Wheatsword has the reputation of being the dullest city in the world. It is surrounded by miles of flat farmland. The buildings are big, square, and boring. The streets are well paved. It looks like someone in the Military designed the city. And they did. It is the largest military establishment in the world.
'An Army travels on its stomach,' it is a phrase that we have all heard. Supplies win wars almost as often as clever tactics. If your Army is supplied and fed, it will fight better than the opposition who is tired and weak. It is because of this maxim that WheatSword exists.
Wheatsword is surrounded by miles upon miles of farmland, producing wheat and a few other products. All of this farmland is owned by the military. There are even military checkpoints along all the roads every so often (manned by really old soldier waiting for pension). Most of the farmers here are ex-soldier turned tenant farmers. Their products are brought here to be stored in the massive silos. The food stored here has one purpose, to feed the Military. Intially it was only for when it is on campaign, but now once a certain level of surplus is built up, older product is sent to lesser stations to feed the standing military.
Wheatsword is the largest military base in the world. The buildings are big, square, and boring. They are of the basic military design, made to be slapped up quickly by soldier labor (i.e. not skilled in building). They are just larger. The city is painted in a plain basic tan, so it nearly blends in with the surrounding sea of wheat.
The streets are wide and well paved. They can support a column of marching men AND a flow of supply wagons. The city is set up in a square grid pattern. However, there are defensive choke points, should someone have to fight to defend the city.
The city is that of warehouses. The warehouses are mostly silos filled with stored food product. However, some military equipment is kept here. The weapons and armor are forged elsewhere and stored here. There is a large shop that does nothing but make and keep up a huge fleet of supply wagons.
There is a huge bakery that makes Hardtack. (There is a secret experiment group trying to make a hardtack spear that is strong enough to use, but can be eaten if one is hard pressed).
In addition to silos and food storage, there are massive barracks and paddocks here. They are only fractionally full unless the country is at war. This is a staging point for many military actions, the place where militias and loose units are assembled and sent to the campaign.
The Military command of The Marshall is in another warehouse like building. There is more room here than is needed. It is open for other commanders to move their commands here before the war. Here is also the largest depository of maps the military has.
Wheatsword has the reputation of being the dullest city in the world. It really is. There is little to do here. Military discipline is actually held here, rather than the rough and tumble of many other postings. There are civilians (a few craftsmen, an odd farmer, and a few families) here, but they are held to ideal military standards. Since most of the civilians follow a fairly strict religious sect, problems are at a minimum (and so is the fun).
This is a mostly dry city. Wine might be found, but it will be expensive. There is no official brewery here, so there is no beer. Yet people are finding a way. Someone is brewing it and distributing it on the side. If the Marshall actually finds out who, they will pay.
Wheatsword is the ultimate weapon. From here the Military can supply and feed every militiaman and conscript brought to bear against the enemy.
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? Responses (18)
Very good,although I'd hate to live there.
Wow, THAT'S where the indefatiguable armies of south get all of their food. I salute your genuis Moon.
Great place, and it could be used as the object of a quest. You get employed by the opposing army to get rid of the enemy's food.
I'd imagine it would take a very ingenious adventurer to succeed in torching all the fields and warehouses. That,or a vast horde. :)
You could torch Wheatsword, but I doubt it would take long for the buildings to be rebuilt and while the year's crop may burn, there is no telling how much grain has been distributed to the lesser holding stations, or even into the civilian economy. The only problem I see is that soldiers have families, and where there are military bases, civilian cities grow. While security on the base is tight, the soldiers would need somewhere to go to drink and gamble and be normal guys, a place to put away the swords and the uniforms if only for a few hours. Nicely done.
That and I don't think that Hardtack burns too well, you'd have to get in and get the stuff soaked after you tourched the fields and let it rot. Or you could let the worms have at it, but that would only add protien to the soilders diets so I don't think that would quite stop the army, maybe keep them healty but...
A nice City Image, I have a clear feeling and a mental image of the city. There is clearly a need for the soldiers to have an outlet for their military life, however. Don't tell me there are not a few ummm... caffeterias :) for the soldier tired of the drill, or place with a few nice girls that make the life nicer. They may be half-hidden, but they ought to be there; soldiers are known to revolt not only if they lack food.
Funny detail about the secret experiments to make a Hardtack spear, how about making it really hard, but soften upon becoming wet? They would be hardly a weapon of first choice (little beats metal/solid wood there), but a part of the food could be transported that way, to serve as a secondary weapon if needed, and to protect the food transport as well. Aside: while it would surely miss the sharp edge, entering a body and crumbling can be dangerous, too.
Actually, Bakalite (a plastic like substance, first invented by Leonardo DaVinci, but rediscovered/ redeveloped in the 1860s) is somewhat edible (too hard to chew.. but in small enough pieces digestable). While not as durrable as metal, it is tough enough. Perhaps as spear shafts and such.
Note: NASA developed knobs and buttons of a similar substance for the Apollo and LEM ships. However, they needed water to soften, which would of been in shorter supply than food on a Space Mission, before being eaten. Thus they were scrapped after Apollo 3 for the cheaper plastic units. Since this not be a problem for the troopers, maybe this wheat plastic would be possible. It did not take advance chemistry to make, just heat, pressure, and a couple of reactents.
Enjoyed this, especialy the Hardtack spear.
realistic place in many ways, armies do need supplies.
Everything has been said. Warfood!
Everything is fine but this is essentially a one dimensional idea. And I think there is an under lying cultural element that you are not discussing. The attitude of Wheatsword is one of stoic military utilitarianism and discipline. This idea is a relatively modern one, in many cultures and European culture is not exception to this. The Military life was full of pomp. Uniforms were often flashy, military's had cultures, rallies and myths. Even Napoleons armies were slaves to fashion (given they were French), but look at the changes in uniforms and hair style from his invasion of Egypt to the taking of Moscow. But even if your a looking to model this after some ancient Empire such Rome or Inca, both of which maintained large standing armies, you haven't addressed the cultural and social justifications for such sustained and organzines military activity.
I have two sets of questions one set about details and one about the concept. Was Wheatsword the idea of a General or did it grow up economically first? How do they deal with all the rats? What is the major water source for the area, and what of the women? Can you have a military camp without camp followers?
Who are the soldiers; are they young nobles, citizen soldiers, conscripts or mercenaries? How does life at Wheatsword compare to the daily life of soldiers when they are some where else?
you haven't addressed the cultural and social justifications for such sustained and organzines military activity. That would be another submission actually. For historical examples, in Japan, China, or even Inca, such a city could exist. In a more structured empire, such places would be possible. Again the location needs to be adapted to your world if appropriate.
Was Wheatsword the idea of a General or did it grow up economically first? The Military council.
How do they deal with all the rats? Actually hardtack is avoided by Rats, which could tell you a great deal about Hardtack. There will always be some loss to pests, no matter what the enforcement used. I am sure the military comes up with "the ultimate solution" every few years, from trained cats to magically trapped cheese to sterile rats, or just setting the troops out with slings, and so on.
What is the major water source for the area Well water and rain would be assumed since no rivers were mentioned.
and what of the women? Can you have a military camp without camp followers? Yes you can. It has been done in many times and places, with some just being done by discipline, others by encouraging male companionshisp.
I would assume there are a few around in the city, and in the local farms. Their existance would be up to your preferences. I have them as part of an extreme religious sect, so they would not be as ...um.. active as other women.
Who are the soldiers; are they young nobles, citizen soldiers, conscripts or mercenaries? Self answering question- Militia/ legion. Nobles would imply a feudal system that would not create such a place and mercenaries would be too expensive for a standing force. And Militia was said at the end of the post.
How does life at Wheatsword compare to the daily life of soldiers when they are some where else? Here would seem more boring. It is hard, but light duty here.
Call me different but I like the idea. At first I had assumed it was mobile until I completely read the entire sub. While not genius it is still believable. Often in literature you find cities that were founded and designed specifically for the military and its deployment of supplies and troops.
However, the 150% military standing I see as a problem. Having been in the military if there is nothing but military issue society, no civilians to offer up fun, than it is true bordem sets in, melencholy, among other problems later down the line. The idea of a bootlegger selling alcohol is perfect, there needs to be establishments for relaxation and entertainment.
An interesting idea, but I can't help but think this needs higher then average agricultural technology then the typical peasant farm of the middle ages. The government who set this up must have been quite organized and wealthy!
Actually it was done in Japan with rice (and rice cakes), so it can be done at European medieval technology. It does require some organization, but nothing extreme.
I used hardtack because that is more familiar to most Western Players.
Well it is all medieval except the wheat/ food weapons. That was a US Military project during the Civl War. They wanted to make replacable riflestocks or bayonets you could eat.
Now remember, Dwarf bread pulled double duty as both food and weaponry in Discworld
This is a very true statement of what is important, Napoleon didn't have good supplies and when the Russians burnt their crops and land as they retreated, the French army had nothing to feed on, had they been supplied by a constant source history would have been different