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[Let's Read] Birthright Campaign Setting

Beckett

Golden Wyvern Adept
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Boeruine is lawful neutral and not available for PCs. It's a big realm of 9 provinces- three are level 6, the rest are level 3. Aeric Boeruine, archduke, rules all of the law. All of it. No law for you. The text even points out that no one even has a law 0 holding. There are a couple of temples splitting up the temple holdings, and a few active guilds- one being the Boeruine Trading Guild. All sources are held by Arlen Innis.

Boeruine is a powerful realm. It generates 91 RP each round (although its regent can only take 2/3 of that), and has over 150 GB stock piled away. The third largest army in Anuire is found here, trailing behind Avanil and Ghoere. It's needed to deal with threats from multiple directions- Avanil's armies coming through Taeghas, goblins form the Five Peaks, or Rhuobhe going on the warpath.

Aeric Boeruine rules here as archduke. He claims to be descend from the derivation of Roele's bloodline, but no one seems to be in a hurry to crown him. He's one of most powerful monarchs around, being a 12th level fighter with a 60 point major bloodline. The image here, I was thinking he looks a bit like Robert from Game of Thrones, but his description sounds more like a Lannister- he's going to pay back any favor or harm done to him.

As far as lieutenants, he's got the best sort- other regents. The head of the Boeruine Trading Guild is a vassal, as is the mage Arlen Innis. He's also got an 8th level fighter serving as one of his generals, a fighter who happens to be the grandson of an elf serving Rhuobhe Manslayer.

Boeruine has vocal support from Talinie, but no gold or troops. Alamie is an ally, but only against the Five Peaks. As far as enemies, his chief rival is Darien Avan, Prince of Avanil, so he counts as foe any allies of Avanil.

Just as the Spider provides a check on activity on the Southern Coast, the Elf, Rhuobhe Manslayer, keeps the Western Coast watchful. If Boeruine goes to war, the Elf will attack. And the Manslayer has made several attempts to personally end Aeric.

I think there's a temptation to paint Boeruine as the bad guy in the fight with Avanil, but neither really is. They both get to serve as big obstacles for anyone trying to seize the Iron Throne.
 

macd21

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Taeghas could be an interesting domain for PCs : like Tuornen, it's stuck between the two major powers that are Anuire and Boeruine, which would require careful diplomacy. Also, it's right next to Rhuobhe and his merry band of murderous elves.

On the other hand, I feel that Talinie is too isolated to be very useful.
Yeah, Talinie is in a very interesting position, as is whats-it-called, the small merchant realm next door. Subjects of Avanil, they need to play off the great powers if they want to advance their own agendas.

I find Talinie rather limited myself. I think its designed for a certain type of campaign - less wheeling and dealing with neighbouring realms, politics etc, instead focusing on internal issues while holding off the hostile neighbours.
 

Dirigible

i come in peace
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Taeghas also has a gorgeous mix of terrain. That means a lot to me when it comes to picking a domain. Taeghas, Khourane, Grevesmuhl...
 

Beckett

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Talinie is a seven province, lawful good realm, recommended for players, although as mentioned, it's pretty isolated. It has Boeruine on one side, and its other neighbors area goblin realm and a puppet state of the Gorgon. It's not the first choice for political wheeling and dealing, but could be a place for a group to set up interested in a frontier life and plenty of adventure. Talinie got a two page write-up.

Talinie is a theocracy, run by Thuriene Donalls, Thane of Talinie, who also runs the Northern Imperial Temple of Haelyn. Aeric Boeruine has picked up a few law holdings, but Thuriene has the rest, and all the temples. Two guilds share those holdings, and Torele Anviras has all the sources.

Thuriene is noted for having ruled 15 years, and kept Talinie from falling to Boeruine, or to goblins and bandits. The first she accomplished by allying with Boeruine, the latter seems some skill and luck. Talinie maintains a small army.

Interesting facts, Talinie has an unblooded priest as her lieutenant, who has been using her. She's naive, so the lieutenant has an easy time manipulating her, and he's not as devoted to Haelyn as she is; he gets his power form Eloele.

The realm is almost entirely in the Aelvinnwode, one of the great forests. So, there is concern for the environment, but not much.

Allies and enemies, by allying with Boeruine, Talinie has Avanil as an enemy, but, (isolated, remember) Avanil would need to march through three kingdoms to do anything. More of a concern are raiders out of Thurazor and Five Peaks.

Special Conditions- the text says that Talinie contains plenty of industry, but also has a lot of power, as used by Torele Anviras, who works with Thuriene. The rumor is that he's discovered ways to summon magic from even cultivated lands.

The numbers say otherwise. Plenty of industry? Talinie has a 5/2 province, but three of the provinces are 2/5, and two are 3/4, with a 1/4 as the last. That doesn't say lots of industry to me, nor any reason why Torele would need to come up with a new way to draw out magic from the land. Dude has magic holdings that would make most wizards jealous.
 

Outremer

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It's not the first choice for political wheeling and dealing, but could be a place for a group to set up interested in a frontier life and plenty of adventure.
Quite right. Ruling Talinie could be interesting, but it would focus more on developing the kingdom, exploring its wild neighbors and hunting down monsters than on diplomacy and traditional warfare.

Mind you, Talinie is isolated only by Anuirean standards. In Khinasi, for instance, it's not rare for a kingdom to be mostly surrounded by hostile and uncivilized domains.


It's interesting that the "power behind the throne" happens to be an unblooded character. It's very rare for unblooded NPCs to hold important positions in the Birthright setting.
 
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Beckett

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We're back to one page write-ups, with a pair of Neutral Evil realms, although very different Neutral Evil realms.

Brosengae is a 3 province recommended realm. The Duchess of Brosengae is one Eriene Mierelen, half-elf thief (and I'm noticing a trend here- apparently Neutral Evil is the default alignment for mercantile kingdoms. A slam against capitalism?). Eriene has sworn fealty to Darien Avan, and in return, he gets half her law. Seriously- she's got a 4 pointer in her capital, then splits the law in the other two realms with Avan, 3/1 in his favor. Two temples vie for control, though there's room for more. Eriene has all the guilds (and we'll have to get to the end of the section for the full extent of her holdings as Brosen Royal Guild. These sorts of entries should come with a note). Although the provinces could have sources (two 3s and a 1), there are none.

Eriene keeps secrets from her liege (and that's another thing- what's with Avan having all these NE thief vassals?). The biggest secret is negotiations with Boeruine to get rid of Avanil's oppressive domination (almost an exact quote). I smell an opportunist, hoping that one side skills the other, then she can stab a dagger in the corpse and remind the winner she backed them the whole time.

Fun fact, Brosengae has the nicest court on the Wester Coast, rivaling that of Boeruine.

Brosengae catches all the storms, it's always raining. The northern provinces get raided by trolls. Armies need to be raised to fight trolls, and that means raising taxes, which makes people surly and/or rebellious. Eriene tries to put on celebrations to bump loyalty, but someone (who she suspects to be Avanil agents) always points out the bread and circuses for what they are.

Rhuobhe is a one province holding, not available to PCs, because this is the domain of Rhuobhe Manslayer, the Elf. Remember way back in the history section where the elves were fighting all these human settlers, but in the end, joined with them against the Shadow? Rhuobhe said, "Fuck that, I'ma going to keep killing humans." And so he has.

Rhuobhe is a 2/9 province, and the Elf holds all the Law and all the Sources, but we're not told the ratings. This is very much a monster realm; Rhuobhe plays at diplomacy for his own amusement, then sends back the diplomats' heads. Rhuobhe controls the main pass through the mountains, making this the main hold up for Avanil and Boeruine going to war.

Once we get through this book, we'll move on to included cards which have a bit more on the Elf.
 

Jeremy Kopczynski

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Avan probably accepts anyone willing to be a vassal and if I were a thief ruler being or at least playing at being a loyal vassal would allow me to focus on other concerns than being on his enemies list.
 

Outremer

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The elves of Rhuobhe could really be a huge pain in the butt for all neighboring domains. Rhuobhe Manslayer himself isn't quite as strong as the Gorgon, but precious few people in the whole setting would stand a chance against him (weapons that are less than +3 don't even harm him). Forging an alliance against him could be an interesting (if very dangerous) challenge for PCs.

Brosengae could be an interesting domain for players who enjoy intrigue, but Endier would probably be better.
 

Beckett

Golden Wyvern Adept
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Taeghas is a neutral, recommended realm, although I don't know who is recommending it. It has some problems, and the text has some problems. It is a pretty large realm of eight provinces, one of these rated a 6/0, everything else has a province level of 3 or less.

The ruler is Harald Khorien, Count of Taeghas, a human magician *record scratch* No no no no. He's blooded, he's a regent, he should not be a magician, he should be a wizard. I don't think magicians are even allowed to be regents, and they certainly can't cast realm spells. And Harald is ready to toss around realm spells- he owns every source available, which includes three 6 point sources.

What he doesn't have is law- he has half the law holdings in the 6/0 territory, and that's it. According to the text, Harald didn't want to be a ruler, but his family was killed by Rhuobhe Manslayer, so suddenly Harald is regent (which disrupted the magical research he was working on). Darien Avan got word that Harald didn't want to rule, so he offered to take over running the country, in exchange for fealty. Harald said yes, so Darien has the other half of the law holdings in the 6/0, and 1 or 2 levels in the rest of the land. Just to keep things interesting, Aeric Boeruine has some 0 level footholds.

Harald seems okay with this, more time for studying. I'm not sure a PC would want to be dropped into this mess.

So, Taeghas is in the middle of where Avanil and Boeruine would fight. And Brosengae would love to take some of the land off Harald's hands, but Harald isn't willing to give it up.

Now, at least one mistake I see on the page is the mention of the capital being in Bhaine. While this makes sense, with Bhaine being the 6/0 province, the map shows the capital in Seasdeep. And just as a point of notice, the province Seamist is one of two landlocked provinces in the realm.

Of the mistakes, a misplaced capital makes sense over a magician regent. The book doesn't really go into what happens to a magician who gets blooded, but it's pretty clear that a magician is limited to lesser magic, which means no realm magic.

Opposite this entry is art of a group of humans being best by elves. Unfortunately, these elves look quite a lot like Merry in the Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings.

Other Domains This time around, all the other domains are showing the complete holdings of regents previously described. Here we have all of the Northern Imperial Temple of Haelyn, ruled from Talinie, the Brosen Royal Guild, of Brosengae (and we see it reached into Avanil and Tuornen), and Harald Khorien, and we see that Harald at least gets from his deal sources throughout Avanil. And okay, here it lists Harald as a wizard, so I suppose just a typo in the country notes.

The Heartlands As we continue, we're be getting into some large realms (and Endier). Avanil, Ghoere, and Mhoried all sit in the Heartlands. There's good farmland here, but also areas where nothing will grow due to too many battles: "the dusty earth has absorbed the blood of generations". The Heartlands are also home to the Imperial City of Anurie.

Rumors for this area: Darien Avan is going to solidify his hold on the City of Anurie, reasoning that holding the city means holding the empire.

The thought of Darien expecting fealty from the other regents here has Gavin Tael, Baron of Ghoere, training his armies along his borders, which makes people nervous.

There are no awnsheghlien in the Heartlands, though they do border the Spiderfell, but Ghoere and Endier have prepared for that. Less prepared are they all for if the Gorgon chooses to attack- it's been 20 years since the last time he came crashing through.

The Guardians of Mhoried are noticing more frequent training by the armies of Markazor and Mur-Kilad. Since they're puppets of the Gorgon, that means another attack is likely- and the Gorgon's attacks start through Mhoried.
 

Outremer

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I don't think there's any rule preventing a blooded magician from being a regent, but it's true that he shouldn't be able to do anything with sources (except prevent others from using them).

Being stuck between Avanil and Boeruine would be a challenging situation for PCs, but Tuornen is in the same situation and would be a more interesting domain than Taeghas.

Weird little detail in "Other domains" : while Brosengae is "recommended", the Brosen Royal Guild is "not available for PCs"... even though it belongs to the regent of Brosengae.
 
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