Perdan (Realm)/Guide for Young Nobles

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Greetings, young nobles. My name is Balkeese Indirik, Duchess of Castle Ubent, and one of the mentors of Perdan. My task here is to instruct you on the things you need to know as a noble. One thing to remember at all times while under the tutelage of a mentor: If you have any questions, any at all, you have only to ask.

This guide as my humble attempt to teach you the things you need to know. The Table of Contents to the right is a list of the things we will be discussing.

The Inalienable Rights

As a member of the nobility, you have certain rights and privileges upon which no noble may infringe. These are known as the Inalienable Rights. Should any noble attempt to infringe upon your inalienable rights, you should contact the Titans or Magistrates immediately. In short, the Inalienable rights of a noble include:

  1. The right to attend any Tournament at any time.
  2. The right to follow any career path you desire.
  3. The right to lead any type of soldiers at any time.
  4. The right to be as active or inactive as you please.
  5. The right to pause at any time.

There is one, and only one, exception to the Inalienable rights: You may be ordered out of the bureaucratic class. You may not be told which class to follow, only to not follow that of a bureaucrat. The reason of this is that too many bureaucrats will cause damage to the realm. If you wish to become a bureaucrat you should contact the Arch Priest or Arch Priestess before switching to that path.

Realm Hierarchy and Oaths of Fealty

Perdan is a Monarchy. We are ruled by a King or Queen, who holds absolute authority over the nobility. The King has a realm council to assist him by performing certain tasks. These are the High Marshal, Royal Treasurer, and Arch Priest. Each of these council members has authority in their own areas.

Sworn directly to the King of Perdan are the Dukes. Each city or stronghold (Perdan, Partora, Aix, and Castle Ubent) has a Duke or Duchess. Sworn to the Dukes are the lord of the individual regions. Each Duke and regional lord has knights sworn to their service.

In return for their service, each lord pledges to pay a portion of the regional tax income to the knight. This is where the knight will receive the major portion of their income. A small stipend of a few gold coins will be sent from the realm directly to each noble. This stipend will buy you a few drinks at a local tavern, but will not be sufficient to hire any soldiers. To earn that much money, you will need to swear fealty to a lord. To swear an oath to a lord, you will either need to be in the same region as the lord, or in the lord's home region.

The King of Perdan also maintains a group of advisors known as the Senate. The members of the Senate include the realm council, the Dukes and Marshals, and a few other nobles highly trusted by the King. The purpose of the Senate is to provide advise to the King on military, political, and diplomatic matters.

Military Chain of Command

As a noble of Perdan, there is a strict hierarchy of command. Military authority starts at the top, with the King or Queen. The King or Queen tells the High Marshal what he wants to happen. The High Marshal creates a strategic plan and provides the Marshal of each army with their objectives. The Marshals are then responsible for achieving those objectives.

Only a selected few individuals in this military chain of command may give you a lawful order. These individuals are as follows:

  • The Marshal of the army to which your liege lord has assigned you
  • The Vice Marshal (second in command) of that same army

There are, however, a select few other nobles who may give you a lawful order, albeit they are outside the military chain of command. Chief among these is your liege lord. If your liege is also the vassal of a duke, then that duke as well may give you a lawful order. As you may surmise, it is possible for you to receive conflicting order. Your Marshal may tell you to head to the capital, while your liege lord may tell you to head to your region to do police work. What should you do in this case? No one can tell you how to handle this. You must do as honour demands, and only you can make that choice.

Other nobles may make requests, or ask you to do things. But they may not give you an order. Whether or not you choose to comply with the request is up to you.

(If you join a religion or a guild, then the Elder members may issue orders to the other members. While it is outside the topic of the Military Chain of Command, it still deserves a brief mention.)

Recruitment and Unit Maintenance

There are many treatises already prepared governing how to properly care for your troops and their equipment. Perhaps the best in terms of raw information is here: Unit. For more practical application of the information, look here.

I only have a few things to add to this:

  • Do not over-recruit. That is, do not recruit more men than you can afford to pay for the next week. If you can't pay your men, they may desert, costing you a point or two of honor. You can always ask your liege or marshal for more gold. They not be able to provide any, though, and you may get a reputation as someone who can't manage his own gold.
  • Ask your Marshal about the types and amount of Paraphernalia that you should hire or buy, such as scouts, banners, and healers.
  • Make sure you repair your equipment before leaving a city and heading off to battle. Equipment damage will greatly reduce the effectiveness of your troops.

Basic Combat and Unit Settings

Again, much has been written on the subject of combat and troop formations. You can read about it here and here.

The only thing I have to add to this is to make sure you follow the orders given by your Marshal. This is especially applicable to your men's encounter settings. You do not want to be using Aggressive settings when behind the walls of a fortified city as your men will charge from the walls and lose their protection. Morale of the story: Listen to your marshal, and make sure you check your line settings. Twice.

OOC/IC Separation and Separation of Characters

This section is written from an Out of Context (OOC) perspective. That means the information here is targeted at you, the player, and not your character. Some of these situations are things that a new player is not likely to run into. But as you progress in your BattleMaster play, you will eventually rise up into positions of power and could possibly wield a large amount of influence. It's best to start with good habits now, and you will enjoy your BattleMaster experience a lot more later on.

OOC/IC Separation

One of the most important concepts a player in BattleMaster must learn, after they learn the Inalienable Rights of course, is the concept of OOC/IC separation. IC means "in context". This is information that your character, Sir Kepler Keplerstan, knows. OOC means "out of context". This is information that your characters does not know, but you, Joe Shmoe from Topeka, Kansas, do. It is very important for the continued enjoyment of the players that OOC information that you know is kept from your characters, and not allowed to influence the actions your character takes.

For example, let's say that you are hanging out on IRC in the #BattleMaster channel, and you overhear someone say something about a planned rebellion in your realm. What you should not do is immediately log in to BattleMaster and tell the whole realm that you heard there was going to be a rebellion. What you should do is ignore it. In the first place, how would you explain that your characters knows this information? In the second place, it could be just idle chatter. Or it could be deliberately false information being discussed by dishonest players who are metagaming. (Metagaming, by the way, is very bad in BattleMaster. If you want to metagame, go play Urban Dead.)

In the same vein, if your character knows something IC that you do not want other characters knowing about it, then it's simple: Don't tell anyone. IC or OOC. Even if you are able to 100% separate your OOC knowledge and keep it from influencing your character's IC actions, don't count on other people being able to do the same. All it takes is one small slip of the tongue where someone else can hear it and your 99% perfect rebellion can be ruined in an instant.

Separation of Characters

This is probably a subcategory of OOC/IC separation, but I feel it deserves to be addressed separately. Separation of Characters is your ability to have your characters act as separate individuals, with their own motivations and goals. As stated in the RP Primer: Do distinguish your characters from each other. It is not necessary to make them complete opposites -- Battlemaster is rife with family feuds and the like -- but you should give them personality traits such that they immediately stand out from one another. One of the worst things that can happen to you in BM is if your characters get pigeonholed as simply being appendages of you (the player) and nothing more. BM is a competitive game and everybody wants to get ahead, but every time you place "winning" the game ahead of your own characters' desires and attitudes, not only is your enjoyment of the game lessened (you won't notice it right away, but it will happen), but other players will see that you're after a numerical victory (honor, prestige, gold) and not simply having a good time.

My personal approach to this is simple: I play each of my characters on a separate island. That way there is no temptation for me to use one of my characters to "help out" with another of my character's goals. There is less of a chance for information form one of my characters to bleed over onto the other and affect their actions. I also get to experience the widest cross-section of BattleMaster that I can find.

You don't need to follow the same approach. You can have two characters in the same realm, and possibly even have them be different, with individual needs/wants/motivations/etc. You may even be able to have separate characters on opposite sides of a war. But you may find yourself not being able to fully enjoy both characters. After all, your character in Fontan knows that the misdirect to Ashforth is a trap, and your other character in Perdan is being ordered in such a way as to fall right into the trap. Will you blindly follow orders, even though you may have been able to detect the trap? Or do you give it away, and possibly have your Fontan character be accused of being a spy for Perdan, and be accused of an inability to separate your characters? Be prepared for things like this, or possibly worse, if you choose have your characters be in realms hostile toward each other.

So, is that information IC or OOC?

It should be pointed out that the official approach of BattleMaster, as defined by Tom, the game's creator, toward information is this: If a character receives a message IC, then that character knows the information contained in it. Period. (I don't think that's posted anywhere on the wiki here. He stated this in a thread on the Discussion List. It probably should be up on the wiki somewhere...) So if you receive a message about something happening across the other side of the island, then you know what happened. If you want to use that information, then it is up to you as a player to come up with some convincing way to explain how you know it.

Now let's apply some common sense to this.

  • You must have a plausible reason that your character knows this information. Many players will consider implausible reasons as a sign of bad roleplaying. Is it really possible for the captain of your personal guard to have snooped on a private conversation between the King and a foreign emissary in a secured room under heavy guard? Or is it more likely that you had the captain of your guard bribe the serving wench that brought the wine and food to the meeting? But don't forget, the ruler could have his own agents find out that your guard captain bribed the serving wench, and have you fined, or even banned, for corrupting the palace servants!
  • If someone posts a message that their character was thinking something, then how could you know what they were thinking? Are you a witch, or a daimon? Did you use magic? If you try to claim that, then you may find your character banned for the use of evil magic. Remember that BattleMaster is a low fantasy game. Magic is not commonplace in BattleMaster, and many characters may not even believe that magic exists. That kind of ignorance is for those filthy commoners! If you claim magical powers you may find yourself laughed out of the realm, or even considered insane. Most likely your character may know that Sir Kepler spent several minutes/hours brooding in their library, appearing to be lost deeply in private thoughts. But is there any possible way you could know their thoughts? Probably not...
  • Some people may send roleplay messages regarding private events to the entire realm. The normal purpose for this is to share them with other people who may appreciate reading them. Sometimes these people will put notes on their messages that the information should be considered OOC for those not involved, but not always. If they do, please honor their request. If too many people use this information as IC information, then they may stop posting it, and then we won't get to read these excellent stories.
  • Please, please, please use common sense when determining if your character knows something. If there is no reasonable way for your character to know something, then don't let your character know it. Just enjoy the story, and treat it as OOC.

Beginning Your Noble Career

Now that you have stepped up to begin your active career as a member of the nobility, there are some things that you should do.

  1. Introduce yourself to the realm if you have not already done so. Nobles who talk to the realm will quickly find friends and allies.
  2. Head toward the capital of Perdan, currently the city of Partora. Once in the city you can recruit new troops, explore the city, and see what it has to offer.
  3. Find yourself a liege lord so you can earn some gold. Your family will send you gold two times to support you during your search for a liege.
  4. Review all the material sent to you by your mentor. Ask for clarification on any points that are unclear.

Other Sources of Information

There are a great many places on the wiki to get information regarding BattleMaster. Some of my favorites: