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  1. #1
    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    A question regarding vassals in PBEM

    How have people handled vassals in their PBEMs? Were they treated as full realms with three actions and courts, etc of their own, or were they given some lesser number of actions.
    Call me Bob.
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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I suspect it depends on whether the vassal is doing stuff that relates to the PCs and DM time.

    One thought I had was that vassals would effectively take-20 each turn, doing only 1 action but it being almost automatic success to cut down on hassle.

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    How were they handled in RoE?
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    It's an interesting question that I've considered a number of ways of handling. What I've leaned towards longest was allowing an additional Court action (if you're using those) to be undertaken by the vassal, with bonuses appropriate to them (either from skill or their own RP or strength in their own domain, etc). Alternately, additional Lieutenant actions (if you're using those), possibly with RP.

    However, it does get tricky because there are vassals of different types and powers. Some things to consider:
    Is this a vassal within the regent's domain, generally considered to be a part of that domain? (i.e., a baron or count beneath a duke in hierarchy) These work best with the bonus Court action system, or treating them like Lieutenants. I assume this is what you meant.

    Is this a separate sovereign realm that's a vassal, like Taeghas to Avanil? Obviously, both realms would suffer if actions were restricted down from the separate set of 3 to fewer. I think this is best handled as Tribute and Treaty arrangements, though if you're letting a player "take over" the vassal (perhaps to reduce DM bookkeeping), it gets trickier. I'd avoid giving the full set of actions to the liege--vassals typically don't slavishly do everything their liege says. Either assign only a portion of the actions to the liege (actions the vassal agrees to take on behalf of the liege) or have some greater chaos modifier for the vassal doing something differently, according to their own agenda.

    Is this a realm of a different sort than the regent's (i.e., landed regent gets a Guild vassal)? This can end up being like a blend of each of the above, depending on the circumstance.


    What I've been leaning towards more recently and would like to try is tracking regents by Domain Power and making much more use of that number. I'm hoping to use more automation and auto-calculations, so am not necessarily looking for the simplest/lowest DM effort means of doing things, though I do love simplicity.

    In my latest thinking, and system-modification, I'm considering broadening the "Actions" system into a more generic "Action Points" system. Not slavishly following Realm/Domain/Court/Lieutenant/Character action subsets but making them more general, with actions of different types requiring a certain number of action points to be "spent" to accomplish them.

    With a more fluid scale, you'd be more free to have a realm gain Action Points appropriate to its size (Domain Power), the Court size and administrative efficiency, number and strength of Vassals and Lieutenants, bloodline and skill of the regent, etc. Adding a vassal would drop some APs in the kitty without being quite as game-breaking as adding whole sets of extra actions.

    I think its a very important thing to address, because the Action currency (how many available actions you have an the effectiveness of any given action) is by far the most important and the greatest limiting resource of any game (even straight up D&D character-level fights), far more important than RP or GB.

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    It's the minor vassals I am dealing with and my solution is that they give you one extra Court action, and they have one regent action you can access, but that requires some sort of decree or diplomacy on your part to access.
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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpig2 View Post
    How were they handled in RoE?
    In RoE2 vassals were played by the DM, you could interact with them (to a degree, DM time being a constraint) but they didn't directly affect your realm otherwise.

    In some cases the vassals were very supportive of their liege (for most of the game WIT and its vassals moved in lockstep, to the extent that I turned down an offer to be my vassal in part to be able to argue that vassals should not vote in the conclave if I could get enough support to make it worth the punt). Other vassals were out-right opposed to their liege, Osoerde and Elinie both had vassals directly plotting against their wishes, for both PC and NPC vassals (though it was a little more complicated than that).

    RoE had lieutenants who gave you a (limited) vassal action, or could support you in an action, but I don't recall any being regents themselves.

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    Senior Member arpig2's Avatar
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    Thanks.
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    In my opinion vassals should not be a tool for the player who runs the liege to consistently generate extra actions. NPC vassals is a GM tool to hinder or aid the player as needed.

    I think you are going down the right path when you ask for the liege to spend a diplomacy action if he wants something from his vassal. But IMO you could get anything from half a gold bar extra income next turn - to your vassal agitating positively on your behalf each spring if you pay the GB cost plus a little extra for the service. And the DC should vary depending on what you wish to gain and what you offer in return.

    On that same note you could pay the vassals of your enemy to rise up in rebellion. The DC would just be hard and the cost would be great.

    I wouldn't grant a free court action just for having a vassal though. Both because I don't like to encourage people to try and create vassals(they are IMO added GM workload), but mostly because I (both as player and GM) like that players have to make hard choices with limited resources, and think it brings value to the game that players can't do everything they want.

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