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  1. #1
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    To the designers:

    In the past five months of using the playtest rules, one issue I've run into is the seasonal income derived from land. I remember in the 2e rules they explained (rather lamely, in my opinion) that harvest profits were supplemented by trade and crafts of other sorts throughout the year.

    Well, here's where my sense of believability and realism is badly jarred. If this is a medieval society, then it is an agrarian one. And we know it's a temperate climate, right? Well, the income for trade is accounted for in guilds and trade routes. Where, then, do land incomes really come from? The bulk of tax money is almost certainly based on the harvest, collected mainly in the autumn (with a bit in the summer and winter). Yet land income is dead-steady throughout the year in the D20 BRCS system. In the 2e system, there was variable land income, but now it's so static that it's more like a chess game than anything so uncertain as an economy that depends on predictable weather patterns and good fortune. It may make things simpler for calculating income, but how much is lost in believability?

    Wouldn't it be just as interesting, without a whole lot more paperwork or math, to throw in some variables based on harvest outcomes? Here are some possibilities I've considered:

    1. Harvest is in Autumn. Base land income is 1/3 normal in other seasons, but TRIPLE normal in autumn. This works out the same in annual income, but forces landed regents to account for the bulk of their income coming in once a year rather than every season on a regulated schedule.

    2. Before Autumn collections (or each season with normal collection), roll to determine a Harvest Modifier to see if the crops were poor, average or good this year. The Harvest modifier multiplies the harvest income.
    EX.: On a D20: 1=Terrible; crops are blighted, lost, etc. (1/3 x Land Income), 2-4 = Bad Season (1/2 x Land Income), 5-8 = Poor Season (2/3x), 9-12 = Average (no modifier), 13-16 = Good Harvest (+1/3 land income), 17-19 = Exceptional Harvest (+2/3 land income), and 20 = Bountiful Harvest (2 x land income).

    I realize that this could end up looking like a variation of the 2e variable collections, but that's OK. In this proposal, it's less dice but a bit more math (although with Autumn harvest, you'd only have to do it once a year). My feeling is that Autumn harvest would add a level of play that would dramatically affect regents' political strategies in a realistic way. Invading another lord's lands could be disastrous if timed right (which is quite accurate, historically). Calling up levies in the late summer isn't a great idea, either. And landed lords must now budget their treasury so that they don't bankrupt themselves before autumn arrives. Makes it a bit more challenging for players, but in an ineresting way (I think).

    -Osprey

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Osprey@Jul 28 2003, 03:14 PM
    To the designers:

    In the past five months of using the playtest rules, one issue I've run into is the seasonal income derived from land. I remember in the 2e rules they explained (rather lamely, in my opinion) that harvest profits were supplemented by trade and crafts of other sorts throughout the year.

    Well, here's where my sense of believability and realism is badly jarred. If this is a medieval society, then it is an agrarian one. And we know it's a temperate climate, right? Well, the income for trade is accounted for in guilds and trade routes. Where, then, do land incomes really come from? The bulk of tax money is almost certainly based on the harvest, collected mainly in the autumn (with a bit in the summer and winter). Yet land income is dead-steady throughout the year in the D20 BRCS system. In the 2e system, there was variable land income, but now it's so static that it's more like a chess game than anything so uncertain as an economy that depends on predictable weather patterns and good fortune. It may make things simpler for calculating income, but how much is lost in believability?

    -Osprey
    One possible error with your hypothisis is assuming that the income comes from the "same" place. Not all lands have the same "seasons", when it is harvest in Southern Anuire is is early summer in Northern Anuire and the differences are even greater when the other "lands" (e.g., Vosgard, Brecchtur, etc.) are taken into place. Part of the assumption for making it a flat rate was that the income (remember that a GB is not always monetary income but it is balanced between many things and the exact nature of the GB varies by season- see Chap 8 of the BRCS). It is also assumed that some sort of constant trade is taking place between the various lands that balances things out - while not specific enough to warrant "profit" as in what is generated by a trade route but rather more a steady income and balancing of the generated income over time.


    The major reason for making the income a flat one rather than a random one was the overwhelming complaints over the years with the complexity of the original systema and the sheer amount of paperwork required to run a Birthright campaign using that system.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Part of the assumption for making it a flat rate was that the income (remember that a GB is not always monetary income but it is balanced between many things and the exact nature of the GB varies by season- see Chap 8 of the BRCS). It is also assumed that some sort of constant trade is taking place between the various lands that balances things out - while not specific enough to warrant "profit" as in what is generated by a trade route but rather more a steady income and balancing of the generated income over time
    Yeah, that's pretty much standard doctrine as I remember it, even from 2e Birthright. It still seems to me that this idea conflicts a great deal with guild interests, especially given the high income that land generates. I've always believed that guild holdings represented internal trade, while trade routes were major exports and imports.

    By any historical medieval standard, a landed lord made most of his income from taxing the peasants, who were mostly farmers. The exceptions were towns and cities, and a strong ruler would be able to tax the guilds in order to get a share of the commerce and trade. In BR, that equates to getting tribute (in GB) from guild regents and tribute. Hence, the weak lords who can't get tribute lose out on commercial shares altogether.

    The other option is for a landed regent to establish his own guilds. Even if he doesn't get RP from them, he can still get the income and set up trade routes for extra profit.

    In more developed provinces, where there are towns and cities, it certainly makes sense that a greater proportion of the income comes from taxing local commerce and from head taxes (high population = more revenue). This is one of the reasons I proposed that there should be some income every season from land holdings.

    The major reason for making the income a flat one rather than a random one was the overwhelming complaints over the years with the complexity of the original systema and the sheer amount of paperwork required to run a Birthright campaign using that system.
    Yeah, I recognize that mostly it's a simplification for the sake of playability. To be honest, i think the d20 version has about the same amount of paperwork, just less dice to roll each season, which is fine. It did require an overwhelming number of different dice each season, no matter what type of regent you were. And I can't say I miss that. But I can't help feeling that some degree of randomness, especially concerning land income, is appropriate, which is why I posited the harvest modifier idea. If it only had to be done once a year, it seems that it wouldn't complicate paperwork too much.

    One possible error with your hypothisis is assuming that the income comes from the "same" place. Not all lands have the same "seasons", when it is harvest in Southern Anuire is is early summer in Northern Anuire and the differences are even greater when the other "lands" (e.g., Vosgard, Brecchtur, etc.) are taken into place.
    Eh? Wouldn't harvest be earlier and summers shorter as you go north? This is a northern hemisphere continent, right?

    Also, this is an issue of scale (always a bit sketchy in BR, as distances tend to be measured in "provinces" rather than miles). Just how big is Anuire/Cerilia? If western Cerilia is roughly the size and climate of Europe (which would make sense, given the climate and positions of Rjurik, Brechtur, and the northern wilderness), would there be a very big variation in seasons, or are we really just talking a month or two of difference within that region (W. Cerilia). Granted, things in Khinasi, Vosgard, etc. would be more extremely different, but most campaigns don't include land income for all of these regions at once (I hope, or there'll be some crazy DM's out there, drowning in seas of paperwork! :blink: ).

    So all in all, it seems reasonable to place harvest at roughly the same point within a given region / climate. Start of Autumn isn't bad for that purpose, at least in my mind. If Khinasi's vastly different, then that's the kind of thing the Atlas could explain.

    On a final note: I'm not deeply attached to this idea, but it is one that I think is worthy of consideration. I like any campaign setting to be a be a believable world, fantasy or not, and one of the appeals of BR (to me) has always been the low fantasy aspect (as opposed to something like Forgoten Realms, with magic shops in every town and city).

    Osprey

  4. #4
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Osprey@Jul 30 2003, 02:24 AM
    Also, this is an issue of scale (always a bit sketchy in BR, as distances tend to be measured in "provinces" rather than miles). Just how big is Anuire/Cerilia? If western Cerilia is roughly the size and climate of Europe (which would make sense, given the climate and positions of Rjurik, Brechtur, and the northern wilderness), would there be a very big variation in seasons, or are we really just talking a month or two of difference within that region (W. Cerilia). Granted, things in Khinasi, Vosgard, etc. would be more extremely different, but most campaigns don't include land income for all of these regions at once (I hope, or there'll be some crazy DM's out there, drowning in seas of paperwork! :blink: ).
    I don't have the exact measurements on me at the moment, but I worked this out before. Cerilia (as a whole) is roughly the same size as western europe, something like 1300 x 800 miles (with that big gap in the great bay). That is less than a third the size of europe (1 million sq miles compared to 3.7 million for europe).

    Assuming an earth sized world, I'll leave you to work out the exact details., but I know it is a long way north of the equator (which runs roughtly through the middle of Aduria according to Rich Baker's map).
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    I don't have the exact measurements on me at the moment, but I worked this out before. Cerilia (as a whole) is roughly the same size as western europe, something like 1300 x 800 miles (with that big gap in the great bay). That is less than a third the size of europe (1 million sq miles compared to 3.7 million for europe).

    Assuming an earth sized world, I'll leave you to work out the exact details., but I know it is a long way north of the equator (which runs roughtly through the middle of Aduria according to Rich Baker's map).
    Hmmm...all of Cerilia is only as big as Western Europe?!? That seems ludicrously small given the diversity of culture, climate, and independent powers. It puts everything into a very petty perspective compared to things like the Roman Empire, medieval Europe, etc. Makes Anuire look like a bunch of squabbling, over-inflated manor lords pretending to be kings! Do you think the original designers actually worked out that comparison?

    Couldn''t we at least adjust the scale to make Cerilia more the size of Europe as a whole? Even that's not big as continents go! Geez, it kinda' throws off my whole concept of scale.

    Osprey

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ge -----

    From: "Osprey" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>

    Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 11:46 AM





    > Hmmm...all of Cerilia is only as big as Western Europe?&#33;? That

    > seems ludicrously small given the diversity of culture, climate, and

    > independent powers?



    Why, because putting Anglo-Normans, Germans, Scandinavians, Russians, and

    Moors is impossible in the space of Europe? Good thing no one wanted to add

    Spaniards, Italians, or Hungarians.



    > It puts everything into a very petty perspective compared to things like

    > the Roman Empire, etc. Makes Anuire look like a bunch of squabbling,

    > over-inflated manor lords pretending to be kings



    Powerful medieval states were only marginally larger than the realms in

    Cerilia. Many powerful states were on the small size in BR.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

  7. #7
    > Powerful medieval states were only marginally larger than the realms in Cerilia. Many powerful states were on the small size in BR.



    You have me courious, both about the time and particular states. I can imagine some but those don`t usually fall in line with Anuire. Would you mind elaborating? I always felt the size was too small by half.



    Randy ~ Eosin
    Hello, I guess I gotta have a sig.

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