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  1. #1
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Hereditary Weapons

    I've started using a new way to apportion magic weapons which I think I will make more fundamental to how characters get magic weapons and certain other permanent magic items.

    Once a character is due a treasure of a magic item by virtue of his great deeds, rather than neccesarily loot it from the corpse of some slain being, some ancestor brings his ancestoral weapon to you in a dream, in spectral form, or through some strange event. At some point a weapon might be replaced by a better weapon as the ancestors arrange a swap.

    Consider, at 3rd level Jowan Bhaine recieves a mysterious dream in which his great grandfather comes to him and bestows his sword, Redouted, and when Jowan awakes, the sword lays at his feet. At 5th level, a stranger meets him at a crossroad and begs him to buy a quality bow from him so his family might eat that evening. Upon inspection later that evening, the bow appears to possess strong magic. Later still, an old carving of a long dead ancestor is brought down from an attic with the exact appearance of the man who sold him the bow. At 7th level, a secret is revealed that an old family heirloom rests in a vault, and that only a true heir of old Eselde, in blood and courage could possess the weapon. Jowan passes the test and takes possesion of the weapon. A drealm comes to Jowan in which his great grandfather praises the prowess of Jowan and requests the return of Redoubted, now that Jowan has the much better sword of old Eselde. He requests it be placed at the foot of his scarcaughogus. Once there it cannot be moved again without powerful dispelling or the agreement of its ancient owner. At 10th level, his mother tells Jowan of a strange vision she had in the parkland behind Bhainehouse and when unraveled, the vision explains how to obtain a ring of great power from a family tomb.

    There are several interesting effects this has. First it ties the magical item to the bloodline of the wielder. This seems very much in the spirit of BR. Second, it allows for making permenant magical items rarer. Third it allows for making an exitsing posession more powerful as an ancestor, dream, or discovered historical record reveals that a keyword unlocks a new power in an existing item. Fourth, it creates an incentive to return some found treasure to rightful owners, making friends of families or spirits. Fifth, it can make some found treasure an unwilling posession, which can have interesting consequences. Sixth, interesting parallels can be created, even post facto, with ancestors.

    Certainly not every permenant magical item has to be ancestoral. If party spellcasters, or powerful allies and patrons desire, they might craft a new object for a hero. Some objects may have lost their tie to a former owner, or actually had a falling out with an owner and prefer to be discovered by the PC.

    Certainly you can create a family arsenal without giving PC's access to the whole thing with one key. Even if all the items are present in one great tomb, some may not be class appropriate, others may be unsuitable. Perhaps one ancestor was a noble, and knightly character like your own PC, and finds you worthy to carry his ancient lance after a town is saved from a terrible creature. Another ancestor might have been a rogue whose short sword cut short the life of many an honest courtier in the struggle for power in the duchy. A noble PC might not want to associate with such a weapon, employ its powers, nor win the approval of the cunning ancestor who distains the PC's alignment, character, and nobility.

    Weapons can be crafted to be a highly desirable reward for a PC without explanations of how a paladin got a sword of justice from an evil sorcerer.

    I also like to describe that special powers of a weapon or object as reflections of blood powers of the former wielder. A sword may include the power to detect lies once per day, just as old Ciaran had the blood power to detect lies. Did old Ciaran imbue the weapon with a touch of his bloodline upon his death, is the spirit of old Ciaran being summoned when this power is activated and his advice being given in so subtle a form, or is there some other explanation?

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

  2. #2
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    Interesting, but for some reason it doesn`t appeal to me. Can`t put my
    finger on it, just yet.

    Lee.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Doyle's Avatar
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    Actually, that really appeals to me.
    IMC (2nd ed, currently levels 6-10), the players are quite a while from making their own toys but have managed to trade in magic items they have found (looted) with the Seelie in the Shadow world for gifts that are more appropriate to their characters. Of course any item gained in the Shadow world has it's problems - really powerful items dissolve after time or somhow return to their home realm under their own steam, or sometime the item cannot work against Seelie (I mean, wouldn't you put that in as an option if you were selling magic weapons/ items? ;-).
    One Rjuric PC does have an axe that has been handed down through the generations (they've replaced the haft and blade a few times, but it's still the same axe). The PC even wrote a long history for it when creating his character. So when it's appropriate, (or he makes a deal with the Seelie), it is the axe that gets upgraded.
    I'd not thought of doing similar things with the other PCs, but now may be an appropriate time when they are looking at facing the Gorgon and don't have enough to do more than irritate him.

    Doyle.

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    Hm... I use a slightly different method. Hereditary weapons IMC "unlock" abilities as the user grows in level, but only if certain requirements continue to be met (whether it be behaviour of the user, following certain classes, recreating/accomplishing heroic/infamous deeds or other criteria - similar to how Earthdawn handles magic weapons) - also, weapons that are looted from others only have base abilities - xp must be expended in order to use other abilities, including higher bonuses.

    Bringing the weapons works too, though, but seems a bit contrived if you keep doing it, doesn't it?

  5. #5
    Member Starmage21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicsoul
    Hm... I use a slightly different method. Hereditary weapons IMC "unlock" abilities as the user grows in level, but only if certain requirements continue to be met (whether it be behaviour of the user, following certain classes, recreating/accomplishing heroic/infamous deeds or other criteria - similar to how Earthdawn handles magic weapons) - also, weapons that are looted from others only have base abilities - xp must be expended in order to use other abilities, including higher bonuses.

    Bringing the weapons works too, though, but seems a bit contrived if you keep doing it, doesn't it?
    Weapons of Legacy really fits with this idea, and the feel of hereditary weapons of birthright in general.
    Peace is a lie,
    There is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  6. #6
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starmage21
    Weapons of Legacy really fits with this idea, and the feel of hereditary weapons of birthright in general.
    The more I read the book the more I agree.
    Duane Eggert

  7. #7
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    The Midnight campaign setting has been using this idea for several years, though there is not usually a familial link. They're called Covenant Items. The longer you have the item, the more powers become available. The item grows with you.

    -Fizz

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    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    I like the idea and all the possibilities. To me Birthright is a game about (the Characters) fulfilling destiny. So this kind of thing fits well, as long as it isn't over used.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  9. #9
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    The more I read the book the more I agree.
    Ditto; I should have commented earlier on this matter, but that's it, mostly.

  10. #10
    Senior Member The Swordgaunt's Avatar
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    I've used hereditary weapons in some of my campaigns, although i a different manner.

    Example:
    The new Thane of Talinie was visited by the spirit of the founder of Talinie (can't remember his name right now), and was led by riddles and tests to his tomb. After a two night adventure, the young Regent was able to claim the sword "Justice", as well as the cloak "Honour", and the shield "Valour". All of these were by themselve relatively low-level items, but if worn together by the Thane of Talinie it granted the wearer one free domain-level action each turn.

    Early in the campaign, it emphasised the uniqueness of magical items in BR, and also made the players value the ones they accuired later in the game. As a side effect, they also made quite an effort to research the history of items they gained as plunder.
    -Harald

    Today, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.

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