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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    I've been operating under a couple of assumptions based on posts in the past. I think its time to quantify those assumptions so I'm going to make a couple of posts concerning blood score and blood abilities.


    Read option 1 in poll as "(e.g., point buy method)" - ran out of room in poll.
    Duane Eggert

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    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    My vote is random only, but I would find a mixture of both not this bad too. I only don't want a point buy (or other non random) only, because this violates the "old" BR flair...
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

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    If any list members wish to participate directly in the poll, the link is thus:

    http://www.birthright.net/read.php?TID=1645



    That said, my personal opinion is that the bloodline should primarily be determined in such a way that characters are balanced against each other. Randomness as a method isn't generally balanced for any given subset of characters, though it produces balance between _players_ over a long series of characters (and no BR campaign I've ever been in has gone through characters like the meat grinders that some DungeonWorlds[TM] are).

    Intraparty balance is also an essential component to 3e rules in general - one character is not supposed to outshine another over the course of a game, unless he's of a higher level. Of course, characters have different strengths, and what strengths are the best may depend heavily on the campaign. With all these qualifiers, a certain underlying balance between characters is still assumed in 3e. There are some random sacred cows that have been kept for sure, but they've had their horns sawed off for the most part. Rolling for ability scores is one thing; the way the dice tends to fall is another. The 4d6 mechanism tends to create few characters with extremely low ability scores, without creating too many characters with 18s, either. The natural selection rule in place tends to create a certain minimum standard that's the same for all characters - everyone has at least a 14 in their primary ability score. There's randomness and luck involved to be sure, but generally, it's not that much of a factor. Hit points are no longer rolled at 1st level, preventing the "pale fighter with 1 hp and a ticket to the graveyard" syndrome. Beyond those elements, there's no randomness in character creation at any point.

    Being able to determine a character's bloodline is a highly important background element to any scion character in BR - as important as skills or feats or what class the character is. It's not really a good argument that a character can't choose his bloodline, because for most people, they don't really choose what they are, either - most people are a product of circumstance, some more or less than others. Determining bloodlines randomly by this line of reasoning would also lead to rolling for classes, skills, and feats randomly - of course, I may be beating the proverbial strawman here. Having control over a character's concept and background is important to many players, I think. For those that don't really have anything specific in mind, rolling dice can produce a workable result - or it could produce inspiration. It shouldn't be the rule, however, merely a crutch to lean your mind on when it's empty of ideas.

    Random determination of bloodlines vs choosing them, goes right to the spirit of what separates 1e and 2e from 3e. Players have control over their characters and what they are, and that's generally a good thing. Of course, it also depends on what the adopted definition of randomness is - rolling a couple of more dice can actually produce more balance between characters, as the overall statistical difference between characters becomes smaller. Players should still get to pick the general level of power of their bloodlines regardless.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Mark_Aurel" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>
    Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 8:53 AM

    > Having control over a character`s concept and background is
    > important to many players, I think. For those that don`t really
    > have anything specific in mind, rolling dice can produce a workable
    > result - or it could produce inspiration. It shouldn`t be the rule,
    > however, merely a crutch to lean your mind on when it`s empty of
    > ideas.

    Nail on the head, Mark. This is especially true for me since I think that
    bloodline does influence class. In either event, good players often come to
    the table with a good character concept, and encouraging this leads to good
    role play. I want to encourage that not just verbally, but also
    mechanically, by allowing players to select their bloodline and have some
    input on their blood powers.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mark Aurel

    Hit points are no longer rolled at 1st level, preventing the "pale fighter with 1 hp and a ticket to the graveyard" syndrome. Beyond those elements, there's no randomness in character creation at any point.
    Well, I don't think there ever existed a 1st level fighter with one hit point!!! We always granted full hit points at first level, regardless of class, that's not really something new, only written down. Further we always granted (and still grant) to reroll a rolled one at 2nd or higher level. If the character played a wizard, he must take the roll, if another one is rolled, but any other character class could (and can) reroll as often as the die shows a one.


    Being able to determine a character's bloodline is a highly important background element to any scion character in BR - as important as skills or feats or what class the character is. It's not really a good argument that a character can't choose his bloodline, because for most people, they don't really choose what they are, either - most people are a product of circumstance, some more or less than others. Determining bloodlines randomly by this line of reasoning would also lead to rolling for classes, skills, and feats randomly - of course, I may be beating the proverbial strawman here. Having control over a character's concept and background is important to many players, I think. For those that don't really have anything specific in mind, rolling dice can produce a workable result - or it could produce inspiration. It shouldn't be the rule, however, merely a crutch to lean your mind on when it's empty of ideas.
    In our campaign a player can still choose his derivation (same as he can choose class and race), but not strenght (including minor, major or great) and abilities. Well, the only reason, why we don't allow choosing the strength is to avoid the ECL... Because we prefer adventuring and not domain play this system is too unfair until now compared with ECL races.
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

  6. #6
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ariadne


    Originally posted by Mark Aurel

    Hit points are no longer rolled at 1st level, preventing the "pale fighter with 1 hp and a ticket to the graveyard" syndrome. Beyond those elements, there's no randomness in character creation at any point.
    Well, I don't think there ever existed a 1st level fighter with one hit point!!! We always granted full hit points at first level, regardless of class, that's not really something new, only written down. Further we always granted (and still grant) to reroll a rolled one at 2nd or higher level. If the character played a wizard, he must take the roll, if another one is rolled, but any other character class could (and can) reroll as often as the die shows a one.


    Being able to determine a character's bloodline is a highly important background element to any scion character in BR - as important as skills or feats or what class the character is. It's not really a good argument that a character can't choose his bloodline, because for most people, they don't really choose what they are, either - most people are a product of circumstance, some more or less than others. Determining bloodlines randomly by this line of reasoning would also lead to rolling for classes, skills, and feats randomly - of course, I may be beating the proverbial strawman here. Having control over a character's concept and background is important to many players, I think. For those that don't really have anything specific in mind, rolling dice can produce a workable result - or it could produce inspiration. It shouldn't be the rule, however, merely a crutch to lean your mind on when it's empty of ideas.
    In our campaign a player can still choose his derivation (same as he can choose class and race), but not strenght (including minor, major or great) and abilities. Well, the only reason, why we don't allow choosing the strength is to avoid the ECL... Because we prefer adventuring and not domain play this system is too unfair until now compared with ECL races.

    So these are "house rules" that pretty much reflect Mark_Aurel's assertions on "allowing" player's more choice. We all need to be careful not to assume that everyone plays by our "house rules". The idea is to come up with some sort of standard that lends itself to "tailoring" for indivdual campaign styles and not be perceived as the "only" way to runa Birthright campaign.:)
    Duane Eggert

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    I prefer random-only rolls.

    IMO the creation of unique characters are more important than the game balance.

    In a really balanced game group all fighters have the same strenght score, same consti and same dex. Imagine a fighter with strenght 18 and one with only 15. The 18 should be an extraordinary score which is very hard to gain. And of course the 18 is unbalanced compared to the 15. I am against all kind of point-b. methods, they create stereotypical ST 18 and IN 8 fighters.

    It is nearly the same with the bloodlines. High bloodlines won't be unique any more. At long time view this will violate the gaming fun.
    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....

  8. #8
    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irdeggman

    So these are "house rules" that pretty much reflect Mark_Aurel's assertions on "allowing" player's more choice. We all need to be careful not to assume that everyone plays by our "house rules". The idea is to come up with some sort of standard that lends itself to "tailoring" for indivdual campaign styles and not be perceived as the "only" way to runa Birthright campaign.:)
    O.K., maybe you're right. But this would mean, creating a "point buy" system only would address only less than the half (or maybe the half) of the community too. The best method to satisfy both parties is to create a system, that includes both versions then...
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

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    Azrai sez:

    I prefer random-only rolls.

    IMO the creation of unique characters are more important than the game balance.

    In a really balanced game group all fighters have the same strenght score, same consti and same dex. Imagine a fighter with strenght 18 and one with only 15. The 18 should be an extraordinary score which is very hard to gain. And of course the 18 is unbalanced compared to the 15. I am against all kind of point-b. methods, they create stereotypical ST 18 and IN 8 fighters.
    So, let's see - you don't credit people with the ability to think of unique or interesting character concepts of their own? Do you roll to determine which class and what skills your character has as well?

    I don't think you give the 3e point buy system a lot of credit there (have you looked at it?). While the system has its flaws, it does scale ability scores upwards. In the default value distribution, attaining a value of 18 is quite expensive, and will be a significant sacrifice in other areas.

    Under the default 3e rules, the fighter you postulate would have ability scores that go like: Str 18, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 8. That's one crappy will save, just for starters. That character will have +3 total for his ability modifiers. Different ways of spreading out those points might be: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 8 (total modifier +4, better saves overall) or even Str 14, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 10. Which is the better spread of ability scores really depends on the campaign as well - if your campaign is a primitive hack-n-slash campaign, charisma and intelligence are likely to be worth significantly less than in a heavily intrigue-based campaign.

    Of course, you can also easily modify a point buy system with simple rules such as "you must buy at least two odd scores, and no more than one pair of identical ability scores" or similar ways of making the scores more "interesting" and unique.

    That said, I don't use point buy in my campaign, and I wasn't talking about a "point buy" system for bloodlines. A "point buy" system for bloodlines is pretty much impossible to rig - there's nothing to "point buy" against. I remember someone tried to do it, which was, in my view, a failure - basically, "point buying" a higher bloodline vs number of blood abilities - which doesn't make sense at all, since it leaves people with low bloodlines with many abilities, and those with high bloodlines with few. There's not really much point in arguing about that, since what you'd essentially end up doing would be bashing a strawman - and a stupid one, at that.

    My suggested method for picking bloodline strength goes like this (and it is in part D of the bloodline system suggestions that was posted recently):

    -Any player can choose for his character to be non-blooded or blooded, and if blooded, he can choose a tainted, minor, major or great bloodline.
    -Each bloodline level corresponds to a scion level - i.e. a great scion is a 4th-level scion.
    -The character generates his bloodline score at character creation by rolling dice according to the number of scion levels he's going to take, using a less random method than the 2e one - i.e. roll 2d4+4, 2d4+12, 2d4+20, or 2d4+28 (and there's a feat that allows you to get a stronger bloodline score than this).

    This method is essentially the same as the template method in the current playtest version, with the exceptions that 1) it does away with the bloodline ability score in favor of a bloodline spread identical to 2e; 2) it replaces the "empty" level adjustment with actual scion levels to boost the power level of scions a bit; 3) it allows PCs to start the game out with a set bloodline score - unlike the template system, a PC gains his full bloodline up front. In other words, it's more like the 2e bloodline score, but with a more 3e-ish balance.

    This model, or a similar one, is something I'd argue for - not a point buy system. If you wanted to use my method with a greater degree of randomness, you could rule that players that want blooded PCs have to roll on the BR Rulebook table to determine their overall maximum scion level.

    I'm no proponent that there is one true path - a cat catches mice, regardless of its color. My point is simply that the default system should match 3e philosophy as closely as possible, and not be an attempt at wedging a 2e rules system into a 3e game, or a system that uses 2e philosophy disguised with 3e mechanical terms.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mark_Aurel

    Under the default 3e rules, the fighter you postulate would have ability scores that go like: Str 18, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 8. That's one crappy will save, just for starters. That character will have +3 total for his ability modifiers. Different ways of spreading out those points might be: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 8 (total modifier +4, better saves overall) or even Str 14, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 10.
    As you see yourself, you can only create average characters, no exeptional ones...
    Well, you can create more "powerless" characters with the rolling method, but you have the same chance to get a really good one.
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

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