- -----Original Message-----
From: James Ruhland
Date: Monday, July 19, 1999 1:32 PM

> But IMO, the idea that players should be the passive receptical for
>whatever plot the DM has in mind, and that they should be driven by the
>motivations he devises for them rather than ones they come up with on their
>own, is wrongheaded for Birthright (even if it is - and I'm far from saying
>it is - appropriate for a regular AD&D game). This means the DM of a
>Birthright game has to be on his toes. He doesn't know which path the
>players might go down ("well, since the adventure involves the Fortress of
>Silence, I'll detail the Fortress of Silence and I can ignore the Castle of
>Solitude for now, since they won't be going there"). In Birthright the
>players have a bit (I hope a lot) more discretion about what direction they
>take, what "paths" they go down [...]

I see things 100% differently. When you are Bob Fighter, and newly arrived
from far off lands, the world should be open to you. That should be true
for Forgotten Realms and Birthright. But when you take on the mantle of
state, as guilder Ulrich, or baron Robert, your obstacles are pretty well
spelled out. And they should be. Annonymous PC adventurers have much
greater lattitude because they can just relocate if they don't like the
current selection of alternatives. Maybe fighter Bob doesn't like the
rumors of the Fortress of Silence (maybe when I have more levels and cool
stuff). Maybe Bob doesn't want the rewards of the Castle of Solitude (what
would I do with an Orb of Spell Storing? I am a fighter). He can just keep
journeying along, collecting a couple of xp here an there, until an
adventure really whets his appatite.

Regents don't have that luxury. Stuff is happening to their realm all the
time. I generally plan what will happen to their realm two years in
advance, and I have a good idea what the general direction is for the realm.
Is the Gorgon active? Is Osoerde bent on conquest of his neighbors? Is the
realm quiet, or are there NPC guilds about to come to blows?

I feel much better about having this stuff worked out way in advance for
several reasons--
1) I can give hints, introduce NPC's, and work on connections between what
is and what is to come well in advance. Finding out the familiar Guilder
John Wrexham was behind the recent assasination of Guilder Hal Derby is much
more interesting than introducing both guilders after one is dead.

2) I am confident players are not getting punished, because any given story
arc was something I had scheduled for weeks and weeks. Player need to
ignnore the clues I send and the advice of their councelors to get spanked.
Its the same with ignoring the sudden wind and the darkening sky: you get
rained on.

Some of the non-regent PC's do run off while the regent is busy with realm
stuff, and have unconnected or semi-connected advantures. A goblin lair
with a chest of silver, a lost Elven city, what have you.

The regents are more often to heard to say, "aw bandits, but I wanted to do
a rule action." And "What? border raids? But I wanted to do a rule
action. A feud?, An ally requests my aid? Finally my rule action."

RL regents had to work their own projects in between events outside their
control, they do IMC also.

Kenneth Gauck

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