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    Member stv2brown1988's Avatar
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    Provinces as holdings

    I was reading around some old posts and found something about this topic but then I promptly lost it again. Has anyone posted any variant on using Provinces as Holdings? For Example: In Halskapa, Jarl Kjessen has 2 levels of his Province and King Bevering (sp?) has the other level. I think this would allow the Jarls in the Rjurik domains to have more money and power.

    Steven

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    There are two advantages to considering a province as a kind of holding. First it solves the problem where provinces don't actually belong to the realm regent. As you mention, there is the case of Halskapa. The Eastern lands of the Great Bay are rife with this kind of thing. Another is that you no longer have to wonder why the great farmlands of Cerilia are devoid of people (and why so many end up in marginal places) and instead can assume that provinces contain more or less their carrying capacity, and that province ratings indicate only how much control the ruler has over feudal vassals (which effects both what kinds of units are created and how many can be supported) and how much of the tax money works its way into the hands of the regent and his followers.

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    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Another is that you no longer have to wonder why the great farmlands of Cerilia are devoid of people (and why so many end up in marginal places) and instead can assume that provinces contain more or less their carrying capacity, and that province ratings indicate only how much control the ruler has over feudal vassals (which effects both what kinds of units are created and how many can be supported) and how much of the tax money works its way into the hands of the regent and his followers.
    Music to my ears!

    It even continues to explain why law, temple and guild holdings are limited to the province ruler's holding level -- they are still held by someone, but they generate zero profit in either RP or GB because there are too many taxes paid to and RP spent against Contest actions from all the unnamed minor nobles who each have only one level of province holding to their name. Centralization means streamlined taxation and diplomacy, which allows guild and temple holdings to expand efficiently.

    What it does *not* do is explain why source holdings go down as province levels go up. Instead, I use a fixed max per terrain type and race (so elves still get more out of a forest, or even plains, than humans do), which stays that way regardless of the province level, unless there is an awful lot of Death Plague going on.

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    I have also always thought this could be a good approach. Having provinces as holdings, however, would seem to not limit the size of other holding types, and possibly change the interaction of maximum Source levels. With each province well settled, the influence of the temples or guilds over the people need not be limited by how much influence the feudal lords have over them. So if Tireste has max levels of 9, and Ghoere holds 5 while Alamie might hold 2 province levels there, Kalien could hold Guilds 4 and Ghorien Hiriele Guilds 5 in the same province, and temples could be similarly split. Even Law could exceed province level, with outposts of the Duke's men exerting influence over regions not formally envassaled to Duke Alam, and other areas controlled more by banditry or local town councils. It would also seem to remove the restriction on number of regents having non-province holdings.

    What is perhaps more difficult to resolve satisfactorily is how to determine maximum Source levels. If you want these to reduce at all, it would seem that they should not be tied to population or "settlement" if you're also assuming that the entire province is settled. Instead, it could be linked to a tension between the flow of mebhaigl and the control exerted by a scion over the people of the land--preserving the interaction between total province holdings and max Source levels. If the conflict is supposed to be related more to the utilization of resources, then perhaps it should be tied to total guild holding levels instead--which could even help explain why elves don't have guilds. An interesting variant would be to have max Source levels diminished by total temple holdings, a sort of conflict between the power of the gods and the natural mebhaigl of Cerilia.

    Regardless of the limiter you choose for max Source levels, if you have a limiter at all, Source levels overall will diminish faster under this system than any others. This is because it costs marginally less to develop low level holdings, province or otherwise. So you're likely to see more mixed provinces with one regent holding 4 levels and another holding 2 levels (cheaper and lower DC's involved than ruling it up to one level 6 province). If you want to keep magic relevant in the game, it might be a good idea to either remove limiters entirely (and instead perhaps increase slightly the RP cost for things), or to change their structure a little more. Perhaps max Source levels diminish by 1 for every 2 levels of total Guild holdings (largest possible reduction would be 5 for 10 levels of Guilds), or each time total levels of a holding reach half maximum and then maximum (this is clumsier, as it is dependent on the max levels in that province, but the largest possible reduction is 8 with all other holding types maxed out).

    One more thought. Core materials, inconsistent and confused as they may be, do still tend to refer to many areas as "frontier" or "sparsely settled." That idea could just be done away with, but even calling Dhoesone and Mhoried and Roesone "fully settled" doesn't eliminate the problem of more truly wild lands (like the Giantdowns) or lands controlled by other races, if those provinces ever change hands. A province of the Five Peaks, Thurazor, or Tuarhievel just is not fully settled by humans, so having a human kingdom take it over and try to settle it with humans doesn't make it fully populated by humans all of the sudden. I haven't come up with a solution for these last problems that satisfies me yet. Kgauck?

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I have one test for a good mechanic. Does it better reflect the game world.

    Most of this comes down to the fact that if I don't use a real world analog for demographics I have to invent a whole new demographics either from some other analog (Galapagos Tortise?) or I could just make stuff up and hope that I am a good enough demographer to explain the canon information without creating even stranger set of implications.

    This is why one's reference should always be a real world analog and not a set of logical consequences from a rule set, or an invented set of circumstances, because it quickly gets ridiculous.

    The game world is supposed to have three human cultures at a renaissance level of technology (more or less). Either this is because you have all of the accumulated knowledge and all of the infrastructure of a renaissance culture (the accumulation of intellectual, philosophical, scientific, and technical knowledge, and diffusion of same) or you have some other explanation that can stand up to the same kind of scrutiny. Because players will try and maximize their advantage and minimize the vulnerabilities (and would be fools not to).

    These questions are entirely artificial because they are based on a rules set which was simple and quirky to begin with. I would go so far as to say unplayable (see almost any PbEM as an example of ridiculous interpretations). The way to answer any such question is to ask what situation is this analogous to, and referring back to the real situation, answer the question. Not by referring to the rules. In part this is because some rules seem mysteriously suspended, when I would imagine them to still apply, and others seem to apply when I would have imagined their application was a problem to be solved.

    Can law holdings exceed province levels? What is the situation? How was it created? Are we assuming that there are minor independent lords who govern as part of the realm, but have special rights to exempt them from taxation and supplying men, but not from appeals to the regent's courts? OK, fine, in that situation law could exceed province levels by standard regents, but in fact a better way (for consistency) is to name the minor regents who hold a single level of province and give them their little realms. Then you can remain fast and say holdings can't exceed province, because in any other situation, holdings cannot make money and build organizational cohesion usable elsewhere as RP if the conditions are chaotic or primitive, or otherwise disorganized.

    So you're likely to see more mixed provinces with one regent holding 4 levels and another holding 2 levels (cheaper and lower DC's involved than ruling it up to one level 6 province).
    I have no idea why you would suppose ruling a province would work this way. I cannot think of an example in which this would make sense. Is this supposed to break down how a Great Captain event works in slow motion? In any event it would be highly unusual for things to work this way.

    For instance, if power A holds all of province A1 weakly, how does another power (outside of war, vassalage, or cooperation) come into the territory and create a holding in the first place? I understand how territory can be divided if I give you some, willingly or as a term of peace. But certainly you're not proposing that large scale squatting is normative and routinely accepted.

    Finally, 2000 years after settlement, its inconceivable that land was occupied and not filled up. References to sparse settlement not withstanding. Populations tend to expand until they meet limits. So either we need to imagine frequent, indeed constant limits (an awful lot of Death Plague), or imagine that population expanded to carrying capacity.

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    Then you can remain fast and say holdings can't exceed province, because in any other situation, holdings cannot make money and build organizational cohesion usable elsewhere as RP if the conditions are chaotic or primitive, or otherwise disorganized.
    Why would temple organizations or mercantile ones (guilds) need lords to exert influence over a segment of the population first in order for them to exert influence from the same people or extract revenue from them? Are there not places where no noble overlord (province holder) has consolidated power, but where temples and guilds might have? I may be dodging around your answer here, because I think you suggested that all province holding levels up to the max for that terrain type would automatically be held by someone, whether noble overlord or minor noble, town council or other association.

    I have no idea why you would suppose ruling a province would work this way. I cannot think of an example in which this would make sense. Is this supposed to break down how a Great Captain event works in slow motion? In any event it would be highly unusual for things to work this way.

    For instance, if power A holds all of province A1 weakly, how does another power (outside of war, vassalage, or cooperation) come into the territory and create a holding in the first place? I understand how territory can be divided if I give you some, willingly or as a term of peace. But certainly you're not proposing that large scale squatting is normative and routinely accepted.
    As you said earlier, players make the most benefit of the rules, deliberately or not. If the cost of Ruling provinces up one level is 1GB per level of the Province (with similar DC escalation), then it behooves rulers to try to exert influence in encroaching on neighboring territories with smaller provinces holdings perhaps even in preference to ruling up their own. Of course, level 4 province holdings bear many benefits, but rather than spend 18GB on difficult Rule efforts to expand to level 7, players could squabble over nearby provinces with their neighbors and snatch up 6 level 2 provinces for the same absolute cost. Vassal states might go even further: Avanil may share some provinces extensively with their vassals, achieving 2 level 4 province holdings much more cheaply than one might create a level 8. Much disputed territories might find 3 rulers with level 2 or 3 province holdings.

    Finally, 2000 years after settlement, its inconceivable that land was occupied and not filled up. References to sparse settlement not withstanding. Populations tend to expand until they meet limits. So either we need to imagine frequent, indeed constant limits (an awful lot of Death Plague), or imagine that population expanded to carrying capacity.
    Europe went through several population shifts involving settlement, depopulation through attrition or migration, and resettlement. Climatological changes affected carrying capacity and famine, plagues drove people out of cities (or killed them off), and conquerers and raiders caused refugee migrations. Cerilia would face the same pressures, and perhaps more of the latter. As tough as humans find getting along with each other, any time lands trade hands between different species (elves, dwarves, goblins, gnolls, orogs, etc), they are likely to become depopulated and have to repopulate by migration and settlement. This is not terribly rapid, hence the problem. If a human realm conquers a goblin province, the goblins are likely to flee or be put to the sword, and humans have to start with a sparsely-settled province. So how do we handle that in the rules?

    Furthermore, the prevalence of more random monsters and of magical phenomena will likely cause more refugee migrations and abandonment of land than we saw in historical Europe. Thus, I think it entirely possible that there may be provinces that are not completely settled. Do you not?

    Do you have any ideas or recommendations about what to do with Sources? Ryan just removes the limiters, which I find acceptable as well, but that does involve a change in story flavor for the game.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Rowan - I see your point on the cost mechanic, but suggest the following fix:

    Cost to rule a province up is function[sum of all existing provinces holding level] not function[province level of the particular regent].

    So the cost of ruling a L2 to a L3 when there is another L2 in the same geographical region is the same as ruling L4 to L5 if no-one else has an overlapping province holding.

    I'd be as nasty cost-wise on someone trying to split their province into a province and a city.

    So I'd have province population of, say, '7' of which 2 levels are owned by Prince Avan, 3 levels by various vassals, 1 level evaporates through inefficiencies and 1 level is not controlled by anyone due to the death intestate of a noble without heirs. This province could then hold L7 law, temple, guild etc but not L8.

    This mechanic is very good for provinces of mixed races - i.e. Dhoesone's eastern provinces of humans, elves, and possibly goblins in the north. It is also handy if you want to be able to rule up provinces realistically on a PBEM timeframe (you have 4 levels of 7, the other 3 produce no income due to your appallingly inefficient court) but put a cap elsewhere on growth.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Sources. I'm tempted to stiffen the maximum population levels for holding types, and then apply source based on terrain only.

    So if you want to expand your heavy forest province 4 to a province 5, just cut down the forests and have a light forest 5, you keep breeding up the peasants, go from light forest 6 to plains 7.

    Mind you I'm a mebhaighl = plant life energy type and would therefore by default give little or nothing in mountains and ice plains - and provide some in even the most heavily populated plains (corn is plant-life too).

    Having recently been reading Janny Wurts war of light and shadow and considering the source implications of the compact of the fellowship, I suppose you could reduce source levels for major structures/cities that are in the wrong place if you wanted to keep down human source levels.

    So -1 maximum source for each city or major structure, there being one/two/etc cities in the province if now or in the past (ignoring barbarian invasion) there has been a holding over L6/8/10 in the province.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Why would temple organizations or mercantile ones (guilds) need lords to exert influence over a segment of the population first in order for them to exert influence from the same people or extract revenue from them?
    This is essentially the question, "why do we need government at all". Its obvious why those in control of government want government, but what about the rest of us? Without examining the free rider problem in which guilds especially might like to conduct some business in an ungoverned space, certainly it is obvious that places of sustained disorder and random violence are not also experiencing prosperous trade or religion. Order is the first prerequisite of all the other benefits of civilization (including liberty and recognition of principles other than violence).

    Order is created by establishing who is in authority, and backing them up with organized violence (reflected by titles, recruiting soldiers, and the ability to collect taxes to carry out these efforts.)

    If the cost of Ruling provinces up one level is 1GB per level of the Province (with similar DC escalation), then it behooves rulers to try to exert influence in encroaching on neighboring territories with smaller provinces holdings perhaps even in preference to ruling up their own.
    Give this a little more thought and I think you'll recognize its about the same as trying to take one level of every class on the premise that it takes 1000 xp to get to it, rather than taking the total character level into consideration to determine the cost of the next level.

    Ruling a province likewise must take all province levels into consideration, because unlike guild or temple holdings, control of a province does not concern itself with a part of the whole, but with the whole itself. As a guilder you can dominate the grain trade, then bakers guild, then the merchants who sell the grain in the neighboring provinces, then the tanners, then smiths and so on. That's an extending sphere of power. But a province doesn't work that way. The Province 1 ruler doesn't just claim a small district, then another small district. The province ruler claims the province, and gradually intensifies their control over the whole province.

    Europe went through several population shifts involving settlement, depopulation through attrition or migration, and resettlement.
    There is simply no comparison between a population occupying available territory despite migration, disease, and climate change, and populations that are at their carrying capacity and then experience disease or climate change. Populations that suffer catastrophes recover quickly (in mere generations).

    Real, sustained population declines (say 20,000,000 Anurieans to 5,000,000) are always accompanied by a decline in tech level.

    If Anuire is not at (or near) its carrying capacity, then what precisely killed off all those people, and how has it not had its own profound effects that also need to be reflected in the game (rapid inflation, continuing outbreaks, random destabilization, abandonment of core beliefs). Vast knowledge is lost and a dark age ensues.

    The current Anuire in a dark age, because it was once a modern, early industrial society?

    If Renaissance is the high point in technology, then at least Anuire, Khinasi, and Brechtur are at or near their high points in population.

    The argument that populations decline requires that we must also consider both what caused them to decline (and its recurrence) and the profound effect such a catastrophe would have on people's behaviors, attitudes, and the social fabric.

    If a human realm conquers a goblin province, the goblins are likely to flee or be put to the sword, and humans have to start with a sparsely-settled province. So how do we handle that in the rules?
    The goblins don't flee, and genocide isn't possible without an industrial state to manage it. You have conquered a hostile people and will never fully gain their cooperation (without special actions at a minimum). So penalties to loyalty, RP collection, GB collection, and maximum province level penalties should all apply.

    Furthermore, the prevalence of more random monsters and of magical phenomena will likely cause more refugee migrations and abandonment of land than we saw in historical Europe. Thus, I think it entirely possible that there may be provinces that are not completely settled. Do you not?
    No. Because there is a counter balance of magic, both divine and arcane to offset this. Sure the world is fantastical, but its fantastical in both resilience and in threats to people. The best guide is the setting itself, in which human settlement in creeping forward, not backward as it certainly would if whole provinces were being abandoned.

    Do you have any ideas or recommendations about what to do with Sources? Ryan just removes the limiters, which I find acceptable as well, but that does involve a change in story flavor for the game.
    Ryan doesn't remove the limits, but makes them structural rather than variable. I don't think it changes the flavor, because I don't think population can grow quickly within the span of a game, which is less than a single generation. The only difference is whether I can't rule up provinces because the DM says no growth, or whether the populations are fixed because the DM says no growth but province holdings represent control, so they can rise.

    With exponential population growth at work and populations near carrying capacity, you will not see overall growth in the tens of years but it will have a profound influence over tens of hundreds of years.
    Last edited by AndrewTall; 01-08-2009 at 08:29 PM.

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    Member stv2brown1988's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm just lazy but I like the idea of keeping the province/source ratings equivilent to what they are on the maps. I think it is just easier that way.

    However, after living in Europe for almost three years now I wonder if increasing province level should effect sources at all. Weren't all cities small back in the old days, even if they had alot of people living there? Should a town of 5,000 people really take so up much land in a 20-40 square mile province that you couldn't find remote spots in natural settings. In fact, driving across Northern Scotland we saw more waterfalls than people or cars one afternoon. And that was in the 21st century! To be fair, there were about a thousand sheep though.

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