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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

N Katsyev

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Sovereign Great Novgorod



[anchor=threshold]Upon the Threshold[/anchor]

(Title, Archive, Basic Stats)



[anchor=dir]Great Directory[/anchor]

[anchorlink=threshold]The Threshold[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=stat]Basic Stats[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=antechamber]The Antechamber[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=gov]Government[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=culture]Culture[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=religion]Religion[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=reception]Reception Hall[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=notes]Character Notes[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=char]Characters[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=records]Grand Gallery of Records[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=mil]Military[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=dip]Diplomacy[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=eco]Economy[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=library]Library and Open Gardens[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=pre]Pre-History[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=chap1]Turmoil Upon the Borders[/anchorlink]
[anchorlink=ults]Pravda and NePravda[/anchorlink]



[anchor=stat]Basic Stats[/anchor]
Country: Novgorod - His Majesty Novgorod the Great - Sovereign Great Novgorod.
Dominant Religion: Russian Orthodox Christianity.
Dominant Culture: Russian.
Significant Culture(s): Ugric.
Statistical Provinces and Ports: 10/10, 1/1
Province List and Value: Novgorod 5, Andoma 2, Arkhanglsk 1, Ingria 2-Port, Kola 0, Ladoga 2, Olonets 1, Onega 0, Pomoria 0, Vologda 1.
Land and Sea Strength: 3/3, 1/1
Tech and Morale Level: 8/7, 9/10
Economic Strength: 3/3
Modifiers:
+1 technology/-1 morale : Non-feudal state


[anchorlink=dir]Return to the Directory[/anchorlink]​
 
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[anchor=antechamber]The Antechamber
(Government, Culture, Religion)

[/anchor]


[anchor=gov]Government[/anchor]
The veche (council) was the highest authority in the Novgorodskaya feodal'naya respublika, which could comprise urban population, as well as free rural population. This governmental body had the power to elect posadniks, tysyatskys (military commanders), and even archbishops (starting from 1156) from among the boyars. Archbishop was the head of the executive branch of the government and the richest feudal lord of Novgorod, who possessed most of the lands and sources of income, transferred to him from the Kievan prince. The Archbishop was in charge of the republican treasury and foreign relations and even had the right to prosecute. Regular tradespeople and craftsmen also participated in the political affairs of Novgorod the Great. They had their own "unions" and were divided into konchans (кончане, or those living at the edge of the city), ulichans (уличанe, or those living on the city streets), and sotnyas (сотни, or hundreds) Starting from the 12th century, the heads of these unions began to exercise their right to ratify the most important republican documents. A ruler of Novgorod was invited by the veche from other principalities, which would then sign a contract with him, called ryad. This contract protected the interests of the Novgorodian boyars. The duties of the ruler of the Novgorodskaya feodal'naya respublika were limited. First and foremost, he was a military leader. He couldn’t exercise the right to prosecute. The city life was governed by electable posadnik, who was the mediator between the public and the Novgorodian kniaz. The latter's residence was moved from the city center (called Детинец, or Detinets) to the outskirts of Novgorod (Городище, or Gorodische). Starting with Alexander Nevsky, the rulers of Novgorod had been chosen from among the princes of Vladimir since the mid-13th century. (this, well written and informative piece directly drawn from Dewey)


[anchor=culture]Culture[/anchor]


[anchor=religion]Religion[/anchor]


[anchorlink=dir]Return to the Directory[/anchorlink]​
 
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[anchor=reception]The Reception Hall
(Characters and Character Notes)

[/anchor]


[anchor=notes]Character Notes[/anchor]

[anchor=char]Characters[/anchor]

Anatoly Tverdislavitch, Elected Prince of Novgorod 1380 - ???? Invited in 1380 to become the Kniaz, or Prince, of Novgorod by a veche meeting. He was born in Vladimir and was a minor nobleman from that state. Tverdislavich is seen as an unremarkable choice and safe for the ambitions of those in the city. *1355 Aleksandrov

Viktor Novikov, Posadnik Tverdislavich is useful to his ambitions but he despises the Kniaz as a dullard. *1332 Staraya Russa, m. 1358 (Leona Menlikova)

Yuri Massalitinov, Tysyatskiy A conservative military commander and does not support military adventure. He fears Moscow, Lithuania, Sweden, and the Knights of the Baltic. He opposes the Posadnik. *1344 Novgorod, m. 1370 (Iriana Danilova)

Grigoriy Orlov, Archbishop The Archbishop is troubled by the state of the Orthodox church. He is worried about the weakening of the Empire in Constantinople and he fears the ambitions of Moscow. *1330 Torzhok

Grigoriy Grigoritch Polotovski, Boyar Prince A minor nobleman of some clear ambition, if not the most ability. *1348 Porkhov, m. 1370 (Irena Mikhailovna)

Andrey Grigoritch Polotovski, First son of Grigoriy Grigoritch. *1372 Pskov.

Yuri Grigoritch Polotovski, Second son of Grigoriy Grigoritch. *1380 Novgorod.

Basil Vasilivitch Monorov, Boyar An influential and rather wealthy patriarch. *1351 Novgorod, m. 1372 (Olga Vladimirovna)




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[anchor=records]Grand Gallery of Records
(Military, Diplomacy, Economy)

[/anchor]


[anchor=mil]Military[/anchor]

[anchor=dip]Diplomacy[/anchor]

[anchor=eco]Economy[/anchor]
The economy of the Novgorodskaya feodal'naya respublika was mainly based on farming and cattle breeding. Hunting, beekeeping, and fishing were also widely spread. In most of the regions of the republic, these different "industries" were combined with farming. They used to mine iron on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Staraya Russa and other localities of the Novgorodskaya feodal'naya respublika were known for their saltworks. Flax and hop cultivation were also of significant importance. Countryside products, such as furs, beeswax, honey, fish, lard, flax, and hop, were sold on the market and exported to other Russian cities or abroad. The Novgorodian merchants traded with Sweden and German and Danish cities.

More than a half of all Novgorodian privately owned lands had been concentrated in the hands of some 30-40 noble boyar families by the 14th-15th century. These vast estates served as material resources, which secured political supremacy of the boyars. The House of St. Sophia of Novgorod – the main ecclesiastic establishment of Novgorod - was their chief rival in terms of landownership. Its votchinas were located in the most economically developed regions of the Novgorodskaya feodal'naya respublika. Yuriev Monastery, Arkazhsky Monastery, Antoniev Monastery and some other privileged monasteries are known to have been big landowners. There were also the so-called zhityi lyudi, who owned less land than the boyars, and unprivileged small votchina owners called svoyezemtsy (своеземцы, or private landowners). The most common form of labor exploitation – the system of metayage – was typical for the afore-mentioned categories of landowners. Their household economies were mostly serviced by the kholops, whose number had been constantly decreasing. Along with the metayage, monetary payments began to gain a significant appearance.

Novgorodian merchants traded with the Hanseatic League as delineated in the Treaty of 1270. Twice each year, in the summer and winter, merchants came to Novgorod by both land and sea. If merchants arrived by sea, Novgorodian guides were sent to meet them and direct them through riverways to the city. Safety was guaranteed to Hansa merchants once they reached Novgorod’s territories. All foreign trade within Novgorod took place in Peterhof (established in the late 12th century) which was located on the merchant side of the Volkhov River. As many as 200 foreign merchants resided in this district each season. While residing in Peterhof, merchants were subject to their own rules and regulations and appointed their own officials. In exchange for squirrel pelts, Hansa merchants traded Flemish cloth, salt, wine, beer, herring, metal products, fruit, and most significantly, silver. (This very well compiled and informative piece from Dewey.)


[anchorlink=dir]Return to the Directory[/anchorlink]​
 
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[anchor=library]Library and Open Garden
(History and Flavour)

[/anchor]


[anchor=prehist]Pre-History[/anchor]
One of the oldest Russian cities, Novgorod is a commercial and cultural center of medieval Europe. Rurik, who is said to have founded the dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus in 862, was invited by the inhabitants of Novgorod to rule them, according to unreliable early accounts. Culturally, the city was the equal of Kiev; the bulk of ancient manuscripts originated in Novgorod. The capital was transferred to Kiev by Oleg in 886, but Novgorod remained the chief center of foreign trade. It obtained self-government in 997 and achieved independence from Kiev in 1136, when it became the capital of an independent republic, Sovereign Great Novgorod, that embraced the whole of northern Russia to the Urals. Novgorod was governed by a popular assembly or veche that elected—and often exiled—the Princes. Although they held supreme military and judicial powers, the Princes had no legislative or administrative functions; these powers were vested in elected magistrates. However, the popular assemblies were disorderly, and power was gradually amassed by the aristocracy.

The strength of the republic rested on its economic prosperity. Situated on the great trade route to the Volga valley, it became, with London, Bruges, and Bergen, one of the four chief trade centers of the Hanseatic League. German merchants had a colony in Novgorod. Furs, hides, wax, honey, flax, and tar were the chief exports. Cloth and metals were imported from Europe and corn from central Russia. Transit trade with Central Asia reached a great volume. The enterprising merchants of Novgorod extended the power of the republic over the entire north of Russia, levied tribute even beyond the Urals, and founded many colonies. The citizens of Novgorod repulsed the attacks of the Teutonic Knights and Livonian Knights and of the Swedes and escaped the Mongol invasion. At its height, in the 14th cent., its population rose to c.400,000. Its splendor during that period, its hundreds of churches, its great shops and arsenals, its huge fairs, have all furnished rich themes for later Russian art and folklore. (This well written and informative piece from Dewey.)


[anchor=chap1]Turmoil Upon the Borders[/anchor]
Until 1385...
The most significant events for Novgorod have been upon her borders. War had raged between the Baltic Orders and the Lithuanians, and even the Moscovites launched a failed campaign toward the Lithuanians. To her credit, Novgorod largely stayed out of this chaos. The great northern city instead waits and watches carefully all around, seeking ever to defend her holdings, to maintain her close links with Pskov and her Baltic trading partners....


[anchor=ults]Pravda and NePravda[/anchor]

[anchorlink=dir]Return to the Directory[/anchorlink]​
 
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N Katsyev

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On this page shall be first RP post.

(this is the last of the reserved posts... One may post after this, though it shall no doubt be sometime before the court is in working order and this includes replies.)
 
Last edited:

unmerged(17489)

General
Jun 7, 2003
2.475
7
Swedish-Russian borderland. March

A Secret Visit


Knut Bosson didn't know for how long he had travelled the woods. The coldness was freezing as the snow creaked below the horse's hooves. The vast area of trees surrounded them in every direction, and the road to Ladoga seemed endless. It was two weeks since they left Korsholm, the native Finns living there had warned them that travelling the woods was extremely dangerous but Knut hadn't listened. He didn't believe in such creatures as trolls or dwarves wandering the woods, and there were hardly any robbers in these uninhabited parts of Sveariket. If there were they would taste his and his men's hard steel.

However, he seemed to have underestimated an even more dangerous foe, the vast Karelian distances. Riding across Sweden between Stockholm and Lödöse took maybe one and a half week, but here he had rode twice that and there still wasn't a single sign of humanity or civilization. Only pines, spruces, and a hare every now and then. He had also catched a glimpse of some unknown creatures, but they all escaped when the Swedes came riding. Even the huge horse-like beast with an impressive crown of horns ran like a dog when the travellers got near. The men wanted to shoot the elk but Knut had said no, such a majestic beauty ought to be spared. He also thought that if the forest gods that the Finns worshipped existed, it would be best not to wake their fury. Had he said that loud he would've been labelled heretic and burnt alive, though.

They had food for them and the horses for four month, carried on sleighs taken from the Korsholm castle. It was smoked ham, lots of salted fish and some bear meat, along with potatoes. They got water from melting snow and rivers where the ice had already melted, and it was the best water Knut had ever tasted. So much better than the dirty wells of Stockholm or Mariefred. He feared that they had taken the wrong way, gone towards the edge of the world instead of towards lake Ladoga and the Russian part of Karelia. He couldn't tell the men this, cause their morale would go down, but he thought it. It was madness to take the shortcut through the forests really... he should've followed the coast to Viborg, but it was too late to turn back now. Too late to admit that he might have been mistaken.

He wondered what the Rus were like, he had never actually met one. His father had told him about them as rough warriors with horned helmets, attacking anything. They claimed to be christian and believed in God, but they did not acknowledge the supremacy of the supreme pontiff, something Knut found extremely weird. Personally, he found the Finnish pagan gods more interesting and powerful than the bleeding so called Messiah on the cross who seemed unable to defeat a peasant let alone an army led by Ukko, the Finnish thunder god. And why would Jumala, the Finnish name of the Messiah's father, be anything different with such a weak son? But it seemed strange to him that people who acknowledged Jumala did not accept the pope as their spiritual leader. The Swedes didn't make much difference between them and the pagans who worshipped the sun and the moon up in the north anyway. Knut told the people in Korsholm that he was going to Viborg, but that it might take a while. Noone else than his closest and most trustworthy men that he had chosen to follow him knew their real destination, and it must be kept a secret. For his own safety.
 

N Katsyev

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Meeting Upon the Frontier


"So whut's we doin'out'ere anyway? 'Side starvin and freezin", grumbled a thickset young man with wispy sandy-brown hair, a short shaggy beard and what seemed to be a permanent frown.

The largest of the three, a powerfully built, gold bearded man simply glared at the young man with the sandy-brown hair. It had been now two weeks since they left the last real town and the gold-bearded man, Alexei, had had his fill of the man with the permanent frown, Kolya. The air was dreadfully still in the forest and the freezing touch of it seem to lie heavily upon all, colouring the face, making the eyes water and causing one's breath to come out in great clouds that simply hung in the air. The silence of the place seemingly broken only by Kolya's complaints.

The third of their group, Vanya, was a much more relaxed and quiet sort with alert, keen eyes. Vanya was shorter than the other two and of a lighter build, he was a tracker and hunter out of Ladoga and probably the most important in terms of survival in their party. There were others however, a whole host, yet it was these three that wandered the wilderness. If news came, they would relay it to the entire host, which would then move. For these two weeks however it had been like this, complaints amidst the silence majesty of the wild, and a building desire in Alexei to rearrange Kolya's face.

"Hey, ah said…", began Kolya again before he was interrupted by Alexei quickly turning about and grabbing the young man by the collar. Kolya's eyes opened wide in shock.

"I hear what you said," growled Alexei, "And if you say it again, there's nothing in this world that will save your worthless hide." Alexei sneered, holding Kolya's collar a moment longer before thrusting him backward.

The younger Kolya stumbled back, but his face hardened and with a cry he rushed forward as Alexei turned and grabbed the larger man about the throat with his arm. Vanya sighed and shut his eyes a moment before meandering over to a nearby maple and hunkering down against it, watching the forest about them while his companions had their scuffle. Kolya though had attacked in rage, or had he thought about it a moment longer, he might not have been so brazen to leap upon the larger and grizzled warrior. For soon Alexei's elbow found its way into Kolya's ribs so forcefully that wrenched the smaller man Alexei's back. Kolya was still bent with pain from the blow to his ribs when Alexei's fist impacted solidly with the side of his face, in a hit sending the younger, smaller man to the ground like a sack of bricks.

It was only then that Alexei heard Vanya's hisses to be silent. Turning, Alexei now saw the cause of these previously unheard hisses, a group of travelers it seemed had emerged over a distant hill, winding down its slope. Unbeknownst to them, it was Knut Bosson and his company. What Alexei and Vanya did know (and what Kolya would have known had he been more than semi-conscious at that moment) was that they looked armed. Alexei's lip curled and he grabbed the crossbow off the fallen Kolya, quickly working a bolt into it, though Vanya held up his hand, "Not yet, they may be useful."

"They may be Swedes", answered Alexei gruffly.

"That doesn't mean they can't be useful," said Vanya with annoyance, though his hand had instinctively come to rest upon the hilt of his sword.

Alexei only snorted arrogantly, and crossbow loaded he stood slightly to the side of and behind Vanya. Kolya still lie, with a bleeding cut under his eye, upon the snow. Vanya put his hand to his face and called out across the still and frozen air, "Hail!" The call was loud and deep and reverberated off the near trees, far trees and hill alike. Alexei only shook his head, if they were Swedes, they were probably after the same thing as his company - better to shoot first and ask questions later. Yet still for a reason even Alexei couldn't figure out, Vanya seemed to exude a sort of confidence and authority that demanded respect at least.
 

unmerged(17489)

General
Jun 7, 2003
2.475
7
Swedish-Russian Borderland, March

A Secret Visit


"Herr Bosson, we are wondering how you are able to orientate in this sign-less wilderness." a daring guard asked. "There are only trees, no landmarks on a hundred mile's distance!"

"That's none of your business" muttered the nobleman back. Knut hadn't been himself lately, his before so calm temperament had changed and now he was aggressive against all and everyone. It was quiet for a while until the man again opened his mouth. Knut was amazed by his courage.

"So when will we arrive?"

"We arrive when we arrive, I can't say exactly what day. Stop being so god damn inquisitive, Ulf."

"Ok, ok. You're the chief. We trust you Knut." said Ulf and walked away from Knut towards two other men in the company obviously not satisfied with the answeres he had got.

Knut looked at them as they sat down and began discussing. They were probably discussing his sanity now, perhaps even preparing mutiny. What did Knut care? They would probably starve or freeze to death out here anyway. The priest who had followed them had already given up praying for their well-being and was now instead asking the wooden cross they carried for salvation in heaven and their families' continued well-being without them. But did God hear them so far out in the wilderness? It was one week of travel between Stockholm and Lödöse, a distance of between about 25 and 50 miles depending on where you were from. Miles were defined differently all over Sweden, in Finland a mile was about 6000 metres or 17000 feet while it was more than twice that in Västergötland. That distance was covered in a week on good roads, let's say we should make that in two weeks if we go through the forests. A quick calculation in his head and Bo figured they must be 200 miles away from Korsholm now. 200 miles away from civilization, still pushing forward towards the edge of the world. At least he'd get to see it, he thought. He had always wondered what it was like to stand looking down at the perilous beasts roaming the underworld.

His stomach was rumbling, he hadn't eaten anything yesterday. One of the men had told him a week ago that it'd be necessary to limit the food or else they would run out of things to eat soon. Hunger wasn't a problem though, because that was only a feeling. It could be ignored, or even enjoyed if you exerted yourself enough. He had begun to get a headache though, and he noticed how everything became more and more tiring. He had also become more irritated, and since his men were the only ones nearby they had to stand his fits of rage. He had had one yesterday, when Ulf had been accused of stealing someone else's food. He kept yelling at the boys all night about how they had to cooperate and work together, although he knew such a telling-off would only serve to further decrease the morale among the men. He was a bad leader, bringing his closest men with him on a suicide mission into the Finnish forests.

They kept travelling in quietness that day. For every hill they approached Knuts imagination pictured houses and humans behind it but everytime they reached the top he always got dissapointed, and the hope to find civilization became smaller and smaller. What instead grew was the frustration of not finding anything, the despair of being alone so deep inside the forest that not even the largest of bonfires would create a pillar of smoke tall enough that anyone except themselves would see it. They were doomed, the gods had abondoned them. Knut began praying, honest for the first time in his life, to both God and Ukko to lead them right... and it'd be good if they hurried!

"Herr Bosson, shouldn't we stop soon?" one of the guards said to him. "The horses are tired." Knut prepared to yell at him for disturbing his concentration, but changed his mind when he noticed how it had begun to darken around him. He must've fallen asleep, he thought, it was indeed time to call it a night.

"Yes, indeed, let's stay at that hill over there." he said. His naive imagination of a village behind the hill came back, and he dreamed of sleeping in a warm bed at some rich farm tonight instead of here at the hard and cold ground.

As they reached the top of the hill there was no village though, and Knut's heart fell. What did he expect, a Russian welcome envoy? he thought sarcastically. Suddenly a young man walked up to him, he was only 20 years old but Knut liked him a lot. Especially since both his parents were native Finns, christian but still.

"Herr Bosson, do you hear that?"

Hear what, my crying heart? My rumbling stomach? Knut thought acrimoniously but kept quiet. Then suddenly he heard it too. Was that a human voice? If it was, it spoke in a foreign language that Knut couldn't understand.

"Is it animal sounds or could it be...?"

The smile on the young man's face answered his question. He was blonde, born to Finnish parents but with the Swedish sounding name Sven, and his face shone of happiness. A man stepped out of the woods, perhaps 25 metres away from them. He was so large that Knut first thought it was one of the giants that was said to inhabit the woods and he had a golden beard with not a single sign of gray hair in it.

"Hail!" Knut had never heard someone speak with such a strange accent before. Yet he knew where the man was from.

"Kai, come here!" Knut shouted and Kai came, naturally followed by the rest of the men. "Russians!" Russians? Is it really true, did he mean humans? When the men saw where Knut was pointing they all made big eyes. A human indeed, they had arrived.

"Hail!" Knut answered, and stared at the man like if it was the first time in his life that he saw a human being. "What's your name?"

Kai translated with a slightly shaking voice.