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Farming in Creation

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  • #16
    Being the direction of Earth, I have always imagined the Blessed Isle to range from gentle hills to mountains. So quite a bit of the farmlands are terraces, and most of the Isle is not used for crops at all (even if it feels like it, as roads tend to go where the people are).

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    • #17
      Originally posted by webkilla View Post

      Headcanon accepted. Imperial City hotboxing.
      The cloak of Cynis Araka fluttered in the wind atop one of the Cynis towers in the imperial city. He glanced over at the sorcerer and his demon servant, who were sitting amidst a spiderweb of runes amd lines.

      "How much longer?" He said, nervously plucking at the string of his power bow and fingering the blunted arrows he kept.

      "Soon, not to worry." The demon replied "soon not a puff of smoke will enter or leave this city."

      Then a cry came from the stairwell "My lord!" A breathless soldier came stumbling onto the platform "My lord, I think an exalt from house Ragara is leading a group of black helms up here, we couldn't stop them.""

      A voice bellowed from the stairs "Lazy whoremongers!"

      "Stuck up loan shark!" Araka shot back, firing twin ball-headed arrows at the foreheads of two advancing guards, causing the, to drunkenly slump against one another.

      "It is done.." The sorcerer's eyes flashed.

      Quick as a breeze through the trees Araka darted over to a massive mounted horn and blew hard into it. The deep ringing tone echoed through the city, signalling dozens, maybe hundreds, of massive braziers to ignite. Their smoked poured into the air, but hung low, filling the city. The Cynis dynast slumped to the floor and breathed deeply.

      "The senate is going to have one hell of a day." He glanced over at his aid/retainer/bodyguard and pounded his fist as they both began to laugh.

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      • #18
        Please excuse the rushed style and typos, I'm on my tablet in the robot lab.

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        • #19
          Increased food output per peasant results in large/more common towns, cities and other areas of specialized or different labour. So instead of 90% of your population being tied to the land, you've got more people for mining, more people for ship building, more people in general to do things with.

          Not that you can't have an adventure of some sort involving farmers, but generally you want more concentrated groups of people for any sort of adventuring.


          Odd_Canuck is not a topical medication or food product and is not to be taken internally or seriously.

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          • #20
            Also, having ample food doesn't mean it is used efficiently. Even deep in historical dark ages one worker in agriculture could feed several other people given enough land to work with. At times serfs were taxed some 75% and still got by somehow. Food can well go into producing meat (which is less efficient than eating crops) or into cashcrops or it can spoil because of inefficient logistics or you can make alcohol out of it just to name a few possibilities. And then the thing is, if they are planting so much rice - rice is very labour intensive, keeps a lot of people busy. It has great yield per area, but if you got enough area other crops yield more per worker.
            Personally, i am all for more food and maybe only 70% or 75% of the population in the country, the rest in cities.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Quaint View Post
              Also, having ample food doesn't mean it is used efficiently. Even deep in historical dark ages one worker in agriculture could feed several other people given enough land to work with. At times serfs were taxed some 75% and still got by somehow. Food can well go into producing meat (which is less efficient than eating crops) or into cashcrops or it can spoil because of inefficient logistics or you can make alcohol out of it just to name a few possibilities. And then the thing is, if they are planting so much rice - rice is very labour intensive, keeps a lot of people busy. It has great yield per area, but if you got enough area other crops yield more per worker.
              Personally, i am all for more food and maybe only 70% or 75% of the population in the country, the rest in cities.
              With 30% of the Blessed Isle's area devoted to agriculture, and no modern machinery, it's going to be very difficult to manage five harvests a year without significantly more manpower than you suggest. Even if we were to deliberately introduce as much inefficiency as possible, such as feeding a lot of the grain crop to cattle, and give the cattle WAY too much grazing land per head - so why are we feeding them so much grain again, when they would necessarily have so much pasture to graze on for so much of the year? - five harvests a year on that much land is a fantastic, gratuitous amount of agricultural wealth. Trying to arrange things in such a manner that this isn't true would be a work of true effort on the part of the Dragon-Blooded, but why do that?

              With five harvests a year and guaranteed good weather, the peasantry could very well be taxed 80-85% and still be fairly well off, oddly enough.

              The main difficulty is justifying the manpower required to keep 30% of the Blessed Isle in agriculture with the price of food as low as it would be under these circumstances.

              The only real fix is to ignore the figures presented for agriculture and substitute in more realistic ones.

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              • #22
                What is even there to fix, ren? All I'm seeing is "Creation's fertile lands tend to feed people better than Earth's analog lands". Which means more people can spend their time doing something other than farming.
                Why is it "very difficult" to manage five harvests per year without "significantly more manpower than 75%"?


                Check my Exalted homebrew!

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Synapse View Post
                  What is even there to fix, ren? All I'm seeing is "Creation's fertile lands tend to feed people better than Earth's analog lands". Which means more people can spend their time doing something other than farming.
                  Why is it "very difficult" to manage five harvests per year without "significantly more manpower than 75%"?
                  Actually, I did misread Quaint. I thought that said "75% in cities, the rest in the country." The actual quote is better. My fault for reading too quickly. Was due to be running errands.

                  75% of the population supported by agricultural work in a situation with 30% of a major continent devoted to agriculture, five harvests a year, favorable weather guaranteed, is still a problem, though, because the availability of food in such a scenario is sky-high. Prices would therefore be super low. The end result is a really odd brand of well-fed poverty being the predominant situation in the Realm. That would lead to rapid urbanization. The demographic shift would be enormous, and 30% of the Blessed Isle would not be dedicated to agriculture for long.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Ren9077 View Post
                    Actually, I did misread Quaint. I thought that said "75% in cities, the rest in the country." The actual quote is better. My fault for reading too quickly. Was due to be running errands.

                    75% of the population supported by agricultural work in a situation with 30% of a major continent devoted to agriculture, five harvests a year, favorable weather guaranteed, is still a problem, though, because the availability of food in such a scenario is sky-high. Prices would therefore be super low. The end result is a really odd brand of well-fed poverty being the predominant situation in the Realm. That would lead to rapid urbanization. The demographic shift would be enormous, and 30% of the Blessed Isle would not be dedicated to agriculture for long.
                    You are forgetting that as food prices drop, the value of growing food also drops. Delicacies, textiles, dyes, drugs, and other cash crops would become more competitive, stabilizing the price of food and providing continued reasons to work in agriculture. Well-fed poverty pretty much describes the state of most of the Blessed Isle's peasants.



                    Dead But Not Gone: Ghosts
                    Ghosts: A Revision (2nd Edition)
                    Masters of the Industrial Elements
                    Upon the Rock of Tradition: The Memorial Exalted
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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Kyeudo View Post

                      You are forgetting that as food prices drop, the value of growing food also drops. Delicacies, textiles, dyes, drugs, and other cash crops would become more competitive, stabilizing the price of food and providing continued reasons to work in agriculture.
                      I'm hardly forgetting that. However, I'm also not forgetting the fact that even prosperous peoples in the past have had their economies shifted by great agricultural success, and that's without the influence of five growing seasons per year and guaranteed favorable weather.

                      Originally posted by Kyeudo View Post
                      Well-fed poverty pretty much describes the state of most of the Blessed Isle's peasants.
                      Sustaining that state is both unfeasible and undesirable. Shifting resources away from agriculture and toward something else that's more useful than overaggressive agricultural production WOULD happen.

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                      • #26
                        The Realm very isn't interested in bettering the lives of its peasants - indeed, there are important religious proscriptions for the peasants to labor in the fields, rather than be off doing other things.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                          The Realm very isn't interested in bettering the lives of its peasants - indeed, there are important religious proscriptions for the peasants to labor in the fields, rather than be off doing other things.
                          Does the Realm have anything against the prosperity of the Realm itself, aristocracy included?

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                          • #28
                            Come on Ren. I'm with you about the realm probably not growing much more food than it needs. Maybe the average commoner eats meat twice a week and boom you tripple the need for grain. I just think you are overstating the effects of fertile lands. Sometimes you even make it sound as though the realm should be in economic trouble just because it is fertile, which is bogus of course. The number given that 30% are used for agriculture - I would'nt dwell on that for long. Its not a very sound number, especially since the amount of arable land probably isn't that big in the land of mountains.
                            I think the basic message is: the land is fertile, the average peasant is very effective in producing food, so more and bigger cities, more complex societies and much more varied jobs. Compared to, say, medieval europe.
                            And even in "dark ages" europe, 1 peasant working the fields could feed maybe 6 or 7 other people, at least. Still, you had 90% of the people or more living in the countryside. Why? I honestly don't know. Maybe you need more people than just peasants for a proper settlement. Maybe the economy was terribly inefficient. Probably both and more reasons.
                            Also, we know relatively little about how agriculture is done on the blessed isle. Five crops per year sounds so very good, but real world soil wouldn't sustain a single type of crop for very long, at least without modern fertilizer. So they need to use crop rotation or advanced fertilisation techniques, but I am not sure they are that advanced. The older method for refreshing the soil is leaving it alone for a few years, letting weeds and stuff grow, just waiting.
                            Anyways, exalted isn't very good at economics. It's more about awesome dudes duking it out than about figuring out how much arabel land is required to feed the blessed isle. So maybe just use the core message: fertile lands - less peasants needed - more of every other job - more cities - complex societies.

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                            • #29

                              Originally posted by Oriares View Post
                              Why wouldn't you get "peasants"?
                              Because that's kind of a feature of a society where the vast majority of people are farmers and even then it's hard to support a small non-farming upper class.


                              Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                              I think even if the long term yields might be inconsistent with real world societies, it doesn't necessarily mean "industrialization" or anything like that comes into play. I think it's viable* to see industrialization as the outcome of increased access to energy sources and trends in science, machining, trade, land ownership.
                              I agree... but it still wouldn't look like the canon Realm. Probably a society with tons of craftsmen/artisans, guilds being a huge social force (probably tied to patrician/Dynast houses or something, in the Realm...) Not lots of peasants.

                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                              I also find something erroneous in what seems like an assumption that pre-industrial farming was uniform throughout time and space.
                              Not so much that, as that this is way better than even the best real world pre-industrial times/places. Rice farming is already super productive...

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Quaint View Post
                                Come on Ren. I'm with you about the realm probably not growing much more food than it needs. Maybe the average commoner eats meat twice a week and boom you tripple the need for grain. I just think you are overstating the effects of fertile lands. Sometimes you even make it sound as though the realm should be in economic trouble just because it is fertile, which is bogus of course. The number given that 30% are used for agriculture - I would'nt dwell on that for long. Its not a very sound number, especially since the amount of arable land probably isn't that big in the land of mountains.
                                I think the basic message is: the land is fertile, the average peasant is very effective in producing food, so more and bigger cities, more complex societies and much more varied jobs. Compared to, say, medieval europe.
                                And even in "dark ages" europe, 1 peasant working the fields could feed maybe 6 or 7 other people, at least. Still, you had 90% of the people or more living in the countryside. Why? I honestly don't know. Maybe you need more people than just peasants for a proper settlement. Maybe the economy was terribly inefficient. Probably both and more reasons.
                                Also, we know relatively little about how agriculture is done on the blessed isle. Five crops per year sounds so very good, but real world soil wouldn't sustain a single type of crop for very long, at least without modern fertilizer. So they need to use crop rotation or advanced fertilisation techniques, but I am not sure they are that advanced. The older method for refreshing the soil is leaving it alone for a few years, letting weeds and stuff grow, just waiting.
                                Anyways, exalted isn't very good at economics. It's more about awesome dudes duking it out than about figuring out how much arabel land is required to feed the blessed isle. So maybe just use the core message: fertile lands - less peasants needed - more of every other job - more cities - complex societies.
                                That's the thing, though - when Exalted gives numbers like this, it's supposed to be sound. That's been a thing forever - the people behind it prided themselves on a setting created by history/sociology/etc wonks. So when we get numbers detailing the percentage of land devoted to agriculture, or the number of harvests per year, it's supposed to make sense. This specific bit, however, doesn't.

                                Yes, massively overproducing a commodity has detrimental effects on the economy as it relates to that commodity. Even more so when it's a staple. The price you can sell the commodity for plummets to meet the cost of production, and suddenly it's not worth anyone's time to produce. So everybody wants out of the game, except some people have to continue producing, because it's something that SOMEBODY has to be producing... Rebalancing production to demand from a situation of extreme unbalance is ugly. Instead, you could be devoting the resources previously allocated to the production of that commodity - in this case, land and labor - to the production of a different commodity, preserving the value of the original commodity while getting a second thing of value.

                                Due to the fact that the Realm has been doing this for hundreds of years, it can safely be assumed that the peasantry understands how to preserve soil under the conditions the Realm has created, and that their agricultural techniques have progressed beyond "put seed in dirt." Given that, the land area involved, five harvests, and guaranteed weather support, the Realm HAS to have ridiculous overproduction problems.

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