Houses of Laplana: Fartís, Vavassor of Mir

In this post we will describe one of the houses of the Earldom of Mir. If you want to see the tools used to create a noble house, read the entrey about how to create a noble house.

  • Feudal Rank: Vavassor of Mir.
  • Lands: Varvassory of Fartís.
  • History: the house was founded the 224 YK, the same year of the earldom foundation.
  • Ethnics: it belongs to the archaic ethnics.
  • Name: Fartís, meaning: “Very fond of eating a certain food”.
  • Personality:
    • Primary: carefree.
    • Secondary: glutton, moody.
  • Coat of arms: Gyronny of 10 tenne and sable (see the images below).
  • Motto: “Good and abundant” (eat well and not worry about anything, according to the Catalan proverb).
  • Emblem: the Fartís emblem was a dish with unending food, excepte when was submerged in water to wash it. Only worked when used by his owner. In the ritual of succession, all the candidates had to eat from the dish: the non-chosen ones suffered an intoxication that could be mortal, but not frequently.
House of Fartís Coat of Arms

House of Fartís: “Good and Abundant”

The Lords had the same coat of arms, but without the charge:

Coat of Arms of the Lords of Fartís

Coat of Arms of the Lords of Fartís

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How to Create a Noble House for the Campaign Setting? The Rampoina House

In this post we will show you the steps to follow to create a noble house, and at the same time we will create a new house of the Earldom of Mir.

Feudal Rank

The houses had a specific position in the feudal hierarchy. In Laplana, only Earls, Vicecounts, Comdors and Vavassors had their own house. The Lords, forming the lower layer of the nobility, belonged to a superior house and wore its colors.

The house we are creating had the rank of Earl, and was the superior of 8 Lords, 3 Vavassors and 1 Prior, but this numbers can vary depending on the year.

Lands

The noble houses were linked to a land. In the campaign of Laplana this was entirely true because the houses couldn’t change their lands or acquire new ones. If they did it, they had to change their name, heraldry and personality.

There was way in which a house could grow: improving its manor, having more vassals, o ascending in the feudal hierarchy.

In this aspect, Laplana was very different than the medieval Europe, were the political marriages aimed to increase the lands and titles of a family. In Laplana, the children of a house belonged to a house or other, but never belonged to two families at the same time.

The house we are creating was situated in the earldom of Mir.

History

To create the history of a noble house is a complex process and we will do it only if its required by the plot. As a basic data, we can give the year of its foundation.

In this case, the house was founded the Year of the King 224, the same year on which the earldom of Mir was conquered and refounded.

Ethnics

There are two main ethnic groups in Laplana: the arcaics and the sylvans. The first were descendants of the invaders of Archery coming from Archland; the seconds were descendants of the native humans of Archery.

The archaic occupied the nobility, bourgeoisie and clergy, while the sylvans were the bulk of the peasantry. Only one of every ten nobles was sylvan.

Our house is of sylvan origin, which is a rarity.

Name

There are a lot of ways to create a name. Everyone has its ways. The important aspect is to be coherent in your campaign setting.

In Laplana, the names are inspired by the catalan language. To create them, I have a microsoft access file with all the words of the catalan language, and I chose one randomly (using microsoft excel to create random numbers and then choosing the rows with these numbers).

In this link there is a text file with all the roots in catalan. There are only the roots, and not all the words, because the file size grows exponentially.

To choose the correct name the ethnic group has to be taken in account. Sylvan have names related with the nature (animals, plants, weather…), while archaic have names related with crafts, objects, or abstract concepts. When we have the name, we search the definition, because it can help us to define its personality.

Our house will have the name Rampoina: that means the parts of a plant that one has to take out for its own benefit. This definition will define at least one of the personality factors for this family.

Personality

Every house has one primary personalty factor and two secondary ones. We will use the personalty chapter of our own system, FIVE, based on the 16 personality factors, but you can you whatever you like.

In our new house, we choose the following factors:

  • Primary factor: practical (low imagination)
  • Secondary factor: forthright (low privateness)
  • Secondary factor: gregarious (low self confidence).

The house personality was maintained through generations thanks to the emblems ceremony. In Laplana, when the leader of the house died, the heir was chosen following a ceremony: the house emblem (an object), containing the essence of all the previous house leaders, choose a heir between al the family members with a personality aligned with the house one. In later entries we will explain this ceremony in detail.

Coat of arms and motto

A coat of arms can be created using several available systems. We use the random generator of Chris Puncher’s heraldry drawing software.

If the house has a player’s character the coat of arms can be created following his preferences, using the same generator, but there are other heraldic generators available.

In this case, the coat of arms is the following, described as: Per fess gules and sable, 2 garter or.

Over the coat, we added a figure related with the house’s name, a tobacco plant (taken from Wikimedia Commons.

House Rampoina Coat of Arms

House Rampoina: “Get to the point”

Optionally, you can create a moot for the house, a phrase defining it. In this case the motto will be: “get to the point”.

Their direct vassals (Lords) used the same colors, but without the plant.

Coat of Arms of the House Rampoina Lords

Coat of Arms of the House Rampoina Lords

Emblem

Finally, we have to choose the house’s emblem. Is an object used by all the house leaders during its history. In the beginning, all the emblems were weapons, but this had varied with the passing of time.

In this case, the charge is a tobacco plant, so we have decided that the emblem for this house will be a smoking pipe. In important times, the leader use the pipe to smoke and this helps him (or her) to take the right decisions (those according with the house personality), “communication” with his ancestors.

The emblem is a magical object, and it can have other powers that will be described, if needed, in an adventure.

 

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The Earldom of Mir (II): Year of the King 250

In a previous post we treated the territory of the Earldom of Mir. In this post we will write about the human geography of the earldom. That is, the towns, roads, nobility, etc.

The earldom was conquered to the tantarantans (ogres, giants and harpies) the 224 YK (Year of the King), and was developing since then. We will explain three different moments: the 250, 300 and 350 YK. After this year, the earldom didn’t grow much more.

Manors

The earldom was formed by manors, head by a Lord possibly being, too, a Vavassor or the Earl.

The year 250 YK there was in the earldom of Mir 18 Lords, of which 2 were Vavassors and 1 was the Earl. The Vavassors and the Earl had a double duty, as a Lords of their manors and as administrators of a bigger territory.

To know more about manors, go to the post dedicated to the standard manor.

Nobility

The Rampoina Earl had to Vavassors: Fartis and Murgonal. Rampoina had 6 Lords as a direct vassals, Fartis 5 and Murgonal 4.

Houses of the Earldom of Mir the Year of the King 250

Houses of the Earldom of Mir the Year of the King 250

In the map, the Earl and the Vavassors have bigger shields and a central “charge” (figure). The Lords didn’t have their own shield and wore the clors of their superiors.

Mapa del Comtat de Mir - Any del Rei 250

Mapa del Comtat de Mir – Any del Rei 250

Roads

The earldom had the following roads (for each road we give the year of construction, distance, construction cost and maintenance cost, the last two on pennies (d from Hârnmanor system), dollars ($ from GURPS system) and gold pieces (gp from D20 system):

  • Road from Embarcador to Pantanar: 228 AR; 13 miles; construction: 34.320d / $137.280 / 13.728 po; maintenance: 1.716d / $6.864 / 686 po.
  • Road from Mir to Embarcador: 233 AR; 17 miles; construction: 45.932d / $183.726 / 18.373 po; manteniment: 2.297d / $9.186 / 919 po.
  • Road from Mir to Infradània: 237 AR; 15 miles; construction: 39.600d / $158.400 / 15.840 po; maintenance: 1.980d / $7.920 / 792 po.
  • Road from Embarcador to Dros by the coast: 248 AR; 40 miles; construction: 105.600d / $422.400 / 42.240 po; maintenance: 5.280d / $21.120 / 2.112 po.

In the map the continuous red lines are the roads, and the dotted ones are the paths.

These were roads without pavement. These roads became of bad quality with intense rains. The cost to build the pavement was very high: a pavement of 12 inches depth was worth 605.088d / $2.420.352 / 242.035 po each mile! That’s the reason there is no date for building paved roads.

You can find the complete information about roads generation in this document: Mir_Roads.xslx (excel document).

Cities

There were two main towns in the earldom: Mir and Embarcador. The first was rebuild from the ruins of the ancient city-state.

Between the two cities the Entrepas river was navigable by small ships, but it was not to the east of Mir and to the west of Embarcador. However, the navigable part of the river was enought to make this two towns importants points of commerce.

Below we will give the date for each town: population, craftsmen and taxes collected:

  • Mir: 1.028 people; 68 crafstmen; 26 clergy; 7 guards; taxes: 11.696d / $46.784 / 4.678 gp.
  • Embarcador: 514 people; 40 crafstmen; 13 clergy; 3 guards; taxes: 6.880d / $27.520 / 2.752 gp.
  • Pantanar: didn’t belong to the earldom, but to the Entrepas swamp.

The city of Mir rebuilt the ancient fortifications of the city: stone walls 1200 meters long, 5 high and 2.5 depth, during 55 years (279 YK), and 16 square towers of stone, 5 meters each side and 15 high, during 26 years (305 YK). The total cost of the walls and towers was 403.965d / $1.615.860 / 161.586 gp, and the annual expenses of maintenace were 575d / $2.300 / 230 gp.

In the city of Embarcador new fortifications were built: wood walls, 1000 meters long, 3 high and 8 inches depth, built in 3 yeras (228 YK), and 12 wood square towers, 5 meters each side and 15 high, built in 5 years (233 YK). The total cost of the wall and towers was 26.027d / $104.108 / 10.411 gp, and the annual expenses of maintenance were 207d / $828 / 83 gp.

You can access to the complete information about city generation in this document: Mir_Cities.xslx (excel document).

Resources

The first years, the efforts of the Earl of Rampoina were centered on the assart of the terrrtory, aiming to create new manors, and on the building of new roads.

THe 250 YK the earldom occupied 59 square miles (152 km2), a 13% of the total territory (the maximum territory were 30% of the total, the rest was uninhabitable / unworkable).

The Earl received 80.000d / $320.000 / 32.000 gp yearly from his vassals in concept of taxes, Lords and Vavassors, and were expended on:

  • Political expenses (tourneys, hosts and hostages, celebrations, etc.): 38.000d / $152.000 / 15.200 gp.
  • Assart (for the creation of new mannors): 30.000d / $120.000 / 12.000 gp.
  • Roads: 10.000d / $40.000 / 4.000 gp.
  • Other: 1.800d / $7.200 / 720 gp.

You can access to the complete information about the earldom in the following document:  Mir_Earldom.xslx (excel document).

Population

The earldom population was the following:

  • Nobility and their retinue: 368. Nobles, servants, soldiers and crafstmen living on the households are included.
  • Peasants: 3.799. All the people working in the fields and their families are included, as well as the craftsmen of the manor villages.
  • Cities: the population of the cities is given above.

Army

The army at the service of the Earl, with aid of all the Lords and Vavassors were the following:

  • Knights: 18.
  • Soldiers: 46.
  • Militia: 140. Militians served 75 days a year. Normally the did surveillance tasks to cover 30 permanent places, but in case of conflict all of them can be summoned.

 

 

 

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The Earldom of Mir (I): Geography

In this post we will describe the territory of the earldom of Mir, that was conquered by the Laplana men to the ogres on the year 224 YK. On following posts we will describe the human geography.

The earldom of Mir was a southern earldom of Laplana. His name came from the ancient city-state before the conquest of the tantarantans. In the next map we have marked the earldom in red on the map of Laplana.

Map of Laplana with the earldom of Mir marked in red

Map of Laplana with the earldom of Mir marked in red

The more important river on the valley was the entrepas. The river was navigable between the rapids, to the west, and the waterfall, to the east. This navigable way always brought prosperity to the city, because it facilitate the commercial interaction between the swamp, to the west, and the goges lake, to the east.

Physical map of the earldom of Mir

Physical map of the earldom of Mir

To the west, the earldom was limited by the entrepas swamp, inhabited by the cocodrilians. This race of cocodrile men had a ferocious and bellicose, but the commerce with Mir was beneficial for them and, except a few punctual incidents, they had a good relationship with the mirians.

To the east, the entrepas river had a waterfall, preventing the navigation up river from this point. Over the waterfall, the entrepas received an affluent, the insectari. Both rivers formed a narrow swamp zone in their valleys, impeding their repopulation. Some kilometers to the east was situated the earldom of Infradania, and from the year 349, following the insectari valley the earldom of Almorratxa was founded.

To the north there was the enchanted forest, and on the other side the earldom of Dros. The forest had the fame of being dangerous. Tantarantans could be found (ogres, harpies and giants), and the demons encounters were frequent too. Despite this, a road was built and a few ones used it. It was an alternative to the coast road when the pirates or the tritons were very active.

To the south there was the silana forest. From the year 249 on, the earldom of Silana was conquered and became the new neighbor on the south. The silana forest was very big, and was always a source of troubles.

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Laplana Earldoms: The Standard Manor

In this post we will describe a standard manor through the time, using the earldom form. In this form a manor is described from the economic and demographic point of vue. A manor is the smaller division of the territory in the laplanian society.

Building over time

The form allows to describe a manor in a determined time, but more important for us is to describe it as the time goes on.

To achieve that, we used the form to describe the manor on its first year of foundation, and then transformed it year by year, assarting the territory and improving the fief.

When a manor is created, it has not the better conditions for exploitation. This is reflected in a low Fief Index (0,5). Furthermore, half the terrain is occupied by forests. This results in a very low income for the Lord, that cannot maintain his house as expected for a noble man.

The Lord dedicates resources to assart part of the territory, and to improve the Fief Index building production infrastructures. Slowly, his house grows in familiars, servants, soldiers and craftsmen. In just 50 years the manor is fully operative!

We evolved the manor to the optimal point. We ignored possible events that could potentially slowed this evolution, like wars, natural catastrophes, incompetence, etc.

Results: graphics

The graphic below explains visually the manor evolution. Be aware that this is for a standard manor. This evolution can be altered by the size of the manor and the earldom to which belongs.

Progrés d'un terme al llarg del temps

Progrés del terme a partir de l’any de fundació

This graphic show the following aspects:

  • crops and pasture as oposed to forest. The final proportion depends on the terrain type, in this case highlands;
  • the Fief Index reflects the fief quality (production infrastructures like mills, bridges, etc.);
  • the Lord’s Household shows the completion of the Lord’s house. That is, if the house has the nobles, servants, craftsmen and soldiers needed to maintain the Lord’s reputation.

Results: tables

The tables can help us to create a background for the sessions. They give information about the campaign setting in the year we are playing. The green cells show a growing number.

Taula d'evolució del terme

Taula d’evolució del terme

In this table we can observe the evolution of a standard manor:

  • year shows the year since its foundation. As you can see, a manor spends 51 years to be at 100%;
  • C&P (Crops and Pasture) and Size have been included with the only purpose to create the graphic above;
  • forest, crops and pasture show the acres dedicated to each type of terrain;
  • peasants shows the peasant population, without taking into account if they are allodial, emphyteutic or serfs;
  • FI (Fief Index) shows the fief quality for exploitation (the quality of the production infrastructures like mills, separation walls, etc.);
  • the columns comprised into Lord’s Household show the people living in the lord’s house. Less people means less prestige for the Lord. The Lord spends 50 years to have a complete house, but the everybody understands that the beginnings are difficult;
  • the privy purse is the quantity of money the Lord can spend on other resources, but the first years will be dedicated to build the manor house. This is the only money that the Lord can have in coin.

We have to underline that the militia men serve for 75 days every year. To have 8 militia men is to have 75 * 8 = 600 days of service, that is, two milita men almost all the year.

When you prepare an adventure, knowing the age of a manor you will know, for example, how many soldiers and peasants will have, and other useful information.

 

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Economy (I): The Earldom Form

We will define the economy of Laplana using two existing systems, revised on the entry about bibliography: Hârnmanor and GURPS Daily Life and Economics (DLAE).

Hârnmanor will be used to create a standard manor and, from this point, generate the earldom by adding manors. To create a manor owned by the role-playing characters don’t use this system, better use the random system to have more fun.

DLAE will be used to establish the great infrastructures cost: the houses and the castles, the roads, etc.

This entry has information about using the form to generate an earldom. On the next entries we will explain the DLAE form, and finally we will show you and earldom as example.

A link to the form: Economy_Standard_Earldom.xslx

 

General form use

The form is divided on two parts:

  • The manor: describes a manor following the Hârnmanor system, but instead of random generation, a standard manor is defined. Includes sheets from A to F.
  • The earldom: describes an earldom with a certain number of manors. Includes sheets from 1 to 7.

Montorcan: Standard Earldom Economy

There are cells on different colors:

  • Blue: columns and rows titles.
  • White: cells that had to be filled.
  • Grey: formulas implying other cells.
  • Green: variables from the sources. You can change them, but affecting the sistem functioning.
  • Red: green cells modified. We recommend to change the color to identify whose cells had been modified in case you want to undo the changes.

The earldom sheets have the following contents:

  • 1 Laplana Earldoms: information about all the earldoms of Laplana.
  • 2 Earldom Data: information about the earldom we want to generate.
    • Earldom name.
    • Date of the description.
    • Years conquered: more time conquered implies a better state of thinds (better Fief Index, Trade Index, etc.).
    • Topography: the initial topography for a newly conquered earldom is “forests”. As the time passes, the topography improves.
    • Occupied territory: the recently conquered earldoms begin with a little part of their territory occupied by people (10%). The assart allow to increase this surface to his maximum in some cases (between 30% and 50%, depending on each earldom).
  • 3 Earldom Nobility: a brief summary of the quantity of noble families in the earldom.
  • 5 Earldom Army: army available for a noble in case of emergency, adding the men of his own manor and his vassals men.
  • 6 Cities: Use the QZIL Kingdom Generator to know how many cities there are in the earldom. Use the earldom density and area. Small and Medium villages are like the villages for each manor and are not taken into account as cities, so ignore them. You can copy the tables and paste them into the form. This way you will know how many craftsmen live in each city.
  • 7 Mines: as said into Grain into Gold, any attempt to find an explotation rule for the mines is condemned to fail. Because of that, we will simply define which mines are in the earldom. This way we will know with which materials we can build infrastructures without paying extra cost for transportation.

The manor sheets have the following contents:

  • A Manor Data: general data about the standard manor. Contains the following data:
    • Topography: as pointed on Manor 31. In a recently conquered manor, will be “forest” until prepared for exploitation.
    • Gross Acres: the total area, in acres, of the manor.
    • Land Quality: the quality of the land. The agricultural infrastructures can help to improve the quality.
    • Fief Index: fief preparation to live in the manor: roads, brigdes, walls, etc.
    • Trade Index: proximity to other markets to change goods. Good roads and navigable rivers help to improve the commerce.
    • Weather Index: it depends on the territory. Normally, northern earldom have worse climate than southern ones.
  • B Fief Budget: the topography have a strong influence on the fief budget, because it establishes the relation between forests, crops and pastures.
    • 2% is the mininum assart to maintain the manor in good conditions. More acres of assart help gaining terrain to the forest for crops and pastures (in the manor).
  • C Lord’s Budget: what remains of the budget is the Privy Purse. Is the only part that can be treasured on coin. It’s useful for saving, increase the troops in case of war, building new infrastructures (normally castles and roads) and maintain the old ones, etc.
  • D Lord’s Household: people living in the Lord’s house. There is a proportion between the manor size and quantity of people to maintain a the status. Vavassors, Comdors and Counts houses have to be bigger than merely Lords.
  • E Village Census: the correspondence with Laplanian society is:
    • Craftsmen, Farmer, Yeomen and Large Farmer are allodial peasants;
    • Villein, Freehold villein, Tenant officer, Half-villein and Cottar are emphiteutic peasants;
    • Slave are serfs.
  • F Churches: these are the parishes. For every Priest there is a different parish in the manor. On the years where parishes didn’t exist yet, simply ignore this sheet.
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Medieval Economy: Revision of Bibliography

Objectives

The aim of this analysis is to find clues to create a system for building a medieval society. This system has to link the kingdoms macroeconomy with the characters microeconomy.

To achieve this objective, we have analyzed several information sources.

Books

Grain into Gold (Generic)

Coberta de Grain into Gold

Grain into Gold

The more “raw data” of all sources analyzed. It’s not linked to any game system. There are lists of prices of productes and professional wages.

There are some interesting facts established: an slave can be maintained alive with 100 silver coins a year, and one peasant family needs between 20 and 30 acres to survive in more or less good conditions.

There is any system to calculate demography.

GURPS 4th ed. Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics

Coberta de Daily Life and Economics

GURPS 4th ed. Daily Life and Economics

As Grain into Gold, there is “raw data” in this book. There are lists of salaris, and includes a system to calculate the cost of manufactured products.

It establishes a population density between 10 and 75 people per square mile.

Hârnmanor (Hârnmaster)

Coberta de Hârnmanor

Hârnmanor

És el sistema més complet a l’hora de dissenyar un feu. El sistema consisteix en omplir tres formularis: el del poble on hi viuen els tenants, el de la casa del noble, i el del feu. El resultat reflecteix la producció al detall, des dels diners que li queden al noble al cap de l’any fins la quantitat de blat que es produeix.

The more complete system to design a fief. The result are some forms including the money gained by the noble, the number and profession of tenants, the quantity of animals maintained, etc.

There is an unofficial simulator to do this automatically, but you will need the book to understand it:

The simulator only works for small fiefs, up to 3600 acres. So it’s impossible to build something larger, like a county or a kingdom.

Book Of The Manor (Pendragon)

Similar to Harnmanor, but simpler. The incomes and outcomes are calculated in a very simple way.

This system is centered in gaming, not in demographics. It has to be fun to play with it, but doesn’t permit to build a demography.

Includes an inventory of buildings to improve the fief, and tables of random events.

A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe

Coberta del manual A Magical Medieval Society

A Magical Medieval Society

At first view is the more complete system. It includes the generation of manors, kingdoms, cities, buildings, etc.

It’s a book for the D20 system. It’s not very realistic (the main coin is the gold piece), and not very scalable because the mininum population to begin with is two million.

A Song Of Ice And Fire: Core Rulebook

Coberta de A Song of Ice and Fire: Core Rulebook

A Song of Ice and Fire: Core Rulebook

Igual que Hârnmanor i The Book of the Manor, inclou un sistema per gestionar un feu, però és molt més abstracte. Es parla de casals nobles, que tenen una sèrie d’atributs que es poden millorar amb el temps a mesura que els personatges hi van aportant glòria o diners.
És un sistema fàcil de jugar, i ajuda a veure el feu com un personatge més que ha de pujar de nivell, però no permet fer cap càlcul demogràfic.

Like Harnmanor and The book of the manor, includes a system to manage a fief, but is very abstract. Noble households are like characters to be played and improved in time with glory or money.

It seems a fun game to play, but we cannot use it to build the demography and economics of our campaign.

Internet resources

Medieval Economics by Philip McGregor

An interesting article to know the medieval economic reality.

Historical hit points 2 simulating medieval economics in tabletop RPGs

A dissertation about the difficulties to find a system to manage the medieval economy in fantastic settings.

Medieval levies and revenues for fantasy RPGs

A system to calculate armies and their salaries.

Medieval Demographics Made Easy

A system to calculate quickly the population and entire kingdoms. It allow to create cities, towns and villages.

There is a random generator based in this article.

Conclusions

There is any system fitting a hundred per cent to our necessites: realism and scalability. We have tried different systems, going from general to local and from specific to global. Only the last worked.

We will work with Harnmanor to create a standard manor, then we will extrapolate the results to the entire county.

We will use the random kingdom generator to establish the number of cities, towns and villages of each county.

Finally, we will use Daily life and economics to calculate the cost of the infrastructures.

On the next posts we will try to give an example of use of this combination of systems.

 

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