Player Race Balancing

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YK - Yuri Khavlor
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Player Race Balancing

Post by YK - Yuri Khavlor » Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:38 am

I have some thoughts on race balancing for the future.

Races do not to be perfectly (or even closely) balanced. Available terrain, river and sea access, and tundra-like effects can shift balance radically. There should be a reason for each to be a competitive option in most circumstances, and the best option in others. The balancing can be done on different levels. Some may be better on the domain level (Action level), the Military Level (Ships, armies) and character (Adventures, main adventures). A realm ranked best in one category, probably shouldn't be well above in the other two.

I also appreciate there a few drawbacks/advantage hidden in the statistics. Such as the increased difficulty to rule province for long-lived races while decreased for Goblins, Halflings and Gnolls. There may well be more that I am not seeing, but consider their planned drawback vs what has happened in past game play.

[+] Humans
In my opinion, Humans need a lot of love.

A lot of advantages that would have made them the default choice has been shared with other races.

Naval Advantage
Ship technology should be a human advantage, with a massive barrier to entry for demi-humans. Ship technology should also be cultural again. Sure Rjurik and Vos had inferior sea vessels, but their oared technology is very advantageous with the predominance of rivers in Juan's maps.

Non Humans should be limited to War Canoes, rafts, (worse versions of coasters) and other ships if they invest heavily.

Human Variation
Instead of +1 max plains population, consider giving them a culture based one. (Khinasi: No Arid penalty & +1 capital, Brecht Max +2 for sea coast, Anuirean +1 sea & river, Rjurik ignore tundra, Settle to prov 3 , Vos ignore climate can rule capital anytime could settle)


In a Diaspora style game consider given Humans +1 settlers or province level.
[+] Orog

Having just played this race, I would say it is fine. It is balanced against both dwarves and humans as is.

The +1 melee is good compromise for the published bonus to all attacks at night.
The 'no mounted units' is not a significant problem given the natural terrain populated by Orogs negates charges.

Racial Stigma would have been considered the major drawback, but has not materialized as much as previous campaigns. Without the stigma, the Orogs bias vs forests would not limit trading partners, and they are lacking in the dwarven stone-building only stunts them a bit.


Not needed for balance but would be nice to see:
Options to enhance the subterranean nature of the race.
Reduced attrition from weather
Tunnel roads
Subterranean provinces.
Access to recruit monsters, ogre/trolls units
[+] Sidhelien


Elves have definitely benefited from power creep over each iteration of these campaigns, they are top tier at domain, best military, and great choices at the character level. It is no surprise that the majority of human realms in the Taelshore campaign were run by half-elves, and the sidhe have only gotten better since.

These massive drawbacks no longer hinder elven realms:

1) The largest drawback of the elves was no temples slots. A lack of 20% of potential income, and divine realm spells.

2) The Gheallie Sidhe, and other role play restrictions, almost eliminated Guilds and roads from elven realms. That is another 40% income hit

Sure they lost the best unit in the game with the elven knight, but they still have the best military in the game.


I would like to see Sidhelien returned the same flavour as the published Birthright setting, or given the Sidhelien advantages if that is their choice.


-Sidhelien are again prohibited temples and priest class. Otherwise, lose all source-based race advantages. However allow Source-based trade routes, without roads, at any level. They should also lose immortality, and experience ageing.

-Sidhelien lose 'wood only building' with any guilds. Random events in provinces with guilds are harsher (Higher DC, more units, penalty to rolls) due to social unrest.

-If these are an over-correction, consider giving elves a domain point for Educated or Experience, to represent their long lives. Base game elves tended to be higher than average level.


[+] halfling

If 'jumping' ability becomes standard would need to be balanced.

Appropriately disadvantaged military.

I would like to see acknowledged the Halflings ability to integrate represented. Maybe give them the ability to ignore the cultural penalty of a single culture, and halve the penalty for others.
[+] Goblin
Worst military units in the game. Rather than +1 missile consider +1 hit at best stats. If too strong also -1 morale. This would represent better the goblins number advantage and swarm tactics.


Short-lived is definitely a big drawback, I like that half-goblin exists as a way to ameliorate that.
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CI - Charrek Ironfist
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by CI - Charrek Ironfist » Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:29 am

Humans had advantages at char creation that go away as the game continues. Maybe number of children could be changed too. Short lived races can have 7, medium 5, long lived 3.
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by CSF - Flint » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:55 pm

My thoughts after a couple years;

Short answer: LA hit the nail on the head - Humans are underpowered and the domain points you get as compensation vanish quickly (especially at 2 years per turn) while the drawbacks remain in place all game.

Long answer:

Top Tier: Orog, Dwarf, Elf

These are all highly competitive - They have flat numeric bonuses to their units, and able to ignore or partially ignore resource requirements. Insanely good favoured terrain for Dwarf/Orog, all 3 races favoured terrains have resource requirements necessary for other to build structures (with 2/3 being partially immune to this requirement themselves). Head and shoulders above the rest. Only negative to be found anywhere here is Dwarf Move speed of 1, no mounted units. Argument could be made for the harder rule DC's for Dwarf if pop growth wasnt already basically mandatory after level 3 anyways. Mountains and forests both have minmaxed religions for them which helps their case, but may not be relevant to the discussion for future games.

Large Gap

Bottom Tier: Everyone else

Shorter lived means your character levels are behind the top tier (save orog) by midgame. Any domain points spent on your regent will vanish as soon as you have to play your heir. Units are all vanilla (human) or sidegrades instead of straight numeric bonuses. Favoured terrains very far behind mountains +3 defence cant be charged. Resource wise grain is the least relevant with growth limitations currently in place (and 2 tier1 races largely not even needing it.) Humans also having cultural penalties with other humans potentially doesnt help.




I havent thought much about what changes could be made to balance things out (if we even want to as a DM/community) but it feels like humans may have been heavily balanced around having a lot of high population provinces compared to the demihumans. When we remove that as a factor in our games and compress things heavily into the 2-4 province level range, the disparity shows. Accelerating the game also means the drawbacks of death are much more often realized as well. Some ripple effects perhaps? Interesting to think about - would like to hear some more of the veteran's opinions on the topic.
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YK - Yuri Khavlor
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by YK - Yuri Khavlor » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:19 pm

I was going to suggest a Domain startup changes at some point as well.

I was going to suggest that all bonuses are assumed at the ascension of the heir, just like Initiative was ruled to work.

Obviously this would make some of them exploitable so it would have to be ruled on ahead of time.

It was also considering an argument for Multicassed to require a domain to be spent, else regent collects RP based on single class only.

Example: XP bonus not stackable with academy
replacement of lost or consumed starting items are not available except in exceptional circumstances.
Stat Buffs: Generate progeny stats with the parent non-enhanced score, and then apply the buff to progeny (1 parent only)
Resources might have a minimum time requirement in addition to the next generation (say 10 turns) or might become available again for displaced domains (TLL and Caelcorwyn)
Last edited by YK - Yuri Khavlor on Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TH - The Hunt
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by TH - The Hunt » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:32 pm

I like the idea of fertility being inversely proportionate to longevity. Or shorter-lived races getting to have more children than longer-lived ones.

I agree mostly with the OP assessment but not the one two posts ago. Humans are in a sweet spot where their lives are long enough to gain experience, but not so long that advancing a dynasty becomes impractical. It might be good to balance DP so there isn't a 'power now vs. power later' trade-off, though. Maybe stat boosts could be removed, or reduced and made a bloodline feature. (In the latter case, it might add to the matchmaking part of the game.)

It's nice to have a short-lived race if your regent does get killed, since that makes them easy to replace. One thing I'd suggest to help out goblins and gnolls, if they need it, is reduced training and maintenance costs. Maybe they get an extra -25% (or -1) on top of what they can get from Administration (or NWPs that reduce training costs). For gnolls, the bonus could be twice as large, if they also have -1 hits to each unit (since that's a pretty serious drawback).

Ultimately, though, all the races are supposed to fill different niches, they aren't supposed to be competitively balanced. So attempts to balance them should be to ensure they can fill their niche, not that they can compete against others 'fairly'.

The niche for humans, conveniently, that of threatening to push out everyone else who was there first. Not sure how we can fit that in when everyone starts out in the same place.
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by WM - The Waste Mage » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:38 pm

Anyone attacking into a forest where elves live: Forest should get a free attack each round on every enemy unit.

Anyone attacking into mountains where Dwarves live: Dwarves can levy and get Heavy Infantry instead of levy units for defense of the province only. They cannot leave. This is to denote all Dwarven males are fighters and know their tunnels and have traps etc and are fighting for their homes and hearth. Also their mountain provinces are fortified = to province level. So a level 4 province with a level 3 fortification built would actually have a level 7 fortification.

Both of these races should not be allowed to live in any other terrain. (Dwarves maybe hills at a penalty and none of the above bonuses for hills)

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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by AaH - Avicerra al Hamam » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:17 pm

I agree on the domain startup should be passed on to the heirs but not resources. They are already invested in the realm so you dont loose them when your heir takes the throne.

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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by HaQ - Hakim al-Qadr » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:17 pm

The obvious point (counter point) I raise is that as a Goblin you do not BUY XP or NWP or any character-based bonus on start up. You have to look at it as a dynasty and strictly as a domain game. Even though I can only have the same number of kids you can per regent/family member - I still have 20 potential heirs running around while you are still at <5 for an Elf. You are simply never going to be able to wipe my family line out.

I think you are also discounting the benefit of the lower Rule Province DC. I agree that effectively everyone is going to use Population Growth. But the savings and/or assured rule-up is still a benefit.

If you allowed the NWP/WP or XP bonus to pass through generations it would make them actual options for Goblins/Gnolls which isn't a bad thing though. It is always better to leave open options worth considering instead of it being a pretty straight forward Artifact + Artifact + Resource + Resource choice.

Rhyel and Moradin should both lose their source-preservation bonus in future games.
---
I agree on Sidhelien. Need to curb their temple/guild use. I kind of thought the gross betrayal by Rhyel last game (goblinization) was a good RP reason to cause the Sidhelien to move away from faiths in general...
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by WB - Water's Blessing » Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:45 pm

RR - Exalted Voice wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:17 pm
The obvious point (counter point) I raise is that as a Goblin you do not BUY XP or NWP or any character-based bonus on start up. You have to look at it as a dynasty and strictly as a domain game. Even though I can only have the same number of kids you can per regent/family member - I still have 20 potential heirs running around while you are still at <5 for an Elf. You are simply never going to be able to wipe my family line out.

I think you are also discounting the benefit of the lower Rule Province DC. I agree that effectively everyone is going to use Population Growth. But the savings and/or assured rule-up is still a benefit.

If you allowed the NWP/WP or XP bonus to pass through generations it would make them actual options for Goblins/Gnolls which isn't a bad thing though. It is always better to leave open options worth considering instead of it being a pretty straight forward Artifact + Artifact + Resource + Resource choice.

Rhyel and Moradin should both lose their source-preservation bonus in future games.
---
I agree on Sidhelien. Need to curb their temple/guild use. I kind of thought the gross betrayal by Rhyel last game (goblinization) was a good RP reason to cause the Sidhelien to move away from faiths in general...
I think an obvious downside for elves (given the history of the game) is that having temples and guilds in your land generates a small but consistent risk of devolution, and the regent/population could begin to transform into goblins. I believe that was an unspoken possibility for elves this game, that if they became too religious or material that they would transform, but I might be mistaken.
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Re: Player Race Balancing

Post by TH - The Hunt » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:08 pm

Makes sense. Lore-wise, AF & Co. keep talking about how the lawful-aligned temples strip elves of their souls, turning them into a form of living dead. Chaotic ones might, correspondingly, goblinize them, over time. Neutral ones... apparently attract massive invasions. Not sure what else would come of it.

Other possibilities could be turning into fey, entering the shadow realm, or producing more random events (of many forms).

Come to think of it, all of these things could be implemented as random events. Elven lands wouldn't have many temples if the temples automatically produced negative events for them. To keep this from being used offensively, the events could target the intrusive holding first.
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