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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Secrets of the Sidhe

    In the tradition of BR covers for proposed, but unwritten (as of yet) texts, attached is a PDF with the cover and title page of the document I'm working on called "Secrets of the Sidhe".

    So far it looks like it's going to have at least five chapters:

    Bardic Colleges
    The Taelinri
    The Passion of the Elves (on human-elf relations/mating.)
    The Magic of the Sidhe (nature magics)
    Trade and Commerce

    What else do you folks think a comprehensive text on the Sidhe should have in order for it to actually be comprehensive? I can make no promises about what'll actually go in, but so far the BR community has had some great suggestions.

    Gary
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    The Elves and War- covering their view of it, their strategies, the Gheallie Sidhe, their view of others' (ie. Anuirean, Khinasi, etc) methods of war-making and counters to those methods, etc.

    Somewhere in the Magic of the Sidhe, possibly several variant rules on how to deal with Temple holdings & religion (ie. the standard no such holdings, Taelinri temple holdings, what if elves DO worship a god).
    Last edited by ericthecleric; 01-28-2008 at 07:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Elves and their systems of government should be given some thought. off the top of my hat, we have a few bits of information on how the ruler is chosen, and we have the general statement that elven realms usually leave many law holdings unclaimed, but that's about it.
    We don't have anything on the responsibilities and duties of the ruler, and the limits of his power. The elven realms of Tuarhievel and Sielwode, for instance, are described as being ruled by a single monarch, which doesn't seem so fitting given the elven love of freedom.

    Is the ruler simply a representative figurehead with little or no real power? Is he perhaps mainly a war leader, like many American Indian chiefs? Or does he have specific duties like caring for the flow of mebhaighl, evenly distributing access to the sources among the elven wizards, etc.

    In my view the first option is out for playability reasons - not many players would like to play an elven realm if they can't really do something with it I believe.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericthecleric View Post
    Somewhere in the Magic of the Sidhe, possibly several variant rules on how to deal with Temple holdings & religion (ie. the standard no such holdings, Taelinri temple holdings, what if elves DO worship a god).
    I would not add in variant temple holdings - since the existing rules are very clear on this subject. IMO there is a difference between coming up another way to do something and adding in a way to work around one of the setting's core tenants (elves have no and have never had gods and can't be clerics (or paladins)). If people want to play Realms-Right they will but that doesn't mean we should make it easier to merge settings.

    But how an elf might "follow" a human god without actually being a cleric would be real interesting. How they struggle with this and how society views them, etc. What separates their "faith" from that of a human or demi-human who can be a cleric.
    Duane Eggert

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    More history of their tie to the Sie and their "actual" history versus what the taelinri teach (they are slightly different). Including some explanation as to why the taelinri (and elves) view things differently.
    Duane Eggert

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    OK, this is quickly growing beyond the simple five or eight page
    document I originally had in mind.... I`m liking the input quite a bit.

    Here are the tentative chapter titles and a little explanation of
    what`ll appear in them where necessary:

    The Wrath of the Elves (War)
    The Bardic Colleges
    The Taelinri
    The Faces of Elvenkind (the Sie and Unseelie)
    The Hunters of Men (The Gheallie sidhe)
    The Passion of the Elves (human relations and half-elves)
    The Magic of Nature (arcane magics dedicated to nature)
    Trade and Commerce
    The Princes of Peoples (political thought and philosophy)

    Anything else we need to improve our understanding of the elves?

    Gary

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    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Judging from the on-going discussion, I think we have two very different schools of thought here.
    One basically boils down to 'humans with pointy ears', i.e. the elves are humanoids with a few quirks thrown in, like their affinity for magic and nature, but they nevertheless posses a discernible culture we can compare to real-world cultures, with systems of government, an economy, culinary preferences, social habits and so on.

    The other view describes elves as very alien beings of a very magical nature, relying on mebhaighl to nurture them, reproducing by budding or spontaneously forming in areas of high magic, being able to transform over time into dryads or treants. Instead of real-world cultures, mythology and fairy-tales become the sources to look to for inspiration.

    If I were to follow this road, I'd also game-mechanically change the sidhelien into fey. As far as I can see, the one repercussion this will have on gameplay is that elves are then immune to spells specifically targeting humanoids like charm or dominate person, hold person, or daze. I haven't thoroughly analysed the spell list yet, but many if not all of these spells are enchantments the Sidhelien already can resist quite well, so this might not be that much of a change.


    In my opinion, both views are a valid take on the elves, though I find the second one a tad more fascinating for its alien factor.

    For my campaign though, I'll stick with the first view for the time being, simply because I already have something to work with (my short treatise on the elves) and I like developing believable cultures. Also, as elves have already shown up, I feel this would be too radical a change to introduce in the midst of an ongoing campaign.
    Accordingly, too me your paper would be of more use if you also follow the first school of thought, but this will be different for others.
    Anyway, I'll probably use some of the ideas of the magical school of thought for the seelie in my campaign.

    to conclude, you will have to decide at some point which school of thought you prefer, as this will probably determine and change how the elves handle issues like government, war, their economy and so on.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman View Post
    I would not add in variant temple holdings - since the existing rules are very clear on this subject.
    There is really no need for varient temple holdings because elves have the full use of Sources to their theoretical maximum potential. For humans one holding type plus sources equals maximum, but for elves source is always nine, even if province is high, so you collect all of the regency you would from the extra holding type, plus you get all of high potency spellcasting without having to run leylines all over the place.

    What the elves miss out is the GB that the lost temple holdings produce. There are several fixes to this, some of which may be already built in. If its cheaper on the whole to run an elf realm, because of bang for buck use of military units, or easier mustering, or other cost advantages. Or, elf law holdings could produce as if they were temple instead of law.

    If Elves only have province, law, and source, they still are missing the advantage of guilds, which are big money and another run at regency. One could go with elf guilds, and make the produce different from humans, but have trade all the same. Or you can have other benefits which work out to be as cool. Such as double regency for land (no temples and guilds to weaken bonds between king and subjects) and free alchemy action.

    In general, I would prefer to avoid elf guilds if possible, and would directly oppose elf temples as totaly contrary to the setting. If one absolutly must, do guilds or a varient guild, but with sources as they are, there is simply no need for temples.

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    I like delving into the alien elf thing, but I feel that it's more a storytelling exercise for a different game. To avoid rewriting domain rules to fit elven differences (and by extension to treat goblins and dwarves very differently, as well), I'd prefer to stick with the Tolkienesque tie-in of the Sidhe. Not humans with pointy ears, really, but still as physical beings with significant reasons to run some form of organized kingdom. To me, that means there are Houses, which implies strong family ties, and since human society is based on families as well, elves aren't incredibly alien to them. Different enough to be hard to understand, yes, but still governable by the same domain rules.

    As for guilds and temples, I agree with prohibiting temples. I've considered ideas such as community-based organizations and philosophies, but that really stretches the temple holding concept. I do think the elves have these organizations and tend towards philosophy, but these could be incorporated into law holdings or even source holdings.

    The law holding and and guild holdings seem the most abstract and nebulous of the holding types, standing in for many different things. I doubt, for instance, that elves would have the strong association with LAW that these holdings represent; rather, they are points of organization for the elves, whether it be formal Houses or more informal gatherings. With that in mind, I wouldn't hesitate to allow elves freedom to max out on law holdings (something that is implied as an almost tyrannical thing in the domain rules, leaving "freer" realms such as Mhoried and Roesone and Coeranys with few law holdings as an implication of this freedom; by that reason, elves shouldn't have any law holdings at all!).

    If current action, fortification, and troop costs are maintained, I would also accept letting elven law holdings generate gold like temples--and I would also argue that they ought to have an elven form of guilds. These guilds would be more like informal Moots, gatherings of artisans to share their skills and crafts, and spontaneous groupings of elves devoting themselves to a task--like crafting new shelters, clothing, tools, palaces, towers, fortifications, arms, spells, or gathering or hunting food.

    However, I agree with Kgauck that it may be better just to reduce elven costs. Lower troop mustering, no maintenance costs, spontaneous mustering of skilled levies, no need for fortifications (forests "fortified" by default), and many wizards (either Councils or individuals like Counts sharing sources and RP with the regent without reduction in source levels).

    The biggest problem with reducing costs, however, is that it gives elven players rather little to do on the realm front. Already they're fairly isolated from other realms or internal conflicts. They're missing half the holdings to keep them occupied. And drastically reducing military needs gives them little to spend money on except for sources. So if elven realms basically become landed, uber-powerful wizards, what do they do? They have little conflict within their borders, for what human wizard will strive against the Sidhe for sources in their own realm? They have no need of ley lines within their borders. They can't Rule their provinces rapidly under most house rules; and if Ruling Provinces was all they had to focus on, elves would reclaim all their lands in short order. It doesn't make much sense for them to be researching spells constantly, since they probably know most of them anyway.

    So what's an elf to do, short of require extensive GM-devised subplots?

    To keep elf players integrated with the rest of the game, I'd let them work an elven version of guilds, implement my suggested change that all sources generate 1/3GB revenue per level (and don't act as guilds ever), reduce military costs just a little, and have done. Trade will get the elves involved with the others, or at least with dwarves and other elves. They'll also have the gold to risk expansion or fund plots throughout the human realms.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I like delving into the alien elf thing, but I feel that it's more a storytelling exercise for a different game. To avoid rewriting domain rules to fit elven differences (and by extension to treat goblins and dwarves very differently, as well), I'd prefer to stick with the Tolkienesque tie-in of the Sidhe.
    I don't think you need to change the domain rules for a truely alien elf, you just change your explanation for what's going on. GB are already so abstract that they represent almost anyting. This stuff is then consumed by domain activity. What if what the elves produce "usable mebhaighl" so that they can achieve domain actions not by material, but by magic. The end result is the same, the system is the same, but the explanation is different.

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