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  • Writer's pictureOwen

Under The Yoke Devlog 30: How the little piggies will grunt

Welcome ladies and villeins to another Under The Yoke Devlog, the big 3-0!

To celebrate the devlogs entering our Middle Age (*wink wink*) we're going to discuss being a child, naturally.

In History

Between the labour beginning around the time you start walking to the various cruel traditions, like beating your children as part of Christmas celebrations, I don't think I'm being overly controversial when I say being a child in the Middle Ages wasn't much fun.

For those who survived their infancy they could expect to be learning first hand from their parents the day to day operations of being a peasant, primarily by being a peasant. But what happens if your parent died while you were still in your minority?

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that in the highly volatile medieval period, people had figured out what to do in this scenario.

Wardship was a medieval mechanism wherein a ward took in the orphaned children and helped to raise them while also managing their estate on their behalf. When a ward reached a certain age (generally around 21 for a boy), the property was to be handed back in the same condition as it was received.

There are humorous anecdotes from medieval records of wards stealing back their property before coming of age, such as one account of a boy tearing down his cottage and stealing the materials and being ordered to reconstruct it by the courts.

In Under The Yoke

Wardship is probably more familiar to most history gamers as a regency and can often represent be a lull in the action. The truth is, if you're too young to be making decisions then there isn't much else you can do in games which Sid Meier coined as: 'A series of interesting decisions'.

Of course, it's very possible for a character to die before their child has reached maturation in Under The Yoke, as a medieval life-sim, so wardship must be represented, but we do have a finger on the scales. Firstly, if there is still an adult in the household, such as a Mother, Uncle, Aunt or older sister, gameplay will continue as normal.

In the event that there is no such character then the family will be taken into Wardship. This will relieve the player from having to take part in the yearly farming rituals, nor will they have to concern themselves with food.

Instead, the player will be presented with unique events which present both dangers and opportunities, being raised in your Lord's care does have its benefits after all.

This is nonetheless, not the type of gameplay that most players will be thrilled by, so the game will allow players to advance time at an irregularly fast speed (provided this doesn't cause any issues when testing) and players will be able to take back control of their property before the age of 21, sometimes history has to take a backseat to fun.

Anyway, this is a rather small mechanic but an important one to consider so I thought delving into the real history would be a fun little exercise.

As always, enter your email below to receive these blog posts straight to your inbox every other week and I will see you then!

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