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  1. #1
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    Greetings everyone!

    Ok, its been since late February that I started my 3e Birthright campaign, I would like to point out my observations so far. Most of my players are old 2nd edition Birthright players so please keep this in mind. I will not go into detail what the campaign was about, this is just our impressions on how the "system" worked for us. I ran 6 players 4 were Regents the other 2 played "lieutenants".

    First observation. The Domain system need to be retooled more. There needs to be either a more free form and simplified domain action system or a clarified and expanded action and resolution list. There have been many times that I have had to make DM calls on the actions that players would have during the session. So far it reads and plays domains just like the Original BR.

    Second impression. Everyone dislikes the Template system for BR. We think it was much more fun to have random bloodline strengths and scores (ranging from 1 to 100 aka a percentage of you blood) and give unblooded PC's +20% xp. My players think that trying to make BR "fit" into 3e loses some of the flavor. Also, Birthright's Bloodlines were powerful and it seems like the playtest is alot more limited than in the original BR.
    • Example: Two of my players in the middle of my campaign confused and upset that they had to "lose" a level because of usurpation. They started with tainted bloodlines and then, through bloodtheft, eventually gained enough to become major bloodlines. They then had to "add" the Major scion template and lose a level, let me tell you they did not like that one bit.


    Third Impression. The bloodline abilities were good, they worked out well. The Regency earned and collected worked out all right. The domain magic worked well but the battle magic "feat" we did not like. Also the races seem a bit underpowered compared to their 2nd edition counterparts.

    Overall: We think this was a wonderful albeit low-powered attempt at creating birthright in the third edition, though it needs to be powered back up. We were first attracted to BR in the first place because of "Having the blood of the gods in you".

    Suggestions: Improve the Races and their starting abilities. There was nothing wrong with the old bloodline scores or random strengths, we suggest to bring them back in a similar fashion. If you have to have a structured limit on bloodlines, make the bloodlines like racial levels like in Arcana Unearthed this way it is a choice on what bloodline strength you will start with, but that is IF you must.

    This is what we are going to do in the meantime. We will tailor the magic system after something like Arcana Unearthed that way you have blooded wizards like Magisters with access to both complex and simple spells then you have magicians that have only simple spells. Then we will tailor the UA classes for BR (Think of Nesirie's priests as Sea Witches ^_^) and use the playtest for the Regency and Domains but modify the Domain spells. We will try going back to the original random bloodline scores and strengths with the new 3e Bloodline abilities. Once we have done this we will playtest this for a few months and by that time we should have a good grasp of if this will work or not.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."
    -Roy Batty, Blade Runner

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. Have you checked out the proposed revisions to the blood scores?


    http://www.birthright.net/forums/index.php...=ST&f=36&t=1815

    A and D both include scion classes which are like the racial levels.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
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    Mainboard wrote:

    > First observation. The Domain system need to be retooled more. There

    > needs to be either a more free form and simplified domain action system

    > or a clarified and expanded action and resolution list. There have been

    > many times that I have had to make DM calls on the actions that players

    > would have during the session. So far it reads and plays domains just

    > like the Original BR.



    This needs more explanation. You said "it needs to be more free-form or

    more structured." That`s not a suggestion, that`s the entire realm of

    possibility. :)



    > Second impression. Everyone dislikes the Template system for BR. We

    > think it was much more fun to have random bloodline strengths and scores

    > (ranging from 1 to 100 aka a percentage of you blood) and give unblooded

    > PC's +20% xp. My players think that trying to make BR

    > "fit" into 3e loses some of the flavor. Also, Birthright's

    > Bloodlines were powerful and it seems like the playtest is alot more

    > limited than in the original BR.



    Your problem is with the ECL, not the template. Having "Blooded" be a

    template which gives a random bloodline score is as valid a template as

    the ones in the original playtest version. The ECL would still be

    necessary, though, because a character with several bloodline powers is

    more powerful than a non-blooded character. Percentile XP bonuses isn`t a

    very good mechanic compared to that.



    Giving an XP bonus to "baseline" characters is a flat bad idea. They`re

    the baseline for a reason. If more powerful characters exist, like

    scions, /they/ get compared to the baseline and adjusted as appropriate,

    not the "unblooded first level human fighter".



    > Example: Two of my players in the middle of my campaign confused and

    > upset that they had to "lose" a level because of usurpation.

    > They started with tainted bloodlines and then, through bloodtheft,

    > eventually gained enough to become major bloodlines. They then had to

    > "add" the Major scion template and lose a level, let me tell

    > you they did not like that one bit.



    That one is your own fault, because that`s not how templates and ECLs

    work. :) Suppose you are a rogue, level 3, with 4000 xp accumulated, and

    you gain a +1 ECL template. You shouldn`t suddenly become a 2nd level

    rogue! You`re a third level rogue, with 4000 experience, but your

    character level is 4, and you will have to accumulate up to 10,000

    experience before you level up. Party encounters will need to be scaled

    up slightly to reflect the higher average party level, and everything will

    work out fine.



    > Third Impression. The bloodline abilities were good, they worked out

    > well. The Regency earned and collected worked out all right. The domain

    > magic worked well but the battle magic "feat" we did not like.



    Why?



    > Also the races seem a bit underpowered compared to their 2nd edition

    > counterparts. Overall: We think this was a wonderful albeit low-powered

    > attempt at creating birthrigh t in the third edition, though it needs to

    > be powered back up.



    The races are already rather overpowered, with magical abilities and DR

    and such available to them. Cerilian elves, dwarves, and halflings are

    dangerously close to needing a +1 ECL of their own. If you want to ignore

    ECLs and power them up more, go for it and have fun, but it can`t be like

    that in a version of the setting that gets released for general use.



    --

    Daniel McSorley

  4. #4
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    Mainboard wrote:

    > The domain magic worked well but the battle magic "feat" we

    > did not like.



    Also, have you seen the "War Spells" article in Dragon 309? Written by

    SKR, I believe, and fits in neatly as far as I can tell with the war

    system from Malhavoc`s "Cry Havoc" book. If we could just reference those

    and move on, that would be ideal as far as I`m concerned.



    --

    Daniel McSorley

  5. #5
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    Daniel McSorley wrote: This needs more explanation. You said "it needs to be more free-form or more structured." That`s not a suggestion, that`s the entire realm of
    possibility.
    Ok bluntly, the system needs to be completely reworked and redone from the ground up. My suggestion is to make it into a board game, period. h34r: That way you can have clear rules on war and domains. BTW thats what it plays like right now except not as smoothly.

    Daniel McSorley wrote: Your problem is with the ECL, not the template. Having "Blooded" be a template which gives a random bloodline score is as valid a template as the ones in the original playtest version. The ECL would still be necessary, though, because a character with several bloodline powers is more powerful than a non-blooded character. Percentile XP bonuses isn`t a very good mechanic compared to that. Giving an XP bonus to "baseline" characters is a flat bad idea. They`re the baseline for a reason. If more powerful characters exist, like scions, /they/ get compared to the baseline and adjusted as appropriate, not the "unblooded first level human fighter"
    No, my problem is I LIKE the old system and I do not think it need to be d20ed to death. Man, you must have never played in 2nd edition Birthright, because if you had you would know that Birthright is supposed to BE powerful. I personally do not want to play 3E with a birthright add on. I want to play the game where the Gods fought on Mt. Deismaar and died showering the land with their divine blood giving mere mortals the power of the GODS! I feel that if you want to worry about ECL's and templates go play in the Realms. BR is about power and responsibility of use with those powers, not rules and "baseline" characters.

    Daniel McSorley wrote: That one is your own fault, because that`s not how templates and ECLs work. Suppose you are a rogue, level 3, with 4000 xp accumulated, and you gain a +1 ECL template. You shouldn`t suddenly become a 2nd level rogue! You`re a third level rogue, with 4000 experience, but your character level is 4, and you will have to accumulate up to 10,000 experience before you level up. Party encounters will need to be scaled up slightly to reflect the higher average party level, and everything will work out fine.
    I understand templates VERY well (they were in 1st edition back in 1979 when I started playing AD&D) it just next to impossible to actually incorporate them into some form of role playing without sugar coating it. Additionally, I know it was my fault that they were upset. But, they would have never have played the playtest if they had heard about that in the first-place. :/

    Daniel McSorley wrote: The races are already rather overpowered, with magical abilities and DR and such available to them. Cerilian elves, dwarves, and halflings are dangerously close to needing a +1 ECL of their own. If you want to ignore ECLs and power them up more, go for it and have fun, but it can`t be like that in a version of the setting that gets released for general use
    Dude, try looking at Midnight its a released d20 product doing fantastically, it won the Gold Ennie at GenCon, and every one of the races are an ECL of +1 not even counting Heroic Paths! I think you are sorely mistaken about things being overpowered. Most of Birthright's success when it was released for second edition was the fact that IT IS more powerful than a standard. I don't know about you but I want Birthright, not an altered PH with Domain rules.

    Anyway,

    To irdeggman: Yup I took a look at it and showed it to my players the other day, but unfortunately we didn't like any of them. See the problem is in second edition, bloodlines were separate additional thing. As far as we are concerned the bloodlines were perfect, although more abilities would have been great. The only problem we had with BR was the Domain and War rules, they needed to be reworked and fixed.

    Personally I think using templates or making classes for bloodlines are adding undue complexity to a system that does not need to be fixed. You could add to it, sure, but not reworked, I think thats a waste of time, no offense intended. Although, we did like the idea of buying bloodline abilities with XP (Like in spellware in DragonStar) is nice and would work well, as long as there is no class for it and no ECL involvement. Heck, you could even make bloodlines level based like the Heroic Paths in Midnight setting by FFG. As long as it is an "add-on" and not a option, class, prestige class, race, feat or template we will be fine.

    Otherwise I still say make blood abilities a separate thing and focus on improving the Domain and Battle rules which is where the real problem lies.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."
    -Roy Batty, Blade Runner

  6. #6
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for your comments. One the main reasons for releasing the playtest document when we did was for the comments of the BR community and any future revisons are to be based on these comments. So thanks for taking the time to post your comments, they are most welcome by the BR designers and we will do the best to ensure that your concerns are addressed.

    Now, on to your suggestions.



    Ok bluntly, the system needs to be completely reworked and redone from the ground up. My suggestion is to make it into a board game, period. h34r: That way you can have clear rules on war and domains. BTW thats what it plays like right now except not as smoothly.
    I would concur that the domain chapter needs some serious alteration and editing. That chapter was the last added to the playtest document, and the least tested. It is also likely to be the most edited in the upcoming release. The simplification and clarification of the domain rules are one of the priorities in the next release of the BRCS. I don't know if we will go as far as turning BR into a board game, but there are likely to be significant changes. If you have specific concerns about a particular section of the domain rules, now is a good time to let us know, so we can address those concerns before the 2nd release is completed.

    No, my problem is I LIKE the old system and I do not think it need to be d20ed to death. Man, you must have never played in 2nd edition Birthright, because if you had you would know that Birthright is supposed to BE powerful. I personally do not want to play 3E with a birthright add on. I want to play the game where the Gods fought on Mt. Deismaar and died showering the land with their divine blood giving mere mortals the power of the GODS! I feel that if you want to worry about ECL's and templates go play in the Realms. BR is about power and responsibility of use with those powers, not rules and "baseline" characters.
    Personally, I agree with you on this. There has been a tendancy to d20 things to death in some cases, the bloodline rules are a good example. There are two schools of thought on this matter. Firstly, mine and yours which think that the 3rd (or 3.5 now) edition rules should be modified to suit BR, and then there is the other which says that BR should be modified to the d20 rules. Which is right? That is a good question. I know which one won out in the end, but I'm sure the other designers are not immune to a campaign to move toward modifying the d20 system for BR if enough people want that. After all, the d20 Birthright Rulebook is primarily being written for use by the BR community and it is the BR community that has the final say on the rules. As the old saying goes, the customer is always right. So let us know what you want and we will try to write to that. The playtest document was only ever going to be a first release of the new BR campaign setting, and it will be modified based on the comments and ideas of the BR community.

    Dude, try looking at Midnight its a released d20 product doing fantastically, it won the Gold Ennie at GenCon, and every one of the races are an ECL of +1 not even counting Heroic Paths! I think you are sorely mistaken about things being overpowered. Most of Birthright's success when it was released for second edition was the fact that IT IS more powerful than a standard. I don't know about you but I want Birthright, not an altered PH with Domain rules.
    I concur with this. When designing the playtest rules there has been a tendancy to cut down of the power of some of the races (specifically the dwarves and their 1/2 damage from bludgeoning damage) to better align them with 3rd edition rules. Personally, I would prefer to see the power of all the races bumped up to a ECL+1 rather than see them cut to become pale shadows of the 2nd Edition races. Rest assured I will argue this point continuously.


    Ok, lets finish this with a call for more comment like this. If you have been using the playtest rules and have a comment/suggestions/dislike them please let us know. After all, we can't fix the problem if you don't know about it.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  7. #7
    Site Moderator Fearless_Leader's Avatar
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    I suppose everyone runs their games differently, but I've never used experience bonuses, templates, ECL for blooded characters, or challenge ratings in Birthright. I still use the system of random blood assignment from the 2nd edition rules and give out XP awards based purely on my own judgement of the scenario.

  8. #8
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    Personally, I agree with you on this. There has been a tendancy to d20 things to death in some cases, the bloodline rules are a good example. There are two schools of thought on this matter. Firstly, mine and yours which think that the 3rd (or 3.5 now) edition rules should be modified to suit BR, and then there is the other which says that BR should be modified to the d20 rules.
    Actually, I generally find this a false argument. It's not about subverting BR to the 3e rules - it's about using the 3e rules to emulate BR in the best possible way. Now, BR was written with the 2e rules. What should be done to give BR the best possible 3e rules treatment, is to divorce the setting and flavor material completely from the rules text, and then write anew from the ground up, based on the setting itself, and the flavor material - and then use the 2e rules as a corrective influence or mine them for ideas. Then comes the matter of applying the 3e rules correctly, and not making up new things, or patching on old ideas. Saying that templates should be tossed out and one should use experience bonuses to balance things out instead is a bit like saying initiative should be rolled on a d10 and there should be a rod/staff/wand save - you might as well play the old version of the rules, if you don't like the implication of the new ones.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that anyone's campaigns slavishly adhere to the rules as they are - rather, my point is that the rules need to be written to the exact specifications of 3e so as to be fully compatible with the standards of that rules set (even if it can differ in a lot of particularities, like alternate classes, spellcasting methods, feats, and so on) - and then people can modify that to death as they like. The *worst* possible thing to do, however, would be to make something stuck in the middle void between editions, because we adhered to trying to implement the 2e BR *rules* in a 3e way, and not the flavor and tone of the setting itself. Were it up to me alone, I might make more radical alterations than the ones being made. As it is, that is mostly for my own campaign.

    Templates is generally the default 3e tool for adding new abilities or powers to a creature or character.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

  9. #9
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    r />


    >
    Personally, I agree with you on this. There has been a tendancy to d20 things to death in some cases, the bloodline rules are a good example. There are two schools of thought on this matter. Firstly, mine and yours which think that the 3rd (or 3.5 now) edition rules should be modified to suit BR, and then there is the other which says that BR should be modified to the d20 rules.
    >

    > Actually, I generally find this a false argument. It`s not about subverting BR to the 3e rules - it`s about using the 3e rules to emulate BR in the best possible way. Now, BR was written with the 2e rules. What should be done to give BR the best possible 3e rules treatment, is to divorce the setting and flavor material completely from the rules text, and then write anew from the ground up, based on the setting itself, and the flavor material - and then use the 2e rules as a corrective influence or mine them for ideas. Then comes the matter of applying the 3e rules correctly, and not making up new things, or patching on old ideas. Saying that templates should be tossed out and one should use experience bonuses to balance things out instead is a bit like saying initiative should be rolled on a d10 and there should be a rod/staff/wand save - you might as well play the old version of the rules, if you don`t like the implication of the new ones.



    ...or we could create rules that fit Birthright without worrying one wit

    about implications of D&D rules. In fact, we could even retroactively

    remove all the rules of D&D and their implications, leaving only those that

    truly add to a Birthright flavor. It was published as a AD&D setting, but

    it wasn`t originally AD&D, it was a novel by Rich Baker. It was adapted to

    AD&D, and not it`s being adapted to D&D, and it`s a great setting with a

    great story. There`s no reason we can`t remove the D&D elements altogether

    and play it under a different system that better captures Birthright`s

    flavor, or create a new system altogether with Birthright as our primary

    inspiration.



    Using the 3e rules to emulate a Birthright setting is one way to go, and it

    seems to be a fairly popular one. But this is far from the only or even the

    best possible approach to creating a Birthright setting. The idea that we

    have to be in this race to have the most up-to-date rules for D&D applied to

    Birthright is absurd. Rather than trying to adapt everything to 3e rules,

    or use 3e rules to emulate the Birthright setting, is seems to me that we

    should be focussing on the differences that make Birthright stand out. D&D

    3e (and 3.5e) had a lot of really great ideas, and we should feel free to

    borrow from them liberally, along with other d20 publishers that can

    contribute great inspiration.



    d20 opens up the possibility of escaping D&D altogether, and exploring for

    ourselves the numerous possibilities open for Birthright, both from our own

    innovation and from that of the entire d20 communitiy. Not only does this

    mean making new classes, races, feats, spells, etc., but also the potential

    for exploring all new options such as different magic systems, combat

    options, advancement rules, challenge rating systems, poison/desease rules,

    and things that aren`t in D&D such as customized abilities, background

    rules, class/heritage/caste rules, and of course the exclusive BR-related

    aspects of bloodlines and domain rules.



    Now, I`m not necessarily saying everything should be re-written, but it

    really seems foolish to limit ourselves by simply what`s in D&D and what`s

    not. I think it would be a more productive expenditure of our energies to

    instead focus on what would or would not add to Birthright as an independant

    stand-alone system, that would be structured in such a way so that the

    community can easily add skills, spells, blood abilities, domain actions,

    etc.



    The d20 design crew has made it clear that this is not their agenda. You

    very accurately described the public agenda of the design team as "applying

    the 3e rules correctly, and not making up new things", but I don`t think

    this agenda is necessarily shared with everyone or even the majority of

    Birthright fans. Although I understand why you want to do this, and why

    others would want you to, it`s not a false argument, as you say. There are

    opposing "schools of thought" on this issue and your methods are not the

    only way to go. Not by a long shot.



    -Lord Rahvin
    NOTE: Messages posted by Birthright-L are automatically inserted posts originating from the mailing list linked to the forum.

  10. #10
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Birthright-L@Aug 9 2003, 05:25 AM
    ...or we could create rules that fit Birthright without worrying one wit

    about implications of D&D rules. In fact, we could even retroactively

    remove all the rules of D&D and their implications, leaving only those that

    truly add to a Birthright flavor. It was published as a AD&D setting, but

    it wasn`t originally AD&D, it was a novel by Rich Baker. It was adapted to

    AD&D, and not it`s being adapted to D&D, and it`s a great setting with a

    great story. There`s no reason we can`t remove the D&D elements altogether

    and play it under a different system that better captures Birthright`s

    flavor, or create a new system altogether with Birthright as our primary

    inspiration.



    I have to disagree with this premise. Birthright is a D&D game. The original was an AD&D 2nd ed game. This makes it have to follow certain conventions. While I know that your basis comes strongly from WoT, that is not a D&D game nor is d20 Modern nor Star Wars d20. They are, however all d20 mechanics just not the specific mechanics of D&D. They don't "require" the use of the D&D PHB, MM and DMG in order to play while Birthright does.

    Also making it something other than D&D is more likely to cause a reaction at WotC. They haven't given up the setting yet, so technically they could "nix" anything we put together. IMO this would be much more likely if differed vastly from the core D&D rules. We just haven't had the attention from WotC that the Dark Sun group has had, most likely due to Wizards' still feeling that Dark Sun is potentially a viable product line while Birthright is not. The Dark Sun group was told to publish only 3.0 (and now 3.5) compatable material in their updates.
    Duane Eggert

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