Which Byzantine Era would you prefer to Play in?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Continuing Free Low-Tech Service Delivery

Hello to those who still manage to find this blog. Sorry but I will not able to update this regularly. All GM tools i will be developing related to Low-Tech worlds and setting (defaulting to Historical and Non-Fantasy Fiction) will be part of my own Add-on GURPS Low Tech Worlds book.

The Books' Current Charter:
In order to achieve the goals of the document, there will be material and tools GMs can easily draw from to populate and develop their Low-Tech worlds. These materials should be able to allow them to provide rich details that take very little time to develop, which are impartial through the use of die rolls, and allow games to escalate natural from micro to macro scopes.

The material will include Character templates of various professions and archetypes common across a wide variety of spectrum of eras and culture. Some of these character templates will also have Economic Templates, like sample assets, like Load Outs (combat load and marching load), domestic assets, and some will have House-hold income statements that give a more detailed look of economic and political relationships. Other than equipment, sample infrastructure can now be created using GURPS 4E Low Tech Companion 1: Kings and Philosophers p.15 Building Monuments to LTC2 Fortifications and LTC3 Buildings and Architecture.

The tools should also have notes on how they are to be used. It should take in to consideration weekly budgets for GM preparations by giving sample schedules in Personal Timeboxing format. It also should give notes regarding how players can participate in the game preparation, increasing the shared game investment to a point where all have a stronger stake in making the game work.

Basically it is a shared content book that is meant to maximize and provide the most usefull examples and tools for Low Tech world building and adventure planning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Poll and Byzantine History Podcast

I hope visitors would answer the poll. The eras aren't specifically tied to their emperors or leaders. There are many points in the history of Byzantium that people of great motivation was needed, or sound counsel would have made the story less tragic and more hopeful.

The Podcast of the 12 Byzantine rulers by Lars Brownsworth is a great introduction to the empire, simply because its so easy to fit in a busy schedule.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Sins of the Crusade Genealogy

This is the Sins of the Crusade Genealogy. Looking at the Game of Thrones Genealogies I think I have a lot of work ahead of me to populate it. Even looking at 11C families during the crusades is a head ache.

Medieval Army Sizes Reflection

A player once proposed I use the most optimistic force numbers found in historical sources. This is a pretty big problem especially when there is a tendency for croniclers to multiply the forces of an enemy or someone elses army by 3, 5, 10, 20 and 100 fold.

The most optimistic size of the first crusade force at 1098 is 600,000! (oldenburg p86) lately i've been listening to Kenneth Harl's Era of the crusades and double checking other sources, the biggest force one can assemble in the era was 30,000.

Since According to Harl, the turn of the 11C was when economically comparable the Imperial Roman era 20-30k is one of the largest forces assembled in that era. Note also that Byzantium with TL4 organization is as productive as Europe with their TL3 Agriculture/Food Production. TL3 food production is 50% greater than TL2 (Roman). It was TL2's organization allowing for greater distribution of metal tools that made their economies equal. If you combined Byzantine TL4 organization and TL3 Economy probably 100% economic output theoretically speaking. 11C to 13C is when centralized bureaucracy and professional meritocratic military were not anymore monopolized by the Romani.

When Saladin finally got Cairo and the wealthiest holdings, his force numbers were at 30,000! This is Cairo, the flood plain cities of the Nile have 3x the output of most Mediterranean cities. I'm not sure if Bagdad was included, but it was a city as Big as Constantinople before the Mongols sacked it. Robert II of Sicily could mount 30,000. So I'm biased to think the wikipedia citation of 30,000 + 5,000 knights for the first crusades.

GURPS wealth after Status 4 or Filthy Rich starts going up in multiples of 10. When you look at the armies of the crusades the differences between Barons (the more complicated hierarchies came after the first crusades, arguably as a result of the crusades) Dukes (Duchies), Princes (Principalities) and Counts (Counties) had army size difference of 50% increments.

Knights meant 1 knight meant 1 mounted horseman and 5-6 footmen. (oldenburg 86)
  • Godfrey 1000 (600 main force, Baldwin 200, and Eustace 200)
  • Raymond IV 1000 (commanders unknown)
  • Robert 1000
  • Robert 700
  • Stephen 700
  • Bohemmon 500 (300 main force, Tancred 200)

This means economies or holdings are 50% bigger than each other. So we begin to notice a problem when Status levels jump at increments of 10, when the most active economic concentrations was at wealth levels of Status 5 to 6.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Sack of Constantinople 1204AD post Mortem

the Sack of Constantinople at 1204ad can be considered the end of the centralized and perpetuating bureaucratic organism that remained since the fall of Rome. The seizing of the most irreplaceable assets of the city, its highly skilled professionals cannot be recreated until the colonial era.

Population before the Sack: 1M to 700k
Gross Annual Income of the Capital: est 50,000 marks (GURPS $32M)
Total Movable Asset Liquidation: est 800,000 marks (GURPS $512M)
Total Technological Assets (in Artisans) siezed:
  • Ship Builders
  • the Byzantine Mint
  • Luxury Textile Industry
  • Weapons Manufacturing Industry
  • Basic Tech Infrastructure Industry
  • Loss of Port Rights to the Genoese and Venetians
  • TL4 Administration destroyed
Special Notes
  • 800 years worth of assets
  • All Tech advantages of the city destroyed, those tied to physical assets transplanted.

4th Crusade
Final total for the Venicians Services 85,000 marks (13.6M english silver pennies; around 1M hyperperions; GURPS $54.4M)

Treated to Service
  • 4,500 Knights
  • 9,000 Squirers
  • 34,000 Infantry with horses
Only less than half attended, creating a huge debt to the Venetians.

useful benchmarks and comparisons:

Constantinople before the Sack of 1204
Wealth Multiplier of x4,000 (Wealth Status V-4.5)
Around GURPS $32M per year
Competence-11
There was a very steep decline after the murder and destruction Comnenian dynasty

Constantinople in its revival under Alexius in 1095
Wealth Multiplier of x 5,000 (Wealth Status V-5)
Competence-13
The empire and resources as a whole is a separate matter.

Constantinople under Justinian
Wealth Multiplier of x 5,000 (Wealth Status V-5)
Competence-15 (Tribonian)
Source:
The Teaching Company: Era of the Crusades by Professor Kenneth Harl

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

e23: GURPS Crusades

e23: GURPS Crusades: "The Crusades lasted nearly two centuries, and their effects are felt to this day. These wars were a time of conflict, an era of secular and religious crisis, and an age of adventure. GURPS Crusades presents all the information you need to bring this exciting period to the gaming table:"

Holy Crap! After checking out the preview right now, I'm buying it.

Update...
This took a while to accumulate but, if anyone is a history buff who wants to play a 1st Crusades Campaign there is very little reason not to anymore.

Harn Manor, Check!



Thursday, November 25, 2010

GURPS Low-Tech in my games

e23: GURPS Low-Tech Its been a while and finally its arived. I'm a month late to hear the news but still a definite buy for me.

I've borrowed some Harn books and will try to learn the system, but will stick to gurps but use the freebie material of Harn.