We welcome your gracious words. His Holiness, in his wisdom, has seen fit to guarantee our civic liberties in exchange for our vows of fealty, as well as a stipend of silver by which we are allowed and obligated to look after the safety of the Via Francigena between Ferento and Acquapendente. The Romans may rest assured that we intend to maintain these obligations and ensure that travel and commerce are orderly in at least this portion of the road. We gladly accept the friendship of the Romans, a people of a long and noble history. We pray that the flower of Roman liberty will remain vibrant even in these uncertain times. Certainly we possess no enmity towards Rome; we look forward to our mutual prosperity.
We have seen what the Emperor has done to Spoleto and other cities. Naturally, we would desire nothing more than to make common cause with our fellow communes; yet we are accountable to the people, who correctly perceive that we have little to gain from committing ourselves to resistance against these foes. Niether Viterbo nor the Emperor himself pose any threat to us, nor shall they trouble us. Understand, Consul, that we do not mean to boast or try to impress you with empty words, but our city is the strongest in Latium. It is well known that since ancient times no army has prevailed against our city; when over the years even Rome has been sacked and despoiled, Orvieto has held strong, for our walls are carved by God from the earth itself, solid cliffs of stone through which no man may batter or mine.
As we do not fear for our own safety, and do not require the arms of Rome, Perugia, or Rieti to defend our liberty, we cannot at this time justify an alliance. It would be a disservice to our own people to send their sons and brothers to their deaths to defend the liberties of others when no liberties or interests of ours are at stake. We apologize deeply that we cannot accommodate the people of Rome in this matter, for we value their friendship, but our duty requires us to look first to the interests of our beloved city.
The Consuls of Orvieto
Letter to Roberto Basile
If Rome marches to war, so will I; I could not leave the Romans to fight alone after their support of our shared family this past year.
I cannot prevail against the Torre Maggiore alone. I will need more men, and particularly crossbows and war engines that may be used to suppress the defenders and batter their walls. If Rome wishes its forces undivided, than perhaps it would be better to strike elsewhere, at another one of Aimeric's holdings, and when peace is negotiated use this leverage to compel him to withdraw from the lands around Ardea. I will greatly mourn the destruction of my lands that is sure to ensue if war comes and Aimeric's forces at the tower are not expelled, but I would rather a cautious victory than an ambitious defeat. I leave the prosecution of these matters up to you.
I believe it would be safest for our children to take refuge in Rome as soon as possible; the Torre San Lorenzo is solid enough but poorly supplied and garrisoned. I have heard very reliable rumors that Aimeric has Gisulf's family as his hostages, and is using them to compel the man to stay in exile or return from it as he pleases; they are, I believe, at Gisulf's tower now in Aimeric's hands. I do not desire to give him the same leverage over us.
The Senate seems largely in favor of action against Tusculum. The Arnoldists, naturally, are the most vocally in favor, but Tusculum has long been seen as an onerous mailed fist looming over the Commune, and many senators would be happy to see it razed - or at least its lords humbled. The Equites seem lukewarm on the issue, warning that the time may not be opportune; they are concerned about starting a war against a formidable adversary when the Germans are said to be returning so soon to Italy. They do, however, emphasize that they will loyally serve the Commune if war is the will of the Senate.
Consul Basile's speech was not without its detractors. A number of senators, equestrian and common - mostly those with interests in the hospitality business - ridiculed Basile's call to pray for the safety of pilgrims, and pointed out that Rome relies far more on the pilgrimage route than it does on trade on the Via Appia or elsewhere. Though some concede that a full military intervention in Tuscany is not plausible, a significant faction in the Senate believes that the war in Tuscany is the greater threat to Roman prosperity and should be the priority of the consuls.
Letter to Roberto Basile
It is excellent to hear that I can count on your support, and that of Rome. I will tell you all I know of Aimeric and his allies.
Aimeric himself controls castles on two sides of Rome. Near Ardea, of course, is the Torre Maggiore; now the torre of Gisulf is his as well, just a mile or so from Albano. His family's name comes from the Castrum Sabellus, which lies about ten miles directly east from the holdings of the knight Niccolo Capocci. That fortress is a true castle, not merely a tower, and it lies in a region dominated by the Frangipani.
Savelli's holdings themselves are not great, but he will surely be supported by the Tusculani. The Counts will be able to call on other families as well - including, perhaps, the Colonna. Pietro had fallen out with Count Gionata, but Pietro is dead, and the Colonna and Tusculani are still cousins. The other great question is what the Frangipani will do; they have long been known as servants of the Curia and rivals of the Commune and Pierleoni, but they are not fast friends with the Tusculani. The Frangipani have marched to war for a Papal decree before, but I do not know if Oddone Frangipane will wish to pin his fortunes to the Tusculani.
It may be that it is best merely to wait, and hope that neither Aimeric nor the Counts are willing to press the Papal decree by arms. Yet every month that passes is one in which Aimeric can strengthen his defenses and gather more nobles to his cause, and the Torre Maggiore is a thorn in my side, from which he can raid my lands with impunity if he so desired. Does Rome intend to merely support me if attacked, or do you have some strategy of taking the offensive?
Regarding a mint - actually, this whole discussion of a mint had already begun many turns ago with Túrin (playing Romolo Vanetti, the goldsmith senator) just before he left, but he was unable to follow up on it because he departed the game. Normally I leave unplayed player characters "dormant," but considering the nature of his departure - Túrin informed me that he had gotten too busy, and his message made it pretty clear that he would not be resuming play - I would consider picking Vanetti up as an NPC if the Senate awards the minting contract to a Roman goldsmith and decides they'd like him in particular. (He is described, after all, as "Rome's leading goldsmith" )
No particular kind of building is necessary for a mint; it's just a workshop. Further details will come out when the enterprise system is fully implemented.
I do not know if what lurks endangers us. Soon, we will learn.
We see that the Duergar-flesh has made sharpness with another flesh. We see it cultivates fire against us. It threatens and attacks you. The flesh cannot be trusted and this flesh can no longer be tolerated. We move.
We see this force by the lake of fire. The Kafer-flesh itself is there. We will send many children in this direction, but they cannot catch them this week. It is a shame that we cannot take this creature, that leads this flesh, but we have never hurried. We move with inevitability. Three hundred now move below; perhaps another three hundred in the week to come. The wicked flesh will not prevail against us.
Above in the garden is a force a hundred strong. They will scour this flesh from the Middledeep, and move downward. The Clone is with them.
They will raise beetle-flesh against us, again and again; we must ever renew our children, and take the delvings from them where the dead-gold that sustains them is found. Hold the dwelling you have taken; its dead-gold must not be returned to them.
My children at your dwelling are yours to command. The Sporemother I have sent is also yours, but it would be best that she remained behind your walls; these children of more use in creating children of their own than bringing sharpness against others.
Our colors grow. Now they will grow among the crimson lakes. We grieve for every life; but the One, the Dream, is greater than the many. All must die; let death be for the purpose that is true and beautiful.
The Child of the Glow increases the Health and Morale of any army she is leading by +1. If garrisoned in a Dungeon she increases the Health and Morale of garrisoned troops by +1. The Child of the Glow's poisonous attacks affect both melee and ranged damage; if her attack roll exceeds the target's Defence, units in the regiment become extremely drowsy for one round, suffering -4 to Defence.
The Clone of the Glow increases the Health and Morale of any army she is leading by +1. If garrisoned in a Dungeon she increases the Health and Morale of garrisoned troops by +1. The Clone of the Glow's poisonous attacks affect both melee and ranged damage; if her attack roll exceeds the target's Defence, units in the regiment become extremely drowsy for one round, suffering -4 to Defence.
*Granted or modified by inventory
The Florid Reveler
Once a fell warrior of Blackrot’s retinue, the Florid Reveler was given a new name and a new purpose by the resurrected Child. Its form has not been unchanged either, for it has been molded into something more pleasing to the Dream. Its cap bristles with vicious spikes that phosphoresce warmly, resembling a crown of flames. It constantly “sweats” a sticky, pestilential red fluid from its knobby hide, mottled with crimson and fluorescent violet.
In its past life, the Reveler was a frenzied killer, ever consumed by the rending of dwarf-flesh in Blackrot’s service. It is consumed by something else now – for when the Reveler wades into battle, lashing violently at everything in reach with half a dozen vicious forked tentacles like the tongues of serpents, its foes see only a blissful and eerie serenity upon its mouthless visage.
Troops garrisoned with the Florid Reveler have their morale increased by +1.
The Lurker in the Reverie
The Lurker, too, was once of Blackrot, but it is now bound to a new master. Its head is a cluster of polypore-like growths, each overlapping another, with oddly-shaped eyes peeking between them at irregular intervals, looking in every direction at once. At first, one might think the Lurker in the Reverie to be black and colorless, antithetical to the usual aesthetic of the Glow, but a closer look reveals that it not black at all, but a symphony of dark blues and purples that iridesce and flash with brighter hues when the half-light of the phosphorescent fungi of the Lowerdeep plays across its surface. It stands stock-still, ever watching, stirring only when called upon by its masters – and then the Lurker’s limbs of hardened, blade-like chitin go to work.
Sporemothers can plant spores in Bodies that mature into Fungoid Warriors or Fungoid Puffball Mines. If garrisoned in Dungeons with certain rooms, she can implant spores to generate other units as well.
Troops garrisoned with the Caretaker have their morale increased by +1.
This enormous, sluggish creature has an insatiable appetite for precious materials. If given a steady supply of gold, metal, or other precious substances, it will enter your service. Delvers are greedy but powerful creatures, able to exude a powerful acid from their skin.
Cost: 200 Gold or Metal Upkeep: 20 Gold or Metal Melee Attack: +5 Melee Damage: 30 (Acid) Defence: 26 Health: 150 Speed: 2 Morale: +5 Special Abilities: Acid Secretion, Huge, Gluttony, Immunity (Acid), Tunneling
The Delver’s Acid Secretion ability deals 2 points of Acid damage to any unit that successfully deals damage to it in melee combat.
The Delver’s Gluttony ability allows it to consume Gold or Metal to gain bonuses to Health and Morale. For every 10 Gold or Metal consumed, it gains +10 Health and +1 Morale, to a maximum of +50 Health and +5 Morale.
If not paid its Upkeep the Delver immediately deserts.
Orders for this season are due by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 22nd. Please let me know if you will need additional time.
The Rome map has been updated - now with more hills!
Also, Light Dragon, I upgraded your inquest - you have two new items.
Letter to Roberto Basile
We are quite well this autumn. I have joined Signore Caetani in surveying the fields in ploughing season, which goes well; though the great rains were destructive in Rome, they were welcomed by the peasants here.
He has recently heard of the Papal grant to Signore de Savelli and is, understandably, incensed. I have asked him what he intends to do. He seems to believe that Savelli is, essentially, bluffing, and that the Curia does not care sufficiently about a few minor plots of land near Ardea enough to concern itself in the matter. I am not sure this is a wise course of action, but it is not my place to challenge my father-in-law. I am sure you will know more of the situation than I; it would seem wisest for our families to remain unified, and either confront Aimeric or acquiesce to him together.
In winter the cattani here do little other than hunt and fowl; while it is a pastime I have slowly come to appreciate, I would like to arrange a visit to Rome this season if you consider it safe. In the first place, I should like to see you and mother, as well as the curious business ventures I have heard mentioned alongside your name. Additionally, I have been speaking with the monks on matters of the constitution, and they believe that the warmer winters of Rome, away from the cold winds of the coast, would be desirable for the health and fertility of my wife.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
Letter to Roberto Basile
I shall make my appearance before the Senate this very month and swear the oath I have offered. Prepare the funds, inform the senators and secure their acceptance ahead of time as you see fit, and I promise that before the new year has come I will have the most able masons in Rome hard at work building bulwarks against the Teuton and his minions.
Signore Niccolo Capocci
Letter to Roberto Basile
I am sure you were truly aggrieved when you heard that your son, your own flesh and blood, was in mortal danger at the hands of this man Gisulf. That is good and only natural; family is everything, as I am sure you would agree.
One can only imagine the anguish of the father whose family – his wife, sons, daughters – were held in such deadly peril. Surely any true man would do whatever was asked of him to secure their release; he might come from the very ends of the earth to make sure they were safe. Yes, a coward might hesitate – particularly if his own safety or freedom were at risk. Yet we, good Consul, know that the flesh of women and children is weak, and men’s hearts melt before their suffering. A hard-hearted man – a man without mercy – why, such a man could do things to women and children, such ghastly things, that I cannot commit them to the page, and shudder even to think about them. What man, good Consul, would not fall to his knees and beg for the safety of his beloved family, if they were in the hands of such a monster? What man could remain an exile when faced with such abominable cruelty?
Ah, but forgive me, you asked about Gisulf; as a father like yourself I think often about the safety and well-being of my beloved children. Family, as I have said, is everything. I am afraid I have nothing regarding Gisulf that I can share with you at this moment, yet when I have results, you will surely know of them.
Aimeric de Savelli
Letter to Barzalomeus Borsarius
I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Senator. I would not make any allegation of error against the Senate, though naturally I agree that the rift between them and the Church is both an unfortunate and unnecessary one. I mourn deeply the tragic loss of Signore Colonna, who charted a course of wisdom and probity between both.
Unfortunately I cannot speak for the “faction” that you kindly ascribe me to. I am afraid my family is a quarrelsome one. My uncles Giordano and Ruggero, known well to the Romans, are undoubtedly good and upright men, but I have had little opportunity to spend time with them during my life. Uncle Giordano devoted himself to the commune from the day of its founding, as you know, but he was alone in our family; after the death of my uncle Peter, then Anacletus II, the rest of our house made peace with Pope Innocent, including my father Leo. I did not know my uncle, the Patrician, until I entered Rome in the employ of Cardinal Breakspeare.
I am uncertain how I can offer guidance to you, Senator, given my position, but if you are interested in resolving matters that divide the Church and the Senate, then perhaps you would consider assisting me with a problem. There is a plot of land near the village of Labarum, north of Rome, which has apparently been the cause of some recent trouble. I understand that the Roman Senator Hugo de Vinti fought over these lands with the baron Luidolf di Rubino. Cardinal Breakspeare assigned me as the vicarius of this land until a just resolution could be found, but then Signore Luidolf and Senator de Vinti seemed to make peace, and Signore Luidolf seized the current vicarius, Bernardo, and imprisoned him. I have not even laid eyes on this land I am supposedly intended to administer, and neither the Cardinal nor the late Prefect seemed able to resolve the situation.
It may be that Signore Luidolf correctly claims to be the rightful master of that land; I am uncertain. It may yet take some time and negotiation before the matter of property can be resolved, and that will require men with more influence than me. Yet it is to my mind intolerable that a man whose only crime was to loyally serve the Church as vicarius remains imprisoned, held ignobly as a captive by Signore Luidolf.
You serve on the Lesser Council with Senator de Vinti and hold more influence in Rome than I. If you, senator, could find some way to secure the release of Bernardo from Signore Luidolf's dungeon, I would be deeply grateful.
Letter to Barzalomeus Borsarius, read aloud by a Jewish courier and then burned
May God bless you. My losses were very great when Signores Gionata and Raino refused to honor their father’s legitimate and legal debts. When I heard that you, Senator, were willing to – without interest – lend to me money sufficient to recover my business, I praised God for his mercy and kindness.
My friend, also a Hebrew, has recently entered the service of a very great and most high Prince of the Church, to manage his very substantial estates and investments. He has agreed to send to me the business of several other such men, subordinates and acquaintances of the aforementioned Prince – themselves clergymen – provided I can raise the necessary capital to be worth their time and provide for their financial needs. Naturally such men expect much, and their business cannot be bought with trifling sums, but of course the holy men of God are more favorable towards my people than some and have long honored their debts. If you, Signore, should provide me with [8 WP] in coin and movable goods, I will be able to take this excellent offer.
Naturally, your scriptures forbid you from lending money for interest; as a humble and religious man, deeply committed to the laws of God and respectful of the faith of the followers of Jesus Christ, I would never dare to suggest or even imagine that you, an upstanding Senator, would offer me any usurious loan.
I understand, however, your position of risk, and I propose that I give to you collateral in the amount of [2 WP]. I shall swear that if your loan – extended without interest, of course – is not fully repaid by the beginning of Lent in the coming year, this collateral will be forfeited to you, and I will still owe you the full sum which you have loaned to me, which I shall be obligated to repay within two years of the default.
Please let me know, Signore, if you find these terms amenable.
Letter to Vittorio Manzinni
Forgive me for not clarifying further. It is my intention to withdraw most of my armsmen from the city, as I will not be residing in Rome in the foreseeable future, and to have them remain there guarding a vacant estate would be a waste of resources. I do not intend to abandon the property, but hundreds of men are clearly inappropriate.
I hasten to add that I do not doubt the ability of the Senate to keep the peace or preserve the property of its citizens and residents. I wished only to reassure myself that, given the recent history of intended violence against my father, reasonable steps were being taken to ensure that my family’s property would not be assailed or despoiled even without a small army patrolling the courtyard as is the case presently. It may be that the Senate has already taken such steps, in which case I apologize; I am afraid the details of my father’s prefectship are largely unknown to me, occupied as I was in the administration of the family estates in Palestrina.
Signore Oddone Colonna, Lord of Palestrina and Castrum Colonna
The mood of the senate on the “Outrage of Velletri” – the attack upon two Roman merchants near the city last season – has only grown more impatient. Prominent senators warn that if action is not taken immediately, the reputation of the city will be compromised, and more attacks on Roman citizens could follow. Though the senate is divided on precisely what to do, the consuls risk disgrace if something is not done.
The name of “Barbarossa” is once again uttered with apprehension in the senate, upon word that the Emperor is once again on his way into Italy – and this time, with only a year’s notice. While coming to Rome is apparently not on his specific agenda this time around – he already has his crown – there has been talk of an Imperial campaign against the Sicilians, or Greeks, or both, and it seems likely that any Imperial advance into southern Italy would pass through Latium. All agree that preparations must be taken; some advocate a broadening of the “Tiberian league” to include other cities in Latium which may be threatened by the Emperor, while others advocate some act of contrition or reconciliation with the Emperor to try to get on his good side in advance of his arrival. While the relationship between the Emperor and the Pope remains strong, however, it seems unlikely that the Romans will have much success in trying to play one against the other.
The senate still speaks of what might be done to bring the traitor Pandolfo Cassi, who has taken refuge in Tivoli, to justice. Calls for war against Tivoli, however, have grown fewer, perhaps because with the Emperor coming, even the most hawkish senators do not wish to provoke the Pope and the Emperor against them by such an act.
The majority of senators are now calling for a Roman intervention in the war in Tuscany. Before, there was concern over the safety of the pilgrimage route, though it was somewhat theoretical; now, however, a village on the Via Francigena itself has been put to the sack; it was, in fact, a very well-known resting place for pilgrims along the road. If such a place could be so barbarously destroyed by the belligerents, what would stop them from conducting similar atrocities along the road in the coming spring?
It is still uncertain whether the mercenaries who destroyed Wallari were acting under orders from Florence or “going rogue,” but the act has swayed the opinion of some previously pro-Florentine senators to the pro-Sienese side. Many of the latter faction now call for direct military intervention, believing that with Roman aid, Guido Guerra, the Pisans, and the Sienese could force a peace upon the Florentines. Florence and its allies, however, have managed to hold out against more numerous enemies quite well so far, and none can be certain that Roman involvement would be decisive; perhaps it would only enmesh Rome in a futile and grinding war. Others point out that military intervention might endanger Rome’s alliance with Perugia, which has made hostile moves against Arezzo, Siena’s ally in the war.
Less hawkish senators still propose that sending patrols to guard the road would be enough, or that a diplomatic solution might still be possible, but it seems unlikely that Rome has the forces to robustly guard the entire route through Tuscany, and Rome may simply not have the diplomatic leverage in Tuscany for any of the warring parties to take a Roman peace initiative seriously.
Excerpt, “The Gospel of the Mark of Silver”
At that time, the Pope said to the Romans, "When the son of man comes to the seat of our majesty, first say, `Friend, why have you come?' But if he continues knocking without giving you anything, throw him out into the outer darkness."
And it came to pass that a certain poor cleric came to the Curia of the Lord Pope and cried out, saying, "Do you, at least, have mercy on me, you doorkeepers of the Pope, for the hand of poverty has touched me. I am indeed needy and poor. Therefore, I beg you to come to my aid." But when they heard him they were exceeding angry, and they said, "Friend, you and your poverty can go to hell. Get thou behind me, Satan, because you do not smell of money. Amen, amen, I say to you, you shall not enter into the joy of your lord until you pay your last farthing." So the poor man went away and sold his coat and his shirt and everything he owned and gave it to the cardinals and doorkeepers and chamberlains. But they said, "What is this among so many?" They threw him out, and he went off weeping bitterly and inconsolably.
Later on, a certain rich cleric came to the Curia. He was gross and fat and swollen, and had committed treacherous murder. He bribed first the doorkeeper, then the chamberlain, then the cardinals. But they put their heads together and demanded more. However, the Lord Pope heard that his cardinals and ministers had been lavishly bribed by the cleric, and he was sick even to death. So the rich man sent him medicine in the form of gold and silver, and straightway he was healed. The Lord Pope summoned his cardinals and ministers and said to them, "Brethren, be vigilant lest anyone deceive you with empty words. My example I give unto you, that you might grab just as I grab."
Letter to Senator Calafatus
I am pleased to hear that my soldiers were of use to you in your campaign, and I congratulate you on the worthy victory against the Norman.
When last we spoke, I humbly asked for your support in swaying the Roman senate to provide me with the necessary funds to rebuild my fortresses. While the senators rejected my first proposal, with your presence in Rome and the support of Consul Basile, I feel the time may be right to ask their favor again. I believe that with the Emperor soon to arrive in Italy, it is even more crucial that my castles, part of Rome’s defenses since the time of our forefathers, be restored to a defensible condition for the good of the Commune and the safety of its citizens.
I hope I can count on you, Senator, in this important matter.
Signore Niccolo Capocci
Letter to Consul Basile
I was hesitant in the summer to renew my request for the senate’s aid in rebuilding my castles, but I feel that it is now the time to secure the necessary funds. In the first place, Senator Calafatus has returned, and may now make his support known in the senate; in the second, with the Emperor soon to arrive in Italy once again, the restoration of fortifications on the critical northern approach to the city is more important than ever. Perhaps the Faliscans are too cowardly to march upon Rome, but the Emperor surely is not.
With your leadership, I am certain that we may now prevail, and I await only your agreement in this matter. I am prepared to ride to Rome and make the oaths I have promised upon your word.
Signore Niccolo Capocci
Letter to Senator de Vinti
You wrote to me not long ago that you agreed with my proposition to the Senate. Though my attempt to gain Rome’s aid in the reconstruction of my fortresses failed before, I believe the time is ripe to try again; in the first place, Senator Calafatus, who promised me his support, has returned, and in the second, the Emperor’s announced return to Italy merely emphasizes the importance of restoring these vital defensive works on Rome’s perimeter, that the city might not be defenseless save for its very walls if the Germans return to Latium.
I hope I can count on you, Senator, in this important matter.
Signore Niccolo Capocci
Letter to the Senate
I, Oddone, son of Pietro, Lord of Palestrina, Lord of Colonna, hereby claim the properties of my late father within Rome, most particularly his estate within the city. At present, I have no plans to reside there myself, but I trust the Senate will preserve our family property from any offense against it even in my personal absence.
Signore Oddone Colonna
Letter to Consul Basile
Congratulations are in order; I have heard you were recently promoted. I must inform you that His Holiness the Pope has, in his generosity and wisdom, granted me the territories of the knave who dared attack your son and his bride. While I am aware that we have not always seen eye to eye before, I desire no conflict with your house or that of your daughter-in-law. I hope you will assist me in convincing Signore Caetani to allow me to make good my rightful possession of the lands in question.
I should add that I have a very promising lead on the man who caused all these unfortunate problems in the first place. God willing, he will be delivered to the justice he has so far evaded.
Anno Domini MCLVII Autumn has passed into winter… Winter seldom brings snow to Rome, but the cold winter winds are accompanied by sudden storms. Floods are still a danger, and only the most reckless mariners try their luck at sea this time of year. In the countryside, vines are pruned and firewood is gathered, while craftsmen huddle indoors making and maintaining tools and equipment for the coming year. The people fast through Advent before feasting at Christmas, upon a pig slaughtered in late autumn if they can afford it, and on wild game if not. Epiphany is celebrated in January, and the date of Easter is announced to the people.
Our Consuls: Roberto Basile and Vittorio Manzinni Our Pope: Adrian IV Our Prefect: None Our Rage: Seething 
This Season’s Top 5 Popular Issues
1. "We won’t stand for another tyrannical Prefect!" 2. "We must preserve our independence from the corrupt Curia!" 3. "It is time to restore justice in Rome." 4. "The treacherous Tusculani must be punished!" 5. "The Emperor is coming…"
News from Abroad
The Polish invasion launched by the Emperor, Friedrich “Barbarossa” von Hohenstaufen, did not last long at all. High Duke Boleslaw IV of Poland has surrendered to the Emperor without a fight. Despite this victory, however, the Emperor has apparently decided not to replace him with his deposed half-brother Wladyslaw II as was widely expected; instead, he merely made Boleslaw swear an oath of vassalage before him in a humiliating ceremony, in which the High Duke had to beg for the Emperor’s forgiveness, cede lands to Imperial control, and promise a tremendous sum of tribute. Boleslaw was even compelled to give his brother Casimir to the Emperor as a hostage to ensure his good behavior.
The Emperor quickly returned from Poland to Würzburg, where an Imperial Diet was summoned. Here, the Emperor made an announcement of great import to the Italians – Barbarossa, Roman Emperor, destroyer of cities, is coming over the Alps once more! Citing the threat of the “foreign” Greeks in Sicily and the continued intransigence of Milan – which has of late lapsed back into its opprobrious habit of usurping the lands and liberties of its feudal, ecclesiastical, and communal neighbors – the Emperor has called his vassals and the Princes of the Empire to make ready for a new Italian expedition to commence in the coming year.
A church council was convened at Reims in France to discuss matters of heresy in the realms of France and Occitania. Under the leadership of Samson de Mauvoisin, Archbishop of Reims, the council condemned the “Populicani,” also called “Publicani,” “Cathari,” or “Piphili,” vile heretics who hold blasphemous Manichean beliefs, among them the rejection of the sacrament of marriage and the promotion of sinful and licentious behavior. The council has advocated a hard line on the punishment of heretics, recommending imprisonment, exile, and branding of the face for “the most wicked sect of the Manichees who hide among the poor, and under the veil of religion labor to undermine the faith of the simple, spread by wicked weavers who move from place to place, often changing their names and accompanied by women sunk in sin.” The populicani were condemned by a previous council held by Pope Eugene III in 1148, who sent a legate to end the work of the heretics in southern France, but apparently his efforts there were insufficient to eliminate them entirely.
News of Italy
The war in Tuscany has taken another strange turn. Apparently, mercenaries loyal to Florence raided the environs of San Miniato in September, sacking and looting the village of Wallari, a dependency of San Miniato located on the Via Francigena. The village was apparently ruined in its entirety, and even the well-known chapel of Saint Genesius of Rome was looted and torched (though, according to some rumors, the altar cloth miraculously failed to burn). The Florentines claim the mercenaries were acting on their own, but this has not reassured the people of San Miniato, who seem to think that this was a purposeful act of intimidation. The Commune of Siena has offered to fund the construction of new walls around San Miniato for its protection, and it may be that the city, before now neutral in the conflict, will be drawn into the war on the side of Count Guido Guerra and the Sienese.
San Miniato is not the only potential new entry into the conflict. Perugia has long attempted to dominate the communities around Lake Trasimene; this summer, the people of the city of Cortona – less than ten miles northwest of the lake and under the authority of the diocese of Arezzo – invited the Perugini to help them resist Aretini domination. Arezzo is currently a belligerent in the Tuscan war on the side of Siena and Count Guido Guerra. The Perugians have marched an army to shore up Cortona’s defenses and have assisted them in taking a nearby castle belonging to a baron loyal to Arezzo. The Aretini are sure to see this as a hostile act, but it remains unclear whether it will lead to an immediate entry of Perugia into the greater war.
In the south, the Sicilian army under King William de Hauteville has retired to Aversa, harassed all the way by the barbarian horsemen of his opponent, protostratorAlexios Axouch. The Greek army marched southwards after the fall of San Germano, retaking Capua and nearing Aversa. Though an actual siege seems futile, given that the Normans retain free reign over the sea to the west by which Aversa may be supplied, it may be surmised that the royal army is under very careful watch to prevent a breakout. In Apulia, the Greek forces under sebastosKosmas Bariotes have regained the initiative and retaken Brindisi, which had been taken by the Normans after their signal victory outside the city last year. There are rumors that, with the German Emperor announcing his return to Italy, both sides may be looking towards a negotiated end to the fighting.
News of Latium
Pope Adrian IV has confirmed a grant of communal rights to the city of Orvieto, guaranteeing them civic and commercial liberties from local barons. One noble family of Orvieto, the Monaldesci, has been compensated with a sizable fief; the castle of Bolsena and its associated village, previously direct possessions of the patrimonium, have been granted to Signore Francisco Monaldesci in exchange for vows of fealty to the Pope.
The Pope has also made a grant of land which, while smaller, is of much more significance to the Romans – the lands of Gisulf de Ausonia, the baron who attacked the Roman Ricardo Basile and his bride, Caetana, have been formally given to Aimeric de Savelli, another local baron with familial ties to the Tusculani counts. While Aimeric apparently already controls Gisulf’s torre near Albano, Gisulf’s other lands are largely still in the hands of Crescenzio Caetani, Caetana’s father, who seized them after the Roman campaign that drove Gisulf from the country. Now, this occupation is apparently illegal, though it remains to be seen whether Signore Caetani will willingly relinquish the lands to Signore de Savelli.
The city of Spoleto, destroyed by the Emperor during his campaign in Italy in 1155, has been officially reconstituted by its communal government. Although some of its population has already returned, it will likely be some time before the city is restored to anything like its former self – the Germans tore even the cathedral to the ground.
News of Rome
Pietro Colonna, praefectus urbi, is dead. He seemed to be on the way to recovery late last season, but his condition worsened again, and regimen of bleeding prescribed by his physicians did not seem to help. On September 12th, he slipped into unconsciousness and did not regain it. He is succeeded in all his noble titles by his only son, Oddone Colonna, who was in Palestrina at the time but arrived shortly thereafter to take possession of his father’s body, which was buried at the family castle of Colonna in the Alban hills. The office of prefect, of course, is not hereditary, and Rome is once again without a prefect until the Pope should decide to appoint another.
“Blessed are the rich, for they shall be filled; blessed are they that have, for they shall not go away empty; blessed are the wealthy, for theirs is the Court of Rome...” A most scurrilous document has made its way to Rome! Some malcontent – a cleric, most likely, for it is written in Latin – has written a “parody” of the Gospel of Mark that ridicules the Church and the Curia, entitled The Gospel of the Mark of Silver. This short piece of prose accuses the Curia of worldliness, venality, and greed. The work is not Roman in origin, but it clearly appeals to Arnold’s radicals, and pro-Arnoldist clerics and preachers have been busily reading it aloud to the masses to much laughter. A number of episodes of anticlerical violence – scuffles in the street, mobs throwing dung and vegetables at priests, and so on – have been associated with public meetings in which the satire was read.
Perhaps bolstered in part by the above literature – or, perhaps not – the Arnoldist movement seems to be gaining strength in Rome. Arnold of Brescia himself, active in the streets once more, led a procession across the river to Trastevere on the feast day of Saint Maurus. The Pierlonist armsmen, who usually keep order in the district, were nowhere to be found; perhaps they thought it foolhardy, as by the time the crowd reached the bridge, they were allegedly almost three thousand strong. The crowd was not a riotous mob, but a religious procession, with throngs of wailing women and lower-order priests within its ranks. The procession ended at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, the headquarters of Cardinal Boso Breakspeare, the Papal Chamberlain; though the Cardinal himself was not in the city at the time, his staff allegedly fled in fear for their lives. The people, however, did not enter the basilica, but gathered around the steps to hear the sermon of Arnold, who reiterated again the impossibility of salvation in the care of worldly priests, and called on the people to resist any attempt by the Pope to enthrone himself once more in Rome. He denounced traitors against the Senate and called for the unity of Romans against the rapacious Curia; God, he said, had chosen to take the Prefect, a clear sign that He desired the Romans, most blessed of peoples, to be free of the corruption of the Curia and its cronies.
The preacher Wetzel, suspected by some to have had involvement with the conspirators at the Theater of Marcellus earlier this year, has been laying rather low; he has made some public appearances but those close to him say that he has been devoting himself to “fasting and prayer,” seeking guidance from the Lord in this time of tribulation. The “confessionalist” movement, groups inspired by Arnold’s words to meet and confess their sins to one another instead of priests, has been growing more public, with larger and larger groups meeting in public squares and outside local churches to confess their sins to all. This movement seems to have no clear leader, but a number of the larger public meetings have been led by a nun named Sibilia, apparently a native of Perugia, who some say was inspired to do so by a vision of Mary, Mother of God.
Construction has begun in earnest on a new school, located on the Pincian Hill on the northern edge of the city. Key senators have said that the school is intended for the instruction of law, in order to preserve order and justice in the city.
It is reported that an enormous stone, covered in strange writing, has been pulled up from the ground in the vicinity of the Circus Maximus by a small army of workmen and oxen, apparently under the direction of Hugo de Vinti. Groups of Romans from around the area have been traveling to the field to gawk at the curious monolith.
After years of work, the Porta Asinaria, more commonly known as the “Lateran Gate,” has been repaired. The Porta Asinaria, one of the major Roman gates, sits nearest the Lateran and accommodates one of the main roads to Tusculum. The gate has been of great historical importance – the great Greek general Belisarius entered Rome in triumph through this gate, as did Totila, King of the Goths, shortly thereafter, who marched through this gate a few years later to sack the city. Most recently, the Norman Duke Robert Giuscard entered the city through this gate in 1084 to plunder the city; the Normans forced the gate, and the building was gutted by fire. Only now, more than 70 years later, has it been restored to functionality. The Senate applauds the leadership of Hugo de Vinti, who led this initiative and funded much of it himself; considering the current chilly relationship between Rome and Tusculum, his decision to secure the gate now seems prophetic.
Senators that requested information or launched endeavors have the results of their efforts listed here. This information is private, but you may certainly choose to share it with the Senate.
Pisa Your contacts in Pisa were obviously not pleased, but expressed their hope that in the future, cooler heads would prevail and a mutually beneficial arrangement might be a possibility.
Nettuno Your agent has visited Nettuno and returned to you with a general report of the environs.
He made the journey to Albano without incident, spending the night there before backtracking slightly and taking the Via Antiana, the road to Nettuno. He reports that the road is in poor condition – better than the coastal roads, which are virtually destroyed, but neglected and overgrown, fractured in countless places by erosion, tree roots, land slippage, and so on. For around half the road’s length, it passes through a forest of tall pine and cork trees; the worst of the road is here, and at times the road’s remnants are only useful to indicate the right direction, for without some marker it would be easy to become utterly lost. Apparently the woods are known locally as a lawless place – peasants come to the edges to gather firewood and forage their pigs, but the deeper forest is said to be favored by outlaws and deserters who don’t want to be found. Your agent was not attacked, but he reported sometimes seeing campfires dimly through the trees, and never felt terribly safe on that road (which passes directly through the heart of the woods).
The territory of “greater Nettuno” is bordered in the north by the woods, on the south and west by the sea, and on the east by the Pontine Marshes and their associated woodlands. The farming population is spread out throughout the countryside, but is concentrated somewhat in the valley of the Loricina River (seen on the Latium map), really more of a slow stream. The Via Antiana is the only established road in or out of the region; there was once another Roman road traveling to Ardea along the coast, but only traces remain of it, and the coast is now heavily forested.
Nettuno itself sits at the mouth of the Loricina. It is not properly a “town;” the permanent population is not much larger than a hundred, mostly fishermen. It is, however, the center of local life – the peasants attend church here, trade produce at the local market (which is very occasionally visited by peddlers from the Alban hills or other cities, selling woolens, oil, and tools), and bring their grain to the grist mill – there are other water mills along the Loricina owned by local barons, but only one in Nettuno itself, which is owned by the local church.
The people of Nettuno told your man very interesting stories of their land. Like Gregoriopolis, the history of Nettuno begins in the turbulent 9th century, when Saracen pirates ruled the waves and left the shores of Italy desolate. The locals say that Nettuno was actually founded by those Saracens, who established the first fortress there and ruled the coastline for half a century. They used the fortress as a base to raid throughout Latium, and were so well entrenched there that they even brought their families from Africa. Around 1015, however, Pope Benedict VII – a member of the Tusculani family – commanded for the Saracens to be driven from their fortress. The Tusculani prevailed, and according to local legend, the Mohammedans fled from Italy so quickly that they had to leave their families behind; when the Christians returned to Nettuno, they baptized the women and children and took them as their own families
Though he cannot vouch for the truth of this, your agent does report that the locals seem to have more swarthy complexions than Roman peasants, and the women wear very striking and un-Lombared clothes – loose, embroidered and brightly colored dresses (often crimson), with sashes around their waists and covering their hair.
Nettuno itself is walled; the Saracen fortifications were rebuilt by the Abbey of Grottaferrata, which owned Nettuno in the 11th century and still owns some lands in the area. The wall is only about 25 feet tall, not terribly imposing by Roman standards, but it was judged sufficient to keep out pirates and bandits. The fortifications have not seen much use; there have been no pirate attacks in the area for 50 years at least. There are no towers, but there is a gatehouse, which apparently has a small armory.
The only substantive threat in the area is that posed by the local cattani (poor and rustic knights). These barons own much of the land upriver from Nettuno, making their income primarily from charging fees to use their watermills. It is said that a number of them also extort from travelers and rustle livestock from their neighbors. The locals are rather ambivalent about them, for while they can be troublesome for the peasants, they are also natives – Lombard families that have been here for generations – and their habit of chasing out the Church’s tax collectors and assessors over the years is not unpopular. Some of them seem to owe technical allegiance to either the Frangipani or the Tusculani, but comital power seems nonexistent here.
The locals have no real opinions about Rome, and think no differently of the Church than most peasants – they do not interact with any church officials above the level of the local priest. They have a generally positive opinion of the Frangipani, the only powerful lords they have any knowledge of; Lord Oddone’s men visit the local markets on occasion, and your agent was told that his father built Nettuno’s campanile (bell-tower). Apparently the families of some of the soldiers garrisoned at Torre Astura live in region. They also speak well of the Tusculani, who acquired the town from Grottaferrata and owned it until it was sold to the Church in recent years; Benedict VII, of course, who liberated the region from the infidels, was also a Tusculani.
The locals engage in fishing, and as such there is a minor local boat-building industry here, though they are certainly not ocean-going ships. Notably, a few flat-bottomed barges run regularly up and down the Loricina; they seem to be owned by local barons or groups of peasants who rent space out to other peasants in order to move goods to market in Nettuno. Nettuno itself, however, has no real port.
The port of the ancients is at Antium, lifeless and silent since it was destroyed by the fury of the Vandals. Two moles of very considerable size, made of large tufa blocks and cement in the fashion of the ancients, jut out from the cape in a south-easterly direction. They are a good thirty feet thick, and your agent thinks the larger of the two might be half a mile long! They have obviously degraded in the long years since they were made, and at high tide the waves can break over them, but they still provide some shelter – your agent saw local fishermen using the harbor. The ruins are quite considerable near the cape itself; brickwork walls and arches overlook the narrow beach, seriously eroded by the wind and waves but still impressive.
These are pictures of what’s left of the larger of the two Moles of Antium, projecting into the water (the foundations of the rest of the mole are still around, but they’re underwater). This is after nearly two millennia of erosion; in 1157 they were “merely” 1,100 years old. The brickwork ruins in the foreground of the first picture are part of the Villa Nerone, Emperor Nero’s great seaside palace, which covers most of the headland.
Your agent doesn’t really know enough about this kind of matter to say how much it would cost to set up a dock, “fully functional” or otherwise. He supposes that an architect, perhaps from a more notable maritime city, might be able to give an estimate of time and expenses. (Civitavecchia’s port was most recently improved by the Pisans; if there is anyone who knows about that, they would presumably be in Pisa, not Civitavecchia.) There is also the matter of proximity – the moles of Antium would make a good foundation for a port, but the port of Antium is nearly two miles west of Nettuno; new facilities would have to be built rather than just expanding Nettuno (though that itself would probably not be cheap).
You spent 6 WP this turn.
While your recovery seems to be going well enough, you are still not in a fit state to ride, let alone make any significant journeys or engage in combat. Some rest is still in order this season.
Trebuchet The protostrator was as good as his word and his scribes provided you with plans for the stone-throwing device used by the Greeks. Having it copied further was not difficult.
Although you did not previously know how to build such engines, you do have some experience with the logistics of them – certainly catapults were constructed and used by the armies you campaigned with in the Holy Land. Your experiences there were that siege engines were always constructed on-site; certainly Axouch’s engines are too large to move anywhere once built. In the dry plains of the Holy Land, timber was not always easy to come by, and in fact you can recall instances where the Crusaders took disassembled their own ships to use the timber for building catapults.
In other words, the cost is highly variable. Building siege engines outside somewhere like Tivoli, surrounded by wooded hills, would be essentially free; the labor of the army’s levies would be sufficient to turn the local resources into engines. Anyone besieging Rome, largely deforested since ancient times, would probably have to pay something to haul lumber for miles or bring ships into the Tiber. “Stockpiling” wood is essentially pointless; you might as well just cut it down when it’s needed, from sources closer to wherever it is you might be conducting the siege.
The Roads As your campaign has now completed, the horsemen sworn to Signore Capocci have returned to his lands and are no longer in your service. You resolved to conduct your investigations with men of your own masnada, provided with horses for this particular task.
There does not actually seem to be much bandit activity on the Via Appia, where the merchants were robbed last season. While it could simply be that no bandits were foolish enough to try and ambush a mounted patrol (who are obviously not merchants), it seems that the Via Appia is never very well traveled, even less so now that a war still smolders to the south. Nobody in the area has reported banditry to be much of a problem, making you wonder why it is the Romans were attacked at all, well within firmly held Tusculani territory.
The Via Antiana, the road that branches south towards Nettuno, is another story. The road itself is not in good shape, though it is not as decrepit as the coastal roads. It also travels for around half its length through a deep forest of tall pine and cork trees, which is apparently locally known for being a place where outlaws, deserters, and people who simply don’t want to be found lurk. Your patrol was not attacked here either, though they several times observed other horsemen briefly on the road (only to duck off it again when your men drew close) or saw lights through the trees at night. The local barons don’t seem to care much, and if rumors can be believed, the local lords themselves engage in questionable behavior from time to time.
Because this road is not frequently traveled by merchants, actual incidents of robbery are hard to come by. If Rome actually began utilizing this route for trade and communication with Nettuno, however, the lawlessness of the area could become a problem.
You spent 3 WP and saved 4 WP this turn.
Velletri The attack apparently happened at a place where the road passes through some olive groves owned by the Benedictine monastery of Vallechiara, which is about two miles southwest of the road. The grove evidently provided cover to the assailants, and it seems nobody was tending the trees there at that particular time. The monks, when questioned, said they knew nothing of the attack; the road is not visible from the monastery, and the community is small compared to the lands they own, which are mostly tended by lay tenants. They summoned some of the workers who were assigned to that particular orchard, but nobody claimed to have seen anything or been by the road at that particular time.
Velletri itself, the nearest city, is a direct holding of the Tusculani; it has a certain amount of autonomy, being governed by a council of “consuls,” but its liberties are afforded by Tusculum, not granted by Papal or Imperial charter. Velletri has never been at odds with Rome, though as a holding of the Tusculani they have provided forces and funds in past decades when the Romans and the Tusculani were at odds.
The closest baronial holding is that of Signore Giulio Annibaldi, of a fairly minor house associated with the Tusculani (Giulio’s mother was the niece of Tolomeo I of Tusculum, grandfather of the current counts, making Giulio and Gionata/Raino second cousins). Little is known about him and he was unavailable for questioning, but there is no reason to suspect his involvement other than the fact that his lands happen to be closest to the road (aside from those of the monastery).
There simply doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest this was not merely a random robbery along the road. The Via Appia is not well-traveled even in the best of times, and the war to the south has stifled what little traffic usually exists there, so it is not surprising that there would be no other travelers witnessing the act; but that also raises the question of why anyone would choose that particular place to ambush travelers, given that merchants would be few and far between and that orchard workers could have come by at any time. Your agents guess that whoever did this either was a) incredibly stupid and incredibly lucky; b) able to bribe or coerce the workers into silence, or c) knew, somehow, which grove the workers were going to be in that day and planned the attack accordingly.
Your men returned to the orchards afterwards to try to interview the workers without the monks around. They did not volunteer any more information, and insisted they knew nothing. There was, however, a curious absence – one of the oblates, a recent arrival to the monastery named Michele, went missing shortly after your agents arrived at the monastery. Nobody knew him well and nobody had any idea where he had gone, though it’s not exactly rare for new oblates to think better of their vows and run off. All his co-workers knew was that he had come recently from Ninfa.
Your agents are not sure if this is a lead or a red herring, though – perhaps more than coincidentally – Ninfa is also where the Roman merchants were originally headed. By now, however, this man could be anywhere; all they have is a name and a very vague description, and a man can change his name quite easily.
Construction You have begun work on your estate, intending to improve both its security and opulence. Your builders estimate the upgrade will be complete in 5 seasons, assuming it is fully funded before then.
You spent 8 WP this season.
Construction Congratulations, Senator, on the completion of the Porta Asinaria project. Another time, your contribution might have been overlooked, but the timing was excellent – with many senators clamoring for action against Tusculum, those who once scoffed at the repairs as a waste of money are now quite silent, and others laud the very timely repairs as the wisdom of a forward-thinking statesman.
The university project has also begun in earnest.
Circus Maximus The ground here is finally drying out, and pools of stagnant water no longer cover the ancient track. It finally looks like the course might be suitable for something besides grazing goats and growing mosquitoes.
You decided to spend some money on men and oxen to pull up the strange stone stuck in the mud. It seems obvious now that what you have discovered is what the ancients called an obelisk. There is only one obelisk in Rome, located near the Vatican, which is about 25 meters tall and has a gilt ball at the top believed to hold the ashes of Julius Caesar. What you have appears very similar in its dimensions, or at least partially – because you only have part of it. The uncovered stone is about 14 meters long, and it appears to be the bottom portion of an obelisk about the same size as Caesar’s. While the obelisk at the Lateran is smooth, however, this one is covered in strange and barbaric symbols, the meaning of which is unknown to you (or anyone else who has seen them).
Moving the stone was an extremely difficult task – the workers estimate it weighs well over a hundred tons – and even after all that it’s still only mostly out of the hole. Now, it lies in the middle of the field, resting at a slight angle; it will certainly have to be moved elsewhere, for it is quite in the way at present. Your workers have discussed what it would take to raise the piece upright, but to be honest, they really have no idea – nothing like it has ever been attempted in their lifetimes. It’s also quite possible that, elsewhere beneath the ground, the other half of this great stone lies waiting to be uncovered.
Labarum With Chamberlain – now also Cardinal – Breakspeare no longer in the city, there is not much pressure on Signore Luidolf to move from his position; Cencio Pierleone, the Cardinal’s secretary and theoretically the interim vicarius of the land, accompanied Breakspeare to Anagni. The old vicarius, Bernardo, is presumably still captive, and only the priests of Santa Maria in Via Lata, the actual owners of the land, are still vocally raising their objections.
These priests might soon have a new advocate in their favor – you have learned that the see of Santa Maria in Via Lata, vacant since the death of Gerard de Namur, has finally been filled. The holder of the office is Cardinal-Deacon Guglielmo Matengo, a native of Pavia and member of the Cistercian order. He was apparently elevated earlier this year, but had been serving as a legate in France, and has only now arrived in Latium. Whether he will take an interest in the plight of the priests of his see is unknown, but your men report that the leaders of Santa Maria in Via Lata have just sent a delegation to Anagni, perhaps to plead their case.
You spent 3 WP and saved 1 WP this season.
Literacy Rome is a more literate city than most, but literacy is largely concentrated within the clerical class. Among laymen, the most literate group is that of the merchants, particularly the upper-class merchants of the popolo grasso – while some merchants still get by knowing only numbers, the ability to read and write one’s own contracts is increasingly seen as a desirable skill among those who have business with foreign suppliers or are involved in the borrowing or loaning of money. Equites, for their part, sometimes send their sons to be educated by monks, but tend to see the job of a clerk or lawyer as beneath their dignity, particularly the noble equites. Citizen-merchants, being somewhat less lofty in their aspirations, seem like a much more promising demographic.
Being literate, however, is not the same as being literate in classical Latin, which the Pandects and Codex of Justinian are written in, or classical Greek, which other legal texts are sometimes penned in; Rogerius typically demands knowledge of both from his students. Some merchants know some stock Latin formulas and phrases still in use today, but they write chiefly in the vernacular. It seems likely that, at the very least, candidates for this service would have to be instructed in Latin before they would be suitable for the most basic duties of court.
Fortunately, Rome already possesses a considerable infrastructure for the instruction of Latin in the form of the Church. Monks in particular often teach Latin to the sons of noblemen and those pursuing a career as a cleric; an arrangement might be reached with some monastery or cathedral school to handle Rome’s legal candidates. As for cost, 1 WP annually could comfortably provide for a few dozen students and their educations.
Treasury A proper accounting will not actually raise more revenue, but it might prevent any future acts of embezzling or theft that could occur if senators [player-controlled or otherwise] proved to be less than honest.
That said, however, it probably also wouldn’t cost one whole WP to do this, assuming all you’re doing is assigning someone to count up what’s in the treasury and write it down. The principles of double-entry bookkeeping, which is the basis of “modern” accounting, don’t exist in the 12th century, so this duty would be fairly straightforward. If you actually hired people to do this, it might cost money on a regular basis, but it may also be possible to create an office of treasurer (in 12th century terms, a camerarius) given to an existing senator, avoiding the issue of hiring extra bureaucrats to do this.
How you want to proceed in this matter is up to you, but there are ways of reforming the system that don’t require any WP spent; it’s more a question of organization and orders.
Minting Rome was actually the location of the Papal Curia’s chief mint, overseen by the Papal Prefect, but when the Prefect was forced out by the Romans in the revolution of 1144 the mint was looted and ruined. When he led the Commune, Patrician Pierleone spoke of his intent to re-open the mint and coin new Senatorial deniers, but the constant fighting against the Curia and Tivoli made the regular import of silver into Rome impossible.
Minting is an incredibly profitable business; profit is derived from two concepts known as seignorage and brassage. Seignorage is the difference between the “face value” of the coin and the actual value of the metal. “Silver coins,” even those not purposefully debased, are seldom ever pure silver, but are usually traded as such, allowing the ruler to pocket the difference. This is a major source of profit for some kings, but one must be careful, for if the currency is debased too much people will lose confidence in it. Brassage is the fee given to the mint itself; typically, the operator of a mint takes a cut of all the silver that goes to the mint, making most of it into coins but keeping that fraction as his payment.
Nobody really “owns” a mint save a government or ruler; typically minting privileges are extended to a mint-master, who is usually a goldsmith – they, after all, have the expertise to cast sheets of precious metal, make dies and stamps, and so on. Because of brassage, this is usually a very lucrative contract for a goldsmith. Mints are generally not too expensive to set up assuming one already has access to a goldsmith’s tools and expertise.
Producing Roman coin could be a significant boon for Rome, as well as to whoever secures the rights to the mint (and thus the brassage); not only would the treasury potentially gain from even minor amounts of seignorage, but having Roman arms upon circulating coins would demonstrate the power, wealth, and permanency of the Senate both to its own people and to foreigners.
[I am deliberately not giving you the cost of a mint here, because it’s something I plan on including in the new enterprise system, but you will be provided with a cost, hopefully before next turn.]
Weavers The Weavers’ guild, like similar guilds in other cities, is essentially a protection organization – in exchange for a regular fee from its members, the guild cooperates to suppress or drive out those who undercut their prices or threaten their share of the market. Some of their work is enforcing standards on themselves – quality, price, and so on – but some of their work is more “active;” they actually send gangs of thugs with torches and clubs to chase away competitors who don’t cooperate. For the Senate to take over their functions would put the government in the somewhat uncomfortable position of suppressing its own citizens in order to protect the commercial interests of other citizens.
Fortunately for the weavers, those who oppose them in the industry are weak and isolated. Non-guild weavers are largely poor or foreign-born artisans who are forced by the guild to restrict themselves to low-quality, undyed cloth, and to operate on the fringes of the city rather than in its commercial center. Such people do not form a very strong opposition.
There are others outside the industry, however, that are also affected by the guild. Guild weavers are involved with certain moneylenders and merchants that deal largely with them; other merchants without guild affiliation resent the guild, because they feel that the guild monopoly results in higher prices (and thus lower profits for the merchants buying their cloth). The Jewish community may not be terribly fond of the guild either; the Jews largely monopolize the dying of cloth in Rome, a monopoly which the guild is constantly trying to break to lower dye prices. So far, however, the Jewish dyers have been able to keep their trade secrets, and while there are certainly non-Jewish dyers, all the best work and the brightest colors can be found in the Jewish quarter in Trastevere. Because of their precarious social position, however, the Jewish community doesn’t seem to be very interested in “feuding” with anyone, and still does business with guild weavers.
Foreign powers may also have some interests in the industry. Textile production is the most profitable industry in Italy; Genoa, Lucca, Pisa, Florence, and Milan are all heavily invested in the trade, and woolens (alongside silver) make up the vast majority of Christian exports to the trade ports of the East. Rome’s place in that trade is very minor – virtually no Roman wool is exported beyond Latium – but if the Senate took an active role in encouraging the industry and opening new markets to Roman woolens, other powerful Italian cities including the maritime republics might start to see Rome as a rival.
Senator Sismondii seems to have made himself an opponent of the guild lately. Apparently, according to your men, there was some deal the senator was attempting to broker between himself, the guild, and the Pisans – perhaps Pisan weavers specifically, though they’re not sure who he was negotiating with there – but it seems to have fallen through, and Sismondii continues to use non-guild weavers in his own enterprises. It remains to be seen whether the guild will attempt to enforce their monopoly on him.
Update - Salerno
Your agent has at last returned from Salerno; the war significantly delayed him, but Salerno itself has not been attacked or besieged, and life there is quite normal. The Schola Medica Salernitana remains open, and he met such varied peoples as Lombards, Greeks, Jews, and even Saracens writing and studying there.
The most famous of the teachers there currently are the two brothers Johannes and Matthaeus Platearius, both Lombards; they are the sons of the famous Trotula, that peerless female physician, who wrote extensively on diseases (particularly those of women), fertility, and cosmetics. Matthaeus is said to be completing work on “The Book of Simple Medicines,” a compendium of medicinal plants and their properties based on the work of Abulcasis and Dioscorides.
Of course, such famous men as these were not interested in leaving their school – not for Rome, anyway. Your agent did notice, however, that some were initially interested when they thought that “Rome” meant that the Pope was looking for physicians; Papal physician is naturally a very sought after post for a skilled doctor. While none of the school’s experienced physicians seem interested in [1 WP] for moving to such a squalid place as Gregoriopolis, some did say that they would do the work if you could arrange a job for them at the Papal Curia.
Update – Blacksmiths
The men you have sent to Tre Fontane to apprentice with the monks as oblates have completed their service. All served out their year, save for one man who attempted to bring an unchaste woman into the monastery and was expelled; it seems the monastic life was a bit too stringent for him.
One year of apprenticeship does not make a man a master, of course, but they have hopefully learned new techniques and refined their skills; certainly they seem to believe their time there was well-spent, though their appreciation of your silver may certainly be part of that. They have returned to their workshops in the city, though they may be receptive to future cooperation with you, particularly if you can provide the additional pay you held out last year as a prospect.
An item of particular note that they mentioned to you is a fascinating machine possessed by the monks which the brothers call a martinet (the monks are mostly Frenchmen). The device – which the smiths simply call the maglio (mallet, sledge) – is a large, extremely heavy hammer raised and released by the power of water to work wrought iron. Traditionally, a smith and his apprentice spend long hours pounding a piece of iron on the anvil, over and over, pausing only to reheat it in the furnace. The martinet/maglio is fully automated – it is connected by some kind of ingenious assembly to a waterwheel, which effortlessly pounds the iron with far more force than any blacksmith. Though the device is rather crude and not as precise and delicate as a blacksmith’s own hand, it seems like it has the potential to make the production of wrought iron significantly faster and less labor-intensive.
You spent 1 WP and saved 3 WP this season.
It is good that you have recovered from your illness, senator! There are a few items for your perusal.
Firstly, your information network has lifted an interesting piece of news. Senator Sismondii was, as all know, recently in Pisa; it seems that some kind of deal he was attempting to work out between himself, the Pisans, and the schola of Roman weavers has fallen through. Considering that the senator is increasingly engaged in the wool trade and yet apparently in breach of schola regulations on this trade, it may be that the breakdown of these negotiations – whatever the proposed deal was – could lead to friction or even open strife between the senator and the schola. It is well known that the weavers have used rather harsh methods – including armed thugs and, allegedly, arson – to deal with their enemies in the past.
Another informant, a Pierleonist armsman, has relayed news that Cencio Pierleone, Patrician Giordano Pierleone’s nephew, has been making very regular trips to the Castle St. Angelo, the Patrician’s headquarters. Cencio, whose father died years ago, had been pursuing a career in the church, which would make him ineligible to inherit anything from the Patrician (who has no sons of his own), and it was assumed by many that the fortune would go to Ruggero, Giordano’s younger brother. Cencio, however, has not yet been ordained, and could leave the Church if he desired. There has apparently never been much contact between Cencio and the Patrician, as Cencio’s family was estranged from Giordano when Giordano sided with the Commune of Rome, but if these visits indicate some kind of reconciliation, it could have widespread ramifications. A power struggle between Cencio and Ruggero for leadership of the family, perhaps the wealthiest in Latium (rivaled only by the Colonna), would be of tremendous importance to the Commune. Cencio is currently a secretary for Boso Breakspeare, the newly-made cardinal and current Papal Chamberlain (as well as the nephew of the Pope), and his church connections may mean that he is more pro-Papal than his uncle – though that is just conjecture, as Cencio is not well-known in Rome. Before the Chamberlain arrived in Rome a few years ago, Cencio Pierleone had never lived in the city.
Alessandro, the Roman Jew and moneylender who was bankrupted by the Tusculani, is still potentially interested in a business relationship if you are willing to supply the capital. The exact terms of this arrangement have yet to be discussed.
If you ask me, Senator, who would benefit by this incident, I am at a loss to respond; undoubtedly Rome would have a better account of those it has wronged and desire retribution than I. Perhaps it was the Tiburtini, whose city was laid to waste; perhaps the barons that have been harried by the Romans in the south, or by their friend Capocci in the north. Perhaps the monks driven forth by Roman mobs have found a sword and a nag and now take turns playing the part of knights upon the road. I have no interest in sponsoring enemies of Rome, and it would be a foolhardy interest if I did, for it appears to me that the Romans themselves create them faster than I could keep track.
I am not pleased by the assault of any free man upon the roads in my domain; if my men catch these robbers, they shall hang them, or deliver them unto whatever justice is proper to their station. Yet with war and foreign sell-swords in every land around us, I cannot be responsible for every malefactor along the road. No one will be more pleased than I if the Romans should catch him themselves, having perpetrated this crime upon my own lands, but I warn you that I will not allow Roman "dignity" to justify any Roman arms upon lands rightfully mine and my brother's.
RR is back. Final orders and responses are due Wednesday, May 8th.
Though it will not be implemented this turn, I wanted to give you a sample of what's been in progress for the last month or so. While our current wealth system is an improvement over the original, I think there is still room for further improvement. Some of you have seen this document before, or an earlier draft of it, but I thought I'd post it for general comment.
The intent of the Enterprise system is to make things more quantifiable - because enterprises have set costs, you will know exactly what you need to spend to increase your wealth. Also, because wealth is calculated by season instead of by year, it's possible to advance (and decrease) in smaller amounts than we have currently. If we implement this system, your current wealth and IP will be converted appropriately - nobody will lose income from the change, and some may gain it (for instance, if you were halfway between Wealth levels 4 and 5 in the old system, in the Enterprise system you will probably be converted to making 18 Wealth per year, which is halfway between levels 4 and 5 currently).
Your comments, concerns, suggestions, and questions are welcome here. Again, note that this is absolutely not in its final form - the idea and particularly the mechanical particulars are still being considered and are open even to drastic changes.
Enterprises are the source of any character’s wealth, whether commoner or nobleman. An enterprise is a building, complex, or plot of land that generates wealth, either through manufacturing, harvesting raw materials, or trade. The primary goal of all enterprises is to produce wealth, though some enterprises also have special mechanical bonuses - for example, nobles can raise small numbers of levied farmers from croplands, while bakeries can give you a popularity boost if a famine strikes. Because RR is a roleplaying game more than a game of mechanics, enterprises may also affect your situation in unique, non-mechanical ways; special events, interesting contacts, and various rumors may be linked to certain industries.
Though many enterprises are described as buildings, they have significant differences from structures like estates and castles.
Enterprises must be purchased with one lump sum. You cannot start an enterprise until you are capable of paying the entire listed cost.
Most enterprises take just one season to start functioning.
Enterprises cannot be expanded or upgraded. If you wish to invest more in a certain industry, you must build another enterprise. In most cases it is perfectly acceptable to have multiple enterprises of the same kind.
Enterprises are physically present – they are real things, like a building or a plot of land. As a result, they can be pillaged, burned down, burgled, or anything else that could happen to a building or plot of land. Enterprises generally cannot be fortified or included within fortifications like a castle or estate, though a tower house – if it is sufficiently tall – may be able to provide security to nearby enterprises in case of riot or invasion.
If you already have an enterprise of one type, building another of the same type is usually as easy as paying the cost and waiting a season. New enterprises, however, often require expertise, technical knowledge, rare goods, or skilled workers that you lack. Depending on the enterprise, starting a new one may take more time and potentially more money than the normal cost indicates; some enterprises may even require you to investigate foreign lands, barter for trade secrets with other players, or hire specialized artisans abroad.
When you wish to start a new enterprise that you have no experience with, you should indicate this in your orders, and I will typically respond in an inquest with what steps you might take to achieve your goal.
A select number of enterprises, like Hospitia, Salinae, and Bakeries are simple and common enough that they can be set up immediately even if you don’t own another enterprise of the same kind already.
Some enterprises are part of a process involving other enterprises – this can be referred to collectively as an economy. An example is the Wheat Economy, which consists of three enterprises: Croplands (where wheat is grown), the Grist Mill (where wheat is made into flour), and the Bakery (where flour is baked into bread).
In general, enterprises benefit when you own other enterprises in that economy. Some enterprises are actually rather worthless without others; some only benefit slightly from owning other enterprises. Though owning a whole economy is nice, it’s not mandatory to make a profit, and it may not be possible for all players. It’s perfectly feasible, for instance, to own a Bakery without a Grist Mill – it just means you purchase your flour from other mills, rather than baking your own.
When you pursue an economy, remember that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket – if one link of the chain fails in a certain year, all the other enterprises in that economy are likely to suffer as well. Players may prefer to hedge their bets and diversify.
Note that in general, an enterprise can only serve a certain number of other enterprises in an economy line. One Grist Mill, for instance, can only benefit from two Croplands at most; if you have more Croplands than that, you may wish to build more Grist Mills.
Types of Enterprises
Rural enterprises must generally be built outside Rome. Most of these are agricultural in nature, though not all are actual farms – some, like Grist Mills, are buildings that are generally only useful in the countryside.
Urban enterprises must generally be built in Rome itself, though in some cases they may be located just outside the walls or in another town or city. These enterprises usually require labor only available in the city and cater to urban markets.
Agricultural enterprises are fields, pastures, orchards, and other enterprises which involve agriculture or pastoralism. Agricultural enterprises usually have no cost – land cannot be constructed, it must be bought, leased, or otherwise acquired. Agricultural enterprises can often be transformed into other agricultural enterprises with a small payment, though not all locations are suitable for all kinds of agriculture. As a general rule, only noble characters can own agricultural enterprises outright, though this rule can sometimes be bent or broken.
Manufacturing enterprises convert some raw material into a good. Most enterprises are manufacturing enterprises, though the “goods” vary from tools to flour to dyed cloth. Both commoners and nobles can own manufacturing enterprises.
Hospitality enterprises are part of Rome’s service industry, catering primarily to pilgrims. They tend to have their income concentrated in the Spring and are highly dependent on the success of the yearly pilgrimage season. Both commoners and nobles can own hospitality enterprises.
Mercantile enterprises do not create goods, but specialize in buying and selling them, sometimes with very distant clients. Mercantile enterprises also include those in which money itself is a good, like counting houses which skirt around Church usury laws to gain profits from lending. Nobles are not strictly forbidden from owning mercantile enterprises, but will lose influence over time as a result, as trade is considered unseemly for the aristocracy to practice.
Cropland (Rural, Agricultural) Most agricultural land is given over to the production of wheat and rye. Most croplands operate on the three-field system, in which parcels of land alternate between cereals, legumes (peas, beans, etc.), and laying fallow. While grain is not a terribly profitable good, it is always in demand. Cost: You may pay 1 WP to turn another Agricultural enterprise into Cropland. Income: +1 during Summer. Bonus: If you are a noble, for every Cropland you own, you may muster 25 Rural Levies from this enterprise at no cost. If these levies are active at the end of summer, however, this enterprise will not produce income. If these men are suffer grievous casualties, you may be unable to muster more men from this enterprise for a period of time.
Pasture (Rural, Agricultural) Sheep and goats are the most common stock animals of Latium – sheep are raised primarily for wool, while goats provide dairy and meat. Pastures are usually located in hilly areas or rocky ground where farming would not be profitable. Animal husbandry requires far fewer workers than cropland does. Cost: You may pay 2 WP to turn another Agricultural enterprise into a Pasture. Income: +1 during Spring.
Orchard (Rural, Agricultural) Latium is just about on the northern edge of Italy’s best fruit and olive producing region. Orchards are located on favorable hills and tended by hired laborers. Olives form part of the basic Roman diet, while citrus fruit is used medicinally or to flavor other dishes – the variety of orange grown in Italy is bitter and unsuitable for eating by itself. Cost: You may pay 3 WP to turn another Agricultural enterprise into an Orchard. You must choose either Olives or Citrus. Income: +1 during Autumn (Olives) or +2 during Winter (Citrus).
Flax Field (Rural, Agricultural) Flax is a flowering plant grown chiefly for its fibers, which are spun into make linen. After the flax is harvested, it must be dried, retted, broken, scotched, and heckled before it can be spun. Flax production is hard, manual work performed by peasants. Though flax seeds are eaten and sold, they are not a major part of the local diet. Flax seed oil (linseed oil) is also used in painting and woodworking. Cost: You may pay 2 WP to turn another Agricultural enterprise into a Flax Field. Income: +1 during Spring.
Vineyard (Rural, Agricultural) Wine is the beverage of choice for all Romans, rich and poor alike (though the former enjoy much better wine than the latter). Vineyards are usually located in inland hill regions and tended by hired agricultural laborers. Cost: You may pay 3 WP to turn another Agricultural enterprise into a Vineyard. Income: +1 during Autumn.
Grist Mill (Rural, Manufacturing) Peasants depend on local grist mills to turn their grain into flour. Villages may have their own animal-powered mills, but most lords build water-powered mills on local streams to handle large quantities of grain quickly. The miller keeps a portion of every peasant’s flour for himself as his wage, and sends another portion to the owner of the mill, providing modest but reliable profits. Cost: 12 Income: +1 during Summer; additional +1 with Croplands (maximum 2).
Wine Press (Rural, Manufacturing) The process of grape pressing – formerly done by treading on the grapes, the way some peasants still do it – was vastly improved in speed and quality by the invention of the “basket press,” a barrel-like apparatus with a descending weight often driven by a crank-turned screw. In addition to making and selling his own wine, a press owner can also charge fees to peasants who are willing to pay to have their grapes processed. Cost: 10 Income: +1 during Autumn; additional +1 with a Vineyard (maximum 2).
Oil Mill (Rural, Manufacturing) Olive oil is a staple of the Roman diet, but olives must be crushed and pressed to produce it. An oil mill consists of two kinds of machines: the mill itself, which is usually a stone basin with a vertical millstone pulled in circles by a donkey, and the press, which is very much like a basket press for wine. Cost: 10 Income: +1 during Autumn; additional +1 with an Olive Orchard (maximum 2).
Lumber Yard (Rural, Manufacturing) The shipbuilding trade requires massive amounts of timber. Hauling that timber and cutting it into boards is long, backbreaking work, which hasn’t really changed since the fall of the ancient Romans. The work is done by hand – axes are used to split logs into planks, and the planks are finished with adzes, chisels, saws, rasps, and draw knives. Large-scale carpentry is very labor-intensive, but fortunately the workers aren’t paid as much as woodcarvers and other more skilled craftsmen. Cost: 12 Income: +2 during Winter Bonus: For each lumber yard you own, the cost of ships you build is reduced by 1. The cost of a ship cannot be reduced below 50% of its original price in this way. Note: Lumber mills have low volatility in peacetime, but in times of naval war they tend to do either very well or very poorly; war at sea can greatly increase the demand for ships, but if the port is blockaded, seized, or destroyed, this enterprise may yield nothing at all.
Fulling Mill (Rural, Manufacturing) “Fulling” is the process of scouring and thickening woolen cloth. Traditionally, this process is done by hand by soaking the cloth in stale urine or “fuller’s earth,” stretching the cloth on hooks, and physically beating it with hammers before a final rinse. The fulling mill automates this process by using a water-powered trip hammer to beat the cloth. Cost: 5 Income: None, but increases the income of a Weaving Hall by +1 in Spring if that Weaving Hall weaves wool.
Bakery (Urban, Manufacturing) Rome consumes an enormous amount of bread – it makes up most of the average Roman’s diet. Peasants in the contado usually bake their own, but the teeming masses of Rome’s lower class depend on large, multi-oven bakeries run by professional bakers. These bakeries are fairly large buildings – usually made of brick to avoid fires – packed with clay-brick bread ovens. Cost: 15 Income: +1 during Winter; additional +1 during Summer with a Grist Mill (maximum 2). Bonus: During a famine, the price of bread rises dramatically, and you will have the option to either gain bonus income or distribute cheap bread for a possible Popularity boost. The more bakeries you have, the larger and more likely this boost is.
Weaving Hall (Urban, Manufacturing) Peasant women typically spin and weave clothes for their families themselves, but urban Romans seldom have this “privilege.” Weaving halls are large-scale workshops where wool is scoured, spun, and woven into broadcloth to be sold to tailors and cloth merchants (or where flax is processed into linen in a somewhat similar manner). Cost: 15. You must choose either Wool or Linen. Income: +2 during Winter; additional +1 in Spring with a Pasture or Flax Field (maximum 2)
Dyers’ Workshop (Urban, Manufacturing) Fabric is worth much more when colored. Dyers use all manner of plants, berries, and minerals to give fabric the kind of bright colors that nobles and peasants alike prefer. Dye will quickly wash out of fabric, however, unless it is fixed with a “mordant” – the best by far is alum, but various metals and even stale urine are used when that rare mineral is unavailable. Dyeing is a particularly vile occupation, creating a great deal of noxious fumes and toxic wastewater, and dyers’ workshops tend to be located in slums along the Tiber for this reason. Cost: 14. Income: +2 in Summer if you own a Weaving Hall (maximum 2); additional +1 if you have a source of Alum
Spetiarium (Urban, Manufacturing) Spetiarius is usually translated as “apothecary,” but the medieval spetiarius is an eclectic mixture of druggist, spice trader, and candyman. Spices and rare fruits were not just culinary treats, but were believed to have various medicinal properties that aided digestion, prevented disease, boosted the libido, and increased general health. The spetiarium is a place where sundries like cinnamon, cassia, pepper, sugar (considered a spice), incense, citrus, and various plant extracts are made into syrups, unguents, confections, electuaries, and essences. Cost: 10 Income: +1 in Summer for each of the following: Orchard (citrus), Storehouse (sugar), Storehouse (spices).
Perfumery (Urban, Manufacturing) The Saracens invented the process of distilling. With their techniques, flowers, fruits, and herbs can be concentrated in large pot stills into concentrated oils and fragrant waters. Though unknown to most of Christendom, these fine scents are increasingly popular among the upper classes and are said to have healthful properties as well. Cost: 15 Income: +2 in Winter if you own a Citrus Orchard (maximum 2).
Hospitium (Urban, Hospitality) Rome’s many pilgrims always need somewhere to stay, and that place is the Hospitium. These structures take all sizes and shapes and serve all manner of clients. Hospitia are guaranteed profit-makers – but only when the pilgrims come! Cost: 10 Income: +3 during Spring. Note: Hospitia themselves are not very volatile, but this does not take into account extraordinary events (like war, or a Papal interdict) that can completely ruin the hospitality economy. Hospitia offer a lot of profit for a great price, but be careful about that.
Storehouse (Urban, Mercantile) Inventory is required for trade, and inventory must be stored and protected. A storehouse is a spacious building (often re-purposed from an old ruin) that securely stores goods awaiting transport. (When you build a storehouse, you must specify a certain type of trade you are engaging in, and clear this with me. You may have multiple storehouses engaging in the same type of trade.) Cost: 12 Income: +1 during Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Note: You can build a storehouse for pretty much anything as long as it’s traded in Rome; the profits are all equal for purposes of this enterprise, though your choice of good may matter for other reasons.
Counting House (Urban, Mercantile) Christians are forbidden to loan money for interest – but then again, they’re forbidden from killing too, and look how popular that is. At the counting house, money is put to work making more money through investments and loans. To lend money, you need to have money, and the counting house requires you to have some savings for it to function. Cost: 12 Income: +1 in every season as long as you have at least 2 WP saved. This savings limit is cumulative with that from other counting houses you own. Note: A character owning a Counting House should expect to lose Orthodoxy; the more you own, the greater the problem will be.
Fishery (Rural, Manufacturing) Anchovies, mullet, mackerel, bass, carp, eel – the Tiber and the nearby waters of the Mediterranean are rich with all kinds of fish. Though fish is not a particularly important staple food during most of the year, the Church has made it an essential industry with its prohibition on the eating of meat at certain times, particularly Lent. Fish, being exempt from this ban, are critical to a well-rounded diet that is also in keeping with ritual observance. The fishery is not any single building but a complex of piers, sheds, drying-barns, carpentry and net-weaving workshops, and other assorted structures that make the catching and processing of fish possible. Cost: 14 Income: +1 during Winter and Spring; additional +1 during Winter with Salinae. Note: Fisheries must, obviously, be built where there is water and fish. Though their volatility is very low, it should be remembered that anything near water has a higher chance of being damaged by flooding.
Salinae (Rural, Manufacturing) Salt is critically important for the preservation of food. Salinae are shallow artificial pools dug near saline ponds and marshes; the brackish water is allowed to flood into the pools and is evaporated in the sun, leaving only salt behind. The process requires few tools and its sole raw material, salt water, is plentiful, though it does require a large number of low-wage laborers to dig the salinae and collect the salt, a fair number of whom fall pretty to the ague while working so close to the unhealthy marshes. Cost: 6 Income: +1 during Summer. Note: Salinae can only be built in brackish marshlands.
Goldsmiths’ Workshop (Urban, Manufacturing) “Goldsmith” is somewhat of a misnomer – most goldsmiths in Christian Europe work only occasionally with gold, and primarily with silver and bronze. Goldsmiths are highly skilled and well-paid artisans who make all manner of items from precious metals, from cutlery and candlesticks to ecclesiastical instruments like censers, ciboria, aspergilla, and chalices. Though wealthy merchants aspiring to high society are an increasing part of their clientele, the Church is still a goldsmith’s best customer. Gold and silver, being foreign imports, can be subject to price fluctuations, but at least precious metals will always be in fashion. Cost: 24 Income: +1 during every season. Bonus: If you own at least one goldsmiths’ workshop, the amounts of saved WP required to increase the opulence level of your primary estate are reduced to 6 and 12 instead of 10 and 20.
Sculptors’ Workshop (Urban, Manufacturing) Scluptors are the best of the stonemasons, men with a steady hand, a good knowledge of the properties of stone, and a keen eye for detail. The ancient practice of making large, freestanding stone sculptures has died out; modern sculptors make reliefs and engravings. Most of their work is ecclesiastical, decorating the capitals of columns, tympanums above church doors, facades, grotesques and gargoyles, and even tombs. Rome, with its hundreds of churches, chapels, and basilicas, is an ideal place for a sculptor to work. Though secular lords sometimes commission sculpture as well, the sculptor is generally even more dependent on the Church than the goldsmith. Cost: 20 Income: +1during Spring, Summer, and Winter Bonus: If you own at least one Sculptor’s Workshop, you receive a discount on building, renovating, or repairing churches, abbeys, and other ecclesiastical structures equal to 1 WP for every 5 WP spent (rounded down, but minimum 1 WP).
Not all income is created equal. Some economies make considerable income but are quite volatile, meaning that they are subject to frequent difficulties or mishaps. These mishaps vary considerably – a sheep pasture might be affected by disease or drought, while a vineyard might be plagued by blight or ruined by a cold winter. In general, the more profitable an economy is, the more uncertain it is – wheat may not be a high-value good, but it is always in demand, and a limited supply will only make the price go higher.
Volatility is a property of economies rather than enterprises, because all the enterprises in a single economy depend on one another. Nothing can really “go wrong” with a Grist Mill, but if a catastrophic wheat blight decimates the crop, it won’t have much wheat to grind and won’t make as much profit. The following is a list of current economies by volatility; also listed are individual enterprises that are not part of a larger economy.
Very Low: Wheat Economy (Croplands, Grist Mill, Bakery) Fish Economy (Salinae, Fishery) Lumber Mill*
*These economies/enterprises have special volatility conditions; read their description for more.
Common goods, particularly bread, oil, and wine, are always in demand; even if every player owned a Bakery (or several), the demand for bread is so universal that it would have no negative effects. Some enterprises, however – particularly those creating or dealing with rare or luxury goods – will suffer if too many people are in the same game. Volatility may increase as inventory gluts become common, or the price may drop, lowering income across the board.
These kind of events are usually not a surprise, and players will typically be warned when they try to start a new enterprise in a market that already seems saturated. Still, you may wish to build the enterprise anyway – perhaps you can push other people out of the market, whether they be PCs or NPCs.
Rome’s policies can also influence the market – opening your ports and markets to foreign lands often brings profits, but it can likewise bring cheap imports that undercut local enterprises.
Ok, I made some semblance of orders. Fortunately all the math stuff was done long ago, I just needed to actually tell things what to do. Consider me finalized. Apologies to everyone who I didn't get a response to.
I don't know that I can make this. This is the start of finals week, and I'm absolutely crushed. I am actually 100% real talk hallucinating from lack of sleep and have to grade about 500 pages of research papers on top of writing another 25 pages or so for the 30th.
I might add some orders tomorrow but it's possible the Glow might just take a pass on this turn. I can't really spare any time until the 1st.
It was established in the old discussion thread that the ceremorph double message ability necessarily implied double the responses from their target, because being able to send four messages while still only receiving two replies is not actually much of a bonus at all. (I would quote you the conversation, but the thread died...)