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Rhavin
2009-11-16, 01:28 PM
I'm running a campaign using the Savage Worlds system with DnD monetary units. In this campaign, the players have almost completed a series of tasks with which they will be rewarded with land grants and titles of nobility, which brings up my quandry: Just how much money does a square mile of farmland generate on a monthly/yearly basis?

I'm tempted to just make a declaration that will work with the responsibilities they will be given (Mostly, this means raising about 100 soldiers to support the king and help with the war effort going on to the east), but if anyone has knowledge of a supplement for DnD (any edition) that would go into the economics of a fantasy setting I would be highly appreciative.

Basing the salaries off the Mercenaries listed in the Hirelings table in the 3.5 ed DMG, this small army will cost approximately 700g per month in salaries and general upkeep. Dividing this amongst the 20 sq miles that I've declared as the minimum land grant for a knighthood, this means I'm looking at 35g a month per sq mile minimum or 40g if I'm going to give some breathing room for other expenses for my nobles. My main concern is whether this is a realistic or not.

Anyone got some answers for me?

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-16, 01:33 PM
'Realistic' and 'D&D Economics' rarely overlap. A single 3rd level spell made into a trap basically renders farming obsolete(create food). Pick a number, go with that, and don't worry about an actual economy.

Search this site for 'Tippyverse' if you want to see a realistic D&D economy and society.

Oslecamo
2009-11-16, 01:34 PM
IT'S A TRAP!

Economics are a really complicated matter by themselves. Add in D&D magic and things start to get ugly.

So you have two ways of solving this whitout bloodshed:

1-Ask the players to hire farmers and do profession "farmer" every day, using the rules of the DMG for producing gold from that.

2-Decide a valor wich you think it's fair and stick with it. If anyone complains it's unrealistic claim that it's a special kind of land.


Either way, hit with an hammer any player who starts babling about Tippyverse, K, create food traps or anything like that. That way lies only madness.

In before "D&D economics suckorz" people arrive.

EDIT: damn, too late.

Sstoopidtallkid: I wouldn't call the Tippyverse a realistic example of D&D economics, since it basicaly makes economy obsolete and the only thing that matters are casters to craft magic items.

dsmiles
2009-11-16, 01:37 PM
'Realistic' and 'D&D Economics' rarely overlap.

Too true, too true.

jiriku
2009-11-16, 01:37 PM
This might be one of those areaas where accurately simulating real-world economics is less useful than creating a plot device that furthers the narrative.

From a simulationist point of view, you can calculate yields per square mile verus cost of hirelings and salaries to be paid for overseers. Meh. This is Dungeons and Dragons, not Accountants and Actuaries.

From a narrativist point of view, either you want the cost of owning land to spur the players to adventure, in which case the lands operate at a slight net loss, or you want to reward the players with a stream of income, in which case the land operates at a profit. Or you want neither of those things, in which case the land pays its own expenses (including soldiers for the king and such).

The narrativist view is better, IMO, because (a) your players are probably not economics majors. They want to pretend to be brave heroes, not balance a spreadsheet for a fictional fiefdom. Also, (b) A spread of land with vassals, soldiers, and serfs is a HUGE plot device that you can milk for an endless series of stories. Math shouldn't be allowed to kill a good adventure-in-the-making.

bosssmiley
2009-11-16, 02:40 PM
I'm running a campaign using the Savage Worlds system with DnD monetary units. In this campaign, the players have almost completed a series of tasks with which they will be rewarded with land grants and titles of nobility, which brings up my quandry: Just how much money does a square mile of farmland generate on a monthly/yearly basis?

How long is a piece of string? Yield will depend on fertility, climate, crop selection, agricultural technology, predominant culture, etc.

To cite one historical example: olive groves in ancient Attica produced enough value in their yield to justify the cost of fitting out ships and sailing all the way to the Ukraine to exchange the olive oil for wheat, instead of growing wheat at home. Poor grain lands turned out to be ideal olive country.

To cite another example: a Highland Scots chieftain was once asked how much his rents bought him annually. His answer in full: "400 fighting men".

Put another way: farmland doesn't generate money, it generates crops and (with additional energy input) trade goods. These then have to be shipped to market, where they can be exchanged for hard cash. In a medieval culture people are much less likely than moderns to work for cash on the barrelhead; they'll work for room, board and perks, with gifts of useful hard goods making up the balance of their income.

The Birthright setting took it as read that only about 10% of a domain lord's treasury was actually held as hard cash. The balance of the tax revenues were aid in kind and represented bulging granaries, heaps of cured hams, baskets of chickens, tuns of beer, wine cellars, raw material stockpiles (coal, building wood, bales of hemp, etc.), chests full of valuable finished goods, armouries full of stored weapons, and the like.

Alexius of Tao of D&D (author of some remarkably elaborate research into dynamic cost structures in a D&D world) did some articles back in May on this very subject. Start with his post on Dearth (http://tao-dnd.blogspot.com/2009/05/dearth.html) and work out from there.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 02:42 PM
'Realistic' and 'D&D Economics' rarely overlap. A single 3rd level spell made into a trap basically renders farming obsolete(create food). Pick a number, go with that, and don't worry about an actual economy.

Search this site for 'Tippyverse' if you want to see a realistic D&D economy and society.

That's a cop out. It's easy enough to houserule out those stupid, stupid trap rules.


How long is a piece of string? Yield will depend on fertility, climate, crop selection, agricultural technology, predominant culture, etc.

To cite one historical example: olive groves in ancient Attica produced enough value in their yield to justify the cost of fitting out ships and sailing all the way to the Ukraine to exchange the olive oil for wheat, instead of growing wheat at home. Poor grain lands turned out to be ideal olive country.

To cite another example: a Highland Scots chieftain was once asked how much his rents bought him annually. His answer in full: "400 fighting men".

Put another way: farmland doesn't generate money, it generates crops and (with additional energy input) trade goods. These then have to be shipped to market, where they can be exchanged for hard cash. In a medieval culture people are much less likely than moderns to work for cash on the barrelhead; they'll work for room, board and perks, with gifts of useful hard goods making up the balance of their income.

The Birthright setting took it as read that only about 10% of a domain lord's treasury was actually held as hard cash. The balance of the tax revenues were aid in kind and represented bulging granaries, heaps of cured hams, baskets of chickens, tuns of beer, wine cellars, raw material stockpiles (coal, building wood, bales of hemp, etc.), chests full of valuable finished goods, armouries full of stored weapons, and the like.

Alexius of Tao of D&D (author of some remarkably elaborate research into dynamic cost structures in a D&D world) did some articles back in May on this very subject. Start with his post on Dearth (http://tao-dnd.blogspot.com/2009/05/dearth.html) and work out from there.

+1

Give the PCs access to being able to conscript peasants to do work for them. I would come up with a list of things you think they should have (better equipment, spell casting services, boat, castle, soldiers, trained dire animals etc), price them out, then tell your players that they can get a +1 sword in a month, a +2 sword in 4, a +5 in two years, etc. They could get a trained monster at HD squared months. But they can only do one of these things, since they are devoting all available resources to making that (the rest being left to make sure the land is taken care of).

You ever play the civilization games with shields? Basically I'd do something like that- the land produces shields which can be applied towards generating relevant goods, items, or services. You can decide if raising Battle Titan dinosaurs doesn't make sense, then they can't do it or it's extremely expensive and they'd be better off arming a small cadre of elite guards. Or they could generate spare resources to give to the poor as tithes, and get free access to healing-type spells with the clergy, and every now & then can bring a cleric/angel/outsider on a mission with them.

I am unfamiliar with savage worlds, so simply adapt this to how you see fit.

valadil
2009-11-16, 02:45 PM
This won't help with the numbers, but if you want some ideas of things to do with economics, read Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, particularly book 2.

Mark Hall
2009-11-16, 02:46 PM
Simple answer for 3.5: assume a Wisdom of 10, and a level of 2. They average out to a check of 18 (5 ranks + skill focus) per week, giving them an income of about 9gp/week/person. Commoners make 9gp/week/person, so they make ~470/person/year (assumes a 365 day calendar and a 7 day week). That translates (using my standard 1gp=$20) into about 9400 a year for a single person... low by today's standards in the first world, but excellent when you're talking pre-industrial subsistence farming.

Now, obviously you can play with these numbers. Does everyone on the farm make a check, or just one person? If it's one person making a check, with everyone else doing "Aid Another", then each person who can aid adds 1gp/week to this calculation.... getting married brings your income up to 520gp a year, since your spouse's aid another on the farm is going to add 2 to your check, and thus 1 to your GP (since they can be assumed to take 10 on this).

I'd be inclined to work this on a virgate system. A virgate, for those not familiar with Old English systems of measurement, was as much land as a man with a single team of oxen could plow in a season... since an acre was as much as could be plowed in a day, it was about 30 acres. For each virgate a family keeps under cultivation, I'd do a separate roll. Now, if you've only got your single virgate, you're looking at about 470/year, but if you're allowing such advances as the horsecollar and the three-field system, you're looking at closer to 1500/year for one person... about $30,000, which isn't bad for a single person using an analogue of modern economy. Having a spouse, children, or other workers can help that, and can be leveraged to greater gains... each person adds about 50 gold/year (or $1000 dollars) to your earnings.

Now, if you want to factor magic into it, you get the question of "How much of my income is plant yield?". Plant Growth is the obvious spell, here... while it costs ~150gp, and doubles plant yields, your farm income isn't solely dependent upon plant yields (there's also eggs, butter, beer, meat animals and perhaps calves, colts, and dogs). Now, you're in luck, as a Plant Growth spell will cover 500 acres (more or less; check my math, as a multiplied .5 miles * .5 miles * pi, then multiplied that by 640 acres, the amount in a square mile), and you're likely only farming 90 acres, so the cost can probably be split 4-5 ways. Thus, you're looking at an annual cost of about 30gp per household, with an increase of maybe 30-50% in those households from additional crop gains (I'd be more inclined to go with 30%)... that 30% gain represents an increase of ~450 gold, so it's a valuable investment.

Easy way to put it? Farmers make about 1500gp a year, gross, and closer to 1800 if they invest in Plant Growth. It works out to be about $30k in modern terms, or $36k if they have access to magic. While Tippyverse throws this WAY out of whack, it works well for the assumptions of most game worlds, which is that normal economy works, but is augmented by magic.

Note: I rounded a lot of these numbers.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-16, 02:48 PM
That's a cop out. It's easy enough to houserule out those stupid, stupid trap rules.And the magic item rules? It's not that much more expensive to do it as an item. 3x5x1800=27,000 GP to purchase one. Sell the food at 1sp per meal, you get 21,600 GP per day. How do you plan to houserule that to not work?

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 02:53 PM
And the magic item rules? It's not that much more expensive to do it as an item. 3x5x1800=27,000 GP to purchase one. Sell the food at 1sp per meal, you get 21,600 GP per day. How do you plan to houserule that to not work?

By saying it doesn't work.
:smallconfused:

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-16, 02:54 PM
By saying it doesn't work.
:smallconfused:What part of that fails?

Tyndmyr
2009-11-16, 02:57 PM
Have them hire farmers, or work out sharecropping deals with them. Have both methods be presented, and have the players work through it themselves.

Alternatively, have them create a lower step on the feudal system beneath them, and let them manage the land. In other words, handle it as a roleplaying opportunity that happens to involve haggling, diplomacy, etc.

There isn't a perfect RAW solution to cover all this, but you can work out what NPCs can earn via profession checks, and what it would take them to eke out a bare living. Subtract the second from the first, multiply by the number of NPCs that can live there, and you have the optimal amount of earnings.

That amount is almost certainly too high, due to graft, the need for management while you're away, etc.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 03:03 PM
What part of that fails?

The part where it's stupid.

Mark Hall
2009-11-16, 03:06 PM
Alternatively, have them create a lower step on the feudal system beneath them, and let them manage the land. In other words, handle it as a roleplaying opportunity that happens to involve haggling, diplomacy, etc.

That position exists. It's called the Shire Reeve, which eventually morphed into the name Sheriff.

valadil
2009-11-16, 03:06 PM
What part of that fails?

The buyers. You're talking about selling 200,000+ meals a day. Have fun making that many transactions. Even if you give that food away, it's difficult logistically. Do you really think people will pay money if you just keep popping out food like that? Nobody in Star Trek pays to use the replicators :-P

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-16, 03:10 PM
The buyers. You're talking about selling 200,000+ meals a day. Have fun making that many transactions. Even if you give that food away, it's difficult logistically. Do you really think people will pay money if you just keep popping out food like that? Nobody in Star Trek pays to use the replicators :-PAssume you can only sell 1% of your food, you burn the rest for firewood or something. You still make a profit within a year.

Also, Myrmex. We're talking about a world where magic is real and common. That magic obeys certain rules. I'm just using them the way anyone in-universe would if they were smart about it.

valadil
2009-11-16, 03:14 PM
Assume you can only sell 1% of your food, you burn the rest for firewood or something. You still make a profit within a year.


I don't disagree that you'd eventually turn a profit. But if you're selling 1% (2000 meals a day) your profits per day are lower than what you'd get for adventuring.

If you do manage to start selling enough food that you can turn a profit the GM either needs to adjust the economy or put you out of business some other way. You just obsoleted the jobs of every nearby farmer and that mafia run bakery down the street. Those people are pissed and they know that you have the gold they should have earned.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-16, 03:17 PM
The buyers. You're talking about selling 200,000+ meals a day. Have fun making that many transactions. Even if you give that food away, it's difficult logistically. Do you really think people will pay money if you just keep popping out food like that? Nobody in Star Trek pays to use the replicators :-P

The best part of tippyverse is figuring out the practical ramifications. If your players want to tippyify something, IMO, the best solution is to let them try, and ponder what obstacles might arise.

Created food...expect current merchants to have issues with you. Possibly religious types as well. If not in a populous region, transportation is a problem.

Yes, it's an opportunity, but as with all opportunities, challenges arise. You can simply houserule things away, but it's so much more fun to creatively find unanticipated problems that will inevitibly crop up.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 03:17 PM
Also, Myrmex. We're talking about a world where magic is real and common. That magic obeys certain rules. I'm just using them the way anyone in-universe would if they were smart about it.

And I change the rules when they would lead to a different outcome than desired, such as ruling that you can only make the listed wondrous items.

An item that can feed 200,000 people a day would be an artifact in most of my games.

Gamerlord
2009-11-16, 03:19 PM
The best part of tippyverse is figuring out the practical ramifications. If your players want to tippyify something, IMO, the best solution is to let them try, and ponder what obstacles might arise.

Created food...expect current merchants to have issues with you. Possibly religious types as well. If not in a populous region, transportation is a problem.

Yes, it's an opportunity, but as with all opportunities, challenges arise. You can simply houserule things away, but it's so much more fun to creatively find unanticipated problems that will inevitibly crop up.

Obstacles like occult slayers.

Mark Hall
2009-11-16, 03:22 PM
What part of that fails?

RAW, none. You can make that magic item (or that trap), and produce infinite free (to you) food. The problem is what it does to the world. While Tippyverse could be interesting to play in (what DO people do when there's no land to fight over... indeed, no need to fight over land?), it's a very alien world, more suited to Star Trek than medieval Western Fantasy... which is what most people think of when they think D&D (as opposed to say, Dark Sun or a specifically variant D&D).

In universe, I can see a few problems with it, but most of them are post facto rationalizations for "I don't like it." One would be the magic item... while they theoretically last essentially forever, they're usually not assumed to be working on a per-round basis... your ring of invisibility will work forever, yes, but doesn't expect to be activated every 6 seconds over the course of fifteen minutes. Doing it that much may warp the item. You may also anger the deities of agriculture for denigrating the work of farmers (or, at least, eroding their base of power). Such a concentrated use of magic may warp magical fields in the area, or only eating magical food for years may warp people.

None of these are RAW, but if you're looking for reasons that this hasn't been done in the past (since neither the Forgotten Realms nor Eberron have these creations, you either have to assume that everyone is stupid, or that there are reasons why not), any of these will serve.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-16, 03:23 PM
Right. If I simply say "no", that just makes the characters look for another way to get the phat lewts they so desire. I have no problem with them chasing wealth and power, per se, but I am going to make it a challenge.

The particular way in which they pursue it isn't actually that important, and can be via magic traps, owning lots of land, etc. All of these are possible, but all will face difficulties in getting to the end goal. What their particular goals are and how they choose to pursue them is up to them. Im not going to arbitrarily change the rules to push them down the path I think they should go.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 03:26 PM
Right. If I simply say "no", that just makes the characters look for another way to get the phat lewts they so desire. I have no problem with them chasing wealth and power, per se, but I am going to make it a challenge.

The particular way in which they pursue it isn't actually that important, and can be via magic traps, owning lots of land, etc. All of these are possible, but all will face difficulties in getting to the end goal. What their particular goals are and how they choose to pursue them is up to them. Im not going to arbitrarily change the rules to push them down the path I think they should go.

It's not really an arbitrary change to the rules. I hate having to make characters jump through hoops due to trying to circumvent rule abuse. Instead, I just remove the abusive rule, and they no longer have to jump through arbitrary DM-inflicted hoops.

valadil
2009-11-16, 03:29 PM
The best part of tippyverse is figuring out the practical ramifications. If your players want to tippyify something, IMO, the best solution is to let them try, and ponder what obstacles might arise.

...

Yes, it's an opportunity, but as with all opportunities, challenges arise. You can simply houserule things away, but it's so much more fun to creatively find unanticipated problems that will inevitibly crop up.

That's what tippyverse is? I always though that was just what good GMs did.

One of my recent games took place in a thieves guild. Quite a few sessions involved stealing. I told the PCs what to steal and they figured out how. Initially I listed obstacles to throw at them. Then I went for the "let them try, and ponder what obstacles may arise" approach, that you mention.

After that I got lazier. I listened to the PCs plan and I wrote down the obstacles that they mentioned. Then I tried to see what else I could do with the obstacles the players themselves came up with, especially the ones they thought they'd planned around. I don't think they ever caught on.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-16, 03:31 PM
But they aren't completely arbitrary. The idea that you could set up an infinite money generation scheme without any interference or problems whatsoever is ludicrous. Gods protect their power bases. Political leaders worry about others gaining power. Merchants dislike competition.

These are basic facets of D&D life, and are not in any way invented. The PCs can indeed earn wealth, but only after solving the attendant problems with the method they've chosen for doing so. This holds true for all legal methods of getting money, not just magical traps.

Oslecamo
2009-11-16, 03:36 PM
What part of that fails?


Perhaps the part of the DMG that says that certain spells weren't meant to be put in custom items, and that the players need to check with the DM before creating anything not on the list, pg214.

lsfreak
2009-11-16, 03:37 PM
That's what tippyverse is? I always though that was just what good GMs did.

Tippyverse is the practical ramifications of all magic. Such as farming being completely obsolete, wizards essentially running everything without any competition. Trade is done entirely by magic; essentially people don't walk anywhere because it's so much safer with magic. One idea would be that governments devolve into little more than tribes or clans, since any permanent settlement is completely obsolete when a rival mage can cast a single spell and ruin weeks worth of building (which is, of course, done entirely by magic). And so on.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-16, 03:40 PM
That's what tippyverse is? I always though that was just what good GMs did.

One of my recent games took place in a thieves guild. Quite a few sessions involved stealing. I told the PCs what to steal and they figured out how. Initially I listed obstacles to throw at them. Then I went for the "let them try, and ponder what obstacles may arise" approach, that you mention.

After that I got lazier. I listened to the PCs plan and I wrote down the obstacles that they mentioned. Then I tried to see what else I could do with the obstacles the players themselves came up with, especially the ones they thought they'd planned around. I don't think they ever caught on.

Exactly. The tippyverse is basically a world in which things work exactly according to RAW. This doesn't actually break the game like so many people potray it, though some things work very, very differently. It's a lovely change of pace, and works very well with sandbox DMing. The key is to focus on "What would happen if EVERYONE was a pc, with all legal options available". Emperor Tippy tends to focus on the magical aspects, which hold some of the more interesting stuff, but you can look at any aspect of the system that way.

Reacting to what your players do, instead of making them follow your plans is definitely a plus regardless of setting. I pretty much just toss out situations now, without bothering to think up a pre-defined solution. Sure, there are all sorts of things they can do, but odds are they'll think up stuff I hadn't even considered, and just rolling with it is usually best.

Personally, I also find economics fun, so I don't mind giving the players a more complex economic world than is standard. Shops they have good relationships with may offer them discounts. Other people are also willing to steal from them if they show off their wealth. You can buy, rent, or be granted title to property, and if managed well, make a profit from it. How much your players engage in this will vary according to their interests, but it can make a nice change of pace in a campaign from "get the mcguffin to stop the baddies".

Oslecamo
2009-11-16, 03:46 PM
Tippyverse is the practical ramifications of all magic. Such as farming being completely obsolete, wizards essentially running everything without any competition. Trade is done entirely by magic; essentially people don't walk anywhere because it's so much safer with magic. One idea would be that governments devolve into little more than tribes or clans, since any permanent settlement is completely obsolete when a rival mage can cast a single spell and ruin weeks worth of building (which is, of course, done entirely by magic). And so on.

It also assumes that the gods have vanished, there are no monsters anywhere and every living being left on the land acts on a complete rational calm way. There's nothing practical on it. It's just a theoretical exercise. And it devolves into a single wizard ruling it all when all the others fail their saves and get mindraped by the One.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-16, 03:51 PM
*sigh* Allowing a little bit of economic fun does not lead instantly to tippyverse.

There's the whole issue of how the world would change to the tippyverse, and frankly, that could make for quite a lengthy campaign in itself. There's also multiple interpretations of how the tippyverse would look...much of this depends on who ends up on top and how.

Johel
2009-11-16, 04:12 PM
I'm running a campaign using the Savage Worlds system with DnD monetary units. In this campaign, the players have almost completed a series of tasks with which they will be rewarded with land grants and titles of nobility, which brings up my quandry: Just how much money does a square mile of farmland generate on a monthly/yearly basis?

I'm tempted to just make a declaration that will work with the responsibilities they will be given (Mostly, this means raising about 100 soldiers to support the king and help with the war effort going on to the east), but if anyone has knowledge of a supplement for DnD (any edition) that would go into the economics of a fantasy setting I would be highly appreciative.

Basing the salaries off the Mercenaries listed in the Hirelings table in the 3.5 ed DMG, this small army will cost approximately 700g per month in salaries and general upkeep. Dividing this amongst the 20 sq miles that I've declared as the minimum land grant for a knighthood, this means I'm looking at 35g a month per sq mile minimum or 40g if I'm going to give some breathing room for other expenses for my nobles. My main concern is whether this is a realistic or not.

Anyone got some answers for me?

Your hypothesis :
1 sq mile of farmland = minimum 35 gp / month

Now, is it realistic : How many people can make a living out of 1 sq mile of farmland ?
* For the short version, see at the bottom

We know that, in a medieval setting, peasants were among the poorest people. They had very little money and most of their wealth consisted of what they produced, which was enough to feed their family, pay the taxes (in nature) and, if the harvest was good, store a little extra, either as a food supply or as a way to get more comfortable.

Most meals were cabbage, black bread, onions and sometime pork or chicken, all of it usually boiled. In DnD, that's a poor meal.
In a Inn, it costs about 1 sp.

But since taking your meal in a inn is more expansive than buying the raw food and cooking yourself, let's say the raw cost is about half of that. Since what compose that meal is produced locally everywhere, there's no point in exporting these goods and therefor little to no added value to them.

A peasant family needs :
A bare minimum of 5 cp per relative per day...or the equivalent in food. Let's take a family of 6 people : father, mother, 4 children. That's 30 cp benefit per day to survive.
30 cp = 3 sp. According to DnD, that's the minimum salary of a single trained hireling in a city. Since our peasant works with his whole family, that kinda make sense and represents well the impoverished bottom class.

A peasant family produces :
At least enough to survive (3sp/day), to pay its taxes and to take care of the production costs, with sometime a little extra.
Let's say that the whole family works, which is usually the case at the countryside in undeveloped countries. 1 child = 1/2 adult for work imput purpose.
Taking DnD 1sp/ day for a untrained hireling, our family should produce enough to justify at least enough 4 sp /day of material wealth, be it in services, food or raw materials.

The difference (1sp/day) represents :
Production costs (50% ?), Taxes (??? %) and Others (??? %).
With 5 cp / day of production costs, that left us with a MAXIMUM of 5 cp /day worth of material wealth to punction from a family as taxes, which is what you'll use to pay the upkeep of your domain.

Back to the first question :
In your domain, how many families can make a living out of 1 sq mile farmland ? Each of them gives you a MAXIMUM of 5 cp a day.
For your theory to be true, the answer should be : at least 24 families.
35 gp = 3.500 cp
[3.500 cp] / [30 days x 5 cp] = 23,333 = 24 families.
That's means as much as 27 acres per family.

http://www.hyw.com/books/history/Agricult.htm
An acre of barley could, in an average year, produce about 500 liters of grain (after making allowances for taxes and seed for the next crop). This was enough to feed one adult for a year at a very basic level

I guess a peasant family won't need more than 10 acres and wouldn't be able to work more than that, anyway. We know that a family means a maximum of 5 cp /day for the landlord. Each 10 acres bring you a maximum 5 cp / day worth of goods, services and raw material, since the family will need the rest to survive and keep the farm running.

With about 20 sq miles, you have about 12.800 acres, which means 1.280 families, which means MAXIMUM 64 gp /day. Enjoy :smallsmile:

Rhavin
2009-11-16, 04:21 PM
I assume that is twelve hundred people in your reply as opposed to 12 families and a portion of one? Assuming that is the case we're generating plenty of money for my players to meet their responsibilities once they get the area up and running.

Thanks for all the responses. I posted here because I was pretty sure this was one of the bigger groups of gamers/GMs to find on the web. Most of the DnD magic items probably don't apply since I'm using the ruleset for Savage Worlds, but the GMing advice was well put and well taken.

MickJay
2009-11-16, 04:39 PM
During medieval period, farmers in newly founded villages in central Europe received each between 30-42 acres of land (which eventually became farmland, grazing land and might have included ponds or small woods). It would still be possible to keep a family going with half of that land, but it would mean significant impoverishment. Considering low crop yield, 10 acres would be barely sufficient for survival. Having 20 families support 1 soldier is as realistic as it gets, if you're planning to keep your rent. If not, then having 1 soldier (recruited from the farmers' sons?) per 5 (perhaps even 4) families should be fine. You would then end up having your 100 soldiers without much difficulty.

Snails
2009-11-16, 05:15 PM
If you want an actual historically correct answer...

A "knight's fee" was the amount of land required to keep a professional soldier properly equipped with horse and armaments and feed his family, ready for the call of his lord. Depending on the quality of the land, it would be 1000-2500 acres, roughly half of that arable, the remaining some combinatio of woods and pasture. Of that total, the knight himself would effectively "own" outright about half of all that. The rest would be the peasants.*

In a mature and properly run knight's holding, the peasants would owe enough labor to keep the knight's land planted and harvested, and send a few meat animals over to the knight's family as well.

If you really want to know, look up Harnworld. I am sure you can find more details than you actually want. :)

* Ownership was a complex legal issue in medieval systems. King's and great barons owned land. Most people held certain "rights" not ownership. For practical purposes, it would be close enough to ownership, and the details only mattered

Johel
2009-11-16, 05:17 PM
During medieval period, farmers in newly founded villages in central Europe received each between 30-42 acres of land (which eventually became farmland, grazing land and might have included ponds or small woods).

Make sense : new villages means young settlers who would soon have children, then grandchildren. The population would rise fast, probably even double in the span of 50 years. The initial 40 unused acres would quickly be divided between heirs and, by the 4th generation, barely be enough to feed the population...which would force the youth to settle somewhere else.


It would still be possible to keep a family going with half of that land, but it would mean significant impoverishment. Considering low crop yield, 10 acres would be barely sufficient for survival.

I gave you my sources.
While they are far from perfect, they credit a 500 litters of grain as the yearly average production of 1 acre. That's basic nutriment for a adult and, with milk, should give about 1 small bread per day along the year. By that token, 6 acres feed a family.

With 10 acres, in the 14th century, you could feed your family, store during the good years, use the reserve during the bad years. If you're lucky, you can probably even afford a few chickens, goats and porks. Maybe even an cow if you're really successful. You'll NEVER be rich but come on !! We are talking peasants : these guys never get rich if you don't subside their work.


Having 20 families support 1 soldier is as realistic as it gets, if you're planning to keep your rent. If not, then having 1 soldier (recruited from the farmers' sons?) per 5 (perhaps even 4) families should be fine. You would then end up having your 100 soldiers without much difficulty.

In early medieval time, in Europe at least, standing armies were very small, with only the lord and a few retainers as professional soldiers. The bulk of an army was made of levies from the peasantry.

In Asia, it was a bit more complicated.
I read somewhere of a 1:7 ratio but it was mainly conscript armies and they didn't remain on the field for long.

Another point is that you shouldn't get BELOW 3% of your adult population, since you have to patrol and protect this land.

Noble Savant
2009-11-16, 05:40 PM
I gave you my sources.
While they are far from perfect, they credit a 500 litters of grain as the yearly average production of 1 acre. That's basic nutriment for a adult and, with milk, should give about 1 small bread per day along the year. By that token, 6 acres feed a family.

With 10 acres, in the 14th century, you could feed your family, store during the good years, use the reserve during the bad years. If you're lucky, you can probably even afford a few chickens, goats and porks. Maybe even an cow if you're really successful. You'll NEVER be rich but come on !! We are talking peasants : these guys never get rich if you don't subside their work.

The question is, could one family truly work 10 acres of land? 10 acres is about 9 football fields' worth of land. I doubt a family could keep all that maintained without extra help, which would require paying an additional person to help them, very likely more then one person.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 05:42 PM
The question is, could one family truly work 10 acres of land? 10 acres is about 9 football fields' worth of land. I doubt a family could keep all that maintained without extra help, which would require paying an additional person to help them, very likely more then one person.

Ox count as extra help, right? And through out most of history, families are quite large. Between grandparents, parents, offspring, and any spouses of offspring, there are quite a few hands.

Matthew
2009-11-16, 05:44 PM
In early medieval time, in Europe at least, standing armies were very small, with only the lord and a few retainers as professional soldiers. The bulk of an army was made of levies from the peasantry.

In Asia, it was a bit more complicated.
I read somewhere of a 1:7 ratio but it was mainly conscript armies and they didn't remain on the field for long.

Another point is that you shouldn't get BELOW 3% of your adult population, since you have to patrol and protect this land.

If you look at somewhere like England you get population estimates of around 2,000,000 in the eleventh and twelfth century and around 5,000 knight's fees. That gives you around 0.5% of the male population, not including household knights, allowing for them might double the numbers to 1%. The proportion of knights to other combatants suggested by Robert Bartlett seems to be something of the order of 1:20, but that is likely too high in comparison with other estimates. Something like 5-10% is probably reasonable, with no more than 1% being fully kitted knights/men-at-arms.

Snails
2009-11-16, 05:48 PM
Well, an acre is roughly the amount of land one man with a pair of oxen can plow in a day, perhaps with some assistance from some children. Three or five families might share the same team, and even work together.

10 acres is a reasonable figure for a family. A well to do yeoman family might have as much as 25 acres IIRC.

BTW, they did not just eat grain to meet their calorie needs. They also worked hard in a family garden plot, keep chickens, maybe some pigs that could forage in the nearby woods, or sheep that feed off commons pasture or nearby land that would be difficult to farm.

Snails
2009-11-16, 05:51 PM
That gives you around 0.5% of the male population, not including household knights, allowing for them might double the numbers to 1%. The proportion of knights to other combatants suggested by Robert Bartlett seems to be something of the order of 1:20, but that is likely too high in comparison with other estimates. Something like 5-10% is probably reasonable, with no more than 1% being fully kitted knights/men-at-arms.

The bulk of the populace, the lowest peasants, did not march off to war. They might do a bit of fighting if war came to them. Or not.

Fighting was for the people in the big houses -- the knights obviously, plus the yeomen who were the wealthy middle rung in the rural economy.

Ormur
2009-11-16, 05:53 PM
Even if the land is capable of sustaining a family on average yields there are significant variations in yields in medieval agriculture. If one harvest is significantly below average if might mean starvation and death even if it's fine in other years.
Of course, while you don't have to go the whole way to tippyverse you can say magic helps improve the yields, plant growth yields a 33% better harvest. Different crops and agricultural techniques also make higher yields and higher taxation possible. Northern European medieval agriculture was pretty extensive with mostly wheat and large pastures. I've read about nobles in feudal Japan keeping up to 50% of the crops. You can probably tweak the numbers for medieval Europe up by 100% without much harm.

Matthew
2009-11-16, 06:01 PM
The bulk of the populace, the lowest peasants, did not march off to war. They might do a bit of fighting if war came to them. Or not.

Fighting was for the people in the big houses -- the knights obviously, plus the yeomen who were the wealthy middle rung in the rural economy.

Who said they did? But in actual fact in the eleventh century tenants with very little military experience were equipped by their lords as part time knights when the need arose, according to Sally Harvey, ‘The Knight and the Knight's Fee in England’, Past and Present, No. 49. (Nov., 1970), pp. 3-43.

Nonetheless, there were two types of general levies in England, one which called up everyone, which resulted famously in 1101 in the mustering of men who had to be shown how to use the arms they brought, and the select fyrd which seems to have provided a better class of soldier. Regardless, none of the above figures are based on "calling the peasants up", but on the assize of arms which set out the arms and armour required by law for each man of certain wealth to have.

Snails
2009-11-16, 06:19 PM
Who said they did? But in actual fact in the eleventh century tenants with very little military experience were equipped by their lords as part time knights when the need arose, according to Sally Harvey, ‘The Knight and the Knight's Fee in England’, Past and Present, No. 49. (Nov., 1970), pp. 3-43.

A "part time knight" is someone equipped with some fashion of horse, which would exclude the typical peasant completely for several reasons.

Owning a horse means were are talking about wealthy yeomen. Aside from the knight in the Big House, we are probably talking about the wealthiest half dozen or dozen families or so in a village of a scant few hundred.


Nonetheless, there were two types of general levies in England, one which called up everyone, which resulted famously in 1101 in the mustering of men who had to be shown how to use the arms they brought, and the select fyrd which seems to have provided a better class of soldier. Nonetheless, none of the above figures are based on "calling the peasants up", but on the assize of arms which set out the arms and armour required by law for each man of certain wealth to have.

"Each man of certain wealth" would be the wealthy yeomen families, again.

The peasant levies were generally poor quality, but not non-existent. Perhaps I exaggerated. The simple fact that these are people that needed to be feed if they marched any distance meant that they were primarily used defensively. Grabbing random farmhands and teaching them to use a spear would be the exceptional, wouldn't it?

Matthew
2009-11-16, 06:32 PM
A "part time knight" sounds like someone equipped with some fashion of horse, which would exclude the typical peasant completely for several reasons.

Owning a horse means were are talking about wealthy yeomen. Aside from the knight in the Big House, we are probably talking about the wealthiest half dozen or dozen families or so in a village of a scant few hundred.

No, she is pretty clear about what she means. These are tenants equipped as knights.



"Each man of certain wealth" would be the wealthy yeomen families, again.

The peasant levies were generally poor quality, but not non-existent. Perhaps I exaggerated. The simple fact that these are people that needed to be feed if they marched any distance meant that they were primarily used defensively. Grabbing random farmhands and teaching them to use a spear would be the exceptional, wouldn't it?

Quoting me is of little use, the point is that the assize of arms contains solid information about who is supposed to own what and gives us a sense of the proportions involved. Robert Bartlett in his book England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings shows that knights in 1181 had to own a coat of mail, and then he suggests (from the assize of arms) that the ratio of armour in the royal levy would be 1 mail coat to 9 mail shirts to 12 padded doublets, essentially suggesting a ratio of 1:21 for knights to non-knights. I think he is exaggerating, but I also know that many other military historians put the ratio of knightly to non-knightly combatants at something like 1:7 to 1:12 in the same period. Somewhat after that we have Joinville telling us that the French host in 1250(ish) was comprised of around 3,000 knights and estimates based on the letters of provision put that army at around 30,000, not to mention Joinville's later assertion that he commanded 50 knights and each of them 10 men. Add to that the initial arrangements for the fourth crusade, which was 20,000 foot serjeants, 4,500 knights and 9,000 squires (or something like that, cannot find my copy right now), and you have a pretty good idea of the composition of a major medieval host.

The bottom line is that there really weren't that many yeoman forming the backbone of early to high medieval armies, that is a bit of a myth, it was largely mercenaries drifting between campaigns or household retained troops. These were supplemented largely by the city militias and other sources of levied troops.

At any rate, I am not telling you that peasants marched off to war, but there were mechanisms for calling them up and generals preferred to call up smaller and better equipped forces on the whole. We can see the same pattern in Charlemagne's provisions 200-400 years earlier, where every 3 men provide for a fourth for the host, or whatever.

MickJay
2009-11-16, 06:55 PM
An average family could consist of 1 or 2 surviving grandparents, the married couple, and anything between 2 to 8 children who survived the first 2 years; perhaps more, considering the availability of magical healing. Add an extra aunt or other relative, perhaps an orphaned nephew or niece, and you'll easily end up with 12+ people living as a family. Any animals would need to be fed, which would necessitate using part of the land as pasture (unless the village had a common land designated for that). Then come the tithes, obligations towards the king and the rent itself which, depending on time and place, could take as much as 1/2-3/5 of the total crop production. Even assuming the total taxation at a generous level of 25-30%, the family wouldn't have much to eat, if we're assuming 10 acres per family. They would have an extra source of nutrition in form of berries and mushrooms gathered by the women and children, and perhaps an occasional rabbit, hare or a wild bird, but that would just ensure (and not even always that) bare survival.

Johel
2009-11-16, 07:48 PM
If you look at somewhere like England you get population estimates of around 2,000,000 in the eleventh and twelfth century and around 5,000 knight's fees. That gives you around 0.5% of the male population, not including household knights, allowing for them might double the numbers to 1%. The proportion of knights to other combatants suggested by Robert Bartlett seems to be something of the order of 1:20, but that is likely too high in comparison with other estimates. Something like 5-10% is probably reasonable, with no more than 1% being fully kitted knights/men-at-arms.

Careful here.
You work with a lot of % that tend to confuse things.
I trust you for the numbers themselves, just want to give an other way to look at them.

So, 5.000 knight's fees in the 12th century. That means right in the middle age, BEFORE Edouard III's reforms, so England military is still feudal.

There were at least 5.000 knights available for the Crown back then.
Now, as you said, those were only a small part of the army, something between 1:20 (5%) and 1:10 (10%). Let's take the smallest figure : 10% of knights, 90% of men-at-arms. That means there were at least 50.000 fighting men for a total population of 2 millions. That's about 2.5% of the total population.

Middle age demography had fairly large part of the population being children. Let's say half of the 2 millions figure were children. That means 5% of the adult population were working "in the army" as some kind of soldiers. This confirm my earlier estimation that 3% of the adult population was a minimum to control the territory. Alternatively, that's also 10% of the adult male population.

Finally, those are the numbers for a standing army, that's it a peacetime army that prevent revolts and brigandage. England wasn't found of levies, mainly because unlike France, the monarchy was far from absolute and the feudal system was impractical to launch expeditions abroad, especially when the latter could last for several months. Also, the Parliament quickly gain enough power to prevent it unless absolutely necessary.

@Snails :
Actually, for the levies, that really depends of which period we are talking.

During the early middle age (up to the 11th century), no kingdom had the power to maintain a large, organized standing army. Feudalism was more about military duty than inheritance. Professional warriors were few but most men would serve in an army, one way or another. So, yes, peasants did march to war but not all at the same time, of course.

Later, professional warriors will slowly increase in number, mainly because rulers got more wealthy and could actually PAY the troops rather than just asking them to perform their duty in exchange for land ownership and privileges, all of which could be taken away from you on a royal whim.

Matthew
2009-11-16, 08:10 PM
Careful here. You work with a lot of % that tend to confuse things. I trust you for the numbers themselves, just want to give an other way to look at them.

There were at least 5.000 knights available for the Crown back then.
Now, as you said, those were only a small part of the army, something between 1:20 (5%) and 1:10 (10%). Let's take the smallest figure : 10% of knights, 90% of men-at-arms. That means there were at least 50.000 fighting men for a total population of 2 millions. That's about 2.5% of the total population.

Middle age demography had fairly large part of the population being children. Let's say half of the 2 millions figure were children. That means 5% of the adult population were working "in the army" as some kind of soldiers. This confirm my earlier estimation that 3% of the adult population was a minimum to control the territory. Alternatively, that's also 10% of the adult male population.

Sure, I was meaning 5-10% of the adult male population, sorry if that was not clear. Really, there is a massive decline in the number of knights around about 1230(ish) during the reign of Henry III, but from 1066 to 1230 the number of knights in England seems to have been constant at around 4,500-5,000.



So, 5.000 knight's fees in the 12th century. That means right in the middle age, BEFORE Edward III's reforms, so England military is still feudal.

Finally, those are the numbers for a standing army, that's it a peacetime army that prevent revolts and brigandage. England wasn't found of levies, mainly because unlike France, the monarchy was far from absolute and the feudal system was impractical to launch expeditions abroad, especially when the latter could last for several months. Also, the Parliament quickly gain enough power to prevent it unless absolutely necessary.

Ah well, there has been a lot of rethinking recently on this subject. Starting with the work of Susan Reynolds that has disabled "feudalism" as a construct, historians are apparently increasingly inclined to see less of a break in the system, especially questioning the "reforms" of Edward I; if you are not familiar, one of the early articles on the subject is by J. O. Prestwich, ‘The Military Household of the Norman Kings’ The English Historical Review, Vol. 96, No. 378. (Jan., 1981), pp. 1-35. Whether he is right or wrong is another matter, but it seems to have made a strong showing in the last ten years, in such introductions as Medieval Warfare (ed. Maurice Keen, 1999).

Mind, I have been out of the loop for two or three years, things might have changed!