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  1. #1
    BRCS:



    After running a PbeM for several months using the BRCS I though I would make a critique to identify the strengths and weakensses for the revision draft.



    First, I generally like the BRCS. This is not a slam but an identification of issues.



    Positive stuff:

    The Character, Court, and Domain Actions work well and interact with the PC to some degree. Some of the rules could use some elaboration and clarification (Espionage particularly).



    Wizard Regents need special care. Every game that I have played in and the one I run has a different way of viewing the rules for wizards. Courts do not work for them – Realm Actions don’t really work for them, some of the spells were changed in level or effect for reasons that are not readily apparent. Wizards are just poorly understood as regents. Many, many see little point in domain actions and instead adventure. The length of time to learn a new Realm Spell is prohibitive for many, many games (not just PbeM). This is the section of the book that needs the most work.



    Most players do not understand how to utilise Lts. This needs to be put down in clear and consice wording. Folded into this is the question of cohort and followers? Is the cohort automatically a Lt? It might be nice to provide a sample realm regent (of a small realm) with detailed followers, cohort, lts and such to provide people examples.



    Cash flow –

    I like the collection system. Nicely explains a bunch of good stuff. Most realms, read nearly every realm, is too rich and has too little to spend its gold on. Places like Talinie are a veritable gold mine of GB. Conversly, smaller realms that do not have associated income generating holdings (wizardly-landed regents - Ilien) are pitifully poor, so poor that they cannot support themselves. As a neutral, cosmopolitian realm there are a few cheaters that you can use to justify bending the income rules for Ilien.



    Building is way too cheap. Regents build roads and castles like crazy cause they have so much gold and so little to spend it on. It would be nice to see some of the costs for building perment items increase – sometimes dramatically in the case of Trade Roads.



    Regency

    Nearly all actions succed in my game because Realm Regents have nothing else to spend RP on. There needs to be an RP drain, maybe an RP cost associated with Character, Court, and Domain Actions. I am not sure how to fix this but it is broken. I have not seen a game that used the RP fractional collection rules. Instead of taking a little from the characters, they just ensure that they have allocated their Skill Points to get max RP. This creates skill cloning rather than good diversity. A chart like the one used in the Ars Magica game by the two Johns may provide an answer to this delima – escalating RP costs depending on how much you want to modify the roll (+1 = 1 RP, +2 = 3 RP, +3 = 6 RP, etc…..).



    The combat rules are nicely updated. They do have some problems. Not all of the examples provided follow the rules (I think). There are many numerous little holes in the combat section and I and the war DM have spent sometime probing these and trying to provide fixes. Feel free to look at the War Room on my Forums at the Night of Fire Game – I won’t post five pages of adjustments here J



    There is a distinct pitch to landed combat in these rules. Naval combat is fairly shrifted and has lots of work to catch up….Again see the forums for more info on this one. I just thought that it deserved a special mention.



    There is more but this kinda covers the Domain stuff. Just to reiterate, I think the rules are good they just need some more streamlining and perhaps a rethinking of the gold collection, expenditures, and RP issues.



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

  2. #2
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I don't know what you say, but money always was a difficult part for any ruler, except if you take the thing lightly... For example, roads need maintainance, security (aka militia, guards, knights, [whatever]), and charting. The same goes for towns and cities as well.

    I hope some of these ideas help; I believe you can come up with similar concepts as well. Now, putting such costs in the BRCS would be another idea...

  3. #3
    >>>I believe you can come up with similar concepts as well. Now, putting such costs in the BRCS would be another idea...



    I think that my point was more akin to - Regents (as a rule) have far more gold and far few expences than what is laid out in RoE and in the 2E rulebook. As one possibility to correct this you could do things like raising prices to build things, like roads which seem too cheap given the amount that regents have built in my game. I would also raise the building costs of Fortifications. The maintenance costs seem to be low all around....all of these things could be bumped up to bring the game more into line with what it should be in my experience from playing 2E. You could also lower income to correct the cash overflow but that option is less appealing to me.



    The difficulty is finding the balance that reduces some of the cash flow for the larger realms but not crippling the smaller realms. Many regents have more than 30 GB left over each turn right now (even after building up thier military to 15-18 units).



    The only cash strapped landed regent is Diemed. Part of his probelms stems from having a largish navy, a largish army, 2 Fortifications, 2 Ports, and several spy networks (Ghoere, Medoere, Roesone).



    When I played Mhoried I was able to field 40 Units of military in action - this is too much (I fielded more but some were levy). I also did this with a small cash surplus. It should really start to hurt when you push past 20-30 units even for the biggies like Avanil, Boeruine, and Ghoere...



    I could go on - there are hundereds of diferent smallish items that tell me "Regents have too much gold, and too little expences." Just letting the "Powers that Be" know what the DMs are seeing. :)



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

  4. #4
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Just on the whole gold collection issue, I've been doing some calculations recently for most of Anuire's realms and the gold collection using the rules in the BRCS is almost exactly equal to the average gold collection using the old random system from the original rules. In some cases it is almost spot on, while others may be one or two gold bars out.

    However, there have been some changes in the collection maintenance rules that I think make a significant impact (note: I didn't work on that section of the BRCS). Firstly, holdings and provinces no longer have a maintenance cost. While this only means a GB or 2 difference for most PC realms, as they grow this can make a difference. 2nd, the law collection changes mean more GB. Although I should point out that the whole gold collection issue was something I had a problem with when using the original rules too, especially once the campaign ran for a long time as my first one did. A solution for this is something I will have to think about... I have some ideas already, need to write them up and post them for consideration by the list.

    I would be interested in hearing more details about your experinces to help fine tune the revision to the BRCS domain rules. Specifically I'd like to know how the rules pan out over a long period of play. If you want to get in touch with me at hoss@chariot.net.au then I would welcome any insights you have to offer. The same goes for anyone else who has been using the BRCS rules.

    On your other concerns...

    Wizards: Have to agree 100% with you here, as I'm currently playing a wizard regent in a pbem at the moment so I know what you are talking about. The realms spell system in particular needs a lot of revision (primarily the levels of certain spells such as warding in particular). I'm working on that at the moment (in my copious free time in between writing a BR story from my current campiagn, working on the Atlas, designing a new mass combat system, creating a archive page for the mailing list, designing my Adurian Campaign Setting, playing Icewind Dale II, enteraining visiting relatives, and lets not forget my job as well)...

    Lieutenants: This issue has already been tagged for revision and is being worked on. Hopefully then updated info will be a little easier to understand.

    Cash Flow: See above. Also, I'll look at the building costs issue. The costs in the BRCS are relatively the same as in the original rules, but I'm open to suggestions for changes if anyone thinks they are necessary.

    Regency: Again this is an issue that has carried over from the original rules and hasn't been resolved. Regents who keep stocking up their RP find that they soon collect vast amounts of regency. An attempt was made to limit this by changing the bloodline rules so that a bloodline automatically increased once a certain RP total was reached. I don't know if anyone ever used that rules though...
    The Gulf States PBeM uses the fractional rp collection rules, I know because my wizard has chosen skills to ensure maximum collection. Personally, I like this whole idea, but I do think some rewriting is needed to explain it better, although that goes for the whole chapter IMO. But then that chapter was added to the book right at the last moment and have virtually no editing. I'd started editing that section of it, but only got as far as about the 3rd page before the playtest rules were released.

    Anyway that's all I can comment on for now, have to go and do some writing... Ran my regular Birthright game today and need to jot down notes for the story I'm writing based on it before I forget.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  5. #5
    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    First I must confess to never having used the BRCS collection rules, nor have I actually read them. Shame on me!



    I would like to ask a question though. Are you sure it is the collection rules that are wrong? maybe its the NPC and player regents` attitudes that need changing.



    In my Ruins of Empire campaign (which has a lot of rules that look nothing like either 2E BR or BRCS) we use a square GB collection. I`m not saying that is a better solution. I does, however, give regents even MORE gold to work with. Yet somehow there is always too little gold! You could always need a better court, a higher level castle, more experienced cavalry units, another galleon...then there are debts from the last war etc. that must be repaid.



    Point is, the players (and NPCs) face so many challenges on a daily basis that there is never enough GBs (or RPs to go around).



    If regents are routinely having EXCESS funds, that takes away a lot of the fun for me. the domain level of play is part about being clever and a good role-player, but there is also the aspect of managing you meagre funds in the best possible manner.



    So instead of changing the collection rules, maybe the players and DMs attitudes needs to be reviewed :-)



    Cheers

    Bjørn



    Cheers

    Bjørn



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    Bjørn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

  6. #6
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    In my BRCS campaign, I found that there's really only one expense that creates huge maintenace costs: troops. If money is prolific, it is so on all sides, which has led to rather large armies being raised. 20 companies isn't unusual for a respectable army, and 40+ companies isn't out of reach for the big boys (like Ghoere, for example). Definitely larger scale than the original Ruins of Empire army sizes. But it's not unworkable.

    The real problem is what to do with factions that don't have troops to support. Guilds often pay tax and tribute, but that's a bit trickier with temples.

    One possibility is to allow GB to improve the chance of success on domain actions. Right now Agitate is the only one that this works for, but it makes sense that pouring resources into almost any endeavor would help ensure success.

    I like the suggestion of a scaled RP spending system. A matching system for spending extra GB might be appropriate.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    As one possibility to correct this you could do things like raising prices to build things, like roads which seem too cheap given the amount that regents have built in my game.
    I agree - highways should cost more to build and maintain. Bridges, too. They're dirt cheap right now, and who wouldn't want them for the miniscule maintenance? It also makes seaports unattractive for sea trade routes (seaports=1/2 GB each, plus ship maintenance), which is extremely unrealistic.

    I would also raise the building costs of Fortifications.
    I disagree with this one. Fortifications are fairly costly to build and maintain. I think those costs are pretty well-balanced. I do, however, charge my players double if they build castles above the province level.

    2nd, the law collection changes mean more GB. Although I should point out that the whole gold collection issue was something I had a problem with when using the original rules too, especially once the campaign ran for a long time as my first one did. A solution for this is something I will have to think about... I have some ideas already, need to write them up and post them for consideration by the list.
    Regents almost never use the "collections" in my game unless they're anxious to make enemies.

    Conversly, smaller realms that do not have associated income generating holdings (wizardly-landed regents - Ilien) are pitifully poor, so poor that they cannot support themselves.
    I liked the addition of virtual guilds from sources. Doesn't help Ilien at the start, I know...but it's good incentive for Aglondier (and Aelies) to struggle for full control of the Erebannien's sources, rather than splitting them down the middle. And there's always Alchemy, but it's RP-consumptive AND takes a domain action, which wizards are constantly short of (see my Arcane Courts posting for one solution to helping this problem).

    I have not seen a game that used the RP fractional collection rules.
    More of an issue at low levels. I would prefer a larger spread of skills to collection (say, 5 or 10% per level, rather than 20% per rank of difference) if this system is to be kept. The general idea that certain skills are necessary for proper rulership of different holding types is pretty logical, IMO. I wouldn't mind if the system for land, law, and sources looked more like the Guild list, though...more diversity possible that way, which helps to avoid the "skill cloning" without ignoring that certain skills do make for better rulers. The skills listed in the BRCS are obviously built off the original class-based RP collections. I prefer a skill base rather than a direct class base myself. It's more flexible.

    By the way, I REALLY like the idea of scaled RP costs a lot. I'd love to see a full table on that.

    Some of the rules could use some elaboration and clarification (Espionage particularly).
    Agreed. I'd like to know more about hidden versus visible actions, and how one can use espionage to hide other domain actions and holdings (like foreign Law holdings, for example).

    The only cash strapped landed regent is Diemed. Part of his probelms stems from having a largish navy, a largish army, 2 Fortifications, 2 Ports, and several spy networks (Ghoere, Medoere, Roesone).
    I generally foist the maintenance for seaports and roads onto the guild regents, who are the main beneficiaries of the trade routes that use them.

    When I played Mhoried I was able to field 40 Units of military in action - this is too much (I fielded more but some were levy). I also did this with a small cash surplus. It should really start to hurt when you push past 20-30 units even for the biggies like Avanil, Boeruine, and Ghoere...
    This is really an issue of scale and playability. A better battle system might ease this difficulty as far as playability is concerned. As for scale, well that depends what you consider realistic. If the average company is 200 troops (using the original BR stats as I remember them), then 20-30 companines is 4000-6000 troops. That's big, but not insanely huge. 40 companies is an 8000-troop army, which is not out of scale for medieval field battles. They got a lot bigger than that, even, but only with entire kingdoms like France, England, Spain, etc.. Anuire's so bleeding small (in actual acreage, that is) that its "kingdoms" are more like petty warlord holdings in comparison to European medieval scale. I would love if someone did a historical breakdown of population vs. supportable army sizes to get a sense of what IS a realistic.

    -Osprey

  8. #8
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----

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

    Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2003 12:16 PM





    > I agree - highways should cost more to build and maintain.

    > Bridges, too. They`re dirt cheap right now, and who wouldn`t

    > want them for the miniscule maintenance? It also makes seaports

    > unattractive for sea trade routes (seaports=1/2 GB each, plus ship

    > maintenance), which is extremely unrealistic.



    What is almost required is to create a viable merchant prince game in which

    the game makes sense if all you do is trade. Start by lifting the relavent

    BR rules, work on the trade game, then drop them back in. Ideally the game

    reflects both realistic trade and simple and fun game play.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    What is almost required is to create a viable merchant prince game in which
    the game makes sense if all you do is trade. Start by lifting the relavent
    BR rules, work on the trade game, then drop them back in. Ideally the game
    reflects both realistic trade and simple and fun game play.

    Kenneth Gauck
    Yeah, I started thinking about that when Raesene Andu (Ian) was talking about trade goods for various provinces/domains for the Atlas project. Lord Rhavin&#39;s specialty guild holdings also opened up some new possibilities, like gold mines and bazaars. There are lots of possibilities that could be opened up there, but I&#39;d prefer to keep some of them optional so high levels of detail aren&#39;t absolutely necessary for regular gameplay.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----

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

    Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2003 2:04 PM





    > There are lots of possibilities that could be opened up there,

    > but I`d prefer to keep some of them optional so high levels

    > of detail aren`t absolutely necessary for regular gameplay.



    I`m not so interested in adding detail as I am making the costs and rewards

    make sense. What is the cost and the return of a caravan, ship, bridge,

    port, road, or any of the basic componanats of trade.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

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