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  1. #1
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Hello Folks,

    Some of you may remember me posting various Wondrous Structures (War Academy, Naval Academy, Academy of Magic, etc.) over the past months. Well, I've added quite a few to that list, and rather than flooding the boards with a lot of data, I decided it would be better to simply post the link here so that people could check them out as they were interested. The site is new, so not too much else on there at the moment, though I included a few docs that I've written explaining rules additions for my own BR campaign (like provinces over their normal maximum levels), and potential expansions for an Epic Birthright campaign. Most of this stuff is based on the BRCS ruleset. Enjoy, and feel free to post any comments, feedback, criticism, or even compliments [well, I can dream... :lol: ] on this thread or via email to me. Here's the link:

    The Southern Alliance

    The site is named the Southern Alliance because that is at the heart of my current campaign, in which the various regents of southern Anuire have made a lasting alliance of mutual defense and cooperation, and planted the seeds for further unification of Anuire, and perhaps one day, Empire...

    Osprey

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    Hi Osprey,

    Good to see people are still making new rules and add to the total pool of BR ideas out there. I read through most of the files, and while I might not agree with all the details I got a whole lot of inspiration from them.

    Have you had many instances of provinces expanding into the 'epic' range so far? I'm interested in hearing if the BR rules work for such examples or if things start breaking down. The same goes for the various wonders described. As they are quite expensive, how often do you find that players have the time and money to start building them?

    Cheers,
    E

  3. #3
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Don E,
    Thanks for checkin 'em out. I'm glad you found inspiration there - that was the #1 reason to post them in a public place. The #2 reason is so I can get feedback from others and perhaps make them even better.

    Have you had many instances of provinces expanding into the 'epic' range so far? I'm interested in hearing if the BR rules work for such examples or if things start breaking down.
    Actually, yes, there are now provinces in 2 different domains (in my campaign) with levels above the normal maximum. However, these are only happening where there are high-level regents witha LOT of focused Rule Province skills - every scrap of Admin bonus they could find was gotten. The most glaring example is Helgarad, an Adurian province that has reached level 18 by the start of 566 (this regent started in 552, so it's 14 years later&#33. This is possible only with an epic regent with the Master and Epic Administrator feats, Regent Focus: Rule Province, Skill Focus: Administrate, specialty training in Administrate (another +5) and an artifact called the Rod of Prosperity, which grants +5 Administrate and +2 to Admin-based domain actions (so +3 total in my game)...that's the kind of craziness it takes to possibly ever reach such a high level of province, but that's the sort of thing focused epic characters are capable of.

    A somewhat more down-to-earth example is Caercas in Roesone, which thanks to a high-level University, War Academy, and the Heart (a Cathedral of Haelyn run by the Impregnable Heart) has been enabled to reach level 14 and has potential to go to 15 if the DC were just a little more reachable (the regent, Elana Alwer, needs a 16 or better to succeed when the province is Helpful - she's at a total +14 Rule Province with Helpful subjects, which makes any normal job a cinch, but still makes this one damnably hard).

    Now, is it broken? The high province levels in and of themselves are definitely not. As RP can't be spent to Rule a province, the high DC's (DC = 2 x target level or 10 + target level, whichever is higher) make things over 10 get really tough really fast. So while 1 or 2 levels over is reachable for these highly-focused landed regents, it's rarely easy AND it's incredibly expensive: 2 GB per target level just to try, and 1 GB per target level to Rule higher-than-normal Holdings within such a province (with matching DCs).

    However, with such expense and chance of failure, there are only two outstanding reasons to even try to do this:
    1. Pride of having a high-level province, especially as one's capital (in a game with multiple live players, showing off between regents becomes a big deal ).
    2. The advantages of building Wonders to as high of a level as you can get them. The higher the better in most every cases (there are potentially a huge number of possibilities for the Cathedral, the most unfinished of the Wonders, as different options would apply to different sects/deities).

    The same goes for the various wonders described. As they are quite expensive, how often do you find that players have the time and money to start building them?
    It's as I told my players: "Yes, they are expensive, but I promise you I will always make it worthwhile." I designed all of them so that the higher their levels, the more even the basic effects could keep stacking up and becoming more worthwhile. most Wonders aren't incredibly valuable at low levels, but at high levels they become world dominators.

    Again the glory of building such things is a powerful motivator to regents. And in fact, it was the issue of the PC regent having too much money and nothing but big armies to spend it on that motivated me to start designing rules for these academies and wonders. I love the idea that regents can have more ambitions than simply becoming the next Anuirean Emperor or Imperial Temple or Imperial Guild or whatever. Now they're focusing on these wonders to create lasting legacies for their people, their heirs and descendants, and their realms or organizations (such as the Impregnable Heart's Grand Cathedral, or the Port of Call Exchange's World Trade Exchange and less public Black Tower, a Rogues' Guild of grand scale, in Ilien).

    Under the BRCS rules, I've found that stable realms, and stable temple and guild domains within them, can easily pile up large sums of money in a few short years once their borders are secure. If alliances help tie down this stability, and a degree of sponsorship of wonders goes on between allies, then the Wonders become surprisingly affordable. However, it isn't the Build cost that is ever much of a barrier I've found; it's the maintenance that's a killer. That's why I ended up designing ways for many of the Wonders to either start making money for its regent, and/or reduce its own maintenance through patronage. Then a high-level version becomes feasible. Patrons are quite believable for such things, as what noble or well-off merchant wouldn't want his or her name attached to such a glorious edifice? Talk about status amongst one's peers! The Gentlemen's Academy is the premier example of this, and the high-level Adventurers' Guild is close behind, as both are low-population, high-status affairs once they get built up, and can in fact actually turn a profit in addition to their other benefits.

    The War Academy, on the other hand, is easily the greatest drain imaginable on one's treasury, and here it might be wise for a ruler to share its benefits along with its expenses. In my game, I allowed a Diplomacy action to set up allied regent sponsors, each of whom pays for the construction and continued maintenance of 1 level of the War Academy. This is like tribute - it goes directly to the War Academy (WA), thus reducing its maintenance for the main WA regent. In exchange, the sponsors are allowed to come and train their elite units at the WA's facilities,as well as their own personal skills or their generals', and use the WA for hiring skilled commanders, officers, and bodyguards.

    As for time? Well, if you don't have a big Court and a Master Architect on the job, it's going to take a LONG time to get these puppies built. I use the BRCS rule that a Master Architect/Engineer can be hired and oversee a standard Build domain action to initiate a project (DC 20 P/Engineering check), at which point that and every following Build action can be maximized to 4 GB per Court Action spent. I added the stipulation that at least 1 Court Action must be spent every subsequent month in order to retain the architect's benefit (minimum of 1 GB, max. 4). However, so long as this condition is met, the same domain action can fuel high-cost, high-speed building indefinitely.


    One final thing, going back to high level provinces and wonders combining: in a sense, it does get "broken" compared to the normal domain sets and typical regents. However, like in reality, everything in the world is relative. If a PC regent starts building a Wonder, there's a good chance that as word spreads and the PC's status grows, other regents will start doing the same, or try to sabotage the PCs' efforts, or they may try to curry favor either with the PCs or their enemies. I try to balance the pros and cons in some sort of believable manner, making adjustments based on PCs' Renown, general alignment, and histories (like who have they pissed off vs. who have they made friends with).

    The most "broken" example, to be honest, has been the World Trade Exchange sitting in a high level province. The level 18 Exchange in Helgarad, tied to a level 18 guild [a complete monopoly, as might be expected], is the equivalent of a level 36 guild!!! With 12 trade routes each generating 18 GB just on that half, well, you do the math...36 GB maintenance for the wonder is a drop in the bucket at that point, and we are truly talking about epic levels of domain play and wealth at this point. It gets worse, too...the University in Helgarad has 2 Industrial Specialties there (another +8 GB per trade route), the Bardic College (run by the Bard guild regent who also runs the Exchange) has 3 craft specialties (at L18, another +27 GB in trade)...gross, gross, gross. Here is a case where things got taken to the absolute extremes, and that guild regent has more money than god, of which a full third goes to his liege lord (the now-Emperor of Mieres, though it's mostly an Adurian Empire that started from Mieres).

    However, a final note...as gross as all of that sounds, if you start looking at gp levels for high level character you'll realize that only the wealthiest of regents have the money that is supposedly typical of low-end epic adventurers. As insane as say 1000 GB sounds, 2 million gold pieces is actually right at the low end of epic level wealth...it's just finding things to spend it on at a domain level that becomes such a problem, as no matter how rich you are, you still only get 3 domain actions per season. And that, in the end, keeps most other things somewhat in hand.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Osprey@May 9 2004, 06:09 PM
    Don E,
    Thanks for checkin 'em out. I'm glad you found inspiration there - that was the #1 reason to post them in a public place. The #2 reason is so I can get feedback from others and perhaps make them even better.
    You're more than welcome. A quick question. How much is the construction and maintenance cost for the World Exchange? I think it might have been left out from the document.

    If I would come with a suggestion it would be that you could make hanguns appear a bit later than canons with the gunpowder options. It took several hundred years after the canon made its debut before relatively effective handguns were available.

    Actually, yes, there are now provinces in 2 different domains (in my campaign) with levels above the normal maximum.
    And how is the other realms keeping up, are they growing to considerable levels as well? I am intersted in knowing how you manage to keep the game from either spiraling out of control or having the players' realms become so powerful the NPCs are left behind.

    As insane as say 1000 GB sounds, 2 million gold pieces is actually right at the low end of epic level wealth...
    Yes, but have you introduced a good number of epic level opponents for the players? I am very impressed you have managed to keep the game going this long, and would love to hear how you keep the players busy. From the sound of it they have built themselves considerable empires, and I was wondering if you had fleshed out something interesting for them in Aduria.

    Cheers,
    E

  5. #5
    The World Exchange has the same base cost and maintanence as the rest of the wonders (25GB/level and 2GB/level maint)

    So far I'm the only player who has created an empire, heh, though im about 5-6 years ahead of the other PC group and I was the one who went to Aduria, while they are working together towards an empire in Anuire (a MUCH more difficult thing to accomplish really). If you want to see the original maps (these maps have not been updated with the current names and province levels since they were first made) of the Adurian areas that I conquered check out this website:Mieres Empire

    There also is a link on the Southern Alliance website to the Mieres Empire.

    Heh, well not many epic adventures really as most of the BR world isn't epic. I have run into a Large empire called teh Druvidian Empire. It has 4 parts called the Eastern, Central, Western and Southern Empires, with the Central being the lands where the High Emperor rules. Each consist of about 30-40 provinces... so if you consider that an epic challenge then thats probably about the 3rd hardest one i got. The 2nd is trying to cleanse the blight, called the Plains of Sorrow, and the monsters surrounding the Ruins of the Adurian Imperial City in the Center of Aduria and you can see it on the maps. The 1st epic adventure is the Wastelands south of Mieres, its the lands around Deismaar, so its full of undead.

    I have yet to even try to take these epic adventures on really, because I like living and I would rather create a large stable empire for my children than get myself killed before I finish. Ruling is not something you do just for your own personal gain its for the gain of your line. Rulers who forget that often get themselves killed and their lines wiped out... Besides, Its better to leave some things for your children to do, otherwise they will have nothing to do once they gain power, which can be a very bad thing.
    "Who was the first that forged the deadly blade? Of rugged steel his savage soul was made." --Tibullus

    "Qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum." --Vegetius

    "Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than war." --Homer

  6. #6
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    And how is the other realms keeping up, are they growing to considerable levels as well? I am intersted in knowing how you manage to keep the game from either spiraling out of control or having the players' realms become so powerful the NPCs are left behind.


    QUOTE*
    As insane as say 1000 GB sounds, 2 million gold pieces is actually right at the low end of epic level wealth...



    Yes, but have you introduced a good number of epic level opponents for the players? I am very impressed you have managed to keep the game going this long, and would love to hear how you keep the players busy. From the sound of it they have built themselves considerable empires, and I was wondering if you had fleshed out something interesting for them in Aduria.

    Cheers,
    E
    I say "my campaign," but I'm really referring to 2 different games that are parallel (they happen in the same version of Cerilia), occasionally intertwined, but mostly in 2 seperate spheres.

    The Anuirean game, the one which the Southern Alliance Campaign centers on, is my tabletop game that I run once a week here in New Hampshire (USA). I have 4 players in that, 2 of whom have had their original PC regents killed (1 in a fight with an awnshegh assassin in Tuornen, 1 on the battlefield, against undead legions in Ilien) and haver since made new characters of a totally color. That game has been running for a little over a year of real time (about 15 months now, with a 2-3 month break last summer). The PC's started in Summer of 551 MR as various friendly regents of Southern Anuire (a Baron of Roesone, Guilder of the Port of Call Exchange, Count of Ilien, and Archprelate of the Impregnable Heart) and it is now Summer of 558 MR...so 7 years in-game.

    The tabletop game isn't quite as high-powered as the 2nd one I'm running (the one T'Char is playing as Blaede, Duke of Mieres - well, Emperor of Mieres by 565 MR). The Mieres campaign is quite different, as it's a solo game that's been almost entirely long-distance since T'Char lives on the US west coast while I live 3000 miles or so east of him...we haven't had a live session since 4th of July last year. Instead it's been a mix of mostly AIM and telephone to allow some storytelling and live discussion. But inevitably it has focused on the domain level more than the adventure level, as adventuring is very hard to run long-distance. Which is one of the reasons his game is getting far ahead of the other one, despite the fact that Blaede is a member of the Southern Alliance, and occasionally I have to step in and play him as an NPC at various Southern Alliance meetings.

    For the most part, Blaede has focused on beefing up the Mieres navy (the Naval Academy was one of the 1st wonders designed, as it got started pretty early in Mieres' history) to protect his duchey's coastlines, then using Mieres (ruled up to fairly high levels) as a powerhouse springboard to launch armies against the Adurian coastal states (a series of independent city-states that made for fairly easy pickings, at least at first...then he learned what even a small kingdom of 3 provinces could do when the King ruled the guilds, had maximum trade routes between his 3 provinces, and was backed by a potent High Priestess of the Cold Rider. This was the kingdom of Helgarad, whose armies of slave-soldiers and war-crazed fanatics (beefed up by the Battle Fury realm spell :angry: ) proved to be a true menace against the Mieres Crusaders. Even by that point, in the summer of 558, Blaede was a high-level character (16th I believe) as was his twin sister, Jetana (15th), High Priestess of the Southern Temple of Neserie (STN). The battle was eventually decided by a strategic attack on the enemy command units thanks to the wizard's Travel ability (Vorynn, timed to occur at moonset around dawn). Blaede and Jetana went in with a handful of their prime companions: Dmitri, the Wizard of Mieres, a wizard 12/great scion of Vorynn (ECL 14), Adrien, Champion of the STN, a L13 paladin, and Tier, the court bard (L12), w/ support from 2 clerics and 2 paladins of Neserie of levels 10-12.

    But the regents and prime lieutenants of Helgarad were also deadly opponents of great experience. They were King Kirgan Feldrath - a 14th level fighter/noble, major bloodline of Azrai; the High Priestess Tanalya Escarios - a 16th level cleric w/ a great bloodline of Azrai; Mograt, the Champion of the Temple Legions, a L16 half-fiend Blackguard/Fighter; and Mogril, the Hand of Azrai, a L15 War Priest beastman [1/2-orog/human race bred for warfare before Deismaar, and since a true-breeding independent race in Aduria).

    That's an idea of some of the stats behind the challenges I set up for my players. And I do my best to play my NPC's believably, acting on what info and intelligence they have, then performing to the best of their abilities. Which means just about every single fight my PC's ever get into is truly life-threatening and very challenging.

    Do the PC's ever lack for challenge? Not really. One of the best aspects of 3rd edition D&D was the revamping of monsters to allow class levels or extra HD for almost any creature. Which means one can always justify bigger baddies to face on an adventure scale, and there's always somewhere in Aduria or Cerilia or anywhere else where such creatures exist. While they are going to be fewer and further between, all this means is that by epic character levels progression is going to slow down a lot as fewer and fewer things pose a significant challenge and grant much if anything in the way of useful experience. Which is fine by me...

    On the domain level, however, things should be hitting that Empire level. I've always believed that the epic D&D game was best-suited to mainly domain-scale play, with adventures being the occasional legendary challenge rather than a regular occupation. Even wit long life, few worlds (BR or otherwise) can hold many epic-level monsters or opponents - otherwise the masses of mere mortals would get crushed as a side-effect of their titanic struggles. No world can support large numbers of epic creatures unless the baseline populations are all higher than 0-level people too. But then again, it may be that this is in fact an effect of the emergence of epic regents, Empire founders, great Wonders being created, and so forth - that the "average" person might in fact be several levels higher as the ever-rising levels of prosperity, technology, and achievement raise the baseline standards of normalcy ever higher. Great leaders inspire great societies - and great enemies.

    In Anuire, things are already well set-up for at least a few major epic challenges. The greatest awnshegh, such as the Spider, Rhuobhe, and the Gorgon, can certainly provide for some very epic encounters. After reasoning out what the powers of these 2000-year-old scion monsters must really be like, I have no problem making them totally unbeatable by pre-epic characters. Which means the PC's of my tabletop game, ranging from 13th to 17th level, are far from ready to take on any of the "Big Three" in a head to head battle.

    As for domains, well...the Wonder-building spree in southern Anuire is only now picking up some major steam. Elana Alwer's War Academy in Caercas, Roesone, is finally reaching a high level of power (level 12 by late 558), and the hyper-expensive but incredible elite units it's producing will inevitably be a decisive force on any battlefield. The University of Roesone is also boosting that barony's prosperity, and Elana's skills as a landed regent have made Caercas the most advanced and prosperous province in Anuire, though the newness of its prosperity have yet to overshadow the centuries-old greatness of the Imperial City (the innovators and progressive leaders are often recognized long after they have completed some of their greatest works). Yanos Mannfred, now Count of Ilien and Guildmaster of the Port of Call Exchange, is one of the richest regent in Anuire thanks to his World Trade Exchange in Ilien and his vast network of guilds that span the majority of Southern Anuire (he has a monopoly in Roesone, most of Medoere, and a majority in Osoerde, now under the rule of William Moergen). In fact, he is easily the most powerful single guilder in Anuire, though few outside of the Southern Alliance are aware of this fact yet...though awareness is spreading as he prepares to expand beyond Alliance borders.

    Again...the campaign is quite big in scope and promise, and even now there's still a thousand variables that could bring it all crashing down on their heads.

    As I've been game-mastering in one form or another for some 20 years now, I find that I can ALWAYS find new challenges for the players, and make certain they never feel too secure in their power. One of the lessons I like to impart is the insecurity that in fact grows as one's worldy power and status grow...all that wealth and fame draw a lot of oft-unwanted attention, and mighty as they are becoming, the Gorgon could still crush them like gnats beneath his stony hooves.

    A lesson that any good GM should take to heart, and pass on to his or her players..."No matter how big you are, there's always someone bigger than you."

    Not to mention that even the big guys sometimes fall from the unseen foe...if a face can launch a thousand ships, then surely a villain can bring an Empire crashing down.

    There are ways, and there are WAYS.

    Slainte,
    Osprey

  7. #7
    Wondered why i like living so much? I think Osprery explained it rather nicely... keeps me paranoid, heh, that should be one of those insanity transformations for the awnshegh/ehrsheghlien class.

    Anyway, I have a guild master of all the guilds in Mieres, Alden who also is a PC. Unfortunately hes a bit behind me, as its generally easier for him to know what provinces I rule up, ect. after I succesfully do it, so he can determine what to do himself. He's also playing long distance.
    "Who was the first that forged the deadly blade? Of rugged steel his savage soul was made." --Tibullus

    "Qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum." --Vegetius

    "Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than war." --Homer

  8. #8
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 09:55 AM 5/10/2004 +0200, tcharazazel wrote:



    >Wondered why i like living so much? I think Osprery explained it rather

    >nicely... keeps me paranoid, heh, that should be one of those insanity

    >transformations for the awnshegh/ehrsheghlien class.



    I sat down to write this up and it occurred to me that paranoia as a

    disadvantage is a kind of combination of phobia (which has fear effects)

    and obsession (which has fascination effects.) At least, I`m not thinking

    of any game mechanical affects for such a psychological disadvantage other

    than fear effects and fascination.



    Wonder what Freud would say to that....



    Gary

  9. #9
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention something last night: in Anuire, the Imperial City has several wonders at various levels (a University and Academy of Magic being the big ones, though the University levels of the City of Anuire are split between 2 different structures/groups of scholars). I'm not sure how functional these are level-wise...it seems like they are more shadows of their former selves than anything else. I think that, although technically the IC is part of the Heartlands, I'm going to treat it more like a unique region of Anuire, much like its province type (the only urban province in Cerilia).

    As for new Wonders, well...Aeric Boeruine has built at least a low level naval Academy to command the western coast sea routes, and is building up a force of galleons and caravels that would allow him to land a sizablearmy far down the Taeghas coast. After his son and heir, Duriende Boeruine (my creation), visited Roesone and Ilien for a diplomatic tour, Aeric has decided a War Academy is a must as well. So Seasedge is, by 558, sporting 2 wonders.

    Avan, on the other hand, well...I think the nearness of the Imperial City is somewhat dissauding for Avan building up Avanil too much. I figure he already is the primary supporter of the IC's universities, or at least a prominent sponsor. And building a Naval Academy would be difficult when the Mieres Academy in Ghaele is right across the Straits. A Gentlemen's Academy, though, that would be right up Avan's alley, and I'm thinking of doing just that in Daulton.

    Ghoere is another difficult one...being right up the road from Caercas, Gavin Tael can't exactly build copycat structures unless he thinks he could successfully contest Roesone's wonders. But I'm thinking Tael is much more interested in a few other schemes I have in mind, which I dare not mention lest my players read this...

    Osprey

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