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07-07-2009, 02:07 PM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
New Birthright Game Being Launched
Me and my brother are putting together a 3.5 edition Birthright PBeM which will be launched at the end of the week. We are now accepting applications. I apologize if some of you are receiving multiple e-mails.
Anyway, please let us know if you're interested. Send all correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also find more information on the web site: http://www.anuire.com/
-- Nicholas Harrison
07-07-2009, 03:11 PM #2
I like the composite image on your website. Very classy!
Ius Hibernicum, in nomine juris. Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.
07-07-2009, 05:24 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
May I recommend a few things?
It seems like your house rules primarily involve modifying costs. I suggest posting a table of all action and muster/build costs, particularly the modified ones. Do the math for your players up front and you won't spend time and energy correcting things all the time on turn submissions
Regarding the increase in costs, it may be good to explain what they represent a bit more. Particularly with your domain points, you won't be seeing many castles at all, possibly none built during the game, unless their effectiveness is increased. If Seaports and Shipyards are required, there are way too few GB worth of structures allowed per Domain Power. All your coastal nations will have to have just seaports and shipyards, no palaces or castles or anything else, and still may not be able to have many sea trade routes or build Galleons.
What are your military unit maintenance costs, if you're increasing muster costs? Are you going entirely with permanent military forces bought by scutage, or is there seasonal service?
I'm not sure where you're going with the squared costs. That makes some sense for heavy units, as armor is expensive. Horses can be expensive too, but not always--trained warhorses maybe, but then you'd at least see more horse transport with infantry dismounting (an option that should be cheaper). But to make marines and scouts cost 9GB, and even Irregulars 4GB? Not sure where you're going there. Their equipment is cheap, and they don't take much training (particularly Irregulars, by definition). Yet infantry normally wear medium armor, but their weapons are cheap; such costs would encourage the raising of light infantry, and archers with shortbows or crossbows rather than longbows (which do require more training).
Heavy units would need to be more effective to be worth the cost, otherwise they really make no sense in the rules. Current rules already favor larger armies of weaker units over the stronger units. I think Hits and Morale are the main things to look at for modification here.
What optional BRCS rules are you using, if any?
Common topics and points of conflict on the rules from past PBEMs include:
Garrison/Port costs for military units and total number of units that can be placed in garrison, how, etc.
Leadership Cohort Units and costs
Ability score/feat modifiers to Skills, functioning as skill ranks for purposes of domain action resolution, or skill ranks only?
When do regent skill modifiers apply--during personal participation in an action, to Court actions involved in Realm actions, to all actions in realm?
Updated BRCS on Wiki, or not?
Any class-based free actions?
Any Lieutenant Actions?
Degree of unity of the temples/power and influence of religion in Anuirean life?
What constitutes "heresy" and what are the impacts of heresy if committed?
How sacred is the sphere of authority of the priests/how much can it be impinged on by other social classes, and what are its boundaries?
How do "state temples" work?
Are roads, ships, seaports, min province level 4 needed to host trade routes, or can trade be conducted anywhere?
What maintenance costs are there?
Can you innovate? (Research action or other; special military units, ships, spells, buildings, technology, or creative diplomatic arrangements sharing income, RP, Court actions, etc.)
Last edited by Rowan; 07-07-2009 at 06:47 PM.
07-07-2009, 07:56 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
A couple more things. Those cost modifications can really affect a LOT of things.
It looks, for instance, like Guilds have become by far the most powerful type of domain, due to their high income and low cost of some domain actions. Yet, if standard BRCS playtest rules are used, even for them, sea trade is practically impossible, due to the high costs of seaports (30GB), shipyards (level 3 required for caravels, costing 60GB; level 8 required for Galleons, possible only in the Imperial City, costing 160GB), the rarity of level 4 provinces and the likelihood that there will be very little province ruling (even from level 3 to 4 would cost 20GB with a high risk of failure). Add to that, depending on whether you consider ships units or structures under your modifications, your humble keelboat could cost 5GB, your coaster 4 or 10GB, your caravel 36 or 30GB, and your galleon a whopping 225 or 75GB. Sea trade is a massive waste of money under these conditions; heck, it was under the regular prices in BRCS playtest, as many PBEMs and BRnet folks have noted.
For units, are you modifying the cost of mercenaries? If they just cost double to muster, rather than square, you'll have a lot of instant musters of cavalry and elite infantry units, and national armies will focus on just infantry, archers, and pikemen, after the initial Domain-Power armies.
Palaces and fortifications won't be worth it.
There will be a lot less Ruling, which is the most minimal and acceptable impact of your chances IMHO.
I just see a problem with changing the economics within the game without changing the rules that work off of them. You seem to want to take a more historical, simulationist approach. I enjoy that, too. But more needs to change than just the costs involved if you want to do that.
In the real world, sea trade still made enormous sense and was enormously profitable; fortifications still made sense, as well. If you adjust the costs but nothing else, these things make no sense in the game and you will see an extremely low amount, particularly for the time period we're talking about (where navies were quite on the rise, and indeed, a private merchant marine often greatly outnumbered national navies; fortifications were also more common, until cannons changed their form; and armies were increasing in size).
The other thing you should be aware of is that any PBEM has a much more limited time span and thus time frame than many tabletop groups run among long-time friends. For one thing, there is the 1d4-1 curse, usually taking effect because of either burnout of DMs or player turnover (which happens due to life issues, disputes with the DM or other players often over rules or resolution, slow turn cycles or general inactivity, or being unable to achieve anything).
Thus, the time scale must be accelerated somewhat. If you want it to take years to build castles or rule holdings/provinces, then your Turns should cover years rather than seasons and be adjusted appropriately. But if you want these things to happen at all, in a PBEM you can't force them into that time scale if your turns are only going to be seasonal.
07-08-2009, 05:17 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
I will see about putting together an action table before the first turn is due. And, I'll take another look at the domain points for starting structures.
A lot of the cost changes were based upon trying to take the figures from 3.5 edition resources and make them work in the Birthright Setting. I found that making those changes to the value of the gold bar, the cost of real estate and construction, and the size and mustering cost of units worked out to be reasonably equivalent. No modifications were made to maintenance costs -- as those already worked out roughly well with the changes to unit size. I will have to take a look at mercenaries again though. I expect that battles will be a lot less deadly (as units tend to flee more quickly after taking casualties to avoid being destroyed, like in real life) and I expect mercenaries will also be much less reliable tending to avoid battle when they don't like the odds (again, like in real life).
The points you made regarding sea trade were interesting. I may look at reinstituting some form of exploratory trade -- under a different set of rules. Although structures have been changed, ship costs have not been modified. I may have to make that more clear.
I may also see how I could accelerate the timeline -- perhaps making yearly turn submissions, with weekly announcements of seasonal results, giving people the chance to alter their plans.
I'll mull over the other issues you raised at the end of your first post and see about addressing them somehow on a questions & answers page or something.
07-08-2009, 06:34 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
Based on your email, looks like you've made some great changes! I like the Exploratory Trade option, though I think landlocked realms or those with access to navigable rivers should be able to at least rent ships or enter into an arrangement to conduct such trade. I see some interesting things coming out of it--landed rulers providing the ships, guilders providing the lieutenants, temples (primarily of Sarimie and Nesirie) providing blessings, and sharing the profits.
I think you'll get more what you're looking for with them.
Keeping ship costs the same and removing the need to construct sea ports and giant, high-level shipyards encourages trade and naval development. A couple of related questions:
1. It appears that you're allowing sea trade with provinces level 3 and higher--is that correct?
2. It appears that regents still need to man sea trade routes with sufficient ship capacity. Does this have to come from their personal navy (or the navy of another regent), or can cargo ships be rented out?
---The unit stats for ships assume, I think, that caravels and galleons at least are navy warships; I imagine that regular merchant marine or fishing/whaling vessels would be cheaper, and renting their services would be cheaper. While there may be mercenary warships, there would probably be many more ships capable of carrying passengers and cargo, probably far outnumbering the fleets of the realms (England's hundreds of ships used to defeat the Spanish Armada were largely private merchant mariners equipped with cannon). You could either not worry about the number of available ships and just set a price, create a whole bunch of ships-for-hire, or you could key it to Province level and/or Guild level (or some similar mechanic) and say that the total number of ships available for hire equals Guild level in GB carrying capacity. Mostly these would be small ships, like coasters and keelboats, with some mid-size ships (1-4GB cargo) that, not being warships, would probably cost something like 1.5GB per GB cargo carrying capacity, and perhaps rent out at a rate of 0.5GB per 2GB cargo carrying capacity (which would be twice the normal 1/12 active maintenance cost of a ship). So if a regent needs ships to operate a trade route, he can hire them, but it will cost him twice as much as it would to operate the route with his own ships. However, then his trade routes don't shut down when he needs his warships to deal with piracy or naval battles.
3. Are Anuireans limited to Anuirean ship types? Can they purchase foreign ships? Can they purchase plans or acquire lieutenants who can build foreign ships? (Brecht ships are very good for cargo!)
4. You mention technological advances. Will it be possible (though perhaps time-consuming and expensive) for players to experiment with some new ship designs?
I like your solution for 1 year turns. Your approach may be the first; I'm excited to see how that will work, since it will move the game along pretty quickly. Do you have a forum board like this one to handle character discussions?
I will also be interested to see how you are beefing up the heavy units. Are you still squaring the costs for lighter units, including Archers, Irregulars, Scouts, and Marines (who typically have light, non-metal armor and cheap weapons)?
I do think that the idea behind the lower unit costs were economies of scale, and the heavier troops providing a lot of that stuff via their own fortunes (knights being nobility and even cavalry being landowners--or having pillaged such things during campaigns or won during tournament, in the case of hedge knights and mercenaries). So while I agree with higher unit costs, 36GB for a Knight unit (180,000gp with your 5k GBs for 120 soldiers, of which there's probably 20-40 knights, and the remainder are less-well-equipped squires and men at arms) and 16GB still seems high, since the Peers are providing much of the equipment from their own fortunes. Just my opinion, but I'd suggest maybe just limiting the number of heavy units available (Knights as well as Cavalry and Heavy Infantry) based on province and maybe Law level, and any units beyond that cost double or triple the normal cost (Cav and Einf 8-12GB, Knights 12-18GB).
As for what those limits should be, if you choose to go that route, I think it would be based on scutage or service of landowners and nobility, which ties well with Province and Law levels. Calling upon those duties is sort of like Levying, although you could still keep the Muster cost to reflect a loss in taxation and rent otherwise due, that the vassal now provides as part of his scutage or personal service and equipment. A guide might be the cutoffs for trade routes: 1 heavy unit (Cavalry, Elite Infantry) is possible at standard muster costs for every each potential trade route slot of a province (making 1 available at levels 1-3, 2 at levels 4-6, 3 at levels 7-9, 4 at level 10). Knights count as 2 heavy units. Law holding level still dictates what type of units can be mustered.
As for the lighter units, at slightly less than PHB prices, I think your 5k GB adjustment makes the unit equipment costs more appropriate and fixes things almost all by itself:
Archer: leather or lighter armor, a longbow or heavy crossbow, a dagger or short sword, <100gp per individual x120 individuals = <12,000gp, which is around 2 GBs if each GB is now worth 5,000gp.
Irregular: leather or lighter armor, a short bow or light crossbow, an axe, spear, mace, or maul and small wooden shield, might be more like 50gp per individual, particularly as there's less training involved, so maybe 1GB or 1.5GB for muster is appropriate.
Scout: equipped as Archer, fewer men but better training, should cost about the same as the Archer or Irregular
Marine: studded leather or lighter armor, short bow or light crossbow, cutlass, dagger, no shield, good training, probably more like the archer (2GB, or 2.5GB)
See http://www.birthright.net/brwiki/ind...Military_units for more of those unit equipments. But again, I think that your adjustment of GB's to 5000gp fixes most things by itself, for the non-heavy units. Perhaps make them 2.5-3GB to muster, although as I suggest above, I think Irregulars should only be 1-1.5GB, and Scouts and Marines more like 2 or 2.5GB.
I agree that battles should be a lot less deadly. 10% casualties I think are pretty typical; Kgauck has a lot of input on this. Rout and harassment of the loser can cause significant casualties, with desertion after (possibly 20-40% total under bad circumstances), but battles seem to be won or lost primarily on who holds or breaks morale first. BR has not had a mechanic before for this, though we've discussed it on the boards. I'd enjoy playing with a more realistic expectation, as well as the possibility of ransoming captive commanders and peers (soldiers in the heavy units, which could help offset an increase in cost; lesser units aren't really worth ransoming, but their equipment could be claimed by the victor and the soldiers turned free).
I think you've fixed the issues with starting costs for structures by not requiring the seaports and shipyards and allowing 16GB for structures per 10 Domain Power levels.
Let me just say that I like what you're doing with the house rules and would be happy to play with what you decide. What I'm going to offer here are a few more suggestions, since you seem, like me, to want to take both a simulationist approach, and one that still works as a game. I won't be offended if you don't take it, and I hope you're not offended by the offer of these suggestions.
As for future construction costs, I agree that a multiplier is still required (I would personally go with x3 rather than x5, but that's okay). However, the benefit of the structures should be greater to justify a great expense.
All Structures: Keep in mind that in the default rules, all construction must have a Court action dedicated to it. Court actions essentially cost 2/3 of a GB each, and on average advance construction by 2GB. So in actuality, all constructions cost an additional 2/3GB for every 2GB of cost. Round that down to 0.5GB for simplicity, and all constructions actually cost 25% more than their listed price, due to Court costs. Multiplying all structure costs by 5 increases the Court costs by a similar amount. So your 40GB per level fortification actually costs you 50GB per level.
I think that's a problem. It's already taking enough time and money. I suggest:
Build Court Actions--Court actions set the construction rate for any project. To start construction, one must spend 1 Court action to set the rate of construction at 2GB per season until the construction is complete. Additional Court actions can be spent at any time to increase the rate of construction by 2GB for the rest of the project, or to reduce construction by any amount.
Castles: providing only a +1 per level to Warcraft checks is low for a 40GB per level province fortification, as is just a 1 season siege to reduce, and it's even lower if you're tying garrisoning to fortification levels (I think garrisoning doesn't need to be in a fortification at all). Much has been discussed in these forums about true costs and effects of castles, but I think I can provide some ballpark suggestions that fit those simulationist discussions. To make it worth the time and expense of 40GB per level (or 20GB per level for holding fortifications), I'd suggest the following:
a. Provide a base siege resistance of 2 seasons, then add 1 season for every 2 lvls of the fortification. Sounds complicated, but reflects the amount of stores in any given fortification system in a more realistic fashion, IMHO. This one isn't really a big deal.
b. Fortifications provide a base +4 bonus to tactical checks in warfare, with an additional +1 per level. After a siege, the castle is not destroyed, but its strategic bonus is reduced by 1 for each season of siege. If taken by force (escalation or reduction), repairs cost 2GB per level.
c. Fortifications tend to enhance the security, prestige, and governing ability of holdings, drawing more people to settle and work around them; this effect is enough to increase income sufficiently to offset the maintenance costs of fortifications. Reduce the bookkeeping by eliminating maintenance costs.
d. Fortifications provide a +1 bonus per level to defend against Contest actions, reflecting the very visible, respected, and efficient concentration of power. Or, you could just have each level of Province fortification act as if it were a level of law holding, reflecting the huge boost to authority given by such a system of fortifications in a province
e. If you require Garrisons to be in Castles, or limit the number of troops that can man a castle, each castle should be able to contain a base of 6 units +2 units per level of the castle.
Palaces: Tricky. Now cost 30GB per level, with the effect of only reducing cost of Court by 0.5GB per level.
a. Eliminate the maintenance costs, but continue to require the Court cost to match the Palace levels in order to gain the benefit of the Palace (I believe this is the standard rule). Thus a level 4 Court with 5GB spend on Court produces a level 10 Court, but if only 3GB are spent on Court, then the Court is only level 6 and the Palace is underutilized, with vacant rooms and gardens and excess staff. Thus, also, there is no value to a Palace greater than level 5.
b. Allow Palace levels to be spread out in different locations, so that a Palace 5 could consists of 1 level 5 Palace or 5 level 1 Palaces. Likely, Lieutenants will reside in any separate Palaces and be all the happier and more loyal (or arrogant) for it.
c. Each Palace also provides a +1 bonus per level to all actions in any province in which it is located, as if it were additional holding levels. A Palace cannot exceed the level of the highest holding in a province.
d. Each Palace also provides an additional 1RP in income per level, due to the prestige gained from it.
Hmmm, costing 20GB+ across most provinces, it could discourage trade if they are required for trade routes.
a. Perhaps connection to a highway is required to collect more than 2GB from a single trade route
b. Connection to a highway could increase either the number of possible trade routes by 1, the income of trade routes by 50%, or add 1GB to trade route income. I favor the first option.
c. Highways could provide a +2 bonus (or something similar) to defend against attempts to Create or Contest a trade route
d. Highways might eliminate the cost of moving troops along them, being considered to have sufficient supply depots and farmsteads located nearby from which to forage along them to cover most logistical costs.
Last edited by Rowan; 07-14-2009 at 04:23 PM.
07-08-2009, 11:20 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
Thanks. I have definitely enjoyed your commentary. The navigable rivers option sounds like an interesting direction to pursue. I'll see about fleshing out some rules on that -- as I've personally been thinking about how to get landlocked realms involved myself.
Ship costs in the Birthright setting (with the gold bar modification) actually seemed fairly equivalent to the 3.5 edition book values. So, I just figured I'd keep those.
(1) Yeah, I'd planned on that. I don't know if that's a rule change or not. But, the seaport automatically appears then. I just kinda picked values for that -- trying to figure out roughly how many opportunities for seaports I wanted and how many opportunities for shipyards I wanted.
(2) Yeah, I was still planning on having them man sea trade routes with ships. It's always been a bit of a hassle, I know. But, with the increase in road construction costs, it may be a bit more attractive now. I'm also handing out a lot of domain points to guilds and temples -- who, I figure, will end up tieing their ships to those trade routes while the landed regents use their fleets for more military purposes.
(3) Initially, I would say yes. They could always come up with creative ways to get other ship designs. It would be one of those things where a player devises a strategy to accomplish that goal and then undertakes the appropriate domain actions.
This definitely has a lot of potential. The game could speed along and you could see more long-term plans come to fruition -- as well as the opportunity to do away with the "everyone reacts to everything everywhere instantly" trend by making people make long-term plans and limiting their ability to react to things in distant lands. However, I confess I am a bit scared from a game management perspective. I guess we'll see how it turns out and if I have to enlist anyone's help.
I've actually gotten away from the core of knights, supported by lesser retainers approach. So, when I say a company of knights, I mean 120 people outfitted as knights. That might give you a better idea of where the costs came from.
Naturally, the cost of fielding a unit is huge and the implications of its loss are devastating -- which, I think, are built in to the new system.
I'm still toying with how to beef up these units. Indeed, I'll need to come up with an appropriate battle resolution system -- as I can't see me and my brother pulling out the war cards for every battle. However, I'll figure out something that's fair -- taking a look at how strong a representative soldier from these units is on a one-on-one scale.
Hopefully, I'll have a month or so to come up with that before I have to implement it.
Ditto. I've read a lot of those discussions and agree wholeheartedly.
Very good suggestions here. I'll take a look at these and see how I want to implement them. I agree that, given the increased costs, there should definitely be some added benefits.
07-09-2009, 02:34 PM #8
I'm still toying with how to beef up these units. Indeed, I'll need to come up with an appropriate battle resolution system -- as I can't see me and my brother pulling out the war cards for every battle. However, I'll figure out something that's fair -- taking a look at how strong a representative soldier from these units is on a one-on-one scale
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
1. The quick resolution system, with minimum of fuss--this comes down to a mathematical breakdown of unit stats on each side, plus normal terrain and weather factors, plus Warcraft or Leadership scores of leaders, plus any DM fiat adjustment based on strategy and tactic. Just one or just a few die rolls. Drawback is that it doesn't get deeply into the honor and glory of war, because it does ignore most tactics, doesn't tell a tale about what happened during the battle, and doesn't focus on notable personages, except perhaps the general. Solmyr has a third party system that even runs the simulations, but its unit stats are a little different than standard BR units. The Wiki has another quick resolution option.
2. The detailed resolution system--this could either be a wargaming system, or the less detailed but still unit-level normal BR system outlined on the Wiki. This tells a more detailed story, but is very time consuming, usually prohibitively so for a PBEM.
3. The story-driven system--this hasn't been explored much, but I see it as sort of a blend of the two, allowing units to be joined together into larger functioning blocks (Fields of Blood had something like this, though ultimately its battle resolution system was much too complex) and the battle to play out by a few turns of movement of just a few groups of units. Commanders of each group are noted, as are notable warriors, and they impact morale, Warcraft, and group strength in a way that glorifies the role of nobles and heroes. The goal is to resolve most battles in sort of a standard D&D combat fashion of 3-7 "Rounds" of combat between 3-7 "characters" (groups) on each side--but with simpler attack resolution, since basic movement and attacks for these battle groups are easier to resolve and more limited than PC adventurer options.
There are existing systems that would work for 1 and 2, but the 3rd approach requires either a blending of the other two approaches or some new mechanics. I blend (using normal BR battle rules on the Wiki as a base) and tweak. Would you like my input? It's not very playtested, but I think I've worked out some good stuff in theory.
As for those heavy units, I think the main success of them is the ability to destroy unit cohesion and morale. A heavy cavalry charge not only splits a unit in two (at least) and causes great casualties, but it is utterly terrifying. How would you like a few thousand pounds of man, beast, and metal charging down on you at 20-30mph and screaming for your blood, with heavy blunt things or sharp pointy things swinging all around your head? There's physically, kinetically, no way you're going to hold them back--even if you gore a horse with a pike through its barding, horse and knight are likely to plow into you due to momentum and crush you and a few of your friends.
So as for heavy cavalry, the Charge basically destroys a unit, breaking it up and causing it to flee in terror. Like maybe a morale check before the Charge hits, then a strong bonus to the attack roll with the strong possibility of causing 2 hits, followed by another morale roll at a penalty. Pikes could inflict some serious damage (if the men didn't break and run first), but and may be able to stop a charge, but not without suffering casualties on the front ranks. Elite Infantry (with polearms) in skirmish order could also inflict some damage, but they'd have to be in skirmish order (to swing polearms and allow riders to pass through rather than trample them), so the Knights would probably still be able to ride through and break up the formation, despite losing some soldiers. Other cavalry and Knights would be sort of a duel of units.
07-09-2009, 05:15 PM #9
I would not immediately adopt this approach to hvy cav charges if I were you...it seems overly simplified and overly powerful. Seeing as you portray this as a renaissance type of game, then the heyday of the armored charge is over...replaced by missile power and disciplined infantry (very simplified)
But that aside; read a few books on medieval warfare and you should do well adjudicating what works and whatnot on the battlefield. Even better, read a few books on the evolution of warfare into the renaissance era.Cheers
DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM
07-09-2009, 07:09 PM #10
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- Nov 2001
- Each unit is given a position in the battle.
- Each unit is given a set of battle orders (more or less complex, that depends how much you want to complicate yourself). For example: "wait for enemies", "fire missile", "engage in melee". Or "engage enemy cavalry". If it's impossible to follow orders (scouting failure ) units just fall back to a default "engage the closest enemy".
With those 2 things, you can run the battle without any other input, you just assume that during the battle things are so chaotic that orders can't be changed. This gives players a sense of control about what their armies do and it can be run without their input. But it's more work than just adding a lot of attack and defense values and getting a result after several rolls.
Last edited by Vicente; 07-09-2009 at 07:13 PM.
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