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D&D 3E
Time is not on your side... 
10th-Oct-2005 01:07 pm
if you're a kingdom.  But how long does it take a kingdom to fall apart. 

In my game I'm going to have an old kindom of to be discovered peice by peice that the town they live in lost contact with.  Now I want the old kingdom to be suitably ruined.  We're talking a province 300 miles n-s and 150 miles east-west so it's a large kingdom.  Now there were a number of factors that caused it's downfall that the players will discover throughout the game (csi style).  Here's the kicker.  The town they live in has been out of touch with the old kingdom for about 16 years as of the end of the last chapter of this game.  I was going to start the new game 4 years later.  On to my question.

If the factors are severe enough, could a kingdom go from almost prosperity to ruin in 20 years?  Say the decay started on the west southwest corner 25 years before the present.  I know i'm being vague, but I don't want to give too much away in case my players check this LJ forum out. 

Basically, what degree of ruin could one expect after 20-25 years?  Describe the condition of cities, outlying farms etc. as you would logically picture them.  Imagine most of the damage done was done through warfare, violence and disease, starvation and depression.

If you do not think it would be sufficiently destroyed (ie you think in 20 years there would still be holds of bandits or farmers trying to eek out a living and building communities over), how much more should I delay the game?  100 years?
10th-Oct-2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
Looka t what happend to Europe from World War 1 to World War 2 - devastated. National economies ruined, dictators rose, and genocide. A nightmare on earth - and about 20 years sperated the end of ww I and the beginning of ww2. Or look at the time america was in vietnam - the bombings, deforastation, etc.

You can wreck a country very quickly.
10th-Oct-2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
> You can wreck a country very quickly.

Sure, if you have 20th Century weapons and communications. Possibly magic would fill in the technological gap in this case (though that wouldn't be to my taste), but consider the Thirty Years War; equally as expensive (and in several cases as destructive) as WWI, but your average peasant would barely have noticed it happening.
10th-Oct-2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
or look at the Mongol invasion that devasted most of Asia and Eastern Europe.

ruin can come very easily to a farming community - with no stable, safe roads to take good to market you can't trade for goods you can't make yourself.

with no army to defend them, they owuld be at the mercy of local bandits, orcs, etc... I doubt a small farming village could mount any kind of defense against a band of say 40 orcs. Orcs are biger, stronger and tougher than humans, and farmers are Not warriors.

So say, this empire collapses slowly. The village experiences a breakdown of their economy. They can't get goods to market - rood and bridges aren't safe anymore. Local bandits and such raid the town. It spirals down, as the able bodied are killed in raids.
10th-Oct-2005 05:26 pm (UTC)
Physically, you would see very little damage from the elements. Stone buildings would still look like new, and even wooden ones would barely need more than a new coat of paint. Doors might be hanging off their hinges, and thatch mgiht have been blown off the roof, but these are hardly going to apply to every building.

As to the decay of society, this requires knowing what the decay was.

If the kingdom was cursed so that no plants could grow, then there would certainly be no farming. There might be small communities based around temples capable of casting create food and water, but other than that, people would only live on the borders where food could be brought in easily.

If there was a major civil war that tore the kingdom apart, you would almost certainly see the remnants of those armies ekeing out a living by pillaging farms, with a few of the larger bands setting themselves up as hill-kings. Also, many more building will have been burned down, or otherwise demolished during the course of the war.

If a plague wiped out 90% of the population, then you would see a few scattered farming communities (again, clerics would be in high demand), and several bands of brigands, raping and pillaging.

More time means you can get more ruins, but it also means that the political situation will have stabilised, as settled groups take up arms to defend themselves, and then band together for mutual defence, becoming small proto-kingdoms... If enough time has passed and there are still people around, it's a fair bet that a power structure will re-establish itself, and rebuild the kingdom.
10th-Oct-2005 06:39 pm (UTC)
What are the major races? Elves and dwarves live for centuries, which may stall decline.
10th-Oct-2005 07:19 pm (UTC)
Okay, I reposted this with more info behind a lj cut..see above.
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