Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
The Wanderer

Why hire mercenaries?

Recommended Posts

Yet another question...

Since mercenaries are much expensive (according to BotM, as I coudn't find them anywhere...) than mesnie... why would anyone hire mercenaries for one month instead of upkeeping soldiers for one year, for almost the same price? 🤔

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BotM is outdated. See GPC instead.

There are, at least, two good reasons:

1) You need the extra forces NOW.

2) You are honor-bound to keep the household troops (mesnie, including the footsoldiers) in your service: they have sworn their allegiance to you, in return you have sworn that you will see to their upkeep. Dismissing them without a just cause costs Honor. Like the saying goes: a household knight is for life, not just for a summer.

Thus, hiring a mercenary knight for a campaigning season is MUCH cheaper than swearing in another household knight for a couple of decades whom you don't really need past this summer.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To save money in the off years.  Realistically, in some periods, I think lords would be likely to maintain large a mesnie due to the general unrest.  In others, they would want to save money for manorial development or whatever. It would depend on the level of unrest and potential for armed conflict.

I think mercenaries are also overpaid (relative to historical levels) in KAP. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Morien said:

BotM is outdated. See GPC instead.

Where are prices of the mercenaries on GPC? What page?

8 minutes ago, Morien said:

2) You are honor-bound to keep the household troops (mesnie, including the footsoldiers) in your service: they have sworn their allegiance to you, in return you have sworn that you will see to their upkeep. Dismissing them without a just cause costs Honor. Like the saying goes: a household knight is for life, not just for a summer.

Where does it say that in the rules? I cannot find it.

 

8 minutes ago, fulk said:

To save money in the off years.  Realistically, in some periods, I think lords would be likely to maintain large a mesnie due to the general unrest.  In others, they would want to save money for manorial development or whatever. It would depend on the level of unrest and potential for armed conflict.

But mesnie is cheaper. If someone would like to save money they wouldn't hire mercenaries, as they are very expensive!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, fulk said:

I think mercenaries are also overpaid (relative to historical levels) in KAP. 

 

Personally, I like the levels so that mercenaries are more expensive than household troops in the short-term (i.e. during the campaigning season), but cheaper in the long-term (since you don't pay for them when you don't use them).

Whether GPC's £2 per month per knight is a tad too high can be debated. I keep vacillating between £1 per month per knight (thus about £4 per campaigning season) and £2 (£8 per campaigning season). I am also toying with a model of £1 (or £2) hiring fee + £1 per month to make it less cost effective to just hire a merc for a month, as naturally the merc would prefer some job security as well, and is likely losing employment opportunities between short gigs. I generally play it by the ear a bit: if everyone is hiring mercs, costs are high, but if the kingdom is at peace, then mercs are more easily and cheaply available as they have harder time finding work. I would imagine that many might become robber knights after the big wars are over, hence giving Arthur's knights something to do!

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Where are prices of the mercenaries on GPC? What page?

For example, p. 228. I didn't check if the table is repeated elsewhere or not.

24 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Where does it say that in the rules? I cannot find it.

It is hinted at throughout the book. Such as p. 183: "An Impoverished household knight is not required to remain loyal to his lord since, under the feudal oath, his lord promised him sustenance." Then we can go to p. 94 where we have: "Breaking an oath –3" [Honor Loss].

(EDIT:

Also, p. 92: "If the Gamemaster permits the play of a household knight with an assured household but no land, like Sir Ambrut, then roll 2d6+6 for his Loyalty (Lord) Passion."

and p. 23: "Typically, a knight’s obligations are to serve loyally in his lord’s military campaigns and to advise his lord on important matters. In return, the lord owes his vassal protection, sustenance, and livelihood." In the case of the Vassal knights, the sustenance/livelihood is the land grant/gift.

In the case of household knights, p. 23 again: "Knights bachelor derive their income directly from their lord, either through direct maintenance or by cash payments.")

Book of the Entourage includes a squire as part of the knight's mesnie (p. 22: "A mesnie is the armed part of a lord’s entourage. For a poor knight, a lone squire must suffice."), and lists two acceptable reasons to dismiss the squire (p. 14-15):

1) The squire has turned 21 and hence ought to be fully trained and ready to go out into the world. No longer the responsibility of the training knight.

2) The squire has acted dishonorably, demonstrably and possibly repeatedly so.

BotEnt, p. 15: "If the squire is released for any other reason his knight loses 3 Honor."

24 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

But mesnie is cheaper.

Not in the long run. See my previous post.

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

When talking about the honor loss, does that apply also if you release (or fire) a foot soldier of your mesnie?

Yes. They are part of the mesnie. (YPMV. I could see penalizing the PK less for kicking a foot soldier out, as the guy was only a commoner anyway, so -1 Honor.)

Quote

or even other members of the entourage/retinue?

No. The entourage/servants are hired per year basis. Of course, you generally wouldn't like a reputation of being a master who is cycling through staff like crazy, though. Even ignoring the issue of low loyalty, you also lose on the experience and know-how that the older retainers would have.

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

In Our Campaign:

Mercenary prices (/month):
Knight: £2
Mounted Sergeant (or a distinctly poorly equipped knight): £1
Sergeant on foot AKA armored infantry (chainmail, shield, sword, shield): £0.5
Spearman or Archer (leather armor, shield & spear or bow): £0.25

Length of contract (part of the thinking here is that the actual fighting is likely closer to 4 months per year, if even that, and especially on longer contracts, much of the job is actually quite safe garrison/patrol duty):
Hire for a full year: monthly fee x 6
Hire for 2 - 3 years: monthly fee x 4 / year
Hire for 4 - 10 years: monthly fee x 3 / year
Hire 'permanently' (i.e. household knight, garrison): monthly fee x 2 / year for upkeep

Note that if the mercenaries need to travel, this counts as part of their service. For instance, if you hire a group of mercenaries in London in May to go to war in Ganis come July, they expect to have their transport and time taken paid as well, not just the raiding/fighting in Ganis from July onwards.

The supply and demand can affect the prices as well. If someone is hiring lots of mercenaries for what looks to be a long war and is paying good money for every man (say, the King is planning a war), then hiring up with the King on year to year bases sounds more attractive than a 4 year contract doing the same for less money. Household positions, however, are generally very desirable, as they are, in effect, permanent. Whereas if there is a long peace, mercenaries might be struggling to make money, and might be willing to be hired for less.

Also, the perceived risk-benefit ratio affects the willingness of the mercenaries to accept the job. For instance, a prospective employer is planning on going to fight the loincloth wearing Picts on the Highlands, famous for their horse-killing tactics, and the mounted mercenaries are certainly less eager. Whereas if the employer is planning on launching raids on a 'soft & rich' target, the mercenaries would certainly be more interested.

I saw this on the old forum archive (2013). Is it the system you're using now? I like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

I saw this on the old forum archive (2013). Is it the system you're using now? I like it.

That was the old one. I think £12 per year is too much for mercs. I'd probably drop a single year and have just '1-3 years = x4'. This would make a yearly hire £8, same as for the whole campaigning season, which kinda makes sense. I might drop the 'whole campaigning season' to x3 = £6, too. So you'd have options:

1 month: £2

2 months: £4

4 months: £6

12 months: £8

But like said, I am bouncing a bit between different ideas. The PKs are not using mercs all that often, so it is not a huge issue so far. The last time they hired mercs, I said the mercs were £2 per month and they got the mercs initially for 2 months, hoping to be done by then, and then extending the contract for another two months when it was clear that the war wouldn't be over in a hurry.

EDIT: Now I recall why I wanted it to be £2 per month. This is so that the typical vassal requirement of 40 days (upped to 60 days = 2 months in our campaign) costs about the same as a household knight's yearly upkeep. Thus, if you are relying on mercenaries, you can afford one every other year vs. a household knight every year (due to 2:1 render vs. treasure conversion; most short term mercs, especially when fighting farther away, demand coin, not cows).

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the Downfall period mercenaries abound (in parallel to not only Mordred's use of them, but also the 15th century and 'bastard feudalism'). Now the Wasteland might have been one reason for this, and the rise of a cash economy, but are there sound mechanical reasons for it in KAP?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

In the Downfall period mercenaries abound (in parallel to not only Mordred's use of them, but also the 15th century and 'bastard feudalism'). Now the Wasteland might have been one reason for this, and the rise of a cash economy, but are there sound mechanical reasons for it in KAP?

Well, you have the big wars ending in 530 or so, followed by almost two decades of Pax Arthuriana. So there is really no pressing need to keep your household knights up to full strength. When the Yellow Pestilence happens, it wipes out a good chunk of the remaining HHKs and also the economy, further impacted by the spreading Wasteland. So suddenly, the lords can't even afford to fill the gaping holes in the roster with more knights, even if they wanted to and such knights would be available. Once the Wasteland is restored, you still have those Lords who are probably feeling very skittish about hiring full rosters of household knights, and instead rely on "retained knights", who are basically long-term mercs, like contracts ranging from 3 to 10 years, and then hiring regular short-term mercs when they really have to bring all X knights to the muster.

Mechanistically, you can encourage the PKs to do exactly that by allowing their SD to start lapsing during the Romance and Tournament periods. Big wars are over, so Arthur seldom asks for the whole army to muster, and scutage might become very common, too. If you have to pay £4 scutage every 3-4 years rather than upkeep a £4 render knight for all those years, it becomes wiser financially to pay scutage. This would also allow the PKs to save more of their income in order to keep up with the Joneses as far as better and more expensive armor and horses become available. And you can basically have the household knight system die during the triple blows of Long Peace, Yellow Pestilence and Wasteland: it is simply so much more advantageous for the lords to shift to the retained knights & mercenaries-on-demand. So you mechanistically switch the terms: no longer will the PKs trade oaths with household knights for life, but instead have lawyers draw up set-term contracts for the retained knights to sign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

Yet another question...

Since mercenaries are much expensive (according to BotM, as I coudn't find them anywhere...) than mesnie... why would anyone hire mercenaries for one month instead of upkeeping soldiers for one year, for almost the same price? 🤔

"Lab assistants were becoming too attached to their lab rats so they started hiring lawyers, as nobody could form an attachment with them."

Basically you care about your loyal vassals in a way you don't care about mercenaries.  You can throw away the lives of mercenaries, but you pay for the privilege, plus they will serve over the winter if you keep paying them.  This is useful during a siege.  Obviously mercenaries are clued in to the fact they will be misused and abused by their employers, hence the low loyalty.  They will know a suicide mission when they see one, but if the odds are decent, and the prospect of looting awaits, they will try their luck.  Also, provided you don't owe them back-pay, mercenaries will leave when you are finished with them, and hopefully not take to banditry in your lands for want of fresh work.

Edited by Darius West

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found that the rates for mercenaries shown in the Savage Mountains for the Cambrian campaigns to be very reasonable. The cost for a knight is going to be much more, but those are solid, I think, for non-noble. I personally make knights more or less u purchasable as mercenaries, but they have sergeants who are listed at similar cost. I also give my players a small discount (5-10£) for paying for the three month (whole summer campaign season) costs. 

I also intend to introduce a scaling up of knight and soldier numbers in our campaign beginning in the conquest period until late in the period of the Wasteland. That way the lands produce more of the numbers we see in the battle size estimates. Then during the Wasteland, we'll drop the number back down to Uther's period. The remainder will become the mercenaries and the disenfranchised that join Mordred. Probably even some former PC knights. Which will be good for the story.

 

Screenshot_20200405-111654.png

Edited by Username
Attached picture of Cambrian Mercs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

Where are prices of the mercenaries on GPC? What page?

GPC page 228

Troop Type (100 men) Cost (£/mo.) Loyalty
Knights 200 15
Sergeantry 100 12
Armored foot 50 12
Saxon warriors 20 10
Welsh spearmen 15 *
British archers 20 12
Italian crossbowmen 25 8
Foot soldiers 10 12
Plunderers 5 *
* Loyalty = 1/2 of the £ received this month.

 

There are some other tables with somewhat differernt values in other books from previous edtions (with a slightly differernt ecomomic model)

 

16 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

Where does it say that in the rules? I cannot find it.

It's mostly implied from the medieval view of land and people. In our modern world people are considered independent of the land, but in the medieval world, most people were tied to the land. So when a knight is given a manor to run and take care of, his duty extends to the people as well as just the manor and fields. This is something of a social contract between the commoners and the ruling nobles. If the commoners have problems they are entitled to seek help from their liege. At least that's the theroy. In actual practice they did but there was little the commoners could to to ensure thie liege held up his end of the bargain. 

16 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

But mesnie is cheaper. If someone would like to save money they wouldn't hire mercenaries, as they are very expensive!

Several reasons, as Morien pointed out. But to expand on those...

1) Generally speaking having a larger army means an advantage in battle and the ability to grab more loot in a raid. Mercenaries are also expendable. If a lord loses a bunch of merc storming the castle walls, well, that just means more plunder for him and his men. On the other hand, if he loses his own men storming the castle walls, he will need to raise more troops and his surviving men will lose trust in him, for the way he threw the lives of those other men away. 

2) Another problem with letting retainers go is that they will turn to banditry to maintain themselves, and will tend to bear their previous lord a grudge. This was noted in the (mostly defunct) Book of the Manor., where the manor would be raided by bandits the year when a knight dismisses soldiers. Since most of a knights staff and army are from local families, a knight who casts such people aside is firing the relatives and friends of his remaining staff and army, making him much less popular with them, and possibly lowering their Loyalty (Lord) score.

Note that will all the reactions from the staff and peasants type stuff, circumstances do play a factor. If a manor gets pillaged, has bad weather, loses people to plague, etc. then the knight cutting back and letting staff go is more understandable/forgivable by the people. On the other hand, if the knight is successful and rich when he does it, he just looks to be callous and greedy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One reason to not hire and fire from your household or mesnie is that, it is not done.  As Morien noted, their are honor penalties.  But realistically, every action doesn't need a game mechanic modifier to force players to do things.  Reducing your mesnie is embarrassing because it means you cannot support it.  It also violates oaths of fealty etc hence the loss of honor. Drop a bunch of people from your mesnie and you're the topic of gossip at court. You can arrange a good marriage because you can't be trusted to honor your oaths and you seem to be in financial difficulty.

Mercenaries in KAP generally cost too much in terms of historical equivalents.  Wages for knights (obviously vary with period) but typically weren't much higher than "normal" and were really only mean to cover expenses during the campaign.  The knight would profit from raiding and ransoms. So if a knight needs 4L per year, he should cost about 1L per quarter, depending upon various factors.  Mercenary wages tended to go up when the king was hirinig because lesser lords had to compete for available soldiers.  

In the same sense, there is nothing that says a PK with 100L MUST support 10 knights.  You could try to economize.  The assize of arms (both real world and I think KAP) list the number of hauberks, spears etc, that a lord must have, not the  number of knights.  One could certainly support fewer knights. Perhaps there would be a loss of honor, and you would certainly get in trouble if you showed up for a muster w/o the proper servitium debitum.  But you would also be vulnerable to raids and bullying by your neighbors. Likewise, showing up to some event (court) with fewer than the expected mesnie would be embarrassing. 

NT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

4 minutes ago, fulk said:

Mercenaries in KAP generally cost too much in terms of historical equivalents.

Not really. It's hard to make a direct comparison as the prices in Pendragon reamin fixed while historically they rose and fell over the thousand year period covered. Based on record from the armies at Argincourt and such, the prices in Pendragon are a bit on the low side, but then so is the amount of plunder.

Historically, mercenaries needed to make enough not only to support themselves over the campaign, but also for the rest of the year, as well as the eventiable dry spells when peace broke out and they were out of work. But the bulk of that came not from the up-front pay, but from the plunder. Pendragon mostly glosses over this with it's focus on knights, but war was really one of the best ways for a commoner to make his fortune and move up the social ladder. A soldier could sign on as a merc, and ifhe managed to capture someone important he could ransom him off, take his armor and horse, and get paid more next year. IF he captured someone really important (i.e. a knight or noble) he could be set for life. 

 

4 minutes ago, fulk said:

 

 

  Wages for knights (obviously vary with period) but typically weren't much higher than "normal" and were really only mean to cover expenses during the campaign.  The knight would profit from raiding and ransoms. So if a knight needs 4L per year, he should cost about 1L per quarter, depending upon various factors.  Mercenary wages tended to go up when the king was hirinig because lesser lords had to compete for available soldiers.  

In the same sense, there is nothing that says a PK with 100L MUST support 10 knights.

Actually there was. Typically large land holders owed a certain amount of knight service to thier leige lords. So a knight with ten manors was typically oblibated to muster ten knights for his liege lord, and yest he could actually lose his lands if he failed to provde them.

4 minutes ago, fulk said:

  You could try to economize.  The assize of arms (both real world and I think KAP) list the number of hauberks, spears etc, that a lord must have, not the  number of knights.  One could certainly support fewer knights. Perhaps there would be a loss of honor, and you would certainly get in trouble if you showed up for a muster w/o the proper servitium debitum.  But you would also be vulnerable to raids and bullying by your neighbors. Likewise, showing up to some event (court) with fewer than the expected mesnie would be embarrassing. 

NT

Tha'ts not to be take so literally. For instance if something mentions that a knight must maintain 20 horse, it doesn't mean 20 horses but 20 horsemen. No liege lord is going to be happy with a vassal who shows up on the battlefield with a hundred empty suits of armor and no soldiers to wear them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, fulk said:

So if a knight needs 4L per year, he should cost about 1L per quarter, depending upon various factors. 

I take some issue with that, since the campaigning season is just 4 months, usually. Since there is little reason for most armies to keep a mercenary on the payroll for the full year, the mercenary should make about £1 per month to be able to feed himself. However, there is then an additional issue which is that the mercenary is also responsible for replacing his own horses. So if the mercenary is only just breaking even, then unless he is on the winning side and/or has chance to raid and loot, eventually his horse would croak from age if nothing else, and he would be unable to replace it.

There is also the point that if the PKs can replace their £4 household knights with £2 (£1/month, or worse, £0.5 for 40 days of the £4 yearly upkeep) mercenaries to fulfill their servitium debitum, there will be a lot of incentive to do that. Perhaps not during the Anarchy, but definitely after Badon. Like I said earlier, I could be fine starting to slip a bit in the SD requirements during Romance, but this might be making it too easy. Finally, I don't want the PKs to be able to raise huge armies of mercenary knights, so £2 per month it will stay for me.

In short, the game world's internal logic is more important to me than the historical pricing.

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Morien said:

That was the old one. I think £12 per year is too much for mercs. I'd probably drop a single year and have just '1-3 years = x4'. This would make a yearly hire £8, same as for the whole campaigning season, which kinda makes sense. I might drop the 'whole campaigning season' to x3 = £6, too. So you'd have options:

1 month: £2

2 months: £4

4 months: £6

12 months: £8

I think I will use you old list of prices but with this suggested correction ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Morien said:

I take some issue with that, since the campaigning season is just 4 months, usually. Since there is little reason for most armies to keep a mercenary on the payroll for the full year, the mercenary should make about £1 per month to be able to feed himself. However, there is then an additional issue which is that the mercenary is also responsible for replacing his own horses. So if the mercenary is only just breaking even, then unless he is on the winning side and/or has chance to raid and loot, eventually his horse would croak from age if nothing else, and he would be unable to replace it.

There is also the point that if the PKs can replace their £4 household knights with £2 (£1/month, or worse, £0.5 for 40 days of the £4 yearly upkeep) mercenaries to fulfill their servitium debitum, there will be a lot of incentive to do that. Perhaps not during the Anarchy, but definitely after Badon. Like I said earlier, I could be fine starting to slip a bit in the SD requirements during Romance, but this might be making it too easy. Finally, I don't want the PKs to be able to raise huge armies of mercenary knights, so £2 per month it will stay for me.

In short, the game world's internal logic is more important to me than the historical pricing.

Obviously, YPMV. I like the lower wages.

For one, there aren't really large mercenary companies running around Logres waiting to be hired.  For me, hiring mercenaries involves recruiting your unlanded cousins and second sons of tennants etc.  The campaign is a chance to make it big.  They just go home afterwards if they don't.  It's Lorgres not rinascimento Italy.

As for numbers, I just wouldn't allow a run-of-the-mill vassal knight to attract large mercenary followings regardless (without a lot of story effort and adventure). He doesn't have the status for it in a status sensitive word.  A knight might hire a few foot soldiers and a cousin or two.  I just don't see him hiring 100 foot soldiers.  

I also just wouldn't allow PKs to mess with the BoEstate/Warlord economics.  Some things are just done that way.  If you're a lord, you need those knights and foot soldiers for administrative purposes and showing up at court with too small a retinue is embarrassing. Historically, of course, lords did increase and decrease the size of their households. But they often tried to maintain as large a following as possible for the status related to a large following. 

But that is just me.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, fulk said:

For one, there aren't really large mercenary companies running around Logres waiting to be hired.  For me, hiring mercenaries involves recruiting your unlanded cousins and second sons of tennants etc.  The campaign is a chance to make it big.  They just go home afterwards if they don't.  It's Lorgres not rinascimento Italy.

That works for commoners, who can go back pushing a plow once the fighting is done, or some such. But what about unlanded, householdless knights? There is really just one trade that they are good at.

Also, this implies that it is impossible to hire mercenaries for defensive purposes: the chance of loot is minuscule, especially if there is no fighting. The mercenary knight pockets £0.5 for the whole campaign season, and since there are no military campaigns outside the campaign season, he either becomes a robber knight to try and get the other £3.5 or he will starve (or in actuality, sell his horse and stop being a real knight, becoming just a glorified armored foot soldier).

5 hours ago, fulk said:

As for numbers, I just wouldn't allow a run-of-the-mill vassal knight to attract large mercenary followings regardless (without a lot of story effort and adventure).

Given how quickly PKs can gain Glory, though, they are likely among the highest Glory knights in their county by the time they hit their 30s. They are not just run-of-the-mill at that point anymore. Sure, they might not have a higher status, but they'd have the reputation. Heck, some of the HYW commanders were not even knights in some of their early battles. In any case, I was not thinking of hundreds of knights, but even tens of mercenary knights available for a month around £4 per eschille is making it dirt cheap for the PKs to simply overwhelm whatever enemy manor they wish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

I think I will use you old list of prices but with this suggested correction ;)

I'd tweak it a bit more:

£2 per month

x3 for the season

x4 for a year

x3 per year if 2 years or longer (under the old scheme 3 years and 4 years cost the same)

x2 per year if permanent (household troops, the Lord is responsible for replacing the horses)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It also works for nobles who just go back to their brother's household where they were all the time.  Noble families didn't just dump members out on the street. They maintained them in some way.  Your steward is probably your younger brother or a cousin.  

Taking wages for the campaign season has advantages even at the lower wages. That 1L the merc picks up saves his uncle 1L in upkeep over the same period.  The merc might capture a horse or ransom and make his way in the world, which is the big advantage.

Lower wages also answers the question of "why hire mercenaries?" instead of just supporting a larger mesnie. It is more cost effective. Social expectations, and perhaps security and logistics, require you to maintain 1 knight per 10L, but you can hire troops when necessary. 

As an aside, at high merc costs, a schemer would increase his mesnie prior to a campaign (because it is more cost effective for that year) and anticipate that some portion of the mesnie will be KIA.  Then, just don't replace them and the mesnie drops back down to around the normal expenditure.  

There are all sorts of machinations one can do to subvert and dodge the set up system.  In the end, whatever works in your campaign.  A lot has to do with how players (not characters) think.  Players will come up with ideas that would never have occurred to a character in the same situation. I once had a player demand to create drilled pike infantry during the Uther period.  He wanted to mix them with longbowmen, who didn't exist.  I said no.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, fulk said:

It also works for nobles who just go back to their brother's household where they were all the time.  Noble families didn't just dump members out on the street. They maintained them in some way.  Your steward is probably your younger brother or a cousin.  

Taking wages for the campaign season has advantages even at the lower wages. That 1L the merc picks up saves his uncle 1L in upkeep over the same period.  The merc might capture a horse or ransom and make his way in the world, which is the big advantage.

Higher nobles, perhaps. The common knights don't have spare funds to support another knight, even a brother.

If the sides are evenly matched, going to war is going to be a 50/50 proposition: sure, you might capture a horse or ransom another knight, or you might end up being the horseless knight or the knight being ransomed.

Anyway, there will also be a point that you simply cannot survive as a pure mercenary knight with the wages as low as what you suggest, unless you get loot from raiding and battles. If you get stuck in a siege, especially a defensive one, you are screwed.

18 minutes ago, fulk said:

As an aside, at high merc costs, a schemer would increase his mesnie prior to a campaign (because it is more cost effective for that year) and anticipate that some portion of the mesnie will be KIA.  Then, just don't replace them and the mesnie drops back down to around the normal expenditure.  

Sure, why not? You then take the chance on having to ransom some of these guys, or replace their horses, etc. Or if none of them manage to die, then you are in the spot for £4 until one of them dies. That is a risk that a Player might be willing to take, but you may have noticed that under my scheme, it is about the same expense to have a merc for 2 months (your SD requirement) as it is to have a household knight for the full year. So if all you wanna do is to impress your peers with a larger mesnie, you can do that with mercs, too. If you compare with having a merc for the full campaigning season, then you are essentially making a bet that one of the household knights will die: if one does, you saved £2, if one doesn't, then see above.

Edited by Morien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...whatever works in your campaign.  I prefer to follow the more historically based costs and to impose (partly out of game) social restrictions on things like reducing your household. They make more sense to me. In part, the fact that the RW did not follow your reasoning, suggest it doesn't reflect the medieval mind and economics.  It isn't the real world, of course, so whatever works.

Historically, lords continuously tried to reduce their SD and the crown had to shift to paying armies to get them in the field.  But KAP doesn't model that because it doesn't seem very knightly in a romantic sense.  So perhaps the lower RW costs reflect availability of knights who previously would have responded to a feudal summons. In the KAP world most knights and soldiers are already obligated, so you have to pay significantly more for mercenaries?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...