Archive for category CSIHC
Good gods. Three weeks without a blog post. Ok while I will take full responsibility for not putting a serious priority on the blog, well, so goes life. I wont try to list all the personal and work things going on that took higher priority in that time frame. And I will not make excuses for putting my oldest friend first next weekend with his reception party for his recent wedding. Nor for putting my wife first and taking her on a vacation to the coast while we make our way to said reception event. So to my loyal reader/s who show up with regularity and read every one of these posts, now you know whats up. And if someone got me a job posting these things and creating wild and crazy ideas for adventures and worlds, well then and only then would I be here on a permanent basis. 🙂
So with all that out of the way, we can ask the usual type of question, what the hell does he mean by Epic Adventures?
So Epic Adventures, also known in some parts as Adventure Paths are a series of adventures and encounters set up to bring a group of player characters in a level based game setting from level one up to the top levels of play. The first example that I am aware of (please note that I say aware of, because there are likely more out there that I dont know of as this is a fairly cool concept) was Castle Greyhawk. This was originally published back in 1988 by TSR for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. It was intended to be a series of comedy adventures in a single castle that you could bring your players back to from time to time to unwind a little from more intense stories. However if you really cleared things out and did not mind creeping through humor all the time you could make it from level one to level 20 or so depending on classes by the time you cleared all the levels under the castle. While the next was not intended to have you start at first level, you could with a little tweaking make it work and that was The Ruins of Undermountain also published by TSR, this time in 1991. What made Undermountain and its sequel/add on was that it was not designed to be anything more than a serious dungeon crawl adventure. However with good work by a good DM you could make it an ongoing campaign.
Later on you would see things like the Shackled City campaign that was originally published in series in Dungeon magazine in 2003, The Worlds Largest Dungeon published in 2004, and a TON of adventure paths set up by Piazo for Pathfinder. The later offerings went past meeting in a bar and starting up a series of raids to gain levels. They plotted a story, gave NPCs background and gave characters a reason to keep things going.
Dont get your undies in a bundle that I am not mentioning your favorite module series. While nearly every game system out there has published adventures that take a story-line over multiple modules (DC Heroes, Star Frontiers, Marvel Super Heroes, and all generations of D&D to name a few) there are a lot of notable exceptions (Champions, GURPS, and SLA Industries once again to name a few). But the reason I am not bringing them up right now is because while they may tell a story over a few adventures, they are not epics that can get characters from the start of their career to the very top of their game. There are also a few publishers that have made a full story-line out of their entire publication series, but only if you pay attention (Shadowrun and the original World of Darkness (all five main games) make great examples here). This last concept is usually referred to as a Meta Plot which means that not mater what you do or where you go you are playing in the same story line.
Now then these epics all have one really big challenge. The players. If they go off the rails of the story/adventure the GM has set up before them, well things go pear shaped really quick. Or at least they can. If the person running the game has prepped for their players to run out at just about any part of the game, then things will not go off the rails at all really.
For myself I happen to love epic stories. However I also happen to know that every group I have ever played with likes to go outside the lines of the story and may want to chase down very minor plot threads that could seem like a waste of time in the overall plot. Actually I have had game groups run from the main plot right at the get go. And while it will occasionally get frustrating, I have a method of working around that. I call it the Epic Clock. I put down a time line for things to happen in on the main plot. If the characters get involved then sure they are the chosen ones. If they run from it, well then whomever else becomes the chosen ones will either save everything or things will get messed up without them. This also means though that the characters can get involved at any time. Either being at the right place at the right point in the time line, or by finding a sub plot of some kind that leads them back into the main story/plot. Also I have a distaste for just setting up modules as offered for an epic. In recent times I have taken some old D&D modules (Basic, AD&D and AD&D 2nd ed) and put them into series so that they create an epic. All of these modules are fairly easy to modify into Pathfinder so I dont have to change too many NPCs or monsters in extreme ways. Or I just build my own out of whole cloth.
Now then dont think this keeps me from running one off nights, or even one off series. But having a over arching epic, and a timeline gives me something to run everything against.
I dont do this too often but I would actually like to hear from readers on this topic. Do you like one offs, epic stories, meta plots, timelines or just what in adventures? Just reply to the posting and let me know.
Ok signing off for now, so gimme the dice, I need to roll a d10000 to see how big the next adventure is…
WARNING – This post is dark and disturbing in its content. It is also intended in a humorous and informative manner. You have been warned, so don’t bitch about it later if it offends you and you read it anyway.
So I published a bit about the idea of Cannibal Castle a few years back on a gaming fantasy blog I was writing, and I figured after the last entry I would jump into an entry or two about what makes for good bad guys, and for playing them. So any entry starting out with “The Bad Guys” will be one of these.
A little history. Years back there was a time while I was unemployed that I was staying with a couple of guys who wanted to put together a symposium of a different type together for a local sci-fi fantasy convention. Well they came to me and I created Cannibal Castle and the following material. We got turned down, but I kept the material and have even dropped this place into a couple of game worlds I have run. Had a Pathfinder game group who wanted to play bad guys actually get one game session away from getting into the castle before they were too unnerved by playing the bad guys to go on with it.
What I am going to drop here first is the original pitch for the symposium. Our goal was not to really pitch the castle itself, but to get people talking about what is evil and how to put something more unique into their games and stories.
Cannibal Castle Productions
The first annual panel on the care and feeding of the TRULY EVIL.
This panel is being brought to you to give a look, sometimes silly, at the care and feeding of a truly evil holding. The idea is to give you a look at something so nasty and bizarre that it inspires the creation of nastier villains and challenges that most heroes would probably loose their lunch over.
This years focus will be on keeping the food stores high in your castle thru any and all means possible, the nastier the better of course.
Part 1 – Castle features and their use in feeding the residents.
Torture chambers need to be in the second and third floor of a tower so that it can be used as a meat smoker when you have all the information you need.
Portcullis need to be removable individually so that skewered heroes can be heated up over a nice fire.
Ballista and archers need to fire bolts made from dried hickory or other flavorful woods so that they can be left in the victims to give a nice smoky flavor when cooking your enemies.
Murder holes used in pouring molten fats and oils over invaders need to be cleaned regularly with seasoned boiling hot water to make soup stock.
Underground areas need to be well mapped and trapped so that any and all unwelcome guests can add to the crop of mushrooms that you can grow there.
All vegetables and spices grown in the castle need to not only be flavorful, but also be toxic in high doses so they can do double duty.
Moats should be filled with flammable oils so that they can be used as barbecues during an invasion.
Stables should be kept clean for the storage of the invaders mounts. It is essential to keep them clean and fresh before adding them to the food supply.
At least one underground area needs to be free of running water so that it can be frozen with supplies of winter ice. This is essential for keeping things fresh and for quieting some of the noisier prisoners.
Part 2 – Bringing in the feast.
The fastest way to resupply your meat stock is to find a way to be invaded. This brings the fresh tender meat to your door, no hunting or farming required. A few quick and simple ideas to get this to happen are as follows.
Send out troops to brag about how rich you are. This will attract other evil groups and the poor, the poor are stringy and can be used as slave labor for upkeep, and the evil ones cook up nicely. This also gives you room to expand later.
Send out troops to brag about how evil you are. This will bring in scores of heroes, and as long as you can keep winning it will keep you well fed. Heroes usually cook better than villains anyway.
Send out a raiding party with a declaration of war. For this one you need good men and fast movers that can hairy the opposition and make them want to follow back to the castle in force.
Send out small groups to burn a city or two and leave your calling card. This one serves a dual purpose, it keeps the troops entertained and brings the heroes to your door. Just make sure that all the troops involved know that you get 50% of the take from looting before they head out.
Send out teams to wrangle all the live stock that they can from farms you do not control. This gets you some light eating at first, and as the farmers stock is noticed gone then you will get more and more heroes coming until you are finally invaded in force. This is good for long term planning and used in conjunction with the fires can be a major morale boost for the troops.
This is a small selection of the options that can be used. If you are evil enough you can come up with more.
Part 3 – Proper equipment and training for your minions/cooks.
This part should be done subtly, if you do not then some wise guy out there will organize against you before you are ready to put things to your advantage. Knowing this gear for the troops should include but not be limited to the following.
Razor sharp skinning knives. Knowing that many of the troops that can knife fight would prefer heavy blades this may be the hardest one to get them to use. Just remind them that heavy knives cost food supplies for later by wasting meat.
Hickory projectiles and portcullis. This means that you have a good nice smoked wood flavor coming from anything that gets impaled.
Flammable oil vials with added spices. Letting the troops pick their own flavors might not be a bad idea, this way they can have a little more of a personal touch when they eat the enemy later.
Extra training in anatomy. This way everyone will know just what the best part of the body to use in the field or at home, what will travel best when smoked, and how long to cook that dwarven leg.
Constant exposure to the gardens. This way your troops can develop immunity to the plants you are growing for double duty as toxins and spices.
Training in the various kinds of oils and there uses. This way they will know just what kind of oils to fill the moat with, and which kinds to add to portable cooking kits.
Part 4 – Hiring Minions
The usual deals that are offered by evil overlords are good but there are better plans and small details like the following can help get the best troops in the area.
First you need to start out with the most ragtag group of losers and cut-throats around. These will be your cannon fodder and build your first income base. Remember that this crew is disposable and you would rather have them all destroyed before you get your first castle built, or taken over.
Second and later groups are only accumulated after the castle is built. You make them the following offers.
- Base Pay (from the wealth you never paid the first group)
- 50% of the loot in all raids in your name.
- 100% of all loot from raids in the troops free time as long as they are approved by you.
- Additional training to help beat and eat your enemies.
- A well fortified base of operations.
- A detailed ranking system in the troops so you know who to backstab without making costly errors.
- Medical plans (must maintain at least 1 evil cleric make him/her a lieutenant and you will have it easy)
- Global recognition within 5 years.
Part 5 – Relocation
Knowing that eventually Heroes, Kingdoms, and even good aligned spiritual forces will soon align against you and likely hit you with more force than even a well stocked fortress can endure you need to make sure that you have done the following things.
- Establish a route of escape that no one but you knows about. No one. Seriously. Kill anyone that finds out about it.
- Move at least ½ your wealth to another location regularly. Usually 2 or three locations works better so that even outside raids will not get all of it in one go.
We will go over all this more in detail later on in the symposium, I would like to also offer you our detailed courses in attracting the proper vampire to grant you power and not enslavement, and how to summon demon and evil elemental lords for fun and profit later in the week.
End of original material
So in game play I have a tendency to give things a back story and build up the villain who runs the castle. My personal favorite was a human from a culture in which eating ones enemies was a high compliment, but when he got to the region of the world I put the castle in he found the people there were small minded and considered him evil for practicing his cultures rites. He never ate anyone he had not killed, and he cooked them before he killed them because eating them raw was considered rude. Persecuted for his cultural beliefs and unwilling to adapt to the culture he found himself in, he decided to go ahead and be evil. The castle and these practices resulted. Playing this villain as being smart made for a really good bad guy. Setting up small things, planting rumors with locals and so on all to lure small groups of “heroes” into his castle. Making them the invaders and his enemy. Aaaand you can see where that goes.
So thats it for now… evil is as evil does… heh
Next time I do one of these things about bad guys I may tell you about the NPC that freaked out a whole group of players who thought they were playing the bad guys.
Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many poisonous herbs are in the castles garden.
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.
Yeah we had another gap week. Life… you know how it goes.
I know there are two more races to talk about in more detail and there are a ton of other little details that could be gone over. But at this moment what I want to do most is start bringing things together so that the game world at the start of a game series can be seen. There will be bits and pieces that come up in this one that will require readers to roll with it because they don’t know those other details. I hope that everyone can just roll with it.
So on this world, adventure starts out on one continent. Five races make up the main population. The gods had left for a time without explanation, but came back about fifty years ago. Minus one of their number, that for some reason, none of the mortals could remember the name of. The dragons who at one time guarded the mortal races have become divided over whether they should protect them any more. And some of them have actively defected to the enemies of the gods. The mortals, blissfully unaware of enemies of the gods go about their lives trying to pursue whatever goals and dreams they enjoy. Some of the mortals, especially the wandering Halflings, and the more primitive humans who live in the wilds have seen things that make them wonder if there is not a bigger change, or problem coming. About seventy five years ago the first stories of strangeness started coming back to the rest of the races from the humans. But until twenty years ago, when a bear hide that was over five feet high at the shoulder and had many other unnatural features made its way to one of the goblin cities, no one took them seriously. Now only a small portion of the various peoples of the world think that something is going on, but more evidence is finding its way to cities and courts all the time. Even among the humans in the North East of the continent, where these things are most common, not all believe.
In the central part of the continent where the Goblin cites stand tallest innovations continue. Alchemy and magic are mixed in odd ways. Ideas with little or no practical purpose are chased, and business is good. In one of the smaller goblin cities, the governor Gillim Flamecaster is working on two things. He is trying to get a group of governors together to make a decision that will affect all of their cities, and he is also trying to act as his own commissioner, in disguise of course, to get a group or even several groups, together to investigate the strange things that are rumored to be going on in human territories.
Under the mountain ranges in the south west of the continent the current lord of the forge, Lady Deliandriaiin Mournhammer is for the first time in a hundred years looking at the possibility of taking a mate. Her rule over the dwarves has been one of the most stable they have seen. She codified the export of raw metals and alloys and dwarven goods to the outside world. She was the first lord of the forge to open direct relations with the elves. And in the last few years of her reign her people have been worried. No mater the clan, no mater the holding, the people think she has been ‘one’ too long. Now that she is actively looking at developing a relationship and moving forward, which should be a positive to her people, she has been spending a lot of time with a halfling woman. Her people do not care that she is with another woman, but the fact it is a halfling. This has clans in an uproar.
On the islands to the west of the continent the elves, well for the most part they are elves. But they have all started talking about the bodies of whales that have been turning up on their island homes. Some have had huge bites taken from them, others have had full trees punched through their bodies like spears. While many of the families are talking about what to do, representatives from a couple of islands have headed to the continent to see if there are any strange things going on there as well.
The humans with their connection to the wild places have been noticing a change for years. Like a pervasive shift in the way things happen. Bird migrations shifting, plants not growing in the same volume as they have in the past. The strange dire creatures that were once very rare becoming all the more common. They have sent word to the other races through the halflings before, but it seems no one else really cares. At least to them. They know the change is underway. Not coming, not soon, but it is ongoing. But they have no idea if it is a natural change or if it is being pushed by someone or something. This worries them.
The halflings continue to be everywhere. Trading information, music and goods all over the continent and occasionally to the elven islands as well. Many of the caravan matrons see something coming, but like the humans they don’t know if it is natural or pushed. However they suspect. They suspect it is not natural. And so now more than ever before the caravans are trading information on the secret locations they have set up. Where they have been hiding some of the best goods and more useful items they have stumbled across in their travels. Since all of the caravans are trading more and more information about their caches, it is getting harder and harder to know if there is someone out there looting them, or if there has been a need when they find one or more that have been emptied.
The dragons no longer debate. For over a hundred years they argued and discussed and even fought over whether it was right to still serve the mortal races. To guard them from the coming titans and their creations. Or to let them fall. Of the one thousand dragons created, lines have been drawn. Three hundred and eight side with the mortals. Four hundred and seventy three side with the titans. And the remaining two hundred and nineteen have decided to go it alone.
The titans have their foot hold in the world. In the extreme northeast of the continent, in the frozen wastes near the top of the world the first hole was opened and they work to keep it that way. Lesser titans and giants are already at watch in the physical world. Speaking with the dragons and looking to the local life forms to see what they can do to add to the number of troops they have on hand. They know the gods had plans for the mortals, and that involved growing into something more than they were, stretching their reach and being challenged on the other two continents on this world. So many of their minions are heading to those other places to see if they can find what the gods left there.
The gods are worried. The mortals were never meant to know about the titans. About the giants, or the powers they wield. The dragons were to be a last line of defense, not a first. The missing god worries them the most though. They found no trace after the conflict, and they do not know if the god has been reconstituted elsewhere, or has truly been destroyed forever.
And somewhere, out there in the dark beyond this world. In between the spheres that the gods have made containing their little worlds and realms. Something as old if not older than the gods has taken notice. And they stir.
This is the very big overview of the world that an adventure would be starting in.
Now gimme the dice… I gotta see if I can roll up a bachelor party.
Hello again and welcome to the next part of the world building series. Today I am going to add another racial description. This is one that I have thought about for quite some time. There will be cultural references made just like in the entry about dwarves, and others to come. Please note that these references are not intended to insult, belittle or in any way screw with an existing culture on earth. These cultural references are in here because I find them to be very cool, and I would love to have more people look into them. Even if it is just the stereotypes that us ignorant fools have come up with.
Ok so who are we looking at today… now that I have you all prepped and ready for conflict and indignation… Elves. That’s right… elves. In our modern earth the idea of elves has been around for a long time. Historically, fictionally, and even holidasically (no that’s not a word… yet). In gaming terms the elves are usually either something like the historical northern European elves or like those in the works of Tolkien. But about twenty years ago a game came out from White Wolf called Changeling the Dreaming, that expanded my point of view on what an elf could be. So for those of you who know the native mythic structures of the first nations in America, the peoples of the Hawaiian islands and some of the Taoist faiths you may recognize names like Nunnehi, Menehune, or Xian Jing. None of these have complete influence on how the elves in this world were created. However from the number of comments I received in private messages about the stereotypes that I used involving dwarves, I thought I would put a lot of the inspiration up front this time.
And now the details about elves in this world…
Shortly after the gods had removed their contract labor of the Titans, the gods started to wander this world they had, had created. And they liked it. One of the best features they felt was the number of rivers and streams that lead to larger and larger bodies of water, until eventually they poured into the oceans on the surface or in the underworld. This rolling flow inspired several of the gods to work together to create the first of the mortal races. The Elves.
The very first elves looked at the world around them, felt the connection to the nearby streams, and left the point of their creation. Much to the dismay of the gods. The gods had intended to create guardians for the waters. Poets and dreamers that would sing their praises. And here their creations just packed it in and left. The gods confronted the elves about their actions, and the elves responded that the world there was beautiful, and the only ones that could change that would be the elves themselves. So instead of being the only danger there was to that beauty. They were going to go some place else. Stunned by the simple truth of the elves statement the gods retreated to watch.
It took some time but that first group of elves followed the waters. Staying in one place no more than a year and then moving on. And in just over five years, they found their way to the ocean. When they reached the ocean they, as a whole race, stopped. The ocean surface was constantly changing. It never stopped moving. The elves explored the shore and found so many kinds of life that they knew they had found something very special. They could see things in the distance, across the surface of the water and as one, they knew what they had to do.
The elves called out to the gods, said farewell to the mainland, created the very first boats, and headed to the islands they could see in the distance. In the islands they found small places. Potentially fragile places that could see the end of very unique forms of life in a storm. They found an ebb and flow to life that felt natural to them. They tied themselves more and more in to the nature around them. And by and large they decided not to care about the gods, the mainland, or anything other than things that would threaten life as it was known.
All in all the elves are a very physically impressive people. Thin and lithe. Their bodies mark them as natural swimmers and runners. Taller than most humans with bodies that hold a deep reddish tan to the skin. Their hair and eyes are usually black. Other colors are taken as a sign that the individual is destined for something interesting.
The elves live in a council style of community. Men and women are treated equally, unless the woman is pregnant. In that case she is given a role of authority. Basically all of her wishes and votes count double. The elves are truly community based. They have no need for a big government. If someone in a village has a problem, they help each other. If a village has a problem, then other villages on the island help. If there is a problem on a whole island then many villages on other islands help. They do not do it because a god tells them to, or a government tells them to, they do it because it is the right thing to do. Yes there are those who dissent from that opinion. Who feel there should be something in it for them for helping. And most of the time the dissenters come around after being helped many times even though they are not asked to help. Those who do not usually take one of the village boats and head for another place.
This dynamic is why other races in this world feel there are two tribes of elves. There are the islanders that they are told about who trade freely and only for what they need. Who wander nearly naked save for the tattoos they bare. And the elves who wander the main land looking for more. They may be physically the same. But in philosophy the mainland and island elves are very different.
As mentioned tattooing is a very important part of the elvish culture. As they never bothered to develop their own written language, they did come up with a way to record their personal history. Tattoos. Each element tattooed on a elf is part of the story of their lives. The placement and the image all mean a lot. And given that island elves only wear as much clothing as the weather requires, it is actually very easy to understand the accomplishments of one another just by paying attention. This openness is hard for any other race to really understand. The halflings appreciate it and a few of their wandering tribes have been accepted by the elves. A group of goblin pirates tried to invade an island once, only to be met with total indifference for almost a month before they left. The elves thought it was the best joke ever played. Because in truth there were seven other villages ready to make war on the goblins. But since no one was harmed, they just let it go.
The deep thinkers among the elves, usually the deep sea fishermen and divers, often wonder if bringing mortal races into such a beautiful world was a good idea. They are usually met with a splashed drink and a more immediate question, like, did you catch any fish?
And while tradesmen may see a primitive people, or simpletons, when they look at the elves. In fact the opposite is true. They have a tendency to grow their boats so they do not have to harm a tree. They use natural caves and trees in combination to make homes and public halls. They know how many kinds of life are on and around their islands and what it takes to live in balance with them. Their medicinal knowledge is vast, and they have composed songs that it takes a whole village to sing. The elves are a wondrously complex and beautiful people. That most others refuse to understand because they are so different.
The single largest issue that the elves get into regularly, is balance. Does the world balance, do the scales balance. Is our relationship in balance. When things are out of balance, the elves act. And sometimes in big ways. If things are in balance then the elves are the most relaxed peoples you may ever meet.
The most common reason for an island elf to be on the main land is because something is out of balance. Which because of cultural differences can be hard to explain. When they can elves visiting the mainland try to stay away from mainland elves and will do their best to stay with halfling caravans. Their wandering nature reminds them of the ocean.
I think that gives a fair introduction to the elvish culture, and some of the things that inspired it.
Now gimme the dice… I gotta make a save vs cold roll…
Ok so there were a couple weeks off there. Had to have time to enjoy other aspects of life before getting back to this fun.
So in World Building 106 I started to talk about the races of this world I am making and the cultures that they have. I started with Goblins and now I am going to move into another fantasy staple, Dwarves.
In most fantasy settings dwarves are rather isolationist, somewhat greedy, and talented miners and workers of stone. Their metal work is usually considered superior to most other races, save occasionally for elves. They are also usually portrayed as some of the biggest pessimists and drunks that you could imagine.
In this setting dwarves are some of those things.
In this world dwarves have a deep connection to the physical world. They were the second of the mortal races that were created by the gods. And they take pride in that. The number two is considered sacred to them and when they look at the other races they see (cultural bias here) that the first race created was obviously flawed and that their creation was the gods getting it right. Every race that came after them are shadows of what should have been. Essentially more dwarves. In this they were the first of the mortal races to see the gods as flawed. This ends up being reflected though in how they work. They never expect things to be perfect the first time. But when you have to do something more than twice you have failed.
These dwarves are very clan and family centric. Every family strives to specialize in something so that they can stand out. The head of the family runs the family forge, and gets the power to approve or deny any projects that would happen in that families work. The head of the clan also has a clan forge that is used for multi-family projects and they also have the power to approve or deny. While this kind of structure might seem to lead to inter-clan conflicts, fighting over specializations, who’s work is better than someone else’s, is does not usually. Recognizing superior work and effort is also a part of the dwarven make up. Be it weapons, tools, art, or any other made product dwarves actually take pride in having items made by the best of the best. Even when it is not from their family or clan. This mutual respect gives the dwarves a kind of racial unity that most others lack.
The dwarven families are divided up into castes based on the work that they do. At the lowest caste you find the miners and the farmers. The next caste forges items. The highest caste is responsible for developing alloys that are used in the forges. You will note that there is no religious caste, no warrior caste, no servants who cook or clean. Every family is expected to fulfill those duties. However should a dwarven army march you would be able to tell the caste by the weapons they use. The lowest caste will use picks and shovels and occasionally swords. The mid caste uses hammers. The highest caste uses pole arms and weapons that combine two or more other weapons into a single device. Now then dwarven culture also shows respect to warriors and cooks just as much as those doing any other duty. Dwarves will freely admit when the best warrior is from the lowest caste. And higher ranked families may even offer him or her the chance to advance through marriage. I plan on including a story into this world about a cook who ended up becoming a high caste clan leader because of their skills.
You may think with all this focus on work and caste that dwarves would have no culture, no music or humor. They do however. Their version of art and music and humor is all based on precision. Finely crafted things that my seem delicate but are not. Songs that take two hundred years to write. Jokes that only have to be told once because they are that precise.
For a culture that is so willing to wait and to look for precision they are very frequently frustrated with other races and see them as being slipshod. They marvel when, to dwarven eyes, they actually get something right. This has most of the other races seeing them as, well, assholes. And they really can be. But if someone actually understands their culture and deals with them in a manner they find respectful, dwarves are more than willing to accept someone who puts in the effort. Not as an equal mind you but as a respectable individual.
With their specific tastes and looks I had been thinking that a dwarven city would have winding tunnels as the dwarves follow veins of metal and precious stones. With buildings, alcoves and chambers for entertaining built in places that perfectly suit the purpose of the building. To an outsider it may seem a little haphazard, but in reality it is more about finding the correct place for everything. That sense of precision coming up again. I was also thinking that for attire and design aesthetics that it would be a good kind of difference to see the dwarves having a new cultural theme. I actually like the idea of a Shogunate era look for the dwarves. Formal kimonos and the like for entertaining and relaxing. Worked leather for work clothes. Very meticulous carvings for buildings and even things like an alloy metal worked to paper thinness that is used to separate rooms and even to make doors.
Now then I know that this last paragraph may have some people thinking “Ohhh he is being so racist” “He is being disrespectful of Japanese culture” and other such things. However that is not my intent. Not at all. I enjoy the style and the trappings of the Shogunate era. I enjoy some of the classic stereotypes that developed about the Japanese and that era. And I think tying it into so unlikely a place is actually a good way to show it off. Like it, don’t like it, its up to you.
Ok so one last thing to talk about here. You may have noticed that I did not put any gender restrictions on any of the dwarven roles in life. And that was on purpose. Other races do have them, and that confuses the dwarves to no end. Male and female are part of the whole. that sacred two thing. And if two parts make the whole they must be equal. So yes. Both male and female dwarves have equal roles in the culture. Both can be workers, cooks, religious types or leaders. Skill and drive are what the dwarves respect. And gender bias in other races just makes them sad.
So that is the brief on Dwarven culture. Not massively different from other dwarves but the specifics can give you room to pause and a reason to think about them differently.
Coming soon to the blog, another game review and then more world building. Hope everyone is having a great new year so far, and that it only gets better.
Now gimme the dice, I gotta figure out what culture to do next…
Welcome one and all to the ongoing saga of me building a world for table top gaming. Last episode I revealed what was going on in the meta/mega/uber history of the game world. Stuff that no character should know in game for quite some time. This section is stuff they could and maybe should know about depending on their character race and background. I have a feeling WB106 will have all sorts of A B C extensions because I am going into racial cultures and backgrounds. The only real question is what race to start with first… Ok lets go with Goblins.
Goblins were created near the end of the gods period of making the mortal races. The big and showy environments like oceans and mountains had already been covered. But these vast flatter areas like the plains and deserts had no real sentient life in them. Sure there were animals and some of them are really impressive. But there was nothing there to try and drive or control those areas. Since the gods did not want to let any race run completely free and mayhap over take everything else they had created, they decided to create the goblins as a smaller, more intelligent species. They tanked the goblins wisdom and social skills to keep them from using their natural intelligence and speed to overtake any of the other races. And to make them vulnerable to predators.
Even with a lower wisdom that some of the other races the goblins learned quickly. They adopted a written language before any other race and built walled cities to compensate for their lack of physical power. Truly, many of these advancements were spurred on by hints from the gods, however the goblins would have made many of them without divine intervention. The goblins were the first to form nations. And they are responsible for formalizing magic into the schools of wizardry. Their schools of magic are the most impressive and other races fight for the chance to gain admittance.
With the help of the halflings the goblins made their major cities trade hubs. The dwarves had metals, the humans had wood and lumber, the elves had items unique to the seas. And the goblins needed all of these things to build up their cities. The halflings being masters of trade and being social wanderers were happy to help out. Their caravans brought products and peoples to the goblin cities and they helped the goblins form positive relations with many other kingdoms.
Being knowledge hungry, the goblins have tried to replicate dwarven smith work. But as the dwarves refuse to share their refinement processes, or sell the highest quality ores goblin work is usually a significantly lower quality than theirs. But still higher than human or elven work. They have also tried to replicate human wood work. With the same kind of results as they see in their metal work. While some goblins are jealous of the work of the other races, most consider it an accomplishment to come close and see it as a chance to improve later.
The goblins hunger for knowledge and racial lack of wisdom has caused them no end of social problems. And the goblins that go looking for something new or to try and surpass their predecessors has given the goblins a reputation as a people that likes to blow things up. Physically, socially, magically. Things will blow up because they do not think it through. However should anyone survive the experience they do record it all. And they publish as much as they can… printing and copying books is done by hand so it may take time for a confirmed idea or warning to spread.
The biggest pride for the goblins is their races use of magic. Their wizards are the best trained. Their colleges have the most impressive libraries and spell collections. When it comes to working with magic they are the top of the food chain among the mortal races. While there are a great many personalities and opinions about magic most goblins take the stance that they will show others races the basics, but that they really need to develop magic on their own. This is because they know their own history and how much failure, as well as success has taught them. This is their one big point of wisdom as a culture. It will never stop them from trying to get as much as a they can from everyone else however. Because, well, goose and gander does not really make sense to them as a whole.
Goblins do have standing military in each of their cities. They function both as police and as soldiers. The lowest ranks are the mercenaries that they hire from other races. The main duty on the soldier side is to keep the farms and roadways safe from predatory animals and rouges.
Goblins also have an organized form of government. Maybe a little too organized. Each city has an independent governor. Each governor has control over his city but also has official relations with every other goblin city. This creates a web of inter city relations. In each city the governor will have between three and ten lieutenants who are responsible for overseeing specific duties. Those specifics change from city to city. Each lieutenant has a group of domo’s who are in charge of sub functions of their specific responsibility. Then come the egriero, and then the commissioners. The commissioner is someone who actually hires or commissions people to get things done. The web that this can create in a city can get rather arcane. And there is a rumor that in some cities there are governors who actually also work as their own commissioners. Additionally there are rumors that this sort of twisted web of government social structure is also the precursor of some massive social spell being cast by the goblins and when everyone is in the correct alignment the spell can be cast. No one has yet to confirm or deny this rumor, which has many worried.
Ok so that gives you something to go on for goblins… another race next week…
Until then keep the dice rollin and play it safe in the cold.
Now gimme the dice, gotta see if I can help the wife roll up breakfast. 🙂
Ok so last post I started talking about races and monsters. I want to continue that thread now that I have the races in place.
So the next part of that question becomes what is really a monster. I mentioned that I don’t want magical creatures to be common at all. At least to start with. I mean if you look into the five books that Piazo has published for their Pathfinder Bestiary series you can see hundreds of creatures that you absolutely have to have magic to make. Or you have to have easy access to other plains of existence. And I really don’t want to have that kinds of feel to the start of the game. However I do want things to feel, outside the norm. This world will have elves and dwarves so… how to make things a little more interesting without… ahh.
So the idea behind monsters at first will be that yes we have all the mundane animals in this world. But that may not be enough. So if I add Dire creatures that should be a boost. For those that don’t know what that might mean a dire creature is extra big, extra nasty, and usually has a grouping of regular versions of the creature type following it. So imagine if you will a dire grizzly bear. This is a bear that when walking on all fours is about five feet high at the shoulder. Its fur in a few areas has matted and twisted together to form something like the keratin horns of a rhino. And it is smarter and more vicious than a usual bear. And add to that it has intimidated five or six usually solitary grizzly bears into following it. Dire animals will stay rare at first. But they give some good low level quests.
Next thing I want to add into this would have to be dinosaurs. I don’t think they get the love they should in fantasy settings, and Piazo has been good enough to add stats in their books for the cases of, OK so you are playing a class that gets an animal companion, well if you catch a dinosaur when it is young you can team up with them and this is the stats they will have. So making it a point of honor and wow factor that a class that can use them will go after them. I can see how a pecking order will evolve in those classes where the basic animals are fine for a local guy. Dire animals really show a guy is serious. And being backed up by a freakin’ T-rex means this guy is a bad ass among bad asses. I will have to limit them by geography at first because amongst most mammals you are going to find adding a super predator like a T-rex would deplete too many types of animals, and even the giant sized herbivores in the dinosaur groups would reduce plant life too much to make farming or herding them viable. They just eat too much. But having them be rare and a sign of effort and social station would work.
All righty, so that will start things out. Now I can hear a couple people in the background starting to go, well what about the undead and were creatures, aren’t they staples of the fantasy settings as well? Actually not really. Now then free willed undead (look them up in game books for a big list) like vampires are not going to be in the game to start. However I am thinking that in a couple of the cultures I am fleshing out, like the humans (recycling everything in the forest) and the goblins (got to have something in that culture that is treated as the lowest of the low) you may have some who would animate the dead (skeletons and zombies) to keep working on things. Were creatures I am thinking of just tossing out at the beginning.
Now then you may have noticed I have said at the beginning a lot. Well that is because it is my intent to put a story together overall for the world. Well maybe not a story but a time line anyway. That would mean that at certain points in the game events will happen. If they characters are there they can stop them, or assist them from happening. Like at one point the big bads figure out that the worship the gods get helps power them, so they want to do a few things that makes the mortals go… ummm no… you need to fix this. And if the big bads go and unleash vampirism as a contagion passed in the blood of others, and maybe use a few lesser strains of that contagion to create a few other types of undead that are free willed and willing to strike at other mortals… Now then if the heroes of the story (my players) are in the place that this initial release happens they might stop it. Or they may think its a good idea and help release it. Same things goes for lycanthropy. But the lycanthropy illness cannot be stopped with channeled divine energy like the undead can… so they would be round two. I also do not intend to keep all the monsters out of the game forever. I mean a crazy wizard here and there, maybe a summoner who gets something that wont go home, and other things unleashed by the big bads… until their time comes… allows for a build up, allows for uniqueness, and gives the game master a chance to do things like saying, “Just ahead of you on the road you see something that stands almost as tall as your elven friends back on the beach. However it is broad in shoulder like a dwarf, and drools like your goblin friend Ryath after he has had too much to drink. Its eyes are small and its weapons are large. Some of you can feel the hatred and malice sloughing off its ugly and to most eyes deformed frame. What do you do?” instead of saying, “You see an orc, what do you do?” Because they will never have seen an orc, or heard of an orc, or dreamed of an orc (well unless there is a precog around). But I am sure you get the idea. The players are going to get to be on the front lines of discovery in this game.
Ok well that is all for this post. Hope that anyone following and reading is still having fun.
Now gimme the dice. I need to see if I can beat that roll for the number of adjectives I can use to describe a gelatinous cube.
So in the last posting I talked about powers and gods. I am detailing those out a bit more on one side of things, but now, as promised, races and monsters.
So many gamers will go… oh yeah I want to play… I like to fight… A fantasy world is just not right without… And truth be told we all have small or large bias like these. Like me and hating gnomes. Don’t ask, it wont end well for either of us. But have you ever noticed how hard it is to have a reasonable experience in gaming if there are 349 playable races and 850+ monster species with usually two or three variants on each (never mind dragons and giants… thank you Pathfinder and D&D). Yeah it is supposed to be fantasy. Yeah we need to suspend our disbelief. But when every third squirrel has some sort of mystic powers and every other tree is carnivorous it gets to be a pain in the ass to have any kind or surprise for the group. Now then if the world you are working on is about fifteen times the size of earth then maybe you can do something like that and expect to have divergent racial identities and cultures develop. But with an earth sized place… I just cannot see it. You will have all sorts of race wars and culture clashes all the time. Lord of the Rings manages something along those lines anyway even with a limited number of species all over the place.
So I wanted to be thinking of how I could really make some unique cultures and limit the number of races. Of course making sure to exclude gnomes.
Just to give myself a little wiggle room I thought I would start out with five or six races for the PC’s. I would also really put a limit on creatures that would not be found on the mundane earth we all live on for starting monsters. That would give me reasonable material to work with. Bears would be seen as the bad asses they are (for a while at least), and when magical creatures come up they can be a sign of change, surprise, or some damned magic using fool who is @#$^ing up the local area by trying to splice a centipede with a wand of frost and a bottle of chemical fire because it would be cool… again.
Then I jumped back to thinking about races… Humans have to be in there obviously. Elves and dwarves because I wont do a fantasy setting without them. Now then what else… hmmm. I often like to try and play Goblins. I make them out differently than most settings do. More like the Gobbers as presented in the Iron Kingdoms setting. Halflings could be cool too. Hmmm, that leaves me room to have a sixth if I want to add one later. And if I am skipping things like Orcs, then I don’t have to worry about half… oh crap… ok so lets just tackle that right now… no half anythings. The only exceptions would be when created/assisted/forced by magic or other powers. On their own no race can interbreed. So no half elves, no half orcs, no half dragons… no halvsies.
Ok so what about cultures. I would like to get away from some of the regular stereotypes.So how about things like …
Dwarves, still arrogant and proud. But lets liven up their culture a bit. Lets make them the underground version of the classic Japanese stereotype during the Edo period. Samurai culture. But instead of swords being the weapon of the Samurai it is the hammer. Working the forge is a right to be earned and defended. Fighters, clerics, and maybe a few other classes would be common.
Elves, proud and mighty in their own right. But instead of being a race older than the others, with wisdom and knowledge beyond the others. How about they are an island culture. Fishing, sea faring, swimming and living life to the fullest with a connection to the wind and the waves. Just sort of rolling with life. The stereo type that many Americans imagine when they talk about Hawaii and Pacific Island cultures. Sure they have towns and trade posts and visit the coastlines all the time. But they really dont seem to care about ‘civilization’. Barbarians, fighters, rouges, and rangers would be common. With the occasional sorcerer and psion if I allow Psi in the game.
Halflings. I always have fun with halflings. I wanted to give them something a little more interesting than usual. Even better than the Kender interpretation of them in the Dragonlance setting. A people who started on the boarders. On the edge of the plains, the edge of the forest, the edge of the desert and so on and so on. They learned quickly and easily how to talk to all the other races. They learned how to travel. And they learned how to adapt. I am thinking of a mix between the classic stereotype of the gypsy culture, and the trade caravan masters of old Europe. Welcoming and open. Running trade all over the continent. And one of the few people that everyone can respect. So while they wont have a geographic region of their own, they can be found everywhere. Just about every class you can imagine would be seen here. But rangers, cavaliers, bards and fighters would be most common.
Humans are going to be of the woods and jungle. Not in the usual fantasy elven way. More in the noble barbarian stereo type. Like how the Mongols are presented in the Netflix Marco Polo series. They have their honor and traditions, and while some want to stick to those there are others who want to reach out to other cultures and add what they have to their own. And while they have a strong tie to the land and the trees (in this case instead of the open plains) they adapt very well to other areas given the chance. I am seeing a mix of barbarian, ranger, druid and monk/brawler classes here.
Goblins… heh. Ok so how about we make the goblins the people of the plains and the deserts. Due to their size they had to learn quickly how to build cities and create all the intricacies that come with them. Because they needed things like wood and metal they had to learn to negotiate. And because of their size they had to learn to innovate. So they will also be the ones who started with arcane magic and alchemy. Something to give themselves an edge over the other races. Wizard, alchemist and any class tied to them are common. With bards and rouges being common in all the ‘civilized’ walks of life.
Ok so thats enough for the moment. These are all different from the standards you would usually see. And so not everyone would be interested, but I think with the right prep and players it would be very cool for a setting to be that different.
Gimme the dice, I gotta roll up a random encounter for dinner.
Not sure if anyone else is having fun with this but I am. This is the first time I have had an audience while working on a world.
So a quick recap of 101 and 102… Pathfinder game system. World that is 5000 years old max. Pantheon of gods vs big bad, at start of game one god is missing. Big bad is present in the main world. High fantasy.
So there comes a few big questions at this point and while I know there are several elements I could detail out, I want to answer a few of these questions before I dig too much deeper.
1 – Can everyone do magic or is it limited?
2 – Is magic the same for both holy and arcane?
3 – Certain classes have things like Chi, or Psi (if I open it up to psionics), are these all under the Magic banner or do they function independently?
4 – Do any of the animals, or races have a predisposition to one or the other of the powers?
5 – Are magically enhanced races and monsters common?
So I am going to go into races and monsters and animals in World Building 104, so I am going to skip that for the moment.
Can everyone do magic? – I dont know about you but I like it when things like magic items can be fairly commonplace. But the majority of them are so low level in effect that they dont have an effect on the game mechanics. But if played properly they can have an effect on a story. Example would be an old wooden spoon that makes whatever it was used to cook taste great. Spoon get stolen from an inn and now no one will stop there because the cooking tastes so bad without it. It wont stop poison, help with healing, feed more people that you could usually get out of food. It just makes things taste better. Magic items being fairly common however does not mean that magic users are common. Since I don’t want thousands of Gandalf’s running around I think I need to put a limit of some kind on magic. Blood lines are over done, and mystic rune-marks are just behind that. Sorcerers already have a blood tie to magic. Hmmm, how about destiny. So in the Pathfinder game rules most of the people you encounter may have NPC class levels, but not Heroic class levels. And if population divisions are as usual, then maybe one in every hundred people would have heroic class levels. That would mean there is a reaction to someone displaying skills an abilities that go above what most would see every day. So it is possible for the Destined to be more than the usual every day person. I think we can pull that off in a game.
Questions two and three are really part of the same thing. In game mechanics the impact that could have would be something like a wizard using a counter-spell to block a psi power. Now then personally again I like seeing separate modes of energy so that it takes one to stop one. But how do you tie that together in a way that does not hinder game mechanics. My personal idea would be that there is a source for each power. And the easiest way to do that in this would would be to tie one power into each of the big four. Magic is called out as a power though, so how to break it out further becomes a problem…
Gimme the dice its time to see if I can get a critical search for leftovers.