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Author Topic: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire  (Read 110893 times)
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« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2010, 12:47:16 PM »

Out of Character

Some boring stuff about literacy, the means of writing, and libraries.

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« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2010, 12:58:00 PM »

Dude, boring?  
Are you kidding?  This is great!!!  Literacy rates, and their antecedents is fantatic info.  Love the ivory tablets, BTW.  

You have CERTAINLY inspired a whole host of thoughts here.  I have libraries and sage guilds, but I LOVE THIS!
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« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2010, 01:30:07 PM »

Well I'm glad to see that someone likes it at least. smile

I wrote it because it's the sort of information one might need to know when using the setting, if not quite so exciting to read about... but I guess I misjudged there a bit. The writing tablets are based on real history BTW, stylus & beeswax-on-tablet was like a portable chalkboard of the ancient world. One made from ivory would be a very expensive status symbol though, and probably very ornate.

P.S. there's more to the write-up than the first glance might show :ninja:
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« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2010, 03:59:38 PM »

Hair

Treating one's hair properly is important to Argyrians. It is the mark of a civilized people to keep their hair clean and kempt; the mark of barbarism to let it grow wild, tangled and dirty. Curly hair is considered ideal - those who lack natural curls might go as far as adding them with curling tongs. Wealthier people employ trained slave hairdressers to ensure their haircuts are up to high standards, treated with oils, setting solutions or even dyes.

Among Women

Due in part to regional differences, and the fact that fashions on women's hair style change almost weekly in the larger metropoleis, it is impossible to make detailed generalizations on how Argyrian women wear their hair. However, a useful rule of thumb is that unmarried women and young girls grow their hair long and either let it hang loose or use a style that allows it to fall down the neck/back, whereas married women tie their hair in buns or more elaborate arrangements. Headbands are often worn to restrain the hair.

Among Men

Men generally keep their hair short. As a part of a rite of passage, boys coming of age have their heads shaved.

Beards
Beardedness among Argyrian men is more of a rule than an exception, as it is seen as a symbol of wisdom and virility. The most common style is a short-trimmed full beard - truly long beards are typically only worn by philosophers and elder men. Growing a moustache without a beard is considered vulgar, fitting only for slaves and barbarians. Sideburns are also considered ugly if they fail to connect with the beard. Braiding of the facial hair is unheard of, and would probably be reviled as crass.

Among Eunuchs

It is customary for eunuchs to be shaved bald.
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« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2010, 02:32:23 PM »


Dance

The art or dancing is regarded highly in Argyrian culture. However, it needs to be stressed that the word "dance" in this context takes on a very different aesthetic and meaning than what many modern people are accustomed to thinking of as dancing. Foremost, there is no such thing as ballroom-style paired dancing in Argyrian culture. All dancing is performed either by a large group formation, or by a single dancer.

There are two major categories of Argyrian dance: ceremonial dances and wild frenetic dances.

Ceremonial Dances

Dances of this type emphasize elegant and controlled motions and stances. They can be either slow and solemn or rapid and striking, but are always carefully choreographed. These dances are traditionally associated with ceremonial functions and many public festivals.

Frenetic Dances

Dances of the second type are the complete opposite: they emphasize the expression of primal emotions. They consist of vibrant, passionate moves as the dancers surrender themselves to their natural impulses. Frenetic dances are not necessarily improvised, though they tend to be. They are traditionally associated with primaeval cults and orgiastic revelries. Certain "exotic" dances used for seduction also fall into this category.

Events

Although Argyrians value highly the aesthetics of dance, entertainment is far from it's only function. Dances are performed as part of many religious, social and military rituals. Weddings, funerals and seasonal festivals frequently feature dance performances. Priests and priestesses may be taught the mystic arts of cult-dancing as part of their initiation.

Dances may be performed either by professional dancers or by laymen, depending on the context of the situation. Most dancing flows to the pace set by musical instruments, commonly flutes, tambourines and kitharas. Castanets are often used by female dancers.
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« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2010, 03:06:36 PM »

Imperial Argyrian Calendar
This calendar is a very important one, for while it was invented by and is primarily used by the Argyrians, it has become the de facto reference system used by merchants, diplomats and other such people that travel or correspond across borders. Further, the calendars used by most nearby kingdoms, while separate, are ultimately just modifications of the Argyrian system.

This calendar is lunisolar, with years based on the solar year, divided into smaller time units based on the moons' phases. Two such units exist: tertiaries and months. Dates are usually recorded by refering to the month and the year only. The tertiaries, although they are actually the base from which the months are derived, are themselves rather unimportant outside scholarly and astrological circles.

The Suns and the Moons
Since there's more than one sun and moon, they of course need to be named. Different languages will naturally have different names for these celestial objects. In the Argyrian tongue they are called thusly:
  • Yellow Sun: ''Megalos''
  • Orange Sun: ''Magna''
  • The Moons: ''Clea'', ''Cordis'' and ''Serena''

Years are based on the orbit of the two suns (which appear to move as a pair), a length of almost 381 days. By dropping one day every 13 years, the calendar stays synchronized. The Argyrian New Year takes place on the summer solstice.

Tertiaries are a special time unit based on a curious quality of the three moons Clea, Cordis and Serena: the moons have the exact same length of orbit, while their phases differ, yet are in synch with each other and the solar year. A tertiary is 1/3 of the duration of each moon's phase cycle.

Months are based on the *full* phase cycle of the three moons - that is, 1 month = 3 tertiaries, or 52 days. However, there is a small dilemma: the solar year cannot be divided into months neatly. Because of this, there are 7 full months, and after them an 8th "mini-month" that consists of a single tertiary (17 days). The months are named Phoenix, Fortis, Gaia, Nautilus, Silva, Tempestas, Aethereus and Hyperia.

This picture will hopefully lessen any confusion:

As can be seen, the months are divided into tertiaries, each 17 or 18 days long. The last month, Hyperia, is basically 1/3 the length of the others.

The count of years
Argyrians do not count years from a single event. Instead they divide the timeline into named ages, recording dates in history as happening in a given year of a given age. The ages have no fixed length; the beginning of a new age is based on proclamations of the Supreme Oracle who resides on the sacred Mt. Helix on the island of Helikia. The Oracle is also responsible for naming these eras. The passing from an ending age to the next one always happens on the first solstice (Argyrian New Year) following the proclamation of the Supreme Oracle. This day resets the counting of years, with the first year of the newest era recorded as year 1.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 11:48:23 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2010, 02:04:06 PM »

Social Order
In Argyrian society there are 5-6 social classes, depending on whether one counts the slaves as a class:

Note

In the hellenistic era it became common for the Greek rulers that inherited Alexander's empire to fashion themselves as divine kings, by claiming descendance from the gods and through apotheosis -  much like the many heroes of their myths were the offspring of prolific deities. The Romans were wont to mimic this with their state religion of Emperor-worship.

In the context of a fantasy setting, such divine lineage could be reality. The Great Houses of the Argyrians might indeed be the spawn of deities. However, I prefer to leave the matter somewhat open, for the sake of added doubt. And besides, when claims of descendance go back to a semi-mythical figure who supposedly lived hundreds of years ago, how could one be certain of their validity?
  • The Imperial House
  • The Great Houses (high nobility)
  • Lesser nobility
  • Citizens
  • Non-citizens
  • Slaves

The great houses are ancient lineages that trace their ancestry back to mythical heroes sired by the gods themselves. Their members are, therefore, considered to be people of divine blood. A house usually comprises several related families.

The lesser nobility are families of mortal descend, yet elevated to the status of military aristocracy by the virtue of property (typically estates granted by the Emperor for services to the Empire). They make up the majority of the nobility and control a great deal of mercantile business.

Citizens enjoy greater freedoms and legal protection than non-citizens. The latter group includes all foreigners and freed slaves, but also many common people that have yet to be granted citizenship.

Slaves are usually not considered to be even people, so they technically aren't part of the society.

There are no separate social classes for clergy or merchants. Priests of the native Argyrian religions generally come from the ranks of the nobility. The classes are not rigid, although it is much easier for one to fall to lower rank than it is to climb higher up the ladder.
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« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2010, 09:27:37 AM »

Out of Character

Currency is one of those things that aren't particularly interesting, yet ought to be defined. When it comes the time to bribe a judge, con a merchant, or buy some information from a snitch, you better know well the money you're handling and what it's worth. Fortunately the Argyrian currency is so widespread and dominant that once I've nailed it down, many other systems will be easily added - they probably use mostly the same materials and weights (and thus, values) even if their coins may come in different shapes and bear different names.
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« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2010, 02:28:58 PM »

Tales about Argyros
In the myths, legends and histories of the Argyrians, no other figure commands as much respect and attention as the eponymous arch-Hero and demigod, Argyros himself. That an entire civilization came to name itself after one man tells something of his cultural importance.

In Character

Argyros was as tall as a mountain and possessed the strength of a thousand men. His booming voice was like the din of a hundred elephant-bulls, the gust of his breath could fell trees, and frost would cover the earth where ever his mighty shadow fell. The very Suns would pass closer to the ground just to delight in his beauty, and no woman nor youth could resist his amorous advances.

He sailed to the edges of the world, trod across impassable deserts and mountains, matched wits with kings and sorcerers and daemones, and with nameless things older than Mankind. He wrestled with giants and fabled monsters, commanded great armies, sacked ancient cities and erected new ones. He sang and danced and drank wine with hundred-faced princes on the golden shores of the Twilight Lands where the Suns never set. He descended into the Underworld to steal the secret of alphabets from the degenerate Cyclopses, contemplated the ineffable riddles of The Dragon, and slept with queens and nymphs and goddesses. With fire and steel and trickery he brought low mighty kingdoms, conquered foes mortal and spiritual alike, and unified all the tribes of the Helikian Sea under his crimson banner.

It is said that Argyros never died. One day he simply left for the seas, never to be seen again. Mariners whisper that he still sails the cerulean haze of the horizon, where the heavenly dome touches the bottomless ocean - perhaps to one day return, to once again conquer and rule as he did so long ago.

More Tales:

The Weapons of Argyros
The legendary weapons once wielded by Argyros are among the most coveted items in the world. His favourite weapon was his bow, which he won in a gamble from a mountain-Daemon. This bow was so powerful that no other man could even string it. He also had a deadly spear, allegedly made entirely from metal, which was such that when thrown it would never miss it's target. His shield was a gift from the Cecropians, painted with eldritch symbols that warded off bad luck; unfortunately, it was destroyed. In the final battle against his brother Colosseus, Argyros shot three golden arrows, crafted by the demigod smith Memnon in the fires of Mt. Helix. The first arrow split the army of Colosseus, the second one shattered the shield he was covering himself with, and the final one pierced his savage heart.

Most of these items have been lost, some are presumed to be destroyed. Rumours regarding the full-metal spear surface from time to time, but no reliable evidence of it's whereabouts have been gathered. Of the three golden arrows, the first two were recovered and are kept in the treasury of the Imperial palace, while the third one remains stuck in Colosseus' chest. Argyrian Emperors consider all the items of their legendary forefather to be sacred ancestral relics, and have searched for the missing items for centuries. Anyone caught possessing such an artifact would be hunted to the end of the world by the Emperor's agents.

Out of Character

While characters living in the "contemporary" era of Savage Age aren't going to run to Argyros, the mythology revolving around the character can still be quite relevant. The most likely influence of the hero-cult is religious: there are entire temples dedicated to Argyros, and other temples (especially those of Thalas) may feature shrines honoring him. Characters seeking advice from an oracle or a holy man might be instructed to perform religious service to Argyros. Knowledge regarding the history and legends of the Empire is also regarded as an important social skill. Since tales about Argyros are extremely well-known, those who display ignorance on the subject matter might be rediculed as simpleton barbarians, and suffer considerable loss of face. And finally, it is certainly possible that characters may stumble upon an ancient artifact that could be interpreted as one of the missing Imperial relics.
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« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2010, 01:24:32 PM »

The Oracle


The air within the sanctuary felt eerily chilly to Pheidias, a strange change from the oppressive heat that reigned outdoors that day, cast by the Suns flaming hot on a cloudless sky. The darkness of the ancient building's interior was pierced by beams of sunlight emanating from small windows just below the ceiling. What sparse light there was, scattered off colonnades of supporting pillars of veined marble, casting an intricate play of shadows across the faded floor mosaics and the aged plastering of limestone walls. He stood within a small antechamber just before the main hall - the furthest point he had been allowed into the sanctum. An arched doorway yawned open in front of him, revealing a view of the great, spacious room, it's lofty ceiling of cedar beams held up over the heads of colossal caryatids, whose eloquently sculpted features had been vividly colored with paints and whose eyes shone with the mystical glimmer of inset gemstones. A vicked scent of myrrh and incense was in the air.

As the nervous feeling of anticipation set upon him like a wet blanket, Pheidias struggled to maintain his posture of reverent quiescence. In the dimness of the hall he observed the silent movement of solemn figures marching in from some entrance hidden to his view. A handful of rotund shapes, clad in ceremonial robes and wearing ornate masks, arranged themselves in a row by the back end. Pheidias knew these to be mute eunuch attendants, some of whom he had met on his way to this lonely hilltop sanctuary. An altogether different kind of figure, that of a lithe young woman wrapped in fine cloth of translucent silk, had crept into the center of the hall and was now standing there, frozen still like a statue in a ritual position, her delicate arms raised high. For a while everything set into the macabre state of unmoving silence, and Pheidias found himself holding his breath. The very time itself seemed to have stopped.

In a sudden shock the spell was broken, as one masked eunuch standing in the middle of their formation swung a brass mallet, striking the leathern skin of a great drum fixed in an apse on the back-end wall. The loud boom signaled the start of the ceremony, and the other robed attendants, bearing syrinxes and cymbals and sistrums and tambourines, let out a concert of haunting rhythms. At the very same moment the young woman - whom Pheidias knew to be the oracle of the rocky hill - broke her statuesque posture. With the subtle grace of a she-panther she moved, replicating the twisting moves and gestures of a primal dance. The marble hall resonated with the enchanted rhythms of occult music recalling the very ancient tribal days, the wild drumming and piping around night bonfires; bewitched, shamanic music older than civilization.

As the esoteric spectacle unfolded, the centermost eunuch put away his mallet and yanked a silvered chain which hung suspended next to the ceremonial drum. With a sharp click some hidden mechanism was activated, causing small vents on the floor by the feet of the caryatids to swing open. Faint smokelike fumes begun to pour out of these openings, their oily tendrils rendered visible in the beams of light slashing across the hall. Even from his remote vantage by the doorway Pheidias caught a stinging scent of these subterranean vapours - cthonic gases from the hideous depths of the earth, emanating from nameless chasms of primordial darkness never grazed by the slightest hint of sunlight.

By each clamoring note, by each step and gesture, the pace of the music and of the dancing grew wilder, accelerating in a savage crescendo. Perhaps from the intoxicating fumes, perhaps from some eldritch influence at work, the oracle fell in an ecstatic trance; her eyes rolled back and her head cocked upwards, even as she continued to bend and whirl and spin, dancing with wild abandon. Though Pheidias could hardly trust in his senses now, dulled and confused as they were by the occult play taking place before his eyes, he could not put aside the troubling impression that the shadows in the hall had taken substantial forms, and were dancing queerly around the oracle.

The spectacle ended abruptly, just after reaching it's climax. The music ceased and the oracle fell still, fainting. The directing eunuch yanked the chain a second time, shutting the smoke-pouring trap doors. Two of the masked attendants lifted the oracle on their arms, carrying her away, while the rest of them followed in silent procession.

Whether it was minutes or hours that passed while he waited in cold solitude in the antechamber, Pheidias could not tell. Finally, one of the mute attendants came to him, no longer hiding his face behind a mask but still clad in that ceremonial robe of thick sanguine-colored cloth. The obese eunuch gestured for him to follow, and quietly led Pheidias along a narrow corridor into a reception room. That windowless chamber was lighted only by flickering candles and a lazily burning brazier standing in a corner. It's walls were covered in painted bas-reliefs and the vaulted ceiling adorned by an ancient fresco depicting fantastic animals and strange daemoniac figures. Raised at the back of the room was an alabaster daïs, upon which stood a tripod seat with legs of lacquered ebony carved in the likeness of a lion's paws. On that seat rested the oracle, now awoken but still delirious, with a wreath of laurel leaves placed on her head. A pair of masked attendants stood on either side of her.

Pheidias kneeled and bowed low before her, awed and shaken by a strange feeling of dread majesty which haunted this room. Despite his unease he was anxious to hear his fortunes told. Then, with her glazed gaze fixed on some faraway place, the oracle spoke, not appointing her words to anyone in particular: "Beware, O Pheidias of Granike, when driving a bull, the goring horns in the black of night. Friend or foe, the stranger in your house - follow the trail of silver, you shall know. The mistress of lies must fall, or so shall you." Her honeyed voice echoed with strange power and authority that defied her tender age and fragile form. Having thus spoken, she fell silent, still apparently lost in some unthinkable realm not visible to the eyes of Men. Her ominous words rang mockingly in Pheidias' ears as he was ushered away by a mute eunuch.

Sunlight burned blindingly in his eyes as he stepped out of the sanctuary on the rugged, barren summit. Taking pains to maintain his balance, he descended a flight of crumbling stone steps to the ledge where his slaves and servants awaited him, tending to the grazing mules with which they had ascended a perilous trail up the desolate slope. While his serviles hurried to prepare the animals for the return trip, Pheidias was greeted by Timaeus, his trusted bodyguard. For the first time in years, it seems, he took notice of the peculiarly decorated hilt of his retainer's shortsword. It was elaborate bronzework, shaped in the likeness of a bull's head, little horns curving up along the base of the blade...


Oracles

Oracles are mystical seers found throughout the kingdoms of Euria. Though fewer in number than other kinds of diviners, the oracles are considered particularly powerful and prominent. They are the major, world-famous figures whose advice kings and princes seek in times of crisis, and whose proclamations carry much weight and influence. The one most famed and respected among them is the Supreme Oracle, who resides on Mt. Helix on the island of Helikia. Oracles speak with the voice of gods and spirits, which makes them sacrosanct and beyond reproach in the eyes of Eurian peoples.

Since oracles always reside in remote, sacred places, consulting one always begins with a journey to the sanctuary. This journey is itself considered a spiritual undertaking likened to a pilgrimage, laden with symbolism. One must not embark empty-handed, but bring along sacrificial animals and generous gifts. Upon reaching the sanctuary, visitors will be greeted by the staff tending to the needs of the oracle, interviewed for the nature of the wisdom they seek, and instructed to conduct ritual sacrifice at an altar on the consecrated ground of the sanctuary. Once an admission has been given, the visitors may present their question, worded in a formulaic manner, to the oracle.

The utterings of an oracle are always ambiguous to some degree, ranging from the seemingly clear to the totally ineffable. They tend to be obscured by symbolism in language and metaphor, requiring careful interpretation. When they predict the future, they usually allow multiple ways in which they might come true.

The Role of Oracles

When characters find themselves hopelessly stuck trying to solve a mystery or up against an antagonist they cannot overcome, a visit to an oracle could provide invaluable aid - or just as easily, lead them headlong to perilous danger should they misinterpret the statements. Besides providing answers to specific questions, an oracle's words might also overshadow other, unrelated events, or hint at potential fortunes and dooms that could start new plotlines.

Oracles might also interfere with characters' lives indirectly, as there are many other people willing to seek their council. A cunning antagonist seeking to ensnare the characters in a plot might benefit greatly from information revealed by an oracle. A king foretold of his coming downfall might be driven to madness in his obsession to prevent the prophesied destiny, bringing ruin to an entire country. Should characters be indicated as key agents to the ruler's predicament, they may suddenly find a hefty price placed on their heads.

Playing it Out

Any visit to an oracle should require some preparation and effort. From finding the way to the remote sanctuary, to purchasing sacrificial animals of appropriate type, to the actual journey (which should present some danger and hardship, even if relatively short), down to the diplomacy and ceremony on the site. Oracles are highly respected, even feared through all levels of society. They have no time for obnoxious strangers that ignore ancient traditions of courtesy and demand to hear the voice of gods as if they were worthy of it by default. Those who fail to pay appropriate respect should be sent off, perhaps with a curse on their heads to teach them humility.

Those who prove themselves sincere and deserving in their quest will be granted the boon of asking a single question each at a time. An oracle will need some rest after each time she communes with the divine, so a large party of characters may have to stay a while. Actual audiences with an oracle should be brief, mystical, and preferably a bit creepy. Oracular statements, particularly those predicting the future, should be ambiguous and confusing, and never something that could be easily invalidated by actions of the characters receiving them.
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« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2010, 03:49:30 PM »

Cool addition.  I can imagine a group of heroes/adventurers trekking up to the top of an oracle's hill with albino rams or whatever the requisite sacrifice would be before every adventure.
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« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2010, 10:42:13 AM »

A tentative price list, to give some idea of what things cost. Showing selected items from the much larger table in the wiki.

(1 Sol = 10 Asteres = 50 Coronae)

ProductMarket Price
Foodstuffs
A loaf (~373.75 grams or ~0.82 lbs) of bread¼ - ½ Coronae
1 Amphora (30 litres or 7.9 gallons) of wine, poor5 - 17 Asteres
1 Amphora (30 litres or 7.9 gallons) of wine, average17 - 50 Asteres
1 Amphora (30 litres or 7.9 gallons) of wine, fine50 - 150 Asteres
1 kg of lamb, pork or goat~3 Coronae
12 eggs1 Corona
100 grams of salt2 - 2½ Coronae
1 Amphora (30 l) of honey12 - 50 Asteres
Arms & Armor
Dagger/knife9 - 10 Coronae
Dory (spear)2½ Asteres
Xyston (1-handed lance)3 - 3½ Asteres
Contos (2-handed lance)5 - 6 Asteres
Xiphos (short sword)5 - 6 Asteres
Spathion (arming sword)35 - 40 Asteres
Bardoukion (flanged mace)22 - 28 Asteres
Pelecus (battle axe)13 - 14 Asteres
Aspis or Thureos shield22 - 28 Asteres
Light helmet5 - 8 Soles
Heavy helmet10 - 16 Soles
Linen cuirass22 - 25 Asteres
Maille bodyarmour22 - 25 Soles
Lamellar cuirass28 - 35 Soles
Toxon (bow)7 - 9 Asteres
Gorytos (quiver)6 - 7 Asteres
Slaves
A common slave, male15 - 45 Soles
A common slave, female30 - 145 Soles
A skilled slave50 - 215 Soles
Mounts and Draft Animals
A donkey4½ - 5 Soles
A draft horse28 - 30 Soles
A mule35 - 37 Soles
A riding horse65 - 70 Soles
A light warhorse230 - 500 Soles
A heavy warhorse650 - 1,000 Soles
A heavy warhorse, Aspidian breed1,250 - 1,500 Soles
A prized parade horseup to 10,000 Soles(!)
Miscellaneous
An oil lamp~1 Corona
A woodcutting axe4 Asteres
Clothing
A fine quality tunika35 Asteres
An average quality tunika5 Asteres
A low quality tunika12 Coronae
An average quality long tunika6 Asteres
An average quality sagum cloak2 Soles
An average quality chlamys cloak3 Soles
Braccae pants4 Asteres
A pair of sandals4 - 4½ Coronae
A pair of heavy boots9 Coronae
Services
River ferry, 1 crossing, for 1 person4 Coronae
River ferry, 1 crossing, for rider & mount5 Coronae
Stabling for a horse, per day5 - 6 Asteres
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« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2010, 04:08:49 PM »

Prices and the consistency that come from them are important factors for a living settting.

How much are poisons?

Who makes wine and where does it come from?
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« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2010, 05:39:28 AM »

LordVreeg


How much are poisons?

That is a good question. I don't think there exists a stable market for poisons - one looking to buy such substances would need to turn to the criminal underworld, and the price there would depend greatly on many factors. A buyer who is not "in" on those circles should expect to be ripped off if he's not careful. The dealer would try to estimate how wealthy is the buyer, and just how badly does he need this deal. A character with connections to, knowledge of, favours, blackmail, etc. with the appropriate circles should be able to get a better deal, depending on how well he takes advantage of these assets. Of corse there would be some low end cap to the prices, determined by the cost of producing the poison in the first place.

Anyway, the sort of characters that would make use of poison with any regularity would more likely have the skills to gather/create the stuff on their own.

LordVreeg


Who makes wine and where does it come from?

Ah, wine; the nectar of Gods. I am planning to write a list of famous wines, produced in the various regions of the Empire, with their respective prices. Wine is a very important trade item, with a lot of money changing hands in that business. I imagine old feuds and rivalries - perhaps going back centuries - between high profile wineries. A good source for conflicts and intrigue.
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« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2010, 01:40:37 PM »

Note


A woman wearing the long tunika.


A man wearing the tunika, the himation, and a pair of sandals.


An elderly man wearing the himation.


A maiden wearing the peplos dress.


A woman wearing the dalmatika robe.


A nobleman wearing the dalmatika robe and the kausia hat.


A peasant wearing a cheap tunika and the wide-brimmed petasos hat.


A man wearing the chlamys cloak over his tunika. On his feet he wears a pair of boots.


A soldier wearing the sagum cloak over his armor.
DRESS
Argyrian dress tends to be loose and airy, rather than form-fitting. Though simple in design, it can be surprisingly elegant, with emphasis on the aesthetic of hanging folds of cloth. Outfits of the rich and the poor, of the powerful and the humble, differ not so much by their shapes but by the quality of their fabric and artisanship, and by the richness of their decorations.

Similar garments are worn year round; when the weather gets cooler, Argyrians simply add more layers of clothes, and wrap themselves in warm winter capes. Common materials are linen and wool, while more luxurious garments are available woven from silk.

Tunika
By far the most common form of clothing is the tunika, a knee-length shirt made from two rectangular sheets sewn together at the sides and top, leaving openings for the head and the arms. The garment is secured at the waist by the means of a belt or a girdle. Variants of tunika are differentiated by the sleeves: the simplest (and cheapest) form lacks sleeves entirely, but may be wide enough at the shoulders that the excess cloth falling down the upper arms creates an illusion of short, wide sleeves. Other forms of tunika are cut in a 'T'-shape, resulting in actual sleeves, which may vary greatly in terms of their length and width.

Women wear the long tunika, similar to the men's tunika but long enough for the hem to fall all the way down to the ankles. Long tunikas are mostly sleeveless.

Tunika is the primary garment for commoners, and might even constitute one's sole piece of clothing. For the upper classes, a light tunika made from thin fabric is worn under other clothes.

Himation
A distinguishing outfit of the upper classes. No other piece of clothing so successfully expresses the Argyrian desire to create elegance out of simplicity as does the himation. It is nothing more than a large sheet of fabric - though possibly very elaborately brimmed and embroidered - wrapped around the body of it's wearer.

There are innumerable different "styles" of wearing a himation, by ways of arranging the cloth, ranging from the relatively simple to the very complex. Most commonly the cloth is draped over the left shoulder to fall down the back, round under the right arm to the front side, and then over the left shoulder again.

Depending on the style, the cloth may be secured by clasps or pins, or arranged so as to hang securely without such aids. It is socially acceptable especially for elderly noblemen to discard other forms of clothing entirely and wear only the himation.

Women may wear the himation, but generally drape it in different styles than men do.

Peplos
The peplos is a traditional (if now rare) outfit for women. It consists of a large rectangular cloth, wrapped into a tube and vertically folded halfway down.

The front and back of the folded top are lifted to the shoulders and secured with pins or brooches.

Underwear
Although Argyrians are familiar with some forms of underwear, actually wearing any is considered entirely optional. Men might wear a simple loincloth called the perizoma. Women might bind their breasts with an apodesmos, a band of cloth tied around under the bust.

Dalmatika
Evolved from the tunika, the dalmatika is a long robe with an ankle-length hem and long, wide sleeves. It is most often seen worn by nobles, scholars and priests and the like, and is usually worn over a tunika. It can be worn by any gender.

Dalmatikas are often richly embroidered.

Headgear
Wearing of hats is not very common amongst Argyrians. Most go bareheaded, or cover their heads with hooded cloaks in bad weather. Women might wear shawls.

Peasants and farming slaves working the fields are often seen wearing the petasos, a wide-brimmed sun-hat made from felt or straw, to protect themselves from the heat of the Suns.

Another form of hat, popular amongst shepherds, hunters, travelers and the like, is the charonian cap, a tall, brimless felt cap slightly conical in shape, with the top turning forward and possibly with side-pieces hanging down.

Bureaucrats and dignitaries moving outdoors (such as during hunting trips) sometimes wear the kausia, a low conical cap.

Footwear
Much of the Empire enjoys a climate mild enough that many among the underclasses walk barefoot. Footwear of one kind or another is worn by those who can afford the cost. The most common items are sandals, which come in myriad styles, laced high or slow. Shoes and boots are made from leather or hide and tied with thongs.

Capes and Cloaks
Many kinds of capes, cloaks and mantles are worn, both as practical, protective clothing and for aesthetic purposes. Some of the common types are the chlamys, the sagum and the paenula.

  • The chlamys is a rectangular cloak fastened by a brooch over the right shoulder.
  • The sagum is a thick traveling cloak favoured by soldiers, and can double as a sleeping blanket when camping. It is very warm and keeps water well, protecting the wearer from rain and snow. The cloth may be fastened in various ways, and pulled over the head to form an impromptu hood when needed.
  • The paenula is a heavy cloak with a central hole, similar to a poncho. It is a very simple and cheap piece of clothing, worn by pulling one's head through the opening. A paenula might include an attached hood.

Braccae
The custom of wearing pants (a form of breeches, called braccae) is a foreign import to Argyrian culture. For a long time it was shunned as barbaric, but has over centuries won acceptance. Still, to this day most Argyrian men go without pants, which given the mild climate is comfortable through most of the year. Braccae are a much more common sight in the northerly provinces, where the climate is colder and winters can be biting indeed. Soldiers are more likely to be wearing braccae than are other men, and amongst horsemen in particular trousers have become very popular. For that reason they are associated with military and martial ways, and a man seen wearing them might be assumed to be a skilled warrior. Braccae can be short or long, varying in length from the knees to the ankles. They may be worn in combination with a tunika and/or dalmatika, but never with the himation.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:56:15 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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