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Childbirth and Child Survival: Morien's recommended Quick Fix

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18 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Just so everyone knows, Mabinogion is a mistake; I believe Lady Guest thought that was the plural because of mistakes by earlier editors. The name is 'the Four Branches of the Mabinogi'. The Mabinogi contains direct references to 11th-12th century history so the stories seem to be substantially altered from the oral tradition, if they can be trusted at all as accurate renditions of Welsh folklore about the Plant Llyr and Plant Don. In this way they resemble the distorted legends we have of the Aos Si and other peoples of Ireland in the Book of Invasions, which are mediated through Irish Christianity and sources like Isidore of Seville.

 

Totally aware and no I was not making an error I was referring to Walton’s The Four Branches of the Mabinogion ... and before you say it I am also aware that it sucks and has nothing to do with the real thing and.... and... and... I still like it.

eta anyway off topic, sorry.

eta 2 re-read and it don't matter if I got all that unfo dump unasked for and being we were off topic as well.

That was great jeffjerwin. Well done!

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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9 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Totally aware and no I was not making an error I was referring to Walton’s The Four Branches of the Mabinogion ... and before you say it I am also aware that it sucks and has nothing to do with the real thing and.... and... and... I still like it.

eta anyway off topic, sorry.

Cool. Yes, rather off topic. Though as I recall, death in childbirth only happens for narrative reasons in Celtic legend (so the hero's an orphan, mainly), not because it's common. Hence 'Childbirth and Child Survival' would have to be handled entirely differently...

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1 minute ago, jeffjerwin said:

Cool. Yes, rather off topic. Though as I recall, death in childbirth only happens for narrative reasons in Celtic legend (so the hero's an orphan, mainly), not because it's common. Hence 'Childbirth and Child Survival' would have to be handled entirely differently...

Quite so... (just a note I had two edits that you might have missed above, they are not important but)

Nice way to guide us gently back on track. Christianity and the wild pagan ways of my celtic ancestors saw child birth a little differently to say the least.

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17 hours ago, Morien said:

As for the system, here is my suggestion:

1. Childbirth roll: Roll the Woman's CON. Modifiers: -10 if a child was born last year, -1 per year past 35. Critical: Twins born (roll 1d6 for the gender of each, and if the 1d6s are the same, they are identical twins). Success: A healthy child born. Failure: no conception. Fumble: Tragedy. Go to the next chapter.

It's a minor point, but that twin incidence strikes me as a bit high. Modern incidence for the UK population, for example, is about 15 multiple births out of 1000 births (2004 data), and that is likely to be higher than for historical populations. I'm counting it as a 1% chance per live birth event for my game.

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Speaking of narrative reasons, that is another point against the current Childbirth (and child survival) tables.

Before we made the changes to childbirth in our campaign (we fixed child survival pretty much as soon as we started playing), it happened often enough that the PK might have spent years winning the hand of a damsel, only to have her die a couple of years into the marriage due to death by childbirth, rendering all that effort more or less moot. Also, even if she had any children, those children would be unlikely to survive to adulthood.

Tragedy is one thing. But to have this to be the norm is very detrimental, IMHO.

 

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13 minutes ago, Uqbarian said:

It's a minor point, but that twin incidence strikes me as a bit high.

It is high*, but I am quite happy to handwave it as a narrative trope as well as to keep things simple. I mean, if you wanted to model the multiple birth rate accurately, it would also need to depend on the age of the mother**. I am much happier with a high chance of twins than I am with a high chance of death in childbirth.

EDIT:

* The current chance in UK is about 1.6% of a birth being a multiple birth, but this might be due to women giving birth older and fertility treatments. It was closer to 1% in 1984. So yeah, twins on a crit is quite high, but I am fine with it, for reasons stated above. The chance of identical twins vs. non-identical twins is actually a bit low. It might be better to just roll one 1d6: 1 = identical girls, 2 = sororal girls, 3 = girl & boy, 4 = boy & girl, 5 = fraternal boys, 6 =identical boys.

** Actually, the proposed CON roll system does this in a way, since the chance of a singleton birth goes down with age, but the critical (twins) chance stays the same. So the chance of twins on a successful pregnancy goes up.

Edited by Morien

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17 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I just think it's a little funny because it's about an Arthurian setting but it's got Dark Ages stamped on it. it's a weird mashup of modern and 19th CE mythologies.

Many mothers died in childbirth in the Arthurian mythos. It's the "orphan hero" cliché.

A pregnancy, even today, is a big deal. No women of my knowledge in game have any issues with that. They are women, not delicate flowers. They are strong. The RAW are broken, but with a quick add-on, they are not. They can create great drama and

And, if you look at the past, the reality was harsh. The rules have a semi-realistic feel. One of my players died of an ill-treated wound. It was no heroic, but a painful and miserable death. No one complained.

The setting is sexist by the way, because the society is patriarcal, even under Arthur's reign (benevolent but patriarcal). You have to play the game to realise how much it's awesome to discover a society with different values.

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I was planning to just have the player roll 2 d20s for child survival any given year before 15, and both dice will have to come up 1 or 2 (or whatever the modified roll is due to a different level of maintenance) for a child to have died. That will raise the survival level.

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4 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

You have to play the game to realise how much it's awesome to discover a society with different values.

euhhhhh

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1 hour ago, YwainDigsLions said:

That will raise the survival level.

Well yes, since you go from 10% death chance (assuming death on 1-2)  to 1% death chance (10% x 10%). Taking 15 years, this becomes 86% survival rate, only 1 in 6 dies.

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

It is high*, but I am quite happy to handwave it as a narrative trope as well as to keep things simple. I mean, if you wanted to model the multiple birth rate accurately, it would also need to depend on the age of the mother**. I am much happier with a high chance of twins than I am with a high chance of death in childbirth.

EDIT:

* The current chance in UK is about 1.6% of a birth being a multiple birth, but this might be due to women giving birth older and fertility treatments. It was closer to 1% in 1984. So yeah, twins on a crit is quite high, but I am fine with it, for reasons stated above. The chance of identical twins vs. non-identical twins is actually a bit low. It might be better to just roll one 1d6: 1 = identical girls, 2 = sororal girls, 3 = girl & boy, 4 = boy & girl, 5 = fraternal boys, 6 =identical boys.

** Actually, the proposed CON roll system does this in a way, since the chance of a singleton birth goes down with age, but the critical (twins) chance stays the same. So the chance of twins on a successful pregnancy goes up.

Yeah, I was going to mention the age factor as well, but I figured that wasn't worth modelling. It's neat that your system does kind of do that, though, and it's certainly easier to have everything in one roll.

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10 hours ago, Morien said:

Well yes, since you go from 10% death chance (assuming death on 1-2)  to 1% death chance (10% x 10%). Taking 15 years, this becomes 86% survival rate, only 1 in 6 dies.

And I fully expect players to blow their Stewardship rolls some years, making it a 1/16th chance (1-5 and 1-5 due to Poor Maintenance) every now and again. By the same token, some years their children will only die if they roll two 1s.

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3 hours ago, YwainDigsLions said:

And I fully expect players to blow their Stewardship rolls some years, making it a 1/16th chance (1-5 and 1-5 due to Poor Maintenance) every now and again. By the same token, some years their children will only die if they roll two 1s.

Well generally the players shouldn't be making Stewardship rolls. Typically a knight manor was seen to be his wife or his Steward,  and the players should use their skill scores instead.

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13 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Well generally the players shouldn't be making Stewardship rolls. Typically a knight manor was seen to be his wife or his Steward,  and the players should use their skill scores instead.

Yes, I meant the players' bailiffs/wives. After their introductory scenario, I had them go through the Winter Phase, and when they rolled 2d6+5 for their bailiff's Stewardship skill, the guy who rolled a 17 failed his Maintenance roll.

Edited by YwainDigsLions

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10 hours ago, YwainDigsLions said:

And I fully expect players to blow their Stewardship rolls some years, making it a 1/16th chance (1-5 and 1-5 due to Poor Maintenance) every now and again. By the same token, some years their children will only die if they roll two 1s.

Well, I am already on the record for opposing the Grade of Maintenance modifiers for childbirth and child survival (see first post on this thread). :) And in

I recommend not using the Harvest system of GPC at all, and simply keep everyone at Ordinary unless they fork over some treasure/loot, +£1 discretionary funds from BotEstate.

But it is your campaign. YPWV. :)

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On 9/6/2019 at 3:02 AM, Tizun Thane said:

Many mothers died in childbirth in the Arthurian mythos. It's the "orphan hero" cliché.

The only example is Tristram, and the main reason for it is justifying his name with a mistaken French etymology.

 

Edit: I was a bit surprised to find this to be the case. However, dead fathers are far more common than dead mothers.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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Slight corrections to the suggested tables (twins, tragedy child unhealthy/dead).

1. Childbirth roll: Roll the Woman's CON. Modifiers: -10 if a child was born last year, -1 per year past 35. Critical: Twins born (roll 1d6: 1 = identical girls, 2 = sororal girls, 3 = girl & boy, 4 = boy & girl, 5 = fraternal boys, 6 = identical boys). Success: A healthy child born. Failure: no conception. Fumble: Tragedy. Go to the next table.

2. Tragedy roll: Roll the Woman's CON again. Critical: Unhealthy child born. Success: Take a Major Wound, child dead/dies within days. Failure: NPC women die, unhealthy child born; PC women take mortal wound (3 major wounds), unhealthy child born. Fumble: Mortal wound, barren for life (which can be good for future survival), child dead/dies within days. Also, with NPC women, I'd just have -1 CON per major wound, since their other stats are not tracked.

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On 9/7/2019 at 5:55 PM, jeffjerwin said:

Edit: I was a bit surprised to find this to be the case. However, dead fathers are far more common than dead mothers.

All the more reason to fix the KAP 5.2 childbirth table! :)

But yeah, I am bit surprised as well, although I guess that it makes sense, storytelling-wise: if the father is dead, then there is revenge to be had, a usurper to be overthrown! If the mother died in childbirth, there is not much that the hero can do about that.

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8 hours ago, Morien said:

All the more reason to fix the KAP 5.2 childbirth table! :)

But yeah, I am bit surprised as well, although I guess that it makes sense, storytelling-wise: if the father is dead, then there is revenge to be had, a usurper to be overthrown! If the mother died in childbirth, there is not much that the hero can do about that.

Plus if the mother is still alive (like with Alisaunder the Orphelin, La Cote Mal Taille, and Percivale), she can exhort her son to either avenge his father, or shy from dangerous knightly things, as in the case of Percivale. If it's a foster mother or step-mother the emotional aspect is diminished. Interestingly the evil stepmother motif seems to be mostly absent except in a few (fairly obscure) ballad versions of the stories.

I think that if this becomes a pattern in KAP,  that is, older character dies, son takes over, with a living mother there's actually more continuity between the generations, in a somewhat sentimental way. This matches up with the stories I mention above. Avenging one's dead old character is an excellent motivation.

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6 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

I think that if this becomes a pattern in KAP,  that is, older character dies, son takes over, with a living mother there's actually more continuity between the generations, in a somewhat sentimental way. This matches up with the stories I mention above. Avenging one's dead old character is an excellent motivation.

Fully agreed with the above.

The suggested CON roll childbirth above with roughly 1.25% maternal mortality per year would result in a roughly 3-in-4 survival over the fertile period of the NPC wife (25 years). Since it is quite probable that any PK who dies while their son is still a minor will die during that same period, it is 3-in-4 odds that the mother would still be alive. This is a huge difference compared to the 10% yearly death in vanilla KAP, which results in over half of the women dying within 7 years; the wife has only 7% survival chance to make it for 25 years.

Granted, the above ignores the family survival rolls from BotE (1.25% yearly chance, if memory serves, ratcheting up in later years), but that would still be about a 50/50 chance (5% survival with vanilla rules, for 10% + 1.25% mortality per year). Of course, the younger the PK kicks it, the more likely it is that the mother of the son PK survives (no childbirth rolls, assuming she doesn't remarry).

 

Edited by Morien

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And since I have been reminded that the dead child doesn't do anything for the game save to serve as a potential trigger for part of the player base, here is the current version I am thinking:

1. Childbirth roll: Roll the Woman's CON. Modifiers: -10 if a child was born last year, -1 per year past 35. Critical: Twins born (roll 1d6: 1 = identical girls, 2 = sororal girls, 3 = girl & boy, 4 = boy & girl, 5 = fraternal boys, 6 = identical boys). Success: A healthy child born. Failure: no conception. Fumble: Tragedy. Go to the next table.

2. Tragedy roll: Roll the Woman's CON again. Critical: Child born. Success: Take a Major Wound, no child. Failure: NPC women die, child born; PC women take mortal wound (3 major wounds), child born. Fumble: Mortal wound, barren for life (which can be good for future survival), no child. Also, with NPC women, I'd just have -1 CON per major wound, since their other stats are not tracked.

If you want, you can get rid of Child Survival roll, too, and just put -4 modifier on Childbirth roll. It should work out roughly the same as far as the family size is concerned.

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On 9/5/2019 at 3:50 PM, Morien said:

Have you checked put Age of Arthur?

I used this book as one of the sources for Book of Sires. It was a pretty good source for information, but if taken on its whole, would change the GPC as we know it. But then, we do that in our campaigns anyways...

Sorry for the lateness of this post, I missed the reference when I first read through

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27 minutes ago, Hzark10 said:

if taken on its whole, would change the GPC as we know it

The whole context of that part of the discussion was that she wasn't into medieval Arthur in the first place, but wanted a more dark ages Roman ruin and Celtic tribal vibe. Hence my question if she was aware of Age of Arthur, which might be a better fit for her preferences than KAP & GPC.

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On 9/6/2019 at 10:11 AM, Qizilbashwoman said:

euhhhhh

I can certainly understand not wanting to play in a society with "different values," especially if one has to deal with values in everyday life that are not so different.

For my part, I'm going to have female knights in my game, and I'm going to ignore any rolls that involve PKs dying in childbirth.

I'll also be ruling that half the children born are (handwaves) non-viable as knights, so we have similar dynamics in terms of succession as in the rules as written.

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