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Thread: BIRTHRIGHT: Magic Reform
06-15-2003, 07:11 PM #1
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- Apr 2002
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I don`t normally post much on this list because most people in my area
prefer Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms, but this particular subject is near
and dear to my heart because I love the uniqueness of Birthright`s magic.
I agree with others who say that no character should be forced to take a
class they don`t want. The entire idea behind the magic of Cerilia is that
it is powerful...but that there are very few who can actually use such
By their very nature, PCs are supposed to be among the rare and powerful
beings in Birthright. Where even Darien Avan may be forced to send an army
to deal with a threat; a stout band of heroes can just as well take care of
the problem. Then of course we come to magic.
Sure, Realm Magic is VERY powerful; but so is a 2nd level fighter who rules
the Duchy of Alamie! Duke Alam is by far one of the more influential
persons in Anuire. Yes I know, his Duchy is actually one of the weaker
domains, but he still has a Duchy at 2nd level for crying out loud!
The thing that I always loved about Birthright was its simplicity. Yep...it
is simple. Because it is simple, it is actually easier to bring about that
ever elusive "Suspension of Disbelief" we game masters try so hard to bring
into our games for the players. The more charts, graphs, and rules you have
to constantly reference to get something done in a game, the more it starts
feeling like accounting work and the less it feels like a game.
Birthright is realistic in that even a 1st level character can rule a
powerful domain (after their sire or dame dies) like the Sielwode or an
emerging power like Roesone. The original system made for 2nd Ed. was
capable of existing outside the actual parameters of the
character...although a character could immerse more of their time and skills
into running the domain, they didn`t have to.
Hmmm...I`m getting off the topic here.
Realm magic, indeed the magic of Cerilia in general, is unique in that it is
not so much rare as it is unattainable by the vast majority of the world.
There are fewer magical items in Cerilia simply because the wizards and
priests aren`t magic factories, but instead they dedicate their lives to
their magic. A wizard doesn`t have time to equip every Aerik "Dragonslayer"
that happens to come to his door because he is too busy researching a new
Realm Spell that just MAY be able to hold off his enemies or make the Regent
he works for a very wealthy man who can now afford that army when the lead
mines turn to gold right before his eyes.
The advent of 3rd Ed. rules makes magic by and large much easier to obtain
within the strictest limits of the rules. This is dangerous for Birthright
because now anyone can churn out +1 swords on pretty much a weekly basis!
Make a sword at the start of the week, go kill a few badguys at the end of
the week to get back the paltry xp you spent making the sword.
When 3rd Ed. first came out I was truly scared my campaigns would be
over-run with magic rich characters...and this was in the Forgotten Realms
where magic is commonplace. I dreaded the prospect of the Magic Mart
existing in any Birthright campaign I might run. And so I did one simple
thing: I changed the Item Creation Feats and requirements.
Brew Potion: 7th level and 10 ranks in Alchemy (or the aid of an Alchemist
with this many ranks)
Craft Magic Arms and Armor: 12th level and 10 ranks in the relevent ability
(or some smith to aid)
Craft Rod, Staff, or Wand: 12th level and 10 ranks in some sort of skill
that would allow the shaping of such an item (or an aid....).
Craft Wondrous Item: 12th level and appropriate skill of at least 10 ranks
in whatever skill would be required to make such an item (or....heck, just
look up a line or two!).
Forge Ring: 12the level and 10 ranks in whatever skill would be required to
make a ring of the materials used (not repeating myself).
Scribe Scroll: 7th level and either 10 ranks in Profession Scribe or
Calligraphy (this is the only skill where ONLY the maker of the scroll must
exhibit the abilities required to pen the scroll).
Now you are saying: "Well that goes against every single class ability
wizards have, they would never be able to get all the feats for item
You got it.
And then you don`t got it.
The idea is that the character is free to have the feats, but won`t be able
to use them until much later in their career. Lot of skill points you say?
Well, yes it is. But for most items, they could simply have someone craft
the actual physical masterwork item for them!
"Your ideas are outlandish and totally outside of the rules of the game!"
you say? Well, these ideas are based solely on item creation rules set
forth by Gary Gygax on page 116 of the 1st Edition Dungeon Master`s guide
for item creation rules. The only difference being that I added in the need
for skill ranks.
As for Realm Magic....very simple. Create a Feat called....you got it:
Keep the same level requirements and pretty much the same spell abilities as
they existed in 2nd Edition for Realm Magic and everything is just fine.
Magic stays rare enough and can still pack a punch when it is finally
"Well, every 12th level wizard in the game is going to be able to dominate
everyone around him!" you say? I say nay!
It is hard for a wizard to live past 1st level these days, just like it
always has been. Wizards will be rare in your game because you the DM will
be controlling just how many of the lads and lasses are running about
causing trouble. Your players will be running the only wizards in the whole
of the world that are not totally under your control; and even they will be
limited by how you place things for them to interact with.
Sure, at higher levels they will be true power houses; but when the parties
fighter became a Warlord and ruled his own province at level 2......you get
the point I hope. Wizards have to play "catch up" in the stages of their
careers when a Fighter or some other class may have already been ruling a
kingdom for quite some time.
Hope my rambling and bad grammer haven`t caused too many headaches alongside
my bad spelling; but I was in a hurry to get this out before it was time to
watch a movie with the wife.....even powerful wizards have someone to answer
to you know!
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