Hi all!

Having completely read the Rjurik Highlands
and Havens of the Great Bay campaign expansions,
and having thumbed through Cities of the Sun,
I was wondering what you all think of the
quality of these products, especially when
compared to eachother.

What I was looking for in these products was an
elaborate discussion of the subculture involved
as well as the details on a region, describing
so that there'd be plenty adventure possibilities
as well as medieval realism as was the concept
of Birthright.

Comparing the three expansions (while still
waiting for Tribes of the Heartless Wastes,
the campaign expansion on Vosgaard and its
peoples), I would say the one on Brechtur
comes out rather poorly. The Brecht culture
doesn't really come to life to me. Perhaps
this is because the culture is not so far
removed from Anuire or general Western Europe
in concept. Still, I think it could have
been fleshed out more.
Another disturbing tendency I noticed
in HotGB is the move from realism and toward
standard sword & sorcery fiction. Of this,
the abundancy of half-elves is the most
apparent. The way I see Cerilia, elves
and humans don't get on very well... so
a mating between them should be quite
rare. And the few half-elves that do
spring from such a union face prejudice
and persecution in all human lands. They
simply aren't trusted. While the Brechts
are a pragmatic folk, I think the number
of half-elves in Brechtur and their social
position are far too great. Both the realms
Treucht and the Zweilunds have half-elven
rulers. Another thing I don't like is that
Colin Shaefpaet, ruler of the Zweilund,
can up his sources to the max even though
the islands have a healthy population. The
author gives as a reason that he is a half-elf.
The Zweilunders are definately not, though.
I though it was the way elves co-exist with
nature, and not some special benefit of the
elven blood, that gives this ability. And
even if I'm wrong in this, I don't think
HALF-elves should be given this ability.
Think what power the High Mage Aelies in
Anuire would gain from this ability!
Other than these quirks, though, the set
is still good. The new Guilder class, the
new trade actions and the tower ships are
all great. It's just that I think this set
could have been a lot better. I also miss
the realistic cover art by Tony Szczudlo.

The set describing Rjurik is far better.
It gave me a clear idea of the people of
the Highlands and their culture. I like
the tension between the traditional Rjurik
tribesmen and the ctiy-dwellers that have
accepted some other lifestyle and a bit
of the Anuirean culture. A ruler that has
to deal with something like this has some-
thing serious on his hands! It's a realistic
situation as this that elevates BR above
a game where you bash goblins on a bigger
scale (army vs army). I also like the non-
human realms in Rjurik. The not-so-nice
elves of Lluabraight and the surrounded
dwarves of Khurin Azur as well as the
fierce orog warriors of the Blood Skull
Barony all give the human rulers something
to think about!
The Rjurik 'dooms' or curses are also nice.
So, it has more on culture and intra-cultural
tension, more realism, better overall flavour
AND a complete adventure! While I haven't read
it (I'm a player and hope to play it some day
as my character hails from the Giantdowns), I
think it's great to have this extra. I have
heard positive things about it, too. One thing,
though, if I may be a bit anal here: if it's
the Highlands OF Rjurik, shouldn't it be the
RJUVEN highlands?

The Cities of the Golden Sun set also looked
great. As I haven't really read it I'm not the
best of judges on it, but I'll try anyway.
It seems to be the best of the lot. Not only
does it have lots of information on the Khinasi
culture (I really like the concept of Sayim),
It also has an adventure and the naval battle
rules. Great stuff!

Now, let's see what the boys make of the Vos.
Personally, I'd like to see those cultural
thingies and lots of realism. Another adventure
would also be great. And I'm dying to know how
Hjorig came to be: a Rjurik realm in Vosgaard!

Well, let me know what you all think...

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Would you suffer eternally...
or internally?

Petrus T Steele

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|| Martijn Buijs - martijn7@pi.net ||