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Thread: Religous Zeal

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    Religous Zeal

    I have a PC in my Birthright game who was a regent cleric in the Western Imperial Temple of Haelyn but recently decided that “all the churches of Haelyn are incorrect and I will reunite the holy religion of Haelyn!” Of course he was excommunicated from the church and I’ve helped him along with this very interesting and great role playing quest. He’s also recently acquired a pretty powerful item, imbued with the power of Haelyn to help him along.

    My problem is that this character now feels that he should be able to bypass the normal game mechanics (i.e. building 0-level holdings and then contesting churches in a province-by-province strategy). He believes that with his imbued item and the blessing of Haelyn, he should be able to bring all his old buddies from the Western Temple under one big tent for a grand conference and simply convert them to his cause. While he’s trying hard not to create a religious war in another PC’s realm and I’ve pretty much supported his grand quest, I’m not that sure I’m supportive of him simply bypassing the normal rules. He’s even gone so far as to suggest a new realm spell for cleric’s he calls “conversion."

    Has anyone encountered a similar problem in their games or have a suggestion on how to handle this issue? I would like to see him eventually succeed by not without a pretty difficult challenge

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    I have a few questions.

    1) Given his excommunication, is he regent of any holdings?

    2) Has he got a public following inside/outside of his home territory?

    3) What do the churches for rival gods feel about him?

    4) What do the provincial and realm regents feel about him?

    5) Does he have a source of GB?

    I ask these questions because it is not merely the churches of Haelyn he needs to worry about. It is other regents as well as the population. If he hasn't got the public backing to be regent (through force or charisma), then he shouldn't be a regent.

    Either way, he will need GB to get things happening. One spell can't solve the problem alone. It will take time, money and manpower to set up. Also, if it is a realm spell, the caster needs to be a regent of a suitable level holding.

    As for a conversion spell..... that is actually a combination of existing actions. He is:
    * removing holdings from an existing domain
    * investing himself with the holdings

    This will make all the priests in the churches and their assets be under his control through this divestiture. Of course, he probably will have opposition from various non-temple regents. It will require a lot of setting up and the morale of the associated population may be very fragile. There is no guarantee that the churches will still be regarded as the State religion (depending on the realm).

    See the ceremony action ( http://www.birthright.net/brwiki/ind...ate.3B_1_GB.5D ):

    Divestiture: You attempt to claim a province that is currently claimed by another regent. This action can only be performed on a single province per action unless the realm’s current regent is physically present at the ceremony (willing or not). In order to perform this action, the target province or provinces must be occupied by your troops or in rebellion against their current regent. This action requires an action check with a DC of 10 + the total level of provinces that you are attempting to claim by conquest. All regents that have holdings in the province(s) may bid regency to support or oppose the ceremony. Temple regents may also use their temple holding levels in the province(s) to support or oppose the ceremony.
    Sorontar

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    At 03:54 PM 9/8/2009, Grinster wrote:

    >My problem is that this character now feels that he should be able to bypass the normal game mechanics (i.e. building 0-level holdings and then contesting churches in a province-by-province strategy). He believes that with his imbued item and the blessing of Haelyn, he should be able to bring all his old buddies from the Western Temple under one big tent for a grand conference and simply convert them to his cause. While he`s trying hard not to create a religious war in another PC`s realm and I`ve pretty much supported his grand quest, I`m not that sure I`m supportive of him simply bypassing the normal rules. He`s even gone so far as to suggest a new realm spell for cleric`s he calls "conversion."
    >
    >Has anyone encountered a similar problem in their games or have a suggestion on how to handle this issue? I would like to see him eventually succeed by not without a pretty difficult challenge


    Events at the domain level can happen very quickly under the right ircumstances. Holdings can be transferred by investiture, either irectly, or when they are contested first. Game mechanically, hat`s probably the way it should work.

    Be careful about events going too rapidly at the adventure evel. Transferring a domain as the result of a single conference eems like a bad idea. Without knowing much about the magic item ou`re talking about, I would suggest that magic in the setting is powerful, but not necessarily the kind of thing that would give a character an advantage as a ruler. Most regents would recognize that nything that gave a character enough power that he might wrest control of a domain from its "rightful" regent would make a pretty powerful tool for their own use. Powerful magic items give characters more of an advantage in BR than they would have in another setting, but they also make that character a target. So, while your player is trying to wrest control of a temple domain away from a regent/s, he`d have to protect his treasure all the while. Plus, you should bear in mind that in the context of the setting, a character with a magic item is signficant in power, but not necessarily in terms of authority. BR characters are running around with the blood of the gods in them. They are already the embodiment of the setting`s theological power. What`s a magic item compared to that?

    Lastly, bear in mind that Anuire is a nation in conflict both from within and without, and has been for centuries. An effort to bring the temples of Haelyn together is a good first step to ending that period, but it faces the same problems that the rest of the region faces towards unification. Namely, the lack of a leader who stands out enough to take charge; a general culture of ambition over unity; oppression from without in the form of rival nations, races and monstrous beings. There are several domains and races that would look upon a unified worship of Haelyn as a threat to their own power, and they would act against any such effort. Any of the region`s awnsheghlien, for example, would look upon any effort as one that would ultimately result in an attack upon themselves. Would Rhuobhe, the Spider, the Chimaera or the Gorgon sit by while a charismatic leader took hold of the religious life of the Anuireans?

    Gary
    Last edited by Thelandrin; 09-09-2009 at 09:20 AM.

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    Answers

    Thanks for the input and here are some answers to your questions...


    1) Given his excommunication, is he regent of any holdings?

    2) Has he got a public following inside/outside of his home territory?

    3) What do the churches for rival gods feel about him?

    4) What do the provincial and realm regents feel about him?

    5) Does he have a source of GB?
    First answer is yes, he is still a regent - how? Well the quest line was quite long and laborious but it ended with this character helping to place an NPC regent on a throne, and the cleric, in turn, set up a new church to Haelyn in this realm. The church is not large but is growing fast. He does get regency from this but a very small amount.

    The realm in which he wants to do his "conversions" is the realm over which he originally controlled the temple holdings for the Western Imperial Temple of Haelyn. So he does have a lot of people within the realm who might support him – especially those in leadership positions.

    Got to be honest and say that I also hadn't thought much about what churches for rival gods would think about this. Very good point and one that I will have to make sure I throw into the mix.

    The regent of the realm in which he wants to do the conversions is supportive of this character (they are both PCs and have worked together throughout the game). Regents in other realms are either not committed or highly oppose the character, especially those that control temple holdings connected to Haelyn.

    He has available gold from the regent whom he restored to a realm throne and also from the regent in whose realm he want's to do the conversions.


    Thanks for all the input. I especially appreciate the insight on how a “converting” spell would be incorporating multiple actions. I can see that this isn’t going something that is easily solved, especially for this PC.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Was he trying to reunite all of the churchs of Haelyn under the banner of the WIT or a new one?

    Is he trying to become the head of the WIT (which is is not currently)?

    Are you playing 2nd ed or BRCS rules (or a set of house rules)?

    If he is not the head of the WIT then he must be a vassel of the church since there is only 1 head per church and that is the one who runs the temples. This has to do with religious heirarchy, but the same logic can be seen if you try to apply it other realm types. There is only 1 person as the head of any set of holdings - for example there is only 1 head of the Heartland Outfitters (guild) - Guilder Kalien.

    If he was a vassal then he just broke his vassalage, which should have a lot of ramifications - "protection" being one of them, influence with the realm regent being another one - which also translates into "protection" and "taxes".

    Don't confuse player actions with character actions, your posts seem to jump back and forth between what the player wants to do and what the character wants (or can) do.

    Player knowledge is not character knowledge.

    Under both 2nd ed and BRCS (or pretty much any 3.5) rules - realm spells must be researched (they are not merely hand waved and created). They are also "personnel" like any spell researched and not common knowledge.

    The DM makes the final call on whether or not the spell research is successful.

    Any spell like the one being proposed should have a lot of requisites (cleric level, holding level).

    Also based on what the portfolio and basic tenets of Haelyn are - does it seem logical that he would support such a spell? IMO probably not, his is not about deception and charming. He is about law, rightful rulership and nobility.

    Is the WIT the official state church of the province?

    Oh and welcome to the boards.
    Duane Eggert

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    Sounds like the PC used to be the regent of the WIT. That's what has me puzzled. Who excommunicated him?

    If he used to be the regent, then any attempt to excommunicate him could be seen as schismatic and rebellious, with the PC thus working to re-exert rightful control over the temple. In such a case, you'd be looking at sort of civil war or schism at the least in the WIT, but it is quite reasonable for the PC to regain control of many if not most of the WIT holdings.

    Seems like either one or several Great Captains rose up against the PC regent of the WIT and actually drove him out, or the PC regent is more like a Great Captain himself, and has allies who can also act as Great Captains. You could just follow the rules for the Great Captain event, with holdings turning over to him and the current regent of the WIT or the other various temples trying to resist the re-unification trend spreading like wildfire. That way, if you want the reunification to happen, it won't take ages and ages of Creating, Ruling, and Contesting holdings, but instead the growth will occur organically through GC events, and the PC's focus will be on trying to shelter those GCs from retaliation, responding to his many opponents' attempts to stamp him down, trying to win alliances and the allegiance of other temples (as vassals), and resisting or waging holy wars.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grinster View Post
    I have a PC in my Birthright game who was a regent cleric in the Western Imperial Temple of Haelyn but recently decided that “all the churches of Haelyn are incorrect and I will reunite the holy religion of Haelyn!” Of course he was excommunicated from the church and I’ve helped him along with this very interesting and great role playing quest. He’s also recently acquired a pretty powerful item, imbued with the power of Haelyn to help him along.
    Now when he said “all the churches of Haelyn are incorrect and I will reunite the holy religion of Haelyn!” was he refering to other "sects" or just the WIT itself?

    Competition between sects is commonplace and no one has the ability to ex-communicate the other one. It is common to think that the other "sects" are incorrect and should be unified under one banner. This is similar to trying to gain the Iron Throne and reunite all of Anuire. This in and of itself should not cause a split in religion within a province, anymore than was already there.

    Some of the "temples" of Haelyn (I am calling them "sects" to help distinguish betwen them) are in very much opposition to each other and think that the other one are heretics.

    Now should a great invasion or war occur - they will find a way to unite against a common foe, because they all worship Haelyn and that is basically a primary calling of his followers.
    Duane Eggert

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    Ok, first thanks for the welcome. I’ve actually been a “lurker” for quite some time now benefiting from all the great discussions and materials you folks have produced.

    Second, it looks like I’ll have to produce a lot more detail to possibly resolve this quandary….I was really hoping to not have to air all my dirty laundry but I can see it’s an inevitable outcome. Please forgive the length of this response.

    I began my game when the Birthright campaign was first released using 2nd edition rules. Although I had participated in many D&D campaigns before, this was my first chance to be a DM and I wanted to start with something very different. The campaign started with four PCs, three of which began with their own domains (a realm regent, a guilder, and a blooded mage) while the PC in question became a vassal to the leader of the Western Imperial Temple of Haelyn. As a group we decided that the “Collective Rule” concept would be the preferred method of play with each of the PCs ruling over holdings in one realm (Tuornen). I felt the vassal concept would work better for the cleric PC rather than try to sort out which holdings in the primary realm would be his and which would still belong to WIT. In hindsight, I can see that this approach was probably not the best choice. While all the others had to work hard to build up their associated domains, he was provided with a good amount of regency and gold just by being a vassal, which led to little effort in understanding the rules associated with ruling up a realm. But hindsight is always 20/20….

    Everything went rather well until the PCs finished their college degrees and moved to other parts of the country. The game was then on a hiatus for about three years until I moved our activities to a PBEM format. This worked relatively well and we continued for another year of adventure. It did, however, cause the game to focus more on domains actions and much less on adventuring, which the PCs seem to really enjoy. I believe they wanted very much to get away from the usual hack-and-slash campaign which many had been playing for over 20-years (we are all old school D&D gamers).

    During this time, the PC playing the cleric in WIT decided that he was fed up with WIT and tried very hard to convince the leader of the church that their religion needed to “stop making the pursuit of money and power their primary focus and become true examples of Haelyn’s primary purpose – to unite the peoples of Anuire under a lawful and organized society” (what can I say? The PC already as a very altruistic personality and is playing lawful good). The leader didn’t go for the concept, reassigned the PC to duties at the Imperial City and tried hard to keep him under control.

    Then game then went on another hiatus for about 4 years. I brought it back again by moving all actions to an electronic forum and using the BRCS rules. Once the game was up and running, the PC cleric decided that he was going to take a “sabbatical” from the church and go on a holy quest for Haelyn. As the DM I then made the choice to help him out with the quest through a series of dreams from Haelyn. My reasoning for this was pretty simple – Haelyn worked with Roele to build up a empire and a religion, why wouldn’t he want it to happen again? So the PC had a series of dreams leading him to read “The Book of Laws” and then going on a difficult quest to test his mettle. He had to help put another person on their rightful thrown after the person’s power was “unjustly taken from him by a tyrant” (William Moergan) . After a series of battles, personal challenges, etc. the PC is finally placed in a epic battle with William where it appears they will destroyed. The PC says a heart felt prayer to Haelyn and receives a very special shield – Haleyn’s Rampart.

    Ok, here’s the correct answer – yes I now know this was a very foolish choice. I placed a very powerful magical item into the game which has plagued me ever since. But I did try very hard to downplay some of its capabilities. The PC, who normally doesn’t pay much attention to details, remembered just about everything there was to know about the shield and also decided to dedicate some powers to it that didn’t exist ( “it’s a relic, I should be able to hold it up and people are converted to the just cause of Haelyn!”). The person playing William (a new PC to the game) feels so indebted to the cleric that he lets him establish a new church in the realm (the holding I spoke of earlier). Finding someone to care for this new holding, the cleric decides to now return to the realm where he once ruled as a vassal and “covert them all to the true cause of Haelyn using the power of the shield”

    I hope this very lengthy and probably far too detailed response answers most of your questions. Most of what I’ve done for this PC is due to my personal relationship with him (we’ve been very good friends for many years) and the realization that I had to do something rather spectacular to keep him interested in pursuing this character. The problem now is how to tone down the issues that I’ve created without turning off the PC from playing the game.

    As a final note, I’ve contacted the PC and received some additional clarification….he was not proposing a new realm spell but a new type of standard action, which he termed “conversion.” Whether a realm spell or action, it still has many of the same weaknesses that others have already pointed out – principally the lack of a holding in the province (or provinces) in which he wants to do the action and the fact that it jumps over two or three other actions taht would be normally required.

    Thanks also to Rowan…. I think that Great Captain idea could possibly work.

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    At 12:23 PM 9/9/2009, Grinster wrote:

    >I was really hoping to not have to air all my >dirty laundry but I can see it’s an inevitable >outcome. Please forgive the length of this response.


    Generally speaking, folks around here tend to like airing their laundry... the dirtier the better. :-)

    >As a final note, I’ve contact the PC and >received some additional clarification….he was not proposing a new realm spell but a new type of standard action, which he termed “conversion.” Whether a realm spell or action, it still has many of the same weaknesses that others have already pointed out * principally the lack of a holding in the province (or provinces) in which he wants to do the action and the fact that it jumps over two or three other actions that would be normally required.

    A "Conversion" domain action.... Interesting. There`s just got to be something that can be worked out from that idea. I`m not exactly sure what, but there`s got to be something.

    In the scenario you described, the conflict is generally philosophical. That`s all well and good because it`s a source of good role-playing possibilities. However, the specific outlooks, emphasis and philosophies of the various holdings in the BR domain level don`t usually have much of a role-playing effect. A temple holding is a temple holding whether it`s dedicated to Haelyn, any other god, one of the more powerful awnshegh, or some abstract idea that uses the gods as a sort of stepping stone, like "nature" temples that appear to worship both Erik and Ruornil. So, the kind of thing that your player is trying to do isn`t really covered directly by the rules directly. But I have an idea that might make some sense:

    From your description, it doesn`t seem as if the PC is really trying to take over the temple domains through a sort of Contest-Investiture process. That is, he isn`t trying to rule those temple holdings himself by replacing the current regents, which is how things would probably work in a typical BR campaign. Rather, the existing regents of the various temples will still remain in their positions, but they`ll all "come around" to his way of thinking, and unite in an effort to re-establish the Anuirean Empire. He`s a sort of anti-Martin Luther: he sees the diversity of beliefs within the faith and wants its leaders to recognize that the diversity should be sublimated under a political agenda based on an historical period that ended several centuries ago....

    That`s a bit outside what is done with the standard domain actions, but I think there`s some stuff at the domain level that might give you a direction to go. In the Book of Priestcraft, there`s a section on "Religion and State" (p70) and "The Faith at War" (pp 71-72.) It sounds to me as if your player is trying to make for himself a sort of "State of Religion" rather than state religion, with himself as a kind of unofficial consultant to all the temples of Haelyn in Anuire. Another way of looking at it would be that he`s trying to make a sort of UN (UH: United Haelyn?) for the temples dedicated to Haelyn where they all can work for the general prosperity of the region. (It`d be nice if that were what the actual UN does, but that`s a whole `nother thing....)

    So, I`d suggest you take a look at that section of the BoP, and see how you might use something similar to portray how the PC is trying to set himself up. From his position in the Imperial City, he might create a kind of synod or ecclesiastical council where the temple regents can voice their opinions and work towards a set of common goals--or not, depending on their ambitions. That section of the BoP creates a set of guidelines that is basically an extension of the logic behind the vassalage system without quite the same direct power relationship. As "members" of this group, the various regents would have some sort of relationship to the PC that gives him a few bonuses to domain actions performed in provinces in which they have holdings, and they`d like give over some sort of regency to him. However, they should get some sort of benefit for their participation beyond a simple voice. The official or unofficial religion system isn`t really equitable in that way, so something new is warranted.

    If setting up such a system doesn`t work, I`d suggest looking at the following section ("The Faith at War") for more direct methods of how the BR domain rules handle confrontation and subversion. Some temple rulers in Anuire are going to remain intransigent in the face of such an effort simply because it`s in their self-interest and their nature to be that way. Besides, that`s how gaming works anyway, right? There`s plenty of room for bad guys in such a campaign.

    I`d also suggest that you could throw a little monkey wrench in the player`s thinking by making the whole "anti-Martin Luther" argument. The end result of his efforts sound, to me, like they are essentially imperialist and expansionary. That`s all well and good from the standard D&D point of view, but bear in mind that such things can easily get out of control. It was, after all, the Anuirean EMPIRE that formed the historical basis for the kind of effort he`s talking about. Philosophical agreement often leads to intellectual stagnation and dogmatic beliefs. Once there`s some sort of large body in agreement, things can move quickly towards the desire for conquest. The love of unity can become the hatred of opposition. Unity becomes Uniformity. Inquiry becomes Inquisition. Consensus becomes Crusade.

    Gary
    Last edited by Thelandrin; 09-09-2009 at 08:52 PM.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Hmm

    PC = Player Character

    Players run PCs players are not PCs.

    Now - do not, I repeat do not let the player create a new domain action that incorporates multiple domain actions. That will create an imbalance.

    The rules and their intent is very clear on how one goes about usurping holdings - contest and rule. Creating a Realm spell is an option, but again it is up to you the DM to allow it or not (and I don't think I would - but regardless it would require research).

    How did the PC (not the player but the character) know all of the "properties" of the artifact in the first place? I pointed out earlier the need to separate player knowledge from character knowledge. It is possible that knowledge was contained in the Book of Laws - but that determination is up to you the DM to make and not the player. Regardless the player can not assign properties to an artifact - only the DM can. An artifact does exactly what you, the DM, allows it to do and nothing more.

    How did the character get access to the Book of Laws since it resides in a competing temple (OIT) and not the WIT? Pretty much there is no way that the OIT (allied with Diem) would cooperate with WIT (puppet church of Avan).
    Duane Eggert

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