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  1. #1
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    Magical Potentials

    I have having a look at the maps, as I occasionally find myself doing, and I found myself thinking about magical potentials.

    I looked over the various references on the subject (Book of Magecraft, 20; Birthright Rulebook, 81) and it seemed to me that there are some anomalies.

    Firstly, the charts mention that hills, tundra, marsh, and moor all have a Magical Potential (henceforth MP) of 5. By comparison a forest has 7. I wondered about this. Nowhere does it associate MP with mass of vegetation; rather it makes references to unspoilt untamed wildernesses. I was perplexed since I could imagine fairly tame forests (woodlots and the early modern equivalent of "state forests") and fairly wild hills, tundra, marshes, and moors. Privileging forests over other forms of wilderness seems to be slightly counter-intuitive to me.

    Secondly, there is an entry for River and Coast, giving these MP 7. How would this be done? It clearly has not been done for Anuire, as the vast majority of coastal plains are MP 5, not MP 7. The river plains along the Maesil are mostly MP 5, not MP 7. I have trouble finding an MP 7 river or coastal province anywhere in fact (The Chimaeron seems to have some MP 6 coastal plains).

    Thirdly, what about mixed provinces? Should terrain/level of wilderness be based on the average of the types?

    I have some thoughts about this, but I was wondering if anyone else had something to add before I continue. Have people been similarly puzzled? Does anyone have any suggestions?
    John 'Trithemius' Machin
    The Other John From Dunedin (now in Canberra)
    "Power performs the Miracle." - Johannes Trithemius

  2. #2
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I think it is stuff like this that reveals the "hidden" assumptions of the designers. I don't think they are terribly well hidden, there is a certain noble savage meme at work here which is to be contrasted to the decadence of civilization.

    For myself, since I loathe these ideas, whether I find them in Tacitis, Hesiod, Genisis, Rousseau, Thoreau, or whomever. Since you can get a similar outcome without some of the hostility to civilization and politics with an Arthurian approach, I read these kinds of things through that lens.

    I'm an Aristotelian. Man is a political animal, and the natural organization of men is the polis. Wild men have no politics, and so seem a poor ideal state for an essentially political game. There is my puzzlement.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I toyed with moving towards a more vegetation = more mebhaighl idea, but it makes mountain and ice field provinces pretty worthless - not that that is necessarily a problem.

    BR seems to mix more vegetation (swamp is better than a mere marsh, forests are better than plains) with natural rawness (mebhaighl wells up from within the world in muntains and ice fields) with assumptions then chucked in about ease of mebhaighl flow which I'm unsure of.

    I figured that the comment on rivers was due to the likelihood of increased vegetation from the presence of water or a natural 'drainage basin' effect for mebhaighl improving the flow - but I agree that it doesn't seem to have actually have been applied to the maps.

    That said it would be a fairly easy fix, if time consuming, to grade provinces by vegetation, add +/-1 say for presence of running water, extra's such as harvested woods, etc and then run the game if you wanted too and it would be easier to explain to new players.

    One problem with MP is that ideally you'd draw different province borders for sources than you would for politics as the existing province borders follow political borders and particularly in Brechtur often split sides of a mountain (realm A has the north, realm B has the south) - perfectly reasonable from a political view, not from a MP viewpoint. Tracking the two province level types separately would however be a logistical nightmare...

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Ley lines might be a partial solution.

  5. #5
    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    Well, forests are connected with druids who are connected with the land which is the source of mebhaighl. I think it's just an association-game as to why forests are the most mebhaighl-rich.

  6. #6
    I always read it as trees, being almost as longed live as Sidhe and were most of the Sidhe make their homes, were able to store mebhaighl better. In most fairy tales, old forests were full of magical creatures. That is probably most likely there reasoning. Most of the tales in BR don't talk about mountains the same way they talk about forests.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    I think it is stuff like this that reveals the "hidden" assumptions of the designers. I don't think they are terribly well hidden, there is a certain noble savage meme at work here which is to be contrasted to the decadence of civilization.

    For myself, since I loathe these ideas, whether I find them in Tacitis, Hesiod, Genisis, Rousseau, Thoreau, or whomever. Since you can get a similar outcome without some of the hostility to civilization and politics with an Arthurian approach, I read these kinds of things through that lens.

    I'm an Aristotelian. Man is a political animal, and the natural organization of men is the polis. Wild men have no politics, and so seem a poor ideal state for an essentially political game. There is my puzzlement.
    Indeed, and I rather liked an old anecdote about Henry IV, who telling courtesans how he liked the gardens they were in (Fontainebleau, I think), was accosted by a farmer who told him he knew of an even prettier garden (it was late summer/early autumn). So, he took him on his bet, and led the king and courtesans to his farm, where the wheat was golden and high and thus soon to be ready to harvest. Naturally, he won his bet. Of course I don't know how much of it is true, or if it just happened to coincide well with Sully's economic policies.

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