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Thread: New Ershegh
07-02-2004, 04:55 AM #1
I have recently rolled up an NPC in my campaign (IMC) that follows Rilni, is of the land of Zoloskaya and has a Great bloodline with bloodtrait, great and invulnerability. I like randomness for my campaigns a personal preference.
My question is do any of you have ideas of an Ershegh that would be fitting of a follower of the god of magic who is himself a wizard and highly knowledgeable and specialized in magic (spells, crafts and lore).
Oh yes I also forgot to mention I rolled long life great.
What I have so far. A Hsaio or mythical owl that can cast spells. This is not really what I'd like for this but its an idea more preistly than wizardly imo. Another idea I have been entertaining is a Silver Dragon Ershegh borrowing more from the Arthurian legends of dragon and magic being intertwined. I wouldn't make it like the chromatic dragons but I'm just trying to keep with the whole silver motif. Also dragons are common creatures of Cerilia. Common not in the sense of frequency but rather they are normal and of natural origin. So what happens if one of them turns Ershegh? Yes it does draw a long line through many points of contest before many of us would even allow dragons such access to bloodline let alone becoming an Ershegh. But I am interested in hearing any ideas from this point onward.One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
07-02-2004, 09:25 AM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
More importantly a character personality must first be developed. This would determine the transformation. What is the personality that is desired? Kind and generous? Wise and observant (like the owl you've started with)? Lawful and just? Whatever the personality is how the transformation manifests itself (it is an extension of the scion's personality). So figure out the role the ershegh has and fill it in from there.
Role (and personality) first and then adjust the transformation (and maybe even the blood abilities themselves to fit better). That is one of the reasons I try to encourage (and reward my players) for writing a character history before playing their PCs.Duane Eggert
07-02-2004, 03:40 PM #3
At 06:55 AM 7/2/2004 +0200, Magian wrote:
>I have recently rolled up an NPC in my campaign (IMC) that follows Rilni,
>is of the land of Zoloskaya and has a Great bloodline with bloodtrait,
>great and invulnerability.... My question is do any of you have ideas of
>an Ershegh that would be fitting of a follower of the god of magic who is
>himself a wizard and highly knowledgeable and specialized in magic
>(spells, crafts and lore).Oh yes I also forgot to mention I rolled long
>life great.What I have so far. A Hsaio or mythical owl that can cast spells.
I wrote up an ershegh called "the Nightowl" a while back that might be a
place to start. That character is more of an oracle than a spellcaster,
has different blood abilities and I set him Medoere, but he was Khinasi and
a follower of Ruornil, so could be reinterpreted and transferred, or you
could just use the basic theme. That character is in the archives at:
07-05-2004, 06:39 AM #4Originally posted by irdeggman@Jul 2 2004, 03:25 AM
More importantly a character personality must first be developed. ...One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
07-05-2004, 06:41 AM #5One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
07-05-2004, 07:50 AM #6
At 08:41 AM 7/5/2004 +0200, Magian wrote:
> Gary thanks again for the many resources you continue to post. I`ve
> been enjoying your work.
You`re welcome. Kind of you to say.
As long as we`re on the subject, I`ve been working on an essay having to do
with creating these characters. It`s quite long, but here`s the first
part. The whole thing is called
A Guide to Creating Awnsheghlien and Ersheghlien
One of the most important aspects of the Birthright setting is the
system of bloodlines, which represents the power of the gods flowing
through the characters of Cerilia, allowing them to influence the events of
the campaign world dramatically. Blooded characters have greater personal
power and are able to affect the political process in a way beyond that of
normal people. These characters are definitive of the Birthright setting
and their influence permeates the campaign world.
Amongst some scions the blood of the gods has an even more dramatic
effect than others. For these characters the power of the gods leads to a
physical transformation. Those characters who have the blood of Azrai or
the Bloodtrait blood ability can (or must) begin a process of
transformation into a creature of mythic proportion. Those scions with
Azrai`s derivation whose bloodline leads to a transformation are called
awnsheghlien (singular: awnshegh) from the Sidhe for `creatures of shadow`
while the scions of all other derivations who transform are called
ersheghlien (ershegh) meaning `creatures of light.`
The text below addresses the creation of new awnsheghlien and
ersheghlien. It deals with the role of these creatures in the campaign,
their employment in play as well as presents some guidelines and concepts
for how to go about creating such characters.
Means and Motivation
Not all scions become awnsheghlien or ersheghlien. In fact, most scions
remain typical humans throughout their lives, untouched by the
transformative effects of bloodline. The most important factor in
determining whether or not a scion will be affected by his bloodline is his
bloodline derivation. Succinctly put, scions of Azrai represent the
majority of those characters who transform. Awnsheghlien significantly
outnumber ersheghlien. The very nature of Azrai`s bloodline is corruption,
manipulation and degeneration. Before his destruction at Deismaar
everything that Azrai touched became perverted by his influence, and all
those who have inherited his bloodline are vulnerable to the dark
transformation. Though some awnsheghlien embrace their change, and become
so-called "major awnsheghlien" (see the ??? feat on p??) not all scions of
Azrai look forward to transforming into some perverse parody of their own
personality as seen through the corruption of Azrai. Nonetheless, all
scions of Azrai have the option of becoming awnsheghlien simply by taking
levels in the class. In fact, Azrai`s scions must consciously resist the
temptation to transform.
On the other hand, scions of other bloodline derivations may not simply
transform into ersheghlien at will. Only those with the Bloodtrait ability
have the option of becoming ersheghlien, and both the pace and amount of
transformation (the number of levels they take in the Ershegh class on page
??) is completely voluntary for them.
More important than simply recognizing who is capable (or vulnerable) to
becoming an awnshegh or ershegh, however, are the particulars of the
characters themselves. What is their background and personal history,
their personality and demeanor? The transformation of awnsheghlien and
ersheghlien is into a form having to do with the "spirit" or "anima" of the
character, so an understanding of the character`s motives, goals, failures
and experiences is particularly important.
For most awnsheghlien and ersheghlien we can assume that the process of
transformation is a dramatic and unpleasant experience. Creatures changed
by the blood of the gods must in many ways leave their humanity
behind. Any pretense at a normal life can be dismissed once the process
has begun for characters whose physical body changes so dramatically must
stand outand apartfrom their former fellows. Whether they desire it or
not, they can no longer exist as part of a community as they did before.
For ersheghlien this issue is particularly significant because their
transformation is voluntary. They must choose to leave their humanity (or
other race) behind. Such characters might later come to regret that
decision, but it is reasonable to assume that there is some serious
motivation in the background of the character that inspires them to get the
process started. When determining the background of an ershegh pay
particular attention to his reasons for embracing the transformation, and
bear in mind that those issues do not simply vanish once the transformation
has begun. Stimuli strong enough to cause a person to abandon their basic
humanity will likely hang around and influence their behavior long after
they have begun to assume a new form.
Form and Transformation
The simplest and most obvious form of awnsheghlien and ersheghlien are
those creatures associated with an animal, beast or magical creature. It
is a theriomorphic transformation, based on the change of a human being
into some totemic beast. Such beings take on characteristics of that
iconic creature, gaining powers and abilities associated with it. That is,
they not only gain abilities based upon the animal they personify, but the
symbolic powers of that creature as well.
In some cases, the transformation of an awnshegh or ershegh is not
limited to taking on characteristics of an existing animal, beast or
monster. Some awnsheghlien and ersheghlien embody less readily
recognizable forms, having transformations that seem to embody no existing
or imaginary creature but a completely new and unique being. Some seem to
take on characteristics that represent the embodiment of an abstract
concept; an emotion, a spiritual form or even something as abstract as a
philosophy. It is not enough for The Hag to take on the physical
characteristics of a hag. She must embody symbolic representation of a
hag. In the Hag`s case the emotional state is bitterness and envy, while
the character`s spiritual aspect manifests in dark powers based on diabolic
magics, and her philosophy is based upon Machiavellian view of life. In
the final analysis any form or philosophy is possible within the scope of
awnsheghlien and ersheghlien transformation, and probably the best
awnsheghlien and ersheghlien are ones that combine mental, emotional and
physical concepts to create a wholly unique character.
As scions transform into awnsheghlien or ersheghlien they take on
characteristics and gain abilities beyond that of typical creatures, and
sometimes they gain powers beyond even the fantastic or mundane creatures
that they resemble. They become archetypical creatures, embodying the both
the flesh and the spirit of the creature they represent. In the process
they gain powers similar to the powers of their totemic creature, but can
also gain powers beyond those of a typical creature of that type. A
creature that begins to take on the form of a giant lizard, for instance,
may gain claws, fangs, etc. but he may also take on strange, mythic
characteristics like the ability to summon lizards, communicate with them
telepathically, etc. He may take on a form dissimilar from a typical
lizard, becoming a gross caricature of the creature he emulates, or a being
that embodies symbolic or other anthropomorphic quality of the totem animal.
The transformation of an awnsheghlien or ersheghlien need not replicate
the stats or abilities of the totem animal identically. In fact, it is
often the case that a transformation will take on qualities of a particular
animal or beast, but still retain human characteristics or not gain all of
the abilities of the totemic form. A scion might take on the qualities of
a fish, for instance, but not be able to breath water or he might become
cat-like but not be able to see in the dark. Such abilities may come to
the scion in time as the transformation continues to take effect, but the
important aspect of the transformation is that it embodies the spirit or
personality of the totem animal in a thematic sense, not that the character
actually becomes identical to that creature. Where dogs are seen as loyal,
cats indifferent, lions noble, tigers ferocious, bears lumbering and rats
vile, these things are as important to the form an awnshegh or ershegh will
take as their claws or fangs.
One way of looking at awnsheghlien and ersheghlien is that they occupy
in the Birthright setting the role that in other settings might be taken up
by the lowest rung of divinities. They are the spirits of the totemic form
they are transforming into and become not just identified with that totem,
but an extraordinary representative of that type of creature. They are
archetypes, embodying not only the physical characteristics of the creature
but the symbolic ones as well. A character who transformed into a rat-like
awnshegh, for instance, might become a sort of demi-god of ratness, taking
on the physical appearance of a rat, but also embracing the personality,
attitudes, goals and purposes of a giant, prototypical rodent.
Another way to look at awnsheghlien and ersheghlien is that they are the
fantastically powered characters of the Birthright campaign setting similar
to characters in comic books. They are, in effect, superheroes and
supervillains, elevated by the "mutation" of their bloodline into creatures
with powers beyond that of typical mortals. Of course, in the fantasy
setting of Cerilia these creatures take on a more medieval flavour, but if
one uses the superhero concept as the basis for coming up with new
characters it can aid the process in subtle yet significant ways.
The most obvious influence of the superhero/villain perspective is that
awnsheghlien and ersheghlien have super powers. Among the powers of
awnsheghlien in the original Birthright materials are characters who can
fly through the air, shoot death beams from their eyes, grow to
extraordinary size and strength, and wield magical or psychic powers. Any
of these things are powers exhibited by comic book characters.
Aside from any similarities to comic book characters that awnsheghlien
and ersheghlien have when it comes to their powers and abilities, they are
also very similar to such characters on a thematic and emotional
level. Awnsheghlien and ersheghlien take part in a constant struggle of
good versus evil. They engage in what is, essentially, a morality play
with awnsheghlien representing the powers of evil and Birthright characters
representing their eternal opponents. In many cases, Birthright characters
might not be ersheghlien. They might be simple PCs with no significant (or
only a few) of the blood abilities that form the basis of this comic book
comparison. However, in most RPGs even "mundane" characters can manifest
powers and abilities beyond that of typical humans, and in a fantasy RPG
with an extensive system of magic, elaborate special abilities, etc. even
"commoner" PCs can be the equivalent of superheroes.
Many awnsheghlien control domains and some of those domains are the
largest in Cerilia. Such characters are comparable to comic book villains
who control large complexes filled with minions who obey their leaderand
oppose PCswithout question. Given the political level of play in the
Birthright setting this interpretation becomes all the more
significant. PCs engage their opponents not at the face-to-face level, but
by interacting with a broad and influential level of play that determines
the fate of many people. When determining the powers and abilities of an
awnsheghlien or ersheghlien, therefore, it is particularly important to
consider the character`s role at the domain level of play.
07-05-2004, 12:19 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
In general Gary Ilike it.
Please use more paragraph breaks when you write though. It translated into one long connected writing when posted.
I think I would also drop the reference to comic books, while generally understood, I don't thinkit is really necessary for a fantasy game. Maybe drawing on the legends of Greek tragedies might work better, they are often portrayed as greater than mankind, etc.
07-05-2004, 04:30 PM #8
At 02:19 PM 7/5/2004 +0200, irdeggman wrote:
> In general Gary Ilike it.Please use more paragraph breaks when you
> write though. It translated into one long connected writing when posted.
Sorry about that. When I cut and paste from a formatted Word document that
already has indentations and spaced paragraghs it`s easy to forget (and a
little difficult to know) how that formatting will wind up looking in a
post. It looks a bit better in the doc`s formatting, but combined with my
tendency to be... well, "lavish" in my prose, if you will, posting some of
this stuff can be a bit convoluted, especially at this stage of a
draft. That was actually only about 1/3 of the essay....
>I think I would also drop the reference to comic books, while generally
>understood, I don`t thinkit is really necessary for a fantasy game. Maybe
>drawing on the legends of Greek tragedies might work better, they are
>often portrayed as greater than mankind, etc.
I should definitely have some references to Greek mythology as part of that
section. When it comes to comic books I want to include that section for
several reasons. First, because it`s actually worked for me in a couple of
occasions when coming up with awnsheghlien and ersheghlien. Thinking of
the dynamics of such characters (who are, after all, probably the most
obvious examples of modern mythology--there are a few literary academics
who describe this relationship in a way that is compelling) really helped
the development of the Nightowl, for instance. I don`t know if he is in
many ways particularly "superhero-ish" but in writing him up I kept in mind
various comic book/graphic novel concepts and it helped the development
chug right along. Second, the BP system I use was inspired in part by D20
superhero rules like Four Colors to Fantasy and Mutants & Masterminds, so a
little note comparing the concept to superhero campaigns is a nice, if a
little oblique, reference to that. Last, I`m trying to go for a sort of
"anything that inspires you" set of guidelines in that essay, so even if
someone in particular doesn`t like using that method someone else might
find it a useful way of brainstorming such characters. I`ve used any
number of ways of thinking about a particular awnsheghlien, sometimes more
than one at a time.
>------------ QUOTE ----------
>Nonetheless, allscions of Azrai have the option of becoming awnsheghlien
>simply by takinglevels in the class. In fact, Azrai`s scions must
>consciously resist thetemptation to transform.
>I also find it hard to grasp how taking levels and fighting the change
>(i.e., resisting)equate to each other for awnshegh. IMO I see resisting
>(or fighting) as making a sving throw, or sufering some type of penalty
>because of the resistance (a morale penalty, an exp penalty, something
>along those lines). Simply making a choice, IMO, doesn`t reflect (in game
>terms) resisting (or fighting).
I don`t really go into it in that essay, but I have such a system that I
use for awnsheghlien transformation that appears later in the document
along with the character class. Basically, a scion of Azrai can choose to
change voluntarily, or he must actively resist changing. It also addresses
the issue of alignment change for awnsheghlien. In fact, here`s that
section. (Cutting and pasting again--hopefully the format won`t be too
The second method of becoming an awnshegh is more gradual. [The first
method has to do with the "instantaneous" awnshegh who are created by
bloodtheft. --Gary] All scions of Azrai automatically have access to the
Awnshegh character class. They may choose to take levels in that character
class whenever they level up. Furthermore, once a scion of Azrai has a
level in the awnshegh character class he may take the Major Transformation
feat to gain an addition BP to spend on a blood ability. If the scion does
not wish to change into an awnshegh he must fight to avoid becoming
corrupted by the power of their bloodline. When Azrai`s scions earn a
character level they must make a Will save to avoid giving in to the
corruption of their blood. The DCof this save is 5+the target character
level of the scion. Bonuses from magic items do not apply to this saving
throw. Only the character`s wisdom modifier, Will save modifier and any
bonuses to will saves gained from feats can be used to make this check. In
addition to character level, apply the following modifiers get the DC of
Table 5: Corruption Check Modifiers
+1 For each level taken (voluntarily or
involuntarily) in the awnshegh character class.
+1 Each BP spent on the Bloodform blood ability.
+1 If you have any of the following "signature" blood
abilities of Azrai: death touch, fear, touch of decay, wither touch. This
modifier is cumulative for each of those blood abilities you have.
+2 If you became an awnshegh as the result of
bloodtheft (ie. have the awnshegh template.)
+5 If you have taken the Major Transformation feat.
A character who had earned enough XP to take a 7th level, for instance,
must make a DC12 Will save to avoid taking that level as an awnshegh. If
that same character already has two levels as an awnshegh, and the Fear
blood ability then he must make a DC 15 check.
If you fail this check you must take a level in the awnshegh character
class rather than in a character class of your choice. If you fail this
check by 5 or more you must take a level in the awnshegh character class
and your alignment changes one step towards chaotic evil. That is, a
lawful good character becomes either lawful neutral or neutral good. In
some cases your alignment may change to an alignment that is based on the
theme of your transformation. An alignment change based upon an
awnsheghlien theme can never be one of the good alignments.
07-05-2004, 11:40 PM #9Originally posted by geeman@Jul 5 2004, 10:30 AM
Last, I`m trying to go for a sort of "anything that inspires you" set of guidelines in that essay, so even if someone in particular doesn`t like using that method someone else might find it a useful way of brainstorming such characters.
Later on when you go into it a little more it seems that you are using a feat system for your blood system. As of yet I have not incorporated such a system. I may explore this a little more.One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
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