Friday, 4 February 2011

The Division of Land

As land is the main source of wealth and power in Redwald, the division of land is a handy tool for Referee’s to devise the fighting strength of the kingdoms they use in their game.More importantly it gives the Referee an idea of the pool of npcs he can draw on.
 The smallest unit of land is the Hide. Each Hide of land is enough to sustain one household. Every five hides must provide at least one-man (with shield and spear at least) to fight in the Fryd.
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How Big is Hide? How Big is a Household?
The size of a Hide depends on the quality and fertility of the land, but it is usually between 15 and 30 acres.
As you can imagine a Redwald Household is larger than our modern nuclear families. It will consist of mother and father, possibly two sets of grandparents, at least three and as many as twelve children, as well as any unmarried siblings of the father. If the household is doing well there might be one or two slaves as well.
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Not all households farm and those involved in craft and trade will likely be smaller, though no less prosperous.
The next unit of land is the Tithing which is ten hides and controlled by a Thegn. So a Tithing is ten hides of land supporting ten households, who must produce enough to sustain themselves, their Thegn, two men for the Fryd and a surplus for king.
Of course some Thegns are more ambitious than others and will find ways to squeeze more Frydmen from their Tithing, and may even have other Thegns swear their Tithing and loyalty to them on their way to becoming an Ealdorman.
The next unit of land is the Hundred which is ten Tithings (or as the name suggests a hundred hides). A Hundred is ruled over by an Ealdorman who commands the Thegns and Frydmen of his hundered.
Next is the Scíra, or Shire. The Scíra is an arbitrary unit of land with no set size, but as a guide a small Scíra might consist of a single Hundred, a large one five Hundreds, and the average Scíra three Hundreds. However many Hundreds make up the Scíra it is ruled by a Gesith, an Ealdorman of the royal war band. He is aided in administrative and peacekeeping duties by a Heah-Gerefa, or High-Reeve and his Reeves.
The number of Scíra in each kingdom, like the number of Hundreds in each Scíra, depends on the size of the kingdom, but the average kingdom would have three Scare.
For example let’s look at an average sized kingdom Southlund Seaxe . . .

3 Gesiths, 9 Ealdormen, 90 Thegns, and 180 Frydmen. This modest army is strengthened by the 12 or so elite Hearthweru of the ruler’s bodyguard, several Gesiths from court made up of brothers, cousins, uncles, and other noble relatives of fighting age, let’s say 15 of those, and 30 Sperebrógan (Spear Terrors) noble youths acting as skirmishers.
Southlund Seaxe has three Scíra, each of which is of average size and consists of three Hundreds. So Middle Anglund’s basic fighting force would be . . .
So, Southlund Seaxe’s army breaks down into 40 elite warriors (including the King) 90 professional Thegns, 180 spears in the ranks of the Fryd, and 30 skirmishers. An Army of 340 men.


  1. Good stuff Lee, this'll be really useful for mass combat.

  2. Cheers. Once I've done a brief chapter on the days of the week, calendar and religious festivals, and religion (of which the latter has little impact in Redwald). Then I'm going to work on an abstract skirmish level minigame. It's aimed more towards 30 men vs. 30 men type skirmishes, but it might work for kingdom vs. kingdom scuffles too.

    I hope, once I start the example campaign, this division of land stuff should also be helpful for Referees when they’re thinking about how many Thegns, Ealdormen, etc. are around who the PCs might serve or intrigue against.