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tl:dr Birthright takes that 'divine right of kings' bit seriously.   I wanna do some Birthright themed skirmish using the Of Gods and Mortals rules from Osprey.  Skip to bottom if you don't want setting explanation.

 

So I read a bunch of the Birthright campaign stuff back in the day and really liked the setting but was so/so on the rules.

 

Warning: Redonculously long setting summary for those not familiar with Birthright (aka, OMG a wall of text!)

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, Birthright was a 2nd edition AD&D campaign setting that had Elves that were basically the Sidhe (both Seelie and Unseelie kinda rolled into one), orcs that were basically more Tolkien Uruk Hai than D&D pig-men, Goblins that were more Tolkien Orc than runty little arrow catchers for all the murder hobos of the world, Halflings that were fey and actually cool, and humans with a fairly wide range of cultures roughly equivalent to more realistic versions of Earth Europe around 1000 AD or so than most D&D settings.  There were dwarves as well but they didn't feel particularly different to me.  Needless to say I'm very loosely paraphrasing here. 

 

Essentially, the Elves and the goblins spent centuries merrily murdering the crap out of each other and having a grand ol' time doing typically medieval things to each other above ground and the dwarves and the orcs did more or less the same thing under the mountains.  Then out of nowhere (ok, from another continent via land bridge but whatever) the humans come in and jack up the elves and goblins with superior numbers and their unique use of divine magic.  Apparently cause the elves were immortal and big on nature based magic they never contemplated something higher powered than themselves.  Oops.  Anyway, the humans pimp slapped the elves and goblins and pushed them into the deep forests and hinterlands, taking all the sweet, prime land for their kingdoms and proceeded to screw each other and the demi-humans over for awhile. 

 

Unfortunately for this little human uber alles party, it turns out the humans didn't just roll up on this continent just to mess up that sweet blood feud the elves and goblins had going for them.  They were actually fleeing from a bunch of humans who worshiped your basic Morgoth style evil god and guess what...somebody forgot to close the cattle gate when they crossed the land bridge.  So the dark god and his worshipers are coming for the rest of the humans and make a pitch to the elves and goblins to join up and get a little payback.  Since the humans and their grubby divine magic messed up the elf/goblin fun, murder times most of them responded with a resounding 'Heck yeah, dude!  Btw bro, could we get the hookup with some of that dark divine magic?' 

 

Basically you get the idea; blood, tears, wild-hunting elves, etc.  Anyway, eventually everybody ends up fighting at this huge battle near a mountain at the land bridge and it's obviously the endgame so the good gods and the evil god manifest and lead their followers in a massive meat grinder of a battle.  At some point most of the elves figure out that the dark god is just stringing them along and will turn on them next so they swap sides when its looking kinda grim for the humans.  Even though they hate humans, they hate getting stabbed in the back more so they figure better to backstab first right? 

 

Eventually the good gods and the evil god along with some favored followers meet on the mountain for a little West Side Story reenactment but somebody didn't read the part of the divine manual that says that if basically all the gods in the world go head to head you've got yourself a real Hiroshima situation there.  So we have a big badda-boom and the gods are vaporized into a fine mist of divine blood.  Oh, and incidentally most of the mortal armies become fine past as well.  For most of them this just means they are worm food a little faster but for the greatest champions of the gods who were pretty close to ground zero they luck out with insta-promotion to the new gods along with insta-ascencion to the heavens to acclimate to their new positions.  This is because apparently even aerosolized god-juice doesn't dissipate but seeks a vessel.  The majority of the power is absorbed by our newly promoted godlings but enough overspray reaches various other combatants to create a bunch of mortal-ish almost demi-gods; some good, some bad.  Course since there were quite a few more good gods the good guys ended up outnumbering the bad guys who looked around and said 'Uh-oh' before hotfooting it outta their.  In the resulting confusion some of the newly 'blooded' on either side get wacked and everybody realizes you can steal somebody else's god-juice and therefore power.  This is mostly not that important immediately.

 

But later once the good guys get back to their kindgoms and basically take over by right of 'mine is bigger than yours now', several of the biggest bads go on a merry little murder spree amongst their peers to consolidate a little power Highlander style.  This is all well and good right up to the point when they accumulate enough bad juju to suddenly start mutating into monsters.  Some are a bit disturbed by this but most sort of asses the power that comes along with it and shrug and move on. 

 

Fast forward and basically you have a bunch of 'good' guys ruling most of the kingdoms along with a few hard as nails baddies (no scare quotes here, they really are real face eaters) ruling some other lands and making life hard for everybody else. 

 

Finally this long winded dude gets closer to the point!

So a couple more vital points.  Only the 'blooded' can use the real, realm-shaking arcane magic, commoners are stuck with hedge magic.  More or less all the races have access to divine magic now, except most of the elves still turn their nose up and stick with nature and time manipulating.  Oh, and a quirk of being a 'blooded' ruler is that that whole divine right, tied to the fortunes of the land thing that our medieval rulers snowed the peasants with really works here.  On the good side, you get some sweet advantages in keeping the peasants in line and your hands on all the goodies.  On the downside you better take good care of your land and people, cause somebody has to watch your back to keep someone from sticking a knife in it to steal your god-juice backed power and also ruining your best tunic. 

 

One last cool touch is that most of the monsters from your typical D&D games are singular examples of the bad blooded dudes rather than whole races.  So there's a Ghost, a Gorgon, a Manticore, etc.  And if they're still around after several centuries of their esteemed colleagues trying to rip their liver out to eat it raw, then they're pretty bad-elf. 

 

So, what I actually want to do (betcha didn't think I'ld ever get their didja?)

I want to take this basic setting and play skirmish or larger battles in it using the Of Gods and Mortals rules from Osprey.  These are a variation of the Song of Blades rules.  I haven't actually finished reading them yet but I already know I am gonna love them. 

 

You have three levels of troops: 

Gods-pretty obvious, but essentially a manifestation maintained on the field of battle by the faith of their mortal followers.

Legends-basically powerful mortals to sorta demi-gods.  Think Hercules, Beowulf, Fenris, druids, banshees, etc.  Perfect for representing the Blooded nobles and any weirdness they might have serving them.  Not as impressive as the gods, but way more resilient than mortals.

Mortals-grunts who also serve as the gods version of duracell batteries.

 

At base game size you get 1 God, 1-5 Legends, and the rest of your points go to Mortals.  The Gods and Legends are where the real power is but you better take care of your Mortal troops as well or your God ends up boned. 

 

What I would like to know:

Any of you guys play Of Gods and Mortals and/or Birthright?  If so, does this sound like it would work/be cool?

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Don't play OGAM, haven't played Birthright. Do play SongOBAH, and love it. Your campaign sounds like a fascinating idea, and I look forward to seeing how it works out for you.

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We're gonna start off playing OGAM straight with the lists provided until we are comfortable with the rules.  Plus I did just order a bunch of Vikings and Celts so there's that.  But once I get a good feel for the way the ruleset works I'm gonna get on list writing for this setting.  I should probably read SOBAH as well to see if I need to steal anything from that.

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