Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Thyatian Military Economics

by James Ruhland

> You mention that soldiers receive token pay, but also get land grants (IIRC), which makes them somewhat better off than peasants (therefore an incentive to join the army and see the world). Now, would you happen to have figures that we could see for comparison?

Now, this would depend on what kind of "economic model" one uses, but I'll do it so it is easily convertible. If you use Bruce's "realistic"/Silver Standard model, just insert "year" every time I say "month", since I'm using the inflationary/adventurer-oriented economic model (where gold is plentiful). For government work, the lowest standard wage (cash only) is about 18 gp/month. A typical peasant family farming a plot of approximately 10 acres or so would produce about 16.5 gp/Month. By comparison, a typical cavalryman receives a land grant of approximately 80 acres in size (about 10 to 12 times as large as a peasant family would find to be sufficient). To cultivate this plot would probably require 4 ploughmen and 8 oxen, and it is large enough that the cavalryman would not need to cultivate it himself, but could hire labourers, or have family members (or some combination of the two) work the land for him while he trains (and supervises). An infantryman's lands might be 16-20 acres in size. N.B. that for a variety of reasons these holdings may be cut in half eventually, pending availability of agricultural mages to increase productivity and the need to keep sizes small on account of the smallish size of "canon" Thyatis (but more on that in a minute).

Cash pay: the Byz. system set the pay scale for soldiers (common) at 1 N/year served toping out after 6 years at 6 N/year (month), I.E. a "seniority" system (the "average" was, however, high: Treadgold sets it at 5.5 N). For simplicity's sake I just assume 6 gp/Month. Note that under this system a mercenary's pay would start at about 18 gp/month (infantry) and go up from there, making it hard for your average adventurer to field his own private army (N.B. that this is probably close to double what Bruce might assume, since his multiplier seems to be 10.)

> As a side note, how large of a land allotment would a soldier get? One acre, two? More if he/she's got a big family? Would they get more land if they opt to have it in the colonies? What would this land be worth?

At a rough conversion, I've set the land at 45 gp/acre, on average. Of course "mileage may vary" depending upon the quality of the land and how monster infested it might be. In colonies land grants might be significantly larger.

Appendix A: Size of Metro. Thyatis.

I've noticed that the area of many of the nations, as given in the PWAs, seems to be inaccurate. Now, I haven't re-calculated the areas for every nation, or even many of them, but I have for Thyatis.

1 8 mile hex is 56 Sq. Miles, correct? By my count, using the Thyatis map from DotE, I found Thyatis to have 1,112 8 mile hexes (approximately). This would mean that the area of (mainland) Thyatis is 62,272 sq. miles rather than the 42,300 given. Still far short of what IMO it should be (circa 200,000-300,000 or so sq. miles in size), but I'll grumblingly accept it.

Appendix B: Monetary System.
For Thyatis I'm using "Byzantine" coinage, as follows:

Type Name Value
Platinum Piece Hyperpiron 5 gp
Gold Piece Nomismata 1 gp, 10 sp, 100 cp
Electrum Piece Semissis 5 sp, 50 cp
Silver Piece Miliaresion 10 cp
Copper Piece Follis -

Gold is minted at 72/lb, leading to coins between the size of a nickel and a quarter.
Platnum pieces (Hyperpiron) approximately the size of a nickel.
Electrum approximately the size of a quarter.
Silver approximately the size of a quarter.
Copper slightly larger than a quarter.
(this keeps weights somewhat close).

In the Byz. system the cp (follis) was worth 1/24 of a sp (miliaresion), and the sp (Miliaresion) was worth 1/12 of a gp (nomismata). I've retained the decimal conversion rates, however.

Now, in Byz. that means 288 cp (miliaresion) to the gp (nomismata). A labourer in town would earn approximately 16 cp per day, which would be about 5 of "our" gp/month. A farm labourer would earn about 12 cp per day, or about 4 of "our" gp/month. A loaf of bread might cost about 1 cp.

So, as you can see, there are various means of economic conversion. For example, I might instead set the wage of an infantryman at, say, 6 gps (or Bruce's 10 gps). One of the hardest things to do, IMO, is to make "realistic" economic conversions, especially when the monetary systems are so different (and the extent to which the economy is run on a monetary, rather than a barter/trade in kind basis).

Suffice to say I go back and forth on what I consider reasonable (especially since I enjoy tinkering). Soon I suppose someone will ask what taxes etc are. 8-)~