Friday, January 8, 2010

Falkovia with Medieval Demographics Made Easy

An interesting look at Ravenloft's falkovia with Medieval Demographics Made easy.

Population: 60,000.
Note that if you look at the population breakdown this is merely the Urban population added up. The urban population will let you deduce the total population, because you need enough villages to support more complex communities like towns and cities. At Dark Ages you can peg the percentage of urban population at 2%, at Middle Ages 12-13C 2.5%, 14C 3%, and 15C 4%. I would like the technology to be Carolingian, puting the population at 3 million.

Area: ?
Some sources describe it like Germany, while others compare it too France because it is the bread basket of the Domains. If you look at the map, it is heavily forested, so I'll go with Germany population density. That would be 30 people per sq km. That would be 100,000 sq km.

At this size many of the maps, which appear to be around under a 1,000 sq km must be scaled differently. One has to imagine that around every key settlement there are hundreds of small villages that line the longer roads and dot the larger landscape.

100,000 sq km is the size of 1/3 of the size Germany. Given this perspective, grab the old Darklands Game map of 16C Germany and re-imagine 1/3 of the area as Falkovia.

Government: Military Dictatorship
There was no such thing in the medieval era as military dictatorship because the military was built into the ruling class. You would need to seperate the military from the state to create that definition.

What you can quantify from the population, the neighbors, and the factors surrounding Falkovia and what you have is a seriously Military State, like that of the Spartans. Note that the Spartans were a warrior class. This will not work if the "despot" is the mercenary Vlad Drakov.

Vlad Drakov is now commanding a population comparable to the old Holy Roman Empire. Given that he is surrounded by undead and is in a constant state of war, he has enough political will to organize an military state similar to that of Israel.

One thing about the military that doesn't have much of an oligarchy is that it has only one way of putting people in positions of power: meritocracy. You can't afford an ineffective and corrupt ruling body when you are surrounded by undead. You cannot hold a state together with such people.

Re-imagining Falkovia as this Germanic Military State that is fairly egaletarian sets some interesting consequences.

Trade: Bread basket
You cannot knock food production. A military state that has a high food production means that it can field a larger army. Although having a larger army requires a different approach to organization and equipment. Your average joe in Falkovia is much like a roman soldiers, a highly trained professional that retires to farming with a household of cheap labor (non-human slaves).

Having more grain than everyone else means you can also field better or more horses. Since the man power size is much greater and a effective egaletarian state would rather to distribute than gamble so much resources on a elite few you then have a high amount of rounceys, warponies, and work horses distribution.

This would make further sense since many of the farms would need the heavier rounceys serve a dual purpose as work animals. Villages would naturally pool resources for draft animals, because given that the are no nobles that require huge stocks of grain to feed heavy warhorses.

Condition: Poor
Actually for what is supposed to be the only non-magical area and people in all of the Domains a greater level of organization, initiative and Identity is needed for Falkovia to exist. Such traits cannot exist without changing the status quo to encourage such behavior: thus they would more likely have a strong working and middle class.

Since non-humans make up the poor, most Falkovians come from a fairly comfortable culture that requires a lot of initiative, organization and hard work. Fighting undead, they need a lot of will and values that create an identity.

Having a cultural Identity and control over your destiny makes a people very progressive.

Re-imagining a Falkovian.
A falkovian can be appears like an eastern European, with a rich military tradition, and a strong sense of community. The strong sense of community that can be observed in the medieval English as they slowly became the superpower of the High middle ages. Although you have to color that image with a greater soldiering culture.

Many serve and many still serve in a rotational basis. A culture brought around a "spiritual" reason to serve the Dark Lord Vlad, for country, their loved ones and their brothers in arms.

Because of the causalities, large families are in style. The state and villages help out widows. Now and then rare women get into the action. Their status compared to men improved compared to other regions because of the man-power demands.

Communes will come into great use for effectively raising children and preparing them for the psychological challenges of their future. Probably an initative of the state.

The Falkovian Forces.
At 3,000,000 you have 20,000 career professionals. You will have roughly an additional 40,000 rotational soldiers. In a worse case scenario Falkovia can draft another 40,000.

100,000 fighting force. At 3% you have a fighting force relative to the population is not so bad. If you go to look at some-place like North Korea which have 5% active military, 20% reserve, and up half their population fit for military service (another 25%).

Every village will definitely have a holdfast or some basic fortifications. Small and highly coordinated platoon groups (6x6 + 4 officers + 20 baggage and reserves).

Running this Falkovia.
This falkovia will be quite interesting. I would enjoy imagining how such a state and people can fight undead like those of Left 4 Dead: fast moving "zombies". They will have to have different tactical formation, but the imagery of a cohesive military force bracing against charging zombies is quite exhilarating.

Formations, Tactics and Techniques against Boomers, Tanks, Hunters, Witches, and Smokers would be interesting to see.

There will certainly be a need for mixed group of skilled crossbowmen (using composite crossbows) and archers with broad leaf bolts/arrows. Javelins designed to slowdown charging "zombies". There would be a special Tetsudo/Tortoise and Pike Hedge formation against the zombie rush. Pikes will have stopping crossbars and hacking swords will be common.

Witches and Tanks will certainly be problem. Tanks are slow enough for very powerful and slow crossbows might be useful. Witches will certainly need keen fire organization and superior coordination with heavy infantry.
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