BRCS:Chapter two/Blood and regency/Bloodline strength
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The divine power of an ancient god may course strongly through a character's veins, or he may have only the most tenuous claim to a bloodline. The measure of the purity of the bloodline is identified by the character’s bloodline strength: Minor, Major, Great or True. The strength of a character's bloodline, and thus the relative power of the bloodline abilities that the character manifests, are determined by one of four bloodline strengths. Non-blooded characters do not have bloodline strength.
When choosing a bloodline strength for a character, consider the character’s ancestors, especially the founder of the line. How did these ancestors rise to power? What alliances, friendships, and marriages exist with other bloodlines? Has the line grown stronger or weaker over the years? What other relatives share the character’s bloodline? Answering these questions will help you determine the bloodline appropriate for your character.
Tainted bloodline is what a scion with a minor bloodline having a blood score of less than 20 is often referred to as, since the scion has no manifestations of the blood. Such trace bloodlines tend to evaporate completely after a generation or two unless they are returned to prominence through the actions of exceptional characters.
Minor bloodlines are usually descended from less or non-famous figures that were present at Deismaar. Thousands of common foot soldiers and camp followers survived the battle to perpetuate minor bloodlines. Most scions (65%) have a minor bloodline. Scions of minor bloodlines generally have low bloodline scores.
Major bloodlines represent lines descended from the most prominent heroes and leaders at Deismaar and those who survived the first decades of usurpation. Almost all of the major bloodlines are famous throughout Cerilia, and the deeds, feuds, and abilities of their heirs are the stuff of bard’s tales and legends. Scions of major bloodlines have strong bloodline scores. Furthermore, regents with major (or great) bloodlines are sustained by their connection to their realm. Such regents receive bonus hit points determined by the size and prosperity of their realm.
Great bloodlines are rare; less than one scion in a hundred has a great bloodline. Only the greatest heroes of Deismaar were worthy of bloodlines of such strength and, even then, only if they happened to be in close proximity to one of the gods when they perished. Scions of great bloodlines often have exceptionally powerful manifestations.
True bloodlines are unique. Only the greatest heroes of Deismaar, those who were both physically and philosophically closest to the expiring gods, were granted True bloodlines. Only these surviving heroes or their direct heirs through bloodline investiture have True bloodlines. There are believed to be less than a dozen true bloodlines in existence.
All known True bloodlines are currently possessed by powerful awnshegh or ehrshegh. These individuals are near demigods and are rumored to be able to grant a divine connection that allows their followers access to divine magic. Some True scions are rumored to have other divine abilities beyond the ken of most mortals.
For the DM: Playing a Great or True Bloodline
While the rules would allow every player to play a scion with a Great bloodline this is not wise. Having a Great bloodline entails a lot of responsibility that goes with the power. Scions with Great bloodlines are descendants of great rulers. They are born to rule, even if they are not destined to succeed their parent due to circumstances (birth order, etc.) they are destined to become great rulers in their own right. The land itself tends to call them to an appropriate domain for rulership.
Commoners and minor regents seeking favors and other things that demand their attention often besiege them. Awnshegh and blood-seeking scions often pursue scions with great bloodlines with evil intent. Scions with great bloodlines do not generally spend a lot of time adventuring after their youth except on quests of epic proportions. Their responsibilities tend to draw them elsewhere.
Due to the detail and attention that a great bloodline draws it is very difficult for a non-experienced player to handle the task, especially in a non-domain level based campaign.
PCs should not generally be allowed to have True bloodlines. These are reserved for those present at Deismaar and their direct descendants. It is incumbent on the DM to control access to these powerful bloodlines and it should be a story line necessity to invest a PC with one. The pressure and attention required of a True bloodline is even more than that required of a Great one so even more DM attention is required to handle the specifics.
Great Heritage Template:
“Great Heritage” is a template that can be added to any blooded human or demi-human. While not really a part of the bloodline strength, the Great Heritage template is something that is strongly associated with a character’s bloodline. Some characters are descendants of bloodlines that are nearly legendary. Only such characters may have the Great Heritage template. This template represents the legendary status of the scion's bloodline. These bloodlines are often far stronger than bloodlines that are maintained through careful management of the line's domain alone. Only a few families with great heritage can be found in each cultural region. Only those with major or great bloodline strengths can have the Great Heritage template.
The Great Heritage template can only be added to a scion with the DM’s permission. It is a reflection of the character’s high status and regard in relation to those he/she rules. In order to have the template a scion must either be a descendant of a legendary bloodline or perform acts of sufficient proportion that the scion is elevated to epic proportions (not to be confused with epic level). Tales of his deeds are spread far and wide by the bards. Due to the very public nature of this template a scion cannot hide his presence and must be a highly visible leader. A character who presumes to be the long lost descendant of the Roele bloodline would not automatically have this template, although if it could be proven that he was indeed the legitimate heir then during the public proclamation of this acknowledgement he would gain the template.
Since fame is a fleeting thing it is also possible to lose this template by actions or inaction. If a regent losses a number of significant battles or many of his holdings then the faith of the followers will be lost as will the template.
Benefits: A scion with the Great Heritage template gains +4 to his bloodline score and a +2 to his Leadership score. If the scion ever loses the Great Heritage template he suffers a –8 to his bloodline score and a –4 to his Leadership score. Former legendary characters that have fallen from grace fall farther than do those of lesser status. This template carries no level adjustment.
Variant: Random bloodline Strength
As a variant random determination of bloodline strength per the following table can be used.
Table 2-2: Bloodline strength
Increasing bloodline strength
Over time, a character's bloodline score may grow stronger through wise rule as a regent, by confronting the scions of other bloodlines and defeating them in heroic combat (usurpation) or by an act of Investiture. Increasing a character's bloodline strength (from minor to major, for example) is a related, but even more difficult accomplishment.
The first step toward increasing a scion's bloodline strength lies in his ability score. The scion must increase his bloodline score to ten or more points above its starting value. Secondly, the character must achieve public fame (or infamy) through their deeds and actions. Legendary feats build the public acclaim that is essential to increasing the strength of a character's semi-divine blood. A quest to increase one's bloodline strength requires an epic deed; an increase in bloodline strength never occurs without deeds that are the stuff of legend. A character can never increase his bloodline strength more than once in a generation; this reflects how legendary the act truly is.
When an increase of bloodline strength occurs, the character upgrades their bloodline strength to the next level. The character is now eligible to gain another level of the scion class. Once that class level is taken then any associated benefits are gained, except the character does not gain the bonus to bloodline score that is normally associated with the scion class level – they have had to earn those bonus score points rather than inheriting them, but their future descendants will receive the bonus.