. 
Variety of Combat Styles 
Some knights lead in the front, some fiefs are specialized in light infantry tactics, some are great with specialty weapons, other are superior in their logistics, Intelligence gathering, support vehicles, or in more support roles. Every knight and his battalion is made up differently depending on the strengths from their environment and circumstances. This makes their equipment very different and their doctrines very different. Detailing a doctrine involves looking a the cause and effect of a how these developed for a House, a Fief, then the individual stronghold.  

Knight Battalion
Useful Ratios - these are common ratios, but in reality these are adapted to what a situation calls for or to the strengths of the individual knight.
  • 50-80 per Section. lead by a sergeant-at-arms. 
  • 200-560 per Company, lead by a squires and/or lieutenants. Each are only able to manage 4-7 sergeant-at-arms effectively at a time. (House Tang, having the organization levels of the highest end). 
  • 800-3920 per Battalion, lead by a Knight. The knight is managing up effectively 4-7 squires or lieutenants. 
  • 1:4 support personnel to combatant.
These are massive land vehicles, mobile housing for up to 200-300 personnel. This serves as the mobile command center of a knight and his battalion. There are is about 1 to 3 Dreadnaughts per Battalion, depending on the wealth of the stronghold and knight. Some knights would rather spend such resources in Auxiliary Transports, Screening, Recon Vehicles, or special purposes vehicles or equipment. 

Visualizing the Stronghold
Majority (~60%) of has a population of  90,000 to 130,000. A small percent, (~1%) are in the population of 2-4M, and The capital strongholds, have populations of 10-20M. 130,000 to 2M make up ~15%, while ~25% are smaller strongholds. 

A stronghold no matter what size is called a stronghold. They are often given the added description of Towns, Cities, and Capitals or Metropolis. It is when they are grouped into a Region do they start being reffered to a Duchy, Barony, County, Province etc... Like in the real world, there is no precise terminology if one is a Duchy, Barony or the like, they are used interchangably... although some take offense of a incorrect referral. 

There is about 50m^3 per person. As the stronghold becomes more affluent or poor this gets tighter and nicer. At about $500 per capital income, every 10% above that value there is about an exponential amount more in space per individual. Every 10% less, there is about the same linear percentage less space per individual. 

Strongholds of about 1M or greater, have its own internal weather with condensation and some form of condensation. The strongholds of 15M, have a cloudy night sky. It has an appearance of lightly cloudy colored darkness with the buildings hanging from the ceilings appearing like stars at night.

Special Stronghold fortifications.
Deepsea or Under-Ice Strongholds.  
Dense Atmosphere Strongholds. 
Asteroid Stronghold

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