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Arentak
11-25-2008, 02:28 AM
My idea is that each class should have either a Full regency and Half regency holding type, or a Full Regency with bonus type.


Province Law Guild Temple Source
Cleric Full -- -- Full/Favored --
Fighter Full Full/Favored-- -- --
Paladin Full Full -- Half --
Ranger Full Full Half -- --
Rogue Full -- Full/Favored --
Warlock Full -- -- Half Full
Warlord Full/Favored Full --
Wizard Full -- -- -- Full/Favored


Favored grants +1 to Rule, Create, Contest for that holding type. Bonus increases
to +2 at Paragon Tier, and +3 at epic tier.


Feat: Focused Holding
Requirements: Class has a Full/Favored item on the regency collection table.
Benefit: The bonus doubles from favored. +2 at heroic, +4 at paragon, +6 at epic level.


The idea is that some classes lend themselves towards doing multiple things, and some are specialists. There is a degree of balance in all of them.

Comments? Ideas?

AndrewTall
11-25-2008, 09:43 PM
It is simple, so starts off well.

If you are moving away from skills but mostly keeping straight 4e, then classes become the obvious candidate, in which case your approach sounds pretty good.

If however you decide to build a non-adventure side to your game, then I'd place domain rulership, RP, etc squarely in that section. So your PC with a 'background' of sailor, craftsman, etc gets skills in those areas, your PC with a background in 'merchant, noble, clergy' etc gets various skills they can use in domain rule.

Rowan
11-25-2008, 10:22 PM
I personally like the approach of divorcing realm rulership almost entirely from classes, providing a bonus perhaps only in terms of a tier bonus.

As Andrew says, then, regency would be matched to backgrounds of some kind instead. This rulership-focused side would entail a separate progression in realm-appropriate skills, feats, and powers. I would link it to bloodline advancement, organically growing through deeds and experience in ruling the realm, as well as study in some instances.

AndrewTall
11-25-2008, 11:17 PM
You could have feat progressions.

As a Pc gains 'levels' they can either spend feats to gain bonuses to actions with a holding, or in gaining the types of holdings from which they can gain RP.

So regent A specialises in law holdings and spends their 3 feats getting 'gain regency from law', 'gain +2 on all law actions', 'gain +5 on claim tax action' or some such things

Regent B spends their 3 feats on being able to gain RP from province, law and sources, they likely have more RP, but have to spend more to have the same success on actions...

The exact number of eats required and the effect of the feats would, of course, need balancing in the context of a developed system.

bbeau22
11-26-2008, 05:11 AM
I personally like the approach of divorcing realm rulership almost entirely from classes, providing a bonus perhaps only in terms of a tier bonus.

As Andrew says, then, regency would be matched to backgrounds of some kind instead. This rulership-focused side would entail a separate progression in realm-appropriate skills, feats, and powers. I would link it to bloodline advancement, organically growing through deeds and experience in ruling the realm, as well as study in some instances.

I am very much against divorcing realm rulership from classes. D&D is very much dependant on classes not to mention the original Birthright system used classes.

The thing is, like everything in Birthright, things are left vague and open to DM's to explain. With Birthright I see the classes not as your standard run of the mill classes like standard D&D. The Priest we play isn't the priest that walks from town to town doing good and destroying undead ... we play the priest that runs the churches and gives the hands on priest the ability to do good. Wizards aren't the blast fireballs at the goblins in the dungeon, they are the wizards that influence rulers or rule themselves. The warriors we play aren't the tank that fights trolls in the swamp to save the village ... we play warriors that have a knack for leading men into war.

Classes has to be a part of the equation. How is it hard to explain that a higher level wizard would be better at ruling a source than a low level wizard if blood was equal. If that wizard took realm like powers they should be superior. In the 4th edition this can be accomplished by replacing combat powers with realm like powers. Because people are taking realm powers instead of combat powers they will be very weak class for adventuring but strong in rulership.

Now blood scores are still separate. Low level people with high blood scores are still going to be a force to be reckoned with ... but a highly seasoned opponent with a weaker blood score might be able to hold his own against the talented youth at first.

Rowan
11-26-2008, 06:49 AM
BB, in this respect I am trying to balance a simulationist perspective with a game play one. I want a player to be able to have their cake and eat it too. Particularly in 4e, if you swap anything from the adventuring class for a realm class, you make that class woefully underpowered to the point of throwing completely out of whack the adventuring system. If you want adventurer regents, their abilities cannot eat the same pie.

I frankly don't care how 2e BR was constructed. With 4e we are now farther away from those even more faulty and shortsighted game mechanics. The story and setting is what matters. The best functioning rules that do justice to the story and setting should always be used, IMO.

The primary problem with tying realm rulership to classes is that, even moreso in 4e than ever before, the adventuring classes are just that--ADVENTURING classes. They are not designed to mimic all walks of life and pigeonhole all living PC races into this or that class. Life exists beyond classes, and it typically takes the form of things like: farmer, fisherman, artisan, merchant, courtier, noble, general, etc.

4e describes the adventuring classes by tiers because it points out that even a 1st level adventurer is in the "Heroic" tier. Are all regents adventuring heroes? You could play it that way, but the default BR setting does not seem to assume this. It assumes that PCs will be adventurers, but that the majority of their peers will likely spend most of their lives just living out their roles, not dungeon delving.

Further, just as skill at blacksmithing or sailing does not increase the more ogres you slay, skill at leading and ruling people, keeping financial books, balancing favors and needs, interpreting and applying law, making good policy, etc. does not increase with the number of ogres slain, or even most skill challenges (climbing cliffs, navigating wilderness, bypassing traps).

If you can't conceive of life without classes and levels, I do see some adjustments that can be made to anchor back to them. First off, give significant XP for standard ruling of a realm. Otherwise you have the bizarre occurrence of a noble who has spent his whole life at court, studying everything he can, taking leadership risks, and doing everything that regents do day in and day out, suddenly looking like he knows nothing compared to the adventurer who has hardly spent a day at court but has cleared out a whole bunch of dungeons.

Second, to keep your regents capable of adventuring per the rigorous level-based D&D regime, don't force them to swap out powers and feats for regent-specific ones. Grant these in addition to the normal adventuring progression. Otherwise your group of level 15 characters will get their asses handed to them by an 11th level adventure challenge. You destroy the tiers and play balance entirely if you force power swapping.

Of course, in this world defined entirely by adventuring class and level, now that noble who has never spent a day in the wilderness or in serious life-threatening combat is now as able as the dungeon sweeper. Which is why I maintain that it is folly to tie realm rulership to class and level. Keep it independent and nothing suffers--your adventurer hero-kings can still adventure and do brave deeds, but they can also become wise rulers so exceptionally forged in the crucible of adversity that by their noble upbringing they can compete with more sedentary regents. And best of all, such a "both, and" system does not do violence to the story and setting in such a way that suspension of disbelief is seriously strained.

kgauck
11-26-2008, 07:53 AM
An approach I have been working on might satisfy both Rowan and bbeau22.

Basically, everything remains class based as bbeau22 suggests, and I think his argument is compelling. However, Rowan is right, 4e is not a multi-classing environment, so to have both adventuring and realm abilities, characters need extra abilities to manage domains.

Ultimately, that means deciding what kind of ruler a character should be at some benchmark locations, say 1st level, 5th level, 10th, 20th, and if one desires, beyond. Then create a pattern of abilities that produce that end result.

Because the power-up at each level in 4e remains profound, I prefer to maintain a low level environment for BR. Tentatively, I remain structured around the range of class levels typical in the published materials, so that the top rulers will be just beginning their paragon path, and characters at the end of the paragon path will be diminishingly rare. Based on the feel of things, I am slightly increasing the levels of characters, just so that the top end is no long my 3x standard of 10-12, but more like 11-14. Basically, Aeric Boeruine becomes a 13th level Warlord, instead of the published 12th level 2e fighter, or a Fighter 4/Noble 8 in 3e.

There are two tracks of abilities for domain powers, one is a standard every regent needs this stuff package of abilities, like the ability to attract dedicated cohorts, followers, and contacts, recruit lieutenants, perform court ceremonies, Iron Will, stuff like that. Then there are talent trees so a regent can focus on diplomacy, administration, finance, warfare, espionage, trade, rapport (what we would call public relations), and such abilities. Each talent tree is intended to have roughly a six level arc, so that a 13th level character like Aeric Boeruine has just picked his first power from a third talent tree.

Third, is a path of blood ability power-ups. So every character gets their starting blood abilities, plus blood mark and blood history. All of these powers are weak, almost tainted at 1st level. The 1st level version of Aeric Boeruine does not have the full strength version of Battlewise that impose the kinds of problems that made ECL an issue compared to the character that had Animal Affinity, or something like that. Instead the 1st level character who selects Battlewise can effect one unit with a minor bonus. Every three levels you get a blood ability power up. You can't select the same ability to power up consecutively.

A character like Aeric Boeruine, might have selected Battlewise twice (at 3rd and 9th levels) Bloodmark at 6th level, and Anduiras' Resistance at 12th.

The result is that a character gains realm abilities, and has a distinct class identity. In a sense, everyone is automatically multi-classes as a noble (which is pretty much how I built 3x characters), and commoners get the same thing, but based more on the idea that everyone is multi-classed as an expert in some profession.

A commoner fighter might select weaponsmith has his "profession" and get get abilities that allow them to master that "domain". So they can attract apprentices, make masterwork items, join a guild, derive an income, operate a workshop. Their life outside of adventuring. What do they do between adventures.

So that's my idea, and I will post on it further as I get more of it worked out.

Arentak
11-26-2008, 07:26 PM
In some online games, one levels as, say a Fighter, but also levels as a Blacksmith. I'm not sure I like making it more complicated.

If we don't allow too many "optimizations" then it doest matter if Prince Avan is a level 30 fighter or a level 1 fighter.

in my proposal, the 2nd example would get a +2 bonus over the 1st example.

So, the uber-master prince of Anuire with 1000's of gold and regency really could be a level 1 fighter, and still be an effective regent.

if there are not tons of bonuses that you can tweak and optimize into the char.

If good rulership is more a function of player then character, I think we can sidestep the issue.

If a given DM thinks level IS very important, then go with the (max regency = 1/2 bloodline + Level) variant.

AndrewTall
11-27-2008, 07:30 PM
The 'non-adventure' classes are likely to be quite simple - no hitpoints, saves, ac, attack, etc - just skills and feats, possibly with blood abilities on the side with the same base ability stats.

As such I'd hope that they could be quite simple.

You could then either take the easy view - 'domain' class and 'adventure' class advance in lockstep, so a L20 fighter is going to be very good at the 'domain' stuff - possibly 'general' but equally possibly 'wastrel'.

Personally I'd prefer to track the progression separately, and possibly do away with levels entirely - just gain 'domain xp' that buy skills or feats.

I like Ken's take on blood, but would prefer to simply make a string of abilities that could be chosen in place of adventure abilities by the blooded if the power has adventure level application, or put a cost on the power if it has domain application.

Sir Tiamat
11-28-2008, 06:03 AM
The 'non-adventure' classes are likely to be quite simple - no hitpoints, saves, ac, attack, etc - just skills and feats, possibly with blood abilities on the side with the same base ability stats.

As such I'd hope that they could be quite simple.

You could then either take the easy view - 'domain' class and 'adventure' class advance in lockstep, so a L20 fighter is going to be very good at the 'domain' stuff - possibly 'general' but equally possibly 'wastrel'.

Personally I'd prefer to track the progression separately, and possibly do away with levels entirely - just gain 'domain xp' that buy skills or feats.

I like Ken's take on blood, but would prefer to simply make a string of abilities that could be chosen in place of adventure abilities by the blooded if the power has adventure level application, or put a cost on the power if it has domain application.

I am convinced that a seperate "ruling class" is the way to go in 4th edition. As the 4th system provides streamlined combat and balance, we should try to keep it intact and add to it rather than swap out powers.

That said, I have begun pondering the subject, whether the "non-dventure classes" or "ruling classes" should perhaps not be tied to the ruling character, but to the domain. In which each domain has "levels" and abilities and of which the nature and level of the ruling character is but a part of its total abilities. We could then tie "domain classes" or better yet domain skills or powers to holding type.

Arentak
12-05-2008, 02:03 PM
I think having a seperate ruling class adds another level of complexity to an already complex game. For those who love RoE type complication, go for it. For the masses, I think a simpler system is a better system.

Each class gets either a favored holding or a secondary holding type which they gain half regency from.

Level doesn't have to matter at all, although I do like scaling bonuses based on tier.

If level doesn't matter at all, then why does it matter if you call yourself a Warlock 3, or a Master Guilder 3, seriously?

dundjinnmasta
12-05-2008, 05:18 PM
I just recently find a nice little pdf from RPGNOW called Feudal Lords: Noble. It even has "bloodline" powers and is a multiclass only class. I am convinced that the way to good with both Scion and Regent would be as a multiclass and then you have ALL three types of people represented in Birthright 4e: Normal, Blooded Scion, and Regent (obviously blooded but their powers will be slightly different in scope from the Scion to show the difference).

Arentak
12-05-2008, 06:08 PM
As long as the multi-class system is 4e Compliant and not some bizaare leftover of the past like Fighter 11/Realm Regent 13, then I'm fine with that.

It minorly diminishes the adventuring ability of the regents, by forcing them to give up their Paragon Path in favor of multiclassing into regent.

Bagpuss
12-17-2008, 04:50 PM
You could go with Power Source rather than class?

Martial favour Law and Guild.
Divine favour Law and Temple.
Arcane favour Source.

Elton Robb
12-21-2008, 04:24 PM
Personally, I think the best way to update Birthright to 4e is to design Birthright as a "ROLEPLAYING GAME" and not a "Setting."

Birthright would be it's own roleplaying game aside from 4e, since 4e is totally different in its approach. Shoeing in Birthright to work around 4e when it was initially designed as a 2e setting would create problems. I think the best way to handle it is not tack on the world on to 4e, but to design a new game to go with the setting.

The more I read threads like this, the more I come to realize that Birthright is unique in its own way. To use Birthright as intended, you need a new game system to handle the rules. I suggest we stick with 3e, or better yet, look at other game systems to design a better game. Birthright can be made to fit 4e, but since I don't have 4e but have some understanding of its design principles -- 4e and Birthright can not fit without some redesign of one or the other.

dundjinnmasta
12-22-2008, 06:03 AM
As someone that is both familiar with Birthright 2e, Birthright 3e/3.5e, and 4e I disagree. 4e is feels way closer to 2e then the 3era ever did and I do not feel that either will have to change at all in theory. In truth I think 2e was way simpler then the BRCS because there was very little extra to the 2e.

cyrano24100
12-22-2008, 06:15 AM
Birthright would be it's own roleplaying game aside from 4e, since 4e is totally different in its approach. Shoeing in Birthright to work around 4e when it was initially designed as a 2e setting would create problems. I think the best way to handle it is not tack on the world on to 4e, but to design a new game to go with the setting.

The more I read threads like this, the more I come to realize that Birthright is unique in its own way. To use Birthright as intended, you need a new game system to handle the rules. I suggest we stick with 3e, or better yet, look at other game systems to design a better game. Birthright can be made to fit 4e, but since I don't have 4e but have some understanding of its design principles -- 4e and Birthright can not fit without some redesign of one or the other.

Yeah, I guess I won't be donating/burning my 2ed books in a whyle... The original 2ed was far from perfect, but I've always felt some security in being able to go back to a printed rule.

To get back to the Class/Regency proposal: I would try to fit the 4ed classes into full/half regency -- and NOT create new ruling classes; Imagine "new" players, who conceivably know nothing other than 4ed: They would probably have an easier learning-curve if they had direct translation of their favorite class/character. The best thing we can do is make Birthright accessible; and make it simple...

"I always knew that my dwarven warlord had blue blood -- I just never expected to see him ruling the country!"
"Careful, young blood-rock, you may soon find that resting from dungeon-crawling is as eventful and equaly challenging of an adventure!"
"How so Master Jan? My dwarf need two weeks of restand he'll be back underground as soon as..."
"Well, it so turns out that your domain has a Radom Event; and he'll have to trouble with demands from local merchants..."
(...)

AndrewTall
12-22-2008, 04:36 PM
The problem with avoiding non-adventure classes is that the 4e player needs to redesign their character plan completely to add the Br elements, instead of a simple add-on for domain play only they need to consider trade-offs in feats and abilities taken which means a geometric rather than arithmetic increase in complexity. Limited-write up ruling classes which have no impact on combat-play are simple by comparison, any complexity added will be minor as the choices will be fewer in number than trying to reverse engineer the existing classes.

The trouble with the 'base it on class' approach is that is makes a sweeping assumption that rulership is effective based on the particularly class, and likely the level. 3e's skill based system was far superior to 2e in that regard if marginally more complicated. Why should a fighter who has never commanded men be better than a noble at generalship simply because the fighter has spent 2 years killing trolls? Using the existing level system for rulership forces all NPCs to have significant adventure level expertise and that indicates a bizarre world build - just how many ruins / goblin raiders are there out there? I'd say that the simplicity drive is overdone - players who can't handle tracking a few extra feats/skills certainly can't hope to track dozens of NPCs and political interactions so they wont play anyway.


I'd prefer, if building a system, that we make it completely independent of the system - I don't see 4e lasting to be frank, and certainly it is heading in the wrong perspective from a BR perspective.

The work is surely not that complicated:
* List of skills for each holding
* List of feats to affect bloodline and holding ability
* Basic system for skill and feat progression.
* Alternate powers at adventure level for each bloodline - optional if you want an adventure level impact of bloodline only.

I'd personally like to see a wholesale expansion to provide a rules basis for story and simulationist (i.e. role not roll) play in 4e, but that's a bit more ambitious and I know that some people see that sort of play as old fashioned and irrelevant :(

dundjinnmasta
12-22-2008, 08:01 PM
4e will last as long as 3e/3.5e did, there is no doubt in my mind. The system is simply more powerful then the older systems ever were and it has potential for so much but for those that don't give it a chance it is a moot point.

As far as 4e Simulationist go there just isn't much but there are some simple rules here or there. The biggest that I know of is the Advanced Player's Guide by Expeditious Retreat Press that makes a Crafting System that is very similiar to the Ritual System. The Adventure's Vault has an alchemy system that is based on the Ritual System.

The new 4e multi-class only rules are very similiar to Kits from 2e and is very powerful in creating new optional things. The first of the multiclass classes were the Spellscarred from the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide and as I stated before there is an Feudal Lord: Nobles pdf on RPGNOW that is the same as the Spellscarred and I believe could even be used stock for a "Scion" class for BR with their "Bloodline" abilities.

cyrano24100
12-28-2008, 02:13 AM
The problem with avoiding non-adventure classes is that the 4e player needs to redesign their character plan completely to add the Br elements (...)
Agreed; it would be bad for them to re-design: we just need a "small" add-on. Here is the current use case: I co-DM a group of guys playing 4ED: they ALREADY have characters (we're in our fourth game, and some have switched, but others are sticking to theres -- and you know how emotional people get about changing THEIR character). My intent would be to slowly lead them into a BR like setting/game (most likely based on Narnia) each would have holdings; some of them are familiar with BR mechanics others not! Ideally all I'd do a series of some sort of adventures for them to "learn" the ropes (Leadership/Administration skills mainly, but I can already imagine warfare and diplomacy being in the cards...)
Sure, someone "born" into the role of a sovereign could probably be of a "Noble" class (if we go with the new class idea), or even a Warlord-based-general-kit (if we go with new class-available skill sets).



(...)
Limited-write up ruling classes which have no impact on combat-play are simple by comparison, any complexity added will be minor as the choices will be fewer in number than trying to reverse engineer the existing classes (...)
So essentially I could go to them and offer that they start a second "noble/ruler class" (leaving the problem of being a scion/blooded asside) - But then I know some of my guys are going to be fumming about wasting time on multi-classing. I know it's a poor excuse; I think I might as well just "give" them a bloodline, and bloodline-based skills (that had been something I had used a long time ago): since bloodline may increase with awesome deeds so could they "learn" administration etc... Then only the Full/Half regency thing would be in question;and that can simply be aligned on class.
Again, you guys can say I'm REALLY over-simplifying, but in order to isolate the BR-based skills, using the bloodline as the basis makes sense.

"Master Jan, Now that my dwarf has received the gift of Azrai; I wish for him to establish a fief in the northern hills; so that he may spy upon the goings-on at Caer Paravel!"
"Indeed, if you so wish, he has learned new skills in leading the black dwarves away from danger; he is now a skilled leader. But his bloodline is still weak, and he will need to be stronger in order to master the workings of administration which are critical to ruling over a strong realm!"
"Fear not Master Jan... This is only the start!"

AndrewTall
12-28-2008, 11:10 AM
Since the non adventure class would have no adventure impact - just non-adventure skills and feats, then it shouldn't be a 'wasted' level at all - it shouldn't cost xp or affect future xp gains like an adventurer class would. The simple way is to say 'every time you level up your adventurer class, you also level up in a ruler class.' (basically a gestalt class approach, but less munchkin-y as the classes don't overlap)

However as the non-adventure 'class' is just skills, feats, and maybe abilities, I'd avoid levels entirely. I'd either give skill points/feats directly at DM whim, or give them character points to buy skills/feats/etc from the non-adventure list. If they really wanted to buy non-adventure stuff with xp aI'd try to figure out a fair conversion, or more likely, wing it.

You could give out character points either when they level up, or based on roleplaying, story telling, success in domain level play, etc.

The idea should be to minimise book-keeping and the need to consider trade-offs. Since non-adventure skills would be, roughly, a skill for each holding type (or at most 2), craft/profession skills, etc, etc (basically the old non-weapon proficiency type stuff) then it shouldn't take much book keeping.

Arentak
01-06-2009, 04:19 PM
You could go with Power Source rather than class?

Martial favour Law and Guild.
Divine favour Law and Temple.
Arcane favour Source.

Or by Power Source AND Role

Controller (source type) Favored (+2 on create/contest/rule)
Striker Guild Regency Collection Full
Tank (source type) Favored (+2 on create/contest/rule)
Leader (source type) Favored (+2 on create/contest/rule)

Martial Law Regency Collection Full
Divine Temple Regency Collection Full
Arcane Source Regency Collection Full

So, for instance, a cleric would get Temple Full, and Temple Favored, while a Warlord would get Law Full and Law Favored, whereas a Rogue would get Law Full and Guild Full(but neither favored).

Its kind of generic, but I suppose it works as well as class-specific regency collection. I like class specific, because you can do things like say "Rogues and Rangers rule their holdings differently".

Arentak
01-06-2009, 04:25 PM
In this system, whether as I OP'ed or as some others have suggested, the idea is that Class determines only which type of regent you are, not really how good you are doing things. In fact, if you take out the feat, there's at most a very modest bonus to a single holding type for some classes, thus your gameplay effectiveness is based more on rolls and which actions you take then what kind of optimizing crap you can squeeze onto your char sheet.

In the 3.5 version, it was disgustingly easy to be a regent getting full rp from all sources. The 3.5 spirit of "lets make everything easy to optimize, so a poor char is 1/10th as good as a well-thought out one", where the game was won or lost based on what made it onto your sheet rather then what you did in the game is best left behind us.

Lets let your char sheet be a very, very minor determinant of your game play, other then what type of domain you control.

Pabloj
03-18-2009, 12:19 AM
The more I think about it, the more I believe we must keep Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities completely separated from the combat/adventuring system, specially the levels of the chars. In fact, I believe we should aim at creating a system for Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities elements that go beyond 4th edition, but are inseparable from D&D itself. Below are the main reasons:

Futureproofing: there is no way we can know how powers, feats, classes we develop will work or not with D&D, given that it will continue to produce more material: more classes, races, powers, etc. In fact, in a few years we will have D&D 4.5, and after that, D&D 5.0. No doubt these will change dramatically how the adventuring and combat system works, but no doubt will keep some core D&D elements: Classes, Races, 1-18 (or something) attributes, skills like Diplomacy, Bluff, etc. I strongly believe that we must focus on this milestones, drawing inspiration from the original 2dn edition setting, but evolving the Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities so they will be much more simple to integrate and update regardless how the combat rules work.

Player Oriented: The characters should choose to focus on how they rule their Domains and specialize all they want, but not at the expense of their adventuring life. This is both more fun (generally speaking), makes creating NPCs regents a piece of cake (just choose a monster from the MM, like the Lvl 4 Human Wizard, apply the Domain rules, ready to go). Also, It lets you portray the classic young lvl 1 prince with very strong lineage seamlessly, or makes no impact in having bloodied and non bloodied characters on a party (mechanic and power wise)

Simple: It will be much more simple to design a standalone Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities system, that is consistent, simple and fun into itself (while retaining things like Bloodlines, which make defines the setting) than making sure its balanced, goes well with Core and Supplemental D&D Material.

Just my 2 cents here.

The incredible, edible Phil
04-24-2009, 03:54 PM
In regards to certain criticisms of the BRCS 3.0/3.5 skill system:

The skill system was a good idea but it suffered in one respect of implementation: Too much emphasis on skills.

I.e. 5 ranks of a skill gave you a +1 synergy bonus, with no cap.

This is compounded by the fact that even when taking into account cross-class penalties, certain classes ended up having much more skill points. Particularly when comparing the extremes of say the Fighter vs Rogue.

Furthermore, the addition of 3 skills that had some overlap between other skills and/or abilities.


This could have been scaled down slightly to simply be 5 ranks = standard +2 synergy bonus. Now you might argue "But Phil, then what is the point of having more than 5 ranks?" Well for starters, the Master X feats all require 9 skill ranks; furthermore random event as well as battle resolution is based around a skill check + character (in)actions. Thus the emphasis turns from "you need lots of skill points to be competent as a ruler" to "you need lots of skill points to be an exemplary ruler"

Another way to make it more accessible to certain classes is to modify the war checks like the Feint ability. I.E. include Base Attack bonus to the roll to favor the more martial classes (Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian primarily, cleric, druid, rogue, bard secondarily, sorceror and wizard at bottom). This is something that was suggested in the Complete Warrior book where Sense Motive skill was the "strategy skill".

A good deal of the description of the "lead" skill falls under Diplomacy but also the leadership Feat. You could always include the leadership modifier to such checks if necessary. Rogues tend to not want to necessarily publicize their deeds and the classes based around feats (fighter, lesser extent wizard or classes that gain bonus feats during class progression like ranger) are then mechanically more pre-disposed to take the leadership feat. Particularly as the scion class/template grants a bonus to the leadership score and most of anuire's strong bloodlines are in the hands of more martial like rulers.

Thus, characters wouldn't feel quite as compelled to necessarily multiclass as deeply to maximize their potential rulership related skills. Of course, there is nothing stopping a player to take Noble class or rogue levels and so forth to maximize their rulership. But how is that different from a player that twinks out their character to be a melee beast?


As for the debate between how to proceed with domain level play in 4th edition, let's look back at how 2e functioned as our "base" mechanics.

-RP gain was based on class.
-Specialized proficiencies were in the old "NWP" class groups to limit "cross-class" NWPs.
-Class based bonus abilities towards rulership (free espionage, agitate, etc)

Now, some of the NWPs in 2e were incredibly powerful. Intrigue for example was essentially a free pro-active espionage action with little cost.

So, analyzing this demonstrates that what truly differentiated a Fighter and a Fighter-regent was that the latter controlled a domain and was more likely, albeit it not necessarily, to possess 1 or more NWPs related to maximizing their rulership potential, and a bloodline.

That being said, I think the ideal situation would be to have a scion template that adds specific rulership skills to the (non) player character, in addition to access to the bloodline abilities. Furthermore, the template may give blood abilities or access to blood abilities the character can pick each time they gain a level (say at level 1 you pick animal affinity (minor), and at level 6 you decide to take animal affinity (major) instead of the abilities listed in the PHB for your class). Abilities would scale based on your level just like racial abilities.

Additionally the same could be done for special domain actions. However, we would have to add an additional class of ability (instead of at will, encounter, daily) that would be "domain" and that you gain abilities every few levels accordingly, even if they are just +1 to a roll.


One of the arguments I saw earlier was in regards to the BRCS being made skill based to better port to other campaign settings. Now, I'm not sure what are the limits of WotC "licensing" of the Birthright game to the community, but you have to come to a decision: Either make it a BIRTHRIGHT game mechanic and focus on expanding the SETTING, or make a generic game mechanic system, and use the setting as an example of implementation. Personally, I think the former is a much more interesting use of time.

Sir Tiamat
04-24-2009, 06:12 PM
The more I think about it, the more I believe we must keep Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities completely separated from the combat/adventuring system, specially the levels of the chars. In fact, I believe we should aim at creating a system for Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities elements that go beyond 4th edition, but are inseparable from D&D itself. Below are the main reasons:

Futureproofing: there is no way we can know how powers, feats, classes we develop will work or not with D&D, given that it will continue to produce more material: more classes, races, powers, etc. In fact, in a few years we will have D&D 4.5, and after that, D&D 5.0. No doubt these will change dramatically how the adventuring and combat system works, but no doubt will keep some core D&D elements: Classes, Races, 1-18 (or something) attributes, skills like Diplomacy, Bluff, etc. I strongly believe that we must focus on this milestones, drawing inspiration from the original 2dn edition setting, but evolving the Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities so they will be much more simple to integrate and update regardless how the combat rules work.

Player Oriented: The characters should choose to focus on how they rule their Domains and specialize all they want, but not at the expense of their adventuring life. This is both more fun (generally speaking), makes creating NPCs regents a piece of cake (just choose a monster from the MM, like the Lvl 4 Human Wizard, apply the Domain rules, ready to go). Also, It lets you portray the classic young lvl 1 prince with very strong lineage seamlessly, or makes no impact in having bloodied and non bloodied characters on a party (mechanic and power wise)

Simple: It will be much more simple to design a standalone Regency, Domain play and Blood abilities system, that is consistent, simple and fun into itself (while retaining things like Bloodlines, which make defines the setting) than making sure its balanced, goes well with Core and Supplemental D&D Material.

Just my 2 cents here.


I think your 2 cents are worth their value in gold.

Nurydian
07-15-2009, 03:41 AM
I have been working on my own 4E Conversion rules on the DnDi site and here is what I have so far. I feel more ppl here will give me feed back.

Martial Access to Law
Divine Access to Temple
Psionic Access to Temple
Arcane Access to Source
Primal Access to Source

Defender Access to Law and Temple
Striker Access to Law and Guild
Controller Access to Temple and Guild
Leader Access to Law, Temple, and Guild

Province is Access by All

But after that I give players 2.5 pts to spend on the different Access. Person can spend 0 pts, 0.5 pts, 1.0 pts, and 1.5 pts to an Access. Example as followed.

A Paladin has access to Province, Law, and Temple; he spends 1pt to Province, 1pt to Law, and 0.5pt to Temple. That means that he will gain full regency from Provinces and Law holdings and half regency from Temples.

A Fighter might do 1pt to Province and 1.5pt to Law and get full regency from Provinces and full plus half regency from Law.

A Warden (using a Native American style play) might do 1pt Law (for his warrior tribe) and 1.5pt Source (for his connection to the Primal Spirits of the Land).

A Swordmage could do 0.5pt Province, 0.5pt Law, 1pt Temple (Wizard School), and 0.5pt Source.

As for Multiclass and Hybrid class, pt assignment should be limited. Access from Multiclass is limited to 0.5 pts. Access from Hybrid class is limited to 1.0 pts. Examples as followed.

Fighter who multiclass as a wizard can only assign 0.5pts to guild or source.

Fighter/Wizard Hybrid class is limited to 1.0pts to Law, Guild, and Source. Temple and Province is access by both so they can be 1.5pts.

Players should not be able to make Holdings in areas that they have no points in (and therefore gain no regency from). I would allow a player to change pt arangement by way of Retraining.

I also want to add my vision of a Temple Holding is one of Training and Learning. That could be a training facility for warriors or a wizard's school; not just a place for ppl to pray to gods. Case in point, all of the Cuiraecen temples seem to me to be all about training warriors, its the Haelyn temples are the real bible thumpers.
As for Bloodline Strength, I am thinking of setting min/max base on character tier.
At heroic tier, Min of Tainted/5, Max of Major/40.
At paragon tier, Min of Minor/15, Max of Great/60.
At epic tier, Min of Major/35, Max of True/90.
I am thinking of a starting bloodline of Minor/20.

irdeggman
07-15-2009, 11:13 AM
One of the arguments I saw earlier was in regards to the BRCS being made skill based to better port to other campaign settings. Now, I'm not sure what are the limits of WotC "licensing" of the Birthright game to the community, but you have to come to a decision: Either make it a BIRTHRIGHT game mechanic and focus on expanding the SETTING, or make a generic game mechanic system, and use the setting as an example of implementation. Personally, I think the former is a much more interesting use of time.

Now here is where the community at large differs.

There is a measureable group that considers BR to actually be the domain system and not the "setting".

There are a lot of people that play the game as a mix of Forgotten Realms and BR blood abilities with no domain level play.

There are a lot of people that only play domain level games (most PbP games focus on domain level play) and some of them have actually moved beyond the "setting".

Personnally I go with the setting and a mix of play styles (both PC level and domain level).

Sir Tiamat
07-16-2009, 12:10 AM
Since the non adventure class would have no adventure impact - just non-adventure skills and feats, then it shouldn't be a 'wasted' level at all - it shouldn't cost xp or affect future xp gains like an adventurer class would. The simple way is to say 'every time you level up your adventurer class, you also level up in a ruler class.' (basically a gestalt class approach, but less munchkin-y as the classes don't overlap)

However as the non-adventure 'class' is just skills, feats, and maybe abilities, I'd avoid levels entirely. I'd either give skill points/feats directly at DM whim, or give them character points to buy skills/feats/etc from the non-adventure list. If they really wanted to buy non-adventure stuff with xp aI'd try to figure out a fair conversion, or more likely, wing it.

You could give out character points either when they level up, or based on roleplaying, story telling, success in domain level play, etc.

The idea should be to minimise book-keeping and the need to consider trade-offs. Since non-adventure skills would be, roughly, a skill for each holding type (or at most 2), craft/profession skills, etc, etc (basically the old non-weapon proficiency type stuff) then it shouldn't take much book keeping.

I will be keeping it short for now and later expand my line of reasoning. The way I see it this second class should be an amalgamate of the character (bloodline & ruling experience) and the domain.

Another principle that I now faver is that every class can go with every domain class, with few prerequisites.

So a fighter or mage could become a guild ruler, or also a source ruler if they had ritual knowledge.

AndrewTall
07-16-2009, 10:01 PM
I am convinced that a seperate "ruling class" is the way to go in 4th edition. As the 4th system provides streamlined combat and balance, we should try to keep it intact and add to it rather than swap out powers.

Any swapping out immediately shifts the balance between PC's that have domains and everyone else - it immediately makes the mixed character weaker than those who don't mix so doesn't seem to follow what little I know of 4e philosophy.


That said, I have begun pondering the subject, whether the "non-dventure classes" or "ruling classes" should perhaps not be tied to the ruling character, but to the domain. In which each domain has "levels" and abilities and of which the nature and level of the ruling character is but a part of its total abilities. We could then tie "domain classes" or better yet domain skills or powers to holding type.

I.e a different class for each domain type? I like the idea, but wonder if we don't just need to have a single class, with different skill/feat choices affecting which domains the ruler is capable with.

Sir Tiamat
07-17-2009, 09:27 AM
Any swapping out immediately shifts the balance between PC's that have domains and everyone else - it immediately makes the mixed character weaker than those who don't mix so doesn't seem to follow what little I know of 4e philosophy.

Right, therefore the "ruling class/domain class" should remain seperate of the adventuring class. Regents should IMO recieve a second class that represents both their skill as ruler as well as the skills of their administration and domain.


I.e a different class for each domain type? I like the idea, but wonder if we don't just need to have a single class, with different skill/feat choices affecting which domains the ruler is capable with.

That would be a good start, create powers for a single ruler class, which would allow regents to specialize in specific holdings. However, eventiallyI would like to see different roles, similar to defender, striker, leader and controller.

bbeau22
07-21-2009, 02:13 PM
My only thought on this is that adding a layer of rules on top of an already set of rules will not get new players and interrupt the flow of a game.

For example is the current 3.5 style system. Just imagine trying to layer the current system on top of 4th edition adventuring rules.

What I am saying is that the two system at least have a similar look and feel to be somewhat compatible with each other. And if you are creating a similar system, then why not just change the regular rules so everything meshes together.

Simply, it is easier to create a side system to attempt to work with other game styles than it is to change Birthright to fit those other games.

karolusb
08-19-2009, 07:13 PM
I'd prefer, if building a system, that we make it completely independent of the system - I don't see 4e lasting to be frank, and certainly it is heading in the wrong perspective from a BR perspective.



4th ed seems very compatible with BR to me. But I never played any 3rd ed BR, so I could have a skewed perspective.

Do we need a different skill for each type of holding? I certainly don't remember that from second ed, nor do I think it is necessary for 4th.

Class as the basis for regency seems solid to me, should someone who has devoted their life to the study of the sword benefit more from forging bonds with soldiers, petty nobles and town guards (Law) or Channeling the unseen power of ancient forest (Source). It not only seems simple but intuitive, if you want to be a 'wizard' regent one would play a wizard (or warlock etc.).

Now there are a lot more classes now, and 2nd ed wasn't exactly balanced in its choices (paladins were simply better than fighters). It should be pretty easy to keep the spirit of birthright, while embracing the balance of 4th ed.

For me I would lean towards 1 primary (full) and 1 secondary (half) for everyone (or for some classes 3 secondary). I could see making the full class based and the second background based, but could just as easily see each class as having a list. I would not change the fact that everyone gets full benefit from province.

I might have some actions described by adventures (as recommended in the original material) which could involve skill challenges or straight RP (diplomacy or trade missions that the group wants to RP out for example) but others would simply be a roll as described in the original regency rules.

I could see an extra skill or two rounding out the list nicely, but I hardly think you need to add dozens of custom skills each of which has a very narrow application. Trading seems conspicuously absent, I could see a logic for engineering (though it seems more like an NPC skill in most cases), etc. Since these weren't essential to the original rules, it hardly seems necessary to condemn 4th edition for not having them.

Thelandrin
08-20-2009, 02:57 PM
Well, I can't stand the horribly clustered skills or the lack thereof in 4th Ed, but I would use Diplomacy for laws, Religion for Temples, Streetwise for Guilds and Arcana for sources. Provinces would be usable by anyone with them.

bbeau22
08-21-2009, 12:18 AM
The problem I had with skills in 3.5 are the lack of them for some classes. You are telling me that a fighter with an average intelligence is only capable of doing two skills well in his career.

So if a fighter decided to be good at swimming and climbing ... he is almost incapable of intimidation, or spot checking. He could split up his skills among different abilities, but 3.5 rewards stacking. Being bad at lots of skills is far worse than being very good at two skills and terrible at the rest.

4th edition solves this problem. Might not be to your liking ... but at least it does something about it. Allows characters to be a part of not just combat but role-playing and skills checks.

-BB

Thelandrin
08-21-2009, 01:17 AM
Well, I always thought that being virtuosos at two skills was pointless, so I always sprinkled my skill points liberally around. Of course, I usually had an Int modifier and was often human, so that helped. Besides which, you never need any skill points to role-play properly - suggesting that 4th Ed allows you to roleplay where 3rd Ed didn't is simply disingenuous.

irdeggman
08-21-2009, 10:55 AM
The problem I had with skills in 3.5 are the lack of them for some classes. You are telling me that a fighter with an average intelligence is only capable of doing two skills well in his career.

So if a fighter decided to be good at swimming and climbing ... he is almost incapable of intimidation, or spot checking. He could split up his skills among different abilities, but 3.5 rewards stacking. Being bad at lots of skills is far worse than being very good at two skills and terrible at the rest.

4th edition solves this problem. Might not be to your liking ... but at least it does something about it. Allows characters to be a part of not just combat but role-playing and skills checks.

-BB


2nd ed was worse.

Non-weapon proficiencies were almost impossible to improve (basically it took using a non-weapon prof slot to increase the chance by 1 and you couldn't (without magic) change your relevant ability score to make it any easier.

BR had many "key" non-weapon proficiencies which only compounded this issue.

IMO 4th "simplified" the system to the point where skills are mostly meaningless.

While I agree you almost never had enough skill points to get what you wanted in 3.5 the system was designed for tailoring your character.

Basically you could be really, really good a few things but not so good at others - or you could be a renassance man and dabble at many things but never be really good at any of them. You know - sort of paralleling "real life" in this aspect.

Also in 3.5 there are only a handful of skills that can't be attempted "untrained" - even Knowledge skills can be attempted "untrained" although only "commonly known" things will be "remembered".

Skill focus (among other feats) can be taken to make a character "better" at certain things and fighters have bonus feats which frees up the level based feats for such "role-playng" feats.

And nothing says you have to make a skill check all of the time - so it is possible to "role-play" certain things, and there are even rules for substituting different relevant ability scores for skills (like intelligence for gather information when it is library based instead of interaction based) - so nothing prevents substituting Str for Intimdation checks instead of Charisma depending on the circumstances.

4th ed does a lot of things to improve the flow of the game, but the way it handles skills overall is not one of them IMO.

bbeau22
08-21-2009, 02:19 PM
Well, I always thought that being virtuosos at two skills was pointless, so I always sprinkled my skill points liberally around. Of course, I usually had an Int modifier and was often human, so that helped. Besides which, you never need any skill points to role-play properly - suggesting that 4th Ed allows you to roleplay where 3rd Ed didn't is simply disingenuous.

This is going to be long so I apologize in advance.


I certainly didn't mean to imply that you can role-play better in 4th edition better than 3.5, just that I do think it is an improvement in the skill system. Possibly still flawed, but never the less better.

I have always believed that characters could and should be competant in far more skills than they were allowed in 3.5. How is someone that choose the life of sneaking around and stealing be able to be more competant in a more wide range of skills including non-rogue skills? Other classes really had no choice other than giving themselves a high intellgence or use the small amount of feats they get (other than warriors.)

What I believe ended up happening is they went ahead and linked rogue abilities to skills (which might have been a mistake.) Because there was lots of skills to be had they loaded up rogues with skill points so they can build their abilities how they like. Now to keep them balanced with other classes they had to give everyone else far less skill points.

Now I agree 4th edition might have gone too far, but I still like it more. 1/2 your character level in all non-trained skills as your ranking. +5 if you are trained.

I think we are used to using skill points to tailor your character, but in 4th edition they are feats. Big difference to deal with.

Now if you want to be ok at a bunch of skills you can use feats to keep gaining training in skills you typically don't have as a class. If you want to be really good at a few skills you can use feats to raise your current trained skills higher. At least you have a baseline ability in all skills so you can be part of the conversation.

Perhaps this is just a personal belief, but I hated role-playing a skill well that I had no skill points in. If I had a 0 for diplomacy, it didn't make sense for me to start acting very diplomatic just because I am able to role-play it out properly. Same goes to intimidate or bluff. Now that you have at least a minimum score in those abilities it is far easier to be a part of it.

-BB

Vicente
08-21-2009, 06:29 PM
Now I agree 4th edition might have gone too far, but I still like it more. 1/2 your character level in all non-trained skills as your ranking. +5 if you are trained.


I think this is the important part. Compared to 3e, giving that 1/2 character level makes things seem that characters are too good with skills, and maybe they are if they were 3e characters, but in 4e it doesn't work like that. If you make a skill check where a well trained person is expected to succeed like 50% of the times, a non-trained one will succeed only 25%, enough to allow that person to participate in a group action (like a skill challenge) but not enough to be confortable using it (it's more like a last resort or only if players know the failure is not going to be a big mess).

That 1/2 skill level represents a minimum level of proficiency that will allow the 4e character to be always minimally useful in group actions or when things aren't tailored to his specializations. Or at least that's the idea behind it in my oppinion.

AndrewTall
08-24-2009, 06:48 PM
A lot depends on how you used skills - if maxing out was built into DC's then an average PC would only have 4-5 usable skills - 2+human+ int. That said 4-5 is a fair number. Anyone interested in skills would just dip into a level of expert/etc or choose high int anyway...

Even with rulers=2 skills then as a DM if you figured 'good, probably suceed at most stuff' at around 2/3 then the flexibility of the system allowed the choice of how good to be refined very well - it all depends on how the DM builds the DC's, expectations of the campaign, etc. Personally I built in arithmetic cost increases to gaining points and the like and roughed out ad hoc bonus form support - even unskilled to include other pc's.

4e has gone back to nwp's in many ways, a small number of skills (2 if I read it correctly) with digital results; 3e was analogue, far from perfect, but significantly better than 2 or 4 e if skills were seen as the key aspect of a character.

bbeau22
08-26-2009, 04:57 PM
A lot depends on how you used skills - if maxing out was built into DC's then an average PC would only have 4-5 usable skills - 2+human+ int. That said 4-5 is a fair number. Anyone interested in skills would just dip into a level of expert/etc or choose high int anyway...

Even with rulers=2 skills then as a DM if you figured 'good, probably suceed at most stuff' at around 2/3 then the flexibility of the system allowed the choice of how good to be refined very well - it all depends on how the DM builds the DC's, expectations of the campaign, etc. Personally I built in arithmetic cost increases to gaining points and the like and roughed out ad hoc bonus form support - even unskilled to include other pc's.

4e has gone back to nwp's in many ways, a small number of skills (2 if I read it correctly) with digital results; 3e was analogue, far from perfect, but significantly better than 2 or 4 e if skills were seen as the key aspect of a character.

I think 4-5 is a good number of skills, but I certainly don't think that is the normal ... save for perhaps a human Birthright domain ruler style fighter. I certainly was talking more of an adventure style fighter that doesn't have to be human. I think 3 maybe 4 is more typical. To get higher, would probably mean a reduction in your fighters ability to fight too much.

As with DC's, many adventure paths that are out there have built in DC's already for different types of information and incounters. Of course, as a DM you can lower those DC's for the group, but that doesn't really solve the overall problem of lack of skills for most characters.

Also it becomes a problem with making some DC's still challenging for those with the proper skill. A DC 20 is typically a hard check but which could be automatic for a skilled character and nearly impossible for an unskilled. The difference becomes greater and greater as they level up because 0 in a skill never grows

I hear what you are saying about analog vs. digital, but I wouldn't go that far. That would be saying that once you get a skill you are 100% successful all of the time if you have the skill, which isn't the case. Not to mention that skills can be adjusted through feats to make you better, so they aren't locked in one spot.

I think the lowest amount of skills is 3 not 2 for 4th edition, which would be a boost for many classes like Wizard, Priest, Fighter. You can also use the many more feats you get in 4th edition to gain access to a new skill and add it to your trained.

What I really like is that as your character grows in level and gets more powerful he gets better at skills, even ones that haven't been focused on, which I think makes a lot sense. They are still inferior to other adventurers that have them trained and have spent feats to improve them either further, but it keeps it so you can be involved.

I just see the limitation as a bit too harsh. I use the fighter class as a clear example but priests have the same problem. Wizards are in a little better shape because Intellegnce is a primary start for many other reasons and they get the bonus skills for a high int.

I have been reading the pathfinder 3.75 edition and they try to tackle this also. They combine some skills so there are less skills to take which helps (4th edition does this also.) and give extra skill points or extra hp as a base set-up.

-BB

pongidae
11-09-2009, 03:54 PM
I would think this could be a pretty easy way to incorporate the additional skills/powers and wouldn't have to change the adventurer vs regent balance or focus. The character would "lose" use of Utility powers but there really is a life/time balance that's inherently with that as well.
In this way the players aren't forced to multi-class.
I haven't put much thought into implementation yet but thought I would throw it out there in case it might inspire someone else as well.