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  1. #1
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    Dealing with the taint of Azrai

    Hi all,
    A character in my weekly BR game set in Brechtur recently had his bloodline derivation changed to Azrai by killing a nasty Orog cleric. The character is LG and destined to be the King of a liberated Zweilunds, so this is very much bad news. We've poured thru the canon material, the BRCS, and forums, but we are still looking for inspiration about what to do with this new bad blood. Any and all ideas/comments welcome.

    Simply keeping the new derivation, and hoping that a fall to evil never happens, doesnt seem to be a good option. Are there tons of scions in Cerelia that gain the blood of Azrai and lead happy, Good lives? Should our character's view this change as a serious and bad thing? From a poetic justice and storytelling point of view, placing a scion of Azrai at the helm of your new LG nation seems to be begging for trouble. Either the new King or someone in his line seems destined to fall hard eventually.

    The other obvious thing to do, bloodtheft lots of people with non-Azrai blood and hope for a derivation change doesnt look very LG and is also out.

    So we are looking for new and creative ways to play around this development. Some of the idea's we've come up with are,

    Suicide.
    Character walks a goodly distance away and offs himself. Blood of Azrai pours out harmlessly, then our high level party cleric raises dead the next day. Loss of level and loss of all blood (and thus kingship/destiny) results, but has the benifit of being a quick fix.
    We've havent used resurrection in our campaign up to this point, so we might not allow this just to keep that rare/impossible.

    Bloodline Investiture
    A careful reading of the BRCS reveals that if you transfer your bloodline to someone stronger than you that person has no chance having their bloodline derivation changed. Basically the character would 'donate' his bloodline to the Count of Danigau (Bld 50+) and continue as a commoner.
    This of course brings on the question, why dont more scions do this? Several Awnies are good people who dont want to be corrupted (Siren, Manticore, Harpy, ...). Are they just selfishly holding onto their bloodline? A simple realm spell any temple knows, and bingo! no more good people turning bad against their will.

    Bloodline Destruction
    Similar to above. Higher level and perhaps rarer realm spell, but still provides a ready solution inside the rules.

    Some random quest...
    Not loosing the bloodline, but rather having it purified and returned to the derivation of Masela it used to be would be nice. We play an adventure-level game, so something involving getting attacked by monsters would be a nice solution. A good version of the Magian's Bloodline Corruption spell known by a far off wizard maybe... Finding a powerful Erghsegh... becoming a paladin and questing for divine salvation... Any deas?

    Generally, how should a LG scion familiar with the lore of blood and Awnshegh view this development? Is this a 'hmmm, thats interesting' moment, or a 'burn myself at the stake moment'?

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    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Interesting situation...I had a PC with a similar problem IMC -not for himself, but rather for his best friend and primary lieutenant (and court bard).

    Now, granted, the bard was true Neutral, not LG, so not quite the moral dilemma within himself. But those who know fear the corruption may one day overtake him.

    I play Azrai bloodlines to be corrupting - tending to encourage evil tendencies/desires through storytelling and roleplaying. I don't think it takes turning into an awnsegh for a scion of Azrai to bend towards the dark side.

    I wouldn't introduce bloodline-purifying elements, unless it's a "one time only" sort of thing. Otherwise, you'd have to explain why more tainted scions haven't found ways to rid themselves of Azrai's derivation.

    Normally, the only way to rid onessself of a derivation is to go bloodtheft someone else and hope their derivation overrides your own. Of course, this can be a path to evil and corruption unto itself, which is one of the beautiful traps of Azrai's taint. Love that double entendre.

    Osprey

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    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    Excuse me for not being completely up on the rules, new or old, but can you do Investiture to surrender your bloodline to someone who has a greater bloodline, hope that "cleans" the blood, and then get invested by that person. Ideally, the other person has to be someone who is willing to make you their successor as you now would have their bloodline.

    I am just wondering how the taint of Azrai goes for clerics. Would a cleric/druid of Eric, Avani or Haelyn be able to keep on casting spells with an Azrai bloodline? What about other specific abilities like shape transformation, protection from certain spells, etc.?

    Sorontar
    Sorontar
    Information Communication ILLUMINATION!!

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Dealing with the taint of Azrai

    At 07:24 AM 10/13/2005 +0200, Sorontar wrote:

    >Excuse me for not being completely up on the rules, new or old, but can
    >you do Investiture to surrender your bloodline to someone who has a
    >greater bloodline, hope that "cleans" the blood, and then get invested by
    >that person. Ideally, the other person has to be someone who is willing to
    >make you their successor as you now would have their bloodline.
    >
    >I am just wondering how the taint of Azrai goes for clerics. Would a
    >cleric/druid of Eric, Avani or Haelyn be able to keep on casting spells
    >with an Azrai bloodline? What about other specific abilities like shape
    >transformation, protection from certain spells, etc.?

    Just to clarify a couple of points here (since you mentioned not being up
    on the old or new rules.)

    The original rules set had no provision for changing one`s bloodline away
    from that of Azrai other than, I suppose, death and resurrection (which
    simply removed bloodline entirely.) Those with Azrai`s bloodline to begin
    with, or whose bloodline was transformed by an act of bloodtheft (there
    were a few other means) were permanently transformed. In the BRCS update
    there are rules for all bloodline derivations being switched around through
    an act of bloodtheft. This is important because it can radically change
    the dynamic of your campaign. If you go with the update then it could turn
    the player`s goal into one of trying to change his bloodline back (or, at
    least, away from Azrai`s) while if you go with the original version he`ll
    have to dedicate some sort of effort to avoiding the curse of Azrai.

    All that said, either way he should still be able to serve as a priest of
    Eric, Avani or Haelyn or most any other god as a scion of Azrai. His
    bloodline will make it difficult in that it should urge him towards an
    alignment that is (eventually) incompatible with those faiths. Bloodline
    derivation does not necessarily determine a character`s character
    classes. It should be considered an influence and may lead to a
    transformation that would be very much at odds with some other faith, but
    even in the case of scions of other (non-Azrai) derivations it is possible
    to take on characteristics as an ershegh that would be very different from
    that of a particular faith. Azrai`s derivation is inherintly more
    corrupting than any of the others, but where that derivation stands out as
    an extreme it is possible for the others to do the same thing.

    Gary

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    I play Azrai bloodlines to be corrupting - tending to encourage evil tendencies/desires through storytelling and roleplaying. I don't think it takes turning into an awnsegh for a scion of Azrai to bend towards the dark side.
    I agree. Even without physical changes, I think that Azrai's blood should slowly nudge alignment towards evil and perhaps even chaos. However, exploring that decent into evil wont really work for this party. We play a friendly adventure-level game, and the obvious path to evil involves getting rid of the other players in 'accidents', for various geopolitical and humane reasons I wont get into. Retiring the PC to NPC-dom would be obligatory for that path.

    I wouldn't introduce bloodline-purifying elements, unless it's a "one time only" sort of thing. Otherwise, you'd have to explain why more tainted scions haven't found ways to rid themselves of Azrai's derivation.
    Agreed. Unless it is new or nigh impossible, why arnt there tons doing it? But what sort of thing would make a good 'one time only'?

    I am just wondering how the taint of Azrai goes for clerics. Would a cleric/druid of Eric, Avani or Haelyn be able to keep on casting spells with an Azrai bloodline? What about other specific abilities like shape transformation, protection from certain spells, etc.?
    The thing I would note, is that unlike vanilla D&D, clerics dont have to match the alignment of their deity in the slightest in BR, IIRC. This is so there is more political intrigue among the churches. So even if your heart turns evil Haelyn and Cuiracean will still give you spells. Blatant violations of a god's code may get you tossed, but working within it should be possible for a good long time.

  6. #6
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    Dealing with the taint of Azrai

    In a message dated 10/12/05 10:28:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
    brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET writes:

    << Danip wrote:
    Hi all,
    A character in my weekly BR game set in Brechtur recently had his bloodline
    derivation changed to Azrai by killing a nasty Orog cleric. The character is
    LG and destined to be the King of a liberated Zweilunds, so this is very much
    bad news. ...
    ... Either the new King or someone in his line seems destined to fall hard
    eventually. >>

    Sounds like the stuff bard`s tales are composed of, the hero with a
    tragic flaw.

    << Some of the ideas we`ve come up with are, Suicide. <snip> We`ve havent
    used resurrection in our campaign up to this point, so we might not allow this
    just to keep that rare/impossible. >>

    Bad idea. IF the gods are in general opposed to Resurrection, why would
    they allow it in case of suicide? "You wanted to throw away your only life,
    and now you want it back?"

    << Bloodline Investiture ... & Bloodline Destruction >>

    Not bad, but then the PC king-to-be is out of a throne. The family would
    be SO disappointed.

    << Some random quest
    Not loosing the bloodline, but rather having it purified and returned to the
    derivation of Masela it used to be would be nice. We play an adventure-level
    game, so something involving getting attacked by monsters would be a nice
    solution. A good version of the Magian`s Bloodline Corruption spell known by a
    far off wizard maybe... Finding a powerful Erghsegh... becoming a paladin and
    questing for divine salvation... Any deas? >>

    I wouldn`t say a random quest, but one directed by an LG god, Nesirie if
    you want a Masela BL returned. Since she is focussed on death and the passage
    beyond, perhaps a big undead threat needs to be squashed. If the undead in
    question were one that is intelligent and magical, and could play on the PC`s
    Azrai taint by tempting them into evil acts, so much the better. If the PC can
    act paladin-like and overcome the desires of his own blood, that could prove
    worthy enough to warrant a deific intervention.

    << Generally, how should a LG scion familiar with the lore of blood and
    Awnshegh view this development? Is this a `hmmm, thats interesting` moment, or a
    `burn myself at the stake moment`? >>

    "Uh oh, I need to be **really** careful now." I`d be making contact with
    a temple, and getting myself a confessor/spiritual adviser.

    Lee.

  7. #7
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Dealing with the taint of Azrai

    At 11:40 AM 10/13/2005 +0200, Danip wrote:

    >I agree. Even without physical changes, I think that Azrai`s blood should
    >slowly nudge alignment towards evil and perhaps even chaos. However,
    >exploring that decent into evil wont really work for this party. We play
    >a friendly adventure-level game, and the obvious path to evil involves
    >getting rid of the other players in `accidents`, for various geopolitical
    >and humane reasons I wont get into. Retiring the PC to NPC-dom would be
    >obligatory for that path.

    Here`s the system that I use. One or two of the items described (such as
    "BP" and the "Major Transformation" feat) have to do with the system of
    bloodline and awnshegh/ershegh transformation that I use, but for the most
    part it should be useable for anybody`s homebrew:

    ....Scions of Azrai can fight to avoid becoming corrupted by the power of
    their bloodline. When Azrai`s scions earn a character level they must make
    a Will save to avoid giving in to the corruption of their blood. The base
    DC of this save is the target character level of the scion. Bonuses from
    magic items do not apply to this saving throw. Only the character`s wisdom
    modifier, Will save modifier and any bonuses to will saves gained from
    feats can be used to make this check. In addition to character level,
    apply the following modifiers get the DC of the check:

    TABLE 5: CORRUPTION CHECK MODIFIERS
    Mod Condition
    +1 For two levels taken (voluntarily or involuntarily) in the awnshegh
    character class.
    +1 Each BP spent on the Bloodform blood ability.
    +1 If you have any of the following "signature" blood abilities of Azrai:
    death touch, fear, regeneration, touch of decay, wither touch. This
    modifier is cumulative for each of those blood abilities you have.
    +2 If you became an awnshegh as the result of bloodtheft (ie. have the
    awnshegh template.)
    +2 If you have taken the Major Transformation feat.

    A scion of Azrai who has earned enough XP to take a 7th level, for
    instance, must make a DC 7 Will save to avoid taking that level as an
    awnshegh. If that same character already has two levels as an awnshegh,
    and the Fear blood ability then he must make a DC 10 check.

    Failing this check means you must take a level in the awnshegh character
    class rather than in a character class of your choice, or your alignment
    changes one step towards chaotic evil. That is, a lawful good character
    becomes either lawful neutral or neutral good. Whether to take an awnshegh
    level, change alignment and which what the alignment change will be is the
    player`s choice as long as such an alignment change is possible. That is,
    a scion of Azrai who is already chaotic evil must take an awnshegh level if
    he fails this check upon leveling up. In some cases (and with the DM`s
    approval) your alignment may change to one that is based on the theme of
    your transformation. An alignment change based upon an awnsheghlien theme
    can never be one of the good alignments. If you fail this check by 5 or
    more you must both take a level in the awnshegh character class and your
    alignment changes one step towards chaotic evil.

    Gary

  8. #8
    I think that the way the situation is handled has to depend on what you know about the player and the group. If you think he has the ability to handle the inner turmoil of the character in a mature fashion, then you should play through it as it can make for excellent story telling. If, on the otherhand, this sort of theme would not be handled well, or would not serve the purposes of the campaign then you should find the most convenient and logical fix for it.

    If you choose the more difficult task then the matter that you should probably play up is player chararacter choice. Present the character with situations in which he must make a clear choice between taking the path of good, or the path of evil, and have these choices grow in impact as things progress in the campaign.

    In the Forgotten Realms/Maztica Campaign that I just finished running for the past year and a half, one of the characters was a tiefling. I played up the themes of choice and dark blood using racial levels and as she slipped closer to evil despite how hard she resisted it she progressed further along the half-fiend template. The character ended up being played with a distinct resistace to this slippery slope. Each choice built upon all the others that had come before it.

    In the final adventure she was presented with one final choice: she could choose a place at the side of the enemy, and help remake the world as a goddess, or she could stand with her friends and probably die to protect the innocent (This is a vast oversimplification of the situation, but it is valid for the purposes of this example).

    In the end, there are many ways for a LG character to be held up as being LG. You can do it by contrasting them to villains who are clearly not LG, but you can also do it by showing the sacrifices that they make for their values.

    Both are equally valid, but there is little as satisfying as giving a character the chance to have ultimate power and watching that character throw it away for all the right reasons.

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    I think that the way the situation is handled has to depend on what you know about the player and the group. If you think he has the ability to handle the inner turmoil of the character in a mature fashion, then you should play through it as it can make for excellent story telling. If, on the otherhand, this sort of theme would not be handled well, or would not serve the purposes of the campaign then you should find the most convenient and logical fix for it.

    Both are equally valid, but there is little as satisfying as giving a character the chance to have ultimate power and watching that character throw it away for all the right reasons.
    A long decent into evil might be interesting to play, but unfortunately would rather ruin the dynamic of the group. Having the party rogue (oh I didnt mention it was the party's craft, manipulative, intellegent rogue did I?) turn evil would have too many party member's 'dying in their sleep.' So a quick fix is preferable.

    But I agree that LG isnt just about picking up a sword and fighting BBEG's when its profitable. It is also about sacrifice, order, selflessness. That is why at the moment I am leaning towards bloodline invesititure to voulntarily give up the blood and crown. The 'man who could have been King' gives up the crown to another worthy scion, and lives out his life as a tragic hero paladin.

    Gary,
    Good system. At first glance, the DC looks low, but as you only need to fail a few times for major repercussions I guess it works out. How many levels do you typically put into an awnshegh progression? Or is it more of an open-ended path?

    I wouldn`t say a random quest, but one directed by an LG god, Nesirie if
    you want a Masela BL returned. Since she is focussed on death and the passage beyond, perhaps a big undead threat needs to be squashed. If the undead in
    question were one that is intelligent and magical, and could play on the PC`s
    Azrai taint by tempting them into evil acts, so much the better. If the PC can
    act paladin-like and overcome the desires of his own blood, that could prove
    worthy enough to warrant a deific intervention.
    Not bad. The party is 9th level by the way (and has a cleric of Nesirie). Two obvious Nesirie related quests would involve the Shadow world or the Magian. The lich Magian created the bloodline corruption spell, maybe he also made the reverse. I dont know off the top of my head, but how challening are the monsters of the shadow world? Id always gotten the impression that the shadow world was a pretty tough place.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Not bad. The party is 9th level by the way (and has a cleric of Nesirie). Two obvious Nesirie related quests would involve the Shadow world or the Magian. The lich Magian created the bloodline corruption spell, maybe he also made the reverse. I dont know off the top of my head, but how challening are the monsters of the shadow world? Id always gotten the impression that the shadow world was a pretty tough place.
    Ooohhh...the Magian. Given the fact that the Magian would likely blast their collective butts into oblivion in a straight fight (not to mention what his nasty minions could do), they might be forced to instead go to the Magian and bargain (beg?) for him to cast such a spell on the PC.

    I could imagine the Magian making them believe he had such power, commit them to performing multiple questionable services for him, maybe even corrupting one or more PCs along the way...all an elaborate set of betrayals meant to twist their original desire toward dark ends. Use them, bend them, break them...

    But then again, it sounds like you really want a heroic good guy campaign, and having a character turn slowly evil would ruin it. Pity.

    I'd say no to the Neserie quest idea...I don't think even the Cerilian deities should have the power to change bloodline derivations. It's too close to their own divine beings...that's my opinion anyways.

    But then again, I'm not really a fan of any quick fixes...seems to me most any possibility for ridding oneself of Azrai's taint should carry grave risk of falling instead into deeper corruption (like dueling/bloodthefting other scions). Make it the terrible burden it was meant to be. The taint of Azrai's blood is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies and sources of persistent evil inCerilia. Treat it as such.

    Osprey

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