I’m spinning up a new priest character, and I thought I’d put a thread here to collect the wisdom of all you old hands. What tips, tricks, and accumulated advice do you have for getting the most out of Synod game and getting things done?
Having watched my friends get into the Synod game since we started playing, I think the big move is once you’ve made connections with other priests, remind them that not using their votes and not raising a judgement is unvirtuous.
You don’t need to raise a Judgement if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t feel pressured to. There’s enough Judgements out these days that it’s a lot of effort to keep track. No point raising an empty judgement like “The Pride assembly believes that being Proud is good” just to have something to say. There’s a couple of those every event and largely they just take up space.
If you can’t think of something, I suggest literally putting up a note saying something like “I have a spare Judgement, I will raise anything I agree with for a 5R drafting fee, I am in the X and Y Assemblies”. At which point someone’s likely to find you and say “Excellent, I need this person Inquisiting/This Statement of Principle doing and all my mates are out of Judgements”
Voting’s much more important. Unless you engage with the game, you’re an obstacle to anyone getting Greater Majorities. Not because an idea’s unpopular among active priests, but because there’s a non-voting bloc who you can’t find to convince.
If you want to get things done, pick the right assembly.
- National Assemblies are the easy way to get a Statement of Principle to trigger plot. It’s also a fairly solid way to revoke national positions.
- The General Assembly has a lot of power but a lot of inertia. it’s great to attract the attention of PCs, but awful if you need a Greater Majority. It’s the only one that can do Rewarding and general purpose Veto.
- The Virtue Assemblies tend to be easy to pass something in if you raise it at a meeting, and a good way to Inquisit or Condemn someone outside your Nation.
Know what your Cardinal can do:
- They can vote on the Assembly of Nine, which is strong at influencing plot and can veto constitutional Senate motions. It’s also a point for Virtue Assemblies and the Throne to share information.
- They can extend the scrutiny duration for one Judgement a Summit, which is good if an Assembly is trying to get some controversial shit past everyone’s radar.
- They chair The Meetings and it’s useful to be on good terms with them so you can explain stuff there.
Communicate your intent
- Over an event, Synod players might read or at least skim over a hundred Judgements. Make yours clear and concise so PCs either go “Yes I’d vote for that”, “I see why I don’t want that” or “I’m going to YELL at that FUCKING FANATIC/CRAWLING BACKSLIDER”.
- If players can’t read it, they won’t vote on it. Use your best handwriting, print a Judgement off, or ask someone to write it
- You’re entitled to an A5 sheet of supporting info to go next to the Judgement, or you can put a larger supporting rant on the Synod board and stick the Judgement Number on it.
- If you’ve got a Big Plan, printing off some A5 leaflets to hand round is also a good idea, so people can take them to Assembly meetings and remember what you said.
With the current volumes of Judgements we are getting, I believe we are likely to be asking priests to go for the latter option so as to fit all the actual Judgements on the wall.
Best tip is being as brief and concise as possible, there are a good few priests who just vote down anything so rambling they lose the will to live reading it
Synod game isn’t just about Judgements; it can also be hugely personal. Pick a Virtue that works for you, and find people already dedicated who you can help, or ways to fit it into your game.
The way of Virtue, in very short, says “find a thing you want to achieve; here’s some tools for doing it.” So - take a game or so to find out what you want to do; be that “get everyone to go fight the X” or “build the biggest haystack” or “make peace with Y” or “get Z to declare A”. Then use the Synod Wall and other priests to do the thing.
The wiki is also your friend; it lists people who have positions and who might be able to help you out, and it gives you voting strengths of different Assemblies if you want to use that for political gubbins.
Meetings are listed on an A3 poster on the Synod board - go along to them for fun briefings, ways to meet people, and gossip.
And - never be afraid of asking questions.
TALK TO SENATORS
Synod is arguably the second or even most powerful body within the Empire. If you pull one way, and Senate pulls another then you grind to a halt, but if you both pull in the same direction then everything works far better. Senators also need to go to their national assemblies more often, but this is not the place to hound them…
Talk to people. Read the Synod and National Winds of Fortune, form a loud opinion and go talk to people in said meetings. Volunteer to raise a Judgement if someone asks for one (I sometimes need a Judgement raised that I can’t do myself and I know other players who have the same). Vote for things, talk to people around the Synod board - I’ve had some really good conversations, debates and ideas in the Hub through just discussing various judgements raised with other people. If you want a Synod position like Inquisitor or Gatekeeper, talk to the current one and see if they will let you shadow them or something. Ask all the questions, and remember there’s nothing wrong with getting something wrong.
To get things done: be prepared to put in time and effort. Use all your contacts, write pamphlets with your name in massive letters, stand next to the Synod board for hours and convince people to vote for your thing. Or convince your assembly they should vote for something with primacy and march them down to the Hub.
Even what seems like the smallest thing can be picked up and spin into plot and opportunities.
Give people advice. Encourage people to talk to you about their ambitions, their goals, or something they are struggling with, and then get them to go do the thing. Over time, you will gain a reputation as “someone to talk to about everything”.
If you do a lot of ceremonies (Anointing and Dedication in particular), have some ideas for how you want to rp them. The only requirement is at least 10 seconds long and liao is involved. (I once did a Dedication that lasted several minutes. Was amazing) Rant loudly about virtue and get other people to also rant loudly about virtue.
And if you’re in the Wisdom Assembly, come to Friday evening “meetings”. Alcohol and definitely not heresy abound! (Above all, enjoy yourself.) Do crazy stuff! See how much you can get away with!
Is their a template available so I can type out my judgment before the event? My hand writing is aweful and being able to sit down before hand to proof read and work on the wording would help me a lot.
Never forget the wisest Statement of Principle ever passed (it was way back, but it still stands strong):
“A Statements of Principle should contain only one statement of principle.”
Also, you can get voting sheets to fill in and hand to the Civil Service, which reduces both your queuing time and their workload. Speak to a Synod CS to find out how they work: future you will be grateful.
I think my main bit of advice about Synod is “give a damn”, find something your character actively cares about and can be passionate in arguing for. Pick a virtue and nail your colours firmly to the mast, then live your characters life as the best example of that virtue you can be.
Also don’t compromise easily, that’s not the same as don’t compromise at all, don’t give up until you’ve tried a bunch of avenues to achieve your goal and also make your opponents work for it. It’s makes game and you’d be surprised at what you might look like to them, they don’t know what’s in your head so hell keep going and they might compromise.
You probably should have a good idea about what some issues will cause conflict and game to occur if you’ve been playing, but a safe bet is playing the brief straight down the line orthodox. As people want to play away from the “norm” you actually end up being in a minority with a lot more to do as orthodox, specially if you’re not in Highguard also see the anti-cruelty campaigners, apparently a small minority in the Synod .
I’d also see how many of a particular virtue are in your nation and play the one with fewest, as this will give you plenty to do. The other option is to pick one of the smaller virtue assemblies (currently Ambition is the smallest, followed by Wisdom, Courage and Prosperity).
As @Blueberry says the Hub is a great place to be to strike up conversations with other priests, let people try and persuade you to their cause and get the mood of the Synod by talking to everyone. Getting the vote out is all about talking to people and shoe leather to track down folk who don’t come to the Hub that often.