Demographics

Some new users joined my game recently, and I realized that I didn’t have a good overview of races and populations. One also pointed out that I didn’t have an RTJ thread, either. So it seemed like a good time to start putting things right.


Overview

The game area is a heavily human centric place and the vast majority of people are human.  The main noble houses are human, as are most of the lesser houses and the people who populate towns and cities.  Dwarves and Halflings are the largest minority races, with limited representation of other races.   However, as always, half-elves and half orcs are disproportionally represented among adventurers.

Humans

There are six major Noble Houses. Each (rightly or wrongly) claiming a royal heritage, and all with a slightly different outlook on life.

House Surtova

House Surtova have a reputation as bullies – historically they were traders, pirates and brigands from Ioberia who conquered much of Northern Brevoy and ruled with an iron fist.  They aren’t liked very much by the other houses.  They now rule Port Ice, a large city in the north-west – but also claim the title of King-Regent and are the most powerful noble house –  by a long way.

House Garess

House Garess was once a powerful house of Ioberian settlers, they were an ally, and subordinate, of  House Surtova.  They controlled the flow of metals through an arrangement with Clan Golka (a Dwarven Clan) and were a strong house.  However, Clan Golka’s mines and holdings were lost, and House Garess has been diminished.  Once strong and proud, they are now one of the weakest houses and are trying to find their new place in the world. They still control a large area of mountainous land in the west, from a small city known as Greyhaven, and still have an allegiance (some would say dependency) on House Surtova.

House Lodvoka

House Lodkova control the islands and coastal areas in the north-east, from a small city called Winterbreak, they have a reputation as fishermen and traders.  Historically, they were Ioberian settlers and there is more than a little pirate in their background, which some say has seeped through to modern life.  Much of their land was once ruled by the Surtova, and the two houses are still in completion as traders on the Lake of Mist and Veils.

House Orlovsky

House Orlovsky emigrated from the city of Orlov in Ioberia centuries ago, and can claim one of the longest noble pedigree of all the houses – and they know it.  They established themselves in a northern mountain holding and ruled it as kings from their fortress town called Eagle’s Watch.  Many years ago, part of their lands were conquered by the Surtova, and although the Orlovsky have recovered most of it, they still bear a bit of a grudge.  With few trading resources and poor land, they are one of the weaker noble houses.

House Medveyd

House Medveyd are another house of Ioberian Settlers, this time in the west of Brevoy.  They came via mountain passes and paths through the Icerime Peaks and are a ‘rural’ house made up of smaller clans of farmers and hunters.  While the Duke rules from a large fortified Town called Stoneclimb, the original clan structure remains and it is, perhaps, the most egalitarian of the Noble Houses.  Never ruled by the Surtova, they were heavily influenced by the Aldori and have formal treaties with some of the Orc tribes along their borders.  The whole area has a Celtic/Highland feel to it.

House Lebeda

House Lebeda are one of the newest houses and only have about 200 years of history.  When Choral conquered the region and unified Brevoy this area was a disorganized mix of Ioberian and Taldan settlers, each going their own way.  The Lebeda only rose to prominence after the conquest.  They are a house of traders and farmers, and have a merchant house that works the East Sellen between New Stetven and the rest of Avistan.  They still retain elements from both cultures,  are independent and are among the strongest followers of Abadar (the merchant god).  They rule their region from a large fortified town called Silverhall, but have a significant presence in the capital city of New Stetven.

House Aldori

Mainly composed of Taldan settlers, House Aldori have a long history in this region and ruled the whole of the Rostland plain before Choral’s conquest.  For two hundred years they have been in decline, but are now making a comeback.  Countess Jamandi Aldori rules in East Rostland again, and they have a strong presence around the region, and many Aldori are based in the Free City of Restov, which was once their capital.  They are farmers and ranchers, but proud and with a strong duelling tradition.

Other Houses

There are a number of other lesser noble houses, some with strong magical affinities, spread around the ‘free’ areas of Brevoy.  Most, such as House Cartan and House Ventus, are based in New Stetven, although House Rogavia-Green and House Varn, both in the North East are worthy of Note.  House Khavatorov is an Aldori offshoot, once aligned with Choral’s House Rogarvia, now much more aligned with House Aldori.

The Cities

There are two cities that are that don’t fall under the complete control of one of the noble houses.

New Stetven

New Stetven is one of the largest cities in the whole region,  a metropolis, and right in the middle of Brevoy.  It is nominally under the control of King Regent Noleski Surtova, although his grip on it is weak.  It is a thriving, bustling place with many districts and businesses.  It is a cosmopolitan city made up of people from all races – although the vast majority are human.  However, there are people from all the major noble houses, a good number of lesser houses, and huge numbers of ordinary every-day folks, from all classes.

Restov

A large city in the south-east of the country, it was the capital of old Aldori nation of Rosland.  Now it is a free city with its own Mayor and council.  However, there is a very strong Aldori presence in the city and, politically, it is aligned with the other Aldori holdings.

Religion

Pharasma, Abadar, Erastil, and  Gorum are the main deities worshipped.  Pharasma has many followers in the countryside, Abadar is king of the cities and some merchant houses, Erastil is strong in the south-east, while Gorum is strongest among the noble houses in the north.

However, just about every faith is represented somewhere in Brevoy.

Dwarves

Dwarves are the second most populous race in Brevoy, and The Golka Clan were once ranked among the most powerful of groups.  However, their main holdings were ‘lost’ about 15 years ago, and they are working their way towards recovery.  The Golka are a super-clan –  made up of a number of smaller clan and family groups, who associated under one leadership.  Now that leadership is gone, but the dwarves have a natural tendency to work together for the benefit of all Dwarves (That is what a LG racial alignment does for you).  So there is a concerted effort to ‘better’ themselves and their race – still under the banner of ‘The Golka’.

There are many smaller clans and groups within The Golka (such as the Silverhammer, Bouldershoulder, Stigmar and Thaddeson families) but none are, currently, significant enough to detail.  Many still take a name associated with the Golka super-clan.

Home areas

While there are no great Dwarven holdings any more, there are four places that have a good-sized population, although they are not, generally, a majority.

Brundeston

Brundeston is a small hill town, with some metal resources in the east of Brevoy.  It is a free town with many Dwarves.  It is the only place with a Majority Dwarf population and just over half of the residents are Dwarves.

Restov

Restov has a large Dwarven district known as Dwarf Town, with a majority Dwarf population and have their own representative on the council.  Dwarf Town is renowned for its metalworkers, weaponers and armourers – Weapons and Armour from Dwarf Town are sought after.

Greyhaven

Clan Golka used to have a very strong presence in Greyhaven, and the lost Mines were located in the Duchy.  There are still a lot of dwarves there, working in various mines and foundries –  but vast majority are working  for humans from House Garess.

New Stetven

There are many dwarves in New Stetven, some work for other people, while a number run small businesses – normally associated with metal or stonework. While they do have a Dwarven Network, they keep a very low profile and rarely act together as one body.  After all, this isn’t the time to upset the rest of the city, and especially not the King-Regent.

Halflings

Halflings are everywhere – just not in very big numbers or in positions of authority.  Many are servants, farmers, small holders, shopkeepers or even ship’s crew – but you can find Halflings in just about every form of employment.  Many came from the south, fleeing tyranny and oppression – although many families have been here for two or three generations and are well settled now.  However, there are still Halflings arriving in Brevoy and the Stolen Lands now, with most travelling north along the River Sellen trade routes, then making a final push into Brevoy via Jovvox, the gnome settlement to the south. 

Half-Orcs

There is only one known half-orc settlement (in the far east of Stonewall) and that is tiny.   However, there is a smattering of half orcs most places, with a few more in Stonewall and Greyhaven.  As always, a disproportionate number of Half-Orcs leave home to seek their fortune – and many join adventuring parties.

Stonewall

The Medveyed of Stonewall have treaties with Orc tribes in the Icerime Mountains– or at least some of the smaller clans do.  A number of villages have Half-Orc residents, and (although rare) Half-Orcs are not seen as ‘unusual’ in most of the towns.

Greyhaven

Greyhaven ‘s territories extend into the Goluskin Mountains and there are frequent clashes between Orc tribes and the Greyhaven army.  However, there are more peaceful interactions as well and, while half-orcs are treated with some suspicion, there are enough around that they aren’t unusual.

Half-Elves

There aren’t all that may Half-Elves in Brevoy, because there aren’t many elves in Brevoy either.  Even if they aren’t born there, most of the Half-Elves finish up in New Stetven or Restov – because that is where the action is, and they are both fairly cosmopolitan environments.  Many are born in the cities as The Free Cities of Brevoy are  always an interesting stop for Elves doing the ‘Grand Tour’.  In the cities there are plenty of willing partners, of either gender, willing to help travelling Elves spend their cash.  Which is one of the reasons why a lot of city half-elves come from broken homes.  Some elves stay for longer, but few manage to live out a whole lifetime in the fast-paced human world, that doesn’t leave them time to think.

As always, a disproportionate number of Half-Elves leave home to seek their fortune – and many join adventuring parties.

New Stetven

The Metropolis of New Steven is busy, bustling and cosmopolitan.  Half-Elves barely get a second glance, and often feel at home here.

Restov

Another large city, it is cosmopolitan and the laws aren’t particularly intrusive.   Half-Elves do not stand out, and can fit into society fairly easily.

Gnomes

There are very few Gnomes in Brevoy.  There is a colony to the south, at Jovvox, but very few fancy lining in an oversized, and over regulated, human world.

Elves

There are no Elven settlements in Brevoy, and the nearest Elven state is hundreds of miles to the south at Kyonin.  Kyonin is an isolationist state and doesn’t allow other races into their lands, nor do its residents move to other nations, with short-lived populations.  Many Kyonin Elves travel to see how the short-lived ones lives and behave – but they generally return to their homeland fairly quickly.  Some, who become the parents of half-elven children stay for a while, perhaps 20 years or so, before they return.  Many males don’t even realize they have fathered a child, and move from town to town and assignation to assignation – and there is never a shortage of company to help them spend their travelling money.  Female Elves often have a similar lifestyle, but they understand the value of taking Night Tea regularly.

There are a few, longer term, more caring relationships, of course – but nowhere near as many as there are casual relationships.

Troops

And now I have gone back to thinking about the mass combat rules.  I like the concept –  no pseudo-war games – but the battle as a backdrop for character/party action that helps to decide the outcome of the overall battle.  However, I have never been happy with the mechanic that I was playing with – which always came down to a single d20 roll.  I couldn’t get a modifier system that I was happy with, nor a reasonable range of outcomes without being very manipulative.  But recently I came across the Troop ‘monster’ subtype.  Possibly I ‘came across it again’, but this time saw how I might be able use it.

However, it made me think about Defence and how I use Defence Points in my Campaign Rules.  Settlements are pretty much controlled by 4 starts.  Economy (Econ) or how much Money is floating around, Loyalty (Loy) or how much the rulers are liked,  Stability (Stab) which to do with the populations state of mind and Defence  (Def) which is all about how safe the settlement is.

There has always been some overlap between Def and Stab, and more advanced Defensive Building give Stab points, but most Stab points come from institutions such as courts, jails, granaries etc. 

The Watch

At the most basic level Def is all about protecting the population from local threats.  The village watchtower sends out troops to patrol the surrounding lands to keep bandits, predators and monsters away.  They are the guys who clear out the beetle infestation or deal with the goblin raiding party, they might also help chase out herds of elk, or other creatures, that are eating all the crops.  They also break up fights (etc) in the village and the Sergeant acts as a low level magistrate to help resolve disputes.  In a town or a city, they guard the gates, patrol the streets, disrupt burglaries and perform other basic security functions.

In other words, they defend the population from local threats through a mixture of small scale military and policing actions.  This led me to model The Guards on the gendarmerie system   of full time soldiers who serve (most of the time) as a ‘civilian’ police force.  The Guard are basically patrol men, who can operate as Light Infantry, should the need arise.  These guys make up the bulk of any settlement’s defensive force.  Just about all troops from Watchtowers and the town/city walls are guards.  Most of the time they walk patrols, stand by the gate, and break up disturbances – low-level military policemen, not all that different from the population they serve. 

The Campaign Rules say that any settlement with Def 2+  is able to patrol the surrounding hexes as well. There aren’t that many benefits from it, but it means that you will know as soon as a Goblin Clan move into the hex next door, and gives you a tentative claim on that land. It is particularly helpful in wilderness areas.  However, that implies that the second defence point is used for Scouts (either infantry or cavalry) to carry out regular patrols over those areas.

So, the first two Def points of any settlement, and all Def Points from watchtowers and walls should be guards/scouts –  all ‘light’, gendarme style, troops. 

Another option in the rules, allows settlements to employ marines to patrol lakes, waterways, harbours etc.  Unlike R/L, marines in my Campaign Rules are a Soldier /Sailor combination – warriors with Profession:Sailor as well as Profession:soldier who act more like militarized coast guards than anything else.  All units based at Military Jetties are Marines, and they follow the same basic pattern as the other Light Infantry Unit types mentioned. 

Militarized Policemen in peace time, who serve as rank and file Light Infantry / Cavalry when war comes.  The Guard, The Scouts (Foot & Cavalry) and the Marines make up The Watch – and are all L3 warriors with light weapons and light armour.  See The Black Watch for the origins of the name.

The Army

The army is a different kettle of fish – as Professional Soldiers they don’t have a local job in peacetime, instead, they practice, go out on exercises and hone their abilities.  They are a slightly higher level than the watch and have better equipment – which makes them more of a force to be reckoned with.  While they don’t do every day policing, they deal with incursions, insurrection, riots and other large threats that might be difficult for the watch to deal with –  and they are in the front line if there is a war.

The Army is composed of L4 Warriors with better equipment.  Those with Medium Armour and weapons that do d8 damage are classed as Medium Troops and cost 2BP.  Those with Heavy Armour and weapons that do d10 damage are Heavy Troops and cost 3bp.

Overall

That works for both the Troop subclass rules and my Campaign Rules.  It balances up the costs of extra equipment for better quality troops, and gives Players a choice of how to build their army.  Cool.

The only problem is how to charge people for these more advanced troops?  The more I think about it, the more I am tempted to make them upgrades.  Example:  A brand-new barracks (Def:2) comes with  two troops of Light Foot.  However, for 1 extra BP you can upgrade a ‘light’ troop to a medium troop.  Spend another BP (Now or later) and you can upgrade the other light troop to medium OR upgrade the medium troop to Heavy.  And so on …

Beer and Ale

For some reason I have been thinking about making alcoholic beverages this morning.  Perhaps it is because I was talking to someone who is into home brewing recently, and that made me think about making some home brew of my own again.  In the past, when work has been slow, I have made beer, wine and mead – but I always stopped when work got busy again.  Now, I have more time on my hands again, and home brewing has become an option again.  Then I realized that my game rules doesn’t really cover small scale brewing at all.  So some modifications were in order, and this is my latest take making booze.   

Note, however, that it is heavily biased towards my game world, and uses ingredients that are commonly available there.  While broadly correct, in terms of process and history, don’t take it as real-world reliable.

In my world you can buy

  • Small Ale:  Weak, watery and hardly alcoholic (<1% ABV)
  • Local Ale:  Just called Ale it is a  ‘quaffing’ beer that is fairly bland but drinkable (3% ABV)
  • Named Ales: Such as Poachers Pale, River Run Sweet or Cheerful Delver Stout – which are much more flavoursome and keep well – but are more expensive.

This is how they are produced.

Background

Beer, in RL, has been made for millennia and generally refers to an alcoholic beverage made from grain.  It really doesn’t matter what the grain is and, historically beers have been made from all sorts of different cereal crops although barley is the favoured grain for modern beer making.  The process is fairly simple, prepare the grain by sprouting and drying it, soak it in water, boil for a bit and add yeast, then leave it for a while until you get beer.

Now that isn’t very good beer, and it doesn’t keep for all that long – BUT it is safe to drink because the brewing process has killed off the nasty bacteria that might have been living in the water.  To improve the flavour and make it last longer you add a gruit, –  which is just a name for a set of ‘herbs’, often controlled by what is available locally.  For specialized and consistent beers with a longer shelf life, gruits were replaced with hops –  and you get the beers and ales that we know today.

So beers and ales in my game world …

Home Brewing

Just about every smallholding and country farm will make its own ale, for home consumption, from whatever grain is available (probably a mixture of maize, wheat and barley).  Most of it will be Small Ale, with little alcohol (<1%), for general consumption. There will probably be some stronger Ale made for festivals and parties –  but it won’t keep for long and has to be consumed fairly quickly.

Produce: Small Ale, Home-brew

Basic Brewing

Most towns and some villages will have a basic brewery (Craft Workshop) that produces ale, with a longer shelf life, for local consumption. Each basic brewery will have a preferred mix of grains available locally and use a locally sourced gruit to help preserve the ale.  In my world (not that it is important) the gruit is usually a combination of Mugwort and Ground Ivy – both traditional gruits that grow like weeds.  This Ale keeps for a reasonably long time and is supplied to local bars and restaurants, as well as being sold for home consumption

With a more sophisticated brewing set up a basic brewer is able to make a ‘second running’ brew.  Once the proper ale has been made, the grain/gruit mix is used to make a second batch of ale – although it is much weaker and less flavoursome than the original.

Produce:  Ale, Small Ale

Named Ales

If you want to make a named ale, rather than simple, generic ale – you need a brewery, the equivalent of an MW craft workshop specialized in making your recipe.  For the first time you need an expert Brewer, hops are introduced to the recipe and you get a consistent ale that will last for a long time.  Examples of named ales in my world include River Run Sweet Ale, Poacher’s Pale and Cheerful Delver Stout.  Because these ales last for longer, they can be transported over longer distances, and they may well be known across a region, rather than just being a local ale.

However, you now have an expert Brewer running things – and they can squeeze three runs out of the mix.  The named ale, a ‘local’ ale and then a small ale as well.  Which makes them ideal for large towns and cities.  After all, who wants to drink city water?  You never know what has polluted it.

Produce:  Named Ale, Ale, Small Ale.

Variants

There are a number of ways that ale can be enhanced.  Many small bars, which cater to less well-off patrons, sell ‘Grog ‘- two-thirds of a mug of small ale topped up with whatever is cheap and strong.  The small ale dilutes the ‘burn’ of the cheap spirit, and it is often laced with herbs to give it a bitter flavour.  It is cheap strong drink for the working man (or woman)

Ales and beers can also be distilled to make a Whisky variant, but I’ll write about distilling later