Medieval America Tk II: Discussion Thread

Herdsmen and Horse Archers: A interesting historical note is that the Native Americans periodically burned areas of the Great Plains that were becoming too forestry for their plains living. The Mongols did the same to North China. So between the Herdsmen and Farmers could a bit be added describing the two ways of life being in constant warring pushing the Prarie and Forrest back and forth as one burns and another plants?
 
To the south and west of the city of New Jerusalem lies the great Mine of Kenicaut. This seemingly bottomless pit provides much of the copper used in Deseret, on top of other materials. However, Kenicaut serves another purpose; the great buildings carved next to the roadway leading down are the headquarters of Zion’s Legion- the largest military in Western America. The Legion is known for its discipline, as well as its ancient warchant/dance, the hakka.

Composition of Zion’s Legion

The Apostates- Comprised of Church members who have been excommunicated but have been given a chance at redemption. Their chance- serve as front line troops in the Legion. Given the bare minimum of equipment, the Apostates have little chance at survival. If they live, their excommunication is lifted; if they die, they are made famous for their bravery in battle.

The Moabites- From the scrublands of southern U’tah, near the settlement of Moab, come the Moabites. Hardy men on short, strong horses, Moabites provide the majority of the Legion’s cavalry. Armed with a short-bow or spear, as well as a sword and a small cavalry shield, Moabites have a variety of uses in the Legion, mainly as support/scouts for the infantry.

Mountain Men- Descendants of the radical splinter sects of Mormonism, the Mountain Men live in the high hills in isolated communities. While they act as bandits and general outlaws during times of peace, when their communities are threatened they offer their services as skirmishers to the Legion. Usually armed with a bow and skinning knife.

Legionnaire- The average infantryman of the Empire. Some are trained in bows, though most wield spears, swords, and shields. Their armor is based off of old paintings of Nephite soldiers. Well-trained; those who receive a calling to be a soldier are put on a strict regimen.

Apostalic Guard- Some of the best Legionnaire’s are promoted to the Apostalic Guard. Loyal to their own assigned Aposlte, the Apostalic Guard has been known to carry out dirty work for their individual masters.

Temple Square Guard- The elite of the elite. The Temple Square Guard protects the heavily fortified central Temple district of New Jerusalem. Armed with halberds, the Temple Square Guard double as the guard corps for the President.

Associated with Zion’s Legion

Stake Battalions- Organized at the Stake level, the Stake Battalions are ill-equipped but have great enthusiasm. Usually equipped with spears and axes- cheap, everyman’s weapons, though former Legionnaire’s may have brought their swords home with them.

High Priests Quorum- The most veteran soldiers in the Stake are assigned to the High Priests Quorum. There, they guard the Stake President and the Stake Center (capitol of the Stake). Armed similarly to Legionnaires.

Priests Guard- Individual bishops need to have some support at home. Thus, the Priests Guard; tasked with protecting the bishop and the Ward. Equipped more like a Stake Battalion than a High Priests Quorum, but more likely to have more advanced body armor.

Salt Disciples- Wandering priesthood holders are a staple of Mormon life. However, some of these individuals are radicals; they can rile up their people near the firesides where they conduct their meetings, and can convince them to “tread out the salt that has lost its savor”. These “Salt Disciples” give Deseret a somewhat tarnished reputation; when your citizens burn other nations towns to the ground and slaughter everyone above the age of 8, it tends to hurt your peaceful diplomacy.
 
To the south and west of the city of New Jerusalem lies the great Mine of Kenicaut. This seemingly bottomless pit provides much of the copper used in Deseret, on top of other materials. However, Kenicaut serves another purpose; the great buildings carved next to the roadway leading down are the headquarters of Zion’s Legion- the largest military in Western America. The Legion is known for its discipline, as well as its ancient warchant/dance, the hakka.

Composition of Zion’s Legion

The Apostates- Comprised of Church members who have been excommunicated but have been given a chance at redemption. Their chance- serve as front line troops in the Legion. Given the bare minimum of equipment, the Apostates have little chance at survival. If they live, their excommunication is lifted; if they die, they are made famous for their bravery in battle.

The Moabites- From the scrublands of southern U’tah, near the settlement of Moab, come the Moabites. Hardy men on short, strong horses, Moabites provide the majority of the Legion’s cavalry. Armed with a short-bow or spear, as well as a sword and a small cavalry shield, Moabites have a variety of uses in the Legion, mainly as support/scouts for the infantry.

Mountain Men- Descendants of the radical splinter sects of Mormonism, the Mountain Men live in the high hills in isolated communities. While they act as bandits and general outlaws during times of peace, when their communities are threatened they offer their services as skirmishers to the Legion. Usually armed with a bow and skinning knife.

Legionnaire- The average infantryman of the Empire. Some are trained in bows, though most wield spears, swords, and shields. Their armor is based off of old paintings of Nephite soldiers. Well-trained; those who receive a calling to be a soldier are put on a strict regimen.

Apostalic Guard- Some of the best Legionnaire’s are promoted to the Apostalic Guard. Loyal to their own assigned Aposlte, the Apostalic Guard has been known to carry out dirty work for their individual masters.

Temple Square Guard- The elite of the elite. The Temple Square Guard protects the heavily fortified central Temple district of New Jerusalem. Armed with halberds, the Temple Square Guard double as the guard corps for the President.

Associated with Zion’s Legion

Stake Battalions- Organized at the Stake level, the Stake Battalions are ill-equipped but have great enthusiasm. Usually equipped with spears and axes- cheap, everyman’s weapons, though former Legionnaire’s may have brought their swords home with them.

High Priests Quorum- The most veteran soldiers in the Stake are assigned to the High Priests Quorum. There, they guard the Stake President and the Stake Center (capitol of the Stake). Armed similarly to Legionnaires.

Priests Guard- Individual bishops need to have some support at home. Thus, the Priests Guard; tasked with protecting the bishop and the Ward. Equipped more like a Stake Battalion than a High Priests Quorum, but more likely to have more advanced body armor.

Salt Disciples- Wandering priesthood holders are a staple of Mormon life. However, some of these individuals are radicals; they can rile up their people near the firesides where they conduct their meetings, and can convince them to “tread out the salt that has lost its savor”. These “Salt Disciples” give Deseret a somewhat tarnished reputation; when your citizens burn other nations towns to the ground and slaughter everyone above the age of 8, it tends to hurt your peaceful diplomacy.

Sorry, but we can't use this. Deseret has only 900,000 people and is in a desert, it can't support a professional army this large.
 
New Age

In the final days of Pre-Regression civilization, a movement began centered around the belief that humanity would go through a new spiritual phase in the coming years. Called the New Age Movement, they began to congregate in the Southwest as the Regression approached.

In the following centuries, the New Age philosophy and theology obviously underwent revisions. The once freeform nature of the faith became more and more structured as those with water - and thus, power - declared their ideas to be doctrine and opponents' beliefs to be heretical. The indigenous tribes of the Southwest proved to be amongst the most powerful, and so their ideas and beliefs predominated.

The primary belief is the supremacy of a Sky Father, who rules everything. Below Him are the Great Spirits, personifications of nature who are prayed to by the Medicine Men for more specific favors. An observor would claim that this resembles the Catholics belief in God and the Saints, and would then declare that this is a relic from New Mexico's Latino population, but the New Agers deny any obvious similarities. For example, they point to their most holy ceremony, the Ghost Dance Ritual, or to their belief that gems contain healing properties.

The New Age Movement has spread to the Oklahoman tribes, but is otherwise simply New Mexico's state religion.


Here there be Monsters: The Grey
At the back of every human's mind is the feeling that he or she is being watched. This expands to the faer that these watchers will seduce or kidnap the defenseless, drag them to their homes, and the poor soul is never heard from again. They have many names - elves, fey, sidhe, fairies, the Good Folk, the Gentry. But in the Southwest, one name surpasses all others: The Grey.

New Mexican art is surprisingly consistant on what the Grey look like - grey (obviously) skin, large black eyes, emaciated bodies, bald. They come from Elsewhere to kidnap lone humans and take the defenseless to their citadels. Some times, the human escapes and returns to the world of Man, where they quickly become valued as spirit mediums because of there experiances. But New Age mythology is repleat with stories of those who weren't so lucky.
 
Sorry, but we can't use this. Deseret has only 900,000 people and is in a desert, it can't support a professional army this large.
Er... I thought we were totally revamping this? Besides, 900,000 has always seemed way to low for Deseret, and most of the land is actually not desert (Idaho, Colorado, etc.)
 
Er... I thought we were totally revamping this? Besides, 900,000 has always seemed way to low for Deseret, and most of the land is actually not desert (Idaho, Colorado, etc.)
This is not a revamp. It is a discussion to build and improve on the barebones framework we have. At some point the final, discussion-free thread will be put up, allowing people to view information without slogging through 20 pages. But White's work will still form the core of the project.

Even if it was, you have no context. You just produced this insanely detailed description of a single military force. What is New Jerusalem? What does hakka even mean? Where is Kenicaut? None of that is answered. We need general information before we get the specifics.
 
Cities and States and City-States: Cascadia

When one thinks of city-states in ancient history one must either be drawn to the ancient cities of Greece or the First Middle Age cities of Italy. Despite being called City-States these political entities were by no means constricted to city limits and held other polities under their sway.

The City-States of the Pacific Northwest are no different then any of their predecessors. Though if one was to classify the cities of the region based on power and influence, three cities would stand to be the most powerful and perhaps independent minded. The 'Great Cities' being Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Judging on population, political and economic influence, and regional character these three cities stand out above the rest. Throughout the New Middle Ages they have the greatest influence on the region and neighboring regions.

Though even still their are other smaller city-states often enough living in the shadow of these three giants. Rarely gaining influential status due to internal weakness (low population, poor economic availability, and location) or external threat (military invasion often enough). Such 'Lesser Cities' include Astoria, Victoria, The Dalles, and others. This of course does not mean that they are able to influence the Three Greats in more subtle ways to gain for themselves. Seattle and Vancouver constantly vie with one another for the good graces of Victoria given its location close to the Pacific opening of the Pugent Sound via the Strait of Juan de Fuca(the city could and has allied with either power constantly to deny or grant Ship passage. The Strait of Georgia being a much, much dangerous and less used route due to Salish Raiders). Others though such as Olympia do fade into the background.

Competition between the Three Greats has a deal to do with their own geographic location on the Pugent Sound and the Columbia/Williamette River...


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More on that later, but I have given thought on the Eco-American Buddhism and to me it seems likely to most resemble Japanese Shintoism. Shintoism is a very Eco Oriented religion. Many or Most of its shrines and holy sites being large and old trees or coastal bays. The Natural Spirits of the Land are seen as Kami or gods. Shintoism also heavily absorbed concepts of Buddhism when it arrived in Japan that often enough it is hard to find where Shintoism and Japanese Buddhism begins and ends. Though just as likely it could resemble Chinese Daoism as well.
 
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This is not a revamp. It is a discussion to build and improve on the barebones framework we have. At some point the final, discussion-free thread will be put up, allowing people to view information without slogging through 20 pages. But White's work will still form the core of the project.

Even if it was, you have no context. You just produced this insanely detailed description of a single military force. What is New Jerusalem? What does hakka even mean? Where is Kenicaut? None of that is answered. We need general information before we get the specifics.
Okay, sorry, we misunderstood what the project was about then; Rognvald and I assumed that we were only using the basics of White's work, and creating a mostly new setting from that basic framework.

Even still, the blog does give an idea of Deseret as an almost Byzantine-esque nation, one which endured and survived through much of the devastation that happened to other nations. That gives an idea of organization and centralization that lasts throughout the centuries, which is why Rognvald and I created that army idea, as we assumed that a nation which acted like a Byzantine-esque state would still have a rough idea of a standing army, with different ranks/regiments of troops.

Yes, we misunderstood, but given the circumstances, and with White's work being very vague and not all that fleshed-out, I don't think dismissing our ideas is constructive.
 
Okay, sorry, we misunderstood what the project was about then; Rognvald and I assumed that we were only using the basics of White's work, and creating a mostly new setting from that basic framework.

Even still, the blog does give an idea of Deseret as an almost Byzantine-esque nation, one which endured and survived through much of the devastation that happened to other nations. That gives an idea of organization and centralization that lasts throughout the centuries, which is why Rognvald and I created that army idea, as we assumed that a nation which acted like a Byzantine-esque state would still have a rough idea of a standing army, with different ranks/regiments of troops.

Yes, we misunderstood, but given the circumstances, and with White's work being very vague and not all that fleshed-out, I don't think dismissing our ideas is constructive.
White actually flat out says that Deseret did not endure - the Yaegers of Wyoming and the Buddhists of Columbia invaded and conquered it, and the Mormons only got their act together less than a century before the 'present.' As a result they rely on horse archers and a few lancers like the rest of the Irrigation cultures and have a lower than average population.

I'm not trying to be dismissive or rude - I'd very much like to hear you're ideas for Medieval Mormonism, just as I'd like for people to critique my idea on Medieval New Age.
 
White actually flat out says that Deseret did not endure - the Yaegers of Wyoming and the Buddhists of Columbia invaded and conquered it, and the Mormons only got their act together less than a century before the 'present.' As a result they rely on horse archers and a few lancers like the rest of the Irrigation cultures and have a lower than average population.

I'm not trying to be dismissive or rude - I'd very much like to hear you're ideas for Medieval Mormonism, just as I'd like for people to critique my idea on Medieval New Age.
Oh, okay. We were basing our idea more on the blog post than on White's original concept, so that must have been the confusion. Again, Rognvald and I are working together on this, and now that you've clarified, I think we can think of something that works with both your vision and ours.
 
And I will assume my PNW ideas are amazing.

As for New Age the Hopi had some interesting Millenial Doom prophecy you could incorp.
 
A couple of ideas on the New Age religion.

The New Age movement is very big on health and alternative healing. Meditation, exercise, and various 'touch therapies' are very important. This could have carried down through the Dark Ages, in the absense of more modern techniques, making New Age medicine men effective and sought after healers.

New Age philosophy is very closely tied with female empowerment, often matriarchy. In this context, this could be one of the possibly few areas where women can advance in society and respected medicine women would be not uncommon. Also, the Gaia hypothesis is often a core belief, so an Earth Mother equivalent to the Sky Father could have survived in the belief system.

Reincarnation (a la Shirley McLane) might play an important part in New Age beliefs. Along with a person's own spirit guide/patron saint, the lessons learned from meditating on one's past lives may be considered an important step in spiritual porgress.
 
It is interesting to note that sites where nuclear waste is stored have pictures showing people dying just in case civilization collapses and language/symbols lose their meaning. I wonder what Medieval Americans will make of these sites in remote locations warning people of imminent death should they enter...
 
Oh, okay. We were basing our idea more on the blog post than on White's original concept, so that must have been the confusion. Again, Rognvald and I are working together on this, and now that you've clarified, I think we can think of something that works with both your vision and ours.
I think if you scale down the numbers a bit, most of your concepts is usable. Lots of creative ideas in that post.
 
Hey, I have a question.

Without modern water sanitation, what would the Mormons drink? Water and Milk are too deadly without modern treatments (and water's too tied up with agriculture besides), Alcohol and Caffeine are forbidden, and citrus fruit is now a luxury item. Would the dietary laws simply change, or would they come up with a way to use cow milk without the capability of pasteurization, or would everyone just drink goat milk?
 
Zioneer and Rognvald: It might be interesting to make the ranks in the Mormon military structure similar to 'ranks' in the LDS Missionary structure. Assistants command Zone Leaders who command District Leaders who command Elders who command Greenies. Just a thought, although it might be too much detail too quickly.
 
Irrigation
Water is scarce in the Great Basin. Rainfall rarely comes, and when it does it often brings chaotic floods. Thus, unlike the fertile lands of the East, Westerners can't rely on rain for their crops. Thus, irrigation came into vogue, to the point that all people of the West, regardless of creed or ethnicity, are called 'Irrigators' by the Herdsmen and Northwesterners. With one exception, all major settlements are located on the snake-like rivers the crisscross the desert and provide water for irrigation.

Food:
Due to the usually hot and arid climate, most irrigation food is that which doesn't need much in the way of water. Vegetables are rare, and one primarily sees wheat and corn as the grains of choice. Beef, mutton, and chicken are the primary meats. Beans are ubiquitous. Peppers are common and popular, due to their ability to thrive in arid enviroments. Dates are the most popular fruit. Dairy is almost universally goat-based. Some regions will have more unique crops - for example, the Boise River Valley grows potatoes, while California is near-legendary for her vineyards and citrus fruits, to the point that Napa vintage can be found as far away as Asia. Popular dishes include tacos and burritoes, potato salad, and chili (although more associated with the Herdsmen, chili requires Irrigator peppers and chilis to succesfully make). Much of the cuisine is, in fact, similar to Herdsman cuisine. Most beverages are made from goat milk - water being too valuable.

And, of course, there is salt.

Clothing:
Wool and Cotton are the main textiles, and the single most universal piece of clothing is the wool poncho. A man's poncho is his most important possession, and will often be decorated with symbols representing his family. Women will wear a similar garment, the serape. The more ornate a poncho or serape, the more powerful the wearer likely is. Under these garments, a person will often wear a simple loincloth or skirt, breeches being too restrictive in hot sun. Sandals serve as footwear, and only the most destitute beggars won't wear makeup to protect their eyes. Men will wear a wide-brim straw hat, while women will wear a simple veil.

Housing:
Houses are built from mudbrick, mixed with straw to strengthen it. Such houses prove to be durable in the arid climes, and keep the bright sun out. Only the wealthy build houses out of stone, and they build them for ostentatious reasons. Only in California is wood-based housing common, and even then they leave the Sacred Redwoods alone.

Trade:
Salt. The entire trade economy of the Southwest runs on salt. It is the most valuable commodity on the continent, and most of it comes from Deseret. The great salt mines produce that which is more valuable than gold to send it to the salt-deprived Feudal Core in the east.

Society:
The scarcity of water means that Irrigation politics is much more simple than others. In contrast to the heavily structured and layered nature of the East's feudalism, Westerm society has only two real groups - those who have, and those who have not. It is this nature that allows the Hydraulic Empires to exist. The main dividing lines are those of religion - the Mormons of Deseret, the New Agers of New Mexico, the Scientologists of the Californias, the Nevadan Heretics. Religion determines the differences amongst the empires - Mormonism, for example, does not endorse using eunuchs (officially), while New Agers believe women have innate healing properties and teach their womenfolk herbology. However, from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City to Roswell, where the World of Man and the World of Elsewhere meet, to the Heretics' infamous City of Sin, one rule remains constant: He who rules the water, rules the people.​
 
Hey, I have a question.

Without modern water sanitation, what would the Mormons drink? Water and Milk are too deadly without modern treatments (and water's too tied up with agriculture besides), Alcohol and Caffeine are forbidden, and citrus fruit is now a luxury item. Would the dietary laws simply change, or would they come up with a way to use cow milk without the capability of pasteurization, or would everyone just drink goat milk?
Well, the alcohol and Caffeine restriction were not seriously followed in OTL until after polygamy was abolished; Brigham Young owned a tavern at one point, IIRC, and Joseph Smith drank occasionally. It wasn't originally considered a required commandment, merely a divine suggestion. The text even says this:
"not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days— Given for a principle with a promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation."

So people interpret that as meaning that the early Mormons could only get alcohol and caffeine from their enemies, and that purchasing either of those substances would give money to those who oppressed the Mormons. An enterprising prophet could point out that either it's only a suggestion, or that it doesn't apply to alcohol and caffeine created and distributed by Mormons.

Goat milk would be a good idea though; correct me if I'm wrong, but I think goats can live fairly well in Utah and the surrounding states.
 
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