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gazza666
07-28-2006, 02:45 AM
Just wondering what house rules (if any) people are using in their Birthright campaigns - obviously with the intention of nicking any that sound cool. :)

In our campaign, we're playing about a century after the standard time period; the Gorgon has recently swept through the continent that comes with the boxed set killing virtually all of the regents and leaving the lands in disarray. We are playing all elves (well, two elves and a half elf), in Erebannien, and we've claimed Calrie, Dhoenel, and Banien's Deep as well; the realm is called "New Erebannien". The half elf is the matriarch (realm and law regent); the two elves are in charge of the guilds and the sources.

These are the house rules we're using:

All scions are gestalt characters, as per Unearthed Arcana.
We're not using alignments.
We're using the expanded wonders house rules that are available at http://home.earthlink.net/~birthright/id11.html
We're using Monte Cooke's sorcerer and bard from the Book of Eldritch Might 2.
From the BRCS, we're using the variants that add some druid spells to the arcane lists and the free bodyguard rules from chapter 8.
We're pretty much allowed to take any feat from a reasonably authorative up to date 3.5 source, but we're (currently) restricted to spells and magic items from the core rules (plus the BRCS), as we've had some issues with some of Monte's in the past, among others.

Fizz
07-28-2006, 02:54 AM
I'm using a modified combat system and magic system.

The combat system is a work of my own creation, similar to the Grim'N'Gritty rules. It's intent is to make combat a more serious affair, and more realistic. Armor gives DR, characters have far fewer hit points, etc.

The magic system is based off the magic system used in the Midnight setting (great setting btw). It's a point-based system, so the traditional memorize-forget system is gone. (Thus, i don't have a need of the sorcerer class.)

Both seem to work well.


-Fizz

akalars
07-28-2006, 06:29 AM
MAGIC
I use a spell point system. First add all spell levels you can normaly memorize to a pool of spell points (lvl 0 spells = 0.5 point in cost/gain).

To cast a spell you roll spellcraft dc 11 + spell lvl*3.
You can take 10 or 20 in situation were it is not critical to success, but it takes more time to do this.

DICE
We use the sum of 2d10 instead of d20. This is to make the impact of skill larger as 2d10 give results centered around 10 rather then a even distribution of d20

FINANCE
Working on a new finance system... not decided yet.

SKILL TRAINING
It is possible to spend a month training. To increase a skill you need to spend the same amount of months training as the rank you want to achieve.

You can also learn a skill through exposure, but not higher than rank 2.

For instance Bob does not know how to ride. He and his friends is going on a 1 month trip (riding). In the end of that month he has Ride 1. His friend Kåre that already have Riding 2, does not lear anything about riding from this experience. If he wants to learn more he needs to dedicate the month to learning, and is unable to travle or do much of anything else.

gazza666
07-28-2006, 06:32 AM
DICE
We use the sum of 2d10 instead of d20. This is to make the impact of skill larger as 2d10 give results centered around 10 rather then a even distribution of d20

Sorry to be pedantic, but technically it centres the results around 11, not 10.

I personally think that 2d10 avoids a lot of the pitfalls of skill use with d20, but on the other hand I can see why they went with d20 as the standard - those to hit rolls are just too ingrained in us old timers.

Fizz
07-28-2006, 04:52 PM
I personally think that 2d10 avoids a lot of the pitfalls of skill use with d20, but on the other hand I can see why they went with d20 as the standard - those to hit rolls are just too ingrained in us old timers.

Hmmm, i like that idea of 2d10. Would really cut down on the pure randomness of d20. Would make actions more consistent.

Of course, you could reduce the randomness even more too. 3d8. 4d6. 5d4. Not exactly a 2-20 range but it'd really sharpen than gaussian curve. :)


-Fizz

irdeggman
07-28-2006, 04:59 PM
Hmmm, i like that idea of 2d10. Would really cut down on the pure randomness of d20. Would make actions more consistent.

Of course, you could reduce the randomness even more too. 3d8. 4d6. 5d4. Not exactly a 2-20 range but it'd really sharpen than gaussian curve. :)


-Fizz

or the 3d6 Bell Curve rolling system prsented in Unearthed Arcana (pg 132) {complete with how to modify threat ranges for weapons).

The Swordgaunt
08-01-2006, 11:25 AM
In my campaign I use a mass combat system I believe was originally deviced by Green Knight (if he's who I think he is) and a friend of ours for a P'n P campaign back in the days of AD&D.

*Edit: Yup. He's the one. I browsed the Ruins of Empir forum the oter day, and it is as I suspected*

It has been revised a couple of times since then, but the core is still the same.

You lay out the battlefield using A4 sheets of paper with the terrain drawn on them. This makes it easy to incorporate almost any type of terrain, such as forests, rivers, mills and what have you. A "square" is 250 meters across.

Each unit of about a hundred men is represented by a small piece of paper (4x6 cm) with stats for Melee, Missile, Morale, Move, Charge, Armor, and Cost. Special abilities and information is also written down here. Characters is usually marked by coloured paper-clips.

Each combat ability (e.g. Charge) is ranked from 1 to 6, and compared with the corresponding ablility from the target unit (e.g. Armor). Modifiers from terrain, magic, and monsters is also calculated in here. This gives a difference of -6 to +6. To resolve the attack, we roll 2d6 and reffer to a table. The result can vary from the total destruction of the enemy unit, to massive commotion within own ranks.

I've also created rules alowing commanders to order his units into formations, rally retreating troops, and have light cavalry harass units of foot without becoming locked i melee.

This system makes it vital for the commanders to out-smart and/or out-maneuver his opponent in order to gain an advantageous position during deployment. The flexibility of the terrain also makes it possible for a commander to maneuver his opponent into a terrain where units such as cavalry is king, or perhaps seriously hindered by obstacles.

the two main strrengths of this system is its versatility and the fact that its cheap.

I've also used the same system scaled down to resolve scirmishing actions with a couple of hundred men on each side. In such cases, the battlefield is smaller, and each unit-cart represents ten to fifty men.

celtibear
08-01-2006, 12:22 PM
I have house rules for both character creation and bloodline abilities. The following is cribbed from my character creation handout, as a tool for players both unfamiliar with the setting (which was most of them) and to work in options from other sources.

Races
The primary races of the Birthright setting are typical for Dungeons and Dragons based game-worlds: Humans, Half-Elves, Halflings, Dwarves. Birthright doesn’t include Gnomes or Orcs, and I’ve decided to continue leaving them out; Elves distrust and despise humans, and thus I’m taking them out of the playing field. Each of the Cerilian races differs from the equivalent race presented in the Player’s Handbook.
• Humans in Cerilia are split into five distinct subraces, each representing a different culture. Human characters must be from one of these five cultures. Details on these cultures can be found in the BRCS.

oAnuirean: Similar in many ways to Renaissance-era Anglo/Normans, though lacking firearms and retaining more customs that are feudalistic.

oBrecht: Think early-Renaissance Germans with Dutch mercantile instincts, though again lacking firearms.

oKhinasi: Similar in many ways to the Africans of the early Songhai Empire; the universities of Khinasi are the finest in Cerilia.

oRjurik: Semi-nomadic tribesmen who prize their families and freedom, they are similar in many ways to the late Dark Age Irish, Lapps, and Wendlanders.

oVos: Something like the Dark Age Slavs of eastern Europe, Vos inhabit the colder northeastern portion of Cerilia.
•Half-Elves should choose one of the human cultures to represent their human parent’s culture. There is only a single race of elves in Cerilia, though, so choosing an elven subrace is unnecessary. Half-elves are rare enough that only one player in the group may choose to play one; Kevin has dibs on this one.
•Halflings are a race native to the Shadow World, a fey realm that parallels Aebrynis. I’m changing them from a race living on the edges of human civilization, as presented in the BRCS, to a race of gypsy-like itinerants constantly on the move.
•Dwarves are a gruff mountain folk, whose bodies are twice as dense as other creatures, weighing 350-400 pounds despite averaging only 4-4 1/2 feet tall.

Additionally, I’m allowing a few races from other sources, though only one player in the group may play a member from any of these given races.
•Giantborn: The rare viable offspring of a human and a hill, frost, or fire giant, Giantborn are on the large side of Medium size, generally 7-8 feet in height. Their racial traits are:

o+4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, and -2 Charisma
oMedium size, 30’ base land speed
oLow-light vision
oChoose a giant parent, and apply the appropriate following ability-


•Fire Giantborn: Fire subtype. Immunity to fire, vulnerability to cold (take +50% of all potential cold damage, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or a failure).
•Frost Giantborn: Cold subtype. Immunity to cold, vulnerability to fire (take +50% of all potential fire and heat damage, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or a failure).
•Hill Giantborn: Unlike other Giantborn, the subtype of the Giant parent does not preclude the possibility of the blood abilities.
•Half-Ogres: Half-breeds of Orogs and humans, these strong but ugly brutes are capable of being civilized, but not many are encountered in human lands. They cannot be blooded scions. (RoD)
•Illumians: the Illumians have a colonial foothold on Dantier Island, off the west coast of Cerilia on the edges of the Sea of Storms. Illumians appear much as other humans, but glowing glyphs move and shift beneath the surface of their skin. Being recent colonists from the Shadow World, Illumians do not carry any bloodlines, but due to their unique nature may still become Wizards or Sorcerers. (RoD)
•Sharakim: Once believed to be human, these creatures are orc-ugly yet erudite. While they can manifest bloodline powers, they are unable to manifest major or great blood abilities. (RoD)

Classes
Though all the core classes can be adapted to a Knightly campaign, some are better suited than others. There are also a few core classes not in the Player’s Handbook that are suitable for the campaign, and still others that have changes in the Birthright setting.

•Bard (PHB/BRCS): Bards in Cerilia are welcomed through most lands as historians, troubadours and itinerant newsmen. Like Magicians, Bards utilize lesser magic, combining the same arts of the Magician with their own musical training.
•Magician (BRCS): Although the study of lesser magic is less demanding than the pursuit of true magic, magicians cannot afford to depend on their art alone to provide them with safety and a livelihood. Magicians develop a wide variety of skills that make them invaluable companions, advisors, healers and teachers. Magicians are quite flexible and each one develops those skills and abilities that they find most useful in meeting their duties and obligations. Magicians usually come from the wealthier parts of society.
•Monk (PHB): The path of the Monk is known only among the Illumians; the other races of Cerilia lack the cultural referents and history to produce Monks.
•Noble (BCRS): The noble class is the PC class counterpart to the NPC Aristocrat class presented in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Just as the warrior class represents experience, but not the sophisticated training in fighting possessed by Fighters, the aristocrat class represents experience, but not sophisticated training a Noble receives in the art of command.
•Paladin (PHB/BRCS): In Cerilia, Paladins are warriors who uphold the virtues of their gods, but different gods require different standards of behavior and alignments, and grant different powers as rewards to their chosen. Only the gods Haelyn (LG), Avani (LN), Cuiraécen (CG), Nesirie (NG, females only), and Moradin (LG, dwarves only) accept paladins into their service. All paladins must serve one of these five deities.
•Sorcerer (PHB): In Aebrynis, only blooded scions, half-elves, and Illumian PCs wield the greater magic of Sorcerers.
•Tantrist (BoEF): Like the Monk, the path of the Tantrist is known only among the Illumians; the other races of Cerilia lack the cultural referents and history to produce Tantrists. Tantrists channel their Constitution and the energy of sex into arcane magic of the Greater path.
•Wizard (PHB): In Aebrynis, only blooded scions, half-elves, and Illumian PCs wield the greater magic of Sorcerers.

Prestige Classes
With the campaign’s focus on Knighthood and Chivalry, the following Prestige Classes are available to player characters who meet the requirements. Some of these classes have additional or altered requirements, as appropriate to the setting.

•From the Dungeon Master’s Guide: Arcane Archer, Archmage§, Duelist, Eldritch Knight, Heirophant, Shadowdancer†, Thaumaturgist*
•From the Book of Exalted Deeds: Anointed Knight, Exalted Arcanist§, Skylord, Swanmay
•From the Complete Arcane: Arcanamach* (called Suel Arcanamach in the book), Elemental Savant*, Geometer§
•From the Complete Warrior: Bladesinger, Cavalier, Dervish, Halfling Outrider, Justiciar, Spellsword, Stonelord, Tattooed Monk§
•From the Book of Erotic Fantasy: Divine Celibate, Dominator, Harem Protector, Knot Binder
•From the Races of Destiny: Loredelver, Menacing BruteҖ, Scar Enforcer, Shadow Sentinel

* additional requirement: Ability to utilize Greater Magic
† additional requirement: Shadow Walker feat
§ additional requirement: Illumian
Җ altered requirement: Half-ogre or Giantborn rather than Half-orc.

celtibear
08-01-2006, 12:35 PM
Bloodline Feats and Power Selection

Blooded Scion (Scion);
Prerequisites: Human, Dwarf, Half-Elf, Halfling, Hill Giantborn, or Sharakim of 1st level, or upon being invested/performing usurpation
Benefit: Choose a derivation. Gain one Minor blood ability. If your Charisma bonus is +2 or greater, you also gain one new Minor blood ability each time you gain a new character level, until you reach your limit, which is a total number of Minor abilities equal to your Charisma bonus.
Derivations and Minor Abilities

•Anduiras: The blood of Anduiras, the old god of noble war runs through your veins. Minor Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodmark, Courage, Detect Lie, Detect Life, Healing, Heightened Ability: Charisma, Heightened Ability: Strength, Iron Will, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Resistance.
•Azrai: You have the blood of Azrai, the old god of shadows and evil running through your veins. Minor Abilities: Alertness, Alter Appearance, Animal Affinity, Bloodmark, Death Touch, Detect Illusion, Detect Life, Fear, Heightened Ability: Charisma, Heightened Ability: Intelligence, Iron Will, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Poison Sense, Resistance
•Basaïa: You have the blood of Basaïa, the old goddess of the sun running through your veins. Minor Abilities: Alertness, Animal Affinity, Bloodmark, Detect Illusion, Detect Lie, Detect Life, Healing, Heightened Ability: Intelligence, Light of Reason, Long Life, Major Resistance: Poison, Resistance
•Brenna: You have the blood of Brenna, the old goddess of commerce and fortune running through your veins. Minor Abilities: Alertness, Alter Appearance, Animal Affinity, Blood History, Bloodmark, Detect Illusion, Detect Lie, Detect Life, Heightened Ability: Dexterity, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Resistance
•Masela: You have the blood of Masela, the old goddess of the seas running through your veins. Minor Abilities: Animal Affinity, Blood History, Bloodmark, Detect Illusion, Detect Lie, Detect Life, Direction Sense, Long Life, Major Resistance: Poison, Resistance
•Reynir: You have the blood of Reynir, the old god of nature running through your veins. Minor Abilities: Alertness, Animal Affinity, Bloodmark, Detect Illusion, Detect Lie, Detect Life, Direction Sense, Forest Walk, Healing, Heightened Ability: Constitution, Iron Will, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Poison Sense, Resistance
•Vorynn: You have the blood of Vorynn, the old god of the moon and all things arcane running through your veins. Minor Abilities: Alter Appearance, Animal Affinity, Blood History, Bloodmark, Detect Illusion, Detect Lie, Detect Life, Heightened Ability: Wisdom, Long Life, Mebhaighl Sense, Resistance

Renowned Scion (Scion);
You have unlocked the major abilities of your divine blood.
Prerequisites: Blooded Scion feat and either character level 9+ or bloodtheft of an Renowned or an Exalted Scion
Benefit: Gain one Major blood ability. If your Charisma bonus is +4 or greater, you also gain one new Major blood ability each time you gain a new character level, until you reach your limit, which is a total number of Minor abilities equal to your Charisma bonus minus two.
Derivations and Major Abilities

•Anduiras: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Battlewise, Bloodtrait, Courage, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Healing, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Unreadable Thoughts
•Azrai: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Battlewise, Bloodform, Charm Aura, Death Touch, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Major Resistance: Non-magical Attacks, Persuasion, Resistance, Unreadable Thoughts, Wither Touch
•Basaïa: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Character Reading, Charm Aura, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Healing, Light of Reason, Long Life, Major Resistance: Poison, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Unreadable Thoughts
•Brenna: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Character Reading, Charm Aura, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Home Hearkening, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Major Resistance: Non-magical Attacks, Persuasion, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Unreadable Thoughts
•Masela: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Long Life, Major Resistance: Poison, Major Resistance: Non-magical Attacks, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Sea Song, Unreadable Thoughts
•Reynir: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Forest Walk, Healing, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Unreadable Thoughts
•Vorynn: Major Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Character Reading, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Long Life, Mebhaighl Sense, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Unreadable Thoughts

Exalted Scion (Scion);
You have unlocked the great abilities of your divine blood.
Prerequisites: Renowned Scion, Regency, and either character level 15+ or bloodtheft of a Regent with the Exalted Scion feat.
Benefit: Gain one Great blood ability. If your Charisma bonus is +6 or greater, you also gain one new Major blood ability each time you gain a new character level, until you reach your limit, which is a total number of Minor abilities equal to your Charisma bonus minus four.
Derivations and Great Abilities

•Anduiras: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Courage, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Divine Wrath*, Elemental Control, Enhanced Sense, Healing, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Magic, Protection from Evil, Regeneration*, Resistance
•Azrai: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Berserker’s Blood*, Bloodform, Charm Aura, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Invulnerability*, Long Life, Major Regeneration*, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Major Resistance: Non-magical Attacks, Major Resistance: Magic, Regeneration*, Resistance, Shadow Form, Touch of Decay, Travel, Wither Touch
•Basaïa: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Charm Aura, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Divine Wrath*, Elemental Control, Enhanced Sense, Healing, Invulnerability*, Light of Reason, Long Life, Major Resistance: Poison, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Travel
•Brenna: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Charm Aura, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Home Hearkening, Long Life, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Non-magical Attacks, Major Resistance: Poison, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Shadow Form, Travel
•Masela: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Divine Wrath*, Elemental Control, Enhanced Sense, Long Life, Major Resistance: Poison, Major Resistance: Non-magical Attacks, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Travel
•Reynir: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Bloodtrait, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Elemental Control, Forest Walk, Healing, Long Life, Major Regeneration*, Major Resistance: Charm, Major Resistance: Poison, Major Resistance: Magic, Protection from Evil, Regeneration*, Resistance
•Vorynn: Great Abilities: Animal Affinity, Berserker’s Blood, Bloodtrait, Detect Life, Divine Aura, Enhanced Sense, Invulnerability*, Long Life, Major Resistance: Magic, Mebhaighl Sense, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Travel

Blood Focus [General]
Your abilities are hard to resist.
Prerequisite: Blooded Scion feat
Benefits: Add +2 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against your blood abilities. You get a +2 bonus to your character level checks (1d20 + character level) to beat a creature's spell resistance.

Bloodline Prodigy [General]
One of your blood abilities can be used more often and to greater effect.
Prerequisite: Blooded Scion feat
Benefits: All variable, numeric effects of the blood ability are increased by one-half. Additionally, if the ability has a limited number of uses over a given time period, the ability can be used twice as often.

Fitness of the Blood (Scion)
You have learned to focus the power through your healthy constitution.
Prerequisites: Blooded Scion feat, Constitution 13+
Benefit: The maximum number of blood abilities, whether Minor, Major or Great, are based on your Constitution bonus rather than Charisma bonus.

Vigor of the Blood (General)
You have learned to focus the power through your physical strength.
Prerequisites: Blooded Scion feat, Strength 13+
Benefit: The maximum number of blood abilities, whether Minor, Major or Great, are based on your Strength bonus rather than Charisma bonus.

Mixed Bloodline (Scion)
You have a very rare facility due to a balance of two bloodline derivations
Prerequisite: Blooded Scion feat
Benefits: Chose a second derivation from a second old god. You may choose abilities from this alternate derivation as well as your original one, though your total number of abilities doesn’t change.

Dedicated Scion (Scion)
You have found greater depths of your blood abilities.
Prerequisite: Blooded Scion feat
Benefits: You gain two additional Minor abilities, within your derivation, beyond your normal limit. These abilities are gained immediately upon taking this feat.

Devoted Scion (Scion)
You have quested to tap even greater potentials.
Prerequisite: Dedicated Scion feat, Renowned Scion feat
Benefits: You gain an additional Major ability, within your derivation, beyond your normal limit. This ability is gained immediately upon taking this feat.

Master of the Blood (Scion)
You have unlocked great secrets.
Prerequisite: Devoted Scion feat, Exalted Scion feat
Benefits: You gain an additional Great ability, within your derivation, beyond your normal limit. This ability is gained immediately upon taking this feat. You may only take this feat once.

celtibear
08-01-2006, 01:19 PM
Even I think all of this seems a bit over-powered, but I've balanced my game in a couple of ways:

1) Magic items are vanishingly rare; the party has three minor items at 6th level, split between 7 characters. They are all too busy taking scion feats to take item creation feats, and none of them appreciate the experience expenditure required for such endeavors, regardless (in fact, none of my players have created magic items since the advent of 3.0, in any setting).

2) Though there is a lot of combat, most of it so far has been of the knights-at-tournament variety, with a great deal of role-playing and politicking, romance and intrigue. None of the PCs are regents as of yet, and they don't have those resources to draw on either.

epicsoul
08-01-2006, 02:06 PM
We have a huge amount of house rules...

To start, I don't allow gnomes/half-orcs either. They just don't fit BR.

However, I do allow half-orogs. They have the same stats as a half orc for bonuses, but then also have a monster level and must choose an extra feat from either power attack or alertness. Bloodline can not start higher than minor.

We use DR rules for armour, and further reduce the speed of heavy armour wearers to 15, instead of 20.

In keeping with the tradition of original BR, crossbows do some armour piercing, penetrating the DR of armour.

The world is truly magic rare - the party, at 6th level, has exactly 2 magic weapons, both +1, and a magic shield +2.

In keeping with magic rarety, I have reduced the amount of spellcasting priests as well as the arcane casters. There is approximately 800 spellcasting priests/paladins and about 200 true magic wielders spread across Cerilia. This means that having a paladin/priest or wizzie in your party is a major undertaking... and I play up the roleplaying aspect, that priests of enemy faiths, even of good align, and wizzies, are often set upon by local peoples, or looked upon with distrust. (wizard almost was burned at the stake once for casting a spell and being seen).

To further heighten the differences between the races, and to make characters more commonly choose racially preferred classes, all races must choose their highest ability score(s) to be in their race's favoured attribute. Thus, a dwarf MUST put their 2 highest rolled attributes in str and con, an anuirean their highest in wisdom, a vos in strength, a brecht in dex. While this doesn't eliminate a character from choosing other classes, it promotes certain styles of play. It means that a dwarven wizard is a TRUE rarity, but unlike 2E, is still possible. Meanwhile, anuirean characters are more likely to be priests or nobles.

I allow wizards to double specialize, racially specific, to increase the power of magic. What's that mean? Well, for instance, Anuireans favour the schools of evocation and divination. So, they become specialized in both schools, but lose the shunned school of enchantment, the disfavoured school of illusion, and one additional school (as div only makes you lose one). Elves can specialize in enchantment and illusion, losing evocation, necromancy, conjuration, and one additional. This gives 2 bonus spells a day, which pretty well removes the appeal of sorcerers if the player decides to play one of these, while still keeping some of the spell selection open, albeit at a reduced amount. Nearly all wizards encountered will be specialized or double specialized. The extra spell a day, plus the bonus on DC checks, considering how long magic research can take, as well as how expensive it can be, means that a wizard may become powerful before they die of old age... because the chance of encountering other wizzies that you can take spell books from is not that high. Exception: Imperial college of magic, where you can study up to 3rd level spells, but requires lots of money!

More detailed critical hit system.

Fizz
08-02-2006, 12:24 AM
To start, I don't allow gnomes/half-orcs either. They just don't fit BR.

I don't allow them, but i don't consider it a house rule. Gnomes and half-orcs are not part of the Birthright rules, so i consider it a standard rule. But that's just semantics. :)

I do recall reading once, somewhere, that gnomes were intended to be included in Birthright. For some reason they didn't make it into the core rules. IIRC, they would have been extremely closely tied to nature (perhaps even moreso than elves). So standard 3E gnomes wouldn't work anyways.

Personally, i think there is enough going on anyways.

IMC, i allow goblin PCs. There are enough of them. They can be civilized, and they pose no balance issues.


-Fizz

gazza666
08-02-2006, 01:37 AM
I don't believe that in over 20 years of playing D&D, I have ever either played a gnome, DMed for a group of PCs that included a gnome, nor been part of a party that included a PC gnome. :)

To a power gamer like myself, in "vanilla" 3rd edition humans trump everything.

Khrysanth
08-10-2006, 03:45 AM
While I am not currently running in, nor playing, a BR game (or any, for that matter), I have been considering modifying Malhavoc's Iron Heroes and Arcana Unearthed/Evolved systems, and combining them with Birthright.

Each of the systems have certain traits that draw me to them:

Birthright - The setting. It and Al-Qadim have always been my preferred settings since their respective releases. In addition, the Domain rules, even if never used by the players, can greatly aid in keeping the world moving, and provide numerous adventure hooks for events that happen "behind the scenes." Add to the mix the semi-divine nature of the regents and scions, and it makes for an intriguing and interesting world.

Iron Heroes - Expanded mastery feats, and classes designed for a low to non-magical setting. The focus is less on what the latest enchanted pointy metal thing you found was and more on the skills and abilities of the people. Given the general lack of magic I've always seen Birthright as having (outside of Sidhelien and blooded scions, magic is limited.) There's also the draw of a character being able to start the game using her family's ancestral sword, and continue to do so throughout her life. In standard D&D a character is willing to toss aside that "heirloom blade" the first time she stumbles on a conveniently common "+1 sword", while with this that heirloom blade could be one of the defining characteristics of the chararacter, and tales told of the character's deeds could spread to the point that recognition of the blade alone could influence a situation.

Arcana Unearthed/Evolved - The way magic works. It's not a case of "fire and forget", which eliminates having to deal with the power disparity, real or imagined, between sorcerors and wizards. Various templates that can be applied to spells to alter the way they work, as well as the heightened/diminished effects, make those who use magic more flexible. This particular system, however, would require the greatest work to bring into the mix. Splitting magic back out into divine and arcane, and balance work between those who can use magic and those who can't, especially when compared to the Iron Heroes systems.

epicsoul
09-07-2006, 05:03 AM
House rule # 4 of BR for me:

Reinforcing what was in 2e -
Blooded PCs, and infamous villains/awnshegh, have 4d6 choosing the best 3 for stats, in any order, with 7 rolls, and one assigned to bloodline.

ANY other character, including henchmen, most of the lesser critters/monsters/goblin cannon fodder has 3d6 rolled 6 times, IN ORDER of attribute (so, str, dex, Con, Int, wis, cha). Can't even adjust around.
Further, these critters/characters must take the DMG basic classes, rather than PC classes - so, warriors rather than fighters, experts instead of rogues, and so on. Eventually, if a henchman survives long enough, they may be able to multi-class. Rare exceptions are made - mostly for the favoured classes of races/human cultures.

This means that the PCs, and some villains, are truly divine - way above the regular person, who at best will have one exceptional attribute.

I allow training rule for hp. This makes for truly powerful demi-humans - elves and dwarves. Why? Because it can be assumed that any elf or dwarf encountered of any age has had time to train to max or near max hp - a significant advantage over the lesser races - and, incidentally, allowing that elven fighter of equal level to take on 2 human fighters of equal level, almost - due to being able to take way more damage from near-max hp. Makes it interesting - ALL elven warriors at 1st have 8 hp, just like a pc has max HP - but the average human warrior will only have 4. Thus, the elf can fell the human with one hit, meanwhile, the human will only probably wound the elf, who lives to fight another day...

As has been noted previously, I don't care about game balance one whit.

gazza666
09-07-2006, 05:13 AM
Yuck. I loathe any random ability generation with a fiery passion.

Cuchulainshound
09-07-2006, 05:24 PM
Amen to that.

However, some players DO enjoy the challenge of a random draw to create (part of) a new character to roleplay, a sort of "acting school excercise", if you will, improv at it's most challenging. So, in the final ed of this game, we should include a way to randomly generate most all aspects for characters, which would work to generate either PC's or NPC's, as desired. Flexibility of the rules, covering all the bases and letting the players decide, is never a bad thing, and in this case is a zero cost proposition.

All of these houserules are fine, and some very interesting spins, but some seem targetted more toward a particular group or GM's play-preference than dealing with a problem with the game. More detailed battle systems are fine for those who enjoy such (like me!), but I don't think the abstract system currently in play is "broken", just very simple. If someone wants gnomes, they add gnomes, but that's not a comment on the Rules As Written, which, to be honest, might be more productive given our task here than "I do/don't like gnomes".

(Including rules for goblin, (half-)orog and gnoll Player Characters, races which all "could" interact with humans, might not be a bad idea. And maybe thumbnail rules for expanding PC races, if any GM ever wanted to go there.)

As to the question of Magic Item Creation, has any attempt been made to actually place strictures that would limit such? If a dedicated Character wanted to go into the item creation bussiness, what's to slow them down, other than some narrative comments? Suggestion: double, triple (or more!) the XP cost for magic. Similarly, increase the time by some multiple. Thus, a mage must truly "put some of themselves" into magic items.

-----------------------------

When I opened this thread, I hoped to see more observations on perceived problems within the game, and individual solutions to those. I know that there are many excellent Play-by-Post games that approach the game from the top-down side (politics > characters, politicking > adventuring), and that have established house rules to maintain balance at that level. Some of those house rules go on for a page or two, plus more explanation/interpretation. Maybe mentioning some of those, as insights to how a large game of BR doesn't work the same as a smaller, table-top, "me and my friend's character" based one?

Some deal with battle or mercenaries (to avoid first turn pre-emptive military actions that can be common, apparently), some with more narrowly defining court actions or free actions, some limitting Ltnts and what you can/can't do with them, etc. All these yield "playtest" observations of what in the BRCS (or 2nd ed) rules are potential trouble spots, and insight to how they might be addressed.

I'll do some digging- I'd ask others familiar w/ pbem games to do the same.

epicsoul
09-08-2006, 01:49 AM
Okay, less specific for personal preference rules I use:

Occupation: As many of my domain level games inevitably have war at some point, one thing I have always hated is that one realm conquers another so easily. Especially because of the tactic of saving up lots of GB, hiring a big army almost instantly (even with optional variant: building musters), then blitzkrieging the other land. Part of this is related to other debates previously had on this site regarding scale - let's not get into that. Suffice to say that I increase the scales of the map of Cerilia.

Once overrun, the land is quickly divested - if not in one season, by the next. Now, if the ruler is captured, great, all power to ya.

Otherwise, unless the province is occupied with units equal to the rating of the province level, levy units could rise up to attack the occupiers - every round. This is dependent on what the loyalty rating of the province was before the land was occupied - so, if it was hostile, a levy unit may actually rise up and serve WITH the occupiers to defend against any counterattack. A diplo check is made by the local commander, or by the conqueror regent to see if rebellion is averted.

Sure, regular troops can beat on levies fairly easily... but every round? Occupiers could be destroyed eventually.

What this means is that a very large army is necessary to conquer large territories. Instead, wars are fought over provinces usually, with provinces switching hands fairly constantly. The defender has the chance to acquire additional funds (from handy guilders!) to raise a defence, and counter-attack.

Otherwise, here's what happens in every game I see: Diemed raises a large army in the first action - it leaves the troops one province away from Medoere, so no scout can see it. 2nd turn, or possibly action 1.3, it goes to war. Overruns all of Medoere in 4 moves. Roesone may come to assistance, Ilien lacks army. 2nd turn rolls around, no rp and GB collection for Medoere due to being occupied. Thus, no rp to resist divestiture.

Only thing Suris Enlien can do: burn her bloodline to gain rp to resist investiture.

Now, of course, this is a nice simple example that does not factor in wizardly support, temple support, or even guilders. Leaving the politics aside, however, conquest is relatively easy. I wanted to slow it down. Another example I had experienced was when Mesire, in 2 turns, conquered half of the Khinasi lands. Obviously, something is broken when half a region is blitzed in 6 months.

Now, some will say I wasn't doing my duty as a DM - either by taking away their GB, or whatever. Fact is, I had been. Standing armies just can't withstand 100GB cost army assaults. But, you sputter, how did they get 100GB? Player solidarity, damn it! The guilder, temple holder, and mage, working together, amassed a small fortune by the third turn, then contributed it all to the ruler - who proceeded to raze every holding he found to pay for the army and its replacements.

We ended the game right there. A five turn game. The npc's could have fought back, sure. But even making a comeback, EVERY law, temple and guild holding not belonging to the PCs in a 5 province radius was razed. Some provinces were razed, and others invested.

There would have been little point to continuing. Even the players were stunned by their success.

Perhaps I, as a DM, could have been better prepared - but the players "tricked" me into thinking that they were going to work at some cross-purposes - and had a private session w/o their DM stating what they would do. The war started small, but quickly expanded to other realms, which they also stomped on. By the time that other powers, including guilds and temples mobilized, it was quite late.

Admittedly, I wasn't using building muster variant then. I made sure to next game. Similar situations occurred. When I made rebellions more common, it stopped.

BiggDawg
09-23-2006, 04:44 PM
I have DM'd several Birthright campaigns and each time I keep expanding on my house rules. My preferred method of character creation is for me to make the characters. I know this goes against traditional gameplay, but my campaigns tend to come from more of a story angle then the traditional games. I find it is much easier to tell the story when I have made the characters. I allow the players to fill in some of the incedentals (feats, skills points, spells known, etc), but I create everything else. I find this actually frees the players up to concentrate on roleplaying and less on game mechanic accounting. For my next campaign I am going to take it one step further and basically control the players level advancement. This isnt to say the player won't have some choice, but the storyline will limit their options. Again this just makes it so the player doesnt have to think about mechanics too much and it hamstrings any attempts at powergaming. My most successful campaign ever was my first Birthright campaign when I made the characters. The players took right to it and we had some of the best roleplaying ever.

I like what ive read about the more gritty combat styles and I will probably use the wounds system to keep players in check a bit. I think I am gonna stick with the basic spellcasting system (cause its easy), but as someone suggested earlier I might look into using the Midnight system (it is a cool setting) especially given my next modification.

There are going to be a couple of significant differences in my newest Birthright campaign. First is I am going to include martial classes from the Book of Nine Swords. There will be a Warblade, Crusader, and a Swordsage in the party. Martial classes can only be taken by characters with a Bloodline or by Elves in the case of Swordsages. So while the Book of Nine Swords is powerful there will be a limited number of martial classes in the world. By limiting the number of martial classes it wont ruin the low magic feel of Birthright because it is more of a variety at the high levels of magic then any real proliferation of magic. Basically it will be domain rulers and such who will be martial classes. I am even adding a martial academy to the Royal City of Anuire so that young up and coming rulers could have trained with each other. Second I am going to incorporate some elements of Eberron into the Birthright world. I wont go into much detail but I am bringing over Dragon Marks and the Dragon Marked Houses, Artificers (Blooded and Dwarf only), the existence of the Daelkyr and their Abberations, and Dragons and the Draconic Prophecy. All of these elements will be modified to fit in with the BR setting, but I think it will add some more depth to the game world.

cvgawde
09-23-2006, 05:55 PM
I'm using a revised rules for warfare more akin to a wargaming game than an AD&D game. We've added effects revolving around magic, but primarily this system is a strategic system for muster, travel, and siege that becomes a tactical system that makes use of the player's abilities in that field more than the character's.

-5 penalty on unskilled checks.

Variant success rates on domain actions - some actions can be successful but over a longer period than anticipated.