View Full Version : Status of BRCS/d20 Atlas

07-19-2004, 12:41 PM
Immediate Future of the BRCS/d20 Atlas Projects

Ian (Raesene Andu) and I have been talking about how are personal commitments are starting to pile up and our need to pull away from the BRCS/d20 Atlas projects for a while. Basically the two of us have been spearheading them for the past year or so. I have already posted about my plans, basically I’m going to take a 3-6 month hiatus to do some personal stuff and just plain recharge my batteries. I will be reading the boards occasionally, but won’t be participating as often as I have (several times daily for the past year IIRC).

My plans before going into sabbatical are to get Chap 1 (revised) out for discussion (real soon) and then to resolve comments and sanction parts of it (races, classes (except for magician), skills and feats). Then I will be going offline.

Ian will get out the 1st portion of the d20 Atlas (the Southern Coast) and then turn it over for discussion.

Fiftyone is working on awnsheglien conversion and it would be nice to give him a format to work with. See the awnsheghlien build thread. This is one of those times where variants won’t work it has to be a single process.

Basically in the past the BRCS development team has lost members and tried to add replacements, but that has never worked. The ‘new’ members either get too wrapped up with personal commitments to actually contribute anything or just plain get frustrated trying to write and drop off the map never to be heard from again. For this reason I am loathe to ‘name’ a replacement to spearhead the progress on the BRCS. Instead Ian and I felt it would be best to turn the progress over to the masses. Remember we will be back, we love Birthright too much to drop out forever.

Here are some guidelines to use:

-It needs to be elegant - we use existing 3.5e mechanics where we can, rather than introducing new ones.
-It needs to be balanced - nothing out of whack with standard 3.5e.
-It needs to be consistent - we should use proper terminology, be clear and concise, and never contradict ourselves. Formatting should be standardized and accessible.
-It needs to be compatible - not too different from 2e that it will be unrecognizable, but we should change things to fit the other goals.
-It needs to preserve the flavor of Cerilia. 'nuff said.
-It needs to be simple - no need for undue complexity.
-Where the rules of 2e contradict with those of 3.5e, 3.5e takes precedence.

When coming up with new rules/mechanics, ask the question is this mechanic necessary? Is it a house-rule or a generic rule? That is to say, is it something that can apply to everyone and that individuals can apply their own house-rules to fairly easily? In the past the BRCS development team has nixed each other’s ideas because they were too house-rules oriented.

Do not write something that will require players/DMs to have any D&D book other than the core 3 (PHB, MM and DMG) or the SRD. Also do not require the use of prestige classes. Their use is optional in the core rules and this should be maintained for consistency.

Use polls to gauge the opinions of the masses. Polls should be specific and not worded with a specific flavor or predetermined outcome in mind. This is sometimes hard to do, but is really essential. Give choices and include an abstention option. Results of polls should, in general, be looking for clear majorities. We have defined a clear majority as twice as many votes for an option as the others, or at least close to it. When the spreads are closer than a combination or variant is usually called for. But be careful in applying variants, we don’t want the BRCS to be a book of variants or a cover sheet for every one’s own set of house rules.

Something else to keep in mind is campaign setting definition material versus color. Here are some guidelines on the difference.

Campaign setting information is what sets apart one setting from another one or what deviates from the "core rules". Basically it is defining the size of the canvas and the materials to be used when creating a painting.

Examples of things that are and are not campaign setting information:

Dwarves can’t be wizards. In 2nd ed this was not setting material since this was the standard rule and dwarves were not allowed to be wizards at all. I have never seen a TSR 2nd ed setting that allowed them to be wizards.

Elves can’t be priests. In 2nd ed this is definitely a campaign setting material since the standard was that elves could be priests (its the same in 3rd ed).

Druids must gain their power from Erik. This also is campaign setting definition material. In 2nd ed (and 3.5 ed) druids could gain their power either from nature itself or from a deity. Basically Birthright eliminated the option and specified a single method.

Specific info on the Cerilian races, dwarves, elves, halflings are all campaign definition material since they are specific deviations from the core rules.

The fact that the old gods died, spilt their blood on those around which granted them abilities and leadership far above those that didn’t receive this divine gift and those who received the benefit of the old gods’ spilt blood could actually steal this gift from others. New gods arose to replace the expired ones. These are all campaign setting definition material.

The fact that magic (arcane) was divided into true and lesser magic and only those with the divine gift of blood or of elven blood could cast true magic is also campaign definition material since it also deviates from the core.

Priests of different gods have different focuses. This is campaign specific material, but this one also crosses into the mechanics issues. Basically in 2nd ed the definition of specialty priests evolved into the standard prior to Birthright being issued as a setting, Birthright made its own campaign specific definitions.

Mechanics issues are those things that are tied into a specific game mechanic system. This would be the criteria used for judging the painting or if you use oils then you must do the following to prep the canvas and brushes, allow so much time to dry, etc.

Examples of things that are game mechanics issues:

Skills and feats in d20 vice proficiencies in 2nd ed.

Character level with no restrictions on multi-classing, except for those defined by the campaign setting material, in 3.5 ed vice the restriction of classes and levels in 2nd ed.

Specialty priests in 2nd ed use of minor and major access to spheres and granted abilities while 3.5 ed uses domains which have granted powers associated with them. Technically both are specialty priests, but 2nd ed and 3.5 ed use different game mechanics to handle them.

Flavor issues are the things that fill the gaps. In the painting issue this would be eye appeal, since it depends on how it is viewed and by whom. Flavor issues are those things that have no game mechanics used to support or define them.

Examples of things that are flavor issues:

Dwarves eat rocks. This has no game mechanic issues involved and really adds nothing but color.

Stabbing through the heart in order to accomplish bloodtheft. There were no mechanics written that specified how this was to be done. There were mechanics specified as to how a transfer of blood score was done once this action was done but nothing really given to define how to do this.

Sayim. This has no real game mechanic involved, but it does add flavor towards the Khinasi philosophy of life.

Basic definitions of what goes into the BRCS and what goes into the d20 Atlas are:

The d20 BRCS draft is "complete" in that in covers all of the areas in our planned scope of activity. The scope of the project is to produce a document that "covers" the basics of the 2e core rulebook, the Book of Priestcraft, the Book of Magecraft, and the Book of Regency.

The d20 atlas, comprised of individual sections will have each section be a comprehensive look at the realms and non-landed regents from the region. Also included are descriptions of major adventuring sites, NPCs, unique magical items, new monsters, prestige classes and everything else you need to run a campaign in the region.

Comments on formatting:

The standard font for the BRCS is 10 Times New Roman.

A two-column format is preferred, and what the final product will end up using.

The standard language is English (United States) {This is no statement on whether or not it is ‘proper’ English, it is the standard that WotC uses so we use it for consistency only.}

Use tables instead of tabs. It makes formatting the document much easier, also use of heading rows repeat for tables helps in making it easier to read.

Cutting and pasting from Word documents doesn’t always allow for an easily read document on the boards.

If you want to get a document posted (as a download) then e-mail me (irdeggman@cox.net), Ian (hoss@chariot.net.au) or Arjan and we’ll see if we can get it posted for you. For those who don’t have the ability to convert a word document into a pdf file, we can do that too. It is usually better to post in both word and pdf formats.

We (Ian and I) will let everyone know when we are ‘officially’ starting our individual sabbaticals. This is just a heads up and concept/idea presentation.

08-23-2004, 08:32 PM
Allright, it is now time to start my much mentioned sabbatical. So effective tomorrow morning (just to give myself a cushion) I'll be on sabbatical.

What this means is that I won't be writing anymore or aiding in the development of the BRCS. I will be checking the boards occasionally, but not the multiple times a day I have been. I will be back (I love the setting too much to stay away) after I do some personal projects that I've been putting off.

So take care of the project, you have some guidelines to use and I'll post to you in a few months.