September 30, 2014

5E Birthright - Character Classes

Character Class
The majority of the classes do not need to be altered. However, a few do need some clarifications. Also, the original setting precluded certain races from being specific classes (paladins can only be Anuirean or Khinasi; elves can not be clerics, etc). 5E makes an effort to allow for all race and class combinations. If a DM allows for this, it can be rationalized that such characters are outside the norm for their culture but still allow them; the role-playing aspects springing from such a difference could be interesting as well.
   The new classes and archtypes should work just fine in a Birthright game.
   Sorcerers, Warlocks and Wizards can all use realm magic. For those other classes that have access to arcane spells they can use true magic, but not realm magic.
5E is an inclusive game that seeks to allow all the combinations of class, race and ability. It is our recommendation that the bard not be limited to the schools of magic they can cast spells from. In addition, we would also recommend that bards be allowed to be regents. However, check with your DM first.
The Domains of the gods need to be defined. Currently there are only seven Domains, but more can be added as they are added through supplements.

Haelyn: War
Erik: Nature
Cuiraecen: Tempest
Nesirie: Life
Ruornil: Knowledge
Sera: Trickery
Avani: Light
Eloele: Trickery
Laerme: Light
Kriesha: Tempest
Belinik: War
Moradin: Life

The magician was fairly unique to Birthright at the time, but it is easy to implement within the 5E rules. Magicians are the same as wizards with the following changes:
·        You can only cast 1st and 2nd level spells from a school of magic other than Divination or Illusion.
·        Each time you gain a wizard level, you can add one additional spell to your spellbook (beyond the two you can normally add). However, this spell must be of the Divination or Illusion school of magic.
·        When you reach 2nd level instead of choosing an Arcane Tradition you gain both the Divination and Illusion traditions.

There is no real cultural place for a monk to come from. A case could be made for the Khinasi or a secret order dedicated to hand-to-hand martial skills, but monks are not recommended.
The major thing to consider with a warlock are the Patrons. Patrons, by default, are otherworldly beings. However, the world of Aebrynis is largely cut off from the other planes. There are, however, a couple of possibilities. There is The Cold Rider and Apocalypse; these will be detailed over the next couple of days.

September 23, 2014

5E Birthright - Races

The races still consist of dwarf, elf, half-elf, halfling and human. Use the normal Racial Traits and then the Cerilian subraces as shown below. The other subraces should not be used. Humans will use the Variant Human Traits rule based off of their culture; Anuirean, Brecht, Khinasi, Rjurik, or Vos.
   While they are not part of the original rules, there should be no problem including gnomes (forest subrace) as a playable race. They are part of the setting, though not specifically as a player race; ask you DM if they are allowed.
   It is not recommended allowing half-orcs, tieflings or dragonborn. They were never in the original rules, not even as monsters.

Cerilian Dwarf
Born to the mountains, and through constantly fighting the orogs, you have become like the stone you live beneath. This hardiness has given you a dense body, weighing twice that of a human of the same age despite being under 5'.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Dense Body. Bludgeoning or crushing attacks that you take from non-magical weapons is reduced by 3.

Cerilian elf
Calling yourselves the Sidhelien, you are reclusive and stay within the remaining woodlands of Cerilia. The woods are your home and none can equal you within their leafy folds. As tall as a human, you are slender and graceful, possessing an unearthly beauty.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Nature Walk. You may cast pass without trace once a day, but only on yourself.

Cerilian half-elf
Despite being born of elf and human parents, you are accepted within elven society. Humans on the other hand are distrustful of any sort of elf, including half-elves.
   Use the half-elf as found in the rules. There is no need to make any changes.

Cerilian halfling
Originating in the Shadow World, the halflings were forced to flee that realm and now make their homes among the Big Folk. You blend in well with humans, adopting the culture of whoever you are near.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Shadow Magic: You may cast detect evil or good once a day. When you reach 5th level, you can cast dimension door once per day. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Cerilian human
You are the most populous race in Cerilia, spread throughout every corner of the continent. Five main cultures exist and help define national regions; Anuireans, Brechts, Khinasi, Rjurik and Vos.
   Use the Variant Human Traits rule instead of subraces for humans. The only difference is that one of the two ability increases must be from the list below.
Anuirean     +1 Wisdom
Brecht         +1 Dexterity
Khinasi        +1 Intelligence
Rjurik         +1 Constitution
Vos            +1 Strength

September 19, 2014

5E Friday - DMG

WotC announced that the Dungeon Master's Guide is being pushed back 3 weeks...

-Good. From the article this decision was made because they are incorporating feedback from the Player's Handbook and late DMG playtests. I like the fact they did not write the DMG early and set it in stone. They have a chance to really "connect" with their buyers with this.

-If people are upset it is because they are looking forward to it. If there is any nerd rage over this (and I have not seen that much) it is actually a good sign.

-Horde of the Dragon Queen was rife with editorial errors and to me came across as rushed. Pushing back the DMG will allow for the final sweep of editing and content and avoid similar mistakes. We won't need as much errata or official changes. The DMG is the "final" rulebook and as such will be the defining book for a lot of people as to whether or not 5E is worth jumping their current rpg ship for.

-I am looking forward to it as it will help me with my own design work...but I can wait.

-Early release date is Black Friday...ouch.

-I suspect they will release the "Basic DMG" online earlier or at least as close to their original release date.

September 9, 2014

Why Rush Character Generation?

I've seen numerous articles about how to speed up character generation...but I have to ask, why are we in a rush to finish character generation? I am sure some groups just want to start playing RIGHT NOW! but the faster the character generation, the less time is put into the character itself. They just become a series of numbers with no...character.

Case in point is the new 5E D&D. From everything I've read and seen, it takes about 30 minutes to create a character from scratch to being able to start play. 30 minutes. And yet, for some people apparently this is too long. So they create ways to speed things up. Now, I can see this for a one-shot, but if its a one-shot there are plenty of resources (check out these 1000 characters) for playing a pre-made character that you have no attachment to. With a pre-made you can completely skip character generation and start playing RIGHT NOW!

For me, I happen to like character generation, especially if its a character in a campaign that will last for some time. The decision making process causes me to grow an attachment with the character. I start envisioning why he has a low strength or how I'm going to play that low intelligence with a high wisdom. I can think about why he uses a bastard sword instead of a short long sword. I can use character generation to help define the character.

Only a newborn baby is devoid of a personality. By the time a character is able to start their adventuring life, they already have defined personalities. How do they react if someone snubs them, how do they react to nobility, do they like magic? While it is true many of these questions get answered during game-play (and I personally am against giving your character too much background) but many fundamental, or at least interesting, personalities are created as part of the character generation process. If you skip this process, you lose a lot.

Which then leads to the question of...exactly how long should character generation take? While I think there needs to be some time spent on character generation, sometimes it is possible for it to take too long, especially if all you are doing is defining numbers.

What do you think is a good amount of time to spend on character generation?