When thinking about medieval trade routes, the Silk Road most likely springs to mind.
Although, trade did move from East to West, the majority of goods moved along commercial lanes running north to south and back. The great rivers of the Oder, Elbe and Rhine facilitated the movement of large and heavy items destined for the Baltic. Cost of transport, tolls and taxes were relatively speaking regulated or set throughout the Empire. Those kingdoms wanting to avoid the land and river routes did business with the Empire’s commercial rivals of Venice, Genoa, the Hanseatic League.
Think of goods such as, salt, wool, spices, incense, gold and silver products crammed into wagons or the holds of ships meandering the long routes taking weeks to reach their final destinations. Over long distances, trade was not without risk from piracy, bandits or war. Even the relative short distances between cities, towns and hamlets also incurred risks, such that merchants often protected their goods with armed escorts.
For the average peasant, everyday life in agrarian Europe was not terribly affected by the export/import of goods. His daily necessities, if not cultivated or raised, were traded with his neighbor or brought to market.
The reader wishing to find an in depth coverage of trade routes, medieval commerce, the mercantile system, check some the links given here. You will have a better understanding of how trade was to become an interlocking fabric to bring kingdoms to war or establish unusual alliances.
Application to the DBA campaign system.
With the DBA 2.2 campaign option, the possession of cities and own capital were a source for revenue or prestige points which during the Winter season could be used to re-build armies.
By expanding the campaign year to reflect nine months in place of three seasons, this would create more avenues for revenue. Some ideas I have been exploring.
One need not be allied militarily to open commerce. The trade between two adjacent allied kingdoms could generate “prestige points”. Another kingdom can offer passage of goods between two others and charge a toll. As most commercial activity would take place within the Empire, values would become standard for all within the Empire.
Simplicity is the key and adding more substance to the original campaign set, I wish to avoid overly complicated system overloaded with bookkeeping. I see no need to deviate from the Winter phase to add all the pluses and minuses to be expressed as Prestige Points.
The next post will summarize the campaign additions to date and outline a test period for the Kingdom of Bavaria, now split in four factions.