Friday, March 23, 2012

A Game of Thrones, Yearning for Birthright

About a week ago, my wife and I power watched season one of A Game of Thrones on Blue Ray. My animosity towards George R.R. Martin aside, I enjoyed the season and found it refreshingly tighter then the books.

However, this is not a review. AGoT has been reviewed to death. Watching the series made me yearn to once again play Birthright.

For those not familiar, Birthright was a setting published by TSR in 1995. In the setting, characters were rulers of domains (this was possible even at 1st level!). There was much political backstabbing (at least in my campaigns) and of course war always loomed.

I really got into Birthright at the time. It is the only setting published by TSR that I ever used in my campaigns and I used it for several years. One of the attractions for me was that the characters each had a bloodline that was derived from a dead god. There was a war of the gods many years ago in which all the old gods perished and new gods rose in their place. However, not all of the old gods power was transferred to the new. A fraction of it (a lot in godhood terms) was transferred to their followers. Some followers had only trace bloodlines, while others had great bloodlines. It was possible to increase ones bloodline by killing another blooded character, giving the game a very Highlander appeal.

The game was originally designed for 2nd edition AD&D, and this was the system I usually ran it with; however, I once played a GURPS (3rd ed.) version of the game, and a dedicated online fan base put out a 3rd edition D&D version that I used for a year or so as well.

I have, to the best of my knowledge, every expansion ever published for the setting. I haven't had an urge to play it in years. For the past ten years, my game of choice has been Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and when I do play D&D, it is an old-school version. I've played with both the BECMI Cyclopedia rules and Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game.

But damn! Watching Game sure makes me want to pull the Birthright material out of storage and maybe convert it to Basic Fantasy Roleplay, or for kicks, use it with 2nd ed. AD&D (although my 2nd edition games were mostly 1st edition games with a few good ideas from 2nd ed. thrown in for flavor).

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