In recent Blog Posts, I have looked at a couple of aspects of the Game System economy – and as I have been changing my spreadsheets to reflect those, I realised that I could improve and simplify the whole system with a couple of basic changes.
Note: These changes are open to discussion and comment. They and aren’t set in stone and are open to some modification. However, I do intend to this new approach (with any modifications) for the next Stolen Lands campaign round.
The rules started out with two economic factors, Economy and Consumption, inherited from the original system and, to some extent. They worked well together for that system. However, the original rules were Kingdom Building Rules, and assumes that every player is involved in the building and management of a single kingdom. These Campaign Rules have a different emphasis, rather than a kingdom the Campaign Rules focus on smaller strongholds, and the businesses and organisations that underpin those. You can still get a Kingdom out of them, but the focus is on the smaller elements that make up the Kingdom, rather than an Overview of the whole Kingdom.
While Economy and Consumption have worked reasonably well, both of them have been ‘tweaked’ a few times to try and make them fit with our needs as settlements and businesses have grown. As I worked through the rules, I realised that most of those tweaks, while all having slightly different mechanics, have had the same effect – producing Economy that strongholds don’t need to balance.
The most obvious examples of these ‘special cases’ are …
The Magic Economy (which has been accounted for separately)
Trade Caravans (vessels, mule trains etc, that have been classed as untaxed)
Merchant bases and trade routes (A taxed benefit, that is automatically balanced by Loy and Stab)
So why not add a new economic factor that fits that profile and pulls all three ‘tweaks’ together and might also give us an extra dimension to play with? So, Special Economy is born … And the first benefit could be Toll Booths for Turnpikes and Canals that give people a way of realising a profit for serious infrastructure development.
Economy represents the day-to-day business of a normal settlement. Shops, businesses, schools, parks taxes, good will, all the everyday resources. But it relies on people working together and wanting to stay in the settlement – growth in the economy means bigger settlements, immigration, and more people trying to work together. That is why it needs to be balanced with Loyalty and Stability.
Represents the cost of maintaining and managing the settlement. That is why, if you have a good stewardship Committee, who have the right skills sets, you can offset Consumption Costs with Consumption benefits. But there are other things that make some settlements easier to run and manage, a particularly fertile piece of land when a specific crop or plant grows abundantly or an accessible mineral deposit (for example), can help support the common population of a settlement, as well as provide an economic opportunity for an entrepreneur. Roads, Highways and Canals can do the same sort of thing, making it easier for everyone, including the common population, to trade back and forth. They are all intangible benefits that make it easier to support more people and grow your settlement.
However, some things are not really population dependent. Creating Magic Items (the basis of the magic economy) doesn’t need more people, it just needs one or two special people. Adding a fishing boat to a jetty doesn’t bring in more fishermen, however, it makes them more efficient. A mule train working between two settlements, doesn’t add more people, but it helps move goods between towns and boosts the economy that way. It is the same with Merchant Bases and Trade Routes – Merchant bases represent better ways to leverage the local economy, and while being on a trade route might help the settlement to grow, it also brings increased economic opportunity with it.
Under the new system the Special Economy will be taxed. That doesn’t affect the business /organisation at all – their income will stay the same, however, it will mean a larger tax take for settlements. As an example, Tusk would gain an extra 4.6pb as tax income. It won’t be quite that much under the new rules, but it won’t be much less.
Special Economy will not count towards the size of a settlement, which will mean that settlements will grow more slowly and have a smaller population. However, any status gained, in the Stolen Lands Game, so far – will be protected until the settlement catches up.
The Stolen Lands
I have already posted about the restructuring of Magic producing developments, and I think the only people immediately affected by those economic changes are Andalon and Mother Beatrix. The changes don’t have an economic effect on the Merchant rules, although the way I record some of their economy will change – but that shouldn’t affect income.
The biggest change comes from Roads and Canals moving back into the Consumption Modifier category – and that affects Henry, Safiya and Tusk. It is a small change for Tusk (Which is covered by the general tax changes), Safiya’s holdings (and we have spoken about that before this post) and Henry’s Midmarch holdings (which will change the way he can develop things, but doesn’t have a huge impact as he is about to go into paying consumption costs with BP anyway).
It has been an interesting week or so. As I have been working through the recent economic changes, I have come to realise that I could use the Tax and Profitability rates, to help achieve a couple of ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while. But first:-
DON’T PANIC – I am not going to implement these changes in The Stolen Lands game, but I do want to get them straight (and written down) for the next time I use these rules.
When we started the game, I wanted ‘civilisation’ to get started quickly and for players to become involved in the campaign side of the game early on in the game. Generally, especially at RPoL, if there isn’t a quick(ish) return people lose interest, so the return on investment (0.5) was set to encourage that – and it worked. However, there has not been any real incentive to settle new areas (I have often had to push that) and growth has been very fast – faster that I would have liked. In the space of 6-7 years we have built a city that is already one of the largest settlements in Brevoy and the River Kingdoms. In a couple of years time, it could be directly comparable to Restov and Port Ice – the second and third largest cities in Brevoy. Alongside that, we have developed Midmarch – a province that could soon be comparable with the estates of the great Noble Houses of Brevoy. Nothing wrong with those things, it is just too fast :] Another 5 or 6 years / levels would be much better for the game. Now I must ‘manipulate’ the Noble houses, a lot more than I would like to, to keep things in balance. Anyway, before I get to Tax and profitability …
One of the first things I will do (next time I use these rules) is to add a building materials upgrade route. There is nothing about construction materials in the rules so far – and materials tend to change as a settlement matures, or better materials become available. In ‘Boom Towns’, which tend to be temporary, buildings are often thrown up with what ever materials are to hand, often wood. Those cities that survive, generally make a transition to more carefully constructed buildings, often built from stone. Ideally, I want to replicate that change, which would help slow development rate down slightly. Perhaps 0.5bp per size of the building would work? All I have to do is set fire to part of a city, to encourage the Local Council to enact an ordinance … I could even factor that cost into the original costs for significant buildings – such as city walls, cathedrals, castles, and universities.
Anyway, back to Tax and Profitability …
Some time ago I added a list of costs and sale prices for developments according to the size of the settlement (shown below) and (IN FUTURE GAMES) I am tempted to use it to manage profitability as well
Purchase Price GP
Managed Wilderness (*)
Small town (+)
That works, as profitability is based on the BP value of the development – and GP value of BP changes according to size of settlement, and as settlements grow both the cost of land for further development and the cost of living go up …
Just as importantly, it should do two things. Slow down the rate of settlement growth, and encourage people to invest in smaller settlements.
But Tax is at the discretion of the council. Standard tax generates 0.2bp per pint of econ in the economy.
I can see, in some circumstances, city rulers putting tax up – lets say to 0.25bp per point of economy. That would result in a 0.05 reduction in business profitability – and a possible slowing of the economy and settlement growth.
A council might also drop tax– lets say to 0.15bp per point of economy. That would result in a 0.05 increase in business profitability – which might result in the economy and settlement growth, speeding up.
Recently I have been thinking about the basic management rules for the Campaign system, and I have realized that the core concept is more complicated than it needs to be. This comes about, mainly, from the tax changes I have been looking at (allowing settlements to collect tax on vessels and trade caravans) which made me consider the way that Magic creating buildings are handled.
If you look at the Settlement spreadsheets (you can find them on the game wiki) you will see that they are quite complicated, with separate columns for different levels of magic production and another for ‘untaxed’ items – and that starts to make the formulae quite convoluted as well :}
However, I have finally realized (D’Oh!) that Magic, Vessels and Trade Caravans have something very important in common – they don’t need balancing against Loy or Stab, nor do they need permission from the settlement holder to add into the game. And, with the recent change both add to the tax take for the settlement. Both were added to the rule set for similar reasons as well.
Vessels and trade caravans are one of the ‘advantages’ that Merchant Houses benefit from, and can be leveraged (along with bases and trade routes) to help generate income faster than any other rules set. Merchant House rules are complex and need careful management to squeeze the advantage – get it wrong, and they are no more profitable than the ordinary business rules.
Magic for religious building was to compensate for the heavy price they pay in Loyalty and Stability costs. They are the only buildings that consistently provide a Loy and Stab boost to settlement owners. It means that religious houses are always in demand, and characters can RP spreading their faith around the game world. That part of the magic economy was intended to help those characters – the ‘price’ is the RP The advantages for other casters was, almost, a side effect.
That means I can manage them all in one column and simplify my spreadsheets – and when you see the size of Tusk’s SS, you will understand why I want to keep things simple!
That is all well and good, but it sent me back to looking at Religious Developments. Some time ago, I rebalanced all magic producing buildings to bring the magic economy in line with the general economy, and the cost of magic production doubled.
I didn’t realize it at the time, perhaps because we didn’t have any characters starting out in Clerical classes, but that it makes it very difficult to get started, if you want to build a religious order of the type that Bishop Andalon or Mother Beatrix have. Starting PCs get 1bp at the end of each of their first two outings – so each new PC gets a 2bp starting stake. The first religious development to generate an income costs 3bp. Low level priests starting out, literally can’t build a sustainable religious organization without extra help. This is the only class / category in this position – you can start generating an income with 1bp, in every other area of the economy.
In my head, Religious Developments were meant to progress more slowly than standard commercial developments, but they weren’t meant to be the easiest option, hence the RP requirements. I know those have only been written in recently, but they were in my mind when I wrote the rules – I just didn’t implement them well. Academic Developments were always intended to be the easiest to play options. Every settlement owner likes Academic developments – they are all fully balanced and increase the tax take. What isn’t to like about Academic Developments?
The Magic Economy is also an anomaly in another way. One point of ‘Magic’ costs 2bp in the build phase, while everything else costs 0.5bp (Loy, Stab) or 1bp (Econ, Def) – and that is responsible for the big price hike when moving from a Great Shrine to a Holy House, which a religious organization needs to become sustainable. However, a Point of ‘magic’ has also generated twice the income (1bp / campaign round) that a point of Economy does (0.5bp) which also makes for some minor difficulties as I tweak the Tax / Profitability ratios in the game. V&A’s expansion has really helped me understand that section of the rules – something that never really happens until the rules are used. While I recognize that it annoys Adoven (sorry Adoven), it often prompts rule developments – which I really appreciate.
Therefore, I intend to reduce the initial cost of a Magic Point from 2bp to 1bp, but correspondingly, reduce the base profitability to 0.5bp – which fetches it into line with a point of economy – but doesn’t change the cost/profit ratio.
To do this, I will revisit every development that is involved in the magic economy – from exotic workshops, through temples, caster’s towers up to universities and cathedrals. I expect I will have to add a couple of new buildings to help manage development flow – BUT seeing as I haven’t started the process yet, I have no real idea of what the outcome will be.
Two things – thoughts and comments are always welcome, and watch this space …
And this is what I am thinking of, at the moment. Most buildings get a slight reduction in Income generated, but I will refund some of the development costs. In a few cases, I might offer another, equivalent, solution. You will note that I have added a new building called a Friary, to make progression a bit easier.
Recently, I looked at restrictions for religious development, and it sparked a bit of discussion. The concept that ‘Income generated by a religious house should be used to further the aims of the deity’ hasn’t attracted much comment, and the little I have received has been positive. However, it has led to a bit of a discussion on who should be building Temples and Churches, and who should be controlling the income they generate.
So what do I want to achieve, first and foremost, I want to stop religious developments becoming a go-to tool for general income generation. I also want to add more substance and flavour to my world, in a way that help PCs to build and Role Play as a part of the world – rather than as an outsider passing through.
For these purposes, a priest is a member of any Character Class who can cast divine spells. Cleric, Druid, Oracle, Inquisitor, Adept, Paladin, Ranger etc.
Religious Developments for Income Generation
Religious developments are attractive in a lot of ways, they help balance Economy and then (as they develop) start to generate an income, through magic, that doesn’t need balancing, which has advantages over other developments. That was done purposefully, to keep religious developments comparable with businesses and strongholds. However, that ‘special’ income is generated by a priest’s commitment and promise to a deity, and the priests’ powers are dependent on the deity’s goodwill. A priest who doesn’t follow their deity’s philosophies falls out of favour, and is liable to lose their spells and other divine abilities. Sure, most DMs are fairly generous in their interpretation of PC actions – but we are a lot less generous in our interpretation of NPC actions :}
The implication of this, is that NPC priests NEED to stay on the right side of their deity, and NEED to make sure they are promoting the deity’s philosophy – or else they will lose their divine powers, and they won’t be priests any more. And, let’s face it, Adepts with no spells are about as useful as a Commoner. NPC priests will insist that money they generate is used to promote their deity’s philosophies.
Role Playing 1
Just about every fantasy world is polytheistic, there are lots of different deities and, generally, only divine casters are required to choose one deity (or philosophy) as a patron. Most characters get along in life by making offering, donations and prayers to which every deity is convenient at the time – and that is a very reasonable approach to a polytheistic setting. If you are going on a journey? Make an offering to the patron of travellers. Setting up a business? Make an offering to the patron of trade and commerce. Your father just passed away? Call in a priest of a Psychopomp but, if you can afford it, you will have to donate something. Even priests with a Patron Deity follow the same philosophy – when it falls outside the Patron Deities area of interests.
I don’t want to stop PCs from developing a religious side of their character, nor do I want to stop PCs from supporting or making significant offerings to a deity – or even two or three deities. That is good role-playing. I can see that a wealthy PC might want the blessings of a deity, or two, on a regular basis – and the easy way to achieve that is to build a shrine, of some sort, to the deity. However, except at the most basic level, that isn’t a commitment to further the deity’s philosophies.
So religious buildings that do not produce Magical Items (Hermitages, Shrines, Great Shrines & Graveyards) should be available for anyone to develop. It is a nod in the deity’s direction, recognizes the deity as important to the character. It also gets the character regular blessings, leaves the character in good standing and brings that deity a little more influence in the world. However, it doesn’t tie the PC to the deity in any significant way, nor does it really advance the deity’s agenda.
Some characters, without divine abilities, might want to take a deity as their patron, or promote a deity’s philosophies, however that implies commitment, and the PC needs to role-play that commitment. The entourage rules provide a good way of doing t good way of doing this, by allowing the PC to take a priest as an entourage member. It is worth noting that a character’s entourage includes squires, cohorts and other followers generated by feats as well as those defined within the entourage rules.
PCs can have quite a large entourage, so this isn’t a particularly onerous requirement. However, the priest must select a deity or philosophy to follow – and this will affect the way they expect their employer to behave. Which brings us back to the PC role-playing their commitment to the deity.
Role Playing 2
Two things underlie this section – World Demographics and Economic crunch.
When I build a world, I use a slightly unusual demographic mix. It doesn’t quite match with the data published in the book, but it seems to match quite closely with the level spread that I have seen in publish modules. Most Characters who only have NPC classes max out at level 5 and secondary characters with PC classes tend to max out at around level 10. There are exceptions, of course. PCs will face higher level enemies, and they will meet ex-adventurers that are higher level. Most won’t quite match a PC in terms of power and ability, but they will be much closer. A very few, generally antagonists, will be a match for the PCs, some will be more powerful. There will be more powerful monsters – but normal, civilized, humanoid NPCs aren’t a match for the PCs. That is what makes the PCs special and the focus of the game :]
However, it means that Entourages and even Cohorts are not as ‘special’ as PCs, and they will all be lower level than the PC.
By Economic Crunch, I am thinking of the rules around crafting magical items. Even the smallest shrines encourage donations by casting spells, performing ceremonies and helping the local people out. That just goes towards the running costs of the shrine. Many of those ‘donations’ will be food, clothes, good will, bundles of firewood etc – although there will be some coin involved. However, that isn’t enough to make a profit or serious income for that the priests need to make and sell magic items – and that means characters with feats, and the appropriate levels to gain them. So a quick look at the rules …
At level 3 most priests have the option to take Brew Potion or Craft Wondrous – both of which are capable of producing items in the Minor Items list.
At level 5 Craft Arms and Armour and Craft Wand are available, and it is possible to craft in the Medium Items list.
At level 7 Forge Ring is available, and it is possible to craft items in the Major Item lists as well. Only a very few of the lowest value Items – BUT they are in the Major Items list.
Note: I decided that Scrolls aren’t sufficient to generate an income for a religious house. Priestly scrolls are useful, but only to other priests.
So, looking at that in terms of the religious developments available :-
No Magic Income: Shrine, Great Shrine, Graveyard and their variants. These can be built by any character without restrictions.
Minor Magic Developments: Holy House, Chapel, Holy Grove and variants. The PC is CL3 in a divine casting class, or they have an entourage member at CL3. This class of building becomes available to PCs between L3 (PC) and L8 (Cohort ranger/paladin). The development MUST follow the philosophy of the PC/Entourage’s deity.
Medium Magic Developments: Priory, Temple, Abbey, Minster and variants. The PC is CL5 in a divine casting class, or they have an entourage member at CL5. This class of building becomes available to PCs between L5 (PC) and L10 (Cohort ranger/paladin, Entourage-Assistant Adept). The development MUST follow the philosophy of the PC/Entourage’s deity.
Major Magic Developments: Cathedral or variants. This is much more restricted than other religious developments, as cathedrals are such iconic and important places, on top of that Bishops are very influential people and Deities only want the best people to serve their most prestigious houses. The PC, or their cohort, must be CL 7 in a full divine casting class – Cleric, Druid, Oracle or Inquisitor. The development MUST follow the philosophy and style of the PC/Cohort’s deity.
OK, no one has asked any real questions yet, but it is as good a name as any.
What about the current game world?
We have what we have. I am not going to take anything away from anyone.
I want to see religious developments funding the deity’s philosophies and interests. Use the religions section at the Pathfinder Wiki to look at Areas of Concern, Worshippers, Domains and Sub-Domains to work out the sort of things the Church funds are good for. There is an awful lot of scope there. However, I intend to apply those changes to any new religious developments.
Can I roll my developments back?
Yes. If you want to, we can roll any religious developments back to Great Shrine, and I will refund the extra purchase cost.
What do you mean by Entourage?
Unless specified otherwise, Entourage Member means: Entourage Assistant; Entourage Cousin; Entourage Ally; Cohort or any other follower attained by spending a feat.
Other developments that produce magic
There has also been a suggestion that I should impose the same sort of limits on developments that add to the Magic Economy, although the case for that is not so clear-cut.
The Master Crafter feat allows characters of non-caster classes to create magic items at level 5, although that requires retraining an existing feat to an item creation feat. Demographically there are also a number of CL3 casters around (mainly adepts of L3 of L3 and above) who are capable of creating magic items, and many of them are not tied to a religious philosophy. This means that Exotic Craft workshops can create Minor Magic Items and shops can buy them from ‘anonymous’ NPCs (unnamed NPCs without character sheets) so no restriction at Minor Magic level.
Luxury stores and large markets import goods from many places, where there are higher level casters creating items that they need to sell. There are also items that PC parties collect while they are adventuring and then sell for cash. So there isn’t a reason to impose restrictions on them.
However, Casters Tower, Great Tower, Magic Academy and University – all imply research or creation of medium and major magical items. I am tempted to restrict those to having a CL5 character as a patron/owner for Medium Magic, and CL7 for Major Magic, creation.
Business and Trading Reports for the Stolen Land. As the rules on Cross-Border trade and development are progressing, I needed to think about how they would be applied across the game. There areas that could be ripe for trade, at some point – the Lebeda holding at Silver Hall, Stonewall and even Nikvata’s Crossing – BUT those aren’t on the agenda at the moment.
Mivon (Large City)
Political: Mivon is controlled by eight major houses and their allies, who run the city for their own benefit. In their view, everyone else is lucky to receive their protection, and can pay for that privilege. There is a large premium (1bp) for developments in the Central District.
Risks: Mivon is not well patrolled, various Aldori Houses vie for the right to patrol the city, and they patrol the upper city regularly – although you can never be quite sure of who will be on patrol and their outlook on life. The lower part of the city, ins not patrolled by the Aldori, and in the control of various gangs. So long as they don’t encroach on Aldori territory, the patrols leave them alone.
Tax Rate: High
Jovvox (Small Town)
Political: A small town dominated by Gnomes. They are aware that expansion will bring in more members of the larger races, and they want to keep things small, compact and primarily Gnomish. Getting permission to build here is difficult, and will always be restricted.
Risk: Inconsistent government, via and ‘open’ council where every member of the community can take part in decision-making.
New Stetven (Metropolis)
Political: Since the Surtova took over, trading here has become less profitable – Favoured Status goes to those who support The Surtova. They charge a premium (0.5bp) for developments in the city, which even long-term residents pay. It is believed that the Surtova are protecting their Port Ice trade routes.
Risks: The river route along the East Sellen through the Hooktongue Slough and beyond has become more difficult in recent years. Pirate numbers have declined, but attacks by monsters and monstrous humanoids has increased. Many merchant houses use armed vessels to improve their chances of getting through.
Tax rate: Very High.
Brundeston (Large Town)
Political: Run by members of the Al Golka clan of dwarves, to serve as the new Dwarf Home, to replace the mines and holdings in the Golushkin Mountains (Gray Haven) that ‘disappeared’. Leaders of Dwarf Clans are favoured Developers. Humans may be given ‘Standard’ investment rates to provide services the Dwarves need, but other developments are restricted. Somewhat isolationist.
Risk: Very Little. Stable government and a secure area.
Tax: Medium High
The Eastern Region is a political alliance between East Rostland, Restov and House Khavortorov. They share a Chapter of the Brevic Order, in the same way as the Southern States do, but it is unclear whether this arrangement will last, nor quite how the three power groups will work together in the longer term. Both Restov and House Khavortorov seem concerned that East Rostland will simply swamp them.
Restov (Large City)
Political: There has been little change in the City Council’s makeup, since Lady Jamandi was made Countess of East Rostland, but the balance of power has shifted towards a more conservative philosophy favoured established businesses. There is some concern that they will become less influential as Lady Jamandi takes full control of East Rostland. The Mayor and Advocate are both from merchant families, and any Merchant House wishing to get established will be in direct competition with them. There is a 0.5bp premium for developments inside the city walls. Part of the Eastern Region.
Risk: The city is patrolled by independent Guard units associated with the most powerful faction in a district. However, the Guard Unit is consistent and follows the same philosophy every day. There is a risk of hot-headed young duellists fighting in the street.
Tax Rate: Medium.
Sway (Small Town)
Politics: Owned by House Khavortorov, Sway is a satellite town to their main holdings at the Khavortorov Citadel, it sits on the New Steven road and provides access to many of the small estates in central Rostland. There is some concern that they will become less influential as Lady Jamandi takes full control of East Rostland. House Khavortorov get favoured development rates while everyone else is treated as an outsider, and only given limited development permission. Part of the Eastern Region.
Risk: Low. Stable government and a secure area, although with political concerns about their neighbours.
Sirian (New Town)
Politics: Set on the Restov/Brundeston road this destined to be the capital of East Rostland – the county created for Lady Jamandi Aldori after the recent ‘disagreements’. The town is still very new, and it is not yet clear how it will develop. Part of the Eastern Region.
Risk: Lady Jamandi’s rule is not yet fully established. There is still contention with The Surtova, nor has everyone within her new County acted her rule. It could be in for turbulent times.
Tax Rate: Low
The Southern Region
The Southern Region is a political alliance between Midmarch, Tusk and Old Keep. They share a Chapter of the Brevic Order, in the same way as the Eastern States do. The political position in Midmarch, is well known.
Old Keep: Old Keep has broken ranks with the rest of The Southern Region and has a Medium Tax rate, which leads to commercial profitability of 0.4bp. Lady Zelona has stated that Old Keep will stay a rural and wilderness estate, and as such she wants to encourage investors who will help promote those aims by accepting a lower return rate.
The two other colonies remain independent and are not part of a regional organisation.
Politics: The original settlement was sponsored by The Surtova, Lebeda and Khavortorov, although Surtova are the most influential patrons by far. However, Baron Drelev’s reputation has diminished as trade south via the East Sellen has fallen.
Risk: Is in danger of becoming a dead-end trade route.
Tax: Very High.
Varnhold is not currently trading. This is under investigation.
I have been thinking about trading and development across borders again and realized that the system that I have put in place is complicated and doesn’t really use the rules that I already have in place effectively. The current system uses the cash values of BP, then ‘sort of’ tied that in with the difference in values between BPs in different size settlements, and the portability of some resources, such as boats and soldiers, and it just gets complicated.
I already have two variables that I can use: Purchaser Status (Preferred; Standard & Outsider) and tax rate – It would be simple, and more sophisticated, to use those two variables alone. I will also standardize the mechanic of Taxable Vessels, which I have already introduced for the Community Pier and Serai, so that it applies across the board.
Why now? Because a number of people are starting to ask questions about it – quite legitimately, and I want a relatively standard system that I can apply consistently. So far it has all been worked out on a case-by-case basis.
Those changes allow me to restrict the build of Religious Developments so that the income is used for religious purposes, rather than running a business or a holding. A couple of people have already gone down that route (which has helped me identify the issue) – their existing holdings won’t be affected, but it won’t be available in future.
Developing across borders
We have been fiddling about with PCs only being able to ‘cash in’ specific things to facilitate developments abroad – which is a pain for all concerned. It means the PC has to optimize their holdings for cash generation, rather than business interests, and it means I have to check every example carefully – not something that is good for me, the PC or the game. These rule changes will mean that the PC can ‘cash in’ all their income to develop abroad, if they like. However, it won’t be a straight equal value exchange. PCs will pay a premium to move BP from one location to another.
It was always my intention that it would be more easy to develop in areas where you are well known and influential – but tougher in other areas. I was hoping to use Influence to modify those costs, BUT that has proved much too difficult to implement, and very time-consuming to maintain the influence records.
This system lets me vary rates according to the stance of the New settlements rulers, and supports Role Playing. Adoven, for example, has already negotiated deals that allow him to trade in Jovvox and Mivon – although growth in both of those places will be slower and less profitable than in Tusk/Midmarch. However, the associated benefits, such as trade routes, base income and stability, should make up for that.
The PC can ‘cash in’ their income to use when developing and use the ‘Development Costs List’ below. These cost represent fees, licences, compensation and other similar costs associated with the development of new businesses. Most settlements choose to favour their own business owners, at the expense of incomers.
These tables will be used by NPC states and will normally be followed quite strictly. In some cases a ‘dispensation’ for a lower rate might be agreed, IF the development suits the needs of the settlement. It will probably be tied to a specific development.
PC controlled states can charge what they like, when they like. Some settlements in Southern Region, those particularly keen on expansion, choose not to charge any fees at all – in effect granting a blanket dispensation. Other states work more closely to this list.
Examples of Dispensations
V&A have a ‘dispensation’ in Jovvox – they can expand at Preferred Rates inside their Hamlet, although they must ‘balance’ the Hamlet in terms of Econ, Loy & Stab. However, they may not develop anything outside that hamlet.
DELEM had a dispensation in Restov – permission to build a Town Base at Standard Rates, rather than Outsider rates. It is limited to the town base, and DELEM may not expand to a City Base. Other developments are permitted at Outsider Rates.
NOTE: Dispensations are agreed on a case-by-case basis – and will differ between settlements.
Investment Costs Table
Preferred investors – are people who have a special relationship with the settlement’s rulers, they pay 0.5bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
Standard investors – The normal residents of the settlement, pay 1bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
Outside investors – Anyone coming from outside the settlement, pays 1.5bp social development contribution per point of Economy. Using BP generated at the settlement, by a development owned by an outsider.
Externally Funded – Any development that is even part funded by BPs generated from outside the ‘state’, costs 2bp social development contribution per point of Economy. (this is represents Outsider Rate, plus a small premium to represent moving the resources about)
Vessels, Mules etc are still portable and can be purchased at the normal rate, then moved to a new site. For example, Shallops can be purchased from the Boatyard in Tusk, at their normal price, and then sailed down to Jovvox or Mivon. Mules could be purchased (at the normal rate) from Zora’s ranch and moved to Restov. They do not attract ‘outsider’ costs. Example: V&A can but Fishing Boats in Tusk and sail them down to Mivon, for use there, without paying an extra fee.
The ‘standard’ tax rate for Midmarch was set so that one point of economy earns 0.5bp per year – however, that is a very generous rate, and other settlements do not match it. Some might not even have the same tax rate for different categories of Investor. (NOTE: I am not going to deal with different tax rates for different classes of investor in Midmarch or PC managed settlements – it really screws up my spreadsheets!)
Tax rates are higher in Mivon, Jovvox and Restov – which means lower profitability for businesses – which leads to slower growth. My first thought are 0.4bp income per point of Econ in Restov and Jovvox, 0.3bp per point of Econ in Mivon.
Why that huge difference? Midmarch was a ‘boom’ economy, a whole state that was being built from scratch – it needed investors, and it needed them quickly. Tusk took that tax rate on, they have always had the option to change it, if they wanted to.
Jovvox and Restov are both well established settlements, they are more interested in protecting their own interests and their own investors, that encouraging new comers – and they are both Chaotic settlements, although they have a settled hierarchy. Mivon is even more different, it is Chaotic, and it is run by a self-interested group of nobles – Mivon’s Great Aldori Houses. Those guys are only interested in themselves, anyone else is there on sufferance and is expected to pay through the nose for the privilege.
In other places the tax rate will be higher, and the income per point of Econ even lower – rumour has it that the tax rates in New Stetven is so high that businesses rarely make more that 0.25bp per year, per point of Econ!
Restov, Jovvox, Sway
Currently, Vessels and trade caravans are considered as Untaxed and don’t count towards the Balance that settlements need to maintain. That is not going to change, it is one of the perks of Merchant Houses – however, it is going to be reflavoured.
Rather than Untaxed, they will become Permit Free. In other words, Merchants do not need to seek permission (or pay extra costs) to vessels or Trade Caravans operating from their Jetty, Serai etc.
They will however, be taxed. This means that Vessels and Trade Caravans have the same profitability as the rest of the business (ie 0.5 in Low Tax areas, 0.3 in high tax areas etc). It is also a win for the people who manage the settlements – as I will modify their income to reflect this extra tax generated by vessels operating from the town.
That gives me an opportunity to ‘fix’ religious development. It was always my intention that Religious Developments should be used to promote the philosophies of the deity involved, rather than be a ‘settlement’ or ‘business’ development tool. Settlements have their own lists (Defence, Social) development lists. Merchant Houses, which represent the ‘pinnacle’ of business development, have all sorts of development advantages that can be leveraged to improve their profitability. I would like to see religious developments have a similar ‘specialist’ flavour to them, it helps to enhance the RP flavour of the world.
I intend to restrict religious developments, so that non-priests are limited to building shrines and great shrines only. That allows PCs to Role-play a religious devotion to their deity but means they can’t use the income generated by Deity’s favour to fund their own developments – without some sort of commitment to the deities ideals.
Once the PC reaches Level 6 (or above) they can take an Entourage Cousin/Ally, who will be able to build larger religious establishments. However, the Cousin/Ally will expect the income generated from Church premises to be spent on their Deity’s agenda, rather than their PC patron’s.
NOTE: Some PCs have already built Holy Houses without meeting the Priestly requirement, and I won’t take those away from the PC. However, in future, I will expect the income to be used to advance the Deity’s interests.
A deity’s agenda is defined by their: Areas of Concern; Worshippers; Domains and Subdomains – or something that can be clearly associated with the deity. You can find the listed in the entries at the Pathfinder Wiki. https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Portal:Religion
That still gives you a lot of scope to develop. Pharasmin orders might concentrate on Graveyards, Fighting Undead or The Circle of Life. As well as Dwarves, metalworkers and the other things listed, I find the line ‘Many of his followers are architects, artisans of all stripes, or military planners. He is also popular among guards and city watchmen, who pray to him for protection’ in his description. There is lots of ways you can interpret that.
The same is true of the other deities – BUT I do expect you to be able to make a case for the philosophy and to be reasonably consistent in your interpretation of it.
Some obvious examples include: taverns and breweries for Cayden; schools, libraries or courthouses etc for Andoletta; defensive structures or sword-schools for Acavna; markets, banks and shops for Abadar; anything to support rural life for Erastil; natural things for The Green Faith. However, there are many other things that work just as well.
Placement can benefit the PC – for example Mother Beatrix supports Henry’s objectives and often builds in places that benefit them. Lutz Stigmar, has agreed to support House Aeris in their development and Brother Gandred is committed to Ringbridge and House Lebeda-Ondari’s estates and Maril will support developments in wilderness areas that are part of Old Keep.
I knew I had forgotten something! I need to add an extra cost for building in Prime Areas. For example, Tusk might charge 1bp per point of Building size for buildings inside the Inner Walls, and 0.5bp for buildings between the two walls.
Pharasma has become one of the chief deities in The Stolen Lands. Her faith is widespread and there are three different religious organisations dedicated to her and, as such, is probably overdue for consideration. According to the Pathfinder Wiki …
“The Lady of Graves”, Pharasma is the goddess who shepherds Golarion’s recently-departed souls to their final reward. Upon death, souls migrate via the River of Souls to Pharasma’s Boneyard in the Outer Sphere, which sits atop an impossibly tall spire that pierces the Astral Plane.Pharasma makes no decision on whether a death is just or not; she views all with a cold and uncaring attitude, and decides on which of the Outer Planes a soul will spend eternity. Pharasma is also the goddess of birth and prophecy: from the moment a creature is born, she sees what its ultimate fate will be, but reserves final judgement until that soul finally stands before her. As the goddess of death and rebirth, she abhors the undead and considers them a perversion.
However, there are many ways that her faith is interpreted by her priests in the mortal world and there is no overall Church of Pharasma that provides rules and guidance that must be followed. Each order or chapters of Pharasmin priests finds its own way to celebrate Pharasma’s philosophy, and finds the path that best suits them and their parishioners. However, there are a number of different ways that The Gray Lady might be honoured.
The great Pharasmin Cathedrals and Abbeys are often involved in the pomp and circumstance of faith, they spread the word and provide services based around birth and death, and form the touchstone of the Formal Faith. However, many support smaller community houses and Chantries, located in suburbs, towns and villages, that provide support to their local communities. After all, people are born, live and die the whole world over – not just in cities. However, the main abbey or Cathedral keeps a central record of Births and Deaths that have happened in their area of influence.
Many towns and villages have little more than a graveyard or shrine, or (in some cases) just a lone priest dedicated to the Lady of Graves, who may be the only clerical representative (of any faith) in a community. They still perform the core functions as a new soul is born into the world, and when they ‘travel on’ at the end of their days – however their register of Births and Deaths often includes entries on marriages and other important community events.
Sometimes, for the sake of the living, it is important to memorialize the dead – especially if the die far away from home or without a proper burial. Many people believe that while a departed soul is remembered, its path to the afterlife and its continued existence are made easier and more comfortable – and the priests of Pharasma encourage this belief. It might help the soul, but it certainly helps keep Pharasma in the minds of those left behind, and it often helps spread the faith. Most Chantry houses keep lists of their ‘patrons, and recite the names of the departed at least once a day, thereby ‘remembering’ the individual. Wealthier individuals pay to have a small plaque placed on a wall, or the departed one’s name inscribed in stone. The wealthiest might have a whole chantry dedicated to their noble family …
Priests of Pharasma abhor undead. In their eyes undeath breaks the Circle of Life and should be stamped out as quickly as possible. While most provide the basic Pharasmin services, but rather than being politically or Community focussed, the Militant Orders concentrate on the destruction of undead. Many junior priests serve as Crypt Guards, patrolling Crypts and Graveyards, searching out signs of undead infestations and trying to identify the potential source. Higher ranking priests deal with the infestation and actively search out undead, knowing that, once they have been destroyed, the Circle of Life will be re-established.
The Voices of the Spire are a good example of a Militant Order which is, like many others, led by an Inquisitor. Militant Orders often have their own Favoured Weapon, such as Maces or Flails, that are acceptable alternatives to the deity’s preferred weapon of a dagger. After all, a dagger is not a particularly effective weapon for the destruction of the undead.
Some orders believe that following a specific lifestyle, or philosophy, aids the soul in their afterlife. However, the philosophies vary widely from Order to Order but the Priests all seem to be in Pharasma’s grace (and receive their Spells/Powers) so it appears that Pharasma has no particular favourites amongst them.
Pharasma is an important Deity in The Stolen Lands game. She was introduced right from the start as the Patron Deity of Lord Henry (my main NPC) because I wanted a non-intrusive ‘church’ that I could use to support PCs as they grew. However, she also suited Henry’s family background and fits with my tendency to create True Neutral NPCs.
Order of the Soul Spiral
The Soul Spiral represents High Pharasmin and Community Pharasmin rolled into one. It is overseen by Abbess Beatrix leMaistre (NPC) who is the cousin Lord Henry leMaistre – The Ruler of Midmarch. Mother Beatrix runs the Order from her abbey in Tusk (The Regional Capital), there is a priory at Newgate and graveyards (or similar) in six other towns or villages. Initially funded by Lord Henry, The Soul Spiral is now self-sufficient, and its expansion is driven by income generated from its religious sites. While Mother Beatrix supports her cousin, her finances are separate from his.
The Order of the Soul Spiral offers all the ‘mainstream’ services that you would expect from a Pharasmin Order. Graveyards are always attended by a priest who records births and deaths as well as help with funeral services. Great Shrines, and larger buildings, all have graveyards or small crypts, and normally offer midwifery services as well. Rumours are that Mother Beatrix wants to add a chantry at Kunlun soon.
Body and Soul
Body and Soul is a philosophical order overseen by the Priest Ethankos. Unlike Pharasmin Penitence, Ethankos believes that all souls are judged equally by The Gray Lady, regardless of the suffering that they have undergone here on earth – and that the afterlife is influenced by the previous behaviour, rather than it’s suffering. As a man who enjoys life’s comforts, Ethankos is determined to share that delight in life with others. He understands that death is part of the Circle, but so is life – and life should be lived to the fullest, while you still have it.
Based from a Holy House in Fey Falls, Body and Soul already has an Eating House and Shrine in Kunlun, and expects to expand to other settlements soon.
A Militant Order?
Next comes the question of what a Militant Order dedicated to Pharasma should look like, from what I can see the various wiki descriptions are suitable vague and don’t have enough detail to base anything on. About the only thing of value is that the leader of The Voices of the Spire is an Inquisitor. However, there is already a militant order, of Iomedae, based in Tusk. Led by two ex-PCs it boasts a Holy House, a Sword School and a Library – the Holy House provides a religious base, the Sword School delivers the military training and the Library provides specialist knowledge on their roles in society (etc) and that seems like a reasonable model to follow.
Graduates from Iomedae’s Mission are mainly warriors with the Equerry Archetype with the very best going onto become Paladins.
However, that doesn’t provide a home for the two principal investors, and (since it became an NPC establishment) I have been managing it as a low income, slow growth type of organization. Its one foray outside of Tusk has been to build a watchtower with a shrine dedicated to Iomedae in Kunlun (the religious centre) for The Southern Region. Future plans only extend to building decent homes for the NPC principals – then it will be time to think again – however, expansion will always be basic and low income.
A Militant Order for Pharasma, with an Inquisitor at the head – could well follow the same structural lines – although as it will be home to a PC, it should probably be a Priory, Sword School and Library. Graduates might be warriors or, perhaps more suitably, Adepts with the Military Chaplain archetype – basically Adepts with better armour than most others – The best going on to become Inquisitors. Maces could be their ‘Favoured Weapon’ – it is usable by Adepts and Inquisitors – and fits well with the traditional (D&D style) undead killer. Even now the archetypical D&D weapon for hunting undead is a Mace of Disruption – and the Disruption Magic Weapon Ability, can only be placed on a bludgeoning weapon.
Expansion Paths for the order, should probably be Holy Houses with a watchtower attached – that generates an Income, has a Def Point to represent the Specialist Fighting Priests, but still gives Stab ad Loy bonuses to help the settlement owner keep everything in balance.
Recently I have been thinking about the way my campaign rules deal with trade and merchants. Up until recently, they have worked well – BUT all the developments have been internal, with traders and merchant houses developing internal and local trade routes. As soon as they started moving outside of the Midmarch/Tusk area and into cities ruled by NPCs (With their own agendas) the cracks started to show.
I was expecting to use an ‘Influence’ metric to manage external relationships, BUT that got to be very complicated to maintain. I was spending as long calculating influence, as I was on the rest of the system put together. I have played briefly with simpler systems, but have never quite managed to work out how I was going to use it in trade relationships, or even in general relationships. After all, the NPCs who run the external towns and cities have their own philosophies and agendas.
The two main settlements, available for external trade, are Restov and Mivon – both of which are CN, according to the city stats, but there are huge differences between them.
Mivon is controlled by nine major Aldori Houses, who vie for influence and control – they believe that they are the most important people in the city and that everything should revolve around them. The poorer parts of the city is run by three gangs, each worse than the last, and the Aldori don’t really care what goes on down there, so long as it doesn’t affect them. There are a couple of well established independent traders / trade houses – but not all that many. To deal with Mivon you have to find a way that benefits one of the major Aldori Houses and doesn’t upset the gangs or independents, or you bribe your way in.
V&A have managed that twice – once by cutting a deal with House Yitis – exchanging a Shallop for a Jetty in Tusk. House Yitis are not a Major house, nor are they associated with one. That only worked because no one needed authority from anybody to buy or sell a shallop. V&A negotiated the permissions in Tusk on behalf of House Yitis. (But Tusk is a very different kettle of fish, and is pretty much run by a LN cleric of Abdar).
The second time, V&A hired an ‘agent’ in Mivon, who managed the bribes, backhanders and authorities for them – which allowed them to buy a jetty on the Mivon waterfront, but it cost them a lot of money.
However, V&A still don’t have an agreement or any formal status with the city authorities or rulers.
Restov is heavily influenced by the Aldori, although they don’t control it. Restov has an active council – that represent (at least) three major faction and various minor factions – for example: the Duellist Faction has Aldori, Taldan and Modern Duellist representatives. But there are also Merchants and Priests (Abadar and Erastil) on the council, and the Lord Mayor is a merchant. The political outlook and philosophies are very different to Mivon.
There has been one development in Restov and that was for Lord Henry’s DELEM trading – but that is limited. While Restov is a city, DELEM only have permission to build a Town Base – even then they have been paying a higher rate to develop there than in Tusk/Midmarch.
It is worth noting that there are two senior council members who are associated with Merchant Houses of their own, so there is some resistance to other Merchant Houses building trade bases in the city.
There are a couple of other examples, BUT in each case there has been an advantage for the Town as well as for the Merchant House.
V&A have started to develop a base in Jovvox – but they got that by swapping a development in Tusk for a Jetty. Even then, they have been restricted to developing in a Hamlet outside the town walls (Jovvox is a small town with no plans to expand) and must ‘balance’ their investments. At best, V&A will be able to develop a Local Base.
DELEM have also expanded into Sway and Brundeston, both of which are developing settlements, and both want to be a stopping places on the main trade route between New Stetven and Restov. In both cases DELEM still paid a higher price for their developments and in both cases DELEM are restricted to how much they can build.
Each time a Merchant House has moved into a new settlement, there has been a negotiation of some sort.
Many settlements have protected their own interests with development (Restov, Jovvox, Sway and Brundeston).
Settlements who see some advantage for themselves have been charging about double and/or protecting their own interests. (Restov, Sway and Brundeston).
Settlements that don’t see an advantage for their rulers, make it even more difficult to develop there.
The only rules I have to define cost for building in external settlements are Taxes and the BP Exchange Rate.
Taxes & Profitability
Taxes are built into the system, and represent the overall ‘take’ generated by a business. Tax isn’t just collected from the business, but from all the associated businesses that are associated with the main development. For example a Leather Workshop supports Hunters & Farmers (skins), Foragers (collect tanning materials), Woodworkers (make frames/tubs) and all the other knock-on people supported by the main business. In the rules that is set at 0.2bp per campaign round tax income for the city administration. However, there is provision to vary the tax rate, which has a knock on effect for a business’s profitability.
I have already decided that Mivon has a higher tax rate, and profitability is reduced to 0.45bp per campaign round (instead of the 0.5bp in Tusk/Midmarch). A small difference, but one that has an effect on the rate a business can grow.
So the tax rate could be increased for other areas, and thus reduce profitability for a business. TBH, there is no reason why that rate has to be the same for every business in a city either. Although that needs some careful thought.
BP Exchange Rate.
The BP Exchange Rate defines the GP value of a development according to the size of settlement – property in a city is worth more than property in a small village. It also defines three types of business/investor – Outsider, Standard and Preferred, however those aren’t well-defined. See this table
Preferred Investors are the people who have influence in the settlement, or are favoured for some other reason – and they get a discount on all the fees and charges that are associated with gaining permission to develop. In Tusk/Midmarch that was defined as everyone who is a member of the Southern Chapter (originally The Midmarch Chapter), and the same concepts can be applied elsewhere. In Mivon, for example, that would be members of the major Aldori families and, perhaps, the lesser houses associated with them. In Restov, that might be councillors and their associates.
Standard investors are the guys who are well established in the settlement – such as the established trade houses, minor Aldori families and the Magic Merchant in Mivon. In Tusk, it might well be House Yitis or The Roths. In Restov it will be the lesser nobles or long-term traders who are already resident/committed to the settlement. OR – it might be outside investors where the settlement sees some benefit eg: DELEM in Brundeston and Sway.
Outsider, is literally anyone or any money that comes from outside the settlement, and doesn’t have an agreement with the Ruler/Council.
And this is where the new stuff starts …
So far I have reviewed what has happened and how I have interpreted the rules,
Not all developments are equal.
DELEM have had an agreement to build a Town Base in Sway – so they could make those investments at Standard Rate – BUT they have completed that build and their agreement has expired. Anything else they build there will be charged at outsider rate, if they were even allowed to go ahead with it. TBH, permission will probably be refused – except, perhaps, for some housing.
The same is true of Brundeston. DELEM had an agreement to build a Town Base, that has been completed. Separately they negotiated permission to build a Mercenary Barracks and a Mansion for the DELEM managers (Henry’s sister and her husband). Anything more than that will be in direct competition from the other permitted ‘Outsider’ development (inns for humans)– and the Dwarves themselves.
Brundeston likes to encourage humans through their town, particularly for trade, BUT they don’t want lots of them settling there. They want the town to stay Dwarf dominated.
But how to turn that into BP? Let’s say …
Preferred investors pay 0.5bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
Standard investors pay 1bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
Outside investors pay 1.5bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
Regardless of any other benefits the development brings.
Outside Investors are unlikely to get permission to build anything with defence points. Standard investors will have to make a case.
So, if I make a rule that profits can be moved between settlements at the published exchange rate.
V&A make a 1bp profit in Jovvox and moves it to Mivon.
Selling 1bp in Jovvox is worth 2250gp,
Buying in 1bp Mivon (at outsider rates) is 6875bp.
V&A can move approximately 1/3 of a BP from Jovvox to Mivon.
That means that V&A probably won’t want to invest too much into Jovvox – but will probably settle for a Local Base with a couple of fishing boats.
However, 1bp generated in Mivon is still worth 1bp – in Mivon. However, the business is less profitable (0.45 instead of 0.5) and boats are taxed (unlike Tusk/Midmarch). V&A’s growth in Mivon is going to be slow and steady, rather than meteoric.
NOTE: I am not trying to pick in V&A – just that it is the best example that I have to work through. The same rules will apply to everybody – including DELEM when they are developing abroad and foreigners investing in Midmarch. Tusk, of course, can set its own rules.
Some resources are portable, and can be moved between settlements (with permission) at no cost. Portable resources include Mercenary Soldiers, Mule Trains, Ox Trains, Caravan and all Vessels. However, there must be a ranch to train the animals or a Boatyard to build vessels.
Example: A shallop, brought in Tusk, costs 2bp – and can be sailed to Mivon – although there will still be a licence fee to pay when it arrives. However, that is a cheaper way to move resources between locations. (Note a shallop can be built in Tusk because Tusk has a boatyard. Jovvox does not build boats).
Soldiers are a special case. If you build a Mercenary Barracks in Newgate, you could move the troops anywhere else and be let with an empty building. You can either use the empty building as a tenement OR you can sell it as a tenement.
If you move troops to an existing building that can host troops (an empty watch tower in good condition) then that is free. If you move them to a completely new building, you get a 1bp discount for each Defence Point of troops you move.
I have become interested in games again! Last post was Scrymball – now it is a card came. It will probably be dice next! Yes, I am thinking of opening up a sports arena and gambling den in the city of Tusk! For me, one of the most important things is to keep the mechanics of the game simple, so that players get a quick turnaround – but to leave enough scope for players to RP around the side.
I am going to base the card game on Brag, a game that I played quite a lot in my youth. There are a number of variants, one allows continual betting, and (on occasion) I lost quite a lot (for me) of money like that. However, I am going to use a Fixed Stakes variant, as that keeps the rules and systems very simple. Players can RP side bets if they want to, but that is a different thing.
Basic Rules (Bragge)
Each player builds one (or more) hands of three cards. The one with the best hand wins, with hands ranked in the following way.
Three cards same suit in sequence
Three of a kind
Three cards of same rank
Three cards in sequence
Three cards same suit
Two cards of same rank
All cards in the hand add up to 31
None of the above
If two players have the same hand then the highest set wins. Ace high, suits are ranked as (high) Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs (low). Player work with the cards that they are dealt, they may not draw or buy extra cards. Jokers are wild, but natural hands always beat matching hands with wild cards. Drawn hands result in a re-deal.
For a flush – count the highest card first, suit second.
(9h, 5c, 3d) beats (9c, 5s, 3h)
The game is played with multiple decks that include jokers, and is dealt by a house dealer (which basically means we can cope with two players getting exactly the same card)
Five Card Bragge
Five Card Bragge is the basic game, it is quick, easy to play and can be used causally or for high stakes. It is probably the least skilful of the games described here.
Players make a secret roll on the RPoL Dice roller – to take five cards from the 54Card (with Jokers) pack. Players use their cards to make up the best hand they can.
Casual Stake: 1sp
Best hand wins.
Players may, of course, play for higher stakes among themselves. However, while the ‘casual stake’ is covered by Living Expenses, other stakes aren’t – make sure you have enough coin on your character sheet before you start the game.
Eight Card Bragge
This is a slower, longer running game, and can involve skill and strategy. It is well suited to a card game based RP session. Be really careful though, the overall pot can get quite high, if you are not playing for casual stakes.
Players make a secret roll on the RPoL Dice roller – to take eight cards from the 54Card (with Jokers) pack. Players use their cards to make up TWO hands of three cards each.
Casual Stake: 3x 1sp – Best hand, Second hand and Pot.
Players compare their ‘Best’ hands – The winner (best hand) wins the first stake.
Players then compare their ‘Second’ hand – The winner (best hand) wins the second stake
If the same player wins both hands, then they claim the overall pot. If the hands are shared, the pot rolls over to the next deal.
If there is a draw at any stage of the game, that particular stake, rolls over to the next deal. The rest of the round continues as normal.
NOTE: Players may make up their hands in any way they choose. However, one the choice has been made, they MUST play the best hand first.
Players may, of course, play for higher stakes among themselves. However, while the ‘casual stake’ is covered by Living Expenses, other stakes aren’t. – make sure you have enough coin on your character sheet before you start the game.
Pigs (dice game)
Object of the game: Score 100 points.
Equipment: Two D6 and a score card,
Start: Each player rolls two dice, highest score goes first. If it is a tie, they re-roll.
Each turn, a player repeatedly rolls two dice (D6) until either a 1 is rolled or the player decides to “hold”:
If the player rolls a 1 (on one of the dice) they score nothing, and it becomes the next player’s turn.
If two 1s are rolled, the player scores 20 points – but their turn ends and it becomes the next player’s turn.
If the player rolls any other number, it is added to their turn total and the player’s turn continues.
If a player chooses to “hold” (or double one is rolled), their turn total is added to their score, and it becomes the next player’s turn.
The first player to score 100 or more points wins.
Social Stakes: Loser pays the winner 1 sp Serious Stakes: Loser pays one silver piece for every point that they lose by.
Scrymball is an unsophisticated game, often played in military schools as a way of toughen up new recruits, but has become a favourite for inter unit competitions. It is a game of threes. The pitch is divided into three segments (known as thirds), the end-line is divided into three segments and the game is played in three sessions, also known as thirds.
At the start of play, each team starts behind their own ‘third’ line, with the ball placed on the centre spot. When the referee blows his whistle to start the teams rush forwards to try and get the ball, before their opponents do. The object of the game is straightforward. The attacking team (The team with the ball) score point by getting the ball across the end-line at the opposite end of the pitch. The defending team try to stop them, and to ‘steal’ the ball from them – this is known as a ‘turnover’.
The attacking team may throw, kick or run with the ball as they try to move it past the opponents’ end-line. The defending team tackle, wrestle or trip as they attempt to stop the attackers and steal the ball. Play continues with the other team attacking. At the end of the first ‘Third ‘of play, the referee blows their whistle, there is a short break and then play starts again – although the teams change ends (from the previous third).
If the ball passes the opponents end-line in the middle section, the attacking team score two points. In the outer section they score one point. Once a team has scored, the game is restated with both teams behind their own third-line with the ball on the centre spot – in the same way as the game and the other ‘Thirds’ are started.
The ball is round, made from stitched leather and filled with some sort of wadding. While kicking and throwing the ball are an integral part of the game, the ball doesn’t fly well and long passes are an exception, rather than a regular occurrence.
The team with the most points at the end of the game is declared the winner.
Teams are drawn from the city, town, individual or company’s military units. (i.e. Tusk, Newgate, Aeris Estates, Lodvoka-Sud, WSM). The game is played with three modified d20 rolls – one for each session. PCs are Team Owners, they may not nominate themselves as part of a team.
Making a team
The quantity and quality of your military forces gives the basic team stats and modifications.
Less than 5 Def Points = +0
5+ def points = +1
10+ def points = +2
20+ def points = +3
1+ Medium/Heavy troops = +1
10+ Medium/Heavy troops = +2
20+ Medium/Heavy troops = +2
Any team may have up to three star players, drawn from the team owner’s NPCs (Such as Entourages, Cohorts or Squires) that have a martial class. They must be a named NPC with an established character sheet. These bonuses are cumulative.
+1 for each Star Player who is level 5 or above.
+1 for each Star Player with a PC or Prestige class.
Resolution and Scoring
Each team rolls a modified D20 for each ‘third’ of play. (Three rolls per game) Each roll indicates how well the team played in that session of play.