Results 1 to 5 of 5
Thread: BR Hardcover
09-01-1997, 10:06 PM #1
At 02:00 PM 9/1/97 -0400, Sean Reynolds(TSRinc@aol.com)wrote:
>::sigh:: I knew that little statement was going to get misinterpreted.
>Folks, there is more to BR than just the _mechanics_ of the domain turns.
>So much of the book in the original box set was devoted to them that
>people think that they _have_ to use them, and are using them like a crutch.
>Ted is still going to include them in a reduced form, but will also
>emphasize that the domain turns can also be handled through role-playing.
>We're not killing the essence of Birthright, or anything stupid like that.
>Birthright is more that a "wargame with role-playing aspects," as a
>former TSR CEO mistakenly defined it, but that is most peoples' conception
>of it. We need to show them that BR is a cool place to game, even if you
>don't like crunching numbers.
Alright folks I think this should put everyones fears to rest. I love the
mechanics of BR, but I also feel too much of the boxed set dealt with them,
and not with role-playing in our favorite setting(many have commented on the
lack of detail for the Anurian culture). The rules will still be there, but
now they will give us a little more. More of what we want. So everyone can
stop panicing all is fine in Cerilia. Lets just be thankful TSR is taking
steps to help save our setting, and not run the risk of destroying it
ourselves by making negative statements. At least not until we get our hands
on this new Hardcover. With this behind us lets move on to positive things,
and await the future with an open mind.
"War is a matter of vital importance to the State;
the province of life or death;
the road to survival or ruin.
It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied."
-Sun Tzu,(The Art of War)-
BR Netbook: http://webpages.metrolink.net/~veleda/birth.html
09-03-1997, 04:37 AM #2Paul LefebvreGuest
Sepsis wrote: >
> Alright folks I think this should put everyones fears to rest. I love
> mechanics of BR, but I also feel too much of the boxed set dealt with
> and not with role-playing in our favorite setting(many have commented
> on the
> lack of detail for the Anurian culture). The rules will still be
> there, but
> now they will give us a little more. More of what we want. So everyone
> stop panicing all is fine in Cerilia. Lets just be thankful TSR is
> steps to help save our setting, and not run the risk of destroying it
> ourselves by making negative statements. At least not until we get our
> on this new Hardcover. With this behind us lets move on to positive
> and await the future with an open mind.
> Sepsis, email@example.com
09-03-1997, 04:46 PM #3Jaime T. MatthewGuest
I have always been a member of the camp that felt that Birthright's
biggest shortcoming is its wargaming aspect. They tried to be "all
things to all people" and failed. Rich Baker has stated in the past
(I seemed to have deleted the post) that if he could do it over
again, he would emphasize the campaign world first and the mechanics
second. It looks like he may finally have that chance.
I am not (as it may seem) saying that the wargaming aspects of BR
aren't worthwhile. What I am saying now, and have said in the past,
is that given printing limitations, the space in the books devoted to
the current take on the BR campaigns (PCs running kingdoms, etc.)
supplanted important information about "living" in this lush world.
The lack of information about the Anuirean culture is only the most
obvious example of this. Why is it, for example, that the most
important kingdoms in the realm (Avanil, Boeruine, Ghoere) are also
the most poorly described? Because they weren't "player" kingdoms.
If this had been a normal campaign world, we would have much more
usable information for our games then we have now. Concessions were
obviously made for the whole "players as kings" take on the world.
Compare BR to Forgotten Realms. Personally, I find the history,
power level, and premise to be far more interesting in BR. It has a
more realistic, historical feel to it, but with a fantastic twist
that is unlike anything we've seen in recent years. It feels more
like Pendragon or Harn than your typical TSR world. I have purchased
EVERY BR product and book just for the details of the world that were
not included in the very limited boxed set. Elven culture, the
Shadow World, Halflings, these things are given short shrift in the
box, and only the smallest of details are to be found in the novels,
etc. Heck, I even bought the computer game so I could dig for
At this point, somebody usually pipes in with the "TSR has given you
guidelines...it's up to the creative GM to flesh these things out."
I wish I was good at these sorts of things -- then I wouldn't need to
buy any products, I would do it all myself. But that isn't the case.
I am a novice GM just starting to get a feel for maintaining a
dynamic gaming world. I am pressed to my limits, and would love to
see this stuff developed by the professionals who have a much better
feel for it. The ideas are already there, but the execution is
imperfect. What better excuse for a 2nd edition?
> Well, I would still like to point out the fact that the current BR draws
> in people that don't play AD&D. Wargamers, people sick of Forgotten Realms
> and the other worlds. If not for BR, I wouldn't be playing AD&D now at
> all. Admittedly, I've only spent about $100 on BR products in the last
> year, so I'm not a huge customer.
I'm the odd example of what you are talking about, but I'm more
stubborn than most. I play AD&D, but won't run it -- the system
annoys the heck out of me. When I saw the BR world, I fell in love
with the world. Not the mechanics mind you, but the background. I
stopped everything else I was working on and started thinking about
how to convert it all to the HERO system. That's just my personal
preference -- BR would be a great backdrop for ANY system.
> If the new BR focuses solely on roleplaying, while it might sell
> better, it's going to siphon away profits from other AD&D lines (probably
> FR), but not add anything to the user base. BR adds new players to AD&D
> (although apparently not that many - maybe they need to advertise better?).
> So, TSR will lose my $100-120 a year, and will I get replaced by someone
> interested in just roleplaying? Probably not - while I like AD&D, and it's
> a RPG, the emphasis is not on 'Role-playing' - the mechanics are just not
> suited for it. Role Players will probably be more interested (in any of the
> TSR products) Dragonlance 5th Era.
I don't think so. There are arguably more Role-players than
Wargamers. These lines blur quite a bit as well. AD&D, for whatever
reason, is still the one game that almost everybody plays in some
variant or another. I think what happened to BR was that it
alienated some of the AD&D players with its aggressive wargame
marketing strategy. Also, it was sold as the "game where your player
characters get to be kings." As we all know, this is only one way in
which this campaign can be instituted. There are others, including
using it as a backdrop for a normal, adventuring campaign world.
Many people I have spoken to were weirded out by the very notion of
having a group of players control their own kingdoms. The problem
always arises when someone asks, "why would a king adventure?" I
still don't believe that one would. It is just too dangerous and too
time-consuming. Certainly there is a question as to why different
rulers would adventure together. BR as written, strikes me as the
perfect PBEM gaming world, but with the whole regents thing, I don't
understand the face-to-face gaming possibilities. I would love to
hear how other people have actually done this, and what their
experiences have been like. I don't deny that it is possible, just
that it isn't a stretch.
> There's nothing wrong with role-playing; but there's nothing wrong with
> wargaming , either. There are tons of different lines for AD&D that focus
> on dungeon crawls and roleplaying, but only one that focuses on wargaming
> (or where it's at least part of the setting - well, the Companion D&D set
> had it as well, but that's defunct ).
Of course not. But let's face it, by trying to be both a wargame and
a frp, BR cut itself short in both categories. The world is not
detailed enough to be the perfect role-playing setting that we know
it can be, and the wargame rules are not complex enough to satisfy
the truly stalwart wargamers either.
What probably should have happened, is that there should have been a
boxed world set (with the role-playing setting fully detailed) and a
boxed wargame set, complete with the rules for running a kingdom,
etc. Then in the individual products (the domain books in
particular), the first half or 3/4 should have explained the location
and culture, and the second part should have been rules for using it
in a "wargame" campaign. As it stands, the domain books are really
useful, but have strange holes in them. The ruler from the setting
has been replaced by an unknown factor (presumably the PC). This
causes for weird problems when you want to use the setting intact,
with all of the rulers still alive. Otherwise, your PCs are going to
get very nervous when they learn that all of the current rulers have
recently replaced their predecessors. Hmmm...there might be a
> Let me use a bad analogy. Say a person owns a baseball team, and a
> football team. His football team isn't doing well attendance wise. So, he
> makes them start playing baseball. All the owner is going to do, is
> alienate all the hardcore football fans, and further split the money of the
> baseball fans.
That is a bad analogy. Although one we can work with. BR is soccer.
They tried to sell it to both football and baseball fans, but neither
were convinced. In America this probably makes more sense than
Nobody is going to take your BR box set away. The alternative is
that the line gets cancelled and everybody loses.
> So to further my analogy, maybe TSR/Wotc, if they don't have the type
> of success that want with BR, they could 'move it to another city'. That
> is, sell BR to another company. (Maybe Avalon Hill could fit it in with
> Runequest, since they now own the rules, but lack a world?)
TSR sell a product line? The company mentality doesn't suggest
that such a thing is possible. Perhaps if they had decided to cancel
it, and Rich volunteered to buy it, and remove all of the AD&D
references, they might let it go....but again, I don't think it is in
character for TSR.
> Anyway, as someone pointed out, this is premature. Once the new Hardback
> BR book comes out, then we can get upset.
What is there to get upset about? 6 months ago we were certain the
company was done-for. Now we learn that TSR is alive and well, and
BR is going to be given another chance. Sounds like cause for
celebration to me.
I remember my overwhelming disappointment with the original '97 BR
release schedule. I expected there to be a dozen or so things for me
to purchase, and when the number came to 3, I was shocked and
dismayed. I expect (and hope) to be pleasantly surprised in '98.
Something else I haven't seen mentioned yet, but feel that I should
say something about, is printing quality. King of the Giantdowns was
a nice balanced product -- just the sort of thing that can be used
for ANY BR campaign, no matter what the focus. However, the black
and white printing was a let-down from the black, brown and white
that we have become accustomed to. I am in favor of ANYTHING that
keeps the BR line active, including even the most extreme cost-saving
measures, but the books need to be modified to accomodate that
change. Black print worked fine over the brown-scale background art,
but over grey-scale, it was distracting and hard to read. A minor
point, I realize, but one that should be addressed.
Jaime T. Matthew
09-03-1997, 08:32 PM #4Jeremy ReabanGuest
Well, I would still like to point out the fact that the current BR draws
in people that don't play AD&D. Wargamers, people sick of Forgotten Realms
and the other worlds. If not for BR, I wouldn't be playing AD&D now at
all. Admittedly, I've only spent about $100 on BR products in the last
year, so I'm not a huge customer.
If the new BR focuses solely on roleplaying, while it might sell
better, it's going to siphon away profits from other AD&D lines (probably
FR), but not add anything to the user base. BR adds new players to AD&D
(although apparently not that many - maybe they need to advertise better?).
So, TSR will lose my $100-120 a year, and will I get replaced by someone
interested in just roleplaying? Probably not - while I like AD&D, and it's
a RPG, the emphasis is not on 'Role-playing' - the mechanics are just not
suited for it. Role Players will probably be more interested (in any of the
TSR products) Dragonlance 5th Era.
There's nothing wrong with role-playing; but there's nothing wrong with
wargaming , either. There are tons of different lines for AD&D that focus
on dungeon crawls and roleplaying, but only one that focuses on wargaming
(or where it's at least part of the setting - well, the Companion D&D set
had it as well, but that's defunct ).
Let me use a bad analogy. Say a person owns a baseball team, and a
football team. His football team isn't doing well attendance wise. So, he
makes them start playing baseball. All the owner is going to do, is
alienate all the hardcore football fans, and further split the money of the
So to further my analogy, maybe TSR/Wotc, if they don't have the type
of success that want with BR, they could 'move it to another city'. That
is, sell BR to another company. (Maybe Avalon Hill could fit it in with
Runequest, since they now own the rules, but lack a world?)
Anyway, as someone pointed out, this is premature. Once the new Hardback
BR book comes out, then we can get upset.
09-04-1997, 01:19 AM #5Carson AtwoodGuest
Ladies and Gents,
Well, I for one am estatic about the new emphasis placed on Role-playing
in the new BR Hardcover. I play wargames and I know how to convert a
role-playing game into a wargame by using a wargames rules. What I want out
of Birthright is more information about the world, the people, the
bloodlines, and domain turns that can be role-played easily. If anyone is
upset about the new rules then don't adopt them...remember your campaign is
yours and your game is yours, the rules are yours just as long as your
players no what those rules are.
I do have one suggestion though. If TSR/WoTC want BR to expand out to new
people then they should create a wargame system for BR. Full blown with
minatures and everything. Look at the success Games Workshop has had with
their Warhammer Fantasy Battles line. Their was even the Warhammer
Role-playing game that supported it. I know quite a few Wargamers that
started role-playing due to the Warhammer Role-playing game being part of
the Warhammer Fantasy Battles game. I do understand that this is a huge step
and commitment, but it will bring these to groups closer together. If the
wargame rules were optional then that would be even better. The group that I
play Birthright with don't play wargames, but after our first battle they
were all foaming at the mouth for minatures and a wargame for the next
battle. We could adopt another system such as Warhammer Fantasy Battles to
fight our wars, but why spend our money on that when we could be spending it
Just a humble suggestion. And by the way, I can't stress this enough...I
love this game!
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
By Adam Theo in forum MPGN Mailinglist archive 1996-1999Replies: 0Last Post: 08-31-1997, 06:07 PM