D&D 5E () What would you want for 5e Birthright?

Sithlord

Adventurer
This is the perfect setting for a game of thrones like campaign. And it has something for every class. There is the kingdoms, but also temples and guilds that are important. And then there is the magic resource and ley likes for domain spells. I thought for a while GOT would make this setting popular again. I wish they would just reprint the books and not alter any text except updating mechanics to 5E. It was a fantastic setting. I haven’t played it in over 20 years.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Faolyn

(she/her)
The one balanced way is this:

Stealing power (Highlander-style) replaces XP.

Don't defeat a monster king? Don't gain a level. Simple.
The problem is that many people use milestone/story-based leveling, so any sort of bloodline stealing would have to take that into consideration.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think army units could have use a normal statblock, with their Moral and Loyalty rating somewhere in there.

Obviously Units creatures would use another scale than unique PCs. Say a 5 x 5 ft square is 50 x 50 yards instead. So a Medium Unit would occupy a normal square, with the greater unit sizes occupying their proportionate number of squares.

So in an ''overland'' mass battle, the Regent might control all of its unit using the same action economy like if each one of them was a single creature, using HP, AC, etc
 



vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Oh, another thing:

There's should be a way to have creatures with Regional Effects have some kind of impact on the Domains' performance if they are in an occupied domain.

Like having an Aboleth create a lair in your sea-side Domain would decrease its HP every X turn or make it impossible for the Regent to gain Regency as long as the Regional Effect isnt shutdown.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Oh, another thing:

There's should be a way to have creatures with Regional Effects have some kind of impact on the Domains' performance if they are in an occupied domain.

Like having an Aboleth create a lair in your sea-side Domain would decrease its HP every X turn or make it impossible for the Regent to gain Regency as long as the Regional Effect isnt shutdown.
Like a lair action/effect dialled up to 11?
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Like a lair action/effect dialled up to 11?
Could be, yes.

But I was more referring to things like the Mummy Lord's regional effect:

Regional Effects
A mummy lord's temple or tomb is warped in any of the following ways by the creature's dark presence:
  • Food instantly molders and water instantly evaporates when brought into the lair. Other non magical drinks are spoiled - wine turning to vinegar, for instance.
  • Divination spells cast within the lair by creatures other than the mummy lord have a 25 percent chance to provide misleading results, as determined by the DM. If a divination spell already has a chance to fail or become unreliable when cast multiple times, that chance increases by 25 percent.
  • A creature that takes treasure from the lair is cursed until the treasure is returned. The cursed target has disadvantage on all saving throws. The curse lasts until removed by a remove curse spell or other magic.
If the mummy lord is destroyed, these regional effects end immediately.

These effect could be spread to the whole domain of a Monster Regent.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
That's what I meant when I said Birthright was a bit naff.

The core ideas are super interesting, it's just that the existing Cerilia just wasn't exciting and fantastical enough.

Good for fans of "HarnWorld, but with AD&D ruleset". But not something I think could engage today's gamers.

So yes, more... overt... "lair effects"!

(and less "here's ten indistinguishably interchangeable countries because that felt realistic")
 

delazar_fb

Villager
Rules-wise:

bloodlines = a mix of lineages from Tasha and dragonmarked subraces from Eberron for level 1, then additional powers based on Theros piety rules. when you steal bloodlines your piety raises, eventually giving you more blood abilities.

mass battles & domains = someone suggested Dragon Age rules, which I support wholeheartedly. Just the right amount of crunch to get a sense of what’s going on, and keep the focus on the PCs.

fluff-wise:

I kinda liked Cerilia as a fake-real-world, it was its charm. And changing it would make it TOO different from the original. Maybe some update to keep it original and modern, but keep fake-france/england, fake-scandinavia, fake-russia, etc.

impossible wish but a man can dream:

an adventure book that brings the party from level 1 to 10, from heirs of an usurped kingdom, to reclaiming what’s theirs by birthright
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Oh, another thing:

There's should be a way to have creatures with Regional Effects have some kind of impact on the Domains' performance if they are in an occupied domain.

Like having an Aboleth create a lair in your sea-side Domain would decrease its HP every X turn or make it impossible for the Regent to gain Regency as long as the Regional Effect isnt shutdown.

Thats essentially what happened anyway isnt it? I recall that the Hydra gets Law and Guild regency from the Lizardman villages in Harrowmarsh.

If a DM wanted to introduce an Aboleth they would just need to treat it as a awnshegh and stat its hold regency accordingly. It would be cool for Lair Actions to be used though, I suppose Lair Actions would be equivalent to Realm Spells for gameplay purposes.

I really liked Birthright and the way it allowed Domain politics and economics and kept its monsters Unique and intergrated into the setting story. I really liked that Brechtur was quite unapologetically the Hanseatic League channelling Germanic heritage. I also liked the Shadow-walker Halflings.
A Game of Thornes stryle would be cool, though PF Kingmaker might have already stolen some of the glory.
NB Borthright had a Vampire domain and a Hag domain too

Personally I’d drop Bloodlines and instead any character can use Regency Points (refluff them as Charisma based Influence/leadership), maybe keep the divine right as a flavour option if you want to but not as a fundamental. I do however like the idea of NPC Awnshegh becoming Milestones for Levelling Up through the metagame.
 
Last edited:

First off, a short summary, since this campaign world is perhaps less known to recent gamers:

  • player characters (and some NPCs) are special, more special than normal, having bloodline powers.
  • Iconic monsters like "The Spider" or "The Werewolf" are leaders of their own countries. That's not a Spider, it's the Spider, a powerful monster-king with plans of his own. The term is "awnsheghlien", meaning someone given great dark powers by twisted corruption. Basically, it could be you except you got vampire powers and became really powerful and evil, and took the name "The Vampire", reshaping an entire country to match your mood. It's a bit like Highlander in that you kill other powerful leaders and take their power (and hope it doesn't corrupt you).
  • the campaign world supports domain-level play, where bloodline characters are leaders of their chosen nation and generate regency points, of which there are four kinds, one for each of the four base classes: law (fighters), temple (clerics), source (wizards) and guild (rogues). Points can then be used to raise armies, cast mighty spells, and develop your country's provinces. There is an economic map with loads of provinces, and conquering a rich province can be a goal in itself for players, or just a necessary stepping-stone in order to be able to defend the borders against the Spider's marauding troops...
  • the world Cerilia consists of many nations, grouped in five broad ethnic groups. So you'll have all the faux medieval Europe nations here, all the rugged mountaneous Scandi-Slavic nations over there, the desert people with their magical cities somewhere else. Sprinkled in among these are your stock elf forest kingdoms, your dwarf underground kingdoms, and... the Gorgon and its country there, the Sphinx and her country over there.

What would a 5E version look like?

Basically what's cool about the setting is the notion that iconic monsters have risen to become leaders of their own distinct countries, and that there is support for what happens when that iconic monster raises an army to invade your home country. That's what sets Birthright apart imo.

The actual world is pretty samey, with lots of indistinguishable versions of western kingdoms here, several Arabic nations there, and so on. It's so large and interchangeable. And it's obviously in need of a stereotype cleanup. Basically, the question needs to be asked: would 5E be better served by a new much "tighter" map, where you start with the idea to focus on one corner of the world (with maybe 20 nations), but then make sure to include real diversity (and not just 20 different faux-scandinavian forested independent-but-proud nations), cutting out the chaff. Only include as many nations as you're able to make feel different! A new map, a new world but with the core ideas of the old AD&D setting.

As for bloodlines I definitely feel the 5E way would be to simply say that any player character is by default a special person. No cluttery bloodlines powers needed or wanted. If you don't have regency, you're a NPC. Simple. In AD&D it was already very common to simulate a living breathing campaign world by giving NPCs class levels. You would discuss how many level 7 fighters or level 4 paladins etc a given city could support, for instance. Thus it was felt heroes with bloodlines needed extra bloodline powers to elevate them above "regular level 7 fighters". Since 5E doesn't work that way (which is great), I suggest simply that what in other campaign worlds is a "regular hero" in Birthright is a special hero. Same stats, no extra rules.

As for the domain layer of play, I have a sneaking suspicion the numbers were basically just made up. It was enough to support a GMs hand-holding but nothing that stood up against real scrutiny. Compare to a board game. A board game needs to be balanced in some sense. Its numbers can't just be made up or there is no challenge. Most economic tidbits in rpgs just doesn't work. Either it's trivial to get rich or you would bankrupt your organization as soon as you tried gaming out the rules. I suspect this layer could benefit the most from getting a brand new do-over, assuming its developers are given enough time to actually get it right.

In summary:

Cerilia as a game world is a bit naff and the cool ideas of Birthright would probably be better served by a new map. The things I would get a 5E Birthright module for is the economic overlay, and the old one is probably not worth using as a starting point. The other thing I want is the cool monster kings - and their nations - and of course: adventure material that marries regular adventuring with domain-level rewards. After all, you're gaming in Birthright because hunting down that beast or finding out who's poisoning your village well is part of a greater whole. You don't just do it because you're sell-swords, you're doing it because the beast hinders development of your province or chokes an important trade route, and the poisoned wells is a sabotage campaign by raiders from the neighboring country...
Basically agree with your suggestions, sorry for not adding much. Replace the map and specific nations involved, but retain the concepts of the setting itself. I'd consider maybe a Mediterranean-analog if they wanted to keep a real-world analog, albeit with more Islands and less sea, and maybe bring in more cultures and styles.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Thats essentially what happened anyway isnt it? I recall that the Hydra gets Law and Guild regency from the Lizardman villages in Harrowmarsh.
Oh, probably. Full disclaimer: I only have a passing knowledge of Birthright. I never played the game myself, so some of my propositions might already be part of the game!
 

deganawida

Adventurer
Apologies for the necro-post. Birthright is my absolute favorite campaign setting (followed by Nentir Vale, interestingly enough). I’ve been wanting to put together a campaign for my family and friends, and had been considering 2nd edition or OSE to do it, but 5e is also an option, and I’d really prefer to make 5e work.

What I would like to see in a 5e (or beyond) Birthright:

  • Embrace the flavor. There’s still a market for your medieval style fantasy worlds, which isn’t being served, IMHO, by 5e’s releases (though other markets are being served, which is good).
  • Limitations based on race/lineage, class, and Blooded status.
    • One of the things which I found most interesting about the world presented was how Elves could not be Clerics, and non-Blooded Humans could not be full Mages (Wizards/Sorcerers in 5e terms). This gave the various peoples a history and flavor that was unique in D&D settings at the time.
    • I’d love to see a 5e Magician. When it first came out and I read the Magician description, my mind went immediately to Pug and Kulgan. I actually like the dual specializing in Divination and Illusion, as well as the open weapon selection, that the Magician came with. That’s a class that just screams flavor to me.
    • I would like to see greater separation between the way Elves and Blooded Humans use true magic. I think it would make greater sense to have Elves (and Half-Elves, since they can use true magic without being blooded) to be Sorcerers rather than Wizards. Blooded Humans, since they get true magic differently, would be the more bookish Wizards, reflecting that it’s not natural to humans and the more academic approach that would necessitate.
  • A fully developed adventuring layer. Look, Cerilia has a ton of great hooks for adventuring which are unique to the setting.
    • The awnsheghlien are fantastic baddies. Not every one of them is designed for realms play. The Boar is an example of that. The boxed set even mentions that just finding the way to permanently kill some awnsheghlien could be a quest chain/adventure path/campaign goal in itself.
    • Tighmaevril weapons are rare, and the secrets for making them are lost. They are the most special types of weapons in Cerilia. Just finding one would be an epic quest. Using it? That would be something that could take a campaign into the realms game.
  • Break up the number of domains to make a more PoL style world. This ties into (3).
    • The initial approach of having domains everywhere was, I believe, less about player choice and drama in the realm-layer, and more about selling domain sourcebooks.
    • The world underwent three massive catastrophes: The migration of the humans, Deismaar, and the death of Michael Roele with the subsequent fall of the Anuirean Empire. This world is perfect for old ruins, dangerous spaces between civilized areas, forgotten secrets and histories, and the rise of a new order. Play that up.
  • Make the realms layer of play fully so that it’s only a layer on top of the adventuring layer. Realms play was one of the things that really set the campaign setting apart, so make its own system with good rules.
    • I’ll be honest in that I didn’t care for the way the realms play went, especially combat. It also seemed, with realms actions being limited to seasons, that there was no way to duplicate with a human Roele’s imperial creation, because it would have just taken too darned long to do.
    • Play it up! One thing missing from WotC D&D has been that old domain level of play, where gameplay transitioned from dungeon or wilderness crawling into becoming a political power in the world. Have options for doing this from the start, as well as options for transitioning to it.
    • Convert realm magic properly so that the level of scale is truly awesome. Not trying to be controversial here, but, to my eyes, there’s been a level of power creep in WotC editions of the game that has made realm magic less spectacular in my eyes.
    • Clearly make it optional to have play at that level, no play at that level, or only play at that level. Some people want C&C Birthright edition, some people just want to adventure in a medieval fantasy world, and some want to move from adventuring to ruling.
 

For world building, you can state that humanoid need a birthright to go past 5,6,7 hit dice.
Having access to Phb classes is a birthright.
you can emphasis this to players giving them a free feat or other features due to birthright.
but aside that I don’t think 5ed. need special rules for birthright.
 
Last edited:

HammerMan

Legend
Useing the new Strixhaven rules for bonds to NPCs (just make them court memeber instead of students) you could have a base frame work. Include blood line abilities and magic pulling from the planet and you have a baseline. Mass combat rules (maybe something like a mix of a 4e skill challange and the strix haven tests) could be cool too

theros has special god gift like things everyone can get at level 1... that could be great mixed with the dragon mark idea for blood lines
 

The problem is that many people use milestone/story-based leveling, so any sort of bloodline stealing would have to take that into consideration.
"You can't gain levels past 11 without killing a Domain leader." Or something like that. But it would need to be worded that the whole party can level up form killing the Vampire.
 

I think army units could have use a normal statblock, with their Moral and Loyalty rating somewhere in there.
Morale becomes the new hit points: if their temp morale reaches zero, the surviving troops break and flee.

Loyalty could either be AC or max morale.
Obviously Units creatures would use another scale than unique PCs. Say a 5 x 5 ft square is 50 x 50 yards instead. So a Medium Unit would occupy a normal square, with the greater unit sizes occupying their proportionate number of squares.
Honestly, I'd go the other route: each unit takes up one square/hex in mass battles. For humans, that mean a couple hundred. For ogres, that means a few dozen. An ancient dragon is a unit by themselves.
So in an ''overland'' mass battle, the Regent might control all of its unit using the same action economy like if each one of them was a single creature, using HP, AC, etc
Plus one Leader action per turn - but units don't get bonus actions, reactions, etc. IMO.
 

That's what I meant when I said Birthright was a bit naff.

The core ideas are super interesting, it's just that the existing Cerilia just wasn't exciting and fantastical enough.
This is whhy I disagree with @Laurefindel 's proposal to keep it as European as possible. I think a lot of newer players (who are now the majority) would find that rather limiting. If it's a Dungeons and Dragons (tm) setting, there should be ways to play all official races. Including rabbit-people.

Make it more magical, but at the same time make it clear that all of this magic comes form a few Very Important People.
Good for fans of "HarnWorld, but with AD&D ruleset". But not something I think could engage today's gamers.

So yes, more... overt... "lair effects"!

(and less "here's ten indistinguishably interchangeable countries because that felt realistic")
You want five or so, but much more than a regular setting you need this world to be customizable. The whole point, it seems to me, is for pc's to shape the world.
 

deganawida

Adventurer
This is whhy I disagree with @Laurefindel 's proposal to keep it as European as possible. I think a lot of newer players (who are now the majority) would find that rather limiting. If it's a Dungeons and Dragons (tm) setting, there should be ways to play all official races. Including rabbit-people.

I get the reasoning behind that, but I personally feel that it destroys some of the things that make the setting unique. I’d prefer it if anything-goes style characters were left to DM fiat or to FR (which has been the direction for the last couple editions at least, I think).
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top