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Old May 2 2012, 12:55 PM   #41
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

Given what we see of tithing in Dragonflight, I suspect this is how it works from the Weyrwoman's perspective: quarterly tithe is due 1st Month, 4th month, 8th month and 11th month. (Pern has thirteen months of 28 days, so one month has to compensate for that. We can adjust the quarters depending on peak harvest times, but in the NC, 4th month is going to be fruits of spring and first veg, 8th high summer harvest and 11th month heavy in preserved foods.)

Before Turn's Day, then, the Headwoman and her assistants go through the Weyr stores and prepare a list of what the Weyr needs, what items were used more than expected and etc. The Headwoman presents that list to her Weyrwoman and after a meeting or two, she drafts up a formal request list to each of the three Major Holders of what is needed for tithe. Perhaps she involves her Juniors or assigns them to help the Headwoman at various stages. She could entreat them to deliver the notices - good for diplomacy and as practice for the day one of them succeeds her.

The Lord Holder in question responds with his ability to fulfill the request and the Weyrwoman hopes they all agree, but in reality there's probably haggling up to the day the tithe train leaves the hold. Depending on weather, the tithe train will likely have riders posted to observe it - Pern has bandits who'd love to carve off a couple head of cattle from a tithe train, and it also has Thread. For precious or sensitive material, or things like to spoil on the run, she might even entreat her Weyrleader to allow her a wing to run the deliveries up. The delivery of marks or jewels would be handled by one of the juniors - if not herself, because nothing says power relationship to your Lord Holder like turning up for a fine meal at his table and then receiving your marks.

Tithe arrives at the Weyr several days after it left, because Pern must have good roads to allow this frequent traveling back and forth. It gets unpacked on an incredibly busy day in the Bowl, with Headwoman, assistants, Weyrwoman and her juniors all trying to check items off their lists and keep weyrbrats from filching things from the wagons during the unpacking.

The stores are rechecked after stock, and then the cycle begins all over again. Many RPers would find this boring, but this is the economic lifeblood of the Weyr, and things going wrong (and there are so many points of failure!) mean minor catastrophe for the Weyr.
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Old May 2 2012, 08:00 PM   #42
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

Still scratching my head on how to get an estimate for the amount of land in the Fort Hold beholden area. Pern's painfully tiny size as quoted and displayed in the Atlas, and the frequent comparisons of the Northern Continent to the European landmass have me thinking that much as McCaffrey meant feet instead of meters, she meant miles instead of kilometers.

3000 "miles" from Fort to Cove? I made a straight line on the map that AM Calmaron is working on, labeled it 3000 miles and then shifted it. From the tip of Nerat to Benden's shores is ALSO about 3000 miles, which jibes well with the thought that Fort is six hours behind Benden. It is about 1,500 miles from the polar ice caps to the tip of Boll, which is the Northern Continent's widest point.

This would give Pern's Northern Continent a square mileage of 4.5 million miles. Wolfram Alpha helpfully informs us that this is a little larger than the size of the United States, or the extent of the Roman Empire's boundaries! Aha! We're on to something now. Europe is approximately 3.8 million square miles, so we're not too far off and we haven't accounted for all that water. Let's call that measurement a third water and lop it off. 3 million square miles is indeed, a little smaller than Europe.
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Old May 3 2012, 12:23 AM   #43
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

I'd think sub-Europe shopuld be adequate, given the population size.
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Old May 3 2012, 11:14 PM   #44
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

The Domesday Book calculator suggests that at-minimum, Pern has a population of 30 million. We might be able to nudge that lower by a couple million, but I think that's about right - Earth hasn't been lower than about 15 million since the invention of agriculture, which the Pernese most certainly have. And I suspect the Pernese are far from subsistence agriculture types - they have to be, to tithe, and they must have kept useful inventions like the cotton gin. We don't see any evidence of a vast class of people being used as slave labor. Drudges, yes. Vast fields of cotton workers or sugar plantations, no.

What Pern doesn't particularly have is a New World full of inhabitants who have been domesticating crops and animals independently. It's doubtful that the Pernese are going to find something equivalent to the potato or corn over on the Southern Continent. The land is open for expansion, yes, but the Pernese won't be stealing a whole new toolset to use.
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Old May 4 2012, 12:36 AM   #45
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

Mm. Though they do note how much more productive the land is in the south, thanks to the grubs - post-thread and/or grubbing at least, they're going to see some increased yields in crops.
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Old May 4 2012, 04:47 PM   #46
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

Using the measuring sticks I made for 3000 miles, it seems like each of the boxes formed by longitude and latitude on AM's map is about 315 miles long by 240 miles wide. At its widest, Fort Hold Territory does seem to be about 315 miles long, and at its longest (the edge of Gar to its border with Ruatha on the Eastern-facing shoreline of Big Bay) about 400 miles tall.

Wolfram Alpha says this is 126,000 miles squared, a little smaller than Germany. At the lowest setting in the Domesday Book calculator, this area would have a population of a little over three million. There would be 65,000+ without permanent residence (Holdless? Drudges?). 2.9+ million of the residents of Fort Hold Territory would live in one of about 6,500 villages, ranging in size from 30 residents up to 300.

A little over 200 thousand men and women would be living in up to 40 "towns" - here I would suggest that these represent minor holdings like Gar. There will be 7 large cities, perhaps representing the largest of Fort's beholden Minor Holds like the Seahold, with around 82,000+ folk living within those walls for a population of 12,000 people.

Fort Hold itself would have a population of 16,000+. The Domesday Book doesn't provide for a University, but we know Fort has two! I would recommend assuming that Fort Hold doesn't count Harper and Healer among its residents for tithe purposes and that the population of Fort is indeed around 10,000, with Healer and Harper splitting the 6,000 between them. (Domesday also accounts that our Fort would have 400 clergy! Pern doesn't have clergy so if you'd prefer a large population Hold and a small population Harper/Healer, you could use this number!)

Fort Hold itself would sit on 264 acres, but most importantly, a Fort Hold Territory the size of Germany would produce 7,179,480 livestock: 4,882,046 fowl, 2,297,434 dairy animals.

ETA: It isn't even 1% that Fort tithes to the Weyr if we use these numbers! Eep.

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Old Aug 13 2014, 03:46 AM   #47
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

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The DLG says the max number in a wing is 33. 50 would make more sense with the shift change. OTOH, the shift change barely makes sense in the Ninth Pass except as ossified tradition, as the greens are at least the size of a First Pass queen!
They may be larger, but if they don't have the stamina it's just that more hide to get scored once they're sluggish from fatigue. It'd be useful to find out a bit more how their cardiovascular fitness compared...if being bigger it's just no longer a strain, or if their heart and lungs are just a bit less efficient pound for pound.
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Old Aug 16 2014, 07:11 PM   #48
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They may be larger, but if they don't have the stamina it's just that more hide to get scored once they're sluggish from fatigue. It'd be useful to find out a bit more how their cardiovascular fitness compared...if being bigger it's just no longer a strain, or if their heart and lungs are just a bit less efficient pound for pound.
I don't think there's any evidence that the different colors are very different physiologically. Although it certainly would be one work-around for the problem.
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Old Aug 16 2014, 08:24 PM   #49
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

My take on the shift change among the lesser colours is the fact that there are more of them than there are of the Bronze and Golds - and possibly the Browns. Stamina may be a factor in this, but it would also be a necessity in order to give the larger numbers of of lesser Dragons the chance to gain 'Combat Experience', so to speak.
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Old Aug 18 2014, 11:31 AM   #50
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

I think a more sensible solution would have been to split the wings by color. Bronze and brown at the higher warhorse levels, with greens and blues down below as the mop up crew. And then the queens at their lower level for catching and chasing strays.
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Old Aug 18 2014, 01:21 PM   #51
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

I disagree, but then I see threadfall as something that needs a variety of tactics depending on how it falls: clumps or singles, in steady winds or gusts, dry and deadly or partially drowned in rain/frozen by a cold front. The range in flame breadth and length, the speed of a dragon, its acceleration, the tightness of its drops and turns... a good Wingleader will bring all those things to bear, but they won't all be available if you fly wings of just one colour.


...which is why I write threadfighting scenes the way I do, I guess. Hopefully they read plausibly enough!
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Old Aug 18 2014, 07:03 PM   #52
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...which is why I write threadfighting scenes the way I do, I guess. Hopefully they read plausibly enough!
I like how you write Falls. It seems pretty darn plausible to me!
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Old Dec 2 2014, 04:41 PM   #53
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<snip>What Pern doesn't particularly have is a New World full of inhabitants who have been domesticating crops and animals independently. It's doubtful that the Pernese are going to find something equivalent to the potato or corn over on the Southern Continent. The land is open for expansion, yes, but the Pernese won't be stealing a whole new toolset to use.
Corn Paradise River Stake/Hold, and many type of tubers
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Old Dec 2 2014, 04:45 PM   #54
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I believe wherry is the name for the entire clade. There's a domesticated type (possibly descended from the kind that picked off the chickens?) and at least a couple of wild predatory birds.
Yes, they go hunting for them, in Moreta: Dragonladay of Pern and
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Old Feb 28 2015, 11:57 PM   #55
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

30 million strikes me as too high a planetary population for Pern, even at the beginning of the 9th Pass. Sure, there's enough land to support that many people, but first you have to get that many people. And the only way to get more people on Pern is to breed them, from founding colony of 6,000ish.

Even over 2500 years, going from 6k to 30 million would require a very high growth rate for an agrarian society, even without factoring in major die-offs (like plagues) or any artificial limits on population expansion -- like wanting to keep your birth rate down for 50 years at a time, because it'd be damned awkward to have to meaningfully expand the amount of cultivated land the Weyrs have to protect in the middle of a Pass.
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Old Apr 9 2015, 05:17 PM   #56
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

Pern has to have a fairly large population in order to support industrialization absent technology. Pern has to have a fairly advanced level of industrialization to support the tithing system, to keep the dragons alive, to keep people alive.

Who builds the roads? Who farms? Who collects tithe? Who mines?

The human population anywhere hasn't been much smaller than 15 million since the discovery of agriculture. If there really were only 1.3 million Pernese, they'd have trouble keeping anyone in food because even with plows farming is labor intensive.
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Old Apr 10 2015, 08:28 PM   #57
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

That sort of depends on how you want to work the problem. I like the more sci-fi-y aspects of Pern, so I'm pretty married to considering most of Dragonsdawn canon. That tells us that 6,000 human beings founded Pern, and that's it. No one else came in. And they didn't bring frozen embryos that they could gestate quickly to give their population an early boost. They all made kids the old fashioned way, and have been doing so ever since.

So from a starting population of 6,000, how many people can you have 2500 years later, in the 9th Pass?

Take look at this page for some numbers on historical population growth. (The author of that page is making some economic arguments I don't necessarily agree with. I'm just grabbing his numbers because they're handy and look accurate.)

Prior to 1700ish, the total human population of the planet grew at about .12% per year. Some years were higher, some were lower, and in a couple of the worst Black Death years, growth was negative. But overall, over the planet, .12% population growth is what pre-industrial agriculture got us.

Run those numbers through a compound growth formula and you get a global population of 120,297 by the 9th Pass. Way too low! There's no way the kind of civilization we see in the books has scrapped by with a population that small for that long. And the Pernese have a lot of advantages our ancestors didn't. They didn't have to invent agriculture from scratch, they brought crops and livestock that are the results of thousands of years of improvement, they invented an extremely stable system of government, and they held onto a decent amount of medical knowledge. So 0.12% growth isn't realistic for the people of Pern.

After 1700ish, the rate jumped to .41%. Plug that into Pern, and we get a population of about 166 million by the 9th Pass. Now, I think that's way too high for the Pern we see in the books. Where would they put everyone? How could the Harper Hall train enough Harpers to serve that population? You can do it, but it requires better technology than the Pernese have, and I'm skeptical that you could do it without war, or maintain the extremely stable government Pern has.

But here's a question. Let's take this seemingly high number as accurate. When did Pern's population start getting big?

Landing, pop 6000
Year 200, pop 13,600
Year 500, pop 46,500
Year 1000, pop 359,000
Year 1300, pop 1,225,000
Year 1500, pop 2,777,000
Year 1900, pop 14,200,000

So at this growth rate, which is too high, it would take over 1300 years to get to 1.3 million people, and over 1900 years to get to 15 million! So if the Pernese civilization can't work with fewer than 15 million people, then they're in big trouble. Even assuming the population grew explosively the first few centuries and then tapered off as the last of the tech broke down, you're still looking at centuries of gap between the last time they had much in the way of agricultural machinery and the time they got their population into the millions.

Personally, I figure an average growth rate of about .3% -- still generous for agrarians, but accounting for things like plagues and Thread and all the other natural disasters we see -- which comes out to about 10 million people in the 9th Pass. (And, incidentally, about 3 million in the 8th Pass, which explains part of why the Oldtimers freaked out so badly. They came into a world three times more crowded than the one they left, and with a corresponding increase in what they had to protect.)

The easiest way to resolve this, of course, is just to discard whatever bits of canon don't make sense to you, which is totally valid. These are just the numbers I get when I take what makes sense to me and run with it.
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Old Apr 13 2017, 01:50 PM   #58
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

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They may be larger, but if they don't have the stamina it's just that more hide to get scored once they're sluggish from fatigue. It'd be useful to find out a bit more how their cardiovascular fitness compared...if being bigger it's just no longer a strain, or if their heart and lungs are just a bit less efficient pound for pound.
The only thing is, Ruth is smaller than a green, yet he flies an entire fall.
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Old Apr 13 2017, 02:55 PM   #59
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Yes: but he's got less mass to shift therefore he uses less energy per flight change.
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Old Apr 13 2017, 03:14 PM   #60
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Default Re: What is the tithe rate?

Also, I think your number of 500 dragons in a Weyr is too high. That may have been true in the earlier passes, but not by the 9th. In DF, when the Weyrs come forward, T'ron says they're bringing 1800 dragons and 17 queens. Divided among 5 Weyrs, that's only 360 per Weyr and 3.4 queens per Weyr. There is probably some fluctuation, larger Weyrs like Fort and Telgar with 400 dragons and 4 queens while smaller Weyrs have 300 dragons and 3 queens, but that's still less than 500 per Weyr.

Also, in MHOP, F'lon tells Robinton when they first meet that Benden is at full fighting strength. That's only about 50 years before thread. Losing 300+ dragons in 50 years is an extremely high mortality rate.

As far as general population size, The Pernese tend to be much healthier than we are, live longer, have children into much later in life, have fewer child-birth related deaths, a lower infant mortality, and a much larger families. Sorcha's mother was having kids when Sorcha was 18 (and older). It seems most people had families of 10 or more. Lessa seems to be an exception. Even if you say couples are only having 5 kids that grow to adulthood, you could have a population of close to 100,000 in 4 generations. There have been several plagues that have wiped out significant portions of the population, but even still, it's not hard to conceive of a population of 30 million by the Ninth Pass. And it's really only at that time that they run out of available land.

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Old Apr 15 2017, 09:14 AM   #61
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Sorcha was a baby. I was 23 when my mother had my youngest brother. And she was 21 when she had me. In three generations and 70 years one person has generated 53 or so - and that's with the benefit of contraceptives. None of the families at the grandchildren generation have more than four children, and at the great-grandchildren generation more than two. I'd expect most of the Pernese to start breeding younger than we do, and have more children. They would probably have much larger families, needing the extra hands for labour. I'd dispute a lower birth mortality rate though, because they don't have hi-tech hospitals. Without that at least two of the grandchildren and the spouse of one of the original children would've died in childbirth.
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Old Apr 16 2017, 01:38 AM   #62
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They may not have had hi-tech, but they did practice sanitation and used herbal medicine to great effect. They also had c-section. Most women died in childbirth, or right after because of poor hygiene, and infection. Just washing their hands and keeping clean would dramatically reduce the death rate - half of all maternal deaths were due to childbed fever.

Also, again, the Pernese are much healthier as a population, no one, except possibly the holdless are on the verge of starvation. Yes, they eat better in the Weyrs and Halls, but that's mainly quality, not quantity. And most infant deaths are as a result of poor nutrition.

Added all together, with their overall healthiness and good hygiene as well as adequate nutrition, it's not unreasonable to assume they had lower infant mortality and birth death rates
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Old Apr 16 2017, 07:07 AM   #63
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No amount of hygene or good health of the mother would've stopped my daughter from dying of blood loss during a transverse delivery. (head and shoulder first.) All three of the mothers I mentioned would've simply died of loss of blood after a difficult delivery.

As for childbed fever, milk fever and many other complications that we seldom hear of with modern medicine available, that may be up to the training and experience of the midwife. They aren't specifically mentioned in Anne's books, but when I had one in my fanfiction I gave her a year's training in Healer Hall.

Contraception is mentioned in Anne's books. It wouldn't be commented on now, but at one stage Lessa was described as having assisted at an abortion, and somewhere else "herbs" are mentioned for contraceptives. Both ideas would have been radical and extremely controversial at the time Anne wrote the books.

I still think the birth rate would be very much higher than in our world, but the infant and maternal mortality rates would also be higher than in those modern countries that have a universally available public health system.
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Old Apr 16 2017, 07:50 AM   #64
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Pern has to have a fairly large population in order to support industrialization absent technology. Pern has to have a fairly advanced level of industrialization to support the tithing system, to keep the dragons alive, to keep people alive.

Who builds the roads? Who farms? Who collects tithe? Who mines?
Tithing long pre-dates industrialisation. It is simply an agreed percentage, not always 1/10th, of whatever crops or produce you have. So tithes would be paid mainly in goods, given the medieval style of the Pern worldbuilding. If you were a herder, heardbeasts, if you were a weaver, a bolt of cloth and so on.

Who builds the roads? I asked this ages ago on the New Kitchen Table in a thread called "infrastructure." Using the same medieval archetype, the local Lord Holder would be responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, and probably thread-shelters for the Lilcamp trader waggons. I don't know about runner traces, but probably them as well.

Cot-holders farm. Given the control that the local Lord Holders have over them, I suspect they are tenant farmers, not owners of the land.

Minecrafthall oversees the mining, a highly skilled and dangerous operation in pre-industrial times. It would be interesting to know whether they pay rent or a tithe to the local landowner.

Who collects the tithes is an interesting one - they are only mentioned in passing when a tithe-train arrives or doesn't arrive at a weyr, which only describes the end of the process, not the beginning. The person who does the management part of the Lord Holder's domains appears to be called "Warder" and I would imagine that collecting and delivering tithes would be in his field of work.
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