In comparison to the more ragtag, disorganized orc led armies of the later Ages, Angband is an impressively effective force that is strong enough to withstand centuries of near isolation and self-sufficiency under constant siege. This suggests to me an extremely organized and structured system acting as its backbone.
I don’t think there were the modern kind of taxes or wages because I doubt there was a free market economy that needed those things to drive it. Angband is essentially a state built to fuel an army and I doubt that dark lords care much about the desire of their minions for luxury goods. So I think the most likely system was a command economy, where central planning makes all the economic decisions about how to use and distribute resources. For example, your orc will never have to worry about the cost of his helmet, because the dark lords arrange the production and delivery of all his equipment in exchange for labor at mining, farming, soldiering etc. as a specialist. Higher ranking orcs or beings probably get a bigger share of the resources and better stuff as an incentive to move up the ranks as much a possible. So there’s still a definite status system and ‘wealthier’ orcs.
Of course this opens up a host of problems too. This system takes an incredible amount of knowledge and planning to carry out, and if you don’t get the right number of helmets or chickens you need, you may end up executing rioters or having poorly equipped soldiers who lose battles. Not to mention you have to police the system rigorously for graft, theft, cheating, corruption, misreporting surplus, plain incompetence etc. Having a command economy also requires the creation of an enormous entrenched bureaucracy to organize and implement decisions made at the top.
Naturally this means that no currency is necessary, eliminating the cost in wasted metals and labor. I think that they might have created a currency later on for the sole purpose of trade with the Evil Men of the East, but I find it equally likely that Angband adopted one of their Eastern allies’ currency as long as the standard was valuable metal weights. Their chief trade goods were probably knowledge and high quality processed goods rather than raw materials anyway. This eliminates the problem of inflation internally, but not of scarcity.
Now, if you’re an orc and want a bit more than your regular rations or a nice present for your mother’s birthday, you’re going to have to barter for it. Your options for getting trade goods are limited. You can steal a little extra from what you produce as a farmer, smith, miner etc. but this might get your head chopped off. You can save some of your rations and trade that, but this can be dangerous if you don’t have enough left for yourself or trade away vital items like armor, underwear etc. You can trade services for goods like ‘I’ll sharpen your knives if you give me your shiny stone.’ But your best option for getting trade-able items is loot taken from enemies. Angband didn’t have taxes, but you probably had to tithe a portion of your plunder to the dark lords and possibly your commander. I’m thinking that a footsoldier got to keep one-tenth, a general one-third or some kind of system like that was in place but there was probably a lot of fighting over the best items between individual orcs too.
How do you keep a vast underground army supplied with food and materials? I think Angband’s production and food problems are solvable with a truly ridiculous amount of forethought and planning, pinpoint precise control of workers and a healthy amount of magic. The dark lords would need a huge amount of food, far more than could be gained through raiding; somehow crops had to be grown to feed armies, and animals had to be raised for meat and goods.
Angband must have had enormous underground farms for surface plants created through the laborious process of building plant beds, bringing in soil, and creating light and air shafts. But they also might have cultivated fungi, mushrooms, moss, roots and other edible plants that naturally grow in or near caves. Pre-siege they might have had some small scale agriculture on mountain terraces and foothills and pastured sheep or goats on the side of mountains.
Post siege they had to rely on animals that could be raised underground. Orcs probably ate little meat. Those animals would have been far more valuable for the other products they could provide, like hides, fat, or horn. Eggs or milk would be more likely, depending on availability. Bats, bugs, worms, larva, spiders, proteus salamanders, and cave crabs are natural cave creatures that might be deliberately raised as food. Fish in underground lakes would yield the double benefit of food and vital water reservoirs. Their primary meat animal would probably be pigs because they eat anything and can be intensively farmed. Dogs are also scavengers so they might also be eaten for food or raised for fur. Chickens can be cage-raised in battery farms, and they also eat almost anything, so they seem likely. Sheep and goats come from wild mountain dwelling ancestors, and would have been valuable for wool and hair and milk, but I’m doubtful they could be fed enough from Angband’s resources to be worthwhile to keep. Cows are a definite no; they just are too big for underground living and not efficient enough to be regular food animals. Horses are valuable as riding animals and it is seems likely a small number were kept for commanders, messengers and scouts.
Outbreaks of disease and contamination have an easy answer: never ever ever keep all of your animals/crops/drinking water in one place/field/reservoir. If you loose one herd to disease you can isolate it and save the rest; the more separate herds you have the smaller the loss. Potential disease vectors, like corpses, have to be disposed of immediately. Genetic bottleneck is no problem if you carefully manage your herds; scientists estimate the entire population of founding taurine (non-humped) cattle was around eighty for example; low genetic variation does not necessarily mean low fitness. If stores dropped catastrophically low, trade with Evil Men or raiding could have filled the shortfall until production could be restored.
Waste management and containment would have been vital for the health of Angband’s occupants and the viability of its economy.
Mines and farms are kept running though forced labor by prisoners; no one lives who does not work.
Everything has to be recycled - food and metals especially. Even the corpses of prisoners and orcs are eaten. Water supplies may not have been easy to find and would have to be kept clean and uncontaminated by mineral leeching.
They would have to find ways to get rid of toxic trash that couldn’t be recycled.
Environmental contamination would have been a real problem, given the volcanic atmosphere and the amount of volatile metals around. Some types of environmental contamination could have been avoided through good, ruthlessly enforced waste containment measures as well. Magic may also be a good option here.
Were Angband’s ore deposits rich enough to support centuries of war? I’m honestly a little fuzzy on the geologic requirements for the creation of metals, but I’m going to handwave this one. If Melkor can make entire mountain ranges, then I’m going to guess he can guarantee an ample supply of minerals and metals for Angband’s forges. (Plus volcanic soils are incredibly fertile which helps with the food problem. The Polynesian islands are capable of supporting agriculture only because of soils made of volcanic ash deposited by wind, fun fact.)
My general explanation for the ability of Melkor’s war machine to support itself actually relies on a bit of headcanon. Sauron managed to escape the ruin of Utumno because of an extensive underground tunnel system that existed underneath it. I like to think that this is something Melkor and Sauron continued and expanded in their next stronghold once they saw how useful it was. However tall the mountains towered above the plain, below them Angband lay many times greater and deeper. Perhaps not just the entire plain, but whole mountain ranges were honeycombed with tunnels that stretched their fingers all the way back to Utumno’s vaults.
They may be evil, but Melkor and Sauron must have been terrifyingly competent.
second callout post in one day to tumblr user @pyxuspie
she believes the children in willy wonka are being unfairly punished even after willy wonka totally said MANY TIMES to NOT go in specific places. its a chocolate FACTORY its not a chocolate PLAYPLACE. there are places you will DIE if you walk into and these children told him right to his face they said “suck my dick mr wonka” and fell in that chocolate fucking river
now charlie DID steal fizzy lifting drinks, he DID almost razor shred his head clean off, but he DIDNT, he shows the flaw in humanity but also proves if u arent a dumb shit u can fix ur mistakes, unlike mike tv who told mr wonka he’s a cuck and got assaulted by gorillas in a tiny tv. there was a WHOLE MOUNTAIN of candy to eat, but instead- INSTEAD. these small penises decided to put their dirty little fingies all over his MACHINE PARTS and THIGNS BEHIND BARS
so am i gonna apologize for veruka salt falling down that elevator shaft and probably mashing her skull open on a pile of golden eggs? NO cause she ABSOLUTELY walked past the bar of safety.
AND annnd AND if were gonna break the unknown canon and assume four children dead, let’s tally it up at mr wonkas factory: he’s NEVER let people in there, so total in his factory’s entire life FOUR people have died. how many people die at disney world every year PROBABLY LIKE FOUR HUNDRED.
so dont let your kids smear their poopy hands all over what they were warned not to touch for their own safety, that old candy fuck warned you
Mushy post incoming~ Okay, let me put this in perspective. These are my blog’s stats from the last month. Since about when I started posting Zelda stuff. Those numbers there? They beat out my DeviantArt account numbers by a landslide. By how much of a landslide? All of it. The whole damn mountain. In one month more people have started following this page, more people have been giving me feedback than THIRTEEN FRIGGIN YEARS on DA. Do you understand how freaking mindboggling this is!? To get more attention and feedback in one month than essentially the entirety of the rest of my artistic career?!
And I get it, its all fanart and yeah once either people stop hyping about fishbros and smol Gerudos or I start drawing other stuff my art wont be near as popular, and that’s fine! But I kinda finally feel like I don’t have some kind of horrible crippling flaw in my art or humor, I’m just really, really bad at finding my audience! Tumblr’s reblogging stuff essentially let you guys fix that for me by putting my doofy comics and drawings up for your friends to see. And it blows me away that any of you are doing it at all! Ever since I noticed just what those numbers were today I actually just cannot process it.
So, I’d just like to say, to everyone who’s liked, commented, reblogged, messaged me, sent me asks, and to everyone who will in the future (I hope!):
“Are you thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty no that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.