- -----Original Message-----
From: Pieter Sleijpen
To: birthright@MPGN.COM
Date: Thursday, January 14, 1999 4:42 AM
Subject: [BIRTHRIGHT] - War & loyalty

While I argued with Jules about increasing the detail of domain actions and
holdings, I do think that war is where this game is really skimpy. The
biggest marketing problem that the blokes pushing BR had was the idiotic
quote "Birthright: Tactical Wargaming with Role-playing".... If the
marketer had ever played a game and realized the warcards would compete like
a 5 year old's used snot rag against such market champions as Warhammer and
the plethora of real tactical Wargaming they wouldn't have written that.

Despite that, I am finding that producing a satisfying wargame that can be
played in mere hours is a daunting task. My own efforts are meeting with
staggering failure...

Still, the way your people remain loyal to you should depend on a host of
things. While the loyalty adjustments section is a bit skimpy, there are a
few references throughout the text where the designers felt that actions
needed penalties, but left the actual penalties to various DMs.

For instance, taxes are about the only thing that reduces loyalty, but
excessive taxation does not a tyrant make. Consider the almost free ride of
Decree. There are no hard or fast rules for playing it, but my PCs were
VERY surprised to find that their decrees, when unpopular, dropped the
loyalty of a province. I don't asign each Decree any sort of loyalty
adjustment, but I look at their actions as a whole. If the regent gains a
reputation as a money grubber and his decrees enforce this, then his
popularity (thus his people's loyalty) will fall. PS > this is not the
manipulated polling data that they might decide to present, but the actual
pulse of the people as only a DM can know.

Entering a war must be a careful undertaking, not hastily done.

Consider Operation: Desert Fox. Over and done with before it hardly begun,
achieving no publicized aims (and therefor no aims as far as the public
could tell) and now when the nation the US attacked turns highly
belligerent, no response from the government. That the "war" tied in so
neatly with the US President's Impeachment hearings unfortunately paints a
very suspicious picture. That members of the President's party publicly
compared removing him from Desert Fox to removing Schwartzkopf from Desert
Storm took some pretty big brass cojones.

An example of entering a foreign "war" that lowered the people's loyalty.

Consider then the US involvement with W.W.II or even the liberation of
Kuwait. In both circumstances there seemed more than enough justification
(in W.W.II there really was) to enter hostilities and the leaders treated
both endeavors responsibly and very soberly.

Now, it doesn't necessarily really have to be good reasons to get into a
war. What we call "yellow journalism" was responsible for creating a war
that never happened sometime in the 19th century (I don't remember the
"conflict), but these are excellent avenues for the Agitate action to work.
Perhaps even some crafty Espionage to make events look different than they

I guess I can't give any hard rules, just use your judgement as a DM to
determine how the people feel about a war and how their leader handles it.
I can't say that the folks of Illien would be too pleased to suddenly go to
war against the Spiderfell, just 'cause the Spider is evil and he's in
there, and even though the cause is just, the logic is faulty, and the
count's folks won't like it.

This brings up one other thing. Has anyone ever thought there should be a
loyalty rating for soldiers? Should not your army units have some loyalty
rating, somewhere. If they did it would make the Great Captain "random"
event so much more plausible.


Tim Nutting