BRCS:Chapter two/Blood and regency
This article is a Birthright Campaign Setting (D&D 3.5/D20) pageThe BRCS Document is a comprehensive toolbox consisting of rules, races, classes, feats, skills, various systems, spells, magic items, and monsters compatible with the d20 System version of Dungeons & Dragons from Wizards of the Coast.
Main Page » Chapter two/Blood and regency
"The blood of Anuire, of Cerilia, flows through your veins, my son. Both you and the land share the same history, the same blood, and the same life. If you die, the land dies and the empire falls. Unite the land, nurture it, and care for it, because when a man is separated from the land, he is nothing."
- The last words spoken by Roele, First Emperor of Anuire
When the old gods died on Mt. Deismaar, the divine essence cascaded over those present on the field of battle and transformed them. Those who survived had sparks of divinity imparted to them. This divinity related to the nature of the god whose essence each hero had absorbed. The essence of each god was most strongly attracted to heroes with ideals most closely aligned with those of each deity. The strength of the spark imparted to each hero, on the other hand, was largely a factor of simple proximity to the expiring gods. These sparks of divinity and the manifestations of power associated with them bred as true genetic traits in the heroes' children. A descendent of these divine bloodlines is now known as a scion.
This semi-divine nature of blooded scions makes them natural rulers. Blooded characters are far more effective as a regent than someone who is unblooded. Most scions, however, are not regents – the majority of blooded characters are cousins, younger siblings to heirs, or other relations whose order of birth dictates that they are unlikely to ever wield political power.
The majority of non-blooded characters are members of the middle and lower class. However, not all scions are of high birth; some blooded families have fallen, due to poor fortune or political manipulation, to the lowest tiers of society. Likewise, not all unblooded characters are automatically peasants. 99% of Cerilia's population lacks a bloodline; non-blooded characters can be found at all social ranks. In fact, most highborn nobles, courtiers, advisors, and government officials do not possess a bloodline.
Bloodlines have three primary characteristics. A scion's bloodline derivation (Anduiras (And), Azrai (Az), Basaïa (Ba), Brenna (Bre), Masela (Ma), Reynir (Re), or Vorynn (Vor)) specifies the old god whose divine power flows in the veins of his family. A scion's bloodline strength (minor, major, great, or true) describes the purity of the scion's family's bloodline. A scion's bloodline score describes the power of a specific scion's divine essence. The manifestations of a bloodline are known as blood abilities.
This chapter presents the game rules necessary for characters that are scions of divine bloodlines. You can choose for your character to begin play as either a non-blooded character or as a scion of a divine bloodline. Regardless of your decision, your character can come from any level of society. Throughout this text the phrase "bloodline" is used for simplicity to describe the game mechanic components of the bloodline. In actuality a bloodline is traced to a specific family. For example the Avan bloodline follows the genetic patterns of that family alone, it is not simply a composite of An, Gr, XX (for actual score). Otherwise game mechanics-wise a scion with the same statistics could claim the Avan bloodline. A bloodline cannot be usurped but it can be destroyed by usurpation. A bloodline can only be transferred via Investiture and it can be inherited by birth. There is more detail on family bloodlines in the familial heritage section later.
Passing the bloodline
Direct descendents of the greatest heroes of Deismaar tend to have stronger bloodlines than those whose bloodlines have been diluted by common blood, or whose ancestors were only on the periphery of the cataclysm. When a scion has a child, that child's bloodline (which manifests at puberty) reflects the bloodlines of its parents. In the same way that the physical attributes (such as skin color or constitution) of parents tends to determine the attributes of their children, the bloodlines (measured by the bloodline strength, derivation, and score) of the parents also tend to dictate the bloodline attributes of their children.
Children always share the bloodline derivation of one of their parents. This derivation is generally inherited from the parent with the strongest bloodline, although this is not always the case. The bloodline strength of the child is generally that of the parent having the weakest bloodline strength (or minor, if one of the parents is non-blooded). Powerful scions must often arrange marriages with other powerful houses to maintain the purity of their bloodlines.
Children tend to have a bloodline score that is the average of their parent's bloodline scores, but this is subject to the same variation as other inherited physical properties. Siblings may differ greatly in bloodline scores. A child's bloodline manifestations cannot usually be determined until puberty, at which time the child's latent bloodline stirs. A Bloodmark (should one run in the line of one of the parents) is the only manifestation of bloodline that is present from birth.
A scion can voluntarily pass his bloodline to another character by participating in a ceremony of investiture (described in: Ruling a domain). After such a transfer, the donor becomes non-blooded. This generally occurs only when an aged or dying ruler wishes to invest their chosen heir with their accumulated power.