On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Share and discuss the "house rules" of your own game and campaign.

Moderator: Snag

On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby wastevens » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:54 pm

On reflection, in my last game, people vastly prefered to Explore Wilderness over attempting Conquest- Conquest was seen more as a way to punish enemies than to expand holdings. Clearly, Exploring is too safe and easy!

----

The islands and lands nearest Davafanna Aldrena are long and well settled, offering few chances for an ambitious young Baron to expand his keep- lands that are tightly controlled by their jealous Dukes and Marquees with their puppet Counts keeping the relative peace. Instead, most ambitious Barons gravitate towards the wilder edges of Shanri, bringing the light of civilization to the edge of the map and beyond. However, pushing back the darkness makes it harder to find more darkness to push back.

Here's how to bring forth that torch.

Step 1: The Risk of Exploration

Exploration requires Strength; it is a Strength risk. Without Strength, you cannot endure the unknown. If you lack in Strength? Perhaps you're better off as one of those puppet Barons.

First, declare your Season Action. "Explore Wilderness."

Second, gather one Resource worth of Food. You'll need provisions while you're out.

Third, makes a Strength risk against the standard target number of 10. Invoke any Aspects or other relevant techniques to garner more dice. If you'd like, you may make wagers. Wagers increase the Potential of your discovery. We'll discuss this in a moment.

If you make the Risk, you have discovered a series of Wilderness Regions equal to the number of wagers made.

If you do not make the risk, you have failed to make any new discoveries. Failed to overcome your cowardice and the darkness. Failed to expand your holding's vistas. Failed. You can try again next Season.

Each time you successfully explore Shanri, the darkness abates a little further. The maps grow a little sharper, the blanks a little smaller- and the only regions left available for you to explore become a little more hostile. After your first successful Exploration, further Exploration actions cease being a Simple Risk and become a Contested Risk against the Narrator. The Narrator begins with 2d. Easy to overcome. They gain 1d for each additional exploration you make- and may use their Wagers to add interesting complications to your new region. A band of orks. Another noble's Secret Army camped in that hidden valley. The secret resting place of Mahl and her bloody eyed cult. Interesting complications.

Step 2: Settling the Wilderness

Having located a new collection of Regions, you may begin settling it. You may settle one Region per turn.
Settling a Wilderness Region as a Rural Region (Forest, Hills, Mountain, Plains, Shoreline or Swamp) requires tools to tame the land, and costs 1 Industry.
Settling a Wilderness Region as an Urban Region (Farm or Village) requires building the new homestead, costing 1 Lumber and 1 Stone.
Settling a Wilderness Region as a Castle requires building the Castle itself, costing 3 Lumber and 3 Stone.
Settling a Wilderness Region as a Ruin requires nothing. The Ruin was already there.

You may not Settle more Regions than you Discovered. You may not settle more than one Region per Season per Discovery. If you have multiple Discoveries, you may Settle one Region in each of them.

Step 3: The Reveal

Until you have finished settling your discovery, you collect no Resources from it, and cannot use it to hide your Secret Army- not that you have such, but if you did, you couldn't. When all the regions are tamed, you may begin drawing Resources for your hard work, openly declaring what you have discovered to your Peers, earning their admiration and their envy. Discovering new habitable lands is excellent form, and rewards 1 Style per Region in the discovery, once they're fully settled.

A given Ven has difficulty managing ever growing holdings, however- you must dedicate a Season Action to governing each Region outside of your Province to garner Resources from it during the Harvest phase. Your Master of the Road, Swordsman, Seneschal or Spouse may undertake such governing instead. Alternatively, if you have established a Castle in one of these Regions, you may grant someone a title, a Barony of their own. A rich reward for an ally. A peace offering to an enemy. A son's gift. A daughter's dowry. Make it someone else's Province- and have them send the rich proceeds of your lands to you, without so much tedious governing.

---

A new Falcon Blessing, from Tali Sinjin, the Suaven of Exploration and the Unknown:

Falcon's Reach Exceeds All Grasp
With this Blessing, you may spend 3 Style when beginning an Explore Wilderness action, to add your Courage to the roll. Courage cannot be your Weakness.

---

There. This slows down exploration a little at the start, and more sharply as the game goes on. It bumps Strength a bit (tying in with the Bears living in the most rugged, least explored regions). It provides a natural increasing pressure to engage in Conquest, as the 'accessible' lands each Ven can claim become smaller and smaller. They may easily reveal a second Province entirely... but a third? A fourth? There will be no unknown Duchies revealed.
wastevens
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 7:48 am

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby Keith Fyans » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:23 am

I like it, though for my taste I would make it a little simpler to impliment:

Season Action: Explore Regions
Exploration involves fighting both ork and the will of Shanri itself to remain out of the grasp of the Ven. This is a fight that lies beyond any conventional Wisdom and will stop dead any Cunning plan. Only Strength can be used to take Shanri for yourself.

It takes a Season Action and one Food Resource to mount an Exploration. Make a Strength Risk. If you gain Privilege then you get to choose what type of Region was found, otherwise the Narrator makes this choice. Sometimes you forge through that craggy path with wagons full of mining equipment only to find expansive Plains or hardy farmers. Or Ruins. Each Wager you make allows you to set one Truth about the exploration or the Region found.

I may try this in my upcoming campaign...
Glasgow Indie Gamers - Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
User avatar
Keith Fyans
 
Posts: 786
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:35 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby wastevens » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:32 am

I was using 'Craft Good / Craft Art' as my model for how Exploration works- essentially, it's 'Craft World'. It's just discovering more Regions instead of developing details of the Regions.

Also, you've lost the benefit of making it grow gradually harder to find new places to explore.
wastevens
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 7:48 am

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby Keith Fyans » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:37 am

And for Blessings...

The Falcon's Grasp
Falcon Blessing
Only available to those Blooded of the Falcon. Spend 1 Style when undertaking the Explore Region Season Action. Add your Courage to the roll.

Heart of the Highland
Bear Blessing
Only available to those Blooded of the Bear. Spend 1 Style when undertaking the Explore Region Season Action. Get a number of free Wagers equal to your Strength. When invoking this Blessing you will always discover either Mountains, Hills or Ruins (those Sorcerer-Kings build their strongholds everywhere after all).
Glasgow Indie Gamers - Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
User avatar
Keith Fyans
 
Posts: 786
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:35 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby Keith Fyans » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:42 am

wastevens wrote:I was using 'Craft Good / Craft Art' as my model for how Exploration works- essentially, it's 'Craft World'. It's just discovering more Regions instead of developing details of the Regions.

Also, you've lost the benefit of making it grow gradually harder to find new places to explore.

Yep, I know.

If you want to build in the slow-down then perhaps you have to spend a number of Food equal to the number of Domains you personally control per Season Action? This lets you get your first Domain and a foothold in the Second easily enough, but Exploring a third yourself becomes a pain... whereas taking another or (more likely) signing up other nobles to serve under you become preferable.
Glasgow Indie Gamers - Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
User avatar
Keith Fyans
 
Posts: 786
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:35 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby Astelle_Mwwr » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:57 pm

Hee, I think the real problem is your players aren't thinking like Ven! You need an NPC to come in starting with really crappy lands but a nice hostile takeover force and just start gobbling up all of their rank 3 regions with Holdings just to show them how much faster the conquerer can build up their empire! Then they can see the advantages first hand when they counter attack and take those lands for themselves!
Baroness Astelle Ru "If I had made the Bargain, I would have given up my Poison... is it too late for that?"
Baroness Gwanal Yvarai
Baroness Olivama Steele
User avatar
Astelle_Mwwr
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:26 pm

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby wunderworks » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:41 pm

Depends on the game you want to play. I sent my game so that land was rare and valuable so while there was a bit of exploring it quickly turned into a completely political game and no one worried about land except the Count. ^_^ BUT if your game makes land important then I think we could do something like Civilization the PC game does and let the players make a Risk at the beginning of play to define the world.

Or better yet - make the entire world into a Dirty Dungeon. ;)
Author of World of Dew a samurai noir sequel to John Wick's Blood & Honor

"Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. "
~ Tokugawa Ieyasu ~
User avatar
wunderworks
Site Admin
 
Posts: 907
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:44 pm
Location: Surprise, AZ

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby wastevens » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:19 am

Astelle_Mwwr wrote:Hee, I think the real problem is your players aren't thinking like Ven! You need an NPC to come in starting with really crappy lands but a nice hostile takeover force and just start gobbling up all of their rank 3 regions with Holdings just to show them how much faster the conquerer can build up their empire! Then they can see the advantages first hand when they counter attack and take those lands for themselves!


Except conquest *isn't* faster than exploring / building.

If you've a well-oiled conquest machine, and your target is letting rampage through your territory without ever having built up Loyalty, it still requires a minimum of two actions to take control of a region- one to reduce the Loyalty to 0, the second to add it to your own Holdings.

In that time, a 'normal' Ven (Cunning 3, with a Seneschal 3) can Explore Wilderness three times (+3 Regions) and have the Seneschal improve 3 Regions. (Spouses, naturally, accelerate this process)

To illustrate, suppose I have Bob and Jim. Bob has a Personal Guard 3, Spy Network 1. Jim has a Province of Rank 3 Regions, each with Loyalty 3, Cunning 3 and a Seneschal 3.

Turn 1:
Bob spies on Jim's Region 1.
Jim Explores, disocvering Regions 11, 12, 13 (each Rank 1).

Turn 2:
Bob moves his Personal Guard into Region 1. The Loyalty is reduced to 0.
Jim Explores, discovering Regions 14, 15, 16. Jim's Seneschal improves the Rank of Regions 11, 12, 13 to Rank 2.

Turn 3:
Bob keeps his Personal Guard in Region 1, and Spies on Region 2. He adds Region 1 to his holdings.
Jim improves the Rank of Regions 14, 15, 16 to Rank 2. Jim's Seneschal improves the Rank of Regions 11, 12, 13 to Rank 3.

Turn 4:
Bob moves his Personal Guard to Region 2. The Loyalty is reduced to 0.
Jim Explores, discovering Regions 17, 18, 19. Jim's Seneschal improves the Rank of Regions 14, 15, 16 to Rank 3.

Turn 5:
Bob keeps his Personal Guard in Region 2, and Spies on Region 3. He adds Region 2 to his holdings.
Jim Explores, discovering Regions 20, 21, 22. Jim's Seneschal improves the Rank of Regions 17, 18, 19 to Rank 2.

(etc)

In the time that it takes Bob to conquorer 2 Regions, Jim has added 6 Regions of equal value to his holdings.

Now, one could argue: Well, that's a clear abuse of the Exploring rules, and you should slap a player pursuing such a route with Bad Form. I disagree; when the rules aid and abet un-Venlike behavior, the rules should bloody well change.

One could argue: Not defending your Lands makes you look weak, and will lead to more Ven swooping in to parcel up your lands. I agree, but it requires three Ven ganging up on you to *equal out* the rate of exploration. And frankly, if three Ven of equal resources to me swoop down to start parcelling up my lands, I'm probably fucked anyways, unless I can out-scheme them into one betraying the others. And that's orthogonal to exploring- Exploring/Improving becomes the best way to cope in the interim.

One could argue: I'm only looking at Rank, not Holdings, and Holdings take dramatically longer to construct than Rank (plus, like, Resources). True, but I'm also only looking at two turn captures. If Jim actually has Rank 3 everything, he'd better damn well have Loyalty 10 everywhere from having plied his Province with Luxuries. He'd better have a Spy Network raising his local Security that could trip up the Espionage action to ready Bob's next conquest. It become a more complex question- but by no means an obvious one.

Additionally, Jim *could* spend 1 of his six available actions raising a Personal Guard to go oppose Bob. He'd still be ahead in the 'number of regions' curve, and would have a chance of shutting Bob down. (And if Bob has a Secret Army? Well, either summon the Vashna or raise your own. Either takes a bit longer, but if Bob is alone in eating your territory, it's still faster to go explore / improve). But Bob's already pretty well totally optimized for conquest.

And finally, even if Jim had fully loaded each of those Regions with Holdings, he could end up dramatically behind Bob- but never cornered, Landless and defeated. Which is all manner of incorrect, in my opinion.

(Of course, Bob could be doing the same thing back home- it would probably be the smart thing, really, to be aggressively exploring / improving his own Province even as he conquors Jim's. But this gets back to 'Rules encouraging unVen-like behavior; Ven engaging in War shouldn't be Exploring at the same time. Conquest is an attention claiming project).
wastevens
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 7:48 am

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby wastevens » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:21 am

wunderworks wrote:Depends on the game you want to play. I sent my game so that land was rare and valuable so while there was a bit of exploring it quickly turned into a completely political game and no one worried about land except the Count. ^_^ BUT if your game makes land important then I think we could do something like Civilization the PC game does and let the players make a Risk at the beginning of play to define the world.

Or better yet - make the entire world into a Dirty Dungeon. ;)


... What's a Dirty Dungeon?

Also, it seems that if Land was rare and valuable in your game, exploring *becomes* a political action.

Re: Civilization. I mean, that's a possibility, but I'd prefer to not predefine the world before play starts. Also, I'm a big fan of gradually increasing difficulties, creating a more natural arc of evolution.
wastevens
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 7:48 am

Re: On reflection, it's too easy to explore forever

Postby Keith Fyans » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:53 am

Roll up! Roll up! One and All! Come see the the Origional, the Fiendish, The Wicked Dirty Dungeon!
Glasgow Indie Gamers - Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
User avatar
Keith Fyans
 
Posts: 786
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:35 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Next

Return to The Rules of Your House

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron