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Thread: Family wizards

  1. #1
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    Related to the discussion on how many wizards there should be in a low magic campaign (see: http://www.birthright.net/forums/index.php...opic=2736&st=0), I was actually wondering why there is no culture of the noble families in Anuire trying to have one or more wizards trained for their own family use. Considering how powerful a wizard is in a rare-magic setting like BR, one would think there was a greater emphasis on ensuring one had some to back up ones own political intrigues.

    To take an example for literature that gave me the inspiration, the Farseer trilogy, where the bastard son on the lord is trained in the arts of an assassin. In this role he is a key tool for the king to weild his power, and similarly one would think wizards ought to be a sought after tool for any ambitious noble.

    While some have suggested making the Magician into a full PC class, I have yet to see an example (same goes for original 2e version) where the Magician would be more usefull than a full blooded true wizard.

    My main problem is perhaps that there is no game mechanical way of reducing the number of blooded people taking up the wizard class.

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    In Anuire most who wish to be trained as a wizard would go to the College of Sorcery, and it is not cheap to send someone there for the years of study that is required, as compared with training a son or daughter in the arts of war. This would prevent everyone but the rich studying as wizards.

    However, there is nothing to suggest that the major noble families don't send one or more children to study as a wizard or magician. A wizard in the family is a valuable asset, especially in a low-magic campaign like Birthright. If you've read the Shadow Stone this is implied by the presence of one of the Avan family, and also in Ruins of Empire where both the Alam and Diem families have daughters who are wizards.
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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Also regent families are probably more concerned with maintaining their ability to rule effectively and carry on their legacy. Wizards make terrible rulers, most are afraid or at the very least uncomfortable around them (except for the Khinasi, who do have a large amount of the wizards of Anuire).
    Duane Eggert

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    Originally posted by Raesene Andu@Jul 13 2004, 06:40 AM
    In Anuire most who wish to be trained as a wizard would go to the College of Sorcery, and it is not cheap to send someone there for the years of study that is required, as compared with training a son or daughter in the arts of war. This would prevent everyone but the rich studying as wizards.
    If the College of Sorcery is so expensive the less wealthy families could try apprentice their offspring with some other wizard. Here it very much the point of my post, why not have one of the sons/daughters in the family as a wizard in every generation. Once the next generation comes along the older takes on they younger as an apprentice. One hardly requires super genious intelligence to become a highly competent wizard, and even if a potential candidate comes along every 2 generations this would be more than enough.

    However, there is nothing to suggest that the major noble families don't send one or more children to study as a wizard or magician. A wizard in the family is a valuable asset, especially in a low-magic campaign like Birthright. If you've read the Shadow Stone this is implied by the presence of one of the Avan family, and also in Ruins of Empire where both the Alam and Diem families have daughters who are wizards.
    (Unfortunately I haven't got my hands on the Shadow Stone book, it seems to be out of print and hard to get.)
    So if three of the families have wizards I think this is a trend more would follow. While one could argue that these three are all students at the College, I can't find any material to support that. It is also a problematic issue ragarding the fundamental principles of DnD works, as one can much more easily gain power as a wizard by practicing on killing bad goblins or similar instead of studying

    As for the College itself, where does those dowen of students fr meach year actually end up? The text implies there is a vast number of high level wizards running around in Anuire, and in general smacks a bit too much of high fantasy spellslinging to me.

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    Originally posted by irdeggman@Jul 13 2004, 11:15 AM
    Also regent families are probably more concerned with maintaining their ability to rule effectively and carry on their legacy. Wizards make terrible rulers, most are afraid or at the very least uncomfortable around them (except for the Khinasi, who do have a large amount of the wizards of Anuire).
    I'm not thinking that one should appoint ones first born or heir to be the family wizard. Rather somebody like the oldest daughter or youngest son, in general somebody who doesn't have much hope of becoming the regent of a realm. As the person in question is not meant to control any sources, the bloodline is not an issue even if the mother or father married somebody with significantly lower bloodline.

  6. #6
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Don E+Jul 13 2004, 06:33 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Don E &#064; Jul 13 2004, 06:33 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-irdeggman@Jul 13 2004, 11:15 AM
    Also regent families are probably more concerned with maintaining their ability to rule effectively and carry on their legacy.* Wizards make terrible rulers, most are afraid or at the very least uncomfortable around them (except for the Khinasi, who do have a large amount of the wizards of Anuire).
    I&#39;m not thinking that one should appoint ones first born or heir to be the family wizard. Rather somebody like the oldest daughter or youngest son, in general somebody who doesn&#39;t have much hope of becoming the regent of a realm. As the person in question is not meant to control any sources, the bloodline is not an issue even if the mother or father married somebody with significantly lower bloodline. [/b][/quote]

    But daughters would be groomed to marry off and into other influential families. Again, grooming/breeding for rulership and influence. Having a daughter go off to become a wizard, falls into the same arena as having her locked into a tower and removed from social life.

    The BoM talks about apprenticeships also, so that is another path for becoming a wizard.
    Duane Eggert

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    Originally posted by irdeggman@Jul 13 2004, 01:45 PM
    But daughters would be groomed to marry off and into other influential families. Again, grooming/breeding for rulership and influence. Having a daughter go off to become a wizard, falls into the same arena as having her locked into a tower and removed from social life.
    I think this is entirely different. While it might be a wizards tower, this comes with a tangible benefit. I would even go so far as to say it might be a much greater benefit than some dubious alliance through marriage. Too often those turn out to be more burden than boon.

    This could also be a way of putting some of those bastard children to good use. Give them power, but at the same time make them more or less unfit to effectively rule a realm. You gain a tool at the same time as removing a potential contender for the throne. (Well, that is the theory at least, and is in particular plans like these that make for good stories )

  8. #8
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    When it comes to why blooded families don`t have a "family wizard" in them

    more often the short answer is that they would. It`s far too sensible a

    decision to ignore. One can rationalize it away, but most of those

    rationalizations are pretty hollow when examined in the context of either

    the BR or the D&D game mechanics and the relative power of true magic users

    created by the exclusivity of that class. From a social standpoint,

    blooded families would be more likely to have a wizard in the family than a

    priest IMO due to the relative scarcity of true magic and the fact that the

    class itself would represents nobility since only scions have access to it

    amongst humans.



    BR commits several such transgressions of form over function. Probably the

    most obvious of which is the immortality of elves, which isn`t portrayed in

    any particular way in the actual setting`s character levels or magic item

    distribution. Accurately portraying the character levels and inventory of

    characters who cold be centuries or millennia old, however, could easily

    unbalance the campaign, so it`s understandable why that was done. In the

    case of a regular set of "family wizards" I`d suggest they probably didn`t

    include such a thing for a similar reason. They wanted to keep true magic

    relatively rare, so they didn`t describe how blooded families might send

    certain members off to learn true magic on a regular, systemic basis--no

    matter how sensible that might be.



    In the long run, however, the question is whether adding a family wizard

    concept to the setting would really make a difference? Would it throw off

    the balance of the setting or make the "low magic" aspect of it less

    apparent? Since blooded characters are so rare to begin with (usually 1 in

    1,000) increasing the number of them that study true magic doesn`t readily

    impact the setting. It does increase the number of people who might use

    true magics, but that number is still quite low. I usually assume there

    are more true wizards around in BR than most people do, however, so I may

    very well be in the minority on this. Sometimes folks take the prose in

    the BR setting that "perhaps" numbers the wizards in the setting to under

    200 to heart and find any increase of that number to be unacceptable.



    Gary

  9. #9
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Ahhh so now we are talking about bastard children vice legitimate heirs. Hmmm what famous bastard son of a major ruler was placed into a position of power only to rise to infamy???? No, I don&#39;t think anyone in Anuire would remember Raesene and let that decision affect their desire to invest an illegitimate heir with a great deal of power (a wizard is after all a great power source, and that was the point of this discussion in the first place).
    Duane Eggert

  10. #10
    I have to agree with irdeggman here. Noble offspring are notoriously jealous and ambitious. The older child already has to worry about poisonings, intrigues and all other sources of nonsense. They would most certainly not appreciate their parent giving one of their younger siblings the power to ensorcel them as well.

    Also, given the discussion, we seem to be assuming that magical apprenticeship is a relatively successful venture. This needn&#39;t be the case. It could be that a bloodline in and of itself doesn&#39;t guarantee an aptitude to understand the weirdness of the arcane. It may also turn out that less than qualified apprentices have a tendency to destroy themselves in magical mishaps. Think of it, most damaging 0th and 1st level spells can deal enough damage to take a 1st level wizard out of commision (but not kill them), a badly botched casting could be catastrophic. So perhaps only a few would make it out of magical bootcamp.

    The few, the proud, the true wizards .

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