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  1. #1
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    Empire Building/Managing Rules

    Hi,

    Some weeks ago I got by chance the book "Empire" from AEG, and I was trying to remember what other books/rules are out there similar to "Birthright"? (game mechanics, not the setting).

    For DnD I know "Fields of Blood - The Book of War" (Eden Studios) and "Empire" (AEG). I know also there's a RPG called Reign that sounds similar to Birthright, but I haven't been able to read it yet.

    Any others out there you can think about? (for DnD or for other systems).

    Regards,

    Vicente
    Last edited by Vicente; 04-17-2009 at 06:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Titus's Avatar
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    Made this list a while ago:

    Forgotten Realms - Power of Faerun
    Fields Of Blood
    Empire
    War
    Penumbra - Dynasties & Demagogues
    Book of Strongholds & Dynasties
    Cry Havoc
    Heroes of Battle
    The Quintessential Aristocrat

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the list Titus. I have Cry Havoc (I love that book) and War (I have only browsed it a little) but they are more related to the war/combat/units part than empire building (I think).

    I'll try to check the other ones you comment.

    Regards,

    Vicente

  4. #4
    I have played Fields of Blood fairly extensively. It is a good, all-encompassing system, but there are some holes in the rules, and it would have benefitted from more playtesting.

    Also, there's one called Wizard Prince that's free on the web here http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/...guid=197258503

    It handles politics and war in a very eclectic but effective manner.

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    Thanks for the link! I haven't played with Fields of Blood rules, but from reading the book I like mostly everything except one thing: the way of calculating Resource Points. I find that the math behind RPs is too complicated (big numbers, lot of percentages,...). I like more the scale of numbers in Birthright.

    I also dislike that the players only have one type of resource to manage (RPs). But the rest of the book feels very solid all around.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    While I could stand to either take GB and RP to a decimal tenths place, or just scale up the numbers by 10, I am not interested in adding complexity (re-introducing dice, formulas, one holding type influences another) to the domain system.

    The question of additional kinds of resources however, is something I think about from time to time. One is obviously too small. Two, GB and RP is nice, its simple and strait-forward, but certain other limits come up:

    Manpower - how many men can I recruit?
    Veteran Manpower - how many elite troops can I recruit?
    Loyalty - although often considered as something other than a resource, a loyalty economy is an easy way to manage loyalty, and could be a nice way to consume RP.
    Trade - trade has an capacity, that is there must be demand to consume my supply, rather than assuming a nearly infinite demand limited only by terrain type or cross cultural exchanges (trade is limited by holding and province levels, but its so far beyond at-start as to be infinite).

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    Well, I'm my group we like the variable collection of GB as it adds a random factor that makes harder for players to plan ahead what they want to do. But I don't see it better or worse than the fixed income, I could live with that too.

    About number of resources, I agree that one is too small. In our case, when we play "pen and paper" we find GB and RP to be enough (when ruling is a secondary thing to adventuring). We add something like the resources in Civilization 4, where you only track if you have a resource or not, not the exact number. Those resources allow special actions or options or bonuses.

    But sometimes we play only on the domain level with computer support (Excel sheets or small custom programs) and in those games we go a little overboard with resources. Right now we have:

    - GB
    - RP
    - Arcane/Divine Magic Points
    - Food, Wood, Stone, Ore
    - Simple/Normal/Exotic Resources

    Arcane and Divine magic points are generated by "buildings" attached to holdings (Churches, Magic Schools,...) and are used for spellcasting (instead of RP, we always found wizards too limited by that).

    Food/Wood/Stone/Ore are similar to resources in most computer turn based strategy games, and are used mostly for building, supporting population,... We added them to add more importance to shortages, sieges, supply and demand,...

    Simple/Normal/Exotic resources are the "magic points" version for guilds and are used mostly in trade to generate GB or for special actions/bonuses/...

    Your list Kenneth remembers me a lot to Europa Universalis games (specially the Manpower one).

  8. #8
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    Resources/Currency

    Kgauck and Vicente, I found your comments very intriguing.

    Vicente, part of what you use sounds like what I was going for on this thread:
    http://www.birthright.net/forums/showthread.php?t=4680

    I developed a system for Timber, Stone, Ore, and Food resources that would take into account availability of natural resources for purposes of trade and warfare, making people consider resources in their economy and war strategies.

    I've also been working on a system to determine what kind of influence people or organizations can have, either scaled down or up (lower than the holding/domain level, or higher than it), that might benefit from some of your other resource types.

    Would either of you mind expanding on the ideas you've mentioned here, or even attach a doc if you've created on on the topic?

    Kgauck, I linked Manpower (in terms of military units) to Food resources available. Veteran/Elite units didn't matter, just being a function of the realm's ability to afford them (horses require more Food and armor or arrows/siege engines require Ore or Timber, as well). Were you talking about a Veteran experience system? Or "Manpower" in terms, also, of skilled leaders, lieutenants, ministers, etc?

    I like your Loyalty economy idea, but wonder if it should be limited to just Loyalty, or if the same stat could cover generic influence. If so, it might be a useful measure of how characters can develop and use Contacts or Allies of various kinds in and outside of their own Domains, as well as provide some measure of the influence wielded by non-regent characters. Seems like it would be a stat that could go negative, too.

    For trade, don't holding or province levels provide a suitable restriction for demand? What were you thinking along these lines?

    Vicente, how do your natural resources work? And your Simple/Normal/Exotic guild resources? I presume the Arcane/Divine Magic Points are used pretty directly to power available realm spells. Do they have other uses?

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Kgauck, I linked Manpower (in terms of military units) to Food resources available. Veteran/Elite units didn't matter, just being a function of the realm's ability to afford them (horses require more Food and armor or arrows/siege engines require Ore or Timber, as well). Were you talking about a Veteran experience system? Or "Manpower" in terms, also, of skilled leaders, lieutenants, ministers, etc?
    I calculate the muster manpower of a province as Province Level squared x 100. So a province 3 can raise 900 soldiers. A further 1300 troops can be raised for double the muster and maintenance costs.

    Under normal conditions one quarter of the basic manpower can be considered elite, so our province 3 would produce 200 elite soldiers, and 700 normal soldiers. An elite unit is 100 men, and a normal unit is 200 men. So in Anuire, I would allow the mustering of 1 Knight and 1 Elite Infantry, three units of normal quality plus 100 men to be combined with a hundred from another province. I would designate in advance what those units are based on the province. Almost certainly 1 Infantry and 1 Archer, the last unit could be 1 Cavalry, 1 Pikeman, or 1 Scout depending on what's in the province. The additional 1300 is all levy type. The 900 man limit for normal pricing is for the most expensive 900 men raised. I also know where the at-start units were mustered, so they already count against you.

    As far as Experience, I allow units to become more experienced, but you have to keep them mustered to keep the experience. If you let them muster out, they are mostly lost. If you disband a lot of experienced troops and two years later need to muster again, I'd allow some fraction (maybe a fifth, maybe a third, depending on the cause, the regent, the nature of the realm, so that a warlike realm with a heroic regent fighting a traditional enemy would be toward the high side while a trading realm with a diplomatic regent fighting at the behest of an ally would be on the low side) to be experienced.

    Elite units with 100 people have their basic war card stats, but represent 3rd, 4th, and 5th level characters, while standard units with 200 people represent mostly 1st and 2nd level characters with a small cadre of 3rd level.

    Holdings can also recruit units, based on holding level squared x 100, but what they get is much more a function of what kind of domain they are and their relationship to the landed regent. They are competing for the same pool of warriors to some extent. If both are equally loved, and equally martial, they end up splitting the recruitment pool. Often other kinds of domains get alternative recruitment opportunities that fit their nature. Suppose our Province 3 discussed above is on Taeghas and the temple is Nesirie and the Guild is Taeghas Outfitters. Both are friendly to the realm and would have some cross over in recruitment, but the Nesirie temple would also have a Marines unit available. The Taeghean Outfitters would have a separate Pike or Scout depending whether a town was present and what I had selected for the landed regent.

    I like your Loyalty economy idea, but wonder if it should be limited to just Loyalty, or if the same stat could cover generic influence. If so, it might be a useful measure of how characters can develop and use Contacts or Allies of various kinds in and outside of their own Domains, as well as provide some measure of the influence wielded by non-regent characters. Seems like it would be a stat that could go negative, too.
    Basically, any action that affects a province causes a decline in loyalty. Actions that are injurious reduce loyalty more. Inactions can also reduce loyalty, if some problem is ignored. A regent can always spend RP to counter this. If he does not, the loyalty is adjusted and must be corrected the old fashioned way, with Agitate actions and the like. This is in addition to old style rule book RP expenses.

    In general I consider loyalty to have two parts, love and fear. Regents don't really directly control this. Love is a function of heroism and how well you treat the domain, what have you done for me lately. Fear is more a function of raw power. Most regents have some of both. A few, like the Baroness of Dhoesone have only love (though to an extent Tuarhievel lends some fear), and some, like Jaison Raenech have only fear. Fear is more useful, but more brittle. If Jaison ever lost a military battle, his control would be gone by nightfall. Love is more resistant to the acts of others, but less tangible.

    For trade, don't holding or province levels provide a suitable restriction for demand? What were you thinking along these lines?
    Overall, I would say total GB from trade should not exceed 1/10 the number of guild holdings. Stjordvik Traders has 23 guild holdings, so an average year should yield 9 GB from trade (2 per season plus one in summer) and 10 GB in a good year (and addition bonus in autumn). Peasants, the vast bulk of the people, are nearly entirely self-sufficient. Only towns, and the domain elite, consume trade goods. Trade volume just shouldn't get too high compared to guild holdings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Vicente, part of what you use sounds like what I was going for on this thread:
    http://www.birthright.net/forums/showthread.php?t=4680

    I developed a system for Timber, Stone, Ore, and Food resources that would take into account availability of natural resources for purposes of trade and warfare, making people consider resources in their economy and war strategies.

    I've also been working on a system to determine what kind of influence people or organizations can have, either scaled down or up (lower than the holding/domain level, or higher than it), that might benefit from some of your other resource types.

    Would either of you mind expanding on the ideas you've mentioned here, or even attach a doc if you've created on on the topic?
    I've been reading that thread and it's surprising how many things in common do my ideas have with the system explained there (not sure why I didn't post when that thread appeared :S).

    I'll explain a little the system we are using, so be warned: this is a fairly long rant about a heavily modified version of Birthright (we call it Statecraft) that doesn't make perfect sense (but it works for us). Sorry also for my English, is pretty hard for me to write long and complex ideas.

    First, the design goals for the changes we made to Birthright:

    - Birthright is heavily asymmetric, with the landed regent (monarch) having like 2 different "holdings" (population and law) while the other regents only have one (guilds, temples, sources). We wanted all types of regents to have the same power.

    - Birthright produces too much money from "nowhere" (trade routes I'm looking at you). While we understand it's easier to manage an open economy than a closed one, we think money should appear and disappear in a more logical way.

    - We would like (ideally) a set of rules that could be used without a DM (as we wanted to use them in a multiplayer computer game).

    Second, the changes.

    We created several new game terms:

    - Kingdom: what was called a "domain" in Birthright.
    - Domain: population/faith/development/magic.
    - Holding: law/temple/guild/source.
    - Building: additional structures that give extra abilities or produce extra income.

    So to balance the population/law vs guild/temple/source thing, we created new equivalents to "population" for the other holdings (we didn't think about making population a holding, that's a nice idea). This way all regents feel more similar.

    - Population is based on race and terrain and produces GBs.
    - Faith is based on race and produces divine magic points.
    - Development is based on race and terrain and produces resources.
    - Magic is based on terrain and produces arcane magic points.

    The idea is that each domain produces the most basic "resource" needed for each type of regent to do his job.

    Then we have holdings that produce GB (Law/Guild/Temple) or Arcane Magic Points (Source). Also, each type of holding has an associated building that gives it extra benefits

    - Law Complex: helps with loyalty and taxes.
    - Religious Complex: allows divine spellcasting and give extra divine magic points.
    - Trade Complex: allows trade routes and gives extra resources.
    - Arcane Complex: allows arcane spellcasting and general research and improvements.

    The idea is that the principal creator of money in the game should be the population/law regent, and that he will give money to other regents in exchange for services. So if he needs wood to build a fleet, he will pay the guilder for them and that type of exchanges should be the main income for the guilder. Ideally Temples and Guilds should give something different than GB (we are testing Guilds giving "Subterfuge" points, but we have decided nothing and we have no idea for Temples).

    Now for resources, our system is pretty similar to the one you posted, but the numbers are different: terrain produces from 0 to 4 resources of each type, and several actions can consume them (building, training, maintenance,...). Surplus is lost from turn to turn (to easy management). Technically it's possible to reach level 5 or 6 of a type of resource with heavy investment from the regent (involving magic, scientific research,...).

    Simple/Normal/Exotic resources are a "mixed bag" to put everything there: furs, jewels, strange metals,... And are used mostly to build and maintain really strange or high level things (for example big cities need Exotic resources to be maintained). Honestly, I like the idea but not the execution, but we haven't come with anything better. Our first systems only had Exotic(Luxury) resources and we may return to that.

    I have quite a lot of documents for this, but they are all in Spanish (and I have a lot of paper notes that I haven't passed to the computer yet).

    But I have found 3 old documents (from 2001! :O) that I translated to English, not sure why. They have some differences from what I explained, but they have also several similarities. The English on those documents is pretty weird Feel free to ask any questions about them or about this post.

    Regards,

    Vicente

    Edit: Arcane and Divine Magic Points are used to cast spells and for their maintenance. Also some complex/strange buildings/troops need Magic Points to be built/trained (they are like "Magic GB").
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    Last edited by Vicente; 04-20-2009 at 11:36 PM.

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