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Morien

BotE/W: Lots of damage (also, Squeezing)

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The Lots of Damage in Book of the Estate/Warlord are a bit ad hoc, and I think we can do a bit better. In particular, the drop of the Lord and Lady from Ordinary to Poor is just a flat £3, regardless of the size of the Estate, meaning that while it is -3 Lots in a £10 manor, it is a mere -0.1 Lots in a £300 honour. The standard of living for the rest of the people does scale with income, but while the step down to Poor is -50% to Ordinary, the step from Poor to Impoverished is just -25%, meaning the same relative change (half the before) is a smaller absolute change (-25% rather than -50%).

Finally, since the damage should also affect the Production (stolen horses and goods) from which the servants are paid from, you would actually need to save money in Servants at the same time you are making savings from the CR, or look at the total income instead, not just the CR.

So here is my suggested revision (more math in the very end), which should work for any landholding size:

Lots  Effect
-1       Lose Discretionary Funds.
-2       Servants drop down to Poor.
-3       The Lord and Lady drop down one level in Standard of Living (minimum Ordinary). The officers' bonus pay is reduced.
-4       The Court drops down to Poor.*
-5       The Army drops down to Poor. The Lord and Lady drop down another level (minimum Poor).
-6       Servants drop down to Impoverished.**
-7       The Court drops down to Impoverished. Sale of raw materials.**
-8       The Army and the Lord and Lady drop down to Impoverished.**

* A one-manor knight likely lets his Chaplain go at this point, being unable to afford such a luxury and preferring to keep his wife at Ordinary (or she will want to know the reason why!).

** Like it says in the Book of the Estate, you almost never see such perfect deterioration of circumstances. Rather than keep people at Impoverished, it is much more likely that the Lord downsizes his staff, letting people go. Of course, if times are bad all around rather than this being a result of a raid, this might mean sending people off to starve, but those are the breaks. Seeking extra income in the form of Squeezes (see below), adventuring, tournaments, raiding and war are also very likely. Especially in the case of raiding and war, if any of the knights or soldiers happens to die, that is one less mouth to feed the coming winter... so yay? Releasing retainers (squires, household knights and foot soldiers) from service costs honor (-3 Honor in Book of the Entourage) and risks banditry, as the armed men seek their sustenance in whatever way they can. So usually, the Army is the last to go, also because it is part of the vassal's duty to bring the Army to the muster when the liege calls.

 

SQUEEZING

Speaking of Squeezing, I think we erred a bit on the strict side on Squeezing, especially at the low end. After all, you want an evil knight to be able to be evil, right? As it is, Squeezing is more of a zero sum game, as you may lose Permanent Lots. With Squeeze 10%, you have 50% chance of losing what you squeezed, and that defeats the purpose. Squeeze 25% probably loses one Lot, too, and has a possibility of losing two, which means that he actually takes a total of -2 + -1 = -3 Lots of damage over two years. Squeeze 50% has the average result of -2 Lots (3 Lots of income lost over 2 years), but can lose 3 Lots, resulting in 3+2+1 = 6 Lots of income lost over 3 years. Squeeze 100% has average -4 Lots, resulting in 4+3+2+1 = 10 Lots of lost income over 4 years. The worst is -5 Lots, resulting in 15 Lots of lost income over 5 years, or a total of -5 'profit'. On the low end, Squeeze 100% can have -3 Lots, resulting only 6 Lots income lost over 3 years, a 'profit' of 4 Lots. Assuming in all cases that the recovery rolls are successful, which they might not be.

To make the Squeezing a bit more fun and tempting, I would drop the 1d2-1 roll from Squeeze 10% and have the penalties just be the adverse Trait rolls: it is tough to be a peasant in Uther's Britain, and if the Lord is just taking 10%, you say 'thank you, milord', and continue working (heck, it is even called 'Negligible'!). I would also make 25% Squeeze into a 30% Squeeze: we don't really use half-lots as it is and this makes it a bit more tempting to do. Although I would add +1 to the trait rolls, making it 1d3+1 rather than preferable to do over the 10% Squeeze one. I think 50% and 100% Squeezes are fine as they are: such harsh squeezing should potentially be damaging over the long-term and should definitely be more of a desperation move. In short, this allows the Player to embrace the Arbitrary and often Cruel nature of Uther Period by Squeezing his peasants a bit whenever he wants to, and just see his bad traits accumulate. Or they can be the good guy in a bad world, and then reap the benefits when Chivalry becomes more of a thing with Arthur.


Math:

Servants are 37.5% of the total income (CR+Production), so dropping them down to poor ought to be -18.75%, and down to Impoverished is -9.375% more. The raw materials can't really go down by itself, since it is a fixed cost, but I figure once you are letting servants go, you might have some back log.

Court is only about 12.5% of the total, so going to Poor is just -6.25%, and Impoverished is just -3.125% more.

Family is just 5%, and losing all of that knocks you down to Ordinary. Actually Poor if you have kids, but we handwave that now and assume that the Lady finds the money somehow: it is just £1 which is easily enough taken somewhere else. It is just extra £4 to keep a Baron Rich, which I think is reasonable from any honour. For one manor knight, most of the standard of living is coming from the Army expense anyway.

Discretionary Funds are also just 5% of the total.

Army is 27.5% of the total, so -13.75% for poor and another -6.875% for Impoverished.

So:
-1  No DF, -5%. The other 5% handwaved.
-2  Servants Poor, -18.75%. Total -23.75%. Slight overestimate, but close enough.
-3  Family down a level, -5%. Total -28.75% and a bit from Officers' Pay Bonus, which also ensures that they don't live better than the Lord and the Lady.
-4  Court Poor, -6.25%. Total: -35%.
-5  Army and Family Poor, -13.75%. Total: -48.75%.
-6  Servants Impoverished, -9.3%. Total: -58%.
-7  Court Poor, -6.25%. Total: -61%, but handwaving with the sale of raw materials.
-8  Army and Family Impoverished, -7%. Total: -68% + the sale of raw materials.

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I like the light  squeeze modifications. In  play I had a evil knight get a hold of a manor and it quickly became apparent that squeezing the peasants only made sense if the knight was planning on moving on once the ran the place into the ground, and the whole evil lord squeezing his peasants was counterproductive. 

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15 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

the whole evil lord squeezing his peasants was counterproductive.

Yeah, although you could add an additional proviso that if the evil lord is applying cruel collective punishments on the peasants if some of them try to flee (up to and including separating children from parents or men from women to ensure that husbands can't flee with their families), then it might be a bit more of a gulag, turning the peasants more into actual slaves. Especially if the land is hemmed in by an enchanted forest or some other such thing that escaping might not be such a sure thing, either, and that there would not be any recourse from a higher power (Count, Duke, King).

The squeeze modifiers kinda assume that there would be a possibility for a peasant to leave and have a chance of finding a plot of land to farm under a kinder lord, or some manual labor in a town. You could even apply 'The Anarchy' modifier by reducing all Lots lost by one or so to reflect that the peasants value the security more during those turbulent times.

Anyway, with the fix in the first post, the Evil Lord can do Negligible Squeezes all he wants, doubling his DF. Light Squeezing would become a defacto +2 Lots yearly, tripling the DF (until you roll a 3, losing 2 Lots, and then you have to take it easier the next year to fix the damage). But of course with NPC Dark Lords you can go even further like the suggestions in the first paragraph: assuming that those would translate to something like a reduction of Lots lost by 2, then he could pretty much be doing 50% Squeezes yearly and double his army, especially since he is likely not spending all that much money to a civilized court, either. Again, it might not be a stable situation over the long term, but it could very well work for a few years, long enough to make a pest of himself, get some reputation, and for the PKs to hear about it and come kick his ass. :)

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On 11/30/2019 at 12:19 PM, Morien said:

-7  Court Poor, -6.25%. Total: -61%, but handwaving with the sale of raw materials.
-8  Army and Family Impoverished, -7%. Total: -68% + the sale of raw materials.

Just realized that my math was a bit wrong on these last two steps (and no one called me up on it!). I think I was working with a couple of variants and didn't correct these two lines before I posted. I got it right in the bolded effects summary, so people probably didn't bother with math. :)

-7  Court Impoverished, -6.25%. Total: -64.3%, but handwaving with the sale of raw materials.
-8  Army and Family Impoverished, -7%. Total: -71.3% + the sale of raw materials.

 

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11 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Does the lots effect on court, army and servants affect the lord in any way?

Not directly, if it is temporary. However, if it is a chronic situation, expect some servants & courtiers getting laid off, which I would expect to impact on the Glory that the noble gets from his landholdings. Also, the knights start grumbling, especially as their horses don't fare too well if their upkeep is cut for long. So I'd pretty much see a situation that something like -1 is almost negligible, since it is just from DF. Then after that, -2 and -3 are something you can do, but -4 and -5 starts to be iffy on the long run. Anything past -5 had better be just a one-time thing, and probably results in mass lay-offs anyway to keep the army and the family at least on Poor.

Also, I would treat tribute as Temporary Damage, and allow stewardship rolls to stretch the resources out a bit (Supply Replacement, ESTATE p. 46).

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It might affect their loyalty, or even cause the  knight to lose status.

For the servants, It would be like working some someone who cut your wages. You might accept it as a necessity, and/of if there was an obvious reason or it, but it if kept on you'd probably stand to think that their liege doesn't know what he is doing.

And since "maintaining the manor" is part of a knights duty as a vassal, others might start to think the same as the servants. Technically speaking a liege lord could even view it as a failure of the knight to do his duty and even take the manor back! It's unlikely, especially if there is some outside factor that causes it, but generally speaking a knight running a manor into the ground not only reflects poorly on him, but also reflects poorly upon his liege and impacts the liege's income, the king's and any supported religious institutions. . 

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45 minutes ago, Morien said:

Also, I would treat tribute as Temporary Damage, and allow stewardship rolls to stretch the resources out a bit (Supply Replacement, ESTATE p. 46).

I understood from an answer you gave me in other topic of the forum that tribute is just measured in libram, not damage!😂

Otherwise they couldn't pay it from their treasure instead of the income...

Edited by The Wanderer

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1 hour ago, The Wanderer said:

I understood from an answer you gave me in other topic of the forum that tribute is just measured in libram, not damage!😂

Otherwise they couldn't pay it from their treasure instead of the income...

It is value in render = food and livestock and clothing and all that stuff. Mind you, they can pay it in silver, too. One of the years in GPC explicitly states the Saxons driving cattle off as tribute in addition to a payment of silver.

So if I were using BotE, I would allow the Stewardship roll to make up for the 1 Lot of damage, whether it is livestock and harvest destroyed/stolen by a raid or given to Saxons as tribute. (Since the tribute is per manor, this means that for a typical £10 manor, 1 Lot = £1, so they are equivalent). Now, we are using our own houserules for the harvest and such, but I do let them get +£1 on a successful Stewardship, so it is pretty equivalent, except that in our campaign, the PKs can get that +£1 even if there is no damage/tribute.

Also, since the harvest/maintenance accounting is done at the Winter Phase, it really doesn't matter that much. Either the PKs are able to make good of some of the damage, or they will just use £1+ from their treasury to buy food and stuff to make up for the missing Lot(s).

Edited by Morien

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So for one tribute, lets say it is 2 Lots (£2)... next Winter, if they roll a successful stewardship roll they will recover just 1 lot... and therefore income would be £9 instead of 10.

That means that they will carry with the consecuences of the tribute two years!! Am I saying right?

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45 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

That means that they will carry with the consecuences of the tribute two years!! Am I saying right?

It is temporary damage, so it doesn't carry over.

1st year: Pay 2 Lots of tribute, recover one = 1 Lot of damage = just lose discretionary funds.

2nd year: 0 damage, since it was temporary. Pay 2 Lots of tribute again, fail recovery, = 2 Lots of Damage = lose discretionary funds and short some of the servants, no biggie.

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On 11/30/2019 at 12:19 PM, Morien said:

Lots  Effect
-1       Lose Discretionary Funds.
-2       Servants drop down to Poor.
-3       The Lord and Lady drop down one level in Standard of Living (minimum Ordinary). The officers' bonus pay is reduced.
-4       The Court drops down to Poor.*
-5       The Army drops down to Poor. The Lord and Lady drop down another level (minimum Poor).
-6       Servants drop down to Impoverished.**
-7       The Court drops down to Impoverished. Sale of raw materials.**
-8       The Army and the Lord and Lady drop down to Impoverished.**

How would yo apply this to "basic" knights with only one or two manors (and therefore they live as ordinary knights)? With -5 lots they're impoverished?

(Every time I see this "shortage consequences" I see it applied to rich knights)

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1 hour ago, The Wanderer said:

How would yo apply this to "basic" knights with only one or two manors (and therefore they live as ordinary knights)? With -5 lots they're impoverished?

(Every time I see this "shortage consequences" I see it applied to rich knights)

Let's see. First off the knight would lose his discretionary funds, then the knight and his lady would drop down two standard of living (probably down to poor) and all his servants, troops, and court officials would be poor.

Now in actual play I'd expect most PKs to simply make up for the shortcoming by spending treasure they have acquired over the years. Much better to sell of that gold goblet or spare charger and live according to your station than look like a beggar. But that assumes the PK actually has some treasure to sell off. 

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25 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Let's see. First off the knight would lose his discretionary funds, then the knight and his lady would drop down two standard of living (probably down to poor) and all his servants, troops, and court officials would be poor.

I think, that if they are already living as ordinary and drop down to standard of living they go down to impoverished, not poor...

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There is a reason that the minimum drop is to Ordinary at -3 Lots, since this is just the removal of the Family Expense, which is 10% CR (= -£1 = 1 Lot). If the Family would drop to Poor, that would be -£3 and more importantly, they'd live at a worse level of maintenance than the Chaplain and be equivalent to the foot soldiers. That simply would not do. A couple without kids would simply be able to afford to forego that 1 Lot family expense since that would have gone to kids anyway. A couple with kids would probably kick the Chaplain out (£1 expense = 1 Lot) in order to keep the kids fed. -5 Lots would just see them all Poor, with the Chaplain having gotten the boot if there are kids.

But like Atgxtg said, it is much more likely that the PKs would be paying the temporary losses out of their loot, in order to keep the place functioning at the normal capacity.

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So, if they are ordinary by default, then ... is there no damage to the standard of living of the family until -5 lots (when they drop to poor)??

I don't know if I understand it well 🙈

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2 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

So, if they are ordinary by default, then ... is there no damage to the standard of living of the family until -5 lots (when they drop to poor)??

Correct. For one-manor knight, the -3 Lots becomes "Kick out the Chaplain" or (if childless) "Lose the £1 you saved from not having to support your kids".

Here is the point: The PK's ordinary upkeep of £4 comes out of ARMY expense, and the Lady's £1 upkeep comes from COURT expense. The children's ordinary £1 upkeep comes out of FAMILY expense. The rest of the FAMILY expense is just extra upkeep, so losing that will drop them to ordinary. (However, for Barons, this extra upkeep is around £30, so dropping £27 and keeping £3 in the back pocket for Rich is an OK abstraction.)

So for 1 manor knight:

-1: Lose DF

-2: Servants Poor

-3: Kick out the Chaplain to keep the Kids at Ordinary

-4: Kick out the Lady's Maid to keep the Lady at Ordinary

-5: Army (i.e. the knight himself, squire and 3 footmen) drop to Poor, and the rest of the family follows suit.

Edited by Morien

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4 minutes ago, Morien said:

-5: Army (i.e. the knight himself, squire and 3 footmen) drop to ordinary, and the rest of the family follows suit.

How could they drop to ordinary if they are already ordinary? I think I'm missing something... 🤔😅

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54 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

How could they drop to ordinary if they are already ordinary? I think I'm missing something... 🤔😅

No, it was a typo on my part. I corrected it now to Poor.

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Could a PK with different manors do different squeezes on them? For example a negligible one on his main manor and light squeezes on his second and third manors. Of course he would have to roll consequences 3 times...

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10 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Could a PK with different manors do different squeezes on them? For example a negligible one on his main manor and light squeezes on his second and third manors. Of course he would have to roll consequences 3 times...

If they are treated as individual manors, then yes. And given how they have different statuses it is probably best to keep them separate. If all were patrilineal grant manors, it would be possible to treat it as a de facto estate, a super-manor worth £30 and 1 Lot = £3, with one 10% Squeeze netting just one set of rolls on consequences (traits and damage). GM choice. What I might do is the base the Trait roll on the highest squeeze even if they are separate manors, just to keep things consistent.

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25 minutes ago, Morien said:

What I might do is the base the Trait roll on the highest squeeze even if they are separate manors, just to keep things consistent.

I was thinking of making him roll three times (for he does three squeezes, one per manor...) is it too much?

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7 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

I was thinking of making him roll three times (for he does three squeezes, one per manor...) is it too much?

As I said, the problem with that is that he might end up many more trait rolls than he would if he'd own a single £30 estate. As an example, if he is doing a 10% squeeze in all 3 manors, this is monetarily equal to a single 10% squeeze of the £30 estate. But if you roll the traits separately, this is 3d2 traits checked, rather than 1d2 traits checked, and that is inconsistent to my sensibilities as the GM. Why does the fact that they are legally separate manors rather than a single estate of three manors matter on how morally wrong it is? So my GM call is that the trait roll would be based on the highest squeeze you do and rolled just once. If you do smaller squeezes in other manors, I don't care as far as your traits are concerned. However, the Holding consequences would be per holding/manor, of course, depending on the squeeze category you do on THAT manor.

Edited by Morien

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