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  1. #1
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    Book of Nine Swords in Birthright

    I am working on a Birthright campaign that I plan to run sometime early next year and I am going to incorporate the new Book of Nine Swords into the game. My plan is to make the martial classes only available to Blooded Characters (all PCs will be blooded) and the Swordsage class to elves. I really like the feel of this book and I think the martial classes will help distinguish blooded characters from non blooded characters. I understand that for game mechanics and balance the developers are trying to balance blooded and non blooded characters, but imo the two shouldnt be unbalanced (blooded people are better then non blooded). I am also incorporating some elements of Eberron so this is deffinately not a traditional Birthright Campaign, but it will still have a relatively low magic feel to it because the changes will be more of a variety in high end magic rather then making magic more pervasive. Just looking for some feedback and or any suggestions people have, especially suggestions as to any elements from Eberron that people think may fit and how. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BiggDawg
    I am working on a Birthright campaign that I plan to run sometime early next year and I am going to incorporate the new Book of Nine Swords into the game. My plan is to make the martial classes only available to Blooded Characters (all PCs will be blooded) and the Swordsage class to elves. I really like the feel of this book and I think the martial classes will help distinguish blooded characters from non blooded characters. I understand that for game mechanics and balance the developers are trying to balance blooded and non blooded characters, but imo the two shouldnt be unbalanced (blooded people are better then non blooded). I am also incorporating some elements of Eberron so this is deffinately not a traditional Birthright Campaign, but it will still have a relatively low magic feel to it because the changes will be more of a variety in high end magic rather then making magic more pervasive. Just looking for some feedback and or any suggestions people have, especially suggestions as to any elements from Eberron that people think may fit and how. Thanks.
    Did you use "low magic" and "Eberron" in the same paragraph

    The Dragon Marks from Eberron could find a way to be worked into the setting IMO.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
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    On 9/18/06, BiggDawg <brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
    >> I am working on a Birthright campaign that I plan to run sometime
    early next year and I am going to incorporate the new Book of Nine
    Swords into the game. My plan is to make the martial classes only
    available to Blooded Characters (all PCs will be blooded) and the
    Swordsage class to elves. I really like the feel of this book and I
    think the martial classes will help distinguish blooded characters
    from non blooded characters.<<

    Good luck with that. Haven`t used that book in a game myself yet, but
    the various semimagical techniques for warriors look very interesting
    and would probably be pretty fun to play. I believe there is some
    concern that the warblade class is significantly more powerful than
    the other two classes introduced in that book, due to the way they
    regain maneuvers. You can find discussion of that on other sites, for
    instance, http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=174415 , and it may
    get errattaed by Wizards at some point if it`s really all that bad.

    >> I understand that for game mechanics and balance the developers are
    trying to balance blooded and non blooded characters, but imo the two
    shouldnt be unbalanced (blooded people are better then non
    blooded).<<

    This is not relevant to the rest of your post.

    >> I am also incorporating some elements of Eberron so this is
    deffinately not a traditional Birthright Campaign, but it will still
    have a relatively low magic feel to it because the changes will be
    more of a variety in high end magic rather then making magic more
    pervasive. Just looking for some feedback and or any suggestions
    people have, especially suggestions as to any elements from Eberron
    that people think may fit and how. Thanks.<<

    I`ve thought Eberron was the 3e setting most condusive to
    Birthright-style play since it was published. It has a broken-up
    empire, with lots of inheritor kingdoms, has recently come out of a
    great war, and so on. It even features blooded/dragonmarked
    guilds/houses which are international business consortiums. Guilds
    that used blood abilities for competitive advantage would be a
    fascinating addition to Birthright. Realm spells and sources,
    conversely, would be an interesting addition to Eberron. Likewise,
    dragonmarks and scion heritage play off each other well, and are even
    both divided into minor, major, and great strengths.

    --
    Daniel McSorley

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback so far it is great to have a sounding board for some of my crazier ideas, such as the following.

    The dragon marked houses are one of the elements of Eberron that I like the most and that I want to incorporate into Birthright. My thought so far is to actually bring in Dragon Marks and something like the Dragon Marked houses into Birthright with some changes. The existance of Blooded people is relatively new to the world in Birthright, only existing since Deismaar. My idea is that Dragon Marks are an older form of magic, called Ancestor Marks. Humans would be the only ones to possess these marks and they are a hold over from their time on the Southern Continent. Each of the 6 original human tribes would possess 2 of the type of Marks from Eberron and would their house would retain their original tribal name (Andu, Rjuven, etc). The level of organization and heirarchy would vary considerably amongst the Houses (With House Masetian not existing at all anymore), some like House Vos would really just be a loose affiliation while House Andu would be a highly organized.

    My historical explanation would be that the rulers of the tribes possessed Ancestor Marks and it was partially this magic which aided them in escaping Azrai. Now when Deismaar occurred and people became blooded they lost their ancestor marks. The two magics arent compatible, if you gain a bloodline you lose any ancestor marks and if you are blooded you cant gain an ancestor mark. Because blooded characters are much better rulers they became the new mantle for rulership. What remained of the Ancestor houses turned their gifts to the one area remaining to them, the economy. The Ancestor Houses will hold a similar position in Birthright as they do in Eberron, they are neutral having no claim to the Iron Throne and trade with anyone. Since my PCs will all be blooded the Ancestor Houses will strictly be NPC adversaries and allies. The Ancestor Houses are meant to represent the elite non noble merchant class. The only issue with implementing this idea is how it affects Guild holdings. I am considering many different house rules to modify Guild holdings to incorporate the Ancestor Houses, but the idea is that they exist apart from Regency. They cannot gain holdings per the standard rules as they cannot have bloodlines. I also wanted them to be resistant to use of regency against them, so that Guild regents couldnt just drive them out of the market. While Blooded magic dominates Ancestor Marks (in the senese that Bloodlines replace Ancestor Marks) the Ancestor Marks are an older form of magic and very resilient. This is a massive departure from standard Birthright mythology, but I think it could be a very interesting element to add to the campaign.

    While this would certainly add to the magic level of the game, the number of actually Ancestor Marked people would still be quite low. The one major change to the Ancestor Houses is that they do not make magic commonplace, they use their magic to do common things better then the rest of the populace. In Eberron you would have the Dragonmarked Houses creating Everbright Lanterns instead of oil lamps. My idea is that the Ancestor Houses just make better oil lamps through the use of magic. In this way it helps to preserve the low magic setting of Birthright and just adds to the flavor and comlexity of magic. What really makes Eberron a high magic setting isnt the existence of Dragon Marks and such (Bloodlines are much more powerful), it is the existance of the Magewright class and the way that magic replaces technology in everyday life.


    Just to clarify part of my earlier post:

    >> I understand that for game mechanics and balance the developers are
    trying to balance blooded and non blooded characters, but imo the two
    shouldnt be unbalanced (blooded people are better then non
    blooded).<<

    >>This is not relevant to the rest of your post.<<

    I posted this as more of a disclaimer. Many of the posts I have read seem to diverge from topic due to the issue of peoples goals. Many people are coming from a house rules perspective while you developers are trying to make Birthright a balanced game from all perspectives. I mentioned this so people would understand that my goal is not to balance the blooded and unblooded characters in my game (since only blooded people would have access to the martial classes) and hopefully avoid any divergences. I have nothing but respect for the developers here and there efforts to make my favorite D&D setting current. I merely stated this so my perspective was clear and any issues of game balance could be put aside.
    Last edited by BiggDawg; 09-18-2006 at 09:14 PM.

  5. #5

    Book of Nine Swords in Birthright

    I got this book last week, and definitely like everything in it. The challenge for me has been in figuring out how to implement it into my ongoing campaign. My thoughts right now are:

    As there are no elf PC's (or half-elves, for that matter) in my game, the elves have had this knowledge for time out of mind. About fifty years ago, the Brecht discovered libraries of lore concerning the Nine Swords disciplines. There are academies in Brecht lands that teach these techniques, for blooded scions who are willing to pay for their instruction. There are a few Initiates who've moved into the Rjurik and Vos marches, but there is no wide-spread desemination of lore as of yet in those areas (though I'm thinking the Vos churches will quickly jump on the Crusader bandwagon, once they realize the advantage it might give them in holy wars to come).

    As all of the PC's in my game are either Anuirean-raised or Khinasi-raised, none of them have had prior exposure to practitioners of these arts. Their first encounters will be with a Brechtur party questing for the legendary Nine weapons...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Did you use "low magic" and "Eberron" in the same paragraph
    Eberron IS low magic. Pervasive low magic, but low nonetheless.

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikal
    Eberron IS low magic. Pervasive low magic, but low nonetheless.
    When I say "low" I mean it in the smae way that BR is "low" magic.

    That is low on magic items. Eberron is very definitely not "low magic item" - magic items are a part of everyday life - the spires, the trains, the "air ships", etc.
    Duane Eggert

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    When I say "low" I mean it in the smae way that BR is "low" magic.

    That is low on magic items. Eberron is very definitely not "low magic item" - magic items are a part of everyday life - the spires, the trains, the "air ships", etc.
    Ah.. well the way I've seen it, BR is actually very HIGH magic... just restrictive magic (since there aren't many who actually have such magic, but those that do usually have stronger magic then the dnd norm, i.e. realm magic and the like)

  9. #9
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 01:04 PM 10/4/2006, Mikal wrote:

    >Ah.. well the way I`ve seen it, BR is actually very HIGH magic...
    >just restrictive magic (since there aren`t many who actually have
    >such magic, but those that do usually have stronger magic then the
    >dnd norm, i.e. realm magic and the like)

    Just to clarify, if one were to look at it from a literary or just
    somewhat objective standpoint, BR is probably high magic. It`s low
    magic relative to other D&D settings (like, say, Ebberron) but what
    with all the magic in the setting and the nature of that magic, it`s
    pretty firmly in the high magic category. Which, I guess, puts those
    other D&D settings into some other category relative to BR`s high
    magic status.... "Gonzo magic" or something like that.

    Gary

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    When you look at all the various recomendations about how to lower the magic level of a campaign, many of them are used in BR. Arcane casters are rare because of the bloodline requirement. Natural access to arcane magic is limited to elves, and they are not terribly common. With NPC's of lower level and the sense that BR is a low level campaign setting, the overall level of magic is reduced. Further, there is some suggestion that the tolkienesque feature where magic use attracts attention in the magic using world applies when you cast spells in a province where someone else holds sources.

    While the possibility of realm magic exists, its also highly limited to a few characters (so few that we can know all of their names); the holding of sources, and the more powerful the spell the greater the need for powerful sources; and its costly in GB and RP.

    Another limit often suggested is the wizards code, and in fact in the most magic friendly culture, the Khinasi, there is a code imposed by the magic god, the Five Oaths.

    These methods are not iron-clad. Other than the requirement for sources to cast powerful realm magic, parties can include an unusual number of elves, avoid Khinasi spellcasters for the party necromancer, and rise to levels beyond what are commonly published. But I think there is still a sense created by these limits that in general the setting has limitations. One of the largely unregulated areas is divine magic, and divine spellcasters have access to battlemagic and realm spells just as much as anyone, without many of these restrictions.

    BR lacks the kind of ubiquitous magic of some settings, as well as the commonplace of high level characters who might toss off a mighty spell with little effort. It almost seems like you're saving the term low magic for a setting where magic could be forgotten, such as d20 Modern.

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