I have always wanted to do a crossover of my two favourite D&D settings, Birthright and Dark Sun. How would it look like?
In Birthright the PCs have the option of being the rulers of the kingdoms. There are four kinds of holdings. Law (usually held by warriors), Temples (clerics), Guild (rogues) and Sources (wizards).
The City States would be theocracies: The Law and Temple holdings would be in the nominal control of the King/Queen but the templars would be in charge of day to day operations. I would make some arrangements for Tyr and I would give Urik a more military flavour, but that would be it.
However, the guild (commerce) and source (magic) holdings give us more possibilities. The stablishment and maintenance of trade routes between the city-states would make for a campign by itself.
Sources (magical power) are related to the natural state of the land. For example, an ancient forest would offer a source of 9, whereas cultivated land would give a source of 2. The idea could be used in a Dark Sun setting, as magic comes from plant life. I would use “elemental sources” for druids and elemental priests too. For example, a lava field would be a source 0 for a defiler but a source 9 for a fire cleric.
In Birthright you can move powerful magic from a place to another through ley lines. If a defiler wants to cast a a high spell in a sand waste they can do so if they control a good source somewhere else and establish a ley line to the sand waste. I don’t know if it would be a good idea to implement ley lines in Dark Sun.
Another thing we’ll have to think about is how psionics find their place in the picture.
Well, tell me what do you think about this. This would probably make for a good play-by-post game.
The City-States would be high score provinces for the most part (I’m thinking 7+). DS magic relies on vegetation so paradoxically (from a BR viewpoint) the CS and their verdant belts would be high magic potential provinces too. Simple solution is to decouple the province development and source holding levels from each other.
Law and Temple holdings would definitely be SM controlled and probably buttoned up tight re: Law holdings - Raam and Tyr would be obvious exceptions.
Guild holdings would be mostly controlled by the CS’s dominant merchant house with one or two other big houses having footholds. Trade routes become the big money spinners for the main houses, with them also controlling their small trade villages as utterly as the SMs control the cities.
Realm magic gets complicated with Epic Level spells so that would need some work. The source holdings would also have an issue in that defiling would decrease the level of source available. Maybe have a mechanic for Trees of Life being tapped in a given province?
Where are your Law regents? Are they the SKs?
This was one I always wanted to do as well, but on a player level rather than a realm level. Can you imagine someone with the Azrai bloodline completing the first step of the dragon transformation (possibly using realm magic as a stand in for epic magic) and triggering his awnsheglien transformation?
Can you imagine what Dregoth would do if he discovered the power of the gods existed in certain bloodlines and could be ripped out of them with a stab in the heart?
What would the Gorgon think of Athas? Or the Magician for that matter? Hell, what would the magician think of Dregoth and vice versa. (Lich meeting Kraishaga.) Could they find a way to slightly change Dregoth to enable him to gain XP again.
The Sorcerer Kings are the regents of almost every holding of their CIty States. Their influence is inmense. However, most of them don’t seem to be into micromanagement. Templars could be given the control of the King’s holdings or at least be lieutenants.
There would be other law regents. For example, who rules a commercial outpost? Or a slave tribe? Or a group of nomads? I would consider them Law regents.
Now imagine that the gods decided to come back to Athas. How would they do it? It could be something similar to Birthright’s bloodlines. Some people would be born with a major power that, if they manage to put it together, they would bring back a god.
And I almost forgot, life shaped living weapons. Imagine what happens when a halfling vampiric short sword stabs someone in the heart and eats a bloodline.
And this isn’t even getting into the whole what happens if a defiler gets to Cerilia.
I’d keep ‘divine’ Bloodlines out of it (because to my mind there have never been Gods on Athas) and replace them with something else. Maybe Athas has 15-17 bloodlines - one for each of Rajaat’s Champions. That would give the descendants of the Champions power and simultaneously explain why SMs procreate (“I want a loyal lieutenant of my own Blood”) and why Blooded characters are rare (most get killed/blood-thefted by mummy/daddy).
Maybe there’s a single ‘Towerborn’ bloodline for the Champions (Azrai’s Bloodline anyone?), 4 Elemental Bloodlines, a Pyreen-descended line (call it the Peacebringer Bloodline) and a Rhulisti Bloodline?
The powers of each of the above would be different from the 7 Cerilian bloodlines and would need to be built around their Athasian traits rather than just copying and pasting from BR. Could be fun though!