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Rowan
01-07-2008, 08:16 PM
I saw some stuff a long while back about how to fix some problems with wizard regents in the game, but I can't find them right now, so I'm going to throw this topic out here and see how controversial it is and what feedback I can get on my house rule solutions I've been using for a while based on those old posts I can't find.

By my estimation, unless you've got a high-level wizard or control non-source holdings, wizards are by far the weakest regents to play in the game.

Wizard regents suffer from some of the biggest drawbacks in the game, and even after BRCS eliminated maintenance costs for sources and ley lines and added the virtual guild rules, source regents still suffer huge limitations on income, regular RP expenditure, and tied up domain actions.

Consider this:
A wizard relies on income from only a few sources:
1. Source Holdings higher than level 4 (however, very few of these can even exist, and they require a single wizard to have controlled and fully developed all of the sources in the province)
a. Bliene-6, the Spiderfell-7 (a dangerous prospect) in the Southern Coast (others by HMA only in the Erebannien); Sunken Lands-6, Spiritsend-6, Hope’s Demise-6 in Eastern Marches (excluding Chimaeron and Baruk Azhik); Elevesnemiere-5, Pechalinn-5 and Torien’s Watch-6 in the Heartlands; 3 L5’s in Talinie and 3 L6’s in Taeghas in the Western Coast; 1 in the 5 Peaks, 2 in Thurazor, 4 in Dhoesone
b. Trade routes must be developed to fully take advantage of these, which are subject to disruption, and don’t really make much sense for source holdings anyway (some people eliminate them from their games because of that)
c. The max income, then, is .67 or 1.33GB for each of these few sources, and that is hardly enough to cover the cost of a single Domain Action!
2. The Alchemy Spell: this spell requires the wizard regent to use up a precious realm spell known slot (of which most DM’s allow very few for starting regents), spend a whole domain action, already have 1GB to use, burn tons of RP, and then only have a net gain limited to 2 or 3 GB for each casting of the spell! (since the max number of GB is limited by source level, and most source regents don’t have sources higher than level 3 or 4).
3. Patronage from realm rulers. This usually isn’t more than 1-3GB, and is often subject to being cut off in times of war and such. Further, realm rulers tend to want their wizards to do their bidding, taking up on average 1 domain action every season to carry out the regent’s wishes (casting realm spells, doing research, opposing other wizard regents, etc.). This makes most wizard regents more beholden to other regents than anyone but weak vassals.


A source regent needs to build up GB so he can cast realm spells, probably needing a treasury of at least 4 GB in times of conflict. Further, he needs 1GB for every domain action each season, and at least 1GB to carry out magical research or item creation, and must support a Court (let’s say at least 3) unless he wants to waste standard actions on every single Rule, Create, or Contest, not being able to take realm actions otherwise or even build fortified holdings like wizard’s towers or conduct diplomacy, or even spend character actions on adventures and research because without a Court, he must be personally involved in every Domain Action!

Every Domain Action and most Court Actions cost at least 1GB to carry out. Researching Realm spells takes a character action each month, and 1GB each month as well, for each level of the realm spell involved, just to get the chance to make a roll to learn it!


This costs the typical Wizard Regent with a Lieutenant 4GB per season for standard actions, 3GB for court actions, 3GB to maintain the court, and 3GB for research, travel, adventure, and contingency. That’s 13GB per season, just to match the flexibility of your average regent of any other domain!

Note: the wizard regent still doesn’t get to take part in most of the actions other holding types can take, and he needs lots of RP and GB and the right spells to take part in military action at all—the cost for a wizard to wage war is often higher than for another kind of regent, because of the domain actions necessary to cast realm spells and alchemy, the GB component of spells, and the massive RP requirements. It takes total attention just to help wage low-level war for any but the most high-level wizard regents.

To carry out actions, then, a typical source regent—let’s say he even has a Source 6, a rare occurrence!—must use up 1 action casting Alchemy, burning probably half or more of his RP accumulated that round just to net 3 or 4 more GB. Let’s say he also gets 3GB from realm regents (again, a high salary, surely making the wizard quite beholden to them). That’s only 9.33GB, and he’s already probably taking up another Domain Action to please his sponsors, which will likely use up more of his RP. So that better-than-average wizard regent is using up 2 Standard or Full actions already casting spells and pleasing his sponsor, leaving him with only 1 and 1 lieutenant action left, and very little GB and RP with which to do it.

Rowan
01-07-2008, 08:19 PM
How do we fix these problems? Here are some House Rules I have seen in use recently:

Wizards have automatic, no maintenance Courts equal to the level of their highest source holding, but they can only be used on realm actions involving sources.

Realm spells cost Ĺ GB per level to research, can be researched in a single month no matter the level, and Court actions can be used to research.

Ley Link as a Court action allowing other wizard regents to use a given regentís ley line.

Modifications to the Ley Line creation rules to allow multiple provinces to be linked at once, rather than requiring 1GB and RP and chew up another whole standard action for each one (see Dragon Magazine article Wiki).


What I recommend:
1. Source holdings generate income at a rate of 1/3GB per level (like a law holding); this reflects magical and exceptional materials that can be used for arcane research and as components for casting spells, as well as natural resources as per the normal virtual guild rules. Sources above level 4 do not generate any extra GB if this rule is in place, but sources do act as virtual guilds of 3 levels lower than the source, but sources of level 4 or higher then become visible to all regents since the wizardís power is manifested more openly and strongly in the province. Trade routes represent special quasi-magical markets and natural resource trade. They do not require roads to maintain if they follow ley lines instead.
2. Wizards can use Create Wizardís Tower (1st level version of the Stronghold realm spell that only needs a source 1 or higher and costs 1GB and can only make Wizardís Towers) or Fortify Holding action to create a Fortified Holding that also acts as a Court equal to its level. This Court can be sustained as per the Stronghold spell by using up source levels, or it costs 1GB plus 1RP per level to maintain each season.
3. The Alchemy spell gets modified: double the amount of GB that can be created for each source level and reduce the RP cost to 2 or 3RP for each GB created. Also, Alchemy can be cast as a Court action. This should allow wizards to create the gold they need every few seasons rather than having to waste an action every season and wonít use up so much of their precious RP (needed for other spells).
4. Realm spells cost Ĺ GB per level to research, can be researched in a single month no matter the level, and Court actions can be used to research.
5. Starting regents know a number of realm spells equal to their total ranks in Knowledge Arcana -1 (letting them know almost half of their current potential).
6. Reduce any realm spells level 3 or higher by 1 level and reduce source requirements of 4 or higher by 1 to make them more accessible to low-level regents.
7. Ley Link is a Court action allowing any other wizard (not just wizard regents, but Lieutenants) to cast spells using the ley line, but any given source can still only be tapped for its source level amount each month.
8. Ley lines can be forged across multiple provinces at once, tapped in each province it runs through. Ley lines are not crafted by straight lines, but weave through the middle of any province they pass through, and can be sundered at any point. Ley lines that can be tapped in multiple provinces are created through Realm actions, using 1 Court action for each additional province they can be tapped in.
9. Create Ley Well is a Court action that can be used to fix an existing ley line in the province the well is sunk in; this means that if the ley line is sundered, it is only sundered back to the wellóthe entire line is not broken through one sundering, only a fragment of it is.

Rowan
01-07-2008, 08:28 PM
Arcane Towers present a whole new area for some new concepts that can make the game much more dynamic and compelling for wizard players, allowing more flexibility, but still costing a lot (since gold is still a major limiting factor for them).

Wizards Tower Asset Improvements:
Alchemy Laboratory: 4GB cost; Alchemy can be cast as a Court Action

Ley Focus Spires: 3GB cost for each; each one allows a new Ley line realm spells to be cast as Court Actions (like Ley Trace, Ley Sunder, Ley Ward, Ley Mask)

Scrying Room (pools or mirrors): 4GB cost; Scry realm spells can be cast as Court Actions.

Extradimensional Portal: 2GB per level of tower; allows the tower to remain hidden, accessible only through extradimensional portals

Source Conduits: 2GB cost; a portal in any Source 0 or higher that allows a wizard regent to travel almost instantaneously through the conduit back to the arcane tower using the mebhaigl he controls

Arcane Sanctum: 2GB cost; Functions as the Arcane Sanctum feat in the Tower

Arcane Library: an asset that can exceed the towerís level, costing 3GB per level to create and nothing to maintain. Each level gives a +1 bonus on all spell research.

Arcane Well: asset costing 3GB per level; allows the wizard to store additional RP equal to 2RP per well level for the purposes only of casting realm spells and any actions involving sources (primarily put in place to help protect oneís sources and ley lines from attack).

Arcane Pool: an asset that can be created for 2GB and 4RP in any province with a source or a ley line passing through it. It can be used to cast any realm spell in that province that it can support from the wizardís tower as a Court action. Each costs 1RP to maintain. (these are essentially like Embassies or Spy Networks).


Another important side note:
Source holdings and ley lines should be tracked separately by the DM, not shown on public realm holdings listings. Per BRCS, these things are pretty secret, unknown to wizard and non-wizard regents alike. Games can have a lot of flavor and activity for wizard regents if these regents also have to spend time discovering what other wizards control power in the area, contesting sources, tracing and destroying ley lines, etc. This makes the wizard regentís world much more dynamic and compelling, IMO.

Rowan
01-09-2008, 04:06 AM
I guess I posted too much...no one wants to take this on?

ryancaveney
01-09-2008, 04:28 AM
unless you've got a high-level wizard or control non-source holdings, wizards are by far the weakest regents to play in the game.

Yup. I'm not convinced this is really a problem, though.


even after BRCS eliminated maintenance costs for sources

Sources never had maintenance costs. Rulebook p. 44 says "Count the number of provinces and law, guild and temple (but not source) holdings in the regent's domain." Ley lines at least only ever cost RP to maintain, and the "only pay if you plan to use it this domain turn" optional rule from Book of Magecraft made that even easier.


Source Holdings higher than level 4 (however, very few of these can even exist

Which is precisely why a wizard who isn't at least closely allied with a province ruler is doomed anyway. When the most straightforward way to fight an intrusive wizard in your provinces is also the same thing you want to do to make your own realm stronger (i.e., rule up all your provinces as high as they will go), a wizard regent simply has to have a good enough relationship with some province ruler to negotiate a reliable "wilderness preserve", or his days are numbered for sure.


The Alchemy Spell

Yes, this was always a terrible deal. My impression was that most people changed the spell to use a ratio of 3-1 or even 2-1 rather than the official 4-1, which is only marginally better than the 5-1 ratio any schlub can use to pay troops in regency rather than gold. Still, you're much better off having a guild holding and a trade route for regular income; wizards who don't arrange for at least a couple of non-source holdings are not going to stay regents for long, and I'm okay with that.


and then only have a net gain limited to 2 or 3 GB for each casting of the spell! (since the max number of GB is limited by source level, and most source regents donít have sources higher than level 3 or 4)

Ouch! That limitation is NOT in the original rules, and it seems unduly harsh to add it. The only restriction from Rulebook p. 82 is that you need a source (3) to cast Alchemy at all, but I encourage houseruling that one away, too -- because even at 2-1 with no source limitation, Alchemy is still vastly less useful than a couple of trade routes. To me, it has always been much harder to find enough RP than enough GB, and harder to find enough action rounds more than anything else, so turning the hard-to-find stuff into the easy-to-find stuff at a loss just never seemed helpful except in unusual circumstances.


Patronage from realm rulers. This usually isnít more than 1-3GB, and is often subject to being cut off in times of war and such. Further, realm rulers tend to want their wizards to do their bidding, taking up on average 1 domain action every season to carry out the regentís wishes (casting realm spells, doing research, opposing other wizard regents, etc.). This makes most wizard regents more beholden to other regents than anyone but weak vassals.

Low-level wizard regents *should* be vassals, just as most guild and temple regents should be. High-level wizard regents should have province rulers as *their* vassals, and the landed regent should be glad of it, especially in time of war! Any fighter who stops paying his weapon of mass destruction when the war starts is an idiot. If your high-level wizard gets tired of his land manager, always remember the Subversion realm spell -- which exists in order to force other regents' holdings to take actions of your choosing -- as well as the fact that the Investiture action specifically allows the use of magical compulsion by usual PHB spells. Given the D&D magic system, a wizard of even moderate level (7th to 9th, say) should be able to walk into and take over any realm he wants with just a few Adventure actions -- unless that realm is protected by its own loyal wizard of equal or higher level. Even then, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that PHB spells render conventional warfare obsolete: the Cloudkill adventure spell is an automatic D result on any war card, and a sack full of scrolls of it is much cheaper than the Mass Destruction realm spell. Aelies is a *sixteenth*-level wizard, so he can hardly avoid having the whole southern coast in the palm of his hand, should he want it. In fact, I think the reason the Erebannien is so low-level is that all the Swordwraiths for generations have been geased by him to keep it that way.

irdeggman
01-09-2008, 04:32 AM
Wizards are supposed to be dependent on other regents to survive, IMO.

It is part of the reason that there are not a lot of them in the first place.

Making them be able to stand alone, to me, defeats a lot of the purpose of having certain classes be better at certain things - and promoting cooperation.

In 2nd ed, a realm regent absolutely needed the cooperation of the local guilder and temple regent to effectively rule his lands. Having a local wizard regent was a handy thing to have too - especially in case of a war.

A guilder needs the protection of the landed regent's troops and the highways (roads and or ports) in order to make his money.

A temple regent needs the support of the landed regent for protection and, well to help squash those pesky heritic religions.

While these roles are lessens somewhat in 3.5 the basic principles still apply - no regent is an island to himself and must get the cooperation of his fellow regents to survive and prosper.

So I just don't see a real need to mess with the system all that much. Some minor tweaking sure - but nothing so vast as what you are talking about.

The two biggest things I see needed "adjusting" for source regents are:

The Alchemy spell - just not efficient enough

The present rules forcing the source regent to personnally conduct his realm actions - makes having a Lt and/or court sort of a waste for a source regent.

Other than that IMO things are the way they are supposed to be.

Rowan
01-09-2008, 04:47 AM
Thanks, Irdeggman! I do agree that interdependency among regents is important, but I don't think wizards should be so much more dependent than other domain regents. I'm not going to try to force my philosophy upon you, of course.

Would your perspective change, however, if you were playing a wizard regent? My argument is based on the observation that, especially if the focus of a game is realm-level play (such as in PBEMs), it's just much harder and not as rewarding to play a wizard. You're much more limited than any other regent type; hence my suggestions to help fix that problem and make them more fun to play.

To me, BR has always encouraged a mysterious hidden world where wizards compete against their peers over the magic of the land. Well, they don't have much time or resources to, the way the rules are set up. In fact, if they're personally seeing to running their realms, they don't really have any time to do any of that characteristic magical research, and vice versa.

ryancaveney
01-09-2008, 05:06 AM
To me, BR has always encouraged a mysterious hidden world where wizards compete against their peers over the magic of the land. Well, they don't have much time or resources to, the way the rules are set up. In fact, if they're personally seeing to running their realms, they don't really have any time to do any of that characteristic magical research, and vice versa.

That's pretty much what I meant about high-level wizards having province rulers as their vassals -- as a great humor site I once encountered said, "No true mad scientist actually wants to rule the world; that would take too much time away from doing science! At most, they want to extort a few billion dollars in research funding." That's how I see a good relationship between a landed ruler and his court wizard: the wizard gets someone to take care of all the annoying financial paperwork, and the regent gets a really powerful ally who occasionally comes of out the lab long enough to turn an enemy into a toad.

Rowan
01-09-2008, 05:38 AM
For some reason your first post didn't show up last I checked in, Ryan.

Your explanations make sense, but they also require a little tweaking of the storylines for BR. I was trying to create a rules system that allowed the story stuff to remain in place.

For instance, there isn't any mention in the story of wizard regents controlling realm rulers or even other domain rulers as you suggest--though that would be a very interesting modification to the background. Also, in Anuire, I believe only Taeghas and Ilien (aside from the elves) represent wizards that control anything other than sources. So the current background doesn't give wizards much in the way of worldly influence or gold on their own; for them, regency is much easier to come by than gold. It would be tough for them to compete with guilders to make the money necessary, and few temples in Anuire would owe allegiance to them. Good wizards aren't going to go around extorting money and controlling minds, either.

In a world of little magic, I don't think it's out of place to make what is there powerful. There are inherent limits to the number of human wizards, after all.

I like hearing your background/philosophy explanations and ways of making wizards work better in BR. When it comes to the rules, though, when you put yourselves in the shoes of a player wizard (and the possibility of multiple player wizards in a game with 20+ players), do you still really think it's as flexible and fun to play them as any other domain? Most people don't enjoy being lapdogs when they play, and unless a wizard is of sufficiently high level (uncommon from what I've seen), it's hard for them not to be.

kgauck
01-09-2008, 06:01 PM
The Birthright system ought to be capable of being utilized for a variety of different social orders. The mechanics of the basic system seem better suited to Anuire than they do for Brectur, Khinasi, Rjurik (and I never include the Vos in generalizations because they are too different, but they fit here too).

I am perfectly content to reverse the assumptions, and argue that any domain should be the liege and any domain should be the vassal. Favoritism of the state strikes me as terribly less interesting than the alternative, and while it might work fine in Anuire (given the color material we have) the notion that the church is dominant in Rjurik, the guilds in Brechtur, and wizards in Khinasi seems to me to be just as plausible. The most fun, it seems to me is a total free for all where everyone can make a bid to be the master and its just not clear how that's gonna work out.

Assuming, for instance, that cooperation is a desirable goal, presumes a certain style of play, one where PC's run domains and work as a party both at the adventure and domain level. This assumption makes no sense for other styles of play. And, when you don't have an adventuring party to bind the players together, players who think they have the upper hand do tend to treat the other rulers as lapdogs, and as Rowan wrote, "Most people don't enjoy being lapdogs when they play."

This gets to be especially troublesome when players don't know each other, such as a new gaming group, or a PBeM.


Good wizards aren't going to go around extorting money.Taxation is nothing but regularized extortion from a legitimate authority. If your wizard thinks he's the proper authority, he is right to collect whatever he needs, men, money, materials, to govern properly. If your wizard wants to be master, he must be master. Turn other domains into vassals (who wants to run another domain? Even Harald has the good sense to let Darien run his landed domain for him), and remember, a liege is entitled to 20% off the top. Your vassals pay their maintenance and expences after they pay you. You can be merciful when they have a cash crunch, but never give up the principle that you get 20% first. Or, take your 20% and give them back a few GB as a gift. They'll thank you for it.

Rowan
01-09-2008, 06:38 PM
Thanks, Kgauck. With regards to taxation and extortion, I was referring to the threat of magical destruction, personal or of the realm. In Anuire, at least, legal authority doesn't reside in wizards, so by old imperial order, wizards would be extorting with such threats.

Further, to hold power over others one must on occasion hold all the cards. Wizards are currently too weak to exert that kind of influence over most realms, especially when temples are ready to step in to counter them magically, and when DMs (often) don't let wizard regents simply Dominate or Geas other PCs.

I agree with your sentiments otherwise, I just don't think it's possible for most wizards to even try to do without some adjustments to the rules.

geeman
01-09-2008, 07:16 PM
OK, a couple of comments regarding the relative weakness of wizards
at the domain level.

First, I don`t personally think the reliance of wizards on other
regents was intentional or, more accurately, that the rules went a
little overboard in this regard. I think wizards are meant to be
weaker in certain aspects of the domain level, so they might be more
likely to fit into the stereotype of the "court mage" that is so
common in fantasy fiction and more than a little apt for BR. If one
goes through the published materials one finds several wizard regents
described in such a way. There should be definite advantages--beyond
simple cooperation--to such a relationship in order to support this
fundamental fantasy dynamic. This dependance is almost entirely
economic, and that`s OK as a rationale, if a little base and feeble
given some of the more noble and fascinating fantasy characters upon
which such a concept is based. It`s hard to imagine Merlin hitting
up Arthur for money....

If one looks at the descriptions of the published materials there are
at least as many wizards who control source holdings that are
portrayed as being operating independently of the other regents in
the area. Some, in fact, look like they dominate those around
them. Unfortunately, the weak spot of source holders makes that hard
to justify when the game mechanics are actually applied, and in
practice playing such regents quickly runs counter to the descriptive text.

So the rules seem to have gone too far in this regard, and the game
designers appear to have realized it fairly quickly. To compensate
they added some rules that allowed powerful sources to create trade
routes to allow wizards to get some sort of monetary benefit from
their sources. However, the source trade route function is more than
a little haphazard. The idea is good, but the basic implementation
puts such trade routes in competition with ACTUAL trade routes, and
we run into problems with that kind of thing.

For nostalgic purposes, I`m going to go ahead and reiterate something
I wrote a long time ago: The Harvest Source domain action. Most
folks hated the idea, but that was way back in the days when ideas
expressed in the BR community often became as contested as the Iron
Throne, so maybe the concept will be less contentious
now. Essentially, the idea is a combination and elaboration of the
ideas for source trade routes and the way source potential in a
province is reduced when population level rises and renewed when that
population level is reduced.

Here`s the version as it more or less appears in my homebrew
document. (MP="Majesty Points" which is what this document uses to
refer to RP.)

Harvest Source
Type: Domain, Realm
Cost: 1MP, 1GB
DC: 15 see below.
Modifiers: Wisdom, elf, ranger, Wilderness Lore.

Because sources represent the untamed lands of a province, they
contain valuable raw materials. This action allows a regent to
harvest the value contained in his source holdings. In order to
harvest a source, the regent spends 1MP and 1GB to hire woodcutters,
miners, draymen or whatever is required to bring the materials to
market. Harvesting a source yields GBs as if the regent were
performing moderate taxation on a province with the same population
level as his source holding.

Harvesting a source lowers both it and the source potential of the
province one level, with the following exception. Once per year the
sources of a province may be harvested without damage. For
harvesting to have no effect on the source or source potential, the
action must take place during the Spring domain turn, when sources
naturally renew themselves. Harvesting during that period cancels
the negative effects of the action by collecting the new growth that
is generated naturally every Spring.

Unlike most other domain actions the level of the holding in the
Harvest Source action is a negative modifier on the difficulty. It
is easier to harvest larger, more abundant source holdings, so the
larger a source holding the more able the regent in charge of it is
to harvest it. Subtract the level of the source from the DC of the action.

Gary

ericthecleric
01-09-2008, 07:19 PM
In a PBEM, it still makes sense for a realm ruler to work with a wizard regent, especially one run by a player, because it is courteous to do so. The realm regent will want to rule their land, as has been said above, but a good realm player (not necessarily in alignment terms) will want to establish a method for the wizard not to lose out too much on RP so that the wizard player's fun isn't ruined. For example, by helping the wizard establish another type of holding, and/or working with a third party willing to become a vassal of the wizard, and/or acquiring territory (through Create Province) and giving the wizard sole source rights there. Of course, that assumes that the wizard and realm ruler are not adversaries!

geeman
01-09-2008, 07:35 PM
OK, here`s the next part of what I`d suggest for wizard regents. The
idea here is that regents control sources because it gives them
access to personal power. While in a province in which s/he controls
a source, a wizard gains the following benefits:

1. Add the source level to the spellcaster`s level for the purpose of
determining the duration, range, etc. of spells, but not spell
EFFECTS. i.e. not things like the number of dice a fireball does,
the number of magic missiles the spell generates, etc.

2. The spellcaster should get a bonus on saves against magic in
provinces in which s/he controls sources. +1 for odd source
level. i.e. +1 at level 1, +2 at level 3, +3 at level 5, etc.

3. A corresponding negative modifier to the saving throws of targets
of the spellcaster`s spells.

4. Use the source level as a bonus to skill checks having to do with
the natural environment such as handling animals, wilderness lore,
diplomacy with intelligent "monsters" in the province, etc.

Given the way the natural environment of a province rejuvenates
annually, wizards might also have access to realm spells that aid
that process. A "Replenish Source Potential" realm spell, for
example, might be used to create the effects of Spring on a province
at any time. In combination with the aforementioned "Harvest Source"
action this might be useful in place of either/both the Alchemy realm
spell and source trade routes. Personally, I think priests of Erik
(and some of Ruornil) should earn RP from either temple or source
holdings, and such a realm spell is particularly apt for them.

Another affect that wizards should have for source holdings and that
bridges the gap between the adventure and domain levels is the
following realm spell:

Link Spell
Type: Domain
Cost: Varies
Success: 10+

Spellcasters can link spells to one of their source holdings in order to make
the effects of that spell lasting. The spell a mage wishes to link cannot have
an instant duration and cannot be of higher level than the source holding
controlled by the caster in that province.

If the linked spell is cast on someone`s person or on an object, the spell
remains in effect as long as the person or item remains in the province where
the source holding is located or in a province connected by a ley line.

The source level controlled by the regent is a positive modifier on his chance
for success and the level of the spell being linked is subtracted.

Example: A mage controls a Source(5). He uses the Link Spell action
to make the
effects of the level 2 spell Magic Mouth at the center of his source
lasting, to
warn off trespassers. His chance of success is 10+2-5=7. The spell link takes
up 2 levels of the source holding, leaving 3 remaining levels
available to link additional spells.

Gary

ryancaveney
01-09-2008, 08:47 PM
1. Add the source level to the spellcaster`s level for the purpose of determining the duration, range, etc. of spells, but not spell EFFECTS. i.e. not things like the number of dice a fireball does, the number of magic missiles the spell generates, etc.

I do that for all variable parameters, especially including damage dice, number of mirror images, AC bonus from armoring spells, etc. Number of spells per day, too, including ones higher-level than normal: IMC, a fifth-level wizard with a source (6) would be able to cast sixth-level spells -- but only in the province where he has a source (6). Typical sources are only level 2 or so, which gives only a one-spell-level bonus.


2. The spellcaster should get a bonus on saves against magic in provinces in which s/he controls sources. +1 for odd source level. i.e. +1 at level 1, +2 at level 3, +3 at level 5, etc. 3. A corresponding negative modifier to the saving throws of targets of the spellcaster`s spells.

Agreed, but I make it one-for-one: +3 at level 3, +7 at level 7, etc. For one thing, there are very few high-level sources. For another, I am perfectly happy to have regent wizards be vastly more powerful on their home turf, because the larger the bonus to the defender, the harder it is for a powerful wizard to expand his turf by taking it from his weaker neighbors.

Both of these changes do indeed make regent wizards much more personally powerful than non-regent wizards, but I think this is necessary in order to make up for the way in which the ability to spend 6 GB to muster a unit of knights makes a regent fighter vastly more powerful on an adventure than non-regent fighters. In fact, it's much more limited than the default fighter case, because you can travel anywhere with a unit of knights, but you need to create and rule holdings or forge ley lines before you can travel with this extra spell power.

ryancaveney
01-09-2008, 09:17 PM
Your explanations make sense, but they also require a little tweaking of the storylines for BR. I was trying to create a rules system that allowed the story stuff to remain in place.

Ah, the the eternal refrain! This has always been true for every rule in BR, and many other games as well. It is very difficult to make most published backstories hang together unless you assume that no one in the past ever thought like a PC. =)


For instance, there isn't any mention in the story of wizard regents controlling realm rulers or even other domain rulers as you suggest--though that would be a very interesting modification to the background.

I think they prefer to do it quietly, so no one talks about it. I also think it is necessary to explain how anything Ruins of Empire says about the domains of regent wizards can possibly be true.


the current background doesn't give wizards much in the way of worldly influence or gold on their own

How long does the current background last in your campaigns? Even in the computer game, the first priority of every province ruler is to get the local guild, temple and source holders to become vassals (or at least rigidly loyal allies), or else eradicate them if they won't play ball. The whole point of being a wizard is that you have decided that casting spells is your favorite way of solving any problem you may encounter. Wizards have immense worldly influence, but it's expressed by negotiating with people about what spells you will or won't cast to help or harm them, not by spending RP on the Agitate action.


Good wizards aren't going to go around extorting money and controlling minds, either

Well, *nice* wizards won't, but then no nice person should ever stay regent of anything for very long. If you're actually good at being a regent wizard, mind control is a necessary part of the job description, even if it's only to convince the marauding barbarian hordes to go invade someone else's realm this year. Kenneth has already covered extortion quite well. The morality of a regent as a regent has to be different from that of individual people living individual lives, since the regent is responsible for protecting the safety and well-being of all his people from possible aggressors. It's like spying. The whole point of being a spy is to serve your country by convincing other people to betray theirs. Everyone knows it's not a nice thing to do, but James Bond is a hero because the people to whom he does evil acts (robbery and murder, in particular) are planning to do much worse things to many more of Her Majesty's subjects, so in the greater scheme of things his individually bad actions are far less bad in total than the alternative.


When it comes to the rules, though, when you put yourselves in the shoes of a player wizard (and the possibility of multiple player wizards in a game with 20+ players), do you still really think it's as flexible and fun to play them as any other domain?

Personally, yes. Court wizard is the role I've most often played and most often enjoyed in PBEMs. I want to cast interesting magic and not have to worry so much about gold or diplomacy, so I am delighted to work for a sensible ruler who understands that keeping me in plenty of GBs for spell research is the most flexible and cost-effective way to make his realm stronger in both war and peace. I'd much rather play a landless source regent than a landless temple or guild regent. After all, anyone can obtain holdings of any kind, and every class derives equal financial benefit from guilds and temple holdings, but source holdings are utterly useless to everyone except wizards.

geeman
01-09-2008, 09:30 PM
At 12:47 PM 1/9/2008, ryancaveney wrote:

>>Add the source level to the spellcaster`s level for the purpose of
>>determining the duration, range, etc. of spells, but not spell
>>EFFECTS. i.e. not things like the number of dice a fireball does,
>>the number of magic missiles the spell generates, etc.
>
>I do that for all variable parameters, especially including damage
>dice, number of mirror images, AC bonus from armoring spells,
>etc. Number of spells per day, too, including ones higher-level
>than normal: IMC, a fifth-level wizard with a source (6) would be
>able to cast sixth-level spells -- but only in the province where he
>has a source (6). Typical sources are only level 2 or so, which
>gives only a one-spell-level bonus.

I wanted to avoid making source holding levels actual caster levels,
hence the prohibition on spell effects, but that`s ultimately a
pretty debatable issue for the reason(s) you point out. Worst case
scenario, though, is that someone could effectively have a +7 to +9
to their character level, which might be a problem for some
folks. The difference between a few magic missiles shouldn`t be a
problem, but many dice of damage from a Fireball from a 5th level
wizard might be a bit much....

Allowing spells per day to increase based on source holding level
seems like taking the idea a step too far as that`s a very personal
level of power, but that aside doesn`t it potentially create a sort
of bookkeeping problem too? I mean, I`d hate to deal with players
having to pick and choose what spells they had every time they passed
from one province to another based on what holdings they
had. Planescape used to have that sort of effect for clerics as they
passed through the planes as they went further from their "home"
plane. I found those effects really difficult and annoying to keep
track of, so they were quickly dropped when I DM`d in that
setting. Did anything that come up?

>------------ QUOTE ----------
>2. The spellcaster should get a bonus on saves against magic in
>provinces in which s/he controls sources. +1 for odd source
>level. i.e. +1 at level 1, +2 at level 3, +3 at level 5, etc. 3. A
>corresponding negative modifier to the saving throws of targets of
>the spellcaster`s spells.
>-----------------------------
>
>Agreed, but I make it one-for-one: +3 at level 3, +7 at level 7,
>etc. For one thing, there are very few high-level sources. For
>another, I am perfectly happy to have regent wizards be vastly more
>powerful on their home turf, because the larger the bonus to the
>defender, the harder it is for a powerful wizard to expand his turf
>by taking it from his weaker neighbors.

Did you also give opponents a penalty to saving throws?

>Both of these changes do indeed make regent wizards much more
>personally powerful than non-regent wizards, but I think this is
>necessary in order to make up for the way in which the ability to
>spend 6 GB to muster a unit of knights makes a regent fighter vastly
>more powerful on an adventure than non-regent fighters. In fact,
>it`s much more limited than the default fighter case, because you
>can travel anywhere with a unit of knights, but you need to create
>and rule holdings or forge ley lines before you can travel with this
>extra spell power.

Even with all these additions I had trouble convincing anyone in a BR
campaign to take on source holdings. Of course, playing at the
adventure level might make the wizard`s access to the domain level
problematic, so YMMV.

Gary

irdeggman
01-09-2008, 10:49 PM
Would your perspective change, however, if you were playing a wizard regent? My argument is based on the observation that, especially if the focus of a game is realm-level play (such as in PBEMs), it's just much harder and not as rewarding to play a wizard. You're much more limited than any other regent type; hence my suggestions to help fix that problem and make them more fun to play.


Nope that is where it came from.

When running a wizard regent in a PBEM game I noticed that those 2 factors were what specifically limited my character (far too few actions and couldn't generate enough GB, that is why the Alchemy spell should be "revised" - since it should be the primary means of a wizard regent generating income, other than via "stipends" from the landed regent).

Whenever I play any RPG (not PC game) I try to work as a team. It does nothing but frustrate me as a player when one player has his PC "do everything" and do it better than everyone else.

I find that things work better when one character focuses on a few things while another focuses on a few others. That way (with a good GM) the area of focus switches between players so that each gets the spotlight at different times.

I personally love playing characters who do not stand on their own and instead rely on the help of their "friends". I find those game much more enjoyable then the ones where everyone is out for themself (might as well play a PVP computer game for that matter).

Rowan
01-10-2008, 12:12 AM
"When running a wizard regent in a PBEM game I noticed that those 2 factors were what specifically limited my character (far too few actions and couldn't generate enough GB"

And you liked that?

I don't think wizards should always be turning lead into gold. That has always been considered a rare thing, and I think it should need to be researched and remain rare, even for wizards, not just sort of a wizard's money factory.

I find it much better to explain that the very components necessary for their research and spells should be found in provinces with source levels (accounting for 1/3GB per source level). Perhaps these shouldn't even be able to be sold, and should only be able to be used for research and spellcasting.

The way I see it, the modifications I've suggested are specifically to allow regents more than ever to focus on what they do best--research, cast spells, compete with other wizard regents, etc. They still are very poor at all the actions that every other holding and province ruler can take (no Agitate, Espionage, Trade Routes, Contestation, Mustering of Troops, etc.).

It seems to me that even under the modified rules I've suggested to free up some actions and some money, wizards still make little enough income and have little enough impact on the world that they need some form of cooperation and coexistence to thrive. They still complement other domain rulers; they can't just do everything themselves.

irdeggman
01-10-2008, 01:11 AM
"When running a wizard regent in a PBEM game I noticed that those 2 factors were what specifically limited my character (far too few actions and couldn't generate enough GB"

And you liked that?

Well I told you what I thought should be done based on that didn't I? ;)

The big problem with the number of actions is that any action involving a source must be done by the wizard himself - this to me is a problem. If the Wizard's Lt could "freely" use his source then this allows the wizard regent to spend his actions in either research or adventure (which are most likely the 2 most common none source related actions being done, other than diplomacy - which to me is probably the most important domain action and the one used the least to effect). In general a wizard shouldn't need a court, and if his Lt is allowed to "freely" use his source (but only one person could use it a time) this would most likely free up sufficient actions. The "freely" part could be considered part of the "training" for the Lt and included in that sort of original arrangement some kind of pact-bond betwen the two.



I don't think wizards should always be turning lead into gold. That has always been considered a rare thing, and I think it should need to be researched and remain rare, even for wizards, not just sort of a wizard's money factory.

I find it much better to explain that the very components necessary for their research and spells should be found in provinces with source levels (accounting for 1/3GB per source level). Perhaps these shouldn't even be able to be sold, and should only be able to be used for research and spellcasting.

And yet as is the case with most spell research the cost is mostly in acquiring old tomes and related texts and not in actual "materials".

Research times for realm spells do seem a tad long though, even though I think the cost is still about right, maybe a "-1" to the time, minimum of 1 month. IMO realm spells are akin to epic spells only usuable by non-epic characters.


The way I see it, the modifications I've suggested are specifically to allow regents more than ever to focus on what they do best--research, cast spells, compete with other wizard regents, etc. They still are very poor at all the actions that every other holding and province ruler can take (no Agitate, Espionage, Trade Routes, Contestation, Mustering of Troops, etc.).

It seems to me that even under the modified rules I've suggested to free up some actions and some money, wizards still make little enough income and have little enough impact on the world that they need some form of cooperation and coexistence to thrive. They still complement other domain rulers; they can't just do everything themselves.

The "structures" are more like wondrous structures an no other regent gets structures so specified in the rules to aid in realm management - I'd keep them that way. Use the Wondrous Structures rule to cover these things - so they work fine pretty much as written except use the rules for building to cover them, IMO. I am not that found of structures that grant "free" actions though - things have a way of getting out of hand when this is introduced, especially since player's of other regent types will invariably start to clamour for something similar (it's just basic human nature to do that) - and thus starts the nuclear proliferation effect.


One of the big problems with the domain action system presently is the increased importance of GB and decreased importance of RP. That is something that people have commented on before - to increase the effect that RP has on domain actions.

So I could see allowing a source regent to use RP instead of GB (to an extent) for most source-related actions. I still think that a minimum of 1 GB should be spent on materials for any realm spell though (no RP exchange for this material cost).

One of the other things that should be done, IMO, is to allow a source regent to apply his source holding levels for or against any rule province actions - this is a change I would make and strongly suggest for anyone running a game. It is a way of having the land work for or against development. Basically the rule province action as written in the BRCS is too over powered.

kgauck
01-10-2008, 01:19 AM
In Anuire, at least, legal authority doesn't reside in wizards, so by old imperial order, wizards would be extorting with such threats.

If people constrained themselves according to what was legally authorized there would be no crime and every child would have a pony. If you want the legitimacy of law, be a priest of Haelyn, or own law holdings. What we're talking about here is power. The easiest way to use power is with the mantle of legitimacy, but its acquired much more easily than getting the law to acknowledge you before you act.

The first thing to consider is what the DM thinks is possible and appropriate. If the DM thinks that wizards should play the role of Merlin, then you are best off finding yourself an Arthur and be happy that your DM was honest. The worst DM is one who lets you go about trying to build an source domain dominant over others but knows it will never happen and just punishes you with failures while never admitting that this can never happen.

The second thing to figure out is whether the DM can see past the domain system. If he can't then you are just playing Risk with a lot of book-keeping. My advice would be to find a new game. If the DM sees the domain system as just a way to quantify how powerful is mighty powerful compared to pretty powerful, then proceed.

Once you begin, start small. You can't expect to just go around dominating Gavin Tael. But you certainly can start doing favors for the nobles of Danaroene and the local guildmasters of the Highland Overland Traders. Build your client list from the ground up. Everyone has to. Most rulers get the opportunity to start building their network as the heir to someone else. I'm assuming you're starting from scratch.

I limit arcane magic mostly to divinations, illusions, and enchantments. But with these three alone, you can become tremendously powerful. If you have other schools allowed to you, you have an extraordinary bag of tricks.

If you inherit an existing source domain, don't you also inherit some relationships of your father or mentor? Build on those and start to turn people from members of one organization into your people. You don't need them to abandon their liege, you just want them unable to move on you. You want them to argue for you in their liege's court.

Finally, if you want to be the first man in Rome, you need to conquer Gaul. It took Caesar 10 years and a lot of risks to pull this off, so you can't expect that making yourself master of any region will happen overnight. It will be the result of a lot of of effort, a long time in coming, and some serious risks. Taking down a powerful adversary will require several major contests.

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 02:47 AM
With regards to taxation and extortion, I was referring to the threat of magical destruction, personal or of the realm. In Anuire, at least, legal authority doesn't reside in wizards, so by old imperial order, wizards would be extorting with such threats.

I think that's just the standard way governments do business with each other, temples of Haelyn included. Negotiations between sovereign entities always go something like, "I want to do X. You want to do Y. We will both achieve our goals more easily if we work together, but at least we can stay out of each other's way -- unless you try to do Z, which I cannot allow anyone to attempt, so I will declare war on you if you do. Other than that, though, everything should be fine." Bribery and threats are just the way things are always done -- but they should be done under a veneer of polite diplomacy, because we are civilized people. Well, except in Vosgaard, where it may be considered rude to begin a business meeting without punching the other guy in the face. =)


Further, to hold power over others one must on occasion hold all the cards.

While that is certainly useful, it's not strictly necessary -- all you really have to do is hold enough cards to tip the balance one way or the other. That's precisely what the word "kingmaker" means these days. Actually, you don't need to hold *any* cards, as long as you can successfully bluff somebody into thinking you might.


Wizards are currently too weak to exert that kind of influence over most realms, especially when temples are ready to step in to counter them magically, and when DMs (often) don't let wizard regents simply Dominate or Geas other PCs.

If the PCs are all in the same party, they should already be working together as a team without needing any additional incentives to cooperate. If they are all running different realms in a PBEM, they are supposed to be sneaky bastards constantly at each other's throats. That's one of the reasons every king wants the most powerful court wizard he can get: even if you're too much a goody-two-shoes to dominate and geas other people, you at least need to have someone around to detect, prevent and dispel such things when they are done to you. Of course, you have to trust that defensive wizard with your very existence, so you'd damn well better keep on his good side, or he might just "accidentally" forget to tell you to eat the fish instead of the veal until it's just a teensy bit too late.

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 03:18 AM
Well I told you what I thought should be done based on that didn't I? ;)

And I agree with you wholeheartedly! =)


The big problem with the number of actions is that any action involving a source must be done by the wizard himself - this to me is a problem.

Really? Where does that restriction come from? As I read the rulebook, even fighters can Create and Rule source holdings -- they just can't cast realm spells with them. IMC, I prefer to rule that only spellcasting regents can interact with source holdings at all, but as long as the wizard's lieutenant is also a wizard, I see no problem whatsoever with said Lt. Wiz casting realm spells or performing any other action with them.


One of the other things that should be done, IMO, is to allow a source regent to apply his source holding levels for or against any rule province actions - this is a change I would make and strongly suggest for anyone running a game. It is a way of having the land work for or against development. Basically the rule province action as written in the BRCS is too over powered.

I agree! One of the most interesting sentences in the original rulebook, at least in terms of unexplored gaming potential, is on page 81: "If High Mage Aelies wished to increase the level of his source [(2) in Fairfield/Roesone, a province (3/2)], he would first need to contest the province's level." (emphasis added by me, but the words are Rich and Colin's). To me, this implies that if he does successfully contest the province, he can rule up his source holding normally -- at which point the province level immediately drops to 2, along with any level 3 law, guild or temple holdings. Here at last we have found a possible game-rule mechanism for keeping Cerilia's province levels so very low for so very long, other than constant pillaging or castings of Death Plague. It also further implies that the old netbook "Contested Rule" action is not necessary: if all the levels of possible guild holdings in a province are taken, you can't rule up your own guild holding there -- unless you first contest one of the others, at which point you don't need to destroy it with another contest; instead, you can rule up your own normally and then the contested one goes down. Of course, once you have contested the other holding, you should then just invest it, which could gain you several holding levels in just one action.

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 03:43 AM
When running a wizard regent in a PBEM game I noticed that those 2 factors were what specifically limited my character (far too few actions and couldn't generate enough GB, that is why the Alchemy spell should be "revised" - since it should be the primary means of a wizard regent generating income, other than via "stipends" from the landed regent).

IMO, the ideal position of a wizard is the one I had as James Ruhland's court wizard in Solmyr's Mystaran BR campaign. James basically said, "OK, here are three guild holdings and the trade routes connecting them, which I have had my pet guilder make to invest you with as your regular income source. If you need more than that, let me know and I'll see what I can do." I and my several wizard lieutenants spent all our time researching and casting realm spells, except for those times when we accompanied his armies into battle and shattered his opponents with the force of our magic, or were called out on an adventure action to do some Mission: Impossible stuff with our PHB spells. It was marvelous!

The most powerful configuration of any realm is when you have one regent for each holding type, who work together to run every holding in all the provinces together in lockstep, because it gives you a huge advantage in number of actions per turn, optimizing RP collection, and using holding levels and spending RP to support each other's actions. These people are in fact so useful to every ruler that our DM let every PBEM player (even nonlanded ones) create two NPC vassals who were controlled as tightly as lieutenants, in order to make the game move faster. James coined the word "vassalouie" to describe them. Their absence from the Sierra computer game is why military conquest is by far the fastest part of war -- the grindingly slow part is creating all the damn holdings you want to develop in the conquered provinces.

As a side note on the slowness of development after conquest, the single most important reason that every ruler should want to capture his enemies alive, and no regent should ever let themselves be captured alive, is that if you are both present at the investiture ceremony, even under duress, the captor can invest every province and holding in the captive's domain with a *single action*, which provides the opportunity to double your domain overnight instead of taking a decade. And then you can stab him through the heart, but the couple extra bloodscore points you gain is vastly less important than completely digesting his whole domain in one gulp. Personally, I think that is just too powerful, but that's what the rulebook says.

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 04:39 AM
Worst case scenario, though, is that someone could effectively have a +7 to +9 to their character level, which might be a problem for some folks. The difference between a few magic missiles shouldn`t be a problem, but many dice of damage from a Fireball from a 5th level wizard might be a bit much.

I think it's no problem to so forcefully drive home the point that it's never a good idea to mess with a regent wizard on his home turf. Actually, it's the only way I can imagine avoiding having random wandering gunslinger wizards squash Aglondier like a bug: Rogr can never leave his home turf, because his ley line to his highest source (a level 3) is the source of fully half (or more, really) of his face-to-face power, but at least when he's at home he is able to cast third-level spells. Of course, that still can't protect him in the slightest from Aelies, so that particular interaction still doesn't make much sense unless Aglondier is already just an agent of Aelies or some other wizard of equivalent power (which would pretty much have to be another elf or an awnshegh).


Allowing spells per day to increase based on source holding level seems like taking the idea a step too far as that`s a very personal level of power,

I've been slowly increasing this effect over the years, because it turns out to not be nearly as powerful as I'd have liked. ;) I started with just increasing effective caster level for all variable spell effects. Then I did that plus also added source level to Int score to calculate extra spells per day. Then I changed that to add directly to caster level, but kept the original bonus to effects as well. The next game I run, I will add source level directly to character level in all ways, as a "positive level" just like the "negative levels" imposed by various monsters, spells and items, but with the opposite sign: if you are normally a sixth-level wizard, but are currently in a province where you hold a source (4), then you are considered a tenth-level wizard in all ways, including +2 BAB and +4d4 hp, etc. -- but only as long as you stay in that province. I think it's exactly the sort of personal power which ought to exist: having a source holding means that the power of the land itself is constantly thrumming in your blood, allowing you to perform feats of magic far beyond what any nonregent with identical training can possibly match -- but only in provinces where you are personally wired directly into the local mebhaighl. I really like the mythic image of the titan Hercules couldn't beat as long as the guy's feet were on the ground from which he drew his power. It also means I can effectively give regents BoM-ish battle spells without the utter demographic disaster of letting any old magician off the street cast the things.


but that aside doesn`t it potentially create a sort of bookkeeping problem too?

Somewhat, but not too much of one in practice. I have rarely had adventures in which source-holders repeatedly cross province boundaries, especially as regent wizards quickly understand that being invincible on one's home turf means they're sitting ducks for the locals if they ever leave their base of power (that's the job of lieutenants and passing adventurers for hire). In my Cerilia, regent wizards have an excellent practical reason to stay locked in their towers (or at least, within 15 or 20 miles of them) and conduct diplomacy through messengers.


I mean, I`d hate to deal with players having to pick and choose what spells they had every time they passed from one province to another based on what holdings they had.

This isn't a problem for me because it interacts very nicely with the very first magic house rule I ever created for BR: all unblooded casters of whatever class have to memorize all their spells in advance, but no blooded casters of any class need to memorize anything. I feel strongly that the notion of literal divine right essential to Birthright demands that in Cerilia, spontaneous casting should be a perk of being a scion, not dependent on what class you've taken. I feel the same way about material components -- blooded casters should never need them for any spell, but unblooded casters should always need them for every spell. Therefore, since only blooded people can be regent wizards with sources, and blooded people don't have to memorize, all I have to do is note that their allowed spells per day has changed if they cross a province boundary.


Planescape used to have that sort of effect for clerics as they passed through the planes as they went further from their "home" plane. I found those effects really difficult and annoying to keep track of, so they were quickly dropped when I DM`d in that setting. Did anything that come up?

Very rarely. Planescape characters are supposed to be earning huge numbers of frequent flier miles, but I found that my source bonuses quite effectively encouraged regent wizards to be homebodies.


Did you also give opponents a penalty to saving throws?

Not in 2e, but in 3e I add source level to spell DC, so effectively I now do just that. This isn't only because it's now easier to mechanic in 3e; it's also part of my gradual increase in source bonuses over the years.


Even with all these additions I had trouble convincing anyone in a BR campaign to take on source holdings. Of course, playing at the adventure level might make the wizard`s access to the domain level problematic, so YMMV.

Really? You should have had me join in by email. =) Actually, as you pointed out many years ago, the existence of the Magic Jar spell lets any high-level wizard pretty much control any realm he wants to, even without being a regent at all.

irdeggman
01-10-2008, 04:54 AM
Really? Where does that restriction come from? As I read the rulebook, even fighters can Create and Rule source holdings -- they just can't cast realm spells with them. IMC, I prefer to rule that only spellcasting regents can interact with source holdings at all, but as long as the wizard's lieutenant is also a wizard, I see no problem whatsoever with said Lt. Wiz casting realm spells or performing any other action with them.


2nd ed BoM pg 18
“Magicians and nonwizard characters who attempt to locate sources achieve only limited success. They can sense something unusual about an area, and – depending on their intelligence and previous exposure to things magical – can make an educated guess about whether they have located a source. But discovery can be confirmed only by a wizard who commands true magic.”



BRCS Ch 5

“Source holdings
Unlike law, guild, and temple regents, source regents are not generally recognized as political powers. Source regents receive regency through their sources by tapping into the mebhaighl to increase their personal power. Although the nature of regency collection for source holdings is different, the mechanics for regency collection are identical.

Regents forge a link to their source through the casting of ritual arcane magic to forge a semi-permanent link between themselves and a manifestation of the land's mebhaighl. Only casters of greater arcane magic can forge this link. Rulers who wish to control access to magical forces within their realms often find wizards or sorcerers to be invaluable allies or vassals.

Mebhaighl is thought to be the divine essence of the land itself, and thus tapping into this power to increase one's regency total is akin to a very minor form of bloodtheft. Some Rjurik druids fear that unscrupulous mages might bleed the land of its life essence faster than it can be replenished, but no convincing proof of this position has every been forwarded. Perhaps this fear accounts for the distrust that most Rjurik have for true mages”



“Source holdings are substantially different that other types of holdings. Only practitioners of true magic can create or rule source holdings. Other characters cannot control sources directly; although they control them indirectly through the services of a vassal mage.

Unlike other holdings and domain assets, source holdings and ley lines have no maintenances cost. However, control of source holdings provide no income and little in the way of direct political impact. Control of other types of holdings allows the regent to utilize the holding to perform domain actions in the province in which the holding lies. Source holdings do not provide such benefits. Source holding levels cannot usually be applied to aid in a domain action. Furthermore, the regent of a source holding gains no special insight into the political powers of the province and may be largely unaware of the other regents in the province. On the other hand, it is equally difficult for non-source regents to view the level or current regent of source holdings in their provinces.

Powerful sources can provide the regent mage with considerable influence of the wildlife and natural resources of the province. Source holdings of level 4 or higher count as virtual guilds for the mage. As a source holding increases, so too does the influence of the mage over the wildlife and simple-folk of the region. A source holding of level 4 acts as a virtual guild (0), a source holding of level 5 acts as a virtual guild (1), and so on. This virtual guild is not an actual holding, it does not count against the total level of guild holding in the province nor it can not be contested, ruled, or invested as a separate entity – its fate is entirely tied to that of the source holding. Otherwise, the virtual guild provides most of the benefits of an actual guild: the regent mage collects gold (but not regency) each domain turn, the mage can use the guild level in domain actions to affect public opinion (Agitate), rally soldiers to their cause (Muster troops), collect information through agents (Espionage), or collect income from trade (Create trade route) in exactly the same way as an actual guild of the appropriate level.”


BRCS Ch 7

In claiming a manifestation, the mage forces her acceptance as a part of the environment. In the natural area surrounding the manifestation, the wizard is attuned perfectly to the land – wildlife will not flee her approach, and the wizard can stand within the midst of the manifestation without fear of discomfort or harm. This area has a diameter of 1 mile x the level of the source holding squared. This connection remains intact unless the mage's holding is contested.

Through natural and magical means, true mages can then enhance the flow of the province's mebhaighl through their manifestation, claiming more of the province’s power for themselves. To strengthen their sources, mages use the Rule Holding domain action. This action represents additional time that the mage spends in the province attuning herself to the land and altering the natural flow of mebhaighl to pool more deeply in the reservoirs available for her use. As a source's holding level increases, its manifestation becomes more potent and distinctive.

Normally, all regent mages in a province claim a unique source manifestation as their own. A mage may only attempt to claim a source (0) in a manifestation already claimed by another mage if the other agrees to allow the action to succeed. If two or more mages claim the same manifestation, the source levels available to each are separate but the total of the source levels defines the strength of the manifestation. The maximum source level of a province represents the limit for the amount of earth power available in each province. If two or more mage regents claim the province's mebhaighl then they must contest among themselves for the available source levels.

Source manifestations usually do not require protection from ordinary people – few pass nearby. More importantly, the earthpower itself enhances the power of the manifestation and makes it largely immune to harm. Manifestations resist normal wear and damage from the elements (earth, air, fire, and water) including flooding, erosion, lightning, or forest fire. Deliberate violence, however, can harm manifestations and – rarely – even the source itself. Because of the mystical link between regent mages and their sources, they become immediately aware when a claimed manifestation is disturbed. This awareness generally ranges from a feeling of mild discomfort to actual acute physical pain. “

Rowan
01-10-2008, 05:30 AM
Thanks for helping me understand some other game styles, guys!

I agree that there doesn't seem to be anything in the rules requiring wizards to take on every domain action personally. Certainly some of the magical theory would seem to indicate this, but explicit rules about Courts don't exempt wizards from having Courts and LT's that can act in their stead. Nothing also prevents LT's from casting realm spells. I've also wondered at how/why the LT action is supposed to not use the regent's RP, since any action the regent has done for him by his court is more distant from his bloodline than the lieutenant. So an LT should be able to have the ruler's RP funneled through him, like a vassal (or "vassalouie ;) )

As far as structures:
The Arcane Tower idea itself is paralleled closely with the Palace and Fortified holding, so there are equivalents for other rulers.
The additional structure types/add ons to Arcane Towers I always envisioned would be very much dependent upon the type of game, but they operate on some parallels with the Embassy and Spy Network entities (allowing some Standard actions to become Court actions).

I personally think there ought to be more structures available for detailed games (I'd love them in all games, myself, but I can see where they'd be tough to have in PBEMs). The old BRnet website had some info on possible province upgrades and types of wondrous structures; those were good starts, but wondrous structures are incredibly expensive to build. I am in favor of allowing players to compete with more than just holdings, but additional assets such as Armories and Training Grounds, Trade Fairs and Academies, Monastaries and Cathedrals. These would primarily be extensions of the Fortified Holding, and would certainly complicate the game, but it's an interesting touch, IMO.

__________
"And yet as is the case with most spell research the cost is mostly in acquiring old tomes and related texts and not in actual "materials"."

I actually think no, not so much in Birthright. This is a setting where there is little magic and presumably there are very few old tomes and so forth. I think most things must be figured out anew through experimentation and so forth.
__________
My point about extortion was that in Anuire, culturally, wizards pretty much can't assume a "mantle of legitimacy" to cover their threats. The people would not consider it so. That's a valid point in the story, it just puts game play at a bit of a disadvantage.
______
When I talked about no PC-on-PC Dominating, I was referring mainly to PBEMs, where PC teams aren't working together, DMs often don't allow even its use, and there's also little time to establish long campaigns of working up influence from person to person in a realm's court.
______________
Ryan, I really like how you've handled the personal power increase for wizards! I've been right along with you guys on thinking these types of rules should be in place, but I like how far you've taken it!

I'd apply the holding level to everything but skill points--instead just apply a bonus to skills, rather than have people recalculate by new character level.

What about doing the same thing for other regent types? It would work very similarly for clerics, would make warrior-kings dominate the battlefield of their realm, and would have merchant-princes be pretty dominating. Wizards can extend their bonus with ley lines (particularly temporary ones for specific purposes); temple regents should be able to "take it with them" with temporary Rituals or Blessings; law regents by being accompanied by sufficiently-large armies or personal, ritual Challenges or Decrees; guilds by trade routes, spy networks, or embassies.
_______________

I like most of the ideas you guys have for fixing the system; they address the key problems I've identified, some in the same way as I suggested, some differently. The key fixes seem to be:
1. Alchemy should be cheaper and less restricted
2. LT's and/or others should be able to take domain actions for the regent; courts should not be so necessary for wizard regents (what about Realm actions?)
3. Research should not take so long (I'll concede the full cost, but I still don't think realm spells should be so high in level as to be out of reach of most PC's and thus researching them shouldn't take more than 2 months for most, 3 for only the most powerful)
4. Wizards should be able to use RP in place of GB directly for standard domain actions having to do with sources, needing GB primarily for research, casting realm spells, and building things they can't/don't want to build with their spells
5. Allow wizard regents to use source holdings to oppose and contest province levels

I don't actually think the Rule Province thing is broken. There are enough ways to explain it, and the rule makes game play more dynamic. I think it could be a little more complex to make it a little more realistic, like adding a penalty for any unfilled holding levels or high taxation/low loyalty level, or adding a bonus for province loyalty/low taxation level and for each trade route attached to it and each domain asset existing in it. IMO, a level 6 province with full holding levels, 2 trade routes, a castle, a palace, roads, a shipyard, Helpful attitude, and lower-than-normal taxation should be vastly easier to rule up than one without fully developed guilds, no trade routes, no assets, indifferent loyalty, high taxation, etc.

I don't think you can just contest then invest existing holdings, can you?

I agree that investing someone's realm out from under them is too powerful, especially by compulsion. I think it should work more like the designated Heir in BRCS who must struggle to establish full control against other claimants if the previous regent dies without a smooth intentional transfer of power.
_________

ConjurerDragon
01-10-2008, 09:17 AM
ryancaveney schrieb:
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
> http://www.birthright.net/forums/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=4104
> ...
> I think it`s no problem to so forcefully drive home the point that it`s never a good idea to mess with a regent wizard on his home turf. Actually, it`s the only way I can imagine avoiding having random wandering gunslinger wizards squash Aglondier like a bug: Rogr can never leave his home turf, because his ley line to his highest source (a level 3) is the source of fully half (or more, really) of his face-to-face power, but at least when he`s at home he is able to cast third-level spells. Of course, that still can`t protect him in the slightest from Aelies, so that particular interaction still doesn`t make much sense unless Aglondier is already just an agent of Aelies or some other wizard of equivalent power (which would pretty much have to be another elf or an awnshegh).
> ...
> I`ve been slowly increasing this effect over the years, because it turns out to not be nearly as powerful as I`d have liked. ;) I started with just increasing effective caster level for all variable spell effects. Then I did that plus also added source level to Int score to calculate extra spells per day. Then I changed that to add directly to caster level, but kept the original bonus to effects as well. The next game I run, I will add source level directly to character level in all ways, as a "positive level" just like the "negative levels" imposed by various monsters, spells and items, but with the opposite sign: if you are normally a sixth-level wizard, but are currently in a province where you hold a source (4), then you are considered a tenth-level wizard in all ways, including +2 BAB and +4d4 hp, etc. -- but only as long as you stay in that province. I think it`s exactly the sort of personal power which ought to exist: having a source holding means that the power o
> f the land itself is constantly thrumming in your blood, allowing you to perform feats of magic far beyond what any nonregent with identical training can possibly match -- but only in provinces where you are personally wired directly into the local mebhaighl. I really like the mythic image of the titan Hercules couldn`t beat as long as the guy`s feet were on the ground from which he drew his power. It also means I can effectively give regents BoM-ish battle spells without the utter demographic disaster of letting any old magician off the street cast the things.
...
While I agree that Wizards should be powerful at a personal level this
way seems overpowered. Adding the whole source level on top of their
character level? Making a 6th level wizard a 10th level wizard in an
entire province if he controls a sourc 4 there? Or even in several
provinces if he uses ley lines?

In that case -at the very least- you should require the wizard to spend
one of his feats on the "Sanctum Spell" feat from Tome&Blood. It does
not give powers comparable to entire characterlevels but it?s theme is
similar as it gives the wizard more power in a designated area .

How else could a wizard that is sometimes 6th level and sometime 6+Xth
level adventure together with other players in an adventure without
overshadowing the entire party?

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 02:40 PM
ďMagicians and nonwizard characters who attempt to locate sources achieve only limited success. They can sense something unusual about an area, and Ė depending on their intelligence and previous exposure to things magical Ė can make an educated guess about whether they have located a source. But discovery can be confirmed only by a wizard who commands true magic.Ē

OK, thanks, I'd forgotten that was actually printed. I guess that means I didn't really need my house rule after all. =)

However, why did you say the actions were limited to the wizard himself, rather than to the wizard and any of his lieutenants who are also wizards? The paragraph you quote is about how to *become* a source regent, so clearly you don't already have to be one. In fact, if you are a regent wizard's lieutenant wizard, you don't have to search for the manifestation at all, because the same semimystical connection to your boss which enables you to take actions on his behalf which cost RP also enables you to know precisely where all the sources are and how to use them properly for your boss.

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 03:06 PM
Adding the whole source level on top of their character level? Making a 6th level wizard a 10th level wizard in an entire province if he controls a sourc 4 there? Or even in several provinces if he uses ley lines?

Yup. As I said, I've gradually increased the bonus over the years, because it has yet to be as powerful in practice as I'd originally meant it to be.


In that case -at the very least- you should require the wizard to spend one of his feats on the "Sanctum Spell" feat from Tome&Blood. It does not give powers comparable to entire characterlevels but it?s theme is similar as it gives the wizard more power in a designated area .

The reason I don't think that's necessary is because the effect already has a very strong game-mechanical limitation: you have to have a source holding of the appropriate level. That means that very, very few people in the game world will ever have any access to this kind of power; it will only ever be in a limited area, and that area is limited by Rule, Contest and other actions by other regents; and the people who get this bonus are the same people who can already cast realm spells -- the ability to cast Subversion, Legion of Dead, Raze, etc. once per month is already at least as powerful as several extra levels of PHB spellcasting every day.


How else could a wizard that is sometimes 6th level and sometime 6+Xth level adventure together with other players in an adventure without overshadowing the entire party?

How can a 3rd level fighter regent with a 9th level fighter lieutenant not have the lieutenant overshadow the entire party? The answer, in both cases, is that they can't -- but that's really just the price you've already paid for having regents ever go on adventures at all. The fact that a 1st level regent character thinks any unit of money less than 2,000 gold pieces is merely rounding error presents an inherent difficulty of scale that my wizard powerups do rather little to increase.

In fact, the primary practical reason for this rules change is to improve game balance at the realm level. What it does is substantially increase the defensive power of low-level regent wizards without at all increasing their offensive power, or making world-wreckers like Llaeddra much more powerful than they already are -- a level 3 going to a level 7 is a huge increase, but a level 18 going to a level 22 has very little impact (because there aren't any 11th level spells). I find such things necessary, as I have said, to keep low-level regent wizards like Aglondier from being assassinated far too easily. Even so, a Wiz 3 like Rogr needs a much bigger source than he actually has (3) to protect him from the likes of Quirad al-Dinn (Wiz 11).

ryancaveney
01-10-2008, 03:35 PM
So an LT should be able to have the ruler's RP funneled through him, like a vassal

LTs already have RP funneled through them -- otherwise, you couldn't use a LT to try to Rule a guild (2) into a guild (3), which costs 1 GB and 3 RP. The limitation is not that LT actions can't ever spend RP, it's that they have to spend some RP but can't choose to spend more RP than the base cost.


As far as structures: The Arcane Tower idea itself is paralleled closely with the Palace and Fortified holding, so there are equivalents for other rulers. The additional structure types/add ons to Arcane Towers I always envisioned would be very much dependent upon the type of game, but they operate on some parallels with the Embassy and Spy Network entities (allowing some Standard actions to become Court actions).

Personally, I never liked any of the structures at all, so I usually just don't comment on them. For a player who has one small domain, they make pretty window dressing (to do things which are already covered by other holdings and actions), but for a DM they're just too big an administrative headache to imagine every realm in the game having a few. That said, if you think nonwizards should get structures, then surely wizards ought to as well. I just don't happen to think anybody should get any structure that isn't already in the original rulebook, or even some that are (palaces, for example).


When I talked about no PC-on-PC Dominating, I was referring mainly to PBEMs, where PC teams aren't working together, DMs often don't allow even its use

I think they should. Magic in BR performs much the same function as high technology and nuclear weapons in modern real world geopolitics -- if you and your allies have more and better than your adversaries do, then they are going to have to (at least sometimes pretend to) knuckle under to you on the world stage until they can get better and more powerful "magic" of their own.


I'd apply the holding level to everything but skill points--instead just apply a bonus to skills, rather than have people recalculate by new character level.

Yeah, that's definitely a good idea. It's probably why I hadn't yet done it. =)


What about doing the same thing for other regent types?

My first reaction is to say no, because my original inspiration was the immense powerup already provided by realm spells. On the other hand, it wouldn't really hurt anything -- having a few provinces where a fighter regent gets an extra feat and a few hp and BAB is lost in the noise compared to how many units of troops he brought along. It also helps only the defense, and I always like things that make regents more resistant to assassination than other people. I think you've talked me into it. However, I don't think any regent should really be able to take it with them: forging a ley line is a realm action, which other wizard regents can use holding levels and RP to support or oppose. Forging one into someone else's domain is an extremely aggressive act, the wizard version of a declaration of war: "Attention, neighbor -- I am going to cast a realm spell on you next month!" For other regents, it's the same thing as creating a holding in someone else's domain: it's an announcement that you are starting to try to take part of their domain away from them.


I don't think you can just contest then invest existing holdings, can you?

Sure you can! Read the description of the Investiture action on page 56: "Investing Provinces and Holdings: A single province or holding can be invested without the permission of its ruler if it has been conquered or contested by the investor. The base success number is 10, and the investor must pay RP equal to the province or holding level." That's one of the least confusing rules in the whole book. =)

irdeggman
01-10-2008, 03:45 PM
Thanks for helping me understand some other game styles, guys!


I agree that there doesn't seem to be anything in the rules requiring wizards to take on every domain action personally. Certainly some of the magical theory would seem to indicate this, but explicit rules about Courts don't exempt wizards from having Courts and LT's that can act in their stead. Nothing also prevents LT's from casting realm spells.

Here is the "logic" and rules governing sources and actions (note that they are very much different than other holding types).

BRCS-playtest pg 96

Regents forge a link to their source through the casting of ritual arcane magic to forge a semi-permanent link between themselves and a manifestation of the land's mebhaighl.

This is a personal link, unlike what other holdings represent (the "faith and support of the people").

BRCS-playtest Pg 92

The court of a powerful regent may have many trusted courtiers, but most courtiers have strictly defined responsibilities and checks and balances to keep them from overstepping their prerogatives. A domain's regent may, however, name one or more of his courtiers as his lieutenant(s). A domain's lieutenants are authorized to speak with the voice of the regent, even to the extent of waging war against a foreign nation, spending significant portions of the realms treasury, dispensing justice, making binding agreements, and other activities that are generally considered the prerogative of the regent alone. Thus a lieutenant can perform most domain actions with the same advantages that a regent receives when personally attending to domain actions and events. Refer to Chapter Eight: Outside the lines for more details on Lieutenants.


Speaking with the voice of the regent is a very strong implication that he represents the regent on matters. Well since "speaking" has no effect on a source (and only on "people") this greatly limits what role a Lt has in regard to sources.

BRCS-playtest pg 102


Each domain normally is allowed one standard domain action per domain round. A regent's standard domain action represents the primary focus or goal of the regent's court and agents for the domain round. The regent need not be physically present for his domain to take a standard action; only routine communication is required. If the regent is unable to communicate to his realm, the character's player should still be allowed to select a reasonable domain action for the domain that represents the court's attempts to maintain the realm in the regent's absence. A regent's court can be reasonably expected to perform the same actions as the regent would; a regent's courtiers make it their business to have a fair idea of the regent's opinions on important matters. A regent can spend regency to support his domain's standard domain actions, regardless of his personal involvement.

A court has no effect on what a manifestation does (remember that a source holding is really a manifestation groomed individually).

BRCS-playtest pg 107


Lieutenancy: You declare a character as having the authority to speak on the domain’s behalf. A recognized lieutenant can stand in for the regent in almost any domain-level matter and is recognized as wielding the same authority as the regent himself. A domain’s heir is often a lieutenant first, but this need not be the case. A lieutenant character may spend character actions to provide bonuses to domain actions in the same way that the domain’s regent can. There is no limit to the number of lieutenants that a realm can have, but a clear system for determining the responsibilities and resolution of conflicts between them must exist.

See above the logic in what a Lt does and what "speaks with the voice of the regent" means.

kgauck
01-10-2008, 08:26 PM
As a side note on the slowness of development after conquest, the single most important reason that every ruler should want to capture his enemies alive, and no regent should ever let themselves be captured alive, is that if you are both present at the investiture ceremony, even under duress, the captor can invest every province and holding in the captive's domain with a *single action*, which provides the opportunity to double your domain overnight instead of taking a decade. And then you can stab him through the heart, but the couple extra bloodscore points you gain is vastly less important than completely digesting his whole domain in one gulp. Personally, I think that is just too powerful, but that's what the rulebook says.

I think they are trying to represent a few catastrophic state collapses, such as the disappearance of Hungary after Mohacs, or Burgundy after Nancy. Generally I would only see such an event as a DM fiat, because they want to change the configuration of states.

Let's say you're playing the Habsburgs, first Maximillian and then his grandson Ferdinand. You marry Marie de Bourgogne the daughter of the Duc de Bourgogne, and he dies fighting the French at Nancy. He named you as his heir, so when he dies, suddenly you have his domain intact. The problem is, now France is your sworn enemy. Where you had been reasonably friendly, you are now going to be dire foes until the Seven Years War, nearly 300 years later.

Then skip forward a bit, Max's empire fell to his oldest grandson, Charles, who is also king of Spain, duke of Burgundy, and Holy Roman Empire. He can't spend time in the old ancestral archduchy of Austria, so he puts his younger brother Ferdinand there as a governor. Ferdinand and his sister Mary get involved in a double marriage with the King of Hungary and his sister. But then Louis of Hungary gets himself killed at Mohacs and Hungary is erased from the map. The Turks control most of the country, but Louis named Ferdinand has his heir (actually Mary was, but she stepped aside for her brother, since war with Hungary was obviously next on the agenda) and Ferdinand gets Hungary intact. However, as a consequence, the Ottoman Turks are now the great rival and will be until the late 19th century when Austria switches over to prefering a sick Turkey to a growing Russia.

Just like these cases, the expansion of the realm creates a new and powerful enemy for the realm.

So passing on a whole realm has a place. These examples, however were of inheritance, rather than capture of a ruler. There are two examples of capture, that I think are telling. Both of French kings (go figure). Jean the Good was captured by the English during the Hundred Years War at Poitiers (and the Scottish king had been captured the year before at Neville's Cross). But what did England gain from the capture of David and Jean? Mostly just peace on favorable terms. Edward III could not assert his claim to the French crown, or re-establish the lordship which Edward I claimed over Scotland (and Edward asserted only to keep the claim alive).

Second is the capture of Francis at Pavia in 1525. Francis swore to hand over the Duchy of Burgundy and a huge ransom, but when he was released to organize the transfer he reneged.

The case discussed in the rules is the death of a ruler without a named heir, and its possible to read Mohacs that way as well, with Mary and Ferdinand scrambling to collect some small part of Hungary after most of it ended up in Turkish hands.

What I do think is that capturing a ruler should break a realm. I don't think that a single capture is sufficient to remove a ruler from a realm in total. Every contest appears evenly matched until some battle breaks the enemy, and from then on, victory seems inevitable.

When is a realm totally destroyed and when does it remain resolute despite the capture of the king? The total victory at Pavia destroyed a French army, but the capture of the King of France got them nothing. Francis didn't pay his ransom or hand over Burgundy. Ultimately, this is for the DM to decide, and the mechanics are just instruments for him to implement his decision. But I follow a general principle. No matter how long the preceding fighting has gone on (generations or 3 months) if one side scores a crushing victory, and has the means to follow up on it, I allow the victor to strip away tangential goodies. If Avanil defeated Boeruine in Boeruine and annihilated an army, and captured Aeric, then all of Aeric's allies, including Talinie would defect and Darien would get peace with Aeric. Aeric's old allies would be neutral to friendly to Darien depending on what their peacetime relations were like. In the next go-round, Aeric would be alone, or relying on new allies forged from scratch (perhaps Ghoere, looking to humble Avanil), and if Darien won again, perhaps the Hidden Temple of Cuiraecen and Arlen Innis would come over to Darien, and the Boeruine Trading Guild would be mostly consumed by guilders friendly to Darien. Darien might end up with law holdings in Boeruine. In the third struggle, anything goes, including the total absorption of Boeruine as a puppet vassal with Darien's chosen man as the new Archduke of Boeruine.

This three victory model can be thought of as the struggle between Rome and Carthage. But its quite possible for a few indecisive wars to fill the gaps between the decisive wars.

kgauck
01-10-2008, 10:45 PM
My point about extortion was that in Anuire, culturally, wizards pretty much can't assume a "mantle of legitimacy" to cover their threats. The people would not consider it so. That's a valid point in the story, it just puts game play at a bit of a disadvantage.

Social arrangements are fluid and negotiable. If a woman could become pharaoh of Egypt, a highly legalistic and ritualistic society, I don't know why any scion of Diesmaar couldn't rule in any capacity as long has he fulfills some of the expectations of people regarding what a king looks like.

The primary thing which anyone must do in Anuire to wear the mantle of legitimacy is to emulate Haelyn. The more closely you seem to be like Haelyn, the more legitimate you are. Of course a noble who rides a horse well, who commands in war, and who provides justice and good laws is going to fit people's concept of a king. But if your wizard dresses like a noble, can ride a horse, looks good in armor (doesn't need to fight in armor so much as look good in it), commands in war (that's what divinations are for), and provides justice and good laws, then why should he not be legitimate?

Of course if he goes around in a purple robe with moons and stars on it, speaking only of esoteric subjects and uses secret languages and weird, exotic objects then surely he is no king.

The people don't have a copy of the Domain Holding Table to figure out where someone's holdings lay. The people live on a manor, and the lord of that manor has a lord, and that lord pays homage to a count, and that count to a king. If two men on horseback ride around claiming to have the loyalty and friendship of the local knights, lords, and counts, the people are going to look to their local knights and lords, the notables they know to guide them.

For the nobles, guilders, and templars, they are looking for the man in fancy clothes who provides justice, settles disputes, and defends them from enemies. They know who has what title and what holdings, but they are still going to be interested in who can provide justice and protection. If the local noble ruler is doing his job, you need to make him look ineffective, by discovering or creating scandals that make him look unjust and incapable of settling disputes. If he is already unjust and ineffective, most of your work is done. Just provide a contrast as the hero who settles matters and provides justice. If you can defend the people from enemies, then all the better.

AndrewTall
01-19-2008, 01:48 PM
I personally think there ought to be more structures available for detailed games (I'd love them in all games, myself, but I can see where they'd be tough to have in PBEMs).

I personally like the idea of wondrous events as well - effectively 1-round wonders. I recently talked my DM in Rjurik Winds into a 'Field of Gold' event as a MacGuffin to bring a new player into an existing realm and get them a rack of lieutenants after the old court was forcibly relocated - the Field was effectively a sword and crown / olympics cross that made some actions (ceremonies, hiring lietenants, scheming within the boundaries of the field) very easy albeit at a huge cost to arrange. Similarly I'd let any regent turn GB into RP with grand events - so if Kalien sponsors a huge artshow he gets more respect than if he simply sits on a big pile of gold, if Boeruine showers gold on the people they are more likely to give that little extra effort in return, etc. Basically like alchemy in reverse...



I like most of the ideas you guys have for fixing the system; they address the key problems I've identified, some in the same way as I suggested, some differently. The key fixes seem to be:
1. Alchemy should be cheaper and less restricted
2. LT's and/or others should be able to take domain actions for the regent; courts should not be so necessary for wizard regents (what about Realm actions?)
3. Research should not take so long (I'll concede the full cost, but I still don't think realm spells should be so high in level as to be out of reach of most PC's and thus researching them shouldn't take more than 2 months for most, 3 for only the most powerful)
4. Wizards should be able to use RP in place of GB directly for standard domain actions having to do with sources, needing GB primarily for research, casting realm spells, and building things they can't/don't want to build with their spells
5. Allow wizard regents to use source holdings to oppose and contest province levels

1 and 4 overlap, I'd keep 4 and drop 1 - the last thing I'd want in a campaign is elves with effective income of 9 GB per province for the cost of a single action, it would also make the Khinasi overpowered and have a huge impact on the Rjurik and Vos. Gold has a very direct and measurable effect and while wizards do gain effectively only half the income of other regents (if you value GB and RP equally) dropping alchemy to 2:1 or even 1:1 could easily be unbalancing - particularly for regents who also rule provinces.

I'd allow any wizard lieutenant to do an action - or for better story impact any magician (the only way they get to touch true magic is through their masters gift). I wouldn't allow a non spellcasting lieutenant to rule sources etc although this is mory of a story point than a balance point.

I'm playing a wizard regent now in a PBEM and admit that having no income is a pain, even with a very co-operative regent! I spend 1 action a round 'paying' for my stipend, 1 action adventuring for want of funds, and the remaining action is my shot at expanding my domain - but that doesn't stop me being as vocal as anyone else on the forums, offering advice, etc, etc. The Prince holds the power but barring an idiot on the throne plenty of other people get their share of power - and a wizard 'lapdog' has very sharp teeth.

It depends what you gain from playing the game - are you interested in the roke-playing story or the vicarious power? It is, imo, far easier to play a wizard with low income than to play one in a realm with a player who thinks "I am King therefore my lightest whim is law and the slightest opposition treason". Frankly if my PC had income they could simply ignore all the other players totally - the need for money draws me into the game as far as they are concerned.


I don't actually think the Rule Province thing is broken. ...

Not broken, but too fast imho. I prefer cost equal to target level squared - with the standard rule son building large assets. Goblins may get target level -1 squared (and then raise militia to send mobs of rabble raiding) elves and dwarves have to pay level +1-2 squared. This makes low level provinces easy to rule, but keeps L5+ provinces very rare. I do like the idea of being able to oppose the rule, but again this needs the ruler to accept the opposition. If you are a court mage forcing the king to spend a fortune due to your opposition is a good way to lose your position - and head. Even if you serve another king you may cause a war by meddling in the other kingdoms internal affairs. As a result the opposition will always in practice come down to diplomacy in 'civilised' areas.


Bonus levels for source holdings
I'm not sure this will harm adventuring as much as is feared - I expect that most regents adventure to grow their realm (i.e. in areas where they have little influence), gain something they cannot get through their realm (indiciating again low influence in the area), etc mostly making the boost primarily defensive. I'd add a cost though of 1 RP per spell level cast beyond the normal maximum - being on your home turf is great, being the 'real McCoy' is always better. Similarly I might make the boost effective only in areas of strength - so if my PC held 5 of 9 source levels and they went exploring they would not get the benefit in the areas that they didn't touch the mebhaighl already. Similarly you could say that other regents benefited only when surrounded by their followers. This sort of rule however perhaps most lends itself to the 'place of power' sort of bonus rather than being province wide.

Halancar
03-12-2008, 02:08 PM
I think that a large part of the problems of wizard regent, and particularly non landed wizard regent, comes from the fact that source holding are the lowest income of all when you add both RP and GP.

Source produce 1 RP/level. Compare that to 1RP and 1/3 GB for law holding (but non-landed law regents are almost unheard of, at least as PC), 1RP and 2/3 GB for temples (and the Bless spell generates extra income), 1 RP and 2/3 GB for guilds (and there is all that trade route potential !), and 1 RP and 1 GB for provinces.

So to compete with the other non-landed regents out there, whether guild or temple, the source holding need to be 66% larger at the very least. Otherwise, well, since their total income (considering both GP and RP) is lower, whenever there is a conflict of interest, the wizard will lose. Or more prosaically, a temple or guild regent with a similar-sized holding can perform more and bigger Rule Holding actions, and so grow his holdings faster, than a source regent.

Now you add the fact that source generate no gold, which means somehow "converting" part of the RP income into gold, whether by Alchemy, some form of Diplomacy, or hiring out. 1 for 1 conversion is almost impossible (it is possible in support of an Agitate action, but other that that ?). So the wizard will lose some of its (already lower) income to conversion. Plus, he's losing a domain action as well.

So at the end of the day, the wizard holdings may look impressive on paper, but a temple holding of half the size has more real power.

So I would like to suggest a simple solution : give source holding a RP income of 2 per season (since the income stems from mebhaigl and not political power, a different collection rate is easily explained; or it could be that a source holder has income both from mebhaighl and the political power that derives from the fact he can make people lives truly miserable all by himself with a few Realm spells). Wizards holding only sources will still have to resolve to Alchemy or other measures, but at least they'll have the RP to do it and still accomplish something. They will still need to become team players to be most effective, but they'll bring enough to the table to become an asset to the team and not a net drain of ressources :)

ConjurerDragon
03-12-2008, 05:17 PM
Halancar schrieb:
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
> http://www.birthright.net/forums/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=4104
> Halancar wrote:
> I think that a large part of the problems of wizard regent, and particularly non landed wizard regent, comes from the fact that source holding are the lowest income of all when you add both RP and GP.
>
> Source produce 1 RP/level. Compare that to 1RP and 1/3 GB for law holding (but non-landed law regents are almost unheard of, at least as PC), 1RP and 2/3 GB for temples (and the Bless spell generates extra income), 1 RP and 2/3 GB for guilds (and there is all that trade route potential !), and 1 RP and 1 GB for provinces.
>
> So to compete with the other non-landed regents out there, whether guild or temple, the source holding need to be 66% larger at the very least.
Yes. But the source regent normally does not compete with the other regents.
He normally does not field a huge army like the province regent who is
expected to field an army and pay a large amount of his income there.
He has normally no need of some impressive court with dozens of servants
to impress the ambassadors of all surrounding realms like a province
ruler would be expected to.
He has normally not 3 or more other guilds contesting his holdings
constantly in RP/GB bidding wars or has to bribe province rulers to not
cut off the precious but vulnerable trade routes or to pay for roads to
be able to start those trade routes.
And he has normally to pay no taxes while the other holdings could be
expected to do so. At least in 2E the law holdings could take their law
claims from guild and temple holdings.

> Otherwise, well, since their total income (considering both GP and RP) is lower, whenever there is a conflict of interest, the wizard will lose. Or more prosaically, a temple or guild regent with a similar-sized holding can perform more and bigger Rule Holding actions, and so grow his holdings faster, than a source regent.
>
Unless those other regents have not only more income, but also more
expenses.
> Now you add the fact that source generate no gold, which means somehow "converting" part of the RP income into gold, whether by Alchemy, some form of Diplomacy, or hiring out. 1 for 1 conversion is almost impossible (it is possible in support of an Agitate action, but other that that ?). So the wizard will lose some of its (already lower) income to conversion. Plus, he`s losing a domain action as well.
>
Unless he - as supposed in the BR material - finds himself a regent with
lots of gold who is ready to exchange gold for a realm spell now and
then. Then he has his 1:1 - or depending on the other regents need
better - exchange ratio.

> So at the end of the day, the wizard holdings may look impressive on paper, but a temple holding of half the size has more real power.
>
Which is to blame in part on the 3E conversion. Temple regents should
not be able to cast all divine realm spells, but be severly restricted
like in 2E where they could only cast those realm spells from the
spheres they had.
> So I would like to suggest a simple solution : give source holding a RP income of 2 per season (since the income stems from mebhaigl and not political power, a different collection rate is easily explained; or it could be that a source holder has income both from mebhaighl and the political power that derives from the fact he can make people lives truly miserable all by himself with a few Realm spells). Wizards holding only sources will still have to resolve to Alchemy or other measures, but at least they`ll have the RP to do it and still accomplish something. They will still need to become team players to be most effective, but they`ll bring enough to the table to become an asset to the team and not a net drain of ressources :)
Not necessary and in my opinion not even desirable.

Rowan
03-12-2008, 08:13 PM
Interesting ideas, Halancar.

Conjurer, you make some good points about expenses, except that I think you're forgetting a few things. Wizards still have significant expenses--researching spells is enormously expensive (1,000gp per level, +100gp per level to write to spell books); creating magic items similarly so (though particularly in BR, this should be infrequent). All domain actions for a wizard still cost 1GB in material components, representing significant expenditures, and without some exception to allow more Court actions, realm actions are virtually impossible for wizards, again making them the weakest characters in the game with by far the least to do.

Further, the armies and bribes and courts and so forth that other regents are spending their money on are not some useless form of domain maintenance, but rather a method of projecting power--a method that wizards lack. Wizards have low RP in addition to low GB, making even their one-month-to-cast realm spells, limited by source and ley line and level, difficult to pull off, especially frequently or in a pinch. And temple regents--of which there are usually many--can easily counter or mitigate many of the wizard's actions.

Also, I think the game intended for wizards to frequently vie against each other for Sources, so contestation is frequent and ley line creation and destruction is frequent as well--at least as frequent as other realms. Perhaps a few more realm spells geared mainly towards wizard v wizard conflict need to be created to represent this mysterious magical conflict that happens beyond the knowledge of most other regents.

Regents paying wizards to cast realm spells doesn't do much for them, because 1:1 costs mean that a wizard is still wasting an action to do a regent's bidding at no net gain unless he wants to do it for his own purposes as well. 2:1 costs have very little gain at the expense of a precious domain action. What regents are willing to spend the 5-10GB per turn to keep a wizard properly funded? And if they are spending that much, how can the wizard possibly oppose the regent who has them on such a huge hook, and be anything other than a realm-spell factory for the regent?

I think rather than letting wizards receive 2RP per source level, however, I'd eliminate the GB cost for all of their domain actions--converting it to RP cost instead--and slightly reduce the costs of a few realm spells, so wizard actions only cost GB if they are spell research actions, realm spell casting, or magic item creation. I would also still give them income equivalent to law holdings to cover some of the costs of that research and spellcasting, largely because I dislike the idea of wizards having to waste actions and become gold factories casting Alchemy all the time.

Rowan
03-12-2008, 08:28 PM
Also, to respond to Andrew, I don't think that province levels are too easy increase, or too fast, if one just changes one's perceptions about them.

Kgauck likes to stress that Cerilia is settled almost to the max current carrying capacity, and many various statements in the BRCS and source materials seem to go back and forth, some supporting this idea, others less so. If population levels are settled at essentially the max level per province--a more realistic proposition, I agree--then province level assumes the level of administrative efficiency, civil control, and societal organization.

Consider also one huge aspect of realm governance from ancient times to the present that BR ignores: financing. Unless it is meant to be captured in the abstract of province and holding level income, the raising of income through governing debt and the payment of that debt is not measured. I have heard solid arguments by noted historians speaking of the massive strategic reality and advantage of good government financing. Nations go into debt to fight wars; they don't just rely on a positive balance in their treasuries. A nation's ability to raise money through debt financing is key to their success in wartime.

Personally, I'd love to have some real, usable financial rules in BR, even if they are very simplified. It would serve both as a historical simulation and as a learning facet--I'm always fond of RPG's as learning tools, and I believe they have contributed over the years quite a bit to various skills in my life.

However, at this point, I think province and holding levels can represent financing as part of their abstraction. That is, income from provinces and holdings for most realms represent in large part loans minus the payment of interest on those debt facilities. A realm with many province and holding levels can finance construction projects, realm activities, and war to a much greater degree than one with lower, as it should be. In fact, by this reasoning, regents should not hesitate terribly to "pillage" their own provinces as necessary during times of extreme need, as this represents raising more money from loans, but either almost extorting it, or taking on high-interest loans and losing the confidence of many creditors who will likely go unpaid--or even flat out canceling debt (thus representing freeing a burden of debt and interest at the expense of the lowered loyalty rating of the pillaged province). Pillaging also helps explain why province levels remain fairly low.

kgauck
03-12-2008, 11:22 PM
Regents paying wizards to cast realm spells doesn't do much for them, because 1:1 costs mean that a wizard is still wasting an action to do a regent's bidding at no net gain unless he wants to do it for his own purposes as well. 2:1 costs have very little gain at the expense of a precious domain action. What regents are willing to spend the 5-10GB per turn to keep a wizard properly funded? And if they are spending that much, how can the wizard possibly oppose the regent who has them on such a huge hook, and be anything other than a realm-spell factory for the regent?

I think its worth observing that this is probably what the designers intended (its not a bug its a feature!) But I think the more important question is, is the role fun to play when the the wizard is not part of a team. If its not, I think it reveals a design problem. Merlin is fun, only when you have an Arthur.


Consider also one huge aspect of realm governance from ancient times to the present that BR ignores: financing. Unless it is meant to be captured in the abstract of province and holding level income, the raising of income through governing debt and the payment of that debt is not measured. I have heard solid arguments by noted historians speaking of the massive strategic reality and advantage of good government financing. Nations go into debt to fight wars; they don't just rely on a positive balance in their treasuries. A nation's ability to raise money through debt financing is key to their success in wartime.

I've always advocated a finance system. Fortunately, state finance was pretty simply. States basically took loans that were in effect bonds. I borrow 10 GB now, pay you 15 GB in three years.

Its not the mechanics of finance that are hard to handle, its the nature of the credit market. How much capital is available in this way? This could be seen as a fraction of guild holdings, so that NPC guilds only loan out so much money. PC domains could loan money on whatever terms they please. The real question regards limits to how much money can be borrowed. Basically guilders need a return on their investment better than they could get investing in their own holdings and trade routes, plus the risk of loss.

Rowan
03-13-2008, 02:01 AM
I think wizards are as much a part of the team as anyone else needs to be. A wizard can still benefit greatly from patronage--protection, knowing he won't be persecuted, having the backing of other regents against his enemies, funding (especially funding in times of desperation, when the wizard's tiny treasury is depleted and he needs to cast realm spells), regency (of which he is still short).

Realm rulers who don't have the land's Source holder as an ally ought to be very nervous, just as they should if they don't have the temples on their side. I don't think I need to argue that wizards can be great assets for a realm, though unless they are given a little more flexibility, they are far less important as part of the team than the temple regents.

Temple regents also should be wary of non-allied wizards, as they can counter realm magic and have more overtly potent realm magic of their own. Wizards and temples working in concert can be tremendously powerful.

Guilds are probably the least affected by wizards, though they should be pragmatic enough to recognize the value of an ally, especially one that may be able to be easily bought (even despite their incomes).

Wizards could remain aloof, but they will find themselves drawn in by the other regents, who should not want an unknown quantity wielding the magic of the provinces they operate in. Wizards also have great incentive to join with others, if they want to wield any real influence, for reasons mentioned above. However, if wizards remain as weak as they are in the original rules, they must spend many more turns just learning spells, doing peoples' bidding, and ruling source holdings one by one, taking far longer than anyone else to build up enough to make a meaningful contribution to a team--as large a contribution as any of the other domains.



As for finance, I agree that regents can lend out their money on whatever terms they see fit. Generally, however, a regent, particularly a guild regent, can find a vastly better return on their money spending it on domain actions. Ruling a guild holding or creating a trade route costs 1GB, and even if building ships or roads is necessary, the return on that investment can easily exceed 100% in a year.

As for the debt capacity, I think, Kgauck, it would be better to make this a function of the general population at large than of the guild holdings. Holding rulers can lend as they wish; regents, however, seek to sell bonds to any citizen among the general populace. Further, if financing is to be simulated, it should be possible--and likely--to have debt far exceeding one's seasonal income. I can think of a few ways to set debt capacity:

1. Don't worry about it. A regent will take on as much debt as they think they can afford. If they default, loyalties will drop and future actions will be harder. Perhaps the Finance action merely has a DC=total debt - province and holding levels (sort of used as collateral) OR DC = total debt - seasonal income + treasury.
2. Make it a function of province and holding levels, equal to the sum of all, possibly even x2 (to create the realism of having debt far exceeding income).
3. Treat financing like Pillaging: total amount possible is equal to severe taxation; possibly multiply x2.
4. If we're talking merely about selling to the general populace, and we're assuming provinces are actually settled to the full amount possible, add up the max province levels by terrain for all provinces; possibly multiply by 2.

I favor the first option. It abstractly incorporates much of the rest of the ideas, with much less bookkeeping, since total holding levels are already known (domain power), as are income and treasury and, necessarily, total debt. It makes it easy for regents to assume debt exceeding their income or domain power by 10-15GB, and possible for them, with enough skill and RP, to exceed income or power by 40GB or so.

Payoff rates should be set at a default rate; I would suggest 25%, or 1GB for each 4GB raised, annually. It is "amortized" simply by requiring 1GB to be paid against the principle in that amount of time, as well. So a 4GB debt would incur 2GB payment per year, 0.5GB per season. It would be paid off in 4 years. Changing these terms makes the game more complex, but could be ratcheted as a function of the Finance Action success: add an amount to the DC to keep that same 2GB payment per year for an additional 2GB in debt:
A. DC -15 for 0.5GB per season on a 1GB debt, paid off in 1 year (100% APR);
B. DC-5 for 0.5GB per season on a 2GB debt, paid off in 2 years (50%APR);
C. DC+0 for 0.5GB per season on a 4GB debt, paid off in 4 years (25%APR);
D. DC+5 for 0.5GB per season on a 6GB debt, paid off in 6 years (17%APR);
E. DC+15 for 0.5GB per season for each 8GB debt, paid off in 8 years (12.5%APR);
F. to a max of DC+25 for 0.5GB per season for each 10GB in debt, paid off in 10 years (10%APR).

I'm working on a more comprehensive and realistic system, but I haven't gotten it simple enough yet to implement, I don't think. For example, realm assets should be a factor, but adding up the value of assets takes more time and bookkeeping. Loyalty could be a factor, too.

kgauck
03-13-2008, 04:18 AM
My concern is that I never know what kind of game I will be playing next. If I end up running an all wizard campaign next, I prefer that becoming a source regent is viable without having to place friendly domains out there (I wouldn't do it for other regents).

I moved the Finance stuff to a thread so named.

irdeggman
03-13-2008, 10:20 AM
Rowan I can't help but see this as a meta-gaming issue to make wizards more self-sufficient.

I just don't see how it really makes a lot of sense in-game to make them have more income being generated.

I mean what is a GB?

It is an abstract measure of "stuff" and "commodities". It is not a forest it is the lumber produced, it is not a mountain it is the ore mined from it, etc.

Basically GB is a function of "labor" which is a function of population.

Population and wizards are basically an incompatable combination (excepting elves) since the potential source level is an inverse function of the province level (which is a correspondance to population in some manner).

Now increasing the "efficiency" of some spells, like Alchemy, makes sense.

But simply having an RP conversion to GB for a wizard, IMO, does not.

Unlike regents who depend on the people who can convert RP to GB to an extent wizards from a reason things work approach just can't do that. I mean the regents who can use RP instead of GB are those that are using RP to "inspire" those people to essentially work for free. A wizard just can't quite get the same approach.

Now ensuring that wizard regents have more powerful (and dangerous) realm spells than priests makes a lot of sense (and fits the 3.5 spell design guidelines).

Rowan
03-13-2008, 02:51 PM
Irdeggman, do you discount the reasoning behind level 4 and higher Sources producing income?

GB income for all other holdings is profit after expenses. I believe there is actually a huge amount more wealth that changes hands, and it is only the profit that we talk about as GB (if this is not the case, then incomes in gp amounts seem pathetically low for the given populations, while at the same time a GB purchases much more than it seems like it should; realms, particularly of the late middle ages and Renaissance, are not run on a few thousand gold pieces, but on hundreds of thousands and millions).

For wizards, then, the small amount of money they generate has the least amount of expenses associated with it. The wealth that "changes hands" in this transaction is far smaller than for the other holdings, but represents almost all "profit." The 700gp per source level can easily be reflected in a single gemstone found in the wilds, magical components, valuable vegetative products and the like. If we are accepting the reasoning of the high Source level working as a guild, then the wizard, through the mebhaigl of the land, gains some degree of influence over the natural resources of the land and the smallfolk, particularly those mostly outside the control of the realm. I suggest, though, not allowing sources to act as guilds, but merely spreading out the income.

If you want to get more magical in your explanation, control of mebhaigl can influence the growth and output of the land. In mountains it can lead to the surfacing of precious metals or the generation of purer ores or veins of gemstones; in forests and other more vegetative areas, established sources can influence the growth and health of ecosystems; in river or sea areas it can influence the movement and health of aquatic populations.

Most of the time, wizards will be spending this "money" (it's not really gold pieces, but neither are GBs) on research or casting spells. It's easy to see how magical components and contact with magical creatures through mebhaigl can contribute to research and spellcasting. Constructions can even be partly paid for similarly. If wizards are making a transaction with people, as in raising troops or paying off other regents, they can easily convert high-value items (gemstones, rare materials or natural resources) or direct the distribution of large volumes of natural resources (foodstuffs, construction materials, etc) or provide some other service (spellcasting, directing mebhaigl or any creatures under their control).

So I don't think there is any problem with Sources producing a little bit of income. Even if it does, all systems make some sacrifice of realism for playability, and wizards just aren't playable to the same level as the others. That's a failure of the system or the setting that needs to be remedied if wizards are to be as attractive an option in a multi-domain-type game as the rest.

BTW, I wasn't advocating a conversion from RP to GB. RP also, normally, represents influence among the general population for all other regent types--but obviously it does not for wizards, so does this break the system? No? Then why would GB present a problem?

Also, populations and mebhaigl are not directly connected. It's some other aspect of province level. Otherwise we'd have to track hard population numbers, and it simply wouldn't make sense for pillaged provinces or provinces losing a few hundred people in levies to drop province levels and thus allow source potentials to increase. These simple evidences demonstrate yet more support for my adamant position that population is not the main determinant for province level. The whole population = province level equation is so full of problems every time it crops up and people try to use it in the game that I really think we'd be better off scrapping that whole association.

AndrewTall
03-13-2008, 10:57 PM
Rowan I can't help but see this as a meta-gaming issue to make wizards more self-sufficient.

What is the problem with that? Every other regent is self-sufficient. If a wizard is totally dependent on another regent for support then it makes it far harder for them to oppose the local regents - and internal opposition is surely necessary in a game? A wizard regent should not simply be an automatic vassal to be used as a RP bank and action-puppet by the local ruler.

Even giving sources 1/3 GB per level most non-elven wizards will still struggle to make 5-10 GB a season in a populated area, hardly bank-busting. Using the standard 4 RP:1 GB conversion of alchemy the holdings then produce:

Law: 7/12 GB + interaction rights with other holdings, seizures
Source: 7/12 GB + realm spells + weak trade routes
Guild: 11/12 GB + trade routes + mercantile influence
Temple: 11/12 GB + realm spells + religious impact
Province: 5/4 GB + rulership rights

Realm spells are nice but I'm struggling to see source holdings as being the equal of either temple or guild holdings under the above conversion. Even if converting RP:GB at a different rate the same order will hold true.

I'm a bit iffy about elven realms and GB income, but elven realms lack temples and generally have weak guilds so should still be weaker in GB terms than a human realm of similar size.

As a mage regent PC I find being forced to continually beg for another player's scraps gets old real fast, Arthur may rely on Merlin to tell him how to deal with various mystical phenomena (rains of fish, two headed cats, eclipses and other portents of doom) letting Merlin 'earn' Arthur's support and making Merlin worthy of respect in the realm but the PBEM court mage has a king who is often interested mainly in the cost:benefit ratio of financing the geezer in the tower as opposed to half a dozen extra units of pike.

kgauck
03-14-2008, 04:55 AM
As a mage regent PC I find being forced to continually beg for another player's scraps gets old real fast, Arthur may rely on Merlin to tell him how to deal with various mystical phenomena (rains of fish, two headed cats, eclipses and other portents of doom) letting Merlin 'earn' Arthur's support and making Merlin worthy of respect in the realm but the PBEM court mage has a king who is often interested mainly in the cost:benefit ratio of financing the geezer in the tower as opposed to half a dozen extra units of pike.

This is the critical thing. A game needs to have a magical arena in which the arcanist is king. I absolutly don't like most battle spells, and am not keen on a lot of realm spells, becuase I don't like the wizard emulating other classes with magic. I prefer rains of fish.

So for example, in war wizard X might curse the water of a province so that it doesn't sate thirst. Treat it as salt water. Friendly wizard must reverse the condition. Then friendly wizard counters by masking a province with an obscuring fog to conceal defenses. Wizard x must either remove fog or counter fog with something. Summoning wierd stuff and banishing it. Tormenting the dreams of critical actors (eg. captain general) and dispelling the torment. Some buffing, concealing, and dealing damage is fine, if the arcanist really has their own magical arena to operate in.

Sources are seperated from the other holdings, and it would be nice if wizards didn't have to come begging to other domains for operating costs, but could master their magical arena themselves.

irdeggman
03-14-2008, 09:36 AM
What is the problem with that? Every other regent is self-sufficient. If a wizard is totally dependent on another regent for support then it makes it far harder for them to oppose the local regents - and internal opposition is surely necessary in a game? A wizard regent should not simply be an automatic vassal to be used as a RP bank and action-puppet by the local ruler.

Not really.

A guild regent is dependent on the landed regent to keep the roads up or else his trade routes fall into non-existance.

A temple (as well as a guild) regent is dependent on the landed regent to maintain sufficient troops in place to prevent a "hostile" destruction of his holdings.

A landed regent is dependent on the temple regent to ensure the population is "supporting the king" and is in a good attitude.

The landed regent is also dependent on temple and guild regents to provide "supplemental income" and "magical support" in case of a war.

The landed regent is likewise dependent on the source regent to provide magical support for defensive and offensive wars.

irdeggman
03-14-2008, 10:03 AM
Irdeggman, do you discount the reasoning behind level 4 and higher Sources producing income?


I think it was a poorly conceived method in 2nd ed (because it was in the 2nd ed rules is the only reason it carried over into the BRCS) to provide some kind of "influence" for wizards shy of the use of realm spells. The 2nd ed material had high level sources be "virtual guilds" for actions, but did not specify income related effects. Source regents had a 0 level guild for purposes of establishing a trade route (which required another guild at the other end and the province level (in 2nd ed) was averaged (made the source guild have a real low income generation due to the relationship between province level and source level), in the BRCS the guild levels are averaged). The BRCS merely extrapolated that and provided an income effect too.

The effect of money poor wizards is a basic concept of the class from every edition of D&D. They had a lot of "expenses" (scribing spellbooks, making magic items, spell components, etc.) Wizards have always, as characters, been more dependent on the support of other classes than others are, at least at the lower levels where "survival" is paramount. The lack of income at the realm level is merely an extrapolation of this inherent effect of the class.

I agree with Kenneth to a degree. Wizards should be "special". They should be "feared" and "recruited" to be an ally because of this "fear". The effects of their spells should be pronounced and effective, especially at the realm level. Consider their stipends a sort of "insurance policy" if you will.

Halancar
03-14-2008, 10:57 AM
Yes. But the source regent normally does not compete with the other regents.
He normally does not field a huge army like the province regent who is
expected to field an army and pay a large amount of his income there.
He has normally no need of some impressive court with dozens of servants
to impress the ambassadors of all surrounding realms like a province
ruler would be expected to.
He has normally not 3 or more other guilds contesting his holdings
constantly in RP/GB bidding wars or has to bribe province rulers to not
cut off the precious but vulnerable trade routes or to pay for roads to
be able to start those trade routes.
And he has normally to pay no taxes while the other holdings could be
expected to do so. At least in 2E the law holdings could take their law
claims from guild and temple holdings.


There I disagree. He may not usually compete head-on, but he still competes in some ways. If he is part of the team, it should be natural that he wants to be "as useful" to the team as other members, or even more. If there is room for development, he will want to develop as quickly as others regents with holdings of similar size.

It is frustrating to be the charity case, the one who is not even worth trying to tax, the one who cannot contributes unless someone channels funds and RP to him (which makes the PC basically a NPC : if he cannot act without support, then his action are dictated by said support, and the supporting PC is the one effectively playing him).

Of course I'm overstating the case, but to me the basic fact that the source regent has a lower overall income, none of which is GB (which makes it worth), is a balance problem to start with.

geeman
03-14-2008, 12:37 PM
At 03:57 AM 3/14/2008, Halancar wrote:

>There I disagree. He may not usually compete head-on, but he still
>competes in some ways. If he is part of the team, it should be
>natural that he wants to be "as useful" to the team as other
>members, or even more. If there is room for development, he will
>want to develop as quickly as others regents with holdings of similar size.

In fact, wizard regents more directly compete with other regents as
their source holdings are reliant upon the population levels of
provinces (upon which all other holdings are based) remaining
low. The domain rules are set up to put them directly at odds with
all the other regents in the provinces in which they control
sources. Even in a cooperative campaign, the wizard`s domain comes
at the "cost" of at least three other "team members" at a certain point.

The answer to the problem with the weakness of wizards at the domain
level is to recognize their relative power at the adventure
level. That is, they do have to do favors and work with other
regents, but creating a few magic items is a much better way to
generate income than the Alchemy spell. Wizards should be able to
earn money very easily since their powers are more scarce and so
influential. Of course, it`s not particularly satisfying to require
wizard regents to do this on an extracurricular sort of basis, and it
begs the question: Why would wizards want to participate at the
domain level in the first place? But that`s another issue....

Gary

kgauck
03-14-2008, 02:36 PM
Of course, it`s not particularly satisfying to require
wizard regents to do this on an extracurricular sort of basis, and it
begs the question: Why would wizards want to participate at the
domain level in the first place? But that`s another issue....
Actually, I think it strikes at the core issue of the thread.

Rowan
03-14-2008, 03:00 PM
Not really.

A guild regent is dependent on the landed regent to keep the roads up or else his trade routes fall into non-existance.

A temple (as well as a guild) regent is dependent on the landed regent to maintain sufficient troops in place to prevent a "hostile" destruction of his holdings.

A landed regent is dependent on the temple regent to ensure the population is "supporting the king" and is in a good attitude.

The landed regent is also dependent on temple and guild regents to provide "supplemental income" and "magical support" in case of a war.

The landed regent is likewise dependent on the source regent to provide magical support for defensive and offensive wars.


None of those regents are wholly dependent on these things. Each can do them for themselves; it merely helps to have the others playing along. Source regents, however, either require significant funds and RP, or must operate on an even longer, slower timescale than the other regents--a timescale already dragged out much too long by the extra time and character actions normally required to research and create things. Source regents are simply not balanced in the game; they don't belong with other regent types because they are built to be exceptionally weak in comparison unless they are elves in elven realms with very high source potentials.

I think the dependency you are talking about with wizards (depending on other character classes) is an assumption and artifact of adventure-level gaming that really does not need to be included or seen as binding in any way, particularly for realm-level play. There is always a tension between what is necessary for the game and what is necessary for the story. More often than not, it seems to me, the story can easily be tweaked with only minor alterations to explain limitations and necessities of game play.

In fact, most of the objections that I hear about rebalancing the wizard seem to be based on this unnecessary, distracting assumption. We can't get very far if we hold on to sacred cows like this that may not make sense.

As you say, wizards are put at odds with all other regent types. Not only are they weaker than all other regents, then, but they face conflict with them because of this. Your point only illustrates further the plight of the hapless wizard by comparison. In fact, it seems that they only really exist due to their personal, feared, adventure-level power; if regents were not afraid to try to kill their wizards or enemy wizards personally, they would just remove this obstacle to realm growth and the danger of loose-cannons with big spells. Realms that didn't have to worry about wizards would actually probably be much more powerful; the extra gold, RP, and influence from more developed realms has a much greater impact than the few and far between spells that most wizards are able to cast. The only real exceptions are very large and high level source holders.

Kgauck, I agree, wizards would be much more playable with a revised, "magical arena" approach in the setting.

kgauck
03-14-2008, 07:01 PM
Source regents, however, either require significant funds and RP, or must operate on an even longer, slower timescale than the other regents--a timescale already dragged out much too long by the extra time and character actions normally required to research and create things.

Two things here. One is that wizards should use graduate students, er, I mean apprentices, to do their research and item creation. The source ruler should supervise (not leave) but like any other supervisor action, it should only require hours a day (1.5-2 most days) so the ruler can take normal actions as long as they are around to supervise.

Second, the ratio of source regent time to results and other regent time to results is easy to control. How decisive are their actions? Take, as an extreme example, diplomacy with North Korea. Action 1, success, you have agreed to the number of delegates from each side in talks. Action 2, success, you have agreed to the shape and size of the table to be used in talks. Action 3, success, you have agreed to the precedence and ceremony to be used entering and seating the diplomats. Action 4, moderate success, you have agreed to a list of subjects open to discussion in talks, and a list of subjects not to be covered. Not all of the subjects you would like to discuss are on the table. Do you want to continue to try and get them included at a higher DC, or resolve some of the outstanding issues now and hope to build credit toward resolving harder issues later?

After 4 realm turns, we've decided what to talk about. Excellent work, all checks were successful. Now add in time for diplomats to return home and confer with their regents after each round of diplomacy and this might easily be a year of game time.

As I said, its an extreme example. The Korean War only has a cease fire, no peace treaty, for this reason. But you get the point, the actions of rulers don't have to be decisive.

Many wars follow this time scale: 1 year to mobilize troops, 6 months of fighting, 2 years of negotiations to end the war. Obviously a game doesn't have to be quite this indecisive, but a diplomacy action doesn't have to resolve everything in one action. Depending on the goals of both sides, most diplomacy actions should be an extended test, and require more than one success role.


I think the dependency you are talking about with wizards (depending on other character classes) is an assumption and artifact of adventure-level gaming

Absolutely. I also think the assumption of cooperative play is a false one. Of all the models of play described in the rule book, only the ones that assumes everyone has a realm, work this way. The others either assume the party is united behind one regent, or assume that some of the PC's aren't even scions. If the name of the campaign could be "Hermedhie & Friends" and the DM has an agressive Diemed on tap, this could be hard, unless the PC's are in key roles in Medoere and RCS, and can make sure that they can influence those regents into making good moves.

irdeggman
03-14-2008, 08:58 PM
None of those regents are wholly dependent on these things. Each can do them for themselves; it merely helps to have the others playing along. Source regents, however, either require significant funds and RP, or must operate on an even longer, slower timescale than the other regents--a timescale already dragged out much too long by the extra time and character actions normally required to research and create things. Source regents are simply not balanced in the game; they don't belong with other regent types because they are built to be exceptionally weak in comparison unless they are elves in elven realms with very high source potentials.

With a word a landed regent can destroy the roads - so how does that not have a guild regent be wholly dependent on the landed regent?

A landed regent can send in troops to destroy single physical holdings (sources can never be so attacked, only the land raised and that is only temporary)


I think the dependency you are talking about with wizards (depending on other character classes) is an assumption and artifact of adventure-level gaming that really does not need to be included or seen as binding in any way, particularly for realm-level play. There is always a tension between what is necessary for the game and what is necessary for the story. More often than not, it seems to me, the story can easily be tweaked with only minor alterations to explain limitations and necessities of game play.

In fact, most of the objections that I hear about rebalancing the wizard seem to be based on this unnecessary, distracting assumption. We can't get very far if we hold on to sacred cows like this that may not make sense.

So you are willing to rewrite an entire class then (forget the sacred cow aspect) to fit what is perceived as an appropriate way of leveling the playing field on the domain level?

Are you going to change the hit die type of wizards or the armor restriction to make them more "survivable" at the adventure level?

That is the next logical step in this path.


As you say, wizards are put at odds with all other regent types. Not only are they weaker than all other regents, then, but they face conflict with them because of this. Your point only illustrates further the plight of the hapless wizard by comparison. In fact, it seems that they only really exist due to their personal, feared, adventure-level power; if regents were not afraid to try to kill their wizards or enemy wizards personally, they would just remove this obstacle to realm growth and the danger of loose-cannons with big spells. Realms that didn't have to worry about wizards would actually probably be much more powerful; the extra gold, RP, and influence from more developed realms has a much greater impact than the few and far between spells that most wizards are able to cast. The only real exceptions are very large and high level source holders.

Or the game falls into what it was originally intended. Conflict and diplomacy - not everyone getting along all the time. Landed regents are more powerful at the domain level than are others due to influence and income (a balance factor between the two, almost never being the largest in either but still high up the chain).

The first regional accessory was called Ruins of Empire for a reason.

Note that I have not said that there shouldn't be tweaks to make the wizard more powerful and feared only that it shouldn't be easy for them to generate income.

I have posted what I think a logical move on making wizards more powerful would be - having source holdings work for/against any rule province action.

I also posted that the alchemy realm spell should be more efficient.

I also agree that wizard realm spells should rely less on GP than other domain actions (still need something, there are after all always material components for anything that big in casting).

But by making wizard realms spells more powerful you cause a domino effect in that other regents (those with more income) will offer up some of that income for "protection".

Rowan
03-14-2008, 10:39 PM
Kgauck, I agree again, except that it takes higher level wizards to research the higher level spells. I think, also, that those diplomatic actions are best handled as free actions, with the final agreements taking up actual actions.


With a word a landed regent can destroy the roads - so how does that not have a guild regent be wholly dependent on the landed regent?

A landed regent can send in troops to destroy single physical holdings (sources can never be so attacked, only the land raised and that is only temporary)

What landed regent is going to willy-nilly go about destroying things and remaking them to fit their preference? Only one that has extreme GM favoritism and poor or weak players opposing him.

I'm not saying that any regents can exist wholly independent of the others, without another regent type from being able to affect them--that should never be the case. What I am saying is that guilds can build roads and ships and maintain them, so they don't need a realm regent to do it for them, just to not destroy them.

If a regent wishes to attack or destroy assets affecting another regent, there should naturally be ramifications. The loyalty of a province should drop significantly and automatically in almost every situation where a realm ruler attacks the financial or spiritual base of his realm. The domain holders can then retaliate and resist, raising troops, performing espionage and assassinations, making deals with other realms in which they have holdings for aid or letting other rulers use it as a pretext for war, casting realm spells or hiring others to cast them, contesting the realm ruler's holdings, agitating against him, etc.

I agree with the basic concept that in order to be as powerful as most realm rulers, a domain holder needs a larger domain spread across a number of realms and/or strong alliances. However, the difference with source regents is just that they can't do or contribute as much one way or another.


So you are willing to rewrite an entire class then (forget the sacred cow aspect) to fit what is perceived as an appropriate way of leveling the playing field on the domain level?

Are you going to change the hit die type of wizards or the armor restriction to make them more "survivable" at the adventure level?

That is the next logical step in this path.

I really don't understand how you're making this connection. Adventure-level class statistics have almost no bearing on domain-level play, and some have argued here that they shouldn't have any impact. They are two mostly separate systems. I don't think any changes need to be made at the class level just because domain-level changes are made.


Or the game falls into what it was originally intended. Conflict and diplomacy - not everyone getting along all the time. Landed regents are more powerful at the domain level than are others due to influence and income (a balance factor between the two, almost never being the largest in either but still high up the chain)...
But by making wizard realms spells more powerful you cause a domino effect in that other regents (those with more income) will offer up some of that income for "protection".

As you know, I agree with many of your suggestions for changing things. What I don't understand is your statement of "OR" (the game falls into what it was originally intended...). How does what I'm proposing change that original intent at all? All it does is make wizards as playable at the domain level as other regent types.

I also don't see what the problem is with the domino effect you're talking about. I'm not advocating making realm spells more powerful, just easier to cast (less RP) and perhaps more of them (Kgauck's magical arena). Realm spells should be a wizard's bread and butter, and yet most wizard domains can only manage the RP and GB for 1, maybe two good ones every domain turn unless they save up for them.

AndrewTall
03-14-2008, 11:07 PM
With a word a landed regent can destroy the roads - so how does that not have a guild regent be wholly dependent on the landed regent?

A landed regent can send in troops to destroy single physical holdings (sources can never be so attacked, only the land raised and that is only temporary)

Well, for starters the guild/temple regent can afford a significant army themselves - and make sure that everyone nearby knows that the local regent is a) quickly going bankrupt without his tax income, b) facing rebellion for slaughtering their own people and destroying industry and that c) a fat reward is going begging to anyone who puts the mad dog down - not to mention spy reports and so on.

Whether guild or temple the domain still has power, it is the central focus of thousands of people's livelihoods - and any landed regent who casually decides to tromp the holding to get a quiet life is going to be very very sorry in short order. A contemptuous regent will see 'home' guild/temple focus expansion in other realms denying the home regent of tax income and the gifts that wise temple and guilds make to friendly rulers; a hostile regent will find themselves outmatched by a rival ruler who is supported by their guilds and temples. In short the ruler benefits substantially with support from temples/guilds and cannot simply take them for granted - but the ruler can casually do without a wizard and in fact their realm probably be better off without a wizard unless the wizard is high level or a pet as the high cost of the wizard (3-4 GB per season minimum to give 3 actions) drains funds that could otherwise be used to grow the realm to no real benefit.



So you are willing to rewrite an entire class then (forget the sacred cow aspect) to fit what is perceived as an appropriate way of leveling the playing field on the domain level?

What re-write? At adventure level all classes are supposed to be roughly equal, albeit with a different focus. At realm level the wizard is currently built to be weak - almost an NPC class. Making them less pitiful restores the idea of the class as masters of mystery - no one respects the groveling hound and right now the wizard must grovel just to get subsistence activity - and pity the fool who tries to start a wizard domain without a ridiculously generous benefactor! The key role of the court mage in fantasy literature - adviser on the mystical - simply doesn't exist in a RPG barring a ruler-PC player very focused on role-playing.

Perhaps most importantly unless the wizard has personal power then their domain counts for almost nothing - only their highest source is really of impact in terms of spells and the rest of the domain simply provides RP to be sold via vassalage or turned into GB via alchemy - and neither option has a good exchange rate.


Or the game falls into what it was originally intended. Conflict and diplomacy - not everyone getting along all the time. Landed regents are more powerful at the domain level than are others due to influence and income (a balance factor between the two, almost never being the largest in either but still high up the chain).

For there to be conflict and diplomacy there must be some sort of equality between interested parties. If the wizards role is to be utterly dominated then the wizard is simply given their orders. A wizard must have at least some ability to resist domination in order to be worthy of diplomacy and have the ability to undertake conflict, barring high level wizards currently they have neither because both require money which they only have through servitude.

I'd note in passing that using domain rules to try and make magic items is not really going to work beyond potions and the like - a humble +1 sword costs a GB, a +2 sword costs 4 GB - if Prince Avan wanted to replace scalebiter it would cost a stonking 16 GB - a significant chunk of even his seasonal income. His poor mage meanwhile is seeing several adventure actions worth of xp go up in smoke for the chance to win his lord's favour - and how much favour does a sword that costs as much as a small army really win? If the mage makes the sword on their own then they probably wind up burning over a years income and actions to do that one feat.



Note that I have not said that there shouldn't be tweaks to make the wizard more powerful and feared only that it shouldn't be easy for them to generate income.

I have posted what I think a logical move on making wizards more powerful would be - having source holdings work for/against any rule province action.

I also posted that the alchemy realm spell should be more efficient.

I also agree that wizard realm spells should rely less on GP than other domain actions (still need something, there are after all always material components for anything that big in casting).

I think that rather than making alchemy or the spells cheaper (and thus potentially undermining the balance with standard actions) wizards should get a small income - not enough to go crazy, but enough to get a taste for what they could do with some help from a friend. Ideally this income would be as effective in one area as another - so arising on all holdings not just the larger ones (Anuire does not have many sources over level 4, nor does much of Brechtur and Khinasi)


But by making wizard realms spells more powerful you cause a domino effect in that other regents (those with more income) will offer up some of that income for "protection".

I agree that making realm spells more powerful would have a domino effect - I'd like to see realm spells offer more possibilities not better ones. But vehemently disagree to the suggestion that wizards should expect to be paid protection money - on a vancian magic system any mage with single digit level - and even most with higher - will die if they become a threat to even a minor regent and BR is often players as a low-mid level game. If looking at protection on the grounds of 'they have a mage so you need one to' then the argument only works if a mage is unstoppable - and that is (thankfully) far from the case.

kgauck
03-15-2008, 12:57 AM
Kgauck, I agree again, except that it takes higher level wizards to research the higher level spells.

I think that fighters have no difficulty attracting fighters of their level to be lieutenants or officers. For a wizard to have at least one lieutenant who can give him a run for his money in levels would be comparable. But I still think that a lot of work can be done by graduate students, I mean apprentices. Being a regent shouldn't be about doing all the work yourself.

geeman
03-15-2008, 08:02 AM
At 01:58 PM 3/14/2008, irdeggman wrote:

>With a word a landed regent can destroy the roads - so how does that
>not have a guild regent be wholly dependent on the landed regent?

Guild regents still have a significant source of income aside from
trade routes. A regent who closes the roads does cut off one revenue
stream for a guilder, but given the remaining sources of revenue for
that guilder, the province ruler really only winds up putting himself
into a conflict with a guilder, and given the dynamics of the domain
rules the landed regent might very well lose that
confrontation. That depends quite a bit, of course, on the relative
size of the domains between those two regents, but regardless of the
particulars a landed regent throwing his own lands into turmoil in
order to temporarily cut off part of the income to another regent is
not exactly what most folks would characterize as a guilder being
"wholly dependent" upon a landed regent.

Conversely, the landed regent can destroy not only source holding
levels but the source potential of a province, and he does so as part
of increasing his own power. In doing so he`ll likely have the
support of his own law holdings and probably a couple other regents
in the province. The wizard regent has domain actions that require
GB, but relatively little opportunity to earn those GB at the domain
level, so he is by default reliant upon other regents in order to
participate at the domain level.

>A landed regent can send in troops to destroy single physical
>holdings (sources can never be so attacked, only the land raised and
>that is only temporary)

By "land raised" you mean increases in population level, right? How
is that temporary?

At 07:36 AM 3/14/2008, kgauck wrote:

>>Why would wizards want to participate at the domain level in the
>>first place? But that`s another issue....
>
>Actually, I think it strikes at the core issue of the thread.

Yeah, well.... It`s something of a screed, so even if it`s pertinent
I`ll not go into it other than to mention the problem.

Gary

irdeggman
03-15-2008, 11:21 AM
Conversely, the landed regent can destroy not only source holding
levels but the source potential of a province, and he does so as part
of increasing his own power. In doing so he`ll likely have the
support of his own law holdings and probably a couple other regents
in the province. The wizard regent has domain actions that require
GB, but relatively little opportunity to earn those GB at the domain
level, so he is by default reliant upon other regents in order to
participate at the domain level.

>A landed regent can send in troops to destroy single physical
>holdings (sources can never be so attacked, only the land raised and
>that is only temporary)

By "land raised" you mean increases in population level, right? How
is that temporary?

Gary


Yup bad typing on my part.

The only way a landed regent can effectively destroy a source holding is via increasing population potential (i.e., rule province) which is permanent. But this should never be an easy task - it wasn't in 2nd ed and IMO the BRCS rules need to be modified to make it much more difficult to accomplish.

Destroying a source via military action is temporary, unlike using military action to destroy a physical holding type.

What I really think needs to be done instead of making source regents more self-sufficient is to make the other regents more co-dependent.
This is what I think the original intent was.

Guilders made money, but had little else they could do - well they could cause "trouble" via their espionage actions - but these were mostly similar to the effects of random events that required another regent (except for a source regent) to use actions to respond.

Temple regents affected attitude and could cast buff type realm spells and had little other effect. Temple regents also controled the succession of power via investiture in many, many cases - especially at the lanced regent level.

Source regents could cast very powerful offensive and defensive realm level spells and had little other effect. They were also greatly protected from the ramifications of other regents in that their "holdings" were protected from most harm and destruction.

Landed regents had greater effect on almost all things, but also had greater expenses.

The 2nd ed troop raising rules had great amount of limitation on the types of troops non-landed regents could raise. This was important for balance.

The core issue from 3.5 is the relative ease of multi-classing. This caused a potential for dipping into a class in order to maximize RP and GB income.

Now in all editions of BR any regent could in fact create and control guild holdings and thus generate "income" as that was seen as the primary source of GB. This included source regents. Not everyone gained RP from having said holdings, but they did gain income. In most games there is a quick drive to wrestle control of guilds to control the flow of income.

So the real question is not why are source regents so weak but why are non-source regents so strong?

irdeggman
03-15-2008, 07:56 PM
An option might be to have source regents gain virtual GBs from sources.

Unlike "real" GB these are only things that translate into spell components and other similar "goods". That is they can't be used to pay off people, raise troops, build assets, etc.

While a normal GB can be converted into items used for source expenses a virtual GB can't be converted into a "real" GB.

This has a way of fitting in with what a GB really is and what a source regent actually needs to accomplish source related actions. A real GB is a means of counted production and goods while a undeveloped land (i.e., high source potential) has resources they do not have the means of producing "finished" or "tradeable" goods.

AndrewTall
03-15-2008, 09:01 PM
This has a way of fitting in with what a GB really is and what a source regent actually needs to accomplish source related actions. A real GB is a means of counted production and goods while a undeveloped land (i.e., high source potential) has resources they do not have the means of producing "finished" or "tradeable" goods.

For virtual GB I read RP - although strictly in your method the source would generate 1 'normal' RP and 1 'magic only' RP. The downside of this mechanic in my view is that the wizard is now completely independent of the other regents instead of just partly independent. (I know, I'm never happy).

I do think it would be good to find a happy medium - wizards should need other regents to finance the big stuff which gives them a need for the other regents and encourages them to offer aid in return. The L4+ rule gives some income but assumes an area where there are a number of L4+ sources, fine in the Rjurik Highlands, Vosgaard and to a lesser degree the Khinasi and Brecht - but dismal in Anuire. That's why I prefer the lower income per level starting at L1 - coupled with the impact on starting realms which will only get off the ground is L1-2 holdings generate income.

irdeggman
03-15-2008, 11:05 PM
For virtual GB I read RP - although strictly in your method the source would generate 1 'normal' RP and 1 'magic only' RP. The downside of this mechanic in my view is that the wizard is now completely independent of the other regents instead of just partly independent. (I know, I'm never happy).

Nope not RP.

GB but only usable for magical things requiring GB (realm spells, ruling sources, ley lines and the like).

And he can still be partly independent if the virtual GB is pretty low.

It seems that everyone else is saying that all other regents are fairly independent of all other regents already. Personally I disagree, but am looking for ways to hit the most useful solution without allowing wizards to have actual GB (as in money that can be used to build things and raise troops as well as conduct other realm actions).

Rowan
03-16-2008, 06:36 AM
I'm okay with the "virtual" GB's--I've tried to express something like it before. However, it may be an unnecessary distinction.

If Sources give 1/3GB per source level, then a Source holder with 30 levels (very powerful in Anuires) would have 10GB a season. They use at least 4GB on actions if they have a lieutenant action. If you require them to have a Court still to carry out realm actions--perhaps representing the size of your magical college, number of apprentices, magic associations, whatever, a la Kgauck's suggestions--that costs quite a bit of money, too, and more to carry out the individual actions. Researching spells costs 1,000gp per spell level, so the research funds, whoever performs the work, would probably be several GB. A sizeable treasury would be necessary for many of the realm spells and for emergencies, as well as a number of mundane spells. If this treasury cannot be accumulated (as it may be difficult to for most regents), the wizard has no desperate recourse for his realm spells, which he would most often be trying to fund through agreements with other regents.

If a wizard would like to build things (towers, anyone?) or hire a personal army, why should he not be able to? Only the elves would have enough Source income to challenge most of the temple or guild regents as far as what they could fund, much less the realm regents. And elves aren't the problem, as Sources are so key to them anyway; in fact, Source income can handily explain the lack of guilds, and rebalance elves for not having temples and few guilds. I tend to think elven realms ought to have "vassal" Source regents in every province, perhaps even multiple of them, and this sort of dilution would further reduce the impact of 3GB from each level 9 Source among the elves. Note that even Sielwode with what, 9 provinces (?), only gains 27GB from this, less than what it would obtain if it had full Guild and Temple holdings, much less trade routes.

To sum up, I don't think it will be unbalancing to give wizards standard GBs at such a low rate, even if they can hire mercenary armies or commission constructions--note that they still couldn't take Contest, Agitate, or other actions against non-Source holders that aren't already permitted by having Source holdings.

AndrewTall
03-16-2008, 08:31 AM
It seems that everyone else is saying that all other regents are fairly independent of all other regents already. Personally I disagree, but am looking for ways to hit the most useful solution without allowing wizards to have actual GB (as in money that can be used to build things and raise troops as well as conduct other realm actions).

OK I see your point on virtual GB, I'd still rather call them a name closer to RP than GB, as calling them GB does encourage people to think of them as something spent on tangible assets whereas RP forces a domain aspect. I'd also prefer not to lose the Gb cost of mage actions as that way a mage can be helped by other regents.

I'm clearly much less concerned than you about the wizard having a few GB that could theoretically be spent on other things - why shouldn't a wizard be able to build a tower? Why shouldn't they be able to buy the dew-forged swords, tomes, and other paraphanalia of their craft? For that matter why shouldn't a powerful mage be able to afford a personal bodyguard? How much does a high level mage get paid by the nobility for advice, spells, etc these days?

That said, just as with canon comments on the alchemy spell, I might tell wizard players that if their income isn't spent at least, say, 50% on 'wizard' actions that people start to complain about how active the mage is, the way that the mage has been performing wonders that would have kept men in honest work for a season, etc. But then I tend to have wizards viewed in a fairly negative light in the campaign anyway.

The potential breakpoints would be not just the elves but also the khinasi (other people have social issues keeping mages away from rulership for the most part). The magian and raven for example will become more formidable than they already are which could cause issues although that could be worked out by carving the Raven down to size - we need more Vos realms anyway. I do wonder however about the Sayer of Coullabhie...

irdeggman
03-16-2008, 11:18 PM
I'm okay with the "virtual" GB's--I've tried to express something like it before. However, it may be an unnecessary distinction.

If Sources give 1/3GB per source level, then a Source holder with 30 levels (very powerful in Anuires) would have 10GB a season. They use at least 4GB on actions if they have a lieutenant action. If you require them to have a Court still to carry out realm actions--perhaps representing the size of your magical college, number of apprentices, magic associations, whatever, a la Kgauck's suggestions--that costs quite a bit of money, too, and more to carry out the individual actions. Researching spells costs 1,000gp per spell level, so the research funds, whoever performs the work, would probably be several GB. A sizeable treasury would be necessary for many of the realm spells and for emergencies, as well as a number of mundane spells. If this treasury cannot be accumulated (as it may be difficult to for most regents), the wizard has no desperate recourse for his realm spells, which he would most often be trying to fund through agreements with other regents.

If a wizard would like to build things (towers, anyone?) or hire a personal army, why should he not be able to? Only the elves would have enough Source income to challenge most of the temple or guild regents as far as what they could fund, much less the realm regents. And elves aren't the problem, as Sources are so key to them anyway; in fact, Source income can handily explain the lack of guilds, and rebalance elves for not having temples and few guilds. I tend to think elven realms ought to have "vassal" Source regents in every province, perhaps even multiple of them, and this sort of dilution would further reduce the impact of 3GB from each level 9 Source among the elves. Note that even Sielwode with what, 9 provinces (?), only gains 27GB from this, less than what it would obtain if it had full Guild and Temple holdings, much less trade routes.

To sum up, I don't think it will be unbalancing to give wizards standard GBs at such a low rate, even if they can hire mercenary armies or commission constructions--note that they still couldn't take Contest, Agitate, or other actions against non-Source holders that aren't already permitted by having Source holdings.

Except for how to justify the existance of said GBs.

As I have repeatedly pointed out a GB (not a virtual one) is a quantity of manufactured goods (gold, artwork, foodstuffs, etc.).

A wizard who has high source levels is in direct contrast with this entire concept since (except for elves) having a high source level means a low population level. So without population there can be no manufacturing.

So in you example are the wizards merely created said GB out of thin air? If so then what is the actual difference between doing so with the Alchemy realm spell?

If all you want is to make your wizard regent a character to be the absolute same as any other regent then feel free to throw away an such semplence to true "balance" in the game.

And I can't help but keep coming back to the entire reason you are pursuing this path is to increase the power of your wizard PC, not to make the game better.

kgauck
03-16-2008, 11:57 PM
If all you want is to make your wizard regent a character to be the absolute same as any other regent then feel free to throw away an such semplence to true "balance" in the game.[
Actually the arguments offered seem to strive towards balance. Also, making something exactly the same would seem to be a kind of balance, if that were someone's goal.


And I can't help but keep coming back to the entire reason you are pursuing this path is to increase the power of your wizard PC, not to make the game better.
Quite a number of folks have pointed this problem out, too many of note to suggest that more powerful PC's are the issue.

irdeggman
03-17-2008, 12:17 AM
Quite a number of folks have pointed this problem out, too many of note to suggest that more powerful PC's are the issue.


But to the point that wizards (that is pure source regents) get actual GB to do anything at all?

Or would something like the virtual GB be more towards "balancing" without removing the flavor and actually destroying the intent of what a GB reflects?

Any regent can create guilds to generate income - as I pointed out earlier this has always been a key ingrediant in any sort of spreading the rule type of gaming.

Rowan
03-17-2008, 05:22 AM
Except for how to justify the existance of said GBs.

As I have repeatedly pointed out a GB (not a virtual one) is a quantity of manufactured goods (gold, artwork, foodstuffs, etc.).

A wizard who has high source levels is in direct contrast with this entire concept since (except for elves) having a high source level means a low population level. So without population there can be no manufacturing.

So in you example are the wizards merely created said GB out of thin air? If so then what is the actual difference between doing so with the Alchemy realm spell?

GB's are not just manufactured goods. They represent raw grains, livestock, debts, and feudal promises of service.

Irdeggman, if you're wondering how I account for wizards having GB, you may have missed both the reasoning of how wizards can be paid for spellcasting services and the response that I posted two pages ago explaining just that:


Irdeggman, do you discount the reasoning behind level 4 and higher Sources producing income?

GB income for all other holdings is profit after expenses. I believe there is actually a huge amount more wealth that changes hands, and it is only the profit that we talk about as GB (if this is not the case, then incomes in gp amounts seem pathetically low for the given populations, while at the same time a GB purchases much more than it seems like it should; realms, particularly of the late middle ages and Renaissance, are not run on a few thousand gold pieces, but on hundreds of thousands and millions).

For wizards, then, the small amount of money they generate has the least amount of expenses associated with it. The wealth that "changes hands" in this transaction is far smaller than for the other holdings, but represents almost all "profit." The 700gp per source level can easily be reflected in a single gemstone found in the mountains, streams, or hills, magical components, valuable vegetative products and the like. If we are accepting the reasoning of the high Source level working as a guild, then the wizard, through the mebhaigl of the land, gains some degree of influence over the natural resources of the land and the smallfolk, particularly those mostly outside the control of the realm. I suggest, though, not allowing sources to act as guilds, but merely spreading out the income.

If you want to get more magical in your explanation, control of mebhaigl can influence the growth and output of the land. In mountains it can lead to the surfacing of precious metals or the generation of purer ores or veins of gemstones; in forests and other more vegetative areas, established sources can influence the growth and health of ecosystems; in river or sea areas it can influence the movement and health of aquatic populations.

Most of the time, wizards will be spending this "money" (it's not really gold pieces, but neither are GBs) on research or casting spells. It's easy to see how magical components and contact with magical creatures through mebhaigl can contribute to research and spellcasting. Constructions can even be partly paid for similarly. If wizards are making a transaction with people, as in raising troops or paying off other regents, they can easily convert high-value items (gemstones, rare materials or natural resources) or direct the distribution of large volumes of natural resources (foodstuffs, construction materials, etc) or provide some other service (spellcasting, directing mebhaigl or any creatures under their control).

So I don't think there is any problem with Sources producing a little bit of income. Even if it does, all systems make some sacrifice of realism for playability, and wizards just aren't playable to the same level as the others. That's a failure of the system or the setting that needs to be remedied if wizards are to be as attractive an option in a multi-domain-type game as the rest.

BTW, I wasn't advocating a conversion from RP to GB. RP also, normally, represents influence among the general population for all other regent types--but obviously it does not for wizards, so does this break the system? No? Then why would GB present a problem?

Also, populations and mebhaigl are not directly connected. It's some other aspect of province level. Otherwise we'd have to track hard population numbers, and it simply wouldn't make sense for pillaged provinces or provinces losing a few hundred people in levies to drop province levels and thus allow source potentials to increase. These simple evidences demonstrate yet more support for my adamant position that population is not the main determinant for province level. The whole population = province level equation is so full of problems every time it crops up and people try to use it in the game that I really think we'd be better off scrapping that whole association.

irdeggman
03-17-2008, 10:17 AM
GB's are not just manufactured goods. They represent raw grains, livestock, debts, and feudal promises of service.

Irdeggman, if you're wondering how I account for wizards having GB, you may have missed both the reasoning of how wizards can be paid for spellcasting services and the response that I posted two pages ago explaining just that:


And still the rationalization doesn't make sense and goes against the basic concept of a what a GB is.

When I said "manufactured" I used that as a very, very broad stroke.

GB represent the results of population working in some way or another - if it is not then it is "magical" (i.e., a variant on the Alchemy spell).

Live stock must be raised and slaughtered to be of any use. (both requiring population).

Raw grains must be harvested in order to be of any use. Having wild growth in a field is of no use to anyone.

Feudal promises - again dependent on population. If there is no one there to make or keep the promise then it has no "value".

Debts - are essentially the same as a "promise". If there is no one there to make or keep it then it has no "value".

Now collecting "spell components" (which is essentially what the GB cost for magical actions are in one way or another) - can be totally independent of population. It may not be mass quantities of what the populace consideres "valuable" so a single regent could theoretically collect the materials on his own merely by walking around, etc.

He could also use actual GB (as in either money or trade goods) to exchange for these "components". And since the general populace is unknowledgeable of such things it would "cost more" to acquire in this manner (hence the conversion of GB to virtual GB, while virtual GB could not be converted to GB - since what a wizard consideres "valuable" is not considered of the same "value" by the general populace).

kgauck
03-17-2008, 12:14 PM
If this economics were true, then you would not have a linear curve for income (x GB per holding level) and an exponential curve for population. Smaller provinces produce a lot more natural resources and larger provinces produce more craft goods. Small provinces must have a greater use of hunted animals, collection of wild grains, and other labor efficient forms of income.

As a province gets emptier (and source potential rise) it only makes sense that opportunities to capture high value (exotic) resources increases. So the issue is not "is it possible" but rather "am I willing to accept 1/3 GB per sources on the assumption that expensive herbs, gems, or animal products are harvested by source holders and their minions?"

For me this answer really comes down to do the wizards really need this money to have a viable domain. I can rule that the most beautiful dyes come from unspoiled plants in the deepest wilds, likewise herbs, or furs, or such products. That's not a reason to say no to GB's. I'd like to see an expense sheet from real game wizards and then look at likely ways a wizard might collect income.

My own assumption has been that they're landholders of some kind (counts, lords) or related to same, and have incomes from that, but only goes so far.

As for feudal obligations, I would prefer not to go here, as it just puts us where we already are, a wizard promising to render aid to a landed regent in exchange for cash. Of course a wizard can deliver on feudal obligations, he and his minions show up and cast spells as requested. The question is, isn't this the problem we're trying to correct?

Rowan
03-17-2008, 02:52 PM
And still the rationalization doesn't make sense and goes against the basic concept of a what a GB is....
...Now collecting "spell components" (which is essentially what the GB cost for magical actions are in one way or another) - can be totally independent of population. It may not be mass quantities of what the populace consideres "valuable" so a single regent could theoretically collect the materials on his own merely by walking around, etc.

He could also use actual GB (as in either money or trade goods) to exchange for these "components". And since the general populace is unknowledgeable of such things it would "cost more" to acquire in this manner (hence the conversion of GB to virtual GB, while virtual GB could not be converted to GB - since what a wizard consideres "valuable" is not considered of the same "value" by the general populace).

The Finance, Ply Trade, and Grant actions have always assumed ready conversion of gold pieces--cash--into GB. Therefore anything that generates an equivalent amount of gp can be converted into GB. Also, equivalent amounts of labor (e.g. Ply Trade) can count as part of GB. All that being the case, all of the explanations I used for sources of income from Source holdings work just fine.

Kgauck, I could generate an expense sheet (I've only run the Sword Mage and Isaelie), but it's pretty easy to do off the top of my head for the Sword Mage: no GB income beyond tribute, at least 3GB expenses to take any Source domain action, with no court or any way to take realm actions. 22RP--max of 2 net income GB from a single Alchemy spell from his Source 3 holding, which uses up a Domain Action and 12RP. That's nothing to show for most realm spells, or researching normal spells (1,000gp and 1 week per level) or realm spells (1GB and 1 month per level). So the Sword Mage, supposedly one of the most powerful wizards in the game, is pretty pathetic. Just about any temple regent could deal with him out of hand. The only thing he's got going for him is personal power.

irdeggman
03-17-2008, 05:16 PM
If this economics were true, then you would not have a linear curve for income (x GB per holding level) and an exponential curve for population. Smaller provinces produce a lot more natural resources and larger provinces produce more craft goods. Small provinces must have a greater use of hunted animals, collection of wild grains, and other labor efficient forms of income.

This is really a moot point and has more to do with how efficient is the work force (a subject of many, many other discussions). The fact remains that based on the original intent of GB they are dependent (in some manner) on the population.


As a province gets emptier (and source potential rise) it only makes sense that opportunities to capture high value (exotic) resources increases. So the issue is not "is it possible" but rather "am I willing to accept 1/3 GB per sources on the assumption that expensive herbs, gems, or animal products are harvested by source holders and their minions?"

This assumes that source holders have minions.

That is an entirely different discussion and also not based on anything from the 2nd ed (or 3.5) rules sets.


For me this answer really comes down to do the wizards really need this money to have a viable domain. I can rule that the most beautiful dyes come from unspoiled plants in the deepest wilds, likewise herbs, or furs, or such products. That's not a reason to say no to GB's. I'd like to see an expense sheet from real game wizards and then look at likely ways a wizard might collect income.

But it is much more closely aligned with not having true GBs


My own assumption has been that they're landholders of some kind (counts, lords) or related to same, and have incomes from that, but only goes so far.

Again this is not really supported by 2nd ed (or 3.5) material. It also tends to conflict with who the lords of the land really are.

In 2nd ed a regent with only sources could not raise troops and perform other functions related to "landholders".


As for feudal obligations, I would prefer not to go here, as it just puts us where we already are, a wizard promising to render aid to a landed regent in exchange for cash. Of course a wizard can deliver on feudal obligations, he and his minions show up and cast spells as requested. The question is, isn't this the problem we're trying to correct?


Only if you look at it in that manner.

I thought the thing that was trying to be corrected was to remove the source only regent's dependency on other regents for income to perform their domain actions.

I still go with the virtual GB method as meeting this goal.

Now if the goal is to have source only regents to have all of the same capabilities as other regents then we need to stretch this to also having other regetns being capable of performing actions reserved for source regents (like realm spells). But that obviously works in contrast to the inferred goal of making source only regents capable of doing everything a non-source only regent can do without giving up any of their peculiar benefits.

kgauck
03-17-2008, 06:03 PM
This is really a moot point and has more to do with how efficient is the work force (a subject of many, many other discussions). The fact remains that based on the original intent of GB they are dependent (in some manner) on the population.
Whose intent? The same people who created wizard realms that its impossible to play?


This assumes that source holders have minions.
Everyone has minions. A blacksmith has minions. Anyone with any kind of power has people who hang on, even if its a hunchback and a one-eyed hound-master.

regarding opportunities to exploit high value resources in the deep wilds:

That is an entirely different discussion and also not based on anything from the 2nd ed (or 3.5) rules sets.
So what? That's not the basis any reasonable person uses to fix gross problems left unresolved by existing rule sets.

Rules are broken, but must be fixed by following broken rules. Check.


But it is much more closely aligned with not having true GBs
I don't know, if the herbs sell for gold, then its more like money than what the landlord has.


Again this is not really supported by 2nd ed (or 3.5) material. It also tends to conflict with who the lords of the land really are.
See fixing broken rule sets by making reference to broken rule sets above.

99% of counties and lordships are not designated to anyone, so I feel perfectly free to assign them to whomever I please.


In 2nd ed a regent with only sources could not raise troops and perform other functions related to "landholders".
What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?


I thought the thing that was trying to be corrected was to remove the source only regent's dependency on other regents for income to perform their domain actions.
Yeah, so creating ties of dependency in the form of feudal obligations to provide a source of income doesn't seem to fix that.


Now if the goal is to have source only regents to have all of the same capabilities as other regents
This straw man is so large you're gonna be cited as a fire hazard. No one is suggesting this.

Rowan
03-17-2008, 08:49 PM
I thought the thing that was trying to be corrected was to remove the source only regent's dependency on other regents for income to perform their domain actions...

Now if the goal is to have source only regents to have all of the same capabilities as other regents then we need to stretch this to also having other regetns being capable of performing actions reserved for source regents (like realm spells). But that obviously works in contrast to the inferred goal of making source only regents capable of doing everything a non-source only regent can do without giving up any of their peculiar benefits.

Maybe I should reframe the argument in this manner: What does a regent of any domain need to do if he wants to get another regent to do something he wants or work alongside him? Negotiate a means of cooperation or alliance, usually giving up something in return, or bullying them into submission.

So how does this work for the other regent types? Landed regents take money from guild and temple regents through taxes or law claims, something that the guilds and temples can resist if they wish. Landed regents need to bully or negotiate an exchange with guild or temple regents to get something they wish (gold, actions, or spells on their behalf). Vice versa for temples and guilds, negotiating or bullying landed regents or the other domain types. Often a negotiating point is one-time exchanges of GB or RP, or longer term tribute of the same, or written agreements of actions they will take to support or not oppose each other.

Any of these domain types can use a variety of tools to work with or oppose the others, including fortifying against them or raising troops (if only mercenaries).

How does this work with a Source regent? Well, in nearly all cases, a Source regent doesn't start off with a default situation of independence, but rather MUST do someone else's bidding in order to get enough income to carry out a full season of domain actions, much less research and so forth. Either that, or he must be able to bully another regent into giving him many GBs, something rather easily offset by ruining unfortifiable Sources and getting in good with the local temples to guard against realm spells, or using espionage or the like to capture the wizard to end his bullying.

So why not make the wizard as independent as the others? With the low income I'm suggesting, and the limited number of actions he can take, it's still in his best interest to make agreements and alliances with other regent types, so that he can get more gold or RP(just like any other domain holder wants to work out tribute relations to get more gold or RP), get help against a rival wizard, carry out more worldly, political goals, keep a temple off his back, or prevent landed regents and guilders from ruling provinces and destroying his Sources.

Detaching a Source regent from necessary, default dependency just puts him in a similar position to everyone else--seeking to make alliances or bully other regents in order to make themselves stronger. And in that regard, without granting them the actions available to the other holding types, why should a Wizard not be able to bargain with a little real gold, or store some up for emergencies, or pay for constructions, or hire mercenary troops?

If you really want to add the complication of a new category of GB (virtual GB), then maybe allow alchemy to convert it to real GB more easily (1:1), enforce an exchange rate, or eliminate the Ply Trade, Finance, and Grant actions (as they no longer fit your preferred definition of GBs being tied to populations) and create a distinct form of "virtual RP" to make the reasoning consistent (since Source RP obviously doesn't come from influence over populations, like it does with Guilds, Temples, and Provinces; the two forms should not be exchangeable then, either, meaning that vassalage between the two won't help, neither will donations to the Source regent to help them power realm spells on your behalf).

I think it's much simpler and makes much more sense just to give Source regents normal GBs.

irdeggman
03-17-2008, 11:17 PM
I think it's much simpler and makes much more sense just to give Source regents normal GBs.


It does not make more sense if one looks at what a GB really is.

It does make more sene if one ignores what a GB really is.

So if you follow the second path then play on.

If you follow the first path - I have laid out very detailed arguments as to why the "virtual GB" system would indeed work.

irdeggman
03-17-2008, 11:33 PM
If you really want to add the complication of a new category of GB (virtual GB), then maybe allow alchemy to convert it to real GB more easily (1:1), enforce an exchange rate, or eliminate the Ply Trade, Finance, and Grant actions (as they no longer fit your preferred definition of GBs being tied to populations) and create a distinct form of "virtual RP" to make the reasoning consistent (since Source RP obviously doesn't come from influence over populations, like it does with Guilds, Temples, and Provinces; the two forms should not be exchangeable then, either, meaning that vassalage between the two won't help, neither will donations to the Source regent to help them power realm spells on your behalf).



As Kenneth talks about strawmen. . .

Ply trade action only generates gp not GB. Again there is a fundamental difference in scope and substance of the two. Now if you see them as being the same thing then your position is well founded.

Finance action does not generate income - it only converts income from one "type" of commodity to another. And yes gp is a "manufactured" product dependent on population. No population no "coins" correct?

Grant action is giving from what you already have so I don't see how that is a sound arguement.

AndrewTall
03-17-2008, 11:48 PM
It does not make more sense if one looks at what a GB really is.

It does make more sene if one ignores what a GB really is.

A GB is many things in BR - valuable goods - whether manufactured, or simply rare and valuable (a realm's grain and masonry stone vs a wizards fine gems/herbs/potions) service, whether of mass unskilled labour or a single person of near-unique skills, (a guilds road sweepers and wagoneers vs the mages advice) etc.

As Rowan pointed out the domain income is more accurately the domain profit - my manufacturing clients make a profit margin of 5-10% if they are lucky, in very competitive areas without technological advantages the margin can be much less; my doctor/dentist clients tend to make 90-95% profit margin in all but the worst cases - in exactly the same way the mage can make the same profit with a handful of minions to handle paperwork and the like as a guilder can with a thousand unskilled labourers.

How much does a noble pay to have dispel magic cast if their heir is polymorphed by a sidhe hunter into a wolf? How much does a lady pay for a love potion to be slipped into her beau's drink? D&D tends to focus on 'battle magic' but I don't see a problem with spells to determine lineage of children/animals, to encourage certain traits in animal offspring, shape the growth of plants, find clean water, improve skills, prospect for metals, etc - all these spells would have been developed (certainly in Brechtur and Khinasi) and would have significant value as tradeable skills. 1 Gb is just 2,000gp - not a lot in terms of magic. There is no point writing them up in game terms as they are all behind the scenes but that doesn't mean that they should be ignored.


If you follow the first path - I have laid out very detailed arguments as to why the "virtual GB" system would indeed work.

But, as noted, it adds complexity (a third income type), but more importantly imho makes the wizard completely independent - the power-pendulum swings to far. Put simply if 'wizard actions' are not impacted by GB spend then a wizard has zero need for 'real' GB - and therefore zero need for other regents barring vassalage RP and this is equally as wrong as them being utterly dependent on other regents.

The aim of any rule change should be for the wizard to go from automatic grovelling vassal (the current system) to having just enough income to survive - and a strong incentive to encourage other regents to trade GB for the wizards services so that the wizard can really prove their birthright.

Yes there are issues with GB generation for a mage; like the fact that the wizard needs somewhere to sell the rare resources that the high source brings to the mage/their services - but all holdings have such in built abstractions and assumptions. (My mage harvests the rare gems, teleports to ilien, sells them?) What is a GB to an elf? To a goblin? To a Vos? Something very different to a Anuieran noble's GB in each case - but all these GB are deemed to be interchangeable to a degree. I think we can all agree that with magic rare but powerful a wizard should be able to earn a crust without needing to beg or extort money - they have skills of both perceived and actual value and thus should have an income (i.e. a few GB's).

On the PC front the issues I have found is 1) only 1-2 actions a round compared to others clocking out 3 personal, a lieutenant and 3-6 court actions 2) no need to talk to people - once you have one patron you cannot get another and thus you have no need to talk to anyone else and 3) lack of tradable services to offer as services anyway. These make the mage, frankly, boring. good for someone detached from the game to effectively run as an NPC for the DM, but not really a PC. Saying that the mage should forget about sources and set up guilds somewhat misses the point - source holdings should themselves be sufficiently 'interesting' to be playable.

kgauck
03-17-2008, 11:54 PM
As Kenneth talks about strawmen. . .
Rowan's suggestion is not the same thing as seeking to grant source-only regents all of the same capabilities as other regents. In fact its not even seeking to grant source-only regents one of the capabilities as other regents. At best, he is seeking to grant source-only regents a portion of one capability that other regents have. This is the difference between a cat and a pride of lions. Exactly how big a cat, and how dangerous, I cannot say. But its not a lion, let alone a pride of lions.

irdeggman
03-18-2008, 09:54 AM
Rowan's suggestion is not the same thing as seeking to grant source-only regents all of the same capabilities as other regents. In fact its not even seeking to grant source-only regents one of the capabilities as other regents. At best, he is seeking to grant source-only regents a portion of one capability that other regents have. This is the difference between a cat and a pride of lions. Exactly how big a cat, and how dangerous, I cannot say. But its not a lion, let alone a pride of lions.


The one I was referring to was throwing out ply trade, finance and grant actions and saying they should not be allowed based onmy definition of what a GB is.

They obviously have no comparison or relevance to the topic (or point) and appear to be mere smoke screening to confuse the issue by bringing up.

The point of me throwing out the "all regent do all actions" was to point out the extreme ramifications of going down this path. Becasue you can pretty much bet if a player running a guilder regent sees a one running a wizard regent gaining an upper hand (by giving him access to more GB which can be used for any action - including create/rule/contest guild holdings) he will go to the extreme by asking for more.

One is a continuation of path (mine) and the other is throwing up things that have no relation to the path.

irdeggman
03-18-2008, 10:44 AM
A GB is many things in BR - valuable goods - whether manufactured, or simply rare and valuable (a realm's grain and masonry stone vs a wizards fine gems/herbs/potions) service, whether of mass unskilled labour or a single person of near-unique skills, (a guilds road sweepers and wagoneers vs the mages advice) etc.

Correct - but they are measured at the domain level of impact - not the individual level. Now if a character can affect an entire domain with an action, say a realm spell or use of troops - then that fits.



How much does a noble pay to have dispel magic cast if their heir is polymorphed by a sidhe hunter into a wolf? How much does a lady pay for a love potion to be slipped into her beau's drink? D&D tends to focus on 'battle magic' but I don't see a problem with spells to determine lineage of children/animals, to encourage certain traits in animal offspring, shape the growth of plants, find clean water, improve skills, prospect for metals, etc - all these spells would have been developed (certainly in Brechtur and Khinasi) and would have significant value as tradeable skills. 1 Gb is just 2,000gp - not a lot in terms of magic. There is no point writing them up in game terms as they are all behind the scenes but that doesn't mean that they should be ignored.

Which is why there is a table in the PHB for spellcasting services. IMO this could be bumped up in a setting where the people who can cast such spells are more limited like BR.

This definitely falls under the ply trade action though (even theough the BRCS as currently written relies on a profession, craft or perform skill tie in)




But, as noted, it adds complexity (a third income type), but more importantly imho makes the wizard completely independent - the power-pendulum swings to far. Put simply if 'wizard actions' are not impacted by GB spend then a wizard has zero need for 'real' GB - and therefore zero need for other regents barring vassalage RP and this is equally as wrong as them being utterly dependent on other regents.

Which is why it is important to seek a number that doesn't so overbalance them. Like perhaps Rowan's number for actual GB - only have them be "virtual" GB instead. With the note that actual GB can be freely converted to virtual GB but not the other way around. Yes I know this seems contrary, but it could technically become a finance action.


The aim of any rule change should be for the wizard to go from automatic grovelling vassal (the current system) to having just enough income to survive - and a strong incentive to encourage other regents to trade GB for the wizards services so that the wizard can really prove their birthright.

Right - but what is really wanted as I see it is to have a source regent be able to perform actions without requiring a "sponser" to be able to do so. But not to be able to do anything he wants to without requiring "assistance".

So what is needed is to look at all of the regent types and figure out what actions they should be really good at and which ones they should be really poor at and find a way to rewrite the rules to so reflect this.


Part of this fall out will be, IMO, that a source regent should be really good at actions involving sources and magic in general but really poor at those that tend to destroy (or harm) the land. Things that reflect an increae in population or cultivation of natural resources (increasing other holding types, building things (really dependent on what is being built - but roads should be darn right out), raising troops, etc.)


But in order to make the discussion complete the other holding types should likewise be analyzed.



Saying that the mage should forget about sources and set up guilds somewhat misses the point - source holdings should themselves be sufficiently 'interesting' to be playable.


Right - but not in the same was as playing a guild or landed regent. They should each be unique (or specialized in some way) that they are a different "feel" to them, are not inter-changeable, and work best when they mesh together.

Rowan
03-18-2008, 01:50 PM
The point of me throwing out the "all regent do all actions" was to point out the extreme ramifications of going down this path. Becasue you can pretty much bet if a player running a guilder regent sees a one running a wizard regent gaining an upper hand (by giving him access to more GB which can be used for any action - including create/rule/contest guild holdings) he will go to the extreme by asking for more.


Irdeggman, you seem to be operating under the false impression that Source holders can perform all the domain actions, or that any of us are saying that they should. Of course not; talk about smoke-screening! The gold earned by wizards can't be used by wizards any differently than they can use gold from Alchemy or sponsorship now. They'd just have a little gold not gained from Alchemy or sponsorship. Wizards having a little bit of gold will NOT allow them to compete with guilders by creating trade routes or performing espionage or anything like that, and there is no need for any other regent type to ask for more just to "offset" the wizard (unless it is to play a game where guilds are as powerful as landed regents, in which case they may need more or just more holdings; I give them 1GB per holding level anyway).

I brought up Ply Trade and Finance and Grant because they demonstrate that GB's are NOT what you say they are, but rather can and do reflect actual coinage. Your odd statement that coins require populations has little relation to this, since coinage is a universal trade medium usually based on weight of precious metal and can come from some place thousands of miles away and still be used locally, thus not requiring local populations or requiring it to come directly from local mints. Adventurers frequently find lost currency in treasure hoards and return it to circulation (what a valuable service! ;) ).

To make another parallel to the PH rules, just as you did with wizard spells, GB = trade goods (commodities) = gp in equal and interchangeable amounts. So quit trying to divorce GB from gp; they are interchangeable, which was my point with Ply Trade, Finance, and Grant, and thus if wizards are making any gold or acquiring any precious goods or gemstones, they should convert. If part of their "income" comes from casting spells like Stone Shape and Wall of Stone, or from directing magical creatures to do labor, it can still be used quite directly to build constructions, either for pay or for themselves.

irdeggman
03-18-2008, 02:58 PM
I brought up Ply Trade and Finance and Grant because they demonstrate that GB's are NOT what you say they are, but rather can and do reflect actual coinage. Your odd statement that coins require populations has little relation to this, since coinage is a universal trade medium usually based on weight of precious metal and can come from some place thousands of miles away and still be used locally, thus not requiring local populations or requiring it to come directly from local mints. Adventurers frequently find lost currency in treasure hoards and return it to circulation (what a valuable service! ;) ).



Then I think you need to reread the rules again on those.

Ply trade is a character level action that generates gp (not GB).

Finance specifically talks about converting gp to GB and vice versa - which is exactly what I'm saying.


Grant action specifically gives something a regent has to another regent (or character) - if it is a GB then he is giving up a GB.

No where, I repeat no where does the 2nd ed or BRCS rules state that a GB is the same as coinage. A GB can be based on coinage but it does not have to be - it is an abstract measure of finances (as in readily disposable resources) at the domain level. Based on your continued bringing this up I have to make the deduction that this is the basis of where your arguments are coming from. This also leads to the ready dismissal of of what a GB is.

And as far as coinage requiring population - it is indeed valid. No matter where the coinage is minted - key worked "minted" it requires a population factor to so work the mints and distribution.

People have talked about the difficulties of having different types of currency based on different realms and cultures already. There is a section in the BRCS talking about how to handle such issues also. A single universal set of currency is a game simplification like having a single unversal language (common) that may or may not apply to a given game, depending on how much detail one wants to place in the game. But as far as BR goes there is much more credence to go with seperate currencies due to large cultural differences, as evidenced by the lack of a common universal language. This is where a GB comes into play. At the domain level disposable resources are basically considered "equivalent" - that is food stuffs, horses, etc.

irdeggman
03-18-2008, 03:10 PM
Irdeggman, you seem to be operating under the false impression that Source holders can perform all the domain actions, or that any of us are saying that they should. Of course not; talk about smoke-screening! The gold earned by wizards can't be used by wizards any differently than they can use gold from Alchemy or sponsorship now. They'd just have a little gold not gained from Alchemy or sponsorship. Wizards having a little bit of gold will NOT allow them to compete with guilders by creating trade routes or performing espionage or anything like that, and there is no need for any other regent type to ask for more just to "offset" the wizard (unless it is to play a game where guilds are as powerful as landed regents, in which case they may need more or just more holdings; I give them 1GB per holding level anyway).



If you give them more GB then they can do any action. They still have RP coming in from "protected" sources (that is holdings that can't physically be attacked or contested) to use towards modifying any domain action attempt. Remember that most domain actions require little GB (except for the troops and build actions) but are modified by RP.

So please stop saying that I am smoke screening here. It seems that you don't see the big picture where when you give a source regent more GB with his already protected source of RP that can be combined to make the success chance of a domain action much greater.

Rowan
03-18-2008, 04:33 PM
No where, I repeat no where does the 2nd ed or BRCS rules state that a GB is the same as coinage.

I'll have to go back through, but I'm pretty sure it is said that 1GB = 2000gp, or the equivalent thereof. Finance is a Free Action, thus demonstrating that the two forms of wealth are so easily interchangeable that there are very few limits to it. Further, the free action describes the type of wealth converted, and it speaks more of jewelry and other forms of wealth conversion than coinage.


And as far as coinage requiring population - it is indeed valid. No matter where the coinage is minted - key worked "minted" it requires a population factor to so work the mints and distribution.
But irrelevant. Aelies can exchange services or materials originating in the Erebannien with an exchanger in Ilien for money minted in the Imperial City. The location of the population is irrelevant to the location of the source of goods or services being exchanged.


If you give them more GB then they can do any action. They still have RP coming in from "protected" sources (that is holdings that can't physically be attacked or contested) to use towards modifying any domain action attempt. Remember that most domain actions require little GB (except for the troops and build actions) but are modified by RP.

So please stop saying that I am smoke screening here. It seems that you don't see the big picture where when you give a source regent more GB with his already protected source of RP that can be combined to make the success chance of a domain action much greater.

What actions can a Source regent with gold from Sources do that it cannot do with gold from Alchemy or sponsorship? I'm not changing anything there.

1. Source regents cannot Create Trade Route, Muster Troops (though they can buy mercenaries), Agitate, or commit most forms of Espionage, since they do not control holdings with temporal power.
2. Temple regents can do everything but Create Trade Route, and are limited in Muster Troops.
3. Guild regents can perform every action type except cast Realm Spells, and are limited in Muster troops.
4. Law regents can perform every action type except cast Realm Spells. Presumably they can Create Trade Route between two guild holdings by performing the diplomacy required, though this action may not be possible, either. They can add their levels for or against any action of any other holding type except for Sources.

So you see, Source regents have fewer action types, and having a little more gold doesn't change that.

What actions do you see wizards taking with my suggested modifications that would be new? If there are any, how would that throw things out of balance?

irdeggman
03-18-2008, 05:43 PM
Rowan which rule set are you talking about?

You seem to be jumping back and forth freely and with no set pattern.

Your OP was clearly talking about the BRCS since it referred to courts and how the Alchemy spell worked (from BRCS basis).

You now are talking about "forbidden actions" that a source regent can't take.


Source regents can perform the actions you've listed as forbidden (create trade route, agitate, espionage if he creates the appropriate holding. The only thing that stopped him before was the lack of GB. You have just given him that resource and now he can do so.

I never said you method did anything different than what could be done with the Alchemy spell only that it allowed much more of those actions.

Temple regents can likewise create trade routes if they first create a guild holding (same as a soruce regent or a law regent).

BRCS:

Finance is a “court action” not a free action. Whether or not this is a “free” or “extra” action depends on whether or not a regent has a court and how large his court is. It could be a personal action.

The value of a gold bar

In a non-BIRTHRIGHT setting, you may select any coinage equivalent to a gold bar, as appropriate. The default value of 2,000gp in coinage should be acceptable for most campaigns.It should be noted, however, that a Gold Bar is not just a measure of monetary assets; it is a combination of many factors that is expressed in a term for use on domain-level spending/value. Typically a GB is a combination of coinage (sp, gp, etc.), valuable assets (gems, artwork, etc.), or owed services and goods (weapons, armor, food stuff, cloth, etc.). The assets represented by a GB may vary based on both culture and time; for example, in the winter months a collected GB probably represents worked goods, not foodstuffs (which might be represented at harvest-time). The Gold Bar is a game abstraction and can be anything the DMs deems reasonable.

Does an Anuirean GB have the same value as an Rjurik one? For the purposes of abstraction, the question is not relevant. A GB collected and spent in Anuire has the same relative purchasing power as a GB collected and spent in Rjurik. Only when Gold Bars cross culture boundaries does the exact value of the GB becomes truly relevant. As BIRTHRIGHT is an action-oriented game setting (rather than a cultural simulation), it is recommended that the relative economic status of various cultures be disregarded. In effect, a Gold Bar has exactly the same purchasing power everywhere. DMs who wish to institute rules for inflation, devaluation of coinage, and other economic factors are encouraged to do so, but such detail is beyond the default scope of the setting.

It should also be noted that some BIRTHRIGHT domain purchases in gold bars do always reconcile well with the gold piece value guidelines presented in the Dungeon Master's Guide or other official d20 source books. The gold bar values for castles, ships, military units, and other domain assets are based on the established (and well play-tested) domain-level values introduced in the original BIRTHRIGHT setting. Discrepancies could be explained by noting the prices in the official source books may include the value of the land on which the castle/keep is built, plus the cost of creating a significant agricultural area with which to support the castle's inhabitants; such factors are already accounted for in the domain-level rules and thus the perceived prices may differ. It should be taken as read that the price for some assets have a different value in the BIRTHRIGHT setting. Use the values for assets in other campaign settings with care; combining two possibly different scales of asset valuation is potentially unbalancing.


BR Rulebook:

Finance is a “free action” that can only be done once per domain turn. It involved converting personal wealth into GB at a rate of 2000 gp per 1 GB. But it is important to note that “free actions in 2nd ed was different than a “free action” in 3.5. In 2nd ed “free action” referred to the time in the domain turn when it occurred and how much effort was required (i.e., it was not a full domain action) – but note it could only be done once per domain turn.

Pg 41
“(Don’t confuse these with gp, or gold pieces.) One Gold Bar is worth about 2,000 gp.”


Book of Regency pg 42

“The finance domain action allows regents to convert cash and other goods (magical items, barter from tithes) into Gold Bars or gold pieces, depending on what they need at the time.”

Rowan
03-18-2008, 06:11 PM
I've been going off of BRCS, returning to 2e rules to discuss the original spirit of the game and meaning of terms. That's why I referred to the 2e finance action, as it discussed the freely and rapidly inter-convertible nature of gp and GB. Sorry for the confusion.

Of course any regent can take any action in a given province if they create a holding of that type in the province. Why should a Source regent have any less facility at that than any other regent of the inappropriate type (i.e., than a temple regent or landed regent would have of making a guild)? They're not likely to last long--or even get one created in the first place--due to their divided focus and the fact that specialized regents should easily be able to outcompete them. For these two reasons, your claim that Source regents get some special, unbalancing access to other realm actions--only by first succesfully creating the appropriate holding types in the provinces they want to influence--just seems totally inaccurate.

irdeggman
03-18-2008, 06:35 PM
I've been going off of BRCS, returning to 2e rules to discuss the original spirit of the game and meaning of terms. That's why I referred to the 2e finance action, as it discussed the freely and rapidly inter-convertible nature of gp and GB. Sorry for the confusion.

Of course any regent can take any action in a given province if they create a holding of that type in the province. Why should a Source regent have any less facility at that than any other regent of the inappropriate type (i.e., than a temple regent or landed regent would have of making a guild)? They're not likely to last long--or even get one created in the first place--due to their divided focus and the fact that specialized regents should easily be able to outcompete them. For these two reasons, your claim that Source regents get some special, unbalancing access to other realm actions--only by first succesfully creating the appropriate holding types in the provinces they want to influence--just seems totally inaccurate.

I did not say they get special unbalanced access to other realms actions.

Their base holdings (i.e., sources) have a built in protection from influence by other holding types - so they do not have to spend their RP to defend themselves against contesting. Thus they have more unencumbered RP generation.

By giving them more GB, in addition to what they can generate magically - they have the income to perform the same actions as other regents. Those action (almost all of them) can be influenced by spending RP.

The source regent has more RP to draw from since he has not had to spend it on defending his holdings from other regents.

Therefore if you give him more GB he should be better at performing other actions since he can pour more RP into the action.

That is what I was trying to convey. Not that they get "special" actions.

By contrast a guild regent in general will have less RP to pour into actions since more often than not he is the target of hostile take overs since people want his ability to generate GB.

Temple regents fall somewhere in the middle.

Law regents are closer to guild regents since their holdings are of particular importance for raising troops.

Landed regents are a special lot and shouldn't quite fall into the same mix as non-landed regents.

Rowan
03-18-2008, 07:58 PM
Wizards face contestation and outright aggression from other wizards, forging and breaking ley lines, creating, ruling, and contesting sources. This should be happening at least to the same extent in a properly-balanced game among source regents as it should among guild regents or temple regents or law regents.

How often do temples and guilds receive Contest actions from holdings of a different type? Hardly ever, I would think, unless they've obtained a dangerous monopoly (in which case they don't have a guild opposing them and draining their RP, anyway).

So no, wizard regents do not often have larger amounts of RP available. Even if they did (and if you look at the size of non-elven Source domains, you see that they are pretty small), the Realm Spells that are supposed to be their bread and butter cost an enormous amount of RP to cast, thus more than making up for the difference.

There IS NO RP imbalance issue for Source holders, unless it is a net DISadvantage due to the cost of realm spells and the small size of most source domains.

Does this address your last concern, then? To recognize that Source holders almost never have more (usually less) RP than non-Source holders, and thus they cannot possibly compete against the other holding types directly, because they are also far less specialized.

If that's not enough, consider the skill sets required. Wizard regents have cross-class skills in everything that helps you run all the other holding types, so their personal skill bonuses and feat selections will put them at a further disadvantage.

The advantage you think exists, Irdeggman, simply does not. I cannot see an advantage anywhere you suggest for wizards.

kgauck
03-18-2008, 08:43 PM
Traditionally the money issue has been that its harder to go from GB to gp, because GB could be anything that might be used by the domain. But if a regent has a source of ready coin, converting that into GB should be no problem.

AndrewTall
03-18-2008, 09:22 PM
Correct - but they are measured at the domain level of impact - not the individual level. Now if a character can affect an entire domain with an action, say a realm spell or use of troops - then that fits.

If a wizards income arises from their domain - which is the suggestion I've made - then it should be measured in GB simply because the abstraction is used everywhere in the domain system - a guilder could very legitimately say that their mines, etc generate gp income (thus the finance action)and spend them on 'personal stuff' but you still measure their profits in GB.

In general I tend to see a regent's actions as having a domain impact regardless of the action undertaken - regent's are 'the great and good' and their deeds no matter how mundane have a wide audience. If Kalien holds a great party then people look at the 'glory of the city' / 'squandering of taxes' and form an opinion based on their viewpoint even if Kalien is not carrying out an agitate action per se.

Similarly if a wizard makes a brace of powerful potions as a gift for a local regent, people hear about it - they treat the recipient with a little more respect, they tell stories about the generous mage who leaves gifts for the children, etc - in D&D terms the mage is simply spending gp, in BR terms the spending has a realm impact.

The virtual GB point still seems unnecessary for me - give double (or whatever rate you need) RP and keep the alchemy spell as is and you have the same effect as RP and virtual GB, again without needing to create the third income type and specify 'real:virtual' Gb exchange rates. So if you wanted half a GB (virtual or otherwise) per source level for your source holders, then at 5 RP:1 GB (i.e. alchemy spell 4:1 less the spell cost of 1 GB averaging about 5:1) you could give 3.5 RP per source level and convert 2.5 of them to GB via alchemy. That avoids any need for virtual GB.

All that is necessary to convert from this 'extra RP and alchemy' concept to 'sources generate 'x' Gb per level and standard RP would then be to make the alchemy action a background theme without a specific action needed.

If the reason you want virtual GB is to stop miscegenation of classes and actions/holdings (in the same way that non-wizards can't create sources) I'd personally recommend a skill based limitation on actions as preferable - money talks as loudly whether held by a warrior or priest so I'd rather not try to create different money-types for each class - or even just different types for landed vs source domains, frankly someone will make a market to convert wealth whatever form you deem the wealth to take.


By giving them more GB, in addition to what they can generate magically - they have the income to perform the same actions as other regents. Those action (almost all of them) can be influenced by spending RP.

Alchemy is an attempt of the existing system to try to remove the no-income issue - if you grant wizards a small source-level dependent income then the spell becomes obsolete and can be removed without ill effect - in my mind this would be beneficial as the 'whomp' income effect of an alchemy spell is potentially unbalancing (more so in 2e which didn't have conversion caps) and the clear statement that it is making 'money' GB (lead to gold) is an issue for me in economic terms. Without alchemy to convert RP readily to GB the anomaly whereby wizard's (and wizards only) can readily convert RP to GB (barring troop rulers who can convert at 5:1) is gone and the two income types are more clearly distinct.


The source regent has more RP to draw from since he has not had to spend it on defending his holdings from other regents.

Therefore if you give him more GB he should be better at performing other actions since he can pour more RP into the action.

That is what I was trying to convey. Not that they get "special" actions.


I'd second Rowan's 'wizards don't have more RP' argument, the mage is likely burning RP to make GB via alchemy - with a domain of 25 a wizard has 25 RP which converts to, say, 5 GB and 5 RP - hardly a match for a 25-domain guilder on 16,2/3 GB + trade route income and 25 RP. The guilder would have to lose 80% of their RP to contest actions before they got down to the wizards level - and even then their massive GB advantage would let them crush the wizard with ease.

Even with my suggested modified income the wizard has 8,1/3 Gb and 25 RP - still only half the guilders GB income, add in lack of skills for the mage and the fact that they suffer from contests if they try to set up guilds just like anyone else and I don't think that the wizard has an advantage over the guilder. If taking the court rules into account this is even clearer - if the wizard tries to match the guilder's court they won't have much left for actions, if they don't match they have a disadvantage on every action. A wise wizard would therefore focus on source actions, and possibly bribe a guilder if they wanted a 'guild action' taken.

Competition may be in general less intense for mages than for other regents simply as a numbers game (there aren't many mages) - particularly in non-human, rjurik and vos areas; but competition is definitely active elsewhere - not many Anuirean or Khinasi source holdings are unclaimed. In 'competition free' areas wizards are (elves aside) probably less able to get help from other regents so the lack of competition evens the setting bias in these areas a little which I'd see as positive.

irdeggman
03-19-2008, 02:02 AM
Wizards face contestation and outright aggression from other wizards, forging and breaking ley lines, creating, ruling, and contesting sources. This should be happening at least to the same extent in a properly-balanced game among source regents as it should among guild regents or temple regents or law regents.

Aren't there supposed to be less wizards around than other the other classes by definition.

So that means less, but more focused competition.


How often do temples and guilds receive Contest actions from holdings of a different type? Hardly ever, I would think, unless they've obtained a dangerous monopoly (in which case they don't have a guild opposing them and draining their RP, anyway).

In games I've played in, quite frequently.

Landed regents especially go after guilds, in fact just about every regent does.



So no, wizard regents do not often have larger amounts of RP available. Even if they did (and if you look at the size of non-elven Source domains, you see that they are pretty small), the Realm Spells that are supposed to be their bread and butter cost an enormous amount of RP to cast, thus more than making up for the difference.

There IS NO RP imbalance issue for Source holders, unless it is a net DISadvantage due to the cost of realm spells and the small size of most source domains.

Does this address your last concern, then? To recognize that Source holders almost never have more (usually less) RP than non-Source holders, and thus they cannot possibly compete against the other holding types directly, because they are also far less specialized.


So now we are accounting for previous realm actions?

I said that a wizard does not use his RP to defend his holdings as much as other regents - therefor he can focus that RP on other actions.

Other regents have to use their RP to defend as well as to attempt other domain actions (so comparing realm spells to contesting a guild holding is really not even close - I've had games where the RP bidding was well over 10 per side). Think what happens for a guild based in the Imperial City - how hotly is that going to be contested? Really, really fiercely I dare say.


If that's not enough, consider the skill sets required. Wizard regents have cross-class skills in everything that helps you run all the other holding types, so their personal skill bonuses and feat selections will put them at a further disadvantage.

This is fairly easily addressed by scion classes or a single dip into another class. Yes I know it greatly reduces a wizard's spellcasting effectiveness - but we are talking exclusively about realm level play and not adventure level.

In that arena a character with more diversity is much better. A level in noble can have a huge impact on most any "primary" class.


Now what specifically are you referring to to when you say skills necessary to run domains?

Are you talking about collecting RP or about the skill checks necessary to complete an action?

Wizards get craft and profession as class skills (which work for RP collection of guilds).

Now most domain actions are currently tied to either administrate or lead.

Also note this has no effect unless it is a full domain action (i.e., the regent does the action personally).

We have already established that a source regent usually does not have a court that can do actions for him and so must personally perform almost all actions (something listed as weakness in the system earlier - but requiring a separate fix). So that means a wizard can apply bonuses based on his skill ranks more often than other regents can, since they will be performing less full domain actions due to necessity.

AndrewTall
03-19-2008, 10:56 PM
Aren't there supposed to be less wizards around than other the other classes by definition.

So that means less, but more focused competition.

From recollection most realms are of similar sizes - there is an obvious gameplay reason for this but I'd have expected lots more 'small' guilds and temples otherwise... In any event the outcome is that all holdings face a relatively small number of competitors.


In games I've played in, quite frequently.

Landed regents especially go after guilds, in fact just about every regent does.

Which suggests to me that there is a problem with the guild rules - guilds should not be an 'easy money' win that everyone automatically piles into. I've done it myself when playing a ruler as the benefits of trade routes are so great (esp in 2e) so know the problem well. I'm not entirely sure how to fix it - maybe with separate domain-level classes as noted - but something needs sorting out in my view, this is not however a 'source' point - it applies equally, if not far more so, to realm rulers and temple rulers.


I said that a wizard does not use his RP to defend his holdings as much as other regents - therefore he can focus that RP on other actions.

The main limit on source contests is the cost of the action imho - if the lack of income is corrected I'd expect high competition for sources in the more settled areas of Cerilia just as there should already be for other types of holding. I'd also repeat that breaking into another holding type is very hard for a mage under the standard rules as they have to burn a lot of RP to get the GB needed for actions.


Other regents have to use their RP to defend as well as to attempt other domain actions (so comparing realm spells to contesting a guild holding is really not even close - I've had games where the RP bidding was well over 10 per side). Think what happens for a guild based in the Imperial City - how hotly is that going to be contested? Really, really fiercely I dare say.

I'd note that in practice guilds in particular should run on a cost:benefit basis - 10 RP bidding wars are a sucking quagmire of influence that should be avoided like the plague by any economic rationalist (unless they simply have nothing better to spend RP on). Particularly in BRCS where province level is irrelevant to guild income it is more cost effective to rule up guilds in smaller less contested areas than in 'hot spots'. Again however the guild point seems to be an issue for guilds not sources - I'm not sure how much RP rulers spend defending investiture attempts but expect that they also have relatively little 'RP competition', those who start contested law probably find soldiers marching in their direction too...


This is fairly easily addressed by scion classes or a single dip into another class. Yes I know it greatly reduces a wizard's spellcasting effectiveness - but we are talking exclusively about realm level play and not adventure level.

In that arena a character with more diversity is much better. A level in noble can have a huge impact on most any "primary" class...So that means a wizard can apply bonuses based on his skill ranks more often than other regents can, since they will be performing less full domain actions due to necessity.

Unlike any other class wizards need those spell-casting levels for their main domain ability - realm spells. Similarly they need to go up in adventuring levels to be able to cast the 'crunchy' spells that win them influence meaning that they need adventure-type feats and skills. 2 skill points a level + intelligence is poor compared to a 'pure' noble or rogue that isn't a complete idiot. Accordingly the wizard will generally have poor RP collection and poor skill selections at domain level outside of their specialty holding - probably sources. I can see guilders being worried about nobles in particular - but not wizards.

I'm not sure I get your point on the skill bonus for actions - all regents get 3 actions where they can add their personal skill modifiers, landed regents just also get a stack of court actions on top - they don't lose their normal actions unless I have mis-read the BRCS.

irdeggman
03-19-2008, 11:37 PM
From recollection most realms are of similar sizes - there is an obvious gameplay reason for this but I'd have expected lots more 'small' guilds and temples otherwise... In any event the outcome is that all holdings face a relatively small number of competitors.

Realom size wasn;'t the issue.

The issue was the number of like realms compteting agains each other.

There are by definition in BR fewer wizards - so fewer people competing for sources.

There are a relative plethora of different guilders. Guild only regents, landed regents with guilds, etc.

All competing for guild levels




Which suggests to me that there is a problem with the guild rules - guilds should not be an 'easy money' win that everyone automatically piles into. I've done it myself when playing a ruler as the benefits of trade routes are so great (esp in 2e) so know the problem well. I'm not entirely sure how to fix it - maybe with separate domain-level classes as noted - but something needs sorting out in my view, this is not however a 'source' point - it applies equally, if not far more so, to realm rulers and temple rulers.

Which is why I said we need to looka t each type of regent and figure out what they do best and what they do worst and "fix" the comain level rules to match.

Merely working on soruce regents will only make it more skewed and "patchy" instead of looking at the big picture.




The main limit on source contests is the cost of the action imho - if the lack of income is corrected I'd expect high competition for sources in the more settled areas of Cerilia just as there should already be for other types of holding. I'd also repeat that breaking into another holding type is very hard for a mage under the standard rules as they have to burn a lot of RP to get the GB needed for actions.

But the only ones competing for sources are wizards (that is those who can use them). Only blooded wizards can find (and use) sources. It is one of their main benefits.




I'd note that in practice guilds in particular should run on a cost:benefit basis - 10 RP bidding wars are a sucking quagmire of influence that should be avoided like the plague by any economic rationalist (unless they simply have nothing better to spend RP on). Particularly in BRCS where province level is irrelevant to guild income it is more cost effective to rule up guilds in smaller less contested areas than in 'hot spots'. Again however the guild point seems to be an issue for guilds not sources - I'm not sure how much RP rulers spend defending investiture attempts but expect that they also have relatively little 'RP competition', those who start contested law probably find soldiers marching in their direction too...

Back to looking at the system as a whole and not working on a single piece without looking at how all the pieces interact.




I'm not sure I get your point on the skill bonus for actions - all regents get 3 actions where they can add their personal skill modifiers, landed regents just also get a stack of court actions on top - they don't lose their normal actions unless I have mis-read the BRCS.

Not quite.

Every domain turn a regent gets 3 character actions and 3 domain actions.

If he uses both his character action and his domain action at the same time (that is a full domain action) - that is the only time he gets to use his personal skills and feats to modify the domain action success.

Court actions don't allow this addition.

Wizards (under the current rules) are pretty much locked into direct involvment in any domain action involving a source (thus a full domain action). Increasing income will not "fix" this issue.

Rowan
03-20-2008, 02:32 PM
I have no problem looking at rebalancing other regents as well where they have deficiencies.

Is that what you're mainly trying to point out Irdeggman?


One of the lessons of 3e and 4e, I think, is that all game systems can be improved for better game play and better story simulation, and that we should not be reluctant to do so with core rules sets periodically. Let us not be hesitant to change things because we hold one version or other of the rules as a sacred cow, but, for the good of the game, engage in the discussion of what improvements can be made. Forums and Wiki are great media to work on these things, but if we get serious about it we should record proposed rules changes in a section of the wiki and then roll out versions or alternative rules when we're ready.

irdeggman
03-20-2008, 03:26 PM
Is that what you're mainly trying to point out Irdeggman?



Pretty much.

The fact that how a source regent works is part of a system and that the system should be addressed and not just a part.

I think we start with a scale of figuring out what each regent type does best and what they do worst and find ways to emphasize that pattern. Sort of like what 4th ed is going to do - no "favored class" penalties but bonuses if you go towards a class that the race works best at.

The end in mind being that all regent types should be able to do something each round (again like 4th ed and not forcing wizards to use xbows when they run out of daily spells).

This type of "fix" could work regardless of the edition of the rules being used, IMO.

AndrewTall
03-21-2008, 01:24 PM
Realom size wasn;'t the issue.

The issue was the number of like realms compteting agains each other.

There are by definition in BR fewer wizards - so fewer people competing for sources.

There are a relative plethora of different guilders. Guild only regents, landed regents with guilds, etc.

All competing for guild levels

The point I made was that all domains are of a similar size and therefore each competes with a similar number of other domains - so even though there aren't many wizards by birth, in practice there aren't many guilders, priests, rulers, etc either - so the competition levels for all holdings are similar.

In theory I'd expect dozens of minor guilds and the like (since they are profitable even in small doses) in practice these 'tiny' domains aren't in the books - possibly because starting a realm from scratch is very difficult but more likely because the designers wanted it that way. I really don't see your contention that wizards face less competition in most areas of Cerilia as valid - even the fact that wizards tend to have far fewer actions simply slows the pace of the competition rather than its intensity.

The topic seems to have moved from 'rebalance source holdings' to 'how do we stop everyone going for guild holdings' - the two are separate issues with the system in my view and the latter should be looked at separately to the former - not used as an answer to it.


Merely working on soruce regents will only make it more skewed and "patchy" instead of looking at the big picture.

That is why we are looking at the big picture - and working out how to move sources from being skewed to being balanced. Currently they simply don't work as they have no income - I really don't see your argument here I'm afraid, the issue is not 'how do we make sources better holdings than others' or 'how do we keep wizards - and only wizards - from misgenating' but 'how do we make source domains practically playable' - currently a wizard is utterly dependent on the charity of other regents just to get an action or two a season or must cripple themselves via alchemy to do so in lieu of a patron - that simply doesn't work very well for a full time player.

The aim should be to give source regents the same independence taken for granted by other regents and give them the resources to undertake 3-4 actions a round, the existing system doesn't permit this barring a ridiculously generous patron - and the patron prevents the first by providing the second.


But the only ones competing for sources are wizards (that is those who can use them). Only blooded wizards can find (and use) sources. It is one of their main benefits.

Frankly given that most holdings are designed heavily to suit one class or the other (even BRCS RP rules heavily depend on class skills) this 'benefit' is of distinctly presentational value in my view - even in cases where druids, etc aren't allowed to rule sources. What in any event is the benefit gained? In a 'normal' situation holdings will split by character type to a significant degree in any event.

Even with just 2/3 true mages in a realm there will be plenty of competition - as can be seen by the fact that most realms hold only 2-3 guilds, temples, or law holders - province rulers tend to be 1 per realm with only a handful of realms having 2/3, so in practice the wizards only rule isn't reducing the number of potential regents (and therefore the level of competition) at all.

The other 'benefit' of sources, that they can't get contested by law holdings (in most rulesets) is also a drawback as they don't benefit from aid either - rivals have no need to care if the local regent supports the local mage or not. this could well make a source domain more subject to contests than a 'loyal' guild or temple.


Back to looking at the system as a whole and not working on a single piece without looking at how all the pieces interact.

We have been doing so from the outset - I'm not sure how you can argue otherwise. Are you really saying that 'most domains get 6-9 actions, mages get 1-3 if they grovel and beg continually and probably spend at least one of those paying for the other(s) - all domains are equally playable'?

The issue from the outset has been the way the sources don't work and how we could make them work better without unbalancing the system - by all means argue about what method of calculating income is required or what level of income should be aimed for, or as you have been , whether we should use a different income type, but please do accept that if the wizard has only a third as many actions as other regents - if they are lucky - that the domain is inherently going to struggle to be playable and in particular, avoid players getting bored and wandering off (a PBEM curse) or explain how a domain level game can be played without using domain actions.


Not quite.

Every domain turn a regent gets 3 character actions and 3 domain actions.

If he uses both his character action and his domain action at the same time (that is a full domain action) - that is the only time he gets to use his personal skills and feats to modify the domain action success.

Court actions don't allow this addition.

Exactly as I described then in the discussed context of a raid on guild holdings surely? The landed regent has the same ability to whomp up their three domain actions with a personal action as the mage - and has all their court actions on top. As soon as the mage starts trying to miscegenate - which seems to be your chief concern in this aspect of your argument against giving sources GB income - the extra income of the landed regent does let their court get involved - and the mage is going to be overwhelmed with ease, meaning that unless we overdo the income aspect of sources that wizards will find it practically impossible to miscegenate.


Wizards (under the current rules) are pretty much locked into direct involvment in any domain action involving a source (thus a full domain action). Increasing income will not "fix" this issue.

The increased (more accurately created) income was not intended to break the need for wizards to apply personal actions to domain actions (only an issue in games mixing adventure and domain level play in any event) but to give them the ability to have domain actions in domain level play in the first place - what is the landed domain ruler doing with personal actions if not supporting domain actions in any event? Presumably something more beneficial to them in which case the wizard's need to use personal actions on their domain actions is a weakness - not a benefit as you appear to be suggesting.


The issue of court actions for source actions is a separate issue which has not been raised previously as far as I am aware, but depends heavily on the DM's view on apprentices, impact of province borders on requiring separate actions and the like. The main point of court actions seems to be to 'echo' the main action (i.e. create law in the capital with the personal+domain action, use the court to create law in the neighbouring 2 provinces as well) and this should be replicable by a fairly unobtrusive mechanic if need be. Realm spells are another matter but then they probably should be limited to full actions - although I suppose one could argue for echoing the same spell over a wider area using the court.