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Thread: Chapter 2

  1. #1
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    Chapter 2

    OK, so I'm new to the community, and you don't know me from jobe. I would like to start by thanking everyone invoved in the BRCS project for their great work. You've done an excellent job.

    I read through the playtest, then I started reading the revised rules.

    Chapter 2:
    I found to be very confusing in the revised rules. I found it very difficult to distinguish what was the "right" or intended way to handle Blood and Regency, and what was a variant or Optonal rule. The truth is the revised rules feel incomplete, and I'm still don't feel clear as to how it is supposed or intended to work.

    I realize it isn't a finished work and you've perhaps already observed what I have, so please take the following critiques as friendly
    observations. I do not intend to offend, I am really trying to be helpful.

    * Leave out the references to 2nd Edition. Some people that play 3rd edediton BRCS may not be at all familiar wit the older versions and this confuses things. I understand how this can be a great tool for the author to collect their thoghts during conversion though.

    *in each section the intended rules should be made clear. Variant rules should be left to the end of the section, or even the end o the chapter. I prefer end of the section as it makes using variant rules flow better for new players. This is where I had the most issue with the revised rules, the intended rules never seem to be presented.

    * More clarity on the Variant Rules. As a GM, I have no issue putting together my own set of Variant rules, however, knowing how the author intends the variants to be used helps me to keep my game balanced, especially while learning a new Campaign Setting. In other words, as an example, when detailing a variant rule say "combine this with variant rules X, Y, Z, to create a campaign that has the following effect 001." This could be done at the end of the chapter, or with each variant rule.

    Really, that's all I Have to say on the format of the revised chapter 2. There are some specifics that I'd like to address. Since I'm not really sure how you intended being a scion to work in the revised rules, I may be off the mark here.

    I preffered the template based scions presented in the playtest. Since they weren't included in the revised version, I assume you didn't. I prefer the template to the level based scions because they are assigned during character creation and truly give the scions a disadvantage compared to an unblooded character, or more precisely, they better mimic the advantage an unblooded character receives in the 2nd edition game, IMO. If the reason you didn't kep then in is because they were too big of a disadvantage for the blooded scions, then perhaps I have a variant that would work.
    Tainted - No requirements, can only support bloodpoints up to 20 (Bloodline score upto 10), and can never have blood abilities. Since they still may be hunted for their blood, and are limited in the obtainable blood level what they can do not having a rule disadvantage is fine, IMO.
    Minor - Minimum Bloodline score of 10, and no upper limit. They need to take the Blooded scion for this level. Cannot have Blood abilities above minor. The feat could be taken anytime, even by a tainted scion. This changes increasing blood strength a little, as going from tainted to minor only requires a feat, but since there is little difference between tainted or minor I don't think this is an issue. Raising above Minor would follow the current rules.
    Major - Must have the Blooded Scion Feat, and take the Major Scion template (ECL +1).
    Great - Must have the Blooded Scion Feat, and take the Great Scion template (ECL +2).

    That's all for now.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ploesch
    *in each section the intended rules should be made clear. Variant rules should be left to the end of the section, or even the end o the chapter. I prefer end of the section as it makes using variant rules flow better for new players. This is where I had the most issue with the revised rules, the intended rules never seem to be presented.
    I'm not sure I agree 100%. Most of the core books in D&D use the format of presenting variants at the time they seem most relevant rather than waiting until later.

    The upshot is that it is more readable (IMHO) to have them placed at the point where they are relevant, but less useful as a reference. You can get the best of both worlds with a good index, though.

    More clarity on the Variant Rules. As a GM, I have no issue putting together my own set of Variant rules, however, knowing how the author intends the variants to be used helps me to keep my game balanced, especially while learning a new Campaign Setting. In other words, as an example, when detailing a variant rule say "combine this with variant rules X, Y, Z, to create a campaign that has the following effect 001." This could be done at the end of the chapter, or with each variant rule.
    That looks like a pretty good idea - and I'd add that some "behind the scenes" reasoning for why the rules (variant or otherwise) are the way they are would be nice. It doesn't have to be very long, and it's definitely on the "nice to have" list rather than the "unplayable without" list.

    Chapters 1 and 2 are already in a final state, as far as I am aware.

    I prefered the template based scions presented in the playtest. Since they weren't included in the revised version, I assume you didn't. I prefer the template to the level based scions because they are assigned during character creation and truly give the scions a disadvantage compared to an unblooded character, or more precisely, they better mimic the advantage an unblooded character receives in the 2nd edition game, IMO.
    I guess this a "horses for courses" thing. I think the level based idea is actually a pretty solid one.

    With templates, you face somewhat ungainly mechanics when a scion improves his bloodline. In fact, as a general rule D&D is not particularly clear on what happens in such a case - if you decide to become a lich, for example, does your character have to pay the level adjustment in addition to the cost of creating a phylactery? What about if you become a werewolf? Level adjustments for templates are difficult to apply after character generation - if you make the PC pay the level adjustment, then he effectively has to forgo the next few levels while his non-templated buddies "catch up", which isn't a lot of fun; on the other hand, if you don't make him pay for it, then he gets a sudden power boost that is perhaps unbalancing.

    Savage Species offers some hints on how to get out of this quandary. You'd basically create a "scion template monster class" that you take when your bloodline improves... of course, at that point, you're back to taking levels in a scion class anyway, so why not just do so directly and avoid all the messing about?

    It isn't the only option. Again, if you use Savage Species as a guide, you could invent some sort of XP based ritual that granted the new benefits, but I think on the whole taking a scion level is the cleanest way to handle things. It's unfortunate that some characters lose less from this than others (if you happen to be a wizard or cleric, you're giving up spellcasting - a fighter-type loses very little if they are Anduiras) but nobody is forcing you to take the levels - they're just there if you want to.

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    As gazza666 pointed out the variant rules format immediately following the text that it applies to is the norm for WotC products currently.

    The scion class was chosen instead of the templates because it was a much easier flowing mechanic and fits much better with the current WotC products and systems. Almost all templates have been converted into a class-like progression on the WotC site under the Savage Progressions topic. Also it is much easier to handle when a character suddenly becomes blooded than via a template model (one of the reasons behind the Savage Progressions information at the WotC site). The class method also makes a much more clear method to distinguish between a non-blooded and a scion since a non-blooded can now use that level to gain a regular class level (which are still more powerful than the scion levels by the way).

    Also using the template method makes starting at 1st level near impossible. So if the DM decides to allow people to start with great bloodlines (LA+2) he must start the game at ECL 3 to account for it.

    Using the scion class method he can readily start the game at level 1. The character has a great bloodline and takes scion class level 1 (if he wants any blood abilities greater than minor level) - which allows him to choose major blood abilities and gain the bonus hit points for being a regent. Upon advancing the character takes a second level of scion which allows him access to great blood abilities.


    The reason that there were so many variants included is basically becasue that is what the masses wanted. Only when there was not a clear majority on a plan to go was a "variant" included. The revision of chapter 1 and 2 took nearly a year of running various polls and accumulating opinions from the site and mailserve - so it is really a product of the community. That is something I will never make excuses for since otherwise the BRCS would simply be something that me and a few others could merely put together, place a label "Official" on it and pass it off as done. While that would get a product out much quicker it would also reflect the opinions of only a few people and not those that have kept the setting alive over the years by their participation on these boards (and mail list).

    Check the following link to get some of the history of how Chapter 2 developed into the "sanctioned" versoin that is out there now.

    http://www.birthright.net/showthread.php?t=2189
    Last edited by irdeggman; 08-07-2006 at 10:48 AM.
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    WOW! Such quick and informative replies. Thank You very Much.

    OK, so I'm new and Dumb.

    I'm willing to accept all the rules as presented, and since the community here has much more familiarity with the product I will go with the current sanctioned version being the best thing.

    There is one thing I will maintain. The format is very confusing to the uninitiated. I don't consider myself unintelligent, but reading the sanctioned chapter 2 I feel very confused as to how it's supposed to work. I understand and appreciate the work you've put into the system, but sometimes it takes a neophyte to catch issues like this.

    Thank You for your time.

  5. #5
    Member Cmalik's Avatar
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    I agree. I have always had a problem using 3.5 with Birthright. It might just need to remain in second edition rules.
    "I'd like to respond first in my normal voice, and then in a high pitched, silly one."

  6. #6
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ploesch

    OK, so I'm new and Dumb.
    Oh by the way welcome.

    And no you aren't dumbe, well not that I know of.

    New you are and unfortuneately that puts you behind the curve on the evolution of how things got to where they are.

    I did try to put as many links in the pinned section at the top as possible to help people follow the logic path.


    There is one thing I will maintain. The format is very confusing to the uninitiated. I don't consider myself unintelligent, but reading the sanctioned chapter 2 I feel very confused as to how it's supposed to work. I understand and appreciate the work you've put into the system, but sometimes it takes a neophyte to catch issues like this.

    Thank You for your time.
    Now an outline format for character creation (including bloodline information) running through the steps is indeed a good idea and when the "final" BRCS gets put together it along with a checklist of variants (like in Unearthed Arcana) could serve as very useful tools.
    Duane Eggert

  7. #7
    Junior Member nagebenfro's Avatar
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    I might have just not looked through enough of the revised chapters, but as a newbe m'self, I assume the artwork was left out to be put back in at a later date when the next all-chapter BRCS was made avalible?

    Or is there art in it and i'm just not putting any effort into looking? (Entirely possible, i'm busy writing uni work at the moment. Forum gives me brief breaks here and there.)

  8. #8
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nagebenfro
    I might have just not looked through enough of the revised chapters, but as a newbe m'self, I assume the artwork was left out to be put back in at a later date when the next all-chapter BRCS was made avalible?
    Correct. It will be put back in in the final form.

    Oh and welcome.
    Duane Eggert

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