Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 21:36:55 +1000
From: Cos & Melissa Marendy
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
Greetings fellow list members
Recently I was conducting a email chat about the Elves of Dreadwood with a learned Greyhawker. He asked but how I used Birtright in my alternative Oerth. I find Birthright rules can be used to explain the powers/ablities of a race (Elvish)under threat. With some modification, game balance can be kept. Game balance is the key to adaption of the Birthright rules for greyhawk - you must have a reason for why it is not wide spread as in the birtheight campaign setting. Anyway I have enjoyed so many great ideas over the years from this list, I though maybe it was time to contribute my ideas from my campaign. I know these ideas certainly will not be agreeble with
all the list members - but thats what makes this open list great - constructive and co-operative input. Anyway here is my rationale for using Birthright ideas in Greyhawk, also bear in mind that my game is centred in the Dreadwood area of southern Keoland, hence the reference to the specific site in my rationale.
My (rough) Rationale
My adaption is based on nature itself being a force like a Diety except unaware of its effect on the multiverse. Nature is divided among the elements and motive forces such as good, evil, chaos and law. Each motive force and nature element has special effects on the environment. This explains the multiverse setup as per 'Manual of the Planes', and how the prime material planes represent a mix of all - hence the terms PRIME & MATERIAL. Since all the elements are present on the prime planes, the
locals call this nature. Truely observant or ancient races become aware of the mix called nature and tap into 'the current'. Those who do tend to tap the 'whole current' with the complete mix of motive powers and the elements which lead to a balanced or neutral belief about what is nature.
Occasionally, these same races are able to isolated the individual mini currents of just earth or air or evil etc... This is more raw source of the multiverse, but unbalanced without the rest to balance it. Great powers are usable but just like science this throws 'nature' into inbalance. The Elves of Dreadwood can tap the balanced 'current'. Some of the Elves have tapped just one element such as good, leading to a inbalance which will take centuries to correct - hence the fading land. These Elves are considered rogues, by their kin despite any good intensions, as it inbalances the 'nature' of the multiverse. Among the Elves, only those of royal or noble blood can harness these powers of the multiverse. Ramdomly, new noble
houses can be birthed into the current whilst others lose their access - hence a balance is maintain. A Elf who has access can transfer all his/her access using cermonies of oerthsap. THe access can also be stolen, resulting in the death of the victim. What ever type of access the individal has is transfered to his/her offspring or recieptant. The Elves claim they are only true holders of this power.
In my campaign I have left this elf only claim open - maybe Dragons have access? Humans also have access, but only by accident of 'nature'. The suel-Baklunish war with twin destructions of a scale unmatched, rocked the 'current' with vast release of earthsap which is found in all living and unliving material. This release normally controlled with the typical death of one creature, leading to the birth of another was not able to be achieved. The current, some of it balanced, most of it not enhanced surviours of the holocaust, it its attempt to maintain balance. Suel and
Baklunish fell upon each other using terriable powers unheard of except in the most terrorifying nightmares of Elven Noblity & Royality. Some Suel humans realised the danger of the sitiuation and fed eastward, and became the Silent Brothers (mentioned in OJs). They sought to contain misuse, and destroy those who sought to upset the balance. The Baklunish too have formed their own very secret order to maintain the balance. Hence in my campaign, current wielding morals are secretive, and avoid actively annoucing their 'birthgift' The Elves of course continue to use it in
moderation except for the rogues who are hunted or exiled. Some of the inbalance remains hence the sea of dust, while some 'creatures?' were so embraced by the 'current' that they are but a shadow of their moral form. THese 'spawn' (as called by the Elves) generally represent the motive power of 'evil'. I have one loose in Dreadwood, hence another reason why the Elves are kept busy.
Regardless what type of current the individual taps, all need the enviroment. The more natural the enviroment, the greater the power of the current can be accessed by the individual. A untouched ancient forest would give more power than a city on a plain with a long history of occupation. (this direct steal from Birthright rules) Ley lines can be 'forged' from such sites to less enhanced sites. eg Elven Lord on the plains south of Dreadwood forges a Leyline from a ancient grove of trees in the heart of Elven terriory. The further away, the harder it is to make the current flow
into useful sources of oerthsap. A individual is also measured by how musch he/she can access. The Queen of Celene's line would be truely powerful compared to a local Elf Lord in Ulek. This measure of the current can improve, by wisely using it or theft of a greater individuals access, using the procedure of saptheft.
Well this is a rough of the why and who. If you like, I'll send next time the powers and how. Please forgive the typos...