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Laurefindel's page

3,352 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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It has been mentioned before, but although 5e has 6 saves, the translation form FORT / REF / WILL is iffy at best. I wish STR / INT / CHA saves had more use.

Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Not quite, but I feel that Strength is most relevant during combat, or at least it was in previous editions.

high STR is good for Monks who want to grapple and to resist the occasional STR save (which are pretty rare unless your DM improvises some). STR fuels athletics which covers climbing/jumping/swimming (which Monks end-up using frequently). Ki helps a bit and you can sometimes get away with acrobatics, but Monks who dump STR will show some consequences at times.

Paizo has Pop Tarts!?!

I'd like to see Paizo move in a different direction than WotC's 5e.

Embrace the character deckbuilding aspect of the game. Allow sweet combos to exist. Don't shy away from magic items or even the magic Christmas tree effect, just be clear in how they are part of the game.

However, I'd like to see game symmetry go away. What is complex for the players shouldn't have to be for the GM; PCs and NPCs/monster don't need to follow the same rules. Complex games are cool for the players, but the GM needs a break...

I would let go of the distrusting part. let the players role play it, or decide to be the exception among their kind.

-2 to both STR and CON is brutal. +2 DEX and CHA, -2 CON is fine.

You need to keep in mind that 5th ed assumes that players go through many combat per day.

Read "deadly" as "will drain lots of resources". If the PCs are fresh, they will bulldozer through the encounter with relative ease. I don't know if that was the intent, but it has been my experience with 5e as well.

When you relentlessly throw encounters at the PCs and force them to manage their "long rest" abilities, the CRs are a bit closer to what they should be.

Small update on my Overland Actions houserule for 5e. Still a few loose ends to tie-up, stealth is a bit messy...

As a DM, I prefer letting players make a broader use of their skills than letting them have more skill proficiencies. I'm a big fan of detaching the skill from the key ability (like the example of Constitution - Athletics)

Wisdom check to sense the motives of the captain of the guards? Insight is a natural, but I could accept a player using investigation when observation time is allowed. Strength - Acrobatics to jump over the fence? why not. Performance can sometimes fill-in for deception, etc

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I wouldn't call 5th ed a rule-lite game and a campaign can use the rule extensively. It is lighter than 3e and more streamlined than AD&D, but it has an average level of "cruchy-ness" by modern standards. Actually, it is 3e/pathfinder that was/is particularly rule-heavy.

But it isn't a character deck-building game anymore, and I understand that many players miss that.

Cinderfist wrote:

As a replacement for the fighting defensively rule.

You can sacrifice any number of your attacks to attempt to block/parry an incoming attack.

I've played for a few years with a rule like that. Long story made short, it wasn't used much because in order to parry efficiently, you need a good BAB and when you have a good BAB, offense is usually better than losing your action on parrying (and when you have a good BAB, chances are that the party is relying on you to save their ass in melee).

Characters who would use parry (mainly rogues and wizard-type characters) didn't have a reliable enough BAB to take the risk an would rather attempt to somehow disengage from combat.

I would forget about the weapon-damaging part.

If you mean for players to withhold some of their attacks for parry (as opposed to all of their attacks), then expect longer combat. The mechanics of the rule doesn't bog the game down that much, but combats are stretched by a few rounds. At low levels parry is costly and isn't very reliable; at high level a few extra rounds can mean an extra hour of combat, so there is a very narrow sweet spot where it does work as intended.

I like the hit-dice healing mechanics. I find it represents well how a character can find its second (or third, of forth) wind.

I also like how it can translate into D&D the cinematic trope where the hero(es) is beaten down, defeated or forced to surrender, then something happens and the hero is suddenly rejuvenated.

What I'm a little annoyed with is how easy it is for characters to recover all of their resources, and the lack of a wounded condition that would complicate natural healing. The DMG offers a few solution, but it quickly goes too far in what I call the "attrition game".

Thankfully, 5e is super flexible and houserule-friendly. The Solution to remove the auto-heal on long rests is interesting (or half it). An abstract "wounded" condition wouldn't be that hard to implement either.

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While it is not unanimously acclaimed, I much enjoy the skill system despite my initial doubts.

I like that in a pinch, skills can substitute (or be substituted by) attack rolls or saving throws.

I like that the system is clean and simple enough to make combination on the fly without bogging the game down (Constitution Athletics, why not!)

I like that the "proficient" tag can mean more than just a bonus on the check, perhaps assuming automatic success or allowing a check where others aren't.

I like tools and kit proficiency (although I wonder if Medicine shouldn't have been made into a healer's kit proficiency instead) for their open-handed-ness (?)

In other words, I like that the skill system is simple and versatile enough to handle houserules, campaign-specific subsystems and on-the-fly ruling quite well.

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Petty Alchemy wrote:
My understanding from another forum is that in general, the game expects a day that goes 2 encounters, short rest, 2 encounters, short rest, 2 encounters, long rest to allow all classes to shine, but I'm finding it hard to design more than 2-3 encounters a day (just to pack that many baddies into a single day).

My only "problem" has been about that; you really need to relentlessly send waves of encounters every day to get through a character's resources and even if you do, it will be fresh as a rose the next day (with half its hit Dice).

There's the slow healing variant, but its going to the extreme opposite where resources are way too precious. I'd be most comfortable somewhere in between.

I gave masterwork weapons a +1 damage in my campaign. +1 attack is something precious, I would be reluctant to grant anything that effectively increase your proficiency bonus for a relatively low price.

For armors, reduction on weight or on the minimum STR score to avoid movement reduction sounds fine to me. That or remove the Stealth disadvantage. It would leave a few armors (the popular studded leather among others) without any net advantage, but I wouldn't grant anything that equals a +1 bonus to AC.

It would also feel weird that regular (read RaW) magical suits of armor wouldn't grant the benefits of a masterwork armor.

[edit] or decide that +1 weapons and armors are the masterwork weapons and armors of 5th ed. Give mk weapons a small discount for a lack of "magic" quality, leaving some beasties resistant to your damage.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Forsworn Mount

Like anonymity, this bonus is not going to pop up much - or ever. Maybe at low levels when there gritty survival is still part of the game. I suggest changing this to a bonus to all Fortitude saves and Constitution checks - except those caused by spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. He won't get the bonus against magic (a big deal), but its broad enough that it will help out with lots of little things, such as poison and stabilizing.

So basically, bonus to Fort save vs non-magical attacks. I kind of like that. That's a +6 bonus at 20th level and the class already has good fort saves. Too much?

as for forsworn weapons, its going to be a GMW spell-like effect as of 4th level. the "mundane" was a concern for the knight-errant's humility but also to avoid cheese involving weapons loaded with magic abilities combined with the high magic bonuses that its gets for free. Yet its still a crappy base weapon. thought?

The design goal behind the taboos was to give a marginal benefit for a minor hindrance. ATM, forsworn armor isn't a minor hindrance.

Perhaps the taboo should be forsworn heavy armor, with bonus to AC scaling with levels. So medium armors are not as good but armor nonetheless, similar to how the quarterstaves aren't as good weapons but weapons nonetheless.

So medium armor worn would be considered masterwork at 1st level 1, +1 at 4th level, +2 at 8th level, +3 at 12th level, +4 at 16th level and +5 at 20th level.

Basically, sacrifice a few AC points for free magic upgrade. If the paladin has good DEX (unlikely but, hey) its actually a sweet deal.

Keeping bonuses as enhancement bonus would prevent double stacking pluses with magic vestment.

also, I gonna go ahead and give the magic property of the forsworn weapon taboo from level 4th an on. what do you know, the pal is that good with his knife... so same deal, masterwork at 1st level and greater magic weapon effect from 4th level on.

The charm effect on Panache for the Swashbuckler rogue is intriguing. The ability is not out of its level range (by level 9th, caster have had access to charm person for a while now), but it's the first time (in my modest knowledge) that this kind of ability is given to a martial charatcer.

as I said, I'm intrigued

Away from book

Ganryu wrote:

I'm curious about the change to non-leveling spells.

It seems that relative to your current level, this makes spells actually worse as you improve.

I haven't played many casters yet, but so far I haven't boosted many spells yet. I've seen some caster boost spells in order to get enough targets, and sometimes boost damage to get a big punch either to open or to fininsh a combat. But in my experience it has been relatively rare; you usually get the best quality/price at the minimum castable level.

Altogether caster have less spells and they scale less than in PF, but their cantrips are much more efficient (enough to be worth using in combat).

Arakhor wrote:
The 5E fireball does 8d6 fire damage (Dex save for half) and increases by 1d6 per spell slot above 3rd.

true, was AFB

Ganryu wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Sounds like echoes of Scrolls of Town Portal in WarCraft III . . . .

yes, in essence that exactly what it is (without the going back option). I like to see it as a return-trip stargate.

All in all, the magical reshuffle, the bounded accuracy on saving throws and the legendary auto-saves are a some of the features that sold me on 5e.

What do you mean with magical reshuffle and legendary auto-saves?

Some of te classical spells swapped or changed levels, and scaling is not automatic (e.g. you fireball does 5d6 damage. If you want it to deal more damage, you need to cast it as a higher spell level)

Creatures with the "Legendary" tag have 3 auto saves per day(?). So even if the adult red dragon doesn't have bullet-proof saves due to bounded accuracy, you can't disable it on round one with a lucky charm monster spell.

UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Sounds like echoes of Scrolls of Town Portal in WarCraft III . . . .

yes, in essence that exactly what it is (without the going back option). I like to see it as a return-trip stargate.

All in all, the magical reshuffle, the bounded accuracy on saving throws and the legendary auto-saves are a some of the features that sold me on 5e.

Yeah, I was thinking the same blakmane. I don't like the double-dipping of CHA bonus, and if WIS is such a bad idea, I'd rather rework the taboo entirely. Or remove it completely, it's my least favorite one anyway.

Implemented most of Aelryinth's correction.

Kept the knight-errant as a male charatcer to distant him for Sheelah.

Kept the Forsworn unarmored defence bonus to Wisdom to stay consistant true to the abilities origin and keep it distinct from the oath of protection's zeal ability (CHA bonus to AC)

Ooohhhh. Thanks Aelryinth. I'll have a good look at this

If someone with a better mastery of English than mine could have a (grammatical) look at this and propose corrections where need be and make it blog worthy, I'd appreciate greatly.

Google doc version PM me for the original words file


I've been converting my Pathfinder Overland Action Houserule to 5e D&D

I've been playing a Elemental Monk / Warlock (pact of Fiend). Tpical chineese wuxia hero with a host of (evil) ancestors looking after him. Warlock makes up for the elemental monk's low amount of powers, and monk gives more to the warlock than 2 spells and eldritch blast. I usually burn through all my ki and spells in 3 or 4 rounds, but all of it refresh on a short rest

I'm also playing a dashing, flashy wanabe-airship-captain battlemaster fighter in an Eberron game. First I wanted to multiclass with rogue but now I'm thinking of barbarian. Refluffed rage as a barrier of blades, danger sense and eagle totem gets me the vibe I wanted from the rogue, but with better hp and durability.

dotting for later view...

There are more automatons than there are aasimars and yes, they still make them to this day. Automatons perform the menials jobs that aasimars don't want to do or the physically taxing jobs that aasimars don't do well.

Aasimars are not slaves nor 2nd class citizen, but the place they take in aasimari society is similar to that of slaves and 2nd class citizen of ancient Rome, or that of working-class citizen in Victorian England. Most household have an automaton servant, aasimari craftsmen have an automaton assistant or two. Guilds employ automaton journeymen, temple hire automaton guards, miners and loggers are 95% automaton etc.

The aasimars form the elite of their society, the automatons are the foot soldiers, laborers and workers.

As a whole they are pretty docile and content of their treatment, but some aspire to more. They become master craftsmen or leaders wherever automaton are, forming automaton communities. PCs are, by definition, emancipated automatons.

I D&D terms, the place they take is a mix of generic townsfolk and gnomes/dwarves in a typical setting.

Oooh, no i didn't see that clockwork automaton. I took my inspiration from the clockworks of Bestiary III, but didn't know about this one.

As for what happened to the the losers of the civil war, it is a bit unclear atm. I kind of assume they got re-integrated. The initial idea was that the aasimars of today *were* the losers and forgot about it (winners went away and left them as penance). But the big reveal of the campaign changed and this idea was dropped.

orcs were dropped out of the setting in favor of forest-themed goblins and bugbears (and boggarts and lizardmen).

Kingdom of Lydia is part of the pre-civil war empire era; the area from which an aasimar PC originated. It's presence on the map is debatable - basically its a bunch of ruins - but it was pertinent in that campaign.

The setting is called Dark Woods and is described here.

It was developed in 2012 out of a world building exercise, roll 5 races, build a setting (the same thread that nerco'd back recently). In other words, the races living in this world are limited by design.

Another important element of the setting is that the world is sealed from planar travel. Gods can be contacted via divination and clerics receive their spells, but outsiders cannot be summoned, gated, plane shifted etc. So there can be devils, but it implies that they were already there when the planar seal came into effect about a thousand years ago.

I'm re-writing the setting in such a way to create a Player's Guide and a DM's Guide, more for fun that by necessity. My campaign, which was meant as a short one, is about to end and I doubt the characters will go back to Excelsior (the aasimar city). So I'm looking for adventure hooks and ways to flesh the city out beyond "it's a city of Good people led by a LG government" (which is already more than that) for the sake of creating a finished document I will feel proud of; not much else. but I'm interested in ideas that forum users have. Even when an idea does cannot apply directly, it usually inspire something else or can be re-fluffed to match the setting.


Cool links

Thanael wrote:
An over average LG town does not equal only average LG inhabitants. Especially in a large city.

In this case, the city is LG because that is the average alignment of its population and since its a world where aasimars are the only human-like race (i.e. no dwarves, elves, half-orc etc) it limits the cosmopolitan aspect of large towns drastically. They all arrived as a group from the Upper Planes.

That can be "fixed" by having several factions however. Perhaps the aasimars of Asgardian descent are different from those of the cities of Arcadia, who are different from the Olympian aasimars etc... So far I purposefully avoided to be too specific on the aasimar's provenance so that gaming group can decide of their favourite pantheons and/or cosmology.

I've been playtesting this, but it hasn't come often enough to be very conclusive yet.

51% to 100% hp = a bit out of breath but unscathed.
1% to 50% hp = a bit bruised and banged-up but uninjured

receiving a critical hit or failing a Dexterity saving throw causing damage = wounded. Wounded character must be treated with Medicine check or magical healing > damage taken or wounded character heals only 50% hp overnight and do not recuperate hit dice.

So I've got this setting including aasimars as the only human-like race around. They have one great city, and not a very cosmopolitan one at that.

Considering that aasimars are mostly LG and that LG towns are mostly boring, what can I bring to make it an interesting site for urban adventures?

Few things to consider...

- the king died recently, no wife alive, the princess is crowed queen at 13 years of age. The prime minister is regent for the next 7 years.

- aasimars had their civil war 900 years ago. To enforce cohesion and nationalism, scions of noble houses of each settlement must spend 7 years in tutelage in that city. Officially, noble youth are meant to meet each other's and make friends. It could also be seen as propaganda or blackmail taking nobles' children as hostage.

- Aasimars "made" their servant race of sentient constructs (not warforged, but close enough). Mixed sentiments of paternity and need for labourers and warriors. Automatons are legally free people.

So if you're up for some brainstorming, I'm open to all ideas

Lorathorn wrote:
No thoughts yet on the spell-less Ranger?

Is there such an official spell-less ranger I'm not aware of, or are you asking for ideas/opinions?

[edit] never mind, found the source....

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Lorathorn wrote:
... Many make claims that the current edition makes map use unimportant...

5e make maps non-essential, not unimportant. If you love maps, it will work great with them. If you don't, the game still works great. Everybody wins.

Some notes that appear in text boxes...

Aasimars drink a highly nourishing cordial as their main source of nutrition that they call ambrosia. Ambrosia is a beverage containing many ingredients, but honey and mushrooms form the base of it.

More than just a food, ambrosia can be brewed to cure disease, heal injuries and dispel fatigue. Some are fermented as alcoholic beverage, some distilled into clear and fragrant nectars. Some resemble hydromel, some are made to be mixed with fresh juice. In short, there are as many types of ambrosia as there are meals on other worlds.

Automatons are powered by a sacred fire confined inside their chest. This flame is very resilient and can survive for years even if the automaton has been disabled. Automatons do not need food or drink but the flame can be fed, allowing the automaton to consume potions if it wishes so. This also exposes the automaton to poisons, although this pseudo-metabolism makes them very resistant to diseases and toxins.

Should the flame be extinguished, the automaton dies. For this reason automatons fear prolonged exposure to extreme cold or going under water for more than a minute. While automatons do not need to breathe, they too can “drown” like any other character.

Forbidden from entering the city, the girtablilu have established their embassy in the shadows of the forecastle, just outside the Great Gates of Excelsior. Unlike the informal vegepygmy market nearby, this enclave is an ancient and well established town surrounded by a low stone wall. The girtablilu living there are particularly courteous and welcoming, but a dark sense of purpose nevertheless emanates from the whole enclave. Hundreds of aasimars come there every day to trade with the Hidden Kingdom, but very few are willing to stay overnight. Yet, their guesthouses always seem occupied, for the girtablilu also trade with other guests...

The aasimars left a strong impression with the sprites of the Dark Woods. Many clans of sprites were so fascinated by the intricacy of their culture and the complex hierarchy of their government that they assimilated many aasimari customs into their own.

The largest of the spritsh clan is led by a queen (since the aasimars are also led by a queen. Should the aasimars crown a king again, the sprites would likely change as well). She oversees a circles of clanlords who in turn rule over their vassals in a typical feudal system. These sprites have developed an equally intricate court within a towering tree-castle were representatives of other races are welcomed as royal guests. In turn, many sprites have set permanent residence in Excelsior and other aasimari settlements, although they remain a notable minority.

While these new "civilized" sprites may appear clumsy in their attempt, they are leading a revolution that may forever change their nature and their relationship with the Dark Woods.

When a character dies, its corpse becomes host for the latent russet mold spores to mature and grow into vegepygmies. Burning or completely destroying the body stops the process, as does prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, but burial doesn't stop the transformation. If left undisturbed, the corpse erupts in 1d6 vegepygmies within 1d4+1 days. after death.

killed player characters who's corpse were abandoned in the Dark Woods may select to be reincarnated as a vegepygmy. In such case, a single vegepygmy erupts with some remnants of the memory and personality of its host, including natural predisposition for its former character class. Make a new character using the racial traits described above. Sprites and automatons are immune to russet mold, but aasimars and are girtablilu are susceptible to the transformation.


Subrace. There are four kinds of sprites based on which aspect of nature their tribe represents. These four aspects are known as The Eater of Flesh, The Great River of Worms, The Painter of Life and The Sprout Signer. Choose one of these subraces.

This tribe of sprites venerates the Sprout Singer, the spritish goddess of all beginnings. Spritish mythology depicts her as an ephemeral spirit whose songs provoke seedlings to sprout, cause flowers to bloom, urge beasts to mate and make people fall in love. The Sprout Signer relies on the Great River of Worms to fertilise the soil and produce the required nutriments for life to spark.

Sprites of the Sprout Singer tribe could be defined as “merry tricksters”. They love to sing, dance and play pranks on trespassers. Sprites of the Sprout Singer have a natural knack to perceive a person’s motives and intentions. Always eager to start new relationships, these sprites become very friendly once a person’s heart is deemed pure.

This tribe venerates the Painter of Life, the spritish goddess of life, growth and colors. The painter of Life is portrayed as a comely female sprite capable of taking every animal shape and hue. She is said to be the midwife of the Dark Woods and the one responsible for the color of all things. Although she is the embodiment of life, the Painter of Life cannot create existence and therefore relies on the Sprout Signer to provide the initial spark of life.

Sprites of the Painter of Life tribe are the most numerous of all four tribes. They are also the most civilized, and the most likely to mimic the aasimars’ civilized ways. They dress in elaborate and colorful attires integrating many floral, insect-like and animalistic motifs ranging from flamboyant colors to nearly invisible camouflage.

This tribe venerates an entity called the Eater of Flesh, the spritish god of hunters and predators. The Eater of Flesh takes many forms but sprites often portray him as a large, wolf-like predator. The Flesh Eater is not only a predator; he also is the instinct to fight rather than fly and the representation of “conquest” and “passion” in spritish culture. But all predators need preys to survive and therefore, the Eater of Flesh relies on the Painter of Life for the creatures that she raises and for the camouflage that she paints on the hunters’ fur.
Sprites of the Eater of Flesh have brown or gray skin and are often bald. They have wide red eyes that see in the dark and a prominent chin that makes them easily identifiable. Of all four tribes, these sprites are the most feral, traveling in small bands of hunters over vast and wild territories. They wear simple garments and armors of bone and insect carapace. At best, these clans are proud savage warriors many are callous and merciless cannibals.

This tribe venerates the Great River of Worms, the spritish manifestation of entropy. For the sprites, the Great River of Worms is more an inevitable force than a god; a mass of maggots advancing like a great slithering snake and turning everything on its path into dirt and dust. But the Great River of Worm is not a bringer of death; the maggots are only a manifestation of what happens to those who have already died. Thus it relies on the ungrateful work of the Eater of Flesh to complete the cycle, allowing for the Sprout Singer to start a new one.

Sprites of the Great River of Worms have a morbid fascination for death and decomposition, and for everything that comes after. Many wear animal skulls as hats and keep carrion insects as pets. Of the four tribes of sprites, they are the most willing to trade with harpies, nagas, hags and other spirits of the Dark Woods. Sprites of the Great River of Worms are also on friendly terms with vegepygmies. This has made them scholars among sprites and although they haven’t mastered literacy, they have painted much of their knowledge on the wall of their caves.


Unlike most homebrewed or published campaign settings designed for D&D, the Dark Woods campaign setting does not include the traditional races of humanoids presented in the Player’s Handbook, such as humans, dwarves, elves, halflings etc. Several other classical D&D creatures are equally absent from the Dark Woods or have been altered by the malevolent influence that lies within.

As a matter of fact, most species have been subjugated or corrupted by the malevolent nature of the Dark Woods and are therefore unsuitable for a player-controlled character. A handful of races live free of its influence however. Together, they form a league of free people composed of the races of aasimars, automatons, girtablilu, sprites and vegepygmies. Your character belongs to one of those races.

As described in the Player’s Handbook, your choice of race affects several aspects of your character such as its general appearance and its innate strengths and abilities. Each race enhances some of your character’s ability scores and possesses unique traits that will define your character as an adventurer. For example, aasimars instinctively know how to create light, a rare commodity in the darkness of the woods, and sprites are so small that they can easily hide from others. Each also provides a basic background to help you build your character’s personality, either in adherence or in opposition to the social norms. For example, you could create an automaton character who acts as a loyal and companion and diligent bodyguard as one could expect from a member of that race, or play vegepygmy who isn’t a primitive hunter but a practiced wizard like his birth-corpse’s former host used to be.

Aasimars were once humans who settled in the upper planes, but the heavenly influences of their new home forever changed their nature. After countless generations of coexistence and intermarriage with celestial beings, the aasimars became a gracious and regal people invested with the everlasting light of the heavens.

CELESTIAL HERITAGE________________________________________
At first sight, aasimars could be mistaken for slender and regal humans but upon closer inspection, their celestial heritage cannot be missed. Their hairs have a metallic shine and their eyes gleam with the iridescence of opals, emanating a strange sense of calm and benevolence.
A typical aasimar stands between 5 ½ feet to a little over 6 feet tall, weighing between 125 and 200 pounds. Male and female aasimars show little difference in height, but men tend to be a bit heavier and more muscular. Compared to their human ancestors, aasimars are blessed with a remarkably long life. They can expect to live up to 150 years old without succumbing to decrepitude or senility.

A PEOPLE IN EXILE________________________________________
The aasimars of the Dark Woods claim that their ancestors came as soldiers in a host of celestial warriors, receiving the world as spoils of war and wergild for their fallen. For a whole age, they traded freely with their brethren of the celestial realms and established a great empire. In time however, they grew proud and complaisant, and so their civilization fell into civil war.

Today, the aasimars of the Dark Woods remember the plains of Arcadia and the slopes of Mount Celestia only from their songs and their libraries. In the wake of the civil war some 900 years ago, the Dark Woods were sealed from any form of planar travel, cutting these aasimars from the land of their gods and ancestors. As a people in exile, aasimars cling ferociously to their traditions and celestial ideals.

THOSE WHO WALKED AMONG GODS________________________________________
Although they are now stranded in the Dark Woods, the aasimars remember the time when they walked the lands of the gods. They know much about the planes beyond the stars and about what awaits them in the afterlife. As such, they are not a superstitious or zealously religious people. They tend to venerate the powers of Good rather than specific deities, paying homage to their ancestors, heroes of legends, angels of renown, minor gods, greater deities and entire pantheons equally. Even priests worship multiple gods and powers.

MARBLE AND CLOCKWORKS________________________________________
Aasimars appreciate well-sculpted stone and flying arches, lacquered wood furniture and elaborate fountains. They also enjoy fine metalworking, especially decorative items of silver and bronze. But more than anything, aasimars love to combine these elements in clever works of engineering and clockwork contraptions. This passion culminates with the automatons, a race of sentient constructs that aasimars create and bring to life by means of dutiful craftsmanship and powerful divine rituals.

Aasimars view these automatons as their children and friends, but also as labourers and foot-soldiers; a sentiment that sometimes leads to mixed feelings about their fate. The aasimars know that they wouldn’t survive without them and that automatons serve them willingly, but what would happen they refused to obey?

Automatons are sentient clockwork constructs created and animated by aasimars. They are humanoid in appearance, often crafted to resemble the industrious gnomes of far-away Bytopia. But under their flesh of carved wood and skin of beaten brass, thousands of gears and springs turn and churn as they move.

MADE FOR TOIL AND WAR________________________________________
Automatons form the working caste and main military force of the aasimari society, and their appearance reflect this reality. Standing from 4 to 5 feet tall but weighting well over 200 pounds, automatons seem to be made of wood with bronze armor plating. Sturdy cogs appear at the neck and joints providing articulations. Aasimars craftsmen pay particular attention to the hands and face, making the automaton as dextrous and expressive as possible. The chest and head contain the most delicate clockworks and are therefore the most heavily protected.

Most automatons seem content with the life of toil and war they were made for. This gives them a sense of purpose and satisfies their sense of responsibility. Every now and then however, an automaton aspires to more independence and seeks a life for its own. Automatons are not property and even when they gladly serve their family, they value their free will more than anything else.

CLOCKWORK HEART, SOUL OF FIRE________________________________________
Inside their metal chest lies a complex system of cogs and clockworks powered by a mystical flame. The clockwork parts need to be winded-up every day but the flame - the spirit and soul of the automatons - is eternal. This means that automatons could technically live eternally, but wear and tear on their mechanism typically reduces their life span to 200 or so. As such, many automatons outlive their masters and serve many generations of the same family.

As living constructs, automatons do not need to eat, drink or sleep. They do however need to wind-up and rest their gears for about four hours each day. During that time, an automaton performs routine maintenance on its own body (which the automatons refer as “grooming”) but otherwise remains conscious and alert.

GENTLE WARRIORS________________________________________
Automatons make patient and polite soldiers, fighting without hatred but with cold efficiently. Automaton feel hatred like everyone else - they experience the whole range of emotion - but they are less likely to react on emotional impulse or let their judgement be clouded by anger, fear or anguish. Perhaps owing to the fire that animates them, automatons are a much warmer people than their stoic aasimari masters.
Automatons do not reproduce and have no gender identity. Most are built with male traits and features, but automatons destined to work as domestic or house servants are sometimes portrayed as female.

The girtablilu are a group of deformed female aasimars born with the lower body of a large scorpion instead of normal hips and legs. They live in a secret kingdom of their own, honing their skills with bows and spears like the fabled Amazons of Arborea. The name girtablilu refers to the sisterhood as a whole and to the curse to which they owe their monstrous appearance.

A CURSED EXISTENCE________________________________________
From the waist up, the girtablilu appear exactly like female aasimars, but their lower body is that of a five-foot long scorpion; chitin plating, serrated pincers, arachnid legs, venomous stinger and all. They stand about 5 feet tall although they can rise much higher on their legs. Weighting some 200 pounds, a girtablilu stands firmly on her six legs. Otherwise, girtablilu mature at the same rate as aasimars and live just as long.

The girtablilu owe their monstrous appearance to a curse that harkens back to the aasimari civil war. The curse seems to affect only female newborns, usually killing the mother during birth. In olden days, these monstrous babies were slain or abandoned at birth but a few were raised in secret. Over times, it became customary to hand-over these cursed offspring to other girtablilu until they formed a society of their own.

BETWEEN NAGAS AND SPHINX________________________________________
In their ostracism, the girtablilu have had two great allies: the Sphinx who raised the first girtablilu children, and the nagas who taught them how to survive in the Dark Woods.
Today, the Sphinx remains the only fatherly figure of this nation of females, and the girtablilu have taken upon themselves to defend his acropolis and patrol the lands around it. It is customary for girtablilu reaching adulthood to make pilgrimage to the oracle at the Sphinx’s temple. There, it is said that the young girtablilu will learn the truth that will define her whole life. More often than not, this “truth” is stated as a cryptic or open-handed riddle, and is different for each individual.

Much of the girtablilu’s social customs and practices come from their naga neighbours. Like them, the girtablilu society possesses a noble and benevolent side and a more spiteful, darker side. Whereas the Sphinx has taught them spirituality, the nagas have endowed the girtablilu with eldritch powers.

A PERPETUAL BATTLE________________________________________
For the girtablilu, life is a continuous battle. Surviving the spirits and manifestations of the Dark Woods is in itself a perilous ordeal, but the real conflict comes from within. Girtablilu continually struggle against their sentiment of self-loathing and bitterness that they cultivate toward the aasimars of old. It is against the darker side of their soul that the girtablilu wage their greatest war.

To ease their mind, the girtablilu continually hone their skills as huntresses and warrior-maiden, transcending their physical skills into mental fortitude. For the girtablilu, salvation is be achieved through perfection.

A HIDDEN KINGDOM________________________________________
The gitablilu are a secretive people. Perhaps because they are so self-conscious of their deformity, girtablilu do not share their customs and rarely talk about themselves. They tend to adopt a distant attitude toward non-girtablilu people and thus make few friends outside their sisterhood. The girtablilu do not doubt the abilities or loyalty of others, but they are slow to thrust that others can accept them as they are. Friendship between aasimars and girtablilu is even considered taboo and discouraged by both societies.

The girtablilu jealously keep the location of their kingdom secret. Their queen has welcomed very few outsiders, and the location of her court has become a favorite subject of speculations among young aasimars. Instead, girtablilu erect small enclaves near aasimari settlements where goods and news can be traded. This is also where girtablilu newborns are brought by their mourning fathers; when the girtablilu sing and chant to the stars, the aasimars know that the girtablilu have gained another sister.

Sprites are a race of tiny winged humanoids native to the Dark Woods. Despite their small size and their weak stature, they are surprisingly apt predators prove to be combative preys. What they lack in brute strength, the sprites make it in tactics, agility and sheer numbers.

SMALL AND AGILE________________________________________
Sprites are small, humanoid-shaped creatures rarely exceeding one foot in height. They have sharp, sparkly eyes and long and pointy ears. The most distinctive part of their anatomy however is their insect-like wings which they use with uncanny speed and agility. The size, shape, coloration, veins and media of a sprite’s wings are unique to each individual; sprites recognize each other through their wings more than facial traits.

FOUR GODS, FOUR TRIBES________________________________________
The sprite race is split in four major subraces that they call “tribes”. Each tribe has its own distinct appearance, set of customs and patron deity. Sprite mythology features four godly figures representing the cycle of birth, growth, death and decay. Like these gods, tribes don’t always see eye-to-eye but all see each other as a necessary part of the balance of the Dark Woods.

Sprites live in clans ranging from a few dozens to several thousands of individual of the same tribe. Most still live the feral, primitive lifestyle that they always had, but some clans have become civilized under the influence of aasimars. Clans of sprites living close to aasimari settlements often mimic the lifestyle of their celestial neighbours with well-intentioned but sometimes clumsy results.

LIGHT AND DARKNESS________________________________________
As a race, sprites are both bright and dark but different clans usually tend toward one or the other. Some are good-hearted and generous, others shy and withdrawn. Some are scheming and manipulative, others are plainly dangerous. In this regard, the sprites are like the Dark Woods themselves; wild, unpredictable and not to be underestimated.
If some regions are plagued with feral and cannibalistic sprites, the influence of the brighter clans forms the only oasis of peace in the Dark Woods. But bright or dark, sprites live in remarkable harmony with their Dark Woods.

Vegepygmies, also known as moldmen, are short humanoid-looking creatures living in small communities all across the Dark Woods. As primitive people, their collective memory does not reach far back in time but for as long as the sprites and aasimars can remember, the vegepymies have always been there.

SENTIENT PLANTS________________________________________
Vegepygmies are short and stout, ranging anywhere between 2 and 4 feet tall and weighing between 25 and 50 pounds. Their head looks dried and shrunken, and green fungus tendrils dangle from their arms, waist and legs. But that is the extent of their resemblance with humanoids, for vegepygmies are a type of sentient plant creatures with a distinctly different metabolism. Among those differences, vegepygmies have no vocal cords and cannot speak; their language consists entirely of rhythmic clicks, taps and beats.

Vegepygmies live in small tribes of 20 to 50 individuals led by a shaman or a chieftain. Every individual is appointed a certain position such as worker, warrior or envoy, not unlike colonies of insects including workers,

CHILDREN OF RUSSET MOLD________________________________________
Vegepygmies are born out of humanoids that died while carrying russet mold’s spores – which in the Dark Woods means virtually everyone. As long as the corpse is left undisturbed by predators and unexposed to direct sunlight, up to six vegepygmies emerge from the remains within three days of the creature’s death. Vegepygmies demonstrate a macabre reverence for their “birth corpse”, carrying grisly mementos such as bones, teeth and bits of garments or jewelry as their main form of ornament and source of materials.

Approximately 1 in 20 vegepygmies retain fragments of the birth corpse’s memories, abilities and personality. These individuals often become shamans, chieftains or solitary marauders. Some vegepygmy have even been known to display affection for their former companions, adopting them as their “tribe”.

THE WILL OF THE WOODS________________________________________
Vegepygmies see the russet mold as a blessing and a holy manifestation of the Will of the Woods, the deity tha they venerate as an abstract, shapeless and omniscient entity. They claim to speak for it and act on its behalf, following an agenda that other races cannot comprehend. This makes them often appear unorganised and unpredictable, yet vegepygmies of different tribes seem to act with uncanny synchronicity.
Unlike most animated plants however, vegepygmies do not act with the usual malice or cruelty that is typical of the creatures of the Dark Woods. Since they seem unaffected from that malevolent influence, the vegepygmies are welcomed among the free people of the Dark Woods.

Because every setting needs a map...


When the gods permitted their ancestors to live in the Upper Planes, the aasimars witnessed much of their own afterlife and could an answer many great of the great questions of humankind. They had, so to speak, looked behind the curtains and seen the backstage of the multiverse. They learned the name of many angels and saw many gods and pantheons sharing the same spheres of influence. Overtime, they understood that gods are personifications of greater concepts and their religion became one of veneration and respectful reverence rather than one of devotion and worship. For the aasimars, illustrious ancestors and legendary heroes deserve as much respect as greater deities. Even lesser angels become models of inspiration once they have been met in their homes.

The aasimars of the Dark Woods venerate many gods simultaneously; some pay homage to whole pantheons, some address their prayers to different gods and goddesses ruling over the same domain. Except for public holidays – which are nonetheless relatively frequent – religion is mainly a familial affair performed in private chapels. Aasimari culture is made of many prayers and customs dedicated to their ancestors, and to the celestial beings who played a role in the history of their family.

Aasimari priests are scholars as much as they are spiritual guides. They are very knowledgeable about planar cosmology and the major religions of the multiverse. Public temples offer specific services and divine assistance to individuals and families alike, and the many religious monuments of the city teach the population like an open book. Even if they are not an overly religious people, mythology and cosmology are an omnipresent part of aasimarsi lifestyle.

As an aasimar cleric, you are free to worship any god, goddess, group of deities or pantheons of Good alignment, and choose any divine domain with the exception of the Death domain. Neutral deities are tolerated, but veneration to an Evil god or goddesses is forbidden by law. If your cleric follows more than one god or goddess, you may use their association’s emblem (if any), your temple’s symbols or your house’s heraldic as your religious symbol.

As an aasimar cleric, you must also choose whether you follow your house’s ancestors and patron deity(ies), or if you were trained by one of the many temples of Excelsior. This decision does not influence the abilities of your character but may affect some background features and characteristics (such as the acolyte’s shelter of the faithful feature for example).

Unlike aasimars, automatons do not possess large libraries and collections of religious knowledge of many worlds. As free people, the automatons could consult the libraries Excelsior but they are not as concerned with universal truth as their creators are.

Automatons have a more philosophical approach to spirituality. If they aasimars are indeed their creators, does that make them gods? Were the gods who created the aasimars also created by a greater power? Knowing that there is no ending to these questions, automatons turned to more simple believes. Each adopts a patron deity of some sort, usually a god or goddess venerated in aasimari culture. Oftentimes, this patron deity is related to the automaton’s appointed task in some way. Therefore, an automaton artisan might venerate Moradin, the dwarven god of creation while a miner might adopt Osiris, the god of the Underworld as his patron deity.

As an automaton cleric, you are somewhat of a rarity among your kind. Society expects you to assume the role for which you were created, but by becoming a cleric you showed that you aspired to something more. While unexpected, emancipated automatons are not unappreciated. You are welcome among worker communities and military troops by automatons and aasimars alike.

Automatons are more comfortable with Lawful Good and Lawful Neutral deities, but as a cleric you may select any god (along with one of its listed domain). You may even select an Evil deity but such gods are frowned upon by automaton communities and outlawed by the aasimari laws.

Cursed with a grotesque body and unable to summon celestial light like aasimars, the girtablilu feel abandoned by the gods of Order and Light. Thus they turned to an old sacred concept, one that predates most religions. The Asgardians call them the Norns, the Olympians name them the Fates and for the elves they are known as Angharradh, but for the girtablilu they are simply the Triad; the three weavers of destiny.
The Triad is composed of three women representing three facets of a same thing such as youth, maturity and old age, or past, present and future. Together they weave the primordial thread that links the multiverse together, the original principle of natural order to which both mortals and immortals are subjected. The thought that even gods are not spared by fate appeals to the bitter heart of the girtablilu.

Priestesses are highly regarded in girtablilu society. By tradition, a cleric can only train one apprentice in her whole life, making you a greatly honored member of your order. The relationship you have with your priestess-mother is a strong one, although it wasn’t always a gentle one. Training was harsh and strenuous; as your priestess-mother’s only heir, you are expected to perform outstandingly and to train an equally remarkable apprentice.

Depending on which aspect of the Triad you decide to impersonate, you may select the Knowledge, Nature or War domain.

Sprites have a unique relationship with their gods. Their race is separated in four distinct ethnicities that they call tribes, each worshiping one of their four gods of nature. Like a great endless circle, each god relies on the previous and provides for the next.
The Sprout Signer is the goddess of all beginnings. This goddess cannot be seen, but her presence can be heard like a dreamlike, ephemeral chorus. The Sprout Signer also represents fertility, both in the sense of fecundity and ingenuity. Joy, singing and inspiration are also under her dominion. Inadvertently, the Sprout Signer is also the goddess of jokes, pranks and humor and her followers are known as indubitable tricksters.

The Painter of Life is the goddess of birth, growth and nurturing. Portrayed as a female sprite, she is also responsible for bringing colors into the world, from the vivid colors of birds and flowers to the mimicry of insects and the camouflage animals. Her followers are the shiest but also the friendliest of all four tribes.
The Eater of Flesh is the god of predators and bestial instincts. Represented as a large wolf-like creature, he embodies the thrill of the stalking hunter and the blood-frenzy of the warrior. He also represents the urge to survive and the will to fight back when endangered. His followers are the most aggressive of the four tribes, some are even cannibal savages.

The Great River of Worms is the god of rotting and decay. Not perceived as a god so much as the manifestation of entropy, the Great River of Worm is an unforgiving but impartial force that will ultimately devour everything. But the Worms leave behind the promise of new beginnings and thus allowing the cycle to continue. Its followers are the most contemplative and philosophical of the four tribes.

Legends also tell of a fifth deity called the Frost Breather, god of cold and winter. Some say he used to be the balancing factor of the Dark Woods, regulating fertility, pausing growth, calming the urge to kill, and stopping decay. Some others say that he is responsible for the malevolence of the Dark Woods and that the other gods exiled him to the eternal glaciers. But whatever or whoever this god was, winter hasn’t descended on the Dark Woods for a very, very long time, if it even ever happened. At any case there is no Frost Breather tribe and if there ever was one, traces of its existence have long disappeared.

As there are four tribes of Sprites so are four types of clerics. As a sprite cleric, you must follow the god or goddess of your tribe. If your tribe is the Sprout Singer, your must select the Trickery domain. If your tribe is the Painter of Life, your domain is Nature. If your tribe is the Eater of Flesh, you must select the Tempest Domain. If your tribe is the Great River of Worms, your domain is Knowledge.

The Dark Woods seem to have an awareness that draws near conscience. This makes no doubts for the vegepygmies who worship this entity that they call The Will of the Woods. The Will does not manifest itself physically or even appear in one’s dreams; it only acts through forest spirits, beasts, plants and other wild creatures of the Dark Woods. Vegepygmies see themselves as yet another manifestation of the Will of the Woods; a race appointed with the task of observing the Dark Woods, interpret its intentions and transmit this information to the other intelligent races of the Dark Woods.

Vegepygmies don’t think in terms of Good and Evil and don’t see the Will of the Woods as wicked entity. However, they do believe that the woods are sick and that its nature has somehow been poisoned into the brooding and ominous presence that the Dark Woods are today. Hags have appeared like warts on a diseased skin and forest blights are like pestilence for the trees. Healing The Will of the Woods will be the vegepygmies’ greatest task, possibly the purpose for which they have been created. In the meantime, the intents of The Will of the Woods are getting more and more difficult to comprehend, and the Vegepygmies are more confused than they ever had.

As a vegepygmy character, you are among the few of your race that are born with the potential to progress and gain levels in a character class. Vegepygmies see little difference between clerics and druids when it comes to their religion, and you are free to choose the class of your choice. Should you choose to play a cleric, you must select The Will of the Woods as your deity of choice, allowing you to choose between the Nature and Tempest domain. There was a time where vegepygmy clerics could select the Life domain, but connection to that sphere seems to be lost in this age of the world.


Magic in the Dark Woods is like that of many other worlds with one major exception; the Dark Woods are completely sealed from any forms of planar travel. Commonly known among spellcasters as ‘the Seal’, this planar anomaly causes all magic summoning outsiders or opening doorways to another plane to fail. Deities may still be contacted through divination spells and divine casters receive their spells normally, but any attempt to reach another plane (including etherealness and dimensional spaces accessible through spells like rope trick or objects such as a bags of holding) or summoning an extraplanar creature (such as a [i]summon monster[i] or [i]gate[i] spell) automatically fails. No one knows exactly who or what caused this seal to come into effect; even the gods seem silent on the matter. Teleportation-type spells function within the confine of the Dark Woods but cannot be used to reach another plane of existence. Similarly, summoning spells conjuring elemental creatures or creatures from the Prime Material Plane function normally as long as the creature exists in the Dark Woods.

Aside from this element, magic is a rich and omnipresent part of the Dark Woods. The aasimars of old wrought many powerful enchantments in their heydays, many of which are still active today. Obstructed cellars and sealed towers stand in many ruins, sometimes filled with magical artifacts of the past. Even today, life in Excelsior is made comfortable with both magical spells and clockwork machinery. Aasimars and girtablilu master arcane and priestly magic but among the denizen of the Dark Woods, nature-based magic is the most common. Druids and nature-clerics are usually called shamans among these people, and their powers are drawn from woodland spirits, local deities and the Dark Woods themselves

Interesting re-hash, especially the concept of downtime skills

While you're at it, get rid of fly. If a flying creature needs to evade a voley of arrows or catch a person in mid-flight, have it roll acrobatics. Exhausting long-distance flight or sprints for the higher grounds could be off athletics.

Basically you have a skill for "do it quick" or "requires agility" and another skill for "do it far/long" or "requires endurance".

You can then apply those two to swimming (execute an olympic dive or swim agaist the river's current), to jumping (land on that 3 in pole or jump for your life in heavy armor), to running (evade the bad guy in the alleys or run a marathon). And, why not, to fly as well.

As for downtime skills, I suggest to add some kind of Socialize skill for those information gathering downtime moments, for making contacts with the evasive thieves' guild and for implanting romors about the queen being sterile or whatever.

Jungles and forests cover the whole continent of the Dark Woods, from one ocean to the other and from the Thunderous South to the Eternal Glaciers of the north. This continent-wide forest ranges from subtropical to subarctic climates but always remains dense, dark and ominous wherever one goes.

Two great arms of land protrude far into the sea in the southeastern corner of the continent, forming two long and narrow bays. Southern storms provoke frequent floods, forming a wide network of salty bogs and wetlands around the inland bay. Some clans of sprites live in the canopies of large, drowning trees, while less salty bogs are home to tribes of boggards and broods of marsh-dragons. These inhospitable lands have nevertheless been claimed by the self-proclaimed lich-queen. While all agree that she might pose a serious threat to the free people, no one is willing to dispute her claim on her own territory.
The southwestern peninsula is home to the nagas; a race of great serpent with a human-like head. Their land dissolves into myriads of tall islands where storms and hurricanes are said to breed. These hurricanes then travel west and crash against the Storm Mountain in the Thunderous South. This is the sacred home of the winged-serpents known as couatls, were none of the free people are allowed to go. The Storm Mountains are among the tallest of the whole continent but even there, only the highest peaks are devoid of trees.

Far into the north, incredibly tall evergreens suddenly give in to impenetrable glaciers. The boreal forests are perhaps the strangest of them all, and the most hostile to the free people and their allies. Whereas the Dark Woods can sometimes be seen as hateful and malevolent, the northern trees seem to be filled with an essence of true evil. These forests are nonetheless home to the harpies and their griffons servants, whose influence stretches far beyond the borders of their so-called kingdom.

The eastern coast and the heartlands remain the tamest parts of the continent where most tribes of sprites and vegepygmies live. The heartlands also shelter the aasimars and their automaton servants living in the ruins of their ancient empire. Only the city of Excelsior survived the tides of time intact. Shining as a beacon of light in a dark sea of trees, the city of Excelsior is home to more than half the aasimar population of the Dark Woods. The eastern coast is also where the Sphinx has erected his temple to the Oracle, and where the hidden kingdom of the gitablilu lies.

Everywhere around the Dark Woods, angry oceans await the fools who dare take to the sea. No culture ever mastered sea travel, for the seas possess an awareness similar to that of the Dark Woods themselves. Five large islands emerging out of the eastern sea were once settled by sprites and aasimars at the height of their empire. Nowadays, all but one are deserted and abandoned to the wilderness.

Eons ago, demons invaded the Dark Woods, threatening to pull the world into the Abyss. The Powers Above responded by sending a host of their celestial army to cleanse the Dark Woods of their presence. When the demons where vanquished, the celestial host departed but many of the aasimar soldiers stayed behind. There they established their civilization, claiming the world as theirs. Theirs kingdoms rose into a mighty empire but later degenerated into decadence, folly and war. This later era is better known as the Woodland Wars, where many aasimars abandoned their former gods for the more sinister powers of the Dark Woods. Initially starting as a civil war between aasimars, the conflict eventually escalated to a continental scale war involving virtually every race of the Dark Woods who often fought on both sides of the battlefield. Even though the bright aasimars ultimately won, they are now a stagnant and dying people cut away from their planar homes. The overgrown ruins of their former empire and the rusting carcasses of their clockwork soldiers litter the Dark Woods, often serving as home to a tribe of sprites or lonely beast. Also harkening to those times, the girtablilu curse still affect many aasimar newborns to this day. This curse causes infants to be born with the lower part of a scorpion, usually killing the mother in childbirth. Already strong enough to survive, the monstrous newborn is traditionally handed over to the girtablilu order, forever exiled from the light of Excelsior.

Most other inhabitants of the Dark Woods live now as they ever did even before the arrival of the aasimars, and much of their history reside in tribal myths and oral traditions. Other than the constant raiding and survival against wild beasts, the most enduring conflict opposes the couatls against the nagas. This eon-long conflict mostly involves skirmishes and political struggles, rarely erupting into open warfare. Although this conflict predates the arrival of the aasimars, it did reach an apex during the Woodland Wars and has erupted at least once in recent times. This last episode saw many casualties among tribes of sprites, goblins and boggards.

For the most parts, the Dark Woods live on a fragile harmony between most of its inhabitants, but this balance is about to be put to the test. A new evil is rising in the north, one that has still to be clearly identified and understood. Whole cabals of cannibalistic sprites are on the run and vegepygmies report tales of cruelty going beyond the typical woodland malevolence. Undead creatures rise before the woods claims them, ghost appear when the north wind blows and the girtablilu read foreshadowing of ancient prophecies…

I had the privilege of DMing a few games in my setting; a rare occurrence in my history of homebrewed settings...

Changed/tweaked/polished quite a few things. I've been building something like a Player's Guide to the Dark Woods; I'll be posting update as I format and google-doc them, starting with the introduction (a good place to start, even if this part hasn't changed much)

Dark Woods Campaign Setting

A new evil is rising from the north. Sprites brace themselves for a new war, and the vegepygmies observe with deep concerns the growing corruption of their forests. At the heart of the Dark Woods, the clockwork-loving aasimars and their automaton servants stand stalwart upon the walls of their tall towers. Meanwhile from the temples of their hidden kingdom, the scorpion-women of the girtablilu read the signs of ancient prophecies coming true. Will the free people of the Dark Woods have the strength to weather the tide? Will heroes rise among them to oppose the emerging shadow and change the fate of their world? Enter the eaves of the Dark Woods and find out for yourself!

Welcome to the Dark Woods, a land of dangerous beasts, wild spirits and wicked trees. Stretching across the whole continent, gloomy forests seem uncannily aware, as if they were constantly bending their will against anyone or anything that escapes their control. Trees of incommensurable age dominate every inch of land leaving no plains, desert or clearing to escape from their grasp. Light barely reaches the forest floor where life is choked by heat and lack of air. Tribes of cannibalistic sprites, malicious spirits and ancient dragons complete the picture, making the Dark Woods a truly dangerous and frightful world. A few regions are made peaceful and cheerful with the presence of bright sprites and benevolent spirits but for most parts, the Dark Woods emanate a sinister but majestic beauty.

Humans, elves, dwarves and most other typical fantasy races are conspicuously absent from this world, but the Dark Woods are far from being deserted. Dozens of different races inhabits the Dark Woods; most of them living a primitive lifestyle barely exceeding stone-age level of technology. Of all the denizen of the Dark Woods, the diminutive sprites and the mold-men known as vegepygmies have established the most diverse and wide-spread civilizations. Both species live culturally rich tribal lives, entertaining diplomatic and commercial ties with most other inhabitants of the Dark Woods. While many of these inhabitants also reached variable degrees of civilization, none shine as brightly as the aasimars; a nation of highly educated beings born in Upper Planes and now residing in the Dark Woods. Their history is both grand and sad, continuously reminded by the existence of the girtablilu; a curse causing many aasimar females to be born with the lower body of a scorpion. Used both as a name for the curse and for those afflicted by it, the girtablilu have over the years formed a nation of their own. The aasimars are also assisted by a race of sentient constructs known as automatons. Despite their body of brass and steel, automatons show more heart than many living creatures of the Dark Woods. Together, these five races form the free people of the Dark Woods, five nations of beings refusing to submit to the malevolent will of the Dark Woods.

Most movies are better than their sequels. The question isn't whether the sequel is better, but whether it is good enough to be remembered and appreciated for a movie in its own.

Evil Dead and Army of Darkness are so different that it is hard to judge one against the other. As a farce and a satire, Army of Darkness is one of the best in its category IMO

Ultradan wrote:
The sequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (which, funny enough, is also called The Thing), is actually a prequel, which shows what happenned at the norvegian arctic camp before the events of the first film. It actually leads to the helicopter (chasing the dog) scene...

I didn't know that existed!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I know I'm not in majority, but I really Love Chronicles of Riddick, which is kind of a sequel.

Empire Strikes Back. Most sequels reuse the same music or variations of. The musical themes of Star Wars really come into their own in Empire, a rare feat in any sequel.

Shrek II. One of the only sequel that really holds to its original IMO (along with Aliens)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Temple of Doom is a good sequel, but Last Crusade is magnificent.

oh, and Army of Darkness, if we can consider it a sequel to Evil Dead.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Toy Story II, and III for that matter

Back to the Future II and III aren't quite as good as I, but they are really good sequels nonetheless

Aliens of course. It has been stated, but it's worth repeating.

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