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Balance of Power: 860 Main Thread

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Almalexia

Her Flamboyance, the Calipha
Duke
M&BWBNW
BALANCE OF POWER: 860

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The ravens fly across Ægir's wine dark sea, as Norsemen gather their ships in fleets of masts as thick as forests, and set sail for plunder and land upon the farthest horizons. Armies march, crows gather, and the green land cries out for the blood it shall soon receive: the Viking Age is about to reach its height, and the plague of coastal raids of the past are about to be forgotten as the Norse look to conquer and settle for good. Meanwhile, to the East, the Magyars ride to the gates of Europe, seeking wealth and a homeland of their own at the expense of the soft settled folk of the West, and the Khazars rule a massive empire of the Jews upon the steppe made rich on the wealth of the Silk Road. The Mediterranean is wracked by storms of war between Christians and Arabs who have brought the crescent to the fields of France and the walls of Rome, with the great prize of Sicily yet to be won. And the Empire of Charlemagne, once heralded to be the promised return of the Western Roman Empire, now divides itself among his squabbling grandsons, and the dream of the Carolingian Renaissance perhaps proven but a brief interlude in the Dark Ages of Europe. But all are to be overshadowed by the titanic conflict between the superpowers of the Age in Asia Minor, where a golden age of Islam and the Byzantines preludes renewed war between the Byzantines and the Abbasids for the right flank of Christendom.

Before the wrath of the Norsemen, however, all must give pause in fear, for as the year of our Lord turns to 860 AD, the Viking Age has come.



World Map:
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The Map of the Known World, 859 AD (Open in a new tab!)

Link to the BoP Tool: https://tw.greywool.com/bop/

The Player List
Teo: Kingdom of Vestfold
BenKenobi: Papal States
Curio: Khazaria
Fredelios: Hastein's Band
Angelsachsen: Strathclyde
Sarado: Aquitaine
Moose: Cordoba
Alfred: Wessex
Mahud: Byzantines
Rocco: Connacht
Ev: Freyja's Band
Pixel: Magyars
Grikiard: Vikarr's Band
Grimmend: Jarldom of Hålogaland
Dago: Republic of Amalfi
Blacktide: Abbasid Caliphate
Bluehawk: Rurik
Hark: Sons of Ragnar
Draorn: West Francia
Cowdude: Emirate of Sicily





Mechanics:

Politics:

In Balance of Power: 860, in lieu of strong centralized governments and national identities, politics is reflected in a relatively simple yet elegant system of the Ruling House and its interactions with Factions: powerful parties in the court or country who exercise a considerable influence on the politics of the realm. They can be a House or coalition of nobles, religious institutions or sects, exceptionally powerful provinces or cities, conquered ethnicities, or even the common people themselves, if sufficiently mobilized. Factions need not be merely groups of discontents (though they certainly can be, if your reign and rule runs contrary to their interests), but powerful social groups symbiotically aligned, allied, or intermarried with the ruler for their collective benefit. Their motivations, beliefs, and goals are nearly infinite, as are your means of dealing with them by means peaceful or violent, directly or indirectly, but the formula of calculating their threat to your reign, and thus their importance in your plans, is simple: the Faction’s Influence in the country, subtracted by the Faction’s Happiness. If it matches or exceeds the Authority of the Ruling House, there is a potential for revolt.

Thus, for example, consider an Influence score of “Dominant” for a Faction with a Happiness level at “Feud”. With happiness as its lowest possible level, it subtracts nothing against the Faction’s influence: even with a royal authority of Almighty, this Faction’s Threat will be Medium. In simple numeric terms, the lowest score is a 0, while the highest is a 4. If the score matches the Authority of the Ruling House, the threat will be Medium. If it exceeds the House’s Authority, the Threat will be High, and there is a potential for open revolt.

Each country will also have a unique Culture Bonus: which will give a variety of powerful bonuses to each realm that may influence its individual flavor and style of play. The Cultural Bonuses are listed below:

Norse: 1 Extra Merchant, Recruitment costs for ships halved
Vikingr: No upkeep costs on Armed Levy
Nomadic Confederations: Half upkeep on cavalry, Horse Archers don’t require Wood
Anglo-Saxons: Armed Levy upkeep a quarter of recruitment cost (instead of half)
Celts: The Total Levy can be summoned for Raids, Religious Factions with positive Happiness give bonuses to Court Upkeep (+5% per positive level)
Franks: Each level of Authority reduces the number of Factions by one (Minimal = 5 Factions, Almighty = 1 Faction)
Arabian: 1 Extra Merchant, Access to extra “Silk Road” Entrepots
Byzantines: Controlled Entrepots receive the full value of incoming foreign trade routes
Andalusians: Religious/Ethnic Faction happiness cannot go below “Angry”
Republics: Faction Unhappiness does not add to Court and Government Expenses

Vikingr players, representing the unlanded “sealords” of the Norse, have an additional optional bonus. If they decide to lower sails to settle down and claim land of their own, Vikingr may choose to adopt the local culture of their conquered territory to replace their previous culture bonus, or even possibly adopt that of previously encountered cultures. Otherwise, if settled into a kingdom of their own, their Vikingr bonus will default to that of the Norse.

In addition, Factions have another factor correlating to impact on your realm’s economy. Each level below “Ambivalent” for each Faction’s Happiness will incur a 5% increase to the Government and Court Expenses. For unlanded Viking Adventurers, the Authority section and thus the Government and Court Expenses tab is a little different. For them, they possess “Fame” rather than authority, and instead of Government/Court Expenses they have a “Division of Plunder” section: as opposed to drawing a percentage from the Tax/Tribute Income in upkeep, it is drawn from the funds stored in the Treasury.

Economy:

In this age of Vikings and Silk Road caravans, the road to wealth follows two paths: one of raids and conquest, and the other discussed here, of trade. With many people living off subsistence agriculture in the aftermath of the fall of Rome, and much of Europe’s governance divided between petty chiefs and nobility, many players will depend on these two paths for disposable income, and unlike other BoPs where trade is more of a passive element of diplomacy, in BoP: 860 it will take a more active and adventurous hand. Otherwise, the standard running of economics will be relatively straightforward: Taxes and tribute refer to the proceeds of the land and peoples under your control, and Trade Income the combined yearly proceeds of your trade routes and controlled entrepots. In general, Taxes and Tribute can be expanded by increasing the size of your realm and influence, and by land improvements, though for many with the state of technology in the Dark Ages the returns may be modest. Expenses are registered in two categories: your Military Upkeep, where you pay your retinue and your Armed Levy as well as for the maintenance of your ships, and the Government and Court Expenses, which covers the wages of your officials and clerks, which will vary depending on the complexity and size of your state; Petty Kingdoms require 5% of your overall revenue, Kingdoms 10%, and Empires 15%. In addition, discontent Factions in your realm will increase the expenses of the court by 5% per negative Happiness level per Faction to placate the notables of the kingdom with gifts and impress the wealth and power of the ruler upon them. Proceeds from raids, meanwhile, are deposited directly into the kingdom’s treasury.

If you run out of money, in this age there is no “national debt”: though some can appeal to Jewish moneylenders if they have the connections, if your treasury runs out there may be serious domestic repercussions as factions take it as a reduction of your power or ability to rule. With good enough relations, a silver tongue, or good old strongarming by force, you may be able to obtain funds willingly or not from certain factions (obviously impacting their happiness), but if this fails, the happiness of all factions will drop by one level. Strategic goods are not stockpiled: the amount available represents the total annual production of your country available to be bought or requisitioned by the state, and all that not prioritized for the production of arms is thereby used for the making of tools and implements for the common folk. They can however be bought from other countries by direct diplomacy, however, should you require a faster buildup of arms.

Trade on the other hand is where real fortunes can be won, on the road and high seas following the adventures of merchant caravans. Contrary to previous BoPs, trade deals aren’t done by direct player-to-player diplomacy, but by sending your Merchant parties by order to Entrepots far and wide. Entrepots are major international marketplaces, and to establish trade deals, merchants must be sent to brave the dangers of the unknown. Each player has a limited number of merchants that can be sent out each turn, and each country possesses trade goods with which to trade with the outside world. Sending out merchants is relatively simple, ultimately requiring just the destination and they will handle the negotiations, but success is not guaranteed. Many dangers and pitfalls await on the road, and their chances can be improved by attaching Retinues, supplying funds for gifts and bribes, and charting their route yourself to avoid the worst of the perils of the world of the Dark Ages. If successful, they will earn 100 Silver per turn for every trade good in the deal, and 200 Silver for each good from the Emporium that you do not possess.In addition, all Entrepots are ranked by size, from smallest to largest: Regional Trading Post, International Marketplace, and Grand Emporium. Regional Trading Posts have a x1 bonus to trade deals; International Marketplaces give a x2 multiplier; and finally Grand Emporiums provide a x3 modifier. Once established, the merchant will then be available to embark on another trade mission on the following turn: or if killed, captured, or lost, will be replaced by a new commercial representative. Already established trade routes will remain persistent until cancelled or disrupted. Sending missions to more distant Entrepots entail higher chances of failure safely reaching the markets and making a deal, as well as greater risks of raiding on overextended trade routes: thus while they possess greater reward, it may be worth proliferating trade contacts to smaller, neighboring market Entrepots on more defensible routes!

In-Game Example: For an example of a trade deal, to calculate the earnings from a potential trade route a merchant sent from Great Moravia, which produces Amber, Furs, Dyes, Linen, Antler, Hides and Leather, Feather Down, and Ale; sent to the Entrepot of Dorestad in Germania, which produces Wine, Gold, Furs, Antler, Dyes, Amber, Hides and Leather, and Ale; would simply add up the number of total trade goods involved in the deal from both sides, and the number of trade goods produced in Germania that Moravia does not: IE 2 unique goods from Moravia and 6 Shared goods (2+6x100), and 2 unique goods in Germania (2x200). The sum would thus be multiplied by three due to Dorestad's status as a Grand Emporium. The resulting trade route would thus yield an expected profit of 3,600 Silver per Turn!

Of last note, controlling an Entrepot as its owner not only gives you the income from your own established trade routes, but half the income from every foreign trade route destined for that Entrepot. Control of Entrepots is thus a potentially very lucrative source of income, and worth the competition for control! The Entrepots of the world are listed below, and will be reflected on the world map:



North Sea:
Kaupang, Hedeby, Visby, York, London, Dublin
Russia:
Novgorod, Kiev, Atil, Bolghar, Chersonesus
West Europe:
Paris, Narbonne, Aachen, Dorestad, Regensburg, Frankfurt, Rome, Verona, Naples, Palermo, Cordoba, Seville, Barcelona
East Europe:
Wolin, Nitra, Riga, Prague, Belgrade, Polotsk, Pliska
Balkans and Anatolia:
Constantinople, Thessalonica, Iconium, Athens, Antioch
The Orient:
Fez, Kairouan, Alexandria, Fustat (Cairo), Jerusalem, Aleppo, Damascus, Baghdad, Basra, Jedda, Sanaa, Isfahan, Shiraz, Ani, Ardabil, Merv, Samarkand
The Far East:
Turfan, Khotan, Chang’an, Guangzhou, Gyeongju, Heian, Kabul, Kannauj, Mansura, Pataliputra, Kanchipuram, Anuradhapura, Palembang
Africa:
Axum, Dongola, Kumbi Saleh, Njimi, Zeila, Kilwa, Ilé-Ifẹ̀
Beyond(?):
???

The list of trade goods is listed below:
Amber, Sea Ivory, Pitch, Furs, Hides and Leather, Antler, Seal Fat, Grain, Ale, Fish, Cattle and Dairy, Horses, Swords, Feather Down, Salt, Copper, Tin, Silver, Gold, Gems, Dyes, Wool, Cotton, Silk, Spices, Incense, Sugar, Honey, Wax, Wine, Perfume, Musk, Olives and Olive Oil, Marble, Dates, Pistachios, Glass, Porcelain, Tea, Ginger, Saffron, Pearls, Coral, Ivory, Ebony, Cedar, Sandalwood, Coffee, Paper/Parchment, Slaves, Hunting Dogs/Birds, Isinglass, Iron [Quantity], Wood [Quantity]

War:

In the era of warriors after the fall of Rome, permanent standing armies are few and far between, and are hosted only by the wealthiest of empires. Beyond the chosen retinue surrounding the kings court, most warriors are part-time soldiers, their lives dominated by cycles of farming, crafting, and raiding. The manpower of the kingdom is thus divided into three: the Total Levy, representing all fighting men available to be raised not in the standing retinue; the Armed Levy, constituting warriors who split their time seasonally between fighting and agriculture; and the Retinue, who are full-time professional warriors. The Armed Levy and Retinue are recruited from the Total Levy pool, and in lieu of standardized regiments, each unit recruited representing a single soldier. Manpower left over from the Armed Levy and Retinue will bring their own arms if called for war: some with varying kinds and quality of armament, and the rest with whatever implements they have on hand. Nonetheless, they can still be valuable to fill out the ranks of your armies, and to draw every hand available when the future of your kingdom is on the line. Armed Levies incur only half their recruitment cost in silver for maintenance, however, while Retinues require their full recruitment cost in maintenance. A fourth category represents your realm’s ships: all ships require half their recruitment silver cost in maintenance. Keep in mind naval vessels represent only the ship itself, and must be assigned soldiers for crew.

Warfare also has its differences, and can generally be divided into three categories based on your goals; Raids, Seasonal Campaigns, and Prepared Invasions. Raids are purely for plunder: raiding can be very lucrative, and are a good way to pay for the upkeep of your army/state or earn disposable income, but you can only summon your Retinue and up to a half of your Armed Levy on raids, and cannot permanently acquire territory. Seasonal Campaigns are a balance of plunder, conquest, and military commitment depending upon their objectives, and can summon up to the entire Armed Levy, but are limited to a single season of campaigning, and returns are also more limited overall, usually restricting conquests to trade-offs of border territories. Prepared Invasions are year-long campaigns that can summon from the Total Levy from across the land, and have the greatest payoffs in victory, but also the greatest risks in defeat, and if not adequately rewarded the levy will become discontent from time spent so long from the fields and harvest. These campaigns can nonetheless see the raising of new kingdoms, the seizure of key provinces, and even the total destruction of kingdoms. Each level of engagement has a corresponding likelihood of counter-engagement, with raids the most likely to get away without armed interception, and Prepared Invasions the most likely to see a climactic engagement.

The available unit cards presented below represent only the base units: some cultures may not have access to some cards, while others may have unique units not shown here. Custom units and unit cards can also be created and recruited by players during the game! As a general rule, units recruited and ships built during the turn can be used that turn by approximately mid-year. Also keep in mind that while troops can be raised relatively easily so long as you have the funds, materials, and manpower, disbanding them is a more delicate task. Most are not salaried soldiers of the state and once given weapons are loathe to give them up, and even those who are under the ruler’s direct employment are quite jealous of their privileges and prerogatives. Reducing the burden of military upkeep is thus a drastic step in many cases, requiring them to be settled in new land grants whether by conquest or appropriation, exile, or forced disarmament by loyal elements of your army.

Notes:
1. It is possible for those seeking to raid multiple targets in a turn to do so, and can be done by confirming your plundering objectives in your orders, keeping in mind that the army limits per Campaign Scale still apply, and you can send no more than the standard Raid army size cap per each raid. A standard Raid attacks a single target, a Seasonal Campaign can target up to two countries, and a Prepared Invasion can target up to three kingdoms. Keep in mind the risks of splitting your forces though! In the latter cases, greater plunder payoffs are substituted instead of seized territories, but they still bear the gradated risks of interception and decisive engagement.
2. Units can be upgraded or downgraded between like-kinds, aka light cavalry to heavy cavalry, or horse archer to archer, but not between infantry into a cavalryman, due to training and divides of social class. If upgrading, you will have to pay the difference in recruitment cost for silver/materials: if downgrading, you will not receive a refund.

Starting off, after reading the report your first priority should be to review your CC: though some prosperous countries start with a financial surplus, most will have to embark on raiding or trading to break even. Looking over your political lay of the land is the next most important step, identifying which factions are your friends to be ingratiated, and which are troublemakers or enemies. Handling these discontent factions can be done in a great variety of ways, whether by attempting to undermine their influence to reduce their threat, reconciling them to the throne by gifts and diplomacy to increase their happiness, granting them land and privileges (the most surefire way of increasing their happiness: but also their influence), or engaging them more head on by cowing them with displays of military strength, eliminating their leadership by arrests and assassinations, or even attempting liquidating the faction wholesale by oppression or a swift crackdown! Even relatively simple acts, such as feasts, invitations to celebrations and holidays, or letters sent between the ruler and the faction leader (so long as they can read!) can help improve relations. Factions can be eliminated, but naturally this bears the most risk of cries of tyranny and sparking open rebellion as factions are pressed with their back against the wall. New factions can arise as well through the course of the game, whether naturally or by your active promotion, and those factions you wish to patronize with greater influence can be uplifted by just as many means, from granting public offices to marriages into the royal family.

Boosting your authority is another major consideration, which takes into account your successes in all the above fields in war, diplomacy, economics, and politics, but can be influenced by more direct means through programs of enhancing your ruler’s prestige. This can include the construction of palaces, temples, and fortresses, the acquisition of new crown jewels, legendary artifacts, or holy relics, to the commissioning of chronicles, runestones, or translated philosophical works by scholars. Lastly, in improving the economics of your realm, besides international trade routes or raiding (which provide the fastest way of raising money), while oft a slower way of raising funds, public works to improve the cities and lands can raise your annual income in trade and tribute, so long as you have the means and know-how, which in these Dark Ages is not be taken as a given! These can manifest in infrastructure like roads and ports, sanitation public works like wells or aqueducts, land improvement via the introduction of new crops, new agricultural methods, or canals and reservoirs for irrigation. Or, more indirectly, you can endeavor to introduce the production of new trade goods, or patronize your owned Entrepots to expand their facilities and prestige to eventually raise its trade level.

Otherwise, if you have any questions on mechanics or still lost on where to begin, feel free to hit up your host, and I’ll be glad to help!

The Country Card:

The Royal Court:
Country Name: (The name of your empire, kingdom, or ethnic group)
Culture: (Your Cultural Bonus: Norse, Vikingr, Nomadic Confederation, Anglo-Saxon, Celts, Franks, Arabian, Byzantines, Andalusians, Republic)
Ruling House: (The reigning dynasty of your kingdom)
Ruler: (Your monarch or chief elected representative)
Heir: (The chosen heir and successor to your state)
Authority/Fame: (How much legitimacy and power you have within your realm, organized from; Minimal, Weak, Average, Strong, and Almighty. Viking Adventurers instead have Fame, organized from Unknown, Rumored, Respected, Celebrated, and Legendary. These will determine the overall share of the plunder given to your followers, with, respectively, 25%, 20%, 15%, 10%, and 5%)
Claimants: (The alternatives to you and your chosen heir; can be other sons or daughters, powerful relatives, or influential nobles/neighbors)

Factions and Claimants:
Faction Name: (Factions can take many forms, from powerful noble Houses, ethnicities, religious groups/sects, or court political parties)
Leader: (The most prominent leader of the faction)
Influence: (How much support and power they have in the kingdom, organized from; Irrelevant, Weak, Moderate, Influential, and Dominant)
Happiness: (How content they are with the ruler and reigning House, organized from; Feud, Angry, Ambivalent, Content, and Harmonious)
Threat: (Threat is calculated by Influence subtracted by Happiness: if it matches or exceeds the score of the authority of the ruling house, there is a potential for revolt. Likewise, claimants compare their combined influence/happiness against the authority of the ruler themselves. Organized from Low, Medium, and High)



The Treasury:
Tax/Tribute Income: (The regular income you receive from the farmers, fishers, herders, craftsmen, and nobility in your realm)
Trade Income: (Income received from your trade routes and controlled entrepots)

Military Upkeep: (The expenses incurred from the maintenance of your Retinues and Armed Levies)
Government and Court Expenses/Share of Plunder: (5% of your income for Petty Kingdoms, 10% for Kingdoms, 15% for Empires, and +5% for each unhappy faction in your country)

Stored in Treasury: (Coin, treasure, and loot stored from surplus from previous turns: Plunder gained from raiding is deposited directly here)
Available to Spend This Turn: (The total available to spend after expenses and prior surplus)

Merchants:
Merchant Parties and Caravans: (How many merchants are available for trade missions this turn)

Controlled Entrepots: (Major international trade hubs under your control)

Goods Produced: (Strategic and trade goods produced by your kingdom)

Trade Deals: (Your currently negotiated trade deals with other kingdoms)



Council of War:
Total Levy: (Total population available for recruitment)
Armed Levy: (Part-time warriors, they have half the full maintenance cost of their units but can only be raised for Seasonal Campaigns without potential discontent)
Naval Levy: (Fleets available to be raised: Ships require half of their recruitment cost in maintenance)

Retinue: (Full time professional warriors, they have a full maintenance cost but can be used freely in any campaign as well as providing protection for your ruler)

Base Unit Cards:
Light Infantry: Lightly equipped infantry, usually armed with spear, shortsword, or axe, and defended only by a shield and helmet.
2 Silver per Warrior + 1 Iron

Archers: Ranged infantry wielding bows, crossbows, javelins, darts, or slings. Typically lightly armored or un-armored.
4 Silver Per Warrior + 1 Wood

Heavy Infantry: Armored infantry, armed with longswords, spears, or heavy axes, and armored with reinforced leather, chain, or lamellar.
5 Silver per Warrior + 3 Iron

Light Cavalry: Horse riders equipped with swords, axes, or spears and either unarmored or in light armor such as cloth or leather.
8 Silver Per Warrior + 5 Iron

Horse Archers: Cavalry specialized in archery from the saddle, typically lightly armored.
10 Silver Per Warrior + 1 Wood

Mounted Infantry: Heavy infantry mounted on light horses for faster traveling and maneuver: cannot fight on horseback in battle, however, and must dismount to engage.
10 Silver Per Warrior + 5 Iron

Heavy Cavalry: Well-armored cavalry on larger horses, they wield swords, axes, or lances, and are armored in chain, scale, or lamellar.
20 Silver Per Warrior + 10 Iron

Cataphracts: The heaviest armored warriors in the world, these mounted soldiers are girded in combinations of the finest chain and lamellar armor for unparalleled protection.
40 Silver Per Warrior + 20 Iron

War Elephants: Hailing from the savannas of Africa or the jungles of the Far Orient, these fearsome beasts are the most terrible weapon of war in the pre-modern world, equivalent to tanks of the modern day, and often heavily armored. Nonetheless, they require painstaking (and expensive) training from birth to be tamed for war, and are prone to run amok if spooked.
1,000 Silver Per Elephant

Ship Cards:
Coracle/Currach: [Crew of Two] The smallest of all boats, these simple boats are lightweight frames of interlacing wood stretched over with leather to form a vessel. They are suitable for riverine or coastal voyages, and for those brave enough cross-strait crossings, and can be easily carried overland by a single person, but they can only hold two people afloat per boat.
5 Silver per Boat + 2 Wood

Karvi/Knarr/Galley/Dhow: [Crew of 26] Oft designed and destined for trade, not war, these ships nonetheless are capable of filling in the battle line when called upon for war. They are steady troop transports and supply ships, but are not the best handling when it comes to the tight turns and heavy jostling of ships in battle.
100 Silver Per Ship + 10 Wood

Snekkja/War Galley/War Dhow: [Crew of 42] The mainstay of many fleets, these ships can carry a respectable crew of warriors, and their sailing characteristics are better suited to swift maneuvers and steady platforms in battle.
200 Silver Per Ship + 20 Wood

Skeið/Dromon/Sambuk: [Crew of 80] The center of any naval battle line, these are the true warships, capable of carrying large crews of armed soldiers and holding their own in the crush of battle as well as weathering the storms of long voyages.
350 Silver Per Ship + 35 Wood

Drakkar/Imperial Dromon/Baghlah: [Crew of 150] The pride of any chief, king, or emperor who owns them, these are the largest ships afloat, capable of carrying in excess of a hundred men across great distances and through terrible battles unscathed. They are often richly decorated, and serve as the flagship for the commanding lord or admiral.
800 Silver Per Ship + 50 Wood



Turn 1 Order Deadline:

Sunday July 28th, 11:59PM EST
 
Last edited:

Almalexia

Her Flamboyance, the Calipha
Duke
M&BWBNW
The Marketplace:
Rumors from the Radhanites:


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Shalom! I am Isaiah ben Ezra, and I am the representative of the Radhanites, a fraternity of Jews dedicated to trade to the furthest corners of the world. Though the Arabs may dominate the middle stretches of the Great Silk Road, of course, we go even further and bridge the divide between the Muslim, Christian, and Pagan worlds, and we have been charged with keeping alive the trade routes of the ancient Romans in the ages since their fall! While others peddle licentious rumors and wild gossip along with their goods in the marketplace, we strive to keep accurate records of the goods and their prices available across the known world. Below we have compiled a list of strategic goods produced as well as luxury items traded in the Entrepots of each region for your benefit and consideration, mighty rulers. We will attempt to keep this list updated every year, along with a collection of rumors on trade and international politics from the market, which we make an effort to verify, but naturally, not every rumor is to be believed. We look forward to being in your service, and hope we can both mutually profit!


Player Country Resource Production:

Kingdom of Vestfold (Teo)        Iron: 400    Timber: 400
Papal States (Ben)                  Iron: 200    Timber: 100
Khazaria (Curio)                      Iron: 500    Timber: 100
Hastein’s Band (Fredelios)          Iron: 0        Timber: 0
Strathclyde (Angelsachsen)      Iron: 140    Timber: 110
Aquitaine (Sarado)                  Iron: 450    Timber: 150
Cordoba (Moose)                    Iron: 900    Timber: 300
Wessex (Alfred)                        Iron: 400    Timber: 250
Byzantines (Mahud)                Iron: 2,000    Timber: 900
Connacht (Rocco)                    Iron: 100      Timber: 120
Freyja’s Band (Ev)                  Iron: 0        Timber: 0
Magyars (Pixel)                        Iron: 300    Timber: 150
Vikarr’s Band (Grik)                  Iron: 0        Timber: 0
Hålogaland (Grimmend)          Iron: 250    Timber: 300
Amalfi (Dago)                          Iron: 120    Timber: 70
Abbasids (Blacktide)              Iron: 2,500    Timber: 800
Rurik (Bluehawk)                    Iron: 0        Timber: 0
Sons of Ragnar (Hark)            Iron: 0        Timber: 0
West Francia (Draorn)          Iron: 450    Timber: 220
Sicily (Cowdude)                    Iron: 500    Timber: 300

Mechanics Note: Strategic Goods can be traded freely between players by direct negotiation! The above list is to assist with knowing who to approach for a deal based on general knowledge of the international marketplace. Strategic goods can also be bought after establishing a trade route with an Entrepot, for 1 silver per unit of iron or timber.

Viking Adventurers receive the base Scandinavian trade goods list: as well as its strategic goods, but they cannot trade the iron and timber out to other players. Any trades for strategic goods must be used that turn, or will be lost due to civilian use or stockpile decay.




Trade Rumors:

Tales told by traders with the East say that the Caliph of the Abbasids is the wealthiest ruler on Earth, outstripping even the glittering fortunes of the Byzantine Empire!

Indian merchants have said that trade to the grand entrepot of Kannauj and its perfume markets in North-Central India has become much more difficult as of late, as fierce conflict over the Kannauj Triangle between the Indian imperial triarchy of the Gurjara Pratiharas, Palas and the Rashtrakutas has recently reignited.

Merchants travelling from the north say that the fleet collected by the Sons of Ragnar is perhaps one of the biggest Viking fleets ever, a terrifying armada of hundreds of ships!

The North Sea Entrepot of Dorestad in Frisia has been suffering a downturn as a consequence of increased Viking raids in the region, despite the protection of the eminent Harald of Dorestad, himself a former Viking who had won title and authority over the vital market at the point of the sword from the Lotharingians.

Word from Norway says that the King of Vestfold, Halfdan the Black, has drowned after falling through a dung-weakened ice patch, and his young son Harald Iufr has succeeded him as master of the trading post at Kaupang!

Reports of a Varangian fleet on the Black Sea indicate they may be turning North up the Dnieper to pacify the Slavs into paying tribute along the newly discovered route from Kiev.

The Volga Bulgarian city of Bulghar has begun welcoming traders with more favorable rates of exchange for its fortunes in furs and mammoth ivory, having tacitly asserted greater independence from its erstwhile suzerain the Khazars!

The King of West Francia, Charles the Bald, is said to have little influence in his Kingdom at the moment, and is given the distinct impression of being disliked by everyone!

Amalfi’s transition into an independent maritime republic has seen Mediterranean trade to this Southern Italian port boom, which prides itself on equitable exchange for both Christians and Muslims.

Rumors from the Grand Palace of Constantinople whisper that Emperor Michael III has appointed the courtier Basil as chamberlain, or parakoimōmenos, and guardian of the imperial bedchamber: a duty usually reserved for eunuchs, creating thrilling speculation of a homosexual relationship with the broad, strapping son of a Macedonian peasant!

They say syndicates of Daoist mystics have led a boycott of foreign goods in the land of the Chinese.

Traders with the Greeks say that the fortifications of Constantinople, protected by a sea-wall, the famous Walls of Theodosius, and a great sea chain spanning the mouth of the Golden Horn, are nearly impregnable and the strongest defenses in the world!

Other noted fortifications across the known world include.... Byzantines: Loulon (The Cilician Gates) , The Cappadocian Frontier Fortifications, The Beacons of Anatolia. Khazars: Sarkel. The Abbasids: The Al-'Awasim Frontier Fortifications, Derbent (The Caspian Gates). Strathclyde: The Rock of Dumbarton, The Duns of the Clans. Connacht: Rathcruachan. Sicily: Castrogiovanni. Aquitaine: March of Gothia. Papal States: The Leonine Walls, Fortress of Ostia.

The Entrepots:

North/West Europe:
Scandinavia:
Trade Goods: Amber, Sea Ivory, Furs, Seal Fat, Feather Down, Fish, Honey, Hunting Birds
Wood and Iron: 200/150
Entrepots: Kaupang [Regional Trade Post], Hedeby [Regional Trade Post], Visby [Regional Trade Post]

The British Isles:
Trade Goods: Wool, Cattle and Dairy, Linen, Dyes, Honey, Wax, Silver, Tin, Slaves, Ale
Wood and Iron: 150/100
Entrepots: London [International Marketplace], York [Regional Trade Post], Dublin [Regional Trade Post]

Francia:
Trade Goods: Wine, Grain, Ale, Swords, Parchment, Cattle and Dairy, Dyes, Honey, Wax, Citrus
Wood and Iron: 100/150
Entrepots: Paris [International Marketplace], Narbonne [Regional Trade Post]

Germania:
Trade Goods: Wine, Gold, Furs, Antler, Dyes, Amber, Hides and Leather, Ale
Wood and Iron: 150/200
Entrepots: Dorestad [Grand Emporium], Aachen [Regional Trade Post], Regensburg [Regional Trade Post], Frankfurt [Regional Trade Post]

Hispania:
Trade Goods: Gold, Wine, Citrus, Perfume, Sugar, Paper, Olives and Olive Oil, Dates, Saffron, Pistachios, Horses
Wood and Iron: 100/200
Entrepots: Cordoba [Grand Emporium], Barcelona [International Marketplace], Seville [International Marketplace]

Italy:
Trade Goods: Olives and Olive Oil, Marble, Wine, Citrus, Pistachios, Glass, Grain
Wood and Iron: 100/100
Entrepots: Rome [International Marketplace], Verona [International Marketplace], Amalfi [International Marketplace], Palermo [International Marketplace]

East Europe:
Russia:
Trade Goods: Furs, Antler, Amber, Isinglass, Pitch, Horses, Hunting Dogs, Slaves
Wood and Iron: 250/100
Entrepots: Atil [Grand Emporium], Bolghar [International Marketplace], Holmgård [International Marketplace], Kiev [Regional Trade Post], Chersonesus [Regional Trade Post]

Eastern Europe:
Trade Goods: Amber, Furs, Dyes, Linen, Antler, Hides and Leather, Feather Down, Ale
Wood and Iron: 200/100
Entrepots: Prague[International Marketplace], Wolin [Regional Trade Post], Nitra [Regional Trade Post], Riga [Regional Trade Post], Polotsk [Regional Trade Post]

The Balkans:
Trade Goods: Olives and Olive Oil, Wine, Copper, Tin, Silver, Honey, Wax, Hides and Leather, Hunting Dogs
Wood and Iron: 150/200
Entrepots: Thessalonica [Grand Emporium], Belgrade [Regional Trade Post], Pliska [Regional Trade Post]

Greece and Anatolia:
Trade Goods: Silk, Perfume, Olives and Olive Oil, Silver, Gold, Citrus, Wine, Marble, Glass, Pearls, Parchment, Fish
Wood and Iron: 100/250
Entrepots: Constantinople [Grand Emporium], Nicaea [International Marketplace], Iconium [Regional Trade Post], Athens [Regional Trade Post], Trebizond [Regional Trade Post], Antioch [Regional Trade Post]

The Orient:
The Maghreb:
Trade Goods: Citrus, Copper, Olives and Olive Oil, Linen, Salt, Fish, Grain, Hides and Leather
Wood and Iron: 100/150
Entrepots: Fez [Regional Trade Post], Kairouan [Regional Trade Post]

Egypt:
Trade Goods: Gold, Sugar, Cotton, Linen, Gems, Grain, Pearls, Coral, Musk, Glass, Dates
Wood and Iron: 50/150
Entrepots: Alexandria [Grand Emporium], Fustat (Cairo) [International Marketplace]

The Levant:
Trade Goods: Glass, Swords, Cedar, Copper, Citrus, Wine, Perfume, Incense, Porcelain
Wood and Iron: 150/150
Entrepots: Damascus [Grand Emporium], Jerusalem [International Marketplace], Aleppo [Regional Trade Post],

Arabia:
Trade Goods: Incense, Dates, Slaves, Salt, Coffee, Hides and Leather, Horses, Coral, Feather Down
Wood and Iron: 50/100
Entrepots: Jedda [Regional Trade Post], Sanaa [Regional Trade Post]

The Caucasus:
Trade Goods: Wool, Dyes, Marble, Hunting Birds, Pitch, Grain, Copper, Perfume
Wood and Iron: 200/250
Entrepots: Ani [Grand Emporium], Ardabil [Regional Trade Post], Tiflis [Regional Trade Post]

Mesopotamia:
Trade Goods: Silk, Sugar, Silver, Perfume, Paper, Grain, Citrus, Dates, Pearls, Incense, Fish
Wood and Iron: 50/100
Entrepots: Baghdad [Grand Emporium], Basra [International Marketplace]

Persia:
Trade Goods: Silk, Saffron, Sugar, Wine, Cedar, Marble, Cotton, Pistachios, Glass, Perfume
Wood and Iron: 100/150
Entrepots: Shiraz [International Marketplace], Isfahan [International Marketplace]

Khorasan:
Trade Goods: Gold, Horses, Slaves, Cotton, Gems, Ginger, Copper, Silk, Paper
Wood and Iron: 100/150
Entrepots: Merv [Grand Emporium], Samarkand [International Marketplace]

The Far East and Beyond:
Mechanics Note: Access to some parts of the far-flung routes of the Silk Road is restricted to certain cultures, which will be denoted next to the trade-region name. Players of the Arab Culture however have a bonus that gives them access to all parts of the Silk Road!
The Silk Road City-States: [Khazars, Byzantines, Arabs]
Trade Goods: Silk, Gold, Incense, Saffron, Copper, Pitch, Horses, Hunting Birds
Wood and Iron: 50/100
Entrepots: Turfan [International Marketplace], Khotan [International Marketplace]

China: [Khazars, Byzantines, Arabs]
Trade Goods: Silk, Porcelain, Spices, Swords, Sugar, Tea, Incense, Dyes, Ginger, Sandalwood, Paper, Silver, Copper, Pearls, Grain
Wood and Iron: 150/300
Entrepots: Chang’an [Grand Emporium], Guangzhou [Grand Emporium]

India: [Khazars, Byzantines, Arabs]
Trade Goods: Gems, Spices, Perfume, Swords, Incense, Silk, Sugar, Cotton, Saffron, Dyes, Musk, Sandalwood, Ivory, Horses
Wood and Iron: 200/200
Entrepots: Kannauj [Grand Emporium], Bactria [International Marketplace], Pataliputra [International Marketplace], Kanchipuram [International Marketplace], Anuradhapura [International Marketplace]

Korea and Japan: [Arabs]
Trade Goods: Silk, Ginger, Gold, Silver, Swords, Grain, Tin, Seal Fat, Sea Ivory
Wood and Iron: 150/100
Entrepots: Gyeongju [International Marketplace], Heian [International Marketplace]

The Spice Islands: [Arabs]
Trade Goods: Spices, Sandalwood, Incense, Fish, Pearls, Coral, Dyes, Gems, Feathers, Sugar
Wood and Iron: 200/100
Entrepots: Srivijaya [Grand Emporium], Sailendra [International Marketplace]

East Africa: [Arabs]
Trade Goods: Ivory, Musk, Incense, Ebony, Coffee, Slaves, Hides and Leather, Coral, Pearls, Fish
Wood and Iron: 200/150
Entrepots: Axum [Grand Emporium], Zeila [International Marketplace], Kilwa [International Marketplace]

The Sudan: [Arabs and Andalusians]
Trade Goods: Gold, Salt, Ivory, Slaves, Cotton, Sugar, Ebony, Copper, Dates
Wood and Iron: 100/150
Entrepots: Dongola [International Marketplace], Kumbi Saleh [Grand Emporium], Njimi [International Marketplace], Ilé-Ifẹ̀ [International Marketplace]

The Unknown?: [Find out!]
Trade Goods: ???
Wood and Iron: ???
Entrepots: ???
 

Almalexia

Her Flamboyance, the Calipha
Duke
M&BWBNW
Rumors from the Known World:
859 AD

The Death of Ragnar and the Great Heathen Army

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How will the Skalds tell the saga of Ragnar Loðbrók? They say he was a hero, a raider of kingdoms, conqueror of foes, the owner of vast fleets and fortunes, even a slayer of dragons. In his career they say he accomplished the deeds of a dozen mens’ lifetimes, earned the respect of friend and foeman alike, and that ultimately his saga will be sung from now to Ragnarok come. This is what we, the men of the Norse, say: Ragnar was the greatest Viking of our age, of any age, and the death he endured at the hand of the tyrant Ælla of Northumbria was an insult and outrage before the gods themselves. Captured in the familiar raiding grounds in Northumbria, rather than grant him the honor he deserved in a death in battle, Ragnar Loðbrók, who had raided from Scotland to Paris and beyond, was cruelly tossed in a snake pit by Ælla: and with venom coursing through his veins, he promised revenge for himself on the tyrant and his kingdom. But with the end of his saga was born the beginning of a new story, a new age, and the Norns cackle with delight as they weave a tapestry of what is to come with the skeins of mens’ lives, cutting short many among the unfortunate Anglo-Saxons, Franks, and the unknown nations beyond in the bloodletting to come.

For from his sons, who have given a solemn oath to avenge their father, rumors say they have raised a fleet mightier than any to have ever sailed upon the North Sea before. The reckoning to come will put an end to the times of petty raids and ephemeral conquests that had defined the Age of the Vikings, and inaugurate an age when the rule of Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes are law, of tributary states and kingdoms of their own forged across the wine-dark sea. The agent of this quest is a coalition of Viking kings, sealords, and captains who have joined ships and swords under the leadership of the Sons of Ragnar, who have been named by fearful Christian chroniclers as the “Great Heathen Army”. Though gathering off the coasts of the Norseland and yet to arrive, Ragnar’s revenge would be more terrible and lasting than Ælla could imagine: an end to his rule, his kingdom, and the invitation of the Vikings to lay England and the far corners of the world to waste: and to build new kingdoms over their ashes.

Arab-Byzantine Wars

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Perhaps no event shook the post-Roman world more than the Rise of Islam from the deserts of Arabia, which overtook the Persian Empire and cleaved the Byzantine Empire in twain. Overrunning territory after territory in a lightning bolt of brilliant conquests, Islam unfolded its banner from  Spain in the West to the shores of the Indus in the East, under one universal Caliphate. But where the majestic Sassanians of the Persian Empire fell wholesale, the Byzantines would survive, and given the holy task of defending the Eastern flank of Christendom, the two superpowers of our age have grappled in intermittent wars for the past two centuries that shake across the whole of the Mediterranean. New stirrings in this ancient war have broken the sanctimonious, even ritualistic, cycle of raids and counterraids across the Al-'Awasim from Tarsos and the Anatolic Theme from Loulon citadel, and threaten a flash to a return of the nigh-apocalyptic struggles of the past. Islam had long held the upper-hand in this century, and despite a degree of formulaic detente under the new dynasty, the Abbasids, they had seized the strategically critical island of Crete under a piratical regime extending into the once safe Aegean, along with much of Sicily now under its new emirate in an ongoing conquest, while the introduction of a powerful new military force of Turkic slave-soldiers had seen the very capital of the Anatolic Theme looted and destroyed in the Sack of Amorium.

But the Byzantines, formerly riven by internecine struggles over Iconoclasm has now resolved its internal struggles (for the most part), and the Empire has now struck back. A Byzantine fleet boldly sacked Damietta while its garrison was in prayer, providing a much needed revenge for the destruction of Amorium. On land, while confronting a revolt by the heretical Christian sect of the Paulicians, the gifted and energetic general Petronas has forged deeper into Arab territory than any Byzantine commander since the beginning of the Muslim conquests. These victories, and the stirrings of a Byzantine revival, have provoked the ire of the mammoth Abbasid Caliphate, who have made alliance with the Paulicians against the Greeks, posing a serious threat to the Byzantines. Putting aside all airs of the previous ritualized holy war, the Arabs have responded with a campaign raiding deep into Anatolia that is presently laying many proud and ancient cities to waste, under the equally accomplished and famed holy-warrior Umar “the One-Handed”.  How high this contest will escalate, and who shall triumph in this conflict between titans is a question with the potential to shake the world. Will the crescent once more be raised beneath the walls of Constantinople, or has the age of Justinian come again with dreams of a Roman Empire restored?

Byzantine Politics

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Back in the glittering halls and shady backalleys of the Queen of Cities, exalted Constantinople, politics are as cutthroat and titillating as ever in the empire that gave its name “Byzantine” to convoluted politics. After a long century of internal religious conflict over the Iconoclast controversy, the Disaster at Amorium at the ruling dynasty’s birthplace broke the myth of Iconoclast military infallibility, and at last at the hand of Empress Theodora in 843 AD the icons were restored to the holy cathedral of Hagia Sophia in an event commemorated thence in the Triumph of Orthodoxy. The Amorian Dynasty would nonetheless prove a sensational one, particularly with the intermarriage with the powerful Armenian family the Mamikonians, of ancient royal blood who had recently been driven from their homeland after a failed revolt against the Abbasids. This family would provide the Imperial line with an Empress, Theodora, who would take the reigns of power as de-facto ruler of the empire for 15 years in the minority of her young son Michael, until deposed in a palace coup in 855 AD by her own brothers, the eminent official Bardas and general Petronas. By then, the heir apparent had reached his majority and assumed the Imperial diadem as Emperor Michael III, but with his preoccupation with drinking, wild parties, and chariot racing, power remains in the capable hands of Bardas, who despite his reputation as power-hungry proved popular as an exceptional administrator and diplomat. Dynamics within the glittering mosaic walls of the Great Palace behind the Golden Gate are changing, however, as young Emperor Michael has found a new favorite in a massively-built Macedonian peasant named Basil, and the potential for another dramatic and violent power-shift is brewing.

Affairs surrounding the appointed Patriarch of Constantinople and the head of the Great Church of Christendom are just as lurid. Having deposed the previous Patriarch Ignatios with the urbane if more pliable Patriarch Photios, the Bishop of Rome Pope Nicholas I has objected to this extraordinary breach of Patriarchal appointment. Though confirmed by papal delegates going beyond their given authority, Pope Nicholas I has refused to acknowledge Photios’ appointment and by extension challenged the Byzantine emperors’ authority to the designation of the heads of the church. A bitter rift has thus been opened between Rome and Constantinople, and neither have been willing to back down, creating the so-called “Photian Schism” that exacerbates tensions born from the coronation of Charlemagne as Emperor of the Romans by Pope Hadrian. Adding to tensions from the pressures converging on the Christian world from Norse and Magyar pagans, Khazarian Jews, and Arab Muslims, will this threaten a divide between the Church in the East and West?

The Islamic Golden Age

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Though perhaps no less fractioned by sectarian conflicts and doctrinal divides than the Christians, the self-proclaimed final message and capstone of the teachings of God to men in Islam is now at the height of its Golden Age. Having assumed the title of Commander of the Faithful after deposing the Umayyad Dynasty, the ascendant Abbasids consolidated the vast realms conquered by the Muslim conquests, and though on and off continuing the religious war against the Byzantines, would largely settle into the borders won by past conquerors. Instead they devoted their energies to spirited new constructions, epitomized by the construction of their new capital, first at the world-famous Circle City of Baghdad, and afterwards under Caliph Al-Mu'tasim at the palace-city of Samarra. But their greatest gift to the Muslim realm, and by extension the world, would be in the rewards of learning, and the revival of the wisdom and reason of the ancient masters of the Classical World thought lost after the Fall of Rome.

As in the words of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, "The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr," and this spirit would be culminated under the the Translation Movement, spearheaded by the House of Wisdom that is heralded as the Grand Library of Baghdad, and source of much of the East’s intellectual, scientific, and technological advances which has put them well beyond the level of the West in advancement. Baghdad is far from the only center of this Golden Age, however, and across the Middle East from Cordoba to Samarkand new lamps are being lit with their own scholarly achievements. But with the Caliphate’s territorial extent has come power and wealth, projecting it to the foremost empire of our age, but also no little share of trials and tribulation among the fractious sons of the Caliphs and sectarian feuds between branches of this still fledgling monotheism. Ascendancy had been won over the Caliph’s enemies within and without by the arm of the newly introduced and purchased army of Turkic slave-soldiers organized under their Ghulam Corps, but the increased power held by these peoples hailing from the margins of the Islamic world has already sparked trouble in the Caliphate’s center. Astrologers know not whether this flickering of the light of Baghdad and Samarra is but an errant breeze, or a premonition of greater troubles yet to come.

Dnieper Route Discovered

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In the vast and mysterious expanses to the East, from whence the peoples of the Migration Period came from homelands unknown to topple the Roman Empire, the Varangian Norse have been cutting their way through the darkness in pursuit of a trade route directly to the fabulous riches of the Empire of the Greeks. For decades now they have taken a long and tortuous route heading East from the colony at Holmgård, following the wide river Volga through steppes and forest haunted by spirits in the mist, making a stop at the Volga Bulgarians city at Bulghar before continuing on through the Khazar Khaganate, and thence, the backbreaking portage from the Volga to the Don and thence to the Black Sea. Though fortunes have been made on this route, trading amber, furs, and slaves for the wealth of the Byzantine Empire, the many leagues of travel outwards along the eastward bend of the Volga, and the tribute demanded by the Khagan, has driven Varangian explorers and pioneers to search out for new routes to the markets of Constantinople. Finally, after thirty years and hard voyaging cutting through dense forests, hauling ships round hull-breaking white-water rapids, and battles with fierce natives among the Slavic tribes, the Varangian have finally discovered a new practicable route to the South. Following the Dnieper River with an important portage and hub at the local-founded trade post at Kiev, it cuts out many hundreds of miles of traveling along the Volga, and avoids the worst of the banditry of the Tartars. This new path still involves many arduous leagues, but is markedly more direct between the Byzantine Empire and the Norselands: known as the Dnieper Route, though the Volga Route is still the predominant one with its well-established trading posts and negotiated passages, it nonetheless bears great promise (particularly should conflict arise between the Khagan and the Norsemen), and in time may grow to be the predominant trade route between the Vikings and the great empires of the South.

Magyars Driven West

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Following well-worn tracks laid centuries ago by their supposed forefather, the legendary and infamous Attila the Hun who lit the Roman Empire aflame, his progeny have at last returned to the fields of Europe under a new name: the Magyars. The Confederation of Seven Tribes rode east, following the legend of the wondrous hind, which brought them back to the steppe after a long exile in the forests of the Urals, and finding the land pleasant, decided to make their home here. Their migration brought them into the realm of the great Khagan of the Khazars, who demanded their submission, and a single leader as Grand Prince to represent them chosen from amongst the ranks of the seven chiefs and the honored leaders of the kende and gyula. Though offered the honor and power, the chief Levedi declined, and instead chose the young Árpád, born of Álmos, to represent them. One by one the other chiefs agreed, and splitting their palms in blood oath swore sacred loyalty to Árpád forever, and so the Grand Prince of the Magyars was chosen. Submission would not bring happiness or peace to the Magyars, however, who soon found themselves tormented by the Pechenegs, another subordinate nation under the Khagans. Harassment would turn to open war after a tribe of Pechenegs attacked the Magyarok in avarice desire for their land, and in battle defeated them and sending them into exile once more. One tribe of the Magyars would be divided in the chaos and make refuge in Far Persia. The rest would follow their Grand Prince, and after much travel and trevail, they found new land in a place they called Etelköz, far to the West and far removed from the Khagan’s court in Atil. Here they gather and regroup, and although they have found pasture for their horses and a number of weak, scattered Slavic tribes to force tribute from, the question remains if they will dig in their tents here and settle, or if they will cast their eyes to more prosperous lands beyond. Though Europe is blissfully unaware, the Sons of Attila have returned to their gates; and should they wish it, they have the might to inaugurate a new age of blood and fire upon the feeble and divided kings of Europe.

West Francia’s King on the Run

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Though their grandfather Charlemagne was heralded as the Father of Europe and restorer of the Roman Empire by a grateful continent, his empire is in a sad shape at present in the hands of his grandsons, and dividing it up amongst themselves it appears to be rapidly tumbling towards collapse. Though spared the fate of Middle Francia, whose realm won by Lothair I from a sinuous middle third snaking through the heart of the Frankish Empire was itself riven in twain between his three sons, West Francia now faces an anno horriblis from crises on all fronts. Though initially triumphant in the civil wars after the immense bloodletting at the Battle of Fontenoy between the sons of the last emperor of a unified empire, Louis the Pious, things began to go wrong as two attempts to bring the wild Celts of Brittany under control through pitched battle ended in disaster. Charles met greater success in bringing Aquitaine under his authority with his other son Charles the Child put on the throne in Toulouse, even repulsing an attempt by Louis the German of East Francia to establish his own heir in southern France.

It was in the subsequent attempts to bring the Bretons back under the fold by political marriage, as well as consolidate royal power by putting his young son Louis the Stammerer in control over the powerful region of Neustria, that Charles the Bald overplayed his hand, and already unpopular from his failure to prevent the Sack of Paris by Ragnar Loðbrók in 843 AD, his attempt at grabbing power the likes of that wielded by his illustrious grandfather Charlemagne instead met catastrophe. Assassinating the prior king of Brittany, a new leader of the continental Celts emerged and made common cause with the powerful magnate Robert the Strong, who rose up a rebellion of nobility that swept Neustria like wildfire. Meanwhile seeing an opportunity to take the crown of West Francia itself for himself, Louis the German crossed the border in force, and Charles was faced with such massive unpopularity in his core areas he was unable to even raise an army to oppose him. Once among the most eminent kings of Europe, he was forced on the run while Louis the German began marking the first year of his reign over West Francia from Orleans. Charles is not without allies however, and though presently humiliated and on the run, he may yet be able to rally the force around the sacred banner of the Oriflamme to reclaim his throne and eminency among the kings of Christendom once more.

Downfall of Musa ibn Musa

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On the foothills of the Pyrenees and the March of Gothia, another drama has played out on the borderlands of Islam and Christianity in Europe, that has seen what was once heralded as the “Third King of Spain” humbled and defeated. This man was Musa ibn Musa, son of the Banu Qasi, and lord of the Upper March of the Emirate of Cordoba, who was a legend in his time and widely known among friends and foes by the epithet “the Great”. Though nominally subordinate to the Emir of Cordoba, in truth he wielded immense authority and unbridled power in the wild northern reaches of the realm, where rallying holy warriors and local converts to his banner he carved out an effectively independent realm for himself. He proved pragmatic and shrewd as well as charismatic, however, and allying himself to the Basque nobles of Pamplona, he effectively shaped the politics of the Spanish Marches at will, even maneuvering his nephew García Íñiguez to the throne of Pamplona. Their ironclad alliance would see them through alternating service leading campaigns for, and uprisings against, the Emir in Cordoba, while Musa would even succeed in capturing the prize of Barcelona in 856 AD for himself, departing only after being paid a kingly tribute by the ruler of the Franks. 859 AD would see this crucial alliance break, as Musa’s son Lubb, motivated by greed, allowed a Viking war party to pass through his lands and capture García Íñiguez, releasing him only after an enormous ransom of 70,000 gold dinars. This was the definitive break, and Musa knew it: attempting to secure his position, he began construction of a fortress on their border at Mount Laturce. He would be intercepted before it was completed, and in the climactic Battle of Albelda, the Third King of Spain lost his crown and was decisively defeated, barely escaping with his life. Thoroughly chastised and forced to appeal to the mercy of the liege lord he had so frequently rebelled against, his fate is uncertain, but while Christianity has won a great victory over the Muslim lord, his removal has opened the way for his master in Cordoba to the North: is an even greater reckoning soon at hand between Muslim and Christian in Europe?

Completion of the Leonine Walls and Battle of Ostia

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The Spanish March and the peninsula of Hispania is but one front at the expanding frontiers of Islam being pushed at the expense of the Christian realms, but the fastest expanding, and most symbolic, is that in Italy. Once the beating heart of the Roman Empire, Italy has since fallen on hard times under the likes of the Lombards, whose decentralized rule saw much of the peninsula divided up under hardscrabble hill-lords and rivalrous princes, a situation not much improved by the invasion of the Carolingians. Rome itself, though much reduced from its heights as a city of one million people, would still be the largest city in Charlemagne’s realm, and furthermore enjoys immortal importance and prestige as the seat of God’s representative on Earth and holder of the keys of St. Peter: the Papacy, itself much expanded by the Donation of Pepin. But as of late the most holy office of the Bishop of Rome had been held by profligates and charlatans beholden to the urban nobility of Rome, and God would reap his punishment upon the sinners of Italy in the form of lateen sails and oars on the horizon bearing the scourge of the Arab corsairs. Arriving first on Sicily at the invitation of a disaffected Byzantine admiral, they would quickly overrun much of the island, and when complete conquest became a see-saw affair with the Greeks, Muslim pirates would swarm the central Mediterranean to the shores of Italy.

First ravaging Calabria, they would move up the coast to destroy Capua, before at last descending on the sacred Eternal City itself: Rome. Sailing straight past the newly constructed fortress at the mouth of the River Tiber, the Arab army landed and quickly laid Rome to plunder. The basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul-Beyond-The-Wall were looted of their heavy gold, silver, and jewels, and even the Tomb of St. Peter itself smashed and defiled while the Pope and the residents of Rome watched with horror from the impotent protection of the ancient Aurelian Walls. The very center of Western Christendom was sacked, with no sign of aid from the ostensible protectors of the Carolingians, who were more preoccupied with squabbling over the division of their patrimony. Left to their own devices or appeals to distant Byzantium, with the Arab fleets massing again the Papacy instead rallied the princes and nascent republics of Italy. Leading with the Papal Banner hoisted over the seas in war for the first time, the gathered Christian armada engaged the pirates in the Battle of Ostia, smashing the scattered Arab fleet disorganized by a passing storm, and winning a great victory for Christendom. The survivors were inducted in chains to work an ongoing project by Pope Leo IV to encircle the modern city of Rome on Vatican Hill in a new protective wall: which, in 852, was completed and given the name of its sponsor as the Leonine Wall. The only extension to Rome’s walls in its history, it now guards the heart of the Papacy and Christendom’s spiritual center in the West against Arab raids; a threat that has been repulsed, but not defeated, and with the establishment of an Emirate of Bari in the South, the battles against the Arabs on ancient Rome’s home soil are still far from over.

Wessex Family Drama

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The Southern Saxon kingdom of Wessex, the center of power on the isle of Great Britain for a generation, has been ruled by King Æthelwulf for 19 years in by all accounts an exceptionally pious reign. Though undoubtedly presiding over a number of successes that consolidated the accomplishments of his conquering father King Ecgberht, who broke the Mercian Supremacy and established claim to all South Saxons, Æthelwulf’s greatest achievements lay in his defeat of the Vikings in the Battle of Aclea in 851 AD, and for his patronage of the Church, which in these days of profligacy and eschewing of the faith even at its center, were extraordinary in devotion and scale. Though not afraid to use an iron glove to assert his God-given authority over elements of the Church to subordinate Archbishopric of Canterbury, following his victory over the Vikings he resolved to go on pilgrimage in person to Rome to commune with the head of the Church in the West and obtain eternal salvation for his soul. Before he left on this royal pilgrimage however, an already extraordinary act, he donated a tenth of his kingdom’s land to the maintenance and glorification of the Church in perpetuity in an edict known as the Decimation, before departing in the company of his young son Alfred and leaving the Kingdom in the hands of his eldest son Æthelbald.

The literal Decimation of his inheritance did not go over well with the heir apparent, nor with the ealdormen and magnates of West Wessex who began conspiring with Æthelbald. On the royal pilgrimage, meanwhile, Æthelwulf was received by the Pope, made prayers at the recently restored churches and basilicas, and had his youngest son Alfred receive the Bishop of Rome’s blessing. On the return voyage, they passed through the Kingdom of West Francia, and while attending Charles the Bald’s court, he negotiated relations with the Franks and in a move without precedent, and with no little scandal, arranged a marriage between himself and the Carolingian princess Judith. Already simmering with resentment and flurrying with plots, despite Judith being only 14 while Æthelwulf was 61, the prestige of her dynasty and the unusual privileges bestowed on her as a Queen of Wessex sparked concerns that a child by this union would have greater claim on the throne. Æthelwulf’s heir and the acting king Æthelbald thus rose up in a rebellion against his father before his crossing of the English Channel: confronted with the possibility of kinstrife despite the blessings received from the Father of the Church, instead of engaging his rebellious son, Æthelwulf caved, and gave a negotiated settlement dividing the kingdom between his sons. Æthelwulf expired soon after this division, leaving the throne to Æthelbald who promptly was crowned, controversially took his erstwhile 14 year old stepmother Judith as a wife, and after two years expired himself, now leaving the kingdom to his brother Æthelberht who reunited the kingdom with Kent. With father and recalcitrant son gone, the immediate controversy and lurid family drama has ended, but some latent resentments remain among the powerholders in the country, and what remains to be done with the increasingly libertine Judith is another question entirely.
 

The King of All Ireland

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For the first time in centuries, since the reign of the legendary kings of our past, one can lay true claim to the title of the King of All Ireland. On the Emerald Isle, since even before the time of St. Patrick, the kings and chiefs of Ireland converged on the Hill of Tara to elect a High King: the acknowledged leader of their island with authority over all from the Cliffs of Moher to the Giant’s Causeway. Not since the ages of myth have they held serious authority over Ireland’s many petty kings and tribal leaders, however, and have only had ceremonial and sacred symbolic power over the squabbling kingdoms and statelets. The shock of the interruption of the bliss of the Golden Age of Celtic Christianity in the Land of Saints and Scholars, where monasteries and scholars had been energetically saving the learning and reason of Western Civilization, by the Viking raids had begun to change this however. 40 years of petty raiding and burning monasteries nonetheless saw the Vikings become an accustomed fixture in the land of the Irish, allying and intermarrying into their fiery and not a little mad politics, but the arrival of the first large fleets of Norsemen and the establishing of permanent enclaves along the Irish coast in their longphorts at last disrupted the complacency of this blessed Isle. Seeing the ambition of the foreign men of Lochlann, as they’re called by the locals, though never ones to put aside their feuds and petty rivalries, the need for a unified leadership against these foreigners emerged, and from the illustrious bloodline of the Uí Néill arose Máel Sechnaill I. Elected High King at Tara, he would not content himself with nominal titles, and with aggressive force began enforcing his authority by alliance or war on the petty kings of Ireland. Though sometimes aligning with the Vikings, and sometimes against, his overall goal was the unification of the isle under his authority with the intent of pushing out the pillaging interlopers entirely. As of 859 AD, despite the odds and the numerous attempts of resistance against his rule, Máel Sechnaill I has made the authority of the High King a reality, and the annals record him now as the first true King of All Ireland in the Christian Age. Resistance still remains to his authority, notably among his kin among the Northern Uí Néill, but with most others paying homage for the moment, has the time come for a single, unified Kingdom of Ireland?
 

Moose!

poorly-drawn
Duke
O ye in Faransa who yet defy the will of God despite his glory, let it be known that Muhammad I, generous and noble ruler of the Emirate of Cordoba, has laid rightful claims to all lands south of the Pyrenees, and we can assure you that your presence in our great territory will be temporary. People of the Book who submit to his beneficence will be allowed to live and worship freely in his prosperous lands, but he cannot afford to tolerate Christian rule in Al-Andalus.
 

Curiocaueri

Grandmaster Knight
GREETINGS FROM THE GREAT KHAGAN OF THE KHAZARS

The Khazars invite you all to trade with our Grand Emporium at Atil. We offer many trade goods that are not available in most of the western world, including exotic wares from
Cowdude said:

Khagan Zachariah I and Bek Hasdai ben Joseph, Co-Rulers of Khazaria
 

Paronomasia12

Master Knight
M&BWBNWWF&S
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From the Cymry of Ystradclud, the kin of Strathclyde

To all the good peoples that live between the emerald isle and far Cathay beyond the roof of the world, between the land of the midnight sun and the mountains of the moon, Diwrnod da! We will welcome all in a manner far in excess to that of their own! May peace and prosperity be with you, and Gwyliwch allan amdanoch chi'ch hun!
 

Almalexia

Her Flamboyance, the Calipha
Duke
M&BWBNW
Btw, host note, but most NPC diplomacy should be handled by your orders. I might make exceptions for allies and close vassals.
 
Also, would it be possible to post a blurry and somewhat censored country cards of all players in this thread? I think it is rather strange to have no idea whether there is more people in Cordoba or West Francia, approximately by how big a margin is Byzantine Empire richer than Bavaria, what culture is what country, what armies are able to be levied by whom and other common knowledge about other countries.
 

Moose!

poorly-drawn
Duke
I feel like just use the Empire/Kingdom/Petty Kingdom as a rough guide. I don't want people knowing that about me unless they've invested in spies or whatever.
 
Not knowing common knowledge without investing in espionage is a bit weird, though. It definitely takes away from a feeling of playing in a pre-existing world And instead makes it more akin to starting a random AoEII scenario.
 

Pixel

Archduke
I think some info was gonna be made public anyway, but I don't see why the Magyars would necessarily know if Francia or Cordoba has more people etc. I feel like general information about neighbors and a ranking of the major powers would be good enough, this is the 9th century not the information age, but I personally don't care if other people see info about me if I have the same info about them.
 

Sarado

Sergeant at Arms
WBNW
I do not think that other countries should have an idea of the size of the population and let alone the armies of other rulers; when that would probably be information not accurately available to even the respective rulers themselves in this day and age.
 

Dago Wolfrider

Sergeant Knight
Sarado said:
I do not think that other countries should have an idea of the size of the population and let alone the armies of other rulers; when that would probably be information not accurately available to even the respective rulers themselves in this day and age.

Agreed.
 

Almalexia

Her Flamboyance, the Calipha
Duke
M&BWBNW
Update!

The first post has been updated with the Marketplace tab! Here you can see what strategic goods are on offer to trade with one another, as well as check out the trade goods available at the Entrepots and the latest trade rumors!

Secondly, for those with access to them, you can upgrade your heavy infantry to mounted infantry by either paying the difference in silver/resources, or including in your raiding orders to rustle up horses! They will thence have the increased maintenance cost, of course, as well as stir up a greater degree of resentment for the more well-off in the land if you intend to stay.
 
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