Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

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Zor
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Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2018-09-02 03:44am

In this scenario you are The King of a human kingdom at a roughly Renaissance level of technological development. Said kingdom has a territory of 500,000 km^2, a population of 12 million, a reasonable level of economic prosperity, a navy of a hundred caravels and galleys, a standing army of 10,000 royal troops (standing army of heavy infantry with pike, sword and arquebus with light cavalry), 15,000 knights, 40,000 sergeants (not too disimilar to the royal infantry troops in terms of gear) and 120,000 feudal levies raised by your nobles. Said kingdom is one of nine of said kingdoms on your part of the continent which has about five or six such zones depending on how you define things and another continent to the north having two more such zones. About three years ago you payed a guy to see if he could circumnavigate the globe to find an easy way to legendary spice markets. A few months ago he has come back with strange news.

First of all he did not find the sea route to the kingdoms of the far west as there there was another continent in the Great Ocean in the way about 2,000 km across the sea. Said continent was notable for being populated by a strange strain (or rather strains) of men. One which has an ancient civilization in which castes have been developed to a degree far beyond anything of any baseline human society. There are five castes in this society.
  • Porters: 1.4 to 1.6 meters tall, 50-70 kilogram average weight. Both genders are broad shouldered, barrel chested, strong legs and have hard soled feat though they often are given simple sandals. Their most notable features have to do with their skulls in that the brain case has been reduced considerably. Porters are smarter than chimpanzees but dumber than a baseline human. Most of them can only speak a few hundred words and forming a rough sentence takes considerable concentration. Not that they are expected to speak much. Porters do simple brute force jobs such as mining and digging and carrying stuff about and pulling carts. They are also naturally docile and defer to others. The advantage of the reduced brainsize is the fact that they breed quickly, with a porter reaching physical maturity at age five, though they rarely live more than 40 years. They usually wear simple tunics, occasionally augmented by pants.
  • Farmers: Averaging between 1.6 to 1.8 meters tall they have a build closer to the human baseline but they have long ears and a thin layer of fur. They have enlarged noses and pointed ears and a good sense of smell and brains possessing human level intelligence. Both male and female Farmers have considerable instincts in regards to caring and are well suited to tending crops and cultivating life. They are also cowards when it comes to violence.
  • Artisans: 1 to 1.3 meters tall, 40-60 kg weight. They have long arms and short legs and a high level of dexterity and vision well adapted to fine detail work. Artisans tend towards impressionistic savantism. If they are introduced to a task at an early age they will become fascinated with said task, seek to master it and hone their abilities to a fine degree. They also serve as scribes, clerks and accountants. Like Farmers they are cowards in regards to violence.
  • Mariners: 1.5 to 1.7 meters tall weighing 50-70 kg. They have a considerable layer of fat in their skin, no external ears, nicitating membranes and hair that does not grow more than 5cm from their heads. They have no nose but rather a set of nostril slits that can close and open at will. They can swim at up to 10km/h over short distances, hold their breath for up to 10 minutes and can easily swim kilometers. Their limbs are strong with feet with long webbed toes and webbed hands. They man the fishing boats, canal barges and logistical ships.
  • Soldiers: 2-2.2 meters tall weighing in 130 to 160 kg. Both male and female Soldiers possess three times the average upper body strength of an average heathy human male. They have a heavily built body with broad shoulders and powerful muscles. Their skulls are thick and their brains have an extra layer of cushioning inside. Their skins grow a layer of hard scales over much of their body and their fingernails have been elongated to claws. They possess human level intelligence with quick reaction times and are raised from childhood in combat. Calmness under fire and discipline is a key characteristic. In battle they are usually clad in heavy steel armor (either lamellar or plate, often 2-3mm thick) and are armed with massive greatbows, three meter halberds, 2 meter long greatswords and 75cm warhammers.
  • Administrators: 1.6 to 1.8 meters tall with a thin build, Administrators have slender builds, enlarged brains (about 1.5 times larger than that of a human baseline), reinforced spines and large eyes. If it was not for their coloration and hair people would often think of them as looking a bit like the classical grey aliens. Administrators have very good memories. Farmers, Artisans and Soldiers are programmed to recognize and obey Administrators (especially those that they have been conditioned to see as their immediate superiors) and hold them in deference. They are the Bureaucrats and Lords of this society, as well as the husbanders selecting individuals from the subordinate castes and breeding them to produce more formidable soldiers, more deft artisans, farmers better able to coax crops from the soil and more obedient porters. They also act as artists, architects, composers and designers. Administrators are notable in that they have an average lifespan of 130 years.
The population breakdown is that it is 50% Porters, 24% Farmers, 15% Artisan, 3% Mariner, 2% Warrior and 1% Administrators. Though the explorer you sent was only able to map part of the coastline of this continent it has some 15,000,000 km^2, has a total population of 300,000,000 and is divided into thirty two nations which are oddly structured and orderly. Beyond the occasional crime of passion, drunken act, theft of food or bit of unsanctioned breeding crime is basically unknown. They don't use money beyond iron reward tokens and a form of credit issued between nations for international trade (which is fairly common) with production centered in cities built around huge pyramidal nexii from who's stores food, raw materials and goods are distributed to artisan communes in exchange for finished products in a system of affairs managed by Administrators who oversee the allocation of resources and the large projects such as canals, irrigation systems, sewers, aqueducts and so forth. The states do war with each other from time to time with Administrator Generals leading legions of Warriors. Outside of the bearing of children and nursing (a task often delegated to Porters) they have no concept of Gender Roles. They have a sort of large rodent similar to capybara if enlarged somewhat which they breed for meat and occasionally to pull carts and some domesticated fowl, smaller rodents and fish but they have no analogs to horses, camels or cattle as serious beasts of burden leaving aside Porters. They had to have some repair work done, which the Administrators were glad to offer.

You wondered how much of that story was true until one day a fleet of five caravels came into your capital from the open sea with sails bearing strange geometric patterns. These proved to be manned by a crew of mariners, artisans and porters and carried payloads of Soldiers and a team of Administrators to speak to you in only slightly accented. Previously it had been believed that they lived on an globe which either A: possessed only one continent or B: possibly had multiple continents but all others beyond their own were so far away that attempting to reach them was suicide, but since the arrival of the foreigners they had changed their minds on the subject in light of evidence. As such they took notes when they repaired the explorer's ship an soon enough replicated it. They come on behalf of the 279th Triarchy of the state of Jianzotas Korzho and seek to investigate the opportunities and threats were offered by your realm.

Fortunately diseases which infect baseline humans and these creatures are different enough so they are not likely to cross over either way.

What do you do?

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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2018-09-02 09:14am

Open Peaceful negotiations, working towards trade.

I so no need to go to war with these new civilizations (and indeed, they outnumber me).

So long as we both agree 'what works for our kingdom may not work for other kingdoms', there should be no problems.
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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by KraytKing » 2018-09-02 03:26pm

Actually, if the kingdoms are all roughly similar in population, you should outnumber each of them by a considerable margin. However, even if you can isolate one of them, their troops are going to be qualitatively far superior to yours. Each of their soldiers is going to be roughly akin to The Mountain That Rides, except they can't ride. The heavy horse is going to be an advantage, but it'll be like riding into a brick wall. Their pikes and even swords probably has better reach in their hands than my lances, and even if it doesn't, their bodies are going to be more akin to the horse than ordinary infantry.

More feasible than conquering them, however, may be colonization. When the envoys show up, I'll attack them with a few hundred of my heaviest infantry and try to take as many soldiers prisoner as possible. The others I expect will come along quietly. I want to see if they'll only take orders from administrators or if they'll switch to my side with the administrators dead.
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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Jub » 2018-09-02 06:17pm

These caste nations are going to need to eat a lot more than a baseline civilization would. Most of their population, porters included will need to have more calories than we do to stay healthy. This is especially true for their soldiers, that's going to make it really hard for them to get to you as carrying enough supplies to feed your soldiers, while also carrying enough that the Mariners are able to keep that layer of fat thick. This is if the ships of these caste nations can even reach the other side of the ocean without carrying an army to war, that's not a given.

These caste nations also don't appear to have advanced their knowledge of gunpowder to the point of weapons use. That means the use of cannons both on land and at sea will be a nasty shock. This could lead to this world's equivalent of gunboat diplomacy where the navy with cannons and ships capable of traveling over oceans simply out ranges, out maneuvers, and outclasses those of the other side. Then on land, muskets and cannons make being a larger target who's physically strong a disadvantage. That plate, if not correctly hardened may not stop muskets or pistols as well as it's thickness might suggest, that thickness is also unlike for reason I'll elaborate on below.

That armor is also going to be heavy a reproduction cuirass that's is between about 3 and 5 kg and those are around 1.3 - 1.5 mm thick (I excluded the heavier ones as they aren't just breastplates. So double the thickness while also covering at least 2x the area and you suddenly have a breastplate that weighs on the order of 40 kg. Full suits of plate armor historically weigh about 40 - 50 kg so once again doubling every dimension for eight times the weight and these guys are wearing 320 - 400 kg of armor. You're going to need to take the thickness of the armor down to 1.5 mm just so a suit only weighs as much as the soldier wearing it if you want it around half the soldier's weight you need to go to a max thickness of 1 mm to end up around 100 kg which, given the added strength of your soldiers should let them move and fight. Of course, at these thicknesses, you're not stopping many bullets except at bad angles and mid to long ranges. Cannons, even firing shot, will care even less about this plate than it did real breastplate, which is to say not at all.

Plus, you didn't mention any kind of exceptional endurance for your soldier caste, given the weight of gear, caloric needs, lack of mounts, they're going to have shorter than human marches and tire far faster in battle. This gets worse when they need to cover ground quickly to avoid being picked apart at range by musket and cannon. They'll do better once they start to fight wearing less armor, or even none but given how rigid caste systems are this may take a while to happen.

Finally, and this is less about traditional warfare, but those porters will be easy to panic. This means you'll need to assign soldiers to guard them or risk disastrous riots and work stoppages. This isn't good for your caste based societies already limited ability to repell an invasion.

-----

None of this is to say that invading is the right move. Transoceanic warfare is hard today, let alone with lesser technology and just because you could potentially gain a foothold doesn't mean you should. If I had my way I'd blockade the caste nations until you can forge alliances, extract trade concesssions, and enforce your will upon them. This seems harshe, but if they catch up in tech and/or unite against you they could use their adaptations to leapfrog you rather quickly.

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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by LaCroix » 2018-09-03 03:39pm

Just a nitpick - a full suit of plate armor (~18 gauge and hardened) is only about 25-28 kg.
The later period cuirass breastplates were made much thicker - since you used only torso armor, and therefore could take the extra weight for some extra protection against guns.

Also, the cheaper reproductions tend to be thicker and heavier - steel is cheap, and thicker plates are easier to press into form without breaking, thus cheaper production.

So your armor weight is off by a factor of 2 for realisctic armor.
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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Jub » 2018-09-03 03:56pm

Yeah, my numbers seemed heavy but without having reference documents on hand or bookmarked I ended up taking what I could get with a quick google search. Even still, when you start getting into the 2 - 3 mm range for plate thickness versus the 1.3 - 1.5 mm I was finding for the reproduction breastplates you're probably getting armor that ends up somewhere between my numbers and what your numbers would predict. Zor specifically said 'In battle they are usually clad in heavy steel armor (either lamellar or plate, often 2-3mm thick)' I took that to mean suits of full harness where the thickest parts of each plate are between 2 and 3 mm thick. I assume that the reproduction armor was also stating maximum rather than average thickness as well, though they could be going with a fixed thickness throughout the entire plate.

Clarification by Zor as to what his stated numbers are measuring would go a long way to figuring out better weight figures for his soldier caste's armor.

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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-09-03 07:21pm

Jub wrote:
2018-09-03 03:56pm
Yeah, my numbers seemed heavy but without having reference documents on hand or bookmarked I ended up taking what I could get with a quick google search. Even still, when you start getting into the 2 - 3 mm range for plate thickness versus the 1.3 - 1.5 mm I was finding for the reproduction breastplates you're probably getting armor that ends up somewhere between my numbers and what your numbers would predict. Zor specifically said 'In battle they are usually clad in heavy steel armor (either lamellar or plate, often 2-3mm thick)' I took that to mean suits of full harness where the thickest parts of each plate are between 2 and 3 mm thick. I assume that the reproduction armor was also stating maximum rather than average thickness as well, though they could be going with a fixed thickness throughout the entire plate.

Clarification by Zor as to what his stated numbers are measuring would go a long way to figuring out better weight figures for his soldier caste's armor.
Presumably soldier caste mostly fight each other?

Although with the op suggesting most nations at peace its a lot of ineffective population to support. Perhaps its one of those self defence things - everyone has an army so no-one can risk invading or dividing their own forces.


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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Jub » 2018-09-03 07:36pm

Yeah, internally they would. Once your gun powder armed semi-professional military roles in they're going to be wearing so much dead weight that likely isn't tempered to stop bullets. They're also likely stuck unable to outrun a horse and unable to out march a man.

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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2018-09-04 05:57pm

I still see no reason to go to war with them, or make any hostile plans beyond possible defensive measures.

Unlike the people that found the new world in our world, I'm not from a nation of religious fanatics looking to convert heathens at the point of the sword.
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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Jub » 2018-09-04 10:11pm

Solauren wrote:
2018-09-04 05:57pm
I still see no reason to go to war with them, or make any hostile plans beyond possible defensive measures.

Unlike the people that found the new world in our world, I'm not from a nation of religious fanatics looking to convert heathens at the point of the sword.
You almost have to keep them under your thumb once contact is made or they'll quickly become a threat that you can no longer fight. For all the disadvantages they have due to being behind in technology the caste system beats you in the areas of long-term planning, national unity, ability to selectively breed their population in response to technological advancements. Even at parity, they become a pretty nasty threat as their Mariners can likely voyage more effectively than yours can and thus they control the seas if both sides have equal ships. In real life, it didn't take long for the nations that wanted to catch up to do so once the west showed up and started trading guns and technology for profit. I can't see why that wouldn't also happen here.

They are an out of context problem that needs harsh solutions to ensure they don't become a threat because if you choose to deal with them peacefully and they catch up you have little recourse if they no longer desire peace.

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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-09-05 06:32am

Jub wrote:
2018-09-04 10:11pm
Solauren wrote:
2018-09-04 05:57pm
I still see no reason to go to war with them, or make any hostile plans beyond possible defensive measures.

Unlike the people that found the new world in our world, I'm not from a nation of religious fanatics looking to convert heathens at the point of the sword.
You almost have to keep them under your thumb once contact is made or they'll quickly become a threat that you can no longer fight. For all the disadvantages they have due to being behind in technology the caste system beats you in the areas of long-term planning, national unity, ability to selectively breed their population in response to technological advancements. Even at parity, they become a pretty nasty threat as their Mariners can likely voyage more effectively than yours can and thus they control the seas if both sides have equal ships. In real life, it didn't take long for the nations that wanted to catch up to do so once the west showed up and started trading guns and technology for profit. I can't see why that wouldn't also happen here.

They are an out of context problem that needs harsh solutions to ensure they don't become a threat because if you choose to deal with them peacefully and they catch up you have little recourse if they no longer desire peace.
They deeply scare me, not just ebcuase of the potential effeciency of the castes out running homosap, but also that there is no place for us in their caste system.
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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2018-09-13 07:53pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2018-09-03 07:21pm
As a good renaissance king, how do the administrators feel about the pope?
To the rough analog of the Pope and the ecclesiarchy he commands. "A commendable attempt at achieving some level of harmony despite the unregulated nature of your breeding efforts. Never the less marred by operating on a flawed superstitious belief system. Insisting that said institution be entirely male and the total elimination of it's members from the Gene-Pool is a fundamentally illogical move."

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Re: Dealing with a highly developed Caste Civilization (RAR!)

Post by Zixinus » 2018-09-23 03:54pm

One weakness I see in the caste system is by "stealing" Administrators. Take enough and turn them into spies/saboteurs, as you have three other castes that are conditioned to obey them on sight. Within the Administrators caste there are also probably tensions that you can put in, toxic ideologies you can ferment and ambitions you can encourage.

Then the other thing that potentially is exploitable is tensions between castes. The Mariners for example are noted not conditioned to obey Administrators on sight and by their trade's nature would require independent thinking. They are the most likely to have ambitions and be able to cause problems within the caste empire.
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