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  1. #1

    Advancing the Timeline

    If you were to advance the timeline of the setting, how far would you jump ahead? I’ve been thinking of going through the campaign supplements and updating the state of things on each domain, or at least region, based on the adventure hooks that are provided in each realm entry. Obviously this would be my personal opinion on the likelihood of possible futures, but I’m curious how far others would advance it, given the chance.

  2. #2
    I've advanced Anuire 26 years into the future. I'm currently working on the other four areas to match.

    An entire generation has played through, and their kids began the next "chapter"...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    I've advanced Anuire 26 years into the future. I'm currently working on the other four areas to match.

    An entire generation has played through, and their kids began the next "chapter"...
    Yeah, I think that's a good step forward. Although I love the original setting, I sometimes feel it is too carefully balanced. It's definitely the right choice for the general setting, as whereever you set your campaign there's hooks and tensions. But I am often tempted to let some of those tensions resolve and shake stuff up.

    When I've considered it, I've usually imagined ten or so years forward, with Avanil now in open war with Ghoere, Boeruine fallen to the Manslayer's elves and stuff like that.

    I'd love to hear some of your ideas for the 26 yest jump if you're willing to share? What's changed? What are the new rivalries and opportunities?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by acamon View Post
    I'd love to hear some of your ideas for the 26 yest jump if you're willing to share? What's changed? What are the new rivalries and opportunities?
    Well, that would be a LONG post.

    It might be better if I offered tips, such as on any ideas you may have.

    For example, I find that D&D could be so much more, but the generic setting often falls short. BR comes close, but even it holds to the generic ideas of D&D too much, IMO.

    By that, I mean family and dynasty should hold front and center stage in your campaigns. Family should matter a great deal to most, if not all, the PCs. Marriage should be an early ambition. Having children should be a central focus, which generates all kinds of plot hooks and adventure ideas. You don't need any more focus than that, really. I bet you could play a whole campaign on that as your central focus. Death should also always be an ever-present threat, lurking in the background...

    I also think that the setting doesn't do enough to showcase the awnsheghlien - again, the generic BR rules hold to the MM way of thinking, but I think that that would do a disservice to your campaign to play it like any other D&D campaign.

    By that, I mean you don't really need all those monsters. The awnsheghlien, singly, are enough of an antagonist for your game that you don't really need many other types of villains, really. Besides the "generic" goblins, orogs, and gnolls, I don't introduce too many other "monsters" into my adventures, except as "regional" variances to the norm. For example, lizardfolk are only found around the Bay of Coeranys.

    I like to stress the dark side of the setting. Going with the above, monsters are REAL, and thus terrifying to any right-thinking normal person in this world. That is why I like the idea of the awnsheghlien - it points to the need for that type of Brothers Grimm idea of approaching your campaign's or adventure's main adversaries.

    All a campaign really needs is one monster. A troll, for example. This troll might be the pawn of some greater evil, perhaps - a mother? A wizard? That's it. You might have an entire campaign with just that.

    Magic is also rare - and deservedly so, and thus terrifying to any right-thinking normal person of this world; even in regards to divine spellcasters. I like to evoke that feeling. The PC magic-wielders are the exception to the norm. Thus, if your priest of starts throwing flame strike around, for example, people don't go "oh, this is a divine spell, so it's "okay" magic." No, they think this person has sold their soul to the Nightwalker for this diabolical power, and this person is a witch and should be burned at the stake. Spellcasters IMC must earn their reputation - and must cultivate one that allows them to live beyond their first open use of any overt spells.

    And since reputation is so important, so too should politics play a central role within your campaign. That's where the true monsters come into play - your fellow humans (and/or elves, dwarves, etc.). Never forget that the simplest motivations make the best stories. Greed has probably been the most effective agent of change in human history.

    Towards that end, I dismiss the political correctness and efforts of sanitation that has so gripped the D&D (and other RPG) games in the recent decades. While I understand the mentality behind it all, I also believe it limits the types of games a group can experience when they don't hold to the source material.

    Therefore, racism, sexism, and all the other distressing practices of our ancestry takes its place in this game that professes to recreate historic similarities to certain ideas - in the background, of course (meaning I don't go too overboard, of course). You cannot have feudalism, in other words, without the trappings that go along with it. I therefore like to add a bit of realism in my fantasy games; I feel it adds to the mood and setting that I am trying to create and evoke. Players behave differently, naturally, when they know that their "elf" friend is going to be harassed at every turn. This is also helps to evoke the BR setting.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    Well, that would be a LONG post.

    It might be better if I offered tips, such as on any ideas you may have.

    For example, I find that D&D could be so much more, but the generic setting often falls short. BR comes close, but even it holds to the generic ideas of D&D too much, IMO.
    D&D *is* more. We're up to the 5th edition.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    I also think that the setting doesn't do enough to showcase the awnsheghlien - again, the generic BR rules hold to the MM way of thinking, but I think that that would do a disservice to your campaign to play it like any other D&D campaign.

    By that, I mean you don't really need all those monsters. The awnsheghlien, singly, are enough of an antagonist for your game that you don't really need many other types of villains, really. Besides the "generic" goblins, orogs, and gnolls, I don't introduce too many other "monsters" into my adventures, except as "regional" variances to the norm. For example, lizardfolk are only found around the Bay of Coeranys.
    Cerilian Goblins, Orogs, and Gnolls are difficult to classify as "monsters", per se, given each of these species have at least scraped together enough civilization to have created their own realms. And, given D&D's emphasis on combat, I'm not sure it is practical to restrict monsters. Combat isn't the only way to gain experience points in D&D but it is certainly the best way for Barbarians, Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers to shine. There are plenty of humans, elves, goblins, dwarves, and halflings to kill but killing monsters is how adventurers gain their reputations.

    Perhaps instead of restricting monsters, one might instead align certain creatures with an Awnshelien? Lizardmen with the Hydra, spiders, driders, goblins, dolgrim with The Spider. Drow with Rhoubhe. Hags with.. well, the Hag. You get the idea. Just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    I like to stress the dark side of the setting. Going with the above, monsters are REAL, and thus terrifying to any right-thinking normal person in this world. That is why I like the idea of the awnsheghlien - it points to the need for that type of Brothers Grimm idea of approaching your campaign's or adventure's main adversaries.
    Sounds like fun. Personally, I prefer to be flexible so I can customize a campaign based on players' preferences. Also, I'd be careful around the concept of any "right-thinking normal person" in this (or any) world. Not everyone thinks like you. That doesn't automatically make them wrong or wrong-minded.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    Magic is also rare - and deservedly so, and thus terrifying to any right-thinking normal person of this world; even in regards to divine spellcasters. I like to evoke that feeling. The PC magic-wielders are the exception to the norm. Thus, if your priest of starts throwing flame strike around, for example, people don't go "oh, this is a divine spell, so it's "okay" magic." No, they think this person has sold their soul to the Nightwalker for this diabolical power, and this person is a witch and should be burned at the stake. Spellcasters IMC must earn their reputation - and must cultivate one that allows them to live beyond their first open use of any overt spells.
    Diamonds are rare. I don't know anyone who is afraid of a diamond.

    You're not alone in your interpretation but I've never understood the need to deviate from the source material that pretty explicitly details each culture's unique view of the arcane arts. That's why, in my campaigns, arcane magic makes most Rjuven very uneasy, the Vos outright fear and hate arcane magic, the Khinasi view the practice of arcane magic as the highest of callings and wizards are given much respect, Brecht see magic (and mages) as a tools, and Anuirians slightly fear wizards because of their power but are given respect because wizards are generally noble-born.

    I DO like the notion of characters needing to cultivate their reputations but why require this only of spellcasters? If wizards need to worry about what the rabble thinks about their spells, why don't warriors need to worry about what the rabble things about their swords?

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    Therefore, racism, sexism, and all the other distressing practices of our ancestry takes its place in this game that professes to recreate historic similarities to certain ideas - in the background, of course (meaning I don't go too overboard, of course). You cannot have feudalism, in other words, without the trappings that go along with it. I therefore like to add a bit of realism in my fantasy games; I feel it adds to the mood and setting that I am trying to create and evoke. Players behave differently, naturally, when they know that their "elf" friend is going to be harassed at every turn. This is also helps to evoke the BR setting.
    I'm not sure you're doing the Birthright setting any favors by calling it inherently racist and sexist. It certainly doesn't have to be. Racism and sexism do exist in my campaigns but I generally restrict them to realms such as Alamie, Brosengae, Ghoere, Rhoubhe, Osoerde and other domains officially classified as being evil.

    I understand the importance of staying true to the setting. The problem is, if you stay 100% true to the setting, as written, you deprive it of all of the design improvements that have come about since its publishing. There's a reason why 5th edition is the most widely-played edition, ever.

    Of course, on the flip side.. how many changes can you make to the setting before it loses what makes it unique? It's a fine line to walk, for sure.

    I may not personally agree with all of your choices but I respect the time and thought you put into it and I do believe those who share your views of Cerilia will find your tips very helpful.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by UVAtom View Post
    If you were to advance the timeline of the setting, how far would you jump ahead? I’ve been thinking of going through the campaign supplements and updating the state of things on each domain, or at least region, based on the adventure hooks that are provided in each realm entry. Obviously this would be my personal opinion on the likelihood of possible futures, but I’m curious how far others would advance it, given the chance.
    My advice is, if you are going to advance the timeline, do so with purpose.

    For example, say you want to run a campaign centered on the peaceful reunification of Medoere and Diemed. If you decide that Hierl Diem is too intent on regaining his lost provinces through military conquest, you may want to advance the timeline to the point where he dies and his daughter Lasica ascends to take his place. Lasica is a wizard and could be more open-minded about diplomatic options with the priests of Ruornil.

    Of course, you'd need decide else has changed during your Fast Forward but, since you know your campaign will have a reunification theme, you can tailor the other changes to cater to your campaigns specific needs.

    Alternately, don't be afraid to advance the campaign timeline through the course of game play. I'm in the process of writing a new Birthright adventure that is designed to take place over the course of six years of game-time.
    Last edited by Magnus Argent; 12-06-2023 at 11:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Argent View Post
    Cerilian Goblins, Orogs, and Gnolls are difficult to classify as "monsters", per se, given each of these species have at least scraped together enough civilization to have created their own realms. And, given D&D's emphasis on combat, I'm not sure it is practical to restrict monsters. Combat isn't the only way to gain experience points in D&D but it is certainly the best way for Barbarians, Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers to shine. There are plenty of humans, elves, goblins, dwarves, and halflings to kill but killing monsters is how adventurers gain their reputations.

    Perhaps instead of restricting monsters, one might instead align certain creatures with an Awnshelien? Lizardmen with the Hydra, spiders, driders, goblins, dolgrim with The Spider. Drow with Rhoubhe. Hags with.. well, the Hag. You get the idea. Just a thought.
    Well, isn't that the point - seeing a gnoll or a goblin as not a monster illustrates my point that these creatures have become "mundane" in D&D?

    They should be seen as monsters - because they are. And scary ones at that. But veteran D&D players don't seem to have the appropriate response when confronting them, from what I've experienced.

    The mystique and the magic is gone. And that's a pity. I've tried to figure out why - and my answer has boiled down to atmosphere and story factors.

    That is what I have tried to do in regards to the awnsheghlien and monsters - loosely have those monsters that are most similar to the awnsheghlien that they resemble to be found the majority around them. Not all monsters, of course - just when it makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Argent View Post
    Sounds like fun. Personally, I prefer to be flexible so I can customize a campaign based on players' preferences. Also, I'd be careful around the concept of any "right-thinking normal person" in this (or any) world. Not everyone thinks like you. That doesn't automatically make them wrong or wrong-minded.
    Yes, of course, find the players first, and then tailor the campaign to them.

    My above-mentioned dynastic campaign does stray back to a rather more traditional D&D mindset, mostly because of the scale of my ambitions (advance the timeline of the whole continent). But I find that the above noted factors work for a more mature gaming group, who want a slightly different D&D game experience.

    I find a balance of adventure stories the best mix, with an emphasis on mystery solving and fact finding adventures to begin the story, then more combat focus at the climax of the campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Argent View Post
    Diamonds are rare. I don't know anyone who is afraid of a diamond.
    Uh-huh. Diamonds usually don't melt your brain or turn you into a toad, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Argent View Post
    You're not alone in your interpretation but I've never understood the need to deviate from the source material that pretty explicitly details each culture's unique view of the arcane arts. That's why, in my campaigns, arcane magic makes most Rjuven very uneasy, the Vos outright fear and hate arcane magic, the Khinasi view the practice of arcane magic as the highest of callings and wizards are given much respect, Brecht see magic (and mages) as a tools, and Anuirians slightly fear wizards because of their power but are given respect because wizards are generally noble-born.

    I DO like the notion of characters needing to cultivate their reputations but why require this only of spellcasters? If wizards need to worry about what the rabble thinks about their spells, why don't warriors need to worry about what the rabble things about their swords?
    I do follow the source material. I just find that the source material makes it far too basic generic D&D at the expense of what was just said to add flavor to the setting.

    So, yes, Khinasi respect mages, and is the sole culture where magic can be practiced (relatively) openly. That doesn't give mages a carte-blanche - even in Khinasi society. The simple fact is that vast majority can't do that (use magic) - and that scares people, even if it is acceptable.

    What happens when you add fear to the mix? Some people go off the rails...

    People are going to greatly respect them of course, because they are like a firearm - they can go off in the wrong hands, resulting in grave consequences.

    There is a reason why the Five Oaths exist in the Khinasi lands...

    The other cultures don't have that. Hence, the reaction of the general population to mages is the way it is in each culture.

    The Royal College fulfills a similar function, and points to the Anuirean mindset, for example...

    As for your second point, duh, of course everyone has to cultivate their reputations; it's vitally important in this type of feudal setting. Magic-users were illustrated merely as an example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Argent View Post
    I'm not sure you're doing the Birthright setting any favors by calling it inherently racist and sexist. It certainly doesn't have to be. Racism and sexism do exist in my campaigns but I generally restrict them to realms such as Alamie, Brosengae, Ghoere, Rhoubhe, Osoerde and other domains officially classified as being evil.
    I never said that BR was inherently racist or sexist. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    I said that it should be, if you might want a darker, grittier, more authentic feudal setting.

    Why say elves hate humans (and vice versa), for example, and not illustrate that in your game?

    There is a reason why elves have that reputation - all I'm saying is, use that to your advantage in your campaign. Don't follow the Tolkien-esque adherence that the D&D cleaves to throughout every edition - be brave and try something different for a change.

    Naturally, it goes without saying that your gaming style must follow the specifics of your gaming group and their sensibilities.

    I'm most certainly not promoting this style of gaming for a group of immature tween-agers, for example...
    Last edited by masterdaorin; 12-07-2023 at 07:48 AM.

  8. #8
    If anyone wants specifics on what I've done, by all means ask away! I'm quite happy to share.

    I could babble on for hours and hours about my favorite setting - BR!

    I find it more productive for people to ask for feedback, and I can provide my own suggestions toward their specific ideas and thoughts, however.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    Well, isn't that the point - seeing a gnoll or a goblin as not a monster illustrates my point that these creatures have become "mundane" in D&D?
    I don't know what you mean by "mundane D&D". I am basing my opinions on the Birthright Campaign Setting which, yes, follows the D&D ruleset. Other settings don't have domain-level gameplay and my point about goblins and gnolls is that both races are civilized enough to have created something at least resembling their own realms.

    Birthright is pretty clear with its definitions such as Human, Demi-Human, and Humanoid -- none of which are considered monsters.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    They should be seen as monsters - because they are. And scary ones at that. But veteran D&D players don't seem to have the appropriate response when confronting them, from what I've experienced.

    The mystique and the magic is gone. And that's a pity. I've tried to figure out why - and my answer has boiled down to atmosphere and story factors.
    And by 'appropriate response", I take it you mean they don't respond as you would if you were in their shoes. I did warn you that not everyone thinks like you. People respond how they respond. If they don't respond how you expected them to, maybe you should reevaluate your expectations.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    Uh-huh. Diamonds usually don't melt your brain or turn you into a toad, however.
    I quite enjoy playing wizard characters. I don't recall casting any Melt Brain spells or polymorphing anyone into a toad. Ever. Why would I? I did polymorph someone into a kangaroo once. But that's a story for another time.

    Sure, magic can do some pretty nasty stuff. Blades can do some pretty gruesome things, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterdaorin View Post
    So, yes, Khinasi respect mages, and is the sole culture where magic can be practiced (relatively) openly. That doesn't give mages a carte-blanche - even in Khinasi society. The simple fact is that vast majority can't do that (use magic) - and that scares people, even if it is acceptable.
    It's comments like this that demand criticism.

    It would be one thing if you simply said, "This is how I run my version of Cerilia. It deviates from the source material a bit but this is how and what and why I do what I do.." I could respect that.

    But when people make assertions based on their own personal assumptions that are clearly biased and then respond to someone asking a question about the setting, presenting their opinions as 'facts', it would be a disservice to the OP to remain silent.

    But I've said my piece. I don't want to make this an ongoing 'thing'. I simply wanted people reading this thread to be aware that some of the information here might be considered "alternative facts". I leave it to them to determine what's what.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by acamon View Post
    I'd love to hear some of your ideas for the 26 yest jump if you're willing to share? What's changed? What are the new rivalries and opportunities?
    As noted above, someone asked me for my ideas on my BR setting that I was willing to share. I gave some of my background material for them as ideas for them to consider.

    What makes you think I was doing anything else?

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    I therefore like to add a bit of realism in my fantasy games; I feel it adds to the mood and setting that I am trying to create and evoke
    Consider that line. You conveniently seem to gloss over references such as that in my posts to fit your attempts at criticism - because you don't like how I play my game?

    How is my above statement any different from: "This is how I run my version of Cerilia..."
    Last edited by masterdaorin; 12-09-2023 at 05:23 AM.

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