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Author Topic: Taveruun Overview Thread  (Read 20219 times)
Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« on: June 15, 2003, 06:49:51 AM »

Hello.

A few days ago, I suggested there should be a separate thread to discuss the issues involving Taveruun as a whole because the other thread was becoming focused on the provinces.  Mike then said more or less, 'good idea, get to it.'

There are a lot of things already written.  I'm going to work off the assumption that people here have read the book, and are familiar generally with the other thread.  I'm saying this because I don't want to restate things like the relations with nearby countries, my proposed timeline, the ethnicities already written by us, etc.  I'm not planning on making archaic citations; I just wanted to avoid being redundant.  I'll also be using ideas first mentioned by Mike, Gary, and Morfedel.  I won't cite as I go, not because I'm claiming this is all mine, but because I don't think we need to be that territorial about who has done what.  We all know this is a group effort.

This thread has two goals: to identify the concepts that are understood best at the country level of analysis, and to then propose a form for those concepts.  Feel free to comment in every way about what I write.


POLITICS
We know so far that Taveruun is a feudal state with no king, the top of the hierarchy being instead 8 highlords.  This is an extremely decentralized form of government.  The fact that everyone on the other thread (myself included) made the assumption that the highlords are more 'of the province,' and not, say, permanently at a council in the capital, makes things even more decentralized.

So, if we can't look to a central government for unity (like we can in Gelure, Xanarium, Otamarluk, or even Cyrinthmeir by comparison), what can we turn to?  Well, the Taveru culture is the biggest answer I see.  Taveru is the dominant culture, and it was in charge - with support from Xanarium to sustain it - from 590 WEYR to 1360 WEYR.  770 years of uninterrupted rule by the same group... probably with relatively stable borders.

This doesn't mean there isn't diversity.  Considering its diverse neighbors and long borders, the culture of Taveruun will inevitably be "Taveru + ___."  In the North, it is Cyrinthmeir.  West, Helena.  Southwest, Dardenet.  South, Numeria.  And the east... well, the East probably has a lot of issues involving cultural/religious purity against the Sultan. (And no, I doubt they will see any separation in culture & religion).  So there is definitely an ethnic identity at work.  In the south, the ethnicity is probably the weakest, based on what Mike wrote.  And the north, with its political schemes, is probably feels the least reflexive solidarity (Though the Taveru of Komas still see themselves as Taveru... just in a better situation than those poor people in the plains).

So...
* Things to keep in mind about the politics of Taveru nationally: strong, centralized government is rare at best.  Government instead rests upon the assumption that the ruled are Taveru.  When that assumption isn't true, things get tense.

* Things we need to work on politically on the national scale:  We need to know how the Highlords meet, and what they talk about.  How autonomous are the individual highlords at ruling their own lands, making their own armies, and making their own treaties and relations with the outside world?  How is national defense dealt with? How much conflict is there between the highlords, and why is it at that point and not more or less?


ECONOMY / GEOGRAPHY
We know that Taveruun is a sprawling country with tons of resources.  We also know the sultan of Otamarluk has been at war with Dardanet for a century, the economy is starting to suffer a little.  Third, we know there is a lot of trade and cultural mixing.  Fourth, we know that the Taveru are known for their 'urban lifestyle.'

This tells me that Taveruun is a land of extreme differences in population density.  Farrenshire is a country of pasture and manors over rolling hills.  That ain't Taveruun.  In Taveruun, you have a river valley full of farms.  Somewhere among the farms, there is a town or a city where a lord of middling power resides.  Imperial roads go up and down the rivers, and occasionally off in other directions toward other towns.  Beyond this relatively urban environment there is unsettled wilderness.  If Taveruun was always sparsely populated, it makes sense that this distant land would only attract settlers to the river valleys, which can support a ton of population anyway.  To reason to go out to the true wilderness.

This explains a lot.  It explains why Otamarluk can move across the width of Taveruun without annihilating it: the population is relatively easy to sidestep.  It explains how a large country can have an urban lifestyle, tons of resources, and NOT be the most feared power in the region (unrealized utilization of resources).  It explains why Taveruun is called the land of winding rivers: not only are there some good-sized rivers, but that is what Taveruun is centered on.  It also explains the superstitiousness of the people, but I'll get to that later.

The North has three cities and highland valleys that are total hicks (to the point of heresy).  The south have raiders, less than standard religious practices, and 1 growing urban center.  The east has... forts.

So...
* What needs to be remembered: the dichotomy between urban and rural.

* What we need to work on: The details of that in the different provinces


MILITARY
All types of fun.  Taveruun has a lot of potential, some of it realized.  However, between the unsettled wilderness and the decentralized government, it is a sleeping giant at best.  To be sure, though: Taveruun isn't a push-over.  If it wasn't for Otamarluk, it'd probably be the badass of northwest Maraiah.  

But, Otamarluk does exist, and is, according to the book, the most powerful nation in the world.  Taveruun became part of Xanarium in 590, and probably soon after protected itself effectively from raids from the east.  Things escalated as Otamarluk became devout to the Seven Vows and centralized under a Sultan and a High Cleric, while Taveruun got more and more support, leading eventually to the Crusades.

And then, Xanarium left.  I'm quite sure the nobles of Taveruun would have preferred Xanarium stay strong & be part of it.  So now, Taveruun has been coasting for 107 years, long enough for Otamarluk to decide its loss of strength is real, and to prepare something much more terrible than a raid or a strike on Dardanet.  He has a crusade all his own coming.  This can hardly be a surprise for the Taveru, and I am sure they are preparing and praying.  But Otamarluk's army is twice as big, at least as well armed, centrally commanded, and has by now a decent knowledge of some of the best places to invade Taveruun.  All but the most optimistic Taveru is unable to see anything but uncertainty.  And this all begins sometime this year.  Goody.

Now, up till now, Otamarluk wasn't interested in killing off Taveruun, and it knew it.  This allowed individual Highlords to have their fun, be it border wars with Numeria or a fool's errand for a port on the inland sea.  That'll be changing, though.

So...
* What we need to remember: Taveruun is a respectable military power.  Otamarluk is bluntly its superior.  Taveruun is about to begin a defensive war for its life.  Wee.

* What we need to work on: Is there a national army?  What are the Taveru good at when it comes to fighting?  I'm sure different highlords' militaries are different in substantial ways.  What are those ways?


RELIGION
One interesting thing is the way we've been reading Taveruun, there is clear evidence that Xanar was here himself with his army.  The statue, for example, must have pre-dated the Xanarian Empire acquiring Taveruun because if they build it, they would have known who the woman was instead of making guesses.  I'm sure any odd non-Church Xanar worship was crushed soon after Xanarium arrived (or got sucked into another heresy, like Esaulnism, Hellenic Paganism, or whatever).  This is an absoutely devout country, on average.  We have to remember the Church, not the military, brought Taveruun into the empire.  Any other religious tradition is a localized affair.  The Church is probably the state religion.  And while no one has talked about it yet, there should be at least 1 province the Church bluntly pushes around.  I'll probably do that for the Northwest.

Time for me to pull stuff out of nowhere: Taveru religion and that in Xanarium is different.  It has to be.  Totally different culture, Xanarium probably sees itself as Xanar's Chosen, while Taveruun are willing converts.  While both accept the Good Law of Xanar (This is a religion based at its core in following Divine Law), they'll have a different orientation to it.  The spectacular conversion experience in Taveruun's history probably gives them a notion of turning away from the law of the Great Betrayer (which does not make Man great) to the Good Law of Xanar.  Wrapped up in this is also a bit more emphasis on the spirit of law, which would allow for more mysticism.  More mysticism can also help encourage more monasticism, which Taveruun certainly has.

So...
* What to remember: Religion is a big, big deal in a very direct way.
* What to work on: The role of monks and monasteries, The influence of the church on the nobility


MAGIC & THE FEY
Whoa boy.  The fact that this is a relatively "civilized" country (talk about loaded terms...), is deeply religious, but at the same time is extremely superstitious about things that go bump in the night, tells me something.  It tells me that there is an active magical presence in this country, and it has some level of antagonism with the population (or vice versus).

This also works well with the urban/rural split of Taveruun.  The most remote parts of the wilderness will constantly be rumored by the realm of the Fey.  Mountain Kings, wood demons, a whole host of critters lurking beyond the places Man's rule is established.  How much of this is true or accurate is another question, but the population will not be keen on venturing out and about.  The book implies vampires are part of their lore as well.

Magic is a bit different, as Sorcerers are, on average, human.  Considering that The Church is severely anti-magic, things are probably less than friendly around.  However, with a country as big as Taveruun, it'd be easy enough for a few magically inclined people to hide away, studying their Art.  The counter-crusade is an interesting wrinkle.  I could easily see a few Highlords seeking out whatever they can as an equalizer against Otamarluk.  And well... a sorcerer could do just that, be he a walking siege engine or a diviner or whatever.  Generally speaking, though, human magic use is still looked down on upon, on average.

(And my 2 cents about the term diplomancer: I like the term, but I like it more for Unknown Armies.  This is PURELY my opinion, but I don't think it works as a common term within the setting feel of Weyrth.  It would work as a half-joke a certain sorcerer uses to describe himself, however.)

So...
* What to remember: 95% of Taveruun agrees: "Magic Baaad!  ...And scary."

* What to work on: Taveruun folklore on what lurks in the wilderness, the relationship between the few wizards that are in Taveruun and its supernatural denizens.


AT any rate... that's what I have.  Comments?  Additions?  Problems?

The biggest problem I have is that I don't have a finished ideal of Taveru culture.  I've got parts like religion and superstition, but its not complete.  I have a better idea of Stahl or Farrenshire than I do Taveruun.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2003, 07:42:11 AM »

I have a few comments.

I really think that Sorcerers would be universally hated and feared, for the following reasons:

[list=1]
[*]The Imperial Church, as noted, is a BIG deal here, and sorcery is a BAD thing in their eyes.
[*]The people here are naturally superstitious folk, and paranoid as well.
[*]Sorcery is an extremely rare gift; remember, roughly 1 in 10,000 people.
[/list:o]

These add up to Sorcery, along with fey, being blamed for much unexplained things going wrong; and in a religious context, such people are to be burned anyway.

The best I can see sorcery is a kind of Merlin role; a mysterious, wise man with unknown abilities meddling with affairs from the shadows.


The second issue involves the wall: I think we have conflicting views, but additionally, I am a bit conflicted with Otamarluk and their crossing over to Dardanet; to an extent, I wondered if Jake made a mistake and was thinking they shared a border when he wrote that, and then didn't draw the map to match.

Otherwise, if Otamarluk is so powerful, and if Taveruun is so firmly allied to the Church, why don't they just try and take out Taveruun first, and then head into Dardanet? Taveruun is in the way, and it seems rather illogical to go around them just to hit the further out of reach Dardanet.

And also, with the wall, I have trouble accepting the idea that the wall is just for show, for the following reasons: their economy is rocky, they are tight on food and weapons, and yet they are spending money on the wall. They seem to truly believe it will be effective.

I think this is a good point for Jake to chime in: Jake, what was your view on what the wall of Taveruun is like? You must have had some idea in mind....

Finally, I think the idea of centralized government is easily handled by the church. Remember, the ties of Taveruun the old Imperium is via the church; I'm thinking, what if the eight high lords got together under the auspices of the greatest of the marvelous cathedrals in the country, and is officiated by the Highest Priest, who also gets a tiebreaker vote, when needed?

Anyway. Just some thoughts. I don't want to get started on my region, the southeast, until we have some clearer concepts in mind. I obviously didn't 100% agree with some of the ideas presented, and not everyone agreed with mine. So, I'll wait for us to get some clear concensus before moving foward.
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Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2003, 02:59:55 PM »

I think the wall is mostly a collection of outposts and trenches--things that are annoying to cross, but not perfectly inhibitive (is that a word?). The forts are another matter, but more often than not the Marluks are just trying to get through Taveruun either on their way to Dardanet, or to romp about the deeper countryside (the tatars raided much of eastern europe this same way by simply ignoring castles and not attacking them). Remember also that if the Otmarluk Sul'taan doesn't even reckognize Taveruun as a separate state he probably has considerable support from somewhere on the inside.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2003, 03:58:20 PM »

Howdy.

Morfedel, I think we agree when it comes to sorcery.  I don't think I depicted magic as being popular in Taveruun by any stretch... The closest I came was saying that nobles who wanted to beat Otamarluk at any price would possibly be interested in magic.  I'm sure there are a few nobles who are sympathetic to that, and I am sure there are more than a few Taveru wizards, but magic is certainly seen by the population is bad, evil, & scary, be it a human magician or a Fey of some form.  What are your other points of disagreement?

As for the wall.... I haven't touched that issue myself.  Personally, I'll defer to Jake, for equal parts 'it's his game' and 'makes a lot of sense to me.'

The Church as a tie-breaker makes sense to me, though it is still just part of the whole scene involving the Church and the government.

I forgot or didn't know that the Sultan doesn't see Taveruun as a legitimate country. That makes things interesting.  As for the help inside, maybe it is out-and-out traders, maybe there is a small but illegal movement for the Seven Vows (be it within the cities or the rural areas).

So far, it seems the biggest issue of debate is the form the fortifications against Otamarluk take.  I honestly don't know enough about history or military history to be much help on that subject.
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Poenz
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2003, 04:58:26 PM »

The PBS show Warrior Challenge had an episode on Roman legionaries which took place at a reconstructed mile fort on Hadrian's wall.  As I recall, it has some great shots of the wall as well, showing how it varies in height and efficacy.  There's also a good description of it here at the National Heritage site:

http://www.hadrians-wall.org/about.htm

It would make a great locale for a campaign; I can't wait to see what you guys come up with for it.

And yeah Jake, inhibitive is a word.  And the distinction you make is a good one, in that it is inhibitive rather than prohibitive.
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Gary_Bingham
Member

Posts: 65


« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2003, 03:30:19 AM »

I am willing to concede on the actual make up of the wall, I think that we have bigger fish to fry, and my vison of the wall is not that much different to Jake anyway. A ditch and a road, with a fair amount of wall and a number of forts and fortress. Oh and a lot of knights and soldiers.

Mike, do you want to make a editorial clarification to help us move on to more substantial content?
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2003, 05:25:53 AM »

Nick:

I guess my one protest concerning magic was the Diplomancers. I didn't think it would fit the theme of magic in the world in general, and Taveruun in particular.

I agree with you, however, that desperate nobles might turn to any sorcerous aid they can find - which presents an interesting opportunity. Imagine if they found a sorcerer who was willing to help, but had a price....

As a side note, I actually was working on my region, and planned to integrate the idea of a sorcerer playing his merlin to my region's arthur. So, you see, I have no protests against sorcerers - it was just the idea of any guild operating inside the Taveruun borders.



As for the fortifications issue, now that Jake has signed in with his vision of it, that gives us more to consider - it doesn't really sound that impressive or effective, AND they are ignoring them anyway, in order to hit Dardanet.

So, here is a question: other than the occasional raids, are they even paying much attention to Taveruun? I'm beginning to get the impression that maybe they aren't - or rather, before our so-called Year One here, they hadn't, but that's about to change?
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Gary_Bingham
Member

Posts: 65


« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2003, 06:06:57 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
I guess my one protest concerning magic was the Diplomancers. I didn't think it would fit the theme of magic in the world in general, and Taveruun in particular.

Okay! Okay!
I'll ditch the term Diplomancer. Sheesh! Is it only my stuff you guys don't like? *

Though for the record, the whole point of this small group of individuals was to use magic but more often mundane subterfuge in a subtle and clandestine manner. The power behind the thrones of the old empire.

Rare individuals, powerful but unseen magics, secret societies, and Old World meddling in New World affairs. Someone tell me why this doesn't fit with with Weyrth or Taveruun.

Quote from: Morfedel
As for the fortifications issue, now that Jake has signed in with his vision of it, that gives us more to consider - it doesn't really sound that impressive or effective, AND they are ignoring them anyway, in order to hit Dardanet.

I don't think the wall, even as Jake described it is unimpressive, ineffective or ignored. No invasion force is going to leave a sizeable army behind their lines to raise havoc with lines of communication and supply. If the wall contains the Marmaluks to just raiding, it is a very successfull venture. Think, even if the wall was complete and a mile tall, would it be effective against keeping the Marmaluks out? No, I say they would invade Sarvastra and come in that way. So are you going to wall off Sarvastra too? No diplomatically that would be a disaster for potential trade partnerships.

* Only joking keep the comments coming :)
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2003, 06:41:47 AM »

Quote from: Gary_Bingham
Quote from: Morfedel
I guess my one protest concerning magic was the Diplomancers. I didn't think it would fit the theme of magic in the world in general, and Taveruun in particular.

Okay! Okay!
I'll ditch the term Diplomancer. Sheesh! Is it only my stuff you guys don't like? *


I almost missed your little note at the bottom. Whew! :)

I don't dislike your stuff; I just liked your sorcerer's organization. And don't get me wrong, I thought the term Diplomancers was kind of clever. However....

Quote

Though for the record, the whole point of this small group of individuals was to use magic but more often mundane subterfuge in a subtle and clandestine manner. The power behind the thrones of the old empire.

Rare individuals, powerful but unseen magics, secret societies, and Old World meddling in New World affairs. Someone tell me why this doesn't fit with with Weyrth or Taveruun.


Becaue, in my mind's eye, sorcerers are SO rare that I wouldn't think that an organization of any kind would really happen.

Let me put it to you another way. In the mythology revolving around King Arthur, there were two sorcerers that are most commonly acknowledged: Merlin and Morgana Le Fey. Now, that's only two sorcerers, in all of England, and they each had their own goals, their own motives, and were a far cry from forming a brotherhood.

Remember: The Gift occurs in one out of every 10,000 people, according to Jake's text. One in 10,000. That is exceptionally rare.

Now, lets add to this the following: My impression is that the Gift is an accident of birth, not one of education. Hence the name Gift. Maybe that is not what was intended, but that is the impression I've garnered - otherwise, we would eventually see a far larger number of sorcerers rising from exactly what you suggest - the beginning formations of sorcerer's societies training others in their footsteps, and increasing the numbers.

So, if we accept the premise that sorcerers are A) rare, and B) an accident of birth, what comes next?

Well, for starters, either somehow the sorcerer and the apprentice gets together, and the former starts training the latter; otherwise, the burgeoning apprentice starts exploring his talents and trains himself. It isn't clear in the MRB how a sorcerer comes into his own; it also isn't clear how one sorcerer can recognize someone with the gift readily, except perhaps hearing stories of that young lad who accidentally blew up his father's cow and is now on the run from the inquisition....

Now, with all this in mind, a society of sorcerers would imply they all have similar goals, have gathered together for mutual benefit, etc. But, with the previous assumptions and perceptions I've just listed, I don't see that as happening easily or readily.

Think on it. A sorcerer is incredibly powerful. Powerful enough that, given a few seconds, he can bring the mightiest of warriors to his knees... or worse. And he can do so without ever laying eyes on the man, if he so desired.

Another sorcerer, however, will have the same ability, and at an unknown level of strength. He has motives that may well be hidden and unscrutable. Meanwhile, perhaps so do you; sorcerers, I'd think, would be a secretive and protective lot, holding their secrets close to their chest.

A quick glance back at  birth, also: remember, a sorcerer may have been born a noblel, but may have just eas easily, and perhaps more likely, to have been born much poorer. There are a lot more serfs than nobles, after all.

So, now we have:

A) Rare
B) Gifted by Birth (and unlikely to have been born to privilege)
C) Difficulty in identifying each other
D) Each having their own motives
E) Being Secretive, perhaps almost to the point of paranoia when faced with a potential rival.

And this in a society dominated by a religion that hunts and persecutes them, and in a society that is admittedly superstitious and paranoid.

I just think that there are too many reasons that a society of sorcerers would develop almost nowhere in Weryth at all. In fact, I believe that Gelure, along with a couple of countries that practice "pagan" beliefs, may be the only places this might occur.

I do think, however, that it might be possible for there to be loose, tentative, short lived alliances for benefit. And, perhaps, the very rare alliance that remains a bit stronger. Think of the movie Excalibur, before Morgana betrays Merlin... he was in love, or lust, with her, and still he distrusted her, not revealing all his cards, until Excalibur was thrust through the heart of the dragon, so to speak.

That is the kind of environ I see sorcerers walking in. Secluded, loners, throughout most of the world, with some very few exceptions (such as Gelure), keeping their cards close to their chest, their secrets closer, and opening up only with great caution, and never with full commital to unknown quantities.

Quote

I don't think the wall, even as Jake described it is unimpressive, ineffective or ignored. No invasion force is going to leave a sizeable army behind their lines to raise havoc with lines of communication and supply. If the wall contains the Marmaluks to just raiding, it is a very successfull venture. Think, even if the wall was complete and a mile tall, would it be effective against keeping the Marmaluks out? No, I say they would invade Sarvastra and come in that way. So are you going to wall off Sarvastra too? No diplomatically that would be a disaster for potential trade partnerships.

* Only joking keep the comments coming :)


Hm. I don't know. On the wall issue, Jake has already sounded off. I'm just feeling uncertain on how things would proceed in the future. IF Otamarluk has been simply bypassing the walls and fortresses, and hitting Dardanet, while ignoring Taveruun's defenses, is Taveruun in serious danger from Otamarluk after all?

And for that matter, since Otamarluk is on a counter crusade, and Taveruun is so strongly tied to the Imperial Church, why HASNT Otamarluk been hitting them? Even if they consider Taveruun their own territory, its currently held, it seems, by Taveru in alliance to the Church....
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Gary_Bingham
Member

Posts: 65


« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2003, 07:11:46 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
I almost missed your little note at the bottom. Whew! :)
Becaue, in my mind's eye, sorcerers are SO rare that I wouldn't think that an organization of any kind would really happen.


What I think we have here is different viewpoints. All I guess that means is that we are going to have very different campaigns. Vive la diference!

But there is a precedent set by the rulebook. Take a look at the adventure hooks in the Seneshal chapter for a reference to a secret society dedicated to magic. Note also that this is a society of intellectuals.
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Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2003, 08:32:28 AM »

Quote
On the wall issue, Jake has already sounded off.


Argh...see, that's why I don't like to comment of this stuff.

As long as it gels with the book, your guess is as good as mine.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2003, 09:44:21 AM »

OK, sorry to be gone over the weekend. Time to catch up.

On the timeline issue. I'm siding with Gary on this one. Not that the region wouldn't have been called Taveruun, prior to his dates, but that the current incarnation of the government would have been said to have been established at the later date. Governments change over time, and three centuries is actually a long time. Taveruun would be old at three centruies. No country lasts a thousand years undisturbed. Essentially if you want it to be realistic it has to be more complex than most RPG supplements usually make the situation.

On the overall issue of Ottamarluk. First, I included the Marluk opinion in the merchant's tale. That is, I mention the time issue above, because at some point and time, the Marluks had some claim on the land of some sort. Doesn't even have to have been substantial. But enough that they have the attitude. I agree that there are probably factions or at least grassroots support in places in Taveruun for the Ottamarkluk invasion. I'm thiniking the North East especially. It does mention that someone is paying tribute. My thought is that this is likely the NE, and possibly the East as well. Or perhaps the East, sensing invasion has cut off payments.

The will to war on neighboring nations has to be strongly motivated, or it does not happen. The idea that Ottamarluk would take over Taveruun just because they probably could have at some point is misguided. They're are always catalyzing events that cause these things. As the history of this world would have it, that time is now as part of the overall Counter-Crusade.

On the subject of Ottamarluk and Dardanet, I'm going to assume it's an accurate statment, and explain it. And it's not hard. I've explained this before, but Renaisance warfare was nothing like modern warfare. Armies were nowhere near as large as they can be. This is due to a lot of societal and technical limits, but suffice it to say that armies to not fight along "fronts". They are instead points of power that are maneuvered about.

As such, I have no problem with the idea that the Marluks have just been marching across Taveruun regularly over the last century to do war with Dardanet. The Turks did this constantly in the same period in RL Europe. Nick implies that they avoid the populace, but that's probably inaccurate. Normally the MO is to go from town to town on your way and take all their food. Otherwise feeding an army is nigh impossible.

But, you say, wouldn't that raise the ire of the country? Funny though it sounds, no, it wouldn't. Yes, the local lords might get uppity about it, but there's likely nothing they can do about it. Their 1/8th of the total forces of the country probably can't take on the whole Ottamarluk army which we know is probably twice the size of it altogether (no lord can attack at 1 to 16 odds).

But, you say, wouldn't the other lord's come to the defense of their neighbors? Funny though it sounds, no, they wouldn't. This is a feudal society. Largely these things are considered the local lord's problem. Looked at their way, the Marluks aren't there to take over, so why bother trying to stop them? That'll only make you weaker when you have to defend yourself against an actual take over thrust. Even if all the forces of Taveruun came, they'd still lose, and they know it. And such an assault would cause the Marluks to then take over. So nobody has made any bones about the depredations of their passinng over the country. Welcome to the realities of renaisance life.

Feudal society makes formation of armies very difficult. There are no "national" armies. Each lord keeps a certain small number of men under arms for his purposes, but the mass of most armies are made from peasant levies. Basically such societies don't produce enough surplus wealth to have standing armies of any size. And given no King, there's no central army at all. This is very much like many areas of Europe in the renaisance. Notably all of what is today Germany and Italy. Lots' of small polities each with their own agenda, and only loosely allied. The Holy Roman Empire was almost not worth mentioning as a unifying force in Germany for example. I'll get back to this in a bit.

The key fact, here, however, is that the Suul'taan has figured out a system that does allow for a standing army. The two to one ratio refers to total manpower in the country. But it doesn't account for the relative efficiencies of the systems. If the Marluks are anything like the Turks (and I have to use that as a reference point), they have this feudal system that's much more centralized. Essentially rather corrupt officials are put in charge of territory based on them being able to squeeze it hard enough to produce enough wealth to ensure that a larger portion of the manpower available can be produced in times of war, and larger numbers can be kept under arms at all times. So that 2:1 ratio converts to something probably more like a 4:1 ration when the shit hits the fan (sounds like a lot, but compared to, say, the Chineese, even these guys were amatures).

Now, when there's an all out war coming, will the nobles of Taveruun ally? Probably to some extent. But a lord who finds himself not on the path between Ottamarluk and the other Imperial realms may deign only to send money as his contribution. Especially if they remember how they were left defenseless when the Marluks trampled their territory on the way to Dardanet. I see the upcoming war as more like a 10:1 in most places in favor of the Ottamarluks.

Anyhow, so why doesn't the wall stop them? Because these sorts of walls are completely ineffective in the long run. I happen to know a lot about this subject. Walls are built for exactly the reasons that Nick said. They are a statement, and more to prevent raiding and such (horses are hard to get over walls), than to prevent actual invasions. The Great Wall was built theoretically to keep out the Mongols. It was so ineffective that the Mongols ruled China for a long time after it was built, as it happens.

They do serve as early warning systems, however. That is, if an army is coming, usually they'll be detected at the wall, and message can be sent to form an army to meet the foe. I assume that Gary's story was of a city that formed up it's defense after the invading army was sighted at the wall.

I ascribe to Jake's descrtiption of the wall, however, not just because he's Jake, but because China had the most massive manpower working on this project ever. Read that again: more people worked on the Great Wall of China than any other single project in the history of the world. In rough terms there were about a million people building it at a given time, another million watching those people, and the rest of the population (only a few more million) of China doing nothing but providing food and services for the effort. Taveruun probably doesn't even have that manpower, much less the ability to organize it. In any case, knowing that such a wall is absurd, and mostly a statement, the people building the wall for an actuall fight would make it locally strong at important points. Basically think of it as a chain of forts. These can individually be effective.

It's good for the Marluks that they'll have those 10:1 odds, because of this, however. Because if they didn't they'd be likely unable to take Taveruun cities and forts without siege. And they're going to need to do so. If they intend to be in Xanaruim, or even half way there before a couple of years have passed, they're going to have to be able to take cities by assault. And if you want to do that without incurring massive casualties, you need about 10:1. Even at that rate, casualties will occur, and that will attrit their numbers.

Worse, in any campaign, your numbers are attritted by other considerations as well. Defection increases as time goes by. Food and disease become more of a problem the farther from home you get. And they have to go through a few more countries after Taveruun before they get to their goal. So they're going to have to bring the whole enchilada. Which means that unless they get some sort of coalition support from the other Imperial nations, it's going to be just a question of how large a roadbump Taveruun provides on the way to Xanaruim. Once again, if Taveruun weren't Imperial, I'm sure they'd just march through it relatively unmolested, and continue on. It's only because they see Taveruun as an ally of the Empire that they're going to smack it at all on the way as a way to secure their rear (and rectify the "ownership" problem once and for all).

Does that clarify a vision for what's going on?

Smaller points here:
On Sorcery. I agree that sorcerers will be as underground as possible in Taveruun (for all the reasons listed), and that Guilds will be rare if they exist at all. Rare enough that we ought to leave that to GMs to add. That said, rules are meant to be broken, and nothing hilights a vaccuum like an exception.

The economy is not "rocky", it's merely being absorbed by things like the wall fortifications.

The Church probably does act as a centralizing agent to an extent, but again, I don't see it constituting a goverment or anything. It merely keeps Taveruun one big feudal federation. One thing we have to keep in mind are Fealty ties, and that hasn't been expanded upon. I don't see the Highlords as equals (that's rare no non-existent in feudal societies). I do see them sitting in conclave occasionally, however. A "Council of Highlords" or somesuch.

Nick, your stuff about the Urban/Rural is cool. Considering that most countries are predominantly Rural, the presence of those valley towns, and whatnot are what makes Taveruun so "Urban". I see this as a primary strength of the country. It's rather "industrialized" overall in that it probably produces lots of goods.

Taveru military might will probably be in it's chivalry. Knights are still the Feudal lords best troops, and quite effective on the field of battle. The problem is the cost of maintaining knights. They are, therefore, rare. This is why I proposed the non-noble cavalry. Kinda knights-light. OTOH, about half the Ottamarluks will be armed this well, so they're also stopgap.

Sorry that all jumps around so. I'm trying to cover as much territory as possible.

Mike
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Morfedel
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2003, 10:51:40 AM »

Quote from: Gary_Bingham
Quote from: Morfedel
I almost missed your little note at the bottom. Whew! :)
Becaue, in my mind's eye, sorcerers are SO rare that I wouldn't think that an organization of any kind would really happen.


What I think we have here is different viewpoints. All I guess that means is that we are going to have very different campaigns. Vive la diference!

But there is a precedent set by the rulebook. Take a look at the adventure hooks in the Seneshal chapter for a reference to a secret society dedicated to magic. Note also that this is a society of intellectuals.


Oops! I forgot about that! :)

I still don't like it though, so there! :P

:D
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Morfedel
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2003, 10:57:27 AM »

Ok Mike, I can go with that in all areas except for this one thing:

Quote
The economy is not "rocky", it's merely being absorbed by things like the wall fortifications.


I'm going to pull a quote from the book, page 177:

Quote

Economically, it is beginning to destabilize the country, though they are not considered poor.


Ok, maybe rocky economy was a bit strong, but I think you can see my point that they are beginning to feel the stress of their situation on an economic standpoint. That section goes on to discuss how they arent selling any food, as they are in need of food and weapons to supply the army, and they need every little drop they can.

That, to me, says that times are getting tight, and are growing tighter by the month.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2003, 11:14:57 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
Ok, maybe rocky economy was a bit strong, but I think you can see my point that they are beginning to feel the stress of their situation on an economic standpoint.
This is all semantic. IME, every country at this sort of tech level that gears up for war feels these sorts of pressures. Taveruun doesn't seem exceptional one way or the other to me in this.

As soon as you mobilize men in a Feudal state, you're taking away farmers and craftsmen. Mostly farmers. Which means that for every man you take, someone else has to feed them. For societies where agriculture is such that people have to worry about famine regularly anyhow in bad years, war always causes these economic problems.

Given the federated nature of the country, however, I would see this as potentially a bit destabilizing in terms of Feudal requests for resources being honored. Let's say West owes fealty to East. East asks for soldiers, thus honoring their oaths. West, worried about increased piracy this year (or whatever the local problem is), has manpower needs of their own. Requests for men to go off to their deaths is never popular with a lord. They can be convinced by the idea that they'll be next if they don't send men, but it doesn't make for easy politics. Tensions are bound to be high...

Mike
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