Woodsmoke's Reign of Winter

Game Master Woodsmoke

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Acrobatics +8, Climb +8, Intimidate +3, Linguistics +1, Perception +7, Spellcraft +5, Survival +7, Swim +8
HP 35/35, AC 15 T 11 FF 14, Per +7 Init +1, F +5 R +2 W +2, CMB +7, CMD 19, Speed 45

I have one in my list too. I suspect you might be right Cara. Unless we got two batches of them.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0
Woodsmoke wrote:

I've been mentally wrestling with how to go about selling stuff in Waldsby. By the book, it has a 2500 gp purchase limit, that the town can afford to buy single items worth up to 2500 gold...but it just doesn't make sense to me, I guess. This is an oppressed village in the middle of nowhere that gets no outsiders or traders where a lot of stuff is "commandeered" by the local overlord. With the explanations of the village and its locations in the book, other than the few magical items a few of the shopkeeps have to sell, it doesn't even sound like any given person in Waldsby could scrounge up 50 gold pieces to their name, let alone 2,5000. That's why I am more incline to have you guys see about bartering items for stuff they have along with your own coins. A backwoods peasant might not have much use for a diamond or a jeweled necklace, but those are things that they would see as valuable treasures worth having over magical armor or potions or what have you. The adventure doesn't really have many opportunities for real buying/selling, so I don't mind you getting some stuff at kind of a discount if it works out that way.

How is a level 2 commoner who has never left their oppressed settlement of 150 people going to know how much a magical belt is worth anyway?

That sounds fine with me, Woodsmoke. I hadn't picked up on the divine scrolls and potion of featherstep, sweet. I'd also like to share the thunderstones and liquid ice, I think if we're going to regularly fight spellcasters like the white witches then the thrunderstones will come in handy.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

That's fine, Asgrid. Take one of each and that'll leave Geedra with one as well.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Would anyone like some flasks of alchemist's fire? I seem to have ten flasks in my pack, I'm thinking before no one else was keen on them, but it might be good to share them out.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Geedra already had four, so maybe kronek or Cara want a few of them.

Acrobatics +8, Climb +8, Intimidate +3, Linguistics +1, Perception +7, Spellcraft +5, Survival +7, Swim +8
HP 35/35, AC 15 T 11 FF 14, Per +7 Init +1, F +5 R +2 W +2, CMB +7, CMD 19, Speed 45

I'll take one just in case of swarmy stuff, but it isn't going to be a typical tactic for Kronek.

F Elf Ranger 5 - HP 17/39 - AC 19/T: 15/FF: 14 - Perception +14, Low-light Vision - Fort: +6, Ref: +10, Will: +4 (+2 to enchantments, Immune magic sleep, +1 Cold) - CMB: +6, CMD: 21 - Speed: 30 - Init. +7 (-2 to Init and Perception when not Cold)

Cara is already carrying 8 Alchemist Fires, she's good for now. :)

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

One to Kronek then, and actually I only had 8 as I'd used two against the skeletons. Seven then that I'll keep for my private arsenal. :)

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female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Received some new books at the library today and was surprised to find that one was a children's book about .... Baba Yaga!

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Awesome! Baba Yaga is cool!

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Yeah. It was just an early reader book, but it still gave me some ideas for what to do if we ever come across one of those huts.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

I'll be temporarily out of action, mice chewed through some of wiring around the house and it's caused all sorts of problems over the weekend. Internet's currently down, and so I reckon I'll be out of action until it's sorted. If I get an opportunity I'll post during my lunchbreak at work, but realistically it might be towards the end of the week when things are up and running at home again.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

GM, I've got a character question concerning Asgrid, no rush for an answer but thought I would post it up now as I might forget to later. I've just come across the winter oracle mystery, and wondering if it's possible to swap that for Asgrid's Water mystery. It seems to suit a lot better her theme of having ice and snow powers, and she could keep her existing revelations gained so far. I thought it makes more sense as I wasn't sure how to make use of some of the other revelations in the Water mystery, in a snow-shrouded wonderland. It may have some impact on her class skills, I'd have to look further into that. Maybe next time Asgrid levels in Oracle, she can do some retraining?

I came across mention of it on the messageboards, but I think it was originally published in People of the North and is available on the SRD.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Sorry for my absence, not sure where last week went. Well, admittedly I've got a good idea, over Christmas my wife and I subscribed to Amazon Prime for a month and got hooked on Man in the High Castle. We've been trying to watch it before ending the subscription. It was good, but I feel I've lost a week of my life.

I had a funny encounter with wild boars while spending a student summer on Catalina Island. I don't think they were nearly as big as these boars were, but they still scared the bejeezers out of me.

Acrobatics +8, Climb +8, Intimidate +3, Linguistics +1, Perception +7, Spellcraft +5, Survival +7, Swim +8
HP 35/35, AC 15 T 11 FF 14, Per +7 Init +1, F +5 R +2 W +2, CMB +7, CMD 19, Speed 45

Welcome back Asgrid! I'm just starting Episode 10 myself.

Sorry guys, was house/dog sitting most of this week so my computer access was limited. Back home now so post coming tomorrow and more regularly subsequently.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Sorry for absence, my computer was hacked earlier this week and I didn't want to use it online until I could get it sorted. I'll post forthwith. What have I missed?

The Exchange

Sorry again for absence, RL took over for a few days and for some reason it just took ages to get back into the swing of things.

Acrobatics +8, Climb +8, Intimidate +3, Linguistics +1, Perception +7, Spellcraft +5, Survival +7, Swim +8
HP 35/35, AC 15 T 11 FF 14, Per +7 Init +1, F +5 R +2 W +2, CMB +7, CMD 19, Speed 45

I've been in the same boat. Trying to get back into everything now.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Are we getting close to hitting next level, DM? Just wondering.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Oooh, that would be exciting. On that note GM, a while ago I was asking whether I could change Asgrid's oracle mystery from Water to Winter, which I hadn't known about at the time of character creation. I was thinking it was a better fit for her concept and also would get more play in this setting, and wouldn't even need to retcon much as her current revelations are available to both mysteries. I don't think I got a response back, but apart from that change next time we level up I was going to take another level of Summoner. Grugkt seems a fixture now, it would be good to try to keep his abilities up.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Is there some feat out there that resembles Magical Knack but for summoners, letting them increase their eidolons for a couple of levels if they take another class? That would be nifty!

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Yeah, that would be good. Animal Archive has the Boon Companion feat that helps boost companions and familiars for those who are multiclassing, but I haven't really seen an equivalent for summoners. I think my plan is for Grugkt to use his feat slots to invest in Toughness.

Wow, apparently the discussion thread somehow got hidden in my focused thread page so I am just now seeing all of this!

You will be leveling very soon, fear not.

I am fine with you switching your mystery as well, Asgrid.

F Elf Ranger 5 - HP 17/39 - AC 19/T: 15/FF: 14 - Perception +14, Low-light Vision - Fort: +6, Ref: +10, Will: +4 (+2 to enchantments, Immune magic sleep, +1 Cold) - CMB: +6, CMD: 21 - Speed: 30 - Init. +7 (-2 to Init and Perception when not Cold)

I'm considering taking a snow owl for Cara's Hunter's Bond. Would you like to work that into the game play or would it be easier just to have one flock to her?

I don't mind working it in. I'm fine either way though, up to you.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Level 4 witch

HP 4
+1 BAB
+1 Will

+1 to Dex

New 0, 1, & 2 spell level cast per day
Two new spells known: CMW and See Invisibility.
Cold Resistance 5

Six skills: KA, KG, KN, KP, Spellcraft and UMD.

F Elf Ranger 5 - HP 17/39 - AC 19/T: 15/FF: 14 - Perception +14, Low-light Vision - Fort: +6, Ref: +10, Will: +4 (+2 to enchantments, Immune magic sleep, +1 Cold) - CMB: +6, CMD: 21 - Speed: 30 - Init. +7 (-2 to Init and Perception when not Cold)

Level 4 Ranger

HP +7
+1 BaB
+1 Fort
+1 Ref

+1 Dex (Up to 20, +1 Ranged, AC, Init, Ref)

+1 Perception
+1 Survival
+1 Handle Animal
+1 Knowledge (nature)
+1 Stealth
+2 ranks Knowledge (local)

1 Ranger Spell Slot due to Wisdom modifier bonus

Owl Companion (see profile), still need to come up with a name

GM, how did you want to handle learning tricks? The owl can know up to 7 tricks. It starts with 1 bonus tricks, but it takes a week and a successful Handle Animal check to teach it each additional trick. Depending the time frames involved, it may be behind on tricks for a very long time.

So, here's my thing with animal companions:

One the one hand, I generally like to play by the given rules where possible (and usually sitting down at a table I like to strive for more realistic interpretations of the rules; in my normal games I focus more on the "medieval" than the "fantasy" of medieval fantasy), but animal companion stuff can really bog things down unnecessarily and they are a bit wonky. For example, if your animal knows the Attack trick, and you want it to attack something, you make a handle animal check. Rangers make this check as a free action and get A +4 bonus on handling their own companion, which would make your HA skill with your owl +12. DC to have it do a trick it knows is 10. Can't really fail, so it just becomes an unnecessary roll. Pushing it to do something it can possibly do but doesn't know as a trick requires a big jump to DC 25 - which, at a +12, you get about 50% of the time. But again, that means a lot of the time you are just making another roll every time you want the owl to do something, which just becomes cumbersome. While these rules I would apply to a character who, say, just has a dog or whatever, I think just letting characters with the animal companion ability have more control over their companions makes things easier without calling for a roll every time. This just represents a more supernatural bond with the beast. Trying to have the companion do something particularly strange or difficult would still prompt a check.

In regards to the tricks themselves, I was just looking at it and the way I always played was that animal companions start with 3 tricks per point of intelligence to begin with, and then the bonus tricks are just free additional ones you gain as you level. I see that that isn't the case in pathfinder, so I don't really know if it is a leftover thing from when I played D&D 3.0/3.5 or if it was just a houserule that the people who first taught me how to play used. But that is what I am used to, so I am fine with doing that here as well.

F Elf Ranger 5 - HP 17/39 - AC 19/T: 15/FF: 14 - Perception +14, Low-light Vision - Fort: +6, Ref: +10, Will: +4 (+2 to enchantments, Immune magic sleep, +1 Cold) - CMB: +6, CMD: 21 - Speed: 30 - Init. +7 (-2 to Init and Perception when not Cold)

That sounds very reasonable to me, I'll update the owl accordingly. Thanks!

Splendid. Looks good. I'll get things rolling again tomorrow after work to give Asgrid a little more time to level. It has taken us some time, but we are nearing the end of the first adventure! I know the progress has been slow going at times, so I appreciate everyone bearing with me and continuing to play. When this campaign started I worked a night job, only slept a few hours a day mostly, and pretty much did nothing whenever I was awake, so I had a lot more free time on my hands to post more frequently. I was also kind of stuck in a rut for a while since my offline tabletop game weren't going so well which sapped my drive and motivation for RPGs, I'll admit. I have recently gotten through that in starting a new homebrew campaign with some likeminded friends that has greatly rejuvenated me in this regard, so I'm looking forward to getting in a lot more posts in on the boards as well. I plan on going through the thread this week and collecting various information for the Campaign tab - compiling people, places, loot, etc - to better serve you as the GM since I have neglected that tab so far.

Further, in my renewed zest, I have a few game ideas I'd really like to see get off the ground, and it would be easier to do another game on the boards than with my playgroup offline, so please let me know if you might be interested in any homebrew games in the nearish future. Nothing I want to kick off right away - I want to make sure I can commit adequate time to this game before I getting into anything else so I don't end up overwhelmed, but just throwing it out there since you guys have been great to play with.

As I also stated, we might be on the lookout for a new addition to this game, pending Kronek's return. I'm not too keen to running a permanent NPC so if it looks like he won't be coming back I'd like a fourth person to join in. Should that happen I have a few ideas that could take Kronek out temporarily but would allow for the character's return should the player come back.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Im always up for a game, smoke. When you decide about it, just let us know.

F Elf Ranger 5 - HP 17/39 - AC 19/T: 15/FF: 14 - Perception +14, Low-light Vision - Fort: +6, Ref: +10, Will: +4 (+2 to enchantments, Immune magic sleep, +1 Cold) - CMB: +6, CMD: 21 - Speed: 30 - Init. +7 (-2 to Init and Perception when not Cold)

I would be interested in a potential homebrew fantasy game, sure.

All right, cool. I have a couple of ideas bouncing around that I would like to implement, with two of them sticking out the most but I would be up for whatever people gravitate towards the most.

Homebrew Stuff:
I'm not sure if any of you guys played 3rd edition D&D but they had a series of adventures in that version starting with The Sunless Citadel. The first time I ever played tabletop was going through that adventure and I have since played through / DMed it at different times with hopes to go through the whole string of adventures to no avail. They aren't connected so tightly as a pathfinder path, rather have a few wayside hooks and suggestions to go from one to the next (they were designed to be played completely independently from one another with a subtle leyline running through them that sort of ties them together as a series). Though obviously not entirely homebrew, in my history with these adventures, particularly the first, I've put a lot of my own design and flavor and subplot into them so I've made them my own in a way so would like to get through them someday.

My other prominent idea does take place fully in my world of been designing off and on for the past 15-16 years. This would take place in a desert-like land geographically akin to the Nile basin and surrounding deserts. I originally was planning to run an online campaign in this area years ago, just because I think pbp would work best for my intentions for it. Originally, my idea was to make it a complete and utter sandbox game that would be more (at least at the beginning) just a bunch of personal, solo campaigns for each player, and depending on what each character wanted to do or got involved in, the players may or may not ever meet. I would start everyone off in a major city by themselves, and just let them go.

I had the idea that the game could be whatever the players wanted it to be, so for example someone could make a character who wanted to run a business, and I would use rules from the books on doing that, and their encounters and adventures or what have you would revolve around all of that. Another character could want to be a political player, so their stuff would be tied into that. Another character could be a soldier, and their campaign would deal with that. Characters could still be regular ol' adventurers too, but they might not ever meet up with other players, and instead would go off with NPCs or something. Of course, players might meet up as well, but maybe not in a standard way - instead of being co-adventurers, one character could be hired by another, or one could be rescuing another, so on and so forth. I'm not sure if I'm explaining all of this correctly for what I have in my mind, but basically it was going to be a big game where characters could go off and do whatever they wanted, choose whatever path of play they found interesting.

That said, I'm not sure if I still want to go down the road of that original idea, but just thought I'd share it in case I do it someday. Otherwise, I'd still like to utilize this area, as I've put a lot of work into it over the years. I've written out histories and information on all of the races and nationalities, religions, regions, et cetera, so I'd like to put it to use at some point! Still would work fine for a 'standard' game of a group of adventurers.

As for my homebrew games, they tend to be a little bit on the lower magic side (I play pathfinder on and offline, but Golarion is a bit too high magic for my tastes in general). In the realm of medieval fantasy, my games tend to be skewed more medieval than fantasy. That is not to say that magic isn't around - can still play any magical class and all - or that magic items aren't around - as a general rule of thumb, potions and scrolls are common, but things like magic weapons/armor/rings/etc are somewhat rare - and "magic item shops" aren't really a thing. I don't play with resurrection spells (there usually are ways to get revived in my games, but they are difficult to achieve, usually requiring quests and such), but I generally don't play with instant death stuff either to counterbalance.

I also don't usually GM with a preconceived story in place - my favorite part of the game is building the story with the players. I like the players to decide the direction of the game and like the story to unfold through them. I will have hooks for different things and different encounters for everywhere the players go, but I don't try to drag them into a certain story or plot or down the road of one. There will be stories and plots, but its up to the characters and players if they stumble across them, decide to get involved, etc. I like to use character information and backstories a lot to make the characters feel as ingrained into the world as possible so that the game is unique to them.

Anyway, kind of rambled on there, but just thought I'd give out some info on my homebrew style.

Also, I went back through the whole gameplay thread and tracked all of the loot. I added a spoiler on the campaign tab with everything in your possession that you have come across that wasn't sold/traded, or that was doled out to a specific character (cross-referenced everyone's character sheets). There is also a sum of gold there that was accumulated since the last time you divided gold up (all the way back in Heldren), so I will add all new gold found to that number until you decide what to do with it.

Also, noticed that Asgrid needs to update the Light Crossbow on her sheet to the Masterwork Light Crossbow she pulled off of the guard captain that attacked Waldsby, and Kronek is missing the Cold Iron Longsword he got from there as well.

F Elf Ranger 5 - HP 17/39 - AC 19/T: 15/FF: 14 - Perception +14, Low-light Vision - Fort: +6, Ref: +10, Will: +4 (+2 to enchantments, Immune magic sleep, +1 Cold) - CMB: +6, CMD: 21 - Speed: 30 - Init. +7 (-2 to Init and Perception when not Cold)

Either story idea sounds fine to me, although I have to admit I'm not very familiar with the campaign settings of 3rd edition D&D. I don't have the books for either, so my preference would to still use the Pathfinder system. That being said, I'd still be willing to play as long as your comfortable with me learning as we went along.

As for the more modular style of playing with individual characters doing their own things, it sounds good but in practice it might just end up being solo campaigns that only vaguely influence one another. Again, I'd be willing to try it, but would prefer to stay in a group to keep things simpler and keep things on the same pace.

As for your homebrew world, it sounds fine to me. The lower amount of magical items in the world is more akin to 2nd Ed. D&D where all that stuff becomes much more special.

I'd still be running pathfinder rules/system if I do the 3rd edition adventures, which I probably should have mentioned. They weren't a part of any campaign setting, just standalone adventures you could inject anywhere, so it would take place in just 'generic fantasy world,' or I'll adapt them to my world somewhere. I think I will do a standard group dynamic adventure if I roll with the desert place, just to make things easier, as you said.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Asgrid - taking a level in Summoner, now Oracle 2/Summoner 2

Cha +1
BA +1
Will +1
HP +6
Abilities - bond senses
Skills - Know Religion, Diplomacy, Heal
Summoner Spells - daze, summon monster I

Also swapped mysteries to take on Winter mystery (thanks Woodsmoke!). No major changes to character build, it changes some of my oracle class skills but it looks like the two overlap enough that it doesn't affect skill points that I've allocated already. I've kept the same revelations.

Grugkt - level 2 eidolon!
HD+1 (+7 hp)
BA +1
Fort +1, Will +1
Skills - Climb, Intimidate, Perception, Stealth (all +1)
Abilities - evasion
+2 natural armor bonus
+1 evolution point - spent to gain resistance 5 (cold)

I'll try to keep up with the posts, sounds exciting GM. I got Asgrid levelled up last week, but then stuck with no opportunity to post it up. The homebrew ideas sound like good fun, I'd be up for that. I think I've played one of the adventures in that series, can't recall the name at the moment but I remember it featured a black dragon. Thanks for the reminder about the masterwork crossbow.

I'm glad everyone is interested! I'm not specifically particular to either idea, so if you guys are leaning a certain way or another, that works. I have a lot of lore written for my desert land so I can start linking to it if anyone is interested in seeing what it is like.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

That would be cool, I'm always interested to see other players' homebrew worlds. Would your world have a place for psionics? I have a hankering to play an aegis. If not, no worries, there are lots of other character classes to try!

I'm not sure, to be honest. I usually don't track much with psionics in my games normally, but I'm not against making an exception. I could probably find a place for one if you wanted to play it, but it wouldn't be a common thing to the region at all, you'd either likely be a transplant from another area, or at least would have come by the powers in a strange way. I think usually psionic ability is innate, though? In which case something specifically interesting would had to have happened in some fashion to lead to that. Off the top of my head, the one place I could see putting it in is via the "religion" of the dwarves of the region. Dwarves in this particular area of my world (the region, by the way, is called Rekkar-Sarrat) are much different than stock fantasy dwarves, and their religion is based on the channeling and adherence to a nebulous group of entities called the Deep Ones, or the Vestiges. Eons ago these dwarves came across the remnants, the last remaining pieces of entities even more ancient, and the echoes of those beings' power lingered on in whispers and teachings, which the dwarves ended up building a pseudo-religion around. Something like psionics could possibly be a product of interaction with the Deep Ones. Beyond that, I might be able to come up with something else.

There are specific classes I don't allow in my games, mainly just for flavor reasons. Generally any class from Core, Advanced Player's, Advanced Class are fine. I generally do not allow Alchemist or Investigator (too steampunk for me), Magus (too many bloated rules and intricacies, and I'll admit I just am not fond of it), Gunslinger (guns), Samurai/Ninja/Monk (flavor), Summoner (I have my own rules regarding summoning in my world, so Summoner doesn't mesh with them). I'm always on the fence about the Swashbuckler. I'm not familiar enough with the Vigilante to make a call, nor the classes from Occult Adventures, but they probably get a veto as well.

I have some stuff put together in a wiki on Obsidian Portal (that was the best option I had when I originally started writing lore on this region), though not complete. I can work on getting some more of it doctored up over the next few days, though it really ends up being a lot more information than is necessary - I just like writing lore, ha.

I suppose the most basic idea of what Rekkar-Sarrat is could be best displayed through the brief history I've written of the Pharosi, a primary human race of the region. It kind of shows how the region was developed and the interactions between some of the common races of the area


The current history of the Pharosi begins about 2000 years ago, when they stumbled dry, thirsty, exhausted, and determined from a sojourn through the Dunes of Endless Sun into the floodplain of the great river Do’ol set Maradha, the Lifeblood of the Mother. It was at the first sight of grass that the greatest Pharaoh of the time, Sek-Tabed III said unto his people “Burn the papyrus bearing our travels, bury the tomes that speak of Pharos. Tell your children nothing of what was before this moment, nor your children’s children. Let that dark place of death and ashes die away with our memories of it. The Pharosi are anew, and this step shall be our first. All stories of our past shall begin with this.” His words were true, and any evidence of what happened to their homeland of Pharos, why the Pharosi left, or any part of the journey across the Dunes of Endless Sun was forgotten, or at least hidden and buried. Regardless, questions about Pharos seldom arise as so much time and so many generations have passed that the floodplain is looked upon as the true home of the Pharosi. Their true history of the time before their exodus remains a mystery to this day. In the early years of Pharosi arrival, it is said to have been punishable by death to even speak of the Empires of Pharos.

When the Pharosi did make that first step onto the floodplain, they immediately began building a new empire. They proved to be much more technologically, educationally, and strategically superior to the native denizens of the river, and their coming quickly turned to conquest. Among the first peoples that the Pharosi encountered were the Shuka, a small race of desert-dwelling shamans and druids who had long populated the southern floodplain, and certain groups of the Nomadi. Both of these first contacts resulted in conflict, but the altercations with the Shuka in particular marked the first lengths of a long crusade. The Shuka were small and different and to the regal, haughty Pharosi, they were seen as insignificant and good only has slaves. Indeed, the Pharosi had enslaved similar smaller peoples in Pharos, and though they had been commanded to forget their former home, they could not help but remember how easy it was to build an empire on the backs of others. The Nomadi, on the other hand, were recognized as fellow humans, and were at least afforded a moderate amount of respect for that fact alone. The Nomadi were generally friendly with the Shuka, however, causing conflict with all of the groups. When the first attempts at enslaving the Shuka went poorly, it was true war that followed. With their strange and alien magic, the Shuka were labeled as blasphemers, and the Pharaohs and the Pharosi priests inflamed their people against them. It was not long before the Pharosi began a systematic elimination of the Shuka people, eventually killing or exiling them to the last. Those that were exiled were forced westward into the Dead Wastes, a graven land of misery and darkness. Whilst routing the Shuka, the Pharosi simultaneously worked to subdue the Nomadi, which was a much shorter affair. Aware that resistance would end badly for them, the Nomadi allowed the Pharosi to sweep across the southern floodplain.

As the Pharosi went north, they scattered the other denizens of the river until they were the sole power in the land. They ushered traveling Halflings into the surrounding lands, and drove the goblinoids out of the foothills. The Rapereans watched from the cliff tops and departed without a fight. Other groups of Nomadi, in accordance with the southerners, had no desire to leave the floodplain, and stepped aside. With all of their adversaries dealt with, the Pharosi set to work cultivating the land. They introduced controlled irrigation to the floodplain as they had done with rivers in Pharos, slowly turning the entire region into even more of a hospitable environment. By this time, the Pharosi had explored the southern third of the plain, with different Pharaohs leading groups in different directions, covering both sides of the river. These remaining Pharaohs would soon claim lands as their own and see to a widespread growth of Pharosi across the floodplain. They implemented sustained agriculture and animal husbandry, planting crops and building pastures along the river. After the farms came quarries and mills, which led to the first towns and cities. While some Nomadi integrated even more with the Pharosi, accepting these changes and finding solace in their new technologies, most returned to their vagrant lifestyle, though without the conflict with the Pharosi. The floodplain was a vast place, and the Nomadi could keep to themselves outside of the reach of the Pharaohs. The Pharaohs themselves spread out just as they had in the equally vast Pharos, to distance themselves from infighting over land and resources. In fact, during these times, the Pharaohs were quite cooperative – the shared desire to return their people to glory had done much to calm centuries of feuding bloodlines, for the Pharaohs readily understood that they could only reclaim their own glory if their people accomplished it as well.

The Pharosi learned from the Nomadi who remained. They were taught of the new crops and game as well as the geography of the land and of the surrounding peoples. They also learned of the great goddess of the Nomadi, Makah-Nihr. Very religious in their own right, the Pharosi had seen to the removal of most of the other local deities and religions, but the reverence of Makah-Nihr as the embodiment of the great river was so strong among the Nomadi that the Pharosi realized that they had to accept that deity in order to keep peaceful relations. It was during these generations of learning and building that Makah-Nihr became part of the Pharaonic pantheon.

As cities began to rise throughout the floodplain, the Pharosi began to explore it more intently. Their travels northward ultimately found the edge of the floodplain and that of the Empty Sea, a vast expanse of lush grassland populated by the Azrak hordes. The Azrak wanted nothing to do with these newcomers and barred their lands from them, but the Pharosi, ever subject to their pride and grandeur, let themselves in. The floodplain was a hospitable place, to be sure, and reminded the Pharosi much of their former home. But the Empty Sea was a land unlike they had ever seen – green grass as far as the eye could see, rich soil beneath. The Pharaohs would not be denied anything that they wanted. Despite the fact that their hold over the floodplain was still in its nascent stages, the Pharosi pushed onward into the Empty Sea. More war followed, but it soon became apparent that the Azrak, though less technologically advanced than the Pharosi, would not be undone as easily as the Shuka or the Nomadi. Their numbers were great, far greater than the Pharosi, and further, they had legions of horses. After a long string of defeats, the Pharosi realized that they must change their tactics. They had noticed that the Azrak never attacked by night, and eventually scouts were sent out, who reported that the Azrak people carried no weapons at night. They showed no signs of aggression, either, and their twilights were filled with communion and ritual. The Pharosi used this to their advantage, and launched a surprise attack on an Azrak group three times their own number, who did nothing to fight back against their attacks, even as they were butchered where they stood.

The next morning, the Pharosi were greeted with the greatest force that they had ever witnessed. Countless Azrak cavalry stormed down on the Pharosi forces, slaughtering all who did not escape. Having been witness to what the Azrak could truly muster, the Pharosi did not encroach upon the Empty Sea again. The damage, however, was done, and that starlit butchery incited the Azrak so vehemently against the Pharosi that the horsemen declared eternal war against them. This set the stage for two thousand years of raids, skirmishes, and battles along the border of the Empty Sea and the floodplain.

Still, the reign of the Pharaohs became stronger over the river lands. The Age of Pharaohs earned its name through the radical colonization of the region. Palaces to the God-Kings seemed to touch the desert sky and cities grew into great wonders. Enemies were dealt with and civilization improved. The lands of the floodplain became known as Rekkar-Sarrat, meaning River Provinces (a Sarrat being the expanse of land ruled by a Pharaoh). The next great change was not until a few centuries later, when ships came down the Lifeblood. Neither the Nomadi nor the Pharosi were shipwrights, their only vessels being small skiffs and rowboats to traverse the river and its channels. The transports that came down the river were true ships, however, and they carried gnomish travelers from beyond the desert. At first, the Pharosi were defensive, thinking some new group had come to challenge their authority, and were also jealous of these large vessels that glided down the water so easily. The gnomes aboard, however, proved to be friendly traders seeking new markets. They explained that they maintained a network of river-trade in their lands to the north that incorporated most of that region, and that they were looking to add new lands to it. Skeptical and hesitant of foreign influence, the Pharosi remained unconvinced until the gnome merchants gave gifts to the Pharaohs. Not only did they teach them of shipbuilding and sailing, but also introduced to them exotic goods of all sorts – fabrics, metals, scents, foods, and other luxuries from far-off realms. The Pharaohs and their people, ever in pursuit of anything luxurious or extravagant, were won over quickly by the gnomes, deeming them invaluable bringers of these amazing goods. They allowed the gnomes to bring their trade down the river and open up their lands as new markets for their network, and even allowed them to settle within their own lands. Such was a natural progression, as many Pharaohs and other wealthy and noble Pharosi were already hiring gnome merchants or craftsmen into their personal service to both secure lines of exotic goods into their ownership and to work and craft materials into symbols of their power. The gnomes quickly realized that if some of their kind stayed in the floodplain and opened up manufacturing facilities and shops, it would only improve their business. The gnomes’ introduction of the Lifeblood and Rekkar-Sarrat into their river-trade was the first step in forevermore linking the land of the Pharosi with larger trade routes.

For the next several centuries, Rekkar-Sarrat enjoyed a flourishing growth. The gnomes brought not only their own exotic goods down the river, but traders from other lands as well that brought even more business. The Pharaohs reaped the benefits for many, many years, stockpiling a wealth and grandeur that even the lost Empires of Pharos had never seen. However, as cities grew and more foreigners settled into the lands to ply their trades, tensions also began to rise. Pharaohs began to slip back into the ways of their ancestors, looking at the territories of one another with envy. The time of cooperation between Pharaohs was no longer necessary as they had mastered much of the floodplain and maintained stable civilization. Despite all that cooperation had granted them, the Pharaohs showed that they were still as grandiose and greedy as their kind always had been. The long period of flourish was punctuated by wars among the Pharaohs, and the political map of the floodplain changed several times throughout the centuries with different Sarrats coming in and out of existence.

Not only was there tension between the Pharaohs themselves, but between their culture and that of the traders that endlessly cascaded down the river. The Pharaohs, ever absolute in their authority, required any new settlers to be subject to their word, their law. Many traders dismissively accepted, thinking that such a prerequisite would be a mere formality. Paying trade taxes was not an unfamiliar practice, and they did so without qualm. It was, however, when the Pharaohs would exercise the level of mastery that they had over the Pharosi upon the foreign traders that things grew worse. Being forced to bow down to the Pharaohs, to honor them as God-Kings, to bestow gifts upon them, these were practices that infuriated the traders, who themselves came from dozens of different cultures. There was a short period where trade slowed, and merchants began to leave the area, unwilling to put themselves beneath a foreign king who demanded nothing short of worship. This the Pharaohs could not allow. Trade had brought them wealth and power beyond measure, and they would not simply allow it to slow. After a few violent altercations, the Pharaohs realized that they were walking on dangerous territory. Never before did the Pharaohs have to deal with people that were not their automatic subjects, slaves, or enemies. In the end, the Pharaohs offered foreigners the opportunity to be levied a small tax, giving them freedom of religion and exemption from their rule at the cultural level. With so much money being made by all, this tax was an easy price to pay for the traders, so business steadily made a return, though the Pharaohs still burned with resentment.

In a twist of hubris, the avarice of the Pharaohs proved to be the initial stage of their own undoing. As the generations passed and cities grew even more and trade increased and the Pharaohs focused more of their attention on one another, the Pharosi began to turn their backs on the golden light of their God-Kings to face the jingling of golden coins. Further, the fact that a mere bit of gold or goods allowed these foreign traders to be free of the Pharaohs’ tyrannical hold showed the Pharosi that profit held more power than their rulers. Gradually, people gravitated away from the Pharaohs, which naturally unleashed a new era of social tension. The Pharaohs were losing their subjects, people who had worshiped them for thousands of years. They were refusing to bow, refusing to gift their bounties, refusing to fight and die for empirical vanity. The Pharaohs did what they could to reeducate the people, forcefully putting them on their knees before the Pharaohs again. The God-Kings grew more and more despotic and paranoid, making shows of detractors through torture and executions, using their personal armies to corral the Pharosi back under their reign. But for every execution, and for every Pharosi forced to kneel, five others turned their backs to the Pharaohs. Their armies grew smaller, their pools of wealth shrank, their words lost authority. Trade, coin, goods, and profit became the new rulers of the people, and enterprise their government.

The power of the Pharaohs has seen continued decline for the past several hundred years, and now only a shadow of their former greatness remains. The surviving Pharaohs find themselves living in their palaces, but instead of revered beings perched atop their golden thrones they are now more akin to withered creatures taking shelter in dried husks. Though the Pharaohs still maintain a harsh level of control over the immediate locals (some Pharaohs have even gone so far as to close off their cities and trap their people within), any true reign they had has slipped like sand through their fingers.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Oooh, I like the sound of that, a dwarf aegis follower of the Deep Ones. Perhaps he discovered special runes or glyphs left by the Vestiges, and when he read them they imprinted on his mind and unlocked his psionic potential. Maybe access to those particular glyphs is limited in some way, explaining why psionics are so rare.

Having said that, I'm totally fine if you decide psionics aren't a part of this particular world. I find psionics don't seem to mesh with many groups. And reading your background of the Pharosi, wow! It's already inspired ideas for other characters, I'd be just as happy playing one of those. For instance, perhaps an Azrak skald or slayer, or maybe a human warrior who grew up amongst the gnome sailors and merchants. Or perhaps an inquisitor agent of one of the pharaohs.

I'll hold off answering for now. We can see what ideas you have once I share all the race stuff/other lore, and if you are still keen on playing one I'll figure it out then :) Glad you found the history interesting! I have more written about them - psychology, society & government, religion, etc. I have written likewise of the Nomadi and the Dwahani (two other races of human; the Nomadi frequent heavily in the Pharosi history blurb but I kind of neglected the Dwahani in it, but each have their own entry), the Dwarves, the Halflings, and the Gnomes. I consider those the "denizen" races of Rekkar-Sarrat in the sense of them having an established societal and cultural presence there. Elves come in two types - Solari, which generally refers to outlander elves from another continent who ply their trade down the river (some such elves stay on in port cities and such to manage business affairs and thus live in Rekkar-Sarrat), and the Iban'Iwa (also called painted elves), who live west of Rekkar-Sarrat, across the Scablands in an expanse of flat desert known as the Shimmering Sea or Sea of Shards. The Iban'Iwa are divided into two groups, one of which engages in trade with the people of Rekkar-Sarrat and one that does not (this cultural divide has led to open war between the two groups, though more on that in the elf section). Orcs are native to the Scablands, though they do not often harass neighboring lands, fighting amongst themselves or other peoples of the Scablands. Half-Elves and Half-Orcs are somewhat common among Rekkar-Sarrat, but most are transplants from other lands.

Further than the core races, I have the Raperean, an avian people who once lived in the mountainous borders of Rekkar-Sarrat who have since relocated to the Scablands, the Testudin, a humanoid tortoise race who also dwell in the Scablands, the aforementioned Azrak who dwell to the north, as well as the Ssorisk lizardfolk who live in the southern provinces along the river, and some insectoid races who live east in the Sandwaste. Also there are the Aferiti who are the universal plague and nuisance to all desert people who live beneath the sands and have the ability to move through it, so they often spring up and attack, raid, etc.

I haven't truly decided what all races I would make playable, but I definitely want many options of different cultures and such available to capitalize on the lore I've written. My main thing as a DM is making the players feel as though their characters are truly part of the world and are unique and not interchangeable with any other character. Playing any race will involve a lot of cultural interaction and interplay.

The remaining Pharaohs of Rekkar-Sarrat do indeed have many inquisitors in their service. There are even rumors that some Pharaohs may be planning events to reclaim their former power and glory...

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

I've posted this up on the other games, but just to say I have relatives coming to stay so might not get a chance to check in over the next few days. Please feel free to NPC Asgrid and Grugkt as necessary. If I don't get an opportunity to check in before, I should be back into the swing of things by the 25th.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Happy holidays everyone! Best wishes for the new year too.

Hey guys, just an update. My personal dilemmas of the past few months have come to a head and my fiance and I have broken up..for now, anyway. I'll spare you the details of my relationship but it's an emotional and complicated mess because we still very much love each other and do not want to be apart but know that it is what we need right now for her to figure some things out for herself. It's been an arduous period of limbo and therapy and heartache but hopefully being apart will help us be closer together later. That said, life is a bit all over the place right now and for the foreseeable future I'll be living out of some suitcases at my parents' house until...well, until something happens I guess. I'll have my laptop here and everything so I'll be trying as best I can to still get posts up and move things forward amidst the chaos. I'm incredibly exhausted right now but I have the day off tomorrow so I'll move things forward then.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

That's rough news, Woodsmoke. Hang in there. Let us know if you need to take time out, real life, health and sanity are the important things.

Female Goblin | Winter Witch 7 | AC (19)16/14/12 | HP 44/44 | Cold Resistance 5 | F+4, R+8, W+5 | Perc.+2 | Init.+4 | Darkvision

Yep, hope things look up for you, Woodsmoke. That's a rough run.

Thanks guys. 2016 really just wasn't my year at all...hopefully things can look up for me in 17.

I don't plan on taking a complete timeout but bare with me as I might be a bit sluggish at times in posting. I have my desktop at my parents' now so that will help things along.

female Dwarf Oracle 2 / Summoner 2 AC14 (18 with ice armor, 20 in cold environs); HP 30; Percept +2, darkvision; Init +0

Apologies for lack of posts the last ten days or so, I've not been well and it's hit me pretty hard. Proper man flu. Glad to be back among the land of the living.

Update tomorrow. Been a hell of a week.

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