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  1. #1

    Detecting bloodlines/Regenc

    At 01:53 PM 10/7/98 -0700, Gary V. Foss wrote:
    >To me a blooded character is the same as a non-blooded character, plus an
    added power or two. There should be no recognizable difference between a
    normal person, a scion with a blood strength of 5, or one with a blood
    strength of 75, assuming the blooded character doesn't have a bloodmark,
    bloodtrait, active divine aura, etc.

    That's pretty much how I see it. I'm thinking of using a birthmark of some
    kind myself to tie into the whole mythological aspect of being 'born to rule'.

    This has been a Galwylin® Production

  2. #2

    Detecting bloodlines/Regenc

    At 12:57 PM 10/7/98 -0700, Jim Cooper wrote:
    >All in all, I think bloodlines should be as much of a
    >curse as a advantage to the (un)lucky persons who have them.

    I really liked this part of your augement. Its something I think should be
    developed more. If I get a few more free hours, I think I'll explore this
    more. Any chance of you expanding it more, Darren?

    >Darren (who thinks this game rule would also explain how people ruled
    >BEFORE Deismaar")

    Perhaps kings recieved blessings from the priests' of the gods (or
    directly) to rule? Good post all the way around though.

    This has been a Galwylin® Production

  3. #3
    Gary V. Foss

    Detecting bloodlines/Regenc

    Jim Cooper wrote:

    > Does anyone else agree with my views?

    I half agree.

    I can't bring myself to replace/supplant bloodlines the way you describe, because.... well, that's the basis of the setting, and I kinda like it the way it is with the following addition.

    I recently started a house rule that character level was added to bloodline strength for determining the amount of RPs that could be earned in a domain turn. That is, a 5th level fighter with a 28 bloodline could gain 33 RPs/domain turn. No bloodline means the same character can earn 5RPs/domain turn.

    To me, this represents the repute and influence, fame and adoration that character should get as they progress in the game. I think it should be directly tied to their actions, which is directly tied to their experience, which is directly tied to their experience level. I think that's what you are really talking about when you describe bloodlines. I see these things as being essentially different, though, so I separate them as described above.

    This method still gives primacy to blooded characters in my campaigns. Why have a blooded regent? Well, his influence is going to be greater because he can collect more RPs. He will, therefore, be a demonstrably better ruler. But a high level character can still be very effective.

    Incidentally, I don't think a person could detect a bloodline on a regent at without some sort of magical ability or if the blooded person demonstrates his power in front of the person. To me a blooded character is the same as a non-blooded character, plus an added power or two. There should be no recognizable difference between a normal person, a scion with a blood strength of 5, or one with a blood strength of 75, assuming the blooded character doesn't have a bloodmark, bloodtrait, active divine aura, etc. Scions will tend to be dressed better as they usually come from
    wealthier families, but aside from that I don't see why there should be a notable difference.


  4. #4
    Mark A Vandermeulen

    Detecting bloodlines/Regenc

    On Wed, 7 Oct 1998, Jim Cooper wrote:

    > Excellent. The perfect points I was looking for to make my rebuttal ---

    Woo-hoo! A debate! My favorite!

    > Okay, so its a matter of how perceptive someone is. I can buy that, but
    > if I understand correctly, the above statements says that there is
    > *always* a definitive aura there to be detected, if only people know or
    > understand how to look for it, correct?

    Not exactly. Its more like this: there is always an aura there, but it is
    completely invisible. The only way it can be "percieved" is in its effect
    on other people. And most people are simply not introspective enough,
    possess enough self-awareness of their own motivations, to detect the
    suble manipulation of their priorities. More on this crops up later on.

    Acknowledging that goes a long
    > way in deciding what RPs represent. But it would also lends credence to
    > the fact that, in the 1500 odd years since people have had this aura,
    > legends/old wives tales/tradition would have made its mark on the people
    > of Cerilia - many ought to know exactly what to look for so that they
    > can judge who are 'good' leaders and such - especially Haelyn fearing
    > Anuireans and their obession with laws and heirarchies. Only the most
    > ignoramus goblinoids would still be this naive about bloodlines and
    > blood-lineages I should think. This, to me, also opens up a whole can
    > 'o worms, but that's another post.

    All I'll say to this is: 1.) The more laws, and the more defined your
    heirarchy, the easier it is to work around it, and relatedly 2.) the
    application of laws and heirarchies serves to build expectation in the
    minds of their holders, and anyone with the Disguise proficiency is savvy
    enough about these expectations to avoid them, and even use them to her
    own benefit.

    > Mark stated:
    > >> For most, however, if the regent is careful, the commoners to whom he give simple requests or asks plain questions may never realize WHY they were so willing to be helpful to a stranger. Now this is where I think the "everyone becomes a automaton of a
    > divinely gifted being" breaks down. I think a person/monster/animial
    > would have to be _pretty_ dense not to know that that person is
    > influencing them in some way. They might not understand - or even
    > *care*_ why that person is able to do that, but they *will* know that
    > it isn't normal for someone to be able to do that ... simply because 99%
    > of everyone else they meet doesn't have that same particular
    > *influence*.

    I think you are making too black-and-white a case out of this whole
    automaton vs. free will thing. Let me illustrate. Lets say you are in the
    presence of an attractive member of the gender of your choice. Your
    behavior changes. You do things subtly differently. You respond to them
    differently. You may be more willing to do things for them, to acceed to
    small requests. But what's more, YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT EVEN AWARE of the
    change. It just "seems natural" for you to respond in that way, so unless
    you're being extrordinarily aware of your own interal goals and
    motivations, you never even notice. Or perhaps you just say to yourself,
    "I really like this person" and leave it at that. Now suppose that the
    person is skilled in Seduction, and is manipulating you on purpose. This
    is what I think of as the coercive power of the Blood. Its a subtle but
    beyond-charisma manipulation of the goals and motivations of the people
    that the scion interacts with. And like Seduction, it can be turned up or
    down. A scion who is focussing all his attention on one peasant can be
    virtually impossible to say no to (but some peasants may have sufficient
    willpower), and in those cases, it's certainly very noticeable. In most
    cases, however, its probably more subtle, and the regent can act to make
    it more subtle by interacting less forcefully with people, with a more
    friendly and companionable tone which makes the coercive power seem less
    out-of-the-ordinary, and avoiding direct interaction all together.

    > Now, because most beings are also *self-aware*, and have *free will*, I
    > think that, while they may be influenced by such a person, I should
    > think that they ought to be able to resist such influence in certain
    > circumstances, no matter how strong a person's divinity, or their number
    > of RPs spent - moreso than a automatic 1 in 20 chance of failure implied
    > by the rules. Note that BR gods (or any god in the AD&D universe) can't
    > FORCE a person to worship them; they have to depend on a being's fickle
    > *desire* to worship them. The same, I strongly argue, should apply to
    > mere blooded scions - moreso in fact. In short, I think blooded regents
    > need to *cultivate* the favour of those they rule to receive any
    > 'worship points' ; simple influence, or ruling a body of
    > people, is not enough IMHO. If it was simply a result of their
    > divinity, I should think that the gods would not be worried at all about
    > who worships who, since they could always just enforce their will and
    > *make* (suggest?) people worship them/do their bidding. (eg. Huh?
    > Mr. Priest, you don't want to worship me anymore?!? Uh, I don't think
    > so!" So, doesn't the current blanket connotation of regency points/bloodlines
    > bother anyone else? Something about this "everyone obeys blooded
    > persons/does whatever a blooded regent says/wants to help this scion"
    > just doesn't sit right with me. How do rebellions ever last then? (eg:
    > "We don't like divine regent's tax policies." "Stop
    > this nonsense" "Okay, sorry.") It becomes more
    > problematic when an unblooded PC interacts with a blooded NPC; no one,
    > of course, would argue that the PC should act in a manner not in
    > accordance to his or her wishes. So why should it be different when the
    > reverse is true?

    Question: if you were walking along the average medieval village street,
    and an obviously wealthy person stopped, dressed in rich clothes, with
    gleaming gold jewelry and sparkling jewels, which you've heard of but
    never actually seen before, mounted on a powerful horse, and surrounded by
    other large men on horses, each with armor and weapons in evidence, and
    asked you a simple question which you could easily answer, would you tell
    him the answer, or would you tell him to go stuff himself? Now, how about
    if he told you to go through a vial of poison in your village's water
    supply. Now what would you tell him. So it really depends on how strongly
    you feel about a subject. What differs is how much it MATTERS to you.

    The same goes for a different kind of power, blood power. If it makes no
    difference to you, and the person is in a position of power, then it is
    natural for you to aquiess. Take the attractive person example discussed
    above. The attractive person is in a position of power over you--the
    person can make you do things that you might not ordinarily do: "Say, will
    you go over there and get me the envelope that is sitting on that table
    over there?" How will you respond? It depends on how much the act matters
    to you, and how much power the person has over you. Under some sets of
    these two variables, you'll say no; under others, you'll say yes. When
    people care very strongly about a subject, the other person has to have a
    whole lot of power over them to get them to act differently to their
    desires. Under most conditions, it doesn't take much. If the people in you
    example really had a problem with the regent's tax policies, and it really
    matters to them. The regent may be powerful enough to get them to say "OK,
    sorry" and walk away (particularly if he has guards nearby). But what will
    probably happen in the next scene is that they will say "Well, that
    didn't work. I guess we'll have to try something else. Anyone have any
    ideas?" Agitate actions are wonderful things for making people feel better
    about their lot in life, but they are costly. A gold bar can make a lit of
    people feel better about their lot in life (particularly when a single
    gold piece can buy a farmer a new cow).

    And for the most part, 19 out of 20 people will probably be happy enough
    with their government that it typically doesn't matter to them very much
    what their regent decrees. For a number of reasons: 1.) the Gods actually
    DO decree it. It's easy enough for us today to pish-pish the idea of the
    "divine right of kings" because we've gotten used to the idea that there
    might not actually be a god. But how about people who KNOW FOR A FACT that
    the rains from the ocean might not come if they don't show their respect
    for Nesirie. People in Anuire worship Haelyn, one of whose main tennants
    is that true leaders ought to be guardians of the land and its people who
    are both courageous and just in the face of oppression and chaos. 2.) most
    of the people are lower class, and very little of what regents ever do
    ever actually directly effects them. 3.) Most people are rightly
    pessimistic about the prospects of the next dude being any better than
    this dude, so why go through all the trouble only to end up back in the
    same place? The exceptions are places like Osoerde, where the people are
    afraid, their lives are getting worse, and their rulers are definitely not
    behaving in the way proper Haelyn-worshipping people would expect their
    rulers to behave. (Note that most medieval people EXPECT their rulers to
    be _somewhat_ hauty and overbearing--pride was commonly accorded to be
    once of the _virtues_ of the nobility.)

    > This is, in large part, why I wish to divorce the codependancy of
    > RPs/bloodlines.

    Hey, if that's what you want, if it makes sense to you, then go for it.
    Just don't expect me to jump on the bandwagon.

    > Mark said again:
    > >> After all, meeting a scion is not going to be a daily event for most people, and they will certainly expect such an important person to be dressed up to the nines and followed by a crowd of retainers. They certainly won't expect the stranger wearing peasant commons to be their leader, and so may not realize the meaning of the strange feeling of subservience they felt upon meeting such a figure until much later, if at all.>
    > Yes, but then I would argue regents just *can't* turn their divinity on
    > and off like that - no matter how inconvienient it is, their power comes
    > with a price (or at least that's the way I think it should be played if
    > we take the currently accepted definition). Once a scion chooses to
    > influence someone with their power, the result is that they've pretty
    > much guaranteed the 'loss' their cover. If one excepts people to
    > worship them everytime they snap their fingers, they must also accept
    > the responsibility that comes with having such power.

    Well, true. As soon as they snap their fingers, their cover's blown. And
    the longer they stay in one place, the more little rumors and stories
    about their strangeness will pick up, until everyone guesses the truth.
    But as long as the regent doesn't COMPLETELY blow his cover (by the
    "snapping his fingers" thing) then just by moving on to the next village
    will start him over again in his disguise. After all, in medieval times
    a person from one village travelled the ten miles to the next village
    what, once a MONTH or something?

    NO ONE should expect to go out mounted and well-dressed, dominating
    peasants left and right, and NOT be recognized as blooded.

    > Note that I am easily convinced that the aura of a scion is highly
    > dependant on their derivation. I can totally see Brenna's bloodlines as
    > having a 'suppressed' aura, since it fits the old goddess' character
    > perfectly. On the other hand, people of Anduiras' bloodline I think
    > should have a very difficult time suppressing theirs - it simply isn't
    > in their nature to skulk and work from the sidelines; simply put, people
    > of Anduiras' bloodlines are BORN to rule, up front and in full glory.
    > Simply put, they *can't help* announcing themselves, being natural
    > leaders, and are unfortunately 'cursed' with being noticed and followed.
    > Another example: people of Masela's bloodline are just *super*
    > passionate people - normal people just fly into a rage when angry;
    > people of Masela's bloodline go *ballistic*. OR, when a loved one dies,
    > people feel sorry - with a bloodline of Masela, the unfortunately scion
    > actually dies of a broken heart (if very close to the deceased of
    > course). Azrai's bloodline: anyone can do espionage actions; people of
    > Azrai's decent just do it *better* (+10 to espionage actions - for
    > instance). Unfortunately, scions of Azrai can't abide anyone but them
    > being the center of attention. Period. They can't help it, its in
    > their nature. They MUST scheme/plot/take advantage of any situation.
    > All of the above, of course, ought to be dependant on the strength of
    > the bloodline. All in all, I think bloodlines should be as much of a
    > curse as a advantage to the (un)lucky persons who have them.

    Now THESE are pretty cool ideas. These make sense to me.

    > Mark also said:
    > > In my personal conception, bloodline strength is as much about renown and perception by others that you are a person of importance as it is about who your parents were. I typically give PC's a point or two for defeating an awnsheighlein or a hereditary enemy IF they allow the event to become common knowledge via bard song. The event increases the perception of that person as significant. So I feel it should work the same way that we generally suppose AD&D gods work: the more respect they get, the more they are held as important and influential, the more powerful they are.
    > Exactly, and that's why I disagree. Not with you, Mark, actually - I
    > agree with him how its should be defined - but, then I would argue that
    > you are defining it in terms of reputation - and *anyone* can earn a
    > reputation, divinity or no. Therefore I disagree with how it is being
    > applied in the game, not with what it is.

    Sure, anyone can earn a reputation. The bully down the block can earn a
    reputation. But only certain people are able to DO anything with that
    reputation at the BIG SCALE, the scale of the population.

    > Would you like to know what attracted me to BR? It was a simple little
    > phrase, the last paragraph in the little conspectus that first came out
    > introducing BR, way back in 1995 (the good old days, before BR got
    > canned). :) If it wasn't for the phrase below, I doubt I would
    > have been interested enough in the game to have bought it. It was:
    > "So listen carefully, for armies are marching into battle as we speak.
    > The banners of noble houses flutter raggedly before the onslaught; some
    > will fall, never to rise again, while others will weather the storm. AND
    > HERO BECOMES A KING. IT COULD BE YOU." (emphasis mine, except the last
    > sentence)

    Yeah, I see your point. I dealt with it by allowing commoners to become
    blooded in two (both very rare) ways: 1.) a special Ceremony of
    Investiture allows a regent to "Knight" a commoner, instilling his own
    bloodline in the new Knight at a BL power of one, in exchange for a
    10-point reduction in his own BL power. And 2.) killing a scion has a
    chance of transfering some of the bloodline to the unblooded combatant.
    This usually only happens if the unblooded person is actually acting
    heroically (or perhaps 'in accordance to what the blood-tendency of the
    bloodline would find heroic' in light of your interpretation above), and I
    usually invoke the "If the god's smile on you" clause when describing it.

    > THAT's why I play Birthright. I plunked my money down and bought the
    > game right then and there. Finally, TSR had come out with a game that
    > allowed you to be a ruler (with rules about how to play a game like
    > that)! I could actually march armies across the land (and there were
    > rules for that too)! That's the way I had always envisioned playing
    > AD&D - other wise, its just a endless series of dungeon crawls (which I
    > had become bored with around the mid-80s). We get to play *rulers* now,
    > not just some lame wanderering monster killers. And, more importantly,
    > our decisions actually *matter* in the larger gaming world are
    > characters inhabit.
    > Now, with Birthright, I could play a dirt poor commoner, who didn't have
    > a copper to pinch between his fingers, who fights his way across hordes
    > of monsters, through dark and fell dungeons, rescuing fair damsels and
    > eventually win for myself a kingdom! YES! Fighting for freedom and
    > justice, and the Canadian way! :) And to find out I didn't even need
    > to be a 9th level fighter to be said lord either! Yea! In essence, a
    > lowly commoner who has beaten the odds and won for himself a kingdom.
    > But more importantly, he won for himself a reputation, without anyone's
    > help except his own courage and honor and moral character.

    I should point out that any player can make the choice about whether to
    play a blooded or nonblooded character--you don't have to make a roll.
    However, if you choose to play an unblooded character you should expect
    that it will be VERY DIFFICULT to work your way up to the ranks of
    rulership. It would be much easier if you set up your dirt-poor character
    as a noble bastard or long-lost relative stolen by bandits, etc. The other
    way is not impossible, just much, much harder.

    > As a player, I would feel deeply offended and betrayed by my DM who
    > insisted that in order to do that I would need (or be given) a bloodline
    > to rule my people. I won that right by my hard work, great dice
    > rolling, and intelligent role-playing. I deserve to have the admiration
    > of my million of subjects, because I fought for them! I promised them I
    > would not forget what it is like being born without a bloodline, that I
    > would treat them with respect and fairness. Because I proved my worth,
    > not because I was lucky enough to be born from the right parents, lucky
    > enough to be born with the right blood coursing through my veins, to be
    > born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

    Sorry dude. Welcome to the real Cerilia. Life sucks here too, sometimes.
    It makes it all feel more real that way to me, but I can see where it is
    not very satisfactory for you.

    > So, in conclusion, I think bloodlines should be divorced from regency -
    > that having a bloodline shouldn't be a requirement to having regency.
    > Keep bloodlines - I think they are tres cool - a distinctive part of BR.
    > I really like the definitions given by Mark, Carrie, Ed, and others on
    > this list with regards to regency - I'm cool with defining regency
    > points in terms of influence / reputation / renown / perception of
    > leadership capability. In fact, those are the best definitions I've
    > heard so far. But just because you are born with a bloodline doesn't
    > mean you are born to rule - or even that you would be a particularly
    > *effective* ruler. Not everyone is born with a bloodline, nor should
    > they be. However, anyone can earn for themself a reputation, can work
    > on their influence and/or their leadership ability. Anyone can take the
    > ruling seat - the only difference between a poor ruler and an effective
    > one is: what kind of person are you? Isn't that what Haelyn teaches his
    > people, the Anuireans?

    Uh, no. Actually, I would say that would be the message of Sera. Haelyn's
    message is to act with goodness and justice in which ever position you
    find yourself in life.

    > So, in game terms, I would say: Anyone who is a ruler collects regency,
    > to the tune of their domain power. A person's Bloodline can *influence*
    > how effective you rule, by giving a bonus of (whatever we think is fair)
    > to their success roll. Say - +1 for every 10 bloodline points a person
    > has (rounded up)? Perhaps, a further modifer for the derivation of the
    > bloodline? Certain blood abilities, like Persuasion, might eliminate
    > the need for a success roll of course.
    > UNLESS, someone can convince me that it really matters that a person HAS
    > TO HAVE divine essense in you in order to rule - if anyone can do that,
    > I'll step off my soap box. (and no, the argument: "Because its in the
    > rules" won't cut it for me). And yes, I really would be appreciative of
    > anyone who could give me and the rest of the list a definitive answer
    > stating exactly what RPs are with regards to divine essense.

    Hey, if you like it, set up a campaign, play with those rules, and tell us
    how it works. I'd be interested in hearing how it works out, and if you
    had to add in any other balancing rules to make it work.

    Mark VanderMeulen

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