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Spartan Training

Felix

Explorer
Kahuna Burger:
I would take the normal spread for a city. Then kill off everyone with a con under 12. Yes, this will give you a smaller population, the spartans didn't have big numbers, they had tough cookies. Next make everyone with a str or con less than 13 a commoner.
As far as I know, it was only the Spartan citizens that were subjected to infanticide, brutal training, compulsary service in the army, and forced living in barracks. The commoners in this society could basically do what they wanted. They were the ones that actually held property, I think. The citizens had the privilige of running the government, and the responsibility of defending it; I don't think they were allowed property though.
 

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Agback

Explorer
PS.

If you google "Spartan boy fox" you get some interesting results. Some pages tell you that Spartans were taught to read and write, others that they were not. One page even tells you that all the Spartiates took an equal share in the produce of the agricultural land (if that had been true it would have solved a major problem, and the Spartan state would have been vastly stronger) and that Spartiates were allowed to leave the barracks and live with their wives as young as twenty. Another asserts taht Spartiate boys who failed a final examination at 20 became perioiki.

My advice: believe nothing that is not supported with quotes from a primary source.

Regards,


Agback
 

Endur

First Post
I'd give them extra levels of Fighter or Warrior. Extra experience is all they have. They don't have sub-races or templates or higher stats.
 

Agback

Explorer
Felix said:
As far as I know, it was only the Spartan citizens that were subjected to infanticide, brutal training, compulsary service in the army, and forced living in barracks. The commoners in this society could basically do what they wanted. They were the ones that actually held property, I think. The citizens had the privilige of running the government, and the responsibility of defending it; I don't think they were allowed property though.

The full citizens (Spartiates) were certainly allowed to own real estate, slaves, etc. as well as of course weapons, armour, and other personal effects. They were forbidden from working at any gainful employment, even from working on their own farms. And all except the kings were forbidden from commerce. I guess they would have been in trouble if found to possess the tools of a trade, or traffickable quantities of merchandise. It is a strange irony that Sybaris was a Spartan colony.

In the Spartan state commerce and the professions and trades were pursued by the perioiki ("neighbours"), people of Doric race resident in Lakonia but not citizens of Sparta. And a third group, possibly not of Dorian race, was confined to a role like that of a mediaeval serf (but subjected toa more brutal repression than was common for serfs).

Regards,


Agback
 

Inconsequenti-AL

Breaks Games
I seem to remember that weak babies were not actually killed. They were left out in the open air overnight. If they survived that then they were tough enough...

Friendly bunch, those Spartans.

As far as NPCs go, I'd just make them higher level - think that would reflect their training. For example, basic infantry are Warrior 2. For more challenge there could be Elite units of leveled up fighters. Would make them a lot nastier than most peoples armies?
 
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Mark

CreativeMountainGames.com
Inconsequenti-AL said:
I seem to remember that weak babies were not actually killed. They were left out in the open air overnight. If they survived that then they were tough enough...

"Exposed" on a hillside, leaving their fate to the gods... (Sometimes snapped up by rural families who needed additional farmhands.)

Inconsequenti-AL said:
Friendly bunch, those Spartans.

Basically ;)

Inconsequenti-AL said:
As far as NPCs go, I'd just make them higher level - think that would reflect their training. For example, basic infantry are Warrior 2. For more challenge there could be Elite units of leveled up fighters. Would make them a lot nastier than most peoples armies?

These might come in handy -

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=695

:)
 

Mark Chance

Boingy! Boingy!
Agback said:
And a third group, possibly not of Dorian race, was confined to a role like that of a mediaeval serf (but subjected toa more brutal repression than was common for serfs).

IIRC, the slave class in Sparta were subject to frequent wars in order to keep their numbers at a "reasonable" level and to instill fear of their Spartan masters.

Also, don't forget that, at least among the Spartan ruling class, there was something akin to equality between the sexes, a situation that didn't really play out in more sophisticated Athens where women were almost considered chattel.
 

Mark

CreativeMountainGames.com
Mark Chance said:
Also, don't forget that, at least among the Spartan ruling class, there was something akin to equality between the sexes...

Case in point -

Kyniska was the daughter of the Spartan king Archidamus. In 396 BC she became the first woman to win an event at the Olympic Games. It is said that she was the first woman to breed horses and that she invented the sport of horse racing. She wins for a second Olympic victory in (?) BC, and many other women including the famous Lacedaemonian, win Olympic competitions thereafter.
 

Null Boundry

First Post
Mark Chance said:
IIRC, the slave class in Sparta were subject to frequent wars in order to keep their numbers at a "reasonable" level and to instill fear of their Spartan masters.

Also, don't forget that, at least among the Spartan ruling class, there was something akin to equality between the sexes, a situation that didn't really play out in more sophisticated Athens where women were almost considered chattel.

The treatment of the Helots was one of the more nasty aspects of Spartan ideology (Probably because they were so heavily outnumbered by the Helots). Which considering the rest of it is saying something. As part of the coming of age ceremony for Spartan youths they had to take part in something called The Night Of The Long Knives, this involved them traveling into Messenia and killing any Helot they chose. This would usually invlove any that didn't look the subserviant profile such as having the nerve to look at a Spartan.

Most of Sparts foreign policy was evolved around keeping armies out of Messenia as they knew their treatment would cause an automatic revolt and collapse of their agricultural base.
 

Agback

Explorer
Inconsequenti-AL said:
I seem to remember that weak babies were not actually killed. They were left out in the open air overnight. If they survived that then they were tough enough.

Indeed? I have never come across a reference to the Spartans going out and collecting the survivors, and have always assumed that when they exposed an infant on a hillside they left it there indefinitely, as other Greeks practising infanticide (but aiming to avoid the 'pollution' of doing violence to a relative) did. Can you point me to a contemporary reference to the Spartans reversing their judgments in the case of infants who survived the first night on Mount Taygetus?

'Mary Renault' makes the point in "The Last of the Wine" that the stories of children being exposed on hillsides and adopted by childless peasants or queens are probably a sop to the consciences of soft-hearted family members. Though of course it was possible.

Regards,


Agback
 

Jshock_75

First Post
Spartans were definitley very clever... I would go so far as to say they would get some sort of free "rogue" feat, considering the recruits were effectivley required to steal enough food to survive.
 

takyris

First Post
Hm. I'm inclined to view some of these claims with skepticism, and to look at some of the others in the context of what other people at the time were doing. I'm trying to remember a Greek War Tactics book I read a long time ago, and it said something about the Athenians being the "good guys" by modern standards when they joined the Spartans in the war against Persia, but then Athens attempted to monopolize trade and throw its weight around, which is why the Spartans went in and whupped 'em a little. Which doesn't make the Spartans these evil warlike jerks -- or at least, no more so than the Athenians, who started the Athens-Sparta war.

(Note: I'm getting all this from the book, which focused mainly on war tactics and not on culture. It only really said, "Sparta wasn't nice, but it was by no means the awful barbarian state that Athens made it out to be -- that was Athenian propaganda, and Athens was the aggressor in the war.")

I'm not saying that I want to time-travel back to Sparta and live among my true people, but it sounds like some people are taking what they do out of context ("They beat their slaves?! Why, that's barbaric!", which is true, just like it was true a few thousand years later in Georgia, but only from our perspective) and believing some of the bad press that the Athenians flung out.

Yeah, they sound like the badass war-guys of their time, which implies a certain level of not-nice-itude. But I don't know that they ate babies or sold their friends' e-mail addresses to spam providers or digitally altered "Star Wars: A New Hope" so that Han doesn't shoot first. :)
 

MaxKaladin

First Post
It's pretty hard to forget the story about the boy and the fox when practically _every_ _single_ _webpage_ about the Spartans tells it.

I've gathered there is some pretty suspect and outright contradictory data out there. Fortunatly, I'm not doing historically accurate Spartans. I'm just making a D&D version. Heck, some of the nasty stories are just the thing I need. :)

I'm aware the Spartans were probably unfairly demonized by their neighbors, but even if only half of what I've heard is true then I'd say they're still pretty nasty folks.
 

dagger

Explorer
Also something that is not commonly known, very few of them took woman as lovers except to breed. Most had male lovers exclusively. :)

The bond between the warriors was also greater for this reason. The sex between males was incouraged and accpted.
 

takyris

First Post
It's pretty hard to forget the story about the boy and the fox when practically _every_ _single_ _webpage_ about the Spartans tells it.

I just did a Google search, and found it referred to as a legend. As in, a parable, a fable, which every page I went to said was "probably not true".

What exactly is problematic here? It's an obviously exaggerated legend meant to show how badass the Spartans were, and it uses as an example a military trainee. In the middle ages, there was no concept of children. Look at the art. Children are painted as adults seen from a distance, not as children. In ancient Greece, is it that hard to imagine that children would also be treated as miniature adults, subject to the same laws? If this were a story about the badass U.S. Marines, it would be "A green trainee" instead of a young boy, and the wound (from the broken beer bottle under his shirt or something) would send him to the hospital instead of the grave (because of modern sensibilities regarding death), and when he got out of the hospital, he'd be given one hundred pushups for punishment, and then promoted to the head of his class for honor and ability to withstand pain.

It's military camp-talk. Same today as it was then, within the social context of the time.
 

Zaruthustran

The tingling means it’s working!
MaxKaladin said:
Edit: I did consider the idea of a subrace and may do that. As part of that idea, I considered what someone with Spartan priorities might have done in the way of magically enhancing the "race". What might they have added and how might it be balanced? (Probably just an ECL).

I also considered the idea of making sure eveyone had a level of thief and warrior/fighter (the rogue because they expected their kids to steal food to get enough to eat -- it was supposed to develop resourcefulness or something like that).

I'd avoid the subrace thing. That's definitely a slippery slope: just look what's happened with Elves.

I'd treat Spartans as what they are: a culture with a focus on martial/physical prowess.

Don't give bonuses to physical abilities. Instead, simply make sure that the order of preference for abilities is physical first, mental second. That way you get the result what you want (Spartans being strong, tough, fast) while keeping Spartans human. [see EDIT below]

To reflect the training I'd start every Spartan with one level of Fighter, and force the human bonus feat [see EDIT below] to be spent on a custom "Spartan Training" feat. This feat can be whatever you think is appropriate, such as something that gives much the same effect as an ability alteration (such as "+1 to all Str-based skill checks and -1 to all Cha-based skill checks), Or you could go with something simple like making all Spartans take Endurance, Great Fortitude, or Lightning Reflexes. Me, I'd go with Endurance.

I'd also give Spartans access to appropriate base classes like Marshall and Warmage, and prestige classes such as Tactical Fighter, Warchief, and Havoc Mage (all from Miniatures Handbook).

Trust me, you want to avoid subraces. Once you make one you'll want to make others (do Atheneans get +2 Wis?) and pretty soon the concept of "human" becomes meaningless. [not to mention preventing the other core races from being Spartans--see EDIT below]

To codify the above, make it like so:

Spartan: your culture emphasizes physical development.
Determine ability scores as normal. Arrange with the following requirements: no physical ability score may be lower than 10, and at least one physical ability score must be 12 or higher. Your character begins with one level of Fighter. Your human bonus feat must be spent on the "Spartan Training" feat.

-z

EDIT: scratch the human bonus feat requirement. Instead, make "Spartan Training" a fighter feat and require the fighter feat from the mandatory fighter level to be spent on it. Just like that, you've allowed for all races to be Spartans--which makes much more sense in a standard, racially-diverse D&D world. And you've tied the mandatory fighter level to the feat--which makes sense. Due to the ability requirements there should be more dwarf, half-orc, half-elf, and human Spartans than halfling, gnome, and elf spartans. Which, again, makes a whole lot of sense.
 
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MaxKaladin

First Post
takyris said:
I just did a Google search, and found it referred to as a legend. As in, a parable, a fable, which every page I went to said was "probably not true".

What exactly is problematic here?

Well, mostly I think that there has to be more than that one story out there for various websites to use, but the only story that seems to get used on many webpages is that one about the boy and the fox. You would think more people would either use a different story or use more than one. I found the "come back with your shield or on it" story to be rather underused, for instance.

Maybe Google is just turning up the wrong websites for me though.

takyris said:
In the middle ages, there was no concept of children.

I've read that that wasn't true. Rather, they (the medievals) lacked modern sensibilities concerning children and adolescents. We would be seen as being insanely overprotective to them (even to parents a hundred years ago). The art thing, from what I've read, is related to status. Supposedly, size didn't so much to actual physical size as to status. Many of the "small adults" that were thought to be children are evidently actually supposed to be adults of low status. It's been quite a while since I read this, so I may have some of the details wrong. All my books are in storage right now, so I can't provide cites but the name Barbara Hanawalt comes to mind.
 

hong

WotC's bitch
takyris said:
Hm. I'm inclined to view some of these claims with skepticism, and to look at some of the others in the context of what other people at the time were doing. I'm trying to remember a Greek War Tactics book I read a long time ago, and it said something about the Athenians being the "good guys" by modern standards when they joined the Spartans in the war against Persia, but then Athens attempted to monopolize trade and throw its weight around, which is why the Spartans went in and whupped 'em a little. Which doesn't make the Spartans these evil warlike jerks -- or at least, no more so than the Athenians, who started the Athens-Sparta war.

(Note: I'm getting all this from the book, which focused mainly on war tactics and not on culture. It only really said, "Sparta wasn't nice, but it was by no means the awful barbarian state that Athens made it out to be -- that was Athenian propaganda, and Athens was the aggressor in the war.")

I'm not saying that I want to time-travel back to Sparta and live among my true people, but it sounds like some people are taking what they do out of context ("They beat their slaves?! Why, that's barbaric!", which is true, just like it was true a few thousand years later in Georgia, but only from our perspective) and believing some of the bad press that the Athenians flung out.

Yeah, they sound like the badass war-guys of their time, which implies a certain level of not-nice-itude. But I don't know that they ate babies or sold their friends' e-mail addresses to spam providers or digitally altered "Star Wars: A New Hope" so that Han doesn't shoot first. :)

I have no joke here, I just want to say that I totally endorse this movie, novelisation, TV series, musical, adaptation, and/or reinterpretation:

http://www.journalscape.com/pasquinade/2003-11-24-10:39
 

Agback

Explorer
MaxKaladin said:
I'm aware the Spartans were probably unfairly demonized by their neighbors, but even if only half of what I've heard is true then I'd say they're still pretty nasty folks.

Most of the really cool stories were told by their admirers. But of course, that doesn't make the stories true.

Regards,


Agback
 

shilsen

First Post
MaxKaladin said:
I've read that that wasn't true. Rather, they (the medievals) lacked modern sensibilities concerning children and adolescents. We would be seen as being insanely overprotective to them (even to parents a hundred years ago).

True. It's also partly related to the fact that in medieval times (and both earlier and later), there were a whole lot of complicated issues for people to deal with which made the question of parenting seem a lot less important. When you have the Black Death showing up every few years, whether to smack a child or not becomes a fairly unimportant question. Even in 2003, many countries/cultures would regard the American (for example) treatment of children as far too overprotective, and that's partly because these cultures/countries have more pressing issues to spend their time and energy on.

The art thing, from what I've read, is related to status. Supposedly, size didn't so much to actual physical size as to status. Many of the "small adults" that were thought to be children are evidently actually supposed to be adults of low status. It's been quite a while since I read this, so I may have some of the details wrong. All my books are in storage right now, so I can't provide cites but the name Barbara Hanawalt comes to mind.

I haven't encountered this piece of information, but it's quite incorrect. Consider medieval paintings of historical figures that we can identify (and whose status we are aware of). Children, whatever their status, tend to be painted as little adults. It's simply a matter of existing perspective and perception being reflected in the art form.
 

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