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  1. #1
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I read an incident in Tristan (c.1210, German poetry) where Tristan (a
    fighter type) is wounded in the leg by a poisoned weapon during a fight to
    protect his beloved Isolde. He retired to Isolde`s family`s keep and
    Isolde`s mother healed him.

    His incident struck me as something that might happen in BR. Lower level BR
    characters have noble connections and relationships with more powerful
    characters. While you don`t want higher level characters to come to the
    direct rescue of player characters - they need to fight their own battles -
    being able to ask questions, get healing, or scrolls and potions, have a
    powerful spell lead off an adventure. I once had a group of characters go
    across the continent by means of a powerful divine gate to collect a lower
    level magic item.

    Part of the fun was to put Anuirean characters in Vosgaard for an adventure.
    But part of what was neat about it was identifying that blooded and noble
    characters as exposed to special opportunities. Now, I could have put out
    rumors that this weapon was available nearby. And the weapon was not
    particularly potent, I think it was +1, +2 vs undead, or something of that
    level of power.

    Birthright involves a different kind of struggle than vanilla D&D in so much
    as it focuses on a certain kind of champion, the noble (by which I mean
    rich, well born, blooded, connected to realms) who advances the cause of a
    geographical region (a realm) and its particular interests. You don`t just
    seek out trouble, you seek to advance a specific realm.

    When Tristan recieved the healing there was no talk of a money exchange.
    Which is how must D&D healings are done. This was political. Tristan was
    the champion of Isolde (because he loved her), and in any event, the kinds
    of sums that paid healing costs are irrelevant to a noble character with
    access to GB`s. In BR, the motive for helping and championing, questing and
    adventuring, should be focused more on the realm and its interests than the
    older calculus of gps.

    If you might have placed a weapon for a character because it was time for
    him to get a new magic item (if he could overcome the challenges), place it
    in such a way that it highlights the special noble rank of the charatcers,
    their political goals and interests, and the relationships of the
    characters.

    For example, you might start out an adventure by revealing that theives have
    robbed the tomb of a wizard PC`s great uncle, who was a mighty wizard
    himself. His pearl of power has been stolen! the players chase down the
    theives, get embroiled in adventures, fight their sorcerous patron, and
    recover your great uncle`s pearl of power. You are returning the pearl to
    its sacred resting place when the spirit of your great uncle appears, thanks
    you for righting this injustice, and awards you the pearl as a reward, and
    as a gift from one wizard to his grand nephew, its just heir. He may pass
    on some valuable information of future use, and point the characters on a
    further adventure.

    This kind of focus on the dynasty, the realm, and the noble condition is one
    of the things that make BR what it is.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 11:21 PM 4/24/2002 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >I read an incident in Tristan (c.1210, German poetry) where Tristan (a
    >fighter type) is wounded in the leg by a poisoned weapon during a fight to
    >protect his beloved Isolde. He retired to Isolde`s family`s keep and
    >Isolde`s mother healed him.
    >
    >His incident struck me as something that might happen in BR. Lower level
    >BR characters have noble connections and relationships with more powerful
    >characters. While you don`t want higher level characters to come to the
    >direct rescue of player characters - they need to fight their own battles
    >- being able to ask questions, get healing, or scrolls and potions, have a
    >powerful spell lead off an adventure. I once had a group of characters go
    >across the continent by means of a powerful divine gate to collect a lower
    >level magic item.

    Have you ever adventured a campaign into it`s second generation? That is,
    the PCs "settle down" and have kids in their castles, the kids grow up and
    start adventuring? What I think you`re describing might be very much like
    that for a couple of reasons. First of all, retired adventurers often are
    very powerful. In non-BR campaigns they can wind up being much more
    powerful than standard BR regents. It can be a lot of fun running
    adventures by continuing a campaign into the next generation, but it does
    create a lot of problems, especially in regards to money and equipment of
    starting characters. High level PCs often have access to many "minor"
    magic items and it can be difficult to regulate what they give to their PC
    children without pulling the "DM Mandate" card all the time.

    Fortunately, in 3e there is the glimmer of a solution to this sort of thing
    in the ability to determine the ECL of characters and awarding different
    levels of XP for various CR encounters. That is, a "traditional" 1st level
    paladin should get the standard award for a CR 2 encounter. A noble 1st
    level paladin who is gifted with a suit of +1 plate armor and several
    potions should not get the same XP award. He didn`t use up the same amount
    of his materials, and those materials gave him a greater advantage in the
    encounter. When he`s getting to an encounter he can likely call in a favor
    or two to get access to records "traditional" PCs couldn`t, he can have
    influence with local authorities, maybe even hire some militiamen to
    accompany him.

    The question becomes how much is equipment and connections worth? What is
    the ECL of being the scion of a Scion?

    Gary

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  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Gary" <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET>
    Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 4:29 AM


    > Have you ever adventured a campaign into it`s second generation?

    I`ve always set up things to work that way, but never got things to run long
    enough. I keep hoping.

    > It does create a lot of problems, especially in regards to money and
    > equipment of starting characters. High level PCs often have access to
    > many "minor" magic items and it can be difficult to regulate what they
    > give to their PC children without pulling the "DM Mandate" card all
    > the time.

    I use all the familiar parent-child issues to limit this. Parents often
    don`t like to loan things to their children (they lose things, break things,
    mess them up). Some amount of the loaning is part of what we expect. I
    also prefer to have mostly one-shot, or charged magical items, so letting
    the kids use up charges means less remaining for mom and dad. Finally, if
    the magic supply is comming from mom and dad, I need to place less magic
    with treasure. As far as making them new magic items, if mom and or dad are
    rulers of realms, their time is highly valuable.

    > Fortunately, in 3e there is the glimmer of a solution to this sort of
    thing
    > in the ability to determine the ECL of characters and awarding different
    > levels of XP for various CR encounters. [...]
    > The question becomes how much is equipment and connections worth?
    > What is the ECL of being the scion of a Scion?

    Going by what is standard, you have blood powers, a free magic item, a lot
    of wealth, contacts with other powerful (N)PC`s. The number of potential
    aunts and uncles is pretty high indeed. However, these benefits are
    greatest for low level characters, and ultimatly the benefit becomes an
    obligation as the character finds himself being the uncle, parent, or
    cousin, giving aid to younger characters, and the benefits others can offer
    are not so great. What does an adult 6th level wizard want from his aging
    8th level clerical mother? Most of his clerical needs are handled by his
    6th level clerical buddy.

    Blood powers and the access to great wealth remain a part of the character
    throughout their life. First and second level characters who benifit the
    most from being able to hire a militiaman, or borrow some magic item, would
    be the ones to consider most.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  4. #4
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    What I have set up for my new campaign, which grew out of something I
    started doing before, is to start right off with the 1st level children of
    powerful lords in the realm. These NPC`s will reflect their parent`s
    politics, specialties, and connections, but are able to run around with the
    PC`s. Eventually these young NPC`s will start to replace their parents as
    rulers of domains. This provides a built-in way of forging connections
    between our noble PC`s and the rest of the nobles they presumably know well.

    A young NPC may just start off as a rival with the other PC`s, and later
    grow into a real enemy.

    By the time PC`s are rulers in their own rights, they know the political
    field pretty well, and in an organic way, rather just by saying here`s your
    realm.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  5. #5
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    In a message dated 4/25/02 12:30:42 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
    kgauck@MCHSI.COM writes:

    << This kind of focus on the dynasty, the realm, and the noble condition is
    one
    of the things that make BR what it is. >>

    I agree, I just wish my campaign could last that long! Too much time
    spent adventuring, too little realm-level stuff, I guess.

    IMO, one of the bigger shortcomings of the regional books (RoE, RH, CoS,
    etc.) was that almost no familial relationships were detailed. Sometimes, a
    child of a regent was named, but nowhere did we read about who was allied _by
    marriage_ to whom, and whose cousins were allied or rivals, or even who was
    married at all. Is Baron Ghoere or Archduke Boeruine Anuire`s "most eligible
    bachelor?" Is Avan a widower?

    Off-hand, has anyone ever played "Blood Royale" by Games Workshop
    (boardgame, circa 1989)? It had a simple mechanic for generating children
    and spouses, and the heart of the game was marriage contracts, alliances, and
    trade. I`d played a lot of it about 10 years ago, it was kind of amusing (in
    a sexist sort of way) to see guys working out deals and fighting wars across
    Europe, while their girlfriends got a lot more enjoyment out of rolling up
    kids. Should I scrape up the time, I`m going to dig out the tables for the
    neighboring (NPC) regents in my game. And maybe the random-events deck of
    cards.

    Lee.

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  6. #6
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    << Have you ever adventured a campaign into it`s second generation? That
    is,
    the PCs "settle down" and have kids in their castles, the kids grow up and
    start adventuring? What I think you`re describing might be very much like
    that for a couple of reasons. First of all, retired adventurers often are
    very powerful. In non-BR campaigns they can wind up being much more
    powerful than standard BR regents. It can be a lot of fun running
    adventures by continuing a campaign into the next generation, but it does
    create a lot of problems, especially in regards to money and equipment of
    starting characters. High level PCs often have access to many "minor"
    magic items and it can be difficult to regulate what they give to their PC
    children without pulling the "DM Mandate" card all the time.
    Fortunately, in 3e there is the glimmer of a solution to this sort of thing
    in the ability to determine the ECL of characters and awarding different
    levels of XP for various CR encounters. That is, a "traditional" 1st level
    paladin should get the standard award for a CR 2 encounter. A noble 1st
    level paladin who is gifted with a suit of +1 plate armor and several
    potions should not get the same XP award. He didn`t use up the same amount
    of his materials, and those materials gave him a greater advantage in the
    encounter. When he`s getting to an encounter he can likely call in a favor
    or two to get access to records "traditional" PCs couldn`t, he can have
    influence with local authorities, maybe even hire some militiamen to
    accompany him.
    The question becomes how much is equipment and connections worth? What is
    the ECL of being the scion of a Scion?
    >>

    There`s a table somewhere in the DMG (don`t have it with me), that gives the
    equipment value in gp for PCs of different level. It`s meant to determine
    how much gp of gear to give to a PC who starts above 1st level, and also to
    show exactly how gp of gear official adventure expect you to have when they
    say they are for PCs of Xth level.

    Anyhow, to determine the effective level of a character who much more or
    much less treasure than is the norm, do as follows: Calculate how much gp his
    equipment is worth. Look up on the table I mentioned above, which equipment
    level this equals to. Now take the average of the character`s ECL and his
    treasure level, and you`ve got his final effective level.

    Hope that made some sense.

    Also, if you like to give out greater or smaller amounts of treasure than is
    normal for the EL, consider the following: It is clear from various texts in
    both the PH and the DMG that 1 XP equals 5 gp. So then, for every 5 gp with
    which you reduce their treasure, increase their XP reward by 1. Or for every
    5 gp with which you increase their treasure, reduce their XP reward by 1.

    Combined with the method above of taking the average treasure level and ECL
    to determine effective level, and CR for NPCs, this should work fine for any
    campaign.

    - the Falcon

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  7. #7
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 01:16 PM 4/29/2002 +0200, the Falcon wrote:

    ><< The question becomes how much is equipment and connections worth? What is
    >the ECL of being the scion of a Scion? >>
    >
    >There`s a table somewhere in the DMG (don`t have it with me), that gives
    >the equipment value in gp for PCs of different level. It`s meant to
    >determine how much gp of gear to give to a PC who starts above 1st level,
    >and also to show exactly how gp of gear official adventure expect you to
    >have when they
    >say they are for PCs of Xth level.
    >
    >Anyhow, to determine the effective level of a character who much more or
    >much less treasure than is the norm, do as follows: Calculate how much gp
    >his equipment is worth. Look up on the table I mentioned above, which
    >equipment level this equals to. Now take the average of the character`s
    >ECL and his treasure level, and you`ve got his final effective level.
    >
    >Hope that made some sense.

    This seems too simple, easy, convenient and logical to actually be
    useful.... ;-) This seems a very sensible solution. I`m going to give it
    a shot once or twice to see how it will work. It might also be useful for
    figuring out what a "class ability" of a noble character class who had as
    part of their class additional funds/equipment.

    An interesting effect of factoring equipment into ECL is that it could work
    both ways. A 10th level fighter with very little equipment could get
    negative ECLs.

    >Also, if you like to give out greater or smaller amounts of treasure than
    >is normal for the EL, consider the following: It is clear from various
    >texts in both the PH and the DMG that 1 XP equals 5 gp. So then, for every
    >5 gp with which you reduce their treasure, increase their XP reward by 1.
    >Or for every
    >5 gp with which you increase their treasure, reduce their XP reward by 1.
    >
    >Combined with the method above of taking the average treasure level and
    >ECL to determine effective level, and CR for NPCs, this should work fine
    >for any campaign.

    Excellent points, but I`m not sure about the XP/gp exchange rate. Giving 1
    XP per 5gp is problematic given the gp/level table (p43) in the DMG. The
    gp value of equipment goes up faster than the XP per level, particularly at
    higher levels. 15th to 16th level, for instance, is 15,000 XP, but
    60,000gp. At 5:1 that would get the PC a max of 12,000XP, nearly doubling
    his XP. From 2nd to 3rd level, however, it takes 2,000 XP and the
    difference in gp is 1,800 for a 5:1 ratio of 360 XP. Eventually (at 16th
    level) one would earn XP from reduced treasure at the same rate as CR
    awards. That is, the 16,000XP required to reach 17th level could be
    reached just as well by the 80,000gp in equipment given as a XP award instead.

    Also, if PCs do have some sort of equipment windfall later in a campaign
    and find themselves more in line with Table 2-24 it wouldn`t be easy to
    take away those XP awards even though they are now "standard" ECL.

    Gary

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  8. #8
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I personally like the tables in principle, and I do keep an eye on tables
    2-34 through 2-43 in the DMG when I make NPC`s. I assume they are based off
    of table 2-24 (which Falcon refered to) Starting Equipment for PC`s above
    1st level. However, I have some BR-ralated problems with the basic
    assumptions of the chart.

    Rulers and nobles are wealtier than stock D&D characters. This has more of
    an effect at low level, where a simple 2000 gp (the standard GB) could be
    assumed to be easily within reach. Further, blooded characters are entitled
    to a free magic item. According to table 8-10, the base price for a +1
    weapon is 2000 gp (that familiar figure again). A +1 pair of half plate
    armor would be 1750 gp. So, given a character from the top of Cerilian
    society (a fairly common type of character in many BR campaigns), you almost
    just need to add a flat 2000 gps to table 2-24, and assume the extra goodies
    in tables 2-34 to 43. I`d further allow 1000 gps of finery, meaning noble
    and royal outfits, and really anything that says "noble" without being an
    adventuring advantage (like more armor, weapons, or magic items).

    For knightly class (by this I mean the third son of the second counsin of
    the count of a single province somewhere) a bonus + 500 gps would provide a
    noble`s outfit, a courtier`s outfit, and a masterwork weapon. Or similar
    valued goods for other classes. This 500 gps includes both gear and finery.

    The other thing, is that I make BR plentiful in low level (one shot) magic
    items, but rare in high powered magic items. Invariably, this also effects
    the results of table 2-24. Since I don`t want characters with three dozen
    magic items, even weak ones, I just end up very selective with higher level
    characters.

    A 6th level character is expected to have 13,000 gps of equipment, according
    to table 2-24. I listed the following items with Varri Haraldsson, king of
    Stjordvik. Each item is preceeded with its treasure value in gp`s.

    250 masterwork chain shirt
    350 masterwork claymore
    310 masterwork shortsword
    600 masterwork mighty [Str 14] composite longbow
    300 potion of cure moderate wounds
    150 potion of sneaking
    3000 rope of climbing
    20,000 Ravenscloak (cloak of invisibility)

    The Ravenscloak represents 80% of Varri`s equipment value. As a royal he
    has one really cool, dynastic magic item. Its not his personally, it
    belongs to the crown, and as king, he gets to use it. Helder has a crystal
    ball that belongs to the office of druidical advisor to the crown. Not
    directly valued is the ability of Helder to make Varri potions as needed.
    Some characters, Skjada one-eye, eorl of Saerskaap, for instance has no
    magic items, despite being 5th level. All of his stuff is masterword,
    though. By
    way of comparison, Olvir Heimirsson, godar of Broske, is a 6th level druid
    with the following equipment:

    1510 five masterwork shortspears
    175 masterwork studded leather armor
    157 masterwork large wooden shield
    750 two scrolls of protection from cold
    150 three cure light wounds
    300 two scrolls of barkskin
    1800 Quiver of Ehlonna

    Of these items, 1200 gps are self-made; 1842 are masterwork, and 1800 gps
    are some other kind of magical equipment. So, Olvir made 25% of his
    treasure himself, 38% of it is mundane masterwork items, and 37% is "found"
    (or inherited) treasure. His total value is 4842 gps, or well below the
    13,000 suggested.

    One could compare Varri to a 6th level ranger (table 2-41) and Olvir to a
    6th level druid (table 2-36). These are my approaches to BR`s magical
    circumstances. I bring them up to work with the issues involved, not to
    suggest that that are better than some other distribution of magic or
    character gear. At root, the tables (based on 2-24) are designed for pure
    adventurers, and not royals or nobles, and not neccesarily Cerilia, with its
    special magical circumstances either.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  9. #9
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    << This seems too simple, easy, convenient and logical to actually be
    useful.... ;-) This seems a very sensible solution. I`m going to give it
    a shot once or twice to see how it will work. It might also be useful for
    figuring out what a "class ability" of a noble character class who had as
    part of their class additional funds/equipment.
    >>

    What do you mean exactly by that last sentence?


    << An interesting effect of factoring equipment into ECL is that it could
    work both ways. A 10th level fighter with very little equipment could get
    negative ECLs.
    >>

    Well, that`s the idea, really.


    << Excellent points, but I`m not sure about the XP/gp exchange rate. Giving
    1
    XP per 5gp is problematic given the gp/level table (p43) in the DMG. The
    gp value of equipment goes up faster than the XP per level, particularly at
    higher levels. 15th to 16th level, for instance, is 15,000 XP, but
    60,000gp. At 5:1 that would get the PC a max of 12,000XP, nearly doubling
    his XP. From 2nd to 3rd level, however, it takes 2,000 XP and the
    difference in gp is 1,800 for a 5:1 ratio of 360 XP. Eventually (at 16th
    level) one would earn XP from reduced treasure at the same rate as CR
    awards. That is, the 16,000XP required to reach 17th level could be
    reached just as well by the 80,000gp in equipment given as a XP award instead.
    >>

    The 1XP:5gp rate is not based on the table you refer to. Rather, it is
    stated in core rulebooks that a spellcaster charges 5gp for every XP he
    loses in spellcasting. Also, the DMG states that if an NPC has an item
    creation feat, you should count items that she has created herself as being
    70% of the normal value, when calculating what her gear is worth. It
    explains that in effect you`re treating the XP cost of item creation as a gp
    cost instead. Now each item cost gp equal to 1/2 of the market value and XP
    equal 1/25 of the market value to make. Evidently, 50% of that 70% is the
    gp cost, which means that the 20% that`s left is the XP cost. 20% is 1/5. If
    1/25 of the market value in XP converts to 1/5 of the market value in gp,
    then 1 XP converts to 1 gp. More proof that 1XP:5gp is official.


    << Also, if PCs do have some sort of equipment windfall later in a campaign
    and find themselves more in line with Table 2-24 it wouldn`t be easy to
    take away those XP awards even though they are now "standard" ECL.
    >>

    Well, whatever you do, just be consistent. :)



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    I`ve got a 12-sided die
    I`ve got Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler too
    Waiting there for me, yes I do
    I do"
    - from "In The Garage", by Weezer
    ------------------------------------------

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    << Excellent points, but I`m not sure about the XP/gp exchange rate. Giving
    1
    XP per 5gp is problematic given the gp/level table (p43) in the DMG. The
    gp value of equipment goes up faster than the XP per level, particularly at
    higher levels. 15th to 16th level, for instance, is 15,000 XP, but
    60,000gp. At 5:1 that would get the PC a max of 12,000XP, nearly doubling
    his XP. From 2nd to 3rd level, however, it takes 2,000 XP and the
    difference in gp is 1,800 for a 5:1 ratio of 360 XP. Eventually (at 16th
    level) one would earn XP from reduced treasure at the same rate as CR
    awards. That is, the 16,000XP required to reach 17th level could be
    reached just as well by the 80,000gp in equipment given as a XP award instead.
    >>

    Oh, and something else: note that the equipment values for PCs are different
    than those for NPCs. NPC equipment value are very close to (slightly less
    than, to be precise) three times a treasure reward of their level. PC
    equipment values however, are based on the fact that it takes you 13 1/3
    encounters of your level to earn XP to reach the next level, assuming a
    party of four. This also means you get 13 1/3 treasure rewards of your
    level. Again a party of four is assumed, so that means you get ([13 1/3] / 4
    =) 3 1/3 treasure rewards of your level, per level. Of course, you use up
    some of that, so in the end, the equipment value table for PCs is based on
    the assumption that you retain a net amount of 3 treasure rewards of your
    level, per level.

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