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  1. #1
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    Bloodlines for sale...

    Okay, an odd idea came up the other day from one of my players. Currently, it is not something we are running with, but wanted to hear thoughts of some of you folks on this.

    Keeping the concept of medieval era in mind, the idea was that often, successful middle class merchants would try and "buy" nobility. So, the player suggested that, on occasion, struggling noble families would sell off their bloodline to a commoner who gave them financial aid (and would also incidentally marry into the family usually) by making an elderly uncle invest them with their bloodline, rather than pass it on to their children. Note that this would be for members of the family that are "off" the core branch of inheritance.

    Obviously, the merchant would have to be darn wealthy - as they would also have to pay for the ceremony of investiture, as well as paying the fee for the bloodline.

    The social drawbacks would also be considerable - the nouveau riche syndrome would be applied to the new noble, and would face numerous reaction penalties amongst the nobility. Meanwhile, the older, destitute family now with renewed funds would also be castigated.

    Note also that this more applies to commoners rather than guilders with assets/holdings/bloodlines already - but on the other hand, how much WOULD El-hadid pay for a stronger bloodline? After all, doing so would enable him (meta-gaming wise) to earn way more RP, and thus, become far more competitive.

    Thoughts, folks? I know that it is not totally in keeping with the concepts of keeping bloodlines "divine", but thematically, an argument could be made for it.

    Again, right now, I am avoiding this one very carefully - seems like it could disruptive by far in a campaign, especially in an established one. I am tempted to run an experimental campaign with this as a possibility someday though.

    The interesting thing is that this would then, in some ways, replace the magic item shops that you see in other worlds - adventurers with lots of cash, and no magic items to buy, could cash in for magic abilities instead, via bloodlines. Oddly this would bring back some of the game balance that is argued about in other threads - that due to low magic, CR at certain levels can be skewed.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    Interesting, I hadn't considered the possibility before.

    Noble titles, patents, and daughters have long been sold off to bolster a noble families treasury. Nouveau Riche have always sought noble families to marry into, and when in need, and lesser branches have always sought ways to bolster their family coffers in troubled times.

    IMO, Humans would definetely seek to take advantage of such activity. Even the BRCS creators considered this, in a way, when creating the great heritage template. It's the opposite situation, with a family guarding their bloodline, but I'm sure some families have Bought suitors of strong enough heritage.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  3. #3
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    I wanted to add...

    The Divine Source of Bloodlines brings up some issues with the concept. It's the same issue I have with the great heritage template, and the way Bloodlines are passed to children in the 3Ed. BRCS.

    If the source of a bloodline is Divine, then I would think they would not be so easily diluted, or sold off. We have a house rule that if a lower bloodline conceives a child with a greater one then the child will have be one rank higher than the lower bloodline. Therefore the only time the children will be of a lower strength is if there is more than one rank difference between the greater parent and the lower parent (Minor to Great).
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

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    Not the way it works, I am afraid. House ruling it is fine, but it's pretty clear that your heritage goes with the lesser order of magnitude.

    This means that those few folks with great bloodlines have LOTS of in-breeding. And major lines often have some contenders towards heroic acts/infamy to try and increase their heritage to great for future generations. With lots of those getting killed off rather heroically, I might add.

    One of my campaigns had this exact thing - the PC had a major line, and was absolutely determined to improve it to great before he had any children. So, EVERY chance he had, he went to adventure... neglecting his realm in the process, I might add, so that he could improve his glory.

    In the end, unfortunately, taking such risks got his character killed - although, it was a glorious death, I suppose.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    hehe, I got so involved explaining the house rule, I didn't make my point...

    IMO, the power is divine. So, selling off Blood lines would fail, if the receiver wasn't worthy, the power would return to the earth.

    This is how I'd run my game because of my feelings on it.

    Someone else could go the other way, and Bloodlines could be for sale at the corner bloodline store.

    In the end, it's all in how you want it to work, and that is what I love about paper RPGs.

    The Rules don't prohibit the selling of a bloodline, frankly I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done, according to the rules. To me, it changes a divine power into a commodity, like a GB woth of nameless goods. So if someone tried it in my game, I would have it fail.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ploesch
    IMO, the power is divine. So, selling off Blood lines would fail, if the receiver wasn't worthy, the power would return to the earth.
    See, I'm not convinced that the divine powers in Birthright are that strong, and even if they are, they have a pact not to intervene directly anymore. Certainly a cleric regent that sold off his bloodline in this fashion would probably have to face a serious atonement issue, but I'm not at all convinced that the deities of Cerilia could/would do much about it. It's not even their power, after all - they are simply (in effect) the mortals that got the best bloodlines (True Heritage++).

    Indeed, I can actually see some deities supporting this. Seems thematically fine for a rich merchant to buy a bloodline and become a blooded guilder regent; if they were able to amass huge riches without even being a regent, imagine what they could achieve if they were?

    The Rules don't prohibit the selling of a bloodline, frankly I don't see any reason why it couldn't be done, according to the rules. To me, it changes a divine power into a commodity, like a GB woth of nameless goods.
    Isn't a "GB worth of nameless goods" pretty much what guilder regents deal with on a constant basis anyway?

    In practice, aside from adventurers, I don't really see anyone making enough cash to buy a regency without already being a regent. That leaves non-regent scions as a possibility; once again excluding adventurers, there are probably not that many non-regent scions with bloodlines of major or greater status. That leaves minor bloodlines, which don't grant abilities that would be significantly expensive to duplicate with magic items (and my feelings on magic item availability are already documented).

    Now, adventurers certainly have the ability and desire to make the sort of cash that would bring bloodline purchase into reach; however, adventurers can get the same thing for nothing just by the standard "kill things and take their stuff" routine (they're bound to off the occasional monstrous scion, after all).

    So while unlike ploesch I really don't have a problem with the idea in concept, I'm not really convinced that there's any demand for it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza666
    See, I'm not convinced that the divine powers in Birthright are that strong, and even if they are, they have a pact not to intervene directly anymore. Certainly a cleric regent that sold off his bloodline in this fashion would probably have to face a serious atonement issue, but I'm not at all convinced that the deities of Cerilia could/would do much about it. It's not even their power, after all - they are simply (in effect) the mortals that got the best bloodlines (True Heritage++).

    Indeed, I can actually see some deities supporting this. Seems thematically fine for a rich merchant to buy a bloodline and become a blooded guilder regent; if they were able to amass huge riches without even being a regent, imagine what they could achieve if they were?


    Isn't a "GB worth of nameless goods" pretty much what guilder regents deal with on a constant basis anyway?

    In practice, aside from adventurers, I don't really see anyone making enough cash to buy a regency without already being a regent. That leaves non-regent scions as a possibility; once again excluding adventurers, there are probably not that many non-regent scions with bloodlines of major or greater status. That leaves minor bloodlines, which don't grant abilities that would be significantly expensive to duplicate with magic items (and my feelings on magic item availability are already documented).

    Now, adventurers certainly have the ability and desire to make the sort of cash that would bring bloodline purchase into reach; however, adventurers can get the same thing for nothing just by the standard "kill things and take their stuff" routine (they're bound to off the occasional monstrous scion, after all).

    So while unlike ploesch I really don't have a problem with the idea in concept, I'm not really convinced that there's any demand for it.
    Interesting that you say that. I guess it really depends on how much a non-blooded merchant could theoretically make, right? Using ply trade as an example, it is curious how much they could earn, especially if they are a higher level "expert" class (NPC). Not only that, but what would the selling price be for a line of nobles that are just at the Count or lower range (so, say, the Maccelns in the PS Endier book). Here are blooded scions that have no holdings - so, how much would their selling price be for one of their bloodlines? Would it be less than a GB (2000 gp) value? More? Heck, why not let the elderly scion of the household sell it off, just before he dies, for the rest of the estate. It's either that, or ONE person gains 1 lousy point to the bloodscore anyways. Which is more valuable to the household/estate anyways?

    Maccelns aren't the best example, admittedly, as they are fairly cutthroat underworld figures, but you get the idea - what about the minor noble families of Roesone, as a different example?

    I very much agree with you on the divine thing - the new gods have nothing to do with the bloodlines, so why should that matter?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicsoul
    Keeping the concept of medieval era in mind, the idea was that often, successful middle class merchants would try and "buy" nobility...
    Well, the two are not exactly parallel.

    In medieval times, some upper nobility could indeed grant a lesser title, but all they had to do was defend their decision IF challenged. Here, the noble has to completely relinquish the "title"- far more serious.

    (I don't know- does the 3.5 ed address non-blooded Regents?)

    Regardless, there is then the question- do the lieges of the noble relinquishing noble approve of/recognize the new-comer? Selling a bloodline may be an individual decision, but not trading off a title, unless you're at the top of your particular foodchain. And then what of any below you? And peers, and neighbors, and enemies... sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    The Seller would have to be pretty desperate, or completely out of the picture politically (already on the outs, or never in contention to begin with.)

    Possible, certainly, but the conditions would have to be extreme to say the least!

  9. #9
    OK, let's check it out. We'll use a 20th level Expert, and assume that he has 23 ranks in an appropriate Craft, an Int of 18 (start at 13, +5 from levels), a +10 magic item that boosts his craft ("Tools of the Master Weaponsmith" or similar), and 5 apprentices that can give him Aid Another. That's a total of +47 to his Craft check, or an income of 1880gp a month. Let's round it up to 1GB a month or 3GB a season - not awful, but nothing that's going to terrify any regent (well, maybe a source regent). And that's a near optimal case - I'm assuming that the Expert has no expenses whatsoever (including paying his apprentices, eating, and so on). It's not clear to me that we should assume non-adventuring NPCs have the sort of gear that their adventuring compatriots have; if they do, then the distinction between adventurers and non-adventurers that I was making before disappears, obviously.

    The argument is kind of self defeating, though. If someone who isn't blooded can nonetheless earn the sort of cash that a scion would consider selling his bloodline for, what benefit does the individual who isn't blooded get that would inspire him to buy it? It's not without risk, after all - the Gorgon And His Amazing Friends might come a-knockin', and in BRCS you also run the danger that some adventuring regent might gut you to get a much needed regency boost. I'm not sure I would consider getting (say) the ability to see through illusions would really be worth this added risk.

    With all that said, though, I guess there would be some individuals that might go for it. Another aspect to this is that the word "noble" isn't necessarily appropriate. Someone that runs a very successful business empire doesn't necessarily have a noble title even if he has a great bloodline and more regency than the Gorgon - and not all wizards or clerics would necessarily rub shoulders with their landed peers either.

  10. #10
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    I have to wonder how many 20th level unblooded craftsfolk are wandering about Cerelia.

    Otoh, real money isn't made by one individual, but by that individual skimming from a force of others working for them.

    IF you wanted to include a comment in the rules, I wouldn't put a hard price on it, but imply it would be "astronomically expensive and extremely rare", and leave the rest to the GM.

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