View Poll Results: What types of magic should there be in the BRCS?

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  • 1. 3 tiered system -standard (PHB)/battle level/realm level.

    13 50.00%
  • 2. 2 tiered system – standard/realm level (only realm spells affect the battlefield)

    5 19.23%
  • 3. 2 tiered system – standard/realm level (standard spells have an effect on the battlefield without any modification)

    8 30.77%
  • 4. Other – please specify

    0 0%
  • 5. Abstain

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    The intent of these tiers is like this;

    For choice 1:

    Standard – basically the core rules type of stuff, no effect on the battlefield orrealm level of play.

    Battle level – these are things that affect the battlefield or unit(s). There are several ways to go here. Battle magic can be metamagic versions of standard spells (similar to the BRCS-playtest), they can be totally separate spells, etc. The idea being that battle spells/magic is handled differently than standard or realm magic.

    Realm level – these are spells that affect things at the province level or have a long duration (domain rounds).

    For choice 2:

    Standard spells – same as choice 1.

    Realm spells – same as choice 1 but these spells would include effects on units that last for domain rounds and see the unit(s) through a battle. There may be new realm spells added to fill the “gaps”.

    For choice 3:

    Standard spells – similar to 1 above except that area effect spells would include a write up on how they affect the battlefield and/or unit(s). There may be new standard spells added to address the “gaps”.

    Realm spells – same as 1 above but have no effect on the battlefield. Anything that would affect the battlefield is included in a standard spell.

    Basically 2nd ed had a 3 tiered system but the tiers were not very clearly defined. Battle magic included standard spells with area effects, some new battle spells and even some realm spells.

    I am just trying to get a way to focus effort on instead of chasing several tails at once. Once we narrow this down then we can further narrow down the specifics. IMO this is an important thing to deal with since it affects the war section, the realm magic section, the magic section and the ruling a domain section. Also a backfit of the feats/skills in Chap 1 will be required once these chapters have been worked out.


    If this isn't clear enough let me know and I canreset the poll and try to better capture what we are trying to define here.
    Duane Eggert

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    I voted for option 1 (I like battle spells), however, standard spells need a write up on what battlefield effects they have as well (i.e. like option 3).
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Raesene Andu@Feb 17 2005, 08:15 AM
    I voted for option 1 (I like battle spells), however, standard spells need a write up on what battlefield effects they have as well (i.e. like option 3).
    So basically you like the 2nd ed system then? I don't see how combining everything sets out any clear demarkation of the lines of power. That is what I'm trying to get to here. Basically what are the differences and can we improve the absolute crap that TSR did when they wrote the 2nd ed battle magic rules? OK that crap thing is just my opinion, but it was broken.
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Senior Member Thomas_Percy's Avatar
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    Battle spells are unbalanced.
    There is no explanation of their existence.
    They are hard to use and balance at classical (eg. dungeon) adventure.
    But the most important: they are unnecessary. Standard spells like: Gate, Control Weather, Purify Food and Drink etc. are far more effective at war than Rain of Magic Missiles-like spells.

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Sorry Ian, my reply came out too harsh.

    What I'm trying to steer towards is some sort of system that is simplier than what was in the 2nd ed rules. I made my vote, but I'm not that strongly linked to it as much as I am to setting something that can be applied easily and universally. Something that doesn't add more complexity than is necessary (simplier is still better in most cases).

    IMO there are only a handful of options that reasonably work and the one that does not is to have battle magic being standard magic, its own set of spells and also realm magic all at the same time. That is a broke and overly complex system IMO.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 05:04 PM 2/17/2005 +0100, Thomas_Percy wrote:



    >Battle spells are unbalanced.

    >There is no explanation of their existence.

    >They are hard to use and balance at classical (eg. dungeon) adventure.

    >But the most important: they are unnecessary. Standard spells like: Gate,

    >Control Weather, Purify Food and Drink etc. are far more effective at war

    >than Rain of Magic Missiles-like spells.



    I agree but with a very big caveat. Battlespells are one of those

    ill-conceived aspects of the original setting that really screws things up

    IMO, and should never have been included. It`s an ill-conceived and poorly

    rationalized subsystem to both the D&D magic system as a whole and the BR

    large scale combat resolution system, making it something of a double

    whammy of bad ideas. In fact, when it comes to the original "errors" of

    the setting, the battlespell concept is possibly the most egregious--not

    because it is in and of itself the worst idea, but because that system was

    so extensively articulated. All that space could have been used to

    describe more needed game mechanics, give us a more playable large scale

    combat system, or even just character descriptions for some of the more

    prominent BR regents. Instead there was all this weird and unnecessary

    material.



    Personally, I`d rather have an extrapolation of the effects of standard

    magical spells upon companies of soldiers rather than a powering up of

    those spells into a more powerful and ill-considered subsystem of

    magic. "Conventional" spells should (and some already do) have effects

    upon whole units of soldiers, and by recognizing that such spells can and

    would exist as more than individual spell slots for wizards (that is, any

    wizard worth his intelligence score would carry a wand of fireballs into

    battle with him rather than simply prepare the Fireball spell enough times

    to fit into his spell slots) the need for a subsystem of battlespells

    becomes quite insignificant.



    It should probably be said, however, that the unbalanced nature of

    battlespells appears to be the merit of the concept to those who like to

    use them, and when it gets right down to it, the subsystem is very easy to

    house rule out of an individual DM`s campaign. There`s a gonzo,

    flash-bang-boom to the idea that many people like, and when it boils right

    down to it there`s no real reason why they shouldn`t be able to do just

    that in their games. The gaming experience isn`t any less legitimate for

    those who want to play with a set of unbalanced game mechanics. I wouldn`t

    have included it in the first place, but because it exists and an

    apparently large portion of the BR community like the idea we shouldn`t

    simply ignore it.



    Not to beat this particular dead horse from the Ch. 1 thread too much more,

    but there is a comparison to be made between things like the battlespell

    system and such things as campaign specific racial class

    restrictions. Both they and battlespells are the kind of thing that could

    and should appear in an update of the system because it`s the kind of

    material that would require a lot of effort on the part of individual DMs

    who wanted to employ them if they had to create it themselves, but is easy

    to house rule out if they do not. Imagine the amount of time, effort and

    reading of the original materials a DM would have to do in order to

    articulate the original BR themes regarding race/class restrictions. It

    requires not only a pretty extensive understanding of the original BR

    themes, but also the 2e rules under which they were written in order to

    decide how/why those restrictions should be included--not something the

    casual DM who wants to run a BR campaign using 3e+ rules is likely to want

    to do.



    Similarly, a DM who wanted to include battlespells in a 3e BR campaign

    would have to dedicate an awful lot of effort to the concept. Rather than

    give them a product that ignores a concept from the original materials, a

    complete update should at least address the issue so that the DM could make

    the decision on whether or not to employ battlespells, could playtest it,

    etc. in an informed way. There should be more than a note describing the

    system as a set of optional rules--in fact, if it were up to me it would be

    in its own little document, separate from any core 3e+ update campaign

    material (that`s how it appeared originally) so as to clearly indicate that

    the ideas are optional and maybe not that great a concept to begin with,

    but since a lot of people seem to like the idea there`s no reason not to

    include it if others are willing to put in the effort to write up the

    conversion.



    As someone who thought battlespells were a bad idea to begin with I have a

    pretty good inkling as to how I`d personally rule on whether to employ such

    an optional system. I`m willing to keep an open mind if someone has some

    really amazing ideas on such a system, but at present I just don`t see the

    need for it. Because other folks do, however, it`s worthwhile to include.



    Gary

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irdeggman@Feb 18 2005, 02:30 AM


    Sorry Ian, my reply came out too harsh.
    Not a problem, I didn't consider your reply harsh at all.

    What I'm trying to steer towards is some sort of system that is simplier than what was in the 2nd ed rules. I made my vote, but I'm not that strongly linked to it as much as I am to setting something that can be applied easily and universally. Something that doesn't add more complexity than is necessary (simplier is still better in most cases).
    If you want to do it simpler then setting out the exact effect of standard spells as they affect battle situation is probably the easiest. Say, ok a caster with the battle caster feat can cast standard spells as battle spells to a better effect and this is what they do...
    This is the path the Cry Havok takes, although of course its unit size and combat system are different so they have more spells that are effective on the battlefield than BR would.

    Personally I don't consider the whole battle spells system to be broken or complex, I quite liked it and used it in my games. I do seem to be in the minority on this though. With a few changes they could work again. It would add another twenty or so pages to the BRCS if you included then though to cover the rules for create battle spells, thier cost on the battlefield, and the actual spell descriptions themselves.

    If anyone is interested, Dragon 309 had a system of War Spells that are very similar to Battle Spells, I might have mentioned this at the time it was released. Those spells were standard spells expanded to effect units, but with a larger material component cost.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  8. #8
    Member Bokey's Avatar
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    I consider BR a low magic world. As it was originally written, I think this was the developers strategy as well (only blooded could be true mages, very few magic items). However, they FUBARed the original system, and derailed the original train of thought by including three separate sets of rules for magic. Magic is supposed to be rare, but they give three different sets of rules to address its potential uses in certain situations? That seems kinda odd.

    Let's fix there mistake and combine realm magic and battlefield magic into one set of rules. There will be some spells that need conversion (fireball for example), but the less rules the better.
    Kill 'em all, let the God's sort them out!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Bokey schrieb:



    >This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.

    > You can view the entire thread at:

    > http://www.birthright.net/forums/ind...ST&f=36&t=3001

    >

    > Bokey wrote:

    > I consider BR a low magic world. As it was originally written, I think this was the developers strategy as well (only blooded could be true mages, very few magic items). However, they FUBARed the original system, and derailed the original train of thought by including three separate sets of rules for magic. Magic is supposed to be rare, but they give three different sets of rules to address its potential uses in certain situations? That seems kinda odd.

    >Let`s fix there mistake and combine realm magic and battlefield magic into one set of rules. There will be some spells that need conversion (fireball for example), but the less rules the better.

    >

    My understanding of BR was that magic is rare but powerful. The rarity

    of true magic lets the practitioners of magic stand out as extraordinary

    characters among an already blooded elite (with the exception of the

    sidhelien where mages were more common but who had no priests).

    That means that the abundance of magical items and the scores of generic

    longswords +1 of other worlds simply do not exist - but that the magic

    that exists and those who wield it can with their magical power

    influence political decisions or sway major battles.



    A "low" magic setting would be one in which magic is so rare that it

    does almost not exist and the magic that exists is not really

    impressive, and in which perhaps alchemy and technology take most of

    it´s place with dwarven engineers and gnomish devices (Brr...) - BR

    never seemed that to be for me.



    There is nothing odd about standard spells, battle spells and realm

    spells in 3 categories.



    Battle Spells were in 2E an arbitrary simplification that described

    what the standard spell, with proper assistance and a load of reagents,

    could do and rated most of them very simply as giving an F, R or D

    result as would battling army units give to each other - so that no DM

    had to calculate the damage a standard fireball would deal to the single

    soldiers and estimate the combat effectiveness of the remaining soldiers

    in a unit of infantery, he could simply say "R" they take 1 hit and rout.



    However several of the battle spells listed in the "Book of Magecraft"

    or "Book of Priestcraft", especially the spells Hammerstorm or Rolling

    Fire were indeed broken. Not because they existed as battlespells, but

    because they did much more than what a conversion true to the original

    spell would have resulted in. Hammer Storm for example was derived from

    Spiritual Hammer which would attack one foe at a time as long as the

    caster concentrates - the printed Hammer Storm affected not a single

    unit at a time, while the priest would concentrate and could cast no

    other spell, but ALL units in one battlefield area at once.



    The combination of Battle Spells and Realm Spells means that the blooded

    or sidhelien Wizard who is not a regent with access to RP and sources

    (or priest with RP and temples/druid with RP and sources) will lose a

    lot of his power as he will no longer be able to play a major role in

    battles and leave that role to regents only.



    This power is however not unbalancing as long as the cost to magically

    eliminate army units is as expensive as to muster them. Only the way the

    character uses his power is different - the fighter regent musters

    armies with the gold he earns, the Mage uses his personal power. If

    Battle Spells are reduced in power for balance purposes, then you would

    have for the same reason of game balance give the Wizard an income of GB

    in the same amounts as the other holding regents, so that he can compete

    with them on the same scale. Without an income in GB of his own he has

    to relay on his personal power which lies in spells and makes the Wizard

    the unique regent in Birthright as the opposite of the noble regents in

    the center of a great court who have lackeys doing their bidding and

    armys carrying their orders.

    bye

    Michael

  10. #10
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    I haven't voted yet.

    I'm finding myself somewhat uncertain in deciding what really is the best course of action for the 3.5 BRCS.

    On one hand, I am attracted to the idea of simplifying things by eliminating battle magic entirely - at least as a feat and seperate set of battlefield effects. This would leave personal magic and its effects on the battlefield as the only thing left to work out (and this would need to be done or ruled on with or without battle magic), along with realm magic of course.

    The major things that would be missed by doing this, from my perspective, are these:
    1. We would be ignoring a major part of the 2e magic stuff from the BoM and BoP. I don't know how much of a loss this is, I was pretty satisfied with the non-battle magic rules for spells on the battlefield in the Rulebook when I didn't own either the BoM or the BoP. Ignorance was bliss.
    2. Individual clerics would be much less impressive than mages on the battlefield, and in general work better as a hero attached to a unit than as a battle caster. However, it might be possible to create some sort of equivalent set of magic for group-based ritual magic by teams of clerics supporting a unit. Imagine not a 10-minute ritual with lots of components, followed by an instantaneous effect (the current concept of battle magic spells), but a group of priests praying, chanting, and gesturing in a continuous ritual of healing or protection or blessing...

    In fact, if we did do battle magic, this seems like an excellent way to portray the casting of clerical battle spells - only direct damage and other brilliantly obvious types of spells (searing light, flame strike, blade barrier, etc.) would have a more immediate punctuation of effect. And anything with a duration could still be the result of continued chanting and praying (like keeping that blade barrier going for 10 minutes or more).

    It would be interesting, too, if we would equate such effects to Concentration, in which an attack on a unit could possibly disrupt a battle spell being cast or maintained.

    Anyways, getting off the tangent and back to the subject...

    3. We would eliminate the concept of battle magic, something I think is pretty cool for a magical fantasy setting: the idea of powerful and expensive ritual magic producing dramatic, large-area effects in the midst of a full-scale field battle. This is a fairly high-fantasy concept: if you want a low-magic campaign setting, this probably isn't the way to go - ritual magic in particular suggests a large amount of tradition that evolves into a given form. Simply publishing such a system in the BRCS at all will influence the base setting - i.e., set the default standard for a "normal" Birthright campaign. Spelling out a specific list of battle spells and effects, and in general devoting many pages to the subject, will add even more weight to this assumption.

    If we include Battle Magic, most BRCS-using players/DM's will assume it is the norm on the battlefield (even if you write a disclaimer to the contrary). The more we write on the subject, the stronger this assumption will become. This is a good rule of writing to keep in mind throughout the entire BRCS project, in fact. It's one of the reasons that 2e battle magic, whether you like it or not, is hard to simply ignore in a conversion project. If it had been in the core BR Rulebook, I doubt there would be any debate at all as to whether to attempt a 3.5 conversion.

    If we leave the system out of the BRCS, and publish it seperately as an optional addition (or not at all), then the Birthright default setting will be one in which Battle Magic does not exist. The Royal College would not have a tradition of teaching battle magic to wizards (as the BoM suggested), militant temples would not have cleric battle casters at the core of their elite units (at least not ones with big portable shrines and a wagon-load of ritual components), and spellcasters would affect the battlefield based either on realm magic and/or personal spells.


    I am inclined to include a Battle Magic system if only because it was a big part of the 2e expansion, it can be a colorful element of a fantasy setting, for a DM it is (as Geeman expressed) far easier to remove/ignore than it is to create from scratch, and it brings clerics up to a level of battlefield effect that they simply lack otherwise.

    And finally, there is the simple fact that there are 3 main scales of action in Birthright: adventure, battle, and domain. With or without a battle magic system, there must remain a decent treatment of the battle-scale game, and magic must be dealt with in that scale. Battles are some of the most dramatic punctuations of conflict in the BR setting: their results often decide the fate of entire realms. Thus, they should be given appropriate attention rather than being as simplified and glossed-over as possible in favor of the "real game" (domain and/or adventure). The BRCS project would do well to give due attention to this facet of the setting, and even clean up and improve upon the original.

    Osprey

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