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  1. #81
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    Continuing here....

    On religion in general, I always thought that this is a weak point in all published settings, BR included, with the Scarred Lands setting as the only exception I know of. For the most part, the published settings offer a haphazard collection of deities, some good, some bad, some in-between with no internal coherence. What's worse, the existence of these gods is universally accepted by all races and cultures. This is not how it works in our world and not what I want IMC. Religion is an important distinguishing factor between cultures, and I want my cultures to be distinct.
    True - it is also a distinguishing factor within cultures.

    I do think that BR (via Book of Priestcraft) did more towards "politicizing" religion than did other settings/material. The differences between the different "sects" of Haelyn for example are done fairly well - although like almost everything BR they were designed for a lot of DM interpretation and fill in of missing information, but the skeletal structure is there.
    Duane Eggert

  2. #82
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Another effect if introducing a larger amount of "true mages" into the setting is the lessoning of the "political" forces that ar intrinsic to Birthright.

    Having more than a mere few wizards capable of casting high level magics allows for magic to bypass the political.

    For example - ready access to "travel" magics allows for rapid insertion of troops (without having to deal with the political fall out of going through some else's lands to get to your target).

    Ready access to high level damage dealing spells allows for singular wizards to "replace" troops. Why take the time and effort to raise a legion of troops when 1 or 2 true wizards could do the same damage?

    Birthright more so than any other setting produced, relied and revolved around politics and diplomatic actions at the domain level. Even groups of players that spend little to no time at the domain level of play need to have their DM keep track of what is happening on the political front since that determines what types of situations/foes the PCs will encounter. In BR the political situation tends to be very mercurial and unstable, more so in some places than others - but in general this is true of the overall setting.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #83
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman View Post

    I do think that BR (via Book of Priestcraft) did more towards "politicizing" religion than did other settings/material. The differences between the different "sects" of Haelyn for example are done fairly well - although like almost everything BR they were designed for a lot of DM interpretation and fill in of missing information, but the skeletal structure is there.
    Yes, I agree. There are still some things I don't like that much - for instance, holdings are sometimes intermingled too much, the WIT is strong very near to the headquarters of the OIT, which I see as too small, given that it was the traditional church of the empire, but on the whole, there's a lot of potential here.
    The possible split between the Ghoeran and the Tuornen arm of the MOC currently features strongly IMC.

  4. #84
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    On to magic/magicians:
    Quote Originally Posted by MatanThunder View Post
    As I mention above the Magician & Seer could easily be a specialization kit.
    This is mainly arguing semantics, the same train of thought could be applied to rangers, paladins, druids, and to a lesser extent, bards.

    Quote Originally Posted by MatanThunder
    Maybe some innovative thought on the issue of “True Magic” would have me without a foot to stand on, but they used a very good system that can seamlessly be integrated into the dynamics of Cerilia.
    ...
    True magic offered very little in uniqueness, and the number of mages in the setting is entirely a DM adjudicated issue.
    I always thought that BR was quite innovative with the concept of realm spells and channelling mebhaighl.. When preparing for my current campaign, shortly before I made the switch to 3E, I expanded the notion of channelling mebhaighl to all arcane spells, using the channelling option from Player's Option: Spells & Magic, while using conditional magic for clerics. I adapted this system to 3E, revised it a bit, but still use it. This makes magic in my campaign very flexible, for instance I once allowed my 7th level mage to learn an 8th level divination spell, when it suited the plot. It cost nearly all of her spell points and the amount of mebhaighl channelled nearly killed her, but she could do it. This also makes sorcerers somewhat less useful, as wizards are already quite flexible and can learn more spells.

    As a side note with regard to Dark Sun, I believe channeling and defiling magic do share a connection, as both harness the magic of the land to a differing extent. It would be conceivable, that so much mebhaighl could be harnessed that the land would be sucked dry, or the flow of mebhaighl seriously disrupted at least. This might be a way for Azrai to come back, if only he managed to acquire enough sources which would then be 'tapped' (I know, that's another game) and drained in an immense realm spell. This might make for an interesting Dark Sun/Birthright crossover I once thought, though I never came around to developing this any further.
    Last edited by Beruin; 09-21-2007 at 01:11 PM.

  5. #85
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    What's worse, the existence of these gods is universally accepted by all races and cultures. This is not how it works in our world and not what I want IMC. Religion is an important distinguishing factor between cultures, and I want my cultures to be distinct.
    There is a period in late antiquity, lets say after Alexander, when religion seemed to become syncretic, and the Greeks tried to identify which Egyptian (or wherever) god was the Nile version of which Olympian.

    Many of the other cultures they encountered were other Indo-European cultures, with many of the same myths and gods, just with different names and some different cultural elements.

    This syncreticism seems to have been then D&D norm since the begining. Rather than religion being exotic, it was universal.

    In Birthright, like the indo-Europeans, you have a group of related cultural groups, who may have one common origin, and a shared religion.

    Even so, I think its very interesting to highlight the cultural differences within religion. For instance, I have a priest of Sera in my current Rjurik campaign, and I think the Rjurik (especially as the PC has a tribal origin) would reject (or ignore) Sera's wealth and trade aspects, and focus on her luck aspects. The priest has Luck and Travel as spheres, and will be using some luck feats from the Scoundrels book. Since the Rjurik have such a concern with fate and destiny, a fate oriented Sera makes much more sense. But for Sera's followers in the highlands, fate is not so clearly mapped out, or rather it is mapped, but much more fluid. Its possible to learn how to change your fate by learning how fate and luck work in the world. Sera doesn't support supplication to get luck, she prefers you make your own luck, but through her teaching and lore, its possible to learn how to do this more effectivly.

    Certainly a Rjurik luck-priest of Sera is going to end up being a totally different kind of priest from a Brecht wealth-priest of Sera. Not only in build, but in attitude, affinity, and interest.

  6. #86
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beruin View Post
    Yes, I agree. There are still some things I don't like that much - for instance, holdings are sometimes intermingled too much, the WIT is strong very near to the headquarters of the OIT, which I see as too small, given that it was the traditional church of the empire, but on the whole, there's a lot of potential here.
    The possible split between the Ghoeran and the Tuornen arm of the MOC currently features strongly IMC.
    Especially among the temples, I don't think the distinctions between two temples are as clear on the ground as they are for realm play. I think there is a sense that the temples of Haelyn are still united, but that there is no clear leader. Rather there are several leading figures, each with their own network of supporters and confederates. Everyone takes the words and pronoucnements of Lavalan Briesen seriously. But Lavalan's ability to raise money, oppose other regents and impose his will (rather than just influence people) is defined by his holdings.

  7. #87
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    Smile

    I have always found the site moderaters/and senior members to be exceptionally well read, insightful and accepting of peoples ideas and thoughts. Obviously they love the setting and have been playing for some time.

    The community bases their information on the original creators writings which we have in various forms - if in doubt about a particular part of the setting they return to these works.

    Prehaps the game setting would have been better served by a different/low magic game system but the original writer was employed by TSR and built what most people consider (particularly on this site) to be one of the best most fleshed out and interesting game settings there is.

    Unfortunately a lot of D&D players are in the habit of being power gamers and not Roleplayers (myself included all too often) and the rules and system can take precedent over the politics and intrigue that make the setting so good.

    In my opinion the AD&D world/cosmology is secondary to the game setting - Sure I worked out a personal spin on things - pacts of the gods/closed realms.

    AD&D is just the game system being used - with its own physics and magical rules which will sometimes not bind well with the settings concepts - and the moderaters and public work together to come up with a logical solution - based on and extropolating from known information - so that these ideas mesh well with the current world.

    I am currently running a high magic game of BR with crossovers to the realms and planar spheres - I do not however maintain that this is entirely in keeping with the original writings.

    Discussion of ideas is always good - sometimes the wording of comments could be better - as people often misunderstand each other . Writing things as opinion for discussion (as is all of this) is usually better served by being gentle with opinion and avoiding stating it as irrefutable fact.

  8. #88
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman View Post
    Unfortunately a lot of D&D players are in the habit of being power gamers and not Roleplayers (myself included all too often) and the rules and system can take precedent over the politics and intrigue that make the setting so good.
    Sigh, also guilty as charged on a number of occasions - it's just so much more efficient to take powers/skills/etc that give a geometric increase in power as opposed to arithmetic that it seems insulting to the DM not to go for it

    Quote Originally Posted by Gman View Post
    I am currently running a high magic game of BR with crossovers to the realms and planar spheres - I do not however maintain that this is entirely in keeping with the original writings.
    Well, I may have gone overboard in stressing that aspect of BR - to me its the readability of the characters and setting cultures that makes BR come alive - I like many of the characters, I can see other characters I dislike as being right in their own view even though they are of course wrong and therefore evil/foes - they aren't just one dimensional villains they have a history (although not one overdone) and plans, some other settings have frankly been unreadable, too much like hard work to get into, or just 'ugh' in one way or another - I never got into Planescape for the simple reason that where I come from 'berk' is an insult and its usage grated

    The rare magic angle is something that grew on me slowly as a player and DM - mainly through playing other systems and seeing the advantages in mortal characters.

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