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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Stormrunner wrote:

Svirfneblin - presumably of Norse origin (see Svartalfar).

They sound like some kind of little Swedish Yuletide pastry.

Well, you see, that's why they live underground, for fear of the sea-devils.

They used to live along the seacoast, but the sahuagin considered them especially tasty, and would raid the shorelines just to grab as many gnomes as they could, drag them into the water just off the beach, and devour them alive. This practice came to be known as "surf-nibblin'".

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JDLPF wrote:

Derro - in local Australian slang, this means a homeless person. Makes me imagine the party's fighting a street bum.

Svirfneblin - for god's sake, buy a vowel!

Derro - These are pretty obviously the "Dero" of Richard S. Shaver, who published a number of supposedly-true "ancient astronauts"-style stories in the 50s. Deranged subterranean dwarfs with psychic powers, the Dero were supposedly the degraded offshoot of an ancient race of super-men called the Tero.

Svirfneblin - presumably of Norse origin (see Svartalfar).

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Oh, and time: if you are an experienced log builder, you can slap together the outer shell in a couple days, and another couple days to roof it. For a beginner, figure 2-3 weeks with plans and instructions, probably twice that if puzzling it out yourself. Finishing the interior (laying a floor, building partitions, installing window shutters and a door, etc) would definitely be a Craft:Woodworking check and take maybe a month (it's not as physically difficult as building the shell but requires more finicky precision work).

Edit: This is assuming a minimum 3-man-and-a-horse crew (horse to lift the log via rope-and-pulley, one man to control the horse, one man at each end of the wall to position the new log as it's lowered into place). It is *possible* for a lone man to do it all (even without a horse!) but figure 3-4x the time, and you have to use smaller logs. A one-man cabin would be a max of, oh, call it 8' x 10' interior dimensions, any larger and the logs get too heavy to easily handle. A standard "frontier family" cabin would be about 10'x20' - much larger than that and you start to need multiple fireplaces to heat it.

And if you're having to fell your own logs, trim the branches off, and haul each one to the site, that's extra. :)

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Vurrunna wrote:

So... How?

I'm the GM in my group, and one of my players wants to build himself a house in a forest. As we play a sandbox game, and as I am loath to deny him his crazy ideas, I plan to let him build a house. However, there are a few questions I have as to how to go about this:

1. What check is this? I'd say that if he builds a small lean-to, it's a Survival check, but once he gets to the size of a proper house, I think it ought to become either a Craft or Profession. The question is which one. I'd think it would be Profession, but I may be wrong.

2. How long does this take? Let's assume he's building a house made up of small trees (the largest being about a foot across) and mud to fill in the gaps. How long should this take?

3. What does he need? Are small trees and mud enough, or should he really use other supplies, such as stone and straw?

Thanks in advance!

Most log cabins are simple enough (one room, maybe with interior dividers) that you don't really need Profession:Architect - Craft:Woodworking and/or Profession:Lumberjack ought to be sufficient.

There are two basic types of log construction: butt-and-pass and notched. In butt-and-pass, logs alternately "butt" up against a log of the adjoining wall, or "pass" the adjoining-wall log, sticking out 1-2 feet past the wall. Each log butts on one end and passes on the other: the first log of the N wall butts against the E wall and passes the W wall, the next N log passes the E wall and butts against the W wall, and so on. This is the quickest and easiest method, and can be done by a raw beginner, but is not quite as sturdy as notched (though it is a little less prone to settling over time). In the notched style, each log has notches cut in it near the ends, so they lock together exactly like those old Lincoln Log toys. This requires a bit more skill with the axe, and experience with log construction, to get the notches in the right place and the right depth. The logs in notched style don't stick out past the corners nearly as much as they do in butt-and-pass style.
When chinking the logs, you will need to mix straw with the mud as a binder to make adobe, otherwise the mud will crack and fall out as it dries. Dried moss can be used to fill the crack between the logs before plastering with the adobe. A stone foundation is not necessary (though it will make the cabin last longer), but you will need some stone to build a fireplace (unless you have a cast-iron stove, which is more efficient but heavy to haul out to the wilderness).

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Over in the forums, the Set's Stuff thread had an entry for "composite" deities, mashing together two gods into one:

Set wrote:

Pharashtu (Lamashtu, Pharasma) - goddess of birth and death, matron of midwives and nannies, embalmers and executioners, mistress of the underworld, midwife to prince and monster alike, to whom every soul has the same weight, and will be judged with the same loving dispassion.

Rovenrae (Rovagug, Sarenrae) - god(dess) of the great burning, the fire that cleanses the world and burns away impurity, infirmity and stagnation, only to bring new life in it's wake, symbolitized by a massive couatl that is equal parts phoenix and linnorm, devouring itself in Ouroboran fashion, Rovenrae is the god(dess) of destruction, purification and rebirth.

Torthys, Nethyg (Nethys, Torag) - god of artifice and discovery, mad genius that built the world and every beautiful and terrible thing within it, patron of creation, magic and innovation, but also of reconstruction, of tearing apart things to create other things, ever more complex, always pushing the boundaries.

I was researching African deities as inspiration for gnoll religions, and the "Pharashtu" entry above perfectly matches many African fertility goddesses, who typically also have dominion over death, souls/spirits, and the underworld. Perfect for Benchak's gnoll midwife!

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Yes, I've mentioned this in here before, but ... Ursula Vernon's webcomic "Digger", while nominally about a talking wombat, has a gnollish race (Digger refers to them simply as "the hyenas") that plays a major role in the story. Definitely worth reading for the well-crafted society/culture/religion.
And Vernon's (text, not comic) book duology Black Dogs has an encounter with a much less friendly gnoll tribe, led by the sadomasochistic female Bears-Nine (as in, "survived nine births"). You want to challenge her for alpha? All you have to do is sit in the Throne of Blades, and survive ... If you know the trick, it *merely* inflicts extreme pain and blood loss - if you don't, you die in agony as the blades pierce your vitals.

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And for that matter, I *could* see hobgoblins doing play recitals. They're supposed to be really Lawful, right? A lot of people have done "hobgoblins as Romans", but I have this mental image of hobgoblins like evil samurai - instead of flower arranging, you have severed-head arranging. Instead of tea ceremony, you have eating-the-enemy's-liver ceremony. And Noh plays - or rather, "Oh No!" plays, filled with cunning double-crosses, triple-agents, quadruple-bypasses (without anesthetic), and frequent "ironic" surprise deaths.

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Bugbear drum circles.

Seriously, think of all the cliched scenes where the heroes hear "the beating of the savage tom-toms" coming from the woods/jungle prior to the screaming horde attack... Bugbears are big hairy savages, right?

In the South Pacific they have these big slit-drums, that are made by hollowing out an entire tree-trunk. You have to whack it pretty hard, so playing one is a rather athletic workout (like Taiko drumming), but you can feel the rumble in your guts (subsonics) and hear it for miles.