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10-23-2008, 02:41 AM #1
Birthright in Planescape\spelljammer setting.
hi me and a group of freinds have been considering doing a birthright campaign in the planescape\spelljammer setting (though we don't expect spelljamming to be a major part we still want it included) when it first came up i though it was going to be easy, but after thinking about it i've realised that it will take alot of planning.
the adventuring will be easy as their will be no change from the normal rules for planescape but the doman rules will be much harder to adapt and so i thought i would ask for advice. some of the problems we've thought of are. can laylines go through portals? should spelljamming be treated as a sort of super trade route? should portals be man-made, only natural portals or both? if man-made are included how do we keep the numbers under contol? what about portals that move what do we do about them? should portals be holdings?( the higher the level the more stable and the bigger ectra) what sorts of extra planar terain should we have? how should we deal with the inherant 3D nature of certain plans (air, earth and limbo for example)?
oh and it's going to be a 3.5e game (srry but i just hate 4th ed) so what do you all think. any ideas or suggestions are welcome.
Last edited by Keytium; 10-23-2008 at 02:53 AM.
10-23-2008, 03:09 AM #2
This does sound very interesting. Others have talked about adapting Domain rules for scifi cities before, though I don't think I have heard of Planescape/Spelljammer adaptions. Most references I think were about using Aebrynis in a Ps/Sj campaign.
But how to map Portals etc to Domains....
Spelljamming could be thought of as a ocean trade route. The portal could be thought of as a port. Like a port, it could be managed by anyone but probably a guild. Who controls law around the portal depends on who has a law holding in the "province".
As for placing a limit on number of portals, how about making them require some "energy" from the plane to work. Some provinces have stronger energies than others. This energy would work just like a province level (and probably match it). As the energy level goes up, the source potential goes down.
Or may be you could make it a variation on sources. A source could either be left to run free and be used for realm magic, or it could be harnessed for a portal. So the source regent would have to decide how much of his source domain to devote to his personal power and how much to use to further the trading power of the area. And if he wanted to boast the power of his portal, he would just have to change the portal:magic ratio. He may even want to use more power from other sources using a leyline.
Sorontar, who really knows little about Spelljamming.
10-23-2008, 03:21 AM #3
i like the idea of conflicting source/portal level, that would certainly eliminate the problem of too many portals. perhaps (if we are using the idea of portals as holding not ports) have them couting towards the maxium source limit as if they were a source holding so for example in a 5/7 province you could have a level 4 source and a level 3 portal or 2 level 2 portals and a level 1 source.
if useing them as ports their could be problems with how much can realisticaly get through a portal because they could be anything from a small trapdoor to a huge vortex hundreads of miles across.
10-23-2008, 03:49 AM #4
When you mention portals as holdings what comes to mind for me is the unharness portal that naturally occurs. Harnessing a portal like making a stargate or fading suns like gate around the portal to keep it there, power it, and use it on a more permanent basis would be required before it would be a holding. Or something like that. The gorgon's alliance PC game implies that the neolithic structures of Stonehenge are sources, which could be used as a concept to justify gates or structures to focus and harness energies for the things in question.
Trade routes simply need a route and the traffic to travel that route unimpeded so I think anything is possible regarding Spelljammer trade routes, however I'd think it may be harder to blockade or decree them out of existence as borders are more easily circumvented. So that could be considered when making rules for them.
Again regarding portals I'd suggest a possible shadow taint from the nature of the Shadow world that can allow porting to have a risk of ending up trapped in the shadow world or something to that effect. Just a thought.
Ley lines going through portals? I'd require a focus or holding structure for them on the otherside of the portal. It may take more to maintain such a ley line and maybe even so much so that it's best to keep them as a temporary thing. If you allow domain rules for other planes, then you can have sources and ley lines on the other side as well. Either way though there are just some ideas that come to mind that tend to be Cerilia centric. There is no need to increase or limit ley lines at all if you want this campaign and the domain rules to spread across the multiverse.
The physics of extra-planar terrain has always been fuzzy to me. Applying the domain rules to them should be easy by following the exceptions that have been made in adventures where structures and terrain has been layed out where PCs can function as the 3D creatures they are. (4D if you watch cosmos) Regarding trade routes I'd simply use a planar tag with each type of terrain so when you have forrests or mountains they'd be considered different from Cerilian forrests or mountains or other planar tagged types of parallel terrain. That is to say if water plane mountains were linked to fire plane or Cerilian mountains it'd be considered a different terrain type. Then again that's just using earth physics for these planes, which I've found TSR...oops I mean WOTC doing with adventures and settings in outter planes settings.
Regarding your choice of rules being 3.5 I agree that is a much better choice than 4.
The limit on portals I would suggest being for harnessed portals on the holding level if you like the idea of what I had above. It seems the ideas are taking off here.One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
10-23-2008, 04:21 AM #5
hi thanks for the response. i don't agree that a holding would have to repressent a harnessed portal, at least not at the lower levels a level 0 portal would be a area where the boundries between the two worlds are thiner a level one would be a place that portals apear in a ocasional and chaotic way a level 2 could be a portal that apears on a reliable skedual such as only when the moon is in eclispe or some such thing.
i really like the idea of spelljammer routes being a harder to block verson of a normal trade route i can see that working well.The focus block thing for the leylines also make's sense but as for them being temporary in nature i think that could be hard to make rules for.
the terrain in most of the outerplanes can certainly be explaned away with just calling them Elysium plains or Arcadia hills ectra. but some need more new terrian types like cogland for Mechanus and hills in hades have greatly differnt propaties to normal hills. i think that the only way to do it is to go through each plane and see it as making new terrian types exspecialy in the inner planes because mountains in the positive energy plane can almost certainly support a higher maxium province level then normal mountains.
unfortuatly the idea of shadow tait just doesn't fit the setting as i don't think we'll be setting it in Cerilia (though don't quote me on that as it's liable to change) and in the planscape cosmology you don't go through the shadow plane to get anywhere you go through the etherial plane to get to the inner planes and the astral to get to the outter planes.
Last edited by Keytium; 10-23-2008 at 07:03 AM.
10-23-2008, 08:48 AM #6
i've been thinking about terrian in this champaign and i've gone through and complied a list of how i think the outer planes should vary from the prime material plan
Elysium:basical the same as prime material plane prehaps themountains of Eronia should have -1 maximum province level because storms keep distroying things?
Beastlands: still the same as prime material but prehaps -1 maximum province level on Karasuthra (except for nocturnal races) for it always being night.
Arborea: i can't think of anything differnt about this plane.
Ysgard: same with this one.
Limbo: wow well i guess you would have areas that are stablised by someones mind and divide them up into whatever terrian the creator saw fit. we don't need rules for uncontroled areas of limbo because the only thing that doesn't need to control an area around in order to survive are limbo's petitioners and the slaadi.as for dealing with the 3D nature of the plane see my note on that at the end.
Pandemonium:i guess the tunels would have to shown onthe map with provences being caverns big enough to support a population. as for dealing with the 3D nature of the plane see my note on that at the end. so for this plane we would need caverns as a new terrian. i think perhaps a maximum province level of 2. (it's a preaty in hospitible place) and a maximum province level of 1 on Cocytus because of the wind their being even worse.
Abyss:everything anything it would depend on what sort of layer was made up by the DM.
Carceri: most layers are mostly normal. you would need rules for dealing with chasms for the layer of Colothys and on the layer of Porphatys you have acid seas which could perhaps be dealt with simply with the removal of the +2 maximum province level for being coastal.
Hades: as most of this plane is mostly open planes which are normaly 8 maximum province level i would think perhaps a blanket -6 maximum province level for the entire plane.
Gehenna:most of the plane would count as mountainous(except maybe Krangath which would tundra) but you would need rules for the volcanic crators which would probaly be uninhabitable (except by fire ristant races)
Baator:well Avernus would be mostly planes but i would think they would have at least a -4 maximum province level. the whole of Dis would have maximum province level of 10 being as it's just one big city. Minauros would just be a normal swamp. Phlegethos would have lava flows whitch could be -5 maximum province level and the lakes of lava could do the same for an province they border. Stygia would be inhospitible enough if the whole place is tundra. i have no idea what to do about Malbolge. Maladominiwould i think be the same as Avernus. Cania should possibly be uninhabitalble unless you have cold resistance. Nessus is another hard one to do i'll think some thing up later.
Acheron: the terrian would be normal but maps would have to be made on nets of 3D shapes.
Mechanus: ummmmm well coglands. i haven't got a clue.
Arcadia: it's pratically the plane of bordom no changes.
Mount Celestia: made up of hill and mountain provances, but yet still has a large population i think +3 to maximum province level would be about right.
Bytopia: no change.
Outlands: i don't know possibly not change (appart from near the spire)
note that i've not made any comments on the source potential of any of the planes i'll edit it as ideas come together for it.
about 3D planes be they ones that you float around in (Air, limbo, areas between orbs in carceri, acheron and any of the layers of the abyss it might aply to) or the ones with tunels (earth, Pandemonium and again of the layers of the abyss it might aply to) you could just make a map for each area of 1 or more joined provinces and then work out a distance to each other place then on the map draw dotted line between each area with a note saying how far away they are from each other. travel between these areas would take time depending on the distance and the propities of the plane (travel would be fastest in the air plane slowest in the earth). thats the best system i can seem to think of feel free to suggest any changes if you think something is wronge.
Last edited by Keytium; 10-23-2008 at 08:59 AM.
10-23-2008, 04:32 PM #7
There is a ton to think about on this question.
For Spelljamming I think they should just be treated as ocean trade routes. Harder to block and stop but otherwise they would work the same.
The source to portals makes sense but you could even tie the areas that have weak boundaries to the shadow world as good spots for portals. Their fabric is already weak and more open.
The Birthright land has been very blocked off from the rest of the universe for a very long time. I always accounted this for the will of the gods. They didn't want the people of Birthright visiting other planes. If this boundary is broken then how will the gods react? How did the portals first show up? Maybe Azari had something to do with it as he tried to get himself back into the land. There are a lot of questions to be had.
Another question would be how can certain blooded folks enter into planes with alignments opposite of what the original alignment of the god was. Would that cause problems. A fun example would be a person cursed with an Azari bloodline but still Neutral Good try to enter into Elysium. His tainted evil god bloodline will probably attract the attention of many of those living in that plane.
I would also think that portals should give certain benefits to the province or land that it opens in. If a portal opens in the Imperial city that links to, lets say, the endless forest of Elysium then I can only think that timber would be easy to come across. Perhaps any building of wood would cost half price.
10-23-2008, 06:30 PM #8
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Are you just using the bloodline and domain rules to expand a planescape game? If so then you can of course vastly increase the number of possible gods - and make god-slaying have some interesting twists.
Limbo could have holdings if a sufficiently powerful mind stabilizes it - just as the shadow world has holdings by the lost.
The domains would be bigger in scope I guess - under such a system you'd have cerila itself as a province for example or possibly anuire/brechtur/rjurik highlands/etc. It depends how epic you are going.
If on the other hand you want 'birthright with expanded plane rules' then the first question is 'can you have domains outside cerila?' and working up from there. A game where the PC's are regents of cerilia who quest across the planes for various reasons (finding the long lost artifiacts of Azrai?) would need far less in terms of changes than a more open game.
Issues you could get are 'freaks in cerilia - a lesson on provincialism and hatred of 'blood-warped atrocities' bigotry for fools from sigil', the impact of a blooded ruler on a realm in the realms/greyhawk etc up against unblooded opponents (do the local gods support the locals? do they oppose this 'upstart godling' from moving in?) Will the PC's go for the 'easy wins' away from cerilia or view their 'foreign sphere' holdings as mere adventures?
It all depends on what you are planning for your game - scope, 'feel' etc.
Trading with spelljammers is a major problem - not because of trade with other crystal spheres, but rather the more commercial view of trading between, say, the city of Anuire and Ariya with just 1 hour travel time... that trade route will make others look like nickel and dime operations with their travel time measured in weeks and months.
10-23-2008, 07:59 PM #9
campaign at least not to start.
planes such as the small floating islands of the air plane.
bbeau22 i agree that portals should add some thing to provances they are atached to not just boosting prime material provance but a portal between paddeamonium and bytopia should effect both planes but how to put this into rules i don't know. As for a lot of your other suggestions they relate to blooded sicons something which without cerila i don't think i can include unless anyone can think of a way around that?
Last edited by Keytium; 10-23-2008 at 08:05 PM.
10-24-2008, 07:06 PM #10
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abilities able to gain regency from ruling holdings - a trace of gods blood. This could as easily come from an ancient godly ancestor (think roman/greek myth) or any number of otherwordly sources.
portals could cause a local hybrid of the planes at each end - a sufficiently powerful individual might even be able to make one plane dominate a small area at the other end of a portal - alternatively the impact could be minor, say +1 pip to fire damage if near a portal to the realm of fire, etc.
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