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  1. #1

    Bloodlines, Inheritance, usurpation, and confusion!

    Hello ladies and gents,

    We've been in a 3.5 Birthright campaign for about 3 years now and we've come across most of the various cases spelled out in the rules when it comes to bloodline usurpation, investiture, inheritance, etc., but I suspect that we have faulty assumptions in our group.

    So I'd like to go back to basics.

    When a scion is killed and has spilled blood, there is a regency storm and regency is thrown about. AKA Usurpation. Simple enough. If he dies in his sleep without any investiture or heir apparent, his bloodline is returned to the land without fireworks as I understand it.
    If a scion has done an investiture ceremony on someone else and dies is where I need some clarity. If he dies of natural causes (read other than being killed in combat), his bloodline is passed to his designated "heir".

    Question : If in the above case that scion is killed in violent death, does his bloodline get "stolen" via usurpation or does the bloodline investiture take precedence? In our game, we played it that the bloodline did not get given to the person that stabbed said scion in the heart. Story-wise it was better, but I suspect that the point of usurpation and bloodTHEFT is that is bypasses investiture and heirs...otherwise everyone would go to battle with an investiture and bloodlines would just get stronger and stronger through the generations unless you wiped out an entire family. Also, is there a difference between ursurpation and bloodtheft with regards to the above, or is it only the amount of RP that changes, not what happens per se?
    (as a side note, I started suspecting that investitures were bypassed by ursurpation when I learned that M. Roelle had a magical armor that allowed his bloodline to dissipate into the land rather than be stolen by the Gorgon when he died...otherwise what would be the point of that armor.)

    Next question : if a scion is wounded and bleeding heavily following a sword fight, but then dies to a fireball, is there also a regency storm? We've been playing it that yes there is. I think its better to have it that way simply to allow non-melee a chance at causing regency storms and preventing the whole "wait for the fighter to finish him off so we can get some regency" meta.

    Any clarifications will be most welcome.

  2. #2
    Forgot to include this question:

    If a scion commits suicide with a violent, bloody method (slicing veins, slicing throat, knife to the heart, etc.), what happens then?

    What if it was a regent with a bloodline investiture spell active on someone else?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Renoir_letrescertain View Post
    When a scion is killed and has spilled blood, there is a regency storm and regency is thrown about. AKA Usurpation. Simple enough. If he dies in his sleep without any investiture or heir apparent, his bloodline is returned to the land without fireworks as I understand it.
    Correct.

    As a side note, I think this points to the difference between *regency* and *bloodline* - but that's a different discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renoir_letrescertain View Post
    If a scion has done an investiture ceremony on someone else and dies is where I need some clarity. If he dies of natural causes (read other than being killed in combat), his bloodline is passed to his designated "heir".
    Correct, or dies with them without an heir.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renoir_letrescertain View Post
    Question : If in the above case that scion is killed in violent death, does his bloodline get "stolen" via usurpation or does the bloodline investiture take precedence? In our game, we played it that the bloodline did not get given to the person that stabbed said scion in the heart. Story-wise it was better, but I suspect that the point of usurpation and bloodTHEFT is that is bypasses investiture and heirs...otherwise everyone would go to battle with an investiture and bloodlines would just get stronger and stronger through the generations unless you wiped out an entire family. Also, is there a difference between ursurpation and bloodtheft with regards to the above, or is it only the amount of RP that changes, not what happens per se?
    (as a side note, I started suspecting that investitures were bypassed by ursurpation when I learned that M. Roelle had a magical armor that allowed his bloodline to dissipate into the land rather than be stolen by the Gorgon when he died...otherwise what would be the point of that armor.)
    Correct - the act of violence severs the link between a scion's bloodline with that of the land and/or heir. It breaks the spell, as such.

    Only the amount of RP changes, not the effects of such, so that is the difference between the two types of change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renoir_letrescertain View Post
    Next question : if a scion is wounded and bleeding heavily following a sword fight, but then dies to a fireball, is there also a regency storm? We've been playing it that yes there is. I think its better to have it that way simply to allow non-melee a chance at causing regency storms and preventing the whole "wait for the fighter to finish him off so we can get some regency" meta.

    Any clarifications will be most welcome.
    Some kind of effect (i.e. a ripple or a storm) always happens, IMO (even in natural deaths); that's the way our gaming group has always played it. However, where that energy goes depends on how the scion died.

    Your gaming group can certainly say that the fireball caused bleeding in their death throes and, as such, resulted in a spectacular death scene for the unfortunate scion.
    Last edited by masterdaorin; 07-12-2022 at 07:41 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Renoir_letrescertain View Post
    If a scion commits suicide with a violent, bloody method (slicing veins, slicing throat, knife to the heart, etc.), what happens then?
    The scion has self-defeated their own (previous pre-arranged) wishes, if any. It would happen the same as if someone else has killed the scion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renoir_letrescertain View Post
    What if it was a regent with a bloodline investiture spell active on someone else?
    The heir would gain the bloodline of the victim, as normal. Note that this means, assuming that they committed suicide alone, that the heir would - effectively - gain the entire bloodline, since there is no one else around to "steal" some of the regency within the bloodline... The killer has effectively usurped their own bloodline... thereby leaving the spell to pick up whatever is left - in this case, the entire bloodline...

    Of course, the DM is free to say "the land" or "other objects" pick up some (or all) of this bloodline, if the story demands it.
    Last edited by masterdaorin; 07-12-2022 at 07:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Wonderful, thank you both for your inputs.

    So now I understand the perils of going into battle as a regent : you can lose it all.

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    Yup, that is correct!

  7. #7
    Correct - the act of violence severs the link between a scion's bloodline with that of the land and/or heir. It breaks the spell, as such.

    Only the amount of RP changes, not the effects of such, so that is the difference between the two types of change.
    Does this not contradict canon? The previous count of ilien was assassinated and his successor inherited things just fine, same when berric cariele was assassinated.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Bloodtheft
    So in the 2e canon rules (Core Rulebook p. 31 - which I am checking now because I haven't used them much ever), it is not violent death that leads to usurpation, it is only a blooded scion killing another scion with a piercing blow through the heart that leads to bloodtheft. The slayer would gain 1 point of bloodline or 2 if the victim's bloodline was stronger than the slayer's. Only the bloodtheft of the last scion of a family line gains more (+1 per 5 points of bloodline).
    As Michael Roele was the last scion of a True bloodline of Anduiras, denying the Gorgon that bloodtheft was particularly significant when you understand how much more potent that bloodline gain would have been for the Gorgon.

    The victim of bloodtheft also loses any RP they had, which would normally be transferred to the regent's heir upon death.

    Note: Tighmaevril (bloodsilver) weapons treat all scion kills as if they were blows through the heart. The Gorgon is said to have a dozen of these weapons yet for some reason does not seem to have been using one when he killed Michael Roele. Seems almost unthinkable.

    BRCS note: All of the Highlander-style area explosion of divine energy upon violent death was a fan-made reboot for the BRCS that became the accepted 3e version of Birthright. It dramatically changes the original concepts of bloodtheft, even allowing for groups sharing the bloodline/RP gains from cutting down scions in battle (2 or even 3 nearby scions might gain a bloodline point from a non-heart scion kill in these rules).

    Bloodline Investiture (Rulebook pp. 56-57)
    This is a Ceremony domain action + clerical Realm Spell (level 1, temple 1) that has 1 regent (usually either a retired or conquered regent - the donor need not be willing, only present) permanently transferring their bloodline to another person (usually an heir or conqueror).
    An unblooded recipient gains the entire bloodline; a blooded recipient gains 1 or 2 bloodline strength as if they had committed bloodtheft upon the donor.


    UPDATE: canon 2e: p. 78 Book of Priestcraft details how a Ceremony of Designation can be used to both designate an heir and gift that heir with the former regent's bloodline as per bloodline investiture when the regent dies (all in 1 domain action).

    Bloodline Ward
    I couldn't find this spell anywhere in the 2e material (I checked in the realm spells in core, and in the books of magecraft, priestcraft, and regency, and couldn't find it), so I *think* this is a BRCS addition to the realm spells?

    BRCS realm spell
    Bloodline Ward
    Transmutation
    Level: Clr/Drd 4
    Target: 1 scion
    Duration: 1 week/level
    Saving Throw: Special
    Spell Resistance: Special
    Special Requirements: Temple (1)
    This spell allows the caster to forge a connection between the spiritual essence of a willing scion's bloodline and a focus. Due to the protective nature of the magic that creates this channel, attempts to drain or suppress the character's bloodline score are impossible. Any successful attempt to transfer or destroy a character's bloodline causes the divine essence of the bloodline to retreat into the focus (regardless of distance) instead.

    This spell can only be cast on a willing scion that is present and touching the object during the final ceremony of the spell. Once the spell is in place, a priest regent can recast this spell to extend the spell's duration. In this case, it is sufficient for either the focus or the regent to be present during the final ceremony.

    Bloodtheft is nearly impossible while this spell is in effect. Instead, the dying scion's bloodline is immediately transferred to the focus (regardless of distance). Only bloodtheft with a tighmaevril weapon can successfully penetrate this spell's protection. Bloodline ward also prevents a dying scion's essence from passing to his invested heir - the bloodline instead retreats to the focus.

    If the scion's essence should be transferred into the focus, he loses all benefits of their bloodline including blood abilities, bonus hit points due to the scion template, and the ability to perform true magic without elven blood. If the scion survives, he can reclaim their bloodline by taking possession of the focus (ending the spell immediately). Furthermore, a rightfully invested heir can claim the scion's bloodline through the focus through a normal investiture as if the regent was alive, present, and willing to pass his bloodline in full to his heir.

    If the focus contains a divine essence and is destroyed (or if the spell ends), the contained bloodline erupts from the focus in a burst of power identical to that released by a slain scion.
    Focus: The physical object that serves as the focus for this spell is a gem of no less than 1,000gp value. This gem must be of a type sympathetic to the nature of the target's bloodline derivation: the bloodline of Anduiras manifests in red rubies; Azrai's power pulses within black sapphires; Basaïa's energy lies in bright yellow topaz; Brenna's bloodline is embedded in deep orange jacinths; Masela's bloodline sympathizes with blue sapphires; Reynir's essence can be channeled through green emeralds; and Vorynn's power lies in diamonds. This gem is often set in a ring, pendant, sword, or other object.
    Regency Cost: 4 RP.
    Material Components: 1 GB worth of expendable ritual components.
    This is the only way I know of for a mortal scion to cheat bloodtheft other than magical items that either do the same thing or ground a bloodline upon death.
    However, bloodtheft / usurpation was far more rare in original Birthright if it required death by heart piercing or bloodsilver, and only at the hands of another blooded scion! So perhaps the need for bloodline warding as a known protection for temple-friendly regents was not so strong in the canon setting as it became with the BRCS bloodtheft rules making bloodtheft far more common and likely in battle!

    Check out the Bloodline Investiture realm spell for 3/3.5e BRCS rules, it mentions the spell's completion can be delayed but would still require the living regent and the casting cleric to complete the spell together before the regent dies. So no bloodtheft protection there, just a chance to finish the spell on short notice.
    Last edited by Osprey; 08-05-2022 at 11:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Question View Post
    Does this not contradict canon? The previous count of ilien was assassinated and his successor inherited things just fine, same when berric cariele was assassinated.
    No - it depends on the nature of the death.

    Usurpation only occurs with a pierce through the heart. Poisoning, for example, does not result in blood-theft, even if it is murder.

    Not sure who Berric Cariele is - he must be a fan-created NPC...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Osprey View Post
    Bloodtheft
    So in the 2e canon rules (Core Rulebook p. 31 - which I am checking now because I haven't used them much ever), it is not violent death that leads to usurpation, it is only a blooded scion killing another scion with a piercing blow through the heart that leads to bloodtheft. The slayer would gain 1 point of bloodline or 2 if the victim's bloodline was stronger than the slayer's. Only the bloodtheft of the last scion of a family line gains more (+1 per 5 points of bloodline).

    As Michael Roele was the last scion of a True bloodline of Anduiras, denying the Gorgon that bloodtheft was particularly significant when you understand how much more potent that bloodline gain would have been for the Gorgon.

    The victim of bloodtheft also loses any RP they had, which would normally be transferred to the regent's heir upon death.

    Note: Tighmaevril (bloodsilver) weapons treat all scion kills as if they were blows through the heart. The Gorgon is said to have a dozen of these weapons yet for some reason does not seem to have been using one when he killed Michael Roele. Seems almost unthinkable.

    ...

    BRCS note: All of the Highlander-style area explosion of divine energy upon violent death was a fan-made reboot for the BRCS that became the accepted 3e version of Birthright. It dramatically changes the original concepts of bloodtheft, even allowing for groups sharing the bloodline/RP gains from cutting down scions in battle (2 or even 3 nearby scions might gain a bloodline point from a non-heart scion kill in these rules).

    ...

    Bloodline Ward
    I couldn't find this spell anywhere in the 2e material (I checked in the realm spells in core, and in the books of magecraft, priestcraft, and regency, and couldn't find it), so I *think* this is a BRCS addition to the realm spells?

    ...

    This is the only way I know of for a mortal scion to cheat bloodtheft other than magical items that either do the same thing or ground a bloodline upon death.
    However, bloodtheft / usurpation was far more rare in original Birthright if it required death by heart piercing or bloodsilver, and only at the hands of another blooded scion! So perhaps the need for bloodline warding as a known protection for temple-friendly regents was not so strong in the canon setting as it became with the BRCS bloodtheft rules making bloodtheft far more common and likely in battle!
    Correct, except for the number of tighmaeril weapons that the Gorgon is rumored to possess.

    However, I think the 3e creators were attempting to address some inconsistencies in the canon material with the way they changed things (Bloodline Ward spell, usurpation, etc.).

    For example, how did the original recipients gain bloodlines?

    I like the idea that blood-theft can occur without one being a scion - that commoners, and even objects, can suddenly find themselves infused with divinity...

    It should still remain a violent death, however. Otherwise, as the thread-starter indicated, protecting one's bloodline would become much more complicated...
    Last edited by masterdaorin; 08-09-2022 at 08:13 PM.

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