Archive for June, 2002


June 24, 2002


The accompanying question is, What is missing from this list?

I’ve posted the Birthright list of actions for reference. Which of these are reasonable choices to keep, and which can be removed? More importantly, what needs to be added?

While we were working on the URBAN game, Joe and I had some debates about the magic system. We were attempting to create a system like that in DQ, with multiple colleges of magic, but with a kit-of-parts kind of spellcasting, where you could put together different elements to create your spells. For example, “Conjure Fire Propel” which would give you a fireball. (It would also give you a flamethrower, or a firebolt, or anything else similar).

I felt that what we had was far too limited, which I likened to having a box with only 8 crayons, rather than the big box of 64. All the subtlety and nuance was lost because magic was reduced to a few large, crude strokes. Yes, you can create any color by mixing the colors you have, but there is a better starting point if you have more choices. There’s more ‘in-between’ with a larger starting set, more variations and possibilities.

On the other hand, DQ has less than a dozen skills (omitting weapons & magic), but there’s a lot of flexibility within that form. D&D did it with just four classes for years. And GURPS is worthless, with a skill for every niddling little thing. It seems to flatten everything out (though I’ve never played GURPS, so that is mostly an outside observation).

The list of possibilities needs to be larger than the player’s designs. The list needs to be broader than what one player can maintain or accomplish. (You cannot be a Fighter/Magic-User/Cleric/Thief.) But at the same time, it needs to be broad enough that it carries a sense of empowerment, and that the possibilities can be encompassed with some assistance. A character with a couple of skills in DQ has things that he can do, even if he doesn’t do them very well, yet.

Mostly, I think that the list needs to serve to engage the imagination and to suggest the possibilities of the things that this character will be able to do.

Birthright allows you to do only three Actions a realm-turn. This limits the scope and the interest, at least to some extent.


June 23, 2002

BIRTHRIGHT Master List of Actions

Adventure – character adventures
Agitate – increse or decrease target province loyalty
Build – roads, bridges, etc.
Contest – Contest a holding or province
Create Holding – creates a holding (0)
Declare War – allows regent to move armies into foreign lands
Decree – (minor catch all: raise GB w/ tariff, inflicy penalty on aother’s action, minor event, etc.)
Diplomacy – Create or break alliance, open trade agreement, etc.
Disband – Disband army unit
Espionage – Reveal troop movements/positions, investigate plots and intrigues, etc.
Finances – convert personal wealth to GB
Forge Ley Line – magic
Fortify – Create or improve castle
Grant – Dispense largesse, titles, patronage, etc.
Hold Action –
Investiture – Arrange transfer or succession
Lieutenant – Creates a lieutenant
Move Troops – within domain
Muster Armies – create new armies
Ply Trade – Character uses personal skills
Realm Spell – magic
Research – magic spell or create item
Rule – increase level of province or holding
Trade Route – create trade
Training – increase proficiency


June 19, 2002

One of the things which needs to be looked at is how to keep the attention system from overwhelming the experience system. In some of the online games if I want to as a character I can spend all of my time making shields then come back later and see a huge stockpile of shields to sell. this is something I want to avoid. it may be that attention calls would make a character fall further and further behind rather than make them a lot of money.


June 19, 2002

The point of the metagame is twofold: to build a world around the characters in which they must make decisions about what to do. and to provide a secondary gaming experiance for a group of friends who were interested in those aspects of the world.

I’m not surethat the two different levels can or should be played simultaneously. especially when one player has a vested interest in the outcome at different levels. Mabee that’s not so bad after all.

Attention was considered to be a part of the base game expressed on the Metagame level. Both facilitating and restricting those thinfgs a character can do between sessions. It also gave the characters a reason to do some things.


June 6, 2002

So this is a nice conceit, but does it really do anything in terms of gamability? I’m not so sure. This idea needs more consideration.


June 5, 2002

Increasing the constabulary in the city.

Wetz. can either ask his friend the Lord Constable to increase the force (which takes personal effort, but does not go through official chanels), or he can send a Mayoral directive through the Office of the Mayor (which does not require personal resources, but involves others).

Taken to another level, Fred the Bishop wants the constabulary increased. Fred has no direct control over Wetz. or over the Lord Constable. Fred has no connection (formal or informal) to the Lord Constable, so he cannot expect success by just asking the LC. He can, however, use his informal connection to the Mayor (Wetz.) to suggest that the constabulary be incresed. (This could be done as a quid pro quo in exchange for some other benefit to Wetz. from the Bishop, or he might bank it as a favor to be repaid later.) Favors should be banked as assets which a character or NPC can call on as needed.


June 4, 2002

Is the focus on Attention really important to the base game? Maybe the integration with an RPG can address this, but the basic version should deal with administration and strategy at a character-driven level. That is to say, it deals with an individual in a nexus of power, and their operation of that nexus.

In that way, the mechanic of even making Titles act as NPCs takes on an interesting cast.

Let’s say that Wetzelberger is the Mayor of Y.

Rather than that office changing the character of Wetzelberger by providing benefits A, B and C, (ie. Wetzelberger now has powers A, B and C), instead, Wetzelberger acquires the responsibilities and duties of the Office of the Mayor. When he wants to use a power of his office, such as A, B or C, he has to exercise that power through the office.

This needs a good example to explain it. I’ll work on that…


June 3, 2002

A couple of links pertaining to Fibonacci sequence and urban size.

I’ve been using the Fibonacci sequence to rank size of cities. Each subsequent Fibonacci number is the next cutoff point in size hierarchy.

City size/Power Factor number is based on its Fibonacci ordinal
ie population of 144 = Fib 12
233 = Fib 13
377 = Fib 14

17711 = Fib 22
28657 = Fib 23


June 3, 2002

Placeholder for the start.

Blog to discuss and compile rules for the MetaGame. If this starts to take the form of a real game, pieces can be pulled out and saved into a more rules-like format at a website somewhere. Eventually, some links for similar games and useful resources will be added, too. For now all is default.

Some early topics for discussion could include:
– Characters. Who are the PCs and what do we want them to be? Should they be rulers of great lands, or aristocratic nobles with titles and positions (courtiers in a ruler’s court), or even lower classes (soldiers and guildsmen and the like)? How scalable should the game be? (Should it extend from guild captains in a town up to kings and emperors, or is there a narrower targeted level at which it is appropriate toplay this game?) Is there anyone a character cannot (or should not) be {peasant, slave, etc. – I would think so}? What parts of the character do we want to address in the game? (What stats for a character should we include – if any?) Should it be possible to overlay this on another game, so that it could be used with a C&S campaign or with a D&D campaign or any other game.

– Setting. I like the anti-magical approach. Deal with it as a pure political game, and let the other elements be introduced by others. Does the game require a historical period to be built in? Can it span from Mesopotamia to Colonial America, or does it need more internalized structure?

– NPCs. What are they and how do they function. This is obviously an important part of the game, and needs to have a large chunk of rules devoted to it. But how much flexibility can be built in so that it remains unpredictable? Need to prevent gamability.