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Thread: Domain rules

  1. #1
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    Hello.

    The Atlas Team will real soon begin to work on the realm statistics, including the realm economics.

    The problem is that the realm economics rules (i.e. regency collection and maintenance costs) requires a lot of work. While this is fine for a player, I think it'll force the DM to do a lot of administration (if he wants to be accurate and not cheat, that is)

    What I am asking for is simplicity, even at the expense of realism.

    I think the domain income collection rules are really simple AND good. In contrast, the regency collection system is based on skills. While highly realistic, it does require the DM to figure out the skill-levels of a regent, something that would probably be part of a full-character write-up. Unfortunately such full-character write-ups are not scheduled to be part of the d20 Atlas. (Instead, they will probably be part of an upcoming Book of Scions.)

    So, is there a simple (but standardized and agreed-upon) DM-way of calculating regency income collection that we could use in the d20 Atlas?

    The same goes for the domain and army maintenance cost system. The realm descriptions simply won't contain all the information necessary for an ACCURATE calculation of realm economic figures.

    What to do?

    (Oh, besides these issues I think chapter five on ruling a domain is very well done ;-)

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    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
    > [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of mhelles


    > So, is there a simple (but standardized and agreed-upon) DM-way
    > of calculating regency income collection that we could use in the
    > d20 Atlas?

    Well sure there is: that from the 2e book. Regents collect RP from a set of
    holdings they qualify for based on class up to the level of their bloodline
    score.

    The rub comes in "that they qualify for based on class." There is a
    standarization (give in the tables in the original Rulebook, but the nature
    of classes has largely changed between 2e and 3e. This has let to much
    debate on what holdings multi-classed character should draw RP from. I
    suspect that I can anticipate much of the range of opinion with the
    following classification:

    1.) One character/One Class. This school holds that at the domain level, you
    can really only do one thing well, and that multiclassed Regents must select
    one of their classes as a Primary class. Once that is done, proceed to
    Tables from the Rulebook, and collect RP from those holdings. Opponents of
    this school complain that it tosses or diminishes a key aspect of the 3e
    upgrade. Strengths is that it remains as close as possible to the original
    rules, and is therefore as close to universally understood and easily used
    as possible.

    2.) All Classes Evenly. This school holds that since a key feature of 3e is
    ease of multiclassing, this feature should apply on the domain level as
    well. Regents proceed to the Rulebook, find the holdings that apply to all
    character classes, and collect RP from all those holdings. Opponents of this
    school complain that it is too generous; restrictions on multiclassing in 2e
    were an important part of domain-scale game mechanics/balance which is lost
    by this school. The school counters that Bloodline score is still a hard
    limit on RP collection, and that this should be sufficient. Strengths are
    that it follows as close as possible with the 3e rules and thus is easiest
    for new players to understand.

    3.) All Classes, with Limitations. This school tries balance between the two
    extremes above, but usually to the statisfaction of none. The school holds
    that RP should come from all classes as in the All Classes Evenly school,
    but that balance/separation valued by the One Character/One Class school can
    be provided through a separate mechanic. This seems to be the school adopted
    by the writers of the BRSC, for obvious reasons. The complaint, however, is
    that in doing so the rules for RP collection have become needlessly baroque.

    I think the real question is/should be: can we come up with a different
    "separate mechanic" for school #3 which can be agreed upon. This can then be
    listed in the BRCS as an Optional Rule and still leave proponents of School
    2 happy. If we can come up with such a mechanic, then we streamline RP
    collection rules for both the BRCS and the Atlas, which can then be written
    up according to School 2.

    I personally think that a good way to refocus on the importance of classes
    at the domain level is to use class-specific skills as the appropriate skill
    check (rather than Administrate) on the Create Province/Holding Action, the
    Rule Province/Holding Action, and the Contest Province/Holding Action (which
    I call the CRC actions). Thus, the skill check to use a CRC action on Guilds
    would require a check based on skills that rogues are most likely to
    possess. Skill checks for CRC actions involving Temples are based on skills
    that priests are more likely to possess. Etc.

    I still think that the Domain Skills concept that I proposed earlier would
    be the best concept for this. Note also that as I laid it out, it actually
    DOESN`T have to increase the total number of skills over which characters
    spend their skill points. It does change somewhat the choices that
    characters who are functioning at the domain level make when they level up.
    For example a rogue who had a domain might be more inclined to spend some
    skill points in Knowledge(Geography) rather than Pick Pocket if it improved
    his Guildcraft score. A rogue without a domain would wiegh these skills
    differently. The concept is reasonably simple mathematically (requirely only
    the ability to average a few numbers) and would change only when a charater
    levels up.

    Mark V.

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  3. #3
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    So what you're suggesting is this:

    The default system to calculate regency income is to use the character class like in the 2e with the full benefit of multi-classing. (I believe this is school 2 above.) I don't see the multi-class benefit as too much of a problem as not many regents in Birthright are actually multi-classed in different domains, e.g. cleric/wizard, rogue/figther, etc.

    An optional rule (or rule variant) can then suggest the use of skills (or some other mechanism) for regency income. (School 3, I think.)

    To me, that sound's perfect. The d20 Atlas would then probably settle for school 2. But DMs and players that favor realism over simplicity can then choose school 3.

    Brilliant.

  4. #4
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    mhelles,
    Don't look only towards the NPCs when you figure out how to come up with a way to make RP collection easier (and balanced). I guarantee that there will be more players choosing to be multi-classed when switching to 3rd edition rules, the overall benefits are just too great and it is relatively easy to accomplish vice the way it was in 2nd edition. Another factor to be considered is the use of prestige classes and haow they would factor into RP collection. Face it, whether you (or I) like it or not prestige classes are here to stay. They didn't exist in 2nd edition but they are abundant in 3rd edition and hence we need to be able to address them also.

    Overall I think that a skill based collection system, usng skills that favor certain classes for certain holding types, would be the easiest way to address all of the permutations that occured as a result of the game-mechanics changes in 3rd edition and also will handle any future changes seemlessly.

    The problem (or question) as Trevyr pointed out is determining what skills to use. The system he put up for discussion is not a bad one, essentially it puts the calculations up front instead of during the collection period. Averaging various skills into a single aggregate one. The "extra" work still exists though.

    As we pointed out when the playtest document was put out that the whole domain section was rather rough and we definitely knew that the skills selection/combination issue needed work. I thought that was pointed out by Doom very early on, but I could be mistaken.:)
    Duane Eggert

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    > irdeggman wrote:
    > The problem (or question) as Trevyr pointed out is determining what skills
    to use. The system he put up for discussion is not a bad one, essentially it
    puts the calculations up front instead of during the collection period.
    Averaging various skills into a single aggregate one. The "extra" work
    still exists though.
    >

    This is only half the problem. A bigger issue IMO, is that the current
    system is over-complex. The various percentages of the full RP income from a
    province that characters at various skill levels can use is bewildering and
    unworkable without a spreadsheet.

    /Carl

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  6. #6
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Birthright-L


    > irdeggman wrote:
    > The problem (or question) as Trevyr pointed out is determining what skills
    to use. The system he put up for discussion is not a bad one, essentially it
    puts the calculations up front instead of during the collection period.
    Averaging various skills into a single aggregate one. The "extra" work
    still exists though.
    >

    This is only half the problem. A bigger issue IMO, is that the current
    system is over-complex. The various percentages of the full RP income from a
    province that characters at various skill levels can use is bewildering and
    unworkable without a spreadsheet.

    /Carl

    Agreed without a doubt, but back to the comment that it was put out for discussin in a very rough form without a lot of playtesting done to check it out.

    The percentages were inserted to reflect a progression of getting better at ruling the more you put into it (i.e., ranks in skills). I'm not certain that people have a problem with this concept as much as with the claculations involded due to attempting to capture this learning curve. Maybe the discussion should focus on one or the other of these issues instead of "it sucks".:)
    Duane Eggert

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    I understand that the rulesbook is a draft. Which is exactly why I am commenting on it ;-)

    I just want a simple, working domain system, with more easy-to-use components like the domain income system. I definitely don't want a system that requires an entire spreadsheet for each domain.

    My suggestion above is simple and workable. I love prestige classes and multi-classing, and, of course, the rules should be able to handle them. One simple way to do this could be to grant full RP income for any classes (like in 2e); prestige classes can then be ignored or be beneficial at the DMs option (the rulebook can provide some guidelines for evaluating prestige classes). Players that multi-class into a fighter/cleric/wizard/rogue are more than welcome; although they can collect regency from four different holding types, they'll have four times as many enemies as well. In Birthright, I actually think that specialization is an advantage (but then, that probably depends on how the DM runs the game). I agree that a skill-based system is probably more realistic, but it does require more work.

    As stated earlier, I also think the domain maintenance costs system requires too much administration. Most realms will have a myriad of bridges (diferent types), roads (different terrains), taxed trade routes (different agreements), armies (in both home and away provinces), etc. all of which has a different maintenance cost.

    One enourmous simplification could be that the maintenance costs for all non-living things (like bridges, roads, etc.) is included in the province net income. But they do cost GBs to build, of course. If the DM thinks PCs begin to exploit this (e.g. by building roads everywhere), s/he can add an extra cost (again, we can provide some guidelines) and/or think of an adventure/event that somehow discourages players from doing this.

    I think armies should have a fixed payroll whether they are in their home province or not, like in the 2e.

    Etc.

    I think these simplifications are not too unrealistic. Most importantly, they do make domain administration a lot easier.

    Again, please read these comments as constructive suggestions for improving the rulebook. After all, I think we all want the best rulebook possible! ;-)

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    On Wed, 26 Mar 2003, Stephen Starfox wrote:
    > This is only half the problem. A bigger issue IMO, is that the current
    > system is over-complex. The various percentages of the full RP income from a
    > province that characters at various skill levels can use is bewildering and
    > unworkable without a spreadsheet.

    It should be simplified. You should be able to collect half regency from
    a holding by first level, which means the threshold for that should be 8
    or less, I`d go with 6, on that little table 5-10. Then full collection
    should happen at a total of 10. So a character could be collecting full
    RP at 2nd level, like now, but wouldn`t have to max out the applicable
    skills at 1st level to collect half, so he could save some skill points
    for something adventure-useful if he wanted.

    You should note whether skill focus counts for this, by the way. It
    should, which means the threholds should be adjusted up a little unless
    you`re fine with full collection at 1st level for someone willing to
    expend the feat.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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  9. #9
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    Let`s try this.


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
    > [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of mhelles

    > My suggestion above is simple and workable. I love prestige
    > classes and multi-classing, and, of course, the rules should be
    > able to handle them. One simple way to do this could be to grant
    > full RP income for any classes (like in 2e); prestige classes can
    > then be ignored or be beneficial at the DMs option (the rulebook
    > can provide some guidelines for evaluating prestige classes).
    > Players that multi-class into a fighter/cleric/wizard/rogue are
    > more than welcome; although they can collect regency from four
    > different holding types, they`ll have four times as many enemies
    > as well. In Birthright, I actually think that specialization is
    > an advantage (but then, that probably depends on how the DM runs
    > the game). I agree that a skill-based system is probably more
    > realistic, but it does require more work.
    I hope that worked for you board-readers. I can never remember whether I
    need to use the forward slash or the backward slash...

    Anyway, I agree that it makes most sense to step back and return to RP
    collection rules on the basis of class. The simplest approach to dealing
    with prestige classes is just to say that they do not increase the scope of
    RP collection unless explicitly stated (by the PrC description or the DM).
    You don`t really NEED PrCs to draw RP, since all characters must start out
    with regular classes. And it doesn`t eliminate the choice to take a PrC,
    just reweights the option of taking another basic class rather than PrC for
    PC`s operating at the Domain Scale.

    It`s relatively easy to rewrite or add notations to any PrC`s that you think
    should increase RP collection scope, but I don`t think it`s usually going to
    be necessary (since if collection is based on class rather than skill then a
    single level of a class is sufficient to earn full collection). Further, it
    adds the interesting possibility of PrC`s designed especially for PC`s
    operating at the Domain Scale. For example, a Guilder prestige class (I
    don`t remember if one is included in the BRCS) might gain RP collection from
    Trade Routes as one of its benefits. This would restore a feature of the
    origial rules while (appropriately) increasing its cost. Simiilarly, a
    Chevalier prestige class might gain RP from the number of units of Knights
    commanded.

    Mark V.

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  10. #10
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DanMcSorley


    You should note whether skill focus counts for this, by the way. It
    should, which means the threholds should be adjusted up a little unless
    you`re fine with full collection at 1st level for someone willing to
    expend the feat.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu
    Skill focus doesn't increase your ranks in a skill. It gives a bonus to checks just like the character's applicable ability modifier does. While I understand what you are getting at, it just doesn't seem to fit in with the 3rd ed game mechanics. I mean counting skill focus as an increase in ranks - this would also mean that a character couldn't exceed his max ranks due to class if it counted as such. If the system was specifying a max adjusted modifier, it would also seem to be a little out of whack since it would be rewarding those with high ability scores instead of those who have spent time "studying" and "appying themselves" at getting better at a certain skill. It could work, it just needs some more thought as to the ramifications it could have other game mechanics.:)
    Duane Eggert

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