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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 11:24 AM 2/22/2003 -0600, Lord Shade wrote in the "Re: [BIRTHRIGHT]
    Draft 0.0 Birthright skills and feats" thread:

    >I strongly agree with Michael, IN PRINCIPLE. I hate the fact that you have
    >to be weaker than a normal adventurer in order to be a better regent. 2e
    >Birthright did not have that tradeoff, and "hero-king" was a viable
    >character concept.

    I agree. It`s part of making bloodline an ability score IMO. At first
    blush I think it sounds like a good idea for a 3e conversion but when it
    gets right down to it expressing bloodline as an ability score (and
    attaching it to the point buy method of character generation) has several
    problems, such as:

    1. Bloodlines become expressed in a range from 8-18--which is effectively a
    range of 1-11, a substantial difference in permutations from the original
    bloodline system.

    2. Because of the way bloodline is purchased we lose the lower "tainted"
    bloodline strength.

    3. As you note, spending points on bloodline as an ability score means the
    character "pays" for his bloodline by having lower ability scores in other
    ability scores, meaning that if one were to examine the blooded nobles of
    greater bloodlines, sans that bloodline, they wind up being less impressive
    characters that other non-blooded characters. A character like Darien
    Avan, for example, if generated using this system`s mechanic would be a
    rather anemic guy with a HUGE bloodline. As a result, there are guidelines
    for "great heritage" but if one weren`t expressing bloodline as an ability
    score one`s great heritage is factored into the bloodline.

    4. The ability score mechanic operates in conjunction in many ways with
    other aspects of 3e/D20 which the BR 3e conversion`s bloodline system
    largely ignores. For instance, if the Noble PC class presented in that
    text had more abilities based on bloodline, making that ability score the
    "primary ability score" of the character class it would make more sense to
    express bloodline as an ability score, but since it doesn`t, and since
    other aspects of the game that rely on bloodline (the domain level,
    bloodtheft, etc.) aren`t particularly more reliant upon the ability score
    mechanic, expressing bloodline as an ability score doesn`t have much
    relevance to the rest of the 3e/D20 mechanics.

    5. Using bloodline as an ability score ties it in with the other ability
    score mechanics of 3e so, for instance, a character can now raise his
    bloodline a point every 4 character levels. Now, this is a change that
    makes sense--if bloodline is an ability score. As originally
    conceptualized, however, bloodline was separate from character features
    like levelling up. It was a semi-divine, extraordinary system of powers
    and abilities that interacted primarily with the domain level, but also at
    the adventure level by granting special abilities and to a lesser extent
    with other blooded characters in the sense that they could perform
    bloodtheft on one another. That was it, though. Bloodline represented a
    "higher order" of character features that did not generally interact with
    other, adventure-level game mechanics because it was a bridge between the
    adventure level and the domain level at which a character could become, to
    paraphrase Hamlet, "like a god" in that their divine right to rule was
    embodied by their birthright. If expressing bloodline as an ability score,
    however, it makes sense that one should be able to raise it like any other
    stat as a character levels up--even though that wasn`t the original
    idea. It doesn`t break the system or anything, but it is a substantial
    change in the way the bloodline system works, one that need not necessarily
    be there, and one that IMO reduces the significance of the bloodline (and
    the rest of the setting along with it) by equating one of the fundamental
    aspects of the setting with strength or dexterity.

    There are advantages to expressing bloodline as an ability score, but none
    of them are IMO particularly compelling and often have ambiguous benefits:

    1. A quick and easy connection to ability the score modifier system for use
    when determining things like the DC needed to resist blood abilities.

    Rebuttal: At first this seems like a very necessary mechanic for a 3e
    conversion, but in fact if you go through the list of blood abilities there
    aren`t that many that use the ability score modifier. For those occasions
    when some sort of modifier is necessary, however, there are other ways of
    coming up with one, some of which might actually make more sense. Using
    ability score for bloodline there are modifiers possible in the range of
    +10, which is substantially higher than the typical ability score modifier
    for 3e. Since bloodline is a pretty mercurial stat characters with such
    scores could easily exist, leading to issues of balance.

    2. Expressing bloodline as an ability score allows the DM to balance
    characters and gauge ECL.

    Rebuttal: It does look that way, but in actuality I don`t think it works
    out very well. ECL is better exemplified by a point value based on the
    equivalent of hit dice, BAB, damage or other values that can be equated to
    class features. The ECL numbers presented in the BR 3e Playtest text don`t
    necessarily equate very well to actual character levels. I haven`t seen
    any of the particular math behind those numbers, and such numbers are often
    hazy to begin with, so I could be wrong in that assessment.

    In the spirit of suggesting an alternate rather than merely critiquing the
    material in the conversion, here`s another way of handling bloodline that,
    I think, will be more satisfactory to all parties. It borrows "mechanics"
    from both the original rules and the ability score mechanic. Please bear
    in mind that this is a first draft sort of post.

    Step #1: Roll bloodline strength. Bloodline strength is determined just
    like any other ability score using whatever die roll method (3d6, 4d6
    ignore lowest, etc.) the DM prefers for character generation, he can use
    the point buy method if he likes, though that would result in the loss of
    most low bloodlines. Subtract 2 for a range of 1-16. The result of this
    roll (or points) determine two things. The first is the bloodline strength
    of the character on the table below:

    Score Strength
    1+ Tainted
    4+ Minor
    8+ Major
    12+ Great
    16+ True (This be 18+ with an optional background feat called something
    imaginative like... oh, "Improved Bloodline" or something that gave the PC
    +2 on his bloodline strength score.)

    Step #2. The result is also used to determined bloodline strength
    score. Roll d6 for each point of the "bloodline strength" roll above. A
    bloodline strength roll of 14 on the aforementioned roll means the player
    should roll 14d6 to get his bloodline strength score; a range from 14-84
    with an average of 49. An "average" roll of 9 on the previous bloodline
    strength roll would result in a bloodline score of 9d6, or 9-54 with an
    average of 31 or 32.

    Step #3. Determine bloodline derivation.

    Step #4. Determine blood abilities. Now, I`ve never liked the original
    blood abilities table on p22 of the Rulebook. I would suggest that
    something like this makes much more sense:

    Score Abilities
    1-10 1 minor
    11-20 2 minor
    21-30 1 minor, 1 major
    31-40 2 minor, 1 major
    41-50 2 minor, 2 major
    51-60 2 minor, 1 major, 1 great
    61-70 3 minor, 1 major, 1 great
    71-80 2 minor, 2 major, 1 great
    81-90 3 minor, 2 major, 1 great
    91-100 2 minor, 2 major, 2 great

    This table could be continued indefinitely for those rare characters with a
    bloodline score greater than 100.

    Anyone have thoughts on this?

    Gary

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  2. #2
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    Gary wrote:

    > At 11:24 AM 2/22/2003 -0600, Lord Shade wrote in the "Re: [BIRTHRIGHT]
    > Draft 0.0 Birthright skills and feats" thread:
    > ...
    > I agree. It`s part of making bloodline an ability score IMO. At first
    > blush I think it sounds like a good idea for a 3e conversion but when it
    > gets right down to it expressing bloodline as an ability score (and
    > attaching it to the point buy method of character generation) has several
    > problems, such as:
    >
    > 2. Because of the way bloodline is purchased we lose the lower "tainted"
    > bloodline strength.

    Which is sad. There are huge numbers of unblooded people in Aebrynnis.
    And among the blooded there are certainly (at least in the civilized
    nations who do not constantly pray upon each other) HUGE numbers of
    people with tainted (as in 2E) bloodlines - much more than great, major
    or even minor bloodlines.
    e.g. from bastard sons with bar maidens to use the example given in the
    novel "Iron Throne" - there Aedan (the Imperial Chamberlain at that
    time) on p. 293/294 explains to Sylvanna that unblooded woman often
    tried to start a liasion with a noble, for the off chance that it might
    lead to marriage or at least a bastart that the noble might feel
    duty-bound to support... Which would produce large numbers of diluted
    (due to blooded+unblooded heritage) bloodlines among these children.

    Without proper ways to prevent getting a child (unless some herbalist
    brews abortion potions) among the uneducated commoners, and even less
    intention to prevent it if the child could be perhaps recognized by the
    noble or at least bring in more money as "support" than a commoner could
    ever hope to see...

    > 5. Using bloodline as an ability score ties it in with the other ability
    > score mechanics of 3e so, for instance, a character can now raise his
    > bloodline a point every 4 character levels. Now, this is a change that
    > makes sense--if bloodline is an ability score. As originally
    > conceptualized, however, bloodline was separate from character features
    > like levelling up. It was a semi-divine, extraordinary system of powers
    > and abilities that interacted primarily with the domain level, but
    > also at
    > the adventure level by granting special abilities and to a lesser extent
    > with other blooded characters in the sense that they could perform
    > bloodtheft on one another. That was it, though. Bloodline represented a
    > "higher order" of character features that did not generally interact with
    > other, adventure-level game mechanics because it was a bridge between the
    > adventure level and the domain level at which a character could
    > become, to
    > paraphrase Hamlet, "like a god" in that their divine right to rule was
    > embodied by their birthright. If expressing bloodline as an ability
    > score,
    > however, it makes sense that one should be able to raise it like any
    > other
    > stat as a character levels up--even though that wasn`t the original
    > idea. It doesn`t break the system or anything, but it is a substantial
    > change in the way the bloodline system works, one that need not
    > necessarily
    > be there, and one that IMO reduces the significance of the bloodline (and
    > the rest of the setting along with it) by equating one of the fundamental
    > aspects of the setting with strength or dexterity.

    And to really question the bloodline=ability score stuff: Would an
    unblooded character be able to create a new bloodline of 1 when he gets
    to raise one of his ability scores? No? Then bloodline is no ability
    score and should not be treated as one.

    > Rebuttal: It does look that way, but in actuality I don`t think it works
    > out very well. ECL is better exemplified by a point value based on the
    > equivalent of hit dice, BAB, damage or other values that can be
    > equated to
    > class features. The ECL numbers presented in the BR 3e Playtest text
    > don`t
    > necessarily equate very well to actual character levels. I haven`t seen
    > any of the particular math behind those numbers, and such numbers are
    > often
    > hazy to begin with, so I could be wrong in that assessment.

    And ECL´s - when they should work- must be used with care. A character
    with a great bloodline gets +ECL because of his great bloodline abilites
    - what if in that problem/encounter these abilites are useless? e.g. a
    scion with a major or great bloodline with Unreadable Thoughts, Sea Song
    and Magic Resistance and in a fight against Ogres with nailed clubs
    clobbering him? Should some more Ogres be present because the scion has
    a higher ECL?
    bye
    Michael Romes

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  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by geeman



    There are advantages to expressing bloodline as an ability score, but none
    of them are IMO particularly compelling and often have ambiguous benefits:

    1. A quick and easy connection to ability the score modifier system for use
    when determining things like the DC needed to resist blood abilities.

    Rebuttal: At first this seems like a very necessary mechanic for a 3e
    conversion, but in fact if you go through the list of blood abilities there
    aren`t that many that use the ability score modifier. For those occasions
    when some sort of modifier is necessary, however, there are other ways of
    coming up with one, some of which might actually make more sense. Using
    ability score for bloodline there are modifiers possible in the range of
    +10, which is substantially higher than the typical ability score modifier
    for 3e. Since bloodline is a pretty mercurial stat characters with such
    scores could easily exist, leading to issues of balance.

    Also the blood ability modifier is used for the DC made against blood abilities - DC = 12/15/18 + Bld modifier. If a different system is used then an alternative mechanic would also have to be implemented for saving throws. This mechanic was partially chosen so as to be consistent with the core D&D mechanic for saving throws.


    Maybe I'm getting confused here but most of the discussion on whether or not to retain the "tainted" bloodline label seems to revolve around role-playing aspects and not actual game mechanics. In the 2nd ed rules the "only" difference was the score (the bloodline strength determined how many and what type of dice were rolled to determine the original number. All other aspects; number and type of blood abilities, amount of regency capable of being collected in a domain turn were based on the actual strength number. I mean that several people have commented on not using role-playing as a basis for a game mechanic.:)
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 08:01 PM 2/23/2003 +0100, irdeggman wrote:

    >Also the blood ability modifier is used for the DC made against blood
    >abilities - DC = 12/15/18 + Bld modifier. If a different system is used
    >then an alternative mechanic would also have to be implemented for saving
    >throws. This mechanic was partially chosen so as to be consistent with the
    >core D&D mechanic for saving throws.

    Sure, but its not the only possible way of doing it. One could assign a
    "modifier" to the bloodline strengths; tainted +0, minor +1, major +2, etc.
    or one could have a modifier based on every 10 points of bloodline
    strength, or one could have the DCs set based on the strength of the blood
    ability on a case by case basis. Blood abilities could be based on another
    ability score (charisma seems apt, but this could be based on derivation)
    in order to determine a DC. The need to have bloodline expressed as an
    ability score in order to get the function of the ability score modifier
    isn`t really all that pressing.

    >Maybe I`m getting confused here but most of the discussion on whether or
    >not to retain the "tainted" bloodline label seems to revolve around
    >role-playing aspects and not actual game mechanics.

    There are certainly ancillary role-playing aspects, but it`s primarily game
    mechanics here. Tainted bloodlines representing low numerical scores are
    more easily justified if using some sort of bloodline system that does not
    relate to the ability score mechanic because the ability score mechanic
    starts at 3 using dice or, worse, starts at 8 using the point buy
    method. Figuring the bloodline strength of offspring using bloodline as an
    ability score becomes very different from how it was originally
    done. Also, bloodline as an ability score makes all blooded characters
    earn RP in increments of 2, minimum 16. That`s higher than many regents
    presented in the original materials. I just pulled out RoE and turned to
    random page and on that page there was Parnien Anuvier Iniere (MA; T2; Br,
    minor, 15; LN) whose bloodline would be have to be at least 16 to equate to
    the bloodline as an ability score system.

    When it gets right down to it, losing the tainted bloodline strength
    removes several character concepts that existed in the original rules.

    >In the 2nd ed rules the "only" difference was the score (the bloodline
    >strength determined how many and what type of dice were rolled to
    >determine the original number. All other aspects; number and type of
    >blood abilities, amount of regency capable of being collected in a domain
    >turn were based on the actual strength number.

    That`s true, but it`s also another aspect that I find expressing bloodline
    as an ability score is lacking. In the original system there were
    functional differences within bloodline strengths. That is, a minor
    bloodline could be powerful or it could be weak. A tainted bloodline could
    be almost insignificant (it`s always going to have _some_ effect since at
    the very least someone could gain RP from a holding) or one could gain an
    unexpected power from it. Bloodline as an ability score, however, is much
    less versatile.

    >I mean that several people have commented on not using role-playing as a
    >basis for a game mechanic.:)

    I don`t think this is really a role-playing issue. To me, "tainted" is
    just a label representing the low ends of the bloodline system. Those low
    ends are lost in the 3e Playtest text, which is only one of the problems
    with the presentation of bloodline as an ability score. Character`s with
    tainted bloodlines could certainly be role-played differently than other
    characters in the same way that a character with a true bloodline would be
    role-played differently from other characters, but fundamentally it`s a
    game mechanical issue not a role-playing one.

    Gary

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  5. #5
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Tainted bloodlines makes some of the best vassals. You can make a buddy
    with a 7 bloodstrength a single province confident that he can collect all
    the RP he needs safe in the knowledge he can`t manage a realm the size of
    yours.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 10:34 PM 2/23/2003 -0600, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >Tainted bloodlines makes some of the best vassals. You can make a buddy
    >with a 7 bloodstrength a single province confident that he can collect all
    >the RP he needs safe in the knowledge he can`t manage a realm the size of
    >yours.

    Heck, they make some of the best PCs. Most folks appear to like to play a
    more domain oriented campaign than I do, but I have run some campaigns in
    which a PC controls no more than a couple of low level law holdings,
    sometimes as a vassal to a more powerful regent, sometimes
    independently. It makes for a solid campaign, since players who build up a
    holding on their own tend to value it all the more.

    Gary

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    I agree, treating a blood as an ability score is a good idea on the surface bad in implimntation. Personally, I ahve been toying with the idea of utlizing the Deites and Demigods method for Divine Salient abilities, only at a lower scale (like 1 ability/5 blood points or so [might have to bring it up to 10]), then assign an ECL fof 1/2-3 abilities. Then add in requirments to the blood abilities of Blood Strength of X, it also makes it easier to balance the abilities with one another, as I have the ability to set each ability in comparison to others (putt bloodmark at the lower ends, and things like invurability, major regen at the top).

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by ConjurerDragon
    And to really question the bloodline=ability score stuff: Would an
    unblooded character be able to create a new bloodline of 1 when he gets
    to raise one of his ability scores? No? Then bloodline is no ability
    score and should not be treated as one.
    This is a silly argument.

    A character with a non-ability (a zero, in other words) cannot increase that ability. Thus, an undead creature (Constitution 0) that gains 4 levels would not be able to increase their Constitution.

    Thus, a commoner (Bloodline 0) would be unable to increase their Bloodline score because they do not have one.

    As for the Bloodline ability and comparing it to Bloodline Strength, it could be fairly easy.

    Score Strength
    0 Commoner
    1-9 Tainted
    10-15 Weak (Minor)
    16-21 Strong (Major)
    22-27 Noble (Great)
    27+ Pure (True)

    As for Bloodline abilities, turn them into spell-like abilities. Use the bonus spells chart in the PHB to determine when you get blood abilities. Then you reorganize the lists so that each bloodline has abilities from levels 1-9, based on existing spells and feats. One easy way to do this would be to decide what domains each Bloodline's deity had, and put those spell-like abilities on the list, as well as the ones currently listed.

    Only have the Strength category used with bloodtheft, roleplaying purposes and detect spells (like Detect Bloodline).

    With bloodtheft, the strength could determine how much of an increase you gain, compared to your own bloodline strength.

    Here's an example system, better than my other one. I'm of the opinion that even taking out a weak bloodline and absorbing it should grant you a benefit, thus I came up with a temporary one.

    If you kill a scion with a lower bloodline strength, you gain NOTHING except a +1 bloodline bonus on attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws for one hour per point of Bloodline the victim possessed.

    If you kill a scion with an equal bloodline strength, you gain a +2 bonus to your Bloodline score (with successful bloodtheft, of course). A tainted scion (Bld 8) commits bloodtheft on another tainted scion (Bld 6), and gains a +2 bonus (Bld 10), which gives him a weak (minor) bloodline.

    If you kill a scion with a greater bloodline strength, you gain an additional +2 bonus to your Bloodline score for each strength category (with successful bloodtheft, of course). Thus, the tainted scion (Bld 8) killing the pure scion (Bld 30) would gain a +10 bonus (+2 tainted, +2 weak, +2 strong, +2 noble, +2 pure) to his Bloodline score (Bld 18), which would make him a strong scion.

    The Gorgon (Bld 60), a true scion, killing a weaker scion would gain nothing but a temporary bonus... a "high," if you will, but with no substantial increase. He would have to cultivate a pure bloodline before gaining anything... and even then, it's only a +2 increase.

    [Edit]

    The DCs for saves against any bloodline abilities should be DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Bld Modifier. Most characters with a higher bloodline score would be higher-level characters anyway, by being invested with other bloodlines, bloodtheft and such.

    As for increasing Bloodline with ability points every four levels... I say it should be possible... after all, a scion earning experience, developing a name and rep for himself, building up his personal power should be able to increase his bloodline score in that way, showing that his actions make him more worthy... thus, his blood is more important.
    I walk this fine thread...

    Mourn

  9. #9
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 12:06 AM 3/7/2003 +0100, Mourn wrote:

    >As for the Bloodline ability and comparing it to Bloodline Strength, it
    >could be fairly easy.
    >
    >Score Strength
    >0 Commoner
    >1-9 Tainted
    >10-15 Weak (Minor)
    >16-21 Strong (Major)
    >22-27 Noble (Great)
    >27+ Pure (True)

    If you`re going with bloodline as an ability score you might want to sync
    up the terms with even numbered scores so as to relate them a little more
    closely with the way the modifiers go up.

    Out of curiosity, why the different terms?

    >As for Bloodline abilities, turn them into spell-like abilities.

    A couple of people have suggested this in the past. For many of the blood
    abilities this would probably be apt, but on other occasions not so
    much. It works out better if you decide on a case by case basis whether a
    blood ability should be a spell-like, a supernatural or an extraordinary
    ability.

    >Use the bonus spells chart in the PHB to determine when you get blood
    >abilities. Then you reorganize the lists so that each bloodline has
    >abilities from levels 1-9, based on existing spells and feats.

    How would you base it on existing spells and feats? That is, at what point
    would a scion`s blood ability get to the equivalent of a 9th level spell?

    >If you kill a scion with a lower bloodline strength, you gain NOTHING
    >except a +1 bloodline bonus on attack rolls, skill checks, and saving
    >throws for one hour per point of Bloodline the victim possessed.

    I`m not opposed to gaining no permanent benefit for one scion killing
    another with a lower bloodline then his own (though I think it should be
    something substantially lower; like less than half the bloodline strength
    of the scion committing bloodtheft) but a bonus to various types of checks
    might not be the best way to go. For one thing, an act of bloodtheft on a
    scion with a more powerful bloodline would seem to merit at least those
    same bonuses for a longer period of time in addition to the increase in
    bloodline. After all if a character gets a bonus for killing someone with
    a bloodline score half his own doesn`t it make sense that he would get a
    similar bonus for killing someone with twice as powerful a bloodline? For
    another, a temporary bonus to a couple of checks seems rather light. +1 to
    attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws is about equivalent to the
    effects of a couple of the 2nd level spells that increase an ability
    score. That`s kind of light for having snuffed out/stolen the power of the
    gods in an individual.

    >If you kill a scion with an equal bloodline strength, you gain a +2 bonus
    >to your Bloodline score (with successful bloodtheft, of course). A tainted
    >scion (Bld 8) commits bloodtheft on another tainted scion (Bld 6), and
    >gains a +2 bonus (Bld 10), which gives him a weak (minor) bloodline.
    >
    >If you kill a scion with a greater bloodline strength, you gain an
    >additional +2 bonus to your Bloodline score for each strength category
    >(with successful bloodtheft, of course). Thus, the tainted scion (Bld 8)
    >killing the pure scion (Bld 30) would gain a +10 bonus (+2 tainted, +2
    >weak, +2 strong, +2 noble, +2 pure) to his Bloodline score (Bld 18), which
    >would make him a strong scion.
    >
    >The Gorgon (Bld 60), a true scion, killing a weaker scion would gain
    >nothing but a temporary bonus... a "high," if you will, but with no
    >substantial increase. He would have to cultivate a pure bloodline before
    >gaining anything... and even then, it`s only a +2 increase.

    Those all seem to basically make sense. One thing to note, however, is
    that the above system does equate bloodline strength with bloodline score,
    which most other people`s systems differentiate for various
    reasons. Because of that it does make for a kind of weirdness in one
    regard. If a scion with a bloodline of tainted(9) kills a scion with a
    bloodline of weak(10) he will wind up with a bloodline of strong(13)
    correct? +2 tainted, +2 strong. A scion with a bloodline of weak(10) who
    kills the same guy would end up with a strong(12) bloodline, right? So the
    scion with the weaker bloodline strength winds up benefiting more. That
    happens at the upper end of each bloodline strength rating.

    Gary

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  10. #10
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Another problem is the "implied" ability to gain a true blood line. In the 2nd ed (and currently proposed) methodology it was impossible to acquire a true blood line unless the scion was at Mt Deismaar. The BRCS proposed version does have an allowance for direct investiture to account for "passing of the bloodline", but blood theft would never yield a "true" blood line.
    Duane Eggert

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