Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Playing Servants, Part the Third: The Levyman

Thief Kit OR Fighter Kit
Description: The levyman is in actuality a form of farmer; however, for the purposes of this kit, it is assumed that this farmer has actually experienced some combat at the guidance of his lord. Levies are called up from among the common farm folk: freeholders and tenant-holders alike are required to serve in the lord's levy. Levymen may have recieved some training in the local castle bailey and may even have been required to serve as guards on the castle walls. They are primarily agriculturalists, but it is many a man who has gone off to war only to return to the discovery that some rival baron has burnt down his farm.

Fighter levymen generally represent either more veteran or better-trained forces. These have probably served on at least one campaign, or have just been outfitted to do so and well-drilled by the castellan or master at arms. Thief levymen are poorer at combat, having been either badly trained or quite green. Service as a levyman can sometimes lead to mercenary work or even outlawry when that service is over, particularly if the place the levyman called home no longer exists.

Weapon Proficiencies: All levymen, thieves and fighters both, can choose from the following weapons for their starting proficiencies: spear, pike, staff, club, knife, dagger, throwing knives, hand axe, throwing axe, sickle, short bow, long bow (hunting bow). After their first level, levymen may learn any weapon they please. Fighter levymen may also become proficient in the crossbow if they were outfitted as bowmen by their lord.

NWPs: All levymen must pick one of the following proficiencies to represent their background as common folk: hunting, fishing, farming, animal training (any), animal handling. Other likely NWPs include: firebuilding, dancing, cooking, singing, instrument (any), craft (any).

Equipment: Levymen are equipped at the expense of their lords. Fighters may choose to begin the game with either a leather jack (leather armor) and a round shield (medium shield) and then be given normal starting funds, or with one of their chosen weapons, a shirt of mail, and a medium shield and then only be permitted 1d10gp to spend on other incidentals (including clothing). Thieves may only start with the first option.

Special Benefits: The benefits to being a former levyman are that the lord probably has great respect for you. You can begin play with a farm and all its attendant trappings. Roll a d100 to determine your tenancy status:

1-50. Tenancy
61-80. Freeholding
81-00. Serfdom

The only difference between these three states is the way in which ownership of land is transferred and whether or not you can strike out on your own. In any case, transfer of land from the PC to another character would require a fee paid to the lord as well as his consulting rights on the new purchaser. Being a serf requires certain more intense duties to the lord as well.

To determine the value of your farm, roll on the table below. This is the number of hides of land you own. Without a family, it will be impossible to work all this land without recourse to hiring laborers. Land income per hide is generally measured by the yield of its ground and the type of crops planted. Depending on how granular you want to be, an entire system follows.

How much land do I own?
1-50. Half Virgater (1/8th hide)
51-80. Virgater (1/4th hide)
81-90. Great Farm (1/2 hide)
91-95. Landlord (1 hides)
96-00. Village Rich Man (1d4 hides)

One hide is roughly 120 acres. Thus, a half-virgater has 15 acres while a virgater has 30. The yields of various crops are listed below, with the per-bushel price as well. Format is for a poor/average/good year.

How much can I get of... from...
Rye (winter) - 6/18/21 bushels per acre from 4 bushels of seed, valued at 1sp per bushel
Wheat (winter) - 5/9/14 bushels per acre from 2 bushels of seed, valued at 2sp per bushel
Oats (spring) - 12/18/29 bushels per acre from 4.5 bushels of seed, valued at 13cp per bushel
Peas (spring) - 5/9/14 bushels per acre from 3.5 bushels of seed, valued at 4cp per bushel

The average income of each level of farmer, then (assuming peas and wheat each year, though the fields should be rotated), is...

Half-virgate: 200sp from winter wheat, 20sp from spring peas
Virgater: 400sp from winter wheat, 40sp from spring peas
Great Farmer: 800sp from winter wheat, 80sp from spring peas
Landlord: 1600sp from winter wheat, 160sp from spring peas
Village Rich Man: anywhere from landlord to 6400sp per annum

Special Hinderances: Owing 2-3 days of land service to your lord if you retain your farm. Paying fees on transference or death (hereot and selling fees) and being called into service for 40 days each year to fight or serve as a castle warden.

Races: Any race may be a levyman, though gnomes, halflings, and humans are by far the most common.

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