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  1. #1

    Domain type for Criminal Organizations

    I have begun contemplating the idea of making an additional domain type for underworld/criminal organizations/thieve guild types. I am not entirely settled on the idea of legitimate trade guilds and underworld organizations competing for the same markets. I am not entirely sure how I would do it though. I thought that perhaps most of the espionage bonuses would belong here. I also contemplated limiting domain size by the size of law domains.
    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    You could run a law/guild domain as a criminal empire very easily, and if you did then it would automatically counter, and be countered by, legitmate law and guild holdings.

    They wouldn't technically be competing for the same markets, in terms of goods supplied, etc, but they would be competing for the same slice of the conomy - if guild A is trying to run mines, smithying, etc and guild B is merrily selling Adurian opium then inevitably if guild B does very well, guild A is going to see its profits down.

    Similarly if mafia law holding A has bribed various judges and sheriffs into turning a blind eye, gets protection money from businesses, etc, then the legitimate law holding B inevitably finds itself less able to prosecute criminals, levy tolls, etc. Come to that the two law holders in Osoerde show the law vs criminal opposition quite nicely - William's holdings are almost certainly illegal.

    The only issue you really get is with player controlled regents who would probably occupy+pillage, but that's no different to any other pillaging problem.
    Last edited by AndrewTall; 01-07-2012 at 09:46 AM.

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    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    This is what I come up with thinking about it a few minutes. Andrew's ideas are legit and easily implemented. It is like explaining the difference of holdings and their alignment, so for ease you can use the rules as they are and fit in those elements through interpretation.

    On the other hand I was thinking along the lines of a new element in the rules, which seems to be what you are thinking. There is a concept of a hidden holding that exists but isn't seen by other holders. I wouldn't make these holdings too costly to create since it would only be a espionage action to find and contest and destroy. I am thinking these types of organizations can only be level 0, but then not necessarily. It would seem to be level 0 in the Imperial City and perhaps higher levels in less developed provinces. These holdings act as corruption and could act as law holdings by laying claims on other holdings incomes through extortion or circumventing tax and regulations in trade or as a cult converting some of the locals. So you could have a corruption holding type in law, guild, and temple and even source I suppose if you want to get into shadow or necromancy. Each type would define what type of corruption they are. Creating a level 0 holding shouldn't be overly expensive because crime does pay or it wouldn't exist, but when the locals find they have corruption they can and will destroy it, however completely eradicating this type of "urban blight" seems almost impossible since its so cheap to create 0 level holdings. I like the idea that they take profits from domains as it would be cause for those domains to hunt them down take time and resources to get rid of them if they so choose. In a more rural area leveling up to 1 a corrupt holding I'd think would lose its hidden status and be more overtly extorting and evading taxes. Hence when a lord of Anuire moves in they counter these holdings.

    Since there is a game mechanic for law and civilization, perhaps this is a step reflecting the lack of those. A sort of anti-domain system with a counter-culture of sorts.

    I don't know I am just brain storming. Not much different from what Andrew suggested aside from the hidden holding aspect and extortion ability. I wouldn't think the criminal element should be able to be as productive or profitable as regular holdings since they are parasitic in my opinion, therefore they shouldn't have an income of their own.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

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    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Sorry bout the double post.

    Kinda makes me wonder how to get into piracy and trade routes. I've always wanted to have a pirate domain function.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Crime is potentially very profitable for the domain holder - it's just very unprofitable for society, so you could have 1 holding level take up 2 slots, or suchlike to reflect the damage to the economy done by crime, with a 'full' province reflecting deep seated corruption, etc effectively diverting profits away from legitimate guilds.

    As a note, one way of avoiding 'invisible holdings' is to have 'front holdings' - they look legit but with enough espionage you'd see the illegal source of profits, corrupted officers, 'real regent', etc. That lets you use all the normal domain rules - and works for holdings like the White Witch's guilds and so on.

    I note that the domain system doesn't reflect all the income in a province - just the 'profit' at 'holding level' - there should be a reasonable amount of wealth further down, so just as a full law holding is, by modern standards, still fairly minimal state power, a 'full criminal' holding type just reflects eliminating the wealth/power otherwise available at the top.

    I note that the difference between a robber baron, and a criminal organisation, or a pirate fleet and a fleet of privateers, may be fairly minimal. Particularly in Vosgaard and other remote areas. By contrast a sidhe law holding would probably be unrecognisable to a khinasi judge.

    As a note, corrupt source holdings have been described before - awnmebhaighl - reflecting magic from the Shadow World.

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    Whoa!! some really neat ideas here, got my mind going.

    Just to give something to work with here is Mark vander Meulen's Covert Holding action from the old Birthright.net, I'm not sure how accurate it is to the original as I have done loads of tweaking to all the domain actions over the years, but it gives everybody a starting point for this sort of thing.

    Create Covert Holdings
    Success: 10+
    Type: Domain
    Base Cost: 3GB
    Regents often wish to keep their activities secret from their enemies and even from their allies on occasion. To increase the level of intrigue possible in the game, regents are allowed to set up holdings that are "invisible" to the other regents in the province. Needless to say, this is an expensive proposition, and requires a certain expertise. Most regents are likely to desire covert guild, law, and temple holdings, so these rules will focus on those types. Source holdings are fundamentally different, and will be discussed at the end.
    Setting up a covert holding can be done by a guilder regent, or by any other type of regent together with a rogue-class lieutenant. This is considered to be the lieutenant’s action for the domain turn. The cost is three times that to create a regular holding (thus 3 GB).
    After that, however, the holding costs the same as any other holding (figured in domain maintenance costs). Guilder regents can set up covert law and guild holdings by themselves, but require a priest lieutenant to set up covert temple holdings. Regency points can be spent when the type of holding is appropriate to the regent (i.e. would be able to collect RP from it if it were a normal holding), NOT when it is appropriate to the lieutenant.
    Once a covert holding is set up, it can be used. However, using a covert holding makes it "active," and therefore easier to detect. A covert holding can function as a regular holding, but immediately looses its covert status. There are, however, a few things that a covert holding can do and remain secret. Covert guilds can also be covertly Ruled (as x3 the regular cost), but only if there is "space" available for that holding type. Law holdings are the exception to this rule (see below).
    Covert Guild Holdings
    Covert guild holdings are your typical "spy networks." They use their intimate contact with the goods and services of the province to obtain intimate information about the land, its rulers, and its affairs. These are best set up in the capital provinces of countries, where most of the "official business" of the realm is conducted. Covert guilds are capable of the following actions.
    - Basic intelligence. All normal, non-secret information in that province is sent to the regent. This includes: holding levels and holding level changes, any build and fortify actions which take place in that province, troop movements in and through that province, ambassadorships and alliances that are publicly announced, and random events that occur in the realm. This does not activate the holding.
    - Espionage. The regent can spend 1 GB to gain an espionage action as a free activity in that province. Anything described under the Espionage realm action in the Rulebook can be done, but this activates the holding, making it easier to detect. Troop locations and movements can be detected as if a scout unit were located in the province (i.e. detected in that province and in all provinces adjacent). The chance of success differs from that for regular espionage actions. The base Success requirement is a 10 or better on a d20. Modify this by -1 per level of the province, by +1 per level of law holding loyal to the victim, and +5 for every province distant the source of information is. Add an additional +1 if the holding or province is fortified. For example, Halried has a covert guild in the Roesonean county of Ghoried, and is interested in the court of Marlae, Baroness of Roesone, in Blackstone Castle next door in Caercas. If Ghoried is a province (2), and Marlae controls a law (1) holding in Ghoried, his difficulty is 10, -2 (province), +1 (law), +5 (1 province distant), +1 (fortified by castle) for a total of 15. Halried's player must roll a 15 or better on a d20 to find out about Marlae's new treaty with Aerenwe.
    - Underground Trade Route. If a covert guild is not adjacent to other holdings, an underground trade route must be established to connect the two if anything other than information is to be passed between them. Setting up an underground trade route costs the same as a regular trade route if a road or river exists linking the two holdings, and twice that if no route exists. The maintenance required is also the same as that for a regular trade route, but it needs to be paid only in seasons (domain turns) in which the route is active. When active, the route automatically activates the covert holdings to which it connects. When inactive, the route does not require any maintenance, but if left inactive for more than a year (5 domain turns or more) it falls apart. People (such as adventurers or kidnapped victims) or items (such as stolen goods) can be passed along an underground trade route. If used for smuggling, the route generates half the gold that a regular trade route would make between the same two provinces. This can be combined with a regular trade route to increase profitability, but if so, the regular guild holdings are detected as covert holdings, which may alert regents of nefarious practices.
    Covert Temple Holdings
    Worshippers who choose to attend a proscribed religion tend to be devout and faithful, and so create the power and effectiveness of a larger church.
    - Regency Bonus. The holder of a covert temple actually collects regency from the holding as though it were twice the size (zero-level holdings generate 1 RP)
    - Devotion. The devotion and faith of the followers allows the regent to cast priestly realm spells in the province as though they were more powerful holdings. A temple (0) produces enough faith to power a realm spell that would normally require a temple (1) holding. A covert temple (1) produces enough faith to power spells that require temple (3) holdings, and covert temple (2) holdings can power spells that require temple (5) holdings
    - Silent Agitate. A covert temple can reduce the loyalty of its province by one grade, unbeknownst to the ruler. Thus, the province appears to rebel when it reaches Poor loyalty. A rebelling province reveals the presence of the covert temple. Revealing the presence of a covert temple automatically reveals the true loyalty of the province. The chance for success is the same as that for the regular Agitate action, but no RP can be spent (for or against).
    Covert Law Holdings
    This represents traitorous nobles who have secretly given their loyalty to another master, as well as "bandit lords" who move in and take advantage of the weak.
    - Military espionage. Activating the covert law holding reveals the location and movements of troops in and around the province as though there were a scout troop in the province.
    - Usurp loyalty. The traitorous nobles may attempt to convince others to join them in their treachery. This can actually "steal" control of law units secretly from their current holder. They still obey the putative holder, unless specifically told otherwise. Countermanding an order instantly reveals the true loyalty of that noble. The cost of this action is the level of the new covert holding times three in gold bars. For example, Oskar has a covert law (1) holding in Calrie, and wants to usurp the loyalty of another of the Queen of Aerenwe's nobles. Doing so will give him a covert law (2) holdings, and so will cost him 2x3 = 6 GB to make the attempt. The chance of success is 50% (target 10 on d20) and NO RP can be spent (but, of course, none can be spent to counter, either). If the attempt fails, Oskar's traitorous law (1) holdings will be revealed to the Queen of Aerenwe, and she can have him removed (by making a DECREE free action).
    - Turncoat. The traitorous nobles can throw their lot in with their true master, defecting and taking their troops with them. A zero-level turncoat will take one infantry or cavalry unit from the former regent's army, and transfer their control to that of the new regent. A level-1 turncoat will take 2 units, or one pike or archer unit, and a level-2 turncoat will take 3 units, or one knights unit. The stolen unit does not need to be in the same province as the turncoat, but does need to be able to get across the border before being cut off or attacked. A province that has 2 or more units "cuts off" the path of a fleeing unit. If a unit is more than a single war move away from the border, the defender gets a war move to attempt to cut off or attack the turncoat unit. The unit is retained if cut off. Covert law holdings will usually go turncoat if they are discovered and a DECREE is issued against them. Moving two more army units into their province than they can turn prevents this. When a holding turns coat, it opens up a law holding slot in that province.
    Counter Espionage
    It should be obvious by now that regents will wish to reduce the amount of secret holdings in their territory, or at least be able to keep an eye on them. All guilder regents and rogue-class lieutenants have the opportunity to recognize the indicators and signs that reveal that something covert is going on. In addition, a special lieutenant, called a "Home Agent," can be brought in to set up a "secret police" or "counter-intelligence agency," to detect the influence of foreign powers. Covert holdings exist in three different "states," which influence how easy they are to detect. The first state represents the degree of disorder that exists as the holding is first being set up. In the charts below, this is what the first number represents: the percentage chance to detect a "new" (just created) covert holding. The second state is the "passive" state: the holding exists, but is taking no actions on behalf of its holder. The third state is the active state. Holdings are most easy to notice when in this state. The covert holding is in this state when undertaking one of the actions described above (except Basic Intelligence and Regency Bonus).
    Guilders and rogue-class lieutenants detect covert holdings (New/Passive/Active) as follows:
    - Law: 10% / 0% / 25%
    - Guild: 5% / 0% / 10%
    - Temple: 15% / 10% / 20%
    If a regent spends an action, or a lieutenant responds as if to a random event, he can concentrate on one area, and improve his chances: concentrating on a single province doubles his chance to detect any covert holdings present (although 0x2 still equals 0). If he further concentrates on one type of holding in that province, the chance doubles again (thus is now x4 base chance).
    Home Agents cost 5 GB to set up. The set up period can be accomplished at a rate of 1d6 GB per domain turn (season). The Home Agent counts as a lieutenant in terms of determining how many lieutenants a regent can have, but is NEVER available for domain actions or to respond to random events. At the DM's option, he may be available for adventuring, especially if the adventure is relevant to "national security." Once set up, the Home Agent requires an operating budget of 2 GB per domain turn. Every combination of 1 GB and 1 RP spent beyond this basic level both increases the Home Agent 's ability to detect covert holdings by 10%, AND increases the difficulty of any Espionage actions taken against the regent by +2.
    Home Agents use the following chart for their ability to detect covert holdings:
    - Law: 15% / 10% / 40%
    - Guild: 20% / 5% / 20%
    - Temple: 25% / 15% / 30%
    Use the same modifiers as above for concentrating. Add bonuses for GB/RP spent before concentration modifiers.
    Source Holdings
    Source holdings are a completely different type of holding from the other types, chiefly because they do not require the presence of people. They are therefore much more difficult to detect by anyone who is not "sensitive" to their presence (any other wizard). Wizards can quite easily detect the presence of and locate the location of claimed sources in a province, even one which is completely new to them, because they can sense the flow of mebhaighl (and at a source, that flow is as "loud" as a waterfall). Further, wizards are so intimately connected to their sources, they can sense when another regent is tampering with the mebhaighl of the province. Contest Source and Rule Source actions are immediately noticed by other wizards who own source holdings in the province. Even attempts to Create Source Holding make a lot of "noise," and are frequently noticed. The base chance is 80%, minus 10% per province distant the wizard is at the time. Even if he misses it, the wizard knows that a new holding was created the next time he returns to that province, because the pattern of the flow is different.
    Although other regents get very little out of source holding, it may occasionally be useful to know where they are located. Mostly so they can be destroyed at need. Scout units have a small chance of locating sources in a province: 10% chance every week. Much better for this purpose are rangers. If a ranger lieutenant spends a month searching a province, he will find the site of a source unless he rolls a 1 on 1d6. If there is more than one source in the province, the DM determines which one is found. A ranger so occupied is unavailable for adventuring or responding to random events.
    Once found, a source holding can be destroyed to prevent a wizard from using it to cast realm spells. The easiest way to do this is to "trash" the site: chopping down trees, burning the plants, painting crude and insulting sayings on rocks, etc. This destroys the wizard's "access point" to the mebhaighl supply. But, regents beware: wizards often make deals with guardian monsters or spirits to safeguard their sites (this would be a good use for the "elven elementals” which someone else came up with earlier), or protect them with powerful incantations. If this happens, the wizard can always start a new source somewhere else in the province to restore his access to mebheighl.
    However, if the previous source is "trashed", the magical rating of the entire province is reduced by one, until it naturally regenerates.
    Original by Mark VanderMeulen
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  7. #7
    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    And for those like Magian of a more piratical bent, here is Ian Hoskins' Piracy action from the old Birthright.net pages. Again, it may have been modified from his original some (or even a lot...I don't remember what I changed).

    Piracy
    Success: 10+
    Type: Domain
    Base Cost: Need ship and crew first.
    This Domain Action is used to determine the success of a pirate vessel sent out by a regent. You can also send raiders, which do not require a domain action, but only generate 1d4-2 GB. If a negative value is indicated then the ship has taken damage and its value has been reduced by 1 GB. A regent can only have 2 vessels raiding at anyone time, otherwise the activity will be noticed by other kingdoms.
    The Ships
    Ships are divided into several classes that reflect their size and pirating potential.
    Class A: Fishing Boats
    These vessels are too small to engage in raiding.
    - Coaster
    - Dhow
    - Keelboat
    Class B: Raiders
    These vessels make the best raiders, or pirate vessels, as they are fast and able to carry marines and cargo at the same time.
    - Caravel
    - Drakkar
    - Knarr
    - Longship
    Class C: Traders
    These vessels are too slow or otherwise unsuitable for pirates, they do make good target however.
    - Cog
    - Dhoura
    - Roundship
    Class D: Warships
    The best pirate vessels as they are fairly fast and can carry large numbers of troops and cargo. Every pirate or raider dreams of being rich enough to buy one of these vessels. They also make good warships for kingdom to buy to hunt down pirates.
    - Galleon
    - Zebec
    A captain is also important to a pirate ships success. The pirates have a better chance of success if they have an experienced captain. Experience is based on the number of successful raids or attacks the captain has made. Below is a list of the number of attacks or raids a captain must make to be listed under that category.
    - Inexperienced: Has never made a successful attack
    - Standard: Has successfully made 1 attack.
    - Skilled: Has successfully pirated 5 or more vessels, and made 1 raid on a coastal province.
    - Experienced: Pirated 15 or more vessels and raided 3 cities.
    - Legendary: Has carried out a raid of such daring that other pirates still talk about it. An example of a legendary raid is attacking a ship in the harbour of the Imperial City, or taking on a fleet of warships, and winning.
    The success number cannot be altered by regency points, it can however be modified by the following things. You can only attack one ship type each time you use this action. These rules can also be used to see if a pirate vessel can successfully raid a province.
    Modifiers to Success:
    - Inexperienced Crew: -2
    - Inexperienced Captain: -1
    - Skilled Captain: +1
    - Experienced Captain: +2
    - Legendary Captain: +3
    - Boarders on Board: +2
    - Marines on Board: +1
    - No troops on Board: -2
    - Heavy weapons: +1
    - Raider is Damaged: -1
    - Attacking class A ships with raider: +2
    - Attacking class C ships with raider: +1
    - Attacking class D ships with raider: -2
    - Attacking class A ships with warship: +4
    - Attacking class B ships with warship: +3
    - Attacking class C ships with warship: +2
    - Raiding level 1-3 province: +1
    - Raiding level 4-6 province: -1
    - Raiding level 7+ province: -3
    - Troop in province: -1 / level
    If the roll has been successful then the pirate vessel has made it back to port safely and has taken plunder. If the roll fails then the value lists the amount of damage taken by the ship. The damage is listed in GB's so a Caravel can take 6 GB of damage before it is sunk. Damage can be repaired by paying GB's equal to the damage.
    The money taken also represents a total for that month. This is also altered by the size of the vessel doing the raiding.
    Class B ship
    - Attacking Class A vessels: 1d2-1 GB
    - Attacking Class B vessels: 1d3-1 GB
    - Attacking Class C vessels: 1d4+1 GB
    - Attacking Class D vessels: 1d6+2 GB
    - Raiding provinces (1-3): 1d2 GB
    - Raiding provinces (4-6): 1d4 GB
    - Raiding provinces (7+): 1d8 GB
    Class D ship
    - Attacking Class A vessels: 1d3-1 GB
    - Attacking Class B vessels: 1d4-1 GB
    - Attacking Class C vessels: 1d8 GB
    - Attacking Class D vessels: 1d10+3 GB
    - Raiding provinces (1-3): 1d3 GB
    - Raiding provinces (4-6): 1d6 GB
    - Raiding provinces (7+): 1d10 GB
    Original by Ian Hoskins
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  8. #8
    It might be nice to have one set of slots for secret "underworld" organizations. I've always thought it was a bit wierd that you'd have to create law, temple, or guild holdings that others could see -- competing for legitimate authority that is tracked.

    I might have a line of "underworld" holdings equal to the level of the province. So, for a level 5 province, there would be a 5 levels of law holdings, 5 levels of temple holdings, 5 levels of guild holdings, and 5 levels of underworld holdings.

    You'd still have to "characterize" the underworld holdings as law, temple, or guild holdings and run them accordingly -- so you have a cult competing with a smuggler competing with a blackmail ring, for instance. However, I would have it so that holding an underworld level reduces the effectiveness of all of your other legitimate holdings -- in part to keep the legitimate rulers from trying to take over all of these holdings and in part to reflect how graft/corruption might affect operations. So, if you had a level 3 province, a level 2 law, a level 2 temple (i.e. Talinie, for instance) and you got into some sort of underworld activity (i.e. a level 1 underworld temple - selling indulgences), it would reduce the effectiveness of all three legitimate areas.

    It might also be a good way to reflect random "great captain" events that eventually create spin-offs. A subordinate gets involved in something like that -- creating an underworld holding that affects your collections. You move against them. They spin off a new holding when you go after them. They become a force you have to deal with in your reign.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    Not all temples are upfront and visible. The Hidden Temple of Cuiraécen is a good example. Its holdings are not obvious, partially because the regents of the provinces in which they are found are not favourable to the faith.

    Sorontar

  10. #10
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Since this makes the rules more complicated, an attempt to keep them simple may be a good idea. Which brings to mind the rule regarding max number holdings in a province. This could possibly be used to mitigate the amount of dark side holdings. Dark side holdings could include hidden holdings, corrupt holdings and the like. It could also represent the available slots for levels of that type of holding in a province. I would think it possible to have 1 of each type just like the regular rules or limit it as a flat holding limit per province regardless of type.

    Just an idea.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

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