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Clan Economics (or, "Bread and Peas in Times of Hero Wars")


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4 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

There is also evidence for a significant cattle-raising capability on Crete

That's only because they had a whole lot of unemployed acrobats that needed something to jump over...

And they were a bull totem cult in Knossos

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@lordabdul commented recently on the lack of background economics, especially around trade, for Dragon Pass and for Glorantha more generally. This... is not that. What this is is an examination of Sar

Agreed, ayran is delicious.  I have long term notes from my various Prax games that include a look into the terrestrial animal equivalents of Prax and their milks, and their likely cheeses.  Some time

Hur, hur hur! Unicorns are all male, so what do they use to make Unicorn Kumis? 😲

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16 minutes ago, Nozbat said:

That's only because they had a whole lot of unemployed acrobats that needed something to jump over...

And they were a bull totem cult in Knossos

Absolutely.  They still needed some breeding stock, however, since they were a large item to restrain on a Minoan trading vessel!

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On 11/2/2020 at 8:51 PM, Joerg said:

If 250 heads of cattle in a 1200 people clan are kept near the village, then we can calculate the number of full oxen teams as 15 or maybe 20. Allowing for a third of those oxen being shared by tenant households, we arrive at just 10 carl households. Taking Jeff's population numbers that better than 50% of the Sartarites have freeman or carl status, that means that a carl household would consist of 60 people.

The alternative is to drop the "eight bulls make up a plow team" number. If your average carl only needs to provide one pair of oxen, household size can shrink to 15 people, if it is four oxen, then we are at 30 people per carl household.

Or we double the number of cattle, and quadruple (at least) the number of sheep owned by an agricultural clan...

Which way to go?

Yeah, I calculated the numbers some years back and came to similar conclusions.

 

On 11/2/2020 at 11:34 PM, Joerg said:

As a last livestock-related topic, let me cast the spotlight to a species which has been thoroughly under-reported in sources on Sartar: donkeys.

According to Jeff's recent breakdown of cultist numbers, the Issaries cult is one of the most numerous cults outside of Orlanth and Ernalda. The cult is famous for its mule caravans, and even though quite a few Issaries cultists are urban merchants, I would estimate that there ought to be about 3 beasts of burden per initiate of Issaries, with 80% or more of those being mules.

Most of Issaries' worshippers are crafters, so there wouldn't be such a great need for mules, even for the tiny Gloranthan ones.

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On 11/1/2020 at 8:10 AM, Eff said:

Before we get into that, let's digress about linen and flax. Modern flax varieties yield 2000-3000 kg of fiber per acre planted. Let's very conservatively assume that Gloranthan varieties grown in Dragon Pass yield 500 kg per acre planted. 

You are using the wrong model for Sartarites here.  They are a wool culture not a flax culture.  You need to be looking into wool industry.  Interestingly, sheep milk is a very under-reported commodity when moderns investigate the economics of the past.  We expect cows to be the primary milk animals, but they often weren't.  Milk is actually also dangerous to drink raw as it is the major vector for tuberculosis.  It is rendered safe by boiling, and stored by turning it into hard rind cheese.

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31 minutes ago, Darius West said:

You are using the wrong model for Sartarites here.  They are a wool culture not a flax culture.  You need to be looking into wool industry.  Interestingly, sheep milk is a very under-reported commodity when moderns investigate the economics of the past.  We expect cows to be the primary milk animals, but they often weren't.  Milk is actually also dangerous to drink raw as it is the major vector for tuberculosis.  It is rendered safe by boiling, and stored by turning it into hard rind cheese.

I watched some youtube series on the life of a medieval peasant in england and they went into detail on the making of sheepcheese. they even made some in the medi3val manner!

very interesting. I will see if I cant dig it up when I am off work.

 

As for Carl household sizes: I might misremember, but does not a Carl stead include a small roundhouse or two of cottars?

 

Tangent, but I have been thinking... WHALES also have milk, right...?

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48 minutes ago, Darius West said:

You are using the wrong model for Sartarites here.  They are a wool culture not a flax culture.  You need to be looking into wool industry.  Interestingly, sheep milk is a very under-reported commodity when moderns investigate the economics of the past.  We expect cows to be the primary milk animals, but they often weren't.  Milk is actually also dangerous to drink raw as it is the major vector for tuberculosis.  It is rendered safe by boiling, and stored by turning it into hard rind cheese.

Wool doesn't make linothorax, and spun linen is a lot less scratchy than spun wool, so there will be some demand for linen.

Cheese is an important dairy product, and rennet is one of the reasons why bull calves are slaughtered at a very young age. Getting veil is only a side product. I suppose sheep dairy follows similar rules. No idea whether cream (and thereby butter) can be won from sheep milk, though.

Butter is an important dairy product that can be stored, too. What I read about pre-Roman Ireland, butter was a dietary mainstay.

The main drinks from dairy are likely to be butter-milk - the liquid separated from the butter - and whey. Both have similar nutritional value to beer.

The amount of milk per cow isn't going to be anywhere near the animal-destroying yields you get from Holstein cows, yields only barely sustainable by feeding the cows protein-rich fodder. Also, a significantly larger amount of the milk is going to be left to the calves in Sartarite herding than in modern industrial dairy cow exploitation.

 

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1 hour ago, coffeemancer said:

Tangent, but I have been thinking... WHALES also have milk, right...?

On the other hand, manatees are known as sea cows, and can produce tasty manacheese.  Assuming this isn't April 1st, its a real product.

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1 hour ago, coffeemancer said:

Tangent, but I have been thinking... WHALES also have milk, right...?

They do, and whale nipples are located in slits towards the tail. 

Weirdly enough, I know this because someone on another fantasy forum I frequent brought it up recently.

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3 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

They do, and whale nipples are located in slits towards the tail. 

Weirdly enough, I know this because someone on another fantasy forum I frequent brought it up recently.

It is a topic of interest for the cultured gentleman.

 

But more on economics, do we have any hints as to main export and import for sartar?

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6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

They do, and whale nipples are located in slits towards the tail. 

Weirdly enough, I know this because someone on another fantasy forum I frequent brought it up recently.

 The whole idea of aquaculture and the merman economy is very under-discussed in Glorantha.  I wonder what edible seaweeds are the most nutritious for merfolk?  I can see the sheparding of fish schools being a thing too.  The main issue is manufacturing of durable tools underwater.  We should open a separate topic for this one I think.

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23 minutes ago, Darius West said:

 The whole idea of aquaculture and the merman economy is very under-discussed in Glorantha.  I wonder what edible seaweeds are the most nutritious for merfolk?  I can see the sheparding of fish schools being a thing too.  The main issue is manufacturing of durable tools underwater.  We should open a separate topic for this one I think.

Absolutely. There is some written on it already, that somewhat mirrors RW biology, in that most of the seafloor is the equivalent of a desert or steppe (low biological density), and most of the life is located along shallows and reefs. 

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled stuff.

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1 minute ago, Ali the Helering said:

Sheep's milk produces more cheese per unit volume than does cow's milk, and can produce yoghurt and butter.

When I think of this kind of stuff, I often think of what they have in Russia/Bashkiria. They eat/drink an awful lot of dairy products, for example butter, cheese, kumis, curds, whey, kefir (like a very thin yoghurt), ayran (kefir mixed with water, or a fermented drink if you're posh), smetana (sour cream) and a lot more that I either haven't tried, or tried once and never again. Add to that various types of cottage cheese and dairy products from other countries (Lassi etc) and you have a lot of things you can eat and drink. 

Yelmalians and Elmali might raise horses, so lots of kumis or other rich milk products. Sartarites raise cattle and sheep, but also have Praxian beasts. Praxians have their own beasts, which produce various types of milk. 

Are there camels in Glorantha? I forget. Camels have very rich milk, so maybe High Llamas have similar milk.

Also, if you get biological, fermented milk is normally low in lactose, or so I am led to believe, so lactose-intolerant populations can consume fermented dairy products.

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I am extremely fond of ayran - far too fond for my cholesterol readings!  

Llamas produce a low volume of milk, but very  mineral-rich and lactose-heavy.  It can be used to make cheese, but seldom is.

I am unsure of the latest canon, but it used to be that there were camels atop the Shadow Plateau.

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

I am extremely fond of ayran - far too fond for my cholesterol readings!  

Llamas produce a low volume of milk, but very  mineral-rich and lactose-heavy.  It can be used to make cheese, but seldom is.

I am unsure of the latest canon, but it used to be that there were camels atop the Shadow Plateau.

No mention in Sourcebook, Guide, RQ:RiG, Bestiary

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

I am extremely fond of ayran - far too fond for my cholesterol readings!  

Llamas produce a low volume of milk, but very  mineral-rich and lactose-heavy.  It can be used to make cheese, but seldom is.

I am unsure of the latest canon, but it used to be that there were camels atop the Shadow Plateau.

Agreed, ayran is delicious.  I have long term notes from my various Prax games that include a look into the terrestrial animal equivalents of Prax and their milks, and their likely cheeses.  Some time ago I wrote up a selection of Praxian milk products, in discussion with my father who used to be a food technologist specializing in cheeses early in his life.  I have been using these in my Praxian campaigns ever since.  As a GM I find it useful to be able to draw on information like this to build a scene.  Details like the way a cheese makes Bison riders perspiration stink, or a sense of what the player characters are eating and what it tastes like lend a measure of immersive detail that can help build a scene.  I am considering compiling my notes into a Jonstown Compendium supplement.  Anyhow, here is a portion of what I have written about Praxian cuisine.

Praxian Milk Products

“It is possible to torture even milk.”

 Praxians subsist on the wealth of their animals, and milk is no exception.  Served in many different forms, milk forms an important supplement to the diet of every Praxian.  They have no superstitions about the mixing of milk and meat, their survival depends intimately on both, and the peaceful cut ensures that no calf taken from its mother dies in a fashion which will distress her and cause her to stop giving milk.

 Kumis

All alcoholic fermented milk drinks of Prax are called Kumis.  The technique for making these drinks are no mystery, but the most common is made with horse milk, even though the Kumis made with Zebra milk is even more potent.  It has been said that Rhino Kumis made from milk taken in the first days after the birth is the very strongest kumis made in Prax, while others say that Unicorn milk is even more potent as Kumis, even though Unicorn riders don’t make Kumis (allegedly unicorn kumis has been made from the milk of captured unicorns by other tribes, as the unicorn riders will seldom put their precious and intelligent unicorn friends through such an indignity).  Thus the conjecture and wild stories persist.  Some even say that the strongest Kumis comes from the unknown mount of Jaldon Toothmaker. The lesson here  is that drunk people love to speculate about things they will likely never experience.

 Lassi

Simply put, a lassi is drinking yogurt.  There are forms of lassi for every type of Prax beast, and the drink is often served with a little salt and lemon in New Pavis where such things can be bought.  On Prax, they improvise a sour flavor using the sap of the weed smarting nettle that grows on rocky outcrops.

 Impala Lippawaha

As strange as it may seem, Impala cheese is very palatable.  Impalas produce a rich creamy milk full of butter-fats and protein that can be made into a number of delicious cheeses.  The most popular Impala cheese however is called Lippawaha, as it was favored even by Waha.  It is a rich pale yellow-to-white cheese that is very similar to mozzarella, only able to form longer strands and with less taste of fermentation, and more of a sweet whey flavor that mixes with salt to become very savory and more-ish.  Lippawaha is everyone’s favorite cheese and is effectively the "cheddar" of Prax (though arguably it is far nicer than cheddar).

Bison Aarul

Bison Aarul is a dry curd cheese made from curdled milk that comes in a sweet or sour flavor.  Most people prefer to suck on Aarul, letting it slowly hydrate in their mouthes, as then it lasts for longer.  Yurts can often be seen with lumps of aarul air-drying on their roof on trays.  Aarul is good for healthy teeth and bones and is an important factor in the superior strength of the Bison tribe.

Aarul is excellent as a travelling ration, but is also good to cook with.  Aarul is named after a young Bison Rider who is said to have slain a Troll death lord with a slung ball of this hard cheese which struck the troll’s temple.  To strike a fortuitous blow is often said to be an “Aarul” among the Bison tribe for this reason.

Bison Quarg

Bison Quarg is a rotted cheese that has a blue mold growing through it.  It has a powerful scent, and is said to panic animals that are downwind from it, and remain in a person’s perspiration for three days. This smell is particularly hated by the High Llama Clan who consider quarg and the smell of those who eat it to be barbaric.  It is however a great pairing with any red meat, adding a huge piquancy to even the blandest cuts.  The bison burger with quarg and Prax cabbage is the new hit of 1626 at Bob’s Bison Burgers in New Pavis for example (albeit at double the price of the standard burger).

 High Llama Keff

High Llama Keff, otherwise known simply as Keff, is a sour, bitey flavored cheese with earthy notes.  It benefits from any spice and is excellent for cooking, adding a strong and distinctive cheese flavor to any dish.  Even when well dried, Keff remains a soft cheese, becoming like powdery chalk  when too dry, rather than hard.  When moist it spreads easily, and is a versatile and healthy cheese.

Keff doesn’t have a particularly long or short shelf life, and is most popular among the High Llama tribe, who seem to incorporate it into many of their traditional dishes in preference to other cheeses that might taste better.

 High Llama Tetta

Tetta is a washed rind cheese that generally comes in a gourd-shaped blob with a cord around the middle.  It is a rich, creamy cheese with a pungent sour butter smell and a roasted nutty taste.  It is a versatile cheese with a good shelf-life, and it seems to have a capacity to absorb moisture from even the dry air of Prax without spoiling.  Tetta makes an excellent base for a sauce, as well as being rich and flavorsome when eaten on its own.  It is also popular to combine Tetta with other cheeses in order to bring out the contrasts and strong points of both.  High Llama tribesfolk maintain that Tetta is the best of all cheeses, and in fact has magical properties, much like the milk of their beasts, which can make even equine milk form a cheese.  For this reason many of the High Llamas will refer to Tetta cheese as Tetta Khan, and maintain it is superior to Lippawaha.

 Rhino Kusht

Rhino milk is rich when the calf is very young but grows thinner over time as the calf ages.  As nursing a baby rhino takes over a year, this means that the baby will generally end up drinking skim milk.  Rhino riders generally never deprive a calf of milk, and so don’t make large batches of this cheese, but the technique is no secret, and other tribes know how to make it if they can be bothered, and have a rhino to milk.  Rhino cheeses tend to be hard, and one, known as Rhino Kusht is most common, and is a hard ball of pressed dry salted curd that is fibrous and lasts well.  Cut into slices or nibbled on in place of pemmican, Rhino Kusht is not generally a good melting cheese as it has low water content.  It is generally seen as a warrior’s cheese, and is considered unusual to be seen outside the rhino tribe.

 Unicorn Garrak

Once unusually popular with high caste dragonewts during the city of Pavis’ Empire of the Wyrm’s Friends days, Unicorn garrak has a pale blue rind, and is a firm semi-soft cheese with excellent shelf-life.  It is often mixed with local spices, especially skullbush seed powder, as the two complement each other with a pleasant smoky and earthy taste.  While one of the rarest cheeses in Prax, Unicorn Garrak is no tastier than a number of others.  It does seem to amplify magical healing however, such that it provides a free 1 magic point boost to any spell, such that a healing 1 spell needs to be cast, but costs no magic to use.  Few people in Prax outside the Unicorn tribe have ever heard of Unicorn Garrak, despite the fact it isn’t considered a secret.

 Bastard Ayrag

The Pol Joni tribe of horse riders are grudgingly accepted on Prax but invariably called the Bastard Tribe.  Horse milk is notoriously hard to make into cheese, but it was discovered by the women of the Pol Joni that with the addition of 10% High Llama milk, the problem could be solved.  The bastard ayrag is a soft cheese normally stored in a ball covered in the broad leaves of the Prax Cabbage.  It melts well, and can be spread with a measure of force.  It has a fizzy note and a pink color and is mildly alcoholic (0.5% by weight).  Bastard Ayrag has the problem that it isn’t a long lasting cheese however, and tends to spoil quickly.

 Impala Trade Cheese

One of the problems of Impala Lippawaha cheese was that it didn’t travel as well as it might.  As a result, traders would enjoy the product, but never actually consider it as an item they might risk trading for.  This was before a mysterious individual from the early years of the Third Age, known only as “Face-bear”, a tall outsider, taught the Impala Pygmies how to make their cheese grow a thick tasty white rind.  This greatly increased the shelf-life of impala cheese, and produced a cheese that is highly reminiscent of a high quality wheel of softest, creamiest brie.  While the cheese spoils quickly after being cut, it seldom lasts an hour once people taste it.

 Impala Sweetmelt

Impala sweetmelt is closest to Havarti in its character.  It is a very soft, sweet cheese that pairs well with fruit, honey and berries and other sweet things.  It is also around 1% alcoholic.  It is called sweetmelt as it is typically served as a form of fondue for one, having been heated to the point of melting before being served.  While not as popular as Lippawaha, it is still a very palatable and desirable cheese.

 Zebra Smearcase

Zebra milk doesn’t make good cheese, even with the addition of High Llama milk.  At best it produces a very pink cheese that is at best about has hard as a weak ricotta.  It has a very fizzy taste to it and it spoils quickly in the heat of Prax unless loaded with plenty of salt or stored under brine.  Generally it is simply smeared onto bread as a paste.  For the most part, Zebra riders are more civilized than other Praxians, and less tied to their animals for sustenance due to their relationship with New Pavis and the Big Rubble.  As a result, nobody has cried tears of blood about the lack of cheese from zebras, and simply put it down to being some residual anti-horse curse from Waha.

It is rare for anyone to seek out Zebra smearcase, except for Halcyon Var Enkorth, Former Governor of New Pavis, who developed a taste for the stuff, and insisted on a pot of it every morning for his daily breakfast.

 Zebra Kumis

While Zebra Smearcase is a disappointing cheese, the same is not the case for Kumis made with Zebra milk.  While still pink in color, the fizziness belies a natural culture that takes to the fermentation of alcohol better than any other Prax milk.  This brings the alcohol content up to a respectable 7%, which is stronger than many beers.  As a result, while Zebra Cheese is a failure, Zebra milk alcohol is a success in Prax, where any decently drinkable hooch that will get you buzzed is considered a bit of a luxury.  The best regular supply of Zebra Kumis in New Pavis is called “Stripe”, and is brewed by the Zebra Riders of the Pavis Royal Guard, and generally sold and served in a small faux zebra pattern waterskin.

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6 minutes ago, Darius West said:

others say that Unicorn milk is even more potent as Kumis, even though Unicorn riders don’t make Kumis (allegedly unicorn kumis has been made from the milk of captured unicorns by other tribes, as the unicorn riders will seldom put their precious and intelligent unicorn friends through such an indignity).  

Hur, hur hur! Unicorns are all male, so what do they use to make Unicorn Kumis? 😲

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Hur, hur hur! Unicorns are all male, so what do they use to make Unicorn Kumis? 😲

Good point.  I forgot that part of the lore.  And to think I didn't include herd man cheese because it was a bit too rude, yet I let this one slide on past.  Hahaha.  As a bit of a joke I looked up whether it was possible to use semen to create milk product analogs, and discovered the following.  The answer is apparently "yes", which lends the whole idea of Unicorn Kumis a level of unintended dirty joke I wasn't expecting but find both ghastly and quite funny.  As a result of this discovery I am inclined to let the entry stand unamended, and let it be an in-joke for the cognoscenti.  Well spotted soltakss.  Unicorn chics, what can I say?

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28 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Hur, hur hur! Unicorns are all male, so what do they use to make Unicorn Kumis? 😲

That would really worry me... and even to be culturally polite... I think I'd invent an allergy to or religious proscription to any fermented products

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