Alaric wrote:

> Not to point out anything too obvious, but if the dragon was half as
> smart as your character, and in general, powerful dragons are far
> smarter (that's what makes them powerful enemies, that they're better,
> faster, and smarter than you), than he never would have fallen for the
> trick. His human pawns would have found the treasure (maybe), and the
> dragon probably would have smelled a trap from a mile away. Then
> again, maybe it would have worked. BUT, I doubt that he could have
> been killed by brute force from anyone, and therefore the point still
> stands that what a weakly endowed character can do, a more 'gifted'
> one has the ability to do at least as well (if one of those 5th to
> 10th's you mentioned had survived, he could have done away with
> BigNasty in the same way).
> Thx,
> Alaric

Along similar lines I'd like to ask what exactly to people out there
mean by "role-playing"? See, I thought role-playing meant taking on the
characteristics of a character that might be drastically different from
that of the player. It's like acting, but the actor gets to write his
own part.

To me, the aforementioned example of outwitting a dragon isn't really
role-playing. Aside from the fact that it just isn't the best example
of innovative play I've ever heard (it isn't like the _The Hobbit_
wasn't ostensibly the same concept--go on a journey and trick a dragon)
I don't see how that is role-playing. What was the role? Where was the
character? Part of my problem with the idea of a 1st level character
pulling something like that off is that a 1st level character is
supposed to be inexperienced. Now, that doesn't mean stupid, of course,
but going head to head in an intellectual battle with a creature several
hundred years old just seems out of reach of a 1st level character. Oh,
I am quite sure it could happen. I'm not going to exclude any
possibility, but as a DM I would seriously question if

1. I should put a 1st level PC up against a dragon.

2. I want to diminish the mystique of dragons (and the campaign) by
letting a 1st level bard defeat one so easily. How am I going to scare
PCs with bugbears and weretigers after that? It's like yelling "Boo!"
after shooting at them with a machine gun.

3. I want to give even 7-10th level characters (let alone the 1st level
guy) a dragon's hoard.

Personally, I would answer no for sure to #1 and #2, and "maybe" to #3,
depending on the circumstances.

Now then. In a desperate and probably feeble attempt to bring this
subject back on topic: How does this all relate to Birthright?!?

BR is the only setting that I know about that has predetermined
characters for players that already have a huge backgrounds. (At least,
the BR materials seem to be the most fleshed out in that regard of any
campaign I have seen.) IMC, I have kept them all the characters in the
publihed materials NPC and the players play PCs that they rolled up.
Some are commoners, some blooded, some are now minor regents operating
with vassalage agreements to the local lord, but for the most part I run
a BR campaign that emphasizes adventuring over everything else. Domain
actions are subject to adventuring and role-playing, and there is a lot
of activity "at court" so there are plenty of opportunities for players
to actually act out their characters.

My question to you guys is: How well do you think people actually
role-play the PCs presented in the published materials? I am thinking
one possible explanation for the lack of success that BR had was its
reliance upon pre-existing characters. People might have been turned
off by that, preferring to just get a campaign with locations and NPCs
and then roll up their own PCs, as is the norm for campaign settings.
Given that most of the people reading the messages here probably already
like the published materials, I think most of us probably don't mind the
published characters, but do you guys think that is the way most gamers
react? Have the published PCs been a good thing for BR?