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Thread: Advice for new BR DM (long)
12-15-1997, 04:20 PM #1Brenda L SanterGuest
Advice for new BR DM (long)
Simon Graindorge asked for help with his new campaign, mainly with handling
all of the other regents and powers each turn, as well s the actions of
>I am a new DM who has just started a campaign set in the Birthright world.
>I have two player with quite high level characters (both dual-class humans,
>approximately level 10/10) from another campaign. Both characters are
>regents, and we are using the Ilien and Medoere campaign worlds and
Since your two characters who are ruling countries are right next door to
each other in Ilien and Medoere, that helps you out a lot. I would say to
pay the most attention to those NPCs who are right beside them which is
easier in this case than in some campaigns. Later, as events dictate or as
you get your own system in place, expand outward and keep track of more
NPCs, and finally add in other areas of Cerilia--Brechtur, the Rjurik
Highlands, etc. Even at first, when you are only focussing on the
immediate neighbours, you really do not have to plan their every free
action and domain turn. A good starting place would be to look at each
neighbour, note treasury, army and navy strengths from the Ruins of Empire
(create these if needed), and then think what that NPCs goals would be over
the next year or two. Write those down. If you get around to doing domain
turns for each of the NPC neighbours, great. If not, just get an idea of
what they would be doing and how they would feel about the PCs actions. Do
what you have time, energy and inclination for, then add the rest as you
feel able to do so. You may wish to make up (or borrow from another
gaming system) a chart of random events that would influence a country to
give you ideas on what could happen to the NPCs. Rolemaster has such a
chart of monthly and annual events that is pretty good and more detailed
than the ramdon events list in the BR rules. I would include marriages,
births, deaths, etc. on the list.
By the way, you seem happy with two dual class humans levels 10/10 for the
campaign. Those levels are quite powerful for the BR setting. That in
itself may make the characters more noticeable to NPCs. You could use that
to your advantage as a DM. I, on the other hand, have chosen to only allow
lower level characters to start my campaigns in the BR setting. That gives
me a breather at first since NPCs are not as easily intimidated/concerned
by a lower level character. I can worry more about getting the players
into the game, give them a chance to get used to the rules and get
themselves settled a bit, rather than immediately bombard them with big
trouble (lull them into a false sense of security perhaps?).
When thinking of how much regency an NPC would put into an action, be
realistic. If the regent is from a large active country, he or she may use
regency as quickly as they acquire it. If from a smaller, less active
country, he or she may have more stored up for such occasions. Also, don't
forget that the NPC doesn't need to respond immediately to any real or
perceived threat. He or she could wait to see what the PC will do next.
Brian Stoner replied: In the game I'm DMing there are 6 regents. Two are
wizards, 2 are thieves (one rules Endier as well), and 2 are landed rulers.
It hasbeen difficult to run the game, and I will not allow this many regents
again. I've been forced to take one of the players as a co-DM and we've
split the duties of which domains we control, as well as planning
adventures. We actively run 6 or so domains apiece.
I have to disagree with Brian. 6 Regents who control countries can be a
challenge, but if that is what the players want, there is usually a way to
work it. I enjoy the idea of running a country, and I really think that
players who do not have a country will feel left out or bored when you are
doing domain turns. The idea of a co-DM was a great solution. If the
countries are closer together that helps, or all at least in one area of
the world. I presently DM 3 campaigns. The first is taking a bit of a
break, but the rulers and other regents (5 of them) are in Aerenwe, Elinie
and Osoerde. In the second campaign, players rule Taeghas, Talinie,
Stjordvik, and Halskapa. In the largest campaign, there are 9 players, who
rule: Brosengae, Tuornen, Dhoesone, Osoerde, Baruk-Azhik, an island kingdom
in Caelcorwynn, Albiele etc., a jarldom within Stjordvik, part of a newly
liberated area of Kiergaard, and source holdings in southern Rjurik lands.
It is a lot of work, but we all enjoy the campaign, and it gets more
interesting as the guilder on the islands makes more contact with his
Brecht homeland and the ruler in Osoerde stretches his diplomatic skills
trying to contact Khinasi lands.
Eric Dunn said:
In my first campaign, everyone had a land...and to be honest, the dm had a
heckuva time giving reasons why the various regents should help each other
out on adventures. The people rule entire countries... it's their _job_
to delegate authority for other people to handle the problems...they just
Three points here: a while back on this list, we discussed why a ruler
would adventure. I think the point was well made that, although a ruler
can delegate, some like Richard the Lion Heart prefer to be off
adventuring, and as the king, they can do as they want. This is not a
modern world where the president or other leader has a group of advisors
say "you shouldn't do this" and he won't do it.
The second point is that, there can be many reasons for regents to help
each other out. They are nice people who like helping others. They are
hoping that if they help now, the other one will owe them a favour.
Helping in the dungeon may lead to concessions during domain turns and vice
versa. Helping in dungeon or otherwise may be a way to get the other player
up for later when the helper's true motives come out. What I am getting at
is that the motives may be altruistic or totally selfish or somewhere
Finally, why should they adventure together at all? The easy answer is let
the players come up with a reason for it. Let them decide how they are
friends, allies, related etc. If that doesn't work, and the players have
vastly different motivations or ruler countries that are far spread from
each other, you may need to invent a few prophecies or other incentives for
them to work together. If you have any interest in this, mail me privately
and I'll tell you more about what I did.
Sorry this post got so long, but it seemed easiest to reply to Simon, and
to respond to Brian and Eric all in the same post.
The main point I wanted to make is that BR is a great setting and it can be
a lot of fun. Yes, there can be a load of work for the DM, but there are
ways to get what you and your players want from the game.
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