Example Play of the Book of the Manor

Complete Landholding Systems

Because real life doesn’t involve enough accounting and paperwork.

What the Hell?; or, Statement of Intent

I'm easily confused. The Book of the Manor has done so. In order to clarify and illustrate my questions and comments, I’ve decided to put my PK Sir Hervis through a simulated run of three years for the Book of the Manor's Complete Landholding System and revised Winter Phase system.

It's Not Complicated; or, First Principles

  • This simulation will involve Sir Hervis, a Rich middle-aged knight.
  • Hervis owns three manors: two as grants from the Earl of Salisbury, and one as a gift from him by King Anguish of Ireland. These manors provide Hervis an income of £18/year, and 18 Glory.
  • Hervis’s current expenses are £10/year: £6 for the normal economic grade for a vassal knight, plus £4 in conspicuous consumption to raise his economic grade to rich. By spending over £9 on himself and his family, Hervis earns the equivalent glory for the spent Librum, for a total of 10 Glory.
  • From his many adventures, Hervis currently has £137 burning a hole in his pantaloons. As he is Famously Reckless, he intends to spend almost all of it. This way we can see how all the categories of spending play out.
  • This simulation will run for four winter phases, from winter phase 524-525 through 527-528. I believe this corresponds to Arthur’s campaign in Europe.
  • Sir Hervis is with his sovereign in Europe from spring 525-fall 527. We’ll say that he survives the wars, and that he sends home annually £15 in loot and ransom. His absence affects certain parts of the Landholding System.

I Will Spare You the Actual Simulation

It's long and a dull read. I've left the first year below. Suffice to say, it's easy to get underwater fast in this system. Hervis ended up pawning off his kids to pay for his horse.

QUESTIONS SO FAR:

  1. Does a Knight get glory for the annual maintenance costs?
  2. This “one improvement per year at cost, cost x1.5 for every one after” rule seems weird. It makes sense for large construction projects like a manor or a church, but it seems to me that a knight could sponsor a jongleur troupe, construct a hermit shack, and acquire a herd of sheep all in one year, without taxing his resources. Can we just use that rule for large construction?
  3. On a similar note, surely one can dig a ditch AND turn it into a moat in the same year?
  4. I feel like there’s some overlap between the Pious Trait and the Passion of Love: God. I understand they work differently in-game, but it irks me.
  5. The Knight seems to get checks and rolls on Traits and Skills, even when they’re not actually present at the manor? All I have to do is dream of my Large Mews, and I check Falconry?
  6. We don’t want to do this for every manor. Dow we just say that other manors earn £6 and call it square? Or do we go through the Narrative Economic System for those?
  7. How is the Wife’s advancement handled? A Steward or other Professional improves by 1 point in their key skill every year until it reaches 15; after that, the skill improves with a roll of 1 on 1d6 during the Experience Checks in Winter Phase. Does the wife advance in the same way? Does her Industry advance too, or does she use the check system if she successfully performs her industry solo? This subsystem is showing once again that without women, men would be digging ditches around rubble.
  8. In order for the defenses of a Manor to mitigate conflict and property destruction, a Siege Skill must be rolled successfully. None of us have this skill, as it isn't in the core book. I hired an engineer, who has the Siege skill. Is that what we have to do, or should we hand-wave this rule?

Winter Phase 524-525

Sir Hervis begins Winter Phase with £137 in the Treasury.

Solo Scenario

  • Hervis’ wife/steward, Glesni, performs her Women’s Industry solo first. Her Industry is 10. He rolls a 13, so her weaving brings in no extra Librum this year.

Experience Rolls.

  • No Manorial Improvements are built, so there are no extra checks here.
  • Population growth may occur after five years of Meager or better harvest results. Looking back, I can see that Hervis has had one year of good harvests, so he’s not eligible for this.
  • Hervis performs a Justice Event. This roll actually matters in the game now! It’s between a poor farmer and a farmer, over a theft of a pie. The case is a hard one (17 on a d20), but the plaintiff makes a mediocre argument (9 on d20). Hervis wins with a higher roll against his Just Trait (15, rolls 10 on d20). His peasants Hate (Landlord) Passion is reduced by 1, from 0 to -1 (More on that Hate Passion later).

Roll for Aging

  • Hervis has no professional Esquire, but his squire Semond is the bastard son of a noble, and will never be knighted. He will become a professional Esquire next year, with a Squireship skill of 20, and Hervis will never have to shape up another whippersnapper again. Because it seems like all the player has to do is declare that, and that happens.

Check Economic Circumstance — Here Begins The Complete Landholding System

Initial Expenses

The spending in the system falls into three basic categories: Manorial Improvements, Retinues and Other Glorious expenses. Multiple Improvements cost more than single improvements: each improvement after the first costs x1½ the Librum, and the first one is always the least expensive. In addition, he only collects Glory for the base expenditure. Retinues and Other Glorious Expenses can be purchased as many times as Hervis likes, without increasing in cost.

Manorial Improvements

Sir Hervis wants to come home from war and live like the medieval player he is. He decides to damn the cost and build multiple Manorial Improvements. From least to most expensive:

  • A Manorial Fortification. Hervis wants to ensure that his Manor is protected during his absence from opportunistic Saxons and treacherous Silchestrians. He orders the construction of a ditch and earthen rampart This costs £5, and adds a Defensive Value (DV) of +2 to the Manor, which will help later. In addition to the Glory from the expenditure, it gives Hervis Annual Glory (AG) of 1/ year. It also costs him £0.5 in Annual Maintenance (AM). He will also need soldiers to man it, but those are expensed later, under Retinue.

Construction Costs: £5
Glory Gained: 5
Annual Maintenance: £.5/year
Annual Glory: 1/year
Manor DV: 2

  • A Manorial Development. Hervis also wants to give to his commoners, not out of chivalry or compassion, but so that they won’t hate him. The commoners have a Passion called Hate Landlord. It partly determines the manor’s chances of financial success or failure. Hervis already reduced their Hate from 0 to -1 through the Justice Event. With the recruitment of a carpenter (£10, x1.5 = £15, AM £3), Hervis decreases his commoner’s Passion: Hate Landlord (P:HL) by 3, for a total of -4.

Construction Costs: £20
Glory Gained: 15
Annual Maintenance: £3.5/year
Annual Glory: 1/year
Manor DV: 2
P:HL: -4

  • Time to upgrade the ancestral Simple Wooden Manor at Steeple Langford for a Simple Stone one. It costs him (£24 x1.5 = 32, AG 1), plus £2 in furnishings. He also adds carved lintels and painted scenes (£1 x1.5 = £1.5, AG 2). Stone manors have a DV of +1.

Construction Costs: £53.5
Glory Gained: 42
Annual Maintenance: £3.5/year
Annual Glory: 4/year
Manor DV: 3
P:HL: -4

Retinue

Hervis must hire NPCs! He has to pay for his garrison of five men to for his defenses (AM £9). Note that there’s no initial cost, just the annual one. The garrison’s Key Skills (KS) start out at 2d6+6. He rolls a 5, so their KS are all at 11. Hervis also wants to hire an engineer with a KS of Siege at 16 (AM £2) to man the rampart, for reasons I’ll explain later.

He also hires a protocol handmaiden for his Commoner Wife (AM: £0.5) who, as a “professional” commoner, has a KS of 2d6+5. Hervis rolls an 11, and gets an excellent bargain with a KS of 16.

He also hires a Singer to accompany him on his Lute (AM: £1, KS: 11), who is less of a bargain. But the Key Skill of every NPC will increase by 1 point per Winter Phase, up to 15. After that, it increases by 1 on a roll of 1 on d6.

Construction Costs: £53.5
Glory Gained: 42
Annual Maintenance: £16/year
Annual Glory: 17/year
Manor DV: 3
P:HL: -4

Other Glorious Expenses

Finally, Hervis has some old expenses to catch up on. He spends £10 retroactively on christenings for his children, and £1 for the funerals and gravestones of his two daughters.

Construction Costs: £53.5
Glory Gained: 53
Annual Maintenance: £16/year
Annual Glory: 17/year
Manor DV: 3
P:HL: -4

These costs are expensed at the end of the Landholding System Section.

Let’s see how Sir Hervis’s poor Wife/Steward Glesni does. She starts the year with starts the year with £137 in the Treasury. The Complete Landholding System is divided into three sections: Revenue, Fortune, and Harvest.

Revenue

The first thing Glesni does is calculate her anticipated revenue for the manor of Steeple Langford. The manor normally provides £6 worth of income.

Anticipated Income: £6

Fortune

Now it’s time to see what she’s up against this year. She will calculate the Manor’s Fate vs. her Stewardship (13).

Anticipated Income: £6
Fate: 0
Stewardship: 13

Manorial Luck

Glesni's Manorial Luck roll (5 on 1d6) shows that a fine Courser has matured in the manor’s herd (14 on d20, 2 on d6). There will be no modifier to the Manor’s Fate.

Anticipated Income: £6
Fate: 0
Stewardship: 13

Fate
  • The Manor’s Fate is determined by four different values, only two of which we’re concerned with now. The first value is the Weather, which is 3d6+5. Glesni rolls an 8, and adds five to get 13. A better-than-average year, overall, and yet still a tough number to roll against.
  • The second Value is Conflict. On a d6, Glesni rolls a 4, which indicates a group of bandits are operating near Steeple Langford. Bandits add d6-1 to Fate. Glesni rolls a 2, so she adds 1 to Fate. They’re not very good bandits. If the rampart or maor had been built by now, she could have subtracted the DV from the Conflict result, reducing the effect.
  • The other two Values are Pestilence and Wasteland, which are linked to the campaign, and added at the game master’s evil discretion.

Anticipated Income: £6
Fate: 13
Stewardship: 13

Care
  • Fate can be adjusted up or down through a roll against the Knight’s Care (Commoners) Passion. This passion always starts out at 7, and it does not go down in the event of a failure.
  • The Care Passion is compared with the Commoner’s Hate (Landlord) Passion. In this case, the Commoners love Hervis (-4), so that number is added as a positive integer to the Care Passion, for a total of 11. Since the result is a positive number, Glesni can roll an uncontested challenge against it. She gets a 15, a failure, so there’s no change. The peasants do as they have always done.

Anticipated Income: £6
Fate: 13
Stewardship: 13

Harvest

  • Now it’s time to see how it shakes down. It’s a contested roll between Glesni’s Stewardship and Fate. Glesni rolls a 10, and Fate rolls a 16. Glesni’s first year is better than bad, it’s good! The Anticipated Income is multiplied by 1.5, for an actual income of £9.

Treasury: £146

  • But there are always expenses. In addition to her family’s Rich lifestyle (-£10), Glesni must pay the maintenance and salaries for the retinue (-£16), and for the construction of the new buildings (£53.5).

Treasury: £66.5

  • Fortunately there is income from 2 other manors (+£12), and Hervis sends home £15 in loot and ransom.

Treasury: £93.5

Make Stable Rolls

Let’s see if that Courser survived the winter! (3-20 on d 20, rolls a 2) No! Well, glue for all this year!

Also, did you know that in the Middle Ages, buildings sometimes just collapsed or burned down or exploded before construction? Let’s see if the Ditch and Rampart, the Carpenter’s Workshop, and the new Stone Manor were built successfully. (1-19 on d20, rolls 17, 15 and 12). They held together. Must have been all that glue.

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