The Political History of Thunder Rift, and the Town of Melin

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Re: Re: Re: Before I go any further

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:02 pm

@Havard
Forgot Torlynn for a sec, but yeah, sounds like we have the same of this.
Actually, Torlynn might be too recently founded for feudal relationships to be relevant. Edgewater seems to be almost a suburb of Melinir, so it probably didn't exist then either.
We could keep the real identity of the King vague for now, but I think the idea of Thunder Rift during some periods of its history being more closely integrated into a larger kingdom could be interesting.
Sure.
Good point about knights having to be knighted by someone. Could one knight make another into a knight? Also, how would Knightly Orders fit into this. Presumably they could be knighted by a Grand Master?
I recently read something, somewhere, that lumped knights into the peasant class (above serfs, villeins, and cottars, but not entitled to anything). I am unsure of this; as I understand the concept, knights (and chevaliers) where not a feudal class in-and of themselves, knighthood was more of a military rank.

Often, knights where given small amounts of land and allowed to build a small keep or manor house, so they could maintain their horse, arms, and armor. This gave them some rights to preside over disputes on their territory, much in the same way a captain of a ship can do so in international waters. The ability to grant serious boons, or advances in rank was probably beyond most knights. However, if a person that was already a member of the nobility should be knighted (for service to a king, or other high ranking noble), they may have the ability to knight a squire, under the right circumstances (ex: the battle field, when there is a need for cavalry, and after another knight has been killed and his horse, armor, and arms are available). I can't think of any examples of anyone beneath a king or Grand Master knighting anyone, but I am sure that is just early morning selection bias.

I think the Order of the Griffin could be represented in Thunder Rift if it is in Darokin. Absolutely so if Thunder Rift is in Karameikos. The Lawful Brotherhood had outposts on the Savage Coast, so I am sure they could also get in. The same could be so for the fighting brotherhoods of Thyatis. In my campaign, the Heldanic “Knights” would only be happy to pick-up recruits like the Black Knight. There might have even been a local order, being run out of the Fighter's Academy; of course, it wouldn't necessarily be a nice order, now that Agryl runs it...

A bunch of information on real-world knights and knightly orders:
What Knightly Orders Are:
Read All About Knightly Orders
Read All About Chivalric Orders
Here are some examples of RW knightly orders, just for comparison's sake:
Knightly Orders:
Read All About The Knights Templar
Read All About The Knights Hospitaller
Read All About The Knights of the Band
Read All About The Knights of Saint Thomas
Read All About The Teutonic knights
Read All About The Order of The Garter
Read All About The Order of the Dragon
Read All About The Order of Saint George
Grand Masters:
Read All About The Grand Masters
Read All About The Grand Masters of the Knights Templar
Read All About The Grand Masters of the Knights Hospitaller
Read All About The Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights

While we are on the subject of knighthood, this is relevant to Sword and Shield:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastilude
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tournament_%28medieval%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quintain_%28jousting%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jousting
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladitorial_combat
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_by_combat
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%AAl%C3%A9e
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pas_d%27Armes
Last edited by Monkey on Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:49 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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The Middle Nobility

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:12 pm

The Middle Nobility

These ranks of nobility are neither mentioned, nor insinuated in any Thunder Rift literature. I am listing them here for both reference, and completeness's sake. They fall between the duke, and the barons.

These middle ranks would probably have been mostly killed by the Goblin Wars, the Plague, and finished off during the Sword vs. Wand conflict.

The Marquess
"Real World":
Read All About Marquesses
Read All About Margraves
Read All About Landgraves

The Earls
"Real World":
Read All About Ealdormans
Read All About Earls and Jarls
Read All About Swedish Jarls

The Counts
"Real World":
Read All About Holds
Read All About Grafs
Read All About Comes
Read All About Counts
Read All About Viscounts
Last edited by Monkey on Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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The Least Pseudo-Nobility

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:37 pm

The Least Pseudo-Nobility: The Magistrates

The customary villa and manorial organizational system would have lost most of its purpose, function and meaning just after the fall of the Fighter's Academy. It may have continued on in different fashions, in different towns, for both utilitarian, and traditional reasons.

Just to finish off the feudal hierarchy, here is lowest of those that may be considered nobility (depending on the location and period):
Read All About Magistrates
Read All About Vogts
Read All About Jonkheers
Read All About Junkers
Read All About Szlachtas
Read All About Nobiles
Read All About Hidalgos
Read All About Fidalgos
Read All About Edlers
Read All About Lairds
Read All About Gentlemen
Read All About High-Reeves
Read All About Shire-Reeves (Sheriffs)
Read All About Portreeves
Read All About Reeves
Read All About Shires
Read All About Balifs
Read All About Bailiwicks
Read All About Thanes/ Thegns

The following titles do not necessarily denote a position in the feudal hierarchy, and may survive independently of it.
Read All About Praetors
Read All About Prefect
Read All About Elders
Read All About Ealdormen
Read All About Aldermen
Read All About Burgomasters
Read All About Mayors
Read All About Town Councils
Last edited by Monkey on Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:16 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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The Non-Noble Classes

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:41 pm

The Non-Noble Classes: The Peasants

This is the class that the majority of the humans in Thunder Rift come from.
The peasant class was probably being merged with the "free-man" class to create the new class of "citizens" by the time Castle Kral was founded. Village folk may no longer think strictly along traditional lines, but some more rural folk, especially those in distant parts of the Rift may live lifestyles very similar to their ancestors. In the villages, echos of the old order can still be heard; even in Melinir, a person who is descended from serfs may try to keep his family history a secret. Those that come from lower class families have less wealth, property, education, non-agricultural skills, chances, and a more difficult time climbing the new capital-based social hierarchy. Elements of the old order may influence Thunder Rift for many generations to come.

A Burger, or a Burgess, is an early term for the newly developing (free) middle-class that would eventually include the "freeman", "journeymen", "tradesmen", "guildsmen", mercenaries, traders, and merchants, and educated professionals such as doctors, lawyers, apothecaries, engineers and architects, accountants, etc...
Read All About (Free) Town Inhabitants
Read All About Free Tenants
Read All About Yeomen
Read All About Landsknecht (Mercenaries)
Read All About Churls

Here is the bottom of the ladder (the peasant class) in descending order:
Read All About Medieval Farming
Read All About Peasants
Read All About Tenant Farmers
Read All About Vavasour
Read All About Valets
Read All About Knægt
Read All About Knechts
Read All About Hausknechts
Read All About Smerds
Read All About Cottars
Read All About Villeins
Read All About Kholops
Read All About Thralls
Read All About Serfdom
Read All About Slaves
Last edited by Monkey on Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:16 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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A Weird Wikipedia Article

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:12 pm

This is a weird, but informative, Wikipedia article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullacott

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Re: Re: Re: Before I go any further

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:15 pm

@Big Mac
Will the former Barriktown area be near enough to Melin to make a difference to what you do? (Would a power vacuum create expansion over to that direction, for example?)
I am not sure that Melinir existed in the same way at this point. There may have been small farming and fishing villages along the banks of Lake Ganif.

This brings me to my next submission. On to the titular subject of this thread:

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Some Ideas Concerning the Development of Melinir as a Town

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:17 pm

Some Ideas Concerning the Development of Melinir as a Town

Just to keep my (imaginary) timeline straight, I always figured that Klien has to be the oldest human settlement in the Rift, even if it didn't always go by that name. It was probably first inhabited by more primordial beings when they first came down the falls (carnifex?, fey and giants?), and then by the elves, gnomes and dwarves, and the halflings each in turn, when they first came. It was definitely inhabited by humans at the time of the king.

Torlynn might not have yet been founded, but there where sure to be other villages on the edge of the Gauntlin (maybe even on that exact site) that supplied the Rift with lumber, furs, bone, forest game meats, fruit, nuts, herbs, and other forest-supplied resources.

According to both the Thunder Rift source book, and the Warriors of the Eternal Sun, the Goblin wars may have pushed the demi-human races to near extinction.
“they at least prevented the outright slaughter of the good races, one by one.” (Thunder Rift: pg 11)
This the end, my beautiful friend, this is the end.

The plague might have come close to doing that again. After two world changing events like that, I doubt that any original settlements would have remained untouched (read as: demolished and mostly uninhabited).

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The Site of Melinir Before The Arrival of Humans

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:20 pm

The Site of Melinir Before The Arrival of Humans
The history of the town of Melinir probably begins with its geology. We know that the Rift must get iron, coal, copper, lead, chrome, gold, and silver form within, because it is so isolated. If it didn't, there would be constant fighting for coal and iron (it is difficult to make steel with wood fires). We also know that most of these minerals must be present in the Melinir mines (or the dwarves would have absolute economic, military and political domination over the entire Rift. Because of the Rift's shape, the bottom of the Rift is accumulated soil, sedimentary rock, or erosion exposed igneous rock (because everything settles at the bottom). I think that that the hills around Melinir must be mineral bearing igneous rock slabs that have pushed there way through to the surface of the plain of sediments (probably pushed up by whatever forces made the lake).

Keep in mind that Zanzer's mine appears to full of salt, and that he may have been mining for diamonds; this means his mine must be in sedimentary rock (I think).

The buildings of Melinir tend to be stone, because it already has both good quarries and mines, but wood has to floated down a eastern branch of the Drake river, and then over Lake Ganif, from the Gauntlin.

The site of Melinir was probably inhabited by all the different demi-humans, at different times, before the humans arrived in the Rift. The elves might have set up camps there, but other than the lake, there wouldn't be much to keep them there, other than surface mineral deposits. Since elves don't like deep mining, if there where surface deposits in those hills close to the forests, then that would have been a inhabited, and maybe defended site. Some of the older trees and rocks around the area may bear elvish inscriptions, and maybe enchantments.

After the elves used up the surface deposits, and got pushed back into the forests, the dwarves may have mined the hills. The entrenches, and lost deeper sections, may be full of dwarven architecture, and writing. They would have begun the precedent of building with stone in the area. Some of the oldest buildings may have partially dwarven foundations.

After the dwarves where forced back into the hills during the Rift Wars, without anyone else in the area, the halflings may have farmed the hills and meadows, fished the lake, and worked the mines a little bit.
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Early Human Occupation of the Melinir Site

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:21 pm

Early Human Occupation of the Melinir Site
During the early human occupation of the Rift, perhaps, it was proabably a single farm or fief, occupied by a reeve, or other person named “Melinir”, or “Melini” (we have an entire are of my city named “Billingsbridge”, after the Billings family that built a bridge across a river on their land, and later allowed it's use as a public road), that a gave some land to the Traladarian or Thyatian church, a druidic order, or another monastic order, so they could build a chapel/ temple close to the lake. It was selected for the site of the temple because it was far away from any know humanoid encampments, but was on the shore of a lake that had rivers connecting most of the Rift. This may have been a single building.
Read All About What Peasants Lived In
Read All About Longhouses

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The Site of Melinir During and After the Goblin Wars

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:25 pm

The Site of Melinir During and After the Goblin Wars
“Melini's Manor” or “Melini's Farm” would have been overrun during the Goblin Wars (if the Duke's castle was overrun, a single villa or manor would have stood little chance), though some members of the original family may have survived, to later return. The upper floors of the monastery or temple may have been sacked during the Goblin War, but the crypts where left, and they became part of the basement and foundation of the larger, current temple complex.
The Melinir Temple
Temple Basement

After the Goblin War, and the remaining peasants fled the area of Barrik Castle, many people began migrating toward the known remaining settlements, like Klien, and a few to the shores of Lake Ganif.

With an influx of refugees, “Melini's Ruin” might have evolved into a small fishing and farming burg (smaller than a village) that was re-built upon the older site (of the original farm). This new villa or manor on “Melini's Ruin” may have originally been a collection of peasant longhouses, boat houses, stables, barns, and grain silos, for the slaves, surfs, villeins, cottars, bordars, and the few “free peasants” there. There was probably a separate reeve's house, that was where either 25 or 24 is on the Melinir map (close to the water and the temple), or maybe even the house of the local (if still living) lord or lady (read as: baron or baroness). This may have been the founding of the modern town.
Map of Melinir
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The Developing Town of Melinir During and After the Plague

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:28 pm

The Developing Town of Melinir During and After the Plague
Ironically, poverty may have helped protect the peasants during the plague. Whatever the means of transmission, those who could travel, import distant goods, or have visitors would be the first to be stricken. That probably finished cleaning up the local nobility.

Melinir's isolation and clerics would explain it's surviving the plague. It might have been the Melinir temple that cured the plague.

During and after the plague, both the human and demi-human populations would have migrated toward any place that still had fresh water, food, and the chance of a cure. If the Melinir clerics cured the plague, it would have been the most common destination. Melinir would have had a lot of pilgrims and refugees. They may have started pilgrim/ homeless and penniless plague survivor communes. Shortly after, the village would have elected the first mayor that laid out the divisions of the town.
Read All About Choosing a Site For a Town
Read All About Chartered Cities
Read All About the Kind of Town Charter Melinir May Have Gotten
Read All About (Lack of) Engineering in Medieval Towns
Read All About Life in Medieval Towns
Read Some in Depth Descriptions of Medieval Towns
Read All About Medieval Communes
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The Town, The Quadrial, the First Mayor, the Theive's Guild,

Post by Monkey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:31 pm

The Town, The Quadrial, the First Mayor, the Theive's Guild, the Walls, and the new Temple Grounds
We know that the base of the Quadrial was built in place called Melinir shortly after the plague. The local theive's guild may claim to have been founded by Grey Raven.

The Thunder Rift source book indicates that “generations” passed between the first mayor, the division of the town, and the erection of the city walls. We know that the current temple complex was only built after the bourgeois district, and just before the city walls and a gnoll attack.

The guard towers, and the garrison have “magical speaking tubes”. They must have been made by wizards after the founding of the Wizardspire magic school, and before the Sword vs. Wand civil war, or by the clerics, but I can't think of what spells they would have used to make them (other than Wish, of course).

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Re: Re: Re: Before I go any further

Post by Gecko » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:06 am

Monkey wrote:@Havard
We could keep the real identity of the King vague for now, but I think the idea of Thunder Rift during some periods of its history being more closely integrated into a larger kingdom could be interesting.
Sure.
Good point about knights having to be knighted by someone. Could one knight make another into a knight? Also, how would Knightly Orders fit into this. Presumably they could be knighted by a Grand Master?
I recently read something, somewhere, that lumped knights into the peasant class (above serfs, villeins, and cottars, but not entitled to anything). I am unsure of this; as I understand the concept, knights (and chevaliers) where not a feudal class in-and of themselves, knighthood was more of a military rank.
Knighthood/knightly status varied quite a bit from place to place and time to time. For examples: in Germany many knights were unfree and were part of the ministerialis class. At some time periods in France the "Chevalier de xyz" was simply a courtesy title for the heir of the count/duke/etc. of xyz. Later in france, all nobles had a class or rank- they were either one of the variations of "prince" (eventually there were 5 different kinds), "Pair" de France ("Peer of the realm" - unlike in England most titled nobles were not peers, much like the spanish "Grandee"), "Chevalier" (Knight), or "Écuyer" (esquire, roughly). Seperately, or in addition to, a knight might belong to a knightly order. Then there's also the distinction between Knight Banneret's and Knight Bachelors, and knights of orders vs. those who were not. Some knightly orders were purely symbolic - ie I was excited to learn that one of my possible ancestors was a "Knight of the Sepulchre" (sp?) but upon looking into it, that turns out to be little more than someone who visited the church of the sepulchre in the holy land and partaking in a brief ceremony - much like the a Christian version of the Islamic honorific of "Haji".

btw, if your going for a complete and comprehensive listing, don't forget the various untitled hereditary nobility (Junkeers, Elder's, Hidalgo/Fidalgo, Nobile, Szlachta, Gentilhomme, Patrician, etc., etc.) and even cases of pseudo-hereditary knighthood or at least hereditary knightly class status. You might also want to look up avoue and vidame (similar to your listed vogts but for ecclesiastiacal prelates) and castellaines (not sure if I spelled that right).

edit: striked out Szlachta, as it's not just untitled nobiltiy, from what little I understand of it.

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Re: The Political History of Thunder Rift, and the Town of M

Post by Justinov » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:15 pm

Yeah basically a Knight is just a warrior on horse. Since horse are expensive in upkeep it has been for the rich so that's why it often becomes associated with a kind of nobility.
In 1000 AD it was not a nobility, but it evolved during the middle ages.
But the case of unfree "Ministerialis" shows it's not always the case.
In Danish this noble warrior is called "en Ridder" from German "Ritter", whereas the English "Knight", German "Knecht" is Danish "Knægt" (meaning see below).

Fun card-"games": Since nobles have been crazy about gambling it probably say something about the history of prestige of mounted warfare.
In Danish playing cards the "Knave/Jack/Page" card is still called "Knægt", so it is the use of Knægt in the meaning of Squire (he is shown as a young adult "squire"); though in normal use Knægt just means "a boy". Amazingly the English word "Knave" means "a boy" (German "Knape").
Some interesting history lurking there........

German "Knecht" means a lot of different things today depending on it's prefix (Hausknecht, Landsknecht), but Edelknecht's was yet unknighted nobility - Squires (fits the name of danish playing cards).

Picture cards got their current names in the 1400's - originally Kings, Knights and Knaves!
But the knights mostly disappeared in Europe later on and was replaced with Queens. For some time you had decks in France with 4 picture cards Kings - Queens - Knights - Knaves (called "Valet", meaning Squire!).
In Italy you apparently still find decks with these 3 picture card - Re (king) - Cavallo (horse with rider) OR Donna (woman) - Fante (infantry soldier).

So the loss of Knight to Queen probably coincide with a devaluation of the knighthood with the increasing important of firearms?!

In Danish the picture cards are called Konge (King) - Dame (as Italian Donna) - though more and more use now Dronning (Queen), probably from English caused by the poker craze going around - Knægt (Squire).
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Before I go any further

Post by Monkey » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:08 pm

gonna fill this in

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