Catfolk

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert's page

1,359 posts. Alias of Kelsey MacAilbert.



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I just, for the first time in years, got weekends off again. So now I can do stuff. Like RPGs. But I can't GM for lack of time. I'm looking for an established group, preferably playing Pathfinder, Starfinder, or Savage Worlds, though I could maybe learn D&D 5E or go back to D&D 3.5. I live in San Francisco, so that's naturally my location preference, but I'm open to meeting outside of the city if the location is reachable by BART or Caltrain.


I've really run into issues portraying races in my setting. I know I want to have Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs, but at the same time, I can't really figure out a way to do it that isn't problematic as all hell, at least using the Pathfinder race mechanics. My setting takes place in what is clearly meant to be the mid to late 20th Century in the United States, and race relations are a major political issue. To put it succinctly, taking the Pathfinder race system where races have inherent bonuses or penalties to intelligence, or wisdom, or strength, or what have you reads so wrong in a setting where the Civil Rights Movement is in full swing. You're basically providing a hardcore mechanical justification for scientific racism at the same time you're having a setting that says scientific racism is bad. I think I found the solution to this, but I want to cover something else first.

I've also had issues fitting fantasy races into non-European cultures, though I think I solved that well enough. I've been wanting to treat Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs as forms of Human for years now, and I came upon the idea that different regions have different divine pantheons, and the act of splitting Humanity into multiple distinct races, and then assigning specific roles or hats to those races, was only practiced by one pantheon, the quasi-European one. So, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs are only a European phenomenon. Now, I run on the logic that the gods can be right a***+@!s, and are very often wrong or self centered in their behavior, so this practice isn't going to be portrayed as a good idea. It will, however, later be used to try and justify scientific racism, because the Europeans are going try and say their racial specialization makes them better at doing stuff. It isn't, though, and that'll be reflected in the fact that racial choice doesn't actually confer mechanical benefits. Essentially, my Pathfinder race system won't reflect racial choice at all. You'd say your character is an Elf, and that would say a lot about the environment you grew up in and cultural attitudes, but you won't gain any ability score modifiers or special abilities or bonuses as a result of being an Elf.

Onto what I intend to do with Pathfinder's mechanical race system, since I wouldn't be modelling race. Being a more modern setting, adventuring is well and truly dead. The government takes care of monster hunting, evil mages, lichs, demons, giant hordes of undead, and various other threats directly, rather than hire a bunch of vigilantes and murderhobos to do it. The player characters are therefore government agents, and because they're specialized assets, they are rather more capable than normal people. The government doesn't just send anyone to fight powerful magical threats, after all, and the government is well willing to work with certain categories of monster or magical beast if they can be reasoned with. That's where the Pathfinder race system comes in. Instead of modelling what race you were born into, it models what is special enough about your character that the government became interested in recruiting them.

Maybe you're a Werewolf (or Were-othercreature). That could be a "race". Or specific types of vampire (I treat vampire as a broad category that just means "intelligent humanoid blood drinker", not a specific creature with a given Bestiary entry and predictable powers and weaknesses, so I could create some sort of playable vampire. Same applies to Werewolves, actually.). Or maybe you can derive magical enhancements to your body through tattooing intricate designs on your skin (most people would get sick from that kind of magic, but not you). Maybe you're a Tiefling, and have some inherent magic as a result. Maybe you belong to the Hengeyokai or Skinwalker, animal shapeshifters who lack the brutal power of werewolves, but have magic powers to make up for it. Maybe you're just a prodigy at witchcraft. Maybe you're so good at controlling your own ki and have trained so bloody hard in martial arts that you eventually gained magic powers. That's 7 races right there, but I think we can do more. Many more. That's where this thread comes in. I'd love to hear ideas for what other "races" I could implement that fit this theme of the characters being special in some way. I'd especially like some ideas that an otherwise normal person could be inflicted with later in life.

Also, I'm wondering if this idea sounds as good to you guys as it does to me.


Every now and then, someone takes a shot at a Pathfinder version of D20 Modern. I've certainly spent my share of time doing so, though I personally am not a fan of the attribute based classes D20 Modern used, and the modern Pathfinders I've seen use that same system. I think Starfinder has gotten really close to what I do want. I'd use a different selection of races and classes (computer based classes like Technomancer or Mechanic won't really work well for me specifically, since I clip the tech level around the 60s and 70s, but a Starfinderized Witch and Alchemist would be most welcome, and depending on how Ultimate Wilderness comes out, I might port over the Shifter to emulate playable werewolves), but I absolutely adore the theme system, I love the effort at trimming back spell power and capping spells at 6th level, the Kinetic and Energy armor class system works for certain aspects of the setting, and the rules backend for modern firearms and explosives is right there. All in all, it feels like creating a modern tech version of Starfinder instead of Pathfinder will be faster and give me a game I like better, while maintaining a degree of backwards compatibility with my large selection of Pathfinder 3PP material. Has anyone else had similar thoughts? Are any 3PP publishers taking a shot at this?


Thinking I might run the Razor Coast Campaign, and wondering if there's any interest.

I would be making some cosmetic modifications. Chiefly, I would rather the "European" settlers were Spanish than British and French, and want to see some mainland Asian influence in the game (So, some NPCs would change ethnicities, and I'd be allowing Asian player characters. I also guarantee the presence of pirate junks at some point.). Early firearms would be common.

I'd have to do a full accounting of my PDF collection to see what I want to allow, but at the top of my head, I can say yes to the main Pathfinder Roleplaying Line except Ultimate Intrigue, Path of War, New Path Compendium, the Razor Coast supplements, and Heroes of the Waves.

Anyone up?


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I'm sorry to have to say this, but Paizo has something of a problem with overly aggressive posting that verges on bullying, and I'm starting to feel like it's really slowing website traffic. The rules, advice, and general discussion forums feel kind of hostile a lot of the time, and I've noticed they aren't really as busy as they used to be and seen a few high profile instances of people leaving. For my part, I don't post much anymore and largely only observe the Pathfinder RPG forums because of it.

Which segues into the issue at heart - moderators are Paizo employees, and as long as they're trying to deal with people being jerks, they aren't doing all the other tasks they were hired to perform that are essential to keeping Paizo running as a company. So unless Paizo can afford the payroll to increase tech staff because we can't be nice to each other, maybe it's time some of the burden of policing shifted to the community as a whole. If such posters as the Paizo staff feel are trustworthy could mod on a volunteer basis, it may prove feasible to more directly confront some of the more aggressive posting behaviors while simultaneously relieving the Paizo staff of some of that workload so they can work on other tasks. The addition of moderators living across several time zones with varied work and sleep schedules could also make it much easier to respond to major incidents and spam attacks in a timely manner, as it may be possible to generally always have somebody with authority online, or at least have a better distribution of times where moderators are available.


Always in the mood. I like to have guns all over my fantasy. I've amassed several products revolving around firearms over time, but it's been a bit since I relentlessly perused 3PP. Also wondering if there are any products that don't specifically sell themselves as firearms supplements but nonetheless contain much in the way of firearms content.

As of now, I have:

Class Acts: Gunslingers

The Secrets of the Gunslinger

Ultimate Options: Grit and Gunslingers

New Paths Compendium

Anachronistic Adventures

Super Genius Presents: A Brace of Pistols

Northern Crown: New World Adventures

Pulpfinder: Fantasy Adventure in the Roaring 20s

Pure Steam and Westbound


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Remember how, in Eberron, it was Magewrights and the crafting of magic items that created industrialization? In my setting, it's the Alchemists, who easily outnumber every spellcasting class combined by a large margin among NPCs (though NPC Alchemists are rarely above 3rd level). Most any magic the average civilian can access comes from that class, and compared to Eberron they fill the roles of both Magewright and Artificer. With that said, what magic items would you expect to be common compared to Eberron? What do you think an army of Alchemists working diligently could do, and what couldn't they do?


I think most GMs have certain options given in the Pathfinder books they just don't like to have players go up against. Personally, I don't use save or die effects as GM. I outright ban Raise Dead, Resurrection, Reincarnate, and anything of an equivalent effect under the metaphysical rules of the setting (Which state that dragging a soul back from beyond the veil of death will get you a badly damaged husk at best). Since you can't get back a lost character, I don't throw around things guaranteed to kill a PC on a failed save. I very rarely use traps, because I don't like them. I don't like giant spiders, so I don't use those. Don't think I've ever used a plant creature that wasn't a treant. I've never used a mimick or doppelganger.

What's in the rulebooks that you guys just choose not to have players encounter?


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I'm okay with anime creeping into my Pathfinder/D&D. I'm also okay with wuxia. I mean, I'm not fond of certain anime tropes, such as the over-sexualization of young girls seen in some series, or the dark mysterious emo bishi who overpowers literally everything, but the medium as a whole is fine. I don't really see any problems with allowing elements to seep into Pathfinder. As for wuxia, it's been known to influence how I want melee combat to work. If spellcasters get to have a trick for literally everything, martials totally should be allowed to act like something straight out of Red Cliff. As for not being Medieval European Fantasy, I've never really had the desire to restrict my Pathfinder to European stuff, nor have I ever really thought of it as Medieval in any remotely accurate fashion.

Who's with me here?


I'm not really intimately familiar with the Playstation scene, other than having beaten the Killzone games on my brother's machines, and I didn't get my PS3 until after the system's heyday. So, I'm not aware of a lot of the stuff out there that I might enjoy.

What I like best are open world adventure or RPG games, fantasy RPG games, fantasy action games, zombies, and military shooters. What I don't like is multiplayer. I only play single player.

Currently, I have the following for PS3:

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 1,2, and 3, Ghosts, and Black Ops (Already considering getting the rest of the Call of Duty games. Always did like their single player.)
Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare (Might well be my favorite.)
God of War trilogy
Assassin's Creed Ezio's Trilogy

To help find games I'd like, here's some PC games I own or have played and particularly like:

Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty World at War
Every PC Medal of Honor
Dragon Age (Entire series)
Mass Effect (Entire series)
Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind (I wouldn't get something like Elder Scrolls on a console, though. Mods are what makes the series fun.)
LA Noire
Grand Theft Auto IV and expansion pack (Yes, I'm considering getting GTAV on PS3)
Assassin's Creed 3 and 4 with all DLC
The Witcher 1 and 2 (I'd have 3, but my computer can't run it and I can't afford a PS4 or new computer)
Dead Island and Riptide
Every Tomb Raider ever made
Saints Row 3 and 4
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
All the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights titles
All the Shadowrun: Returns games
Valkyria Chronicles
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
All the Far Cry games
Just Cause 2
Hawx and Hawx 2
All the Bioshock games
All the Borderlands games
Arkham Asylum and Arkham City
Fallout 3 and New Vegas
Jade Empire

Based on this, what could you recommend me?


I'm considering something similar to Power Attack, except you sacrifice damage to ignore armor. I'm thinking -1 damage to ignore one point of armor bonus, up to your strength modifier. When half swording, you deal either piercing or bludgeoning damage, depending on whether you grab the blade with one hand for better stabbing or grab it with both and whack people with the crossguard. I though about just reversing Power Attack's values, but -2 damage/+1 attack seemed weak, though half swording should use 1 1/2 strength modifier.

Half swording would not be a feat, because I hand out stuff like Power Attack and Combat Expertise to everyone for free, and don't see half swording as substantially different. So, it'd be a free combat option. The question is whether it would get used as I've written it, or conversely if it is too optimal an option as written.


I'm looking for a part time job in San Francisco, or maybe Daly City or South San Francisco or around Jack London Square in Oakland, and I have no idea what in the Sam Hill I'm doing. I was trained on this stuff at Job Corps, but then I got my job at De Anza ludicrously easily, and that was a couple years ago. So I'm probably not doing it right. Also can't work food service because of a medical thing, which restricts options. I'd prefer clerical work (I did complete the Office Administration program at Job Corps, so it seems natural), but I've mostly applied to sales because there doesn't seem to be much clerical work available.

Anyway, I put in some applications this weekend. I applied to 4 Bevmo locations, 3 Cost Plus locations, 1 Pier 1 location, 3 Costco locations, and 1 MUJI location. My Dad says to call them in a few days since I applied online. I have a feeling I should probably do something other than apply online, but not sure what it is. There is a part time job fair at my university on Thursday, and I don't have class Thursdays, so I will naturally be there all day, but maybe you guys know other things I could be doing?


Now that Occult Adventures has been out for a bit, I'm betting some 3PP have content in the pipes to expand upon it. Yet I haven't heard anything. Has anyone else heard anything?


Article

Quote:

The number of signs that Albuquerque Police Lieutenant Greg Brachle ignored or didn’t see before putting nine .45-caliber bullets into his fellow officer’s body are simply staggering.

There was the fact that Brachle knew Detective Jacob Grant was involved in a drug buy last January, a sting the superior officer walked up on while Grant sat in an undercover police car. There were Grant’s clothes, an outfit specially worn according to a safety protocol to prevent friendly fire incidents. Even Grant’s position in the car—behind another undercover narcotics agent in the driver’s seat—was to signal to other officers that the two men were cops.

But most damning—and the most confusing part of it all—is that Brachle and Grant were well-known to each other. For nearly two years, they worked in the narcotics division of the department.

The lieutenant and the detective had “substantial, frequent, and almost daily interactions with each other,” said the civil lawsuit filed last week against the city of Albuquerque and the police department.

According to Bernalillo County court documents filed by Grant’s lawyer, Grant was taking part in a drug buy with another undercover officer while the sting was being monitored by Brachle and others. A briefing was held before the bust and officers in attendance learned not only of Grant and his fellow undercover cop’s presence in the car, but also of descriptions of their clothing and seating positions. Brachle didn’t attend the briefing, Grant’s lawyer says, but nonetheless took an “active and aggressive role in the operation.”

“Please stop shooting,” the detective pleaded as the lieutenant kept firing.
Brachle went against protocol by approaching the driver’s side of the car Grant was sitting in. The lieutenant again broke the rules when he ripped open the door and started firing into Grant, alleging without offering a single “hands up,” or “freeze,” according to the complaint.

Brachle’s actions were called “overzealous and aggressive,” in Grant’s lawsuit. Another way of saying it might be that Brachle went John Wayne, swooping into a situation he apparently knew little about, guns blazing. Even if Grant wasn’t a cop, Brachle’s alleged zealousness to fire on a suspect presenting no apparent threat would be disturbing.

Brachle first put two bullets into Grant’s torso at point-blank range. The detective’s body slumped over in the back seat. Brachle then fired seven more times as Grant tried to crawl away.

“Please stop shooting,” the detective pleaded as the lieutenant kept firing.

The damage was substantial: Almost all of Grant’s vital organs were struck and he lost 80 percent of his blood that day, nearly dying. After several surgeries, Grant can expect a lifetime of more medical work and costs to recover.

The lawsuit filed by Grant’s lawyer says not only did Brachle ignore training, protocol, and all manner of common sense while firing on his fellow officer, but he also violated Grant’s constitutional rights by using an excessive amount of lethal force.

The same charge can be found in just about every lawsuit filed by people shot by police.

“A reasonable officer should have known” that shooting someone at point-blank range with the largest caliber handgun police are allowed to carry was overkill, the complaint states. Furthermore, when the person is “trying to crawl away while leaving a heavy trail of blood and while requesting for the shooting to please stop,” Brachle should have let up.

In addition to this charge, Grant’s lawyer notes that Brachle didn’t even live by his own words. As a firearm-safety instructor for the police department, Brachle knew a shooter should be aware of objects and persons behind his target. Brachle apparently ignored this maxim, firing indiscriminately into Grant as he crawled away. A bullet or bullet fragment traveled through the detective’s torso and struck the other undercover officer in the car.

“Moreover, Lt. Brachle use lethal force in a McDonald’s restaurant parking lot during the start of the lunch hour at a location frequented by children, families and other non-suspecting individuals,” the complaint states.

Perhaps worst of all, as Brachle shot his fellow cop, the two suspects in the drug bust were busy surrendering peacefully to officers on the other side of the car.

Brachle’s trigger finger has long been itchy. The detective’s lawyer found a previous incident in which Brachle was accused of using excessive force, thus implicating the Albuquerque Police Department for allowing the lieutenant to continue working in the “highly dangerous APD narcotic unit.”

There was a glaring similarity between Brachle’s apparent past use of lethal force and his encounter with Grant. Both times, Grant’s lawsuit contends, Brachle “simply fired until he ran out of ammunition.”

Whether Grant’s lawyer was referring to a 2000 lawsuit that names Brachle as a defendant is unclear, and the lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment. A judge eventually decided in favor of Brachle, who admitted to shooting a man he said was holding a gun and who had previously been seen pouring gasoline near a home and threatening to set it on fire.

Grant’s lawsuit also makes mention of the 2012 Department of Justice report that found Albuquerque police were overly aggressive and regularly used lethal force. That judgment came after an especially violent few years beginning in 2010; from January of that year through February 2015, Albuquerque police shot 42 people, one of the highest rates of shootings by law enforcement officers in the country.

“The City’s failure to stop these deficiencies was a moving force behind Lt. Brachle’s actions,” Grant’s lawyer wrote of his client’s shooting.

But the city is standing by its man—or at least one of them.

“We know this is a very difficult situation for Detective Jacob Grant and his family,” City Attorney Jessica Hernandez said in a statement provided to The Daily Beast via the police department. “We take Detective Grant’s attorney’s claims very seriously. However, at this point, we have a duty to fully defend against the allegations made by Detective Grant’s attorney and believe the judicial process will prove the facts to be otherwise. The claims are under careful review by the City Attorney’s Office.”

Like many situations in which people who are shot by police—rightfully or wrongfully so—the powers-that-be appear to have taken law enforcement’s word above all else. This time it just happens to be a cop who is suing, and like those who have died in police custody for relatively minor charges, Grant was nearly killed over for a maddeningly petty sum.

The estimated value of the narcotics involved was $60.

If this isn't completely and utterly unjustified and violating every single rule that exists regarding police use of lethal force, I don't know what is. He walked up to a car door, opened it, and started shooting with no sort of warning given and no commands shouted, and kept plugging the guy while he begged him to stop. There was no threat to the shooter's safety that justified the use of force. Why did the cop feel any need whatsoever to pull the trigger? What possible threat did he absolutely have to eliminate right then and there? We can set aside that he knew the guy and knew he was an undercover cop, because if a civilian had been shot it would be just as unjustified. Of course, the department is treating this cop like he did nothing wrong, because that just makes all the sense in the world apparently. Of course, can't really dismiss the victim as a thug this time like what all too often happens when an innocent civilian gets shot. Maybe that will open some eyes as to how out of control police use of force has gotten.


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I'm writing for my Pathfinder campaign setting, and I'm finding that the biggest problem isn't coming up with ideas for the setting, it is providing these ideas to an audience in an efficient and non-overwhelming manner. I'm not quite sure how much information about races, technology level, the culture of the nation the game is set in, and the way magic works and how the character classes fit in needs to be provided prior to the game, and how much is overwhelming. This is especially vexing me because I don't use a standard medieval technology level or base the setting off of medieval cultures, and the game tends to stay within one nation (long story short, the PCs kill dangerous things for the government, so they don't leave the country much and are generally from said country, and this country needs a fair amount of detail). So, if you were to join my game as a player and knew nothing about my setting, what all would you want me to tell you, and how much information is just too much when starting out?


Just moved out by SFSU. Reaching out to see if any Friday/Weekend groups are looking for players for Pathfinder or World of Darkness.

...I posted this in Gamer Talk instead of Gamer Connection, didn't I?


I more I think about it, the more it appeals to me to remove the divine spellcasting classes, except for the Shaman, Ranger, Inquisitor, and Druid, who would be converted to psychic spellcasters. Witches would also be psychic. All psychic spellcasters from Occult Adventures would be allowed. Why does this appeal to me? The source of divine magic is the number one problem I have in worldbuilding, and I constantly flirt with removing divine spellcasting altogether. I don't like the classic "Gods are around and directly involved in e world" approach at all. However, it just so happens that the occult from Occult Adventures actually matches what I want from the divine really well. It's mysterious, dangerous, and all that jazz. Flavor wise, it hits just the right spots for me. Anyone else find that the occult really provides what they want out of the divine?


I have Razor Coast and all of the supplements. I want to run it, but with modifications. Seeing as how Razor Coast has a lot of Pacific flavor, I wanted to add in some Chinese characters. Like, put a Chinatown among the settlers, add in some Chinese pirates, explorers, and traders to encounter, and so on. I also imagine there is a Japanese ninja around, but everybody thinks he is Chinese because they see few Japanese people, and the ninja makes no effort to clear up the confusion, because the confusion is useful. This does, of course, mean that the players get the option of being East Asian, and can use material from Heroes of the Jade Oath if it doesn't violate the tone of the campaign. Also, I have Secrets of the Gunslinger, A Brace of Pistols, Grit and Gunslingers, Class Options: Gunslingers, and Way of the Samurai, all of which would be allowed. Firearms options galore! Firearms would be simple weapons. I'd replace the all the Divine spellcasters with Psychic Spellcasters, but let Druids and Shamans function as Psychic spellcasters.

It would be awesome. I also can't run it, because I move to a new city next week, then start at a new university and adjust to a new groove and a new job, and then I have medical stuff to worry about, and now that I'm a Junior school work is supposed to come in heavier loads. Plus, I'm working on my modern magitech campaign setting, which running an age of sail game would interfere with greatly. So, now would be the absolute worst time to start up a campaign, even a play by post. Which is sad, because I have an awesome idea. Does that ever happen to you guys? You really want to run a campaign, but you can't?


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I got a few things I'm not buying this instant, but will be buying. From 3PP, I've got:

Southlands
Southlands Bestiary
Lords of Night
Path of War Extended
Pure Steam Westbound
Heroes of the Waves
Whatever Talented Classes book Rogue Genius puts out next
Steampunk Musha
Kaidan Campaign Setting (Get ON that, Rite Publishing!)

For Paizo, I've got:

Bestiary 5
Horror Adventures

Also looking for some monster books to slap up there, but I have another thread for that.

What about you guys? What's on your pending buy list?


I run modernish campaign settings these days, with monster hunting as a main focus. Always can use more of the bastards. I am particularly fond of the undead, fey, and evil outsider types, though I also like the cooler magical beasts and dragons. I am also fond of anything created by a curse. I already have:

All the Pathfinder beastiaries
The Monster Codex
The Green Ronin Advanced Beastiary
The Complete Tome of Horrors (1-3) and Tome of Horrors 4
Midgard Bestiary
The Kaiju Codex (A modernish setting with a major nation based off of Japan? Of course I have a ready supply of kaiju.)
A couple of the Super Genius Games mythic menagerie books. Undead, werecreatures, and constructs, to be precise.

As for non-bestiary books with monsters, I can't name them all off. In particular, I have:

Gothic Campaign Compendium
Heroes of the Jade Oath
Razor Coast

I also have some stuff from other D20 games that is at least somewhat compatible:

3.5 Monster Manual
Libris Mortis
Draconimicon
Legends and Lairs Necromantic Lore
Relics and Rituals Olympus
Oriental Adventures
3.0 Rokugan
Dragonlance setting and Bestiary of Krynn
Nyambe: African Adventures
Heroes of Horror
Deadlands D20 core, Way of the Brave, Gun, and Dead, Horrors of the Weird West, Way of the New Science, and Canada and Mexico setting books
Every Weird War II D20 book except Hell in the Hedgerows
D20 Modern Urban Arcana and Menace Manual
Monte Cook's World of Darkness

So, yea. Sitting on a lot of beasties. Still could use more, though. I'm looking for stuff in PDF format, not physical books. I want Pathfinder, but am willing to buy 3rd edition books or other material I can convert relatively easily. I would particularly like East Asian or South Asian monsters, monsters based off of Native American or Mesoamerican myths, monsters based on Mediterranean myths (I do include North Africa in that statement. I want Greco-Roman and Italian stuff, but Egyptian stuff that isn't mummies would be great.), sea monsters, anything with a heavy mad science, mysterious witchcraft, or occult vibe, and evil fey. I always want more undead and demons (I call devils, daemons, and the like demons in my setting.), and monsters based on spirits would come in handy. Also haunt books (I do own the Genius Guide to Horrific Haunts).


My world operates on the logic that there is no inherent conflict between science and magic, and that combining the two is a distinct possibility. The main method of using magic for a civilian is via alchemy, or the creation of magical potions. These can maintain potency for about a year. Enchanting items is much less common, as an item lacking spiritual significance (an artifact in D&D/Pathfinder terms) won't maintain a charge for more than a day (I have systems to compensate for the loss of magic items, but they aren't relevant to this topic.). Spellcasters tend die earlier than non-spellcasters, losing between 5 to 20 years depending on how powerful a mage gets (the more powerful you get, the lower your lifespan). Alchemists are not spellcasters, so they live normal lifespans (Unless they drink the potions they make on a constant basis. If you imbibe magical elixers on the scale of a PC Alchemist, you'll lose about as much of your lifespan as a spellcaster would.).

Alchemists are also faster, easier, and cheaper to train than any spellcaster would be. As a result of this and the superior storability of alchemy compared to enchantments, the Alchemist character class completely dominates the use of magic among civilians. For every one NPC spellcaster, you'll see several dozen NPC Alchemists. Where spellcasters pull ahead is sheer power. Most NPC Alchemists don't have the class features of a PC Alchemist, as PC Alchemists only have them through extra training the average Alchemist never gets.

Generally, you won't see very many NPCs above level 4. This means that, in practical terms, we are working with a metric ton of NPC Alchemists who have access to 1st level extracts and a fair number with 2nd level extracts. In terms of spellcasters, a handful of Arcane or Psychic spellcasters with 1st level spells, and a smaller handful with 2nd level spells, are available. The setting doesn't have the Divine spellcasting classes, except for the Shaman, but the Shaman is considered Psychic (Witches got bumped over to Psychic, too). Magical healing is generally the task of Shamans, Witches, and Alchemists, and sometimes Bards. Healing potions are also easier to come by than they would be in other campaign settings. Nobody can cast Speak with Dead, and no magic is going to let you speak with plants or animals, and certainly not with a god. Occult Adventures content features pretty heavily in this setting, and from a thematic point of view it replaces Divine spellcasting.

The technology level is fully industrialized. Anything modern Earth is able to produce, my setting could produce. It may or may not produce a particular modern device, depending on whether the setting could do that task better with the magic level I provided, but determining what magic does best and what modern technology does best (and what is done best by a mixture of both) is the whole point of this thread.

So, given the specified spell and infusion levels, a very high reliance on alchemy compared to spellcasting, and the ability to technologically produce anything Earth can produce, what Pathfinder-based magitech can you guys come up with?


Warfare in my campaign setting tends to focus on small, spread out units of highly trained professional soldiers. One of (but certainly not the only) reasons for this style of combat revolves around the sheer power of alchemical artillery ammunition, which is prevalent enough on the battlefield that any unit that marches in close ranks is going to get completely shredded, leading to a general military culture that sees spreading the troops out as essential, which in turn favors smaller forces of highly trained and disciplined professionals. Of course, if it is established that artillery is such a vital and dangerous thing on the battlefield, there need to be rules to back it up. I have Ultimate Campaign but haven't had time to flip through it. Do the mass combat rules there cover artillery well? Any good homebrew systems to look at? I'm looking for something that makes artillery powerful. Like, "put ten men in a line and an acid-spitting cannonball will come in and wreck them" powerful.


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We had a pretty long thread about this a couple years ago, and much has happened in the LGBT+ world since then. So, I'd like to posit the question again. Do you portray these topics in your games? If you do, how do you do so? Are you happy with the way Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Modules handle the subject?

Personally, I tend to cover LGBT+ issues quite a bit in my worldbuilding, largely because I belong to the community. I much prefer industrial fantasy over medieval fantasy, and I portray social unrest, changing social mores, and protest movements as issues in my setting. One of the major issues being publicly debated in the acceptance of homosexuality in society. I also really like 1920s art styles, and this was a period where Berlin had a thriving gay subculture. I find that a good fit for my setting. I also portray the trans community quite a bit, often as something that gets conflated with the gay and drag communities even though this isn't correct.

I also like portraying societies with third genders that have some acceptance of trans people. Though, even societies with third genders can be bigoted. I wrote up one that is fine with transwomen, but not with transmen, because women acting like men is okay and therefore there is no necessity for a masculine woman to become a man and a woman who does so is incredibly strange and possibly deluded, whereas a man acting like a woman is not okay and therefore a feminine man is better off becoming a woman. This is, of course, based on a fundamental ignorance of what transgenderism actually is, as well as no small amount of misogyny, but that is the point. Just because a society has some acceptance of trans people and more than two genders does not mean it understands trans people or treats them fairly, or that said society can't have a large amount of sexism.

So, to me LGBT+ issues are part of the social fabric of the setting, and have a large role in urban culture and politics. What about you guys?


I haven't purchased it yet, and a key question I have is how powerful the system allows characters get compared to, say, a Wizard, so that I can form an understanding of whether allowing the system will make the disparity worse, better, or about the same.


I don't want to use the Arcane-Divine magic divide in my current worldbuilding project, because it doesn't really fit how I envision magic. So I wrote up a couple magic systems that fit the themes I wanted, and placed the magic using classes under the themes where I wanted them. If a class isn't on the list, it doesn't exist in my setting. My setting is industrialized magitech, not medieval.

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Witchcraft – There are many spirits in this world, and powerful forces beside that can grant someone the ability to manipulate the mystical forces of the world. Some people know how to deal with these forces to gain power for themselves, while others have some other form of connection to the mystical creatures of the world. By communing or looking deep into the power of their ancestry, these people can wield powers far beyond what others can dream of. All practitioners of witchcraft are referred to as witches. Any Occult Adventures classes I choose to include after acquiring the book will likely fall under Witchcraft.

-Classes

Cabalist

A person who gains power by negotiating with a mysterious extraplanar patron. Uses the Witch class features.

Shaman

A person who gains power from the spirits of the world.

Summoner

A person who is skilled at calling and binding creatures.

Sorcerer

A person of extraplanar, fae, or other mystical blood who can use this blood to effect the world around them. Some use it in a more martial oriented fashion, becoming Bloodragers.

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Speechcraft – Words have power, because they represent the cultural and psychological concepts people share with each other and how people view their relationship with the world. Some people can unlock that power by understanding the basics of the way these concepts fit into the mystical forces behind everything in the world. Nobody comes close to fully understanding these forces, but those who can understand a bit can use that understanding to change things about how the world works. This process involves carefully either written incantations, called runes, which are used by prepared casters and written down in the morning for casting later in the day, or complex verbal incantations, which are used by spontaneous casters. Users of speechcraft are referred to as speakers.

-Classes

Cleric

An individual who has entered into the study of how a couple of chosen concepts can affect the mystical forces of the world. These concepts are called Domains.

Warpriest

An individual who uses the concepts contained in a holy scripture to affect the world in the name of their god.

Lawbringer

An individual who affects the world using the concepts behind a code of law, whether that law be secular or religious, and whether it be a written code of law or a set of personal morals. Uses the Inquisitor class features.

Warden

An individual who affects the world using the concepts around the way people interact with their natural environment. Uses the Druid class features. Pioneers are Wardens who use Ranger class features. Spell less rangers are called Skirmishers, after the archetype they all use.

Magus

An individual who affects the world using the concepts regarding combat.

Bard

An individual who affects the world using the concepts regarding artistic expression. Skalds are a variant of Bard.

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Alchemy – The understanding of how the mystical forces of the world intertwine with the laws of science, usually chemistry. This is as mysterious a discipline as any other discipline, but it shows promise, and is by far the most common method of utilizing mystical forces. Alchemists outnumber both witches and speakers put together. The classes that use Alchemy are the Alchemist and the Investigator (which is an alternate class of the Alchemist, and a member would be called an Alchemist), though other classes like Cabalists can learn to dabble by using the Brew Potion feat.

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What do you guys think of the flavor here?


I’m not all that much a fan of the Pathfinder race system, and I prefer systems that have less mechanical impact and more variety within races. That was something I tried for here. I also decided to only have three races from a mechanical standpoint, but have wide ranging variety within each race. Elves don’t just include pale skinned dudes with sharp ears, they also include hengeyokai, gnomes, and a bunch of other people. I have not thought up near enough elven and risi ethnicities (ideas are welcome), and I haven’t really shared details of the cultures of these ethnicities here, as they aren’t ready yet. This thread is about getting things mechanically balanced and seeing of my ethnic descriptions convey enough information to get a view of what people look like without sounding vaguely racist. I am especially worried about the mechanical balance of the elven Bloodline ability, the hengeyokai shapeshifting, and whether the risi keep pace with humans and elves in terms of mechanical abilities.

Notes:
A note on mechanics - I never did like racial ability score penalties, as they make races less able to step outside the box and do interesting things and make a race less flexible. This is especially problematic when only three races exist. Since all three races are meant to be broad and flexible, I do not see the need for a catch-all race, as humans and half-humans usually are in Pathfinder. As such, I gave humans about as much of a niche as any race has in my setting. I did take away the Human bonus feat, and I know that extra feat is essential to a lot of builds, so I am giving all characters two feats at first level instead of one. All playable races are medium sized (though many risi skirt the very edges of the size category) with 30ft movement speed, and share the same average lifespan. No race or ethnicity has any sort of inherent moral or ethical leaning. Drow and orcs have just as much capability to do good or evil as humans, and do so in about the same proportions as humans.

A note on crossbreeding – Belonging to one of the three races means having ancestry that is at least 75% from that race. Since humans, elves, and risi can interbreed without issue, virtually nobody has ancestry purely of one race, just majority from that race. Characters descended from two or three races are allowed. The GM will assist such a player in choosing ability score bonuses and major and minor abilities.

A note on ethnicity – There is no requirement to select one ethnicity, unless that ethnicity has mechanical impacts, such as hengeyokai or mandriviks. A character can be so multiethnic that they don’t really belong to any ethnicity at all, or a member of two or three distinct ethnicities. Ethnicity is there to give ideas on how people from different parts of the world typically look, and is not meant to have any mechanical effects outside of mandrivik disease resistance and some elves. Ethnicity is also a social construct, not a biological reality, and nobody is “pureblood” anything. If you grab a dwarf off of the street, they’ll have some human ancestors that weren’t dwarves, and probably a few ancestors that weren’t humans. Culture tends to be a factor of nationality first and ethnicity second, so the best place to learn about being an elf or a human is to read about the country they came from.

Human:
Human

Ability Scores:
+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence

Humans are hardy and adapt relatively well to strange or harsh environments, and are quick to pick up new skills and improvise their way around problems.

Major Abilities:

Hardy:

Humans gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.

Study:

At 1st, 8th, and 16th level, humans gain Skill Focus in a skill of their choice as a bonus feat.

Minor Abilities:

Skill Training:

Pick two skills at character creation. These skills become class skills.

Durability:

Humans receive a +2 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion, as well as any other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, and hot or cold environments.

Notable Ethnicities. These describe average traits, and intermarriage happens all the time, so people will often have a mixture of different attributes:

East Merundian – East Merundians are the dominant group of Eastern, Southeastern, and Northern parts of the Merundian continent. They average about 5’6” tall for men, and 5’2” tall for women, with southerners averaging shorter and northerners averaging taller. Skin complexion ranges from a yellowish tan or pale and creamy to medium brown, with southerners tending to be darker skinned than northerners. Hair is typically black or brown and straight or wavy, and eyes are usually average or small sized, black or brown, and slightly slanted towards the nose. They often have prominent cheekbones and flattish noses.

West Merundian – West Merundians are the dominant group of Southern and Western Merundia. They average about 5’8” tall for men and 5’5” tall for women, with people being shorter in the east and taller in the west. Their skin ranges from medium to dark brown in the east to medium to light in the west. They usually have straight, wavy, or curly black or brown hair, average or small sized brown or black eyes, and prominent noses.

Elashkan – The dominant group of the continent Elashka, they average about 5’10” for men and 5’6” for women, with people being shorter in the East and North and taller in the South and West. Skin color is medium to dark or very dark brown, with Eastern and Northern Elashkans usually being darker. Their hair tends to be kinky or curly and brown or black and their eyes are average or small sized and brown or black, and their noses are usually narrower to the East or North and broader to the South or West.

Tall Folk – The dominant group of Nitara, they average about 5’10” for men and 5’6” for women, with Southerners being shorter and Northerners taller. Southerners tend to be tan or light brown skinned, while Northerners tend to be light or pale skinned. Their hair tends to be brown or black for Southerners and red, blonde, or light brown for Northerners, and can be curly, wavy, or straight. Their eyes are large and can be brown, black, blue, or green, with blue and green being much more common with Northerners. Southerners tend to have prominent noses and Northerners either slightly broad or slightly narrow noses. They are called the Tall Folk because they outsize their dwarven friends (Tall Folk and dwarves typically get along pretty well on the societal level), not because they are the tallest people around (the risi do outsize them pretty well, after all).

Dwarves – A group native to Nitara, they average about 5’0” for men and 4’8” for women. They are light or pale skinned, with straight or wavy red or light brown hair and large gold or gem colored eyes. They have slightly broad noses, and freckles are a common feature. They commonly intermarry with the Tall Folk, so deviations from the norm are common.

Mandriviks – A traditionally semi-nomadic group native to Eastern and Northern Nitara, they average about 5’8” for men and 5’4” for women. They are pale skinned and have large blue, green, or black eyes and straight or wavy black, red, or brown hair. They have narrow noses, and are especially noted for their retractable fangs. Mandriviks drink animal blood to make up for enzyme deficiencies, and are especially resistant to disease. Characters of primarily Mandrivik ancestry do not get the Human Skill Training ability, instead increasing the Human +2 bonus to saves against poison to a +4 and getting a +4 bonus to saves against disease. Mandrivik fangs are not long enough to be of much use in combat.

Thyressans – The group native to Thyressa. They average about 5’8” for men and 5’4” for women, with people being taller in the north and shorter in the south. They have medium to dark reddish or brown skin, straight or wavy black or brown hair, and average sized black or brown eyes. They usually have broad noses in the north and narrower noses in the south. Most Thyressans alive have large amounts of Tall Folk or Elashkan ancestry do to the effects of colonialism, so variations from this basic body type are highly common.

Elves:
Elf

Ability Scores:

+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma

Elves are nimble and quick, and have an easy charm about them and an innate grasp of sorcery.

Major Abilities:

Bloodline:

All elves have sorcerous blood, though the majority of elves are not Sorcerers. At character creation, all elves gain the 1st level bloodline power from one Sorcerer bloodline of their choice, using it as if they were a 1st level Sorcerer, regardless of character level. An elf who takes levels in a class that grants bloodline powers may not gain the same bloodline power twice. They may either swap out their class bloodline power for an equivalent power (which must be approved by the GM) if their class and race bloodlines are the same, or they may choose different class and race bloodlines.

Elven Luck:

Elves gain a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.

Minor Abilities:

Keen Senses:

Elves gain a +2 bonus to Perception checks, and Perception is always a class skill for them.

Low Light Vision:

Elves can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light.

Notable Ethnicities. (These describe average traits, and intermarriage happens, though rather less frequently than it does among Humans, so people will sometimes have a mixture of different attributes):

Alfar – Native to Northern Nitara, the alfar average about 5’5”, with little difference between men and women. They are lightly built and relatively androgynous, and have pale or light skin and large, pointed ears. Their large eyes are sky or sea blue, fern; grass; or leaf-like green, brown, or leaf-like orange or yellow, and their straight or wavy hair is red, light or medium brown, or blonde hair. They only have body hair on their scalps, and have narrow noses. Spots and stripes on the skin are relatively common, though not all elves have them, and come in the same range of colors as their hair and eyes.

Drow – The nocturnal cousins of the alfar, drow are also native to Northern Nitara, and average about 5’5” tall. They have the same slight build and relative androgyny as alfar, with very dark skin that takes on a bluish, purplish, or grayish tone, large gray, silver, dark blue, purple, or black eyes, and straight or wavy white hair, often with a publish, bluish, grayish, or silverish tint. They only have body hair on their scalps, and have narrow noses. Spots and stripes on the skin are relatively common, though not all drow have them, and come in the same range of colors as their hair and eyes. Unlike other elves, drow do not get a +1 bonus to Will saves or Fortitude saves, only to Reflex saves. They also gain 60ft Darkvision instead of Low Light Vision.
Gnomes – Largely believed to be related to the dwarves somehow, gnomes are a race native to the whole of Nitara. They are about 5’0” if men and 4’8” if women, just like dwarves, though they are more slenderly built, and have broad noses. They are light or light browned skinned, with straight or wavy gold or gem colored hair and large gold or gem colored eyes.

Hengeyokai – Native to Eastern and Southern Merundia, Hengeyokai are shapeshifters that appear as humans or as animals. They do not gain the Bloodline ability like other elves, instead gaining the ability to shapeshift:

Shapechanger: A hengeyokai's true form is that of a humanoid with the face of an animal. The animal is that of its clan. A hengeyokai may change shape, appearing either as a human or in the natural form of her clan animal (alter self, beastshape I). A hengeyokai's human features are always the same, as are her animal features and these features are uniquely hers. That is, a hengeyokai cannot choose to take the shape or form of another person or animal in order to disguise herself without access to other abilities or powers. A hengeyokai can revert to her natural form at will. She may adopt her alternate forms a number of times per day equal to 1/2 her character level (minimum 1). (This ability was written for Heroes of the Jade Oath by Green Ronin Press.)

Hengeyokai also do not gain the Elven Luck ability, instead gaining the following:

Hengeyokai magic:

Hengeyokai add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against enchantment spells that they cast. Hengeyokai with a Charisma score of 11 or higher gain the following spell-like ability: 3/day—dancing lights. Hengeyokai are treated as members of the Kitsune race for the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites (Which means that a Hengeyokai can become a 9 tailed Kitsune).

The following clans exist: Badger (Mujina), Cat (Neko), Dog (Inu), Hare (Usagi), Monkey (Saru), Rat (Nezumi), Fox (Kitsune), and Raccoon-Dog (Tanuki). A Hengeyokai must be a member of a clan, and cannot belong to multiple clans.The names in parenthesis are the names used in the nation in Minoka. Hengeyokai are from many nations and the clans have different names in each, though Racoon-Dog Hengeyokai are only seen in Minoka.

The Skinwalkers of Thyressa are like Hengeyokai and use the same stats, they just have a slightly different array of available clans. Their choices are Cat, Dog, Coyote, Squirrel, Beaver, Monkey, Raccoon, and Fox.

Risi:
Risi

Ability Scores:

+2 Strength, +2 Wisdom

The risi have the muscle to go with their size, and boast a well developed sense of intuition.

Major Abilities:

Risi Agility:

Despite their great size, risi are very surefooted, and quite good at navigating rough terrain. A risi has a climb speed of 20 feet, with the +8 bonus to Climb checks that implies. A risi also keeps her Dexterity bonus when making an Acrobatics check to cross narrow or uneven ground.

Scent:

Risi gain the scent ability.

Minor Abilities:

Stability:

Low Light Vision:

Risi can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light.

Stability:

Risi receive a +4 racial bonus to their CMD when resisting bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground.

Notable Ethnicities. (These describe average traits, and intermarriage happens, though rather less frequently than it does among Humans, so people will sometimes have a mixture of different attributes):

Jotnar – Native to Northern Nitara, Jotnar average about 7’9” for men and 7’7” for women. They have pale skin, straight or wavy white hair, sometimes with a bluish, gray, or silverish tint, and large blue, gray, or silver eyes. Their noses are broad and their builds powerful.

Titan – Native to Southern Nitara, Titans average 7’10” for men and 7’8” for women (making them the tallest playable race in the setting). They have light to medium brown skin, straight or wavy black hair, average sized brown, black, or gold eyes, and prominent noses.

Orc – Native to Western Thyressa, Orcs average 7’9” for men and 7’7” for women. They have greenish or brownish skin, straight or wavy black, brown, or green hair, average sized black, brown, or green eyes, broad noses, and prominent canines.

Tieflings exist, but not as a race. A player who wants to be a tiefling loses a Major Ability of their race and gains either Fiendish Resistance or one of the Advanced Race Guide alternatives to Fiendish Resistance. Aasimar do not exist per se, because those who would be Aasimar are risi (which has to do with the reasons why the Gods do not like the risi).

I don't expect the mechanics to be balanced, this being a first draft, so what did I do that's wonky? What do the ethnic descriptions need? Any ideas for elven or risi ethnicities (Elves are inherently magical people, and risi are basically big people accustomed to relying on the earth for magic and wisdom rather than the Gods, because the Gods hate them.)?


I'm writing more on dwarves for my Dieselpunk Pathfinder setting. Important to note that this is an industrialized campaign setting, but a lot of culture is rooted in pre-industrial traditions and situations. There are male and female dwarves, but there is little sexual dimorphism. The main dwarven family group is the clan, which is a group of brothers and sisters, their children, and their parents and grandparents. Dwarven culture does not differentiate between siblings and cousins, as the adults in a clan raise all of their children together as siblings. Dwarves call their maternal aunts and uncles mothers and fathers, and view their birth mother as being of equal status to their other mothers. A dwarf considers all of zir maternal nieces and nephews to be zir sons and daughters. Genealogy is traced solely through the maternal line, as men have no connection to or knowledge of the children they conceive. Dwarves do not marry, and have as many sexual partners as they desire and can woo (all from other clans, of course). Gay sex is so common as not to raise eyebrows, and most dwarves would not identify as gay or straight, as the ideas of heterosexuality and homosexuality are not present in traditional dwarven culture.

Dwarven babies are small, because dwarves have multiple children per pregnancy. Three to five is typical, six is rare and hazardous, and seven or more is typically fatal to mother, babies, or both. It is common for dwarves who have not given birth to help nurse a sister's babies, as dwarves can lactate without getting pregnant and male dwarves can lactate. Gender roles are fluid, because men help rear their children, and the communal nature of childrearing means a woman with a career focus can easily both reproduce and work outside the house. This balances out the dwarven population somewhat, since dwarven women very often focus on tasks completely unrelated to having or rearing children, or consider the children the clan already has sufficient. What typically ends up happening within a clan is that the more nurturing adults focus on raising the children while the rest of the adults work to bring in food and other necessities of life. War is considered the province of the physically fit of both genders, because dwarves don't have much strength disparity between men and women, and multiple births mean that a generation can have enough children with most women having only a few pregnancies and some having no pregnancies at all.

As a result of this system, dwarven culture emphasizes family heavily, since siblings will remain together in the same household for life. Leaving a clan is incredibly serious business, and brings much stigma. Clan decisions are typically made communally by the oldest group of siblings in the clan, and respect and obedience for elders is considered extremely important. It is considered proper for elders to give their charges freedom of choice in lifestyle, but if not enough money or children are present, they can start telling their children and grandchildren to go get jobs or go get pregnant, and would be considered justified by most dwarves. Service to one's family is considered more important than independence and freedom of choice, but there is a level at which dwarves start seeing the elders as becoming overbearing. Generally, dwarves consider it overwhelming when a clan has enough money and children, but the elders keep ordering people to get more money or children, but judging that is very subjective, and not everybody agrees with having this power structure in the first place. The advent of the industrialization has had surprisingly little effect on family structure outside of birth rates, with industrialization having much greater effect on work, urban, and materiel culture. High food availability, rarity of disease, and excellent medical care have all caused the death rate among dwarven children to plummet and the population to explode, but now birth rates have dropped off do to the expectation that almost all children will live to the adulthood and the expense of modern child rearing and limited space in cities, with modern dwarven clans typically only having a couple pregnancies per generation. Currently, the birth rate is enough to sustain the current population, but it may not stay that way. Almost all dwarves will become parents at some point, but the majority of dwarven women will never get pregnant. Not having a clan is a major stigma in dwarven culture. The lucky may get welcomed into another clan, especially if proven worthy, but a whole lot of dwarves never get lucky. Nothing in dwarven society is lower than a clanless dwarf, especially exiles. Orphans are pitied, but still treated pretty poorly and excluded from a lot of dwarven society.

Dwarves are well known for their hospitality and general approachableness, and hold their arguments and grudges behind a veneer of politeness. Not all dwarves are vindictive, secretly malicious, or unable to let things go, but that is a stereotype commonly held about dwarves, as those that do have beefs tend to conspire in private rather than bringing them out in public. Dwarven politics can get extremely nasty without the quarreling parties ever seeming anything but openly friendly towards each other to an outside observer. Dwarves are always welcoming to a guest, and the key component of measuring one's level of wealth and success is how much one can afford to spend on gifts and feasts. They are a race known for building big things, as they value things that last for generations. When it comes to arcane magic outside of Alchemists (the most common magic user setting-wide, because potions last in a way enchantments don’t), dwarves lean towards Wizardry, and aren't any less likely to produce arcane casters than anyone else. Dwarves do mine plenty, as they are a mountain people, but don't hail it as a primary way of life, and the majority of dwarves involved in mining.

Dwarves tend to be about 4 and a half to 5 feet tall, light skinned, often with freckels, slightly pudgy, and squat, with smallish busts (breastfeeding a group of children is a task for several dwarves, even old ones, not a single dwarf). As mentioned, there is little sexual dimorphism, aside from men being able to grow facial hair and women not. This is the main method of telling the gender of a dwarf, as a man will wear a beard if he does not want to be seen as a woman. Both men and women like to arrange their hair elaborately. Their hair is typically a shade of red or brown, and their eyes are usually gemstone colored.

I really need questions on this one. Halp?


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I was thinking maybe strip the page art. My iPad loads Paizo PDFs incredibly slow. Low/no art PDFs may be useful for some tablet users.


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At the moment, I feel like it is a good time to talk about what I want my world to feel like in terms of visual and storytelling themes, rather than describing specific nations, territories, history, or what have you. In essence, I want to talk about the overall purpose of the setting. This is a roleplaying game setting, which I designed with a modified version of the Pathfinder system in mind, but which could be ported over to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. As such, this setting is designed for long term use over multiple stories with many protagonists, and the rules of the game do influence my worldbuilding choices.

I suppose I should start with the overarching theme of the world. Since this is a roleplaying setting, the most important thing is what the player characters are doing. The role of the player characters can be summed up in a quote I am quite fond of, whose author is unknown:

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

As I build my world, I am noticing that I have a definite tendency to create a setting that is optimistic, and in many ways a place I would enjoy living. This is quite at odds with the need to provide a plethora of problems for adventurers to address, and the solution I came upon is to not have adventurers. I do lean towards high technology levels and centralized governments, and the police aren’t necessarily fond of vigilantism. I also imagine that a centralized government which exists in a world where spellcasters, demons, dragons, fae, sea monsters, kaiju, the undead, and various other magical things exist openly would have people trained to deal with them when they pose a threat. Otherwise, the world wouldn’t be a particularly pleasant place to live. This is a perfect role for the player characters, as it provides instant and unlimited motivation for conflict. They go out and fight monsters because they are the government agents tasked with doing this. The world seems so pleasant because brave men and women stand ever vigilant, constantly fighting, bleeding, and all too often dying to keep the dark side of the world contained.

As to the cultural flavor of the world, I am used to most of my fantasy being Western European or perhaps East Asian, but I wanted to move beyond those roots while still embracing them. I do this by taking a lot of inspiration from my native California. I based the terrain of my most focused-on country on the US West Coast, along with a lot of cultural elements of the setting. I really like a California/Cascadia focus as opposed to the standard Western Europe or East Asia focus, because California easily accepts Western European and East Asian themes at the same time, whilst leaving room for more. Mixing British, Mediterranean, East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, American Indian, Latin American, Polynesian, Middle Eastern, Germanic, and African themes together in something highly reminiscent of California feels completely right to me. The idea of California based fantasy does suggest a high degree of multiculturalism and a mostly immigrant or immigrant-descended populace, and the variety that provides is wonderful. I do include a much greater East Asian, especially Chinese, influence than real life California had, to the level that people speak a creole language based primarily on English, Chinese, and Spanish with influence from several other languages, notably Italian, Japanese, and Greek. There isn’t a majority racial group at all, with Western Europeans and East Asians being neck and neck as to who is a plurality of the population, and a significant portion of the population is neither.

When it comes to technology, I bundle it together with art. I do this because I tend to decide my technology based on what looks cool, making it in effect a matter of artistic desires. As such, the prominent visual artistic elements and the prominent technology are somewhat interrelated to my mind. Though I prefer a very high technology setting, based largely within 20th Century technology as opposed to Medieval technology, I have about as much an eye towards avoiding anachronisms and accurately depicting the time period my setting is based off of as Dungeons and Dragons has. A lot of technology is heavily used because I thought it looked pretty and no other reason. For example, I like trains. The dominant style of train is based on the early EMD F series, such as the F3. This is because the F3 is downright gorgeous:

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When I think of transportation in my setting, that is one of the first things I think of. As an urban planning student focusing on transportation, I think about the subject a lot. I really like public transit, so, while my setting most certainly does have automobiles and airlines, trains, streetcars, subway, and busses are all big. And the old PCC streetcars aren’t exactly bad looking:

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My setting most certainly has these. Even a 1950s Greyhound is a looker:

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Yet another thing for my setting to borrow. A pattern is forming with my choices of vehicles, of course, and it continues with cars:

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A clear image is coming along, in which is is very much a 40s-60s setting in terms of technology. Might as well match that with popular culture. That means early rock & roll and surf rock. Elvis and the Beach Boys are obvious inspirations, though I imagine some East Asian elements have crept in. Also major Mexican inspiration. This boils over to food, too. Modified versions of Chinese and Mexican cuisine are not just ubiquitous, these modifications form a recognizable national culinary tradition. This is still very much in development, however. I’m trying to put a lot of thought into what an Anglo-Sino-Latin creole should look and feel like, and most of the research isn’t done yet. Pop culture needs to be much more than just Elvis and surfing (That isn’t even any sort of innovation, really.), and actually have some unique aspects to it that real life California lacks, and it will when I’m done. I have decided that redheads do face serious discrimination and that ginger is a serious slur. There something a tendency to assume anyone with red hair must be a Tiefling, and Tieflings are not treated well.

Airplanes, and here is where I started doing weirder stuff. All aircraft use propellers or rotors, because I think propellor driven airplanes are sexy in a way jets just aren’t. Especially the Corsair.

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I love it so much, I wrote dragons in such a way that the most effective way to fight them is a spellcaster piloting a fighter. Dragons versus wizard fighter pilots in Corsairs. Yes.

I also really like hueys. So we have helicopters kinda like that. Also flying boats:

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I love Catalinas. Great if you have a bunch of widely spread out islands that aren't heavily developed. Which can be worked into the whole California concept. No reason we can't have a huge offshore island chain that is so rugged that the population is very dispersed. Can base off of Hawaii, but way bigger.

Weapons-wise, assault rifles, shotguns, and such are pretty ubiquitous. Tanks are about mid-50s level.

On the subject of magic, I wrote it in such a way that enchantments have to constantly be recast, because they don’t last. This makes maintaining magic items extremely difficult. For government agents who themselves have some knowledge of magic (even a Fighter knows something about ki, which is inherently magical) and the resources of the government, this is not an insurmountable problem, but in industrial capacities magic is used to do things in the moment, not to create items that are themselves magic. Enchanted items are the playthings of the rich, who can afford to maintain them. In fact, wizardry itself is the province of the rich and powerful, because they can afford the necessary instruction. Sorcery is inborn spellcasting ability, and do to the law of numbers, is associated with the lower income masses. It is also dangerous, with the modern day being the first time Sorcerers were more likely to survive to adulthood than blow themselves up during puberty. Needless to say, people find them scary. Sorcery is as old as civilization, but wizardry is fairly new. Potions last far longer than enchantments, which gives them a far bigger role in society. Alchemists are more common than actual spellcasters are, and it is common to see a nonmagical object powered via magical alchemy. There are also divine spellcasters, who practice a magic passed down from the long disappeared old gods to their priesthoods. Those who practice this magic outside the priesthoods are witches, and while they aren’t executed anymore, historically they were, as practicing such magic without proper sanction was a grave offense indeed. Raise Dead, Resurrection, and Reincarnate are all outright banned, except for the Reincarnate Druid's class feature (Reincarnate Druids don't die when they reincarnate, though. Their soul is too slippery for Death to grasp, so they go back into the world. Seriously considering a Rogue version of this, because flavor. "I'm so quick, sneaky, and agile, not even Death can catch me!".). The basic idea is that once Death takes a soul, this is literally nothing anyone can do to ever get it back. It is far beyond the power of mortals. However, it takes a few minutes after the heart stops before the soul departs. If you can get the character's HP above the death threshold in that timeframe, their heart will start up again and they will survive. This has to be done with one spell, not multiple spells. Since every minute is 10 rounds, which is a lot in this sort of emergency, a fallen PC is much more likely to be revived than lost permanently.

Religion in this setting is complicated. At one point there were gods, yes, but people don’t know where they went. They were replaced by the Celestial Bureaucracy, who took control of the priesthoods as the so-called children of the gods. This organization was headed by these demigod figures and their angelic armies, and kept humanity (elves, dwarves, magni, orcs, and others are all subspecies of human) safe from demons, dragons, fae, and other threats in exchange for service and obedience. The especially loyal were taught the secrets of divine magic. Though it kept humanity safe as best as it could manage, the Celestial Bureaucracy was a totalitarian organization that saw people as pawns to be used to acquire power, had massive factionalism and infighting issues, did not seem overly concerned with getting thousands of humans killed in wars between demigods, was hard into racial determinism and not into giving people freedom to choose their own destiny, gave the churches of individual demigods a massive amount of control over people's daily lives, and was absolutely brutal in suppressing any form of dissent. Eventually these shenanigans went too far, and the Celestial Bureaucracy was broken, most of the demigods were killed, the angels were stripped of their powers and forced to live as humans, and humans were left ruling over themselves. For the first century and a half, the demons and fae lacked the power to be too much of a threat do to how long the Celestial Bureaucracy had spend grinding them down, but they've had time to regain their strength with the organization destroyed. Which is exactly why the player characters are needed.

With the fall of the Celestial Bureaucracy, the priesthoods maintain faith in the old gods (it is known for a fact that at some point they were real, after all), and many people do continue to worship, but agnosticism and lack of faith that the old gods will ever return are common, as well as questions about whether their return would actually be desirable.

As it stands, Elves and Gearforged are the races I have put the most work into by a wide margin. With Elves, I really wanted to touch on the whole forest living aspect, but I also love the idea of bohemian city Elves hanging around coffeeshops being hip but more reasonable than their effete reputation gives them credit for, so I took on both images. Since my friends and I are mostly LGBT, we do tend to bring those themes into our games, which is why I put so much thought into Elven sexual mores. I wanted them to not be totally accepting, because bigotry means story fuel, but I wanted them to be bigoted for different reasons.

Elves are the children of the Sun, open and energetic. They are sociable and full of ideas, and their art is characterized by bold, broad strokes, brand new ideas, and bright colors. If you look at their treetop cities, they show little planning or subtlety. Elves throw up what looks cool and what is nice to live in, and have a thing for bold architecture. Elven social interactions are pretty direct, and elves can be considered somewhat flighty. As a race with magic in their veins, they are more likely have the blood of a sorcerer than any other race except the drow, and sorcerers make up the majority of Elven arcane spellcasters. With the advent of industrialization, urbanization, explosive population growth, and technology such as trains, running water, and cars, Elven cities have proven quite inadequate to housing a modern population. The rich can keep their cities as they traditionally have been, at the cost of shutting the poor out to slums that aren't even able to provide the poor quality of life one could find in slums in non-forest dwelling races. This has led to a big rift between those who get to live in the beautiful tree cities and those who don't, and massive numbers of Elves are leaving the slums for the cities of the Magni, Dwarves, and Drow. Hence there is a split between Aboreal Elves and City Elves. Elven society preaches environmentalism, though City Elves would say that Aboreal Elves don't know the first damn thing about environmentally friendly city design and that forest cities just aren't sustainable and can't be the basis of Elven society anymore, whereas Aboreal Elves would concede past mistakes and talk about the need for smaller populations and a less technologically reliant lifestyle while deriding the places City Elves live as wasteful, concrete Hells with no connection to nature. Elves value education, but not formal schooling. They like their learning in pieces the size of their attention spans.

They are commonly considered promiscuous by other races, which doesn't fully reflect Elven sexual mores. Elves do attach a degree of importance to sex, but they don't restrict themselves to one partner, even though they practice monogamous marriage. Elves feel that love naturally comes in a spectrum, and your spouse should be that person you love above all others. Having sex with someone other than that spouse is both acceptable and perfectly normal (in fact, it'd be seen as unjustly controlling and a sign of an abusive relationship for an Elf to demand their spouse not have sex with other people), but giving another partner more love and attention than your spouse is adultery, which is an extremely serious offense that will ruin not only a marriage, but one's friendships and other romantic relationships. Divorce has a huge social stigma attached to it. Gay sex has no almost no stigma in Elven culture, as Elves don't see any problem with a man having a male lover or a woman having a female lover, but being exclusively homosexual leads to a lot of anger and ridicule from other Elves, and gay marriage is considered downright ridiculous. Many Elves do not accept the fact that some people do love others of the same gender as much as one loves a spouse. Other Elves don't understand why a gay man wouldn't just become a woman. If a child is born to the union of an unmarried partner and a married partner, the married partner gets full custody and their spouse is considered the opposite sex parent of the child. Elven society teaches that spouse should raise the child as their own without stigma, though society's rules aren't necessarily always followed. The unmarried partner has no parental rights and is not considered related to the child in any way. If both lovers are married, one must get full custody and the other will not be considered related to the child at all. Traditionally the family with fewer children will get the child, with the mother's family getting the child if both have the same number of children. If that arrangement is somehow unworkable, the two sides either come to an agreement as to who's child it is (joint custody would be considered unacceptable) or it turns into a court fight. If both lovers are unmarried, they either get married or the child is taken away and given to a suitable family. A gay couple would never be allowed to raise a child.

Male to female or female to male gender transition has little stigma, but Elven culture does not understand the fact that somebody can be born with the body of one gender and the mind of another. To an Elf, a person who transitions is changing their gender (which most Elves don't see as bad, just weird), not bringing their body over the gender of the mind. Elves do have poorly defined gender roles, as feminine acting men and masculine acting women aren't stigmatized, but they have a feeling that everybody needs to identify with one or the other, even if they can't explain exactly what feminine or masculine is.

Elves are a bit shorter than Magni (think Earth people), and only have body hair on their scalp. Their ears are noticeably pointed, and actually droop or perk up slightly based on emotion. They are light skinned, with red, pink, brown, blonde, orange, green, blue, black, or purple hair and blue, green, brown, orange, or purple eyes. Lighter hair and eyes are more common than darker hair and eyes. Faint colored stripes or spots are not uncommon, though not in the majority either, and can come in any color.

In contrast to their elven cousins, Drow are more methodical about things. They have the same artistic bent as Elves, but spend more time on small details. Their artwork uses fewer strokes and colors, focusing more on high levels of detail, relationships between all the elements, and deeper meanings. As a race that is largely urban, they are known for helping produce a lot of fine, meticulously planned architecture, but don't work with big and bold unless they are decorating something the Dwarves built. Drow and Dwarves as groups tend to get along relatively well, with a long history of cooperation. This can be said of Magni to a somewhat lesser degree, whereas relations with the Elves tend to be rather neutral at the group level, despite the obvious connection between the two races. They like things moderate and functional, but elegantly attractive. They aren't so direct in conversation as Elves, but aren't horribly secretive, either. They have the same slant towards sorcerous blood as Elves, but their more meticulous brains tend to lend them to the path of the Arcanist. They are of Elven height and have the same lack of hair besides that on their scalp. They have black or very dark grey, blue, or purple skin, white, silver, or pale blue, purple, or grey hair, blue, grey, silver, or purple eyes, and the same large, sharp, and expressive ears as Elves.

In my world, to animate a construct with actual human emotions, one needs to consume somebody's body and use the energy to wipe the soul clean. This creates a soul that lacks any memory of its previous life and personality, but because the body is consumed it needs an artificial one. The soul needs to be instructed as to how to act, much like a child, but grows far, far faster, reaching adulthood within a year or two. Whether a Gearforged retains traces of its past personality or not is a matter of much debate. It is known that if a murderer becomes a Gearforged, the Gearforged will probably not become a murderer, but some believe little traces of past personality remain. Good luck proving it, though.

The nation of Vendalia, along with a couple other nations, create almost all the Gearforged in the world. They do so out of a heavy distaste for the death penalty. These governments have come to the belief that it is more humane to use a murder or rapist to create a new life with potential for good than it is to just hang the condemned. The Gearforged are schooled in the basics of moral life for a year or two, then released out into society as free individuals, hopefully to contribute more than their forebears.

Gearforged start out with a very basic skeleton for a body, and add parts as they "grow up" and decide what they want to be like. Gearforged usually have a gender (in that they tend to gravitate towards either a masculine shaped or feminine shaped body, and think of themselves as male or female), but they aren't created with one. Why they tend to have a gender is up to debate, especially since the gender of a Gearforged is not connected to the gender of the condemned that created them, and there are Gearforged who do not fit within the gender binary. A Gearforged cannot be used to create another Gearforged. After about 80 to 100 years, the soul will die.

I do think the existence of the Gearforged brings up some very interesting moral questions. The existence of Gearforged basically stems from the idea that it is better to use a condemned criminal to create a new person with potential to fit into society than it is to just execute said criminal. If this idea is accepted, how far does it go? How bad does a person have to be before it becomes better to create a new person than to try and reform the existing person? There is some pretty big potential for egregious abuse there. What about people who think that maybe the mentally ill or disabled should be used to create new people with more potential? I would call such thinking completely reprehensible, but if someone in power likes the idea, some really bad things could happen. On the face of it, the idea of creating new life instead of just hanging someone may sound more humane to those uncomfortable with the death penalty, but it can be horribly misused. There is also the argument that the process is still an execution, just fluffed up to look like it isn't, since the condemned ceases to exist. All of this is excellent story materiel, of course.

There are also some societal issues. You raise a Gearforged to adulthood and let them into the world, but now what? They have no family. They can't have children. Their community is their fellow Gearforged, so they have to support each other. Since they come from criminal stock, many distrust them (though others look at them with hope that a better way to deal with violent crime now exists). What do they do with their life? I imagine a lot join the military, because it's a way to find purpose in life, have a steady income and a place to live, and feel appreciated by society (soldiers are relatively well respected in Vendalia), and because the military actively targets them in recruitment efforts (Reduced sleep needs, durable frames, immunity to disease and poison, don't get fatigued easily, and don't need to feed them? Army's definitely interested. The fact that a lot of them are lost and searching for purpose, and therefore easy for a charismatic recruiter to talk into enlisting, is icing on the cake.). When a Gearforged fresh into society hears everything the military is targeting directly at them, it has a tendency to look rather attractive.

On the subject of Dwarves, I am thinking of them as a race known for their hospitality and general approachableness, and hold their arguments and grudges behind a veneer of politeness (Not to say that all Dwarves are vindictive, secretly malicious, or unable to let things go, because that's an outright falsehood, but those that do have beefs conspire in private rather than bringing them out in public. Dwarven politics can get extremely nasty without the quarreling parties ever seeming anything but friendly towards each other to an outside observer.). On the one hand, Dwarves are always welcoming to a guest, and the key component of measuring one's level of wealth and success is how much one can afford to spend on gifts and feasts. They are a race known for building big things, but outside of grand sorts of projects they don't have a reputation as scholars. When it comes to arcane magic outside of Alchemists (the most common magic user setting-wide, because potions last in a way enchantments don’t), Dwarves lean towards Wizardry (fits their grand works style of creating things, as Wizards have more sheer power than Rune Mages or Divine casters), and aren't any less likely to produce arcane casters than anyone else. Dwarves do mine plenty, but don't actually hail it as the, or even primary, way of life, and the majority of Dwarves aren't miners.

The Magni are most common race in the world. Make up the majority of the population in Vendalia by a large margin. They are of a wide range of heights, and skin color generally depends on ethnicity. They are noted primarily for not having their own culture, but rather being split into countless different cultures. This is extremely rare, as races such as the Elves, Drow, and dwarves have just one or two cultures, even across multiple ethnicities and languages. This makes it almost impossible to generalize about Magni, other than that they are a bafflingly diverse people who can’t seem to live a few hundred miles apart without forming an entirely different culture for no reason the Elves or anyone else can figure out. The one generalization that can be made is that they do tend to have a lot of endurance and very good senses of direction, traits that allow them to expand wherever ambition takes them. This in turn has led to some Magni feeling their race is obviously superior to others, using their global spread as evidence. Some governments use this idea to form policy, which does not lead to good things.

Seraphim are the descendants of angels forced to live as humans. They are about 5’10” on average for males and 5’6” on average for females, and tend to be sturdily built. They have well tanned skin, metallic or jewel colored eyes, brown or black hair, and magnificent feathered wings, usually white or brown (other colors are not unheard of). Each wing is about as big as the Seraphim is tall. Seraphim used to be able to fly, but the demigods stripped that ability from them during the fall of the Celestial Bureaucracy, while leaving the wings to remind them of what they lost. Now, their wings are heavy and don’t curve enough for proper lift generation. Many have turned to magical and technological solutions to this problem, but have only found solutions that work for rare and very skilled individuals, not something that can be applied to the race as a whole. As a people, they tend to do their best to integrate into society, though their appearance makes them stand out. They usually live in cities, and there is a high cultural emphasis on work. Do to their wings, they tend not to do factory work that requires fitting into small spaces. They are commonly scholars, engineers, lawyers, alchemists, or wizards. A lot of them find the idea of becoming a pilot extremely attractive, to the point that a lot of people on airfields or aircraft carriers quip that you can’t swing a stick around without hitting a Seraphim in a flight suit.

There is also the phenomena of people so interbred that they have no discernable race, which is becoming increasingly common. These people have a character “race” they can select that makes them the most versatile of all races (even the Magni have fixed stat modifiers at +2 Con, +2 Wis [no race has a negative stat modifier]). There are Orcs (not an evil race) and some other races I haven’t got to yet. There shall be Catfolk.

A demon is an emotion with a physical form. Just one emotion. A succubus feels only constant lust, and nothing else. A rage demon only ever feels anger. It's why demons can't really be called evil, despite being a constant threat. They literally cannot comprehend how to be anything but what they are. They can fake emotion, and do spawn with humans, but they don’t actually feel or even much think. They do as they are programmed to do without being able to consider why. In fact, humans don’t know why they do what they do unless a human spellcaster or other magical being dominates a demon. Don’t even know why they want half-human babies. A fae has more emotional depth than a demon, but is still narrow in what it is capable of feeling. They do tend to be rule driven, but their rules can seem rather chaotic and perplexing, and some fae seem to follow rules that encourage chaos. Some are relatively benign or even helpful, but dangerous if crossed, while others are just bad. There are some that steal children. Like demons, fae are usually made, not born (with several exceptions), and therefore have a much more fixed personality than a human (a gnome will act as a gnome acts, because gnomes are made and lack any sort of genetic variation). Incidentally, the argument has been made that the Celestial Bureaucracy's problem was in trying to treat humans as if they were fae, which, if true, would be problematic in that humans differ from each other and fae do not. It would explain why the Celestial Bureaucracy believed in racial determinism so much, as such an attitude could work if you were dealing with fae instead of people. People don’t know what dragons are, just that they have been around longer than anything else except possibly the gods, have a deep wealth of knowledge, possess powerful magic in true Dungeons and Dragons style, and they are easily provoked. Most of them aren’t immediately hostile, just aloof and largely isolationist, but there are a lot of dragons in the mountains, and enough of them try to exert dominance over humans to make dragonslayers a necessity.

So, there is some of the basic theme and flavor. Do ask questions. Questions are great. They provide ideas by making me think about stuff. Need ideas for what to write next, and whether there are some broad themes I haven’t hit yet or if I should start getting into specifics.


I have an iPad Mini 1, which I use to display my Paizo PDFs and my rather large collection of 3PP materiel. My readers are Adobe Acrobat and the paid version of Winzip. I have issues with PDFs loading slowly often, sometimes taking a few minutes to read. What are some possible causes of this, and how would I rectify them?

Also, how might I remove unwanted PDFs if my method of adding them is to download them to the iPad and extract them with Winzip? How might I remove some PDFs that were added via sync earlier? From a computer other than the one originally used to add them?


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I think it would be way funnier than just turning it into a bunch of random symbols. "That's smurfed up" just has much better ring to it than "That's *&$%# up".


Why do I want to do such a thing?:
This comes from a debate over at Giantitp where I made the statement that:

"I could easily see a system where it is considered perfectly natural that a young prince or princess should learn some magic, because magic is power, and royalty should have power. Knowing wizardry is also a symbol of having a good education, and princes and princesses would want to have good educations."

Going back and looking at how I portray arcane magic in my setting, this fits. Wizardry is relatively new (only about a century and a half old as of the first modern age), and it's not easy to learn. If you don't start a couple years before becoming a teenager you'll never be good enough not to be dangerous. It's like learning a language, except thick accents can kill you. Learning is, of course, very expensive. Who can afford that but the nobility? And Wizardry is new and powerful, and nobility likes displaying power. So, it may well make sense that nobles and royalty send their children to study the arts of Wizardry. In fact, it could even serve as an alternate place to put younger children who may otherwise have been sent to the priesthood because they can't inherit. Over time, as magical artillery and professional armies change the battlefield so that cavalry charges are considered risky and cavalry, while still the area of the aristocracy and drinker of glory, is a scouting, flanking, pursuit, and mounted infantry force. With the aristocracy loving mages, but also the arts of the sword and horse, the Magus could well be a more common path for a Knight than the heavily armored martial. The Magus can handle this role fine as is, but perhaps some players want something a bit more martial oriented, maybe with the martial/spellcasting balance of the Bloodrager instead of that of the Magus. More options are nice. Also, it would be cool to have access to Orders and spells.

I know I want full BAB, levels 1-4 of arcane spellcasting, Cavalier Orders, and I'm debating between light and medium armor proficiency (it's not getting heavy, and I think medium may or may not go too far). I do not really want horse based abilities (I think overreliance on mounts hurt the Cavalier). Now I need something unique to give it that a Magus or Cavalier doesn't have, but I'm torn as to ideas. Anyone have any?

Also, any ideas for new orders I could write to fit this theme within a generally Magitech (Eberron style) setting?


Here they are.

Now, there are a few things about these tables. First off, they are designed for a specific campaign setting, not for general use, and conform to generally used technology within that setting. This technology does not conform to a real world technology level, but to a made up fantasy one. Particularly heavy armors such as full plate have never really been common in world, but maintaining game balance was a concern, which is why armors were moved up in category so that some medium armors could gain the stats of heavy armors. Full plate doesn't exist, but you can get the same stats with a breastplate. Making quilted cloth about as good as leather used to be was also something I wanted to do, because I do think quilted cloth looks cool. The greatsword got renamed because it evokes visions of a big, heavy sword like a zweihander, which is a weapon that isn't used in my setting. Two handed swords are known of, but they aren't that big. So, longsword takes the place of the greatsword, and arming sword takes up the 1d8 one handed sword role. Bastard swords don't exist, but a trait can be taken to learn to wield a longsword one handed for 1d10 damage (feat isn't worth it). I feel this better emphasizes what two handed swords are like in my setting - they aren't overly big swords, and they can be wielded one handed with some training.

The whole polearm being able to choose whether to have reach thing is meant to add versatility and desirability to the weapons and reflect the fact that the lengths can very quite a bit, and the reach shortspears reflect warriors who'd wield very lengthy spears one handed.

I wanted to add a couple finessable slashing weapons (slashing Swashbuckler shouldn't require any more feat expenditure than piercing Swashbuckler), and scimitar was an obvious choice, since it has identical stats to the rapier aside from being a slashing weapon, and it makes thematic sense to wield a scimitar with blinding speed. After watching many Chinese action movies, I came to the conclusion that spears should be finessable and monk weapons, because the spear moves in those movies are awesome and I want them in my games. In fact, the light spear exists purely to emulate those movies whilst being mechanically viable, because I don't really know of any real world equivalent.

That whole recurve bow thing was because nobody uses shortbows, and longbows conjure up images of a very specific thing to me. The composite bow thing is because I don't run games below 4th level, so everybody has composite anyway. Firearms are common enough in my setting to be martial.

Contact between "European" and "Asian" peoples has been going on for centuries, and a lot of the adventures take place in areas like "California" or "Australia" where people from both areas are present in large numbers, so both Western and Eastern equipment is commonly available. I do plan to add "African" and "American" weapons at some point.

Do I have a good selection going, or does this just sort of fall flat? Any mechanical changes that cause issue (most weapons don't have mechanical changes, but those that do are often main weapons)? Also, anything seem like an error? I just fixed the rapier (it was listed as slashing when it should have been piercing)? Might have other errors.


NYT Article

It's going to take a couple months to put into effect, and you better believe that Comcast and friends are going to sue to overturn it, but I think it's going to stand. I love all the opponents saying it'll drive up prices and stifle competition, as if the current monopolies don't do that as it is.


Aside from magic, of course. Some things that would be realistic just don't work in Pathfinder or take away from the fun. In my case, language. I do not have a common tongue in my campaign setting. I just can't get with that, and I have too much interest in deciding who speaks what language. On the other hand, language differences are problematic to RPGs. So, everyone is just sort of assumed to understand everyone else, even though that often wouldn't be realistic. Oh, and nobody ever runs out of food, water, or basic ammunition, because I don't want to track that stuff. What about you guys?


I recently decided Warforged by another name are acceptable within my campaign setting. If we have what are basically fantasy androids, why not cyborgs? I have the beginnings of a system - the average playable race comes out to 15 RP. Take a feat called Cyborg, and you get 2 RP. If you have this feat and you can explain how a magitech device can provide a racial trait, you can take it as an alternate racial trait, giving up something of an equal price or paying the difference with the points the feat gave you. If you want more points, sacrifice a regular character trait. You cannot use Cyborg to get ability score increases.

Any problems you guys can see? Anything not on the race builder or alternate trait
lists that should be achievable? Anything on the lists that shouldn't? Should Cyborgs have access to advanced racial traits?

A better name would be nice, too. This is Eberron style, so cybernetics don't exist.


Trying to make a knife thrower. Please check out my build. Used both Talented Rogue and Talented Monk PDFs for this character.

Some of my house rules effect this build. Power Attack and Deadly aim can be used by anybody with the requisite ability score and BAB. No feat required. Anybody can use Combat Expertise. Two Weapon Fighting scales with level. Scimitars are finessable weapons and belong to the light blade weapon group. Ammunition is not tracked, including small throwing weapons. Magic weapon enhancements and abilities are done by weapon group, not individual weapon (if you have +2 flaming bow, you get that for all bows, not just one individual bow). There is a logical in universe explanation for that.

Here is the build

How did I do? Any weaknesses?


I have the DSP books, but I'm still new. I'm using a rune magic variant, but all the rules are the same. Aside from basic rules, what are the ins and outs (what is effective, what is not, what to watch out for), and what does a GM have to consider (What sorts of challenges can a Psionic character wreck? I hear Seers can wreck mystery plots by being too good at them.)?


Specifically, I want to simultaneously allow the unarmed combat system from Dragon Tiger Ox, the two Talented Monk PDFs from Rogue Genius Games, and Path of War. Are there any interactions between Dragon Tiger Ox's unarmed strikes and Broken Blade I should be worried about? Does the use of Talented Monks throw off any balance points with Dragon Tiger Ox?


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Firearms and bows in the same setting. At first, I was strongly in the camp of having guns either be the primary weapon of the setting or not having guns at all, with no in between. Mixing guns with longbows and crossbows made me unhappy. Now mixing guns with bows and crossbows is exactly what I do in my campaign setting. Not really sure what changed my mind.

Summoners. Used to ban them completely. Then I watched Fairy Tail, and now I don't ban them, even if I'm unlikely to play one myself.

Anything that doesn't have a full BAB. Back when I played 3.5, I wouldn't play anything that was missing even one point of BAB. That changed when I switched over to Pathfinder and saw how cool the Witch and Sorcerer were.

The biggest one, however, is Psionics/Rune Mages. Originally wasn't too interested in psionics, despite having the Dreamscarred Press books. Thought about refluffing psionics, saw the rune mage suggestion, and rejected it as not particularly good and went looking for other fluff. See, to me runes are Germanic writing, like so. I do think that picture looks pretty cool, but using Germanic writing as the basis for an entire magic system? That just doesn't work for me. Then I had the thought that since, to me, runes come from a language, they are a means for a spellcaster to communicate intent. Which in turn means that a spellcaster who's language does not use runes should use their own alphabet and language. So, the first picture remains a completely valid choice for how a rune mage might use runes, but this is just as valid. If you speak a Latin based language, it even makes more sense. Likewise, you can do this, this, this, this, or this. There isn't a set alphabet. Even those who use the same alphabet may use very different art styles. Of course, runes drawn in the air during combat are not so fancy as the runes one would use when enchanting an item. No time for that kind of detail. Rune mages should be the best when it comes to magic items, in fact, because flavor.


Path of War is cool. The Rite Publishing Secrets of the Gunslinger is cool, because it has the hexslinger, a gunslinger archetype that can use witch hexes, for all your weird west gothic needs. Grit is kinda meh, however, and the Veiled Moon discipline looks like it would be so thematically awesome on a character that can use hexes, so I thought "What if I replace grit with initiating, give access to Veiled Moon, then apply the Rite Publishing hexslinger archetype?" I then did exactly that. This is the result.

Why does it have Thrashing Dragon and Broken Blade? There aren't that many disciplines good for ranged combat, and hexslingers do end up being forced into melee, having to either fight unarmed, use a gun as a bludgeon, or switch to knives or hatchets.

I am wondering what you guys think about it not having armor. On the one hand, I felt it needed a weakness, and do allow armor enchantments to be applied to bracers of armor or amulets of natural armor. On the other hand, it has no armor.

Do you guys feel initiating is too powerful a replacement for grit? Is Cursed Shot (originally a deed, but these hexslingers lack grit) out of control as a maneuver? For those wondering, it's level 4 because the deed was originally gained at level 7, and hexslingers get access to 4th level maneuvers at that level.


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Eldrata is a magitech Old West/Victoriana setting that focuses on monster hunting and exploring the unknown in a world characterized by epic scale, fantastic terrain, and wondrous devices. It is not Steampunk, but it shares a lot of tropes and imagery with the genre. The game takes place during a magic-fueled industrial revolution, as the secrets to using arcane magic have recently been unlocked. The world of Eldrata is one that, despite its diversity, is actually rather closely integrated. In the past divine churches spanned the globe, and now mass communication, large global trade networks, and railroads and self propelled ships have tied people ever closely together.

This is a continuation of Thyressa - American Magitech. Some things have changed, and the world has expended beyond just being an America based fantasy, but what themes were originally in Thyressa are still here.

Here is the main setting document.

Currently, I am focusing on fleshing out Castara and then an important region of a different country, and moving out from there. The sample name sections are not finished yet, but I don't have time to finish them now. I've procrastinated too much on my homework already. Eventually, each ethnic group should have at least ten sample names per gender, plus names for dwarves and drow. Magni, elves, and seraphim name children based on ethnicity, not race. Races don't generally have their own languages do to how interreliant they are.

Armor and Weapons

Here is where it starts getting a little weird. Eldrata doesn't really have much in the way of heavy armor, and even breastplates aren't that common. To avoid throwing off game balance, armor was shifted between categories, so a breastplate in Eldrata is equivalent stat wise to full plate in Golarion. Likewise, large swords like the greatsword are also not really a thing, but wielding a longsword two handed will produce equivalent damage. The shortbow is gone, replaced by the recurve bow, which is on par with the longbow. I don't play below level 4, so small monetary amounts aren't something I worry about and I don't have cost values for basic weapons. Some weapons got buffed, Eastern and Western weapons go on the same table, those names in italic are alternate weapons that mimic the listed stats, and there are no small sized player races in Eldrata.

So, how is it so far? Questions? Questions are incredibly useful, because they make me think about things I would not have considered if I weren't asked, and in general greatly speed up my worldbuilding.


That is a large part of how one would use a bayonet when facing cavalry, and a pretty big reason why the bayonet was effective against cavalry. A lot of the time the mere appearance of a line of muskets with fixed bayonets and stocks braced against the ground was enough intimidation that a horse would refuse to charge. Granted, I am using GM fiat to declare that it does have Brace, but I am curious as to why this was not written into the official rules. It seems like an obvious choice.


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(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Not until August, though. Still. San Francisco! O(≧▽≦)O I've been studying at community college in my native Silicon Valley since I left Montana two summers ago, and in June I finish my lower division courses. In August, I get to enter San Francisco State University's Urban Studies and Planning program as a Junior. ヾ(●⌒∇⌒●)ノ It took me until the age of 24, but I'm finally packing off to university! My acceptance letter is so shiny. Metaphorically, of course. Because that would be weird otherwise.

Obligatory flowers in my hair: (✿◠‿◠)


I'm having trouble getting concrete information on what the book entails. I already own Nyambe, and if it is similar (a fictional analog to North America that I can plug into another campaign setting), I would be interested. If it had fictional Native American inspired cultures that I could use in another setting, that would be useful. If it is the actual North America but with magic, I would not be interested. Can anyone tell me which Northern Crown is?


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Still experimenting to find the right thing for my world. Explaining the divine casters is the hardest thing, because I dislike classic Forgotten Realms/Golarion style cosmology. Historically, I would typically kill the gods off, but I've been taking a Philosophy class and it gave me the idea of leaving things more open ended and nebulous. How does this work (Humanity refers to any character race. An elf is a race of human, not a separate species.):

Divines

These are powerful beings that exist on a separate level from humanity (what this level is isn't clear, because nobody has ever seen the realm of the divines). Precisely what they are is also a matter of debate. They have powerful magics and wished worship from followers, but whether or not they created the world and why they wanted worship is a mystery. They were commonly called gods, though nowadays many scholars dispute the accuracy of such a term. There were once hundreds of them, who organized themselves into pantheons that looked over specific ethnic groups and organized religions among them. They had some sort of council among themselves to keep each other in some degree of check, but it didn't seem to work very well considering the wealth of conquerors this world has had. The council ended up completely fracturing during the Colonial Era, breaking out into some sort of cosmological war. The sky darkened around the world and the most horrendous storms in history raged amid the deafening cacophony of battle from the skies above, and when the clouds finally dispersed the divines were gone. That was over a century ago, and nobody knows what happened in the war, where the divines went, or how many are still alive (assuming they can die).

Divine Magic

A form of magic taught to humanity by the divines. It taps in to the power of Gaia or spirit realms, and requires a great deal of spiritual self discipline to use. For some reason, all the hundreds of divines worldwide had strict rules that only priests, shamans, holy warriors, druids, or other servants of the divines should ever be allowed to learn divine magic. As a result, the use of this magic has a strong relationship with religion, even though the magic itself does not come from the divines. The churches that await the return of the divines have tried to maintain control over who can learn divine magic, but they have lost their hold over Druidism and their support base is shrinking.

Witchcraft

Witchcraft is divine magic, since it taps into the power of Gaia or spirit realms, but most people distinguish if from divine magic in practice because the divines almost universally opposed witchcraft, seemingly because it existed outside the religious structures they had control over. Knowledge was passed via coven from master to apprentice, rather than through the clergy. It has historically been something of an underground movement as a result, with witches being hunted and killed, though modern day sensibilities generally oppose that now. Witchcraft is often still controversial, but now that you can openly practice it without being executed the number of practitioners is increasing. A lot of the old guard actually find this vexing, and don't like the way their traditions are changing and new witches don't always seem to fully appreciate those traditions.

Arcane Magic

Arcane magic is the manipulation of the magic of Aether, that which rests above Gaia. This is something humanity has understood how to do for less than a century (before this discovery, Sorcerers were a massive danger to themselves and others that nobody understood, and they couldn't much control their powers), but it was such a groundbreaking discovery that the world has changed massively. Industrialization, urbanization, mass communication, railroads, and the beginnings of global economic structures are revolutionizing how people live, all because humans now understand something of how Aether works. By far the most common arcane magic user is the alchemist (who are the single most common magic user in the world), as it is the easiest and safest way to use Aether, but Wizardry and the like are up and coming traditions and Sorcerers can learn to control their powers now.

Common Religions

People are fairly torn on whether the divines were or are actually gods or not. Some common religions believe:

They are gods, and left the world because humans deeply angered them by starting a gigantic cosmic war over colonialism and genocide. Humans have to be good and follow strict rules if they are to calm down and come back. These churches are the remnants of the original divine churches, and remain quite powerful, though they are slipping.

Whether they are gods is irrelevant. The divines started the cosmic war and inflamed colonial attitudes, were kind of jerks, they ruled over humans unfairly, and we are glad they are gone.

There is a supreme god who ruled over the divines, and the cosmic war the divines started over colonialism angered this god so much that it smote them. We should all pay homage to this god and avoid angering it.

The divines are now irrelevant. God is the energy that resides in all things.

The divines are now irrelevant. The spirits of the world and Gaia are much better allies, and we should honor them instead.

The divines were not gods, and they were killed by God. God is Aether, and to use arcane magic is to touch God.

There is no god, and the divines were oppressors. Humanity now controls its own destiny and must do so with benevolence towards all.

Atheism and Agnosticism are fairly common.


*Lights Mikaze Signal*

I never do always or usually evil races. I prefer races with no natural inclination to be good or bad. Races are collections of people, and people vary from each other immensely. Drow are a race in this setting, because I like the whole dark skinned, pale haired elf thing they have going on. This is what is said of the history of the drow, but it cannot necessarily be fully vouched for, given that these are long past historic events drenched in blood and politics:

The world has many pantheons of divine being that compete, rather than a pantheon of gods that rules over the world. In the region elves and drow hail from (based heavily on Scandinavian and Central European culture), the dominant divine powers were once the Aesir and the Jotunn. It should be noted that neither faction could be considered good. They both saw power, and both wanted to take it. The Aesir created elves as warriors, but a faction was wooed over to the Jotunn for reasons lost to history. These became the drow. The Jotunn were beaten back, and the drow were punished with darkened skin and light hair, so that all would know of their treason for eternity. At this point in time, elves preferred to live in elegantly crafted tree homes, so the drow avoided their cruelties by urbanizing away from elven settlements or living in the mountains. Relations with dwarves and magni (you'd call them humans) are neither particularly bad nor amazingly good. Drow lived relatively close to a lot of dwarven settlements, and formed alliances or got into fights with them about as much as dwarven clans did with each other. Drow were closer with magni, as they tended to both settle in the same areas. It's not that relations were totally peaceful so much as it was that drow and magni got very used to being neighbors. Granted, this war and whatever cruelties the elves perpetrated on the drow (or vice versa) happened over a thousand years ago, and the guilty and victims are many, many generations dead (neither elves or drow commonly live past 100). Immigration to the New World didn't change this equation too much, except that elves came to this new land (think Eastern Canada) in proportionately larger numbers than magni, drow, and dwarves, because the elves wanted those forests. No once race has a majority of the population, but magni have the highest, then elves, then drow, then dwarves. Now that industrialization has taken hold, the elven tree cities are showing themselves to be very poor at handling the population explosion, causing the once wealthy and sophisticated civilization to start experiencing serious problems with violence and hunger, and prompting an elven diaspora to cities.

Now, here is the question. If elves are the magical artistic sophisticated nature race, dwarves are craftsmen, miners, engineers, and inventors, and magni are scholars and bards, what are the drow known for? If they aren't cruel, manevolent, bloodthirsty beings, what should they be, in broad terms?

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