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Corruption in the Lunar Army


Stew Stansfield

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I was searching for some info on something and came across this from a decade ago, which I completely forgot I'd written (and thought I'd repost for silliness). I'm astonished I went to the trouble of actually working all this out. I can only assume I was going slowly mad from being knee-deep—figuratively, but quite possibly literally—in forage contracts at the time. If you can follow the line of argument through to the end, my sincere admiration.

*****

GOPTO GLABBRAX'S SPECULATIONS ON THE LUNAR ARMY I
[In the above title, the `S' in `Speculations' has been crossed-out by an anonymous hand.]

In the following, Gopto Glabbrax, centurion in the Slavewall Foot and son of the infamous Spurio (whom some label `Brothel-Master-General' of the Provincial Army, and others worse things besides), provides in his near-inimitable Tarshite drawl some insights into the financial condition of that noblest harbinger of the Lunar Way: the common Sedenyite sentinel, chastising barbarians for a lunar a week. Theoretically.

[All the following figures are based on Martin Laurie and Mark Galeotti's article, `The Imperial Economy' in The Four Scrolls of Revelation Convulsions C02 Conbook (The Unspoken Word, Crewe, 2002), pp. 9-14. If you go by the older RQ pricelists, you'll have to make up your own numbers I'm afraid.]

1 (gold) wheel = 20 (silver) lunars = 200 (copper) navars

WHAT'S THE PAY OF A COMMON SOLDIER IN THE SLAVEWALL FOOT? Well, feoretickly, your average full-time shi… soldier gets a lunar a week, or wun an' free-sevenffs coppers a day. Tha's not countin' special rates: as we's organised like a Lunar regiment, you gets wunan' -'alf rate in Sacred Weeks, an's then there's your double-pay- days, which is all the Great Moon Days. An' we also gets triple money on Moirades' burfday. When 'e remembers it. So, that's, er…

FORTY-FIVE LUNARS AND SEVEN AND ONE-SEVENTH COPPERS PER ANNUM? Eggsacktly. An' file-leaders, they gets two lunars a week normal like, twice that of the regulars. Well, feoretickly.

THEORETICALLY?
Yeah, feoretickly. You see, we don't actually pay the bas… lads that, of course.

WHAT, THEY DON'T ACTUALLY GET THEIR FULL PAY? Bloody Lunar 'ells no! You twit. Why would we do that? We'd all be bankrupt! Of the pay they's supposed to get, it's split into their subsistance, or the pay they're really supposed to get… if possible, mind… and the deductibles, or the pay they're really not really supposed to get, and that is stopped from 'em. Or, as the lads say, grain-'n-gin-money and I'll-be-buggered-backwards-by-a-brotard-if-I-know-where-it's-gone-money.

… DEDUCTIBLES?
Right. You know, off-reckonin's? Furstly, one copper from the weekly lunar, and a further copper over Sacred Weeks, is stopped as the King's Portion, a bit like the Emperor's Tenth up north. That's fortythree  coppers a year taken from a man's pay, out of which we pays the standard Lunar Sevenff in tithing. Not to the Heartlands, mind, but to King Moirades. This 'elps provide for the Phargentites and variuss contingencies for the Army of Tarsh, such as hintelligence – Harr! – though the Royal Dishthane takes 'is `fair' share… After the tithe there's a further week's pay taken out of the Portion for road an' river money, fer makin' the ways, passages, posts, camps 'n' magazines in Tarsh an' beyond – of course, if you're making these ways, you get paid extra 'n' get some of the money back. An' then one lunar in every gold wheel stipended to a soldier is given to Lokarnos as spoke-money or waggonage, which amounts to anuver twenty-two coppers portage taken from the Portion, with a further clack accounted every uver year.

I THOUGHT THAT WAS AN ANCIENT YELMITE CUSTOM, NOT USED IN THE PROVINCIAL ARMY?
Tecknickly.

ALSO YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WAGONS…
Look, do you want me answers, or not?

OKAY, PLEASE CONTINUE. SO THE KING PAYS YOU THE MONEY… AND YOU GIVE IT BACK TO HIM?
Yer.

ERM… WOULDN'T IT JUST BE EASIER FOR THE KING TO PAY NINE-TENTHS OF WHAT HE NORMALLY DOES?
'Cos, gormless, the Portion is usually for fings we's often got bugger all idea o' what's needed or 'ow much they'll cost. But we knows `ow many soldiers we's got, so we just tacks it on to the army establishment, all accountable like, an' each regiment pays its fair share. Anyway, out of the forty-three coppers of the Portion, four and six-sevenffs are usually retained by the regiment, as the Remainders or muster money, which is used in the King's name fer tributes to the Armsmen who provide men to the regiment, and expenses to the recruitin' saltrieves.

OKAY, SO THAT'S THE DEDUCTIBLES…
No it ain't! The King's Portion's only a third of 'em. Then there's the Fifth Quarter, which is a further two coppers from the weekly lunar stopped for vurious fings, with another two taken over Sacred Weeks. If you're confused, it's pretty obviuss to remember that the Fifth Quarter makes up two-thirds of the off-reckonin's. Yeah?


Anyways, this amounts to eighty-six coppers a year, from which is taken the usual Sevenff in tithing, only this time passed on to the Provincial Army and Administration in various amounts: free-sevenffs o' a copper to the Provincial Overseer, 2 coppers to his office and wun-sevenff o' a copper to his scrivener; wun-sevenff o' a copper to the General o' Procurements and Disbursements; wun-sevenff o' a copper to the General Guide fer the Lunar Spirit and wun and sixsevenffs  to the Provincial Church itself; and free-sevenffs o' a copper to the General o' the Provincial Army, one-sevenff to his Harbinger, and seven coppers to the establishment itself. After the tithe there's a day's pay taken for the Teelo Norri poorhouses 'n' orph'nidges, two days' pay fer the widows' weepin' money an' funeral club…

FUNERAL CLUB? SOUNDS VERY CONVIVIAL.
Eh? And a day's pay per month fer the regimental cult, one double-pay- day's funds fer sacrifices not accounted fer by such, and the noshunul pay of every Water Day of Death Week taken for the Black Eel.

HOLD ON… WATER DAY OF DEATH WEEK? SO YOU'RE PAID ACCORDING TO THE LUNAR CALENDAR, BUT ACCOUNT SOME OF YOUR EXPENSES ACCORDING TO THE THEYALAN CALENDAR?
Yer.

ISN'T THAT CONFUSING?
Hurh! You should've seen it when they tried to pay us each day accordin' to the phase o' the Moon…

RIGHT. ALL THAT STILL LEAVES FORTY-FIVE AND ONE-SEVENTH COPPERS A YEAR UNACCOUNTED FOR OUT OF THE 129 SO FAR `DEDUCTED', WHICH I PRESUME ARE REFUNDED TO THE SOLDIER?
You great gorp! Clothin', armour 'n' weppens don't grow on trees, yer know… well, not 'less yer in Snakepipe 'Ollow, I guess. No, we provides 'em, and the bug… lads pays us back from their pay, that money bein' kept by the regiment fer the outfittin' fund. They don't get any o' that back, jus' their seven coppers' a week subsistence.

SO A LUNAR SOLDIER ACTUALLY RECEIVES SEVEN COPPERS A WEEK… Whoah, 'ang on. One copper a week is stopped out o' subsistence for gin-tithing, or gingild as we say 'ere. Tha's effecktively one sevenff o' a clack a day, doubled on Great Moon Days and wun-an'- 'alfed in Sacred Weeks of course. So that's six coppers subsistence a week normal like, to be paid equally in two instalments, usually on Crescent-Come and Crescent-Go. Of course, if the wan… lads are subsisted in kind at regimental expense, then the value o' that is stopped too, innit? Same as if they're given goods fer barter an' all with them barbarians. Oh, yer, finally a further copper is offen stopped weekly every other month, fer regimental contingencies and shortfalls not covered by deductibles from the King's Portion or Fifth Quarter.

SO, FIVE OR SIX COPPERS, THEN…
Whoah there, Yarandros! There yer go again. All this is scratches on a wax tablet… 's not real money. No, real money costs… money.

MONEY COSTS… MONEY?
Eggsacktly. Look, if we be payin' the bas… lads in coin, we 'af to be gettin' it from somewhere. An' it offen don't come cheap, not least with Moonson's Monopoly on silver! Like, if we's in Sartar, there's usually a charge two-an'-free-quarter per cent on all funds issued, which is usually a clack accounted fer each month o' so.

BUT THE SOLDIERS ARE USUALLY PAID IN NAVARS, WHICH AREN'T MADE OF SILVER.
Tha's a point… Well, er, the recruitin' bounties are, tho'… a week's pay in advance like, jus' like this. <reaches into a bag and pulls out a coin>

THAT'S NOT A LUNAR, IT'S A BOLG.
No it isn't!

IT IS. AND 'ARGENTEUS' DOESN'T HAVE A 'J' IN IT. ANYWAY, YOU'RE OBFUSCATING THE ISSUE.
Eh?

NEVERMIND. SO OF THE 45 LUNARS AND ONE AND ONE-SEVENTH LUNARS STIPENDED, THE SOLDIER ACTUALLY RECEIVES UNDER 26 LUNARS A YEAR? Yep. But they get free gin.

BUT YOU'VE JUST SAID THE GIN ISN'T FREE…<alarmed> It isn't?

NEVERMIND. HOW MUCH DO YOU GET, GOPTO?
Now, tha's not a question t'ask a gennelman, is it! Well, alright then… do you mean from their pay or mine?

EITHER. BOTH. DOES IT MATTER?
Well, your typical company hofficer gets between five an' ten lunars a week, like, and a further lunar in slave money. He tends to pays for 'is stuff 'imself, so 'is stoppages is diff'rent, mind. 'E pays fer 'is waggonage, cult money, tithin's an' all that, but gets the outfittin' money back. Also 'is own Remainders is offen given back fer `company use' at the hofficer's discreshun. Then 'e gets 'is due proportions, like.

DUE PROPORTIONS?
Yer. There's 'is four-an'-'alf per cent of the gingild taken, fer negoshiatin' wi' the gin-peddlars on be'alf o' the company, and ensurin' it's good stuff, which is two clacks per man all told. Then there's 'is own sevenff taken from the regimental contingencies money, fer the `best usage o' the company at 'is discreshun', which is another free coppers per man. An' then there's 'is take on the widows' money, in their gratitude at 'is good graces, an'…

IT'S OKAY. YOU CAN STOP THERE.
Right. But, well, my company's a bit different, like.

OH, HOW COME?
Well, it's a long story, but my men don't acktually exist…

*****

SYNOPSIS
Pay of a common Lunar soldier per annum – 45L. 7,1/7n.

OFF-RECKONINGS
King's Portion deductible – 4L. 3n. (of which 6,1/7n. seventh tithing; 1L. road and river money; 2L. 2n. waggonage; and 4,6/7n. Remainder or muster money)
Fifth Quarter deductible – 8L. 6n. (of which 1L. 2,2/7n. seventh tithing; 1,3/7n. Teelo Norri fund; 2,6/7n. weeping widows' money and funeral club; 1L. 4,2/7n. regimental cult; 2,6/7n. special sacrifices; 7,1/7n. Black Eel money; 4L. 5,1/7n. outfitting fund)

SUBSISTENCE
Subsistence, i.e. pay after deductibles – 32 L. 8,1/7n. Charge for subsistence transferred into specie, typically at 2.75% – 9n.*
Gingild deducted from subsistence – 4L. 4,3/7n. Regimental Contingencies deducted from subsistence – 2L. 1n.

BALANCE
Total subsistence remaining per annum – 25L. 3,5/7n.

*N.B. the entire fund of subsistence is usually transferred into specie and thus subject to the 2.75%, but the charge is effectively levelled on that which is issued to the soldier alone – regimental contingencies and gingild are not diminished!

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13 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Annual. After discussing soldier's salaries with Jeff, I seriously reduced them to the levels shown above. I also found that when I calculated the theoretical 'salary' (in terms of the likely profit from the land and 'tenants' allocated to them) of a weaponthane or housecarl, they earned approximately the same as a Lunar Centurion or Troop-Leader, or a Lunar ‘Double-pay’ soldier, respectively.

The amounts of money adventurers often have is seriously way over the money/goods available to everyone else.

I think there is an issue there.  

I think the figures you gave are probably historically accurate, but don't add up with price lists and cash sloshing round the system especially from RQ2 eras supplements.

Where we would see the price dagger as being a soldiers whole years salary, or a bow as the best part of a commanders yearly salary.

When we start to look at training and spell costs it just gets ridiculous.

I think we either need to look at a complete rehaul of all price lists, monster treasure, spell and training costs published or accept that the Gloranthan monetary system is an not an accurate reflection of bronze age economics.

Edited by Jon Hunter
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1 minute ago, Jon Hunter said:

I think there is an issue there.  

I think the figures you gave are probably historically accurate, but don't add up with price lists and cash sloshing round the system especially from RQ2 eras supplements.

Most RQ price lists make little sense except for a place like Pavis which has a rudimentary coin-based economy, at inflated prices.

Or basically prices for outsiders, without connections to the guild etc.

A clansman won't have to pay coin for equipment. He may have to work it off, or fork over that cow he got to keep after the last cattle raid. Clansmen have little if any personal property.

1 minute ago, Jon Hunter said:

Where we would see the price dagger as being a soldiers whole years salary, or a bow as the best part of a commanders yearly salary.

A bow fitted to your requiremenst will cost you as much, looking at the man-hours that have to be put in the construction and preparation of the materials. (Even if much of it is providing a suitable stick of yew or flawless pieces of horn.)

There will be military surplus offers that will vary whether you buy directly from the quartermaster "losing" that bit or whether you buy it through several middlemen.

1 minute ago, Jon Hunter said:

When we start to look at training and spell costs it just gets ridiculous.

Compare those prices to medical services.

1 minute ago, Jon Hunter said:

I think we either need to look at a complete rehaul of all price lists, monster treasure, spell and training costs published or accept that the Gloranthan monetary system is an not accurate reflection of bronze age economics.

It isn't. The Bronze Age didn't know coins at all. The Salary (allotment of salt) may have been present that far back as the closest equivalent to an everyman's medium of exchange.

Coinage was introduced shortly before the rise of the Athenian democracy across the Aegaeis in order to have an unconflicted medium to pay the mercenaries. The idea spread extremely fast. That's "post-Iron Age", the early classical period.

Not so in Glorantha, of course - coinage may have been as old as alloys, when you think of the Clack or the Wheel. The Clack might have started as a weight rather than a means of exchange, possibly when preparing alloys.

Clan economy uses virtual money, or credit. Things you cause your household to owe other households. This may be prepaid, a flatrate, or accumulating a tab.

City life for known citizens will be similar. Only transients and known good-for-nothings (soldiers, mercenaries, adventurers) need to pay cash.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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32 minutes ago, Joerg said:

A bow fitted to your requiremenst will cost you as much, looking at the man-hours that have to be put in the construction and preparation of the materials. (Even if much of it is providing a suitable stick of yew or flawless pieces of horn.)

Not when the worth of years labour is 20 silvers... 

32 minutes ago, Joerg said:
Quote

Compare those prices to medical services.

Sill doesn't add up, the worth of commander yearly, salary is not half a week of a trainers time.  A legion commander should not be expected to pay 7 1/2 years salary to learn a battle magic spell.  I get the logic but the scales wrong.

It would lead to trainers and instructors being paid 40 times what a imperial commanders is. A spell trainers are heading to 300 times the net worth.

32 minutes ago, Joerg said:
Quote

Not so in Glorantha, of course - coinage may have been as old as alloys, when you think of the Clack or the Wheel. The Clack might have started as a weight rather than a means of exchange, possibly when preparing alloys.

City life for known citizens will be similar. Only transients and known good-for-nothings (soldiers, mercenaries, adventurers) need to pay cash.

 

First coins are and have been part of Glorantha from the start, its one of reasons i don't think its a Bronze Age world in the strict sense of the term.

The second here is we are looking at worth given, not the coins which are used for doing it. 

A provincial soldiers pay would be 3 clacks a week, what is that in terms of beers ???? 

This isnt 'meant to say Martin has this wrong , just that within Glorantha there a current two distinct economic scales and I don't think they have been reconciled yet. 

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4 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

There will be many different economic scales throughout Glorantha: prices are affected by supply and demand, the cost of transport, and the price the buyers are willing to pay. Pavis is a bit like a gold-rush town in that regard: away from the usual trade routes (in fact, generating a specialized one of its own), in fairly hostile territory in all meanings, and with an inflated local economy.

For example, there's been a thread about the price of iron. Do you believe there's one set price for the iron that comes out of the Iron Mountains? There's one price for the initial dealers, and the further away you get, the price increases, modified by local events such as wars, and demand.

There will be many economic scales but they will sensible, related and rational.

What i think we have here is the desire to reflect real bronze age economics with your good self and the old RQ2 economic system, which was designed to give adventures something to spend there money on after bringing ridiculous amounts of gold out of the ground after doing a dungeon bash.

I don't think either are right for Glorantha with hows its matured and grown over the years, but i'm very clear that the two scales cannot sensibly coexist within the same game world.

Trying to reconcile the two at the moment we would see peasants generating 10 silvers a year of worth, but wandering round with 1000 lunars plus of battle magic, just not feasible. Maybe the new runequest will reset the system a little.
 

Edited by Jon Hunter
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5 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

There will be many economic scales but they will sensible, related and rational.

What i think we have here is the desire to reflect real bronze age economics with your good self and the old RQ2 economic system, which was designed to give adventures something to spend there money on after bringing ridiculous amounts of gold out of the ground after doing a dungeon bash.

I don't think either are right for Glorantha with hows its matured and grown over the years, but i'm very clear that the two scales cannot sensibly coexist within the same game world.

Trying to reconcile the two at the moment we would see peasants generating 10 silvers a year of worth, but wandering round with 1000 lunars plus of battle magic, just not feasible. Maybe the new runequest will reset the system a little.
 

Well, but localized prices were often wildly unrelated and non-sensical.

A single egg in San Francisco in the Gold Rush was priced the same as an entire meal on on the opposite coast (about a 10X price differential if modern prices can be held as a reasonable model).

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8 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

trying to reconcile the two at the moment we would see peasants generating 10 silvers a year of worth, but wandering round with 1000 lunars plus of battle magic, just not feasible. Maybe the new runequest will reset the system a little

this misses the nature of how local communities gain their "batle magic"...i would postulate very few ever actually pay in cash...most will be gained as "blessings" for temple duties, labouring, etc.....clear that debris after the winter storms, help plough the temple fields, build new homes.....

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9 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

And indeed they are. For the Lunar army you have the annual pay, and for Pavis you have the prices in a gold-rush town.

I'm not sure where you got Pavis from i was working off the RQ2 rulebook, which was as vanilla as RQ2 got.

9 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Peasants don't wander around with masses of battle magic.

See the Previous Experience in RQ2. Peasants are poor.

Adventurers are atypical. 

See example stats across a wide range of everyday folk stated for RQ2 - Griffin Mounatin, Pavis, Bordleands and Sun country as sources.

  • Average balazaring hunter: Circa 7 pts of battle magic - circa 6,000 Lunars worth of spells
  • Balazaring Citadel warrior: 8pts battle magic - circa 7,000 Lunars worth of spells
  • Lunar Peltast (Griffin Mountain) : 13 pts battle magic   - circa 10,000 Lunars worth of spells
  • Newtling - 11pts battle magic  -circa 9000L of spells
  • Sun Dome Templar - 12pts of battle magic, circa 10,000 lunars worth of spells
  • Sun Dome Militia - 2pts of battle magic - 1500 - 2000 L of spells
  • Trollkin 1- 5pts of battle magic - circa 1800 L of spells
  • Standard Praxian Nomads - 4 -6 pts of battle magic, 2000 - 4000L worth of spells
  • Balazaring Baboons - 8 -12pts of battle magic, 6000 - 10,000 L worth of spells
  • Pavis Street Gang - 4 - 11 pts of battle magic, 7000+ L worth of spells
  • Trollkin watch in Pavis - 7pts of battle magic 5000+ L worth of spells

Sundome militia will be closest to what you means as a peasant. But when worker trollkin are wandering round with with 500L of magic, its suggest the two economic systems aren't joined up.

9 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

It may be worth noting that in my original pay tables, salaries were at least ten times higher, but I was told to reduce them. Working through the annual earnings of thanes and housecarls, based on the hides of land allocated to them, gives very similar values to officer/NCO salaries.  

My gut feel is that you were probably closer to right first time. If we are tying stuff into older price lists and approaches 

But when the RQG comes out we may see a complete reworking of training and spell costs, and the new figures would make much more sense.

I don't like the old RQ2 stuff and think its grossly out of date in terms of costs for spells and training. It belongs to roleplaying in the 70's and early 80's, But until we have something different we need to try to make things work with it.

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As much as the Lunar army may be corrupt, they do take care of their regiments having a monitor - one warrior out of a group of seven, who provides little magical augments and support to the rest of his file, and coordinates their personal spell casting to the best effect. It is in the regiment's interest to have their warriors able to equip their blades with Fireblade, for instance, and they will teach such battle magics to their regimental warriors. Who signed on for a quite long term of service - often 10 or 20 years, so this is a virtual cost (taking some time from the regimental priests' time allotment) well expended.

3 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

I don't like the old RQ2 stuff and think its grossly out of date in terms of costs for spells and training. It belongs to roleplaying in the 70's and early 80's, But until we have something different we need to try to make things work with it.

I know hardly any old school skill-based campaign that didn't offer monetary rewards in "free hours of training" in lieu of cash rewards. And that's individual training, at least on personal trainer level when it comes to taxing the trainer's availability.

Battle magic prices were designed to match training prices, and might as well sum up the cumulative effort of providing the magic and the infrastructure to teach it. Whether those prices listed in the RQ2 rules make sense in a cattle-based currency in a clan game interested in training up its defense force is a completely different question.

Within a clan, property is allocated to households rather than to individuals. Property transactions use a virtual currency of favors and occasional transfer of actual goods between households - if these are minor, without consulting the chief and council, it these get into the range of exchanging actual life-stock, only with approval of the chief (who is the ultimate arbitrator and dispenser of clan wealth). Household wealth is to a large extent based on a property grand by the clan, including the land where the household resides (both the building and its agricultural and craft grounds) and the majority of the life-stock kept by the household. A significant minority of that life-stock may be personal property from e.g. raids (rewarded by the chief or by the leader of the raid) or personal effort in relation to people outside of the clan (like selling an item produced in one's unalotted free time to a trader). The Call of Cthulhu skill "Credit rating" would be quite appropriate for simulating transactions between clan members.

So, magic earned in the service of a greater organisation will imply a virtual expense by that organisation - the use of its magical specialist retainer's time. If using an outsider retainer, possibly compensated by some activity of the organisation that serves the retainer's material needs. A quid pro quo exchange rather than hard coin, you only demand metal cash from suspicious foreigners.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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