Category Archives: Sabres of Infinity

A Quick December Update

I was going to write about the political factions within the Tierran Cortes for this month’s blog post, but as it turns out, my supporters on Patreon voted for an article on the exact same topic.

As a result, you can find that article as the latest installment of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea, which is now up alongside this month’s entry in An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms.

Happy Holidays.

Advertisements

Someone Who Is Good at the Economy Please Help Me, My Kingdom is Dying: The Budget Crisis in Lords of Infinity

Today I’d like to talk about one of the central elements of Lords of Infinity‘s plot: the Budget Crisis.

As the war with Antar ends and the Unified Kingdom of Tierra becomes reacquainted with a peace it hasn’t seen in more than a decade, the crown finds itself in an exceedingly precarious financial situation. Historically, the Rendower monarchs (with the exception of Edmund II) have been very thrifty rulers and their governments have followed suit, maintaining a carefully hoarded surplus to ensure that there is always cash on hand in the case of an emergency. This was the case in 601, when the League of Antar declared war. Unfortunately, three factors meant that this accumulated reserve quickly disappeared.

First of all, there was the fact that Tierra has trouble feeding itself, even at the best of times. This meant that traditionally, Tierra imported grain from Antar. Since this was no longer an option, grain had to be imported from Kian and Takaran merchants, who took advantage by raising their prices. To keep the population fed, the crown issued grain subsidies to keep the cost of bread affordable, which rapidly became a major expense.

Secondly, there was the simple fact that the war was ruinously expensive (as wars tend to be). Weapons, uniforms, supplies, and those needed to make, transport, and fight with them were all paid for at the expense of the crown. Every battle meant enormous sums of money had to be spent to replace lost equipment and fighting men. While individual soldiers of the King’s army could get rich off plundering Southern Antar, the King’s government got nothing.

Lastly, there was the matter of the debt that Tierra began to accumulate when its currency reserves ran out. To keep the war going, Tierra needed to borrow. A lot of this money came from Tierran banks, but a vast portion of it came from overseas. Only Kian and Takaran banks could lend the amount of money the crown needed, and neither the Kian nor the Takarans had any confidence that Tierra would survive a war with its larger, more populous neighbour. That meant the interest rates these overseas banking houses offered were far higher than normal, under the expectation that Unified Kingdom might not even exist to pay them before long. While this prediction was proven wrong, the debt, and the need to service it, remains.

With the war over, one of those expenses is gone: the King’s army has been reduced to its peacetime strength, with officers placed on half-pay and houseguard regiments being released from royal service. However, the crown still has to bear the cost of servicing the war debt and the grain subsidies (Antar isn’t going to be exporting much grain to Tierra any time soon), something which it can only really do with the help of war taxes which are only growing more and more unpopular by the day, especially now that the war they were purportedly paying for is over.

The upshot of this is that the Crown is in between a rock and a hard place. To service the debt and keep the people fed, the Exchequer needs to keep enough money coming in by maintaining war taxes. However, maintaining these taxes will invariably increase discontent, drive more Tierrans into poverty or personal bankruptcy, and possibly damage the Unified Kingdom’s economy in the long run. Alternatively, if the Crown scraps the war taxes, Tierra will be forced to declare state bankruptcy, not only destabilising the Tierran economy, but also giving the Kian and Takarans very good reasons to intervene diplomatically, economically, or militarily.

Next month, I’ll be talking about the political factions currently dominating the Cortes, and what (if anything) they plan to do to dig Tierra out of the hole it’s gotten itself into.

This month’s installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are now up. These worldbuilding articles are funded by my Patreon, so If you’d like to see more of this sort of content, then please feel free to contribute. Backers also get benefits like early access, and the ability to vote on the topics of future articles.


Gone Clubbing: Politicking in Lords of Infinity

Spoilers follow for Sabres of Infinity and Guns of Infinity. If you haven’t played them yet, go do that.

Today, I’d like to talk about what happens in Lords of Infinity if you choose to set your Dragoon Officer up in Aetoria, the political and cultural capital city of the Unified Kingdom. More precisely, I’d like to talk about how to take advantage of that proximity to power and social prestige, and the primary method of turning that proximity to power into genuine power and influence in its own right.

As a Lord of the Cortes, the Dragoon Officer already possesses a measure of political power tied to their birth and noble title, along with whatever his accumulated wealth and military repucation can get him. However, he is still a very small fish in a very large pond. There are nearly six hundred seats in the Cortes, and no matter what happens, the Dragoon Officer can only personally sit in one of them. If the Dragoon Officer wishes to acquire real political power, then he must find ways to influence others to follow his lead, so that he can not only control his single vote, but others as well. To do that, the Dragoon Officer must have access to his fellow Lords of the Cortes, not just physically, but socially as well. To amass and exert influence over others, he needs to make himself seen not just as one more face in a very large crowd, but as an individual player, one known to others as a figure worth trusting and working with.

He does this by joining a club.

Private clubs are a longtime and prominent fixture of Aetorian society. Located in private and well-furnished premises, they allow like-minded individuals of means (usually banebloods) to interact in a casual milieu. In the Cortes, the Dragoon Officer is one voice among hundreds, but in the sound-proofed rooms of a private club, he is able to speak privately and candidly with other club members, in places where they are almost certain not to be overheard. The outcomes of Cortes votes are often determined by backroom dealings, and private clubs are the backrooms.

The clubs themselves are well aware of this, of course, and most are very selective about who they allow as members. The more prestigious a club’s membership is, the more exclusive it becomes, as the great and the good take pains to ensure that they cannot be inconvenienced by the presence of their “lessers”. If the player intends for their Dragoon Officer to wield real political power, then they’ll have to find a way to meet, or sidestep the often-stringent requirements for membership in one of these private clubs. If they succeed, the Dragoon Officer could be rewarded with a level of access and influence among the major players of Cortes politics vastly disproportionate to his relatively humble standing within the Tierran aristocracy.

Likewise, the player will have to be careful of which club to pursue: the Dragoon Officer can only join one, and each club has its own requirements and advantages to membership. For example, the extremely exclusive Rendower Club will only accept members with royal blood, which means an Aetorian Dragoon Officer (with a distant, but certifiable link to the House of Rendower) would be able to get in far more easily than a Wulframite or Cunarian Dragoon. However, getting in means getting to interact on familiar terms with closer relations of the royal family, including major players within the Cortes.

Players preferring to amass wealth instead of political influence might find it a better idea to try and get themselves into the somewhat less-prestigious Shipowners Club, one of the few private clubs in Aetoria which allows membership to the baneless. A rather less hidebound organisation than the Rendower, the Shipowners are primarily business-oriented, and count among their members the heads of shipping companies, banking houses, and some of the foremost captains of Tierra’s naiscent industrial economy.

Of course, these are not the only choices. There is also the prestigious Admiralty Club, the firebrand Reform Club, and the newly-formed Overseas Club, the latter founded to allow veterans of the War in Antar to keep in touch. What club the Dragoon Officer chooses to join will determine the political players, factions, and ideas he is exposed to. It will make certain paths easier, and others much more difficult. It is a choice which will determine just how much the player will be able to access and influence the political leaders of the realm. As Tierra grapples with the repercussions of their long war with Antar and the very soul of a kingdom is debated and voted upon on the Cortes floor, it may become a choice which will determine whether the kingdom emerges from its postwar crisis better off, worse…

Or at all.

New installments of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea and An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms are up. As usual, these worldbuilding articles are funded by my backers on Patreon. If you’d like to see more of this sort of content, or get perks like early access and the ability to vote on future articles, then please chip in if you can.


New: An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms

Those of you who check the Patreon Content page today may find a new addition. As promised, exceeding $300 a month in patron pledges means I will be writing not one, but two monthly worldbuilding columns. In addition to the regular Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea, I’ll also writing monthly installments of An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms, articles about the setting of The Hero of Kendrickstone and The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford.

If you have any interest in supporting more of this sort of worldbuilding work, consider backing my Patreon. Topics for these columns are suggested by and voted on by patrons at the $10 a month and $2 a month tiers respectively. In addition, $1 a month backers get access a week in advance.

 

 


December Content Update And Burden of Command Devblog

It’s the second week of the month, which means it’s once again time for another installment of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea. This month’s article continues covering the governance of the Unified Kingdom of Tierra, this time regarding the various ducal governments.

Remember that thanks to my supporters on Patreon, next month’s issue of A Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea will be joined by the first installment in a new column based on my second fantasy series: An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fledgling Realms. Those who pledge $1 a month will get access to both articles a week early, while those who pledge $2 a month get to vote on next month’s topics.

Speaking of the Fledgling Realms, The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford, the sequel to 2015’s The Hero of Kendrickstone, will release later this month. I’ll have a page up for it soon.

Last, but not least, I’ve written a development blog post on Burden of Command, regarding the importance of creating empathetic characters in narrative-based games, and how we are working to make sure that the members of the player’s company in Burden of Command will feel like complex and dynamic officers and men worth mentoring, leading, and protecting.


November Content Update

It’s the second week of November, and that means it’s time for another installment of The Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea. This month’s installment focuses on the mechanics of Royal Governance in the Unified Kingdom of Tierra, as the first part of a two (or three) part series about Tierran governance from the highest to the lowest levels.

As usual, this month’s article was funded by my supporters on Patreon. Those who donate $1 a month or more get access to articles a week in advance.

In addition, we’ve just hit the $300 a month tier, which means I’ll soon be doing two articles a month, one on the Infinite Sea, and a second one on the Fledgling Realms, the setting of The Hero of Kendrickstone, and its upcoming sequel, The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford, so look forward to that.


An Update on Hallowford (and October Content Update)

So, about two weeks ago, I submitted the text-complete version of The Cryptkeepers of Hallowford for review by Choice of Games. Since then, I’ve been receiving and incorporating feedback notes from both CoG and my regular beta testing group. Once the current cycle finishes (tomorrow orĀ  thereabouts), I’ll be doing one last round of revisions (which will involve mostly cutting or streamlining repetitive text and testing the import system) before doing the remaining art, the reference materials, and finally sending it in for copyediting, hopefully, sometime before the end of the month.

With luck, I should be able to get a release date sometime in December or January.

In other news, the latest installment of The Soldier’s Guide to the Infinite Sea is now up. As usual, you can support future articles by donating to my Patreon. Anyone contributing more than $1 a month gets access to new installments a week before they come out here.