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Thread: New Ershegh

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    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    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.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    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

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    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:



    http://www.birthright.net/forums/ind...=ST&f=2&t=2115



    Gary

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    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irdeggman@Jul 2 2004, 03:25 AM
    More importantly a character personality must first be developed. ...
    So it is like an inner spirit or totem animal that the character manifests? I like that, guess I hadn't considered it before. Then again I never did approach making an ershegh before. Thanks.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

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    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Gary thanks again for the many resources you continue to post. I've been enjoying your work.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    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.


    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.
    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).
    Duane Eggert

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    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

    screwy.)



    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

    the check:





    Table 5: Corruption Check Modifiers

    Modifier Condition

    +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.



    Gary

  9. #9
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Originally 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.
    That is exactly what I got out of it.

    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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