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  1. #1
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    How exactly do you play domain turns in your game?

    I have a problem defining the way domain turns will be played in the campaign i am starting in Tuornen. All 4 members of the party are regents. The Paladin and the Cleric are major holding owners, while the wizard and the thief are just getting started.

    How many active NPC regents?
    A) My first count involved 16 other regents (i counted in all regents affecting the Tuornen-Alamie area)
    B) Maybe I drop down this number to 4-5 (1 directly opposing regent per player) and just push to the background the rest, involving them circumstantially.
    C) Another theory i had was to just have the pcs declare actions each month, roll initiative and random events and proceed to take them in turn. I would roll init. only for npc regents that would interfeer with the centre of action this turn. Other than that i would allocate a percentance of their resources to be available in the pc region depending on how free they (the npc regents) are in their own domains, rather than playthe maths for each of them.

    and second: Do you play your domain turns in a seperate session, entirely dedicated to it, or do you incorporate domain and adventures mingling them up?
    Last edited by Nakraal; 04-09-2013 at 04:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    the biggest problem in BR is DM burnout, running lots of NPC realms quickly increases the book-keeping.

    I'd have a few "active" NPC's who will oppose/support the PC's and track them, the rest will generally just muddle along and I wouldn't bother tracking them in detail. The same for any vassals of the PCs, maybe roll a single die to say whether they have a net gain/loss of RP or whether they gain/lose a domain level somewhere.

    Mixing adventure and domain level play - it depends on whether the adventure relates to the domain action / random event really, if not then barring cross-action running it in the session could leave the other players cold, but if they like dealing with that stuff at the table then go with it - whatever works for them and you

    I've only really played BR via PBeM, those ran adventures via IM or a discussion thread and used IT (birmail or excel) to run the domain action outcomes so I can't give much advice I'm afraid.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    Unless there is an event like the Sword and the Crown happening, a full blown war, or something that involves a regent's court, I keep the number of active NPCs to a minimum unless they are directly involved in a domain event/action.

    I do keep track of the NPC regents at a high level. By NPC regent, I mean Awnsheglian like the Magian and the Gorgon, or a hostile neighboring kingdom. They have a timeline; things that they have planned and need to accomplish by a certain time. This timeline may intersect with PCs at somepoint.

    Sometimes in the grand story arcs, there are NPC on NPC actions. The NPCs in my game do not stand still in time. They are subject to domain events as well. They continue to grow as the PCs do. I find it adds to the depth of the world building aspect of the game.

    Example: I have a prophecy arc involving an NPC scion of an ancient house. The prophecy warned that great calmity would occur when a comet appeared in Cerilian skies. Domain actions were rolled for the entire known world. The comet appears every 1500 years. That game year was filled with foul weather events, volcanic erruptions and major wars and plague. The one that specifically dealt with the scion, the PC regents pulled together to try to stop the event from happening. The event happened, but they managed reverse the outcome, however they have angered a higher power that needed the event to occur.

    Domain actions are handled at a high level as well. My PCs like to adventure or roleplay more than keep the books (though they do). If I'm stuck for an idea, I'll roll the dice and see if a random event sparks something.

    Domain turns in a separate session: It depends on the group mood. Some sessions are dedicated to bookkeeping. Sometimes it's a "split". The first 1/2 to hour is spent bookkeeping and the rest is dedicated to game play. (If this is table top - PBeM - not sure - I gave up on that.)
    d'estre bons et leaulx amis et vrais ensemble et de servir l'un 'autre envers et contre tous

  4. #4
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    NPC tracking should depend on what you want to do.

    If you want a grand campaign you may want a turn processing utility. Unless you like book keeping work and manually processing turns.

    You can just track what you need right now as you mentioned when those NPCs interact with character's actions. If a new player joins the fray or the PCs expand and have new neighbors that you've done nothing with, then you can simply fast forward their turns and incomes as needed and as you like to give them some matching progress so as not to be completely behind. The level of detail is dependent upon the level of fiat you want for the new NPCs. You can simply start them from the printed material as well and they'd still be somewhat challenging if opposing players, but you may want to give some counter balance and have some show of dynamics over time.

    The more of the scope you increase the more work load you will have, so keep that in mind. If you are new, then starting out small like this is a good idea and you and your players can grow at the same time while exploring the game and increasing the scope or changing the focus of the game to another location if you like.

    Not that I told you anything you didn't already know, but it is pretty much up to you and what you can handle and what you want to do in the game.

    As for running adventures that is a major problem for some games. Some avoid the action altogether. Those games are mainly focused on the domain level of play anyway where it is the grand campaign of each player is a major regent and there are 10+ players not necessarily allied.

    A table top game that tends to be smaller and max out at around 10ish or less would allow for a more convenient place for adventuring. Again here the scope becomes very focused as you must develop or provide for the adventure and the detail level increases and slows the game progress from actions taking either weeks or months to minutes and seconds. For the most part however, the traditional D&D game encompassed this so it would make sense to be an easier fit to any gaming group than the domain level of play.

    With that said how you organize it is yet again up to you and your group. I could see a group playing out adventures like normal. They'd be a major event for the gaming night. A minor event would be the casters memorizing their spells. This takes some pre-game time preparation. So too could the Domain level of play be required to be prepared prior to the meeting so that processing them is a matter of turning the turn info into to the DM so he can setup and do the turns and then any adventures. It can get messy since adventures can exclude some players if they aren't all allied or don't all participate and their timing may be inopportune with the progress of the game for turns to be done.

    Choosing when to conduct the adventure is up to you since you are the one that needs to prepare it. So requiring players to be prepared prior to game helps you to have the adventure ready. That would require them to turn in the domain turns or give you an idea of what adventures they want to go on. You could have a list of adventures available, that you can have prepared for your own part and allow them to pick and choose and simply give you note they are interested in it.

    Another idea is to do the domain turn in the first session and have them run an adventure together since they seem to be allied to give them an idea of the game. An intro adventure for you all including you DM. After the adventure they can do turns again and before they leave they must have the turn done and turned into you. Next session you can process adventures and the turn results and after adventures do turns again. This would allow for a more sandbox type play allowing the play to be more open than having a list of adventures.

    These are just a few ideas that you can mix and mash and I am sure more can be thought up. I hope this helps give you some framework to help launch your game.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the good advises.

    I ended up in this:

    A) I gathered all Heartlands regents and made a plan of short term, long term goals and their "obsessions" (Far long term goal).

    B) I created a "Commitment" rating (Low, Average, High), which more or less is a % of an NPC regent's resources available to be used in the PC "theatre" (in favor or against the players)
    Each turn I label every npc regent with a Commitment Level, depending on their plans in the region and their activity during the previous couple of turns.

    For example Prince Avan's "Low" commitment level, would equal a "High" commitment for most of the other regents.

    Regent Commitment RP/GB
    Prince Darien Avan Low 20/30 Avg 45/80 High 100/140
    Duke Carilon Alam Low 10/5 Avg 20/15 High 40/30



    (C) For each in-game month I write a sentence for each of them describing how they intent to interfere with the pc center of action, react to pc actions etc,,

    EG
    Prince Darien Avan Low(20/30)Oppose any rule actions in Nabhriene and Tuor's hold

    Duke Carilon Alam Low (10/5) Contest Kalien Law in Alamie. Request help from pcs. Befriend Duke Robert under false pretences

    Erriene Mierelen High (35/10) Fight fiercely v PC Guilder to win Tuornen trade war, or invest the rest to him for a high prize



    From there on, the domain turn is actually role played as if it was an adventure.
    Last edited by Nakraal; 04-11-2013 at 11:50 AM.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    In Ruins of Empire PBeM Bjorn (the DM) gave every domain a number of "minor goals" and one or two "major goals" (frequently in conflict to the goals of other domains of course or requiring years of effort).

    You could do that for relevant domains and then just have them act if a goal is threatened, with maybe one action every season (major NPC) or year (minor NPC) to move them towards a goal, that way you always have a guideline on what they are really after.

    I'd just have them have 16+4*10% of their seasonal income as treasury.

    NPCs who regularly deal with the PCs should probably be tracked "properly" so that the PC's can wear them down if they choose that target.

    An alternative is to use a program to track activity and just have them spend 1d20*10% of their income each season without checking what they actually do with it. I can email you a copy of Bjorn's province&holdings tracking spreadsheet if you PM me your email.

  7. #7
    all great advice. I really like what you came up with Nakraal.

    As for the adventure/domain turn combo: In the games I ran it just seemed to flow into the pattern of domain turns only some nights and adventure only for a few nights. With how I had the NPC domains plans plotted out (kinda like you did Nakraal, just not as detailed) the adventures seemed to flow naturally from the domain turns, so it wasn't jarring to switch.

    Something that may have helped with this is the way I always start a BR campaign. I always start the players as blooded but adventurers only. No domain action except in the abstract for the first 2-4 levels. I have the players develop relationships with the NPC's just like a normal campaign, and then slowly let them start picking up the domain stuff in an organic way. It's worked well in the three previous games I've run.

    In the current game (using the Next playtest rules) They are still in the adventure only stage. My group is the outcast regent William Moergan and his band in Osoerde fighting the evil Usurper Jaison Raenech. They should have the base province of Moergen secured from Raenech soon, and that's when I'll start them in the domain level play with that one province. I wouldn't necessarily start this slow, but the players are all BR virgins

    One of them is doing a great play session recap in character on our private boards....maybe I should look into cut/pasting it here if there is interest.

  8. #8
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blastin View Post
    One of them is doing a great play session recap in character on our private boards....maybe I should look into cut/pasting it here if there is interest.
    May be that could count to their hypothetical RP as their reputation increases through the stories being told from his point-of-view. That way, the characters with the greatest hypo RP become the first lieutenants or Level 0 regents.

    In AD&DII Birthright, our DM gave 5% bonus XP for diaries written between sessions and did some changes to the background story in response to how our charcters reacted.

    Sorontar
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  9. #9
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorontar View Post
    May be that could count to their hypothetical RP as their reputation increases through the stories being told from his point-of-view. That way, the characters with the greatest hypo RP become the first lieutenants or Level 0 regents.

    In AD&DII Birthright, our DM gave 5% bonus XP for diaries written between sessions and did some changes to the background story in response to how our charcters reacted.

    Sorontar
    I had hoped to add that sort of thing to the Campaigns section of the FanFic wiki, but it never took off.

    I'd suggest adding it there and then hitting the discussion tab to posting it in the bard's corner if you do put it on br.net, as that makes it easier for the forumites to have a discussion without breaking up the story.

  10. #10
    I really like the idea of giving the player a bit of bonus RP for all the great work he is doing on the recaps.
    I posted it as you suggested Andrew: it's under the discussion tab under campaigns.

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