[Let's Read] Birthright Campaign Setting

Dirigible

i come in peace
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Heh, this is what I get for faffing about mulling over whether to do a Let's Read of BR myself. Trumped! And subscribed! My favourite campaign setting of all time, one I've run in a half-dozen systems at least, and am running to this very day.

This is one of the reasons that I've developed a certain amount of ambiguity towards Birthright, as my tastes have changed and grown. Here we have a setting in which the ruling class is not only treated as better than those whom they rule, but have a qualitative way of demonstrating that, yes, they are better.
I get what you're saying, but it bothers my democracy-lovin' soul no more than playing in all these fantasy worlds with real, interventionalist gods upsets my atheism.

Well, the Blooded don't actually have any kind of divine mandate to rule. They're just inherently better at making rulership-related decisions than non-Blooded of otherwise equivalent stats and skills. Under the circumstances, it's hard to imagine a non-Blooded leader getting much traction.
The Domain chapter in fact says that blooded characters cannot be regents, though it doesn't say why. I've heard some people suggest competetive disadvantage: the greatest unblooded statesperson would be less able to rule than the worst blooded person. But I've always suspected that it's more to do with the Fisher King-esque link between the lord and the land. Cerillia is suffused with divine energy - fallout from Deismaar, if you like - and so only someone likewise suffused can connect to it.
 

rabindranath72

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Updating this to 3.5/Pathfinder would be rather hard, wouldn't it? Bloodiness is presented as something to be strengthened outside of normal class progression, and not particularly balanced at all, what with bloodtheft and the like. Maybe the divine bloodlines could be adapted into specialized Pathfinder mythic paths, with great feats of rulership and slaying of Blooditudinous enemies counting as mythic trials?
I did, it wasn't particularly difficult; I created three templates "Blooded" one for each strength, with different LAs, and gave the 2nd edition blood abilities as special abilities and qualities of the template. It worked quite well.
 
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Matt-M-McElroy

What Are You Afraid Of?
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Just a quick FYI that I've requested the cards from WotC. If we get them we'll update past orders so everyone gets the file.

-MMM
 

Putraack

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Subscribing!

This is my hands-down favorite setting for (A)D&D. Before it came out, my groups usually played in undefined homebrew worlds that drew a lot from Greyhawk. When it hit, a friend bought it, but I soon bought the box off of him and went on to get everything in print.

It has become my default world for running any D&D, with or without the regency game. Since I've spent so much time adjusting it here and there, and participating in discussions on BR.net, I feel very comfortable with the setting and its inhabitants. I rarely look at an adventure or prestige class or anything without thinking, "Can I make this fit into my Cerilia, or not?" When 3e/3.5 came along, I followed along with that. Lately, I have been wanting to run more 2e again, especially as I help my son introduce his teenage friends to RP'ing.

What's funny is that my players almost never want to be rulers, although I've bashed at least one into it on 2 occasions. I spend far more time in running the world like any other world, just with bloodlines for characters whose players request them. It must be working, my campaign pitches get accepted more often than not.

I'm currently running the Kingmaker AP, using Pathfinder rules and the Ultimate Campaign, instead of the BR rules for regency. With a few tinkering bits here and there, it's working out very well, IMO.
 

Putraack

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I did, it wasn't particularly difficult; I created three templates "Blooded" one for each strength, with different LAs, and gave the 2nd edition blood abilities as special abilities and qualities of the template. It worked quite well.
In hindsight, templates might have worked better than the attempt made in the 3e conversion book I'm using. I'd be interested in seeing your work, if you don't mind.
 

Davies

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Just a quick FYI that I've requested the cards from WotC. If we get them we'll update past orders so everyone gets the file.
Good to know, Mr. McElroy, thank you very much.

History of Cerilia, Part The Second

So last time the Cerilians had settled in on their new continent, and, aside from all the pesky elves and goblins, things were going pretty good. Kingdoms apparently rise and fall (but are not discussed in any detail) before we get a salutary lesson on the notion of running away from one's problems when Azrai shows up and starts mucking about. Rather than just engage in a battle, he decides to be sneaky, since, you know, he's the Shadow.

He starts giving clerical powers and teachings to the goblins and gnolls of Vosgraad, the northwestern part of Cerilia, who already believe in some sort of shadowy power and are pleased as punch to start getting some benefit from doing so. (This may become important later.) Then he starts talking to the Vos, the humans who live in Vosgraad, who haven't had a whole heck of a lot of luck worshipping Vorynn here in the new world, and stop following the path of the moon and magic for that of the mace and sword.

Not satisfied with these converts, though, Azrai presents proposals to the elves and dwarves. The dwarves, being the stolid types that they inevitably are, basically ignore his pitch. The elves ... don't. They decide that the whole idea of a continent swept clean of humans that they're being offered sounds like a swell idea, and sign up on Azrai's ticket. Said ticket by now includes the goblins, gnolls, Vos, elves, and rounding out Team Evil are those darned decadent southern empires we mentioned, who've now shown up.

By this point, though, the Cerilians have tumbled to the idea that they're in trouble. Realizing, as others have, that they must all hang together or will surely hang separately, they set aside their mutual squabbles and ally as a bloc, along with the dwarves (who don't really give two hoots about the humans, but do give a hoot about the goblins getting ahead of them.) The Unfortunately, even with all their powers combined, things are looking pretty grim.

So, in a desperation move, the gods themselves descend to fight alongside their champions, and it's here that we meet two brothers, Haelyn and Roele, who are the champions of Anduiras, and their half-brother, Raesene, who is one of the champions of Azrai. (Later for how that happened.) And they're fighting on the slopes of ... you guessed it, Mount Deismaar. Things still aren't looking too good, until the majority of the elves, having had second thoughts about being in alliance with a force of ultimate darkness, switch sides to even out the odds.

And then ... well, Boom. The majority of the combatants, including the gods themselves, and the entire nation of the Masetian people, exit the stage. And those who survive are changed forever. The main champions of the gods have also disappeared, having absorbed enough divine essence to become a new generation of deities much like the old one. (If you think this is a little suspicious, so do some people in setting.)

Haelyn ascends to take the place of Anduiras.
Erik takes the place of Reynir.
Sera takes the place of Brenna.
Ruornil takes the place of Voryn.
Nesirie takes the place of Masela, and probably wonders what the heck she's supposed to do without a chosen people.
Avani takes the place of Basaia.

There are some new developments, and they're sort of interesting in a 'what's really going on here' sort of way. On the one hand we're told that the new gods were those who represented those who were most like the old ones. And we're also told that Raesene was the most powerful of Azrai's champions. But he doesn't become Azrai's replacement as a new god of evil; that role is divided between two Vos warriors who've not been mentioned so far, Kriesha and Belinik. Raesene will offer up a vague explanation for why that happened when he gets interviewed in another product, but you sort of have to wonder ... however, he isn't exactly hurting here. Because the mortal survivors of the battle have also been granted some of the divine essence associated with those deities who were most like them, and he's gotten a fair chunk of Azrai's power. So much that he becomes twisted and monstrous, becoming known, in time, as the Gorgon.

Back at the battle, though, most of the survivors are a little dazed by these developments, but some are eager to find out whether or not they can take more of the power from their fellows. They can, and though probably no one shouts, "There can be only one", the idea of bloodtheft is invented, supposedly by good ol' Raesene himself. Anyway, most of Azrai's minions end up escaping and, like the Gorgon, becoming gradually twisted by their powers into inhuman things, called "abominations" or awnsheghlien (awn-SHAY-len).

Needless to say, having the bloodline of a god is a real career boost if you envision a career in government. And quite promptly after the end of the battle of Deismaar, a new war for control of Cerilia begins.

Around this time, there's also the discovery that there's another world existing alongside Cerilia, a sort of ... shadowy, fallen place ruled mostly by the undead. This Shadow World occasionally impinges on the fields we know at places of death and destruction, allowing those creatures beyond to gain access to it. The contending rulers of this age regard this discovery with an attitude of "meh, whatever", and even to the present, most people don't know much about it, except for the halflings.

Wait, the halflings? Why do they --

Next: The Rise and Fall of the Ainurean Empire
 
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Dirigible

i come in peace
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GODSPLOSION.

I seem to recall a claim somewhere that the Spider was the first blood-thief, but I can't find it anywhere. Let this be a taste of things to come: Birthright is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions that ironically give it a more authentic feel; it feels like a collection of opinions and narratives rather than word-of-game-designer-as-god.

(For example: what's an ehrshegh? A character with a non-Azrai bloodline and the Bloodtrait ability? A character with an Azrai bloodline, Bloodform and a good alignment? Opinions vary depending on which book you're reading!)
 

theliel

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GODSPLOSION.

I seem to recall a claim somewhere that the Spider was the first blood-thief, but I can't find it anywhere. Let this be a taste of things to come: Birthright is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions that ironically give it a more authentic feel; it feels like a collection of opinions and narratives rather than word-of-game-designer-as-god.

(For example: what's an ehrshegh? A character with a non-Azrai bloodline and the Bloodtrait ability? A character with an Azrai bloodline, Bloodform and a good alignment? Opinions vary depending on which book you're reading!)
Honestly the hardest thing to design is coherent inconsistency - because when you get it right it just works and makes everything better. The trick is not to have mutually contradictory things - but instead that any set of outcomes works together but still supports the other conclusions when looked at with imperfect information.
 

rabindranath72

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In hindsight, templates might have worked better than the attempt made in the 3e conversion book I'm using. I'd be interested in seeing your work, if you don't mind.
I didn't like the 3e BRCS netbook one iota; too convoluted, and added too many things which were not part of the setting to begin with. The solution proposed in Dragon 315 of using feats also wasn't very convincing, because feats are acquired at fixed levels, but a character could gain more blood abilities at any time. So the template idea looked the simplest and most effective. I am a "core books only" guy, I want to keep things as simple as possible. If I have time, I'll try to dig the stuff out (not sure where it is at the moment, sorry.)
 
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