Coming, sooner or later: Valorous Dominion

  • My eyes need a break from looking at code, so posting this up here. Had been pondering doing it for a few weeks, but needing that break gives me time to write this. Realms code has been dusted off. I’ve been working for a while now on fixing it from things gleaned from Realms. No timeline for this, but its in the hopper.

    CGen is no longer self stat. You get points to spend, when they’re gone their gone. Traits is not pick and choose, a pot of 10 points is given to adjust. No one comes out with Religious bonuses now. Numerous cultures will be available on a slightly more continental level (more on this later).

    Passions. You pick them, the system it rolls them and sets it, no hand picking passions values. Amor is still there, but its not the appendix rules version, its rolled random like everything else, no stacking it for one high passion to assure success nearly out of the gate. Passions are code limited to one roll per week. Pick a skill as you roll it and its set with positive or negative modifier for 24-48 hours, no take backs.

    Rolling, or checking skills/traits/etc. One roll to check (+check value) any skill, attribute or trait and it spits it out a little cleaner. Passions as above plays off that (+check/passion love/name=skill). Rolls can now be opposed (+check/vs SirKay=skills) will roll both our skills and announce a winner.

    Combat is, at present, being automated. I’ve entered weapon, armor, mount, stance and such data into the game. I’ve got it to the point currently where it stops players from setting improbable combinations; no shield with two handed weapons, no halberd on a horse. Yes Halberd, weapons and armor updated for greater selection including foreign weapons (compound bow, great lances, etc.), fun things like flails to whack yourself with. Working on modifier functions for combat, not just passions, but like DEX mod with encumbrance on knockdown, or hammers vs plate armors (spiked things vs chain).

    Next Step:

    Throwing out manors and upkeep things to replace with a more multiple player minded political and economic system for higher echelon nobility. Will include regular forced rolls for HoH’s to see if they make quota, are under quota or gain surplus to spend on other things; improving tower houses, helping the state, bribing others, building trade empires, paying of the condottieri. Higher echelon resource management. Not x money for y thing, but like Settlers of Catan (three ‘wheat’ and two ‘stone’ to build that city). House reputation will come into play. There will be personal reputation as well (based on valor which replaces glory).

    Final Phase after that:

    Finish theme. More complete and available unlike Realms to prevent squabbles OOCly on difference of opinions.

    In a nutshell, Theme: Alt-Earth to start with, based on 14th century Italian City States. Roughly equivalent to about mid 1330s (as Scaligers, the Lords of Verona, begin conquests along with nearby neighbors the Visconti’s of Milan). Light fantasy setting, names changed to protect the innocent. Squabbles between families is the center of ever day life, there will be a formalized concept of vendetta to highlight the tower to tower fighting of the nobles and families, valor to be gained from this. Mercenary groups will be playable like houses, hopefully contracted to the city state (but that depends on the players, not me). Focus of play will be great families (nobles) of our city state. Many surrounding cities will be as diversified as northern Italy in the 14th Century; from aristocratic councils that have kicked the nobles out, bought titles from others, nobles that hold on despite such changes. Two major factions in support of something like the papal state and another for the Holy Roman Empire equivalent, including two popes (Guelphs and Ghibellines). The fate of that borderline squabble that really puts pressure on the warring city states will be the focal point. It will include influence from outside entities including our equivalents of Aragon (Kingdom of Sicily), Normans (Naples), Aquitaine and France at large, Byzantine Empire, the rise of Ottoman Empire, subordinate caliphates and kingdoms of Africa and even some of the eastern European nations/entities. Really everyone wants your money/resources, but the war between the faiths seems to be a good excuse for so much foreign interest in this region and your conflicts/battles with other city states.

    Focus will be the city state and its neighbors, despite that our city, based loosely on Venice, will have a seaworthy empire. The king of the economy (Italian Wool, Italian trade, reasoning and the ‘awakening’ during the proto Renaissance) keeps the focus there. No plaque to decimate the work force and allow the shift of resources (and wool production) to go to the equivalent of England.

  • Creator

    @lotherio this sounds interesting.

    So I am going ask since this is an alt earth: can I legitimately play a black/alt African person that doesn't have a contrived story as to how they got to not-Italy?

    (I ask because I got told once on a game that I couldn't because it meant they had to explain where they would have came from.)

  • @songtress Yes, please do. No contrived stories needed.

    I don't find myself bothering to define a specific color of melanin of the locals as it stands at this point and see no reason to make that any factor, definitely not one of importance. Besides that, while focus is on local families, there will be room for foreigners. No contrived stories needed there either.

    And, that aside, if someone told you this back on Realms, I am sorry. We had African descended families as part of the theme, our limit was local families only back on Realms.

  • Creator

    Not realms. Some other random game, that was years ago.

    It was funny I checked like a month after they told me no and they had closed.

    But it's good to see that this place should be interesting.

  • Pitcrew

    So, what system is this using exactly?

    Gonna go off topic becuase whee!
    Could always do the trader route from north Africa after all.. If you want to do west or central African pigmentation... hrm..
    IRL Musa's Hajj brought like several thousand peoples, with a few tons of gold, I'm sure some people remained behind in this time frame. Could be one of them? (Which FYI is how venice and genoa (the focus of the game) became so powerful IRL, the price of gold inflates wildly to the point of being nearly worthless as Musa distributes gold like its candy to every person he meets. Food prices increased. Europe at this point is still a poor backwater that only is notable for the amount of grain it has to trade. Venice proceeds to trade grain for obscene amounts of money. This period of time is basically the start of the Venetian golden age for a reason.)

  • The system for characters is King Arthur Pendragon. Estates and economy is going to be its own system for Valorous Dominion itself.

    Also, please no real history here. If you want to argue the rise of Venice being relative to Mansa Musa, who comes after Venice already has a booming maritime republic, please start a history discussion thread.

  • Quick update.

    The combat side of code is mostly working. From stance modifiers to armor reduction and the weapons that bypass those. There is a little tweaking to do; give certain defenders the right of first attack against uncontrolled attacks, flip who is damaged when flail rolls a 1. I may be forgetting more.

    If there is anyone who might be interested in running little bits of play testing, I'd be glad to have you swing by at this point, just let me know here or by PM and I can send out the IP/TP.

    Elsewise, by the end of the week we'll begin flushing out political/resource system and moving towards finalizing theme more and more.

  • Pitcrew

    I'm all about this, especially the setting!

    On the 'what can we play' angle I also want to bring up something that was a problem the first time around and wonder how it will be handled. Namely non-knights, whether commoners or non-militant nobles or really anything else.

    The underlying system often assumed these people were NPCs (make some winter rolls for your wife!) so it'd be good to know if and how the game will give them a proper role.

  • @kitteh This is something we definitely want better addressed. We're hoping the political system is a start to give credit to non-combat types as viable. A shift of emphasis of skill focus for what sort of things might be occurring on a regular basis as well. While entirely meta, failing rolls for simply running of a major House is going to indicate short falling on what is due to city/state/tithes/etc. Reputation will be an important factor to politics both at home and at large (the warring city-states, whether at war or being bought and sold), having influence outside of 'combat' will be important in swaying what may/may not happen.

  • One thing that I would look as is that in this period if you are a member of the upper/middle classes? You did not have to be a knight to do traditionally 'knight stuff'.

    If you are a burgher (a middle class townsperson, a skilled crafter, a lawyer, a physician, etc) then you probably have a sword and likely train with it when a youth, along with owning armour, perhaps going off to fight for a few seasons either as a man at arms or attending such depending upon your wealth.

    When older you likely continue to be a member of an urban militia and if you are a business owner or a guild master you are probably outfitted as well as many knights whilst leading a militia company of your apprentices/employees.

    This is a few decades after real life events like the Battle of the Golden Spurs where Flemish militia slaughtered the flower of French chivalry. Those were not peasants with pitchforks killing knights, they were heavy freeman militia infantry.

    Being a knight was a huge social cachet but especially in northern Italy the wealthy urban classes were often more influential and certainly did things like dueling or engaging in high level politics. Thank of Romeo and Juliet albeit a few centuries earlier.

  • Pitcrew

    @packrat Sure, although I don't think those characters are the tricky ones or the problem I was getting at. Since if you want to play something that's basically a knight (an upper class militant character) but just doesn't have 'Sir' in front of their name, that's easy. You just use the same CG and rules and don't put the title in your +finger.

    My issue is if and how you can play, say, a noble who is a courtier, or a freeman merchant, etc. How characters who aren't based on face-stabbing can be useful and successful in the game, and not trumped by martial characters who can do all the same things and also fight (which is based on a notable glitch we had on RA with the female knights obsoleting non-militant noblewomen).

    But I will talk to @Lotherio about it some more, it sounds like he has ideas!

  • Another update.

    Finished up the basics of combat, to include All Out Attack (which lets defenders attack first). Just need to throw in a function or two to account for charging and its done.

    Starting to work out mechanics of the political system.

    One of the basic things to help between martial and non-martial is the CGen system is updated and automated. Martial/Non-Martial start with the same cultural skills but there is no boost for 'knight' characters and their starting skills. Basically folks will need to pick one skill to set high (15), and everything else will be limited to 10 at the start. This will tie into the political system, so the head of a house/org will need a high non-martial stat.

    The political system will run automated checks for house/holding management relative to commodities being used at higher levels. They can net a surplus or fail/fumble and find some debt is owed to the state for this shortcoming (which can be remedied via trade with other houses and RP). Taking high sword will leave primary skills needed for simple house management at 10 to start (50/50 shot on successful management on the automated side).

    The commodities will be useful Cataan style (2 grain, 3 ore - 1 city). Some of the building projects are similar to the traditional buildings for nobles in KAP. Building a Rookery nets a bonus to members of house/org to use the skill falconry. There are higher functioning skills specific to other cultures in KAP, especially among the Italians; including High Finances, Sciences, Law, etc. These will be in play for our characters. There will be a set of skills relative to the commodities gained by houses and instead of being a simple add a room/addition, it will take public works to gain any benefits (build the Duomo in Florence, build up the university for science or art, create a public bath/garden/fountain/square/etc.).

    Crafting/industry for individuals is beneficial to both parties; the crafter and the 'purchaser'. Both gain glory for the individuals in such transactions. The noble for spending lucrative amounts of money and the craftsperson for making work worthy of the eye of big spenders. Specific amounts of glory are turned into XP spends/gains to raise skills, attributes and traits. Martial nobles will be more taxed as there will be certain 'free' regular equipment maintained under common standards of living for nobles, but to have better equipment, they will need to utilize income and purchase it from craftspersons and/or merchants/importers. The individual character will have disposable funds for these things.

    Like spending for individuals, house projects, especially public works and such, will gain house reputation for the houses. This reputation can be used to influence politics in the game. Whether its a vote to go to war or abstain by spending influence to turn NPCs votes, one can throw house reputation towards decisions to possibly effect them. It will have an affect, but think of it more like silent bid/auction, others may be voting against and using influence to sway votes. This is for anything from regular elections of the Duca/Ducessa of our city, to influencing the rise of nobles in other cities or even the rise of religious leaders to their seats of power.

    The reins of the game will be influenced (and controlled) by the players. We're not devising some specific meta (monsters are coming, save the world again), but rather meta will focus on reactions from around the world to what is going on in the home city. There will be some undercurrents of meta more relative to the time period and conflict between things like church/state, religion/reason, the 'glorious' old traditions and the rise of new ones, a few KAP style adventures along the way.

    ETA: Spelling

  • Friday Update

    Politics/House management system is well under way. Presently setting the data for additions to Houses, it will plug into the ability for heads to purchase them based on their current commodities and the cost of said addition. Each addition is relative to one non-combat skill, everyone in said house nets a bonus when using that skill. Similar to the family bonus in CG in traditional Pendragon, but something to achieve as a house. Each house is set to a specific commodity it can produce, but Heads can assign a secondary administrative individual to try to gain secondary commodities. With this ability in player hands, we have no idea what the final commodity values wil be; if every house prefers one type of secondary administrator, that commodity will be devalued. Not in staff hands. This should be done in a few days, including the ability for Heads to trade with other houses.

    Once that is done, we will turn heavily towards flushing out more theme and may possible start prepping for a soft open.

    Things in the hopper:

    Patronage for houses; the ability to hire non-noble professionals to net additional bonuses to the use of non-combat skills; will require having an appropriate addition. Individuals will have a set ‘income’. Houses will have a set level of wages to distribute based on level of nobility; they could set someone as a marshal for their house and pay them however much they think they are worth. Can be martial/combative or could be non-combative to gain the patronage bonuses. If both this and additions prove popular, we do plan to offer a secondary state to patron: tutelage, or full time retainer/employment. With tutelage, a second stage of upgrades for the additions would potentially become available (its in our thoughts, but dependent on the play after the game opens).

    Individual economy. Spending on professionals/crafts-persons nets glory for the spender and for the professional; buy a high quality work of art, both individual and crafts-person gain glory (glory can be used to enhance individual skills/attributes/etc. in the end). Combative types can spend it on better combat equipment (high end armor/better mounts/etc.).

    Plot/Adventure system. Initially we intended to dole out missions via objects/packages similar to the missions on Realms, where instead of staff giving the guidelines for challenges and such its on the package/+job-like system/etc. This will still happen, but there will be house level plots. These will be more political oriented – woo the foreign powers, woo the pope, convince the Byzantium Emperor to let your family house his brother while in political exile (secret bonus for killing him off, negative modifier if you recognized this from the showtime series), convince the roving mercenaries to not attack your tower in the raid but the other houses, etc. etc. Some of these will most likely be competitive style between houses; compete in some context with other houses get the ear of the Byzantium Emperor to get the wooing package adventure, or otherwise compete to get the plot to then work for the reward it has to offer. These adventure/plots will come with various prizes as well. Bonus to house reputation, a bonus addition that may not be listed or bought, influence in a specific sphere that can be cashed in later when/if needed or open up other potential adventures.

    That’s the basics, House system nearing completion. Plans to implement Patronage, personal economies, and plot/adventure system expanded to include package and adventures for houses.

    A lot of focus on the play and development of the houses for now. The building of additions is slow to gain various reputation and modifiers to PC skills; a prolific house can potentially add one addition every couple of months (there are over 30 additions not including public works); coupled with Patronage and house adventures/plots, there is more competition to gain other rewards outside of the building system. Houses will not start with a focus specialty as in KAP basic CG, but can earn these for all their members through development and play.

    We’re about to delve deeper into theme in the next few days on this. Just an update, again.

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