Kings and Castles - Poll





View Poll Results: A DM should decide whether holdings and followers belong in the game.

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  • Strongly disagree

    9 8.41%
  • Disagree

    7 6.54%
  • Neither agree or disagree

    25 23.36%
  • Agree

    30 28.04%
  • Strongly agree

    36 33.64%
  • Don't know/unsure

    0 0%
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  1. #1
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    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

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    Kings and Castles - Poll

    In his newest blog, Robert Schwalb talks about Kings and Castles over at Wizards of the Coast. Go there to take the various polls.

    The question I was most interested in was "do you agree that a DM should decide whether holdings and followers belong in the game"?

    I'll kick of the discussion with my thoughts after reading Monte Cook's The Challenge of High Level Play: Add holdings and followers as a Fourth Pillar (called Dominion) at about Level 15. Thus, from 1st to 14th level, each class would be balanced to contribute to each of Social/Interaction/Roleplay, Combat, and Exploration. From 15th level onwards, classes would each contribute in their own way to social, combat, exploration, AND dominion (aka holdings, followers, spell tower, or leadership position).

    Discussion can also be found at http://www.enworld.org/forum/new-hor...s-castles.html.
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  • #2
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    It's a poor question to ask. From what I see on the Wizards' site, the responders aren't consistent with it. A massive 85% agree that characters should have the option to gain holdings and followers, but this shouldn’t be the default. But, this question has a huge 70% in favor as well. They're opposites, so how can everything be in favor? The point that is being completely missed is that there should rarely be the DM deciding ANYTHING, except to facilitate the plot and story. Any major rules like this should be a group decision. If the DM ever says "I'm imposing this houserule and tough crap about it" I'd smack him upside the head. In short, and using more than a spoonful of hyperbole, anyone voting "agree" on this is in favor of tyranny.
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  • #3
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    Make it like 1e. Put it in the rules, but don't make it mandatory. Fighters for example, in 1e, could attract followers at 9th level if they built a castle/stronghold. Didnt have to. Could just go on adventuring as usual if they desired and not bother with clearing land, building castle, collecting revenue, etc.
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  • #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Infiniti2000 View Post
    It's a poor question to ask. From what I see on the Wizards' site, the responders aren't consistent with it. A massive 85% agree that characters should have the option to gain holdings and followers, but this shouldn’t be the default. But, this question has a huge 70% in favor as well. They're opposites, so how can everything be in favor?
    They aren't opposites IMO. If the DM says the option is available then it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infiniti2000 View Post
    The point that is being completely missed is that there should rarely be the DM deciding ANYTHING, except to facilitate the plot and story. Any major rules like this should be a group decision. If the DM ever says "I'm imposing this houserule and tough crap about it" I'd smack him upside the head. In short, and using more than a spoonful of hyperbole, anyone voting "agree" on this is in favor of tyranny.
    If the DM has planned a long campaign where kingdom rules don't fit, he should of course be able to say no (and vice versa for campaigns that depend of those rules). The group needs to decide whether they want to play that campaign - preferably before the DM has wasted a lot of time preparing it.

  • #5
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    I didn't answer the poll because none of them really explain 100%.

    Yers, I believe the DM can decide...knowing what his/her group wants, how the campaign they want to run/play in "should go". Sure, it's a decision to make.

    That said, the building/making/running of keeps/castles and "dominions/realms", acquistion of followers (either as paid henchmen, mercenary soldiers or loyal men-at-arms, ambitious guildmembers, devoted countryfolk/farmers looking for some security, religious pilgrims, apprentices that seek out the expierenced wizard they've heard tell about to teach them, etc. etc.) should all be detailed in the game, as a potential way to play "higher but not necessarily 'Epic'" levels (say greater than 10 but less than 20.).
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  • #6
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    I'm mixed.

    Domains and Followers should be treated like any treasure.

    Adventurers go on quests and are awarded by the DM. They can get:

    Gold and other riches
    Mundane, magical, and special equipment
    Favors and gifts
    Permanent magical or biological enhancements
    Domains and buildings
    Followers and cohorts.

    Whatever the DM gives you can then be traded/sold to potential buyers to get what the characters want. But the DM determines what potential buyers appear and what they offer.

    The king might give the party 100,000gp for stopping the lizardfolk invasion. If the fighter wants to buy a castle with his share, the DM would have to state whether there is a castle up for sale. Of if he wanted to pay a wizard to grant him a handfuls of permanent enhancements, the DM would have to decide if it is available. Same with a merchant with a magic sword. Or gain a favor from a trio of fey with some jewelry. But the DM would have to allow him to buy something with his money.
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  • #7
    I'd like to see some acknowledgement of realm management in the core rules, even if the stronghold / mass combat / follower rules are in another book. It seems like it would be a lot of fun, and a nice break from the usual dungeon delving. The players have certainly earned the right by level 11+ to feel powerful beyond their combat abilities. Of course its not appropriate for every campaign--it should ultimately be the DMs call.

    I'd probably tilt the followers in the direction of the non-casting classes. Casters should have high level rituals the can use to influence the realms, maybe the fighters, warlords, and such get the armies. Spread the fun around!

  • #8
    The question is badly worded. It's like asking, "Should the DM decide whether fighters are in the game?"

    I mean, if a DM wants to run a campaign without fighters, that's her prerogative, if she can find players willing to sign up for it. The same is true of any game element. The DM can decide to run a campaign without hit points if she wants to. D&D has a long tradition of customization and tinkering.

    At the same time, in terms of the decisions one makes as a DM starting a campaign, "Are there fighters?" is not usually one that comes up. I have never seen a DM sit down and give weighty consideration, or indeed any consideration, to the question of whether there should be fighters in the game. If I had to go through the whole rulebook before each campaign, ticking off "This is in, this is in, this is out, this is in," I'd never run so much as a barroom brawl.

    So: The DM should have the right to decide whether strongholds and followers are in the game, same as with anything else. But it should not be a decision that the DM has to actively make; and absent such an active decision, it should fall to the players to choose whether they want to explore that side of the game or not.

    There is no fluff. There is no crunch. There are only rules of varying precision.

  • #9
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    I think that castles and keeps have nothing to do with character design, but rather with campaign design.
    And the campaign is based on what all players want, not just what the GM wants.
    A problem arises when a campaign has nothing to do with PCs building castles and keeps but a class' power is build upon the fact that it allows access to a castle in some way at some point of class advancement. Because in this case, this class "ability" is very useless.
    Also, the question is: how many castles should a group of PCs have? One for all PCs together? One for each of the PCs? What is the design value of a castle for a certain character class?

    To me, these seem to be very tough questions to answer, too hard to answer. I therefore think that "castles and keeps" need to stay out of class design and should be put in the world design section of the rule books. Completely detached from character creation and advancement.

  • #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Infiniti2000 View Post
    It's a poor question to ask. From what I see on the Wizards' site, the responders aren't consistent with it. A massive 85% agree that characters should have the option to gain holdings and followers, but this shouldn’t be the default. But, this question has a huge 70% in favor as well. They're opposites, so how can everything be in favor?
    I think they are getting at two different things.

    When WotC asks "should it be an option?", they are asking whether holdings and followers should be an optional module. The folks saying "yes" to that are agreeing with the idea that holdings and followers should be part of the game, but that it should also be possible to run games without them without having to deal with class-rebalancing house rules.

    When WotC asks "should the DM decide?", they are asking whether it should be a campaign-level decision (as opposed to a player-level decision). Saying "yes" to that is saying that the campaign should either include castles and followers (in which case everyone has access to the appropriate resources and abilities) or the campaign doesn't include castles and followers (in which case nobody has access to those resources and abilities, except maybe as DM fiat flavor).

    Quote Originally Posted by Infiniti2000 View Post
    The point that is being completely missed is that there should rarely be the DM deciding ANYTHING, except to facilitate the plot and story. Any major rules like this should be a group decision.
    Of course, but this is a question of terminology. The earlier L&L articles already said that DM decisions about the campaign options should be in consultation with the players. The issue is distinguishing between a campaign option and a player option. It's like how the decision about whether or not to use tactical 4e-style combat or simplified 1e-style combat is a campaign decision, but the decision about whether to use a simple Essentials-style character or a complex 4ePH1-style character is a player decision.

    I've yet to see anyone from WotC advocate in favor of the DM-as-tyrant. By definition, DM decisions need to be with the consent of the players, because every player* holds the veto power of walking away from the game.

    -KS

    (*) Except maybe players in prison, in unusually restrictive military deployments or back in the 19th century when plantation owners would run their slaves through Tomb of Horrors, over and over and over again...

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