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  1. #1
    Senior Member Doyle's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    Box Hill, Victoria, Australia

    "Living Birthright" at conventions?

    I've just returned from Conquest (Melbourne games convention) and am feeling pretty confident about growing (post COVID) interest in D&D and 'living' games at conventions.

    A 3 or even 4 hour timeslot is a bit short for running domain turns, especially if the DM will need to explain the game world, all the domain actions etc. for each group. However, a game where the PCs have a regent as a patron (or some other vested interest) and have an adventure around a domain action or event would be easier to explain and run and give the players a taste of what the full game is like.

    This could either be a number of 'one shots' that could showcase different realms around Cerilia and different realm types, or a series of connected games in the style of a living campaign.

    So, what is the appetite for this?
    As I've been requested to run 'something' at the next convention, I will write at least a couple of one-shots, but it would be nice to have something more organised.


  2. #2
    Site Moderator Sorontar's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Melbourne, Australia
    Knowing you Doyle, I certainly think it could be done at least for one or more years at the Conquest convention. The question would how would you run it.

    You could give one-shots set in a realm for some or all of the five human types: Brecht, Khinasi, Anuirean, Rjurik, Vos.

    Alternatively, you could position them in a realm on the border of two of those, preferably with a dwarven/elven kingdom nearby as well as one controlled by an Awnshegh. This would give the storyline regent/patron a reason to sponsor a mixed party, as well as provide some realm-level background.

    Each setting can have a one paragraph political/military problem that has arisen.

    Player choices:

    As you said, there isn't enough time to explain domain actions etc and regency, but for each adventure, you could give the players some options.

    Starting: Given the setting's problem, give the players three choices. Each of these would have to loosely relate to a domain action. This would define the role and purpose of the party, as well as their objectives. For instance, if the main objective was to lessen the power of a rival regent, you might give the party the choice to help:
    - Contest Trade Route: strengthen the patron's power by escorting a caravan/ship to challenge an existing trade route
    - Cast Realm Spell: set up the spell by installing a focal point/key ingredient at a certain location and protecting it
    - Agitate/Espionage/Diplomacy: reduce the public's faith in the rival by revealing/discovering evidence of their intent

    Ending: Of course, there may be multiple outcomes, which can be linked to the setting, the starting choice and how the adventure goes. For instance, the party may have successfully escort the guilder's caravan/ship but may have burnt down a village or shrines to Belinik on the way. This may cause problems for their mentor with the law or temple regents in the area. You could establish known/expected outcomes at the adventure-level as well as some domain-level outcomes.

    Living aspects

    [DISCLAIMER: I have never played in any Living campaign, but this is based on what I know of them]
    Of course, if this is Living Birthright, there must be ongoing consequences and adventures. The Endings of one adventure need to connect to the Starting of another and may influence the choices available.

    Say if you planned for 3 connected adventures in a convention, then you could base the adventures around three key actions:
    - Establish a holding
    - Grow a holding
    - Challenge a holding
    What type of holding would depend on the party's patron. Each of these could still relate to multiple Starting domain actions. For instance, growing a holding could simply be Rule Holding, Build or Diplomacy. Challenge a holding could be Agitate, Contest Holding, or Cast Realm Spell.

    Alternatively, one of the 3 adventures could be part of a patron's moves to counter a rival regent's domain action.

    Depending on the Ending of the previous adventure, the patron may or may not have support from the public or other regents. This may make the party's objectives harder or easier to achieve.

    The idea would be that each convention looks at a new year for the patron with new objectives and choices, based on how the previous one ended up.

    Of course, magical items are rare, so the chances of the party getting ongoing rewards from an adventure are lessened. You could give them one blood point per adventure they complete in recognition of their notoriety. The final BBEG of the last adventure in each convention would of course be blooded, so there may be a chance of bloodtheft. Of course, the problem then is keeping track of all of this between conventions.

    Anyway, just my thoughts on how you could run this and give the party a flavour of realm-level Birthright, without them having to play regents.

    Last edited by Sorontar; 04-02-2024 at 03:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Doyle's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
    All good thoughts Sorontar.

    Domain actions as the premise of each adventure was the intent.
    As for the outcome, that would be averaged over all the groups that play that module and would then determine the next year's adventures for living games. If we are just writing to showcase the system, the adventures wouldn't need to be linked by setting or consequence.

    A living game has a world plotline that advances against real-time (2025 modules may all be dated Spring / Summer 551MR, 2026 modules dated Autumn / Winter 551MR and so on). I can probably commit to 2-3 convention level modules written per year (using some of the plots I have used for AV), but not more modules without assistance.
    I think other living campaigns have the characters level every 3 games played, but they tend to have a lot of modules available and more conventions to play at. I'm leaning towards advancement after every second module.

    Something that living games strive for and often struggle with is the influence of factions on PCs. Birthright is set up with this from the start. Much to ponder on.

    PS: Blood points as a reward - yes. Bloodtheft, certainly.

    Keeping track of PCs is one of the time-consuming admin parts of a living campaign. Unless it grows really big, I'll just keep a spreadsheet.
    Last edited by Doyle; 04-02-2024 at 04:29 AM.

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