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The website said I had 2 extra issues of Dragon and I selected to apply that amount to a Pathfinder subscription.

However, when I looked at my bill at the end of the process, examined the bill sent to me via email and checked out recent activity on my credit card, I was charged $17.99 for the first issue of Pathfinder.

What happened to the offset from porting over my two extra issues of Dragon?

I started collecting Dragon (THE Dragon back then) when I was 12. That was 25 years ago. It's been a fixture in my life for well over half of it.

I was on board with the first issue of Dungeon. I even co-wrote a couple of adventures waaaaaaaay back in the day.

Now I guess I will have to be on board with the first issue of Pathfinder too...

When my partner comes home from work, he is going to find me very very upset.

Don't really even know what to say. Not really all that mad at WOTC. But... Geeze....

I thought I remembered there was an unofficial ruling on getting drunk in a recent issue of Dragon. Does this ring a bell with anyone? If so, what issue, column, etc?

Thanks in advance.

As an interesting aside (and an attempt to segue back into golem-land), you can make 400 zombies for the same price as 1 flesh goem. Assuming you can get the corpses for free.

Making a flesh golem may be evil, but, it seems the lesser evil of the two.

But, man oh man, the things one can do with 400 zombies....

Has anyone suggested Irongate?

Frozen DM wrote:
I've never seen any of the original Chainmail minis (I much prefer the current line of DnD minis) but everything I've read about the setting seemed cool.

The crossover between the Chainmail minis and many of the current line of D&D minis is really extensive. Especially with the earlier sets. It's metal-assembly & paint required vs. plastic play out of the box.

It's a lot easier to do a custom modification with the Chainmail minis.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
Saern wrote:
No! There will be NO "deathless" crap! The existence of good aligned ghosts is already evidence that undead can be of that very alignment and still powered by negative energy! Deathless bad! Deathless bad!

I wasn't trying to say that it was a good (as opposed to "bad") idea or "creation", but simply that it existed.

There was a 2nd edition series with "Jakandor -- Isle of Destiny" or some-such. Anyway, a big part of that 3 part series deals with the entire race/society uses their departed family members as undead. From their point of view, it is really a waste of resources to bury a body that could be used for a lot of good in the afterlife -- everything from manual labor to guardians. So when a person dies of old age or whatever, they have a big ceremony and usher in a new zombie for the family. I also think that that was during a time in 2nd edition where either all/most unintelligent undead were either neutral or took on their creator's alignment.

It may be evil, but it definitely seems efficient. Maybe the state should take the dead bodies and animate them for public works projects? If you can pay the death tax, you get to keep the body. Money and/or cheap labor.... Gotta love it.

Rhavin wrote:

I considered that alternative but came to these conclusions:

1) This thread is about the "morals" of golem building
2) That creeeps a little to close to robots for my liking, even if thats what they essentially are I like to have them a little more complex than magical electricity running through magical circutry

Sorry for straying outside the guidelines of the thread. I apparently misunderstood the nature of the discussion.

How about this. Nimblewirghts are created by enslaved unwilling water elementals. They are also quite intelligent. So is the intelligence from the elemental or is a product of making the elemental into magical electricity running through magical circuitry.

If it from the elemental, why aren't these horribly solid nimblewrights perpetually bereserk trying to find a way to restore themselves to watery goodness?

If it is from magical electricty resulting from the lobotimzation of a water elemental is it moral to end the existence of the intelligent nimblewright to "recover" the elemental?

As for the elemental spirit = cockroach with elemental template argument, I dunno if I but it. If the elemtental spirit has enough mental faculties to be unwilling, it probably has enough for you to be concerned about the morality of enslaving it. Being used to power a golem seems less like training a horse to draw a cart, or even to breaking a horse to let a person ride, and more like severing all higher brain functions, attaching it to a life support system and having it walk inside a wheel to power your mill. That seems as morally cupable as animating the horses dead body to do the same (and probably cheaper in the long run) and animating the dead is defined as evil in D&D.

And, if I may stray from the purity of the ethical considerations, why don't nimblewrights OR the MM golems require the caster to use a summon monster spell to acquire an elemental spirit?

Valegrim wrote:
ok; I guess we have all been getting close to this; what is a zombies charisma? sure they cant talk; but can they look good. Can they have a decent appearance if made in a more or less fresh state. What happens if you give them an item of charisma boost; say +4 or +6 charisma like the spell? Do people who smell bad have lesser charisma? Just how effective do you think it would be to load up a zombie on appearance related magic gear and just ordered it not to talk; could you put it in a store window to model bathing suits? hehe, how much charisma do you loose becoming undead? I remember the saying; live fast and leave a beautiful corpse; guess you could start with a really good looking corpse; wow this thread is really getting out there....

That gets back to the old conversation about what Charima actually represents. Is it being pretty or is it some intanglible (and hard to explain) personality trait?

If it's the former, then you might be able to "tart up" your zombies (OMG, the images that brings up...).

If it's the later, I doubt there is anything that can be done to give a zombie that indefinable "something" that makes it appealing to hang around with, listen to, etc.

Rhavin wrote:
Or people could simply trash the "it must be an elemental" and offer an alternative for good characters to imprison demons... an interesting twist would be that in order to do this they must hunt down and personally bind a demon on the prime material plane for use in the golem, thus making the "easy" moral answer harder to accomplish than the "easy" effort answer.

Or your could just trash the need to imprison ANYTHING to make a golem and just have the creation process use "animate object" (or even "animate dead" for flesh golems). Then there are no more moral issues to deal with (except for the possible exception of flesh golems), unless it's "enslavement" to animate a carpet or a chair or a candlestick....

It also explains the complete lack of intelligence. Animated objects like carpets, chairs or candlesticks don't get Int scores either.

The berserk factor would come in as a compound error in the "programming" language. Golems are cooler than other animated objects, but they are trickier to make. So they occaisionally go on the fritz and start smashing all the candelsticks, chairs and characters.

Faraer wrote:
oji040870 wrote:
Based on the number of books that I've seen Gygax put out since 3rd editions release is just staggering that one can suddenly pump out all that body of work. I believe he has a number of ghost hands that write for him in his style.
That would be fraud. Some of the other Gygaxian Fantasy books are by other hands, but we have no reason to doubt anything under Gary's actual byline is by him.

Actually not fraud at all. All Gary has to do is write an intro, a sketch of a conclusion and a rough outline and he's in the same boat as Edward Stratemeyer (the guy who started out Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobsy Twins, Tom Terrific, etc.) or Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler.

Fraud would be if Erik put Gary's name on the book without his permission so it would sell better. There needs to be some profit invovled for fraud. If Erik used Gary's notes without the legal right to do so, it would be theft of intellectual property. If Erik put Gary's name on it, it was total crap and Erik was doing it to impugn Gary, it would be libel.

It could be any or all of the above, under the right circumstances.

Stebehil wrote:

I found the spell I had in mind, Black Bard´s hint to Gentle Repose (the spells name) did the trick. It is in the 3.5 PH (damn, my memory isn´t getting any better these days...)

Gentle Repose, Cleric 2/SorWiz 3. It "...preserve(s) the remains of a dead creature so that they do not decay.", with a duration of one day per level. Not a permanent solution, but a start.
A spell to prevent decay permanently should be cleric level 4 or 5, and wizard one level higher, IMHO.


Doesn't gentle repose also "stop the clock" with regard to time limits for raise dead? If so, making a 4th or 5th level spell that makes gentle repose permanent makes raise dead into resurrection.

How about a 4th level necromancy spell called "incorruptible flesh" that has no effect on how far away the spirit is. It just keeps the corpse all juicy and un-rotten?

If you had a spell that

Occam wrote:
[Heck, I had both my high school class ring and my wedding ring made of white gold due to my affinity for the character. (Don't tell my wife, though, I'm not sure I ever mentioned that to her! ;-) )

Just tell her you are looking out for her welfare. If she should ever be accosted by an ochre robed beggar with bad breath and is transposed to another world, she will be wearing the Keystone to the Arch of Time.

Always a good thing to have in your corner in any new environment.

The Jade wrote:
BTW, in a book of Donaldson's collected short stories there is a deleted chapter from The Illearth War called Gilden-Fire. It was removed from the original for reasons of length. He explains which chapters if fits between.

I think I originally got that in its own little hardback way back in the day.

Very aggravating. I have all of the rest of the original Covenant books in paperback. So they are separeated on two different set of shelves. Of course the 2nd and 3rd series are both on the hardback shelves with the little chapbook from the middle of the Illearth War.

It makes me grind my teeth.

Gavgoyle wrote:
The Jade wrote:
I actually want to flesh out that class I thought up above (unless it already exists). Although it's anthropology 101, I wouldn't expect to get it published as it deals with substances that affect the mind other than alcohol and WoTC and Paizo do have to watch their acts.

I've got 6 ranks in Knowledge (Psilocybin Mushrooms)... I can hear the colors! He-he-he-he-he-he! Now I'm horny.

'shrooms in action are, um, interesting to watch. Milage may vary (uh, from what I understand).

Until they start throwing up on everything.

Fatespinner wrote:
CallawayR wrote:

The Aztecs may have been devastated by smallpox (among other diseases, after contact they had a Spanish Influenza epidemic every couple of years or so.)

No one expects the Spanish Influenza!

...sorry. I had to. I don't know what came over me.

Well, really, no one DID expect it. It was the first global pandemic. No one had ever had to deal with something like that.

And unlike the Inquisition, the Influenza viri didn't even have high minded principles (except maybe "COPY ME, COPY ME, COPY ME")

Ender_rpm wrote:
Don't forget Atl Atl's!!! Meso-Americans either forgot how or never learned how to make bows, so they used sticks to propel special spears (essentialy javelins). According to early Spanish resords, they could pierce the breastplates worn by the Conquistadors @ 300 yards. With stone headed javelins. I stated them out so they act like short bows, but A. they can't be used mounted, and B. a character has to take EITHER Crossbow/Bow or Atl Atl proficiency, not both. But it stays a simple weapon if you take the prof. Good for druids or sorcerers as a flavor thing, but no one ever took it :(

Atl-atl hurled javelins were used to kill mammoths. They have tested the theory out by using them against (culled) elephants. You can get the javelin into it's heart, through the same skin people have used to make very effective armor, feet of muscle and some pretty dense bone.

I would consider an atl-atl it a simple weapon (it's basically just adding in another elbow). It would just increase the range of a javelin or dart. A lot. Maybe it would increase the crit multple or range (as an offset to the whole issue of using ranged weapons in hand to hand).

Meso-americans did have bows though. Pretty much everyone from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic circle had bows of some sort. I am sure I have seen them on Mayan stele and I think there was a bow mentioned in the Popul Vuh somewhere. Atl-atl's are just so much better at punching your way to something vital. Stone tipped arrows have pretty small arrow heads, less power and less damage. Almost all "arrowheads" people find were actually for javelins. If you have a large stone arrow head, you shoot the bow and the arrow falls at your feet.

I believe that elementals were considered "non-intelligent" until 3rd ed. I guess they were just sort of "pure element" combined with the will of the caster. More like the psionic astral constructs these days.

I never bought that and always my mages have some "treats" for the elemental (gems for earth, incense for fire & air, perfume for water).

I guess the whole issue of slavery got overlooked when they geve elementals minds (and, explicitly, souls).

There are several ways to handle it:
1)Slavery is evil. Making a golem is evil.
1A) Slavery is evil but imprisonment is not. It's still good if you go out and catch a "bad" elemental and use it. The only "good" way out of this.
1B) You aren't only imprisoning the elemental you are lobotomizing it. Elementals don't get better after being in a golem. They just die with the golem. So you are lobotomizing the elemental, imprisoning the crippled elemental with the only means of release being complete obliteration (since the soul of the elemental and its body are the same thing)
1C) You are obliterating the elemental in the first instance. It takes the destruction of the elemental to power the golem. The berserk thing is just the vestiges of the elementals rage at its destruction.
2) Slavery ISN'T evil. There is some valid justification for this thought. If the other option is genocide, then slavery may be the "good" choice. Of course, this completely undermines "going out and killing the bad guys" which is a D&D staple. It would be a royal hassle to capture all the goblins, take them back to the village and force them to labor to make up for their misdeeds. Maybe elementals are regarded more as a resource than as people.
3)Get the elemental to consent to it. But it some flowers, Set up a trust fund of gems it can take back to the Elemental Plane of earth
4)Maybe the sensesance (0 Int)while being the motive power of a golem actually empowers the elemental (a few more hit dice or something). Then elementals are clamouring to become golems.
5) Maybe you just invoke Rule Zero and say you don't need an elemental to power a golem. You don't need one to create any other run of the mill magic item. You don't need one to create an intelligent magic item, though using one is a good excuse for having the item be intelligent.

The Jade wrote:
CallawayR wrote:

From personal experience, it's something you never forget after the first time you try making an obsidian tool and you see the shards in your flesh. (Well actually you usually see the blood first.) It's so sharp, you never feel any pain.

I've accidentally cut myself on some truly sharp blades and the sharpest ones do have a way of not hurting as they split you open. Wonder why that is? For some reason when I'm cut and there isn't any pain it causes me to momentarily regard myself as a souless machine; rather, an ambulatory pile of meat. I'm not saying that isn't exactly what I really am (don't give me more credit than I deserve), only that painless slices have a way of bringing it home.

It slices right through the nerves. They don't get a chance to fire. I have met a guy who sliced a tendon working obsidian. It took several surgeries to to get the finger working again. It still looks odd. Flint (and by extension, glass, since flint is effectively dirty glass) doesn't cut so clean. It hurts when you screw up.

I have also heard of an archaeologist who convinced a Dr. to open him up for open heart surgery starting with a surgical steel scalpel then using a set of obsidian blades. There is basically no scar for the half of the incision done by obsidian, the cut was that clean.

More fun obsidian facts: It's mostly black, but it can come in a variety of different colors - green, marbled green black, snowflakes in black, red, black & red, white, etc. Pretty pretty deadly weapons.

The Jade wrote:
kahoolin wrote:

I think the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is the best fantasy series I have ever read. I would easily classify it as real literature masquerading as genre fiction, like 1984 or Gulliver's Travels.

It was just so tragic and different in tone from most fantasy. Covenant is morally ambiguous in a sad and realistic way rather than the "James Bond/Han Solo" way of most fantasy anti-heroes.

The BloodGuard rock. When I was about 15 I tried to convert the Land to D&D but no-one else in my group had read it or was interested.

I feel quite lucky that I happened upon those books. I agree that Donaldson's series stood out as being true literature. Despite early indications that it was going to be Wizard of Oz meets LoTR, the eternally flawed Covenent himself lets us know with every thought and action that things aren't going to be that simple.

Sorry to hear no one showed interest in playing the Land. I'd pay cash money to play a Bloodguard.

Just last week I was explaining certain powerful devices in literature to a room full of people and used Vain, the ebon skinned enigma of a demondimspawn, and his connection to the Staff of Law as example.

The Land definitely scores high on the "grim and gritty" and "high fanstasy" scales, showing the two are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes it just seems TOO depressing, but then, that's the point. These guys pay the price for winning. Winning costs. Which may be the opposite of the conceptions behind D&D...

He has started a new trilogy, from the point of view of Linden Avery. The first book is "The Runes of the Earth." Time in the land had definitely passed this time. And you learn A LOT about Vain, the ur-viles, the viles, the Demondim and the wanyhim in this one. In fact, it looks like this series is about them...

The Haruchai are everything D&D monks are, without the Shao-lin cast that seems awfully off-putting in a setting based around a faux medieval European paradigm. Of course, an entire culture of humans where EVERYONE is a monk is very interesting (in the Chinese proverb way).

The Bloodguard scream "Prestige Class" more than anything I have ever seen. Prestige class as it was meant orignally. A world specific group of legendary prowess (not the super-specialist or class-combo-without-having-to-multi-class most PrCs are these days). Forestals do the same for druids (though maybe not a great PC option).

And you won't believe the role the Bloodguard and the Haruchai play in the new book....

The Jade wrote:
CallawayR wrote:

AKA a "maquahuitl"

Usually made of shards of obsidian. Obsidian may shatter but it's sharper than surgical steel. In fact, the cutting edge is mono-molecular.

That is one wild fun fact. I will remember it. Thanks.

From personal experience, it's something you never forget after the first time you try making an obsidian tool and you see the shards in your flesh. (Well actually you usually see the blood first.) It's so sharp, you never feel any pain.

Shade wrote:

I'm not BOZ, but I co-wrote the recent archomentals article with him. Alas, our name-dropping of Cholerix (and Bubonix) didn't make the final cut.

Both of these two altraloths (not a typo) appeared in the excellent article "A Pox on the Planes" by Ed Bonny in Dragon Annual #2. Essentially, the altraloths are yugoloths specially modified by night hags to have unique powers. Anthraxus went on to become the oinoloth as well, so he is technically a yugoloth, altraloth, and oinoloth all in one. ;)

Cholerix serves Bubonix as an aide and lieutenant.

Talk about the impermanence of memory...

Cholerix doesn't get much more than a job review in the article. If she's a major player, she probably needs some stats.

So, as a 1st ed to 2nd ed translation:
Oinoloth = Oinodaemon
altraloth = archdaemon
yugoloth = daemon

I so like the original terms better. Of course they could always do what they did in Hordes of the Abyss and ressurect the term "daemon" and make yugoloths a type of daemon (maybe demondands as well? even night hags?) as tanari'i became a subtypes of demon.

James Jacobs wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

So it's best to avoid things like robots, demonic cars, and time-traveling scientists.
How about...time-traveling KENKU scientists? Huh? Huh? Are you with me on this one?
Kenkus are so cool. WARK!

Taking into account the last part of that statement, I am betting James Jacobs IS a kenku!

And now the message has gone out to all his hidden kenku minions...

I always felt making any of the disease based Daemon Lords (Yugoloths if you MUST) normal daemons (like the ultraloth) was kinda a cop-out on someone's part.

Anthraxus was unique. Why should Cholerix, Bubonicus, etc. be any different? That would be like saying Asmodeus and Orcus should be a pit fiend and a balor. (THough I guess they did that by moving Asmodeus off camera in 2nd ed. and changing the rulership of the 9 Hells to a committee of pit fiends. Ho hum.)

In the 1st Ed MM2, Anthraxus had attributes that reflected those of his "name" disease: a ram's head, rotting flesh, etc. Cholerix should be the same.

Attributes of Cholerix:
- Female (-rix is a feminine ending in Latin)
- Maybe something shellfishy (you can get cholera from shellfish)
- Water association, esp. corrupted water (most people get cholera from bad water - this may explain any and all connections to the water archomental - incidentally another unique being, not an elder water elemental with a name).
- Means of attack associated with disease (this would be pretty gross in this case - people with cholera essentially die of dehydration by way of diarrhea... but I'm sure there are suitably non-graphic ways to handle that)

The Jade wrote:
I had that stone sword from Tamaochan built for a LARP latex weapon as a movie prop. Though mine has the look of marbleized green stone teeth attached dark wooden frame.

AKA a "maquahuitl"

Usually made of shards of obsidian. Obsidian may shatter but it's sharper than surgical steel. In fact, the cutting edge is mono-molecular.

waltero wrote:

I don't know what setting you are playing in but in Greyhawk, the Olman empire is in decline. This has happened even before the Flanaess version of Cloumbian exploration has occurred, so you can't blame it on smallpox! I don't play Forgotten Realms, but I did read a Maztica trilogy a few years back and I think that more closely reflects our history with the new world being discovered by the old.

Good luck with your campaign.

The Aztecs may have been devastated by smallpox (among other diseases, after contact they had a Spanish Influenza epidemic every couple of years or so.)

The Maya, on the other hand, just stopped building and maintaining their cities. The people are pretty much still there (along with a lot of the beliefs with a thin layer of Catholocism over the top). There are a bunch of different theories as to why. It's one of those "great mysteries" which you can get a lot of mileage out of answering in a campaing setting.

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

RE: The baron/count issue (Bova & co.)

It should be noted that count and earl are basically equivalent titles--an English earl would have the same noble rank as a count on the Continent.

LGG says Sterich is divided into both counties and baronies.

We also know that Querchard was originally Earl of Sterich, and was subsequently promoted to Marquis (one rung up the ladder of the nobility), IIRC this was after the giants were run out of Sterich with the help of Keoish forces.

It doesn't make sense that an earl would have counts under him--so the only way to reconcile LGG's statement about administrative subdivisions is to posit that originally the only title of nobility granted by the Earls of Sterich was "baron," but that once Querchard was promoted to Marquis, he promoted some loyal supporters (or rewarded those who helped most in getting rid of the giants) with the title of "count."

Whether the other barons were placed under the jurisdiction of one of the counts, or the counts are merely wealthier, more powerful nobles with larger estates is not entirely clear, but the reform might have been designed to put particularly trustworthy nobles in charge of sectors of the March and thus to add a layer into the middle of the administrative hierarchy.

Thank you Perhuin! When I read the LLG "counts under earls" I did a doubletake. It's like "marquis below margraves." I guess Keoish nobility could be so fractionated that they make a distinction between the two and go king-duke-prince-marquis-earl-count-baron, but it makes more sense to have the Sterish earls enfeoffing barons and have the barons enfeoffing lords.

That would alter the LGG and have "earl and barons" before Sterich is retaken and "marquis and counts and barons" afterwards. I would even go further and say it was "earl and barons and lords" before the invasion, replacing the counts in LGG with barons and the barons with lords (nobles who are not peers). [Making it marquis & counts & barons & lords after Sterich is retaken.]

Then the counts are a new thing. Another example of the rulers of Sterich engaging in title inflation to draw support.

I wonder how the mountain dwarves fit into all this?

I also concur about the Council of Barons = pre-Magna Carta English Parliament. The empty titles and plethora of claiments has put the ruler (I wish it was margrave, "margravate" sounds good "marquis-ate" is just plain awful) in a power play position.

Skech wrote:

Savage Screen Monkey and Greg V.

I'd love to send you my Sterich Player's Gazetteer for your personal use/review/imput if you'd like. It's a "MS word" document of about 17 pages, kit-bashed from several canon and non-canon sources with my own limited twists thrown in. In other words, I worked hard on it to be thorough, but it's still bastardized where holes needed filling. It is not 100% original. i can site my sources if requested (I know them, I just didn't write them down).

My only request is that you give me a basic review and add suggestions.

Also, how do I get it to you?


Is this an open invitation? I'd love to look at it as well. I'd like to see someone else's take on some of the things.

If so please send it to

Do they use the crystals for ALL magic? For bards (hexblades, etc.) too? Or only for spells that have a material component? How is it used - do you have to have it in hand like a material component or does it just have to be on you? How about for spells with just a focus component? How does this work with the Eschew Component feat?
Can you use the shatter spell on the crystals? How about the increased utility of shout and greater shout, in that case?

If ALL arcane magic requires these crystals, it's SOP to strip search spell casters and toss their crystals.

Are there "superior" varieties? Can you recharge the crystals?

My first thought when I read the post is "holy symbols that corrode."

I'd say a shrunk corpse is not a corpse anymore. It's a shrunk item. So animate dead doesn't work on it. Likewise an zombie is an undead creature, not an item. So it is not subject to the shrink item spell.

He needs to dismiss the shrink item (transforming them from "shrunk item" to "corpse")then use animate dead on the corpses.

BOZ wrote:
Gavgoyle wrote:
BOZ wrote:
hahaha... i loved that show. my all-time favorite episode was when everyone in the room got his mind switched into someone else's body.
Is that the one where Brainchild turned the Tick into a two-headed bluebird that could only speak high school level French? I LOVED the Tick, but that last season before it was canceled our local Fox kept moving it arround in different time-slots, so I didn't get to see it that often.
nope, it was the Mad Scientist Convention episode. :)

Who can forget Tongue-Tongue? Or "Man-in-a-Can"?

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
Well, besides bat guano, there's nightsoil. In China, the nightsoil collectors were an important and wealthy guild in just about every major city. (Well, I suppose the guys who owned the honey-carts were the guild members and made the money selling the stuff to farmers--the guys mucking out the privvies were probably poor just like people everywhere who have crap jobs.)

Nightsoil is great for fertilizing fields. In fact, the farms nearest Shang hai get decreasingly green the further you get from the city.

But, in addition to being great fertilizer, arcane spell casters become mobile artillery with a smidge of guano. D&D magic makes strange things valuable and makes things valuable for strange reasons.

As someone who has the original pencil sketch for the Wee Jas art hanging on the wall. I agree.

Wee Jas > Boccob

Celestial Healer wrote:

The concept of people hoarding diamonds to be raised is complicated by the nature of the D&D afterlife. Someone who dies peacefully and wakes up in Celestia isn't likely to want to be raised (unless he's one of those adventurer-types with unfinished business...)

On the other hand, if he wakes up in the Gray Waste of Hades, he'll wish he'd bought more diamonds.

That depends on how you look at it. I would argue that it takes awhile to get from here to there. That is what the time limit in raise dead reflects. It's how long you have before the soul gets to his final reward. So the soul will be chosing between the world left behind and expected reward.

And I can guarentee that every king, prince, noble, heir or other important potentate that dies of anything other than old age gets the benefit of a raise dead. In addition, in a world where the option is known, who wouldn't try to retrieve a loved one from Nerull's clutches?

I dunno about the material needing to be even sort of mundane. A lot of historical trade has been driven by exotica, from the right kind of stone for axes in the European Neolithic, to gold (especially with the Inka), amber from the Baltic, wine from the Meidterranean up into the Celtic La Tene cultures, wool from the British Isles, etc.

Magic seems more like a service unless you quatify it somehow.

How about a magocracy that uses it's magical muscle to secure access to all those essential components. Just an example: guano is more than just fertilizer in D&D, it's ordinance. A country that depended on its fireball wielding wizards, sorcerers and warmages might go to great lengths to get ahold of those caves in the mountains with the huge bat colonies.

Over in Saern's paladin thread we have touched on how important gems can get. Necromancers want access to black onyx. People who don't like undead want to deny access to the same. Rich people want to insure the flow of diamonds. Diamonds mean you can come back from the dead. How far will someone go to bring a loved back? themself?

Saern wrote:
Well, the article sounds interesting, and no, I don't have a subscription to Dragon. While much of it sounds very interesting, I'm not sure I want to even open the door on all the different class options and feats I hear are inside it. However, I may look into purchasing back issues of specific ones, so what is the number on that particular magazine, if anyone knows?

Not to be a complete booster, but Dragon is worth it. Especially if you like using Greyhawk deities Saern. They haven't done a bad job yet! (Boccob, Pelor, Olidammara, etc.) I know Vecna is comeing up and there are rumors about Wee Jas (my personal favorite).

Also Demonomicon (considering the important role fiends have played in the history of your homebrew). The ecology articles are also good on a month to month basis. They have really reined in the "slew of new feats every month" and "5 new PRCs per month" thing.

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

Tropical Africa, India, and Southeast Asia also had very well-developed civilizations quite early on--even in the Niger Delta, "darkest Africa" to our racist and uninformed forebears, people worked iron and stored food in pottery well before the time of Christ.

As Calloway noted, the food storage problem is primarily a problem in temperate climes where you can only grow one or two crops a year, and in places with extremely dense populations that rely almost exclusively on cereal crops. Otherwise, you can garden year round, planting a variety of crops at different times so that you always have some fresh food. Also note that only a few places are uniformly wet year round. Most tropical rainforests have a monsoon season in which the rainfall is concentrated, and a dry season, when the rain is infrequent enough that grain can be dried in the sun, then packed up and stored in containers that will minimize rotting and consumption by pests. You might not be able to store it for multiple years in such climes, but then you're not as vulnerable to drought cycles, so it doesn't matter.

As for amazons and "matriarchy"--since this is fantasy, we can organize societies as we see fit. There is already one established matriarchal society in D&D--the Drow. They naturally fit the worst stereotypes of "women in charge" that our most conservative ur-patriarchal types have in the deepest recesses of their brains. The flip side of the matriarchal society fantasy is the feminist/anarchist libertarian utopia, in which the constraints of patriarchy are lifted, therefore eliminating all the evils associated with it. All forms of oppression and inequality disappear, etc., etc. The perfect CG society, perhaps?

Most social anthropologists today would say that there is no such thing as a "matriarchal" society, although there are a number of "matrilineal" societies in which descent and inheritance are reckoned through the female line. (In the 19th century, "matriarchy" was widely supposed to have been the most primitive...

Not to put words in Sunrise's mouth, but simple replacement or replacement + one seems like an acceptable birthrate for a society that is as individualized as he is describing. Using the feline analog, these Amazons seem very similar to other female cats (excepting the whole lion thing). They want large territories, will endure their children there but fully expect them to go off and get territory of their own when grown. If they lead violent lives they may need a few more kids though.

There is evidence of some significant matrilieality or even matriarchy that has been conveniently forgotten in ancient cultures. For example, the Pharoahs of the I and II dynasties have TINY tombs, especially when compared to the HUGE timbs for their mothers and sisters adjacent.

And don't foget your source material on Amazons! Go back and check out the mythical Greek Amazons. People pull a lot from the whole Heracles and Hippolyta scene, but there is also material involving Theseus. There is a fair number of Amazons involved in the Trojan War. Penthesilia (how feline can a name get?), Queen of the Amazons, fought for Troy. She came to aid her kinswoman Hecuba, Priam's queen. And so on...

Calloway! Call-O-way! Aargh!!!! I've been Anglicized!

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
CallawayR wrote:

2) Keep it dry: Keep it under a roof. Put it up high. Use pottery containers you can seal.

I thought that this was the problem that had to be gotten around. Isn't it basically impossible to keep anything dry in a tropical setting for any extended length of time? I know from high school earth science class that water destroys/corrodes everything over time.

I doubt it is impossible to keep things dry anywhere but underwater.

I know many tribes in the Pacific survive on yams they keep in a hut with no sides. It's pretty wet and they don't seem to have much of a problem. I guess a few might sprout.

But if you put grain in a big pot, seal off the top (say with leather, some cord and wax), someone would have to break the pot to make the insides wet. You would probably want to tresh and dry (in a low heat kiln maybe) the grain beforehand. But it would be dry when you open it.

kikai13 wrote:
Ultradan wrote:
kikai13 wrote:

I've been gone from these boards for a while, but it is good to be back. Work is hell.

My rant is that because of a psychotic rat-bastard workaholic boss, coupled together with the fact that I recently moved to a new town, I am completely unable to even attempt to find a new gaming group. My wife, who is a wonderful person even though she doesn't game, just doesn't see the point in playing anything more complicated than Rummey. I've been jonesing for a good game for a very long time now, and its only getting worse. I would love to have the time and option to play some D&D, but with my current situation I would kill to even play a game of Risk. Aaarrgghh! I'm about ready to give up hope altogether.

Where are you, exactly?

(reminding you to never give up hope)

I'm just chilling out here in the bustling metropolis of Moberly, Missouri.

I am so very very sorry.

There are places to work in Moberly? It must have grown in the last 5 years. And the rural Missouri school system....

I am so sorry.

William Pall wrote:
Phil. L wrote:
The great thing about Boccob is that he doesn't care that you find him boring.

But, the poor thing about it is that if the player or the DM find the deity boring, they are less interested in using them in game. Say our friend Saern wants to make a mystic theurge, it just makes sense to me that a mystic theurge would worship a deity of magic. Now, say you didn't want the MT to be evil . . that rules out Vecna 90% of the time if not more. Also say that you don't want any connection to undead or death . . Wee Jas is out. So then we have Boccob and the player might want some flavor text about the deity that would help flesh out his character.

Saern, I'd help you out if I could. The Core Beliefs article I'm sure would helpya out and if i had the issue on me I'd give you an idea as to what it has in it. But, that particular issue is lent out to one of my players who's using one of the articles in that issue to make a staff a familiar.

If I remember correctly, Wee Jas is really more of a goddess of magic than of death. Suloise gods were responsible for those who worshiped their pantheon and died as a result of their portfolio. Wee Jas got to be goddess of death as well b/c the entire Suloise Empire died as a result of the magically conjured Rain of Colorless Fire. I guess Fortubo still takes in the souls of those who die in industrial accidents, Beltar mining accidents, Lendor those who die of old age, etc. etc. The long and short of which is that, so long as you are willing to forgo Chaos, Wee Jas may be perfectly happy to act like a goddess of magic and minimize the death aspect. Maybe your sect considers dwelling on centuries-old disasters to be useless and morbid.

Which means you could just ignore Boccob. Maybe he seems boring b/c he is so "big picture." All magic. Like Beory and "the world/life". Lendor and "time." How can you connect with that? It's just too abstract. They don't need worshippers, they'll do just fine so long as their is a world, magic, or time. You need to take a small step down, like Pelor with "day, light, sun, life, good" or Nerull with "night, dark, death, evil" to get somethign you can get a handle on.

Maybe Boccob's "clerics" aren't. They are philosophers and theorists who don't get a smidge of divine attention from him. If they get spells maybe it's as "concept" clerics. It's just that Boccob is the concept, or the sentient part. He probably doesn't even notice them. They're like intestinal bacteria.

A good model may be the "generic" druid. They effectively serve Beory, but they are really drawing their power from the concept of "nature." She is the godhead of that concept, but she does not have to have a personal rapport with those who draw on the essence of her ineffable power.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
CallawayR wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
More culture: The largest of amazonian settlements are small towns, mostly because the tropical clime is not fit to support larger communities.

Tropical climes are pretty much the cradle of urban civilizations. Even jungles.

The Maya are a great example of this with a lot of scholarship, though, despite what is typically presented, researchers are finding that the Amazon river basin (which seems to be a model you are using) was HEAVILY developed and settled. Very large settlements.

I forgot about the Mayans. Though I think the cradle of urbania is more accurately big warm river climates. I was thinking of some documentary that mentioned that tropical climes are not good for storing food which is an important factor in the upkeep of large populations. I wonder how the Mayans got around that problem...

1) Eat it fresh: Fairly easy to do in a tropical rain forest type environment where something is always in season (unless there is a drought). Even easier if you are "managing" your environment by essentially turing the area around the settlement into a garden with an extensive wildlife management program built into your culture.

2) Keep it dry: Keep it under a roof. Put it up high. Use pottery containers you can seal.

3)Use magic: In a D&D fantasy world, I am sure a caring deity would have given the spells to make sure people didn't starve. And/or adepts/wizards would have done so just to get to people out of their hair so they could get more study time.

theacemu wrote:
The player actually may have a point here. Under the d20 system as it is, why not allow his character an intellegence check to determine it? If his stat blocks indicate that his character is dumb (low int) then move on...if he makes the check, his character would have known better. Sound silly? Why is it any different than calling for a Diplomacy check when interacting with a NPC?

I think the second the NPC held up the cloak and said what it was for, an INT roll became superfluous. If you ask for one then, you are getting dangerously close to playing their character for them.

I read somewhere that once you have obviously illustrated the IMPORTANT FACT three times, they should pretty much be on their own. I would argue having an NPC point to the cloak, point to the monster and say "THIS protects us from THAT" you probably only need one.

Savaun Blackhawk wrote:

EDIT: Callaway, "I agree completely with Saern on this one. Bad characters can destroy the game for everyone else. Insisting on playing Arogorn or Stryder or Chaos Blade, when it makes the rest of the game less fun for anyone involved is pretty damn selfish. In the same vein as "oh I kill your character and loot his body since it says CN on my sheet."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. If a character chooses to play Aragorn, or Smeagol, or whomever else they choose, how does this disrupt your game? Your insistance that they play something that pleases you is more along the lines of selfish.

Bad players can destroy a game but that is outside the scope of our discussion. A player's choice of character, and how he employs that character, unless done in a malicious fashion purposefully meant to disrupt the enjoyment of others, should in now way impose upon your fun.

Hmmm.... I think we are getting into a subject that gets attention on here a fair bit. A player chooses what to play. But there is an outline within which that choice should be made.

If you want to use Aragorn or Smeagol or Rand al'Thor or Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, all to the good. It's not a bad thing to know what you want. It's a good idea to use the rules to make an appropriately powered version of the character. It's a bad idea to play the archetype relentlessly even when it is inappropriate. It's probably even a bad idea to NAME the character Aragorn if say, you are playing a chronicle based on an Asian theme or an Arabic theme or even on a theme where the DM makes up his own history, cultures, languages, maps (a la Tolkien) when your character and his history don't fit.

Of course, the DM and player can take the archetype and work with it to suit the game. There can be an Arabic or Asian Aragorn. That is why Aragorn appeals. He has become archetypical, iconic even.

But there seems to be a camp that feels that any player should get to play anything they want from any book, so long as all the rules requirements are met. I don't want to group you in there Blackhawk if that's not where you are. Since it has come up in this and other threads, I guess I (and I doubt I am the only one) get my hackles up when I see it start aparating.

I am NOT in that group. I believe in Rule Zero. I believe in the coherency and integrity of a game world. I believe both give the DM the right (duty?) to say "no" to a character that s/he believes won't work. I also believe that the DM and player should try to make the concept work. But some concepts won't and I think changing the world for the sake of one character is selfish. Just think of the howls if someone wants to play a warforged in your average FR game....

Of course, my ranting on this is partially predicated on the fact one of my players is holding everyone else hostage while he "considers" if a new campaign idea is acceptable to him. No character creation, no campaign creation. We are all just waiting. Consensus is necessary in keeping a gaming group going, but real consensus only works when there is an equal and opposite belief in the value of making sacrifices in the name of cooperation.

And you are right, bad players (e.g. those who cheat, munchkins, attention hoggers, etc.) are beyond the scope of the discussion of character choice. But I will also hold, based on experience, there is definite overlap between such groups.

You can have players who disrupt everyone's fun without any malice. I have had to kick out a player who had hygiene issues. After several very earnest and awkward attempts to address the problem.

Sebastian wrote:
Still, a very cool idea re: debeers. Makes them only marginally more evil than in the real world. ;-)

Interesting moral comparison. Is keeping people from returning from the dead more or less evil than making them work in conditions that kill them?

Saern wrote:
Savaun Blackhawk wrote:
Treima wrote:
Thanks. I figured that I really needed to say this, and I am almost certain that a ranger-oriented player here is going to flame me for what I've said, but I needed to put it out here, otherwise I was likely going to say these things somewhere where it would have come out rather loudly and with much less eloquence. Like say, the game table when I see that the team's ranger's name is Aragorn or some variation like "Aragom" or "Arogorn", as if I won't see the obvious...
I'm not a ranger-oriented character but I feel the need to interject. You should let a player play or do whatever he wants to do with his character. Bad character choices aside, it is his character to do with as he pleases. I dont think a DM should ever question a players choice in anything they do, even if they question the logic behind it.

I have to respectfully disagree with you on that. Though it may be possible in the rules to build a ranger that has favored enemy (evil outsider) (and, by the way, I don't have a problem with that at all, but I completely agree with Treima's point of view), it's also possible, by the rules, to build a half-vampire fiendish awakened gorilla psionic and play it as a character. I would not allow such a thing, and this falls under the same heading of "What does the DM allow?", which seems to be a section under Rule Zero, to me.

Granted, DMs can abuse Rule Zero, just as player's can try to violate it, but I will also say that my perspective is based around the statments made in Treima's rant. The depiction of the player was that of a typical munchkin, for lack of a better word (please don't start a flame war on that...), where as Treima made a post using excellent articulation, spelling, and grammar, and expressed points that most people on these boards feel very similarly towards and consider to be core to the spirit of the game. Therefore, I am inclined to trust that Triema is being fair in this regards, while the player is the one with the onus...

I agree completely with Saern on this one. Bad characters can destroy the game for everyone else. Insisting on playing Arogorn or Stryder or Chaos Blade, when it makes the rest of the game less fun for anyone involved is pretty damn selfish. In the same vein as "oh I kill your character and loot his body since it says CN on my sheet."

That does apply to the DM. Maybe it ESPECIALLY applies to the DM. The DM is putting a lot more work into the game than everyone else (even considered collectively). A character is the result of a partnership between a player and DM (with the DM standing in for the other PCs in many cases). It takes compromise. Sometimes what you want fits. Sometimes it doesn't. Be creative and make up something else and keep the game fun for everyone.

Oh yeah, players who cheat are one notch further down the "selfish" scale than the petulant fit-throwers who want to play, what was it Saern?, some fiendish undead gorilla or girallon thing.

Savaun Blackhawk wrote:
Treima wrote:
Thanks. I figured that I really needed to say this, and I am almost certain that a ranger-oriented player here is going to flame me for what I've said, but I needed to put it out here, otherwise I was likely going to say these things somewhere where it would have come out rather loudly and with much less eloquence. Like say, the game table when I see that the team's ranger's name is Aragorn or some variation like "Aragom" or "Arogorn", as if I won't see the obvious...

I'm not a ranger-oriented character but I feel the need to interject. You should let a player play or do whatever he

wants to do with his character. Bad character choices aside, it is his character to do with as he pleases. I dont think a DM should ever question a players choice in anything they do, even if they question the logic behind it.

Including play their character badly and getting the character killed for it.

I've had character concepts, names and histories in my game so bad they were embaressing to be in the same room with. One of them was so legendary it has become the group's label for anything utterly stupid and unlikely and annoying. "That's SO Chaosblade..."

Sebastian wrote:
psionichamster wrote:
this would lead to all kinds of fun stuff, and has my head aflutter with jewelry-based economies and the vagaries of the diamond-mines/high-end-jewels trade.
The gem trade is always a huge issue in my campaigns because of their use in so many spells. For example, black onyx is illegal in most good kingdoms due to its use in the animation of undead. Coastal cities with heavy pearl trades have larger markets for magic items due to identify. Etc.

I entirely agree. But when it comes to diamonds and their use in raising the dead. Imagine deBeers with control of who stayed dead. <Shudder> I imagine in the end few care about how many walls of force there are out there, but pretty much every rich and/or powerful person wants to have the diamonds there for when they need them. It's an insurance policy taken to the extreme.

Lilith wrote:
The idea of a family "owing" the church is interesting - what if they couldn't make the payment, and the family was required to have a child become a member of the church to pay off their debt? Giving children to somebody else to learn a trade isn't unknown in our history, though there a lot of negative connotations about it.

How it worked out usually depended on the alignment issues. a typical goodly church would usually take service freely offered. If more than one offered their services, the time would get split up. If they had special skills another discount. There was an expectation that the raised person would take up part of the burden if they could. If they didn't they would pretty much be considered pariah back home. (What an ungrateful child!)

Neutral churches could be quite different. The followers of the goddess of death and fate were pretty ruthless about it. They were typically unwilling to let the previously deceased take up the burden. In fact, if you went to them, you better not have been raised by the clergy of another god beforehand. They considered it an infringement on the portfolio of their deity and would take what they felt she was owed....

Saern wrote:

Consider the idea of servitude to churches to pay off raising debts stolen. Thanks.

Now, about where I'm coming from with these elven paladins- my campaign world is very centric to the concept of demonic invasion, and the elves (as in many settings) once had a vast kingdom (actually, they were the last in a long succession of races before humans). They were originally immortal beings (scholars debate if they were fey or celestial in nature), which descended to the Material Plane to fight a multi-planar threat (the mind flayer empire), and in order to keep these beings from achieving power ever again, gave up their immortal purity (thus, the existence of lifespans and the possibility for very human vices, despite trying to cling to their heavenly ancestry). Considering the constant influx of demons and devils, I realized that the elves should have holy warriors to fight them. And, I realized the concept had already had passing mention in other recent books. Ta-da: my curiosity arose. So, yes, it is well-founded in world lore, and not just some aberrant "Ooh, wouldn't that be cool?" flight of fancy.

Now, as for the alignment thing: I really like the Greyhawk pantheon, but there are some amongst them that just don't do anything for me (Boccob, I'm looking at you!). I know Corellon is technically not just a Greyhawk god, but I don't particularly like the deity. I have shifted the typical elven alignment from CG to "any good" (presuming NG when the law/chaos bit doesn't matter). Seems to fit with my concept of the race more. I'm also getting rid of Corellon and replacing him with a small pantheon of elven deities (between 3 and 5, still in development). So the alignment thing isn't a problem either.

All this does now is give me more ammunition for creating several campaign-specific feats to accentuate elven paladins, such as one facilitating ranger/paladin crosses more... ah, the wheels are turning again. Thanks everyone!

How did this sacrifice keep the mind flayers in check? Does it still?

Were the paladins the linchpin in the elves forces? (Did early humans get to fight under elven paladin commanders? Is that where most paladins today come from?) Were their equivalent roles for CG and NG elves? Maybe CG infiltration paladin of freedom (from UA)/ranger types? Were their differences in paladins then and now? They were fighting mind flayers, they would probably need to beef up their abilities to withstanf mind blasts and brain eating? (For that matter how are the fiends and the mind-flayers related to one another?)

Sebastian wrote:
CallawayR wrote:

LOL, I agree entirely. The sociological ramifications of the impermanence of death are pretty serious, and really haven't been taken into account very much.

One way I did (in that game) was the Order of Sacrifice. You had to die in a noble cause and leave enough of a body to come back. Even then it was a secret order within the paladins, you'd don your special nifty order of sacrifice outfit and show up at a paladin lodge meeting if you wanted to throw your weight around (anonymously, the outfit had a closed helm). The paladin character that became a member actually had to die twice to get in. The first time was drowning in his armor at 1st level. Not a good enough death to get the nod.

Other ways included making sure that it got into the history ["The king died at such and such battle and was returned to life the next day and took the battle back to his foes."] and having a lot of the people working for the temples be families in hock for the raise dead spell for a loved one. It seemed cruel for good churches to be handing out raise deads based on economic wherewithal instead of benevolence, but those spells are expensive. Someone should write an adventure at the panic that occurs when the diamond supply gets cut off and death becomes very very real until it is re-established.

Now that you describe it, the order sounds very cool. You should write it up for class acts.

I'm confused on the families in hock part. Are you saying that the person raised from the dead must become a paladin because the family is in hock? I don't quite get that route (though the idea of becoming a paladin after being raised has a lot to recommend itself).

Thanks for the suggestion to write it up. Especially, since all my other submitted ideas were gutted by the change from alternate class to alternate class feature shift between being given the green light and submission of the draft to McArtor.

There were actually 4 orders, diligence were engineers, justice were traveling justices of the peace/mediators/advocates, sacrifice for the previously dead guys and two others. (Looks sheepish for forgetting his other two orders).

Sorry. I was not clear aboout the "in hock" thing. My trial advocacy profs are probably clenching their jaws.

It was a separate bit. If your loved one died, you had to make the decision to accept the death and go on or you had to race to get the body to the nearest 9th level cleric. Since the price for a raise dead is WAY beyond most people's means, if there were enough diamonds around, the temple would probably raise the dead person in question and then indenture everyone to the temple to pay off the debt.

Of course, even if you let them stay dead, you still needed to pay a cleric for the spells to keep the person from coming back as an undead. Those were lower level, so they were more often gratis, especially if the dead person was a paritioner in good standing.

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