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ecliptic
03-13-2003, 05:09 AM
To have any kinda blood abilities it should be a prestiege class that requires a bloodline feat that must be taken at level 1. That or just make it a full class.

Just my thoughts on it. :)

Mourn
03-13-2003, 08:18 PM
Originally posted by ecliptic


To have any kinda blood abilities it should be a prestiege class that requires a bloodline feat that must be taken at level 1. That or just make it a full class.

Just my thoughts on it. :)

That was discussed in another thread (Poll 3 - ECLS), so go ahead and take a look over there for this discussion, and see if you can add some meaningful input. If the idea can work, great.

I personally think going to a feat/skill-based system with a Bloodline ability score would be ideal. Thus, every character is built the same, and what they spend their feats and skills on is their choice.

Yair
03-13-2003, 08:57 PM
Just to put my vote in, I am in favor of the current system. Blood abilities should be drawn based on your bloodline score, that just makes sense. And you do pay for it - or steal it through blood theft. And that seems just fine to me.

geeman
03-13-2003, 10:41 PM
At 09:57 PM 3/13/2003 +0100, Yair wrote:

>Just to put my vote in, I am in favor of the current system. Blood
>abilities should be drawn based on your bloodline score, that just makes
>sense. And you do pay for it - or steal it through blood theft. And that
>seems just fine to me.

Maybe I`m not understanding you correct, but all the suggested ways of
reflecting bloodline work like that don`t they?

Gary

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kgauck
03-14-2003, 12:28 AM
I could be completely obtuse and suggest that bloodlines and bloodabilities
be handled in much the same way that Star Wars handles the Force. It
certainly has the virtue of being d20.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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DanMcSorley
03-14-2003, 12:28 AM
On Thu, 13 Mar 2003, Kenneth Gauck wrote:
> I could be completely obtuse and suggest that bloodlines and bloodabilities
> be handled in much the same way that Star Wars handles the Force. It
> certainly has the virtue of being d20.

Never played it, how do they do it? From your tone I imagine it`s a
complete tack-on like bloodlines were in 2e, with none of this nonsense
about balance :)
--
Communication is possible only between equals.
Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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irdeggman
03-14-2003, 12:43 AM
Actually in Star Wars there are several feats that must be taken to gain force skills (force sensitive, control, sense and alter). These feats then allow the character to purchase ranks in the various force skills associated with that feat. This is what IMO wouldn't translate very well into blood abilities. In order to make them skills would require the character to put ranks into them in order to make them work better (or just to suceed), there are not enough skill points available to balance this and it would make certain classes much better at blood abilities (e.g., rogue).

Now using force points (light and dark side points) for awnsheghlien and ersheghlien type ability increases is an interesting concept.

Shade
03-14-2003, 01:37 AM
At 05:48 PM 3/13/2003 -0600, you wrote:
>I could be completely obtuse and suggest that bloodlines and bloodabilities
>be handled in much the same way that Star Wars handles the Force. It
>certainly has the virtue of being d20.
>
>Kenneth Gauck

I`m not familiar with Star Wars, could you describe how it works briefly?

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kgauck
03-14-2003, 02:04 AM
----- Original Message -----
From: "irdeggman" <brnetboard@TUARHIEVEL.ORG>
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 6:43 PM


> These feats then allow the character to purchase ranks in the various
> force skills associated with that feat. This is what IMO wouldn`t
> translate very well into blood abilities. In order to make them skills
> would require the character to put ranks into them in order to make
> them work better (or just to suceed

Star Wars also has force based classes, so the skill points come from those.
BR instead has the concept of bloodline strength. Suppose you got one
"force" skill rank for a tainted bloodline, two for a minor bloodline, four
for a major, six for a great bloodline. But, frankly, I don`t think you
need to the skills to carry over from Star Wars to BR, unless you like them.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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kgauck
03-14-2003, 02:04 AM
----- Original Message -----
From: "daniel mcsorley" <mcsorley@CIS.OHIO-STATE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 6:06 PM

> Never played it, how do they do it? From your tone I imagine it`s a
> complete tack-on like bloodlines were in 2e, with none of this nonsense
> about balance :)

First I`ll explain my thinking, then I`ll describe how the Force works in
Star Wars.

Blood powers amount to feats. Access to blood powers is limited by
bloodline derivation. The quantity and quality of blood powers is limited
by blood strength. So, let`s say we just wrote all the blood powers us as
feats [General] so fighters don`t have any advantages. You`d need to meet
the prerequisites to take the feat, like having an appropraite bloodline
derivation.

We already have a progression in certain feats. We could just as well talk
about Cleave (minor), Cleave (major), and Cleave (great) which we instead
class Cleave, Improved Cleave, and Superior Cleave. So, to take Courage
(major) you`d need to have Courage (minor) as a prerequisite.

The total number of feats could be limited by blood strength. A tainted
strength could allow one blood feat, and limit the progression to minor. A
minor strength could allow two blood feats and limit the progression to
minor. A major strength could allow three feats and limit progression to
major. A great strength could allow four feats and limit progression to
great. These numbers are suggestions, season to taste.

In Star Wars, there are some 20 force-based feasts. Each of them reflects
some jedi power, like their speed, combat, mind control, &c. There are 17
force-based skills which reflect specific force powers, like sending
thoughts, knowing thoughts, enhancing abilities, and other super abilities.
The skills don`t really make much of a difference, because the blood
abilities as we know them are directly convertable to feats. There is no
obvious skill componant to blood abilities.

That said, I have make everything skills based, including spell effects.
Using skills for blood powers could certainly be done, and it appeals to me.
But, I`ll say again, its not neccesarily a part of what Blood Powers would
be through translating SW.

Force points (or void points from other settings) do add an excellent way to
track various elements of taint and virtue. I`ve used such a system for
Shadow World connections, but one could instead track transformations to
awnsheghlien and ersheghlien.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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Mourn
03-14-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by kgauck
Blood powers amount to feats. Access to blood powers is limited by
bloodline derivation. The quantity and quality of blood powers is limited
by blood strength. So, let`s say we just wrote all the blood powers us as
feats [General] so fighters don`t have any advantages. You`d need to meet
the prerequisites to take the feat, like having an appropraite bloodline
derivation.


This is pretty easily handled. I'll lay out a couple examples from what I've been thinking about. There is one thing about the Force skills and feats from Star Wars however... they require vitality points to use, which translates into hit points in the D&D d20 system. I have no problem with scions having to "spend" hit points in order to use some of their more potent powers, but I figure some of the others will.

I am tapping WoT and a couple of other sources for ideas here, so bear with me... For prerequisites for the feats, I made the bloodline strength categories into the following scores: minor (11+), major (15+), great (19+), and not really worrying about the higher ones.

Example feats

Some of these feats are abilities that have minor, major and great powers. Some of these have the same effect, merely increasing in power as they go. To simulate that increase, I merged the three levels of power into a single feat, but based the increase on your Bloodline score... thus a high Bloodline character gets more out of these feats because of his higher blood. Others didn't have higher powers, and thus do not scale as the others do.

Higher level effects that have a different function than the lower ones are done either as skills with varied effects, or feats with additional prerequisites.

Divine Bloodline [General]
You are the scion of an ancient and divine bloodline.
Benefit: Select a bloodline derivation and generate a Blood score using the method you used to generate your other ability scores. You may learn Bloodline-based skills for that derivation as class skills.
Special: This feat may only be taken at 1st level.

Blood History [Bloodline]
The blood of your forebears runs strongly in your veins, occasionally granting you the insight and wisdom of countless generations.
Prerequisite: Divine Bloodline (Brenna, Masela, or Vorynn), Bloodline 11+.
Benefit: As described in the BRCS d20 Playtest Document (pg 42-43).

Damage Reduction [Bloodline]
Your blood grants you resistance to physical blows.
Prerequisite: Divine Bloodline (Azrai, Brenna, Masela), Bloodline 15+.
Benefit: You gain damage reduction equal to your Bloodline modifier/bloodsilver. Thus, a scion with a score of 18 would have DR 4/bloodsilver.

-OR-

Damage Reduction [Bloodline]
Your blood grants you resistance to physical blows.
Prerequisite: Divine Bloodline (Azrai, Brenna, Masela), Bloodline 15+.
Benefit: You gain damage reduction 1/bloodsilver.
Special: You may take this feat more than once. Each time you take it, your damage reduction increases by 1.

Divine Resistance [Bloodline]
Your blood grants you special resistances.
Prerequisite: Divine Bloodline (any), Bloodline 11+.
Benefit: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against particular effects, depending on your bloodline derivation.
Anduiras: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities from the Enchantment school.
Azrai: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilitiesfrom the Necromancy school. You also gain a +4 bonus to saving throws to overcome negative levels.
Basaia: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities with the fire descriptor or that deal fire damage.
Brenna: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities that cause the following conditions: checked, entangled, grappled, held, helpless, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned.
Masela: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against water-based effects. You also gain a +4 bonus to the Constitution check to avoid drowning.
Reynir: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities with the cold description or the deal cold damage. You also gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against the effects of heat dangers, cold dangers, and starvation and thirst dangers.
Vorynn: You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities from the Evocation school.

Spell Resistance [Bloodline]
Your blood grants you resistance to spells and spell-like abilities.
Prerequisite: Divine Bloodline (Anduiras, Azrai, Reynir, Vorynn), Bloodline 19+.
Benefit: You gain spell resistance equal to 10 + your Bloodline modifier.

Example skills
All Bloodline skills are trained only.

Enhance Ability [Bld]
Anduiras, Azrai, Basaia, Brenna, Reynir, and Vorynn only.
You can call on your blood to enhance certain characteristics for a short period of time.
Check: An Enhance Ability check requires a standard action and adds a sacred (or profane for Azrai) bonus to one ability score for 10 rounds (1 minute). The result of the skill check indicates the bonus.

Result ---------- Bonus
15-19 ------------- +2
20-24 ------------- +4
25-29 ------------- +6
30+ --------------- +8

Special: You can only use Enhance Ability with certain ability scores associated with your bloodline derivation. Scions of Anduiras can enhance Strength and Charisma. Scions of Azrai can enhance Intelligence and Charisma. Scions of Basaia can enhance Intelligence. Scions of Brenna can enhance Dexterity. Scions of Reynir can enhance Constitution. Scions of Vorynn can enhance Wisdom.
HP Loss: 2.

Fear [Bld]
Corrupted; Azrai only.
Check: A Fear check provides a profane penalty to a target's skill checks and attack rolls. The penalty lasts for 10 rounds. The result of the Fear check indicates the target's penalty.

Result ----------- Penalty
10-14 -------------- -2
15-19 -------------- -4
20-24 -------------- -6
25-29 -------------- -8
30+ ---------------- -10

Using this skill is a standard action. You receive a Corruption point for using this skill.
HP Loss: 2.

Example tainting

As talked about, the Dark Side point system works pretty well with this idea. Every vile and despicable act will earn you a Corruption point. Whenever you use certain Bloodline feats and skills, which will be noted in each feat or skill description, you gain a Corruption point. These gains stack, as well. So, if you use a Corrupted bloodline ability to perform a vile and evil act, you will gain two points instead of just one.
When your Corruption score equals one-half your Bloodline score, you run the risk of being corrupted. You also begin to taste the seductive power that Corruption offers. You gain a +2 profane bonus on any Bloodline-based skill checks made with Corrupted skills, but suffers a -2 penalty on other Bloodline-based skill checks.
Thereafter, each time you gain a Corruption point, you must make a Will save (DC 10 + the number of Corruptions points possessed). If you fail, or when the number of Corruption points equals or exceeds your Bloodline score, you are fully tainted. You automatically switch your bloodline derivation to Azrai, losing all Bloodline feats and skills that you do not meet the prerequisites for. After the change of derivation, you may purchase new Bloodline feats and skills (total up the number of feats and skill points lost, and then apply these towards new feats and skills of Azrai's bloodline), but only after attaining a level.

I have some more ideas, thoughts of how to implement prestige classes, templates and such into this system as well... after all, why wouldn't some scions devote themselves to the study of the nature of their blood? And if the HP loss system is used, this could explain the additional hit points that scions receive, which would translate into a d12 HD for any scion-based classes... Also, some of the abilities (such as shadow form) could temporarily apply the effects of a template to you. Shadow form could apply the Shadow Creature template from Manual of the Planes, or even the Umbral Creature template in Savage Species.

That's all I have for now...

[Edit: A couple of afterthoughts. I might consider giving the Divine Bloodline feat the additional benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Charisma-based checks against commoners. This is to show the stronger force of personality that a divine bloodline gives you. Another thought I had with this system would be the inclusion of a scion class, closely tied with these feats and skills. The class would grant certain abilities to assist in leadership, as well as bonus feats for the different derivations (including all the Bloodline feats), as well as others. For example, Alertness is a normal feat, not a Bloodline feat, but scions of Azrai gain Alertness as a blood ability. With the scion class, scions of Azrai could gain Alertness on their list of bonus feats, showing that they can gain it as a bonus even though its not actually a supernatural blood power.]

irdeggman
03-14-2003, 10:34 AM
One problem with the feat based proposal is the group that wants to determine blood abilities randomly, which is why the variant was included in the proposed version. While I don't believe this is the majority of the those playing, I do believe that a sufficient number have expressed the desire for the randomness to justify a variant system to accomodate it.

ConjurerDragon
03-14-2003, 01:58 PM
Mourn wrote:

>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at: http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> Mourn wrote:
> [quote]Originally posted by kgauck
>...
>This is pretty easily handled. I`ll lay out a couple examples from what I`ve been thinking about. There is one thing about the Force skills and feats from Star Wars however... they require vitality points to use, which translates into hit points in the D&D d20 system. I have no problem with scions having to "spend" hit points in order to use some of their more potent powers, but I figure some of the others will.
>
I would not. Quite the opposite is true, e.g. I loved the prestige class
of "Blood Magus" from Tome&Blood, who is able to substitute a number of
Hit Points for a component for his spell, like Component Cost 1-50
Damage dealt 5 hp, more for more expensive components. And in my opinion
quite approbiate for wizards on cerilia who can are true spellcasters,
only due to their blood - and it limits bookkeeping on components ;-)

>I am tapping WoT and a couple of other sources for ideas here, so bear with me... For prerequisites for the feats, I made the bloodline strength categories into the following scores: minor (11+), major (15+), great (19+), and not really worrying about the higher ones.
>
>Example feats
>...
>Divine Bloodline [General]
>You are the scion of an ancient and divine bloodline.
>Benefit: Select a bloodline derivation and generate a Blood score using the method you used to generate your other ability scores. You may learn Bloodline-based skills for that derivation as class skills.
>Special: This feat may only be taken at 1st level.
>
What happens when you gain a bloodline by investiture or by bloodtheft,
when you already have some levels in a class?

>Special: You can only use Enhance Ability with certain ability scores associated with your bloodline derivation. Scions of Anduiras can enhance Strength and Charisma. Scions of Azrai can enhance Intelligence and Charisma. Scions of Basaia can enhance Intelligence. Scions of Brenna can enhance Dexterity. Scions of Reynir can enhance Constitution. Scions of Vorynn can enhance Wisdom.
>HP Loss: 2.
>
Certainly temporary loss, not permanent?
bye
Michael Romes

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ConjurerDragon
03-14-2003, 01:58 PM
daniel mcsorley wrote:

>On Thu, 13 Mar 2003, Kenneth Gauck wrote:
>
>>I could be completely obtuse and suggest that bloodlines and bloodabilities
>>be handled in much the same way that Star Wars handles the Force. It
>>certainly has the virtue of being d20.
>>
>Never played it, how do they do it? From your tone I imagine it`s a
>complete tack-on like bloodlines were in 2e, with none of this nonsense
>about balance :)
>
To mention the nonsense about balance:

The most problems come from the try to balance the different
bloodstrenghts even with nonblooded characters.

In 3E draft blooded scions are penalized in XP by gaining an ECL or
more - in 2E it was the opposite, non-blooded characters got a bonus of
10% XP.

In 3E the penalty raises with the bloodline strength, 2E did not care
how strong your bloodline was.

So while the 10% XP bonus for non-blooded characters was nice, it did
not even try to balance every character against every other. And when
the 10% bonus would have been balanced for a non-blooded vs. a minor
scion it would have been unbalancing for a non-blooded vs. a great scion
- but 2E did not care.

In my opinion Birthright is a game of kings not peasants.

To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.
bye
Michael Romes

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Green Knight
03-14-2003, 02:15 PM
> To mention the nonsense about balance:
>
> The most problems come from the try to balance the different
> bloodstrenghts even with nonblooded characters.
>
> In 3E draft blooded scions are penalized in XP by gaining an ECL or
> more - in 2E it was the opposite, non-blooded characters got a bonus of
> 10% XP.
>
> In 3E the penalty raises with the bloodline strength, 2E did not care
> how strong your bloodline was.
>
> So while the 10% XP bonus for non-blooded characters was nice, it did
> not even try to balance every character against every other. And when
> the 10% bonus would have been balanced for a non-blooded vs. a minor
> scion it would have been unbalancing for a non-blooded vs. a great scion
> - but 2E did not care.
>
> In my opinion Birthright is a game of kings not peasants.
>
> To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
> where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
> ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
> second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.
> bye
> Michael Romes
>
>
And giving a regent character a few more effective levels is out of the question?

If you want regents that are more powerful than a Commoner 1, then let them start out with more levels, including a ECL shifting thingy from a bloodline :-)

Cheers
Bjørn

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geeman
03-14-2003, 07:16 PM
At 02:23 PM 3/14/2003 +0100, Michael Romes wrote:

>To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
>where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
>ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
>second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.

I don`t think balancing kings against peasants is really go the goal; it`s
balancing ruler PCs against commoner PCs of "equal level" which includes
such things as templates and any other ECL modifiers. Note that using any
of the systems presented for 3e conversion that`s still not "balanced"
really in the way I think you`re suggesting. That is, that every character
is equal to all the others. What most people seem to mean when they use
the word "balance" is that things like class features and template
modifiers are quantified into a system that the DM can use to rate the
relative power of those characters. You could still have characters with
very different character levels running around who are, therefore, not
balanced against each other. system that attempts to reach some sort of
"balance" would allow a DM to say "create characters of power X" to players
and they could create PCs of any permutation, none of which were
particularly more powerful than any other. That`s an ideal, of course, but
there`s no harm in shooting for it.

Gary

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Mourn
03-14-2003, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by ConjurerDragon
I would not. Quite the opposite is true, e.g. I loved the prestige class
of "Blood Magus" from Tome&Blood, who is able to substitute a number of
Hit Points for a component for his spell, like Component Cost 1-50
Damage dealt 5 hp, more for more expensive components. And in my opinion
quite approbiate for wizards on cerilia who can are true spellcasters,
only due to their blood - and it limits bookkeeping on components ;-)


*gasp* We agree on something? Excellent. I like the idea of the scion using his abilities, but being weakened by it. After all, your blood can't do anything if you don't have the strength for it.


What happens when you gain a bloodline by investiture or by bloodtheft,
when you already have some levels in a class?

Didn't even think about it, yet. I wrote that at 2 in the morning, off the top of my head, with three different books spread over my desk.

Ritual of Investiture: The recipient of this rituals gains the Divine Bloodline feat with the same derivation as that of the ritual's caster. The ritual drains 1,600 XP from the recipient.
Bloodtheft: As Ritual of Investiture, but the recipient is in control of the ritual. The recipient must perform a coup de grace on a helpless scion. If the scion fails the Fortitude saving throw to survive, bloodtheft occurs. All scions within 10 feet per point of Bloodline the scion posssessed must make a Bloodline check (DC 25 - the victim's Bloodline modifier). Committing bloodtheft automatically earns you a Corruption point. Committing bloodtheft on a scion of Azrai earns you two Corruption points. This ritual also drains the 1,600 XP.

If the character would lose a level from the XP loss, the ritual fails automatically.


Certainly temporary loss, not permanent?

Temporary. I've even thought of making it subdual damage, so that a scion could rest for a few hours and regain his strength.

I've heard comments on individual points which show flaws, or areas that aren't explained well... anyone care to comment on the system as a whole? It seems that most people on this board will either agree or disagree, but not offer any kind of alternative or modification. Let's see some more rules and mechanics, people!

Mourn
03-14-2003, 07:49 PM
Originally posted by ConjurerDragon
In 3E the penalty raises with the bloodline strength, 2E did not care
how strong your bloodline was.

Well, 2nd Edition didn't really care for balance... or consistency... or logic. "What do I roll? A d20? Allright, I got an 18. That good? Wait, am I rolling high or low? Is this considered a spell, or a death effect? It's a death spell? Wait... is it spell or death? It's treated as a wand? Damn, my save vs wands sucks."


So while the 10% XP bonus for non-blooded characters was nice, it did
not even try to balance every character against every other. And when
the 10% bonus would have been balanced for a non-blooded vs. a minor
scion it would have been unbalancing for a non-blooded vs. a great scion
- but 2E did not care.

That's because 2nd Edition wasn't a very good system. The 10% bonus didn't even balance between character classes, because of the different experience charts for each class. 3rd Edition is all about balance, in which a 5th-level fighter and a 5th-level cleric are on equal power levels. A 10th-level scion and a 10th-level commoner should be of the same power level, but the scion has things completely unavailable to the commoner. He has spent more time learning the powers of his heritage, reflected in his spent feats and skill points, while the commoner focused on more mundane skills.


In my opinion Birthright is a game of kings not peasants.

It is. However, players that want to play a scion should not just gain extra benefits, while players who do not want to be a scion gain nothing. As stated, scions are fairly rare, so most games should have a commoner or two in the mix, and they should be able to hold their own with the scions. They may not be able to heal themselves, or have damage reduction, but they have their own abilities.


To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.

Balance is needed. Without balance, the system falls apart when stress is applied. Look at 2nd Edition... the system was so unbalanced that most DMs were forced to create house rules in order for it to work.

And comparing these characters to Herakles is a bit ridiculous. According to Deities & Demigods, Hercules is Divine Rank 5, Barbarian 20/Fighter 20, and I think he'd mop the floor with ANY character in the BR setting, the Gorgon included.

Also, by pushing scions above their power level without any sort of balance leaves terrible holes in the Challenge Rating and XP system. So, if I'm a 6th-level scion of a major bloodline, according to the rules I'm an ECL of 8. So, if we square off against CR 8 creatures, I am fighting against my challenge rating. However, if we remove the balance imposed, because you don't think it's needed, things get bad. Then, I'm still considered an ECL of 6, though I am as strong as an 8th-level character, and creatures of CR 6 will not be that much of a problem. However, since I gain experience as a 6th-level character, I gain a lot more. So, I gain free special abilities *AND* extra experience by removing balance.

Sounds broken to me.

[Edit: By the way, when I say commoner, I don't mean a NPC commoner of the commoner class. I am referring to a PC character without a bloodline. The rules use scion, blooded character, commoner and unblooded character interchangeably, but I think a single, definitive term should be used for each.]

AnakinMiller
03-14-2003, 11:04 PM
> It is. However, players that want to play a scion should not just gain
extra benefits, while players who do not want to be a scion gain nothing. As
stated, scions are fairly rare, so most games should have a commoner or two
in the mix, and they should be able to hold their own with the scions.

I disgree here, but that is simply my opinion. Birthright is the game of
Lords and Rulers not the rable. I understand that 3e is supposed to be all
balance happy, but damnit a 10th level scion should be more powerful than a
10th level peasant. If the odds where not stacked in favor of the scions
then why in hell do they rule by divine right? Kings are the leaders
because they are above the common man.

-Anakin Miller
-------------------------
"What was sundered, shall be remade.
What was stolen, shall be avenged. "
- Engraved on the Crown of Diemed

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AnakinMiller
03-14-2003, 11:04 PM
> It is. However, players that want to play a scion should not just gain
extra benefits, while players who do not want to be a scion gain nothing. As
stated, scions are fairly rare, so most games should have a commoner or two
in the mix, and they should be able to hold their own with the scions.

I disgree here, but that is simply my opinion. Birthright is the game of
Lords and Rulers not the rable. I understand that 3e is supposed to be all
balance happy, but damnit a 10th level scion should be more powerful than a
10th level peasant. If the odds where not stacked in favor of the scions
then why in hell do they rule by divine right? Kings are the leaders
because they are above the common man.

-Anakin Miller
-------------------------
"What was sundered, shall be remade.
What was stolen, shall be avenged. "
- Engraved on the Crown of Diemed

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Mourn
03-14-2003, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by AnakinMiller
I disgree here, but that is simply my opinion. Birthright is the game of Lords and Rulers not the rable.

Not all lords and rulers are scions, though, and not all scions are lords and rulers.


I understand that 3e is supposed to be all balance happy, but damnit a 10th level scion should be more powerful than a 10th level peasant.

If a 10th-level scion is more powerful than a 10th-level peasant, then the scion is not 10th level. Which is where the ECL adjustment discussion comes in. If a 10th-level scion is as powerful as an 11th-level peasant, then the 10th-level scion should have an ECL adjustment of +1.

Again, an argument to break the system, and ruin its sense of logic and consistency for no better reason than "just because."


If the odds where not stacked in favor of the scions then why in hell do they rule by divine right? Kings are the leaders because they are above the common man.

Again, not all kings are scions, and not all scions are kings. They rule by divine right because the blood in their veins gives them greater ability to do so. However, just because this blood gears them towards leadership over others does not mean that balance can just be ignored.

If you don't like balance, just go back and play 2nd Edition. 3rd Edition is written to make sense, and two characters of the same character level being of the same equivalent power level makes sense.

geeman
03-15-2003, 01:33 AM
At 04:36 PM 3/14/2003 -0600, Anakin Miller wrote:

>I understand that 3e is supposed to be all balance happy, but damnit a
>10th level scion should be more powerful than a 10th level peasant. If
>the odds where not stacked in favor of the scions
>then why in hell do they rule by divine right? Kings are the leaders
>because they are above the common man.

A balanced system does not mean balanced characters. In a balanced system
characters with the same amount of XP "spent" on them (for character levels
and ECL adjustments for things like templates) would be balanced against
each other. 3e already isn`t balanced. There are NPC classes that are
powered down version of the regular classes, and there are prestige classes
that generally represent a powering up of character. Both of those things
are IMO a bad idea because it makes levels themselves something of a rating
that has no real meaning. The relative power of characters is best
represented by levels (or just raw XP) in which the actual character
classes are balanced against one another. One could then still have a
character (like a king) who was more powerful than another character (like
a peasant) by making their XP levels different from one another.

Gary

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DanMcSorley
03-15-2003, 01:33 AM
On Fri, 14 Mar 2003, Atarikid wrote:
> I disgree here, but that is simply my opinion. Birthright is the game of
> Lords and Rulers not the rable. I understand that 3e is supposed to be all
> balance happy, but damnit a 10th level scion should be more powerful than a
> 10th level peasant.

He is- he`s ECL 11 or 12 though.
--
Communication is possible only between equals.
Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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Trevyr
03-15-2003, 02:13 AM
First of all, to those of you who remember me from before I fell off the
face of the earth, I`d just like to say `hi` and `it`s nice to be back.`

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
> [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Mourn

> If you don`t like balance, just go back and play 2nd Edition.
> 3rd Edition is written to make sense, and two characters of the
> same character level being of the same equivalent power level makes sense.

I think part of the conflict here is a confusing of levels. BR has these two
inherent levels, the domain level and the character level, that standard 3e
doesn`t have. So on the one hand, the Scion is MEANT to be unbalanced on the
domain level, because he has all the power and the commoner doesn`t. Which
is fine, that`s their shtick. And that I think is the heart of what Anakin
is getting at. The complication comes because the inherited system of
Bloodlines makes scions not only more powerful at the domain level, but also
at the character level, the "here it is, just you and the monster, in a
battle to the finish" level. It`s this level that 3e is balanced at, and it
makes a certain amount of sense to retain balance at this level in BR. I
think it is entirely reasonable that scions have an ECL modifier. And I also
think it is entirely reasonable to have the ECL dumped on the character for
free if the character manages to gain a bloodline. I would tend to think of
that as a reward for good role-play--which it should be if a character has
gotten to the point where he has a chance of gaining a bloodline, either
through investiture or through defeating a featured enemy.

Mark V.
new address: vander@biology2.

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Mourn
03-15-2003, 03:47 AM
Originally posted by Trevyr
First of all, to those of you who remember me from before I fell off the
face of the earth, I`d just like to say `hi` and `it`s nice to be back.`


I've been here since '01 and haven't seen you before... so.. welcome back! It's always good to see a new(old) face on these boards. It makes discussions more lively.


I think part of the conflict here is a confusing of levels. BR has these two
inherent levels, the domain level and the character level, that standard 3e
doesn`t have.

I think your use of the word "level" here will add some confusion. I believe you are using it to refer to the scale of the game, whether you are running domain actions or if you are running a character in an adventure.

In the d20 System, the term level is 'a measure of advancement or power applied to several areas of the game. See caster level, character level, class level, and spell level.' I hate to sound like a stickler, but the terminology should be used correctly, and any new terms should take the old terms into account. When I think of the term "Domain Level" I think "A measure of a domain's power."

After all, conflicting and confusing terminology was a big problem with 2nd Edition. When the same book would refer to existing rules and terms in a multitude of manners, consistency is lost and a lot of people can become easily confused.


So on the one hand, the Scion is MEANT to be unbalanced on the
domain level, because he has all the power and the commoner doesn`t. Which
is fine, that`s their shtick. And that I think is the heart of what Anakin
is getting at.

But we're mainly discussing things related to characters, not domains. I hardly ever employ domain rules, as I prefer to run games focusing on the characters, not their holdings.

He wants the scion to be more powerful on ALL fronts with no balance in the system. So, simply because one player decides to be a scion and the other one decides to be a commoner, the scion gets extra advantages (granting an ECL) and the commoner gets nothing but the shaft. The rules and mechanics should balance the two against eachother. The commoner would have more versatility, but the scion would have extraordinary abilities.


The complication comes because the inherited system of Bloodlines makes scions not only more powerful at the domain level, but also at the character level, the "here it is, just you and the monster, in a battle to the finish" level. It`s this level that 3e is balanced at, and it makes a certain amount of sense to retain balance at this level in BR. I think it is entirely reasonable that scions have an ECL modifier.

Agreed here. The system should be balanced.


And I also think it is entirely reasonable to have the ECL dumped on the character for free if the character manages to gain a bloodline. I would tend to think of that as a reward for good role-play--which it should be if a character has gotten to the point where he has a chance of gaining a bloodline, either through investiture or through defeating a featured enemy.

I fail to see how making a successful coup de grace to commit bloodtheft (a check that nearly every character in the game can succeed at) becomes good roleplaying.

And I fail to see how it is reasonable to grant one character abilities to justify up to a +3 level adjustment without balancing against the other players.

Also, about suddenly dropping a bloodline on a character... the character shouldn't instantly have a ton of blood abilities... spending your entire life without a shred of magical ability, then pooof you're a scion, and you suddenly know how to use all these special abilities? I think not... a skills/feats system shows that even if you get the Bloodline through other means (investiture, bloodtheft), you must learn what you have.

This system also allows characters that want to focus on being a scion to really focus on it, by spending their available skills and feats on these blood powers. If the scion wants to be a better fighter, then he'd focus more on his fighting prowess.

I'll draw a comparison to the Wishsong of Shannara (great book). Brin Ohmsford has the wishsong, a powerful singing ability that allows her to reshape reality through magic, which is inherent in her blood. However, she actually has to learn to control this ability or she can't really even use it. So both Brin and a scion have innate potential (shown in my example system as a feat which grants you a Bloodline score), but both have to learn to control and use their abilities (shown in my system to be the bloodline skills and feats).

Ciao.

Mourn
03-15-2003, 03:52 AM
Originally posted by geeman
... 3e already isn`t balanced. There are NPC classes that are
powered down version of the regular classes, and there are prestige classes
that generally represent a powering up of character...

NPC classes are balanced in the Challenge Rating system. A 1st-level of any of the NPC classes is a CR 1/2 not a CR 1. A 2nd-level is only a CR 1.

Also, prestige classes that "boost" power usually have ridiculous requirements and some even have drawbacks to gain these powers.

geeman
03-15-2003, 06:46 AM
At 04:52 AM 3/15/2003 +0100, Mourn wrote:

>
Originally posted by geeman
>... 3e already isn`t balanced. There are NPC classes that are
>powered down version of the regular classes, and there are prestige classes
>that generally represent a powering up of character...
>
>NPC classes are balanced in the Challenge Rating system. A 1st-level of
>any of the NPC classes is a CR 1/2 not a CR 1. A 2nd-level is only a CR 1.

That`s not particularly useful for the purposes of this discussion, I`m
afraid. What we`re comparing is the relative power of classes against one
another, not the way those classes are rated for the purpose of XP
awards. Unless, that is, you`re saying we should apply fractional ECL
adjustments like the fractional CR ratings.... That`d be interesting.

>Also, prestige classes that "boost" power usually have ridiculous
>requirements and some even have drawbacks to gain these powers.

That`s certainly the rationale, though the actual prestige class write ups
follow it rather irregularly. This issue has been debated around here
before, so I won`t go repeat any of those arguments. I`ll just not that if
you do a careful analysis of many prestige classes you`ll find they usually
represent a greater powering up scale for characters of equal levels than
the standard PC classes. They are usually a bargain for the requirements
and drawbacks. That`s not always the case, of course, since they seem to
be developed without much of a system, and there on several occasions the
prestige classes reflect a lower power scale for various reasons, mostly
the primacy of human or "standard" character races (elves, dwarves, etc.)
vs other humanoids.

Gary

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AnakinMiller
03-15-2003, 06:46 AM
> First of all, to those of you who remember me from before I fell off the
> face of the earth, I`d just like to say `hi` and `it`s nice to be back.`

Nice to some faces I remember from my time on the list. I dropped off the
face of the world in summer 2000 myself.

> I think your use of the word "level" here will add some confusion. I
believe you are using it to refer to the scale of the game, whether you are
running domain actions or if you are running a character in an adventure.
>
> In the d20 System, the term level is `a measure of advancement or power
applied to several areas of the game. See caster level, character level,
class level, and spell level.` I hate to sound like a stickler, but the
terminology should be used correctly, and any new terms should take the old
terms into account. When I think of the term "Domain Level" I think "A
measure of a domain`s power."

What? Get real. Domain level play is an incorrect term? I smell a rules
lawyer...... When I hear domain level I don`t think of the Power Level of
said domain, I think of the level of play that occurs on a domain wide
scale. If someone gets that confused then I only want to know how they
managed to digest the Player`s Handbook, because it must be on the level of
astro physics to them.

> After all, conflicting and confusing terminology was a big problem with
2nd Edition. When the same book would refer to existing rules and terms in a
multitude of manners, consistency is lost and a lot of people can become
easily confused.

You`re the first I`ve ever heard make an argument that Domain Level is a
confusing term.

>
So on the one hand, the Scion is MEANT to be unbalanced on the
domain level, because he has all the power and the commoner doesn`t. Which
is fine, that`s their shtick. And that I think is the heart of what Anakin
is getting at.

Thank you Mark. A true man after my own heart.

> But we`re mainly discussing things related to characters, not domains. I
hardly ever employ domain rules, as I prefer to run games focusing on the
characters, not their holdings.

But Birthright is about the Domain Level play. It has been and always will
be. That was the entire concept to the product line. The campaign where
every PC starts out as a Lord and leader of a Kingdom, Guild, Temple or
Source Network. If you leave out the domain play then why exactly do you
game in Cerilia?

> He wants the scion to be more powerful on ALL fronts with no balance in
the system. So, simply because one player decides to be a scion and the
other one decides to be a commoner, the scion gets extra advantages
(granting an ECL) and the commoner gets nothing but the shaft. The rules and
mechanics should balance the two against eachother. The commoner would have
more versatility, but the scion would have extraordinary abilities.

Well if you feel a commoner gets nothing but the shaft don`t play an
unblooded commoner. Its your choice to play an inferior concept. The
Scion should outshine an unblooded counterpart end of story.

> I fail to see how making a successful coup de grace to commit bloodtheft
(a check that nearly every character in the game can succeed at) becomes
good roleplaying.

Well in a hack-n-slash scenario I guess blood theft would not be good
roleplay but in my campaign a player spent almost a year real time setting
up the various alliances and favors that where needed to take out the regent
of the nearby domain. The leader was taken down, a puppet vassal installed
as the regent. A divesture was performed. The peace was kept and the PC was
made out to be a hero who acted out of kindness and good intentions. The
amount of roleplay that went into this was monumental.

> And I fail to see how it is reasonable to grant one character abilities to
justify up to a +3 level adjustment without balancing against the other
players.
>
> Also, about suddenly dropping a bloodline on a character... the character
shouldn`t instantly have a ton of blood abilities... spending your entire
life without a shred of magical ability, then pooof you`re a scion, and you
suddenly know how to use all these special abilities? I think not... a
skills/feats system shows that even if you get the Bloodline through other
means (investiture, bloodtheft), you must learn what you have.

Why not? I fail to see why it should take years to manifest powers. A
Scion has the blood of dead gods coursing through him. It is because of
this that he develops marvelous powers. This isn`t like finding a strange
magic blade in some ruins and having to determine the powers of the weapon
through trial and error. You have divine essence ripping through you,
manifesting powers.

> This system also allows characters that want to focus on being a scion to
really focus on it, by spending their available skills and feats on these
blood powers. If the scion wants to be a better fighter, then he`d focus
more on his fighting prowess.

I don`t like the idea of a regent having to waste feat slots on individual
powers. While I personally dislike the blood as an ability score, I do not
prefer the approach to make it a feat/skill based system. Why not leave it
as it was? A totally seperate system?

-Anakin Miller
-------------------------
"What was sundered, shall be remade.
What was stolen, shall be avenged. "
- Engraved on the Crown of Diemed

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geeman
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
At 11:38 PM 3/14/2003 -0600, Anakin Miller wrote:

> > I think your use of the word "level" here will add some confusion. I
>believe you are using it to refer to the scale of the game, whether you are
>running domain actions or if you are running a character in an adventure.
> >
> > In the d20 System, the term level is `a measure of advancement or power
>applied to several areas of the game. See caster level, character level,
>class level, and spell level.` I hate to sound like a stickler, but the
>terminology should be used correctly, and any new terms should take the old
>terms into account. When I think of the term "Domain Level" I think "A
>measure of a domain`s power."
>
>What? Get real. Domain level play is an incorrect term?

3e is much more careful and particular regarding its use of vocabulary than
2e was. I recall a while ago reading about how the word "level" is
overused in D&D and Gygax et al considered changing the vocabulary so that
one had a 5th "rank" character entering the 6th "depth" of a dungeon, and
casts a 4th "power" spell on it or some such thing. When it comes "domain
level" there`s a bit of a double whammy in that "domain" is also used to
describe divine spells. "Realm level" is probably a more descriptive a term.

>Birthright is about the Domain Level play. It has been and always will
>be. That was the entire concept to the product line. The campaign where
>every PC starts out as a Lord and leader of a Kingdom, Guild, Temple or
>Source Network. If you leave out the domain play then why exactly do you
>game in Cerilia?

Even without the domain level of play Cerilia is a solid campaign
setting. I play BR primarily at the adventure level. None of the PCs in
my campaigns ever start out already at the head of a domain. Even on those
occasions where I`ve had them inherit a domain later I`ve always made them
adventure beforehand. After characters get a domain I still prefer to
adventure out their domain actions rather than simply roll them per the
domain rules, and I use their success at the adventure level to give
modifiers or influence the DC of the domain action.

Regardless of that, however, the domain/realm/whatever level vs the
adventure level is really a situational condition, isn`t it? That is, one
type of character might be more useful than another at the realm level,
just as a ranger is generally more useful in an outdoor adventure and a
cleric more useful against undead. Situational conditions really shouldn`t
figure directly into a system of ECL since they can (and do) change so easily.

> > He wants the scion to be more powerful on ALL fronts with no balance in
>the system. So, simply because one player decides to be a scion and the
>other one decides to be a commoner, the scion gets extra advantages
>(granting an ECL) and the commoner gets nothing but the shaft. The rules and
>mechanics should balance the two against eachother. The commoner would have
>more versatility, but the scion would have extraordinary abilities.
>
>Well if you feel a commoner gets nothing but the shaft don`t play an
>unblooded commoner. Its your choice to play an inferior concept. The
>Scion should outshine an unblooded counterpart end of story.

The problem is that in an unbalanced system the idea of an "inferior
concept" throws off the purpose in coming up with balancing factors like
ECL, or rewards based on the factors that comprise EL. In effect, it
"breaks" the system.

A DM tells his players he`d like to do character generation with 5th level
characters. Everyone will use the standard array, and "average" hit
points. One character chooses to be blooded, the other doesn`t. In a
balanced system neither of these characters would be more powerful than the
other. The would have different abilities, of course, but all things being
equal they would be as effective in play as every other 5th level character.

Some people think that scions should be more powerful, level for level, ECL
for ECL, than any other characters in the setting. I can understand the
desire to do that thematically, but I don`t think it makes any sense from
the POV of the rules. Game mechanically, however, one can simply add a few
levels (or ECLs) to make a character who is thematically more powerful
stand out amongst other characters.

Gary

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
At 11:34 AM 3/14/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> irdeggman wrote:
> One problem with the feat based proposal is the group that wants to
determine blood abilities randomly, which is why the variant was included
in the proposed version. While I don`t believe this is the majority of
the those playing, I do believe that a sufficient number have expressed the
desire for the randomness to justify a variant system to accomodate it.

Agreed. Bloodlines and abilities will continue to be randomly generated in
my group (reasoning to come in a following post).

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
>In my opinion Birthright is a game of kings not peasants.
>
>To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
>where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
>ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
>second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.
>bye
>Michael Romes

Well said! The 10% xp bonus was nice in 2e, but did not even come close to
the benefit of a major bloodline. You could barely feel the effect of it at
low levels. Basically, the 10% xp bonus was the difference between a level
19 fighter and a level 20 fighter.

By contrast, a +2 ECL for a major bloodline is the total sux compared to
the 2e rules.

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
At 02:57 PM 3/14/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>> To mention the nonsense about balance:
>>
>> The most problems come from the try to balance the different
>> bloodstrenghts even with nonblooded characters.
>>
>> In 3E draft blooded scions are penalized in XP by gaining an ECL or
>> more - in 2E it was the opposite, non-blooded characters got a bonus of
>> 10% XP.
>>
>> In 3E the penalty raises with the bloodline strength, 2E did not care
>> how strong your bloodline was.
>>
>> So while the 10% XP bonus for non-blooded characters was nice, it did
>> not even try to balance every character against every other. And when
>> the 10% bonus would have been balanced for a non-blooded vs. a minor
>> scion it would have been unbalancing for a non-blooded vs. a great scion
>> - but 2E did not care.
>>
>> In my opinion Birthright is a game of kings not peasants.
>>
>> To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
>> where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
>> ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
>> second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.
>> bye
>> Michael Romes
>>
>>
>And giving a regent character a few more effective levels is out of the
question?
>
>If you want regents that are more powerful than a Commoner 1, then let
them start out with more levels, including a ECL shifting thingy from a
bloodline :-)

OR just let them have the bloodlines for free and still start at 1st level,
as it was done in 2nd edition.

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
At 10:53 AM 3/14/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>At 02:23 PM 3/14/2003 +0100, Michael Romes wrote:
>
>>To penalize Kings so that the peasants can compete is bringing balance
>>where none is needed or even wanted to preserve the feeling of being a
>>ruler by divine right and with the approbiate blood ability nearly a
>>second Herakles, Achilles or other demi-god.
>
>I don`t think balancing kings against peasants is really go the goal; it`s
>balancing ruler PCs against commoner PCs of "equal level" which includes
>such things as templates and any other ECL modifiers.

Were commoner PCs balanced against regent PCs in 2nd edition? You`ve got to
be joking. A magic item (in a rare magic setting like BR) and a bloodline
vs. 10% experience? Not even close!

The game was obviously designed to favor regent and scion PCs. Hell, the
entire reason my brother bought the BR boxed set was because he heard about
the bloodlines and abilities somewhere. He didn`t give a damn about the
political aspect (which is what I liked when I read through the books, and
why I remain a fervent BR supporter).

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
>That`s because 2nd Edition wasn`t a very good system. The 10% bonus
didn`t even balance between character classes, because of the different
experience charts for each class. 3rd Edition is all about balance, in
which a 5th-level fighter and a 5th-level cleric are on equal power levels.

Again, this is a fallacy. There is a lot of stuff in 3e that is totally
broken. Divine Power is one (hmm, I`m a cleric, you`re a fighter.. but I
can fight better than you, fire arrows better than you, and cast heal, holy
word, miracle, summon monster IX, and reached Harm on top of that)

A cursory examination of the 3e minmax boards will reveal a lot more.

>A 10th-level scion and a 10th-level commoner should be of the same power
level,

I respectfully disagree.

>
In my opinion Birthright is a game of kings not peasants.
>
>It is. However, players that want to play a scion should not just gain
extra benefits, while players who do not want to be a scion gain nothing.
As stated, scions are fairly rare, so most games should have a commoner or
two in the mix,

Most games *should* have a commoner or two in the mix? Again I respectfully
disagree. The PCs are heroes, and don`t necessarily fall into the same
demographic rules as the NPC population, IMHO.

I have never met a player who didn`t want to be a scion. For a lot of
players, that`s the whole point of playing BR :)

>Balance is needed. Without balance, the system falls apart when stress is
applied. Look at 2nd Edition... the system was so unbalanced that most DMs
were forced to create house rules in order for it to work.

I agree that balance is needed. But charging +4 character levels for even a
true bloodline is ridiculous.

But I don`t think we can make any progress on the issue until we reach an
agreement on the following issue: should a commoner be as strong as a scion
of equal level? I give a resounding NO. In My Humble Opinion a 10th level
scion should be stronger than a 10th level commoner. Having the blood of
the gods flowing through him should make him stronger.


>Also, by pushing scions above their power level without any sort of
balance leaves terrible holes in the Challenge Rating and XP system. So, if
I`m a 6th-level scion of a major bloodline, according to the rules I`m an
ECL of 8. So, if we square off against CR 8 creatures, I am fighting
against my challenge rating. However, if we remove the balance imposed,
because you don`t think it`s needed, things get bad. Then, I`m still
considered an ECL of 6, though I am as strong as an 8th-level character,
and creatures of CR 6 will not be that much of a problem. However, since I
gain experience as a 6th-level character, I gain a lot more. So, I gain
free special abilities *AND* extra experience by removing balance.

In my campaign this factor will be balanced out by the fact that an 8th
level scion will have far fewer magic items than the D&D rules assume. IMO
this is mitigated to some extent by the presence of blood abilities.

I`m not saying that everyone should take my approach, but I find it an
effective enough rebuttal to the point about CRs and XP.

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
At 12:12 AM 3/15/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> Mourn wrote:
>
Originally posted by AnakinMiller
>I disgree here, but that is simply my opinion. Birthright is the game of
Lords and Rulers not the rable.
>
>Not all lords and rulers are scions, though, and not all scions are lords
and rulers.
>
>
I understand that 3e is supposed to be all balance happy, but
damnit a 10th level scion should be more powerful than a 10th level
peasant.
>
>If a 10th-level scion is more powerful than a 10th-level peasant, then the
scion is not 10th level. Which is where the ECL adjustment discussion comes
in. If a 10th-level scion is as powerful as an 11th-level peasant, then the
10th-level scion should have an ECL adjustment of +1.

Okay, so by that stick, I take it that you consider a 10th level commoner
to be about as strong as a 10th level fighter? How about a 20th level
commoner versus a Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? How does a
20th level warrior stack up to a Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? They do
have the same amount of experience points, after all.

>Again, an argument to break the system, and ruin its sense of logic and
consistency for no better reason than "just because."
>
>
If the odds where not stacked in favor of the scions then why in
hell do they rule by divine right? Kings are the leaders because they are
above the common man.
>
>Again, not all kings are scions, and not all scions are kings. They rule
by divine right because the blood in their veins gives them greater ability
to do so. However, just because this blood gears them towards leadership
over others does not mean that balance can just be ignored.
>
>If you don`t like balance, just go back and play 2nd Edition. 3rd Edition
is written to make sense, and two characters of the same character level
being of the same equivalent power level makes sense.

My point is that even in 3rd edition, this doesn`t hold true. Clerics are
stronger than just about any other class if built properly. It`s sick,
really. At least 2e didn`t have this problem.

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
At 07:43 PM 3/14/2003 -0600, you wrote:
>First of all, to those of you who remember me from before I fell off the
>face of the earth, I`d just like to say `hi` and `it`s nice to be back.`

Welcome back Mark, I remember you from the PBeM days 4 or 5 years ago :)

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
>NPC classes are balanced in the Challenge Rating system. A 1st-level of
any of the NPC classes is a CR 1/2 not a CR 1. A 2nd-level is only a CR 1.
>
>Also, prestige classes that "boost" power usually have ridiculous
requirements and some even have drawbacks to gain these powers.

Mourn, again I have to say I respectfully disagree with you. :)

Depends on your definition of "ridiculous."

Do you think Holy Liberator, Singh Rager, Bladedancer, Bladesinger,
Iaijutsu Master, Incantatrix, Mage of the Arcane Order, Archmage, Sacred
Exorcist, Hospitaler, Geomancer, Elemental Savant, Shadow Adept, Master of
Shrouds, anything from BOVD, Divine Champion, Divine Disciple, Virtuoso or
Templar have ridiculous requirements?

These classes are *ALL* far stronger than the base classes they were
"meant" for. I promise you that a Paladin5/Hospitaler10/Divine Champion5
will manhandle a Paladin20. Same goes for a Sam10/Iai10 vs a Sam20, or a
Clr10/Sac Ex10 vs a Clr20, or a Wiz5/Inc10/Acm5 vs a Wiz20. How about a
Sorc6/MotAO10/Acm4 vs a Sorc20? That last one is SO unbalanced. Not even
close.

And these are all fairly simple builds. Far stronger characters can be made
(well, not much stronger than Wiz5/Inc10/Acm5. That is about the pinnacle
of 3e power builds.)

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Shade
03-15-2003, 10:03 AM
>In the d20 System, the term level is `a measure of advancement or power
applied to several areas of the game. See caster level, character level,
class level, and spell level.` I hate to sound like a stickler, but the
terminology should be used correctly, and any new terms should take the old
terms into account. When I think of the term "Domain Level" I think "A
measure of a domain`s power."
>
>After all, conflicting and confusing terminology was a big problem with
2nd Edition. When the same book would refer to existing rules and terms in
a multitude of manners, consistency is lost and a lot of people can become
easily confused.

Mourn,

I do agree with you here. :)

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Birthright-L
03-15-2003, 10:42 AM
From: "Lord Shade" <lordshade@SOFTHOME.NET>

> In my campaign this factor will be balanced out by the fact that an 8th
> level scion will have far fewer magic items than the D&D rules assume. IMO
> this is mitigated to some extent by the presence of blood abilities.
>

You have a pointhere. Magical equipment is a very important part of the ECL
calculation. Reducing the magic item budget by 50%, or even just limiting
the available selection of magic items, so that characters have a few
expensive ones without filling out all their available slots with low-power
"+1" items like amulets of natural armor and rings of protection, reduces
the ECL of a character significantly.

Say a character of level 5 has the item budget of a second level character -
I`d argue that the ECL of such a characer is 4 or maybe even less. Something
like ECL = Character level *2/3 + "Budget level" * 1/3

But by this token, blood abilities should be largely level-based, since
magic item budget normally is. They could work somewhat the Ancestral Blades
of OA (Yes, I know this has been suggested before). That way, the relative
power of Birthright ECLs and other settings can be kept without introducing
undue amounts of magical items. The question is, how does this fit with the
idea of differing bloodline strengths and such?

My experience from my own game is that many blood abilities become largely
irrelevant at higher levels. We are now at level 15, and the most valuable
blood abilities are those that enhance stats and saving throws - abilities
like "elemental command" have become largely obsolete. If there is anything
I`d change in my own bloodline system, it is that I would have those that
grant unique abilities - like the aforementioned Elemental Control - would
scale a lot more over levels.

/Carl


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kgauck
03-15-2003, 12:17 PM
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mourn" <brnetboard@TUARHIEVEL.ORG>
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 5:12 PM


> Again, an argument to break the system, and ruin its sense of logic
> and consistency for no better reason than "just because."

Funny that you missed the fact that Atarikid actually had a reason to
justify his argument. "Just because" prefigures no reason, just an
unreflective prejudice. In fact he argued that the logic of setting demands
that those who have an exclusive power have some mechanical sense of that
justification. Aristocracy means "rule by the best". In what way are the
rulers the best? In BR, its their bloodline, their ability to use regency,
and their blood powers.

You are right to note that ECL is the way to measure the advantage of the
best, but there are other things to consider besides effective character
level. One of them is the idea that a PC scion is a typical scion. A PC
commoner is a very atypical commoner. Most commoners have a fair share of
the commoner or warrior class. Just having access to all PC-classes, and
never getting stuck with levels of commoner make the PC of low birth
unusual. A 10th level fighter is not the same as a 10th level warrior. An
Aristcrat 6/Fighter 4 with a minor bloodline and the Detect Lie blood
ability is better than both of them. He might well be assigned a +1 ECL,
but that`s only to balance his aquisition of xp for combating standardized
monsters (with standard CR`s), not because he actually should be as low and
pitiful as a 10th level warrior, commoner, or multi-classed John-beer-swill.

Setting should trump mechanics. In BR, one example of that is the arbitrary
limitation of access to the wizard class.

> However, just because this blood gears them towards leadership
> over others does not mean that balance can just be ignored.

Balance against monsters (for using CR to calculate the threat-experience
reward) sure, balance against the rabble, I think not.

> If you don`t like balance, just go back and play 2nd Edition. 3rd
> Edition is written to make sense, and two characters of the same
> character level being of the same equivalent power level makes sense.

Someone forgot the utility of NPC classes.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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Shade
03-15-2003, 06:43 PM
At 11:08 AM 3/15/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>From: "Lord Shade" <lordshade@SOFTHOME.NET>
>
>> In my campaign this factor will be balanced out by the fact that an 8th
>> level scion will have far fewer magic items than the D&D rules assume. IMO
>> this is mitigated to some extent by the presence of blood abilities.
>>
>
>You have a pointhere. Magical equipment is a very important part of the ECL
>calculation. Reducing the magic item budget by 50%, or even just limiting
>the available selection of magic items, so that characters have a few
>expensive ones without filling out all their available slots with low-power
>"+1" items like amulets of natural armor and rings of protection, reduces
>the ECL of a character significantly.
>
>Say a character of level 5 has the item budget of a second level character -
>I`d argue that the ECL of such a characer is 4 or maybe even less. Something
>like ECL = Character level *2/3 + "Budget level" * 1/3
>
>But by this token, blood abilities should be largely level-based, since
>magic item budget normally is. They could work somewhat the Ancestral Blades
>of OA (Yes, I know this has been suggested before). That way, the relative
>power of Birthright ECLs and other settings can be kept without introducing
>undue amounts of magical items. The question is, how does this fit with the
>idea of differing bloodline strengths and such?
>
>My experience from my own game is that many blood abilities become largely
>irrelevant at higher levels. We are now at level 15, and the most valuable
>blood abilities are those that enhance stats and saving throws - abilities
>like "elemental command" have become largely obsolete. If there is anything
>I`d change in my own bloodline system, it is that I would have those that
>grant unique abilities - like the aforementioned Elemental Control - would
>scale a lot more over levels.

Carl - I can understand WHY you would want to have the system scale over
levels. My problem is the original rules had bloodline completely
independent of level. A 1st level character with the right parents was
capable of awesome displays of power.

I kind of like that, and would like to see it preserved.

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geeman
03-15-2003, 07:28 PM
At 01:49 AM 3/15/2003 -0600, Lord Shade wrote:

>Were commoner PCs balanced against regent PCs in 2nd edition? You`ve got to
>be joking. A magic item (in a rare magic setting like BR) and a bloodline
>vs. 10% experience? Not even close!

Let me ask the converse of the question here. What`s the point in having
unbalanced characters?

>The game was obviously designed to favor regent and scion PCs. Hell, the
>entire reason my brother bought the BR boxed set was because he heard about
>the bloodlines and abilities somewhere. He didn`t give a damn about the
>political aspect (which is what I liked when I read through the books, and
>why I remain a fervent BR supporter).

I think bloodlines are a great innovation of the setting too. Why does
that mean that if one is using a system in which there are many functions
to reflect balance like 3e/D20 bloodlines should still be imbalanced?

Gary

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geeman
03-15-2003, 07:59 PM
At 07:43 PM 3/14/2003 -0600, Mark VanderMeulen wrote:

>First of all, to those of you who remember me from before I fell off the
>face of the earth, I`d just like to say `hi` and `it`s nice to be back.`

Welcome back from the Shadow World, Mark. I trust you`re none the worse
for wear.

Look! ^^^ I still remember how to spell your last name--though I don`t
recall the M being capitalized all those years ago. (It`s the "eule"
that`s the tricky part anyway....)

For anyone who may not know M the VM is a BR old-timer. His appearance
always portends great doings and monumental adventures. No,
wait.... That`s Gandalf. My mistake.

Gary

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ryancaveney
03-15-2003, 08:18 PM
Mark Vandermeulen wrote:

> First of all, to those of you who remember me from before I fell off the
> face of the earth, I`d just like to say `hi` and `it`s nice to be back.`

Hi, Mark! Welcome back. I remember you well. How`s the Shadow World?


On Fri, 14 Mar 2003, Atarikid wrote:

> Nice to some faces I remember from my time on the list. I dropped off the
> face of the world in summer 2000 myself.

I`ve taken six-month hiatuses from the list several times in my seven
years on it, but I always come back again. But Ken and Gary are *always*
here. =)

> When I hear domain level I don`t think of the Power Level of said
> domain, I think of the level of play that occurs on a domain wide
> scale.

I agree completely. "The domain level of play" is what I`ve always called
the BR rulership system, and the list has employed it as well as far back
as I can remember. I don`t know exactly why we do that, but it seems so
common there must be an official statement somewhere; I was just skimming
the BR rule book in search of it, but haven`t found it yet. However,
there *is* an official term for the power of a domain -- it`s called
Domain Power, and it`s the sum of all the levels (also called "ratings")
of provinces and holdings comprising a domain. It`s the maximum number of
RP that could possibly be gained by ruling that domain.

> You`re the first I`ve ever heard make an argument that Domain Level is a
> confusing term.

Agreed. Doesn`t confuse me at all. Then again, I`m used to
mathematicians, who use "normal" and "closed" to mean everything under the
sun -- I am used to dealing with things that are all four of open, closed,
neither open nor closed, and both open and closed all at the same time,
depending on which sort of mathematician you`re talking to.

> > So on the one hand, the Scion is MEANT to be unbalanced on the
> > domain level, because he has all the power and the commoner
> > doesn`t. Which is fine, that`s their shtick.

Exactly so!

> But Birthright is about the Domain Level play. It has been and always
> will be. That was the entire concept to the product line.

I wholeheartedly agree. That is becoming a theme. ;)

> If you leave out the domain play then why exactly do you game in Cerilia?

I wouldn`t go this far, though -- I can see Cerilia as a perfectly fine
place to run standard D&D adventures, just as Greyhawk would be a fine
place to run a Birthright campaign of domain rulership. To me, Cerilia
and Birthright are completely different things (though I admit I sometimes
mix my usage to conform to a post I`m replying to, largely because the
abbreviation "BR" is easier to type) -- to me, Birthright is the set of
rules that define the domain level of play and Cerilia is a campaign
setting; much like BattleSystem was a rules supplement and the big example
scenarios that came with it were drawn from the DragonLance adventure
campaign world (which is another setting crying out to be modeled in
Birthright rules). Cerilia just happens to be the only D&D campaign
setting published with the information needed to run a Birthright (that
is, *rulership*) game already included.

> I fail to see why it should take years to manifest powers. A Scion
> has the blood of dead gods coursing through him. [snip] You have
> divine essence ripping through you, manifesting powers.

Agreed! Bloodtheft is pretty much exactly what happens in Highlander when
one "Immortal" takes the head of another one. Spectacular bolts of
coruscating lightning arc between slayer, victim and the surrounding
landscape, transferring the personal power of the slain scion to his
killer in a sudden rush of energy. Any blood abilities gained can be
immediately used, exactly as the Book of Magecraft repeatedly says
happened "historically" whenever a major sielshegh gem was first acquired
by its wielder.

> I don`t like the idea of a regent having to waste feat slots on
> individual powers. While I personally dislike the blood as an ability
> score, I do not prefer the approach to make it a feat/skill based
> system. Why not leave it as it was? A totally seperate system?

That`s the way I want it, too. Keep it separate, with no cost at all in
XP, feats or any other RPG element. As always, I continue to maintain
that the BR domain rulership system is entirely independent of the
particular fantasy roleplaying game engine it sits atop -- in fact, there
needn`t be one at all! Just the domain level makes a perfectly fine
boardgame (I never go on adventures in the Sierra computer game, either).
The only real points of contact I see are in defining the mechanics of the
*effects* of blood powers in your favorite FRPG engine, who collects
regency from which holding (I am strongly tempted to say everyone collects
in full from everything, except only spellcasters can tap sources), and
who can cast which realm spells.


Ryan Caveney

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Trevyr
03-15-2003, 08:41 PM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
> [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Mourn

> I`ve been here since `01 and haven`t seen you before... so..
> welcome back! It`s always good to see a new(old) face on these
> boards. It makes discussions more lively.

Well, I was solely on the mailing list rather than the boards, and I dropped
off at least a year ago. Before the list and the boards were merged like
this, at any rate.

> I think your use of the word "level" here will add some
> confusion. I believe you are using it to refer to the scale of
> the game, whether you are running domain actions or if you are
> running a character in an adventure.

Good point. I will try to amend my usage to "domain scale" and "character
scale" (or realm scale and adventure scale) if it will ease communication.
Old habits die hard, however...

> I fail to see how making a successful coup de grace to commit
> bloodtheft (a check that nearly every character in the game can
> succeed at) becomes good roleplaying.

Well, because the character managed to get into the position to deal the
coup de grace in the first place. This should never be an easy thing, and if
it IS easy, there should tons of repercussions afterwards that compensates.
The social framework of the setting should see to it that premeditated
murder, even against an avowed enemy, is not legally permitted to occur
outside of certain thoroughly-delimited arenas, primarily war. The very act
of bloodtheft via coup de grace should be considered thoroughly vile,
dishonorable, and illegal outside of a battlefield (and possibly even there,
according to conservative theologists of Haelyn) because it indicates that
you committed violence against a helpless opponent. Now, granted that lands
outside of Anuire will dice shades of honor less finely, but there should
always be the threat of reprisals from family members and allies when we`re
talking about bloodtheft.

It has been my experience that most people exclude the role of the DM when
they are talking about game balance, as though balance were some objective
goal that could be built into a product before it is handed to the DM. I
would argue, however, that such perspective is doomed to failure by the very
nature of the game. The DM always has been and always will be an agent
either of balance or of unbalance. So it makes perfect sense to me to use
that agency to achieve balance when the available game-mechanical approaches
all seem unsatisfactory.

> And I fail to see how it is reasonable to grant one character
> abilities to justify up to a +3 level adjustment without
> balancing against the other players.

I don`t know that it is any more unbalancing that tossing one +3 longsword
into a party`s treasure. Only one party member is going to be able to use
that sword. Now, if the whole adventure had been designed around getting
that magical weapon for a fighter character, most PC`s would understand.
They know that their chance will come in the next adventure or two. So if a
certain focus of a campaign has been the struggle between a character and
her rival, and in a climactic battle that character kills her opponent and
gains a bloodline, most PC`s would feel glad for her, and immediatly turn
their attention to looting the rival`s palace. Granted, the players would
all expect equivalent reward for their own characters in due course, but
that`s just good DMing.

That, said, the +3 ECL does seem a bit steep, so perhaps the bloodtheft
rules need to be rewritten so that bloodlines gained through ursurpation do
not automatically start out at the Strength level of the victim. Perhaps
starting out as tainted (+0 ECL) for tainted and minor bloodline victims and
minor (+1 ECL) for major and great bloodline victims.

> Also, about suddenly dropping a bloodline on a character... the
> character shouldn`t instantly have a ton of blood abilities...
> spending your entire life without a shred of magical ability,
> then pooof you`re a scion, and you suddenly know how to use all
> these special abilities? I think not... a skills/feats system
> shows that even if you get the Bloodline through other means
> (investiture, bloodtheft), you must learn what you have.

This is certainly a valid point. I would certainly expect that it would take
a person a certain amount of time to figure out how to use their newfound
divine power effectively and reliably. I imagine that bloodpowers do not
develop until puberty, and that when they do, the exact powers that develop
have a lot to do with what the individual experiences (and tries to
accomplish) during puberty. This suggests that blood abilities shouldn`t be
acquired automatically upon ursurpation, but be developed over time. Perhaps
a recently-blooded character should be allowed to ATTEMPT to use any of the
blood powers open to their derivation, but require a bloodline ability check
to see whether it works, and starting out with very high DC`s (perhaps 18 or
20). Then, once a use has succeeded, the DC is reduced. Over repeated uses,
the DC drops until it can be used as normal, and the slot is considered
"filled."

It may also make sense to use an XP-expenditure system similar to creating
magical items. An XP-cost could be settled on for minor, major, and great
powers, and the player would have to spend the XP in order to purchase the
power, and would be similarly limited by the time it takes to develop a
power. One per adventure seems about right to me, but as that`s an amorphous
time frame, perhaps one per fortnight or one per month.

> This system also allows characters that want to focus on being a
> scion to really focus on it, by spending their available skills
> and feats on these blood powers. If the scion wants to be a
> better fighter, then he`d focus more on his fighting prowess.
>
> I`ll draw a comparison to the Wishsong of Shannara (great book).
> Brin Ohmsford has the wishsong, a powerful singing ability that
> allows her to reshape reality through magic, which is inherent in
> her blood. However, she actually has to learn to control this
> ability or she can`t really even use it. So both Brin and a
> scion have innate potential (shown in my example system as a feat
> which grants you a Bloodline score), but both have to learn to
> control and use their abilities (shown in my system to be the
> bloodline skills and feats).

Well, I can certainly see your logic, although I might argue that your
approach takes things too far in the other direction: making explicit--and
difficult--to achieve something that was orginally (in 2eBR) implicit and
easy. I don`t really have a problem with making things explicit, but making
characters spend levels on a scion class seems unreasonably expensive.

Mark V.

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ryancaveney
03-15-2003, 09:56 PM
On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:

> There is a lot of stuff in 3e that is totally broken. Divine Power is
> one (hmm, I`m a cleric, you`re a fighter.. but I can fight better than
> you, fire arrows better than you, and cast heal, holy word, miracle,
> summon monster IX, and reached Harm on top of that)

Oh yeah! Clerics are insanely powerful. IMG, I have combined ALL
spellcasting into a single class, with wizard, bard, sorcerer, cleric,
druid and magician differing from each other only about as much as
specialist wizards from different schools differ (i.e., the biggest
difference is just the list of allowed spells). Bloodline is a much more
important distinguishing characteristic. Then I convert all "pure"
clerics found in game supplements into multiclassed Ftr/Clr or Clr/Rog.

> > A 10th-level scion and a 10th-level commoner should be of the same
> > power level,
>
> I respectfully disagree.

Indeed, they *can`t* be, because character level is not the only important
part of game power. Ability scores and magic items in particular must be
factored into any calculation of relative power, even (in fact especially)
between two characters with identical class levels.

> Most games *should* have a commoner or two in the mix? Again I
> respectfully disagree. The PCs are heroes, and don`t necessarily fall
> into the same demographic rules as the NPC population, IMHO.

Agreed. PCs throw demographics straight out the window. That said, a few
allied regents and their unblooded lieutenants make for a fine BR-style
gaming group -- but no better a one than The High King, To Each His
Throne, or the other suggestions in the back of the BR rulebook. Though
as my previous post implied, I think Common Heroes is not BR, but rather
D&D in Cerilia; but that`s splitting hairs.

> I agree that balance is needed. But charging +4 character levels for
> even a true bloodline is ridiculous.

Here`s where I make my pitch for the distinction I see between good ways
and bad ways to use CR and ECL. IMO, *charging* for blood powers, racial
abilities, or anything else is always ridiculous, except perhaps at the
very instant of character creation. Assuming that classes were actually
balanced against each other (which as you so rightly note in another
post, is not remotely the case with standard 3e ones), a character with
21,000 XP should always have exactly seven class levels, regardless of
whether its base type is unblooded human, Sidhe with True bloodline, or
Cerilian Dragon with a fiendish template. Yes, go ahead and calculate
effective levels for these things (and ability scores and magic items,
too!) in order to determine the appropriate Challenge Rating for a given
encounter, but once XP awards are determined from that, let all creatures
spend XP in exactly the same way. My opinion is grounded in this one
guiding principle: being more powerful doesn`t make you a slower learner.
I understand why the ECL rule was introduced into 3e, but I don`t think it
actually accomplishes what it`s supposed to, and it has this pernicious
side effect of not only overpunishing the powerful, but also doing it in a
totally nonsensical manner.

> In My Humble Opinion a 10th level scion should be stronger than a 10th
> level commoner. Having the blood of the gods flowing through him
> should make him stronger.

Absolutely yes. Also a Sidhe who never sleeps or ages or leaves tracks or
gets sick and has low-light vision and resists charming and magical
disease and ignores terrain when moving is obviously more powerful than a
human with the same number of class levels. This means in calculating the
CR of an encounter with one, the ECL of race and bloodline and other
things should be added in -- but IMO it makes no sense for it to mean that
facing the same challenge (whether it be 10 vs. 10 or 14 vs. 14) doesn`t
result in the same growth in class level.

> > Also, by pushing scions above their power level without any sort of
> > balance leaves terrible holes in the Challenge Rating and XP
> > system. So, if I`m a 6th-level scion of a major bloodline, according
> > to the [NB: suggested draft!] rules I`m an ECL of 8. So, if we square
> > off against CR 8 creatures, I am fighting against my challenge rating.

With this, I do agree. However, I equally strongly feel that upon gaining
just 7,000 XP from these "fair" encounters -- not 9,000 -- you should
become a 7th-level character, for whom encounters should be constructed as
if you were 9th level. The current system is a double penalty (or worse,
from a spellcaster`s POV), and as this poster notes Lord Shade`s
suggestion is a penalty in the other direction: I`m trying to split the
difference with something that just makes more inherent sense to me.


Ryan Caveney

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ryancaveney
03-15-2003, 09:56 PM
On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:

> Okay, so by that stick, I take it that you consider a 10th level commoner
> to be about as strong as a 10th level fighter? How about a 20th level
> commoner versus a Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? How does a
> 20th level warrior stack up to a Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? They
> do have the same amount of experience poin`ts, after all.

Which means they *shouldn`t* have the same number of XP, or the classes
should be rewritten. 3e *claims* to be better balanced, but it sure
doesn`t look that way in practice to me either.

> > Again, an argument to break the system, and ruin its sense of logic
> > and consistency for no better reason than "just because."

The system *claims* to be more logical and consistent. It actually isn`t.

> My point is that even in 3rd edition, this doesn`t hold true.

Agreed!

> Clerics are stronger than just about any other class if built
> properly. It`s sick, really. At least 2e didn`t have this problem.

Here I part ways, but only because I think clerics have *always* been
overpowered, ever since the invention of the game. I do agree that 3e has
made this problem even worse, though.


Ryan Caveney

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ConjurerDragon
03-15-2003, 09:56 PM
Mark VanderMeulen wrote:

>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
>>[mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Mourn
>>
>This is certainly a valid point. I would certainly expect that it would take
>a person a certain amount of time to figure out how to use their newfound
>divine power effectively and reliably. I imagine that bloodpowers do not
>develop until puberty, and that when they do, the exact powers that develop
>have a lot to do with what the individual experiences (and tries to
>accomplish) during puberty. This suggests that blood abilities shouldn`t be
>acquired automatically upon ursurpation, but be developed over time. Perhaps
>a recently-blooded character should be allowed to ATTEMPT to use any of the
>blood powers open to their derivation, but require a bloodline ability check
>to see whether it works, and starting out with very high DC`s (perhaps 18 or
>20). Then, once a use has succeeded, the DC is reduced. Over repeated uses,
>the DC drops until it can be used as normal, and the slot is considered
>"filled."
>
Wouldn´t that be a perfect use for the new Knowledge (Bloodlore) skill?

>It may also make sense to use an XP-expenditure system similar to creating
>magical items. An XP-cost could be settled on for minor, major, and great
>powers, and the player would have to spend the XP in order to purchase the
>power, and would be similarly limited by the time it takes to develop a
>power. One per adventure seems about right to me, but as that`s an amorphous
>time frame, perhaps one per fortnight or one per month.
>
YES :-)
e.g. CHARACTER READING, a major ability is comparable to a Medaillon of
Thoughts from the DMG. The Medaillon costs 480 XP (1/25th of 12000 gp).
Character Reading requires a major bloodline and thus in the 3E draft
requires an ECL for the Major Scion Template - and this will cost him
much more in his life than 480 XP and 12000 gp.
bye
Michael Romes

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Trevyr
03-15-2003, 09:56 PM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
> [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Lord Shade

> >A 10th-level scion and a 10th-level commoner should be of the same power
> level,
>
> I respectfully disagree.

Well, then you are starting to loose sight of what a level means, aren`t
you? Levels are meant to indicate the rough power level of the individual
(whether they actually succeed in that is another question). Of course, I
assume that the intention of the comparison was "A 10th-level blooded
character and a 10th-level unblooded character" rather than referring to the
"Commoner" NPC-class, which after all was designed to be less powerful than
PC classes. I would agree that a 10th level blooded fighter should be
(roughly) as powerful on the adventure scale as a 10th level unblooded
fighter, and I think that the ECLs as they were designed (or with minor
tweaking) do that admirably.

> I have never met a player who didn`t want to be a scion. For a lot of
> players, that`s the whole point of playing BR :)

I certainly have. Both because they thought it would be interesting to rp,
and because they were new to 3e and didn`t want to have to worry about
bloodline scores and abilities on top of everthing else. For starting
characters, the need to divide your available ability points between seven
rather than six abilities has also served as a deterent to some. Although I
don`t remember if that is as central to the BRCS as it was to the earlier
document...

Mark V.

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kgauck
03-15-2003, 11:00 PM
Mark and Ryan write:

> > I don`t like the idea of a regent having to waste feat slots on
> > individual powers.
>
> That`s the way I want it, too. Keep it separate, with no cost at all in
> XP, feats or any other RPG element.

Just because you can describe blood powers as feats doesn`t mean you have to
use up normal feat slots to get them. Especially if one is favorable to the
ECL adjustments for blooded characters, blooded characters could get bonus
feats for blooded characters. Fighters get bonus combat feats, wizards get
bonus metamagic and item creation feats, why not give blooded characters a
starting bonus of blooded feats. Then, if blooded characters want to take
additional blooded feats by spending character level feats, I don`t have a
problem with that.

Since going over to the ECL system, I`ve given tainted characters 3 hp
(Toughness), a +1 to a derivation skill (Anduiras` skill is Knowledge (Law))
which is also a class skill, a +1 bonus to a derivation save (Anduiras` save
is Willpower).
Minor characters get 6 hp, a +2 skill bonus, a +1 save bonus, a bonus
blooded fleet, and a +1 ECL modifier. Major characters get 9 hp, a +3 skill
bonus, a +2 save bonus, two bonus blooded feats, and a +1 ECL modifier.
Great characters get 12 hp, a +4 skill bonus, a +2 save bonus, three blooded
feats, and a +2 ECl modifier.

A character like Varri Haraldsson, king of Stjordvik, have a minor
bloodline, get one bonus blooded feat, and then have taken an additional
blooded feat along the way, giving him Blood History and Detect Illusion.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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Trevyr
03-15-2003, 11:00 PM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
> [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Gary

> Welcome back from the Shadow World, Mark. I trust you`re none the worse
> for wear.
>
> Look! ^^^ I still remember how to spell your last name--though I don`t
> recall the M being capitalized all those years ago. (It`s the "eule"
> that`s the tricky part anyway....)

Very impressive. The M was very liklely not capitalized before, although it
ought to have been. It`s just that computers tend to go `urk` at
capitalization in the middle of a word. Actually, technically, my name
SHOULD be written `van der Meulen` because it means literally `from the
mill` and is probably the Dutch equivalent of `Miller`, but even normal
humans tend to go `urk` at that capitalization.

> For anyone who may not know M the VM is a BR old-timer. His appearance
> always portends great doings and monumental adventures. No,
> wait.... That`s Gandalf. My mistake.

Well, thank you very much for the compliment!

Mark V.

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ecliptic
03-15-2003, 11:04 PM
ECL wouldn't be good for it. ECL can only be used effectively with something that is constant. Bloodline and stuff is scalable and changeable. Tell you right now it can't be done right and in the end just make things more complicated.

Shade
03-15-2003, 11:26 PM
At 10:51 AM 3/15/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>At 01:49 AM 3/15/2003 -0600, Lord Shade wrote:
>
>>Were commoner PCs balanced against regent PCs in 2nd edition? You`ve got to
>>be joking. A magic item (in a rare magic setting like BR) and a bloodline
>>vs. 10% experience? Not even close!
>
>Let me ask the converse of the question here. What`s the point in having
>unbalanced characters?

A fair question. I would answer by saying: to put emphasis on certain
character types over others. In 3e fighters and warriors are unbalanced
vis-a-vis each other. The PC hero will be a fighter; his NPC followers will
be warriors. Likewise, the focus of the game IMO should be on the PC
scions; their retainers and lieutenants are mostly unblooded commoners.

>I think bloodlines are a great innovation of the setting too. Why does
>that mean that if one is using a system in which there are many functions
>to reflect balance like 3e/D20 bloodlines should still be imbalanced?

IMO because they don`t NEED to be balanced.

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Shade
03-15-2003, 11:26 PM
>YES :-)
>e.g. CHARACTER READING, a major ability is comparable to a Medaillon of
>Thoughts from the DMG. The Medaillon costs 480 XP (1/25th of 12000 gp).
>Character Reading requires a major bloodline and thus in the 3E draft
>requires an ECL for the Major Scion Template - and this will cost him
>much more in his life than 480 XP and 12000 gp.
>bye
>Michael Romes

This is an interesting idea, spending XP to learn a blood ability. It
definitely deserves more consideration, and is a lot nicer than the ECL
idea.

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Shade
03-15-2003, 11:26 PM
>> I have never met a player who didn`t want to be a scion. For a lot of
>> players, that`s the whole point of playing BR :)
>
>I certainly have. Both because they thought it would be interesting to rp,
>and because they were new to 3e and didn`t want to have to worry about
>bloodline scores and abilities on top of everthing else. For starting
>characters, the need to divide your available ability points between seven
>rather than six abilities has also served as a deterent to some.

And I despise that deterrent, but that`s a separate issue. I don`t take
BRCS Draft 0.0 as canon material, at least not yet :)

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Eosin the Red
03-16-2003, 01:08 AM
>>>> From: Mourn
>>>> Subject: Re: Bloodline
>>>> Also, about suddenly dropping a bloodline on a character... the character shouldn`t instantly have a ton of blood abilities... spending your entire life without a shred of magical ability, then pooof you`re a scion, and you suddenly know how to use all these special abilities? I think not... a skills/feats system shows that even if you get the Bloodline through other means (investiture, bloodtheft), you must learn what you have.


There is a learning phase but it is usually very short in duration. Several characters in the novels and in the source books aquire bloodlines and begin to use them immediately. The commoner Ranger in the back of RoE, the Spider in Spiders Test, and the Mhor in the Falcon and the Wolf cme to mind as learning their abilities very quickly. Others have described and I think the official description backs up a very Highlander`ish description of usurpation.

Bloodlines do not seem much like force abilities that come only after years of practice.

Eosin

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Eosin the Red
03-16-2003, 01:08 AM
> From: Mark VanderMeulen

Hello Mark - I have read some of your stuff. Much yummy goodness. WB from a newby.


>>>It may also make sense to use an XP-expenditure system similar to creatingmagical items. An XP-cost could be settled on for minor, major, and great powers, and the player would have to spend the XP in order to purchase the
power, and would be similarly limited by the time it takes to develop a power. One per adventure seems about right to me, but as that`s an amorphous time frame, perhaps one per fortnight or one per month.

There is something like this in place within the Oathbound setting and that was recently covered in Dragon magazine: Prestige Races. It would not take too much to convert it into BR for the bloodlines.

Covering some of the other topics - BR characters are already unbalanced in relation to CR/ECL`s. The low magic setting will bite you on the hind end - it is amazing how much it matters. I have ran nearly non-exsistant magic items for 18 months in Wheel of Time, monsters CRs rely heavily on standard magic powers. A dire bear is more than a match for a magic and healing weak party of 8-9th level. A celestial dire bear (Monster Summoning VI IIRC) will rip them apart.

IMHG CRs or challenge codes have gone out the window 100% because they lead to more pitfalls in low magic than they helped solve. This does not pose a huge problem for me, I know what my players can do and I make sure I know what the monster can do. I always figured the nastiest monster in the book was "HUMAN" anyway.

Eosin

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Eosin the Red
03-16-2003, 01:08 AM
Gary wrote:
>>>Let me ask the converse of the question here. What`s the point in having unbalanced characters?

Lord Shade Replied:
>>>> A fair question. I would answer by saying: to put emphasis on certain character types over others. In 3e fighters and warriors are unbalanced vis-a-vis each other. The PC hero will be a fighter; his NPC followers will
be warriors. Likewise, the focus of the game IMO should be on the PC scions; their retainers and lieutenants are mostly unblooded commoners.


I agree with Lord Shade but would go on to ask - can a person who commands armies, spies, magicians, and his cadre of loyal body guards ever be simply equal to a sword for hire adventuring type. The amount of resources that even a minor count has at his disposal destroys the concept of equatible level. In a previous post I pointed out how the CR/ECL was damaged, if not broken by low magic so it is hard to use with monsters and impossible to use with other characters except in a standup fight and then only when designed within BR (9th level FR character will chew up a BR character).

I guess the unasked question is do we need that particular element for BR? We could use a much more general challenge code, which is more vague but still has the advantage of being accurate.

Eosin

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geeman
03-16-2003, 01:40 AM
At 06:52 PM 3/15/2003 -0500, Eosin the Red wrote:

>BR characters are already unbalanced in relation to CR/ECL`s. The low
>magic setting will bite you on the hind end - it is amazing how much it
>matters. I have ran nearly non-exsistant magic items for 18 months in
>Wheel of Time, monsters CRs rely heavily on standard magic powers. A dire
>bear is more than a match for a magic and healing weak party of 8-9th
>level. A celestial dire bear (Monster Summoning VI IIRC) will rip them apart.
>
>IMHG CRs or challenge codes have gone out the window 100% because they
>lead to more pitfalls in low magic than they helped solve.

When it comes to balancing a lack (or a surplus) of magic items in a
character`s inventory by level one suggestion that the Falcon made a while
back has worked pretty well. Average the character`s level with that of
his inventory on Table 2-24 of the DMG (p43). A 6th level character would
normally have 13,000gp in his inventory, while a 4th level character has
5,400gp. A 6th level character with a 4th level character`s inventory
would then be 5th level for the purpose of designing encounters. More
often than not this method has functioned very well for me.

Gary

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Eosin the Red
03-16-2003, 02:32 AM
>
> From: Gary <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET>
> When it comes to balancing a lack (or a surplus) of magic items in a character`s inventory by level one suggestion that the Falcon made a while back has worked pretty well. Average the character`s level with that of his inventory on Table 2-24 of the DMG (p43).

>>>More often than not this method has functioned very well for me



Hmmmm, not bad. I am probably one of the really, really magic poor BR DMs (too much WOT). I made the Mhor for a PbeM last night with a +1 sword and armor.

2+7 = 9/2 = 4.5 - 5

His Blood Abilities are so/so - I took them as well as I could from the Falcon and the Wolf. The significant (player scale) powers are Det lie (1/day), Bulls Strength (1/day), +2 Save, and regenerate. He does have Battlewise.

That really does not seem like +3 ECL to me. 1 Feat, 2 low-level spells and a mid-powerful ring that many characters might have by 7th level.

We could do those as magic items, add in the other items and if we do the average over and I bet he ends up as a 7 + 8 = 7.5 not 10th

Eosin

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Trevyr
03-16-2003, 03:31 AM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
> [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Atarikid

> But Birthright is about the Domain Level play. It has been and
> always will
> be. That was the entire concept to the product line. The campaign where
> every PC starts out as a Lord and leader of a Kingdom, Guild, Temple or
> Source Network. If you leave out the domain play then why exactly do you
> game in Cerilia?

But it doesn`t necessarily HAVE to be. It`s a good adventuring setting all
on its own, with its own strengths and weaknesses. And it would certainly
not hurt the setting to have an entre` which is easy for 3e-savvy BR newbies
to relate to. If we`re talking about an official document, that is not an
illegitimate concern.

Mark V.

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Mourn
03-16-2003, 03:43 AM
Originally posted by Shade
[qupte]Okay, so by that stick, I take it that you consider a 10th level commoner
to be about as strong as a 10th level fighter? How about a 20th level
commoner versus a Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? How does a
20th level warrior stack up to a Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? They do
have the same amount of experience points, after all.

No. I am talking about PCs using PC classes, not the NPC races. A 10th-level scion (major bloodline) fighter and a 10th-level commoner fighter are not balanced. According to the ECL system, that scion is 11th-level, and is more powerful (a CR 11, instead of a CR 12). A 10th-level commoner on the other hand, is a CR 9. The NPC classes aren't really a consideration here.


My point is that even in 3rd edition, this doesn`t hold true. Clerics are
stronger than just about any other class if built properly. It`s sick,
really. At least 2e didn`t have this problem.

No, 2nd Edition just had problems with using TWO different names for ONE spell in the SAME book. Or having kits that make playing the base class completely and utterly worthless. 2nd Edition had a thousand more problems than 3rd Edition.

Just because all things don't balance in the core system, it doesn't mean you should just make more things that aren't balanced. All this does is continue to make the game more friendly to power gamers, who will use these balance issues to build their "uber-character."

Peter Lubke
03-16-2003, 05:35 AM
On Sat, 2003-03-15 at 19:02, Gary wrote:

At 11:38 PM 3/14/2003 -0600, Anakin Miller wrote:





Regardless of that, however, the domain/realm/whatever level vs the
adventure level is really a situational condition, isn`t it? That is, one
type of character might be more useful than another at the realm level,
just as a ranger is generally more useful in an outdoor adventure and a
cleric more useful against undead. Situational conditions really shouldn`t
figure directly into a system of ECL since they can (and do) change so easily.


Yes, I agree. Being a domain ruler can be as much of a hindrance as a
benefit depending on the situation - if DM`ed well.


The problem is that in an unbalanced system the idea of an "inferior
concept" throws off the purpose in coming up with balancing factors like
ECL, or rewards based on the factors that comprise EL. In effect, it
"breaks" the system.

A DM tells his players he`d like to do character generation with 5th level
characters. Everyone will use the standard array, and "average" hit
points. One character chooses to be blooded, the other doesn`t. In a
balanced system neither of these characters would be more powerful than the
other. The would have different abilities, of course, but all things being
equal they would be as effective in play as every other 5th level character.

Some people think that scions should be more powerful, level for level, ECL
for ECL, than any other characters in the setting. I can understand the
desire to do that thematically, but I don`t think it makes any sense from
the POV of the rules. Game mechanically, however, one can simply add a few
levels (or ECLs) to make a character who is thematically more powerful
stand out amongst other characters.

Again, yes I agree. The fact that a character rules a domain, or has the
potential to do so should not change any calculations on balance. Any
character can rise to the top, even if they start as unblooded.


Gary

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Peter Lubke
03-16-2003, 05:35 AM
On Sun, 2003-03-16 at 03:10, Lord Shade wrote:

At 11:08 AM 3/15/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>From: "Lord Shade" <lordshade@SOFTHOME.NET>



Carl - I can understand WHY you would want to have the system scale over
levels. My problem is the original rules had bloodline completely
independent of level. A 1st level character with the right parents was
capable of awesome displays of power.

I kind of like that, and would like to see it preserved.

I very much don`t like it, and would see it replaced by a more balance,
more realistic, less power-centric system. Some people may be born with
a greater potential to be leaders, wizards, or *any other thing*, but
they still have to develop that potential.

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Peter Lubke
03-16-2003, 05:35 AM
On Sun, 2003-03-16 at 07:57, Ryan B. Caveney wrote:

On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:



> > Again, an argument to break the system, and ruin its sense of logic
> > and consistency for no better reason than "just because."

The system *claims* to be more logical and consistent. It actually isn`t.

> My point is that even in 3rd edition, this doesn`t hold true.

Agreed!

> Clerics are stronger than just about any other class if built
> properly. It`s sick, really. At least 2e didn`t have this problem.

Here I part ways, but only because I think clerics have *always* been
overpowered, ever since the invention of the game. I do agree that 3e has
made this problem even worse, though.


Yes I agree.

But here we should consider balance in a different context. Player
balance. Clerics/priests were/are the poor cousins of role-playing. Most
PLAYERS want to be great wizards or great warriors. Some people are
attracted to the snaky thief/rogue classes. I think that clerics/priests
were made more powerful/palatable to attract players to playing them.

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ryancaveney
03-16-2003, 05:35 AM
On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Shade wrote:

> > For starting characters, the need to divide your available ability
> > points between seven rather than six abilities has also served as a
> > deterent to some.
>
> And I despise that deterrent, but that`s a separate issue.

As do I.

> I don`t take BRCS Draft 0.0 as canon material, at least not yet :)

I probably never will. But that doesn`t prevent me from being opinionated
about its content anyway. =)


Ryan Caveney

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ryancaveney
03-16-2003, 07:51 AM
On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

> Just because you can describe blood powers as feats doesn`t mean you
> have to use up normal feat slots to get them.

Then why exactly would you bother to describe them as feats? I mean,
sure, some blood abilities are most easily mechanic`ed by saying "you have
these N feats" -- Alertness and Iron Will are obvious examples -- but some
just don`t seem to be related to the feat system at all (unless, I
suppose, you consider "cast this spell N times per day" to be a feat).

> Then, if blooded characters want to take additional blooded feats by
> spending character level feats, I don`t have a problem with that.

I`m still not with you on this one. IMO, blood abilities should be
determined entirely by bloodline and bloodline alone. I rather like
Starfox`s system for this.

> Since going over to the ECL system, I`ve given tainted characters 3 hp
> (Toughness), a +1 to a derivation skill (Anduiras` skill is Knowledge
> (Law)) which is also a class skill, a +1 bonus to a derivation save
> (Anduiras` save is Willpower).

This sort of package deal I think makes good sense. I`ll start using
something very close to it now.


Ryan Caveney

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DanMcSorley
03-16-2003, 07:51 AM
On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
> But I don`t think we can make any progress on the issue until we reach an
> agreement on the following issue: should a commoner be as strong as a scion
> of equal level? I give a resounding NO. In My Humble Opinion a 10th level
> scion should be stronger than a 10th level commoner. Having the blood of
> the gods flowing through him should make him stronger.

You`re not giving any good reasons, so your `resounding NO` is more of a
hollow echo. If the 10th level fighter with a bloodline is more powerful
than an unblooded 10th level fighter, then he needs an ECL to let people
figure encounter levels and experience more accurately. That`s the whole
point of ECLs, the experience chart, and CRs.
--
Communication is possible only between equals.
Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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DanMcSorley
03-16-2003, 07:51 AM
On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
> My point is that even in 3rd edition, this doesn`t hold true. Clerics are
> stronger than just about any other class if built properly. It`s sick,
> really. At least 2e didn`t have this problem.

You seem to define `properly` as `min-maxed and powergamed as far as
possible`, so it`s not even worth discussing with you. That the game
doesn`t balance clerics quite as well as other classes doesn`t mean we
should toss out the concept of balance all together.
--
Communication is possible only between equals.
Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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Athos69
03-16-2003, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by DanMcSorley

On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
> But I don`t think we can make any progress on the issue until we reach an
> agreement on the following issue: should a commoner be as strong as a scion
> of equal level? I give a resounding NO. In My Humble Opinion a 10th level
> scion should be stronger than a 10th level commoner. Having the blood of
> the gods flowing through him should make him stronger.

You`re not giving any good reasons, so your `resounding NO` is more of a
hollow echo. If the 10th level fighter with a bloodline is more powerful
than an unblooded 10th level fighter, then he needs an ECL to let people
figure encounter levels and experience more accurately. That`s the whole
point of ECLs, the experience chart, and CRs.



Lord Shade, perhaps I can shed some light on this.

Let us postulate that you have two level-1 characters, both human fighters for purposes of this example. Both were created using the point-buy system.

One is unblooded, the other is Blooded.

In a point-by-point comparison, the commoner has three feats and has concentrated all of his 32 points into the 6 core attributes.

The Scion has 3 feats as well but he has spread his 32 points across 7 attributes in order to power his Bloodline abilities. His core 6 attributes will be reduced, but he gains some supernatural powers that can toughen him up, make him resistant to magic, poison or other nastiness, enhance his strength or dexterity in times of crisis, or even give some large bonuses to his skill set.

IF these added abilities give him the equivalent power of a 2nd level character, then the argument for maintaining the ECL +1 is valid. Note that at lower levels, this ECL bonus will roughly double, or even triple the power of a character. At higher levels, like the 10th level fighters you were asking about, the powers are still there, but the difference between the Scion and the commoner are much less pronounced, as a +1 ECL is approximately a 10% increase of power, but the difference still exists. That is why ECLs work.

-Mike

Shade
03-16-2003, 08:22 PM
At 04:43 AM 3/16/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> Mourn wrote:
>
Originally posted by Shade
>[qupte]Okay, so by that stick, I take it that you consider a 10th level
commoner
>to be about as strong as a 10th level fighter? How about a 20th level
>commoner versus a Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? How does a
>20th level warrior stack up to a Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? They do
>have the same amount of experience points, after all.
>
>No. I am talking about PCs using PC classes, not the NPC races. A
10th-level scion (major bloodline) fighter and a 10th-level commoner
fighter are not balanced. According to the ECL system, that scion is
11th-level, and is more powerful (a CR 11, instead of a CR 12). A
10th-level commoner on the other hand, is a CR 9. The NPC classes aren`t
really a consideration here.

Ok, even then - how does a Clr10/Wiz10 match up to a
Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? Or a Fighter12/Wizard8 vs a
Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? A sam20 vs Sam10/Iaijutsu
Master10?

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Shade
03-16-2003, 08:22 PM
At 12:36 AM 3/16/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
>> But I don`t think we can make any progress on the issue until we reach an
>> agreement on the following issue: should a commoner be as strong as a scion
>> of equal level? I give a resounding NO. In My Humble Opinion a 10th level
>> scion should be stronger than a 10th level commoner. Having the blood of
>> the gods flowing through him should make him stronger.
>
>You`re not giving any good reasons, so your `resounding NO` is more of a
>hollow echo. If the 10th level fighter with a bloodline is more powerful
>than an unblooded 10th level fighter, then he needs an ECL to let people
>figure encounter levels and experience more accurately. That`s the whole
>point of ECLs, the experience chart, and CRs.

I`ve stated my reasons several times but I`ll do so again:

1. Birthright was meant to focus on scions. There should not be a strong
disincentive to play a blooded character.

2. A 1st level fighter with a +1 ECL from bloodline (say heightened ability
Dex and Major resistance from Brenna) is not as good as an 2nd level fighter.

Blood abilities are best compared to magical items, and no 1 or 2 abilities
are good enough to grant a whole level worth of power.

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Shade
03-16-2003, 08:22 PM
At 12:38 AM 3/16/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
>> My point is that even in 3rd edition, this doesn`t hold true. Clerics are
>> stronger than just about any other class if built properly. It`s sick,
>> really. At least 2e didn`t have this problem.
>
>You seem to define `properly` as `min-maxed and powergamed as far as
>possible`, so it`s not even worth discussing with you.

I am sure you didn`t mean to be insulting.

In order for a cleric to outshine a fighter in every way, he needs only
Persistent Spell. The addition of Rapid Shot, PB Shot, Precise Shot, and
Reach spell are just gravy.

Also, before you bandy about potentially offensive terms maybe you should
read up on the nature of min/maxing and powergaming. Here`s a link you
might find interesting:

http://boards.wizards.com/community/ultima...pic;f=271;t=001 (http://boards.wizards.com/community/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=271;t=001)
713

That the game
>doesn`t balance clerics quite as well as other classes doesn`t mean we
>should toss out the concept of balance all together.

That`s not what I`m saying. What I`m saying is the idea that "all level 10
characters are equal" is complete hogwash. That`s not true now, and never
has been true.

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ryancaveney
03-16-2003, 10:22 PM
On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Athos69 wrote:

> Let us postulate that you have two level-1 characters, both human
> fighters for purposes of this example. Both were created using the
> point-buy system. One is unblooded, the other is Blooded.

In this case, if the specific point values in your point-buy system are
any good, then they will *already* be balanced from the beginning,
*without* needing ECLs.

> The Scion has ... spread his 32 points across 7 attributes in order to
> power his Bloodline abilities. His core 6 attributes will be reduced,
> but he gains some supernatural powers that can toughen him up,

Why doesn`t this alone strike you as already balanced?

> IF these added abilities give him the equivalent power of a 2nd level
> character, then the argument for maintaining the ECL +1 is valid.

That`s a huge if. I have as yet seen no evidence that it is actually true
for any set of blood abilities less powerful than multiple Greats.


Ryan Caveney

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Mourn
03-16-2003, 10:25 PM
Originally posted by Shade
Ok, even then - how does a Clr10/Wiz10 match up to a
Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? Or a Fighter12/Wizard8 vs a
Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? A sam20 vs Sam10/Iaijutsu
Master10?

All that depends on how the character was built.

You keep arguing against a balance to keep scions on the same effective level as commoners, making scions unbalanced. Some of your examples of points of balance in the system are min-maxed to the point of powergaming. I'm not calling you a powergamer, but the bladedancer path you set out is really on the edge.

Which brings up a good point. A powergamer could already use the system to min-max some kind of uber-character to reign over the other players in the game. What you're suggesting will merely give them MUCH more fuel for the fire.

Mourn
03-16-2003, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Shade
1. Birthright was meant to focus on scions. There should not be a strong
disincentive to play a blooded character.

Well, if you present scions with more options than commoners, then people will definitely rather play a scion. Remember that is OPTIONS and not just FREE POWER.

And even with ECLs the game STILL can focus on scions. If you play an all scion game, everyone in the game will probably have an ECL, however those with higher ECLs and more powerful bloodlines will not be as good in their classes as those with weaker bloodlines. After all, class levels represent work and experience, and the weaker scion probably had to work a lot harder to get to the power level of the greater scion.


2. A 1st level fighter with a +1 ECL from bloodline (say heightened ability
Dex and Major resistance from Brenna) is not as good as an 2nd level fighter.

Heightened Ability - Dexterity, eh? Basically, a cat's grace, which only affects the scion. In addition to the combat abilities of the fighter, he can also cast a spell-like ability. However, since it doesn't say it merely reproduces cat's grace, and it doesn't list the type of bonus, this would STACK with cat's grace.

So, if a wizard had this ability, he could gain an effect +10 bonus to his Dexterity for one hour at 1st-level. Hmmmm.

Major Resistance (Brenna). This could one of a three things.

Charm Resistance, which grants a +4 bonus against Enchantment spells and spell-like effects... a +4 bonus against an entire school of magic. A normal character would have to take Spell Focus and Arcane Defense to just gain a +2 bonus against an entire school. So, this special ability basically grants a doubled Arcane Defense, without the requirement for Spell Focus. If there was an Improved Arcane Defense feat that granted a total +4 bonus, then a normal character would have to spend three feats to gain this one special ability, while a scion gets it for almost nothing.

Non-Magical Attacks. Damage reduction 3/+1. A 1st-level character having damage reduction 3/+1. If you don't see a problem with THIS, then no argument I could ever make would get through to you.

Poison Resistance. A +6 bonus against poison at 1st-level. The feat Poison Resistance, which requires the expenditure of a general feat, only grants a +4 bonus.

So, these two abilities (the equivalent of a three-feat chain, DR, or improved poison resistance and a 1st-level spell-like ability) stacked on top of a 1st-level fighter, and you don't think he's as good as a 2nd-level fighter?


Blood abilities are best compared to magical items, and no 1 or 2 abilities
are good enough to grant a whole level worth of power.

Magic items have certain requirements for activation, such as spell completion (must be a spellcaster, with the spell on your spell list), command word (must know ONE particular word), spell trigger (must be a spellcaster).

Blood abilities don't have that. If you have the ability you can use it.

Magic items can be destroyed, stolen, dropped, lost, and don't really help you if you don't have them in your possession.

Blood abilities can't be taken from you without investiture (willing) or bloodtheft (unwilling, but in which case, you're DEAD, and it doesn't matter). They are always with you, and require no verbal, somatic, or material components, which means a hog-tied and bound 1st-level scion can cast his spell-like abilities, whereas no other 1st-level character could.

Eosin the Red
03-17-2003, 12:56 AM
Mourn wrote:
>>> So, these two abilities (the equivalent of a three-feat chain, DR, or improved poison resistance and a 1st-level spell-like ability) stacked on top of a 1st-level fighter, and you don`t think he`s as good as a 2nd-level fighter?

Not quite correct but this is the way we should be heading. The first should really be a 2 feat chain - Focus and greater focus (spell) gives a +4 to the save DC`s from one school.

DR question is only relevant when taken at any single level but at lower levels it is still a fairly effective ability. I am sure that you could reproduce this with 1-2 feats.

The poison resistance also falls in line with a 1.5 to 2 feat creation rule (Poison resistance + Great Fortitude).

So a major ability is equivilant to approx 2 feats? That is a question? ;)

>>>>
Blood abilities are best compared to magical items, and no 1 or 2 abilities are good enough to grant a whole level worth of power.

>>>> Magic items have certain requirements for activation, such as spell completion (must be a spellcaster, with the spell on your spell list), command word (must know ONE particular word), spell trigger (must be a spellcaster).

We can just restrict our selection to wonderous items, rings, and potions. Anybody can use those.

>>> Magic items can be destroyed, stolen, dropped, lost, and don`t really help you if you don`t have them in your possession.

>>>> Blood abilities can`t be taken from you without investiture (willing) or bloodtheft (unwilling, but in which case, you`re DEAD, and it doesn`t matter).

The last two are synomous in nearly every game I have ever witnessed. Getting a PC without there magic weapons means that they have been pried out to their cold dead hands. PCs tend to have a monomanical view of people who take their pretties. So, loosing magic and loosing blood line are just about as common.

Giving each Bloodline ability (except for plot device abilities like Invulnerability ) a price in GP/XP that is equatible to DMG prices works really well for tracking how powerful the characters are and brings BR scions closer to the d20 default. Nonscions would still remain subpar due to lack of magic items.

I am coming around to the thought presented earlier that the 7th attribute is balancing in and of itself. I could even see giving Great and True Bloodline a +1 ECL but anything further tends to destroy my sense of fairness. No wizard or cleric would ever willingly take a Great Line - gee, regeneration 1 hp/hour or 9th level spells?

Eosin

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ryancaveney
03-17-2003, 01:50 AM
On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Shade wrote:

> What I`m saying is the idea that "all level 10 characters are equal"
> is complete hogwash. That`s not true now, and never has been true.

I unreservedly agree. Balance has been discussed (I don`t think I`d even
be willing to say attempted), but certainly never achieved.


Ryan Caveney

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irdeggman
03-17-2003, 02:08 AM
Another thing to look at is some of the ECL races - how does the scion templates balance out with those on a power level. What is the ECL of a drow (+2?) does it match up pretty well with a major scion template and its associated blood abilities? Or Duergar (another +2 ECL race). Then there are the Thri-Kreen (a +3 or +5 ECL race) in MM II. I think if comparing the relative power of an average character with the appropriate number blood abilities they work out fairly closely, and the bonus hit points.

There are always singular differences. As some people point out some individuals listed in 2nd ed books wouldn't translate exactly the same (OK probably none of them would, but that would also apply if using classes also) there are also some who would end up with more abilities than they had under the "old" system.

kgauck
03-17-2003, 03:18 AM
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ryan B. Caveney" <ryanb@CYBERCOM.NET>
Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2003 3:36 PM

> > The Scion has ... spread his 32 points across 7 attributes in order to
> > power his Bloodline abilities. His core 6 attributes will be reduced,
> > but he gains some supernatural powers that can toughen him up,
>
> Why doesn`t this alone strike you as already balanced?

Sure its balanced, but it offends my sense that scions should be no less
strong, smart, or tough than commoners, despite having blood abilities. On
the contrary, I think the advantages of aristocratic backround, blood
powers, and money should give you greater advantages to aquire skills, if
not ability scores. Now, I`ll accept that a character with advantages may
not be as challenged by some encounters, but I`m against having scions
balanced by making them weaker in terms of skills or attributes. They are
the best, the divinely favored, and the privlidged.

Kenneth Gauck
kgauck@mchsi.com

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Peter Lubke
03-17-2003, 04:45 AM
On Mon, 2003-03-17 at 07:12, Shade wrote:

At 12:36 AM 3/16/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
>> But I don`t think we can make any progress on the issue until we reach an
>> agreement on the following issue: should a commoner be as strong as a scion
>> of equal level? I give a resounding NO. In My Humble Opinion a 10th level
>> scion should be stronger than a 10th level commoner. Having the blood of
>> the gods flowing through him should make him stronger.
>
>You`re not giving any good reasons, so your `resounding NO` is more of a
>hollow echo. If the 10th level fighter with a bloodline is more powerful
>than an unblooded 10th level fighter, then he needs an ECL to let people
>figure encounter levels and experience more accurately. That`s the whole
>point of ECLs, the experience chart, and CRs.

I`ve stated my reasons several times but I`ll do so again:

1. Birthright was meant to focus on scions. There should not be a strong
disincentive to play a blooded character.

2. A 1st level fighter with a +1 ECL from bloodline (say heightened ability
Dex and Major resistance from Brenna) is not as good as an 2nd level fighter.

Blood abilities are best compared to magical items, and no 1 or 2 abilities
are good enough to grant a whole level worth of power.

A Scion class (not a Regent class) available only to the blooded would
seem to survive your criteria.
(i) A blooded character could be any class (including Scion) and still
rule a domain - domain power remains the power behind this character,
but at the character level (out of touch with the resources of his/her
domain) they remain on equal footing with other characters - they have
no blood abilities unless they are Scion class character. no
disincentive.
(ii) A Scion classed character gains blood abilities at a rate that puts
him or her on par with other classed characters. The characters
bloodline score determines the greatest potential - for example, a
character with a great bloodline of 80 would be able to use all
bloodline abilities for his/her derivation at (say) 10th level.
(incentive to play a Scion if you have a bloodline)


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ryancaveney
03-17-2003, 04:45 AM
On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

> Sure its balanced, but it offends my sense that scions should be no
> less strong, smart, or tough than commoners, despite having blood
> abilities.

Oh, I completely agree! I was just trying to argue that those who do
like bloodline as a 7th ability shouldn`t also give an ECL penalty.

Indeed, don`t you (and I) really mean we are offended that scions should
be less strong, smart or tough, which is what the draft conversion rules
require? (Drop the "no"...)

> I`m against having scions balanced by making them weaker in terms of
> skills or attributes. They are the best, the divinely favored, and
> the privlidged.

Me too! Me too! =)


Ryan Caveney

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Peter Lubke
03-17-2003, 04:45 AM
On Mon, 2003-03-17 at 07:20, Athos69 wrote:

This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
You can view the entire thread at: http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429

Athos69 wrote:

Originally posted by DanMcSorley

On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Lord Shade wrote:
> But I don`t think we can make any progress on the issue until we reach an
> agreement on the following issue: should a commoner be as strong as a scion
> of equal level? I give a resounding NO. In My Humble Opinion a 10th level
> scion should be stronger than a 10th level commoner. Having the blood of
> the gods flowing through him should make him stronger.

You`re not giving any good reasons, so your `resounding NO` is more of a
hollow echo. If the 10th level fighter with a bloodline is more powerful
than an unblooded 10th level fighter, then he needs an ECL to let people
figure encounter levels and experience more accurately. That`s the whole
point of ECLs, the experience chart, and CRs.



Lord Shade, perhaps I can shed some light on this.

Let us postulate that you have two level-1 characters, both human
fighters for purposes of this example. Both were created using the
point-buy system.

One is unblooded, the other is Blooded.

In a point-by-point comparison, the commoner has three feats and has
concentrated all of his 32 points into the 6 core attributes.

The Scion has 3 feats as well but he has spread his 32 points across
7 attributes in order to power his Bloodline abilities. His core 6
attributes will be reduced, but he gains some supernatural powers that
can toughen him up, make him resistant to magic, poison or other
nastiness, enhance his strength or dexterity in times of crisis, or
even give some large bonuses to his skill set.

IF these added abilities give him the equivalent power of a 2nd level
character, then the argument for maintaining the ECL +1 is valid. Note that
at lower levels, this ECL bonus will roughly double, or even triple the power
of a character. At higher levels, like the 10th level fighters you were
asking about, the powers are still there, but the difference between the
Scion and the commoner are much less pronounced, as a +1 ECL is approximately
a 10% increase of power, but the difference still exists. That is why
ECLs work.

Actually it`s a good example of how ECLs fail !! (when used and
implemented in the way described)

Using a point buy system (one that works well not the 3e system), a
creating first level character could not by definition buy any single
"thing" or set of "thing"s that would create a character with an
effective character level of more than one.

Secondly, when a thing has been given a value that is measured as part
of a linear system (part or multiple of a level), it should retain that
value throughout. Clearly, you do not believe this.

---
I think that it`s been pretty well done to death that using a 7th
ability creates an unnecessary imbalance in ability scores. There`s no
precedent in original BR for penalizing scions in ability scores. A
character can gain a bloodline later which sort of immediately
invalidates using it as an ability score. The argument for consistent
approach is always a weak one -- but a good marketing tool, consistent
approach does not benefit the end user.

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Shade
03-17-2003, 04:45 AM
At 11:25 PM 3/16/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> Mourn wrote:
>
Originally posted by Shade
>Ok, even then - how does a Clr10/Wiz10 match up to a
>Wizard5/Incantatrix10/Archmage5? Or a Fighter12/Wizard8 vs a
>Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2? A sam20 vs Sam10/Iaijutsu
>Master10?
>
>All that depends on how the character was built.
>
>You keep arguing against a balance to keep scions on the same effective
level as commoners, making scions unbalanced. Some of your examples of
points of balance in the system are min-maxed to the point of powergaming.
I`m not calling you a powergamer, but the bladedancer path you set out is
really on the edge.

:) hehe, true.. the Ftr4/Wiz1/Rog3/Bladesinger10/Bladedancer2 was just a
standard build I took off the minmax boards. I am proud to call myself a
skilled min/maxer, but a powergamer I am most definitely not. Some people
might not see a difference, but most of us that call ourselves min/maxers
draw a very strict line between minmaxing and powergaming.

In any case, we could go on forever about minmaxing vs powergaming.

What I am trying to point out, though, is that 10 levels of PC classes
don`t necessarily equal 10 levels of PC classes. Some combinations are far
more effective than others.

>Which brings up a good point. A powergamer could already use the system to
min-max some kind of uber-character to reign over the other players in the
game. What you`re suggesting will merely give them MUCH more fuel for the
fire.

From your perspective, yes, but my perspective, no. I`ve said several times
that in my opinion the focus of the game should be on scions. All of the BR
games I`ve run have not featured any PCs as commoners.

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Shade
03-17-2003, 04:45 AM
At 11:46 PM 3/16/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> Mourn wrote:
>
Originally posted by Shade
>1. Birthright was meant to focus on scions. There should not be a strong
>disincentive to play a blooded character.
>
>Well, if you present scions with more options than commoners, then people
will definitely rather play a scion. Remember that is OPTIONS and not just
FREE POWER.
>
>And even with ECLs the game STILL can focus on scions. If you play an all
scion game, everyone in the game will probably have an ECL, however those
with higher ECLs and more powerful bloodlines will not be as good in their
classes as those with weaker bloodlines. After all, class levels represent
work and experience, and the weaker scion probably had to work a lot harder
to get to the power level of the greater scion.
>
>
2. A 1st level fighter with a +1 ECL from bloodline (say heightened
ability
>Dex and Major resistance from Brenna) is not as good as an 2nd level
fighter.
>
>Heightened Ability - Dexterity, eh? Basically, a cat`s grace, which only
affects the scion. In addition to the combat abilities of the fighter, he
can also cast a spell-like ability. However, since it doesn`t say it
merely reproduces cat`s grace, and it doesn`t list the type of bonus,
this would STACK with cat`s grace.

Agreed. I think a bloodline bonus should stack with other bonuses, or
should be considered an inherent bonus (and thus would stack with most
bonuses).

>So, if a wizard had this ability, he could gain an effect +10 bonus to his
Dexterity for one hour at 1st-level. Hmmmm.

For starters, I am assuming that Heightened ability gives a +2 to the stat
(in BR2e it was a +1 in most cases... 3e tends to multiply by 2). Assuming
I am wrong, and it is 1d4+1, the benefit for the wizard would actually be
2d4+2, or an average gain of 7 (+3 modifier).

Btw, a wizard can`t cast Cat`s Grace at 1st level.

Ok then let`s take a level 3 blooded wizard vs a level 4 wizard with a +0
ECL bloodline (just to cast wizard spells, no powers). Level 3 guy casts
cat`s grace and Heightened ability, giving him a +3 on AC and missile
attack. Great. Level 4 guy has 2 2nd level spells he`ll use to attack
directly instead.

I think the 2nd one is clearly more powerful.

>Major Resistance (Brenna). This could one of a three things.
>
>Charm Resistance, which grants a +4 bonus against Enchantment spells and
spell-like effects... a +4 bonus against an entire school of magic. A
normal character would have to take Spell Focus and Arcane Defense to just
gain a +2 bonus against an entire school. So, this special ability
basically grants a doubled Arcane Defense, without the requirement for
Spell Focus. If there was an Improved Arcane Defense feat that granted a
total +4 bonus, then a normal character would have to spend three
feats to gain this one special ability, while a scion gets it for almost
nothing.

Iron will gets you a +2 will save. Taking 1 level of a will-primary class
gets you a +2 will save, in addition to HP, probably spellcasting, and
maybe BAB. It also gets you 1/3rd of a feat (from leveling up) and 1/4th of
an ability increase. So assuming that the 1/3rd feat you take is Iron will,
and the 1/4th ability increase is wisdom, you have:

1 level in cleric vs your +1 ECL.
I get a +2 will save (cleric), +.66 will save (1/3rd of Iron will), +.125
will save (1/4th of a point of Wis), in addition to +1d8+con hp, +0 bab,
1st level cleric spells, and 2 domains (potentially 2 feats).

Still think the ECL is as good as a real level?

>Non-Magical Attacks. Damage reduction 3/+1. A 1st-level character having
damage reduction 3/+1. If you don`t see a problem with THIS, then no
argument I could ever make would get through to you.

I do see a problem with it, I assure you :) Some of the blood abilities are
REALLY strong, but these tend to be quite rare. Obviously there needs to be
some sort of balancing - I could easily see something like Flat out SR or
DR being worth an ECL. It`s just that most of the stuff definitely isn`t.

>Poison Resistance. A +6 bonus against poison at 1st-level. The feat Poison
Resistance, which requires the expenditure of a general feat, only grants a
+4 bonus.

See Iron Will example above.

>So, these two abilities (the equivalent of a three-feat chain, DR, or
improved poison resistance and a 1st-level spell-like ability) stacked on
top of a 1st-level fighter, and you don`t think he`s as good as a
2nd-level fighter?

How many blood abilities do you get for a single ECL? I assumed you got 2 -
Heightened Ability and Resistance (one of the basic ones, not the DR).

>
Blood abilities are best compared to magical items, and no 1 or 2
abilities
>are good enough to grant a whole level worth of power.
>
>Magic items have certain requirements for activation, such as spell
completion (must be a spellcaster, with the spell on your spell list),
command word (must know ONE particular word), spell trigger (must be a
spellcaster).
>
>Blood abilities don`t have that. If you have the ability you can use it.

Blood ability use can be treated as a supernatural ability. Besides, there
are some magical items that work on mental command.

>Magic items can be destroyed, stolen, dropped, lost, and don`t really
help you if you don`t have them in your possession.

True - this is an advantage of blood abilities over items. The converse, of
course, is that you can lend a magic item to a lieutenant for an important
task. You can`t do that with blood abilities.

>Blood abilities can`t be taken from you without investiture (willing) or
bloodtheft (unwilling, but in which case, you`re DEAD, and it doesn`t
matter). They are always with you, and require no verbal, somatic, or
material components, which means a hog-tied and bound 1st-level scion can
cast his spell-like abilities, whereas no other 1st-level character could.

Again, there are magic items that can do the same!

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Trevyr
03-17-2003, 02:31 PM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birthright Roleplaying Game Discussion
> [mailto:BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM]On Behalf Of Shade

> And I despise that deterrent, but that`s a separate issue. I don`t take
> BRCS Draft 0.0 as canon material, at least not yet :)

Well, neither do I, but Doc Travis has obviously put a lot of thought and
effort into it, and I`m resistant to throwing out the baby with the
bathwater. I`m willing to be convinced that a different approach is
necessary, but have yet to reach that point. Although Kenneth`s post on
bonus BL feats for ECL templates has me half-convinced that converting
bloodpowers to feats is actually the way to go.

Mark V.

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Ariadne
03-17-2003, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by Mourn

So, if a wizard had this ability, he could gain an effect +10 bonus to his Dexterity for one hour at 1st-level. Hmmmm.

Major Resistance (Brenna). This could one of a three things.

Charm Resistance, which grants a +4 bonus against Enchantment spells and spell-like effects... a +4 bonus against an entire school of magic. A normal character would have to take Spell Focus and Arcane Defense to just gain a +2 bonus against an entire school. So, this special ability basically grants a doubled Arcane Defense, without the requirement for Spell Focus. If there was an Improved Arcane Defense feat that granted a total +4 bonus, then a normal character would have to spend three feats to gain this one special ability, while a scion gets it for almost nothing.

Non-Magical Attacks. Damage reduction 3/+1. A 1st-level character having damage reduction 3/+1. If you don't see a problem with THIS, then no argument I could ever make would get through to you.

Poison Resistance. A +6 bonus against poison at 1st-level. The feat Poison Resistance, which requires the expenditure of a general feat, only grants a +4 bonus.
And? That's why most are great abilities you normally don't gain this often. Damage reduction 3/+1 isn't this much compared to it's 2nd Ed version (DR 75 %, if great ability, is still more). What do you think how regents survive in evil realms? There you truly NEED poison resistance. Scions are privileged, anyone knows this and everyone respects this. Why giving disadvantages? I'm against balancing a scion too, he IS better, there is nothing to say against it.

By the way, I think many abilities are less powerful than in 2nd Ed. Examples: Elemental control, hightened ability and even major resistance. Abilities like enhanced sense are the same as in 2nd ED, but one level higher. Hmmmm....

irdeggman
03-17-2003, 10:31 PM
The reason that enhanced sense was "bumped up" a level was for balance. Many people had commented over the years how the blood abilites weren't very balanced - several minor abilties were much more powerful than other minor abilities, etc.

That was one of the reasons I put together the "guidelines" for determining the "level" of a blood ability. IMO if a scion gains a permanent ability like lowlight vision this is most definitely worth more than say alertness and hence should fall into the major category. I hope my logic makes sense.

There still needs to be more tweaking on the various abilities though and really only a handfull have been discussed.

Mourn
03-18-2003, 01:35 AM
Originally posted by Shade
Agreed. I think a bloodline bonus should stack with other bonuses, or
should be considered an inherent bonus (and thus would stack with most
bonuses).

I think it should be listed as a bloodline bonus.


For starters, I am assuming that Heightened ability gives a +2 to the stat
(in BR2e it was a +1 in most cases... 3e tends to multiply by 2). Assuming
I am wrong, and it is 1d4+1, the benefit for the wizard would actually be
2d4+2, or an average gain of 7 (+3 modifier).

I would have no problem with it granting a flat (and permanent) +1 or +2 inherent bonus to the ability score.


Btw, a wizard can`t cast Cat`s Grace at 1st level.

True. But he could use a scroll of cat's grace.


Ok then let`s take a level 3 blooded wizard vs a level 4 wizard with a +0
ECL bloodline (just to cast wizard spells, no powers). Level 3 guy casts
cat`s grace and Heightened ability, giving him a +3 on AC and missile
attack. Great. Level 4 guy has 2 2nd level spells he`ll use to attack
directly instead.

I think the 2nd one is clearly more powerful.

That ignores factors like melee fighters, attacks of opportunity and other things. A +3 AC can be extremely helpful, especially for a wizard.


Iron will gets you a +2 will save. Taking 1 level of a will-primary class
gets you a +2 will save, in addition to HP, probably spellcasting, and
maybe BAB. It also gets you 1/3rd of a feat (from leveling up) and 1/4th of
an ability increase. So assuming that the 1/3rd feat you take is Iron will,
and the 1/4th ability increase is wisdom, you have:

1 level in cleric vs your +1 ECL.
I get a +2 will save (cleric), +.66 will save (1/3rd of Iron will), +.125
will save (1/4th of a point of Wis), in addition to +1d8+con hp, +0 bab,
1st level cleric spells, and 2 domains (potentially 2 feats).

Still think the ECL is as good as a real level?

I never said ECL was as good.. I prefer playing characters without ECL, which is why I want commoners to be balanced, because I usually play simple character concepts.

However, when the system grants one player an advantage over the other, that is wrong. The DM is allowed that power, but the system should never favor one side over the other.


I do see a problem with it, I assure you :) Some of the blood abilities are
REALLY strong, but these tend to be quite rare. Obviously there needs to be
some sort of balancing - I could easily see something like Flat out SR or
DR being worth an ECL. It`s just that most of the stuff definitely isn`t.

Yeah, but granting someone an extra feat without granting others something to balance that isn't right.


See Iron Will example above.

Yeah, but also remember that these powers are stronger than their feat counterparts, which a normal character must waste a general slot (only 6, 7 if human, more if rogue), while a scion can get it for free. So, not only do they get an improved version of the feat, they get it for free.

>So, these two abilities (the equivalent of a three-feat chain, DR, or
improved poison resistance and a 1st-level spell-like ability) stacked on
top of a 1st-level fighter, and you don`t think he`s as good as a
2nd-level fighter?


How many blood abilities do you get for a single ECL? I assumed you got 2 -
Heightened Ability and Resistance (one of the basic ones, not the DR).

Heightened ability is one. Major Resistance (which has different forms, such as the improved Arcane Defense, the DR, and the improved poison resistance) is the other. That's two, but even the "equal" abilities in the same category don't balance against each other.


Blood ability use can be treated as a supernatural ability. Besides, there
are some magical items that work on mental command.

The exception, not the rule.


True - this is an advantage of blood abilities over items. The converse, of
course, is that you can lend a magic item to a lieutenant for an important
task. You can`t do that with blood abilities.

And how often do you play your lieutenant in lieu of your scion?


Again, there are magic items that can do the same!

Most either must be worn correctly or activated. A rare few require no action to activate.

Shade
03-18-2003, 02:54 AM
At 02:35 AM 3/18/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
> Mourn wrote:
>
Originally posted by Shade
>Agreed. I think a bloodline bonus should stack with other bonuses, or
>should be considered an inherent bonus (and thus would stack with most
>bonuses).
>
>I think it should be listed as a bloodline bonus.

Let`s congratulate ourselves, Mourn. We just reached Agreement #1. :)

>
For starters, I am assuming that Heightened ability gives a +2 to
the stat
>(in BR2e it was a +1 in most cases... 3e tends to multiply by 2). Assuming
>I am wrong, and it is 1d4+1, the benefit for the wizard would actually be
>2d4+2, or an average gain of 7 (+3 modifier).
>
>I would have no problem with it granting a flat (and permanent) +1 or +2
inherent bonus to the ability score.

#2!

>
Btw, a wizard can`t cast Cat`s Grace at 1st level.
>
>True. But he could use a scroll of cat`s grace.

True.

>
Ok then let`s take a level 3 blooded wizard vs a level 4 wizard
with a +0
>ECL bloodline (just to cast wizard spells, no powers). Level 3 guy casts
>cat`s grace and Heightened ability, giving him a +3 on AC and missile
>attack. Great. Level 4 guy has 2 2nd level spells he`ll use to attack
>directly instead.
>
>I think the 2nd one is clearly more powerful.
>
>That ignores factors like melee fighters, attacks of opportunity and other
things. A +3 AC can be extremely helpful, especially for a wizard.

The truth of the matter is that we can probably both come up with
situations where one or the other is more favorable. Leave it alone for now?


>However, when the system grants one player an advantage over the other,
that is wrong. The DM is allowed that power, but the system should never
favor one side over the other.

This is a philosophical point that we won`t agree on, Mourn. I think the
system *SHOULD* favor scions.. but let`s leave it be for now.

>
See Iron Will example above.
>
>Yeah, but also remember that these powers are stronger than their feat
counterparts, which a normal character must waste a general slot (only 6, 7
if human, more if rogue), while a scion can get it for free. So, not only
do they get an improved version of the feat, they get it for free.

But my point is, with an ECL, you get fewer feats (or fractions of feats,
as the case may be).


>
Blood ability use can be treated as a supernatural ability.
Besides, there
>are some magical items that work on mental command.
>
>The exception, not the rule.

I don`t think those exceptions are particularly rare. Besides, if there is
an extra xp cost to have an item work on mental command, the blood ability
should have the same cost increase.

>
True - this is an advantage of blood abilities over items. The
converse, of
>course, is that you can lend a magic item to a lieutenant for an important
>task. You can`t do that with blood abilities.
>
>And how often do you play your lieutenant in lieu of your scion?

In a lot of cases, for instance if another PC is the center of action, and
your character can`t go on the adventure, I let players play their LTs (and
in 2e, henchmen or followers) all the time.

>
Again, there are magic items that can do the same!
>
>Most either must be worn correctly or activated. A rare few require no
action to activate.

Perhaps we should look at a commensurate increase in the XP requirements,
then.

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Peter Lubke
03-18-2003, 03:16 PM
On Mon, 2003-03-17 at 12:15, Ryan B. Caveney wrote:

On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Shade wrote:

> What I`m saying is the idea that "all level 10 characters are equal"
> is complete hogwash. That`s not true now, and never has been true.

I unreservedly agree. Balance has been discussed (I don`t think I`d even
be willing to say attempted), but certainly never achieved.

Speaking as an absolutionist, Balance can NEVER be achieved only
approached. But essentially, I agree.

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ConjurerDragon
03-18-2003, 10:30 PM
Shade wrote:

>At 11:46 PM 3/16/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>
>>This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
>>You can view the entire thread at:
>>
>http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
>>Mourn wrote:
>>[quote]Originally posted by Shade
>>
>...
>How many blood abilities do you get for a single ECL? I assumed you got 2 -
>Heightened Ability and Resistance (one of the basic ones, not the DR).
>
For 0 points spent in the point buy system you get 8 bloodline points,
for taking the major scion template/+1 ECL you gain +4 to have 12
points and 1 minor ability according to table 2-2, not 2 abilitys.

To have 2 abilitys a character would need a bloodline of 14+, so he
either has to spend some of his precious buy-points on his bloodline to
raise it from 12 to 14 and lose somewhat of his 6 core rules abilitys or
has to be content with only 1 minor ability at the start of his career.
bye
Michael Romes

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ConjurerDragon
03-18-2003, 10:30 PM
Peter Lubke wrote:

>On Mon, 2003-03-17 at 07:20, Athos69 wrote:
>
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at: http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1429
>
>...
>I think that it`s been pretty well done to death that using a 7th
>ability creates an unnecessary imbalance in ability scores. There`s no
>precedent in original BR for penalizing scions in ability scores. A
>character can gain a bloodline later which sort of immediately
>invalidates using it as an ability score. The argument for consistent
>approach is always a weak one -- but a good marketing tool, consistent
>approach does not benefit the end user.
>
That is a good point I have not thought of before.

A character would best start as a non-blooded character and get himself
a bloodline later by bloodtheft or investiture - so he can have a full
set of ability scores and still have a decent bloodline.

In the point buy system he could without penalty to the other 6 scores
have only a bloodline of 8 which however already equals a 2E bloodline
of 16. Galien Thuried for example (2E tainted with 12) would be really
happy to know in 3E he will earn much more RP than in 2E

All characters with bloodlines of less than 8 (2E 16) would be there for
NPC background but with no real reason, as EVERYONE who starts can have
at least 8. Would that mean that we need not only a NPC class Warrior/PC
class Fighter but also a NPC class tainted scion/PC class scion 8+? ;-)
bye
Michael Romes

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irdeggman
03-19-2003, 01:49 AM
No one has yet addressed how the proposed ECL system for scions compares to the ECL races (e.g., drow, duegar, thri-kreen). What are people's opinions on that comparision. For comparision I would assume that the scion starts with a 10 ability score and then make the modifications from a template. A 10 seems to be reasonable number from a point buy or even dice roll system for a character that wants to be a scion of any type of note.:)