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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. 12,166 posts (12,169 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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Yuan-ti were a favorite of mine back in 3.x, and I've been playing to make an alternative for my campaign setting for a while (I think I had some rough drafts on my old PC but they need to be re-written anyway).

Speaking of Harpies, I'm reminded of an encounter that Jeo had on an airship involving harpies that was very mean. Basically the ship was attacked by several harpies intending to crash it and see what goodies were onboard, and they were using their harpy songs to lure folks into walking off the deck of the airship. >_>

I had a player in the same campaign, much later, play a medusa very briefly. She was upset to find how gaze attacks worked, and I was surprised that given how long she had been playing AND the fact she was so adamant about playing a medusa, that at no point during creation did she actually read how her abilities worked. :|

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Speaking of drider, here's some segments from a thing about Alvena I started writing years ago (ignore the grammatical errors ^//^).

Drider Intro:
The orc brigand let out a curdled scream, but it was quickly silenced by the sudden rush of poison into the wound and a quick snap of the the warrior's neck. Its dark-crimson blood ran hot with the fading beats of his quickly slowing heart.

Jackson winced and turned his head, unable to watch the sight directly. Gloing looked on with jaws agape, and felt like he needed a good mug of grog to keep his lunch from rebelling against his innards at the sight.

Silia's fangs dug deep into the flesh of the orc, and a sickening sucking sound could be heard coming from her mouth and the wound. Her lizardman companion Ssallix watched in awe at the almost intoxicated look in her dark eyes as she gulped and chewed againsthe orc's body.

Poor Lilly the Halfling shook in her tiny boots, watching their drider friend laying into the orc's body like it was some sort of delicious piece of food and not a formerly living thinking creature. She wondered if she was really sure that she wanted to keep riding on her back, for fear that she might get hungry and long for a light snack.

Silia released the orc's body, now having chewed through most of the torso and gulped it down with an end to the almost gluttonous greed for bloody meat that it was. If not for the blood covering her face, shoulders, and hands, she would have looked much like a beautiful dark-skinned elven woman riding atop a giant spider from a distance. She slurped and licked up the remains of blood on her hands, and was busily cleaning off her face when her eyes darted down to the little halfling beneath her. “I'm sorry...that was very rude of me.” she said in a thick but politely toned dark-elven accent. “Did you want some?” she asked, gripping the orc and eyeing the halfling. “I...think I'm going to be sick...” little Lilly said as her stomach churned inside her tiny frame.

“Err...are you sure that she's okay to have along, human boy?” Korlax quizzed quietly, whispering to Jackson and Gloing.
“Well, to be fair the orcish guy and his friends were trying to kill us, and she's a good friend of mine. I wouldn't mind it if not for the crunching sound. It makes my skin crawl...” Jackson said sheepishly as he began checking the bodies of their enemies for supplies.

Wood Elf Intro:
Jackson, Gloing, Korlax, and Silia hung upside down in the forest. “Well this is a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into, eh Jackson?” Gloing the dwarf said with a bit of a chuckle. Korlax the hobgoblin wiggled about and barked at the dwarf. “Bah, you short fool, it's those elves! They're going to roast us and eat us!” he said in a bit of a panic. “Bah...elves do not eat people.” Silia the drider said as she tried to figure out how she managed to step in eight snares at the same time. “Don't give me that! You ate like three people just last week!” Korlax said trying to wriggle his way free. “I'm not an elf. Well, not exactly.” she said trying to pull her torso up to cut the snares, but to no avail.

Jackson the human glanced around while the others tried to figure out how to get loose. “I think we're not alone.” he said, pondering for a moment as he stroked his chin. “And you would be right.” said a voice from the flora nearby. “Ah. You must be on of the rangers of the green seas then.” Jackson said, extending a hand in greeting while hanging upside down. The wood elf just looked at him an rose an eyebrow. “You're awfully friendly for someone stuck in a snare trap.” the elf responded. “I know, right!?” Korlax interjected. “It's like he expects tea and cakes!” he continued. The elf looked to the hobgoblin and mused “And you are awfully loud for someone stuck in a snare. Perhaps you should be louder. There are beasts that roam these forests that would love to meet you for dinner, I am sure.” Korlax quickly stifled his complaints at the thought of attracting some troll or chimera whilst they were dangling like hanging meats.

“Well, is there any chance you might let us down friend?” Jackson asked with a hopeful look on his face. “My name is Shale, and I'm not sure if we're friends yet, human. What are you doing here?” the elf asked. “Well we were investigating as to the presence of the Necromancer Falina in the area, because we have reason to believe that she might be about to bring on some vengeance upon the villages in the area.” Jackson responded as if he had experience negotiating upside down.

“And why should I believe y--” Shale began before an arrow struck the tree the party was hanging from. Turning back to see the archer, Shale saw a group of undead elven warriors marching through the shadows of the forest.

“Perhaps now would be a good time to cut us down!?” Silia the drider urged frantically. Shale sliced the bonds, dropping them all to the ground below. “Thank the ancestors, I'm land bound again!” Gloing shouted as he stood up, drawing his waraxe. “Do you mind, master Shale?” the dwarf asked motioning to the zombies. “Um...?” the wood elf responded. “I'll take that as a no! Raaaagh!” Gloing shouted charging into the ranks of the dead. “Come on hobby, get yer rear in gear!” the dwarf called to Korlax as he was busily hewing zombies in twain. “I believe further introductions will have to wait.” Jackson responded as he picked up his staff.

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Klara Meison wrote:

>Lizardfolk* ... Undead (ghouls*, lichlings**) ... Drider* ...

You do realise that a lot of people would now try to find you and tickle you until you post a long post with the stats and mechanics of these homebrew races?

I'll need to quickly re-write a lot of them. As I noted, many of their writeups are on a defunct PC sitting in my room and I've not the will to dismantle the thing and try to recover the files from the harddrive, especially since it'd probably just be easier to rewrite a lot of it.

In Alvena, drider are a playable race and are actually one of the more tolerated of the monstrous races though they tend to make most people nervous and may frighten people who've never seen one before, which is true in a lot of the more rural or secluded areas.

This is because unlike in campaigns like the Forgotten Realms, drider in Alvena are members of drow society. The first drider were a cruel joke played to cause grief to some captured rebels, but it turns out that the transformation resulted in a growth of both their bodies and their innate magical abilities, which eventually led to their escape. The exile prince welcomed them back into their folds and heralded them as heroes, for their very humanity was martyred fighting tyranny. As it turns out, drider are capable of breeding with each other and other humanoids (the specifics of which are probably best left to nightmares and imaginative minds on the internet) so in time they began to multiply.

Seeing that this joke had kind of backfired, but recognizing that the transformation came with unexpected benefits, the possessed drow queen had some of her own drow "blessed" with this transformation, and now their are drider on both sides of the politcal fence.

They're not wholly unmonstrous though. The magic that transformed them into tauric spider-things also made them less apprehensive about things like eating sentient creatures, which makes people exceedingly uncomfortable because they are indeed on a lower rung of the food chain.

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berserker444 wrote:
If you could have any race as a playable character race currently not available what'd it be and why?

Hard to say. I have a tendency to think of anything sentient as being potentially a player race with adequate homebrewing.

In my own campaign, the following are considered to be available as PC races without the need to think-tank with me on how it would be integrated into the campaign. Unfortunately I have to re-write some of them because the original files were on a now defunct computer.

Legend: * = modified from core rules, usually with a progression or in some cases revised racials (for example, gnolls were converted to a 1 HD humanoid race, their stats adjusted slightly, and given the scent special quality); ** = homebrew race.

1. All core races (humans, elves, etc), and the psionic races (half-giants, maenads, etc).
2. Hobgoblins and Goblins
3. Orcs
4. Several subraces (drow, nomadic elves**, wood elves**, etc)
5. Gnolls*
6. Lizardfolk*
7. Planetouched (aasimar, tieflings, etc)
8. Undead (ghouls*, lichlings**)
9. Constructs** (the mechanics)
10. Drider*
11. Changelings** (these are like lesser doppelgangers)
12. Doppelgangers* (note: nobody begins as a doppelganger but some changelings evolve into doppelgangers)
13. Merfolk
14. Starkin** (a race waging an eternal struggle against the neothelid menace).
14. Psychothelids** (a race of tentacle-faced amphibious humanoids created by aboleths and neothelids, who broke free from their masters)

Certain races require PCs to conceal their identities and/or deal with prejudice (ranging from poor attitudes to outright violence), though that's half the fun of playing those races. If you're going to play a tentacle-faced eldritch abomination, you probably expect to illicit some strange reactions when you walk into a stop & shop. In a similar fashion, being undead tends to at the very least make normal people afraid of you if they find out, and in a major area of the campaign setting it can get you toasted by the inquisition. :P

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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Making policy, churning out the political machine is hillary's. so that's what she spends more time doing. More diplomacy, less perform oratory.
So, during her freetime, is Clinton like someone constantly optimizing her NPC builds, class mechanics, and houserules? ;)

As someone who does constantly tweak their game to make it more solid, I have never felt as violated and dirty as after reading this. I'd rather have parallels to devils. At least devils aren't that evil.

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Klara Meison wrote:

>I know the origins of the Bechdel test, my problem is with what people turned it into... A "serious" test indicative of anything... It's so open-ended and flawed that it's completely pointless.

It can only really be used as a statistical measure of the general themes currently popular in the medium, not as any specific case-by-case thing, which is how it was unfortunately used thus far by journalists.

It's been my experience that people frequently take what they see as fashionable and running with it without trying to get all the facts, or having the wisdom to look at the bigger picture. Journalism itself seems rife with this sort of thing, unfortunately.

Of course, this is creating bitter resentment on a lot of topics. I'm just happy that, day by day, I see fewer people drinking the kool aid. :)

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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"nobody stops the legion of bronies from enjoying it."

Not for lack of trying. :(

Give no f***s, enjoy what you like. :P

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Lemmy Z wrote:
I know the origins of the Bechdel test, my problem is with what people turned it into... A "serious" test indicative of anything... It's so open-ended and flawed that it's completely pointless. And yet... People seriously use it as "evidence" that a certain movie (or game, or whatever) is sexist, while simultaneously ignoring factors such as target audience and even the setting and logic of the story being told.

It's unfortunate where some things that have been taken to unfortunate places. People often have little sense of reality these days, or the ability to adjust their own focus when presented with something that looks strange through their usual lens. Things that were once beautiful and progressive are now ugly and regressive, because at some point rather than setting to create, the machine is set to destroy.

e.g.: it makes sense that a movie following World War II battles will have far more male characters. And it makes sense that, say, a cartoon or game targeted at a male audience will most likely have male protagonists (notice how "My Little Pony" has a nearly all-female cast? That's because it's targeted at young girls and their mothers).

Totally. Yet, I must add, the beauty of it is, nobody stops the legion of bronies from enjoying it. Because people can like what they like without people telling them what they like. If someone is choosing to like or dislike something because of inconsequential things like "it's for boys/girls" or "male/female protagonist", well, that someone - frankly - isn't worth considering because they need some growing, not babying.

Twilight passes the test (and was a huge success) and it has one of the worst, most condescending portrayals of a female character I've ever seen. At one point, the protagonist literally jumps off of a cliff just to see the boy she likes.

I remember bursting out in laughter when watching the 2nd Twilight movie, 'cause Edward leaves suddenly and she gets depressed and sits on the couch staring out the window. The thing that got me was where it keeps circling around the camera and a month passes with her just staring at the window. A friend of mine gave me the stink eye for laughing at this "so deep scene" but I couldn't help it, I just wasn't expecting it.

And of course, nowadays, many authors andndevelopera prefer to avoid having female main characters because if you portray her as anything other than a flawless Mary Sue, you're accused of mysoginy.

Yeah that's a real concern. You cannot please everyone. So I'd rather pander to the people who matter, which are people who are more interested in the quality of a character rather than their vagina. I'll go on writing characters as people that I see them as.

Of course these days I've grown so disgusted with certain attitudes that my spite nerve is really sensitive, to the point that if I was heading a large company producing something like video games, I'd either drive it into the ground or become the most successful company around.

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I proudly declare that I bypass this issue by having no standards. :3

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Lemmy Z wrote:
Ah... The Bechdel test... Supposedly an indicative of how empowering a movie is to women... The test where "Alien 3" and "Gravity" fail, but "Twilight" and "Transformers" pass.

Honestly, I don't put much stock in any line of thinking that tells me that I should or should not watch something. Further, the idea that you have to meet some sort of quota for anything when telling a story is counter to creative freedom.

Thinking about it, now that my attention has been drawn to it, I don't think the women in my campaigns talk about men enough. :P

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Klara Meison wrote:
What is the weirdest thing your players have played as?

Hard to say. I try to be pretty open minded so I've seen some doozies, but my doozies are less doozy than a lot of other people's doozies. Weirdest thing in terms of like race or played a sentient ooze once, I think.

However, given the nature of the game, I don't often remember characters for simply being something. My favorite "weird" characters are usually fairly normal mechanically or racially speaking (it's worth noting things like planetouched and undead are pretty normal racial options in my games) but how weirdness manifests in the character's behavior and adventures.

It's a hard thing to form into words but I'll try to give some examples of what I mean.

Some people would see "weirdest" in terms of how far from the standard can you go. In which case, things that often make little sense or have a lot of mechanical oddities would tend to score very high on this scale. Such as "the wierdest thing I ever played was a fiendish two-headed merfolk half-dragon that was a gestalt diabolist / loremaster / mystic theurge / cleric / wizard, who got early access to a few classes due to an obscure alternate racial that granted an SLA, and even though that's normally against the rules we were using Paizo's FAQ and..."

For me, when I think of weirdest, I tend to think about it in terms of the characters themselves and the concepts they explore. What do they do that steps outside the realm of normalcy and most importantly, how does that relate to them as a person? I've seen PCs who have two mothers. I've seen PCs that have cursed with eternal youth. I've seen PCs who were animated dolls who wanted to be real people. I've seen Paladins who were romantically involved with evil characters (and by proxy, I've seen evil characters romantically involved with Paladins). I've seen a half-giant barbarian hide behind a kobold sorcerer because he was afraid to go first into the dungeon.

Which, please understand, should not be construed as some form of role-play elitism. I realize that in giving these examples it might sound like I'm suggesting the latter is somehow more "authentic" or something, even though the former definitely is more "out there". I'm not trying to do that at all. You can definitely have some mechanically weird characters, but when I think of weird characters I usually remember them for their quirks. I generally find characters of the former type of complexity generally quite forgettable, whereas a character that seems mostly normal but has a heart to heart with an awakened wolf about her feelings for him and how she's bashfully willing to try being in a romantic relationship with him (and tragically confessing that one of the reasons she was hesitant is because she's embarrassed by how other humanoids would see her in their relationship) is something that really tends to stick out and it teases your brain.

That said, playing nonstandard races and stuff can be super awesome as long as it has some bearing on the character's mannerism or circumstances to play around with. For example, if we're talking about the aforementioned two-headed half dragon merfolk, watching the character's too heads each giving their account of their life growing up with one parent being a merfolk black magician and the other parent being a half-dragon hydra would be something that would probably stick with everyone for years.

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Leftovers from a nameless dish I cooked last night after going grocery shopping at Walmart. It's kind of a soup, made with shredded beef, broccoli (both crowns, and the diced up stem), shredded carrots, diced up green bell peppers, large white mushrooms diced up, a bottle of sweet & sour sauce mixed with honey (the bee kind), peppers, and some salt. Everything is cooked at more or less the same time until everything gets nice and soft. Stirred occasionally.

I ran out of ramen noodles last night, but it goes very good over some plain white ramen noodles (cook until they get soft and springy but not mushy, then quickly drain and place into a bowl or on a plate, then douse in the soupy vege-mix).

Right now I'm eating it in a bowl while writing spells down. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite things to eat. Pondering ways to modify it, I bet if I got some beans (either crispy beans like field peas, or maybe southern jarred greenbeens from our garden) and added them that would be effective. Water chestnuts would probably go well with it too.

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Tels wrote:
I always wanted to play chrono trigger, but I'm a little worried that it may not "hold up" to its legacy and people are remembering it through rose tinted nostalgia glasses.

I actually have very little worry about that, honestly. I've gone back and played some old classics for the first time and I've consistently been pleased with the results. So much so that when I played FF9, I agonized for a while as to why this game was so much more somehow than anything I could recall playing in recent memory.

I've come to the conclusion that a lot of old games didn't have the luxury of, or perhaps weren't forced to have, graphics and voice acting to be the selling points of their game. That's not to say they didn't push boundaries but nobody was going to buy your RPG blockbuster if it had the best 16bit graphics but sucked and had no content.

I haven't myself played Chrono Trigger but it's my understanding that it has like 7 endings, and I think some are joke endings (based on my hearsay), and memorable characters and events. A lot of that is pretty special in today's world. I doubt I'll be disappointed, honestly.

I've also returned to play some old games with a critical mind (keeping aware of those nostalgia illusions), or even played games I didn't enjoy growing up (now being older and having a better grasp of what I was supposed to do) and found them to hold up just as well and in some cases better than they did by comparing them to more modern games.

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Perhaps interestingly, I think the reason that the old gods who created the world didn't intercede to save their world from the fiends when they invaded was because they knew that the people of the world needed to do it. After the creation, all the species were more or less out for themselves, and in the early ages the strongest among them subjugated the weaker races (dragons ruled supreme, then giants called the shots, etc). Even when the gods taught the lesser races magic to even the score, they could not simply force their creations to love one-another.

The demon wars changed all of that. Through the fire, their hearts tempered, and now they are citizens of the world. And the gods smiled, for their children found each other, and they knew this was good.

EDIT: Though I'll make no promises the gods weren't up to some sneaky business to tip the scales in their childrens' favor. :3

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Kryzbyn wrote:

I love lore in all forms. I'm currently running a space game where I had to plot a race's history for the last 5000 years (political stuff between tribes and eventually nations) that led them into space flight and terra-forming, along with the pre-history of their galactic "empire" prior to their down fall to a tribal society...

I like coming up with this stuff, and hope that after being exposed to the players, it doesn't all get messed up :P

Alvena has been structured as a relatively short-lived world that had lots of races that for the most part were pretty segregated, but then things changed and all of the world basically had to become one to survive. After the fall of civilization and the scorching of the world, recent memories were those of brothers and sisters of different races living, bleeding, and dying beside and for one-another. Long time enemies helping each other to their feet. Like a thousand dying embers coming together to flourish.

Because of this, the world has become very cosmopolitan. While not super common, it's common enough to see friends, lovers, or even families that extend across cultures and species. It's a world where you a human, an elf, a dwarf, a hobgoblin, a halfling, and a drider could walk into a bar and share a drink or travel together. A world where peasant villagers may be skittish or wary of scaled lizardfolk travelers venturing through their town, but would trade with them all the same.

Because deep down, most still remember that everyone needed each other and may yet still again. Blood can beget hatred easily, but hatred can be healed by blood. It wasn't until one man rallied the broken armies of many nations together under one flag that the inhabitants of the world were able to take their homes back and establish their rightful place in Alvena.

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Some gray elf leaders are kind of iffed with the dwarfs as well but they have no real leg to stand on when voicing their frustrations. See, those dwarfs still guard many of the secrets and knowledge of the old world, including (but not limited to) ancient libraries and arcane knowledge that came from the high elves before the demon wars set the world back so far. The elves have often asked for these treasures to be returned to them to rebuild their society, but the dwarfs have - for better or worse - turned them away each time.

It's possible that the dwarfs greedily wish to keep it for themselves, but in truth, many are uncertain that the gray elves have truly learned their lessons in humility and are concerned that they might screw something up again. Due to the long lives of these races, a large number of the gray elves (including their leaders) still have recent memory of the war that happened centuries ago. Some would say that to replace what they lost so easily would be to forever dull them to the consequences of their actions.

Admittedly, it sucks a lot for the young gray elves who were born as refugees. Most of the gray elves today have never even experienced their former homelands. None have gazed at the earth below from on high, or experienced the beauty and wonder of their magical cities and sparkling technology (the gray elves actually computer systems, sentient constructs, and all kinds of sweet stuff created using magic to power it). Many long for memories not their own, feeling empty and lost as a race with no proud legacy, no place to call their own. This drives many of them to become adventurers as well, because the best place to find fragments of their past...

Are in the great megadungeons buried in the earth's crust. The fallen sky cities themselves, where strange magics, constructs, trapped fiends, and stranger things wait to be unearthed.

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Kryzbyn wrote:
That's a really good read. Thanks for posting that :)

Hey, you're welcome. It's not that I don't like talking about my campaign. :P

Speaking of the dwarfs in the campaign, their society changed a lot after the demon wars. The dwarf lands used to be one massive kingdom run by the dwarf lord and his children. They, like their drow friends, were very isolated from the rest of the world and very keen on storing things away in great vaults and keepers of knowledge and treasures. However, two things drastically changed dwarfs after the war.

1. The king died and because of their mourning and the dire nature of the war (fighting for their very world) his sons and daughters decided to break tradition and not waste any time trying to determine who would be the next dwarf lord. Rather, each continued to govern their own regions as they had done under their father before them, and the dwarf kingdom split into smaller principalities governed by the children. This fracturing has has positive and negative consequences but overall it's been working well for them.

2. The dwarfs ceased being so isolated. Many of the dwarfs felt that they had squandered an opportunity, feeling that they had missed out on the wonders of the world. Previously content to horde knowledge and information gained by others, the dwarfs realized that many of the great wonders of the world were forever lost to them. The apocalypse had come and gone and a world they took for granted would never be there to see again.

Because of this, more dwarfs have ventured from their homeland to see the world. Intent on not missing this new world by sitting idly by in their massive fortresses of stone and metal. This has led dwarfs to go out into the world and discover new wonders and trades they had never really experienced in their home. Many dwarf adventurers have been born from the desire to see the starry desert skies on a sand elf pilgrimage, or build a great ship and sail it to the end of the world, or journey down the continent spanning river with their halfling guides.

They would not, could not, miss it for the world.

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cuatroespada wrote:
niiice. did you play Chrono Trigger btw? talk of floating cities always reminds me of Zeal (technically a floating kingdom with multiple cities) before Cloud City. there's a city like that in my setting, but it's mostly a giant school for the psionically talented.

I only played Chrono Trigger for about 20 minutes at a friend's house. I really need to go play it for real because I've heard nothing but how great and amazing it is and it's probably not a timeless classic for no reason. :)

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necromental wrote:

It's similar to way I portray hobgoblins. Mine also have a warlike tradition and a frenemy dynamic with dwarves. Also, slavery, although my dwarves also practice it. Hobgoblins are constantly training for war and warring because they are being prepared for war against "something", that they or even their shamans and oracles do not know what, but they train non the less.

Ashiel wrote:
They hate drow for betraying the world, and they hate gray elves for destroying it.
Who did drow betray the world to, and what did gray elves do?

Basically the gray elves - aka high elves - were the most advanced humanoid species on the planet in terms of magic and technology, to the point that most of them didn't even live on the surface of the planet anymore, instead living on giant floating cities orbiting the planet at high altitudes (not quite in space but kept aloft by magic).

When the gods who created the world taught mortals magic, they advised against certain uses of that magic. However, that was ages ago, and the gray elves had either forgotten about it, chalked it up to fairy tales, or were arrogant enough to believe that the were simply too awesome to run into any real problems. So they started experimenting with certain planar magics and made contact with Hell (where both demons and devils reside in this setting, but the two are at constant conflict with one-another for dominance of the pit). The mortals of the world at the time weren't particularly familiar with fiendish creatures at the time (diabolism and demonology were fringe sciences and nothing more potent than a few low level fiends had ever been conjured into the world), and after making contact they began to establish communications.

Turns out, powerful ancient fiends tend to be very good at deceiving people, and biding their time. Arch demons and devils provided gifts, insights into the multiverse, and all sorts of useful aids to the gray elves, shared secrets of black magics, etc. Eventually, the elves grew so comfortable with their new "allies" that they constructed great planar gates leading directly to and from Hell itself. It was at this point that the fiends made their move, and invaded the world. Most of the sky cities fell from the sky, many sabotaged by their own people in a desperate attempt to destroy the gates and stop as many of the fiends as possible. The high elves were scattered to the earth as refugees, and as not all the Hellgates were successfully destroyed or sealed, the world felt the ripples as demons and devils flooded into the plane to take it for all it was worth.

The most powerful race on the planet cast down, literally, to homeless refugees, the rest of the world was ill prepared to deal with this fiendish invasion. The greatest human kingdom was taken over by a demon lord, and it became the seat of his power. The demon lord's wife, an equally powerful and terrible creature, sought out the next greatest leader in the world to undermine and that's where she found the drow.

The drow were less ambitious than the gray elves, but were held in great esteem by most. They rivaled the gray elves in their magical knowledge but had mostly isolated themselves inside dense forests and shimmering underground cities to avoid any conflicts with the outside world, doing most of their interactions with the surface through their ancient friends the dwarfs. Their royal bloodline bears the gift of immortality (or at least near immortality) and so their queen - or perhaps more accurately empress - was likewise among the wisest of rulers in the world, having been in her position for ages.

Well, such a perfect ruler made for such a perfect pawn. The demon slipped into their lands quite easily and possessed the drow queen, using her memories and authority to undermine the next race that would have the best chance of halting their advancement on the world. The queen, under the influence of the arch demon, declared that the best path for their people was not to rise up against the infernal invaders but to unite with them as their allies to ensure their continued prosperity alongside these deific beings as friends.

The drow queen's brother thought his sister gone mad, ordering that their people just welcome these invaders into the world with open arms. He confronted her about it, pleading she reconsider. Without hesitation, she banished him from their realm, which was most out of character given their love for one-another. Believing his sister to have lost her mind somehow, with his banishment he used his influence to form a rebellion. In essence, this may have tilted odds just enough to eventually end the demon wars since the civil war that broke out among the drow people kept them from ever entering the war as allies of the great demon lord. Today, even after the demon wars came to an end, the drow are still very isolated and still locked in civil war, as the queen is still possessed by the arch demoness, and the brother still desperate to find some way to put an end to his sister's madness.

The reasons the hobgoblins really, really super hate the drow is that the announcement that they were defecting came at the worst time. The hobgoblins, numerous and militant, were holding the lines at the largest hellgate still in existence. They were getting torn up but had received the promise that the drow would reinforce them. Of course, those reinforcements never came. The hobgoblin race itself was nearly wiped out of existence by the war, dwindling to only a few hundred left alive by the end. It was their ancient enemies the dwarfs who made good on the drow's pact, led by the sons and daughters of the late dwarf king.

The hobgoblins lost more than anyone in terms of sheer casualties during the demon wars. So they still hold a grudge for the gray elves setting the house on fire, and the drow for watching it burn down around them.

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Set wrote:
Stereofm wrote:

Anyways, I don't recall a western fantasy setting that's really representative of Europe, much less of medieval europe.

Game of Thrones is the closest thing I know.

I've seen a bunch of standalone stuff, like GURPS Imperial Rome or GURPS Middle Ages or the 2nd edition Viking and Celts Campaign sourcebooks or whatever, but no serious attempts at covering all of Europe as a single fantasy setting.

The purist in me would prefer that a D&D (GURPS, Pathfinder, whatever) fantasy setting be one or the other, either completely original (like Eberron or Dark Sun) or completely 'fantasy X' (like how Osirion, Mulhorand or Hamnunaptra are 'fantasy Egypt'). A 'fantasy X' setting, in which fantasy Egypt and fantasy Rome and fantasy Gaul and fantasy Germania and fantasy Albion and fantasy Persia all co-existed, without a bunch of made-up countries, could be neat, although it would likely veer away from Tolkein-esque fantasy in that there'd be no room on the map for elven nations, dwarven nations, orc/bad-guy humanoid nations, etc.

It would likely also get a bit Civilization-eque, in that different nations came and went, and you'd have to fudge a lot of historical timelines to have a significant Roman empire, Greek city-states, Egyptian dynastic presence *and* Persian/Ottoman empire all co-existing more or less in their 'golden age.'

This causes me to ponder something. How many settings have you played in that have cultures/empires/kingdoms built upon older ones, or having the old inhabitants now part of the citizenry of this new culture that overtook the old one?

I've got a few places like that in my setting but it occurs to me that I don't see much of that in most settings. Maybe I'm just overlooking it, but you see a lot of that sort of thing in actual history.

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Race BS aside...

I can't remember the last time I played in "medieval europe" in a campaign setting. Every homebrew setting I've played in, never struck me as "medieval europe". Every published setting I've played in (Forgotten Realms, Eberron, a brief foray into Ravenloft) never struck me as particularly european. Of course, most of these have been filled with things like ninja, djinn, western style drifters, wizards, shamans, and lots of crazy monsters ranging from dragons to mummies to jiang-shi.

It's kinda funny. I almost feel like I missed starting in a tavern or somethin'. :P

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Tels wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Took a break from cleaning my house & working on writing to do a quick doodle of Korlax, the iconic hobgoblin fighting man from my campaign setting.

The pic is rough and dirty, much like Korlax.

He eats soylent green, doesn't he?

Amusingly, hobgoblins in my campaign don't typically eat humanoids. Orcs might, but hobgoblins gotta be pretty desperate to start munchin' on folks.

They're big time slavers though. They have this strange assimilation tradition with their tribes. Slaves that prove themselves to be strong (more of a strength of will rather than physical muscle) end up getting promoted to "fellow hobgoblin" and made part of their tribe. They still don't get to leave freely until after some years have passed and their status as a true honorary hobgoblin has been established. Strangely, their lifestyle while harsh has a way of getting into the minds of those who climb out of slavery in their midsts and a surprising number of humanoids who live to see freedom are never quite satisfied with their old lives anymore, eventually returning to the tribe once more.

They also have this strange rivalry with dwarfs. Dwarfs and hobgoblins have been at each others' throats since time remembered, both have rich warrior cultures, and both species consider the other "worthy" of fighting. The two ancient enemies were the only ones with the combined military strength to hold the forces of hell at the great planar gateway during the worlds' apocalypse (though it nearly drove the hobgoblins to extinction). Their strange relations have been even stranger since.

Hobgoblins hate elves mostly on principle. They hate drow for betraying the world, and they hate gray elves for destroying it. They hate all other elves to a lesser extent but mostly dislike them by association with the former elf species. They strongly dislike wizardly magics due to the association with elves as well, and their "witches" live on the fringes of their society. Perhaps furthering this strangeness, their witches tend to favor taking elves as slaves and lovers.

Here's a short fluff bit from the dwarf entry of a campaign primer I was writing some years ago. It involves the iconic dwarf Gloing and Korlax.


Jaleene looked at Gloing as he tipped mugs with the hobgoblin they met earlier that day. A look of confusion upon her face. A ruffled brow, a mouth agape. “Not twenty minutes past those two were having a fist fight in the alleyway, and now they're laughing and drinking like they're best friends.” the elf said puzzled.

“That's just their way.” her human friend Jackson responded. “Sometimes I almost think I get it. Almost. It takes a special kind of man to sit down and drink with an enemy of your very people, or your average dwarf.” he mused.
“Ho-ho! Ye goblin fool, y'need not drink that swill! Try this dwarf brew, and you'll see what makes us so tough as to roll yer arses back down the mountainside every time ye try yer luck!” Gloing said to the hobgoblin across the table, drowning out the mumblings of elves and men.
“Hah, you wish we rolled half as well as you short little bastards. This is good ale though. What do you put in this stuff?” the hobgoblin responded with a toothy chortle.
“It's a secret recipe hairy beasty, but I've got it in good confidence that it's a special mixture of barley and the blood and bones of goblins!” Gloing chided pouring two more tankards.
“Damn strait. Figures you'd need us to make something this good! My name is Korlax by the way.” the hobgoblin said.
“Gloingson Durback Thunderhammer of the Ironguard Clan, but the softies just call me Gloing.” the dwarf responded.
“Heh, damn, that's going to be a lot to carve into my sword when I run you through someday.” Korlax responded, getting ready to pour down the next ale.
“Aye, but at least your name is short enough that I can fit it along with the rest of your long eared kin on the head of me hammer.” Gloing retorted before both of them laughed hysterically and poured more drinks.
“...Like I said...almost...” Jackson said looking to the entirely befuddled elf next to him.

Like much of hobgoblin culture, their romantic relations also seem very paradoxical to most humans. On one hand, their culture seems really open as male and female hobgoblins are capable of attaining anything the other has, both receive educations at the same rates, etc. Yet at the same time, their courting practices are nothing short of frightening barbarism as one will attempt to claim the other by force, which usually ends up in two hobgoblins locked in a desperate fight with lots of hitting, kicking, and biting, until one of them gives in. This tends to cause female hobgoblins of adult ages to be more experienced in fighting than their male counterparts (as they've already had to stomp more than a few "suitors"). Yet seemingly paradoxically, their culture is respecting of marriage (which is a rare but sacred ritual to them) and anyone who knows much about hobgoblin culture might claim marriage when captured to prevent hobgoblins from "courting" with them (because most hobgoblins simply won't even try, for to do so is to invite shame upon themselves for violating the sacred bond).

They're an odd lot.

Another piece of lore written a few years ago concerning hobgoblins.


Several generations after the demon wars, the dwarf Kingdom of Adaman fell under siege by an army of stone giants from the north, driven down to raid and pillage by a peculiarly harsh winter. Having waged a continuous war against the hobgoblins for most of that same year, the dwarfs were greatly outnumbered and short on supplies as the routes to other settlements were blocked by the hill giants. While the dwarfs valiantly held their ground, it looked as though the giants would war with them until they ran out of food and broke from lack of supplies.

When things looked blackest, an army of hobgoblins led by warlord Kahn'kalu who had waged the war against the dwarfs throughout the year broke through the stone-giant barricade and delivered fifteen oxen-led carts of packed meat, ale, and other supplies to the dwarf kingdom. The warlord and the dwarf king spoke privately for the better part of a day, then the hobgoblins marched back to their borders and the dwarfs held fast against the stone giants. Three months later the parties went back to waging war against each other; as if nothing had happened.

To an outsider, that is someone who is not a dwarf or hobgoblin, the story would seem insane. Despite their constant conflicts, the two races deeply understand one another. When asked about the odd move, Khan'kalu replied that the dwarfs would have done the same for them. Some suggest that the Khan did it out of respect for the dwarf spirit. Dwarfs likewise say they would have done the same. Some scholars propose that he may have done it because without dwarfs the only people they would find worth fighting was themselves.

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Daw wrote:
Why is it that any talk about setting up reasonable and predictable limitations to magic is so often portrayed as arbitrary and bad GMing? **

9/10 times, it's the reason they are doing it.

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Tels wrote:
Could you use spell like True Strike to add +20 to your attack vs magic defense, thereby, essentially, guaranteeing you succeed and likely adding a truckload of burning stacks?

Nope. A spell like true strike would apply to normal attack rolls. In D20-L, there are two types of attacks. Normal attacks (which target AC) and special/magic attacks that target your defenses (Fort/Ref/Will).

All special/magic attacks scale at a rate of +1/2 your character level + associated ability modifier, much like monster DCs do in Pathfinder. It's irreverent to the level of the spell or ability now, so less than full casters have lower level spells that remain potent even if they lack access to higher level spells (which means woes like the litanty paladin spells that are essentially useless if they allow a save doesn't exist).

So a 1st level character with a +2 mod would have a bonus of +2. A 20th level character with a +10 mod would have a bonus of +20. Ability scores in general scale more smoothly in D20-L (mostly because the inherent modifiers are now baked into your normal progression) and your defenses scale at the same speed as special attacks (so you'll generally see a spell's most impressive effects vs lower level foes).

For example, at 8th level, our caster (with a +5 ability mod) would have a +9 when throwing their fireball spell. Any other 8th level character has a base defense of 11 + 4 + associated stat (let's give them a +3, assuming it's not a favored ability). So their chance would look like this broken down. Rolling a natural 20 on a magic attack gives you an effective +5 bump for the effects of any kickers (kind of like special critical).

Magic Attack Results by d20 Roll
Reflex Defence = 18
20 = 3 stacks of burning
19 = 2 stacks of burning
14-18 = 1 stack of burning
9-13 = Normal damage
8 or less = half damage

Stacks of burning can be removed by soaking someone in water, or spending a full action trying to douse or otherwise smother the flames yourself (the difficulty increases if you're burning really hard).

This means our classic fireball has a tendency to either melt down mooks really fast (foes of a lower level have a noticeably lower defense score relative to your special attacks, so you're more likely to land kickers), or force creatures to choose between trying to stop burning effects or continue fighting (is losing your turn worth the xd6/round damage you're going to be taking?) so it's good for applying pressure.

The reverse is also true. Using special attacks against higher level foes is less reliable. This means that mooks spamming spells or special attacks aren't generally going to cause a party wipe. Since if we have a trio of 8th level mages all launching spells at a 14th level character (who counting +resistance modifiers is probably sporting a 27+ in their defense) is rarely going to take full damage and almost never actually catches on fire.

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I lol'd so hard at the auto-correct thing. :P

As to prepared vs spontaneous in terms of overall usefulness of scaling spells, that's not really an issue in D20-L. Spell slots are essentially a resource that you spend on any spells you know or have prepared.

Here's a hypothetical example.

Prepared Spellcaster
1. Has 3 1st level spell slots per day.
2. Can have up to 2 spells prepared + 1 bonus spell (from class feature).
3. Can spend their 1st level spell slots to cast from their 3 prepared spells in any combination desired.
4. Has fewer readied spells than a spontaneous caster but can change some of them out each time they recover all their slots. This gives them incentives to learn lots of unusual spells and create lots of scrolls.

Spontaneous Spellcaster
1. Has 3 1st level spell slots per day.
2. Can have up to 4 spells known + 1 bonus spell (from class feature).
3. Can spend their 1st level spell slots to cast from their 5 known spells in any combination desired.
4. Cannot ready new spells each day but has more spells available to choose from at any given time. The difference begins at +2 spells over a prepared caster and ends at +3 spells over the prepared caster. This gives them maximum flexibility "in the moment" but they'll want to pick spells they tend to use frequently, and thus are less inclined to learn spells "Fizzlewig's Faithful Dog Groomer".

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Tels wrote:
As for the psionic/magic thing, let me clarify. You mentioned wariness about merging spells like Charm Person > Monster because it might step on the toes of psionics. But why? Why would you create whole new psionic versions of magic spells instead of just using the same version.

That's more or less the same conclusion I came to as well. One of my initial concerns was that one of the most defining features of the 3.5/PF psionics system was the ability to scale stuff, so I pondered on the ramifications of that. Having given it some thought, I realized it would be a problem. Especially since psionics still has the appeal of being point-based and often have multiple augmentation options.

Truly the biggest concern is balancing the number of spells you'll want/need with the number of spells you have available. If casting up improves the power of lower level spells significantly, unless certain careful steps were taken to ensure that there were big differences between the low and high level versions of things, a mage could very easily have the appropriate option for every situation with very few spells known / prepared invested (which is why by comparison to even sorcerers, psionic classes get few powers known over the course of their careers, since if you're wise about their usage, every power known gained over the course of your career could be a legitimate option to use).

I imagine that spells known/prepared will probably get tweaked more as the project enters alpha and then moves to beta to find the best balance. I'm already a little concerned that spontaneous casters as I have them set up might be a bit too strong (they get significantly larger numbers of known spells per spell level, before taking into account any class features granting bonus spells. The funny thing about spontaneous casting is it goes from near useless with few spells to amazing with several more spells because your round to round options explode in size) but that tuning's expected to be adjusted as it comes.

Unrelated Note
I'm about to begin hammering out the spells from 0th-5th level and I'm trying to decide on formatting options before I get knee deep into it. Everyone's familiar with the current spell format, but Aratrok noted (quite rightfully I believe) that the current spell format is unnecessarily large. So we were considering ways to make the format more efficient. At the moment we were thinking of using a format that looks like this.

Dancing Lights (Level 0) [Illusion (shadow)]
Descriptors [Light, Cantrip]
Casting Time 1 major action; Components V,S
Range Medium; Effect Up to four lights, all within a 10-ft.-radius area
Defense none; Magic Resist no
Duration 10 minutes (D)
When you cast this spell, you can choose to create up to five points of light, which shed light as a torch or lantern. Alternatively, you can form one faintly glowing, vaguely humanoid shape which casts light as a candle.

The appearance of the lights (or shape) is more or less up to the caster (such as appearing as small will o' wisps, or glowing skulls, or a glowing mist, or small swarms of fireflies, etc).

The dancing lights must stay within 30 ft. of one-another but otherwise may move as you desire with no concentration needed. The lights can move up to 100 ft. per round. A light vanishes if the distance between it and you exceeds the spell's range.

You can only have one dancing lights spell active at one time. Additional castings cause all previous castings to end.

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It probably doesn't help that 9 out of 10 times I've seen GMs modify the way things like spells and such work, or make ad-hoc adjustments to how they work in some special situation, the results were not good/fair/balanced/fun.

One of the reasons it's generally frowned upon is because it doesn't take very many attempts before the players associate it with pooping in their cheerios again.

I mean, just look at the OP. The whole thread is about nullifying or diminishing abilities that characters have. The players are getting nothing out of this deal except someone screwing with their abilities because they feel like it. Why wouldn't they dislike it? More importantly, why would they like it?

Using the aforementioned create water example because it's an iconic posterchild of this mindset, has anyone ever looked at the sorts of challenges that you face in a desert campaign anyway?

Sand dunes are a feature of hot deserts described in the environment chapter that can change terrain features by creating sloped hills and such. If these form in an area that prevents characters from being able to see out an appropriate distance, characters have to make a DC 14 survival check to avoid getting lost (with a -4 penalty if there's poor visibility such as in a storm).

They have quicksand which is another terrain hazard (which is also found in marshes).

And of course standstorms which make navigation difficult and deal nonlethal damage every hour and make visibility a joke. Which of course is really horrible if a desert monster happens to wander on you around this time.

Worse than sandstorms are dust storms which may very well kill you (see Environment: Weather).

Many deserts are cold at night and hot during the day, which pose their own dangers as well and force you to use endure elements on all your party members.

Food is scarce too, if you don't have someone with a very good Survival modifier.

All of this is not accounting for any desert dwelling denizens that may either want to eat you, rob you, or capture you.

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I've always enjoyed building worlds with the assumption that magic is a thing. Spells like create water make desert campaigns that would be impractical not only doable but very plausible. You can essentially create your own oasis, which means otherwise inhospitable places can now have small towns and villages scattered about them.

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Kryzbyn wrote:

They have some songs that aren't group wide, and are damaging, but never compare to a true direct damage or damage over time spell from a wizard. Their combat skills never quite get up to the ability of a warrior, but can get close with buffs from their songs, but damage mitigation is a problem.

I bring this up because I would like to see a bard diverge a bit from being a pseudo rogue, pseudo caster, and have it's own unique play style. I also don't think it would be too difficult to mimic in a D20 game.


Well, I can't promise too much but I can say that it's possible to not really care about your spellcasting at all in D20 Legends as a bard, or trade it out for a currently undetermined non-casting option.

The defining features of bards in D20 Legends is the performance. Currently almost all of their positive buffs have been accounted for, but they are without a doubt the supreme buffmeisters of the game. Nothing else comes close to one of them in terms of sheer force multipliers if you specialize them in buffing. They have the ability to specialize each of their inspirations to make them stronger, and have the ability to sync them together into a single performance known as a "symphony of inspiration" at the cost of eating more rounds of bardic music (but it combos exceedingly well with the Lingering Performance feat if you don't mind spending a standard action to refresh it periodically).

Currently it's intended to give them other performance options, including offensive performances that debuff enemies or inflict status ailments but they haven't really been written out yet (because working on classes has been on the backest of burners for a while since I've been trying to get stuff like combat & magic ironed out).

While some of it might not make a whole lot of sense since the rules aren't available for reference (yet, I'm working on it, I promise :P) most of this should be pretty legible to those familiar with d20. This is the buff that the bard can provide at end-game levels.

Symphony of Inspiration [Epiphany of Courage, Epiphany of Greatness, Epiphany of Heroics]
Cost 3 rounds of bardic music / round
Effect: Grants affected creatures a +5 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls; immunity to fear (or fear effects reduced by 2 steps if immunity is lost); +5 dodge bonus to AC; +5 morale bonus to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will defenses; total penalty to attack rolls from multiple attacks reduced by 2 (effectively allowing a free extra attack); +25 temporary hit points each round (refreshes, does not stack); +5 effective character level when determining level-based effects (such as determining the special attack modifiers of abilities, the effective caster level of spells, and the scaling of features such as a rogue's bonus damage dice).

Requires the bard to invest 6/10 of their talents into doing this and be 16th+ level but dear god. If you're on the opposing team, KILL HIM FIRST.

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Daw wrote:
There are a lot of intelligent people who believe this game is broken at high levels. Actually the only serious disagreement on this is where you draw the line. E12 seems to be the standard, but even E6 doesn't really raise any eyebrows. I believe the problem is always there, it is just at what point it breaks it for you.

I would seriously disagree on all points. While there are a few mechanics that are really wonky (simulacrum and limited wish{geas} spring to mind), this game is not as wrecked as people make it out to be.

Of course, trying to enforce balance is what usually ends up breaking things. A game where NPCs use their treasure values, PCs get their inherent modifiers from planar binding, and major encounters given a bit of thought actually tends to work very well. When the game is played at 10/10 or even 11/10, martials are not so easily replaced, and everyone has a role to play.

I've seen more games bottom up explicitly because someone was trying to keep the game from breaking and, of course, broke it.

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Something I just made. I can't decide what the heck to do with her legs though (so most everything from the waist down is super unfinished). Maybe I should just find a cool pair of boots and strap some daggers to 'em or somethin'.

Hat rogue.

EDIT: Also, for Clara, I decided to restart the marilith picture because I have a different idea for it. Just haven't actually started the restart yet.

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cuatroespada wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Something I find intriguing about this idea is that it means that if desired, some spells such as detect magic don't need to be spammable even though they're level 0 spells (I know many players and GMs have lamented how convenient it is to keep spells like this up constantly when just wandering around). I'll probably do a few polls in the near future to see which level 0 spells should be made non-cantrips and thus subject to usual expenditure mechanics.
yeah, i'm also still not sure what to do about cantrips. i'm okay with some spells being spammable, so i think i'm going to end up altering the casting time on things like detect magic. though i do like that idea you brought up. something needs to make having/using them a meaningful choice.

Well, there are some spells we'd really like to see as being fairly spammable (which includes stuff like prestidigitation, ray of frost, dancing lights, etc). However, some spells might be a bit much to allow at-will spamming without some sort of restrictions or drawbacks, hence the ability to tag spells as cantrips or not cantrips (so if during playtests we find that some traditional 0-level spells need to cool it on the spamming, or if they would be fine spammed if it cost you a higher level spell slot) is a boon.

For example, I personally don't mind create water as a cantrip, but some people really dislike that it more or less negates difficulties of things like desert travel. We could make it so that you couldn't cast it at will unless you devoted a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level slot to it, otherwise it was just a level 0 spell that was expended normally.

One thing I've been considering to make detect magic more reasonable is making it unreliable against certain kinds of magic if a high enough spell level wasn't expended to use it. For example, if you were trying to detect illusions or transmutation magics, the spell fails unless the spell slot locked into the spell was at least as high as the level of the spell to be detected (so a level 0 detect magic wouldn't detect a level 1 disguise self or a level 2 alter self and so forth).

I honestly think if it's changed to work that way, there's great benefits for upping the spell level of certain things like disguise self, and also making players expend more potent spells to try to foil higher level tricks. It also makes spells like magic aura more useful.

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Continuing the discussion about modifying spell mechanics, I'd like to discuss. In 3.x/PF, cantrips are level 0 arcane spells (with orisons being level 0 divine spells). Their main feature in Pathfinder is that they can be used at-will, which is fine and dandy.

However, there's been some discussion as to making cantrips a specific type of spell that doesn't require you to expend spell slots, merely have them available (similar to reserve magic in 3.5). Aratrok really enjoyed the idea of spells that were very minor for their level but could be used as at-will abilities in exchange for not being able to use that spell slot for something else.

Something I find intriguing about this idea is that it means that if desired, some spells such as detect magic don't need to be spammable even though they're level 0 spells (I know many players and GMs have lamented how convenient it is to keep spells like this up constantly when just wandering around). I'll probably do a few polls in the near future to see which level 0 spells should be made non-cantrips and thus subject to usual expenditure mechanics.

Something I find MORE interesting is that this opens up some great routes for incorporating a shadowcasting-esque mechanic into some spells, where they can be treated as cantrips if you're using spells X levels higher than them. This seems like a pretty solid framework for bridging the divide between casting and monster casting through SLAs.

For example, most outsiders have a few basic spells as at-will SLAs, and a few big guns as x/day. Since I want to make monsters share mechanics more closely with players (facilitating a less stressful creation process for monsters, or clear routes for monstrous progressions if someone wants to play a bugbear or succubus or something) this avenue has a certain appeal.

It also means that certain spells could be made cantrips via class features and the like at certain levels. For example, an abjurer might be able to gain magic missile as a cantrip as long as it's cast with a level X or lower slot (so at high levels, magic missile becomes a filler spell for when you've got nothing more pertinent to cast at the moment or when you want to conserve power).

EDIT: A variant to this idea would be to lock a spell slot to a cantrip when you cast the cantrip. The spell slot would be effectively expended for the purposes of casting any other spells but you could keep using the cantrip over and over until you recovered your spell slots.

I feel like this might make cantrips less of a no-brainer and more a conscious choice since you're investing a slot into its use. That means that cantrips don't simply exist as freebie abilities so much as they are gifts that keep on giving.

EDIT 2: At the moment I've gone with the investment route. I want the at-will uses of spells to be an investment, not a freebie. I feel it makes it more fair this way since doing things like getting at-will lower level spells means giving something up. I think that's better design and doesn't result in just giving casters free spells at certain levels.

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Tels wrote:

Is psionics going to be a completely different magic system in D20 Legends? Of is it going to be the same as the arcane/divine magic? If it's the same system, then how will any toes he stepped on? If it's not the same, why are you making it different? Wont that mean you have to, basically, reinvent the wheel you just reinvented?

Based off what you've posted in the past, it seems many aspects of psionics will be built into the new magic system you're creating. For example, being able to "upcast" spells by using higher slots for more effects or damage. If you're already merging the two magic systems together to remove redundancies, it seems kind of odd to go through the trouble of making a new psionics system that has many, if not most, of the same spells, only psionic, and a few that are unique to psionics. Instead, you could just make psionic spells that are only available to those with the psionic casting.

Essentially, one of the things I see as a strength of D20 is that there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's. Some people prefer the mechanics of psionics to spell slots and vice versa. While I'm trying to simplify the spell slot process, there are still those who would likely prefer a point-based magic option.

For example, a friend of mine who really loved playing barbarians couldn't stand playing slot-based casters (not even sorcerers, the closest he played was a bard) but he loved playing a Psion. The mechanics felt more intuitive to him and he played one well into the upper teens feeling quite good about them.

In a similar fashion, there are those who really like the spell slot system and want to stick with spell slots and stuff. There are many reasons for this, from it being the system they learned first, to their brains just getting it really well, to having that classic D&D feel of x/day spells.

I don't really feel that either player should be left wanting. Especially since even with spells that you can scale up without things like Heighten Spell, there are certain mild advantages each has over the other (for example, spell slots benefit from "free scaling" where casting a magic missile is stronger at 5th level than 1st level but with less overall resources invested; while psionics can be energizer bunnies by repeatedly manifesting low-level powers at low power levels, which was a favorite tactic of my witch Agatha who got a lot of mileage out of supporting her party with many castings of the psi-equivalents of grease, charm person, and powers like entangling ectoplasm and astral construct).

In a similar vein, I already have the groundwork for a "passive magic" system in my head for a 3rd magic route, for people who are less interested in tracking resources real-time and more comfortable with things like the old Incarnum system where you invest a certain amount of resources into different abilities and they remain invested throughout the day or until some sort of ability lets you tweak them. I was planning to refer to this tradition of magic as "chakra magic" and it would be an ideal system of magic for the more martially minded who wanted to do wushu-type.

I want people to have options. Before I start on those things though, I'm trying to get the basics done, which has unfortunately been taking more time than I'd like (which in all honesty is partly because I haven't been writing when sleepy/fatigued because it produces errors, and my work schedule has flip-flopped me around to different shifts while various folk have been taking their vacations this summer. But I've got some breathing room now so I'm back to the grind).

I'm going to do my best to get at least the first 10 levels in a playable state so that demos would be practical. When it's about ready for demo-time, I'm going to see about editing some youtube videos that discuss major changes from D20->D20 Legends, break down character creation, etc. Mostly because I understand that rules can read a little dry sometimes so I intend to put such videos on the SRD to help new players who aren't familiar with RPGs get a head-start.

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cuatroespada wrote:
really, though, reworking the schools needs to be secondary to the task of pruning the spell lists for me. there are a lot of spells i'd prefer used some sort of ritual mechanic.
Kryzbyn wrote:
I would like if there were fewer spells, with each having more options and growing in power as you level, similar to power point options.

Well, I'll explain how I'm intending to handle the development of spells in general, though it may lead to my having to revise spells known if it produces a spread that's too advantageous to any given style.

Currently, things like Heighten Spell have been pruned. The idea is that you can just cast a spell with a higher slot if you want and that may grant special advantages as described by the spell. For example, casting a fireball with a higher level slot would raise the damage cap naturally, and (subject to some tweaking) may come with other perks like expanded AoEs or something. Some spells may not have any obvious benefits for casting via higher level slots aside from making them harder to avoid (such as with lesser globes of invulnerability) or making them take priority (such as when dealing with [light]/[darkness] spells). That's the idea anyway.

A lot of this is in theoretical states and will be refined as more spells are produced. I've spent this afternoon working on the spell schools some more and solidifying abjuration as the [Force] spell school (which means abjuration isn't 100% about defense now as magic missile and such also belongs here).

It's a tricky balancing act, I feel, because I don't want to step too much on psionics' toes but I dislike how a lot of spells are just step-up versions of existing spells (such as charm person->monster) which I feel hurt spontaneous casters needlessly (if you want your sorcerer-type to be a good enchanter type character you'll burn half your spells on essentially the same things over and over again over your career). I also dislike how so many spells fall out of usefulness, which makes it more difficult for new players to use spells they've become familiar with at higher levels (since by the time you're really proficient with those spells as a player, they're on the way out). I still feel like psionics would be king of versatility however, so I'm not particularly worried about it while mulling it over in my head.

I'm going to try working on the spell list more deeply soon (hopefully starting on it by tomorrow). In an effort to reduce redundancy, I'm going to try to try to keep the number of spells at each level of each school fairly tight at first, looking for staples. Then expand out a bit from there.

I've also added [Size] and [Morph] descriptors to certain abilities, designating whether they change a creatures size or poly/meta-morph them. This will help at a glance to see what spells and effects can stack or overlap with each other. Morph effects in general are being designed more like the psionic powers metamorphosis, where instead of dumpster diving through bestiaries you'll be given a set of options that you can use to emulate different forms, limited by the spell itself, with higher level versions of the spell allowing additional options or stronger options.

This particular method for shapeshifting abilities makes it easier to balance (no worries about someone publishing a 6 armed humanoid in a book and it suddenly becoming a valid way for alter self to turn you into a blender), and easier to add new features to (because you could add things like feats or class features that expand your options when using those effects, such as allowing you to take on planar traits, or undead traits, or whatever).

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Icehawk wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Completely unrelated to anything but...

A friend of mine just noted that Harley Quinn has a pair of granddaughters in Batman Beyond, with Blonde and Red hair. He noted that perhaps "Grandpa" was actually Poison Ivy. I had never thought about it but given Ivy's mastery over manipulating biology, the idea that she could have used some of her own cells to produce offspring with Harley is an interesting idea and one not terribly out there.

EDIT: Here's the pitch.

Arcane Knowledge wrote:

So.... You know in batman beyond it was revealed that Harley had grand children

And they had red blond hair...
I think her an poison ivy had children...
Pretty certain actually

Because the only thing the joker had a boner for was batman

And poison ivy actually used plants to grow children of mixed dna
But they all came out looking the same... Like clones
And Dee Dee both look the same
With features that vaguely match both ivy and Harley
So... And you know... They were sorta in lesbians with each other after Harley finally left the joker

I choose to think of a lewder method instead.

I've seen some things. (O3o)

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It's my experience that exercising isn't all that hard. It's just super unappealing. I'd much rather be doing almost anything else rather than exercising. I tend to get the most exercise when I'm getting it as a side effect of something unrelated (such as being on my feet all day at work and walking around a lot). When presented with options of exercising or doing something like playing games with my friends over Discord, well...

The weights can wait. >_>

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Tacticslion wrote:

If you could have 1d4 different super-powers, what would they be and why?


Telepathy (because it would be much easier to communicate with people if I could just project concepts directly).

Time manipulation (because being able to speed up or slow down the flow of time and the things within it would be super handy for everything from getting a few more hours of rest, to preventing bad stuff from happening, to speeding up the workday).

The ability to heal people (because why not?).

If, instead, you could be a gestalt of 1d2+1 super heroes, who would you gestalt to be yourself? Why? Which comic universe would you run around in? Would you prefer to be in that one, or this one?

Magneto (X-Men) Super potential for doing amazing things

Xavior (X-Men) Super telepath
Elixer (X-Men) Heals people and boosts other mutant powers (synergizes well)

On the other hand: BAM! You just gained 3d6+2 levels in a Pathfinder class (or classes)! Which class(es) do you pick, and why? Incidentally, if you could spontaneously switch races, would you? And if so, to which?

Wizard. Race swap to lich. Why? Well, because I'd bring order to the world. At 13th level, a wizard could control our entire world in a span of a day or so, with no one knowing about it. The irony that I'd be liberating the world through ruling over everything in the shadows isn't lost on me, however.

Similarly, you won the super-lottery, and gained mythic tiers! 3d3 + 1 ⇒ (2, 3, 2) + 1 = 8 of 'em! (And you gain class levels to match; please feel free to change your previous answer if this does so for some reason.) What path do you take? (Alternate option: substitute a single tier for a simple mythic template.)

Probably that one that lets you grant spells to your followers, so that I could make more super heroes capable of healing the sick and animating the dead.

Yet another query: you monster. Specifically, you CR: 1d30 ⇒ 4 (or less) monster! Which are you?! ... and would this have been your first choice? If not, which would be?

Wight (possibly cairn wight). It's immortal, doesn't eat, doesn't sleep, and can create more wights simply by slapping people. Lots of potential to do great good with this.

But the wheels of fate-time have spun again, and your everything has been transposed into that of someone else! You've just become a prepublished NPC from an official source! Which prepublished NPC is it?

A Planetar, because they're really cool. They exist as NPCs in Baldur's Gate and they're awesome.

What campaign setting do you run around in? Why?

Mine, because it appeals to me.

As a final thing: blend any and/or all of the above questions into a single ginormous question: an optional blend of a prepublished NPC, monster, and some superheroes all walk into a bar... and out comes you, as a gestalt of those guys, the race you choose, some extra superpowers, and have extra class levels and mythic tiers on top! What are you?! (Other than "awesome" - naturally.)

Soon retired.

Oh, and one more thing: if you lived through a Legend of Zelda (as one of the Links); which would it be, and why?

Dunno, because the greatest argument for me living a deprived life is that I've never really played the Zelda series much. I never got it on SNES, got an N64 at the end of its lifespan and only have a few games on it, and didn't play the Gamecube releases. I should probably get on that, 'cause they're classics.

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cuatroespada wrote:
i have recently been on a mission to rewrite wizards (because i hate vancian magic) and part of that mission involves redoing the magic school system. it seems so... silly and arbitrary. like i don't know if you've ever read SKR's reasoning on why invisibility can't be mind affecting, but all it did was convince me that they miscategorized the spell for what they want it to do. it either makes the subject invisible by altering the subject and should be transmutation, it actually bends like and should therefore probably be evocation, or it is mind affecting and is fine as an illusion.

Well light/dark manipulation is actually an illusion thing now so yes, it can literally bend light around you. Illusions also aren't all mind-affecting, they can create unreal images and things that can be perceived by anything that have the senses to do so (it's for this reason that a golem can see illusory walls). Figments (or patterns in Pathfinder) are illusions that have perceivable effects but also mess with your mind.

Another thing that's changing is that the schools of magic in D20 Legends aren't absolute. Some spells fall into multiple schools of magic. For example, speak with dead would fall into both Divination and Necromancy. The schools act more to key certain abilities off of (such as a class feature that lets you choose a spell from a particular school) and as a template for finding themed abilities.

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Some unrelated tidbits (I'm working on d20 legends some more, which has been something I've not gotten to do for a few weeks)...

Enchanting is now "Beguiling" (to cut down on mixups since people naturally want to refer to "enchanted" weapons and armors and stuff).

Rewriting and condensing a fair amount of the polymorph subschool descriptions because polymorph spells are being changed to function more similarly to the matamorphosis spells (where you essentially build a creature by picking a selection of abilities, meaning you don't need a Bestiary to use the spells).

Figments, Glamers, and Patterns had a lot of overlap. Glamers assumed most of Figment's stuff and Patterns were replaced with Figments (being sensory illusions that are also mind-affecting). Phantasms remain since they are entirely mental. Shadow spells assume the [Light] and [Dark] descriptor spells because they can create real light & darkness.

What constitutes as interacting with an illusion is more explained, so using illusions should be more consistent from GM to GM. Protip: If you're not practically fondling the illusion you're not going to resist it, so simply viewing or hearing an illusion isn't enough to make it vanish. Also, being shown proof that an illusion is an illusion can allow you to make decisions based on that knowledge but you still perceive the illusion as real (so you might know you can walk through the fake wall but you still see it as a real wall).

The AC of glamers now scales with the experience of the caster, making illusions of creatures (albeit still incapable of harming things) less obvious. Generally it'll be more reliable to trick people into thinking that a thing is real for a few rounds before they realize that the illusion keeps whiffing more than it should.

Components have been adjusted to be less hard coded and more like requiring certain conditions to be met, such as vocal components requiring you be able to speak but you can totally do things like have your casting be due to your sick oratory skills or cast charms as part of conversation.

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Knowing a fair bit about the pokemon involved in the fusions, there's actually quite a few that I think would make for really cool D&D monsters based on a few themes. The Nidonine would actually make for a great D&D monster as it would likely be physically strong, fast, and possess things like a poisonous breath weapon (perhaps that sprays acid that also poisons things damaged by it), as well as having bite and gore attacks that also poison stuff. It would make for a sexy mount as well.

The Magnetoise, at first, I didn't see a lot of potential for but after thinking about it realized that has a lot of potential due to being a tanky magneton mecha thing. I'd stat 'em out as a giant brute monster that could create repulsion and anti-repulsion fields, which they could use make it difficult for creatures wearing or carrying metal to approach or walk away from them (and I'd make the DC strength based rather than Will based as you must physically push or pull away).

The beedot just looks so cool it deserves something, and following the vein of the pokemon its fused from, I'd probably have it hunt a lot like a wyvern and stab things with poison pinions covering its body. Having the hover feat (to both hover and kick of blinding sandstorms) and giving it some wind and poison abilities (like the ability to produce gusts of wind and cloudkill SLAs would be pretty cool).

The very first pokemon on the list to really jump out at me though as having incredible potential for a D&D monster would be the parasaur. Knowing that parasect is based on cordecepts fungi, but presuming that unlike parasect it doesn't kill the host but functions more like venosaur with a symbiotic relationship, it would be this scary poisonous plant monster that release clouds of spores around it that threatened to take seed in anything they touch or that breathes. In a manner similar to yellow musk creepers and such, they'd probably be regularly surrounded by plant-zombie type things, and leech health from anything that's recently affected by their spores (yay leech seed).

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