Empires: State Building?

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Empires: State Building?

Postby dreamer_prophet » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:09 pm

I’ve been thinking about how the abstract characteristics of states expressed in R*n*Quest Empires can be measured in concrete terms. Or to put it another way: how much fluff can be extracted from the crunch? Here are some ideas, based on medieval England:

Size (SIZ)
If population density is known, then the size of the states’ territories can be derived from its SIZ. Population in a medieval milieu ranges from 12 people/square km to 47 people/square km. (7d6+5). (As an aside, 35% to 40% of the population are under 15, and 5% over 65.)

England covers an area of 130395 sq.km, its population at the start of the 14th century was about 4 000 000 (SIZ 18).Population density is around 30 people per sq.km.

Military Strength (MIL)
MIL is a measure of the militarization of the society. To determine the percentage of the total population that makes up the “draft pool” of potential combatants, divide MIL by 10. A society can potentially muster three times this number for a short time, though this carries the very serious risk of causing famine as workers are taken away from the fields.

With MIL 12, out of a population of 4 000 000, upto 48 000 noble English could entertain the full pride of France. (4 000 000 * 1.2%)

Religion (REL)
The culture’s inclination to create public religious institutions (e.g. the Catholic Church or the Imperial Cult of Ancient Rome). REL divided by 10 is the percentage of the population committed to the service of the church. The majority of these will be Initiates (or level 1), however one third will be rank as Acolytes or higher and are considered clergy.

In his Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England Ian Mortimer suggests that “Those Who Pray” (Level 2 or higher) number over 30 000 and account for over 2% of the adult male population. This translates to 0.6% of the overall population. In addition twice this number serve the church to a lesser yet significant degree, raising this percentage to 1.8% (REL 18).

Wealth (WTH)
Indicates the percentage of the population living above subsistence level. More than 90% of the population of medieval Europe was engaged in subsistence agriculture, so average “Wealth” would be about 10. As most of the population not engaged in agriculture were tradesmen living in towns, Wealth can therefore also represent the approximate index of the urbanization of a population (again: 10% in medieval Europe; in 13th century Italy urbanization reached 20%; in Imperial Roman times urbanization in Italy has been estimated at 32% comparable with 18th century Europe! Medieval Byzantium was about 25%. Assume towns to have a population of 2500 or more).

The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England estimates around 12% of English People live in a town of some sort (WTH 12).

As a rule of thumb, this also represents the fraction of the territory under effective control of the governing authorities. Settled areas will cluster around rivers and roads.

1 sq.km. of settled land will support 70 people, so area of developed agrarian land (sq.km) = Population/ 70. (57143 sq.km. in this Legendary England.)

The minimum GOV required is area of developed land divided by the overall area of the state (130395 sq.km.)

Or: (Population/70)*Area of the realm.

57143/130395=0.438 of the country is securely settled.

The minimum GOV required to rule Legendary 14th century England effectively is 44.

Is this stuff wide of the mark? I admit it's not neat fit, and figures are heavily massaged but it helps me to build a picture of what a realm is like. Does anyone else have different ideas?

Or even official ones....?
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Re: Empires: State Building?

Postby soltakss » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:55 pm

The trouble with (and the strength of) the rules in RQ Empires is that they are deliberately abstract.

So, a game set in the Greek City States might give each state certain stats and a game set in Medieval Europe might give the individual Duchies and Kingdoms similar stats, but they would represent vastly different populations. wealth levels and so on.

I think your ideas would work well when looking at a particular setting, as long as we realise that each setting has its own conversion rate in terms of military numbers, wealth, population and so on.

As part of the original Merrie England, I tried to stat up all the Angevin holdings as well as those of France, but I found that I had to handwave almost everything. There just aren't the hard figures that would make that job a lot easier, which was a shame. I suppose that the authors would have done the same when statting up the Roman Empire.
Simon Phipp - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982.

Merrie England (Medieval RPG): http://merrieengland.soltakss.com/index.html
Alternate Earth: http://alternateearthrq.soltakss.com/index.html
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Re: Empires: State Building?

Postby dreamer_prophet » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:45 pm

Yes, reverse engineering an authentic real world setting with the expectation of nailing it down is futile. The illustration is a serving suggestion and may not resemble the actual product: in the example the population of England fell anywhere in between 2.5 to 5 million. Furthermore there were protracted wars, plague, coronations, religious schism and gunpowder all of which further muddy the waters (it's a hell of a setting mind you)!

That said, if I'm trying to make sense of some randomly generated stats, or building a realm which I know will need to be able to field an army of a certain size, I can suspend my disbelief in the project with a little more confidence.

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