Sanctuary, Home and Fellowship Mechanics

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Sanctuary, Home and Fellowship Mechanics

Post by mica » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:36 pm

The mechanics for Sanctuaries seem straightforward on initial interpretation. Specific application of the RAW however is anything but. Adventurer’s Companion further makes the mechanics seemingly impossible to apply.

The players are free to spend the phase at any Sanctuary they have already opened during the game, or at home.

This specifically indicates 2 choices – Sanctuary or Home. So if a place is not a sanctuary it is impossible to spend a fellowship phase there in order to open it...

The Company Repairs to a Sanctuary
The Company Disbands Temporarily
When a company disbands temporarily, each player chooses the location to which his character repairs to. Usually, heroes return home...

So either the entire company goes to a sanctuary or they go their own way. It states ‘Usually’ which implies a choice of locations but the opening statement is Sanctuary or Home and sanctuary is only available while the Company is not disbanded. So the only possible interpretation is if the character has something like a home but not a home – a holding elsewhere.

So 3 choices:
Everyone goes to the same sanctuary.
Individuals go to their individual home or holding but not to sanctuaries.

Further material states that a company may spend a fellowship phase at a friendly location in order to open it as a sanctuary. This indicates an exception to the Sanctuary/Disband opening option.

Then there is the question of Sanctuaries remaining as such irrespective of world progression. If every character in a company has changed between visits to a specific sanctuary, is it still considered a sanctuary?

I would argue therefore that the RAW is has been miss-written and should abandon the distinction between staying as a company or disbanding as this confuses the issue.

My Interpretation

In a fellowship phase characters choose their destination. The company may stay together, break into smaller groups or totally disband temporarily. The destination is normally in close proximity to the ending location of the previous adventure but may be further afield though distance and difficulty to reach the destination are considered when determining the length of the fellowship phase [original rules are clear on this].
Characters may opt to go home, a sanctuary or any location where they have visited and have an implicit or explicit invitation. In the case of implicit or explicit invitations, towns such as Dale, Esgaroth and Woodmen town fall into the former category. Thranduil’s Hall, Rhosgobel and Woodland Hall fall into the latter (the explicit invitation likely the result of a previous adventure).
Where the company remains as a whole, they may have the option of the joint Opening a Sanctuary undertaking which will allow company members to spend fellowship phases there in future.
The LM is the final arbitrator of what may be opened as a sanctuary. Just because a company of elves, dwarves and woodmen finished an adventure in the Shire and became friends with the mayor it does not follow that they can open a Sanctuary there.

A Sanctuary is a place where individual members of a company are welcomed and where the residents are keen to hear news and tales of their adventures.
Home is where the family is though telling tales of adventures may be met with scepticism or even outright hostility especially if the character is seen to have been abandoning his folk or duties.
Elsewhere a character is simply somebody spending time between adventures though this may be necessary due to current situation.
An adventure concludes long after the Misty Mountains become impassable for winter. A woodmen character has decided to return home. With LM approval he invites the hobbit from the Shire to spend his fellowship phase at his home.
The company is explicitly invited to stay for their fellowship phase in Rivendell and given the option to Open a Sanctuary. One character decides to go home. The rest can stay though they can no longer open it as a sanctuary. The LM may consider Rivendell as having a future explicit invitation to stay and the possible undertaking to open it as a sanctuary.

Sanctuaries are not forever. As the company changes and as time moves on sanctuaries may be closed by the LM. This could be because the company has not visited, the people in the sanctuary have changed or that following the opening of a sanctuary many or even all of the company have been replaced. So while taking on new members does not close existing sanctuaries, the LM may require that the company visits them within a time frame for them to remain open. It is down to the LM as to how much bookkeeping they use to record sanctuary details.

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Re: Sanctuary, Home and Fellowship Mechanics

Post by Falenthal » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:50 pm

I agree with your concerns and options, mica.

I think that the LM has to avoid taking the criteria for a Sanctuary too literally, and try better to listen to "what makes sense" in their campaign, regarding to the timeline and the actions of the fellowship.

Your idea that Sanctuaries can be "lost" is a good one. For example, the fellowship might have befriended Ingomer Axebreaker among the Wood-men. But after his death, Mogdred is available in the campaign as a successor. If the fellowship did battle and conspire against Mogdred before, but he wins the leadership, Woodman-Town could be lost as a Sanctuary for them.

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Re: Sanctuary, Home and Fellowship Mechanics

Post by mica » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:46 pm

Absolutely - in our campaign the original characters started in Esgaroth but since then they have never returned and now not a single character remains of the original fellowship. As such I have closed the sanctuary there as it no longer makes sense as a sanctuary. The 'new' fellowship have now arrived and presuming that they are prepared to meet and greet and win the friendship of appropriate people may again have the opportunity to open a sanctuary there.

It was this set of events that led me to read and re-read the mechanics and do a lot of head scratching.

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