Ok so I warned you all that this might be longer than usual. I also apologize for being an additional week late. But I wanted to get this one filled in a way to really draw folks in.
So where does this one start. Up until now I have given the readers clues, hints and pieces about what would be playable, how the world is formed, who the bad guys are and how the religion operates. This entry is not about the ifs ands or butts, this is about what you need to start the game. So that will mean rules mods for Pathfinder races, and classes. Details on a couple of starting points, and a glossing over of a few basic stories to start games with.
Ready… ’cause we aint stoppin till its done 🙂
Races – My version of all the races uses the rules presented in the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide. I wanted to get everyone on a balanced field based on their own rules. Every race is built on ten points. This means some races have a little more juju than you see in the core book, and some have less.
Dwarves – Humanoid; Size M; Speed – Normal (30′); Stats (+2 Con, +2Wis, -2Cha); Standard Languages; Hardy – +2 vs Poison, Spells and Spell Like abilities; Sturdy – +4 CMD vs trip and bull rush maneuvers; Craftsman +2 on all Craft or Profession skills to make things of metal or stone; Skill bonus – Depending on caste -(L) +1 on Survival (Underground) and +1 Profession Mining /(M) +1 on Profession Smith and +1 Tactics /(H) +1 on Alchemy and +1 Knowledge metal; Weapon familiarity also depends on caste – (L)Shovel and Pick / (M)Hammer and Axe / (H)Pole axe and Spear; Dark vision 60′
So my dwarves are a little faster, a little more flex at the start based on your caste and no racial rage, while still being tough.
Elves – Humanoid; Size M; Speed – Normal (30′); Stats (+2Dex, +2 Con, -2 Int); Standard Languages; Standard Elven immunities – immune to sleep and +2 vs Charm and Enchantment spells; Skill Bonus +2 Perception; Climb +8 racial bonus to climb skill; Swim +8 racial bonus to Swim skill and base speed 30′ in water; Hold breath – Hold breath up to 4x Con rounds; Low Light vision also functions underwater.
So these elves are not as magical and have no racial weapons. The hit to their Int is not to say they are unintelligent. Quite the opposite. However they do normally lack formal education.
Goblin – Humanoid; Size S; Speed – Fast (40′); Stats (-2 Str, +4 Dex, -2Cha); Standard Languages; Urbanite – +2 Diplomacy and Sense Motive to gather information and understand social situations; Pyromaniac treat as +1 level with any spell/magic using fire includes alchemy; Bite 1d2 + Str bonus; Low light vision
So as their race came to be they started out as prey and got fast. They got magic and got to blowing things up, and while they understand people, they are usually so blunt and direct it is not like they can do much with it.
Halflings – Humanoid; Size S; Speed – Slow (20′); Stats (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2Cha); Standard Languages; Fearless +2 vs Fear effects; Lucky – Lesser – +1 to all saves; Skill Bonus’ – +2 Perception and +2 Profession of choice or Survival; Silver Tounge – +2 on Diplomacy and Bluff and they can shift reaction results three spaces instead of two.
Again a race without racial weapons. Smooth talking and charming wanderers. I know I have not done an article about them but I think by the stats alone you can see where its going.
Human – Humanoid; Size M; Speed – Normal (30′); Stats (+2 on stat of choice); Standard Languages; Bonus Feat; Bonus Skills; Skill Training – +1 Survival (Wilderness) and +1 Animal Handling and +1 Perception with finally +1 Healing
Humans live in a wild and unforgiving part of the world. No particular weapon skills here either, but in adapting so fast they learn to help the family and themselves rather quickly.
I previously covered the classes that were available in World Building 108. What I did not cover is the fact that in this world preferred classes are a personal choice. Not a racial distinction. The culture itself seems to make things more common for some classes, but the CHOICE of a preferred class is all in the hands of the character. Initial training in some classes makes it a little more challenging to prefer them though. To be a Monk you have to go to the human lands. They have the only monasteries that offer training at this time. To advance as a Wizard or Alchemist you need to go to one of the Goblin Colleges of magic.
Clerics are an interesting item in this world. Clerics do not worship one of the gods. They call on the whole pantheon. You will note that I have not named or detailed the gods. That is because I want to leave that open at this time for anyone to build the gods they want. Mine are mine. Clerics do not have a mandatory deity signature weapon. Their domain ability is based on their Patron. Each cleric has one god that favors them for some reason, and has allowed them to partake of the Gods powers. But that Patron does not demand service or sole worship. Remember the gods in this world are currently working together against a common enemy. They dont have the time or the resources to screw with each other. And truth be told they dont really want to mess with each other. The more clerics that work with them, the more people behold their glory and the more their power jumps. So they want every cleric to succeed.
So my personal recommend is to go ahead and max out the money for starting characters. Dont roll the dice just take the cash and kit up. I also suggest that each character have at least one item that has personal or family history. It gives the players something to get creative with and it gives the game masters something to target to try and spur a story along or to delve deep into a character.
Also when it comes to fashion and the look of your character that this world is not really the usual type of fantasy setting. In some ways it is coming into the early stages of Steam-punk, and in some ways it is high fantasy like Tolkien. I would offer up that some of my own character concepts have things like a studded leather long coat that counts as leather armor. I own one of those things and I can attest to the damage they can suck up and not look scuffed. With the primitive human culture, the island elves, the urbanite goblins, almost Japanese dwarves and the migratory and almost gypsy halflings styles get mixed and mussed. The look and style of your characters should be something that you enjoy. Dont think you have to make it look like platemail from the game books if you want to have your character wear a mix of blended parts that makes you look more like a short metal golem.
Starting points –
So I had three in mind for the meta plot.
1 – Human village to the north and east in the world. Heavily wooded and mostly wild. South of the village is one of the larger logging camps that goblins and humans run together to get wood to the goblin cities for all sorts of things. Over the past several months there have been disappearances of some of the hunters. Not completely fearsome but it is a little worrying as there have been more going missing than in a usual year and no bodies have been found. To the north of the village is one of the three monasteries that the Monks run. To the east is one of the largest lakes in these hills, and the fishing has degraded in the same time period.
Now then there are a lot of things going on in this area. And a lot of places to dive into things. It would be up to players and game masters to work together to create exactly what they want to do. The lake could be some rouge elves. Missing hunters could be same problem. It may be servitors of the Titans in the area looking to disrupt the status quo. I recommend keeping Titan involvement to a minimum, but unleashing a few dire animals could be good. I would also recommend using level 2 characters with a bit more background for characters starting here.
2 – Debriden – The second largest goblin city and one of the acknowledged trade capitals of this world. The city has so many high ranked goblins in it that there is intrigue after intrigue being run. There is even a low level governors servant that has orders to work on from five separate factions. Normally he just sends reports on what he is doing to all sides and calls it good. Jobs can be found around just about every corner here. People are buying, selling, learning, stealing, backstabbing and blowing up so many things it is kind of hard to keep up.
Ok so there is even more going on here. This is the kind of setting you see in many RPG’s where you have a major city and you can actually get a random group of people involved in something because they just happened to meet in a bar and be the last ones standing at the end of a bar fight started by the small man in a cloak that wants to hire new faces so they cant be traced to him… oh wait…
I recommend starting with level 1 characters here. You can delve into just about any kind of story you want here and eventually someone from the human lands will get into town and start rambling about dire animals or rouge elves and giant shadows under the moon.
3 – Iron Wood – The last village before the great desert in the south. This is the path that people who want to get some of the toughest animal companions and familiars take. The village is small but everyone here is a veteran of something. Either a tough life, or the gladiator pit on the edge of the village. Everyone in the village will tell you that it is about two weeks to the far side of the desert and no one will make it alone. The animals on the other side of the desert have a tendency to destroy any being not strong enough to get their attention. So team up, gear up and head out.
This is the one I planned on using for my own game start. A desert adventure to get the team into a well oiled machine and then unleash them on a forest and swamp ridden jungle full of dinosaurs and mastodons and even some smilodons. Characters will need to be at least level three so they can have the improved familiar or companion feats. And remember not to make it easy on anyone. Because you will have to catch a young or pygmy version and then bring it back across two weeks of desert to get back to the main cities and action. Or they will have to be a band of survivalists that want to set up camp in the south. Others have had that idea already… but that is for your wandering monster charts…
Meta Plot Elements
These are all things that can be added to any story series. In the build I am doing they are all in there.
Exploration – There is a lot of the main continent that is not ‘civilized’. There are lots of places that are still unknown to humanoids on just this continent. And there are at least two others out there… continents that is. What secrets do they hold? How rich can you get? What dangers can you face?
Piety – Ok so everyone remembers there was once one more god. But that god is gone now and no one knows why. The gods wont answer prayers about it, and even the spirits of the ancestors refuse to answer those questions. However there are old temples, old books, old magic items, and all sorts of other little things that come from the time when the pantheon was full. Can you figure out who the god was? Would you like to take their place? What would you do with the information about the missing god if you found out who it was and what sort of portfolio they held?
Dragons – Guardians or enemies – The Dragons know what is going on in the world. Big picture. But they are under orders from the gods and titans to say nothing. The ones that have gone over to the titans are allowed to bring in potential allies, but that’s about it. Do the players dare risk going to talk to a dragon if they figure out something is up? How will the dragons show what side they are on? How will they enter the big conflict? Or will they fight amongst themselves and not be a factor?
Mutation – With the advent of the titans entering this world the raw creation energies they control will start to reshape things. Dire animals becoming more common will come first. What comes after is up to the game masters who use the world. I recommend that it hits a peak with the addition of psionics to the game world.
The big bad – Ok so its the titans. Giant races man their front gates and the smaller you get the less the threat and the more likely they are just scouts. Ogre to Giant to Titan, with their megafauna pets, kaiju war machines, and the tarasque at the beck and call of their leader. No thats not a joke, they are just that bad ass. Can they be stopped? Can peace be made? Will the players play a part on that stage, or be somewhere else in the world?
Conclusion – So this is a big world, with tons of room to add whatever you want. It has big bad guys and a fight on such an epic level brewing that you will need to put everything you have into your characters and build them up if you want to play at that game. But it also has depth and a thousand places to go that have nothing to do with the meta plot. you dont have to go there at all to enjoy this world.
Ok so thats a ton of stuff, and I am tired 🙂
I hope everyone enjoys the conclusion of the world building threads. Next time I do something like this I will likely be building a different genre of world.. if there is a next time.
Ok so gimme the dice, I have to see if I can recognize sleep… Keep gaming and play safe.