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Thread: I need help!

  1. #1

    I need help!

    Hello all,

    Recently, I have started to DM a birthright campaign. Originally, it was going to be PBEM, but there was so much interest/excitement that people wanted to scrap the current game we were playing and replace it with my birthright campaign, and do it live once a week. I have encountered numerous problems due to my inexperience with birthright (I have played/DMed traditional forgotten realms campaigns for the last 11 years).

    Here are my problems/questions:

    1. Who counts as a regent? If you rule a guild, for example, are you a regent? Do you have a court? Do you roll for initiative in each domain sequence?

    2. Initiative -- does it stay the same for each domain turn or is it rerolled for each action round?

    3. As a DM, do I need to create all the details for every relevent domain that the players will interact with? This seems totally cumbersome and I'm not sure how I am going to do it, since there are a ton of guilds, temples, and other nation-states. Do I roll iniative for each one? It seems like this will take like a full 8 hour day before each session to figure out whats going on in the rest of cerilia. For all of the random guilds that are present in each relevent area, I'd need to figure out their regency points, their treasury, all the trade routes, how much money and regency they spend and gain each turn, etc.

    4. Since I originally planned this as a Pbem, players created people all over the place. Here is what the current group is now: the regent of Roesone, the regent of Illien, the regent of Tuarhievel, el-hadid's successor, a guild leader in Rohrmarch, and a couple of nobles in Roesone. Is it feasible to run a campaign like this? It is hard to craft situations where everyone or even a majority of the PCs would be involved in an adventure, and what I have done so far is give the other players NPCs to control, but that is obviously less fun for those players since they have no ownership in those NPCs. What is a DM to do?

    Any help or guidance would be much appreciated. PM me for my AIM name or phone number if you are in the know about this sorta stuff and could spare 10-15 minutes to explain some of this stuff to me. I am no newbie to DnD yet I feel like I am in over my head in this. One of my players tonight contested another players holdings and there was definate meta-game anger, which is another aspect I didn't really like. I love the idea of birthright but I was hoping for some sort of permutation between domain rulership and adventuring that would focus on the latter rather than the former, and I am not sure how to achieve that with my current group.

    thanks in advance for any help you all can provide,

    PS

  2. #2

    two other questions

    two other things--

    1. the brcs book talks about taxation, and how much each each province generates. It then goes on to talk about how much you can get if you have various types of holdings. So if you are the baron, and you have law holdings, do you get taxes for the province plus taxes for your law holdings?

    2. What's up with vassalage? If you are a vassal, what do you get out of it? What can you do?

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Welcome.


    Quote Originally Posted by pizzystrizzy

    1. Who counts as a regent? If you rule a guild, for example, are you a regent? Do you have a court? Do you roll for initiative in each domain sequence?
    Any one who rules a holding or province is a regent. If you don't rule a province you are referred to as a non-landed regent.

    Check the glossary on pages 179+ it actually has some useful infor in there like the following:


    Regent
    : A character who rules holdings or provinces. A regent is considered to be landed if their domain includes at least one province.





    Non-landed regent: Any regent whose domain does not include at least one province (i.e. the regent's domain is not a realm but instead consists exclusively of holdings and domain assets).



    2. Initiative -- does it stay the same for each domain turn or is it rerolled for each action round?
    As written it is supposed to be done every round vice every turn. 2nd ed it was every turn. Basically this was done to allow an easier way of maintaing control for times when things spread out over long real time spans. Sometimes a domain round could take months of real time play. There is nothing to prevent a house-rule to change this to once a domain turn though - it all depends on the style of play and what suits you best. From what I understand, for most PBEM games it is done at a turn basis due to the way things are handled.


    Domain initiative:
    Before actions are played out each domain round, each regent must make a domain initiative check (1d20 + Bloodline modifier). Character's with no Bloodline, or a Bloodline modifier of less than +0 roll a straight d20 (without modifiers). The regent with the highest score goes first. The character with the next highest initiative gets to go next, and so on through the initiative order


    3. As a DM, do I need to create all the details for every relevent domain that the players will interact with? This seems totally cumbersome and I'm not sure how I am going to do it, since there are a ton of guilds, temples, and other nation-states. Do I roll iniative for each one? It seems like this will take like a full 8 hour day before each session to figure out whats going on in the rest of cerilia. For all of the random guilds that are present in each relevent area, I'd need to figure out their regency points, their treasury, all the trade routes, how much money and regency they spend and gain each turn, etc.
    This is probably the single biggest pitfall people have. Thinking they need to keep track of everything in minute detail. In my first BR game our DM did this and we spent several session rolling up income for each holding throughout the continent.

    All you need to do is whatever you feel is easiest to handle. Remember the players don't see behind the DM screen. What I and one of my favorite DMs did was to pick a center of attention and manage the regents in that area like PCs since they had the most direct influence on them. In other areas - I just set them on automatic and assigned them a "set" amount of gain of income/RP to account for "spending and contesting". Ever now and then a random action would occur like an overthrough of power - and if one of the PC's had connections in that land they got to learn something that went on there. Good way to introduce adventure hooks.

    4. Since I originally planned this as a Pbem, players created people all over the place. Here is what the current group is now: the regent of Roesone, the regent of Illien, the regent of Tuarhievel, el-hadid's successor, a guild leader in Rohrmarch, and a couple of nobles in Roesone. Is it feasible to run a campaign like this? It is hard to craft situations where everyone or even a majority of the PCs would be involved in an adventure, and what I have done so far is give the other players NPCs to control, but that is obviously less fun for those players since they have no ownership in those NPCs. What is a DM to do?
    Ouch.

    The one that IMO causes the most trouble is Rohrmarch since it is more remote than the others. IMO I'd offer that player a chance to switch out with some one "closer to the center of attention". Well actually that is a guilder so if he can have a guild in one of the provinces in the center of attention then there is a connection that can be played off of. If not, well then it is difficult.

    Elves and humans do not get along so a lot of personal interaction with those two realms is contrary to the setting's parameters, IMO. Until the point when the 2 can be united for some cause - but that does take a while to set up.

    Since you are essentially "starting over" it might not be a better idea to talk to the player's and see what they think is a good way to get everyone involved.

    What I generally did was to say I had between 1 and 3 realms available for a province ruler and then everyone else had to choose whether they wanted to run some other type of holding. It is usually pretty easy to get a decent cross section available. If there were conflicts then I first let the players try to decide amongst themselves - if that couldn't happen then it was first request got it. I then "modified" the initial holdings/GB/RP/troops that the 2nd ed books had in order to make things more "balanced" between players. IMO no one should start out with a clear advantage and every regent has a role to play that can be capitalized on.

    Any help or guidance would be much appreciated. PM me for my AIM name or phone number if you are in the know about this sorta stuff and could spare 10-15 minutes to explain some of this stuff to me. I am no newbie to DnD yet I feel like I am in over my head in this.
    It is probably the most complex setting ever, IMO. One thing we had attempted to do with the BRCS was simplify the bookkeepig that the 2nd ed game had - and to a large point we succeeded. You no longer roll for income - that was a real pain when law holding were rolling against guild and temple holding incomes to see what they got, etc.

    One of my players tonight contested another players holdings and there was definate meta-game anger, which is another aspect I didn't really like. I love the idea of birthright but I was hoping for some sort of permutation between domain rulership and adventuring that would focus on the latter rather than the former, and I am not sure how to achieve that with my current group.
    In one of my games a player (Prefect of the IHH) declared another player, Regent of Endier, and outlaw of the state and tried to order his death on sight by any paladin of the order. As DM, I pointed out to him that the paladins would refuse that order - but they would bring him in for a "trial". All of this was because the regent of Endier had "contested" the prefect's attempts at creating a holding in Endier. This and other factors prompted me to split the game into 2 groups. The more "greedy and evil" tendencied one (the guilders and Regent of Endier) and the more "lawful and good" ones (Regent of Roesone, prefect of IHH and a paladin of Church of Storm's Height. What I did was to have people generate 2 characters. Only one of which could start as a regent, although both could be scions.

    I really, really don't recommend this. It is far too much work for the Dm and adventures don't take up the same amount of time - so some player's start to feel that their "main" character is getting shorted in the deal.
    Last edited by irdeggman; 11-22-2005 at 11:05 AM.
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Sounds like fun,i wish you were doing a PBEM with 1 week per turn lol.......would be significantly faster-paced than everything else out there.Actually thats a thought.How do these live sessiosn go?You guys just get together and start playing?How long does it take?I sorta figured it would be more of a pain in the ass to do it IRL with the dice rolling,keeping track of everything,etc........

    I suppose one could try having a "PBEM" once a week with everyone in a IRC chat room and going at it computer calculations,etc to move things along a bit faster.
    Last edited by Question; 11-22-2005 at 06:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pizzystrizzy
    two other things--

    1. the brcs book talks about taxation, and how much each each province generates. It then goes on to talk about how much you can get if you have various types of holdings. So if you are the baron, and you have law holdings, do you get taxes for the province plus taxes for your law holdings?
    Taxes are more like color when described in the BRCS. Ther only game mechanics to handle taxation per se is the variant:

    Variant: Taxation modifiers

    The base GB collection for a province is based upon the assumption that the regent collects taxes that are in keeping with the contemporary standard. A regent that holds a province may declare their taxation to be more severe (or more forgiving) than usual. Through the use of the Decree domain action a regent may increase (or decrease) their province taxation by +/- 1 GB/season. This new taxation modifier is permanent until changed though a future decree. Province taxation rates can only be increased (or decreased) in increments of +/- 1 GB, and only one such decree can be made per domain turn. The taxation modifier for a province cannot increase its income by more than 50%. Regents should take careful note – modifiers to a province's taxation have significant impact on domain attitude. If this variant is used, the taxation modifier should be used as a bonus or penalty to the seasonal loyalty check for the affected areas.

    Example: The Countess of Medoere rules Alamier (4), Braeme (3), and Caerwil (2). Normally, her taxation modifier is +0 and she would receive 9 GB/season from her provinces (in addition to any income from her other holdings). Fearing a major war, she decides that she needs to increase her income to support additional army units and declare an increase in taxes through out the realm. All provinces now have a +1 taxation modifier; thus she will collect 12 GB/season in future collections. During the next domain turn, she can increase the taxation modifier further (to +2), decrease it (back to +0), or leave it unchanged (+1).
    What I mean is the the income that various holdings generate has to come from somewhere. Basically Law hooldings and provinces themselve generate their income from taxes of some kind. Usually law holding get their part off the top when collecting them for the province ruler.

    2. What's up with vassalage? If you are a vassal, what do you get out of it? What can you do?
    Basically the ability to survive. A vassal has the "protection" of his liege. A vassal is a regent in his own right so he gets to perform the full gambit of domain actions just as would any other regent - he just usually ends up tithing a portion of his RP and/or GB income to his liege.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
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    Question, the answer to your question about playing Birthright "Live" is bookwork. Be good at it.

    I'm running a campaign for a longlived Regent of Medoere. No RCS its EVH all the way (Eternal Vigilance of Haelyn) unfortunately its a solo game but i'm controlling all the other regents "around" her. i'm not dealing with too much Gold and RP tallying for these regents, just going a bit slow sometimes when i judge they have run out. Its more a stratagy game than roleplay but my player is gagging for more so i must be doing something right.

    Manty

  7. #7
    Senior Member ausrick's Avatar
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    I'm running a campaign right now that has 8 players in it, thankfully the domain turns actually come around pretty slow because a lot of it takes place at the adventure level but I have a feeling as they gain levels, domain turns will happen a lot faster. Thankfully not all of them are regents, and those that are have meager domains, but that is beside the point.

    I hear you when you say you are having trouble what to keep track of. Right now the only NPC Realms in the center of the action are Osoerde, Ghoere, Aerenwe, and Rosoene. . . But just in that you've got things like El-Hadid, Siele Ghoried, the fact that the IHH is splattered out in a ton of different realms, and you've even got Dwarven Traders in Osoerde. Here is the problem you run into: Say Gavin Tael of Ghoere wants to jack up Rosoene. Even if you know what stuff he has and have his domain sheet all real nice and printed out, you notice that the Mhor from Mhoried is probably going to want to do something to him if he gets an opportunity. So Gavin probably knows that so how open does Gavin leave his back door? Would the Mhor want to start agitating etc. Well, to REALLY know these kind of things you would want to look at the Mhor's domain sheet as well. And then you would notice his neighbors and so on and so on. I wonder if domain wise, there really are only "six degrees of separation" from any one regent to any other.

    My answer so far has been this: Just make it up. Say the NPC's that arent near by just give enough threat that the nearer NPC's can't go all out but only half way. Still that doesn't do really well for those instances like the following: Say I want to have Gavin Tael try to consolidate his realm. If I want him to contest the Mhor's law holdings, then I'm going to have to have his Domain sheet it seems, and then I would have to figure out how much RP the Mhor could really spend which would have to have the Domain sheets of his Neighbors as well. . . And those NPC's, how much RP are they safe to spend without leaving themselves open? This repeating cycle can be frustrating, Especially if you are someone like me who just wants to know "what would really happen". "Just making it up" doesn't really seem like the best answer.

    It would be cool if there was an appendix to the rules on some guidelines to handling NPC actions more abstractly on how they would use their RP and Armies, and also handling NPC domain growth over time for those domains that are far away from the action. I would like to hear how other DM's have handled this situation in their games.
    Regards,
    Ausrick

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