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  1. #1
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Each campaign setting is unique and has its own quirks. Some campaign settings have rules that enhance characters beyond the scope of the core rulebooks balance system. Conan game setting introduces more attribute increases, Dark Sun allows for characters to have psionic talents, and Birthright has its bloodlines.

    Bloodlines are far more enhancing than the other two examples and could easily justify a level adjustment rule. On the other hand bloodlines are not meant to be balanced by a restricting adventure system. They go above and beyond the normal mortal's abilities and are quite unbalancing. That is what makes the Birthright setting unique and it makes scions the stuff of legend, for good reason. Therefore I find it hard to personally accept a system that hinders a blooded character's level advancement even if they turn awnshegh or ershegh along the way.

    The blooded are supposed to rise above the adventuring life and establish domains to rule, or at least it is easier for them than the unblooded. The bloodline is not engrained into the normal physics of a world, but are instead of godstuff. Therefore by nature they are unbalancing and all attempts to integrate them into the adventure system of 3 or 3.5 to me seem unnecessary.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

  2. #2
    Its not as if they weren't considered unbalancing in 2e either. That is, afterall, why nonblooded characters got that 10% experience bonus. The funky xp thing was generally how 2e tried to acheive balance (each class having its own table for example). The balance principles of 3E are based upon the actual power of a character at each level, and differences that throw off the balance of power are fixed by adjusting the level instead of the XP as in 2e.

    What does this mean for the BRCS? Well, since we can't adjust the relationship between blooded vs. unblooded on the same side of the scale as before. That is, make the correction on the side of the unblooded characters, which would in essence give them a negative level adjustment, which just doesn't work very well when it comes to calculating XP required (especially for a 1st level character). The adjustment has to be made on the other side of the scale: by adding a level adjustment/class level/whatever to scions.

    Besides, Chapter 2 has been sanctioned so the question is relatively moot since it won't change the BRCS. The good news is that you can still do it the way you want, especially if we're dealing with what is personally acceptable. I've got my own adaptations of it already, such as a Bloodline table that makes sense to me and a scion template class built exclusively on the Savage Progressions model. I'm sure others have or will have their own versions as well.

    I think that ultimately the BRCS will be less of a standardization document for those of us that have played the original game, and more of a starting off point, because we all have such different interpretations of what it should be. This is not to denegrate the efforts of the team: I really do appreciate having 90% of the work done for me, but with the parts I personally disagree with I'll make my changes and have no regrets. Plus it brings the setting to a whole new generation of people who may not have seen it before and don't have the original books to work with. For those people, without previous opinions the BRCS provides a comprehensive rulebook, which is important.

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Well put Bearcat.

    The BRCS was never intended to be the end all absolute 3.5 BR setting. It was intended to give people a starting point and some sort of standardization to use, at least for discussion and comparisons. It was never intended to remove the DM's ability to tailor things to his liking.

    Oh yeah, if you lookat the 2 "officia" Dark Sun 3.5 conversion - the one from the fansite at Athas.org and the one from Dragon/Dungeon magazine you will see that they indeed balance things. One has LA built in and the other requires feats to pick up the wild psionic talents. Welcome to the world of 3.5 where balance is the norm.
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irdeggman@Jul 1 2004, 07:39 PM
    Welcome to the world of 3.5 where balance is the norm.
    Um, yeah that is why I conceded the point that it is already justified for those other two examples to be balanced. That is to say both Conan and Dark Sun.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    I personally do not use level adjustments for blooded characters in my 3E Birthright campaign, I find the whole idea more trouble than it is worth. So far, has not caused any balance issues, but then of all my players, only one PC has a blood abilities that he uses a lot .
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  6. #6
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bearcat@Jul 1 2004, 06:58 PM
    Besides, Chapter 2 has been sanctioned so the question is relatively moot since it won't change the BRCS.

    Plus it brings the setting to a whole new generation of people who may not have seen it before and don't have the original books to work with. For those people, without previous opinions the BRCS provides a comprehensive rulebook, which is important.
    "Relatively Moot"

    Sure depending on your personal priorities. You sound as though you have moved on from this issue as resolved it personally. Thank you for your advice but this question seems to me to be quite relavent to this section of the forum.

    BRCS and possible changes for it? This point seems a little off point since this is not the BRCS forum where proposals are made for changes. In fact I accept that it wont change, nor do I really care.

    Here we go again with the bringing the new generation of gamers to Birthright speech again.

    Those of us who have played Birthright since it came out definitly have our own ideas regarding new things like the BRCS and we will all have different takes. I appreciate that otherwise I wouldn't participate in this forum, mostly reading and keeping to myself. However it seems here the response to my question is more to make the issue null and void or unable to be resolved. Whether these are true or not my intent was in the hopes of seeing other takes on this issue than those of people who are interested in maintaining a rigid adherence to the balance system. We can all look up in the books and tweak a template here add a feat there quite easily. Frankly I am bored of that for bloodlines and I was hoping to see if anyone else out there has come up with something DIFFERENT from the standard board discussions.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    It may well be so, Magian, but your initial post did not make such a thing apparent. In any case, if people think you try (even inadvertently so) to invalidate their work, they will react; and, by the way, I think that it was also sanctioned, that part regarding scion levels. In such a system, a blooded character can achieve his potential at any point, without becoming unbalancing for the campaign; if your objection comes to that, allow me to say that doing things otherwise would be unfair to other players who would like to play typical non-blooded adventurers.

  8. #8

    BRCS and possible changes for it? This point seems a little off point since this is not the BRCS forum where proposals are made for changes. In fact I accept that it wont change, nor do I really care.
    I apologize for misinterpreting your purpose in beginning this thread. I made a mental connection that since you were adressing an argument against a principle that is used in the BRCS, that you were seeking to address the BRCS directly. I see, as I go over your post, that this isn't exactly the case (although it can be read that way, hence my mistake).

    However, If you disregard the last two paragraphs (and the mention of the BRCS in paragraph 2) of my post, I still make a good argument for what seems to be the prevailing view (It was sanctioned, but low voter turn out leaves the actual public sentiment uncertain, but you snooze you lose. I know I did).

    If I may add another point, it seems to me that level adjustments are neccessary because PCs are not the only blooded characters. Thus the challenges that they face and the rewards that they receive would be skewed downwards when facing blooded enemies. A fifth level fighter is not as much of a challenge as a fifth level fighter with Major Regeneration. How do you reflect this in terms of experience rewards for the PCs? Well, in 2E I would probably fall back upon that funky table in the DMG that I could use to work out an XP value for the scion. In 3E I would give the scion a higher CR through a level adjustment.

    The only real alternative that there is to a Level Adjustment (and by level adjustment I mean anything that raises a CR be it class levels, templates, or whatever) is to take the approach that you advocate, which is to say "to heck with balance".

    The problems arise again however, when creating challenges for the characters. Continuing my earlier example of the two fifth level fighters, the blooded fighter with Major Regeneration will not be as challenged by the same monsters that prove a challenge to the unblooded fighter. Why should he get the same XP when he has an easier time of it? Certainly that is what happened in 2E, but the XP tables were exponential there rather than linear as they are in 3E (hence a character reaching 20th level at 190,000 xp instead of several million).

    3E is kinda like a house of cards, in that upsetting the balance in one aspect can have implications elsewhere. So balance is probably desirable, but how it takes form is something that is certainly debatable.

    One way around the issue would be a partial-Level Adjustment. A sort of compromise between the two opinions. In this method, you would apply the level adjustment when determining the level of the character when distributing XP, but not for xp required to level or anything like that. This way, you would balance the XP a character receives to the level of his power, but still not interfere with level progressions.


    Here we go again with the bringing the new generation of gamers to Birthright speech again.
    Is there something wrong with bringing in new players? I added that as kind of an afterthought/sidebenefit to the main point that I was being saved the trouble of doing most of the conversion work. I didn't realise it was a controversial issue.

  9. #9
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Again Bearcat well put.

    3.5 is indeed a 'house of cards' in that everything is (and what isn't is being worked towards being - see the Savage Progressions thread from the WotC site) balanced and fits together in a predefined way.

    If one thing is changed, for example just having scions be more powerful without some way of tying that in to other things like level advancement, EL, CR, etc then the 'system' fails or requires more and more 'house rules' to 'fix' the 'house rules' that were originally inserted. It becomes a self perpetuating cycle.

    The way I view balance in 3.5 is not in terms of characters and NPCs but from a player view point. Is one player's character being given something that makes him more powerful than another? How would the player on the lesser end of this deal feel? Would he be upset and feel like he has been shafted by the system?

    For example 2 players generate PCs. (Assuming no LA or means of balancing power level is in place). 1 player's character ends up with a great bloodline and sufficiently high bloodline strength to gain 1 great and 2 major and 2 minor blood abillities (I just 'made up' the spread here, since it is relatively moot as to what system is being used or the exact breakdown of blood ability gaining). The other player ends up with a PC with a minor bloodline and 1 minor blood ability.

    Now which player is getting the raw end of this deal? How would he/she feel about the situation?

    Now lets apply some LA methodology to the situation.

    The first PC having a great bloodline has, say a +2 LA while the 2nd PC has a +0 one. What this would translate to is that the 2nd PC would be entitled to take 2 extra character levels to make up for this LA. So the end result would be one player has a 1st level (i.e., 1 class level) PC with a great blood lines and several blood abilities and the other one has a 3rd level (i.e., 3 class levels) PC with a minor bloodline and 'few' blood abilitites.

    So 'balance' has been maintained and both players feel like they got an even deal.

    This discussion doesn't even address the issue of how to determine an appropriate challenge for the characters (especially the one with the great bloodline).

    So if it is not intended to keep balance between players then ignore anything having to do with ECL and LA adjustments in any publications and rely on total random methodology to determine abilities, etc. But be prepared for resentment among players, since it will be very hard to avoid given the inherent 'competetion' between players.

    There are numerous methods to account for this 'balance' but all of them assume that the intent is to have balanced characters.
    Duane Eggert

  10. #10
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 06:30 AM 7/2/2004 +0200, Magian wrote:



    >Frankly I am bored of that for bloodlines and I was hoping to see if

    >anyone else out there has come up with something DIFFERENT from the

    >standard board discussions.



    I came up with a little system of balancing bloodline by considering its gp

    value in relation to a character`s inventory. It does not, therefore,

    directly hinder the character`s level advancement in the standard way that

    LA does. It does still balance the situation by changing the XP "payoff"

    values since the character is considered higher level for the purpose of

    determining such things. I`d compare it to a method of determining the

    challenges and awards for a low level character with a very powerful magic

    item in his inventory without changing any of the fundamental aspects of

    character class, and levelling up.



    Frankly, this is one of the weird, glaring holes in 3e/3.5. Magic items

    are such a feature of the system, there is information on how much

    characters are supposed to have "on average" in their inventory, and the

    whole challenge/award system is based on the assumption that characters

    will use 25% of their "resources" in an "average" encounter, yet there is

    no way to compute what the differences might be for determining the

    challenge and awards if characters do not have the "average" resources at

    their disposal.



    Also, I`m afraid my gp value of bloodline information is again tied to my

    homebrew rules that reflect bloodline using points, so the math is based on

    that system.



    Gary

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