Friday 1 August 2014

Starting Characters For Babylon 1st Dynasty BRP

Starting characters for My Babylon 1st Dynasty

Just to help people think about characters before play
Will post a character sheet here shortly
will be using more stuff from magic world as it has some good fighting rules

Players can choose to be local the the land of two rivers. Babylonians currently are the dominant power. Akkad is the old empire long gone but respected. Sumeria is the oldest kingdom revered for founding civilization and wisdom. Assyrians like Babylonians are a new power, skilled at war.

Local Nomads and Barbarians roam the wastes and mountains. They are despised as primitive brutes but they have in the past taken over civilized lands and become assimilated within 3 generations. Then the next tribe conquer the soft city people in a process that has been ongoing for aeons.

Foreigners are many. Some get more respect than others. Some may arrive as traders but most come as slaves or are children of slaves.

It is recommended one of your parents be Babylonian or from one of the two river kingdoms as this will give you better status and language options. Strangers often have no rights and are victimized without family or friends to aid them.

King Humarabi is dead - his sons have taken control


Sumerian is like Latin, language more written than spoken and used by ancients and clergy
Akkadian is the international language of commerce since Sargon the great
Babylonian and Assyrian are versions of Akkadian and default at 2/3 skill
Babylonian currently in vogue for law
Assyrian in vogue for military

Foreign languages are known by scribes and traders.

Some foreigners have more than one written language - an older pictographic one for religion and propaganda and a more phonetic alphabet for trade and every day use. A clever scribe knowing both can make obscure jokes and double meanings.

Hittite and Egyptian are a both great trading empires
Cretan and Indus are more exotic

Local Peoples of the Twin Rivers

Babylonian - +1 DEX +1CON
City state of the god Marduk made great by lawmaker emperor Hammurabi
Speak Write Babylonian
Archer - Short bow, Small Shield, dagger, Spot, Craft (any)
Spearman - Spear, Large, Shield, Dagger, Javelin, Spot, Craft (any)
Swordsman - Short sword, Short bow, Axe, Medium Shield, Command, Status
Merchant - Light Mace, Dagger, Sling, Fast Talk, Insight, Craft (any)

Assyrian - +1 STR +1 CON
Fierce warriors and merchants of the north
Read Write Assyrian
Slinger - Sling, Small Shield, Dagger
Archer - Short bow, Medium Shield, dagger, Track, Spot, Craft (any)
Spearman - Spear, Large Shield, Dagger, Javelin
Swordsman - Short sword, Light mace, Axe, Medium Shield
Merchant - Short bow, Dagger, Fast Talk, Insight, Craft (any)

Akkadian - +2 DEX +1EDU
Read and Write Akkadian
First great empire that unified heaven an earth and creators of the language of commerce
Herdsman - Short bow, Spear, Shield, Beast Lore, Track, Spot
Warrior - Short bow, Spear, Short Sword, Shield, Spot, Command
Scribe - Staff, Club, Dagger, Craft (Scribe), Kingdom Lore,  Extra Language
Merchant - Short bow, Dagger, Fast Talk, Insight, Craft (any)

Sumerian - +1 INT +2 EDU Inventors of civilization and city states from the marshy south
Read and speak Sumerian or Akkadian
Marsh dweller - Sling, Javelin, Dagger, Swim, Boat, Craft (Any)
Herdsman - Sling, Javelin, Club, Track, Beast Lore, Spot
Farmer - Large Shield, Spear, Javelin, Plant Lore, Beast Lore, Craft (Any)
Swordsman - Short sword, small shield, dagger, status, command, spot
Foreman - Light Mace, Shield, Sling, Commend, Insight
Merchant - Light Mace, Dagger, Fast Talk, Insight, Craft (any)
Noble - Shield, Short sword, self bow, Kingdom Lore, Status,

Dilmun - +1CON +1APP
Island paradise of sea traders in  the southern sea
Read and speak Sumerian or Akkadian
Sailor - Javelin, Dagger, Shield, Boat, Swim, Navigate
Merchant - Light Mace, Dagger, Fast Talk, Insight, Craft (any)

Local Barbarian and Nomads surrounding the twin rivers
Barbarians only get 3d4 EDU and are illiterate - sorry

Arabian - +1DEX +1CON desert raiding nomads of the western waste lands
Short bow, shield, dagger, survival, spot, craft (any)

Gutian - +2 STR +2SIZ savage beast men from south and Zagaroz mountains who once held the south
Axe, Mace, Javelin, shield, beast lore, survival

Kassite - +1STR +1SIZ +1DEX fair horsemen warriors from eastern mountains invading civilization
Shorbow, dagger, axe, shield, craft (any), spot

Amorite - +1DEX +1CON mountain barbarians of west and north, ancestors of Babylonian and Mari
Axe, short sword, javelin, short bow, shield, craft (any)

Hurrian - +1 STR +1CON fierce mountain barbarians of north who menace trade and civilization
axe, mace, dagger, javelin, shield, spot

Foreigners beyond the twin rivers

Egyptian - +1DEX +1APP Egypt, yep you all know it
Short spear, dagger, sling, medium shield, spot, craft (any)

Minoan - +1EDU +2APP Cretan sailors controlled Mediterranean trade
Axe, javelin, short bow, short sword, boating, swimming

Mycenaean - +1STR +1CON +1SIZ Barbarian warriors and pirates who serve Minoans
Axe, sword, medium sheild, javelin, boating, swimming

Hittite - +1CON +1POW Iron wielding warlords with a mountain empire at war with the Hurrians
Axe, Spear, Short bow, Short sword, Spot, Climb

Indus +1 DEX +1CON Civilization of far eastern India
Spear, Dagger, Medium Shield, Beast Lore, Plant Lore, Swim,

Phoenician +1EDU +1APP Sea traders of the Mediterranean
Short sword, javelin, small shield, boating, swimming, navigation

Canaanite +1DEX +1CON Coastal barbarians of the west on shores of Mediterranean
Short sword, javelin, small shield, beast lore, track, spot

Elamite +1DEX +1EDU +1APP Witch folk and great rivals of the river peoples
Short bow, axe, medium shield, javelin, dagger, climb

Mitanni +1 STR +1SIZ Warriors with foreign gods now encroaching on Hurrians
Spear, Medium Shield, Short Sword, Short bow, beast lore, spot

Urartian +1INT+1CON A great mountain civilization in the upper Zagaroz mountains
Spear, small shield, short bow, dagger, climb, craft (any)

Military Technology
Bronze is main metal in use
Iron is available but Hittites have best and most
Meteoric steel is the best you can get
Stone is still used

Battle donkey wagons and ox carts are still used in south
Horse chariots are taking over
Nobody rides horses

Also look at these image dumps for idea of cities, armour and weapons


Measure of length and distance
grain 2.5mm
finger 1.5cm
foot 30cm
cubit 50cm or .5m the same length as a foreman's stick
step 1m
reed 3m
rod 6m
chord 60m
cable 360m
League 10.8km

Measure of mass
grain 0.05g
shekel 9g
mina or pound 500g or 60 shekels
talent or load 30kg or 60 mina

most wealth measured in grain there are no coins but are uncommon metal trade tokens
Silver being worth half its weight in gold and 100 times its weight in copper

The standard monthly ration for an adult male was 60 mina of barley, for women 30mina , for children 10-25 mina. A silver shekel buys a sack of grain with food for a man for two months. A daily wage of two mina of barley plus some other food stuff like mustard, cress, beer, sesame oil, onions.

It is forbidden to charge interest

As most cash in grain you can only store it for so long and you must either plant or make into beer or bread. Or you lend to a farmer who gives you fresh grain in return 

Barley was the pre-eminent grain among Mesopotamian cereals. In the first millennium the cultivation of wheat had virtually come to an end in Mesopotamia due to the increasing salinity of the soil. Barley had always been a basic part of the Mesopotamian ration system: in Babylonia people in service of temple and palace received rations, basically one to two litres of barley per male individual per day, sometimes with other products like oil and wool added. Barley was so basic that it also functioned as standard of value of other products, hence as money. It will have been used as small change, where silver was used for expenses of greater value. Barley was harvested in springtime, mainly April to May.
Dates were the second ingredient of the Babylonian diet. It was a highly caloric food and could be used for different purposes: to be consumed as fresh and dried fruit, processed into syrup and cakes and stewed in fowl and meat dishes. It was also used in brewing a kind of beer, the national drink of the Babylonian. It was what was wine for the Greeks and Romans. Dates were a good alternative to barley in time of scarcity of the latter. Peter Vargyas observed that prices of barley fell in the month of the date harvest, i.e. October (VARGYAS 1997: 339-341; 2001: 122)
"Mustard" (kasû) is written between quotation marks, since the relevant Babylonian word, kasû, cannot be translated with certainty. The translation "mustard" has been advocated by Benno LANDSBERGER and GURNEY (1957/8: 337) and has reached the dictionaries (AHw and CAD) and the main edition of the diaries. Marten STOL (1994: 175ff) proposed to translate it as cuscuta, the dodder plant (presumably used in brewing beer), but other translations have been proposed as well, like "the common beet", wild liquorice and cassia (references, see SLOTSKY 1997: 31). It was apparently used as spice in the preparation of meat and in the preparation of date beer. It was also used in cultic performances and in medical treatment.
The harvest time is difficult to establish. Vargyas concludes that there were two harvests, in summer and in late autumn (VARGYAS 2001: 207).
"Cress" (sahlû) is equally difficult to determine. M. STOL (1983/4: 24-32) has argued that it has to be equated with the Greek word kardamon = lepidium sativum = "nose smart," of which the seed was eaten like mustard (not kardamomon = elettaria cardamomum). It was harvested in spring, like barley (JURSA 1995: 178-9). It was widely used as spice and savoury herb.
Sesame (šamaššammu) was cultivated for its oil. What olive oil was for the Greeks and Romans was sesame-oil to the Babylonians. It was planted in the barley fields after the barley harvest (June/July) and harvested in October. A second crop may have been raised from January/February (sowing) to May (harvesting) (cf. VARGYAS 2001: 251).
Wool was the main source of textiles in Mesopotamia from early times. Numerous texts about the raising of sheep testify to it. It was an important export product in the early second millennium. The shearing of sheep began in the spring, but could be a continuing process that went on for months. Flax was grown for producing linen. The city of Borsippa is said to have a major linen production centre (Strabo, Geographica, 16.1.7) and it is mentioned in some administrative documents. It does not occur, however, in the astronomical diaries.

Prices in egypt
The list below reflects New Kingdom prices of a number of commodities in copper unless otherwise stated. Copper was worth approximately one hundredth of its weight in silver during the New Kingdom. Ten copper deben would have equalled one kit of silver. There were wide fluctuations due to varying sizes, quality etc, and prices were affected by the passage of time.

1 sack of wheat (c.58 kg)1 to 2 deben
1 sack of barley2 deben
1 artaba of grain (27 litres)1½ drachmas (¾ kit)
1 litre of oil1 deben
1 jug of olive oildeben
1 container of fresh fat30 deben
1 loaf of bread0.1 deben
1 litre of beer½ deben
1 cake0.2 deben
1 litre of wine1 deben
1 thigh of a wendju cow seniu, about 30 deben
1 bundle of vegetables½ deben
50 fish2 deben
1 bronze kebet vessel20 deben
1 bronze gai vessel16 deben
1 pesdjet vessel3 goldunits
1 bronze jar18 deben (12/3 kit of silver)
1 bronze cup5 deben
1 wooden sqr container2 deben
1 leather bucket3 deben
1 basket4 deben
1 big spear2 deben
1 normal speardeben
Garments etc
1 linen sheet33 deben (31/3 kit of silver)
10 shirts of fine linen4 kit of silver
1 shirt5 deben
1 shirtdeben
1 smooth DAj garment30 deben
1 smooth dAjw garment11 deben
1 smooth sDj.t garment10 deben
1 kalasiris20 deben
1 dAjw garment20 deben
1 pair of sandals2 deben
100 cubits of rope1 deben of silver
1 razor2 deben
1 razor1 deben
1 mirror6 deben
1 fly-swat1 deben
1 glass-pearl necklace    5 deben
1 amulet1 deben
1 house10 shat (5/6 deben) of copper
1 house2 deben of silver
1 woven mat1 deben
1 bed12-20 deben
1 chair20 deben
1 chair, 1 foot-stool, 1 post13 deben
1 table15 deben
1 chest1 deben
1 sleeping mat (?)2 deben
1 DpH-wide plank of aS wood 1 kit of copper
1 Drat plank of aS wood2 kit of silver per cubit length 
1 bird¼ deben
1 goatdeben
1 donkey25 deben
1 donkey40 deben
1 cowup to 140 deben
1 month's rent of a cow4 artabas of wheat
1 bull120 deben
1 bull50 deben
1 ox60 deben
lease of 1 arura [1]about 5 deben
1 arura0.17 deben of silver
1 arura0.5 to 0.6 deben of silver
1 arura0.1 deben of silver
Funerary equipment
1 linen shroud50 deben (5 kit of silver)
1 simple wooden coffin20-40 deben
1 scribe's coffin200 deben
1 simple ushabti0.02 deben
1 set of simple canopic jars   5 deben
1 'Book of the Dead'    100 deben
1 wooden statuette10 deben
1 mina of myrrh40 drachmas of silver
1 slave girl4 deben of silver
1 ordinary male slave3 deben 1 kit of silver
32 slaves (male and female) 15 deben, 1/3 kit of silver
Metal(Ratios are approximate)
1 kit of gold2 kit of silver : 1 to 2
1 kit of silver10 deben of copper : 1 to 100  
1 kit of gold200 kit of copper : 1 to 200
1 kit of silver6 deben of copper : 1 to 60
1 kit of silver33 deben of copper : 1 to 330 
1 deben of silver609 ½ deben of copper : 1 to 609 ½ 
1 Hd1 deben of 20 silver drachmas
1 Hd1 kite of 2 silver drachmas
1 Hd1 deben of 20 copper drachmas
1 gold hemidrachma1½ silver tetradrachmas : 1 to 10
1 gold stater (60 drachmas)15 silver tetradrachmas  : 1 to 12
1 gold octodrachma100 silver drachmas : 1 to 12.5


  1. Well now damn this is officially the first campaign I've read about anywhere online that I want to be in. Gah!

  2. This is a heck of a lot of detail. Do you think your players will feel alienated or overwhelmed by such a setting, so different from those we are used to playing?

    1. ive run before and it is although victim of a media shroud of ignorance since ancient greece has plenty in common - if you know your greek and indian mythos i fits nicely in between - certainly has familiar archetypes

      when i get around to rome i will focus on the bizzare and alienating sides of roman culture - in this game will emphasize the familiar elements.

  3. Wow, that's fantastic! Love the image dumps--perfect for getting people into the whole look and feel of the setting.

    1. yes images help and i have two folders of building plans, costumes from surrounding lands, city reconstructions, equiptment and hairstyles. I think it is alot more accessible than glorantha or empire of the petal throne.Plus you can just read stuff like wikepedia to learn. History offers great source material at a good price.

  4. One of the first actual play reports I read on this site casually mentioned in passing one of the Vikings had a slave referred to as "the Christian." It stopped me dead in my tracks because it's so unusual in frpgs to see 1) casual mention of slaves 2) historical religions and 3) Christians as a curious little cult

    I love your stories and settings.

  5. They should be speaking Aramaic as early as 700 bc. When is this?

    1. if you read above i name a kings death 1750 bc middle bronze age

  6. I'll tag on as saying this is awesome. But as excited as I was because I love what we can find about our early civilizations, I was slightly disappointed that you hadn't included magic. There are curses and incantations that have been discovered that could be used.
    One of the more fascinating artifacts that I'd suggest adding are the cylinder seals:

    1. just have not mentioned magic but it is there - magic teachers are jerks and players kept on tight leash by masters - i have many magic systems in use and players are just babblers

      i wish puerta de ishtar game in English it has great demonology

      good text on medicine includes curses ans spirits
      i tried to tempt one int being a exorcist

    2. Awesome, and DAMN, another game I want but couldn't due anything with (I have enough spanish to ask for directions and order food).

  7. Replies
    1. no aramaic - akkadiant still strong
      no coinage
      no horse riding
      nothing using biblical sources


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