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kwanzaabot
2012-11-04, 01:55 AM
Hi, quick question, I was wondering if there's any RPG out there where the player can own land, and have serfs work that land.

Since this kind of thing would probably be fairly system-agnostic, I don't really care what edition it's from (hell, I'll even look at video games if I can draw inspiration from 'em). GURPS, d&d, Pathfinder, you name it. If you can own serfs, I wanna know about it.

Specifically, I'm looking a way to own serfs, have it come with various benefits (or even drawbacks if you wanna be an a-hole to them), but most of all, actually be fun for players to do.

Aux-Ash
2012-11-04, 05:56 AM
The swedish rpg Eon (which, sadly, does not have a translation) does contain rules for owning serfs. It has an entire supplement dedicated to knights, their lives and their fiefs, of which serfs are a crucial part.

It's mostly related to the annual fiscal management of the fief, given that the focus of the system is more along those lines than the dramatic. But it tries to simulate events and changes that affects daily life, even weather (due to being related to harvests) and how this affects the people living there.

I've never actively used the fief subsystem in a campaign so I can't tell you how it works in play (I have used it as part of backgrounds for knights and to create a fief in which to adventure though). But I think it could work neatly with some effort put in by the DM.

Andrewmoreton
2012-11-04, 06:09 AM
Ars Magica (specifically Lords of Men and For Urban Life City and Guild)
Pendragon
Harn (I believe)

All have economic rules, however if you want to convert this to D+D you are going to have a lot of work as certainly the top 2 bear some relationship to medieval economics while D+D does not even slightly at any point even come close ever not even by accident .:smallsmile:
Pendragon is probably the most system light of the three and so comes closer to being easy to convert

Mark Hall
2012-11-04, 11:14 AM
More abstract, but the Birthright campaign setting had rules for running domains.

Veet
2012-11-04, 11:33 AM
Houses of the Blooded, all the players are nobles with land and holdings and there is a whole system in play to grow and tend your lands.

Roland St. Jude
2012-11-04, 03:10 PM
The Companion (and possibly the Master) sets from the BECMI era of D&D had rules regarding settling, owning, and administrating a dominion. As I recall, it had a fair amount of rule structure about titles, income, taxes, public confidence, and the reactions of adjacent rulers.

invinible
2012-11-04, 05:10 PM
The last time, I checked there was a way to own the kingdom of Miscellia in RuneScape 2 (at the time the current RuneScape) and your citizens would collect stuff for you as long as you had enough money in the coffers to subport that extra work.

Anxe
2012-11-04, 08:09 PM
The Kingdoms of Kalamar Player's Guide has rules for assigning a GP value to a slave. Close to what you're looking for. It's a formula based off of level, class, race, skills, and ability bonuses.

EDIT: This is for D&D 3.5. Mileage may vary with other systems.

The Glyphstone
2012-11-04, 10:46 PM
Well, each one gives you a one-time +10 circumstance bonus to your Search checks for detecting traps...

Friv
2012-11-04, 11:26 PM
Song of Ice and Fire has quite a large section on constructing a noble house and managing its territories and lands is a big part of the game if you want it to be.

Draken
2012-11-05, 09:51 AM
In D&D 3.5, what you want is Leadership for the serfs (quite different from slaves, for those who mentioned that) and the Landlord feat, found in Stronghold Builders Handbook (a 3.0 book, granted) for owning land. Landlord has the bonus of giving you extra gold for the express purpose of building a keep (meaning this extra gold can't be used for anything else).

If you want slaves they have to be treated, ruleswise, as animals. Having a cost to be acquired and a stabling cost to abstract your need to provide their sustent. Truth be said, they wouldn't really be much cheaper than paid labor in the end.

Andreaz
2012-11-05, 10:13 AM
If you want slaves they have to be treated, ruleswise, as animals. Having a cost to be acquired and a stabling cost to abstract your need to provide their sustent. Truth be said, they wouldn't really be much cheaper than paid labor in the end.They ought to be, though, considering they were incredibly profitable even though each individual slave was expensive, cost more than an animal to maintain and produced relatively little.

Draken
2012-11-05, 10:47 AM
They ought to be, though, considering they were incredibly profitable even though each individual slave was expensive, cost more than an animal to maintain and produced relatively little.

Well, if each slave has at least four ranks in any one Profession or Craft skill, it could already give you a pretty nice income that should more than offset the "stabling" costs.

The stabling of a single horse or other mount costs 5 silver per day, for a total of 35 silver per week. A first level peasant with four ranks in profession, no skill focus and no wisdom bonus should make an average of 7 gold per week of work (2-12 gold, to be precise on the range, so it never incurs a net loss of weekly money on this front).

As long as your total cost to maintain the slaves does not surpass 2 gold per individual slave, the endeavour should be profitable.

Andreaz
2012-11-05, 10:59 AM
Well, if each slave has at least four ranks in any one Profession or Craft skill, it could already give you a pretty nice income that should more than offset the "stabling" costs.

The stabling of a single horse or other mount costs 5 silver per day, for a total of 35 silver per week. A first level peasant with four ranks in profession, no skill focus and no wisdom bonus should make an average of 7 gold per week of work (2-12 gold, to be precise on the range, so it never incurs a net loss of weekly money on this front).

As long as your total cost to maintain the slaves does not surpass 2 gold per individual slave, the endeavour should be profitable.In general they were not crafters, and costed less than 5 silver a day to maintain. They really just plowed fields and the like.

Draken
2012-11-05, 11:03 AM
That could very well be Profession (Farmer).

Owning untrained slaves is 100% certain, by the rules, to be a monetary loss.

And yeah, like I said, 5 silver is the cost to stable a single horse. A large animal that eats quite a bit more than a human and whose owner is quite likely to want to keep healthy and groomed.

A slave would probably be kept in conditions more akin to a stay at a poor inn with poor meals (3 silver per day, total). Or heck, probably even less than that. Just the cost of the poor meal (1 silver) and you should own your own estate with appropriate holding pens (basically a prison), which is covered by Landlord and SBH, as stated on my first post!

And even at this cost, an untrained slave is still not really worth it because an untrained worker demands 1 silver per day in wages, and you don't need to waste stronghold space on prisons for them!

TechnoScrabble
2012-11-05, 05:50 PM
That could very well be Profession (Farmer).

Owning untrained slaves is 100% certain, by the rules, to be a monetary loss.

And yeah, like I said, 5 silver is the cost to stable a single horse. A large animal that eats quite a bit more than a human and whose owner is quite likely to want to keep healthy and groomed.

A slave would probably be kept in conditions more akin to a stay at a poor inn with poor meals (3 silver per day, total). Or heck, probably even less than that. Just the cost of the poor meal (1 silver) and you should own your own estate with appropriate holding pens (basically a prison), which is covered by Landlord and SBH, as stated on my first post!

And even at this cost, an untrained slave is still not really worth it because an untrained worker demands 1 silver per day in wages, and you don't need to waste stronghold space on prisons for them!

I imagine most money from serfs was gained from taxing them, seeing as how they 'earned' money but had to buy all of their stuff on their own, and were required to stay on their Lord's land.

Andrewmoreton
2012-11-05, 07:32 PM
The Feudal economy was only loosely based around coinage. Most of the value from Serf's (and peasants in general) was from the duties to work their Lords lands which ennabled him to produce crops without paying for labour.
Taxes in the sense of a modern income tax were none existent and every attempt to introduce such a tax lead to revolts well past feudal times. Their were fines and payments for such things as getting married, milling your wheat, gathering wood from the lords lands, fishing, etc but as a typical serf had almost no cash this was never a major source of income.

For Example gold coins were not minted in England until 1344, and then one gold coin would have been enough to feed 6 adult peasents for a year, a peasent would probably see only 5 or 6 shillings in year in cash all in the form of copper pennies , silver was the main currency for nobles. Peasents largely lived off what they grew themselves and could trade within their own community.

Mark Hall
2012-11-05, 08:10 PM
It is usually a mistake to try to draw a direct comparison between D&D and medieval life; D&D tends to be a Western in medieval drag, with most of the races coming down to different nationalities (i.e. the "English" or "Irish" character in a western is usually the same character as in every other western).

That said? Get the Rules Cyclopedia. It's a fairly simple system, but with a lot going for it. It is based on the "XP for money" system, so you may have to ignore some of it, but it is, simply put, the best single D&D book ever.

Matthew
2012-11-06, 03:04 PM
I am not sure you can really "own" a serf, they are tied to land, which can be owned, though. A lot of RPGs give it a go, but they are generally poor economic simulators. A lot depends on what you want out of the system.

As to coins, from the Roman Empire onwards their most significant use was paying soldiers, in the medieval west 1-2 SP a day. Whilst gold coins were not minted in England until the fourteenth century (excluding early medieval imitations or abortive attempts), gold coins from the east were used by merchants. Byzantine gold coins were standard, but when that state crumbled away the Arabic dinar and Italian florin took their place as units for international trade.

thirdkingdom
2012-11-06, 06:09 PM
As a couple of people have mentioned, the BECMI iteration of D&D has rules for landholding. You can find a free retro-clone, Dark Dungeons, that contains the very same rules. I would also suggest ACKS (Adventurer, Conquerer, King) as another retro-clone that does a very good job of domain management.