Feudal obligations

Jack's picture

I love how the feudal obligations of manor-holders have been organized by Parliment in Shorkyne. For those who don't own Shorkyne or don't remember offhand, each manor (they average 3000 acres) owes the services of a "Spear" for ninety days each year. A spear consists of a knight, a light horseman, a longbowman, a medium footman, and a light footman. The costs (including wages and support) for a spear total 2,358d and Parliment has set the official value of a spear at L10. Let the scutage negotiations commence!

I *hate* how feudal obligations of manor-holders have been organized by CG in the latest edition of the Kingdom of Kaldor module. (Not a KP product, but KP unfortunately isn't developing Kaldor and I have to get my Succession Crisis fix somewhere.) Actually, I don't like a lot of what CG is doing with the old material . . .

In the new Kaldor, a manor owes one knight and some combination of one medium footman per 600 acres, one light footman per 300 acres, and scutage for a variable period of thirty to ninety days. It's not consistent with previous canon material, it's not consistent with previous rules material (HarnManor), and it's not logical. I don't see a knight's fee of 1200-1800 acres supporting a knight and up to six yeomen *and* the knight's household in noble style . . .

So, using the Shorkyne material as a guide (because I love Shorkyne) and in an effort to stay within the confines of canon (as in the older, better stuff), I've modified the feudal obligations of manor-holders in Kaldor. The point of posting, of course, is to solicit comments and refinements to my crude attempt!

Premise: In Shorkyne, 3000 acres supports an expenditure of 2400d per year (from the Shorkyne module).

Premise: Each feudal obligation is a unique contract between vassal and liege with endless permutations of service, scutage, etc. (from the Harn module).

Formula: Each manor held in fee simple owes approximately 80% of it's acreage in pence per year to it's liege. (Manors held in fee taile are different.)

Sample 1: The Lord of Lezorn (north of Baseta) holds 1510 acres from the Baron of Baseta (one of the Earl of Vemion's many titles). 80% of 1510 is 1208, so Lezorn owes 1208d or so annually. In my p-Harn, Lezorn was an abandoned manor resettled a century ago. Since the knight resettling it did not have much agricultural infrastructure, the terms of the feudal contract were unusual. He owes the service and support of a knight for sixty days (768d, see Shorkyne for math) as well as two dozen beaver pelts (wholesale value 8d each = 40% of retail value of 20d), a dozen weasel pelts (9.6d each), and a dozen ermine pelts (12d each) "for the wardrobe of the Baron". In total, he owes 1219.2d which is pretty close to 1208d and provides a lot more flavor.

Sample 2: The Baron of Hetheron (north of Baseta) holds 7320 acres from the Earl of Balim. 80% of 7320 is 5856, so Hetheron owes 5856d or so annually. In my p-Harn, Hetheron is a very old barony from back in the day when the customary period of service was ninety days. Ninety day service periods were unpopular with the knights because of the difficulty of managing a fief while away for so long, so over the last hundred years and some, sixty day service has become more customary. Too bad for the Baron; his contract has never been renegotiated. He owes the service and support of four knights for ninety days (1152d each) and four medium footmen for ninety days (234d each) as well as forty bushels of wheat (8d each) "for the table of the Earl". In total, he owes 5864d which is pretty close to 5856d.

Let's check this against some canon material: The Lord of Loban (west of Olokand) holds 1620 acres from the Earl of Meselyne. 80% of 1620 is 1296, so Loban owes 1296d or so annually. In "100 Bushels of Rye", Loban owes 100 bushels of rye (6d each) and we can assume that he at least owes the service and support of a knight for sixty days (768d). In total, he therefore owes 1368d which is pretty close to 1296d.

And owing oats for the liege's stable, wheat for his table, or furs for his wardrobe has a lot more medieval history flavor in my humble, amatuer opinion.

Feedback time! Does it seem reasonable? What other things might a noble household expect from vassals? (In real history, the right to hold the king's cup at a certain banquet or brush his hair before coronation were hereditary, believe it or not.) Have I violated canon in a really significant way? Is my assumption that a teenage boy (aged 12 - 20) serving as a squire was the squiring knight's responsibility/problem and not a military resource to be owed to the liege as a "light horseman"?

Peter's picture

Feudal Obligations

I haven't read the new Kaldor material (I don't own it). I guess the key thing is that the manor can realistically support that kind of feudal levy. I guess a 1500 acre manor could support 1 Knight and 5 LF (in Harn Manor, LF have 1d10+10 acres), but if it is a large manor (perhaps 3,000+ acres), the Feudal levy is potentially huge (perhaps justifiably).

CG's feudal levy levels may be influenced by Harn Manor, which does give a high level of income per manor (some consider this too high). Manorial income is in kind, and will need to be sold to change into hard currency (either locally at a discounted rate (perhaps 1/5) or taken to a nearby town for sale).

CG's take on the feudal levy seems to be that each fief-holder has (perhaps) a more personal relationship with his liege, this would not be possible with a substantially larger size like Shorkyne, this has been standardised.

I do like what you are trying to do, but I want to consider the economic/political implications a little more. I must admit, generally I prefer the information from the levels done in the original publications and the KP content.

The most important factor is that in the end it is your version of harn, you certainly should go with what makes more sense for you.

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