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    Favorite Region and What region would to you most like to play in

    My favorite region to play in is Anuire -only because I have a lot of memories from previous games.

    I once played in a Vosgaard game that lasted about 7-8 turns and it was a blast. I think the region has a lot of offer that is far different from the other realms.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Most of the games I've seen as Anuire based, but my first PBeM was Rjurik Winds which was great and really opened me up to the Rjurik.

    The culture I am least comfortable with is the Khinasi, though that's partly because I was never into the Sinbad sort of thing and find a lot of Arabian settings irritating.

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    My game that has been going on since 1995, is mostly centered around Anuire. By extension, there's a lot of activity in developing and playing in Aduria. One of our players is a scion of the house of Maltos Saria, and is attempting to rebuild the Masetian Empire, so there's a lot of work being done in the Khinasi region and the southern islands.
    d'estre bons et leaulx amis et vrais ensemble et de servir l'un 'autre envers et contre tous

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    AndrewTall - I have been to the Rjurik Winds website and it looked like it was very interesting. What did you like most about the setting or that game in particular? I don't think I've heard hear of a long ranging plot line or heavy drama from the far north.

    Jaleela - You game is still active? Is this a web based PBEM or a home brew game? I'd love to check out the website if you have it available. How far into Anduria have you gotten? What did was used to plot the regions? I've often thought about expanding the land next to Mieries with 3 to 7 new domains for Anduria barbarians..or *neobarb* nations.

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    Anuire is arguably the best setting because it has several things going for it that many of the other regions do not have:


    -Larger product support. More products = better coverage which assists DMs in crafting the setting to their needs and to help fill any gaps or provide fluff for their players. From a player perspective, it also makes the setting appear richer and thus more enjoyable.

    -More firmly rooted in the Western European medieval fantasy setting that is more familiar and/or popular to the player base. Although that might not necessarily be the case in 2012, but looking back at the time Birthright was launched and still in the TSR product lines, all the "conventional" settings remained the most popular and best selling: Dragonlance & Forgotten Realms. Meanwhile, settings like al-qadim, Dark Sun, Planescape, or occasional dips into say Maztica (Americas) and Oriental Adventures failed to capture the same attention even when patched into the flagship setting of Forgotten Realms. Although, there is an argument that can be said that DL and FR were the most popular because they were the best supported which just reinforces my first point.

    -An overarching goal or ambition of "Restoring the Empire... with me as Emperor!" This gives players and their characters as well as antagonists a lofty goal to pursue and thus create conflict. RPG games are fundamentally arbitrary mechanical systems to resolve conflicts in a story. The other regions fail to various degrees to achieve the same level of 1 goal to rule them all. The Vos do have the Tsarovich story however much like the Khinasi, it was to repel a foreign invader and occupier. Without the threat of the Anuirean Empire or the Brech League, there's no motivation other than blind ambition for power or greed. When players are encouraged to be heroes, it's hard to justify "I must conquer all the lands to make myself more powerful". The Rjurik and Brecht don't even have anything of the like which further falls flat.

    That said, you don't need that huge goal or could be like Genghis Khan or Michael Roele and forge an Empire of your own. That said, the Anuirean setting has done a better job in establishing goals for regents while other settings have not.

    -Strong inter-domain synergy. Multiple domains have holdings that cross into "foreign" lands which naturally creates conflict or reason to interact with multiple regents to achieve one's goals or objectives. Brechtur, Vosgaard and Rjurik in particular are extremely insular which keeps each geographical country separate and distant from one another.

    -Firmly established and terrifying antagonists. The big 3 abominations of the Gorgon, Rhuobbhe, and the Spider are the most compelling of the 5 regions. Simply because they are written and placed in such a way that they are not just motivated by power or greed but pose an existential threat. Brechtur does have the Gorgon, but he's not actively involved in the region (more on that later). Outside of the abominations, you have the warmonger Baron Tael, the Avan-Boeruine feud, the civil war in Osoerde, Diemed and Alamie restoration and other plotlines to pursue. Again a big factor in this comes that these antagonists have more material and in some cases novels fleshing them out.

    -Strongest design. More of a conclusion of all the above points than a point in itself, the realms of Anuire are a perilous domino game. One slight tip and the setting is written such that all the pieces will fall into place and in an organic manner that requires little effort on the part of the DM to feel inspired for stories. The layout of the different territories also creates far more interesting situations because few realms are isolated with most having at least 3 neighbours.


    Not to go on too big of a tangent, but I'd briefly outline the main "failings" or why the other 4 regions don't hold up as well to Anuire.

    Brechtur: The countries are far too insular. Other than a few wizard regents, there are no regents with holdings that span multiple countries. Hell, I don't even recall if the Gorgon had any holdings to it's name in Kiergaard preferring to let his vassal do the heavy lifting. This limits diplomacy and makes conflict more black and white as any new regent that tries to come in from a foreign land would be seen as an interloper. Further, much of the provinces are poorly developped so even then it takes a while before regents would begin to contest one another as the players go for the inevitable power grab of ruling up all the empty slots first.

    Lack of compelling villains. While he does have a port and a vassal kingdom in Brechtur, it's clear the Gorgon's focus is on Anuire. The Kraken is much like the Seadrake, just a random force of limited destruction except it can't even be bartered with. The Swordhawk COULD have potential but as written he's made out to be an upstart and a failure besides. The easiest way to remove any sense of dread or threat from a villain is to make him look incompetent or inept from the get go. The other abominations are minor players and only pose limited threats and in some cases only to their own people.

    The pirates of Grabentod are cut at the knees right at the start with their king under Muden custody and the chaotic mess that realm is left in. Danigau is made out to be more than capable of holding off the goblin realm. While Rhzlev could be a good villain, their lack of naval power and mediocre geographical position makes them threats only to their neighbours through specific mountain passes.

    While Brechtur makes for a good setting to run campaigns limited to a single country, in terms of domain play it might be the one in biggest need of an overhaul considering the potential it has if one only reads about the land from the base campaign setting.


    Rjurik does a slightly better job in having more firmly established villains with the Blood Skull Barony, the elves and the White Witch. Geographically though, few realms have multiple neighbours, which limits interaction and diplomacy. While the various jarldoms are an interesting twist, it kind of sucks that they are so weak and with the lands so empty of hodlings, it creates little domain play conflict. Mechanically speaking, there's nothing preventing a domain ruler from just running roughshod over select jarls to grab their holdings while brow beating the rest into submission. Unlike Brechtur though, I think this is easily "fixed" with having the jarls be province rulers in their own right and domain vassals of main ruler. John Harbord and Thorstein recently ran a campaign covering Alamie and Tuornen where each player was a landed regent of a single province with a vassalage system. I played Duke Alam and I think it was a novel concept and worked well. This could work here.

    There are few temple and wizard regents which further limits conflict and makes for a very homegnous experience as a whole.


    Vosgaard's main issue is that there are very few PC recommended realms which limits diplomacy severely. The lack of product support further exacerbates the problem because there just isn't that much to do other than fight monstrous realms that are all over the place. The Raven makes a great antagonist though. Unfortunately, it's almost more of a Khinasi villain than a Vos one as it straddles both regions due to the few playable Vos realms.


    The Lands of the Sun are my 2nd pick for best designed region. The Magian and Serpent make for interesting abomination antagonists with a strong cast of lesser but dangerous villains like the Lamia or the Sphinx. That said, I find that the region actually has too many awnsheglien and when you look at it at a macro level they all kind of get lost in the shuffle. Conflict becomes black or white with little nuance. Because of all these great evil threats, my experience is players will play extremely defensively and reactively rather than proactively as they are too afraid to take risks or chances. Players don't have the sense that they have some leeway to go adventuring or get involved in matters outside their immediate concerns. While Anuire is a bit more forgiving because we all assume the regents do follow a sense of noblesse oblige and rules of engagement.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muaadeeb View Post
    AndrewTall - I have been to the Rjurik Winds website and it looked like it was very interesting. What did you like most about the setting or that game in particular? I don't think I've heard hear of a long ranging plot line or heavy drama from the far north.
    The GM and players in short. Dargal was insane in the most wonderful ways (he kept propositioning the White Witch with poetry), while the Witch kept her evil well hidden and was a strong supporter of the effort against the Gorgon when he invaded (the big theme of the game) which both forced interaction (her help was needed) and made it much more palatable (she wasn't known as an Awnie), while Dherg Wir, although one of "the bad guys" from my realms perspective was a very "different" character, we had good players for Storm and Stjordvik too - I didn't realise how lucky we were until I played some d4-1's.

    We were lucky in having several players who took the long term view and only one who tried to "win next round" although that player still caused a lot of damage nearly leading to two realms (each theirs) being glomphed.

    Other things that helped were adventures (played out on a virtual game-board and yahoo messenger) and a general sense of "fun" to the game which I've missed in some others.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    The other regions fail to various degrees to achieve the same level of 1 goal to rule them all. The Vos do have the Tsarovich story however much like the Khinasi, it was to repel a foreign invader and occupier. Without the threat of the Anuirean Empire or the Brech League, there's no motivation other than blind ambition for power or greed. When players are encouraged to be heroes, it's hard to justify "I must conquer all the lands to make myself more powerful". The Rjurik and Brecht don't even have anything of the like which further falls flat.
    You could try:
    Vosgaard: Restore joy to the Vos and bring them forth from savagery?

    The Rjurik and Brecht are more of a problem I accept. The Rjurik are more "unite in resistance" in my mind although I've toyed with a "reclaiming the wilds" campaign for the sidhe and karamhul.

    The Brecht, I think you'd need "re-unite the brecht league" but that doesn't fit with the stated history - one does not repeat dismal failure in a nation of merchants - perhaps if some other realms had been reclaimed from the savages and retained, making it a success except for the "wilder gamble to the north" and "failure to properly invest"? Or how about "liberate the south from awnsheghlien?"

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    -Strong inter-domain synergy.
    Agreed, the churches sprawl but most others don't - fixable but a chore, in this land more than any other the guilds should cross borders and compete at multiple points.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    -Firmly established and terrifying antagonists.
    I find the Gorgon counter-productive, he moves and everyone has to unite against him ruining much intrigue. I'd prefer him much more remote and "the emperor in exile" - a monster in form but with a court that is a mixture of "true old Anuire" and a dark mirror of the same - with some very honourable knights serving him as "the true emperor" and so on - he can be negotiated with, his servants might wage war but he himself is above such things - he perhaps plans to storm heaven itself and make of himself a god.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    Brechtur: The countries are far too insular. Other than a few wizard regents, there are no regents with holdings that span multiple countries...
    Brechtur's strength is that every realm borders all the others via the Bay, if that aspect is bigged up - with cross holdings added in - then it should become more playable. I'd replace the Kraken with something more subtly evil in the centre of the bay permitting more negotiation and intrigue - possibly a mysterious ruler said to hold the secret to controlling the kraken (deterring invasion). I'd also make it more ambiguous whether the Swordhawk is rival to the Gorgon, or his ally and perhaps even his heir - and move Truecht back from the Bay slightly to make Massenmarch then border Muden to create an obvious flash point.

    Add in a bigger threat from the goblins over the eastern mountains (encouraging negotiation with the northern Rjurik) by the eastern reach, opening up some rivers to deepen the Bay to the south, and likewise using river to expand the western reach a bit and it might be fairly usable - if a lot of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    ... [Rjurik] Geographically though, few realms have multiple neighbours, which limits interaction and diplomacy. While the various jarldoms are an interesting twist, it kind of sucks that they are so weak ...

    There are few temple and wizard regents which further limits conflict and makes for a very homegnous experience as a whole.
    I'd add Nesirie's temples along more of the coasts (spread over many realms), Haelyn in the Telshore (there must have been some interaction with Anuire during the empire!) permit some wizards (defenders against the sidhe and the sidhe themselves as well as some hermit types and so on), possibly squeeze another realm into "the Hjarring valley" to add slightly more depth and maybe some islands along the east coast for the same reason.

    For jarls I'd make it "normal" for them to hold up to half the law and guilds of their province, with some spreading - representing a communal approach to that sort of thing, while making them vassals of the ruler (mostly) and stressing the social issues in moving against them - or not replacing with someone from their clan if one did. That limits the "true guilders" - to keep the setting feel while allowing guilds to be otherwise expanded.

    A few minor awnie's holding single provinces might be one thing to explore - the idea being heroic adventures to claim their land and prove oneself - although that may suit the Vos more.

    Add in a more active Thaele (although the cold makes that hard so you might need non-humans) and both expand the karamhul and link them (underground tunnels? They probably reach Brechtur more easily although a Silverhead route might work) to everyone else and it should work pretty well.

    Overall though given the low population in the provinces you need large realms, that in turn means few realms unless you expand the map :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    Vosgaard's main issue is that there are very few PC recommended realms which limits diplomacy severely. The lack of product support further exacerbates the problem because there just isn't that much to do other than fight monstrous realms that are all over the place. The Raven makes a great antagonist though. Unfortunately, it's almost more of a Khinasi villain than a Vos one as it straddles both regions due to the few playable Vos realms.
    Indeed, I think that you'd have to convert some realms, I'd consider stretching the north of Cerilia generally to give space for some more realms - possibly city-states of some sort, with rivers to serve as roads (in summer at least). I'd certainly sling in some small awnies to be bested - and their people absorbed into a growing realm / cleared for living room.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    The Lands of the Sun are my 2nd pick for best designed region. The Magian and Serpent make for interesting abomination antagonists with a strong cast of lesser but dangerous villains like the Lamia or the Sphinx. That said, I find that the region actually has too many awnsheglien and when you look at it at a macro level they all kind of get lost in the shuffle. Conflict becomes black or white with little nuance. Because of all these great evil threats, my experience is players will play extremely defensively and reactively rather than proactively as they are too afraid to take risks or chances. Players don't have the sense that they have some leeway to go adventuring or get involved in matters outside their immediate concerns. While Anuire is a bit more forgiving because we all assume the regents do follow a sense of noblesse oblige and rules of engagement.
    I'd make the Lamia, Sphinx, Harpy, etc less "pure evil" to encourage intrigue and diplomacy with them - the sphinx possibly being very erratic as they swing between their wizard mind and bestiality, also, wemics, I just like them, I can see the wemics and rakshas personalising both aspects of the Sphinx's personality - savage vs civilised and noble vs insidious...

    I'd also consider adding pure city-states of one province (Anuire has Endier and Ilien, the Khinasi who are noted for a city-state mindset have none), add in some mystical sources to be fought over, and make the centre/north extensive graslands for Basarji riders rather than desert waste - it is useless space right now so either you extend the land to the south to replace the wasted space (creating a new realm or two) or you get rid of it.

    The Basilisk is a counter-productive villain given their destruction of the land (if you kill it you gain nothing) so I'd replace the poison with petrification (a wonderful "kill" power as it is reversible) and have the land described as full of statues - a true wizard hero could someday undo the basilisks curse and restore the realm if they could but subdue the beast that symbolises the terrible magic used to assault the land etc. Add in a (now forgotten) threat that caused the wizards of the lost realm to unleash their petrifying magic in the first place and you could have a campaign seed.

    Puffing up the lands of Djapur with a realm or two (like Aduria) and using the two island chains between would also help.

    Overall I agree that the realms need more work than Anuire, but they are, in my view, quite "fixable". Since I'd do quite a bit to Anuire though, I may under-estimate the work required.
    Last edited by AndrewTall; 10-05-2012 at 11:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    You could try:
    Vosgaard: Restore joy to the Vos and bring them forth from savagery?
    Oh, I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm just saying taken purely as written, there's little to support such a campaign idea. The best way I'd go about doing so from a personal perspective is introducing a thread or domain of Ruornil trying to restore the old Vos heritage. It's somewhat sad that more energy was spent on Ruornil's plans for Medoere than the entire Vos people. Heh


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    The Rjurik and Brecht are more of a problem I accept. The Rjurik are more "unite in resistance" in my mind although I've toyed with a "reclaiming the wilds" campaign for the sidhe and karamhul.
    The reclaiming the wilds concept might work in certain regards but I see 1 major pitfall: How long before the pcs or "heroes" must go before they have to evict or even slay innocents to achieve it? Eviction is certainly preferable as a more humane solution but it's still morally suspect especially seeing as those races are reduced in number and might not be able to control those lands. It isn't quite as problematic for the dwarves as they live largely underground and I could see them co-existing with surface bound races.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    The Brecht, I think you'd need "re-unite the brecht league" but that doesn't fit with the stated history - one does not repeat dismal failure in a nation of merchants - perhaps if some other realms had been reclaimed from the savages and retained, making it a success except for the "wilder gamble to the north" and "failure to properly invest"? Or how about "liberate the south from awnsheghlien?"
    As I inferred upon in my original post, I don't really see the abominations South of the Swordhawk (Banshegh and Vampire) as being true threats. They both have a very vampire like mythos with the whole "don't go out at night" but they are largely too small to be anything more than annoyances. Especially with the Vampire neighbouring 2 awnshegh controlled domains. I felt that the 2 nations served as good plot devices to allow PCs to come in, kick the door down and try to whack an evil regent and claim the land and liberate the people.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Agreed, the churches sprawl but most others don't - fixable but a chore, in this land more than any other the guilds should cross borders and compete at multiple points.
    Or at the very least if trade routes were detailed it might show some form of competition or consideration. As is, we know nations have 1-2 different guilds isolated in 1 country and they do trade with non-defined ports and partners. Hmm, k? Nothing concrete, no talk of competition or alliances, or mercantile interests. Why does guild X trade with guild Y and not Z? These are considerations the setting completely ignores.

    I'd also have made more guilds own minor law holdings and not be a case of all or nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I find the Gorgon counter-productive, he moves and everyone has to unite against him ruining much intrigue. I'd prefer him much more remote and "the emperor in exile" - a monster in form but with a court that is a mixture of "true old Anuire" and a dark mirror of the same - with some very honourable knights serving him as "the true emperor" and so on - he can be negotiated with, his servants might wage war but he himself is above such things - he perhaps plans to storm heaven itself and make of himself a god.
    I think it's a very easy trap to fall into having the Gorgon become the 800 lb gorilla in the room. I found reading the Gorgon's entry in Blood Enemies implied but didn't stress its goals sufficiently for it to be clear. This has both a pro and a con. The pro is that it allows a DM leeway and interpretation on how to run it. The con is that it's just easy to make it analogous to Sauron in LotR but without the limitations.

    Since the death of the Roele line, I think the Gorgon's objective is to not only attain godhood but to claim what it might perceive as its birthright as the true heir of Azrai and to fight and defeat Haelyn in the outer planes. The material realm is just a means to an end, hence why he has no interest in sweeping down entirely and crushing the Empire. That said, I think the humanoid units need to be somewhat nerfed as they were way too strong in the original edition. The change in 3e brcs to having them act as mercs is a good start in having a low morale score. The Gorgon's just too overwhelming without some weaknesses which forces the "all must unite to defeat". Adding the wizard levels to it was a bit of overkill if you ask me. Or at least, toning down his level would be in order.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Brechtur's strength is that every realm borders all the others via the Bay, if that aspect is bigged up - with cross holdings added in - then it should become more playable. I'd replace the Kraken with something more subtly evil in the centre of the bay permitting more negotiation and intrigue - possibly a mysterious ruler said to hold the secret to controlling the kraken (deterring invasion). I'd also make it more ambiguous whether the Swordhawk is rival to the Gorgon, or his ally and perhaps even his heir - and move Truecht back from the Bay slightly to make Massenmarch then border Muden to create an obvious flash point.
    I'd agree with the krakennauright being a border to everyone if the navies were more equitable. As written, Muden is pretty much the UN/Nato police force with everyone else kind of relying on them for everything with the notable exception of Awnshegh and pirates.

    The Davey Jones pirates of the caribbean take on the Kraken might work. I've seen other interpretations of cults centred around its worship, a race of underwater creatures serving it, or that it protects some macguffin or artifact that keeps it in check. These make for interesting stories. The setting writers almost willfully ignore or gloss over.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Add in a bigger threat from the goblins over the eastern mountains (encouraging negotiation with the northern Rjurik) by the eastern reach, opening up some rivers to deepen the Bay to the south, and likewise using river to expand the western reach a bit and it might be fairly usable - if a lot of work.
    I'd also go so far as delete or change the two Rjurik realms in the Great Bay region. Or at the very least Hjorig as the Wolf was made to cut off its access to the sea and rendering it land locked. Adding another Brecht realm in its stead would better serve and allow more breathing room to expand non-landed regent holdings over multiple landed realms.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I'd add Nesirie's temples along more of the coasts (spread over many realms), Haelyn in the Telshore (there must have been some interaction with Anuire during the empire!)
    Mostly agreed. I'd change Haelyn to Cuiracaéen to better represent the ballads akin to Beowulf with champions of the Rjurik looking for a fight and ridding the realm of evil rather than the one with nature vibe. Maybe Belinik too to represent viking raiders (a tautology but I digress). The reasons behind Haelyn's lack of worship made sense as explained with the haelynites a symbol of Anuirean overlordship that a people might feel objectionable.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    permit some wizards (defenders against the sidhe and the sidhe themselves as well as some hermit types and so on), possibly squeeze another realm into "the Hjarring valley" to add slightly more depth and maybe some islands along the east coast for the same reason.

    ...


    Add in a more active Thaele (although the cold makes that hard so you might need non-humans) and both expand the karamhul and link them (underground tunnels? They probably reach Brechtur more easily although a Silverhead route might work) to everyone else and it should work pretty well.

    For jarls I'd make it "normal" for them to hold up to half the law and guilds of their province, with some spreading - representing a communal approach to that sort of thing, while making them vassals of the ruler (mostly) and stressing the social issues in moving against them - or not replacing with someone from their clan if one did. That limits the "true guilders" - to keep the setting feel while allowing guilds to be otherwise expanded.
    This works, although I think Thaele could have been simply been expanded to be more than just colonies but outright grown into realms in their own respects as a sort of second migration of Rjurik. Smaller realms of 2-4 provinces but with more of a centralized authority. Here I'd have added more a mix of Brecht and Rjurik with both peoples looking to exploit the resources of that continent instead of what I felt was a misplaced insertion of a Rjurik realm in the eastern part of the Bay.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    A few minor awnie's holding single provinces might be one thing to explore - the idea being heroic adventures to claim their land and prove oneself - although that may suit the Vos more.

    Overall though given the low population in the provinces you need large realms, that in turn means few realms unless you expand the map :-(
    Going back to my Beowul analogy, I rather think it might almost be better to have more "roaming" awnshegh in the rjurik lands than those that settle down because of the semi-nomadic nature of the people. Ghuralli? in Giantdowns is the closest thing I'd go towards adding whole new regents.



    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Indeed, I think that you'd have to convert some realms, I'd consider stretching the north of Cerilia generally to give space for some more realms - possibly city-states of some sort, with rivers to serve as roads (in summer at least). I'd certainly sling in some small awnies to be bested - and their people absorbed into a growing realm / cleared for living room.
    The jarldoms of Rjurik would be a good starting point in my view of the Vos. Have realms with warring tsars that vie for overall power but unite against a foreign invader. Such a realm is something that is surprisingly lacking in Vosgaard.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I'd make the Lamia, Sphinx, Harpy, etc less "pure evil" to encourage intrigue and diplomacy with them - the sphinx possibly being very erratic as they swing between their wizard mind and bestiality, also, wemics, I just like them, I can see the wemics and rakshas personalising both aspects of the Sphinx's personality - savage vs civilised and noble vs insidious...


    I'd also consider adding pure city-states of one province (Anuire has Endier and Ilien, the Khinasi who are noted for a city-state mindset have none), add in some mystical sources to be fought over, and make the centre/north extensive graslands for Basarji riders rather than desert waste - it is useless space right now so either you extend the land to the south to replace the wasted space (creating a new realm or two) or you get rid of it.
    All things I agree with. I really felt that Khinasi was a bit too much Arabian nights smack dab in Iraq, Persia, etc when it should have been more Iberian coast, Turkey, Levant, and Egypt feel. They absorbed the Masetians s a second wave of immigrants after all.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    The Basilisk is a counter-productive villain given their destruction of the land (if you kill it you gain nothing) so I'd replace the poison with petrification (a wonderful "kill" power as it is reversible) and have the land described as full of statues - a true wizard hero could someday undo the basilisks curse and restore the realm if they could but subdue the beast that symbolises the terrible magic used to assault the land etc. Add in a (now forgotten) threat that caused the wizards of the lost realm to unleash their petrifying magic in the first place and you could have a campaign seed.
    A very good suggestion! Maybe add that instead of becoming poisonous the a jungle or wilderness has kind of taken over the land in the intervening years making it so that even defeating the creature is only a start in restoring a proper realm but still doable.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Overall I agree that the realms need more work than Anuire, but they are, in my view, quite "fixable". Since I'd do quite a bit to Anuire though, I may under-estimate the work required.
    Well my interpretation of the question of the original poster was as written in canon, which region was your favourite? I find the atmosphere, mood, detail, and level of design of Anuire to be leaps and bounds better than the other regions. I think the easiest way to express my views of the various regions would be if you ran iterations of each region 100 times playing out in a simulator that was programmed to mimic the canon regents, random events etc.

    Anuire you'd get a much wider range of results with most being compelling or interesting.

    Brechtur would remain largely the same or "status quo" for the majority of the sims, with little activity.

    Rjurik would have more activity but the end result would be mostly the status quo with maybe the White Witch picking up a few provinces here and there in a sizeable chunk of scenarios.

    Vosgaard would see lots of activity involving the vos pc realms having to stand against foreign invaders with the Raven just running roughshod more or less.

    Khinasi would be overrun by Abominations until they started to fight each other.
    Last edited by The incredible, edible Phil; 10-06-2012 at 08:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    The GM and players in short. Dargal was insane in the most wonderful ways (he kept propositioning the White Witch with poetry), while the Witch kept her evil well hidden and was a strong supporter of the effort against the Gorgon when he invaded (the big theme of the game) which both forced interaction (her help was needed) and made it much more palatable (she wasn't known as an Awnie), while Dherg Wir, although one of "the bad guys" from my realms perspective was a very "different" character, we had good players for Storm and Stjordvik too - I didn't realise how lucky we were until I played some d4-1's.

    We were lucky in having several players who took the long term view and only one who tried to "win next round" although that player still caused a lot of damage nearly leading to two realms (each theirs) being glomphed.

    Other things that helped were adventures (played out on a virtual game-board and yahoo messenger) and a general sense of "fun" to the game which I've missed in some others.
    In my experience, most online pbems of Birthright last the d4-1 turns for two reasons:

    1) DM(s) aren't able to handle the breadth of the size of the campaign. 20+ players is a lot to handle, not to mention NPCing everyone else and writing your own plots, coming up with dozens of random events, etc.

    2) D4-1 itself has become almost a self-perpetuating prophecy. I've felt a lot of players go into campaigns almost fully expecting the game to end quickly and thus they don't take the long game in mind. Instead, they'll throw everything and the kitchen sink to achieve something or to max out their holdings in the first season. Joran, the DM of Dawn, asked me once to take over Diemed in his game after turn 3 or 4. My jaw dropped when he shared with me what the previous player had done. Diemed had conquered a province in Coeranys and its army had been stuck under a warding spell, had sworn fealty to Boeruine and later broke vassalage and had a huge Ghoeran army ready to occupy the realm. Trying to sort through all that was way too much in about a week's time so I backed out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    The reclaiming the wilds concept might work in certain regards but I see 1 major pitfall: How long before the pcs or "heroes" must go before they have to evict or even slay innocents to achieve it? Eviction is certainly preferable as a more humane solution but it's still morally suspect especially seeing as those races are reduced in number and might not be able to control those lands. It isn't quite as problematic for the dwarves as they live largely underground and I could see them co-existing with surface bound races.
    Define "innocent" :-) This was the key issue that I had when writing my draft campaign "Wrath of the Horned King" about this concept. I had the King take "the long view" - the humans would only live for a few decades anyway and the lands would indisputably be better once the sidhe were restored, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, etc. I had the campaign start in the north of the Downs with the result that the main targets were the Witch and humanoids, most of the Rjurik casualties were caused by the humanoids being driven out of their lands by the war.

    Numbers is an issue in such a campaign, I used "Cwshegh" - animated plant constructs that effectively mirrored the undead legions traditionally used by the evil mage/etc to come from nowhere while fitting in with the "we don't want casualties approach of the sidhe". Plus the constructs were mooks that any PC could whack at guilt free.

    To make it easier for good pc's to play on "either side" the Horned King was a "blast from the past", an ancient champion imprisoned when his wars against the humanoids threatened the land. Nobody was technically on his side even though the likely outcome of his war and eventual defeat would be a new sidhe realm in much of the eastern forests.

    That left me with sides:
    White Witch - plans to survive, see the Barony destroyed, draw Rjurik realms into the fight as ablative allies and plans escape if need be by marriage to a Rjurik noble away from the fighting.
    Barony - plans to survive, claim lands to the west and south to get away from the dread spirit, squabbles with the witch as both enemy and ally, aided by many monsters in its realm who normally ignore the "civilised monsters".
    Lluabraight - plans to ward and ignore the slaughter of the lesser races, secretly aids the Horned king with extensive realm magic and plans to claim his Cwshegh and lands if he is destroyed, warding ahoy!
    Young sidhe - bright young things willing to try "new tactics" given the slow decline of Llua, they are (initally) protected by various only part-broken restraints on the Horned King and so able to move fairly freely amongst its forces letting them resuce Rjurik, gather Rjurik males together into fighting forces, and lead the women and children to the secret sidhe glades avoided by the Cwshegh (where the mystical fey energies protecting the areas would mean that any refugees who ate fey food or drank fey water would take on fey chacteristics as in many myths).
    Southern Rjurik - initially oblivous, then curious, then invaded by the barony and monsters driven out by the king. Their adventures generally wouldn't directly involve the Horned King at all even though all would ultimately be caused by him.
    Western Rjurik - initially oblivious, then courted by the Witch, then invaded by the barony, and drawn into the attacks on the witch's realm either as allies or as opportunistic predators on her realm.
    Druids - deeply worried well before anyone else by disturbances to the forest mebhaighl as someone weaves sources across much of the land, when the war comes they are torn between aiding the witch or leaving Rjurik to die at cwshegh appendages.
    Giantdowns - I had Ghuralli driven out as the first sign that something big is happening, the karamhul holds in the mountains and ghuralli's forest lands then forming the base for the young sidhe. The Downs were invaded by the Barony for living space and generally had the choice of either accepting outside aid or being destroyed, either
    The Watching Spirits - I had various Shadow World refugees in mind to take advantage of the choas and likely very magic heavy war. These could be enemies, allies, or pawns for any or the parties.

    The PC's could be on almost any side barring the Barony or Horned King and be "good people" who "kept their hands clean" - in the medieval mindset, and particularly with the gods of Cerila in place of our own, war is not necessarily seen as a "bad thing" in itself I note, although the Rjurik more than other Cerilians prefer to avoid it.

    As a note, I tend to have the Karamhul as barely sub-surface, with them having extensive farms on the surface, terracing mountainsides and so on rather than hiding in dank holes subsisting on fungus.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    As I inferred upon in my original post, I don't really see the abominations South of the Swordhawk (Banshegh and Vampire) as being true threats. They both have a very vampire like mythos with the whole "don't go out at night" but they are largely too small to be anything more than annoyances. Especially with the Vampire neighbouring 2 awnshegh controlled domains. I felt that the 2 nations served as good plot devices to allow PCs to come in, kick the door down and try to whack an evil regent and claim the land and liberate the people.
    I agree, although the Banshegh is more of a tragic "rescue me" sort of figure in my mind. I note that the Vampire screams "more provinces in the shadow world" to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    I'd also have made more guilds own minor law holdings and not be a case of all or nothing.
    Indeed, in all canon the "one class one holding" approach is very rigid which is counter-productive in my view.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    The Gorgon's just too overwhelming without some weaknesses which forces the "all must unite to defeat". Adding the wizard levels to it was a bit of overkill if you ask me. Or at least, toning down his level would be in order.
    Personally I'd give him a pet mage or three and strip him of all the mage levels. Turning him from "everything me" to "a minion for every occasion and better things to do with my time than worry over such trivia" makes him much more usable in my view. I'd give him multiple minions of each types, all trying to out-do and undermine the others while not drawing too much of his attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    I'd also go so far as delete or change the two Rjurik realms in the Great Bay region. Or at the very least Hjorig as the Wolf was made to cut off its access to the sea and rendering it land locked. Adding another Brecht realm in its stead would better serve and allow more breathing room to expand non-landed regent holdings over multiple landed realms.
    The Wolf would be better played more as "a force of nature" than as a regent. Make its realm a brecht realm which has "an agreement with the beast" protecting it from larger nations and leaving it well forested. That change then brings both Wolfgaard and Hjorig better in to play, Hjorig would, in my view, be better as a brecht/vos composite realm than as a rjurik realm.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    This works, although I think Thaele could have been simply been expanded to be more than just colonies but outright grown into realms in their own respects as a sort of second migration of Rjurik. Smaller realms of 2-4 provinces but with more of a centralized authority. Here I'd have added more a mix of Brecht and Rjurik with both peoples looking to exploit the resources of that continent instead of what I felt was a misplaced insertion of a Rjurik realm in the eastern part of the Bay.
    The ony trouble with Thaele is the climate, there was a thread on it recently. I think it could use a karamhul and sidhe realm, perhaps an unusual race like minotaurs (refugees who fled Deismaar or Aduria as they are classic beast-men) and then a few Rjurk / Brecht city-states around viable areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    Going back to my Beowul analogy, I rather think it might almost be better to have more "roaming" awnshegh in the rjurik lands than those that settle down because of the semi-nomadic nature of the people. Ghuralli? in Giantdowns is the closest thing I'd go towards adding whole new regents.
    I'd definitely add several roaming awnies, possibly some ones more tied to areas (and likely claiming tribute from the Vos) in addition to those with realms.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    The jarldoms of Rjurik would be a good starting point in my view of the Vos. Have realms with warring tsars that vie for overall power but unite against a foreign invader. Such a realm is something that is surprisingly lacking in Vosgaard.
    Vassals and lesser regents are sadly absent generally and would benefit the game if added across the board - but particularly in independent-minded Vosgaard.

    Quote Originally Posted by The incredible, edible Phil View Post
    A very good suggestion! Maybe add that instead of becoming poisonous the a jungle or wilderness has kind of taken over the land in the intervening years making it so that even defeating the creature is only a start in restoring a proper realm but still doable.
    I like it. How about giving the Basilisk "children", possibly some of its victims were not stoned, but instead became lizard-folk of some sort, if the basilisk is killed its children might still hold some of the land, or might flee to claim a land elsewhere?

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