Blog Archive

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Reincarnation Table with side effects

In honour of All Saint's Day, with so many souls still hanging about after their fun in this world, here are some ideas on using reincarnation in your games so we can try to shove them back in a different flesh bag.

Many of these are my original creatures. Some have racial levels only which means they won`t attain a true class until 11th level or so, others gain class levels like the standard races. Will be doing my best to post these in the weeks and months to come.  Both Druids and Clerics can reincarnate and it is the cheapest option if you are truly killed (another longer post as to what being dead means in my world.)  Also, this list is the general available, there are specific groves that deal with fewer body types so you can cherry-pick what you want, or potentially you can.

Unlike the standard spell, these are not mystically generated new bodies, they are the bodies of someone that has died AND agreed to have their body used for this purpose. In a weird way, this is similar to modern people who give up their bodies for modern scientific research. If a PC signs a contract with the druids, their body will be harvested for someone else and thus will not be available to be raised from the dead.

When someone pays the druids fee and very often provide a service for them, they are given a new body upgrade with full memories and class abilties. Their new body will only give them physical adjustments, mental abilities can be adjusted downward but never the other way around.. There is a minimum of six months between someone's death and their eventual harvesting. However someone's soul can be given a replacement body in as little as a few days after their death. It is believed there are a certain number of reincarnates druids will provide for any given soul, that number whether finite or not is not known and may be variable for any given individual.

Bastard creatures (such as half-elves) are not trueborn and their bodies cannot be reborn via this process. Likewise creatures must be native-born to Nyssaria. Monsters or magical creatures that are above 5 HD are also generally not available. Remember the creature must have made a deal with a druid to harvest their body, if they are so savage or extreme, this agreement will not be an option.

While the process has been used for a long used one, there are some known side-effects which are listed below. Unless otherwise noted these last 1-3 weeks after the new soul has been implanted.

Reincarnate Table

01-02 Necrite        Ghoul like appearance but fully alive
03-04 Slaadaz       Walking slimes
05-07 Primal         Powerful beast form
08-10 Corlth         Awakened Psionic outlander
11-13 Leaf-Kin     Plant Person
14-16 Jahlen          Golden Horn ram Humanoid
17-19 Minotaur  
20-22 Orynix    Silver Horned Gazelle Humanoid
23-25 Satyr        
26-28 Ratmen        See Pathfinder Website
29-30 Prickett       Antler headed forest dwelling humanoid
31-33      Quillian        Peaceful Humanoid porcupine
33-36 Ogre
37-40 Bugbear
41-44 Orc
45-48 Human
49-55 Lizardmen
56-60 Halfling
61-64 Goblin
65-68 Gnoll
69-72       Kenku
73-75 Elf
76-80 Dwarf
81-82 Jackalla           Jackal Headed humanoid, follower of Anuibis
83-88 Cat-Kin           Cat People
89-91 Charr               Savage tribal Wastelander
92-93 Changelings     See Pathfinder Website
94-96 Samsarans       See Pathfinder Website
97         Nerradine        Leathery skinned humanoids that absorb others features
98         Dossadai         Gray skinned, silver hair & eyes astral jumpers
99         Phaetox           Flame Winged Humanoid; physically cannot lie
100         Player Choice

Known Side Effects

01-10   Undead attack them in preference to anyone else in the area
11-15   Real memories of the deceased flash intermittently (5% potentially useful, 20% interesting, 75% mundane)
16-60  No side effect noticed
51- 60  Glimpse past dreams of the deceased past lives, no specific memories or useful details
61-65   Haunted by visions of their own demise
66-70   Still see their old body in any sort of refection
71-75   Haunted by the spirit of the deceased, will whisper instructions during tense moments (5% potentially helpful;, 15% wrong,                      80% not applicable)
76-80   Smell of the corpse lingers for 1 - 6 months afterwards
81-95   The new soul may leave the body and wander 20 yards or less from the body when sleeping (10% chance any given night)
96-100  The body has Unfinished Business and will compel the new inhabitant to complete its task

Friday, 19 October 2012

Jahlen - Golden Horned Ram Humanoid (PC Race)

At one point when designing my game world, I tried to totally avoid the most common races found elsewhere. I eventually relented as I could see the benefit of having these there, but they are usually in the background. One of my "original" races, apart of the horned kin, which fits a more beastial aspect to certain
areas of my world.

What are these guys - well think bighorn sheep humanoids, with golden horns. They are fiercely devoted to their horns, both as a weapon & because it represents their tribe. The same way the animals butt heads, so too with this fantasy counter-parts, they are playful and sporty, always ready to jump into battle, traversing the high mountain cliffs with steadfast hooves. Why golden horns...not really sure why at this point, its just who these are.

Jahlen - Golden Horned Ram Humanoid

Personality: Stubborn and determined, jahlen are hardy warriors who are fiercely loyal to both family and their independence. As strict vegetarians, they maintain balance of the land while caring for their own needs. These humanoid rams are playful beings, excelling in sports such as head butting, jumping, climbing and riding. Enjoying the camaraderie, they are never shamed to lose in a fair contest, and use it as a means to judge their own abilities and to train for battle.

Physical Description: These ram humanoids are six and a half feet tall, with thick, curled golden horns with short white, gray or brown fur, hooves instead of feet. They have four digits: two fingers and two opposable thumbs, Most wear some clothing but only need to do so in harsh weather. Their horns are pure gold at birth, but as they grow, it thins becoming an outward coloured sheen only, though there are legends that the oldest tribe members have pure golden horns.

Relations: Jahlen try not to get too involved with other races. They maintain a level of trust with elves and halflings, understanding their nature but not necessarily their methods. They often have a cordial relationship with dwarves; they share territory but not temperament. They are wary of humans mostly because of raiders who attack them for their golden horns. Jahlen  mistrust Minotaurs, their large brutish cousins, who they have often struggled with due to territorial wars in the past.

Alignment: They are individualists, disposed towards independence. CG is the most common alignment with CN, N and NG the next prevalent. Tribes are ruled by the oldest or the most charismatic and most decisions are voted on by tribes the elders.

Lands: Their homes are mountain regions and spires; wanting vast areas of grazing lands and certainly liking sparse rural areas to heavily populated areas. Many tribes are nomadic by choice, some do settle in villages if they can be defended with a suitable food supply nearby. They are spread thin, they have a strong connection with other clans, and come together for shared defense quickly.

Religion: Druidic faiths predominate; they worship the spirits of the land.

Language: Jahlen, Minotaur, Dwarven & the common tongue.

Adventurers: Jahlen have many reasons to adventure, but it usually comes down to them being wanderers by temperament. They seem to find excitement wherever they go, hooking up with adventuring companies to delve, profit and drive back the common enemy. They always return to the tribes, eventually when it is time.

Jahlen Racial Traits

Golden Horns. Hardness 20
+2 constitution, +2 strength
+5 climb, +5 acrobatics
Racial Hit Dice: 2d8; Attack Bonus and saving throws as Fighter
Natural Attack: Headbutt d6 dmg; weapon Focus (Horns)
Base 8 skill points, more if they have exceptional intelligence, to be used on core skills only
Core Skills: Acrobatics, Climb, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (local), Perception, Ride, Sense Motive, Stealth, Survival
Level Adjustment: +2 CR
Preferred Classes: Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Rouge, Sorcerer
Limitation: Jahlen do not use large bladed weapons. They prefer blunt weapons or their horns in melee, bows or spears otherwise.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

My Sorta Halloween Cthulhu Themed Adventure

Day of Masks – My Sorta Halloween Cthulhu Themed Adventure

My gaming group has just begun a new adventure, the first outside the mountains, in a farmland town during the Day of Masks Festival. Asked to find a missing woman, they quickly realize that she is a sacrifice, which they determine is needed to appease a Cthulhu-esque entity. It is actually a reverse style cult scenario as they need to find the woman to make sure the entity is not awoken, and if she isn't found, then her newborn and unnamed child will be used instead. Those from the town who try to escape, are attacked by a dream-stalker (Mothman creature from Pathfinder Bestiary) which they have seen the evidence of, but probably will not have to face. The adventurers have been told that they can leave without repercussion, as it is only the villages who are blessed by the bounty must face the outcome of a sacrifice-less fest, which will destroy the town and much of the region.

During the fest nights everyone in town wears an identical mask and different coloured robe for the sexes. Adults imbibe outrageous amounts of alcohol and participate in masked orgies..all off-screen. Children engage in mock murders of the Ogre-Queen, which has fruits in a similar fashion as a pinata. They also sing a somewhat familiar song, “Ogre Queen is coming soon, coming soon, coming soon, Ogre Queen is coming soon best get ready” sung to the tune of London Bridge. (They are probably going to think they may need to face the ogre queen, this is a red herring that I hope doesn't delay the story or sequence.)

The mountain towns may have the same feasts as the farm towns, but Nobles & Men of Means, prefer the rustic villages during fests, because of the sheer audacity of the townsfolk and to free themselves of social norms. While people in this pseudo-medieval setting are pagan, the townsfolk i.e. every no-name NPC in this town are shit face drunk pretty much all the time. The players were fairly amused when after the first night in town, hundreds of townsfolk all gathered at the local obelisk (center of worship) and had a minor acolyte cast Remove Ailment, to remove everyone's hangover, so they can start work. *even better than coffee!!!

The group used trickery to find the Dark Dreamers Cult HQ in an abandoned building but it won't be simple to get through. I wonder what will they do if they can't find the victim? Will they seek aid, from the Not-So-Evil Church that has significant wealth? Everything is leading to finding the cult members, holding the woman prisoner, and deciding whether or not to hand her over to the druid.

Looking forward to seeing how the heroes face the challenges at our next game.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Quick & Dirty Duel Rules

One game night a character was ignoring every hint and pushing his luck with the local authorities. As a player he should be able to do what he wanted, but if it was two hours earlier, I could have run the scene differently with them putting the beat down on him. I didn't want to tell him not to do it but I didn't have a way to immediately put the decision to the dice in a “proper way” at that point in the game night. We did a straight d20 vs. d20 roll, he won, the character got away with being a smart-ass and we moved on. In retrospect, I wanted a quick, easy way to determine appropriate results, thus my Q&D Duel Rules were born.

Q&D Duel Rules
Used for quick resolution between one PC (called the primary) and at least one more foe. The primary always uses one dice. The other side uses one or more dice. The total number of dice rolled should always add up to 20. While called duel rules, it just means situations where only one player will roll. If more than one PCs get involved, these rules should not be used.

Dice to Use
If opponents are within 2 HD or level of PC, both use a d10 each
Primary is more than 3 - 4 HD or levels higher, Primary = d12, foe = d8
Primary is 3 - 4 HD or level less than their opponent, Primary = d8, foe = d12
If Primary taking on a group and HD is between 5 HD or levels more than primary attacker, use primary d4 vs foe = 4d4

This decision to use Q&D rules should be jointly made by both DM and player. The PC should not know which dice they will roll beforehand. It is an unplanned action, they cannot buff-up using spells, it happens right then in game at the table, during the story.

Add total BAB & Strength bonus + dice roll; (Total BAB of each side, highest strength bonus of any individual.)

Rogues & Monks (or anyone with a dexterity feat), may substitute dexterity bonus for strength if they are the primary. The Opponent will always use strength unless it is a one on one duel, in which case they may use Dexterity bonus.

Whoever scores higher wins, knocks the other foe (s) out. If the primary wins, they may declare their enemies either dead or unconscious. Take whatever is higher between HD + BAB or the dice roll as the damage the winner receives, but they never have fewer than 1 hp. If the PC loses, they have dropped below zero hit points and are bleeding. Assume they have five rounds before death, unless they are stabilized or healed.

Assume that the all duel action is handled within five total rounds.  

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Cold Mountain Random Encounter Table

Cold Mountain

d%         Encounter
1 – 4      Avalanche or Rock Fall
4 - 7      1d2 Nyssian Troll
8 – 10     2d3 harpies
11 - 13    Building (50% dilapadated, 40% abanadoned, 10% Inhabited, roll on humanoid table)
14 – 17    2d6 Snow Faeries
18 - 20    1d8 ice Gargoyle
21 – 23    1d4 Wrapping Deaths
24 – 34    Undead See subtable 1
35 – 38 1d3 Mephit (Air, Earth or Ice)
39 - 42    Inclement weather  (1 -3 Freezing Rain, 4 -6 Snow Squal, 7 - 8 Fog, 9 - 10 Hail)    
43 – 46    2d6 Snow Ray
47 – 57    Humanoids *See subtable 2 & 3
58 – 60    2d3 Peryton
61 – 62    Dire Animal (Bear, Tiger, Wolf)
63 – 67    1d4 giant furred spiders
68 – 72    1d3 Lesser Oni or 1 Spire Giant
73 – 77    1d8 Yeti
78 – 81    1d6 Ice Salamander
82 – 87    1d3 Frost Fiend
88 – 90    1-2 Frost drakes or Wyverns
91 - 93    2d4 winter wolves
94 - 96    Ice Hag
97– 100    Sylph

Sub-table 1: (Undead) d8 Ghoul, 2d6 Cadaver, 1d3 True, d8 skeletal champions

Sub-table 2: (Local Race): 2-4 Phaetox, 5 - 8 Dwarves, 9 - 12 Humans, 13 - 14 Hobgoblin, 15 - 17 Jahlen, 18 - 20 Charr

Sub-table 3 (Purpose): 2-3 Religious Pilgrims; 4-6 Miners, 7-10 Merchants; 11-14 Patrol; 15-18 Bandits; 19-20 Explorers

Religious Pilgrims: will be either on their way or coming back to a pilgrimage. There are usually 10d10 d2 level cultists. There are usually, 25% of their number in warriors protecting them. They may be lead by a classed individual. Use the subtables under patrol.
Alignment 1-2 LG, 3-5 NG, 7-9 LN, 10-12 LE, 13 - 14 NE, 15 - 16 CE, 17 - 18 CN, 19 - 20 CG

Miners: Temporary work camp, with tents or log cabins. Roll 5d10 to determine number . Add 10 % their base numbers in warriors accompanying them.

Merchants: On their way to trade. Roll to determine product they are selling:

01 - 05 Fabrics,
06 – 15 Foodstuffs
16 – 35 Alcohol
36 – 40 Livestock,
41 – 50 Armor,
51 – 65 Weapons,
66 – 75 Fine Goods,
76 – 85 Alchemist Created,
86 – 90 Magical Items (Potions,Scrolls, Talismans only)
91 - 100 Basic Trader (Anything non-magical in the PHB, potentially)

Roll 2d10 to determine number of merchants (treat as d3 level Aristocrat). Add 50% of their base numbers in 1-2 level level warriors accompanying them.

Patrol: Warriors who will not attack unless the group unless they show hostility. usually 2d12 +10 of 2nd or 3rd level. They are lead by a individual of 4th to 6th level.
Alignment 1-2 LG, 3-5 NG, 7-9 LN, 10-12 LE, 13 - 14 NE, 15 - 16 CE, 17 - 18 CN, 19 - 20 CG
Class 1-2 Paladin, 3-5 Cleric, 7-8 Monk, 10-14 Fighter, 15 - 16 Finder, 17 - 18 Sorcerer, CN, 19 - 20 Ranger

Bandits: Will usually encounter a smaller group of scouts, usually 2d4 individuals of d3 levels, apart of a larger group of 5d10+20 bandits.
Alignment 2-6 LE, 7 - 10 NE, 11 - 13 CE, 14 - 16 CN
Leaders Class 1-5 Cleric, 7-8 Monk, 10-13 Fighter, 14 - 18 Finder, 19 Sorcerer, 20 Ranger

Explorers: Adventures, that are on a mission of discovery. Most likely (90%) they are company men, professional sell-swords. Use the table from patrol for alignment and class. There are never less than five members under normal circumstances. They never start off as hostile, but they often do not share any information about their given task.
Level (d12): 1-8 2nd level; 9-10 3rd Level, 11 4th level, 12 5th level

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Tsarin – Player available knowledge

Tsarin – Player available knowledge

This info is available to the players, both in game and with the use of Skill Checks, either local or history. In game terms, when appropriate to the situation or if a player asks, they can roll to determine if they know. Rumors, of information with a DC higher than 15 is unknown unless a player has some skill ranks in that area and investigates as appropriate, its never learned by accident. There is no guarantee whether these are true, but when needed I can use these without inventing it up on the spot. 

The Tsarin is a vast valley in the northern portion of the Dwarven Reaches. One of the few territories spared from the cold by a unique protector - the Ice Tyrant Sarinth. How and why so many races live peacefully beside a tyrant without being either destroyed or harassed is a mystery. He has claimed this territory as his own for the last 1200 years, the last nine hundred years uncontested. The land is his hunting grounds, yet he leaves the intelligent humanoids alone, as long as they do the same to him. This is quite unlike the instincts of every other known tyrant, feared due to their tendency to enslave or destroy every other creature around them. Yet a multitude of humanoid races all exist and thrive in his personal "space". In fact, except for periodic reminders of his presence such as ice statues erected overnight in a farmer's field, or the corpses of an invading army, the people are barely aware of his presence. (DC 5)

Other tyrants openly despise him for his tolerance of lesser creatures, and are quite eager to show their displeasure. Each attempt has failed, as Sarinth, obliterates anyone who dares question his authority. For his benevolence, the cities honour him with a yearly tribute, but he seems to care little for this attention. At least twice Cryssanis has failed to pay this tribute, and there has been no repercussion. Only those who invade his lair or stop him from hunting get his personal attention. He shows no interest for politics, at least seven human dynasties have fallen during his reign. The people, live, work, war and die around this great beast, just as ants do with a human. (DC 12)

Four races make up the majority of humanoids: dwarves, jahlen, gamorec, and human. The human presence comes mostly from the noble and commoners that exist in the mountain and valley, half comprised of farmers, miners or soldiers. The current Noble Family that rules is the Flavarian (Flav) Empire. Technically all Nobles and as well as merchant houses pay a yearly tax and swear fealty to the crown. With a well-organized military, and a Green Griffon Sash Knighthood, which helps to maintain order and patrol the wilder regions, the Flavs maintain a peaceful presence. Holding lawful principles, they encourage the people to be independent but loyal. 
Their taxes are considerably high for non-lawful churches as well as other noble families but their rule has been remarkably stable as the laws are published, and lesser nobles can be deposed for harsh edicts. (DC 6)

Most people here are traditional Sarithines, a conservative and pious people with a dedication to principles of freedom and non-interference. The nation has strong alliances with dwarves & jahlen, and are working to build up treaties with the elves and the lizardith population as they were recently non-aligned to the nation. Tenderfeet (halflings) are considered full citizens, though they tend toward the town villages, rather then the cities. (DC 5)

Flavs have been in power for less than two hundred years, as they over-threw the previously despotic Pollanic regime. This human dominated noble family was a military powerhouse that had earned the loyalty of the people with strict laws and obvious shows of military strength. Expansionists at heart, they fought almost everyone around to carve out the human territory, which is still the core of the current Flav nation. They also knew how to make peace, as the Pollanics were true to their word as long as it benefited themselves. They highly favoured the dark god Keran (Lord of Fear, Domination & Darkness, LE, Black), who paid no taxes and was the non-official state religion. They allied themselves with the Mandorrians from the Old South, and battle contingents often came to the peaceful valley to patrol or train. (DC 12)

They were also corrupt. They used their influence with many of the unseemly races to brutalize peaceful neighbors and used mind-magics to subvert anyone who might oppose them. This led to the Uprising, when three noble houses (Flavian, Grentic & Lenth) staged a military coup, to depose the Pollanic family and establish a just nation. Hathalio Pollan, the Royal Prince disintegrated the crown and rather then plunge the nation to war, retreated to Ecolas, their home-city. (DC 11)

**Rumor Pollanics have tried many times to regain the throne secretly, but have failed thus far and never through direct revolt, though many of their clan folk have called for it. (DC 15)

Though loyal to the “new crown,” the people remain stuck in the old ways, resisting the changes of the Flavs. Many speak secretly for the harsh rule of the Pollanics to return as they felt safer with obvious shows of military strength but so far, a popular revolt hasn't happened. (DC 11)

Closely allied to the Flavs is the Jahlen population. This humanoid-ram race actually controls more territory than either the Flavs or the Dwarves but the Natalle Jahlen are far less aggressive. They are natural pacifists with a druidic tradition, fighting in defense only. Hurting them is their lack of organized armies, and a decentralized population, spread out over such a huge mountain territory. However, their clans quickly come together for mutual defense, and they can spelunk or climb faster than any other race, and use this speed to make guerrilla attacks. The Flavs and the Natalle are working together, knowing that each can exist peacefully together, whereas many other races merely breed carnage. (8)

Gamorecs (orc-kin in the common tongue) do not come close in numbers to either the humans or jahlen, but make up for it by being stronger one-on-one. Two types exist; the first are barbarian nomads, living in small tribes roaming the valley's forests and plains. Except for occasional raids on merchants or farmers, are mostly harmless. The other type is a ruthless warrior, fanatics who desire the destruction of the elven and jahlen peoples. Their war-bands comprise 5 - 50 soldiers equipped with armor, weapons and sometimes mounts that make lightning fast and savage attacks. For now the Gamorec soldiers concentrate on jahlen towns and wandering tribes. War-bands found by a Flav patrol can be dispatched, but spotting one of these war-bands is growing increasingly difficult. Many are wondering when they will begin to make direct raids on Flavian lands. (DC 11)

Rumor: Some in the Flavian military are sporting the idea of hunting down and sacking the Gamorec tribes but for now the nobility want a peaceful solution. The Pollanics openly scold them for their weakness and call to war (DC 15)

Elves are significantly smaller in population than the other races, wild (Naric) and high elves (Noren) dominate the Lucian Forest in the southern part of the valley. The Naric are more than three times in number the population of their settled cousins, and have a great reputation for sweeping raids against evil foes. There is no animosity between the two groups, intermarriage is common, and many elves vary between the two paths throughout their entire lives. Elves more openly embrace sorcery magic than their allies, so many Military Contingents often have an Elven adviser, most Elves are dual classed, with ranger and rogue most likely the secondary class, assume all elves are minimum one level of sorcerer. The Elves avoid human politics, as they simply want to do their part in common defense as per the signed treaties, in return the humans honour their part to leave the Lucian Forest alone. (DC 8)

The elves once had a far greater influence in the valley, before the three century war with the gargoyles that created a pox to destroy their Elven enemies. The pox did its job quite well, decimating the fey population by more than 50%. The elves, along with their Dwarven, human and Jahlen allies then turned on the gargoyle driving them out of the valley. This was more than 150 years ago, and the Gargoyles still have an open bounty on their heads. It was due to the Gargoyles drop in position that has caused the Gamorecs to rise in prominence and the elves becoming involved in the human patrols. (DC 12)

Rumor: Though it is generally assumed the pox was cured, this is an inconvenient lie. The claim is that elves are now immune, but the pox can be transmitted, and this is why the Lucian Forest remains forbidden to outsiders (DC 15)

Even fewer in number then the Elves, Lizardith control three small swamps in the region, all neighboring on the mountains. These yellow-greenish scaled humanoid lizards are incredibly civilized, and perhaps are the even more magically inclined then the Elves. They are aggressive in raids when it comes to magic or treasure, but care little for pastureland or mountainous terrain. They have never been allied or enemies with the humans. One of the unique features of these beings switch genders between the male to female (and back) during certain ordained events, meaning at times, 80% of their population is one gender. Some claim these Lizardith influence the dragon Sarinth, or perhaps something far more dire. (DC 20)

There are two distinct dwarven traditions, the most numerous are the Thoric that live beneath the mountains and the the Jhoric who are land-less dwarves inside the valley. Jhoric once the undisputed rulers of the valley but wars with the Oni made them retreat to the point that they have never yet recovered from. The dwarves still keep up trade with their allies, especially the elves and Flavs, yet their age of glory is past. Some of the dwarves are branching away from their "racial" empires and embracing the Flav ways in the cities. Using their knowledge in stone working and sapping (tunnel making) they know they can give their human comrades a huge tactical advantage. So far their numbers are small, but their positioning within the Flavian society can only grow. (DC 10)

A newer presence has started moving into the valley, the flame-winged Phaetox have been arriving in the human mountain towns. They are refugees from Dacia, a Spireland nation more than 100 days travel North-West, due to a war with the Ice Salamanders. These incredibly lawfully bound beings tend to live in cities, and this is the closest locale for them to fit in. But some fear what this will mean to the population and the power struggles. (DC 13)

Rumor: stories about of one or more phaetox war-jammers or flying warships in the valley. This is disturbing to the Flavians for two reasons, one is obviously the unknown reason why the Phaetox would come with a war vessel, but the second is that jammer technology is unknown to the valley, and the generals know their defenses are ill equipped for such a battle. Are they planning to take over a city for their own use? (DC 20)

A multitude of animals that inhabit the valley, the Tyrant Lord Sarinth keeps this valley free of the cold as a private hunting preserve, and though he allows the lesser creatures to hunt, he has on occasion punished groups that would disturb the balance of the valley. The forest and the animals are his to use, and his cult keep his control absolute over anything that would threaten this gentle balance. Just as there are many animals, various magical beasts crowd the valley and the mountainside. Manticore, wyverns, trolls and giants all have their places in the caves and crevices of the valley. It is dangerous to get off the well-worn path, as these beasts are ready to pounce on the wary traveler. (DC 10)

Rumor: Many Lore-Masters in Axidin the City of Merchants claim that this is directly due to Sarinth as well, claiming the dragon’s ravenous hunger, has led him to devour whole tribes of trolls or ogres when he awakes from his wintery slumbers. (DC 15)

Rumor: Far north in the valley, close to the Sphinx Spires, several rogue wizard’s crystalline creatures wreck havoc. Zuashi, mysterious androgynous beings were once a fantastic source of both magical items and rumors. They have disappeared, leaving these killing entities uncontrolled, and attacking any spell caster that approaches them. (DC 15)

Just like every other locale on Nyssa, undead continually make forays into civilized areas. Luckily, a large contingent of slayers and Jackalla reside with Axidin, prepared for the undead hordes. In recent years the undead numbers have been shrinking, however, many unique and stronger undead have been noticed. (DC 8)
Rumor: Strangely, many slayers claim that the undead are drawn here by the remnants of necromantic cult centered in the city of Ecolas. Nokkaria, a Jackalla warrior known throughout the valley is claiming that a lich has awoken and calling his army. (DC 15)

There are four large towns and two cities: Ecalos, the Pollanic home city, Cryssanis, Axidin, in the south near the Lucian forest, Tou`vari (high mountainous town of mixed jahlen, human & dwarf), Nothan, Sarranos-Attell (the capital.) each has a mix of nobles, military men, merchants and commoners. Nobility were once undisputed lords of the land, but they still have significant rights or marks that are uncontested by law. Though taxes are significant for nobility, they own most of the cities and buildings and inflict a heavy toll and rents. Most towns would fall into disarray if it wasn't for the noble taxes, and they use their influence in every way they can. (DC 5)

Rumor: There are black towers in each the larger towns that are virtually invisible or just unnoticable as a cloud at night. Called Diablos, these buildings have no doors or other obvious ways to get in and radiate protection from all divination. Yet, there are things that periodically escape from these dark places, many say, from the other worlds beyond this one. Graybeards say the gates open every 700 years, daemons will stream forth to kill everything or take them back to hell and the timing is just perfect for the next Diablo Carnivale. (DC 25)

The best word to describe the rural peoples of the valley are traditional, with beliefs that stretch back thousands of years. One of their peculiar traits is that of druidic sacrifices of human volunteers. This was not done with evil, but practicality,as there are rituals that summon elemental beasts to serve the faithful or to keep other entities at bay. The Flavs from the start of their rule have minimized the public rites, but the Pollanics used these activities to further their own ends, often to execute their foes and made a great fanfare about the public spectacle. (DC 8)

Rumor: Sacrifices used to happen 15 times a year, at the end of every month. It then changed to four times a year during the equinoxes, then once a year, and now officially once every seven years. Flavs are trying to show that these old rites were never actually needed. Cultists hold to the old ways, and many claim the sleeping elder entities are now ready to awaken, and are planning a great event to unleash an unfathomable ancient being to wreak havoc. (DC 20)

Other than for the tyrant that bears the name of the valley, this region is best known for the alcohol & drunken festivities during the cycle turns. It is through these wild celebrations that most of the domain has heard about the Flavian wines and brandies. Several epic Bacchanal parties have literally torn towns apart in frenzies beyond imagining. Flavians are doing all they can to minimize the possibility of drunken rages, but are not trying to outlaw the events. (DC 12)

Rumor: None of the wild festivities just happened, a cult of the vine, is using these fests to manipulate events. This cult is growing and very easy to hide in a society where alcohol is so widely used. Fears of who is in this cult is starting to grow, especially in the capital.

The inner Circle is another secret cult that practices within Tsarinth. It consists of many former nobles who lost their power to first the Pollanic nobles. They try to weaken the rule of the monarchy to bring back the rule of Lords, when the individual land barons controlled the valley. They have many rogues and wizards in their service, however, their biggest problem has always been getting these greedy, self interested nobles to work together, their division is legendary. (DC 13)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

T’Sarin Themes & Idea

The current game is in a section of my world called Tsarin, which is a relatively peaceful valley that is renown for its vast pasture lands, its alcohol production (& consumption) and its protected by a unique individual, Sarinth an ice dragon. It is surrounded by the Reach Mountains which supports Thoric Dwarven lands beneath and the golden-horned ram-minotaur humanoids called, Jahlen on the upper region.

Sarinth exists as background, and should be simply impossible to reach until the characters get to be extremely high level. Just as humans ignore ants, Sarinth ignores the valleys inhabitants, their activities and politics as long as they do the same to him. He does have a secretive cult dedicated to his service, but it is unknown if it is true or just a bunch of fanatics that believe they serve him. (I'm unsure at this point.)

The main inspirations for the valley is Innsmouth, the coastal village in Lovecraft’s Shadow Over Innsmouth. Terrible secrets the citizens hold, that without sacrifices, a Cthulhu-esque creature will escape, crops will fail, and the peace end. While the ffolk are correct, a traditional sacrificing is needed, how and when is of significant interest to a lot of groups.

There is an ongoing battle of cultural values going on. Less than two hundred years ago, the valley, or actually the mountain town had a mini-revolution, when the Flavs took over. These are lawful good do-gooders, who believed the previous regime (Pollanics) was overly cruel to benefit from the situation. The Pollanics were in power for more than five hundred years and used the beliefs of the farmers, to push their regimes goals. For example they rigged the sacrificial voting process to execute traitors or clerics to unfavoured dieities. The Flavs are trying to minimize the killings but often turn a blind eye if its done privately. They are coming down very harshly on anyone who uses the old ways for personal benefit, though. Flavs have very clear, posted public laws, which is the only reason why they have a grudging respect from most other noble families.

To make matters even worse, villagers severely resent city-folk. Good intentioned they come to the town and are shunned because they are not kin. While Tsarines have long worked with Dwarves, Elves, Jahlen during times of war; the rural farmers shun anyone that is not like them in the villages and around their farms. The only group the farmers do not resent are Halflings and Fey. Halflings are kin, citizens and brothers, living side-by-side. The fey are everywhere and the farmers do not try to intervene with most of these mischievous beings as they are believed to bring luck.

Towns have both druids and clerics; listening to the druids for their advice to ensure crops fertility, but utilize the healing and other benefits that the clerics provide. Clerics are almost exclusively city-folk, assigned to an obelisk (focus of all faiths, replaces church buildings, literal source of divine magic) dedicated to mostly lawful deities. The farmers resent the continuous requests for tithing and prayers but are dutiful. The druids require little, seasonal sacrifice of grains, livestock and a yearly live sacrifice. People are generally pagan, so they worship multiple deities, so balancing is rarely a problem for them.

Just as beneath the sea there are dangerous leviathans, beneath the high grains that grow there are the secret societies with nefarious agendas. One cannot go into the towns without eventually interacting with them. Cults of strength (Duelling), Snake (Transformation), Dark Dreamers (Cthulhu awakening), Door (Fey), Moon (Lycanthropes) just to name a few. These cults exist in the city, but they seem that much larger and more menacing in the small towns. In fact some of the towns are completely controlled by these groups, so they don't just shun strangers but openly try to convert or kill them.

Alcohol is the primary product of the farming region as there are ales & whiskeys from Tsarin available throughout the domain. Each region has its own distinctive tastes and are sought out. Because it is so plentiful it is also cheap. Lyrrians say, 17 out of the 23 Tsarin fests involve praising alcohol, its consumption and its blessings – the other six days are just drinking contests. Twice a month wild Bacchanalia festivals happen, most correspond to the holy days just out of convenience. They love to drink to excess!

A small group of  Tethinners, (essentially tea-totallers) watching the ffolk when they drink. Fey also watch over their mates, who would be lost without their friendly, ever ready to be tricked good souls. But the biggest reason why Tsarines are safe are the loyal hounds at their side. As they say: Some men can be happy with a woman, many are miserable with them, but every man needs a loyal dog at their side. The hounds are identical to German Sheppards, but with a magical sense of smell. Many men have a dog at their side virtually every hour of the day. The wives often have a stable of bitches and pups at their side at the home.

The larger towns are always in the mountains, more sophisticated, or they try to be, as they are growing with people, profits and opportunities. Aristocrats and the merchant class vie for profits, going on long caravans. Towns are heavily fortified, and are prepared for periodic incursions of nasty folk from beneath the surface or the mountains. Only merchants and nobles are taxed, the ffolk pay with their time in the military if called upon service.

There's only one major city in the region, the former capital and home to the Pollanic Clan, Ecalos, it is the opposite of solace. Here the evil church of Keran (Spheres: Domination, Darkness, Fright, Preferred Colour Black, LE) runs alongside the Pollanics as necromancy, summoners and the many cults run afoul of each other. Every evil scheme seems to come back to this place. Fortunately, they are their own worst enemies. While there have been multiple secret attempts, no outright rebellion has occurred and this is still a loyal city officially. It is the only place where arcane spell casters can be found, though not too open.

Most adventurers are Company Men, hired swordsmen who accompany trade caravans and delve into the mountains for both treasure and to wage war on the goblin, troll, & gargoyle threats. Magic is omnipresent, but devices are rare. Only nobles have the right to use weapons or travel, but Company Men go on behalf of the company, skirting these rules. Farms and villages show adventurers a good time if they just pass through, but if they overstay their welcome, they are quickly shunned.

All PCs start as Company Men, but as they level up they will have the chance to strike out on their own, there are benefits for doing it both ways. Right now 90%+ of their booty is given to the company as they get a miserable salary, but they are ignored by the local authorities and given the basic needs, including healing. Eventually, they will probably establish either themselves as their own company or a permanent base, (fort or tower) on the frontier or just take over a small town. Or this is what I am expecting will happen.