Friday, May 22, 2020

Wilderlands - Baronies - further considerations


Ian Borchardt, whom I consider one of the luminaries over on MeWe, provided some excellent
Wolvesey Castle, Winchester
feedback on my last post.  So good that I asked for permission to address it directly in a post, as it gives me a chance to elaborate on my background thinking and intentions with my Wilderlands posts.

Technically a baron is anyone that holds land directly from the sovereign (or as an allodial [Rod - had to look this one up.  Land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land.] baron owns the land in freehold).   So counts, dukes, and marquis are also barons (but naturally socially outrank a mere Baron).  They just have larger holdings and greater responsibilities as officers of the sovereign.  Anyone else is a vasavor (a vassal of a vassal) [Rod - this one I knew] and holds from one of these barons, rather than the sovereign directly.

Rod - absolutely correct.  At Runnymeade, the most common title of nobility held by the rebel barons, was actually 'Earl'.  And looking at it that way, using the Chivalry & Sorcery domain rules, the largest possible 'barony', is 142.5 square miles for the main demesne PLUS 10 of the largest (118 square miles baronies) for a total of 1,326.875 square miles, rounding up to 62 five mile hexes.  [This tracks right on the figures from D&D and the Wilderlands baronies I calculated in the previous post, but it's a maximum rather than an average.] A strong king could control 2-3 times this amount of land.

I didn't pursue this for a couple of reasons, one of which I should have addressed.  The obvious one is that 'Baron' is a specific noble title in the Wilderlands, C&S, ACKS and the real world.  The one I should have addressed, and may have in an unsaved draft, is buried on page 59 of the CSIO booklet, under Boons and Duties.  One boon is a 'Bookland Grant'; Bookland being an alienation of common land into private ownership, a practice from Saxon England.  The boon grants a building in the city or 1-6 acres outside.  I had already decided that a grant of 1-6 HEXES to a noble man made more sense than acres.  Six acres being only half the size of a small Roman farm, it's not enough to support a nobleman.


I tend to use a six hex approach.  Something that is easy to patrol in a day looking for encounters.  Although I may deform the hex shape.  It will tend to avoid dedicated terrain hexes and follow rivers.  [I consider the "clear" hexes to be still heavily wooded, just not impenetrable forest.  It takes a lot of effort to clear land.]



Rod - personally I like to have natural borders for feudal polities.  It's much easier for the king to say
New Forest, Hampshire
you own from the river to the forest, than to give accurate geo-coordinates.   It still leaves a lot of room for dispute, but at least you can see the border.  Alas, the Wilderlands maps do not really provide much in the way of terrain to draw those borders, so I used a lot of hex sides myself.  I conceive of the clear terrain as a mixture of plowed fields, pasture and open woodlands with light underbrush - like the New Forest in Hampshire; rather than the heavy pine forests I grew up in in northern Minnesota.

On a quick note about patrols, please remember that whilst the local villagers may never have been more than a days journey from their home, they generally know that area very well, and are quick to note any irregularities.  A lord (as long as they don't actively mistreat their peasants), can usually rely on pretty good intelligence from the locals (after all anything bad is likely to affect them as bad or worse, and it is the responsibility of the lords to protect them, not for them to deal with the problem).

Rod - yep and I plotted the regularly visited boundaries around the villages, although I haven't gotten to the stage of assigning villages to rulers yet.  It's actually one of the issues I haven't resolved on how to treat in my Wilderlands - the D&D rules call for 4-6 villages within the "barony" when the character develops the territory, yet Wilderlands shows villages of as few as 20 (Whan, hex 1005, Map 6 Viridistan).  I don't see a rational to add additional villages since the canon goes down to this level.

There is plenty of wilderness between actual settlements in this area.  [This isn't wilderness as D&D players define it, but rather natural undeveloped areas.  These are often quite vital for inhabitants, especially the supply of firewood (generally only dropped wood) and for foraging and licencing to bodgers  [Rod -"skilled itinerant wood-turners, who worked in the beech woods on the chalk hills of the Chilterns", yeah I had to look this one up myself too] or even lumberers.  As the and becomes more civilised the wilderness diminishes, often causing problems (but fortunately saved by the blessings of technology and civilisation).]

Southampton Town Walls
Rod - yes, this is reflected in my maps as the difference between Market Area and Patrolled.  The Market Area contributes resources to the village or town, but isn't necessarily traversed often enough by the population to be considered patrolled, monsters, barbarians and invaders may be able to pass through without raising an alarm or being pursued.  They'll probably be noticed, but word doesn't get back quickly enough for the village to take effective action as long as you don't tarry.

Depending on the technology level (remember "medieval" covers five centuries or so), will affect the location of the individual settlements (manors), which will be concentrated around rich arable bottom land. As irrigation (especially drainage in England), crop rotation, and plough development improves more land becomes arable.  Settlement on an estate will be scattered in hamlets, as well as the central village (which mainly exists to supply resources for the estate/manor), which are no more than a half-day walk from the central village/manor.  These will be concentrated around the resource to be exploited (food or rarely something else).  The fields will surround the hamlet/village.  Dedicated pasturage may be more distant, but animals are often pastured in fields after the harvest.  Long term projects (such as orchards) will always be around the manor/village since the lord is the only one that can generally afford such an endeavour.

Whitefield Moor, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Rod - really parallels my thoughts, reading and experiences growing up in rural Minnesota, the vegetable garden was near the house, then the cow pasture and then the woods.  BUT, see my comment above on how Wilderlands already has located every small village, and they don't correspond with the citadel and castle locations.  One option I'm considering is relocating the citadels and castles on the maps for my own version.

I haven't visited many real castles, in fact the only ones I have visited were built to control cities, rather than arable land - Edinburgh, Wolvesey and the Tower of London.  While I don't argue that barons were primarily landowners, my impression has always been that the defensibility of the castle site was more important than proximity to the best farm land on the manor.  This is something for me to look into, it could be a reading bias as storming well sited fortifications is more memorable than taking a keep in a valley.  Well, the fall trip to Scotland has been postponed until 2021, I'll do some more field research then.

The baron (and the surrounding small town) will always be in a pretty centralised location.  It will have a weekly market  (given most of the surrounding villages are up to a half day away).  Traditionally this is on the holy day so that the villages may also attend the baron's magnificent stone church. A baron may even be able to afford an actual small castle (or hill fort) that serves as a mustering point for the barons troops when they are called up.  It may even actually be on a road (second or third class) in more civilised lands.

Rod - I'm inclined to phrase it that the fortification is the centralizing influence (po-tay-to / po-tah-to), especially in the context of a D&D campaign where there really are parts of the map that should be marked "Here be Monsters".   For the same reason, I would state that a fortification must exist in a barony.  

For my world I define roads, trails and paths.  While a road may or may not be paved, ala a Roman road, or even a post-apocalyptic freeway, the distinguishing characteristic of a road is that it will cross rivers via bridges or ferries, while a trail will detour to a natural ford.  Both can handled wheeled traffic, whereas a path is usually only passable on foot or mounted.  I was very happy when Rob Conley posted his map on MeWe showing the secondary roads (trails) in the Wilderlands, as the road network from the originals never made much sense to me.

A baron has  the resources (excess food) to create specialised villages that may exploit  larger resources, such as a dedicated lumber camp or mine.   [On the other hand a lord might dedicate a hamlet to a small version, such as a quarry or clay pit if they have this resource, but they will also need to hire a mason or potter to exploit them.

Rod - hence the rules for Specialists since 0e.  I hadn't really given this any thought, it's a good point only the nobles have the capital (land) to exploit new resources.

That's pretty much my take on it at this lower level.  The higher level stuff depends on the overriding sovereignty and general level of civilisation (which is generally lacking in the wilderlands).

Thank you for your input, Ian, feedback always makes a work better and more enjoyable.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Wilderlands - So how big IS a Barony?

     In my last post, I had graphically demonstrated that there was no room for nomads in Altanis, based on the patrol area of "Baronies" as listed in the canon.

     In this it follows closely with the OD&D booklet Volume 3 The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures which, in lieu of a number of hexes, gives a patrol radius.

     By time we get to AD&D, the term "Baronies" has been changed in the DMG to "Territory Development by Player Characters".  
DMG page 93

     Honestly, I find the rules opaque, the DM gives the player a map of 6 hexes, the scale isn't stated but I assume it's 30 mile campaign hexes.  Then (start) map(ping) the hexes at a 200 yard scale, so they fit nine into a one mile hex.  Once the player has mapped the central hex and six surrounding it - this is the confusing bit - which scale is he talking about, 200 yard, 1 mile or 30 miles?  It will take a LONG time to randomly roll enough 200 yard hexes to map seven 30 mile hexes.  In any case, to get back to how far the character will patrol, I interpret the final paragraph to mean once the character has cleared a thirty mile campaign hex, wandering monster checks are reduced.

     I'm going to add in one more system at this point, Adventurer, Conqueror, King includes domain level play in it's core rules and defines the territories, not only of Baron, but of a number of greater nobles also.


Time for some math!

    The Wilderlands definition of patrolling out four hexes from the center hex creates and area of no less than 61 five mile hexes.  Each file mile hex is an area of 21.65 square miles, so the area of a "Barony" in the Wilderlands is 1320 square miles or 845,216 acres or 342,047 hectares.
     OD&D defines a Barony as patrolling a twenty mile radius,   1256 square miles, or 803,840 acres or 325,303 hectares.
   AD&D is opaque, but I'm going to assume he meant a barony equaled a 30 mile campaign hex or 779 square miles or 498,831 acres, or 201,870 hectares.
    ACKS comes in a a puny six mile hex.  That give it an area of 31 square miles,  or 19,953 acres or 8,075 hectares.

Lets put it in a table and do some real world size comparisons.
Region Description Square Miles Acres Hectares
San Marino Fifth smallest country 2015.36 6216
ACKS1 x Six mile hex 3119,953 8,075
Liechtenstein Sixth smallest country 6239,680 1658
Rutland 40th largest Ceremonial County 15297,500 39,457
Sao Tome and Principe 25th smallest country 386247,040 99,974
Westmoreland 29th largest Ceremonial County 759485,990 196,637
AD&D 1 x Thirty mile Campaign hex 779498,831 201,870
Mauritius 26th smallest country 788504,320 204,091
Rhode Island Smallest US state 1033661,120 267,546
Samoa 29th smallest country 1097702,080 284,122
Gloucestershire 17th largest Ceremonial County 1235790,470 319,892
OD&D Twenty mile radius circle 1256803,840 325,303
Wilderlands 61 x Five mile hexes 1321845,216 342,047
Cornwall 16th largest Ceremonial County 1336854,770 345,913
Cabo Verde 30th smallest country 1557996,480 403,262
Delaware Second smallest US state 19381,240,320 501,940


     In Real World terms,  the areas given for Wilderlands, OD&D and AD&D are simply too big, they are the size of an English County.  Now, I know that Ceremonial Counties do not represent a contiguous landholding, but while their size and boundaries have wavered over time, they do go back to the Norman Conquest where they are used as census units for the Domesday Book.  And that book shows that several barons will have holdings within the County.
    One illustration of the practical issues with the sizes given is the time it would take to patrol areas this large.  For a Wilderlands barony, it would take a single patrol over two months, at twenty miles a day, to pass through every single square mile.   Keeping monsters out of such a large area would be a frustrating game of Whack-a-Mindflayer, even with multiple patrols.

More Math Ahead!

    As long as we've reached this point, what is a reasonable size for a Barony, or any other feudal demesne?  Does ACKS have it right at a about 30 square miles?
    To answer that question, I'm going to pull out my go to system for world-building for the last 40 years - Chivalry and Sorcery.  The old red book provides a system for Designing the Feudal Nation, allowing you to generate the demesnes of the great lords, down to the landed knight.  Who isn't terribly humble even if his small manor house isn't much more impressive than the local inn.
   In this system Barons are the lowest nobles (knights being of "gentle" birth rather than "noble") however, unlike the Dukes, Earls and Counts above them, they are NEVER 'tenants-in-chief' holding their lands directly from the King.  Instead, they report up to one of the great nobles - and their fief is generated as part of generating the demesne and feudal holdings of their overlord.  In short, if when generating the fief holders of the great noble, you randomly generate a small castle or shell keep, you create a barony to hold it.  The barony itself will have fief holders dependent on it, but these will be mere landed knights.

    In the C&S Sourcebook, under Feudal Economics, are rules for calculating the amount of land to grow food for a given population.  There is a page of text, but it comes down to add up the population figures from the table, multiply by 10 to include families, beggars and bandits in the area.  This gives the total population, which is multiplied by 8 to determine the number of acres of cultivated and pasture land required to support the population.

   There is one more source I'm going to pull in, Leonard Cantor's The English Medieval Landscape.  This tome, published four years after the Sourcebook, reviews land use at the time of the Domesday Survey.  It shows that "35% of England was covered in arable land, 25% put to pasture, with 15% covered by woodlands and the remaining 25% predominantly being moorland, fens and heaths."  
     Note that the percentage of crop land to pasturage is reversed from the Sourcebook, but it's the ratios of those together to the total amount of land that I'm interested in obtaining - and that ratio is 6 acres of farm and pasture to 4 acres of wood and wasteland.  I can now calculate the average size of a "Barony".

     In doing so, I am assuming that each Barony will have the same breakdown of land use as the kingdom as a whole.  That is of course, another spherical cow of uniform density - a working approximation that meets my current level of detail.
     So, throwing the C&S tables into a spreadsheet and letting it do the math for me, based on the possible outcomes of the determining the Baron's tenants, I find that a Barony will hold between 56 and 118 square miles of territory, on our five mile hex map that is between 3 and 6 hexes (rounding up to the nearest whole hex).  Because of the distribution of possible out comes, the average size is 81 square miles or 4 hexes.  Now I can re-do the last map.

Altanis Baronies & Villages
Click to enlarge
Now, I have room for Barbarians!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Wilderlands - Give Me a Home, Where the Barbarians Roam

Barbarian Altanis are nomadic tribesmen who roam the lands of their more advanced ancestors.  Initial Guidelines Booklet I.

     After laying out the CSIO Market Area and boundaries, looking at the number of villages, castles and citadels on Map 2, I developed a strong impression that there isn't sufficient unclaimed areas to support tribes of nomads.   Rob Conley, in his revision of Wilderlands, assures us that there is plenty of room to fit the nomads in.  Let's see for ourselves.

 
Altanis Village Market Areas
Click for full size
     The first step is to layout the Market Areas for all of the villages on Campaign Map 2.  Technically, they are all Market Class VI in ACKS with a twenty five mile maximum.  (That would only come into effect if the village was located on a road, which only one is, so almost all borders have been shortened using the MP costs from the previous post. )  But Antil is less than seventy inhabitants below the cut off for Market Class V, they exist in a strategic position for shipping on the Romilian Sea - and I was bored with the small areas, so I used the larger area for it.

As can be seen in the Altanis Village Market Area map there is very little area outside the Market Area (the multicolored lines and shaded areas) of some village or another. And I haven't even looked at Barony patrol areas yet.

    Thinking over the image, I decided that it is unrealistic to assume that every hex in the Market
Altanis Village Neighborhoods
Click to enlarge
Area is under continuous occupation or observation by the villages; which would preclude or at least discourage nomads from wandering through.  I decided to reduce the footprint of the villages to their immediate neighborhood, where the fields and pastures worked on a daily basis would be found.  The outer areas are analogous to what Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay refers to as 'Zones of Dependency' where isolated farmsteads, mining claims and natural resources, such a salt licks are to be found.  [Note:  Settlement patterns in WFRP's 'Old World' setting are nothing like Wilderlands, but concept of scattered holdings around the village makes sense.]    This produced the Altanis Village Neighborhood map, where the blue lines show the area surrounding each village that is under daily use.  

Plenty of room for nomads now!  OK, I need to add in the areas patrolled around the castles and citadels, as I don't see a feudal knight allowing a bunch of barbarians to chase a herd of mammoths through his serf's wheat fields.

Per the original Wilderlands of High Fantasy

BARONIES

Upon building a stronghold, player-characters must clear every four hexes (five miles each) radiating from the hex in which his stronghold is located.  While clear terrain can be maintained monster free by patrols, mountains, swamps and dense wood hexes cannot be maintained clear of monsters.  For this reason barons do not usually patrol these areas, prefering [sic] the more tillable clear terrain and hilly areas.

Altanis Villages and Patrolled Areas
Click to enlarge
In this case, I did not reduce the patrolled area by terrain costs, but I did end the patrolled areas at the terrain features listed.  For the most part, as there are a couple of citadels smack in the middle of jungle hexes that would be patrolling something.  In counting off the hexes from each citadel, I have come to suspect that there was some effort made in placing them, as the patrol areas for neighboring citadels usually abut or overlap by no more than a hex.  Rather than laying out these overlapping areas, I chose to map the continuous areas patrolled by the citadels with it.  That brings us to the red lines and shading on Altanis Villages and Patrolled Areas.


Other than the Eyestone Jungle on the east coast, there isn't much that isn't patrolled.  The Lagoldurna Jungle to the east has a string of villages cutting it in half restricting the range of any nomad tribes.

    So, there's no room for nomads in Altanis.  Well, not if you assume a feudal society around the strongholds.  In my next post, I'll cover putting the barbarians back in Barbarian Altanis along with some notes on the barbarian nations to be encountered at the players peril.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Wilderlands - City State Market Area

I realized after my last post that what ACKS considers the distances involved in trade routes, really don't reflect real world trade distances.  While the Spanish treasure armadas and Dutch spice trade are post-medieval examples, albeit still limited to wind and muscle technologies, the Silk Road shows the the flow of long distance trade as does the Roman Indian Ocean trade even earlier.  In fact, very long distance trade evidence goes back into the Bronze Age.

With those observations in mind, the ACKS trade rules do, I think, provide a useful scale for Market Area.  That is, the locations from which a city draws immigrants, as well as natural and agricultural resources and to which it regularly exports both it's own manufactures and items  obtained from trade outside the Market Area. 

Spherical Cows of Uniform Density
     One of the comments I received about the previous post was that the circles denoting trade routes were unrealistic.  Which is quite true, I just wasn't prepared to tackle it in the first post.  The circles defined the outer limits of trade in a perfect world where we assume roads run on flat plains in every direction, which the maps show to be a false assumption.   So lets start refining those assumptions.

ACKS lists Range of Trade (Roads) for Class I Markets as having a maximum distance of 168 miles or 28 six mile hexes.  The comes to 33.6, round it up to 34, five mile hexes from the Wilderlands maps.

Assumption:  This Range of Trade is for travel on a road.  That is a patrolled and maintained pathway which has features, such as bridges, cuttings, ferries, etc to facilitate travel across natural obstacles.  Off road travel distances are shorter.

ACKS Movement Multipliers
TerrainMultiplierTrade RangeHexes (Wilderlands)
Road or Clear Wide Trail*3/2168 miles34
Plains*1112 miles22
Desert, Hills, Woods*2/375 miles15
Jungles, Swamps, Mountains*1/256 miles11

All well and good, except that I need to handle trade routes crossing all of the terrain types.  So I'm going back to my roots in counter and hex war gaming and converting things to Movement Points.  Land based trade routes are 34 Movement Points in length, they spend MPs according to the following table.

Trade Route Terrain Movement Point Costs per hex
TerrainWith RoadWithout Road
Plains13MP every 2 hexes
Desert, Hills, Woods3MP every 2 hexes
Jungles, Swamps, Mountains2

     After installing Crouton and GIMP on my Chromebook, and converting the maps from PDF, plus a few hours of counting hexes - probably not completely consistently - here's the boundaries (black lines) and Market Area (red overlay) for the City State of the Invincible Overlord.

Click to Embiggen

Sunday, April 12, 2020

WIlderlands Land Trade Radius and Political Boundaries

        Wilderlands - Land Trade Radius
I started out doing an analysis of land trade routes to determine economic spheres of influence.  I quickly ended up doing political boundaries.  The two are certainly linked in the real world, however I don't provide a segue between them so this post is a bit disjointed.

In the first diagram I have entered the locations of the largest settlements and drawn the radius of land trade routes for each.  The radius comes form the Adventurer,Conqueror, King rules -AFAIK, the only system to tackle trade in a systemic way.  Shown are every settlement with over 2500 inhabitants - there's only ten.

The circles represent the approximate maximum distance of trade via a road from the settlement.

Black circles are the largest, they show the trade radius for Class I Markets [Population >= 20,000], limited to Viridistan (City State of the World Emperor) in the west and the City State of the Invincible Overlord in the center.

Green circles show the land trade radius of Class II Markets [Population >= 5,000]: Tarantis in the east, Warwick north of the City State, Rallu and Tula in the south.

Purple circles surround Class III Markets [Population >= 2,500]: Tarsh in the north, Targnol Port in the west and Sticklestead and Ossary east of the City State.

For a bidirectional trade route to have a chance to exist, the circles need to contain both settlements.  See for example Targnol Port and Viridistan.  If only one of the circles contains both cities, then no trade route exists, see the City State and Ossary.  

We have only four potential land trade routes, Viridistand/Targnol Port; City State/Warwick; City State; Sticklestead and Warwick/Sticklestead.

More about this in later posts.

Drilling into the the area of the City State and Viridistan, which is the only area where city states are close enough to have mutual boundaries, I come up with this diagram.  Besides the land trade radius, I have now added political boundaries.
Wilderlands Political Boundaries

Viridistan and the City State are the big dogs of the continent, as such, the smaller city states - especially Warwick, have been quite constrained in their boundaries.  Despite Warwick being the only Class II Market on this map, it actually controls less land area than any of the Class III Markets.  The Rorystone Road and the Dwarven Kingdom of Thunderhold, long an ally of the City State keeps it from expanding west of Demon Tongue or south of the River Stillring.  Port Targnol is a wholly own subsidiary of the Green Emperor in Viridistan.  Probably ruled by the descendants of a former royal house, as canonically there isn't anyone left but the Emperor and Empress in the current royal house - he was extraordinarily thorough in removing potential rivals. 

The reddish area in the middle, Battleplain Gwalion, shows the conflicting claims between the two city states.   The City State claims west to the River Bucknol and Grimlon Outlands, then south through the Buskin Wood to the Romillion Sea.  Conversely, the Emperor asserts his claims all the way east to Ered Cantrif, then south to the River Wakeful from the Falls of Barzani to it's mouth.  In practice the Overlord maintains a line of fortresses from Keystone Peak to Lakenheath on the northern edge of the plains and Viridistan rarely pushes patrols east of the Crossing of Quoth, although tax collectors from both sides plague the villagers in the disputed area. 

Further posts will cover actual trade routes, including laying out additional roads; sea trade; and thoughts on the social structures of the Wilderlands.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Real-life Hexcrawl Manual

Randolph Marcy by Matthew Brady,
Courtesy Library of Congress, Public Domain
     About 30 years ago, on a Permanent Change of Station from San Diego to New York City, we traveled via Old Fort Laramie on the Oregon Trail.  Not much left but some foundations being cleared by archaeologists, a nice diorama and a gift shop.  Oh, and the wagon ruts left by travelers over a century in the past.  Have the Polaroid of the boys standing in them somewhere.  My souvenir was a reprint of Captain Randolph Marcy's guidebook The Prairie Traveler - it turned up today when I was looking for something else.

     Captain Marcy was an experienced frontier hand with the pre-Civil War US Army.  In 1859, he published his travel guide for settlers, providing them with information on the routes to the west, practical tips on overcoming obstacles like rivers and broken wagons.  How to tell if the horse tracks were a group on Indians moving their lodges, on a hunting or war party or just wild mustangs, snake-bite remedies, how to pack mules and make a horse stretcher, etc, etc and may I say etc yet again.  In less than 300 pages, with illustrations, he packaged up as much knowledge as he could to keep the migrants alive across the prairie and mountains.

     What catches my eye now, because of some posts I'm working on concerning the Wilderlands trade routes and boundaries, is that he includes itineraries for a number of routes.  Stop by stop distances, descriptions and information about forage, wood and water.  In gaming, most systems assume that overland travel proceeds at a constant rate day over day - and on average you can say that.  However, the rates of movement are based on the speed of the mount or walker, with a multiplier for terrain that increases or more usually decreases the daily movement - generally about 25 miles/day when mounted.  In reading through the actual itineraries, and doing some back of the envelope calculations, I find that the average journey between camping spots was 14-16 miles.  But depending on the availability of forage, wood and water, any given leg of the journey varied between 2 and 52 miles.  In hindsight, it's obvious "Professionals study logistics" - a hexcrawl should  take this into account.

Questions and Notes:
     How accurate are the distances given?  Pre-Civil War West Point education was very civil engineering and land survey oriented.  One of the lessons of the Napoleonic wars that the European militaries had picked up and transmitted in the writings of von Clausewitz and Jominie to America, was the importance of accurate knowledge of the terrain.  Indeed in reading about the Civil War generals, it's remarkable how many of them had left service to work on the railroads where their knowledge was critical in driving the rail lines through as cheaply as possible.

    Horses vs Oxen - he addresses both, as well as mule teams, but the itineraries do not differ based on your choice of draft animals.  Again, the logistics of where you can stop determines how far you will travel, you just might take an hour longer to get there.

    Could an ox team really go over 50 miles in a day?  While that's the first impression, I think it's a bit erroneous.  The itineraries aren't really explained well, almost all of the stops are less than 25 miles apart, 8 hours at 3 MPH pretty much gets you there in a single day.  But in a separate section, he talks about how to cross long distances between campgrounds like the 78 mile Journado del Muerto in New Mexico.  There the journey is done over two nights, there simply isn't any place to camp and there may not be water.  He recommends traveling at night, resting the animals every couple of hours, longer the second night.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Corona Quarantine - Chivalry & Sorcery Edition

     So I wrote a Chivalry & Sorcery 1e character generator (NPC at least) using Google Sheets.  Having finished it, I can safely state that this belongs in the 'hold my beer' category of actions.  Yes, you can, it seems like a good idea at the time and you finish thinking 'What did I just do?'   Not that writing a character generator is a bad thing, even for such an old system.  Especially one that is as crunchy as C&S in terms of conditional recursion - IQ impacts Wisdom, which impacts IQ and doing a whole bunch of lookup tables in order to calculate the characteristics.

   In order to calculate Personal Combat Factor, I needed to determine the character's class or
vocation.  That was probably the most creative part of it - it's not just that you're strong and a good fighter.  Only Nobles get to be Knights and Serfs need to be exceptional to come to the attention of a Magic User and get apprenticed.  Conversely, it's very rare to see a first born Noble become a Magic User, they need to be very smart and a pathetic fighter, as even a poor fighter is more valuable to the  succession in the mind of a feudal noble.

     When a Magic User does get rolled up, you'll see the bottom of the Character Sheet show the Concentration Level, Personal Magic Factor etc.

Anyway the link is here if you want to play with it.