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  1. #1
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    So far I was neutral towards the ECL modifications of blooded scions. Now I started several new Birthright campaigns, experienced the character creation system and
    felt the resonance of the players.

    Furthermore I discussed with people which also use the ECL system. Here is my personal
    result:

    The ECL modification does not seem to work for "normal" adventuring campaigns. However, it seems to make sense when getting involved with regency points.

    - the ECL for scions is in absolutely no relation to the ECL of races
    - the ECL modifier is unfair: player choosing a better bloodline may have bad luck and
    have a low bloodline score or bad blood abilities
    - the differences of the bloodline abilities of a minor bloodline are not weak enough compared the the major abilites. Characters with the minor ability can have nearly as good abilities as a character with a major ability.

    The result is that players with e.g. a major bloodline are very frustrated, since they have to live with the ECL.

    For groups not using the Regency rules (or don't use them that often), the ECL system
    does not work.
    my purpose is now to lead you into the Pallace where you shall have a clear and delightful view of all those various objects, and scattered excellencies, that lye up and down upon the face of creation, which are only seen by those that go down into the Seas, and by no other....

  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 06:31 PM 4/11/2003 +0200, Azrai wrote:

    >For groups not using the Regency rules (or don`t use them that often),
    >the ECL system
    >does not work.

    If I might engage in a little shameless self-promotion, have you tried the
    ECL stuff in the Blood Ability Points System? I think it may address some
    of your complaints since there is an effort to balance the ECL modifiers
    with the adventure level effects. On the other hand, the tenth values for
    ECL may not work out well in the long run--though I haven`t really heard
    any complaints so far, and the ECL modifiers don`t really reflect the
    ability of the regent to control a large realm. (I think the ECL for a
    realm should be computed separately, but that`s really another issue.)

    Gary

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  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Azrai has several valid points:
    The ECL system is weakest when using a random method of determining blood abilities.
    The ECL was based on 3 factors (I've consistenetly stated this) - Blood abilities, bonus hit points and starting equipment (i.e., magic items). The latter is really only useful at low levels and the variant in Chapter 8 needs to be adopted to really use it. If a group is not using any of the regency options, it indeed won't work very well - since none of them by themselves, except some major and great blood abiities, would justify an ECL in and of itself.

    Something we "missed" when putting together the system was that the DMG doesn't allow starting with ECLs alone. pg 22 "Only let a player create one of these powerful characters when you would otherwise allow that player to create a higher-level standard character of equivalanet pwer. Thus, if you would normally allow a player to create a 5th-level character, you can also allow a player to create an ogre (with no class levels)."

    When Savage Species (3.5 forward compatable) came out it outlined a method for using monster levels to allow a character to play an ECL'd race at first level. While I absolutely hate having to resort to using a scion class, I can't see any other way to incorporate this into the 3rd ed mechanics. I worked up a 5 level scion class that gives hit points, BAB, saving throws, skillpoints, etc. like any other class would it also inserts the various things that comprise the templates at different levels and allows the scion class to be an additional favored class for scions. The scion class levels are not required, but a scion would need to take them in order to gain additional benefits (e.g., access to major abilities). Since the "minor" template had no ECL, a scion could take it without any additional scion class levels and only have access to minor abilities. I'll post it once I figure out how to best get it out for discussion. :)
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Junior Member oximoron's Avatar
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    How does this mesh with the backround of the birthright campeign, If charecters have to earn those abilities fair and square and with them being balanced out as class levels and history saying they had advantages over others when they could just as well have leveled up in other classes, true it gives mystical advantages over others but then you could just as well level up as a divine or arcane spellcaster. Seems to me that your trying to make an omelette(d20 birthright) without the breaking a few eggs. You could simply keep the AD&D rules on it or create your own that may or may not break a few rules

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    It seems to me that the problem with ECL effects on scions really revolves
    around the fact that a set of powers granted by heaven to rulers actually
    creates adventure benefits. Some of the powers really are only advantages
    for rulers (Battlewise) while others are clear advantages for adventurers.
    The ECL should only balance the advantages of adventure level play, not
    realm level play.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:10 PM 4/13/2003 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >Some of the powers really are only advantages for rulers (Battlewise)
    >while others are clear advantages for adventurers. The ECL should only
    >balance the advantages of adventure level play, not realm level play.

    Other than Battlewise which blood abilities in particular do you think are
    the most egregious in this regard? That is, which blood abilities tend to
    be mostly "domain level abilities" with little or no adventure level effect?

    Gary

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  7. #7
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    It seems to me that the problem with ECL effects on scions really revolves
    around the fact that a set of powers granted by heaven to rulers actually
    creates adventure benefits. Some of the powers really are only advantages
    for rulers (Battlewise) while others are clear advantages for adventurers.
    The ECL should only balance the advantages of adventure level play, not
    realm level play.
    Well, yes and no - the main purpose of ECL is to gauge the effective overall character effectiveness in a variety of situations. A character with battlewise is clearly better than one without, unless the character without is given something to compensate. However, the battlewise ability on its own is fairly weak, and it'd take a lot of stuff like that to add up to a "full ECL." It's the old "not all bonuses are created equal" thing in a nutshell - how large a bonus to the Jump skill would it take to add up to an ECL? +20? +40? +60?

    How does this mesh with the backround of the birthright campeign, If charecters have to earn those abilities fair and square and with them being balanced out as class levels and history saying they had advantages over others when they could just as well have leveled up in other classes, true it gives mystical advantages over others but then you could just as well level up as a divine or arcane spellcaster. Seems to me that your trying to make an omelette(d20 birthright) without the breaking a few eggs. You could simply keep the AD&D rules on it or create your own that may or may not break a few rules
    Well, the point here is to stay true to the spirit of the original, while balancing it with the mechanics of the 3e rules, and staying true to 3e rules, not 2e rules. The point is to come up with a variant that will account for the most variables possible.

    - the ECL for scions is in absolutely no relation to the ECL of races
    - the ECL modifier is unfair: player choosing a better bloodline may have bad luck and
    have a low bloodline score or bad blood abilities
    - the differences of the bloodline abilities of a minor bloodline are not weak enough compared the the major abilites. Characters with the minor ability can have nearly as good abilities as a character with a major ability.

    The result is that players with e.g. a major bloodline are very frustrated, since they have to live with the ECL.
    Yeah, the system as it stands right now is definitely not well balanced on some points; some standardization and retooling it as a scion class ought to fix a couple of balance issues with the ECLs being too harsh a penalty. Note that you're normally supposed to pick your own blood abilities; the random tables are provided for those that don't quite want to abandon the old ways. ;)
    Jan E. Juvstad.

  8. #8
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Gary" <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET>
    Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 3:01 PM


    > Other than Battlewise which blood abilities in particular do you think are
    > the most egregious in this regard?

    Isn`t this deficency telling? Some have use in both domain and adventure
    areas, but should blood abilities be mostly inheritors of the adventure
    focus, or should the domain aspect be expanded to reflect BR as a domain
    system?

    BTW, I don`t think ECL should reflect domain advantages. Being prince of
    Avanil shouldn`t produce an experience penalty as compared to the count of
    Ilien or Hugo the snake, petty fence in the local burg.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  9. #9
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    Ok I finally sat down and started reading over some of the other templates
    from WotC. Has anyone else noticed that the Half-Celestial template in the
    back of the MM is only +1 ECL. Look at all of the abilities and powers
    granted. Hell look at most of those templates. For a mere +1 ECL you get
    ALOT of bonus`s and goodies.

    The Great Template does not hold up. You gain a +3 ECL and do not gain near
    as many benefits. Was there any reason for this? What was the major
    points that the development team decided upon a +3 ECL for the Great
    bloodline template?

    -Anakin Miller
    -------------------------
    "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.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:18 AM 4/14/2003 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >> >Some of the powers really are only advantages for rulers (Battlewise)
    >> >while others are clear advantages for adventurers. The ECL should only
    >> >balance the advantages of adventure level play, not realm level play.
    >
    > > Other than Battlewise which blood abilities in particular do you think are
    > > the most egregious in this regard?
    >
    >Isn`t this deficency telling?

    I asked because other than Battlewise I couldn`t think of any blood
    abilities that really have a domain level effect. I just skimmed through
    the RB and Courage does also have an effect on units accompanying the scion
    in addition to its adventure level effects. Those are the only two I recall.

    >Some have use in both domain and adventure areas, but should blood
    >abilities be mostly inheritors of the adventure focus, or should the
    >domain aspect be expanded to reflect BR as a domain system?

    I think certain blood abilities _should_ have both adventure level and
    domain level effects (maybe they all should for the sake of balance and
    thoroughness--though what the domain level effects of Direction Sense might
    be escapes me at the moment...) but by and large the adventure level
    effects seem to be the standard. Since ECL really accounts only for
    adventure level effects I don`t think there`d need to be much change in how
    the blood abilities are described in order to account for domain level effects.

    I would agree that ECLs for blood abilities should focus on actually
    useable powers at the adventure level. In the cases in which they don`t
    (Battlewise or Courage) I think there could be some modification to make
    them more relevant at the adventure level. Battlewise might, for instance,
    give bonuses to the adventure level use of some Command skill that allowed
    a character to direct others and give them greater than typical bonuses on
    attacks, AC, etc. Courage`s radius could be extended (as it is in the BP
    system I wrote up) and could have greater effects at higher levels and
    ECLs. That`s something I`ll have to think about....

    >BTW, I don`t think ECL should reflect domain advantages. Being prince of
    >Avanil shouldn`t produce an experience penalty as compared to the count of
    >Ilien or Hugo the snake, petty fence in the local burg.

    I don`t think it should have the same penalty, certainly, but I do think
    there should be some sort of way of accounting for the adventure level
    advantage of running a realm. I would compare having control of provinces
    or holdings to having a high gp worth of items in one`s inventory per 3e`s
    table on "normal" gp values for equipment by character level. Regents have
    access to greater resources and can bypass or alleviate interactions with
    NPCs or other things common to the adventure level in a way beyond that of
    typical D&D adventurers. Depending on the nature of the realm a regent
    might be able to call out the local constabulary, get access to mounts,
    living quarters, equipment, healing, ships, messengers, the contents of the
    treasury, etc. There should be, therefore, some accounting for the
    relative ease with which they get through those aspects of adventure level
    play--ECL is one possibility, but not the one I would necessarily go
    by. One should bear it in mind as something that effects particular
    encounters and, therefore, factor it into things like ELs and CR awards,
    but it`s not the kind of thing that one needs to "earn" with XP.

    To extend the inventory analogy, one method of accounting for inventory`s
    effects on play previously suggested was to average the level of the PC
    with the level of the inventory he carries. A 4th level character with an
    inventory of items equivalent to a typical 6th level character would be 5th
    level for the purpose of ELs and CR awards. Similarly, a domain might be
    given a gp value and accounted in much the same way. For instance, a
    regent`s domain might be valued at 10,000gp and that amount added to his
    "inventory" for the purpose of designing adventures and granting XP from
    those encounters. Exactly what the gp value of provinces and/or holdings
    for this purpose might be I haven`t really figured out yet....

    Let`s say, for instance, that Darian Avan dies and leaves his entire domain
    to a 1st level character. As DM when designing encounters for such a
    character it makes sense that the EL of the encounters could range higher
    than a typical 1st level PC. A 10th level character invested with Avanil
    might be less drastically influenced when designing
    adventures. Conversely, a 1st level character with only a holding level or
    two might not be any different from a typical D&D adventurer.

    I guess the difference between assigning an ECL and modifying EL/CR based
    on such things is something of a "half dozen of one, six of the other"
    situation to some extent since effectively lowering the amount of XP
    awarded is not much different from raising the amount required to level up,
    but from the standpoint of the way the game works I think it might more
    sense to handle things that way.

    Gary

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