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10-03-1998, 05:30 AM #1Jim CooperGuest
Fellow BRers: I need your brains!
I would like to know everyone's opinion on the following; look at this
with a critical eye towards playability and game balance please.
The setup: One of my players in my campaign decided to start up his own
BR campaign in Brechtur (I'm a player in his camp. too). Everything is
going great - that is, until one of the players decided to take
advantage of the exploratory trade action in the book (again). Fine,
DM's call, yadda, yadda, yadda. The problem goes much deeper than this,
I argue, right down to the Trade Route rules in the main rulebook.
Okay, the problem:
Its always bugged me that merchant princes make at least 3x the money
that a province ruler does. Take, for an example, the idea that the
exploratory trade action is based on: Venice merchants/ Marco Polo /
Drake/ Columbus, etc. Who funded those expeditions? The *rulers* of
course, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain for Columbus (or whatever their
names were). Drake? The English crown. The list goes on.
I've got more; take a prov. 4 - ~10,000 pop right? Well, if the
nobility = ~10% of a feudal society, that's about 1000 people right?
Say that pop figure only represents the 'labour force' (ie the 'taxable'
workforce, which is to say the adult population that contributes to the
public coffers), then that means approx. 5 units of knights ought to be
able to be supported in that province (or thereabouts). But as things
stand know, at best a prov 4 will only make about 5 GBs per turn. This
means only ~2.5 knight units can be supported, and that's it! No other
military units can be supported!
I call b*#lsh*#t!
To top it off, taking a guild regent in the same province, he can make
around ~15 GBs with holdings & trade routes (~20GBs if its coastal).
FOUR times as much money as the leader of the land?!? In a feudal
As a result of the above, every game that I've DMed or played in, most
regents scramble to see who can accumulated the most money the fastest
(or at least try to - I'm a fairly strict DM). This really frustrates
me, especially when I see time and again the fighter types act like
expert econonmists (usually better than the rogue players, I might add)
- - I play with a fairly educated group .. :)
I can't blame them, since its the province rulers who need money the
most (heck, why do the guilder regents need all that dough, except to
make more and more of it!). This quickly degenerates into the fighter
types acting as tyrants as they squeeze every available cash cow (read
guilder), with the guild regents amassing treasuries of +200GBs and
turning around and buying off a regent to let them build armies and then
marching off with legions to overthrow the 'tyrant' regents (which the
fighter types can't hope to stand against with their measly armies).
So I proposed the following solution in my campaigns, and this is how
I've run things so far; can people give me their thoughts on the below?
The solution - a reorganization of the rules:
Provinical rulers now control a larger portion of their economies. To
simulate this, I say that only provincial rulers hold 'trade routes',
since trade is, by and large, a factor of the population of the province
(you gotta have marketplaces in order to trade, and that is taken care
of by the level of the province and is maintained by the prov. ruler.
Thus, I think its only fair that, since the prov. ruler pays for the
maintanence of the prov., they should benefit from owning the
marketplaces). Prov rulers can also shut down trade routes by decrees
and such, so I would assume that this implies a *great* deal of control
over a prov.'s economy.
In game terms this means the following: Provinces now generate taxes
according to the number of 'trade routes' sustainable by the prov. (as
dictated by the level, of course) in GBs. Lets call this the province's
"economic factor". Prov.'s now generate taxes as follows: Divide the
province level by 2 (round down), multiply the 'economic factor' of the
prov. (=the # of TRs sustainable by said prov.), added to the random tax
roll. Prov. rulers don't need to create this economic factor; it comes
as a natural result of economic activity that a certain level of prov.
generates. Obviously, 0 level provinces are still in a bit of a bind.
:) I think this makes sense. Note also that two provinces aren't
linked; a province is a self-contained econominc unit, and doesn't need
to be linked to another by roads or whatever. Also, a province always
has its max number of TRs generating money for the ruler, unless some
random event or regent action dictates otherwise.
For example: King Dirk owns a level 4 prov. This means, come tax time,
he collects 4GBs+d4+1GBs (assuming mod. taxation) from this province.
If its a coastal prov. with a port: 8GBs+d4+1GBs.
Basically, TRs are now built into the economy (level) of a province.
Note that TRs cannot be made now, since the province is always
sustaining its maximum number of TRs. DMs can modify the amount a prov.
ruler collects with Corruption/Crime, Trade Matter random events. I can
also envision other variables, such as: the above assumes no roads (the
only roads are local dirt tracks). If two or more provinces are linked
with (proper) roads (as dictated by the build action), then double the
*land portion* of the economic factor in the provinces with roads.
Etc., etc., etc.
Now I say that the current Trade Route rules take the place of the
exploratory trade action proposed in the HotGB supp, so that the TR
action creates a one time 'caravan' of goods, equaling the average of
the two provinces that are involved. This still gives thief regents a
raison d'etre. Note that if the prov. ruler is a rogue, they would
still collect those extra RPs for the economic factor (equaling the
amount of GBs collected in tax from the economic factor that turn).
Of course, prov. rulers could bestow rights to a portion of his economy
to a trusted merchant prince (and thus give a portion of his tax
collection in lieu of trade routes). In addition, prov. rulers can
still impose tariffs on those caravans mentioned above, to get even more
cash. So now, hopefully all of you can see, the onus is on the sly
merchant princes to see how they can cheat regents out of their 'hard
earned' feudal dues (as I think it should be, not the other way around
as it currently stands).
Note too, that ruling a province should also become more difficult for
the prov. rulers, since they must also build up the economy of their
provinces in addition to attracting settlers; which, of course, is left
up to the individual DM to decide how to do this.
A rough guideline. Can anyone see any holes?
Thoughts? Suggestions? Additions?
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