View Poll Results: what should be the average lifetime of military equipment?

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  • 2 years in garrison; 1 year of active duty

    13 31.71%
  • 2.5 years in garrison; 1.25 years of active duty

    11 26.83%
  • 5 years in garrison; 2.5 years of active duty

    17 41.46%
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  1. #1
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    average lifetime of military equipment

    I need to know the average lifetime of military equipment for my game and reckoned I might just as well ask for your opinion.

    So what should be the average lifetime of military equipment?

  2. #2
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    The lifetime of equipment is important, because the shorter the lifetime the more expensive military equipment is and the greater part equipment forms of the total cost of a unit.

    Relatively expensive equipment would mean that manpower is relatively cheaper, and consequently imply lighter armed units throughout anuire. Is matters greatly if the 1.5 GB for 200 chainmails have to be paid every two or every five years.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    What kind of equipment? Things made from durable materials can last a very long time indeed. These are the expensive things. Things made from non-durable materials are cheaply made. Any relation to how long things last that posits a relationship between garrison and campaign assumes that loss (I had it a moment ago, then the horn sounded, and now I can't find my ...) is the most common source of material attrition.

    In fact, far more significant than loss is combat, which not only destroys physical persons, but destroys equipment too. An army on campaign that marches around northern Ghoere for two years will suffer far less loss of equipment than an army that fights a single battle.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dcolby's Avatar
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    Certainly a nobleman could and did purchase the best gear, mounts, arms, and armor he could afford and maintain. In a preindustrial setting however Military equipment and indeed all manufactured goods are so expensive and difficult at times to come by relative to the average person that such materials could be handed down through generations and extensive care was taken to maintain such items.

    There are examples of craftsmen inheriting their fathers tools which were in turn passed down from Grandparents. The tendancy would be towards Maintenance and replacement of small parts or repair rather than wholesale replacement.

    The wear and Tear on military arms and armor limits their life expectancy, however the average man at arms was unlikely to have been mustered with brand new arms and equipment. Looting the dead from the field was an excellent and accepted way of equiping your own units. I have thought to explore this by allowing the side that holds the field to upgrade some units for example say standard infantry to Elite infantry etc. by virtue of experiance and loot.

    I have yet to work out the ratios and mechanics but it is an interesting idea.

    As to the exact life expectancy of Medievil Military equipment,that is very difficult to know, more often a function of new tactics, weapon/armor developement and practices than actual loss of servicability/function I should think, but of course have little actual data to draw to.
    Good Morning Peasant!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dcolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    What kind of equipment? Things made from durable materials can last a very long time indeed. These are the expensive things. Things made from non-durable materials are cheaply made. Any relation to how long things last that posits a relationship between garrison and campaign assumes that loss (I had it a moment ago, then the horn sounded, and now I can't find my ...) is the most common source of material attrition.

    In fact, far more significant than loss is combat, which not only destroys physical persons, but destroys equipment too. An army on campaign that marches around northern Ghoere for two years will suffer far less loss of equipment than an army that fights a single battle.
    Excellent points concerning the equipments initial value and the care taken in not loosing/ maintaining it...Perhaps the expendables, like new boots, canteens, kit bags etc are already accounted for in the Different maintenace costs of units in garrison vs Units in the field?
    Last edited by Dcolby; 05-08-2007 at 02:06 PM.
    Good Morning Peasant!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    Looking at historical records from the 1460s - 1480s, a lot of armour and equipment was constantly repaired and reissued during its working life time. This includes items like saddles. As long as it is useful, it will be used. Maybe not by the lord, but certainly it might be gifted to a retainer or placed in the armory.

    Armourers will remove dents and replace parts on harness. Things will be re-strapped, etc... Only those who can afford to have the latest and the greatest fashion will have it. For great lords, armour was a disposable resource.

    I would tend to think that it would even out over time, unless your regent isn't heavily combat oriented. Ghoere might have a higher field expense if he's constantly in the field.

    Does anyone utilize rules that consider calling out the feudal host and how many days they can actually have them in the field before they can return home?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dcolby's Avatar
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    It seems that in Birthright at least the Anuireans are heavily into the concept of Scutage and either loan a percentage of there forces to the ruler so as to maintain a standing army or just simply pay the ruler to maintain one.

    Since the Gold bar has no specific value it may be the cost of garrisoned units in their home province vs units on the march or at war also represents the difficulty of keeping the fuedal host "active".
    Good Morning Peasant!!

  8. #8
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 04:25 AM 5/8/2007, Sir Tiamat wrote:

    >I need to know the average lifetime of military equipment for my
    >game and reckoned I might just as well ask for your opinion.
    >
    >So what should be the average lifetime of military equipment?

    As a couple folks have noted, it depends on what you mean by
    "military equipment." If you mean large scale siege weapons (siege
    towers, catapults, ballista, trebuchet, etc.) then the realistic life
    expectancy is probably around 40-70% of a single battle. Such items
    are as often as not built in place using local materials then
    dismantled after a battle and the most important (expensive) bits are
    transported with the army. In a fantasy game, of course, there is an
    assumption that such things are rolled around in their fully
    assembled form (maybe even loaded and ready to shoot) at any given
    moment, but in reality they get packed away and carried on carts
    along with the pots and pans.

    If you mean personal equipment then realistically we`re talking about
    maintenance before and after every major encounter along with regular
    maintenance on a monthly if not weekly basis depending, of course, on
    what it is we`re talking about. Even metal equipment still needs a
    lot of care to prevent blunting, rust, etc. and every bit of armor
    has non-metallic bits to it that have a very short lifespan when used
    ruggedly. Leather straps, cloth underclothes, wooden fixtures, etc.
    all go pretty fast and need to be replaced. Anyone who does not
    check such things both before and after a battle is either
    hard-pressed or irresponsible.

    Again, though, fantasy gaming tends to assume such things, and not
    account for them realistically. Knights wander about without so much
    as a change of underclothes let alone saddlesoap....

    Gary

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    Things the game doesn't consider are methods of preventing rust on harness: blueing, tinning, leaving it black from the forge, browning, etc...

    Anyone who does notcheck such things both before and after a battle is either hard-pressed or irresponsible.

    Again, though, fantasy gaming tends to assume such things, and not account for them realistically. Knights wander about without so much as a change of underclothes let alone saddlesoap....
    A knight in our campaign has a minimum of three horses, and a baggage cart and a squire or two for arming, cleaning, and other tasks. If he is a great lord like Avan or Boeruine, he has a baggage train complete with the proper household guard, squires, valets, etc...

    And I'm one of those DMs that keeps track of mundane little details like equipment care. You don't keep your saddle clean or check it for damage, you could end up breaking a girth or having one of the reins come unattached at the most inopportune moment. (I've had the rein detach happen to me in real life; stupid Chicago screw.)

    If you're squires are tired or lazy, they may not point your armour to your doublet properly and your pauldron could slip or your arms might slide preventing proper movement.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I will have to repeat the aforementioned: "What sort of equipment?"

    Shields weren't really meant to last very long; all metal parts were collected, if possible, but none took any sort of care as to the remains of the wooden parts (a very reasonable act, if I may say so). Arms and armour, on the other hand, could theoretically last for centuries.

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