View Full Version : Another Non-magic Magic Item

12-04-2003, 11:29 PM
Slightly inspired by Geeman's Library thread (http://www.birthright.net/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=2&t=2082) I'd like to present "something else non-magical that players may want to find or at least be pleased when they do":

Reconnaissance Map
These maps give detailed information regarding the lay of the land in a particular province. When created these maps grant a commander a +2 insight bonus to their Warcraft during strategic and tactical warfare for the next 2 seasons. After this point, the maps are too out of date to be useful.

A reconnaissance map can be created with an Espionage action of DC equal to 10 plus the level of the province.

12-05-2003, 01:49 PM
That's a cool idea. But why will it go out of date? If the map shows the lay of the land, what changes? Do the hills and forests move? How about a +1 modifier that doesn't expire. And I'd change the DC to 10 + source level because wilderness provinces are a lot harder to search out than cities. Cities generally already have maps, where as wilderness areas don't.

12-05-2003, 06:52 PM
----- Original Message -----

From: "CMonkey" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>

Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 5:29 PM

> After this point, the maps are too out of date to be useful.A

> reconnaissance map can be created with an Espionage action

> of DC equal to 10 plus the level of the province.

Why are the maps out of date?

Kenneth Gauck


12-05-2003, 08:52 PM
Kenneth Gauck schrieb:

> ----- Original Message -----

> From: "CMonkey" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>

> Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 5:29 PM

>> After this point, the maps are too out of date to be useful.A

>>reconnaissance map can be created with an Espionage action

>>of DC equal to 10 plus the level of the province.

> Why are the maps out of date?

> Kenneth Gauck

> kgauck@mchsi.com

I assume he does not mean a simple map with roads, rivers, towns,

villages, major fortresses, but also temporary guard stations, perhaps

even the time schedule of the city guard of the major city, placement of

military units - military intelligence which would be accurate only

until changed.



12-05-2003, 10:19 PM
At 12:29 AM 12/5/2003 +0100, CMonkey wrote:

>When created these maps grant a commander a +2 insight bonus to their

>Warcraft during strategic and tactical warfare for the next 2 seasons.

>After this point, the maps are too out of date to be useful.

As a couple of folks have noted, two seasons seems like a very short amount

of time for the effect of maps to last, but I think it depends a bit on the

description of what it is the maps portray. That is, if these kinds of

maps portray strategic/tactical information mostly--things like troop

movements, their projected positions, temporary defenses, supply lines, the

location of havens, rallying points, mission goals, etc. then it makes

sense that their effectiveness would be lost within a few months or even

weeks of the map being made since that information changes quite

quickly. The topographical information of the map may not change--and may

not be very worthwhile from a tactical/strategic standpoint--but the

particulars of the map might be the important factor. I have a few ideas

on how one might go about deciding the length of time a map might stay

effective below.

>Maybe a more open A reconnaissance map can be created with an Espionage

>action of DC equal to 10 plus the level of the province.

I really like the idea and would suggest an extrapolation. I like nice

general guidelines that can be used to express a wide variety of

situations, so for something like this I would go with a whole subset of

"research and information" documents; maps, diagrams, demographics,

resource studies, etc. that might be effective at both the adventure and

the domain level. I`m going to refer to this whole concepts as "documents"

here, but in general they could take the form of any researched text or one

based upon the experience and knowledge of an informed compiler.

In addition to the military applications originally suggested, the effects

of such documents could range from the adventure level of play to the

domain level. An "economic document" might give a regent an insight bonus

to trade actions, a document outlining the attitudes of the population

might give him a bonus to Agitate actions. A report on protocol and

current events might give a character a bonus on diplomacy (either the

skill check or the domain action.) Thorad`s Tome of Divine Wisdom might

give a player a +1 or +2 bonus on certain Knowledge, Religion checks, while

a book equating to Sun Tzu`s _Art of War_ might give a PC a bonus on

Warcraft checks, and a report on the demographics of a province might give

a bonus to Rule actions. Since the insight bonuses don`t stack a character

can only get a maximum benefit from such "book learning" as opposed to his

more practical benefits from ranks and ability scores.

The effectiveness of such works might be limited by time, application or

circumstance and might be noted along with the description of the

work. The benefit of a document should be related to the time and effort

required to compile it as well as the skills/abilities of the compiler, but

it should probably never amount to much more than a +2 aid check. A

document might grant a +1 bonus if the check made to compile it succeeds,

+2 if the check exceeds the DC by 10 or more, and +3 might be the result of

a critical success on the check to compile the document.

Either as part of the same check or by making another, the length of time

the document remains effective might be equal to d10 times the amount of

time put into its compilation. Exceeding the check by 10 or more makes the

effectiveness of the document bump up one level from days to weeks, weeks

to months, months to years, years to decades, etc. A critical success

bumps it up another increment. Someone who spends their lifetime compiling

a document might hope to have it remain effective for centuries after it is


For example, if a regent has his agents spend a week observing and

investigating the movement of nearby troops in a province the document

might give its bonus for 1-10 weeks. Those who read this report will get a

+1 to +3 bonus on Warcraft actions made in that province depending on the

results of his check. The bonus remains effective for 1d10 weeks if he

succeeded his check, 1d10 months if he exceeded the check by 10 or more and

1d10 years if he got a critical success. For most documents their bonuses

might disappear or they may only have very special uses. They might aid

Knowlede, local checks or something like that.

I`d also suggest that unlike magic items simply owning a copy of a book is

not enough to give the bonus. Having read it isn`t either. One must

successfully "study" a book in order to gain the benefit of it. As a

general rule one might use wisdom checks in order to reflect successful

study, but individual texts might require a skill or ability check and an

amount of time related to the benefit of the book. For instance, studying

and understanding a document might require a DC 15 intelligence check after

one week of continuous study, or two weeks of study broken up over a period

of time. (A day here, an hour there.) Another book might require a DC 20

Knowledge, Nobility check, and another might require wisdom, charisma or

even Will saves.

"The Fashion of Brecht Society" by Elza Lund. This text on Brecht clothing

also describes the etiquette and manners of court life in southern

Brechtur. Having successfully studied it (a DC 15 wisdom check requiring 1

day) will give a character a +1 bonus to Diplomacy checks made in southern

Brechtur for the "effective" period of the document.

The creation of these items might be the result of skill checks (craft and

knowledge are apt, but not the only ones possible) or those that have

domain level effects should require domain level activities actions like

espionage. In most cases, however, I see the domain level requirements

being limited to free (court) actions since the benefits are fairly

small. The cost of such domain actions should probably be similarly minor;

1GB, no RP and give benefits depending on the result of the check per the

information above. The effectiveness of documents compiled by a court

action should be 1d10 weeks, while one compiled from an espionage action

might last 1d10 months/action rounds. If one uses rules for embassies,

trade routes or other domain level effects that might similarly influence

how long or how effective the documents might be.


12-06-2003, 07:04 AM
I realy like this idee.

I think I try to implement it somehow like this.

New map with troop movement, and shift chansing.
you could gain bonus from this if
1. you understand it.
brake the code language DC

then you can benifit from it on the spot.
with a full round action.
DC 10 for +1
DC 15 for +2
DC 20 for +3
DC 25 for +4
but this sould realy be a roleplay issue, whether you could gain some good information from the maps/documents or perhaps ypu enev goten some fals information.
But this only last fore one sene.

But if you realy want to benifit from it you need to study it.

taking a 20 on the study. and reading it all, even taking notes.
then you study it for a day. and you have a permanet bonus until the info chanses.

1. if what the information is about finds out thet your using there info agenst them, then thay will brobebly chanse everything in order to confuse you.

2. simply time. like if this is information on your own men, difrent needs with dfrent times, and the documets need to be updaided.

I could call thees feal reports. or duty / patrole reports.

reports in combonation with maps sould be much more valuable then only one of them. thay sould always be carryed betvine comand posts by difrent messangers.

if one is corupt / if one is captured.. then its less likely thet thay are both victims of something like thees.

Thees can be used to gain bonus on spy actions / asasination actions / war actions / Well, realy any actions thet depend on somone elses duty. :)


12-07-2003, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the excellent feedback everyone.

ConjurerDragon was right about some of my reasoning for going out of date - I also feel the lay of the land would change some (farmers build fences, highways fall into disrepair or become infected with bandits, but you have convinced me to do a bit more work on the concept in general and extend the time. I may link it to a change in the province rating, hmm.

Geeman&#39;s extension ideas are excellent too. Really broadens the scope of what I wanted to do. I do hope that everyone can see the meta-game reasons why the bonus has to be (in some way) time limited though...

Benjamin: I used province level thinking that an urban environment would be much more complex and mutable, where wildernesses are basically blocks of terrain types - but thinking about it the ability to squirrel information out about the pass around the hot gates is just as important...

Once again guys (and gals if any) thanks, much food for thought.