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graham anderson
12-10-2006, 10:22 PM
I might have some time over christmas away from tv's and computers as well as work so I might do some writing and I was thinking about maybe doing a bit on the societies around cerilia. I might get some peoples ideas on what they think things would be like in the different cultures.

Anuirians:

A few different systems for which I would try and do a map of an example village or manor etc. Allodial land is freeholdings.

Full feudal system all land is owned by the king, duke etc and all people have certain responsibilities to their lord. The king grants a certain amount of land to a duke a duke grants a certain amount of land to a baron etc.

Strong feudal system most land owned by the king but some allodial land owned by others. Serf and freeman seperation with freemen largely free from feudal responsibilities.

Weak feudal system most of the land is allodial. Freeman are in the majority and there are few serfs. Serf and freeman seperation with freemen largely free from feudal responsibilities.

Rjurik:

Full Udal system - all land is allodial and all men free.

Strong udal system - land is owned by communities and not individuals. Each village, town or tribe has one or more territories which are shared amoung its members and is mostly found amoung sparsley inhabited tribal nations.

weak udal system- most land is free and most people free but small amounts of feudal land and serfs exist as a holdover from the anuirian empire. Serf and freeman seperation with freemen largely free from feudal responsibilities.

Brecht:

Weak feudal - common system with large rich land holders and few small independent holders.

weak feudal - most land held by small holders.

Full feudal/strong feudal - danigau

may be other feaudal systems.

Vos:

Semi-Feudal system - may have allodial land or not - slave labour in place of serfs and largely free population.

Semi- strong Udal system - may have allodial land or not - slave labour does some of the work for a largely free population.


Khinasi :

Probably similar feudal setup to anuire but with udal tribal territories. I definatly need to think more about the khinasi.

Elves:

Weak feudal system for anuire. Village based tightly around an old elven tower for protection. May have small crop fields that are more like large gardens.

strong udal system for many others. Village to be spread out with no main through fair and plants found spread throughout. Small gardens but no crop fields.

Dwarven:

Probably a udal system.

A couple of villages. One a hill fort with wooden walls and the other underground with river and lochs.

Goblin:

Semi- strong Udal system - may have allodial land or not - slave labour does some of the work for a largely free population.

Semi weak feudal system in anuire- slaves but also serfs and the king granting territories to goblin lords and tribes who grant land to those under them.

Any idea's people have might get added in and if I get it done I will try and type it up and posts it some time after new year. If there is some interest and I think of anything else I will add it here for people to think over.

kgauck
12-11-2006, 12:41 AM
Descriptions of the social and political conditions in the realms are in great need of editing. One of the great differences between each of the editions is the quality or cartoonishness of the descriptions of the social order. Third edition has a much better description of places, politics, and societies than any of the previous editions without having to sacrifice any of the fantasy. Converting the 2E materials, of which about half were nonsense, to a description which veteran players will recognize but without the silliness will be the major challenge.

kgauck
12-11-2006, 11:09 AM
I'm looking at the Northbyrn River. When discussing Stjordvik, which is done in detail, because it has a PS, we hear of the fertile wonders of the Northbyrn River. On the Stjordvik side of the river we get Saerskaap (4) and Ustkjuvil (3). Of course there is no serious effect up-river. There are three parts of a river and the up-river parts are fast moving and generally take soil, not deposit it, and are not terribly useful for irrigation without damming the river. Consider what is across from Saerskaap and Ustkjuvil. We have Bjondrig (1), across from Ustkjuvil (and Hollingholmen), Riveside (2) and Romiene (1) across from Saerskaap. Why would we find 25,000 people on one side of the river, and 6,000 people on the other side?

The terrain is harder on the Stjordvik side.
Something seems to be going wrong in Dhoesone. Either these provinces are genuinely unoccupied despite the strong evidence of very fertile soil and a nice river, or the provinces have a population in the same ballpark (say 17,000) but because government has failed, the province levels are below what they could be if the Baroness wasn't being pulled in twenty different directions by mutually hostile factions.

graham anderson
12-11-2006, 11:31 AM
It could be explained in dhoesone that old rjurik laws of land rights and tax prevent the ruler of dhoesone from fully benefiting from the territory and people there. Or there could be other explanations like the clans in the north of doesone holding the land and not wanting rapid expansion. Of course maybe the baroness could help sort these things out if she wasn't so busy with other things.

dalor
12-11-2006, 04:18 PM
I always attributed the less settled areas of northern
Dhoesone as being the result of hostile neighbors.
Not really the Rjurik, but the humanoids of the
Giantdowns, the same sort from the bloodskull barony;
and then of course there could be raiding by less
friendly Rjurik in the employ of unscrupulous "robber
barons" of the Rjurik...I can`t remember the guys
name, but is it Storm Holtson or something like that?

Also, the people of Dhoesone didn`t strike me as
really fitting in either nitch: not really Anuireans
and not really Rjurik...so the more southerly
provinces of Dhoesone might be more heavily settled
simply because they are closer to the heart of the Old
Empire.


Anthony Edwards

--- kgauck <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:

> This post was generated by the Birthright.net
> message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
>
http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3264
>
> kgauck wrote:
> I`m looking at the Northbyrn River. When discussing
> Stjordvik, which is done in detail, because it has a
> PS, we hear of the fertile wonders of the Northbyrn
> River. On the Stjordvik side of the river we get
> Saerskaap (4) and Ustkjuvil (3). Of course there is
> no serious effect up-river. There are three parts
> of a river and the up-river parts are fast moving
> and generally take soil, not deposit it, and are not
> terribly useful for irrigation without damming the
> river. Consider what is across from Saerskaap and
> Ustkjuvil. We have Bjondrig (1), across from
> Ustkjuvil (and Hollingholmen), Riveside (2) and
> Romiene (1) across from Saerskaap. Why would we
> find 25,000 people on one side of the river, and
> 6,000 people on the other side?
>
> The terrain is harder on the Stjordvik side.
> Something seems to be going wrong in Dhoesone.
> Either these provinces are genuinely unoccupied
> despite the strong evidence of very fertile soil and
> a nice river, or the provinces have a population in
> the same ballpark (say 17,000) but because
> government has failed, the province levels are below
> what they could be if the Baroness wasn`t being
> pulled in twenty different directions by mutually
> hostile factions.
>
>

>
> Birthright-l Archives:
> http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
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The Swordgaunt
12-11-2006, 09:43 PM
This topic is brilliant!

At the moment, I am without an internet connection, and I'm browsing from my cellphone.

I look forward to reading more about this, and hopefully to contribute.

irdeggman
12-11-2006, 09:46 PM
Cityscape has a lot of information concerning government types (specifically for cities).


Examples include:

Autocratic City
Democratic city
Feudal City
Magocratic City
Theocratic City
Tribal City

It also has information on Guilds, Organizations and Contacts.

All in all a very good book for building a society with cities, specifically for adventuring and PC play.

graham anderson
12-11-2006, 10:03 PM
I haven't read cityscape. I might have to try and find it.

kgauck
12-11-2006, 10:40 PM
I'm gonna pick up Cityscape today. Like most of the recent Wizards products, I expect it to be a compliation of the best stuff produced under the open source liscence. I've been very happy with Cityworks and Dynasties and Demagogues. But, what we need for BR, what we need to develope concerns the province and realm level, more than the city.

Its great to have a guide to building cool cities that make sense and provide places of fantastic adventure, but we need somthing that combines that on a larger scale (provinces not level of detail), includes land scape stuff (I am less satisfied with Wildscape produced by the same publisher as City Works, but its an OK book) and the kind of stuff in Magical Medieval Society, but again on a province level, rather than on the smaller scale (at least for much of the book) of MMS.

I propose that as we look forward to describing realms in a BR wiki, we construct just that kind of document, which provides a point of departure for constructing realms and provinces, as well as giving us a set of terms to use as a standard set of desriptions.

AndrewTall
12-11-2006, 10:48 PM
For Dhoesone I would argue that politics is probably the cause of the low population.

The Rjurik probably don't immigrate because they don't want to be seen as servants of the empire / the druids disapprove (although the provinces bordering Stjordvik are guided by the oaken grove) / there is free land already in Rjurik, etc.

The Anuireans probably don't immigrate because Dhoesone could be politely described as a back water - ruled by a half-human, savage elves to the southeast, goblins to the southwest, berserkers to the north-west and monsters to the north-east. The one Anuirean border is with Cariele, which is hostile to Dhoesone.

As regards natural growth - to be expected given the land KGauck describes, it is possible the realm has a problem keeping youngsters, as they head for the bright lights of the big cities in Anuire to seek their fortune rather than work farms, particularly given the oppressive activities of the guilds.

If nomadic tribes still form a reasonable size of the population the population would also grow more slowly, particularly if the nomads keep 'forgetting' to enter themselves in the census.

For a normal realm that was depopulated by famine / war / etc I would normally expect land-grants, tax holidays, etc to otherwise attract a lot of immigrants, although it is probably easier to say that the 1524 HC population could be below average due to a recent plague, rumours of war, passive civil disobedience (refusal to sign onto the tax rolls) etc.

What I don't understand is why the rest of Anuire is paying for Dhoesone's army - anyone trading with the Rjurik would do so by boat given the absence of roads and relative travel time, if the army is there to defend Anuire (against the Rjurik?) the invaders would still have to plough through Cariele before they got to Anuire proper so why not put the troops in Cariele / Mhoried?

Gurgi the Goblin Mage
12-11-2006, 11:18 PM
I always assumed the "defense of Dhoesone was supported by the High Chamberlain (and those who wish to toady up to him) in a futile atempt to stave off any further degradation of the Empire. Remember he has relatives helping to prop-up the Baroness's government. As for the low pop. the story seems to indicate that the elven queen ruled the barony for at least a little while before passing the regency on to her daughter. Perhaps settlers chose to relocate rather than live under an elven ruler. Combined with it's back-water location, remembering that trade routs need to connect providences of different races (or at least terrain types) Stjordvik becomes a much more attractive ally.

kgauck
12-12-2006, 12:00 AM
With so many people "contributing" to the defense of the Dhoesone, it must be the most seccure realm in Cerilia, unless what everyone is defending are their own peculiar interests and the result is that every faction "contributing" are also contesting at least some of the other factions.

The fact that these various factions all control army units, and that the only one raised by the Baroness is a company of irregulars bodes very ill.

kgauck
12-12-2006, 12:07 AM
Anuire really doesn't pay much if anything for the defense of Dhoesone, with the possible exception of the Haelynite knights there. Far more units are supplied by the elves.

Its possible that other temples of Haelyn kick in a bit of cash for the knights every so often.

Or that what we have are individual knights, whose property and support are throughout Anuire, but instead of defending thier homes and native realms, go to Dhoesone to defend that realm, or serve Haelynite interests there.

kgauck
12-12-2006, 03:20 AM
Consider

Anarchy Province/Kingdom
Autocratic Province/Kingdom
Democratic Province/Kingdom
Feudal Province/Kingdom
Magocratic Province/Kingdom
Theocratic Province/Kingdom
Tribal Province/Kingdom
Oligarchy Province/Kingdom
Mixed Province/Kingdom

Anarchy is generally either utopian condition or a temporary one. Tighmaevril can be the cause of anarchy. Such a condition probabaly wouldn't be the stated condition of a realm, but might be mentioned as a past condition or hinted as a possible future condition.

Autocratic (Despotoc, Dictatorial) means one person rules, and the rules for BR clearly give all the power in any domain to one person (the guy with the bloodline) but the descriptions are full of contrary evidence. Decriptions of this kind realm are pretty easy, who is the ruler and who are his henchmen.

Democratic: Given the period the game generally reflects, we're talking about the Viking Thing, estates, and diets. These can be dominated by representatives of a geographical area, and be like a House of Lords (where each lord represents his subjects), or it can be urban and reflect a limited membership (only master craftsmen participate, and they represent their own interests, not some broader constituancey). Democracies are very rare as a pure form of government, these institutions are generally combined with something else.

Feudal: A feudal system has different layers of governance, and the adjoining levels have mutal obligations to serve and protect the other. There are clear statements that Anuire is feudal, yet there are no rules for province rulers in either landed or holdings domains. We can assume that they are loyal and fully participating members of their overlord's domain, as a good feudal vassal would be, or we can assume they have their own resources in some abstract way. Of course the dice can easily cover any abstractions, but they create problems if players wonder where the money went. If players seek to min-max their realms they way many do their characters, its nice to have something a little more solid.

Magocratic doesn't strike me as a useful term here, because it represents the source of the power of the realm, not how its excersized or how many paricipate in governance. I have the same problem with plutocracy, theocracy, bureaucracy, timocracy, &c. Is it useful to describe The Orthodox Temple as a theocracy? Or Rheulaan Greencloak as a magocrat? Either the class of the ruler(s) is irrelvant, or its obvious.

Theocracy (as above)

Tribal, again seems either obvious or irrelvant.

Oligarchy, rule by a few. This is somewhere between rule by many and rule by one, but a few is a discreet number (not thousands) and more or less co-equal. A council or clique can form an oligarchy. The group is more important that the chair or other leader of the group.

Mixed would describe something more than just a hybrid, since "democratic oligarchy" functions to decribe a guild where some power is vested in a few and some power is distributed widely in the guild. Generally if two adjectives would need to be used (a feudal, oligarchic autocracy), its mixed.

If there are types that describe how many, or how power is distributed, that aren't included, suggest them.

irdeggman
12-12-2006, 10:44 AM
There are several Theocratic lands and to ignore that would be doing the setting a disservice.

Medoere and Talanie come to mind immediately in Anuire.

There are also some in the Khinasi Lands.

kgauck
12-12-2006, 02:12 PM
Medoere and Talinie are run by priests and have temple holdings, they are obviously theocratic in the present. This doesn't need special attention, any more than saying that Endier is a Plutocracy.

One of the characteristics of a theocracy is that its not a simple coincidence that the ruler happens to be a priest, they must be a priest. Is investiture more difficult for a character of a different class in Talinie or Medoere? Are these realms only playable be priests?

irdeggman
12-12-2006, 04:16 PM
Medoere and Talinie are run by priests and have temple holdings, they are obviously theocratic in the present. This doesn't need special attention, any more than saying that Endier is a Plutocracy.

One of the characteristics of a theocracy is that its not a simple coincidence that the ruler happens to be a priest, they must be a priest. Is investiture more difficult for a character of a different class in Talinie or Medoere? Are these realms only playable be priests?

Well Medoere was founded by Suris (at the insistance of Rournil) - and no I don't think a theocracy needs to have a ruler who is a preist. Paladins can work just as well, as can any religious zealot could serve in that capacity. The important thing is the foundation (and recognition) by the church.

Ariya has the prince-paladin (historically) so I think that will meet any criteria for a theocracy.

Lord Rahvin
12-12-2006, 04:30 PM
In Dune and its sequals, the new Emperor establishes a theocracy on
Arakkis. While he himself could probably be considered a priest, when its
time for the heir to take over, the right of rulership passes onto his son
who is *not* a priest and in the meantime is ruled by his sister (the
"Imperial Regent") who is, at best, a prophetess but certainly not a member
of the priesthood.

And yet throughout this time, you can see that the Imperium remains a
theocracy ruled mostly by an organization of priests who advise and recieve
orders from the imperial regent. Without them, the emperor could not rule
Arakkis as effectively and so it is often necessary to agree to their
religious demands, wheter you agree with them or not (even if you happen to
be their God or their God`s sister.)


On 12/12/06, irdeggman <brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
>
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
> http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3264
>
> irdeggman wrote:
> ------------ QUOTE ----------
> Medoere and Talinie are run by priests and have temple holdings, they are
> obviously theocratic in the present. This doesn`t need special attention,
> any more than saying that Endier is a Plutocracy.
>
> One of the characteristics of a theocracy is that its not a simple
> coincidence that the ruler happens to be a priest, they must be a priest. Is
> investiture more difficult for a character of a different class in Talinie
> or Medoere? Are these realms only playable be priests?
> -----------------------------
>
>
>
> Well Medoere was founded by Suris (at the insistance of Rournil) - and no
> I don`t think a theocracy needs to have a ruler who is a preist. Paladins
> can work just as well, as can any religious zealot could serve in that
> capacity. The important thing is the foundation (and recognition) by the
> church.
>
> Ariya has the prince-paladin (historically) so I think that will meet any
> criteria for a theocracy.
>
>
>
>
> Birthright-l Archives:
> http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
>
>
>

irdeggman
12-12-2006, 04:55 PM
I also think there is a fine line between a state religion and a theocracy.

The places I mentioned all pretty much have state religions and so does Roesone (IHH).

I think the two are very closely tied and the government and reldgious influence issues need to be captured.

graham anderson
12-12-2006, 06:19 PM
There area a number of areas to try and cover about a feudal theocracy or state religion.

A few examples.

Can the religion hold land as a lord but lords still exist.

Can the religion hold land as a lord but lords still exist and other religions may hold land.

Can only the religion hold land.

With a strong state religion the ruler is put in a difficult position as to demand taxes, militery support or the return of feudal land from the church may not be looked on kindly and may ultimatly result in civil war or some other strife. A Theocracy being ruled by the head of the church would have no such problem.

AndrewTall
12-12-2006, 11:20 PM
I would note that, even in D&D, it should still be possible to be head of a church without being a clerical spell-caster i.e. a 'priest'. Most organisations are run by bureaucrats of one form or another not the 'techies' afterall.

Although priestly magic is an obvious sign of the god's favour, I can see a regent of another class (so long as they are outwardly pious) being able to rule as the high priest without a problem as long as they are 'gifted' in some way - a strong bloodline or high oratory skill being obvious candidates) - they may of course have difficulty with great captain rolls...

I would note on democracy that it is quite possible to have a half-way house between oligarchy and democracy i.e. votes only by select groups i.e. men, land-owners, those who have served in the military, members of a specific ethnic caste, the rich, etc. As long as this group can control the rest of the population by one means or another the system can be very stable.

As regards Feudal govts and the power of the nobles, I think that the Green knight designed a 'manor' type of holding to represent the collection of lands owned by nobles, although I don't know details. I would note that certainly in the UK the nobles tended to be the rich - and the rich always have ways of making their displeasure known.

I would add one more line to Mr Anderson's comments on the state religion - the position where the religion cannot own land without permission of a noble (loosely the position of the church of England after Henry confiscated the church assets), although this may sound difficult to square with a theocracy,
the church can still have very strong power without nominally owning anything - if the nobles own the land only by the grace of the church, and the church can withdraw that grace, then the church doesn't actually need to own the land to effectively control it.

kgauck
12-13-2006, 12:43 AM
I am not looking for variations on a theme (paladins, pious whatever). I am asking a fundamental constitutional question. Let me phrase this in a negative way. What would be sufficient to bar a player from inheriting or obtaining the throne of either Medoere or Talinie in the regular way. If theocracy or magocracy mean anything (other than merely describing the class of the current occupant of the throne) they must identify who has the real power in a realm. Every realm has a church which can express its displeasure. Making that statement in a domain summary is useless verbage. What should be included in a summary are the things that are different from other realms.

Example:
On page 20 of the Sjordvik PS, it says

The monarch [...]has the right to name a successor, but the freemen must ratify the choice in provincial assemblies.
So here there is a democratic limit on the king's power. This page is full of constitutional descriptions of what the king can do and what the people can do. So a good decription of the realm identifies a democratic componant to the realm (among others).

Can the priests of the NIT or RCS excercise the same bar over who becomes the next ruler of Talinie or Medoere seperatly from their own holdings. Again, its terribly obvious to say that someone in the NIT has some say in who becomes leader of the NIT. The question is, do they contol what happens in Talinie.

If they have constitutional powers (even if unwritten and traditional) which go well beyond influence and are palpable, I can see calling a state a theocracy. Otherwise you just have a special way of saying those guys are influential, as if everyone with a pile of holdings isn't influential.

graham anderson
12-13-2006, 01:10 AM
I was looking at it a lot like you kqauck on a large scale from the serf to the lord and everything in between. I have started making some notes not in any order about the feudal system and udal system. I was looking at getting some sort of basic description about the underpinnings of each system and then specific examples as in the structure of a kingdom of each type, a fief of each type and a few special examples. I will have to look at other institutes such as parliments and lord councils as well.

This is some of my notes which I have on the computer and not paper on the feudal system so far but it is far from finished notes.

Birthright societies:

Feudal society:

Feudalism refers to a general set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.

A vassal is someone who enters into mutual obligations with a lord usually of military support and mutual protection. There are two main types of vassal those who are granted fiefs and those who enter the lordís service and house for example household knights or peasant staff.

In order to make a man his vassal a commendation ceremony that comprised of the two-part act of homage and the oath of fealty was held. During homage, the vassal would promise to fight for the lord at his command.

Both the lord and his vassal would agree a series of obligations to each other.
Common obligations for the lord include the adequate maintenance of the fief granted to the vassal.

Common obligations for the vassal include military service from himself and depending on the agreement often a number of other men, ships or money. The vassal sometimes had to fulfil other obligations to the lord. One of those obligations was to provide the lord with counsel, so that if the lord faced a major decision he could summon all his vassals and hold a council. The vassal will also agree to pay his lords taxes.

Vassalage extends to the serfs or peasants who usually swear to give military service and labour in return for land or employment. The vassalage of peasants is called serfdom. Serfdom is the forced labour of serfs, on the fields of land owners, in return for protection and the right to work on their leased fields. Serfdom involved work not only on fields, but almost any other work for example like forestry or crafts.

Fiefs can vary in size from a farm to a great area that covers much of a realm and are almost always temporary although it is frequently the case that they are passed from one generation to the next in a family. A fief can further be separated into more fiefs. For example the king may grant a large area to a duke, who then grants a number of areas to barons who grant more land to those beneath them. The king did not grant all his land to dukes but would grant fiefs to those at all different stations. The lord-vassal relationship was not restricted to members of the Nobility; religious orders , guilds or freemen, for example, were also capable of acting as lords in some realms.

As well as lord, vassal and serf there is a fourth class of men called freeborn or freemen. How freemen come about varies depending on the realm in which they exist. It is common for skilled craftsmen to be freemen and this makes good sense they are wealthier than other serfs and they are more useful where they are so they are not going to be asked for military service.

Allodial land is land that is separate from the feudal system. While there may be little tax and no obligation attached to allodial land a lord or king is not obligated to protect it in any way.

In some realms you can only be a vassal to one person while in others you can be a vassal to many and it is possible for someone to hold lands in many different realms.

Variants:

Absolute feudal system

In an absolute feudal system all the land and everything in or on it belongs to the king there are no truly freemen and everyone is in effect a serf of the king.

Strong feudal system

In a strong feudal system the king controls almost all the land but it is possible for men to be freeborn and to own their own allodial land even if it is rare. Freemen tend to be professional soldiers and skilled craftsmen. The children of freemen are born free and the children of serfs are born serfs. There is little social movement.

Weak feudal system

A weak feudal system will still have some of the trapping of feudal law. There will be a king or other ruler but the king will have little land and as a large portion of it is allodial. Freemen are much more common and may outnumber serfs. Fiefs may belong as much to their lord as to the king and he may not be able to redistribute the land.

Loose feudal system

A loose feudal system does not have the same detailed land rights/records as other feudal systems although the king will usually still own all the land and people in the land. Territories are granted by a king to a chieftain or other lord with the understanding that they will pay a certain amount of tax and supply a force of men much like other feudal systems. The king has little more control than that in many ways and it is often found in large semi agrarian nations with low populations. The king will usually grant someone control of the lands in which they are already resident as well as the other people there but if the area is disloyal or has other problems an outsider may be granted the land.

Birthright variants and examples:

An example of an absolute feudal system may have been the roeles in early anuirian history and their rights over anuire.

Strong feudal systems are the most common system found in anuire. Boeruine is a good example.

The goblin realm in anuire is a good loose feudal system. Insecure with a clan system and poor central authority the king grants land to different goblin lords and tribes. The king will often grant a tribe from one province control of another province to keep the tribes divided and attention focused away from him.

irdeggman
12-13-2006, 02:13 AM
If they have constitutional powers (even if unwritten and traditional) which go well beyond influence and are palpable, I can see calling a state a theocracy. Otherwise you just have a special way of saying those guys are influential, as if everyone with a pile of holdings isn't influential.

But by saying constitutional then you technically eliminate monarchy (except for maybe a constitutional monarchy) and the Vos have no written language so what constitution?

Medoere is granted its very existence from Rournil.

Ariya has the prince-paladin, which has been in existance for at least 43 successive rulers (per the Player's Secrets of Ariya).

pg 19 of the Player's Secrrets of Medoere

"Medoere is a theocracy insteaad of a monarchy. This means that the highest political authority in the realm is the church - specifically, the Church of Ruornil's Celestial Spell."

"Under the law of Medoere, everyone is considered equal - noble and commoner, believer in Ruornil and nonbeliever alike."

"The highest position in the theocracy is that of Celestial Archpriest, a rank that must be held by the regent if Medoere is to continue as a theocracy."

"The grand curate, a position always held by an invested priest, serves as the prime minister of the realm."

Lord Rahvin
12-13-2006, 04:42 AM
A player can take control of the land of Medeore, yes. He can be invested,
be the official ruler, and all of the provinces and holdings of Ruornil`s
Celestial Spell even though he is not a priest. He can not, however, gain
regency points for the temple holdings under his control. To accomplish
this, he will need a priest to run the temples and have this priest (or
group of priests) swear fealty to him under an oath of vassalage. This
creates a situation very similiar to the Dune setup I references earlier,
where a theocratic agency is governed by the state ruler and decisions are
made under consensus (or will of the emperor, in that book).

Let`s take another scenario. The player taking control IS a priest, but
belongs to a different faith. What problems does this provide?

I think this would be too big of an issue to just houserule away, but we can
rationalize any law holdings under the new regent`s control to represent
poltiical influence, popular appeal, or any other influence he would need to
convert the state religion. Any unfilled holding slots, any law holdings
owned by other regents, or any law holdings that get reduced or contested,
can likely be interpreted as a challenge to the new state faith and the
presence of radical fundamentalist of the underground suppressed faith
working within the theocracy`s borders.

I absolutely love the last statement in the paragraph quoted below, by the
way.



On 12/12/06, kgauck <brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
>
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
> http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3264
>
> kgauck wrote:
> I am not looking for variations on a theme (paladins, pious whatever). I
> am asking a fundamental constitutional question. Let me phrase this in a
> negative way. What would be sufficient to bar a player from inheriting or
> obtaining the throne of either Medoere or Talinie in the regular way. If
> theocracy or magocracy mean anything (other than merely describing the class
> of the current occupant of the throne) they must identify who has the real
> power in a realm. Every realm has a church which can express its
> displeasure. Making that statement in a domain summary is useless
> verbage. What should be included in a summary are the things that are
> different from other realms.
>
>

irdeggman
12-13-2006, 11:17 AM
I am not looking for variations on a theme (paladins, pious whatever). I am asking a fundamental constitutional question. Let me phrase this in a negative way. What would be sufficient to bar a player from inheriting or obtaining the throne of either Medoere or Talinie in the regular way. If theocracy or magocracy mean anything (other than merely describing the class of the current occupant of the throne) they must identify who has the real power in a realm. Every realm has a church which can express its displeasure. Making that statement in a domain summary is useless verbage. What should be included in a summary are the things that are different from other realms.

Per the Player's Secrets of Medoere it is not possible to have the highest office without being the archpriest and the 2nd highest office is held by a priest regent and the highest political authority in Medoere is the RCS.

Is it actually possible to be the regent of Medoere without being the archpriest? Yes.

But that is the same as the question is it possible to be the regent of the Imperial City without being the High Chamberlain or is it possible to be the regent of Tuarhievel without being accepted by the Thorn Throne? The answer to all is yes.

But in each case it would involve drastically chaning the lands political structure - pretty much the same as conquering it. Which means that no political structure is inherently permanent in the setting (which is most definitely true but has nothing to do with the legitimacy of each style of government).

Medoere is a new domain, it is in its first generation of existence. So having a long standing "tradition" to fall back on is non-existent.

dalor
12-13-2006, 02:28 PM
Just a note on Theocratic govt: in Talinie it is
actually set up in the Player`s Secrets that Torias
Greine (sp?) runs the day to day affairs for the
church as High Priest while the Thane is more directly
in charge of the temporal Govt. Torias isn`t blooded,
so it technically means he doesn`t control the church,
only looks after it for a (possibly) non-religious (ie
spellcasting) monarch.


Anthony Edwards

--- Andrew Tall <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:
> I would note that, even in D&D, it should still be
> possible to be head of a church without being a
> clerical spell-caster i.e. a `priest`. Most
> organisations are run by bureaucrats of one form or
> another not the `techies` afterall.
>
> Although priestly magic is an obvious sign of the
> god`s favour, I can see a regent of another class
> (so long as they are outwardly pious) being able to
> rule as the high priest without a problem as long as
> they are `gifted` in some way - a strong bloodline
> or high oratory skill being obvious candidates) -
> they may of course have difficulty with great
> captain rolls...
>
> I would note on democracy that it is quite possible
> to have a half-way house between oligarchy and
> democracy i.e. votes only by select groups i.e. men,
> land-owners, those who have served in the military,
> members of a specific ethnic caste, the rich, etc.
> As long as this group can control the rest of the
> population by one means or another the system can be
> very stable.
>
> As regards Feudal govts and the power of the nobles,
> I think that the Green knight designed a `manor`
> type of holding to represent the collection of lands
> owned by nobles, although I don`t know details. I
> would note that certainly in the UK the nobles
> tended to be the rich - and the rich always have
> ways of making their displeasure known.
>
> I would add one more line to Mr Anderson`s comments
> on the state religion - the position where the
> religion cannot own land without permission of a
> noble (loosely the position of the church of England
> after Henry confiscated the church assets), although
> this may sound difficult to square with a theocracy,
>
> the church can still have very strong power without
> nominally owning anything - if the nobles own the
> land only by the grace of the church, and the church
> can withdraw that grace, then the church doesn`t
> actually need to own the land to effectively control
> it.



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kgauck
12-13-2006, 06:05 PM
The reason I objected to Theocracy originally is that it should only be used when rule by priest is a constitutional imperitive. I know what the Talinie and Medoere PS say, that's not the question. The real question here is "is the at start condition of a given domain a fixed condition?"

Part of this, I think, involves when players take over realms. I always prefered to run around for a while as heirs and aspirants to titles, before doing great things and getting the titles for yourself. In such a situtation, the constitution has become a part of the game setting and changing it requires role play.

But the original game included ideas that were much more starting from scratch. Even to include customizing your own domain. Is all that out the window even if a campaign is starting with a PC as a ruler somewhere?

That is to say, are we describing "pre-existing domain[s] with all of the assets and liabilities (detailed in the Ruins of Empire sourcebook" (p. 95 2E rulebook, emphasis my own) and leaving it up to players and DM to find their own way, possibly with the assistance of a little guide like the domain appendix on p 95-96 of the original rules?

If this is so, I hope that advocates for this position will reflect a bit on whether this is the best way to proceed, and not just cling to this positioin because they assumed it would be done this way.

I kind of assumed a bit more of a blank slate for what would be presented, but I am flexible if we want to detail all the little peculiarites of every realm.

However, along those lines, we need to purge idiotic lines like "Under the law of Medoere, everyone is considered equal - noble and commoner, believer in Ruornil and nonbeliever alike." That's obviously contradicted by the restrictions on government office, the RCS is not equal under the law, it requires the state to privledge its position. If the One True Church of Vosgaard started up holdings would the ruler's law holdings be barred from providing a bonus to contest checks because of the equality of non-belivers?

Its much better to say the law of Medoere is tolerant of unbelivers. The stuff about commoners and nobles just makes no sense in a game with bloodlines and the rest. Obviously non of the authors had given any thought to what that would really look like in practice.

kgauck
12-13-2006, 07:15 PM
Suris Enlien: Greetings, good laborer
Dennis: Please donít refer to me that way
Suris: Well - I can't just say: "Hey, Man!'
Dennis: Well you could say: "Dennis"
Suris: I didn't know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: You didn't bother to find out, did you?
Suris: Iím sorry about that.
Dennis: What I object to is that you automatically treat me like an inferior ...
Suris: Well ... I AM Celestial Archpriest.
Dennis: Oh, very nice. Celestial Archpriest, eh! I expect you've got a palace and fine clothes and courtiers and plenty of food. And how d'you get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the social and economic differences in our society! If there's EVER going to be any progress ...

an old woman appears.
Old Woman: Dennis! There's some lovely filth down here ... Oh! how d'you do?
Suris: How d'you do, good lady ... I am Suris Enlien Celestial Archpriest and regent of Medoere ... can you tell me who lives in that castle?
Old Woman: Arch WHAT of the WHO?
Suris: Celestial Archpriest of Ruornilís Celestial Spell and regent of Medoere
Old Woman: I donít know what any of that is.
Suris: All of us are ... we are all Medoereans and when the moon shines its grace on us we all may know the guidance of Ruornil.
DENNIS winks at the OLD WOMAN.
Suris: ... and I am your regent ....
Old Woman: Ooooh! I didn't know we had a regent. I thought we were an autonomous collective ...
Dennis: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship, a self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes ...
Old Woman: There you are, bringing class into it again ...
Dennis: That's what it's all about ... If only -
Suris: Please, please good people. I am in haste. What knight lives in that castle?
Old Woman: No one live there.
Suris: Well, who is your lord?
Old Woman: We don't have a lord.
Suris: What?
Dennis: I told you, We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune, we take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
Suris: Yes.
Dennis: ... But all the decision of that officer ...
Suris: Yes, I see.
Dennis: ... must be approved at a bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs.
Suris: Be quiet!
Dennis: ... but a two-thirds majority ...
Suris: Be quiet! I order you to shut up.
Old Woman: Order, eh -- who does he think he is?
Suris: I am your Celestial Archpriest and the regent of Medoere!
Old Woman: Well, I didn't vote for you.
Suris: You don't vote for the Celestial Archpriest.
Old Woman: Well, how did you become archpriest then?
Suris: The God of the Moon, in a vision to me appreared clad in the purest shimmering samite, spoke to me and declared me his Sacred Voice and gave me charge by his authority that by Divine Providence ... that I, Suris Enlien, was to bring peace to Medoere and security for the followers of Ruornil ... That is why I am your regent!
Old Woman: Is Frank in? He'd be able to deal with this one.
Dennis: Look, strange midnight visions wherein the moon gives you a crown ... that's no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical lunar ceremony.
Suris: Be quiet!
Dennis: You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause you stayed up to late and got delirious.
Suris: Shut up!
Dennis: I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some astronomical bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!
Suris: (Grabbing him by the collar) Shut up, will you. Shut up!
Dennis: Ah! NOW ... we see the violence inherent in the system.
Suris: Shut up!
PEOPLE (i.e. other PEASANTS) are appearing and watching.
Dennis: Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help, help, I'm being repressed!
Suris: (aware that people are now coming out and watching) Bloody peasant! (pushes DENNIS over into mud and prepares to ride off)
Dennis: Oh, Did you hear that! What a give-away. Did you see him repressing me, then? That's what I've been on about ...

irdeggman
12-13-2006, 07:43 PM
The reason I objected to Theocracy originally is that it should only be used when rule by priest is a constitutional imperitive. I know what the Talinie and Medoere PS say, that's not the question. The real question here is "is the at start condition of a given domain a fixed condition?"

Part of this, I think, involves when players take over realms. I always prefered to run around for a while as heirs and aspirants to titles, before doing great things and getting the titles for yourself. In such a situtation, the constitution has become a part of the game setting and changing it requires role play.

I don't think the "at start condition of a given domain a fixed condition" matters at all.

What I meant was that it is absolutely necessary to recognize theocracy as a government type. Since there are several documented in the setting infor (at the start) and there are definitely means for a priest PC to take over a realm and make it one.

It shouldn't matter how the domain became a theocracy or whether or not it remains one, but that while it is one the way government works is different than for a monarchy or other types.

In Birthright all government types are transistory and that is the nature of the game - conquering and expansion.

dalor
12-13-2006, 07:49 PM
Ahhh....good ol` Monty

Always good for a laugh!

But I agree totally...nobody is equal with everyone
else in Medeore...and that is why Diemed needs to take
back over so folks aren`t confused. LOL

Anthony Edwards

--- kgauck <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:

> This post was generated by the Birthright.net
> message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
>
http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3264
>
> kgauck wrote:
> Suris Enlien: Greetings, good laborer
> Dennis: Please donít refer to me that way
> Suris: Well - I can`t just say: "Hey, Man!`
> Dennis: Well you could say: "Dennis"
> Suris: I didn`t know you were called Dennis.
> Dennis: You didn`t bother to find out, did you?
> Suris: Iím sorry about that.
> Dennis: What I object to is that you automatically
> treat me like an inferior ...
> Suris: Well ... I AM Celestial Archpriest.
> Dennis: Oh, very nice. Celestial Archpriest, eh! I
> expect you`ve got a palace and fine clothes and
> courtiers and plenty of food. And how d`you get
> that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to
> outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the
> social and economic differences in our society! If
> there`s EVER going to be any progress ...
>
> an old woman appears.
> Old Woman: Dennis! There`s some lovely filth down
> here ... Oh! how d`you do?
> Suris: How d`you do, good lady ... I am Suris Enlien
> Celestial Archpriest and regent of Medoere ... can
> you tell me who lives in that castle?
> Old Woman: Arch WHAT of the WHO?
> Suris: Celestial Archpriest of Ruornilís Celestial
> Spell and regent of Medoere
> Old Woman: I donít know what any of that is.
> Suris: All of us are ... we are all Medoereans and
> when the moon shines its grace on us we all may know
> the guidance of Ruornil.
> DENNIS winks at the OLD WOMAN.
> Suris: ... and I am your regent ....
> Old Woman: Ooooh! I didn`t know we had a regent. I
> thought we were an autonomous collective ...
> Dennis: You`re fooling yourself. We`re living in a
> dictatorship, a self-perpetuating autocracy in which
> the working classes ...
> Old Woman: There you are, bringing class into it
> again ...
> Dennis: That`s what it`s all about ... If only -
> Suris: Please, please good people. I am in haste.
> What knight lives in that castle?
> Old Woman: No one live there.
> Suris: Well, who is your lord?
> Old Woman: We don`t have a lord.
> Suris: What?
> Dennis: I told you, We`re an anarcho-syndicalist
> commune, we take it in turns to act as a sort of
> executive officer for the week.
> Suris: Yes.
> Dennis: ... But all the decision of that officer
> ...
> Suris: Yes, I see.
> Dennis: ... must be approved at a bi-weekly meeting
> by a simple majority in the case of purely internal
> affairs.
> Suris: Be quiet!
> Dennis: ... but a two-thirds majority ...
> Suris: Be quiet! I order you to shut up.
> Old Woman: Order, eh -- who does he think he is?
> Suris: I am your Celestial Archpriest and the regent
> of Medoere!
> Old Woman: Well, I didn`t vote for you.
> Suris: You don`t vote for the Celestial Archpriest.
> Old Woman: Well, how did you become archpriest then?
> Suris: The God of the Moon, in a vision to me
> appreared clad in the purest shimmering samite,
> spoke to me and declared me his Sacred Voice and
> gave me charge by his authority that by Divine
> Providence ... that I, Suris Enlien, was to bring
> peace to Medoere and security for the followers of
> Ruornil ... That is why I am your regent!
> Old Woman: Is Frank in? He`d be able to deal with
> this one.
> Dennis: Look, strange midnight visions wherein the
> moon gives you a crown ... that`s no basis for a
> system of government. Supreme executive power
> derives from a mandate from the masses, not from
> some farcical lunar ceremony.
> Suris: Be quiet!
> Dennis: You can`t expect to wield supreme executive
> power just `cause you stayed up to late and got
> delirious.
> Suris: Shut up!
> Dennis: I mean, if I went around saying I was an
> Emperor because some astronomical bint had lobbed a
> scimitar at me, people would put me away!
> Suris: (Grabbing him by the collar) Shut up, will
> you. Shut up!
> Dennis: Ah! NOW ... we see the violence inherent in
> the system.
> Suris: Shut up!
> PEOPLE (i.e. other PEASANTS) are appearing and
> watching.
> Dennis: Come and see the violence inherent in the
> system. Help, help, I`m being repressed!
> Suris: (aware that people are now coming out and
> watching) Bloody peasant! (pushes DENNIS over into
> mud and prepares to ride off)
> Dennis: Oh, Did you hear that! What a give-away.
> Did you see him repressing me, then? That`s what
> I`ve been on about ...
>
>

>
> Birthright-l Archives:
> http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
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ploesch
12-13-2006, 07:55 PM
Quite Entertaining KGauck.

In Fantasy settings Priests wield real power granted to them by the gods. There isn't even as much a basis in BRCS for doubting the power comes from gods because mages are so rare. So even a non-believer wouldn't just dismiss the power of a priest out of hand.

Also, look at the History of Medoere, people are still alive that witnessed what occured at the pass. They would know it was Rournil that made Medoere free.

I tend to agree with you about wording of "all peoples are considered equal" however, it is a fair assesment for most of society in Medoere. Tolerant of non-believers carries a much different connotation, and I think would really change the flavor of how life in Medoere is perceived. To me tolerated sound like "Well, we don't kill them outright, but they better not get out of line", while the other says "we would prefer you to be one of the faithful, but if you choose not to you won't be treated any differently in legal cases".

The other regents in Medoere are not part of the faith, and if the faith only "tolerated" the unfaithful then I don't think the other regents would be tolerated.

AndrewTall
12-13-2006, 08:34 PM
KGauck: The reason I objected to Theocracy originally is that it should only be used when rule by priest is a constitutional imperative. <snip> The real question here is "is the at start condition of a given domain a fixed condition?"

Andrew Tall: I'm not sure if I'm disagreeing or just coming at it from a different perspective. To my mind if the population is sufficiently religious that the king will be deposed by rampaging fanatics if the high priest demands, then the realm is a theocracy regardless of the official constitution. Since any constitution is a construct of mortals rather than the divine the theocracy, to my mind, has no need of such a document if it is supported by a) the word of god and b) legions of peasants with pitchforks and flaming torches.

If the law simply states that only a priest may own land, only a high priest can own more than 2000 acres or employ armed bodyguards, etc, then the realm may be legally be a theocracy, but in reality it's just the nobility in funny hats and can probably change quite from generation to generation easily.

If it's what I would consider a theocracy - priestly control via moral imperatives - then it is going to be astoundingly hard to change the government - equivalent to getting the majority of the population to change their entire moral belief system.

I hope that's a little clearer.

KGauck: That is to say, are we describing "pre-existing domain[s] with all of the assets and liabilities (detailed in the Ruins of Empire sourcebook" (p. 95 2E rulebook, emphasis my own) and leaving it up to players and DM to find their own way, possibly with the assistance of a little guide like the domain appendix on p 95-96 of the original rules?

Andrew:I definitely agree here and would take various nation and realm descriptions with a very liberal pinch of salt. I had Rjurik going aviking as the reason for Boruine, etc to stomp the Taelshore leading to its inclusion in the empire, and Basarji slavers being the excuse for the unlanded nobles of the next generation to invade the Basarji realms. Read the books and the Rjurik were quietly minding their own business when the Anuirean's invaded for no reason at all (a love for snow?) and similarly for the Basarji. I tend to see the books as a 'this is how we like to think of ourselves' spiel.

KGauck: However, along those lines, we need to purge idiotic lines like "Under the law of Medoere, everyone is considered equal - noble and commoner, believer in Ruornil and nonbeliever alike." That's obviously contradicted by the restrictions on government office, the RCS is not equal under the law, it requires the state to privilege its position. If the One True Church of Vosgaard started up holdings would the ruler's law holdings be barred from providing a bonus to contest checks because of the equality of non-believers?

Andrew: 'one law for rich and poor alike to bar stealing bread and sleeping under bridges' is equality, so is 'legally we are you are both equal but he can afford a better lawyer'. Our current law certainly says everyone is equal, but happily mandates different punishments for crimes that differ primarily by who does them rather than severity.

So the fact that ROE gaily trots out the 'equal in god's eyes' line is basically church propaganda - they are all equal as long as they accept the guidance of Ruornil as expressed via his faithful and abide by his very reasonable rules of conduct. If the population agrrees fervently then its the state that relies on the church to privilige it's position, not the other way around.

I'm not sure that Iím disagreeing here, I think it's all in how you read it.

Lord Rahvin: Let`s take another scenario. The player taking control IS a priest, but belongs to a different faith. What problems does this provide?

Andrew: That depends how literally you take the temple 'nominated deity' descriptor, if you see temple holdings as more like the guilds - i.e. many businesses but one co-ordinating body that speaks on external matters - then it's quite possible to have priests of Haelyn, etc inside the Ruornil temple hierarchy. In a theocracy however I would have thought it would be harder to be high priest when from a 'junior' order. I would note that as regency reflects the respect etc, of the population the class should be irrelevant, I much prefer the 3.5 BRCS approach of skills, although it swings a bit too rapidly for my taste.

KGauck: Every realm has a church which can express its displeasure. Making that statement in a domain summary is useless verbage. What should be included in a summary are the things that are different from other realms.

Andrew: Perhaps I was excessively English at you.

Example 1. Priest A of the state church expresses his displeasure with the king's tax policies in a pantheonistic realm on Monday, on tuesday priest B and his church is sworn in as the new state religion and solemnly proclaims the king defender of the faith. - Regardless of what the constitution says on rights of the church this is not a theocracy.

Realm 2. Priest A expresses his displeasure on Monday, on Tuesday the king sees his nobles in arms about the peasants gathering to riot, begs forgiveness from priest A and offers penance in the form of 10,000gp, revocation of all rights of taxation over the priesthood, and the right of priests to administer church law over the faithful. - This otoh is a theocracy, again regardless of who is nominally in charge.

Neither of these examples requires the church to own land, have a place in the feudal structure, or any formal constitution regarding the position of the priesthood. The difference is all dependant on how fervent the population is - some people see religion as the core, or indeed whole of their culture whereas others see it as just one part of their culture and tradition. That perspective of the general populace has far more impact on the real power of the faith than any legal constitution or official role.

Again I'm not sure if I'm disagreeing with you here, I saw you as coming from a legalistic background whereas I think on reflection you are leaning more towards a description of the true as opposed to apparent power balance.

I think that rather than simply saying 'a theocracy' the guides should refer to 'fundamentalist approach', 'fanatical believers', etc to be useful. I would see a useful description of Medoere therefore not as 'a theocracy' but as 'a realm of devout Rournites who in the most part came to these lands to worship the word of the moon god as expressed by his most faithful servant, her grace Suris Enlien'. A sprinkling of church teachings and comments about the interaction of the church on the nobility, business, etc could then fill out the detail on how it works in practice.

Of course if the position of the church is not written in law the power will depend tremendously on the relative charisma's of the head of state and church (if distinct) with power swaying as the personalities at the top change. I.e. the PC's take over and find that while the old king could oppose the church with relative impunity they have far less leeway - or vice versa.

Irdeggman: But by saying constitutional then you technically eliminate monarchy (except for maybe a constitutional monarchy) and the Vos have no written language so what constitution?

Andrew: The Brits have had an 'unwritten' constitution for ages, it's what made it historically so hard to change. (Words can be re-interpreted or re-written pretty much at the whim of the current govt, to change ours you need to convince the general population, or at least the vocal oneís interested, to agree on what the constitution should be, herding cats leaps to mind). Obviously though some constitutions are taken more seriously than others.

The Vos could easily therefore have a 'constitution' which demands right to a trial of strength, jury of peers etc, since they all recognise the code that they live by.

dalor
12-13-2006, 08:34 PM
To me, the important thing to remember is that the
original intent of the setting was to allow one of
three possible campaign types:

1) Conquest and Government only; where players simply
rule one of the domains with a regent and do no
adventuring.

2) As one above, but also with adventures thrown in
here and there.

3) Adventure only, with the setting only as a backdrop
to characters and their adventures.

Some aspects of each nation are needed for each of
these scenerios; but it can still be left to the
players what they will change. If someone wants to
rule Medeore as a militaristic dictatorship, then
simply incorporate it into the existing descriptions
of the nation and the lands around. Ilien and Roesone
would have to be explained away as to why they did not
interfere in such a change since Medeore is their
ally; as well as why Diemed didn`t either (or did if
the new ruler was funded or supported somehow by
Diemed).

You can place "Concrete" definitions of each nation in
a book, and this makes it useful as the information
can be used or discarded at need...but leaving things
out makes more work for the players to create and can
take more time. Better to have things set out in the
book and allow whoever is using it to do with it as
they please.


Anthony Edwards

--- irdeggman <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:

> ------------ QUOTE ----------
> The reason I objected to Theocracy originally is
> that it should only be used when rule by priest is a
> constitutional imperitive. I know what the Talinie
> and Medoere PS say, that`s not the question. The
> real question here is "is the at start condition of
> a given domain a fixed condition?"
>
> Part of this, I think, involves when players take
> over realms. I always prefered to run around for a
> while as heirs and aspirants to titles, before doing
> great things and getting the titles for yourself. In
> such a situtation, the constitution has become a
> part of the game setting and changing it requires
> role play.
> -----------------------------
>
>
>
> I don`t think the "at start condition of a given
> domain a fixed condition" matters at all.
>
> What I meant was that it is absolutely necessary to
> recognize theocracy as a government type. Since
> there are several documented in the setting infor
> (at the start) and there are definitely means for a
> priest PC to take over a realm and make it one.
>
> It shouldn`t matter how the domain became a
> theocracy or whether or not it remains one, but that
> while it is one the way government works is
> different than for a monarchy or other types.
>
> In Birthright all government types are transistory
> and that is the nature of the game - conquering and
> expansion.



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kgauck
12-14-2006, 02:02 AM
What I meant was that it is absolutely necessary to recognize theocracy as a government type.

Why? Why should this varient of oligarchy be privledged in this way? Why not Aristocracy, Gerontocracy, Kleptocracy, Meritocracy, Plutocracy, or Technocracy?

Why is Medoere not an oligarchy in which there simply happen to be temple holdings and a priest in charge?

If Medoere is called a theocracy, why isn't Endier a plutocracy, Rjuivik a kleptocracy, Avanil an aristocracy, and Rovninodensk a meritocracy?


In Birthright all government types are transistory and that is the nature of the game - conquering and expansion.

What exactly is the point of this statement. It would seem to be so obvious as to defy the need to actually state it, but since its here I must be missing its actual purpose.

irdeggman
12-14-2006, 02:14 AM
Why? Why should this varient of oligarchy be privledged in this way? Why not Aristocracy, Gerontocracy, Kleptocracy, Meritocracy, Plutocracy, or Technocracy?

Why is Medoere not an oligarchy in which there simply happen to be temple holdings and a priest in charge?

With the extreme importance on the political side of religion in the setting there is a distinct purpose for a theocracy style of government.


If Medoere is called a theocracy, why isn't Endier a plutocracy, Rjuivik a kleptocracy, Avanil an aristocracy, and Rovninodensk a meritocracy?

Then why have any type of governments?

Why any of these?

Anarchy Province/Kingdom
Autocratic Province/Kingdom
Democratic Province/Kingdom
Feudal Province/Kingdom
Magocratic Province/Kingdom
Theocratic Province/Kingdom
Tribal Province/Kingdom
Oligarchy Province/Kingdom
Mixed Province/Kingdom

They are different in one way or another from each other and so is a theocracy.



What exactly is the point of this statement. It would seem to be so obvious as to defy the need to actually state it, but since its here I must be missing its actual purpose.

Because you made of bringing up a constitution-based case for a government type. I tried to point out that since government change with rulers they are tied to the ruler and not a set of historic "laws" that can change with rulers.

The point being that it is not necessarily the "history" of the domain that determines its government type but the present ruler which "typifies" it. Although a longer "history" generally means a more difficult time in changing government styles without a rebellion of some type.

kgauck
12-14-2006, 05:07 AM
The catagories I favored took two things into consideration, how widely distributed was the power in a domain, and what shape that distribution took. The rest should be obvious from the other natural parts of a domain, such as the listed ruler and the types of holdings involved.

At one point I thought you were building a pretty good argument about the historical weight of the past and the established constitutions


Ariya has the prince-paladin, which has been in existance for at least 43 successive rulers (per the Player's Secrets of Ariya).

Medoere is a theocracy instead of a monarchy. This means that the highest political authority in the realm is the church - specifically, the Church of Ruornil's Celestial Spell."

"The highest position in the theocracy is that of Celestial Archpriest, a rank that must be held by the regent if Medoere is to continue as a theocracy."

But then you dismiss your own mounting argument by saying


since government change with rulers they are tied to the ruler and not a set of historic "laws" that can change with rulers.

The point being that it is not necessarily the "history" of the domain that determines its government type but the present ruler which "typifies" it.

So I don't know why you want to recognize theocracy as a significant catagory only that you do.

What I specifically don't want to do is use a lable to institutionalize and enshrine what are coincidenal and transitory phenomena. If the badge of office of Avanil is a red cap, that's worth mentioning. If you happened to see the prince wearing a red cap one day, that doesn't mean we say Avanil has a Red-cap-archy.

Using a few clear catogories is simple and elegant. This suits a summary stat block for a realm far better than using words that need a lot of qualifiers, like its a theocracy because Suris wants it do be until she doesn't or it changes.

Autocracy, oligarchy, democracy all establish how wide the power base is. It would be useful to identify is the power base is unified or distributed. That is do the oligarchs or the people come together at one place to express there will, such as in a Chamber of Masters or a Thing of all Halskapa, or whether there are many distributed centers of power, like each noble having considrable power in his own lands, or granting each town with a charter extinsive rights to govern on its own.

Everything else is obvious when you identify the kinds of holdings involved and the class of the ruler.

Lord Rahvin
12-14-2006, 08:21 AM
In the end, what does this matter to the players, in your view?

I mean, if my autocratoc/oligarchic/democratic regent wants to invade Diemed
with 4 untis of archers and 2 units of infantry, than that`s what the
autocracy/oligarchy/democracy is going to do, right? After all, I`m the
damn regent and have got the bloodline and Regency points to back it up.

I really don`t see what the deal is. My realm of a theocracy because I`m
the ruler/regent and hold all the temples. If I lose all the temples
(Ruornil forbid!), then I will Decree that we are no longer a theocracy and
henceforth we will live in a democratic realm where everyone has an equal
vote. Why? Because I will it so. :) And if I decide that the democracy
invades with 4 units of archers and 2 units of infantry, than that`s the
will of the people in my democracy.

That`s the way realms work in the fantasy realms of Birthright; that`s what
Regency *is*.

-Lord Rahvin


On 12/13/06, kgauck < brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
>
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
> http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3264
>
> kgauck wrote:
> The catagories I favored took two things into consideration, how widely
> distributed was the power in a domain, and what shape that distribution
> took. The rest should be obvious from the other natural parts of a domain,
> such as the listed ruler and the types of holdings involved.
>
>
>
> At one point I thought you were building a pretty good argument about the
> historical weight of the past and the established constitutions
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------ QUOTE ----------
> Ariya has the prince-paladin, which has been in existance for at least 43
> successive rulers (per the Player`s Secrets of Ariya).
>
>
>
> Medoere is a theocracy instead of a monarchy. This means that the highest
> political authority in the realm is the church - specifically, the Church of
> Ruornil`s Celestial Spell."
>
>
>
> "The highest position in the theocracy is that of Celestial Archpriest, a
> rank that must be held by the regent if Medoere is to continue as a
> theocracy."
> -----------------------------
>
>
>
>
>
> But then you dismiss your own mounting argument by saying
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------ QUOTE ----------
> since government change with rulers they are tied to the ruler and not a
> set of historic "laws" that can change with rulers.
>
>
>
> The point being that it is not necessarily the "history" of the domain
> that determines its government type but the present ruler which "typifies"
> it.
> -----------------------------
>
>
>
>
>
> So I don`t know why you want to recognize theocracy as a significant
> catagory only that you do.
>
>
>
> What I specifically don`t want to do is use a lable to institutionalize
> and enshrine what are coincidenal and transitory phenomena. If the badge of
> office of Avanil is a red cap, that`s worth mentioning. If you happened to
> see the prince wearing a red cap one day, that doesn`t mean we say Avanil
> has a Red-cap-archy.
>
>
>
> Using a few clear catogories is simple and elegant. This suits a summary
> stat block for a realm far better than using words that need a lot of
> qualifiers, like its a theocracy because Suris wants it do be until she
> doesn`t or it changes.
>
>
>
> Autocracy, oligarchy, democracy all establish how wide the power base is.
> It would be useful to identify is the power base is unified or
> distributed. That is do the oligarchs or the people come together at one
> place to express there will, such as in a Chamber of Masters or a Thing of
> all Halskapa, or whether there are many distributed centers of power, like
> each noble having considrable power in his own lands, or granting each town
> with a charter extinsive rights to govern on its own.
>
>
>
> Everything else is obvious when you identify the kinds of holdings
> involved and the class of the ruler.
>
>
>
>
> Birthright-l Archives:
> http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
>
>
>

irdeggman
12-14-2006, 10:29 AM
What I specifically don't want to do is use a lable to institutionalize and enshrine what are coincidenal and transitory phenomena. If the badge of office of Avanil is a red cap, that's worth mentioning. If you happened to see the prince wearing a red cap one day, that doesn't mean we say Avanil has a Red-cap-archy.

But all governements in Birthright fall under that label.

I was trying to point out that the style is important at the moment.

Also when writing information detailing "existing" domains it is likewise important to address these categories.

Theocracy describes, very well IMO, a government where the church is presiding authority for all legal matters.



Using a few clear catogories is simple and elegant. This suits a summary stat block for a realm far better than using words that need a lot of qualifiers, like its a theocracy because Suris wants it do be until she doesn't or it changes.

This is like saying we shouldn't have kingdoms because someone decides to declare himself "king". Avanil anyone?


Autocracy, oligarchy, democracy all establish how wide the power base is. It would be useful to identify is the power base is unified or distributed. That is do the oligarchs or the people come together at one place to express there will, such as in a Chamber of Masters or a Thing of all Halskapa, or whether there are many distributed centers of power, like each noble having considrable power in his own lands, or granting each town with a charter extinsive rights to govern on its own.

Again so does theocracy since it reflects that the people fel that way and are deeply religious, well to the point of


Everything else is obvious when you identify the kinds of holdings involved and the class of the ruler.

Then no government except for one that bases its rulership on controlling Law holdings is necessary - since those are the significant holding for maintaining authority within a domain.

Politics is more complicated than that and too much simplifying ruins a lot of the "flavor" of the game IMO.

kgauck
12-14-2006, 04:32 PM
In the end, what does this matter to the players, in your view?

I mean, if my autocratoc/oligarchic/democratic regent wants to invade Diemed with 4 untis of archers and 2 units of infantry, than that`s what the
autocracy/oligarchy/democracy is going to do, right?

Only if I ignore the pages of text in the various PS which say otherwise. There are two sources you can consider (as I already mentioned in post #14 of this thread). You can consider the BR rules which uses dice to decide whether you are successful or not for a given action, or you can consider the descriptive text which is full of limits on the will of the ruler. The former strikes me as way to much game and way too little role play. The latter is they way I run my own games. If the Diemed description were to say that declarations of war or assembling an army required the consent of the nobles (either through the ratification of a noble council or because it was the nobles who actually muster the troops) then its very possible that if Diem outran his nobles in some plan to make a war it could end very badly.

I immediatly think of the the 1559 war between England and Scotland over the succession of Elizabeth (Mary, Queen of Scots claimed the throne herself). The English force sent to invade Scotland, lacked support from key Catholic nobles, like the Earl of Northumberland, whose approval was critical. The English were defeated. As it happens, there were plenty of Scottish lords who preffered and alliance with Elizabeth to the Guise alliance with France, and despite England's defeat, they deposed Mary of Guise and forced Mary Queen of Scots to accept the withdrawl of the French army (she refused but it happened anyway).

Neither ruler simply willed action and these failures happened, because core constituancies were not on board. Now, you can either see this as rolling very poorly on realm actions supporting the war, or you can game it out and let the players deal with these problems directly.


Politics is more complicated than that and too much simplifying ruins a lot of the "flavor" of the game IMO.

I hope I didn't simplify that too much.

graham anderson
12-14-2006, 07:42 PM
Well some of the reasons that I am looking at it is I will have a few weeks with little to do.

I am also interested in Udal law more than feudal law but I also have some interest in it.

I have played in a lot of birthright games and run a good few too and the problems and misunderstandings that come about because different players have different ideas of the nations and its laws is frankly a pain. Mostly because some people have some very funny ideas about feudal law far less udal law or other laws.

One of the things I would like is maybe a different random event table or some changes to the table for each type of government so that it is more personalised. For example in a realm with a parliament a young firebrand politician has gained a good deal of power in the parliament and is bringing the business of state to a standstill.

kgauck
12-14-2006, 08:08 PM
Do you see Udal law having a realm level effect, or is it something that fills in the background as a cause of action?

When I ran my Baruk-Azhik compaign, one of the things the players did was to clear out an abandon mine of the cultists and humanoids that were there. The Overthane of B-A, a PC, gave the mine to his new bride, but the old guild who had dug the mind considered re-asserting their claim. The Grand Judge of B-A, first argued that the guild had abandon their property for a sufficient amount of time that their claim was void, ultimatly, the new consort of the Overthane got to keep the mine, but the old guild got to work the mine and they split the profit. This situation had no realm effect, but it was the cause of one adventure and several letters between the Overthane and the Grand Judge.

Do you see Udal law as a Rjurik thing, or do you imagine wider use? I would certainly be interested in the Scottish version for Talinie, since Scotland is that realm's model.

graham anderson
12-14-2006, 09:20 PM
Udal law is Norse law rather than feudal law although there are some similarities. In this case I would make it rjurik law. I am thinking about having some realms with a bit of both mostly dhoesone but Talinie might be a good place for it as well and some of the Rjurik realms might have some feudal land left over from the empire. After all it gave the Scots a few headaches. Lawyers do seem to rule the world now as well as in the past. The hold over of free land in some feudal realms would create many of the same situations as udal law as well.

I like your example its the sort of thing I want the nation/government information for.

As for udal law having a realm level effect mostly no, taxes are still collected and realms ruled although there may be problems stemming from it with large construction work as the king would not have the same rights to buy people out or move them on. Maybe not a big problem for the rjurik but a possible effect.

I would like different governments to have different realm effects in some places but I think that outside random events that is something to think about later. I would like to think about it I definitely think there should be more variation but first things first.

An interesting example might be during a war or plaque the inheritance laws give the land and farms to the eldest son but all other property to the other children mostly the sons. This can give you a large well armed but homeless group of young men after any large scale death in the nation. The ruler would need to channel these men into something useful or away from the nation to raid elsewhere.

Then we have the lack of the use of levies in feudal war which I would like to change at some point but again that is something for the future.

dalor
12-14-2006, 09:30 PM
Scotland is the model for Talinie? Did I miss
something? Is that simply your opinion or was that
recorded somewhere?

Anthony Edwards

--- kgauck <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:

> This post was generated by the Birthright.net
> message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
>
http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=3264
>
> kgauck wrote:
> Do you see Udal law having a realm level effect, or
> is it something that fills in the background as a
> cause of action?
>
> When I ran my Baruk-Azhik compaign, one of the
> things the players did was to clear out an abandon
> mine of the cultists and humanoids that were there.
> The Overthane of B-A, a PC, gave the mine to his new
> bride, but the old guild who had dug the mind
> considered re-asserting their claim. The Grand
> Judge of B-A, first argued that the guild had
> abandon their property for a sufficient amount of
> time that their claim was void, ultimatly, the new
> consort of the Overthane got to keep the mine, but
> the old guild got to work the mine and they split
> the profit. This situation had no realm effect, but
> it was the cause of one adventure and several
> letters between the Overthane and the Grand Judge.
>
> Do you see Udal law as a Rjurik thing, or do you
> imagine wider use? I would certainly be interested
> in the Scottish version for Talinie, since Scotland
> is that realm`s model.
>
>

>
> Birthright-l Archives:
> http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
> To unsubscribe, send email to
> LISTSERV@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM
>
>




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dalor
12-14-2006, 09:45 PM
Lack of levies in Feudal War? I`m not clear on what
you are saying there...are you saying they didn`t have
Feudal Levies...or that a population disaster would
complicate it?


Anthony Edwards

--- graham anderson <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:

> Udal law is Norse law rather than feudal law
> although there are some similarities. In this case I
> would make it rjurik law. I am thinking about having
> some realms with a bit of both mostly dhoesone but
> Talinie might be a good place for it as well and
> some of the Rjurik realms might have some feudal
> land left over from the empire. After all it gave
> the Scots a few headaches. Lawyers do seem to rule
> the world now as well as in the past. The hold over
> of free land in some feudal realms would create many
> of the same situations as udal law as well.
>
> I like your example its the sort of thing I want the
> nation/government information for.
>
> As for udal law having a realm level effect mostly
> no, taxes are still collected and realms ruled
> although there may be problems stemming from it with
> large construction work as the king would not have
> the same rights to buy people out or move them on.
> Maybe not a big problem for the rjurik but a
> possible effect.
>
> I would like different governments to have different
> realm effects in some places but I think that
> outside random events that is something to think
> about later. I would like to think about it I
> definitely think there should be more variation but
> first things first.
>
> An interesting example might be during a war or
> plaque the inheritance laws give the land and farms
> to the eldest son but all other property to the
> other children mostly the sons. This can give you a
> large well armed but homeless group of young men
> after any large scale death in the nation. The ruler
> would need to channel these men into something
> useful or away from the nation to raid elsewhere.
>
> Then we have the lack of the use of levies in feudal
> war which I would like to change at some point but
> again that is something for the future.




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graham anderson
12-14-2006, 10:20 PM
Hi dalor I was refering to levies only really being used for defense in the game and a levy of those people who owe you militery service being raised.

I would have liked to have seen a different levy maybe depending on the size of province so that you might get better units in say a province 6(3 levy serfs, 2 irregulars and 1 knight).

A smaller levy that could be raised for attacks.

The rules as they are almost ignore levies and feudal society.

It is a pretty complicated issue for the game though so I will be largely ignoring it just now.

kgauck
12-15-2006, 02:59 AM
Scotland is the model for Talinie? Did I miss
something? Is that simply your opinion or was that
recorded somewhere?

If you look at the geographical names:
Kincardine, Strathcarron, Flodday, Balvanish, Durness, Lindholme, Daliburgh, Scalpay, Dunbeath, Stronsay, Colonsay, Culkein, and Strathcanaird
there is a strong Scottish feel there.
The colors of the realm (from the picture of Thuriene Donalls in Ruins of Empire) are blue and white, the colors of St Andrews.
And then there is her name, Donalls. Plus Leland, Old Lotan, Stalban, and Murdoc Sanford Myles.

There is a perponderance of Scottish influence here, and its location between the Anglo-Norman Anuire and the Viking Rjurik also seems like a natural.

It was enough for me to decide to embrace Scotland as my model for Talinie when I needed a new name like
Brulan Broweleit
Iain Broweleit
Lamorac Kincardine
Erskine Murdoc
Duncan Dalmelling
Artair Ramsey
Niall Deadwater

See the full list here http://home.mchsi.com/~kgauck/taelshore/talinie.htm

Lord Rahvin
12-15-2006, 05:18 AM
kgauck wrote:
---

> Only if I ignore the pages of text in the various PS which say
> otherwise. There are two sources you can consider (as I already mentioned
> in post #14 of this thread). You can consider the BR rules which uses dice
> to decide whether you are successful or not for a given action, or you can
> consider the descriptive text which is full of limits on the will of the
> ruler. The former strikes me as way to much game and way too little role
> play. The latter is they way I run my own games. If the Diemed description
> were to say that declarations of war or assembling an army required the
> consent of the nobles (either through the ratification of a noble council or
> because it was the nobles who actually muster the troops) then its very
> possible that if Diem outran his nobles in some plan to make a war it could
> end very badly.

---


Oooooh, okay. I`m kind of liking where this is going. But I need
clarification.

Let`s take your example with Diemed and assume the "official description"
(an idea I find oxymoronic to begin with) says that the declaration of war
or assembling an army requires the consent of the nobles. Let`s also assume
that Baron Diem is played by a PC who wants to establish a huge army.

Now I need some clarification here to better understand your position: Are
you suggesting that...?
#1) Additional rules be added to the domain system to reflect the "will of
the nobles" on this issue.
#2) No additional rules be added, but that line removed from the official
description.
#3) No additional rules added, but a paragraph of material be added
encouraging players and DMs on ways of working "will of the nobles"
improvisations before committing the restricted action(s) and providing
suggestions for these improvisations such as roleplay, random events,
diplomacy actions, etc.
#4) The DM should veto the players request to recruit too many troops and
all players should expect this to happen because of what`s in the realm
description.

Also, one more question just to get us on the same page:
#1) Are your points/ideas limited to only one style of playing Birthright?
(I think my earlier statements/rationalization/arguments only applied for
play exclusively at the domain level of play, not from a hybrid
adventure/domain setup. I tend to play games where everyone`s a regent.)

Thanks.


-Lord Rahvin

Lord Rahvin
12-15-2006, 06:12 AM
kguack:

> I immediatly think of the the 1559 war between England and Scotland over
> the succession of Elizabeth (Mary, Queen of Scots claimed the throne
> herself). The English force sent to invade Scotland, lacked support from
> key Catholic nobles, like the Earl of Northumberland, whose approval was
> critical. The English were defeated. As it happens, there were plenty of
> Scottish lords who preffered and alliance with Elizabeth to the Guise
> alliance with France, and despite England`s defeat, they deposed Mary of
> Guise and forced Mary Queen of Scots to accept the withdrawl of the French
> army (she refused but it happened anyway).
>
> Neither ruler simply willed action and these failures happened, because
> core constituancies were not on board. Now, you can either see this as
> rolling very poorly on realm actions supporting the war, or you can game it
> out and let the players deal with these problems directly.

---

I`m not trying to build a straw man here, but your last statement sounds
like you are debunking the idea of having a domain system at all. I was
under the impression we were trying to improve the domain system.

Let me know if I`m just way off.

-Lord Rahvin

AndrewTall
12-16-2006, 12:45 AM
I would have thought the realm description in the atlas would compliment the domain system during play, I would expect a GM to would reward players who 'roleplayed their realm' well i.e. the ruler of Taline using a clerical argument or fear of Boruine to sway the populace, ruler of Avanil stressing their realms glorious history to raise a levy, etc. The reward could give a bonus to the domain roll, reduced cost, or an unusual benefit.

Similarly a ruler who blatantly ignored/contradicted the realms history, i.e. a ruler who ignored the 'mayor's council' etc could see province loyalty falls, find it more expensive to raise troops, be more likely to generate great captains, etc.

Ideally the player would choose a realm which suited their PC's ruling style (militaristic, popular, aloof, etc) a PC who generated a replacement realm with a detailed background would similarly hopefully design one which would not conflict with their PC's aims (unless that was their intention).

An example in game terms:
(thanks to kguack for the history):

> I immediatly think of the the 1559 war between England and Scotland over
> the succession of Elizabeth (Mary, Queen of Scots claimed the throne
> herself). The English force sent to invade Scotland, lacked support from
> key Catholic nobles, like the Earl of Northumberland, whose approval was
> critical. The English were defeated. As it happens, there were plenty of
> Scottish lords who preffered and alliance with Elizabeth to the Guise
> alliance with France, and despite England`s defeat, they deposed Mary of
> Guise and forced Mary Queen of Scots to accept the withdrawl of the French
> army (she refused but it happened anyway).
>
> Neither ruler simply willed action and these failures happened, because
> core constituancies were not on board. Now, you can either see this as
> rolling very poorly on realm actions supporting the war, or you can game it
> out and let the players deal with these problems directly.

If the PC had approached the Earl of Northumberland and allayed his fears / played on his greed to sway him to their side / quietly assassinated him, recruited the scottish lairds to their cause, etc, then I would have given them a substantial bonus to the invasion - i.e. information on enemy locations, perhaps a friendly levy or two raised by a laird, the defection of an enemy unit or inaction from same, etc.

If the PC offended the lairds, openly threatened the earl of Northumberland but failed to deal with him decisively, etc then the earl might summon a unit or two of catholic 'freedom fighters' from nearby countries, pay for a mercenary unit or two to support Mary, wavering lairds could remain inactive or ally with Mary, etc. Similarly any provinces conquered by Elisabeth could have a starting morale below normal, produce less gold/RP until Elisabeth 'proved herself' somehow, etc.

In the diemed example if the PC used intrigue on the council of nobles to identify their fears and desires, then used diplomacy to go to the council and sway them to war using the information they had gathered to gain the nobles support, then the PC could for example get the loan of a unit of knights (noble's sons protecting their father's interests), cash to hire mercenaries, etc.

If the PC ignored the nobles completely then the noble's could be offended, province morale would drop, tax collection could suffer, information on Diemed's intentions could surreptitously be passed to the target realms possibly warning them of the planned invasion, etc.

I see domain play as just like role-playing a PC meeting with a merchant, guardsmen, etc writ large. Play the role well and benefit, blunder around like a bull in a china shop and suffer. It would be hard to build rules for this, but simple guidance (i.e. minor benefits include a, b, c, major penalties include x, y, z) would be handy.

Lord Rahvin
12-16-2006, 02:33 AM
I see domain play as just like role-playing a PC meeting with a merchant, guardsmen, etc writ large. Play the role well and benefit, blunder around like a bull in a china shop and suffer. It would be hard to build rules for this, but simple guidance (i.e. minor benefits include a, b, c, major penalties include x, y, z) would be handy.


This is off-topic, but I'd like to point it out anyway:

Well-articulated rules give players the power to play their game. In your example partially quoted above derived from kguack's historical examples, you have a GM enforcing the realm description by punishing a player for playing 'incorrectly'. If the GM is going to decide how a player should play the game, and reward a player for playing that way, and punish a player for not playing that way, then you don't really need a player at all.

Players are there to make choices.

The only way a player's choice can be even remotely relavent is if he knows for a fact what the results of his choices will be. That's where rules come in, and the reason why they are so important. If I have rules that say if I muster too many troops, my opponent will gain a unit of mercenary troops for free, and I do it *anyway* then that was a choice that *I* made in playing my domain. But if I chose to do something not knowing that the consequences would be, and the GM slaps me with some minor or major side effects than if feels more like the game is being run by the whim of the GM and not by my player choice at all.

We all know that the GM is going to do his best to be impartial and fair and promote a good game; that's not a question. Nor are rules anything "guaranteed" by any means, as the GM can change that at will to make things interesting/fair/etc. But the rules provide us with a social contract, if I do X then I expect Y to happen. If Y happens, then I will need to do Z. This social contract allows for the most fair, easily understood rulings that are distributable to everyone fairly equally under a broad range of circumstances.

I will always advocate against the "GM should punish players for not playing the way he wants to" argument, whether in birthright realm management or alignment issues or what have you.

kgauck
12-16-2006, 06:32 AM
I`m not trying to build a straw man here, but your last statement sounds like you are debunking the idea of having a domain system at all. I was under the impression we were trying to improve the domain system.

I like the domain system. It elegantly and simply records the specifics of a domain in an easy to manipulate format. It forms the skeleton upon which can hang the context included in a domain summary,


Let`s take your example with Diemed and assume the "official description" (an idea I find oxymoronic to begin with) says that the declaration of war or assembling an army requires the consent of the nobles.

One of the things that is useful about any canon is that 1) it can provide a point of reference for discussion, and 2) it can provide a point of departure for individual campaigns

Of the possible suggestions

#1) Additional rules be added to the domain system to reflect the "will of the nobles" on this issue.
#2) No additional rules be added, but that line removed from the official
description.
#3) No additional rules added, but a paragraph of material be added
encouraging players and DMs on ways of working "will of the nobles"
improvisations before committing the restricted action(s) and providing
suggestions for these improvisations such as roleplay, random events,
diplomacy actions, etc.
#4) The DM should veto the players request to recruit too many troops and
all players should expect this to happen because of what`s in the realm
description.

I'm mostly suggesting #3, along with description of the other powers in the realm (people, nobles, senior priests, guild council) some mechanism and explanation of results can provide guilelines for actions. Somewhere else a standard set of rules for debates, unsupportive members of your organization, and related random events can be plugged right into these situations. The kind of stuff I've seen so far in d20 books isn't as good as it needs to be in this regard, but there is some interesting stuff out there.


Are your points/ideas limited to only one style of playing Birthright?
(I think my earlier statements/rationalization/arguments only applied for
play exclusively at the domain level of play, not from a hybrid
adventure/domain setup. I tend to play games where everyone`s a regent.)

The more a game is just based on applying the mechanics, like a PBeM, the more these kinds of situations would focus on the mechanics of dealing with disputes within the domain organization. The more role play oriented a game is, the more the resolution should focus on that.

AndrewTall
12-16-2006, 11:40 AM
Lord Rahvin: This is off-topic, but I'd like to point it out anyway:

Well-articulated rules give players the power to play their game. In your example partially quoted above derived from kguack's historical examples, you have a GM enforcing the realm description by punishing a player for playing 'incorrectly'. If the GM is going to decide how a player should play the game, and reward a player for playing that way, and punish a player for not playing that way, then you don't really need a player at all.
<snip>
I will always advocate against the "GM should punish players for not playing the way he wants to" argument, whether in birthright realm management or alignment issues or what have you.

Andrew: I think we may be looking at things from a different angle.

When I GM'd a game in which a PC did something cringingly dim, such as saying 'mind you own business bitch!' to a queen, in her throne-room, following her demand that the PC's make reparations for insulting a noble, I did not simply allow them to make their 'intimidate' roll without penalty. I applied penalties for the Queen's notorious pride (well advertised beforehand) the PC's 'common' use of language (again advertised by the flowery court language used earlier in the scene) , the fifty or so soldiers and the queen's champion in the room (also pointed out beforehand), etc. This is not stated anywhere in the rules, but it was blindingly obvious that a straight die-roll would have been inappropriate - and the player should have known it.

An experienced player will know that what they say and do will impact how the game mechanics are applied. This is therefore part of the social contract you mention. As long as the player has a reasonable idea on what sort of response will be generated by an approach, then they should be rewarded for using a 'good' approach and penalised for using a 'bad' approach.

If PC's are less experienced, then by all means have an advisor point out the consequences that they may have missed; 'Sire, the Earl of Northumberland is very influential, without his support the war will be hard fought, with his opposition it will be near impossible' should put even the slowest player on guard that they need to role-play rather than just roll-play.

I have yet to have a player complain that a well argued; impassioned argument should not give a benefit to diplomacy, indeed some have role-played well in the hope and expectation that their speech (which in my next example they had spent hours preparing) would have precisely that effect.

Example:
A player, ally to the queen of the Sielwode, went to Baruk-Azhik and asked for the dwarves to march to defend the Sielwode against a necromancer and his legions of undead.

The player decided to base his argument on the long history of peace between the two realms, the fact that the elves, amongst all other races had no desire to dwell in the dwarves mountains and claim their mineral wealth (drawing a parallel to the dwarves distaste for living in the elven forests), but that both races would benefit by trade (the elves need the dwarves metal-working skills, the dwarves could use the elves magic and forest products), the possible problems for the dwarves with the necromancer as a neighbour, or given the short lifespan of humans, whatever replaced him: goblins of Markazor or humans of Kiergard.

Should I have simply said 'for god's sake stop rambling, roll the bones! The dwarves are historically indifferent; you need a friendly result to get a token number of troops (DC 15) and helpful result (DC 30) to get serous support?'

To me it would be far worse to ignore the player's actions when determining an outcome, than to blindly follow the base mechanics without reference to the player's actions - they can play a war-game if role-playing is irrelevant and the dice are all.

In the above example the PC was articulate and had a good case, I shifted the dwarves mood from indifferent to friendly due to the PC's careful 'buttering up' of the dwarves with references to the dwarves glorious history and argument based on loyalty, stability, and dwarven pride. I then told them to roll with a +5 bonus due to the way they had played to the dwarves concerns about the potential new neighbour and the potential for future assistance from the elves. The player still had to roll (otherwise the stats become irrelevant, not necessarily a bad thing but not D20 compliant) but even on a poor roll the dwarves would have done something - allow the elves to flee through their lands for example.

Without the speech the task would have been very difficult, or the dwarves would have demanded up-front tangible rewards for their assistance rather than trusting the elves word.

To me that sort of adjustment is what makes the player's actions have an impact in the world. Without the DM shifting the odds for the way in which a player chooses the role-play the PC then the PC's really are redundant. This should not be based on the DM's liking for a specific action, but rather their honest and impartial opinion of what impact the player's approach would have.

I would however suggest that tables of minor/major/great bonus's and penalties are drawn up so that the player has an indication of what will happen if they role-play well or badly, i.e. 'Joe, you can ignore the realms thousand-year tradition of raising levies by asking the nobles to do it and simply bypass them to do it yourself, but it's likely to get a minor penalty as the nobles will be ticked, it's likely to cost more as well as you'll have to hire criers and the loyallists who would normally join for a nominal amount stay working for their liege, etc'.

Similarly if the PC asks on likely outcomes to their actions then the GM should tell them honestly - PC: if I do go to Avanil for help against the bandit king of Pechalinn what will happen? GM: Well he may give you a few troops to deal with the bandits, but they'll probably stay to help 'maintain order' if you aren't careful, if you swore to support his claim to the iron Throne you'd get a lot more help - but Boruine will not be happy and Alamie will probably want an ally of their own...

The social contract is therefore retained - players know that what they do will shape the world and how they go about doing it will influence their chances of success, and the degree of success achieved. The GM on the other hand doesn't constantly have to grind their teeth as the players do something ridiculous and then ignore the obvious reactions that should be generated, but which aren't specifically mentioned in the rules. "Look, the rules say the King is indifferent to foreigners, you can't apply a penalty to my charisma check just because I killed his son and looted his treasury" may be an argument that the rules-lawyers think is valid, but it won't get far with me and any players who don't know it, will figure it out pdq.

Lee
12-16-2006, 09:04 PM
In a message dated 12/14/06 9:57:32 PM Eastern Standard Time,
brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET writes:

<< kgauck wrote:
------------ QUOTE ----------
Scotland is the model for Talinie? Did I miss
something? Is that simply your opinion or was that
recorded somewhere?
-----------------------------



If you look at the geographical names:
Kincardine, Strathcarron, Flodday, Balvanish, Durness, Lindholme, Daliburgh,
Scalpay, Dunbeath, Stronsay, Colonsay, Culkein, and Strathcanaird
there is a strong Scottish feel there.
The colors of the realm (from the picture of Thuriene Donalls in Ruins of
Empire) are blue and white, the colors of St Andrews.
And then there is her name, Donalls. Plus Leland, Old Lotan, Stalban, and
Murdoc Sanford Myles.

There is a perponderance of Scottish influence here, and its location
between the Anglo-Norman Anuire and the Viking Rjurik also seems like a natural.
>>

Not to mention the comment about it always raining....

Lee.

kgauck
12-17-2006, 01:25 AM
Feudalism refers to a general set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.

Given this good definition, I have some problems with the rating system


In a strong feudal system the king controls almost all the land

A weak feudal system will [have] a king or other ruler, but the king will have little land and as a large portion of it is allodial.

A loose feudal system: Territories are granted by a king to a chieftain or other lord with the understanding that they will pay a certain amount of tax and supply a force of men much like other feudal systems.

If a feudal system is a system of reciprocal obligations, I would avoid selecting a modifier that actually modifies an implied other quality. It seems the strong, week, and loose modifiers actually modify the state. Certainly feudalism is not a strong state. A strong state where the king controls or owns most of the land is not particularly feudal. A state where the mutual obligations are missing for any reason isn't particularly feudal.

This area is of particular interest to me since I think that its interesting to situate BR in a period near the birth of the Renaissance state. My own view is that the most modern states, the most powerful states, the most militarily successful states, are Renaissance states of the kind Machiavelli praised.

States that are feudal, have overlapping, diffuse power-structures are the ones who have to play catch up or get bitten.

graham anderson
12-17-2006, 02:12 AM
The strong weak and loose examples are taken from history but these are just notes just now. Remember that just because someone has the power to do something doesn't mean it is wise too.

Examples being absolute/strong: the king owns all or almost all the land he could if he wanted simple tell a duke he was a duke no more and take his land although if he did this without the duke at least rebelling and tring to kill him he could expect problems as the other lords would not like it. Even in history if a family had their land confiscated they would often get them back if they appologised and offered something like more taxes to the crown. A good example in history would be the bruces in scotland and england lots of rebellions lots of land confiscated and yet they keep getting their land back when they appologised. All other reciprical feudal agreements are still there.


So what I am getting at is that each is feudal they have the responsibilities between people but the differences come about due to changes such as poor structure in a loose feudal system. You might say that it is dependent on the number of restriction through tradition or law that the king must abide by for most of them as well as the restrictions put on the population.

Its partly a measure of law and could be frased to take that into account. A loose feudal system has little law or central authority held by the king. Detailed records of property dont exist but terroitories often marked by natural boundries are held by nobles.

The bit about strong feudal should probably say the king owns nearly all the land but it is largely managed and controlled by other nobles through vassalage agreements.

I see anuire still being held back a bit with strong old fashioned nations although there are some up and commers such as endier. Brechtur I see very much as you describe for the most part.

kgauck
12-17-2006, 07:12 AM
I certainly don't see Anuire behind either the Brecht or the Khinasi, and think the descriptions of the Brecht are more delusional than some of the other nations. In general I read the description of the nations and of the realms (especially in the PS) as a self-description.

I get what the descriptions of strong, weak, and loose mean, and I think they are useful, but I don't think they modify "feudal" they modify the central executive power.

I'd prefer centralized monarchy, feudal monarchy, decentralized monarchy, tribal monarchy.

For example, I don't think how centralized a state is neccesarily has anything to do with how much law the central executive has. Certainly you can't have a strong, centralized monarchy without controlling the law, but you can own all the law and use the law to achieve somthing other than a stong executive. More important than the law is the effeciency of the administration. A state with a 10th century administrative capacity would be stronger by adopting a feudal system and pushing control down to the overlords. A state with a 17th century administrative capacity is almost stupid to be anything less than absolutist. The realm with the 10th century administrative capacity which attempted to be a centralized autocracy would have a very well run core area, say a single province, and the rest would be nearly uncontrolled. My choice of 10th and 17th century examples is well beyond the diversity I would expect in Cerilia, but it illustrates good extremes.

I do think that the Brecht have a particular set of advantages, the Khinasi theirs, and the Anuireans theirs. I see no reason to reckon one of these three, all described as renaissance, being more advanced over all. For example, in economic theory, I have proposed that the end result overall is prosperity, because Anuirean administrative skills combined with the Haelynite work ethic, and a commitment to investment in infratructure in the long run produced as much as gutsy hedging, business saavy, and market analysis.

graham anderson
12-17-2006, 03:36 PM
I don't see anuire exactly behind either each of the cultures has its own strengths and problems. I do see anuire still having a strong feudal system with lots of serfs and nobles but a growing class of freemen especialy in nations such as endier.

kgauck
12-17-2006, 04:51 PM
I certainly see a strong Manorial system in Anuire, though that doesn't have to be mostly serfs. I would say that the dominant economics of Anuire are Manorial, where the economics of Brechtur and Khinasi are more market based, although proto-Mercantilistic. Its interesting to observe that the German theory of economics, Cameralism, would be more appropriate to Anuire, while its the Brechts who would develop the theories of Mercantilism.

kgauck
12-17-2006, 11:15 PM
Economic Descriptions

This link is to a post from 2002 on economic theory.

dalor
12-18-2006, 09:42 AM
Gotcha...thought you meant the government. :-)


--- kgauck <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET> wrote:

> ------------ QUOTE ----------
> Scotland is the model for Talinie? Did I miss
> something? Is that simply your opinion or was that
> recorded somewhere?
> -----------------------------
>
>
>
> If you look at the geographical names:
> Kincardine, Strathcarron, Flodday, Balvanish,
> Durness, Lindholme, Daliburgh, Scalpay, Dunbeath,
> Stronsay, Colonsay, Culkein, and Strathcanaird
> there is a strong Scottish feel there.
> The colors of the realm (from the picture of
> Thuriene Donalls in Ruins of Empire) are blue and
> white, the colors of St Andrews.
> And then there is her name, Donalls. Plus Leland,
> Old Lotan, Stalban, and Murdoc Sanford Myles.
>
> There is a perponderance of Scottish influence here,
> and its location between the Anglo-Norman Anuire and
> the Viking Rjurik also seems like a natural.
>
> It was enough for me to decide to embrace Scotland
> as my model for Talinie when I needed a new name
> like
> Brulan Broweleit
> Iain Broweleit
> Lamorac Kincardine
> Erskine Murdoc
> Duncan Dalmelling
> Artair Ramsey
> Niall Deadwater
>
> See the full list here
> http://home.mchsi.com/~kgauck/taelshore/talinie.htm

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