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Thread: Income Levels

  1. #1
    Why do the landed lords receive so much income for so little effort?

    Table 5-11: income collection

    Asset type Base GB collection
    Province province level
    Guild Holding x 2/3 holding level
    Law holding x 1/3 holding level
    Source holding 0
    Temple holding x 2/3 holding level
    Trade route trade route level

    Investing a province might not be easy, but once invested how does it automatically generate income? Let's assume that Lord Wannabe conquers, and invests, the province known as Zero. It's a 10/0 province, equal to the Imperial City! Lord Wannabe is delighted with 10 GBs per year.

    But Province Zero has no temples, no guilds, no law and nothing in general to reasonably present itself as a level 10 city/state.

    On the other hand consider Province Maximum. It also is a 10/0 province. Unlike province Zero it has a level 10 guild along with a level 10 temple (let's leave law alone for now). But this maximized province generates just as much income as Province Zero. Why?

    Guild and temple holdings are on a less than 1 for 1 basis due to (I assume) taxes. This is reasonable in most cases.

    Perhaps the landed regent should be able to rule their provinces up as much as they care to but...their income is based off the highest level guild/temple in the province?
    Crossfell

  2. #2
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Why do the landed lords receive so much income for so little effort?
    The short answer is a simple one: Cerilia is a medieval world, and like any medieval world, that means it is a primarily agrarian economy. Land is the basis of agriculture, and agriculture is what makes the world go 'round.

    Land is wealth. Land is power. Landed regents sit at the top of the feudal pyramid.


    The taxes a landed regent recieves aren't mainly from other regents and their holdings, they're from the farmers and laborers and what not who are his subjects and work the land for a living.

    Medieval serfs gave something like 90% of their gross income (usually foodstuffs) to their liege lord, leaving barely enough to make a subsistent living - and sometimes not even that.

    In BR, seeing as how everyone tends to be freemen (yeomen) rather than serfs, I expect the average level of taxation to be somewhat lower, but the principle remains. Freemen are free to work where they choose, but they're more like tenant farmers, renting the land and paying for it with a percentage of the harvest. Only nobles, and to a lesser extent the church (temples), actually own land. Landlords make the real money in a feudal system, not the workers.

    Not like things have changed so much in modern times...

    Guilds (and guild holdings) collectively represent the merchant class - professional artisans, traders, tinkers, shopkeepers, etc. Local commerce + trade [routes] ends up making more money than land, more often than not, so guilders are the one regent type that can out-compete landed regents for income - especially net income, because they aren't primarily responsible for military defense (by FAR the single greatest expense in BR, and one that falls mainly on a landed regent's shoulders).

    In my experience playing and running BR, landed regents are almost ALWAYS the regents most hard up for cash, because proportionally they have the largest expenses. Castles and armies cost a LOT of money to build and maintain - especially if you actually use them (if your units are active, you pay half their muster cost each season&#33. What do guilds maintain? The dirt cheap things like roads, bridges, seaports - which are easily absorbed by the profits from the trade routes they support.

    Landed regents have no real ability to tax other regents. Law regents, otoh, can levy taxes on guild and temple regents via seizures - though you can expect a rather hostile reaction from the victims when you start cutting into their base collections each season. If you want a more amicable agreement, a landed/law regent should use Diplomacy to set up a system of regular tribute, usually with a premise like, "I pay a lot of money to raise troops and defend your holdings in my land. Isn't reasonable that you pay x amount of GB each season to help finance this protection?"

  3. #3
    I believe that what you say is true, for the early medieval period. However BR appears to be closer to the Rennaisance than the Dark Ages.

    Your post supports this in that you assume most people are freeman as opposed to serfs. The rise of the yeoman began the fall of the noble. The fact that a noble might need to negotiate terms with a guilder for taxes argues even further that the BR world is closing in on the Renaissance and the rise of the commons.

    Many medieveal towns and cities in England were able to win rights to self government and holding markets due to the power of the guilds. These rights were purchased from the Crown but clearly benefited the 'commons' who bought the rights.

    With the rise of the guilds (commoners one and all for nobility couldn't soil their hands with trade) the nobility (reliant on serf farmers) had to acknowledge the power of the market place. Poor nobles married their sons to daughters of rich guilders in order to prop up their houses. Eventually, enough gold could buy titles.

    Raw power exercised in provinces over serfs should result in lower revenues. Highly developed provinces (guild/temple) should result in the potential for higher profits.

    Land is power, no arguement there. Developed land (guilds/temples) is power multiplied. Province income should reflect this.
    Crossfell

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    in a nut shell it work likes this Crossfell or how I how always percived it, The land regent gives his lands to his people his people farm and herd it in retern he recieves a grenrous portion of the goods, In retern he offers protection. The regent sells the goods or use's them. (sells the cows to the farms the corn to the herders etc..) The higher the provence level the more diverce the provence depending on area. For instence your level 10/0 provence zero has more than likely switched from farming and herding to citys filled with shops and trade. The regent still gets his share of the cut no longer as many cows but mostly coins.
    Your perception that guilds are not present in large provence's is wrong though provence zero does indeed have trade and shops and stores, but there a great many mom and pop stores nothing that would would stand as holding though cause there isn't one. Now lets say Guilder Isabee moves and creates a guild holding think of it as a wallmart moving in. The more guild holdings in provence zero he has the more of a monopaly he posseses.
    Now as for your rennaisance thoughts for Birthright, Even though the Crown of England and France lost its power the bulk of noblity in Europe stayed strong and powerfull for a long long time, Most of the Rulers did not lose there Crown untill after WWI, In fact WWI was started when an Arch-Duke was assinated. But add diven blood lines to Birthright some thing not present in real life and you have a powerfull motive for the common people to respect there rulers how ever terible they are and if they are so terible they need to be replaced it would be by anouther noble or relitive.
    Ok and for you take on guilds and how they would play a decline in rulership again you have to take a look at how Birthright is set up. Guilders in Birthright are not run by common men they are run again by blooded regents, it is not a union of working people, It is a system that the common people are used to Guilder Isabee gives commoners either goods or coin for there goods or metiral and than sells these goods or metiral not much of a diffrence of the land regent other than perhaps one individual guilder Isabee is corroning the market. The fact that there are guilders would probibly slow down steps in achiving a Rennaisance period because guilders cut out or take over all the littler shops and such it also keeps the comon people from gaining any atonamy. Hope this helps you a little.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    I believe that what you say is true, for the early medieval period. However BR appears to be closer to the Rennaisance than the Dark Ages.
    Unlike historical Europe, though, the BR setting is interesting (and different) in that all regents must possess divine bloodlines in order to be competitive. While landed nobility certainly enjoy higher social status than guild, temple, or source regents, there is a much fuzzier distinction between regents of various holding types than between the nobles and commoners of medieval-Renaissance Europe.

    That may be, and commerce has always played an important role in the development of civilization. Long before the Renaissance, in fact. Just look at all the wars in the ancient world that were fought for control of the lucrative Mediterranean and Far Eastern trade routes. Greatness was very much defined by who controlled trade - Phoenecians, Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Romans just to name a few - their rise and fall corollated directly with their control of those routes.

    However, that trade was only lucrative because agriculture supported it as a base economic system. That was the main point I was trying to make. Ask any economist and they'll tell you that the historical economies of the world were primarily agrarian right up until the time of the Industrial Revolution. That's why it was called a revolution - it completely re-arranged the basic economic structure of society, changing the basic "rules" that had more or less been in place since farming began some 5000+ years before. And even then it wasn't an overnight change, but a gradual shift as manufactured goods became far more common and thus far less expensive. Suddenly it didn't take a lord with a grand estate and dozens or hundreds of farmers working for him to be able to afford iron-wrought goods, or stylized ceramic vessels, or woven linens.

    Until such a dramatic shift occurs in Cerilia (and it likely won't be anytime soon, if ever), I suspect that land and agriculture will remain the primary measure of wealth and power. Which means, in BR terms, that land (province levels) is the basic measure of wealth, and all other things (like commerce) derive their income from it. A merchant's goods are ultimately only as valuable as the food and shelter they can be traded for. You can't eat gold, nor will it protect you from the elements.

    Raw power exercised in provinces over serfs should result in lower revenues.
    That's definitely debatable - one could argue that the land-based revenue for the regent would actually be higher, as he gets more of the produce for himself.

    However, I expect the per capita productivity of freemen farmers would be significantly higher, since they have the motivation to generate a surplus and make a profit for themselves (the whole free market theory at work). Naturally, this depends on the rate of taxation, but the system does try to account for that with domain attitudes.

    I think the key thing to remember when thinking about this issue is the source of revenue for each holding type: land revenues come from taxing those who work the land; law revenues are the various "miscellaneous" taxes (head tax, bridge, gate, and road tolls, tarrifs, etc.); guild income is based on members paying seasonal dues; and temple income comes mainly from tithes (donations from the faithful) and temple-owned land and commerce.

    Keeping these sources in mind, ask yourself: how much more productive will the farmers be if there are strong guilds and temples in the area? And even if they are more productive, will their liege lord see any of that when he taxes them? Maybe, but only by raising taxes, which has its own drawbacks. There are benevolent landlords, and there are iron-fisted ones.

    I think the BR system actually does a pretty good job of keeping the hierarchy as it should be: land (province level) is the base measure of potential development - the law, guilds, and temples cannot be any stronger than the local level of population and prosperity allow for.

    Highly developed provinces (guild/temple) should result in the potential for higher profits.
    Highly developed guilds and temples represent maximum utilization of the province's current potential.

    Agrarian Economy = Land and Agriculture as primary measure of prosperity. This priority should be recognized as a fact of life in any pre-industrial system.


    Now all that being said, I do agree that trade, especially foreign (beyond local) trade, can raise the level of prosperity beyond the local means. I think guild levels represent exploitation of local commerce potential, but trade routes are something more.
    In fact, I introduced a proposal for the 3.5 BRCS revision in which trade routes could add a bonus (+1 per trade route originating/ending in the province) to the province's seasonal attitude checks, AND to the Rule Province action. If trade is excess commerce, then it's likely to improve people's happiness, standard of living, and ultimately encourage growth.

    If you're interested, search for the Trade and Prosperity thread in the BRCS forum, it's only a few pages back I think.


    Finally: If you doubt that land + developed guilds and temples equals multiplied wealth in the BR system, consider the Total Collections of a province:

    A 10/0 province with no holdings generates 10 GB a season.
    The same province with L10 law, guild, and temple holdings generates several times that amount (about 27 GB). Add in 3 trade routes (3 x 5 GB), and we’re up to 42 GB total collections.
    Land power multiplied, just as you desired. It’s just a question of who controls that power and wealth.

    It’s possible (though unlikely) that one regent could control all of these holdings (a theocratic Priestess of Sera comes to mind as the single best type of candidate). What’s more likely, of course, is that the land/law regent will demand a cut of the guild profits, especially from those lucrative trade routes. This was suggested in the orginal setting, and seems to me should definitely be applied to any BR campaign as a norm.

    What’s also quite possible in BR, thanks to the blurred lines between different sorts of regents and nobility, is that landed regents can get a hold of at least some of the guild or temple holdings in a province. There are plenty of examples of these sorts in Ruins of Empire (Guilder Kalien, Erilien Mierelin, Thurienne Donalls, Suris Enlien). Personally, I consider a land/law/guild regent to be the most powerful variety of regent in existence, because they have direct control of the wealth necessary to fuel their ambitions, and aren’t dependant on good relations with their guilders like most landed regents. The only reason they aren’t more powerful in RoE was because all of the land/guild regents have very small landed realms (1-3 provinces) – undoubtedly to create a more balanced campaign setting, for if their realms were larger they would be ridiculously powerful.

  6. #6
    Osprey, you convinced me with the last argument in pointing out that indeed the overall income rises with the guild and temple development. The landed regent's ability to collect additional wealth (through taxing those institutions) would increase as well.

    One point I would still argue though is where the guilds obtain their income. While there might be some guild dues the majority of the income (from my viewpoint at least) is from shop profits. Just like Wallmart is more efficient than the old Mom and Pop stores (which I miss&#33 guilds should be more efficient than individual shops.

    I like your idea on the number of trade routes having an effect on province attitude. While prosperity would increase the commons morale it might also make it easier to conduct espionage actions as there are so many strangers coming and going all the time.
    Crossfell

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    I think guilds represent more than just big Wallmart and stuff. I think it's as much services as actual produce. I believe that it's more that you develop your contacts to the mom and pop shops and then you buy their goods and move it around in the province, selling it where it's most needed. For instance you buy up ore from the local mine with some food. Then you freight that ore from the mine to the smith and the smith buys the ore from you, paying a bit more to you than you paid for it. He either pays in coin or perhaps he instead gives you some tools. And so you go on.

    This means that you earn money on distributing goods and this is mostly visible with the trade routes that go from province to province. However I also believe that it's true for the province. Sure the miners could transport the ore to smith, but in doing this they would have some people hired that wouldn't work in the mine while this happened. And the goods they receive in return are maybe not what they need the most. Of course some tools once in a while is needed, but food is probably the most important. You bring ore to the smith in return of tools. The tools you bring to the farms. In return they give you grain. The grain you bring to the mill. The mill in return gives you flour, which you bring to the baker who gives you bread. The bread goes to the mines... Now imagine hundreds of such small moves in the province. Because you have contacts in 10 mines, with 5 smiths, 50 farmers, 10 mills and 3 bakeries... Its mechanisms we see today too.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    One point I would still argue though is where the guilds obtain their income. While there might be some guild dues the majority of the income (from my viewpoint at least) is from shop profits. Just like Wallmart is more efficient than the old Mom and Pop stores (which I miss&#33 guilds should be more efficient than individual shops.
    Guilds are undeniably more efficient than independent small businesses. The question, though, is not "from where do guilds derive their income?" This is almost certainly from commerce in one form or another, including wholesale and barter types like Angelbiaska described.

    The question is "From where do guild regents derive their income?" If a guild regent controls all of the guild levels in a province, does this mean he owns every business there? I don't think so. Some of those businesses might be his own personal ones, but in general I assume that before a regent comes in to a new province there are already independent shops (usually with a single master craftsmen and some apprentices, or a petty trader, or miller, etc.) and lesser guilds in operation (in the historical sense: grouped associations of similar businesses). Remember, mass production is an industrial concept, not one of masters, journeymen, and apprentices. Most production would be in the form of cottage industry - just because there are guilds and guild regnets doesn't mean there is now organized mass production. In part, this is because the technology and the attendant mindset don't really exist yet. It's important to keep the historical "parallel context" in mind here.

    A blooded regent would have the unique power to unify these small businesses and guilds under one great guild, a much larger association of lesser guilds of various types. So the 4 levels of guild holdings in a 4/1 province would probably be a total conglomeration of all the significant lesser guilds: the Armourers' Guild, the Smiths' Guild, the Weavers' Guild, the Tanners' Guild, and so on. A single business could never be expected to include such diversity, but a unified "over-guild" might - especially with the power of a regent to make it happen. By allowing the existing minor guilds to keep a semi-independence but pay dues and in exchange recieve the protection and oversight of the regent,

    That, at least, is my vision of what BR guild holdings under a blooded regent might look like. It's a more natural evolution of the medieval/Renaissance guild system, I think, rather than a modernistic model like Sears, Wal-Mart, etc. (I doubt very much Guilder Kalien has one big guild shop where every commercial product in Endier can be bought, sold, or traded). Essentially, a commerical version of the feudal system; master craftsmen tend to be independent, but then organize in collective trade guilds, which then join the greater guild under the blooded regent's control - and it is he who sits at the top of this pyramid.

    Osprey

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