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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sigmund's Avatar
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    Birthright True20 questions

    First question relates to magic. Do ya'all feel that the arcane/divine split in Birthright magic means that the "styles" or "feel" of each system should be different, or can they be very similar because they both ultimately stem from divine power? I'm asking because I have a choice in True20, I can use the default True20 magic system and split it into different groups to fit the divine and arcane sources. I can also use True Sorcery for arcane magic and draw some of the default system's powers for the divine magic. I am inclined to keep it (relatively) simple and just split the default system, but I'd love to get feedback from other Birthright lovers who might also be familiar with True20.

    Next question has to do with posting. Once I get a conversion pulled together, may I post it online so others can see/use it? Will I have to ask WotC?

    Thanks ya'all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund
    First question relates to magic. Do ya'all feel that the arcane/divine split in Birthright magic means that the "styles" or "feel" of each system should be different, or can they be very similar because they both ultimately stem from divine power? I'm asking because I have a choice in True20, I can use the default True20 magic system and split it into different groups to fit the divine and arcane sources. I can also use True Sorcery for arcane magic and draw some of the default system's powers for the divine magic. I am inclined to keep it (relatively) simple and just split the default system, but I'd love to get feedback from other Birthright lovers who might also be familiar with True20.

    Next question has to do with posting. Once I get a conversion pulled together, may I post it online so others can see/use it? Will I have to ask WotC?

    Thanks ya'all.
    I'm not sure what you mean by `both ultimately stem from divine power'. Arcane magic is driven by maeghaigl, while divine magic comes from the gods.

    The division between the two is very important to Birthright, both historically and thematically. The normal have the mechanics working similarly (fire and forget), but the spell choices are radically different.

    In my campaign, i actually use different systems for each- i think it helps highlight the differences between the two, giving each it's own feel.

    As for your conversion- i think that will depend on what is included. It should be built as a conversion guide. That is, don't put in any fluff. Just explain how the mechanics differ. Arcane Adepts can use Power X, but not Y. Divine Adepts can use Power Y but not X. That sort of thing. Stick to that i think you're safe.


    -Fizz

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sigmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizz
    I'm not sure what you mean by `both ultimately stem from divine power'. Arcane magic is driven by maeghaigl, while divine magic comes from the gods.
    What I mean by "both ultimately stem from divine power" is that, other than the limited low magic, the power of divine blood is required to sense and manipulate the power of even arcane magic.

    The division between the two is very important to Birthright, both historically and thematically. The normal have the mechanics working similarly (fire and forget), but the spell choices are radically different.
    The mechanics are what I mean by division. Even using the default magic system of True20, priests will have different powers than wizards, but the mechanics will be the same. By using True Sorcery, I can give each style of magic it's own mechanics as well, but at the cost of simplicity (which is the hallmark of True20). So my question really is do ya'all experienced BR players feel that it would enhance the setting to give each magic it's own system, or is it ok to just have different powers, but the same mechanics?

    As for your conversion- i think that will depend on what is included. It should be built as a conversion guide. That is, don't put in any fluff. Just explain how the mechanics differ. Arcane Adepts can use Power X, but not Y. Divine Adepts can use Power Y but not X. That sort of thing. Stick to that i think you're safe.


    -Fizz
    It will really be almost all mechanics conversion, but I will have to include some BR IP, such as the names of the gods, the names of nations, etc.

    Thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I have arcane and divine spells cast using different mechanics. Divine spellcasters use a system of spell points and may cast spells spontaneously. Clerics, druids, and bards are divine spellcasters. Arcane spellcasters use the standard core rules for wizards and bards.

    I prefer to have the feel different for arcane and divine spellcasting. Some of it is window dressing and some is mechanical.

    Keep in mind that elves have always had arcane magic while humans have always had divine magic. These are two distinct sources of power. Elves still require no divine anything to access maeghaigl. The only divine connection to arcane magic is that humans need a bloodline of the old gods (who presumably no longer grant any spells) to be able to access maeghaigl. But its really no different than using divine spellcasting to access the shadow world, a talent which halflings have naturally, just as elves can naturally access the native magic of the land.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sigmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck

    Keep in mind that elves have always had arcane magic while humans have always had divine magic. These are two distinct sources of power. Elves still require no divine anything to access maeghaigl. The only divine connection to arcane magic is that humans need a bloodline of the old gods (who presumably no longer grant any spells) to be able to access maeghaigl. But its really no different than using divine spellcasting to access the shadow world, a talent which halflings have naturally, just as elves can naturally access the native magic of the land.
    Thanks for the reply. I have always viewed elves as having a spark of the divine in them, which would also explain their longevity and reluctance to worship beings who they consider to be almost equals. Plus, I have always viewed the gods as being tied to the land and people just like the scions are. Guess I need to just figure out how I want it to work, but I do appreciate the input because I have to consider what my players (who are as yet unfamiliar with True20 and how it works) might like. I confess part of my reluctance to include True Sorcery is that my players still have to learn True20's system (although other than magic it's very similar to DnD in many ways), and adding in True Sorcery would just add that much more complexity. They're all smart guys and experienced gamers though so maybe I should just let go of my reservations and dive into it . You guys are right, using the separate mechanics would give very different flavors to the two.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ploesch's Avatar
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    I feel the BRCS is a particularly suitable setting to have great variance in the way that Divine and Arcane spell casting is performed.
    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.
    George R. R. Martin - A song of Ice and Fire

  7. #7
    I'd be very interested to see your conversion for True20 as I am a fan of that system. I don't have True Sorcery yet, but feel free to ask any advice about the core True20 if you like.

    One thing I would split apart, between the two types of magic, is obviously the types of spells each could use. This however could be easily accomplished by just looking at the wizard and cleric spell lists in D&D and allowing only clerics to cast healing spells while keeping the big blasto fireball type spells to the mages.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sigmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hirumatogeru
    I'd be very interested to see your conversion for True20 as I am a fan of that system. I don't have True Sorcery yet, but feel free to ask any advice about the core True20 if you like.

    One thing I would split apart, between the two types of magic, is obviously the types of spells each could use. This however could be easily accomplished by just looking at the wizard and cleric spell lists in D&D and allowing only clerics to cast healing spells while keeping the big blasto fireball type spells to the mages.
    I have the True20 powers split into catagories, with each God getting a separate list with some overlap, as well as some feats. I'm going to refine and type it up then I will post it in this thread.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Magical differences wizard and priest.

    Possibly a little late to comment and overlong but...

    I made the following changes when looking at the magic system:

    1. I used a similar astral focus concept to the earthdawn setting, all magic originates from life (plant / animal) and collects in the astral plane (not the typical AD&D plane), it is then drawn from the astral plane via a psychic focus in order to cast magic.

    A wizard creates a temporary focus (a spell slot) and uses ambient energy in the astral plane to power the spell. All wizards can therefore choose the spell when cast like a sorcerer, although I expand this to allow 3 spell lists – familiar (choose when cast) known (not so commonly used spells which must be memorised) and aware (rare/complex spells which must be re-learned and memorised before being cast).

    A priesthood, through the power of prayer, focuses the energy from thousands of people into huge, permanent astral foci. These foci can then be tapped for power by a priest.

    2. Both use the same spell lists, but with very different explanations for their power, and very different understandings - the wizard knows they are shaping ambient energy as they will, the priest believes they are being granted prayers as proof of their devotion.

    Of course if a wizard can cast exactly the same spells as a priest, and indeed can cast a greater variety of spells, then that wizard undermines the priesthood’s claims of divine assistance and accordingly must either be silenced, driven out, or somehow explained away - a great opportunity for intrigue against over-powerful mages and an aide for explaining why few mages are publicly known.

    A wizard may therefore be able to heal a PC (helpful for elves) but be very reluctant to anger the local priesthood by casting 'a miracle', similarly a particular priesthood may be able to cast a wizard spell favoured by the DM / a PC but other priesthoods would not - they don't research how it is done because they think it is gift from the gods.

    3. The permanent focus concept removes the need for a deity, which in turn means that any priest who knows the rituals to access the power and believes that they are worthy, can access the power of the church - not just those approved by the deity.

    As a result Michael priest of Haelyn 'the redeemer' can cast spells to heal the sick, seek out wrong-doers and show them the path of merciful redemption, Jarred the inquisitor can cast prayers to locate and burn heretics, and both have the magic to prove that they are favoured by Haelyn.

    The two can therefore disagree, even go to war against each other, both being able to cast spells and both certain that the other is truly a heretic who has obviously made a pact with some dark/trickster god that truly powers the other priest’s magic and wants to undermine the one true priesthood of Haelyn without Haelyn stepping in to stop the carnage. Divine providence can be explained by subconscious awareness of information held by other members of the church transferred to the astral focus and then to the priest.

    4. Another potential change is to say that a priest is only able to cast spells as a magician if unblooded, and needs a bloodline to cast spells of higher level (aside from illusions, etc). With lower spell power in the priesthood it might be possible that being a priest is more of a job title than a class - a priest of Belinik may not be expected to cast spells if he can prove his piety with a whirlwind attack using a two handed battle axe... (This is a good way to introduce soft southern PC's to Vosgaard, particularly if the priest has the improved critical feat.)

    5. The permanent focus concept allows for bizarre cults to have some spell casting power without the need for a 'real' deity, explains how the Serpent can grant his followers spells, etc. It does however mean that the spell casting power of a temple is probably directly proportional to the number of worshippers and age of the temple - a small new church would not have had time to build up a focus and would not have the population to grant much power to it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sigmund's Avatar
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    Thanks to ya'all for sharing your opinions/experiences so far, lots of food for thought. I'm going to try over the weekend to get what I have for True20 base powers division typed up and posted.

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