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Thread: Destroying faith and economy
01-10-1999, 01:20 AM #1Pieter SleijpenGuest
Destroying faith and economy
As some of you know, I have been DM'ing a BR-BPEM since two months. I
should have done this before, because it pointed out several, in my
opinion, flawed logics in the rules. One of the strangest rules is that
a landed regent can occupy his own provinces and destroy the holdings of
other regents. It clearly states destroy and not reduce to 0. All this
costs is 1 GB extra for upkeep and a -1 loyalty. The -1 loyalty is
absolutely nothing, because each unit counts as 1 law holding, so
chances are high you have more then enough law to ignore this. When just
glancing over this rule, there appears to be nothing wrong with this.
When you think about it, you realise that it ignores two very important
things: (1) economic, (2) you can't buy faith.
Destroying all the guilds should have severe economic consequences or at
the least in loyalty. The Players Secret of Ilien actually points out
that fighting the guilds is a very stupid thing to do, because of the
economic consequences of such an action. I do not see that back in the
rules. Sure, you need money to rebuild a guild, but in the mean time a
regent does not get a lower income by taxes. It is as if the income of
the people you tax, did not suffer under the dissapearance of trade or
whatever you think the guild holdings represents. In fact it is very
easy for a landed regent to destroy enemy guilds in own lands. You might
state that it will destroy the leaders of the guild and leave the
individual merchants and craftsmen alone. Even if that is the case, you
destroy a network and that will have economic effects. It will certainly
have a stong loyalty effect, because the reason the guilds formed in RL
was to oppose the rulers.
Even stranger is the fact that a regent can destroy all temple holdings
and an other temple can immidiatly raise their holdings. Suddenly the
people who were worshipping for instance Ruornil will worship Haelyn?
Sure, people might come to the temple, even donate money, but they will
not worship there and weren't the realm spells based on the energy
created by faith? In RL the Spanish did something simmular in the
Netherland to the protestants, it was one of the reasons there started a
rebellion against the Spanish. At that time the Netherland gave the
Spanish more gold then America, so you can guess what they lost (the
Dutch did win the rebellion).
For the temple I have a suggestion: it will drive the other faith
underground, so should we reduce the temple holdings by 1/2 and make the
rest secret. An other suggestion would be to reduce loyalty immidiatly
to poor and keep it their for several turns. The last would not be that
realistic when fighting against small guilds or small and impopular
temples (like the evil White Hand in Danigau).
Do you have any opinions on this?
But what about the economic consequences?
01-10-1999, 08:44 AM #2Kenneth GauckGuest
Destroying faith and economy
Pieter Sleijpen points out the rules have very little to say about the
effect of destroying holdings. However, I don't think a fixed "rule" type
solution is the answer, I think the DM needs to judge the reputations of the
two regents in question, the nature of the conflict between them, the length
of the relationship between the regents and the people of the province, and
such questions before the DM can assess the consequences of holdings being
On some of Pieter's other points, BR reflects the top layers of society,
holdings (and the game materials) do not describe the whole society, just
the link between the regent and his powerbase. Who is to say which god the
people in a province worship? The temple holdings just reflect which
temples are dominant, which have political control, and which can draw on
that link between ruler and ruled to manage regency and cast realm spells.
For all we know, the people of Medoere worship Haelyn just like all the
other people of the South Coast, and its only among the "movers and shakers"
that distictions between the OIT, IHH, and a temple devoted to other gods
like RCS, or ETN, become important. Small groups of influential people can
wield political power far beyond their numbers. And this dominance can be
the source of their tie to the land and its mystical qualities.
01-10-1999, 10:02 AM #3Jim CooperGuest
Destroying faith and economy
Kenneth Gauck wrote:
> Small groups of influential people can wield political power far beyond their numbers. And this dominance can be the source of their tie to the land and its mystical qualities.<
True, but is this what's implied in the rules? I always thought that
temple holdings reflected the majority religion in a province (ie which
religion the most people worship in a province)?
01-10-1999, 10:47 AM #4Tim NuttingGuest
Destroying faith and economy
Sure you do. Illien for example. Do you think that Rogr Agloncier simply
lets El-Hadid have his guild there at not cost? I think not. Shake down
whenver EH plicks him one, and not to mention it certainly costs EH plenty
in tariffs to use Illien as a shipping port. Occupy the province and
El-Hadid agitates like crazy, seing his empire dying about him, decides to
spend ALL his RP to assassinate Aglondier, perhaps even capturing him to
commit bloodtheft so he can take the realm.
If Port of Call (in Illien only now) dries up, El-Hadid loses a major port
and three trade routes. A small collection of people who still make their
goods no longer can sell them as much, reflected in the lack of EH's income
and the relative tariffs that Aglondier charged every month. But Herbert
the glass blower doesn't stop blowing glass because the protection artists
from El-Hadid no longer show up every week. He'll be pissed that his black
market weapons source is gone, and so will say bad things about his liege
lord, the Count. However, with about a dozen soldiers enforcing martial law
next door and making more visits than the racketeers, he isn't going to do
anything about it.
In the mean-time, the tax collector still comes and charges Herb the same
money for his business and occupation, his property, and his employees and
other stuff. Herb gets hurt, but Rogr doesn't lose his taxes.
I will speak from my cynical views of my own faith, lacking though it may
be. Many of my fellows are Sunshine Christians. Before I get
"anti-christian", and c-bashing hate mail, realize that this happens with
Moslems, Bhudists, and Hindus as much with Jews and Christians. Lots of us
in America do it because it's easy and doesn't cost us much and makes us
Now, if my church was burned down by the Army and my religion was suddenly
declared illegal, I would still have my belief, and so would many others.
Still, many, many folks would stay home and try to "not get involved" like a
mass of herding cows or lemmings. The new faith would rise up and believers
(not necessarily the same folks who went to church before) would come to
church and worship.
As far as the holding goes, lets take a close look. The holding is centered
on a person, while the faith is centered on a god. A priest gains power
from the worship because he uses his innate and inborn abilities to assist
others in contacting their god. He gains something in return for making it
easier for the god to gain power, his own magic. Now, if the church is
destroyed, that priest, who's holding is no longer populated by people,
looses all of his realm-level power. But the people will still worship,
right? Sure, a few will, and the god gains his or her power, the deal is
the priest who formerly did, no longer does.
In essence, the temple does not relfect the faith of the people, but the
dominant political and public structure of religion in the area, the visible
face. It does not represent teh power a god gets from a region, it
represents the power a priest gains from giving power to his god. It goes,
he goes, the holding goes, but the people still occasionally worhsip in
As far as suddenly "switching faith". Sure they would. Ruornil and Haelyn
are both part of the same pantheon, and while they are not recognized as
equal gods, if one worhsips Ruornil, he also to some extent worhsips R's
godly brother. It's not like switching from Christian to Bhudist. There is
a very strong common ground.
OK, the temple is destroyed. Holdings are destroyed. In one province. The
temple slots are immediately open. A smart and powerful priest who saved
his RP and gold (hopefully hidden away) would have enough to jump right back
in and open up a new temple just like everyone else.
Lastly, since when does evil ever call itself evil? I would personally call
the Church of Satan an evil organization, but in this day and age that is
being judgemental and not open minded, and all sorts of non-Poli-Correct.
01-10-1999, 12:16 PM #5Pieter SleijpenGuest
Destroying faith and economy
Tim Nutting wrote:
> Sure you do. Illien for example. Do you think that Rogr Agloncier
> simply lets El-Hadid have his guild there at not cost? I think not.
> Shake down whenver EH plicks him one, and not to mention it certainly
> costs EH plenty in tariffs to use Illien as a shipping port. Occupy
> the province and El-Hadid agitates like crazy, seing his empire dying
> about him, decides to spend ALL his RP to assassinate Aglondier,
> perhaps even capturing him to commit bloodtheft so he can take the
Agitate? He does not have any holding at all left and as such can not
aggitate in that province! The assassination is a one time shot and if
the landed regent prepared properly he will be able to prevent it
> Suddenly the people who were worshipping for instance Ruornil will
> worship Haelyn?>>
> I will speak from my cynical views of my own faith, lacking though it may
> be. Many of my fellows are Sunshine Christians. Before I get
> "anti-christian", and c-bashing hate mail, realize that this happens with
> Moslems, Bhudists, and Hindus as much with Jews and Christians. Lots of us
> in America do it because it's easy and doesn't cost us much and makes us
> feel better.
The situation between RL and a Fantasy world is rather different,
several people constantly point that out. But in RL faith was a lot more
important in the medieval times then now and you saw what happened in
Northern Europe when they started to prosecute the protestants. In a
Fantasy game there is no question about the existence of gods, people
can see their work through the miracles of priests constantly.
> Now, if my church was burned down by the Army and my religion was
> suddenly declared illegal, I would still have my belief, and so would
> many others. Still, many, many folks would stay home and try to "not
> get involved" like a mass of herding cows or lemmings.
It takes only a few to create immense havoc. Some people are rather
fanatic about their faith and willing to do everything for it.
> In essence, the temple does not relfect the faith of the people, but
> the dominant political and public structure of religion in the area,
> the visible face. It does not represent teh power a god gets from a
> region, it represents the power a priest gains from giving power to
> his god. It goes, he goes, the holding goes, but the people still
> occasionally worhsip in hiding.
Yeh, but that is not how the people at TSR described it.
> As far as suddenly "switching faith". Sure they would. Ruornil and
> Haelyn are both part of the same pantheon, and while they are not
> recognized as equal gods, if one worhsips Ruornil, he also to some
> extent worhsips R's godly brother. It's not like switching from
> Christian to Bhudist. There is a very strong common ground.
Your forget that the different Christian faiths bashed in each other
heads and they even worshiped the same god. I also do not believe that
there is that much cooperation between the gods or at least that there
is not real hierarchy. Just compare the position of Halaia and Haely, in
one pantheon he leads and in the other he is the counceler of an other
god. I might even agree on this, if TSR writters did not point out these
flaws in their own supplements in the Player Secret books. Because under
the current rules there could not be a rebellion in Medoure (and
remember this rebellion started because followers of Haelyn started
persecuting followers of Ruornil, so there is a difference).
> rest secret. An other suggestion would be to reduce loyalty immidiatly to
> poor and keep it their for several turns. The last would not be that
> realistic when fighting against small guilds or small and impopular temples
> (like the evil White Hand in Danigau).>>
> OK, the temple is destroyed. Holdings are destroyed. In one province. The
> temple slots are immediately open. A smart and powerful priest who saved
> his RP and gold (hopefully hidden away) would have enough to jump right back
> in and open up a new temple just like everyone else.
Why are there small temples as the White Hand or the Ruornil temple of
Medoere? They do not stand a chance against there larger bretheren.
Unless the ruler of Medoere constantly puts a large part of their RP in
opposing the actions of the temple of Healyn and the same goes for the
White Hand. If the larger temples want to remove them from the scene,
then they are dead-meat. There is no-way they can prevent it.
> Lastly, since when does evil ever call itself evil?
I was talking from the point of view of society, not the persons who
really worship their. Even then the might concider Kriesha evil in this
case and only worship her to appease her.
01-10-1999, 12:37 PM #6Pieter SleijpenGuest
Destroying faith and economy
> They do this for game sake. If you complicate the rules with
> everything you can think that would make Birthright "more realistic",
> you will have successfully diluted the game with house rules. You have
> to just assume a few things in order for a roleplaying game to work.
> Hell, where were the Wizards and their sources in RL? Where was the
> Gorgon who looms on our borders? See what I mean? It is a roleplaying
> game, and as one the rules will not directly reflect what occurs in
> RL. You just have to go along with it, or if necessary develop a FEW
> house rules to handle things that seem most out of place.
I do not dispute that, but there are limits to simplifications. There is
also something as removing the sense of disbelieve from the game.
Something TSR also hammers constantly on.
> I think in this case, it would be a drastic measure to alter the rules
> in this fashion. It IS odd to think that people would just stop
> worshipping Haelyn to go and worship Belinik, but if you think about
> it, these are peasants who probably don't even understand what in the
> hell the priests are preaching. They will go along with it only
> because if they don't, they will be punished: such is the life of a
> peasant. This is a feudal society, and the place of the common folk is
> to obey their lord...hense the willingness to desert ones faith.
> Truthfully, most folks probably do not have much faith considering the
> life they live (filled with work and no reward, mixed with the
> occassional battles that their lord summons them to from the fields).
That was also the case in RL and the church at that time was very
important to the people. It promised them a good afterlife and
excommunication was one of the wost punishments immaginable. And every
peasant would know the difference between Belinik and Haelyn, I think
you depict them way to stupid.
I was merely pointing out that this action was way to easy for a landed
regent, who most of the time has got just as large an income and even
more RP income as the temple or guild. There is no reason for a landed
regent to contest others, you can better destroy them, because that way
they can not agitate and are not warned in advance. The chance of
success is also much larger (in fact it is 100% unless it is fortified)
and you only have to pay 1 GB, instead of the 1 GB and a bidding war in
regency. Note that a player of the PBEM I was talking about was the one
who pointed this out and he plays a very powerful landed regent. He
plays Erik Danig and if he wants to get rid of the White Hand he
immidiatly could occupy all his provinces and destroy the holdings of
the White Hand. In one strike that ruler can not cast any realm magic,
lost all income and can not agitate again. This all for the price of 4
GB, seems too cheap for me.
So if you want to survive as a guild or temple you need to pay the
landed regent a lot of taxes and to be on the save side immidiatly
create at least 1 secret holding and fortify the rest. No guild or
temple has got the income for such a thing!
A question, can a contested temple holding still generate the energy for
a realm spell?
01-10-1999, 06:30 PM #7
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
Destroying faith and economy
In a message dated 1/10/99 3:52:33 AM Eastern Standard Time,
I don't agree with this line of thought. If you continue with this type of
logic then you are saying that the people in the land might not really respect
the current landed regent, it's just that he controlls the power. The people
might respect some other "Leader" more than the landed regent. Or, the people
don't really use the guilder regent's guilds the most, it's just that he has
the most political clout and it LOOKS like he really runs things. If that were
the case, why even have the "Great Captain" random event. After all, acording
to the above logic, who cares if "the inhabatants of a domain are swayed into
placing their trust in someone other than the regent." That dosen't mean
anything if the great captain isn't the mover and shaker right?
I have always played my campaigns in a way that the belief of the people,
the commoners, is VERY important to even the "movers and shakers". If the
people don't believe in what their regent is doing than all the clout in the
world won't help. Therefore I agree that the people in a givin region very
much DO worship the god of the strongest temple and do most their business at
the strongest guild.
I always make the beliefs of the commoners a very important consideration to
the regents in my campaign. In my King of the Giantdowns game the priest
player, a priest of Rournil, is currently trying to convert people to the
worship of Rournil from Eric. I made this so hard for him (as I think it would
be) that he finally came up with starting a new church that is a joint/hybrid
church of Erik/Rournil. The people could switch to that belief MUCH more
easily than just giving up Erik and switching to Rournil. And that enabled the
regent to create a church to a god other than Erik in an area that was an
almost fanatic follower of Erik. But if I follow the above logic, all that I
put the player through was wasted time as who the people "really" worship
doesn't really matter.
01-10-1999, 08:46 PM #8Tim NuttingGuest
Destroying faith and economy
Maybe I'm not clear on the rules, but my understanding was put simply that
it took a bit of time to do the occupation/destruction, thus giving the
target time to react.
The case varies as far as prep time goes. Unquestionably Aglondier has less
RP and GB than El-Hadid. If El-Hadid REALLY wanted to kill Aglondier and
didn't care who knew, then he would dump so bloody much RP and GB into the
Assassination attempt that Aglondier would not be able to survive.
Quite so, but sometimes we only have reality to base our fantasy on. As to
importance of faith then versus now, well, I don't want to enter a
theological discussion on this list. The existance of these gods is only
concrete insofar as the game is run that way. Considering the proliferation
of 0-levels in BR, there's not many wonder workers around, and those that
are can occasionally be falsly shown to be "charlatans" with fancy lights.
Cynics can allways write off "proof", believe me.
Yes, a few are. Again we edge into some rough ground, but that one is my
fault, I brought it up. Faith is a very, very powerful thing. It is not
based in science or fact, it is based on belief and emotion and thought.
Faith can be destroyed by investing it in the wrong vessels, or by
oppression, or by the individual in question being forced to betray his or
her own beliefs. It is fragile and strong at the same time.
The description you refer to in the rulebook appears in only one place.
While the body of the text belies the statement, some will still follow the
single sentce referring to holding level = percentage of population who
worhsip god X. I have played so long with my own interpretation of it, that
I can't play it any other way.
No I don't. Trust me, I do not forget that or hold it lightly. In my mind
the greatest sin of the Catholic church was the Crusades. That just as many
Christians were slain when Jerusalem was taken from Saladin as Moslems never
made a difference. Christ's message was never "kill a heathen for Jesus",
it was true forgiveness. Many will conveniently ignore that Saladin
actually allowed Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Land before the first
Crusade, and while he was no hero or saint, his concept of not taking
prisoners was a response to the Christian armies butchering his people.
What has happened between the Protestants and the Catholics is sorrowing in
the extreme. We should have been able to find a way to work out our beliefs
differently, but as you said, people will do funny things when their faith
is called in. Still, when many flee a corrupt order (as Martin Luther saw
the Catholic church to be, for they were selling God's forgiveness of sin
for money, this was called and Indulgence, and they are still for sale) the
two sides will come into conflict dramatically, sometimes violently.
Politics has more to do with it than faith or religion, for if either side
was true to the faith, violence would not have been the solution.
???? Where please
There is a difference in how the priests percieved the situation to be. I
don't understand how there could not be a rebellion. The great captain or
heresy random event is not necessarily so random. When you want one in your
game, you make one.
In the story of Medoere, the words are from one sides point of view.
Ruornil's people were persecuted by Haelyn's worshipers. Ruornil was not
persecuted by Haelyn. A powerful priest of H declared (Decree) that Rs
folks were to be killed. People led by Rs priest rebel (Heresy - loyalty
was allready very low and no one took pains to correct it). Big fight ends
with Ruornil manifesting, but Haelyn not.
Haelyn is the god of Lawful War. He also tolerates Evil, but only one
stripe of it, while he tolerates all good, save Chaotic. He leans more Good
than Evil in that. In a war such as the Orthodox Temple declared, Haelyn
would not necessarily agree, but likewise all these gods are loathe to take
direct action. He would not have interferred with Ruornil's response so
long as it was done with moderation, limited to the field of battle. No
plagues or infestations or mass killings, only the soldiers who struck out
at Rs folks got hurt.
Who's to say that Ruornil didn't go to Haelyn and say "Look, these guys are
my people, I don't want to fight with you, and they don't want to worship
you all that much, like your priests are trying to force them to. Let me
have this tract of land for my people, and all will be well." Maybe not
those words, but I can see H as being somewhat fair in respecting his fellow
god who sacrificed on the mountain to stop the Shadow. Maybe R had a debt
he was calling in... who knows.
Politics, politics, politics. The Impregnable Heart recognizes Medoere's
independance, as does Roesone. They will not approach the situation with
violence. Medoere is a theocracy. The priest is the Baron, so you mess
with her church, you mess with her country. No difference in her eyes. As
Roesoen recognizes Medoere's independance, they will hamper IHH's more
agressive moods and actions.
The Orthodox Imperial Temple is similarly under the iron hand of Hierl Diem.
Diem wants his lands back, but his way, not their way. So while he is more
acid with OIT, he still controls them, forcibly if necessary. If Haelyn
wants to support OIT in ousting Diem, well their going to have a hard time
at it considering the folks are very loyal to the Duke. Diem will one day
be ready for war with Medoere, but only on the day he is ready for war with
Roesone too, because that is what will happen. They invade, Roesone backs
Medoere up, and IHH comes head to head with OIT, and the two sides may
falter when forced to spill each other's blood, so they back off a ways...
01-10-1999, 09:53 PM #9Kenneth GauckGuest
Destroying faith and economy
I think the core of our difference is based on a single assumption: how many
people the power structure is composed of. I might have missed it had you
not used the term "mover and shaker" in the singular. I was *not* refering
to the regent when I used that term, but rather I was refering to the
intermediaries between the people and the regent.
As I see it what you did in the Giantdowns was pretty close to how I play,
but the way I understand (and so devise a situation) is fundamentally
I see it as the people have only a shallow interest in who is regent. It is
the movers and shakers I refered to, who we might also call the
"politicized" class who cares. Village chiefs (in the case of the
Giantdowns), village elders, priests (or shamans), captains in the Watch;
these are the movers and shakers. A regent must win these people, because
it is through these people that his powers are excercised.
Law regents need to control sheriffs, judges, and others who are influential
regarding the law.
Priest regents need to control priests, non-spellcasting temple officials,
and others who are influential regarding the gods.
Guilders need to control the key aspects in the functioning of the market,
such that even though they own only a small fraction of it, they and their
agents (brokers, bankers, masters) effectivly control the economy.
The people have many allegiances, not just to the three (or more regents),
but to many people, and none are particularly strong. The regent must see
himself as one leader among many. The regent has assets, and a instiutions,
but he is not the only ball game in town. Thus the "Great Captain" (which
is one of my favorite random events), which in my view is one of the most
common problems faced, because without the tight bone between a regent and
the people, the regent's position can be precarious.
1) If the people are all behind the regent, how does the Great Captain steal
On the other hand if we assume there are a complex mosaic of loyalties, then
it is clear that the Great Captain is the leader of one of these other
2) How does holdings change (perhaps Pieter's orginal question) if the
institutions are 100% behind the regent? Are there alot of people waiting
in the wings for every new regent who opens a holding to staff the new
Or, does the new regent win over some of the old intermediaries (the
politicized class, the movers and shakers), make comprimises with others,
and replace only a few.
I would allow a level one temple holding of a certain faith for no other
reason than another regent is active in that faith. Further I would limit
it where said regent is active. After that, a temple regent needs priests
in the field, tempels and shrines where the people are (or where they will
go), and the provincial elite that will actually carry out the will of the
Seeing as administrative history is my area of specialization, the
organization of a domain is one of the most nuanced and developed parts of
my campaign. I try to introduce all the problems and hurdles I encounter in
01-11-1999, 12:37 PM #10Pieter SleijpenGuest
Destroying faith and economy
Tim Nutting wrote:
> Okay... This may be a faux pass, but I am responding to my own post.
> Guys, we got the rules wrong. Read the Rulebook, and the rules on occupying
> again. You CANNOT destroy a holding with occupation. You CAN reduce it to
> level 0. That is not destroyed. Further, this CANNOT be done to a
> fortified holding, that must be taken by siege like a castle.
> Sorry if I'm stepping on toes, but that's what it says.
The rules for occupying your own provinces are different from the rules
of occupying enemy territority. I thought the same way as you at first,
but several other DM's in the PBEM pointed out the difference and the
difference is there.
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