Large family, low Influence?

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Large family, low Influence?

Postby Canarr » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:39 am

I hit a small problem this weekend that I hope this fine community can help me work with.

Currently, I'm designing the immediate neighbors of the PCs' noble house - just to get a feeling for what would be comparative strength, I want to use the regular House Creation Rules, but then adjust the various resources to fit the picture I've painted of the respective house. In one example, I'm looking to create a politically insignificant house (= low Influence), but with a lot of sons (large family). Basically, it's a family of upstarts that refuse to "play ball" according to the other nobles' customs, but are relatively wealthy and powerful due to their control of an important trade route.

However, the rules don't seem to allow that; having an Heir requires 20 Influence, second son requires 10, every further son another 5... that'd be 40 Influence for four sons alone. But that can't be correct, can it?

So, what's my mistake? How can I have a family with many sons, but little Influence?
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby coldwind » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:58 am

You only pay for sons and daughters that have Status 3 or more. You can have any number of them with a Status of 2 (ie, they are so insignificant that nobody really cares about them politically)
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Canarr » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:25 am

Ahhh, okay... so, you don't pay for the Heir and the other sons; you pay for their Status maximum? I guess that kinda makes sense.

But: the oldest son would still inherit his father's title when he dies, correct? And he still needs to have purchased the Heir quality, as well as the father the Head of House quality?
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby coldwind » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:07 am

Yup. The heir is just stuck at Status 2 until his old man gets offed some how, and then he can raise his Status to the max allowed by the house (the boost isn't automatic - it has to be paid for like any other character ability improvement).
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby coldwind » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:14 am

Also note, that Max Status is the children's limit by their birth alone. They may have done other things that warrant a higher Status - maesters and septons (even if they're with their birth house) may have a Status of 3 (if no Maester or Sept Wealth holding) or 4 (with appropriate holding)*, any knights could have a 3 as a sworn sword of the house, etc.

*To be fair, this is mostly a house rule, extrapolated from the benefits of the Maester and Sept holdings and the Status chart in the Ability descriptions.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:46 am

@coldwind:
If you are the sworn knight of some redneck inbreed brood from some place insignificant, i think it is unlikely that you will have more Status than the hick who gives you orders. That is unless you did something extraordinary heroic or prestigious, which would then pose the question why you were unable to acquire better emplyoment.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Legate » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:19 am

All these answers definetly take care of your problem with ease, and I recommend them. But, (I know a lot of people don't agree with this line of thinking) as GM you have the power to make whatever you want fit into the game world. If you want a House with a low Influence (say 20) and you want the Lord to have X number of boys and Y number of girls all you have to do is say "it is so". I would, however, probably pay for the points for the direct heir. You shouldn't be hampered by points from telling a good story, afterall all those kids could lead to some interesting intrigues as they grow older and start to excercise their interest in becoming Lord of the Manor.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Canarr » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:02 pm

Thanks everybody for your comments on the question; there's plenty here to work with. :)
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Pytorb » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:18 pm

It might not suit the background you have for the family but you could always say that several of the children are wards, adopted, the children of his brothers or something like that to keep the family large but without a formal heir. Another alternative is that the Lord has been forced, by the intrigue of neighbouring houses or a shocking revelation about her past (such as the fact she was already married), to declare his marriage to a wife he loved annulled. Therefore all his children would now legally be illegitimate and so unable to inherit but probably not considered bastard-born. Plus the Lord would now be out for revenge, once his sons discovered who was behind the intrigues...
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:31 pm

Can any one give some examples of "insignificant" lordly children from the books, such as those which wouldn't merit sinking points into "Heir"?

For extra credit, don't include any Freys ;)
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Canarr » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:35 pm

@Pytorb: That's... actually a pretty cool idea... I'll have to think about that for a while. Thanks.

Flagg wrote:Can any one give some examples of "insignificant" lordly children from the books, such as those which wouldn't merit sinking points into "Heir"?

For extra credit, don't include any Freys ;)


Samwell Tarly?

Jeyne Westerling, aka "Robb's Downfall" or "Where the hell did she come from???" ?

Roose Bolton's legitimate son? I don't even remember his name.

Must... resist... naming... Freys...

Resistance... is... futile... dammit! All the Freys? :P
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:39 pm

Before the deaths of Rickard and Brandon Stark, would you consider Benjen an "heir", or "insignificant"?
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Canarr » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:44 pm

Neither; he's sworn to the Night's Watch, so he's not inheriting anything, but he holds rank and prestige there, so he definitely isn't insignificant, either.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:49 pm

I'm speaking of the past, when Rickard was lord of Winterfell, Brandon was his heir, and Eddard and Benjen were lesser sons.

Regardless, I don't think sons who have forsaken their ties to family, such as brothers of the Watch, maesters, etc really count for the purposes of this conversation. The description for what qualifies as an "heir" seems to imply members of the household who for some reason don't count. I'm not sure I see where that line is drawn.

For a different example, if you were to create House Stark as it stood at the beginning of the series, which of the children would merit spending points on? How about if you were creating House Stark as it stands at the end of A Dance with Dragons?
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby coldwind » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:20 pm

Flagg wrote:Can any one give some examples of "insignificant" lordly children from the books, such as those which wouldn't merit sinking points into "Heir"?

For extra credit, don't include any Freys ;)


Davos' family. He has seven sons, which before a few participated in the Battle of the Blackwater, would require 55 influence for all to have Status 3+, which would put House Seaworth in the company of House Tully or House Martell in regards to influence according to the Influence resource description chart.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby coldwind » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:39 pm

DaimosofRedstone wrote:@coldwind:
If you are the sworn knight of some redneck inbreed brood from some place insignificant, i think it is unlikely that you will have more Status than the hick who gives you orders. That is unless you did something extraordinary heroic or prestigious, which would then pose the question why you were unable to acquire better emplyoment.


Why?

According to the House and Lands chapter, the lowest maximum status of a head of house is 2, and that's only for a house with an Influence resource of 10 or less (which gets classified as a lesser Landed Knight). True, he's not like to actually have many sworn swords (personally, I generally house rule it as a a maximum of one sworn sword per rank of Status), but if he does, why can't that sworn sword have a Status of 3?

If he's dealing in purely personal matters, he is a knight after all.

If he's dealing for the house, sure, he's a knight, and in particular he doesn't have the poor reputation the house does, but - and this is something I don't see players taking nearly enough advantage of - he can't really call on any of the House's influence to improve his Intrigues, because the House doesn't have any to spare.

From the books, the closest comparison I can find would be from the second Dunk and Egg story. Arguably, Dunk has a Status of 3 (he's given a surprising amount of respect), and Ser Eustace Osgrey is a pretty lowly landed knight who could arguably be slapped with either a Status 2 or 3.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:48 pm

coldwind wrote:Davos' family. He has seven sons, which before a few participated in the Battle of the Blackwater, would require 55 influence for all to have Status 3+, which would put House Seaworth in the company of House Tully or House Martell in regards to influence according to the Influence resource description chart.


Where does this status 3 thing come from?
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby coldwind » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:10 pm

Flagg wrote:
coldwind wrote:Davos' family. He has seven sons, which before a few participated in the Battle of the Blackwater, would require 55 influence for all to have Status 3+, which would put House Seaworth in the company of House Tully or House Martell in regards to influence according to the Influence resource description chart.


Where does this status 3 thing come from?


Eh?

I'm just answering your question.

If a House invests Influence in one or more heirs, then the minimum Status gained is 3, regardless of the maximum Status of the house. Any children who don't get investments get a Status of 2.

House Seaworth, at least for the time between being raised to nobility and the Battle of Blackwater has enough sons that, from a game mechanical view, would not have enough Influence to invest in each son as an heir to the House, so the youngest ones would likely only have a Status of 2 at the beginning. Given they are 9 and 6 years old, that's not too much of a problem because they're not trying to be movers and shakers in the world of Westerosi politics, and it's likely no other lords are rushing to betroth their daughters to Ser Davos' children.

After the Blackwater though, the four eldest sons are dead, and so Davos' remaining children become more important (and in fact, one becomes King Stannis' squire). Game mechanically, they slide into the 20-point heir, 10-point second heir, and 5-point third heir, requiring House Seaworth to have 35+ influence, which is more reasonable (equivalent to the likes of Clegane or Karstark).
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Canarr » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:04 am

Flagg wrote:For a different example, if you were to create House Stark as it stood at the beginning of the series, which of the children would merit spending points on? How about if you were creating House Stark as it stands at the end of A Dance with Dragons?


Personally, I find it difficult to apply the House creation rules to the greater Houses of the books; to me, it just doesn't feel like it's doing them justice. But, generally speaking, at the beginning of the books, I'd invest points only in Robb as the Heir and in Sansa as the eldest daughter. Bran and Rickon are yet too young (and Bran moves up in the Heir slot pretty soon, anyway) and Arya does her best to remain politically insignificant... ;)

A Dance with Dragons... which one was that? There's not really much left of House Stark, is there?
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:54 am

Depends on who you ask, I guess :)
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:41 pm

I'm still not really clear on what separates a 5 point child from a zero point child.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Zorbeltuss » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:36 pm

Flagg wrote:I'm still not really clear on what separates a 5 point child from a zero point child.


Okay, so I am going to take this from the start:

Step one: Take the influence score of your house, look at table 6-5, you get the number X that determines the MAX status the Lord of that House may have. For 20 Influence, you can pay for having an heir that can have a MAX status of X-1. For 10 influence you can have a second son or first born daughter, which can have a MAX status of X-2, for 5 points you can have additional children that have a MAX status of X-3. All the heirs (because one might argue that siblings and nephews/nieces of the Lord could be bought with the system) which you purchase slots for with influence can always buy status 3, even if X=4 and you buy influence for the second so

Now, let us say you have a house with influence 35, you decide that the Lord of the house have four sons, no daughter. The Lord can buy up to status 4, doesn't mean that he does so, but he usually do. His oldest gets first son slot, bought for by 20 influence, which gives him max status of X-1, so 3. Second son is bought for by 10 influence, max status X-2=2, and third son is bought for by 5 influence, max status X-3=1. However, since maximum status for someone that has had a slot purchased for them is 3, so all of the first three sons gets to buy status up to 3 if they want (and they usually would). The fourth son doesn't get a slot, the house is not influential enough for him to be given much notice from the rest of the world, and he cannot have higher status than 2.

That's the difference between a 5 influence kid and a 0 influence kid, the former can purchase status 3 with XP, the latter cannot.

Do note however, that the 0 influence kid can always go and become a maester, septon or prove himself to be a knight worthy of recognition (other options exists, but those are the common ones), and thus qualify for higher status than 2 due to merits and position. Heir slots qualifies a character to purchase higher status than 2 due to where he stands in the line of inheritance (if male) or how prestigious husband she might expect to attract (if female). If you' are third in line to inherit pigshit tower, then you're hardly going to be more prestigious than some hedge knight (status 2). If you're third in line to inherit a powerful house, then you'll be treated with respect because of that, simply because others will not dare offend your house.

It's like, if the lord of the pigshit tower doesn't come himself, or at least sends his heir, other lords will often take it as a slight, and may very well choose to not even bother with hearing the representative out. But if a Lannister of Casterly Rock -even if it's a cousin two times removed from the main line- comes to treat on behalf of the warden of the west, even the Iron Throne is not likely to make him wait for more time than is needed to show that the time of the king is more important than the time of anyone else, because he's a Lannister of Casterly Rock come on behalf of the warden of the west.

So the difference between a 5 point heir and a 0 point heir is that other people will normally give respect to the former, and walk high-nosed past the latter. Essentially the difference between status 3 and status 2.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Flagg » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:56 pm

Ok, I think I grasp it now. Thanks.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:06 am

@Zorbeltuss:
Where does this bit come from?
"His oldest gets first son slot, bought for by 20 influence, which gives him max status of X-1, so 3. Second son is bought for by 10 influence, max status X-2=2, and third son is bought for by 5 influence, max status X-3=1. However, since maximum status for someone that has had a slot purchased for them is 3, so all of the first three sons gets to buy status up to 3 if they want (and they usually would)."

I always though that a Head of House of Status 4 simply could only have one Heir with Status 3 and the rest of the bunch COULD NOT have Status 3 because that is reserved for the heir and so they get relegated to status 2.
I thought that a house with a status 11-20 simply could not spend influence on children since their was no way any of them would reach status 3 anyways.
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Re: Large family, low Influence?

Postby Zorbeltuss » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:54 am

A house with influence 30 can purchase slots for two heirs, since the first costs 20 and the second costs 10. But the Lord still has status 4. The heir does get a benefit giving him +1 to status results though.
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