BRCS:Chapter two/Blood and regency » Usurpation

See Also: BRCS Chapter two: Usurpation - This page is a rewrite of the section in the BRCS

[top]Usurping a bloodline

Soon after Deismaar, when newly blooded scions from the two sides met in battle for the first time, a strange discovery was made. If two scions met in battle, and one perished, it was possible for the victor to claim a portion of his slain foe's divine energy and thus become all the stronger. The awnshegh known as The Spider was among the first to discover this ability as he fought to lead the surviving goblins from Mount Deismaar after the death of the old gods; this Usurpation of the other scion's power help turn him into the corrupt being that exists today. Since that day, thousands of other scions have fought to claim other's birthrights, drawing their enemies into traps or even challenging them outright, for usurpation of enemy's divine bloodline remains one of the easiest ways to increase one's own power.

However, because the scion's divine essence is contained in his blood, this usurpation can only occur if a scion dies in a violent manner and his blood is literally spilt. If a blooded character dies non-violently, by poison, or a spell that doesn't result in the spilling of blood, then the divine essence of their bloodline passes with them, either to their Blood Heir or to another person via the Land's Choice if they had not designated a heir. However, if a scion's blood is spilt as a result of his death in hand-to-hand combat then the divine essence of his or her birthright is released in a burst of immediate power.

Usurpation is typically carried out by one scion on another, however in less common cases the slain scion's bloodline passes to nearby non-scions, or even animals, certain stones and reputedly plants if the wilder stories of Rjurik druids are to be believed.

[top]The Regency Storm

For a tainted bloodline (a minor bloodline with a score of 19 or less), the release of a dying scion's divine essence may only produce a slight tingling perceptible only to those in the immediate area of effect. The slaying of a scion of a minor bloodline will produce more noticeable effects: crackling static discharge, gusts of wind, etc. The violent death of a scion with a bloodline of Major strength always results in a storm of crackling energy and violent winds, while the effects associated with the slaying of a scion of a Great bloodline may be visible for miles. When the gods died at Deismaar tales say that Basarji scholars in Djapar saw the sky light up like day and heard a great thunder rend the air.

People, animals, and on very rare occasions, even objects in the immediate area of a scion's violent death may absorb a portion of the scion's divine essence. This burst of divine energy can be measured in the form of RP equal to five times the victim's bloodline ability score. The radius of this burst of energy is equal to five feet for every point of power released. For example, a scion with a bloodline score of 20 is slain in combat; the result burst of energy will have a radius of 100 ft. This burst of energy is not affected by the scion's current regency reserve (which normally passes to her invested heir), but from her very body. This radius is called the regency storm, a term which is also applied to the much wider area over which the energy discharge can be seen.

[top]Usurpation gains

When a scion is usurped, they release a regency storm containing Regency Points equal to five times their bloodline score.

Any blooded character within the radius of the effect may absorb the RP released in this burst; however the actual amount absorbed will depend on the strength of the receiving scion?s bloodline. A scion with a particularly weak bloodline will only be able to absorb a small portion of the released regency. A scion of a very strong bloodline, on the other hand, may find the released energy does very little to enhance their bloodline strength.

Each scion within the area of effect absorbs the released RP as follows. Start with the closest scion; in the case of ties, select the scion with the highest bloodline strength and then the highest score. This scion is exposed to the released RP. She absorbs the RP, up to a limit of twice her current bloodline strength. Any unabsorbed RP continues out in a burst that affects the next closest scion.

For example, if a scion with a bloodline score of 12 is slain, he releases a burst of energy equal to 60 RP. Three other scions are within the 60 ft. range of the blast; the closest has a bloodline score of 7, the next closest a score of 14, and the farthest scion has a score of 20. The first scion absorbs his maximum limit (14 RP), increasing his bloodline score by one to 8, and the remaining 46 RP burst continues to the next scion. The second scion also absorbs his maximum limit (28 RP), again increasing his bloodline score by one to 15, and the remaining 18 RP pass to the final scion. The final scion absorbs the remaining energy gaining 18 RP to add to his regency pool. Scions of very powerful bloodlines may gain nothing from slaying scions of very weak bloodlines.

[top]Bloodline domination

While this bloodline usurpation may seem an easy way to increase a scion's blood power, it does come with its risks. When a scion absorbs the bloodline essence of a scion with a bloodline score higher than his, then he faces the risk of the victim's bloodline derivation effectively overwhelming his own. It is actually possible for a scion's bloodline derivation to change as the new, more powerful bloodline grounds itself in the slayer's body. This can only occur if the slayer absorbs the maximum RP (twice his current bloodline score) during usurpation. If this happens, then the scion must make a contested bloodline check or change the derivation of his bloodline to the newly absorbed derivation.

The scion normally gets a +10 circumstance bonus to this check, unless the slain scion possessed a bloodline derived from Azrai. The corrupting influence of the dark god's bloodline is particularly difficult to resist, and scions absorbing the energy of Azrai do not gain this bonus. This is one of the reasons why Azrai's bloodline is still so prevalent in Cerilia; many a scion has slain an Awnshegh only to discover their bloodline has become corrupted by Azrai's foul taint. If a scion's bloodline derivation changes, then any blood abilities he possessed that are not available to his new bloodline derivation are immediately lost and replaced by blood abilities permitted by the new derivation.

A less well known form of bloodline domination involves the case when the recipient and donor scion are of the same bloodline derivation. In this case there may be a change to the recipient's family line (most scions have similar bloodline abilities to their parents and more distant ancestors) after absorbing the bloodline of a strong scion the recipient may find that their family line has changed to either that of their target, or a mix of the two.

[top]Who usurps?

If there is more than one person within the radius of the release, the regency is usurped first by the scion nearest to the release (if two scions are equally close then the scion with the stronger bloodline usurps by preference, if both have the same bloodline strength then the one with the higher bloodline score usurps by preference) any excess regency above what the first scion can absorb is usurped by the next closest to the slain scion, etc. If no scions are present then a non-scion can usurp the bloodline if their basic nature follows that of the god whose bloodline flowed in the slain scion.

Usurpation by the non-blooded
Non-blooded creatures exposed to divine energies released during usurpation may spontaneously become blooded. This occurred on a massive scale at Deismaar and transformed its heroes into the first scions. If a non-blooded character absorbs RP from a source whose derivation agrees with their basic nature, they may become blooded. The non-blooded character must make a character level check (d20 + character level) against a DC of 20 (15 if the derivation is Azrai). If successful, the character becomes blooded and gains a bloodline ability score of 5 or one half of the bloodline strength of the victim whichever is lower, with the bloodline strength and derivation of the victim. Newly created scions are not subject to a maximum regency collection - they absorb all available regency in their share of the burst. None of this regency is stored; it is immediately used to raise the new scion's bloodline score at the standard cost (twice the current bloodline score) up to a maximum of one less than the victim. This process is repeated until all RP are spent (the remainder are discarded).

For example, a scion of Anduiras (major, 16) is slain by a blow through the heart by a non-blooded character. A burst of divine energy with an intensity of 80 RP is released and absorbed in its entirety by the slayer. The non-blooded slayer makes a character level check against DC 20. If the check fails, the 80 RP are forever gone (the RP are not absorbed by the non-blooded character, but instead pass through him and into the land with no permanent effect to character). If the check succeeds, the slayer becomes a scion with a bloodline of Anduiras (major, 10). The bloodline score was calculated as follows. The scion gains a starting score of 5. The absorbed regency increases this total by +5; from 5 to 6 (10 RP spent, 70 remaining), from 6 to 7 (12 RP spent, 58 remaining), from 7 to 8 (14 RP spent, 44 remaining), from 8 to 9 (16 RP spent, 28 remaining), from 9 to 10 (18 RP spent, 10 remaining). The remaining 10 RP are discarded, and the newly created scion starts with a regency reserve of 0 RP. The newly created scion also has a major bloodline and is eligible to gain a single level of the Anduiras scion class.

Usurpation by animals
If no scion and no other sentient being, is within the regency storm then the bloodline may be usurped by an animal - particularly if the animal killed the scion. The Hydra, The Boar and The Wolf all are presumed (or known) to have gained their bloodlines in this manner. All of these possess the blood of Azrai however and it is possible that only this bloodline is able to pass to animals.

It is notable that those animals that usurp a bloodline are less likely to pass this bloodline on to their offspring than intelligent creatures (where the birth of an unblooded child only usually occurs if both parents have tainted bloodlines or a parent is non-blooded and the other has a minor bloodline), bloodlines that date back to Deismaar run in both dogs and horses, but even in these carefully bred creatures it is rare for more than one in ten births to be of a blooded animal.

Usurpation by stones
Two types of stone are known to absorb bloodlines, Sielsheghlien and Mebhaighl stones.

Sielsheghlien (singular Sielshegh) are gemstones that correspond to the old gods, each of whom was associated with a particular gemstone. Sielsheghlien are created when a scion dies and there are no animals or people around to absorb the regency released by a scion's death. This typically occurs only if the regency release is very large, or the scion dies without outside assistance, for example by falling from a great height. It is rumored that Wulf Danig knew the secret of making sielsheghlien but few give this credence - at best the sielsheghlien would absorb regency that Wulf could have absorbed himself and why would a scion not wish to strengthen their bloodline directly?

Mebhaighl stones are typically smooth ovoids that are not associated with any particular bloodline, but have an ability to store and magnify the natural magic of the land. Mebhaighl stones are only known to have been created at Deismaar although the force of the mountain's explosion threw them far across Cerilia.

Usurpation by plants
According to an old report by a druid of Hogunmark, it is possible for a tree to absorb a bloodline. Reputedly the Windrider, an Ehrshegh of Reynir who had had shape-changed into an eagle was mobbed by crows while flying back to his grove. Badly injured he crashed into the branches of a great fir. The regency storm spiraled around the trunk of the fir turning the bark black and the leaves silver. No reputable witnesses have confirmed this report however and the druids of Hogunmark refuse to say more.

Less common forms of usurpation are bloodtheft and forced blood inheritance.

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