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  1. #1

    Realm Spell Saving Throws

    I'm not sure I understand the saving throws for some Realm spells.

    Having been recently "desourced" by an upstart province ruler that increased his population, I've decided I want revenge. The spell Death Plague seems like the ticket, but I'm not sure what the Saving Throw and Spell Resistance lines mean.

    The description of the spell says that the province will lose one level, but it also allows spell resistance and saving throws. Is this just for specific individuals within the province, or everyone? If it's everyone - and you figure out the percentage of the population that will make the save - what percentage must die in order for the province level to drop?

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Unless otherwise stated in the spell, the saving throws and SR apply only to "individuals".

    In the case of Death Plague the saving throw/SR would apply if the DM wanted to determine if an individual was affected, someone like say the province ruler. Normally you wouldn't go into that much detail but it could be done. And if this kind of detail was being done then the saving throw would also come into play.

    The province, as a whole is affected by the spell so essentially no saving throw to determine if the province polulation (as whole) is affected. Now it is possible to research (i.e, create) Realm Spells that provide SR and the like - in which cast those numbers would need to be used.

    Since this spell requires a Source 5 - it should be really powerful - there aren't all that many level 5 source holdings available in Cerilia, except for elven lands and since the spell is necromantic elves aren't going to be casting it in the first place.

    Saving throws and Spell resistance

    If the spell affects individuals, spell resistance and/or a saving throw may apply. Spell resistance applies normally except that the spell resistance check is not rolled. Over the intensive and lasting period of a realm spell effect, the caster gets an average result. The spell resistance check is made as if the regent spell caster had rolled a "10" on the check. Thus, spell resistance succeeds only for creatures having SR greater than 10 + caster level.
    Realm spells that allow saving throws have a DC 10 + realm spell level + the caster's spell-casting attribute. Spells that affect military units may receive unit saving throws (refer to Chapter Six: Warfare).


    Death Plague

    Necromancy
    Level: Sor/Wiz 3
    Target: up to 1 province/2 levels
    Duration: Instantaneous, one province per month (see text) (D)
    Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Special Requirements: Source (5)
    You create a magical pestilence of epidemic proportions. Residents of affected provinces are exposed to Slimy Doom (see the Dungeon Master's Guide: Diseases). Any province affected by the death plague suffers massive population loss and loses one province level.
    The death plague affects one province in the month in which it is cast. In each following month, the plague moves to an adjacent province as directed by the caster. For every two levels of experience past the minimum caster level (5th level for wizards), you affect an additional adjacent province. For the purposes of resolving timing conflicts, the effects of the death plague are instantaneous. Dispelling a death plague after it has taken its toll in a province will not bring the dead back to life, but it will prevent the plague from spreading further.
    Death plague dispels and counters bless land.
    Regency Cost: The Regency Cost is equal to the sum of the total levels of all provinces affected. Thus, a 7th level wizard casting the spell starting in a province (4) and spreading to a province (3) must pay 7 RP.
    Material Components: 2 GB worth of expendable ritual components.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Since this spell requires a Source 5 - it should be really powerful - there aren't all that many level 5 source holdings available in Cerilia, except for elven lands and since the spell is necromantic elves aren't going to be casting it in the first place.
    What have elves got against Necromancy? Did I miss something again? Is it just death magic they're against? Are all elves supposed to be good guys? Heck, I was planning on using Legion of Dead pretty frequently as well - doesn't seem much point to being an elf if you're not allowed to cast the cool spells.

    Granted this is not a particularly nice thing to do, but my character (who is an elf) did warn the guy that this sort of thing would happen. Frankly, I think I'm letting him off lightly by restricting myself to the province in question - but then, I'm a merciful sort of person.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    It's not about playing the good guys or not; it just so happens that Necromancy and Conjuration (Summoning) spells, the ones the Sidhelien are against the use of, are "powered" by the Shadow World, and they find this so perverse, what with their connection to Aebrynis, that they believe it to be unacceptable to use those kinds of spells; Sidhelien who use such spells generally become outcasts, but they may as well get hunted if they go overboard in the application of such magic.

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza666
    What have elves got against Necromancy? Did I miss something again? Is it just death magic they're against? Are all elves supposed to be good guys? Heck, I was planning on using Legion of Dead pretty frequently as well - doesn't seem much point to being an elf if you're not allowed to cast the cool spells.

    Granted this is not a particularly nice thing to do, but my character (who is an elf) did warn the guy that this sort of thing would happen. Frankly, I think I'm letting him off lightly by restricting myself to the province in question - but then, I'm a merciful sort of person.
    Read Chapter 3 in more detail.
    Elves
    The first to have embraced magic, the elves remember a time when they alone understood the secrets of mebhaighl. Magic is as familiar and non-threatening to them as windmills and waterwheels are to humans. While all Sidhelien have within them the potential to wield true magic, only a few experience a calling to become a mage. Thus, while magic is familiar to the Sidhelien, even among them it is not commonplace. Sidhelien mages hold positions of respect and influence in their communities equal to that afforded any well-trained and learned teacher, leader, or artist. Elven spells are sung, not chanted, and the beauty of their spells has been known to bring listeners to tears.
    Elves favor the schools of enchantment and illusion as these magics cause the least disruption to the natural flow of mebhaighl. Elves are particularly fond of spells that bring them closer to nature. Sidhelien spellcasters favor spells that allow them to vanquish foes or accomplish a feat without risking any damage to nature.
    Elves disfavor the schools of evocation and conjuration, particularly distaining spells that create an overt force of mebhaighl into the environment. This disfavor does not extend to transmutations spells, which are considered to be a bending – not a breaking – of natural laws.
    Elves shun the school of necromancy absolutely. An elf who even dabbles in death magics faces the censure of his peers and risks ostracism from the community. Elves practice great caution when casting spells that could harm nature. Elves have been known to hunt down spellcasters, including other elves, who have ruined nature with their carelessness.
    Ceilian elves have a strong tie to nature and the natural order of things. This tie can be seen as part of the reason that they can exceed the rules for polulation and source levels of provinces. Necromancy and conjuration are seen as things that "force" nature into unatural ways.

    Evocation - is well dangerous to the environement (fireball in the forest anyone?)
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I stand corrected.

  7. #7
    This is an absolutely crippling limitation on elves. It means, amongst other things, that their only source of healing (rangers) face being outcast if they cast Cure Light Wounds. Many of the more powerful spells are necromantic or conjuration spells; denying access to these limits elven wizards to essentially casting variants on Fireball at high levels.

    Fortunately it's only in the roleplaying notes rather than the mechanical restrictions - so I can (and will) ignore it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Sorry if I sound harsh but did you realise you are contradicting almost everything irdeggman mentioned? Healing spells are, as it seems, not of the necromantic school, and the things that are disdainful to the sidhelien are not set in stone apart from Necromancy; in fact, Evocation and Conjuration is OK unless you go into grossly "perversing" ground, like Summoning spells and the use of destructive magic in areas of natural growth. So, in fact, it's more likely that elves don't cast YAF (Yet Another Fireball).

    (And, yes, source material actually says that the elves LACKED healing in general.)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RaspK_FOG
    Sorry if I sound harsh but did you realise you are contradicting almost everything irdeggman mentioned? Healing spells are, as it seems, not of the necromantic school,
    Conjuration (Healing). Conjuration and Evocation are also singled out as being something that elves avoid.

    in fact, Evocation and Conjuration is OK unless you go into grossly "perversing" ground, like Summoning spells and the use of destructive magic in areas of natural growth. So, in fact, it's more likely that elves don't cast YAF (Yet Another Fireball).
    Chapter 3 does not say that one type of conjuration is OK and another is not. And not all necromancy involves death magic either; Blindness/Deafness is a relatively common spells for a low level sorcerer to use, whilst Ray of Enfeeblement hardly associates you with evil forest destroying cultists.

    Has anyone considered the effects of such a suggestion (I avoid the word "rule" because it doesn't seem to have that status) upon game balance? You end up with sorcerers that cannot cast Magic Missile, you're denied access to the Wall series of spells, you can't use any form of teleportation or planar travel, you're unable to make sure someone stays dead (via Soul Bind - arguably a case whereby using Necromancy supports the natural order)... whilst such nature-violating spells as Awaken, Giant Vermin, Plant Growth, and so forth are all fine (and available to elven wizards or sorcerers, according to a sanctioned variant). In addition, that same sanctioned variant seems to contradict this idea, as it adds Tree Strike and Shambler as elven spells (both of which are Conjuration - one even summons creatures).

    I suppose you could argue that this encourages players to be more creative, but that sort of thing is better achieved with a carrot than a stick. Without a good selection of alternative spells for elven wizards or sorcerers to use instead of traditional staples (does anyone seriously dispute that Magic Missile and Fireball fall into this category?), this is arguably just an arbitrary removal of three of the four most powerful schools of magic from the world's primary arcane masters (Transmutation is the only school that rivals these three). Enchantment spells are largely ineffective at high levels; Transmutation spells suffer from very poor mechanics at mid-high levels (I refer primarily to the Polymorph series of spells which are, in essence, just broken - only Rich Burlew seems to have playable variants); Abjuration, Divination, and Illusion spells lack offensive punch (in the latter case: unless they mimic evocation or conjuration spells, but that is presumably even more horrible).

    I can see why nature lovers might be against undead - that's not exactly a new idea - but given that the core nature loving class in the game has a broad selection of evocation and conjuration spells, it seems silly that these fall under any sort of restriction (if druids don't think that summoning things is bad, why do elves?) If it's a Shadow World thing, then why don't they have a problem with illusion spells?

    It just seems to me that such a restriction would make sorcerers largely unplayable (at least in their traditional role, and if you abandon that traditional role then you have difficulty justifying a sorcerer over a wizard), and wizards seriously underpowered. The effect of such restrictions would logically be that elves would develop spells that fulfilled the same sort of role but based on largely transmutation instead; in general, anything that encourages the process of creating spells that are the same as other spells with only the school changed should be avoided (as it makes a mockery of specialising, for example).

    One could quite reasonably argue that arcane magic is, in general, a violation of the natural order - but elves don't seem to reason that way. Surely it makes more sense to treat magic as "neutral", and how you use that magic to be the important factor. Thus, someone using Burning Hands to burn down a forest is a bad elf; someone using Fireball in a clearing to wipe out some goblins that were intent on despoiling the area would be a good elf. Surely if some animals have to die in the service of protecting the forest, it is better if those animals are extraplanar rather than native to the forest (especially since the former - if summoned rather than called - do not actually die at all)? And since spells like Wail of the Banshee or Circle of Death kill "irrevocably" (preventing raise dead), without harming anyone other than the targets (no collateral damage), you'd think that elven necromancers would not necessarily be shunned either (at least as long as they avoid creating undead or blighting nature - both of which are, admittedly, also possibilities opened up by the necromantic school).

    From the perspective of being nature defenders, I think it should be down to how you use the spells rather than what school they're from. From the perspective of shunning the Shadow World, illusions make more sense to restrict than evocations. But I would simply suggest a different approach entirely: just say that elves don't like cast spells that are strongly aligned (so no Law, Chaos, Good, or Evil spells). That cuts out the Summon Monster series (I would recommend replacing them with Summon Nature's Ally), virtually all the offensive necromancy spells, and so forth. If you like, you could add Death spells to the list of shunned spells (that cuts out Circle of Death and Wail of the Banshee; I don't consider those spells to be any more unnatural than Baleful Polymorph, but YMMV). And the obvious mechanic would be to just say that the elven penalty to social interactions applies to elves that break these restrictions.

    It seems more logical to me, at any rate.

    edit: Fixed Rich Burlew's name; anyone interested in his Polymorph stuff as well as the Order of the Stick is encouraged to check out http://giantitp.com
    Last edited by gazza666; 07-28-2006 at 03:25 AM.

  10. #10
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    gazza666,

    It appears that you have extremely limited knowledge of the setting itself. This can happen for those who are "new" to the game and only started playing when the BRCS popped onto the radar. I am not talking about rules that you may "drop into" another setting but the actual Birthright setting itself.

    These restrictions are a core philosophy of the game and were written by the setting creators and "approved" by its creator Rich Baker. They are also "reflected" in the novels and the compuer game, IIRC, also follows these conventions.

    Elves have no dieties and can't cast cleric (and druid, which is specifically a subset for the setting as all druidic abilities are granted by Erik and not via nature itself) nor can they be paladins. These were from the 2nd ed material.

    Only in 3.0 did the concept of arcane cure spells get introduced by TSR/WotC approved sources (it was not uncommon for people to try to house rule that wizards could research wizard versions of cure spells but they weren't in any approved company source).

    Read the Intro section in the BRCS to get the overall (simple and abreviated version) of the history of Cerilia.

    Check the "rules" under Clerics and Druids in the sanctioned Chapt 1.


    Also read the text more clearly on disfavored and shunned. Disfavored doesn't mean the spell is not allowed or around, only that it is uncommon and difficult to come by. Shunned is the one that you are almost never going to find. Although a case could be made for some necromantic spells being found in elven society, the entire concept places those that would cast them walking a thin line between those that involve death and those that don't.

    Magic and society

    It is said among some that mages differ by the spells that they study, the methods that they use to invoke their lore, the goals that that set for themselves, and the company that they keep. Surpassing their many differences, however, Cerilia's wizards all share a common bond; they thirst for knowledge of the arcane, and they embrace magecraft with their hearts and minds. But above all, mages define themselves by where they come from – who they are and what land they call home. Specialist wizards of each race usually practice in the schools favored by their culture; generalists select the majority of their spells from these schools. Some schools of magic are in disfavor for a particular region and thus training in spells of disfavored schools is difficult to come by. Mages practicing the magic of shunned schools are often themselves shunned by other mages and ostracized by their people.
    Acceptance of magic and those who practice it varies widely from culture to culture. Except for the elves, who view magic as a natural part of daily life, most races believe sorcery to be an essentially unnatural activity. Because most commoners regard spellcasters with suspicion, human sorcerers tend to keep either their abilities or themselves out of the public eye. Even "court wizards" seldom perform any but the most minor magics (illusions and divinations) at court.


    Elves favor the schools of enchantment and illusion as these magics cause the least disruption to the natural flow of mebhaighl. Elves are particularly fond of spells that bring them closer to nature. Sidhelien spellcasters favor spells that allow them to vanquish foes or accomplish a feat without risking any damage to nature.
    Elves disfavor the schools of evocation and conjuration, particularly distaining spells that create an overt force of mebhaighl into the environment. This disfavor does not extend to transmutations spells, which are considered to be a bending – not a breaking – of natural laws.
    Elves shun the school of necromancy absolutely. An elf who even dabbles in death magics faces the censure of his peers and risks ostracism from the community. Elves practice great caution when casting spells that could harm nature. Elves have been known to hunt down spellcasters, including other elves, who have ruined nature with their carelessness.
    Duane Eggert

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