Conscription in Kingmaker


Advice


So, I'm GMing a game of Kingmaker, we're currently on the third chapter, and one of the PCs (the king) is wanting for all citizens in his kingdom ages 18-40 to have at least two years in the military and wanted me to find a way for that to happen. I've looked through the rules and thought about it for some time now, but can't think of a way to do it. I feel like it would change his kingdom stats in some capacity, I just don't know how. Any advice?


Give him additional BP for building an army and extra stability, but increase his Pay Consumption.

Silver Crusade

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A lot will depend upon your DM and setting but the lore I have seen on the River Kingdoms doesn't make it seem like a very lawful place. The idea of an army as distinct from the number of military age males in the population is peculiar to a the modern (post-enlightenment) era with a couple ancient examples (most notably late Republican and Imperial Rome). In contrast, throughout most of history, the army was what you called all the fighting men of the kingdom, all the free citizens of the city state, or all the fighting age men of the tribe when they got together with their weapons.

When the Athenians called out their army, it meant that all the Athenians got their breastplates, shields, helmets and spears (or their horses etc for equestrians, etc) and lined up in a phalanx. When King Harold called out his army to meet William the conqueror, it was all the men he could get on short notice, not a specific group of people distinct from the general population of the Saxons. When the kings of judges of ancient Israel called up the army, that likewise meant that everyone got their weapons and headed out. When Ivar the Boneless or Hrolf Kraki called out the "armies" of the Danes, that just meant that the Danes left their farmsteads in big groups prepared for big battles rather than in small groups of longships going "viking."

What the PC wants to do may well be a category error--or at least may involve far more social and strategic change than the player and DM may realize. If the PC wants everyone in the kingdom to have weapons and to know how to use them, that is the default state for most ancient and medieval societies: having weapons and knowing how to use them is the mark of a free man. On the other hand, if the PC wants to implement something along the lines of Cromwell's New Model Army or Frederick the Great's Prussian army combined with universal conscription along the lines of a 19th-early 20th century imperial power, then there are a whole horde of economic and social changes involved.

In fact, it might not work at all in a pre-agricultural revolution society. Most such societies could simply not afford to feed everyone if every man (let alone every man and woman) between 18 and 20 was in training and garrison duty and not able to plant and harvest--and even less so if you consider that those 18-20 year olds would need a large corps of NCOs and officers to train and command them and a large train of functionaries to run the organization that supplies and feeds them. Ancient and medieval agricultural techniques required over 90% of the population in full time food production in order to feed themselves.

The Spartans are a good example of this. The Spartan society could only function the way that it did--with all Spartan men being full time warriors with no other trade--because of the helot slaves who vastly outnumbered them. If it weren't for the helots, they would have to have been like the Boetians or the Athenians who they mocked as farmers and shopkeepers or they would have starved.

The social aspect should not be ignored either. A modern military hierarchy separate from the social and tribal hierarchies doesn't even work throughout the modern world. Implementing that kind of a structure (which I think is assumed in the idea of universal conscription into an "army") would be expected to run into opposition from tribal and feudal leaders as well a subversion from wealthy tradesmen. There is a reason that pre-modern societies did not have modern armies and that attempts to implement modern army structures fail in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where societies still function along pre-modern tribal structures.

So, I'd ask the player what he wants. If he just wants everyone to have weapons and know how to use them, I'd say, "they already do. This is the River Kingdoms. The worda for people who don't have weapons and know how to use them are 'dead' or 'enslaved.'" On the other hand, if he wants to create a modern army, he will need to create a modern society with modern agricultural technology and enough social stability in order for it to work. If you haven't emulated Alfred the Great or Hrolf Kraki and pacified your kingdom so that a 16 year old girl can walk by herself from one end of the kingdom to the other carrying a bag of gold without something bad happened, then it's too early to even start. And I suspect that the adventure path will be over before any PC king would be able to make that boast.


The PC's proposal of all military age men having military training does not necessarily equate to a standing army. There's really no reason to assume such. Each GM will certainly define the parameters of his world, but I doubt many would have it in a pre agricultural revolution setting, so not sure where that has any relevance. Actually, I doubt the historic context of societies that used a reserve system, a conscription, or a standing army has any relevance to ones pathfinder setting, unless one was so inclined. I second Johnnycat's suggestion and would encourage the PCs to follow up with their ideas.


I think the Elder has the right historical take on it. The River Freedoms themselves suggest people are expected to fend for themselves.

That said conscription suggests forced (at the end of the sword) military service. The expectation to serve like the Elder suggested in many monarchies is everyone of age showed up to do their duty and were honorless if they fail to do so.

In modern societies were there is mandated service it is either enforced by violence or part of the social contract. So unless they plan on sending war parties out to take prisoners that they expect to force to fight for them which is really expensive and means that the economy and any agriculture will suffer from neglect. Now your party seems to want to limit service to just two years not just force people to serve. This implies a census complete that knows what to expect. It also suggests they expect the people to have a shared interest in serving; duty, patriotism, rights or rewards granted to those who serve, religious zeal and so on. Given the lay of the Stolen Lands I would suggest military service to be attached to land grant.


Vollg wrote:
So, I'm GMing a game of Kingmaker, we're currently on the third chapter, and one of the PCs (the king) is wanting for all citizens in his kingdom ages 18-40 to have at least two years in the military and wanted me to find a way for that to happen. I've looked through the rules and thought about it for some time now, but can't think of a way to do it. I feel like it would change his kingdom stats in some capacity, I just don't know how. Any advice?

Said King should keep in mind that in times of peace this becomes rather expensive, since you're not only taking peasants out of the fields, but you have feed them as well.


Gnomezrule wrote:
I think the Elder has the right historical take on it. The River Freedoms themselves suggest people are expected to fend for themselves.

Except for two things.

First, magic changes things. The food storage problem is solvable with the purify food/drink orison and any 5th level druid or plant domain cleric can cover about 500 acres per day with plant growth. Per spell slot for druids. How many 5th level druids and plant domain clerics are there around? That's not modern fertilizer, but it's also not nothing. Magically developed regions in Golarion are functionally mid-industrial revolution with more consistent though lower yields and less spoilage due to magic. The gains from systematic Plant Growth and the probably reduced losses from orisons on stored crops are about as far as the agricultural revolution had proceeded by the time of Cromwell's New Model Army.

Second, Kingmaker is kingdom building in unclaimed lands. You might alarm your neighbors with your revolutionary sentiments, but you don't have to worry about upsetting the feudal order internally because there are no nobles you don't enoble.

So a modern army isn't necessarily impossible to achieve in Golarion. It's very much not a small undertaking, though.


There are two concepts here being conflated: namely conscript/volunteer soldier and a standing/milita army. A militia may consist of conscripts or volunteers, citizen or slave. Having people train or fight part time and tilling the soil during planting and harvest does not mean you have a standing professional army as created by Federick William I, father to Frederick the Great. The PCs could very well create a state that requires compulsory part time service or training, as many societies have done since antiquity, and not create a standing army.


I always forget using rampant widespread magic to fix problems like that because I hate the world it creates. You are right of course I just always fail to think of practical widespread magic.


Bofor wrote:
There are two concepts here being conflated: namely conscript/volunteer soldier and a standing/milita army. A militia may consist of conscripts or volunteers, citizen or slave. Having people train or fight part time and tilling the soil during planting and harvest does not mean you have a standing professional army as created by Federick William I, father to Frederick the Great. The PCs could very well create a state that requires compulsory part time service or training, as many societies have done since antiquity, and not create a standing army.

Keep in mind that in feudal times, the obligation was laid upon the vassal nobles, not the serfs/peasants themselves as they were essentially property of the ruling noble. (this is way before the notion of a "middle class") The King would demand this much manpower from the noble, and it was up to the noble on how to meet it.

Silver Crusade

Atarlost wrote:
Gnomezrule wrote:
I think the Elder has the right historical take on it. The River Freedoms themselves suggest people are expected to fend for themselves.

Except for two things.

First, magic changes things. The food storage problem is solvable with the purify food/drink orison and any 5th level druid or plant domain cleric can cover about 500 acres per day with plant growth. Per spell slot for druids. How many 5th level druids and plant domain clerics are there around? That's not modern fertilizer, but it's also not nothing. Magically developed regions in Golarion are functionally mid-industrial revolution with more consistent though lower yields and less spoilage due to magic. The gains from systematic Plant Growth and the probably reduced losses from orisons on stored crops are about as far as the agricultural revolution had proceeded by the time of Cromwell's New Model Army.

I don't think it's clear whether developed regions in Golarion are developed to mid industrial revolution with magic, actually being mid-industrial revolution, or simple lack of interest/knowledge on the part of the designers. These are people who either think that "French Revolutionland" makes sense as a semi-stable state of society or don't care that it doesn't (rule of cool or whatever); I wouldn't necessarily expect everything to hang together.

In any event, whether the increased agricultural yields are from improved technique or magic, I wouldn't assume that they are automatically present in the River Kingdoms. If the PC wants it, it should be possible to build it (or not depending on how you like your settings--I for one detest "magic as technology" settings and prefer my settings to be history as portrayed in myths and legends instead).

Quote:
Second, Kingmaker is kingdom building in unclaimed lands. You might alarm your neighbors with your revolutionary sentiments, but you don't have to worry about upsetting the feudal order internally because there are no nobles you don't enoble.

It's not a matter of upsetting the neighbors with revolutionary sentiments or resistance from nobles who are not personally loyal to you. The issues are still there even if neighbors aren't upset by revolutionary sentiments per se and even if the nobles were ennobled by you and are personally loyal to you. (Not that being ennobled by you necessarily makes them personally loyal to you. "What have you done for me lately?" is still a very operative sentiment).

The conflict will come from the settlers themselves. First, where did they come from? They probably didn't all come as individual nuclear families who emigrated in with uHaul Trucks to start a nice middle-class white collar job. Odds are good that that there are mixes of extended families (another word for tribe) and ad hoc groups of bandits, warbands, etc who decide to join up with the PCs new kingdom and a very few nuclear families. The problem that any scheme will run into, particularly in a chaotic River Kingdoms like setting is that all of these groups will have or form their own hierarchies separate from the proposed military hierarchy. The people all came from somewhere and will have their own loyalties, enmities, and blood feuds that they bring along with them.

If Ragnar the fearless and his sons and servants and second cousins move into the kingdom, they are still loyal to Ragnar the fearless first. If you make Ragnar the baron of land grant 1234 and ask him to provide 3 longships worth of men equipped for war whenever you ask, things will work just fine. On the other hand, if you say that his sons Ragnar Ragnarrson, Snorri, and Wulf all have to join the army and report to Durin the random dwarf from Magnanimar who you just happened to make a sergeant, they're still going to retain their loyalty to the clan of Ragnar the fearless first and odds are good that Snorri and Wulf are going to follow Ragnar Ragnarrson's orders rather than Durin's. The usual solutions are to either make sure that each unit is so diverse that no one clan or tribe has a large enough presence that the divided loyalties can undermine the chain of command or to align the the military chain of command with the tribal/clan authority structure (ie Ragnarr Ragnarrson is the sergeant because he is the clan's heir, regardless of ability or inclination), but the former solution is not often practical (not even in modern tribal societies with modern population densities) and the people involved usually resist it because they would rather serve with their brothers, cousins, and tribesmen rather than with strangers. (And with good reason, in a chaotic land such as the River Kingdoms, there may well be a lot of blood feuds that make mixing tribes/groups a risky proposition--putting Ragnar's sons in a unit with relatives of the guy Ragnar blinded for assaulting his daughter is asking for revenge killings). And the latter solution is basically adapting feudalism.

Quote:
So a modern army isn't necessarily impossible to achieve in Golarion.

No, but it's a good deal more work than simply saying, "we'll pass a law and then we'll have it." You need to create economic and social structures that can support a modern army before you can have a modern army, and those conditions don't seem to exist in the River Kingdoms unless you create them. That was my main point--well, that and "yeah, this is the River Kingdoms; they all have weapons and know how to use them already."

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