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  1. #1
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    Also, to respond to Andrew, I don't think that province levels are too easy increase, or too fast, if one just changes one's perceptions about them.

    Kgauck likes to stress that Cerilia is settled almost to the max current carrying capacity, and many various statements in the BRCS and source materials seem to go back and forth, some supporting this idea, others less so. If population levels are settled at essentially the max level per province--a more realistic proposition, I agree--then province level assumes the level of administrative efficiency, civil control, and societal organization.

    Consider also one huge aspect of realm governance from ancient times to the present that BR ignores: financing. Unless it is meant to be captured in the abstract of province and holding level income, the raising of income through governing debt and the payment of that debt is not measured. I have heard solid arguments by noted historians speaking of the massive strategic reality and advantage of good government financing. Nations go into debt to fight wars; they don't just rely on a positive balance in their treasuries. A nation's ability to raise money through debt financing is key to their success in wartime.

    Personally, I'd love to have some real, usable financial rules in BR, even if they are very simplified. It would serve both as a historical simulation and as a learning facet--I'm always fond of RPG's as learning tools, and I believe they have contributed over the years quite a bit to various skills in my life.

    However, at this point, I think province and holding levels can represent financing as part of their abstraction. That is, income from provinces and holdings for most realms represent in large part loans minus the payment of interest on those debt facilities. A realm with many province and holding levels can finance construction projects, realm activities, and war to a much greater degree than one with lower, as it should be. In fact, by this reasoning, regents should not hesitate terribly to "pillage" their own provinces as necessary during times of extreme need, as this represents raising more money from loans, but either almost extorting it, or taking on high-interest loans and losing the confidence of many creditors who will likely go unpaid--or even flat out canceling debt (thus representing freeing a burden of debt and interest at the expense of the lowered loyalty rating of the pillaged province). Pillaging also helps explain why province levels remain fairly low.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Regents paying wizards to cast realm spells doesn't do much for them, because 1:1 costs mean that a wizard is still wasting an action to do a regent's bidding at no net gain unless he wants to do it for his own purposes as well. 2:1 costs have very little gain at the expense of a precious domain action. What regents are willing to spend the 5-10GB per turn to keep a wizard properly funded? And if they are spending that much, how can the wizard possibly oppose the regent who has them on such a huge hook, and be anything other than a realm-spell factory for the regent?
    I think its worth observing that this is probably what the designers intended (its not a bug its a feature!) But I think the more important question is, is the role fun to play when the the wizard is not part of a team. If its not, I think it reveals a design problem. Merlin is fun, only when you have an Arthur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Consider also one huge aspect of realm governance from ancient times to the present that BR ignores: financing. Unless it is meant to be captured in the abstract of province and holding level income, the raising of income through governing debt and the payment of that debt is not measured. I have heard solid arguments by noted historians speaking of the massive strategic reality and advantage of good government financing. Nations go into debt to fight wars; they don't just rely on a positive balance in their treasuries. A nation's ability to raise money through debt financing is key to their success in wartime.
    I've always advocated a finance system. Fortunately, state finance was pretty simply. States basically took loans that were in effect bonds. I borrow 10 GB now, pay you 15 GB in three years.

    Its not the mechanics of finance that are hard to handle, its the nature of the credit market. How much capital is available in this way? This could be seen as a fraction of guild holdings, so that NPC guilds only loan out so much money. PC domains could loan money on whatever terms they please. The real question regards limits to how much money can be borrowed. Basically guilders need a return on their investment better than they could get investing in their own holdings and trade routes, plus the risk of loss.

  3. #3
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    I think wizards are as much a part of the team as anyone else needs to be. A wizard can still benefit greatly from patronage--protection, knowing he won't be persecuted, having the backing of other regents against his enemies, funding (especially funding in times of desperation, when the wizard's tiny treasury is depleted and he needs to cast realm spells), regency (of which he is still short).

    Realm rulers who don't have the land's Source holder as an ally ought to be very nervous, just as they should if they don't have the temples on their side. I don't think I need to argue that wizards can be great assets for a realm, though unless they are given a little more flexibility, they are far less important as part of the team than the temple regents.

    Temple regents also should be wary of non-allied wizards, as they can counter realm magic and have more overtly potent realm magic of their own. Wizards and temples working in concert can be tremendously powerful.

    Guilds are probably the least affected by wizards, though they should be pragmatic enough to recognize the value of an ally, especially one that may be able to be easily bought (even despite their incomes).

    Wizards could remain aloof, but they will find themselves drawn in by the other regents, who should not want an unknown quantity wielding the magic of the provinces they operate in. Wizards also have great incentive to join with others, if they want to wield any real influence, for reasons mentioned above. However, if wizards remain as weak as they are in the original rules, they must spend many more turns just learning spells, doing peoples' bidding, and ruling source holdings one by one, taking far longer than anyone else to build up enough to make a meaningful contribution to a team--as large a contribution as any of the other domains.



    As for finance, I agree that regents can lend out their money on whatever terms they see fit. Generally, however, a regent, particularly a guild regent, can find a vastly better return on their money spending it on domain actions. Ruling a guild holding or creating a trade route costs 1GB, and even if building ships or roads is necessary, the return on that investment can easily exceed 100% in a year.

    As for the debt capacity, I think, Kgauck, it would be better to make this a function of the general population at large than of the guild holdings. Holding rulers can lend as they wish; regents, however, seek to sell bonds to any citizen among the general populace. Further, if financing is to be simulated, it should be possible--and likely--to have debt far exceeding one's seasonal income. I can think of a few ways to set debt capacity:

    1. Don't worry about it. A regent will take on as much debt as they think they can afford. If they default, loyalties will drop and future actions will be harder. Perhaps the Finance action merely has a DC=total debt - province and holding levels (sort of used as collateral) OR DC = total debt - seasonal income + treasury.
    2. Make it a function of province and holding levels, equal to the sum of all, possibly even x2 (to create the realism of having debt far exceeding income).
    3. Treat financing like Pillaging: total amount possible is equal to severe taxation; possibly multiply x2.
    4. If we're talking merely about selling to the general populace, and we're assuming provinces are actually settled to the full amount possible, add up the max province levels by terrain for all provinces; possibly multiply by 2.

    I favor the first option. It abstractly incorporates much of the rest of the ideas, with much less bookkeeping, since total holding levels are already known (domain power), as are income and treasury and, necessarily, total debt. It makes it easy for regents to assume debt exceeding their income or domain power by 10-15GB, and possible for them, with enough skill and RP, to exceed income or power by 40GB or so.

    Payoff rates should be set at a default rate; I would suggest 25%, or 1GB for each 4GB raised, annually. It is "amortized" simply by requiring 1GB to be paid against the principle in that amount of time, as well. So a 4GB debt would incur 2GB payment per year, 0.5GB per season. It would be paid off in 4 years. Changing these terms makes the game more complex, but could be ratcheted as a function of the Finance Action success: add an amount to the DC to keep that same 2GB payment per year for an additional 2GB in debt:
    A. DC -15 for 0.5GB per season on a 1GB debt, paid off in 1 year (100% APR);
    B. DC-5 for 0.5GB per season on a 2GB debt, paid off in 2 years (50%APR);
    C. DC+0 for 0.5GB per season on a 4GB debt, paid off in 4 years (25%APR);
    D. DC+5 for 0.5GB per season on a 6GB debt, paid off in 6 years (17%APR);
    E. DC+15 for 0.5GB per season for each 8GB debt, paid off in 8 years (12.5%APR);
    F. to a max of DC+25 for 0.5GB per season for each 10GB in debt, paid off in 10 years (10%APR).

    I'm working on a more comprehensive and realistic system, but I haven't gotten it simple enough yet to implement, I don't think. For example, realm assets should be a factor, but adding up the value of assets takes more time and bookkeeping. Loyalty could be a factor, too.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I think no one has any money to make loans to rulers except guilders. Peasants, 90% of the population, have no money, and wouldn't use it to make financial deals if they did. My employees don't have bank accounts. So I think the dept capacity of the general population and the guilds are basically the same. The only difference is that if the borrower were the guilds, it might make sense to give some thought to the dept capacity of the nobles, and that would involve things like, are they at war, and gets messy.

    Medieval loans were really simple, so the idea of making payments over time strike me as too complex. That's why I analogized to bonds. I need a 10 GB loan, so I offer to pay 15 GB. If no one takes me up, I offer 16, and so on until someone makes the loan.

    Another common medieval way of borrowing money is to pawn rents. In some cases, whole provinces were pawned.

    This is actually how I think guilders started in Anuire. Not too long ago (certainly it was so under the Empire) that the nobility controlled all of the guild holdings as well as the law and the land. In various wars, the nobles would get money by pawning off mines, rents, and other kinds of incomes, and eventually some of them couldn't pay to get their holdings back, and so guilders began expanding their commercial interests with their new sources of income.

  5. #5
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    Medieval loans may have been simple. My limited knowledge of old loan systems concerns the Eastern Roman Empire and its extensive financial systems, the city-states of Italy (particularly the Doge of Venice and the Fourth Crusade), and the Spanish war with the rebelling Netherlands. The most direct comparison of debt facility was with Spain and the Netherlands, giving advantage to the Netherlands for managing interest rates overall several points lower than Spain.

    My proposed system is for loans in the aggregate; individual loans will likely work just as you suggest, Kgauck, but hundreds of loans from nobles, guilders, yeomen, merchants, etc. can be described by an abstract, aggregate system like I proposed that will provide more constant impact on a realm than paying 15GB in three years (past the time span that most games last). I was intending to create as simple a system as possible to accommodate limited PBEM bookkeeping.

    The problem of restricting loans to guilds is that realms will not be able to take out very much in loans, which doesn't strike me as historically accurate. Also, guild regents can get a much better return on their money in the BR system. Nobles have money to lend, as well; presumably, they derive more income when you consider all of their lands and holdings and revenues from these than the realm regent does even in cases of severe taxation and full law holdings. If that is the case, and if there are guilders not associated with the major guilds, patriotic yeomen (or simply those not business-savvy enough to turn their profit to their benefit themselves and seeking a secure investment), or wealthy contacts from afar, then I think my abstract system of the Finance action might cover all possible sources quite well.

    The GM could add flavor, as always--when Boeruine and Avanil go to war, the rest of Anuire is often eager to finance it, but when the treasury is tapped out and the archduchies are having difficulty raising anything more, foreign financiers eagerly lend at the higher rates that they can get, knowing that each realm has persisted and remained strong and wealthy for so long that this investment is likely to pay off.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    provide more constant impact on a realm than paying 15GB in three years (past the time span that most games last). I was intending to create as simple a system as possible to accommodate limited PBEM bookkeeping.
    If there is no future, then there is no need to pay back loans, no need to make responsible choices, and so people will max out all borrowing, make a crazy bid for power and if they fail, leave the game. I would be wary of allowing borrowing in any PBeM because the critical part of borrowing, the future, isn't real in a PBeM.

    The problem of restricting loans to guilds is that realms will not be able to take out very much in loans, which doesn't strike me as historically accurate. Also, guild regents can get a much better return on their money in the BR system.
    Its pointless talking about historical accuracy of the credit market when guilds experience growth rates that are not historically accurate. Since money is loaned because its the best way to get a return on those gp, if the guilder gets a better return on his own domain then he does loaning money to some guy who wants to spend the money on pure consumption (as war is) the its probably appropriate that there are no loans in BR at all.

    Nobles have money to lend, as well; presumably, they derive more income when you consider all of their lands and holdings and revenues from these than the realm regent does even in cases of severe taxation and full law holdings.
    They have wealth, certainly, but I'm not sure they have money. Any why would nobles lend someone money, when upon declaration of war, they need their wealth, very possibly to combat those whom they loaned money to.

    Money is international, which is why bankers, financiers, merchants, and today, corporations are hated. I think the expectation is that nobles, with their feudal obligations, are part of the landed money system, and not liable to go outside of it and loan to whoever offers the best rate.

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    So now you'd prefer no loans in BR?

    Can you see any other ways to incorporate historical realism of finance into the game?

  8. #8
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    So now you'd prefer no loans in BR?
    Actually I think I'll just avoid PBeM's and their three turn life span. PBeM's have struck me as so bad as to be worse than not playing, loans in a PBeM would just make that worse.

    Can you see any other ways to incorporate historical realism of finance into the game?
    Sure, but I tend to think in the very long term. Given the sweep of Cerilian history from the end of the Empire into the future (say another 150 years) what is going on and what role would finance play in that.

    Ultimatly, I run a very realistic game (based on a combination of historical analogy and the logic of the setting) and then use the realm system to keep score. I don't let the realm system decide what happens. One of the things that this means is that I take each domain individually and ask where it is and what its like. If personal finance in Jankapining is hack silver, then the way guilds and the state (and temples too for that matter) conduct finance will be different than Stjordvik, Talinie, or Avanil (tp draw a line across progressively more modern realms). This makes generalizing very difficult.

  9. #9
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    Personally I'd see at least some loans as inherent in the guild system - Guilder Kalien for example may not be selling goats to Medeore but rather providing the financing behind the temples construction and so on, the abstract guild system makes this very possible.

    In practice however I think that only 'serious' loans are being discussed, i.e. loans of multiple GB's at a time and only to regents. In that case then the lender needs to consider:

    1. What security do they get?
    2. What else can they do with the cash?
    3. What fringe benefits can they extort beyond the financial?

    1. Could represent a vassalage agreement, some sort of postponed investiture agreement, 'loan' of an asset (i.e. a ship, castle, wonder), hostage-taking, and so on.

    2. The rapid pay-back of trade routes in particular does cause some distortions, but generally this argument assumes immaturity in the system, if a realm is mature, i.e. most holding levels are full, most trade routes possible are taken, then the potential gains of investment fall significantly making loans more profitable by comparison.

    3. For example guilder kalien may make a 10 GB loan to Diemed in exchange for monopoly rights in a province or two, or the right to build a ship in a Diemed port, or the right to maintain a unit in lieu of serious interest. Alternatively Diemed could give him details on Prince Avanil's military set-up, lobby an 'imperial chamber' for guild rights, etc.


    To stop mad gamers is difficult, there is little point discussing security or sanctions on loans because in the event that plan A (world domination) fails then the mad gamers plan B is simply dump the game. This could be a good way to give the merchant a route to real power (the Duke is Bust, foreclose on Boeruine!) To be blunt however the only way to stop a mad gamer breaking a game is to stop them playing, since they will find some way to detonate one way or the other. However even loans from 2-3 organisations would be unlikely to double a realm's army so unless the mad gamer bleeds everybody nearby dry (which would require a lot of diplomacy and thus risk warning everyone else) should not break a game easily.

  10. #10
    I agree that finance should primarily be the realm of the Guilds, though we shouldn't forget that "Guild" can mean "Organized crime." or "Logger's union" as easily as it can mean, "Proto-corporation".

    But we shouldn't forget things like temples, wizards who can turn lead to gold, and going on quests to find lost treasures in order to afford expanding that ward of the city you've wanted to. "Paying for civic improvements." certainly is an interesting motivation for adventuring, especially in the more developed, civilized realms, or in the frontier style colonies in Anuire, Bretchur, and Rjurik.

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