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  1. #1
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    What are the consequences of this decision?

    That's the question that I would hope the Birthright Campaign Developers asked themselves when doing the revamp/conversion/upgrade. I honestly don't think that the original designers did, and that has caused a lot of second guessing to occur as the d20 Fantasy Birthright world takes shape.

    This is just my assumption based on the information I have about the Birthright Campaign Setting. It is very possible that all the things that bother me about the campaign world have been explained in material that I haven't read (or have simply glossed over). If that is the case, I would love forever, whomever could help me find the campaign setting's answers to these questions:

    Why do Cerilian Elves have no deities?

    Why are there no more than 120-140 true mages?

    Why, if a true mage were to specialize in the schools of illusion or divination, does she lose access to all other schools instead of just one?

    What are the effects of immortality in the Birthright setting?

    Why can realm magic spells be learned at a lower level than the spells that they should be augmentations of? For example Transport Troops requires a Source of 5 and a Character Level of 3. Now this is a majorly augmented version of Teleport (which would require the caster to be 9th level), doesn't making the level higher make more sense

    Why do realm spells require so much time and expense when a lot of their effects could be duplicated by casting "normal" spells a number of times, and/or in conjunction with metamagic feats?

    Is there anything stopping Elves from researching the entire divine spell-list such that they have access to all spells?

    There will probably be more questions, but I have to get some sleep before I pose them.

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    What are the consequences of this decision?

    That's the question that I would hope the Birthright Campaign Developers asked themselves when doing the revamp/conversion/upgrade. I honestly don't think that the original designers did, and that has caused a lot of second guessing to occur as the d20 Fantasy Birthright world takes shape.
    I don’t understand what you are referring to by this one.

    This is just my assumption based on the information I have about the Birthright Campaign Setting. It is very possible that all the things that bother me about the campaign world have been explained in material that I haven't read (or have simply glossed over). If that is the case, I would love forever, whomever could help me find the campaign setting's answers to these questions:
    I’ll see what I can do – I’m sure others will chime in too. All answers are based n the 2nd ed info, which seems to be what you are referring to after all.

    Why do Cerilian Elves have no deities?
    There is no explanation for this. It is just the way the setting was designed. I mean is there an explanation as to why Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms have different deities? It is the same logic as to why there are 5 different subraces of humans, only 1 race of elf or dwarf, etc. It is a definition of the setting itself.

    Why are there no more than 120-140 true mages?
    That was an approximate number, based on the rarity of being blooded at all.

    Why, if a true mage were to specialize in the schools of illusion or divination, does she lose access to all other schools instead of just one?
    I have no idea what this is referring to. IN the 2nd ed material a true mage couldn’t specialize in illusion or divination, that was reserved for the magician class which was an unblooded mage who was a specialist in both divination and illusion. If you are referring to the 3.5 system for specialization a wizard must give up 2 schools in order to specialize in one and divination can’t be a school given up.


    What are the effects of immortality in the Birthright setting?
    This is essentially a role playing issue and rules don’t generally cover how to role-play an issue. I believe that the PS of Tuarhievel addressed elves giving up living forever and just fading away, which is about the closest you are going to find on this issue, IMO.

    Why can realm magic spells be learned at a lower level than the spells that they should be augmentations of? For example Transport Troops requires a Source of 5 and a Character Level of 3. Now this is a majorly augmented version of Teleport (which would require the caster to be 9th level), doesn't making the level higher make more sense
    Well for one there aren’t all that many level 5 sources available. If you are referring the BRCS version, which I take it you based on the following question, learning Realm Spells is rather limiting in and of itself. Pg 135 the number of Realm spells known is limited to the number of ranks in Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (religion). They take a goodly amount of time to research (a requirement to learn any Realm Spell) and the DC is 15 + the level of the spell being learned. There is also a RP cost to cast the spell. This was a carryover from the 2nd ed material and transporting troops via realm spells was a pretty much essential part of the setting, making it a 9th level spell would greatly reduce this option especially since the general level of characters is lower than say that of the Forgotten Realms setting. Using the variant for limited magical transportation from Chap 8 of the BRCS (pg 151) {a strongly recommended variant by the way} you will see that if attempting to use the standard teleport spell there is a pretty good shot that the ‘units’ being transported will not arrive in tact or in the place desired as a unit.

    Why do realm spells require so much time and expense when a lot of their effects could be duplicated by casting "normal" spells a number of times, and/or in conjunction with metamagic feats?
    Is there anything stopping Elves from researching the entire divine spell-list such that they have access to all spells?
    How can elves research divine spells when the only divine spells they can cast are ranger ones? Any spell research must be carefully controlled by the DM in the first place so if you are trying to allow elves to research divine spells so that they can cast them as arcane ones you have a bigger issue and this must be controlled by the DM. Really the BRCS should not place limits on what a DM can and cannot allow in this type of regard. These rules are deliberately vague by design for this specific reason.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
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    Why do Cerilian elves have no deities?

    If you are referring to the lack of a racial deity, like Moradin or Kartathok, then it's because of this: They don't. If that's not good enough, go ahead and draw up your own idea.

    If you're referring to the fact that they don't worship deities, if I recall correctly, that is due to the elves' distrust of gods/individualism. They acknowledge that the gods exist, but feel no desire to worship them. Possibly, this is a side-effect from them being used by Azrai at Deismaar.

    Why no more than 120-140 true mages?

    Because you need someone who's blooded - that cuts it down right there. Then, they also need to devote a lifetime of study to the arcane arts. In most places, the study of magic simply takes a back seat to the art of rulership.

    Why the loss of spell schools?

    If that's a BRCS - unique phenomenon, you're gonna have to talk to the designers of that section. If it's D&D phenomenon, then that's how the rules are designed - talk to those designers.

    Effects of immortality?

    Probably living forever? :P What exactly do you mean by this question?

    Realm magic mechanics?

    Possibly the fact that the wizard is drawing upon the vast magical power of the earth, as well as using a month-long ritual, he may be able to push the boundaries of his present power. Just an idea.

    Why use realm spells?

    So that wizards can do it all from the safety of their sources. Also, referencing your previous question, so that they can cast large versions of spells that they wouldn't be able to cast normally.

    Elves/Divine spells?

    Because Elves don't worship deities, they can't access divine spells. Simple.



    If you don't like any of these answers, come up with your own. No one is the end-all and be-all. Even if there's an official rule, you can easily make up a contradictory house rule if it helps your game function.
    I could die, or the king could die, or the horse could learn to sing . . .

  4. #4
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Why do you think the BR.net forums exist? Many of these questions (as I think you already know) have been explored fairly recently on this site.

    For instance, immortality and the Sidhelien has been quite a lively topic of discussion and debate for some time, winding through various threads like "Nature School for Elven Wizards" and "A Variant for the Sidhe" in the D20 BRCS Playtest forums (and here and there many other places).

    As for elves and deities, I would hope you are getting some ideas from the various threads you've been active on.

    Now, as to whether or not the original BR designers (Rich Baker and Co.) considered the consequences of their decisions, well...give 'em a little credit. Doing something as major as making elves immortal and godless was almost certainly a decision made after some careful consideration, because it was strong deviation from the D&D norm even then. Same goes for a lot of the other things...magicians as exclusive specialists in Divination and Illusion (these being the schools of Lasser Magic in Cerilia) vs. true mages, who must be blooded scions, elves, or dragons (all of which are extremely rare, hence the rarity of true mages as a whole, esp. outside of the elven domains).

    Divine magic researched by elves? What, as arcane spells? Don't you think this completely flies in the face of the D&D system as it now stands? If that were possible, there really wouldn't be much of a difference between divine and arcane magic, would there? You asked what's "stopping" the elves from researching divine spells...I would ask what on earth would allow them to do so in the first place?!? Why would divine spells be researchable by anyone? They're certainly not presented that way in any of the D&D or BR products, with the notable exception of divine realm spells, and these are researchable only by temple regents. Period.

    I get the sneaking suspicion you are a dedicated "sidhophile", championing the elves to get the best for them in every way possible...but ask yourself, how interesting is a race that has every advantage and almost no disadvantages? And why should the elves of Cerilia be just immortal, improved versions of the elves of the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk?

    Personally, I like the elves having some distinct disadvantages, and not just social stigmas, low populations, or only a few realms, but on an individual level too. The fact that they have many arcane spellcasters in a world where those magic-users are quite rare is quite an advantage all by itself.

    Realm Spells: While I agree that some of the effects can be duplicated by multiple castings/metamagics, some certainly cannot by a caster of the minimum level, particularly those that affect entire provinces. The spells that affect units are quite debatable, though, as these are tightly-massed groups whose numbers are in the hundreds. I particularly ran into this problem with Battle Magic vs. Realm Magic. As Battle Magic represents powerful ritual metamagicked spells that affect whole units, yet have a casting time of roughly 10-15 minutes (vs. 1 month for realm spells&#33, I look at a relativel high level realm spell like Cure Unit (level 4, temple 1)and say, "What the hell?!?" Couldn't these effects be duplicated by Battle Magic without requiring a full month of ritual spellcasting, a Domain Action, and the Regent's Character Action?

    So yeah, I have a few doubts about some of the Realm Spells and their limitations myself, but the fact remains that the province-scale ones are generally pretty good in terms of being almost impossible to duplicate through normal spellcasting. Some of the unit-affecting ones might be duplicated by either much higher level spells (Teleportation Circle could certainly transport an entire army if large enough for them to all march through, but it is a 9th level spell) or multiple metamagicked effects...maybe. I suggest, though, that if you want to strengthen that argument, you come up with some viable examples to back yourself up.

    In fact, this goes for most of what you posted...if you have a disagreement with the official material, generally the burden of proof and ability to persuade your readers lies on you, not them. Make a good case for yourself, and people might start swinging around to your point of view, or at least give careful consideration to your concerns/disagreements/questions.
    Osprey

  5. #5
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    Thanks to everybody that responded to this thread. I'll try to clarify my position using your answers as a guideline.

    Question: Why do Ceriian elves have no deities?

    Irdeggman, Prospero, saying that "it is because it is", is a pretty major cop-out. There should be a good reason when you deviate from "the norm" (and some members have offered some great ideas in other threads - as Osprey has mentioned). I was just looking for the "official" answer if any.

    Irdeggman, having or not having subraces doesn't really require an explanation since it was established in 2nd edition that subraces were optional. Two different campaign settings, on two different worlds, having two different pantheons for their human worshippers to follow, also doesn't require an explanation. We have much the same situation right here in modern day times.

    And before you ask, yes, it does work the other way. If a race is given abilities it doesn't usually have, they should be explained as well. Dwarves taking half damage from bludgeoning, and crushing attacks; explained. Halflings slipping into and out of the shadow world; explained. Elves having pass without trace, and the ability to move through any and all terrain without hinderance; not explained.

    Question: Why are there no more than 120-140 true mages?

    Does it say somewhere that the 120-140 true mages refers only to blooded humans? I thought the 120-140 true mages were the total from the blooded humans, half-elves, and elves.

    Question: Why, if a true mage were to specialize in the schools of illusion or divination, does she lose access to all other schools instead of just one?

    pg.48 (Book of Magecraft):

    "Most members of this character class are unblooded; blooded individuals may become magicians, but in choosing to specialize in lesser magic they forfeit their ability to wield true magic."

    Why would studying one (lesser magic), restrict the pursuit of the other (true magic)? The ability would still flow through your veins, and the lesser magic isn't hard to wield in comparison to true magic.

    Question: What are the effects of immortality in the Birthright setting?

    This questions could have been phrased better. What are the ramifications of immortality in the Birthright setting? When does an immortal come of age, for example? Is violent death the only way an immortal can die? How quickly does one forget something they learned centuries ago?

    Maybe this is really a role-playing issue as irdeggman says, but I think it would be easier for people to wrap their heads around (so that they could role-play) if some of the consequences of immortality were at least touched upon.

    Question: Why do realm spells require so much time and expense when a lot of their effects could be duplicated by casting "normal" spells a number of times, and/or in conjunction with metamagic feats?

    Irdeggman, Prospero isn't Birthright supposed to be a low-magic setting? Isn't the idea of low-level wizards 'porting troops around on a regular basis, or casting spells that affect vast areas or subjects, contrary to the feel of a low-magic setting? The more that I see on the subject, the more that I think Wizard should be a prestige class and the base class for arcane spellcasters should be a Channeler or something. I'm going to have to make a note to work on that idea (and so many others&#33.

    Osprey, I'm not presenting an argument (at least I wasn't trying to ), I was asking if anyone could explain why things are the way they are according to Birthright canon.

    Question: Is there anything stopping Elves from researching the entire divine spell-list such that they have access to all spells?

    Poor wording again. *sigh* That should have read "stopping Elves from researching arcane equivalents to the divine spell list", but thankfully you all seemed to know what I meant.

    Irdeggman, Prospero, Osprey, where does it say that you have to be able to cast divine spells in order to research their effects? The nature school variant for elves is a perfect example of divine spells that are cast by arcane casters. Even though I don't agree with it, Bards and Magicians have access to the healing/curing spells.

    Osprey, wizards and priests could always research spells. You can check out the old and new DMGs if you don't believe me.

    And despite the circumstantial evidence to the contrary, I am not a sidhophile. :P

    If it was the case that another race was this badly hamstrung you would see me posting about them. Honest.

    Now to work on the channeler class and the wizard prestige class. Wish me luck!

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Since others have posted solid answers to several of these questions, I`ll

    just respond to those questions where I have something substantially

    different or additional to say.



    ----- Original Message -----

    From: "Ming I" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>

    Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 5:21 AM





    > Why are there no more than 120-140 true mages?



    This must mean something like "accomplished mages", wizards who have

    finished their apprenticeship and gained a few levels (completed an

    equivalency as a journeyman mage). So if we imagine true mage Xavier

    marries a blooded woman, has three children and begins to teach them magic,

    they don`t count as true mages until they complete their apprenticeship and

    continue as wizards. Perhaps we might think of these guys as the master`s

    of the magical art, and not the some total of everyone who practices it at

    any level.



    > Why can realm magic spells be learned at a lower level than the

    > spells that they should be augmentations of?



    The low level feel of the setting is the primary culprit here, and I think

    its a bad idea. Realm spells should be as high a level as their base spells

    or higher. Personally, I`d rather ditch realm spells altogether for one of

    the systems of cooperative magic (and adapt it to use mebhaighl) that have

    come out in d20 materials.



    > Why do realm spells require so much time and expense when a

    > lot of their effects could be duplicated by casting "normal" spells

    > a number of times, and/or in conjunction with metamagic feats?



    As above, I`d ditch realm spells for something more d20.



    > Is there anything stopping Elves from researching the entire divine

    > spell-list such that they have access to all spells?



    Not really, no. I`m sure some spells are not researchable because they

    could not operate on an arcane basis. Any spell that could plausibly be

    powered by arcane techniques of wielding mebhaighl could be learned by

    elves.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    To answer some questions myself:
    • First of all, Sidhelien have the following traits for the following reasons:
      • Immortality: Is there a need to ask?
      • Woodland Stride: I generally believe that R. Baker & Co. based elves on Tolkien&#39;s works as well as mythology (the latter&#39;s main source of inspiration), so I also tend to think that the tell-tale ability of the sylvan folk (Sidhe in Irish) to walk the forests as freely as we cross the street has to do with it.
    • Secondly, magicians were specialists of illusion and divination who could not wield true magic (read: "cannot cast such cool spells as fireball, ligthning bolt, etc.). According to 2e rules, magician/wizard mutli-classing or dual-classing was not allowed. Thus, if you ever became a magician, no True Magic, baby&#33;
    • Divine spells can be researched; read such excerpts from the DMG 3.5e referring to spell research and stuff, or earlier editions such as Defenders of the Faith.
    • NO, divine spells can be researched only by divine spell-casters in core rules, and only if they are able to work on par with the spell-casters class; for example, no holy sword for druids&#33; Others, like myself, allow the use of spell descriptive texts to incorporate magical theorems between various spell-casting sources, but the fianl product is always affectd by the caster&#39;s specialisation. For example, I allow arcane spellcasters aside from bards to cast healing spells, but they require a save if you do not want to become fatigued, and do less healing than a divine spell-caster&#39;s.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    On Tue, 9 Mar 2004, Ming I wrote:



    > Question: Why do Ceriian elves have no deities?

    >

    > Irdeggman, Prospero, saying that "it is because it is", is a pretty

    > major cop-out. There should be a good reason when you deviate from

    > "the norm" (and some members have offered some great ideas in other

    > threads - as Osprey has mentioned). I was just looking for the

    > "official" answer if any.



    Sadly, AFAIK that is the full extent of the "official" answer. Any more

    detailed explanation than that has to be worked out for oneself. The most

    frequent starting point seems to be that Haelyn, Rournil, etc. were just

    normal humans before the battle of Deismaar, and some still-living elves

    were probably personally acquainted with them at the time; the elves don`t

    quite buy this whole subsequent apotheosis business, and think the six

    famous humans just died, like everyone else. Why they didn`t think

    Anduiras, Vorynn and the others were gods before Deismaar is a different

    question, and not one which I can recall being addressed anywhere at all

    official. The answer I myself use IMC is that the elves are *right*, and

    some still-living elves were personally acquainted with the dragons named

    Anduiras, Vorynn, et al. who tricked the pre-Deismaar humans into

    worshiping them as if they were gods. This does not seem to be a commonly

    held belief around here. =)



    > Question: Why are there no more than 120-140 true mages?

    >

    > Does it say somewhere that the 120-140 true mages refers only to

    > blooded humans? I thought the 120-140 true mages were the total from

    > the blooded humans, half-elves, and elves.



    The standard dodge is that this is an *in-character* comment in a piece of

    text identified as written not by a game designer, but by the Imperial

    Chamberlain of Anuire, who may be using a definition of "true mage"

    different from that of the game rules, or who may simply be wrong.



    > This questions could have been phrased better. What are the

    > ramifications of immortality in the Birthright setting?



    Insufficiently well thought-out! On that, at least, I think we can all

    agree.



    > When does an immortal come of age, for example?



    In my personal opinion, Sidhelien physical aging is identical to human

    until age 25, when it just stops. Legal adulthood is another matter

    entirely, and probably doesn`t set in until about age 100.



    > Irdeggman, Prospero isn`t Birthright supposed to be a low-magic

    > setting? Isn`t the idea of low-level wizards `porting troops around

    > on a regular basis, or casting spells that affect vast areas or

    > subjects, contrary to the feel of a low-magic setting?



    The term "low-magic" is used too glibly in reference to BR. Cerilia seems

    to be a world with rather less *common* access to magic than, say,

    Forgotten Realms; but the magic that does exist, though rarer, is rather

    MORE powerful on average. As you point out, no setting with realm spells

    can possibly claim to have low-powered magic. What the designers seem to

    have wanted BR to be ties in with the "no more than 120 true wizards"

    idea: magic should be much rarer than D&D usual, but even more powerful.



    > Question: Is there anything stopping Elves from researching the

    > entire divine spell-list such that they have access to all spells?



    Not a single thing, AFAICT.





    Ryan Caveney

  9. #9
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    Re: Elves with no deities:

    You said that "two different campaign settings, on two different worlds, having two different pantheons for their human worshippers to follow, also doesn&#39;t require an explanation".

    In this case, the elven "pantheon" in Birthright is that there is no pantheon. If no reason has to be given for them to worship other gods, then why do you want a reason for them to have no gods at all?

    Furthermore, you want an explanation as to why they have their abilities? Cerilian elves seem to be much more creatures of the world, of mebhaigl. They owe their allegiance not to gods but to the magical forces that fill the world around them. Thus, while they do not have priests, they are more in tune with the land, and are filled with its power - pass without trace, immortality, true magic.

    Re: True Mages:

    Whether referring to blooded humans, elves, or half-elves, you still need to be a member of a very select group, and have the motivation and resources to pursue a very long, very arduous course of study, with all its attendant risks of self-immolation.

    Re: Specialization and loss of schools:

    That seems to be an artifact of the old edition. If you like it, keep it. If you dislike it, ditch it. Also, see the earlier explanations by other people.

    Re: Realm Spells

    I think it fits perfectly in with the low-magic setting. In all of Anuire, you have, what, a dozen? Maybe twenty? True wizards with the ability to cast any of the realm magics, let alone the truly demanding ones like Teleport. And why would they do these spells? These aren&#39;t things to bandy around - they are very expensive, both in terms of time and resources, and using most of them against any of your enemies would be an act of war.

    On a metagaming level, it&#39;s there for balance. Law, temple, and guild holdings give the wielder temporal power and income relatively quickly and easily. Source holdings? Not so easy to acquire, since they basically operate in opposition to the other types, and they don&#39;t come with any nifty taxation or representations of political influence. Thus, wizards get big cool spells to use early, so that they have something to counterbalance the others&#39; power. Just one perspective.

    Re: Divine Magic

    If you want to research arcane equivalents of divine spells, fine, but I think there are certain boundaries that shouldn&#39;t be crossed. Spell characteristics that are uniquely divine should not be given to arcane spells - such as bless effects, prayer effects, etc.

    You seem to think elves are hamstrung? How? They can&#39;t be priests? They are very good rangers, and it is easier for them to be true wizards than for humans (no need to be blooded). Furthermore, I think it adds a bit of uniqueness to the setting and roleplaying experience that is very cool.

    If you disagree with it that much, then change it in your games. Me, I like it just fine the way it is.

    Peace.
    I could die, or the king could die, or the horse could learn to sing . . .

  10. #10
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    I use a slightly different history where the dwarves and most of the other races were created by the giants. I take this idea from the skeleton of the dwarven creator (possible stone giants). I then have the elves having been created by the dragon, which is how they gained their immortality. I also have the giants having been created by the dragons long ago. Having been created by the dragons the elves know that the gods of the other races are not really gods and this is how I explain their atheism.

    I have much more of a history built up if anyone is interested.

    What do people think of the lesser races being created by giants and dragons?

    Question on true mages > This is a dodgy question I know that it says there is only 120 - 140 true mages but there a lot of mages mentioned in the books and more implied. I make this fit into my games by saying that there are only 120 human mages but many more elven mages.

    I agree with people that realm magic needs some work, as I was never really happy with the way levels were assigned to the spells.

    I would like to ask if anybody would maybe like to see an elven mage prestige class the healer where elves have been trained to use arcane magic to heal.

    Now a question I seam to remember it saying somewhere that humanoids had no gods before daesmar with the exception of the dwarven gods and that elves had no experience of priestly magic so do you think that gods where an idea brought from anduria to cerilia?
    MORNINGSTAR

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