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Author Topic: [PBP] Kingless Countries - WIP (Players wanted)  (Read 1678 times)
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« on: September 20, 2016, 09:12:52 AM »

Note

The inspirations for this PbP game are, in order: Republic Reborn, Civilization, and Crusader Kings II.
Welcome to the world of Arduenne.
Far from the reach of the great kingdoms and empires, nestled in the rich lands just north of the Tazian Sea, a vast patchwork of microstates – baronies, republics, democracies, and more – people the inlets and valleys of the so-called Kingless Countries.  You are one ruler among many, and your goal – through politics, diplomacy, and, if need be, pure force – is to ensure the longevity of your realm.

Master your realm
Whether you are the consul of a republic or the prince-elect of a constitutional monarchy, you are the master of your domain.  Your power balances on five factors – capital, authority, popularity, loyalty, and succession.  As the years go by, your goal is to consolidate your power and groom your heir.  You will be faced with a number of challenges, both from other players and the numerous non-player polities, and must navigate the complex intrigues and politics of the world of Arduenne.

Build alliances
Players are not obligated to cooperate, but it is highly recommended – the Kingless Countries are a treacherous place, and it is better to have more allies than enemies.  Although the Kingless Countries are renowned for their fierce independence, their strategic importance and relative wealth subject them to frequent invasions by foreign powers.  By building strategic pacts with both player and non-player powers, players increase their chances for survival.  

Make your fortune
Your realm is replete with natural resources, and your people are inclined to certain trades and profession.  You exert influence based upon the strength of your trade policies, the size of your private wealth, and the value of your realm’s natural resources.  By regulating trade and enforcing tax laws, you can enhance your realm’s economic power.  

Command your troops
Warfare in KINGLESS COUNTRIES can be highly perilous, but it can also be highly rewarding.  A wise commander knows when to wage war, and to what end.  Devise strategic goals and trust in the fates, or focus your resources on garrisoning your homestead.  Conquer the weak, invade your enemies, or defend your people – your ambition and your luck are your only limits.  

Behind the numbers
There are six values, known as Power Scores, that represent your character’s prestige and influence.  These abilities are described in detail below.

Capital (Cap)
Your economic power is represented by Capital.  When trade is good and your investments are profitable, your Capital score increases.  When your government runs high deficits or large expenditures are required, Capital may decline.  Capital can be used to buy and improve sources of income, to hire mercenaries and other courtiers, to build monuments and fortifications, and to fund social programs.  

Authority (Auth)
The abstract legislative, executive, and judicial powers wielded by a ruler are represented by Authority.  This score represents both the formal and informal control that a ruler has over their realm.  Rulers in less representative forms of government, such as autocracy, possess more inherent Authority over their realm, but other regimes may build authority over time.   Authority, along with Loyalty, is one of the two ability scores that determine the size of a ruler’s military; a ruler’s Authority determines the maximum number of brigades a ruler may raise.

Popularity (Pop)
The will of the common people should not be underestimated, and it is represented by Popularity.  A happy and well-fed population will rally behind its ruler in times of crisis, while a disliked ruler may find his realm subject to rioting and violence when times get tough.  The love of the people is a fickle thing, however, and Popularity is closely tied to the military and political success of the realm as a whole.  

Loyalty (Loy)
While Popularity measures the happiness of the people, Loyalty represents the satisfaction of society’s elites, particularly landowners and the military.  A ruler who inspires Loyalty will find himself surrounded by able ministers and ample soldiers, while a ruler with a low Loyalty score will be unable to raise armies without resorting to mercenary or tyrannical practices.  Loyalty is one of two Power Scores that determine the size of a ruler’s military, as it determines the maximum number of units within a ruler’s brigades.

Succession (Suc)
Rulers come and go, and realms rise and fall.  To be truly successful, a ruler must be able pass down power to a designated successor.  In KINGLESS COUNTRIES, the ability of a ruler to pass down his power to a chosen person is represented by Succession.  When a ruler’s reign comes to an end, either voluntarily, by political or military means, or by natural causes, a player may make a Succession Bid to continue playing.  The longer a ruler grooms a designated heir and the higher the Succession score, the greater the chance the player will be able to stay in the game.

How to play

Note

This is a new system.  By participating as a player, you agree and understand that the game is in an "alpha testing" mode, and you are effectively a playtester.  Rules may be changed or tweaked as appropriate to fix game balance issues.  I will, of course, try to keep this to a minimum.
KINGLESS COUNTRIES is a multiplayer play-by-post experience.  Each “round” of the game represents a season of in-world time, and four seasons constitute a year.  Each season is divided into three phases: the Action Phase, the Order Phase, and the Event Phase.  

During the Statement Phase, players are free to roleplay their characters through statements, for example, speeches, letters, and proposing new laws.  During this time, other players are free to react to events their characters would reasonably be privy to (subject to Game Master approval).  As in similar games (such as Republic Reborn), this phase is the heart of the game and, frankly, one of the most fun.

As the inimitable Polycarp said in Republic Reborn:

Polycarp

Statements, to me, are the heart of this game.  Statements are how you bring your character to life, and how you interact with other players in the game.  I encourage you to be creative and expressive, and to make as many statements as you feel like making.  The more a character says, the more we learn about that character, and the more colorful the game is.

Statements can have an impact on your orders.  You can say that your character is going to raise a mob in your orders, but if you give us a stirring in-character speech intended to raise a mob, it might help your chances of success.  Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re a great writer; it’s the creativity and effort that matter to me, not your technical writing skill.

You can also use statements to give us stories, vignettes, descriptions, flavor text, and so on if you feel so inclined – I always welcome creative prose.  I may even try and find a way to use it in a future update.  To distinguish prose from actual things your character says and writes, please put it in italics.

Source: Republic Reborn thread.  


The Game Master may also choose to interact with the players during the Statement Phase, and may even pose specific questions or problems for the player to solve via letters, petitions, or in-character conversations.  

During the Order Phase, players put their realms into motion by issuing commands, finalizing policies, and making financial decisions.  This is the phase where players post their ruler’s intended course of action for the remainder of the season.  The more care that the player puts into their Orders, and the closer those Orders match the Prestige available to the player, the greater the likelihood of success.  Warfare, in particular, is instigated in the Order Phase, and a detailed outline of strategic goals may enhance a player’s likelihood of success.  (See Warfare section below.)

Finally, during the Event Phase, the Game Master processes the player’s Statements and Orders and determines their success.  If a particularly urgent crisis or occasion arises during the season, the Game Master may also create a Special Event, which serves as a micro-round, where a player’s Statements and Orders will heavily influence in the outcome of the event.

Getting started
Once I’ve finished posting the setting background and rules (over the next couple of days) and the number of interested players is established, I will post a blank map with pre-determined political subdivisions.  Players will then choose their territories (the order will be randomly rolled), without knowing what natural resources the territory possesses..  This is to prevent players at the top of the order from automatically selecting, say, a territory with gold deposits.  Each territory will have resources known to its inhabitants, but they will all also have an unknown resource that your ruler may discover during the course of the game.

The next step will be choosing your starting government type.

More on this as the number of players becomes clearer.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 04:14:18 PM by Elven Doritos » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 09:14:06 AM »

Warfare
Warfare in KINGLESS COUNTRIES can either be Player-vs-Player (PvP) or Player-vs-Enemy (PvE).  During a ruler’s Order phase, a player may Levy, Hire, or Conscript an army (More on how these mechanics will function will be added later).  They may also Deploy or Marshal existing forces, or order a Retreat or Surrender if necessary.  A ruler may then Disband his brigades, or keep a Standing Army.

Forces are broken into Brigades and Units.   A ruler’s maximum number of Brigades are determined by its Authority score, while the maximum number of Units is determined by Loyalty.  Regardless of a ruler’s Loyalty score, a Brigade can never have more than 10 units.

To engage in combat, a ruler must devise a Strategy.  This Strategy is a specific Order that outlines what goals the military action is intending to accomplish, and how the ruler intends to accomplish them.  

Note

There are a lot of numbers in this section.  This is all handled in an Excel spreadsheet, which I will run and then post the results of with season updates.   I will also interpret the results based on a player’s Order Phase and strategic goals, and provide a narrative of how the season’s campaign occurred.  If warranted, a Special Event might also be created to give the player a chance to effect the outcome.  

Realistic combat is not the goal of this game and the combat mechanic is heavily streamlined.  Think of it as the board game Risk combat on steroids (and a tad bit less unfair)– thousands of d6 dice are rolled, but a wildcard Tactical Conditions Roll gives smaller armies a chance of achieving smaller victories against overwhelming odds.

Battle Score
A ruler’s Battle Score is determined through the following formula:

([# of Brigades] x [# of Units])d6 x (Tactical Conditions Roll [(1d20/10)+1]), rounded to the nearest whole integer.

Example:  Roland raises 6 brigades of 6 units each (6b6u).  6 x 6 = 36, so Roland rolls 36d6.  

We’ll say for the sake of example he rolled a 2 on every roll, totaling 72.  He then rolls a 3 on his Tactical Conditions Roll, indicating he has a relatively low tactical advantage.  3/10 = .3, +1 is 1.3.  Roland then multiples 72 by 1.3, for a total Combat Score of 94.

The two combatants’ Battle Scores are then compared to determine the victory.  Depending on the margin of difference between the Battle Scores, one of the following results is possible:

Strategic Victory
Margin: 1000+
Result:  Absolute defeat of enemy forces, resulting in surrender or destruction of enemy forces.  Conclusion of campaign with extremely favorable result to victor.  Potential degradation of enemy’s ability to wage war.  ++Auth, ++Loy.

Decisive Victory
Margin: 750 to 999
Result:  Likely conclusion of campaign, or at least major turning point, with favorable terms proposed to victor.   The enemy must retreat from the territory.  +Auth, ++Loy.

Major Victory
Margin:  500 to 749
Result:  Strong boost to morale and possible offer of settlement.  The enemy may retreat from the territory.  +Auth, +Loy.

Minor Victory
Margin: 250 to 499
Result:  Infliction of damage to opponent’s forces.  The enemy may choose to retreat from the territory.  +Loy.

Stalemate
Margin: -249 to 249
Result: An inconclusive season of campaigning, with neither side gaining ground.

Minor Defeat
Margin: -250 to -499
Result:  A loss of troops and morale.  -Loy

Major Defeat
Margin: -500 to -749
Result:  The foe inflicts severe damage to your army.  -Auth, -Loy.

Decisive Defeat
Margin: -750 to -999
Result:  The enemy has severely reduced your military capacity.  --Auth, --Loy.
Crushing Defeat
Margin: -1000+
Result:  The bulk of your army has been destroyed.  Your remaining forces have all but deserted you.  ---Auth, ---Loy.

Occupation
When a ruler repels an enemy force from a territory that is not their own (either through a Decisive Victory or Strategic Victory), that ruler’s army may then attempt to Occupy the territory.  Occupation requires at least 1 Brigade to remain in the territory.  An Occupying Force is treated as a garrison, but is not granted a homestead advantage.  A ruler may also attempt to Annex an Occupied territory (see “Annexation” below).

Annexation
A ruler may Annex an occupied territory.  Annexation increases the ruler’s Authority by 5 points.  After 4 seasons, the Annexation is considered successful if no further battles occur within the territory (either due to outside invaders or an uprising/revolution event).  A battle in the Annexed territory restarts the 4-season Annexation period.  At the conclusion of the Event Phase of the fourth season after an Annexation, the territory becomes part of the occupying ruler’s realm and the ruler receives any benefit or penalty from its resources, industries, and improvements.

Costs
There is a resource cost of 1 Capital per 5 Brigades for every season the Brigade is formed and outside the ruler’s territory (a territory being Annexed is considered an outside territory for calculating the resource cost).  Brigades within a ruler’s territory, even those fighting defensive campaigns, do not incur this cost. This cost may increase in periods of famine or when supply lines become difficult to maintain.

Brigades may move through up to 2 territories per season.  If every territory is connected via roads, Brigades may move up to 4 territories per season.

Base stats by government type (More on this later)
Autocracy
Base stats:
Capital: 4
Authority: 7
Popularity: -3
Loyalty: 5
Succession: -1
Sample titles:  Princess/Prince, Duchess/Duke, Dictatrix/Dictator, Autokrata/Autokrator, Lady/Lord, Consul, General, Colonel, Majordomo

When supreme power is wielded solely by the ruler, the resultant government is an Autocracy.  Many autocracies bear the trappings of other governments, such as a monarchy or republic, but this is nothing more than a façade; in truth, the realm and ruler are indistinguishable from one another.

A ruler of an autocracy is known as an autocrat.  Autocrats are not typically beloved by their people, and an autocrat must work especially hard to curry the favor of the populace.  Since autocrats are among the most tyrannical of governments, there is a high risk of civil unrest in a realm with such a government.  Often, this creates a vicious cycle of violence, as autocrats must continually suppress their dissidents, which inevitably creates further dissatisfaction, spawning more dissidents.  Autocrats often rule through sheer force, employing brutal military tactics to keep their subjects in line.

Because ultimate decision-making power rests with the ruler, an autocracy can respond more rapidly than other governments to a crisis that directly affects the ruler’s interests.  The government is largely inefficient, however, and fails to address the concerns of those who do not benefit directly from the ruler’s patronage.  Advisors are often sycophants, too afraid to give earnest counsel for fear of offending their benefactor.

Constitutional Monarchy
Base stats:
Capital: 3
Authority: 5
Popularity: 1
Loyalty: 5
Succession:  4
Sample titles:  Princess/Prince, Duchess/Duke, Countess/Count, Baroness/Baron, Lady/Lord

A Constitutional Monarchy is a realm government that vests many important functions in a single ruler, called the monarch.  Unlike an Autocracy, however, a ruler in a Constitutional Monarchy does not rule alone, with a division of power between the ruler and his social subordinates.

The most common division of power is that the ruler retains certain judicial and executive functions, while the minor nobility exercises a legislative franchise.  The nobility will likely form a body, sometimes called a parliament, congress, council, court, chamber, or chancery, which seeks to advise the monarch on legislative matters.  A ruler with greater authority and loyalty may find that the legislature acts primarily as an extension of her or his will; however, a deeply disliked ruler may find that resistance among the privileged class is high for even uncontroversial proposals.  

Importantly, a Constitutional Monarchy is distinguishable from an Elective Monarchy in that a Constitutional Monarchy's rulers are self-selected by a predetermined method, such as primogeniture hereditary succession (the first born son inherits the throne).  Elective Monarchy requires the affirmation of the aristocracy for a ruler to succeed, tying that ruler's base of power much more closely to the nobility.  

The extent to which the constitutional arrangement addresses the interests of commoners can greatly affect the popularity of the regime.  

Elective Monarchy
Capital: 3
Authority: 4
Loyalty: 4
Popularity: 2
Succession: 0



Plutocracy
Capital: 6
Authority: 2
Popularity: -2
Loyalty: 1
Succession: 3

Although many rulers are rich, a Plutocrat rules through wealth, and the regime's primary purpose is to advance the interests of the wealthy few.  This extreme concentration of power in the hands of rich elites is highly unpopular, as it has a reputation for breeding corruption, abuse, and mismanagement.  Nevertheless, Plutocracies exist for a reason, as power and money often go hand-in-hand.

Plutocracies rarely proclaim themselves openly, as a monarch or republican official might.  Typically, a successful Plutocracy requires the edifice of a different regime, and may bear all the trappings of a different government form (such as Constitutional Monarchy or Republic).  This illusion exists largely as a legal pretext, however, and both the nominal rulers and citizens of a Plutocracy are fully aware of how much power is held, albeit unofficially, by the Plutocrats.  

A Plutocrat may avoid titles altogether, or may accept an indirect, ceremonial title, such as "Matron of the Republic," "Guardian of the People," or "Custodian of the Realm."  Regardless, the Plutocrat exercises a high degree of control over nearly every aspect of government, so long as they maintain their wealth and prestige.

Democracy
Capital: 1
Authority: 1
Popularity: 5
Loyalty: 6
Succession: -3

Democracy, known as "rule of the people," permits the widest franchise of government types - every citizen is given a voice in how the realm is governed.  Democracy may either be direct, in which all legislative matters are put to a popular vote, or indirect or representative, in which the people elect their representatives, but may retain certain powers, exercised by plebiscite or popular assembly.

Democracies are renowned for their volatility, particularly when contentious issues cause factions to form.  Although power is technically vested in the entire citizenry,  in reality the majority opinion wins out in questions of policy.  This leads to detractors terming Democracy as "mob rule," although a given Democracy might institute certain limited protections to ensure the rights of all citizens. 

Democracies elect a representative to execute the will of the popular assembly or the legislative body.  Such leaders might be called a President, Chancellor, Governor, Tribune, or Consul, but the title varies from realm to realm.

Republic
Capital: 3
Authority: 3
Popularity: 3
Loyalty: 4
Succession: 2

A Republic is a realm which respects a civil constitution balancing the interests of multiple social classes.  This constitution may be written or unwritten, but nevertheless a certain degree of power-sharing exists between moneyed elites, lesser landowners, and the common citizenry.  The degree to which these interests are balanced and delegated is typically an ongoing project of a given Republic, and the participation of a particular class may change in time as their economic and social power ebbs or flows.

Successful Republics hold elections to certain political offices, although not all residents of a realm may be eligible to participate, depending on the constitution of the Republic.  No individual person holds supreme power, but a head of state is selected, either by popular vote, legislative consent, military acclaim, or some other constitutionally-mandated protocol, who embodies and executes the will of the Republic as a whole.  This individual may be called a Prince, a President, a Chancellor, a Governor, a Consul, a Seneschal, or any number of other titles.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 04:52:03 PM by Elven Doritos » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 09:14:15 AM »

Reserved.
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 09:14:21 AM »

Reserved.
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 09:14:27 AM »

Reserved.
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 03:37:42 PM »

Wow. Count me in.
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 08:37:11 PM »

Count me in as well!
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 02:46:31 PM »

Welcome aboard you two!  I added some basic outline information for how combat and the base stat packages will be assigned.  I'll add some more detail in the next couple of days and then I'll post the economic mechanics.

My goal is to have the bulk of the mechanics up by the end of the week and the setting background (this will be very basic initially, and players will have a decent amount of leeway in picking and choosing their own form of government, their character's personal history, and some of the details of their realm's history).  Ideally I'd like to be started by the end of next week, but that depends on how many players we get and if life and law school intervene!
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 06:18:07 PM »

Count me in with a definite maybe, time permitting. A few thoughts and critiques on the crunch and game so far:

You talk about the "Action Phase" but then call it the "Statement Phase." Are these the same thing?

I don't really like the idea of selecting territories without knowing what's in them. It seems like it's choosing somewhat blind, especially since (at least at this point) we don't really know much about the terrain or anything so it's difficult to really be able to say anything about what's on the map. While having more information might give some advantage to the player who chooses first, this could be mitigated from a game design perspective by ensuring that the territories were "balanced," at least somewhat. Fluff-wise, it would also let players add more color to their nations-- if I want to play a tribe of hardy mountain men known for their iron-forging, I'd want a territory that I knew had mountains and iron in it.

I'm also not so sure about the succession mechanic, from a gameplay perspective. It seems like the ease of succession could be inferred from the stability of one's government, so maybe a Stability stat would be more worthwhile to have, in general. But, even if you wanted to keep it a separate stat, I don't think having a condition where a player can be kicked out of the game is necessarily a good idea. I'm not sure how Crusader Kings works, but in Victoria, if your government gets overthrown by fascists or something you still get to keep playing, you just have to adapt your play style to the new system of government. I get the sense that this is more of a collaborative story than a competitive game, so having to adapt (and probably even changing your main character to a different leader with a different personality) seems more fun than a definite "lose" condition.

When you're rolling lots and lots of dice for combat, the bell curve tends to flatten out considerably, with outlying values pretty much never coming up. If you see this as a feature, you may want to consider using a different die to let players consider their options more intuitively. Since a computer is going to be rolling all the dice anyway, it doesn't have to match real polyhedra, and a d6's average of 3.5 makes quick estimates kind of hard. As an example, a zero-based d5 has a range of 0-4, and an average of 2, so a player's average roll is simply double their strength.

I would like more information on the different government types and what sort of effects it has on your ability to do things, but I assume that's forthcoming. smile
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 07:17:46 PM »

sparkletwist

Count me in with a definite maybe, time permitting. A few thoughts and critiques on the crunch and game so far:

You talk about the "Action Phase" but then call it the "Statement Phase." Are these the same thing?

Yes!  Accidental inclusion from a previous draft.  Will revise!  “Statement Phase” is the official name.

sparkletwist

I don't really like the idea of selecting territories without knowing what's in them. It seems like it's choosing somewhat blind, especially since (at least at this point) we don't really know much about the terrain or anything so it's difficult to really be able to say anything about what's on the map. While having more information might give some advantage to the player who chooses first, this could be mitigated from a game design perspective by ensuring that the territories were "balanced," at least somewhat. Fluff-wise, it would also let players add more color to their nations-- if I want to play a tribe of hardy mountain men known for their iron-forging, I'd want a territory that I knew had mountains and iron in it.
This is a fair point.  Another thought I had is that going first, while letting you pick your resources, gives you less opportunity to choose your neighbors, which could be equally if not more advantageous for those later in the order.  Late-coming players will also have the opportunity to choose less blindly than others (with some GM fiat involved to make it jive in-world), so I’ll be ditching the randomness I think and giving some more detail before the rolls and selections.  Conceded!

sparkletwist

I'm also not so sure about the succession mechanic, from a gameplay perspective. It seems like the ease of succession could be inferred from the stability of one's government, so maybe a Stability stat would be more worthwhile to have, in general. But, even if you wanted to keep it a separate stat, I don't think having a condition where a player can be kicked out of the game is necessarily a good idea. I'm not sure how Crusader Kings works, but in Victoria, if your government gets overthrown by fascists or something you still get to keep playing, you just have to adapt your play style to the new system of government. I get the sense that this is more of a collaborative story than a competitive game, so having to adapt (and probably even changing your main character to a different leader with a different personality) seems more fun than a definite "lose" condition.

Succession is something I’ve given the least forethought to, despite it being one of the first mechanics I had wanted to include when I was drafting the game.  Stability is already handled by a balance of Tyranny, Popularity, and Loyalty (which, not to become a bore, I will get into later), so maybe this mechanic can be ditched or replaced with something better.  Maybe Influence, a modifier for diplomatic relations.  Conceded!

sparkletwist

When you're rolling lots and lots of dice for combat, the bell curve tends to flatten out considerably, with outlying values pretty much never coming up. If you see this as a feature, you may want to consider using a different die to let players consider their options more intuitively. Since a computer is going to be rolling all the dice anyway, it doesn't have to match real polyhedra, and a d6's average of 3.5 makes quick estimates kind of hard. As an example, a zero-based d5 has a range of 0-4, and an average of 2, so a player's average roll is simply double their strength.

I like this, so 0-4 it is!  It’s all a RANDBETWEEN function anyway.  (To everyone else: Dice! They’re dice. Gamers love dice!)

sparkletwist

I would like more information on the different government types and what sort of effects it has on your ability to do things, but I assume that's forthcoming. smile

But of course!  And other government types, if requested, can be considered – for example, Theocracy.  (I have to tease out the way religion works first though!) Maybe another mechanic – Piety, and a choice to align with one of a few different religious factions.

Edits in the morning!
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 07:34:08 PM »

I noticed that the values on the government types don't seem to add up and I was wondering if this was deliberate or just an oversight?
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2016, 07:44:41 PM »

Rhamnousia

I noticed that the values on the government types don't seem to add up and I was wondering if this was deliberate or just an oversight?

Good question!  Deliberate, and the flavor text will discuss why the government types aren't all superficially balanced, at least in a numeric sense.  (Recall also that Tyranny is subtracted from the rest).  Autocracy, for example, provides a firecracker military with its high Authority and Loyalty, but sucks at just about everything else - this is, as will be discussed, because Autocracy is generally a less efficient form of government within KINGLESS COUNTRIES.  It has a high level of tyranny, and is not well-beloved by those who do not benefit directly from it.  So, in short, this is designed to address the principle that particular governments are more or less "efficient" in balancing the interests of the ruler, elites, and the populace as a whole, and the relative success of that form of government in balancing those factors.

In addition, high values in "harder" stats, such as Auth/Loy or Capital - are given a heavier weight, albeit in an "eyeball" fashion rather than a strict point-buy system, since having the ability to field a larger military early in the game may appeal to some players, or buying more improvements and developments right off the bat to jumpstart the economy, but players interested in more stable forms of government are incentivized to pick the higher-point-total forms.

I'll revisit this issue as I consider the role of succession!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 07:57:10 PM by Elven Doritos » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 09:07:22 PM »

I would love to give this a go if you'll have me. What is the flavor of the roleplay? Medieval?
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 11:08:49 PM »

One option to help fill out the map is for (potential) players to start brainstorming ideas of the kinds of nations they might like to play as and what might be found therein, so that could help determine what territory is what. Rejected ideas could become NPCs. From a purely simulationist standpoint this is doing it backwards, of course, but collaborating on the world-building seems like part of the fun of this sort of thing.
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 11:29:36 AM »

sparkletwist

One option to help fill out the map is for (potential) players to start brainstorming ideas of the kinds of nations they might like to play as and what might be found therein, so that could help determine what territory is what. Rejected ideas could become NPCs. From a purely simulationist standpoint this is doing it backwards, of course, but collaborating on the world-building seems like part of the fun of this sort of thing.

I completely agree with this.

There is, perhaps, a way to balance each player's backgrounds so as not to elevate a specific player above the others. A system of kingdom generation, where you'd get to choose your own rare and more common resources, demographics and geographic features. Obviously, we would need a base on which to our creation must be founded. That would be climate and base geography. This whole region covered in your map; is it mountainous, desert, steppes, tundra? How's the weather, generally? Where are the big lakes and the rivers? What about the land that surrounds it, and the major powers that call these lands their home?

If it was a mountainous area in a temperate climate, maybe we'd find iron and silver, enough game to allow a moderate population size to thrive and leather. If it was tundra, good fur and leather could be found, as well as diamond deposits, but the population would certainly be much lower in size than where game and agriculture is strong and abundant.
The point is, depending on the overall climate and geography, there'd be a set number of rare resources, common resources and, depending on these, a trade-off to determine an individual province's population size. This would allow us to help you in the creative process, and perhaps speed this up a little bit.

Concerning the government types offered and the stats attributed to them, I think that for a game which seems intent on allowing a lot of freedom when it comes to diplomacy and social/public policy, the choices now offered are thin and look set in stone. I think that instead of defining a type of government, you should merely stick to statistics and let the different players the freedom to call themselves and their peers whatever they want. They would of course supply their first background with details as to how the government machine works (i.e ruled by a strongman and his goons, ruled by some sort of council, ruled by a prominent priest of the faith, etc). It just seems to me that defining too much in whatever that implicates politics and power plays is a farce because power itself is in constant flux, shifting from one hand to another, from one place to the next, as circumstances dictates. There are tyrants (tyrannos) in history who've enjoyed immense popularity, either with a segment of the population or its entirely. Tyrant was merely a word, like king, to define a ruler. As history unfolded, the term became corrupted, especially by the Romans, even though they themselves plunged deep into the follies of tyranny during the Empire. (Caligula naming his horse Consul and ordering his troops to slash at the water in his war against Poseidon; Elagabalus having no care whatsoever for his people and instead indulging in orgies and a foreign worship; countless Roman emperors suppressing the senatorial class; the persecution of minorities like the Jews and the Christians; etc.)

And the last point, Tyranny. In my mind, this comes as a worthless statistic because it can easily be represented by the mix of Authority, Popularity and Loyalty. A tyrant will have an incredibly high Authority score, but his Popularity and Loyalty score are likely to be and remain low, if not decrease, even. A democratic type of government is likely to maintain a low or medium Authority score, but the Popularity and Loyalty scores of such a government would skyrocket, because the people have a stake and most people don't like to be wrong, so they'll keep supporting those they put in power unless something terrible happens. This brings me to link this point to that of government types.
For example, Stephen Harper in Canada went from being a very minor force to a major one, his promises to build pipelines and rape the country's natural resources for quick mega-bucks pleased Albertans who were themselves restrained by previous Liberal governments. At the beginning, he definitely enjoyed the full backing of his supporters, but since he couldn't deliver on his promise even after 10 years in power, 4-5 of which he was blessed with a majority government (which gives a Canadian Prime Minister absolute power if he can whip his caucus properly), they withdrew their support and removed him from power. In the meantime, during his majority government, he removed freedoms, built prisons which the Canadian people did not need, and broke with a tradition of Canada to remain as neutral as possible in conflicts that erupt around the globe and sided fully and blindly with Israel. This was the final nail in his coffin; as he became more authoritarian and less democratic, he lost power.
What I'm trying to explain with this is, as in the example, governments often change the workings of their machine to suit the leader's style. It makes a lot of sense, but that means you cannot define a government as you are trying to in this game. We could say, for instance, that X kingdom traditionally was ruled by a monarch, and that they repeatedly emptied the pockets of their subjects using force and other cruel means, but today that kingdom was inherited by the latter's son, and he has a gentle soul and has begun reforms to democratise the government in order to refuel the ruling machine with much needed popular support.
I hope I make sense?

Maybe I have another comment, this one is about succession. I've played countless hours of Crusader Kings 2. The succession mechanic in that game is pretty cool. Time advances much faster in Crusader Kings, however, so it's more pertinent, but still a lot of inspiration can be drawn from that game and could probably be used as a focal point for anything internal policy-related for individual provinces in this game.

Additionally, I understand I was first to voice my interest, but I'm not -necessarily- interested in having a first-come-first-serve type of favour as to when it comes to choose which territory I will take possession of.

My question is: how do you plan for us to make that choice? Will it be first-come-first-serve? We send you pictures and the most beautiful chooses first? We roll dice, aka exploit sparkbot, in IRC and send you a screenshot and then the highest number chooses first?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 11:45:37 AM by Magnus Pym » Logged


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