Re: a "working" paper on olympia gaming

John Sloan (
Mon, 31 Jan 94 09:40:59 GMT

William Bruvold <> wrote :

>Biggest draw back in creating a kingdom is that you need a bunch of
>valuable nobles to sit in each province and do nothing, while set on
>hostile all the time. This necessarily restricts political
>organization to a small percentage of the map and limits the
>incentives to proceed in this manner. Building on a previous idea
>of building kingdoms I suggest we proceed to .........
>a) Establish the idea of a "capital" city. This would have to be
>an "original city" (or eliminate the largely underutilized and
>unimportant FOUND command) thus making it a bit more difficult to
>establish the capital. I suggest that elevation to "KING" be a
>skill in persuation. Would require a castle, perhaps one with at
>least two towers build in the interior. (makes stones a bit more
>valuable). Would have to be in a plain or forest (makes
>oxen/peasants a bit more valuable) and so no more collecting stones
>and building a castle at the quarry site.

I don't understand the need for the city to be an original one. Surely all
cities are equal in the eyes of GOD.

I also don't understand the requirement for a persuation skill to set up a
kingdom. Any tin-pot dictator can set himself up as a king. It may be that
those with skills in keeping the populace happy will be more successful, but a
general skill in being king seems to be approaching the problem from the wrong

>b) Capitals would generate a bit more income than before and
>increase recruitment possibilities. (the 10% _BONUS_ for each
>province under control seems good). These bonuses would be
>eliminated if a competiting capital was founded within 5
>provinces of the original. If this were to occur a report would be
>sent indicating that this had happened. Players would remain in
>control of provinces controlled by the kingdom but face a threat to
>their "control/tax revenue" that would require action.

Capitals generating income based on the size and wealth of the kingdom makes
more sense to me than any arbitrary bonus. 10% of the tax-base of all provinces
under direct control and up to 20% of the tax income of all vassal-states is my
proposition, and I cannot see the advantage of this scheme over it. I also
don't see that we should place arbitrary restrictions on how close capitals can
be. If two kingdoms want to cramp their expansion possibilites by being close
to each others capitals, why not let them?

Extra recruitment in a capital does make some sort of sense. I think allowing
recruitment in cities would make sense as well, but these are really minor
matters and can be considered in isolation to the ideas of land-ownership.

>c) To avoid the "under nobles" sitting around doing nothing KINGS
>could have a command called "GARRISON" that would allow them to put
>a number of fighers into a province that would

[For a suitable definition of 'King'. I would prefer any allied noble to be
able to set up garrisons]

> i) Tax


> ii) Defend against all pillaging/recruitment


> iii) If set, collect a toll from all passing nobles or bar
> their way (makes kingdoms somewhat inconvient for
> others)

Hmm. Not considered this. I think, however, that provinces are large enough
that an impractical size of garrison would be needed to enforce it - barring
entry at least. If you want to bar entry, get an army and beat them up if they
do it! Collecting a toll on entry to the kingdom could be tricky. For entry to
a province. Hmm, possible - but does it add much? I wouldn't rate this as an
essential feature at this point.

> iv) Support themselve _IF_ a noble from the Kingdom makes an
> inspection once every 12 months (increases the value of
> riding horses also builds in a limit to the practical
> size of the empire

Disagree strongly. This is just tedious for the controlling player, who has to
burn nobles to wander round the kingdom smiffing the dasies.

> v) They send a report to the Kingdom.

Yes, though of what form and what detail needs to be carefully considered.

>d) To increase the value of establishing kingdoms lets say for each
>5-10 provinces under control and when no competiting capital was
>present the faction would get an extra noble point for the year. Increases
>the incentives to build kingdoms (and with e to oppose them)

I'm against adding noble points to the game on principle, as you only force
cooperation by keeping the ammount a single player can achieve down. The more
nobles you let them have, the more they can do.

[What I would suggest (though this is a bit unrelated) is a way for mages to
learn magic requiring noble points without spending noble points on them.
Perhaps a separate system of Magical Points, where you _can_ get extra magical
points by game actions.]

>e) There are incentives that also generate "bonus" points for
>destroying the capitals/controlled provinces for the other
>legs of the system. (see below)

A bit artifical, that. Conflict between kingdoms will happen anyway, as long as
there is perceived gain in having a large kingdom. Added to that religious
disputes, and the fact that there are plenty of budding meglomaniacs out there,
and I don't think you'll be that lacking in causes for outright and blatant

>We need to build in rivalry. With a huge map even "human" nature
>toward competition won't do anything more than push the frontier
>out. I would guess we would need over 300 players to really exhaust
>the land mass and niches so that players were forced into building
>alliances and enemies. So I propose the following system
>Everyone MUST start off by swearing allegiance to one of the folling
>gods. a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h and each of the gods has an enemy in the

Disagree strongly. There should be room for athiests, or the non religiously
inclined. Of course it will be the job of priests of all religions to make
sure they don't stay that way, but lets not force people to do more things that
we need to.

>GOD opposes GOD
>a b
>c d
>e f
>g h
>a,c,e,g and b,d,f,h roughly cooperate with one another but not all
>the time and not without conflicts. THe opposition dyads are sworn
>enemies. Certain prayers restricted to particular god/gods. More
>importantly, you win favor with your god for killing the follower of
>the dieties opponent. Lets say for each two nobles killed you get 1
>extra noble point. How do you know who worships who? With a
>"prayer" that your diety tells you who is the closet noble to you
>that is a infidel! One of the attractions of this is that it should
>quickly encourage the followers of a particular god to cooperate
>with one another to kill the followers of the other (but not too
>much as you want those kills for yourself!). Probably restrictions
>on the construction of temples should an opposing diety (or closely
>opposing diety?) be close by; for example within five provinces.

This is a bit 'Good v Evil' in setup. I'm sure I could come up with a more
interesting interaction of gods given enough time. Even if you just had gods of
Chaos, Law, Good and Evil, it would be less planar than the above setup.

With the above setup, and forcing people to pick sides, you would quickly end up
with a genocide of one set of gods followers, as new players picked the winning
side to avoid being the next victims. You need something a little more subtle,
and which you _can_ opt out of.

>-- Also we can build in ties between the religious side and the
>magical side. For example, strengthening the two systems with a
>bunch of good prayers, we could restrict the factions in respect to
>which side of the "Power" they draw upon. You can either study
>magic or religion (though you still are sworn to a god even if magic
>focused) AND build in pretty powerful things that only mages AND
>priests can do if working together. This brings us to......
>Building on past suggestions, break the magic system up into
>distinct categories that restrict what you can study and the bonuses
>for destroying your opponents. Much like the Religous system. The
>major difference I envision is that Mages are more "mysterious" in
>that it takes effort to discover what path they follow (white, grey,
>black, red?) and that you obviously can stay away from the magical
>arts if you want to in your faction. Bonuses for killing opponents
>could be extra manna, reduced time to cast spells, noble points,
>super spells, research bonuses, etc. Again these would breed both
>cooperation between different factions but also a bit of conflict
>over who gets to kill of that one lone necromancer in his tower 3
>provinces to the east.

Have a look (if you haven't already) in the AD&D second edition Players
Handbook. The Magic system there may be cliched, but the idea of schools of
magic, and opposition between those schools is basically what I was thinking of
when I suggested opposition. It seems a good place as any from which to jump
off into the discussion. I'm not in favour of direct NP/Mana bonuses for doing
actions in Olympia. Thats very much artificial. Instead the benefits should be
more subtle. If you prevent the practise of Necromancy in the entire of a
Kingdom, then the populace are less likely to rebell, perhaps. If you kill all
the weather magicians, then perhaps you get more violent storms in a region, and
some evil necromantic spells might _require_ a violent storm (or even cause one
as a side effect). So while they are opposed, its not a system of carrots and
treats which encourages you to make your opposition active, but rather a system
of generalised effects and countereffects which make life easier if you do.

>IV. (Running out of Steam) COMBAT/GUILDS
>I don't like the idea of "guilds" but since I can't think of
>anything better at the moment.....
>I also think that if you don't want to pray/study magic you can
>choose "third" way that focuses on "combat" kinds of skills. I
>4 combat schools (sword a vs. sword b)
> (archery a vs. archery b)
>that are in opposition to one anther (say noble points/combat
>bonuses/ special recruitment skills for killing opponents) and
>similarly oppositional guilds in
>Woodcraft (elven lore vs. Goblin)
>Sailing (Merchants Guild vs. Dread Pirates)
>Mining (Dwarves vs. Orcs)
>As in the other three areas, incentives to kill off those in
>opposition. Skills taugth in cities would be of one or the other
>type. Roughly Law vs. Chaos but fill in where you like.

I'm not sure that this adds a great deal to the game. Thumbs down from me at
the moment.

>VI. "Exit" options.
>Some players are either going to want to never be part of the
>conflicts, remain on the periphery of the great battles, or start
>and then exit from them. Thus we need to create a "bard/sage"
>system (merchants should be here but can't figure out how yet).
>Bards would provide bonuses to tax bases
>Sages would aid research
>Both would be initial skills a newbie could sign up for or an
>exisitng player could declare committed to( more below).
>No religious allegiances (or to a 9th god which is apart from the
>sqaubbles of his/her brothers/sisters).
>Fairly severe restrictions on noble points. If players want to
>"explore the world" they should be allowed to but with the caveat
>that they are "different" than those that attract more and more
>followers. Perhaps allowing 5-7 nobles to be part of the "touring
>One also wants to set it up so that
> a) Sages/Bards are useful only for some limited number of
>turns to a faction until a longer period of time passes. (so they
>are not useful as "virtual prisoners" to a faction).
> b) They need to be "linked" together so that "kings" have a
>disincentive to kill them once they are "used" up and want to move
>Bards/sages could also go find valuable "items" that either provided
>kings with new skills to learn ("the sages turtoring indicates that
>a scroll of ancient times on how to "CATCH" a dragon can be found in
>a city in Northern Greater Atnos") or Bards could discover great
>songs in remote cities that could be "sung" in a castle and provide
>the owner with an extra noble point. Gives these "faction types"
>something goal oriented to do while being unrestrictive.

I'm much more in favour of allowing opting out by passive rather than active
choice. Passive choice allows people to become active at a later date. Active
choice, like this one, does not. While some of the Bard and Sage ideas could be
useful, I'm sure they could be added as separate skills rather than whole new
types of noble. It doesn't quite fit in with the current scheme of things where
all nobles are alike, apart from the skills they may aquire.

>V. Summary
>Taken together I think these fit together pretty well. It is
>important that all these elements go in together as you want to
>avoid making one particular "career" path conflictual while the
>others sit on the side lines. I think that there is "overlap" here
>to breed conflict/cooperation between the different elements, if
>need be more explicit restrictions opportunities should be easy
>enough to add to do this (i.e. perhaps temples need a magie of a
>particular order to be present to build them or the presence of a
>"choatice" guild in a nearby city requires that it be sacked before
>a capital can be established by a noble trained in a "good"
>construction guild, etc. etc.)
>Comments welcome. (if you want to delete out all but what you think
>I will collect; summarize; and revise)

My comments may be more than slightly biased towards my own view of how I think
olympia should be. Nevertheless, some of what is said above is useful, and all
of it is thought-provoking.

>Roack's Rangers


Faction Curumo

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