The Birthright Rules are used at the largest scales. When your rulership becomes not a matter of a stronghold or even a handful of keeps, but a proper kingdom that runs all by itself, this is when you must recourse to these rules. As a general rule, these rules should be implemented either when you own land significant enough to be called a Province, or when you have sufficient influence in the guilds, law enforcement or temples of a Province to have gained at least 1 level in Holdings. Either of these is enough to qualify as a Regent. It's always important to remember that the Birthright Rules can't handle everything, and should never be used in a restrictive fashion; if you want to be more hands-on than the abstractness of the Birthright Rules allows, then you can drill down to a roleplay-level to provide more granularity. In fact, this should be encouraged. Micromanaging your affairs and doing things yourself can be an adventure in its own right, and allows you to have a greater level of control and do things not easily done within the BR rules - one example is manually organising a network of spies through personal adventuring rather than just spending a huge amount of RP and GB to set one up.
Table of Contents
Domains and Provinces
Each ruler has a Domain, though not necessarily every Regent - you can be a Regent if you only control Holdings. The term "Domain" refers to the sum total of all of a ruler's lands. A Province is a division, such as the area around a keep, a county, or a township. Provinces are usually defined by terrain, economics, logistics and loyalties. The specific size of a Province is not as significant as the semantic division - essentially, a Province is a 'locale'.
The vital characteristic of a Province is its level, a measure of its overall prosperity and relative importance. Level 0 Provinces are wild and unsettled, home only to scattered homesteads and tiny villages. Their population is usually less than 1,000 people. Level 1 to 3 Provinces are thinly settled rural regions, with small villages and one or two towns of 1,000 people or less. The population may range from 2,000 to 10,000 people. Level 4 to 6 Provinces are settled farmlands with small industries. Major towns may have populations of up to 5,000 people, and total population is between 10,000 and 40,000 people. Level 7 or greater Provinces are densely settled, with well-developed industries and major cities. Population may be as much as 100,000 people.
All Provinces have a Loyalty level, which can be either high, average, poor, or rebellious. Loyalty is affected by various factors, and by default is average. All actions in a Province with poor Loyalty cost 1 extra RP and/or GB. A rebellious Province does not generate taxes or add to the Regent's domain power, and all actions cost DOUBLE the RP and/or GB.
The terrain of a Province is the most important factor in its development; terrain affects Movement Cost (how quickly you can move through the Province) and Maximum Level (the maximum level the Province can be improved to). In the rare occasion that a Province contains multiple types of terrain, use the average of their values.
|Terrain||Maximum Level||Movement Cost||Source Potential|
|Heavy Forest||6||2 (1 for elves)||9|
|Low Mountains||7||2 (1 for dwarves)||7|
|Medium Mountains||5 (7 for dwarves)||4 (1 for dwarves)||7|
|High Mountains||3 (9 for dwarves)||6 (2 for dwarves)||9|
|River||-||One full move to cross||-|
In addition to the overall development of the area, a Province is also described by the organisations within it, known as Holdings. Three sources of Holdings exist: guilds, law, and temples. Each Holding in a Province has a level, which is capped at the Level of the Province; a Level 4 Province cannot have Level 5 Guilds, for example. Note that not all the Holdings in a Province will be owned by the ruler of that Province, meaning multiple Regents may have influence over a single Province.
Guilds are the building blocks of a thief Regent or a merchant empire. Trade is controlled by hundreds of small guilds of artisans, and he who controls the guilds controls trade. A Regent who controls mostly guilds is likely to be a thief lord, merchant king, or investor. Guilds can range from anything from the Guild of Bakers to a clandestine Thieves' Guild.
Law refers to any entities - from vigilantes to the king's guard - that keep the peace in the land. If you own Levels of Law in a Province which is hostile to you, this manifests as sponsored banditry, guerilla warfare and lawlessness in the area. Law improves your ability to control rebellious areas, and by extension makes excessive taxes more feasible.
Temples are monasteries, shrines, cathedrals and other places of worship. The level of a Temple Holding reflects its share of worshippers in a Province; if you have Level 1 Temples in a Level 4 Province, 25% of the Province are worshippers. A Province with no levels of Temples in it will likely still contain temples and churches, but no religious organisation holds particular influence there.
Source is a special type of Holding that can only be taken advantage of by wizards. Every Province has a "natural" Source rating, which represents the power of nature and the latent magical energy found there. Every Level that the Province has reduces this rating by one, as civilisation pollutes the natural magical energy of the land. Wizard Regents can develop Source Holdings just like anyone else: Source Holdings represent the knowledge of where secret crystal caves or magic groves are located, towers built where ley-lines cross, and so on. Amongst other things, Source Holdings are particularly important for mages who want to use Ritual Magic to affect entire Provinces - realm spells. For more information on Source and realm spells, see the the Birthright rules.
In addition to Holdings, Provinces can have various other elements such as fortifications that protect it, roads to facilitate travel and trade routes to increase income, and so on. These are known as Assets and can take many forms. They are detailed by the actions that produce or deal with them in the list of Actions.
Each Regent has a value called Bloodline and a resource called Regency Points (RP). Bloodline represents "ruling power" - the perceived right of a Regent to hold his position. Regency Points are their ability to affect change in the world - they represent the accruing of legitimacy and the various little enterprises that give a lord favors to call in, authority to flex, and power to exercise. A self-made Regent starts with a Bloodline of 1d6 + their Loyalty Bonus from Charisma. A Regent who passes on his power to an adult successor keeps half of his Bloodline, and gives the other half to his successor. The heir of a Regent gets 2/3rds of his Bloodline score either when he dies or when he chooses to pass on his power.
A Regent may increase his Bloodline score by spending a number of RP equal to the new score - to raise your Bloodline from 25 to 26, you must spend 26 RP. There are several ways to lose Bloodline - losing a territory will decrease it by 1 for each level of the Province, and particularly dramatic victories or defeats in the field may affect your score. Finally, for each year that a Regent has none of his basic Holdings (Temples for priests, Guilds for rogues, Provinces/Law for fighters, and Provinces for everyone else) he loses 5% of his Bloodline score as his name loses credibility.
In addition to Bloodline, you also have a Domain Score. Find this by adding the levels of all your Provinces together. To this, you may also add the sum of all your Holdings. Finally, if you are a thief, add 1 for each trade route you control. The final result is your Domain Score. At the beginning of each Domain Turn, you gain a number of RP equal either to your Bloodline or to your Domain Score - whichever is lower. As long as you have at least one holding, even if it's level 0, you always gain at least 1 RP.
RP may be accumulated or spent as the Regent wishes over the course of the domain turn. You can also directly burn your Bloodline to convert it into RP on a 1:1 basis, but this is a last-resort move as it is much more costly to increase your Bloodline than the RP you get out of it.
The last resource a Regent must consider is wealth - though this is not measured in gold pieces except in the smallest of kingdoms. The treasury of a Regent is tracked in gold bars (GB); a gold bar is an ingot of pure gold standardised throughout Leng as weighing 40 pounds and being worth 2,000 gold pieces.
A given Regency with all of its Provinces and all of the important data you need to keep about them can get very complicated; you can find a sort of "character sheet" for a kingdom here. Having everything laid out in a regular way makes it a lot easier to keep track of a kingdom's affairs, especially if you are a DM and need to coordinate many NPC Regencies.
The Domain Turn
A domain turn is equal to one season - 3 months. They are the unit of time by which kingdoms move. At the beginning of the domain turn, all Regents gain a number of RP equal to the lowest of their Bloodline and their Domain Score.
Next, taxation is handled. Each Province you own can have no, light, moderate or severe taxation. No taxation will make you very popular but will yield no wealth in GB. Other forms of taxation will make you less popular and may reduce the loyalty of a Province, but having strong Law Holdings in the Province can mitigate this. Remember that having Poor loyalty in a Province will reduce your income by 1 GB, and rebellious Provinces cannot be taxed.
Taxation produces GB as follows:
|Province Level||Light Taxation||Moderate Taxation||Heavy Taxation|
Next, calculate the income from trade routes. For each trade route, find the average of the Levels of the two Provinces it connects (round down) - this is how many GB it produces per domain turn.
Next, calculate the income from Guilds and Temples you own. The amount claimed is as follows:
Finally, if you have Law Holdings in Provinces you do not own, you can attempt to steal some of that Regent's income with it through banditry. With banditry, you can target EITHER taxation in the Province OR the income from a particular type of Holding in the Province. Compare the Level of Law Holdings you have in the Province with either the Level of the Province (taxation) or the Level of the target Holding.
|GBs generated by target|
|Law < Target||d4-3||d3-2||d2-1||d2-1|
|Law = Target||d3-2||d2-1||d3-1||d4-1|
|Law > Target||d4-3||d2-1||d3-1||d4-1||d3-1|
Once you have fully calculated your income, you must pay maintenance. You must pay the maintenance costs of any military units under your command. If you do not, you must pay 5 RP per GB owed or the unit will disband. If mercenaries are unpaid, they desert and become brigands. Each palace, castle, fortified holding, and occupied province (a foreign province occupied by your troops) costs you 1 GB. The final cost comes from your provinces and holdings; total up all your provinces and holdings (not their levels, just count how many total provinces and holdings you have), and refer to the following table for Domain upkeep:
|Province & Holding Total||Upkeep|
|101+||1 GB per 3 provinces/holdings|
You now have your total income and upkeep finished. It may seem like a lot, but remember it only needs to be processed every 3 game months; it's more like a long term game of Civilisation than a real-time thing, and you can usually ask for decisions and actions between sessions.
The next step in the domain turn is to determine what kind of court you hold. Holding a court costs GB, but holding a lavish court is good for your reputation, while a poor court reflects badly.0 GB: No court. Diplomacy and Decree actions are impossible.
1-2 GB: Minimal court. Facilities are that of a common inn. Few retainers, no musicians or entertainers. -4 to all Diplomacy.
3-5 GB: Barely acceptable court. "Quaint" facilities and a scattering of retainers. Occasional affairs of state. -2 to all Diplomacy.
6-8 GB: Average court. Good facilities, plentiful servants and festivites, regular galas and festivals.
9 GB: An opulent celebration of power. The envy of nearby kingdoms. Guests are waited on hand and foot and every day brings a new event. +3 to Diplomacy.
As noted above, loyalty comes in 4 grades: high, average, poor, and rebellious. The following factors can change a province's loyalty, and all factors are cumulative.-1 grade for severe taxation
-1 grade for moderate taxation
+1 grade for no taxation
-1 grade if levies were mustered from this Province and sent to a foreign war
-1 grade if the Regent ignores an event that is affecting the Province
-1 grade if a rival Regent successfully completed an Agitate action
+1 grade if the ruling Regent successfully completes an Agitate action
+1 grade to ALL PROVINCES if the Regent wins a victory against a traditional/racial enemy
-1 grade for a Province under occupation
Law Holdings in a Province affect the consequences of these factors. If you control ALL available Law Holdings in a Province, you can ignore two grades of change in Loyalty. If you control only half of the available Law Holdings, you can only ignore one grade of change. If you control less than half of the available Law Holdings, you can't ignore any changes; furthermore, the penalty for severe taxation increases to -2. Note that even if your Law Holdings prevent the Loyalty of a Province from changing, relying on this to maintain your Loyalty in the long term will result in an obedient but resentful populace.
As noted above, rebellious Provinces and their Holdings produce no RP for their rulers, nor do they produce any GB from tax. While a Province is in rebellion, all the ruler's Holdings there (even fortified ones) are considered contested, as though the Province was occupied by an enemy force. The only way to stop a rebellion is to improve the Loyalty of the Province (i.e. via the Agitate or Diplomacy actions), or by bringing in counter-insurgency forces to crush the rebellion. If this is done, the Province will immediately raise the largest levy possible to oppose the oppressing armies. As per usual, raising this levy temporarily reduces the Level of the Province by 1. If the rebel army is defeated, the Level of the Province will be permanently reduced by 1, but the rebellion will end and the Province's Loyalty will return to "poor".
Next is for actions, which are "things you can do". There are realm actions, domain actions and free actions; making a domain action takes 1 month, so you can make a maximum of three domain actions per domain turn. Some domain actions can also be taken as realm actions, meaning they can be performed in several Provinces at once. If you are a Regent, you may make as many free actions as you wish over the course of the domain turn. If you are a nonregent pc, taking a free action takes up 1 month.
There are various actions that you can spend RP and GB on during your turn to affect change. Most actions will have a success number, which is a score you need to roll above in order for the action to succeed. You can spend RP to improve your chances of success, at a rate of 1 per point. If you are taking an action in a Province where another Regent has influence, they can likewise spend RP to worsen your chances; both sides are allowed to keep on bidding to increase and decrease the success numbers until both are done and the roll is made.
These actions are the core mechanic of the Birthright system. As there is obviously a huge range of things you can do, these should be used a guideline, much like a proficiency check, and houserules for thresholds and unusual actions are absolutely fine. Remember that actions taken in a rebellious Province cost double the amount of RP and GB. A complete list of actions available to a Regent can be found on the Actions page.