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Thread: Feudal Military Optional Rules
05-07-1999, 03:55 AM #1SCO Adam TheoGuest
Feudal Military Optional Rules
Hello Birthrighters, Adam Theo here. 11:50 PM, 5/6/1999.
In a feudal society, everything rests upon the lower level of
the societal pyramid. The King derives power from his vassals
(whether they grant him regency or not through an established
investiture action), and his vassals derive their power from the
serfs and common people. If you want to learn more about feudal
society, I suggest reading the Castle Guide (). The military in
a feudal society works much the same way. There was little (and
maybe sometimes no) centralized army (that is, an army mustered
and maintained solely by the realm ruler). Instead, parts of the
realm's military was often mustered and maintained by one of the
King's vassals, and used by the King in wars and other
conflicts. The King got his units, and the vassls had their land
protected by a much larger force than they themselves could
individually maintain. The Birthright system from the boxed set
does nothing towards this, even though Anuire is stated as being
vastly feudal. The military of all organized realms in Cerilia
appear to work with a very central structure. I have devised a
few optional rules which take this into account.
First, the matter of Knight mustering. In a feudal society,
knights were certainly not simply mustered over a period of a
month using some GBs. True, some knights had no more training
than a common knife-wielding farmer, but that is not enough to
put this proposed system out the window, in my opinion. A king
would have upwards of half a dozen major nobles (or maybe a
full dozen for large realms). Each major noble would usually
have a province (maybe two) under his control and
responsability. There would also be a number of smaller nobles
that would have power on roughly the same level (if not less
of that power because of their size), or be on the next lower
level of power (that meaning these smaller nobles owed the
major noble like how the major noble owed the king), but this
syetm only deals with the king and major nobles, since the
smaller nobles' contributions were insignificant when it came
to the large amries involved, or were taken care of by the
larger nobles (in the case of the smaller nobles oweing to the
major nobles instead of to the king).
knights were more than normal units. a knighthood was an
institution maintained by the king and the major nobles.
Knights existed by the work of the major nobles (and in some
cases, by a smaller part the king), who often financed these
organizations. Depending upon the realm and the agreement
between the king and his nobles, these organizations would be
seen as one realm-wide knighthood, or many different
knighthoods maintained by the nobles, each with a name
(knights of the holy rose, knights of the oaken forests, etc.)
and slightly different code. There are about an equal number
of realms of each type in Anuire.
A major noble would actually maintain the knighthood, perhaps
with *some* help from the king. they would pay the muster
costs, training costs, and maintenance costs. They would
usually stick around the noble's lands protecting from
brigands and other enemies, but when the king called upon
them, they would then turn to serve the overall kingdom.
When the king calls upon them (usually with a decree), since
they are already mustered, the king in this system does not
pay for mustering, but pays for movements costs (1 GB per 10
movement spaces) and maintenance (normal price). They are
available immediatly, like mercenary units.
Since the knighthood is not like training 'normal' units,
there is a limited amount of them at any time. a province will
not have more knight units than it can support outgoing trade
routes (1 at 1-3, 2 at 4-6, 3 at 7-9, 4 at 10+). If the unit
is destroyed, the king will usually have to make amends with
the noble in some way, and the noble will then have to go to
work training and mustering another knight unit to replace
so, for example, a king has 4 provinces of 2, 3, 6, and 3.
There is a total of 5 units available if he needs them (1 each
from the 1st, 2nd, and 4th provinces, and 2 from the 3rd). No
matter how much money the king has, this is how many he can
call upon. even if he just went on an adventure and got 40
GBs, he cannot spend them to muster more knights, unless he
wants to dramatically change the way the knighthood works in
his realm, and get many nobles and other powerful people
angery at him for one reason or another.
Second, the matter of other units. Knights are not the only
units that can be mustered and maintained this way. many
powerful realms also have the major nobles manage infantry in
addition to knights. In this case, the system works much the
same as it does above for knights, exept the major noble can
have up to the province levl in infantry, instead of just the
trade route limit. Other, less traditional Anuirean realms may
have other usits besides infantry done this way as well, such
as cavalry, archers, or pikemen. This is rare, but possible in
such realms as Coeranys, Elinie, Talinie, Dhoesone, and
Medoere, among others.
These rules do add some xtra work, but also add tremendous
opportunities for adventures and player misfortunes. After
all, when the nobility has primary control over the knights
and some other units, he may have a greater desire for
ambitious moves he would not think of without an army of any
size... True, the knights may not take part in going against
the king, but if the king was seen as a tyrant or incompetent,
while the noble as a better ruler, they very well might...
Third, the matter of money. The current rules have each
province ruled by the King generate a certain amount of GBs,
which are passed on directly to the King. This alternate rule
may take a bit more getting used to, and a bit more thought at
first by the DM, but it should not be too dificult. In this
system, each province/major noble has his own maintenance
cost, which includes knight units (from the local knighthood),
other units (infantry, archers, etc.), any castles the noble
may maintain on his own, court (usually *much* smaller than
his king's. 1 GB would be a lot, so the court is often left
out since it is so small), and any other costs that the king
would allow the noble the responsability of managing. then the
income for the province is rolled, and the maintenance cost is
deducted from that. If it thn goes to 0, the king will
probably then get no income from that province that season,
and he may want to look into finding a way to reduce that
noble's maintenance fee.
A noble may be able to 'hold back' some of that extra money
(after paying maintenance) from his king. the king may find
out from any spys he has in the noble's court, or through
mishap. who knows what the DM can come up with? that is, if he
even wants the PCs to find out about the greedy noble. It's a
great plot hook for a political intrigue adventure, for the
king or anyother PC.
Since the major nobles pay for the knights, if any. the king
may decree that a nobleman is too small to spend the precius
money on a knighthood. province levels of 3 or less are often
considered too small, even though they are capable of
supporting a knight unit. Also, the king may limit the number
of knights that a powerful major noble can handle, since the
country may be in times of peace or the king has plenty of
nobles producing enough knights already.
Fourth, the matter of the centralized military. Although
knights and possibly other units are covered by the major
nobles, that does not mean all are. That still leaves a good
amount of the standing army and any future, war-time musters.
These units are trained, mustered, and then moved by the king,
normally, using the remaining monies after the major nobles
are done with them.
Fifth, the matter of training. I make use of a modification
from an alternate rule from the Netbook (can't remember who
did it at the monment, sorry). It makes the king and any
nobles muster levies first, then work on successive musters
(here now called 'trainings') to develop these units into
better units. It increases the cost and time, which I find is
great to curb those warmonger moves powerful and exessively
wealthy PCs will often make. Yes, it cuts down on the amount
of units vastly, and many DMs may not think this is fair, but
I feel that it is way too easy for PCs to create a army with
the boxed rules anyway. And besides, realms in my Anuire are
not brimming with talented commoners that can learn to use a
sword from horseback in a month, anyway.
In my system, the king or noble must first muster a unit of
irregulars, which means he is gathering a couple hundered
commoners who are volunteering (usually through payment), or
being forced into it (tyrannical governments or mandatory
serving). the cost (muster and maintenence) is the same from
the rulebook, as well as all rules and stats. This takes a
month, same as from the Rulebook. They are not available for
war or training until the month after the Muster Free Action
is done to get them. At that time, a second muster (now called
training) can be done to them, to take them to either an
archer, infantry, pikeman, cavalry, or scouts. After that, a
month must pass before they are available for war or further
training. Then a third training can be done on then, taking
infantry to either elite infantry or artillerists, cavalry to
knights (can only be done by a noble in a feudal society).
Feel free to fit any extra units from the Netbook or other
source into this structure, including monsterous units,
enhanced units, or any other type of military unit.
All costs, times, rules, and stats are the same as from the
Rulebook or whatever source you get your units from. But since
you are the DM, feel free to make whatever changes you want to
them or this.
* Elvis has logged off the system...
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SCO Adam Theo, A Patriotic American Libertarian Capitalist.
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