As a fellow armchair historian, I feel I have an obligation to speak
out! :)

Kenneth Gauck wrote:
> Let us remember the remark of the monk of Arras who said the serfs of
> his abbey were very eager to advertise their bonds of dependence in
> times of trouble, as pressing danger prompted them to seek protection,
> and very eager to repudiate the bond when life was peaceful. Let us
> then further recall that BR probably has more yeoman and fewer serfs
> than historical France. That serfs are not slaves but free men in
> voluntary dependance, and yeoman are simply free men. They can and
> will oppose oppression. This was my thesis: rebellion will be
> frequent, and moreso under bad government. I never subscribe to the
> idea that any other than blooded nobility will ever rule, or that
> anyone of sound mind would suggest such a thing. Aristocracy means
> rule by the best, and IMC the blooded are assumed to be most fit to
> rule, even if the occasional scion proves himself unworthy. The vast
> majority are as fit as anyone else and further blessed with education
> and training, not to mention the blood powers which are the hallmark
> of nobility. A notable minority are truly heroic and are unmatched by
> the unblooded.
> Let us look beyond how things worked in theory and observe how they
> worked in practice.

Now shame on you, Mr. Gauck, shame on you !!! :D As a historian you should know better than to state that last
statement, being guilty of the very same thing you are accusing others

Not only do you propose us accepting that BR peasants/unblooded would
act no differently than they would to RL historical peasants/commoners,
but in the same breath argue that BR nobility would remain in some
idealized static mold, submitting the idea that bloodpower and nobility
are one and the same! ARRGGHHH! What is even more maddening?: That
people (seem to) hold to the belief that BR nobility would NOT *also*
buy into this paradigm and thus nobility (and by reasoning, bloodedness)
in politics would never _eventually_ be called into question by those
without it!

Now for those of you on this list who prefer portraying their BR world
as a glass bubble , static and unchanging, forever locked in its
current reality, simply disregard this post and delete it; for those who
believe otherwise, I argue for you to divorce yourselves of this flawed
gaming aspect of FRishness and enter a new era of role-playing! You
have nothing to lose but the chains holding back your imagination! :D

One very important aspect of Birthright, I believe, is its portrayal of
culture and technology - specifically, there is a perception that
Cerilians have had scientific, political, religious, and cultural
advancement from the days of their mass exodus from Aduria and other
continents, right up to the present day (1524 HC). Moreover, this
technological advancement means consequences, in every aspect of the
cultures inhabiting Cerilia. Not only do I think this paradigm is
portrayed within the context of the Battle of Deismaar, but also within
the context of another unique aspect of Birthright - the milieu's
portrayal of elves & dwarves (along with its other unique races, like
the goblins and orogs being anything more than raving monsters).

In my BR world of Aebrynis, Cerilians live in a dynamic, ever-changing
land which necessitates the use of new ways of thinking and new ways of
doing things. Indeed, humanity is at the center of this struggle,
witnessed by the slow encroachment of humankind at the expense of elven
cultures (old vs. new) and in other cultures like the dwarven vs. orogs
struggle (static vs. evolving state). This humanistic view is at the
very center of the uniqueness of Birthright. And because this paradigm
is so important to the BR milieu (IMHO), taking away the consequences
would lessen the gaming experience (IMNSHO). And that means to me, for
good or ill, a scientific view of the world will eventually come to pass
in Cerilia, if it hasn't done so already (indeed, I believe it already
has, back in the days of the Great Anuirean Empire, and that only with
the dissolution of said Empire has the "Dark Ages" fallen on Cerilia.
There only needs to be a rebirth of classical Anuirean knowledge, which
IMO is already beginning).

Let us not forget that this world view has had a tremendous impact on
our own world. The scientific view, purely as a form of thought, has
caused humans to look at things radically different from those paradigms
they held dear to before. To keep this humanistic understanding of
Birthright, one must understand the important of science, and
technology, on all aspects of human life. The scientific view caused us
to question our role in the cosmos, our belief in The Powers That Be,
and has impacted our physical lives to such an extent never before seen
in human history. And it has changed human use of the Earth's resources
and the environment.

But most importantly, scientific advancements have had a way of
translating and changing themselves into the realm of thought
(philosophy and, more importantly, theology). So much so, in fact, that
religious dogma changed forevermore long ago. The scientific view
helped to promulgate the very deep seated humanistic views that the
universe was essentially ordered and structured, and that mankind was
capable of understanding it and *taking control of their own destiny*
within it, and that humans could exchange ideas by peacable and
*rational* means. Thus, once again, the foundation was laid for our
belief in free and democratic institutions. I need only name a few
names: Galileo, Newton, Darwin ... I'm sure Cerilians would produce
their own versions of said historical figures just as suredly as we did
in RL.

And it is to this point that I draw your attention, since herein lies
the problem at the center of the Birthright Dilemma. The Birthright
Dilemma, the relationship between the gods and their legacy, is rushing
headlong on its present course to meet the Anvil of Destiny, and will
eventually have to face the music I believe. Because the new gods
refuse to take direct part in the affairs of their cultures, as the old
gods did before the BoD, they are signing their own death warrant. Now,
more than ever, the various human cultures are increasingly having to
rely on their own ingenuity and powers to make a go of it in Cerilia.
And this, boys and girls, means overwhelmingly that commoners are having
to rely on their own 'unbloodedness' to see their lives through. There
is support in this by the very fact that there exists very few
(comparatively speaking) "leveled" people in every Cerilian culture. No
more can humankind rely on mighty avatars (or high level characters)
leading them through destiny.

And the same correlation applies to bloodpower. There is *supposed* to
be the perception that _less than 1%_ of Cerilians possess bloodlines,
but the books make us believe (not surprisingly) otherwise, because we
are constantly being bombarded with blooded characters on every page.
Blooded people are supposed to be special and _rare_ individuals, and
its a shame that TSR did not portray BR otherwise - far too much
reliance on blood powers and bloodlines cheapens its mystical and
magical signifigance and moves our beloved milieu closer to that dreaded
precedent, Forgotten Realms (with Drow, and Elminsters and wild magic
running supreme and gods running amok and leveling Toeril (or whatever -
I forgot) asunder with their feuds). BR was FR before the BoD, and the
'gods' (read: game designers) learned their mistake and are trying to
correct that! :D (heh heh) Bloodlines might also be considered more as
a final reward to characters for a campaign well played, for a kingdom
well run! (ie: Regent Joe has finally defeated the Most High Evil One,
his major nemesis, and has been rewarded by the Land, (or the Gods) with
divine favour - a bloodline, and all the superpowers that go with it!
Yahoo! Regent Joe can now take his rightful place in the annals of the
Birthright civilization scoreboard!)

And there is plenty of fodder for the
paradigm mill in various events in Cerilian history: The Great
Bloodtheft between the Blooded at the BoD; the Destruction of the
College of Sorcery; the Anuirean Conquest of Cerilia; The Brecht League
Debacle; etc. None of these events portray the blooded in a kind light
- - why should Cerilian commoners not learn from their mistakes in
believing that the blooded are the only people capable of having control
over their destiny? Hasn't there been enough strife and destruction
because of the result of the introduction of bloodlines to humankind and
other beings? When will all this bloodfighting stop?

I submit to you:

Would 1 priest or even the handful of character-level holders
represented by a level 1 temple be enough to stop the spread of plague
among hundreds of thousands of commoners across a culture within a
month? Would not the overwhelming mass of non-classed unwashed
desperately cling to another solution, one that would promise the end of
suffering for those same hundreds of thousands and you didn't have to be
blooded to make it happen (is bloodline a requisite for discovering the
use of penicillin?). Does not the tremendous power represented by
magic, would that not be laughed at, when the same wonders can be
achieved without needing a bloodline, and could be used by anyone? (is
bloodline a requirement for using, say, TNT?) Would not the elitist
attitude portrayed by the blooded cause those self-same individuals to
start to believe more and more in their specialness because of their
uniqueness, thus causing a culture of discrimination and exploitation
within the circles of blooded nobility? Does not absolute power corrupt
absolutely? Are BR humans so much more different than we are that they
are willing to devalue their freedoms for the sake of a few unique
individuals based on beliefs that held true 2000 years ago? Would the
vast majority of unwashed be willing to place their freely controlled
trust into a single few individuals, just because these guys have powers
no one really understands? Does having a bloodling automatically mean
you have an INT 18 and a WIS 18, that you are automatically suited to be
a leader? Does it make sense that a INT/WIS 18 commoner be passed over
for leadership to a blooded INT/WIS 3 noble? Would a Duke choose having
one finicky, crotchety old wizard over having thousands of artillery
cannons that do comparably damage and, more importantly, do not possess
free will? Would people trust the blooded if there is always a chance
that they could actually possess the blood of Azrai and be ruled
therefore by an abomination? ....

I wonder, have I been arguing in vain ... ? Despite the current game
mechanics, wouldn't a scienctific view, or a paradigm shift, be almost
certain in Cerilia, given its current history?