View Full Version : The quick and dirty guide to playing Birthright characters using 4e.

09-15-2009, 09:57 PM
Cross posted from the Bright group, just a few thoughts about getting a game started without a lengthy conversion document. :rolleyes:

Disclaimer - This article/blog thingy introduces no new rules and does not delve into the wonderful world of rulership. Rather it a set of ideas of what you can use to get your 4e adventure feeling like its set in Cerilia without reinventing the wheel.

Do you ever check out those huge conversions people do of their favourite settings? 150 pages on the merits of which ability suits a Jándárián Quadling best and how his ingrown toenail power is best represented using Euclidian maths?

It's pretty damn daunting and sometimes you just want to run an adventure in your favourite setting, so here are my thoughts, to inspire (or deride if you wish), on how to eyeball a Birthright game using the 4e books. At this time I'm just on about creating characters, since if we're honest they are in large the focus of our games.

Ok a quick guide without justification or commentary.

Birthright / 4e

Human / Human

Dwarf / Dwarf

Half-Elf / Half-elf

Halfling / Halfling

Sidhelien / Eladrin

And now for something completely different (obligatory Monty Python reference).

Human: In the core box set our humans are split into five sub races with different bonuses and penalties.

Race Bonus / Penalty

Anuirean Wis / Dex

Brecht Dex / Wis

Khinasi Int / Con

Rjurik Con / Cha

Vos Str / Int

For your player's 4e adaptation simply encourage them to apply the human bonus to the bonus attribute listed above, this can lead to some characters choices being less than 135% optimal but does help emphasise the difference between the different cultures and promote iconic racial character choices. I also suggest that if it's not going to interfere with their characters class choice they consider having the penalty attribute being the lowest.

Additionally if you have enough prep time before your game list some suggested backgrounds for each culture to help your players along, here are some quick suggestions.

Anuirean - Urban / Noble / Military / Ancestral Holdings

Brecht - Poor / Wealthy / Mariner / Merchant

Khinasi - Desert / Blessed / Artisan / Scholar

Rjurik - Forest / Mountains / Omen / Military

Vos - Noble / Prophect / Criminal

For blooded characters look at Heir of the Forgotten Gods

These backgrounds are all in the PHB2 and not all a perfect fit but given enough prep time I encourage the creation of some custom ones.

Dwarf: If you need help with this one you are in trouble. The durable nature of Cerilian dwarves is well represented by the ability to use 2nd wind as a minor action. One thing that you may want to eyeball however is changing feats mentioning giants to Orog/Ogre. Otherwise I'm of the opinion that the designers have done your work for you.

Half-Elf: Like the dwarf this race doesn't take any great leaps of imagination to match up with its BR equivalent.

Halfling: The simplest method is to leave the Halfling alone and explain their Shadow World teleportation powers as rituals any member of the race can learn, lazy but easy. If that's not enough for you or your players consider trading the Shadow Jaunt (Shadar Kai) ability for Second Chance and allow careful selection of certain Shadar Kai feats that enhance this ability. Also swapping perception and stealth as the skill bonuses may better represent the nature of our Shadow World exiles.

For the Shadow World obsessed, racial rituals resembling the arcane find the path ritual offer the building blocks to use Shadow World travel.

Sidhelien: Conceptually the elves of Birthright are fey creatures and masters of arcane magic, sound familiar? Whilst we lose a little of the elfish elements we're used to, losing the arcane is in my opinion a far bigger deal and a departure from the settings history. So Eladrin it is.

If concerned about abilities such as fey step consider a suggestion from the forums and have fey step be a simple spell taught to the Sidhelien as children, one that they can utilise due to an inherent connection they have with mebhaigl. Consider making available any Elf feats they qualify for particularly light step.

New Races: I'm adding nothing in relation to races alien to the setting but would point the interested to the wotc Birthright forum where I and others have discussed this. Consider carefully before adding a new race, presumably your playing Birthright because you like the setting. Tone and feel can be seriously impacted by introducing foreign elements.

Many of the classes fit into the setting without the need for additional adaptation. The barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue & warlord all classes you can find in Cerilia after some fashion.

Depending on how much of a purist you are consider discussing racial restrictions with your players, for example in the original box set wizards are blooded humans or of elvish blood, a consideration that you need to discuss with your group.




Priest (Cleric)


Magician (more on this later)

Thief (Rogue)


These classes are all mentioned in the campaign box and easily matched up to their new forms in 4e, for the most part your not going to have a lot of work to do fitting them in so let's move on. For new classes that you want to use I suggest a fit it in attitude, the mechanics might be different but there is no reason not to treat an invoker as a priest or a sorcerer as a wizard. Here are some other quick thoughts.

Avenger: Every faith needs that guy! As common as the paladin or as rare as a dwarven pacifist, this class fits best when part of a militant faith.

Druid: Priests of Erik (Common amongst the Rjurik)

Invoker: Found most commonly among the clergy of Avani and Ruornil who value knowledge and magic.

Shaman: Worshippers of Erik or Kriesha. Found amongst the Vos or more barbaric Rjurik.

Sorcerer: With the blood of gods, elves & demons floating around the population would it be really surprising if some of them started to demonstrate abilities beyond their fellow man? Or perhaps it's all just another form of wizardry.

Warden: Paladins of Erik. Champions of the Rjurik Highlands. Guardians of Sielwode/Tuarhievel. All possibilities that can be expanded on.

Warlock: Men and elves with magic at their fingertips, the blood of dead gods in their veins or the power of new gods on their lips. Who wouldn't be jealous? Don't linger at crossroads and be careful what you sign.

The biggest trick to adding a class is to make sure that it suits your game, don't be afraid to say no but equally be imaginative and find a reason to say yes.

The magician (no I didn't forget) is most easily represented by taking the ritual caster feat. Not as powerful as the arcane classes I would suggest further limiting his options amongst the ritual list to what you feels best represents the class.

Ok with bloodlines your either going to have to leave them out or be a little open minded. For starters I strongly recommend allowing the players to decide at level one whether they have a tainted bloodline or not. Mechanically this is just a declaration and opens the wizard class to non-elfs.

Now on to stronger bloodlines and blood abilities........I have NOTHING for you......seriously! I said at the start that I was adding no homebrew mechanical systems and I meant it, your strongest avenue for a player who wants a bloodline is to roleplay and bend the rules a little bit. Many of the blood abilities can be represented by flavouring feats using skills or allowing some choices that bend the rules. For example a player fancies changing into a lion ala the Anduiras bloodline let him have Initiate of the old faith, but what about summoning one? Give him spirit talker. The trick is not being closed to possibility and finding what your looking for in the existing rules.

Alternatively consider using the dragonmarks, spellscarred multi-class or the deva/dhampir heritage feats or all three. Be creative!

Ok last but not least, for our "priests" we need gods. Here is a quick god A = god B chart, it's superficial but any feats, paths & powers belonging to a god in column A shouldn't be totally out there for column B.

Haelyn Bahamut

Erik Silvanus

Cuiracen Kord

Nesirie Melora

Ruornil Corellon

Sera Avandra

Avani Ioun

Eloele Sehanine

Laerme Sune


Belinik Grumsh

Moradin Moradin. Duh!

Please add to the ideas above and let's get a short brainstorming going to help our fellow BR fans who perhaps like myself are daunted by or lack the time for a heavy duty conversion.

09-20-2009, 07:30 AM
Wow a lot of views without a single comment or thought. Disappointing.

09-20-2009, 08:31 AM
Well, some of us (namely "me") don't do D&D4e so we find it hard to say anything.

But it certainly seem like you have tried to find a simple way to fit Birthright into D&D 4e, rather than D&D 4e into Birthright. I am glad you didn't try to incorporate new races.


09-20-2009, 09:39 AM
Anything for a fellow Brit, Arawn :)

I don't play 4E and I think that most of it is crap frankly, so I didn't comment previously, but from what I was able to understand, I think you've done a good job!

09-20-2009, 11:06 AM
Thanks for replying guys :o, I wasn't really fishing for compliments though.

Thing is I'm a Birthright fan first and 4e second, but it occurred to me the other day that a lot of the conversions and suggestions are a little daunting or adapted to personal taste for a casual player.

I'm trying to knock together a really simple set of cheat sheets that someone with the 4e books and the Birthright box set can take a glance at and run a game without learning a whole new set of rules. I'll be doing the same for the Regency rules which I'm determined can be run using the 2e box set with a simple 4e cheat sheet.

The thing is my mind wanders all over the track so I need people who are almost as big a fans of BR (and 4e fans of course) as me :p to run a critical eye over these early notes.

09-21-2009, 05:37 PM
the KISS approach does have a lot to say for it, certainly as an introduction to the setting - it would cut down on the learning curve.

That said while I'm not into 4e (certainly not until I catch up on my 3e reading) I appreciate the effort that Dunjinmaster, Tim P, etc are putting in to make a 'real McCoy' 4e conversion for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc campaigns where hopefully players want something with a stronger taste.

10-27-2014, 06:36 AM
Wow a lot of views without a single comment or thought. Disappointing.


10-27-2014, 11:16 AM
If you find this thread lacking after five years, then you are free to add to it. Otherwise, you are contributing to the disappointing lack of thoughts and comment.