What we know about modern Warren magic:
- It is not the only form of magic, and is distinct from racially-aligned Elder magic and many other older kinds of magic (such as that of the Holds and spirit magics)
- Modern Warren magic is more subtle and sophisticated, but also narrower and more specialised than magic of the Holds. There are things you can do with Warrens that are impossible with the Holds (for example mental manipulation).
- The alien ore otataral is inimical to Warren magic, completely nullifying it when in proximity. It doesn't, however, work on Elder magic.
- Only humans use the magic of the modern Warrens.
- A few humans are born with natural talent that will manifest in some form regardless of whether they are taught. However many (even most) people can learn to use the Warrens, with training and discipline.
- Most humans can only access one Warren; even in those who can use more than one, they rarely have access to the High path of more than one.
- Use of magic is just one of many paths to Ascendancy, which extends a practicioner's lifespan beyond normal mortal limits.
- Humans with Elder blood can use Elder Warrens as well as that of the modern Warrens.
- Any trained practicioner can sense the use of Warren magic by any other. Those with an inborn talent can often do this as well. People throwing lots of magic around can cause headaches and worse to practicioners on the sidelines.
- Warrens can be invested in items, though that doesn't appear to do a lot in many cases (besides doing stuff like preventing flint weapons from breaking).
- One of the most basic techniques is alteration of a practicioner's vision to "see" through their Warren. Not only does this allow them to see magic, but it can also be used to augment vision in darkness, for example.
The human Warrens:
- Aral Gamelon: The Path of Demons, allows the summoning and control of demons; related to Hood's Path.
- Denul: The Path of Healing; allows treatment of injuries and diseases.
- D'riss: The Path of the Stone; allows petrification of wood and passage through solid stone, the flesh of the Sleeping Goddess Burn.
- Hood's Path: The Path of Death; allows animation of corpses, communication with spirits and control over demons.
- Imperial: Formerly Kallor's Empire, made into a warren by the Elder god K'rul to contain the destruction of a continent.
- Meanas: The Path of Shadow and Illusion, allows the manipulation of colour and sound.
- Mockra: The Path of the Mind, allows manipulation of thoughts and emotions of individuals and groups.
- Ruse: The Path of the Sea, allows manipulation of pressure and summoning of underwater creatures.
- Rashan: The Path of Darkness, allows concealment through shadow.
- Serc: The Path of the Sky, allows travel through the air and the perception of and movement through the temperature and layers of gasses in the air.
- Telas: The Path of Fire, allows powerful blasts of fire.
- Tennes: The Path of the Land.
- Thyr: The Path of Light.
So, here is the deal:
Magic works in different ways.
I’m tired of the ‘magic system’ from D20 system. I’ve always looked at magic as something unique and different for each one.
That’s why I want your opinion about this: Read the fact above about magic and give your opinion to the suggestions bellow.
In mechanical terms, there’ll be some few common uses for your magic, the rest, It all depends on your imagination.
There’ll be of course some ‘guidelines’ of what you can and can’t really do. However, for the rest, magic will be something you can shape and bend at your will.
There’ll be no ‘magic points or magic usage by day’.
Each character, if you choose to have magic, will have some capacity to use magic. That will not be something you’ll know at first, but when the game develops, you’ll be able to ‘understand and know your limits’, more than that, you’ll not be limited by it, you can always use more than your body manages, at risk of damaging your own body.
What do you think?
Hey DM Aku! Thank you for inviting me!
And I agree. Some more uniqueness and flexibility in the magic system could be fun to play around with. You know I do love my rituals. : )
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Anyway, I don't know how much of this you have worked out, or if you are looking for suggestions, or even what base game you want to use. But I'm going to offer advice anyway.
Have you ever read any of the White Wolf Mage stuff? It somewhat sounds a lot like what you might want out of this.
In Mage, magic was broken up into 'spheres' where each sphere had a different effect. Each Mage had a ranking (generally 0-5) in the various spheres, and that ranking determined how big of an effect they could get.
The spheres were (usually):
- Prime - the ability to call forth and bind raw magic essence.
- Correspondence - the ability to affect distance and space.
- Time - the ability to affect... time.
- Spirit - the ability to affect otherworldly entities.
- Mind - the ability to affect thoughts and emotions.
- Forces - the ability to affect things like temperature and kinetic force.
- Matter - the ability to affect the form of non-living things.
- Life - the ability to affect the form of living substances.
- Entropy - the ability to affect random chance and fate.
One rank in a sphere was usually just enough to detect that thing, so a single rank in mind could detect the presence of thoughts and read emotions, while a single rank of entropy could sense fate, fortune, and misfortune.
Greater ranks gave greater control. Two ranks of matter would let you transmute basic substances from one to another. Three ranks in correspondence would let you teleport. Four ranks of spirit would let you open gates to other realms and bind spirits in items. Five ranks in mind would let you permanently change the way people think without them realizing it or completely and permanently separate a mind from it's body, making it an astral spirit.
Anyway, there were really no 'spells' per se. You came up with what you wanted to do, and as long as you were strong enough in the right spheres, then you could try to do it (make a roll for it). And an effect may require multiple spheres. For example, matter could be used to change a wooden door into a wooden chair. But if you wanted to make a chair out of thin air, you would need to conjure magical essence using prime and then use matter to form it.
Or you could use correspondence and life to detect life at a distance. Or time and entropy to read the future of a person or place.
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Also, each mage had their own 'style' and that was done via 'foci' - things or rituals that helped a mage focus on their magic. They had one general foci and then one personal foci for each sphere.
Foci could be anything, really, such as crystals, circles, bones, books, blood, math, sex, martial arts, singing, dancing, herbs, runes, even an internet connection or scientific equipment.
Without at least their general foci, magic was very difficult to do. With the use of a personal foci, that sphere was easier to use.
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Ok, quick and dirty summary done, it sounds like the different Warrens could be treated like different spheres, just with more complex effects. Innate abilities could be treated as either free 'ranks' in a warren, or as pre-determined effects that just have little to no chance of failure, or require no 'foci' or rituals to use.
Anyway, just a thought. : )
If you want to hear more, or want to propose something of your own, I'd love to discuss it.
I've talked with a friend about this, and the told me exacly the same thing: Look a lot like Mage from white wolf.
I've never played storyteller nor ever read the books. But I liked the idea.
I would like to keep the base system as pathfinder.
It's a solid one and I like it, I just think that magic could be made more interesting and personal and less 'combat' suff.
@Blond and Iron, what do you think?
To be fair, you could keep everything else and make just the magic system like that. As a DM you could either give us points to allocate as we grow, or do something like letting us buy them with XP or feats.
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If you want to keep the magic system pathfindery, why not make some modifications to the spell words system? Give each Warren a smattering of different spell words (of course you might need to either make up new ones or restrict them to certain descriptors, like light, earth, water, etc).
You can get rid of the daily limits and instead either make more complicated effects take longer to create (maybe modified by our level) or make bigger effects cause non-lethal damage. Maybe make effects that go beyond what we should be able to do cause either lethal damage or con damage?
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In general, how much of a system did you plan to use for it? Were you thinking it to be more of a in-the-moment DM adjudication thing? Or were you wanting to lay down some kind of system for it, based on how pathfinder does magic?
I'm cool with any of it. I've just read a lot of different game systems, and am currently scanning them in my head for ideas to suggest.
Well, I’ll use what we decide here. One of the motives, not the principal, I invited you guys, is because I’ve always felt that, you don’t play to make strong characters, nor you try to exploit things in your favor, you just want ‘to play’. It’s hard to explain, sorry. ^^
Anyway, based on that, I knew that I could expose ideas and propose a powerful and easily exploited magic system, but you guys would understand the base concept and see the potential for creation and history and roleplay.
Anyway, that’s just a suggestion, if in the end we thing that it might be too complicated, I’ll keep the Pathfinder magic system.
Q:Were you thinking it to be more of a in-the-moment DM adjudication thing?
Not really, I was planning to create some guidelines, and let the rest for players to decide.
Here we have some good advice about dmg and test and other things. I was planning to get this as base, and let the player decide the rest. That’s why this project will never really work in tabletop games, because you’ll need time to think and design all king of stuff.
Or were you wanting to lay down some kind of system for it, based on how pathfinder does magic?
I’m thinking about other things too. There’s a 3rd party rule about magic, called: Pact magic.
I’ve heard some great things about it, and the name seems very intriguing to me.
And that’s other thing I wanted your advice about, any 3pp you want to try or use?
I think I understand what you are saying. And I consider it a compliment. : )
And I have no problems with a complicated system or a simple open-ended one. I'll find ways to fluff out and be creative either way.
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As far as just making stuff up and throwing it at the wall via the DMG suggestions, that could be interesting. It can just hard to determine just how strong a spell is, especially if it can be used for intentions other than what was intended.
Then again, that is what discussion is for. : )
Though I still wonder if the word system might not be a good way to try and determine some base idea of a spells power.
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You mean Pact magic from the 3.5 Tome of Magic? It's been a long time since I read over it, but it seemed really interesting.
As far as other supplements go, I always thought that Monte Cooks Arcana Unearthed book had a good setup for magic (at least for a DnD style). That said, it was designed based on 3.0 and would take a lot of work to port over to pathfinder. And, honestly, is just the same Vancian system with a little more flexibility in how you use your spells.
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And as much as I know some people hate it... have you looked at the 3.5 Tome of Battle and their Blade Magic system? The magic system in it is rather combat oriented, but the concept could be shifted for non-combat purposes.
Hey all, not a lot of free time today, but I'll go over things in more depth tomorrow.
Couple of off the cuff thoughts: I played White Wolf's Mage: the Ascension back in the day, and I loved the theoretical system they described. In actual play, most of my group found it cumbersome and confusing and slow. Awesome idea - complex execution that required more work than most players were really willing to put in. I don't know if they cleaned it up in later editions.
Pact magic is pretty cool. Its been updated for pathfinder by radiance house. I'm using it as the driving force behind my BBEG in my own current campaign. Its simple to implement and very flavourful. Its powers are not nearly as far reaching, flexible or world changing as the current magic system. I don't know if its robust enough to replace magic wholesale, but it would make a good supplemental system.
I like Melasoul's suggestion of looking more closely at the words of power system - lot of potential there I think.
Other magic systems that sounded intriguing that I haven't checked out yet include the Ethermancer, and an updated truename magic system, both by Interjection games.
Huh. We never had that problem when I DM'ed Mage, but then again, the players just asked me what they wanted to do and I told them the requirements. I also kept a custom table of the spheres and there effects at different ranks that I distributed every game session.
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Agreed about the pact system. I was reading over it and it seems cool, but more like something you might want to do supplemental to a different magic system.
Yeah, the word system is looking better, but we would need some custom words for more utilitarian, non-combat tasks. More cantrip level words would be nice too.
For example, I would like some 'conjuration' or 'manifestation' words to create things out of thing air. And some 'shaping' words to transmute materials.
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Anyway, thinking about how to handle 'unlimited' spells. Obviously, it depends on the magic system we go with, but some general ideas:
As I mentioned before, making spells do non-lethal damage based on spell level, and then having the cost reduced by character level, would allow for there to be some growth and cost to using them. Let spells do lethal damage for power boosts.
Similar to above, give spells a 'cooldown' period after casting. I don't remember what book it was in, but 3.5 had rules for it: SRD link
Casting a spell has some kind of toll or penalty to the caster upon completion. Again, 3.5 had rules for something like it: SRD link
I know you said no spell points DM Aku, but by using the 3.5 spell points system and allowing them to recharge over time, even faster than originally suggested or without rest, then you get effective unlimited spellcasting with limited spellcasting in short windows. SRD link
Anyway, just throwing some ideas out there.
Well, that's not really what I was thinking.
It was more like: you have some X number of magic points (you'll not know this number), but you can always use more than that 'limit' if you wishes to, passing that limit, you start to take damage from your spell.
What I was thinking is that Magic, being that powerful, had some risks to the conjurer.
I'm thinking on using a lot of supplements.
The idea is having a place where everything is different, giving it a feeling that magic is something different for everyone.
Giving a feeling of 'uniqueness' to each caster, since we'll not have a 'list' of know spells.
Have you guys ever heard of the 'Mongoose Legend' RPG?
Here is my copy of the Core rulebook.
Take a look at the hp and 'body part's' rules. It makes combat a brutal affair. I found them really cool, I was thinking in integrating part of them into Pathfinder. A friend of mine will help me with some tests over the next days, I'll tell you then how it went.
Weekend is at end. During this week, I’ll try write down in rule terms what I wanted with the magic system, then we can discuss it better.
I don't have much experience in other magic systems, so likely won't be of much use in suggesting alternatives.
I have played with body part rules before and it can be fun, though it makes combat extremely deadly as a bad roll can literally one shot a PC (or for all effective purposes take them out of combat). When we did play with body rules, we had extra PCs for when our died just due to the deadly nature of that style of play.
I can second blondebandit's statement: body part rules are cool, but they do tend to be deadly. I've used several third party supplements for body part and critical hit tables, and all of them have resulted in more... fatalities.
So I just made my own that gave out different effects based on weapon damage type and severity that mostly just dolled out stat penalties of various natures. I can post it here if you'd like.
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And if we're really talking about modifying things, I have some things to maybe suggest.
Have you read any of the posts Kirth Gersen about Kirthfiner? If not, I'll summarize: Kirth thinks that the game has a huge disparity between martial classes and spellcasters. As such, he has made huge modifications to the rules to do three things:
1) Give martial characters more flexibility in combat, especially the fighter
2) Make feats as good as class features (see that comment about fighters)
3) Make skills have unique effects that are not simply surpassed by magic.
And while I have not played with them, they seem really neat. Again, if you are interested, I can put up a link to the docs for them.
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I also posted my own rules for bringing back the concept of 'weapon speeds' to the game, which I would be happy to repost if anybody cares to hear it.
The other option I've always considered when dealing with the huge disparity between martial and casters is to gestalt. Risky if you have a known min-maxer who cheeses the added power to break the game, but with a good group it can be tons of fun as it gives all your characters a little more depth plus gives your fighters the ability to self-buff, etc.
My group has gestalted some in the past, and while it helps, it's kind of an odd way to fix the problem with martials. Because, it is essentially going "Yeah, magic is a lot better than fighting, so let's just give everyone magic".
Also, I was always the person that wanted to gestalt two casters...
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Kirthfinder has some really neat ideas, based off of older editions of DnD. For example, you can move up to half of your speed and still make a full attack. Also, if making a full attack, you can hold off attacks (other than your first) to either parry or attack someone else later. And you can move move that half your speed however you want between attacks.
There is also an expanded list of combat maneuvers that is pretty nice.
Feats also tend to improve based on your base attack bonus, so a lot of the feat chains have been collapsed.
Anyway, just lots of neat stuff. If anyone cares for it, let me know and I'll send it to you.
Let's wait on Aku rule terms for magic first I suppose. Depending on how different they are to pathfinder magic it could sort out the issue without having to resort to other changes.
and ya Kirthfinder is an awesome read, but it's almost a total remake of pathfinder. To the point I would consider it basically using a different system by that point.
This is true. And I don't think I would implement all of the changes, if I were running a game. But I would like to give martials a lot more flexibility, plus shore up the monk, fighter, and rogue. And a lot of the base combat changes Kirthfinder suggests do a good job of that, I feel.
I also have some issues with the Pathfinder skill system. Well, mostly how beyond a couple of skills, it is almost completely irrelevant, and the characters that tend to focus on them usually get out-performed by casters. (I'm looking at you, bard, with your completely-overshadowing-the-rogue-in-every-way)
Anyway, I was just idly discussing things until we hear more. : )
Very busy week, I'm participating in a symposium about software engineer. I'll try to have it posted until Saturday. Also, Melasoul I want to know more.
From what you guys said, apart from the dices, it has a lot os resemblance with the combat system in legend RPG.
-Posted with Wayfinder
Sorry it took me so long.
Here is a (very) basic layout of what I was thinking:
All classes would be replaced.
Here we have template classes.
My intention was to create ‘flexible’ classes. There would be a ‘pool’ of class features, and each level you would select one and add to your class.
That would make lots of combinations, resulting in very ‘different’ classes.
What could be acquired from class features? Basically, everything for the other classes. From all replaced classes, those class features would compose that ‘pool’
Talking now about magic directly.
There would be a ‘manifestation level’ that would grant access to magic power;
You start with only ‘one’ warren, and when you level up, you can learn to use others, albeit weaker than your principal warren.
Only true conjurers would be able to achieve the High path (manifestation level 7,8,9)
Partial conjurers would be able to reach the Path (4,5,6)
Cantrip conjurers only the basic Path (1,2,3) and those really gifted (4).
The ‘spell list’ don’t exist anymore. The current spells would be divided to fit a certain warren.
Those would be able to use when the caster wanted, without preparation. Based on the existing ‘spells’ the conjurer can create new spells on the fly.
I know it’s a lot of things, and my writing don’t help, but tell me what you think.
That is a initial concept. Never really had chance to talk about this with someone else, so I gather that lot's of changes are due until it get's on it's final stage.
What I was thinking from the beginning was:
If you don't have any magic skill, you can't pick up from the class features that gives magical powers.
If you are a true caster, you can't pick up specialized martial class feature only.
About the improvement with level? No, I don't think so. If that was the case, martial classes would get really really really more powerful than arcane.
I was hoping that flexibility would compensate things.
One thing I've been considering was collapsing some feat chains in one single feat. A good example would be Vital strike. Get the first feat, all the rest comes with level up.
Then again, those are just suggestion, I would love to hear what you think that could be changed.
For the collapsed feat, they do that in Kirthfinder based on BaB, so you might want to check that out, if just to save you some work.
Well, I was thinking about stuff like sneak attack, favored enemy, and weapon mastery. Your template gives at most 20 class abilities to the warrior class. So let’s look at the fighter. If each bonus of a class feature counts as 1, then the fighter has this many:
Weapon Training (first group): 4
Weapon Training (second group): 3
Weapon Training (third group): 2
Weapon Training (fourth group): 1
Armor Training: 4
Weapon Mastery: 1
Armor Mastery: 1
Bonus Feats: 11
That’s a total of 32 ‘class feature’ slots. Which is way more than that class is given.
What I would propose, is to collapse together anything that only gives growing numbers into a single class feature, and then grow those numbers based on something like BaB.
So something like this:
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Requirements: BaB 5
Select a weapon group. When wielding a weapon from that group you gain a +1 to hit and damage. This bonus increases by 1 for every four BaB past 5th (9, 13, 17). Bonuses from overlapping weapon groups do not stack.
You also adds this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with weapons from this group. This bonus also applies to your Combat Maneuver Defense when defending against disarm and sunder attempts made against weapons from this group.
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This makes the fighter now:
Weapon Training (first group): 1
Weapon Training (second group): 1
Weapon Training (third group): 1
Weapon Training (fourth group): 1
Armor Training: 1
Weapon Mastery: 1
Armor Mastery: 1
Bonus Feats: 11
He is now 19 points. He fits in your 20 class feature template, with one left over, and a little stronger since all 4 of his weapon groups have the full bonus.
Now, some things, like sneak attack, might be a little too big for a single class feature, but you could break them up into chucks. Like breaking sneak attack into 4 ‘class features’ that each give you 5 sneak attack dice, that grow based on level (or BaB or something).
@Aku: In terms of players... not anyone that I've played with recently that I would say I could recommend in any confidence. Could potentially check with some of my older contacts if we want to fill out the group a bit. how many you players thinking you want to run?
on Class Feature balance: I don't think we can get too caught up in massive balance issues, though I would also be curious to know how to handle things that get iteratively better. With any flexible system there will be ways to break it in a massive way. (my immediate example would be: Class Features lvl 1-6: Weapon Training, Sneak attack, Favoured Enemy, Smite Evil, Animal Companion. So +1 from WT, +2 from FA, +cha bonus from smite to attack. and +1 from WT, +2 from FA, +lvl from smite, +1d6 sneak to damage and an animal companion to top it off so you always have a flanking buddy). I think the simplest answer is we all have enough knowledge of the system to not break it or abuse it and just have to trust each other to not go power hungry crazy build, I mean, if we wanted too we could all break it within the rules as well.
I also imagine as with any homebrew that retcon power adjustments will be likely to happen as we level up and disparities happen.
My only concern about having such a fluid concept like that, is that our expectations of balance will shift, and so we need something to center ourselves.
Basically, since 'anything' is possible, how do we initially determine what is overpowered and what isn't? Do we compare it to base pathfinder power levels? If so, how do we account for the modified magic system? How do we scale our expectations of power as we level up?
It isn't that I don't trust us to not go crazy, but we need some way to establish a consensual concept of 'brokenness'. I mean, if you did nothing but play 3.0 core DnD, and someone walked in with a Pathfinder character, you'd think it was incredibly broken. Shifting to the new concepts requires a shift of perspective.
So part of the question is, what are we comparing against to determine brokenness? Each other? Base Pathfinder? Something else?
Not that I expect such things to be decided now, or maybe even ever, but just something that I felt was worth bringing up.
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Though I will say that I disagree with comment about being able to massively break any flexible system. If you ever get the chance, check out Mutants and Masterminds 2nd edition. It is a D20 point buy system for superhero games, but the power creation system, while complicated, is amazingly flexible (even able to replicate the ‘only showed up in a single issue’ style powers) and rather well balanced.
Probably one of the best built systems I have ever seen.
All fair points. I have actually looked at mutants and masterminds before. It is a really cool system.
And I completely agree that we need a control of some sort to compare against. I would suggest the easiest might be if Aku created an example character of each of the 4 classes. It would give us a good idea of the power level he is thinking about. Ideally if he gave the build of the example characters in a couple of key tiers (so say at lvl 1, 10, 15, and 20) it should give us an approximate guide for our own characters.
I'll do as Blond asked, but may take some time, but I'll do it.
Also, I originally did not plan having skills scaling with level up.
I mean, at third level, you could use one of your class features to upgrade your sneak attack from your level one. But that would make you still spend an class feature.
I'm sure that in the end, we'll need to revise things.
A good exemple would be this:
I create a 'fighter' and at level 5 I pick up sneak attack. it would be the same as level 1 sneak attack. At level 7, if I wanted I could pick up another class feature that would make my sneak 2d6.
At the point you get that class feature, it would always count it as level 1 for you. More than that, it would not scale altomatically with level up. You would need to choose to upgrade it expending another class feature. That would 'limit' the power of the martial class.
Hi, been reading along, but not a lot to add. Wow, you all are talking about sweeping reconstruction - practically a new system from the ground up! Which is cool, but might end taking you away from your goal of telling great stories.
Seems to me there are lots of 3PP solutions (Like RGGs 'talented' line) that would scratch the itch for something new without reinventing the wheel. Heck there's a huge framework within pathfinder itself to work with - just by creating a series of campaign specific archtypes, spell lists, restrictions etc you can really change the flavour and mechanics of a game.
If you decide to go with the major revamps you've been describing upthread, I'm happy to playtest the heck out of whatever you come up with, but don't know how much help I can be with design.
Either way, I'm stoked to see what you come up with!
I've invited one more. I'll ask him to report for this thread and join up the discussion.
Also, in the end apart from some modifications to the magic system, because the current one don't fit the warren thing, and other 3rd party you think it's good to add, I’ll not modify too much the base system.
I'm just enjoying the opportunity to discuss this with such players :D
@Blond, there's so much to cover about background that the task feels daunting! Anyway, this weekend I’ll spend some time to create the base classes as you asked and bring it up more ‘background’ information. You can create about anything you want. Just to mention you’ll be part of the Bridgeburnes.
The action will start nine years after that initial post. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.