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    Regents and trade routes

    So, another doubt I have found in my Birthright tool: do regents know about TRs in the provinces where they have holdings? Or landed regents knowing about TRs in the provinces they own?

    I think most of the time only the creator of the TR knows about it, but it sounds strange that no one else knows about TRs in a province.

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    I think it is safe to say that "most" trade routes would be known to the ruler of a domain. Looking at it historically, you have the silk road and various trade routes that were well known throughout Europe. (So, it is likely that even foreign regents would know of the major routes.)

    If you look at some of the domain maps, there are trade routes indicated on them. These would be well traveled and well known roads.

    An explorer may find a route that has not been previously recorded and might keep it secret if it gave them some advantage.
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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    I have always taken it that trade routes require maintenance as they involve roads, bridges and waystations and a degree of signage and agreements with local authorities. This would make them obvious enough to be known.

    To quote the BRCS:
    Overland trade routes transport valuable commodities between two provinces by caravan, wagon, and cart. A well-maintained system of roadways must exist between the two provinces to allow overland trade. The initial province, the final province, and a path of adjacent provinces that connect them must all have highways (a construction domain asset). All major rivers between provinces must have bridges. If no highway exists between the two provinces at any time (due to a failure to maintain highways, a closing of borders due to war, etc.) then the trade route is destroyed.
    So agreements etc would allow those in control of the trade route to have better supply routes and large quantities than any other holding. I don't know how you could disguise that easily.

    Sorontar

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    While the roads, etc. are well known and the fact that a given caravan is travelling along that route would be as well, who is behind the caravan would not necessarily be known. Nor would it be known where they came from or where they are going, so the trade route could indeed be secret to most people. However, at either end it wouldn't be. Most of the time the regent would know through the granting of export licenses, payment of duties, etc. But not always...think smuggling. What is that if not a secret trade route.
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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    For smuggling, I would take it as much the same thing. You still need to have a physical route that is maintained so that you can transport large quantities of your stock. You also need local arrangements so you can bypass the official procedures. There will be bribes and protection money. So basically, all the same things that official routes would have, but in a slightly different context.

    Any secrecy would be easily foiled with a bit of espionage. The question then is whether counter-espionage would be required to set up (and possibly maintain) such a hidden route.

    Remember that we are talking large scale transportation. If the route suddenly stopped, the market of the goods would notice it. I don't know how you could expect to disguise the origin of the goods. If a city's market had a good supply of salt, wouldn't the regent know where most of it came from?

    Sorontar

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    So, if I'm understanding things right, it would be reasonable that:

    - The realm ruler of the provinces where the TRs start and end know about the TR. They know the Guild behind their end of the TR, but it is less clear if they know which Guild is on the other end.
    - The realm rulers of the provinces the TRs cross know that there is a TR crossing. It is not clear if they know which Guilds are involved in the TR.
    - Other regents (other guilders, temples, law holders but not rulers) are more or less in the same situation as a landed ruler (maybe it is harder for them to know who is behind the TR).

    In general all of this is because there is a screen which shows realm information to a player, and I have decide if I show TRs or not, and how much of the TR I show to them (just saying there is a TR, saying there is a TR and the guilds involved,...). Things like that.

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    I have a lot of reasons to dispute those statements, but they are really a matter of flavour, not of substance. What a regent knows about the TR emanating from his lands is greatly dependant on the style of governance. If the Regent requires a fee or kickback to allow a TR, then obviously he will know who owns the TR...unless somebody is running an illegal TR. So unless the regent is actively monitoring trade, he really has no way of knowing who is doing what.

    The regent will be aware of any and all sanctioned TRs, but not of any illicit ones, I would require an espionage action to determine anything about those. Now, the absolute limit on the number of TRs presents a bit of a problem, but not really.

    Take a province that has the capacity to support three TRs. There are two sanctioned TRs that the regent is aware of, and one blackmarket TR he isn't aware of. He decides to allow a third sanctioned TR, at which point it will become obvious that the previously unknown TR exists because there is no "slot" available for the new one. There are three ways to deal with this:
    1. The new sanctioned TR is established and the previously unsanctioned TR is just wiped out, nobody may even be aware that this has happened other than those who were directly involved with the unsanctioned TR.
    2. The regent must specifically shut down the unsanctioned TR to make room for the new one.

    or, and this has the most potential for fun....

    3. The two TRs coexist and the Guilders have to fight it out among themselves to determine which TR comes out on top and generates income. I would say that the guilder with the newly sanctioned TR has to contest the existing TR (contesting TRs is something I allow anyway), or there could be a lot of fun role playing involved - applying muscle & threats to customers, trashing or burning down a rival's warehouses, raiding each other's caravans and pirating his ships...fun stuff!

    A newly installed regent should have to spend a considerable amount of time learning the ropes and learning who is who among the movers and shakers of his new realm. This could be through advisers (lieutenant actions) or investigation (espionage actions) or through promulgating new licensing laws (decree actions), and so on. I am a firm believer that just governing a realm day-to-day should require most of a ruler's time and attention, so as a DM I should give them as little as possible for free. RP and GB should be thought of the same way GP are in a regular game, something for the DM to bleed away to keep the players hungry for more. Never pass up an excuse to make the PCs spend their capital, be it concrete (GB/GP) or ephemeral (RP/actions). A hungry PC is an entertaining PC, for player & DM alike.

    As far as your tool goes, I would allow the TRs to be entered as the regent discovers them. So when first taking over, the DM could decide which TRs the PC is aware of, and could add others as the PC learns of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpig2 View Post
    I have a lot of reasons to dispute those statements, but they are really a matter of flavour, not of substance. What a regent knows about the TR emanating from his lands is greatly dependant on the style of governance. If the Regent requires a fee or kickback to allow a TR, then obviously he will know who owns the TR...unless somebody is running an illegal TR. So unless the regent is actively monitoring trade, he really has no way of knowing who is doing what.

    The regent will be aware of any and all sanctioned TRs, but not of any illicit ones, I would require an espionage action to determine anything about those. Now, the absolute limit on the number of TRs presents a bit of a problem, but not really.
    My problem with all of this is that it is 100% house rules. There are not rules that I know about illegal TRs and Sanctioned TRs and all of that Nor rules for the resolutions you talk about (there are not even official rules for hidden holdings that I know).

    Quote Originally Posted by arpig2 View Post
    As far as your tool goes, I would allow the TRs to be entered as the regent discovers them. So when first taking over, the DM could decide which TRs the PC is aware of, and could add others as the PC learns of them.
    The tool allows for things to be hidden at three levels (maybe more would be needed, but this is a hard thing to code):

    - Only the GM knows about it.
    - Only the GM and the owner of the thing knows about it.
    - Everyone knows about it.

    Sadly supporting arbitrary visibility (these 10 guys can see it, these other 10 guys can't see it) it's a crazy undertaking.

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    You are right, there are no rules specifically on the differences between a TR the regent has approved and one he hasn't. Does that mean there is no difference? Or does it mean that a TR cannot exist without the regent's approval?

    I realize that you are trying to create a DMing tool to run a birthright game, but if you limit yourself to the rules as written, then any tool you come up with will be inadequate for any and every campaign.

    Make a tool that works for your campaign and the house rules and conventions and style of play that you use and share it. That way it will be perfect for your campaign, and it will work well with some other campaigns as well, unlike the generic cannon specific tool which will work well with none.

    I have been playing D&D since the mid 70s, I have been into computers since the early 80s, and I bought BR as sooin as it came out and have run several very successful long-running BR campaigns*. I have tried every computer tool I have come across and found them all wanting. The best and most useful computer aid I have ever come across for BR and regular D&D is a simple series of excel sheets used as a database. They are endlessly customizable and can, with a few clicks and keystrokes, can produce whatever report I need, when I need it.

    *To be fair, I must admit that I have never once run anything in the Cerilia setting. I have never used any published campaign world, to me they seem self defeating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpig2 View Post
    You are right, there are no rules specifically on the differences between a TR the regent has approved and one he hasn't. Does that mean there is no difference? Or does it mean that a TR cannot exist without the regent's approval?
    My interpretation of the rules is that approval is totally irrelevant to create a TR in a BR game. If a law regent doesn't like it, he can spend RP to oppose creation and that's it. In one of the PbeM games I'm a Guilder and I do not have to ask anyone to create a TR for example.

    This tool is not as much for me as for the community. I'm playing to PbeM games right now, and I see things that are problematic in both of them. Both of them are lucky enough that they have very good people coding tools for them. This tool is for people who want to create a BR game but aren't as lucky as to have someone to code a tool for them. It's like the old Birmail for example.

    Excel is pretty good for a GM, but it's harder to share, it's harder to consult,... For example a problem in lots of games is that information is split: static pages, the BR rules, public forums, private forums,... If all that was centralized, then it would be easier to do things for players. Excel can't help much there sadly.

    As with any tool, it will sadly have limitations because my time and ability is finite So I try to implement what I think it's universally useful. When I have doubts, like in this case, I ask here to get more opinions. And in this case the examples sound as house rules which may or may not see any use in a given game. Given the huge list of things I have to do, I prefer cutting everything that has a big chance of not getting used in a BR game. It may appear in the next version of the tool, but for the first one I need to put a realistic target for myself or I will never end it Nevertheless, I now hidden stuff is a popular topic, so there are basics to handle it, but just basics

    Regards!

    Vicente

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