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  1. #1
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Project: Economics and demography from the ground up

    Well, this ties in with some of other threads about trade and trade routes, but is a rather different approach. I'm currently trying to detail Anuirean economics from the ground up, starting with the 'average' holding of a typical peasant, and from there jumping to the level of the manor/village, then the province and so on.

    I hope to accomplish several things with this:

    At first, this just provides some background material useful for painting a more colorful picture of Anuirean daily life, but I also hope to get a clearer view of province ratings, population density, possible taxation, trade routes etc.

    I also would like to develop logistic rules for military units to add an additional strategic element to warfare.

    In the end, though this is still a long way off, this might change quite a lot of the domain rules in my campaign.

    Well, I guess this might be a too detailed approach or just plain boring for some of you, so I'd like to know if at least some of you would be interested in seeing this kind of detail.

    I'm also still wrestling with a few numbers/measurements, notably with the size of the Anuirean acre. I'm using quite a lot of historical background material and the size of the 'average' medieval peasant holding is quite consistent throughout Europe, a virgate (in German: Hufe) consisting of 30 acres (Joch or Morgen in German).

    However, the German equivalent is only about two thirds the size of the modern English acre (about 2,500 square meters) and I wonder which scale to use. I once read that the English acre had been about the same size in the early Middle Ages, but couldn't find more information about this.
    Well, setting an Anuirean acre as roughly 2,500 square meters would make the math a bit easier for me, but if you are interested in seeing my description and would rather prefer to keep the acre as is, I would work with this.

    Of course, this also has repercussions on the possible population density wthin a province.

    So, what do you think?

  2. #2
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I think its a great project and would be willing to put effort and prior work on the subject toward it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    […]

    At first, this just provides some background material useful for painting a more colorful picture of Anuirean daily life, but I also hope to get a clearer view of province ratings, population density, possible taxation, trade routes etc.

    I also would like to develop logistic rules for military units to add an additional strategic element to warfare.[…]

    So, what do you think?
    I am also struggling with logistics in my house rules… I am still working on it, but I assume that a certain province level is needed to support a certain nr of units…

    When an army is on an expedition this support (+/- 1 GB of a units upkeep) usually comes from friendly provinces (supply line), but can also come from enemy provinces (pillaging). Pillaging will pay 1 GB of support per pillaging unit.

    Supply lines can be cut by enemy troops; this works essentially the same way as pillaging, paying 1GB of support per enemy unit up to a total of GB in the supply line…

    I am very interested in your views of army supplies in order to improve my rules

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    You can the current status of my thoughts on supply lines under “Unit Supplies” in the “Cry Havoc in Birthrighthouse rules. I would advise you to take a look at the province growth house rules they are quite good….

    I just thought that the maximum nr of GBs that can be pillaged based on province level or severe taxation… could also be pillaged on beforehand by the defender… That would be similar to a tactic of scorched earth.

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    Senior Member ShadowMoon's Avatar
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    Sounds like a worthy project, count me in ^^;

    ...
    "If the wizards and students who lived here centuries ago had practiced control - in their spellcasting and in their dealings with the politics of the empire - you would be studying in a tall tower made by the best dwarf stone masons, not in an old military barracks."
    Applied Thaumaturgy Lector of the Royal College of Sorcery to new generation of students.

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    Well, this ties in with some of other threads about trade and trade routes, but is a rather different approach. I'm currently trying to detail Anuirean economics from the ground up, starting with the 'average' holding of a typical peasant, and from there jumping to the level of the manor/village, then the province and so on.

    I hope to accomplish several things with this:

    At first, this just provides some background material useful for painting a more colorful picture of Anuirean daily life, but I also hope to get a clearer view of province ratings, population density, possible taxation, trade routes etc.

    I also would like to develop logistic rules for military units to add an additional strategic element to warfare.

    In the end, though this is still a long way off, this might change quite a lot of the domain rules in my campaign.

    Well, I guess this might be a too detailed approach or just plain boring for some of you, so I'd like to know if at least some of you would be interested in seeing this kind of detail.

    I'm also still wrestling with a few numbers/measurements, notably with the size of the Anuirean acre. I'm using quite a lot of historical background material and the size of the 'average' medieval peasant holding is quite consistent throughout Europe, a virgate (in German: Hufe) consisting of 30 acres (Joch or Morgen in German).

    However, the German equivalent is only about two thirds the size of the modern English acre (about 2,500 square meters) and I wonder which scale to use. I once read that the English acre had been about the same size in the early Middle Ages, but couldn't find more information about this.
    Well, setting an Anuirean acre as roughly 2,500 square meters would make the math a bit easier for me, but if you are interested in seeing my description and would rather prefer to keep the acre as is, I would work with this.

    Of course, this also has repercussions on the possible population density wthin a province.

    So, what do you think?
    Instead of re-inventing the wheel form the beginning with the project, you might want to look at a couple of social histories, like 'standards of living in the later middle ages', and the Gie's 'the medieval village'. All the pertinent information is contained to begin a basic foundation, and then you can run from there.

    Keep in mind with feudalisim, the monarchs own all the land, and then the land is loaned out in return for vassalage, making a huge branching pyramid. Even temples would owe vassalage for land held. Some land may be held on alliodal terms, but even marches on frontiers find those carving them out owing dues to feudal lords, (the emperor being at the top, when there was an emperor - the 12 original duchies were the vassals of the emperor).

    I should note I have written a 60 odd page supplement called 'Everyman' (after Langland), detailing the very sorts of daily aspects of life you are looking to write about. It was written for our specific campaign, and has a bunch of house rules, but you can take what you like from it, an alter it as you see fit if you would like to firm out a foundation for your project. My undergrad history courses would at least have not been for my amusement alone.
    Last edited by Jaleela; 05-21-2007 at 07:54 PM.

  7. #7
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I don't think we need to go back to foundational texts. Magical Medieval Society is a great place to start. Its d20, its entirely OGL, and it summarizes much of the kind of stuff we're going to need.

    If we do like a reading list, Marc Bloch's Feudal Society would have to be included, because of its focus on mentalities, which is what role players need most.

  8. #8
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    My old document Calculations of Arable Land seems to be old enough to pre-date the forums, so I'll just re-post here.

    Calculations of arable land
    Assumptions:
    1) A well fed populous consumes 4 hectoliters (400 liters) of grain per person per year.
    2) 5:1 should be our base harvest (five grains) per grain sown in good areas, 4:1 in poorer areas. The worst areas only achieve 2:1.
    In France from 1300-1499, the ave is 4.3
    In England from 1250-1499, the ave is 4.7
    In England from 1500 as far as 1700, the ave is 7.0
    In France from 1500 all the way to 1820, the ave is 6.3
    In Germany and Scandinavia from 1500-1699, the ave is 4.2
    In Eastern Europe from 1550-1820, the ave is 4.1
    3) 1.5 hectoliters are sown on 1.0 hetares (1 hundedth of a sq kilometer, or 2.5 acres)
    Sow 1 hectoliters on .67 hectares, produce five hectoliters of grain. Save one for the following season, and consume four. So, assume generously that 5 people require 3 hectares (.3 sq hectometers, or .03 sq kilometers, don't you love the metric system!) Now take into acount the fallow system used. Northern Europe used a three-field system, Southern Europe used a two field system (weaker soils, more emphasis on wheat). In the far North, Scotland for example, wheat gets harder to grow, so oats and rye rotate through a poorer system.
    Wherever the BR information states a good agricultural area, assume the numbers above: 5:1, perhaps even 6:1, and a three field system.
    When the BR sources look less favorable there are two things to consider:
    1) northern lattitude- reduce to 4:1 grains harvested per sown, it drops productivity by 25% (3 to eat rather than 4, because 1 hectoliter is always required for the following season) 2) southern lattitude- reduce to a two field system drops by 17%.
    When the BR sources suggest a poor agricultural area, drop yields to 50% (either 2.5:1 in a three field, or 3:1 in a two field system).
    Also keep in mind that the technology information given on p. 19 of the BR rulebook recommends (implicitly) reducing yields of Rjurik, Vos, and humanoids. Anyone specifically interested in these economies should contact me for the more complicated information on their diverse agro-economies. The Vos, in poor areas will have some 2:1 yield agriculture, but you can surely see that other investments in hunting, raiding, or brutal population limitation will be applied.
    Animals;
    Livestock will tend to improve your crop fertility, but require a huge investment in land. Overall animals are the best investment in terms of return on labor and soil fertility, but they are the worst return in terms of land use.
    So, the system I use goes like this:
    Using a six mile hex (the distance a dwarf can walk in normal day), we get an area of almost 31 sq miles per hex, or about 8029 hectares. This will support some 13400 people, if all the land is agricultural. Since its not, we need to consider how much of it is. There needs to be enough forest to support the needs of wood of the community, even in non-forested areas. A minimum of 5 to 10% of the land is going to be forested. In England, 15% of the land was forest, meaning it was used by the manor. And additional percentage would be forest not used, but that would be reflected in other kinds of hexes. Some of the land will be inhabited, but not suited to agriculture. Of this, 10% is small, 20% is normal, 40% is a large amount. A minimum of pasturage would be 5%. England had about 25% of its land set aside for pasture, although as mentioned in "Animals", this will depend on available land vs calorie needs of the population. Animals requires a tiny fraction of the labor of crops, but only produce 20% of the calories of cropland. From this we see that in dense cultivation (75% arable is probabaly the maximum) , a hex could support 10000 people. However, most areas were in the range of 25% to 50% arable. If hexes were to commonly vary between supporting 2500 to 5000 people, an arbitrary 4000 per hex could be envisioned if it were considered that the numbers could be higher of conditions permited.

    Hexes devoted to farming, then could be said to have 4000 or more people.
    Hexes of mixed forest and farm land produce for 1000 people
    Simple forests produce a *maximum* of 100 persons worth of subsistance. That's still 5 persons/sq mile, high for forest land, but a plausible maximum.
    Hills and plains can support 1000 people (most of whom are not living in these hexes) by herding animals. The hills are supporting a very low population directly, but the export of animals and animal products (in exchange for grains, tools &c) supports higher farm populations and urban populations. Remember, grain must be transported to market, cattle can walk itself to slaughter.

    These figures assume the 5:1, three field data. Remember to increase the hexes required as mentioned above. When it comes to importing food, try to avoid it when possible. The cost of grain transported over Roman roads increased the cost of the grain by 1% per mile. 100 miles, doubles the cost of grain. In medieval England, where labor was cheaper, the cost increased more at a rate of 1% per 5 miles. The same 100 miles represents a 22% increase. By sea is more reasonable. In 1828, it was cheaper to ship 1000 leagues by sea than 10 leagues overland. Realms importing food must have exports.

    My 6 mile per hex maps use 14 terrain types, which I use to calculate the carrying capacity of a province as well as movement for day to day campaigning, and theoreticly military movement if a PC ever wishes to direct his war machine at that level.

  9. #9
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    Sir Tiamat suggested that a province should be of a certain province level
    to maintain so many military units, but there`s another factor to this issue
    for those of you interested in such details. A large army (or even a small
    one) existing in a province is basically a large surplus of money, potential
    cultural exchange, and a demand for labor entering into a province
    simultaneously. The demand to muster troops, or at least to maintain
    existing troops, within a province would likely be a huge burden on a small
    province, but at the same time, would allow the use of untapped economic
    resources within a recessive province.

    I mention this to allow for the possibility that supporting a continued
    military presence might actually be beneficial for provinces, increasing
    their province levels. Whether or not the actual population increases would
    depend on your views regarding labor migration and the flexibility of guild
    structures.

    Even if the soldiers aren`t directly *in* your province, the act of
    maintaining those troops would mean lots of gold (or, ahem, alternative
    abstract measurements of currency if you`re in to that sort of thing) payed
    for in maintenence costs, and these gold (or other) would be going to the
    various provinces to pay for food, weapons, horses, alchohol, etc. Since
    this gold would further enhance the economy in these provinces, and likely
    find their way, eventually, into the hands of realm rulers, temples, and
    guilds, this could very well be abstracted as an increase in province level
    for each province in the realm.

    I`m just trying to suggest that "must be X level to maintain Y military
    units" might be a bit too simplistic if your goal was to go into
    macroeconomic detail.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaleela View Post
    Instead of re-inventing the wheel form the beginning with the project, you might want to look at a couple of social histories, like 'standards of living in the later middle ages', and the Gie's 'the medieval village'. All the pertinent information is contained to begin a basic foundation, and then you can run from there.
    Well, I'm not really trying to re-invent the wheel here, I'm already using quite a number of books on the subject, ranging from "Beer in the Middle Ages" to "Plants that changed the world", though you just brought me to order Gies
    "Daily Life in the Middle Ages", a combination of their books 'medieval village', 'medieval castle' and 'medieval city' . I also use a number of historical sources like price lists and tax rolls, some online resources and a number of RPG supplements like Pendragon or Harnworld, though with regard to the latter, I'm still missing a few items I'd like to have, e.g. "Magical Medieval Society", "Harnmanor" or Pendragon's "Lordly Domains".

    Despite the abundance of material, I still have the feeling that I'm dealing with bits and pieces of information, some numbers here, a few other there and I'm trying to form them into a coherent whole I can use, so my first task with this project is to bring the information from different sources together and organize the results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaleela View Post
    Keep in mind with feudalisim, the monarchs own all the land, and then the land is loaned out in return for vassalage, making a huge branching pyramid. Even temples would owe vassalage for land held. Some land may be held on alliodal terms, but even marches on frontiers find those carving them out owing dues to feudal lords, (the emperor being at the top, when there was an emperor - the 12 original duchies were the vassals of the emperor).
    Yep, though this is mainly the underlying theory. In reality, feudal obligations could conflict and when land was held for several generations the vassal would often regard it as his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaleela View Post
    I should note I have written a 60 odd page supplement called 'Everyman' (after Langland), detailing the very sorts of daily aspects of life you are looking to write about. It was written for our specific campaign, and has a bunch of house rules, but you can take what you like from it, an alter it as you see fit if you would like to firm out a foundation for your project. My undergrad history courses would at least have not been for my amusement alone.
    I would really appreciate seeing this, esspecially the house rules you came up with. If you have this as a document on your computer you could mail it to me at tiemach@uni-muenster.de.
    This would really be kind.

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