View Full Version : Dependent vs Independent domains

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?


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?

03-15-2008, 04:34 PM
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.

I think this is the wrong way to go. I would go in the exact opposite direction. Each domain type should be pretty durable against the others, so that each can resist attacks from outside types.

If the system requires cooperation between domain types, you'll just end up with everyone turning their realm into Talinie, Medoere, and such, where all of the holdings in a small area are controlled by one person.

The only way to maintain cooperation is for the value of cooperation to be greater than the value of taking the whole thing for oneself. It should be more desirable to cooperate with a ruler who you don't like and don't trust, because you're facing a common enemy, than it is to just stomp on his holdings and take them for yourself.

Because everyone can see that once the king controls the temples directly, he can gain all the benefits from that himself. And the guilds and all their money, why not make that just another arm of the state?

I rather think that it should be easier for a domain to swallow a domain of the same type (Say OIT consuming IHH, or Tuornen consuming Alamie) than it should be for one of the domains (probably landed) from just crushing out the opposition and building new temples and guilds for himself. So to take the Medoere example. Diemed should find it much easier to stamp out Medoere and basically impossible to dislodge RCS.

Now under this kind of model, Diemed and OIT have a natural shared interest. They can't effectively just take what the other has, so given their strong overlap, they learn to work together, even if they keep secrets and have different friends elsewhere. Plus when they get the opportunity to finally deal with Medoere, both need the other to deal with the enemy of that type.

So if the goal is actual cooperation, then domains need to be independent. If the domains are made more co-dependent then any sensible ruler will feel the urge to just take what he needs from the other domains himself. The only time this would not occur is the collective rule model, but even then its going to happen to outlying holdings.

The BRCS was on the right path with the principle that holdings can only be contested by other holdings of the same type. However they applied it in such a way that they actually made landed rulers stronger visa vis the unlanded by creating the law holding exception, and continuing to allow military forces to do harm to other domains.

My preference would be that cross type contest action have a -10 penalty, no matter what type was at stake, and that military forces could only occupy holdings, not destroy them. Occupation would deny them income and regency, but otherwise leave them intact.

03-15-2008, 05:52 PM
Which is another way of saying no man (or realm) is an island to itself right?

So they are actually co-dependent only by making them independent (I know it sounds contrary but the logic is basically the same). That a regent can't stand by himself and do everything as well as other regents.

03-15-2008, 07:25 PM
I think there is a huge difference between co-dependency, which means an inability to function without the other, and not being omni-capable. No regent should be omni-capable. There should be limits to how broadly any character can act. But that's a real difference from needing the other domains or classes to function.

But as things currently stand, the landed/military regent holds all the trump cards. He lacks an incentive to cooperate, because he's too independent. The guilder and templar are too dependent and so are required to cooperate with the landed regent in whose land most of their holdings are located.

This leads to landed rulers acting like bullies and guilders or templars acting like turnstyles. Source regents, who have some protections from being pushed around by landed regents have no money, extra requirements to operate normally, and end up weaker and more dependent than guild or temple regents.

Coercive cooperation is not at all like voluntary cooperation. An imbalance in power creates coercion, independence and security creates cooperation. Only when a regent knows he can do as he pleases (not that he'll be as successful as he pleases, but that he can be friends with whom he pleases, adopt the policies he pleases, and so on) will he be in a position to voluntarily cooperate (and have fun no matter what because the playing field is level). The guy who need to please his landed master is not free to play as he pleases, and either accepts the loss of some part of what is his birthright (bad role playing and worthy of a loss of regency) or finds that half of his domain is in hostile territory. If the Heart of Haelyn sides with the hart of Roesone, its very difficult to also keep one's holdings in Osoerode if Jaison Raenech is a hostile PC.

03-15-2008, 07:48 PM
But as things currently stand, the landed/military regent holds all the trump cards. He lacks an incentive to cooperate, because he's too independent. The guilder and templar are too dependent and so are required to cooperate with the landed regent in whose land most of their holdings are located.

Except for the fact that he in general can't maintain his assets (assuming any sort of military might) without the help of the other regents.

03-15-2008, 08:33 PM
This is only a problem in between the time he decides to switch from coercive support to installing a lieutenant or just establishing his own holdings. This isn't a permanent problem, its a rough patch that he can plan for.

Talinie and Medoere, where land, law, and temple are united under one regent is stronger than the alternative unless the land, temple, and guild regents are friendly. That never happens unless the DM sets it up that way. One wants to imagine a game where the struggling regent wins over the friendship of the other regents by proving himself, but before he can get there, the landed regent makes demands because he think's he has a right to someone else's money to prop up his own power. We'll if that's the case, he needs to be a bully, so you can forget voluntary cooperation and just embrace coercion as the way it ought to be. Other regents can take a hike if they don't like it, and in some kinds of games, that's exactly what they will do.

03-15-2008, 08:37 PM
Except for the fact that he in general can't maintain his assets (assuming any sort of military might) without the help of the other regents.

Well, unless law holdings are very high in 2e or the landed regent is getting a fair slug of voluntary tax income the actual GB benefit of the temple/guild to the landed regent is fairly low.

Something that was pointed out to me in HoTFE was the question 'why settle for 1/2 of the guild income in tax when I can just have it all?' - unless the guild also tithed regency it was always going to be beneficial for the landed regent to take the guilds, the only drawback was the extra actions required - and that was considered acceptable if there was a chance that the guild would oppose or interfere with the landed regent.

I wouldn't say it should be impossible to dual rule, particularly in smaller realms, but I'd agree that something has to act against it to stop omni rulers in larger realms. Random event probabilities is one possibility, or a morale penalty could impact rulers (as they are clearly acting more for the benefit of the guilds/temples/etc than for the peasantry/nobles).

I do think that the guild takeover issue is a pain - everyone knows the social power of temples which gives them a measure of role-play protection from a greedy ruler (although not a huge amount - roleplayers can rationalise actions with the best), but a brief look at the various command economies shows the size of the damage caused by mixing business with rulership or religion, or even rulership and religion, and there should be some mechanic to reflect these issues.

Possibly we need to consider restricting actions more by type of holding - only temple's can agitate up for example, although this could be said to encourage omni-rulers so that all actions are possible. One possibility is a 'ruler' class with no adventure level impact (hit points, saves, etc) but which has feats that must be chosen for each type of action - for each type of holding without which the action is must harder. That would encourage the PC to specialise in one type of holding or another - and thus prefer to have an allied regent in the other holding than operate it themselves.

One idea I've pondered is whether temples and guilds should be limited to income based on the higher of their holding and the local law holding - i.e. in a lawless land they make no money and thus they need high law - even though that allows the ruler to potentially interfere in their plans, but conversely that the local rulers ability to act against the guilds/temples would be restrained by strong law (as they are more constrained legally in what they can do), so in a zero law land the ruler can romp and stomp with impunity but gains nothing from doing so and in a high law land the ruler finds it very hard to legally takeover other asset types.

03-17-2008, 04:01 PM
I would simply have the super regent get challenged on multiple fronts. He want to control everything? Well have the temples, guilds and law be challenged in the same three months. Something will give and now a regent that he has no relationship, has some influence in the country.

Any good ruler knows about the strength of vassalage. Get control of the guilds but have them as a vassal. In the guild sense the ruler can get money from the guilds but still allow them to protect and expand beyond the boarders of the country. Now you are a ruler of a country that can begin pushing and influencing your neighbors through holdings.

The key is how much tribute you expect from your vassals. If you gimp them too much they will be no more effective than you in ruling their own holdings. Don't take enough, and they could still be a threat to your own control and power.

Thus the fun of Birthright.