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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    What Birthright DOESN`T Mean to Me

    OK, in the interest in expressing things in their totality, here`s
    the opposing issues to those expressed.

    1. Birthright doesn`t mean consistent editing.... One of the things
    that always drives folks crazy are the particulars of the prose in
    the BR setting`s published materials, and they are definitely
    problematic. Nomenclature was haphazard and used in many vague ways,
    there are weird omissions and inconsistently applied editorial
    standards like information purposefully omitted even for the DM`s
    use, and the fact that alignment listings just went away at some
    point. The setting materials sometimes breaks its own rules, or
    creates very strange, supposedly "unique," situations that wind up
    having a lot of nasty repercussions.

    2. Heraldry, coinage and the twelve duchies of the twelve
    tribes. These things aren`t really problems with the original
    materials, but they come up fairly regularly in the BR community, and
    it`s entirely a personal thing on my part, but I just can`t bring
    myself to give a hoot or a holler about any of these issues. They
    are all things that I honestly _ought_ to care about since they go
    with so many things that I find fascinating, but for some reason that
    I don`t understand myself, I just don`t care. I`ve tried to care,
    but I don`t. Heraldry goes with knighthood, goes with feudalism,
    goes with a cultural/historical period I love... but I don`t
    care. Issues of coinage and issues of specie I find similarly
    unappealing, even though if someone were to ask me about medieval
    economics I`d be happy to discuss the issue. The etymology of the
    twelve whatevers is similarly a sneeze. To me, all these things are
    like having a really beautiful girlfriend with fat ankles. Sometimes
    you just have to ignore the details.

    3. Warcards have always struck me as about as bad an idea as "Call of
    Cthulhu: The Musical."

    4. Battlespells. If you got Keanu Reeves to star in CoC:tM then
    you`d have pretty much my take on the thinking that led to
    battlespells. "Hey, this is a bad idea... how can we make it worse?"

    5. The "Player`s Secrets of..." texts that have a description for
    axing the regent and replacing him/er with a PC or something very
    strange. Well, most of those are goofy. A lot of the PSo materials
    that at first I disliked I`ve actually grown to enjoy. Cerilian
    dwarves eat dirt. I _like_ that idea now. But the rationales for
    getting another character into the realms rather than just leave that
    up to the DM to homebrew... usually pretty bad, and not really necessary.

    Gary

  2. #2

    Post Good insights of you

    I can only agree.


    Maybe we should do a table for "the pseudo-official" as monster-class?

  3. #3
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Probably should change this to "what I didn't like about the materials" instead of "what BR doesn't mean to me".

    Two entirely different meanings.
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
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    I enjoy the idea of battle spells and I love the player's secrets of books. They were cheap and provided a level of detail that was very specific and unique to the realm.

  5. #5
    Do you have a better idea for making, "I can make lightning rain down from the skies, throw fire from my hands, make the land itself seem different, call up spirits to aid my soldiers, and otherwise do magic." effective in combat without making it dominate the game?

    Cause, I mean, Realm Spells are all well and good, but even a low level wizard or priest has several options that, if played right, would certainly cause some pain on a unit-to-unit scale combat.

    I agree that I would like to see something a little more...interesting than the war cards as is. BR3E's bits about customizing units is a step in the right direction, but this is supposted to be fantastic combat; I'd love to see ways to work heroic actions by the PCs or NPC champions into deciding the outcome of the war, how giving a group of knights a special medal, honor, or blessing will really help them be a better group of warriors, that kind of thing. But you don't want war cards to dominate the game, especially on the tabletop level, and you don't want one class to have more of a role than any of the others.

    I do agree that the BR folks sometimes think a little too hard about some bits of throwaway backstory, especially when it's been a couple thousand years of unprofessional history keeping, and that a lot of the reason some things were kept vague was to let players design their own heraldry, and leave plot hooks open for DMs, (Just off the top of my head: You discover a lost copy of the book of days that says there were /thirteen/ dutchies-is this the truth, or is it a forgery made by an enemy of humanity in order to further entrench Anuire in civil war?). But, is it that big of a deal? People like to argue about things, and minutae are safe things that everyone can have an opinion over without it ending up getting all that serious. At least in theory. I mean, I strongly disagree on how a lot of people here view elves in the setting, but that wouldn't keep me from sitting down and playing a game with them: I'd just be sure to make it clear that, if I'm DMing, I'm DMing, and if I'm not DMing, let the DM do his or her job and keep my sassy opinions to myself.

    In a similar feel, I think people fixate on editing because they've got the benefit of hindsight. Is it a big deal that three or four different domains all claim to be the only Orog domain on Cerelia? Probably not in the long run. Is it something to make conversation about? Sure. And having stuff like that is part of what keeps a fandom alive, in my opinion.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    There is a huge difference between producing no material and allowing players to define their own characters, including their heraldry, PC's, families, home castle, and so on. This is a false choice.

  7. #7
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    The war cards were a stab at simplifying battle, but I think in the end we can say it's just not the right way of doing that. BRCS unit customization helps, but can end up being a bookkeeping nightmare. The Eden Studios "Fields of Blood" book stole a lot from BR, and made things quite a bit more complex in many areas, but they did incorporate a few useful ideas into battle: unit fatigue; unit order/formations (tight, skirmish, etc.); unit maneuvers (wheeling about, shuffling, etc.); and, most importantly for simplifying things, I think, rules for combining and secunding units.

    Customized BRCS units can be incorporated in larger battle with less bookkeeping by putting four units together, for instance, into a single, larger unit (battalions, divisions, legions, etc.)

    I'd like to see the Captain of many units matter--tracking the ECL adjustments to units based upon their Leadership should matter to both unit stats and Warcraft, so that in addition or instead of giving units names, you refer to them by the commander or commanding company. This gives a lot of realism, I think: Lord So-and-so's company must be watched, for they are canny opportunists on the battlefield; and Count Such-and-such's legion is nigh unbreakable when holding ground... It just seems to me more rich in BR flavor to refer to units by their commanders than by unit names. Commmoners really don't matter much, after all, especially when most of your nobles bear a Divine Right to rule by virtue of divine bloodlines.

    We need more noble families, by the way. That's something else missing from the texts, even from the Player's Secrets. George R. R. Martin doesn't even have enough noble families in his works to flesh out Anuire. I really liked the Ruins of Empire game's inclusion of Manor holdings, as it encouraged the development of noble families who held some real power beyond Duke, Baron, and Count.

  8. #8
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    Oh, and in the first tabletop BR game I just barely got started before my group scattered to the four winds for college, I had a three page treatise on BR currencies. It's still the butt of jokes among those guys. The spluttering and bewilderment from my players was priceless

  9. #9
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    There is a huge difference between producing no material and allowing players to define their own characters, including their heraldry, PC's, families, home castle, and so on. This is a false choice.

    Quoted for truth.
    Duane Eggert

  10. #10
    There is a huge difference between producing no material and allowing players to define their own characters, including their heraldry, PC's, families, home castle, and so on. This is a false choice.
    I'm not sure what you mean by that. My point was, "They probably thought they could use the space heraldry would take more efficently by assuming the players would want to make their own coats of arms anyway.". I mean, a lot of the setting books were bulging for space anyway; I could see noting what coats of arms in a certain culture usually look like, to give players a guideline, but why is, "It'd be nice, but it's not that big of a deal." a false choice?

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