Mercenary questions

Two things I’ve been wondering about:

  1. What is the benefit of using conscripts over mercenaries?

It seems like mercenaries are better by almost every criteria. In particular,

  • It costs much less to recruit fully trained troops than to train them yourself.

  • It’s possible to recruit them in much greater numbers, for example, at 85 light infantry per week, in a county of 4600 families that only supports 460 conscripts (of all types, for all time!)

  • Mercenaries are sometimes veterans.

  • Mercenaries never turn into ungrateful brigands when you release them!

Is there some benefit to conscripts that balances this out? When would I want to invest the money in developing them? The only unique benefit I can see is that they sometimes get a +1 to morale.

  1. Why are the mercenaries available in a realm reduced relative to those in the domains that make up the realm?

For example, a duchy of 20,000 families produces 360 light infantry per month, or 90 light infantry per week. But a county of 4600 families produces 85 light infantry per week. So a realm of four such counties could yield 340 light infantry per week, despite being smaller (by 1600 families) than the duchy!

The benefit of conscripts are:
a) They are an additional source of troops once you’ve hired the available mercenaries. This becomes important as your realm gets bigger.
b) If your realm has high morale the conscripts will be better than mercenaries due to their morale score
c) Their wages don’t go up when you recruit a lot of them. (“If more than 50% of the crop of mercenaries available in a realm are hired, prices for that type of mercenaries throughout the realm increase by a percentage amount equal to the percentage over 50%. This represents prices rising due to scarcity. Prices will remain elevated even when a new crop of mercenaries becomes available, until less than 50% of a crop is employed in the realm.”)

As per question 2, the available number of mercenaries is intended to be part of a dynamic ecosystem. If you start recruiting mercenaries, more will come to the area because of the greater demand for them. So when you recruit mercenaries as a baron, part of the number of mercenaries that’s available to you is mercenaries from other baronies that were nearby and looking for work. But this opportunity to “import” goes down as the size of your realm goes up. Hong Kong, a tiny city-state, imports everything. The US, less so. At the level of a continent you’re ruling most of a ‘known world’ so there’s less opportunity to import.

When you get to the level of granularity of these tables, D@W assumes your modeling the world at whatever “tier” the PCs are acting at. It’s not the expectation that you are simultaneously modeling at the continent, empire, kingdom, principality, duchy, county, and barony level all at once.

See my new thoughts on this in the separate thread.