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  1. #1
    Member stv2brown1988's Avatar
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    Nobles and the Law

    How do Nobles hold power in BCRS? For example in Talinie, Thuriene Donalls, is the Thane and holds all Law holdings and provinces. Torele Anviras, Earl of Freestead, has what powers (besides magic)? Do the peasants look at him as the instrument of the Thane and that is what gives him his power? Or does he own the land and that is what makes him a power? (Or we can use Roesone where each province has a Count but the Baron rules everything?)

    Does the Thane give money to the Nobles to distrubte among projects within their own provrnces? and then the Nobles collect taxes to return to the Thane?

    How do you handle Nobles when they do not directly control any holdings or provinces?

    Steve

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    This is a level of detail that the official materials didn't get into. My assumption is that there are two states, a feudal monarchy, and an administrative monarchy and that each domain is somewhere in the transition between the two. Then there are other types of government that can influence what the government of a domain looks like. Merchant republics, noble republics, despotisms, &c, &c.

    A feudal monarchy is one where the ruler relies on their underlings to perform tasks locally. For example, Thuriene relies on the Earl of Freestead to protect the people of Freestead against the goblins of the Five Peaks, to be the first response to a large scale invasion, to maintain fortresses in the area, provide local justice, and so on. Holdings, military units, and other state instruments would be staffed or even run by the local Earl or his Lords and these would all acknowledge the Thane as their rightful overlord. The Thane may own little if anything in the provinces, and is entirely dependent on her vassals in any domain she runs in a feudal style to execute her will. In this case the people generally have more loyalty and attachment to the local lords or the provincial lord, and finally some regard for the domain ruler. But, the holdings tell if the lords are acting for themselves or if they are acting for their liege. In a domain like Talinie, if the law holdings of Freestead say Thuriene Donnals, then even if Torias is the law, he is upholding his vassal obligations and Thurien's will is done. If the local province rulers have their own holdings, they act for themselves regardless of oaths of vassalage.

    In an administrative monarchy, the ruler has a staff of royal officials who carry out her will. In this case, Thuriene would have royal officials in Freestead to carry out her will and staff her holdings. In this case, the Earl of Freestead could effectively be nothing more than a rich private citizen with special privileges. He might earn extra money as an official in the Thane's government, or he might just manage his own private fortune. In this case, the Thane may own little if anything in the provinces, but have legal rights to act as a sovereign. In this case the liege is the only direct power, but the nobles have plenty of social power and respect.

    In either case the domain owner can own plenty of land, but doesn’t have to. Owning land makes you a direct landlord, and you are always on the administrative side of things when you directly own land, and may or many not be feudal when you don’t

    The listing of holdings for the NIT and the descriptions in Talinie say that it’s the NIT that really controls the law holdings, not the landed side of things, so 1) if they ever separated, the NIT would probably control the law, not the landed ruler, and 2) the people you see as judges, justices, and sheriffs are not nobles, knights, and their officials, but priests and their officials.

    A domain like Talinie can also have aspects of being a theocracy, where the ruler can be forced to do the will of the temple doctrine rather than imposing their will on their own organization. A figure like Torias Griene can wield a lot of power this way, because if he can convincingly claim to know the word of Haelyn, he gets his way. In a realm like Boeruine, someone can argue that Haelyn wants this or that, but the way the Archduchy works, the Archduke’s will is done, not Haelyn’s. A temple realm could be either way, though some will accuse a ruler of being corrupt if they impose their will against the clear doctrine of the faith. Medieval Popes had this problem all the time, and a some religious rulers will just say that they are the boss and they know best, like it or lump it. Regency points spend the same no matter how they are used. Depending on what is exactly going on such a ruler might or might not have problems behaving this way (too many issues to go into on a post on nobility and the law).

    A state like Endier might look like a hybrid of administrative monarchy and merchant republic. Ultimatly there are no republics because it’s a game of birthright, not government by the people, but there can certainly be republican aspects to a monarchy. A domain where the ruler has clear powers, but must get the support of a parliament, estates, or guild counsel to undertake certain acts. This could be a simple as requiring a free diplomacy action to be successful before getting high taxation. A lot of realms start out in a state of crisis, as described by the PS’s and getting the consent of noble counsels, assemblies of the commons, and such can be necessary until the ruler has established themselves as the guy who solved all these problems.

    So, based on what the DM’s tastes are – knightly, medieval, feudal, or divine right, absolutist, one man rule, or divided government, parliaments, back room politicking - and what kind of realm is described, and what the DM knows about how governments work, you can devise different kinds of governments.

    As a general rule, I imagine that most states are somewhere between feudal and aristocratic monarchies, and admix other kinds of governments as needed to create the right feel.

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    Member stv2brown1988's Avatar
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    Very well done Kgauck! I really like the way you explained it. Thanks.

    Now then on to game mechanics...
    Would the Thane and the NIT each roll separtely for random events and income/RP collection or are they the same entity?

    If the vassels have their own holdings do they roll separately for random events and income/RP collection or are they the same entity? For example, in Rjurik there are many Jarls each with Law and some even have Guild holdings. Like Halskapa with seven jarls, would each roll separately for random events or would the King of Halskapa roll once and the DM assign the event to whatever province he/she chooses?

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Generally I only roll random events for PC's, and just assume that NPC regents use a realm action to resolve their random events. Easier resolution. So if a PC is playing a count, jarl, or graf, then I give them "count-sized" random events, just like the regular ones but scaled down to the resources of the single province holder. Where a great captain might actually detach several holdings from a domain ruler, for a single province holder, maybe a single holding is contested. Where a domain ruler might get a random event where a unit of gnolls maurauds in a provicne, a single province ruler might get a single ogre, and a simple farmer gets a squirrel in his attic.

    Otherwise I would give every player with a domain or a pseudo-domain (any organization that is like a domain, but has no actual holdings, say a PC plays Lord Marshal of the Armies of the realm run by another PC) a random event.

    Let's imagine I have four players - a ruler of a landed domain, a ruler of a single province, the commander of the army, and a temple ruler - I would give each a random event. If players like them, I would give random events to regular PC's even with no organizations, but would scale them so that they don't require resources a player doesn't have.

    For sake of comparison suppose each got a Diplomatic Matter:
    The landed ruler might get visited by a neighboring realm seeking cooperation in a cause than directly concerns the neighbor and might indirectly effect the PC.
    The temple ruler might get a visit from a another temple of the same faith asking to borrow a copy of a sacred text so they could copy it in their scriptorium.
    The province ruler might be visited from the local guildmaster of the guilder who has guild holdings in his province asking for favors, concessions, or privledges. Their might be a GB in it if he's cooperative.
    The commander of the army might be visited by a stranger who claims to have information about the army of a rival power, but wants to be paid for it. Its not secret information, but its stuff you would have to pay someone to go collect (like how many cavalry horses are in Riven), so you have to decide whether to buy this guy's information.

    That way everyone has something to do, and each task fits their role. Oh, and the farmer is visited by a peddler who claims some cloth is blessed by Armicus the previous high priest of the temple domain run by the PC templar.

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    I'd like to point out stylistic differences between DMs. Many DMs will just have domain actions and random events rolled out.

    If you are a good story teller all these random events can become full blown RPG events. I point to the excellent book on the Hero-kings from second edition that offered a full adventure for every random event.

    When I have a party of PCs I often do seperate random events but if the oppertunity arises that I think one random event can affect them I'll work it into a full session.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    There are good story reasons for just rolling out random events as well. In any good story, there are things that happen "off-screen" because they don't advance the main plot and slow down the pace of the story. This can be especially true if your group is short on gaming time.

    At the pace of gaming we were moving at with my last group (this spring, died out in summer because of time problems) a simple 4 hour adventure would take two weeks because we had only 2 hours of play time per week. The group could be hot on the trail of the White Witch's agents, and then a random event puts bandits in Saerskap. Take two weeks out to resolve it?

    I like to work some, if not most, random events into things that the players did, or didn't do, so that they aren't random from the point of view of the characters. But even if the White Witch did sponsor bandits in Saerskap, and those bandits are unusual in that they know the agent who put them up, two "ifs" so far, is it worth it to slow time the pace of the story which was based on tracking down some other agents of the White Witch?

    When story is a consideration, knowing what should be off-screen can be as important as being able to make domain actions and random event into stories in the first place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    There are good story reasons for just rolling out random events as well. In any good story, there are things that happen "off-screen" because they don't advance the main plot and slow down the pace of the story. This can be especially true if your group is short on gaming time.

    At the pace of gaming we were moving at with my last group (this spring, died out in summer because of time problems) a simple 4 hour adventure would take two weeks because we had only 2 hours of play time per week. The group could be hot on the trail of the White Witch's agents, and then a random event puts bandits in Saerskap. Take two weeks out to resolve it?

    I like to work some, if not most, random events into things that the players did, or didn't do, so that they aren't random from the point of view of the characters. But even if the White Witch did sponsor bandits in Saerskap, and those bandits are unusual in that they know the agent who put them up, two "ifs" so far, is it worth it to slow time the pace of the story which was based on tracking down some other agents of the White Witch?

    When story is a consideration, knowing what should be off-screen can be as important as being able to make domain actions and random event into stories in the first place.
    Very much agreed. This game requires a really ambitious DM due to the amount of work to keep the world progressing behind the scenes.

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    Member stv2brown1988's Avatar
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    I still don't know if the Thane of Talinie and the NIT are two separate domains or one? I read it as one domain. If two, then who runs NIT?

    And do you roll random events for each or just one?

    Another example of this situation, I think, is the Prince-paladin of Ariya?

    Steve

    By the way, I like to roll random events before play and insert them at any point within the domain turn.

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    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    The Thane of Talinie is the leader of the NIT, just like Guilder Kalien ruling both Endier and the Heartlands Outfitters and Suris Enlien as the mistress of both Medoere and the RCS.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stv2brown1988 View Post
    I still don't know if the Thane of Talinie and the NIT are two separate domains or one? I read it as one domain. If two, then who runs NIT?

    Another example of this situation, I think, is the Prince-paladin of Ariya?
    They are one domain (theocracies) just like Medoere.

    I would never roll more for random events more than once for any regent. A domain is the power controlled by a regent - regardless of what holdings it is comprised of.

    And do you roll random events for each or just one?
    Steve
    Random events rules are pretty open ended.


    From the BRCS:
    {Which is basically some "advice" from gamers over the years and pretty much matches what you favor to do.}

    Generating events well in advance of the game calendar can give the DM time to plant "hints" that may allow players to better foresee and react to the impending event.
    Duane Eggert

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