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Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

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Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby JustAStick » Sun May 07, 2017 5:05 pm

I am gming a game of mythras right now and things have been going pretty smoothly up to this point. However, I have one player in my group who I felt has been getting the short end of the stick in terms of interesting things to do. My group is a band of explorers/adventurers that have been hired by a merchant's guild in order to acquire rare artifacts, perform the muscle work for the guild and overall help expand its influence in the realm. One of the players is a courtier who is skilled in things like commerce, and bureaucracy. What suggestions would you have for interesting things for a character of his sort to do in cities as well as while out adventuring? What sort of obstacles could I put in place that would allow for his character to shine?
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby raleel » Sun May 07, 2017 8:29 pm

The perpetual challenge of the less combat oriented character with combat oriented characters. It's a difficult balance, because one or the other has the spotlight, and it's hard to share between them

So, I would argue that "acquire rare artifacts" sounds a lot like a heist job to me. I mean, it doesn't have to be, but a guy with face skills is going to be able to grift in the con, an important piece of it. You probably have a sneaky guy, who is the actual thief, and a thug, who is there in case the crap hits the fan. Your courtier also could be the "fixer", in charge of gear acquisition. Have him in roles that involve convincing someone of something.

"Overall help expand its influence" sounds like clear social work. This is treaty negotiation, public relations, making sure that guild dues are being paid, and there isn't any sneaking around it. The merchants clearly want to have the lions share of the business, so some "diplomacy" backed with some thugs to remove opposition or obstacles can help. Commerce is going to be very handy in rooting out folks who haven't paid dues, and bureaucracy will help move through the halls of power.

Perhaps the king of a nation has a rare artifact or has access to it. He will give it if they party does something for him, but even getting access to the king is going to be a challenge, as the bureaucracy in front of him will stomp the ruffian adventurers down. Does he have lore or deceit or insight? Any of these could be handy outside of civilization, particularly tracking down things that are related to his lore.

Task rounds might help here as well. It's only a few rolls, and there might be some opportunities for the rest of the players to augment various rolls. Maybe his first roll on how to win favor with the king tells him that he likes gifts, particularly for feasts. This would allow the party to hunt a deer, for example, and help with the influence check in the next task round.
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby Matt_E » Sun May 07, 2017 10:41 pm

Good stuff there. I like the last paragraph particularly. With that in mind, you might turn the problem on its head by viewing the next scenario this way: The courtier is the key to success at the (rather bureaucratic) climax of the scenario. The rest of the party's job is simply to deliver him safely, past all perils, to be able to participate in that climax. If the courtier fails, the whole mission fails, or if the bodyguards fail, the whole mission fails.

Another idea: Something I have started doing is adding scenes where a noncombat skill can give the party a leg up on the quest. It may not be absolutely necessary or definitive (unlike the first case above), but if you have the oddball Lore or Literacy or social skill, then suddenly alternatives open up to the group, and afterward the players will sit around reflecting, "Boy, can you imagine how ugly it would have been to fight our way in through the front, rather than finding that secret door? It's a good thing Tegrum came through with that legend about the citadel."
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby Bilharzia » Sun May 07, 2017 11:34 pm

If it's a case of different player interests you might have a problem - if the rest of the party wants an Indiana Jones style action game and one player is after something more about diplomacy and negotiation I can't see them maintaining interest that long. On the other hand if it's more of a character issue I'd be tempted to Kobayashi Maru it and suggest the player runs two characters, one is the merchant/scholar/diplomat the other is the more adventuring type, I'm not sure if you've asked them what they want to do.
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby nDervish » Mon May 08, 2017 2:58 am

I assume that the player has a Courtier character because they chose that profession for their character. This in turn implies that there are Courtier-things the player wanted their character to do in play. Have you tried asking the player what those things are?
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby Dan True » Mon May 08, 2017 3:33 am

This has been an issue for me a few times, as I have a player who always make characters not very fit for fighting. She can usually hold her own in a defensive manner and keep herself safe, but hardly more than that.

I usually do two things:

1) Try to build a political/economic framework around the more gritty tasks the group is doing.
So, in your situation I would have one or two other groups competing for the same jobs from the guild. So before and after each job there may be intrigues in getting the job, the other groups may need to be sabotaged in subtle ways - maybe someone messes up their relationship to their suppliers etc. Maybe the city council introduces laws to get some control over all them grave robbers and hired swords running around, meaning a party members has to handle all the red tape.

2) Make the tasks deeper on some levels:
Try to let the things they find have some sort of implication, something that requires a brain. So rather than sending them on "fetch X"-quests, let them be more loosely defined and require some sort of on-the-job decision making, e.g. whether to go raid the upper or lower tombs, whether to bring the silver necklage or the precious antique vase etc. In other words, try to imagine what a group of tomb robbers could use an antique dealer for.

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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby Pat_Henry » Mon May 08, 2017 12:29 pm

Sounds like this character might be good at espionage, uncovering state secrets and whatnot. Maybe send the party to a foreign city as an embassy, where this character can work his/her courtly magic. Whoever is in charge of the local embassy can serve as the party's Patron and can dish out sepcific missions when your group's imaginations fail.
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby hkokko » Mon May 08, 2017 11:08 pm

Perhaps this article by Pete on the Fenix magazine would help a bit http://thedesignmechanism.com/resources ... eQuest.pdf
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Re: Interesting things to do as a Courtier?

Postby soltakss » Thu May 11, 2017 2:17 pm

What can a courtier do?

Use connections at court to get introductions/good deals.
Flash himself around a bit to impress the local merchants.
Drop hints that he has the ear of the king/lord.
Seduce those around him, especially those who are out of bounds.
Gain favour, put others down, rise on their backs to greatness.

If I played a courtier, I'd make contacts all over the place, work my connections, do favours for people and expect them to be paid back, wheedle my way into the favours of others and so on. All these can be done in a normal game, they don't have to be at court.
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