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  1. #1
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    First Hi at everyone on this great page!
    This is my first post, but im reading posts here since one year. I have collected nearly all Birthright products per Ebay because i was unfortunately too young when they could be bought normally. My activity in Birthright had stopped when i began studying but im visiting this site nearly every day.
    There is one thing i never understood:
    How could the human tribes ever force the elves back in their forests? In difference to the elves humans couldn`t use true magic, which is in my view much more destructive than priestly magic. I think in one post i read that maybe some Vos devotees of Vorynn were able to use the lower grades of true magic, but there must have been much more elven wizards against this handfull blessed by Vorynn and they had acces to the higher grades.
    So how have the humans won?
    =\AA/=

  2. #2
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    two words to that answer "Clerical magic" hard to hold back a army if they can heal and you cant....

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 10:54 PM 4/2/2004 +0200, AngriestAngel wrote:



    > First Hi at everyone on this great page! This is my first post, but

    > im reading posts here since one year. I have collected nearly all

    > Birthright products per Ebay because i was unfortunately too young when

    > they could be bought normally. My activity in Birthright had stopped when

    > i began studying but im visiting this site nearly every day.There is one

    > thing i never understood:How could the human tribes ever force the elves

    > back in their forests? In difference to the elves humans couldn`t use

    > true magic, which is in my view much more destructive than priestly

    > magic. I think in one post i read that maybe some Vos devotees of Vorynn

    > were able to use the lower grades of true magic, but there must have been

    > much more elven wizards against this handfull blessed by Vorynn and they

    > had acces to the higher grades.So how have the humans won?



    This is one of those perennial BR topics that doesn`t have a lot of basis

    in the published materials, I`m afraid. Logically, elves are seriously

    advantaged over humans (and other Cerilian races) not only in that arcane

    magic is generally more destructive than divine, but also in that they are

    immortal so the proportion of highly powerful (levelled) characters in

    their population would be substantially larger, and they have had a

    presence on the continent for several thousands of years before humans

    started straggling in. Elven decline doesn`t have much support in the game

    mechanics, and the justification for their decline in the background of the

    setting isn`t much more elaborate than simply noting that they are in such

    a state. Not a lot of rationale for that decline in the texts. One must

    to a certain extent, therefore, either ignore the background materials that

    state that elves are in decline or come up with some other rationalizations.



    First of all, in regards to the power of arcane vs. divine magics. The BR

    materials do say that divine magics were the power that gave humans an

    advantage over elves when settling Cerilia. Bluntly speaking, this doesn`t

    really add up. Other Cerilian races (goblins, dwarves, even gnolls and

    giants) had divine magics long before humans showed up. If divine magics

    were such an influence then it would have been an influence before. Also,

    as you note, divine magics are generally less powerful (or, at least, less

    destructive or influential) than arcane magics, so the issue idea doesn`t

    make a lot of sense.



    IMO what`s important about the comments regarding human use of divine

    magics, however, is not their truth value. Rather, it`s that such

    statements are a commentary on human beliefs and attitudes rather than a

    factual presentation of events. Much of the original BR materials were

    written from the human (particularly Anuirean) POV, and even much of the

    rest of the published materials were colour commentary, not necessarily

    factual. From the faithful, gods-fearing human perspective, overcoming the

    elves is a divine gift, most clearly manifest in the ability of their laity

    to cast divine magics. The fact that divine magics don`t really account

    for human dominance isn`t really a factor--humans _believe_ that their

    divine magics are why they have been so successful. The godless elves, on

    the other hand, are failing because of their lack of belief. It`s a sort

    of divine/cosmic justice perspective that colours the biased outlook of humans.



    More logical reasons for human success are probably things like:



    1. Population/birth rate. Humans breed only slightly slower than goblins

    (from the elven POV) and their arrival was not so much a migration as it

    was an invasion. They came by the tens of thousands, pushing elves away

    from the coasts and into dense, forested provinces. Elves might kill

    humans by the score... they just keep repopulating. Conversely, elves

    never existed in large (by human standards) numbers. We do not know much

    about elven fertility, gestation or birth rate, but we can probably assume

    that it is slower and lower than human birth rates.



    1.1. Along these lines, while it is true that arcane magics are more

    powerful than divine magics, an arcane spellcaster is not more powerful

    than a dozen divine spellcasters (all other things being equal.) There is

    probably a similar percentage of priests among human populations as there

    are arcane casters among elves per capita, but with a much larger human

    population migrating/invading, the spellcasting ability of priests does

    overpower that of a much lower number of wizards.



    2. Elves have a connection to trees and the spiritual life of their

    forests. It`s possible that the deforestation of Cerilia that humans

    wrought physically harms the Sidhe.



    3. It`s possible that elves are in decline for reasons that have nothing to

    do directly with humanity. That is, before humans ever arrived on

    Cerilia`s shores, elves may already have been dwindling. After a period of

    relative fertility and population growth, elves are now in decline for

    reasons have little if anything to do with human expansion. Elves might

    simply have reached an evolutionary dead end, their biological

    distinctiveness could be petering out for any number of reasons. However,

    for the reasons similar to those of humans who attribute their superiority

    to their divine magics, elves might blame humanity for their decline even

    though that decline has little or nothing to do with the matter. Humans

    are just the current scape goat for elven bitterness.



    4. The gods of Cerilia do not directly involve themselves in mortal affairs

    any longer... but elves might be a different story. The gods might be

    influencing elven populations in any number of ways, and could be aiding

    humanity push them back.



    Gary

  4. #4
    Special Guest (Donor) morgramen's Avatar
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    I would agree with Gary on this one, but would put 99% of the weight behind the birth rate (and sense of time) of humanity compared to the elves. Humans would bred like rats in the eyes of an elf, and if those rats are also able to heal their wounded, they would be alarmingly hard to eradicate.

    COnsider that an elf can spend 10 "human years" studying the nature of a falling leaf (or some other "elfie thing".) In the eyes of an elf, those 10 years is a relatively short period of time. To a human, it is likely the nearing the maturity verge of a new generation. (Keep in mind that in medievel life, a child was mature, and either married or fighting by the time they were in their early teens).

    So, in this line of thinking, it would not be hard to imagine a battle occuring, and to the elves, a 5 year passage of time would seem like only a week (or a month, etc), but to the humans, they are healed, recovered, and well on the way to repopulating themselves. Then the humans come back for revenge, and the elves are completley caught by this "surprisingly lightning fast reaction".

    An single elf would also have to kill a dozen humans (or more) in order to cause a significant detremental effect to their society, while if every second human slew a single elf, it would be devastating to the elven population of the region.

    So, relentless assault, rampant repopulation, and healing magics would be the 3 key components of the elvish "defeat" IMO.
    "You need people of intelligence on this mission... quest... thing."

  5. #5
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    I like the idea of seeing the "superior" clerical magic not as offical explanation from BR Product designers but as a human (fallible) one. It hepls to find another, better and more convincing solution.
    1.First of all i disagree with morgramen who "would put 99% of the weight behind the birth rate". As geeman said "Humans breed only slightly slower than goblins", but goblins live much longer on cerilia than humans do. If the hitting argument would be the populatoin/birth rate, Goblins had wiped out every Elven population long bevore the first human set his foot an the earth of cerilia.
    2.Same arguement to geemans sceond point- arcane magic against many priests.
    He says that "other Cerilian races had divine magics long before humans showed up. If divine magics were such an influence then it would have been an influence before".
    In number Goblins were superior and they already had divine magics, so they should have had more priests than the arriving humans. If the number of divine spellcasters is important Goblins must have won again.
    Here somebody might argue that goblins arent intelligent and "wise" as Humans, what is right. So there might have been not so many goblin priest because that race isn`t much developable in the sciences of mind. Additionally, we can assume goblins werent able to design weapons, armors, fortifications, siege weapons and woodcutting tools as effective as humans do.
    In this theory we can see humans as "middle path" between fast breeding but less civilized humanoids and very slow breeding but high civilezed (and immortal) elves. And the "middle path" seems to be the winning stragety at the moment.
    3. If deforestation significant harmed the elves, they had one more impetus to push the humans back where they came from, before the deforestation was foregone that wide- so why didnt they do?
    4. The elven race beeing at their "evolutionary dead end" is a dissatisfying and inaccurate arguement for me. It reminds me on Tolkiens "Silmarillion" which made me very melancholic. If we follow that theory elven kind is on the end and their power in cerilia would maximal be that of a dying giant. I prefer to see all races of cerilia as equel but with different strategies.
    5. The human gods- I thought about this too. Why not understand "divine magic", that helped the humans win as the (more or less) direct help of the humans gods who looked in panic back over their shoulder and searched cerilia for secure place weher their beloved followers could settle down? Maybe they were desperate enough to (secretly?)break fromer rules between the gods, the humanoid gods observed.
    6. But the best fitting arguemt for myself is that the elves were in an endless fight against the Humanoids, on first front the most developed goblins, but both sides (paths,strategies) were of equal power. When the human tribes arrived, the elves wanted to ally with them, as mentioned in Rhoube Manslayers statement in "Abominations of cerilia". But after some generations the humans went against the elves too, to get more room to live maybe. The elven nations couldnt stand against BOTH enemies and fell one after another. Since the battle of Mount Deismaar tthere might be something like an unoffical pact between humans an elves not to fight against each other.
    =\AA/=

  6. #6
    Special Guest (Donor) morgramen's Avatar
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    You have some good points Angirest, and I would agree with several of them. In the matter of the goblins overrunning the elves before humanity eer arrive though, there might be a few additional explanations.

    I guess the first one might be more of a personal setting point of view than actual fact and game mechanics, but I've always thought that the goblins (and other humanoids) were more shamanistic than clerical. As such, their divine magic would be less "grandiose" than the human version, and generally "less powerful" (if that makes sense.) Far less structured and organized at any rate.

    There is also the goblins morale to consider, and I would think that their hosts would panic and break much easier than the human armies would. The goblins true strength is in their numbers alone, while the humans seem to have a better balance between sheer numbers (in relation to the elves anyway), morale, organized and efficient leadership, and generally greater technology.

    Your mention that the elves were already beset by the goblins and were unable to defend against both the humanoids and man, certainly held true, and was another factor in their eventual fall. Once the Sidhelien Court was geographically divided, their fate was pretty much sealed I think, and you eventually end up with the various sidhelien kingdoms of Cerilia today.
    "You need people of intelligence on this mission... quest... thing."

  7. #7
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    I agree that religion seems not to be that important in goblin life- the only big-bos goblin priest i remember is that guy of Khurin-Azur, intriguing behind the Great Khanate. I would definitivley say that the one Gnoll Chieftain in vosgaard, which united several tribes, is a shaman. But I consider goblins to have priests- as you say, the goblinoids churches arent that strong as human ones- but priests.
    =\AA/=

  8. #8
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Most of the pushing back of the elves took place before Deismaar (which is why Azrai was able to sign them up to his side so easily). In those times the humans gods were a LOT more active in the world, it was only after Deismaar that they pledged to leave the mortal realm alone. So It is not inconceivable that the gods were directly assisting their mortal followers with more than just mere spells.

    If you read the last part of the novel Greatheart you'll see an example of what I mean. The elves come across an encampment of Azrai's beastmen in the forests and when they try to drive them out, the elves themselves are slaughtered by "lightning from the sky" which I imagine was the direct intervention of Azrai to prevent his followers being killed. It was only the arrival of Vorynn, one of Azrai's fiercest opponents that allowed the elven prince a chance of removing the beastmen.

    Of course, following Deismaar, things have evened out a little more, which is probably why Rhuobhe, with only a few hundred followers is able to survive when surrounded by several hundred thousand humans who want him dead. In modern Cerilia arcane magic is a more powerful force when compared to divine magic. But divine magic with the ability to call in a god to carpet bomb the enemy with lightning bolts or whatever, suddenly becomes a lot more frightning.
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  9. #9
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    I find it extremely funny how complicated people try make things.Two cultures/armies facing each other.One has healing magic and the other dosnt.One tends to use gurilla tactics and one uses massed army tactics.No matter how far advanced the elves are the fact that a defeated human army can heal up and return in a few days spells victory.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Raesene Andu@Apr 4 2004, 02:55 AM
    Most of the pushing back of the elves took place before Deismaar (which is why Azrai was able to sign them up to his side so easily). In those times the humans gods were a LOT more active in the world, it was only after Deismaar that they pledged to leave the mortal realm alone. So It is not inconceivable that the gods were directly assisting their mortal followers with more than just mere spells.
    One of the things I wanted to mention... Thanks, Raesene!

    In any case, allow me to tell you that the standard elven gestation (for the typical core rule elf which generally lived up to [a maximum of] 525 to 925 years) lasted 2 years! Hmm...

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