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tigerusthegreat
2011-10-13, 12:01 PM
I'm considering having a game with a major war in the background, and because of this (and because it's PbP and it interests me) I'm going to be fighting the NPC nation wars in the background, using the nation's statistics to determine the outcome. Since this will be a "real" war, with losses having to be replaced, conscripts raised, economies damaged, etc, I need to figure out what the monthly tax income of an area would be, and the splatbook I'm using, Cry Havoc, doesn't give rules on this.

The only thing it mentions is that at the start of a war, nations typically have a treasury of twice the "ready cash" available in all cities (settlements with pops greater than 5000, so literally everything with the small city or larger moniker). It also mentions that they can raise funds equal to one half the ready cash available in all cities as an emergency measure.

Since I'm just worried about the cost of the army, and not all the other bits of the governing process, I'm not sure where to go.

If we have an army of 10k of lvl 1 soldiers, it would cost 2sp per day in pay and 2sp per day in supplies per soldier. So for a month, a 100k army would cost 120k gold in wages and supplies, and that's just the most basic soldiers, not including cavalry, advanced troops, or anything else.

If we look at a "sample" of 100 settlements, you would have 1 metropolis, 4 large cities, and 10 small cities; totalling 410k of ready cash. This set would also have an average population (if you expanded it out all the way down) of about 292k people, 10k soldiers seems like a small amount. Even with this small army, it would take a tax of 30% of ready cash to support them.

Thoughts? I'd hate to just say the ready cash total is the per month tax income, but that seems to be the easiest way to raise and support large armies. Otherwise, supporting a large army would make it impossible to replace troops once they die until some time has passed. Advice is welcome, and if you need more info, let me know.

SamBurke
2011-10-13, 12:03 PM
I'm considering having a game with a major war in the background, and because of this (and because it's PbP and it interests me) I'm going to be fighting the NPC nation wars in the background, using the nation's statistics to determine the outcome. Since this will be a "real" war, with losses having to be replaced, conscripts raised, economies damaged, etc, I need to figure out what the monthly tax income of an area would be, and the splatbook I'm using, Cry Havoc, doesn't give rules on this.

The only thing it mentions is that at the start of a war, nations typically have a treasury of twice the "ready cash" available in all cities (settlements with pops greater than 5000, so literally everything with the small city or larger moniker). It also mentions that they can raise funds equal to one half the ready cash available in all cities as an emergency measure.

Since I'm just worried about the cost of the army, and not all the other bits of the governing process, I'm not sure where to go.

If we have an army of 10k of lvl 1 soldiers, it would cost 2sp per day in pay and 2sp per day in supplies per soldier. So for a month, a 100k army would cost 120k gold in wages and supplies, and that's just the most basic soldiers, not including cavalry, advanced troops, or anything else.

If we look at a "sample" of 100 settlements, you would have 1 metropolis, 4 large cities, and 10 small cities; totalling 410k of ready cash. This set would also have an average population (if you expanded it out all the way down) of about 292k people, 10k soldiers seems like a small amount. Even with this small army, it would take a tax of 30% of ready cash to support them.

Thoughts? I'd hate to just say the ready cash total is the per month tax income, but that seems to be the easiest way to raise and support large armies. Otherwise, supporting a large army would make it impossible to replace troops once they die until some time has passed. Advice is welcome, and if you need more info, let me know.

High taxes are understandable, especially if you want a large (wartime) army.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-13, 12:04 PM
If mixing RPG physics and real world physics kills catgirls, what happens when you mix RPG player centric economics and real world economics?

SamBurke
2011-10-13, 12:05 PM
If mixing RPG physics and real world physics kills catgirls, what happens when you mix RPG player centric economics and real world economics?

You kill... doggirls? I dunno.

Ravens_cry
2011-10-13, 12:22 PM
You kill... doggirls? I dunno.
I say you kill economists, or at least give them headaches.

Dr.Epic
2011-10-13, 12:38 PM
Really, I think it depends on what you think the nation should be taxing its citizens for and how much.

2011-10-13, 01:15 PM
A large army would most likely mean a small part being professional soldiers and a larger part being peasants forced into the army without any (or much lower) payment.
Which would considerably lower the cost for the crown (or whatever state system they are using).
Furthermore The nobility has to give the crown a certain amount of professional soldiers which they have to pay and equip on top of a certain amount of peasant militia. They are compensated however by looting and ransacking enemies cities, new land new titles etc etc
but this further drops the direct cost for the crown considerably...

Ravens_cry
2011-10-13, 01:28 PM
Peasant Militias can't be used for too long at a time however, because crops need tending and/or harvesting. If these things are not done, people starve.

tigerusthegreat
2011-10-13, 01:32 PM
Think I'm going to go with a "tax" equal to the full spending power of all cities per month. If it leads to massive surplusses I can just lower it.

Not trying to simulate reality here, just trying to figure out how to balance it with the mechanics.

Spiryt
2011-10-13, 01:33 PM
It obviously depends on what you're trying to model, even for sketchy answer.

But like mentioned, army itself wouldn't really 'cost' the crown all that much in Feudal system - any nobility would pretty much be obliged to serve military by the very base of this system - together with providing supplies from quite some time, like mentioned.

The amount of obligatory supplies would be regulated by some edicts, laws, etc. and current situation.

Otherwise, supporting a large army would make it impossible to replace troops once they die until some time has passed.

"Replacing" troops generally is hard to do with such system - once pages, armed serfs, and whoever from knights/noble/whoever retinue are dead, he really would have hard time fighting someone capable quickly - no one could really force cities to form another contingents, if they already did their duty and their folk had died!

Very often mercenaries and other paid fighters would be solution - and that would indeed be expensive ones.

Beleriphon
2011-10-13, 02:08 PM
Don't forget that, like any D&D Adventurer, soldiers are perfectly capable of looting taken cities and the government is perfectly within their rights to say that is the soldier's pay based on what they manage to snag.

This applies to food as well.

dps
2011-10-13, 02:08 PM
An army of 10K in a state of 292K actually sounds about right for the pre-gunpowder era, if you're talking about an actual army and not just a bunch of peasant militia.

Anderlith
2011-10-13, 02:23 PM
Bring the dead soldiers back to life as undead to work the fields. OR to fight the enemy, your choice. But anyhow, you don't need to raise traditional taxes because the economy is not being effected by the war (beyond the cost to make the undead) So therefore the "tax" is equal to the spell to create undead, spread out the cost amongst the civilians & viola.

Mastikator
2011-10-13, 03:38 PM
High taxes, not just on income but also adventurers, any time they trade with a merchant 20% of the transaction goes to the nation, also pure barter is illegal because of this when trading capital with value above a certain point (lets say 1000gp).
Also, stuff used for the war will be in lower supply for the regular population, which mostly means adventurer stuff.
Mid and high level adventurers will probably be hired as mercenaries, at a significantly higher salary than conscripted soldiers, making them unpopular at home, and expected to do morally questionable missions by their command leaders.
Also corrode civil liberties, curfews, random interrogations, stuff like that.

hydroplatypus
2011-10-13, 03:41 PM
If I remember correctly pre-gunpowder societies often had absurdly high taxation rates on peasants, and anyone that wasn't a fairly high ranking noble. I mean there were taxes on what was produced, taxes for use of the mill to make flour, takes for using the noble's ovens (fined if yo used your own), taxes for using firewood, taxes because of war, "protection" taxes... the list goes on and on. In war 30% taxation does not really seem that absurd for a pre-gunpowder nation.

You also forget the possibility of the government taking on debt to pay for the war, and paying it back later. If there is a neutral nation of sufficient wealth this becomes a temporary solution. I mean look at how WWII economies worked. Massive debt financed that war to a large extent. I think it might translate over to medieval societies.

2011-10-13, 11:38 PM
though contrary to our current money system, the money lend had to be actually present somewhere in some form ^^

Randel
2011-10-14, 11:02 PM
Also, nations might rely on taxing captured enemy cities to pay off the cost of the war. Soldiers, nobles, mercenaries, and powerful spellcasters are recruited to help fight in the war and once they capture an enemy stronghold or town or whatever then they loot it or put heavy taxes on the peasants there.

deuxhero
2011-10-15, 01:56 AM
If mixing RPG physics and real world physics kills catgirls, what happens when you mix RPG player centric economics and real world economics?

The physics thing applies to all sciences.

Economics are a science.

I_Got_This_Name
2011-10-15, 03:39 AM
Premodern taxation is actually really weird. A lot of this depends on the structure of your country. I'm going to assume a country that's vaguely like England since that's what I know.

For starters, you wouldn't have an income tax in the modern sense. The Church collected a tithe (10% of people's income) and that was the only thing related to income directly.

You have three kinds of people who make up the bulk of your population. These are serfs, yeomen, and city-dwellers. Nobles and knights are a tiny fraction of your population, and they don't produce anything to tax anyway. I'm going to deal with them in reverse order.

Taxes in cities, rather than being on income or even on the value of your property, might be on the importation or production of specific goods (raising taxes on plain food gives a risk of causing riots, but you can put taxes on anything else. Tea, spices, maybe even clothes), or specific things. At various times in history, London had taxes on every brick made, and assessed taxes on buildings based on the number of windows. The theory here is that, while monitoring every time money changes hands, or even just auditing people at random to keep the rest honest, is completely unfeasible, it's fairly simple to monitor everything that comes through the gates (except for smugglers), and things you can tell from the outside, like how many windows a house has, are likewise easy.

Yeomen are farmers who own their own land. They're still royal subjects and might have to pay tax on that, and they can probably be pressed into a period of military service every so often.

Serfs are like yeomen, except that they pay rent and are bound for life to their landlord. Often the rents here are quite expensive (half to two-thirds of their produce, even), leaving the peasantry with enough to not starve and maybe sometimes live comfortably, but the bulk of their produce goes to their landlord. Depending on how bleak you want to make things for them, they might sometimes go their whole lives without ever owning a copper piece, trading entirely by bartering for things they can use immediately. Or they might be left with enough to sometimes go to market, keep some coins under their floorboards, have floorboards instead of a dirt floor, and so on. Serfs generally don't have enough money to pay rent in money, so their rent is assessed in crops, livestock, and so on.

Serfs can also be drafted for a set term each year of military service or labor. This isn't paid, doing this is part of their rent. This rent is the serf's tax.

Nobles don't produce anything. However, each fief is expected to provide a certain number of knights (and their associated soldiers) for a certain number of days each year to the lord's liege; this is their tax. They pay for this with the rent they collect from the peasants, either using it to feed, arm, and train full-time knights and men-at-arms who are also part of the fief, or to hire mercenaries to go in their stead.

Kings, at the top of the pyramid are actually chronically broke, at least relative to the expenses of a kingdom at war. This is where the power of the Parliament to control money came from; Parliament at the time was the nobility, and the King would go to them to ask for money. It might be more fun to go ahistorical here and have the royal treasury be loaded, though. The sourcebook you're using almost certainly overestimates how much cash is in the royal treasury; odds are, in the capital, a good chunk of the ready cash is going to be the treasury.

In an England-like kingdom, the King's wealth comes from taxes in cities (of which the capital is the largest), which is a tiny chunk of the population, and the feudal obligations of the nobility (plus extra money that he can convince the nobles to cough up), which is much smaller as a portion of overall income.

This gets to paying and feeding your soldiers. Which, a lot of the time, you didn't. People fought because it was their feudal obligation (which, if they weren't serfs, they were compensated for by their feudal perks), and supplemented that pay with loot. Soldiers crossing into enemy territory would often live off the land (i.e., steal from the locals). They still need to be equipped, and there's some money involved when ransoming captured soldiers, but, overall, wars were paid for by looting. Standing armies cost money and so don't often exist. Sieges cost money but are worth it because at the end you get to crack open a nice juicy city and loot it.

Note that this mashes history together pretty clumsily, so the specific examples don't all apply at once.

Now, how does magic enter in to it?
Discern Lies and Zone of Truth make the level of auditing necessary to make an income tax possible work
Adventurers might be taxed on entering a city with their dungeon treasures, but only if the city has the force to contain them should they decide to resist, which means other high-level people who might be better used (in wartime) to fight a war.
If the kingdom has enough high-level people, they won't need armies and will instead just need, say, potions and wands, to fight a war.
Adventurers might be co-opted by the feudal system and expected to pledge themselves to some period of service each year.

So, the king can afford to send all the soldiers who are feudally obligated to serve him, and can send the survivors again next year.

The way I'd figure it, something like this:
Serfs produce probably, like, 6 gp worth of stuff per month. 3-4 of that get taken to pay their landlord, leaving them with the canonical 1 sp per day and 2 gp/month self-sufficient or 3 gp/month poor lifestyle.
Unskilled laborers are probably a lot like serfs; for simplicity we can say they're taxed the same.
Journeyman professionals and craftsfolk make an average of, like, 7 gp/week for themselves, which is essentially the equivalent of making DC 10 items and selling them for half price. Since the craftsfolk can routinely make DC 15 items (with 12 int or higher, or skill focus, or masterwork tools; with all of these they have a +10 bonus), and if they're fixtures in their community can sell for full price because they can make things people need, they could be losing substantial amounts of income to tax.
Nobles don't produce anything, but serve as tax collectors.

So, I'd use the NPC demographics of your cities, and go like this:
1st-level commoners produce 3-4 gp/month of tax, each
1st-level experts produce 15 gp/month of tax
Warriors, Adepts, and Aristocrats pay taxes like Experts if they live in cities.
PC-classed characters pay whatever taxes they feel like, up to, like, one level-appropriate treasure/month, maybe. But they might not pay anything, especially if they have criminal connections.

Higher-level commoners and experts pay 10+their maximum Profession skill modifier GP/month

Rural experts pay anywhere from zero to full tax in money, depending on how much is taken by in-kind taxation. Also, halve all taxes from rural areas to account for the nobles' hands in the pie. In return, the noble is expected to contribute a force of knights and soldiers to the king's army for a period of time each year. Also, note that the landlord for a given area might not be an aristocrat; they're likely to have PC class levels.

Berenger
2011-10-17, 02:42 PM
10,000 professional fighters out of a population of 292,000 seem actually pretty high. Depending on culture, wealth, current state of war or peace (for fantasy: prevalance of magic) and other factors, the percentage of dedicated warriors in a feudal medieval culture would range from 1-3%, or so I think.

Could you provide some details about the nation / culture in question? Are we dealing with "standard feudalism"? Is there a duty for every free man to bear arms, or is it forbidden to most people? Is the bulk of the ordinary soldiers composed of full-time soldiers, or is it a "better militia" like the anglo-saxon fyrd?

Regarding payment and provisioning of soldiers:

1. Provisions are for free in enemy territory, cutting your cost in half. Victorious armies also benefit from loot and ransoms paid by the families of captured nobles.

2. Not everything is paid by "the government" in medieval war. Noble vassals of a king (and their respective retainers) are expected to bring, at least for a time, their own equipment and provisions to campaign, and so are members of the above-mentioned pre-feudalism-fyrd.

BayardSPSR
2011-10-17, 03:04 PM
Keep in mind that income taxes really didn't happen for most of history; as people have said, you'd be much more likely to have a labor tax or a percentage of the annual crop. It really depends on the social and economic structure of the society.

Mixt
2011-10-17, 03:10 PM
Every citizen must pay 103% of their income in taxes.

Those who cannot pay their taxes will be executed.

Those who comment on how stupid that is will be labelled as terrorists and executed.

Those who voice the slightest disagreement are terrorists and will be executed.

All hail the president!

President BBEG: It is my right as a politician to burn down your homes and rape your wives, because i say it is.

President BBEG: POLITICAL IMMUNITY! *Brutally murders everything around him for the lulz, knowing that anyone who dares defend themselves will be considered a terrorist and will be executed*

President BBEG: I make the laws, and i say it is totally legal for me to do whatever the hell i feel like, anyone who disagrees is a terrorist!

And then the crazy bastard get's mad when his country collapses.
Clearly, it's all the TERRORISTS!!!!11!! fault!

Most retarded BBEG ever i tell you.
Just because the PC's don't feel like being raped, robbed and murdered we are suddenly "TERRORISTS!!!!111!" and "ENEMIES OF THE STATE!!!11!"

Wow, look at me rant and go totally off-topic...
Umm, i just shut up now.

Tvtyrant
2011-10-17, 03:13 PM
The system developed in Europe before the canton conscription system was the expansionary army system, where you have an army almost entirely made of "officers" who are kept trained and ready for war. When a war breaks out you draft a bunch of peasants and you have your officers teach them on the way to battle. To make the peasants more ready for this kind of combat have them all enrolled in a militia system presided over by the local leadership where they train during the winter months each year (or summer depending on how your crop rotation works). Their local militia officers are demoted to sergeants when war really breaks out, and the professional officer/soldiers take control of the regiments.