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  1. #1
    Member ebatalis's Avatar
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    Raesene, Brute or Genious? God or Emperor? Conqueror or Liberator?

    The main issue that most DM,GM, Storyteller's should have in a Birthright campaign is how to utilize an adversary such as Raesene with literally every available resource at his disposal and also considering the fact of his semi immortality due to his blood abilities and of course his prowess.
    Well our main problem during our time playing Birthright ((straight down at role playing level)) was what the hell was/is Raesene doing all these years at his freaking castle of Battlewait, why he is not just bursting out with sword at hand and armies at his disposal and just plain and easy conquer everything. Our first and easiest answer to this was that he has tons of fronts to cover but come on, lets be a bit serious here, Danigau? Mhoried? Thuarviel? Khurin Azur? The Giantdowns? Anuirean domains are to deep plunged in inner turmoil and surely Rjuven how would they organize so fast in such a sudden strike and what about the Brechts? They have the resource they have the forces . do they have the determination? Are they going to leave their coasts if the price is to steep to save their long ago cousins? If not played and logically explained in any campaign as far as I am concerned who would stand against and not just plain and easily to defend but to survive total annihilation. My ((point of view)) answer , noone, surely not someone I can discern from those realms not someone I am aware living and breathing in the surrounding lands, so what that leaves us with?

    Raesene is not up to that. Raesenes main goal should not be or could not be or the obvious deductant point of view here would be that Raesene is not the brute that would just conquer and plunder and merely crush everything under its boot. Raesene despite the fact that most people see him as evil and notorious and brutal at most he is or should be played as more than that I suppose. The main issue here is his bloodline, what is Raesene coming to ?
    He comes to become a pillar of stone. Which means? Unbend, un-rational, with a strict thought fighting in his mind all these centuries, with solid point of view that cannot be easily or at all changed, taking in mind the properties of his bloodform he is becoming as rigid as stone with mind and body following. Which is this thought then?

    Godhood? Domination? Imperialism? Conquer? Destruction? Death? Manipulation? Revenge?

    Maybe, lost in his thoughts and surely driven insane of a lifetime of hatred Raesene is trapped in Anuire as far as I am concerned, can he perceive Godhood? Can he discern truth from lying when he hears it? Is it possible for a creature like himself to be coarsed in action in order to achieve redemption and in what form? ((Redemption in the course of success of course cause there should be no other way for Raesene))

    Enter the NPC

    Several NPC stand at the corner side , hiding in the shadows in order to achieve more in their lifetime. I do believe that Raesene is meant to achieve something but I cannot tell what that is, I can tell you thought that this is not something that history will not remember but to what point is my question. Raesene despite his almight he is as presented at the campaign setting at a standstill, he has no logical action to take and thus he is tormented but incomplete thought. So here come the power of the lesser, if we all accept the fact that when you reach the pinnacle of your power and glory and triumph you rest and in that rest most take advantage, if they cannot openly overrule you what they should come up with? A plan to make you fall on your own, a plan that will lead you to your glory in your blind eyes but in their wide open glare , his doom.
    " The Empire will fall...."

  2. #2
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    My direction for Raesene is "Divide and Conquer" piecemeal. I have his intrigues directed at Anuire, but less so now since they are divided, don't trust one another and conspire against each other as it is. That I think is a project he has worked on over the centuries and he has learned that when he attacks they unite against him. If he leaves well enough alone, civil war will break out. Anuire will weaken itself.

    Anuire is his treasure and he wants it as is. I don't think he would destroy it. I do believe he'd destroy all the guilds, temples, and eventually sources. I doubt he'd tolerate rivals to his sources and temple if he took over Anuire or a single realm of theirs. Also I think before he could the civil war would have to be pretty devastating, the other awnies would move at the opportunity and his secret agents and vassals would move and do their worst while he moved into Anuire.

    Against him for Anuire is the united realms of the empire and the elves. His path is very limited, depending on DM interpretation, but the elves with scouts watching for him to move will be on top of it and stifle him as much as they could. Going into an elven realm seems too much of a challenge if even of any interest to him at all. I'd have to think of how it would work out with them if he decided to go after them.

    I always liked the idea of the Gorgon taking out the Dwarven realm north of him. If they proved too dug in, then grab the Giantdowns and the orogs in Rjurik and use the orogs against the dwarves. He conquered the one dwarven realm so he has experience with them. Continue easy land grabs like that which doesn't directly affect a major faction and cause them to unite against him. Like the Boeruine idea of carving out his own empire. once these are done he could retake Massenmarch to bolster his land base.

    After the land grabs are done I'd restructure his domain to make it more efficient with vassals like Andrew was mentioning in the other thread about the Gorgon. With it being more efficient and maybe even allow trade with small domains for his vassals and keep them strategically placed using racial differences to keep them at odds and untrusting of their neighbors and depending on him and fear of his wrath if they got out of line. This would take a long time and would keep the Gorgon busy in my campaign for quite some time while the players kept at each other's throats.

    There is plenty of room for ambition in carving out Raesene's own little empire and building it up to closer match the powers of a united Anuire the whole while they are beating each other up and stifling progress.

    The Alliance with the Raven and the Magian is another possibility for more carvings and fun for the Gorgon. I've never played much with it cause an Awnie Axis like that seems more of a marriage of convenience than an actual tie of mutual benefit, but then it is a neat idea that could be played out.

    Godhood I never considered nor did I like. Raesene is a plot device that is placed on the face of Aebrynis as a counter to any unity of the Anuireans and has I direct interest to preventing it. He too is a facist who wants empire but under his rule and should be used as a factor that will eventually take the Iron Throne unless the players can counter his plots and maybe even take it themselves. Either way it should be inevitable that he'll one day make a grab for it and if not stopped by the players he'll get it. All the while he laughs at those who voted for the house of Avan being the next emperors.

    Revenge is already done. The end of the Roele bloodline. The only loose end is the grounding of that bloodline and the Gorgon actually absorbing it. I don't see being on the Iron Throne as revenge more as his rightful place as the first son of the house of Roele.

    Death of the Gorgon or the Magian seems out of place to me. I can see it for Rhoubhe, the Spider, and the Raven and a few others but not these two. I guess its my bias against the Raven because he reminds me of the NFL player Emmit Smith claiming to be the next Walter Payton as I myself am a fan of the latter. His claims of being Azrai are just tacky and presumptuous in my opinion. I think the Gorgon is essential to the dynamics of Anuire. Certainly a replacement(s) could fill the void, but it would change the setting dramatically.

    Those are some ideas I've had for him and what he can do. Not really that ground breaking or ingenuitive, but I don't see him as such. What I've given can take time and be fun for the DM to play his own realm expansion while the players do as well. Things like this will keep a DM motivated unless they get bogged down with details or rule complexity.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

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    The gorgon, as a conqueror has a few major flaws that have saved Anuire in my mind.

    I se him as a plotter and a geinius, his biggest flaw is that he got the fury that many of Azrai´s blood do. He may spend a century making a grand scheme, and in a fit of berserk fury almost undo the whole thing.

    His great patience, and perfectionism, then makes him start over. He tried to make Thuraivel into another puppet realm 200 years ago, when an unknown entered the chessboard(the wizard of Sideath who pulled part of the shadowworld into it, and seemed extremely powerful), the Gorgon stood back, and wanted to understand this new threat before acting.

    So yes, he want bloodlines. He want to become a god. He ran into a major setback when he lost a part of his own bloodline at the grounding of the Roele Bloodline. That likely made him even more cautious, even more wanting the perfect scheme before acting. Then, something happened to put him in a fury, and his half finished perfect plan is dropped as the fury in his blood demand instant action, and he comes in an poorly planned assault.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebatalis
    Well our main problem during our time playing Birthright ((straight down at role playing level)) was what the hell was/is Raesene doing all these years at his freaking castle of Battlewait
    Canon is silent on when the Gorgon came to the lands he now claims (it is very hard to see the empire forming as it did with him in that location), while Rich Baker has commented - possibly in one of the interviews - that the 500 year gap since the empire was chosen to make it easy for anyone to justify imperial lineage rather than after great thought.

    So one approach I used was to reduce the 500 years since the empire fell to just one or two generations - short enough that its more than just a memory and is instead still seen as 'the natural' rule by some.

    Taking that approach then in just a century or two the Gorgon could have built up a large kingdom and then undone the empire - at which point he isn't a tired old man, isn't inert, but is instead a very vibrant and deadly foe who is probably expecting to substantially expand during the campaign...

    Quote Originally Posted by ebtalis
    why he is not just bursting out with sword at hand and armies at his disposal and just plain and easy conquer everything.
    For an immortal, the issue is not 'can he conquer' but 'can he conquer intact or rebuild and hold thereafter'. The Gorgon needs to fundamentally change the culture and faith of the land to do the latter - the ruleset doesn't go into any such issues but they'd dominate his thinking if he is minded to conquest. As many examples of history prove changing the culture of a people is very difficult - and his existing rabble are hardly viable missionaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by ebtalis
    Our first and easiest answer to this was that he has tons of fronts to cover but come on, lets be a bit serious here, Danigau? Mhoried? Thuarviel? Khurin Azur? The Giantdowns? Anuirean domains are to deep plunged in inner turmoil and surely Rjuven how would they organize so fast in such a sudden strike and what about the Brechts? They have the resource they have the forces . do they have the determination? Are they going to leave their coasts if the price is to steep to save their long ago cousins?
    The Rjuven would probably actually react the quickest - the two churches dominate all the lands and provide a key unifying force. Add in the sucking quagmire that is the Giantdown's monsters (conquering Afghanistan is a piece of cake by comparison) and I'd expect the Rjurik to be possibly both a hard nut to crack and probably the least worth cracking.

    To consider the Brecht really means to consider Muden and Danigau. Neither Danigau nor Muden would want to see a reborn Anuirean empire ruled by the Gorgon for fear that they would be next and similarly both would oppose further conquest should the Gorgon look to Brecht lands for expansion - the wild cards are the Vampire and Swordhawk, both of whom might happily try to expand into Kiergard if the Gorgon drained troops from the land.

    As a potential weakening of the Gorgon's realm I can see the dwarves of Mur Kilad simply vanishing into the depths if given the chance - I doubt that the towering Gorgon has ever walked the deeps and who knows where the dwarves have been tunneling since they were conquered? There is a hidden path to Baruk Azhik according to the PS so why not one north to Khurin Azur?

    As for the disunited realms of Anuire I would expect that as soon as the war preparations get loud (and it would take years for even the Gorgon to get all his ducks in a row if he wanted to invade with any sort of cohesive properly supplied army) the nations of Anuire will start responding to the threat - he is siomply too dangerous to ignore.

    Ghoere might agree to become a vassal to the Gorgon in exchange for a larger domain - but would he trust the Gorgon's promises? Osoerde might retreat into castle building, etc - but neither Avan nor Boeruine would risk their imperial ambitions by failing to support the counter attack/defense - an truce sworn to Haelyn between them perhaps sealed with a diplomatic marriage of children would probably unify a good measure of the west coast/heartlands/south at a stroke.

    How the elves would respond - and I'd expect both Tuarheviel and the Sielwode to move at the same time - is harder to predict, but they could sever the Gorgon's supply lines if he invaded Anuire with ease meaning that they could not be ignored.

    One further front not described in canon is the Shadow World - how will the Lost react? What about Belinik?

    Quote Originally Posted by ebtalis
    If not played and logically explained in any campaign as far as I am concerned who would stand against and not just plain and easily to defend but to survive total annihilation. My ((point of view)) answer , noone, surely not someone I can discern from those realms not someone I am aware living and breathing in the surrounding lands, so what that leaves us with?
    Given how fractious the Gorgon's realm is I'd discount it's troop numbers heavily - he can't strip every army unit out of it because bluntly they are what keeps it loyal. He certainly has the power to crush any one nation, even ones as strong as Massenmarch or Mhoried, but what then? Kiergard was a recent conquest and is far from loyal - I'd expect him to have similar issues in any other land he takes meaning that he'd have to leave behind a lot of troops to keep a conquered land from rebellion - his army of conquest could reduce as swiftly from victory as from defeat.

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magian View Post
    Anuire is his treasure and he wants it as is. I don't think he would destroy it. I do believe he'd destroy all the guilds, temples, and eventually sources. I doubt he'd tolerate rivals to his sources and temple if he took over Anuire or a single realm of theirs.
    I never really got the 'no guilds' point. I'd suggest that rather than banning guilds if he conquered he'd just levy heavy, casually thought out taxes that crush guilds that don't bribe his tax collectors properly. Kiergaard has guilds as do Mur Kilad and Makazor so perhaps the lack of guilds in the crown was actually a reflection that the lands were too monstrous or comes from the idea that an Anuirean noble doesn't care about guilds or a generic 'he doesn't tolerate other regent's' approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magian View Post
    I always liked the idea of the Gorgon taking out the Dwarven realm north of him. If they proved too dug in, then grab the Giantdowns and the orogs in Rjurik and use the orogs against the dwarves. He conquered the one dwarven realm so he has experience with them. Continue easy land grabs like that which doesn't directly affect a major faction and cause them to unite against him. Like the Boeruine idea of carving out his own empire. once these are done he could retake Massenmarch to bolster his land base.
    Fighting dwarves is an expensive exercise in futility. You can't trust goblins or orogs to oversee them so the conqueror is entirely reliant on dwarven subordinates to have a clue what is going on underneath the surface afterwards - and dwarves are not noted for plentiful traitors. So the conqueror has a hellish fight to conquer them, and then get very little back beyond sullen tribute. Allowing Mur-Kilad and Khurin-Azur to link would simply beg for them to unit and rebel en masse - neither realm is substantive enough to stand on its own, together they might be.

    Aside from my pet dwarves (I've always had a thing for them) I agree with the slow bite-size chunks approach - given Ghuralli's apparent success, perhaps the Gorgon might snip of a province or two of Lluabraight to give him a route to the Urga-Zai who will probably be far more receptive to his rule...

    Quote Originally Posted by Magian View Post
    Those are some ideas I've had for him and what he can do. Not really that ground breaking or ingenuitive, but I don't see him as such. What I've given can take time and be fun for the DM to play his own realm expansion while the players do as well. Things like this will keep a DM motivated unless they get bogged down with details or rule complexity.
    I see him as very patient - not brilliant or even necessarily overly smart- but willing to think through every possibility so that he often gives the impression of greater wit.

    I don't see any game benefit to giving him wizardly casting - nor does it fit my view of him as the 'last true Andu noble' to spend time learning 'sidhe tricks'. He is the paragon fighter in my view, approaching divinity through absolute perfection of his art - and all the deadlier for it. And of course if the Gorgon needs a court mage or three to rule sources then his court grows and with it grows the scope for intrigue.

    Since any campaign needs the PC's to grow, facing foes of escalating power, if the Gorgon acts almost solely through layers of vassals, none of whom would casually ask him for aid or admit weakness/defeat, then the escalation is relatively simple to arrange as the PC's progress up from facing ever more important members of the Gorgon's court- if the Gorgon does everything himself then he's a lot harder to work with.

    I'd see invasions as possibly being by his generals not him - with nobles, etc taken as hostages to be sent back to him for bloodtheft rather than him coming forth himself. That allows for more evenly matched generals in the opposing armies, offers ransom options, etc.
    Last edited by AndrewTall; 05-08-2011 at 12:11 PM.

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    I've always though of the Gorgon being in a sand castle. His realm is such a group of chaos and hate that none of the races willingly work together. So he ends up spending most of his time trying to prevent his place of power from crumbling under it's own weight.

    I have run him as a threat who learns. Taking over goblins and gnolls were easy. But when he took over the human and dwarven realms he came bogged down. So he has learned that a people will only be ruled by him if it is their own people who seem to rule. So instead of just marching across the land he has gotten to the point where he needs to take over a land with subtlety.

    I am one to plot the idea of Godhood to the Gorgon. It is not an easy one to convey though.

  7. #7
    Member ebatalis's Avatar
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    Post The Front Unseen

    I can say I was rather intrigued by the way you see Raesene in his dominion over his cousins, I am can say that we almost certainly agree at most parts of our posts and to be honest I would love to throw in some trick questions in order to learn more on peoples idea of Raesene.

    What stroke me down though and I loved the way that Andrew spoke about it was the the Front that most people dont consider that Raesene has. The Lost.

    One further front not described in canon is the Shadow World - how will the Lost react? What about Belinik?
    In our campaign at the time been the most dangerous opponent the players are faced with are the Lost. After tons of intrigue been played and generations of players in our 80 year game time we have come up with the most dangerous plan that Raesene could not dare to devise probably.
    The Enemy within campaign type was really something I loved in court type campaigns such as Anuires. So lets assume that after a huge civil war and strife amongst the leaders that cannot actually pause to reconsider the cost of their actions over the desires one but one sole factor can play the major role of uniting the people and thus forcing their rulers in subjugation.

    In our world that factor was nothing else but the Church. So lets assume that the hierarchy of Haelyn's faith in one of their Holy Assemblies come up with the new in thought idea of finnaly coming to terms in order unity as much possible as it can happen the faith of Haelyn. Lets not forget that faith from religion and god have lights of year in distance so people can actually bend the ecclesiastic rules in this case also in order to further their agendas. That would seem awesome to start with, people would rejoice at most and the church could support this with several backbone celebrations and fests.

    Lets consider the dark of it though. What if something deeper was all behind this, what if something ancient , evil and sinister was behind all this scheme in order to further its own goals. What if the priests were swayed and the gods could not interfere but only in guidance. What then? What if you build layers of plot under and over plot in order to ensue a larger goal that incorporates everyone and corrupt the Empire from within? Does this sound familiar at all? Haven't the Anuireans forgotten their history or do they opt to neglect that part? What if the Lost and the Cold Rider of course want to use Raesene or even lure him in the shadow and the then use his bloodline for something more sinister? What if Azrai is behind all this or a splinter of what remains of him in Cold Rider or even in his students the Lost. Then Raesene would have to face or find out how to face that, and what of the Players? Is this scenario the Enemy of my Enemy is my friend going to work out for them and which Evil is worse could also prove fatal for them and perhaps Anuire or even Cerilia itself?
    " The Empire will fall...."

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