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Voyages of the Avanestra

Game Master Tyrn Jade

Explore the universe and discover the mysteries of life in a space-fantasy setting.


Voyages of the Avanestra

It is the recorded average year 7512 in another instance of our universe. Here, two species on two distant planets have emerged from undersea vents as simple organisms, and have evolved for millions of years into their elegant humanoid shape. Eventually, and still separately, these two species began to commune together, in what started as nomadic tribes would soon become vast empires of incredible power, which will have crumbled and risen repeatedly over the centuries, often under the influence of powerful individuals and the decisions they make; an omniscient cosmic heartbeat from a planet’s inhabitants.

In this point in both of their history, they have overcome incredible odds, raised from the ashes of anarchy to form fantastic advanced civilizations. Atmatic engineering (magic use) and atmatite refinement have allowed for incredible technologies to emerge, and would eventually lead to the first long-distance contact between these two intelligent beings, inhabiting planets four light years apart, a feat thought impossible. Together they have formed the first known interstellar alliance between two distinct intelligent species.

This alliance, plus the recent advancements in space technology, has ushered in a golden age, and in result, even greater advancements are being made. The Rhaelians, a very logical and scientific species, have wondrous technologies that reduce labor, and create room for more holistic pursuits with their lives. The Kajiiatans exemplify art and culture, and have advanced approaches to ethics, philosophy, and overall governance, but lacked more in their tech advances. Still, both of these societies are very advanced, and together they form an iconic interstellar community. In honor of their exalted diplomacy with each other, the Rhaelians and Kajiiatans have agreed to construct a ship capable of interstellar travel, much like their current means of using Conduit Anchors, only portable. This ship is called the Avanestra, which is Kajiiatan for unity. It is a monument dedicated to all that they are; an avatar of their two great people acting as a pioneer to further their lives beyond their planets, for it is well known that even stars can die.

The Avanestra is the vanguard, and its crew must know no fear as they explore the vast unknown. Only the best are crewmembers aboard the ship: exalted citizens, great people, geniuses, experts, technicians, the finest warriors. This includes prominent representatives as well, such as cultural representatives (religious figures). It is as best of an embodiment of the Rhaelians and Kajiiatans that could have been practical. Despite this enthusiastic joint venture, their people are not without disagreement or conflict over this leap into space, nor the open borders between the two species’ planets. As the two humanoids traverse the great expanse, life as they know it may not be what it seems, and maybe certain distances were never meant to be crossed.…… ::queue music and opening credits::

You are a crew member or a passenger aboard the Avanestra. Who you are exactly is entirely up to you, as I have no control as to how you will awaken within this universe. Let your electro-resonance guide you into this world of exploration. How will you be a part of it? Most people on this ship have similar goals for being here; seeking the secrets of life being the most profound, or simply occupying an apartment on the ship and enjoying the journey. Are you a scientist? A cartographer? An archaeologist? Or perhaps you are aboard as a psychologist, or a doctor? A warrior assigned to the ship to protect its people or lead away-teams? Are you a religious representative? Or a diplomat? Perhaps a stowaway or a criminal that has found freedom in space? There are many niches to fill aboard the Avanestra and as always, the choice is yours.

Setting:

Space-fantasy
Homebrew to the 1000% (hence, all the writing). The setting is in the future, but the world and universe are different. So Earth is not the home planet. Humans are residents of the planet Midgar. Their star is named Rhael. I’ll keep it simple and try not to get crazy with details and changing an entire universe, so the solar system I’ll say is the same set-up as ours (Sol: 9… I mean 8 planets, Oort cloud, Asteroid belt, etc. I’ll keep the planet names as well, except Earth and the Sun). Also, to keep it simple, Rhaelian (in the space community, species are often named after their home-star) civilization has progressed on a similar path as humans, but with more fantasy elements to it. So, similar course of human history (Classical era, Renaissance, and Industrial age, etc.) …. ONLY FANTASIZED! *confetti* I’m kind of merging a lot here, but I think with all its components put together, it is something entirely unique. It’s a metamorphose of Star Trek, EVE, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, Ancient Greece, Norse Mythology, and of course, the Pathfinder world. I really hope you enjoy this universe. Its goals are to explore and use imagination to create what other worlds might be like, and the possibilities that civilizations can achieve. Anthropology and xenoanthropology will be big components of this campaign.

Magic degree:
Magic-use is the manipulation of matter and it can be augmented through technology. Magic is denoted as atma by Rhaelians (Humans), and other species have their own words for the same concept. The use of raw atma or natural magic (magic is a Kajiiatan term) is typically how spell-casters utilize spells. They tap into raw omnipresent energy to manifest it into a substantial force. Magic is used in technology a little different. Atmatite, the condensed mineral form of atma, is used to fuel many machines, and is an incredibly efficient source of energy. Magic is essentially augmented through these machines in order to push magic to its limits that few biological forms can achieve by just using raw atma. Atmatite is found in abundance in asteroids and planets and this surplus of resources had led to a benevolent form of economic collapse, reducing the value of once very expensive items, thus people need to work less as they do not need as much money to afford things. Atmatite is used even by spell-casters to augment their spell-casting ability (okay… so it’s materia. You’re welcome). Another note, since I think it’s corny that there are verbal components to spells; all spells do not require a specific verbiage. I do not want to eliminate the benefits that silencing a spell-caster can bring, so those effects still work normally, so just suspend disbelief and assume some other reason for not being able to talk has an effect on spells, I just don’t EVER imagine any spell-caster chanting something. Not in this campaign. None of that in this house, no siiiiiir. So if you want to not be affected by those conditions, you can still take the meta-magic feat Silent Spell for that benefit.

Combat:

Everyone is considered to have Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Improved Unarmed Strike as written in the Core book. I would rather have you invest your feats than burn them on abilities I think you should just be able to do. If you acquire one of these feats through a class feature (such as monk) then pick a bonus feat of your choosing, but keep it within the same type (combat, magic, etc.). I guess these are all technically combat feats.

I allow and encourage Called Shots and the feats that are provided with them. The only difference is I’m treating Challenging shots as -8 instead of -10.

I also will be using Wounds and Vigor. Combat is more flashy and realistic, and this paired with Called Shots can make for some really intricate combat displays. Toughness is actually a useful feat with the Vigor/Wound system (+1 Wound point per level! Great for taking critical hits)! So your regular HP is your Stamina (including your Con mod/level) and your Con score x2 is the amount of Health you have (Wound points). When your Health is at half (equal to your Constitution), you’re considered wounded and staggered until no longer wounded. If you take a move or standard action while wounded, you lose -1 Health that round and THEN make a Con check (1d20+Con mod) DC 10 or you else fall unconscious. IT’S FREAKING BRILLIANT!

Notes on this system:
Alternate Feats: As listed on the SRD.
Favored Class Bonus: You may choose 1 Wound Point or 1 Vigor Point at each level. Skill ranks and racial alternates are unchanged.

Healing:

All the same except the following: The Wounds and Vigor system alters some healing processes. A cleric’s channel power can increase either stamina (vigor) or Health (wound). It is decided upon casting, as they would technically be two different spells. One rejuvenates lost energy and the other repairs cells. Vigor is healed normally. When the channel ability is used to regenerate Wound points, the target heals a number of wound points equal to the number of dice it would normally roll for the healing spell or effect, plus the caster’s Wisdom modifier (so a lvl 6 cleric with a 17 Wis channeling positive energy would heal 6 wound points). When using the Heal spell, a cleric heals his caster level+wisdom modifier of Wound points.

The Heal skill will be more tactical in combat, allowing everybody a chance at reviving an ally though not as well as a magical healer. The following actions are added to the Heal Skill:

Rejuvenate: DC 15. AoO: Yes. Time: Varies
Note: You must expend one use from a healer's kit to perform this task. You take a –2 penalty on your check for each use from a healer's kit that you lack.

By expending one use of a healer’s kit you can stimulate the natural growth rate of impaired cells in your target’s body. Rejuvenating allies restores 1d4 vigor points +1 for every 5 rolled above the DC. Using this skill takes 1d4 rounds to perform.

Regenerate: You must expend 2 uses of a healing kit to use this action. In order to heal wound points in combat with the Heal skill, roll a Heal check (1d20+Heal) and a d6. Subtracting 20 from the Heal check will be how many Wound points you heal over 1d6 rounds. During those rounds, the person healing and the patient are unable to take any other actions, and provoke attacks of opportunity where applicable. If the healer is attacked successfully, he is interrupted but still heals a portion of Wound points depending on how many rounds had passed. The healer must then reroll both die in order to finish reviving the patient. Getting a negative result still applies, so if you are not an experienced healer, then it may be best to build up your skill before attempting in combat, as you could end up killing your ally rather than helping. I like the dynamic and urgency this system creates for combat, as more situations can emerge this way. I will create feats to make this ability more beneficial to those that want to be effective healers without being spell-casters.

Races:
It’d be extremely cool if the party was made up of 1 of every race (I anticipate only a party of 4 or 5, but who knows, it might be just as easy to tack on one more, making a solid 6, Baldur’s Gate style). Well, I’ve created four races; the Rhaelians, Kajiiatans, Eridani, and Animus. I am tempted to create more because I had a lot of fun creating these ones, but that’s all in time (or perhaps more become available as more are discovered).

Rhaelians: This race looks virtually human, but bear in mind, humans do not exist in this universe, though the term humanoid is still used to describe a hominid shape. They are a tech savvy, scientific species, who often approach many aspects of their lives with the intent of improving upon them. They are natural diplomats, and have a comfortable way of communicating with people. Their civilizations are mostly constructed of stone and marble, with massive panes of blue-glass, a signature material used in Rhaelian architecture. Rhaelians excel in many classes, but especially the more skill-based roles.

Rhaelian racial abilities
• +2 to any ability score.
• One bonus feat.
• +1 Skill point at each level.
• Focused study: Rhaelians are versatile and are diligent when it comes to being good at something (Skill focus to one skill at level 1, 8, and 16th lvl).
• Emissary: Rhaelians are natural diplomats and can connect with people easily. Roll 2d20 for Diplomacy and Bluff checks and take the better roll.
• Weapon Familiarity: Rhaelians are proficient with firearms and the Rhaelian Lysis (similar to the Kajiiatan court and thin blade).

Kajiiatans: This race is virtually elves, but with a very different culture. They exemplify more horizontal cultural aspects, such as art, philosophy, and ethics, which means they’re still an advanced society without massive tech production. Kajiiatans are adept users of raw atma, and have generally fought their wars using atmatic artillery, rather than using firearms. Their cities are more condensed and difficult to navigate, and are composed mostly of metal material. Kajiiatans’ enhanced perception has certainly made their architecture and art difficult to understand by Rhaelians. They favor more spell-casting classes, and their armies are mostly composed of magi.

Kajiiatan racial abilities
• +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con
• Kajiiatan Immunities: Immune to magic sleep effects and +2 to saving throws against enchantment spells.
• Keen sense: +2 to Perception.
• Atmatic design: +2 racial bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance. +2 to Spellcraft (just in general).
• Weapon familiarity: Kajiiatans are proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), longswords, rapiers, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treat any weapon with the word “Kajiiatan” in its name as a martial weapon.
• Low-light vision.
• Magehunter: Kajiiatans have fought countless battles throughout their time on Acceltra, and are specially trained to battle other mages. They get a +2 to Spellcraft and +1 to attack rolls against spellcasters. Kajiiatans gain a level 1 spell-like ability that can be cast 1/day.

Eridani: The Eridani are inhabitants of the planet Halladrax in the Eridon system. The Avanestra’s first voyage is to this planet, so if you choose this race you will experience first contact with mysterious beings from the sky, capable of incredible powers. I would rather give more detail to those that are interested, because if I give too much information, it could shatter the essence of this game. I will provide their stats, and note that they excel in warrior, monk, and sorcerer classes.

Eridani
• Ability scores: +2 Cha, +2 X, -2 X (depending on subspecies)
• Size: Large (+2 Str, -2 Dex, -1 AC, -1 Attack rolls, +1 CMB/CMD, and -4 Stealth). Speed: 30 feet.
• Weapon Familiarity: Falchion, Two-bladed sword, Rip-saw Glaive
• Energy Resistance 5 (depending on subspecies)
• Elemental Assault: Pick one of the following energy types that correspond to the environment the race has ties to: acid (earth), cold (water), electricity (air), or fire (fire). Members of this race gain the following supernatural ability: Once per day as a swift action, a member of this race can call on the elemental power lurking in its veins to shroud its arms in the energy type that corresponds to the elemental plane its race has ties to. Unarmed strikes with its elbows or hands (or attacks with weapons held in those hands) deal +1d6 points of damage of the appropriate energy type. This lasts for 1 round per character level. The creature may end the effects of its elemental assault early as a free action.
• Natural Armor +2
• Stubborn: Members of this race gain a +2 racial bonus on Will saving throws to resist spells and spell-like abilities of the enchantment (charm) and enchantment (compulsion) sub-schools. In addition, if a member of this race fails such a save, it receives another save 1 round later to prematurely end the effect (assuming the spell or spell-like ability has a duration greater than 1 round). This second save is made at the same DC as the first. If the member of the race has a similar ability from another source (such as a rogue's slippery mind class feature), it can only use one of these abilities per round, but can try the other on the second round if the first reroll ability fails.

Animus: The Animus is a Rhaelian creation of marble, blue-glass, atmatite, and conductive rare-earths. It is unique to other homunculi because it actually possesses individuality. If you choose this race, you are the only one known to exist (that is, something other than an animal that is capable of sapient thought). More than one party member can choose to be an Animus. Choosing this role would require some exquisite role-playing, as you’d be taking this character from its moment of awakening, having virtually no information imbibed. It would be acceptable to experience rapid alignment change, and often misunderstood approaches to situations.

Animi racial traits
• Ability scores: +2 Str, +2 Int, -4 Char
• As a construct of this form (theoretically sapient) you cannot be raised or resurrected in theory. +2 for saves against disease, mind-effects, poison, and exhaustion or fatigue. You do not need to eat, sleep, drink, or breathe in order to stay alive.
• Speed: 30 ft
• Greater Spell-resistance: 11+CL
• Stability: +4 to CMB against bull-rush and trip attempts.
• Clunky: -4 Stealth.
• Curiosity: +4 to Diplomacy to gather information. K-history and k-local are always considered class skills, and if they already are from a class, you gain a +2 bonus.
• Damage Reduction 5/silver
• Spell-like abilities (1/day each): Make Whole, Disguise Self. Caster level = Character Level.
• Animi Properties: Animi do not wear armor like most people. They are “born” with a metallic carapace that grants +2 to Armor (armor slot). So in the beginning, an Animi has +2 to armor with spell failure and ACP equal to leather. They can “scavenge” and upgrade their parts (similar to equipment) by completely replacing them or enchanting them. You are welcome to change your starting equipment. If you want to be a heavily armored Animus, you are allowed to start out with such gear (whatever you can afford with starting gold). You are a living construct. You do not need to make endurance checks to resist fatigue, exhaustion, thirst, or starvation and you do not need to breathe. You only need 4 hours of “optimization” to prepare spells. You are healed by craft (homunculus) and knowledge (engineering) checks as opposed to heal. You are also healed by repair spells, such as Make Whole.

Technology in General:

Firearms, commonplace – Firearms are treated as martial weapons. I’m envisioning the firearms to be typically fantasized, ornate, regal, and kind of Victorian in style. Like Fable II or III, only more…. arcane? Not sure if that’s the word. I’ll try to think of better ways to describe it or maybe I can find a nice picture on Google. They would of course be able to do more than the book suggest (like have more cartridge space and such). Kajiiatan society seldom uses guns because they always depended on atma for warfare, but it is not unheard of. Most guns are Rhaelian made, but styles can change that originate from different parts of the world. I’m doing away with the broken b%&!$*!# with guns. I simply just don’t want to worry about it. Your gun can break when circumstances cause it to; it doesn’t have to be a risk every friggin’ shot.

Other weapons – All the traditional Pathfinder weapons are available and utilized as well as firearms. I know it does not make sense, but I love that style of play and in this world, it can make sense if we want it to. My justification is that war is fought on multiple fronts in order to mitigate overall destruction of what would be strategic areas or simply attempting to have zero civilian casualties. In melee, you’re usually able to identify someone as an enemy and you work to eliminate that enemy. Not just lob a fireball at a building with hostiles and innocent people. Future societies scorn war and certainly have no competition for resources as of yet, because resources in space are so plentiful and relatively cheap to acquire. War is fought for defensive purposes only, and to do so otherwise would be considered barbaric and an atrocity.

Modes of travel – Airships, zeppelins, and arcane elevators are predominantly used to get around on planets. Midgar and Acceltra are connected by Conduit Anchors that can launch passengers between each anchor in faster than light speeds. Some beasts are even still used for travel, though only with consent, as the creation of the Universal Translator has led to astonishing, if not horrifying realities about the minds of animals.

Universal Translator – Most citizens have this piece of atmatic engineering permanently implanted in their resonance, often called a Universal Translator Implant, or a UTI (::giggles::). Communication with a UT is only accurate when communicating with another individual with a UT. This is essentially treated as Common, and its basis is that forms, expressions, body language, and differences in basic anatomic communication organs would make a social connection between two species extremely difficult, if not impossible, so direct brainwave interpretation is needed to comprehend what one species is saying.


The Planes:

The Planes are simply treated as different classes of planets. Realms indicative of the Material plane are Terra-class (T-class), which would theoretically have similar, carbon-based life-forms, and thus, life from these planets are not considered outsiders. If life is found on planets with drastically different properties and are of a different basis for life, communication is impossible and those individuals would be considered outsiders.

Religion:

Xenogenesism (Xenogenic [adjective])
Titles given to supposed ancestors: The Creators, Proteans, gods (only by a few select groups of misinformed individuals; considering people do not consider them to be gods in the traditional sense), archons, Alpha Humanoids (alphanoids), or The Pioneers.

Alignment: Any.

Portfolio: Civilizations, life, science, exploration.

Domains: Animal, Healing, Knowledge, Plant, and Rune.

Favored Weapon: Chakram.

Beliefs: Xenogenists believe that most humanoid life in the universe was created by an advanced god-like race and was engineered to direct its evolution to a form similar to theirs (in this case, Humanoid). They claim that this empire is so old that it is one of the first civilizations to emerge since the birth of the universe, and that its empire spanned multiple galaxies planting life on habitable planets and even created entire solar systems from scratch to harbor new life. It is also believed when one dies that their sapience is traced and downloaded to the Creators’ home planet, and their minds are uploaded into the body of a Creator itself, where they can live in eternity with Absolute Freedom. They claim this because of similar discoveries in archaeological studies found on Acceltra and Midgar. Also, there are significant similarities between flora and fauna on the two planets. Though this new belief has more evidence to its claim than the previous religions (that are virtually viewed as delusions), many still disagree and put it off as simply the people are over excited and making assumptions since the discovery of life on other planets.

Absolute Freedom: This is a concept that represents complete and total freedom from any and all forces. No limitation with physics, society, governance, etc. Xenogenists believe their ancestors have achieved such a life where their lack of limitations makes them virtually god-like. It is believed that all life and even matter function in patterns that seems to strive toward the “zero-limit”, a state of being unbound from any and all obstacles.

Origins: Xenogenesism was created sometime during the 170 years of long-distance communication between the Rhaelians and Kajiiatans, before formal first contact. This belief proliferated more and more as people realized how similar their (referring to their planets) lives are. People became really convinced once research was shared about certain archaeological evidence, namely in hieroglyphs.

Character Creation:

• You will begin at level 2.
• You have 89 ability points to distribute. You cannot make a score more than 18 (unless your racial modifiers increase it).
• You have 1000 gold to use when buying equipment. Firearms are at their reduced cost for being Commonplace.
• A party of 3-5 would be interesting. That way if two people picked Eridani, starting out broken-party wouldn’t be so lonely. There is already a spot reserved for Monk/Inquisitor.
• I do enjoy free-form. You are not entirely confined to the Avanestra, though that’s where all the booty is.
• You can pick either 2 traits or 1 Bonus feat that you qualify for at Character Creation.
• You are allowed to pick alternate racial features as provided on the pfsrd website but only for original features (not the ones I added).
• GESTALT!!! You’re welcome. I treat it basically how the rules state if you’re familiar with it. Pick two classes, take the better HP, better Saves, better BAB, and better Skills and both of their class features. You can multi-class if you’d like, though gestalt can get pretty messy that way, so try not to go overboard by tea-bagging many cups of tea. With gestalt, I do not like to allow prestige classes. If it’s a huge stink, I’ll work it out or just not do gestalt.

P.S. – I’m not sure how to use maps and such for battles using PbP (I needs meh whitesboards!). I will certainly learn as I have much to learn about PbP. I hope this game excites you. Those that like a healthy wholesome balance of role-play, discovery, ethical conflicts, and action, will enjoy this campaign. I ask that you always ALWAYS respect each other on threads I produce. I really have no tolerance for trolls and naysayers, nor do I tolerate worthless bantering over semantics. Bullying is bullying, digitally or not. I of course support your right to Free Speech but I simply don’t want to burn the calories debating meaningless things. If you question a rule, or disagree with something, please express your mind like an adult, and don’t explode with an attempt at an intellectual essay. Just have some friggin’ fun and explore this universe with me! I play DnD to expand my imagination, not debate laws so much. This is a sandbox game with a main plot that hopefully gives you that funny feeling in your gut when you watch Star Trek.


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