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Daily life expenses in Sartarite cities


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4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Outside of Pavis, as far as I know city distribution of food rations to citizens is a relatively recent addition to Sartar literature, however ancient it may be in lore. 

Outside of Pavis, the source material on urban Sartar is minuscule. There is a bit of an urban environment in the recruitment prequel to Snake Pipe Hollow which makes all of the urban Sartarite information from the RQ2 era. RQ3 avoided urban Sartar completely, too, with the ultra-rural and backward Varmandi as the sample clan in the sample tribe of the Colymar who don't belong to any of Sartar's city confederation.

Thunder Rebels did a further exploration of rural clans, giving the tribes a short thrift. The Sartar Rising campaign avoided cities, too.

Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes and the Sartar Companion did give information on the cities, but did not cover prices or transactions. Or even personal property.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

So whatever we project from the few canon references has to be moderated by other canon information. Such as the high incidence of shops with goods for sale and manufacturing guIlds, both selling for coined money.   

Is selling stuff for coined money the main business model for these shops, though, or is it contracts with guilds and tribal manors that keeps these workshops afloat? Because we are talking workshops, not grocers.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Rather than craft production beig centralized in temples and palaces with the product being distributed as royal favors.  So it appears to me that in Sartar we are not operating in a palace centered command economy reminiscent of Mycenae or Sumer.

Medieval style guild economy is a command economy, too.

Most "medieval" style role-playing settings assume a Wild West or Californian or Klondike gold-digger economy rather than anything resembling medieval conditions, where the gun-slinger murder-hobos ride into town with their illegitimately acquired wealth to gamble away or to spend on equipment upgrades.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

How do I reconcile these things?  IMG the central control is the taxation of the grain crop.  Not meat (except under the Lunar occupation) , not vegetables. Maybe cheese. One way or another, this taxation feeds the non farmer classes. 

Taxation in grain, tithing in (living) meat, or fish and dairy. The temples receive both, and distribute both. They also set aside seed stock and breeding stock of the temple-owned herds "leased" to the rurals - something implied in the second full scenario in the GM Screen Adventures book.

The Apple Lane section of that book describes tenant farming and how that is supposed to support a noble, although with a rare (?) cash crop rather than traditional agriculture. (Who is contributing the grain and meat for these apple orchard tenants?)

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

In cities that means commerce while in the countryside and in the villages it means the clan takes care of the nobles and also keeps a reserve against famine.   The farmer and  the country noble may both barter either grain or other ag products or may pay the clan's crafters with coins. 

Or alternatively the clan's  few crafters may count as part of the chief's extended household: They would be clients in the Roman sense, not living under the chief's roof but still dependent on him.

Both cities and rural villages have markets where trading happens. I would suggest that all "cash" or barter deals are made in the market, with a gift/hospitality/favor economy doing the rest for the locals. No bringing a sow to the pub and drinking it off...

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

IMG the city Ernalda temples may provide  weekly or seasonal household grain rations but also sell and trade grain. 

IMG via the market - excess grain neither held in storage for food or seeding.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The brewer buys this grain, either trading beer for it or using money. 

Trading beer for grain will be contractualized. The brewer is going to receive grain in excess of what she is expected to need for fulfilling her beer quota, leaving her able to market some on the market. It takes some enterprise to buy even more grain to go into cash production, which will use the market to buy that extra grain.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The baker sells bread for cash or takes your ration of grain, keeps a share, and returns bread. 

Selling bread for cash will be done on the market. IMG the baking house is no place of commerce, although you may go there to do contractual negotiations.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The potter and redsmith deal with the temple and nobles using barter or cash but mostly cash, but they get their grain rations and swap them with the baker like everyone else.   

These crafters (or their guilds) probably have contractual obligations and privileges which covers most things of a transactional character. Much like an adventurer in RQG is supposed to have a life with some exciting time off, a workshop will deal with its contractual obligations but offer something on the side, up to say 25% of the time commitment (two weeks a season).

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The wealthy household or rooming house or the average citizen's household  probably grind their grain themselves and make flatbread on the hearth  which is more economical than dealing with a baker.  IMG a baked risen  bread loaf is a city luxury and is comparable to a pastry.  There is no oven in the average kitchen, just as there was no oven in most RW kitchens until recently.

Most accommodation for rent may come without any cooking facilities inside the rented accommodation but with access to a communal hearth or a refectory (think student accommodation).

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Your wandering Adventurer or Issaries trader doesn't get a grain ration but pays the baker for bread, or pays the innkeeper for bread.  They are in a mostly cash economy.

That, or operating on hospitality laws, with guest gifts to whoever takes them in. Or the Cult of Geos with its re-distribution of contributions.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The baker?  He or she has his retained share of the grain or flour.  Eats some as bread.  Sells the rest as bread to your Adventuer or to anyone who wants extra bread, a luxiry.  Buys fuel,  vegetables, pays rent etc cetera with a mix of money and bread.  He is in a mixed cash and barter economy.

To get his cash, he uses the Issaries-run market. To get extra fuel beyond the guild-contracted assignment, he might make a direct contract with the Gustbran cult (producing that char-coal) or go to the market.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

What about vegetables? Country folks have gardens.  They give some vegetables as favors.  Sell some in a weekly market.  City people buy them in the city market.

Or grow them themselves. Some vegetables may be part of the Earth Temple care-taking, with roots or cabbages kept throughout winter in stacks under straw and turf and distributed in late winter and spring. They may distribute this via the market, or they may deal out quotas.

 

4 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

What about meat?  Most people don't eat much, mostly they eat it when a co- religionist sacrifices.  In the countryside they may trade with a hunter or may get it as an exchange of favors.  At slaughter time in early Dark Season the clan may feast on meat, may also smoke some and make sausage.  Cities will have a butcher, but he may only have fresh meat on some days. 

Quite a few varieties of meat require some aging or drying before going to the market, although there are direct slaughter-to-pot methods, and those will be used at temple sacrifices, too.

Chicken and lambs may be kept alive until a buyer arrives. From Pavis, I get the impression that the butchering is done directly at the meat market.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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11 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Outside of Pavis, as far as I know city distribution of food rations to citizens is a relatively recent addition to Sartar literature, however ancient it may be in lore.  So whatever we project from the few canon references has to be moderated by other canon information. Such as the high incidence of shops with goods for sale and manufacturing guIlds, both selling for coined money.   Rather than craft production beig centralized in temples and palaces with the product being distributed as royal favors.  So it appears to me that in Sartar we are not operating in a palace centered command economy reminiscent of Mycenae or Sumer.

I cover a lot of that in Risklands, as the people there have such a hard life that they do a lot of things communally. People bring food to the bakehouses to be cooked, bakehouses have communal stew pots for people to eat, so nobody starves, and the baking of bread is a religious service, normally through Ernalda, so huge profits are not made, as the bakers are paid by the Ernalda Temple.

 

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18 hours ago, Joerg said:

Outside of Pavis, the source material on urban Sartar is minuscule. There is a bit of an urban environment in the recruitment prequel to Snake Pipe Hollow which makes all of the urban Sartarite information from the RQ2 era. RQ3 avoided urban Sartar completely, too, with the ultra-rural and backward Varmandi as the sample clan in the sample tribe of the Colymar who don't belong to any of Sartar's city confederation.

Thunder Rebels did a further exploration of rural clans, giving the tribes a short thrift. The Sartar Rising campaign avoided cities, too.

Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes and the Sartar Companion did give information on the cities, but did not cover prices ...

Taxation in grain, tithing in (living) meat, or fish and dairy. The temples receive both, and distribute both.....

Both cities and rural villages have markets where trading happens. I would suggest that all "cash" or barter deals are made in the market, with a gift/hospitality/favor economy doing the rest for the locals. ...

Most accommodation for rent may come without any cooking facilities inside the rented accommodation but with access to a communal hearth or a refectory (think student ....

Quite a few varieties of meat require some aging or drying before going to the market, although there are direct slaughter-to-pot methods, and those will be used at temple sacrifices, .......

Thanks for confirming the paucity of canon urban economic onformation.  I think our two visions are fairly close to each other.  Perhaps a similar vision of Sartarite cities can be published in conjunction with an adventure or three.   Of course other systems are possible in other regions of Glorantha.

Re. Meat, I am aware of aging meat in a refrigerated facility before selling it  in our culture and time.  However this is not universal in the RW even in modern times..  For examples:

(1) From ages 9 to 17 I lived within a few miles of the border with Mexico.  My parents would occasionally go across and buy beef at favorsble prices.  It was not aged, tasted a little more "wild" which I realize is actually not-aged.  Good steaks nevertheless.

(2) While reading American Civil War history I learned that when possible armies would keep herds of cattle and slaughter daily.  That meat was immediately issued to units.  Remember this was before artificial refrigeration. (Fresh is much better for your circulatory system health than salted meat which was the alternative.  Not that they knew that at the time.    Canned food was a new thing and not part of the ration system, though available for private purchase.)  

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
closed my parens.
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On 1/26/2023 at 11:48 AM, radmonger said:

While that sounds like a viable system, surely that requires households to bake their own bread and brew their own beer? Wheras the Jonstown book talks about bakers and brewers guilds.

Maybe you could deliver the grain to the household, who delivers it to the bakers, and then wait around for it to be baked. but that's not going to work for beer.  Much simpler to ship the grain straight to the relevant guild, and instead deliver a guild token to the household. And then it is handing in the guild token that gives them the right to take their daily bread. Freshly baked on the premises, perhaps with some sauce or even cheese.

Note that this is all based on David Graeber's theories on the origin of money, which I understand count as academically supported if not uncontroversial. Even if it didn't exist in the real bronze age, it could in Glorantha. 

if so, Sartar would count as the wizard that did it.

 

You make you're own bread and take it to the communal oven

 

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On 1/26/2023 at 8:33 PM, radmonger said:

Organising that kind of rationing system seems to me to require a implausible level of literate bureaucracy.

On the contrary, a great many ancient civilizations operated this way.  Most Bronze age cities had a rationing system in place as an extension of Royal patronage and power.  What they didn't have was Currency in the Bronze Age.  The oldest coins appear to date from 680 BCE.  Of course Glorantha had the Second Age and God Learner mints to sort that out.

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6 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Collective feeding/rationing makes bronze-age sense, but I'm concerned about what it does for fast-food places in cities, which are surely MGF to include?

These would be luxuries or contractors for citizens and necessities for visitors and non-citizen residents.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Collective feeding/rationing makes bronze-age sense, but I'm concerned about what it does for fast-food places in cities, which are surely MGF to include?

In Citizens of the Lunar Empire (a Jonstown Compendium product which i super-recommend), the average city person lives in a multi-story apartment and business complex with a bar that also serves hot food and it's one of two places to get your grain dole (the other is a baker).  You have paperwork that indicates the level your family is getting and the bar tracks how much everyone in the building has used each week; you can also buy things with cash.

 

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On 12/3/2023 at 9:21 AM, Darius West said:

What they didn't have was Currency in the Bronze Age.  The oldest coins appear to date from 680 BCE. 

However, currency does not require coinage.  Some of the earliest currency involved receipts that functioned as promissory notes (eg Hammurabi's Code clauses 120-125).  Weighed metal served long before it came to be stamped, so the shekel was acknowledged as having value as a weight long before it became a coin. (Actually two values, depending on whether one is using the standard shekel or the heavy shekel.)

Shekel actually originally meant 'weighing'!

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On 12/3/2023 at 9:21 AM, Darius West said:

On the contrary, a great many ancient civilizations operated this way.

Many centralised hydraulic empires did. Not so many loose tribal confederations.

Coinage, and the Issaries cult in general, is not doubt an anachronistic god-learnerism. But it clearly does exist, and i very much doubt Sartar would be a place of large cities and rich trade without it.  It is structural, not just a decorative flourish.

That very much suggests things work by the kind of hybrid system where coinage is a symbolic representation of your rational entitlement at a household level. Just as gold wheels are at a higher level of community. Something like the Rex hands out the silver ration. Household heads have discretion to spend that on grain delivery for home baking, or hot pre-cooked food. Part of being relatively wealthy is  having the skills and infrastructure to live well on the ration.

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1 minute ago, radmonger said:

Many centralised hydraulic empires did. Not so many loose tribal confederations.

Unless they had the need to pay for mercenary services from normal state coffers.

Glorantha is built on myth and fallen civilizations. Esrolia was another solar-dominated patriarchalic place before Orlanth freed Ernalda from Harono, and that civilization may have spread beyond just modern Esrolia.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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I hadn't really considered that, but it does make sense that Nochet was, in the pre-time Golden Age, something very like another Dara Happan city, centralized around one male ruler. Everyone did their allocated tasks, and everyone got their just rewards. As the world was perfect, the books would naturally balance in a way that made things so. 

In the storm age, the world broke, and so one year was not like the next. In a good year,the farmers might need to labor twice as long as normal to produce enough food to store for next year, where there might be none. One year the priests would be required to perform great feats of magic they would need long preparation for. One year the soldiers might be off to war. Noone knew what the extent of their necessary work was, and there was grumbling.

Buserian became obsessed with trying to understand the pattern of changes, with only some success. But the disruption was only really mitigated when Lokarnos invented the wheel. This could be used to track when a group did more than their allocated task, and so bring their diligence to Yelm's attention. The magically enchanted gold wheels were like the dots on a motion capture suit; always visible to Yelm's sight, no matter how cloudy the skies got.

Hence why even to this day, a solar divination about the location and quantity of wheels will always receive a precise numeric answer, and not the usual metaphor, cryptic clue or vagueness. And so why they are the preferred store of value and medium of exchange at the guild or city level.

Excluded from this system was Ernalda, the weaving woman. She worked exceptionally hard and well, but it was other woman of Yelm's household, led by Dendara, who got the credit.

Orlanth did see what she was doing. So when he overthrew Yelm, he recognized her as the Earth Queen she had been in past ages. And, following the advice of his boon companion and steward Issaries, he introduced non-magical coinage, the first guilder, or 'gilder', made of unenchanted gold. This smaller denomination could be used to track individual, not just group, contributions and entitlement.

The Lunars, in recapitulating the lightbringer's quest, later brought this innovation to Dara Happa itself, in the form of the silver  lunar coin. The use of silver for guilders is now widespread in Sartar and Esrolia too.

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3 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

However, currency does not require coinage. 

True, there have been a number of commodities that have served in place of specie.   Salt.  Cocoa beans.  Cowrie shells.  Blankets.  Flint nodules.  Bronze Axe heads.  Animal pelts.  Some are easier to carry than others. 

The issuing of currency is important, and something that most rulers would want to control, asserting Fiat currency in this time by deciding what the medium of exchange would be.

2 hours ago, radmonger said:

Coinage, and the Issaries cult in general, is not doubt an anachronistic god-learnerism. But it clearly does exist, and i very much doubt Sartar would be a place of large cities and rich trade without it.  It is structural, not just a decorative flourish.

Cities developed long before coinage was ever considered.  I would also argue that Sartar doesn't really have large cities apart from Boldhome.  The Sartarite economy is largely decentralized and agricultural, with only a tiny portion of the population living in any cities.  Life at this stage is still all about the agricultural surplus.

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