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Nitpicking the GM Pack Meeros adventure

posted Nov 15, 2012 04:52:52 by dansell1966
First, let me say that I am very grateful to the guys at TDM for providing the GM pack. The reference materials are very handy, and I'm sure have already seen considerable use in the community, and will continue to do so.

The scenarios, too, are rather neat, fun to read, though I haven't had the opportunity to use either of them yet. The continuation of the storyline from the rulebook fiction is quite entertaining. The other looks like fun, as well, and while my homebrew game is not set in anything like the background for that scenario's rather intriguing future (past?) earth, it looks like it could be easily modded to my needs.

But, to the nitpicking...

As I was reading the material on Meeros, I noted that it was emphasized rather strongly that the citizens all take two years of military training, at the least. Yet, as I look over the NPCs for the adventure, three of the major NPCs show no sign of either the skirmisher or infantry combat style, which you'd think they'd have learned at least the base rating of. Even the street thugs as statted out are suspiciously lacking in that area.

Its a very small nit, to be sure, but it leaves me curious as to if it was just a minor oversight, or if there was a rationale behind leaving out the culture's normal training for the various NPCs?

Certainly I can see a variety of religious or economic reasons that the priestess, the merchant, and the senator might not have been so trained, but you'd think at least some of the street thugs would have the basic military training given to all.
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7 replies
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lawrence.whitaker said Nov 15, 2012 11:14:18
Oversight, Pure and simple.
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Thalaba said Nov 15, 2012 16:58:42
Notwithstanding Loz's admission of oversight, it actually makes perfect sense to me.

Remember that 'Citizens' in the ancient context doesn't mean 'people who inhabit the city', but rather more like 'people who own land in the city', which in many places was a much more restricted class of people, excluding tenants, slaves, dependents, beggars, and others who might live in the city.

I think that only a small proportion of people that lived in an ancient city were actually classed as citizens. The rest of the population would neither have the same rights nor obligations. Many of these would be migrants who didn't grow up in the city, or descendants of past migrants. 'Street thugs', I should think, would fall into this category - certainly they wouldn't be citizens, whatever their origin, as it's unlikely that a landed citizen would have to resort to thuggery as a means of making money.

As far a citizens not performing military service, it is quite plausible that some would be exempt, or could hire someone else to perform their military service on their behalf. I would also question whether a person who was accepted as a citizen at a later age (if such a thing is even allowed) would still be required to take military training. Priests, priestesses, and others who serve the temple might also not be citizens in their own right, but rather servants of the temple itself.
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dansell1966 said Nov 16, 2012 14:59:46
Thalaba,

What you say is quite reasonable, and would be a rationale for not having them have the training mentioned. Though given the situation of Meeros, as an apparently singular city state surrounded by devil-worshipping barbarians, fractious minotaurs and centaurs, and apparently large hungry lizard beasts, a more stringent regimen of citizen training might be called for.
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DanTrue said Nov 16, 2012 15:23:44
What you say is quite reasonable, and would be a rationale for not having them have the training mentioned. Though given the situation of Meeros, as an apparently singular city state surrounded by devil-worshipping barbarians, fractious minotaurs and centaurs, and apparently large hungry lizard beasts, a more stringent regimen of citizen training might be called for.


"It is an honour to fight for Meeros. And honour should not be wasted on rabble!"

Not necessarily. Rome was surrounded by cities (for a time) larger than itself, had rebelled from the Etruscan and through an aggressive foreign police found itself at odds with neighbours all the time ..
Yet they for many hundreds of years refused to recruit non-citizens, and moreover refused to centrally equip troops, meaning that poor citizens would need to serve as slingers and javeliners.

Rome abandoned this policy when unable to raise an army because of depletion in the ranks of the more wealthy citizens. Meeros might do (or already have done, so you might very well be right) the same if faced with an overwhelming invasion... but Rome held to their way for hundreds of years because of tradition and an unwillingness to have the Roman Rabble armed and trained (the patricians had plenty of trouble keeping them under control even before they were armed and taught how to fight ;) ).

So, a city state might have some rather non-optimal policies... At least for a time. Perhaps the PCs might even get to watch the Meerosian "Marian Reform" when said minotaurs and centaurs join together.

- Dan
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lawrence.whitaker said Nov 17, 2012 12:39:58
Do bear in mind that Meeros is only meant to be a illustrative backdrop for the RQ core rules. The scenario in the GM Pack is intended to act as quick way to start adventuring; its not intended as a fully-fleshed and thought-out setting. For that reason, and that one alone, the precise nature of what combat styles a bunch of thugs or rabble use really isn't that important. If we ever do flesh Meeros out in more detail, then we would, obviously, provide full details and rationale.

Its quite easy though, for GMs, if they wish, to rename the Combat Style of the thugs and other non-military and arm them with a spear and shield.
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dansell1966 said Nov 17, 2012 15:34:15
Lawrence, that's fully understood. I only mentioned the issue (if it even rates that term) because I was curious about the process of creating the scenario and its NPC writeups. The points made by Dan and Thalaba are interesting ones though, and as I work more on my homebrew setting will be food for thought.
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parker_seand said Nov 18, 2012 13:30:52
If we ever do flesh Meeros out in more detail, then we would, obviously, provide full details and rationale.


I would buy that in a heartbeat...

I would support a Kickstart even faster...

just sayin...
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