Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

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Arthur Fisher
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Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Arthur Fisher » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:35 am

Taking a que from this thread: viewtopic.php?f=56&t=3758&hilit=Wedding

I've instituted a courtship phase for my game, but with a few variants. For NPC's they know and want to get hitched, we roleplay it out and maybe do an Encounter.
But what if they don't have a particular NPC in mind, but would like to get married?
So I did what any good LM would do...I stole some ideas from Pendragon!

Characters spend their Fellowship phase in a traditional medieval courtship. They call upon the paramoure in question, sit and speak with their families, make a good impression and win the approval of, not just their betrothed, but their parents and community.
They make an Encounter roll with the Threshold and test being determined by the individual and the culture. If the courtship is especially difficult, this takes multiple Fellowship phases.

But, just as in actual courtship, the player has a reason for seeking a spouse. This usually boils down to 3 reasons: Love, Status or Money. Or some combination of the 3.
The player puts in an investment of Fellowship phases, and they get a one time tangential reward.

The rewards for winning a spouse that you courted for Money or Status is easy; you give them Trease & Holdings and a discounted or free Status level increase.

Where I'm having difficulty is the Love.
I was thinking of making the reward a free Attribute bonus to all Heal Corruption Tests. But that seemed to stingy for such an important concept as "love" in a Tolkien game. Especially compared to the other two rewards.
Then I was thinking I could also give the player an additional Fellowship point. But I didn't know if that seemed too generous.

Our games are usually about 4-6 hours and we have yet to not complete an Adventure in a single sitting, so Hope is always at a premium. Thus, 1 more Hope point didn't seem that generous to me, but I wanted to get other folk's opinions.

Thought?

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zedturtle
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by zedturtle » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:02 am

I would allow the character who married for Love to nominate their spouse as their Fellowship Focus. This means that they'd pretty much always recover one point of Hope each session, and a generous interpretation of the 'directly help or protect' might also be in order.

Sure, it's powerful... but it's True Love. You don't see that every day. And it should be of greater significance than Status or Treasure.
Jacob Rodgers, occasional nitwit.

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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Otaku-sempai » Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:50 pm

One more reason to seek a union: to sire an heir.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Scrollreader
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Scrollreader » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:14 pm

I have given married PCs an additional maximum (and current) hope. This is both to reflect the power f love, and because I'm also not the kindest of LMs, so I don't feel bad later when being married/having kids leads to Anguish. Because, at least in the Darkening of Mirkwood, it will lead to Anguish.

PencilBoy99
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by PencilBoy99 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:31 pm

Can someone post a full set of rules for this?

Arthur Fisher
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Arthur Fisher » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:15 am

PencilBoy99 wrote:Can someone post a full set of rules for this?
When a player is ready to marry, we ask them what they are looking for in a spouse: Love, Status or Money?
If they say "neither" or "I don't care" then we let them roll the Fate die on the Take Your Chances table.

For all others, we establish the Threshold for the Encounter.
Love, Status or Money = +8 to the Encounter
A different culture = +4
A different culture & race** = +8
Spouse is "Fair" = +4
Beyond Your Station = +8
Wealth Beyond Measure = +8
Landed = +4
Titled = +8

Note that Love, Status and Money are not mutually exclusive. One may choose any two or even all three for their intended paramore.

We then establish the Tolerance.
For Bardings, Elves, Hobbits, Men of Bree, Men of the Lake and Rangers of the North, it is Wisdom.
For Beornings, Woodmen, Dwarves, Dunlendings, Men of Minas Tirith and Riders of Rohan, it is Valour.
At the LM's discretion, you may add your Standing if you are of the same Culture, or half your Standing if you are not.

We then establish the TN for each skill to be used in the Encounter.
This will largely depend on the culture and the individual picadillos of the paramore and family being courted. The LM is encouraged to think of what type of courtship this particular family and paramore would most appreciate and assign that a TN of 14, think of a brand of courtship they find displeasing and assign it a TN of 18 and assign all other applicable skills a TN of 16.
A typical Barding family of high status, for instance, would find Courtesy to be a TN of 14 and Awe to be a TN of 18.
LM's are encouraged to be creative. It is entirely possible that a Woodmen paramore might respond most kindly to Hunting.

The player then rolls and role plays the Encounter as their Fellowship Phase action. Once they reach the Tolerance, the courtship has ended for this season. They may try again during the next Fellowship Phase until the Threshold is met.

At the beginning of each Fellowship Phase after the first, the LM roles the Fate die. If the result is an 11, their paramore has become engaged to another and the player must start the process anew. On the next Fellowship phase, the same occurs on a 10 or 11 and continues to decrease in the same manner until the Threshold is met or the paramoure is no longer available.

Once the Threshold is met, the happy couple is married and may begin to roll on the Childbirth table* every year thereafter.

The Rewards for Love are a +1 to your Fellowship Pool.
If your spouse is Fair, you receive a free attribute raise on all Heal Corruption Tests.
The Reward for Status is that your next Status increase is decreased by half; unless you also choose "Status Beyond Your Station," in which case you gain your next level of Status free. It still requires you take another Fellowship Phase to increase it.
The Reward for Money is 6d6* Treasure and your Standard of Living becomes Prosperous(unless it is Rich); unless you also chose "Wealth Beyond Measure" in which case the reward is 6d12** Treasure and your Standard of Living becomes Rich.
The Reward for Landed is a Holding with a Rating of 8.
The Reward for Titled is a Holding with a Rating of 5.

This is a skeletal outline of my house rules and you should feel free to critique, add on, take away or contribute to it in whatever way you wish.
The most important thing is to treat the courtship as more than a series of numbers and roles, but as an opportunity to explore a conflict aside from combat and create a more full and vibrant version of Middle Earth. Clever role playing or ideas that can't necessarily be quantified should always be taken into account by the LoreMaster to create the most engaging experience possible.


* I'll add that table here in a little while
** All Men are considered the same race
Last edited by Arthur Fisher on Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:15 am, edited 3 times in total.

Insect King
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Insect King » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:58 am

zedturtle wrote:I would allow the character who married for Love to nominate their spouse as their Fellowship Focus. This means that they'd pretty much always recover one point of Hope each session, and a generous interpretation of the 'directly help or protect' might also be in order.
You could make it a Mastery or Quality with great benefits such as avoiding corruption and the shadow but should be considered "magical" regarding Eye Awareness. Of course, if the source of their love is far away, the player has to spend a point of experience at the Fellowship phase as True Love's upkeep cost if they are not together.

Cheers,

Chris.

Halbarad
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Halbarad » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:56 pm

I've seen a few attempts at this over the years on the forums. This one is pretty good. Whatever your final rules, one thing I would suggest is that Hope should only be boosted, or Shadow reduced where a marriage is for love rather than wealth or status. If done for wealth or status then Standing should be the reward? IMO of course. :)

Corvo
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Corvo » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:56 pm

Halbarad wrote:I've seen a few attempts at this over the years on the forums. This one is pretty good. Whatever your final rules, one thing I would suggest is that Hope should only be boosted, or Shadow reduced where a marriage is for love rather than wealth or status. If done for wealth or status then Standing should be the reward? IMO of course. :)
I like Arthur Fisher idea, too.

I agree with Halbarad's observation ("Hope should only be boosted, or Shadow reduced where a marriage is for love rather than wealth or status").
I would link gaining Hope to having a son/daughter, though, while I would link "marrying for love" to shedding Shadow points.

That said, at my table wealth is more important than in the rules as written, so a wealthy spouse got more mechanical benefit

Glorelendil
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Re: Courtship & Wedding: Too Stingy or Too Generous?

Post by Glorelendil » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:33 am

zedturtle wrote:I would allow the character who married for Love to nominate their spouse as their Fellowship Focus. This means that they'd pretty much always recover one point of Hope each session, and a generous interpretation of the 'directly help or protect' might also be in order.

Sure, it's powerful... but it's True Love. You don't see that every day. And it should be of greater significance than Status or Treasure.
I might just be too mean of an LM, but I wouldn't be able to resist messing with their True Love while they're off adventuring.

"Sorry, while you were out murderhoboing she was Captured By Orcs. 1 Shadow for you."

Just kidding. But not really. But I like OP's general approach to this. I like the idea that there are three reasons for doing it, each with mechanical impacts.

As a general principal, game choices should always have trade-offs. E.g., there should never be a "best" weapon or armour choice. Likewise the decision to marry (or the decision to narrate your character's decision to marry) should involve trade-offs. Love, Status, Money should all have pros and cons. Choosing more than 1 should likewise carry trade-offs.

In terms of actually courting the object of your affection (desire, aspiration, Machiavellian scheming, whatever) maybe the new rules for Dwarven smithing would make for a good template.
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