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RPG Superstar 2015

Tears of Ash: The Price of Liberty (Inactive)

Game Master Umbral Reaver

The first Tears of Ash play by post campaign, centred on the beginning of the Midjuric-Leethe war and the events surrounding it.



Herein lies discussion.


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

Reporting in.


Male Human (Varisian) Rogue 1

Cuan reporting for duty


Male Human (Midjurican) Ranger 3 (Beastmaster/Infiltrator Archetypes)

Hello, Rashad here, and thank you Umbral Reaver!

So this is for OOC discussion I take it? Not sure since it's my first one.


    Angelkin Purifier 5
HP 31/50 {effects: none} | AC 18 Tch 12 FF 16 | F +3, R +3, W +3 | Init +2 | darkvision, perc +4
Dailies:
Alter Self 1/1, Channel Positive Energy 3/6, Sacred Scourge 4/6
Spells:
1st: 6/6, 2nd: 3/4

Checking in.

Lantern Lodge

Male Half-elf Paladin 2/Sorc1

Has anyone seen my bear Tibbers?


Since we may have one or more sorcery-type spellcasters, here's a little something about spontaneous casters in the world of Tears of Ash:

Dreams and Magic

While the workings of magic are generally poorly understood by common folk, one thing is widely known: Magic is the stuff of dreams.

That is literally true. The dreams of all sapient beings in the world gather in a vast noosphere in the astral plane, known as the exemplar spirit, the Azure Soul. It is from this source that all magic draws, both arcane and divine. The Azure Soul gives freely to all with the skill to touch it.

Wizards learn precise codes and patterns designed to locate and encapsulate specific fragments of the dreams. The archetypal fireball spell draws from nightmares of fire and burning. These are not any specific person's dreams, but a genericised amalgam dwelling within the form of the Azure Soul. Once a spell has been invented, the piece of dream it was formed from remains patterned forever and can be much more easily repeated and rediscovered by other wizards,

Divine spellcasters share a less clinical connection to the dreams. Where wizards have an impersonal and studied science about the dreamscape, as an alchemist does not have any feelings for his chemicals, the priests and paladins must carry a reverence in their soul for the powers beyond, usually a single god. It is their god that encapsulates and delivers fragments of the dream to them when they perform their daily prayers. They do not need to know how or why these pieces of dreams were collated and assembled.

In both cases, the spells prepared by these spellcasters are in the form of these encapsulated dream patterns. Each spell prepared is attached to the spellcaster's soul very tenuously, empowered by the energy within. The connection is fragile, such that the rush of power through that link is enough to disrupt it and detach the spell from its host; it must be prepared again to be used. As they develop in skill and power, they are able to hang more and larger spells on their souls.

Sorcerers and others whose magic is inborn or spontaneous have an innate connection to the Azure Soul hold the very same patterns as wizards scribe in their spellbooks, yet the patterns are imprinted on their own souls. Sorcery is a much younger art than wizardry. The innate soul-patterning could not occur until wizards had begun creating the spells themselves, whereafter the spells dwelled in the Azure Soul, free to be found by others.

Sorcery is commonly characterised as dangerous and prone to accidental bursts of spellcasting. This is a myth; spellcasting cannot be performed by accident. Even the inborn power of a sorcerer must be precisely manipulated with word and gesture to produce any effect at all; failure results in harmless expenditure of mental energy, no more. It is wild and reckless sorcerers that have cast spells dangerously []on purpose,[/i] often out of anger, that are the cause for this reputation.

One might wonder how, then, a sorcerer first discovers their power if they cannot do so by accident. The first clue is usually a birthmark, strangely coloured or luminous eyes or another odd trait hinting at their mystical heritage. Many bloodlines rich in magic test their children for potential and train them from a young age. As well as these signs, almost all sorcerers have a minor magical talent they can perform without need for the same complex rites as full spells. The ability to use such a talent is a clear indicator of sorcerous power.

Once initiated, a sorcerer can develop their own powers freely. With time and experience, they can sink their souls into the Azure Soul itself and draw out larger and more complex patterns. They spiritually scribe them onto their own souls in a parallel to how a wizard writes in a spellbook, forming both the knowledge and the connection at the same time. This process is slow and delicate and cannot be done in haste, yet the spells held there remain for far longer than a wizard's tenuous connection.

It is the repeated manipulation of their own soul that causes the changes in a sorcerer. They become more formed of the magic of their origin than human (or whatever other mortal race they were). The most powerful sorcerers may be barely recognisable as former mortals. Other spellcasters, with their weaker connections to their spells, are not affected.

Bards are weird. They seem to function a lot like sorcerers but some property of their magic prevents them from being warped by it. It's suggested by some scholars that bards are a widespread but very thin bloodline of sorcery whose mystic expression is the performance itself. That is, the magical transformation a bard undergoes is one of the arts, not of the body; certainly, masterful bards can display such performances that they seem inhumanly entwined with the art itself.


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

That is awesome. I'm looking forward to playing the discovery of my sorcerer soul. :)


Male Human (Midjurican) Ranger 3 (Beastmaster/Infiltrator Archetypes)

Interesting. A few questions.

Guessing rangers and druids don't have much different then, getting their loving from mama nature and all that still? I don't see them mentioned or altered in the House Rules at all.

Do dragons exist as mortals? All the dragons so far mentioned are deity, so I'm curious if there are any who are just normal dragons so I know if favored enemy: dragon is reasonable.

The Death Gate interests me. Is it an artifact at a literal site or is it like a metaphysical border between realms? Do undead escape from it? Do people know what's on the other side or is it a great mystery?

How does the rest of humanity feel about Leethans? Are they in awe of them? Do they fear oppression? Or are they treated pretty much as any other human?

Does Tannersmark have any known strategic value to the general populace?


The Verdant Soul is an intermediary to the Azure Soul's well of nature-dreams, just as other gods manage divine magic for their worshippers.

There are ordinary mortal dragons. They can be of any alignment regardless of colour (particularly, because they come in the seven colours of heraldry instead of the chromatic/metallic ten). There are also plenty of lesser dragons such as wyverns. Favoured enemy (dragon) is not likely to come up much, however.

The Death Gate is rumoured to host some kind of portal to the realms of the dead. Certainly, more dead come from there than there are corpses for them to raise. Very little is known about it. The forces of Midjuric hold back the tide of undead at the border, neither side making meaningful progress.

There has been a grudging peace with Leethe for a long time. Leethe has the best metallurgy and smithing in the known world and their weapons are famed for their quality.

Tannersmark is the nearest Midjuric settlement to the border of Leethe and for a while has served as a resting point for traders on the route between the major cities of Jorgen's Pass and Ironwall. It has more political importance than tactical, as its farmlands sit on land once held by the ancestors of Leethe. The lands were bitter and cold and unsuited for living until recently, and Midjuric moved north to settle them. A large part of the rising tensions between the nations are due to Leethe's nationalistic pride and reverence for their ancestors, and that Midjuric people are now living on lands that belonged to the ancient barbarian kings that founded Leethe. Midjuric argues that since the lands were abandoned over a thousand years ago, they had relinquished any ancestral claim.


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

GM, can you open up the gameplay thread for us to Dot so the campaign will show up in our Campaigns tab? I don't know how everyone else does things, but for me it's a big convenience.


I'll do that soon. I want to get the other two in first.


Also, since we have a lot of players:

Posting in Combat

All NPCs act on the same initiative. This cannot be changed by any effects, even where the rules would say they act on a different initiative.

Surprise round works as normal.

After the NPCs have had their first turn, all players may take their turns regardless of initiative order. Thereafter, the turn order is NPCs, players, NPCs and so forth.

If your action is not predicated on someone else's action, don't wait for them. If you wish to wait for someone else to act, make a post prompting them. If a reasonable length of time (to be determined later) has passed without receiving a post from a player, that character will be considered to be taking a total defense action or another appropriate passive action as determined by the GM and your turn will be skipped. If you say you were waiting for others but didn't make a post saying so, you still miss your turn. If every player says they are waiting for someone else to act, the entire party is treated as taking total defense or something and the NPCs get their turn.

This is not in place to pick on people, but to ensure that combat rounds don't take weeks to resolve.

Posting out of Combat

Some of you may be comfortable with taking turns, waiting for each other player to have a say in a given scene before acting again.

Don't.

If you want to respond to something, do so. Don't post a whole series of actions in a row, but if given stimuli to reply to, you don't have to wait for everyone else before posting unless they are specifically required. While you might feel it is inconsiderate not to let others interject, always waiting for others results in a dead thread every time.

As well, it is a good idea to promote party interaction. Talk to each other a lot. Prompt each other to respond, even if the world and its contents are not acting on you at the time.


Male Human (Midjurican) Ranger 3 (Beastmaster/Infiltrator Archetypes)

Thanks for the quick reply! It answered a lot.

GM Umbral Reaver wrote:
Favoured enemy (dragon) is not likely to come up much, however.

Is it out of line for me to ask for some hint of what might be coming up a lot in terms of likely foes or is that ok? Just curious because a lot of the major ranger abilities are circumstantially dependent on enemy type. I figure since war is prominent in theme, human seems a fair choice, and undead are mentioned often in setting, so that too.

Thanks again!


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

I fully approve of your initiative system. PbPs are not well suited to the game's usual initiative rules.


Common enemy types in this part of the world (in general, not necessarily campaign-focused)

Humanoid (human) - There are a lot of humans everywhere.
Humanoid (elf) - Elves, especially half-elves the further South and West you travel are possibly the second most common of the civilised people.
Humanoid (goblin) (half-orcs are of the goblin subtype instead of orc; no change to their stats, however)
Humanoid (giant) - More prevalent North and East, in the more mountainous regions and especially the highlands of Leethe.
Monstrous Humanoid - Gnolls and minotaurs are all over the place, plus a smattering of less common monstrous humanoids.
Animal - Animals are everywhere. They aren't limited to low level adventures in this world. Animals empowered by the forces in UlVraetur and more rarely in other places can be on par with more powerful monsters without losing their animal type.
Magical Beast - There are loads of weird critters.
Fey - While not often hostile, there are large populations of fey in the world, especially to the West of Midjuric.


Since we have some potentially dragony peeps in the party, here are your choices for dragon abilities:

All chromatic (as normal), yellow (as gold, and while they come in colours from mustard to metallic, it's not a good idea to say they're not gold to their faces) and purple (as cloud). Purple dragons are easily recognised by the axe-like fronts of their snouts. A lot of Old Kingdom artwork exists depicting them; however, they are thought to be extinct. They were associated with the Old Kingdom at the height of its power, up until its mysterious destruction. While the purple bloodline is all but unknown, scholars believe there must still be some vestiges of it in descendants of the Old Kingdom's population that escaped the fall, or from draconic bloodlines of any defiant purple dragons that may have left the Old Kingdom. To see a purple-blooded sorcerer would be an interesting curiosity but not entirely unexpected.

The elder wyrms of each colour are named after the metal associated with their heraldric colour: Aurum, Argentum, Ferrum, Plumbum, Cuprum, Stannum and Hydrargyrum.

Note that dragon alignments do not have to be the same as their bestiary entries.


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

Any word on the other two players?


We may have a kobold bard joining us shortly.


Another thing I should add, since we have Ennanites in the party:

Besides the Oathbound of Ennan, there are other non-evil undead in the world. They still count as evil for the purposes of alignment-based spells and effects.

The Ennanite faith believes that all negative energy beings (this includes all undead that aren't Oathbound, even good and neutral ones) are potential vessels for the Avatar of Seren, God of Necromancy. They believe that even while he has not imbued a physical vessel with his power, he can see and hear through every one of these undead beings and uses them as spies, willing or not.

When dealing with non-evil undead, think of them like this: Every one of them is a potential doomsday weapon and your nemesis can see what they see and has his finger on the detonate button.

Destroying them is not 'killing innocents'. They already died and this releases their soul to pass on appropriately. You're saving the world by taking power out of Seren's hands, a little bit at a time.


Male Human (Midjurican) Ranger 3 (Beastmaster/Infiltrator Archetypes)

That is very interesting about the undead. Is it common knowledge though? That is, do normal folk know that not every undead is potentially evil to the point they might not utterly fear/despise them initially (with understandable caution, naturally)?

How do you feel about Local Feats to flesh out a PC? (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/local-feats)

The page suggests one may be given free as a bonus on creation, but this isn't the Golarion setting so I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.

Would aberrations and evil outsiders be enemy groups unlikely to be seen?

Although it's a long way away, I'm sure, I was considering taking the teamwork feat "Outflank" (along with my animal companion) around levels 7 to 11 or so if anybody else thinks that's a good idea they can too! It seemed like a wise thing to do, since Rashad is going to be using a weapon with a wide threat range.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/outflank-combat-teamwork


Normal folk think undead are horrifying and scary because 99% of them just try to kill whatever they see. The Ennanite belief is not common knowledge, but they don't keep it secret. It's just that a lot of people think it's unnecessary religious dogma and paranoia as justification for killing undead, not that they need any. The idea that every single zombie is potentially an apocalyptic horror seems a bit ridiculous to people whose soldiers have been successfully fighting undead for centuries. General undead are seen as more frightening than enemy soldiers, but not that much more. The world has grown somewhat complacent about them due to Ennan's ascension and the steady defense at the border of Death Gate.

I hadn't heard of local feats before now. Most of them look like they could be adapted to the Tears of Ash world fairly easily, although they are generally good enough to be paid for using actual feats rather than gaining one for free, I think.

It was going to remain a secret surprise, but I might as well tell you now that you will be receiving 'achievement traits' of my design for overcoming significant obstacles in your journey, usually as a reward at the end of each distinct chapter of the adventure. For example, if a large part of the game involved herding sheep to the moon, I might offer players their selection of the following: +2 to acrobatics and climb checks while on the moon, +2 to skill checks against sheep and sheep-like creatures, or +1 to spell DC against such critters, etc.

Minor bonuses reflecting your experience.

Aberrations are uncommon but not unknown. I use the aberration type to also include fantastic adaptations of real-world creatures that are utterly bizarre, such as Burgess Shale organisms. Evil outsiders are very frequently met as summoned creatures, and less so as actual enemies, but that does make them common if you're fighting spellcasters.

Teamwork feats are allowed, but keep in mind that other players may not want to take them.


    Angelkin Purifier 5
HP 31/50 {effects: none} | AC 18 Tch 12 FF 16 | F +3, R +3, W +3 | Init +2 | darkvision, perc +4
Dailies:
Alter Self 1/1, Channel Positive Energy 3/6, Sacred Scourge 4/6
Spells:
1st: 6/6, 2nd: 3/4

Just leave it to the Ennanite. If it's undead and Tragen attacks it, then it must be bad ;)

Sorry I haven't posted. I had lost track of the thread. I guess it doesn't show up in our campaigns until we post in Gameplay.

It also seems like I haven't completed putting my character together. I'll get right on that.

Re: the initiative thing. I'm good with that and it works well in other games I'm in. Just need to remind folks as they finalize their characters not to choose traits or feats that affect intiative (e.g. Reactionary or Improved Initiative).


GM Umbral Reaver wrote:

Normal folk think undead are horrifying and scary because 99% of them just try to kill whatever they see. The Ennanite belief is not common knowledge, but they don't keep it secret. It's just that a lot of people think it's unnecessary religious dogma and paranoia as justification for killing undead, not that they need any. The idea that every single zombie is potentially an apocalyptic horror seems a bit ridiculous to people whose soldiers have been successfully fighting undead for centuries. General undead are seen as more frightening than enemy soldiers, but not that much more. The world has grown somewhat complacent about them due to Ennan's ascension and the steady defense at the border of Death Gate.

I hadn't heard of local feats before now. Most of them look like they could be adapted to the Tears of Ash world fairly easily, although they are generally good enough to be paid for using actual feats rather than gaining one for free, I think.

It was going to remain a secret surprise, but I might as well tell you now that you will be receiving 'achievement traits' of my design for overcoming significant obstacles in your journey, usually as a reward at the end of each distinct chapter of the adventure. For example, if a large part of the game involved herding sheep to the moon, I might offer players their selection of the following: +2 to acrobatics and climb checks while on the moon, +2 to skill checks against sheep and sheep-like creatures, or +1 to spell DC against such critters, etc.

Minor bonuses reflecting your experience.

Aberrations are uncommon but not unknown. I use the aberration type to also include fantastic adaptations of real-world creatures that are utterly bizarre, such as Burgess Shale organisms. Evil outsiders are very frequently met as summoned creatures, and less so as actual enemies, but that does make them common if you're fighting spellcasters.

Teamwork feats are allowed, but keep in mind that other players may not want to take them.

Alright rangers, the GM has dropped a hint: take favoured enemy (sheep and sheep-like creatures)!!! ;)


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

Any idea yet when we're going to kick this off?

Since PbPs tend to be slow paced could we start without the others and introduce them once they are ready?


Hmm. That's a possibility. I'll talk to them.


Male Human (Midjurican) Ranger 3 (Beastmaster/Infiltrator Archetypes)

B-but hating on sheep cuts down on dating prospects!!! :P


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

Mammals are weird.


Female Infernal Conscriptus Outsider 11

My depression is getting worse, not helped by recently becoming aware of exactly how much treatment I need that I cannot begin to imagine being able to afford.


HP 29/29, AC 16, Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0, Rage 10/10, See Invis 1/1

Sorry to hear that.

Does that mean the game is off?


Male Human (Midjurican) Ranger 3 (Beastmaster/Infiltrator Archetypes)

Any update???


Female Infernal Conscriptus Outsider 11

I don't have the energy to maintain this. Sorry. :(

I may come back to it later. Keep an eye out. I will PM all of you if I do.

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