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  1. #1

    Non-contesting wizards in the same swamp

    Suppose you have two wizard scions, and each of them establishes a level-4 source holding in a swamp with 0 population and 8 max potential source.

    Can both of them increase their source by the rule action so that both of them have level-8 connections to the source? Or is there a limit -- if one of them gets level-5 connection, does the other one have to settle for level-3?

    I know that holdings can be contested, but I'm not clear on how the rules work. The rulebooks don't have many examples.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Sejanus's Avatar
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    There is a limit. If one has a level 5 holding, the other will have to settle for level 3. The only way to change that is through contest and subsequent rule action.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Contest actions are a sucking quagmire for RP, they are also brutally effective and likely to leave lasting bad feelings.

    In BRCS - if I read it right - one regent makes a standard/realm action with a DC equal to 10+the opponents holding level, the first regent can adjust the odds by their own holding level. both regents can then apply regency to alter the odds.

    Law holders can also use their holding levels to contest law, guild, and temple holdings, otherwise the two holding types have to be the same. If the action succeeds the opponents holding level drops by 1d3 levels - and is destroyed if reduced to below level 3.

    Given how expensive it can be to rule up holdings, the recipient may well decide that one good contest deserves another...

    Note: You cannot contest province population levels - that is called pillaging, requires an army, and is a source of many house rules...

    In the old rules you needed to contest twice to reduce the other holding, the first just put the recipient 'on notice' as it were (although it had other effects) with the 'notice' voided if the recipient ruled up the holding in question. That rule made one bad die roll less likely to cause grief, so I retain a similar rule - the first contest just parks the tanks on the lawn as it were and gives a bonus of 1/3 the success to the second roll, the second reduces holding levels as follows:

    Success by up to 5. Reduce level by one.
    Success by more than 5. Reduce level by two.
    Success by more than 10. Reduce level by three.
    Success by more than 15. Reduce level by four.

    If you like it random you could use 1, 1d2, 1d3, 1d4 for the reductions, but I like the way that the defender is rewarded for any expenditure / the attacker is rewarded for overkill by fixed success impacts. This system does however mean that a regent with a high holding level has a substantial advantage in a contest with the regent of a weaker holding.

    Maximum holding levels
    Except in extremely rare cases the maximum levels of a holding type cannot exceed the level of the province (either the population level if law/guild/temple or the source level if a source holding).

    Generally the only time the holding levels can exceed the level noted for the province is if someone has a wonder of some sort, or for source holdings if the regent has access to resources not known to the general populous (i.e. an under-dark cavern system, a dragons grave, etc).

    So in your example for one wizard to increase to a L5 source holding, they would either have to find some mystic resource within the province, convince the other wizard to abandon a holding level, or contest the other wizard to reduce the level of the other wizards holding.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall
    Contest actions are a sucking quagmire for RP, they are also brutally effective and likely to leave lasting bad feelings.
    ...
    So in your example for one wizard to increase to a L5 source holding, they would either have to find some mystic resource within the province, convince the other wizard to abandon a holding level, or contest the other wizard to reduce the level of the other wizards holding.
    I see that now, thanks.

    To take the example a step further, suppose a campaign has a party of one wizard, one thief, one cleric, and one fighter. They arrange their holdings and provinces for maximum cooperation (so for example the thief runs trade and guilds and pays tribute to the others).

    Suppose the wizard is directing strategic goals and wants to conquer a distant forested/wilderness region in order to have the greatest possible source.

    Suppose the wizard has a source at level 4, a source at level 3, and a source at level 1. Everything is connected with ley lines.

    If I'm reading the rules correctly, the wizard can take a month to cast a level-4 source spell, another month to cast another spell with 3 source, and another month to cast another spell with 1 source.

    Alchemy requires three source. So the wizard could cast alchemy twice, using up two provinces' source allocation.

    Death plague requires five source. So the wizard could not cast death plague at all.

    Since sources do not stack, ley lines just allow the wizard to tap his separate sources at convenient locations. Of course, if the party crusades across a long distance, conquering territory, with the wizard building ley lines all the way, realm spells can be cast all along the supply line.

    Any one wizard can only cast three realm spells per domain turn (i.e. one per month). Therefore the wizard who ends up controlling more than three source holdings is always going to be leaving some untapped. And given the feudal nature of Birthright, such a wizard needs to recruit an apprentice or else beget some offspring to share the burden of casting.

    All of the above is based on a cursory reading of the rules. Please tell me if I'm misreading them.

  5. #5
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    Your read is correct. One optional rule used is of course for high level sources to be "virtual" guilds. This can also affect things.

    A different option I have seen is that wizards can increase the power of a realm spell by tapping other sources they have for the equivalent of RPs. This taps the source for a full year, but gives the equivalent of the source value in additional rps usable only towards a spell cast. It vastly increased the power of a wizard because all of a sudden, all their source network could be tapped to add to a spell - IF connected by ley line.

    Not sure if I liked the variant, but it definitely through more fear at me when the wizzie casted mass destruction.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    hmm, I may have mis-read but I'd have said that a source can be used once per action, not once per turn.

    So your wizard could plunk out 3 spells using the L4 source and not touch the others.

    Of course they would run out of RP and GB pretty quickly at that rate - realm spells are likely to be rare and wondrous things given the income of a wizard...

    On exploration I would note that the wizard would have to build up a source (1 action) and forge a ley line( action 2) before casting a spell (action 3) - so they would probably be useless outside of a prolonged siege - wizards are really quite defensive in their effect - discouraging long term conquest.

    The wizard can always get the fighter to pillage an enemy province down to nil and wait for the land to recuperate (1 source level per year if the pillaging obliterates all traces of civilization, 1 every 5 years. Of course the fighter may prefer to conquer and tax the enemy province - particularly if they cares about their reputation

    if I was going to use the optional tap multiple variant I would only add 1 source level for other sources - and tap all of the for a period... Otherwise you get a mass of L1's (dirt cheap) and don't bother with others - which makes the other regents happy since they hate 'wasted' provinces.

    brcs gives the 'virtual' guild for all income, the original allowed trade routes only (from memory), quite important in an elven realm

    Andrew

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    And why not let a friendly druid repopulate the animal and plant life - set some peasants on a reforestation program. Clean up the toxic waste - cast some fertility spells (or get a friendly temple to).

    And institute the New Living with the Land Policy - mabey even if the people can't live like elves they can learn better ways to live in harmony with the land.
    Then you could possibly allow a population that doesn't completely wipe out the source.

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