Page 1 of 7 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 63
  1. #1
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Chelmsford, Essex, England
    Posts
    2,305
    Downloads
    25
    Uploads
    0

    Harvest god: Erik or Avani?

    It occured to me recently that Cerilia has no diety with a portfolio of 'harvest' or 'agriculture'.

    The obvious candidates are Erik (nature) and Avani (the sun),

    A harvest deity is pretty much the patron god of farmers, and in a medieval world that makes them fairly powerful.

    My thoughts were possibly Erik in Anuire / Rjurik / Vosgaard and Avani in Khinasi and Brechtur.

    The rationale was that the Khinasi put up a heck of a struggle against the Anuirean empire making the common worship (or at least respect) for Avani rare in Anuire whereas Erik, being a non-confrontational deity would be far more appealing to the Haelynites, the Vos are also more likely to respect the old man of the forests than the intellectual lady of the deserts.

    The Brecht on the other hand wait for Avani to melt the ice of the great bay each year so that their fishing boats may sail and bring in the bounty of Neserie but are wary of the forests making Avani a more obvious candidate imho.


    Any views? Any other major portfolio's lying around unclaimed?


    The 2e complete book of priests suggested the following portfolio's (many of which overlap):

    agriculture, ancestors (Nesirie), animals (Erik), arts (Laerme), birth, children (?), community (patrons), competition (Cuiraecen?), crafts (Sera?), the bringing of culture (Avani), darkness, night (Eloele, Ruornil), dawn (Avani), death (Nesirie?), disease (Kriesha?), earth (Erik), elemental forces of nature (Erik, Cuiraecen), evil (cold rider, Kriesha), fate/destiny (Ruornil?), fertility (Erik? Avani?), fire (Avani), fortune/luck (sera), guardianship (Cuiraecen, Haelyn, Ruornil), healing (Avani?), hunting (Erik), justice/revenge (Haelyn), light (Avani), lightning (Cuiraecen), literature (Laerme), love (Laerme), magic (Avani, Ruornil), marriage (patron), messengers (Cuiraecen), mischief, trickery (Eloele), moon (Ruornil), music/ dance (Laerme), nature (Erik), oceans/rivers (Nesirie), oracles/prophecy (Avani? Ruornil?), peace (Nesirie), prosperity (sera), redemption (Cuiraecen?), rulership/kingship (Haelyn), seasons (Erik), strength (Belinik), sun (Avani), time (Ruornil?), trade (sera), war (Belinik, Cuiraecen, Haelyn), wind (Erik? Cuiraecen?), wisdom/common sense (Erik, Haelyn)

    Aside from agriculture/the harvest there is no obvious deity for children, and a number of others I have allocated are questionable.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    315
    Downloads
    65
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall
    It occured to me recently that Cerilia has no diety with a portfolio of 'harvest' or 'agriculture'.

    The obvious candidates are Erik (nature) and Avani (the sun),
    I think it depends where in Cerilia you are. Avani would be the choice in Khinasi i think. One needs sunlight to grow stuff.

    I'm not sure Erik would fit actually- he wouldn't be support large-scale farming. He's more of a hunter/gatherer deity.

    Ruornil might fit though, as he has a strong plant portfolio.

    Since Cuiraecen is the deity of storms, he might fit when you need a good drenching for those parched crops.

    So, i think you can justify it a number of ways. You wouldn't need a deity specific to agriculture per se. Pray to Avani when you need sun, and switch to Cuiraecen when you need rain. Go to Erik when you're looking for 'shrooms in the forest, and Ruornil to drive away crop-thieves in the night. Heh.

    -Fizz

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Blackgate, Danigau
    Posts
    87
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Im with Fizz on this one. You could see agriculture as so important that almost all of the deities are involved in it. Though, of course, varied by what culture your from. Vos butchers might offer a prayer to Belinik, while a Rjurik butcher commends the spirit of the animal to Erik. An Anuirean landlord asks the priest of Haelyn what planting schedule to use, while a Brecht freeholder prays that Sera grants him luck to avoid a late frost...

  4. #4
    In Birthright, I've always imagined the Church "adapting" to their Gods portfolios to the needs of their constituencies.

    The Talinie Sourcebook gives an excellent example of how the Northern Imperial Temple teaches "hardwork and dilligence" to the common farmer.

    I think each Church fills that role -- applying a different "tone" to that aspect of their faith.

    For instance, although Haelyn is the patron of nobility and knighthood, his Church can't just ignore the peasant farmer. A good village priest teaches that Haelyn honors those who strive to be a good man / woman by fulfilling their duties -- raising children properly, providing for a family, succeeding in one's chosen profession through hardwork and dilligence.

    Sarimie (one of Haelyn's major competitors in the Heartlands) probably fulfills much of the same function. However, the spin that her church puts on it probably differs slightly -- commending her followers to take pride in their work. At a county fair, she would honor the farmer who produced the biggest pig or the largest pumpkin, the housewife who baked the most delicious pie.

    It takes creativity, but you can usually find some aspect of every deity's portfolio that you can develop to fulfill the harvest function. They just emphasize different values when commemorating the harvest.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Chelmsford, Essex, England
    Posts
    2,305
    Downloads
    25
    Uploads
    0
    I had thought Erik simply because he's the nature god - the hunter/gatherer being a Rjurik/Vos way of looking to provide food with the more settled people looking to agriculture and the sea to provide.

    Part of the reason for considering him the agriculture deity as well as the wilds deity is so I can see his priests in other cultures, at present can’t see his priests away from the forests at all.

    If Erik was the deity of agriculture I think his priests would focus heavily on producing only what was needed for the local population and encouraging wildlife in hedges and set-aside land - I can't see them as encouraging big surpluses for trade, although that may be a hang-over from the druidic approach of the wild's god.

    I hadn't considered Ruornil, although he has an obvious interest in plants I would have thought he would oppose the spread of agriculture rather than encourage it as when the forests are cleared to grow corn, etc the mebhaighl produced is weak.

    The trouble I see with Cuiraecen is that violent weather is terrible for crops which mostly want a moderate steady precipitation, not a sudden drenching that washes away the soil and batters fruit. In Khinasi however the desert dwellers could well see him as the 'right' god as the plants there might bloom only after the rare storms that drift inland.

    I can see the 'local' god approach as reasonable, however it rather undermines the idea of a pantheon, it is consistent with each people having a patron god, but for game reasons I prefer a multitude of deities in all areas rather than several monotheistic domains.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    3,562
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    I think Nicholas Harrison is right on when he writes, "I've always imagined the Church "adapting" to their Gods portfolios to the needs of their constituencies."

    Missing portfolios are just defaulted into the existing dieties (or at least some of them). Sera, Avani, Haelyn, and Erik all make good agriculture goods, they just focus on some part of agriculture as the key part.

    Andrew Tall has Erik when he writes, "If Erik was the deity of agriculture I think his priests would focus heavily on producing only what was needed for the local population and encouraging wildlife in hedges and set-aside land - I can't see them as encouraging big surpluses for trade, although that may be a hang-over from the druidic approach of the wild's god."

    Since there is an Oaken Grove of Aeric in Anuire, what else could it be about, since Anuireans are not hunter-gatherer nomands (and neither are the Rjurik, BTW, the people along the coast of the Taelshore and the banks of Hjarring are easily 80% of all Rjurik). It must be a broad nature faith, including agriculture.

    The only things I think the local god of choice doesn't have in their portfolio are the things specifically listed as someone elses portfolio.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    315
    Downloads
    65
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck
    Since there is an Oaken Grove of Aeric in Anuire, what else could it be about, since Anuireans are not hunter-gatherer nomands (and neither are the Rjurik, BTW, the people along the coast of the Taelshore and the banks of Hjarring are easily 80% of all Rjurik). It must be a broad nature faith, including agriculture.
    I disagree with you here. According to the Book of Priestcraft, the Oaken Grove of Aeric is:

    "most concerned with the preservation of wilderness and reources".

    and

    "They are much more like the Oaken Grove in Rjurik lands in that they willingly trade what they gather from the forest".

    As to the 80% of Rjurik live on the Taelshore- i don't know where you get that value from, but i don't think it means anything with respect to farming anyways. Accoring to The Rjurik Highlands:

    "Thought these are the oldest and most "civilized" Rjurik realms, the land is nonetheless wild and rugged"

    and

    "many Rjurik continue to live in the their traditional nomadic manner, settling in winter camps, then migrating to ancestral hunting grounds in spring and summer".

    For these reasons, i don't think Erik makes a great deity of agriculture. Sure, some Rjurik may grow crops and and have farms, but it clearly is not an important aspect of Erik's dogma or the Rjurik lifestyle.


    -Fizz

  8. #8
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Moschato, Athens, Greece
    Posts
    1,130
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Considerations of aspects

    An important distinction one has to make here is what kind of a priest we are looking at...

    For example, Erik has two major priestly sects: regular clerics, and druids (and, in Birthright, they HAVE to be Erik's priests). It is in line with druidical tradition to at least not side with the ways of agriculture, if not outright oppose them. Now, one of Erik's priests may very well help a plant grow, but there's little chance he will actually tamper with the natural landscape or its inhabitants, unless he has good reason to. This is one of the major reasons you don't just see druids literally tromping through Cerilia with shambling mounds and what not, otherwise their considerable power would have been a great thorn in some people's sides.

    On the other hand, some deities may consider the peasant, but not agriculture, or vice versa, or what not. For example, Laerme has little to say about the growing of crops and bleating lambs, but you can expect every aspect of hers to shine in a spring or summer festival; likewise, whereas Cuiraécen may be called onto to bring good rain down on their fields, expect every farmer to also plead that he keeps storms to castles and battlefields, or down upon the goblins' heads, far, far away from their wheatfields.

    And, of course, there are religions that have a very moderate relation to what a peasant cares for the most. For example, Eloéle might only be called upon in the darkest hour of the night when one peasant stills from another in desperation.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    3,562
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    The printed materials from the game are good for flavor, but they just don't make any sense if you bother to examine the game world as a place that is supposed to make sense on its own.

    The BR materials were written in a period of time when setting materials took a back seat to role playing, dramatic play, and story based adventures. As such no one bothered to consider how much land is required to support nomadic lifeways. In the temperate and fertile conditions of pre-Columbian America, population densities did not exceed 1.15 persons per square mile. Given a province measuring 25x25 miles, that's a population of 718 people in a province. That makes perfect sense in a province 1, where we might estimate 1000 inhabitants. But the Rjurik Highlands are more like Canada than Missouri, and the population will accordingly be lower. Even so, populations of (2) or greater require settled agriculture. Even if I assume that the first thousand people in a province are nomads and the only the remainder is populated I still get 15,000 souls in Saerskaap with 1000 nomads. However, the 1000 nomads have the population they do because they are exploiting the whole province for its natural, free abundance. If I cover a significant portion of the province with farmland, then that land is no longer directly useful to the nomands (although there may certainly be indirect benefits, nomads may trade hides for grain, for example). A level (4) province generally requires the whole province is settled farmland, or at least enough that the nomads get no direct benefit from such a province (no wandering herds, &c). Count 1000 people from the level 1 and level 2 provinces, and throw in a hundred from the level 0 provinces, and count up the remainder of the population from the provinces. You will find that the number of people who must be engaged in intensive agriculture of a medieval variety is huge and the number of people who are able, under the best conditions (say the climate and fertility of Virginia) must be tiny by comparison. Its only that so much of the Northlands and Wild Lands are covered in (1) and (0) provinces that any of the Rjurik could possibly be nomads.

    But that's not all. This offer includes a self-sharpening knife. If we were to go the other way and calculate matters from the tribal level up we would immediatly be struck by how many of the tribes described in the printed materials have really small population numbers. For once something in the books is ecologically accurate, but now how do we come up with notions that everyone is living like this? The Loddi number 50 members. The Helskaar numbers 50 members. The Ingallan numbers 60 members. The Fryggvaal, described as Jankaping's most populous and important tribes "boasts nearly 600 members".

    Why does this make sense? Because feeding 600 people without producing food requires vast amounts of land for the herds that the tribe subsist upon. A group this large, even assuming that half a children, will consume something like 800,000 calories per day. That's a lot of venison. Throw in fishing, collected apples, pears, what have you. Without food production, the land required is gigantic. Sure the druids can increase the bounty of the land, but they also police the exploitation of the land, so that you can't unsustainably exploit any food resource. This is why it might be acceptable to use temperate, fertile figures to calculate the holding capacity of the land. If you have 16,000 people in Saerskaap, that's over 21 million calories per day. Give the space, you can't have that many deer running wild. You have to have started putting sheep and cattle in a domestic arrangement to get enough. But even more so, you need to shift from animal calories to grain and bean calories to feed that many people.

    Now, you may ignore all of this because for you, Cerilia is just a place to adventure. Its just a backdrop in which to set your action. That's fine. If that's the case, it doesn't matter what makes sense on close inspection, so you can do what you like. But, if you want the setting to make sense, because you or your players want to manipulate the setting to get some result (like increase the tax collections of a province) or even just figure out how many kills an esteemed hunter might have to be hailed by his tribe, you have to take the setting seriously.

    I contend that with the third edition, setting finally is being taken seriously, and for the first time setting is no longer just a backdrop for 1) well balanced encounters or 2) dramatic stories. There have always been DM's and players who took setting seriously, but the game didn't do a good job supporting that kind of play. Now you go to the game store and there are entire books devoted just to setting. The Kingdoms of Kalamar is just one example where you can find books with:
    a wealth of detailed information on the civilized hobgoblin race of the Kingdoms of Kalamar, featuring an in-depth examination of Hobgoblin culture including discussion of their military tactics, economic policies, and social practices.
    Not everything is the 3rd edition era includes good setting, just like not everything in 2nd edition supported good role play, characterization, or story. Ditto 1st edition and good hack and slash. But there is no reason anymore for people who want good setting materials to just assume that its up to them to make good settings all by themselves.

    Why should anyone else care? Perhaps you perfer a game where the balance is finely tuned to a razors edge, and the perfect challenge encounter is the holy grail of play, and when the right series of encounters comes along the gaming table everyone calls it a success. Well if that's the case, why should it be the case that you object if the setting makes sense? And it doesn't have to make sense in real world terms, it just has to make sense in its own terms. If food is three times as nutritious the people need less of it, and so forth. After all, if its just background to great action and well balanced encounters, who cares if someone took time to make it sensible for the simulationist RP gamer? Its much easier to make a plausible world more fantastic than it is to make a haphazard collection of statements and make them sensible.

    Or, maybe your gaming group is all about character development, story lines that you could sell to a studio or publishing house, and dramatic action that keeps your players talking about your campaigns years after they play them. Now doesn't it follow that even if setting is only a backdrop to your excellent role playing, a sensible setting will only make that easier? After all, if someone bothers to make explain a rational legal system, you don't have to use it, but it certainly makes it easier to drop in a few lines about your law holdings and makes your part all the more convincing. Surely you can role play well if the setting is only a paper moon, hanging over a cardboard sky. But if the setting makes sense, its a tool to make for better role playing. You don't have to hold up an empty hand and pretend to hold a goblet, you can be holding a Khinasi chalise of the 12th century produced at the Binsada royal goldworks by El-Hamish for His Excellence Mousuad III. Maybe you can make that up on the fly, sometimes, but the more of this kind of goodness is added to the setting, the more you can get those details in there all of the time. You don't have to make the world, you make the characters, but isn't it nice that somebody made the world?

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    315
    Downloads
    65
    Uploads
    0
    The BR materials were written in a period of time when setting materials took a back seat to role playing, dramatic play, and story based adventures. As such no one bothered to consider how much land is required to support nomadic lifeways. In the temperate and fertile conditions of pre-Columbian America, population densities did not exceed 1.15 persons per square mile. Given a province measuring 25x25 miles, that's a population of 718 people in a province. That makes perfect sense in a province 1, where we might estimate 1000 inhabitants.
    .

    Well, i wasn't trying to make any claims of the `realism' of Birthright. I was making a claim as to what the books say about the faith and churches of Erik.

    But your post got me thinking, so I did a quick calculation of western Rjurik- basically everything north and west of Stjordvik. I added up the number of provinces at each level, and then used the Birthright rulebook to get a high-end and low-ball populations for each level.

    For example, the book says level 4-6 provinces are from 10,000 to 40,000 people. So i guestimated that a level 4 province would top out at 20,000. So a level 4 province has at least 10,000 (low-ball) and no more than 20,000 (high-end).

    When i add it all up, i get a high-end population of 393,000 and a low-ball value of 201,000. This area is approximately 65,000 square miles.

    So the overall population density is anywhere from 6.05 to 3.10 people per square mile. Obviously higher in the south and less in the north.

    Now the value you quoted for the Amerinds is incorrect. You quoted per square mile, but it's actually 1.15 per square kilometer. That converts to a value of 2.94 people per square mile. So the value you quoted fro the pre-conquest Amerinds is not dissimilar to my low-ball value for the Rjurik.

    That means about 1840 people per 25x25 province- near a level 2 province. And more than 3/4 of Rjurik provinces are level 2 or less.

    Sustainable population density is of course dependent on the territory. I see Rjurik as having lots of sources of water, vegetation wildlife, and few awnsheghlien (heh). Plus many of the coastal Rjurik survive by fishing and whaling.

    Clearly at least some agriculture would be required along the Taelshore, as expected. But with migrating Taelshorians (?), you reduce the number of farms required.

    When you put all that together, i think it's very easy to justify the average Rjurik family not being dependent on agriculture, and still call it `realistic'.

    This may not pass muster with everyone, and that's fine. Everyone has their own takes and preferences and visions. I'm just saying a non-agricultural society could be justified within the confines of what's already written.

    Which leads back to my original opinion of Erik not being a great agricultural deity.


    -Fizz
    Last edited by Fizz; 12-24-2006 at 08:07 AM.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
BIRTHRIGHT, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, the BIRTHRIGHT logo, and the D&D logo are trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and are used by permission. ©2002-2010 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.