Raiding and brides

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MThurston
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Raiding and brides

#1 Post by MThurston » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:58 am

How much do Ivinians get during a typical raid? How much do brides cost?

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Brian_Smaller
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Re: Raiding and brides

#2 Post by Brian_Smaller » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:15 am

Nothing if you throw one over your shoulder and pack her on your warboat. Of course, depending on the bride, the honeymoon may be short is she sticks a knife in your ribs.

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Krazma
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Re: Raiding and brides

#3 Post by Krazma » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:46 am

I love the notion of a "typical" viking raid. I'm sure someone's done a spreadsheet.

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Re: Raiding and brides

#4 Post by Eder » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:49 pm

MThurston wrote:How much do Ivinians get during a typical raid? How much do brides cost?
Both questions, as others have pointed out, involve answers with a lot of variability. But some eyeballing is still possible.

Let's start with the second. Around AD 1000, the minimum brideprice by law was set at 8 ounces of pure silver in Iceland and 12 in Norway. This corresponds very roughly to 1L of purchasing power in Harn. This was sometimes called the "poor man's price"; if you could not afford to pay even this little, you could not marry because you could obviously not afford to support a family. Of course, if you are marrying the exceptionally beautiful only child of a king, you'd expect to pay much, much more (or not, if you hold the father at a sword-point) but the poor man's price gives you a guideline: in a "balanced" purchase of an unexceptional bride you'd expect to pay of the order a year's worth of the gross revenue of a man of that woman's standing. In Orbaal/Ivinia, with the high demand for brides and the canonical emphasis on how hard it is to purchase three brides, I'd probably up the price of a bride to 2-5 years of gross revenue. The idea is that having three brides is sufficiently desirable that the price will be driven up by lack of supply, to beyond the means of the "average" person; while at the same time the price cannot be so high that "farming" daughters for the brideprice is quite worth it.

As for raids, note that for historical viking a raiding expedition would typically involve several small raids. How much would you make on an individual raid? Well, the first thing to note is that, normally, you only want to raid someone who is significantly weaker then yourself: you not only want to win the day, you want to win it with almost no losses. Outnumbering your opponents 3-1 is the limit beyond which raiding is foolhardy and undertaken only by the mad or the desperate; 5-1 is reasonable if still aggressive; 10-1 is a very "take-it-easy" approach. You don't want to go too much beyond 10-1 because it's not getting any easier, but you are getting less return for your efforts (not to mention that Sarajin might look down on you); then again, targets are not "made to order", and between raiding the larger settlement 3-1 and the smaller 20-1, you'd probably settle for the latter. This assumes opponents of your own caliber; if you are an Ivinian plundering the coasts of a feudal realm, the local defensive militia (one man/household, but led by a knight bred-and-raised for warfare, and fighting on their own ground) might be counted just 3/4 or 1/2 of an opponent. So, in a "typical" successful raid, half a dozen raiders might get to plunder the possessions of a peasant household; a season of successful raiding might yield the possessions of a peasant household for each raider.

A complicating factor is that there's only limited space on a warboat for your plunder; you are certainly not going to make off with bales of hay, though you'd want to get provisions for the next few weeks out of a raid. Instead, you might take coins, metalware (particularly silver, but a good knife or a bronze pot is also worth it), reasonably good cloth (a sheepskin is probably borderline), fine pottery. Cows and sheep are probably not worth it (except for consumption), but particularly fine specimens might. All told, how much "portable wealth" is in possession of a peasant family (and not easily hidden) - which is how much a single raider would "earn" over a season involving half-a-dozen successful raids (and another half-a-dozen or more in which you get repelled, or the victims manage to elude you)? I'd eyeball it at around 1L, and a 20% chance of a suitable bride. A nice bonus, but not quite enough to support you all year long. Occasionally, you might strike it rich (raiding a wealthy abbey, or managing to catch a baron's daughter travelling to her wedding with a significant portion of her dowry), but you are just as likely to end-up empty-handed (or worse).

Note that the above is for the "average" raider. Leaders would earn a larger share. Assume that if you are in the top 10% of the leadership chain, say, one of the 3-6 most important warriors of your warboat, you might earn 2-3 times as much; if you are in the top 1% (commanding your warboat or even the entire raid), you might earn 10 times as much.

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Re: Raiding and brides

#5 Post by Targan » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:14 pm

I'm sure I saw a post on this forum in the last week or two that talked about canon references to brideprices typically paid in Ivinia.
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