Author Topic: Fading Isles: Basic Concept  (Read 8000 times)

Esav

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2013, 11:43:15 PM »
Privateers in service of lord so and so would be more accurate. this would be a good RP element for bastard borns to earn a family name, and to be awarded land.

De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2013, 11:48:30 PM »
Okay to flesh out a bit on my previous topic


  • The over-arching concept I had was that our nobles are exiles. They have ended up with island holdings not by choice, but necessity. True to their noble sensibilities though if you ask them they swear that it was of their choosing, as they wished to challenge themselves and prove their worth.
  • Culturally I was thinking a group that is fiercely self sufficient. This feeds into the sub-realm independence, while they practically see the need for uniting, they are also trying to hold on to their own power and thus in most cases the central authority is weakened. Unless outside events force them to act otherwise, the sub realms are quite happy with games of intrigue and power plays amongst themselves.
  • Dynamic Traditionalist. I am still fleshing this out but the general concept is that we have a very traditionalist culture. However in a nod to the practical mindset, and the necessities of island living, while they appear hide bound they actually can be quite flexible. Things to remember is that for the most part they would be cautious about change, although they have been known to be quite radical and quick changing on occasion, which leads to
  • Unpredictable. Like the weather and conditions that dominate their lives the nobles of the Island are unpredictable. Their gods are representation and personifications of things like the winds, the ocean and its currents. This should be an occasional thing like, more like a unexpected typhoon. It happens enough that they have a reputation for it, but no so common that others are unwilling to deal with them.
  • Fate is also a very important aspect to the islands. Things like prophets, auguries and portents are very important. This plays into both their unpredictable nature (they will quickly change their stance if unfavorable portents appear) and the dynamic Traditions stance (again they will drop a tradition quickly if the fates appear to require it)
Realm Influences
  • Weak central ruler, somewhat similar to the popular concept of the Irish High King. While Tom has said he isn't keen on competition for this position, perhaps if the position was for life, or was held by a family until its demise, at which stage competition for the position would begin. Of particular interest may be the sacred connections the Irish High Kings whom supposedly married a goddess. Our own King could be tied in some way to the Ocean Gods, either through something like marriage, could claim to have the Ocean gods blood in some way, or the ability to demand fealty from the Ocean gods.
  • Many Oriental cultures are Island based, such as Korea and Japan. Borrowing elements from these culture would help forge a sea based realm that isn't the stereotypical viking raiders.
Troop Composition
  • Given their strong maritime needs cavalry and heavily armored infantry are a rarity. Crossbows are also relatively difficult to use on a ship deck (or so I am given to understand, the reloading on a moving deck being the issue)
  • Strong reliance on archers and medium infantry.
Sub Realm Ideas
     Please note that I made these idea's before Tom stated how many islands we are likely to have. I also make some assumptions about resource distribution that may never be true. Finally the names are just random.


Island of Sileni
  • Largest island in our chain, large enough that the ruler of this island has 2 or 3 sub-realms under him.
  • Largest Producer of wood, thus of vital importance to the entire realms ship building efforts
Obviously this realm should be a real contender to dominate the others, with its advantage in man power, land and the strategic resource of wood. So what limits it?
  • Relatively poor in metal
  • Ancestor Worship. This group has a strong ancestor cult. In particular the actions of the living have a direct impact on the holdings their ancestors control in their death plane. While it is possible to make gains for their ancestors by acting against those not on their island, the biggest gains are to be made against those that practice the same ancestor worship. Thus the nobles are content to scheme against each other rather then attempt to dominate the realm.
Island Mercia
  • Has Mountain regions
  • Main Source of Metal for the realm
  • While most the realm use metal predominately for weapons, the abundance this island has sees them emphasize heavy infantry to a degree that is rare amongst their peers
  • Very militant culture. They are also more then willing to act as mercenaries for the other island realms, providing a core of heavy infantry for a price
Trader Islands
  • I'm not a huge fan personally of a mercantile culture, since trade is so abstracted in this game and we don't actually build ships. In my opinion this places a burden on RP to carry these elements that I have rarely seen maintained for any length of time. However it is obvious that there is a strong desire for this element, this is my idea of a compromise, a sub realm dedicated to it
  • Confederation of a few of the smaller islands
  • As each island is small and unlikely to be completely self sufficient they have developed a strong culture of trade
  • They are also quite willing to take what they need by force, though this is rarely done under their own flag.
  • More then any other group they emphasize the aspects of fate and weather religion due to their heavy reliance on the sea.


     
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De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2013, 11:57:42 PM »
Privateers in service of lord so and so would be more accurate. this would be a good RP element for bastard borns to earn a family name, and to be awarded land.


And how will this play out without a real concept of ships? Raiding enemy territories? The concept of a Privateer was a method to raise ships for war that did not require the crown resources and/or committing naval officers to oversea them. This would be hard to apply to a realm that is already going to be at a possible disadvantage in terms troops without a major city. In general it requires a significant amount of forces being provided by private groups. So far as I can see the Island nations while not particularly united in a single realm are meant to be reasonably united and the sub realm level. Will privateers thus be sub realm forces given letters of "marque" by the central authority to act on behalf of the realm in general?


We are also talking about a concept that came into play during the 16th century, and so was not part of most the medieval period. It actually grew out of the need for merchant groups to field their own forces to protect themselves against increasing pirate activity, when national navies were unable to provide the level of protection needed. Originally the crown gave permission to these private merchant groups to attack pirate vessels only. However when war came about it didn't take the Monarch long to realise that these were a resource they could use.


Generally I am against concept like this, because all to often they lead to people thinking more in a Caribbean pirate mindset then a medieval one. Pirates and Privateers like it or not a popularly linked to that time and place.
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Vellos

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2013, 05:42:15 AM »
Pirate lords makes no sense.


Medieval vessels aren't the semi-professionally crewed caravels of the age of exploration, or the large galleons of later. Galleys, cogs, longships, knarrs, those are the vessels to be considered. To manage a business operation either requires share-holder rowers (in the implicit Viking model of co-plunderers and traders) or slave-rowers, especially given the difficulty of setting wages in a pre-monetary society with little conception of contractual term employment for labor rather than skills.


When we think of boats, we should be thinking about who rows them. That leads me to think it's a slave-holding society. That means its a society with functioning marketplaces, at least some degree of raiding probably, and strong class divisions. Like the Athenian colonies of ancient Greece.


I dislike the idea of nobles as exiles. They're nobles. Plus the exilic persecution mentality doesn't fit well with the other attributes we've discussed. Theres nothing maritime or mercantile about that identity.


I also dislike the idea of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficient groups don't develop extensive maritime cultures. That would make no sense at all. The only reason you sail beyond your shores is if you have an excess of something or a need of something. Having lots of small self-sufficient islands is boring for gameplay too; we need islands that are doomed if they go their own way. That creates a natural economic logic to the realm: we can feud and intrigue all we want, but we MUST band together to survive on some level. Plus, non-self-sufficiency forces trade, which forces in-game maritime activity.


I like the idea of the ruler being quasi-divine; symbolically united with the sea. Maybe the ruler is viewed as an incarnation of the ocean god?

De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2013, 06:35:35 AM »
Pirate lords makes no sense.


Medieval vessels aren't the semi-professionally crewed caravels of the age of exploration, or the large galleons of later. Galleys, cogs, longships, knarrs, those are the vessels to be considered. To manage a business operation either requires share-holder rowers (in the implicit Viking model of co-plunderers and traders) or slave-rowers, especially given the difficulty of setting wages in a pre-monetary society with little conception of contractual term employment for labor rather than skills.


When we think of boats, we should be thinking about who rows them. That leads me to think it's a slave-holding society. That means its a society with functioning marketplaces, at least some degree of raiding probably, and strong class divisions. Like the Athenian colonies of ancient Greece.


I dislike the idea of nobles as exiles. They're nobles. Plus the exilic persecution mentality doesn't fit well with the other attributes we've discussed. Theres nothing maritime or mercantile about that identity.


I also dislike the idea of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficient groups don't develop extensive maritime cultures. That would make no sense at all. The only reason you sail beyond your shores is if you have an excess of something or a need of something. Having lots of small self-sufficient islands is boring for gameplay too; we need islands that are doomed if they go their own way. That creates a natural economic logic to the realm: we can feud and intrigue all we want, but we MUST band together to survive on some level. Plus, non-self-sufficiency forces trade, which forces in-game maritime activity.


I like the idea of the ruler being quasi-divine; symbolically united with the sea. Maybe the ruler is viewed as an incarnation of the ocean god?


One can be self sufficient, while still desiring either luxuries, or more resources then they can reasonably expect from their own holdings. Just because I have a iron mine doesn't mean I don't want more iron for example. Look to medieval trade, predominantly it is things like expensive fabrics, spices and the like for long range trade. You need to define exactly what self sufficient means. Part of my concept, which I left out, is that escalating hostilities threatens their self-sufficiency, as materials such as metal and probably wood are going to be needed in amounts they just can't provide. This requires them to look to the mainland for expansion, while at the same time their traditions have them hesitate, worried that main land colonies will soon become "soft". You will also notice that I tried to make the island dependent on each other for what supplies of wood and metal exist. The larger realm is self sufficient in terms of providing some level of adequate resources, each sub realm would not be. This internal trade need would promote a need for ships even if we no outside trade was engaged in, which is unlikely since no matter how much you have, generally you want MORE of something.


In terms of exiles. Exiles from WHAT should be the question. We have plenty of examples of English and Scottish lords being exiled to France and the opposite. As was stated in


http://forum.mightandfealty.com/index.php?action=post;quote=8154;topic=1229.0


we are establishing new holdings entirely in this game world. Would it be a stretch that the nobles that move to the islands either in part or in total are nobles who for whatever reason chose to set out and establish new holdings rather then chafe under some sort or treaty and restriction placed on them at home? Being exile WITHIN a nation might preclude a maritime or mercantile identity, though I don't see it being so rather it simple doesn't automatically lead to one. However when you have a nation of exiles? Well if they came from a a maritime/mercantile society, there is a good chance their new society would follow in that tradition, so long as circumstances warrant it. Position is likely to be the key here, as it was with Italian mercantile states and things like the silk road cities. If you are situated along trade routes, you make use of that location. Again though I stress that the abstract nature of trade in the game could well relegate mercantile identity to RP only. I might be wrong but I don't see a island nation being able to secure a surplus of trade streams that we can then on sell, unless we control islands sitting between to land masses.


Finally with regards to needing slave rowers. Ships like the Knarr and Cogs relied mostly on sails for propulsion. While they had the capacity to be rowed when needed, that was a short range possibility only. I'm not saying we don't need the concept of slaves to crew the ships, simply that viable wind powered ships existed, without going to the 15th century for ships like the Carvel or Carrack.
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Aurelius

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2013, 10:47:19 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Drake


Privateer= pirate with the blessing of a king/queen.  Pirates became privateers and privateers became nobles.

De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2013, 12:17:52 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Drake


Privateer= pirate with the blessing of a king/queen.  Pirates became privateers and privateers became nobles.


I have always wondered about this. Several English Privateers of the era were knighted. But the British Honour system was in place by then also. I've never been able to find out if they were given honorary knighthoods under the Honour system or true knighthoods that would have raised them into nobility.
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De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2013, 12:20:13 AM »
Another quick idea. Tie the rulers "weak" power into having some sort of control over trade. This could be either by royal decree and tariffs, the royal house "owning" all the trade ships, some sort of link to the "divine" nature of the ruler and his "ability" to grant clear seas and safe passage or some combination.
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Foxglove

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2013, 05:52:58 AM »
I like the idea of the ruler having some sort of link to the divine. Perhaps through some sort of symbolic marriage to a sea goddess or god. Drawing an idea from Celtic mythology and history, we could have a council of kings, with each king ruling a sub-realm, who meet to elect one of their number as High King or Queen for as long as they live. The High King would then undergo a ritualistic marriage to the goddess to give them spiritual and earthly authority to lead the combined realms.
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De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2013, 06:13:04 AM »
I like the idea of the ruler having some sort of link to the divine. Perhaps through some sort of symbolic marriage to a sea goddess or god. Drawing an idea from Celtic mythology and history, we could have a council of kings, with each king ruling a sub-realm, who meet to elect one of their number as High King or Queen for as long as they live. The High King would then undergo a ritualistic marriage to the goddess to give them spiritual and earthly authority to lead the combined realms.


Which particular Celtic culture do you refer to? I borrowed the idea of Irish mythology since there is significant doubt about some of the "history" surrounding the Irish Celtic Kingdom and the High King.
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Vellos

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2013, 06:33:02 AM »
In terms of exiles. Exiles from WHAT should be the question. We have plenty of examples of English and Scottish lords being exiled to France and the opposite.


But not whole populations for the most part.


Would it be a stretch that the nobles that move to the islands either in part or in total are nobles who for whatever reason chose to set out and establish new holdings rather then chafe under some sort or treaty and restriction placed on them at home?


That kind of origin narrative we'd need to coordinate across realms. If we claim we're exiles and the neighbors claim they're the First Men and the other neighbors claim they've been there for eons, sure there could be some neat RP for some folks who like to have absolute narrative chaos, but that doesn't work for most folks. Deep origins on how the nobility came to be the nobility will have to be worked out among all three realms in order to create a meaningful initial narrative.


I might be wrong but I don't see a island nation being able to secure a surplus of trade streams that we can then on sell, unless we control islands sitting between to land masses.


Or we just make a habit of being better-traveled than other people. Which fits with the trader-mercantile type, but not exactly the embittered exile.

Finally with regards to needing slave rowers. Ships like the Knarr and Cogs relied mostly on sails for propulsion. While they had the capacity to be rowed when needed, that was a short range possibility only.


All ships had sails for the high seas, even longships and galleys. But Medieval ships aren't deep-keeled and don't require extremely deep harbors: being able to sail up some rivers an maneuver local harbors is a big deal. Also, in the age before more advanced sails, military maneuvers would be almost entirely done with oars, not sails.


It's precisely these dynamics that made longships so famous: they could sail much further up-river than most ships. And that made them invaluable for trade, because they could rapidly reach otherwise inaccessible ports. It also made them deadly for raiding, because areas not traditionally struck by raids could be.

De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2013, 07:18:18 AM »

But not whole populations for the most part.


We aren't a whole population, several families and perhaps some retainers. Unless you want the narrative to include the "men" as new immigrants as well.

That kind of origin narrative we'd need to coordinate across realms. If we claim we're exiles and the neighbors claim they're the First Men and the other neighbors claim they've been there for eons, sure there could be some neat RP for some folks who like to have absolute narrative chaos, but that doesn't work for most folks. Deep origins on how the nobility came to be the nobility will have to be worked out among all three realms in order to create a meaningful initial narrative.

There is not a real reason the three realms need a common background or source. Besides that Tom stated that the nobility are new arrivals, thus the need to establish the realms from basic settlements.


Or we just make a habit of being better-traveled than other people. Which fits with the trader-mercantile type, but not exactly the embittered exile.

There are many types of exiles, not all of them are hard on there luck or embattled. Besides which exile is not an entire story. What are they exiled from, what sort of culture did they once belong to. Unless they have been continuous exiles/refugees it will not be the entirety of their identity.

All ships had sails for the high seas, even longships and galleys. But Medieval ships aren't deep-keeled and don't require extremely deep harbors: being able to sail up some rivers an maneuver local harbors is a big deal. Also, in the age before more advanced sails, military maneuvers would be almost entirely done with oars, not sails.


It's precisely these dynamics that made longships so famous: they could sail much further up-river than most ships. And that made them invaluable for trade, because they could rapidly reach otherwise inaccessible ports. It also made them deadly for raiding, because areas not traditionally struck by raids could be.

While correct, that is a vast oversimplification of the advantages of the longboat. In particular it reliance on oars worked because as a raider you wanted a large crew compliment. The Knarr was designed in part to provide greater cargo capacity while requiring fewer crew. Sure it was still square sailed, but it relied was for the most part able to operate solely using it.

The point is that during the time period, while various ships did require significant rowers, there were certainly other options with thier own advantages and disadvantages.
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Foxglove

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2013, 07:25:06 AM »

Which particular Celtic culture do you refer to? I borrowed the idea of Irish mythology since there is significant doubt about some of the "history" surrounding the Irish Celtic Kingdom and the High King.

It doesn't really matter which Celtic culture. It's just about the idea itself. We're creating a fictional world, after all. We can draw inspiration from as many sources as we like and fashion it into a reasonably convincing fictional culture.
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De-Legro

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2013, 08:16:50 AM »
It doesn't really matter which Celtic culture. It's just about the idea itself. We're creating a fictional world, after all. We can draw inspiration from as many sources as we like and fashion it into a reasonably convincing fictional culture.

Just helps be uses I can look up more info. Celtic culture stretches back to the Bronze Age. There is massive scope within all that.
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Esav

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Re: Basic Concept - for discussion
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2013, 01:38:26 PM »

  • The over-arching concept I had was that our nobles are exiles. They have ended up with island holdings not by choice, but necessity. True to their noble sensibilities though if you ask them they swear that it was of their choosing, as they wished to challenge themselves and prove their worth.

In real-life, we "exiled" a bunch of convicts to Australia. I'm using exiled loosely here, since a prison colony isn't really an exile. But that is what this idea reminds me of. Exile would imply simply means cannot return to the place they left. A prison colony means you aren't allowed to leave.

But the idea of a prison colony is a rather interesting one. We were all shipped in from the Kingdom of Kepler. When news reached our captors that the Kingdom of Kepler had been conquered, we rebelled. After slaying our captors the leader of our rebellion, Sir Thomas Vogt, founded a realm of former convicts in a loose coalition. Each man wanted to be his own master,  but we agreed we had to stand united, and that there must be a body to keep the peace. Sir Thomas was gifted in leadership, and had lead us to freedom. And so he was chosen to be the body that keeps the peace between these men who wanted to be their own master.

And its a bit of a stretch, but we could say there were multiple prison colonies. Where you were sent was dependent of the nature of your crime. Our colony had to do with theft, embezzlement, and other commerce related crimes. The Kingdom Kepler was very strict - all crimes were met with the same punishment.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 01:42:56 PM by Esav »