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  1. #1
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I`ve never felt 100% satisfied that different approaches to exploitation can be handled with just descriptive approaches or generalized into the level of the provicnes in question. Invariably this relates only to guilds. The published materials exibit a strong theme of conflict between an enviromentalism and commercialism. Some realms, like Cariele and Talinie, put this conflict in the forefront, while each of the various Cerilian nations has its own characteristic approach to the problem. So the question is, if serious impact is implied by aggressive guild action, what game effect should it have?

    For the most part I have been content to explain this in terms of province levels. (Full disclosure: I regard province levels are representing development, not population.) The mechanics work this way: a guilder wants more money, gets the province level increased, the greater prosperity means more taxes paid and more tithes offered. The mebhaighl is disrupted, and sources decline. That`s fine to a point. But I have two problems with it. One is that the throttle of growth is in the hands of the province ruler. Not the law ruler, not the guild ruler, but the province ruler. How does that person encourage or discourage growth when there is an aggressive guilder (who may also have the law in the province) attempting to expand the economic activity? Even if we fall back on the old population theory of province levels, why of all the rulers does the province ruler control the rule action for the province?

    If I ditch the whole province level represents development I haven`t solved the problem, only left myself with the need to represent varying degrees of guilder exploitation on the one hand and figure out province levels represent on the other.

    My second problem is the two identical provinces, one described as under threat from rapacious guilders destroying the natural beauty of the land, and one of identical level not described this way at all. Why adopt a more harmful approach, unless it means more money, especially in view of the opposition in many parts of Cerilia. Wizards, druids, and rangers will certainly object to destruction of nature for no good reason. They`ll object to such destruction for a good reason too, but at least the guilder might judge that his good reason is of more benefit to him than a bunch of irked spellcasters is a harm. So there can only be two reasons that a guilder would adopt an exploitative policy: 1) they are on board with the exploiter, or 2) the exploiter feels that he`s better off doing the exploiting than he is playing nice with the spellcasters. Option number one is really a false choice because many of the examples of such guild activity don`t include cozy relationships with the source holders or druids in the locale. The second case is strengthened by the fact that the descriptive material implies that the ruthless guilders are making more money, although there is no mechanic to validate this assumption.

    Take Stjordovik. I do. You have the Three Trees Traders, described as enviromentally friendly enough that their practices don`t seem to bother the druids of Erik. Maybe its just a lesser of two evils phenomena, but there does seem to be some suggestion that they practice acceptable nature-benign guild activity. You also have Storm Holtson`s guild, the Stjordvik Traders. These are the bad guys in terms of natural protection, trade practices, and overall niceness. Does Storm Holtson make as much in Arvaald (2 levels of guild in a level 2 province) as Three Trees does in Namverg (same as Arvaald)? Certainly the must be some advantage or he would operate in such as way as to not irk the powerful Rjurik druids.

    The Talinie PS has an optional devestation rule. But what is going on in Talinie that`s not going on elsewhere? Why not generalize the rule for all of Cerilia?

    The province ruler can collect three levels of tax, or collect no tax. As a result of his choices, he gets a loyalty effect. He decides to use a tax level on the basis of a weighing of loyalty in a province against his need for money. Surely guilders must also be weighing their enviromental impact against their desire for wealth too.

    So, I am seriously considering (as opposed to just toying with) having guilders have three levels of income. Eco-friendly guild operations are the only ones in which provinces "recover". Provinces may need to recover from guild exploitation, battles, or realm spells. Whatever reduces source potential. Sixteen turns (four years) at this level restore a level of source material. The effect on the guilder is to suffer a -1 modifier to his Guild Collection result on table 18. If whole catagories (mining, logging, fishing, &c) have to be abandon, there is also a loyalty hit in the province. The middle level of income represents normal guild operations. No harm to sources, nor recovery of the land. High income reflects ruthless exploitation. Remeber that more profits means more taxes are paid and more tithes are offered. When a guilder operates at this level, the whole realm benifits, except the source holder and the land. During severe exploitation, taxes, tithes, and guild income rolls are performed twice, and the higher result is chosen. On the other hand, the source suffers a -1 value penalty (a level 3 source acts like a level 2 source while the guilds exploit the land) and the devestation system from the Talinie book is used. Every time the guilds (collectively) make more money than half their total holdings in a province a devestation point is assessed. 20 devestation points permenantly lowers the maximum source potential of a province. At this rate you`ll lose a level of maximum source potenial about every five years. A guilder might fall back to normal guild operations to give a wizard full use of his sources, but the devestation points remain.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  2. #2
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    Kenneth sez: << The Talinie PS has an optional devestation rule. >>

    I don`t have PS o` Talinie. How does this rule work exactly, in its original
    form?

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  3. #3
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    Hello!
    PS of Talinie, p. 24:
    "Optional devastation rule:
    To simulate degradation of a province, the DM may assign it a
    "devastation point" during any domain turn in which the guilds collect
    more than half (round down) the GB allowed by the province┤s guild
    holdings. For instance, Lindholme┤s guild holdings total 5; if the
    guilds collect more than 2 GB from them in a turn, Lindholme receives 1
    devastation point.
    Every 20 devastation point permanently reduce the province┤s magic
    potential by 1 level. This means Seaport (which has a magic potential of
    4) could be completely deforested - and therefore stripped of its magic-
    in 20 years. In contrast, Lindholme┤s magic could be exhausted in just
    10 years.
    If the guilds stop cutting and mining in a province, the DM should
    substract 1 devastation point per year until it heals completely.
    However the citizen┤s loss of income will cause loyalty in that province
    to drop by one grade."
    bye
    Michael
    *********
    the Falcon wrote:

    >Kenneth sez: << The Talinie PS has an optional devestation rule. >>
    >
    >I don`t have PS o` Talinie. How does this rule work exactly, in its original
    >form?
    >
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  4. #4
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    Perhaps a simpler rule might be to reduce the province source levels not by substracting the province level from its max potential, but by substracting the guild level (representing logging, but also any agricultural activity, mining, crafts... etc.)
    Thus you could have relativily large (but poor) populations living off the land with little effect on nature (Rjuvik nomads etc.), while commercial exploitation of the land would bring in riches but also disrupt the natural flow of Mebhail. As the guild level is limited by the province level you should not encounter any illogical results.
    Perhaps you could soften the effect of the guilds or on the contrary enhance it by taking into account local factors (i.e. Cariele +1 to guild effect on source; elves -2 to guild effects on source(I don't believe elves should be immune to despoiling their own woods if they act like money-grubbing humans)).
    Guilders could invest in less-eco unfriendly activities to lessen their impact on a province source levels. Say a group of settlers go to a virgin area. The enterprising ones will start by setting up logging and mining activities, but later they will have fields and less damaging activities set-up, and then finally perhaps have set-up crafts and import materials from other lands, lessening their effect even further. Possibly the different levels of activities could be defined by a set of rules, but I'd probably prefer to trust DM discretion (and PC ingenuity) for the exact evolution.

    Any comments?
    Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said: `one CAN'T believe impossible things.'
    `I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast'

    -- &quot;Through the Looking Glass&quot;, Lewis Caroll

  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 07:18 PM 9/19/2002 +0200, Perhelion wrote:

    >Perhaps a simpler rule might be to reduce the province source levels not
    >by substracting the province level from its max potential, but by
    >substracting the guild level (representing logging, but also any
    >agricultural activity, mining, crafts... etc.)
    >
    >Perhaps you could soften the effect of the guilds or on the contrary
    >enhance it by taking into account local factors (i.e. Cariele +1 to guild
    >effect on source; elves -2 to guild effects on source(I don`t believe
    >elves should be immune to despoiling their own woods if they act like
    >money-grubbing humans)).

    This is going to take a couple of introductory paragraphs, so please bear
    with me.

    The standard BR view is that what destroys the natural and magical aspect
    of a region is the "civilization" in it represented by the actual number of
    people in that province, and it`s hard to just throw that out as an
    influence since homesteads and their accompanying roads, farming, etc.
    would tend to interfere with the natural aspects of a province. Unless a
    population is very eco-friendly (like BR elves are assumed to be) then it`s
    hard to justify all but the smallest populations (less than the 2,000 or so
    people of a level 1 province) not influencing the potential source level of
    a province. Using "Industry" as represented by guild holdings, however, is
    a good idea for the kind of thing that might also interfere with the
    natural/potential source levels of a province, where things like the legal
    aspects of a province (law holdings) and the population`s religious life
    (temple holdings) don`t have quite the same degree of anti-natural
    affect. (You could definitely come up descriptions of how they could have
    such an effect, but just as easily one could come up with descriptions the
    other way, so they pretty much balance out IMO.)

    In the past I have been a proponent of doing away with the level 10 cap on
    province population levels and holdings. Among other things that means
    raising the potential sources in provinces, or at least allowing them to be
    increased by various special terrain features. In general, I think numbers
    ranging from 11-25 should be standard as part of most typical provinces
    which means about doubling the numbers presented in the Rulebook for
    potential sources by terrain type. In addition, special terrain features
    should be able to increase the potential source of a province to well into
    the double digits. (Technically, they already can in BR, though this is
    something that was avoided in the published materials.)

    When it comes to lowering potential source levels in a province, I think
    there should be some sort of modification to the Rule action that allows
    regents to increase a population level without decreasing the potential
    source level. Increase the DC of that action by a certain number (let`s
    just say +10 for the purpose of this thread) and maybe increase the
    maintenance cost of such a province (say, doubling the cost) or lowering
    the GB income of such a population to reflect its lowered production or the
    costs of maintaining such an eco-friendly populace would be the kind of
    thing that would probably work. Access to this option could be restricted
    by race (elves only) or other races could have access to it with higher
    modifiers, greater costs, etc. One could also use such a system to reflect
    the slow growth of elven populations by barring them from the standard Rule
    action, meaning they can only increase their population at the higher DC.

    The Point: Such a system can be extrapolated into the concept that guild
    holdings are used to reduce the potential source level of a province, so
    you could use both. Potential source level would then be computed by the
    simple equation Terrain + Special Terrain Modifiers - Population Level -
    Guild Holding Level. If we have a modified Rule action already for how
    pop. level can be increased without decreasing potential source level then
    we can use the same numbers (+10 to DC, increased maintenance or reduced
    income) and restrict access to that form of the action to elves, or
    whatever ruling one wants to make on how to grant access.

    Gary

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    Gary:
    > When it comes to lowering potential source levels in a
    > province, I think there should be some sort of modification
    > to the Rule action that allows regents to increase a
    > population level without decreasing the potential source
    > level. Increase the DC of that action by a certain number
    > (let`s just say +10 for the purpose of this thread) and maybe
    > increase the maintenance cost of such a province (say,
    > doubling the cost) or lowering the GB income of such a
    > population to reflect its lowered production or the costs of
    > maintaining such an eco-friendly populace would be the kind
    > of thing that would probably work. Access to this option
    > could be restricted by race (elves only) or other races could
    > have access to it with higher modifiers, greater costs, etc.
    > One could also use such a system to reflect the slow growth
    > of elven populations by barring them from the standard Rule
    > action, meaning they can only increase their population at
    > the higher DC.

    What I am going to say is, to a large extent, based on my own peculiar
    and potentially non-canon ideas about how arcane magic functions in BR.
    YBRMV, you have been warned.

    I believe that the reason that the Magical Potential of a given province
    drops as traditional human settlements and economic activities increase
    is because humans learnt how to draw upon the power of land (aka True
    Magic) from the sidhelien. To my mind the idea that civilisation is
    somehow opposed to magic is a "morbid byproduct" of humanity`s
    progression towards magical understanding. To my mind it is conceivably
    possible that, perhaps though the medium of many Advance actions or
    perhaps due to the lifeswork of a particularly astute magus, human
    wizards may be able to realise that it is not the case that the magic is
    being destroyed as civilisation increases in a province it is the that
    the magic is harder and harder to reach via sidhelien methods.

    If this sort of breakthrough is achieved then sources no longer need to
    be limited by civilisation (in fact, they may even require it in the
    form of "magical architectural works") and people can start throwing up
    those college holdings that people around here seem to be so fond of ;)

    Personally I think this does a lot to change the nature of the BR
    setting and so I would be inclined to treat it as I might introducing
    gunpowder to the BR setting - and thus use it only as a novelty and for
    thought-experimental purposes.

    > The Point: Such a system can be extrapolated into the
    > concept that guild holdings are used to reduce the potential
    > source level of a province, so you could use both. Potential
    > source level would then be computed by the simple equation
    > Terrain + Special Terrain Modifiers - Population Level -
    > Guild Holding Level. If we have a modified Rule action
    > already for how pop. level can be increased without
    > decreasing potential source level then we can use the same
    > numbers (+10 to DC, increased maintenance or reduced
    > income) and restrict access to that form of the action to
    > elves, or whatever ruling one wants to make on how to grant access.

    The idea of determining MP using the formula Gary describes is very
    interesting. I heartily approve. Whether I`d permit people to Rule
    without reducing the MP of a province is less certain, although (as I
    said above) I am not utterly averse to the idea, in principle. I`m just
    not wild about making it available to very many people at all.

    Hope this doesn`t strike anyone as wildly off-topic :)

    --
    John Machin
    (trithemius@paradise.net.nz)
    -----------------------------------
    "Nothing is more beautiful than to know the All."
    Athanasius Kircher, Ars Magna Sciendi.

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    John Machin <trithemius@PARADISE.NET.NZ> wrote at 02-09-19 21.22:

    > If this sort of breakthrough is achieved then sources no longer need to
    > be limited by civilisation (in fact, they may even require it in the
    > form of "magical architectural works") and people can start throwing up
    > those college holdings that people around here seem to be so fond of ;)
    >

    Why do I get visions of a magical cyber-reality from this?

    Source holdings in abandoned subway stations...

    Could be cool.

    /Carl

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    Carl:
    > Why do I get visions of a magical cyber-reality from this?

    Maybe you are staying up all night. I mean, that`s what made me think of
    it in the first place :)

    > Source holdings in abandoned subway stations...
    >
    > Could be cool.

    I really like the idea of magical architecture being a human thing, vs.
    magical nature being a sidhelien thing. People don`t tend to live with
    the environment, our tendency is to shape it to what we
    prefer/need/feel-like.

    As an off-BR aside, if you are keen on post-modern magical themes, I
    urge you to check out `Unknown Armies`. It`s made by Atlas Games (who
    also make that other famous game about magic that I don`t ever seem to
    shut up about) and I believe it just went into its second edition. Its
    really quite fascinating.

    --
    John Machin
    (trithemius@paradise.net.nz)
    -----------------------------------
    "Nothing is more beautiful than to know the All."
    Athanasius Kircher, Ars Magna Sciendi.

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    "Power performs the Miracle." - Johannes Trithemius

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "John Machin" <trithemius@PARADISE.NET.NZ>
    Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 4:16 PM


    > I really like the idea of magical architecture being a human thing, vs.
    > magical nature being a sidhelien thing.

    Is this why mages build towers?

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  10. #10
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    On Fri, 20 Sep 2002, John Machin wrote:
    > As an off-BR aside, if you are keen on post-modern magical themes, I
    > urge you to check out `Unknown Armies`. It`s made by Atlas Games (who
    > also make that other famous game about magic that I don`t ever seem to
    > shut up about) and I believe it just went into its second edition. Its
    > really quite fascinating.

    Which game would that be?
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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