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How many troops in a demesne?

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  • How many troops in a demesne?

    I was wondering this : how many Units a single demesne can support?
    A PC house might have a lot of Power and would be tempted to invest in soldiers. But it doesn't seem right to me to allow them to have 6 or 700 men under arms on a demesne 3 leagues long.
    I think the number of units should be matched with the number of POP and maybe the amount of Land available.
    1 unit per10 POP?

    What are your ideas?

  • #2
    I know the size of the fortification (Tower, Hall, Small Castle, Castle, Superior Castle) has a limit on the number of units it can hold, but that doesn't mean a house can't field units outside its walls...

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    • #3
      I am not sure hiw big pieces of land you use. Originally it was as I remember for every piece of land just one square league aka around 3 miles to 3 miles - or nine miles longe and one mile wide or any other combination which results in nine square miles. That is surely not enough for many men if there are not at least a greater village. Three leagues on three leagues (as we use it, and you maybe too) are 9 miles length and 9 miles wide, and 81 square miles is quiet a huge area. I agree that population also plays a role. I think this is a question who should less decided by strict rules but by circumstances. Personally I think around 3 units per 9 square leagues goes ok if the population is not THAT small. Of course it is even complicated more tsince fore example it is said that a population of 21-30 mean farmsteads or hamlets but might have a couple of small towns and a comunity around the fortification. I think it comes to no surprise that nearly none house with such a population 8and hardly many ot those with more) have at least a village and a small town, let alone several towns... You could simple not buy enough towns/villages via the land you own for the population you should have,

      A population of "several small towns" should be able to support more than just two units if necessary, but most houses with a population of 21-30 not even have one small town. Same goes for land. The table in core rule book said 21-30 land is a modest stretch like that of house Frey. I think while most player houses have as much land, they hardly could rival house Frey and muster even a small portion of their troops (together with their banner-houses the Freys had 4.000 men or more).
      Last edited by Kajani; 07-10-2019, 11:21 AM.

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      • #4
        I don't think we can qualify House Frey's lands as a "modest stretch". The Freys are are one of the biggest bannermen of House Tully and should have more land than that..or we must consider that 21-30 land is not that modest but is instead an average size for a noble house. Which would imply that landed knights should have 20 Lands at best.

        My PC are playing House Moore in the Vale. They have one demesne (9 square leagues) and they rule another demesne until the heir of that land comes of age. They have 3 infantry units (garrison, archers and wildling raiders) , one cavalry unit and a Warships unit. Which means 420 men. Given the whole Vale's army is about 35000 men, the PC house represents 1% of the whole Vale's force. which is alot for a landed knight house in my opinion.
        They have a small town which is a port and farmsteads.
        So the question is : should i allow them to buy another unit?

        There is another aspect which troubles me. Buying troops is fine but what about the costs for maintaining them? I didn't find anything about it in the rule books. But it is suggested in the Riverlands book that House Barnell is always short of money because he maintains expensive troops. Until now I avoided that debate by ruling that only 30% of their troops are permanently under arms. The rest being farmers and inhabitants ready to be called out if necessary.

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        • #5
          I don't think we can qualify House Frey's lands as a "modest stretch". The Freys are are one of the biggest bannermen of House Tully and should have more land than that..or we must consider that 21-30 land is not that modest but is instead an average size for a noble house. Which would imply that landed knights should have 20 Lands at best.

          My PC are playing House Moore in the Vale. They have one demesne (9 square leagues) and they rule another demesne until the heir of that land comes of age. They have 3 infantry units (garrison, archers and wildling raiders) , one cavalry unit and a Warships unit. Which means 420 men. Given the whole Vale's army is about 35000 men, the PC house represents 1% of the whole Vale's force. which is alot for a landed knight house in my opinion.
          They have a small town which is a port and farmsteads.
          So the question is : should i allow them to buy another unit?

          There is another aspect which troubles me. Buying troops is fine but what about the costs for maintaining them? I didn't find anything about it in the rule books. But it is suggested in the Riverlands book that House Barnell is always short of money because he maintains expensive troops. Until now I avoided that debate by ruling that only 30% of their troops are permanently under arms. The rest being farmers and inhabitants ready to be called out if necessary.

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          • #6
            Well, I would allow it to muster another unit, or even two (although I think it need some good explaining if it are very expensive units like say a second warship unit and a personal guard or cav... I would put elements of the build up into the play. Send chars to greater town to buy weapons, muster men, secure ships/horses/armor etc. Let them bargain with other houses to get the officers they need. Let them work for the increase of their forces beyond just spending the power/glory/wealth your house has secured (if you not already let them do that, what very well may be).

            Our house has also two stretches of land a 9 square leagues, on one a small town with port, marketplace etc, and we started as you with four units (cav, personal guard, archers and garrison). We later increased the number of unit up to seven (gaining power by investing glory, converting wealth into power and winning power by lucky results in rolls for the house). Some part of it come as some kind of discount from mustering scattered forces from other houses, captured or deserted pirate ships etc.) - a additional unit of light cav, a warship unit and a support unit. We will surely disband at least one of the units when the war of five kings is over for us (if we survive that long) - and at least two units are not longer present since they fight further south . That is of course a huge buildup of forces over maybe one and a half year and I could understand if someone find it is too much.

            To be honest I think the upkeep is handled over abstraction. It is the bound power which manage it (since I think power means more than just the men and weapons to create the unit). But I may be wrong. Sometimes we spend additional money for the units, make Warfare and Status-Stewardship tests, so the process of upkeep is brought into the normal play. But we did not pay wealth on a regular rate.

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            • #7
              GRRM exaggerates a bit when it comes to troop numbers and SIFRP followed this trend. 100 men is a huge number for medieval standards.

              Moreover the whole house creation mechanics in SIFRP is completely broken IMO and makes no sense.

              If you want a more realistic way of generating house lands and assets, I suggest you buy HarnManor. It's an excellent product but it will make you feel like an accountant.

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              • #8
                Army numbers in A Song of Ice and Fire are way too big to be realistic. It is quite common in fiction, though. But if you estimate that you need about 9 people working in food production to support 1 who is not in medieval times, you realize that it does not fit with the size of domains at all. There are two easy remedies: Either lower troop sizes or make domains larger (or both). Domains always struck me as being quite small, so that was the first thing I did - but I never defined them, we just said that the lands are in this area of the map. I also moved settlements from Lands to Population, which seems to be a common fix and allows for more settlements, which could support more soldiers. And for troop sizes, I did smaller battles with each unit only being 20 soldiers (to give all players stuff to do), and it works the same way.

                A third option would be to make it clear that these are not standing armies. In times of peace, they work the fields and so on. That also means that famine is a real threat during war.

                I mean, the garrison at the Tower of London had like twenty men in Tudor times (later more, but even in 1550 it was only about a hundred permanent guards), and that was the main castle of the king. I visited a huge castle recently, and the guide told us that the permanent garrison was 7 soldiers in the middle ages (I do not remember the exact times, though) ..
                Last edited by Franigo; 07-15-2019, 01:03 AM.

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                • #9
                  gmotusus: I do not think that GRRM is so wrong with his numbers. Remember, that are numbers in time of war, and for significant factions. They are great - but if I see what the small british isles could muster during the War of the Roses, I think the numbers of armies which were send into battle are far from being too huge. Westeros is clearly seveeral times bigger (mow much bigger that is a problem nobody could answer since Martin use distances as he wanted, at least sometimes I have the impression).
                  By the way, in ancient times if necessary even greater forces could be mustered. If you look what numbers of soldiers the Romans mobilized in the Second Punic War - when they were far from being the mighty Empire they later become - and what other italien players in that war contributed either on the side of the Romans or Hannibal, than that was HUGE. I am not sure about the total number, but over the (long) war I guess several hundred thousand men served in today Italy alone.

                  Franigo_ I agree however that the numbers are too huge for standing armies of smaller lords if you follow the rules of the Core Rule Book. Of course the men in the Tower were (I guess) by far not only men at arms in London? Or where there no town-garrisson/guard? I am npt expert in that fiel, but I guess there was something like that, in greater numbers than the king's men.
                  Last edited by Kajani; 07-15-2019, 08:27 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kajani View Post
                    gmotusus: I do not think that GRRM is so wrong with his numbers. Remember, that are numbers in time of war, and for significant factions. They are great - but if I see what the small british isles could muster during the War of the Roses, I think the numbers of armies which were send into battle are far from being too huge. Westeros is clearly seveeral times bigger (mow much bigger that is a problem nobody could answer since Martin use distances as he wanted, at least sometimes I have the impression).
                    By the way, in ancient times if necessary even greater forces could be mustered. If you look what numbers of soldiers the Romans mobilized in the Second Punic War - when they were far from being the mighty Empire they later become - and what other italien players in that war contributed either on the side of the Romans or Hannibal, than that was HUGE. I am not sure about the total number, but over the (long) war I guess several hundred thousand men served in today Italy alone.
                    You are confusing middle ages with antiquity. The armies that Romans, Persians or Macedonian could muster, were science fiction for anyone in Europe around the 12th century.
                    Last edited by gmotusus; 07-15-2019, 06:34 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Europe around the 12th century was extremely fragmented, though looking at the hundred years war, crusades or war of the roses, say, you see armies numbering in the tens of thousands. Mostly it's Renly's army of Reachmen that supposedly gets up into the 100k, the rest of the forces are more reasonable like 20k Northmen, 30k Westermen, 20k Rivermen.

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                      • #12
                        No, I do not confuse them I know that middle ages and amtiquity are not the same time. I just used them to show that even agrarian societies which had limited ressources (and even more problems to concentrate or distribute them) could muster huge forces at least for a time. And you should not confuse for example the huge Persian Empire with the Roman Republic during Second Punic War. At that time Rome was more a regional player, not a huge Empire. Which is why I used the Roman Republic, not the later Empire or another Empire.

                        But even if you choose a time which is much closer to the time Westeros should show you find similar forces. I am not sure how big the numbers at Towton were for example exactly, but both sides combined were surely 50-60.000 men strong (or something like this). And since the Reach plus most of the Stormlands together are surely greater and have more people than the War of the Roses England, 100.000 men for Renley is not THAT fantastic. Maybe a little bit too much, but not THAT.

                        So are Martins numbers high? Yes. But I think they are not that much out of proportion.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kajani View Post
                          So are Martins numbers high? Yes. But I think they are not that much out of proportion.
                          Army sizes are not just about the raw number of men. Logistics are a main factor. These armies tend to live off the land, because technologies are not advanced enough to really support them over large or even modest distances. And 100.000 soldiers (plus their train) are much more difficult to feed by foraging than 10.000. I would say by a lot more than a simple factor of 10 to be honest. The same goes for commanding troops, communications and so on. It just gets exponentially more difficult.

                          Now, Westeros has a distinct system of gaining, keeping and distributing knowledge in the Citadel and its Maesters, so maybe there is some leeway. I would say that the numbers are a bit high, in the way that a lot of contemporary historians probably used higher numbers, but not in the realm of the totally unbelievable.

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