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  1. #11
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    If Regent A sets up a secondary court in Province C then "lends" it to Regent B (who has no holdings in C), then surely Regent B should be granted many benefits in Province C. B should be able to treat C as his home turf and manipulate that as
    much as he wants. All of B's court actions should be as secret as they normally would be in B's real home court. Regent A should have to execute Espionage to find out further details.

    However, the question then is whether Regent A should also have benefits for actions against this secondary court. I suspect not. I can't see it any different from Regent A trying to find out information about a Temple or Guild regent in the same province.

    I am trying to think of historical equivalents to these "secondary courts" and the best I can think of is the control the East India Company had, whilst still being a British company. To quote wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_East_India_Company (normally a dangerous thing to do):

    "By a series of five acts around 1670, King Charles II provisioned it with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas."

    East India Company Act 1773: "Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in parliament, and from the Company's shareholders, the Act was passed. It introduced substantial governmental control, and allowed the land to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased to the Company at £40,000 for two years. Under this provision, the governor of Bengal Warren Hastings was promoted to the rank of Governor General, having administrative powers over all of British India. "

    So perhaps the British can be thought of formalising the administration but then "leasing" it to the company.

    Sorontar

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    You're right, Murphy, that mass treachery should be a rare thing. LT's disagreeing with their liege's and undermining them slightly, or just not being as effective at their duties (lower loyalty ratings) would be more common. Any advantage, though, is not much of an advantage if it's not reliable most of the time.
    Well, that's just it. It will be reliable most of the time, because if you start having LT's disregarding the wishes of their rulers often, players will cry foul. The cost offset for the shared courts shouldn't be reliability, it should be efficiency. Make it much more expensive to do together than what you can do separately. Have regents lose all kinds of GB in bureaucratic red tape and bumbling inefficiency.

  3. #13
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I'd say the East India Company was an independent guild, and the East India Act of 1773 took land conquered by the company and told the company that from now own all they controlled were guild holdings, not territory. If there was a court loaned to someone, it was prior to the East India Act. After 1773, the British government acted on its own in India, through governor generals. Prior one could make the case that Britain loaned a court to the Company, or that the Company loaned a court to the Crown, depending on the circumstances.

  4. #14
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    I admit, i only skimmed the responses, but wouldn't this be covered by vasalage?

    The whole point of limited actions is to show that a single scion can't do everything they want on their own. So if your domain is powerful enough to support your plans, but you don't have enough time (actions) on your hands to do everything you want, then perhaps it's time to consider taking a vasal into your trust, and letting them handle certain obligations in certain provinces, freeing you to have more time (actions) for what you want to get done.

    By taking on one or more vasals, sure, you do give up some of your personal power, but you gain many more actions. They can create their own courts, have their own lieutenants, and by doing so effectively double the number of actions you have available, assuming they are loyal. That's the whole point though, you can't do it all yourself, so eventually you will either have to slow down your growth, or trust others.

    By allowing multiple courts and such, you are circumventing rules that are intended to be a limiting factor of sorts. Why do you think the anuierean empire is so disjointed now. It's because the Emperror had vasals controlling the various duchies so he had time to do what he felt was important. When the emperror died, they all became rulers in their own right, with no obligations to anyone else.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ploesch View Post
    I admit, i only skimmed the responses, but wouldn't this be covered by vasalage?

    The whole point of limited actions is to show that a single scion can't do everything they want on their own. So if your domain is powerful enough to support your plans, but you don't have enough time (actions) on your hands to do everything you want, then perhaps it's time to consider taking a vasal into your trust, and letting them handle certain obligations in certain provinces, freeing you to have more time (actions) for what you want to get done.

    By taking on one or more vasals, sure, you do give up some of your personal power, but you gain many more actions. They can create their own courts, have their own lieutenants, and by doing so effectively double the number of actions you have available, assuming they are loyal. That's the whole point though, you can't do it all yourself, so eventually you will either have to slow down your growth, or trust others.

    By allowing multiple courts and such, you are circumventing rules that are intended to be a limiting factor of sorts. Why do you think the anuierean empire is so disjointed now. It's because the Emperror had vasals controlling the various duchies so he had time to do what he felt was important. When the emperror died, they all became rulers in their own right, with no obligations to anyone else.
    What this concept is trying to address is the absence of system recognized methods for equals to pool resources. The vassalage system only covers relationships between an overlord and, obviously, his vassal. The scale we're looking at here is ways that smaller realms can club together so they can bat with the big boys, not ways of letting Ghoere take one million actions.

    This is why I'm leaning even further away from just having an extra court grafted onto the top, and towards instead creating a whole new set of actions whose benefit to the members of the Association is somehow proportionate to the number of realms within it, and diminished by the size of selfsame realms. These should be things that help lean, well run states get an edge.

  6. #16
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Real life vassals run the gamut from people who are really lieutenants to people with personal ties and oaths to you, and people who would just as soon be independent but would need to break with you to do it.

    Vassals in the game come on one flavor. I would prefer to roll lieutenants and vassals into a more dynamic kind of servant who could be anything from the most loyal servant of the crown to the most rebellious.

    In my game, the rules don't limit actions, they merely mechanize them. Whether one delegates to a lieutenant, vassal, or a court is someone else's categorical conundrum. Delegating works the same as far as I am concerned no matter who the servant is. The ruler can gain actions through delegation, but can only retain control through supervision. Supervision can take up to half the time of a normal action, or little as no time depending on how much control the ruler wants.

  7. #17
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    Technically even the base yeoman or peasant is a vassal, if I understand correctly, and the Court is really made up of vassals, which is why expanding the Court is one way of representing increased numbers of or tasks entrusted to vassals. Counts and lesser nobility likely make up the bulk of the authoritative courtiers in the Court.

    Anyway, in the context of BR vassals as full regents of domains, I agree that you technically can take vast numbers of actions that way. Murphy explained part of what I was getting at with this system. The other part was to allow something like increased vassalage without having to get into the whole mess of doubling or septupling the number of actions you can take.

    Consider the realm built off the average math supposed to underlie the Empire. Let's look at Diemed as a Duchy with six provinces. Two barons directly beneath the Duke control three provinces each, granting six more domain actions, plus potentially Courts and LT's of their own. Now add on six counts, one to a province, and you have another 18 actions, plus Courts and LT's. And then you have the OIT and its dioceses and bishoprics, as well as guilders and their regional and local guildmasters.

    As you can see, it becomes unmanageable from a gameplay standpoint, especially for a DM who wants to have more than a few players. So instead of this arrangement, I seek something simpler--expand main realm's actions through vassals deployed through the Court or through these greater associations.

  8. #18
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    The rules quite well cover vasalage from getting out of hand, as does the cost of maintaining a court and so on. You simply will not have teh resources to maintain seven provinces of levels 2-5 each with a vasal and it's own court, it won't work out, and the GM would be a moron to not have a couple of the vasals turn against their liege in such a disjointed realm.

    Allot of the rules, from my perspective, just simplify what is a much more complex system. By the dictionary, every peasant in a realm is a vasal of their liege, but not by the rules, so let's leave out the needless muddying of the waters.

    By the rules, a Vasal is a regent in their own right that has a vasalage agreement with their liege, the terms of which were worked out among players and the GM. They have real power, and run their domain just as any other regent would within the confines of their vasalage agreement (mostly), assuming they are loyal, and not planning to break the vasalage agreement. That's always the danger of having Vasals, they may turn against you.

    But that isn't where you wanted to go.

    There is nothing in the rules preventing several domains from working together without the need for additional actions, unless your GM doesn't want it to happen. At least not if they are all willing to help eachother. This has been the basis of many of the games I've played in or run, where each player heads a domain, and they work cooperatively. At most it would take an initial diplomacy action to agree to work together. After that it would be free actions. "I send a message to <person I have agreement with> asking him to help prevent <other guy> from establishing a law holding in province <name>." They then may or may not do it, just the same as any other organisation you might create. I wouldn't want a system in place to compel a PC or NPC to help in an area they may not want to help with or that may even be contrary to their own best interest. If there is not compelation, it's just a way to give players extra actions, and in that way it would be too easily abused.

    There is no way to restrict this to only smaller domains. At least not in any way that makes any kind of RP sense, so by creating any rules to allow smaller domains to band together there is nothing to prevent bigger domains banding together just as easily as smaller ones.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to give the players a way to gain more actions than what's currently available. There are already enough ways to gain additional actions. Courts, lieutenants, etc. If they want more they should be forced to take a real chance, such as a vasalage agreement.

    As to working together to make someothing happen, or prevent something from happening in game, there is nothing preventing them from working on concert toward a goal, and it doesn't even take any more actions than they would have previously had to take.

    Perhaps you need something more formal for PBEM, just because not everyone is at the same table. But that is where house rules come into place.

    That's my 2 copper on the issue. I don't think there is a need for new rules to cover this when the current rules, while not as formal suffice.
    Last edited by ploesch; 04-07-2008 at 10:47 PM.
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  9. #19
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ploesch View Post
    You simply will not have the resources to maintain seven provinces of levels 2-5 each with a vasal and it's own court, it won't work out, and the GM would be a moron to not have a couple of the vasals turn against their liege in such a disjointed realm.
    But this is how realms actually work. Most realms have five to seven provinces, and each has a count, or jarl, of graf in each one. Each of those has some number of lords (I presume one lord per province level) below them. Each of them has their own court. Some of these county courts rival smaller baronial courts. All of these counts is a vassal of the baron, duke, or palatine count.

    It seems much more reasonable to resolve the question of what can be accomplished with this network of supporters than to go back an re-invent a system of actions that has no basis in anything.

    I don't care whether a poster suggests a season has three actions or a hundred and fifty three. If he says three actions I assume that there are one or two things going on at a time and that each action represents a lot of accomplishment. If he says there are a hundred and fifty three actions I assume there are many things going on at once, and each action accomplishes only a small amount of stuff. How much stuff in total that can be accomplished by established by the DM by fiat or by analogy to what a medieval lord could accomplish.

    Allot of the rules, from my perspective, just simplify what is a much more complex system. By the dictionary, every peasant in a realm is a vasal of their liege, but not by the rules, so let's leave out the needless muddying of the waters.
    This is incorrect. Common people, whether peasants or burghers are subjects. A vassal is a person who swears an oath to give service and receive a benefit. Knights are the lowest kind of person who can be a vassal. Everyone lower, is a subject, whether they are expected to make an oath or not.

    Simplification is fine, for a variety of reasons, but the rules as interpreted by many seem to aim at a simplistic reductionism that can't even be used to play the game as the descriptive material gives it to us. We find interesting characters and situations that can't be resolved by too narrow a reading of the rules.

    That's always the danger of having Vasals, they may turn against you.
    Actually this is the danger of interacting with other humans - they will disappoint you. Vassals are just a variety of human being. However, this caveat reads too much like a reason to ignore politics and just play the game as outlaws. The hardest part of getting people to act like nobles rather than outlaws is getting players past the idea that everyone will betray them at the first opportunity. The problem with vassals, or subordinates of every kind, is that they are not simply extensions of you will. They have their own fears, priorities, anxieties, skills, habits, and goals. A good ruler surrounds himself with followers (including vassals) that solve problems better than the ruler would himself, and then goes about managing his followers. Some followers will decide at various points that they can no longer serve you. Most will plead incapacity and seek retirement, a few will consider rebellion. But first and foremost, an act of rebellion should be the result of a ruler doing something to a follower that the follower cannot accept, not because people turn rebellious the second Tuesday after a full moon.

    "I send a message to <person I have agreement with> asking him to help prevent <other guy> from establishing a law holding in province <name>." They then may or may not do it, just the same as any other organisation you might create.
    Of course they will do it. What kind of liar promises to offer support and assistance in exchange for consideration and then just ignores a request for support and assistance? The question here is how much support and what kind of assistance. A friend may be too busy to do much, or not be able to render the kind of assistance you really need, or bound by other obligations not to be too partisan, of just poor at the job he undertakes despite his best efforts.

    If they want more they should be forced to take a real chance, such as a vasalage agreement.
    This should not be a gamble or represent taking a chance (any more than picking a friend or associate for any other purpose since people will from time to time disappoint) but represent a desirable and useful delegation of duties. A person who swears to be my vassal is swearing to be my man, my servant, unto his own death. A person who turns against their sworn liege is an outlaw, outside the law, criminal in every way whose word means nothing and for whom no law applies (meaning there are no rules that govern how I bring you to submission). An oath-breaker of this kind can expect that what he once held from his liege (and has now stolen) will be recovered and that he will be killed brutally and his head put on a pike for all to see. No one will wish to be seen to aid him (though unscrupulous enemies might do so secretly).

  10. #20
    This should not be a gamble or represent taking a chance (any more than picking a friend or associate for any other purpose since people will from time to time disappoint) but represent a desirable and useful delegation of duties. A person who swears to be my vassal is swearing to be my man, my servant, unto his own death. A person who turns against their sworn liege is an outlaw, outside the law, criminal in every way whose word means nothing and for whom no law applies (meaning there are no rules that govern how I bring you to submission). An oath-breaker of this kind can expect that what he once held from his liege (and has now stolen) will be recovered and that he will be killed brutally and his head put on a pike for all to see. No one will wish to be seen to aid him (though unscrupulous enemies might do so secretly).
    Well, there you've got your idealism versus reality in politics. No one seemed to rush in to stop Jaison Rainech taking over Oserode, though admittedly that's as much to give the PCs a villainous regent to oppose as anything.

    As far as vassals go, in my opinion the only real irregular part is when you get to Rjurik where, suddenly, the mayor-figures are all blooded and have the local law holdings. To an extent, sure, local nobles should be more powerful in Rjurik, but I really think in a lot of realms it's a matter of overwhelming the setting with factions and divisions, which ultimately does more harm than good.

    Halkspa is the worst about this-it really would do better as a domain with two or three factions gunning to sieze Berving's power once the old man finally dies instead of, like, the six identical jarls we're given in the book.

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