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  1. #1
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    I'll upload a .doc version of this to my lagtastic website at
    www.geocities.com/lordshade. The version in this email won't contain
    footnotes, which is where I note a lot of important info.

    I tried to email this to the list, but it bounced because of length.

    Please feel free to rip this to shreds!

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

    An alternative method to determine bloodline and abilities. Please remember
    that this a very rough first draft, not playtested at all, and written with
    a lot of recent discussion about bloodlines in mind.

    I propose this system as an alternative to the one presented in the BRCS
    0.0 Draft. The system is designed with a number of things in mind: game
    balance, simplicity of use, preservation of the original rules, and
    addressing major problems. The system tries to give players and DMs a lot
    of options to decide how they want to do things in their own game.

    I make a very important distinction in this system between
    adventuring/interpersonal play and domain play.


    Here's how the system works.

    1. Determine your ability scores after consulting your DM; your DM will
    tell you whether your campaign is using a point-buy system or rolling=
    system.
    2. Choose race.
    3. After consulting the DM, choose whether your character will be a
    commoner or a scion.
    4. If your character is a commoner, continue with the character creation
    process as normal.
    5. If your character is a scion, consult your DM. Your DM will tell you
    whether your campaign is using a point-buy system for bloodlines or a
    random determination system.
    6. If your campaign is using random determination for bloodlines, consult
    the tables in the 2e Birthright Rulebook. After rolling d100, determine
    your bloodline strength. Use the table on p.34 of the BRCS Draft to
    determine derivation. Return to the 2nd edition BR rulebook to determine
    the remaining characteristics of your bloodline.
    7. If your campaign is using the point-buy system for bloodlines, refer to
    the following table:


    Point buy system for bloodlines.

    The average bloodline score, using Table 10 on p. 20 of the Birthright
    Rulebook, is 19.7. Math: .25(10)+.4(17.5)+.3(28)+.05(36) =3D 19.7. From this=
    ,
    I've decided that the average point buy result for this system should be a
    minor or major bloodline in the 18-21 range.

    The default number of points which you have to spend is 20. Your DM may
    decide to increase or decrease the number of points you get for a bloodline
    point buy in your campaign. You can spend points on the following things:

    " Each point you spend gets you 1 point of bloodline score.
    " Pick a derivation. Alternatively, your DM may decide to determine
    derivation randomly using the table on p.34 of the BRCS Draft.
    " Consult the following table to see how many blood abilities are available
    in your character's bloodline. These abilities are not useable at the
    beginning of play; your character must learn to use them (covered below).
    You may choose these yourself, or they may be determined randomly, at the
    DMs discretion.

    Score Abilities
    1-10 None
    11-19 1 Minor
    20-28 2 Minor
    29-35 1 Minor, 1 Major
    36-42 2 Minor, 1 Major
    43-50 1 Minor, 1 Major, 1 Great
    51-60 2 Minor, 1 Major, 1 Great
    61-70 1 Minor, 2 Major, 1 Great
    71-80 2 Minor, 2 Major, 1 Great
    81-90 2 Minor, 1 Major, 2 Great
    91-100 2 Minor, 2 Major, 2 Great
    100+ 3 Minor, 2 Major, 2 Great

    " You may spend 1 point to start with the Bloodmark blood ability, which
    can be a benefit and a hindrance.=20
    " You may spend up to 2 additional points adding minor blood abilities to
    your bloodline. Each point spent gets you 1 additional minor ability in
    your line. Of course, you cannot use these abilities automatically, your
    character must learn to use them during play.
    " You may spend 2 points improving a minor ability to a major ability. For
    instance, if your DM decided on a 20 point buy for bloodlines, and you
    spent 17 points on bloodline score and you have 2 minor abilities (1 extra
    purchased for 1 point), you may spend your remaining 2 points to upgrade
    one of your minor blood abilities to a major blood ability, giving you
    access to 1 minor and 1 major.
    " At the DMs discretion, you may spend 4 points upgrading a major ability
    to a great ability. This option is generally only suitable if the DM allows
    more than a 20-point bloodline build.

    It is important to note: once your bloodline score has been used to
    determine the number of blood abilities in your line, IT IS NO LONGER USED
    AT THE ADVENTURING LEVEL OF PLAY!! The only thing the bloodline score
    determines, from here on out, is how many RP your character can collect by
    ruling a domain. This is unchanged from the 2nd edition rules.

    At this stage, you have determined your bloodline score, derivation, and
    number of blood abilities available in your line. To determine your
    bloodline strength, simply compare your bloodline score to the following
    table:

    Score Strength
    None Unblooded
    0 Divested
    1-13 Tainted
    14-22 Minor
    23-32 Major
    33-64 Great
    65+ True

    Note: this table is determined using the average scores for various
    bloodlines, as described on p. 20 of the original BR rulebook. Tainted is
    average 10, Minor is average 17.5, so the cutoff is at 13, etc.

    Once your bloodline strength is determined, it can only change at the
    discretion of the DM, unless you decide to divest your bloodline, in which
    case your bloodline score becomes 0 and your strength becomes divested.
    Your bloodline score may increase or decrease during play, but your
    strength only changes if the DM decides a change is warranted. For
    instance, you may start with a bloodline score of 20 (minor) and through
    play, increase it to 40. However, it remains a minor bloodline unless the
    DM decides to promote it to major or great.

    Optional Rule: Your DM may use the following table to determine ranges for
    bloodlines:
    Strength Score Range
    Tainted 4-16
    Minor 5-30
    Major 8-48
    Great 8-64
    True 35+

    If your bloodline moves out of the proscribed ranges, your bloodline
    strength automatically changes to the next highest or lowest category. For
    instance, if you have a minor bloodline (26), and during play it increases
    to 31, your bloodline strength automatically increases to major. Likewise,
    if you have a major bloodline, and your score falls below 8, your bloodline
    strength automatically becomes minor.



    At this point, your character's bloodline and blood abilities available to
    him should be fully fleshed out. Proceed as normal with the character
    creation process, choosing feats, classes, skills, and equipment (and
    whatever else your DM requires).

    Furthermore, at this point in the process, there should be absolutely no
    difference between a scion and a commoner at the adventuring level of play.
    Both are exactly the same level, have the same number of experience points
    (0 if starting at level 1), have the same attributes (if using a point buy
    or discounting luck on dice), and rolled hit points the same way. The only
    potential advantage the scion has at the adventuring level of play is the
    Bloodmark ability, which may or may not be useful, depending on the
    campaign (and exactly what we finally decide its effect is). In any case
    the Bloodmark ability alone should not be enough to significantly alter the
    balance between a scion and a commoner.

    The main difference between the scion and the commoner is that the scion
    has a Bloodline score, and can therefore participate at the domain level of
    play by collecting regency points. Bloodline score works the same as 2e in
    all other ways - you collect RP equal to your bloodline score, you have to
    spend RP equal to your bloodline score+1 to raise it by one point, etc,
    etc. I don't consider this an imbalance because commoners were never meant
    to participate at the domain level of play.

    Acquiring Blood Abilities

    As we all know, the blood abilities themselves are the kicker when trying
    to balance scions versus commoners. In 2e this problem was addressed by
    giving commoners a 10% xp bonus. In order to preserve the flavor of 2e as
    well as a semblance of balance, some kind of xp penalty should be assessed
    against scions.=20

    This system requires a scion to pay experience points to learn how to use a
    blood ability. By default there is no time requirement; DMs can require you
    to spend time to learn your blood abilities, or you can pay xp and
    immediately use your blood abilities right after the expenditure of xp.=20

    The way this works is that each blood ability is compared to a magical
    item. After determining what the blood ability would be like if it were a
    magical item, consult the DMG for the item creation costs of that ability.
    Since blood abilities don't take up item slots, the x2 multiplier for
    "slotless" items should always be used. After taking all modifiers to the
    base price into account, divide by 25 (to get the xp cost), which is the
    cost of "learning" the blood ability.=20

    XP spent in this manner is forever lost, just like XP invested in an item.
    If for whatever reason you become unblooded or lose your blood abilities,
    that XP is lost, just as if a magical item of yours was lost or destroyed.

    Here are a few examples (my conversions for blood abilities are not
    necessarily taken from the BRCS doc):

    Let's start with the simplest of blood abilities, Heightened Ability=
    (minor).

    Basaia's Heightened Ability (minor) gives a +2 bloodline bonus to
    Intelligence. It is a constant effect. Checking the DMG for the price of a
    Headband of Intellect +2, we see that it is 4000gp (bonus squared x1000).
    Applying the modifier for slotless (x2) we get 8000. The XP cost to make
    one is 1/25 the base price, or 320xp in this case. So to "learn" to use
    Heightened Ability (minor), you have to spend 320 of your experience
    points. Here's an example:

    Jimbob is a scion who (using the point buy) has a bloodline of Br, minor,
    20. This gives him 2 minor abilities (which can be randomly determined
    using the tables on pp. 39-40 of the BRCS draft or chosen by the player, at
    the discretion of the DM) one of which is Heightened Ability. Jimbob is
    also a level 1 fighter, with 0 experience. Since he has no experience, he
    can't "spend" any of it on blood abilities. Therefore, he is exactly equal
    to his longtime friend Joe Blow, who is an unblooded commoner, and also a
    1st level fighter with 0 xp.

    Now let's say each of our heroes gain 2000xp , enough to make them both 2nd
    level fighters. At this point Jimbob can choose to "spend" 320 of his
    experience points to activate his Heightened Ability (Brenna's dexterity).
    He now has 1680 xp and a +2 bloodline bonus to his dexterity score, whereas
    Joe Blow has 2000xp.

    Now I am aware that this method doesn't match the 10% xp bonus of second
    edition. For instance, in our example above Joe Blow is 19% ahead in
    experience points. At level 20, his XP advantage would be minuscule. To me
    it is not a huge problem, but YMMV. I'd like to hear any ideas about how to
    solve this issue.

    Heightened Ability scales really well, to Heightened Ability (major)
    granting a +4, and great granting a +6. The XP costs would be 1280xp and
    2880xp, respectively.

    A couple more conversions (I am trying to find different examples that
    cause problems in different ways):

    Alter Appearance: the scion can cast change self once per day, with caster
    level =3D character level. This is problematic because for magical items, th=
    e
    caster level cost is fixed. For this ability I will assume caster level 10
    for price purposes because it is close to the middle (assuming you buy it
    at level 1 and keep using it through level 20). Another problem comes to
    mind: a blood ability is not spell trigger, command word, or use-activated.
    How do you calculate the costs for items that cast a spell simply by force
    of will? If someone can point me to the right answer I would be most
    appreciative.

    Alertness: This counts as a virtual Alertness feat (for the purposes of
    prereqs). You get a +2 to spot and listen. This is easy to convert. 4^2 x
    20gp x 2 =3D 640gp base price, or an XP cost of 25.6 (round to 25). This is =
    a
    really cheap blood ability to buy; good thing the system restricts how many
    blood abilities you can have! This would be a good case to argue for
    converting the gold cost as well. In that case the xp cost would become a
    more respectable 153.6.

    Resistance, Poison (minor): This ability grants a +4 bloodline bonus to
    saves vs poison. This converts really easily as a periapt of proof against
    poison, 4000gp base price. XP cost to learn it would be 320xp.

    Travel (great): Let's compare this to the Helm of Teleportation. Since
    Travel is useable only once a day, and HoT is useable 3/day, so let's
    divide the base cost of the helm (48,600) by 3, for a total of 16,200. Now
    the helm has no restrictions on its use, but Travel does, so let's just say
    that travel is about half as useful, resulting in a divide by 2. However,
    since Travel is slotless, we multiply by 2. Still at 16,200. Now divide by
    25, and we get an XP cost of 648. A little cheap for something as powerful
    as Travel, but I didn't claim this system was perfect. If we use the x6 for
    the gold here we get a cost of 3888xp, which sounds more reasonable.

    Enhanced Sense (Brenna): This gives the sight and hearing of cats;
    according to the BRCS doc, 60ft darkvision and +2 on listen checks. Pretty
    close to the goggles of night, which are 8000gp base cost. So we take
    (8000gp + (2^2 x 20)) x 2 / 25 for a total of 646.6xp. Think this is about
    as powerful as Travel? I doubt it=85 but that's probably more an indication
    of the prices for items being out of whack in the DMG.

    Unreadable Thoughts: pretty close to the Ring of Mind Shielding. 8000gp
    base cost, comes out to 640xp. Seems reasonable for this ability (twice as
    useful as Heightened Ability minor).

    Obviously this system is far from perfect. We may have to abandon strict
    conversions from DMG prices and just assign XP costs to blood abilities. I
    don't know yet - I need some feedback, as well as some more time to think.

    The system does have several things going for it

    1. It puts the CHOICE in the hands of players whether or not to be behind
    in XP. It doesn't automatically hamstring scions like the ECL and bloodline
    as a 7th ability score systems do. If you want your scion/regent to be just
    as competitive as your commoner friend, you can continue your adventuring
    and just choose not to devote any time to learning how to use your blood
    abilities. Overall, pure balance between scions and commoners is preserved
    for the purposes of challenge ratings and such, hopefully satisfying one
    group of people. At the same time this system makes scions slightly more
    powerful in that 1) they have a choice to buy blood abilities, and
    versatility is a form of power and 2) they can get access to some "magic
    items" in a rare-magic setting, thereby hopefully satisfying the people in
    the "scions should be stronger" camp.

    2. This is actually 2 different systems. A character can still have a
    bloodline without having any blood abilities (in theory). The blood
    abilities are what cause the balance of power to shift in favor of the
    scions, not the bloodline score itself (which has no impact on
    adventuring). Theoretically we could still use the point-buy system to buy
    bloodline but use ECLs to determine blood abilities, for example.

    3. The XP for bloodline system avoids the mess you get when you use the ECL
    for bloodline system, and you have a scion that suddenly loses his
    bloodline. Say you have a character with a +2 ECL bloodline who is
    character level 11, class level 9 (55,000 xp). What happens if he gets
    divested of his bloodline? Do his experience points suddenly fall to 36,000
    (level 9)? Does he suddenly get to add new class levels? What happens when
    he gets his bloodline back?

    ECL for bloodlines is not a robust system because bloodline scores are
    generally supposed to vary widely during play. In very few campaigns will
    your bloodline remain static for your character's whole life.

    4. The system is also easily houseruled. Again the system gives the
    players/DM the choice of enforcing balance among PCs (bloodline point buy,
    nobody gets hosed by bad rolls) and allowing the DM to easily adjust the
    power level of the campaign (increase/decrease the bloodline buy points).
    There's a second choice built in: DMs that liked the randomness of
    bloodlines can continue to use the old system without a problem (perhaps
    they want to use random for NPCs but point-buy for PCs). NPCs still have
    to pay XP costs to learn their blood abilities, just like PCs.

    5. It preserves the "spirit" of 2e, by creating a way in which commoners
    can be ahead of scions in experience.

    6. Assuming we get the XP costs for blood abilities worked out, it will be
    very simple to use.

    7. The system fully incorporates 3e mechanics at the adventuring level of
    play (blood abilities).

    8. The system helps alleviate (to some extent) the shortage of magical
    items in Cerilia, and the impact that lack of items can have on CRs.

    Problems with the system. There are a few I can think of right away:

    1. The XP costs for blood abilities may be way out of whack. This isn't a
    problem symptomatic of the system; we can easily change the individual
    costs of blood abilities without affecting how the system works as a whole.
    This is the part that I'll need the most help tweaking, since I don't know
    the 3e item creation rules inside and out yet.

    2. Scions are effectively getting an item creation feat for free. There's
    an easy way to solve this if we do decide it is a problem: require a scion
    to take the "blooded scion" feat before he can spend XP on blood abilities.
    Blooded scion will essentially function like a specialized item creation
    feat that allows you to expend XP to learn blood abilities that are
    available to you in your bloodline (predetermined in most cases).

    3. The XP penalty for scions, in terms of a percentage, will widely from
    the 10% baseline in 2e. The reason is that XP costs for bloodlines are a
    flat expediture rather than multiplicative like an XP bonus. I don't see
    this as a big deal because in 2e the 10% bonus only really mattered at high
    level, and in this system the effect of the XP costs are felt throughout
    (since they tend to be larger as a percentage than 10% at the early levels,
    which is where most of BR gaming takes place).

  2. #2
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    That's a fairly good system, IMO. I've tinkered with a similar system myself earlier (for a Planescape campaign, as a way to permanently grant PCs special abilities), and it is also similar to the Prestige Race system from Dragon 304 (the issue whose theme was "mercenaries" that came out around the same time as savage species and contained a lot more about races than mercenaries... just a coincidence) and the Oathbound campaign setting. I like it a lot overall; I actually had a proposal that's similar in some ways to pitch.

    There are some things I'd take note of, though - for one, paying experience costs directly can be seen as somewhat similar to an ECL cost; i.e. pay 1000 XP at first level for three blood abilities (say, enhanced ability three times, for instance), and you're behind one level - of course, that doesn't pitch true higher up the levels, but early on, it's a significant cost - and thus a good balancing factor. I can see this system breaking apart somewhat once you hit middle/high levels, though - being a couple thousand xp behind won't matter a lot at that point, but, then again, at that point, depending on the campaign magic item level, neither will blood abilities matter much.

    As for your proposal for a point-buy system for bloodlines, I don't think it'd work in the present incarnation. In the original system, bloodlines scaled so that higher bloodlines got more abilities; in your point-buy system, you can buy a lower bloodline and get a higher number of blood abilities. If I've gotten you correctly, that's a bad idea from a balance perspective - you'd essentially have domain-less scions with a bloodline of 2 and 10 minor blood abilities they could eventually acquire, and the opposite purchase pattern would be true of those that wished to rule powerful domains.

    This is one of the best alternate proposals I've seen so far, and probably the best overall.

    Most blood abilities in your system should be treated as effectively equal to command word items; those that are constant (like heightened ability) should be use-activated.

    The XP costs are pretty hard to gauge properly; the costs in the prestige race Dragon article were calculated on a pretty harsh basis; 1/5th of the gp cost of a magic item with the same qualities and no space limitation. For most characters, getting one or two of those abilities would put them behind one level or more.

    One final thing to consider about your system proposal is that, logically, you're rendering the distinction between minor/major/great blood abilities obsolete, since their power level is better adjudicated on a basis of pure XP cost.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Please e-mail it to me, irdeggman@cox.net. I've got this "thing" about having to "register" at a group to get to a site (ala yahoo).
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
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    On Fri, 21 Mar 2003, irdeggman wrote:
    > Please e-mail it to me, irdeggman@snip. I`ve got this "thing"
    > about having to "register" at a group to get to a site (ala yahoo).

    As opposed to having to register to vote in the BRCS polls? :)
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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    This is a pretty good system, although the kinks in the Xp cost system will
    need to be worked out. I`m not entirely sure I like the details of your
    point-buy system (for much the same reasons Mark Aurel pointed out) but as
    you point out that`s pretty easy to homerule (when did that word become a
    verb?).

    I might point out that you could further increase the generality of your
    system by allowing players to get blood abilities right at the start of even
    a first-level game by allowing them to start the game at negative values of
    XP. I don`t think there`s anything particularly magic about zero in this
    situation.

    Mark V.

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  6. #6
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    > Please e-mail it to me, irdeggman@cox.net. I`ve got this "thing" about
    having to "register" at a group to get to a site (ala yahoo).

    Gosh, Just like those of us who refuse to register with the BR.Net forums to
    vote in polls?

    I`ve got one major question. I finally sat down and digested the BRCS.

    Why in the hell did the domain system turn into a book keeping nightmare?
    This is a joke. The old system was not perfect, but I didn`t need a ledger
    to track each domain.

    When determining Guild RP income, you have to add up your total ranks in 6-8
    different skills, compare to another
    table to get a percentage. Then take that percentage and multply it by
    another number to get the total number of RP you can make a season.

    You know the old system was elegant. You made X amount from the total of
    your guild holdings. You made X from Trade Routes. Why did you have to
    start adding unneeded levels of complexity?

    Is there any reason that people gain SO few blood abilities now? Hell by
    the table in the book a BLD stat of 11 does not entitle you to any Blood
    abilities, but in the published material the NPCs under the old 2e with a
    score of 22 often had abilities. Is there any reason the design team
    descided upon this? Did you really have to find a table in the book to use
    for the progression of the aquisition of blood abilities even when it
    contradicted the set progression?

    I had issues with this when I skimmed over it. Now I really despise this.
    There is nothing elegant about this book.

    I pity the PBeM DMs that use this. If you though there was book keeping to
    be done before in the old 2e days, you won`t know what hit you when this
    comes to town.

    -Anakin Miller
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    "What was sundered, shall be remade.
    What was stolen, shall be avenged. "
    - Engraved on the Crown of Diemed
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    Who are you to speak to me of loneliness, you who have not suffered as I have suffered. My father was lord of the Andu, ruler of a million souls, but not once did he ever claim me as his son. All those years I waited for a single word from him, a simple acknowledgment of my birthright. But, not even on his death bed did he claim me as his. So do not speak to me of your loneliness, you who have never been as alone as I have been all my life.

    - Prince Raesene Andu, -2 HC.

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Well as far as registering to vote in the polls. I refuse to count up e-mails and the only way to get a quantifable count is with the poll system. Unfortuneately you have to register to be able to vote. That is just the way the system is. Registering with Yahoo is a completely different animal. It is a company and what the company does with my personal information is a matter that I have no control over. This site is managed by Arjan and he essentially controls what happens with the information I give. I have faith in him.;)
    Duane Eggert

  8. #8
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Anakin,
    What about GB collections? At least the proposed system is real simple compared to the old one. I don't know how many of us had our own spreadsheets and databases set up to keep track of collections in the old system.

    The reason the proposed systtem went to a skill-based approach was due to the relative ease of multi-classing in 3rd edition. There was also much discusion on the site about how a skill-based approach would proabably be best. The task will be to determine how to make it simplier and yet still favor certain classes for certain types of holdings, e.g., fighters should be able to gain mor RP than other classes from Law holdings. The biggest trouble is rogues and the shear number of skill points they get per level.

    Remember this was only the first proposal. The skills put out won't be the ones that will end up in the final product - I have no doubt of that. The percentage rate increase was also a means to handle the multi-classing and also give an advantage to characters who choose to emphasize be a regent as opposed to being an adventurer. With skills and feats this is a system that lends itself to this type of evolution and progression - the more you focus on something the better you get.

    So if you can come up a better/simplier method please make a proposal we are listening. I'm sure someone can come up something that will account for multi-classing, favor certain classes for certain types of holdings and allow those who choose to focus on being a regent to be better than those who only do it occasionally.([_]
    Duane Eggert

  9. #9
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    From: "Atarikid" <atarikid@CHARTER.NET>

    > Why in the hell did the domain system turn into a book keeping nightmare?
    > This is a joke. The old system was not perfect, but I didn`t need a
    ledger
    > to track each domain.
    >


    Hear! Hear! - Bravo!

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  10. #10
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    On top of my head (taking only the time to type and think)

    In order to collect any regency at all from a certain type of holding, the
    following criteria must be met. There is no partial reward; either you can
    collect from a certain type of holding, or you cannot.

    Guild:
    5 ranks each of Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy.

    Temple:
    Divine spellcaster level 2, 5 ranks Diplomacy

    Law:
    5 ranks of ride skill (all these cultures are ruled by equestrian
    partiarchs). +2 BAB.

    Source:
    Arcane spellcaster level 2. Scry skill 5 ranks.


    If we want different level of skill to improve your ability to collect RP, I
    suggest all the "5 ranks of skill" requirements be replaced with a
    requirement on a number of skill ranks equal to the holding level, and the
    BAB and spellcaster level requirement is the holding level -3.

    The thing that makes the current system into such a bookkeeping nightmare is
    that you get to collect a percentage of the RP depending on your skills.
    With this system, you can either collect RP or you cannot - which is much
    simpler. Also, if the progressive requirements are used, it means that there
    is effectively a limit on how high a holding level you can control,
    depending on your level. That makes a lot of sense to me.

    /Carl

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