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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    One of the complaints some folks have had (or maybe it`s just me...) is
    that the blood abilities are not particularly well balanced. Just as an
    example, Bloodmark may not be worth much in relation to Detect Illusion
    despite the fact that they are both minor blood abilities, so if one uses a
    random blood ability table then a character can wind up with a less
    powerful character than another person despite having the same
    bloodline. Worse, if one is picking one`s blood abilities rather than
    determining them randomly some blood abilities will rarely, if ever, be
    chosen. While it`s probably not possible to balance such things perfectly
    in a way that will accommodate every possible gaming situation, there are
    steps that could improve our ability to balance them.

    Furthermore, blood abilities don`t have an awful lot of variation in
    them. Sure, one can come up with different descriptors for some of
    them--Bloodmark being the most obvious--but by and large a character with
    Courage is a character with Courage. It works the same for
    everyone. Also, because many of the blood abilities are available only at
    particular levels (minor, major or great) we wind up not only with a very
    strange set of tables, but many of them are very rare (I`ve been playing BR
    since it came out and some blood abilities have yet to appear in my
    session) because relatively few characters have a bloodline powerful enough
    to take them.

    Last week I wrote up an alternate way of reflecting bloodline for 3e. That
    system was really more of an update of the original bloodline system, not a
    redefinition of the concept. Here are the basics again, with the first use
    of the terms capitalized for the sake of clarity:

    Step #1: Determine BLOODLINE STRENGTH using whatever standard method one
    uses to get ability scores (as in 3d6, 4d6 ignore lowest, point buy, etc.)
    and subtract 2. That result is compared to the following table to
    determine bloodline strength:

    Score Strength
    1+ Tainted
    4+ Minor
    8+ Major
    12+ Great
    18+ True

    Step #2: Determine BLOODLINE SCORE by rolling d6 for every point of
    bloodline strength. Optionally, one could assign an average value of 3.5
    for every point, rounding up. So a bloodline strength of 11 could result
    in a bloodline score of 11d6 or 39.

    Step #3: Determine bloodline derivation.

    Step #4: Determine BLOOD ABILITIES (abbreviated BP.) Instead of gaining
    minor, major and great blood abilities, one gains a BLOODLINE POINT for
    every increment of 7 in bloodline score (the average for 2d6 on the
    bloodline score roll above.) "Maximum" on the table below is the number of
    different blood abilities that the character could have. The character
    with the bloodline score of 39 from the previous example, for instance,
    would have 6 bloodline points that he could spend on 3 different blood
    abilities.

    Score Points Max
    1-7 1 1
    8-14 2 1
    15-21 3 2
    22-28 4 2
    29-35 5 2
    36-42 6 3
    43-49 7 3
    50-56 8 3
    57-63 9 4
    64-70 10 4
    71-77 11 4
    78-84 12 5
    85-91 13 5
    92-98 14 5
    99-105 15 6

    Using BP the blood abilities can be balanced more carefully than the scale
    of three (minor, major, great) in the original system or in the 3e
    playtest. Blood abilities can still be defined as minor, major or great by
    associating the amount of bloodline points spent on them. That is, minor
    is 1-3 points, major 4-6, great 7-9.

    For the purpose of determining the DC of a saving throw one could also use
    the number of blood points in place of what the 3e text uses the bloodline
    modifier. The DC for a save against a blood ability could be 10 + the
    bloodline points spent on that ability. There are many ways of determining
    DCs for opposing blood abilities, however, and relatively few of them
    necessary, so I`d personally prefer if this was set on a case by case basis
    for each blood ability.

    More importantly than balancing the blood abilities, however, a system like
    this allows for considerable variation and customization of the blood
    abilities themselves. Blood abilities can be scaled up or scaled down so
    that they all have a range from 1-9 BP (or higher if one wanted to go that
    way) in their relative power. Elemental Control, for example, is only a
    "great" bloodline in the original system. Using this system here`s how
    that blood ability can be written up so that two characters with the same
    bloodline strength, derivation, bloodline score and bloodline points spent
    on the same blood ability can actually have different capabilities.

    Elemental Control (An, Ba, Ma, Re)
    Your derivation is tied to one of the four elements. Anduiras is linked
    to air, Basaia to fire, Masela to water and Reynir to earth.
    You may summon an elemental of the appropriate type once per week. The
    elemental remains while you concentrate plus one round if your bloodline
    strength is tainted, two rounds if it is minor, etc. It obeys your
    commands willingly, without risk of turning on you or your allies
    regardless of whether you maintain your concentration or not.
    The hit dice of the summoned elemental is equal to the amount of BP
    spent on this ability. By spending 6BP you summon a 6HD elemental. (One
    could tweak this however one likes using a system the Monster classes
    presented in Savage Species.)
    By spending +2 BP you triple the amount of time the elemental remains
    after you stop concentrating.
    By spending +2 BP you can summon two elementals per week (but only one
    at a time.)
    By spending +2 BP you can summon any creature from the elemental plane
    associated with your derivation of HD equal to or less than an elemental
    you are able to summon.
    By spending +2 BP you are able to summon elementals from one of the
    elemental planes adjacent to the plane associated with your derivation
    (magma, steam, etc.) Note: you may continue to spend BP in order to gain
    access to more planes adjacent to the ones you currently have access to.
    By spending +2 BP you are rendered immune to all attacks from elementals
    that you are able to summon.
    ----------
    Anyone familiar with some of the D20 superhero systems (Four Colors to
    Fantasy or Mutants & Masterminds) will recognize some of the concepts that
    went into this definition of blood abilities. With a system of guidelines
    on how to add changes and set costs to existing blood abilities--much like
    the M&M system of super powers--the possibilities for each blood ability
    are practically endless.

    I`ve only got about a dozen or so such blood abilities written up. They
    are, in fact, part of an even more extensive redefinition of bloodline for
    3e, many aspects of which were experimental. This aspect of it, however,
    looks like it may be a keeper.

    Comments on this stuff?

    Gary

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  2. #2
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    On Mon, 3 Mar 2003, Gary wrote:
    > One of the complaints some folks have had (or maybe it`s just me...) is
    > that the blood abilities are not particularly well balanced.
    >
    > Last week I wrote up an alternate way of reflecting bloodline for 3e. That
    > system was really more of an update of the original bloodline system, not a
    > redefinition of the concept. Here are the basics again, with the first use
    > of the terms capitalized for the sake of clarity:
    >
    > Step #1: Determine BLOODLINE STRENGTH using whatever standard method one
    > uses to get ability scores (as in 3d6, 4d6 ignore lowest, point buy, etc.)
    > and subtract 2. That result is compared to the following table to
    > determine bloodline strength:
    >
    > Step #2: Determine BLOODLINE SCORE by rolling d6 for every point of
    > bloodline strength. Optionally, one could assign an average value of 3.5
    > for every point, rounding up. So a bloodline strength of 11 could result
    > in a bloodline score of 11d6 or 39.

    Having two levels of blood score determination is too much indirection.
    You ought to just have them spend points more directly. For instance, if
    using the `blood line as ability score` method, they spend bonus points on
    blood abilities. A character with an 11 or lower has no blood abilities
    (or maybe 1 of cost 0, like bloodmark or a [Cure Minor Wounds 1/day] sort
    of tainted ability), a character with a 20 bloodline score has 5 points
    worth.

    So the chart might look like:

    Bloodline Bonus Max abilities
    -5 to -2 none
    -1 to +1 1
    +2 to +5 2
    +6 to +10 3
    +11 to +15 4

    Those are guestimates, they`d have to be tweaked to get the right feel.

    > Comments on this stuff?

    I like the pointwise system there, and I do recognize some MnM in it :)
    This would be a better system than the one currently in the 3e BRCS.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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  3. #3
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    This is a great system! Kudos! Simple and clean. The best rules always are.

    Actually, I see no need for a limit on the number of abilities you may
    have - just spend the points as you like!

    /Carl

    From: "daniel mcsorley" <mcsorley@CIS.OHIO-STATE.EDU>

    > You ought to just have them spend points more directly. For instance, if
    > using the `blood line as ability score` method, they spend bonus points on
    > blood abilities. A character with an 11 or lower has no blood abilities
    > (or maybe 1 of cost 0, like bloodmark or a [Cure Minor Wounds 1/day] sort
    > of tainted ability), a character with a 20 bloodline score has 5 points
    > worth.
    >
    > So the chart might look like:
    >
    > Bloodline Bonus Max abilities
    > -5 to -2 none
    > -1 to +1 1
    > +2 to +5 2
    > +6 to +10 3
    > +11 to +15 4
    >
    > Those are guestimates, they`d have to be tweaked to get the right feel.
    >



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  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Birthright-L
    Actually, I see no need for a limit on the number of abilities you may
    have - just spend the points as you like!
    If all bloodline abilities cost at least 1 point, you're right, but if you had a class of 'tainted' abilities which cost 0, you might need to limit the max number of abilities to prevent someone with an 11 bloodline from taking all the tainted blood abilities.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 08:20 PM 3/3/2003 +0100, Carl wrote:

    >Actually, I see no need for a limit on the number of abilities you may
    >have - just spend the points as you like!

    You could certainly go that way. I don`t think it would destroy the system
    or anything. I put it in so that a character couldn`t have six or ten
    minor(1) abilities, which some folks might find strange--myself
    included. I also want to keep as much of the original system`s flavor as
    possible. A maximum number of blood abilities will better reflect the way
    the original tables had one "enhance" through the grades of power for those
    occasions when a character`s bloodline increases after character generation
    he would be about as likely to improve an existing bloodline as buy a new
    minor one, so for the purpose of a "core" system I`d prefer to keep those
    limits.

    Gary

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  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 08:20 PM 3/3/2003 +0100, Carl wrote:

    >Actually, I see no need for a limit on the number of abilities you may
    >have - just spend the points as you like!

    You could certainly go that way. I don`t think it would destroy the system
    or anything. I put it in so that a character couldn`t have six or ten
    minor(1) abilities, which some folks might find strange--myself
    included. I also want to keep as much of the original system`s flavor as
    possible. A maximum number of blood abilities will better reflect the way
    the original tables had one "enhance" through the grades of power for those
    occasions when a character`s bloodline increases after character generation
    he would be about as likely to improve an existing bloodline as buy a new
    minor one, so for the purpose of a "core" system I`d prefer to keep those
    limits.

    Gary

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  7. #7
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:00 PM 3/3/2003 -0500, Daniel McSorley wrote:

    >Having two levels of blood score determination is too much indirection.

    It`s only two die rolls, the first for bloodline strength and the second
    for bloodline score... exactly what the original system did. The second
    does use a rather odd mechanic for the number of dice used to determine the
    score (1d6 time result of the bloodline strength roll) but I don`t think
    it`s particularly weirder than the original 4d4, 5d6, 8d6 or 8d8 dice to
    determine bloodline score, and is much more easily balanced method. I
    haven`t written up any ECL stuff yet, but I think it will fit into that
    system a bit more easily than bloodline as an ability score does.

    >You ought to just have them spend points more directly. For instance, if
    >using the `blood line as ability score` method, they spend bonus points on
    >blood abilities. A character with an 11 or lower has no blood abilities
    >(or maybe 1 of cost 0, like bloodmark or a [Cure Minor Wounds 1/day] sort
    >of tainted ability), a character with a 20 bloodline score has 5 points worth.

    I really, Really, REALLY don`t like turning bloodline into an ability
    score, so I`m trying to stay away from that as much as possible. Aside
    from the particulars of the game mechanics not really working very well, I
    don`t think bloodline lends itself to an ability score in the same way that
    aspects of characters in other D20 systems might. Things like education,
    social class or even mana seem apt for the ability score mechanic. (Social
    class maybe less than the others....) Divine powers based on an ancestor`s
    presence at the climactic battle of the gods? Not so much. Most folks
    seem to like it as much as I dislike it, though.

    >So the chart might look like:
    >
    >Bloodline Bonus Max abilities
    >-5 to -2 none
    >-1 to +1 1
    >+2 to +5 2
    >+6 to +10 3
    >+11 to +15 4
    >
    >Those are guestimates, they`d have to be tweaked to get the right feel.

    The max blood abilities I used was a pretty regular progression. Two 1`s,
    then three of each digit after that off into infinity. If someone really
    wanted to use a similar system using bloodline as an ability score and the
    ability score modifier as bloodline points then it would look like this:

    Blood
    Score Mod Max
    10-11 +0 1
    12-13 +1 1
    14-15 +2 2
    16-17 +3 2
    18-19 +4 2
    20-21 +5 3
    22-23 +6 3
    24-25 +7 3
    26-27 +8 4
    28-29 +9 4
    30-31 +10 4
    31-32 +11 5

    Of course, there`s no need to necessarily go by those numbers if they don`t
    make sense, but that`s they way I`d do it... if I at all liked making
    bloodline an ability score, that is.

    >I like the pointwise system there, and I do recognize some MnM in it :)
    >This would be a better system than the one currently in the 3e BRCS.

    Yes, both M&M and 4CtF have had direct influences. More 4CtF, honestly,
    because I saw that system first. M&M, however, has some excellent
    guidelines for balancing such powers, and picked up in many ways where 4CtF
    left off.

    Gary

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  8. #8
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    On Mon, 3 Mar 2003, Gary wrote:
    > It`s only two die rolls, the first for bloodline strength and the second
    > for bloodline score... exactly what the original system did. The second
    > does use a rather odd mechanic for the number of dice used to determine the
    > score (1d6 time result of the bloodline strength roll) but I don`t think
    > it`s particularly weirder than the original 4d4, 5d6, 8d6 or 8d8 dice to
    > determine bloodline score, and is much more easily balanced method. I
    > haven`t written up any ECL stuff yet, but I think it will fit into that
    > system a bit more easily than bloodline as an ability score does.

    And then you divide /that/ result by 7 to get a number of `points`, and
    look up the /points/ on a table to see how many you can spend where, and
    check yet another chart to see what you can spend them on...

    Too complex.

    > >You ought to just have them spend points more directly. For instance, if
    > >using the `blood line as ability score` method, they spend bonus points on
    > >blood abilities. A character with an 11 or lower has no blood abilities
    > >(or maybe 1 of cost 0, like bloodmark or a [Cure Minor Wounds 1/day] sort
    > >of tainted ability), a character with a 20 bloodline score has 5 points worth.
    >
    > I really, Really, REALLY don`t like turning bloodline into an ability
    > score, so I`m trying to stay away from that as much as possible.

    I don`t like it either, but you based your example on it, so that`s what I
    was replying to :P
    --
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    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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  9. #9
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 03:53 PM 3/3/2003 -0500, Daniel McSorley wrote:

    > > It`s only two die rolls, the first for bloodline strength and the second
    > > for bloodline score... exactly what the original system did.
    >
    >And then you divide /that/ result by 7 to get a number of `points`, and
    >look up the /points/ on a table to see how many you can spend where, and
    >check yet another chart to see what you can spend them on...

    Well, that is all on the same table.... It`s not really how many you can
    spend where either, it`s just the total number of things you can spend them
    on. "With a bloodline score of 31 I have 5 bloodline points that I can
    spend on two different blood abilities." You would still need to check for
    issues regarding derivation, but one has to do that with any of the
    bloodline systems anyway, and I think bloodline points could actually be a
    little less complicated than some in that one could have blood abilities
    that scale from minor(1) to great(9) or higher, so one never has to do that
    thing that used to be so common in the old way of doing bloodlines where
    one has to reroll several times to get a blood ability that matches the
    power (minor, major, great), and derivation of the character.

    I hadn`t really anticipated that the number of bloodline abilities possible
    was going to be an issue, but if one really wanted to do away with it for
    the sake of complexity I don`t think it would be a problem. Determining
    the number and type of blood abilities, however, is something one is gong
    to have to do in either system.... Using bloodline as an ability score
    you`ve got:

    Step #1: Choose bloodline score (or roll it, or whatever.)
    Step #2: Determine derivation.
    Step #3: Pick blood abilities.

    The suggested method does have an additional step, but it`s really pretty
    simple. The _real_ complexity is in determining the specific nature of
    blood abilities given that with bloodline points one can alter them in many
    ways. Since that was kind of the point I don`t think there`s much of a way
    to eliminate that.

    > > I really, Really, REALLY don`t like turning bloodline into an ability
    > > score, so I`m trying to stay away from that as much as possible.
    >
    >I don`t like it either, but you based your example on it, so that`s what I
    >was replying to :P

    I did? I used a bloodline score of 39 as an example, but that was not
    meant to be a score of 39 in "bloodline as an ability score" with an
    ability score modifier. It`s the bloodline score in the "old" 2e way of
    doing it where that score is the actual number of RP one collects, and the
    number one compares to a table in order to determine blood abilities. It`s
    just a bloodline score of 39.

    Though the system I`m proposing starts off with a way of determining
    bloodline strength that uses whatever method of rolling ability scores that
    one wants (3d6, point buy, whatever) it`s not _really_ an ability score
    that the system uses to get a number between 1-16, but after one uses that
    number to roll bloodline score (or use the "average" at 3.5) it never
    really comes up again. I do picture that method being used to influence
    other bloodline related issues; like bloodtheft, or penalties to bloodline
    score for mismanaging a domain, but the actual number rolled (or bought)
    when determining bloodline strength won`t make any difference after
    character generation.

    Gary

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  10. #10
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    On Mon, 3 Mar 2003, Gary wrote:
    > > > I really, Really, REALLY don`t like turning bloodline into an ability
    > > > score, so I`m trying to stay away from that as much as possible.
    > >
    > >I don`t like it either, but you based your example on it, so that`s what I
    > >was replying to :P
    >
    > I did? I used a bloodline score of 39 as an example, but that was not
    > meant to be a score of 39 in "bloodline as an ability score" with an
    > ability score modifier. It`s the bloodline score in the "old" 2e way of
    > doing it where that score is the actual number of RP one collects, and the
    > number one compares to a table in order to determine blood abilities. It`s
    > just a bloodline score of 39.

    The 39 came from "roll as an ability score, subtract 2, then roll 1d6 for
    each of those", which is what threw me.
    --
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    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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