Thursday, 22 January 2015

Really Simple D20 Rules for young kids

For the last few months my little girl has been playing with my figures and dice. We have a PA day coming up and I want to play some story games with her. Here is a simple version I came up with for us to use, to get her involved in the game, and have her roll some dice.

Things you need: 3 sets of dice, minis and mapping tools.

Have all players get two minis and characters.  They come into the area and look for things and avoid monsters.

Have a separate dice for every mini to keep track of health. When hit, change the number showing. When they are reduced to zero, the character runs away.

Character Types:
Strong Girl - 2 Good skills, Use a 10 for health
Fast Girl - 4 Good skills, Use an 8 for health
Smart Girl- 2 Good skills, Use an 8 for health

Roll d6, move that many spaces.
Roll 4 or higher, move and attack at same time

Attack: Must be next to a BG
d20 - 1-5 miss
d20-  6-12 hits, roll avoid
d13- Cannot avoid
If the attacker rolls 13 or higher, they hit doing 1 pip
If the attacker rolls 16 or higher, they hit doing 2 pips
If the attacker rolls 20, they hit doing 3 pips (strong guy only)

Roll 6+d6 - if you roll higher than attack, you avoid
(Use 12 +d6 in later games, but otherwise the same)

Skills : Use D8 for good skills, D6 for everything else
Hide=Monsters can`t find you
Find=You can find things
Run = Run away or double Move
Jump = Half the number is how high you jump
Swim = Swim or stay in same spot
Climb= beat target and you climb to where you need
Grunt=any kind of lifting or moving things

Target to beat: easy (3), rough (5) or hard (8)
(We only use Hard level target for later games)

Spells (have 3 at a time, cast any number of times) - Smart Girl only
Bubble: Surrounds someone, they don`t take damage, and can fall or swim safely
Boom-Loud Noise, scare BG for d6 rounds
Back-Push= BG gets pushed back d6
Bop - hit someone for 1 pip from 3 spaces or less away
Beg - you've asked a favor, to avoid, defender must roll 11 or 12 on 6+d6
Help - friend gains back 2 pips

Loot: Set the target at a ertain amount of loot to find. Every time they are at a chest, door, table, etc the character can try a find check, if they beat the target they receive 1d4 bags of loot. The game ends when the good team or the bad team finds the required amount of loot, usually a loot target of 10.

Bad Guys (BG) are Monsters always have D6. They always do one pip of damage. Have no skills or spells. They are looking for the same stuff you are. They scream and cry a lot.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Favoured of Keran

These suave, human-looking aristocrats are found throughout cities on Nyssa dedicated to serving the evil deity's purposes. They are a corrupting force, dedicated to sowing mistrust on other groups and forces in urban areas. While many people know the danger they represent, the foolish often fail to see the little gifts they offer come with a price that many can't afford.

Favoured of Keran

CR 6
LE Outsider
Init +5; Perception + 8

AC 19, touch 18, flat-footed 12 (+4 natural, +1 dexterity, +4 Scale Mail)
hp 50 (8d8+16)
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +6
Morale 15

Speed 30 ft.
Great Sword +9 (2d6+4)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th)
At Will- Detect Good, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Fear, 
2/Day- Invisibility (Self Only), Suggestion, Unholy Blight

Str 17 Dex 13 Con 15 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 14
Base Atk +6; CMB 12 CMD 16
Feats: Alertness, Blind Fight, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Cleave, Weapon Focus
Skills Bluff +14, Climb +8, Diplomacy + 8, Gather Info +6, Hide +6, Knowledge (Religion or Planes) +8, Perception +8, Swim +10, Survival +5
Languages: Common, Draconic, Infernal, Telepathy 100 ft

Environment: Urban areas or Obelisk of Keran
Organization: Solitary, pair or Platoon (3-6)
Treasure: Standard


Scent (Ex) This special quality allows a creature to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

Change Shape (Su) They can assume the form of a dire snake, raven or crocodile twice a day. They do this to go unnoticed and try to avoid transforming if anyone can see them.

These creatures are Keran's steadfast minions and often act as ambassadors and assistants to his clerics on mortal planes. They originate from petitioners, faithful members who have died and reborn on the outer planes. Stripped of their memories, they are transformed to do the will of the dark lord.

Keran is a powerful evil deity that is ever present on Nyssa, found in cities acting as agents of absolute law, manipulative to get their dark order at the center of all important activities in an area. 

Most of the Favoured are usually assigned to an obelisk or church and keep a hand in activities in any way they can, Often supporting evil groups, hiring adventurers or sowing mistrust in good aligned groups and faiths. Many end up leading local churches but can be called back to Keran's domain in Hell's Fifth Circle at almost any time.

The Favoured are usually adorned with symbols of high status, showing their "personal success" and the value of following the dark lord. They are often seen as a part of high society, invited to parties as they are quick to sponsor aristocrats & artists. They are always ready to act as patrons to adventurers and the desperate on wild escapades for the chance of wealth. While not open to admit it, there are often hushed tales told of when promises are stretched too far and they finally ask for payment of the debt – the end result is the damnation of anyone not ready to pay their debt in full.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Random Encounter Tables (City)

Encounters - roll as needed when situation is unplanned. My personal rule is as a DM we can decide anything, including not to use these tables. But, if I choose to roll, the roll rules.

01-70 Human
71-75 Dwarf
76-80 Tenderfoot    (Halfling)
81-85 Elf
86- 88 Sylph            (Winged Humanoids)
89-90 Ogren             (Mostly civilized Ogres)
91-92 Lizardith        (Lizardmen)
93       Quillian         (Humanoid Purcupines that can throw their quills)
94      Jahlen             (Golden Horned Ram Humanoid)
95      Charr               (Pale skinned humanoids with magical armaments)
96      Gargoyle         (Stone figures that haunt towers)
97      Minotaur
97      Jackalla            (furred jackal humanoids that hunt undead)
98      Phaetox            (Flame winged humanoids that cannot tell untruths)
99      Clockwork       (Sentient Mechanoid with freewill)
00      DM's Choice

*The first four selections in the race table can be replaced with each other. So if in a Dwarf city, they take the top choice, and humans go to the next tier.

Basic City Encounter Table
01-08 Beggar or Poor Man
09-12 Cleric (3rd - 5th)
13-16 Undead (roll again **)
17-18 Animals (Swarm, Rats, Insects)
19-20: Pet
21-25: Drunk (Roll Again)
26-28: Gentleman, Nobleman or Rogue (3rd-10th)
29-34: Guild Member or Craftsmen
35-36: Mercenary or City Guard (1st-3rd)
37-40: Dancer, Harlot or Rogue (3rd-10th)
41-45: Labourer
46-55: Worker (2nd-5th)
56-65: Merchant
66-68: Nobleman (5th - 8th lev)
69-70: Busker or Bard (3rd - 6th)
71-72: Animal Handler or Stabler
73-75: Sailor, Dockhand or Labourer
76-80: Visitors or Pilgrims
81-83: Knight or Paladin (3rd - 8th)
84-85: Sorcerer (3rd - 5th)
86-88: Child or Apprentice
89-90: Guild Officer
91-92: Disguised (Roll again)
93-95: Shapechanger (Lycanthrope, Doppleganger, Rakshasa, etc)
96+: DM's Choice

Random Building 
01-04: Artist, Bard, Busker or Entertainer
05-06: Herbalist or Apthecary
07-08: Brewer or Bartender
09-12: Baker or Miller
13-15: Mason, Construction or Wood Worker
16-17: Advocate, Alderman or City Councillor
18-19: Weaver, Tailor, or Leather-Worker
20-24: Shantal (Prostitute)
25-26: Pet-Master, Animal Handler or Taxidermist
27-29: Stabler or Horse-Handler
30: Locksmith, Clocksmith or Tinkersmith
31-32: Jeweler or Goldsmith
33-35: School-Master, Lecturer or Teacher
36-45: Sailor, Dockworker or Labourer
46-48: Librarian, Scribe or Cartographer
49-50: Psychic or Astrologer
51-53: Salonist, Barber, Stylist or Cosmetician
54: Undertaker
55-56: Hooper
57-58: Major Domo, Secretary, Buttler or Herald
59-60: Labourer
61-65: Blacksmith or Armourer
66-70: Food-Worker or Chef
71-73: Moneylender or PawnSmith
74-76: Tobbaconist or Perfumer
77-80: Charcoil, Burning Oil or Fireworks
81-82: Brassworker
83-85: Farmer, Flowerist, Gardener
86-90: Servicing Industry
91-94: Trader
95-98: Auctioneer
99+: DM's Choice

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Darras - God of the Poor and Sponsor of Charitable Acts

While not a god that openly sponsors adventurers, they can be requested for aid. An urban force, that monks and cavaliers often join as they assist the common-man. A good source of cheap potions and reduced costs for spells, if adventurers share their wealth when they have it. They turn no one down, especially those of other races or creeds, one must be open to be apart of the community.


Alignment: Neutral Good
Follower's Alignment: Any non-evil
Associated Colour: Brown
Holy Days: Twice a week (Alms)
Sacrifice: Tithe (25%) or fifty days of service every year
Patron: The Downtrodden, Cavaliers and Children

Preferred Class: Priest, Cavalier or Monk
Familiar Form: House Dog
Domains: Healing, Knowledge, Protection, Travel

Titles: Givers, Brothers and Sisters of Charity, Almsmen

God of the Poor. The outstretched hand. The Giver. The Humble. Servant of those in need. Lord of Charity. Darras is he who comforts the old and the young alike, and gives them nourishment and aid when nothing else can. He is the apostle of society, for when brothers gather together, he is there to share with those in need.

He is patron to landless cavaliers who have taken the vow of poverty. He fights greed by giving away everything that the church owns. But in so doing, they receive back far more than they had to begin with. While the elite may honour other gods of greater ideals, the god of blessings has the hearts of the downtrodden. Just as they are helped, they too help, and everyone is better off.

His faithful are patient, kind, generous; known for willing to give away everything they own. Legends abound of when Darras has saved a city from plague, or war or natural disaster, even to the extent that other gods are forgotten about. While other clerics may point out great battles and times of crisis where their gods were involved, to his faithful, Darras is ever present, ensuring the hungry, sick and diseased are cared for.They often open up hospitals or soup kitchens to help the impoverished, these are often their gathering places in cities without a temple or obelisk.

His familiar form is of a small light brown hound; which travels in the city unnoticed. They weaken the hearts of misers, and make the raving warrior feel pity and sadness in their hearts. Because they can so easily be unrecognized, one never knows where his hound may be found.

Darras has two avatars. The most common is a simple monk, wearing a brown tunic and no weapons. He comes during crisis, and helps to alleviate the suffering of the common folk. The second form is that of a cavalier, a knight riding on a great steed. He comes to lead the people to safety during time of war or insurrection. Unlike all of the other avatars, he comes to interact with the people, to lead them to victory. The victory of the Vallorria, the breakaway province of Mandos (which is seen to be a paladin’s district) was lead by this avatar, leading the common man to overcome adversity.

Darras' Code

Give freely
Without looking for reward
Accept kindness
Wherever you may find it
Greed is the enemy
A cancer that destroys family, friend, nation
Wealth is a blessing
Take it not for granted
And help others, in all things you do
For when you give charity
You too will be helped

Friday, 12 December 2014

Shandar-Kai - (Shadowy Urban Fey)

These are the shadowy fey figures that seemingly haunt my cities and back alleyways. Not physically powerful, but they get to be fast, quick jumpers and often will make pacts with just about anything to get ahead. Ideal for low level adventurers foes, but the option to grow in power yo be formidable to a higher level challenge.


Shandar-Kai                                             CR 2
NE Monstrous humanoid (Castles & Underearth)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.


AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 13
hp 7 (2d6)
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +3


Speed 30 ft.
Melee: Bow +4 (1d6) or Dagger +2 (1d4)


Str 10 Dex 17 Con 11 Int 12 Wis 12 Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Skill Weapon Finesse
Minor Skills: Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Knowledge (Nature, Local), Perception +2
Major Skills:Climb & Stealth +5
Feat Choices: Point Blank Shot, Trip, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Power Attack, Cleave, Imp Sunder, Weapon Specialization
Languages Shadow & Elven

Environment: Urban
Organization: Solitary or Scouting Party (3-6)
Treasure Full


Backstab Dmg (+1d6)

Shadowy Curse: By physically holding another creature for one minute, they can send an unwilling person to the shadowy realm if they fail a saving throw (Will DC 20).

Jump: They add their bonus to jump rolls if they are not wearing armor heavier than light encumberance.

Shandar-Kai gain these advanced abilities in replacement of class levels. They may stop advancing in these and gain a class level at any time, but once they do they are unable to gain new racial levels.

Advancement as Rogues for Saving Throws, Hit Points and BAB
3 HD +6 in skills; Gain 1 Feat; +1 in Natural AC; Advance Backstab Dmg (+2d6)
4 HD +2 to Any Ability Score; +4 in skills; Jump +10 ft; Advance Backstab Dmg (+3d6)
5 HD Gain 1 Feat; +6 in skills; +1 in Natural AC, Gain 5 ft base movement; 
6 HD +2 to Any Ability Score; +6 in skills; Advance Backstab Dmg (+4d6)
7 HD +1 in Natural AC; Gain 1 Feat; Jump +20 ft; Lesser Shadow Image (25% HP; 10 rounds max)
8 HD +2 to Any Ability Score; Gain 1 Feat, Advance Backstab Dmg (+5d6)
9 HD +1 in Natural AC; +6 in skills; Jump +20 ft, Gain 1 Feat; Gain 5 ft base movement
10 HD +2 to Any Ability Score; Shadow Image (75% HP; 10 minutes max)
11 HD +4 / +4 to any two ability Scores; +12 in skills, +3 in Natural AC; Gain 1 Feat

Shandar-Kai are shadowy fey, bitter and desperate beings cursed to be continuously banished to the shadowy realm. While they have strength and physical form on prime worlds, each time they are knocked unconscious through damage, they must save vs DC 16 (Wisdom) or be banished to the realm of shadows.As beings of stealth, they take advantage of flanking an opponent whenever they can. Most join thieving guilds, to learn and make contacts, keeping their nature secret whenever possible.

They appear as lithe sharply drawn humans with a darkness all around them. They will often wear elaborate armor and carry many very small sharp daggers. They are continuously planning thieving sprees. They know they will be forced to go back to the shadowy world eventually, so their wealth should be in forms that they can easily carry or store. When they return to their shadowy world, they share their knowledge and make plans for future raids. 

These evil beings mistrust their good-aligned kin, and go to any length to trap or send them back to the shadowy realms to be tortured or worse. Some begin to show empathy towards their light kin if shown it by their prime kind first. They keep this quiet, little is known about the Shandar-Kai's dark society and twisted rituals, but empathy to the light fey is low on their priority list.

Once they are banished, they must remain on the shadowy plains for no less than six days.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Snow Nymph

To celebrate the season, here is my winter version of the Nymph. A playful figure and a little dangerous as it has a temper if .

Snow Nymph (Winter Shae)

CR 3
N (NG as they age), Humanoid
Init +7; Senses: low light vision, Perception +10

AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+3 natural AC, +3 Dexterity)
hp 17 (5d6)
Fort +1, Ref +8, Will +7
SR 15 and DR 10/ cold iron

Speed 30 ft.
Melee +6 Rapier (1d6) **
Special Attack: +6 Freezing Touch (1d6) **

Morale 11 (Skittish, they are easy to break ranks and run for cover)

Str 10, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 17 **
Base Atk +3; CMB +6 CMD 15
Base Skills: Diplomacy +14, Hide +9, Knowledge (History & Geography) +8, Move Silently +9, Perform+7, Perception +10, Survival +8
Feats: Agile Manoeuvre, Improved Initiative, Quicken Spell-like Ability
Languages Fey, Dwarf & Common

The Winter Shae, or Snow Nymph, is a fragile pale skinned elf with elongated ears and fingers. Most have long blond or white hear, and they try to decorate their hair with small jewels carefully embedded in subtle patterns.  They speak Faerie and Elven in clear voices, they can usually speak common or Dwarven poorly. They are only seen during winter, dancing and playing gleefully in the snow, they never speak about where they are during the warmer phases of the yeat.

These fickle beings are happy to play and tease targets for a short time, however if you turn them down they are likely to attack in spite. The best trick is to play with them until they get tired and leave you alone. As they age, they mature into good aligned forest spirits, who are willing to make sacrifices for the collective good. The few documented times they become good friends with settled folk, they are much stronger in their desire to help and protect their allies.

Winter Shades shun combat and will usually attempt to flee at first hint of danger. When allies are in trouble, they will sometimes ignore the danger and jump into the fray.

Spell-like Abilities:
Resist Cold – at will, Freezing Touch
3/day - Ray of Frost, Charm Person, Pass Without Trace and Speak with Animals; These spells are cast by a 5th level sorcerer (Save DC: 13 plus spell level.)

Spell Resistance (Su): Snow nymphs has spell resistance equal to 15+ class level (if any).

Freezing Touch (Su): Snow nymphs are incredibly cold to the touch, dealing 1d6 points of cold damage to whoever touches them, with no save allowed. They can also completely freeze or unfreeze small or light weight items without damaging the item.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Nareg Gargoyle

A Nareg is usually a lonely figure on either an abandoned or lonely area, quested into service for short period of time as a guard or part of an attack force. Over time, as individuals grow, they can summon other kin to help them in their tasks and grow in their damage reduction capacity. The most powerful ones are leaders who make meticulous plans to take down and dominate structures.

These gargoyles rarely attack those who are not deemed enemies. While they have sinister reputations, very few ever threaten more than a particular building. They can be brought into service by powerful domineering forces of law that offer fealty and keep their promises. Many bards use Naregs as spies or informants, and can be paid off in spice or coins.

Nareg Goyle CR 2
LN (E) Medium monstrous humanoid (earth)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2


AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+2 Dex, +1natural)
hp 22 (3d8+9)
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +1


Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft. (average)
Melee 2 claws +3 (1d4+1), bite +4 (1d3)


Str 13, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Skill Focus (Fly), Hover
Primary Skills Fly +12, Perception +2, Stealth +4 (+10 in stony areas);
Racial Modifiers +2 Stealth (+6 in stony environs)
Languages Terran, Local Humanoid,

3 HD   +2 Str or Con; +6 in skills; 2 Dmg Reduction, Command 1d3 Gargoyles (DC 12, 1 minute)
4  HD Increased Natural Weapon Damage (1d6 Claws / 1d4 Bite); +1 in Natural AC
5 HD +2 Str or Con; +6 in skills; 4 Dmg Red, Command 1d6 Gargoyles (DC 14, 5 minute service)
6 HD +1 in Natural AC; Gain Horn Gore Attack (1d4)
7 HD +6 in skills, 6 Dmg Reduction, Summon 1d10 Gargoyles (DC 15)
8 HD +2 Str or Con; +1 in Natural AC, Gain Tail Attack (1d6), Summon 2d8 Gargoyles (DC 16, 10 minute service)
9 HD +6 in skills; Increase Natural weapon Threat Range (18-20), 8 Dmg Red, Gore Attack (1d8)
10 HD Increased Natural Weapon Damage  (1d10 Claws / 1d6 Bite); +1 in Natural AC, Summon 3d8 Gargoyles (DC 16, 2 /day, 1 hour service)
11 HD +6 in skills; +1 in Natural AC, 12 Dmg Reduction, Gore Attack (1d12), Summon 4d8 Gargoyles (DC 16, 2 /day, 2 hour service)
12  HD +4 Str & Con; +3 in Natural AC; Summon 5d8 Gargoyles (DC 18, 3 /day, 4 hour service)

Lesser Feats:
Power Attack, Natural Armor (+2) Freeze, Dive, Flyby Attack, Gore Attack, Improved Initiative

Advanced Feats (Higher than 8 HD)
Imp Natural armor (+4), Increase Claw Critical, Stunning Head-Butt (DC 18 - 2 rounds stunned), Tail Trip (DC 18)


Freeze (Ex) A gargoyle can hold itself so still it appears to be a statue. A gargoyle that uses freeze can take 20 on its Stealth check to hide in plain sight as a stone statue

Dmg Reduction: Nareg gain stony bodies as they age, able to withstand more physical damage. This is to non-magical weapons. Silver or any magic bypasses it completely.

Summon Gargoyles: When outside, a nareg can summon others of their kind. They need to scream, and utter a simple one sentence command, that their gargoyle-kin will obey. Nareg cannot give complex instructions, thus it is usually to guard a site or attack a single foe. The groups summoned, are usually rivals, thus must be given different commands and do not serve together.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Artificer - Prestige Class dedicated to Magic Item Creation

In worlds where magic item creation is rare and costly, it is usually in the hands of a select group of individuals that can enchant items. Usually called Artificers or Crafters and are found in places where mana or magic occurs, usually due to conduits to other worlds.

These individuals study ancient manuscripts and gather with like minded souls to study these arts. They form circles or guilds to share their practices with a select group. However, even if they do not welcome an individual, they usually do not become enemies, as comrades often share secrets even if unofficially.

This was always intended to be a non-player character class (NPC), as it helps explains why items are rare but can be found. The time cost of construction is so high, it is highly unlikely that players should have these abilities.


Requirements: Any three creation feats (Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Create Holy Water, Create Holy Sand, Create Talisman); Ability to cast 2nd level or higher spells; Membership to a artificer guild.

Hit Dice: d3

Class Skills: The artificer’s class skills are: Appraise, Craft, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Knowledge (any), Perception, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 5 + Int modifier. Feats:  1 / two levels

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: No extra armor or weapon proficiency. They retain those they previously had in their old class.

Spells: An artificer is not bound by any spell-list, as they increase in level they can learn three spells per level from either the cleric, druid or wizard spell-lists. To learn or cast a spell, an artificer must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 15 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an artificer’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the artificer’s Intelligence modifier.

Crafting Time: For every 500 gp an item is valued, it takes 1 week in a proper construction area (usually a lab or forge) to craft an item. The crafters gain depending upon the value of the construction sites facilities, their tools, their assistants, and some other factors will enable the DM to calculate time and costs.

Abilities by Artificer Level.

Co-op: At 1st level, the artificer gains the ability to create magic items cooperatively with another caster. The cooperative partner can provide the spell needed to forge the item; they must be present throughout the entire item creation process.

Craft Wondrous Item: At 2nd level, the artificer gains Craft Wondrous Item Feat

Work Anthril or Trel: At 3rd level the artificer can work Anthril or Trel as if it were steel, needing no special tools or forge to do so

Craft Magic Arms & Armor: At 4th level, the artificer gains Craft Magic Arms and Armor Feat

Craft Construct: At 5th level, the artificer gains Craft Flesh Golem Feat

Work Crystal or Ebal: At 6th level the artificer can work Crystal or Ebal as if it were steel, needing no special tools or forge to do so

Craft Wand: At 7th level, the artificer gains Craft Wand Feat

Craft Rod: At 8th level, the artificer gains Craft Rod Feat

Craft Construct II: At 9th level, the artificer gains Craft Clay Golem Feat

Forge Ring: At 10th level, the artificer gains Forge Ring Feat

Work Verchine or Mithril: At 11th level the artificer can work Mithril as if it were steel, needing no special tools or forge to do so.

Craft Construct III: At 12th level, the artificer gains Craft Stone Golem Feat

Craft Staff: At 13th level, the artificer gains Craft Staff Feat.

Work Adamantine: At 14th level the artificer can work adamantine as if it were steel, needing no special tools or forge to do so.

Craft Construct IV: At 15th level, the artificer gains Craft Iron Golem Feat

Sunday, 19 October 2014

At -9 and dropping

(written for my Pop Lit Class as part of character death & attachment module a few years ago.)

Warning, personal cathartic rant begins right now, look away, it gets ugly:

I keep a side of my personality hidden away from my coworkers. In a closet in my house there are books, maps and dice, I game. I admit it, I am a gamer, role playing table top, or better known as D&...D, shadowrun, gurps, and a dozen more well and much less known games. Many or the best
nights of my life, was around a table, books, pop, chips, dice - most times around friends that were also my enemies.

Not only did I play these games, I usually ran the game. I was the story-teller, (Dungeon-
master, Game Master or referee depending upon the game system.) I created the back-end of
the story so the players could adventure. Dice determined success of their choice, but mostly
it was the players, they did and sometimes they did not. I swear best nights of my life.

Together we created a shared storyline. It had everything, pacing, setting, acting, chaos (i.e. dice)
& characters. In fact, in most ways, the characters were the key ingredient, for as story-teller
I created the background but the individual players created their characters. And believe me, they owned the characters. Often setting them up to mirror their favorite TV or movie characters or something else entirely. Yes, it was the gamut of tolkien fantasy (warriors, thieves, wizards, elves, dwarves...) but it was also personality and history and flaws and chosen quirks. sometimes, players could take many hours to sculpt the character on paper. Characters most often kept the characters until the dice failed them, and in the line of duty they died, and then they created a new one unless by circumstance or level they were raised to life to continue their epic journeys. Did I mention you before that these were the BEST nights of my life?

Believe me after months of a journey, in a continuing story arc, finding clues, defeating minions, until they come to the BOG BAD BOSS (C) it all comes down to 1-2 hour game session event, where no holds were barred. I used every dirty sneaky but fair trick. The players worked together, planned, sweated, took chances and it came down to rolls, where players were standing around the table, and their fates (sorry their characters fate, along with the princess, or magical artifact or city or even their world) came down to a roll of the dice. nights...of my old life. COME ON TWENTY!!!!!

Often, using the game design quirks players could master a particular skill, say tripping an opponent...then they would do this skill non-stop until I started to throw crazy stuff in to let the player know, stop it, this isn`t fun to do...not for me and not for the other players. Understand success was awesome, but, it was more about the fun we had around the table. And if they kept doing the same thing repeatedly to challenge them, I had to do stupid stuff that limited my imagination, once others players realized it, it lost its appeal....because something of the story was compromised. Some pretty good nights there.

And sometimes after weeks of game story, of doing their leveling and journeys and when they faced the big baddie something wonderful happened. players sacrificed their characters. They jumped into the dragons breath, bear-hugged a demon and jumped into a dimensional portal, cracked their magical sword releasing stop a BAD THING (C) from happening. Why? Because story matters. They were involved and wanted to stop that pretend BAD THING from happening, and they were sacrificing a character that they may have used for years.

From this I had an amazing revelation - character is secondary to the story. PERIOD. Stop, read it again.

Character is secondary to the story.

This is important. Actually this is my only point here. You only like a character in the first place because the story captured you. Without the story, the character is meaningless.

If players who had created the characters were willing to sacrifice their pretend characters to a pretend danger, then so should authors and screenwriters. They don't because they care too much for their pretend characters and that is horrible. That is putting something else (fans, characters, sequels, money) ahead of the story. Some DM should throw a blue lightning bolt from the sky at them for cheating (I'm sure the Lightning Lady could do it.)

Thats why I love character death, or injury or throwing crazy stuff into the mix. When the creator is respecting the story and doing the bad stuff they are also respecting you as an audience. They are not pandering to you; they are being true to their vision. and if, if you actually liked the story...respect the author, respect the story regardless of what happens.

Game players respect the story enough to sacrifice their character. Believe me, characters who are sacrificed are way better then those who retire or go on. But for us players, the real people rolling the dice and having fun, creating new characters to have more new fun, we remember those good times regardless of the numbers.

And though none of you know him, I still have to say this - this was for Rob, miss ya bud.

/end cathartic rant now.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Bishollo - People of the Codex

Everyone on Nyssa has heard the ancient tales of Hembria - the infamous wizardly nation that most people believe inadvertently started the great winter. While virtually all peoples of the domain fell under the chill not all did, out of these renegade nations, only one still stands, Bishollo - the people of the Falls live on.

West of the "old south", East of the Ferrensil Forest stands this ancient land. Starting square in the middle at the Great Falls - its temperate forest and gentle surging rivers expand and cross the whole sub-continent. Dire animals are believed the greatest threat here, and no dragon or other great beast stalks the land, even Rowena’s minions are rare in this realm, the standard undead types are found here, but none of the powerful ice variety. There is only one city, Vromel, and all peoples owe fealty to the ruling Prince of the city.

How and why these people are protected from the cold is the basis of their culture and way of life...The Codex. From the onset of civilization people have argued over who the gods were and how best to represent them. The obelisk is an universal Nyssian symbol of faith and devotion, and in all other places of the domain, each religion has their own obelisk a free standing monument to the one ideal, to one divinity. Not so in Bishollo, here the gods are not seen as distinct but as a unity. The idea of many obelisks is foreign, all gods sit at one heavenly table thus all people worship at the one obelisk, and this is the mile high Codex. This is the core of all Bishoolian peoples and races, their faith, their magical energies and their protection from the cold.

The people or Bish as they usually refer to themselves as share most of the views on the frequency found elsewhere, but here they call it the Surge. Anywhere else on Nyssa, the frequency emerges from an obelisks, spreading randomly like the wind, blowing without form or order. Here in Bishollo, mana emanates outward from the one giant obelisk, the frequency gushes out seen as a colourful wave, repeating several well-known patterns, dispersing mana to the mortal world. Near the Codex the strongest known magical energies in the domain exists, and at certain times spells can be cast with spectacular results. This ever-circling frequency is so overpowering that most clerics spend their lives in Bromel, at one of the many temples that reside around the Codex. Here they worship their divinity, with powers of incredible insight at their calling.

Proximity to the Surge has many other consequences, because the surge comes from the gods, anyone of piety can cast a spell at least once in their lifetime. These "free magic’s" are a thing of wonder and many people await their whole lives before approaching the codex and asking for a "favor" or spell. But just because one asks, doesn't necessarily mean that the favor asked is the one requested, nor even if one may be given at that time. Often those who just lost a parent or lover will come asking for fates to be reversed, only to find no deity is listening to their prayer. Others have their wish granted, not just once, but many times, who or how these spells are granted are beyond a mortal to decipher.

Another affect of the Codex is the closeness of the faiths. All of the gods have open, non-walled temples, facing the obelisk and in the path of the surge. This means that they can all cast-enhanced spells at their temples, but because their traditional enemies can as well, magic is not seen as a destructive force, merely one that gives aid and succor. The light and dark here are more of competitors, and few priests dare use force or violence in their contests with the other followers of the gods. This unity has created a great upheaval in the political power the clerics wield. They control Vromel's army, bureaucracy, major guilds, educational facilities and most importantly the monarchy. They control the city and do so to benefit themselves, the ruling theocracy. Openly, it does not matter which god you worship, as long as you are able to summon priestly might. Secretly, however, wars of favor are still played out by some "holy" and "unholy" men for positions of prestige.

In all of their secretive campaigns, one foe remains true wizards remain anathema - enemies of the state to be purged, at any cost. No spell tower has arisen in Bishollo in over eight thousand years, and public executions are still permitted when one is caught casting an arcane spell. The reason for their mistrust is the same as everywhere else - the Great Winter. It came here, catching everyone unaware, and plunging the land into a long deadly winter, but here the ice retreated back past the mountains, never to re-appear. However, their mistrust has not abated, these people view arcane magic as disgusting and sinful, and if they do not try to destroy wizards outright, they will certainly thumb their noses at the individual, or alert the Standing Knights. Wizards from the outside world are usually arrested upon arrival, thrown in jail or seized by manacles and subjected to torture to find out why they are there.

Sorcerers do not fall prey to the same mistrust, for while wizards must deliberately choose the evil and arcane arts, sometimes individuals are blessed with a natural aptitude for casting magic, and this is not to be shunned, rather it's to be celebrated as a gift from the gods. There is always some hesitation at first, did the individual seek out the magic or otherwise attempt to steal it from the gods, spell-casters must go through an arduous process if they wish to reveal their unique abilities as sorcerers. The most celebrated sorcerers are those infants and teens which manifest their powers, because they are too young to have studies the magical arts, it is always assumed that these individuals are the "real thing" and are not subject to the same scrutiny as their elderly compatriots. There are many folk tales which tell of sorcerer-heroes, given their power from the gods, come to save the people during great crisis. Always the hero has red hair and from a barbarian tribe.

The priests may control the city, but warriors maintain peace in the hinterlands. Rangers, paladins and even barbarians are tremendously important in the regions and towns, and except for a wondering monk, few preacher-like types are rarely seen. In fact, there is little magic outside of Vromel, and few divine spellcasters ever bother to go adventuring. This creates a huge problem for the outlanders, for while powerful magics can be cast in the city; outside they are left defenseless to creatures that cast spells. It is due to the loyalty of the people that they work together to end these threats.

None of the “popular” races are enemies with each other, but some like or dislike each other more than the others, and of course, there are always those who are hated even by their own kind. Humans, who call themselves the Bishine, are the most dominant spell-casters and merchants, and they rule their six provinces from the capital, Vromel. Conflicts between the provinces are outlawed, but flare-ups sometimes occur for lucrative property (especially mines and the rune forests) between local Lords. Officially, all owe fealty and their taxes to the Prince of the City – but most leaders do not attempt to force taxes on any province except for Pron – the Prime. Four other confederate nations exist on the Bish peninsula; all are organized along racial lines. While all of them are considered allied nations, each of them (non-officially at least) realize that Vromel rules and go out of their way not to antagonize the military masters of the realm. While not this patriarchy currently ruling some human empires have invaded the smaller nations to eliminate a perceived threat.

For all their "unity" there is a great deal of threats to Bishollo. While dire animals are the worst known to the commoner there are far greater secrets known to the royal hunters and knights. The bleaklands, the northern-most region, has for thousands of years been covered gray-black stone is emerging from the bowels of the earth, which destroys all plant-life. The Bish have lived their entire history near the aside this barren land, as it acted just as much as a protector as a threat. Recently, the bleaklands have begun to expand, and many strange chaotic beasts capable of performing terrible spells or brute acts of force are appearing. It has taken the army some time to determine what they have known now, and the theocracy knows nothing of the approaching danger. While some of the citizens are aware of what is happening, few consider it a threat as the Knights and the Codex have long protected them, and most feel confidently that they will continue to do so.

Animals: Boars, Shard-Birds, Shard-Bullettes, Kazurn hounds,
Steeds: Horses, Hederaks, Griffons
Races: Human, Jivine Elf, Ubine Dwarves, Tenderfeet (Halflings), Gnoll, Quillian, Kinzarri (Phaeton), Ogre, and Lizardith
Known Threats: Shard-beasts, Prisms, Cult of the Vine, Curse of the Gorgon, Gobbers, Kenku, Hand of the Shadows

Ubine: The Bish Dwarves reside in the south, throughout the Thunderlands and the Therrik Mantle. They are a rich race with connections to many other races and groups in the peninsula. They have a healthy mercantile tradition, and readily use the cat-kin and Oromian merchants that come to them for trade. In times past, the dwarves were more ready to take to the caravan, but this has steadily decreased over the last hundred years.

The noble families Shield, Stone & Barrel speak and vote as a single voice, and this block is one of the first the Imperial League attempt to sway in military matters. They usually double the numbers required by the Treaty for the Border Patrols. The Ubine does not elect non-Ubine to the speaker position, however, other clans can beseech this dominant clan, and is tradition for the Ubine to respect the requests by the other dwarves.

Jivine: These elves are perhaps the longest continuing inhabitants of the Bish peninsula, as their monuments from the past dot the landscape. However, out of all the major races, they are rarely seen out of the Jesh, their forest homeland in the northwest. While some sages claim that their numbers have dropped in the last hundred years, the elves do not divulge the truth. They show their loyalty to the Senatas in the means dictated by the Treaty, but they steadfastly refuse to allow anyone inside the forest. Bish Elves are wild elves, which have ranger, rogue and sorcerer as their preferred classes. Their Vilne emeralds are considered the best spell-gems in the world, and they sell them to their allies. They do not send representatives to the Senatas, Their high noble families are called Root, Fey and Vine.


Annash: Gardens that temporarily arise; harvest is magically enhanced, similar to potions
Battery: places, usually caves, where Iron-hearted are located until called upon to serve in battle
Bish: The subcontinent; anything from here is Bishollo
Bleaklands: Dead lands, they border to the outside world and are home to many evil creatures
Blessing: Ability to cast a spell or a wish granted by the surge when at the Codex
Circle: Druidic cult that attempts to create nature sanctuaries and protect animals
Code: The list of laws and traditions that knights follow
Codex: Mile high obelisk located in Vromel
Cult of the Vine: Cults that cause wild drunken orgies that sometimes cause great destruction.
Curse: Lycanthropy, it is punishable by death; sometimes known as Curse of the Moon
Dral: Good aligned, black-skinned elves, tremendously respected by the Bish
Fentorrik: An Iron-Hearted warrior that once commanded an army that destroyed Vromel
Ferric: Iron Mines in the eastern province well infested with gobbers
Gray: Creatures that come from the bleaklands
Gromwell: Legendary canyon homeland of the gnomes.
Hands: Members of the faithful
Handmaidens: Term for priestesses of Quanna
Hunters: Rangers given permission by the crown to hunt in the preserves
Iron Hearted: War forged, created for war. Hundreds sleep ready to be awakened for service.
Jesh: The “Sleeping Forest” of the Jivine elves in the north
Knights: Well-respected cavaliers that serve various groups, some take the Paladin prestige class
Legion: Elite warriors that continually patrol the bleak borderlands
Mandorrian: War-like nation across the eastern sea, that often act as mercenaries
Muse: a fey being that inhabits the body for a brief time for an artistic performance. “Calling for a muse” is a dangerous thing, as the results are unpredictable at best.
Oasis of Thought: Scattered monasteries that promote unarmed combat
Order: The nomenclature of the noble families that rule Bish, Order of the Green, Order of the Feather, etc
Oromians: Bearded merchants across the eastern sea that also control jammers (flying ships)
Patriarch: Leader of the council of churches; only the Prince holds more political power
Rage: A drug that causes bloodthirsty madness
Red Haired: Spellcaster or more specifically a sorcerer
Rez’l: Titanspawn, a powerful lich hundreds of years ago that seized control of the iron forged
Rowena: Evil Goddess of the cold & undead, colloquially known as the Ice Bitch
Rune Forests: Forests that contain magically enhanced wood used to create ceremonial tokens
Scarlet: Knights that directly serve the Prince of Vromel
Senatas: The ruling body, where the noble families meet to rule
Shadowy Hand: Group of cultists that kill good aligned clerics and paladins
Shard Mage: Outcasts sorcerers who travel to the bleaklands to gain power at a tremendous cost
Silver Claws: Group of good aligned gnolls that help to protect roadside shrines
Standing Knight: Knights who help protect the nation from wizards and outsiders
Surge: Magical energy, sometimes known as mana or the frequency
Thunderlands: Volcanic territory controlled by the Ubine Dwarves
Titan: heretics that actively attempt to destroy obelisks and kill anyone that serves the gods
Titanspawn: created creatures that serve the Titans, or, mortal followers of the Titans
Teeth or Tooth: Slang for rouges and thieves.
Treaty: The agreement that forged Vromel as the capital, it sees each province and neighbouring nation pay tax as well as provide soldiers to help keep the border peace
Trueborn: Creatures born without a hint of stain or impurity. These can transform individuals (race, class, belief or alignment) during rare or important events
Vilne: Emerald spell-stones
Vromel: The capital city near the center of the nation