Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birthright: A Retrospective



Back in 1995 TSR released a campaign setting. This is not a surprise during this time TSR seemed to me making setting to throw out to suer just to see what stuck. I was very young at the time, old enough to play D&D but certainly not old enough to have the disposable income to buy campaign settings & all the paraphernalia that went with them. 

I am hard pressed to believe the setting ever really caught on with that many groups. But, I recall seeing some compelling art in a Sierra advertisement for a video game that seemed to have licensed Birthright. It also obviously stuck with me because in the near future I hope to go through the boxed set and the interesting supplemental materials and dissect what was important to the game and how it might be adapted into something for 4E. 

But before I do that I wanted to try an experiment. I want to write down what I remember being important mechanics and fluff and why 4E fits or doesn't fit it.

1) PCs have divine bloodlines that grant them additional powers. 4E PCs are already superheroes compared to other editions and they just get better. This just explains why.
2) PCs become rulers of the land and can gain class benefits based on how they develop the lands they own. Instead of making it class based make it power source based.
3) The world has several distinct regions with cultures and peoples populating it. These regions could probably support at least the core races from the PhB1
4) Being leaders of the land PCs will be leading large groups against other large groups. There were rules for mass combat and rules for running fights large that squads but smaller than armies. 4E might have trouble here.
5) The word had few good kingdoms, but several ruled by evil tyrants. This might be workable for PoL but the scale might need to be adjusted.

These are what I remember without opening any books. In future posts with Birthright in them I will look at how to convert the game from AD&D 2nd Ed. to 4E.